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September 30, 2020

Bangladeshi Catholic priest accused of raping minor girl

UCA News

September 30, 2020

Bishop Rozario pledges that suspended priest will not be reinstated unless he can prove his innocence

Police in northern Bangladesh have arrested a Catholic priest and produced him before a court on allegations of confining a 14-year-old indigenous girl for three days and raping her.

Father Prodip Gregory, 41, parish priest of St. John Mary Vianney’s Church in Mundumala, covered by Rajshahi Diocese, was arrested on Sept. 29 evening, a police official confirmed.

“The priest was arrested last evening and he has been produced before the court in Rajshahi after the elder brother of the victim filed a case. Police rescued the victim from a nun’s convent. She will be sent to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital for medical tests,” Rakibul Hasan, officer in charge of Tanore Police Station in Rajshahi, told UCA News on Sept. 30.

Swapan Hasdak, an ethnic Santal Catholic and the complainant, said his family demands justice for the abuse of his sister.

A third man sues the Children's Home, claiming a house parent sexually assaulted him when he was a boy living at the Winston-Salem campus.

Winston Salem Journal

September 22,2020

By Michael Hewlett


ACaldwell County man is claiming that a house parent sexually assaulted him almost every day, sometimes three to four times a day, for five years in the early 1970s, starting when he was 12, according to a lawsuit recently filed in Mecklenburg Superior Court.

This is the third lawsuit filed against the Children's Home, now known as Crossnore School & Children's Home, in Winston-Salem and the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. The Conference operated the Children's Home in the 1970s. The lawsuit was filed Sept. 18 in Mecklenburg Superior Court.

All three lawsuits focus on Bruce Jackson "Jack" Biggs and his wife, Beatrice Hatcher Biggs, who worked as house parents at the Anna Haines Cottage, one of 12 at the Children's Home. The lawsuits said that they worked at the Children's Home from 1966 to 1975. The lawsuits allege that they were fired because of "their demented and perverted sexually abusive assaults upon children." They were never criminally charged. Jack Biggs died in 2015, and Beatrice Biggs, 82, lives in a nursing home, according to the lawsuits.

Senior Catholic William Wade sentenced for concealing child sex abuse at Marist schools

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

September 30, 2020

By Jamie McKinnell

The first senior Catholic to plead guilty to concealing child sexual abuse in Australia has escaped jail despite a judge acknowledging his "reprehensible" inaction contributed to "terrible consequences".

William Wade admitted to failing to provide information to police during a 2014 investigation into abuse at Marist schools in the 1970s.

.Wade's roles at Marist Brothers schools included headmaster in Canberra, at Hamilton, in Newcastle, and Kogarah, in Sydney alongside convicted child sex offenders Darcy O'Sullivan, known as Brother Dominic, and Francis Cable, known as Brother Romuald.

Lawsuit alleges Catholic Diocese of Savannah covered up sex abuse claims

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

September 29, 2020

By Shelia Poole

A lawsuit filed in state court in Chatham County against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah and its presiding bishop claims that the diocese was aware of and covered up allegations of sexual abuse by one of its priests.

William Fred Baker Jr., the plaintiff in the case, alleges the diocese knew that a priest, Wayland Yoder Brown, who was later defrocked, sexually abused him and others while employed by the diocese. The abuse allegedly began when Baker was 10 years old and a student at St. James Catholic School in Savannah, where his mother still works, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit mistakenly says he was 13.

Attorney Mark Tate, who represents Baker, who is now 42, said his client wanted to be named and lauded his “courage" in coming forward.

'Perverse' subpoena costs dispute over Ridsdale abuse

The Courier

September 27, 2020

By Alex Ford

A decision from a Supreme Court judicial registrar in a civil case involving a victim of paedophile priest Gerard Ridsdale has revealed a push against costs for extensive subpoenas.

The plaintiff, whom The Standard has declined to name, alleges they was sexually abused by Ridsdale when they were a teenager.

Ridsdale is currently in prison after being convicted for these crimes, as well as dozens of other child sexual offences.

The plaintiff is suing the Ballarat Catholic Diocese, as well as Catholic Church Insurance Limited and the Office of Professional Standards, also known as Towards Healing, alleging that since Ridsdale was an employee, the Diocese was negligent and liable for Ridsdale's actions.

Abuse in care: Man who suffered as a child gives evidence

Radio New Zealand

September 28, 2020

By Andrew McRae

Warning: This story discusses graphic details of sexual abuse, physical abuse and suicide.

A man with an intellectual disability who went into care as a young child and was physically and sexually abused has described his childhood as a nightmare.

Prison jail cells bars incarceration genericFile photo. Photo: Unsplash / Matthew Ansley
Kerry Johnson, which is a pseudonym, is now 48-years-old.

He first spent about one year, 1980, in the Catholic-run St John of God, Marylands School in Christchurch before moving into state-run institutions.

On Monday, he gave evidence to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry sitting in Auckland.

Kerry Johnson was only 7 when he was taken into care because, he says, he was an out of control kid.

He was put into the care of the brothers at St John of God, where three of them sexually abused him and others a number of times.

Ex-Farmington priest charged with '77 child sex abuse

Detroit News

September 29, 2020

By Oralandar Brand-Williams

A former Oakland County priest has been charged with sexually abusing a local child, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday.

The charges are part of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse within the state's seven Catholic dioceses.

Gary Berthiaume, 78, is charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, which could lead to a 15-year prison sentence if he's convicted, said Nessel.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announces the kick off for the "Be Counted" campaign for the Michigan Census in Pontiac on Monday, February 17, 2020.
The victim, who was 14 at the time of the alleged assault, told authorities the assault took place in August 1977 at the Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church' s rectory in Farmington, where Berthiaume was a priest with the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Former priest at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington charged with sexually assaulting young boy

Oakland Press

September 29, 2020

By Aileen Wingblad


A former Catholic priest who served time in the Oakland County Jail for gross indecency between males is now facing a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for allegedly sexually assaulting a young boy at a Farmington church in 1977.

Gary Berthiaume, 78, was arrested at his home in Warrendale, Illinois on Sept. 29 and is facing extradition to Michigan.

The charge stems from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s allegations into sexual abuse within seven Catholic dioceses across the state.

Former Pastor Named In Child Victims Act Suit

The Post-Journal

September 23, 2020

By Cameron Hurst

A Child Victims Act lawsuit filed in July names a former Jamestown pastor who died in a 2007 plane crash at Chautauqua County Airport.

The lawsuit, filed on July 28 in the state Supreme Court in Erie County, claims that the Rev. Msgr. Antoine Attea abused a male victim while serving at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Jamestown.

The 17-page lawsuit list the plaintiff as “PB-37 Doe” and names “St. James Roman Catholic Parish Outreach,” known currently as St. James Parish, as the defendant.

Doe, who is now an individual residing in Erie County and was born in 1984, according to the lawsuit, claims that Attea “engaged in unpermitted, forcible and harmful sexual contact” with him on the church’s premises in 1997, when he was 12 years old.

Cardinal Pell about to leave Aust for Rome

Canberra Times

September 29, 2020

Catholic Cardinal George Pell is returning to Rome six months after he was acquitted of child sexual abuse, according to agency reports.

The former Vatican treasurer, 79, is expected to depart Sydney on Tuesday, after living in the city since his release from a Victorian jail, the Catholic News Agency reported.

"He always intended to return to Rome," Katrina Lee, an adviser to the Archdiocese of Sydney, told Reuters.

Cardinal Pell came back to Australia from Rome in mid-2017 to fight charges related to the sexual assault of two choirboys when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the late 1990s

Many victims fall through the cracks of New York's Child Victims Act

Albany Times Union

September 23, 2020

By Edward McKinley

More than 4,400 lawsuits have been filed against alleged child abusers under New York’s Child Victims Act, but there are still many victims remain unable to access the court system in order to seek justice.

A decade-long political fight preceded the passage of the CVA last year. It expanded the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse and rape cases and opened a look-back window for bringing lawsuits against alleged abusers who had previously been immune from civil liability because of the time that passed.

The look-back window was extended this summer for another year due to COVID-19, but activists, politicians and alleged survivors of childhood sexual abuse say the law didn’t go far enough and that many who suffered abuse as children are still unable to seek justice.

September 29, 2020

Skubick: AG Nessel poised to bring more charges in Catholic priest abuse investigations


September 29, 2020

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is telling 6 News tonight she is getting closer to issuing more charges against Catholic priests and others in her continuing probe into sexual abuse in the church.

Almost two years ago the state attorney general launched an investigation into alleged sexual abuse in the Catholic church and she subpoenaed millions of documents from every diocese in the state.

As a result, the Lansing diocese published a list of 17 priests who allegedly were involved in 73 allegations of abuse of 66 boys and 4 girls.

The attorney general is poised to prosecute even more priests, perhaps a dozen or more.

Former downstate clergyman arrested in Illinois following AG Nessel investigation


September 29, 2020

A former priest in the Farmington area has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel continues to investigate sexual abuse within the seven Catholic dioceses across the state.

78-year-old Gary Berthiaume is charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony.

He was arrested on the charge Tuesday at his home in Warrendale, Illinois. He will face extradition to Farmington, Michigan where charges were authorized last week.

The victim, who was 14 at the time, reported the assault took place in August 1977 at the rectory of Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, where Berthiaume was a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Lawsuit: Georgia Diocese covered up sex abuse allegations

Associated Press

September 29, 2020

A lawsuit filed against a diocese in Georgia alleges officials knew about and covered up allegations that a Catholic priest sexually abused young students and failed to prevent the crimes more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Chatham County against the Diocese of Savannah and its current bishop, accusing the Catholic jurisdiction of conspiracy and fraud in mishandling alleged abuse by former priest Wayland Brown in the 80s.

The priest, who died in 2019 while serving a 20-year prison sentence, was convicted of child sex abuse charges in the early 2000s. Pope John Paul II eventually dismissed him from the priesthood, and in 2018, he was convicted of additional sex crimes against children.

A Note from the Editors on the Ravi Zacharias Investigation

Christianity Today

September 29, 2020

By Daniel Silliman

Why we report bad news about leaders—even after they have passed away.

Three women have come forward with additional allegations against the late Christian apologist.

Christianity Today is motivated by a deep love for the church. That love is sometimes painful, especially when it means reporting evidence of harmful behavior by ministry leaders. These allegations are hard for us to publish, and they can be hard to read. Over the years, some readers have wondered why we publish evidence of wrongdoing by ministry leaders otherwise doing good in the world. Other readers, who support investigative reporting in general, think it should be aimed outside our particular Christian community. But our commitment to seeking truth transcends our commitment to tribe. And by reporting the truth, we care for our community.

Love compels us to love those hurt by ministry leaders—not just the immediate victims, but countless others who see the fallout from leaders’ sin and abuse and wonder if Christians really care. Deep love for the church also compels us to love erring ministry leaders. They often need disclosure to lead them to repentance.

Cardinal Pell Is Expected at Vatican, 3 Years After Leaving Under a Shadow

The New York Times

September 29, 2020

By Elisabetta Povoledo

The prelate’s return would come five months after Australia’s highest court overturned his conviction for molesting two children. For now, his plans have not been made public.

Three years after leaving for Australia to face sexual abuse accusations, and five months after that country’s highest court overturned his conviction on those charges, Cardinal George Pell was expected to return to the Vatican on Wednesday.

“We understand that he is due to arrive in Rome tomorrow,” said Chiara Porro, the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, adding that she had had no contact with the prelate or his office, so could not comment on the reasons for the trip.

On its home page, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney linked to an article in The Catholic Weekly, the diocesan newspaper, which reported that Cardinal Pell was returning “at the Vatican’s invitation” and that it was “believed that the invitation emanates from Pope Francis.”

A Vatican spokesman said on Tuesday that Cardinal Pell was not scheduled to meet with the pope.

The Australian cardinal’s return follows the unexpected ouster last week of his longtime Vatican rival, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, as the head of the department that creates saints. Cardinal Becciu said at a news conference on Friday that he had been fired by the pope over embezzlement allegations, but maintained that he was innocent.

Appeals Court Judge: Catholic priest Geoff Drew's $5 million bond is 'staggering' but within lower courts' 'discretion


September 28, 2020

By Craig Cheatham


Geoff Drew, the Cincinnati Catholic priest charged with raping an altar boy 30 years ago, has no income, sold his condo and car, and will live with his 81-year-old mother if released on bond, according to a court document filed with the Ohio Court of Appeals on September 18 by Drew's defense attorney, Brandon Moermond.

Drew has been held in the Hamilton County Justice Center since his August 2019 arrest.

Moermond, who has argued Drew's $5 million bond is "excessive," is asking the appeals court to reconsider its September 9 decision to deny his petition for lowering Drew's bond.

George Pell: Cardinal to return to Rome for first time since acquittal


September 29, 2020

Cardinal George Pell will return to Rome this week for the first time since he was acquitted of child sexual abuse and released from prison in Australia.

The ex-Vatican treasurer, 79, was due to fly out of Sydney on Tuesday, Australian media reported.

He was freed in April after Australia's top court overturned his conviction. He had served more than a year in jail.

The cleric left the Vatican in 2017 to fight the charges in his home state of Victoria.

The Construction of a Supreme Court to Thwart a Majority of Americans

Verdict (blog)

September 29, 2020

By Marci A. Hamilton

I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that the United States Supreme Court may soon be composed of six Catholics (Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Sonia Sotomayor, Amy Barrett (if confirmed), one Justice who was raised Catholic but may now attend an Episcopal Church (Neil Gorsuch), and two Jews (Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer).

First, the newly configured Court will reflect less than a quarter of the country’s religious landscape, according to the Pew Research Center, if we include Gorsuch in the Catholic cohort. Catholics make up 20.8% of the American public, while Jews constitute 1.9%, which means as a group the Justices will reflect a mere 22.7% of the country’s faith experience. There are more Evangelical Protestants, 25.4%, and more religiously unaffiliated believers—22.8%—than Catholics and Jews together.

Alternatively, if Gorsuch is counted as a Mainline Protestant, the Court still reflects only 36.4% of the population of the United States. And 2/3 of the Court is one faith, which reflects only 20.8% of the population. To be sure, there was a time when white Protestant males were the sole religious believers on the Court. Yet, that religious hegemony was also unfortunate in light of the religious diversity of the country.

Second, has anyone in Washington noticed that the Catholic Church has been undergoing a scandal of extreme proportions over the last twenty years? To state it as a fact: the Church’s hierarchy is responsible for shielding and empowering child sex predators around the globe. As I have said many times before, I eagerly await one President or one member of the U.S. House or Senate with the guts to utter the phrase, “clergy sex abuse,” let alone hold a hearing or establish a Commission to study the issue. Leading child protection organizations have joined forces under the name “Keep Kids Safe,” and are asking both presidential candidates to embrace such a mission. (Full disclosure: my organization, CHILD USA, is a part of this movement).

Amy Coney Barrett Condemns Purdue U.'s 'Fundamentally Unfair' Adjudication of Sexual Assault Claims

Reason (blog)

September 27, 2020

By Jacob Sullum

The opinion, which suggests a strong concern about due process, will nevertheless be cited as evidence of the SCOTUS nominee's "uniformly conservative" record.

John and Jane, two students in Purdue University's Navy ROTC program, began dating in the fall of 2015 and had consensual sex 15 to 20 times. According to John, Jane's behavior became increasingly erratic, culminating in a suicide attempt he witnessed that December. They broke up in January 2016, after John tried to get Jane help by reporting her suicide attempt to two resident assistants and an adviser.

Three months later, in the midst of the university's s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Jane alleged that John had sexually assaulted her on two occasions. Those charges ultimately led Purdue, a state university in West Lafayette, Indiana, to suspend John for a year, forcing him to resign from ROTC and ending his plans for a career in the Navy. The process that led to those results, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett concluded in a 2019 opinion for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, "fell short of what even a high school must provide to a student facing a days-long suspension."

Pope Francis accused of covering up sex abuse case

Church Militant

September 28, 2020

By Martin Barillas

An Argentine man has accused Pope Francis of covering up allegations of rape and sexual abuse at the hands of a priest.

On Sept. 19, Sergio Decuyper, 42, of Argentina accused a disabled octogenarian priest, who is also his uncle, of raping him at the age of five years. Father José Francisco Decuyper, 85, is facing criminal charges in Argentina for alleged abuse said to have occurred decades ago in the Argentine city of Paraná. Because he currently lives in Spain, accuser Decuyper made his criminal complaint via Skype to Argentine authorities in the province of Entre Ríos, north of Buenos Aires.

According to Decuyper, he was abused by his uncle in 1982 when the latter served at the seminary nearby. Decuyper said that afterward he suffered migraine headaches and later had difficulty with personal relationships. However, he married and became a father. He claimed that his now ex-wife, a physician, diagnosed him as a victim of serious psychological trauma. "I am a homosexual," he told Argentine newspaper Clarin, "and now I can say it. She is now my friend, who supports and accompanies me throughout the process."

Historical Institutional Abuse: NI institutions urged to help with compensation


September 28, 2020

By Jayne McCormack

It is a "moral imperative" that some NI institutions and religious orders contribute to compensation for historical abuse victims, First Minister Arlene Foster has said.

Last year, the then-head of the NI civil service David Sterling said state-led institutions and churches would be "pursued" for payments.

Mrs Foster said she wants to hold a meeting with the groups to discuss making progress.

The first payments were awarded in May.

On Monday, Mrs Foster told the NI Assembly that the estimates of the cost of the scheme range from £149m at the lower end, to an upper limit of £668m.

Orange Shirt Day honouring residential school survivors

Sarnia Observer

September 28, 2020

By Paul Morden

Elementary and high school students in the Sarnia area are being encouraged to join others from across Canada in wearing orange shirts Wednesday to honour survivors and victims of residential schools.

Orange Shirt Day is a national event held on Sept. 30 to commemorate the experience of approximately 150,000 Métis, Inuit and First Nations children who were forced to attend residential schools between the 1830s and 1990s, where they experienced harsh discipline and conditions, suppression of their language and culture, and other abuse. It’s estimated 6,000 children died while attending the schools.

Orange Shirt Day originated with the story of Phyllis Webstad who, at age six, had a new orange shirt bought by her grandmother taken away on her first day at residential school in British Columbia.

Indigenous artist finds healing with murals at Alberta Catholic schools

Catholic News Service via CatholicPhilly.com

September 28, 2020

By Wendy-Ann Clarke

Through a commission to paint murals at three Catholic schools in Red Deer, Alberta, Indigenous artist Ryan Willert has been able to find his own healing and reconciliation with the Catholic community.

The 36-year-old Blackfoot from the Siksika Nation is well-known in Alberta. Based in Red Deer, he has painted murals at several colleges, universities and for various organizations. However, with several relatives, including his father, directly impacted by residential schools, he says working with Catholic institutions was not something he ever saw coming.

“Going into the Catholic schools for the first time brought up a lot of feelings in me that I wasn’t quite sure that I had actually healed from,” said Willert. “You hear the stories from your relatives about the physical and mental and sexual abuse (that happened at residential schools), and you see the problems that arise on the reserves and the poverty, and it’s hard. You build this idea toward an organization and a group of people without actually being around them.”

Lawyer Encouraging Catholics to Withhold Church Donations in Support of Mount Cashel Victims


September 28, 2020

A well known local lawyer has come out swinging after the Archdiocese of St. John’s announced it will be seeking to overturn a decision declaring the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation liable for sexual abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage in the 1950s.

Lynn Moore, a partner with the law firm Morris Martin Moore, says she’s enraged by that response.

She took to Facebook with a message to practicing Catholics, asking them to withhold their donations to the church, saying that survivors of child sexual abuse should be supported.

Pope appoints U.S. Archbishop Charles Brown nuncio to the Philippines

Catholic News Service

September 28, 2020

Pope Francis has named U.S. Archbishop Charles J. Brown as the new nuncio to the Philippines, the Vatican announced Sept. 28.

The New York native, who will turn 61 Oct. 13, has been the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Albania since March 2017.

In Manila, he succeeds Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, who Pope Francis appointed permanent observer to the United Nations in November 2019.

September 28, 2020

Church says Cardinal Pell returning to Vatican in crisis

Associated Press

September 28, 2020

By Rod McGuirk

CANBERRA, Australia -- Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ former finance minister, will soon return to the Vatican during an extraordinary economic scandal for the first time since he was cleared of child abuse allegations in Australia five months ago, a church agency said Monday.

Pell will fly back to Rome on Tuesday, CathNews, an information agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, citing “sources close to” Pell.

Pell’s return follows Francis last week firing one of the cardinal’s most powerful opponents, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, over a financial scandal.

Pell was regarded as the third highest-ranking Vatican official and was attempting to wrestle the Holy See’s opaque finances into order when he returned to his native Australia in 2017 to clear himself of decades-old allegations of child sex abuse.

How Pa.’s victim advocate found herself in the crosshairs of the GOP-led Senate

Spotlight PA

September 28, 2020

By Angela Couloumbis

The signs, at first, were subtle.

In the spring of 2019, legislation that she was championing had come to a screeching halt in the Republican-controlled Senate. Advocates for the bill, known as Marsy’s Law, at the time were baffled by the chamber’s inaction on a measure that otherwise had wide and enthusiastic support among rank-and-file GOP legislators.

By that summer, the legislature had quietly eliminated funding for her office — Pennsylvania’s Office of Victim Advocate — which was later rescued by the Wolf administration when it was absorbed into a different state agency.

Clergy sex abuse settlements ends community garden


September 27, 2020

By Ryan Laughlin

A nonprofit group that was trying to create a community garden in Albuquerque’s North Valley is back in square one after the land they leased was unexpectedly put up for sale.

"It was very discouraging,” said Cheryl Brasel, who lives nearby. "A community garden would really benefit the whole community."

Brasel was expecting the first harvest from the new community garden this year, but now the only new thing coming out of the ground is a ‘For Sale’ sign.

Abuse in Care: Survivor of St John of God Marylands school sexual abuse calls on Government to 'own up'

New Zealand Herald

September 28, 2020

By Michael Neilson

A man who was sexually abused as a child in faith-based and state care institutions says the Government needs to own up to what happened to him and his peers, some of whom "didn't make it".

Kerry Johnson - not his real name - was assessed as having an intellectual disability as a child and, also due to "behavioural problems" at school, was enrolled at Marylands School in Christchurch, run by the Australian Catholic Order of St John of God (SJOG).

He was there from January 1980 to February 1981, during which time he was seriously sexually abused by two of the staff members, and experienced physical and psychological abuse from the staff and other boys.

Abuse claim resurfaces in ex-Erie teacher’s porn case


September 27, 2020

By Ed Palattella

U.S. Attorney’s Office raises allegation against David Rinke II as he seeks to get out of prison early due to COVID-19.

In February 2012, David A. Rinke II, a former science teacher at the Erie School District’s Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison for collecting and trading more than 50,000 images of child pornography, including videos of toddlers getting raped.

Rinke, who pleaded guilty, now wants to get out of prison early. He is citing the COVID-19 pandemic’s potential effect on what he says are his numerous health problems.

Trinity College student bullied on social media after alleged rape on school trip

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

September 26, 2020

By Rebecca Turner

A student at a prestigious Catholic boys' school was tormented and taunted by his alleged rapists and rugby teammates on social media, including while he was away from home in a foreign country.

The young man had travelled to Japan on a rugby tour with Trinity College in April 2017, when he alleges he was held face-down and sexually assaulted with a carrot in his dorm room.

German bishops set up system for larger sex abuse payments

Associated Press

September 24, 2020

By Geir Moulson

The Catholic Church in Germany is setting up a new system to compensate survivors of sexual abuse by clergy that will provide for payments of up to about 50,000 euros ($58,400) to each victim.

Victims will be able to apply for payments under the new system starting Jan. 1, the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, Limburg Bishop Georg Baetzing, said Thursday after conference members signed off at a meeting on the details of a proposal approved in March.

The Catholic Church has been shaken in recent years by sex abuse and cover-up scandals in several countries, including Germany, the homeland of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

In Lat Am, ferment over sex abuse, abortion and coronavirus


September 28, 2020

By Inés San Martín

It’s been an eventful time in Pope Francis’s native Latin America, with a new bishop apologizing for clerical sexual abuse in Chile, the bishops of Nicaragua announcing the return of public Masses after the coronavirus and the Church in Ecuador praising the country’s president for vetoing a bill that would have partially legalized abortion.

Here’s a round-up on developments south of the border.


Two years after a clean-up of the church in Chile began, with Pope Francis replacing a third of the bishops’ conference, a new auxiliary bishop was ordained in Santiago, the country’s capital, and his opening remarks turned on the abuse crisis.

“I assume this episcopal mission in times of great crisis that afflict us all,” Bishop Julio Larrondo said on Saturday.

Referring to abuses of power, conscience and sex, Larrondo noted they’ve “caused so much pain, first for the victims and their families, and also to the entire ecclesial body.

September 27, 2020

Cardinal Pell to return to Rome this week

Catholic News Agency

September 27, 2020

By Courtney Mares

Cardinal George Pell is set to return to Rome on Tuesday, his first time back in the Vatican since 2017, when he took a leave of absence from his role as prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy to travel to Australia.

The cardinal is set to fly on Sept. 29, sources close to Pell confirmed to CNA on Sunday, following an initial report by Australian journalist Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun newspaper.

Pell has been living in his former Archdiocese of Sydney since his acquittal by Australia’s High Court in April on charges of sexual abuse.

New legal protections for sexual assault victims in N.H. take effect this week

Concord Monitor

September 26, 2020

By Ethan DeWitt

New Hampshire’s protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence were widely expanded this week, after a broad package of reforms pushed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Chris Sununu this summer took effect.

House Bill 705, known as the “Crime Victims’ Rights Enhancement Act of 2020,” ushered in significant changes. The statute of limitations for civil actions in sexual assault cases is now eliminated; the rights of victims during court proceedings have been increased; and those who commit sexual assaults against people with disabilities who are unable to consent – or 13- to-16-year-olds – may no longer use marriage as an excuse, among other changes.

The provisions took effect Sept. 18, 60 days after Sununu signed the bill in July

Advocates for domestic and sexual violence survivors applauded the developments – among the first major updates to the state’s statutes on victims’ rights in decades.

“Prior to this legislation, statutes in New Hampshire limited survivors of sexual assault to seek justice within an arbitrary timeframe,” said Pamela Keilig, public policy specialist at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, in an emailed statement. “With the passage of this bill, that is no longer the case.”

Opinion: Britain's reckoning with past systemic child abuse is long overdue

The Guardian

September 26, 2020

By Caelainn Hogan

Ireland has started trying to rectify the wrongs of its history. The UK is lagging behind

When the pope said mass in Ireland in 2018, a vast field in Dublin’s Phoenix Park was turned into a grid of “pilgrims’ corrals” to control the expected massive crowds, which never materialised. Out of a dozen people in my section, two nuns talked to me about a priest back home who had abused a young woman.

Another pilgrim, down from Belfast for the occasion, said her aunt had been sent to a religious-run institution as a teenager because she was pregnant. Her son was taken away. On her deathbed, her aunt was still asking the priest for forgiveness.

The pope had come for the World Meeting of Families. During the gathering of Catholic hierarchy and faithful, news broke about nuns arrested in Scotland on charges of abuse at the Smyllum Park orphanage they ran, where hundreds died. The charges resulted from the Scottish child abuse inquiry. The same order, the Daughters of Charity, ran the largest mother-and-baby home in Ireland.

East Timor: Vatican began looking into ex-priest for child molesting, in 2016

Macau Business

September 26, 2020

The Vatican began an investigation into a former U.S. priest accused of child abuse and child pornography in East Timor began in September 2016 but he was only removed from where he allegedly committed the crimes three years later.

Documents seen by Lusa show that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was investigating the case involving former Father Richard Daschbach between September 2016 and October 2018, when it decreed his “punishment for life” and expulsion from the priesthood.

The documents indicate that the investigation began even earlier since September 2016 is the date that marks the entry into the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith of a first report on the case.

The dates are mentioned in a confidential document dated 6 November 2018, which confirms the beginning of the investigation and the decision to expel the priest who, however, remained with access to the Topu Honis orphanage where he worked, until last year.

Former Western Massachusetts priest sentenced to 6 years in child pornography case

Episcopal News Service

September 25, 2020

By Egan Millard

A federal judge sentenced Gregory Lisby, a former priest in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, to six years in prison on Sept. 18 for possession of child pornography.

Lisby, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography in February. He was arrested in September 2019 after the FBI found nearly 200 images and videos of child pornography stored in a Microsoft account he used, according to court records. Lisby was then working as a kindergarten teacher in a public school in Holyoke, Massachusetts, having been suspended in 2018 from his position as rector of All Saints Church in Worcester “for an inappropriate relationship with an adult that did not involve sexual contact,” Western Massachusetts Bishop Douglas Fisher wrote in a letter to the diocese shortly after Lisby’s arrest.

Church of England's £200million compensation scheme will pay out victims of historic sex abuse by bishops and clergy

Daily Mail

September 25, 2020

By Steve Doughty


The Church of England is setting up compensation for victims of sexual abuse

The fund was approved by the Church’s Cabinet, the Archbishops’ Council

Among sex abuse cases to recently trouble the Church was bishop Peter Ball

The Church of England yesterday set up a multi-million-pound compensation fund designed to funnel money to victims of historic sex abuse by bishops, clergy and lay church workers.

Its ‘interim pilot support scheme’ will make the first payouts from a compensation process expected to cost the Church £200million.

The fund was approved by the Church’s Cabinet, the Archbishops’ Council, which also said that in the future it would invite outside authorities to run independent

September 26, 2020

Former Irish president pledges to spend retirement challenging Catholic Church


September 25, 2020

By Charles Collins

Former Irish President Mary McAleese says she is pledging “to use whatever time is left to me” to challenge Church teachings on homosexuality and women.

Speaking to The View on BBC Northern Ireland on Thursday night, McAleese said, “What else I am going to do in retirement except make myself useful in that regard?”

McAleese, 69, served as president of Ireland – a largely ceremonial position – from 1997-2011.

She has clashed with Church leaders in the past and was barred from attending a conference taking place at the Vatican in 2018.

A longtime critic of the Church’s position on human sexuality, the former president, who has long described herself as pro-life, admitted she voted to change Ireland’s constitutional prohibition on abortion in a 2018 referendum

Dr. Jeffery Chalmers Guest Posts: As Liberty University Moves Forward, Where Were, and Are, the Conflict of Interest Guidelines?

The Wartburg Watch (blog)

September 18, 2020


Today, three posts regarding the Falwells and Liberty U. came to light and they are lighting up social media.

1. 911 call from Falwell house reveals ex-Liberty president was drinking, fell down, lost ‘a lot of blood’ after resigning

Read this carefully. Becki Falwell claimed she was at a church meeting until 11 PM and needed to break down a door to get into this house and help her drunk and bleeding husband. There is no question that we are dealing with a very sick family and this didn’t happen yesterday. I’m suspicious that university leaders were aware of these problems. If they weren’t, they should never have been in their positions.

2. The Falwells, the pool attendant and the double life that brought them all down

The Washington Post printed a damning article on the sexual proclivities and questionable business dealings of the Falwells.

3 .After Jerry Falwell Jr.’s departure, Liberty University faces questions about faith, power, accountability

Allegations mount in 2017 Ravi Zacharias illicit online relationship scandal

Christian Post

September 25, 2020

By Brandon Showalter

New information has been publicly released regarding the late apologist Ravi Zacharias and an alleged online sexual relationship that was first reported in 2017.

In a three-part installment last week from The Roys Report, the website of independent investigative journalist Julie Roys, new testimonies and emails were released suggesting an alternative version of events than those that were represented nearly three years ago when allegations emerged that Zacharias had been involved in an illicit online sexual relationship with a Canadian woman. Around this same time, the famed apologist's academic credentials and resume were also scrutinized amid questions he had inflated and misrepresented them.

Handling of abuse allegations divides AG candidates

The Tribune-Democrat

September 25, 2020

By John Finnerty

HARRISBURG – Heather Heidelbaugh, Republican candidate for attorney general, said current Attorney General Josh Shapiro should not have publicized the names of priests who weren’t charged but were accused of molesting children in a grand jury report detailing the abuse of at least 1,000 children across the state over decades.

Hardly any of the priests named in the report were charged because the crimes occurred so long ago that the state’s statute of limitations had expired. Efforts to open a window to allow survivors of child sex crimes to sue despite the statute of limitations have stalled, though the General Assembly could vote next year to put a Constitutional amendment question about opening a window for lawsuits on the ballot.

With those statutes of limitations in place, the attorney general shouldn’t have named the priests accused of crimes because they didn’t have the opportunity to clear their names in any meaningful way, Heidelbaugh said.

Heidelbaugh is facing Shapiro, the Democratic incumbent, in the November election.

Catholic priest sexual abuse class action will move forward, Nova Scotia court decides

Canadian Lawyers Magazine

September 25, 2020

By Bernise Carolino

Archdiocese has policy of secrecy when dealing with alleged sexual abusers, class plaintiff says

Catholic priest sexual abuse class action will move forward, Nova Scotia court decides

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has certified a class action filed on behalf of individuals alleging sexual assault or battery by priests from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth from 1960 until the present.

The statement of claim alleged that the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax-Yarmouth, which is the formal name of the Archdiocese, knew of numerous acts of sexual abuse committed by its priests, with at least four priests being criminally convicted of sexual assault.

The Archdiocese would send priests accused of sexual misconduct to a treatment facility, then would allow these priests to return to their parishes, without bothering to notify or to warn parishioners, said the statement of claim.

Douglas Champagne, class plaintiff, alleged that he was sexually assaulted by Father George Epoch, which resulted in lasting and permanent impacts on his life. The class action claimed that the Archdiocese has a policy of secrecy, spanning decades, regarding priests accused of sexual misconduct.

Catholic Church Appeals to The Supreme Court Over Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Top Class Actions (plaintiff attorney website)

September 25, 2020

By Kristen Zanoni

The Archdiocese of St. John’s is turning to the Supreme Court of Canada to seek an appeal in a watershed ruling that holds the Catholic Church accountable for millions of sexual and physical abuse lawsuits.

The Court ruled that the Catholic Church was responsible for creating an environment where boys endured extensive physical and sexual abuse from the Christian Brothers of Ireland in Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s. While the Brothers were not employees of the archdiocese, the Court of Appeal ruled the Catholic Church allowed them to abuse children for decades and not face repercussions.

The Catholic Church Appeals Liability for Mount Cashel Abuse

On Sept. 23, 2020, the archdiocese’s lawyer wanted to have the appeal case heard by the Court.

According to CBC News, Archbishop Peter Hundt wrote the following in a news release, “This decision to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was not made lightly.”

Vatican cardinal pushes back after pope fires him in scandal

Associated Press

September 25, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

A powerful Vatican cardinal who was sacked by Pope Francis in an astonishing twist to the Vatican’s latest financial scandal pushed back Friday against allegations he embezzled Holy See money and denied he did anything wrong.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu presided over an extraordinary news conference a day after Francis fired him and yanked his rights and privileges as a cardinal. The 72-year-old Becciu, a onetime papal contender, said his downfall was “surreal,” but that he had a clear conscience, remained loyal to Francis and was ready to die for him.

Becciu said Francis had asked him to step down as prefect of the Vatican’s saint-making office during a “troubled” 20-minute meeting Thursday evening in which the pope said he “no longer had confidence in me.”

September 25, 2020

Calls for Bishop Scharfenberger to step down following claims he kept information about priest named in CVA lawsuit secret


September 24, 2020


Less than a year after he became apostolic administrator to the Buffalo Diocese, there are calls for Bishop Edward Scharfenberger to step down.

“The Road to Recovery”, a non-profit that assists sex abuse victims, says Bishop Scharfenberger has only followed in Bishop Malone’s footsteps.

The organization claims he has continued to keep information secret and that he has withheld information about a priest who was accused- but kept him in ministry.

Renewed calls for leader of Diocese of Buffalo to resign

WBEN Radio

September 25, 2020

Hoatson called for Scharfenberger to be removed after latest statistics from Child Victim's Act

There is a renewed call for the leader of the Diocese of Buffalo to be removed.

Robert Hoatson, an advocate for sex abuse victims of Road to Recovery, called on Buffalo Apostolic Administrator Edward Scharfenberger to resign or be removed following a recent story from The Buffalo News about 173 priests who were accused under the Child Victim's Act.

"Why hasn't Bishop Scharfenberger come to the sidewalk or in his office and hold a press conference and say 'Ladies and gentlemen, we're up to 173 credibly accused priests and 33 of them have never been named publicly,'?" Hoatson said. "Why hasn't he done that? Why has he not kept his promise of transparency and informed Catholics and the general public of the Buffalo area in Western New York that this is the current story of clergy sexual abuse in this diocese?"

Clergy sex abuse victim advocates call for Scharfenberger's removal

WBFO Radio

September 24, 2020

By Michael Mroziak

Saying he has failed to live up to promises of more transparency and outreach those affected, advocates for clergy sex abuse victims called Thursday for the removal of Bishop Edward Scharfenberger from his leadership post at the Diocese of Buffalo.

Robert Hoatson or Road to Recovery noted a recent Buffalo News story, which reports the number of clergy accused of some form of wrongdoing has risen to 173, including more than 30 priests accused for the first time.

Reverend Donald Lutz is identified in the article as being newly accused in a lawsuit filed in July. Lutz told the Buffalo News he was unaware of the accusation.

Preparing for the Next Conclave

Open Tabernacle (blog)

September 25, 2020

By Betty Clermont

Two books were released this summer: The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates, by Edward Pentin and The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission by George Weigel.

“The Holy Father is considered to be getting on in years and he himself has occasionally hinted he would like to follow Benedict XVI into retirement at some stage …. Some of the Pope’s close associates have said privately … it will happen this year.” Pentin explained. Pentin, the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register owned by the right-wing EWTN media giant, is one of the best-connected and experienced Vatican reporters in the world.

His book “consists of highly-detailed profiles of 19 leading papabili with the aim of better equipping the cardinal electors to know who to vote for, or not vote for, as the case may be,” Pentin wrote. “Revealed in each cardinal’s profile is where they stand” on internal ecclesial issues like liturgy and interpreting the Second Vatican Council, but also “key contemporary issues such as priestly celibacy, the role of women in the Church, contraception [and] abortion.… Enormous spiritual battles are taking place in today’s societies, not least in the United States, as well as inside the Church. These will require strong papal leadership as they increase,” he warned.

In Weigel’s book, the author “proposes the qualities needed in the man who will lead the Church … in the wake of grave institutional failures, mission confusion, counter-witness, and the secularist challenge.”

Japan Catholic Church sued for damages in alleged sex abuse

Associated Press

September 25, 2020

By Yuri Kageyama

A woman has filed a suit against the Roman Catholic Church in Japan alleging that a priest raped her four decades ago, as the church’s unfolding worldwide sexual abuse crisis gradually reaches Japan.

The civil lawsuit, filed this week in Sendai District Court, seeks 56.1 million yen ($534,000) in damages. It accuses a priest, who has not been charged or penalized, as well as a bishop who counseled the woman in recent years about the alleged abuse.

The suit, which also accuses the Diocese of Sendai in northeastern Japan, says the church refused to take the complaints seriously, causing psychological pain.

“I have filed this lawsuit to claim back the dignity I have lost, and to try to end this serious crime that is a violation of humanity,” said Harumi Suzuki, who has gone public with her name.

She said she lived through “more than 40 years of hell,” but wants to raise her voice for other abuse survivors.

Clergy abuse activist calls for Bishop Scharfenberger to resign over Buffalo lawsuits

Buffalo News

September 24, 2020

By Mike McAndrew


Clergy abuse activist and former priest Robert Hoatson on Thursday called on Bishop Edward Scharfenberger to resign as the Buffalo Diocese administrator because of revelations in a recent Buffalo News story about the number of priests sued.

Hoatson accused Scharfenberger of keeping secret information about clergy sexual abuse of children and allowing a priest accused of abuse in a lawsuit of remaining in ministry at a Buffalo church.

The News reported Tuesday that 173 Catholic priests in the diocese have been named as molesters in Child Victims Act lawsuits over the past year.

The diocese has allowed one of them, the Rev. Donald J. Lutz, to continue to run a South Buffalo parish despite being linked to abuse by a lawsuit filed on July 30, The News reported. Lutz denied abusing any children when The Buffalo News contacted him at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

New lawsuit claims Diocese of Savannah covered up allegations of child molestation


September 24, 2020

By Jessica Savage

A new lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Savannah claims the Diocese covered up allegations of child molestation more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday is the third one involving convicted child molester Wayland Brown who was a priest in Savannah from 1987 to 1988. This lawsuit accuses the Diocese of Savannah of conspiracy and fraud.

Like the civil cases filed in the past, it outlines the sexual abuse of Priest Wayland Brown against boys enrolled at St James Catholic School. But more than that, this lawsuit includes a transcript and a memo from the Diocese.

The attorney in this case says that shows the extent of what the Diocese knew. Outlined in the 11-page lawsuit filed Wednesday are accusations of child molestation and a cover-up by the Diocese of Savannah.

Powerful Vatican Cardinal Becciu resigns amid scandal

Associated Press

September 24, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The powerful head of the Vatican’s saint-making office, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, resigned suddenly Thursday from the post and renounced his rights as a cardinal amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him indirectly.

The Vatican provided no details on why Pope Francis accepted Becciu’s resignation in a statement late Thursday. In the one-sentence announcement, the Holy See said only that Francis had accepted Becciu’s resignation as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints “and his rights connected to the cardinalate.”

Becciu, the former No. 2 in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, has been reportedly implicated in a financial scandal involving the Vatican’s investment in a London real estate deal that has lost the Holy See millions of euros in fees paid to middlemen.

Powerful Cardinal, a Fixture of Vatican Intrigue, Resigns Suddenly

New York Times

September 24, 2020

By Jason Horowitz

In a cryptic statement, the Vatican did not explain the reason for Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu’s departure. News reports had connected him to a financial scandal.

In a cryptic late-night announcement, the Vatican on Thursday said Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of one of the church’s most powerful officials, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, a fixture of church intrigues and internal power plays who also lost his rights as a cardinal.

The Vatican, in its one-sentence statement, did not explain the reason for the cardinal’s resignation as head of the department in charge of making saints but it comes amid his reported connection to a financial scandal involving a London real estate deal that hemorrhaged church money but enriched middlemen.

Key Vatican cardinal caught up in real estate scandal resigns suddenly


September 24, 2020

By Philip Pullella

A powerful Vatican cardinal caught up in a real estate scandal resigned suddenly on Thursday and gave up his right to take part in an eventual conclave to elect a pope, in one of the most mysterious episodes to hit the Holy See in years.

A brief statement, issued unusually in the evening, said that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, head of the department that decides who will be the saints of the Roman Catholic Church.

But perhaps more significantly, the statement said the Becciu, 72, had “given up the rights associated with being a cardinal”.

The one-line statement gave no details but the most important right of Roman Catholic cardinals under 80, as is Becciu, is to take part in a conclave to elect a new pope after the current pope dies or resigns.

Germany’s Catholic bishops agree on uniform compensation system for abuse victims

Catholic News Agency

September 25, 2020

Germany’s Catholic bishops agreed this week to a uniform system for compensation payments to abuse survivors.

Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, announced the agreement Sept. 24 at the end of the bishops’ plenary meeting in Fulda, central Germany.

Under the new system, survivors of abuse by Church workers will be entitled to a one-off payment of up to 50,000 euros ($58,000) -- a sum based on current court rulings.

Previously German dioceses had determined payments individually.

German Catholic Church decides on new compensation model for abuse victims

Deutsche Welle

September 24, 2020

The Conference of German Catholic bishops has announced plans to compensate abuse victims up to €50,000 each. Much more than the previous average payout, but much less than survivors had hoped for.

Fall meeting of the German Bishops' Conference (Arne Dedert/dpa/picture-alliance)
A statement by the Conference of German Catholic Bishops revealed new plans on Thursday to pay survivors of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests compensation of up to €50,000 ($58,000).

The compensation consists of a one-off payment for each affected individual as determined by an independent decision-making body, the chair of the Bishops' Conference, Georg Bätzing, announced in the central German city of Fulda.

Victims will also be able to request that costs for individual or couples therapy be paid for by the Church.

German bishops announce higher payments to Catholic abuse victims


September 24, 2020

ByClyde Hughes

A conference of German Catholic bishops introduced a new model on Thursday to pay survivors of abuse within the church, which could pay each more than $50,000.

The German Bishops Conference announced the creation of an independent committee to investigate complaints of sexual abuse by priests and other clergy. The panel would also determine compensation.

Conference Chair Georg Batzing detailed the new model Thursday at a meeting in Fulda.

Under the change, survivors are eligible for a onetime payment of up to $58,000. Victims will also be able to request that the church pay for therapy.

Archdiocese of New Orleans Bankruptcy Trials: What Are They Hiding?

The Tower (newspaper of Catholic University)

September 24, 2020

By Margaret Adams

The Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, May 1, 2020. This allows the Archdiocese to continue employing workers while the court oversees “the restructuring and implementation of a plan to repay the creditors,” according to 4WWL New Orleans.

In an effort to hold the Archdiocese of New Orleans accountable for filing the bankruptcy in bad faith and hiding information regarding their sexual assault lawsuits, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors was formed. The Committee was formed on May 20 under the U.S. Trustee Program in an attempt to “dismiss the Archdiocese’s bankruptcy case completely, a move that would help pending abuse claims move forward,” said 4WWL. The Committee elected James Adams as the Chair of the Committee by a unanimous vote. The creditors in the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ bankruptcy case consist mostly of survivors of sexual assault by priests or other employees of the archdiocese.

“I believe that this path will allow victims of clergy abuse to resolve their claims in a fair and timely manner,” said Archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory Aymond, in a newsletter to the archdiocese. “My daily prayer is that this independent process brings about healing for those who have been harmed as a result of abuse by members of the clergy. The healing of victims and survivors is most important to me and to the church.”

Victims attack 'tokenistic' inquiry into organised child exploitation

Sky News

September 24, 2020

By Jason Farrell

Victims groups believe they are being silenced and say the inquiry is hearing too much from institutions.

A top lawyer speaking on behalf of victims has led an extraordinary intervention into an inquiry on historical child sexual abuse, saying "we speak with one voice".

Four days into the latest hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the review team has been told "it is simply not good enough".

Victims groups believe they are being silenced and the evidence is being skewed towards the institutions that failed to protect them.

The latest strand of the IICSA is looking at child sexual exploitation by organised networks in England and Wales.

But this morning the hearing gave time for a joint statement from victims groups who accused the inquiry of "a profound imbalance in the evidence", saying a large number of institutions had been heard but very few victims to challenge their narrative.

"You are not hearing from a single one of those who at a national level represent and work with victims and survivors," said Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, speaking on behalf of victims. "Why are we hearing from one side and not the other?"

Church leading the way in the protection of minors

Vatican News

September 25, 2020

Teresa Kettelkamp, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, says, “The Catholic Church is being a leader in the world in protecting children and providing assistance to victims.”

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) held its 14th Ordinary Plenary Assembly from 16-18 September.

During the meeting, which took place partly in person and partly online, members assessed the projects the Commission has been working on over the course of the past year.

Former Newark Archbishop of 15 years, John Myers, dies at 79


September 24, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

Archbishop John J. Myers, who was known for taking strong and sometimes controversial stands during the 15 years that he led the Newark Archdiocese, died on Thursday at the age of 79, months after moving to an Illinois senior facility because of poor health.

Myers said when he retired four years ago that he was proud to leave behind two “thriving institutions,” Seton Hall University and Catholic Charities, and for having ordained almost 200 priests during his time in Newark.

He also built a legacy of speaking his mind about issues that were important to him, like his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

Former Peoria Catholic Bishop John Myers dies at 79

Peoria Journal Star

September24, 2020

By Nick Vlahos

A former spiritual leader of Peoria-area Catholics died Thursday morning.

Archbishop John J. Myers was surrounded by family when he died in a care facility in Ottawa, according to a statement from Catholic Diocese of Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky. Myers was 79.

Myers served as Peoria bishop from 1990 until 2001, when he became archbishop in Newark, N.J.

In 2016, Myers retired from his Newark post.

September 24, 2020

[From 2017] Barbara Blaine, Who Championed Victims of Priests’ Abuse, Dies at 61

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: Today is the third anniversary of the death of Barbara Blaine, founder of SNAP and of the global movement for accountability in the Catholic Church. She is still deeply missed. Re-posted below is her New York Times' obituary in its entirety. See also obituaries for Barbara in the Toledo Blade and National Catholic Reporter, a remembrance by BA's Anne Barrett Doyle, Celia Viggo Wexler's call to make her a saint, and this stunning tribute by Peter Isely.]

September 25, 2017

By Laurie Goodstein

Barbara Blaine, who was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest as a teenager and went on to found the nation’s most potent advocacy group for abuse survivors, died on Sunday in St. George, Utah. She was 61.

The cause was a sudden tear in a blood vessel in her heart, which she sustained on Sept. 18 after going hiking on a vacation, her husband, Howard Rubin, said. She lived in Chicago.

Ms. Blaine, a lawyer with a degree in theology, served for nearly 30 years as president of the group she founded, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. She stepped down this year and had recently started a new international organization to hold the Vatican and church officials overseas accountable for covering up abuse cases.

Ms. Blaine was an ardent Catholic who spent her years after college serving and living with homeless people in a Catholic Worker house in Chicago, part of a social justice movement for the poor founded by the activist Dorothy Day. Ms. Blaine applied that same activist sensibility to creating a new movement to fight for abuse survivors.

“She was relentless in the cause of justice, and in that sense she’s a true disciple of Dorothy Day,” said Jason Berry, who was among the first journalists to break news of the abuse scandal. “I think the damage she did to the hierarchy and its credibility was enormous, because she kept demanding that they be truthful.”

Ms. Blaine’s life changed after she read Mr. Berry’s articles in 1985 in the newspaper The National Catholic Reporter about a serial pedophile priest in Louisiana. She, too, had been molested for years as a teenager in Toledo, Ohio, by a priest who she said had convinced her that she was an “evil temptress.”

Mr. Berry’s articles helped her realize, she later told him, that the priest’s actions had been a crime and that she was not at fault. After Ms. Blaine confronted the priest, the Rev. Chet Warren, and his superiors, the church agreed to pay for therapy for her, but the priest was allowed to remain in ministry for years.

She started SNAP in 1988 as a support group, finding fellow victims through an ad placed in The National Catholic Reporter. Some of the early meetings were at the Catholic Worker house in Chicago, but there were also gatherings in San Francisco, St. Louis and other cities.

“We had the idea this would be necessary only for a couple of years,” said David Clohessy, an abuse survivor who soon joined Ms. Blaine as a leader of the organization. “Honestly, we thought there were maybe only 200 people like us across the country.”

Before long, the mission broadened to include advocacy. Members would stick fliers on the windshields of cars parked at a church during Mass warning that an abusive priest was inside. Victims stood outside cathedrals and even on St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican holding photographs of themselves as children when they were first molested.

Ms. Blaine told her story to the local news media in Toledo, and her abuser was removed from ministry after more of his victims came forward. She received a settlement from the church.

“She wasn’t trying to change the world; she was trying to heal herself,” said Barbara Dorris, the managing director of the Survivors Network and an early participant in the group. “She was trying to work within the church, but Barbara couldn’t because the systems failed her and her perpetrator was still out there. She felt, like every victim feels, that there’s this responsibility to speak up before what happened to you happens to someone else.”

In 2002, after a vast cover-up of abusive priests in Boston was revealed by The Boston Globe, and after similar accounts emerged across the country, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asked Ms. Blaine and Mr. Clohessy to address them at a pivotal meeting in Dallas. American bishops eventually adopted a zero-tolerance policy and pledged to remove priests credibly accused of abuse.

But since then SNAP has often accused bishops of failing to keep these promises, and the group continues to be seen by the church as an adversarial force.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who was president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at the height of the scandal in 2002, recalled on Monday that he had first met Ms. Blaine when he was an auxiliary bishop in Chicago. He had helped her obtain a closed church to use as a Catholic Worker house.

“She was a woman of faith; may God be merciful to her,” Archbishop Gregory said.

Besides her husband, Ms. Blaine is survived by her stepsons, Brett and Joshua Rubin; two step-grandsons; three brothers; and four sisters, one of them her twin.

NYC Church Accused Of Retaliating Against Reverend For Coming Forward With Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The Gothamist

September 23, 2020

By Sydney Pereira

A former reverend at a Manhattan Presbyterian church is accused of sending inappropriate photos and asking for oral sex from a female pastor who he helped get a job, according to a new lawsuit filed this week. When the pastor, Reverend Grace Nzameyo Maa, filed a complaint to church officials with the Presbytery of New York City, a group of dozens of churches in the five boroughs, the church and reverend iced her out of working as a pastor in the city, according to the court papers filed Tuesday.

Nzameyo, a New Jersey resident and former Manhattan pastor, is accusing the Presbytery of New York City of retaliating against her for coming forward about being sexually harassed by her boss, Reverend Charles Atkins, Jr., according to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan supreme court this week. Shortly after Nzameyo accepted a formal part-time position as a pastor at the Presbytery's French Evangelical Church in Chelsea, Atkins allegedly began expecting sexual favors in return for helping her get the job, the lawsuit says.

Church seeks to take Mount Cashel abuse ruling to Supreme Court of Canada

The Canadian Press via the Toronto Star

September 23, 2020

The archdiocese of St. John’s will ask the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn a decision that declared the city’s Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation liable for sexual abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage in the 1950s.

The archdiocese says in a release that its lawyers today petitioned for leave to appeal the July decision from the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal.

Geoff Budden, the victims’ lawyer, had said the Appeal Court ruling meant the archdiocese would have to pay about $2 million to four lead plaintiffs in the case.

Budden said today’s decision to appeal was expected, although his clients would rather be getting their settlements.

Novice's death in India puts spotlight on tragedies over three decades

Global Sisters Report via NCR

September 24, 2020

By Saji Thomas

THIRUVALLA, INDIA — On the morning of May 7, Divya P. John, a 21-year-old novice with the Basilian Sisters near here, attended class as usual, a church spokesman says. But an hour later, around noon, her body was found in a well at the convent. Rescuers retrieved the body and bypassed a nearby public hospital to transport it to a diocesan hospital farther away.

A subsequent autopsy found the cause of death to be drowning, but no time of death was given. Church officials did not seek a police crime scene investigation into the mystery of how she died, labeling the tragedy a probable suicide.

John's untimely death is the latest in close to 20 others since 1987 involving novices and sisters serving in Catholic communities in Kerala state in southern India.

The most notable was the murder of Sister Abhaya, whose body was found in 1992 at the bottom of her convent's well in Kottayam. Originally dismissed as a suicide, that case took a turn in 2008 after a criminal investigation deemed her death was a murder. Now, almost three decades after Abhaya's death, a priest and nun charged with her murder are undergoing a trial that only began in August 2019.

Vatican envoy's removal from India brings relief for some Catholics

National Catholic Reporter

September 18, 2020

By Jose Kavi

Several Catholic groups in India have expressed relief after the Vatican removed its controversial envoy from the country.

Pope Francis Aug. 29 suddenly transferred Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, to Brazil amid accusations of inaction against allegedly corrupt bishops.

"I saw the nuncio's transfer as a small moral victory, not something to gloat about, but more a sense of relief," chhotebhai, coordinator of the Indian Catholic Forum and former president of the All India Catholic Union, the largest lay association in the country, told NCR.

Chhotebhai welcomed the transfer as a "good riddance," a sentiment shared by Virginia Saldanha, a laywoman theologian, and Melwyn Fernandes of the Association of the Concerned Catholics, who had tried to contact the nuncio. Their experience has made them question the relevance of an envoy of a religious state to a secular country like India.

Church must tackle underlying causes of abuse, expert says


September 24, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Peruvian theologian Rocio Figueroa says little is being done to target the spiritual abuse that allowed the clerical sex scandals to happen and is urging the Catholic Church to rethink its power structure and concept of leadership.

“Whenever there has been sexual abuse in the Church, you could see that there was first a spiritual abuse,” said Figueroa, who is among the speakers addressing a Sept. 21-Oct. 2 online course on abuse prevention in formation settings.

The course, organized by the Pontifical University of Mexico’s Center for the Protection of Minors, will feature a slew of professionals and experts in the field of child protection among its speakers and professors.

Chilean abuse survivors fear COVID crisis will stop investigations into accused clergy


September 24, 2020

By Inés San Martín

SANTA FE, Argentina – Chilean abuse survivors allege that the government is using the COVID-19 pandemic to delay having to deal with South American country’s clerical abuse scandal.

“The emails of the [Chilean ecclesiastical] Survivors Network are on fire seeing the situation of the allegations in the prosecutor’s office,” said Eneas Espinoza, a survivor from the Marist Brothers who is still waiting for justice. “The expectation grows and there’s much concern over the possibility of the pandemic being the truck of dirt that the Catholic Church needs to cover up its crimes.”

“If the Chilean State doesn’t do its job, we’ll move forward towards international courts. We need a State that guarantees human rights, not one that is a passive accomplice of crimes,” he told El Mostrador.

Lawsuit filed against Brophy Prep and Phoenix Diocese claims sex abuse by priest


September 23, 2020

By Spencer Blake

A priest who used to teach at Brophy is named in a lawsuit regarding possible sex abuse allegations in the 1980s.

There is yet another allegation of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in Phoenix. On Monday, a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County is going after both Brophy College Preparatory and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix for allowing a priest to abuse a student in the 1980s sexually.

From 1980 to 1987, Father James Sinnerud worked as a teacher and a coach at Brophy. The lawsuit claims he left the plaintiff "John RK Doe" with “emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, anger, rage, frustration, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, loss of love and affection, sexual dysfunction, past and future medical expenses for psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling.”

“For [those who haven’t suffered abuse], that’s many years ago. But for the adult survivor, this is still an everyday part of their life,” said Robert Pastor, the plaintiff’s attorney.

South Jordan man accused of filming himself sexually abusing child at church


September 23, 2020

By Jeremy Harris

Federal authorities arrested a South Jordan man who is accused of producing child pornography and sexually abusing a 4-year-old child at a church.

Thomas Michael Wallin, 21, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on three charges of felony sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.

According to an arrest affidavit, investigators from the Department of Homeland Security received information that Wallin was producing and distributing child pornography from his home in South Jordan.

Man accused of sexually abusing young boy during funerals at Utah church, police say

McClatchy News Service via Fort Worth Star & Telegram

September 23, 2020

By Summer Lin

A Utah man is accused of filming himself sexually abusing a young child at a Mormon church, police said.

It all started when the Department of Homeland Security received information that Thomas Michael Wallin, 21, of South Jordan was allegedly making and distributing child pornography, 2KUTV reported.

Police say Wallin admitted that he sexually abused a 4-year-old boy in December 2019 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to the station. Wallin is accused of filming himself abusing the child, 2KUTV reported.

Protecting Abuse Survivors is ‘Personal,’ Says New Southern Baptist Leader

Religion News Service via Word and Way (blog)

By Adele M. Banks

September 23, 2020

In his first meeting as leader of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, Rolland Slade called on other committee members on Tuesday (Sept. 22) to be responsible “to shepherd and to protect” survivors of church sex abuse. Slade, senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, announced that the issue is “personal” for him because his wife is a survivor.

“For the last 40 years of my life, I have been in touch with a survivor of sexual abuse in the church,” he said to the 70 people attending the virtual meeting. “In fact, we’ve been married 39 years. So when I say it’s personal, it’s personal. And I encourage you to listen. You don’t have to solve it but you need to listen and share with them how much you care and what has happened to them is not what God would have happen in the church.”

‘Taking Responsibility:’ Gonzaga Scholars Awarded Grant to Host Conference on Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church

Gonzaga (University) News Service

September 22, 2020


Gonzaga University has been awarded a $40,000 grant to host a four-day research conference in spring 2022 as part of a new interdisciplinary initiative entitled “Taking Responsibility.” The initiative, made possible by a new nearly $1 million grant to Fordham University in New York City, aims to address the crisis in the Catholic Church related to sexual abuse by priests.

It has been more than 19 months since the Society of Jesus in the United States publicly disclosed the names of its members who were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

Resolution possible in church bus sex abuse case

WHOP, 98.7 FM

September 23, 2020

A resolution could be coming soon in the case of a man accused of sexually abusing a juvenile female on a church bus on Easter Sunday last year.

Attorney Sands Chewning represents Tyler Frances and told Judge John Atkins Wednesday morning that he's working on speaking to some witnesses after discussions with the Commonwealth's Attorney's office and he's hopeful to resolve the case by a court date next month.

Judge Atkins scheduled another pre-trial conference for October 14.

Investigation by Hopkinsville police led to the first-degree sexual abuse charge after the alleged victim said Frances ripped off her underwear and inappropriately touched her while both were riding the church bus. Frances was not an employee or affiliated with the church and has pled not guilty in the case.

September 23, 2020

Catholic Church appeals to Supreme Court of Canada on bombshell Mount Cashel ruling

CBC News

September 23, 2020

By Ryan Cooke

Precedent could put church on the hook for millions, threatening future operations

The Archdiocese of St. John's is looking to the Supreme Court of Canada to examine a landmark ruling that puts the Catholic Church on the hook for millions in sexual abuse lawsuits.

The ruling involves Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, where over the course of decades boys suffered immense sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers of Ireland.

The Brothers were not employees of the archdiocese, but in July Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruled the church created space for them to abuse children and get away with it, and therefore was liable to pay out damages owed by the now-defunct Christian Brothers organization.

Child Victims Act lawsuits accuse ex-Seton coach of sexually abusing students during 1960s

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

September 23, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli


A now-deceased basketball coach accused of sexually abusing a student when he worked at the former Seton Catholic High School in Endicott during the 1970s faces similar allegations from his past employment at a Catholic school in Poughkeepsie.

Four lawsuits filed since December in the state Supreme Court of New York County accuse Vincent Dutkowski of sexually abusing students at Our Lady of Lourdes High School during the early to mid-1960s.

Dutkowski, who was a registered sex offender living in Florida before he died in 2012 at 83, did not face criminal charges related to accusations in the New York lawsuits — they were filed under provisions of the state's Child Victims Act. He became a sex offender after being convicted in South Carolina in 2005 of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to records.

Indian nun testifies in closed session of bishop's rape trial

Global Sisters Report via NCR

September 17, 2020

By Saji Thomas

KOTTAYAM, INDIA — A Catholic nun, who two years ago accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar of rape, started giving her testimony Wednesday in a district court in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.

Her testimony will continue Thursday before the nun faces cross-examination by the defense lawyer.

Amid heavy rains, the closed door session in the District and Sessions Court in Kottayam lasted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Before the trial started, court officials closed all doors and windows and put up pink window curtains to keep the proceedings away from public view.

What if women comprised 50% of sex abuse victims in the Catholic Church?

The Worthy Adversary (blog)

September 23, 2020

By Joelle Casteix

What if the cornerstone of our conventional wisdom about the victims of the Catholic Church and clergy sex abuse crisis was wrong?

What if, in a statistically viable sample of survivors of abuse in the Catholic Church, 50% of respondents were female? What if you also knew that this result is almost statically impossible to achieve with the conventional wisdom, which says that boys outnumber girls four to one?

Would that change how you, the church, advocacy groups, and the general public respond to the crisis?

The results of my Survivors Insight Survey are in. You can read the white paper here.

WV Court considers whether the First Amendment protects diocese from consumer protection laws

The Charleston Gazette-Mail

September 22, 2020

By Lacie Pierson


The West Virginia Supreme Court is considering whether it’s a violation of the First Amendment for Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to pursue a case against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston under the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

During about an hour’s worth of arguments in Charleston on Tuesday, the justices asked attorneys whether it was possible for the attorney general to hold the diocese accountable for potential violations of the consumer law in a way that didn’t impede its faith doctrine or church governance.

The arguments stem from a case filed in Ohio County Circuit Court in March 2019.

Morrisey filed the suit claiming that the diocese knowingly employed priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse, at Catholic schools and a camp owned and managed by the diocese. The diocese, Morrisey alleges, did not perform adequate background checks for the priests before hiring them, according to the lawsuit.

The diocese failed to disclose such issues in its advertising, according to the lawsuit

Another Former Brophy Priest Has Been Accused of Sexual Abuse

Phoenix New Times

September 22,2020

By Erasmus Baxter

A Jesuit priest who taught at Brophy College Preparatory for seven years in the 1980s and coached the boy's football team is the latest Phoenix-area Catholic priest to be accused of sexual abuse.

In a lawsuit filed today, an anonymous alum now living in California alleges that Reverend James A. Sinnerud, S.J. engaged in sexual contact with him without his consent and when he was a minor incapable of giving consent. The lawsuit does not specify the nature or time frame of the alleged misconduct, but Sinnerud would have been been in his late 40s when he taught at Brophy.

The lawsuit alleges that Brophy, the western U.S. Jesuits chapter, and the Phoenix Roman Catholic diocese were negligent in protecting the plaintiff from Sinnerud and either knew or should have known about his abuse. It cites longstanding evidence of the Church's efforts to conceal an epidemic of child sex abuse by clergy, including a 2003 confession by the Phoenix bishop that he had moved priests around to conceal their misdeeds.

Sinnerud was one of 38 clergy members named by the Omaha, Nebraska, archdiocese as credibly accused of sexual abuse in 2018 following a probe from that state's attorney general. It is unclear when the incident from that allegation occurred, but the Catholic school he was working for in 2018 said it occurred before he began work at the school in 1987 after leaving Brophy. Before arriving at Brophy, Sinnerud taught at Jesuit high schools in Seattle and Portland, according to research by the law firms filing the suit.

Child sexual abuse lawsuit filed against Brophy Prep and Diocese of Phoenix


September 22, 2020

A child abuse lawsuit has been filed against Brophy College Preparatory School and the Diocese of Phoenix.

The suit, filed by a man named John R. K. Doe, alleges Father James Sinnerud abused him while he was a student at the all-male prep school in Phoenix.

The Jesuit teacher and coach taught at the school in the 1980s.

In 2018 Sinnerud was removed from another Jesuit prep school in Omaha, Nebraska after being accused of sexual abuse.

The lawsuit was filed under the Arizona Child Victims Act. The law, which went into effect last year, extends the time for sexual abuse victims to sue predators and the institutions which protected them.

Amid pandemic, support group for clergy abuse survivors holds meetings online

Catholic News Service via Crux

September 23, 2020

By Barb Umberger

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted lives in many ways — from schools to workplaces, sports to socializing.

It also has impacted the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s efforts to assist victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Since starting in June 2019 as the archdiocese’s outreach coordinator for restorative justice and abuse prevention, Paula Kaempffer has developed a list of healing events, presentations on restorative justice, listening sessions and other opportunities available through the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment.

And last September, she started an in-person support group to help victim-survivors of sexual abuse. It met monthly for about 90 minutes in a Twin Cities-area local library. In-person attendance had been sparse, Kaempffer said, but those who participated valued the experience.

September 22, 2020

Lawsuit alleges sexual misconduct on part of pastor

Christian Leader

September 10, 2020

By Connie Faber

Former Bakersfield pastor, local church named as defendants

A female member of a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Bakersfield, California, has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct on the part of a former pastor and counselor.

The woman, who is not named, filed a complaint July 22, 2020, in Kern County Superior Court requesting a jury trial and financial damages. The defendants are listed as The Bridge Bible Church (BBC), former pastor Eric Simpson and 50 unnamed individual and entities.

The complaint alleges that the misconduct began when the plaintiff and her husband sought counseling for family and marital issues through BBC and met with Simpson every other week from August 2016 to May 2017. It is alleged that Simpson insisted on talking about sex and began making sexually inappropriate comments in texts and conversations after services. The complaint states that due to personal losses the plaintiff began one-on-one therapy sessions with Simpson in the summer of 2018, which is when the alleged sexual abuse began

Student charged in case that led to sex-abuse lawsuit against Catholic school, diocese

Palm Beach Post

September 22, 2020

By Jane Musgrave

The parents of an 11-year-old girl have sued All Saints Catholic School in Jupiter, its principal and the Diocese of Palm Beach over allegations that a boy inappropriately touched her.

A sixth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School was charged with battery and lewd and lascivious molestation after an 11-year-old classmate accused him of groping her, according to a Jupiter police report.

The allegations last week spawned a civil lawsuit against the school, its principal and the Diocese of Palm Beach.

In the lawsuit that was filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, an attorney representing the girl and her parents accused school officials and the diocese of protecting the boy because he is the son of wealthy donors.

The heavily redacted report that police provided to The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday confirmed many of the claims made by attorney Michael Dolce, who is representing the girl and her parents.

Number of WNY priests accused in Child Victims Act suits grows to 173

Buffalo News

September 22, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Child Victims Act lawsuits filed over the past year have accused 173 Catholic priests in Western New York of sexually abusing children.

More than 30 of those priests were accused publicly for the first time only in recent weeks, including one cleric who has continued to run a South Buffalo parish despite being linked to abuse in a July lawsuit.

The Rev. Donald J. Lutz said he wasn’t aware of the lawsuit when The Buffalo News contacted him last week. Lutz is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a small parish on O’Connell Avenue in the Old First Ward neighborhood of the city.

Attorneys Steve Boyd and Jeffrey Anderson filed a lawsuit July 30 in State Supreme Court on behalf of an anonymous plaintiff accusing Lutz of engaging in “unpermitted sexual contact” with the plaintiff from 1975 to 1976. The plaintiff was 13 to 14 at the time and attended St. Leo the Great Church, according to court papers.

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston issues release on lawsuit


September 21, 2020

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston issued a statement responding to a civil lawsuit by a former Parkersburg Catholic High School Principal. John Gobolewski alleges retaliation for reporting abuse.

The diocese said the former principal's contract was not renewed and no issues were raised in discussions. The diocese said it won in court a motion to compel arbitration of the non-renewal of the contract.

Further, the diocese said its sexual abuse review board did not find credible abuse claims.

Diocese responds to former principal’s lawsuit

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

September 22, 2020

By Tyler Bennett

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston released a statement Monday regarding the civil suit filed by former Parkersburg Catholic High School Principal John Golebiewski, stating the claims against the pastor were not credible.

In the statement released by the Diocese’s spokesperson Tim Bishop, it states the Superintendent of Catholic Schools Mary Ann Deschaine and Father John Rice, designated pastor of Parkersburg Catholic, determined it was in the best interest of the school to have new leadership.

It also states that there were no issues between Rice and Golebiewski in discussions.

The allegations involving Rice were promptly investigated, reviewed by the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board and were determined not to be credible abuse claims, the statement said.

Diocese responds to court filing by former PCHS principal


September 21, 2020

By Todd Baucher

Says claims against chaplain “not credible”

The Wheeling-Charleston Catholic Diocese has responded to a complaint filed by the former principal at Parkersburg Catholic High School.

The legal filing claims his contract was not renewed last spring, after he raised allegations of misconduct by the school’s chaplain and its football coach. The latter’s contract was not renewed after last season.

The full text of the diocese’s statement reads:

“This civil suit arises from an employment dispute with a former principal whose contract was not renewed. The Superintendent of Schools, Mary Ann Deschaine, and the designated pastor of the school, Fr. John Rice, determined it was in the best interest of the school to have new leadership. No issues with Fr. Rice were raised in the discussions with the former principal. The recent news story was prompted by the Court’s granting the Diocese’s motion to compel arbitration of the non-renewal of the contract pursuant to the terms of the contract. The allegations alleged involving Fr. Rice were promptly investigated, reviewed by the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board and determined not to be credible abuse claims.”

Alleged priest abuse victim is to sue the pope

Portadown Times

September 21, 2020

A man allegedly targeted by a paedophile priest is to sue the Pope, it emerged today.

Lawyers for Co Armagh man Barry McCourt confirmed he is taking High Court action amid claims the Catholic Church covered up abuse perpetrated by the late Fr Malachy Finegan.

The test case was described as an attempt to gain justice for other victims.

Finegan taught and worked at St Colman’s College in Newry from 1967 to 1987, spending the last decade as the school’s president.

Opinion: Did Harris cover for the Catholic Church?

Catholic League (blog)

September 21, 2020

This is Bill Donohue’s reply to Peter Schweizer

In August, conservative author Peter Schweizer alleged that when Kamala Harris was the San Francisco District Attorney she failed to pursue allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the San Francisco Archdiocese. He says she did so because she was beholden to Catholic donors to her 2003 campaign; she took over that post in 2004. He also claims she destroyed Church documents.

The accusations that Schweizer made are based on his chapter on Harris in his recent book, Profiles in Corruption. I accessed the sources he cited in the book and matched them up with what he said to the media. As it turns out, there are important inconsistencies and omissions. Most important, what he says about the Church’s response to law enforcement lacks context, providing the reader with a skewed account.

Former De La Salle principal and another religious brother accused of molesting student in the 80s

NOLA. com (The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate)

September 21, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Both men have previously pleaded no contest to unrelated molestation allegations, but these are first public accusations from work at De La Salle

A former principal of De La Salle High and a subordinate are accused of sexually molesting one of the Uptown school’s students in the 1980s, according to a new lawsuit filed last month.

While the Aug. 7 lawsuit appears to mark the first time ex-principal Richard Langenstein and Robert Gandara face public abuse accusations stemming from their service at the 71-year-old school on St. Charles Avenue, each has previously pleaded no contest to charges of child molestation for unrelated conduct in St. Tammany Parish.

Neither Gandara nor Langenstein, who died in 2003, were clergymen, so they are not on the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ list of more than 60 priests and deacons who are considered credibly accused of child sexual abuse. The archdiocese also does not run De La Salle, which is operated by the Catholic Christian Brothers order’s regional chapter.

Safeguarding and child protection moves to the next stage

Catholic Outlook

September 22, 2020

As the Diocese of Parramatta prepares for the first meeting of its Safeguarding Council in October, it echoes the sentiments of the presidents of Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference who have thanked an advisory group that has helped the Church progress matters related to safeguarding and child protection.

In letters sent earlier this month, Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) chair Jack de Groot informed Br Peter Carroll FMS and Archbishop Mark Coleridge that the group had concluded its work, with Mr de Groot noting “the many blessings that will result in taking forward the important and essential work of leading the Church in Australia”.

Br Peter said: “As the Church continues its emphasis on child protection and safeguarding after the conclusion of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the IAG provided important expert input to assist the Church in responding to the Commission’s many recommendations.

Clergy abuse survivors face a lifetime of PTSD recurrence

Catholic News Service via UCA News

September 22, 2020

By Dennis Sadowski

Stress can last for months or years with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma

New job in hand, Jim Richter was adjusting well to life in Minneapolis several months after leaving his hometown of Chicago.

He was enjoying his fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center despite the long hours and he was coming to realize his move was a good one.

Sexually abused as a teenager by a South Side Chicago Catholic priest who had similarly assaulted other young men, Richter wasn't expecting to hear more about the clergy abuse scandal in Minnesota.

Then news broke about Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who eventually resigned in 2015 over accusations he had mishandled allegations of abuse against an archdiocesan priest. Criminal charges were initially filed against the archdiocese over this, but were later dropped. Archbishop Nienstedt also faced allegations he had engaged in sexual misconduct with adults as a priest and as a bishop, claims he denied.

Richter said he felt he had been "assaulted" again when listening to news reports on the radio as he drove to work. The reports, he said, triggered a recurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD.

Opinion: Why there's more to the question of the confessional

Wellington Times

September 22, 2020

By Father Brendan Lee

I DON'T always get to see letters written about me to editors or online, and maybe that's a good thing.

However, one particular letter to the editor earlier this month from a local politician which I did read gave me reason to pause.

He had just finished reading The Altar Boys by ABC journalist Suzanne Smith, a book on the abuse of children in the diocese of Maitland and the cover-up by the church.

In light of my recent article "More than ever we need to ask RUOK?", this politician accused me of hypocrisy, given that I'm the same person who has said I would rather go to prison than break the seal of the confessional.

It's true, I am a hypocrite. I ask others to take their lives and faith seriously, then find my myself more interested in sharing gags than the gospel.

Co Armagh man 'targeted by paedophile priest' to sue Pope

Belfast Telegraph

September 22,2020

By Alan Erwin

A man allegedly targeted by a paedophile priest is to sue the Pope, it has emerged.

Lawyers for Co Armagh man Barry McCourt confirmed he is taking High Court action amid claims the Catholic Church covered up abuse perpetrated by the late Fr Malachy Finnegan.

The test case was described as an attempt to gain justice for other victims.

Finnegan taught and worked at St Colman's College, Newry, from 1967 to 1987, spending the last decade as the school's president. He later served as a parish priest in Clonduff, Co Down.

Papal safeguarding commission meets online and in Rome

Catholic News Service

September 21, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors met online and, for those who could, in Rome for their plenary assembly Sept. 16-18.

"It was business as usual," Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, a commission member, told Catholic News Service Sept. 18. The meetings, held twice a year, give the 17 members a chance to listen to each working group's progress report and to lay the groundwork for future action.

Everyone was in attendance, he said, including U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, commission president, who took part online.

With members on each continent, Zollner added, the challenge was finding meeting times to accommodate people in vastly different time zones; that meant signing in after midnight for one member on the Polynesian archipelago of Tonga and being up before 6 a.m. for members in the Americas.

September 21, 2020

Ex-Horsham pastor gets 200 years in prison for child sex abuse

Bucks County Courier Times

September 18, 2020

By Christopher Dornblaser

A former pastor of a church in Horsham will spend the rest of his life in prison after being sentenced Thursday in federal court for sexually abusing an infant and a young girl under 10, according to federal authorities.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release that Jerry Zweitzig, 71, who was a pastor at Horsham Bible Church during the time of the abuse, was sentenced to 200 years in prison.

Zweitzig, of Hatboro, pleaded in May in the two cases involving the sexual abuse of children.

The former pastor filmed himself sexually exploiting a young girl over a period of years, according to the release. Additionally, authorities said Zweitzig had a collection of more than 10,000 images of child pornography on hard drives found in his home.

Dilworth School sexual abuse scandal: How the case was blown wide open

The Spinoff

September 20, 2020

By Isaac Davison

Charges have been laid over historic offending at Dilworth, but former students say it could be just the beginning, writes the NZ Herald’s Isaac Davison in this Herald Premium article.

Two years ago, a former Dilworth School student approached the school with a warning.

The old boy – a victim of alleged abuse at Dilworth – told the school it should prepare for serious allegations to emerge, several sources told the Weekend Herald.

“They were basically told to get their house in order,” said one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Lawyer wants Abuse in Care Royal Commission interim report in six months to accelerate help for victims

Radio New Zealand

September 21, 2020

By Andrew McRae

An interim report from the Abuse in Care Royal Commission would accelerate help for victims, a lawyer representing abuse survivors says.

The commission, which resumes public hearings in Auckland today, is investigating abuse in state and faith-based care between 1950 and 1999.

In November 2019 the Royal Commission held contextual hearings which gave the background of concerns leading up to its establishment and what people hoped could be achieved.

Over the next two weeks it will hear evidence from survivors who have sought redress for abuse suffered in state care and from others who have dealt with government agencies on behalf of claimants.

The state redress public hearings were to have been held in April but were delayed because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

The Canadian Press

September 20, 2020

By Colin Perkel

Underlying fight relates to request by former St. Anne's survivors to have cases reopened

A bitterly fought legal battle between survivors of a brutal residential school and the federal government is slated for an appeal hearing this week over whether the case should now be moved to British Columbia from Ontario.

The underlying fight relates to a request by three survivors of St. Anne's in Fort Albany, Ont., to have their compensation cases reopened. They argue their claims were settled before Ottawa turned over thousands of relevant documents generated by a police investigation into child abuse at the school.

They also maintain the federal government is still in breach of disclosure orders made by a judge in 2014 and 2015.

The government wants the underlying case and appeal thrown out. It argues, among other things, that a 2006 agreement that ended a class action over abuse inflicted on Indigenous students forced to attend Indian residential schools bars claimants from having their compensation hearings reopened.

The Met Opera Fired James Levine, Citing Sexual Misconduct. He Was Paid $3.5 Million.

The New York Times

By James B. Stewart and Michael Cooper

September 20, 2020

The terms of the settlement between the renowned conductor and the company he shaped have not been previously disclosed.

Last summer, Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, convened the executive committee of the company’s board to announce the end of one of the highest-profile, messiest feuds in the Met’s nearly 140-year history. A bitter court battle had concluded between the company and the conductor James Levine, who had shaped the Met’s artistic identity for more than four decades before his career was engulfed by allegations of sexual improprieties.

Mr. Gelb told the committee that the resolution was advantageous to the Met. But the settlement, whose terms have not been publicly disclosed until now, called for the company and its insurer to pay Mr. Levine $3.5 million, according to two people familiar with its terms.

The Met had fired Mr. Levine in 2018 after an internal investigation uncovered what the company called credible evidence of “sexually abusive and harassing conduct toward vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers.” Rather than going quietly, Mr. Levine sued the company for breach of contract and defamation, seeking at least $5.8 million. The Met countersued, revealing lurid details of its investigation and claiming that Mr. Levine’s misconduct had violated his duties. It sought roughly the same amount.

Victim of Malachy Finegan to launch legal action against Pope and Catholic authorities in Ireland

The Irish News

September 21, 2020

By Connla Young


A victim of Malachy Finegan is to launch legal action against Pope Francis and Catholic Church authorities in Ireland.

The priest has been accused of sexual abuse across Co Down, including at St Colman's College in Newry where he taught from 1967 and was president for a decade.

At least 12 young boys are thought to have been sexually abused while he was at St Colman’s, while many more were physically abused.

Finegan, who died in 2002, was also a parish priest of Clonduff in Hilltown in Co Down, where it is alleged he carried out further serious sexual abuse.

Concerns have also been raised that he may have been an RUC informer.

It emerged last year that the Public Prosecution Service had decided not to prosecute in eight cases following a police investigation linked to the activities of the former cleric.

The Irish News has now learned that one of his victims is to launch legal action against the Diocese of Dromore, the Archdiocese of Armagh, the Bishop of Rome and the Holy See, arising out of allegations of abuse.

Gozo priest removed as pastor in Canada over 'inappropriate conduct'

Times of Malta

September 21, 2020

Toronto Archdiocese points out case does not involve 'illegal behaviour'

A Gozitan priest has been removed from his parish in Canada over "inappropriate behaviour", the Archdiocese of Toronto has confirmed.

Fr Joseph Grima, of Blessed Frederic Ozanam Parish in Markham, was found to have been involved in "boundary violation and behaviour inconsistent with the vows of a Catholic priest".

No details have been divulged about his situation but the Toronto Archdiocese said he had not done anything illegal.

The decision was announced on August 22 but was only reported several weeks later.

Survivor of abuse in state care believes his abuser had offended before


September 21, 2020

By Edward Gay

A survivor of child abuse in state care says he believes a housemaster who abused him was allowed to “quietly slip away” and reoffend.

Survivors are giving evidence to the Royal Commission of inquiry into abuse in care about their struggles to get redress.

Keith Wiffin was made a ward of the state at the age of 11, following the death of his father.

“My mother signed the document thinking that I’d be cared and nurtured for. The complete opposite happened,” he told the commission in Auckland on Monday.

Sexual Abuse: Cleric advises parents to pay attention to male children


September 20, 2020

A Catholic cleric, Rev. Fr. Kale Francis, has advised parents to always pay attention to their male children as most of them are being sexually abused by friends and relatives.

Francis, the Parish Priest at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Nyanya, Abuja, gave the advice during the Holy Mass on Sunday when more than 180 candidates received their first holy communion. According to him, more attention is being focused on only female children without knowing that most male children suffer the same abuse.

“Most of our male children are being sexually assaulted by their neighbours, friends, and relatives which most times go unnoticed,” he said.

‘Culture of abuse’ alleged at Kurn Hattin over 80 years


September 20, 2020

By Anne Galloway

Sep 20 2020, 4:10 PM

Growing up on the family farm in North Walpole, New Hampshire, Carolyn Blake Bradshaw lived on candy, scavenged apples and sandwiches from teachers. She remembers the constant, gnawing hunger.

Her mother put her into foster care, and by the time she reached the age of 10, she had lived in five different homes. At one point, Bradshaw was sent to the Weeks School, a reform school for children in Vergennes, even though she doesn’t recall having done anything wrong, except to have been born into a family with no means.

It wasn’t until she was sent to the New England Kurn Hattin Homes for Children that she ate three square meals a day.

But it was also there at the residential girls school in Saxtons River that for the first time, Bradshaw says, she was routinely abused.

Church's ongoing clergy abuse scandals recounted in new podcast

National Catholic Reporter

September 19, 2020

By Christopher White

As U.S. Catholics await the release of the Vatican's report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was laicized by Pope Francis for serial sexual abuse, a new podcast chronicles the scourge of clergy abuse that has plagued the Catholic Church for more than seven decades.

"Crisis," released on Sept. 9, is produced by The Catholic Project, an initiative of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Among the more than three dozen individuals interviewed for the series — which includes firsthand testimonials from abuse survivors, priests, bishops, lawyers and accountability advocates — is Tom Roberts, longtime editor for NCR.

Roberts recounts how NCR was the first news outlet to dare to report on clergy abuse in the Catholic press, dating back to the 1980s. Now, more than 30 years later, the 2018 revelations about McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that chronicled seven decades of abuse of more than 1,000 victims at the hands of 300 priests ushered in a new wave of Catholics repulsed by decades of cover-up, says Roberts.

Victims Sexually Abused By N.O. Clergy Ordered To Come Forward By March

WRNO Radio, 99.5

September 18, 2020

A federal bankruptcy judge has set a March 1 deadline for alleged victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy to make claims against the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

On Thursday, Judge Meredith Grabill ruled that anyone alleging they were abused before the archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 1 must come forward in the next five months or lose the right to seek money via the judicial system.

Church attorneys initially asked Grabill to set a September 29 bar date but the seven-member creditors' committee, which includes six purported victims of clergy abuse, turned that date down.

The bar date comes as more than 60 clergymen in the Archdiocese of New Orleans have been faced with credible claims of child sexual molestation.

September 20, 2020

Letter to Pope Francis

Buffalo Survivors Group

September 17, 2020

By Gary Astridge, Kevin Koscielniak, Chris Szuflita, Michael Whalen, and Angelo Ervolina,

We are the five founding members of the Buffalo Survivors Group, all Survivors of sexual abuse by the hands of clergy and religious in the Diocese of Buffalo, New York.

As you know, the Diocese of Buffalo has filed for bankruptcy because of the numerous lawsuits filed against them. This legal process has now become a battle between lawyers, the ones who will reap massive financial compensation.

As Survivors, we know that no matter what financial restitution we may receive, it will be miniscule in comparison to what is rightfully deserved. Because of our legal system, money is the compensation for lives ruined and we will never be made whole by this process. It appears that the root cause is not being properly addressed and corrected, and many perpetrators are essentially going unpunished.

From the time the apostolic administrator, Edward Scharfenberger, came to Buffalo, he stated on numerous occasions his willingness to meet with any Survivor and offered the opportunity to see the files of our offenders. To this date, even with our reaching out to him, he has never personally followed through to contact any of us, making his words as a representative of the Catholic Church ring hollow. As Survivors, we are forced to relive our past experiences of sexual
abuse and being ignored retraumatizes us.

For many of us, our souls were tom out as children and our worlds went dark. Ever since, we have been going through life as the walking dead. Do you have any idea what that is like, Your Holiness?

State abuse inquiry makes slow progress

Radio New Zealand

September 20, 2020

By David Cohen

Opinion - Nearly three years have grumbled by since the government first signed off on the Abuse in Care Royal Commission. What on earth have they been up to?

Announcing the inquiry shortly after assuming her premiership, Jacinda Ardern said it would be a historic opportunity for the nation to "confront our history and make sure we don't make the same mistakes again".

A little noticed omission in the fine print appears to have been that rather a lot of this historical confrontation would take place behind closed doors.

At the same time, what relatively little has gone on in the public domain since the commission finally got going late last year hasn't always enhanced its brief to quantify the abuse that took place in many of the old state-run institutions and their faith-based counterparts.

Defections. Bickering over terms of reference. Allegations of poor management. The surprise resignation of the inaugural chair, Sir Anand Satyanand, who stepped down from the role late last year for the chancellorship of the University of Waikato.

As might be expected for any initiative in which a number of advisors have had longer rap sheets than resumes, there has been the odd controversy over the commission's choice of advisors.

Buffalo Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors Ask for Meeting With Pope Francis

Spectrum News

September 18, 2020

A group of clergy sexual abuse survivors is ready to take its mission directly to the Vatican.

The "Buffalo Survivors Group" just sent a letter to Pope Francis asking for a meeting to talk about the problem that's plaguing the catholic church, in the Buffalo area, and around the world.

In the letter, the group says the diocese's apostolic administrator, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, has said he is willing to meet with any survivor of clergy sexual abuse and even offered to show survivors the files on offenders. However, the group says Scharfenberger has never followed through on any requests for meetings. It also says this forces survivors to relive their past experiences and re-traumatizes them.

The group says it hopes if the pope agrees to a meeting, it would cast a positive light on the church and give renewed hope to people who've suffered.

Buffalo bishop appoints task force to study church and school consolidation

Buffalo News

September 18, 2020

By Dan Herbeck

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese will soon begin making decisions on consolidation plans for its current 161 parishes and 34 schools in Western New York, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger told The Buffalo News on Thursday.

The first of those decisions could come “within months, if not weeks” after diocese officials reach out to Catholics throughout the diocese, the bishop said.

While not disclosing any specifics, Scharfenberger said some of the diocese’s churches and schools are likely to be consolidated to save money.

“I don’t want anyone to fear that specific churches have been earmarked, or that any decisions have been made already,” the bishop said. “But there will be some sacrifices. That is inevitable.

“Do three or four parishes that are right next to each other all have to have a 9 o’clock Mass every Sunday morning? It could be that, because of economic realities, some church buildings will have to be deactivated.”

The bishop added that he favors the “consolidation” of some parishes and schools, as opposed to “elimination.”

A US Amish community dedicated to serving community was supposed to keep Misty safe. Instead it shielded her abuser


September 19, 2020

By Emily Olson

Misty Griffin really wants you to know her story.

She has written a book. She's collaborated with podcasts. She's pitched to television producers, spoken with filmmakers and sent "more than 100 emails" to US journalists.

She has politely, quietly, diligently reached out to me at least 29 times since our first email, to see if and when I could publish this piece.

But it's not just about telling her story. What Misty wants most of all is for you to never hear a story like hers again.

The trouble is, Misty's story is not an easy one to tell.

For starters, the story begins in a slice of misunderstood space known as America's Amish country.

The Amish are one of America's most insular communities
The Amish, like most religions, associate piety with surrendering to a set of rules.

Unlike most religions, the rules are so at odds with modern ideals that the community is famously insular, even exempt from some US laws.

No prison time for two Amish men from Seymour who pleaded guilty to molesting relative

Springfield News-Leader

September 16, 2020

By Gregory J. Holman

Two men from rural Seymour pleaded guilty last week to charges stemming from accusations that they had sex with a young female relative.

As part of a plea agreement, the two men, who are brothers from an Amish family, will not go to prison, according to online court records and reporting by the Webster County Citizen.

The brothers, 22-year-old Aaron C.M. Schwartz and 18-year-old Petie C.M. Schwartz, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of third-degree child molestation. Each received prison sentences totaling 15 years, which were suspended.

According to the local newspaper report published Wednesday morning, Webster County Prosecutor Ben Berkstresser said the victim — a minor who was in her very early teens when the crimes occurred — had a baby in recent weeks fathered by one of her assailants, who included two other unnamed brothers who are minors.

Fresno Bishop Restores Embezzling, Gay Porn Priest

Church Militant

September 17, 2020

By Christine Niles

Fr. Lastiri stole $60,000, solicited sex on gay websites

Fresno, Calif. - A California bishop has quietly reinstated a priest with a decades-long track record of active homosexuality, which includes embezzling parish funds. Evidence also shows the priest may have possessed child porn.

Bishop Joseph Brennan of the Fresno diocese issued a letter Wednesday announcing he is reinstating Fr. Michael Lastiri: "After much prayer and reflection, I have restored faculties to Fr. Jean-Michael Lastiri for pastoral and priestly ministry here in the Diocese of Fresno effective today, September 16, 2020."

The bishop clarified that his ministry will be limited only to assignments approved by the bishop and the local pastor, also hinting that all restrictions could eventually be lifted if Lastiri continues "to exhibit the same future conscientiousness and commitment to his overall wellbeing ... ."

Lastiri has been a priest for more than 30 years, and was former director of worship for the diocese. Most of those years were spent as an active homosexual — including a relationship with a convicted pedophile in the 1990s.

Dozens contact New Zealand police over alleged boarding school sexual abuse

The Guardian

September 16, 2020

By Charlotte Graham-McLay

A seventh man has appeared in court over alleged offences going back decades at Dilworth school in Auckland

Wellington, New Zealand - Alleged sexual abuse at a boys’ boarding school in Auckland that reportedly spanned decades, has prompted the court appearance of a seventh man and generated more than 50 calls and emails to the police after officers appealed for more victims to come forward.

The allegations about the abuse of boys at Dilworth – a private school in an affluent area of New Zealand’s largest city – emerged at the same time as a long-running independent inquiry into abuse in state and faith-based care seeks to uncover how prevalent the problem has been in the country.

Police have identified 17 victims so far, and have charged men aged in their 60s and 70s with various sexual offences and the supply of drugs, over abuse that they say happened between the 1970s and the early 2000s.

Police said in a statement a 60-year-old man, who had previously been connected to the school, appeared in court in Auckland on Tuesday charged in relation to sexual violation, attempted sexual violation, indecency and indecent assault. It followed the court appearances of six other men a day earlier.

All have name suppression. The initial complaint about the alleged abuse was made in 2019, said Detective Senior Sergeant Geoff Baber, in a statement.

Sex abuse survivor urges Catholic diocese to drop Supreme Court appeal at silent vigil

CTV News

September 15, 2020

By Omar Sachedina and Ben Cousins

[Includes video interviews with Sylvestre survivors Irene Deschenes and Joanne Morrison.]

A woman who was sexually abused by a priest as a child has taken her decades-long legal fight with the Roman Catholic Church to its front steps as she urges the London, Ont. diocese to drop its Supreme Court appeal against her.

Irene Deschenes was abused by Father Charles Sylvestre for two agonizing years that began when she was just 10 years old, at St. Ursula Catholic School in Chatham, Ont.

Deschenes said Sylvestre was friendly at first, taking her and other children for bowling outings and to the beach, but things turned sinister quickly.

“I remember a nice, caring man that was friendly, funny,” Deschenes told CTV News. “Now in hindsight, I see that was all grooming.”

In 2006 and decades after the abuse, Sylvestre pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 47 children in parishes across southern Ontario. He died in prison a year later.

Deschenes settled with the church for $66,000 after lawyer’s fees, but later found out the church knew about allegations concerning Sylvestre’s conduct for almost a decade prior to Deschenes’ abuse, without divulging this information to her.

Police reports dating back to 1962 had alleged that Sylvestre assaulted three young girls. The documents show the young girls -- one of them 11 years old -- alleged Sylvestre touched them inappropriately and exposed himself to them.

As a result, Deschenes is trying to reopen her case.

“Their failure to act on the statements back then is what allowed Irene to be abused in the first place,” said Deschenes’ lawyer Loretta Merritt.

Child sexual abuse cases on the rise in district, Nilgiris

Times of India

September 20, 2020

Coimbatore - A 60-year-old temple priest was detained on Saturday for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl near Periyanaickenpalayam in the west zone police limits, from where 296 cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012 have been reported until September 17 this year.

According to a police officer, the girl, a Class XII student of a private school, was alone at her house on Friday evening when the priest visited her residence and sexually assaulted her. “As he was leaving the minor girl’s house, her younger brother, who had gone out to play with friends, noticed him and altered his father. The girl’s parents later inquired with her and she revealed them what happened,” the officer said.

The girl’s father subsequently lodged a complaint against the priest with the Periyanaickenpalayam police on Saturday.

A team of police picked up the priest for interrogation on the day. He was later booked under various sections of Pocso Act. Further investigation is on.

Former Parkersburg Catholic High School principal sues Diocese

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

September 18, 2020

By Tyler Bennett

In a lawsuit filed in Wood County, the former principal at Parkersburg Catholic High School is claiming he was wrongfully terminated for reporting complaints against a priest to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and for firing the football coach.

John Golebiewski, represented by The Employment Law Center in Parkersburg, is suing the Diocese for wrongful termination earlier this year. The lawsuit claims he was terminated after reporting complaints of inappropriate contact to the Diocese involving Parkersburg Catholic High School Chaplain Father John Rice and for firing head football coach Lance Binegar.

“(Golebiewski’s) attempts to report wrongdoing by his subordinates to defendant Diocese was the substantial and motivating factor for defendant’s decision to place (Golebiewski) on leave and ultimately defendant’s refusal to renew his contract,” the lawsuit said. “Defendants worked together to place plaintiff on leave and to breach plaintiff’s employment contract in retaliation for his proper reports of wrongdoing toward the children under his care.

A child of the 1960s defends the decade

Carroll County Times

September 18, 2020

By Frank Batavick

I am a child of the 1960s. I was a high school freshman when the new decade clicked over. I remember Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” that created a common soundtrack for a rising youth culture and popularized dance crazes and hair fashions.

In high school at Friday night dances I twisted and strolled, Bristol Stomped, and dreamily swayed to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley and “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers.


I graduated from college in 1967 and in the blink of an eye found myself in olive drab at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, shorn of my Beatles haircut and clutching orders for Vietnam. The Army canceled these when Martin Luther King was assassinated, and the cities erupted in rage and fire. I was put on riot control in Washington, D.C.


In a 2011 investigation commissioned by Catholic bishops, they blamed sexual abuse by priests on the 1960s and ’70s because of the era’s “drug use and crime, as well as social changes, such as an increase in premarital sex and divorce.” I’m not buying it.

I am a coreligionist of Barr’s and a proud product of 16 years of Catholic education but blaming the ’60s for all of today’s ills is misguided. I’d wager the clergy’s sexual abuse has been going on since the fourth century monastery movement, if not before. The urges and impulses of human nature have not changed over the millennia, and abuse thrives in closed, protected societies. In January we learned of patterns of abuse in the Amish community, following an exposé in “Cosmopolitan.”

September 19, 2020

Lawsuit claims All Saints Catholic School failed to protect student from abuse


September 17, 2020

By Peter Burke

[Includes copy of the lawsuit.]

School administration favored alleged abuser over 11-year-old girl because of family's donor status, suit says

A lawsuit has been filed against All Saints Catholic School and the Diocese of Palm Beach, alleging that the school failed to protect an 11-year-old girl from repeated sexual abuse by another student in an unsupervised classroom on campus.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Palm Beach County circuit court, also names principal Jill Broz, claiming that she not only failed to protect the student, but engaged in a campaign of victim shaming that caused the child severe emotional distress.

According to the lawsuit, the girl "was subjected to sexual abuse on multiple occasions in a classroom at All Saints Catholic School" that took place "when classes were left unattended by the teacher assigned to the classroom and while no other adults were present to monitor for, intervene in and dissuade such abuse from occurring."

Girl sues diocese, Catholic school in Jupiter over abuse allegations

Palm Beach Post

September 17, 2020

By Jane Musgrave

Attorney sues Diocese of Palm Beach and All Saints Catholic School in Jupiter over alleged abuse against 11-year-old girl.

An attorney who is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and now represents other victims is accusing the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach and a school in Jupiter of protecting the son of wealthy donors from molestation allegations.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, attorney Michael Dolce said the principal of All Saints Catholic School punished an 11-year-old girl — who claimed a classmate fondled her — instead of investigating her allegations.

Principal Jill Broz was “motivated out of a desire to extend undue favor to the Abusive Peer because his parents are long-time and repeated substantial financial donors to the school itself and several charities connected to the Diocese of Palm Beach,” Dolce wrote in the lawsuit.

The girl’s allegations, which prompted a Jupiter police investigation, were never addressed by Broz or others at the small K-8 school on Indian Creek Parkway, Dolce said.

A cardinal says he's open to women's ordination; a priest who did so remains suspended

La Croix

September 18, 2020

By Robert Mickens

[See also the CDF document.]

Irish Redemptorist Tony Flannery says he's been given the change to recant

Vatican City - One of world's most influential cardinals recently admitted that he is "open" to the idea of ordaining women to the Catholic priesthood.

"I am not saying that women have to become priests; I just don't know. But I'm open to it," said Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ in an interview published September 13 on the website of KNA, the German Catholic news agency.

Hollerich is a high-profile cardinal with international stature due to his position as president of the Commission of the Episcopal Conferences of the European Union (COMECE). He's also archbishop of his native Luxembourg.

So his views matter.

But just a few days after he commented on women priests, Tony Flannery – the Irish Redemptorist who was suspended from priestly ministry in 2012, primarily for his support of women's ordination – revealed that the Vatican had sent him a series of doctrinal proposals in July (via his superior general) to which he would have to "submit" as a first step towards "a gradual readmission" to public ministry.

One wonders if the men at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) are going to press Pope Francis to have Cardinal Hollerich recant and force him to sign a fidelity oath similar to the one placed before Father Flannery.

Irish priest spurns Vatican plan that would have allowed return to ministry

Catholic News Service/USCCB via Crux

September 18, 2020

By Michael Kelly

Dublin - A well-known Irish priest who has been in a dispute with the Vatican for several years over his controversial views has rejected a plan from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that would have restored him to public ministry.

Redemptorist Father Tony Flannery has been forbidden to exercise public ministry since 2012 after he was censured for saying that he no longer believed that “the priesthood as we currently have it in the Church originated with Jesus” or that he designated “a special group of his followers as priests.”

Flannery said he believes his priestly ministry has ended.

The priest revealed on his website Sept. 16 that he had been asked by the Vatican in July to affirm church teaching on a number of areas, including the inadmissibility of women for ordination, homosexuality, same-sex relationships and gender theory.

He said he refused.

Flannery’s announcement came after an intervention by Redemptorist Superior General Father Michael Brehl, who wrote to the doctrinal congregation in February asking if he could permit Flannery, 73, to return to public ministry.

According to documents published on Flannery’s website, the Vatican congregation responded that he “should not return to public ministry prior to submitting a signed statement regarding his positions on homosexuality, civil unions between persons of the same sex, and the admission of women to the priesthood.”

The letter from the Vatican said that “the Irish Provincial should ask Father Flannery to give his assent to the statement by providing his signature in each of the places indicated (enclosure).” The letter referred to separate statements asserting church teaching in each relevant area with space for Flannery to sign his name.

Answering ‘the call’


September 18, 2020

By: Eileen Buckley

“I’m ready to be ordained a priest,” declared Chris Emminger, deacon.

Deacon Emminger of the Town of Tonawanda and Deacon Denning Achidi of Cameroon in Central Africa will be ordained into the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, Saturday.

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, Apostolic Administrator the Diocese of Buffalo, will preside over the service, conferring the holy orders of the priesthood upon the two deacons at 9:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.
The number of priests in America is on the decline. In fact, one in six Catholic priests now come from other countries.

In the Buffalo Diocese, eight priests were ordained in 2019. Only two will be ordained in Buffalo Saturday.

I asked Emminger, with all the adversity against the catholic church from the sex abuse scandal — why he would still want to be a priest?

“During my seven years of formation I kept having to answer that question — why do I want to be a priest? — Essentially the answer has always stayed the same — because I love the church. I’ve had wonderful priest in my life,” answered Emminger. “Why do I want to be a priest? I think our culture and our society needs to know the love of God in their life and I hope to be that vehicle for them.”

Emminger says he will try to overcome the troubles in the Catholic Church by working to help build relationships and listening to others.

Cologne cardinal warns German church’s Synodal Path could cause schism

Catholic News Service/USCCB via Crux

September 18, 2020

Cologne, Germany - Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki warned that the Synodal Path reform project could lead to a “German national church.”

“The worst outcome would be if the Synodal Path leads to a schism … with the universal church,” Woelki told Germany’s Catholic News Agency, KNA. “That would be the worst thing if something like a German national church were to be created here.”

KNA reported that Woelki also praised the most recent discussions within the Synodal Path, held in five regional conferences due to the coronavirus pandemic. Smaller groups of participants permitted a better exchange of arguments than would have been possible in the originally planned Synodal Assembly, Woelki said.

The Catholic Church in Germany launched the Synodal Path in 2019. Scheduled to run for two years, it is debating the issues of power, sexual morality, priestly existence and the role of women in the church. The aim is to restore trust lost in the clergy abuse scandal.

September 18, 2020

Lawsuit: Catholic school principal fired for reporting abuse

Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle

September 18, 2020

A former principal at a West Virginia Catholic high school has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against a diocese, alleging he was let go for reporting complaints of inappropriate contact involving a priest and for firing a football coach.

Former Parkersburg Catholic High School administrator John Golebiewski recently filed the lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in Wood County, the Parkersburg News and Sentinel reported Friday.

The lawsuit alleged that the diocese placed Golebiewski on leave and breached his employment contract “in retaliation for his proper reports of wrongdoing toward the children under his care," and to prevent an investigation into allegations of child abuse.

Golebiewski filed three misconduct reports with the diocese alleging Father John Rice inappropriately touched students over a yearlong period, beginning in 2018, according to the lawsuit.

Duterte’s Phallus, Part 2: His favorite joke

The Rappler

September 18, 2020

By Vicente Rafael

'Duterte’s obscenities feel subversive, but subversion in this context is in the service of an autocratic end, where laughter produces an intimacy between ruler and ruled'

Perhaps the most revealing instance of Duterte’s power of storytelling consists of his tale of being sexually abused at the age of 14 by an American Jesuit priest during confession. He often returns to this story as a way of casting aspersions at the Catholic Church that had been critical of his human rights abuses. Folded into this story, however, is another: his sexual abuse of their household help (which he later confesses was fabricated).

Here what we see is a double confession — Duterte to the priest and to the audience — and a double assault: the priest’s on Duterte and Duterte’s on the maid. The two acts of violation turn out to be intimately related whereby the priest’s assault of Duterte becomes a means for the latter’s domination of his audience. He has frequently told these stories on various occasions, usually in a mix of Taglish, Bisaya, and English. Below is my translation of a composite version:

Judge in Diocese of Buffalo Bankruptcy Sets Bar Date

Legal Examiner - Saunders and Walker Attorney Blog

September 17, 2020

By Joseph H. Saunders

Chief Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York ruled Friday that the bar date for abuse victims to submit claims should be the same day that the extended Child Victims Act expires – Aug. 14, 2021.

In making the ruling, Judge Bucki took into consideration the fluid situation involving sexual abuse claims against the beleaguered Diocese. No one knows how many claims will eventually be filed against the Diocese of Buffalo. What is known is that it takes survivors a period of time to make the decision to come forward and file a claim after having suffered in silence for years and sometimes decades.

Bucki also ruled against a request by the diocese to push the bankruptcy proceedings into mediated settlement talks.

Bucki said in his written ruling that such negotiations among the diocese, its insurers and its creditors would be premature because the diocese doesn’t know the full nature and extent of the abuse claims being brought against it and has yet to fully investigate and document historical insurance policies that were in place and might provide coverage on the claims.

Charge That Maxwell ‘Groomed’ Girls for Epstein Is Central to Case

New York Times

September 17, 2020

By Nicole Hong and Benjamin Weiser

Prosecutors are relying on a theory that Ghislaine Maxwell slowly broke down the resistance of teenage girls to sexual abuse at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein.

Annie Farmer was 16 years old when she arrived at Jeffrey Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico in 1996 to attend a program for high school students, only to learn that she was the sole participant.

There she met Mr. Epstein’s companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, who seemed friendly and asked about her classmates and her family. Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Epstein took her shopping and lavished her with gifts, like beauty products and new cowboy boots, according to a lawsuit Ms. Farmer filed last year.

The seemingly innocuous behavior was in fact part of a process to “groom” Ms. Farmer for sexual activity, the authorities now say. Ms. Maxwell began pressuring Ms. Farmer to give Mr. Epstein a foot massage, according to the lawsuit, and the encounters escalated — until Ms. Farmer says she eventually woke up one day to find Mr. Epstein entering her room, climbing into her bed and pressing his body against hers.

Now, with Ms. Maxwell facing allegations that she helped Mr. Epstein recruit and ultimately abuse girls as young as 14, the concept of grooming is at the heart of the criminal case against her. References to grooming appear nine times in the 18-page indictment against Ms. Maxwell.

Grooming has long been part of cases involving underage victims, but the concept has become increasingly important in the #MeToo era, as prosecutors have become more willing to file sex-crime charges in cases where people are coerced into sexual relationships without physical force.

Where is your fiery love when it comes to abuse?

B.C. Catholic - Archdiocese of Vancouver

September 15, 2020

By James Borkowski

Two years ago, I received a forwarded voicemail from a local priest. The message had been left by a man who was extremely angry about clergy abuse and the apparent cover-up by the Church around the world. Since the man left no contact info, there was not much we could do.

A week later, one of our priests forwarded a similar message, but this one contained helpful information and an opportunity. The caller mentioned that two of his classmates from a local all-boys high school had committed suicide as a result of abuse.

The high school he referred to was my old school, and in this message the caller left a phone number. I called him back.

He immediately told me that either I was a pedophile or was covering for them. I offered a third option, detailing the work we have been doing in the archdiocese to bring about necessary change in the local Church. We worked through a fairly tense exchange and, to his credit, he agreed to meet in person to continue the discussion.

On a late afternoon at a local pub, we tentatively walked up to each other and took in the reality of how strange it was for each of us to meet someone with disparate views. We were each concerned that the other might have ulterior motives. We were also both convinced that the other would have no interest in thoughtful conversation and an openness to ideas. Thankfully, we were both wrong.

Court sets March 1 deadline for claims of sex abuse by priests


September 17, 2020

By David Hammer

Non-abuse claimants, such as vendors that have business with the archdiocese, have until Nov. 30, 2020, to file their claims.

A federal bankruptcy judge set a deadline of March 1, 2021, for victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy to file compensation claims against the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The deadline, known as a “bar date,” comes 10 months after the archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 1. A bar date is a standard part of any bankruptcy, but setting this one has been controversial and contentious.

Federal Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Grabill ended a 5-hour marathon court hearing held via teleconference Thursday by setting the March 1 bar date, saying she decided to “split the baby” between the Jan. 29 and March 31 deadlines requested by the archdiocese and a the creditors, respectively.

Non-abuse claimants, such as vendors that have business with the archdiocese, have until Nov. 30, 2020, to file their claims.

The church and its creditors have argued angrily about setting a bar date for months. The archdiocese says it has every interest in paying all legitimate claims, but creditors claim the church can’t be trusted. They say the Archdiocese of New Orleans has plenty of money and filed for bankruptcy in “bad faith” to keep further evidence of abuse from coming out in court.

The archdiocese had about three dozen sex abuse cases moved from state to federal court so they would be stopped pending the bankruptcy. That meant Archbishop Greg Aymond didn’t have to testify under oath in a deposition that was already scheduled for later in May.

Editorial: Painful clergy sex-abuse reminders

The Lowell Sun

September 18, 2020

By Cliff Clark
Nearly two decades after the disclosure of widespread sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston that exposed a long history of that reprehensible behavior, victims of those unspeakable acts are still receiving some measure of closure and compensation.

Earlier this week, the Boston Herald reported the latest settlements of child sexual-abuse claims against three former Massachusetts priests.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who’s successfully represented many of these sex-abuse victims over the years, said a settlement was reached with the Archdiocese of Boston earlier this year in cases involving former priests Sylvio Ruest, John Salvucci and. T. Raymond Sullivan.

Decades ago they were assigned to churches in Bellingham, Billerica and Dracut, respectively.

And no amount of money — relatively modest sums in these cases — can heal the emotional scars these victims have been forced to endure throughout their entire lives.

Thankfully for these and other victims, they’ve had a champion in Mitch Garabedian. The Methuen native has seemingly dedicated his legal career to rooting out these sexual predators and making the organization that previously enabled this behavior to pay for their depraved acts.

Though these cases pale to the notoriety given his efforts to help imprison high-profile pedophile priests like Paul Shanley and John Geoghan for their despicable acts, we should all be thankful that Garabedian still brings that same sense of righteous outrage to every sexual-abuse case he takes.

Mystery lingers 2 years after Evansville priest was accused of sexual misconduct

Courier & Press

September 18, 2020

By Jon Webb

Even back then, the details were hazy.

On Sept. 10, 2018, the Diocese of Evansville issued a statement saying it was putting Father David Fleck on leave after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

Scraps of information emerged over the next few weeks.

A public records request from The Vincennes Sun-Commercial and 14 News unearthed a letter the diocese wrote to Knox County prosecutors saying Fleck had been accused of “soliciting” two males while teaching at Vincennes Rivet High School in the 1980s. A third was allegedly solicited in a separate incident. According to the letter, the accuser wasn’t one of the purported victims.

That’s still all we know.

This month marks two years since the accusations became public. The diocese has released no further details, no criminal charges have been filed and Fleck remains barred from public ministry. The diocese’s directory says he’s on “administrative leave.”

Fleck has denied the charges against him. The 71-year-old worked in several positions throughout the diocese, including at Mater Dei High School.

As it does with any sexual misconduct accusation against clergy, the church reported the allegation to civil authorities and launched an internal investigation through its Diocesan Review Board – a group of priests, diocese employees and volunteers who sometimes hire private investigators to carry out investigations.

September 17, 2020

Sydney Catholic schools to remove name of Marist brother accused of sexual abuse

The Guardian

September 17, 2020

By Christopher Knaus

Exclusive: Brother Geoffrey ‘Coman’ Sykes’ name will be removed from a school building and scholarship program after campaigners say ‘he is not a role model’

A group of prominent Catholic schools are expected to remove the name of a brother accused of sexual abuse from a school building and scholarship program after campaigners warned he was “clearly not someone who should be honoured”.

The two Sydney Marist schools say they were never told of the allegations against Brother Geoffrey “Coman” Sykes, despite the Marist Brothers Catholic order having substantiated a complaint against him three years earlier.

Sykes worked at Marist schools across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, including Parramatta Marist and Marist College Canberra, for decades and was honoured by senior colleagues as an “amazing man and a wonderful Marist” after his death in 2013.

A new book by investigative journalist Suzanne Smith contains allegations that Sykes abused Glen Walsh, an aspiring brother. It says the abuse occurred on an almost nightly basis at a retreat in the NSW southern highlands. When Walsh was 18, he was allegedly abused more than 100 times.

Walsh left the order, became a parish priest, and made allegations about Sykes to Marist in 1997, which the order found to be unsubstantiated.

In 2017, Marist Brothers conducted a review of its initial investigation. Marist says the review found Walsh’s allegations against Sykes were substantiated.

Trial of Catholic lay leader highlights gaps in church’s sex abuse oversight

Religion News Service

September 16, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

Catania, Italy - The sexual abuse trial of Piero Alfio Capuana, the lay leader of the 5,000-member Catholic Culture and Environment Association, began in this small Sicilian city on Tuesday (Sept. 15), three years after the abuse allegedly took place.

Capuana, 75, known as “the Archangel” by acolytes, is accused of delegating his associates to select and organize his targets, some as young as 11 years old. The alleged victims told Religion News Service that they would be called to a back room at the Cenacle, as the association’s headquarters is known, after ceremonies in which Capuana would purportedly speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit. Behind closed doors, the young girls said, they would be instructed to bathe him and perform sexual acts.

Three of his closest associates, known as the “12 Disciples,” are also charged, accused of organizing and facilitating the abuse.

Even after accusations that their leader was sexually abusing girls first emerged, few members believed them. When parents watched Capuana kiss their underage daughters on the lips or request solo dances with them, most were not concerned.

Members of the association, still loyal to Capuana, hissed and smirked at the accusers and their families in the courtroom. The large structure, made in the austere style of the fascist dictator Mussolini, dwarfed the small frames of the girls, but even behind their masks their eyes spoke determination. Above the entrance to the courtroom a relief of King Solomon peers down at passersby, his sword drawn to spill the blood of the innocent before the two competing mothers of the famous story.

“The law is the same for everyone” is written in large letters behind the judges, while a black cross looms over the attendants.

While the trial is taking place in Catania, a small city under the shadow of the volcano Etna, it has highlighted the Catholic Church’s lack of oversight over lay Catholic movements, particularly the actions of their often charismatic leaders.

Founded 50 years ago by the Rev. Stefano Cavalli, a “spiritual son” of the revered Franciscan friar and saint Padre Pio, the association was little regulated by the local Diocese of Acireale. For years, according to the government’s detention order against Capuana, Acireale’s bishops dismissed accusations of abuse and attended ceremonies and events at the Cenacle, a word that in church circles refers to the room where Jesus and his Apostles met for the Last Supper.

Former Columbia priest returns to ministry after being cleared of sex abuse charge

The State

September 16, 2020

Bu Noah Feit

A Catholic priest who formerly worked in Columbia was cleared to return to the ministry after charges of sexual abuse involving a minor were dropped.

Prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against Father Javier Heredia in February, according to Maria Aselage, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston. York County court records show the charge, criminal sexual conduct with minor — commit/attempt lewd act, was disposed on Feb. 3.

In September, the diocese’s Sexual Abuse Advisory Board concluded the allegation against the priest was not credible, Aselage said in a news release issued earlier this month.

The board said the accusation against Heredia was unfounded based on information from the criminal investigation, as well as the results of a second investigation by outside private investigators, according to the release.

Now Heredia is awaiting his new assignment with the diocese.

“We welcome Father Heredia back to ministry,” the diocese said in a statement, reported by the Catholic Miscellany.

In July 2018, Heredia was arrested after he was accused of inappropriate contact outside the clothing of a girl while in a public wave pool, according to the release. The child was under 16 years old, court records show.

The church did not disclose the girl’s age, specify where the incident took place or say whether it took place during a church function.

Heredia adamantly denied the accusation, according to the release.

Clergy sex abuse lawyer adds 3 to list of alleged perpetrators after settlement

Springfield Republican via Mass Live

September 16, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

Boston - Mitchell Garabedian, whose law firm has obtained countless clergy sexual abuse settlements or arbitration awards on behalf of clients, has made public the names of three priests contained in a recent settlement with the Archdiocese of Boston.

The three names were posted on the firm’s website.

“Survivors want me to post the names of their perpetrators as part of the healing process,” said Garabedian in reference to the list he posts related to monetary awards in which the accused may maintain their innocence as such compensation is not an admission of guilt.

Survivors and their advocates have long called for more transparency and comprehensive from the church on clergy accused of sexual abuse, with some law firms publishing lists of accused clergy related to settlements. Some dioceses publish some data when allegations are found credible. In Massachusetts, Worcester and Fall River have no such listing, while Springfield and Boston do.

The Boston archdiocese does list the names of priests who have been sentenced or sanctioned on such charges either as the result of criminal or church proceedings, as well as those living archdiocesan clergy with such publicized cases not yet resolved.

It does not list deceased clergy who have not been publicly accused and had no church proceedings conducted or completed on sexual allegations against them even when the archdiocese gives compensation in a case involving such allegations made after their death.

September 16, 2020

Former Secretariat of State prelate investigated

The Tablet

September 15, 2020

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

The Bavarian diocese of Eichstätt is trying to find out whether “certain homosexual activities” that allegedly took place in the Vatican between 2000 and 2006 were criminal, according to a report in the German Tagespost newspaper.

Entitled Abuse Scandal in the Apostolic Palace? the article states that a secular investigation in Ingolstadt has been examining the case for one and a half years, but a legal procedure has not yet been opened.

The first hearing of a canonical investigation began in Eichstätt on Monday 7 September according to the Tagespost. It concerns allegations made in February 2019 against a priest and prelate of the Eichstätt diocese who was then in a senior position in the Vatican Secretariat of State. The allegations were made by a subordinate priest in the same section of the Secretariat accusing the current Eichstätt priest, who was then his supervisor in Rome, of coercing him to have sex in the Apostolic Palace.

Vigil calls on Catholic Diocese to drop legal fight against abuse survivor

CTV News

September 15, 2020

By Bryan Bicknell

London, Ont. - Those taking part in a vigil outside St. Peter’s Basilica in downtown London on Tuesday called on the Catholic Diocese of London to drop its appeal in a decades-long legal battle with a sexual abuse survivor.

“The way that the church is treating me now through litigation is so traumatizing, and it’s much more traumatizing than the actual abuse,” said sexual abuse survivor Irene Deschenes.

Deschenes reached a settlement in 2000 for sexual abuse she suffered as a child in the early 1970s at the hands of the late Father Charles Sylvestre.

Information later came to light that the diocese had received police statements in 1962, alleging the priest had assaulted three girls.

Ontario’s highest court then granted Deschenes the right to sue the church a second time.

“When we settled, they told us they didn’t know about Sylvestre’s proclivities,” said Deschenes. “I had a gut feeling that they must have known because he had been doing it for a long time. But based on that information I did settle with the Catholic church.”

Those taking part in the vigil each took a turn standing in silence for one hour at the walkway to the church. It was a quiet appeal to the church to do what they believe is the right thing.

The action got the attention of passerby Dan Warren, who said the church needs to stop fighting victims of sexual abuse.

“If somebody is protesting a church, like that kind of says something - that something is wrong. And I’m not saying the people in this church specifically. But still, they should take a stand against the people above them. That’s what the problem has always been with them.”

The diocese declined a request from CTV News to comment on the vigil.

How Catholic order from the Philippines set up orphanage where sexual abuse occurred

Jakarta Post

September 16, 2020

By Margareth S. Aritonang

The Philippines-based Catholic religious order the Blessed Sacrament Missionaries of Charity (BSMC) was largely unknown to the Indonesian public until one of its members, Lukas Lucky Ngalngola, calling himself Brother Angelo and later Geovanny, put the congregation on the map, and for all the wrong reasons.

Angelo allegedly abused orphanage boys under his care, sexually and physically. While the abuse against the boys who lived at the Kencana Bejana Rohani orphanage that Angelo set up in 2015 in Depok, West Java, was reported to the police in September last year, the crime was revealed to the public only very recently after victims and child protection activists spoke out in the media.

Collective efforts coordinated by the state-sponsored Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) are being made to prosecute Angelo after a lack of action taken against him brought state institutions in charge of child protection, including the KPAI, as well as the Catholic Church, into the spotlight. He was arrested by the Depok Police in September 2019 but was released three months later as the police failed to complete the dossiers for the prosecutor’s office to bring the case to court.

The Catholic Church, in this particular case Bogor Diocese, had washed its hands of the case, reiterating to the public that Angelo was not a Catholic brother. The diocese holds a letter dated Sept. 19, 2019 to be the basis of their claim. The letter said the BSMC was not a Catholic order and that Angelo should not wear a robe. But Angelo continues to wear the brown robe of a brother and along with other brothers from the BSMC, set up another orphanage after he walked free in December. He has continued these activities without any hindrance, collecting money from individual Catholic donors while Bogor Diocese has turned a blind eye.

Pew survey shows teens, parents practice faith together, though teens are less religious

National Catholic Reporter

September 16, 2020

By Madeleine Davison

James Holzhauer-Chuckas is the senior director of the United Catholic Youth Ministries at four parishes in Evanston, Illinois, and a Benedictine oblate who once thought of becoming a priest. He's a proud Catholic — the last one "standing" in his family, he told NCR, after his parents and siblings left the church amid the clergy sex abuse crisis and disagreements with the church's stance on LGBTQ rights.

He's also a bit of a statistical anomaly — a child of unaffiliated parents who identifies as Catholic. Among today's teenagers, the trend usually goes in the other direction, according to new research.

A Pew Research Center study released Sept. 10 suggests that most American teens share religious identities and faith practices with their parents, but that teenagers are much less likely than their parents to say religion is very important to them.

For instance, nearly half of all teens say they hold all the same religious beliefs as their parents, and most have gone to religious services with at least one parent. But while 43% of parents said religion is "very important" to them, just 24% of teens said the same.

Priest lawsuit settled


September 16, 2020

By Tereza Verenca

Vernon brothers sexually abused by priest reach settlement with Diocese of Kamloops

An out-of-court settlement has been reached between the Diocese of Kamloops and two Vernon brothers who were sexually abused as teens by a Catholic priest.

The siblings launched separate lawsuits last year. In their notice of civil claims, they allege the now-deceased Father Herbert Bourne carried out the abuse at St. James parish in Vernon in the late 1970s. The court documents, which name Bourne and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, a corporate sole as defendants, say the abuse happened at the church, in Bourne's vehicle and at the boys' family home.

"Bourne committed such tortious act on the plaintiff when he wrongfully and intentionally sexually, emotionally and mentally abused and traumatized the plaintiff," the notice of civil claim states.

The brothers endured feelings of shame, low self-esteem, an impaired ability to be intimate, PTSD, depression and anxiety as a result, court documents show.

'Crisis' podcast seeks to help clergy, laity understand abuse scandals

Catholic News Agency

September 16, 2020

By Perry West

A new podcast launched this month out of The Catholic University of America seeks to help laity and clergy better understand and address the problem of abuse within the Church.

The podcast, “Crisis: Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church,” is produced by The Catholic Project, an initiative at CUA aimed at bringing healing and reform to the Church after the sex abuse crisis.

The first of 10 episodes was released September 9. Future episodes will be released weekly.

The podcast is hosted by Karna Lozoya, executive director of strategic communications at CUA, and Stephen White, the director of the Catholic Project. The hosts described the effort as a collaboration between clergy and laity to build up and renew the Church.

Accuser and excommunicated priest both wait as sexual violation case drags on

National Catholic Reporter

September 16, 2020

By Peter Feuerherd

The accuser prefers the traditional Tridentine rite Latin Mass. That way she only sees the celebrant from the back and can pray in peace, she told NCR.

"That's real separation; it doesn't feel like the priest interacts with you," she said.

A few thousand miles away in Sacramento, California, Jeremy Leatherby, the former pastor of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, excommunicated priest, and the man she accuses of sexual exploitation, is said to be living quietly with his family.

The excommunication was invoked only after Leatherby refused to acknowledge Pope Francis and Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento during the Eucharistic Prayer. While suspended, awaiting a church court's verdict on the alleged sexual violations, Leatherby celebrated Mass in private homes in violation of his bishop's order. During those liturgies, he proclaimed Pope Benedict XVI as the only living legitimate successor of Peter.

Soto responded in an announcement made public Aug. 7.

"Fr. Jeremy Leatherby has placed himself and others in a state of schism with the Roman Catholic Church. By his words and actions, Fr. Leatherby has incurred a latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication. This means that by his own volition he has separated himself from communion with the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis, and other members of the Catholic Church," wrote Soto.

That, according to canon law, took care of the theological dispute.

But on the issue of alleged sexual exploitation, the accuser awaits church justice. Leatherby, in a letter addressed to his former priest colleagues and posted Aug. 8 on the St. Joseph’s Battalion Sacramento blog, said he awaits exoneration.

Church setback over confession in Western Australia

Catholic Weekly

September 16, 2020

By Marilyn Rodrigues

Both major parties to support law affecting sacrament

A push to force priests to report information on child sexual abuse gained during confession looks likely to continue in Western Australia despite a parliamentary committee’s recommendation that it would be an ineffective measure against abuse.

The recommendation was made in a report by the Standing Committee on Legislation on the Children and Community Services Amendment Bill 2019, which passed the state’s Legislative Assembly in May and will be considered by the upper house.

In its current form, the bill is in line with WA’s Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Child Protection Simone McGurk’s commitment to require priests to break the sacrament’s absolute confidentiality in known or suspected cases of child sexual abuse.

The five-member WA committee recommended last week that “ministers of religion be excused from criminal responsibility [of mandatory reporting] only when the grounds of their belief is based solely on information disclosed during religious confession.”

But Liberal Opposition Leader Liza Harvey said on 15 September that her party had decided against supporting the recommendation.

Local diocese will not add former priest to credibly accused list

Houma Daily Courier via Houma Today

September 15, 2020

By Dan Copp

A priest accused of sexual abuse who served in Houma 45 years ago will not be added to the local diocese's list of “credibly accused” priests, church officials said.

On Aug. 18, Archbishop Gregory P. Aymond added the Rev. Henry Brian Highfill to the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ list of priests with credible accusations of child sexual abuse.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, asked local Bishop Shelton Fabre to also include Highfill on the local list.

Highfill, who now lives in Las Vegas, served at St. Frances de Sales in Houma in 1975, according to New Orleans SNAP leader Kevin Bourgeois. The 78-year-old priest has been accused of abusing children from 1975 to 1981.

Because the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux was formed two years after Highfill left, Fabre said he decided not to include his name on the list.

Priest, who worked in Bellingham and Hudson in the 1950s and 1970s, was named in child sex abuse settlement

MetroWest Daily News

September 15, 2020

By Alison Bosma


Three former priests associated with the Archdiocese of Boston, including one who worked in churches in Hudson and Bellingham, were named in child sexual abuse settlements reached earlier this year.

“Our clients want to know why the supervisors were not properly supervising,” said Boston-based attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who announced the settlements this week, “and why those supervisors have not been held accountable for allowing innocent children to be sexually abused.”

All three are accused of molesting children who were parishioners, on church property, in the late 1950s, and late 1970s. At least two of them are dead, according to documents provided by Garabedian, but all three continued to work under the Archdiocese of Boston after the alleged abuse.

The Rev. Sylvio Ruest was accused of molesting a 13- or 14-year-old boy while assigned to Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Bellingham between 1957 and 1958. He previously worked in three other Massachusetts churches, including St. Ann’s Church in Salem; St. Louis Church in Lowell; and Christ the King Church in Hudson, according to documents provided by Garbedian.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Boston said the organization makes it a practice not to comment on legal proceedings, but that settlements are included in annual reports, published on the Archdiocese’s website.

“It takes a lot of courage for clergy sexual abuse victims to come forward,” Garabedian said. “In doing so, clergy sexual abuse victims are making the world a safer place for children, and empowering themselves and other victims.”

September 15, 2020

Ex-Catholic School Teacher Charged in 1970's Sex Abuse Cases

Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

September 14, 2020

A 66-year-old former Michigan Catholic school teacher sexual abuse allegations stretching back more than four decades.

A former Catholic school teacher in Michigan faces sex abuse allegations stretching back more than four decades.

Charges against Joseph Comperchio are part of the state's ongoing investigation into clergy abuse, Attorney General Dana Nessel's office announced Monday.

Comperchio, 66, was arrested Monday in Fort Myers, Florida. He was expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Florida on two counts of first-degree and four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Two people have told authorities they were between 9 and 11 years old when abused between 1974 and 1977, Nessel's office said.

At the time, Comperchio taught drama and music at St. John Catholic School in Jackson, 80 miles (128 kilometers) west of Detroit.

As part of a broader investigation into the Catholic dioceses in Michigan, about 1.5 million paper documents and 3.5 million electronic documents have been seized through search warrants executed in October 2018, Nessel’s office said.

Ten people connected to the Catholic Church have been charged.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth Sexual Abuse Class Action Lawsuit

McKiggan Hebert Law Firm

September 14, 2020

[Includes link to class action pleadings.]

McKiggan Hebert Lawyers in Halifax has filed a class action against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth on behalf of persons who allege they were sexually abused by priests from the Archdiocese from 1960 to date.

The class action, filed by Douglas Champagne on behalf of other sexual abuse survivors, claims that the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax-Yarmouth, more commonly known as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, had a decades long policy of secrecy of any allegations of sexual abuse against a priest.

Several priests from the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth have been criminally convicted of sexually abusing children within the Archdiocese.

Champagne alleges he was sexually abused by Father George Epoch, a notorious sexual abuser, while Epoch was working as a priest at Canadian Martyrs Church in Halifax. Champagne claims that the sexual abuse had lasting and permanent effects on his life.

The lawsuit claims that the Archdiocese sent priests accused of sexual misconduct to Southdown Institute, a treatment facility in Ontario, and then placed the priests back into parishes without any notice or warning to parishioners.

New podcast series examines history of U.S. clergy sex abuse

Catholic News Service

September 14, 2020

By Mark Pattison

A new podcast series, “Crisis,” has debuted, which examines the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the U.S. church.

Produced by the Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America, Washington, its 10 episodes plan to recount the history of the crisis and church leaders’ responses to it.

“Catholic University really found itself in a unique position to offer a response to the sexual abuse crisis,” said Karna Lozoya, executive director of strategic communications in the president’s office at the university, and narrator of “Crisis.”

With its ties to a papally chartered university, “Crisis” examines the responses of popes, including Pope Francis and St. John Paul II. Because of its location in Washington, the archbishop of Washington serves as chancellor of the university and is a member of the board of trustees. The current archbishop is Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.

A previous Washington archbishop and university chancellor, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was himself accused of sexual misconduct dating back several decades; the allegation resulted in his forced laicization. McCarrick still maintains his innocence.

Massachusetts clergy child sexual abuse claims against three priests settled: Mitchell Garabedian

Boston Herald

September 14, 2020

By Rick Sobey

The priests were in Bellingham, Billerica and Dracut

Clergy child sexual abuse claims against three former Massachusetts priests have been settled, the victims’ lawyer announced on Monday.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who specializes in sexual abuse cases, said he settled the clergy sexual abuse claims with the Archdiocese of Boston earlier this year.

The former priests were Fr. Sylvio Ruest, Fr. John Salvucci and Fr. T. Raymond Sullivan, according to the lawyer.

The priests decades ago were assigned to churches in Bellingham, Billerica and Dracut, respectively.

Ruest, who was assigned to Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bellingham, was accused of sexually abusing a boy at least five times in the 1950s. The boy, a parishioner at the church, was about 13 to 14 years old at the time.

The sexual abuse took place inside the church and in the nearby rectory affiliated with the church, Garabedian said. The claim was settled in February in the “high five figures,” Garabedian said.

Middlesbrough ex-teacher admits child abuse image possession


September 15, 2020

A former primary school deputy head teacher has admitted possessing indecent images of children including videos of rape.

Richard Swinnerton, 30, admitted three charges when he appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court on Monday.
Swinnerton previously resigned his post at St Clare's Catholic Primary School in Middlesbrough. His offending was unrelated to his work there.

He was granted conditional bail to be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said Swinnerton had been viewing indecent images for two years before his arrest at his home on 15 May.

A spokeswoman said officers found no evidence to suggest that any of the images were made at the school and there is no allegation of physical abuse.

Former Greensburg Bishop Malesic installed as head of Cleveland diocese


September 14, 2020

By Peter Smith

Former Greensburg Bishop Edward Malesic was formally installed Monday as the new Catholic bishop of Cleveland at a worship service whose typical grandeur was trimmed by the social distancing and other exigencies of the pandemic.

Bishop Malesic, who led the Greensburg diocese from 2015 to 2020, was formally installed in his new role at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland. He entered in a procession with fellow bishops — wearing red masks due to the pandemic, matching the red chasubles worn in commemoration of the feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross — followed by priests and acolytes.

Attendance was limited due to the pandemic, with priests and others attendees sitting at socially distant intervals on the pews in the large sanctuary.

Bishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio or diplomatic representative to the United States, read aloud Pope Francis’ formal letter appointing Bishop Malesic as leader of the Cleveland diocese.

His installation completes a Keystone-Buckeye state exchange, with Bishop Malesic filling the seat left vacant when former Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez was installed earlier this year as archbishop of Philadelphia.

“We also have the cross of abuse in our church,” he said, apologizing to victims of sexual abuse by clergy. “We will carry that cross of shame by helping our victims.” Bishop Malesic led the Diocese of Greensburg when a grand jury reported in 2018 on its history of abuse and that of five other Pennsylvania dioceses.

September 14, 2020

St. Catharines Catholic Diocese reaches settlement with witness of her sister’s chronic sex abuse

Globe and Mail

September 14, 2020

By Kelly Bennett

A woman whose sister was sexually abused as a child by a Roman Catholic priest has reached a settlement with the Diocese of St. Catharines for abuse she witnessed in a case that expands the common understanding of who is a victim.

The woman said that for years she saw her older sister as the sole victim of the abuse, which took place over three years in the 1970s at the rectory of St. Kevin’s Catholic Church in Welland, Ont., and in his car. The priest would bring her along in the backseat, her dolls beside her, and make her stand outside as a lookout while he raped her sister or forced her to masturbate him.

The woman, whom The Globe and Mail is not identifying to protect the identity of her sister as a child victim of sex abuse, said she wants to share her story with others who may not have recognized abuse in their own lives.

It was only six years ago that she realized she was also a victim.

“I have never really looked at it in light of, ‘Hey, maybe it affected me,’” she said.

That awareness dawned when she sought counselling to confront a pattern of broken relationships. She started to examine the effects of abuse that had reverberated for decades, through five marriages and sometimes-fraught relationships with her two children.

Cardinal: Alleged Vatican resistance to child protection a ‘cliche’

Catholic News Service

September 14, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Vatican City - The Vatican’s doctrinal chief dismissed accusations that some Vatican officials are resisting recommendations on best practices for protecting children and vulnerable adults from clergy sex abuse.

“I think this cliche must be put to an end: the idea that the pope, who wants the reform, is on one side and, on the other, a group of resisters who want to block it,” said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The congregation is charged with carrying out canonical trials and seeking justice for victims of clerical abuse, while local bishops and heads of religious orders must care for their pastoral needs, he said in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, published March 5.

Cardinal Muller responded to complaints made by Marie Collins, who resigned her post on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors March 1, citing what she described as resistance coming from Vatican offices against implementing recommendations.

In an editorial published online March 1 by National Catholic Reporter, Collins said an unnamed dicastery not only refused to cooperate on the commission’s safeguarding guidelines, but also refused to respond to letters from victims.

Collins said the refusal “to implement one of the simplest recommendations the commission has put forward to date” was the last straw that led to her resignation.

While acknowledging that personal care of victims is important, Cardinal Muller said Collins’ accusations “are based on a misunderstanding” and that bishops and religious superiors “who are closer” to victims of clergy sex abuse are charged with their pastoral care.

AG Nessel charges former Catholic School teacher for sexually assaulting minors


September 14, 2020

By Jeffrey Zide

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that multiple felony charges have been filed against a man with ties to the Catholic Church in the Jackson area as an investigation into clergy abuse has identified yet another suspect accused of sexually assaulting minors.

Two individuals came forward to report they had been victims of abuse at the hands of Joseph – or Josef – Comperchio who is 66.

He is facing a total of six charges:

- Two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony charge punishable by up to life in prison; and
- Four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony.

The incidents in both cases reportedly occurred while the victims were between the ages of 9 and 11, and between 1974 and 1977 while Comperchio was employed as the drama/music teacher at St. John Catholic School in Jackson.

Comperchio was arrested Monday in Fort Myers, Florida.

Cleveland's Catholic Diocese welcomes new bishop

Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle

September 14, 2020

Cleveland's nearly 700,000 Roman Catholics on Monday were welcoming a new bishop from Pennsylvania during an installation Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

Bishop Edward Malesic, 60, served five years as bishop of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, until Pope Francis in July named him to succeed Nelson Perez, who became archbishop of Philadelphia.

The installation has been scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic and will be livestreamed.

The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, native was ordained to the priesthood in 1987.

When he was introduced to the Cleveland Diocese in July, Malesic said he hoped to draw younger people back to the church.

He said he thought the church has become more transparent in protecting children from sexual abuse among priests and he said the church does not tolerate such abuse.

Former Lynn pastor found guilty of child abuse by church court

Boston Globe

September 13, 2020

By Ainslie Cromar

“He is to live in contemplation of his sins and pray for all of those affected by his conduct.”

A former longtime pastor for a Lynn parish, who had been accused in 2012 of sexually abusing a child, has been found guilty by a Roman Catholic judicial court and sentenced to “a life of Prayer and Penance,” the Archdiocese of Boston announced in a statement Thursday.

Rev. James Gaudreau, former pastor of St. Joseph Parish, has been banned from exercising “any public ministry” or celebrating public mass, the archdiocese said.

“He may not provide spiritual direction, may not wear clerical attire and cannot function in any manner as a priest,” the statement read. “He is to live in contemplation of his sins and pray for all of those affected by his conduct.”

Allegations against Gaudreau, who’s in his 70s, first surfaced in 2012 when the cleric was accused of molesting a child in 2006. Pending an investigation at the time, he was placed on paid administrative leave.

September 13, 2020

Priest and religious brother sexually abused former Mount Loretto resident, lawsuit alleges

SI Live

September 13, 2020

By Frank Donnelly

In the latest of a string of lawsuits, another former resident of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto alleges he was repeatedly sexually abused by clergy and staff members there.

New Jersey resident Francisco Pamias was molested by a priest, the late Rev. Eugene Mangan, as well as a religious brother, and was physically abused by two lay counselors while at the Pleasant Plains shelter for homeless and destitute children, a civil complaint alleges.

Pamias, 65, resided at Mount Loretto between 1963 and 1974, said the complaint.

Orphaned at a young age, Pamias “had no safe haven to go to and no one to talk to about the abuse that he was suffering inasmuch as the individuals with power and authority at Mount Loretto were the same people who were inflicting the abuse,” the complaint alleges.

There’s no avoiding the pain of victims

Catholic Register

September 12, 2020

By Francis Campbell

The scourge of Catholic priests sexually abusing innocent children is never far from mind in Nova Scotia.

In the shadow of the recurring crisis, it is almost refreshing to hear a Church leader speak plainly about the overwhelming pain suffered by the victims of sexual abuse and the enormity of the breach of responsibility and trust perpetrated by offending priests.

Archbishop Anthony Mancini did that in a recent letter to the people of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, where a class action is in the works that will have hundreds seeking financial compensation for alleged sexual abuse by priests dating back to 1960.

Mancini said experience has shown that every time the sexual abuse crisis has been highlighted, it has been hard to face “because such crimes and the devastation which sexual abuse has had on the victims cannot and must not be ignored or swept under the carpet.”

Sweeping it under the rug is what the archdiocese is accused of.

The website of McKiggan Hebert law firm in Halifax stated that the class action was filed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in August 2018 by Douglas Champagne on behalf of other abuse survivors and claims the archdiocese or its previous incarnations of the Halifax and Yarmouth dioceses held a decades-long policy of secrecy regarding allegations of sexual abuse.

Champagne alleges he was sexually abused by Fr. George Epoch, a Halifax priest, resulting in lasting and permanent effects on his life. The lawsuit claims the archdiocese sent priests accused of sexual misconduct to a treatment facility in Ontario, then placed them back into parishes without any notice or warning to parishioners.

Catholic church settles Vernon lawsuit, apologizes for sexual abuse


September 12, 2020

By Ben Bulmer

Kamloops BC - Two brothers who were sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Vernon during the 1970s have come to an out of court settlement with the Archdiocese of Kamloops.

The brothers filed separate civil claims last year, both alleging they had been sexually abused by Father Herbert Bourne when they were teenagers while the now-deceased priest was working at the St. James Catholic Church in Vernon.

The brothers' lawyer Bill Dick told iNFOnews.ca the case was settled out of court a couple of weeks ago.

"What was ultimately important in the process was the Archdiocese through its legal counsel put forward an offer that included an apology and an acknowledgement of wrongdoing," Dick said. "It was the right decision from the Archdiocese to say we acknowledge that what happened was horrific, we acknowledge that what Father Bourne did should never have happened and it was a horrific breach of abuse and trust from someone that should be providing moral and spiritual guidance."

The lawyer said the Archdiocese of Kamloops Bishop Joseph Phuong Nguyen met with the brothers and their families to give a formal apology and an acknowledgement that what happened was a horrific breach of trust.


The abuse took place in the church, at the priest's home, and his vehicle, and also at the men's home. The notice of claim states the Diocese "failed to act when it knew or ought to have known" about the abuse.

The lawyer wouldn't disclose the amount of compensation awarded but said confidentiality was not part of the settlement.


The announcement of the settlement comes days after a Supreme Court Justice awarded almost $850,000 to a former teacher after the judge ruled the Archdiocese of Kamloops had failed to protect the teacher from the "predatory instincts" of a "playboy" priest.

The priest, Father Erlindo Molon, had initiated an unwanted sexual relationship with Rosemary Anderson in 1976. In the judgement, Aug. 25, the judge found Bishop Adam Exner failed to act although he was well aware of Father Molon's conduct.

Woodbridge, Metuchen Priests Accused of Child Sex Abuse


September 11, 2020

By Carly Baldwin

Father Patrick Barrett is accused of sexually abusing a child at St. Anthony of Padua church in Port Reading from 1983 to 1984.

New accusations of child sex abuse have been made against a Catholic priest who worked in Woodbridge in the mid-80s, as well as against a teacher at Saint Joseph, an elite boys' Catholic prep school in Metuchen.

The Woodbridge priest is Father Patrick Barrett, who worked at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic church in Port Reading. The St. Joe's teacher is Brother Regis Moccia, accused of abusing a student who attended the school in the mid '90s.

Both were named in lawsuits filed this week against the Diocese of Metuchen. This is the first time either man has been accused of such a crime.

Barrett is accused of sexually abusing a child who attended St. Anthony's from approximately 1983 to 1984. The victim was 9 to 10 years old at the time.

Bankruptcy judge sets deadline for filing clergy abuse claims

Buffalo News

Septemer 11, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Sexual abuse victims will have until next August to file a claim against the Buffalo Diocese in federal bankruptcy proceedings.

Chief Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York ruled Friday that the bar date for abuse victims to submit claims should be the same day that the extended Child Victims Act expires – Aug. 14, 2021.

Bucki also ruled against a request by the diocese to push the bankruptcy proceedings into mediated settlement talks.

Bucki said in his written ruling that such negotiations among the diocese, its insurers and its creditors would be premature because the diocese doesn’t know the full nature and extent of the abuse claims being brought against it and has yet to fully investigate and document historical insurance policies that were in place and might provide coverage on the claims.

The diocese earlier had sued eight insurance carriers in bankruptcy court, and Bucki’s decision means the litigation will move forward. The judge said he aimed to “advance essential exchanges of information” by ordering discovery to proceed, and he warned both parties that “now is not the time to procrastinate in working for a just and fair resolution of rights.”

At the Mercy of One False Brother

The Catholic Thing

September 12, 2020

By Rev. Peter M.J. Stravinskas

David Pierre of Media Report has published an illuminating new book, The Greatest Fraud Never Told: False Accusations, Phony Grand Jury Reports, and the Assault on the Catholic Church. Pierre and his work are often ignored because he is unjustly accused of dismissing accusations of clergy sex abuse, en masse. That charge is not true. Instead, Pierre stresses an often-forgotten truth: “a false accusation is truly an affront to those who genuinely suffered as the result of their horrendous abuse.”

When the first hints of clergy sexual abuse began to surface in the late-80s, I served as an advisor to many of the good, new bishops being appointed. On this topic, I counseled the bishops:

First, do not call this pedophilia – because, for the most part, it is same-sex activity between a cleric and a post-pubescent young man; that’s the truth and, the truth always sets us free. “Pedophilia” conjures up images of five- and six-year-old boys. Further, if the sinful activity had been properly labeled, ironically, the secular media wouldn’t have given it much coverage, since they always promote same-sex relations.

Second, never settle any case out of court for a variety of reasons, not least that while a pastoral plea demands a pastoral response, a legal challenge demands a legal response. Moreover, when a financial settlement is made, that more than suggests guilt, thus damaging irreparably an innocent priest’s reputation. Regrettably, most bishops listened, instead, to diocesan attorneys and insurance companies.

Owing to the Dallas Charter of 2002, the heavy-handed treatment of accused priests by bishops has resulted in an adversarial relationship, which Cardinal Avery Dulles foretold in 2004.

Catholic Groups Seek Apology From Brennan and Removal of His Enablers

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

September 12, 2020

By Alan Olson

A letter addressed to the Most Rev. Mark Brennan, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, from two groups representing lay Catholics seeks further action taken in the wake of disgraced former bishop Michael Bransfield’s ignoble resignation.

The letter, which was sent Sept. 3 to Brennan, comes from Morgantown-based Lay Catholic Voices for Change, and ACT: A Church Together, which lists a Wheeling address, which represent lay, or non-clergy, members of the Roman Catholic Church.

“We speak for countless members of the Catholic Church in West Virginia when we say: ‘Our faith has not been destroyed but our trust in our church leaders has been devastated,'” the letter states.

The letter outlines several requests of Brennan and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

First, an apology from Brennan, on behalf of the diocese, is sought.

The letter states that while Brennan did not oversee Bransfield’s actions — which allegedly include a decades-long pattern of sexual harassment and abuse of men under his authority and wildly extravagant spending of church funds for the personal use of Brandfield and his friends — Brennan is now responsible for the actions and response of the diocese to his actions.

The letter cites embarrassment on the part of young Catholics to embrace their faith, due to Bransfield’s actions, the damage to the faith community due to his actions, and the decline of Wheeling University — formerly Wheeling Jesuit University — along with Mount de Chantal Academy, and Bishop Donahue High School, all of which suffered under Bransfield’s administration.

It also calls for the Revs. Frederick Annie, Kevin Quirk and Anthony Cincinnati to be removed from their posts throughout the diocese.

The three clerics were identified in an internal report as serving as Bransfield’s henchmen, recruiting young priests and seminarians to serve and suffer under Bransfield, dismissing reports and concerns about his abuses, and doing nothing while observing the man’s behavior.

The letter also calls for an inquiry into a potential pattern of child sexual abuse Bransfield may have undertaken. According to the internal investigation, Bransfield was allegedly described as acting in a predatory manner to altar servers at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Quirk allegedly told investigators that he actively attempted to ensure Bransfield wasn’t left alone with the boys; despite this, the report indicates that no evidence existed to support the allegations, although there was “significant reason for concern that this occurred.”

September 12, 2020

Western Australian legislative committee recommends preserving confessional seal

Catholic News Agency

September 12, 2020

Religious ministers should not be required to violate the seal of confession to report child sex abuse, a committee of the upper house of Western Australia’s parliament recommended Thursday.

The Legislation Committee of the Legislative Council recommended that “Ministers of religion be excused from criminal responsibility [of mandatory reporting] only when the grounds of their belief is based solely on information disclosed during religious confession.”

It also recommend that the state government “consult with ministers of religion on non-statutory provisions that would facilitate the effective use of information received during religious confession.”

The recommendation, made by a narrow majority of the committee, came in its report on the Children and Community Services Amendment Bill 2019. In its current form, the bill would require priests to break the confessional seal to report known or suspected child sex abuse.

Queensland Bishop Michael McCarthy says priests will not break seal of confession to report sex abuse, despite new law


September 11, 2020

By Jemima Burt and Paul Culliver

A Queensland bishop says priests in his diocese will not break the "seal of confession" and report known or suspected cases of sexual abuse to police, despite State Parliament passing legislation this week that requires them to do so.

Bishop Michael McCarthy, who leads the Diocese of Rockhampton, says his priests are bound to keep the seal of confession, even if sexual abuse is discussed.

The new legislation means religious institutions and their members will be compelled to break the seal of confession to report child sexual abuse or face three years in jail.

Priests will no longer be able to use the sanctity of the confessional as a defence or an excuse in child sex abuse matters.

But Bishop McCarthy said Rome had not changed its view.

"Within the Catholic Church, a priest is not allowed to break the seal of confession. That is what we have all promised and what we have all signed up to do," he said.

Massachusetts Priest Officially Dismissed 18 Years After Sexual Abuse Allegation


September 11, 2020

The Archdiocese of Boston announced on Friday that a Massachusetts priest accused 18 years ago of sexually abusing a minor has been dismissed by the Vatican.

In May 2002, John P. Lyons was removed from public ministry after an allegation of sexual abuse towards a minor. Lyons, who was ordained in 1955, will now no longer be allowed to function as a priest in any capacity.

“We are grateful to the victims who had the strength to come forward,” said a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston. “Their courage assisted the Church in seeking justice. We pray for all of those affected by this matter.”

According to the Boston Globe, the former Rochester priest was accused of sexually abusing young boys during the 1970s and 1980s.

For Australia, child protection outweighs religious freedom, ambassador says


September 11, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome - Australia’s new ambassador to the Holy See has said that when it comes to nuanced issues such as religious freedom in the country’s fight for child protection, her government’s evaluation would be that if it’s necessary to choose between the two, safety comes first.

Chiara Porro, the newly minted Australian ambassador to the Holy See, told Crux in a sit-down interview that the question of the seal of confession is “a very difficult issue,” with several factors at play.

At 36, Porro, who is a mother of two, is currently the youngest ambassador to be accredited to the Holy See, and is the youngest in Australia’s own diplomatic corps.

“The sacrament of confession is an integral part of the Catholic Church, and there are reasons which the Holy See detailed in its response as to why the seal of confession exists as it does,” she said referring to the Vatican’s recent response to a series of recommendations from Australia’s Royal Commission into Institution Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

However, from the perspective of the federal government, “I think ultimately child protection is really the paramount concern.”

Former Rochester priest accused of sexual abuse is removed from ministry

Boston Globe

September 11, 2020

By Jeremy C. Fox

[Note: The description of Fr. James E. Gaudreau in this article is incorrect. He was ordered to live a life a prayer and penance, not defrocked.]

A former Massachusetts priest accused of sexually abusing young boys during the 1970s and 1980s has been defrocked by the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said Friday.

John P. Lyons was “dismissed … from the clerical state” and “may no longer function in any capacity as a priest,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

“We are grateful to the victims who had the strength to come forward,” the archdiocese said. “Their courage assisted the Church in seeking justice. We pray for all those affected by this matter.”

Lyons was ordained in 1955 and removed from public ministry and the pastorate of St. Rose of Lima Church in Rochester in May 2002, the archdiocese said.

September 11, 2020

Fr Dave was the ‘coolest priest’ many of us ever came across

The Echo

September 9, 2020

By Maurice Garvey

Tributes have poured in this week for Fr David Lumsden – a former priest in the parishes of Ballyfermot and Clondalkin who passed away on Sunday.

Many residents have spoken in glowing terms about the impact ‘Fr Dave’ had on their lives.

Fr Lumsden served in St Matthews Ballyfermot from 1988 to 1998 before moving to the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Clondalkin, then Cabra, and was parish priest in Edenmore and Grange Park.

He responded to many requests from residents to concelebrate special moments, even after moving to the other side of the city.

Ken Larkin, from Ballyfermot Heritage Group said Fr Dave played a big part in “helping open doors” for the late and great activist Angela Copley when she was working on clerical abuse in Ballyfermot.

Fr Lumsden celebrated Ms Copley’s funeral at St Matthews Church from a wheelchair in 2018, praising the work Angela did “for people in this parish who had been abused as children by priests of the parish.”

'Boundary violations': Priest removed from Markham church after complaint

Metroland News/YorkRegion.com

September 9, 2020

By Jeremy Grimaldi

Father Joseph Grima no longer at Markham's Blessed Federic Ozanam Parish

A Markham priest has been ousted from his role for undisclosed behaviour.

On Aug. 22, Father Joseph Grima was removed as pastor of Blessed Frederic Ozanam Parish, near Highway 7 and Ninth Line, for “boundary violations” and behaviour inconsistent with the vows and expectations of a Catholic priest.

The media release was clear to say the behaviour was not illegal.

And although the Archdiocese of Toronto would not say much more, Neil MacCarthy, director of communications, said the complaint does not involve a child.

He added that priests can be removed for a number of reasons, including alcohol, drugs, gambling addictions, anger or mental health issues.

Other issues include having a physical relationship with someone, considering all priests must take a vow of celibacy at the outset.

MacCarthy said despite many individuals' minds turning directly to abuse, he insisted that this instance was not a criminal code matter.

Goretti Group Establishes Chapter at Church in East Village

Catholic New York - Archdiocese of New York

September 9, 2020

By Christie L. Chicoine

A contingent of young adult Catholics gathered for Mass and to share communion and camaraderie among one another Friday evening of Labor Day weekend at Most Holy Redeemer Church in Manhattan’s East Village.

The Sept. 4 gathering was the inaugural event of Goretti Group New York at Most Holy Redeemer, geared to those aged 18-42, singles or married. The first Manhattan chapter at Most Holy Redeemer will continue to meet on the first Friday of each month there.

Father Jeffry Dillon, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, served as celebrant and homilist of the 7 p.m. Mass Sept. 4. A survivor of clerical sexual abuse as a child, Father Dillon was the featured speaker of the evening’s talk, which included a question-and-answer session.

An NYPD police officer from 1967 to 1975, he was ordained a priest in 1981 and is presently the pastor of Our Lady of Light parish in St. Albans, Queens.

Father Dillon, in his talk, said, “For all those people in the pews who have not experienced sexual abuse, they’re victims also, they’re survivors also. They also have to deal with this. And they have a right to answers.”

While recognizing these realities, he said he was not condemning the Church.

Throughout the talk, Father Dillon quelled common misperceptions about victims of abuse. “Most victims,” he said, “don’t come forward because they don’t want to relive the pain.”

He recalled that when he first told his story to someone, the response was: “When did it happen? How did it happen? Where did it happen?”

To that line of questioning, Father Dillon shared that he replied: “Who cares? It happened.”

DCI receives report of sexual abuse allegation against local priest


September 9, 2020

By Jack Caudill

A state investigation is underway into an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against a priest in the Rapid City Catholic Diocese. That’s according to the Meade County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Meade County State’s Attorney Michele Bordewyk says her office received a complaint against Father Michel Mulloy and says that investigation is now being handled by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

The Rapid City Diocese announced the complaint on Monday, saying the incident allegedly happened in the early 80′s Father Mulloy was stationed in Faith, which is in Meade County, from 1983 to 1989.

The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday they had received the complaint from the diocese but said it is their policy to not comment further on investigations.

State Senators pushing to increase requirements for PA Advocate


September 10, 2020

By Mark Hall

Members of the Pennsylvania Senate are pushing for the qualifications of the state Victim Advocate to include a law degree.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said it’s important to consider going forward.

“This is not about the person who is currently holding the position,” Corman said. “Most of the victims at some point will be in court, and may need legal guidance.”

Jennifer Storm is the current PA Victim Advocate, and she says a law degree is unneeded.

“The victim advocate is a navigator of the justice system,” she said. “We don’t give legal advice and we don’t legally represent victims.”

Some Republican lawmakers criticized Storm for her support to change the statute of limitations during the clergy child sex abuse scandal, while some Democrats were upset she didn’t support a bill that would give convicted murderers eligibility for parole, after serving 15 years.

Pope Francis: ‘Never Again to the Culture of Abuse’

National Catholic Register/EWTN

September 10, 2020

By Courtney Mares

In a prologue for a new book on clergy sex abuse, Pope Francis thanks the contributors as they have invited the faithful to "delve into this painful evil of sexual abuse that has occurred in our Catholic Church."

Vatican City - Pope Francis has written a prologue to a recently published book on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church entitled “Theology and Prevention.”

“Fighting against abuse means fostering and empowering communities capable of watching over 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 voices heard,” Pope Francis wrote in the introduction to the book, obtained by CNA.

“In this most recent time in the Church we were challenged to face this conflict, accept it and suffer it together with the victims, their families and the entire community to find ways that make us say: never again to the culture of abuse,” the pope said.

The book, “Theology and Prevention: A Study on Sexual Abuse in the Church,” was published in Spanish this month by Sal Terrae and edited by Fr. Daniel Portillo Trevizo.

Announcement Regarding Rev. James Gaudreau

Archdiocese of Boston

September 10, 2020

The Archdiocese of Boston announced today that Rev. James Gaudreau, former pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Lynn, Ma, has been found guilty of child abuse and his sentence has been affirmed by the Vatican to live a life of Prayer and Penance. He is not permitted to exercise any public ministry, including not being allowed to celebrate public Mass. He may not provide spiritual direction, may not wear clerical attire and cannot function in any manner as a priest. He is to live in contemplation of his sins and pray for all of those affected by his conduct. Fr. Gaudreau was placed on administrative leave on September 23, 2012 for an allegation that was reported to have occurred in 2006 with a minor.

Having been found guilty he is forbidden from all public ministry and from otherwise presenting himself as a priest. He is expected to dedicate his life to praying for victims and repenting of his past offenses. In this way, the Church seeks even here to prevent any future abuse and to repair the injustice that has already taken place. (source USCCB).

Through its Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, the Archdiocese continues to make counseling and other services available to survivors, their families and parishes impacted by clergy sexual abuse and by allegations of abuse by members of the clergy. Cardinal Seán encourages any person in need of pastoral assistance or support to contact the Archdiocese’s Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach by calling 617-746-5985.

Former pastor of Lynn parish found guilty of abuse by church court

Boston Herald

September 10, 2020

By Marie Szaniszlo

The former pastor of a Lynn parish has been found guilty of child abuse by a Roman Catholic judicial court and sentenced to “a life of prayer and penance,” the Boston Archdiocese said Thursday.

The Rev. James Gaudreau, former pastor of St. Joseph parish, is not permitted to exercise any public ministry or celebrate public Mass. He may not provide spiritual direction, may not wear clerical attire and cannot function in any manner as a priest, according to the archdiocese.

“He is to live in contemplation of his sins and pray for all of those affected by his conduct,” said Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Gaudreau, 77, was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 23, 2012, for an allegation that was reported to have occurred in 2006 with a minor.

The Archdiocese immediately notified police, Donilon said, but there was no prosecution, and no civil lawsuits were filed.

Vatican bars former Catholic priest in Lynn from active ministry; accused of sexual abuse in 2012

Boston Globe

September 10, 2020

By Travis Andersen

A former longtime priest at a Catholic church in Lynn who’d been accused in 2012 of sexually abusing a child has been banned from exercising “any public ministry” and sentenced by church authorities to a life of prayer and penance, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

In a statement, the archdiocese identified the priest as Rev. James E. Gaudreau and said he’s “not permitted to exercise any public ministry, including not being allowed to celebrate public Mass. He may not provide spiritual direction, may not wear clerical attire and cannot function in any manner as a priest. He is to live in contemplation of his sins and pray for all of those affected by his conduct.”

The allegations against Gaudreau had surfaced in 2012, when the cleric was accused of molesting a child in 2006. But the following year, the Essex district attorney’s office declined to file criminal charges.

Gaudreau had said in a statement shortly after that decision that his “conscience was always clear.” He said he "knew that I was innocent of any wrongdoing. I was also confident that, in time, I would be thoroughly exonerated.”

The district attorney’s office didn’t comment at the time on the reason for declining to file charges. The archdiocese continued its own probe.

On Thursday, Terry Donilon, a spokesman for the Boston archdiocese, said Gaudreau’s case was ultimately heard and adjudicated by the Diocese of Brooklyn. The Vatican decides where such cases will be heard for a variety of reasons such as conflicts of interest or caseloads, Donilon said.

He wrote in an email that Gaudreau’s appeal was “heard and denied by the Vatican Dicastery of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith who oversee sexual abuse of minor matters.”

September 10, 2020

New laws in Queensland mean priests no longer protected by seal of confession

The Guardian from Australian Associated Press

September 9, 2020

Queensland priests now face jail for failing to report cases of child sexual abuse as other Australian states debate similar proposals

A new law in Queensland stipulates priest must report to police cases of child sexual abuse revealed during confession.

Priests in Queensland will no longer be protected by the seal of confession and must report cases of child abuse or face criminal charges.

State parliament rejected protests from the Catholic church to pass new laws on Tuesday.

Other states continue to debate similar proposals, and in several jurisdictions clergy remain exempt from prosecution for failing to report child sexual abuse.

“[The Queensland laws] create a new offence of failing to report and failing to protect a child from institutional child sexual abuse,” Queensland justice minister, Yvette D’Ath, said.

“The new laws also clarify that priests will not be able to rely on the seal of confession to avoid the reporting of abuse.”

Brisbane’s Catholic Archbishop, Mark Coleridge, had protested that the laws would fail to make children safer.

Global missionary efforts have taken a hit in the time of coronavirus

Religion News Service

September 9, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

Vatican City - In a world marked by religious persecution and mounting secularism, being a missionary priest has never been easy.

Add closed frontiers and social distancing caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the already tough job may seem impossible. But according to one missionary, Salesian priest Martin Lasarte, there is opportunity beyond the challenges.

“Being a missionary priest has always been hard, and it will forever be,” Lasarte told reporters during an online meeting Monday (Sept. 7).

“But in the various dark moments in history, the Lord always found a way,” he added.

Like many priests coming to terms with the declining state of religion in the west, Lasarte finds comfort in the “few, but good” approach.

This is the not the first time the Catholic priest attempted to switch the narrative amid a global crisis. In 2017, he wrote a letter to The New York Times that, while commending the publication for shedding light on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, asked that reporters also take an interest in the positive work done by priests and laypeople.

Newark archdiocese bought second beach house for use by McCarrick

Catholic News Agency

September 9, 2020

Months before officials in the Archdiocese of Newark sold a beach house used by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick for sexual abuse and coercion, the archdiocese bought a second beach house on the Jersey Shore, at which McCarrick reportedly hosted friends and courted donors.

The second beach house, according to an investigative report from northjersey.com, was purchased in 1997 by the Newark archdiocese from the neighboring Diocese of Metuchen. The house was located in Brick, New Jersey, on Barnegat Bay.

The archdiocese bought that home four months before it sold the Sea Girt, New Jersey beach house which McCarrick was alleged to have used for sexual abuse and coercion since the 1980s.

Both homes were owned by the Diocese of Metuchen, which McCarrick led as a bishop from 1981 to 1986, before they were purchased by the Archdiocese of Newark, which McCarrick led from 1986 to 2000.

The Sea Girt house was purchased by the Metuchen diocese in 1985, and sold to the Newark archdiocese in 1988.

The Brick house was purchased in 1987 by a Metuchen priest, Msgr. Francis Crine, and Walter Uzenski, principal of the school at Crine’s parish. Crine died in 1989, and Uzenski gave the house to St. James Parish in Woodbridge, NJ, to settle an unspecified debt of Crine's. In 1994, the parish transferred the property to the diocese, northjersey.com reported.

It is not clear what debt Crine owed to the parish.

Crine was a Metuchen chancery official during McCarrick’s tenure in Newark. He was also pastor of St. James Parish during a period in which at least three priests were assigned to the parish who eventually faced allegations of sexual abuse, misconduct, and theft.

Gucci Heir Alleges Child Sexual Abuse

New York Times

September 9, 2020

By Vanessa Friedman

For the last five years, the name Gucci has been synonymous with success, with a fashion reinvention that has helped redirect the luxury industry toward inclusivity, emotion and the importance of creativity. The family that created the brand has a more complicated, darker past, one involving tax evasion, generational feuds and murder. This week, another charge will be added to that list.

On Tuesday, Alexandra Zarini, the 35-year-old granddaughter of Aldo Gucci, the man responsible for transforming an artisanal leather goods house into a global behemoth, filed suit in the California Superior Court in Los Angeles. In it, she describes years of sexual abuse from her former stepfather, Joseph Ruffalo, and complicity and a cover-up on the part of her mother, Patricia Gucci, and grandmother, Bruna Palombo.

According to the court documents, Mr. Ruffalo, a music manager who worked with Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire, began abusing Ms. Zarini when she was about six years old and continued until she was about 22. In her lawsuit she describes him regularly climbing naked into bed with her when she was a child and teenager and fondling her breasts and genitals; flashing his genitals at her; and rubbing his penis against her body.

The lawsuit also claims that her mother, Patricia Gucci, and her grandmother knew of the abuse for years and that her mother not only helped groom her for Mr. Ruffalo’s advances by allowing him to videotape her naked in the bath but also regularly hit her. In addition, the suit states that both women threatened her so that she would remain quiet.

Priest accused of child sex abuse was allowed at Minnesota Catholic music camp

Star Tribune

September 9, 2020

By Jean Hopfensperger

Fallout continues from abuse reports against renowned composer David Haas.

Isaac Henson was monitoring recent reports of sexual misconduct by Twin Cities Catholic music composer David Haas when he ran across disturbing information about an adult leader at the summer music program run by Haas at St. Catherine University.

A retired priest who was a regular at the weeklong program, George DeCosta, had been sued by at least six men for alleged child sexual abuse in his home state of Hawaii, Henson learned, with the first lawsuit filed in 2012. An attorney for the men said five of the cases have been settled.

“I distinctly remember [DeCosta] at morning prayer, evening prayer, sitting up front,” said Henson, who attended the Music Ministry Alive (MMA) program as a high school student from 2015 to 2017. “How was that allowed to happen?”

Henson is among 113 former MMA participants, parents and team leaders who have sent a petition to St. Catherine’s, seeking “transparency and accountability” for Haas’ alleged behavior and DeCosta’s presence in the program held on its campus in St. Paul. They’re also seeking explanations from Music Ministry Alive, which drew more than 2,200 students from 1999 to 2017.

2 new sex abuse suits filed against Metuchen Diocese include clerics not accused before

Bridgewater Courier News

September 9, 2020

By Nick Muscavage

Two lawsuits filed against the Catholic Church on Wednesday include allegations of sexual abuse against two clerics — including a brother who worked at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen.

The suits, brought under the New Jersey Child Sexual Abuse Act and New Jersey Victims’ Rights Bill, allege abuse by Brother Regis Moccia and the Rev. Patrick H. Barrett, both who had not been publicly accused of abuse before Wednesday.

One lawsuit alleges that Moccia, a member of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, sexually abused a 13- to 14-year-old from approximately 1994 to 1995 while the plaintiff was a student at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, a school in the Diocese of Metuchen staffed by the religious order.

The other lawsuit alleges that Barrett sexually abused a minor parishioner at St. Anthony of Padua Church in the Port Reading section of Woodbridge from approximately 1983 to 1984 when the plaintiff was 9 to 10 years old.

DCI investigating allegation that priest abused child in Faith

Rapid City Journal

September 9, 2020

By Arielle Zionts

The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating an allegation that a Rapid City-based priest sexually abused a child in Faith in the early 1980s, according to the Meade County State’s Attorney.

States’s Attorney Michele Bordewyk said the Diocese of Rapid City contacted her office about the allegation against Father Michel Mulloy when he was working in Faith. She said she referred the case to DCI, which is under the Office of the Attorney General.

Bordewyk said her office would handle the prosecution if DCI discovered evidence of a crime within the statute of limitations.

Bishop Peter Muhich said he referred the allegation to the Office of the Attorney General. That office confirmed it received the allegation but would not comment on whether DCI opened an investigation.

September 9, 2020

Canberra's Damian De Marco has helped expose years of sexual abuses by Catholic Church paedophiles

Canberra Times

September 9, 2020

By Peter Brewer

It was purely coincidence but the timing of National Child Protection Week and a warm spring day couldn't be more appropriate for tireless campaigner Damian De Marco to be conferred with his Member of the Order of Australia.

The AM award presented on Tuesday by Governor General David Hurley is the latest of many which have been delivered to Mr De Marco for his unstinting efforts over decades to expose the sexual abuse of children under the care of the Catholic Church.

The former Marist College Canberra student and the 2015 ACT Local Hero bravely faced the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse six years ago, eschewing anonymity in doing so.

It was his crucial evidence which helped build the compelling case against former Canberra Marist Brother and proven paedophile Kostka Chute.

Last year 87-year-old Chute faced 16 charges, including 14 counts of indecent assault of a minor, one charge of buggery without consent and one charge of an act of indecency with a minor.

Chute was found unfit to plead on medical grounds and escaped imprisonment.

Report abuse learned in confession or go to jail, says Australian state

Catholic News Service via Catholic San Francisco

September 8, 2020

Brisbane, Australia – A new law requires priests in the state of Queensland to break the seal of confession to report child sex abuse to police or face three years in jail.

The law was passed by Queensland Parliament Sept. 8. It had support from both major parties and was opposed by the Catholic Church.

One Queensland prelate, Bishop Tim Harris of Townsville, tweeted a link to a story on the passage of the new law and said, "Catholic priests cannot break the seal of confession."

The new law was a response to recommendations from the Royal Commission Into Child Sexual Abuse, which uncovered and documented the tragic history of abuses in religious and secular organizations, including Catholic-run schools and orphanages across the country. South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have already enacted similar laws.

Statement regarding the resignation of Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy

Diocese of Duluth

September 7, 2020

By Fr. James B. Bissonette

Father James B. Bissonette, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Duluth, has issued the following statement:

I have learned that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has accepted the resignation of Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy. Sadly, that notification was accompanied by an announcement from the Diocese of Rapid City of an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor made against Father Mulloy as a priest of that diocese. We grieve with all who have suffered sexual abuse and their loved ones. I ask you to pray for the person who has come forward with this accusation, for Father Mulloy, for the faithful of our diocese, and for all affected. We place our hope and trust in God’s providence as we await, again, the appointment of our next bishop.

Father Mulloy was to be ordained and installed as Bishop of Duluth on Oct. 1. Father Bissonette will continue to serve as diocesan administrator until the Holy Father appoints a new bishop for the diocese.

Bishop-elect of Duluth resigns following sexual abuse allegation

America Magazine

September 7, 2020

By Gerard O’Connell

Pope Francis has today accepted the resignation of Michel Mulloy, the bishop elect of Duluth following an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor and a subsequent investigation.

The Vatican announced the resignation at midday today without mentioning the abuse allegation.

The explanation for the allegation came soon after in a statement issued by Bishop Peter Muhich of Rapid City, the diocese where Father Mulloy had been a priest at the time of his episcopal appointment on June 19. Before his recent appointment as bishop of Rapid City, Bishop Muhich had worked as a pastor in Duluth.

Pope accepts resignation of bishop-designate of Duluth, following accusation

Catholic News Service via Crux

September 7, 2020

By Carol Zimmermann

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Father Michel J. Mulloy — who had been appointed but not installed as bishop of Duluth, Minnesota — after an allegation of sexual abuse was raised against him from the 1980s when he was a priest in South Dakota.

The installation, which was announced June 19, was scheduled to take place Oct. 1.

The resignation was announced in Washington Sept. 7 by Msgr. Dennis Kuruppassery, representing Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father James Bissonette, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Duluth — who will continue this role until the appointment of a new bishop — said the resignation announcement was accompanied by a notification from the Diocese of Rapid City of “an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor made against Father Mulloy as a priest of that diocese.”

Suspended Detroit priest sues fellow priest in abuse case: I had no choice

Detroit Free Press

September 8, 2020

By Tresa Baldas

To clear his name, Father Eduard Perrone is treading on sacred ground in the Catholic Church: he’s suing a fellow priest.

Perrone maintains he has no choice.

The 72-year-old priest says he lost his job temporarily over false molestation claims. And the man behind it all, he alleges, is Monsignor G. Michael Bugarin, the latest target in Perrone’s 14-month-old legal battle to get his job back at Detroit’s Assumption Grotto, where he was removed last year over allegations he molested an altar boy 40 years ago.

In what is believed to be a first for the Archdiocese of Detroit, Perrone is suing Bugarin for defamation, alleging his “removal and public humiliation were orchestrated” by Bugarin, who, he claims, fabricated a rape claim against him in 2019 that led to his temporary ouster.

“He was very reluctant to do that. It was very hard. In many ways, this is a band of brothers that are expected to stand through trials and tribulations together in the world,” said Christopher Kolomjec, one of Perrone’s lawyers in the case. “For one priest to sue a monsignor, who is supposed to be a higher level priest, is unprecedented.”

“But there is something worse than suing a brother priest,” Kolomjec added, “and that’s framing a brother priest for a sex crime.”

Bugarin, also pastor at St. Joan of Arc in St. Clair Shores, is the person in charge of overseeing clergy abuse complaints for the Detroit archdiocese. Perrone’s lawsuit against him comes two weeks after Perrone settled another defamation lawsuit against a Macomb County detective who investigated him in the abuse case — a lawsuit that ended last month with a $125,000 cash settlement for Perrone.

Ex-Cardinal McCarrick had second beach house linked to mysterious debt and unusual history

The Record and NorthJersey.com

September 8, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

Even as Vatican officials pressured former Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick to sell a Sea Girt home in the late 1990s after allegations that he sexually harassed seminarians on overnight trips there, the archdiocese was securing yet another shore home for McCarrick in an even grander location — on a spit of land in Brick Township that juts out into Barnegat Bay.

The second home, never before disclosed to the public, allowed McCarrick to flout the Vatican’s efforts to restrain his lifestyle as he continued his rise through the American church hierarchy. The home came into the archdiocese's hands after a long and tangled chain of ownership involving a local pastor who owed a large debt to his parish in the Metuchen Diocese, a demand by the diocese to have the pastor’s heir hand over the home to cover the debt, and the ultimate transfer of the home to the Newark Archdiocese.

A lengthy review of decades-old deeds, wills, death certificates and other documents by The Record and NorthJersey.com, as well as interviews with former top McCarrick aides and others familiar with the second beach house at Curtis Point on a Jersey Shore barrier island, reveals that:

• Monsignor Francis Crine, a former pastor at St. James Church in Woodbridge, who co-owned the Curtis Point house as well as a boat and a condo in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, owed a mysterious, unexplained debt totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars to the parish.

• In 1989, when Crine died, the Metuchen Diocese pressured Walter Uszenski, the parish school principal who had co-owned the home and inherited Crine’s share, to transfer the house to the parish for a sale price of $685,000 to cover the debt. No money apparently changed hands.

• The parish subsequently sold the house to the Metuchen Diocese for $1.

• A few years later, the Metuchen Diocese sold the home to the Newark Archdiocese.

• While pastor at St. James, Crine had also served in a top post under McCarrick in the Metuchen Diocese before McCarrick moved on to head the Newark Archdiocese.

• During Crine’s time as St. James pastor, priests assigned to the parish included some who were later accused of child sex abuse there and in other parishes, as well as a priest who was later charged with stealing $500,000 from a parish where he became pastor.

• One former St. James parishioner who accused a priest of abusing him said Crine had to have known that the priest was inviting boys into the rectory for overnight stays to smoke and drink beer.

A timeline of events involving two Jersey Shore homes used by Newark Archbishop McCarrick

The Record and NorthJersey.com

September 8, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

Below is a timeline of events involving the two Jersey Shore homes to which Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had access while he was archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese. McCarrick was named the first bishop of the Metuchen Diocese in 1981, and became Newark's leader in 1986. He moved on to lead the Washington, D.C., Archdiocese in 2001. In 2019, he became the first American cardinal to be defrocked after allegations surfaced that he sexually abused children.

November 19, 1981 — Theodore McCarrick, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York, is installed as the first bishop of the newly created Metuchen Diocese.

January 3, 1985 — The Metuchen Diocese purchases a home on Baltimore Boulevard in Sea Girt for $180,000.

July 25, 1986 — McCarrick is installed as the archbishop of Newark.

August 26, 1987 — Monsignor Francis Crine, who had worked for McCarrick as his director of personnel in the Metuchen Diocese and was pastor of St. James parish in Woodbridge, purchases a home on Curtis Point overlooking Barnegat Bay in Brick Township for $562,500. He owns two-thirds of the home, on Squan Beach Drive. The other third is owned by Walter Uszenski, the principal of the St. James parish school.

[Photo caption:] 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.

January 29, 1988 — The Metuchen Diocese sells the Sea Girt home to the Newark Archdiocese for $275,000. 

Late 1980s — At least two seminary professors raise an alarm with superiors about McCarrick after seminarians allege the prelate sexually harassed them at the Sea Girt home, watching while they undressed and sharing a bed with them.

September 8, 2020

Pa. court to review diocese lawsuit

Altoona Mirror

September 8, 2020

By Phil Ray

Local woman’s complaint claims church committed civil fraud by covering up abuse

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear arguments in October on an Altoona woman’s attempt to redefine the statute of limitations as it applies to her 2016 sexual abuse lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Renee Rice, 52, has sued the diocese, contending she was a child victim of sexual abuse committed by a priest at the former St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Altoona.

The incidents of abuse, Rice alleges, occurred when she was between the ages of 9 and 14, but her lawsuit was not filed until 2016, subsequent to a statewide grand jury report that accused the diocese of intentionally covering up child sexual abuse cases for decades.

Rice’s lawsuit was dismissed by now Senior Judge Jolene G. Kopriva of Blair County, who ruled the case was governed by a two-year statute of limitations, meaning that Rice should have filed her lawsuit by 1980, when she was 20 years old.

However, Rice’s Altoona attorney, Richard Serbin, appealed the local ruling to the state Superior Court, arguing that the church had committed civil fraud by knowingly covering up cases of child sexual abuse.

Holy See upholds confessional seal in response to Australian royal commission

Catholic News Agency

September 6, 2020

The Australian bishops have provided the federal government with the Holy See’s observations on 12 recommendations of a 2017 report on child sex abuse in the country's institutions.

In response to a recommendation regarding the seal of confession and absolution, the Holy See reiterated the inviolability of the seal and that absolution cannot be conditioned on future actions in the external forum.

“The Holy See affirms once more its resolute determination to confront and eradicate the abuse of minors and vulnerable persons, wherever it may occur in the Church,” read the Holy See's observations, which were enclosed in a letter of Feb. 26.

The Holy See’s observations were conveyed to the Australian bishops’ conference, which in turn sent them to the Attorney-General for Australia, and referred to in a Sept. 4 statement from the conference.

“The Pope has sought to promote reform and vigilance at all levels within the Church and to encourage the efforts of local Churches in the same direction. That commitment has led to the adoption … of a wide range of measures, designed to ensure a proper response to such cases, including at the canonical level, as well as encouraging cooperation with civil authorities,” the observations note.

Observations of the Holy See

Holy See

Released September 6, 2020; dated February 26, 2020

With reference to the Response of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference and Catholic Religious Australia to the Final Report of the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, published in August 2018, the Holy See affirms once more its resolute determination to confront and eradicate the abuse of minors and vulnerable persons, wherever it may occur in the Church. The Pope has sought to promote reform and vigilance at all levels within the Church and to encourage the efforts of local Churches in the same direction. That commitment has led to the adoption, both by the Holy See and by Dioceses, Episcopal Conferences and Religious Institutes of a wide range of measures, designed to ensure a proper response to such cases, including at the canonical level, as well as encouraging cooperation with civil authorities, both domestic and international.

In that spirit, the Holy See wishes to offer the following observations on a number of recommendations of the above-mentioned Final Report. For ease of reference, each of the recommendations in question is reproduced below, followed by the relevant observations, which have been kept as concise as possible.


Recommendation 16.26

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should consult with the Holy See, and make public any advice received, in order to clarify whether:

a. information received from a child during the sacrament of reconciliation that they have been sexually abused is covered by the seal of confession

b. if a person confesses during the sacrament of reconciliation to perpetrating child sexual abuse, absolution can and should be withheld until they report themselves to civil authorities.

With its Note on the importance of the internal forum and the inviolability of the sacramental seal, published on 29 June 2019, the Apostolic Penitentiary has furnished useful indications for arriving at a considered response to the questions raised in the present recommendation. It will be recognised at once that the question of the confessional seal is one of great delicacy and that it is related intimately with a most sacred treasure of the Church's life, that is to say, with the sacraments.

The aforementioned Note repeats the constant tradition of the Church with regard to the seal of confession, recalling that: "The confessor is never allowed, for any reason whatsoever, 'to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner' (can. 983, §1), just as 'a confessor is prohibited completely from using knowledge acquired from confession to the detriment of the penitent even when any danger of revelation is excluded' (can. 984, §1)." The Note helpfully clarifies the extent of the seal, which includes: "all the sins of both the penitent and others known from the penitent’s confession, both mortal and venial, both occult and public, as manifested with regard to absolution and therefore known to the confessor by virtue of sacramental knowledge." The Note gives expression to the long-standing and constant teaching of the Church on the inviolability of the sacramental seal, as something demanded by the nature of the sacrament itself and thus as deriving from Divine Law. See for example: Fourth Lateran Ecumenical Council (1215), Cost. 21; Pope Clement VIII, Decr. Ad omnes superiores regulares (1593); Decr. S. Officii (1682); Pope Benedict XIV, Breve Suprema omnium ecclesiarum (1745).

However, even if the priest is bound to scrupulously uphold the seal of the confessional, he certainly may, and indeed in certain cases should, encourage a victim to seek help outside the confessional or, when appropriate, to report an instance of abuse to the authorities.

Queensland passes law to jail priests for not reporting confessions of child sexual abuse

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

September 8, 2020

By Allyson Horn

Priests in Queensland will now be compelled to break the seal of confession to report child sexual abuse or face three years in jail.

The legislation means religious institutions and their members are no longer able to use the sanctity of confessional as a defence or excuse in child sex abuse matters.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the laws would ensure better protection for vulnerable children.

"The requirement and quite frankly the moral obligation to report concerning behaviours towards children applies to everyone everyone in this community," he said.

Statement of the Diocese of Rapid City on the resignation of Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy

Diocese of Rapid City

September 7, 2020

Today the Holy See announced that Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy, who was appointed the Bishop of Duluth on June 19, 2020. Subsequent to that appointment, on August 7, 2020, the Diocese of Rapid City received notification of an allegation against Father Mulloy of sexual abuse of a minor in the early 1980’s. The Diocese of Rapid City has no other allegations of sexual abuse involving Father Mulloy.

Following the established procedure, Bishop Peter Muhich, Bishop of Rapid City, informed law enforcement of this development. Fr. Mulloy was directed to refrain from engaging in ministry. The Diocese then commissioned an independent investigation to determine whether the allegation warranted further investigation under Canon Law. When that investigation concluded, the results were shared with the Rapid City Diocesan Review Board, a lay-majority interdisciplinary body, in accordance with the standard of Canon Law and the policies of the Diocese of Rapid City. The Review Board agreed with the investigation’s conclusion that the accusation met the standard of Canon Law for further investigation and conclusion and the Holy See was informed by Bishop Muhich. Fr. Mulloy received a summary of the specific allegation against him and submitted his resignation as Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Duluth to the Holy Father, which has been accepted.

The Apostolic Nunciature has communicated that Msgr. James Bissonnette will continue to serve the Diocese of Duluth as Diocesan Administrator, until the appointment of a new Bishop.

Priest tapped as Duluth, Minnesota bishop resigns amid probe

Associated Press

September 7, 2020

A priest recently tapped by Pope Francis to become a bishop for a northern Minnesota diocese has resigned after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor in the 1980s surfaced before he could take up his post.

The Vatican announced Monday that Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy, whom the pope named in June to head the Duluth diocese. Mulloy was supposed to be elevated to bishop’s rank in an Oct. 1 ceremony in Duluth. The Vatican did not provide details.

At the time of his appointment, Mulloy was serving as diocesan administrator in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Diocese of Rapid City said in a statement that it received the allegation last month and that it dates back to the 1980s. It said there have been no additional allegations of abuse involving Mulloy.

The Associated Press left a message seeking comment Monday at Mulloy’s office in the Rapid City diocese.

It is highly unusual for a priest who has been selected to be a bishop to resign before that can happen. But the development underlines the pontiff’s oft-stated resolve to crack down on predator priests as well as insist that any allegation of sexual abuse be promptly investigated.

The Rapid City diocese said Bishop Peter Muhich informed law enforcement of the development and that Mulloy was “directed to refrain from engaging in ministry.”

“The diocese then commissioned an independent investigation to determine whether the allegation warranted further investigation under Cannon (church) Law,″ the Rapid City diocese statement said. The review found that ”the accusation met the standard for further investigation and conclusion and the Holy See was informed” by Muhich.

The Rapid City diocese said Mulloy received a summary of the specific allegation and submitted his resignation as bishop-elect to the pope.

Bishop-Elect Resigns After Being Accused of Sexually Abusing a Minor

New York Times

September 7, 2020

By Neil Vigdor

Father Michel J. Mulloy was chosen by Pope Francis to lead the Diocese of Duluth, Minn., but then an allegation from the 1980s surfaced, church officials said.

Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of a priest whom he had chosen to become the bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese in Duluth, Minn., after a nearly 40-year-old allegation of sexual abuse of a minor emerged against the clergyman, church officials said.

The priest, Father Michel J. Mulloy, 67, had been scheduled to be installed on Oct. 1 as the bishop of the diocese, which estimated that it serves about 56,000 Catholics at 92 parishes in northeastern Minnesota.

But a little more than two weeks after his June 19 appointment by the pope, the Diocese of Rapid City in South Dakota, where Father Mulloy had been serving as diocesan administrator, was alerted about a sexual abuse allegation against him from the 1980s, church officials said.

The bishop-elect’s resignation came after the Vatican in July told bishops around the world to report cases of clerical sex abuse to the civil authorities, part of an ongoing and contentious effort by Francis to confront a blight on the Catholic Church.

September 7, 2020

Duluth Bishop-Elect resigns amid sexual abuse allegation


September 7, 2020

By Ryan Haff

Duluth - Officials with the Diocese of Duluth announced Monday morning Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy has officially resigned following an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor.

A notification was accompanied by an announcement from the Diocese of Rapid City of an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor made against Father Mulloy as a priest of that diocese.

Pope Francis originally appointed Father Mulloy to the position back in June 2020 after Bishop Paul Sirba died unexpectedly in December 2019.

Mulloy was to be ordained and installed as Bishop of Duluth on October 1.

Father James B. Bissonette, the Diocesan Administrator for the Diocese of Duluth, released the following statement Monday morning:

"We grieve with all who have suffered sexual abuse and their loved ones. I ask you to pray for the person who has come forward with this accusation, for Father Mulloy, for the faithful of our diocese, and for all affected. We place our hope and trust in God’s providence as we await, again, the appointment of our next bishop."

Father Bissonette will continue to serve as Diocesan Administrator until Pope Francis appoints a new bishop. It is unclear how long this process will take.

Catholic institutions try, but don't always succeed, to weed out would-be offenders

Toledo Blade

September 6, 2020

By Nicki Gorny

When the Rev. Phil Smith stepped into his role as director of the Office for Priestly Vocations in the Diocese of Toledo, he was told that “the most important work I'll do in this position is not the men I'll bring into the seminary, but the men I’ll keep out.”

“So the most important contribution I’ll make to the life of the church will be keeping out men who are not fit for the priesthood,” Father Smith continued.

Now in his fourth year in the role, he understands the sentiment.

“I think that’s really true,” he said.

Catholic institutions across the country employ a particular discretion as to whom they ordain as clergy, subjecting seminary applicants to psychological assessments and continuing to almost constantly evaluate their suitability through up to nine years of seminary formation. Father Smith said that’s true of the Diocese of Toledo, too, as well as the various seminaries where it enrolls its candidates for the priesthood.

While such measures offer a holistic look at would-be clergyman, who might be well or ill suited to the priesthood for any number of reasons, they’re one notable way that institutions attempt to weed out men whom they suspect could one day be sexually abusive – an issue that the faith tradition has been battling in a particular public way since at least 2002.

The Diocese of Toledo just last month saw the arrest of the Rev. Michael Zacharias, the former pastor of Findlay's St. Michael the Archangel Parish. Federal authorities have accused him of grooming and sexually abusing two men that he met when he was a seminarian and they were students at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Toledo in the 1990s.

Priest sues Omaha Archdiocese for $2.1 million


September 3, 2020

[With link to lawsuit]

A former associate priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in West Point is suing the Archdiocese of Omaha for $2.1 million, claiming the church unjustly forced him to resign and tarnished his image by publicizing that he had acted improperly with young adults and minors when he says he did nothing wrong nor was ever prosecuted or convicted of any crimes.

Father Andrew Syring resigned from his position in 2018 and was never given another position within the church.

In a court filing, Syring also says the Archdiocese unjustly put him on a list of priests who committed criminal sexual misconduct.

Priest added to list of Albany diocese abusers after decades of allegations

Times Union

September 7, 2020

By Edward McKinley

Diocese says addition of Daniel J. Maher to list of offenders was meant to be publicized

Three new cases alleging child abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany were filed this past week - including one involving a priest who in August was put on the diocese's list of offenders after years of allegations against him.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday says that former Albany Diocese priest Daniel J. Maher and now deceased former priest Donald Starks each abused the plaintiff when he was 11 to 13 years old from 1966 to 1968 when he was an altar boy. The two men began by touching him inappropriately and subsequently forced the young boy to have oral sex with them, the suit alleges, including in the rectory of St. Francis de Sales church in Colonie.

The priests told the boy that the abuse was “'our secret,’ or something ‘between us and God,’ which would be ‘wrong to tell anybody,’” the lawsuit says.

From 2003 to 2007, multiple people came forward with stories of child abuse at the hands of Maher, the lawsuit notes, but the diocese threw out the allegations after an internal investigation through their Diocesan Review Board process and allowed Maher to continue as an active priest.

September 6, 2020

Priest accused of sex with teen suspended from his duties

Times of Malta

September 5, 2020

By Matthew Xuereb

Teen says she has been in relationship with 40-year-old since she was 15

A priest who appeared in court last Thursday over a sexual relationship he was allegedly having with a teenage girl has been suspended from his duties, according to a spokesman for the church.

The priest must refrain from public ministry while criminal process against him is ongoing, the spokesman for the church’s Safeguarding Commission told Times of Malta.

This means that he cannot celebrate Mass or administer any of the sacraments in the community.

“The Safeguarding Commission will continue to follow the case to ensure that the necessary action is taken, as it has been doing, to safeguard all parties,” he said.

Vatican tells Australian Church that seal of confession not up for debate


September 5, 2020

By Charles Collins

Although reaffirming the principle that the seal of confession can never be violated, the Vatican has told Church leaders in Australia that victims of sexual abuse should be encouraged to report abuse to the proper authorities.

Recognizing the question of the seal of confession “is one of great delicacy and that it is related intimately with a most sacred treasure of the Church’s life, that is to say, with the sacraments,” the Vatican said “the confessional provides an opportunity – perhaps the only one – for those who have committed sexual abuse to admit to the fact.”

The comments came in a series of “observations” to the August 2018 response of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Catholic Religious Australia to the Final Report of the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, published in December 2017.

Abuse survivors call trusts ‘fraudulent'

Albuquerque Journal

September 5, 2020

By Colleen Heild

Survivors of clergy sexual abuse are seeking permission from a federal bankruptcy judge to file lawsuits alleging the Archdiocese of Santa Fe engaged in a “massive and fraudulent” scheme to divert up to $246 million in assets to avoid bigger payouts to hundreds of victims.

The request comes as efforts to mediate a resolution have stalled in the 18-month-old Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization of the state’s largest Catholic archdiocese.

“Rather than fulfilling its fiduciary duty to maximize the assets of the estate for the benefit of creditors, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s primary goal is to protect the asset protection scheme it designed and implemented to put its assets out of the reach of the Survivors,” victims’ lawyers said in a court filing.

Madison Catholic Diocese criticized for response to misconduct allegations against composer


September 5, 2020

By Tamia Fowlkes


The Catholic Diocese of Madison is facing criticism for its response to accusations of sexual abuse against David Haas, a prominent Minneapolis-based Catholic composer, best known for songs such as “You Are Mine” and “Blest Are They.”

Nearly 40 women from across the country have accused Haas of sexual misconduct, including forced kissing, unwanted touching and online messaging during large public events in which he led youth education.

Haas is accused of repeatedly harassing young women, some as young as 13, at events such as Music Ministry Alive and Religious Education Congress. Allegations against Haas have been collected and continue to emerge through a system where victims can report abuse by Catholic leaders called IntoAccount.

Child abuse: The Irish victims still battling the state

BBC News

September 6, 2020

John Boland was 45 years old, married with grown up children, when a "dark secret" he had kept for almost four decades was suddenly exposed.

His name had been found on a 1960s attendance register from a school where many young boys were abused on a daily basis by their teenage teacher.

John was among 19 known victims at Creagh Lane school in Limerick.

But he had told no-one of the abuse he suffered, not even his wife, until Gardaí (Irish police) contacted him out of the blue, asking for a statement.

John says his wife was "shocked" by the revelation.

"We went though a terrible time," he says, recalling how he had to tell his family he was regularly molested between the ages of six and seven.

Pope: Gossiping is “plague worse than COVID”

Associated Press

September 6, 2020

Pope Francis said Sunday that gossiping is a “plague worse than COVID” that is seeking to divide the Catholic Church.

Francis strayed from his prepared text to double down on his frequent complaint about gossiping within church communities and even within the Vatican bureaucracy. Francis didn’t give specifics during his weekly blessing, but went on at some length to say the devil is the “biggest gossiper” who is seeking to divide the church with his lies.

“Please brothers and sisters, let’s try to not gossip,” he said. “Gossip is a plague worse than COVID. Worse. Let’s make a big effort: No gossiping!”

Francis’ comments came as he elaborated on a Gospel passage about the need to correct others privately when they do something wrong. The Catholic hierarchy has long relied on this “fraternal correction” among priests and bishops to correct them when they err without airing problems in public.

Survivors of sexual abuse have said this form of private reprimand has allowed abuse to fester in the church and let both predator priests and superiors who covered up for them escape punishment.

Rechazan recurso en una causa por abuso sexual eclesiástico

[Appeal rejected in ecclesiastical sexual abuse case]

El Ancasti

September 6, 2020

La Causa Contra Juan De Dios Gutiérrez, Más Cerca Del Juicio

[The Case Against Juan De Dios Gutiérrez, Closer To The Trial]

La defensa había presentado un recurso extraordinario. La Corte de Justicia no le hizo lugar.

[The defense had filed an extraordinary appeal. The Court of Justice did not allow it.]

Piden que no salga del país un cura denunciado por abuso sexual

[They ask that a priest reported for sexual abuse not leave the country]


September 3, 2020

ACUSADO POR EXALUMNA [Accused by former students]

La denuncia contra un cura por presuntos abusos en un colegio de La Plata avanzó los primeros pasos en los tribunales. El fiscal Alvaro Garganta pidió una prohibición de abandono del país para el sacerdote, reclamó al Arzobispado platense una copia del legajo del hombre bajo sospecha y puso fecha a la audiencia para que la víctima aporte su testimonio en la causa.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The complaint against a priest for alleged abuses in a La Plata school advanced the first steps in the courts. Prosecutor Alvaro Garganta asked for a ban on leaving the country for the priest, demanded a copy of the file of the man under suspicion from the Archdiocese of La Plata and set a date for the hearing for the victim to provide his testimony in the case.]

Abusi sessuali tra preti in Vaticano, lunedì la prima udienza in un tribunale diocesano tedesco sulla "lobby gay"

[Sexual abuse among priests in the Vatican: On Monday the first hearing in a German diocesan court on the "gay lobby"]

Il Messaggero

September 4, 2020

By Franca Giansoldati


Un monsignore tedesco che lavorava in Segreteria di Stato e alloggiava, fino a qualche anno fa a Santa Marta, considerato vicino alla cerchia dell'allora Benedetto XVI è accusato di violenza sessuale da un ex sacerdote (anch'egli tedesco).

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: A German monsignor who worked in the Secretariat of State and stayed, until a few years ago in Santa Marta, considered close to the circle of the then Benedict XVI, is accused of sexual violence by a former priest (also German).]

September 5, 2020

Group demands local diocese add new name to list of credibly accused abusers

The Daily Advertiser

September 4, 2020

By Dan Copp

A group that advocates for Catholic Church sex abuse victims is asking the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux to add a new name to its list of “credibly accused” priests.

On Aug. 18, Archbishop Gregory P. Aymond added the Rev. Henry Brian Highfill to the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ list of priests with credible accusations of child sexual abuse.

Now, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, is asking local Bishop Shelton Fabre to do the same.

Highfill, who now lives in Las Vegas, served at St. Frances de Sales in Houma in 1975, according to New Orleans SNAP leader Kevin Bourgeois. The 78-year-old priest has been accused of abusing children from 1975 to 1981.

Australia: Holy See responds to Royal Commission recommendations

Vatican News

September 4, 2020

Australia’s bishops comment on the observations made by the Holy See on recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to the Australian government.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has looked into the Holy See’s response to recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

A media release, published on their website, explains “the Royal Commission proposed that the Bishops Conference engage with the Holy See on those recommendations because they relate to universal Church law or practice”.

80 recommendations

Of the 80 recommendations proposed by the Royal Commission, 47 were accepted, 1 was not accepted, 13 were passed on to the Holy See, 1 is being taken into further consideration, 5 were accepted in principle, 12 are supported, and 1 is supported in principle. In response to all the accepted or supported recommendations, the response also states how they are already being implemented, that Church institutions will comply with any future legislation, or that standards are in development by Catholic Professional Standards Ltd.

Former Minister Has Child Sex Abuse Charges Dropped

Christianity Daily

September 4, 2020

By Scott Kang

On August 27, the Dallas County District Attorney's office moved to drop It's case against Matthew Tonne, a former associate children's minister at The Village Church.

In November 2018, Tonne was arrested and charged with having indecent sexual contact with an 11-year-old child. The office of the District Attorney claimed there was "a lack of probable cause," as the victim could not properly identify Tonne as the offender. J. Mitchell Little, the complainant's attorney and partner with Scheef & Stone LLP, stated, "Our client and her family are shocked and disgusted." Little made clear that the state was "sufficiently satisfied" with the identification of Tonne previously and that his client is "ready to identify" him. He will proceed with a civil lawsuit against The Village Church, demanding $1 million for emotional distress and gross negligenc

Hackers foiled in attempt to steal $90,000 from church abuse survivor in email compromise scam

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

September 5, 2020

By Airlie Ward

At 54, Steve Fisher thought he was finally about to realise his dream of home ownership when hackers robbed him of $90,000.

Mr Fisher had long thought he may not be able to buy a home in his lifetime.

After being abused as a young boy by an Anglican priest, the quest for justice took a toll

Mr Fisher faces a daily battle with PTSD, anxiety and depression.

This year, he reached a compensation settlement with the Anglican Church and planned to use that money to purchase a home in Tasmania's north-west.

Church sued for its alleged inaction and not interceding in its pastor's depravity

Texarkana Gazette

September 3, 2020

By Lynn LaRowe
Three women have filed a lawsuit stemming from abuse they suffered at the hands of a Texarkana, Arkansas, pastor who is now serving multiple life sentences for child sexual assault.

Aftesha Cooper, Deangela Lang and Stacy Jackson testified in late June and early July that Logan Wesley III, pastor of Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ in Texarkana, Arkansas, sexually abused them for years. At the end of Wesley's trial in Bowie County, Texas, a jury convicted him of all counts. He is currently serving five consecutive life sentences plus 220 years.

Texarkana lawyer David Carter and Dallas lawyer Neil Smith filed a civil lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Cooper, Lang and Jackson in Miller County, Arkansas, circuit court. Named as defendants in the suit are COGIC Inc. headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ in Texarkana, Arkansas, local missionary Barbara Stuckey of Texarkana, Arkansas, and Logan Wesley's wife, Cynthia Wesley, of Texarkana, Texas.

What will it take for police reform to work? The church’s abuse scandal offers some lessons.


September 4, 2020

By Kathleen McChesney

The nation was shocked this past spring by the video of a police officer in Minneapolis killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for several minutes. This accumulation of similar incidents of police misconduct have prompted calls for criminal justice reform and even “defunding” the police.

Shortly after the Floyd case, America’s John W. Miller identified “Six lessons for police reform from the Catholic Church.” Mr. Miller asked, “Is there anything to be gained by looking at the Catholic Church and how it has tried to better train and manage its priesthood, if not always successfully?”

The answer is a yes, but with some qualifications. The church has had some notable success in reducing the incidence of clerical misconduct. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reports that the number of new allegations of sexual abuse against minors and vulnerable adults has dropped significantly since the 1970s. Much of this reduction can be attributed to the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Developed and approved by the members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 at the height of the sexual abuse crisis, the “Dallas Charter” provides bishops and religious superiors with guidelines to prevent abuse, to respond to persons who have reported acts of abuse and to establish methods of accountability and transparency.

September 4, 2020

Activists call for review into alleged child sex abuser’s evasion of extradition

Jewish News

September 3, 2020

'It has been clear to practically everyone following this case that Malka Leifer has taken the Israeli judicial system for a major ride', said campaigner Manny Waks

Campaigners against child sexual abuse have called for a major review of how a Jewish former headteacher in Australia charged with 74 counts of indecent assault and rape had evaded extradition for more than a decade.

It follows a decision this week from the Supreme Court of Israel rejecting an appeal from Malka Leifer not to be expedited.

Leifer fled to Israel from Australia in 2008 just hours before she was due to be arrested for sexually assaulting students at her Orthodox Adass Israel girls’ school.

Priest charged with engaging in sexual activities with a minor

Times of Malta

September 3, 2020

By Matthew Xuereb

Claims he was blackmailed by girl, aged 15

A priest has claimed blackmail as he was charged with defiling a 15-year-old girl with whom he was having a sexual relationship for the past four years.

The 40-year-old priest, whose name cannot be published by court order, pleaded not guilty to engaging in sexual activities with the woman when she was still a minor. The sexual activities allegedly took place in June 2017 when the girl was still 15.

As he stood in court wearing a black suit and the priesthood's white collar, the priest pleaded not guilty to defiling the girl and to participating in sexual activities with her.

Priest who resigned sues archdiocese seeking damages

Norfolk Daily News

September 3, 2020

By Jerry Guenther

A Catholic priest who resigned from the Archdiocese of Omaha while in West Point after he was accused of misconduct with young adults and minors in Schuyler has sued the archdiocese.

The Rev. Andy Syring, who was a 41-year-old priest who had been assigned to St. Mary Catholic Church in West Point when he resigned in 2018, denied the allegations at the time and continues to do so.

Female priest accepts church's offer to help in rape allegation case


September 1, 2020

By Robin-Lee Francke

The Anglican Church’s Safe and Inclusive Church Commission’s offer to assist the female priest who has been vocal about her alleged rape by a fellow member of the cloth has been accepted.

The commission, known as Safe Church, was established in 2019 and includes gender activists who have been campaigning to root out abuse.

Reverend June Major, 51, has alleged that she was raped in 2002 at the Grahamstown seminary by a fellow priest and has accused the clergy of doing nothing about the crime.

On Tuesday she released a statement stating she would be accepting the help of Safe Church extended last month.

“I have decided to accept your invitation to participate in the Safe Church's process to investigate my allegations of rape and the Anglican Church’s role in protecting my rapist, who still ministers in the Diocese of Cape Town, resulting in my isolation and further traumatisation as a victim,” Major said.

She stated her reason for accepting the assistance was for justice to be served within the church, which operates in a country where rape and violence are prevalent.

Former Franciscan Cleric Arrested for Multiple Child Sex Crimes in WI and MS – Time for Federal Justice Officials to Investigate

St. Louis (MO)
SNAP Network

September 2, 2020

A former Franciscan brother whose sexual abuse of impoverished black children in Mississippi made national news last year has been arrested and charged in two states on multiple charges of child sex assault. According to the AP, West was first charged in Appleton, Wisconsin last month and was extradited Wednesday to Mississippi where he faces additional charges.

According to the criminal complaints and at least three of his victims, after sexually abusing them in Mississippi, West brought them to Wisconsin and New York state where he further assaulted them. Both West and his religious order, the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption, who are headquartered in Franklin, Wisconsin are also subject to a civil case filed in New York state. All the victims were students at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic grade school in the 1990’s, also known as a Catholic “mission school”, where West was principle when they were abused.

The arrest is particularly noteworthy for the disturbing evidence of racial bias in how the Franciscan Friars treated his victims when they reported him to church authorities. According to the AP, the current Provincial, Fr. James Gannon, not only required the victims to sign secrecy agreements in exchange for compensation – a clear violation of the US Bishops policy since 2002 – two of the victims were offered a paltry $15,000 each, far below the average compensation for non-black survivors. One victim was first offered $10,000 towards a used car. Gannon also appears to have deliberately misled victims as to the criminal statute of limitations, telling them that West could no longer be prosecuted for his crimes. During these conversations, none of the victims were represented by legal counsel.

Letter to Senator Lisa Murkowski from SNAP Leadership

SNAP Network

September 3, 2020

Dear Senator Murkowski:

We are leaders of SNAP, the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, an international non-profit organization that has spent the past thirty years advocating for survivors of clergy sexual abuse, working to prevent future cases of sexual violence, and exposing cases of institutional abuse. We are writing to you today regarding a concerning situation that involves your hometown and a serially abusive Catholic priest who was quietly sent there.

Fr. Gary Carr was sent to Ketchikan from Missouri and over the course of his career he also was shuffled at various times to New Mexico and Arizona. He is accused in multiple lawsuits in Missouri of sexually abusing children, and the diocese that he originally worked in has identified him as a credibly accused child abuser. In Ketchikan, Fr. Carr worked as the principal at Holy Name Catholic School, a position he held despite already having been accused of sexual abuse in the early 1990s.

Church Employee in Houston Arrested for Grooming and Abusing Young Teen

SNAP Network

September 3, 2020

An employee at a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Houston has been arrested on child sexual assault charges. We now call on Catholic officials in Houston to do outreach to parents and parishioners and to update their list of the credibly accused to include this staffer and all other lay employees in Houston that have hurt children or vulnerable adults.

Ronald See, an IT staffer at St. Anthony Padua Catholic Church and School in The Woodlands Township, TX, has been arrested for grooming and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl who was a family friend. While See did not find the victim through his position at St. Anthony Padua, it is possible that he could have had access to other children while working in the school and parish. It is critical that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo use every resource at his disposal to ensure parents and parishioners at St. Anthony’s are made aware of the story and that anyone who may have seen or suspected crimes by See or any other church employees are encouraged to come forward to law enforcement.

Falwell's foibles

Times Free Press

September 3, 2020

By Ron Hart

My great-grandfather was a Methodist minister with a sense of humor. His rural congregants loved him. When a parishioner suggested that he ask God for rain to relieve a drought, Great-Grandad told him he would but that he was in sales, not operations.

Today it seems that the era of the humble minister is long gone, replaced by televangelists and mega-church "charismatics" with big hair, hot wives and impossibly white smiles. They seem to be losing touch with those of their followers who are not zealots. Religion has been Swaggart-ed, Haggard-ed, Bakker-ed, Bishop Eddie Long-ed, pedophiled and, as a result, demeaned.

Sex scandals among the clergy seem all too common. This also explains where those Bibles left in all those hotel rooms come from.

Former Clymer priest arrested, accused in sexual assaults

Indiana Gazette

August 27, 2020

By Patrick Cloonan

Two priests who formerly served parishes in Indiana County are in the legal spotlight, one for being named in a Greensburg Catholic Diocese “Higher Standards” report, the other for charges of sexually abusing an altar boy for three years at a church in Fayette County.

On Wednesday state Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrest of Father Andrew M. Kawecki, 65, now of Greensburg, on charges that he sexually assaulted an altar boy multiple times at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church in Fairchance, Fayette County, starting in 2004 when the boy was 11, and lasting until the boy was 14.

Readers Speak Out: September 3, 2020

Catholic Register

September 3, 2020

Support for priest

In a recent edition The Catholic Register reported that Fr. Nino Cavoto, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Toronto, has been removed from ministry following the Archdiocese of Toronto receiving an allegation that he had abused a minor while serving at a parish in the New York archdiocese between 1979 and 1983.

This news undoubtedly came as a shock to the many who have known Fr. Cavoto as a good man and wonderful priest throughout his many years in ministry. Fr. Cavoto is grateful for the overwhelming support he has received since the announcement.

The removal from ministry was pursuant to the Toronto archdiocesan “Prodecure for Cases of Alleged Misconduct” which mandates immediate removal and in advance of the commencement of the investigation to follow.

B.C. priest 'should have been stopped,' sex abuse victim says


Updated September 1, 2020 [Note: This is an updated version of an article that we posted on Abuse Tracker earlier this week. This update corrects factual errors that appeared in the original article.]

By Bethany Lindsay

Lawyer for Rosemary Anderson says she hopes court victory will send a message to Kamloops diocese

A woman who was repeatedly sexually abused by a priest in Kamloops, B.C., says the leadership of the Catholic church failed her by not acting on previous reports of his misconduct.

Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge awarded Rosemary Anderson $844,140 in damages for the sexual battery she suffered at the hands of Father Erlindo Molon while he was a priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the 1970s.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops was held directly and vicariously liable for those damages after the court heard church leadership was aware of Molon's reputation as a playboy priest and an archbishop had even confronted him about it, but nothing was done to stop him.

Former Red Bank Catholic HS Student Alleges Clergy Sex Abuse

The Patch

September 3, 2020

By Nicole Rosenthal

The former student is suing St. James Church and Red Bank Catholic, claiming abuse by one priest with a history of allegations.

A former student who attended Red Bank Catholic School in the 1980s was sexually abused by a priest who had a history of similar complaints, according to a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey.

Per the July 29 complaint filed in Mercer County, Francis McGrath abused the student (referred to only as initials B.T.) in 1982 and 1983. The accused abused multiple children while serving at St. James Church and Red Bank Catholic School, the suit reads.

The defendants – listed as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, St. James Church in Red Bank and Red Bank High School – were sued on six counts, including civil conspiracy and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The suit demands a trial by jury.

As children they went to boarding school. As adults they're still dealing with the trauma

ABC Radio National

September 3, 2020

By Sophie Kesteven and Chris Bullock

Christine Jack has horrible memories from her time at boarding school.

When she was seven, she was sent away from home to a Catholic establishment in New South Wales.

"I was a little child and it was a shock to go into a very strict regime ... it was virtually an enclosed convent," she tells ABC RN's Sunday Extra.

"I used to go to the toilet and cry for my mother and father."

She made friends, but still felt isolated, and had to learn to cope on her own. The attachment bonds with her parents started to tear.

Proposed class-action suit claims negligence by Vancouver Archdiocese

Catholic News Service via Crux

September 3, 2020

By Agnieszka Ruck

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 religious order 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.”

Editorial: Former West Virginia bishop should reexamine his conscience

National Catholic Reporter

September 4, 2020

Repentance is something that Catholics usually understand.

That is one reason why former Bishop Michael Bransfield's response to the charges leveled against him is so egregious.

Bransfield formerly led the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. There he proceeded to, according to a church investigation, embezzle $792,000 while sexually harassing seminarians.

Bransfield, according to the diocese, has paid back $441,000, and will retire with benefits, including a $2,250 monthly pension. That's far less than the normal $6,200 for a retired bishop, but not a bad deal for Bransfield considering the circumstances.

"I am writing to apologize for any scandal or wonderment caused by words or actions attributed to me during my tenure," Bransfield wrote in an Aug. 15 letter of apology to his former diocese.

Letters to the Editor: Your thoughts on Kamala Harris as Veep pick

National Catholic Reporter

September 4, 2020

By Nancy McGunagle

In Sr. Simone Campbell's rah-rah piece for Sen. Kamala Harris, we, as Catholics, were urged to "evaluate Sen. Kamala Harris' record carefully" and, we assume that means, as well, her record as district attorney for the city of San Francisco prior to her record as attorney general for the state of California.

Even limited research about Harris' early career yields an impressive tally of her toughness on crime and her previous, meteoric rise in electable ranks thanks to more than a little help from Willie Brown, noted, political radical in the city and, eventually, its mayor. Willie's wife, Blanche Vitero, would agree.

As for being tough on the horrific sexual abuse and cover-up crimes of the powerful San Francisco Archdiocese, there is little dispute now that, in her seven years as district attorney, Harris' office did not proactively assist in civil cases against clergy sex abuse and ignored requests by activists and survivors to access the massive cache of investigative files regarding the diocese's brutal crimes accumulated by her predecessor, Terence Hallinan — files that could have helped them secure justice in a timely fashion. This "evaluation" comes from several victims of clergy sex abuse living in California who spoke last year through the highly regarded, independent news source, The Intercept.

Sexual assault survivor, Joey Piscitelli, is quoted therein as saying: "It went from Terence Hallinan going hundred miles an hour, full speed ahead, after the Catholic Church to Kamala Harris doing absolutely nothing."

No thanks. Clergy abuse survivors and their advocates did their evaluation of Harris years ago.

Kalispell, Montana

[Book Review] The cardinal, the courts and the controversies

The Age

September 4, 2020

By Barney Zwartz

The Case of George Pell: Reckoning with Child Sexual Abuse by Clergy, by Melissa Davey,
Scribe, $35

This is a book of mixed merits, good in parts but requiring perseverance to reach them through tediously exhaustive accounts of Cardinal George Pell’s progress through the justice system on historical sexual abuse charges. Guardian reporter Melissa Davey takes us through the committal, mistrial, retrial, unsuccessful Supreme Court appeal and High Court acquittal.

Cardinal George Pell arrives at the Melbourne County Court for sentencing in February 2019. His conviction was later overturned on appeal by the High Court of Australia.
Cardinal George Pell arrives at the Melbourne County Court for sentencing in February 2019. His conviction was later overturned on appeal by the High Court of Australia.CREDIT:JASON SOUTH

It would have helped readers if Davey had set out what she was trying to achieve at the start. She does not do so until page 391, at the end of the book. There she says that, so far as she knows, she is the only journalist who covered the Royal Commission and all Pell’s trials and she wants readers to have the evidence, as much as possible, before they leap to judgment about his guilt or innocence – a matter on which she wisely gives no opinion. And she wants to set it in the context of wider research into child sexual abuse.

She certainly succeeds in the first aim, and up to a point in the second which, given how deeply the trials are etched into the public record, strikes me as the more important. I would have liked more on this and less of the evidence because, although Davey cites some interesting research, it comes across as a little perfunctory. In the hands of someone like the vastly more experienced David Marr, who has also written extensively on Pell for The Guardian and elsewhere, deeper questions might have been explored more widely.

Holy See offers observations on Royal Commission recommendations

Catholic Outlook

September 4, 2020

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has provided the Holy See’s observations on 12 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to the Australian Government.

The Royal Commission proposed that the Bishops Conference engage with the Holy See on those recommendations because they relate to universal Church law or practice. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin confirmed that the recommendations, and the entire final report of the Royal Commission, were studied closely by several Vatican dicasteries.

The Holy See reiterated its commitment to child protection, and its desire to “spare no effort… in collaborating with civil authorities to pursue every avenue to end the scourge of sexual abuse”.

September 3, 2020

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

The Province

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.

In his ruling on the case, B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Crossin found that the abuse suffered by Anderson was protracted and ongoing and her encounters with Molon “degrading and highly invasive.”

Nebraska priest sues Omaha Archdiocese for defamation

Associated Press

September 3, 2020

By Margery A. Beck

A Roman Catholic priest is suing the Omaha Archdiocese for defamation nearly two years after he was removed from his parish in northeast Nebraska and listed among a group of clergy found to be credibly accused of sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Andrew Syring says in the lawsuit that his career and life have been in tatters since the archdiocese abruptly removed him from public ministry in West Point in October 2018. A month later, the archdiocese published his name on the list of clergy abusers.

Syring had been an ordained priest for two years when he was accused in 2013 of boundary violations that included “publicly hugging and kissing minors on the cheek,” his lawsuit says. Syring vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and after a psychological evaluation and investigations by the church and law enforcement that found no criminal misconduct, he said, he was returned to public ministry.

Diocese of Phoenix sued for alleged child sex abuse by former priest

12 News

September 2, 2020

Father John P. Doran allegedly abused two boys while they attended the St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in the 1970s.

Two lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Phoenix and one of its churches Wednesday for alleged sexual abuse from a former priest.

Father John P. Doran allegedly abused two boys while they attended the St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in the 1970s, according to the suit filed by the now-adult victims.

"The two men who have come forward today have waited decades for the Bishop of Phoenix to be fully transparent about the pedophile priests working in this Diocese,” said attorney Robert Pastor.

Doran, who died in 1997, served as a priest across Arizona after he was ordained in 1945.

Sexual assault victims speak

Andover Townsman

September 3, 2020

By Breanna Edelstein

Priest held posts in Lawrence, at Merrimack College

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.

Dutch Cardinal emeritus Adrianus Simonis dies at age 88

Associated Press

September 2, 2020

Cardinal emeritus Adrianus Simonis, who led the Dutch Catholic Church during a period of secularization in society and, after his retirement, had to confront abuse in the church, has died at age 88, his former archdiocese of Utrecht announced Wednesday.

His successor, Cardinal Willem Eijk, said the church had lost someone “with a great pastoral heart.”

Simonis was named bishop of the port city of Rotterdam in 1970 and became Archbishop of Utrecht in 1983. Pope John Paul II appointed him a cardinal on May 25, 1985. The pope accepted his retirement in 2007 and he became a cardinal emeritus the following year.

Catholic Florida man sues university over religious freedom

Catholic News Agency

September 2, 2020

The Catholic former head of Florida State University’s student senate is suing the school, saying his religious freedom was violated when he was removed from his position.

Jack Denton, a member of Florida State University’s (FSU) Class of 2021, was ousted from his position as head of the FSU student senate in June when comments he made in a private chat forum for Catholic students were made public. He had claimed that policy positions of BlackLivesMatter.com, the ACLU, and Reclaim the Block contradicted the teachings of the Catholic Church, in a conversation about racial justice.

A change.org petition called his comments “transphobic and racist” and the student senate subsequently voted to remove him as chair. He unsuccessfully appealed to the student supreme court and to university administrators for his reinstatement.

Former Catholic brother returned to face Mississippi charges

Associated Press

September 2, 2020

By Michael Rezendes

A former Catholic brother has been extradited from his home state of Wisconsin to Mississippi, where he faces sexual battery charges in a case involving two impoverished Black boys who say they were pressured as men into accepting paltry payouts to settle their abuse claims.

The men have accused Paul A. West, once a Franciscan Friar and fourth-grade teacher, of molesting them in Mississippi, Wisconsin and New York while they were elementary school students.

West, 60, did not contest his extradition at a hearing in Outagamie Country, Wisconsin on Aug. 17. He arrived at the Leflore County Jail in Greenwood, Mississippi, earlier this week following an investigation by the Mississippi attorney general's public integrity division. West also has been charged with second-degree sexual assault of a child in Wisconsin.

Email error revealed names of 47 Pittsburgh diocese abuse claimants

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 2, 2020

By Peter Smith

When the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh launched its compensation program for victims of sexual abuse by priests, participants were guaranteed confidentiality.

But the names of 47 claimants were inadvertently leaked in an email from the program administrator to an unintended recipient.

While all agree the leak was unintentional and didn’t spread any further, the person who received it said the 47 should have been notified long ago.

Fired Gay Catholic Church Choir Director Can Sue for Harassment

Gay City News

September 2, 2020

By Arthur S. Leonard

A three-judge panel of the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on August 31 that a gay man fired as music director by a Catholic church after he married his boyfriend can sue the church on a claim he was subjected to a hostile work environment by his supervisor, a priest, because of his sexual orientation and physical disabilities.

The US Supreme Court has defined a “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination law — based on the First Amendment’s Free Exercise of Religion Clause — that protects religious organizations from being sued about their decisions to hire or terminate employees who can be described as “ministers,” a category broad enough to include a music director responsible for liturgical hymns used in services.

Here, however, the appeals panel voted 2-1 that the ministerial exception does not apply to an employee’s claim that his employer has subjected him to a hostile work environment for reasons prohibited by anti-discrimination laws.

Alabama teacher's assistant accused of sex with student

Associated Press

September 3, 2020

A teacher's assistant at an Alabama high school is facing charges for allegedly having sex with a student, police said.

Amy S. Priest, 44, of Eufaula, was charged Monday with two counts of a school employee engaging in sex with a student under 19 years old, al.com reported. It was unknown if Priest is represented by an attorney who could speak on her behalf.

The alleged incidents did not occur at Eufaula High School, where Priest worked as a paraprofessional, Police Chief Steve Watkins said Tuesday.

Little Rock diocese adds priest to list of accused sex abusers

Arkansas Democrat Gazette

September 2, 2020

By Francisca Jones

The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock announced Wednesday that it has added another priest to its list of clergy that have been "credibly" accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Father Edward Simpson, who died in 1988, was a priest in Arkansas from the time of his ordination in 1954 until his retirement in 1986. Simpson's record shows that he served at Catholic churches in Fort Smith, Little Rock, Blytheville, North Little Rock, Jonesboro, Searcy, Eureka Springs, Malvern and Texarkana.

According to a news release, a person alleging to have been sexually abused as a minor by Simpson contacted the diocese April 20.

Lee Bartlett, former priest in Leominster accused of abusing teen in ’70s, loses status

Telegram & Gazette

September 2, 2020

By Cyrus Moulton

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

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.

September 2, 2020

Vancouver archdiocese ‘negligent’ on abuse, suit says

Canadian Catholic News

September 2, 2020

By Agnieszka Ruck

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.”

K.S. reported the abuse to the Archdiocese of Vancouver in January of 2019.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and the priest in question is now deceased.

New hiring guide to help churches prevent abuse

Baptist Press

September 1, 2020

By Tom Strode

A manual providing guidance on hiring staff members and selecting volunteers is the latest Southern Baptist resource designed to help churches prevent sexual abuse.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) – in cooperation with the Sexual Abuse Advisory Group – released the “Caring Well Hiring Guide” Aug. 31 as part of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) ongoing effort to equip congregations to thwart sex abuse and to minister to survivors of abuse. The free guide describes itself as “a first step for church leaders on what to consider” when seeking, screening and choosing staff or volunteers.

The multi-faceted “Caring Well” endeavor, which was inaugurated two years ago in response to reports of abuse among Southern Baptist churches and entities, includes an eight-step challenge in which churches can participate to prevent predatory behavior and to care for survivors.

Priest: The Catholic Church Silenced Me for Criticizing Its Handling of Abuse

Friendly Atheist (blog)

September 1, 2020

By Hemant Mehta

For years now, there have been stories about ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, defrocked in 2019 for sexually abusing boys under his care. One of the biggest critics of the Catholic Church’s handling of allegations against McCarrick — and other leaders accused of sexual abuse — was Rev. Mark White (below), a priest based in Virginia, whose blog included a number of entries denouncing what he was seeing.

SNAP Demands Diocese of Houma Thibodaux Add Fr. Brian Highfill to List of Accused Priests

SNAP Network

September 1, 2020

Archbishop Gregory P. Aymond named Fr. Henry Brian Highfill to the Archdiocese of New Orleans list of credibly accused priests on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. According to his work history, Fr. Highfill was at St. Frances de Sales parish in 1975, and in charge of the altar boys.

It is well-documented that the vast majority of child predators abuse multiple children, multiple times. We urge Bishop Fabre to notify the good people in the Houma Thibodaux diocese of the allegations against Fr. Highfill. If there were innocent children who fell victim to him, SNAP is here to support and validate their years of anguish. We stand with all survivors of clergy sex crimes and their families.

Liberty University Announces Investigation Involving Jerry Falwell Jr.

SNAP Network

September 1, 2020

An investigation into Jerry Falwell Jr.’s tenure as president of Liberty University will be conducted by an outside agency, something we believe is necessary in order to get to the bottom of the scandals that have rocked the institution in recent weeks. Given that Falwell is a second-generation leader, there could well be overlaps with his father’s tenure that may require exploration and we hope that the investigators have been given leave to explore any and all abuses of power that have occurred at Liberty.

This situation reminds us of a case at a megachurch in California’s Silicon Valley. The leader of Menlo Church, John Ortberg, was forced to step down when it became known that he left his own son in ministry after the son had confessed to having a sexual fixation on children. Like Menlo Church, Liberty University had been led in a monarchical fashion that could have led to other abuses of power. Similarly, there are elements of both sexual abuse and cover-up at Liberty too, especially as they relate to how Becki Falwell allegedly preyed on at least one young college student. It is important that the sexual aspects of the Liberty case, and how far back they go, are examined.

We do have doubts that this investigation will be truly independent, especially since the board at Liberty has yet to identify the outside firm they hired to handle the investigation. At the same time, this is at least a step in the correct direction and will hopefully identify areas where secular involvement is needed.

Sexual Abuse Survivors Need to File Claims in Boy Scouts of America Bankruptcy by November 16, 2020


September 1, 2020

The following is being released by Omni Agent Solutions the Court Appointed Claims and Noticing Agent for the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts of America ("BSA") has filed bankruptcy in order to restructure its nonprofit organization and pay Sexual Abuse Survivors. Please read this notice carefully as it provides information about the rights of Sexual Abuse Survivors against BSA, BSA Local Councils and organizations that sponsored their packs, troops, crews, ships or posts and provides information about the case, In re Boy Scouts of America and Delaware BSA, LLC, No. 20-10343 (Bankr. D. Del.). This notice is a short summary. For more detail, visit www.OfficialBSAClaims.com or call 1-866-907-2721.

News Release: Laicization of George DeCosta Jr.

Diocese of Honolulu via Hawaii Catholic Herald

August 31, 2020

Bishop Larry Silva announces that Mr. GEORGE DE COSTA Jr., who previously served as a priest of the Diocese of Honolulu, ordained in 1964, was laicized by Pope Francis on July 29, 2020. The then-Father De Costa retired in 2002, but in 2009, when an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was made against him, Bishop Silva permanently restricted him from all sacred ministry, a decision confirmed by the Holy See. Since then, several additional accusations have been made against Mr. De Costa. Being now laicized, he is no longer a member of the clergy and may not function as such anywhere in the world.

We pray for all victims of sexual abuse by clergy, and we pray God’s healing for them and their loved ones.

Commentary: A Tale of 2 Archbishops: Capuchins O’Malley and Chaput Mark Golden Jubilees

National Catholic Register

September 1, 2020

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

Much of the recent history of the Catholic Church in the United States can be told in the lives of these two men, who were both ordained Aug. 29, 1970.

It is not a tale of two cities, but rather two archbishops. And while it has something of the best of times, it also has the worst of times — both a season of Light, and a season of Darkness, to borrow Dickens.

Much of the recent history of the Catholic Church in the United States can be told in the lives of two men ordained on the same day 50 years ago, Aug. 29, 1970.

It was “King Herod’s birthday,” as Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston sometimes characterizes his ordination day, the feast day of the beheading of St. John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12). He shares the same ordination day with his fellow Capuchin friar, Archbishop Charles Chaput, recently retired from Philadelphia. Cardinal O’Malley was ordained in Pittsburgh; Archbishop Chaput was ordained in Victoria, Kansas.

Child sex assault allegations against Cliffside Park counselor resurrected in civil lawsuit


September 2, 2002

By Tom Nobile

Three years after sexual assault charges against a Cliffside Park guidance counselor were dropped, the family of the alleged victim has renewed the accusations in a lawsuit blaming the local school district for allowing the alleged abuse to occur on school grounds.

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court last week, targets Cliffside Park's school board and its superintendent for employing Edward Meier, who allegedly abused a 5-year-old girl at the high school and during school sponsored events from 2010 through 2014, according to the complaint.

Meier had worked at Cliffside Park High School for more than three decades, earning awards as a teacher and guidance counselor when he was arrested in October 2014 on sexual assault charges.

A Superior Court judge later dismissed all six counts against him over credibility issues with the alleged victim. The girl’s mother, however, is pressing forward in civil court for unspecified damages.

September 1, 2020

What I Wish the Orthodox Community Knew about Sexual Assault


August 24, 2020

By Anonymous

The Orthodox community needs to do a better job of education around consent and protecting victims.

I am an Orthodox Jewish woman. I am proud of my identity and heritage, and find enormous value in my culture. I find that most of the flaws and challenges in my community stem from a severe lack of information, so I have an enormous amount of empathy for people who may not know the impact that their words may have. However, that does not erase the impact of their words. I have felt this most acutely when it comes to my community’s reaction to my sexual assault.

I was sexually assaulted two years ago. After the assault, as I recognized the enormity of what had happened, and especially as I realized that the case would be proceeding to trial, I slowly opened up to select family members and a few friends. Some people’s reactions could not have been more ideal. However, others left a lot to be desired.

Comments ranged from asking whether my knees were covered to stating that as long as I was not “technically raped,” I could still marry a kohen and would not have to worry about the assault. This attitude reflected what I was taught — the incorrect belief that yichud, the halacha (Jewish law) that stipulates that men and women should not be alone together, and shomer negiah, the halacha that says men and women should not touch unless they are close family or spouses, were established to protect women from assault because men cannot control their sexual appetites. Even in environments where these beliefs were not explicitly stated, the trickle down impact of these attitudes resonate throughout much of the Orthodox community as well as the wider Jewish community that I have been a part of.

Liberty University: Now is the time for an independent investigation


August 31, 2020

By Boz Tchividjian

In the past weeks, the world has learned some deeply troubling and devastating reports coming out of Liberty University involving its former president, Jerry Falwell Jr., and his wife, Becki.

These reports not only involve allegations of sexual misconduct with other adults, but they also include reports of the targeting, grooming and engaging in what could be non-consensual sexual contact with a Liberty University student.

This is in addition to a number of reports regarding very questionable financial dealings and self-dealings involving university funds. As someone who was a law professor at Liberty University for twelve years, I have profound respect and admiration for so many of the dear people who are part of that community.

Many of the faculty, students and staff of Liberty University are hurting at the moment, feeling betrayed and having countless unanswered questions regarding so much of what they have read or learned during the past weeks.

Former Catholic School Coach Convicted in Child Porn Case, SNAP Calls for Update to Diocesan List

SNAP Network

August 31, 2020

A former coach at a Catholic high school in Havelock, North Carolina, has been convicted on twelve counts of second degree child sexual exploitation. We now call on Diocesan officials to update their list of those “credibly” accused to include this teacher and all other lay employees or volunteers in the Diocese of Raleigh that have hurt children or vulnerable adults.

Peter Van Vilet is a former city commissioner in Havelock as well as the former cross-country, lacrosse, and basketball coach at Annunciation High School there. He was arrested late last year on charges related to the possession of child pornography and was recently found guilty on those charges. Now that Van Vilet has been sentenced to two years in prison, it is time for his former employers to step up, urge anyone who may have been hurt to come forward, and ensure that Van Vilet is included on the Diocesan list of “credibly” accused abusers.

‘Women are future of the Catholic church’: Anne Soupa leads renewed fight for equality

The Guardian

August 30, 2020

By Harriet Sherwood

French academic’s bid to become archbishop of Lyon reflects growing calls for women in leadership roles

A French female academic has put herself forward to be the next Catholic archbishop of Lyon in a move that is gathering support around the world even though she stands no chance of succeeding.

Anne Soupa, 73, a theologian and biblical scholar, says there is “an awakening of women within the Catholic church”. Seven other Catholic women in France have followed her move in applying for ministries that are open only to men.

B.C. priest 'should have been stopped,' sex abuse victim says

CBC News

August 31, 2020

By Bethany Lindsay

Lawyer for Rosemary Anderson says she hopes court victory will send a message to Kamloops diocese

A woman who was repeatedly sexually abused by a priest in Kamloops, B.C., says the leadership of the Catholic church failed her by not acting on previous reports of his misconduct.

Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge awarded Rosemary Anderson $844,140 in damages for the sexual battery she suffered at the hands of Father Erlindo Molon while he was a priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the 1970s.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops was held directly and vicariously liable for those damages after the court heard church leadership was aware of Molon's reputation as a playboy priest and an archbishop had even confronted him about it, but nothing was done to stop him.

In an interview with CBC Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce, Anderson spoke about how Molon took advantage of her in 1976 when she arrived in town as a 27-year-old teacher freshly grieving the death of her father.

USA Gymnastics Lawsuit: Have the Sexual Abuse Victims Been Compensated?

TopClassActions.com (plaintiff attorney referral blog)

September 1, 2020

By Emily Sortor

As more cases of alleged sexual assault are shared by victims who gain the courage to move forward, some of these receive a great deal of press. Many different organizations and individuals have come into the spotlight as a result of claims of sexual abuse and USA Gymnastics is one of them.

How Did the USA Gymnastics Abuse Occur?

The accused abuser in the USA Gymnastics scandal was Dr. Larry Nassar, a physician at Michigan State University. He ultimately pleaded guilty to federal child pornography and criminal sexual conduct charges. The women in these cases claim that Dr. Nassar took advantage of his position and used it to harm young women instead of helping them.

Letter to the editor: New archbishop must be vigilant against abuse

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

August 29, 2020

Regarding “Mitchell T. Rozanski installed as the 10th Archbishop of St. Louis” (Aug. 26): Past Archbishop Robert Carlson has referred to new Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski as “a breath of fresh air.” But the air from his most recent post in Springfield, Massachusetts, is anything but fresh. Indeed, it is fetid with corruption and omission in regards to its investigation of child sexual abuse accusations against former prelate, Bishop Christopher Weldon.

Only after extensive reporting from the Berkshire Record newspaper was it clear that Weldon had committed grave violations, including the rape of a youth. Rozanski apologized to Western Massachusetts Catholics pained by this clergy sex abuse scandal.

To his credit, Archbishop Rozanski then took corrective action. But an “I only know what I read” attitude will not suffice here in St. Louis, especially from someone who regards his assignment as being a “pastor.” A shepherd of the flock needs to demonstrate vigilance and perceptions beyond what he might read in a report.

Then again, if he fails in that endeavor, we still have a secular news media to investigate.

Richard Wagner • Kirkwood

Catholic Diocese of Columbus reaches settlement in sexual abuse claims against Monsignor


August 26, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus has reached a $1 million settlement involving a complaint against Monsignor Thomas Bennett.

The settlement comes after a former student at Columbus’ St. Charles Preparatory School filed a lawsuit accusing the late Monsignor Bennett of sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Columbus encourages anyone who may have experienced sexual abuse by clergy or others associated within the Church to notify law enforcement immediately as well as the Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator at 614-241-2568 ext. 1546 or helpisavailable@columbuscatholic.org.

Priest laicization announced by Diocese of Worcester

Catholic Free Press

August 26, 2020

Following the Catholic Church’s commitment to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop McManus announced Wednesday that Lee F. Bartlett III has been laicized at his request. He was dispensed from the clerical state by Pope Francis. As a result of the laicization, Mr. Bartlett 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.

“I ask that all the faithful join me in fervent prayer that Christ may bring healing and hope to anyone who has been abused by a priest or by anyone in the Catholic Church,” said Bishop McManus.

Cura Pachado: Apelaciones conformó Tribunal para resolver la prescripción

[The Priest Pachado: Appeals court is formed to resolve the prescription]

El Esquiú

September 1, 2020

Denuncia por abuso sexual eclesiástico

El tribunal de Apelaciones no se integraba para resolver el caso por el escándalo de Morales y Da Pra.

El tribunal será compuesto por los jueces Álvarez, Navarro Foressi y Soria.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: Complaint of ecclesiastical sexual abuse

The Court of Appeals had not been able to resolve the case because of the Morales and Da Pra scandal.

The court will be composed of judges Álvarez, Navarro Foressi and Soria.]

Un sacerdote “desterrado” cuenta los abusos de Moya y el encubrimiento de la Iglesia

[An “exiled” priest tells of Moya's abuses and the Church's cover-up]

El Heraldo

September 1, 2020

En una carta enviada al arzobispo de Paraná, monseñor Juan Alberto Puiggari, el padre Luciano Martín Porri detalla los abusos psicológicos que sufrió por parte de Marcelino Ricardo Moya y describe al cura condenado a 17 años de prisión por promoción de la corrupción de menores agravada y abuso sexual simple agravado en concurso real entre sí: “Es la persona más soberbia y sádica que he conocido en mi vida. Disfrutaba del dolor ajeno y de hacer sentir que nuestras vidas dependían de él”.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: In a letter sent to the Archbishop of Paraná, Monsignor Juan Alberto Puiggari, Father Luciano Martín Porri details the psychological abuse suffered by Marcelino Ricardo Moya and describes the priest sentenced to 17 years in prison for promoting aggravated corruption of minors and Simple sexual abuse aggravated in real competition with each other: “He is the most arrogant and sadistic person I have ever met in my life. He enjoyed the pain of others and making us feel that our lives depended on it. "]