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August 31, 2020

Polish bishops concerned by rise in acts of desecration

Catholic News Agency

August 31, 2020

Poland’s bishops expressed concern Saturday about a rise in acts of desecration.

In a statement issued at the end of their plenary assembly Aug. 29, the bishops called for greater respect for religious sensibilities.

“The bishops ... express their concern about the increasingly frequent cases of profanation of places of worship and religious symbols, which cause pain to so many people,” the statement said.

A shepherd has come home to his flock': Priest cleared of sexual abuse allegations returns to ministry


August 31, 2020

By Jaccii Farris


With Allentown Bishop Alfred Schlert by his side, Father Robert Potts returns to St. Ursula's Catholic Church in Fountain Hill after being cleared of sexual abuse allegations.

During his first sermon this year, Potts spoke about his time away from the ministry.

"When you are in a situation such as mine, days go by and you wonder is there light at the end of the tunnel?"

Potts told parishioners at times he felt very alone, "but you realize that God is with you every step along the way."

Potts continued, "a shepherd has come home to his flock."

Indian archbishop calls priest’s accusations of mismanagement ‘baseless’


August 28, 2020

By Nirmala Carvalho

An archbishop in India has called accusations by a priest of his archdiocese “baseless, concocted and lack[ing] authenticity.”

Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar was responding to a letter published by Father Kulakanta Dandasena on Nastik Nation, an website promoting atheism in India.

In his letter, Dandasena accuses the archdiocese of financial mismanagement and discrimination against clergy from a Dalit background – the lowest class in the Hindu caste system – and the priest makes allegations that the archbishop is involved in a “scandalous” relationship with a woman.

Volunteer At 2 Aliso Viejo Churches Accused Of Molesting Girl Since 2010

KCAL-TV, Channel 9

August 27, 2020

A Mission Viejo man who volunteered at two Aliso Viejo churches has been arrested on suspicion of molesting an underage girl, and investigators believe he may have more victims.

Jose Andres Lopez, 67, was arrested after the victim reported the sexual assault on Sunday. The victim told Orange County sheriff’s investigators she was familiar with Lopez and was 10 years old when the molestation began in 2010.

According to authorities, Lopez was a volunteer pastor at Pacific Hills Calvary Chapel in Aliso Viejo between 2003-2005.

An additional victim who has just come forward told CBSLA’s Michele Gile that oftentimes Lopez would bring children back home following church events.

Authorities say Lopez had been volunteering at Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo since 2012.

Former Havelock commissioner, Catholic school coach convicted on child porn charges


August 28, 2020

A former Havelock city commissioner was convicted on child pornography charges this week.

Peter Van Vilet, 42, of 1415 Scotch Pine Court, was arrested by the State Bureau of Investigations in December and charged with 12 counts of second degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He was convicted on these charges and registered on the state sex offender registry.

The SBI found computer video files of children, some possibly as young as two years old, engaged in various sex acts with other children as well as adults, according to arrest warrants obtained by WITN.

He was a commissioner until 2014. Vilet coached cross country, youth lacrosse and junior varsity basketball at Annunciation Catholic School. He hasn't coached there since March 2019, officials told WITN.

Child Victims Act lawsuit says student was victim of sexual misconduct at Chenango Forks

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin via PressConnects.com

August 31, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

A teacher and a janitor who worked in the Chenango Forks Central School District during the 1980s are accused in a Child Victims Act lawsuit of separate instances of sexual misconduct against a female student.

The complaint also claims a pastor at the girl's church tried to persuade her to drop her accusation against the janitor, who attended the same church, saying her accusation "could not be true."

A lawsuit filed Aug. 15 in the state Supreme Court of Broome County on behalf of a woman who was about 17 when she attended high school at Chenango Forks in 1986, claims her social studies teacher, Richard Russ, engaged in sexual misconduct against her. It allegedly began after he'd invite her to his classroom for study halls or to work on projects after school.

Much like other lawsuits under the Child Victims Act, the Aug. 15 complaint argues the defendants, in this case the school district and the church, should've taken action once told about alleged sexual misconduct. The lawsuit, which names the Chenango Forks Central School District and Central Baptist Church as defendants, argues that didn't happen.

‘Our lives were in his hands’: Boys recount sexual abuse by 'night bat'

The Jakarta Post

August 30, 2020

By Margareth S. Aritonang

It was an hour past midnight on Sept. 9, 2019, when Joni, a teenage boy living in an orphanage, was awakened by what he described as a “painful feeling” on his genitals. When he opened his eyes, he beheld a nightmare.

“He was there. He was shocked,” Joni said. “I put on my pants and chased him down the stairs."

“’What did you do to me, Brother? Why did you pull [my pants] down?’"

Recalling the horror of that night, Joni, who has chosen to use a pseudonym to protect his identity, explained how he confronted Lukas Lucky Ngalngola, the director of Joni’s orphanage, whom the boys referred to as the “night bat”. He said Lukas begged for forgiveness for "making a mistake" and got to his knees and kissed Joni’s feet.

Joni, who was 19 years old at the time, did not know what to do next with Lukas, or Brother Angelo as he styled himself. Joni wanted to hit Angelo, his sole guardian and the head of the Kencana Bejana Rohani orphanage in Depok, West Java, where Joni and dozens of other children lived under Angelo’s care.

But Joni could not think straight.

“I rushed to the chapel. I asked God to forgive my sin and his."

Opinion: Catholic priest says he was silenced by the church for speaking out on abuse

New Jersey

August 30, 2020

By Mark White

This spring, I received a letter from my boss ordering me to take down my blog or lose my job.

Workers all over the country have found themselves in this kind of situation. But I may yet become the first Catholic priest removed for blogging.

Until recently, I was the pastor of two parishes in southwest Virginia, one in Martinsville and the other in Rocky Mount. I love my work and my community of some 800 families. I began blogging in 2008 as an additional way of reaching the faithful. For the first decade, my digital homilies and musings attracted little attention outside my parishes.

In 2018, though, like many Catholics, I was shaken when news emerged of sexual abuse by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington.

Reflections on a Career Spent Advocating for Childhood Abuse Survivors

LegalExaminer.com (law firm blog)

August 30, 2020

By Joseph H. Saunders

Recently a confluence of events has led me to reflect upon a significant area of my work as a lawyer. For the last two decades, I have represented and advocated for survivors of childhood sexual abuse-whether they survived abuse from a Catholic priest, minister, rabbi, or Boy Scout leader. It is difficult work not only because many states still have antiquated statutes of limitations that frustrate a survivors’ quest for justice but also because of the tremendous suffering I’ve witnessed in those two decades.

The sexual abuse of a child leaves emotional and psychological scars that can last a lifetime. I believe it forever alters the way in which a survivor interacts with the world and with others. Many survivors turn to alcohol and drugs to mask the pain and suffering. Others have been alienated from family and significant others well into adulthood. Sadly, a small number become abusers themselves. This is not a common occurrence but it happens and inevitably leads to further alienation from friends, family, and society in general. Even some attorneys refuse to represent those who themselves have abused others. It is not an easy issue but I believe mercy and compassion should trump any feelings of moral superiority on my part. The simple fact is that we are all broken. Some are more broken than others but each person deserves our understanding and assistance when we can provide it.

Auction held at home of late priest who lived like a prince

Associated Press

August 29, 2020

An auction was held Saturday at the Lansing-area mansion of a Catholic priest who was accused of embezzling millions of dollars before he died in March while awaiting trial.

There were nearly 1,000 items for sale, including about 100 pieces of furniture from the six-bedroom home, the Lansing State Journal reported.

“It’s about four sales in one with the amount of stuff that’s out here,” auctioneer Mel White said.

The Rev. Jonathan Wehrle was pastor at St. Martha Church in Okemos.

He lived in a 12,000-square-foot mansion in Wheatfield Township, near Williamston, which included an indoor pool, an elevator, baby grand pianos, a pipe organ, three sets of washers and dryers and enough kitchen supplies to outfit a restaurant, the newspaper reported.

Big payout for a woman abused by a ‘popular playboy priest’

Freethinker via Patheos.com (blog)

August 29, 2020

By Barry Duke

A LAWSUIT filed almost four years ago against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops in British Columbia ended this week with the victim of an abusive priest being awarded more than $800,000.

According to this report, Archbishop Emeritus Adam Exner, above right, had ample evidence that Father Erlindo Molon, left, was taking advantage of his female parishioners.

But he chose to turn a blind eye to the sexual misconduct of the man he described as “popular” and a “playboy priest” who told him “I’m only human” when his predatory behaviour was challenged.

One of Molon’s victims was a young teacher named Rosemary Anderson, and it was she who sued the diocese in 2016. The case ended with her being awarded $844,14 by BC Supreme Court judge, Justice E David Crossin, who said:

The diocese failed the plaintiff profoundly in a moment of great need. Bishop Exner was aware of troubling rumours about Fr Molon as early as the spring of 1976.

Diocese of Greensburg host virtual farewell mass for local bishop


August 30, 2020

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg is hosting a virtual farewell mass for local bishop, Edward Malesic.

The mass will be live-streamed as a COVID-19 safety measure and will start at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Malesic spent five years as a bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, and is now heading to Cleveland's diocese.

During his time at the Diocese of Greensburg, Bishop Malesic helped lead through the grand jury findings on clergy sex abuse, the opioid crisis, financial hardships and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greensburg Bishop Malesic bids farewell to diocese


August 30, 2020

By Rich Cholodofsky

It was five years ago that Bishop Edward C. Malesic celebrated Mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg to formally take the reins of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg.

On Sunday, Malesic, 60, again presided over Mass at the cathedral, but this time it was to bid farewell to his flock of 138,000 Roman Catholics.

Malesic will be installed Sept. 14 as bishop for the Diocese of Cleveland.

“It’s not that I am not excited about going to Cleveland,” Malesic said in his closing homily. “Truthfully, I am. It’s another new adventure for me. So for those of you watching from Cleveland, I am coming to you with great joy. There’s no mistake about that. But the heavy heart comes from having to say goodbye to a diocese that I have called my home, and made my home, for these last five years and to bid farewell to people I have come to know as my friends.”

August 30, 2020

St. Mary's sex-assault victims speak out

Lawrence Eagle-Tribune

August 29, 2020

By Breanna Edelstei

Women are among 11 in $1.4M Catholic church settlement

Two women who were sexually abused by the Rev. John J. Gallagher in the 1970s are speaking publicly — for the first time — about their childhood trauma with the hope of empowering other survivors and themselves.

The women, one who chooses to be named and another who does not, are among 11 people — 10 women and a man — represented by Boston Attorney Mitchell Garabedian in a joint lawsuit against the Catholic Church resolved earlier this year with a $1.4 million settlement.

In conversations with The Eagle-Tribune Thursday and Friday, the victims described sexual abuse that happened to them and others when Gallagher was assigned to St. Mary’s Church in Lawrence and the associated parish school from 1972 to 1979.

They also described the aftermath: sadness, anger, fear — the gamut of emotions — and alienation from their church.

"He taught us terror," said the unnamed victim, who estimates Gallagher abused her hundreds of times from when she was 9 until she graduated from middle school.

Lawsuit alleges sex-abuse at community residence overseen by Mount Loretto

Staten Island Advance

August 29, 2020

By Maura Grunlund

A boy was sexually abused decades ago in a community residence overseen by the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto, a new lawsuit alleges.

The boy revealed some of the abuse to a doctor and priest at Mt. Loretto during the time period when he was being sexually assaulted in the early 1980s, but the charity took no action to protect the victim, who eventually left the home and ended up living on the streets, the filing alleges.

The Archdiocese of New York and Catholic Charities of Staten Island are named as defendants in the suit, which was filed on Aug. 20 in state Supreme Court, St. George, on behalf of the anonymous victim.

“He is a survivor of abuse,” said attorney Bradley Rice, who represents the plaintiff. “It has had a profound impact on his life throughout his entire life.”

Report reveals young order’s passion for safeguarding

Catholic Weekly

August 30, 2020

Safeguarding steps no ‘tick-the-box exercise’ for MGLs

A young Aussie religious institute has revealed a strong culture of safeguarding following an independent audit by Catholic Professional Standards Ltd.

The report released on 19 August found that the Missionaries of God’s Love had either implemented or was substantially progressed in the implementation of all 108 (100 per cent) of the indicators relevant to them under the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards.

Ex-priest is accused of abusing 4 kids. Monett woman says church ignored her pleas

Springfield News-Leader

August 29, 2020

By Harrison Keegan

For at least the past 16 years, Elizabeth Mangler has kept a file saved on her computer:


Mangler, 59, had a feeling that some day a man would come forward and accuse Father Gary Carr of child sexual abuse.

And she wanted people to know that in Monett, they tried to stop him.

"We did follow the best chain of command the Catholic Church has to offer," Mangler said.

And she's got the receipts.

This year, four men have come forward and accused Carr, 66, of sexually abusing them when they were kids.

Monks leave their home of 200 years due to abbey's former connection to school investigated for child sexual abuse


August 30, 20

By Charlotte Penketh-King and Daniel Smith

Monks living at an abbey previously associated with a school investigated for child sexual abuse have decided to leave their home of over 200 years following the scandal.

Downside Abbey was formerly affiliated with Downside School in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Somerset, before the school and abbey separated in September 2019.

The separation followed the school being highlighted in an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse where it was found 'appalling abuse' was inflicted upon pupils.

Both Downside School and Ampleforth School in North Yorkshire were accused of trying to cover up allegations of abuse to protect their reputation.

[News Release] Father Robert Potts restored to ministry

Diocese of Allentown

August 27, 2020

Father Robert J. Potts, Pastor of St. Ursula Church, Fountain Hill, has been returned to ministry after being cleared of all allegations following a 10-month inquiry conducted by independent investigators.

Father Potts will celebrate Masses at St. Ursula’s this weekend.

The allegation against Father Potts was received by the Washington, D.C., administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, who then notified the Diocese.

On the day the Diocese was notified of the complaint, Bishop Alfred Schlert removed Father Potts from ministry and directed that law enforcement be notified. The Diocese had no knowledge of the complaint before being notified of it.

The person who made the allegation told the Compensation Fund Administrators that Father Potts sexually abused him in the 1980s and early 1990s, when Father Potts, now 83, was pastor of the former St. George Parish, Shenandoah.

Finalizó el juicio canónico al cura denunciado por abusos sexuales

[The Vatican removed the clerical state of the priesthood from Emilio Lamas]


August 29, 2020

Finalizó el juicio canónico al cura denunciado por abusos sexuales

El Arzobispado de Salta dio a conocer que encontraron al religioso culpable de las violaciones y que la sentencia ya es definitiva e inapelable.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The canonical trial of the priest denounced for sexual abuse has ended

The Archbishopric of Salta announced that they found the religious guilty of the violations and that the sentence is now final and unappealable.]

Avanza la investigación contra el cura denunciado por abuso sexual en un colegio de La Plata

[The investigation against the priest reported for sexual abuse in a school in La Plata advances]


August 28, 2020


Mientras esperan que la Justicia platense comience a mover el expediente de la denuncia contra el sacerdote acusado de abuso en un colegio de La Plata, familiares y ex alumnos que asistieron a ese instituto hicieron pública una carta que aporta detalles de los hechos que le imputan al religioso. La difusión de la denuncia derivó en un pedido del Arzobispo de La Plata, Víctor Fernández, para que el sospechado “no tenga contacto con menores” en sus actividades en Misiones, el nuevo destino donde fue derivado por la conducción eclesiástica.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: While they wait for the Justice of La Plata to begin to move the file of the complaint against the priest accused of abuse in a school in La Plata, relatives and former students who attended that institute made public a letter that provides details of the facts that are attributed to the religious. The dissemination of the complaint led to a request from the Archbishop of La Plata , Víctor Fernández, so that the suspect "does not have contact with minors" in his activities in Misiones, the new destination where he was referred by the ecclesiastical leadership.]

August 29, 2020

Lawsuit says St. Louis priest abused boy in 1980s

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

August 28, 2020

By Robert Patrick

A federal lawsuit says the Archdiocese of St. Louis has failed to remove a De Soto priest who has had four accusations of sexual abuse against him.

A man identified in the suit only as John Doe contends the Rev. Alexander R. Anderson sexually abused him as a boy in the late 1980s at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in St. Louis, where Doe was living at the time and Anderson was chaplain.

Anderson fondled Doe and later took him to his den for what the children called “late night with Father,” where “the touching became discussions of masturbation” and forced sexual acts, the suit says.

In a statement, officials with the archdiocese said a “third-party independent investigative team” found the allegations against Anderson “to be without merit. Fr. Anderson has denied the allegations, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis supports Fr. Anderson in defending himself against false allegations,” the statement said.

Vatican told whistleblower priest to be a hostile witness: friend

Sydney Morning Herald

August 28, 2020

By Harriet Alexander

Whistleblower priest Father Glen Walsh told his next-door neighbour that the Vatican had instructed him to be a hostile witness when he was called to testify against an Archbishop accused of concealing crimes of sexual abuse.

Neighbour Jamie Hay said he chatted to Father Walsh in October 2017, about 10 days before he took his life and three weeks before the Archbishop's trial was due to begin. Father Walsh was expecting a visit from a senior member of the clergy, who he planned to take to task over the number of paedophile priests being housed by the Catholic Church.

The conversation turned to his disillusionment with the church over its handling of sexual abuse claims and Father Walsh told Mr Hay that he had met with the Pope about the upcoming trial of Archbishop Philip Wilson, in which he was due to testify for the prosecution.

"He didn't name anyone in particular, but he said the expectation from Rome was, they didn't ask him but they said, 'You will be a hostile witness'," Mr Hay said. "He was a really devoted servant of the Catholic Church and it was heartbreaking."

Oblates clear former St. Mary’s priest of wrongdoing

Adrian Daily Telegram

August 28, 2020

By Spencer Durham

A priest accused of financial impropriety has been cleared after two accounting reviews revealed no evidence of wrongdoing, according to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

Rev. Jack Loughran, provincial superior of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Toledo-Detroit Province, issued a bulletin to the parishioners of Holy Family Catholic Parish in Adrian that said the allegations of financial wrongdoing by the Rev. William Auth were unfounded.

Auth was once an assistant pastor at St. Mary of Good Counsel Church in Adrian. He served in various roles in the church in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. He was a temporary administrator at St. Mary in 1986 and served in the role until 1991.

Allentown priest cleared of abuse allegations


August 28, 2020

An Allentown Diocese priest who had Carbon and Schuylkill County ties was returned to ministry after being cleared of all allegations following a 10-month inquiry conducted by independent investigators.

The diocese announced that the Rev. Robert J. Potts, pastor of St. Ursula Church, Fountain Hill, has returned to ministry and will celebrate Masses at St. Ursula’s this weekend.

Potts had been accused last year of sexually abusing a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The allegation was received by the Washington, D.C., administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, who then notified the diocese.

Bishop's Stortford law firm Nockolds appeals for victims of paedeophile priest Michael Studdert to claim compensation from £4.7m estate

Bishop' Stortford Independent

August 28, 2020

By Sinead Corr


A Bishop's Stortord law firm is co-ordinating the international search for victims of a paedophile priest who lived in the town.

Michael Studdert is suspected of carrying out sex attacks on children in England, Wales, Italy, Poland and Denmark. Nockolds Solicitors is appealing for them to come forward and claim compensation from his estate of £4,717,515.

Studdert, who lived at The Wraglings, off Beldams Lane, made his will in February 2016, 18 months before he died "peacefully" in August 2017 and left the bulk of his assets to EAC Educational Trust. He was 78.

The former priest, Anglican minister and school chaplain set up the fund in 1985 "to relieve poverty and to advance education for the benefit of the public and particularly amongst the families of clergy of the Church of England, single-parent families and other poor families".

'Angry because he was in love': Outspoken Archbishop Oscar Cruz laid to rest


August 28, 2020

By Erik Tenedero

Archbishop Oscar Cruz, one of the strongest voices in the Philippine Catholic Church, was laid to rest on Friday in Dagupan City, where he served as metropolitan archbishop for almost two decades.

At the funeral mass at Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral, Archbishop Socrates Villegas paid tribute to his predecessor, calling him a saint who constantly sought a better Church and a better society for the people.

"He was a saint who rallied with us and joined us in picket lines against illegal gambling and prostitution, championing social justice and the rights of women," Villegas said.

Delaware church’s youth leader faces over 80 counts of sex abuse

Patheos (blog)

August 28, 2020

By Barry Duke

FURTHER proof that no youngster is ever safe in a religious environment comes from Delaware, where John C Sapp Jr, 34, has been indicted on more than 80 counts of sex abuse arising from sexual relationships he had with two teenage girls who attended his youth group.

Sapp, above, who served as a youth leader at Maranatha Fellowship of Dover, was indicted following a confession to his pastor in February.

A spokesman for Delaware’s Department of Justice revealed this week that the charges include 33 counts of unlawful sexual contact second degree, 29 counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust first degree, 13 counts of rape fourth degree sexual intercourse victim less than 18 years old, and seven counts of rape fourth degree sexual penetration of another person without consent.

'Tell me why' reckons with the dark side of Filipino Catholicism


August 28, 2020

By Eric Francisco

Dontnod's newest game nimbly explores the church's deep roots in Filipino-American culture.

It wasn't so dramatic when I left my faith.

12 years of Catholic education simply took its toll, leaving me with confusion, apathy, and fatigue instead of fulfillment. Rampant abuse throughout the church and the unrelenting persecution of LGBTQ communities made leaving easy. I just woke up one day and decided it wasn't for me.

What I can't change is my ethnicity. I am the American child of Filipino immigrants. Not unlike Irish and Italian families, Catholicism is rooted in the Filipino way of life. Ask any of us: Leonardo's The Last Supper triggers memories of the family dining room. (Growing up, I was extra careful to not knock over one of these with a plastic lightsaber.)

When you're Filipino, "leaving" Catholicism doesn't mean the cultural values and expectations of Catholicism leave you. That infamous Catholic guilt manifests differently when mixed with filial piety. The possibility of disappointing parents who raised you triggers anxiety as you prioritize their satisfaction over your independence and well-being. Throw in "God is watching" and you have is a deadly cocktail of shame, emotional paralysis, and an inability to move past mistakes.

Which is why I'm so awed over a new video game that accurately depicts the toxicity of these values in a distinctly Filipino way and presents them as an opportunity for tolerance, forgiveness, and change.

Abused and frightened, orphanage boys cry for help but the state, church fail them

The Jakarta Post

August 28, 2020

By Margareth S. Aritonang and Evi Mariani

[PHOTO: The Depok Police investigation in September appeared to set itself up for failure from the beginning. Even though Angelo made a documented confession that he had molested some of the boys, the police said they could not bring Angelo to court. The police said the prosecutor’s office wanted them to add more statements from the victims and witnesses but they could not find the three boys who had made the original police reports. ]

A proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child but oftentimes, it takes only a person to ruin a child’s life and in Depok, West Java, a whole community of powerful adults seems to have abandoned children who were allegedly molested in a locally run Catholic orphanage.

Far away from their parents, with no one to look after them except for the head of the orphanage, known as Brother Angelo Ngalngola, the alleged molester himself, the children cried out for help. A collaborative team between The Jakarta Post and Tirto.id has uncovered facts that confirm that both the state and the Catholic Church heard the boys’ cries but washed their hands of them, allowing the suspect to walk free from police detention to celebrate Christmas, and a few months later set up a new orphanage and live among vulnerable boys again.

William Segodisho joins Afternoon Drive to explain how he is doing two years after a Catholic priest apologised for sexual abuse.

702 Radio, Johannesburg - FM 92.7 and FM 106

August 29, 2020

"It hasn’t been an easy road for me it was a matter of principle after so many years of not being believed and knocking on closed doors with no one wanting to give me an ear."

"At the end of it all I think justice was done and I stand as proof to all other victims out there that as long as you know what you are saying is the truth, justice will triumph over evil."

William Segodisho, Survivor

William Segodisho joined the Afternoon Drive to explain how he felt after former Catholic priest Father William MacCurtain issued an apology in which [he] acknowledged allegations of sexual abuse.

Segodisho was the first South African to accuse a Catholic priest of molestation when he spoke of his abuse at the hands of a British Catholic priest, who was based in South Africa during the 1980s and 1990s, at a media briefing in Rosebank, Johannesburg on 9 October 2018.

Segodisho says he could not have spoken out if it was not for his attorney, the media and the need for him to tell the truth so that something could be done. He added that the church has sent him a letter revealing that they are taking charge of sexual abuse cases that are happening within the church.

Class-action lawsuit claims systemic negligence by archdiocese

B.C. Catholic

August 29, 2020

By Agnieszka Ruck

Although the Archdiocese of Vancouver isn’t commenting on a proposed class-action lawsuit, a statement says it hopes “the attendant publicity will help give any other victims/survivors the confidence to come forward and get the help they deserve.”

A proposed class-action lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Vancouver claims the archdiocese was “systematically negligent” in protecting parishioners from abuse by clergy.

“The Archdiocese was aware of the abuse and allowed the abuse to continue. The Archdiocese was also complicit in silencing survivors, who were required to take oaths of secrecy when making complaints to the Archdiocese,” the claim states.

The plaintiff, a woman identified as K.S. in court documents, alleged she was abused by a priest at St. Francis of Assisi Parish when she was about 11 years old. The documents say she has had no contact with her abuser since elementary school and “remains terrified of priests and the power of the Archdiocese.”

Opinion: David Shoebridge's request for an inquest into Father Glen Walsh and other Catholic suicides deserves support

Newcastle Herald

August 29, 2020


AS foreshadowed last week in the Newcastle Herald, Greens MLC David Shoebridge has written formally to the NSW Coroner, Teresa O'Sullivan, and the Attorney General, Mark Speakman, seeking a coronial inquest into the death of Catholic priest Father Glen Walsh, as well as a broader investigation into dozens of suicides, overdoses and other deaths by misadventure of boys and men from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

This is a call that the Herald supports without qualification.

It is also a call the diocese says it supports, having posted a statement on its website yesterday, "welcoming a police inquiry into the tragic suicide" of Father Walsh.

At the same time, however, the diocese says that "as stated previously, (it) does not believe there is substantive gain to be had from further judicial inquiries".

August 28, 2020

Diocese of Greensburg announces 'credible and substantiated' child sex abuse allegations against priest

Latrobe Bulletin

August 28, 2020

By Greg Reinbold

The Diocese of Greensburg on Wednesday announced that a priest convicted of stealing money from a South Huntingdon Township church has been added to a list of clergy who have had “credible and substantiated” allegations of child sexual abuse lodged against them.

Lawsuit claims former priest sexually abused minor at St. Mary’s in Dansville

Livingston County News

August 28, 2020

By Matt Leader

A new lawsuit details acts of sexual assault and rape former Catholic priest Eugene Emo is accused of perpetrating against a child at St. Mary’s Church in the late 1960s.

Emo’s victim, who is identified in court records only as “SWRO 1 Doe,” was 17 years old in 1968 when he told Emo during confession that he had been sexually abused by some “neighborhood boys.” Emo told Doe to go up to his bedroom in the church rectory so the two could “pray together in peace.” Once there, Emo instructed Doe to touch him sexually.

The abuse continued in this manner for a period of about four months, according to court documents. One time, Emo raped Doe in his rectory bedroom. Another time, Doe was attending a wedding at St. Mary’s when Emo took him into the vestibule and told Doe to perform oral sex on him, according to court documents.

Priest Convicted of Theft Also a Credible Child Abuser According to Diocese of Greensburg

SNAP Network

August 27, 2020

A priest from the Diocese of Greensburg who was previously convicted of theft is also a “credibly accused” child abuser, according to church officials. We call on Bishop Edward Malesic to personally visit each parish where this priest worked, urging others who may have been hurt by him to come forward to local law enforcement.

Church officials were first informed of sex abuse allegations against Fr. Emil Payer in 2018 yet for some reason waited for two years to make those allegations public. We cannot understand why the Diocese of Greensburg waited so long to disclose these allegations but cannot help but notice that Bishop Malesic waited until he had one foot out the door to warn the public about Fr. Payer. We hope that parishioners at Greensburg churches will demand answers from their pastors and bishop about this obvious lack of transparency.

Greensburg Priest Charged with Sexual Abuse is 54th Cleric since 2018 Grand Jury Report to be Outed as a Perpetrator

SNAP Network

August 27, 2020

A Catholic priest from the Diocese of Greensburg was arrested and charged for sexually assaulting an altar boy in 2004, making him the 54th priest since the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report to be outed as an abuser. These revelations would never have happened if it were not for the work done by A.G. Josh Shapiro. We call on attorneys general in every other state to follow in his footsteps and make tangible progress towards keeping children and vulnerable adults safer.

Fr. Andrew Kawecki is accused of abusing an 11-year-old altar boy at St. Cyril and Methodius Church in Fairchance, Pennsylvania. Despite consistent rhetoric from Catholic officials that the sexual abuse scandal is a thing of the past, it is clear that the claim is not true. In Pennsylvania, there has been an 18% increase in the number of “outed” perpetrators since the grand jury report was released.

Former Liberty University Student Allegedly Had a 'Sexual Encounter' with Becki Falwell


August 27, 2020

By Justice Namaste

Mere days after allegations came out that the now-former president of Liberty University Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife Becki Falwell were involved in a long-standing affair with their business partner Giancarlo Granda, Politico is reporting that a former Liberty University student has come forward to allege that he had a “sexual encounter” with Becki Falwell back in 2008.

The former student, who has chosen to remain anonymous, claims that he first met Becki at the age of 22 when he was attending Liberty University, and the Falwells’ eldest son Trey joined his band. Although Trey was several years younger than the other band members, he was a talented guitarist, and the Falwells allowed the band to practice in an abandoned church next to the family home in Goode, Virginia. The student and other members of the band recall when Becki began showing up at their rehearsals, offering them snacks but then staying to watch them practice.

Un prêtre catholique américain accusé d’avoir agressé sexuellement un jeune garçon aux Cayes

[American Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting young boy in Les Cayes]

Ayibo Post

August 26, 2020

La victime n’avait que douze ans, à l’époque des faits

[The victim was only twelve years old at the material time]

Un prêtre catholique américain est accusé d’avoir violé en 2009 un jeune homme haïtien âgé de douze ans à l’époque des faits dans un orphelinat aux Cayes. Le 25 septembre prochain, le père Marc Roméo Boisvert qui vit aux États-Unis doit se présenter devant un tribunal de la juridiction des Cayes pour répondre aux questions de la justice dans le cadre de cette affaire.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: An American Catholic priest is accused of having raped in 2009 a young Haitian man aged twelve at the time of the facts in an orphanage in Les Cayes. On September 25, Father Marc Roméo Boisvert, who lives in the United States, must appear before a court in the jurisdiction of Les Cayes to answer questions from the courts in the context of this case.]

11 victims who claim Lawrence priest sexually abused them settle for $1.4M: Mitchell Garabedian

Boston Herald

August 27, 2020

By Rick Sobey

The victims were 8 to 14 years old when the abuse happened, the lawyer said


A Catholic order has agreed to pay nearly $1.4 million to 11 “courageous” clergy sexual abuse victims who claimed that a Lawrence priest abused them in the 1970s, their lawyer announced on Thursday.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who specializes in sexual abuse cases, said he settled the clergy sexual abuse claims with the Augustinian Order in February for a total amount of $1,375,000.

The 10 women and one man — now in their 50s — claimed that Father John J. Gallagher sexually abused them at St. Mary’s School in Lawrence, where they were students.

Gallagher, who died in 2006, was also previously accused of abusing three women when they were children at the Lawrence parish — which led to a $1 million settlement in 2018.

Court: Church must pay $844K to victim of sex abuse by Filipino priest

Inquirer.Net (Philippines)

August 27, 2020

By Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas

The Kamloops Roman Catholic Diocese must pay a priest’s sexual abuse victim $844,140 in damages, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Aug. 25.

Rosemary Anderson, now 70, named Erlindo Molon, now 88, and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, A Corporation Sole, in her sexual abuse claim, seeking $2.45 million in damages.

Anderson alleged in a Dec. 22, 2016, notice of civil claim that sexual abuse at the hands of Molon started when she was 26.

Fountain Hill pastor returns to ministry after sex abuse allegation


August 27, 2020

By Kurt Bresswein

A Roman Catholic priest removed from the ministry last fall has been restored after being cleared of alleged sexual abuse, the Diocese of Allentown said in a news release Thursday.

Father Robert J. Potts, ordained in 1964, is assigned as pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill and will celebrate Masses beginning this weekend.

Allentown Bishop Alfred Schlert removed Potts from the ministry and ordered law enforcement be notified last October, on the day the allegation against Potts was received. It came into the Washington, D.C.-based administrators of the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program set up for victims of sexual abuse, and the administrators in turn notified the diocese.

Survivor of horrific abuse at Fife residential school claims victims will suffer under new financial redress legislation

The Courier

August 28 2020

By Aileen Robertson


A man who was brutally abused by priests at a Fife residential school has blasted the Scottish Government’s plans to compensate victims.

The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill was introduced last week and if passed in Parliament, would allow victims to apply for payments of up to £80,000.

As a child, Dave Sharp, 61, was repeatedly beaten and raped by members of the Congregation of Christian Brothers at the former St Ninian’s School in Falkland.

He claims the legislation would protect the Catholic church from making compensation payments, while discouraging survivors to come forward.

47 names of clergy abuse victims part of accidental email leak

National Catholic Reporter

August 28, 2020

By Christopher White

A clergy abuse victim who participated in the Philadelphia Archdiocese's independent compensation program for survivors is alleging that the confidentiality of nearly 50 other victims was compromised when the program administrator mistakenly sent the individual an email in 2019 with the names of participants from another diocese's program.

Since October 2016, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, national mediation experts who managed the compensation payouts to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing, have partnered with Catholic dioceses throughout the country to implement voluntary programs where victims pursue their claims outside of court.

Victims whose cases fall outside the statute of limitations are allowed to seek compensation under these programs, which often rely on a lower standard of evidence than court proceedings.

‘Together we can eliminate abuse’

The Fiji Times

August 28, 2020

By Luke Nace

Domestic violence can only be eliminated if there is a collective approach to it, says the head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong.

“We believe that together, we can make a change and eliminate domestic violence and sexual abuse,” he said.

Archbishop Loy Chong said the Catholic Church of Fiji, through the Caritas Archdiocese of Suva, conducted a three-day workshop titled “First Responders to Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse”.

He said workshop participants learnt how to establish first responders teams in their respective parishes and communities. He highlighted that the workshop used the “see, judge, act” method which is a tool used to help faith-based organisations respond effectively to social issues.

The Altar Boys: new questions about suicides of clergy abuse survivors should spark another inquiry

The Conversation

August 27, 2020

By Kathleen McPhillips, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Newcastle. Disclosure statement: Kathleen McPhillips receives funding from the Marist Brothers and the Copley Bequest Foundation.

Investigative journalist Suzie Smith’s new book The Altar Boys is a searing read that raises new questions about the suicides of three former victims of Catholic clergy child sexual abuse.

Smith, a former award-winning ABC journalist, has been covering the clerical abuse crisis in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese for many years. She wrote the book in part to bring new attention to the three victims, whose suicides remain shrouded in mystery, despite two public inquiries.

The Altar Boys recounts the lives — and deaths — of Glen Walsh, Steven Alward and Andrew Nash. All three of them were victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clerics in the diocese.

Andrew Nash was just 13 years old when he committed suicide in 1974 after being sexually abused at St. Francis Xavier College in Hamilton, NSW. Andrew was in the care of two Marist Brothers who have since been convicted on child sex offences.

Seminar in Dublin church on Tuam children’s home cancelled due to Covid-19

Irish Times

August 27, 2020

By Patsy McGarry

Topics included ‘False allegations of child abuse against the Catholic Church, including homicide’

A “history seminar” challenging findings of various Commissions of Inquiry into child abuse and planned for Dublin’s University Church on Stephen’s Green next Sunday has been cancelled.

Advertised as a history seminar “with particular reference to the Tuam Children’s Home” likely attendees had been advised to “arrive early as numbers are restricted due to Government Covid-19 restrictions.”

A spokeswoman for Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese said staff at the University Church had “confirmed that the event due to take place this Sunday has been cancelled. Current Government guidance permitting people to gather at places of worship is for religious services only. No other gatherings are permitted.”

The theme of the seminar was: “Do modern Irish historians exaggerate the role of the Catholic Church in independent Ireland” and speakers scheduled to take part included Brian Nugent, author of the book @Tuambabies: A critical look at the Tuam Children’s Home Scandal.

Opinion: Why my church is done singing David Haas’s songs

Christian Century

August 28, 2020

By Melissa Florer-Bixler

It’s not because we don’t believe in grace.

I find myself, from time to time, with a song running through my head:

Rejoice and be glad:
Blessed are you. Holy are you.
Rejoice and be glad:
Yours is the kingdom of God.

This song has anchored me through seasons of catastrophe for people at the margins of power. Its words, from Jesus’ beatitudes, remind me that those who suffer oppression are the bearers of God’s reign.

Now, when I sing “Blest Are They” I catch myself and wince.

The song I find myself humming was written by David Haas, a prolific Catholic songwriter whose influence extends to the Mennonite church I pastor. There are at least five Haas compositions that my church regularly sings as part of worship. Some people in my church refer to these as “heart songs.”

B.C. court awards teacher abused by Catholic priest $844,000 in damages

Canadian Press

August 27, 2020

By Amy Smart

A former elementary school teacher who says she was sexually assaulted by a Roman Catholic priest more than 40 years ago in Kamloops, B.C., has been awarded nearly $850,000 in damages by a judge.

Justice David Crossin of the B.C. Supreme Court says in a decision released Tuesday that Rosemary Anderson was 27 when she began teaching at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in 1976.

It says Anderson sought comfort and solace following the death of her father from Rev. Erlindo Molon, an assistant pastor living in the rectory at the same parish.

The decision says Molon, who was about 20 years her senior, began a sexual relationship with Anderson that was born of a betrayal of trust and perpetuated by an abuse of power.

Archdiocese of Vancouver covered up systemic abuse, silenced survivors for decades, lawsuit claims


August 28, 2020

By Rhianna Schmunk

Archdiocese hopes 'publicity' will help give survivors 'confidence to come forward; get the help they deserve'

A woman who claims she was assaulted as a child at a Catholic elementary school in Vancouver is suing the local archdiocese for perpetuating and covering up decades of alleged systemic abuse by priests, bishops and other members of its clergy, forcing survivors into silence in order to protect their own.

The proposed class-action lawsuit filed this week said the Archdiocese of Vancouver not only knew for years about allegations of systemic sexual, physical and psychological abuse, but "fostered a culture" of misconduct and actively buried complaints filed against the clergy.

"The Archdiocese was aware of the abuse and allowed the abuse to continue ... This was especially true in instances of sexual abuse," the claim reads.

Camden Catholic teacher accused of sexually assaulting student

Cherry Hill Courier-Post

August 27, 2020

By Jim Walsh

A Camden Catholic High School teacher had sex with a student about 60 times over an 18-month period, according to a probable cause statement for the woman's arrest.

Bridget Sipera, 36, of Cherry Hill, allegedly initiated a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy in January 2019, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

Sipera, who was also the coach of the girls' lacrosse team at Camden Catholic, admitted to offenses "which took place in multiple towns," the prosecutor's statement alleged.

It noted she could face additional charges.

Sipera's employment as a teacher and coach at Camden Catholic "was terminated immediately," the Cherry Hill school said in a statement Thursday.

August 27, 2020

Former priest accused of rape asks for case to be dismissed


August 26, 2020

A former priest accused of raping a young girl nearly three decades ago is asking a judge to dismiss his case. The attorney general’s office says 81-year-old Sabine Griego raped the girl at Queen of Heaven church in Albuquerque in the early 90s.

Griego was arrested in 2019. Griego’s attorneys claim prosecution delays and witness credibility is enough to dismiss the case. Arguments are still going on.

Lee Bartlett, former priest in Worcester, Leominster and Southbridge, accused of abusing teen in 70s, loses status

Telegram & Gazette Staff

August 26, 2020

By Cyrus Moulton

Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a man when he was a teenager in the 1970s has been laicized at his request, Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Worcester Diocese announced Wednesday.

Lee F. Bartlett III, 74, was dispensed from the clerical state by Pope Francis and, as a result, may not function in any capacity as a priest or be referred to as a priest or as “Father” in writing such as in event announcements or obituaries.

The laicization follows the Catholic Church’s commitment to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the diocese announced.

Priest accused of financial misconduct at Brazil’s second largest shrine


August 26, 2020

By Eduardo Campos Lima

A priest who runs the Basílica do Divino Pai Eterno in Trindade, in Goiás State, one of the most important points of pilgrimage in Brazil, is under investigation for allegedly embezzling more than $21 million donated to the shrine.

The shrine is the only one in the world dedicated to the Divine Eternal Father.

Erie Diocese issues statement on abuse-related lawsuits

The Bradford Era

August 27, 2020

By Marcie Schellhammer

Despite a policy of declining comment on litigation, the Erie Diocese did just that Wednesday, reminding the public that the ability of 31 suits lodged against the diocese to move forward depends on the success of a case being considered in the state Supreme Court.

The 31 cases, one of which was filed in McKean County by abuse survivor Ed Rodgers, relate to allegations of sexual abuse dating back years, and are not new allegations, the statement indicated.


Springfield (MA)/St. Louis (MO)

August 25, 2020

By Kristine Christlieb

Sex abuse victims from two states want justice

St. Louis' new archbishop, Mitchell T. Rozanski, is under siege from sex abuse survivors in two states.

Protestors gathered outside the city's Cathedral Basilica on Monday while survivors from Springfield, Massachusetts, Rozanski's former diocese, are warning Catholics in St. Louis of the cleric's history of delay tactics.

Olan Horne, who is a survivor advocate and is himself a sex abuse victim, has firsthand experience with Rozanski while he was bishop of Springfield.

He says Pope Francis should not have elevated the cleric to his new post: "Bishop Rozanski has no right going to St. Louis when he has left such spilt milk here in Springfield. These cases are still not resolved."

One case involves Bp. Christopher Weldon, now deceased, who led the Springfield diocese from 1950–1977.

Victim of sexual abuse by former Kamloops priest awarded $844,000

Kamloops This Week

August 26, 2020

By Michael Potestio

Rosemary Anderson filed a lawsuit against the church, alleging she was sexually assaulted more than 40 years ago by Father Erlindo Molon after she was hired as a teacher at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in North Kamloops in the fall of 1976.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops will pay a former schoolteacher $844,140 in damages as a result of a sexual assault case ruling in a B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

Rosemary Anderson filed a lawsuit against the church, alleging she was sexually assaulted more than 40 years ago by Father Erlindo Molon after she was hired as a teacher at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in North Kamloops in the fall of 1976.

Greensburg Diocese reveals ‘credible’ sex abuse claims against priest convicted of theft

Trib Live

August 26, 2020

By Jacob Tierney

A priest convicted of stealing money from a South Huntingdon church has been added to a list of suspected sex abusers, according to the Diocese of Greensburg.

Bishop Edward C. Malesic on Wednesday issued an update on the diocese’s handling of sex abuse allegations as he prepares to depart for Cleveland, revealing previously undisclosed allegations against the Rev. Emil Payer.

An independent investigation found allegations that Payer sexually abused multiple minors and adults in the 1980s to be “credible and substantiated,” according to the diocese. Law enforcement officials informed the diocese of the sex abuse allegations against Payer in 2018.

Fayette County priest charged with sexual assault

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 26, 2020

By Peter Smith

Authorities on Wednesday arrested a Roman Catholic priest from the Diocese of Greensburg on charges that he sexually assaulted an altar boy on multiple occasions from 2004 to 2007, beginning when the alleged victim was 11.

The Rev. Andrew Kawecki surrendered to agents of the office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro in Fayette County, where the alleged offenses occurred, according to the office.

Father Kawecki, 65, is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a felony; corruption of minors, a misdemeanor; and two counts of indecent assault, one a felony and the other a misdemeanor.

Priest accused of sexually assaulting boy over 3-year period


August 27, 2020

A Pennsylvania priest has been charged with the sexual assault of an altar boy during a three-year period that started when the victim was 11, authorities said.

The Rev. Andrew Kawecki, 65, of Scottdale, surrendered Wednesday at the Attorney General's office in Fayette County, where the alleged offenses occurred. He's charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and two counts of indecent assault.

Fayette County Priest Arrested For Allegedly Sexually Abusing Altar Boy


August 26, 2020

Father Andrew Kawecki, now facing charges of indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, served at 15 parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg since 1980.

A Fayette County priest accused of sexually abusing an altar boy for three years has been arrested.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrest of Father Andrew Kawecki Wednesday afternoon. Kawecki, facing charges of indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, surrendered to officials at a district court in Fayette County this morning.

Greensburg Diocese Priest Facing Sexual Abuse Charges


August 27, 2020

The priest has served in 15 parishes in the Greensburg Diocese since 1980.

A priest in the Greensburg Diocese is facing sexual abuse charges.

The alleged victim is a former altar boy and police say the victim told them Father Andrew Kawecki forced him to have sex when he was 11.

Priest abuse lawsuit: Former student sues Red Bank Catholic, St. James Church

Asbury Park Press

August 27, 2020

By Michael L. Diamond

Lawsuit alleges that abuse occurred in the early 1980s.

A former student at Red Bank Catholic High School was sexually abused in the early 1980s by a priest who has faced accusations of abuse at other assignments, according to a lawsuit recently filed in state Superior Court..

The lawsuit says Francis McGrath abused the student, who is identified only by the initials B.T., in 1982 and 1983, causing permanent emotional and mental anguish. McGrath, now 70, was removed from ministry and left the priesthood in 1995.

The lawsuit was filed July 29 in Mercer County. It names as the defendants the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, St. James Church in Red Bank and Red Bank Catholic High School.

Sexual Abuse Class Action Lawsuit Launched Against the Diocese of Quebec

TopClassActions.co (attorneys' blog)

August 24, 2020

By Miriam Pinkesz

Two alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests in the 1950s and 1960s have launched a class action lawsuit Canada on Friday against the Diocese of Quebec.

The application to institute the class action lawsuit was filed at the Quebec City courthouse on behalf of victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

The Quebec sexual abuse class action lawsuit covers “all persons, as well as their heirs, who were sexually assaulted by members of the clergy or lay pastoral personnel under the responsibility of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Quebec and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Quebec between January 1, 1940 and the judgment yet to be passed.”

Thousands of Potential Sexual Abuse Victims

According to one of the lawyers involved in the Quebec sexual abuse class action lawsuit, statistically, 10% of priests within the Catholic Church commit abuse. Knowing that there was an average of 1,000 active priests on the territory of the Diocese of Quebec during the period covered by the proposed Quebec sexual abuse class action lawsuit, the number of victims could be very high.

Action collective contre le diocèse de Québec pour agressions sexuelles


August 21, 2020


Le Diocèse de Québec pourrait faire face à une action collective menée pour des cas d'agressions sexuelles remontant à aussi loin que 1940. Une demande d'autorisation à la Cour supérieure du Québec a été déposée par les avocats des victimes présumées. Me Alain Arsenault, a piloté de nombreuses demandes d'exercer une action collective visant des congrégations religieuses. C'est lui qui va mener le dossier avec Me Marc Bellemare. Le point avec Me Arsenault.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The Diocese of Quebec could face collective action in cases of sexual assault dating back as far as 1940. An application for authorization to the Superior Court of Quebec has been filed by lawyers for the alleged victims. Mr. Alain Arsenault, has led numerous requests for collective action targeting religious congregations. It is he who will lead the case with Me Marc Bellemare. Update with Mr. Arsenault.]

Allégations d’agressions sexuelles: recours contre le diocèse de Québec

[Allegations of sexual assault: recourse against the diocese of Quebec]

Journal de Québec

August 21, 2020

By Kathleen Frenette

Il pourrait y avoir des milliers de victimes

[There could be thousands of victims]

Délestées depuis le mois de juin du délai de prescription qui les empêchait d’agir, deux présumées victimes qui auraient servi de jouet sexuel à des prêtres dans les années 50 et 60 ont décidé d’intenter un recours collectif contre le diocèse de Québec.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: Relieved since June of the statute of limitations which prevented them from acting, two alleged victims who would have served as a sex toy for priests in the 1950s and 1960s decided to bring a class action against the diocese of Quebec.]

Columbus Catholic Diocese settles priest sexual abuse case for $1 million

Columbus Dispatch

August 26, 2020

By Danae King


The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus settled a lawsuit alleging that one of its priests sexually abused a minor for $1 million.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus is paying $1 million to a man who said he survived sexual abuse at the hands of a priest and high school teacher as a minor.

The diocese announced the settlement Wednesday, ending a lawsuit filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in July 2018.

Kevin Heidtman, who is now in his 30s, said in the lawsuit that longtime St. Charles Preparatory School teacher Monsignor Thomas Bennett, who is deceased, sexually abused him and others and the diocese knowingly let it happen.

The abuse took place when Heidtman was a freshman at St. Charles Prep from 2002 to 2003, he said. Bennett taught U.S. history and economics at St. Charles Prep from 1964 until shortly before his death in 2008.

A diocese release said Bishop Robert Brennan decided to settle the lawsuit on the advice of attorneys. The diocese noted it did not admit guilt in the settlement.

Exalumnos exigen investigar abusos de un sacerdote

[Alumni demand to investigate abuses of a priest]

El Patagónico

August 26, 2020

Exalumnos y familiares de exalumnos que asistieron a un colegio católico privado de La Plata exigieron hoy que se investiguen los abusos cometidos por un sacerdote que se desempeñaba como docente y confesor en el establecimiento.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: Former students and relatives of former students who attended a private Catholic school in La Plata demanded today that the abuses committed by a priest who worked as a teacher and confessor in the establishment be investigated.]

Publican una carta para que «no queden impunes» las denuncias contra el sacerdote trasladado a Iguazú, Raúl Sidders

[They publish a letter so that the complaints against the priest transferred to Iguazú, Raúl Sidders, "do not go unpunished"]

Misiones Online

August 26, 2020

La nota fue firmada por 100 alumnos, exestudiantes y sus familiares y docentes del colegio San Vicente de Paul en La Plata donde el cura presentaba funciones hasta ser enviado a la diócesis en la ciudad de Misiones, por una acusación formal y penal en su contra por abuso sexual realizada por una exalumna de esa institución.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The note was signed by 100 students, former students and their families and teachers from the San Vicente de Paul school in La Plata where the priest presented functions until he was sent to the diocese in the city of Misiones, for a formal and criminal accusation against him for sexual abuse carried out by a former student of that institution.]

Church settles sex abuse cases for $1.4M

Lawrence Eagle-Tribune

August 26, 2020

By Breanna Edelstein

Case involves 10 women, 1 man who attended St. Mary's School in Lawrence

The Catholic church has agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse against 11 children who attended St. Mary’s School in Lawrence, according to the victims’ joint attorney, Mitchell Garabedian.

Garabedian, who is well known for representing victims of clergy sexual abuse, said the clients in this case were all victims of the Rev. John J. Gallagher between 1974 and 1978, when Gallagher was assigned to St. Mary’s Church and taught at the parish school.

The victims at the time — both female and male — ranged from 8 to 14 years old, Garabedian said.

According to Gallagher's obituary, he died in 2006 at age 87. He was assigned to schools in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, as well as locally at Merrimack College in 1969 and 1970 and St. Mary's from 1972 to 1979.

This case against him involves 10 women and one man — now between 54 and 58 years old — who say they were abused by Gallagher in the gym and cafeteria at St. Mary’s School, the swimming pool of the Lawrence Reform School and the Lawrence YMCA.

Fayette priest charged with sexually assaulting altar boy


August 27, 2020

By Alyssa Choiniere


A Fayette County priest was charged with sexually assaulting an altar boy multiple times when the boy was between the ages of 11 and 14.

The Rev. Andrew Kawecki, 65, turned himself in to agents from the office of the attorney general at Fayette County Magisterial District Judge Daniel C. Shimshock’s Masontown office Wednesday, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The alleged abuse of the boy, who is now in his 20s, began in 2004, Shapiro said.

The alleged “forced sexual encounters” occurred in the back room of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church in Fairchance, where Kawecki prepared for services before Mass, Shapiro said. Kawecki would often ask for the boy specifically when he was conducting Masses, and would allegedly assault him before or after Mass when the boy was dropped off early by his parents. The alleged abuse continued until the boy’s family left the church in 2007, Shapiro said.

New details of child sex abuse claims against two priests in Greensburg Diocese revealed


August 26, 2020

By Bob Mayo

New details about alleged child sexual abuse by two different Diocese of Greensburg priests were revealed Wednesday.

One priest, who the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office says served in 15 Greensburg Diocese parishes since 1980, is charged with sex crimes against an altar boy spanning several years in Fairchance, Fayette County.

The crimes were allegedly committed inside the sacristy of St. Cyril and Methodius Parish and in an upstairs bedroom of that church's rectory.

Father Andrew Kawecki, 65, is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, and corruption of minors against the altar boy, who was 11 years old when the abuse allegedly started in 2004. It allegedly continued for several years.

Erie diocese puts number of abuse lawsuits at 31


August 26, 2020

By Ed Palattella

A total of 21 suits were filed in Erie County, others filed elsewhere, including 8 in Philadelphia County.

The Catholic Diocese of Erie’s potential legal problems over the clergy abuse crisis extend beyond Erie County.

Though the diocese is facing 21 lawsuits filed at the Erie County Courthouse, it must also deal with another 10 suits filed elsewhere in the 13-county diocese and statewide, including in Philadelphia.

The suits concern claims of a cover-up and fraud by the diocese, with the plaintiffs saying clergy within the diocese abused them as minors.

The filings are related to the two-year anniversary, on Aug. 14, 2018, of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s release of the statewide grand jury report on the sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Germany: Over 1,400 youths accuse Catholic religious orders of sexual abuse

Deutsche Welle

August 27, 2020

Hundreds of monks, nuns, and other members of Catholic religious orders in Germany have been accused of sexually abusing children and teenagers. The orders are among the last Church organizations to address the issue.

As the German Catholic Church seeks to acknowledge decades of sexual abuse perpetuated and covered up by its clergy, one faction of the church remained relatively silent — until now.

A survey into sexual abuse within religious orders found that at least 1,412 people approached the organizations claiming they were sexually abused as children, teenagers or as wards. The research, published on Wednesday, was conducted by an umbrella group for the leaders of religious orders in Germany (DOK).

The DOK acknowledged the pain caused by its members and recognized its "failure" in tackling the issue.

At least 654 monks, nuns and other members of the orders were accused of abuse. Around 80% of the victims were male and 20% female.

Parishioner sexually abused by Kamloops Catholic priest 40 years ago awarded $800,000

Vancouver Sun

August 27, 2020

By Keith Fraser

‘Fr. (Erlindo) Molon’s abuse caused the plaintiff pain, anguish, grief and humiliation. It deeply affected her self-confidence. She has carried these wounds throughout her life,’ judge rules

A parishioner who was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Kamloops more than 40 years ago has been awarded more than $800,000 in damages, believed to be the highest award for a sexual abuse victim in B.C.

Rosemary Anderson, who was 26 years old at the time of the abuse and is now 70, had travelled to the Interior community in 1976 to take up a job as an elementary school teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help school.

Her father had recently died and she was grieving him and went to Father Erlindo Molon for comfort, guidance and care, but the priest took advantage of her and repeatedly sexually assaulted her over the course of several months in the rectory and in her home.

Strengthened clerical abuse guidelines welcome, but much still to be done

The Irish News

August 27, 2020

The Vatican, under the direct intervention of Pope Francis, has strengthened its guidance to bishops on how the Catholic Church should combat clerical abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. Paula Jefferson of law firm BLM outlines the changes


NEW guidelines from the Vatican advise that clerical sex abuse claims should be reported to the police and civil authorities.

The Vatican office responsible for investigating sexual abuse of minors committed by clerics, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has published new guidelines in the form of a manual for bishops and other senior officials setting out clear and detailed rules on how to deal with clerical child sex abuse claims.

This manual, which was circulated on July 16, has been drawn up at the express request of Pope Francis who called for procedures to be laid out step-by-step to avoid any further confusion in the area.

Pope Francis has made the fight against clerical child sexual abuse and its cover-up a priority of his pontificate.

#LetUsSpeak: Victoria blocks sexual assault victims from using real names


August 26, 2020

By Nina Funnell

For years this young girl was abused by her father in her childhood bed. She hoped 30c under her pillow could save her


Tens of thousands of sexual assault survivors in Victoria have been stripped of their legal right to tell their stories using their real names.

The changes to the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act – which were quietly introduced in February – silence all sexual assault victims whose offenders have been found guilty, by banning them from ever speaking out under their real identities.

The new ‘gag laws’ have been described as a “major victory” for convicted paedophiles and rapists, as their victims are now “muzzled” and prohibited from self-identifying in publications – including media and autobiographies – regardless of their consent.

The laws also apply irrespective of when the crime occurred or when the offender was found guilty, meaning that many Victorian survivors who have lawfully been able to tell their stories in the past are now censored.

This includes scores of high profile survivor advocates – including several clergy abuse victims from Ballarat – some of whom have been speaking out for decades.

These individuals will now potentially face jail time if they continue their advocacy work under their real names.

#LetUsSpeak: Gerald Ridsdale, Ballarat survivors gagged under new laws


August 27, 2020

By Nina Funnell


They bravely showed their faces to bring paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to justice. Now in a shock move, they’ve all been silenced.

Victims of notorious convicted paedophile Gerald Ridsdale are among those who have lost the right to self-identify in the media, as have dozens of other clergy abuse victims and other survivors in Victoria.

Under new state laws – quietly introduced in February – victims can no longer speak to media under their real names, in any case where the offender has been found guilty. The only exception is if they obtain a court order - a process which can cost thousands of dollars.

The #LetUsSpeak campaign was launched yesterday to petition the changes and funds are being raised to support individual victims to take their fight to court.

The new laws also apply to all past cases meaning that countless victims who have previously spoken to the media to push for inquiries and reforms have now lost that right.

Top cop Jeff Little sues over portrayal in book

The Australian

August 27, 2020

By Kieran Gair

Hachette Australia is being sued by a top NSW detective who argues that the company allowed celebrated police whistleblower Peter Fox to portray him in a new book as a “callous” and incompetent person who helped “cover-up” the crimes of pedophile priests.

In a statement of claim lodged in the Federal Court on Tuesday and obtained by The Australian, Detective Inspector Jeff Little alleges Mr Fox’s book, Walking Towards Thunder, contains a litany of defamatory statements that have brought his reputation into “public disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt”. Hachette Australia is yet to file a defence.

Mr Fox, a former Detective Chief Inspector, was a vocal and frequent critic of the strike force established in 2010 by NSW Police to investigate alleged concealment by church officials of child sexual abuse by clergy in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese.

Inspector Little, who was appointed in early 2011 to lead Strike Force Lantle, became a target of public vitriol after Mr Fox revealed explosive allegations about child abuse in the Catholic Church, prompting then Prime Minister Julia Gillard to launch a royal commission.

Teacher accused of abuse was trusted by victim’s family

Associated Press

August 26, 2020

A woman’s family thought a former Phillips Exeter Academy teacher was her “guardian angel” before he was charged with sexually assaulting her, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

The parents trusted Szczesny “Jerzy” Kaminski, 59, with their daughter and dined with him when visiting her in Exeter, according to an affidavit made public after his arrest.

A judge released Kaminski after setting bail at $50,000 with conditions that included no contact with the family and no unsupervised contact with unrelated minors, according to his lawyer Amy Spencer.

Police began investigating Kaminski in March after the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office received a call from an attorney representing the now 20-year-old woman. The attorney claimed Kaminski, a Phillips Exeter teacher for nearly three decades, began engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with the student in 2014 when she was in ninth grade.

August 26, 2020

Greensburg Diocese priest charged with sexually assaulting altar boy


August 26, 2020

A Fayette County priest has been arrested for assaulting an 11-year-old altar boy for three years starting in 2004, the state Attorney General’s Office announced.

Father Andrew Kawecki, 65, was arrested Wednesday and has been charged with indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

The alleged victim, now in his late 20s, told prosecutors that Kawecki forced sexual encounters with him when he was 11. He said it took place in the back room of St. Cyril and Methodius Church in Fairchance where Kawecki prepared for services before mass.

The AG’s Office said Kawecki often requested his altar server to work during masses the priest was conducting. The assaults continued until the family left the parish in 2007.

O.C.’s bishop, a $12-million problem and a secret fight stretching to the Vatican

Los Angeles Times

August 26, 2020

By Harriet Ryan

The FedEx envelopes landed at dawn on the doorsteps of some of Orange County’s most influential Catholic philanthropists — real estate developers, attorneys, CEOs and other church stalwarts who had raised tens of millions of dollars over the years for the local diocese.

Inside were letters from Bishop Kevin Vann that boiled down to two words: You’re fired.

Those June missives ignited a revolt inside the Orange County church that has burned all the way to the Vatican while remaining largely hidden from the diocese’s 1.3 million rank-and-file Catholics.

At its heart is a falling-out between a circle of well-connected laypeople who helped the church rebound financially from the clergy abuse scandal two decades ago, and a prelate staring down fresh money problems brought on by the pandemic and a new round of molestation lawsuits.

New survey of German religious orders finds decades of abuse accusations

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

August 26, 2020

A new survey of heads of German Catholic religious orders found abuse allegations against at least 654 members over a period of decades, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.

The survey of 392 orders found at least 1,412 children, adolescents or wards were the victims of sexual abuse. Of the victims, around 80% were male and around 20% female, KNA reported.

Franciscan Sister Katharina Kluitmann, president of the German Conference of Catholic Superiors, said there was an unquantifiable additional number of unreported cases. She said the victims had suffered additional pain from the way they were treated by leaders and other members of orders.

"We deeply regret this and acknowledge our failure once again," she said.

The German Conference of Catholic Superiors sent a questionnaire to the heads of the orders in 2019 and received responses from around three quarters of them (291 of 392), covering 88% of the members of religious orders in Germany today.

News Release: AG Pax­ton Files Ami­cus Brief in Texas Supreme Court Defend­ing Reli­gious Liberty

Office of Attorney General of Texas

August 25, 2020

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief in the Texas Supreme Court urging it to protect the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lubbock’s First Amendment rights to be free from state courts interfering with church doctrine and governance. By allowing a Catholic cleric’s defamation claim against the Diocese of Lubbock to proceed, the State’s brief argues, the lower court failed to give proper respect to the Diocese’s autonomy.

“Defending our religious liberty is one of my top priorities,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I will continue to fight for church autonomy and ensure that religious institutions are free from government interference. A church should not be subject to legal sanction for confronting serious societal problems, like sexual abuse, when matters of church governance or church doctrine are at issue.”
The case involves a decision by all the Roman Catholic dioceses in Texas to release the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. The dioceses released these accusations as part of a Church-wide policy of transparency and accountability for addressing sexual abuse and alleged sexual abuse by clergy. The Diocese of Lubbock determined that an ordained Deacon of the Catholic Church had been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor female with mental disabilities on two separate occasions. The Deacon sued the Diocese of Lubbock for defamation because it released his name –along with other clergy who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor—on the Diocese’s website. The trial court concluded that the First Amendment prohibits Texas courts from adjudicating the claim but the court of appeals disagreed, forcing the Diocese to file its petition with the Texas Supreme Court.

Read a copy of the brief here.

Pope questioned child abuse whistleblower

The Saturday Paper

August 20, 2020

An Australian priest claimed he was summoned to the Vatican to be questioned by the Pope regarding his testimony against an archbishop accused of concealing child sexual abuse. Father Glen Walsh met with the pontiff in 2016, reports The Sydney Morning Herald, ahead of his testimony against Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, accused of concealing allegations of sexual abuse of former altar boys in the Newcastle-Maitland diocese in the 1970s. After the meeting with Pope Francis, Cardinal George Pell was allegedly waiting outside, and lifted his hand for the priest to kiss his ring. Weeks before the archbishop's trial was set down, Walsh was allegedly told he had no future in the diocese. Just before he could give testimony, Walsh took his own life. Wilson was found guilty of concealment charges in May 2018 on evidence that included statements by Walsh, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Opinion: The Altar Boys will reopen wounds for some, and provide vindication and salvation for others

Newcastle Herald

August 20, 2020


Sadly, one of the worst indictments of our society has been the terrible and insidious prevalence of child sexual abuse across a range of once trusted institutions.

Julia Gillard - who as prime minister ordered the Royal Commission that did so much to calibrate the extent of the problem - thanked the Newcastle Herald's Joanne McCarthy for convincing her of the need for an investigation.

Others, too, played substantial roles, including Sydney journalist Suzanne Smith, whose reports for ABC's Lateline program were crucial in attracting the attention of a national audience.

Now, spurred by the suicides of two men abused in the Hunter - one a close friend and colleague - Smith has a book on the subject, The Altar Boys, being published today.

As we indicate in our front page report, it is not a comfortable read. It was not intended to be.

What's more, Smith has put her investigative abilities to good use and come up with new evidence about the cavalcade of abusers who hid - and were hidden by others - within the supposedly sacred spaces of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

New bishop will lead Catholics during period of change

Beaumont Enterprise

August 19, 2020

By Chris Moore

Bishop-elect David Toups, whose ordination Friday will put him in charge of the Catholic community in Southeast Texas, arrives during what many foresee as a time of dramatic change for the church both globally and locally.

The challenges include reversing an ongoing decline in the number of priests, addressing the role of gender in the church, and rebuilding trust after a massive sex-abuse scandal that has cost the church hundreds of millions of dollars and done untold damage to its reputation.

The Rev. Luis Urriza of Beaumont has seen much change in his 76 years as a priest, most of it at Cristo Rey Church, which he helped build on Avenue A.

He knows more change is ahead, and he believes rebuilding the ranks of the priesthood must be a priority.

Urriza, 99, thinks that sometime “down the road” the church will even consider allowing priests to marry. He says he would not necessarily oppose such a change.

"By not acting, you're enabling." Why survivors are abandoned to protect institutions.

Michigan Radio

August 25, 2020

By Anne Clark

Dr. Robert E. Anderson was a physician at the University of Michigan from the late 1960s to early 2000s. Hundreds have accused him of sexually abusing them in the time period. The doctor is not here to answer for his actions. Most—but not all—of the people accused of enabling him are gone too. What, then, does justice look like?

The following interview is featured in this story by Anna Clark about those survivors, his enablers, and the institution that is finally facing a reckoning.

Amos Guiora grew up in Ann Arbor, and his father was a faculty member at the University of Michigan medical school at the time that Dr. Robert Anderson worked there. He describes himself as “the world’s biggest Michigan football fan” and “the ultimate son of Ann Arbor.”

Now, he is a law professor at the University of Utah and the author of the forthcoming book Armies of Enablers: Survivor Stories of Complicity and Betrayal in Sexual Assaults. It looks at the culture of complicity that made systemic sexual abuse possible at Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, Ohio State University, Penn State, and the Catholic Church. The only son of two Holocaust survivors, he is also the author of The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander in the Holocaust.

Law banning sexual abuse victims from speaking out could be changed

The Courier

August 26 2020

By Georgie Moore

The Victorian government says it's willing to revisit laws requiring sexual assault survivors to ask courts for permission to speak publicly about their experiences.

Victoria's Attorney-General Jill Hennessy says the changes had been designed to make it easier for survivors.

Vatican rules that Benedictine abbot should not return to his community


August 26, 2020

The Vatican has ruled that the abbot of Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire, England, should not return to his community, four years after he stepped aside during an investigation into allegations against him.

Fr. Gabriel Everitt, the abbey’s prior administrator, announced the Holy See’s decision concerning Fr. Cuthbert Madden in a letter to the Ampleforth Society, a 16,000-strong group with ties to the Benedictine monastery.

“The Holy See has studied the case carefully, including the external scrutiny of Ampleforth and the fact that Fr. Cuthbert’s mandate as Abbot expires in January 2021,” Everitt wrote.

“It does not support his return to Ampleforth as Abbot or as a resident member of the community but wishes him to be free to live in a Benedictine community of his choice with the consent of the host Abbot.”

The ruling was reported by the British Catholic weekly The Tablet Aug. 25.

Madden was first elected abbot in 2005, then re-elected in 2013 for a second eight-year term. He stepped aside in August 2016 after allegations of indecent assault were lodged against him, while strenuously denying the claims.

Youth Leader Indicted on 89 Counts of Child Sex Abuse, SNAP Responds

SNAP Network

August 25, 2020

A Delaware youth leader has been indicted on 89 charges related to child sex abuse. This is an extremely disturbing case that demands answers from church officials about how this man was able to secure his position and then abuse children for multiple years.

John C. Sapp Jr. was a youth leader at Maranatha Fellowship in Dover, Delaware, where he is accused of using his position to groom and then abuse at least two girls. This reportedly went on for years yet somehow remained under the radar of church officials, despite the fact that some incidents were said to have occurred on Fellowship premises. We are glad that Sapp has now been indicted and that the public is aware of the accusations, but we believe that further investigation by the church is warranted to make sure that this will not occur again. The community should want to know if proper vetting procedures are in place and followed. Also, the Fellowship should want to discover whether any signs of criminal behavior were missed or ignored by church leaders.

Baptist Pastor Charged with Child Sex Abuse and Human Trafficking

SNAP Network

August 25, 2020

A Baptist pastor from a Kalamazoo church has been charged with multiple counts of human trafficking and child sexual abuse, disturbing news that will hopefully rally the community to support his victims and take steps to encourage others who were hurt to come forward.

According to his attorney, Rev. Stricjavvar Strickland will turn himself in to Michigan State Police to be arraigned on 11 charges related to child sexual abuse and human trafficking. Communities are safer when such serious allegations are reported to law enforcement for prosecution.

Case settled for $1 million after claims Columbus priest sexually abused student


August 26, 2020

The settlement was announced on Wednesday.

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus announced a $1 million settlement to a former Saint Charles Preparatory School student after claims Monsignor Thomas Bennett abused the student.

A complaint by the student, who attended the school in the early 2000s, was filed in 2018 claiming he was abused by Bennett.

Bransfield Accuser Calls Disgraced Bishop’s Apology ‘Inadequate’

The Wheeling Intelligencer

Augst 26, 2020

By Mike Jones

The former traveling secretary for Michael Bransfield — who said the disgraced bishop sexually abused him while leading the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston — called his recent apology to his victims and the faithful “inadequate and unsatisfactory.”

The man, who identified himself as VGD in a four-page letter sent to The Intelligencer, took exception to Bransfield’s brief apology dated Aug. 15 as part of his amends to leave the church in good standing.

“Unfortunately, former bishop Bransfield’s letter does not meet the basic conditions of Catholic contrition, or apology, specifically in the context of reconciliation,” VGD said in his response. “In the Catholic tradition, we do not apologize for actions ‘attributed to’ us or for hypothetical ‘ifs.'”

Bransfield resigned from his position in September 2018 following accusations of misappropriating church funds and sexually abusing young seminarians and priests during his 12-year reign.

As part of his amends, current diocesan Bishop Mark Brennan last November ordered Bransfield to pay nearly $800,000 in restitution and personally apologize to his victims. The Vatican approved a reduced restitution this month, ordering Bransfield to pay $441,000.

Is it time to rename Mount Cashel Road?

The Telegram via Saltire

August 25, 2020

By Barb Sweet

In the aftermath of a Court of Appeal decision, a victim says it's time to rethink street names

A John Doe involved in the recent civil case involving 1940s to ‘60s victims of abuse at an infamous St. John’s boy’s orphanage says the city should rename Mount Cashel Road and other streets honouring the Christian Brothers’ order.

Mount Cashel Road is a relatively short street tucked away behind Elizabeth Avenue, and runs from New Cove Road to Torbay Road across from the former orphanage site, and its namesake connection to the disturbing institution is clear.

Below Howley Estates, built on the site of the former Mount Cashel Orphanage, is a series of streets named in the mid-1960s to honour various Christian Brothers from early periods of the orphanage’s history.

“I’d like to see them all changed,” said the man, who is in his early 80s and was one of five brothers sexually abused at the orphanage.

BREAKING: Catholic priest sex abuse victim awarded $844,140

Powell River Peak

August 25, 2020

By Jeremy Hainsworth / Glacier Syndicated

"He exploited the vulnerability of a young woman,” said Justice David Crossin

The Kamloops Roman Catholic Diocese will pay a priest’s sexual abuse victim $844,140 in damages, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Aug. 25.

Rosemary Anderson, now 70, alleged in a Dec. 22, 2016, notice of civil claim that sexual abuse at the hands of Erlindo Molon, now 88, started when she was 26. She names Molon and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, A Corporation Sole, in the claim.

She had sought solace from her priest after the death of her father in September 1976. Instead, Molon began groping her, starting a sexual relationship that went on for several months. Anderson testified she felt trapped.

“Molon’s conduct was an egregious, and indeed reprehensible, abuse of power,” Crossin said in his decision. “He exploited the vulnerability of a young woman entrusted to his care to engage in a prolonged and repeated course of sexual exploitation. His conduct was clearly wrong, by the standards of any time. He also demonstrated a brazen indifference to the harm caused by his actions.”

'A people of hope’: New St. Louis archbishop calls on Roman Catholics to face difficult challenges

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

August 25, 2020

By Jesse Bogan


The Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski was installed Tuesday as the 10th archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the largest faith organization in the region.

Typically a packed affair, attendance at the Cathedral Basilica was thin. Only about 400 people with reservations were let in for the afternoon ceremony. Many were priests. Every other pew was intentionally left open to provide social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Despite the pandemic, Rozanski was officially made shepherd of about 500,000 Roman Catholics in St. Louis and 10 counties. He also has influence over Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury and numerous schools, hospitals, religious communities and charities that serve the broader community.

Royal commission gathering evidence relating to Gloriavale


August 26, 2020

By Sam Sherwood

The Gloriavale Christian Community, on the South Island’s West Coast, deals with issues internally.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care is looking into Gloriavale, with an investigation into the community possible.

It comes amid revelations Gloriavale leaders forced a 13-year-old girl to sit in a room with a man who allegedly groomed her, because their versions of events did not match up.

Stuff earlier revealed the community’s sexual assault policy gave offenders “second and third chances” to stop offending – along with more rounds of forgiveness and repentance meetings if they failed to stop – before leaders would consider kicking them out of the community.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, established in 2018, confirmed it had Gloriavale on its radar.

Poland struggles to deal with pedophilia in Catholic Church

Balkan Insight

August 26, 2020

By Claudia Ciobanu

While the Polish authorities focus on fighting an imagined threat to children from what they call the “LGBT lobby”, progress on combating pedophilia inside the Catholic Church, a well-documented phenomenon, remains slow.

Afew days after receiving her first communion in May last year, nine-year-old Julia told her mother she was sick and refused to go to church for further ceremonies planned in relation to this key moment in a Catholic family’s life.

“When I asked her why she didn’t want to go, she said she didn’t like the priest. When I asked her why, she said the priest was touching her,” Magda, Julia's mother, told BIRN, speaking on the phone from Ruszow, a village of about 2,000 people in south-west Poland where the family lives.

According to the girl’s testimony, which experts verified as authentic as part of subsequent court proceedings, the local priest, Piotr M., had put his hands under her clothes and touched her in intimate areas.

Worcester Diocese denies allegations in Holley case, asks for dismissal

Alamogordo Daily News

August 25, 2020

By Nicole Maxwell

The Massachusetts-based Diocese named as a party in a child sexual abuse lawsuit along with two Alamogordo churches, called for dismissal in its response to the complaint.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester, in Massachusetts, said the statute of limitations had already expired in the case which accused a priest, Fr. David Holley, of sexually molesting children in Alamogordo.

Attorneys for the diocese also said in response that the lawsuit should have named the bishop and not the diocese. Holley had been incardinated — or working under the jurisdiction of — the Diocese of Worcester on May 15, 1967.

In New Mexico the statute of limitations is six years from the date of an assault against victims between the ages of 13 and 18.

The case was filed in the New Mexico Second Judicial District in Bernalillo County on March 31, 2020, and alleged that a victim was abused by Holley in Alamogordo in the 1970s.

The complainant, John Doe, named the Servants of the Paraclete, St. Jude Parish, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and the Dioceses of Worcester, El Paso and Las Cruces as parties in the lawsuit.

August 25, 2020

Two more sex abuse suits filed against ABQ orphanage

Albuquerque Journal

August 24, 2020

By Colleen Heild

Two more former students of the now-closed St. Anthony Home for Boys came forward Monday to file childhood sexual abuse lawsuits against nuns who ran the orphanage after a top superior at the religious order recently stated she didn’t believe children had been molested there, their attorneys say.

The two men “are not motivated by compensation, as the sexual abuse happened many decades ago, but primarily want the truth to be known, and are asking the Court to put into public archives all documents that point to the need for accountability and transparency,” said their attorneys Brad D. Hall and Levi Monagle in a statement on Monday.

The allegations in both lawsuits focus primarily on the conduct of a specific nun at the now-closed orphanage in Albuquerque, which was operated by the Sisters of St. Francis, based in Colorado Springs.

New Book Claims Pope Francis Interfered with Whistleblowing Priest

SNAP Network

August 24, 2020

A new book’s explosive claim that Pope Francis personally met with and “quizzed” a parish priest who was going to share his knowledge regarding a clergy sexual abuse and cover-up case with local police once again lays bare the hypocrisy of Catholic leaders in Rome.

Pope Francis and his colleagues drag their feet when it comes to investigating and punishing abusers and enablers. However, in this case, they reacted with lightning speed when they learned that Fr. Glen Walsh was going to give police information related to how Archbishop Phillip Wilson of Adelaide, Australia, handled abuse allegations. According to the book Altar Boys, Fr. Walsh was summoned to the Vatican and made to answer questions about why he was involved in a case against an archbishop and what he intended to tell the police.

Prominent Kalamazoo pastor faces felony child sex abuse charges

WoodTV (Channel 8)

Felony charges have been issued against a well-known Kalamazoo pastor who’s been accused of paying teens for sex.

Rev. Stricjavvar “Strick” Strickland has been charged with 11 felony counts involving sexual assaults with children.

Strickland faces four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person between the ages of 13 and 15, three counts of child sexually abusive activity and four counts of human trafficking of a minor.

Kalamazoo pastor charged with human trafficking, child sex abuse


August 24, 2020

By Ryan Boldrey

The Rev. Stricjavvar Strickland, of Kalamazoo’s Second Baptist Church, has been charged with 11 felony criminal sexual charges.

He had a warrant issued for his arrest Friday, Aug. 21.

According to court records, Strickland was yet to turn himself in as of Monday, Aug. 24.

Strickland faces 11 felony charges, including two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct on a student, one on a person age 13-15 and one by force or coercion.

Dover-area church youth leader indicted on 89-counts of child sex abuse

Delaware Online

August 25, 2020

By Esteban Parra

A 34-year-old Hartly man has been indicted on 89 charges he was involved in sexual relationships with two teenage girls who were members of a church youth group he'd been leading for the past three years.

Word of the sexual liaison came to light when John C. Sapp Jr. contacted Maranatha Fellowship church's lead pastor in February requesting to "immediately meet with him," according to court documents. It was during this meeting, at Sapp's house with his wife there, that the youth leader confessed to "inappropriately touching" a girl.

Maranatha Fellowship did not immediately respond to messages sent to the church on Monday.

Delaware State Police investigators questioned the girl Sapp had mentioned.

Victims of sexual abuse urged to come forward following former Middleton priest’s death

Rochdale News

August 25, 2020

By Nathalie Swanwick


Executors of the estate of a former Middleton priest are looking for individuals who may have suffered sexual abuse at his hands to come forward.

Michael Studdert worked in Langley, Middleton, during the 1960s and is believed to have abused children in England, Wales, Poland, Denmark and Italy.

Following his death, Studdert's estate was frozen to allow his victims a chance to file claims for compensation.

On three occasions between 1988 and 2006, Studdert was convicted of various charges relating to his possession of indecent images of children. In 1988, Studdert was convicted on four counts of possessing these images whilst working as a chaplain at Eagle House School in Berkshire.

Indian court bails British missionary accused of sex abuse

UCA News

August 24, 2020

Tribal boy files police complaint against founder of Odisha shelter for poor children

A court in the eastern Indian state of Odisha has granted bail to a British missionary who was arrested on charges of sexually abusing a tribal boy.

John Patrick Bridge, a UK citizen, was arrested on Aug. 20 in Jharsuguda where he runs a residential institute for poor tribal children, superintendent of police PR Rahul told reporters.

“There are several small sects working in the diocese as well as in the state and since they don’t come under the Catholic diocese we have no control over them. We have very limited knowledge about their activities and we don’t interfere with their work,” Father Bartholomeo Bilung, vicar general of Sambalpur Diocese, told UCA News.

Vatican concludes review into Ampleforth Abbey

The Tablet

August 25, 2020

By Liz Dodd

Ampleforth Abbey is to elect a new Abbot in 2021 after the Holy See concluded that Fr Cuthbert Madden, who stepped aside from the role in 2016 during an investigation into alleged misconduct, should not return to the community.

Fr Madden stepped aside as Abbot in 2016 after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him. He has always denied any wrongdoing. North Yorkshire Police investigated the allegations and did not bring charges; the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS) Review Panel which examined Fr Cuthbert’s case did not find any sexual misconduct.

Cardinal Pell tells U.S. Catholics: ‘We rely on you’


August 19, 2020

By Peter Rosengren

In an exclusive interview prerecorded and aired at a U.S. conference, Cardinal George Pell reminded his audience how important the church in the U.S. is for world Catholicism and Western civilization.

U.S. Catholicism “is vitally important for us in smaller countries, we rely on you for your scholarship, your leadership … the pastoral strategies that you implement and prove to be successful will be watched and imitated by us,” he said.

Despite the scandals in church leadership, which had been “deeply wounding,” many parts of the church in the U.S. are offering a way forward in the present crisis. He named U.S. bishops such as Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and the late Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago as outstanding examples of church leadership and vision in the present era.

Book Review: The Outsider

The Record

August 20, 2020

By Desmond O’Grady

The Outsider, by the London Tablet’s Vatican correspondent Christopher Lamb, is a sustained defence of Pope Francis. Lambert presents him as reviving the hopes of the Second Vatican Council and inspirer of renewal movements throughout the Catholic Church. Occasionally he waxes lyrical in his praise.

Among the aspects of the seven-year pontificate which he examines are the clerical sexual abuse scandal, the dismissal of the head of the Knights of Malta which he links with the dubia or questions posed by four cardinals to Pope Francis, and the fierce criticism of the Pope from certain Catholic media. Here he provides information on the backers of these media, mostly American, some of which want the pope to step down.

In his enthusiasm for Pope Francis, Lambert skirts the complexity of the situation. He considers that Francis has initiated a new era. He makes striking gestures in this direction which have a big impact. However, Francis must win in the Vatican too but, like his predecessors, he struggles to handle certain issues.

He has not solved the problems connected with the Church’s central bureaucracy the Roman Curia. There are several cases of Vatican employees being brusquely dismissed without any explanation or any opportunity for an appeal. Moreover, two journalists were put on trial before they were acquitted by a lay Vatican judge.

Lamb writes about Cardinal Pell before he was acquitted by the Australian High Court. He treats him as a dubious choice for the Vatican Economic Secretariat because of the accusations against him. But the crucial question surely is why and how his attempt to introduce a new rigor in Vatican finances were blocked.

"Rezamos para que se aclaren las cosas"

["We pray that things are clarified"]


August 23, 2020

El cura Aldo Martini, párroco en Reconquista, saludó al ex cura Néstor Monzón, que cumple 16 años de condena por abuso sexual de menores.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The priest Aldo Martini, parish priest in Reconquista, greeted the former priest Néstor Monzón, who is serving a 16-year sentence for sexual abuse of minors.]

El cura Aldo Martini, párroco en la Iglesia Inmaculada Concepción de la ciudad de Reconquista, en Santa Fe, saludó públicamente por su cumpleaños al ex sacerdote Néstor Monzón, condenado a 16 años de prisión por el delito de abuso sexual gravemente ultrajante en perjuicio de una niña y un niño. “Estamos rezando por él para que se aclaren las cosas”, señaló Martini en Radio Amanecer, la emisora católica de la región. Además, se refirió a la desaparición de Facundo Astudillo Castro, cuestionó a las Madres de Plaza de Mayo y reveló haber asistido a la marcha anticuarentena del 17 de agosto. Durante el saludo por el cumpleaños de Monzón, Martini llamó "padre" al ex párroco, quien en 2016 fue suspendido de los cargos eclesiásticos luego de que las familias de la niña y el niño abusados radicaran las denuncias.

No descartan más denuncias contra el sacerdote Sidders por abuso sexual en un colegio de La Plata

[They do not rule out more complaints against the priest Sidders for sexual abuse in a school in La Plata]

Misiones Online

August 23, 2020

La denuncia de una joven de 27 años de acoso y abuso sexual por parte de un sacerdote hace muchos años atrás en el colegio San Vicente de Paul de La Plata el jueves pasado, ante la Fiscalía de aquella ciudad, no sería el único caso que involucra al cura y no se descarta que al menos 20 niños más –hoy mayores de edad- habrían padecido situaciones similares, cuando el acusado fue el guía espiritual de la institución.

Arzobispo Platense pidió que el cura denunciado no tenga contacto con menores de edad

[The Archbishop of La Plata asked that the denounced priest not have contact with minors]

Grupo La Provincia

August 23, 2020

El Arzobispado de La Plata se puso a disposición de la Justicia para colaborar con el "pleno esclarecimiento" de la denuncia por presunto abuso y corrupción de menores presentada contra un sacerdote que se desempeñó en una escuela católica de la capital bonaerense, al tiempo que recomendó "que no se le encomiende ninguna tarea en colegios o con menores de edad".

August 24, 2020

Judge denies request by attorney representing priest facing rape charge

Oakland Press

August 24, 2020

By Aileen Wingblad


An attorney representing a Catholic pastor accused of a decades-old rape of a child was denied a request in court Monday to have certain witnesses stricken from the case.

The request was denied by Wayne County Circuit Judge Bridget Mary Hathaway, court records show.

A trial date for Fr. Joseph "Jack" Baker is pending after the trial scheduled for last spring was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Baker, 58, is currently suspended from his duties at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford due to the allegations. He’s charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct - sexual penetration with a person less than 13 years ago, which allegedly occurred in a storage room of St. Mary Catholic Church in Wayne in 2004.

The Oakland Press is not identifying the victim of the alleged rape due to the nature of the offense.

At a preliminary exam last year in 18th District Court in Westland, the alleged victim testified that the incident happened when he was a second-grader at the parish school. He said he was in the church’s storage room or sacristy when Baker sat him down and began talking to him, and then raped him.

Opinion: Pull back the curtain of secrecy on abuse by priests


August 24, 2020

By Kathy Weyer

St. Peter in Chains Cathedral is now a "minor basilica." It is clear that Archbishop Dennis Schnurr is excited and proud, and it is clear that he welcomed members of the news media into the cathedral (now basilica) space on Aug. 15 so he could talk about ceremonial bells and special privileges.

This openness to the press is a dramatic shift.

Two years ago, Archbishop Schnurr was considerably less welcoming of the media into St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, when the Archdiocese of Cincinnati celebrated its first Mass for Healing for the Church and for Victims of Abuse. On that occasion, reporters were kept outside the church and could not bear witness to the history inside when the archbishop suspended the Mass as church ushers escorted a family member of a survivor of clergy abuse out of the church who had spoken out in anguish.

The news media could not see Archbishop Schnurr, as he stood silent at the podium, offering no acknowledgement of the man’s pain, no words of condolence or peace, and no prayer – just a "sorry for the interruption" and then resuming the liturgy.

What a juxtaposition

Ex-Bishop Michael Bransfield’s ‘creepy’ behavior detailed

Weirton Daily Times

August 24, 2020

By Alan Olson

With Michael Bransfield issuing a six-sentence letter of apology to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston last weekend for years of sexual and financial abuse, the church hopes to consider the matter closed. The marks from his tumultuous term of office, however, remain.

Bransfield issued his statement in a letter dated Aug. 15 claiming that he did not mean to make those under his power feel sexually harassed, as well as denying that a pattern of excessive and lavish spending was inappropriate. Nevertheless, he agreed to comply with a demand from The Vatican to pay back $441,000 and to take a reduced retirement package, in what one canon lawyer described as an “unprecedented” show of accountability from the church.

Bransfield was installed as bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in 2005, taking over from Bernard Schmitt, who had been bishop since 1989 and who had retired the year prior.

Before becoming bishop, Bransfield served as director of finance, executive director, and, ultimately, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Catholics urged to learn signs of domestic abuse

The Tablet

August 24, 2020

By Simon Caldwell

Priests and all Catholics are being urged to learn the signs of domestic abuse and how to help victims.

The National Board of Catholic Women has responded to a surge in pandemic-related domestic abuse, including against gay and transgender people by issuing a booklet advising on how to detect the signs and to help.

The booklet, which defines abuse and provides examples of abusive behaviour, points out that domestic abuse also occurs in same-sex relationships and is experienced by transgender people as well.

“Whilst recognising the teaching of the Catholic Church on same-sex relationships, there will be parishioners who identify as LGBTQ+,” the booklet says. “As a matter of pastoral compassion, it is important that our priests and parishioners are aware of domestic abuse issues within these relationships.”

Catholic bishops in Zimbabwe speak out for first time on human rights abuses

The Guardian

August 24, 2020

By Nyasha Chingono

Government calls Vatican representative for talks after scathing letter accuses Mnangagwa of corruption and abuse of power

The Zimbabwean government has summoned the Vatican representative in Harare over growing criticism by Catholic bishops of the country’s human rights record.

The move follows a scathing letter send by local clergy accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime of abusing power in its crackdown on political activists, and of rampant corruption.

The letter reads: “The crackdown on dissent is unprecedented. Is this the Zimbabwe we want? To have a different opinion does not mean to be an enemy. It is precisely from the contrast of opinions that the light comes. Our government automatically labels anyone thinking differently as an enemy of the country: that is an abuse …

Abuse victims challenge legitimacy of Archdiocese bankruptcy claim

WWL-TV, Channel 4

August 20, 2020

By David Hammer

The archdiocese is accused of filing for bankruptcy to limit future abuse claims

Sex abuse victims and others with claims against the Archdiocese of New Orleans argued the local church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection “in bad faith” and the case should be thrown out during a virtual U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing Thursday.

Their claims appeared to be bolstered by a letter written to the Vatican by New Orleans Archbishop Greg Aymond on April 28, just two days before the May 1 bankruptcy filing. In the letter, Aymond assures his bosses in Rome, “The archdiocese is not insolvent. We have sufficient cash, cash equivalents and investments to cover 100 percent of our liabilities.”

Former Queens teacher faces a dozen sexual abuse lawsuits

The New York Post

August 22, 2020

By Melissa Klein

A former teacher and administrator at a church-run school is facing 12 lawsuits alleging he sexually abused young boys beginning in the 1970s and continuing for more than a decade.

The latest in the spate of suits against Lawrence Svrcek was filed in Queens State Supreme Court. It alleges that he molested a victim identified only by the initials S.G. beginning in 1984 when the student attended Jamaica Day School, which was run by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.

Svrcek, 74, was a gym teacher, coach and later vice principal of the school. He was also a Boy Scout leader.

North-West Anglican church properties to be sold to fund National Redress Scheme

The Advocate

August 23, 2020

By Meg Powell

An empty "bush block" at Rosebery is the latest property owned by the Anglican Church of Tasmania to join the open market.

Bishop Richard Condie in 2018 announced a decision to sell off diocesan property to fund its contribution to the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

A total of 108 properties were initially listed, and then cut down to 73 after local parishes chipped in thousands of dollars.

Opinion: Disgraced West Virginia Bishop Apologizes (Kinda) and Repays Diocese (Partially)

Friendly Atheist via Patheos.com (blog)

August 23, 2020

By Val Wilde

“Scandal or wonderment” — that’s how former West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield describes the fallout from the misuse of his position.

While he presided over the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Bransfield was living it up on the parishioners’ dime: pouring millions of dollars into personal travel and luxury purchases, spending hundreds of thousands on gifts for other priests.

And yes, those gifts had ulterior motives attached: Some of them went to senior leaders in a bid to buy influence in the region, while others went to younger clerics Bransfield was later accused of sexually harassing.

Rather than stripping Bransfield of his priesthood, Pope Francis elected to write a strongly-worded letter of admonishment with a few weak-tea sanctions tossed in to encourage him to “make personal amends for some of the harm he has caused.”

Opinion: Unrepentant scandal-ridden W.Va. bishop offers offensive non-apology


August 21, 2020

By Phil Lawler

Bp. Michael Bransfield's 'apology' is of the sort that could have been delivered with a one-finger gesture.

This morning I had planned to write about the disgraceful excuse for an “apology” proffered by a former bishop. But I see that Christopher Altieri, writing in the Catholic Herald has beaten me to the punch:

"Let’s be clear about two things: Bishop Michael J. Bransfield — improbably emeritus of the Diocese of Wheeling Charleston — did not apologize; nor did he get the “justice with a gesture of mercy” that his successor, Bishop Mark E. Brennan, suggested he might have got."

August 23, 2020

Marylands School abuse inquiry: 'It's about time'

Radio New Zealand

August 22, 2020

A victim of abuse at Marylands School in Christchurch says a new investigation is overdue but he hopes it will result in justice.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in state care has launched eight new investigations including one about the Christchurch school which was run by the Catholic religious order, the Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God, from the 1950s to 1984.

It will look into the nature and extent of abuse that occurred, why it happened and the impact it had on victims.

How the Catholic Church responded to the allegations will also be investigated.

Survivor Darryl Smith spent a year at the school in 1971 when he was seven years old.

"Everyone knew it was happening, the older boys would warn us to not go into certain rooms. It's about time the school is being investigated."

He wants people to be held accountable.

"As soon as the government found out this order was preying on little boys with special needs they should have stepped in. People were coming forward about abuse in the school in the 50s, long before I was even born."

Smith said the order and church kept the abuse quiet and denied it for years.

"It's time the order which I think are a pack of criminals are bought to justice. The church would investigate abuse allegations and then nothing would happen."

Smith has written multiple books about the abuse he suffered in state care and travelled to the Vatican last year to meet with cardinals to discuss it.

German archbishop calls for open debate about women priests in the Catholic Church

America Magazine

August 20, 2020

By Colleen Dulle

The archbishop of Hamburg, Stefan Hesse, has called for an open debate on the ordination of women in the Catholic Church.

“One has to be permitted to think about and discuss the issues,” the German archbishop said on Aug. 19. He argued that “Ordinatio sacerdotalis,” St. John Paul II’s 1994 letter that stated the church cannot ordain women as priests, was positioned as a response to those who considered women’s ordination “open to debate” and affirmed the male-only priesthood “in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance.”

Archbishop Hesse said new arguments had emerged in the conversation around women’s ordination that needed to be addressed. “The historical perspective is one thing—but it isn’t everything,” he said.

Archbishop Hesse is a member of the forum on “Women in Ministries and Offices in the Church” in the “synodal journey” reform project launched by the Catholic Church in Germany. The project places laypeople—represented by German’s prominent lay organization, the Central Committee of German Catholics—in dialogue with that country’s bishops on a range of topics relevant to the church today, including sexuality, priestly celibacy and women’s roles. The lay committee openly supports ordaining women both as deacons and priests.

The archbishop said he hoped the reform talks would examine controversial issues and that the bishops would convey the results to Rome. “But I also hold the realistic view that this will not answer or resolve the issues,” he said.

The reform project, announced in 2019 as a “binding synodal process” in response to a 2018 report on sexual abuse in the German church, has caught the attention of Pope Francis and the Vatican. In June 2019, prior to the group’s first meeting, Pope Francis wrote a letter to the group that has been interpreted as suggesting the church in Germany take a separate, similar “synodal journey” focused on evangelization. This was followed by a Vatican legal review last September, which stated that the synodal journey’s plan to reach binding decisions meant the meeting was actually a “plenary council,” which would require approval from the pope.

The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia

August 21, 2020

By the Governance Review Project Team of the Implementation Advisory Group, as amended by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia

[See also the leaked version of the report before amendments, and discussions of that draft in the National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor.]

1.1 Genesis and background of the Review (page 10)

The final report of the Royal Commission commented adversely on the Church’s practices in respect to decision-making and accountability and their impact on the protection of children and the response to concerns about, and allegations of, child sexual abuse. The Commissioners said:

In accordance with contemporary standards of good governance, we encourage the Catholic Church in Australia to explore and develop ways in which its structure and practices of governance may be made more accountable, more transparent, more meaningfully consultative and more participatory, including at the diocesan and parish level.

This led to recommendation 16.7:

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should conduct a national review of the governance and management structures of dioceses and parishes, including in relation to issues of transparency, accountability, consultation and the participation of lay men and women. This review should draw from the approaches to governance of Catholic health, community services and education agencies.

In their publicly released response to the Royal Commission of 31 August 2018, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) accepted the recommendation and entrusted the conduct of this governance Review (the Review) to the Implementation Advisory Group (IAG).


6.6.2 Identification and management of risk to children and other persons vulnerable to harm (page 78)

The response of many churches and other institutions to child sexual abuse and other abusive behaviour showed a poor response to the identification and minimisation of risk to children and others harmed, including:

• a lack of understanding and/or acknowledgement of the impact of abuse of those harmed;

• completely inadequate responses such as moving perpetrators to other areas or institutions and allowing them to remain engaged in ministry; and

• a tendency to allow legal advice that focused on a strict interpretation of legal liability to overshadow moral considerations and the paramount consideration of the protection of children.

Fr Frank’s Homily

Catholic Outlook - Diocese of Parramatta

August 23, 2020

By Fr Frank Brennan SJ

During the week, I participated in a webinar entitled ‘The Light from The Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia’. Zoom conferences and webinars are now commonplace for those of us enduring the pandemic lockdown. This webinar was run out of the offices of a large law firm in Sydney. The proceedings were chaired by the distinguished broadcaster Geraldine Doogue. More than 150 committed Catholics tuned in. There was quite a buzz to the proceedings. And most of the time, the technology worked well. Geraldine introduced the keynote presenter Francois Kunc who is a judge of the New South Wales Supreme Court. He had the unenviable task of providing a 15-minute overview of the 208-page report containing 86 recommendations for improved governance of the Catholic Church in Australia. I was one of nine responders. The other responders included three of the key authors who were part of the seven-member Governance Review Project Team commissioned to provide this report to the Church’s Implementation Advisory Group which had been set up by our bishops after the Royal Commission. Another responder was one of the theological advisers to the review team. The discussion was lively, informed, and respectful. Men and women were at the table in equal numbers. Appropriately, the laity heavily outnumbered the clergy.

LISTEN: https://soundcloud.com/frank-brennan-6/homily-23820

But something wasn’t quite right. There was no bishop on the panel. We were told that invitations had been extended but to no avail. Like most things in the Church, there’s probably a back story. But I was left thinking that a discussion about co-responsible governance in the Catholic Church could well do with a couple of bishops at the table. Most of us who spoke would have been in our 60s. When looking to future governance of our church, it’s probably best to start as we’d want to finish. If co-responsibility is to work, bishops and young people will need to be at the table.

This report had been presented to our bishops at the last minute before their last conference in May 2020. Instead of publishing it promptly, the bishops decided that they wanted to sit on it until their next meeting in November 2020. The report in draft form was leaked fairly soon after the bishops completed their meeting in May. Following the leak, the bishops did a rethink on their schedule. On 12 June 2020, Archbishop Coleridge, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, announced that the bishops “would provide their feedback before 17 July.” He wrote, “After this feedback has been received, the report will be amended. The amended version will then be published in late July or early August, accompanied by a reading guide. This version will be widely available, and people are encouraged to read the full report (and not just the recommendations) and to provide feedback to their local bishop to help him in shaping his response.” That’s the last we heard from our bishops before the webinar went ahead on 19 August. On Friday, two days after the webinar, the bishops finally published the revised report. If co-responsible governance of our Church is to be a reality, we all have to do better than this. And we all have to get moving if bishops are to receive feedback and formulate their own responses in time for their November meeting.

Catholic leaders publish report on Church governance

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia

August 21, 2020

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia have today published an “important and substantial” document on the review of diocesan and parish governance and management in Australia.

The review was recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Church’s Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) oversaw the development of the report, The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia. The IAG engaged the Governance Review Project Team (GRPT) to research and study Church governance and to prepare the 208-page report, which includes 86 recommendations. “The Light from the Southern Cross makes an important and substantial contribution to the life and mission of the Church in Australia, and the bishops and leaders of religious institutes thank those responsible for its preparation and delivery,” Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.

CRA president Br Peter Carroll FMS added: “As leaders in the Catholic Church responsible for hundreds of Church entities, CRA and the Bishops Conference are working through numerous governance reforms and practices as outlined by the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

Priest recently added to New Orleans' credibly accused clergy roster also put on Las Vegas list

Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate

August 22, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A priest whom the Archdiocese of New Orleans added this week to a list of clergymen faced with credible allegations of child molestation dating back to the 1980s has since been listed on a similar roster compiled by church officials in Las Vegas, where he spent his retirement.

Officials with the Diocese of Las Vegas said they moved to include Brian Highfill on their credibly accused list Friday as a result of two complaints filed against him by accusers he encountered while working in New Orleans. No one in Las Vegas had accused Highfill, 78, of any misconduct as of Friday, officials there said.

Highfill was ordained in 1974 and worked at a half-dozen different churches in the New Orleans area over the next six years, among them Metairie’s St. Catherine of Siena and St. Edward the Confessor. He later moved away from New Orleans and worked as a military chaplain for about two decades before retiring in the late 1990s in Las Vegas, where he continued in ministry as a volunteer.

After new revelations about the worldwide Catholic Church’s ongoing clergy sex abuse crisis surfaced two summers ago, a man named Mike Brandner Sr. contacted Las Vegas diocese officials in late August 2018 and provided them with love letters that his late younger brother, Scot, had started receiving from Highfill when Scot was a high school senior in 1980.

August 22, 2020

Lawsuit: Diocese of Alexandria frequently moved priest accused of sexual abuse

Town Talk

August 22, 2020

By Melissa Gregory

A lawsuit filed this month in Alexandria calls a Catholic priest a "diseased pedophile who raped and sexually assaulted many young boys." The priest, the Rev. Leo Van Hoorn, was among 27 named in a February 2019 letter from Bishop David P. Talley as having credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors.

The lawsuit claims Van Hoorn, who died in 2006 at age 74 in Baton Rouge, was "moved frequently throughout the various parishes of the Diocese of Alexandria."

The Diocese of Alexandria is the sole defendant named in the lawsuit, which was recorded on Aug. 3. It has not answered the lawsuit yet, and a Friday email and telephone message seeking comment weren't immediately answered.

Lawsuit:Fired Alexandria Police lieutenant expected to file lawsuit after appeal denied

The victim is referred to only as Lou Doe. The alleged abuse against Doe happened in 1962-63 while the child was in the first or second grade.

The Doe family's children attended Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Pineville during the 1960s.

'What are you planning to say?' Pope quizzed whistleblower priest, book claims

Sydney Morning Herald

August 20, 2020

By Harriet Alexander

A low-ranking parish priest who agreed to give evidence against an archbishop accused of concealing child sexual abuse was mysteriously summoned to the Vatican before he was due to testify and allegedly quizzed by the Pope about what he was planning to say in court.

As the priest emerged from the 2016 meeting, Cardinal George Pell was allegedly waiting outside. "Look what I have done for you," Cardinal Pell said, and lifted his hand for the priest to kiss his ring.

According to The Altar Boys by investigative reporter Suzanne Smith, there's no allegation Cardinal Pell intended to put pressure on Father Glen Walsh not to give evidence.

The explosive claim about the papal meeting, contained in The Altar Boys, indicates that the pressure brought to bear on priests who betray the brotherhood extends right up to the Vatican, and has prompted calls for a police investigation.

Father Walsh was a Crown witness in the case against Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson when he met with the pontiff on February 9, 2016. Archbishop Wilson was accused of failing to report to police the allegations of two former altar boys who claimed they had been abused by a priest in the Newcastle-Maitland diocese in the 1970s. At the time he was the highest-ranking Catholic ever to be charged with concealment offences.

Father Walsh later told confidants that the Pope asked him why he was involved in a court case against an archbishop, what he was planning to say in court, and who was walking with him on the journey. Father Walsh said he did not trust the interpreter and offered scant detail.

It was the pinnacle of what Father Walsh perceived as a sustained campaign by the priesthood to get him to toe the line on child sexual abuse. He was allegedly frozen out of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese after he defied the bishop to report a fellow priest for child sexual abuse in 2004 and was not welcomed back until early 2017.

Clerical abuse victim sues Slater and Gordon over church payout

The Age

August 21, 2020

By Cameron Houston

A victim of one of Victoria's most notorious paedophile priests says law firm Slater and Gordon bungled his compensation claim against the Catholic Church, which paid out $75,000 for horrific sexual abuse.

Slater and Gordon has been accused of negligence in documents filed in the Supreme Court, including claims it failed to advise its client of his alternative rights to compensation that could have exceeded $1 million.

However, a Slater and Gordon spokeswoman said the statement of claim lodged by rival firm Arnold Thomas and Becker was "misconceived and fails to reflect current developments in the law".

Slater and Gordon indicated it would vigorously defend the case, which could have implications for more than 320 victims of clerical abuse, who received about $10 million from the church's compensation scheme set up in 1996 by George Pell.

Known as the Melbourne Response, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne appointed an independent commissioner who investigated allegations of abuse and made a determination based on the evidence.

Survivors insist Catholic crimes not just 'historical' as Altar Boys launch hears call for investigation into death of whistleblower priest Glen Walsh

Newcastle Herald

August 22, 2020

By Ian Kirkwood


Newcastle City Hall rang with socially distanced applause last night during the launch of The Altar Boys by Suzanne Smith, as Geoffrey Nash - brother of abuse victim Andrew Nash - read the names of 38 priests, brothers and lay Catholic staff from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle diocese he said had been convicted or acknowledged as child abusers.

COVID-19 restrictions meant just 140 people were at the concert hall for the launch.

Smith's long career at the ABC included leading Lateline's clerical abuse investigations, and a good slice of the audience had either spoken to her for the book, or were featured in it.

The book centres on two suicides: that of whistleblower priest Father Glen Walsh, and ABC journalist Steven Alward, a colleague and friend of Smith's.

Alward's life partner, Sydney writer Mark Wakely, sat quietly in the darkened hall as classical pianist Gerard Willems played some of Robert Schumann's Scenes from Childhood as a memorium.

In wake of pastor's arrest, Findlay Catholics turn to prayer and each other

Toledo Blade

August 21, 2020

By Nicki Gorny

Findlay - In their shock, their anger, their sadness and their heartache, parishioners turned to each other.

More than a hundred of them gathered on the grounds of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Findlay this week, spreading themselves out in the parking lot for a parishioner-led candlelight prayer vigil. In familiar verses and extemporaneous petitions, they prayed for a parish and a community rocked by the previous day's arrest of their pastor on sex abuse-related charges.

“For St. Michael the Archangel Parish,” one parishioner offered as a petition, his voice rising clearly above the subdued crowd. “That we will stay strong and get through this together.”

“Lord,” they responded, echoing the words they say together every Sunday, “hear our prayer.”

With a vibrant congregation that encompasses approximately 3,300 families – and as the only Catholic parish firmly in northwest Ohio's Hancock County – St. Michael the Archangel Parish is the largest parish in the 19-county Diocese of Toledo, according to Kelly Donaghy, the diocese's senior director for communications. It covers a downtown stone church and a sprawling campus on the east side of the city, where a newly dedicated church opened with seating for 2,000 in the early 2000s; the parish’s main campus also encompasses an affiliated parish school and brand-new convent for several just-arrived Adrian Dominican Sisters.

Mayor says it's time to talk about sex abuse

The Courier

August 22, 2020

By Denise Grant

Findlay Mayor Christina Muryn didn't mince words after learning of the arrest of the Rev. Michael Zacharias, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel parish, Findlay.

In a statement issued before noon Tuesday, the day of the arrest, Muryn said the Findlay Police Department will cooperate fully with the investigation.

“I am distraught by the news of the arrest of Father Michael Zacharias. These allegations are not taken lightly, and the Findlay Police Department and our community at large will support the full and thorough investigation by the FBI. Such abuse of power, and perversion of sexuality is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated by any organization, individual, or society," said Muryn.

As of Tuesday, Muryn said the city's police department was not involved in the investigation, and has no information that St. Michael's School or its students were involved.

Zacharias, 53, was taken into federal custody Tuesday from his home at 2008 Greendale Ave. by the Northwest Ohio Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. He made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Toledo on Tuesday. He is being held in federal custody without bail.

He is charged with sex offenses involving two former students of Catholic schools in Toledo over a period of years.

Rebuilding trust will take time

The Courier

August 21, 2020

By Lou Wilin

News that their pastor was charged with sex trafficking has devastated members of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in ways that could cause some to leave the church.

Scandals occur in other church denominations, to be sure, and they all are painful. But experts point out that for Catholics, a scandal involving a priest — in Catholic tradition the mediator between people and their God — is even more devastating.

“They feel betrayed. They feel embarrassed,” said William Payne, professor of evangelism and world missions and director of Chaplaincy Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary. “That embarrassment is going to go down to your soul. It’s also going to make you angry that this happened, because this shouldn’t happen.”

Church members will be dealing with the pain for a long time, said Marcos Ghali, assistant professor of counseling at Ashland Theological Seminary Counseling Program. Members are experiencing something like the stages of grief.

“When you hear this sort of news, you go in denial. You maybe go in, like, anger, resentment, and maybe you will distance yourself for a while from church, from even everything that is relating to God and faith, because now you’re not really standing on solid ground — especially when these cases of abuse have been persistent now for some time,” Ghali said. “When you hear one after the other, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy, like when you tell yourself, ‘See, I told you. It is all fake’ or ‘You can’t trust religion anymore.’”

Accuser believes others were abused

Otago Daily Times

August 22, 2020

By Daisy Hudson

A Christian Brother allegedly sexually assaulted a young boy while working at a Dunedin school — the same school where the man’s brother assaulted several boys.

Brother Don Murray was subject to a complaint in 2018, relating to a series of incidents during his time at St Paul’s High School in the 1970s.

Br Murray is the brother of pedophile and former priest Magnus Murray, who was convicted on sex offence charges in 2003. Br Don Murray died in Auckland in May.

In a complaint to police seen by the Otago Daily Times, Michael Chamberlain alleged Br Don Murray approached him when he was 14-year-old pupil at the school in 1971.

Br Murray is alleged to have said his brother had told him he should introduce himself to him, Mr Chamberlain says in the complaint.

Mr Chamberlain said he was befriended by Br Murray, who started taking him to play squash at a club in Kaikorai Valley Rd. It was in the showers after games that the alleged abuse began.

Catholic Diocese issues statement over sex abuse battle

Blackburn News

August 19, 2020

By Paul Pedro

A woman sexually abused by a priest in Chatham decades ago can’t believe the Diocese of London is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn a lower court ruling in her favour.

Irene Deschenes was sexually abused by Father Charles Sylvestre between 1971 and 1973 at St. Ursula School in Chatham. She was just 10-years-old when the abuse started. She filed a lawsuit against the Diocese in 1996 and, in 2000, reached a settlement after the Diocese said it was unaware of concerns about Sylvestre until the 1980s. However, it was later learned that the Diocese was made aware of accusations against Sylvestre in 1962. Deschenes then went to court to have the settlement thrown out and a new lawsuit filed.

In May, the Ontario Court of Appeal decided to uphold a 2018 court ruling to throw out the earlier settlement. In his 2018 decision, Justice David Aston acknowledged that Deschenes “would not have settled as she did in the fall of 2000 if they had known about the 1962 police reports.”

The Diocese is now asking the Supreme Court of Canada to take up the case.

“I’m very disappointed that, once again, the Diocese of London continues to bully victims into submission,” said Irene Deschenes. “Being abused as a little girl by a Roman Catholic priest was harmful enough. That the Diocese continues to use all its vast resources to continue to legally bully me is very painful. I recognize that they have a right to legally defend themselves, but is it the right thing to do?”

Daily Drinking, Alleged Sexual Harassment, Lavish Spending: How Michael Bransfield Shook the Faithful

The Intelligncer and News-Register

August 22, 2020

By Alan Olson


With Michael Bransfield issuing a six-sentence letter of apology to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston last weekend for years of alleged sexual and financial abuse, the church hopes to consider the matter closed. The marks from his tumultuous term of office, however, remain.

Bransfield issued his statement in a letter dated Aug. 15, claiming that he did not mean to make those under his power feel sexually harassed, as well as denying that a pattern of excessive and lavish spending was inappropriate. Nevertheless, he agreed to comply with a demand from The Vatican to pay back $441,000 and to take a reduced retirement package, in what one canon lawyer described as an “unprecedented” show of accountability from the church.

Bransfield was installed as bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in 2005, taking over from Wheeling native Bernard Schmitt, who had been bishop since 1989 and had retired the year prior.

Before becoming bishop, Bransfield served as director of finance, executive director, and, ultimately, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Attempts this week to reach Bransfield were unsuccessful.

Who’s Bransfield’s ‘Next Pretty Boy?’

According to the investigation commissioned on behalf of Archbishop William Lori, who led the diocese for about a year following Bransfield’s departure in September 2018, Bransfield’s misconduct began far earlier than his time as bishop, with several witnesses telling lay investigators that he had engaged in “a decades-long campaign of predatory behavior” beginning in 1982 while serving in several official capacities at the National Shrine. One former colleague described Bransfield as “creepy.”

Lawsuits accuse three Camden diocese priests of clergy sex abuse


August 21, 2020

By Jim Walsh

Camden - A lawsuit accuses a former principal at two Catholic high schools of sexually abusing a child while serving at a Camden County parish.

The Rev. Kenneth L. Johnston was among three priests, all now dead, who were named in four suits filed Thursday against the Diocese of Camden.

The allegations of sexual misconduct were the first to be brought against Johnston, a former principal at Gloucester Catholic and St. James high schools. Johnston, also a pastor at three South Jersey parishes, was described as a "kindly, gentlemanly priest" in a June 2018 obituary.

Two lawsuits made accusations against the Rev. Eldridge Evans, a former teacher at St. James High. A third alleged wrongdoing by the Rev. Gerald P. Clements, who taught at Camden Catholic High School.

Vegas diocese adds name to list of credibly accused clergy

Associated Press via Albany Times Union

August 21, 2020

Church officials in Nevada said Friday they’re following their counterparts in Louisiana in adding a Roman Catholic priest who was suspended in 2018 to a list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Las Vegas said it suspended Henry Brian Highfill in August 2018 after learning he had been accused of abusing a now-deceased relative while Highfill was a priest in New Orleans from 1974 to 1981.

Highfill, 78, owns a home in Las Vegas, according to public records. He did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. No telephone number was found, and the diocese did not provide a contact for him.

Las Vegas diocese adds priest to sexual abuse list


August 21, 2020

By John Przybys

The Diocese of Las Vegas is adding the Rev. Henry Brian Highfill to its list of clergy and other diocesan-affiliated people who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.

Highfill served at several parishes in the Las Vegas diocese between March 1999 and 2005. However, the diocese says no allegations have been made regarding his time here.

According to a statement on Friday, the Diocese of Las Vegas was contacted in August 2018 by someone who had “secondary information” alleging that Highfill “abused a now deceased close relative.”

The allegation involved events dating back to Highfill’s service in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, where he was ordained in May 1974, the diocese said.

The Las Vegas diocese suspended Highfill from public ministry on Aug. 28, 2018, and turned over the results of its investigation to Las Vegas police and the New Orleans archdiocese. “The estimated time of abuse was between 1975 and 1981 and to date there has been no accusation or information of any incidents in Las Vegas,” the diocese said.

English Catholic women ID ways to spot all types of domestic abuse

Catholic News Service/USCCB via Crux

August 21, 2020

By Simon Caldwell

Manchester, England - Responding to a pandemic-related surge in domestic abuse, including against gay and transgender people, the National Board of Catholic Women urged pastors and fellow Catholics to learn the signs of abuse and how to help victims.

The booklet, which defines abuse and provides examples of abusive behavior, pointed out that domestic abuse also occurs in same-sex relationships and is experienced by transgender people as well.

“Whilst recognizing the teaching of the Catholic Church on same-sex relationships, there will be parishioners who identify as LGBTQ+,” the booklet said. “As a matter of pastoral compassion, it is important that our priests and parishioners are aware of domestic abuse issues within these relationships.”

Trans persons suffer domestic abuse when their “sense of gender or sexual identity” is undermined by spouses or family members, said the booklet.

The board, a consultative body to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, also defined as abusive withholding hormones and surgery “needed to express victim’s gender identity.”

The booklet, “Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse,” was published in mid-August on the website of the bishops’ conference and will be distributed to parishes throughout England and Wales. A report about the document and a link to it were featured on Vatican News.

Michael Studdert: Contact made over paedophile priest's £4.7m estate


August 21, 2020

By Phil Shepka

A website to track down potential victims of a paedophile priest for compensation from his £4.7m estate has received contact from individuals.

Michael Studdert was jailed for four years in 2006 over indecent images but was never convicted of physical abuse before his death aged 78, in 2017.

A High Court judge ruled there was a "real prospect" he may have committed sexual assaults in the UK and abroad.

The website for potential victims has been online since the end of July.

Daniel Winter, from the executors of Studdert's will, said the website aimed to "allow survivors of historical assault to come forward and state an intention to seek financial compensation from his legal estate".

In the meantime Studdert's estate has been "effectively frozen", Mr Winter, of Nockolds Solicitors, said.

Studdert was banned from working in a priestly function in the Church of England after being jailed in 2006 for possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children.

More than 100,000 indecent images were found at his home.

August 21, 2020

Appeal shows London diocese not ready to 'do the right thing,' sex abuse survivor says

London Free Press

August 21, 2020

By Jane Sims

[Includes the important December 6, 2018 video statement by Irene Deschenes, announcing that she had won a court challenge to re-open a civil suit against the Catholic Church.]

Once again, the Roman Catholic Diocese of London, as Irene Deschenes said, isn’t ready to “do the right thing.”

You could set your watch this week for when the diocese would drop its application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, hoping to overturn a lower court decision allowing the sexual abuse survivor to reopen her two-decades-old civil case.

Deschenes had already brushed away any fleeting thought that the church might back off so she could move forward. The application arrived right at deadline.

“It’s painful enough to try to recover from the effects of sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest,” said Deschenes, 58, at her news conference Thursday.

“It’s more painful to recover from the effects of legal bullying that the church and their lawyers put victims through again and again.”

The church hasn’t offered any comment, but if it thinks all this legal effort will stop Deschenes, one of Canada’s most fearless survivors of sexual abuse by a priest, it should think again.

Deschenes is both a victim and whistleblower of prolific pedophile Charles Sylvestre, the defrocked priest who died at 84 in 2007, months into his three-year sentence for indecently assaulting 47 little girls over four decades in Windsor, London, Sarnia, Chatham and Pain Court.

Woman sexually abused by priest urges Roman Catholic diocese to drop appeal

Global News

August 20, 2020

By Paola Loriggio

An Ontario woman who was sexually abused by a priest as a child says the Roman Catholic church is turning to Canada’s top court in an effort to further delay a decades-long legal battle.

Irene Deschenes says the Diocese of London has filed for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada after Ontario’s highest court granted her the right to sue the church a second time over the abuse.

While the diocese has the right to legally defend itself, that doesn’t mean an appeal is the right thing to do, Deschenes said in a news conference Thursday.

“It’s painful enough to try to recover from the effects of sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest; it’s even more painful to recover from the effects of legal bullying that the church and their lawyers put victims through again and again,” she said.

“Two decades is two decades too long. If we go to mediation, this painful process will be expedited and I can finally get on with my life.”

A spokesperson for the diocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Deschenes first filed a lawsuit in 1996 alleging she was sexually abused by Father Charles Sylvestre in the early 1970s, and that the diocese failed to prevent it. She settled out of court in 2000 after the diocese maintained it didn’t know of any concerns regarding Sylvestre or his behaviour until the late 1980s.

In 2006, Sylvestre pleaded guilty to having sexually assaulted 47 girls under the age of 18, including Deschenes. It also came to light that the diocese had received police statements in 1962 alleging the priest had assaulted three girls.

As a result, Deschenes sought to throw out the settlement and launch a new lawsuit, and a motion judge ruled in her favour. The diocese challenged the ruling, but its appeal was unanimously dismissed by the province’s top court in May.

London Diocese takes child sexual abuse settlement challenge to Supreme Court


August 19, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of London is taking its fight against Irene Deschenes to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Deschenes was sexually abused by Father Charles Sylvestre between 1971 and 1973, while she was a student at St. Ursula Catholic School and a member of his parish in Chatham, Ont. She was 10 years old when it started.

Deschenes reported the abuse in 1992 and filed a lawsuit four years later. She reached a financial settlement with the Diocese in 2000 believing church officials did not know Father Sylvestre was preying on young girls.

He pleaded guilty in August 2006 to sexual assaults involving 47 victims, including Deschenes. All the girls were under the age of 18.

"On assurance from the Diocese of London that it had no information or knowledge that the priest had engaged in sexual abuse of other girls prior to the time Irene was so abused in 1971, Irene accepted an out-of-court settlement," reads a statement released Wednesday by the group Advocates for Clergy Trauma Survivors in Canada (ACTS-Canada).

Letter to the Faithful

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

August 15 2020; released August 20, 2020

By Bishop Emeritus Michael J. Bransfield

I am writing to apologize for any scandal or wonderment caused by words or actions attributed to me during my tenure as Bishop of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese.

First, during my tenure I was reimbursed for certain expenditures that have been called into question as excessive, and I have been advised that I should reimburse a certain amount of money to the Diocese. I have now done so even though I believed that such reimbursements to me were proper.

Second, there have been allegations that by certain words and actions I have caused certain priests and seminarians to feel sexually harassed. Although that was never my intent, if anything that I said or did caused others to feel that way, then I am profoundly sorry.

I hope that this letter will help to achieve a kind of reconciliation with the Faithful of the Diocese.

Statement on the Congregation of Bishops’ decision on amends plan for Bishop Michael J. Bransfield

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

August 20, 2020

By Bishop Mark Brennan

I wish to announce to the faithful people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston that the Congregation for Bishops in Rome has reached a decision on how former Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Michael J. Bransfield should fulfill Pope Francis’ requirement that the Bishop “make personal amends for some of the harm he caused” while serving in this Diocese. This decision comes after extensive input from me, as the representative of the Catholic people of the Diocese, and with consideration of governing factors in both civil and canon law.

First, Bishop Bransfield has been told to make a public apology to the people of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese for the scandal he created. He is urged as well to apologize privately to certain individuals who reported abuse and harassment. We have received his letter of apology to the Diocese, which is being made public on our diocesan website, and are aware that some individuals have received a letter from the Bishop.

Philly native and ex-Bishop Michael Bransfield apologizes for financial and sexual impropriety — yet still says he did nothing wrong

Philadelphia Inquirer

August 20, 2020

By Jeremy Roebuck


The Rev. Michael Bransfield — the Philadelphia-raised priest and former West Virginia bishop who resigned in 2018 amid a scandal over his lavish spending and sexual misconduct allegations — issued a tepid apology Thursday, his first to Roman Catholic faithful in his former diocese and one made under orders from the Vatican.

Despite saying he was “profoundly sorry” if anything he said or did made priests of seminarians uncomfortable during his 13-year tenure at the helm of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Bransfield continued to defend himself and took no responsibility for the millions he spent on pricey personal accommodations in one of the country’s poorest states.

“I am writing to apologize for any scandal or wonderment caused by words or actions attributed to me during my tenure,” he wrote in a letter dated Saturday and posted to the diocesan website by his successor Thursday.

Toronto priest removed from ministry

Catholic Register - Archdiocese of Toronto

August 20, 2020

The Archdiocese of Toronto has removed from ministry a Salesian priest accused of abuse against a minor in the Archdiocese of New York dating back to the late 1970s or early 1980s.

The archdiocese was made aware earlier this week that Fr. Nino Cavoto, pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Toronto’s west end, is facing accusations from his time at a parish in the New York archdiocese where he served between 1979 and 1983. There have been no allegations of misconduct against him since he arrived in the Toronto archdiocese in 1983.

“Following our procedure relating to allegations of misconduct, the Archdiocese of Toronto has removed Fr. Cavoto from ministry pending the investigation,” the archdiocese said in a news release. “He is entitled to due process, as is any accused individual.”

The archdiocese looks upon allegations of misconduct as “an urgent matter” and is following its full “Procedure for Cases of Alleged Misconduct” protocol in the matter, added the release.

In the interim, Fr. Chris Cauchi has been appointed administrator at Our Lady of Sorrows.

Henry Brian Highfill Added to Clergy Abuse Report

Archdiocese of New Orleans

August 19, 2020

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has concluded a thorough investigation into allegations of abuse of minors lodged against Henry Brian Highfill. Highfill was removed from ministry pending the outcome of this investigation. Today, the archbishop has added his name to the Archdiocese of New Orleans Report Regarding Clergy Abuse, found online at nolacatholic.org and has affirmed Highfill’s removal from ministry.

Highfill has not ministered in the New Orleans area in 40 years. He remained incardinated to the Archdiocese of New Orleans and left to serve as a military chaplain through the Archdiocese of the Military.

Highfill’s pastoral assignments in the Archdiocese of New Orleans are [as follows].

Archdiocese of N.O. adds another priest to child abuse list

WWL Radio

August 20, 2020

By Kenny Kuhn

The Archdiocese of New Orleans adds another priest to it's list of clergymen credibly accused of child abuse.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Archdiocese added 78-year-old Henry Brian Highfill to that list following the conclusion of an investigation into abuse allegations against Highfill.

“The Archdiocese of New Orleans has concluded a thorough investigation into allegations of abuse of minors lodged against Henry Brian Highfill. Highfill was removed from ministry pending the outcome of this investigation. Today, the archbishop has added his name to the Archdiocese of New Orleans Report Regarding Clergy Abuse, found online at nolacatholic.org and has affirmed Highfill’s removal from ministry,” the statement read.

The Archdiocese says Highfill has not ministered in the New Orleans area in 40 years, although he served as a military chaplain through the Archdiocese of the Military.

Archdiocese adds priest to list of those accused of abuse


August 20, 2020

By Greg LaRose

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has added another priest to its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse. Brian Highfill was assigned to five churches in the New Orleans area and one in Houma between 1975 and 1981, when the abuse is alleged to have occurred.

Allegations against Highfill include a relationship with a 10-year-old altar boy in the early 1970s when Highfill was a priest at St. Catherine of Siena in Metairie, according to a civil lawsuit another accuser filed in 2019 against the priest and the archdiocese. The court petition said Highfill “maintained a personal, intimate and improper relationship” with the victim, sending him letters, cards and gifts “that expressed his love, affection and yearning…” for more than 15 years.

The victim took his own life in 1993, according to the lawsuit. Relatives of the victim found Highfill ’s cards and letters and brought them to the attention of a monsignor with the Archdiocese of New Orleans within the following year. The monsignor “did not consider the cards and letters to be significant” and no action was taken against Highfill , the court document said.

In August 2018, a family member reached Archbishop Gregory Aymond and brought him Highfill ’s cards and letters to the victim, the lawsuit details. After the relative met with Aymond, the court filing said there was no further response from the archdiocese.

Toledo Bishop releases statement after arrest of former St. Peter's priest

Richland Source

August 20, 2020

By Emily Dech

The Rev. Michael Zacharias, a former priest at Mansfield St. Peter's, was arrested Tuesday by the FBI in a federal sex abuse case.

On Friday, Bishop Daniel Thomas released a letter and a video statement to members of the Toledo Diocese, both are included below.

Church leaders, abuse survivors speak out after arrest of Findlay priest

WNWO 24 News

August 19, 2020

By Sophia Perricone

St. Catherine of Siena's Reverend Francis Speier is speaking out following the arrest of Findlay priest Michael Zacharias who once served at St. Catherine.

"I know Father. We run in different circles," Speier said. "He's a lot younger than I am so his social circle is a lot different than mine."

Zacharias was arrested Tuesday morning on multiple sex trafficking charges and court documents reveal he met at least two of his victims at St. Catherine.

Speier says he's angry about the abuse that has continued over decades, wondering why history continues to repeat itself.

"I would've thought by now, guys would have gotten smart, stopped what they're doing, own up for their actions and move on.

The Catholic Diocese of Toledo put Zacharias on administrative leave. But Claudia Vercellotti, a survivor of church sexual abuse, wants more.

"Take down the tributes inside church entryways and on websites that pay special tribute to clerics, priests and other church leaders [about whom] credible allegations of clergy sexual abuse exist," Vercellotti said.

Attorneys square off in jurisdictional battle in Archdiocese bankruptcy

WVUE Fox 8

August 20, 2020

By Rob Masson

Attorneys for alleged clergy sex abuse victims and the Archdiocese of New Orleans, squared off in federal bankruptcy court Thursday in a battle over who will decide damages.

Attorneys for alleged victims say the church is solvent and does not belong in bankruptcy court, but the Archdiocese says it's not that easy.

Nearly four months after the Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for bankruptcy, attorneys for dozens of alleged victims went before a federal bankruptcy judge asking that the entire matter be removed from her court.

“The plaintiffs want to get in-state court so that they can do discovery and fight over how much money and how many assets the church has and the church doesn’t want that to happen,” said Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Attorneys for alleged victims produced documents showing that the Archdiocese of New Orleans has assets of around $520 million and is solvent. Because of that, they say there’s no justification for a bankruptcy filing which could hurt their clients’ cases.

“In bankruptcy court, it will be the decision of one judge. What the church is afraid of is a jury will feel sympathy which is understandable for these victims. That could give them a much larger award not to mention the discovery that they don’t want to happen,” said Raspanti.

Mark Mintz, the attorney for the archdiocese admitted that in spite of mounting costs the archdiocese is not insolvent and he said that the law doesn’t require insolvency for a bankruptcy action to be filed.

New archbishop talks racism, November election and why Catholic schools aren’t going virtual


August 20, 2020

Interview of Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski by Anne Allred and Dori Olmos

Archbishop-elect Rozanski shared his views on how to tackle a variety of challenges in the church, including racism, declining numbers and sex abuse allegations

The incoming leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis recognizes the responsibility he’s about to take on.

“I'm grateful to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for appointing me as the archbishop of St. Louis,” Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski said during a Zoom call Thursday morning.

He recently moved to St. Louis from Springfield, Massachusetts, where he spent six years as a bishop.

“I realize the great responsibility that goes along with this position,” he added.

But he’s ready for the task ahead. In an interview with 5 On Your Side’s Anne Allred, Archbishop-elect Rozanski shared his views on how to tackle a variety of challenges in the church, including racism, declining numbers and sex abuse allegations.

Addressing sex abuse allegations in the Catholic Church

Rozanski said transparency is key. While working in Springfield, he tried to foster good working relationships with the investigators tasked with looking into allegations involving clergy.

“I think working that way, also keeping up our education about any type of child or minor sexual abuse is important so that everyone has an awareness of what to look for. There are signs of what to do, what to do about it to act upon it,” he said.

Uproar after Somali lawmaker presents bill to legalise child marriage


August 20, 2020

By Abdi Sheikh

Hafsa was married off at 13 by her father to a man who paid $100. She and her mother say she was beaten and raped for two years before they convinced him to divorce her.

“The man just slept with me, beating me always,” she said, sitting by her mother, who clutches her daughter tightly. “I regretted I was born.”

There is no law mandating a minimum age for marriage in Somalia. A bill introduced in parliament this month by a presidential ally caused a storm of criticism from lawmakers when they realised it would legalise marriage at puberty - as early as 10 for some girls.

Data from a government survey this year shows that nearly a third of girls are married before their 18th birthday - just under half of those before the age of 15.

“Some families marry off their daughters to reduce their economic burden or earn income. Others may do so because they believe it will secure their daughters’ futures or protect them,” said Dheepa Pandian, a spokeswoman from UNICEF, the United Nations’ Children’s Fund.

August 20, 2020

Vatican agrees to weakened restitution for West Virginia bishop accused of sexual and financial misdeeds

Washington Post

August 20, 2020

By Michelle Boorstein

The Vatican has approved much-reduced reparations, including an apology letter that takes no direct responsibility, for a former West Virginia bishop accused of misusing millions in church money and sexually harassing fellow clerics.

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield stepped down in September 2018 as leader of the Wheeling-Charleston diocese amid allegations that he spent millions on personal extravagances and gifts to fellow clerics and that he harassed seminarians and young priests who worked for him.

After an internal Vatican investigation concluded that the allegations were true, Bishop Mark Brennan, Bransfield’s successor in West Virginia, drew up a restitution plan in November that he said would be “an act of restorative justice” for Bransfield to accept.

“It is also for his own spiritual good and his own healing as a man who professes to follow Christ,” Brennan Brennan wrote when announcing the plan last fall.

Some canon law experts said it was the first case they’d heard of involving a bishop being made to pay restitution — publicly or privately. In addition to calling for Bransfield’s replacement to come up with a restitution plan, the Vatican also prohibited Bransfield from public ministry and from residing in the West Virginia diocese.”

But on Thursday, Brennan’s office announced the final plan approved by the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops, which sharply reduces the money Bransfield was supposed to pay the diocese — money that was to be set aside for victims of abuse. The initial plan called for him to pay $792,638; the Vatican deal agreed to $441,000, according to a letter Brennan wrote to the diocese.

More than 500 sex abuse claims filed against Diocese of Rochester


August 19, 2020

By Ginny Ryan

When Carol Dupre first shared her story of sex abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Rochester, she stood with her lawyer on the steps of Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Three years later, Dupre now stands with 503 others - just like her.

"I was glad to know so many people responded, but I was disappointed that it was such a large number for what I was told was a small diocese. I thought it was a sad commentary for the Catholic Church," she said Wednesday it .

The deadline has passed for child sex abuse survivors to file civil lawsuits against the Diocese of Rochester, and 503 people have filed claims against the diocese under New York's Child Victims Act amid the institution's bankruptcy filing.

Dupre serves on the bankruptcy panel representing sex abuse victims in the case. She says she significantly underestimated the number that would file claims.

Her attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, says it's because of victims like her who came forward. Garabedian, who is representing 95 survivors of child sex abuse in the greater Rochester region, previously estimated there would be 250-300 claims filed.

3 women settle lawsuit against Austin Catholic priest accused of abuse


August 19, 2020

By Kate Winkle

A lawsuit three women brought against a local Catholic organization and former priest has been settled, according to an attorney on the case.

“I can confirm that our important lawsuit and claims by these brave, wonderful women against the Schoenstatt Order and its priest were mediated and successfully resolved,” wrote Sean Breen in a statement. “I am so proud of and happy for each one of these women, that their voice was heard and so grateful for our system of justice and the right to a jury trial.”

In July, the women sued over allegations of sexual assault and false imprisonment, and claimed the Schoenstatt Movement of Austin engaged in “institutionalized negligence.” They also sued Gerold Langsch, a former priest at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in south Austin. All three were parishioners there.

Langsch was accused of inappropriately touching one of the plaintiffs when she was in hospice care in 2018. According to court documents, he had gone to her to administer her last rites. Langsch accepted a plea deal in that case in June 2019, in which he pleaded “no contest” and was sentenced to 300 days probation and fined $1,000.

Archdiocese of New Orleans adds priest to clergy abuse list

WVUE Fox 8

August 19, 2020

By Kendra Smith-Parks

78-year-old Henry Brian Highfill was removed from the ministry after an investigation into allegations involving the abuse of minors.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans added another name to the clergy abuse list on Wednesday.

78-year-old Henry Brian Highfill was removed from the ministry after an investigation into allegations involving the abuse of minors.

See below for the full statement:

“The Archdiocese of New Orleans has concluded a thorough investigation into allegations of abuse of minors lodged against Henry Brian Highfill. Highfill was removed from ministry pending the outcome of this investigation. Today, the archbishop has added his name to the Archdiocese of New Orleans Report Regarding Clergy Abuse, found online at nolacatholic.org and has affirmed Highfill’s removal from ministry.

Highfill has not ministered in the New Orleans area in 40 years. He remained incardinated to the Archdiocese of New Orleans and left to serve as a military chaplain through the Archdiocese of the Military.”

According to the report, Highfill’s ordination took place on May 11, 1971. His estimated time of abuse was 6 years from 1975 to 1981.

The allegation was received from 2018 and he was removed from Ministry in 2018.

See below for a full list of his pastoral assignments.

Report lists priests linked to sex abuse

Daily Independent

August 19, 2020

By Henry Culvyhouse

A report released last week by the Lexington Diocese of the Catholic Church has 23 priests accused of sexual abuse in eastern and northern Kentucky.

The Daily Independent has identified at least seven accused priests as having posts in the area. One priest was accused last year, but not included on the list.

The founding Bishop of the Diocese — which was carved out of the Covington and Louisville Dioceses in 1988 — has also been accused of sexual misconduct. Bishop James Kendrick Williams, 83, was accused of of abusing two minors while he served in Louisville. He is listed in the Louisville Archdiocese as an abuser and his case has been referred to the Vatican. He resigned in 2002.

The report is the result of a two-year investigation commissioned by church officials, carried out by attorneys independent of the church. The report stresses that the allegations may not be used in a court of law, however 22 are considered “sustained and credible.”

Records paint Zacharias as priest and predator

The Courier

August 19, 2020

By Lou Wilin

He preached, ministered communion, heard confessions and won the trust of hundreds. He also manipulated and coerced drug-addicted boys and men into sex, and spoke in code of oral sex, body parts and semen, records filed in U.S. District Court, in Cleveland, allege.

At his own behest, the Rev. Michael Zacharias had a “confession video” taken in 2015 depicting himself performing oral sex on one of his victims, then an adult, according to court records.

At one point, Zacharias, in clergy attire, looks into the camera, and according to court records, states: “My name is Michael Zacharias. I first met (Victim #1) when he was in sixth grade at St. Catherine’s and I was a Seminarian."

August 19, 2020

Disgraced former priest dies in custody

Ottawa Citizen

August 19, 2020

By Andrew Duffy

A former Ottawa priest has died in custody while waiting to be sentenced for the sexual abuse of two teenaged boys in a church rectory.

Barry McGrory had been at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre since December when he was arrested for failing to appear in court.

McGrory, the former pastor at Holy Cross Parish, died in hospital. He was 85.

Last June, Superior Court Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin found McGrory guilty on two counts of gross indecency and two counts of indecent assault for crimes dating to the 1960s. The judge said McGrory used his position in the Catholic church to “exploit vulnerable and naïve young men for his own satisfaction.”


McGrory was convicted of abusing three adolescent boys during his clerical career, and credibly accused by at least five other victims, both male and female.

At least three of those victims complained to senior church officials about McGrory, but their concerns were repeatedly dismissed.

McGrory himself said former archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde was aware of his predilection for adolescents and did nothing.

Cardinal Pell speaks on maintaining hope in prison, Vatican finances

Catholic News Agency via Catholic San Francisco - Archdiocese of San Francisco

August 17, 2020

Cardinal George Pell, who was acquitted this year after becoming the highest-ranking Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of sexual abuse, spoke this week about how he maintained hope during his 400 days in prison.

“The virtue of Christian hope is different than Christian optimism. No matter what your circumstances are in this life, eventually all will be well. A good God is in charge, even though terrible things happen,” Pell, 79, said in an interview aired Aug. 16.

Pell was initially convicted in Australia in 2018 of multiple counts of sexual abuse. On April 7, 2020, Australia's High Court overturned his six-year prison sentence. The High Court ruled that he should not have been found guilty of the charges and that the prosecution had not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Pell spent 13 months in solitary confinement, during which time he was not permitted to celebrate Mass.

The cardinal still faces a canonical investigation at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, though after his conviction was overturned, several canonical experts said it was unlikely he would actually face a Church trial.

Pell said despite the discomfort and humiliation of being in prison, he was often surprised by the decency and professionalism of the majority of the prison officers, who conversed with him and other men in solitary confinement.

Pell’s remarks were live-streamed as part of the 10th annual Napa Institute conference, held virtually this year Aug. 14-15.

Irish church in 'vocations crisis'

The Tablet

August 18, 2020

By Sarah Mac Donald

The Catholic Church in Ireland is living through a vocations “pandemic” which will see more new bishops ordained this year than new priests, a well-known cleric has warned.

Fr Paddy Byrne, who is parish priest of Abbeyleix and Ballyroan in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin told The Tablet he was “genuinely concerned” for the Irish Church as someone who is “passionate about my ministry and very worried about my future”.

The 46-year-old, who is the second youngest priest in his diocese, described the number of diocesan priestly ordinations this year for the Irish Church’s 26 dioceses as “abysmal”. He said: “Could you imagine in the middle of a pandemic if there were only two or three doctors graduating for frontline service?”

Harvey Weinstein challenges NY law protecting sex abuse victims

New York Post

August 17, 2020

By Priscilla DeGregory

Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein is claiming New York’s Child Victims Act is unconstitutional — in a bid to get a court to toss accusations that the fallen movie mogul sexually abused a woman nearly 20 years ago when she was just 16, court papers show.

Weinstein’s right to due process was violated when Kaja Sokola — a former model and aspiring actress from Poland — filed suit against him in December under the CVA, despite the fact that her claims of abuse are from 2002 and would normally be time-barred, the film producer’s lawyers said in court papers from last week.

The 68-year-old convicted rapist vehemently denies Sokola’s claims that he sexually abused her in his Big Apple apartment and also denies that he met her when she was 16, the court documents say.

“An indisputable timeline of events, corroborated by other evidence, will refute her claims of abuse,” Weinstein’s lawyer Imran Ansari wrote in Manhattan Supreme Court papers seeking to dismiss Sokola’s case.

But Weinstein — who was sentenced to 23 years in prison for the rape and sex abuse of two women — says the suit should be tossed out anyway since “The CVA is unconstitutional,” Ansari said in the court documents.

Criminal Complaint: United States of America v. Michael Zacharias

Federal Bureau of Investigation/U.S. District Court - Northern District of Ohio

August 17, 2020

By Special Agent Brian E. Russ

7. On July 29, 2020, Victim #1 was contacted by the FBI. Victim #1 revealed that “FrZ” refers to Father Zacharias, a priest, and that Zacharias had molested and raped him as a child. Victim #1 stated that Zacharias paid him in exchange for being able to perform oral sex on Victim #1 when Victim #1 was a minor, and that Zacharias continued to pay him money for sex even after Victim #1 turned 18, including when Victim #1 was drug-addicted and needed the money for his drug habit. Victim #1 stated that they continue to communicate via phone calls and text messages.

8. On August 3, 2020, Victim #1 was interviewed in more detail. Victim #1 said that he first met Zacharias in Catholic school in Toledo when he was in the sixth grade and Zacharias was in the Seminary. With a physically abusive and largely absent father, Victim #1 viewed Zacharias as a father figure. Over the years, and into junior high and high school, Zacharias spent time with Victim #1, came over to his house, gave him money, and showed him affection, including inappropriate touching, as well as inappropriate sexual comments.

9. Affiant is aware that all of this time, attention, and money by Zacharias is consistent with grooming – a process in which the sexual abuser befriends and establishes an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes also family members, to lower the child’s inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. This process can occur over many weeks, months, and even years.

Findlay priest charged with sex trafficking

Toledo Blade

August 18, 2020

By Nicki Gorny

Findlay - The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday arrested the pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, alleging that he groomed and sexually assaulted minors for years, beginning in Toledo.

Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith said the Rev. Michael Zacharias, 53, is believed to have groomed and sexually assaulted minors since the late 1990s.

The Northwest Ohio Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force took the priest into custody after he presided at a 7 a.m. Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Parish. Father Zacharias faces charges of coercion and enticement, sex trafficking of a minor, and sex trafficking of an adult by force, fraud, or coercion, according to court documents.

He participated Tuesday afternoon in an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

“This is obviously a sad day not only for the church family, for the community, but it also marks the beginning of healing for those victimized by Michael Zacharias,” Agent Smith said.

Agent Smith addressed the media at a morning news conference outside the priest's residence on Greendale Avenue in Findlay, which abuts the parking lot of the parish grounds. He said the criminal complaint filed against the priest includes accounts from two victims, but his department believes there have been others.

Agent Smith encouraged anyone who has had unwanted sexual contact with Father Zacharias to contact the FBI at 216-622-6842.

“It's imperative that those other individuals out there come forward,” he said on Tuesday. “Your contact with us will remain strictly confidential.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo announced that Father Zacharias was put on administrative leave effective immediately upon hearing word of his arrest. This means he cannot exercise public ministry, administer sacraments, or present himself as a priest. Administrative leave is a precautionary measure while an allegation is being investigated.

Former St. Peter's priest charged in federal sex abuse case

Richland Source

August 18, 2020

Findlay - A former Roman Catholic priest at Mansfield St. Peter's Church was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Toledo after his arrest in Findlay on Tuesday morning.

Bishop Daniel E. Thomas placed Rev. Michael Zacharias, 53, a priest of the Diocese of Toledo and pastor of St. Michael the Archangel parish in Findlay, on administrative leave after he was reportedly arrested by FBI agents on charges of sex trafficking, coercion and enticement.

According to a story in the Toledo Blade, FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith said Zacharias is believed to have been grooming and engaging in sexual conduct with minors since the late 1990s.

He said there are two victims in the criminal complaint, but authorities believe there are more.

FBI: Predator Priest in Ohio Abused Boys for Decades

Yahoo News

August 18, 2020

By Kate Briquelet

A Catholic priest in Ohio was arrested Tuesday for child sex trafficking and is accused of grooming and abusing at least two victims since the '90s.

The FBI cuffed Michael Zacharias, 53, after morning Mass at St. Michael the Archangel in Findlay. The pastor is charged with coercion and enticement, sex trafficking of a minor, and sex trafficking of an adult by force, fraud, or coercion. According to the feds, Zacharias was taken into custody without incident at his residence.

Court filings describe how Zacharias preyed on two vulnerable boys and continued abusing them after they became adults by taking advantage of their struggles with addiction. One of the victim’s drug problems “stemmed from his confusion about his sexuality based on years of inappropriate touching by Zacharias,” an FBI agent noted in an affidavit.

Some evidence in the case even includes sickening videos Zacharias created with one of the victims, who kept the footage on a USB drive. “The great thing for you is that I actually paid you to make the videos and that you will one day ruin me with them and get rich,” Zacharias texted the victim in late July, according to an FBI affidavit.

Following priest arrest, advocates for the sexually abused share insight on what signs to look for


August 19, 2020

By Roxanne Elias


According to the experts, 93 percent of child sexual assault victims know the perpetrator.

Following the arrest of a Findlay priest, advocates of sexually abused victims are shedding light on how sexual abuse can happen to some of your most vulnerable loved ones.

"It's shocking that in 2020 we're still here with a clergy sexual abuse crisis in this country," said Claudia Vercelloti.

For more than 20 years, Vercelloti been a spokesperson and volunteer with the Ohio Survivors Network of those abused by priests, also known as SNAP.

Vercelloti says she's relieved to learn the FBI is spearheading an investigation following the arrest of Findlay pastor Michael Zacharias, who is facing federal sex trafficking of a minor charges.

Her organization is now helping victims on the road to recovery.

"Later it may be easier to say, 'why didn't you just ask for help?' But to realize when you're in the middle, it's very difficult. And you're feeling all sorts of different emotions that makes it really hard to make a rational choice to speak up," said Dr. Victoria Kelly, the Vice Chair of Education in the Department of psychiatry at the University of Toledo."

August 18, 2020

Ex-altar boy says he was abused by Cardinal McCarrick — and witnessed more at beach house

The Record and NorthJersey.com

August 17, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

Geoffrey Downs said he was a teenage altar boy in the 1980s when former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick abruptly pinned him to a wall and sexually abused him as they prepared for services in Metuchen.

McCarrick, who would go on to become one of the most prominent clerics in the U.S. Catholic Church, allegedly said he could arrange for the two to go to a Jersey Shore beach house where they could have "alone time."

Downs, who sued McCarrick and the Metuchen diocese last week, said he knew about that house because he'd been there a few years earlier on a retreat with a group of altar boys. He said he had been awakened by a sound just before dawn, and witnessed a priest sexually abusing a young boy.

"I was well aware of the beach house and what it could mean," Downs, 53, said in an interview Monday.

His lawsuit is the second civil complaint alleging child sex abuse at a Jersey Shore home used by Catholic clergy and connected to McCarrick. In a suit filed last month, a man said he was abused by the former cardinal at a beach house where the prelate allegedly shared boys with other clerics. The abuse allegedly occurred in the early 1980s, when McCarrick was the Metuchen bishop, about the same time as the activity alleged in Downs' lawsuit.

Downs' complaint, filed Aug. 11 in Middlesex County, alleges he was abused by McCarrick in 1982 or 1983, when he was 15 or 16 years old, at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Metuchen. He said he didn't know the bishop but had seen him celebrating Mass at the parochial high school he attended. Downs said he was abused just the one time, and that he recoiled from McCarrick and then quit going to church altogether.

Hearing to Dismiss Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Waite Park Catholic School Later This Month


August 17, 2020

By Jennifer Lewerenz

A hearing to dismiss a lawsuit against a private Catholic school in Waite Park is scheduled for later this month.

The lawsuit, filed in 2018, alleges sexual abuse at the hands of a priest and a family at Holy Innocents School. The case calls the school a "public nuisance" and says they are guilty of negligence and negligent supervision. The plaintiff, known as Doe 596 is asking for $50,000 in damages for the school to be closed.

The suit alleges the Sis family sexually abused Doe 596 from 1978 to 1984 while she was a Holy Innocents student. A priest who lived at the school, Father Lawrence Brey, is also named in the suit.

School officials say the allegations are decades old and beyond the statute of limitations.

The hearing is set for August 26th.

Holy Innocents School is not affiliated with the Diocese of St. Cloud, which has filed Chapter 11 as part of a settlement with survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

NJ Priest Accused of Groping Woman at His Church, Prosecutor Says


August 17, 2020

A diocesan priest in northern New Jersey is accused of allegedly groping a woman over the course of months, according to the Hudson County prosecutor.

Rev. Donato Cabardo, 56, was arrested Friday in connection with alleged sexual crimes that occurred in the rectory at St. Paul of the Cross Church in Jersey City where Cabardo is a diocesan priest, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez.

Cabardo has been charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact and one count of harassment, a petty disorderly persons offense.

Following his arrest, he was released on a summons complaint and is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 9.

Attorney information for Cabardo was not immediately known.

According to prosecutors, the alleged crimes involved an adult female victim and were first reported to the Archdiocese of Newark. The Archdiocese notified the New Jersey Clergy Abuse Task Force and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit which then investigated the allegations.

Prosecutors say that their subsequent investigation revealed that between January and July 2020 Cabardo allegedly touched the victim’s breast and buttocks for the purpose of sexually arousing or sexually gratifying himself. He also allegedly pressed his cheek against her cheek and kissed her cheek, hand, face and head.

Jersey City Priest Arrested, Faces Sex Crime Charges


August 17, 2020

By Steve Lenox

Jersey City, NJ - A Jersey City priest has been arrested and charged in connection with alleged sexual crimes that occurred in the rectory at St. Paul of the Cross Church earlier this year, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez.

In a statement Suarez announced that Donato Cabardo was arrested without incident on Saturday after surrendering himself at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. Cabardo has been charged with two counts of fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact and one count of Harassment

According to the statement, the alleged crimes involved an adult female victim and were first reported to the Archdiocese of Newark. The Archdiocese notified the New Jersey Clergy Abuse Task Force and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit which then investigated the allegations.

Between January and July 2020, the investigation found, Cabardo allegedly touched the victim’s breast and buttocks for the purpose of sexually arousing or sexually gratifying himself. He also allegedly pressed his cheek against her cheek and kissed her cheek, hand, face and head.

Cabardo, the third priest arrested by members of the Task Force since its inception in 2018, is due in court on September 9.

Catholic diocese in Kentucky lists 20 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse

Courier Journal

August 17 2020

By Lucas Aulbach

Allegations of sexual abuse against 20 priests who served in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington have been substantiated or found to be credible, according to the diocese.

The list, released last week after a nearly 20-month review, is a part of an independent investigation being prepared by attorneys Allison Connelly and Andrew Sparks, according to a letter from Bishop John Stowe released in conjunction with the list. It was released Friday, with the full report to be released later.

Claims against one priest were unsubstantiated, the release said.

Of the claims against the other 20 priests on the list, 10 allegations were substantiated, four allegations were credible, six allegations were credible but involved minors outside the Diocese of Lexington. There are no pending allegations against any active priests, the report says.

Detroit priest denies abuse, gets $125K in lawsuit deal

Associated Press

August 17, 2020

A Detroit priest who said he was defamed by a police officer in an investigation of alleged sexual abuse has settled a lawsuit against her for $125,000.

The Rev. Eduard Perrone said he doesn’t care about the money but wants to be reinstated at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, known as Assumption Grotto, a Catholic church he had led for 25 years until he was removed by the Detroit Archdiocese in 2019.

“It’s been a long, slow wait,” Perrone told the Detroit Free Press. “I’ve been ousted from my parish for 13 months, and I’m very anxious to get back.”

A former altar boy accused Perrone of assaulting him decades ago, according to a report by Nancy LePage, a Macomb County sheriff’s detective who specializes in child sex crimes.

Perrone, 72, denied the allegation and hasn’t been charged with a crime. He filed a lawsuit against LePage, saying she defamed him.

The county recently settled it for $125,000 after a panel of lawyers reviewed the case, a common step in Detroit-area lawsuits.

County attorney John Schapka said there was no wrongdoing by LePage. He said the case was settled to avoid a larger jury verdict and other costs.

Two years after nun accuses bishop of rape, trial starts with reading of charges

Global Sisters Report of National Catholic Reporter

August 14, 2020

By Saji Thomas News

Kottayam, India - Two years after a Catholic sister accused a bishop of rape and intimidation, the official trial started Aug. 13 as a district court judge read the charges aloud to Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar.

The rape case is the first one to involve a Catholic bishop in India. The trial will resume Sept. 16 with testimony from the victim and cross-examination.

Judge G. Gopakumar of the Additional District and Sessions Court in Kottayam, Kerala, read out a brief statement of charges that said Mulakkal had repeatedly raped the former superior general of the Missionaries of Jesus and intimidated her with the influence of his office.

The nun has accused Mulakkal of subjecting her to rape and sodomy 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

The judge also listed the dates of the alleged crimes in the congregation's convent at Kuravilangad, a village near Kottayam, and asked Mulakkal if he would agree with the charges.

The prelate, who stood before the judge in the witness box at the back of the courtroom, loudly replied, "No." His response was heard by those inside the court and about two dozen watching the proceedings from the corridor.

Ex-archbishop in Chile dies before facing trial for sex abuse


August 14, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rosario, Argentina – A former powerful Chilean archbishop removed from the priesthood by Pope in 2018 died Wednesday, without ever facing trial for allegation of sexually abusing minors.

The news of Francisco José Cox’s passing was announced by the Schoenstatt Fathers, his original religious order. He was 86.

Cox was first bishop of Chillan, between 1975 and 1981, and the archbishop of La Serena between 1990 and 1997. In between, he worked at the Vatican’s former Pontifical Council for the Family and in 1987 was tapped to organize the visit of St. John Paul II to Chile, which allowed him to become close to then-Archbishop Angelo Sodano, the papal representative in the country.

To this day, many observers point to Sodano, who would become the Vatican’s Secretary of State during the final years of John Paul’s papacy, as the architect of the abuse crisis that has rocked the Chilean Church.

Cox was 86 when he died early in the morning on Aug. 12, from “respiratory failure and multisystemic failure,” according to the statement by Schoenstatt.

He was buried the same day, with only his four brothers present.

The statement from Schoenstatt Chile notes that in 2018, Pope Francis removed Cox from the priesthood, after an investigation conducted by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

August 17, 2020

Priest, mentor, paedophile

The Australian

August 15, 2020

By Suzanne Smith

Father John Denham blighted the lives of the boys in his care – including a protégé who went on to become a high-flying journalist.

It was a normal day at the office in 1997 when ABC journalist ­Steven Alward received a phone call from his old school teacher Father John Sidney Denham. After the usual pleasantries, Denham said he needed a favour. There had been a big misunderstanding: the police had charged him with sexually abusing a former ­student. Denham said he would get off because the boy was 17 at the time, the relationship had been consensual and they’d been very much in love. According to Denham, this was an attack on a gay man and his 17-year-old lover. He wanted Steven to write him a reference on ABC letterhead.

It sounded plausible to Steven, because at the time NSW law discriminated against same-sex relationships regarding the age of ­consent: for heterosexual relationships it was 16, whereas for homosexual relationships it was 18. There was a campaign underway by the Council for Civil ­Liberties and other groups to reform the law. In this context, Denham was presenting ­himself as a victim of homophobia. The call ­worried Steven, but in the end he felt obliged to do something, so he came up with a ­compromise and wrote a ­personal reference without the ABC letterhead. He believed he was defending gay rights.

At St Pius X High School in Newcastle, ­Denham – the school’s ­Master of Discipline – had been a mentor to Steven. The teacher embodied all the traits of a bumptious, slightly camp ­academic. He talked as though he was a superior intellectual with a penchant for classical music, highbrow ­literature and fine wines. To the boys he admired, like Steven, he was the most attentive and ­encouraging teacher at the school. Even after ­Steven finished school in 1978, Denham had stayed in touch and they remained close friends.

After the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis, female theologians are calling for changes to leadership


August 16, 2020

By Siobhan Hegarty

Sixty per cent of churchgoers in Australia are women, yet in the decision-making ranks of the Catholic Church, female voices are largely absent.

The lack of women in leadership roles is a point of contention for many theologians — not just for equity reasons.

According to Robyn Horner, from the Australian Catholic University's school of theology, the church's sexual abuse crisis demonstrated the failings of a male-only leadership structure.

"I think the church has protected itself for a long time with patriarchal attitudes and the exclusion of women from decision-making roles, even if they're not ordained roles," she says.

"This just means there's always a temptation to involve secrecy and silence and keep it as a boys' club."

Associate Professor Horner views the sexual abuse crisis as a line in the sand, "which says either the church is going to change or it's going to die".

As of this month, changes are being made.

Last Thursday, Pope Francis appointed six women to a group overseeing the Vatican's finances. These positions are thought to be the most senior female appointments in the Church's leadership structure.

But reformers in the Catholic Church are pushing for greater structural change.

Buffalo Survivors Group Marks One-Year Anniversary of Child Victims Act

Spectrum News

August 13, 2020

Friday marks the one-year anniversary of New York’s Child Victims Act, which allows child sex abuse victims to file lawsuits for decades-old allegations.

The Buffalo Survivors Group met Thursday to reflect on the past year and what has been accomplished. The group, regarding the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s bankruptcy proceedings, says this is a David versus Goliath moment.

“We feel that when this litigious nightmare is over, survivors will be left with nothing but a stripped carcass. To us, the Diocese of Buffalo has never been sincere about their apologies. It’s all about circling the wagons and protecting their reputation, money and assets,” Gary Astridge of the Buffalo Survivor Group said.

Members of the group are planning to send a letter to Pope Francis to request an audience so that they can share their painful experiences, seek an apology, and discuss changes to protest future generations.

Two years on, grand jury's impact on diocese lingers

Reading Eagle from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 15, 2020

By Peter Smith

[This is a substantially different version of an article previously blogged in Abuse Tracker.]

Two years after a landmark grand jury report told a sordid history of sexual abuse by priests and its cover-up by their superiors, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is still coming to terms with its impact.

Just this week, 28 people filed lawsuits or notices of intent to sue in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, while a local lay group issued a report sharply critical of the diocese's response, which it said is marked by "clericalism" and a bunker mentality.

Bishop David Zubik said Friday he marked the somber anniversary with prayers at Mass for the survivors of abuse. He said he believed the diocese has taken important steps in responding to the report, even as it undergoes a vast program of parish mergers and responds to unanticipated challenges such as the pandemic.

"Over the course of the two years, we've worked very hard to be ever more present to victim/survivors and acknowledge their need for healing," he said.

On Aug. 14, 2018, a statewide grand jury issued a report into sexual abuse and cover-up spanning seven decades in six of Pennsylvania's dioceses, including Pittsburgh's. The report made headlines worldwide and, combined with scandals elsewhere during what one Catholic journal called a "summer of shame," triggered the most intensive wave of scrutiny in years over the scandal.

Child Victims Act lawsuit outlines new sex abuse accusations against former Avon priest

Livingston County News

August 14, 2020

By Matt Leader


Another person has come forward with accusations that former Catholic priest Joseph E. Larrabee sexually abused him when he was a child.

The victim, whose name the County News is withholding to protect his privacy, is now in his 50s. In a civil complaint filed late last this month in Livingston County Supreme Court, he accused of Larrabee of sexually abusing him “on at least four occasions” in 1982 and 1983 when he was between the ages of 12 and 14. According to the filing, the abuse occurred in the St. Agnes rectory.

The alleged victim and his family were parishioners at the time the abuse occurred. He attended St. Agnes School and was an alter boy at St. Agnes Church, according to the filing.

Larrabee’s latest alleged victim is being represented by Simmons Hanly Conroy, a law firm in New York City, and the Law Office of Mitchell Garabedian, which is based in Boston. Garabedian is also representing eight other alleged victims of Larrabee in eight separate Child Victims Act suits filed in Livingston and Monroe counties since February 2020.

“The alleged sexual abuse of the nine victims spanned a period of approximately 1982 to 1993 when the victims were approximately 12 to 21 years old. The sexual abuse victims were all minors when the sexual abuse by Fr. Joseph E. Larrabee began,” said Garabedian in a statement to the County News. “The victims are now approximately 44 to 54 years old. Some victims allege that they were sexually abused by Fr. Larrabee multiple times over the course of years. Fr. Joseph E. Larrabee was assigned to either St. John The Evangelist Church in Rochester, Church of the Good Shepard in Henrietta, or St. Agnes Church in Avon at the time of the sexual abuse.”

Biden's VP Pick Targeted Pro-Lifers, Covered Up Sex Abuse

Church Militant

August 12, 2020

By David Nussman

Washington - Joe Biden's running mate has a history of targeting Catholics and pro-lifers.

Senator Kamala Harris is Biden's vice-presidential candidate, the Biden campaign announced Tuesday.


Throughout her political career, Harris has touted her record of prosecuting sex crimes in San Francisco, where she was district attorney (DA) in 2003–2011.

But victims of Catholic clerical sex abuse say Harris neglected to follow through with their abuse allegations, despite an abundance of evidence gathered by the previous DA, Terence Hallinan.

Abuse victim Joey Piscitelli, for example, says Harris "did nothing" as the district attorney of San Francisco after he wrote to her about his molestation at the hands of a local priest.

Five years later, Piscitelli wrote to Harris, again urging her to assist alleged sexual assault victims by releasing records of their abuse lawsuits that had been compiled by Hallinan.

But Harris again failed to respond. Her refusal to release the records was seen as significant, as Hallinan's team was gathering evidence as part of a wider investigation into clerical sex abuse. His inquiry lapsed when Harris became the new DA.

In June 2019, the Intercept released a graphic video detailing Harris' dubious record on clerical sex abuse.

Bronx priest ‘trafficked’ boy to child molester, lawsuit alleges

New York Post

August 15, 2020

By Kathianne Boniello

A beloved Bronx priest intentionally steered a boy to a known molester in the 1980s, leading to months of sexual abuse, according to a new lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court.

It claims Bishop John Jenik was allegedly abusing children himself when he “trafficked” a then-14-year-old Shawn Ganley to ex-con counselor Paul Gruber, whom Jenik knew was abusing other minor students at Our Lady of Refuge School, Ganley claims in court papers.

Gruber was convicted of sexual abuse charges in the mid 1980s after another victim’s parents complained, sparking a police investigation that Jenik allegedly tried to derail by intimidating kids into silence, Ganley has charged.

“It was terrifying,” Ganley told The Post, adding, “He was really leaning on me, telling me, ‘You don’t want to do this, you don’t want to give a statement.'”

Jenik, who oversaw the Our Lady of Refuge after-school program where Gruber volunteered, allegedly knew exactly what would happen when he suggested Gruber give Ganley an IQ test, claims Ganley.

Beaumont Diocese’s bishop-elect cites ‘Godincidence’

Beaumont Enterprise

August 16, 2020

By Monique Batson

Many would say the work of God brought Bishop-elect David L. Toups to Southeast Texas.

But it was the word of God that confirmed the move for the Gulf Coast native set to be ordained Friday as the sixth bishop to lead the Diocese of Beaumont.


“I’ve been all over,” he said. “I’ve had a varied experience as a priest — a broadening experience working for a national church, a regional church and working on the ground level training future priests.”

It’s that experience, he believes that will help him handle issues faced in recent years by the Catholic Church.

In early 2019, the denomination was rocked by scandal when it released a list of priests credibly accused of having been involved in the molestation of children and young adults.

Of the 286 living and deceased priests named in Texas, 13 were with the Diocese of Beaumont.

“My job in the church has been on the proactive side,” Toups said. “I want to continue to reach out to anyone who has been hurt in any way. That’s not the message of Jesus Christ. Caring for persons that have been hurt remains a priority for me.

“I have been training the next generation of priests. I’ve had this wonderful opportunity to ensure the goodness, soundness and holiness of the next generation of priests. I see the beauty and joy and vision and wholehearted dedication of these young men.”

Suspended priest wins $125K from cop for defamation: She framed me

Detroit Free Press

August 17, 2020

By Tresa Baldas

Father Eduard Perrone says he's been vindicated in a sex abuse case against him, and he wants his job back.

The embattled priest found absolution in the justice system after suing a detective for defamation, alleging she fabricated the rape claim that got him suspended. The year-old lawsuit ended last week with a $125,000 settlement for Perrone — a rare win for an accused Catholic priest who convinced a three-person court advisory panel that he deserved compensation for being defamed.

Specifically, Perrone argued that the church built its case around a detective's "fabricated" report that he had sodomized an altar boy 40 years earlier, though the now-grown man has said that didn't happen, according to church and police records. He said the detective also tried to corroborate the sodomy claim by pressuring another former altar boy into making accusations against him, though that now-grown man has said he never saw Perrone harm a child and that the detective was trying to twist his words.

Meanwhile, Perrone still doesn't have his job, and still no word from the church.

August 16, 2020

The Catholic Diocese Of Pittsburgh Expects It Will Pay Tens Of Millions To Sexual Abuse Victims, Hopes To Avoid Bankruptcy


August 14, 2020

By Andy Sheehan

Today marks two years since the release of the grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse.

Out of shock and shame that was the grand jury report, Bishop Zubik says the diocese emerged with one clear obligation — to compensate and care for victims of clergy sexual abuse — no matter the cost.

“First and foremost to people who are the victim/survivors to help them in every way we can possibly help them,” he said

To that end, the diocese established the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program — a fund to compensate all victims of clergy sexual abuse. Some 369 people have made claims and to date, most have received compensation including Paul Dorsch.

“How do you put a dollar value on that?” He said.

For Dorsch, it’s been a long road. He and others told me two decades ago about the sexual abuse they suffered as teenagers at the hands of Father Jack Hoehl, the former headmaster of Quigley High School, who as named in the report.

Troy pastor involved in sexual abuse lawsuit speaks out


August 15, 2020

Pastor Dominick Brignola is speaking out on the sexual abuse lawsuit against him, Victorious Life Christian Church and Deacon Mark Rhodes.

The lawsuit, filed by Albany woman Abigail Barker, claims that Deacon Rhodes sexually molested her in 1998. Brignola and the church are being sued for alleged negligence and cover-up.

“There's no excuse to be kept in the dark about people in their church in their community that are predators,” says Barker.

Brignola claims he played no role in the alleged incident, saying the complaint states it happened in Barker’s own home.

Opinion: Times have changed - or have they?

MetroWest Daily News

August 15, 2020

By Arthur McCaffrey/Guest Columnist

We are in the midst of a global pandemic which has changed everybody’s lives, perhaps for ever. And yet here we have a Vatican pronouncement that things have not changed, that the priest is still the parish boss, that we should all get back to playing our traditional passive PPO (‘pray, pay, obey’) roles.

Between 2004 and 2016, dozens of parishes and hundreds of parishioners in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB) protested Archbishop Sean O’Malley’s (SOM) attempts to close and sell off their parish churches in order to pay off a huge pile of debt incurred from paying out financial settlements to victims of clergy abuse.

In 2004, the newly arrived Archbishop slated over 80 diocesan parishes for closure, including many that were vibrant, viable, financially and religiously sound communities of faith. In response, a grassroots resistance movement spontaneously erupted. Many parishes actively challenged O’Malley’s decision, and several (including my own) went into full-time vigil, occupying their churches 24/7, so as not to be locked out. These became known as “Vigil” parishes, quickly spawning imitators all around the country as other bishops and other parishes disagreed about how best to honor heritage and keep their beloved churches open.

Diocese faces several new lawsuits

The Citizens' Voice

August 14, 2020

By Frank Wilkes Lesnefsky and Terrie Morgan-Besecker

Attorneys filed more than two dozen lawsuits against the Diocese of Scranton this week, just days before the second anniversary of the 2018 state grand jury report that revealed widespread sexual abuse and cover ups among Roman Catholic clergy.

Of the 30 lawsuits, nearly all of which were filed between Monday and Thursday, Times-Shamrock Newspapers confirmed at least 24 pertain to sexual abuse. Although the remaining six suits appear to relate to sexual abuse, attempts to reach the attorneys to confirm were unsuccessful.

Twenty-eight of the lawsuits were writs of summons that put defendants on notice they are being sued but do not contain information about the allegations, which will be filed later. Attorneys filed two full complaints naming alleged abusers and outlining allegations.

How Men’s Rights Groups Helped Rewrite Regulations on Campus Rape

The Nation

August 14, 2020

By Hélène Barthélemy

E-mails shared with The Nation reveal a deep collaboration between the Department of Education and organizations that believe in a crisis of false rape allegations.

In July 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos held a summit on Title IX, the 1972 federal statute that bans discrimination on the basis of sex at universities. Inside the Department of Education building, she met with the National Coalition for Men Carolinas (NCFMC), Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), and Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), three organizations that claim there is a crisis of false rape allegations against male college students. Outside, despite the sweltering heat in Washington, D.C., more than a 100 people rallied, hoping to prevent the department from rolling back protections for students who are victims of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. “Dear Betsy,” one sign read. “Help end rape culture, don’t perpetuate it.”

Nearly 3,000 pages of e-mails obtained by the anti-corruption organization Democracy Forward through a Freedom of Information Act request and shared with The Nation reveal that the July 2017 meeting was part of a much deeper collaboration between the DOE and these men’s rights groups. From May to September 2017, the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights partnered with NCFMC, FACE, and SAVE to develop regulations on campus sexual assault. E-mails make clear that staffers from these organizations participated in conference calls, offered legal advice, and met with high-level employees at the Department of Education. The DOE even hired the main funder of SAVE to help draft new regulations and teamed up with FACE to try to produce supportive op-eds.

Pittsburgh diocese gets barely passing report card on sex abuse response


August 15, 2020

By Charles Collins

On the second anniversary of the publication of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report into sexual abuse in several of the state’s Catholic dioceses, a grassroots organization in Pittsburgh has given the Church a barely passing grade in its handling of the report’s fallout.

Pittsburgh was one of six dioceses covered in the 2018 report, which documented over 1,000 allegations of the sexual abuse of minors against over 300 priests since the 1940s.

The grand jury report – coupled with the revelations that then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been accused of child abuse and the sexual harassment of seminarians over decades – highlighted how much still needed to be done to combat sex abuse since it first hit the front pages after the Spotlight report in the Boston Globe in 2002.

Explainer: What the church has done to fight clergy sex abuse since 2018’s ‘summer of shame’


August 14, 2020

By Colleen Dulle

It has been two years since the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report was published on Aug. 14, 2018, documenting in at times disturbing detail at least 1,000 cases of abuse by 300 predator priests spanning seven decades. Within two months, 13 more states and the District of Columbia had launched similar investigations, and Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, then-archbishop of Washington, who was named in the report as failing to deal adequately with abuse when he was bishop of Pittsburgh.

The Pennsylvania report came in the middle of what became known as the Catholic Church’s “summer of shame,” which began with the surfacing of accusations of abuse of minors by the now-laicized former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and ended with the release of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s bombshell letter accusing church leaders, including Pope Francis, of knowing about Mr. McCarrick’s actions and failing to take action.

Two years later, the church has taken actions on local and global levels toward greater transparency regarding abuse accusations and investigations, closed loopholes that had allowed bishops who covered up abuse not to face consequences and created universal guidelines for abuse reporting systems to be established in every diocese in the world.

Diocese, bishop sued over abuse allegations

The Indiana Gazette

August 15, 2020

By Patrick Cloonan

Lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg by a Pittsburgh attorney on behalf of alleged victims of two priests, one deceased, the other defrocked by the diocese but perhaps still living in Indiana County.

Alan H. Perer of the law firm of Swensen & Perer filed those actions this week in Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas against the diocese and Bishop Edward C. Malesic on behalf of a former Blairsville resident now living in White Oak, Allegheny County; and a former Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, resident now living in Pittsburgh.

He is asking for a jury trial in each case. Those filings coincided with 25 cases filed by Perer in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for clients in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The former Blairsville resident claims he was sexually abused beginning at age 12 in 1968 by a maternal uncle, the late Rev. Giles L. Nealen, a Benedictine priest born in Nicktown, Cambria County, whose assignments included an old St. Benedict parish in Marguerit, Unity Township, Westmoreland County.

Erie diocese flooded with lawsuits 2 years after report


August 16, 2020

By Ed Palattella

A total of 21 suits filed over claims of abuse cover-up as grand jury report, Superior Court ruling create options.

The Catholic Diocese of Erie is facing the potential of massive legal fallout two years after the release of the state grand jury report on clergy sex abuse statewide.

Prompted by the 884-page report’s allegations, 21 lawsuits had been filed in Erie County Court against the diocese, churches and related entities throughout the 13-county diocese as of the end of the day on Friday, according to an Erie Times-News’ review of the docket.

Statewide, Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses had been hit with about 150 suits, according to the Associated Press.

As the Erie Times-News first reported in July, Friday was the deadline for plaintiffs to meet the two-year statute of limitations for filing fraud- and cover-up-related suits in connection with the release of the grand jury report. Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued the report on Aug. 14, 2018.

3 Arkansans remember Boy Scouts as dark time

Arkansas Democrat Gazette

August 16, 2020

By Tony Holt

They are among 13,000 men seeking restitution for leaders’ sexual abuses

A 13-year-old boy was given a choice for how his next moment in the Boy Scouts would unfold.

Both choices -- about how to sexually pleasure the man standing in front of him, staring -- were horrifying.

Lee Keeton Jr. was that boy, and the man was a Boy Scout leader. The sexual abuse occurred 60 years ago in a cabin near Texarkana.

Keeton, now 72, is among more than 13,000 men who have stepped forward this year seeking restitution from the Boy Scouts of America for sexual abuse.

More than half of the men, 7,000 of them, are being represented by attorneys for Abused in Scouting.

In February, the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It did so, the organization stated, to "create a trust that would provide equitable compensation to victims."

Abused in Scouting was created for men to confront the abuses they endured while in the Boy Scouts. The lead attorney for the group is Andrew Van Arsdale of San Diego.

After the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis, female theologians are calling for changes to leadership

ABC Radio National

August 15, 2020

By Siobhan Hegarty

Sixty per cent of churchgoers in Australia are women, yet in the decision-making ranks of the Catholic Church, female voices are largely absent.

The lack of women in leadership roles is a point of contention for many theologians — not just for equity reasons.

According to Robyn Horner, from the Australian Catholic University's school of theology, the church's sexual abuse crisis demonstrated the failings of a male-only leadership structure.

W Virginia's Catholic bishop says emeritus Bishop Bransfield not in contact

Catholic News Agency

August 15, 2020

By Kevin J. Jones

Bishop Michael Bransfield, who headed West Virginia’s only Catholic diocese before retiring amid scandal, has not communicated with his successor in months. A plan to ensure he makes some reparation for financial and sexual misconduct has still not been implemented.

“I have not heard from him in many months and I would not expect to,” Bishop Mark Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston told the MetroNews call-in radio show Talkline Aug. 4. “Whatever he is doing, he is doing and is in a dark hole. We do not know exactly what he is up to, we have not been in communication.”

Brennan said the apostolic nuncio in Washington, D.C. has not heard from Bransfield either.

Catholic Diocese of Lexington names 20 priests accused of sexually abusing minors

Lexington Herald Leader

August 15, 2020

By Karla Ward

The Catholic Diocese of Lexington on Friday released a list of priests who served in Kentucky who have been accused of sexually abusing minors.

The list names 10 priests against whom allegations of abuse were substantiated; four priests who had “credible” allegations against them, indicating that the allegations were more than likely true; six priests who served in the Lexington diocese but were credibly accused of abuse in another diocese; and one priest against whom allegations were found to be unsubstantiated.

“I, along with every priest in the Diocese of Lexington, am very sorry for what this report describes and apologize to every person who has ever been abused or injured in any way by one who was ordained to represent Christ,” Lexington Bishop John Stowe wrote in a letter that accompanies the report.

[Movie Review] Retaliation

WCBE (radio)

August 15, 2020

By John DeSando

A knockout performance and tragic story make for seriously entertaining cinema.

Retaliation. Grade: A-. Director: Ludwig Shammasian (The Pyramid Texts), Paul Shammasian (The Pyramid Texts). Screenplay: Geoff Thompson

Cast: Orlando Bloom (The Outpost), Janet Montgomery (Black Swan)

"Be not carried away to revenge and retaliation (Romans, 12,V 19) by evil which is committed against you, but overcome the evil by the good which you show to your enemy (V20), put to shame by your noble spirit, ceases to act malignantly against you . . . .” Paul

Retaliation, starring a surprisingly brilliant Orlando Bloom as Malky, is about a demolition worker trying to demolish the memory of abuse by a priest when Malky was 12. The plot is simple, a thriller at the least, encouraging the audience to guess whether he will exorcise his demon or take Christ’s advice (see above).

The film focuses almost exclusively on Malky, whose growing torture about the abuse bleeds out into everything he encounters, be it his Mum (Anne Reed), his best friend, Jo (Alex Ferns), or, most lamentably, girlfriend Emma (Janet Montgomery). His rage is palpable, and because he shares its reason with no one, it is quietly volcanic.

[Opinion] Van Ens: Unzipped living careens toward lechery

Vail Daily

August 15, 2020

By Jack Van Ens

A century ago, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the 38th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This vote fulfilled the requirement that for an amendment to be added to the Constitution, it needed approval from three-fourths of the states.

The 19th Amendment intended to even the judicial scales tipped against women. It guaranteed them the right to vote, have financial independence from male domination, and shielded women from paternalistic indignities.

Judging by how Baptist Jerry Falwell, Jr. embarrassed a pregnant woman whose cut-offs were unzipped and midriff exposed, he is not fazed by the 19th Amendment’s guarantee to treat women as equals in voting booths. It was more fun for Falwell to post a suggestive lecherous photo on his Instagram account.

This inappropriate photo features Falwell with his arm around the pregnant woman he identified as his “wife’s assistant.” He, too, has his pants unzipped. The low-brow picture was snapped when this twosome enjoyed a summer outing on a yacht. Falwell sorely offended tee-totaling Baptist supporters of Liberty University by holding a glass of dark-colored liquid, which could be mistaken for shots of Jack Daniels whiskey.


Falwell lamely offered a sexist excuse, saying he commiserated with this woman’s plight. “She’s pregnant, so she couldn’t get her pants on,” he told a snickering host on Lynchburg, Virginia’s radio station WLNI. “And I had on a pair of jeans that I hadn’t worn in a long time, so I couldn’t get mine zipped, either. And so, I just put my belly out like hers.”

Contrite or feigning remorse, Falwell purred, “She’s a sweetheart, and I should never have put it up and embarrassed her.”

Merely an innocent guy horsing around in clean fun with a woman unzipped, some say. No, gender power imbalances tilt this playful interlude against women. What hampers the full implementation of the 19th Amendment a century after its passage are abusive sexual relationships OK’d by some Christians.

For instance, the Southern Baptist Convention ranks as the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. with approximately 15 million members in 47,000 churches. “A six-part Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News report a few years ago found more than 250 SBC officials and volunteers who were convicted of sex-abuse crimes over the past 20 years, and some 700 victims. It also revealed cases in which church members and leaders scorned victims and masked accusations of misconduct against popular pastors,” reported The Wall Street Journal’s assistant editorial page writer Nicole Ault.

Christ’s Cross helped me avoid bitterness: Cardinal George Pell

Catholic Weekly

August 16, 2020

By Peter Rosengren

The Truth, Justice and Healing Council set up by the Church in Australia at the beginning of the Royal Commission into institutional abuse in 2013 failed seriously to highlight the Church’s decisive record in combatting abuse in this country beginning a quarter of a century ago, Cardinal George Pell said this week.

His criticism came in a wide-ranging pre-recorded interview aired at a Catholic conference in the US on 16 August.

During the interview Cardinal Pell discussed his prayer life in prison and how he had been able to remain spiritually focused despite knowing his own innocence, the support he had received via correspondence from ordinary Catholics around the world, the Vatican’s financial situation and the associated problem of corruption within key institutions.

Priest who was allegedly raped by clergyman says Anglican Church not being fair

Cape Talk

August 15, 2020

Reverend June Dolley-Major says the Anglican Church has not been impartial in its attempts to investigate the priest who allegedly raped her.

The reverend has accused the clergy of covering up her rape ordeal, allegedly at the hands of a fellow priest, back in 2002 at the Grahamstown Seminary.

Last month, Reverend Major went on a hunger strike, outside the home of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in Bishop’s Court, to push the church to take action.

This week, a group of women also staged a Women's Day protest outside Makgoba's residence in support of Reverend June Dolley-Major.

August 15, 2020

Polish Cleric Retires in Face of Cover-Up Accusations. It’s Not Enough, Critics Say.

The New York Times

August 14, 2020

By Elisabetta Povoledo and Anatol Magdziarz

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz of Poland, a move seen as a subtle rebuke. But far more is needed to address the abuse of children by priests, advocates say.

Pope Francis this week accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Gdansk, Poland, who has been accused of protecting priests facing allegations of child abuse, a step seen as a subtle rebuke but also criticized as inadequate.

The archbishop, Slawoj Leszek Glodz, had offered his resignation upon reaching the retirement age of 75, as protocol demands, but bishops are typically allowed to keep their positions past that time.

The pope’s decision to accept Archbishop Glodz’s resignation on his birthday was interpreted by many as an admonishment of the church hierarchy in Poland, which has long been accused of putting the institution’s image above the rights of abuse victims.

For some critics, the perceived rebuke was too little, too late.

“It was an insufficient move,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a group that tracks abuse in the church. “The Pope has promised accountability for bishops who cover up. He has also talked about proportionality of punishment for accused priests, but this is the mildest of sanctions.”

Pa. dioceses hit with about 150 church abuse lawsuits


August 14, 2020

Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania have been hit with a slew of sexual abuse lawsuits.

The Associated Press reports that about 150 lawsuits were filed against dioceses across the state, and many of the new cases are against the Allentown Diocese, as well as Scranton, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

Lawyers involved in the litigation say they were notified Thursday about new cases and expect dozens more.

Friday marks two years since the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on child sexual abuse by priests and clergy members

Judge to weigh motion to dismiss Holy Innocents School lawsuit later this month

St. Cloud Times

August 14, 2020

By Clairissa Baker

A judge will hear arguments later this month regarding a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges sexual abuse and neglect against Holy Innocents School.

The case alleges the school is a "public nuisance" and committed negligence, negligent supervision and negligent retention. The lawsuit is seeking at least $50,000 in damages and the closure of the school.

Representation for the Waite Park school filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss all counts with prejudice. Parties are scheduled to present arguments remotely Aug. 26.

New Orleans clergy abuse plaintiff can't move bankruptcy-halted case out of federal court: judge


August 14, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A federal judge has turned down a Catholic clergy sex abuse plaintiff who wanted his lawsuit, halted by the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ bankruptcy filing, moved back into state court so that he could continue pursuing damages.

In a nine-page ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said remanding the suit to Orleans Parish Civil District Court was “inappropriate at this time” because an automatic, indefinite halt to such cases which went into effect after the local bankruptcy church’s filing had not been lifted.

Barbier said that stay prevented the case from progressing “regardless of the forum.” And he also said he sided with the archdiocese’s arguments that it was appropriate to keep numerous unresolved clergy abuse claims against the local church in a single courthouse rather than split them into multiple ones.

[Media Statement] Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse

Diocese of Lexington

August 14, 2020

Diocese Releases Names of Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors

The Catholic Diocese of Lexington has released a list of priests accused of sexual abuse of minors. The list, released Aug. 14., a day after the diocese received it, was compiled by attorneys who had unlimited access to the diocese’s priest personnel files and the files of any reports of abuse made to the diocese. The review team also conducted interviews, talked with the diocesan Victims' Assistance Coordinator and met with the Diocesan Review Board.

“I, along with every priest in the Diocese of Lexington, am very sorry for what this report describes and apologize to every person who has ever been abused or injured in any way by one who was ordained to represent Christ,” wrote Lexington Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., in a letter accompanying the report, which he commissioned in December 2018.

The list, compiled by Lexington attorneys Allison Connelly and Andrew Sparks, is divided into categories of those with substantiated allegations against them (reasonable certainty that the allegation is true) and credible allegations (more likely true than not). The list also names those who served in the territory of the diocese but were listed by another diocese or religious congregation and one allegation that was found to be unsubstantiated.

Catholic Archdioceses Ban Music Penned By Composer Accused Of Sexual Misconduct


August 14, 2020

By Carol Kuruvilla

Thirty-eight women have accused musician David Haas of inappropriate behavior ranging from forced kissing to cyberstalking.

U.S. Roman Catholic churches have been severing ties with a prominent religious composer facing accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment from dozens of women.

About one-third of American archdioceses have pledged to stop playing liturgical music written by David Haas, a 63-year-old composer whose pieces have been sung in parishes across America for decades, The New York Times reported.

Thirty-eight women have come forward with accusations against Haas that include cyberstalking, forced kissing and groping, the Times reported. The allegations have been compiled by Into Account, a Kansas-based advocacy group that supports survivors of sex abuse in Christian contexts.

August 14, 2020

Fifth lawsuit accuses retired Bishop Hubbard of Albany of alleged abuse


August 14, 2020

By Mike Matvey

A fifth lawsuit has accused retired Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany of alleged sexual abuse.

The lawsuit — filed the week of Aug. 10 in the state Supreme Court in Albany on behalf of a 55-year-old man currently living in South Carolina — alleges that Bishop Hubbard sexually abused the man when he was 10 on a church bus trip from St. James Parish, which is now St. Francis of Assisi Parish, to West Point in 1975.

The lawsuit also alleges abuse by Bishop Hubbard from 1974-76 when the boy was an altar boy at St. James.

It also alleges that Father Cabell B. Marbury abused the boy between 1974-76. Father Marbury taught at Cardinal McCloskey High School — now Bishop Maginn High School — and ministered at St. James at the time, as well as other parishes. Father Marbury died in 2014 at age 81.

Pittsburgh Diocese faces wave of abuse litigation

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 13, 2020

By Peter Smith

Twenty-eight people initiated legal actions against the Diocese of Pittsburgh on Thursday, cresting a wave of recent claims filed across the state against Roman Catholic dioceses in advance of Friday’s two-year anniversary of a landmark grand jury report into sexual abuse by priests.

Pittsburgh attorney Alan Perer said he was filing Thursday on behalf of numerous plaintiffs to get their claims in court before the two-year mark, which, under a legal theory being tested before the commonwealth’s top court, would be the deadline under the statute of limitations.

Fourteen plaintiffs filed full complaints in lawsuits in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas by mid-afternoon on Thursday, while 14 others filed praecipes for writs of summons ­ short notices of intent to sue, which gets a foot in the courthouse door before the deadline. Mr. Perer represents most of those plaintiffs, but other attorneys filed on behalf of three of the plaintiffs.

Numerous other plaintiffs also have filed court claims in recent weeks against the Pittsburgh Diocese and other Catholic dioceses in the state.

Six dioceses were subjects of an Aug. 14, 2018, report by a statewide grand jury that investigated seven decades of sexual abuse that, the report said, was often abetted by cover-ups by bishops and other church officials.

Harrisburg attorney Nathaniel Foote ­ whose firm Andreozzi & Foote filed lawsuits and praecipes earlier this year naming the Pittsburgh Diocese ­ said his firm has filed about 60 cases statewide against various dioceses. He estimated there are more than 100 total pending cases against the dioceses named by the grand jury filed by various attorneys.

While details of most of Thursday’s filings were not immediately available, those that were posted Thursday on the court website allege abuses dating back decades. Priests named in the available lawsuits either had been identified as abusers in the grand jury report or on the diocesan website, which says they were removed from ministry and reported to authorities years ago.

But one lawsuit, echoing the language in numerous others, says the diocese “had an accumulation of knowledge of the sexual abuse by their servants which they kept from the plaintiff and the public, and the resulting dire lifetime effects of this abuse.”

The statute of limitations would normally prohibit lawsuits alleging long-ago abuse. However, the recent wave of lawsuits is based on a legal theory: that the dioceses are liable for an ongoing conspiracy and fraud that continued right up until the release of the grand jury report ­ which, the plaintiffs claim, was the first they were made aware of the dioceses’ alleged pattern of covering up for abusers and enabling them to continue working with children.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh said in a statement: “We understand that some plaintiffs’ lawyers believe that they have two years from the issuance of the grand jury report in order to file a lawsuit. We do not believe that to be the case, but that might explain why there has been an increase in cases filed recently. These cases do not pertain to any new allegations, but are cases related to former allegations, dating back decades.”

Whether the plaintiffs even get a day in court will depend on the fate of a precedent-setting case now before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The high court has agreed to review a similar lawsuit against the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, which was the subject of a separate grand jury report in 2016.

Attorneys for the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese argue that the plaintiff, Renee Rice, had enough information to file her claim decades earlier, without need for a grand jury to uncover new information. But Ms. Rice’s attorneys argue that the diocese’s alleged conspiracy and fraud, which they contend included maintaining the allegedly abusive priest in ministry and presenting itself as taking a strong stance against abuse, was uncovered only by the grand jury.

Mr. Perer, one of Ms. Rice’s attorneys, is making a similar case against the Pittsburgh Diocese.

“Our theory is that until the grand jury came out, nobody knew about the concealment and all that information about the diocese protecting all these priests,” Mr. Perer said.

Mr. Perer said of the clients filing on Thursday, some had their claims rejected or deemed unqualified for the diocese’s program of compensation for victims of abuse, while others received offers they deemed unacceptably low. Attorneys have said the amounts offered by the diocese dropped significantly in the later parts of the process in comparison to earlier offers and to offers from other dioceses.

Mr. Perer said he has about 10 other pending cases already filed against the diocese.

He also filed two claims on Thursday against the Diocese of Greensburg in Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, alleging abuse by priests there.

Attorneys have filed various claims in recent weeks against the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Erie, Scranton and Allentown. Mr. Foote said that because the Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, any claims have to be filed through that process.

So far the Diocese of Pittsburgh has said it hopes to avoid bankruptcy, though one of its attorneys has raised that possibility.

Peter Smith: petersmith@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1416; Twitter @PG_PeterSmith.

Coach of N.J. Catholic school sexually abused students and church covered it up, lawsuits claim

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

August 13, 2020

By Rodrigo Torrejon

Two former students of a Bergen County Catholic school are accusing a hockey coach of sexually abusing them when they were minors and church and school officials of covering it all up, according to dual lawsuits.

In two lawsuits filed in Superior Court Aug. 6, two former students of Paramus Catholic High School allege years of sexual abuse by former hockey coach Bernard Garris in the late 1980s, claiming that the high school, Archdiocese of Newark and New Jersey Catholic Conference hid his rampant abuse and protected Garris.

KBI received 205 reports of priest abuse; opened 120 cases


August 14, 2020

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has received 205 reports of clergy sexual abuse and opened 120 cases since it began investigating the state's Catholic dioceses nearly two years ago, the agency said Friday.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the KBI in November 2018 to investigate Catholic clergy abuse in Kansas. A task force of six agents has been investigating reports of abuse from the public and is reviewing church documents.

Slew of church abuse lawsuits hinges on state court decision

Associated Press

August 14, 2020

By Mark Scolforo

Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses have been hit with about 150 lawsuits from people who say they were sexually abused as children by priests and hope a state court decision last year has shown a way around time limits for legal claims.

Lawyers involved in the litigation say they were still getting notified about new cases on Thursday and expect dozens more.

The rush to the courthouse is tied to a landmark grand jury report issued exactly two years ago that documented seven decades of child molestation within the Catholic church in Pennsylvania. State civil litigation rules generally require legal action to be initiated within two years from when someone realizes they’ve been harmed.

Pope cleans house in Poland after abuse, cover-up scandal

Associated Press

August 13, 2020

By Nicole Winfield and Vanessa Gera

Pope Francis continued cleaning house in Poland on Thursday following revelations of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up, replacing the powerful archbishop of Gdansk on his 75th birthday.

While all Catholic bishops must offer to retire when they turn 75, it is highly unusual for the pope to accept such a resignation on a prelate’s actual birthday. Doing so suggests that Francis was keen to send a signal showing his seriousness about ending the culture of concealment within the Polish church hierarchy.

The pope named a temporary administrator to run the Gdansk archdiocese after accepting the resignation of Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz.

Glodz was featured in one of the devastating recent documentaries about priestly sex abuse and cover-up in Poland that have sparked a reckoning in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.

In the 2019 film “Tell No One,” Glodz is shown eulogizing a known pedophile priest, the Rev. Franciszek Cybula, the personal chaplain to Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, at his funeral despite knowing of his abuse.

13 Investigates: PPP loans for 1000s of churches, SBA bends rules

KTRK-TV, Ch. 13

August 14, 2020

By Ted Oberg and Sarah Rafique


13 Investigates Ted Oberg followed the money from the feds to thousands of churches.

Hours after SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) criticized the Catholic church for accepting PPP loans Thursday, 13 Investigates looked into the program finding tens of thousands of churches accepting cash in the job saving program.

Our team also found the feds changed their own rules to do so.

The Personal Protection loans were created to help struggling businesses make ends meet.

Thursday SNAP members gathered outside the archdiocese to express their anger over how much of that money was given to the Catholic church. The group is upset that taxpayer dollars meant for coronavirus relief is being given to dioceses that have battled sexual abuse claims and allegations of cover-ups.

Ex-NSW principal who abused boys sentenced

Australian Associated Press via 7News.com

By Gus McCubbing

August 13, 2020

A former Sydney Catholic college principal who preyed upon boys at his school in the 1970s has been handed a three-year community corrections order.

Peter Nicholas Lennox pleaded guilty in July to indecently assaulting two boys at St Paul's Catholic College in Manly.

The 81-year-old, who has a pacemaker and is diagnosed with depression and diabetes, appeared at the Downing Centre District Court on Friday with a walking stick in hand.

Diocese of Trenton faces more lawsuits in childhood sex abuse scandal


August 13, 2020

By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman


Already embroiled in litigation, the Diocese of Trenton has been freshly accused of negligence for its failure to prevent childhood sex abuse.

Three lawsuits filed in Mercer County Superior Court on Thursday allege the diocese had “negligently retained” child-molesting priests who “posed a dangerous condition” toward youthful parishioners on church property.

These priests include former clergy members Ronald R. Becker, Douglas U. Hermansen and Joseph F. McHugh, men previously identified by the Diocese of Trenton as sexual predators.

Group Of Parishioners Disappointed In Catholic Diocese Of Pittsburgh's Plan For Change Following Clergy Sexual Abuse


August 13, 2020



Tomorrow will mark two years since the grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse. After several listening sessions, Bishop David Zubik outlined a plan for change, but a group of parishioners say the diocese has fallen short; KDKA's Andy Sheehan reports.

5 faith facts about VP pick Kamala Harris – a Black Baptist with Hindu family

Religion News Service

August 13, 2020

Few, if any, vice presidential candidates have had as much exposure to the world’s religions as U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, the 55-year-old from California whom Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden named Tuesday as his running mate.

Sen. Harris’ ethnic, racial and cultural biography represents a slice of the U.S. population that is becoming ascendant but that has never been represented in the nation’s second highest office.

Here are five faith facts about Sen. Harris:

Bradford Man Files Lawsuit Against Erie Catholic Diocese, Charges Diocese of Covering Up Sexual Abuse Case

Erie News Now

August 13, 2020


He was a student at Bradford Christian High School from 1987 to 1990.

A Bradford man has filed a civil lawsuit against the Erie Catholic Diocese, charging the diocese and bishops covered up sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of two priests.

According to the Bradford Era, attorneys for Ed Rodgers filed the suit in McKean County alleging fraud, conspiracy and negligence.

He's alleging abuse while he was a student at Bradford Christian High School from 1987 to 1990 and he says the diocese covered up the actions of the two priests to protect its reputation and financial interests.

One year after Child Victims Act window opened, Buffalo Diocese survivors reflect


August 13, 2020

By Charlie Specht

It has been quite a journey since abuse survivor Angelo Ervolina and four fellow survivors of Buffalo Diocese priests filed the first Child Victims Act lawsuits in New York State one year ago.

“There's been some up and downs, there's been some bumps,” Ervolina said Thursday. “You know, there's been some good times, too, as far as good things that have come out of all this.”

The high point was taking back the power from their abusers, speaking out publicly on the Buffalo Diocese controversy and gaining a friendship through their shared experience as survivors.

They also helped push for the eventual resignation of Bishop Richard J. Malone.

OPINION: Catholic Church continues to harbor sexual predators

St. Cloud Times

August 14, 2020

By Karen Cyson

"There are rapists in many occupations."

That was the response I got when I forwarded an article from the New York Times to a friend concerning an alleged serial predator in the Twin Cities. She then reminded me of a time when she felt a doctor squeezed her knee inappropriately.

OK. Sure. There are "bad guys" everywhere.

But that is not the same as having a systemic problem with men who assault for decades and do so in a hierarchy of power that enables, covers up and makes excuses for their behavior.

Dozens of clergy sex abuse lawsuits filed in Allegheny, Westmoreland courts as possible deadline looms

Pittsburgh Tribune Review

August 13, 2020

By Rich Cholodofsky


More than two dozen lawsuits that allege sexual abuses by priests were filed Thursday ahead of what lawyers suggest could be a deadline to file legal action two years after the release of a grand jury report that detailed claims involving Catholic dioceses throughout Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh lawyer Alan Perer filed 25 cases Thursday against the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and two that alleged misconduct by the Greensburg diocese.

“Our theory is that until the grand jury report that came out on Aug. 14, 2018, all of this stuff was hidden and people didn’t hear about this before. Theoretically, it’s not a statutory barrier, but as a precaution we’re making sure we get these (lawsuits) filed within two years,” Perer said.

A legal ruling by the state’s Superior Court last year reset the bar to file lawsuits against the church over sexual misconduct claims.

August 13, 2020

Pope accepts resignation of scandal-hit Polish bishop


August 13, 2020

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Archbishop of Gdansk, the Holy See said on Thursday, following accusations he had bullied priests and remained silent on alleged sex abuse.

Priests in the 75-year-old’s archdiocese claimed in a letter to the Vatican last year that Bishop Glodz had subjected them to psychological harassment.

The bishop, who denies the bullying, has also been criticised for keeping silent about the alleged actions of several priests accused by Polish prosecutors of sexual abuse against children.

Louisiana Church sex abuse scandal


August 13, 2020

Eyewitness Investigator David Hammer has been following the Church sex abuse scandal with a number of investigative reports that are still ongoing.

Here is a list of the stories that he has reported so far. There are more to come soon.


Eyewitness News

August 13, 2020

By Kaylynn Palm

This after a Women's Day protest outside the residence of Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in Bishopscourt in support of Reverend June Dolley-Major.

The Anglican Church Commission said it was open and willing to support a priest who has accused another priest of raping her in 2002.

This after a Women's Day protest outside the residence of Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in Bishopscourt in support of Reverend June Dolley-Major.

The church's Safe and Inclusive Church Commission, set up to support victims of sexual and other abuse, was established by the church's governing Provincial Synod last year.

The commission said it was deeply saddened by the pain and experience reported to it by Reverend Dolley-Major last month.

DENIM SPIRIT: Learning the hard way

Finger Lakes Times

August 12, 2020

By Cameron Miller

I have a confession to make. I am a priest.

To say so wasn’t always a confession. Forty years ago it was still a respected occupation. Granted, widespread clergy leadership and involvement in the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements had already diminished its credibility with a wide swath of the population, particularly white conservatives who would eventually begin flocking away from Roman Catholic and Mainline Protestant churches. While that exodus took place for many reasons, clergy political activism in the 1960s and 1970s got the ball rolling.



August 12, 2020

By William Mahoney, Ph.D.

Howard Hubbard hit by yet another scandal

Homosexual child rape is the latest accusation against a former bishop of Albany, New York, now facing at least five cases of sexually abusing minors.

Adding his voice to a growing list of sexual abuse allegations, Charles Carr is suing former bishop of Albany Howard Hubbard for raping him as a young altar boy in the 1970s.

"Hubbard sexually assaulted plaintiff, molesting him, including penetration," alleges the complaint.

Five months and still no answers for family of incarcerated Mascoutah priest who died

Belleville News Democrat

August 12, 2020

By Teri Maddox

It’s been more than five months since a former Mascoutah priest died while serving time in prison for possession of child pornography and methamphetamine, and his family still doesn’t know the cause of death or other details.

Officials have told Gerald Hechenberger’s brother and two sisters that the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed a state investigation, but the siblings are getting impatient.

“I want to know what happened,” his sister, Nancy Rueter, said this week.

Hechenberger, 56, had just started serving a nine-year sentence at Pinckneyville Correctional Center when he died on March 6. Officials have declined to say whether it happened at the prison or Pinckneyville Community Hospital.

Author claims Harris 'deep-sixed' release of documents ID'ing clergy accused of sex abuse as city DA

Fox News

August 13, 2020

By Charles Creitz

'It's a massive cover-up,' Peter Schweizer tells 'Tucker Carlson Tonight'

Presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris' handling of cases involving alleged child sex abuse by Catholic priests while she was San Francisco District Attorney should receive more scrutiny, investigative journalist and author Peter Schweizer told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Wednesday.

Schweizer told host Tucker Carlson that when Harris took office in 2004, her predecessor, Democrat Terence Hallinan, left her with "hundreds of pages" of internal Catholic Church documents that included names of 40 accused clergy.

"Hallinan was using those documents to build criminal cases and he was also planning to release them after redacting the names of victims," he said. "Kamala Harris actually deep-sixed ... those documents, and those documents disappeared, much to the chagrin of victims' groups.

"So it’s a massive cover-up and a lot of the people that financed her campaign to beat Hallinan were law firms and lawyers and people connected to the church hierarchy who did not want those documents to come out."

In June 2019, the Associated Press published a report headlined, "Victims' question Kamala Harris' record on clergy abuse" in which survivors of clergy abuse and their attorneys claimed Harris was consistently silent on the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal — first as district attorney in San Francisco and later as California’s attorney general.

New lawsuit claims Ellwood priest molested siblings for years

Ellwood City Ledger

August 12, 2020

By Chrissy Suttles

A Pennsylvania man is suing the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh decades after he and his sister were allegedly assaulted by a priest in Lawrence County.

A Pennsylvania man is suing the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh decades after he says he and his sister were sexually assaulted by a priest in Lawrence County.

The complaint filed in Allegheny County Court by Altoona-based attorney Richard Serbin claims William Schneider, 65, of Cumberland County, was 8 years old when the Rev. James Somma’s sexual abuse began at the former Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, now Holy Redeemer.

The abuse reportedly continued for two or three years in the 1960s. Schneider was forced to expose himself and perform sexual acts on himself in the presence of Somma, who died in 2004, the lawsuit claims.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh was aware of Somma’s “deviant sexual acts and continued to allow him to remain in the priesthood without consequence,” Schneider’s lawyer said, adding that Somma groomed the siblings and their parents over time, often taking the youngsters out for treats and purchasing expensive gifts their family could not afford.

Rodgers files suit against Erie Diocese, bishops over abuse

The Bradford Era

August 12, 2020

By Marcie Schellhammer

For 30 years, Bradford’s Ed Rodgers has been waiting to see justice for the sexual abuse he says he suffered while attending school at Bradford Central Christian.

Thanks to a recent change in Pennsylvania law, on Tuesday, Rodgers was able to file suit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Erie Diocese and Bishops Donald Trautman and Lawrence Persico.

A spokesperson for the diocese on Wednesday said only, “The Diocese of Erie does not comment on litigation.”

The suit, filed in McKean County Court, alleges fraud, conspiracy, constructive fraud and negligence on the parts of the diocese and its bishops for covering up sexual abuse — like that which Rodgers says he suffered from 1987 to 1990 by two priests, Michael Amy and Desmond McGee — and for moving predator priests around to different churches instead of intervening to protect children.

Former deputy principal's unfair dismissal bid fails following rape allegation

The Age

August 13, 2020

By Kate Hedley

A former deputy principal who lost his job at a Catholic school in Perth after being accused of raping a student more than 20 years ago has failed in his bid to have his employment reinstated.

While Donald Andrew Parnell never faced criminal charges over the abuse claim, Catholic Education Western Australia conducted a formal investigation and found the allegations substantiated "on the balance of probabilities", and recommended his employment be terminated.

On August 20 last year, Mr Parnell was dismissed for misconduct from Lumen Christi College.

An unfair dismissal application filed by the former deputy principal to WA's Industrial Relations Commission was heard earlier this year, with Mr Parnell's application dismissed.

Dioceses restrict David Haas hymns and concerts after abuse accusations

Catholic News Service via America

August 12, 2020

Ten U.S. dioceses, including Boston and St. Louis, have banned popular hymns by composer David Haas following accusations by several women of "spiritual manipulation" and "sexual offenses,” according to The New York Times.

The Archdioceses of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Los Angeles have also banned Mr. Haas, famous for songs like “Blest Are They” and “You Are Mine,” from performing.

Tim O'Malley, archdiocesan director of ministerial standards for the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, said in a July statement the archdiocese has received new, independent reports from women in different parts of the United States alleging that Haas “engaged in inappropriate conduct” with them when they were young adults in the 1980s. The reports are “similar in nature to the conduct described in previous allegations,” Mr. O’Malley said.

Fifth child sex abuse claim filed against former Bishop Howard Hubbard

Albany Times-Union

August 12, 2020

By Brendan Lyons

A fifth lawsuit accusing former Albany Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of child sexual abuse was filed this week in state Supreme Court in Albany.

The lawsuit also alleges a second priest, Cabell B. Marbury, also sexually abused the boy. The case was filed on behalf of a 55-year-old South Carolina man who alleges he was 10 when Hubbard sexually abused him in 1975. The lawsuit claims the boy became ill during a church-sponsored bus trip to West Point and Hubbard, who was on the trip, brought him back to the empty bus and sexually molested him.

The complaint alleges Hubbard also sexually abused the boy in 1974 and 1976 at his family's church, then-St. James on Delaware Avenue in Albany. The church is now named St. Francis of Assisi.

"During this time period, altar boys, including plaintiff, were directed to bring brandy from a wet bar located behind the altar to a reading room located behind the altar," the complaint states. "On multiple occasions, plaintiff served Hubbard in the reading room at which time, Hubbard had plaintiff sit on Hubbard's lap which was followed by inappropriate touching and ultimately anal sex."

Savio Rodrigues: Crusader against sexual abuse by Catholic clergy

Hindu Post

August 13, 2020

By Dr. Nandini Murali

“My fight is not a fight against the Christian faith; but a fight against the institution. Raping nuns and children is not what my religion stands for! The institution of the Catholic Church, has diluted the message of the faith and that needs to be addressed,” says Savio Rodrigues, journalist, Founder and Editor-in-chief, Goa Chronicle, entrepreneur and activist. In a telephonic interview, he talks about the global phenomenon of sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church and the need to address it pragmatically and sensitively with informed perspectives and zero-tolerance.

Q 1.) As a practising Christian, you’ve also been an outspoken champion about the need to pragmatically address the serious issue of sexual abuse and corruption by the clergy of the Catholic Church. How and why do you do what you do?

My family and I are devout Catholic Christians based in Goa. My parents, wife and the extended family are very supportive of my crusade against the corruption and sexual abuse by the clergy in the Catholic church because of the immense confidence and faith they have in me that I would crusade for what is morally and ethically right.

My fight is not a fight against the Christian faith; but a fight against the institution. Raping nuns and children is not what my religion stands for! Over the years, the institution of the Catholic Church, has diluted the message of the faith and that needs to be addressed. As a qualified journalist, isn’t it my job as a whistle-blower to expose these scandals and make society a safer place for all of us? As a Practising Catholic, am I not primarily responsible for calling out my dharma?

‘The Church betrays us’: More Catholic school abuse victims speak up

The Jakarta Post

August 13, 2020

By Ivany Atina Arbi

Two more victims of childhood sexual abuse at a Catholic school have spoken up following collaborative reports between The Jakarta Post and Tirto.id on abuse in the Catholic Church, as the Church continues to remain passive in dealing with sexual assault allegations.

Now grown women, the victims, Anna and Vivian, who chose pseudonyms to protect their privacy, said they read the reports of Sisca and Ellen, also pseudonyms, and found similarities between their experiences.

Anna and Vivian reached out to the collaboration team shortly after the reports were published last month in the hopes of bringing broader awareness to the case and "ending the perpetrator's years of lies".

Vivian said a priest at the Maria Bunda Karmel (MBK) parish still texted her from time to time, asking personal questions such as whether she was married. He also asked her to send him pictures of her. The last message sent was in May.

Anna said she experienced abuse – allegedly from the same priest – about 15 years ago when she was a student at Sang Timur Catholic Junior High School, which is located next to the MBK parish.

August 12, 2020

Charity Commission asked to intervene in C of E abuse inquiries

The Guardian

August 12, 2020

By Harriet Sherwood

Clergy and abuse survivors sign letter highlighting problems in handling complaints

The Charity Commission has been asked to intervene in the Church of England’s investigations of senior figures embroiled in abuse complaints.

A letter to the commission has complained of the “impaired transparency and intermittent accountability” of the church’s main safeguarding body. Dozens of signatories include survivors, clergy, lawyers, academics and a serving bishop.

They say church leaders have failed to devise a “safe, consistent and fair system of redress to all parties engaged in safeguarding complaints”.

The letter adds: “The continuing flow of cases of injustice leads us to seek early intervention from the Charity Commission. We do this with reluctance, having tried and failed to secure redress through multiple complaints across the structure.”

Excommunication of renegade Sacramento priest roils Catholic diocese. Here’s why it happened

The Sacramento Bee

August 12, 2020

By Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler

The priest excommunicated last week for refusing to acknowledge Pope Francis as his church’s rightful leader might not be well known outside the community of more than 1 million Catholics who belong to the Diocese of Sacramento.

But his last name certainly is familiar in the region.

Father Jeremy Leatherby, 41, is the grandson of the founders of Leatherby’s Family Creamery, a small but popular chain of ice cream parlors.

Another lawsuit filed against former Albany bishop Howard Hubbard

The Daily Gazette

August 12, 2020

By Zachary Matson

Latest claims accuse Most Rev. Howard J. Hubbard of child rape

A 55-year-old South Carolina man has accused former Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of raping him while he served as a young altar boy in an Albany Catholic church in the mid-1970s, the latest in a string of lawsuits accusing the former longtime bishop of child sexual abuse.

The latest claims come in a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed in Albany County court Monday by Charles Carr which alleged Hubbard repeatedly abused him when he was an altar boy at St. James Church in Albany between 9- and 11-years-old, abuse that allegedly included instances of anal rape.

Carr accused Hubbard of multiple instances of abuse.

When Carr was around 10, according to the complaint, he joined a church trip to West Point. During the trip Carr felt sick, so he and Hubbard went back to the bus, where Hubbard allegedly sexually assaulted him.

[Opinion] 'Bad apples' delusion: Like the Catholic Church, police must confront an abusive culture


August 12, 2020

By David Gibson

The Catholic Church always saw child abuse as a sin and a scandal. Police abuse is seen as lamentable but acceptable, even heroic, to keep the peace.

The mantra invoked when episodes of police brutality or corruption come to light, as they do with gut-wrenching regularity these days, is that it’s just a matter of “a few bad apples.” It’s an all-too familiar refrain to those of us who have covered sex abuse in religion for so many years, especially the high-profile and well-documented cases of the abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.

It’s also the wrong way to think about the problem. The Catholic Church is learning that lesson, but too many law enforcement agencies are not. And there’s no reason that police departments shouldn’t be doing at least as much, and as well, as the Catholic Church when it comes to ending abuses given that the two cultures are so similar.

Second sexual abuse suit brought against Lowville school; former teacher named as defendant


August 11, 2020

By Sydney Schefer


A second lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by a former Lowville school teacher was filed Tuesday, and this time, the former teacher is named as a defendant in the suit.

A. Ronald Johnson, 75, formerly of Lowville, now of Cooperstown, is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in and around 1976 — more than 40 years ago.

Tuesday’s suit filing in state Supreme Court comes just over a week after an initial suit was filed, against Lowville Academy and Central School District, its Board of Education, Lowville United Methodist Church and three other church entities which had authority over the Lowville church at the time. Mr. Johnson was not named as a defendant in the first suit.

Bishops take aim at ‘unjust’ handling of abuse claims

Times of London

August 12, 2020

By Andrew Brown

The Church of England has been reported to the Charity Commission for its “incompetent and unjust” handling of investigations into senior figures.

Lord Carlile of Berriew, QC, and a serving bishop are among dozens of signatories to a letter accusing the church of operating a secretive and unfair disciplinary system.

Four of the past five archbishops of Canterbury and York had been the subjects of formal complaints about their alleged failures to act against clergy accused of sexual abuse.

Lord Carey of Clifton, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, has been prevented from performing his religious duties while the church’s national safeguarding team investigates his past conduct.

The Bishop of Lincoln, the Right Rev Christopher Lowson, has been suspended for more than a year. He has been accused of failing to respond “appropriately” to safeguarding allegations. He has said that he is bewildered by the accusations. The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, had apologised for failing to respond correctly when he was told about domestic violence by one of his priests when he was Bishop of Reading.

The church has “the most incompetent and unjust form of investigation I have ever seen”, Lord Carlile said.

He is one of the signatories to a letter demanding that the Charity Commission take action. “They just don’t understand how the rule of law operates”, he said.

Protesting Reverend June Dolley-Major told to ‘go to hell’ over rape allegations

Cape Times

August 12, 2020

By Yolisa Tswanya

Theologian, lawyer and human rights activist Barney Pityana stands by his comments that Reverend June Dolley-Major’s campaign for justice after allegedly being raped by a pastor in the Anglican Church 18 years ago was “diabolical and satanic”.

At the weekend, Dolley-Major and a number of supporters hung panties outside Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s home in protest at the church’s handling of her allegations.

In a message to one of Dolley-Major’s supporters, posted on social media, Pityana said he noted the campaign and that nothing gave the protesters the right to abuse the archbishop and violate the privacy of his home.

Review of Statute of Limitations Lookback Window Legislation

Legal Examiner (law firm blog)

August 11, 2020

By Joseph H. Saunders

In a recent 2019 summary of changes in statutes of limitation for child sex abuse, written by CHILDUSA, 41 states had either changed their statutes of limitations or had bills pending to do so. In the past two years 15 states have extended or suspended statute of limitations to allow child sex abuse claims stretching back decades, unleashing potentially thousands of new lawsuits against the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.

More importantly “lookback windows” have been established by eight states and the District of Columbia. These “windows” allow victims of sexual abuse to sue no matter how long ago the alleged abuse took place. Victims can file civil suits against both their alleged abusers such as priests and the church or other institutions where they worked.

Excommunicated priest rejects Pope Francis, misconduct allegations

Catholic News Agency

August 11, 2020

A Sacramento priest excommunicated last week says he stands by his claim that Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is the true pope. In addition to charges of schism, the priest is suspected of misconduct and improper relationships with at least two adult women; he confessed his love to one of them in a video message circulating online.

“I continue to regard Benedict as retaining the Office of Peter, as mysterious as that might be. Therefore, I do not regard Bergoglio as the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church,” Fr. Jeremy Leatherby wrote this week in an open letter to the Sacramento diocese.

Leatherby added that although he was already prohibited from public ministry, he had been celebrating Masses in recent months in private homes, offered “in union with Pope Benedict, not with Pope Francis. Many who have joined me hold, like I do, that Benedict remains the one true Pope.”

Buffalo Diocese priest abused boy in 2009, lawsuit states


August 11, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Most recent claim of abuse on record

It’s the most recent case of alleged pedophilia in the Buffalo Diocese on record and it involves Fr. Lynn Shumway, a Grand Island pastor who allegedly abused a child in 2009.

From the beginning of the scandal, the Diocese of Buffalo has tried to describe child sex abuse by priests as a problem of the past.

“There have been only three diocesan priests against whom there have been substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse since the year 2000,” the diocese writes on its website. “There have been no substantiated claims of child sexual abuse against any diocesan priest ordained in the past 30 years.”

But a lawsuit recently filed in State Supreme Court now threatens to render that statement false.

It’s the most recent case of alleged pedophilia in the Buffalo Diocese on record and it involves Fr. Lynn Shumway, a Grand Island pastor who allegedly abused a child in 2009.

Two former students sue Paramus Catholic, saying the school knew of sex abuse by hockey coach


August 12, 2020

By Tom Nobile

Two former students at Paramus Catholic High School have come forward with sexual abuse allegations against a prominent hockey coach from the 1980s, saying the school shielded him from similar accusations for years.

In a lawsuit filed in state Superior Court, the two unnamed alumni say Paramus Catholic, the Archdiocese of Newark and its archbishop either were aware or should have known that coach Bernard Garris had “sexually inappropriate and/or sexually abusive relationships with many minor children."

Garris molested both boys numerous times on school grounds and while on school-sanctioned athletic trips between 1986 and 1988, when the students were 14 or 15, says the suit, filed last week. Gerald McCarthy, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said more may come forward.

“It’s our strong opinion in doing our initial investigation, after being contacted by several former students, that there may have been quite a few,” he said.

To protect their privacy, McCarthy did not disclose where the former students lived or what years they graduated, he said. The lawsuit says one plaintiff currently lives in New Jersey. The other is a Massachusetts resident.

Paramus Catholic did not return calls seeking comment, and the archdiocese said it would not discuss pending litigation.

“The Archdiocese of Newark remains fully committed to transparency and to our long-standing programs to protect the faithful and will continue to work with victims, their legal representatives and law enforcement authorities in an ongoing effort to resolve allegations and bring closure to victims,” said Maria Margiotta, a spokesperson for the archdiocese.

The suit is the latest among dozens of complaints filed against the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and other institutions since Dec. 1, when a new state law waived the statue of limitation for decades-old abuse claims in New Jersey.

Garris was named to the Bergen County Coaches Association's Century Victory Club for amassing 100 wins as a coach by 1985. But he was terminated from his position around 1986 due to abuse allegations from students and later died, in 2016, according to the lawsuit.

The school and the archdiocese, however, breached their duties to inform families of the alleged victims about the accusations, the lawsuit states.

“Despite this duty, defendants have for decades adopted policies and practices of covering up criminal activity committed by its agents and employees,” the complaint says.

A 2019 law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy greatly expanded the ability of alleged victims of sexual assault to sue attackers and eased restrictions on seeking damages from defendants, such as churches, that may have shielded the abuse. Whereas the previous law allowed only a two-year statute of limitations, alleged victims can now sue their abusers until they turn 55, or within seven years of their realization that the abuse caused them harm.

In early 2019, New Jersey's five Catholic dioceses began releasing lists of priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. The list included two now-deceased priests who had served at Paramus Catholic: Dennis Cocozza, who was ordained in 1975, and Robert Morel, ordained in 1969.

August 11, 2020

Suspended Sacramento Priest Excommunicated From Roman Catholic Church


August 9, 2020

By Richie Ramos

The Diocese of Sacramento excommunicated a priest from the Roman Catholic Church after he continued, while suspended, to hold Mass and questioned the legitimacy of Pope Francis, according to a letter from Bishop Jaime Soto.

In his letter, Soto said Father Jeremy Leatherby was exiled by his own volition, refusing the bishop’s instructions to refrain from offering public Mass to parishioners.

“He has instructed them against the legitimacy of His Holiness, Pope Francis,” Soto said. “He has substituted the Holy Father’s name with the name of his predecessor, and omitted my name during the recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer while offering Mass.”

Soto said he attempted to reach Leatherby in a number of ways but did not get any response.

Catholic Churches Drop Hymns After Accusations Against Composer

The New York Times

August 10, 2020

By Marie Fazio

David Haas, a composer known for “Blest Are They,” “We Are Called,” “You Are Mine” and other favorites, has been accused of sexual abuse and harassment by multiple women, an advocacy group says.

Several Roman Catholic archdioceses have banned a well-known liturgical composer from performing in their churches and many others have stopped playing his music after dozens of women accused him of sexual misconduct and harassment over more than 40 years.

The allegations against the composer, David Haas, 63, include harassment and cyberstalking, lewd propositions, forced kissing and groping, and other unwanted sexual behavior, according to accusations from 38 women compiled by Into Account, a survivor advocacy group. The New York Times interviewed six of the women.

Editorial: It's past time for Vatican report on McCarrick's shameful rise

National Catholic Reporter

August 11, 2020

By NCR Editorial Staff

As we publish this, it has been one year, 10 months, and six days since Pope Francis ordered a report on the Vatican's documentation about how Theodore McCarrick was promoted through the ranks of the Catholic hierarchy for decades, despite multiple, then-secret reports of his sexual misconduct with seminarians.

And it has been six months and six days since a Vatican official last gave a public update on the status of the report, when Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin told the Reuters news agency that work on the text was done, awaiting only a final "go" order for publication from Francis.

Certainly, the world has changed in drastic ways since the pontiff first ordered the report on Oct. 6, 2018, and even since Parolin gave the last progress update on Feb. 6.

Deceased Massachusetts bishop accused of sexual abuse had roots in New York archdiocese

Catholic News Agency

August 11, 2020

Archbishop-designate Mitchell Rozanski, who will take over the Archdiocese of St. Louis this month, oversaw an investigation into the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon of Springfield, Mass, a bishop credibly accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in the 1960s. Rozanski has faced criticism for some aspects of his handling of the case, which the bishop said had been mishandled for years.

In 2018 an alleged victim, known under the pseudonym John Doe, told the Springfield diocesan review board that Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, who retired in 1977 and died in 1982, had abused him when he was an altar boy in the 1960s. Two priests also abused him, he said.

However, Bishop Weldon was not listed on the Springfield diocese’s list of clergy credibly accused of abuse. Although at least three witnesses and a letter to Doe from the review board supported Doe’s claim that he told the review board about Weldon, the review board only acknowledged Doe’s claim that the two priests had abused him. When the matter became controversial in 2019, then-Bishop Mitchell Rozanski commissioned an independent investigation.

3,797 and counting: Child Victims Act suits in NY add up, with more expected

Poughkeepsie Journal

August 11, 2020

By Saba Ali

Gregory Kane won the lottery four decades ago.

The 10-year-old Queens resident was chosen by the Fresh Air Fund via a lottery system to attend its summer camp in Fishkill.

Part of the "Deer Trail 13" group, he and three other campers were assigned to a cabin. Each cabin had a counselor who would supervise the campers in the evenings.

One evening, Kane says he woke to find the counselor with one hand on his throat and the other on his penis.

Kane is suing the Fresh Air Fund for the sexual abuse he said he endured the summer of 1980. His story, outlined in graphic detail in his lawsuit against the Fresh Air Fund, is not unique.

The civil action lawsuit is one of thousands filed under the Child Victims Act against individuals, schools, churches and youth organizations. Last August, the law allowed survivors of child sexual abuse one year to file claims against those responsible for abuse regardless of how long ago the incident took place.

Whistleblower Hits Back: Stephen Brady defends himself against 'unjust' lawsuit

Church Militant

August 11, 2020

By Christine Niles

A whistleblower on clergy corruption is fighting attempts to silence him.

Stephen Brady, president of Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF), an organization dedicated to exposing corruption and sex abuse in the Catholic clergy, has had to spend many thousands of dollars — even mortgaging his home and spending his life savings — to defend himself against a defamation lawsuit brought by Msgr. Craig Harrison. A priest of the diocese of Fresno, California, Harrison was placed on leave in May 2019 after at least half a dozen men stepped forward accusing him of abuse when they were teens.

"This is an action brought by a powerful public figure, using all of his extensive resources and connections in his local community, to engage in a pattern of rank intimidation against those who speak against him," argue Brady's attorneys in his latest court appeal. "He's sued a victim, an investigator and his own diocese — and enlisted his brother to engage in a campaign of harassment.

Minnesota-based Catholic composer accused of sexual misconduct

Minneapolis Star Tribune

August 11, 2020

By Jean Hopfensperger

He taught and worked in St. Louis Park, St. Paul.

Twin Cities musician David Haas, one of the best-known music composers in the Catholic Church nationally, has been accused of sexual misconduct toward multiple young women who studied with him over the years.

Composer, performer and teacher, Haas taught at Benilde-St. Margaret’s school in St. Louis Park, was composer-in-residence at the St. Paul Seminary, and ran a Music Ministry Alive program for years at St. Catherine University. He’s also traveled the nation and the world giving workshops and performing.

The stellar career ground to a halt earlier this year when a Kansas-based victim’s advocacy group publicized several allegations of abuse of young women under his tutelage. The organization, called Into Account, notified a network of liturgical music groups about the allegations, and organizations such as the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul halted the use of his music at archdiocese events; longtime music publisher GIA Publications in Chicago suspended its ties. Haas has not been charged with any offense.

Another Vatican Scandal or Just Business as Usual?

Open Tabernacle (blog)

August 11, 2020

By Betty Clermont

“Vatican prosecutors, working with Italian authorities, executed a search and seizure warrant” on July 15. Cell phones and iPads belonging to London financier Raffaele Mincione were seized at a hotel in Rome.

Mincione, former fiancé of Paul McCartney’s ex-wife Heather Mills, had filed two civil lawsuits in the UK’s High Court of Justice against the Vatican on June 20. Both lawsuits are related to a deal brokered by Mincione for the Vatican in 2014 – their purchase of a 45% interest, through his holding company the Athena Global Opportunities Fund, in a London building to be converted into luxury apartments.

That deal “raised questions about the Vatican’s murky finances and poor investment strategies in the past decade and sparked fresh speculation about its Machiavellian turf battles, power struggles and score-settling,” the Associated Press reported.

Church’s vicarious liability in Mount Cashel abuse scandal transcends religion, says lawyer

The Lawyer's Daily, Lexis-Nexis

August 10, 2020

By Terry Davidson

A Newfoundland court’s finding that the Archdiocese of St. John’s is vicariously liable for historical sexual abuse at the former Mount Cashel orphanage should be a warning to entities controlling lower institutions that there is a “continuing legal responsibility” to protect others, says a lawyer involved.

The landmark July 28 decision by the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal in John Doe (G.E.B. #25) v. Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s 2020 NLCA 27 is the latest chapter involving four male plaintiffs who as child residents of the Mount Cashel orphanage suffered sexual abuse at the hands of five members of the Christian Brothers during the 1940s and 1950s.

The Christian Brothers, a group of Irish laymen brought to Newfoundland in the 1870s to teach in Roman Catholic Schools, operated the orphanage.

Preempting clerical sex abuse: New book analyzes what went wrong and what must go right for the Church to move forward.

Catholic World Report

August 4, 2020

By Thomas J. Nash

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:5-6)

Jesus’ sober words about scandalizing young Catholics should be imprinted on the hearts of all Church employees, clerical or lay, who have anything to do with the oversight of children in the universal Church (see CCC 2284-87). The grave damage done to many victims and their families has been far-reaching, striking a severe blow to the Church in advancing her God-given Great Commission (see Mt. 28:18-20). While things have undoubtedly improved overall since the Long Lent of 2002, we still await Pope Francis’ reckoning regarding Theodore McCarrick, two years after he resigned from the College of Cardinals.

Rape-accused Orthodox priest suspended in Kerala

UCA News

August 11, 2020

By Saji Thomas

Another clerical sex abuse case shocks the Christian community in the southern Indian state

An Orthodox church in southern India has suspended a priest and initiated an internal probe after an allegation that he raped a woman who sought his help to settle her dispute with her husband.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church based in Kerala suspended Father Babu Varghese Pookkottil after state police arrested him on Aug. 8 based on the woman's complaint.
The priest of Sultan Bathery Diocese has been "suspended from all his priestly duties. We have also initiated a probe into the alleged incident," diocesan secretary Father T.N. Kuriakose told UCA News.

Relatos de exalumnos sobre un sacerdote abusador del colegio San Vicente de Paul de La Plata

[Stories from former students about an abusive priest at the San Vicente de Paul de La Plata school]

Prensa Obrera

July 31, 2020

Raúl Sidders fue trasladado a principios de año a Iguazú, Misiones, donde sigue en contacto con menores y es capellán de Gendarmería.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: Raúl Sidders was transferred at the beginning of the year to Iguazú, Misiones, where he continues to be in contact with minors and is a chaplain of the Gendarmerie.]

“Ustedes, las mujeres, lo único que saben es comer, dormir y coger” dijo el “padre Raúl” entre risas, mientras se presentaba a una de las divisiones del secundario en ausencia de la profesora. “Eso fue en el primer día de clases. Quedé impactada”, recuerda Antonia, exalumna del Colegio San Vicente de Paul de La Plata. Los exalumnos varones recuerdan al sacerdote del colegio como “Frasquito”, el cura que les hacía preguntas fuera de lugar durante la confesión y los obligaba a masturbarse para guardarse su semen en frascos.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: "You women, the only thing you know is to eat, sleep and fuck," said "Father Raúl" with a laugh, as he presented himself to one of the secondary school divisions in the absence of the teacher. “That was on the first day of school. I was shocked, ”recalls Antonia, a former student of the Colegio San Vicente de Paul de La Plata. Male alumni remember the school priest as “Frasquito”, the priest who asked them inappropriate questions during confession and forced them to masturbate to keep their semen in jars.]

August 10, 2020

Church, abuse survivors report 'considerable progress'

The Guam Daily Post

August 10, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Nearly 90 properties of the Archdiocese of Agana, excluding any Catholic parish or school, have been discussed between the church and survivors of clergy sex abuse as assets to fund a potential settlement.

A federal judge vacated Friday's scheduling conference on the archdiocese's bankruptcy, after the parties reported "considerable progress" in their ongoing mediation.

Some 300 Guam clergy sex abuse cases could go to trial if there is no settlement outside the court.

Church leader accused of sexually abusing little boy; Houston police fear there may be more victims


August 7, 2020

By Doug Delony

Jose Abel Mena, 60, sexually abused the 9-year-old boy for more than a year according to court records.

Houston police have announced charges against a church leader accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old boy, and they say there may be more victims who have yet to come forward.

Jose Abel Mena, 60, is charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child for crimes dating back to January 2019. Police believe he began sexually assaulting the little boy in January 2019 and continued until April 2020.

Local priest involved in Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Lawsuit

Northeast News

August 5, 2020

By Daisy Garcia Montoya

A priest who served at Holy Cross Catholic Church on St. John Avenue is involved in one of two new sexual abuse lawsuits against the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph.

The lawsuit, filed July 20, 2020 in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges that Rev. Darvin Salazar sexually assaulted the unnamed plaintiff, age 25, in July 2018. The lawsuit alleges that the diocese had received previous reports regarding Salazar from at least five other individuals but chose not to remove him as a priest until the July 2018 allegations.

The ten-count indictment includes allegations of battery, breach of special relationship, fraud, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, failure to supervise clergy and false imprisonment.

CVA: Five priests from Rochester Diocese alleged to have abused 105 victims


August 4, 2020

By Jane Flasch

Serial predators inside the Catholic Church: At least 245 lawsuits filed under the Crime Victims Act name the Rochester Catholic Diocese. Taken together, they allege a stunning abuse of power - some of it involving only a handful of priests.

Five of them have been accused by a combined 105 victims.

"These people hurt you. You don't forget that," said a man who asked to be identified only by his initials: J.O.

Hancock County Court Rejects Diocese’s Request To Dismiss Lawsuit

The Intelligencer

August 5, 2020

By Joselyn King

A request by the the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to dismiss a lawsuit alleging sexual assault by the Rev. Victor Frobas has been denied in Hancock County Circuit Court.

The order issued July 31 by Circuit Judge David Sims pertains to a complaint filed May 15 in Hancock County Circuit Court by Michael Pirraglia of Fairfax, Virginia. The complaint alleges PIrraglia was sexually assaulted over a three-year period by Frobas as a child while attending St. Paul Catholic Church in Weirton.

SNAP Sendai Calls for Apology from Archdiocese of Nagasaki

SNAP Network

August 05, 2020

SNAP Sendai has learned about harassment from church officials at the Archdiocese of Nagasaki and are now calling for a public apology.

“The counselor room manager of the Archdiocese of Nagasaki responded sincerely to the victims,” said Harumi Suzuki, Leader of SNAP Sendai. “Archbishop Nagasaki added serious power harassment to the counselor room manager until she was unable to work.”

Two New Priests Accused of Abuse in the Diocese of Las Cruces

SNAP Network

August 5, 2020

Two more priests from the Diocese of Las Cruces have been accused of sexual abuse and we call on Catholic officials to do extensive outreach to their parish communities about these allegations, sharing the information and encouraging victims and witnesses to come forward and make a report to the police.

According to lawsuits filed this week, Fr. Roderick Nichols and Fr. Damian Gamboa have been accused of abusing children in the 1990s and 1980s respectively. Because we know that abusers rarely have just one victim, we call on Bishop Peter Baldacchino to personally visit each parish where these men were assigned and encourage anyone with information to contact law enforcement immediately. He should also use parish bulletins, pulpit announcements, and diocesan websites to augment this outreach.

Lawsuit Against Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Can Move Forward

SNAP Network

August 5, 2020

A lawsuit against a West Virginia diocese can move forward after a request to dismiss filed by Catholic officials was denied by the circuit court. We are glad that this lawsuit can move forward and hope that it encourages other survivors to speak up and make reports to law enforcement.

We are very happy that the complaint filed by Michael Pirraglia will proceed and applaud him for his bravery in coming forward and taking action. According to the lawsuit, Pirraglia was abused by Fr. Victor Frobas and he alleges that diocesan leaders in Wheeling-Charleston were aware of Fr. Frobas’ history of abuse and did nothing to stop it. We hope that this case will inspire others who were hurt in West Virginia to speak up and make a report themselves.

Lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by pastor

Mennonite World Review

August 10, 2020

By Tim Huber and Mennonite World Review

A female member of a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Bakersfield, Calif., has filed a lawsuit alleging a former pastor abused his position as a marriage counselor to make sexual advances.

The woman, who is not identified, filed a complaint July 22 in Kern County Superior Court requesting a jury trial and financial damages from Bridge Bible Church. In addition to naming the church as a defendant, the document names Eric Simpson, former pastor of transformation, and 50 congregational leaders, who are not identified.

The complaint alleges the plaintiff and her husband approached the church’s counseling center in 2016. Simpson served as head family and marriage counselor, and the three people met every other week for roughly nine months.

2 New Suits Are Filed As Child Victims Act Window Is Extended

The Post-Journal

August 4, 2020

By Eric Tichy

A Jamestown church has been named in two new Child Victims Act lawsuits for abuse said to have taken place in the early 1960s and mid-’70s.

Both complaints, filed late last week in New York State Supreme Court in Chautauqua County, names Holy Apostles Parish as the defendant.

One victim, only identified as “AB 279 DOE,” claims they were sexually abused by the Rev. John D. Lewandowski from about 1962 to 1963. The victim was about 13 to 14 years old when the alleged abuse took place at the then-Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Jamestown.

“Plaintiff was a student and participated in youth activities and/or church activities at Ss. Peter and Paul,” the suit claims. “Plaintiff, therefore, developed great admiration, trust, reverence, and respect for the Roman Catholic Church, including defendants and their agents, including Fr. Lewandowski.”

Metairie deacon removed from ministry after allegation of abuse


August 3, 2020

The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced Monday that a Metairie deacon has been removed from ministry after being accused of abuse 20 years before he was ordained.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond formally removed Deacon V.M. Wheeler from ministry. He was assigned to St. Francis Xavier Parish since his ordination in 2018, according to the Archdiocese.

According to the Archdiocese, the matter has been referred to an appropriate law enforcement agency and the Archdiocese pledges its full cooperation with the investigation.

(Op-ed): Chris Friel takes a look at The Case of George Pell

Big News Network

August 9, 2020

By Chris Friel

Melissa Davey just a few days ago brought out her book on The Case of George Pell. Davey has followed the trial closely and I have often found her observations astute. When Judge Kidd in his denunciation spoke of the two boys sobbing in the sacristy it was The Guardian reporter who tweeted that we had not heard these tears before. In the UK her Five Times Guilty was splashed as soon as the suppression order was lifted, and very pertinently Davey reported on Mark Gibson's closing address:

In his succinct but powerful closing remarks, Gibson asked the jury to consider how the complainant would have known the layout of the priest's sacristy, and that there were wooden panels, a storage cupboard, a kitchenette and sacramental wine in there. It was not a place choirboys were allowed to enter. Yet the complainant was able to describe the room.

Father Mark White appeals to Washington's Archbishop. Next stop: Rome

Martinsville Bulletin

August 3, 2020

By Bill Wyatt

After being shunned at the doorsteps of a Richmond bishop and now also at the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States in Washington, D.C., Father Mark White of Martinsville and his supporters intend to take their demands for justice to the Vatican in Rome.

You probably know the story by now. Father White was the priest serving St. Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount. Late last year Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout told White to remove a popular blog he had created and used to occasionally criticize the church hierarchy’s handling of the sex abuse scandal within the church.

Child Victims Act Extended for an Additional Year, SNAP Applauds Decision

SNAP Network

August 3, 2020

Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo formally extended New York’s Child Victim’s Act for an additional year. We applaud this decision and believe that this will help more victims come forward, bringing to light information that can protect children today and hold enablers of abuse accountable.

This critical reform has already made a major impact in New York and extending the filing deadline through August 14, 2021 will ensure that unforeseen issues like the global COVID pandemic will not stop the flow of justice. Giving survivors of childhood sexual abuse their day in court is not only a key piece of the healing process for survivors, but helps get critical information about abusers and enablers in the public, creating safer and more informed communities. We are grateful that those who were abused in New York will continue to have an opportunity to bring their claims forward.

Diocese of Camden Suspends Compensation Program, SNAP Reacts

SNAP Network

August 3, 2020

The Diocese of Camden, NJ is suspending all payouts to survivors of sexual abuse due to budgetary impacts from COVID. This is a hurtful and deceitful move that clearly shows that the best pathway for survivors to get justice is through the court system and not church-run programs.

Last year, church officials from Camden called for victims to come forward and participate in their Independent Victims Compensation Plan. They ran this plan in hopes that survivors would not take advantage of New Jersey’s recent Child Victims Act and instead come to the church for help. Less than one year later, Camden officials have reneged on the promise they made to the survivors of abuse and are refusing to help new survivors coming forward.

Pope extends Eastern Catholic Patriarchs’ jurisdiction over Arabian Peninsula

Vatican News

August 2020

Pope Francis extends the jurisdiction of Eastern Catholic Patriarchs over the Arabian Peninsula, in response to requests from the Patriarchs, for the greater spiritual good of the faithful.

Pope Francis, with a Rescriptum published by the Vatican Press Office on Thursday, has extended the jurisdiction of the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs over the entire Arabian Peninsula, which includes the Apostolic Vicariates of Northern and Southern Arabia.

The latest announcement – fruit of careful evaluation by the Pope and the appropriate Dicasteries of the Roman Curia - is in response to requests made by the Patriarchs and Apostolic Vicars of Northern and Southern Arabia, in view of the greater spiritual good of the faithful, as well as the historical prerogatives of their jurisdiction over the territory.

Gymnasts Worldwide Push Back on Their Sport’s Culture of Abuse

The New York Times

August 3, 2020

By Juliet Macur

On Instagram and other social networks, gymnasts have tagged posts with #GymnastAlliance to share their own experiences in the wake of a new documentary that highlights verbal and physical abuse by coaches.

A culture in gymnastics that has tolerated coaches belittling, manipulating and in some cases physically abusing young athletes is being challenged by Olympians and other gymnasts around the world after an uprising in the United States.

Many current and former competitors, emboldened by their American peers, have broken their silence in recent weeks against treatment they say created mental scars on girls that lasted well into adulthood.

One gymnast, who is just 8 years old, said a coach tied her wrists to a horizontal bar when she was 7 and ignored her as she cried out in pain.

At a time when the Tokyo Olympics would be in session, had they not been postponed until 2021 by the coronavirus pandemic, gymnasts have been sharing horrific stories of coaches body-shaming them, stifling their emotions, using corporal punishment on them and forcing them to train with injuries, using the pursuit of medals as a way to rationalize shameful behavior.



August 7, 2020

By Kristine Christlieb

New bishop left to clean up the mess

A bishop the Vatican ordered to make amends for sexual abuse and financial malfeasance is nowhere to be found, and the Vatican appears unconcerned.

Local media reported on Monday that Bp. Michael Bransfield, the disgraced former bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, has not agreed to a proposed plan of amends, nor has he been in communication with any U.S. church official since February. His successor, Bp. Mark Brennan, explained to MetroNews his stalled plan for Bransfield that he had submitted to the Vatican six months ago.

Brennan: I have not heard from Bransfield in months about his amends

Metro News

August 4, 2020

Mark Brennan, the Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston said he has not heard from disgraced former Bishop Michael Bransfield in months since the diocese proposed Bransfield a “plan of amends” for his actions.

The diocese laid out the plan in November following an investigation that concluded Bransfield sexually harassed young priests he oversaw and committed financial improprieties during his time leading the Catholic Church in West Virginia from 2005 to 2018.

The investigation into Bransfield by the diocese concluded last summer. Brennan said he has not heard from Bransfield since the plan of amends was released.

Survivor shares advice for protecting kids from abuse

The Ellsworth American

August 7, 2020

By Jennifer Osborn

You teach your kids to look both ways before crossing a street, to wash their hands and to wear a bike helmet, but have you talked to them about what to do if someone touches them inappropriately?

One in four girls and one in six boys will experience unwanted sexual contact before they turn 18, said survivor Mark Crawford, who is the president of the New Jersey chapter of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. “When you think about it, those are truly startling numbers.”

El caso del cura Pernini, listo para su elevación a juicio

[The case of priest Pernini, ready for his elevation to trial]

Diario Textual

August 6, 2020

El fiscal de Delitos que Impliquen Violencia Familiar y de Género, Walter Antonio Martos, confirmó a Diario Textual que la causa contra el cura santarroseño Hugo Pernini por abuso sexual con acceso carnal está lista para su elevación a juicio. «Si la pandemia lo permite, será sobre fin de año», dijo el funcionario judicial.

Pernini fue denunciado el año pasado por abuso sexual simple gravemente ultrajante y con acceso carnal por haber mediado amenazas y abuso en una relación de dependencia calificado por pertenecer, el autor del hecho, a un culto -sacerdote-, todos como delito continuado.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The prosecutor for Crimes Involving Family and Gender Violence, Walter Antonio Martos , confirmed to Diario Textual that the case against the priest from Santa Rosa, Hugo Pernini for sexual abuse with carnal access is ready to be brought to trial. "If the pandemic allows it, it will be around the end of the year," said the judicial official.

Pernini was denounced last year for grossly outrageous simple sexual abuse and with carnal access for having mediated threats and abuse in a dependent relationship qualified for belonging, the perpetrator of the act, to a cult -priest-, all as a continuing crime.]

Catholic Church was warned about McCarrick decades ago, yet promotions, honors kept coming


August 10, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin


In the late 1980s, several seminary students approached one of their professors imploring him for help, saying they didn't want to take any more trips to Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s Jersey shore home, but feared reprisals if they complained to archdiocesan officials.

The Rev. Ed Reading, a priest of the Paterson Diocese, was alarmed when the seminarians told him they felt pressured into sharing a bed with McCarrick and having to undress in front of him, though they did not say he touched them sexually. Reading reported it to his bishop, Frank Rodimer, who indicated he'd contact the Vatican's U.S. representatives.

“Something had to be done,” said Reading, who now works as a substance abuse counselor outside of the Paterson Diocese. “It’s emotional abuse and it’s a power problem.”

About two weeks later, Newark priests told Reading that church officials made an unannounced visit to the archdiocese, apparently to clamp down on use of the beach house. It was perhaps the first attempt to curtail McCarrick’s activities. But like some other actions later taken by priests and church officials, there were either no consequences or they were fleeting, as McCarrick took seminarians to the shore home for years afterward.

Reading called the harassment “the worst kept secret ever.”

Until two years ago, McCarrick, now 90, remained a popular figure, rising to become one of the Catholic Church's most powerful leaders. But in June 2018, his storied career came to an abrupt end when church officials removed him from ministry, saying they received credible allegations that he abused an altar boy decades ago in New York.

At the same time, church officials said they received "three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago" against McCarrick, saying that two of the claims resulted in settlements years before. Last year, McCarrick became the first American cardinal to be defrocked, underscoring allegations of the sexual harassment of seminarians that followed him for much of his career.

McCarrick had been revered for his ability to raise money — and the shore house in Sea Girt helped serve that purpose. Several people interviewed said McCarrick was known to take seminarians to dinner with wealthy potential donors who had homes at the shore, parading the young men as the future of the church.

He was promoted to archbishop of Washington, D.C. in 2000 and elevated to cardinal months later — even after the Vatican received a written complaint about his alleged abuse of seminary students. Church leaders first moved to limit his ministry in 2008, after the Newark Archdiocese quietly paid two seminarians to settle abuse claims. But McCarrick skirted the restrictions and continued to travel around the world with impunity, representing the church as its emissary.

In 2002, McCarrick had taken a leadership role among American cardinals, becoming the face of the church as it promised to reform itself in the wake of allegations that bishops had been covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests.

But NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey has learned through interviews and shared documents that McCarrick overlooked abuse allegations made against several priests in the Newark Archdiocese. And the former cardinal is now accused of abusing children himself in three New Jersey lawsuits — including one filed last month alleging he shared children with other priests at the Jersey shore.

Letters to cardinals

Mark Crawford, now a victims' advocate, said he met with McCarrick in late 1997 to tell him that he and his brother had been sexually abused and beaten by the Rev. Kenneth Martin, a Bayonne priest who continued working until 2002, when he was removed amid the national scandal.

After McCarrick failed to follow up on promises made during that meeting, Crawford said he sent letters to cardinals across the U.S. in 1998 asking for help. Only a handful responded, and none offered to take action. Several suggested that McCarrick would address the matter.

"It was, 'this isn't our problem,'" said Crawford, who is now the head of the New Jersey chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP.

By then, Crawford, who had considered becoming a priest and knew many clerics and seminarians, had heard rumors about McCarrick's behavior with seminarians at his beach house. "If I knew, they had to know," Crawford said of the cardinals.

One of the cardinals who did respond to Crawford's letters, Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, wrote that McCarrick "is greatly concerned about all these problems and issues, and I know that you can rely upon him to be attentive to these pastoral needs." In 2013, church officials barred Mahoney from public ministry for allegedly failing to protect children from abusive priests.

Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, who died in 2017, also wrote back to Crawford, and told him that “your pain and frustration is familiar to me because I have had to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct by clergy.” He asked Crawford to “pray for the leaders of the Church, that we might do God’s will whenever this awful problem occurs.”

Four years later, reporting by the Boston Globe revealed that Law himself had moved abusive priests from one parish to another, accusations that led him to resign in disgrace.

The allegations against McCarrick remained an open secret in the church even after the Newark Archdiocese and Metuchen Diocese paid two seminarians to settle claims against him in 2005 and 2007. Archbishop John Myers was the leader of the Newark Archdiocese by then. McCarrick retired as head of the Washington Archdiocese in 2006 when he turned 75, the Vatican's required age of retirement. It is not known whether his departure was connected to the payouts.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who took over the Newark Archdiocese from Myers in 2017, revealed the settlements in a written statement in June 2018.

McCarrick's personal secretary

Months later, in late 2018, Tobin was given an opportunity to examine letters that cast new light on McCarrick’s abuse of power, according to a priest who worked for McCarrick for decades, first as his secretary in Newark and then at the Vatican.

Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo told NorthJersey.com that he met with Tobin in late 2018, bringing with him letters he believed would be important in the investigation into McCarrick. They showed that McCarrick acknowledged a “lack of judgement” by sharing a bed with seminarians and ignoring restrictions placed on his ministry in 2008.

According to Figueiredo, Tobin said “this was not the time to discuss that.”

The Newark Archdiocese did not address Figueredo's claim but issued a statement in an email: "Cardinal Tobin has not seen the contents of the letters to which you refer, and it would be inappropriate to comment on them without seeing them. Information and correspondence publicly released or information still not made public by Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo properly belong to the Holy See to investigate."

Figueiredo, who now lives in Rome, posted excerpts from the letters last year on a website called the Figueiredo Report. He said the Vatican has supported his decision to do so.

Figueiredo said that on Christmas Day 2019, he received a phone call from McCarrick “out of the blue.” He expected the former cardinal to be angry about the letters, but they weren’t mentioned.

“I’m sorry for all the trouble I caused you,” McCarrick said, according to Figueiredo.

"I was moved by it,” Figueiredo said. “I saw a grain of repentance in the man.”

McCarrick has denied that he sexually abused anyone. His attorney, Barry Coburn, declined to comment for this story.

In one 2008 letter to a Vatican diplomat, which was translated into Italian by Figueiredo, McCarrick wrote that he had "an unfortunate lack of judgment" and "always considered my priests and seminarians as part of my family,” sharing his bed with them as he had done with blood relatives “without thinking of it as being wrong.”

"In no case were there minors involved,” McCarrick wrote. “I have never had sexual relations with anyone, man, woman or child, nor have I ever sought such acts.”

McCarrick indicated in that letter and others from 2008 that he had been directed by church officials to be "less public a figure," and was planning to comply. The letters also indicate he was asked to move his residence from a seminary to a parish and to make public appearances only when approved by church officials.

Figueiredo said on his website that the restrictions, which were imposed under the rule of Pope Benedict XVI, were not made public "and despite McCarrick’s promises, he continued his public ministry, including taking a highly visible public role" that included dealings with high-ranking Vatican officials along with "public officials in the United States and around the globe."

After Figueiredo posted the letters, he said Tobin wrote to him and expressed surprise that he hadn’t been informed about them.

"I had no idea that you had all of this information,” Tobin wrote, according to Figueiredo. “From the excerpts that you had published, I am concerned by your longstanding knowledge of some very grave facts, which you failed to disclose earlier."

Figueiredo said he tried to disclose the letters to Tobin months earlier, and that he had all but forgotten them until allegations against McCarrick became public. And while he heard rumors of misconduct in the 1990s, he said he couldn’t be sure they were true and chalked it up to McCarrick having enemies in the church “because he provoked a lot of jealousy and envy.”

“I quite liked working as his secretary," Figueiredo said. “He was a good role model in many ways. He was always very polite. I can never remember a moment where he shouted. He was gracious and welcoming.”

Figueiredo said he hadn’t heard about the payouts to seminarians until two years ago, when they became widely known. Given the seminarians' accusations of McCarrick's behavior, Figueiredo questioned why McCarrick was allowed to stay at a seminary in Rome whenever he visited the Vatican until 2018. Myers, the former Newark archbishop, was also head of that seminary, the North American College, which trains clerics from the United States.

“He knew about the paid allegations,” Figueiredo said of Myers.

In the mid-1990s, when he worked in Newark, Figueiredo said he visited McCarrick's Sea Girt beach house. The monsignor said McCarrick didn’t go there often but selected seminarians to be invited to the house. Figueiredo said he didn’t witness abuse.

Seminary professor intercedes

Another seminary professor also heard McCarrick had been abusing seminarians, and said he took steps to intercede. The Rev. Boniface Ramsey, who taught from 1986 to 1996 at the College Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, on the Seton Hall University campus, told NorthJersey.com it was widely known that seminarians had to share McCarrick’s bed at the Sea Girt home.

“There’s always one less bed than there should be so one seminarian has to stay in bed with him,” Ramsey said. “Everyone kind of accepted it. This is what McCarrick does. It’s odd, but that’s what he does. It was said that he never touched anybody. And if he did touch someone, they never said anything.”

In the late 1980s, Ramsey said he took his concerns to the director of the seminary, who had been acting as a middleman in the selection of seminarians invited to McCarrick’s shore home.

“He told me he would not do it again,” Ramsey said. “I believe him.”

After that, he said, McCarrick may have found another way to invite seminarians to his beach house. Ramsey didn’t name the seminary director. The priest who headed the seminary in the late 1980s did not respond to requests for an interview.

In 2000, Ramsey sent a letter to a Vatican representative to sound an alarm. McCarrick had just been appointed Archbishop of Washington, and Ramsey was concerned that his “misbehavior” would continue and be “hurtful to the church.” Ramsey did not get an immediate reply and McCarrick was subsequently promoted to cardinal. Years later, Ramsey received a response to his letter, letting him know that it had been received.

“Then they knew about it,” Ramsey said. “They didn’t do anything. This had to do with the seminarians and the beach house. We are not talking about child abuse, which we didn’t come to know until just two years ago.”

The beach house

Over the past year, three lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey alleging that McCarrick abused children. The latest, filed last month, accused McCarrick of running a child sex ring with other priests out of a New Jersey beach house — the same Sea Girt home where he allegedly abused seminarians, first as bishop of the Metuchen Diocese and then as Archbishop of Newark.

However, Jeff Anderson, the attorney who filed the suit, later said it’s possible McCarrick had another shore home. The Metuchen Diocese, which McCarrick ran from 1981 to 1986, purchased the Sea Girt home in 1985, several years after the abuse alleged in the suit. It was sold to the Newark Archdiocese in 1988, two years after McCarrick moved there from Metuchen.

This Baltimore Boulevard home in Sea Girt was purchased by the Metuchen Diocese in 1985 and later sold to the Newark Archdiocese. It is where seminarians say that they were invited on overnight stays with former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. It was sold to a private party in 1997. Photo from July 22, 2020.

Anderson said he believed McCarrick eventually was “required” to sell the house “because of activities that became known to others.”

The Sea Girt home was sold in 1997 — but property records show McCarrick had access to another shore home for the rest of his time in the Newark Archdiocese. The archdiocese purchased a home in Brick in 1997 and sold it in 2002, two years after McCarrick left for Washington. The archdiocese said in an email it "cannot speculate on the specific history and purpose of these private properties."

Michael Reading, a former priest who was ordained in 1986, said he went to the Sea Girt house when he was a deacon. McCarrick told him that he wouldn’t ordain priests he didn’t get to know, Reading told NorthJersey.com. He reluctantly accompanied McCarrick and other seminarians on a trip to the shore but, having heard rumors of improprieties, made an excuse that he couldn’t stay the night.

He went to an upstairs bedroom to change and said McCarrick stood there watching. He finally realized the prelate wasn’t going to leave until he changed into his bathing suit. Later, on the beach, he said McCarrick stuck his hand under Reading's swimsuit in front of other seminarians. He said they didn’t talk about it and he didn’t know what to do.

“I didn’t know there was a way to report anything,” Reading said.

Reading said he distanced himself from McCarrick after that incident — which he believes may have led to him be passed over for a position he wanted and not being assigned to a parish he requested.

“We knew that you needed to be in favor with the archbishop, and I was not in favor,” he said.

He eventually left the priesthood over what he called McCarrick’s abuse of power. He told one person about the beach house incident — his former seminary teacher, Ed Reading, the Paterson Diocese priest who went to Bishop Rodimer in the late 1980s.

Ed Reading, who’s not related to Michael, said several seminarians approached him about the beach house because he was outside of the archdiocese and not directly under McCarrick. He said they didn’t trust telling anyone in the archdiocese.

“McCarrick was so powerful, if someone confronted him, they would be gone,” Reading said.

He said Rodimer turned “pure white in a kind of shock” when he told him about the allegations against McCarrick. The bishop, Reading said, noted that McCarrick was his superior. Reading suggested contacting the Vatican’s representatives in the United States. Rodimer thanked him “and said he would take it very seriously.”

Reading said he never asked Rodimer about what happened until he visited the bishop at a nursing home shortly before his death in 2018. Rodimer, who was in failing health, couldn’t recall the conversation about McCarrick or whether he went to Vatican officials.

“I hope I did that,” he said, according to Reading.

[Abbott Koloff is an investigative reporter for NorthJersey.com and Deena Yellin covers religion.]

Paedophile priest Vincent Gerard Ryan has priestly faculties removed

ABC Newcastle

August 10, 2020

By Giselle Wakatama

Key points:

- The 82-year-old can no longer dress in clerical garb or identify himself as a priest

- Victim advocates say it does not go far enough, arguing instead that Ryan should be defrocked

- In the ABC's Revelation program, Ryan was seen performing mass in his home

The notorious paedophile priest Vincent Gerard Ryan will no longer be permitted to celebrate the sacraments or dress as a priest, after a decision to remove his priestly faculties.

Ryan had previously spent 14 years in prison for abusing more than 30 boys.

This international paedophile has died leaving millions - and there could be people in Greater Manchester entitled to the money

Manchester Evening News

August 9, 2020

By Damon Wilkinson and Sam Tobin


Victims of a paedophile priest may be entitled to some of his near £5m estate.

Michael Studdert, who worked in Langley in Middleton in the 1960s, is believed to have abused children in England, Wales, Poland, Denmark and Italy.

The former Anglican minister died in 2017 aged 78.

Most of his £4.7m estate was left to a charity he set up to help support families of Clergy in the Church of England.

Women protest against GBV outside Archbishop’s home


August 9, 2020

By Kirsten Jacobs

A group of women, led by Lucinda Evans from non-profit organisation Philisa Abafazi Bethu, are spending their Women’s Day by protesting against gender-based violence. The protest began outside the Bishopscourt residence of Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba early August 9.

The women are taking a stand against gender-based violence and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s (ACSA) reported lack of response to such abuse. They are specifically protesting for justice for Reverend June Major, an Anglican priest from the Cape Town Diocese.

Reverend Major was allegedly raped by a fellow priest in 2002 at Grahamstown Seminary. Despite reporting the rape to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and to the Church authorities, her rapist reportedly continues to minister to congregations and justice has not been served.

Albany woman files sexual abuse lawsuit against Troy church


August 8, 2020

An Albany woman is suing a Troy church, its pastor and a deacon in an alleged case of sexual abuse that happened when she was 5-years-old.

Abigail Barker claims in the lawsuit that Deacon Mark Rhodes of Victorious Life Christian Church sexually molested her in 1998. She is also suing the church and its pastor Dominick Brignola for alleged negligence and cover-up after being told of the incident.

Barker is suing under New York's Child Victims Act, saying she's seeking accountability for those in power.

Former Exclusive Brethren members hit with dawn raids, legal suits after speaking out against the secretive Christian sect


August 9, 2020

By Bevan Hurley


Braden Simmons awoke to a knock at the door. Outside were lawyers and investigators with a court order to search his home.

A former Exclusive Brethren who was once told to drink rat poison by the church’s Supreme Leader is one of several former members fighting legal action after speaking out against the church. Bevan Hurley reports.

On June 30 this year, Braden Simmons attended an informal session with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

He would later tell friends he was there to share his story about his mental struggles during his time as an Exclusive Brethren, and in particular an incident involving the church’s Supreme Leader Bruce Hales, a man who is looked on by members as the embodiment of the Holy Spirit on earth.

A haven for victims of abuse

Alberton Record

August 8, 2020

They educate women on what is the exit plan for them if they were to find themselves in an abusive relationship.

Amcare’s empowerment centre is a safe haven for victims of domestic abuse in Alberton and the surrounding area.

They provide a shelter for women and their children to escape the abusive situation they find themselves in with the focus on victims of ongoing and current domestic victims.

A unique advantage they have is that they can provide shelter for the women and their children, even boys over the age of 15.

According to Amcare general manager Marihet Infantino, as well as providing shelter to the victims, they assist with the legal aspects of gaining a protection order to protect them.

Houston church group leader arrested for sexually assaulting 9-year-old


August 7, 2020

Houston Police have arrested a local church group leader for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy, and they believe there may be more victims.

Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the sexual assault of a child in incidents dating back to January 1, 2019, according to police.

The suspect, 60-year-old Jose Abel Mena, is charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child in the 183rd State District Court.

Mena is accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy, as recently as April 2020. The victim, who is a known acquaintance to Mena, was assaulted on several occasions at Mena's residence in the 9600 block of Fulton Street, according to police.

Church named in Lowville sex abuse lawsuit taking allegations ‘very seriously’


August 7, 2020

By Diane Rutherford

A church named in a Lowville child sexual abuse lawsuit says it’s taking the allegations “very seriously.”

Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed in State Supreme Court, claiming a former choir director at Lowville United Methodist Church sexually assaulted a teenager 40 years ago.

On Friday, the Upper New York Conference of the United Methodist Church, which is named as a defendant in the suit, issued the following statement:

"We are taking this very seriously and are investigating. When it comes to terrible acts like the ones that are being alleged, we, as United Methodists, support survivors and their families in their search for justice. We pray for healing for all such survivors."

Egypt mulls law to protect women's identities as MeToo movement escalates


August 10, 2020

By Menna A. Farouk

Egyptian lawmakers are pushing for a new law to protect the identity of women coming forward to report sexual abuse and assault as the nation’s MeToo movement picks up speed.

An Egyptian parliamentarian committee has approved a draft law that would give survivors of sexual assault and harassment the automatic right to anonymity, with the law expected to go to vote at a general session of the parliament later this month.

The moves comes as hundreds of women have started to speak up on social media about sexual assault in Egypt, with the public prosecution and National Council for Women supporting the movement and offering legal and social protection.

Elite NYC school Saint David’s hushed up sexual abuse by staff, alumni lawsuit alleges

New York Post

August 8, 2020

By Sara Dorn and Kathianne Boniello

A former student at an elite Manhattan private school claims in a shocking $20 million lawsuit that he was molested by three staffers, including one who allegedly kept a horrific trophy — jeans with locks of victims’ hair sewn into them.

Anthony Filiberti is the second alum to sue the $50,000-a-year Saint David’s School over past childhood sex abuse.

“Initially, it was incredibly pleasant. You ran around this donated mansion,” said Filiberti, who attended the all-boys elementary housed in three historic townhomes next to the Guggenheim on East 89th Street, from 1965 to 1973.

Nancy LePage agrees to pay $125K to Fr. Eduard Perrone

Church Militant

August 8, 2020

A Michigan priest has been officially vindicated after a detective who falsely accused him of rape has agreed to pay him damages awards.

On Friday, Sgt. Det. Nancy LePage of the Macomb County Sheriff's Department agreed to pay $125,000 to Detroit priest Fr. Eduard Perrone, one month after a three-person panel unanimously found her guilty of defamation and recommended that she pay damages. Friday was the deadline set by the panel for accepting or rejecting the recommendation.

Now that LePage has accepted the finding of guilt and has agreed to pay the money, it becomes a binding court ruling, formally bringing an end to Perrone's months-long lawsuit for defamation, and officially vindicating him.

August 9, 2020

Survivors file suite of lawsuits naming new alleged abusers among upstate Boy Scout groups

Democrat and Chronicle

August 6, 2020

By Sean Lahman

More than a dozen survivors have filed lawsuits in state court over the last week alleging that they were sexually abused while participating in Boy Scout activities in central and western New York.

The suits accuse Scout leaders and adult volunteers of sexually abusing the the survivors when they were as young as 8 years old. The timeframe for the alleged abuse described in these civil suits ranges from 1949 to 2007, but the majority of the assaults occurred in the 1970s.

The claims were filed under the Child Victims Act. Adopted in early 2019, the CVA carved out a one-year window during which suits can be brought by people who allege they were sexually abused when they were young. That window had been set to close Aug. 13, but a one-year extension was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this week.

Plaintiff's lawyers say that they had been working to get cases filed by the original deadline, prompting this recent surge of new cases.

Three of the new complaints name perpetrators who had been identified in previous lawsuits, including the Rev. Robert F. O'Neill.

O'Neill was a Catholic priest and of the worst serial abusers ever uncovered in the Rochester diocese. Already named as a defendant in more than 20 lawsuits, O'Neill served at six parishes in the Rochester area between 1962 and 2001. He also served as a counselor to Scouts in various local troops.

Surge in filings pushes Child Victims Act suits in WNY past 700 in a year

Buffalo News

August 9, 2020

By Jay Tokasz and Mike McAndrew

Former Smallwood Elementary School teacher Trent Hariaczyi pleaded guilty in 2005 to possessing child pornography and served 18 months in federal prison.

Now, a local man who was a Smallwood student from 1994 to 2000 is alleging Hariaczyi molested him, and the Amherst Central School District allowed it to happen.

The man, now in his early 30s, sued the district in July, more than 20 years after the alleged abuse.

“He’s just broken over this,” said the man’s lawyer, Paul Barr.

The Amherst District superintendent’s office on Friday emailed a statement that said the district became aware last week of “troubling allegations” regarding the conduct of a former district employee. “The former employee at issue left the district in 2002,” the statement said. “The district is undertaking all appropriate steps in response to this information.”

The case against Amherst schools is among at least 720 lawsuits in Western New York filed since last August under the Child Victims Act, including a surge of more than 200 cases filed since July 24.

Statewide, about 3,800 CVA cases have been filed since last August. New York County Supreme Court so far has received the most CVA filings in the state, with 851, according to the Office of Court Administration. Erie County had the second-most filings, with 636.

Most of the filings allege abuse by Catholic priests, scout leaders and teachers, although a handful of suits accuse family members, doctors and law enforcement. Just within the past two weeks, new CVA suits have targeted the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Amherst Youth Hockey and Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier.

The Buffalo Diocese has been named as a defendant in at least 263 CVA suits in Western New York, making it the region’s most sued entity, even though lawsuits against the diocese mostly have stopped since it filed in February for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Other Catholic entities, such as parishes and schools, continue to be named as defendants in many lawsuits.

Researchers reveal patterns of sexual abuse in religious settings

Phys.org from Science X Network

August 6, 2020

By Geoff McMaster

A recent literature review by a University of Alberta cult expert and his former graduate student paints a startling and consistent picture of institutional secrecy and widespread protection of those who abuse children in religious institutions "in ways that often differ from forms of manipulation in secular settings."

It's the first comprehensive study exposing patterns of sexual abuse in religious settings.

"A predator may spend weeks, months, even years grooming a child in order to violate them sexually," said Susan Raine, a MacEwan University sociologist and co-author of the study with University of Alberta sociologist Stephen Kent.

Perpetrators are also difficult to identify, the researchers said, because they rarely conform to a single set of personality or other traits.

The findings demonstrate the need to "spend less time focusing on 'stranger danger,' and more time thinking about our immediate community involvement, or extended environment, and the potential there for grooming," said Raine.

Raine and Kent examined the research on abuse in a number of religious denominations around the world to show "how some religious institutions and leadership figures in them can slowly cultivate children and their caregivers into harmful and illegal sexual activity."

Those institutions include various branches of Christianity as well as cults and sectarian movements including the Children of God, the Branch Davidians, the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints as well as a Hindu ashram and the Devadasis.

"Because of religion's institutional standing, religious grooming frequently takes place in a context of unquestioned faith placed in sex offenders by children, parents and staff," they found.

The two researchers began their study after Kent was asked to provide expert testimony for a lawsuit in Vancouver accusing Bollywood choreographer and sect leader Shiamak Davar of sexually abusing two of his dance students in 2015.

Vicar general of Springfield diocese won’t accept reappointment, says he was ‘unfairly’ portrayed in Weldon report

Springfield Republican via MassLive

August 3, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn


Fallout continues in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield as the diocesan vicar general, the Rev. Monsignor Christopher Connelly, will not seek reappointment, saying he was “unfairly and unfavorably portrayed” in the recent report into allegations of sexual abuse by the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon.

Connelly’s announcement coincides with letters having circulated in the religious community in which retired priest James Scahill, an outspoken advocate on behalf of victims of sex abuse within the Catholic church, called for the removal of the vicar based on the results of the report by retired Judge Peter A. Velis. The vicar is second only to the bishop in the diocesan hierarchy.

In the report, made public on June 24, Velis found allegations by a former altar boy against Weldon were “unequivocally credible.” The report was also critical of the diocese’s handling of the case prior to the call by the current bishop, the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, for the independent investigation last summer.

“I am calling for the immediate removal and replacement of Connelly as vicar general and rector of St. Michael’s Cathedral,” Scahill said when asked about his letter and Connelly’s reaction to it. “Christopher Connelly is doing what I am very opposed to – that is employing smoke and mirrors (and) dodging the truth.”

Connelly, meanwhile, said his appointment as vicar ceased on June 10 as a result of Rozanski being named archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Louis, where he will move later this month. “Before Father Scahill’s request, I had already indicated to our bishop that when a new bishop moves in, I would not accept reappointment as vicar general, that I had done it,” Connelly said.

Paedophile priest, 96, jailed for abusing boys

St Helens Star

August 6, 2020

By Joanne Rowe

An elderly priest has been jailed for sexually abusing six boys more than 30 years ago.

All but one of 96-year-old former priest Father John Kevin Murphy's victims came forward to police after seeing media reports about him being imprisoned in 2017 for molesting other boys.

The abuse of the victims, some of them altar boys, occurred at the homes of victims in Whiston, Ashton-in-Makerfield and Liverpool and at swimming baths in Liverpool and Leigh.

“The picture that emerges from the two cases is that for some 27 years the defendant was a predatory paedophile who used his position as a Catholic priest to groom and subsequently abuse at least ten children,” said Arthur Gibson, prosecuting, at Liverpool Crown Court.

The court heard how Murphy, of Hillside Crescent, Horwich, had been ordained as a priest in 1962 and served in a number of parishes in the Merseyside, Lancashire and Greater Manchester until he retired.

The six victims, who were aged between eight and 16 at the times of the offences, were molested while he took them on swimming lessons and also while visiting the homes of their devout Catholic parents.

Questions of abuse cover-up directed at incoming St. Louis archbishop, but details unclear

Catholic News Agency

August 7, 2020

By Kevin Jones

Archbishop-designate Mitchell Rozanski is set to take over the Archdiocese of St. Louis, after heading the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts since 2014. Though Rozanski himself backed major changes in the Springfield diocese's handling of abuse, one unnamed abuse victim has asked for a Church investigation into whether the archbishop-designate was involved in covering up abuse.

Olan Horne, an advocate for victims of sex abuse by clergy, said the request to investigate Archbishop-designate Rozanski was made by a Berkshire County resident who had taken part in the Boston archdiocese's multi-million dollar settlement, the Springfield newspaper The Republican reports. Horne said the request had support from “other concerned Catholics here in the diocese.”

The complaint was made through the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service website, and Horne said he received confirmation that the allegation had been filed.

Mark Dupont, secretary of communications for the Diocese of Springfield, told CNA August 6 that Rozanski had worked to make improvements in responding to sexual abuse allegations since before June 2019, when he commissioned an independent investigation into the mishandling of an allegation about a previous bishop.

Child Victims Act Suit Filed Against Troy Church

Spectrum News

August 4, 2020

By Jaclyn Cangro

Troy - Abigail Barker is discussing something not many people go public with.

“The topic of childhood sexual abuse is an inherently difficult topic to talk about. People don’t want to talk about it,” Barker said.

But that’s exactly what she wants to do. She says when she was five years old, she was sexually abused when she was babysat by her Sunday school teacher and deacon at Victorious Life Christian Church in Troy.

A lawsuit filed under the Child Victims Act says Barker came forward with the allegation less than two years after the alleged abuse. She says at six years old, she was interviewed by the church’s elder, and her alleged abuser was cleared of any wrongdoing. He worked at Victorious Life until 2011, and his wife remains a deacon.

Motion granted for change of venue in Craig Harrison lawsuit against Diocese of Fresno


August 6, 2020

By Jason Kotowski

A Superior Court judge on Thursday granted a change of venue motion filed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, which is being sued for defamation by Monsignor Craig Harrison.

The case will be heard in Fresno County Superior Court. A date for the next hearing had not been scheduled.

“Of course we opposed (the motion) because we have other cases going here with similar issues, but it doesn’t come as a surprise,” Kyle J. Humphrey, one of Harrison’s attorneys, said afterward.

Humphrey said the case could have been held in Kern if the diocese hadn’t objected, but the law allows a change of venue for the case to be heard where the diocese is situated.

The lawsuit is based on what Harrison said were defamatory statements made by then-Diocese spokeswoman Teresa Dominguez on behalf of the Diocese in a May 2019 article on KQED. Dominguez said that she believed a man who had first reported sexual abuse allegations against Harrison decades ago.

Nun rape case: Bishop Franco Mulakkal granted bail by trial court

The Tribune

August 7, 2020

Mulakkal, in his plea had challenged the July 7 Kerala High Court order, dismissing his discharge plea in the rape case filed by the nun

A trial court here on Friday granted bail to Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun in Kerala, with stringent conditions and directed him to be present on the dates of hearing of the case.

The Additional Sessions Court had cancelled the bail granted to the Bishop on July 13 for failing to appear for the trial and issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

Mulakkal was present in the court on Friday when it considered the matter.

Granting bail, the court directed him not to leave the state till the charge-sheet is read out to him on August 13 and to be present court on the dates of hearing of the case.

The court also directed him to offer fresh sureties and bail bonds.

A city out of time: what do we dream of when we dream of Rome?


August 9, 2020

By Gabriella Coslovich

On a writing grant to the eternal city an Italian-born Australian encounters its two faces – the tourist’s fantasy and the residents’ reality


A city operates on discrete levels – the tourist’s fantasy and the resident’s reality. A Roman urban planner laments the city’s poorly maintained infrastructure and the daily struggle of workers who depend on a fickle public transport system. She jokes about the hi-vis orange plastic fences that appear around collapsed walls and roads – and remain indefinitely. On the nightly news I see the same problems that I see at “home”. Online retail killing bricks-and-mortar shops. Men killing their spouses. Climate change killing the planet. Clerical abuse of children. The rise of racism, antisemitism and the far right. Some problems are graver here. This country is western Europe’s most polluted. Youth unemployment is close to 30%. The mafia mutate and spread. Refugees and migrants stream across permeable borders, arriving by sea and land. Many don’t make it. The coronavirus has yet to hit and, when it does, Italy is pushed to the brink of collapse. Other emergencies slide down the news agenda. The country is in triage, battling an invisible, terrifying enemy that eclipses all else.

Before the pandemic, it was still possible to notice other things. As in Australia, politicians climbing to success on an anti-migrant stance. When Salvini’s plan to force an election backfired, he called on his supporters to descend on Rome, echoing a fascist past. In late October they do, and I avoid the square where the demonstration takes place, watching it instead on the evening news. I see the same old slogans trotted out by populists everywhere: Orgoglio Italiano. Italian Pride. Prima Gli Italiani. Italians First. A Salvini supporter holds a placard that reads Io Sto Con San Salvini. I’m with Saint Salvini. Another holds a crucifix alongside the Italian flag.

Lansing’s St. Casimir church celebrates its final Mass

Crux from Associated Press/Lansing State Journal

August 9, 2020

By Craig Lyons

Lansing - Parishioners of St. Casimir Catholic Church lined Sparrow Avenue on Aug. 2 getting one last sight of the parish many called home for decades.

Bishop Earl Boyea tied a red ribbon around the doors, leading the crowd of parishioners in prayer one last time.

“I now pronounce this church closed,” Boyea said.


The parish first hinted at possibly closing its doors in December, telling parishioners that the dwindling population and lower volume of donations could not sustain St. Casimir. The Diocese of Lansing had planned to review all its parishes’ operations this year.

“Over the last 100 years our parish has been through its ups and downs. Through it all, the Lord has always had a plan for us. Now we have come to the end of those plans,” Pung wrote in a letter to parishioners this spring. “With declining priest numbers and changing demographics, we are no longer able to sustain a healthy, vibrant parish life that will meet the spiritual needs of its people.”

Only about 380 parishioners attend Sunday Mass at St. Casimir, which is lower than other Lansing parishes, the diocese said.

St. Casimir’s would be the first Catholic church closed by the Lansing diocese in almost a decade. It shuttered Holy Cross parish in Lansing in 2009. The Vietnamese Catholic community purchased the building as reopened it as the Parish of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac in 2011.

Three women who say they were abused as children in the Jehovah's Witnesses tell their awful stories


August 8, 2020

By Laura Clements

"My mother... she's sacrificing me to gain eternal life"

When 16-year-old Sian sat down and told her mum she had been sexually assaulted, she said she was subjected to a barrage of questions like what was she wearing, did she enjoy it and did she definitely say no?

Her mother, a zealous Jehovah's Witness told her teenage daughter if she had been more immersed in the faith, maybe even prayed more, it would never have happened.

Now aged 35 and with three of her own children, Sian has virtually no contact with her mum despite the fact they live immediately next door.

In a pitiful effort to maintain some sort of normality, occasionally Sian comes across small bags of sweets left on her garden wall for her children. Sometimes, envelopes stuffed with money are posted through the letterbox and once a package containing an X-Box was dropped off at the house.

Sian grew up as a Jehovah's Witness in south Wales with her mum and step-father - her parents divorced when she was very young- but said the religion "never sat right" with her.

Sian is not her real name. As she speaks candidly about life as a young Jehovah's Witness, it is clear she is protecting not just her children but also her own sense of worth in an effort for self-preservation.

"A boy forced himself on me when I was younger," she says, almost apologetically. "I told my mother and she said I needed to tell the elders. So I went to them and explained what had happened. I was 16 and I was reproved even though it wasn't my fault.

Pope rotates in new personal secretary

Crux from Catholic News Service/USCCB

August 3, 2020

Rome - While recent popes have kept the same personal secretary throughout their pontificates, Pope Francis has chosen to rotate the priests serving in that capacity.

The Vatican press office confirmed Aug. 1 that “in the context of the normal rotation of personnel desired by Pope Francis for his collaborators in the Roman Curia, Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, personal secretary of the Holy Father since April 2014, has concluded his service.”


Pope Francis has chosen Italian Father Fabio Salerno, also an official in the Secretariat of State, to succeed the Egypt-born priest.

Born in Catanzaro April 25, 1979, he was ordained to the priesthood in 2011. After earning a doctorate in civil and canon law from Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University, Salerno entered the Vatican diplomatic corps. He served at the nunciature in Indonesia and at the Holy See’s mission to the Council of Europe before transferring to the Vatican.

Salerno will work with Father Gonzalo Aemilius, a priest from Uruguay, whom the pope chose as a secretary in January.

August 8, 2020

Catholic order’s list of accused shows past of mishandling abuse allegations


August 8, 2020

By Josh Sweigart

A Journal-News investigation into the Society of Mary’s handling of alleged abuse of children by its members found the religious order concealed allegations against some from parents, students and school officials.

The order released a list this summer of 46 priests and brothers its leaders say sexually abused children since 1950, but critics say the disclosure falls short. Five men appearing on the list were assigned to the former Hamilton Catholic High School at some time during their careers, according to a Journal-News review of the documents.

The Catholic order today is based in St. Louis and runs dozens of schools in the U.S. and around the world. Because of the group’s ties to southwest Ohio, many of the men named in the list worked or studied in the region at some time, a Journal-News investigation found.

U.S. Marianist leader Provincial Fr. Oscar Vasquez has admitted that mistakes were made in the past in how the order handled abuse claims.

“In a spirit of sorrow and accountability, and with a sincere desire for reconciliation and healing, we are confronting the darkness of these sins,” he said in a statement released along with the list.

A group critical of how the Catholic church has handled abuse claims, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has called for the Marianists to do more. The organization wants the Marianists to release more information about the accused, including photos, current whereabouts and when the order learned of the allegations and to work more aggressively to seek out additional victims and perpetrators.

Lawsuit alleges St. Anthony Home for Boys was rife with abuse

Albuquerque Journal

August 6, 2020

By Colleen Heild

An estimated 6,000 children passed through the doors of the St. Anthony Home for Boys in Albuquerque during its 68 years of operation.

When Roy Rogers and Dale Evans played the New Mexico State Fair, they visited the home and let the children sit atop Trigger.

U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy was running for president in 1968 when he stopped and ate lunch with the students at the orphanage – the state’s first for boys. Heavyweight boxer Sonny Liston paid a visit to spar with them and tell his story, states an online survey of the historic school from the National Park Service.

The religious order of nuns that ran the orphanage describes St. Anthony’s as a lifeline for boys, where they learned to care for livestock, grow vegetables, and where prayer, sacraments and spiritual life were central to their daily lives.

But a lawsuit filed in state District Court this week paints a much darker picture, one where children whose parents were dead or couldn’t care for them were tormented and sexually abused by nuns and priests.

Beginning in the late 1950s, one boy who lived there tried to escape, only to be caught, deemed a runaway and brought back by police, according to the lawsuit filed against the Sisters of St. Francis, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, which ran the school.

The boy – now a man in his late 60s identified only as John Doe 167 – alleges that behind the walls of the orphanage, he was sexually abused beginning at age 6 by the chaplain, visiting priests and some of the nuns at the school who had “total and complete control of the lives of the children.”

He finally escaped for good at age 13, running away and convincing an aunt he couldn’t return.

Lawsuit claims Catholic priests, nuns abused boys at Albuquerque orphanage


August 7, 2020

By Patrick Hayes

A new lawsuit claims Catholic priests and nuns in Albuquerque abused orphans.

"I think St. Anthony's orphanage has been around forever or was around forever. And then in the 1950s, 1960s, and we're actually learning even prior to that had a problem with physical and sexual abuse of children who were placed there," said Levi Monagle, an attorney representing a man who claims he was abused at the orphanage.

According to the lawsuit, John Doe 167 became a "captive sex toy" for the chaplain, visiting priests and nuns.

Attorneys say the victim was a resident of St. Anthony's, which was located on Indian School near 12th Street, from 1958 to 1965. They say the abuse started when their client was 6 years old.

Prelate fronts Western Australia inquiry

Catholic Weekly - Archdiocese of Sydney

August 6, 2020

By Marilyn Rodrigues

Scrapping the seal impossible and could cause harm

Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has appeared before a WA parliamentary committee to defend the seal of confession in the Catholic Church as essential to the practice of the faith.

He was joined by Coptic Orthodox priest Father Abram Abdelmalek representing the Coptic and Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Archbishop Costelloe, who has also lodged a written submission to the committee’s inquiry into proposed changes to the state’s child protection laws, said he supported priests being mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse, but that the obligation should not be expanded to include information gained by clergy during the sacrament of confession.

No matter how well-intended, the proposed legislation would not make children and young people any safer and may in fact, given the inviolable trust in the confidentiality of the confessional, “make the situation worse for young people who are experiencing abuse or for older people who are seeing to address the abuse they suffered as a child”, he told the standing committee on legislation chaired by Dr Sally Talbot on 6 August.

Lawsuit against Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh accuses priest of rape


August 7, 2020

By Paula Reed Ward

A man who immigrated to the United States at age 13 from Italy is suing the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, alleging that he was sexually assaulted by a priest at Immaculate Conception Parish in Bloomfield twice in 1967.

The lawsuit, filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, also names as defendants the church, Cardinal Donald Wuerl and current Bishop David Zubik.

A spokeswoman for the diocese said they had not yet been served the complaint and that they do not comment on pending litigation.

Gennaro Greco was 13 when he moved with his family to Pittsburgh in 1963, according to the complaint. At the time, he did not know how to speak English, which his attorney said made him particularly vulnerable for abuse. He was put back two years in school, making him older and larger than other students in his class. Greco became an altar boy at Conception Parish, it said, and volunteered there with cleaning and other chores.

Twice, the lawsuit said, when he was helping to clean walls in the rectory, the Rev. Leo Burchianti took him aside, stripped off his clothes and raped him. The lawsuit said that the diocese and its bishops knew of the abuse but concealed it to preserve the church’s reputation. Shortly after the assaults, the lawsuit said, Burchianti was transferred to another parish. According to the 40th Statewide Grand Jury report, released nearly two years ago, Burchianti was moved to Our Lady of Grace in Scott in June 1968.

Lawsuit Against Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh Accuses Priest of Sexual Abuse


August 7, 2020

By Shelby Cassesse

The priest was named in the state's grand jury report into sexual abuse in Pennsylvania dioceses. The report says he was involved in inappropriate relationships with at least eight boys.

A lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that a man was sexually assaulted and raped by a priest when he was an altar boy.

The victim accuses Father Leo Burchianti of attacking and raping him twice.

“It’s taken him a long time to recognize he did nothing wrong,” said attorney Richard Serbin.

Burchianti was a priest named in the state’s grand jury report into sexual abuse in Pennsylvania dioceses.

The grand jury report alleges Burchianti had inappropriate relationships with at least eight boys and appeared to have been evaluated and treated at facilities for “inappropriate relationships with male minors” on multiple occasions.

According to the complaint, the victim was 13 years old when he came to Pittsburgh. He became an altar boy and frequently volunteered to help with chores at the Immaculate Conception Parish.

SSPX accused of intimidating would-be whistleblowers amid abuse investigation

Catholic News Agency

August 6, 2020

Washington - After an official with the Society of St. Pius X told priests and staff they should speak with criminal investigators only in the presence of an attorney provided by the group, the group’s leaders say their message was not intended to suggest anyone should cover up alleged sex abuse.

The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is a breakaway traditionalist group of priests and bishops with no official canonical status in the Church.

Rev. Scott Gardner, bursar of the U.S. district of the SSPX, told staff and priests at St. Mary’s SSPX chapel and school in Kansas last weekend that they did not have to cooperate with state investigators of alleged child sex abuse.

He added that employees and priest should speak to police only in the presence of a lawyer, who would be provided by the organization.

Some former members of the organization said the message, sent by email, seemed designed to silence witnesses or whistleblowers of abuse.

“It looks like they’re trying to hide things, trying to keep people from speaking and definitely stonewalling,” Kyle White, who has alleged that priests in the organization covered up reports of sexual abuse, told the Kansas City Star Aug. 4.

“They don’t want any more stuff like this getting out,” White added.

Gardner said when he emailed priests and staff, he was simply informing them that they did not have to speak to investigators without a lawyer present.

Second person to file suit over abuse allegations against former Lowville teacher, church choir director

Watertown Daily Times and NY360

August 7, 2020

By Sydney Schaefer


Lowville - A lawsuit filed against Lowville Academy and Central School District and its Board of Education on Monday, claiming a teacher sexually abused a student more than 40 years ago, has prompted another person to share similar recollections of abuse.

Jason A. Frament, the plaintiff’s attorney with LaFave, Wein & Frament, Guilderland, confirmed Friday that a second person has come forward with “very similar” allegations against the teacher, A. Ronald Johnson, after seeing reports of his alleged sexual abuse in the media.

The suit names Lowville Academy and Central School District and its Board of Education as defendants, as well as Lowville United Methodist Church and three other church entities which had authority over the Lowville church at the time. Mr. Johnson is not a defendant in the suit.

A second lawsuit is expected to be filed in state Supreme Court sometime next week, Mr. Frament said. Upon the second suit’s filing, he said the law firm may move to join the two suits, but for now, they are two separate cases, both accusing Mr. Johnson of similar abuse.

Mr. Johnson was a music teacher at what was then Lowville High School and choir director at Lowville United Methodist Church. The suit claims the school and church breached duties of care owed to the child, and negligence in their employment and supervision of Mr. Johnson.

Culture Watch – “This Little Light” explores religious hypocrisy

Santa Monica Daily Press

August 6, 2020

By Sarah A. Spitz

Christian hypocrisy played a big part in Lori [Lansens’] life growing up in Canada. “I was a believer,” she explains. “I loved God, I loved religion, I was in the church choir, went to Catholic school, attended mass alone in the mornings before school with the old Italian and Portuguese women dressed in black, and I stood apart from my family, which was more ambivalent about religion.

“But my parish priest was a pedophile who ended up dying in prison after pleading guilty to 47 counts of child molestation. We knew it at the time, we talked about it, we excused it, and said, ‘Oh, don’t let him get too close,’ but maybe you wanted that so you’d feel favored. Dozens of girls kept the secret, who would believe them? But when the parish refused to baptize my bi-racial cousin, I felt completely betrayed by this hypocrisy that was like nothing I’d actually learned about the teachings of Jesus.”

Former Smithfield pastor charged with child molestation

Providence Journal

August 1, 2020

Smithfield - The retired pastor of a church in Smithfield is charged with molesting a young girl.

Police on Friday morning arrested Archie Emerson, 75, the retired pastor of Ocean State Baptist Church, on charges of second-degree child molestation.

According to a police news release, detectives had received a complaint from a person who said Emerson molested her when she was between 6 and 11 years old.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Emerson’s home and seized computers and related items, according to the news release.

Emerson appeared later Friday in District Court, Warwick, where he was released on personal recognizance, with a no-contact order. He is due back in court on Oct. 30.

Emerson’s attorney, John E. MacDonald, on Saturday night released the following statement: “Pastor Archie Emerson has devoted his life to his family, his community and his church. He is shocked that someone would levy such horrific allegations against him. Pastor Emerson adamantly denies any inappropriate conduct and looks forward to a swift resolution of this matter in court.”

Abuse of authority in the Church: Problems and challenges of female religious life

La Civiltà Cattolica

August 1, 2020

By Giovanni Cucci

A mostly unexplored theme

[Google translation of Abusi di autorità nella Chiesa: Problemi e sfide della vita religiosa femminile]

The Church has dealt with the issue of abuses on several occasions, even in recent times, both at the level of reflection and operational measures and protocols . However, the relevance of the theme mostly concerned the sexual and psychological abuse of minors by ministers of the Church, especially presbyters. These are undoubtedly preponderant aspects, but certainly not exhaustive.

An issue that has not received enough attention so far is abuse within women's congregations. It mostly does not take the form of sexual violence and does not concern minors; however, this does not mean that it is less important and has significant consequences. From pastoral experience and from the talks held on this subject, it is mostly about abuses of power and conscience.

Being superior seems to guarantee other exclusive privileges, such as taking advantage of the best medical care, while who is a simple nun cannot even go to the ophthalmologist or the dentist, because "you have to save money". The examples unfortunately concern every aspect of ordinary life: from clothing to the possibility of taking a holiday, having a rest day or, more simply, being able to go out for a walk, everything must pass by the decision (or whim) of the same person. If a heavy garment is requested, the Council resolution must be awaited, or the request will be refused "for reasons of poverty". Eventually some nuns turned to family members.

These are examples that may seem disconcerting and hardly credible for those who live in male Congregations, and in front of which one can simply smile. Unfortunately for some nuns this is everyday reality: a reality that for the most part they cannot make known, because they do not know where to turn, or for fear of retaliation.

Magazine report is aimed at silencing nuns on sex abuse, says Vatican critic

Religion News Service

August 5, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

Vatican City - An article in a Jesuit magazine describing alleged exploitation of nuns in Catholic convents has been criticized as an attempt to silence members of women’s religious orders who have begun to speak out against sexual abuse by priests.

“I think there is a possibility of a revolt of religious sisters,” said Lucetta Scaraffia, the former head of the Vatican magazine Donne, Chiesa, Mondo (Women, Church, World), adding that many nuns she has heard from “are furious.”

Published Aug. 1 in La Civiltà Cattolica (Catholic Society), the article raised concerns about the “lack of attention that abuse within female congregations has garnered,” particularly overreach by some orders’ mothers superior.

Superiors were said to enjoy better health care services and opportunities for vacations, while rank-and-file nuns are denied access to eye doctors or dentists, some sisters told the magazine. Other nuns reported not even being able to enjoy a walk outside without asking for permission.

The article, by the Rev. Giovanni Cucci, also detailed the practice of “importing vocations” — bringing young nuns from other countries who don’t speak Italian and are therefore more easily exploited. Their communities, he wrote, “are experienced more as a prison.” He also called attention to cases of sexual abuse of nuns by superiors.

The accusations “may appear puzzling and hard to believe for those who live in male congregations,” wrote Cucci, “in the face of which one can simply smile.”

Scaraffia, who left Donne, Chiesa, Mondo in March 2019 after denouncing a climate of “cover-up and censorship” created by Vatican higher-ups, said the Civiltà Cattolica article represents an effort to undermine the newfound voice of nuns in the church.

“It’s a way to tell sisters that if they have press conferences, make their voices heard and denounce sexual abuse, (church authorities) will air all their dirty laundry,” she told Religion News Service.

August 7, 2020

Cardinal Pell to Speak at Virtual Napa Institute Conference

National Catholic Register/EWTN from Catholic News Agency

August 7, 2020

Cardinal George Pell will speak on his experience of suffering during the 13 months he spent in an Australian prison before being released earlier this year.

Washington - The Napa Institute has announced an online schedule for its annual conference in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The program includes remarks from Australian Cardinal George Pell. The conference schedule was announced along with an award for Bishop Joseph Strickland, which the organization said it conferred for his defense of moral truth.

The conference, the tenth annual session of the event, was originally planned to take place in July in Napa, California. This year it is being convened under the title “Finding Hope in the New America.” Organizers said that although the event could not take place in-person, the schedule would not be “slimmed-down” but instead would feature an expanded speaker list.

John Meyer, executive director of the Napa Institute said that as recently as early July, there was “every intention of holding an in-person conference,” but that “things progressed, the lockdown increased in California, and literally overnight we came to a place where we could no longer hold it.”

The conference will take place August 14-15. Live streamed sessions will be held with speakers including Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, Prof. Robert P. George of Princeton, and author Arthur Brooks.

One of the key speakers at this year’s event will be Cardinal George Pell, who will speak on his experience of suffering during the 13 months he spent in an Australian prison before being released earlier this year.

Representatives of Catholic church in St. Marys take issue with published report surrounding its role in KBI investigation


August 5, 2020

By Phil Anderson


St. Mary's KS - Representatives of a large Catholic church in St. Marys are taking issue with a published report they say falsely portrays them as seeking to impede a Kansas Bureau of Investigation inquiry into sex abuse allegations involving priests who formerly served the congregation.

The Kansas City Star in its Tuesday edition ran a story with the headline “SSPX staff told not to speak with KBI without an attorney.”

The article included information from an email sent to staff members and signed by the Rev. Scott Gardner, district bursar of the Society of St. Pius X United States of America District, which is based in Platte City, Mo.

In the email, Society of St. Pius X priests and staff members are cautioned against speaking to KBI officials without a lawyer being present.

The Star article also included comments from critics and former adherents of the church who said Gardner’s email seemed to be an attempt to “silence witnesses” of possible sexual abuse by Society of St. Pius X priests.

However, in an email obtained Wednesday by WIBW-TV, Gardner dismissed a report suggesting that the Society of St. Pius X was attempting to discourage its members from cooperating with the KBI’s investigation into priestly sex abuse.

That allegation, he said, was included in an article posted Monday on the Church Militant website, which he said “has once again tried to wring fake news out of an internal email by falsifying the context.”

Breakaway Catholic group orders staff, priests not to talk to KBI without attorney

Kansas City Star

August 4, 2020

By Judy L. Thomas

A breakaway Catholic society under investigation by the state’s top law enforcement agency for allegations of priest sexual abuse and coverup is telling employees not to talk to authorities without involving the group’s attorney.

An official with the Society of St. Pius X sent an email to priests and staff members warning them that investigators from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation may be in St. Marys, Kansas, to conduct interviews.

“You are not required to speak to them just because they ask you to or make veiled threats against you or tell you that, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” said the email, signed by the Rev. Scott Gardner, the U.S. District Bursar at the society’s headquarters in Platte City.

“Further, you are always entitled to have legal representation at any interview, and all Priests, staff, and employees must insist on this if contacted. You will be provided with legal representation by SSPX.”

Critics, including some former SSPX adherents who have alleged that the society has covered up sexual abuse by its priests and employees, say the email appears to be an attempt to silence witnesses.

“It looks like they’re trying to hide things, trying to keep people from speaking and definitely stonewalling,” said Kyle White, who has alleged that in 2012 he and his then-fiance reported sexual abuse by her father to three SSPX priests and none took any action. In February, the father was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

Editorial: Emphasizing A Commitment

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

August 7, 2020

Announcement of a new system by which abuse and harassment linked to the Roman Catholic Church can be reported was one more step in the church’s effort to rebuild trust. But a reminder included with that news may have been even more important.

This week, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston announced it is working with a third-party partner on a new reporting system. An Oregon firm, Navex Global, has a mechanism “intended to report suspected financial, professional and personal misconduct of a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee of the diocese, parish, or Catholic school in West Virginia.”

Already in place are two other reporting systems. One is the national Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service. The other, here in the Mountain State, is the Diocesan Office of Safe Environment.

Adding the Oregon company’s program will provide “a safe, honest channel for reporting and expressing concerns,” the diocese noted in a press release this week.

But Bishop Mark Brennan added something else: “The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston encourages reporting to civil authorities first and foremost if a crime has been committed.”

Precisely. For too long, too many in the church discouraged reporting abuse to the authorities. The church would handle it, they maintained.

But in many cases, predator priests were merely transferred out of parishes where they had been caught in abuse, and to new places where they could continue their wrongdoing.

Brennan’s emphasis on reporting first and foremost to law enforcement authorities is critically important. Above any other step being taken by church leaders, it is a signal to not just Roman Catholics, but to everyone, that this time, the church is serious about reform. Good for Bishop Brennan for continuing to emphasize that.

Diocese Opens Another Avenue for Reporting Abuse

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

August 5, 2020

By Alan Olson

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia has partnered with another third-party reporting system to report abuse and harassment.

The diocese announced this week it is working with Oregon-based software and compliance management company Navex Global to introduce a new version of the EthicsPoint software, intended to report suspected financial, professional and personal misconduct of a priest, deacon, religious, or lay employee of the diocese, parish, or Catholic school.

This is in addition to the national reporting system, the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service, which is designed to receive reports of sexual abuse, as well as interference with investigations of abuse, and relay them to lay professionals within the diocese who are to assist the Archbishop with investigations.

Using Child Victims Act, Abigail Barker Files Sex Abuse Suit Against Figures From Victorious Life


August 6, 2020

By Dave Lucas

An Albany woman has filed a sexual abuse suit against a Troy church.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law in 2019. It opened a one-year window for abuse victims to bring claims. That window for victims to file lawsuits was extended to August 2021 owing to the pandemic.

Cuomo's Deputy Press Secretary Abigail Barker says she is one such victim. Barker says in 1998 she was sexually abused by a Sunday school teacher and deacon, Mark Rhodes of Wynantskill, at Victorious Life Christian Church in Troy.

"I was 5 years old. Mark would often babysit me and my younger brother, and it happened on those, occurred on one of those occasions. After I had been abused, he never babysat for us again."

Barker's lawsuit includes claims of negligence and cover-up against the church as well as its Pastor and Presiding Elder Dominick Brignola, who is also a local attorney.

"The trauma of the abuse and the scars that it leaves, you know, it goes throughout your entire life, and 22 years later I'm still dealing with the ramifications of that one time, 22 years ago. And it irrevocably changes your life in ways that you don't expect."

Weedsport school district facing additional Child Victims Act lawsuits

The Citizen

August 6, 2020

By Jeremy Boyer

Two former Weedsport Central School District students have filed lawsuits in the past week claiming the district failed to protect them from sexual abuse on school grounds.

The complaints were filed in state Supreme Court in Cayuga County under the state's Child Victims Act look-back provision for civil cases that would otherwise be barred under the statute of limitations. One of the new cases follows an earlier lawsuit filed against the school district that identified the same alleged abuser. The other new case is connected with a former teacher's aide who was arrested and convicted of having sexual contact with students more than 16 years ago.

In a case filed July 29, a plaintiff identified as AB 509 Doe, said the school district was negligent in its handling of issues related to an aide named Mary Schoonmaker, who in 2003 pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy charges. She admitted in court that she had sexual relationships with two teenage boys, and a one-night sexual encounter with another teenager. The victims were 14 and 15, and she was in her mid-20s at the time. She was sentenced to probation with a period of homebound detention in 2003.

"Prior to the sexual abuse of the plaintiff, defendant Weedsport learned or should have learned that Schoonmaker was not fit to work with children," the complain states, saying the abuse took place in 2002 and 2003.

In a separate case filed Monday by a plaintiff identified as AL 540 Doe, the district is accused of negligence with respect to a former Boy Scout leader who ran the school district's audio-visual club in the late 1970s. The complaint said the alleged abuser, former village of Weedsport Mayor Victor Sine, abused the victim from 1975 to 1980.

Dr. Archibald, Rockefeller University sued by dozens more in latest Child Victims Act case

Daily News

August 5, 2020

By Larry McShane

Photo caption: A gathering of childhood sex abuse victims representing more than 200 including, Matthew Harris, far left, Vincent Guzzone, second from left, and Helene Hamilton, third from left, seated above photos of themselves at the age of their abuse, listen as their lawyer Paul Mones, fourth from left, speaks at June 2019 press conference.

Child abuse survivor Ron Samuel, one of 80 accusers of reputed serial sexual predator Dr. Reginald Archibald in the latest Child Victims Act lawsuit against Rockefeller University, wanted his name in the court papers.

“It’s important to come forward and discuss what happened, and protect other people,” he told the Daily News. “I have no problem exposing my name. I don’t want to be shut down in any manner. I wanted to come forward with the full story.”

The latest sordid tales of Archibald’s decades of sick sexual behavior with children were contained in a 336-page Manhattan Supreme Court filing that laid out in brutal detail the doctor’s mistreatment of his underage patients while working at the university from the 1940s into the 1980s.

Attorney Jennifer Freeman, of the Marsh Law Firm, noted most of the plaintiffs joined Samuel in going public with the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

“Our plaintiffs felt it was so important to bring this forward and to use their own names, to put the responsibility for these cases where it belonged with their names on it,” she said. “They were not afraid to speak up.”

Girl Scouts sex-abuse claim included in NY civil case flurry

Associated Press

August 5, 2020

By Tom Hayes

As a Girl Scout growing up in upstate New York, Alice Weiss-Russell says she lived with a dark secret: The husband of her troop leader was sexually abusing her in the bathroom of a church basement where scout meetings were held in the 1980s.

Weiss-Russell has detailed her alleged ordeal in a new lawsuit filed against Girl Scouts of the USA, part of a flurry of child sex-abuse cases in New York using a “look back window” for making civil claims against abusers.

“For me, it gives me a chance to be heard because I didn’t have that chance when I was young and hold the Girl Scouts accountable for what happened to me,” Weiss-Russell told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Tuesday. The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes unless they grant permission.

Another lawsuit, also filed Wednesday, accuses a Manhattan research center of similarly looking the other way as a prominent physician abused dozens of children he was studying and treating for being small for their age.

The two lawsuits come after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill earlier this week granting a one-year extension to the state’s Child Victims Act. The law temporarily lifts the usual time limits on filing lawsuits for anyone suing over childhood sexual abuse.

New Ulm bishop resigns, citing health reasons

Star Tribune

August 6, 2020

By Jean Hopfensperger

The Rev. John LeVoir oversaw the diocese during sexual abuse lawsuits and bankruptcy.

Bishop John LeVoir announced Thursday that he is resigning as leader of the Diocese of New Ulm because of health problems.

LeVoir has been bishop of the Catholic diocese since 2008. Earlier this year, the diocese reached a $34 million settlement with victims of sexual abuse, ending more than five years of litigation.

“Although these last years have been very challenging for the diocese and the life of the church, it has been a privilege to have served the faithful of the Diocese of New Ulm,” LeVoir said in a statement.

Since early July, LeVoir has been undergoing physical and psychological assessments at Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Alma, Mich., operated by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, according to the diocese, which did not comment further on the particular medical condition.

The 74-year-old bishop will stay in Alma until September to participate in a therapy plan, the diocese said.

About 93 sex abuse claims were filed against the diocese after passage of the Minnesota Child Victims Act in 2013. The diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2017 in response to the claims, following the pattern of most of Minnesota’s dioceses.

LeVoir was not implicated in the claims, but he oversaw the 63-year-old diocese during its most challenging years.

“We must never forget these sins of the past,” LeVoir said when the final settlement was reached in bankruptcy court in March. “The Diocese of New Ulm and the Catholic Church must do everything possible to help protect the vulnerable so that this tragedy never happens again.”

Bishop of Diocese of New Ulm retires early

Free Press

August 6, 2020

New Ulm - The bishop in the Diocese of New Ulm has stepped down, citing health reasons.

Pope Francis accepted Bishop John M. LeVoir’s resignation, which is effective as of today, according to a diocese news release.

LeVoir, 74, who was appointed bishop of New Ulm in July 2008, is now considered a retired bishop. Typical retirement age for a bishop is age 75, the release said.

Since early July, LeVoir has been undergoing a physical and psychological assessment at Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Alma, Michigan, a facility operated by the Religious Sisters of Mercy. He expects to remain there until early September to undertake a therapy plan.

“Although these last years have been very challenging for the diocese and the life of the Church, it has been a privilege to have served the faithful of the Diocese of New Ulm,” LeVoir said in a statement. “As bishop, it has not only been a great honor, but an enriching experience as I have come to know many people throughout this local Church ... It would not have been possible to serve as their shepherd without their continued support, cooperation, and prayers.”

Levoir testified in March at a hearing in which a $34 million settlement with survivors of clerical sex abuse in the diocese was approved by a federal bankruptcy court judge. LeVoir issued an apology to the 93 abuse survivors, several of whom were in the courtroom.

Pope appoints six women to top roles on Vatican council in progressive step


August 6, 2020

By Angela Giuffrida and Harriet Sherwood

Former Labour minister Ruth Kelly is among the women who will oversee Vatican finances and address its cashflow problems

Pope Francis has appointed six women to oversee the Vatican’s finances including Ruth Kelly, the former Labour minister, in the most senior roles ever given to women within the Catholic church’s leadership.

The appointments mark the most significant step by Francis to fulfil his promise of placing women in top positions. Until now, the 15-member Council for the Economy was all male. By statute, the council must include eight bishops – who are always men – and seven laypeople.

“That six are women is a pretty big quota,” said Joshua McElwee, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. “But the important thing here is that these six women are part of a group that essentially oversees all of the financial activities of the Vatican, so obviously that’s a pretty top-level group.”

The female appointees are all European and have high-profile financial backgrounds. Leslie Ferrar, a former treasurer to Prince Charles, is the other British woman among the team. The other women are Charlotte Kreuter-Kirchhof and Marija Kolak, both from Germany, and Maria Concepción Osácar Garaicoechea and Eva Castillo Sanz, both from Spain. The only layman on the council is Alberto Minali, a former director general at Generali, the Italian insurance company.

The appointments come as the Vatican struggles with its finances, with problems worsened by the coronavirus pandemic and a sharp drop in the number of visitors to the Vatican Museums, a cash cow for the Holy See.

Lay group urges Pittsburgh Diocese to do more to restore broken trust

National Catholic Reporter

August 7, 2020

By Madeleine Davison

Members of Catholics for Change in Our Church take part in a small-group discussion during the January meeting of the group, which advocates for reform in the Pittsburgh Diocese. (Kevin Hayes)
The Pittsburgh Diocese is reeling from declining attendance and a massive restructuring program two years after a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report uncovered widespread clerical sexual abuse in six dioceses in the state. A lay advocacy group now says diocesan leadership has made few concrete steps to restore trust with parishioners.

"I don't think they've made progress since the grand jury," said Jan Hayes, a leader of the advocacy group known as Catholics for Change in Our Church.

Catholics for Change in Our Church arose out of a meeting of lay parishioners from across the diocese in September 2018, said Kevin Hayes, the group's acting chair. Horrified by the scale of the crisis, members of the new organization wanted to address issues such as insufficient support for survivors, the diocese's financial secrecy, and a lack of leadership roles for laypeople. The organization eventually coalesced into seven focus groups, representing about 1,000 total members, he said.

Pope says fighting clerical abuse fosters deeper respect for life


August 6, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rosario, Argentina - Beyond the obvious reasons to fight clerical sexual abuse, above all the damage such abuse inflicts on victims, Pope Francis has added another argument: The effort to prevent abuse, he’s written, promotes a deeper acknowledgment that all life is sacred and deserves respect.

“Fighting abuse [means] fostering and empowering communities so that they are capable of keeping watch and announcing that all life deserves to be respected and valued, especially that of the most defenseless who do not have the resources to make their voice heard,” Francis wrote.

“We’ve been challenged to look squarely at this conflict, to take it up and suffer it together with the victims, their families and the whole community, to find ways that make us say: ‘Never again to the culture of abuse’,” he wrote. “This reality calls us to work in the awareness, prevention and promotion of a culture of care and protection in our communities and in society in general so that no person sees their integrity and dignity violated or mistreated.”

Pope Francis’s words came in a prologue for a new book edited by Father Daniel Portillo, a Mexican priest and founder of the Interdisciplinary Center of Investigation and Formation for the Protection of Minors from Mexico’s Catholic University (CEPROME).

Vatican instructions give parishioners more hope in face of closings

National Catholic Reporter

August 6, 2020

By Mark Nacinovich

Arthur McCaffrey fought for about a decade to keep his parish in suburban Boston open.

But in 2015, St. James the Great Parish in Wellesley was demolished. The site is now home to the Boston Sports Performance Center, a large recreational center complete with a hockey rink, swimming pool and indoor field.

St. James was one of nine Boston-area churches that kept a continuous vigil to prevent their parishes from being shuttered by the Boston Archdiocese in the wake of the sex abuse crisis that was brought to light in 2002 by The Boston Globe. Parishioners occupied the churches for years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

St. Frances X. Cabrini in Scituate was the last of the vigil holdouts. It closed in 2016, after parishioners spent almost 12 years in vigil and exhausted their legal appeals to the Vatican and in civil courts. Their civil case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case, letting stand a lower-court ruling that stated that the archdiocese owned the church's property and the parishioners who were keeping vigil were trespassing.

Now, four years later, the Vatican's new document on pastoral care raises the question of whether parishioners have more legal recourse within the church to keep their parishes open. The answer appears to be yes.

The 22-page document from the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, released July 20, is titled "The pastoral conversion of the parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the church." It discusses the role and structure of parishes in today's digital age, where the concept of a fixed parish that covers a certain area may be outdated. One topic the document addresses is the closing of parishes.

August 6, 2020

Judge denies motion to dismiss Hancock County lawsuit over priest abuse allegations


August 6, 2020

By Joselyn King

New Cumberland - A request by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to dismiss a lawsuit alleging sexual assault by the Rev. Victor Frobas has been denied in Hancock County Circuit Court.

The order issued July 31 by Circuit Judge David Sims pertains to a complaint filed May 15 in Hancock County Circuit Court by Michael Pirraglia of Fairfax, Va. The complaint alleges Pirraglia was sexually assaulted over a three-year period by Frobas as a child while attending St. Paul Catholic Church in Weirton.

Frobas was assigned to the diocese from 1965 to 1983, according to court filings. The complaint seeks compensation from the diocese as the employer of Frobas, and alleges the diocese was aware of Frobas’ misconduct.

“The court finds that plaintiff has sufficiently set forth several causes of action against defendant in a manner that permits plaintiff to maintain his cause of action under West Virginia statutory and common law,” Sims states in his order. “There has been little formal discovery undertaken in this matter, and the claims raised by plaintiff and defenses raised by defendants may be more fully developed during discovery.”

With Little Fanfare, Exton’s Dan Monahan Has Found a Measure of Closure for Survivors of Clergy Abuse

Main Line Today

August 5, 2020

By J.F. Pirro

Monahan has represented dozens of clergy abuse victims while grappling with his own story.

He’s 67 now, but Dan Monahan was once an altar boy serving Roman Catholic masses in rural Connecticut. At his small church, Father Y (the only name he knew the priest by) was revered. “We were told that he was God on earth,” says Monahan, who’s now a personal injury lawyer in Exton. “And so we were indoctrinated.”

During one mass, delivered in Latin, Monahan wet his pants rather than abandon the altar. “Don’t worry,” the priest told him. “We’ll clean it up.”

Now, after more than a decade of disclosure after disclosure involving sexual abuse among the clergy, Monahan reflects on the cunning, programmatic behavior among those in purple garb. “It was like there was a playbook,” he says. “They picked on kids whose fathers were alcoholics, or whose mothers were overly devoted. They gave boys chores—ways we could help. It was like they were all given a manual on how to groom.”

Lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by former counselor at Bridge Bible Church


July 28, 2020

By Jason Kotowski

A lawsuit filed last week alleges sexual misconduct on the part of a former counselor at Bridge Bible Church against a church member.

The suit, filed July 22, says Eric Simpson manipulated a woman who had initially gone to him for marriage counseling sessions with her husband. Simpson later insisted on private sessions, the suit alleges, where he told her that her husband was a lucky man and repeated things to her that she told him in previous sessions she wished her husband would say to her.

“After months of manipulation, defendant Simpson had plaintiff where he wanted her,” the suit says. “Starting in July of 2019, defendant Simpson began sexually abusing plaintiff.”

It goes on to say church elders blamed her for the situation and shunned her and her husband.

Sexual Abuse at Bellevue: No Consequences

Good Faith Media

August 6, 2020

By Christa Brown and David Clohessy

Does it get any sicker than this?

At a flagship megachurch of the Southern Baptist Convention, church staffer James A. Hook sexually abused a 15-year-old church girl.

Hook sent the girl sexually explicit photos of her own mother – photos he had taken when he had an affair with the mother seven years earlier.

That’s just one of the details set forth in the complaint of a recently filed civil lawsuit in Memphis, Tennessee.

In a separate criminal case, Hook pled guilty to sexual battery by an authority figure. Police had found Hook together with the girl in a car.

The girl’s mother, identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, had first begun attending the church after the affair with Hook ended and after Hook himself suggested that Doe and her husband get counseling from one of the church’s staff pastors, Eric Brand.

As alleged in the lawsuit, Pastor Brand shared sexually explicit photos of his own wife during the counseling sessions and he encouraged Jane Doe to do what his wife did so that Doe would keep her husband interested.

With ouster of priest accused of pedophilia, Coptic Church mobilizes against sexual abuse

Bakersfield Californian from Los Angeles Times

August 6, 2020

By Nardine Saad


Los Angeles - The Coptic Orthodox Church in the U.S., shaken by recent accusations of sexual abuse, has vowed to eradicate inappropriate behavior in its cloistered communities following the defrocking of a priest accused of pedophilia for decades.

The 2,000-year-old church, which was started in Egypt by the Apostle Mark and grew in the U.S. following a wave of immigration in the 1970s, is steeped in centuries-old traditions and rituals that define Christian Orthodoxy.

It is now contending with a new generation of activists among an estimated half-million Copts living in the U.S. in what is being described in the community as a "Coptic #MeToo" movement engrossing parishioners on social media.

The flashpoint started with Facebook and Instagram posts from Sally Zakhari, a 33-year-old Florida woman who said she was molested in Orlando, Florida, by Father Reweiss Aziz Khalil in the late 1990s. Zakhari wrote that she was molested at home after Khalil convinced her mother that she should start confession. She was 11 or 12.

August 5, 2020

Slew of new lawsuits name 21 previously unidentified alleged abusers in Rochester diocese

Democrat and Chronicle

August 3, 2020

By Sean Lahman

More than 70 survivors filed civil suits last week accusing former priests, nuns and lay teachers who served within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester of sexually abusing them as children.

Among the new cases are 21 alleged abusers who had not previously been accused publicly.

A deadline to lodge the claims by Aug. 13 — a date that could yet be extended if legislation is signed, has accelerated the pace of filings.

At least 230 complaints have been brought against the diocese and its member parishes since last August under the state’s Child Victims Act. Adopted in early 2019, the CVA carved out a one-year window during which suits can be brought by people who allege they were sexually abused when they were young.

One of the new lawsuits alleges abuse that occurred in 1939, but most of the new cases describe incidents of sexual misconduct from the 1970s and 1980s. Roughly half of the new lawsuits involve victims who were 10 years old or younger when their abuse allegedly started.

To date, roughly 80% of the 260 CVA cases filled in Monroe County name the diocese and its parishes as defendants.

"We are honored to stand with these survivors in their pursuit of truth and accountability," said attorney Jeff Anderson, whose firm filed 58 of the suits last week. "The number of complaints being filed demonstrates the magnitude of peril that has existed in the diocese for decades and that will no longer continue due to these courageous survivors.”

Why year-long extension of Child Victims Act won't apply to Diocese of Rochester


August 3, 2020

By Jane Flasch

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law Monday, extending the deadline for people to file claims against alleged abusers under the Child Victims Act until August 14, 2021.

The deadline was previously set to expire on August 13, 2020.

Attorneys say the extension will not apply to anyone suing the Rochester Catholic Diocese.

"The bankruptcy judge ruled just last week the deadline remains August 13 of this summer," said Attorney Steve Boyd, who represents clients suing the diocese.

The Rochester Diocese is an exception, in part, because it filed for bankruptcy last year. CVA lawsuits are handled by a federal bankruptcy judge - along with all other creditors making claims. A ruling by the judge last weeks makes the diocese here the one exception to the extension.

The Child Victims Act provides a one-year window for survivors of abuse to file claims, regardless of when the statute of limitations may have expired. On the first day - nearly one year ago - 38 lawsuits were filed in Monroe County. Attorneys say, to date, there are at least 225 naming the Rochester Catholic Diocese.

Those victims are grouped together, their cases moved to federal court when the diocese filed for bankruptcy. That makes them different than other cases which are being handled in state courts.

Erie Catholic Diocese to Resume Program Assisting Sexual Abuse Survivors


August 4, 2020

The program was suspended in mid-March at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Diocese of Erie announced Tuesday it will resume its work with the Independent Survivors' Reparation Program (ISRP), a program established to assist survivors of sexual abuse.

The program was suspended in mid-March at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The suspension affected approximately 40 remaining claimants. Claimants will be notified that the fund will begin processing claims effective August 6.

According to the Diocese of Erie, the ISRP was established to address the emotional, psychological and pastoral needs of survivors of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Erie.

Five priests from Rochester Diocese alleged to have abused 105 victims


August 4, 2020

By Jane Flasch

Serial predators inside the Catholic Church: At least 245 lawsuits filed under the Crime Victims Act name the Rochester Catholic Diocese. Taken together, they allege a stunning abuse of power - some of it involving only a handful of priests.

Five of them have been accused by a combined 105 victims.

"These people hurt you. You don't forget that," said a man who asked to be identified only by his initials: J.O.

For him, the abuse began in 1973 when he was living in what as then an orphanage run by the Rochester Diocese.

After filing a CVA lawsuit, he met dozens of others with similar claims.

"It's almost like a fraternity. We really care about what happened - not only to us but to the other kids," J.O. said.

Four victims say that while attending St. Bridget/Immaculate Conception as children, they were sexually abused by Rev. Francis Vogt. Over 45 years, Vogt also served in parishes in Elmira, Palmyra and Irondeqouit.

The four CVA suits are new - filed in the last three days. They bring the total number of victims alleging abuse at the hands of Vogt to 46. The youngest was just six years old at the time.

Next up is Rev. Robert O'Neill. News accounts reported by 13 WHAM decades ago reveal two bishops were aware of "credible abuse complaints" against him - yet he was allowed to serve the church until his retirement.

He is facing 24 lawsuits - by 24 different victims.

In 1996, Rev. Eugene Emo was arrested for abusing a mentally-challenged adult male. He served six months in prison. The diocese acknowledged that before his arrest, he took a leave of absence for almost a year for "a personal problem."

At least 12 CVA suits name him.

Rev. Joseph Larrabee and Rev. Paul Cloonan round out the top five.

Because the Rochester Diocese filed for bankruptcy the CVA cases will be settled by a bankruptcy judge. He has set next Thursday as the deadline for any new filings naming the Rochester Diocese.

The window for other CVA lawsuits has been extended another year to August 13, 2021.

Two more Catholic priests accused of child sexual abuse in southern New Mexico


August 4, 2020

By Leah Romero and Damien Willis

Two Catholic priests were accused Tuesday of child sexual abuse in southern New Mexico.

Civil complaints were filed against the two priests, as well as the Las Cruces and El Paso dioceses and the parishes where the alleged sexual abuse occurred.

Fr. Roderick Nichols and Fr. Damian Gamboa were named in the alleged abuse of John Doe and Jane Doe.

According to court documents, John Doe alleges Nichols abused him in the early 1990s when the alleged victim was about 13 years old. At the time, Nichols was the pastor and administrator of St. Vincent De Paul Parish in Silver City. He was formerly listed as a chaplain for jail and prison ministry, but according to the diocese directory for 2020, Nichols is a retired diocesan priest.

Jane Doe alleges Gamboa abused her in the early 1980s, according to court documents. The alleged victim was about 13 or 14 years old. At the time, Gamboa was serving as the pastor and administrator of St. Francis de Paula Church Inc. in Tularosa. The church was formerly under the El Paso Diocese, but has since been reassigned to the Las Cruces Diocese.

Diocese of Covington Releases Names of Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors Since the 1950s


August 4, 2020

By Maija Zummo

The list of 90 religious and lay people includes 59 priests who have substantiated accusations against them, including four still living in the Greater Cincinnati area

The Diocese of Covington has published a list with the names of the priests, brothers, sisters and lay employees/deacons who have had the accusations made against them of the sexual abuse of minors substantiated.

The list does not say what each individual allegedly did or what accusations have been substantiated.

According to the diocese, the list is a result of a "comprehensive and independent review of thousands of diocesan records dating back to 1950" from two former FBI agents, who were allowed to review all Chancery files, archival files, priest personnel files and Safe Environment files.

Dunkirk church named in new Child Victims Act suit


August 4, 2020

By Eric Tichy

The former pastor of a Dunkirk church is being accused of sexually abusing a child in the 1960s in a new Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Monday.

The complaint, filed in New York State Supreme Court in Chautauqua County, names the former St. Mary’s Church as a defendant. The victim claims to have been abused by the Rev. Maurus Schenck between 1962 and 1968 when the victim was about 12 to 17 years old.

“Plaintiff was a parishioner and participated in youth activities and/or church activities at St. Mary,” the suit claims. “Plaintiff, therefore, developed great admiration, trust, reverence, and respect for the Roman Catholic Church, including Defendants and their agents, including Fr. Schenck.”

The victim is being represented by the New York City-based Jeff Anderson & Associates and attorney Steve Boyd of Williamsville.

Schenck was one of dozens of priests tied to misconduct complaints and identified in leaked Diocese documents. According to multiple media reports, the former pastor was also accused of abusing a then-13-year-old at St. Mary’s around 1965.

Elsewhere, two Child Victims Act lawsuits were filed late last week for abuse said to have taken place at a Jamestown church in the early 1960s and mid-’70s. Both complaints name Ss. Peter and Paul Church and Holy Apostles as defendants.

One victim, only identified as “AB 279 DOE,” claims they were sexually abused by the Rev. John D. Lewandowski from about 1962 to 1963. The victim was about 13 to 14 years old when the alleged abuse took place.

New York’s Child Victims Act ‘look back’ window extended for full year

Daily News

August 3 2020

By Denis Slattery

Albany - Survivors of childhood sexual assault will have another 12 months to file civil suits against their alleged abuser — no matter how long ago the incident occurred.

Gov. Cuomo on Monday signed an extension of part of the Child Victims Act providing a “look back” window for victims to file lawsuits beyond statue of limitations restrictions.

The measure, passed by the Legislature back in May, comes after the coronavirus pandemic led to a reduction in court services and limited the ability of survivors to file suits.

“The Child Victims Act has allowed more than 3,000 brave survivors to come forward to seek justice,” said sponsor Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan). “Yet it’s clear many New Yorkers who survived child sexual abuse haven’t come forward — especially during the COVID-19 crisis which has upended our courts and economy.”

The Child Victims Act went into effect last August after being stalled in Albany for more than a decade. The legislation upended the legal landscape by allowing victims of abuse to seek criminal prosecution against an abuser until the age of 28, an increase from the prior age limit of 23. In civil cases, victims can seek prosecution until they turn 55.

Gov. Cuomo signs legislation extending Child Victims Act

New York Post

August 3, 2020

By Bernadette Hogan

Victims of child sex abuse now have an extra year to file lawsuits against their abusers, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Monday extending the current deadline slated for mid-August.

The New York Child Victims Act passed in early 2019 gave individuals a one-year lookback window to bring claims against perpetrators in cases that had already exceeded the statute of limitations.

The original filing deadline would have expired within the next few weeks — Aug. 14 of this year — but the new law expands the date one full year to Aug. 14, 2021.

The move came after advocates and sex abuse survivors begged lawmakers to introduce a measure granting additional time, especially after so many cases were filed after the courts stopped taking new cases in March.

Cuomo signs new extension of Child Victims Act lawsuit window

Times Union

August 3, 2020

By Cayla Harris and Chris Bragg

Deadline, originally set to expire this month, pushed to August 2021

In a long-fought victory for sex abuse survivors and victims advocates, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday signed a bill granting a one-year extension to the Child Victims Act's "look-back window" allowing survivors of all ages to file previously time-barred claims against their alleged abusers.

The window, which opened last August, was set by statute to expire this month. But as the coronavirus pandemic shut down courts and introduced economic hardship early this year, Cuomo earlier this year signed an executive order initially extending the window through mid-January 2021. More than 3,100 cases have been filed under the act so far, including more than 200 in Albany County, according to data compiled by the state court system.

The newest extension grants survivors until Aug. 14, 2021, to file claims.

"We cannot let this pandemic rob survivors of their day in court," the governor said Monday in a Tweet. " ... This extension will help ensure that abusers are held accountable."

August 4, 2020

Cuomo signs law to extend CVA deadline a full year, doesn’t apply to Dioceses in bankruptcy

Times-Telegram from Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

August 3, 2020

By Sean Lahman

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Monday that will extend the deadline for lawsuits filed under New York’s Child Victims Act.

That legislation, adopted in early 2019, carved out a one-year window during which suits can be brought by people who allege they were sexually abused when they were young. The window of opportunity was set to close on August 13, 2020.

In May, both chambers of the state Legislature passed a bill to extend the deadline by a full year, to August 2021, saying they would do so because other states had given victims more than a year to bring suit. The state court system had also been closed by the pandemic, meaning that for several months, new CVA cases couldn’t be filed.

The legislation signed today extends the special filing period by a full year and claims can now be filed under the statute until August 14, 2021.

“The Child Victims Act brought a long-needed pathway to justice for people who were abused, and helps right wrongs that went unacknowledged and unpunished for far too long and we cannot let this pandemic limit the ability for survivors to have their day in court,” Cuomo said in a statement Monday. “As New York continues to reopen and recover from a public health crisis, extending the lookback window is the right thing to do and will help ensure that abusers and those who enabled them are held accountable.”

Cuomo had signed an executive order to extend the deadline, but critics expressed doubts that such a move would survive legal scrutiny and there was widespread concern that as a result, survivors who wait may not get their day in court.

Archbishop slams Catholic leaders for allowing ‘heresy, sodomy and corruption’ to run rampant

Christian Post

July 28, 2020

By Ryan Foley

Roman Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a prominent critic of Pope Francis, has accused a group of Church leaders of subverting the Church from within by allowing "heresy, sodomy and corruption" to run rampant.

In a recent interview with Vatican expert Marco Tosatti, the 79-year-old Vigano elaborated further on what he sees as the "deep church."

Vigano, who previously served as the Vatican's ambassador to the United States in one of the top diplomatic positions, first coined the phrase "deep church" in a June letter to President Donald Trump in which he described it as “mercenary infidels who seek to scatter the flock and hand the sheep over to be devoured by ravenous wolves.”

According to Vigano, there's an effort by the leadership of the Catholic Church, including the pope, to downplay the role of sodomy and homosexual behaviors in the sexual abuse of minors.

Throughout the interview, Vigano referred to Pope Francis by his given name of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Judge freezes late paedophile priest's £5million estate donation to charity - in case victims come forward to claim damages over his historic sex attacks

Daily Mail

July 31, 2020

By Darren Boyle


A paedophile priest's almost £5 million estate - most of which he left to a charity he set up to support families of clergy of the Church of England - cannot be spent while potential victims are found, the High Court has ruled.

A judge has also ordered the executors of Michael Studdert's estate to set up a website to try and find those who may have been abused by the former Anglican minister in England and Wales, Poland, Denmark and Italy.

Studdert, who died aged 78 in August 2017, was convicted on three occasions of various charges relating to the possession, importing, making or distribution of indecent images of children between 1988 and 2006.

He was jailed alongside Paedophile Information Exchange founder Thomas O'Carroll in December 2006 after more than 100,000 indecent images were found at his home in Surrey.

Citing major decline in revenue, Camden Diocese suspends survivor payments

Catholic News Service/USCCB via Catholic San Francisco

August 3 2020

Citing major decline in revenue, Camden Diocese suspends survivor payments

Camden, NJ - Citing "a precipitous decline" in revenue due to COVID-19, the Diocese of Camden announced July 31 it is putting a moratorium on any future decisions or payments to abuse survivors through its Independent Victim Compensation Program.

"Awards already made by the IVCP administrators will be paid," the diocese said in a statement.

The diocese "is fast approaching a point where it will not be able to continue to borrow the funds necessary to pay the amounts awarded by the program" because of the economic toll the pandemic is taking.

The moratorium on future payouts to survivors "necessary in order to maintain the critical programs that the Diocese of Camden continues to provide for the communities it serves which, now more than ever, are so essential," the diocese said.

In November 2018, the Camden Diocese along with the Trenton, Paterson and Metuchen dioceses and the Newark Archdiocese approved an independent compensation program to pay eligible victims who were sexually abused by clergy while they were minors in their localities.

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston rolls out third-party system for reporting of alleged abuse, harassment


August 3, 2020

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (DWC) announced two third-party reporting systems for people to use about concerns and allegations of abuse and harassment in the diocese.

DWC officials announced on Monday the partnership with Navex Global to roll out a new version of its EthicsPoint platform, intended to report suspected financial, professional, and personal misconduct of a priest, deacon, religious, or lay employee of the diocese, parish, or Catholic school in West Virginia.

This comes more than a year after the Catholic Church investigation concluded disgraced former Bishop Michael Bransfield sexually harassed younger priests and misused millions of dollars in church money.

The diocese said in a release that on a national scale, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has its own third-party reporting system called the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service. This reporting system is established to receive reports of sexual abuse and interference with sexual abuse investigations on the part of bishops in the United States.

These reports will be relayed to a lay person in each diocese with experience in such matters, who will assist the Metropolitan Archbishop in the investigation, according to DWC. Where a report indicates a crime, such as the sexual abuse of a minor, it will also be reported to civil authorities by the website’s third-party vendor. The website to make such reports is reportbishopabuse.org.

Father Mark White appeals to Washington's Archbishop. Next stop: Rome

Martinsville Bulletin

August 3, 2020

By Bill Wyatt


[Includes a substantial video of Fr. Mark White being interviewed and speaking to the demonstrators, and scenes from the demonstration in front of the Vatican embassy.]

After being shunned at the doorsteps of a Richmond bishop and now also at the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States in Washington, D.C., Father Mark White of Martinsville and his supporters intend to take their demands for justice to the Vatican in Rome.

On Friday, White and his supporters took their appeal for justice to Apostolic Nuncio Christopher Pierre in Washington, D.C. Pierre serves as the pope’s ambassador to the United States.

White’s group had sent Pierre a letter two weeks before the trip asking for a meeting at 3:30 p.m. on Friday to discuss Knestout’s actions against White including the sex-abuse scandal and the rights of Catholics to speak their minds about the problems they see in the church.

"We came to try to talk to the pope’s representative here in the United States,” White said. "We had two topics that we wanted to discuss: The first one is - does it help our church to cover up the crimes of bishops and priests - does it help us or does it hurt us? Can we live in the truth? Can we help people to heal and find God again by living in the truth? That’s the first topic that we had hoped to discuss with him.

"Question number two: Are we allowed to have free speech in the church? Are we allowed to speak our minds about these things? Are we allowed to get things out in the open? Because that seems to be the way to make some headway here, to make some progress or do we have to suffer reprisals and persecution when we try to have this discussion?

"We’re here hoping someone will welcome us to have these discussions … but at least we can say at the end of the day today 'we tried.’"

Metairie deacon V.M. Wheeler removed from ministry after abuse allegations

Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate

August 3, 2020

By Matt Sledge

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has removed a recently ordained deacon from ministry at a Metairie church after receiving an allegation that he abused a child 20 years ago, church officials announced Monday.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond removed Deacon V.M. Wheeler from his post at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Old Metairie.

In addition to serving as a deacon since his 2018 ordination, Wheeler, 63, is a partner at the well-known Chaffe McCall law firm. Archdiocese officials said they didn't receive a "formal" report of abuse until last week.

Wheeler was listed as one of the parish's three deacons as recently as Sunday's parish bulletin.

Who is V.M. Wheeler? St. Francis Xavier deacon removed from ministry is well known in New Orleans

Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate

August 3, 2020

By Kyle Whitfield

V.M. Wheeler, a deacon who has been removed from ministry by the Archdiocese of New Orleans, is an attorney who worked with various community organizations in metro New Orleans.

The church said Monday it recently received information about alleged abuse by Wheeler 20 years ago. The 63-year-old has been serving at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Old Metairie.

Here are a few notable positions Wheeler has held or currently holds:

-- Partner at Chaffe McCall law firm;

-- Member of the state bar since 1984, when he graduated from Tulane Law School;

-- Adjunct associate professor at the Tulane Law School, according to the school's website ...

2 New Sex Abuse Suits Filed Against Missouri Diocese

Insurance Journal

August 3, 2020

Two new lawsuits allege that the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri covered up abuse by two priests who were known to be sexual predators.

The lawsuits, one filed on July 28 and the other on July 20, were announced by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

One of the priests died while the diocese was in the process of removing him from the priesthood and the other is no longer allowed to present himself as a priest, the diocese said.

The lawsuit filed July 20 alleges the Rev. Darvin Salazar sexually assaulted the victim in the rectory at Holy Cross Catholic Church and then prevented the plaintiff from leaving in July 2018, The Kansas City Star reported.

Abuse reporting system now practiced by Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston


August 3, 2020

By Alexa Trischler

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has unveiled a new third-party abuse reporting system. There is a national system to report sexual abuse and interference on a case but what we are talking about today is a second way people can report abuse, now on a local level adapted to West Virginia by the Diocese here.

Abuse can range from sexual to financial malfeasance, harassment, any form of abuse from the clergy, lay or religious employee. It is completely confidential and totally anonymous. A case number is assigned and that’s how a person is referred to, no names. Once a complaint is made, a thorough investigation will be conducted by a qualified lay employee.

Bishop Brennan told 7News “I think we’re in a different age where people want to know what’s really going on, the Lord Jesus said something about things that are whispered in darkness will be proclaimed in light I think we have to bring things up into the light if it’s bad name it and do something about it if it’s good we should praise it and encourage it so it’s really for that purpose.”

August 3, 2020

Two weeks remain for civil lawsuits against Diocese of Rochester


July 31, 2020

All legal claims against the Diocese of Rochester must be filed within the next two weeks, according to a federal bankruptcy judge.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul Warren issued the ruling Wednesday, stating August 13, 2020 will be the deadline for filing claims in the Diocese’s Chapter 11 case.

An official committee representing plaintiffs in abuse cases and other unsecured creditors had filed a motion to extend the deadline, but were denied.

Leander James, an attorney who has filed many lawsuits under the Child Victims Act on behalf of clients, said earlier this year that setting a deadline such as this one is not an unusual move for a bankruptcy case.

Back in May, the deadline for filing lawsuits in the Child Victims Act was extended to January 14, 2021 by Governor Andrew Cuomo, citing the coronavirus pandemic. Approximately three weeks later, the New York State Legislature passed legislation for a one-year extension of the same law, which would extend the deadline to August 13, 2021. Cuomo has yet to sign that into law.

The bankruptcy court ruling supercedes the extension of the Child Victims Act deadline, meaning anyone who wants to file a lawsuit under the Child Victims Act can do so - but not against the Diocese after August 13.

Abuse victims say Archdiocese of New Orleans must reveal ‘secret’


July 31, 2020

Local victims of Catholic clergy abuse want to see investigation records the Archdiocese of New Orleans has shared with the Vatican.

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abuse by Priests (SNAP) held a news conference Friday at Notre Dame Seminary, where area Catholic priests are trained. They called upon Archbishop Gregory Aymond to share all documents related to abuse probes.

The victims cite the December 2019 decision of Pope Francis to abolish what’s called the pontifical secret. It removed the veil of confidentiality covering church investigations into abuse.

“The pope requires all the bishops across the world to send their investigations up,” said Kevin Bourgeois with the SNAP New Orleans chapter. “This gives us the opportunity, outside of the court of law, to actually make sure our bishop followed canon law.”

In response, the Archdiocese of New Orleans provided background on the abolition of the Pontifical Secret, saying that it applies to matters other than clergy sexual abuse. It gave the example of diplomatic communications among the Vatican’s nunciatures, or embassies, around the world.

Clergy abuse survivors call for more transparency


July 31, 2020

By Rob Masson

SNAP Calls for Church Archives

Victims of clergy sex abuse are calling for a new level of transparency when it comes to abusive priests. They say under new church doctrine victims are entitled to see the files on abusive priests.

They gathered in front of Notre Dame seminary, to call for a new level of transparency when it comes to information on sexually abusive clergy

“Child rape is bad but the cover-up is so disheartening,” said Tommy Crane, a supporter of the ‘Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests', or ‘SNAP'.

Alleged victims say in December of last year Pope Francis abolished what is known as the ‘pontifical secret’ which they say should clear the way for survivors to view files on their abusers.

Former pope Benedict XVI 'extremely frail': Report

Agence France Presse via WION

August 3, 2020

Former Pope Benedict XVI became seriously ill himself after visiting his sick brother in Germany in June and is "extremely frail", according to a report in the Monday edition of the German Passauer Neue Presse newspaper.

Benedict, 93, is suffering from erysipelas of the face, a virus that causes a facial rash and episodes of severe pain, the newspaper reported, citing the former pope's biographer Peter Seewald.

"According to Seewald, the Pope emeritus is now extremely frail," the report says. "His thinking and his memory are quick, but his voice is hardly audible at the moment."

Seewald reportedly visited Benedict in Rome on Saturday to present him with his biography.

"At the meeting the emeritus Pope, despite his illness, was optimistic and declared that if his strength increased again he would possibly take up his pen again," the paper said.

Latin Americans press fight against clerical sexual abuse


August 3, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rosario, Argentina - Public Mass might have stopped across much of the world during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but several aspects of the life of the Church have continued, including efforts to prevent clerical sexual abuse in Latin America.

Evidence came in a Zoom conversation on Friday, with some 2,000 people joining through two parallel screens, plus many more joining through Facebook. It was organized by the Center for Child Protection of Mexico’s Catholic University (CEPROME) and the Vatican Safeguarding Taskforce, launched earlier this year. The event had the support of the Catholic bishops of Latin America.

To be sure, this was no ecclesiastical feel-good session. The talk was blunt and, at times, searing.

“Nowhere have I encountered the level of destruction I found within the Church,” said Chilean laywoman Maria Josefina Martinez Bernal, a member of the National Council on Abuse Prevention and Victims Accompaniment of the Chilean bishops conference since 2011, and a member of the Fundacion para la Confianza, an NGO founded by three survivors of former Chilean priest Fernando Karadima.

Lawsuit alleges that Hyde Park church knew ex-pastor was abusing teenage girl

News 12

August 2, 2020

Hyde Park Baptist Church is being sued over claims of sexual abuse allegedly at the hands of a former pastor.

A lawsuit filed under the state's Child Victims Act alleges that the church knew Senior Pastor Jonathan Weaver was abusing the victim.

It alleges the abuse began when the victim was just 15 years old inside an office at the church. It also alleges that the abuse lasted for years with Weaver visiting and raping the girl while at college in South Carolina in 2005.

Shortly after, Weaver resigned after news of a pregnancy from the alleged rape began to circulate around the church.

Papal envoy to meet women who ‘applied’ to be priests, bishops


August 3, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome - After seven women in France last month “applied” for ecclesial jobs traditionally open only to men, including the priesthood, the Vatican’s ambassador to the country has made a personal phone call to several of them offering a sit-down meeting.

The calls apparently are unrelated to death threats one of the women “applicants” says she received.

On May 25, a woman named Anne Soupa sent the Vatican embassy in Paris her application to be the next Archbishop of Lyon, a post which has been vacant since the resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarain in March amid an ongoing legal battle to clear himself of allegations that he covered up sexual abuse.

After Soupa sent in her request, several other women joined her cause, forming a coalition called, Toutes Apôtres!, meaning, “All Apostles,” which is dedicated to promoting equality in the Church for all baptized regardless of their gender, marital status, profession or sexual orientation.

The late Jesuit Fr. Ray Schroth saw journalism as a noble calling

National Catholic Reporter

August 1, 2020

By Thomas C. Fox

[See Schroth's Humility and responsibility: Bishops can't exempt themselves from tough line applied to priests, Boston Globe, June 23, 2002; and A New Future for the Church, Speech to Rockville Centre VOTF, November 14, 2002.]

Jesuit Fr. Ray Schroth was well-known in the Catholic press as a writer for America magazine and as the associate editor and book editor for Commonweal in the 1970s before we first met in Kansas City, Missouri, in June 1980.

What followed from our first encounter was a near four-decade journalism collaboration.

Schroth died July 1 at Murray-Weigel Hall, a Jesuit nursing facility next to Fordham University's Rose Hill campus. He was 86.

He left behind countless admirers and readers. Feeling his loss are countless more former students — now well-established professionals — who carry on gratefully, holding close the knowledge, wisdom and friendships they built and shared.

Schroth was an intellectual. He devoured books and explored their ideas. He was a teacher. He counseled and encouraged students. He was a journalist. He believed storytelling could provide solace and build a better world. He was an advocate. He pursued justice endlessly.

Statement on Abuse File Review

Diocese of Covington

July 31, 2020

The Diocese of Covington today is releasing the names of priests, religious, deacons and lay employees who have served in our Diocese against whom one or more allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been substantiated.

The list is the product of a comprehensive and independent review of thousands of diocesan records dating back to 1950. Two former FBI agents were given free rein to review all diocesan records, including Chancery files, archival files, priest personnel files, and Safe Environment files. The former FBI agents have a combined 50 years of investigative experience.

In October, 2019, Bishop Roger Foys and the Diocesan Review Board initiated the review as a way to continue to assure the people of the Diocese of Covington, as well as our priests and other Diocesan personnel, that the Diocese has, as far as is humanly possible, addressed the scourge of sexual abuse of minors by its priests, religious and lay employees.

Inclusion on this list does not necessarily indicate that an accused priest, religious, deacon or lay employee has been found guilty of a crime or liable for any civil claim. The definition of “substantiated allegation” that guided the file review is as follows:

An allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is deemed substantiated when there is probable cause for believing the claim is true. The following may be considered as evidence of probable cause:

1) admission of guilt by the accused;
2) guilty finding rendered by a court;
3) finding rendered by an investigative process shows cause for believing the allegation is true on an objective basis;
4) the accused, when presented with the allegation and afforded a reasonable opportunity to respond, declined to address the allegation; or
5) the Special Masters appointed by the Court in the class action litigation against the Diocese made a monetary award from the class settlement fund based on a sworn claim form alleging one or more incidents of sexual abuse of a minor by the accused, and any other evidence that was submitted on behalf of the claimant.

The review process that has culminated in this list is part of the Diocese’s ongoing commitment to create a Safe Environment and to ensure that all allegations of child sexual abuse by priests, religious and lay employees over the last 70 years have been properly identified and reported. The review process is the natural outgrowth of two significant developments that have transpired during the last eighteen (18) years: significant reforms in the U.S. Catholic Church beginning in 2002 and the Diocese’s involvement in class action litigation from 2003-2009.

August 2, 2020

Catholic order’s list of accused shows past of mishandling abuse allegations

Dayton Daily News

July 31, 2020

By Josh Sweigart


A Dayton Daily News investigation into the Society of Mary’s handling of alleged abuse of children by its members found the religious order concealed allegations against some from parents, students and school officials.

The order released a list this summer of 46 priests and brothers its leaders say sexually abused children since 1950, but critics say the disclosure falls short.

The Catholic order today is based in St. Louis and runs dozens of schools in the U.S. and around the world. Because of the group’s ties to Dayton, many of the men named in the list worked or studied in Dayton at some time, a Dayton Daily News investigation found.

SC to hear Franco Mulakkal’s plea seeking discharge on Aug 5

Hindustan Times

August 2, 2020

Mulakkal had filed the plea in the top court where he claimed to be innocent and said he was implicated after he questioned the financial dealings of the victim nun. He approached the top court after the Kerala high court rejected his plea for discharge from the case.

The Supreme Court will hear the plea of former Bishop Franco Mulakkal, seeking direction to discharge him from the nun rape case, on August 5.

A bench headed by Justice AS Bopanna will hear Mulakkal’s plea for dropping of rape charges against him.

Mulakkal had filed the plea in the top court where he claimed to be innocent and said he was implicated after he questioned the financial dealings of the victim nun. He approached the top court after the Kerala high court rejected his plea for discharge from the case.

The prosecution in the high court had contended that there was strong evidence against him and he was moving pleas frequently to delay the trial.

En el nombre del Padre: Apelarán el fallo que desestimó la denuncia contra el sistema de reportes de abuso de la Iglesia

[In the name of the Father: They will appeal the ruling that dismissed the complaint against the Church's abuse reporting system]

El Ciudadano

July 30, 2020

By Arlen Buchara


El abogado Carlos Ensinck consideró que los argumentos de la fiscal Juliana González están sostenidos en jurisprudencia de la propia Iglesia y no en leyes argentinas y tratados internaciones de protección de víctimas de abuso sexual

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The lawyer Carlos Ensinck considered that the arguments of the prosecutor Juliana González are sustained in the jurisprudence of the Church itself and not in Argentine laws and international treaties for the protection of victims of sexual abuse.]

French Sex Assault Trial Ordered For Pope's Ex-Envoy

Agence France Presse via Barron's

July 23, 2020

Pope Francis's former ambassador to France, Luigi Ventura, will stand trial for sex assault in Paris in November following complaints by four men, one of whom accused the cleric of inappropriate touching, lawyers said Thursday.

Ventura, an Italian-born archbishop, was stripped of his diplomatic immunity by the Vatican last July after he was questioned by French police, and resigned in December when he reached the 75-year age limit for his post.

His trial will open on November 10, the Paris prosecutor's office said Thursday.

"He will be present," Ventura's lawyer Bertrand Ollivier told AFP. "He will attend the hearing to defend his honour and innocence."

Napa Institute’s Online Conference Will Focus on ‘Finding Hope in the New America’

National Catholic Register

August 1, 2020

By Jim Graves

Church leaders offer an inspiring lineup at the virtual event planned for mid-August.

For the first time since it was established a decade ago, the Napa Institute Summer Conference will be held online Friday and Saturday, Aug. 14-15. The original event had been planned as an in-person event in July in Napa, California, per usual, but it will be online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Featured speakers include Cardinal George Pell, who will discuss suffering and persecution, particularly in light of his 13 months in prison as a result of what Australia’s highest court declared was an unjust conviction for child sexual abuse. (Busch noted that he had been friends with Cardinal Pell for a decade and that, in Cardinal Pell’s recent case, “grace prevailed.”) Arthur Brooks will discuss reconciliation and love in America, including the need for a return to civil discourse. Princeton professor Robert George will ask: “Where do we go from here?” Author George Weigel will present lessons from Pope St. John Paul II and what Vatican II was all about. Trent Horn of Catholic Answers and Catherine Pakaluk of the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America will discuss socialism, and evangelical pastor Rick Warren will speak about hope.

Pewaukee priest once accused of sexual assault of a minor free to return to church

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

August 1, 2020

By Elliot Hughes


A Pewaukee priest whose sexual assault of a minor case ended with a mistrial and then dropped charges is being allowed to return to work at his church, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced Saturday.

The announcement comes after the archdiocese says it completed its own investigation into the allegations against the Rev. Charles Hanel, 63, and determined they were unsubstantiated and false. He will be restored to the ministry effective Monday and will be allowed to resume his role of pastor at Queen of Apostles Church in Pewaukee.

Hanel was charged with second-degree sexual assault of a then-13-year-old girl in a church confessional in December 2017. In March 2020, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Maxwell declared a mistrial after it became public that the girl’s mother is an undocumented immigrant trying to gain legal status to stay in the U.S.

Is child abuse now just more hidden from view?

The Herald-Palladium

August 1, 2020

By Julie Swidha

Child abuse reporting is down, but authorities are worried

Authorities have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of child abuse cases being reported, but they aren’t viewing it as good news.

Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic and Jamie Rossow, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan, say they suspect that child abuse is actually up and is just not being reported. They said this is occurring not just locally but all across the country.

Sepic and Rossow said in a joint news release Friday that they suspect stress and isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic has likely increased instances of child abuse and, for some children, has created a dangerous environment. Many reports of suspected abuse come from school officials, and schools have not been in session since March.

Camden’s Roman Catholic diocese suspends payments to clergy abuse victims, citing COVID-19 financial stress

Philadelphia Inquirer

July 31, 2020

By Jeremy Roebuck


Citing financial losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden said Friday that it would halt payments from a clergy sex-abuse victim fund that has paid out nearly $7.6 million.

In a statement, the diocese said it had suffered a “precipitous decline in revenue” and was rapidly approaching a point where it would not be able to continue to borrow money to pay authorized awards.

“These steps are necessary in order to maintain the critical programs the Diocese of Camden continues to provide for the communities it serves, which, now more than ever, are so essential,” it read.

A diocesan spokesperson said he did not know how many victim claims would go unresolved. Victims and their lawyers on Friday decried the decision, noting that many had been asked to relive traumatizing experiences and fill out exhaustive paperwork while applying through a process that is being abandoned.

Diocese of Covington releases report on clergy sexual abuse

Associated Press

August 1, 2020

The Diocese of Covington has released a report on sexual abuse that found 59 Catholic priests and 31 others associated with the church have sexually abused children since the 1950s.

The report was released Friday on the diocese website along with a list naming the accused, The Kentucky Enquirer reported.

“There are no words to adequately express the sorrow and shame I feel,” Foys wrote in an apology released with the report. “I can never apologize enough to those who have been harmed by any representative of the church. I beg your forgiveness in the name of the church.”

In 2006, the Diocese of Covington paid more than $81 million to sexual abuse victims in a court settlement.

The diocese said the report was compiled by two former FBI agents who reviewed thousands of records dating back to 1950.

Of the accused priests, all but 14 are deceased.

Diocese of Covington names 90 with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor 59 priests, 6 religious brothers, 5 nuns, 20 lay people


July 31, 2020

By Craig Cheatham and WCPO staff

[Includes video]


Dean McCoy said he had been waiting for this day for more than three decades.

On Friday, the Diocese of Covington named 90 religious and lay employees with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor while working at the diocese.

McCoy said he was one of the victims.

McCoy told the WCPO 9 I-Team that the Rev. Herman Kamlage sexually abused him more than 30 years ago. Kamlage is one of the priests on the Covington list.

“My reaction to the list being released is: it's a long time past due," McCoy said. "It should have been released a long time ago and given people an opportunity to address the situation at that time.”

[OPINION] Right-wing Catholic archbishop laughably accuses Pope of heresy for allegedly promoting homosexuality


August 1, 2020

By John Riley

Conspiracy-minded archbishop accuses Pope of trying to "legitimize" homosexuality, even though church teaching would say otherwise

A right-wing Catholic archbishop who once served as the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States has accused Pope Francis of heresy for promoting the “legitimization of homosexuality.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who is known for his anti-gay views and has previously called on the pope to resign, made the charge in a recent interview with Italian journalist and Vatican expert Marco Tosatti. In that interview, Viganò, who refers to the pope by his given name and refuses to use his official title, claims that Pope Francis, a.k.a. “Jorge Bergoglio,” is involved in a ploy to “corrupt” the church by promoting homosexuality, according to Newsweek.

Warrant issued for California priest who failed to show

Associated Press

July 20, 2020

A San Francisco Bay Area priest accused of sexual battery failed to appear in court Monday and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Varghese Alengadan, 67, known as “Father George,” was charged last week with one count of misdemeanor sexual battery for allegedly inappropriately touching a woman in July 2019.

He was scheduled to appear in Alameda County Superior Court Monday for his arraignment but never showed up, the district attorney’s office told the Mercury News of San Jose.

Alameda County Judge Colin Bowen issued an arrest warrant with bail set at just one cent due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jail population reductions mean that only inmates accused of serious and violent felonies are being held.

August 1, 2020

Case against diocese draws attention

Altoona Mirror

August 1, 2020

Briefs challenge, support landmark decision allowing lawsuit against priest

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the past week has received several friend-of-the-court briefs both supporting and challenging a landmark decision made by the court last year in which it allowed an Altoona woman to proceed with a sexual abuse case against a priest, even though the alleged offenses occurred in the mid-1970s.

Pennsylvania’s highest court agreed in March to review the Superior Court decision, which has drawn interest from church organizations as well victims’ rights groups nationwide.

According to attorney Richard M. Serbin, who has a law office in Altoona and who represents the alleged victim of the sexual abuse, Renee A. Rice, no date has been set for argument on the appeal.

Serbin said that in the past week, amicus briefs have been filed by supporters of his client, CHILD USA, The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the National Crime Victims Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Justice.

Other briefs have been filed on behalf of the defendants by the The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, The Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, other dioceses in Pennsylvania and The Catholic League.

Virginia Catholic priest, suspended for speaking out on clergy abuse, takes his fight to DC


July 31, 2020

By Santiago Melli-Huber

Father Mark White was in Washington, DC today, protesting outside the Catholic Church’s embassy, and he was not alone. Dozens of his congregants drove up from Rocky Mount and Martinsville with him.

“It’s sad to have to be here,” said White, “but I’m very much heartened and encouraged by all the people that are here with me and the solidarity with the victims of sexual abuse that everyone here is trying to express.”

White is the Catholic priest in Rocky Mount and Martinsville who was removed from his post and reassigned as a prison chaplain, because he refused to take down his blog. In that blog, he was frequently critical of the Catholic Church’s cover up of sexual abuse.

Decades-old claims of sex abuse fuel new lawsuits against Boy Scouts

New York Daily News

July 31, 2020

By Molly Crane-Newman

A slew of lawsuits filed Friday accuse the Boy Scouts of America with tolerating sexual abuse for decades — and say the systemic mistreatment of boys went on since the organization’s founding in 1910.

The 21 new lawsuits in Manhattan Supreme Court charge 14 adult scout leaders with sexually abusing children in numerous instances dating to 1954.

The abuse has gone on through the entire 110 year history of U.S. scouting, the lawsuits say.

”Throughout that time, many of these children have been subjected to horrific acts of sexual abuse by adults who gained access to them through scouting organizations,” says one of the lawsuits. “This widespread abuse of children in scouting programs has been a systemic crisis that goes back since these organizations first existed.”

Judge: Suit Alleging Relationship Between Priest, Principal Needs Shoring Up


July 31, 2020

A lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by two siblings who allege they wrongfully lost their jobs after more than 10 years of working at a Catholic church office in Lynwood will have to be shored up for it to proceed on all the current allegations, a judge ruled Friday.

Susana Montoya and Patricia Garcia brought the lawsuit last September in Los Angeles Superior Court, saying they were retaliated against after reporting what they believed was an inappropriate relationship between a school principal and a priest.

Also named as defendants are the Rev. Ernesto Jaramillo of St. Philip Neri Church and Alejandra Gonzales, principal of St. Philip Neri Catholic School.

Diocese of Covington: 59 priests sexually abused children since 1950


July 31, 2020

By Erin Glynn and Dan Horn, Cincinnati Enquirer

The Diocese of Covington has released a list of priests and others affiliated with the diocese accused of sexually abusing children. A report summarizing the findings of a new report compiled by two former FBI agents, the list naming the accused and a letter of apology from Covington Bishop Roger Foys can be seen on the diocese's website.

A nearly year-long review of records at the Diocese of Covington found that 59 Catholic priests and 31 others associated with the church have sexually abused children since the 1950s.

A report summarizing the findings of the review was released Friday on the diocese's website, along with a list naming the accused and a letter of apology from Covington Bishop Roger Foys.

"There are no words to adequately express the sorrow and shame I feel," Foys wrote. "I can never apologize enough to those who have been harmed by any representative of the Church. I beg your forgiveness in the name of the Church."

The report is the most exhaustive accounting yet of those credibly accused of sexual abuse in the diocese, covering pastors, chaplains, deacons, teachers, brothers, nuns and about 20 lay people.

Diocese of Covington releases list of priests accused of sexual abuse of a minor dating back to 1950


July 31, 2020

The Diocese of Covington released an extensive list of priests, deacons, consecrated religious and laity who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors on Friday.

The list of allegations dates back to 1950.

"I sincerely hope that this report will bring at least some sense of closure to those whose lives have been forever changed by the egregious behavior of those who were pledged to care for God’s little ones," Most Rev. Roger J. Foys said in a statement.

In his message, Foys acknowledged that releasing the report may cause additional pain and anger for the victims, and he apologized for that.

Vademecum on sexual abuse: not a law, but a manual with room for updates

Rome Reports

July 31, 2020

In the vademecum on cases of sexual abuse, there are still improvements to be made. That's according to Fr. Jordi Bertomeu, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who in 2018 was sent to Chile alongside Msgr. Charles Scicluna, to investigate the Church's sexual abuse scandal. Their work prompted the pope to change the Church's approach to dealing with this challenge.

In a virtual conference organized by Mexico's Center for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME), he said the document still contains some gaps. For example, it doesn't say that victims must be notified of any security measures taken against an accused priest, a distressing reality for victims. He also says some of the document's affirmations are too generic, citing the example that a bishop must report a priest to authorities “if this is considered necessary.”

Queens Priest Accused Of Swapping Nudes With Teenage Boy: Feds


July 30, 2020

By Maya Kaufman

Glendale priest Rev. Francis J. Hughes was arrested Wednesday on a child pornography charge, federal prosecutors said.

A Queens priest was arrested by the FBI Wednesday after investigators caught him swapping sexually explicit texts and nudes with a 15-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr.

Francis Hughes, the pastor at St. Pancras Church in Glendale, was charged with receiving child pornography for the explicit exchanges, federal prosecutors said.

Hughes, 65, is accused of sending the Westchester teen photos of his genitals and trying to meet up with him for sex, according to Manhattan federal court records.

Prosecutors said Hughes told the boy he was a part-time college professor and a counselor.

Queens Priest Facing Child Pornography Charges, Police Say


July 30, 2020

A priest in Queens is facing child pornography charges, according to police.

Francis Hughes, 65, is accused of exchanging sexually explicit messages with a 15-year-old boy from Westchester County.

Hughes allegedly received pornographic images from the teen. Police said there could be more victims.

The Diocese of Brooklyn said Hughes has been removed from his post.