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October 31, 2020

Names of priests added to Rockford Catholic Diocese sexual abuse list

Rockford Register Star

October 30, 2020

By Chris Green

Six more names have been added to the Catholic Diocese of Rockford’s sexual abuse list.

The list, updated Oct. 21, now contains the names of 21 clergy members against whom allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been substantiated.

The names of the six priests added to the list and their parish assignments are:

‒ David F. Heimann, St. Peter Church of Rockford.

‒ Joseph Jablonski, St. Therese of Jesus Church of Aurora.

‒ Ivan Rovira, St. Joseph Church of Elgin, St. Therese of Jesus Church of Aurora.

‒ Daniel Cipar, Holy Cross Church of Batavia

‒ Aloysius Piorkowski, St. Wendelin Church of Shannon, Ss. John and Catherine Church of Mount Carroll, St. Mary Church of Galena, St. Peter Church of South Beloit, St. Mary Church of Polo, St. Mary Church of Sterling.

‒ Leo Petit, St. Joseph Church of Elgin and Sacred Heart Church of Aurora.

The list found on the Rockford Diocese website is attached to a 2018 letter from Bishop David Malloy.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory Says 'Carry On' Work for Racial and Societal Justice


October 30, 2020

By Audie Cornish


On the sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic Church

I think what we have to do is see it as a continual commitment to providing a safe environment for our children, not just in the Catholic Church, not just in our schools, not just in our sports programs. ...

At that time [in the early 2000s], you will recall that the attention was that this was an American problem.

In the past two decades, we see it as not just an American problem. And so I think it involves the entire church to, as you rightfully suggest, to make sure that leadership is on the right page and that we can never reassign a cleric or another church worker who has been clearly identified as a perpetrator to have public access to young people.


And on the Catholic sexual abuse scandal, Wilton Gregory has said...

We must admit our own failures. We clerics and hierarchs have irrefutably been the source of this current tempest.

News Briefing: Church in the World

The Tablet

October 30, 2020


A retired cardinal who served as personal secretary to Pope John Paul II has denied any knowledge of sexual abuse by priests in his Krakow archdiocese. “They seek to thrust responsibility on to me when I had no such responsibility and no knowledge of this matter,” said Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, 81, responding in a Polish TV interview to questions about a prominent sexual abuse case in the Krakow archdiocese, which he headed for 11 years until his retirement in 2016. He said he had no recollection of the case, insisting it fell under the jurisdiction of another retired prelate, Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy.

The three top leaders of the Focolare movement in France have stepped down after a news report said an independent commission into sexual abuse in the Church had found about 30 cases committed by a former consecrated lay member.

The investigative website Les Jours said the man was accused of abuse in 1994 but was not expelled until 2016. The leaders who resigned were Bernard Brechet and Claude Goffinet, co-leaders of the Focolare movement in France, and Henri-Louis Roche, head of Focolare's Western European region. Accepting the resignations, Focolare headquarters in Rome said Jesus Moran, co-president of the international movement, had met with presumed victims and the French section’s abuse commission in September. On that occasion, Moran spoke of “the silence or lack of initiative sustained for years on the part of various people in positions of responsibility”.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released an interim report documenting clergy sex abuse in the state. The two-year investigation, which began with the search and seizure of documents at the state’s seven chanceries, charges 454 priests with abusing 811 victims. The special investigative team continues to make its way through all the documents seized and estimates it has examined 65 per cent of them. Eleven clergy have been charged and two have already been convicted of sexual abuse.

Report: Cardinal Woelki would step down if implicated in abuse cover-ups

Catholic News Service via The Pilot - Archdiocese of Boston

October 30, 2020

Cologne, Germany - Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki would resign from his office if the sexual abuse study he commissioned implicated him in any cover-ups, according to the Cologne Archdiocese.

The German Catholic news agency KNA said the archdiocese was confirming a report in the local Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper that Cardinal Woelki had expressed this intention before the diocesan pastoral council in November 2018. The aim of the study is to identify by name those who were involved in sexual abuse.

"This does not exempt Cardinal Woelki, and he would face up to his responsibility and accept the consequences," the archdiocese said.

In its report, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger cited an unidentified pastoral council participant as saying that the cardinal "in his sometimes-loose manner" had explained that no consideration could be shown to anyone and that a "complete clarification" was necessary. If the study could prove his participation in a cover-up, then "the cathedral chapter will have to vote anew."

RI's Catholic bishop Thomas Tobin draws fire for tweets, but feels his role is to teach

Providence Journal via

October 30, 2020

By Mark Patinkin

Mindful that he’d tweeted that certain Pride Day activities are harmful to children, I asked about church leadership having looked the other way as priests molested children.


“The church has a history of sexual abuse in its organization, as do a lot of other organizations,” said Tobin. “But we’ve worked hard to address that and correct it.”

He added: “I will never claim any personal moral superiority.”

Every preacher except Jesus, he said, is imperfect.

Thomas Tobin grew up in Pittsburgh – you can tell by the Steelers banner he hangs in front of his home.

His dad was a Sears salesman, his mom a homemaker.

His call to faith came early in Catholic school, inspired by the nuns and priests there.

He became auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh in 1992, bishop of Youngstown in 1995, and a decade later, began here.

Tobin, a Democrat most of his life, pointed out he has been attacked from the right, too.

Deep State, Deep Church: How QAnon and Trumpism Have Infected the Catholic Church

Type Investigations

October 30, 2020

By Kahryn Joyce

Catholicism’s increasingly powerful political right reflects fringe America, fueled by paranoia, conspiracy, racism, and the threat of apocalypse


In 2018, Viganò released an 11-page letter charging that Francis ignored early warnings about a defrocked cardinal who’d sexually abused minors and seminarians; he decried a Vatican “homosexual network” and called for Francis to resign. Around the world Catholic bishops’ conferences immediately voiced support for the pope, but the U.S. conference took weeks to do the same, and even then, some two dozen bishops announced support for Viganò instead.

Partly that reflected how deeply the U.S. clergy sex abuse crisis had scarred American Catholics. In the context of America’s political parties, says Massimo Faggioli, a church historian at Villanova University, the crisis came to be interpreted along polarized lines, with the left blaming hierarchical church culture and the right, essentially, homosexuality.

“On the right they’ve used that massively at every level,” says Faggioli. “Conservatives have weaponized the scandal to try to get rid of Pope Francis and said nothing about what John Paul II knew, what Pope Benedict knew. Only Pope Francis and a list of liberal cardinals or bishops.”

October 30, 2020

Ex-priest who was subject of Oscar-nominated documentary on sex abuse jailed for 22 months over child pornography


October 27, 2020

By Eoghan Dalton


A former priest has been sentenced to prison for 22 months at Waterford Circuit Court for possessing child pornography.

Oliver O’Grady (75) had been found guilty by a jury a fortnight ago, having been charged with one count of possessing a video of an underage girl engaging in a sexual act.

The court heard that he had the video on a date between December 14, 2015 and March 2016, at his residence at St Otteran’s Place, South Parade, Waterford city.

The case arose when a former housemate of O’Grady reported him to gardaí after discovering a sexually explicit video on the computer. The offence - which he denied - carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Former Irish Catholic priest jailed for possession of child pornography

Irish Post

October 28, 2020

By Jack Beresford

[Includes trailer of the 2006 documentary Deliver Us from Evil.]

A former Irish Catholic priest has been jailed for 22 months at Waterford Circuit Court for possessing child pornography.

Oliver O’Grady, 75, who was previously the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary Deliver Us from Evil, was found guilty by a jury a fortnight ago.

He was charged with one count of possessing a video of an underage girl engaging in a sexual act.

The case came about after one of O’Grady’s housemates reported him to gardaí after discovering a sexually explicit video on the computer.

While O'Grady claimed to have had no knowledge of the video’s existence until it was uncovered during the Gardaí investigation.

He nevertheless accepted the guilty verdict.

Editorial: Diocese bankruptcy allows orderly compensation for abuse claims

The Press

October 29, 2020

The filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden this month was unavoidable.

Its inevitability could almost be seen in the 2019 New Jersey law that opened a two-year window for filing claims of sexual abuse against the diocese no matter how long ago the alleged action. That erased the previously applied statute of limitations for such claims. Critics of the law at the time said it would unleash a wave of lawsuits that may bankrupt nonprofit and charitable organizations, eliminating the services they provide to communities.

The diocese tried to handle the claims on its own, establishing a victim compensation fund that had decided 104 of 184 claims and paid out $8.1 million to 71 victims. But whatever chance that approach alone would be enough evaporated in the pandemic.

Government restrictions on attendance at houses of worship have decimated offertory collections at religious institutions of all kinds. A much larger Long Island diocese facing similar circumstances in New York filed for bankruptcy the same day as its Camden counterpart. It said such offerings are about 40% of its annual revenue. More than 20 dioceses nationwide have entered bankruptcy in large part to handle claims of sexual abuse.

Jesuits delay naming suspected abusers

The Catholic Register

October 29, 2020

Ottawa - The promise to release a detailed public list of all Canadian Jesuits who have been “credibly accused” of sex abuse has been delayed until at least the spring.

The Jesuits of Canada announced in December 2019 they would do what no other Canadian Catholic Church organization has done — release the names of priests “credibly accused” of abusing minors. It is a move clergy abuse survivor groups in Canada and around the world have been demanding for years. The Jesuits had planned to publish a comprehensive list by January.

Those plans, however, have been adversely impacted by the ongoing health crisis.

In a statement forwarded to Canadian Catholic News, the Jesuits’ director of communications Jose Sanchez said anti-COVID precautions have slowed the pace of reviewing historic cases and it may be well into 2021 before the results can finally be made public.

“The auditors have consolidated, digitized, reviewed and indexed a large part of the delegate, legal and personnel files of most Jesuits, particularly those that were the subject of complaints between 1950 and the present,” the statement said.

“Although they have made significant progress, the reality that our archives were closed for most of the spring and summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to process the final portion of these records. By the end of this month, independent auditors should have completed the digitization of all files and an information base to assist in the creation of a list. We estimate that both a list and the final report will be ready in the spring of 2021.”

Last December the Jesuits announced the order had hired King International Advisory Group to review all personnel and provincial files going back to 1950.

Letter to the Editor: Church must better deal with its abuse issue

The Daily Progress

October 29, 2020

By Mike Brinkac and Nancy Brinkac

It is with great concern and loss of trust that we read another story about the child sex scandal in the Catholic Church: “Catholic Diocese of Richmond paying $6.3M to victims sexually abused by clergy,” The Daily Progress, Oct. 16.

This is yet another example of the inherent pedophilia problem involving clergy that has plagued the church for decades.

Yet, the 51 individuals compensated by the Richmond Diocese represent just the tip of the iceberg.

A 2018-2019 report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reported that 4,220 people filed 4,434 allegations saying they had been victims of child sexual abuse. The report represents dioceses across the United States. Of the allegations, 1,034 were substantiated.

The report was summarized in “Annual audit shows more than 4,400 allegations of clergy abuse reported,” the National Catholic Reporter, June 25.

In spite of these outrageous numbers, the NCR story gave no indication of the underlying factors that generate these problems, what is being done to correct them and the civil or criminal justice that was applied.

While the Catholic Church has accomplished great things for Christianity and social justice, this scandal is contrary to the principles in which the church is founded. It’s time for the church to become transparent and morally responsive to its faithful.

Former paratrooper to succeed Barbarin in scandal-hit Lyon

The Tablet

October 30, 2020

By Tom Heneghan

Bishop Olivier de Germay of Ajaccio has been named the new archbishop of Lyon in a surprise appointment to the French diocese worn down by a years-long sexual abuse scandal that forced Cardinal Philippe Barbarin to resign.

A former paratrooper ordained at 37, he is an unexpected conservative choice for the historic archdiocese, whose prelate has also held the title Primate of the Gauls since 1079. His name was not among possible candidates rumoured in advance.

Reaction to the news was mixed, with secular media branding him as a homophobe close to Church traditionalists and supporters praising him as a man with experience handling difficult situations.

Bishop de Germay himself expressed surprise at the nomination and said he had no set plan for the archdiocese and would first listen to what people had to say.

David Haas sexual misconduct report alleges 44 victims in 41 years

Star Tribune

October 30, 2020

By Jean Hopfensperger

Women describe decades of sexual misconduct by church musician.

Amy Anderson has kept a letter from Catholic composer David Haas for more than 30 years, an apology he sent to her parents after they reported to the St. Paul Seminary that Haas had sexually abused their then 18-year-old daughter.

“I know that you have had several conversations with Fr. [Charles] Froehle, here at the seminary,” Haas wrote on his letterhead stationary on Jan. 22, 1988. “I had no idea that I was making Amy uncomfortable … I do, however, hold ultimate responsibility for the entire incident …”

Haas added that he was getting counseling from the Rev. Kenneth Pierre, a psychologist with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Anderson remains baffled, and “mortified,” that Catholic leaders let Haas continue his work as artist-in-residence at the seminary and failed to monitor his future behavior.

“We thought we’d taken the necessary steps to make sure this [sexual abuse] didn’t happen again, much less to nearly 50 women,” said Anderson, referring to the avalanche of sex abuse complaints against Haas reported this year.

“This should never have happened,” said Anderson, an executive at a St. Paul-area nonprofit. “People should have been warned.”

Anderson is among 44 women who alleged sexual misconduct spanning 41 years in an October report by Into Account, a Kansas-based victims’ rights group that compiled the report.

Name change reflects the desire to walk with victims

The Leaven - Archdiocese of Kansas City

October 30, 2020

By Moira Cullings

“Two years ago, I never thought I would return to a church building, ever,” said Sandra.

A survivor of abuse by a representative of the Catholic Church, the journey to find healing for Sandra, whose name has been changed for anonymity, has been difficult.

“There’s a sense of loneliness,” she said. “Where do I belong?”

Healing from abuse is complicated, and perhaps even more so when the abuse occurred at the hands of a representative of the church, often leaving the victim survivor to feel betrayed and outcast from their faith community.

That’s why the office for protection and care for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, formerly known as the office of child and youth protection, is working fervently to atone for church abuse by taking responsibility for the harm caused.

“Although we cannot turn back time, we can work to prevent abuse today and respond to a survivor’s needs with a sense of urgency and respect,” said director Jenifer Valenti.

Fort Myers man gets 5 new charges of sexual abuse against children after 2 more victims come forward


October 29, 2020

Michigan’s attorney general has filed five additional charges against a Fort Myers man after accusations of sexual assault against two more minors in the 1970s.

Joseph Comperchio, 67, originally had six charges pending involving sexual abuse of minors, but five more have been added.

Comprerchio was arrested back on September 14 on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

He is accused of sexually abusing the minors while he was the drama and music teacher at St. John Catholic School in Jackson County, Michigan in the 1970s.

Bail set at $150,000 for Slidell priest accused of molesting a teen boy


October 27, 2020


Church officials said Wattigny disclosed the alleged abuse to them on Oct. 1, and they immediately reported the admission to law enforcement.

Slidell - Bail for a Catholic priest in jail over allegations of molesting an underage boy in Slidell was set at $150,000 on Tuesday morning.

Patrick Wattigny had not made bond as of early Tuesday afternoon. During a hearing in front of St. Tammany Parish bail commissioner Daniel Foil, Wattigny said he would retain a defense attorney.

That attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Wattigny, 53, appeared before Foil a day after arriving at the St. Tammany Parish jail in Covington. St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies brought him to the lockup Monday, four days after police in West Point, Georgia, arrested Wattigny on a warrant accusing him of four counts of molestation of a juvenile.

Wattigny was in West Point because he owns a home there. Police arrested him at his home after receiving a call saying authorities believed Wattigny was in their jurisdiction.

If convicted of molestation of a juvenile, Wattigny could face a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison per count.

Napier church fence tied with ribbons to raise awareness of child sexual abuse

New Zealand Herald

October 25, 2020

By Shannon Johnstone

A tide of ribbons will be a permanent fixture on the St Patrick's Church Napier fence as part of the Loud Fence movement.

The Loud Fence movement began in Australia in 2015, at St Alipius Boys' School in Ballarat, a site of abuse, and the movement aims to raise awareness of clerical and religious child sexual abuse.

There have been Loud Fence events in New Zealand before but this is the first that has been created by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) Aotearoa.

SNAP Aotearoa national leader and abuse survivor Dr Christopher Evan Longhurst said the movement began as a protest but is now "an acknowledgment of the wrongdoing", a healing process for survivors and an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue to safeguard children for the future.

It is also a non-partisan, non-political and non-religious movement.

Napier is Longhurst's hometown and he felt it was important to get the support of the local community.

"Hawke's Bay was the place of horrendous clerical child sexual abuse in the local Catholic community.

"So, this Loud Fence is also an opportunity for them [survivors] to understand that they're not alone. The shame is not ours and there is only dignity in surviving that kind of abuse."

Diocese of Scranton Adds Eight Names to List of Credibly Accused Individuals

Diocese of Scranton

October 29, 2020

The Diocese of Scranton announces that eight additional names have been added to its list of individuals who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera has consistently asserted that the abuse of minors cannot be tolerated. In maintaining his and the Diocese of Scranton’s commitment to protect children and young people, the Bishop stated that it is his hope that the publication of these additional names will be a step forward in the healing process for survivors.

In August 2018, the Diocese published on its website a list of all clergy, staff and volunteers who had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. Since that time, eleven additional names were added to the list in January 2019 and two more names were added in October 2019. The most recent additions to the list involve allegations of abuse submitted to the Independent Survivors Compensation Program (ISCP).

The Diocese assesses the credibility of allegations of abuse utilizing a process that includes, as appropriate, assessments by outside counsel and investigation by a former FBI agent. In addition, the Diocesan Review Board, an independent, consultative body comprised of members of the laity, a religious sister and one priest, performs a case-by-case review. The Diocese also takes into account the determination by the Administrators of the ISCP, for allegations that were submitted in that program. All allegations are submitted to the appropriate District Attorney’s Office. Allegations that are corroborated by secular legal proceedings, canon law proceedings, admission by the accused, and/or other information or evidence are deemed credible.

These names have been added to the list of credibly accused individuals:

Diocesan Clergy

Byrne, Edmund F.
Conboy, Joseph T.
Corcoran, Francis P.
Ferrett, Walter L.
Kelly, Joseph P.
McGroarty, Hugh Harold

Members of Religious Orders

Reiner, Julius (C.P.)

Diocese of Scranton: Eight more accused of sexual abuse


October 29, 2020

By Elizabeth Worthington

Only one of the accused clergy members is living: Monsignor Joseph Kelly.

More than two years later, the fallout from Pennsylvania's scathing Grand Jury report on clergy sex abuse continues in Scranton.

Another well-known priest joins the dozens of members of the Diocese of Scranton who have been accused of sexually abusing a minor.

80-year-old Monsignor Joseph Kelly served as the head of Catholic Social Services for a decade and was heavily involved with St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen in the city. He is now retired.

Monsignor Kelly is one of the eight people the diocese added to its list of those "credibly accused" of sexual abuse on Thursday.

Six of those people were clergy members and Monsignor Kelly is the only clergy member still living of the group.

One layperson and one member of a religious order were also included in the list.

The other clergy members are Edmund Byrne, Joseph Conboy, Francis Corcoran, Walter Ferrett, and Hugh McGroarty.

In a statement provided to the media, Monsignor Kelly adamantly denied the accusations:

"I say to my family, my friends, my former parishioners, that these claims are absolutely not true. I have spent the last 54 years as a priest who believes in and practiced respect for the dignity and safety of all I came in contact with, especially those under my supervision."

Monsignor Joseph Kelly, 7 others added to diocese's 'credibly accused list'

Citizens Voice

October 29, 2020

By David Singleton

The Diocese of Scranton on Thursday placed a well-known priest who led Catholic Social Services for many years on its list of individuals who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Monsignor Joseph P. Kelly, a popular member of the community widely recognized for his work on behalf of disadvantaged children and adults, was among eight new people added to the list.

The new additions included six members of the diocesan clergy, all of whom except Kelly are deceased, along with a religious brother and a former diocesan lay teacher.

Kelly, 80, immediately pushed back against the “credibly accused” designation in a sharply worded statement, urging the people of the diocese to reject it and accept that the claims against him are “completely false and fraudulent.”

While it is true some priests in the diocese abused minors, “which is both a sin and a crime, I am not one of them,” he said.

October 29, 2020

To End Sexual Abuse in Churches, Dismantle Purity Culture

Marie Claire

October 28, 2020

By Leslie Goldman

The Christian church’s norms provide the perfect cover for sexual predators—and leave their victims feeling like the sinners.

With tears in her eyes, Shannon Dingle approached a female volunteer, the lone woman on an all-male staff at a friend’s church youth group. Dingle was 16 and had finally worked up the courage to disclose that she had been repeatedly raped as a child. “We had just heard a talk on purity and modesty, which was the only context in which sex was ever discussed in the church, so it felt like, Okay, at least we’re kind of in the right area,” Dingle, now 38, recounts. “They were talking about the choices people make, and I kept thinking about how my experiences so far hadn’t been a choice.”

The volunteer’s intended role was to be present if any girls wanted a female shoulder to lean on. So Dingle shared with her the truth about her rapes. “It never occurred to me that [my words] would be met with anything other than understanding.” But Dingle was hit hard by quite a different response: “She asked me if I had repented for my role in what happened.”

Also seared into Dingle’s memory is the time she attempted to confide in a pastor’s wife while on a youth mission. “My abuse included a lot of physical abuse as well, so that’s what I started with, because it was easier. She got this look of horror and disgust on her face and said, ‘But he didn’t rape you, did he?’” Dingle recalls. “It was as if she could understand and accept the idea of physical abuse, but she would look at me differently if there was any degree of sexual abuse.”

For years, Dingle more or less buried these exchanges, eventually starting therapy, marrying, and having children. Then in 2017, she stumbled upon #ChurchToo, a #MeToo offshoot. Spoken-word poet and author Emily Joy and author and trauma researcher Hannah Paasch created the hashtag on November 20, 2017, as an online platform for individuals who’ve experienced abuse at the hands of clergy or whose abuse was reported to clergy, only to be ignored, covered up, or flung back in their faces. “When I was 16 years old I was groomed for abuse by a man in his early 30s who was a ‘youth leader’ in my evangelical megachurch Northwoods Community Church in Peoria, IL,” Joy’s series of tweets began.

Vatican court continues trial on alleged abuse at minor seminary

Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

October 28, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Vatican City - At a criminal trial involving alleged sexual abuse at a minor seminary located in the Vatican, the Vatican City State criminal court accepted a motion to allow the alleged victim to seek damages from the seminary and the religious institution that runs it.

Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the court, approved the motion Oct. 27, the second day of the trial against Father Gabriele Martinelli and Msgr. Enrico Radice. Pignatone also announced that the next session of the trial would be Nov. 19.

Father Martinelli, 28, is accused of abusing a younger student from 2007 to 2012. Although he and his alleged victim were under the age of 18 when the abuse allegedly began, the court accused him of continuing to abuse the younger student when Father Martinelli was already 20.

Msgr. Radice was rector of the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary, run by the Diocese of Como’s Opera Don Folci, at the time the alleged abuse occurred. The diocese, however, was not included in motion approved by the court.

Dario Imparato, the alleged victim’s lawyer, argued that as an entity charged with overseeing the minor seminary, the Opera Don Folci exhibited a “lack of vigilance” and “great negligence” regarding the abuses that allegedly occurred on their watch.

Although Vatican prosecutor Roberto Zannotti, as well as lawyers for Father Martinelli and Msgr. Radice, objected to the motion, Pignatone deliberated for nearly 30 minutes before announcing his decision that the request was “accepted and authorized.”

Law firm demands Diocese of Fresno publicly name accused priests as other dioceses

Fresno Bee

October 28, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

[With video of Esther Hatfield Miller.]

Pressure is mounting for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno to publicly name priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct as other dioceses have done.

The national law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates on Wednesday announced the Diocese of Fresno in May offered financial compensation to a survivor, but the diocese still refuses to publicly name the accused priest.

In a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, the Diocese of Fresno said it was its policy to not comment or respond to matters that involve active litigation.

The priest in question is Father Anthony Moreno. In early January, Moreno joined the growing list of priests in the Diocese of Fresno who have been accused of sexual misconduct. That was when a lawsuit was filed against the diocese by a victim identified as Toni Moreland.

Former Youngstown priest sues diocese for unsubstantiated abuse claims

Mahoning Matters

October 29, 2020

By Justin Dennis

William Smaltz, who served St. Edward Parish decades ago, claims the diocese never interviewed him on the abuse allegations the diocese linked to him in 2018. The diocese removed his name from a list of credibly accused clergy more than a year later.

Youngstown - The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown is facing another defamation suit from a former Youngstown priest.

The diocese in October 2018 published former St. Edward Parish priest William Smaltz’ name in a list of diocesan clergy who have been accused of sexually abusing a minor.

The diocese in May removed Smaltz’ name from the list, after it received new information and followed up on the claims against him, and found them to be unsubstantiated.

But Smaltz’ lawsuit, filed Friday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, claims the damage to his reputation had already been done.

According to the suit, the diocese did not interview Smaltz on the abuse allegations, which the suit calls “inconsistent and vague.”

“A different priest who was serving at the same parish as Mr. Smaltz has been charged on multiple accounts of sexual abuse/misconduct whose identity the accuser most likely confused with Mr. Smaltz,” reads the suit. “Despite inconsistencies and lack of investigation, the [diocese] claimed that the witness’ statements were credible.”

The suit does not identify the “different priest.”

Former Youngstown priest sues Diocese for defamation


October 28, 2020

A former priest in the Youngstown Diocese, who was removed from a list of accused sex offenders, has now filed a defamation lawsuit.

William Smaltz claims his name was added to the offender list without a proper investigation.

The suit claims Smaltz has suffered emotional distress since the diocese released the list almost two years ago.

Smaltz was ordained as a priest in 1956 and served the Church for 18 years.

In court documents, Smaltz said he was never interviewed as part of the investigation into the sexual abuse allegations. He maintains that the accuser “likely” confused him with another priest who was serving at the same parish as Smaltz.

On Oct. 30, 2018, the Youngstown Diocese released a list of names to the media that they deemed to be “credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.” Smaltz’s name appeared on that list but was later removed.

Smaltz says even though his name was taken off the list the damage was already done, saying it damaged his character and reputation, according to court documents.

October 28, 2020

Reviled by Catholic leaders, this NJ activist has helped many victims of clergy sex abuse

New Jersey Herald

October 28, 2020

By Deena Yellin

As an advocate for survivors of clergy sex abuse and a watchdog of the Catholic Church, Robert Hoatson is accustomed to provoking the wrath of Catholic leaders.

He's also no stranger to the consequences of his nearly five decades of activism, including being fired from his job, suspended from the priesthood and treated with disdain by church colleagues.

So when Hoatson was recently informed that he's receiving an accolade for his crusade from a Catholic institution, he was shocked.

"They called me out of the blue and said they now realize I was right and my work is crucial and they're giving me this honor," said Hoatson in disbelief.

The West Orange resident will be inducted next month into the Essex Catholic High School Hall of Fame, alongside a roster of some 200 Catholics who were honored for professional achievements and service to their communities.

Hoatson, a 1970 graduate of the school, will join ex-Yankees catcher Rick Cerone (class of 1972) and Martin Liquori (class of 1967), a record-setting runner who competed in the 1968 Olympics.

The Newark-based school, which was sponsored by the Archdiocese of Newark and operated by the Irish Christian Brothers, closed in 2003 but maintains an active alumni group.

"He's a very courageous person to take on the juggernaut of the Catholic church," said William Vantuono, one of several alumni who nominated Hoatson for the honor. Vantuono noted that Hoatson protested outside the venue of the school's alumni dinner to raise awareness of inappropriate conduct by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, whose name was subsequently removed from the hall of fame.

Former priest files defamation suit

The Vindicator

October 28, 2020

By Ed Runyan

Youngstown - Former priest William B. Smaltz of Youngstown and his wife, Noreen, filed suit against the Diocese of Youngstown on Tuesday alleging defamation after the Diocese included Smaltz’s name on a list of priests it called “credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.”

The Diocese released the list to the public Oct. 30, 2018, and various news outlets published articles on it.

In May, however, the Diocese said it was removing Smaltz’s name from the list after further investigation and additional information indicated that the earlier allegations against Smaltz are “no longer deemed to be credible,” according to Vindicator files.

The suit was filed in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court and is assigned to Judge Anthony D’Apolito.

Over his time as priest, Smaltz was assigned to St. Edward Parish in Youngstown, St. Mary Parish in Massillon, Our Lady of Lourdes in East Palestine and St. Mary Parish in Conneaut, the Diocese has said.

The suit states that Smaltz was ordained a priest in 1956 and served in the Catholic Church 18 years. He received dispensation to leave the priesthood and got married. He and his wife had four children, the suit states.

The Diocese conducted an investigation of claims regarding priests sexually abusing minors but failed to interview Smaltz when the accuser “made inconsistent and vague claims concerning him,” the suit states.

Former priest who downloaded child abuse imagery jailed

Irish Times

October 27, 2020

By Darren Skelton

Oliver O’Grady sentenced to 22 months for viewing video of girl on loaned computer

Defrocked priest Oliver O’Grady was sentenced to 22 months in prison at Waterford Circuit Court on Tuesday after being found guilty by a jury earlier this month of possessing child abuse imagery.

O’Grady had been accused of using a computer that had been loaned to him by a housemate at 21 Otteran Place, South Parade, Waterford, to download a video showing an underage girl being abused.

O’Grady denied the charge, but admitted that the computer was used to search for images and videos of “young boys in underwear”. O’Grady’s main defence had been that he shared the house with many other people and the computer was used in a “common area”. He denied ever downloading or seeing the video.

The prosecution highlighted O’Grady’s activities on the computer to link him to the video. His email account, which was verified with his phone number, had been used to download the video.

He had been searching for items of a religious nature, such as the lyrics to O Holy Night and the Catholic Magnificat at the same time as he was searching for images of “young boys in underwear”.

Derry man who says priest abused him hits out at church probe

Belfast Telegraph

October 28, 2020

By Donna Deeney

Bishop found there was 'insufficient evidence' to support claims dating back 28 years

A man who alleges he was abused by a priest in Londonderry 28 years ago has criticised the Catholic Church's investigation.

Denis Cairns was just 13 years old when he claims he was abused by a priest attached to the Nottingham diocese.

He has now received a letter from the Bishop of Nottingham, Patrick McKinney, in which the Bishop said he was "unable to reach the required moral certainty" demanded of him after considering the evidence from Mr Cairns and the priest at the centre of his allegation.

Bishop McKinney said: "It is the case that it was impossible to discern the degree of proof that is required, therefore I have decreed that due to insufficient or conflicting evidence no penalty can be applied to (named priest)."

Mr Cairns reported his alleged abuse to the then RUC in 1997, when a file was sent to the PPS. It did not pursue a prosecution on the grounds that it was Mr Cairns' word against that of the priest he alleged abused him.

Vatican abuse trial: Victim petitions to sue pre-seminary and religious group

Catholic News Agency

October 27, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

Vatican City - At a hearing Tuesday of an ongoing abuse and cover-up trial against two Italian priests, the Vatican court accepted a request from the victim’s lawyer to sue the institution where the alleged abuse took place, as well as the group which oversees it.

The Oct. 27 hearing was the second in the trial against defendants Fr. Gabriele Martinelli, 28, and Fr. Enrico Radice, 72. Martinelli was charged earlier this month with using violence and his authority to commit sexual abuse over a number of years, and Radice was charged with impeding investigations into the abuse.

The defendants, who have not publicly addressed the accusations against them, were present, together with their lawyers, at the hearing, which lasted three-quarters of an hour.

Sexual abuse allegations against priest, employee, Vancouver archdiocese

Vancouver Courier

October 27, 2020

By Jeremy Hainsworth

“Culture of entrenched clericalism that enabled perpetrators of sexual abuse:” suit

An unnamed man who alleges sexual abuse by two Roman Catholic priests is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver (RCAV), a Corporation Sole, the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver (CISVA) and the estates of two men.

The John Doe alleges in documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court Oct. 23 that North Vancouver Holy Trinity Parish pastor Father John Kilty, now dead, committed multiple acts of sexual assault and battery on him when he was six.

He further alleges Raymond Clavin, whose status is unknown, committed similar acts. The suit said Clavin was a former Christian Brothers pupil and coach, teacher or employee of CISVA.

“At all times material to the abuse, the RCAV and/or the CISVA were complicit in a culture of entrenched clericalism that enabled perpetrators of sexual abuse to continue to commit their grievous crimes, and wherein witnesses, complainants and whistleblowers were silenced,” the suit said.

New Orleans archdiocese seeks laicization for all clergy credibly accused of sex abuse

Catholic News Agency

October 27, 2020

By Kevin Jones

While allegations against two New Orleans-area priests have again raised questions about the Church’s response to clergy misconduct, the Archdiocese of New Orleans has confirmed that for the past two years it has been seeking to laicize clergy who have been removed from ministry for credible reports of sexual abuse.

“In the Archdiocese of New Orleans, very soon after the publication of the 2018 Clergy Abuse Report, conversations began in an effort to seek the laicization of those living clergy that had been removed from ministry for abuse of a minor and this is in process,” Sarah McDonald, communications director at the New Orleans archdiocese, told CNA Oct. 26.

“This is a highly technical canonical process and clergy have canonical rights that must be respected.”

Pope names new bishop for Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield

Amherst Bulletin

October 27, 2020

By Michael Connors

Springfield - The Rev. William D. Byrne, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., was named by Pope Francis on Wednesday as the 10th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

A native of Washington, D.C., Byrne, 56, will replace Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, who after six years of leading the diocese was tapped this summer to become the archbishop of St. Louis. The announcement of Byrne’s new position was made in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, U.S. papal nuncio.

At a news conference Wednesday, Byrne said that when he received the call informing him of his appointment, he realized it was “a profound gift of not just being a bishop, but being a bishop here in western Massachusetts.” Byrne was ordained as a priest in 1994 and has most recently served as pastor of the Our Lady of Mercy parish in Potomac, Maryland.

“And at that moment, I prayed for the people and the clergy, the priests of this diocese, and have continued to do so each and every day as I prepare myself to join you in our new home,” Byrne said. “I prayed also for myself — I prayed that I may be a gift to this local church.”

October 27, 2020

Vatican Court Hears Unprecedented Sexual Abuse Criminal Trial

National Public Radio

October 26, 2020

By Sylvia Poggioli

[With audio that is somewhat different from the printed text.]

An unprecedented trial is underway this month at the Vatican, the result of a whistleblower going public.

A young priest is charged with sexually abusing an altar boy over a five-year period inside Vatican City walls. An older priest is charged with covering up the abuse.

It's the first criminal trial for sexual abuse to take place in the Vatican court.

The first hearing of the trial, held earlier this month, lasted just eight minutes — enough for the Vatican court to hear graphic descriptions of the charges. The alleged victim, identified by his initials, LG, was forced "to undergo carnal acts, acts of sodomy and masturbation at different times and in different places inside Vatican City," according to charges read out by the court clerk.

The alleged abuse took place from 2007, when the victim was 13, until 2012.

The crime scene is the closed world of the St. Pius X youth seminary, whose residents — some as young as 11 — are known as the "pope's altar boys." They serve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica and are considering becoming priests.

Rosmini College sex abuse: Brother William Jackson groped boys during music lessons

New Zealand Herald

October 26, 2020

By Elizabeth Binning

An Auckland lawyer and former politician has come out in support of Rosmini sex abuse victim, saying he too was groped by brother William Jackson.

And, the school itself has been contacted by another former student who said they had a similar experience with Jackson, a music teacher at the Catholic school in Auckland during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The Herald today revealed Jackson, who went on to become a priest but was later stripped of his title, doesn't remember sexually abusing young boys but apologised for it anyway, saying he believes their accounts of what happened during private music lessons.

But, despite the apology and a police investigation, the 78-year-old who went on to become a priest won't be held to account in New Zealand because he's living in England and deemed too old.

One of Jackson's victims, a man called Tim who received an apology and compensation from the Church, has gone public with his experience in the hope others who suffered in silence for several decades would be encouraged to come forward too.

Slidell priest Patrick Wattigny in St. Tammany jail after molestation arrest in Georgia


October 26, 2020

By David Hammer


The Archdiocese of New Orleans said Wattigny self-reported Oct. 1 that he had abused a teen in December 2013.

A long-time Slidell priest accused of molesting an underage boy between five and seven years ago has been extradited from Georgia to the St. Tammany Parish jail.

Patrick Wattigny arrived Monday evening at the jail in Covington wearing an Archbishop Rummel t-shirt and a mask around 5:40 p.m. after a five-hour drive from the Troup County jail in western Georgia, where he was arrested Thursday as a fugitive from St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputies, who had issued a warrant for his arrest on four counts of molestation of a juvenile.

Wattigny was the pastor at St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church in Slidell since 2013 and also served as chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School until he was removed this summer for sending inappropriate texts to a current student.

Ex priest escapes justice: Rosmini College sex abuse investigation - William Jackson admits conduct

New Zealand Herald

October 26, 2020

By Elizabeth Binning


A former Catholic priest who has apologised for sexually abusing young boys at Rosmini College won't be charged due to his age and the fact he now lives in England.

William Jackson was questioned by police in 2018 following allegations he abused four boys during his time at the Auckland Catholic boys' school in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The former music and religious studies teacher, who was known as Brother Jackson then and went on to become Father Jackson, was sent to New Zealand in 1968 — despite having abused a young boy at a school in Tanzania two years earlier.

The 78-year-old has told police and the Kiwi victims he doesn't remember touching anyone — but apologised for the "ugly events" anyway.

"I personally have no clear recollection of what happened but I do believe your account of my sexual abuse in your regard," he said in a letter to one victim last year.

"I feel terrible that you remember me as the cause of your suffering.

"There is little I can do to heal your painful memories, except to deeply apologise for what I did ..."

The Church has also apologised for the harm caused by Jackson and paid one victim $30,000 in compensation for his "terrible experience".

New lawsuit alleges Catholic priest and teacher raped 6-year-old B.C. boy in the 70s

CBC News

October 27, 2020

By Bethany Lindsay

A B.C. man who says he was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest and a Catholic school teacher when he was a boy in the 1970s is the latest to file suit against church authorities in Vancouver.

The alleged victim, who filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Court last week under the pseudonym John Doe, says he was just six years old when he was abused by Father John Kilty and Raymond Clavin in North Vancouver.

In a written statement, Doe alleges the abuse he suffered "included the full spectrum of violations from sexual touching to full blown rape." He says it has taken him more than 40 years to feel comfortable making these allegations public.

"I cannot find the right words to explain how the sexual abuse that I endured at age six has impacted my life," Doe said.

"When the most intimate moment of one's young life is simultaneously the most horrifying and disgusting, there is a suffocation of every authentic experience from that moment onward. The stain of these traumatic events has, and continues to, permeate all facets of my life experience."

Revealed: ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse

The Guardian

October 21, 2020

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner

[See also Inside the People of Praise, the Tight-Knit Faith Community of Amy Coney Barrett, by Ruth Graham and Sharon LaFraniere, New York Times (October 8, 2020).]

People of Praise hire lawyers to investigate historical sexual abuse allegations as former members speak of ‘emotional torment’

Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the supreme court has prompted former members of her secretive faith group, the People of Praise, to come forward and share stories about emotional trauma and – in at least one case – sexual abuse they claim to have suffered at the hands of members of the Christian group.

In the wake of the allegations, the Guardian has learned that the charismatic Christian organization, which is based in Indiana, has hired the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan to conduct an “independent investigation” into sexual abuse claims on behalf of People of Praise.

The historic sexual abuse allegations and claims of emotional trauma do not pertain specifically to Barrett, who has been a lifelong member of the charismatic group, or her family.

But some former members who spoke to the Guardian said they were deeply concerned that too little was understood about the “community” of People of Praise ahead of Barrett’s expected confirmation by the Senate next week, after which she will hold the seat formerly held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Two people familiar with the matter say that more than two dozen former members of the faith group, many of whom say they felt “triggered” by Barrett’s nomination, are participating in a support group to discuss how the faith group affected their lives.

“The basic premise of everything at the People of Praise was that the devil controlled everything outside of the community, and you were ‘walking out from under the umbrella of protection’ if you ever left,” said one former member who called herself Esther, who had to join the group as a child but then left the organization. “I was OK with it being in a tiny little corner of Indiana, because a lot of weird stuff happens in tiny little corners in this country. But it’s just unfathomable to me – I can’t even explain just how unfathomable it is – that you would have a supreme court justice who is a card-carrying member of this community.”

October 26, 2020

Catholic church needs to continue apology to Indigenous people

Marin Independent Journal

October 25, 2020

By Frank Lindh

As a lifelong Catholic and an active parishioner at Saint Raphael Church in San Rafael, I believe it is fundamentally wrong for the civil authorities – or the church authorities – to characterize the pulling down of a Father Junipero Serra statue as a “hate crime” during an otherwise peaceful demonstration on Indigenous Peoples Day.

I am disappointed to read that’s exactly what San Rafael Police Department officials are aiming to do.

In 2006, then-retired Roman Catholic Bishop Frank Quinn celebrated Mass at St. Raphael’s in order to commemorate the founding of Mission San Rafael. During his homily, he offered an apology for the mistreatment of the Miwok people by the Franciscan friars.

Later, Quinn recalled the event. “I’ve studied the Miwoks and I regret that they were treated unfairly,” he told the Catholic News Service in an interview quoted online. “They didn’t expect an apology, so some of the Indians even wept. I looked upon it as a time of reconciliation.”

Ohio Priest Accused of Sex Trafficking Played Father Figure To Victims, Enabled Drug Addiction

International Business Times

October 26, 2020

By Suneeta Sunny

Michael Zacharias, 53, former Ohio priest who was arrested in August 2020, is facing a 10-count indictment with charges that include sex trafficking of minor, sex trafficking of an adult by fraud, and coercion. He has also been accused of sexually exploiting the minors by enabling their drug addiction.

A Federal Grand Jury in Cleveland on Friday handed down Michael, a 10- count indictment. Michael was arrested on Aug. 18, 2020 and has remained in Federal Custody since then. Michael has been accused of engaging in sexual acts and grooming of minors since late 1990s when he was enrolled as a seminarian.

According to the court documents, he continued to abuse victims while he served as a priest at various religious institutions in the Northern District of Ohio and elsewhere.

“This defendant is accused of using his status and position as a religious and community leader to seek out troubled minors and exploit their personal challenges for his own satisfaction,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said in the indictment. He added that the indictment is a step towards serving justice for the victims, families and community harmed by the defendant and his alleged acts.

Diocese appears for Chapter 11 First Day motions

Catholic Star Herald

October 22, 2020

By Michael Walsh

With the Oct. 1 announcement of filing for Chapter 11 reorganization under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the Diocese of Camden appeared for the First Day motions on Oct. 7 at the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey, federal court building in Camden in front of Judge Jerrold N. Poslusny Jr.

In court that day were Bishop Dennis Sullivan, Father Robert Hughes, Vicar General of the Diocese, Laura Montgomery, Director of Temporal Services and head of the diocesan Finance Department and attorneys for the Diocese, including those from the law firm of McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC who are representing the Diocese in the reorganization. Also in attendance, in person and via telephone, were attorneys representing sex abuse victims with lawsuits against the diocese.

First Day motions, usually conducted one week after the initial filing, are utilized by organizations seeking financial relief on an expedited basis and typically include, but are not limited to, requests to: maintain existing banking accounts and cash management systems; maintain and set adequate assurance for utility companies; pay prepetition payroll; etc., with admissible evidence to support the request. In the case of the Diocese, the First Day motions were done for just these reasons. All motions and accompanying documents can be found on the PrimeClerk link on the diocesan website: www.camdendiocese.org/reorganization.

‘People don’t want to talk about it,’ but reports of children being exploited online have spiked substantially

South Coast Today

October 24, 2020

By Dustin Racioppi


Trenton NJ - As New Jersey started locking down in the COVID-19 pandemic, a convicted rapist and registered sex offender from Oklahoma named Aaron Craiger stepped off a Greyhound bus in Atlantic City. He had a phone with child sexual abuse materials on it and graphic plans to carry out his sexual fantasies with two 11- and 12-year-old girls.

Instead, Craiger was met on March 18 by undercover law enforcement in a four-month sting that led to the arrests of 19 men, one woman and one juvenile male accused of sexually exploiting children online.

While the world has battled the health and economic effects of the coronavirus, another global issue has raged in tandem with little notice — and without the additional money and resources needed to effectively battle it, experts said. Online child abuse and exploitation, already one of the biggest and growing crime challenges nationally, has spiked as COVID-19 has forced more people indoors with abusers and children spending more time on the internet.

The increase in reports tracks in the United States and abroad during the pandemic, experts said. Tips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the clearinghouse for such information in the United States, nearly doubled from 6.3 million in the first half of 2019 to 12 million through June of this year. Reports of online enticement similarly spiked during that timeframe, from 6,863 to 13,268.

“Online child exploitation right now is probably one of the biggest problems, from a crime perspective, in our country,” Pizzuro said.

Survivor group slams Fresno Catholic churches for withholding names of accused priests

Fresno Bee

October 26, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

It remains unknown when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno may release its list of credibly accused priests of sexual misconduct two years after it began to ponder what to release to the public.

An advocacy organization says the diocese is stalling the release of names of accused priests because it doesn’t want to encourage more lawsuits from victims. The diocese would not comment on that claim.

Almost all dioceses in California released their lists, naming credibly accused priests, in 2018 and 2019, but the Diocese of Fresno has yet to share that information with the public. The Archdiocese of San Francisco is the only other entity that has not released that information.

In September 2018, former Bishop Armando X. Ochoa began to work with a review board to determine what information the Diocese of Fresno would make public. In February 2019, officials announced the diocese had hired Kinsale Management Consulting to review records going back to the 1950s — as other dioceses in the state did — before it could release any information.

At the time, a diocese official said the names of priests accused of sex crimes would be released within a year, which would have been in early 2020.

Cheryl Sarkisian, chancellor at the Diocese of Fresno, last week said the investigation “is a work in progress.” She would not say how much longer the investigation is expected to take to be completed or what is delaying it.

Beyond ‘Moviegate,’ deep questions remain on Vatican’s China gamble


October 25, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Almost 75 years ago, Arnold Toynbee described what historians are trying to find as they scour the past in his book Civilization on Trial:

The things that make good headlines are on the surface of the stream of life, and they distract us from the slower, impalpable, imponderable movements that work below the surface and penetrate to the depths. But it’s really these deeper, slower movements that make history, and it is they that stand out huge in retrospect, when the sensational passing events have dwindled, in perspective, to their true proportions.

If ever there was a week on the Vatican beat to perfectly capture that contrast, this has been it. Two storylines are fighting it out to dominate Vatican coverage, and so far it’s no contest: A media frenzy over manipulation and censorship of a few seconds of papal verbiage on civil unions in a new documentary has overwhelmed the Vatican and China renewing their deal on the appointment of bishops for another two years.

Care to guess, 100 years from now, which of those two developments will seem a “sensational passing event” and which a “deeper, slower movement that makes history”? And the kicker is that arguably, both stories reflect the same defining instinct of Pope Francis.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who slammed Trump, to become first African American cardinal

USA Today

October 25, 2020

By John Bacon

The Washington, D.C., archbishop who slammed President Donald Trump's visit to a Roman Catholic shrine in the city will become the first African American cardinal, the Vatican announced Sunday.

Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory, 72, is one of 13 men who will assume the rank of cardinal in ceremonies Nov. 28. Cardinals rank only behind the pope in church hierarchy, and together they vote to elect popes. Cardinals wear red to signify their willingness to shed blood in service of the church.

“With a very grateful and humble heart, I thank Pope Francis for this appointment which will allow me to work more closely with him in caring for Christ’s Church," Gregory said in a statement.

Pope Francis Appoints First African-American Cardinal

New York Times

October 25, 2020

By Elizabeth Dias and Jason Horowitz

Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, was among 13 new cardinals named on Sunday.

Washington - Pope Francis on Sunday named Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, a cardinal, elevating the first African-American to the Catholic church’s highest governing body, a groundbreaking act in a year when demands for racial justice have consumed the country.

The rise of Archbishop Gregory, who is also the first American named to the College of Cardinals since 2016, comes as debates over how to address the legacy of slavery and racism have extended to the Catholic church, which for centuries excluded African Americans from positions of power.

“By naming Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a Cardinal, Pope Francis is sending a powerful message of hope and inclusion to the Church in the United States,” Archbishop José H. Gomez, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement.

The move is the latest sign that, seven years into his papacy, Pope Francis continues to redirect the church toward greater acceptance of those on the margins. He has worked to diversify the College of Cardinals, center the poor and migrants and warned of the threat of climate change. Last week Pope Francis expressed support for same-sex civil unions, staking out new ground for the church’s recognition of gay people.

The Rise of Wilton Gregory, the First African-American Cardinal

New York Times

October 25, 2020

By Christina Morales

Archbishop Gregory led the U.S. Roman Catholic Church’s response to its sexual abuse crisis and more recently has pushed for better race relations in the church. Here is what we know about him.

Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., and a leader of the U.S. Roman Catholic Church’s response to its sexual abuse crisis, was among 13 new cardinals that Pope Francis announced on Sunday. The move positions Archbishop Gregory, 72, to become the first African-American cardinal next month.

He has been a national figure since 2002, when, as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he presided over the adoption of a zero-tolerance policy toward priests guilty of sexual abuse. He was elevated from his position as the bishop of Belleville, Ill., to lead the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 2005 before Francis installed him in Washington last year.

Black D.C. archbishop’s rise marks a historic moment

Associated Press

October 26, 2020

By Elana Schor

Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory is set to become the first Black U.S. prelate to assume the rank of cardinal in the Catholic Church, a historic appointment that comes months after nationwide demonstrations against racial injustice.

Gregory’s ascension, announced on Sunday by Pope Francis alongside 12 other newly named cardinals, elevates a leader who has drawn praise for his handling of the sexual abuse scandal that has roiled the church. The Washington-area archbishop also has spoken out in recent days about the importance of Catholic leaders working to combat the sin of racial discrimination.

The 72-year-old Gregory, ordained in his native Chicago in 1973, took over leadership of the capital’s archdiocese last year after serving as archbishop of Atlanta since 2005. The ceremony making his elevation official is slated for Nov. 28.

“With a very grateful and humble heart, I thank Pope Francis for this appointment which will allow me to work more closely with him in caring for Christ’s Church,” Gregory said in a statement issued by the archdiocese.

Gregory helped shape the church’s “zero tolerance” response to the sexual abuse scandal while serving as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2001 to 2004. During that period, the bishops adopted a charter designed to govern its treatment of sexual abuse allegations made by minor children against priests. The church’s efforts since 2004 have helped achieve a sharp reduction in child-sex abuse cases. But some abuse continues to occur, and the church’s procedures for addressing abuse continue to incur criticism from those who feel there’s a lack of consistency and transparency.

October 25, 2020

Australian police not investigating Vatican money transfer

Associated Press

October 22, 2020

By Rod McGuirk

Australian state police said Friday they’re not investigating the transfer of money from the Vatican to Australia, throwing doubt on Italian media speculation that it might be linked to the overturned convictions of Cardinal George Pell for child sex abuse.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera speculated in recent weeks that Vatican investigators were looking into whether Pell’s nemesis at the Holy See, ousted Cardinal Angelo Becciu, wired 700,000 euros ($823,000) in Vatican money to a bank account in Australia, and whether that money was tied to Pell’s sex abuse trial.

Victoria Police, which in 2017 charged Pell with child sex abuse, said the Australian intelligence agency responsible for detecting international financial crime, AUSTRAC, had confirmed that Vatican money had been wired to Australia.

But AUSTRAC had “not advised Victoria Police of any suspicious activity related to these transactions,” the police department said.

“In the absence of any other evidence or intelligence, Victoria Police has noted the advice from AUSTRAC. We are not at this time conducting any further investigation,” a police statement said.

But it does not rule out criminality or corruption in the money transfers.

Australian Federal Police said Wednesday it was “undertaking a review of the relevant information” provided by AUSTRAC. A review of evidence is a preliminary step toward an official criminal investigation.

French cases lead Focolare to promise investigation of handling abuse claims

Caholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

October 22, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

The president of Focolare has accepted the resignations of the lay movement's top leaders in France and announced the group will ask an independent committee to investigate how allegations of the sexual abuse of minors have been handled.

"The task of this body will be to listen to the presumed victims and to gather further testimonies, as well as investigating eventual omissions, cover-ups or silence on the part of those responsible for the movement," said a statement released Oct. 22 by the Focolare movement, which is headquartered outside of Rome.

"In the interest of the completeness of the investigation and to guarantee full transparency," the statement said, Maria Voce, president of Focolare, accepted the resignations Oct. 21 of Bernard Brechet and Claude Goffinet, co-leaders of the Focolare movement in France, and of Henri-Louis Roche, leader of the movement's Western Europe region.

In 2016, the Focolare movement dismissed a consecrated member of the group, identified only as JMM.

A young woman had alleged in 1994 that JMM had raped and sexually molested her in 1981 and 1982 when she was 15 and 16. The Focolare movement said they relieved JMM of his "responsibilities regarding young people" when the allegations were made.

In 1998, in a civil court case, he admitted to molesting her and was ordered to pay damages. He did not admit to raping her.

Pope announces a consistory for the creation of 13 new cardinals

Vatican News

October 25, 2020

On 28 November, there will be 13 new additions to the College of Cardinals: 9 are under 80 years of age, among them is the Guardian of Sacro Convento in Assisi, Father Mauro Gambetti.

The Church will have thirteen new Cardinals. Nine of them are younger than 80 and therefore, have the right to participate in a future conclave. Four others are older than 80 years of age. Pope Francis’s announcement came as a surprise, after the recitation of the Angelus of Sunday, 25 October. He communicated the news regarding the creation of the new cardinals to the faithful present in St Peter’s Square as well as to those connected throughout the world.

Two of the new Cardinals work in the Roman Curia: the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Maltese Mario Grech and the Italian Marcello Semeraro, former Bishop of Albano and the new Prefect for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints.

Six other pastors in the Church throughout the world are joining them: the Archbishop of Kilgali, Rwanda, Antoine Kambanda; the Archbishop of Washington, United States, Wilton Gregory; the Archbishop of Capiz, in the Philippines, Jose Fuerte Advincula; the Archbishop of Santiago, Chile, Celestino Aós Braco; the Apostolic Vicar of Brunei, Cornelius Sim; the Archbishop of Siena, Italia, Augusto Paolo Lojudice.

In addition, the Pope has also appointed the current Guardian of the Franciscan Sacro Convento in Assisi, Mauro Gambetti.

To these Cardinals who are younger than 80 years of age, Pope Francis has also added four other Cardinals who are older than 80. They are: Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, Archbishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Mexico); former Apostolic Nuncio Silvano Tomasi, former permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva who then worked in the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Papal Household; and the pastor of the Shrine of Divine Love, Father Enrico Feroci.

Francis names 13 new cardinals, including Washington's Archbishop Gregory

National Catholic Reporter

October 25, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Rome - Pope Francis named 13 new Catholic cardinals Oct. 25, including two Vatican officials; archbishops in Rwanda, the Philippines and Chile; and Washington, D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory.

In an unexpected announcement at the end of the pontiff's traditional Angelus prayer, the pontiff said he would install the new cardinals during a consistory at the Vatican Nov. 28 -- setting the stage for an unusual and possibly unprecedented ceremony, held during the midst of a continuing global pandemic.

Gregory, who has served as the archbishop of Washington since May 2019, will be the fourth American cardinal created by Francis, following Chicago's Blase Cupich, Newark's Joseph Tobin and Kevin Farrell, the prefect of the Vatican's Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

Five of the other new cardinals named lead global dioceses: Kigali, Rwanda Archbishop Antoine Kambanda; Capiz, Philippines Archbishop Jose Advincula; Santiago, Chile Archbishop Celestino Aos Braco; Brunei Apostolic Vicar Bishop Cornelius Sim; and Siena, Italy Archbishop Augusto Paolo Lojudice.

The two Vatican officials named cardinals were Bishop Mario Grech, the new head of the Vatican's office for the Synod of Bishops; and Bishop Marcello Semeraro, who has replaced the disgraced Cardinal Angelo Becciu as the head of the Vatican's sainthood office.

Findlay priest faces 10-count indictment, including sex trafficking of a minor


October 23, 2020

By Jenson Strock

Michael Zacharias, 53, is accused of exploiting the drug addiction of minor victims by paying for their habits in exchange for alleged sex acts.

Fndlay OH - A former Findlay priest is the subject of a 10-count indictment, facing charges that include sex trafficking of minor, sex trafficking of an adult and minor by force, fraud and coercion.

The indictment was handed down by a federal grand jury in Cleveland on Friday against Michael J. Zacharias, 53. He was arrested on Aug. 18 and has since remained in federal custody.

"This defendant is accused of using his status and position as a religious and community leader to seek out troubled minors and exploit their personal challenges for his own satisfaction," U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. "This indictment is a step toward finding justice for the victims, families and community harmed by the defendant and his alleged acts."

According to court documents, from approximately 1999 to July 2020, Zacharias is accused of sex trafficking of a minor victim and using force, fraud or coercion to sexually traffic other minors and adults.

During this time, he was enrolled as a seminarian and served as a priest at various religious institutions in the Northern District of Ohio.

Findlay Priest, Zacharias Indicted for Sex Trafficking

Shore News

October 24, 2020

Findlay OH - U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Cleveland has returned a 10-count indictment charging Michael J. Zacharias, age 53, with sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking of an adult and minor by force, fraud, or coercion. The defendant was arrested on August 18, 2020, and has remained in federal custody since that time.

“This defendant is accused of using his status and position as a religious and community leader to seek out troubled minors and exploit their personal challenges for his own satisfaction,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “This indictment is a step towards finding justice for the victims, families and community harmed by the defendant and his alleged acts.”

“Michael Zacharias used his respected position to prey on and take advantage of youth and adults for his own sexual gratification,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge. “We must hold accountable to the fullest extent of the law those who violate their sacred trust to molest and harm our children.

Clergy abuse

Diocese of Salina

October 21, 2019

It recently has come to our attention that a priest, Fr. Ed Prather (deceased – date of death: November 26, 1996), from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, had several credible allegations of sexual misconduct with minors. Fr. Prather did not have ministerial faculties to participate in ministry in the Diocese of Salina. However, he did reside in the parish rectory at St. Edward Parish in Belleville, Kansas for approximately one (1) year and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hays, Kansas for one (1) summer. Although Fr. Prather is currently on the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City’s “list of priests with credible accusations” there have been no allegations received while he resided in the Diocese of Salina.

If anyone has any information concerning inappropriate sexual behavior concerning Fr. Prather while he resided in the Diocese of Salina, please contact the Kansas Protection Report Center at 1-800-922-5330 and/or the KBI Crime Hotline at 1-800-572-7463 and/or the Office of Safety and Security for the Diocese of Salina on the Diocese of Salina’s website by either submitting an abuse report online or call the diocesan report abuse hotline (785) 825-0865 or email your abuse report to – reportabuse@salinadiocese.org. All reports received by the Office of Safety and Security for the Diocese of Salina concerning abuse of minors are immediately reported to law enforcement and the Department of Children and Families.

The Pope and Pell: 'One of the most fascinating relationships in Rome'

The Guardian

October 24, 2020

By Andrew West

The Pope is understood to have believed in Cardinal George Pell’s innocence of child sexual abuse charges. But their different visions of the Catholic church puts a limit of their alliance

Suddenly, it seems, George Pell is everywhere. Freed from a Melbourne jail in April after the high court unanimously quashed his conviction for child sexual abuse, the cardinal joined the rest of the country in house-bound isolation as the first wave of Covid-19 hit.

But by July the man who was once No 3 in the Vatican hierarchy was dining with the former prime minister Tony Abbott in a Sydney club. And in late September, he returned to Rome, three years after taking leave from his job as the head of Vatican finances to answer the charges in Melbourne.

On 12 October, Pell had a reportedly friendly, half-hour meeting with Pope Francis, and last weekend he celebrated mass on the 10th anniversary of the canonisation of Australia’s first saint, Mary McKillop. Abbott was in the front pew.

Close by was a former speaker of the US House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, whose wife is ambassador to the Holy See. The presence of the Gingrich couple is significant because they represent Catholics in the US who have long considered Pell a champion of their orthodox style and theology.

Do not be surprised at more photographs from Rome of Pell presiding at mass, perhaps meeting old Vatican colleagues – basically doing what one might expect of a cardinal in semi-retirement.

But Pell has returned to a Rome gripped by an extraordinary conspiracy theory. A former Vatican official and Pell adversary, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, allegedly funnelled money – a reported $1.1m – to sources in Australia in an attempt to secure Pell’s conviction.

Fr Frank’s Homily

Catholic Outlook - Diocese of Parramatta

October 24, 2020

By Fr Frank Brennan SJ

Today is the National Day of Sorrow and Promise, when we hold the victims of child sexual abuse in our church front and centre acknowledging our sin, weeping in the name of our Church, and begging forgiveness for the wrong we have done. We hope to sow seeds of peace walking alongside those wanting to invite us to accompany them on their journey of truth, justice and healing. Understanding those who would not want us to accompany them on such a journey, we hold them silently in prayer.

What can any priest say on such a day, seeking to break open the word of today’s Gospel where Jesus makes love of God and love of neighbour inseparable, telling us that “on these two commandments hang the whole law, and the Prophets also?” In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus constantly returns to this idea of the law and the Prophets being fulfilled in one. During the Sermon on the Mount, he had said, “So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.” (7:12) What can any of us who lived an ideal childhood oblivious to any abuse happening in our church or society say or do, seeking to treat those who have suffered abuse as we would like them to treat us?

First, we must listen. And even though we’ve now had years of revelations with commissions of inquiry and raised public awareness, there’s still a lot of listening we need to do, particularly when it comes to the spiritual violence and hurt caused by a priest violating a child, when the child has nowhere to turn, thinking that parents would find even the suggestion of violation an impossible abomination. Much has changed and for the better, hopefully reducing the prospect of future abuse. But the pain, suffering, destruction and spiritual desolation of past abuse remains.

Recently, a survivor, Wendy Holder reached out to me. One of her brothers is an alumnus of Newman College. Wendy suffered the most appalling abuse by not one, but two priests – first when she was aged 12, having moved interstate at a time of great vulnerability and need for pastoral care after the death of her brother, and then when she was transitioning to university. She is a psychologist. She is on a journey beginning “to understand the impact of child sexual abuse by religious people on a child’s spiritual development, and the resultant damage to their adult spiritual formation.” She found sanctuary at Mary MacKillop Place during Easter 2018 and then a couple of times at the Benedictine Abbey at Jamberoo the following year. Thank God for such sanctuaries where religious women can provide a haven amidst the wonders of creation. Wendy published her reflections of her visits to MacKillop Place and the Jamberoo Abbey: Poetry of a Survivor.

Scouts' abuse claims may become largest case against a single national organization

USA Today

October 23, 2020

By Rachel Axon and Cara Kelly

As a Nov. 16 deadline looms for abuse survivors to come forward to make claims in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy, a judge’s ruling could allow the case to become the largest-ever child sexual abuse case against a single national organization.

Late last week, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein allowed the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice to join mediation discussions, giving a group representing 28,000 clients a say in any future settlement agreement.

So far, 7,300 victims represented by the 10 law firms in the coalition have signed consent forms allowing the attorneys to negotiate on their behalf. More are expected to sign before the November deadline to file proof of their allegations.

That means tens of thousands of victims, who are considered creditors in the bankruptcy proceeding, could vote on any future settlement with the Boy Scouts.

Thousands file sexual abuse claims against Boy Scouts as deadline in bankruptcy looms

Los Angeles Times

October 22, 2020

By Kim Christensen

Faced with a looming deadline next month, thousands of accusers have submitted sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America in a bankruptcy that could cost the youth organization and its insurers hundreds of millions of dollars — or more.

The Scouts, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in February amid declining membership and an onslaught of new abuse lawsuits, will not say how many claims have been submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

But some plaintiffs’ lawyers say claims continue to pour in, predicting that tens of thousands will meet the Nov. 16 deadline. The massive response, they say, suggests a far broader abuse problem in Scouting than has been previously recognized and could drastically reshape the 110-year-old youth group.

“When this bankruptcy is finally resolved, the Boy Scouts will not be the same Boy Scouts of America,” said Paul Mones, a Los Angeles attorney who sits on a committee in the bankruptcy proceedings that represents victims.

Pope appoints America’s first African American cardinal, D.C.’s Wilton Gregory

Washington Post

October 25, 2020

By Chico Harlan

Rome - Pope Francis announced on Sunday that he would name Washington's archbishop, Wilton Gregory, a cardinal next month, making him the first African American to earn such a title.

Gregory will be one of the 13 cardinals in the new class, a promotion that comes at a time when he is also trying to rebuild trust in an archdiocese rocked by sexual abuse cases.

The move was widely anticipated, as Washington archbishops are typically named as cardinals after their appointments. But it is nonetheless symbolically significant in the U.S. Catholic Church, where Blacks have been underrepresented among the leadership.

Gregory was appointed as Washington's archbishop last year, taking over for Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who had been accused of mishandling clerical abuse cases.

Gregory, 72, will be eligible to vote for the next pope until he reaches the cutoff age of 80. Francis announced the names of his new cardinals while speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter's Square, where he delivers his Sunday Angelus. The Vatican said the ceremony to name the new cardinals would take place Nov. 28, though it is unclear if tightening coronavirus restrictions in Italy might interfere.

Among the other new cardinals, four are already over the age of 80, according to the Vatican. The new cardinals include Marcello Semeraro, an Italian who was recently appointed as the head of the church's saint-making body, and the archbishop of Kigali, Rwanda, Antoine Kambanda.

Gregory has long been among the foremost Catholic leaders in the United States, having lead the national conference of Catholic bishops in the early-2000s, when it was making its first attempt to draw up anti-abuse guidelines. Gregory had been the archbishop of Atlanta before coming to Washington.

Pope names 13 new cardinals, includes WDC Archbishop Gregory

Associated Press

October 25, 2020

By Frances D'Emilio

Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who would become the first Black U.S. prelate to earn the coveted red hat.

In a surprise announcement from his studio window to faithful standing below in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said the churchmen would be elevated to a cardinal’s rank in a ceremony on Nov. 28.

Other new cardinals include an Italian who is the long-time papal preacher at the Vatican, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan friar; the Kigali, Rwanda, Archbishop Antoine Kambanda; the Capiz, Philippines, Archbishop Jose Feurte Advincula, and the Santiago, Chile, Archbishop Celestino Aos.

Another Franciscan who was tapped is Friar Mauro Gambetti, in charge of the Sacred Convent in Assisi. The pope, when elected in 2013, chose St. Francis of Assisi as his namesake saint, and earlier this month, the pontiff journeyed to that hill town in Umbria to sign an encyclical, or important church teaching document, about brotherhood.

The Catholics Who Hate Joe Biden—And Pope Francis

The Atlantic

October 21, 2020

By Tish Durkin

Some of Trump’s most committed Catholic supporters have leveled dark charges against Biden as they battle to sway the vote in crucial swing states. And wait until you hear what they think of the pope.

Joe Biden or Donald Trump: Who’s the better Catholic? If this seems like an odd question to raise in the context of a race for the highest secular office in America—and a race in which one of the two candidates is Protestant—never mind. Both campaigns, and their surrogates, are hotly contesting the answer.

The ex–Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz slammed Biden as a “Catholic in name only” in his appearance at the Republican National Convention.

“President Trump is ignoring Catholic teachings on care for the Earth, feeding the hungry, welcoming the immigrant,” Sister Simone Campbell, a social-justice activist who led a prayer at the Democratic convention, fired back in an interview with me not long after.


There is no reason to assume that strident doctrinal appeals, harnessed to baroque conspiracy theories, will attract most Catholic voters; in fact, the most recent polling data, which show Biden gaining on Trump among white Catholics, strongly suggest that they won’t. On the whole, American Catholics don’t, for example, just accept the concept of birth control; they use it. A majority favors at least some degree of legal abortion—and even those who don’t would probably balk at the idea of Francis as Lucifer’s wingman. To the degree that Catholics are also Americans who admire the Founders of this country—particularly Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin—they might feel the urge to back away slowly from avowed enemies of the Enlightenment.

And yet, a lot has happened, in the Church and in the world, since Obama won a second term. The revival of the sexual-abuse crisis in 2018 unquestionably led all kinds of Catholics to turn fresh rage on the Church hierarchy. The internet, which was still in its baby stage when the previous sexual-abuse crisis hit in 2002, has provided multiple platforms to amplify that anger, and repurpose it. Meanwhile, the Trump phenomenon has made conspiracy-based extremism the stuff of politics, and virtually everything the stuff of political polarization, including Francis himself. In 2014, the pontiff was rated equally favorably by American Catholics in both political parties, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Four years later, he was 10 points more popular among Democrats than among Republicans. Given these developments, it’s certainly conceivable that at least some Catholics have taken a sharp right turn since 2012, or might, if particular messaging were to hit them.

At least 454 priests accused: Michigan reveals 'startling' clergy abuse report

Detroit Free Press

October 23, 2020

By Tresa Baldas

The scope of clergy abuse in Michigan is much worse than what Catholic officials have been reporting as state investigators have now identified more than 400 accused priests and 800 victims after reviewing thousands of paper documents seized during 2018 raids, according to state records and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Moreover, SNAP says, Michigan may have a bigger clergy abuse problem than Pennsylvania, where an explosive 2018 abuse scandal involving hundreds of priests and more than 1,000 children continues to haunt the Catholic Church.

That same year, Michigan launched its own investigation, which SNAP says is producing similar startling numbers.

According to a report issued this week by Attorney General Dana Nessel, 454 accused priests and 811 victims have been identified so far in an ongoing two-year priest abuse investigation involving seven dioceses across the state. Her office notes the number could change as the investigation continues.

October 24, 2020

Handling of abuse allegations divides AG candidates

The Herald

October 24, 2020

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.

Priest Sex Trafficked Teen Drug Addicts for Decades: DOJ

Daily Beast

October 23 2020

By Blake Montgomery

At least one of the victims said he was afraid to report the alleged abuse because of the optics of a young drug addict making allegations against a respected priest.

An Ohio priest respected as a “religious and community leader” has been sex trafficking vulnerable minors and adults for more than two decades, the Department of Justice announced in an indictment unsealed Friday.

A grand jury has charged Rev. Michael J. Zacharias, age 53, with sex trafficking minors and sex trafficking both minors and adults by force, 10 counts in all. Federal authorities arrested Zacharias on August 18 and have kept him in custody since. He taught at St. Michael’s Parish in Findlay, Ohio.

“Michael Zacharias used his respected position to prey on and take advantage of youth and adults for his own sexual gratification,” said Brian Russ, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation.

One victim, whose identity was not disclosed, said Zacharias began grooming him while still a seminarian in 1999, according to court documents. The victim was then 12, still in the sixth grade, and Zacharias allegedly abused him throughout his teen and adult years. Zacharias allegedly paid the victim for oral sex, and the victim returned to the priest many times to feed a dependency on painkillers. The victim said his drug addiction stemmed in part from feelings of self-loathing and questions about his sexuality brought on by the abuse he suffered at Zacharias’ hands.

Priest found guilty of sexual assault defrocked by Montreal archdiocese

CBC News

October 23, 2020

By Leah Hendry

In 2019, Brian Boucher was found guilty of sexually abusing 2 boys between 1995-2011

Montreal - Brian Boucher is no longer a priest.

Boucher was sentenced to eight years in prison last March for sexually abusing two boys when he worked as a priest in LaSalle in the 1990s and the Town of Mount Royal, around 2010.

The news of Boucher's laicization came as a great relief to parishioner Kurt Reckziegel, who attends Our Lady of the Annunciation church in TMR.

"I'm glad to see it's happened," said Reckziegel. "It doesn't help the victims of the past, but maybe it will save some young people in the future."

Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine formally dismissed Boucher from the clerical state last year, but the decision was subject to appeal. No appeal was filed this summer, so the decision stands.

Erika Jacinto, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal, said from the moment of Boucher's dismissal, all financial support to him stopped.

Rev. Pat Wattigny, Louisiana priest accused of sexual abuse, arrested in Georgia

Times-Picayune and Advocate

October 23, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and David Hammer

Police in Georgia have arrested Roman Catholic priest Patrick Wattigny on a St. Tammany Parish warrant accusing him of sexually abusing a minor while he was leading a Slidell church, authorities said Friday.

Wattigny’s arrest comes a little more than three weeks after he allegedly admitted to the Archdiocese of New Orleans that he had started sexually abusing a teenage boy in 2013. He faces four counts of molestation of a juvenile, all stemming from the same victim, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the priest started grooming the victim when the boy was 15. It began with conversation that led to telephone calls, text messages and then private visits, investigators said. Wattigny, now 53, is accused of molesting the teen at least four times between Christmas Eve 2013 and New Year's Eve 2015, including some occasions in a church rectory.

At the time, Wattigny was the pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist near Slidell.

Man sues Catholic Church in Vancouver alleging he was drugged and sexually abused by priest

Vancouver Sun

October 24, 2020

By Keith Fraser

Man alleges he was drugged, sexually abused by priest while he attended Catholic school in North Van in '70s.

A man is suing the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver over allegations that a former priest and a former teacher sexually abused him in the mid-1970s.

The man, who is only identified as John Doe in the lawsuit, says that Father John Kilty, an ordained priest of the Vancouver Archdiocese who served as pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in North Vancouver from 1956-1982, targeted him while he was a six-year-old student at Holy Trinity Elementary around 1974 and ’75.

He claims that Raymond Clavin, a former pupil of the Christian Brothers who was employed as a teacher, also committed multiple acts of sexual assault and battery on him.

The abuse allegedly included the full spectrum of violations from sexual touching to full-blown rape with Kilty allegedly drugging the plaintiff against his will.

In a statement released by his lawyer, Sandra Kovacs, John Doe says that he was invited by other children and Father Kilty into Kilty’s home for a can of pop, a home that was vibrant with kids going in and out freely.

Kilty, who is no longer alive according to the suit, was kind to him at a time when he needed support and kindness, and he did not realize that his friendly gestures were techniques to groom an “unsuspecting and wide-open little boy” for sexual abuse, says the plaintiff.

October 23, 2020

Explosive findings: Archdiocese clergy protected priest who allegedly stole $1M for sex, vacations

The Record

October 20, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

A church investigation conducted last year — which has yet to be made public by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York — revealed that a priest who allegedly stole $1 million from two parishes to pay for sex, lavish vacations and a New Jersey shore home was protected for years by clergy at the archdiocese headquarters and avoided criminal prosecution despite significant evidence the archdiocese itself recently found.

After the investigation concluded, the case was sent to Rome and the archdiocese promised parishioners of St. Frances de Chantal in the Bronx and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini on Roosevelt Island that the priest, Peter Miqueli, would be laicized. The parishioners were also promised that the findings would be made public.

But the promise to release the findings has not been kept.

Rev. Peter Miqueli resigned Saturday after a lawsuit against him accused him of stealing church money and paying a male prostitute.

Over the summer, Miqueli’s body was found at his Brick Township home, where he had used stolen money to pay a man for bondage, discipline and sadomasochistic sessions, according to a lawsuit filed several years ago.

Days after his body was found, the archdiocese’s judicial vicar and lead investigator in the case, Father Richard Welch, was transferred to Rome. In a recent email, the New York Archdiocese said the priest’s death put an end to the case, and “no judgment was ever passed.”

“I think the cover-up continues,” Jack Lynch, a St. Frances de Chantal parishioner, said in a recent interview. “He told me he had overwhelming evidence,” he said of Welch.

Parishioners say they are still waiting to be briefed on the findings from the archdiocese’s investigation of Miqueli — and that the findings remain relevant. Linda Heimer, a parishioner of the Roosevelt Island parish, said Welch’s investigation appeared to be “the last chance to do something about this,” and that she had been hoping there would be some restitution for her parish, where the bulk of the money was allegedly stolen. She said that her church should receive proceeds from the sale of Miqueli’s Brick home, which was purchased in 2009 while Miqueli was her parish pastor.

Bishop of Beverley faces ban for telling abuse victim to ‘move on’

The Times

October 22, 2020

By Kaya Burgess

A Church of England bishop could face a life ban from office after being accused of telling the victim of a paedophile bishop to “forget it and move on”.

The Bishop of Beverley, the Right Rev Glyn Webster, 69, has been criticised in a report for allegedly failing to investigate reports that the late Victor Whitsey, a former Bishop of Chester, had repeatedly sexually abused a boy in the 1970s, starting when he was 14.

An independent review commissioned by the church found today that Whitsey, who died in 1987, was a prolific paedophile who groomed and abused a “large number” of children and young people over 15 years.

It published details of “appalling” assaults against at least 18 victims ...

Patton priest placed on leave after accusation

Altoona Mirror

October 23, 2020

Allegation made of inappropriate conduct involving minors

The Rev. Ananias Buccicone, OSB, pastor of Queen of Peace Parish in Patton, has been placed on leave from public ministry after an accusation of recent inappropriate conduct involving minors.

The allegation was reported to authorities, and law enforcement is investigating, according to Tony DeGol, director of communications for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Father Buccicone, 58, was ordained a priest in the Benedictine Community of St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe in 1993. A native of Tarentum, he served in various roles outside of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown before being appointed pastor of Queen of Peace in 2002.

Four more sex abuse suits filed against Delbarton School Catholic order, 16 cases now pending

Daily Record

October 22, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

The Catholic order that runs the Delbarton School in Morris Township now faces 16 sexual abuse lawsuits in state court after four more were filed Thursday naming Timothy Brennan, a priest and former teacher who died late last year and who has been the focus of at least 20 complaints since the 1980s.

St. Mary's Abbey and the Order of St. Benedict New Jersey, which runs Delbarton, has settled at least 10 complaints involving Brennan over the years. Brennan is also named in 10 of the pending lawsuits. All but one of the pending cases have been filed since Dec. 1, 2019, when the state loosened restrictions on filing sex abuse lawsuits, suspending the civil statute of limitations for two years.

Brennan was sentenced to probation in 1987 after pleading guilty to aggravated sexual contact with a 15-year-old Delbarton student. The religious order later settled a complaint by the student's family by paying more than $1 million.

At least nine order clerics and one Delbarton lay teacher have been accused of sexual abuse in 30 lawsuits over the past two decades. The order has settled 14 of those complaints since 2006. One order priest accused of abuse still had voicemail at the abbey this year. The priest, Benedict Worry, has been named in two lawsuits, one settled by the abbey and the other pending.

The lawsuits filed Thursday allege abuse in the 1970s and 1980s at the Delbarton School and at St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish in Linden, where the Order of St. Benedict ran a school. In addition to the order, the Linden parish and the Newark Archdiocese were named as defendants in two of the complaints.

One plaintiff was an 11-year-old parishioner at the Linden church in 1974 when he allegedly was abused by Brennan. The other three plaintiffs were Delbarton students, according to court papers. One of them was allegedly abused in the 1970s while Brennan lived at the Linden parish, their attorney said. The other two were allegedly abused in the mid-1980s, according to court papers.

‘VeraCity: Unrepentant’ investigating abuse in the Canadian Catholic Church


October 21, 2020

By Adran Ghobrial

[45 minute documentary]

‘VeraCity: Unrepentant’ is a Citytv original documentary uncovering the secret history of child sexual assaults that was kept silent by an order of Canadian Catholic priests. Taking the hunt for accountability all the way to Vatican City.

Survivor calls on Canadian Catholic Church to release names of priests accused of assault


October 22, 2020

By Jessica Bruno

An Ontario man who survived abuse at the hands of a now-convicted Catholic priest has taken his 111-week protest to the doorstep of Toronto’s Catholic Church.

William O’Sullivan says was inspired to travel from Niagara to Toronto by the CityTV documentary, “Veracity: Unrepentant,” which uncovers how an order of priests known as the Basilian Fathers shuffled perpetrators through schools and communities.

“This is yet another example of how priests were involved in systemic predation of children not just in Niagara, but all over Canada. That’s why we need a public inquiry,” he says in a statement. “How did they get away with it so long? How much did it cost Canadian communities all these years in mental health, addiction and social services dealing with all these broken adults? Not to mention the heartbreaking human costs to victims and families.”

This winter, O’Sullivan plans to walk from Niagara to Ottawa to raise public awareness and support for an inquiry. A House of Commons petition he started with the support of Niagara Centre Member of Parliament Vince Badawey has garnered more than 1,200 names. It closes at the end of November.

Michigan’s clergy abuse probe identifies 454 accused priests, 811 victims


October 21, 2020

By Justine Lofton

[With 5-minute video statement by AG Nessel.]

A two-year investigation into sexual abuse in Michigan’s Catholic churches has, so far, identified 454 accused priests and 811 victims, and led to charges against 11 clergymen.

Of the 11 charged, two have been convicted thus far. Their sentences were for 60 and 45 days in jail.

“We are committed to ensuring that every case of sexual abuse and assault is thoroughly reviewed and that whenever we are able to pursue justice for a victim, we do so aggressively and relentlessly,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “We must all commit to breaking down the walls of silence that so often surround sexual assault and abuse. In the end, we hope this investigation provides a voice to those who have suffered in silence for so long and shines a light on those offenders who have escaped punishment for their crimes by hiding in shadows.”

Authorities executed search warrants in October 2018 on all seven of Michigan’s Catholic dioceses. Two-hundred and twenty boxes of paper documents and more than 3.5 million digital documents were seized for review by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office’s Clergy Abuse Investigative Team.

October 22, 2020

Clergy abuse investigation reaches two-year mark

The Mining Journal

October 22, 2020

Lansing - Millions of documents have been reviewed and 11 men have been or are being prosecuted by Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office since authorities executed search warrants two years ago on all seven of Michigan’s Catholic dioceses as part of the state’s investigation into clergy abuse.

According to the Michigan Attorney General’s office, 42 Michigan State Police troopers, five officers from other law enforcement agencies and 15 special agents from the Attorney General’s office executed search warrants on Oct. 3, 2018, at Michigan’s seven dioceses. In that effort, they seized 220 boxes of paper documents and more than 3.5 million digital documents.

Due to a slowdown in court operations as a result of COVID-19, no charged cases have been resolved through plea deals or trial since late 2019. However, the review of documents has continued along with other steps to further the investigation. To date, the department has:

• Completed the paper document review of the Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Marquette dioceses. Of the 220 boxes of paper documents seized, about 78 boxes remain;

• Completed the electronic document review of the Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Marquette dioceses;

• Hired and trained a full-time victim advocate to support the hundreds of victims identified in the course of the investigation;

• Continued to refer the completed criminal investigations back to the respective dioceses; and

• Followed up with victims who have not been interviewed with a trauma-informed interviewer, including those whose cases are barred by the statute of limitations, where the accused priest has died or any other reason that makes criminal prosecution impossible.

Through the department’s review of paper documents alone, 454 accused priests and 811 reported victims have been identified. That number may change as investigatory efforts continue.

Pope Francis, in Shift for Church, Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions

New York Times

October 21, 2020

By Jason Horowitz

The comments, shown in a new documentary, are the strongest yet from a pontificate that has taken a more tolerant and inclusive tone.

Rome - Pope Francis expressed support for same-sex civil unions in remarks revealed in a documentary film that premiered on Wednesday, a significant break from his predecessors that staked out new ground for the church in its recognition of gay people.

The remarks, coming from the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, had the potential to shift debates about the legal status of same-sex couples in nations around the globe and unsettle bishops worried that the unions threaten what the church considers traditional marriage — between one man and one woman.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said in the documentary, “Francesco,” which debuted at the Rome Film Festival, reiterating his view that gay people are children of God. “I stood up for that.”

Many gay Catholics and their allies outside the church welcomed the pope’s remarks, though Francis’ opposition to gay marriage within the church remained absolute.

His conservative critics within the church hierarchy, and especially in the conservative wing of the church in the United States, who have for years accused him of diluting church doctrine, saw the remarks as a reversal of church teaching.

Archbishop Aymond asking all diocesan priests credibly accused of child sex abuse to leave the clergy entirely

Times-Picayune and Advocate

October 21, 2020

By David Hammer and Ramon Antonio Vargas

He is considering requesting two possible church trials for priests who were implicated in separate sex scandals this month

In his most aggressive action to date while managing the fallout of an ongoing clerical molestation scandal, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond is asking all diocesan priests on his list of religious men credibly accused of molesting children to leave the Catholic clergy entirely.

Aymond is also considering more aggressive action, including possible church trials in Rome, to force out Patrick Wattigny and Travis Clark, two priests who were implicated in separate sex scandals this month.

Wattigny allegedly admitted to the archdiocese on Oct. 1 that he sexually abused a minor in 2013. He is now being investigated by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office. That same day, police in Pearl River booked Clark with obscenity after he was discovered taping himself engaged in three-way sex with two dominatrices — including one who is an avowed Satanist — on the altar at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish.

Since 2018, Aymond has been privately asking credibly accused clergy to voluntarily leave the priesthood and return to the laity through a process called “laicization,” according to archdiocesan officials. The late Dino Cinel, who was acquitted of child pornography-related charges in the 1990s, voluntarily underwent that process in 2010, Aymond’s second year as New Orleans’ archbishop.

Leave now: Aymond tells priests on abuse list to leave clergy


October 21, 2020

Considering church trials for two priests accused of recent sexual misconduct

New Orleans Archdiocese Archbishop Gregory Aymond reportedly has told priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct to permanently separate themselves from the clergy.

The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reports Aymond is going as far as have two priests, one who admitted to misconduct and another caught in sexual acts on the altar of their church, to face church trials in Rome.

The two in question are Patrick Wattigny and Travis Clark.

Wattigny, caught texting with a minor by the Vatican’s electronic security unit, underwent a retreat to address his issue and then came clean to the Archbishop about his alleged abusing of a child a number of years ago.

Meanwhile, Clark was in the act of taping sexual acts with two prostitutes on the Altar of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Pearl River.

Aymond is asking those who have wound up on church’s black list to leave the clergy and return to laity of the church through “laicization.”

But, Aymond reserving the right to force out such priests who do not heed his request and in the activities of Wattigny and Clark, it appears he’s ready to make examples of them.

OpDocs: The Spiritual Exercises

New York Times

October 20, 2020

By Lloyd Kramer and Scott Chestnut

[An 18-minute film.]

A Priest Who Left the Church for Love: They wanted to marry. But he’d taken a vow of celibacy.

Terence Netter and Therese Franzese fell in love in New York City in the 1960s. She was an assistant to Rudolf Bing, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. He was an accomplished painter and Jesuit priest. They sought to marry and dreamed the Catholic Church would embrace a married priesthood.

There was reason for them to be hopeful. At the time there was a robust dialogue happening around optional celibacy for priests. And so they were deeply disappointed when in 1967, Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the rule of celibacy for priesthood. Netter left the ministry, and the couple built a life together. In the short documentary above, we see their love story unfold as they grew their faith in each other and in God.

Transcript: He was Jewish, and she was Roman Catholic, but we were brought up totally Roman Catholic. The whole family went to Mass on Sunday, including my father. But I took to it right from the beginning, and being an altar boy, it just came naturally. I was also always, even as a little boy, interested in art. But I wasn’t at all interested in becoming a priest until my last year at Georgetown Prep. And more and more, it became clear to me that I belonged in the Jesuits ...

October 21, 2020

No guilt or innocence able to be established: Priest returned to ministry with strict limitations, officials say

The Mining Journal

October 21, 2020


A church tribunal has determined an accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor in the early 1970s against Father Frank M. Lenz is inconclusive, the Diocese of Marquette has reported.

A canonical law process authorized by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was unable to establish guilt or innocence to the standard of moral certainty in the case.

The accusation was received by the Diocese of Marquette in early 2018. At the time, Lenz, a senior (retired) priest of the diocese, was put on administrative leave effective immediately. In accord with diocesan policy, the allegation was reported to the Marquette County prosecutor.

Following review of the accusation by civil authorities, the case was forwarded to the CDF, which authorized the bishop of Marquette to establish a special tribunal to adjudicate the case. Canon lawyers from outside the diocese heard the case.

Lenz has continued to deny the allegation.

From the time of the accusation, Lenz was removed from all public ministry and prohibited from presenting himself as a priest in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

One N.J. Catholic diocese has filed for bankruptcy. Will the other 4 follow?

Star-Ledger / NJ.com

October 20, 2020

By Kelly Heyboer

The debt began overwhelming the Diocese of Camden late last year.

Faced with a flood of priest abuse victims applying to the New Jersey Independent Victims Compensation Program, the Catholic diocese had to borrow $8 million to pay out-of-court settlements.

Then, the diocese was slammed with another 55 lawsuits from other alleged abuse victims in state court after New Jersey changed its state law Dec. 1 to allow victims to sue the Catholic Church.

But the final blow came when the coronavirus pandemic hit last March and the Diocese of Camden’s 62 parishes were forced to shut their doors for months. Without regular Masses for the diocese’s 486,000 Catholics in South Jersey, weekly collections nearly disappeared and other donations dwindled even as churches slowly reopened.

On Oct. 1, the Diocese of Camden announced the inevitable: It had filed for bankruptcy.

Ousted priest writes new book: Ordained by a Predator

Franklin News-Post

October 21, 2020

By Bill Wyatt

Marinsville - The next chapter of Father Mark White’s story has been written, quite literally, by White himself.

White, who was ousted as priest of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount because of a dispute with his bishop, spoke to a group of approximately 40 socially distanced attendees Sunday afternoon at the Grand Fiesta Venue in Ridgeway about a book that he says should be finished in the next two weeks.

“I’ve missed you,” White said. “This is a difficult time — to contend with this virus and this blow to our faith at the same time is a great challenge.”

White referred to the news last week of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s agreeing to pay $6.3 million to 51 people who as children were sexually abused by clergy members.

“One of the victims was on TV,” White said. “She was grateful for the money, but she longed for justice, which she called ‘the free exchange of information,’ sharing of information by authorities — and that has not occurred to this day.”

Church tribunal finds accusation of sexual misconduct by Marquette priest ‘inconclusive’


October 20, 2020

A church tribunal determined accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor in the early 1970s against Father Frank M. Lenz is inconclusive.

Marquette - A Church tribunal has determined an accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor in the early 1970s against Father Frank M. Lenz is inconclusive. A canonical (Church law) process authorized by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) was unable to establish guilt or innocence to the standard of moral certainty in the case.

The accusation was received by the Diocese of Marquette in early 2018. At the time, Father Lenz, a senior (retired) priest of the diocese was put on administrative leave effective immediately. In accord with diocesan policy, the allegation was reported to the Marquette County Prosecutor.

Following review of the accusation by civil authorities, the case was forwarded to the CDF, which authorized the bishop of Marquette to establish a special tribunal to adjudicate the case. Canon lawyers from outside the diocese heard the case.

Father Lenz has continued to deny the allegation.

From the time of the accusation, Father Lenz was removed from all public ministry and prohibited from presenting himself as a priest in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

In light of the tribunal’s decision, Father Lenz is returned to ministry with strict limitations in place by Bishop John Doerfler, which include prohibiting him from priestly ministry in parishes and schools.

AG charges former Farmington priest with sexual assault of minor

C&G Newspapers

October 20, 2020

By: Jonathan Shead

Farmington - A former Farmington priest has been charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a charge that carries a possible 15-year prison sentence, by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Nessel brought charges against Gary Berthiaume, 78, who is charged with sexually assaulting a minor in 1977 at the rectory of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 23815 Power Road, while he was a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit. The victim reported being 14 years old at the time the alleged sexual actions took place.

The presumptive charges came forward as part of Nessel’s continued investigation into sexual abuse within the seven Catholic dioceses across Michigan.

Berthiaume was arrested at his home in Warrendale, Illinois, Sept. 29, and faces extradition to Farmington, where charges were authorized. Oakland County court records indicate attorney James Lawson, of Illinois, will represent Berthiaume. Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper will serve as the plaintiff.

Lawson could not be reached for comment by press time.

These charges are not the first Berthiaume has faced. The priest was arrested in 1977 for sexual assault on two other minors in Michigan.

Justices review priest abuse lawsuit’s ruling on time limits

Associated Press

October 20, 2020

By Mark Scolforo

Pennsylvania’s highest court on Tuesday grappled with whether a woman’s lawsuit on claims of sexual abuse by a priest decades ago should be allowed to proceed — a lower-court ruling that has launched many other lawsuits since it was issued a year ago.

In oral argument, the justices focused questions on whether the plaintiff, Renee Rice, waited too long to sue the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Rice has argued that a 2016 grand jury report alerted her to allegations that church officials’ silence about a priest who she says molested her amounted to fraudulent concealment.

The 2016 report in Altoona-Johnstown preceded the wider 2018 report that found decades of sexual attacks on children by priest in other Pennsylvania dioceses.

Eric Anderson, lawyer for the diocese and two now-deceased bishops, but not the Rev. Charles F. Bodziak, the priest Rice says abused her, told the justices that Rice had a duty to pursue the matter once she realized she had been harmed, was aware of who did it and knew where he worked.

“Once she knows those salient elements or facts, then she has to make the effort to conduct the investigation,” and possibly sue, Anderson argued. “Then she can explore all claims she has against potential defendants. And there’s no evidence she did anything like that.”

Rice’s lawyer, Alan Perer, said there is disagreement about what Rice knew and whether she responded properly, a dispute that he argued a jury should sort out.

“She alleges she did not know and it was not reasonably knowable that the diocese was the cause of her injury until she read the 2016 report,” Perer said.

October 20, 2020

‘Loophole’ in child abuse reporting in historic cases: advocates


October 20, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial and Jessica Bruno

If a child told you they’d been sexually assaulted by an adult what would you do? Would you call police? Would you report the allegations to a children’s aid society? Or would you do neither?

For most of us, the moral choice is clear. So why has the obligation to report often been ignored by many who claim to be doing God’s work?

Sister Nuala Kenny is a pediatrician who has spent decades examining the sexual assault scandal rocking the religious institution she’s given her life to. As a nun, she calls the Catholic Church’s response to the abuse of children “a contradiction to what we’ve been called to be as Christians.”

A CityNews investigation has uncovered several child sexual assault claims against an order of Catholic priests based in Toronto. Dating back decades, the Basilian Fathers were made aware of abuse allegations against their own priests, but historically, cases were never reported to police or a children’s aid society. Instead, allegations were dealt with internally, resulting in alleged predator priests continuing to work in schools and churches.

“If the Church had reacted more effectively and properly, we would not have the catastrophe that we have today.”

It’s a scenario lawyer Rob Talach has seen again and again.

“This is the repetitive story in the Catholic cases, these priests are often reported and moved. I term it ‘the silent shuffle,’” he says. “If the Church had reacted more effectively and properly, we would not have the catastrophe that we have today.”

Archdiocese of Chicago removes retired pastor Daniel McCarthy from Norwood Park parish following allegation of sexual abuse

Chicago Tribune

October 19, 2020

By Kelli Smith


The Archdiocese of Chicago over the weekend removed the Rev. Daniel McCarthy from St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, a parish in Norwood Park where he was pastor emeritus, after an allegation surfaced that he sexually abused a minor about 50 years ago at a Far North Side orphanage, according to the archdiocese.

McCarthy, a chaplain since 2012 at Notre Dame College Prep, a Roman Catholic school in Niles, was alleged to have committed the abuse while he was assigned to the now-closed Angel Guardian Orphanage in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood, according to a letter Cardinal Blase Cupich sent Saturday to the St. Elizabeth of Trinity community.

McCarthy was at the orphanage from 1967 to 1974, according to a letter written to the Notre Dame College Prep community by the school’s president, Shay Boyle, and principal, Daniel Tully. The orphanage closed in 1974 and was replaced by Misericordia, a home for people with disabilities, which is operated by the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Pope accepts resignation of bishop accused of failing to act on abuse

Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

October 19, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Vatican City - Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a Polish bishop accused of negligence after a documentary claimed he repeatedly transferred a priest accused of sexually abusing children.

The Vatican announced Oct. 17 that the pope accepted the resignation of 68-year-old Bishop Edward Janiak of Kalisz and named Archbishop Grzegorz Rys of Lodz as apostolic administrator “sede vacante.”

In June, the Vatican had appointed Archbishop Rys as apostolic administrator “sede plena,” indicating that the see was not vacant.

Bishop Janiak’s failure to act when told about allegations of abuse perpetrated by a diocesan priest drew a public outcry following the May 16 release of the documentary, “Hide and Seek,” produced by Polish filmmakers Marek and Tomasz Sekielski.

Churches knew of allegations against notorious paedophile priests, royal commission says

The Guardian

October 20, 2020

By Melissa Davey

The Anglican and Catholic churches missed crucial opportunities to stop them abusing other children, unredacted reports find

The Anglican and Catholic churches knew about allegations against notorious paedophile priests years before they were convicted and jailed for child sexual abuse, missing crucial opportunities to stop them from abusing other children.

The findings were outlined in two unredacted and one previously unreleased report published by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Tuesday. The findings were previously redacted so as not to prejudice ongoing legal proceedings against the two abusers: the former Anglican dean of Newcastle Graeme Lawrence and the former Catholic priest Vincent Gerard Ryan.

Lawrence is the most senior Anglican church figure found guilty of child sexual abuse, after being convicted in July 2019 of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 1991 at his home at Christ Church Cathedral in Newcastle, New South Wales. He was sentenced to eight years in jail.

The commission’s report on case study 42, which examined the response of the Anglican diocese of Newcastle to child sexual abuse allegations, found the allegations that Lawrence was sexually abusing children were made on three separate occasions to the then Bishop Roger Herft.

Alleged abuse, coverups and years of trauma: Inside the legacy of the Basilian Fathers

Kitchener Today

October 20, 2020

Interview with survivors and Adrian Ghobrial of CityNewsToronto [25 minutes]

For almost two years an investigative team has been digging into into claims of child sexual assault by priests who belong to a Canadian Catholic order known as the Basilian Fathers. The results of their work form Unrepentant.

For almost two years an investigative team has been digging into into claims of child sexual assault by priests who belong to a Canadian Catholic order known as the Basilian Fathers. The results of their work form Unrepentant, a film that includes firsthand accounts from victims of abuse, the near-murder of an accused pedophile, the mystery death of a priest after he is exposed, secret church files that show a pattern of shuffling around known abusers and a victim’s journey to Vatican City to confront church leaders…and more. The project’s lead reporter joins us for a look at how it came together.

October 19, 2020

Twin hit of abuse claims and pandemic could push NJ Catholic dioceses toward bankruptcy

The Record

October 19, 2020

By Deena Yellin

For Catholic churches around the country, it has become a familiar refrain: After shelling out millions of dollars in settlements to survivors of clergy abuse, a diocese says it's broke and declares bankruptcy.

The Diocese of Camden, representing a half-million Catholics in 62 South Jersey parishes, became the latest to file for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 1 — 10 months after a new state law waived the statute of limitations on decades-old abuse claims.

It's unlikely to be the last. If history is any guide, bankruptcy experts say, when one diocese in a state files for Chapter 11, others often follow. In North Jersey, the dioceses of Newark and Paterson, representing some 1.7 million worshippers, are caught in the same vise of legal attacks and COVID-19 financial strains, said Charles Zech, a professor emeritus at the Villanova School of Business in Pennsylvania.

"Given the uncertainty associated with the statute-of-limitations window in New Jersey, I suspect that every diocese in the state is in danger," he said.

To parishioners, the legal maneuvers may have little visible impact on the ground. A Camden diocese spokesman said there are no plans to cut churches, staff or programs. But the filings have angered victims' advocates and plaintiffs attorneys, who say bankruptcy is a ploy by the church to dodge legal accountability for past crimes.

Colorado Catholic dioceses pay $6.68M to sex abuse survivors

Associated Press

October 18, 2020

Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses paid $6.68 million to 73 survivors of sexual abuse by priests, a new report said.

The state’s Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program issued an update Friday of how much money each survivor should be given by the church, The Colorado Sun reported.

The program fielded claims from survivors and determined their credibility and compensation eligibility.

Eight claims were rejected by the program. Another eight claims are pending because the survivors are waiting to receive payments, have not received compensation offers or must first report abuse to law enforcement before the cases can move forward.

“Of the 81 eligible claimants, some were previously unknown abuse survivors, demonstrating success in reaching survivors previously unwilling or unable to come forward and receive help,” spokeswoman Amy Weiss said in a statement on behalf of an independent oversight committee overseeing reparations.

Survivors must have been abused when they were children to be eligible for compensation.

“I know that money cannot fully heal the wounds you suffered but hope that those of you who came forward felt heard, acknowledged — and that the reparations offer a measure of justice and access to resources,” Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila wrote in a letter to his archdiocese Friday.

Diocese of Erie seeks stay in federal abuse suit as Pa. Supreme Court takes up big appeal

Erie Times-News

October 13, 2020

By Ed Palattella

The Catholic Diocese of Erie, with administrative offices at St. Mark Catholic Center in Erie, is facing a number of lawsuits claiming cover-ups of clergy sexual abuse.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Oct. 20 will hear arguments in a clergy sex abuse case whose outcome will greatly affect abuse lawsuits and Roman Catholic dioceses statewide, including the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

The case, which claims a cover-up, is so significant that the Catholic Diocese of Erie wants a federal judge to stay a similar abuse suit against the diocese until the state Supreme Court issues a ruling in the other case in several months.

A decision in the Supreme Court case, which involves the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, will either allow or prohibit hundreds of plaintiffs from pursuing fraud-related suits in court over claims that the dioceses covered up abuse. The financial ramifications of the decision will be enormous for the plaintiffs and the Catholic Diocese of Erie and the other dioceses.

Waiting for the state Supreme Court to rule makes the most sense, the Catholic Diocese of Erie said in a filing on Friday. The diocese asked U.S. District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter to grant a stay in the abuse case filed against the diocese in U.S. District Court in Erie.

Quick Hits: Cardinal Farrell’s new post, a priest’s belated vindication

Catholic Culture / Trinity Communications

October 14, 2020

By Phil Lawler

At Catholic World Report, J. D. Flynn offers some perceptive observations about the appointment of Cardinal Kevin Farrell to head a new committee charged with supervising financial transactions that involve Vatican secrets. Cardinal Farrell, Flynn reminds readers, is already the camerlengo, the official responsible for handling the material properties of the Holy See during a papal interregnum. So he has been given quite a bit of control over the Vatican’s financial affairs—which, I hardly need remind you—are currently in an uproar. “Information is currency in Rome,” Flynn remarks, “and Cardinal Farrell’s new position makes him uniquely informed, and therefore among the most powerful figures in Vatican leadership.”

Cardinal Farrell’s full-time assignment, as prefect of the dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life—offers no suggestion of financial expertise. The Irish-born prelate’s track record gives absolutely no indication that he is the right man to crack down on questionable behavior. Cardinal Farrell, remember, was close to the late Father Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legionaires of Christ. But Cardinal Farrell says that he knew nothing about Maciel’s disgraceful behavior. Later he was an auxiliary bishop in Washington, DC, where he worked closely with, and shared a home with, former cardinal Ted McCarrick. Cardinal Farrell says that he knew nothing about McCarrick’s disgraceful behavior. At a time when the Vatican is struggling to regain public confidence about its financial probity, cynics might wonder whether he was chosen for these sensitive posts because he is likely to crack down on any signs of financial impropriety, or because he can be relied upon not to notice them.

Clergy shortage grows to more than 3k Catholics for every priest, Vatican data shows

Religion News Service

October 16, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

The reasons for the steady hemorrhage of Catholic clergy worldwide are varied, from secularization to the church's ongoing sexual and financial scandals. And the COVID-19 pandemic has brought its own challenges.

Vatican City - Catholic missions are struggling amid dwindling vocations and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released by the Vatican ahead of the World Mission Day this Sunday (Oct. 18).

The number of priests and ordained leaders has dropped significantly, especially in Europe and America, according to the report issued on Friday by the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, charged with distributing clergy and coordinating missions around the world.

The total number of priests in the world decreased to 414,065 in 2018, with Europe registering a drop of 2,675 priests compared to 2017. The report also reveals a slight decrease in the number of Catholic faithful in America, Europe and Oceania. Meanwhile, Africa and Asia continue to show signs of growth, according to the data.

Victims of convicted pedophile priest continue to search for accountability

CityNews 660

October 18, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial and Jessica Bruno

When Jerry Boyle was in high school, he used to walk Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge and drop rocks into the Detroit River. He would count the seconds it took for the stones to hit the water.

“It could end that quick if I wanted it to. Wouldn’t have to look at him again.”

Thirty years later, Patrick McMahon would walk the very same bridge to the very same spot and contemplate the very same thing. Both were sexually assaulted by Father William Hod Marshall, decades apart.

Marshall was a Catholic priest and educator who worked at Catholic high schools across Canada, starting in the 1950s. At the time, the institutions were run or staffed by the Basilian Fathers, a group of priests whose calling is to teach. Their world headquarters is in Toronto.

In a recorded civil deposition, Marshall admitted to sexually assaulting boys at nearly every posting he had.

Marshall pled guilty in 2011 and was convicted of assaulting 17 children at Ontario schools. He was also separately convicted of assaulting two boys in Saskatchewan. Victims and their lawyers believe the actual number of children he preyed on is much higher.

Woman who claims she was abused by Basilian priest now heads victim support network


October 19, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial and Jessica Bruno

To this day, Brenda Brunelle can’t breathe when she tilts her head back in the shower to wash her hair. It’s the lifelong result of the sexual assault she claims she endured as a young girl at the hands of a Catholic priest.

Brunelle grew up in a devout Catholic family in Windsor. In the late 1970s, she went to St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic elementary school, and was an altar server at the church.

“My father sold tickets to have that Church built. We were pioneers of St. Vincent De Paul Church and we were proud of that,” she says.

As a 12-year-old, she alleges she caught the eye of associate pastor Father Michael Fallona.

Fr. Fallona is a member of the Basilian Fathers, an order of Catholic priests who to this day have a hand in operating schools in North America.

Brunelle claims it all started with Fr. Fallona paying too much attention to her at school. She says she felt uncomfortable about the way he over-praised her for small tasks and gave her long hugs.

“I know that he loved the smell of my hair and the color of it,” she tells CityNews. “He would stand behind me and fondle me. Smell my hair. Literally eating it, is how I would describe the experience.”

She alleges he would ask her to come to the church to help with chores. She says Fr. Fallona asked her to come change a lightbulb and claims that’s the first time the priest groped her.

Landmark sexual abuse case a ‘beacon of hope’ for other victims


October 17, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial and Jessica Bruno

A sexual assault survivor’s Supreme Court win against the Catholic church has established an expensive deterrent against covering up abuse.

After an eight-year legal battle, Canada’s top court dismissed a request to appeal from the Basilian Fathers of Toronto earlier this year. The decision put an end to the religious order’s quest to reduce a landmark civil jury award that punished the Church for its role in facilitating abuse.

Survivor Rod MacLeod says as the years went on, his motivation never changed.

“It was about putting an end to childhood sexual abuse, especially by huge powerful rich organizations … moving the abuser from place to place, keeping them safe and allowing them to continue to do what they do,” he says.

MacLeod was sexually assaulted by Basilian priest William ‘Hod’ Marshall in the 1960s while he was a student at St. Charles Catholic High School in Sudbury, where Marshall was a teacher. The abuse occurred throughout MacLeod’s high school career.

Former Fairchance priest held for court in sexual abuse case


October 14, 2020

By Alyssa Choiniere

The former priest of a Fairchance parish was held for court at his preliminary hearing Wednesday for allegedly sexually abusing an altar boy beginning when the boy was about 11.

Caption: Andrew Kawecki, 65, of Greensburg, a former priest, leaves Magisterial District Judge Daniel C. Shimshock’s office where he was held for court Wednesday on allegations of sexually abusing an altar boy from 2004 and 2007 at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church in Fairchance.

October 18, 2020

Additional Lists of Publicly Accused Sexual Abusers

Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors

October 13, 2020

[This webpage provides two lists of accused priests, brothers, and nuns who are not listed on the Archdiocese of New Orleans' list of accused clergy but were assigned in the archdiocese. See Judge Grabill's 10/1/20 order regarding the Committee's list of "additional clergy against whom Sexual Abuse lawsuits have been filed and clergy accused of Sexual Abuse by other religious orders and dioceses."]

Disclaimer: The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (the “Committee”) has not independently investigated the allegations of sexual abuse against the people listed below. The Committee does not assert that the allegations of sexual abuse against them are true.

The people named below have been accused of committing sexual abuse. These people have served within the territorial limits of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. A religious order and/or diocese outside of the Archdiocese of New Orleans found sexual abuse accusations against these people to be credible. This list provides the information we have available regarding assignments and dates but may not be complete. This list will be modified from time to time as additional information becomes available.

[Followed by a list of 34 accused priests and brothers, and one seminarian, with links to other diocesan and religious order lists of accused that include them.]

The people named below have been sued in civil court for sexually inappropriate acts or have had criminal cases brought against them for sex-related crimes. These people have served/worked within the territorial limits of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This list will be modified from time to time as additional information becomes available.

[Followed by a list of 16 accused priests, brothers, and nuns, with links to dockets or pleadings.]

Priest affiliated with Archdiocese of Chicago schools accused of sex abuse


October 18, 2020

By Andy Koval, Rob Sneed, and Judy Wang

A retired priest still affiliated with multiple Archdiocese of Chicago schools has been asked to step aside following a sexual abuse claim at an orphanage approximately 50 years ago.

Cardinal Blase Cupich asked Father Daniel McCarthy to “step aside from ministry” after the archdiocese received an allegation from their Office of Child Abuse Investigations. The allegation stems from when McCarthy was assigned to Angel Guardian Orphanage in Chicago approximately 50 years ago.

McCarthy is currently retired, but serves as the pastor emeritus for Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity School, a K-8 school on the Northwest Side. McCarthy has been asked to “live away” from the parish while the matter is investigated.

According to Notre Dame College Prep’s website, Father McCarthy is the school’s chaplain. On April 27, the school celebrated his 53rd ordination anniversary. McCarthy has also been Resurrection College Prep’s school chaplain. It’s unclear if he still holds the role, but he did as of last year.

Cardinal Blase Cupich issued the following letter to the Saint Elizabeth community ...

Chicago Archdiocese Removes Priest Amid Sexual Abuse Investigation


October 18, 2020

[With photograph and audio report.]

The Archdiocese of Chicago said Saturday that a priest who had served at St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish and School has been asked to step aside amid sexual abuse allegations going back decades.

Pope Moves Against Polish Bishop Accused of Hiding Predators

Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

October 17, 2020

By Nicole Winfield and Monika Scislowska

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

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

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

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

October 17, 2020

Judge dismisses 3 priest child sex-abuse lawsuits

Associated Press

October 16, 2020

A judge on Friday dismissed child-abuse lawsuits filed by three men against leaders of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence based on the definition of the word “perpetrator.”

The ruling by Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel looked at a 2019 law that extended the deadline to sue over childhood sexual abuse in Rhode Island from seven years to 35 years after the victim’s 18th birthday, The Providence Journal reported.

The men said they were abused by priests as children, and because diocesan leaders actively thwarted criminal investigations, that made them “perpetrators” under the new law, meaning the institution could be sued retroactively.

Vogel said the “perpetrators” were the people who actually committed the abuse and they could be sued retroactively. The non-perpetrators may have caused or contributed to the abuse, and may have even done so in a way that could open them up to criminal charges, but under the civil law, they were “non-perpetrators,” who couldn’t be sued retroactively, she ruled.

Two of the three priests have died.

A lawyer for the men, Timothy Conlon, said they were analyzing the decision.

A spokeswoman for the diocese didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Polish bishop under investigation

Catholic News Agency / EWTN

October 17, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis accepted Saturday the resignation of the Bishop of Kalisz in central Poland, Edward Janiak, who is under investigation for his handling of an abuse case.

Since June, Janiak’s diocese has been administered by Archbishop Grzegorz Ryś of Łódź.

Pope Francis named Ryś apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the Diocese of Kalisz June 25. “Sede plena” is a term used to signify that a see is still occupied by a bishop.

Instead, Oct. 17 the pope appointed Ryś apostolic administrator “sede vacante,” to signify that the see is now vacant and awaiting a new bishop following the resignation of the 68-year-old bishop.

Janiak’s resignation follows the May release of a documentary film accusing him of failing to take action against a priest accused of abuse.

Janiak was the subject of the documentary Hide and Seek by Marek and Tomasz Sekielski. The filmmaker brothers provoked a nationwide discussion last year when they released a different documentary, Tell No One, addressing clerical abuse in Poland. The film has been viewed almost 24 million times on YouTube.

Pope removes Polish bishop accused of sex abuse cover-up

Associated Press

October 17, 2020

Pope Francis on Saturday permanently removed a Polish bishop who was kicked out of his diocese a few months ago pending a Vatican investigation into allegations he covered up cases of sexual abuse by his priests.

The resignation of Edward Janiak as bishop of Kalisz suggests the Vatican was able to substantiate at least some elements of the accusations made in a documentary about sex abuse in Poland that has undermined the country’s influential Catholic hierarchy.

Francis on Saturday accepted Janiak’s resignation and confirmed the archbishop of Lodz, Grzegorz Rys, as the diocese’s temporary administrator. At 68, Janiak is well below the normal retirement age of 75 for bishops.

Francis in June had ordered Janiak to leave Kalisz and forbade him from having any influence on how the diocese is run pending the investigation.

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

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

The film was the second on Polish clergy abuse to be made by brothers Tomasz and Marek Sekielski. Their first film last year, “Tell No One,” triggered a national reckoning in a country where there is no higher moral authority than the Catholic Church and its clergy.

Woman close to Vatican cardinal arrested in corruption probe

Associated Press

October 14, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican’s latest corruption scandal already had all the elements of a spy thriller: One cardinal who was fired during a “surreal” nighttime audience with the pope. Another cardinal, the nemesis of the first, who returned triumphantly to Rome after being acquitted of sexual abuse in Australia. And a fabulous luxury apartment building in London where the Holy See sank tens of millions of euros in donations from the faithful.

All that was missing was the mysterious woman who claimed to have links to the Italian secret services, and allegedly hoodwinked them all. Enter Cecilia Marogna, a 39-year-old political consultant who was arrested Tuesday in Milan on an international warrant issued by the Vatican, Italy’s financial police confirmed Wednesday.

Vatican prosecutors have accused Marogna of embezzling some 500,000 euros ($590,000) in Vatican money for intelligence consulting she never really performed, working out of a Slovenian front company and using at least half the money instead to buy merchandise from Prada, Chanel and other fancy brands, Italian news reports said.

According to Vatican documents published in Italian newspapers and shown on investigative television shows this week, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the onetime No. 2 in the Vatican secretariat of state, wired the funds to Marogna’s Logsic firm, purportedly for humanitarian operations in Africa and Asia.

Marogna has told Italian media she was a political analyst and intelligence expert who reached out to Becciu in 2015 with concerns about security for Vatican embassies in hot spots and was quickly brought into the cardinal’s inner circle.

Basilians refuse to answer questions about alleged pedophile priest moved through Catholic schools

CityNews 1130

October 16, 2020

By Jessica Bruno and Adrian Ghobial

[See the full Basilian response.]

To keep children safe from sexual abuse, the Catholic Church needs to go beyond rules and re-think the way it’s run, says one of Canada’s leading experts on clergy abuse.

“The clergy sexual abuse crisis has unrolled as it has, not because people didn’t pay attention to Church beliefs, tradition and regulation, but in fact because of those rules and regulations,” says Sister Nuala Kenny, a Catholic nun and pediatrician who has been on the frontlines of the sex abuse crisis in Canada for four decades.

CityNews has been investigating the stories of multiple people who say they were sexually assaulted by priests as children. All the priests in question belong to a Catholic order called the Basilian Fathers, also known as the Congregation of St. Basil, whose headquarters is in Toronto.

We reached out to Basilian Vicar General Father David Katulski, who victims are instructed to contact should they have a sexual assault claim. He is also the order’s media contact. Instead of hearing back from Fr. Katulski, we received an email from the Basilians’ longtime lawyer, who turned down our interview requests.

“Historically, it’s deeply problematic because of the secrecy and silence,” Sr. Kenny says. “As long as you’re holding on to ‘We have to protect the image, and protect the institution, and institutional reputation and offender reputation,’ you can’t make amends in this way.”

Colorado’s Catholic dioceses paid $6.68 million to 73 survivors of priest abuse

Colorado Sun

October 16, 2020

By Jesse Paul

Some claims were paid to previously unknown victims. Eight claims were rejected by the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program and another eight are pending.

Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses have paid $6.68 million to 73 survivors of sexual abuse by priests.

That’s according to an update Friday from the managers of the state’s Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program, which fielded claims from survivors and determined their credibility and eligibility for compensation, and how much money each should be given by the church.

Eight claims were rejected by the IRRP. Another eight claims are pending because the survivors are waiting to receive payment, have not received their compensation offers or must still report their abuse to law enforcement before their cases can move forward.

“Of the 81 eligible claimants, some were previously unknown abuse survivors, demonstrating success in reaching survivors previously unwilling or unable to come forward and receive help,” Amy Weiss, a spokeswoman for the IRRP, said in a news release.

New Orleans priests give Archbishop Gregory Aymond vote of confidence despite sex scandals

Times-Picayune and Advocate

October 16, 2020

By David Hammer and Ramon Antonio Vargas

Abuse survivors support group still questions his commitment to a full accounting of the worldwide church's clerical molestation crisis

Barely two weeks after new sex scandals drove him to remove a pair of Roman Catholic priests from public ministry, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond met Friday with the rest of his clergymen and called on them to rededicate themselves to the vows they took when they were ordained, according to priests who attended.

Following the three-hour meeting at Notre Dame Seminary, the leaders of two clerical councils released an open letter to local Catholics, professing confidence in Aymond's leadership as he tries to steer the archdiocese through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, continuing revelations associated with the sex abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church and a call from abuse survivors for a Vatican investigation of his ministry.

“All 335 priests in the Archdiocese … emphatically support Archbishop Aymond,” the letter said. “Archbishop Aymond is a dedicated, faithful and holy priest of Jesus Christ. He has always faithfully served the people of God throughout his priesthood.”

One priest said Aymond’s message to clergy in the private meeting was “we need to work to rekindle the fire of the faithful.” Another said Aymond is “trying to do the right thing, but it’s difficult because there’s a much bigger picture and it points to some systemic flaws that need to be discovered and addressed, and he’s aware of that.” Both spoke to WWL television on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to comment on internal matters.

The prevailing subject of the meeting was the archdiocese’s removal of the Revs. Patrick Wattigny and Travis Clark from ministry on Oct. 1.

On that day, Wattigny, pastor at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish and former chaplain of Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell, told archdiocesan officials he had abused minor in December 2013, the archdiocese says. He made that admission while undergoing psychological evaluations over improper text messages he had sent to a Pope John Paul II student earlier this year, leading to his forced resignation as the school’s chaplain over the summer.

This week, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office said it has opened a criminal investigation into the 2013 allegation.

New Orleans Archdiocese priests rally in support of Archbishop Aymond


October 16, 2020

By David Hammer

The priests of the Archdiocese wrote a letter in support of Archbishop Gregory Aymond after the church has had a tough couple of weeks.

A little more than two weeks after he removed a pair of priests under his command from public ministry, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond on Friday met with the rest of his clergymen and called on them to rededicate themselves to the vows they took at their ordinations, according to priests who attended.

The leaders of two local clerical councils wrote an open letter to the area’s Catholics after the meeting, saying that Aymond prayed with them and “exhorted all of us to pray regularly for victims of sexual abuse.”

The letter also served as a vote of confidence in the leadership of Aymond as he tries to steer the archdiocese through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and continued revelations associated with the worldwide church’s clerical molestation scandal.

“All 335 priests in the Archdiocese … emphatically support Archbishop Aymond,” the letter said. “Archbishop Aymond is a dedicated, faithful and holy priest of Jesus Christ. He has always faithfully served the people of God throughout his priesthood.”

After their three-hour meeting at Notre Dame Seminary let out, two priests spoke with WWL-TV on condition of anonymity. One said Aymond’s message to the clergy was “we need to work to rekindle the fire of the faithful.” Another said Aymond is “trying to do the right thing, but it’s difficult because there’s a much bigger picture and it points to some systemic flaws that need to be discovered and addressed, and he’s aware of that.”

In open letter, priests support Archbishop Aymond after new sex scandals rock church


October 16, 2020

By Chris McCrory

The scandals referenced in the letter are separate issues but have both led to new calls for Aymond to step down.

A group of New Orleans church leaders has penned an open letter on behalf of the archdiocese's 335 active priests in support of Archbishop Gregory Aymond as he steers the organization through two new, sexually explicit scandals involving priests.

The letter, dated Friday was signed by the chairmen of the Council of Deans and the Presbetyreal Council.

"We emphatically support Archbishop Aymond and his leadership of our local church," the letter reads.

The scandals referenced in the letter are separate issues but have both led to new calls for Aymond to step down.

In one case, a priest in St. Tammany Parish was arrested after being caught having sex with two dominatrixes on the altar of his Pearl River church. Aymond called the acts "demonic" and had the old alter burned before consecrating a new one.

But days before that incident came to light, the church was rocked by another child abuse claim, this time from the priest involved himself.

Rev. Pat Wattigny reportedly disclosed to Aymond that he had sexually abused a minor in 2013.

Dead Capital Region priest added to list of child sexual abusers


October 16, 2020

By Johan Sheridan

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany announced Friday that the late Rev. Cabell B. Marbury to its List of Offenders, saying they have reasonable cause to believe three allegations of sexual abuse lobbied against him.

Allegations were made against Marbury in 1993, 2003, and 2015. Nothing came of the 2003 and 2015 allegations. The 1993 allegation originally resulted in an agreement for counseling, typical for its time, and was renewed in November 2019.

The 2019 claim was forwarded to the district attorney before the Diocese reopened its own investigation in February. An investigator hired by the Diocesan Review Board examined all the allegations of child sexual abuse the priest, who died in 2014 at 81. Marbury also has a current Child Victims Act case pending against him.

Marbury worked as a theology teacher, bandleader, guidance counselor, director and producer of school plays, director of guidance, and vice-principal at Cardinal McCloskey Memorial High School and Bishop Maginn High School in Albany starting in 1964, after he was ordained. He remained in residence as a volunteer chaplain and school board member after retiring in 2009. Marbury was also ...

Late priest added to Albany diocese's offenders list

Times Union

October 16, 2020

By Steve Barnes

Rev. Cabell B. Marbury spent most career at Cardinal McCloskey Memorial High School and Bishop Maginn High School

A priest who spent most of his 50-year career in the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese working in high schools and was investigated for sexual abuse of minors at least three times has been added to the diocese's official list of sex offenders, according to an announcement released Friday.

The Rev. Cabell B. Marbury, who died in 2014 at age 81, served most of his priesthood at Cardinal McCloskey Memorial High School and Bishop Maginn High School in Albany, beginning in 1964, the diocese said. His posts included teaching theology, bandleader, theater director, guidance counselor and director of guidance, and vice principal. He stayed at the school as volunteer chaplain and member of the school board after his 2009 retirement, according to the announcement. He also served as assistant pastor at three area parishes in the 1960s and was affiliated with others on a lesser level over the decades.

The investigation that led to Marbury being named to the offenders list began with a 2019 complaint that revived an abuse claim first made against Marbury in 1993, according to the diocese, which did not provide details. The original allegation resulted in an "agreement for counseling assistance," the diocese said. A Diocesan Review Board investigation of an abuse allegation made against Marbury in 2003 found "no reasonable ground" to substantiate the claim, and the board had "insufficient information to make a decision" in a 2015 case, the diocese said.

October 16, 2020

An ambiguous gift

America Magazine

October 16, 2020

By Francis X. Sullivan

When I graduated in 1983 from Jesuit College Prep, an all-boys high school in Dallas, Tom Hidding, S.J., a scholastic at the time, gave me a simple clay cup and a bowl that he had made himself. The bowl shattered during a move when I was in college. The same accident broke the handle off the cup, but I still drank beer from it, then wine and, on one odd but happy occasion, warm champagne.

In 2001, my family and I bought a house with a glass-fronted kitchen cabinet and the concurrent obligation to find dishes that were worthy of display. We had no fine china or fancy stemware, but we had Tom’s cup. Sometimes I would take it down and use it, enjoying the sense of solidity, of holding a piece of my own history in my hands.

I lost touch with Tom after graduation, as I lost touch with almost everyone else from school. But although I lived far away, Dallas Jesuit had not lost touch with me. I got the alumni magazine. I got the fundraising calls from classmates and the letters seeking money for everything from the art museum to a grooved practice wall for the tennis team. Every year, I got a birthday letter from the Jesuit alumni director, Pat Koch, S.J.

Tom Hidding was good to me. My childhood home was unpredictable and violent, but I felt safe at school because of him and the school’s Jesuit priests.

Tom Hidding was good to me. My childhood home was unpredictable and violent, but I felt safe at school because of him and the school’s Jesuit priests: Pat Koch; the austere Vince Malatesta, who argued theology with me when I was working the switchboard; gruff Pete Callery, who coached wrestling and taught me freshman theology; and the wry Ben Smylie, who referred to the prosperous neighborhood around our school as the “North Dallas ghetto” because of the concentration of emotional and spiritual poverty he saw in his students and their families.

On a boring day at work in 2002, I searched on the internet for the names of classmates and former teachers. Tom’s name came up on BishopAccountability.org; he had been accused of sexually abusing a student at Jesuit High School, in Tampa, Fla., where he was assigned before coming to my school.

I had felt safe at my school. In 2003, I asked myself for the first time: “Was I safe?”

Judge dismisses priest-abuse suits against R.I. Catholic diocese

Providence Journal

October 16, 2020

By Brian Amaral

A state judge on Friday dismissed three priest-abuse lawsuits against the leaders of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.

The ruling, by Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel, analyzed a new 2019 law that extended the deadline to sue over childhood sexual abuse. Vogel noted that if the deadline had already run out under the old law, someone could still sue their “perpetrator” under the new one.

Key to the case was whether the diocese and its leadership could be sued as “perpetrators.” The three men, who said they were abused by Rhode Island priests when they were boys, said that the diocese’s leadership aided and abetted the sexual abuse their priests inflicted, meaning they could be perpetrators.

Vogel said they could not: The “perpetrators,” under the civil law, were the people who actually committed the abuse. Because of that, she dismissed the suits. The deadline had already run out for them long ago.

The new statute of limitations “does not lend itself to any other interpretation than to conclude that the only conduct that meets the definition of ‘perpetrator’ is conduct committed by the actual abuser, the principal — in this case, the offending cleric,” Vogel wrote.

The plaintiffs are Philip Edwardo, Peter Cummings and Robert Houllahan. The accused priests, Philip Magaldi, John Petrocelli and Normand Demers, were included in the diocese’s list of credibly accused priests last year. Demers and Magaldi are dead.

A lawyer for the three plaintiffs, Timothy Conlon, said they were analyzing the decision.

“We’re going to be reviewing carefully the options that are available,” Conlon said.

Poland's powerful Cardinal Dziwisz accused of covering up abuse case

National Catholic Reporter from the Polish web portal Onet.pl

October 15, 2020

By Szymon Piegza

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Polish bishops, and the Vatican's ambassador in Poland are responsible for the case of Janusz Szymik, a long-time victim of the abusive priest Fr. Jan Wodniak. Why does the injured person have to fight for justice for over 25 years, and still waits?

The question, still hanging open, raises difficult issues for the Vatican, as Dziwisz was Pope John Paul II's trusted secretary for 27 years before serving as the Archbishop of Krakow from 2005 to 2016.

Szymik claims that between the years of 1984 and 1989 he was sexually abused almost 500 times by Wodniak in the village of Międzybrodzie Bialskie, about two hours southeast of Krakow.

"It lasted so long, because I was a child who was cornered by him, lived in a snare, because there was nobody to turn to for help, and Wodniak knew it perfectly well," Szymik explained to me, adding that due to the experience he came close to committing suicide.

From 1992 forward, the village in which Szymik was abused became part of a new diocese, Bielsko-Zywiec, which was established by John Paul. It was headed by one of the Holy Father's closest associates: Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy. This name is worth remembering as it will prove crucial to the whole story.

"In 1993, I went to Bishop Rakoczy, hoping that he would be on the side of the victim, not the abuser. I wrote down my memoirs from the period of 1984 to 1989. Neither the bishop nor anyone else from the bishop's curia ever contacted me about this matter," recalled Szymik.

Archdiocese of Omaha probe substantiates sexual misconduct allegations against deceased priest

Kearney Hub

October 16, 2020

By Jessica Wade


Omaha - An Archdiocese of Omaha investigation substantiated multiple accusations of sexual misconduct with minors made against the late Rev. Theodore “Ted” Richling.

The archdiocese informed the Douglas County Attorney’s Office after it received complaints against Richling last summer.

The archdiocese concluded its internal investigation in September, according to a press release from Deacon Timothy F. McNeil.

Richling died in December 2019. He was ordained in 1971 and served at several rural and urban parishes in northeast Nebraska, according to the press release.

Report on the Independent Reconciliation Program for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond

Diocese of Richmond

October 13, 2020


On February 17, 2020, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced the establishment of a voluntary Independent Reconciliation Program to offer assistance to and facilitate healing for individuals who, as minors, experienced sexual abuse by its clergy. Bishop Barry C. Knestout directed the formation of the Program to offer another means of support beyond the diocese’s current outreach offerings, and to provide an opportunity for eligible individuals who were victims of clergy sexual abuse to receive a monetary payment in a manner that is compassionate.

Recognizing that no amount of money will ever be able to fully compensate for the injury inflicted by abusive clergy, Bishop Knestout announced the Independent Reconciliation Program as one of many means to offer individuals a tangible sign of the Church’s effort to repair the injury and overcome the estrangement caused by clergy sexual abuse of minors.

The Independent Reconciliation Claims Administrator

The Diocese of Richmond secured the services of BrownGreer, PLC, a Richmond-based and nationally recognized firm specializing in claims administration. Lynn Crowder Greer, who designed and administered the Program for the Diocese of Richmond, and her firm are well-known for their reputation as an objective and fair claims administrator, and for their handling of complex and large claims resolution programs. These programs have included: the NFL Concussion Settlement Program; the BP Oil Spill Program; the One October Settlement Fund for victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting; and the Fire Victims Trust arising from the PG&E’s bankruptcy for those suffering personal or property damages from the California wildfires.

The Independent Reconciliation Process

The Program was designed to be purely voluntary and no individual was obligated to participate. Individuals who were victims of child sexual abuse by a member of the clergy serving in the Diocese of Richmond were eligible for the Program.

Pope replaces saint-making chief as corruption scandal grows

Associated Press

October 15, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis named a new head for the Vatican’s saint-making office Thursday to replace the once-powerful cardinal at the center of a growing corruption scandal that has raised questions about the current Holy See leadership.

Francis on Thursday promoted the Italian bishop who has been closely involved in efforts to draft a reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, Mons. Marcello Semeraro, to head the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Semeraro has served as the secretary of the commission of cardinals that Francis created in 2013 to reform the organizing constitution of the Vatican Curia.

He replaces Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was fired as prefect of the saint-making office in September. Francis cited evidence that Becciu, when he was the powerful No. 2 in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, sent 100,000 euros ($117,000) in Vatican funds to a charity controlled by his brother.

Becciu, whose rights and privileges as a cardinal were also yanked, has admitted he sent the money but insisted it was destined for the charity, not his brother.

In the weeks since his ouster, Becciu’s name has increasingly figured in Italian media reports about the Vatican’s corruption investigation, even though his successor in the job, Monsignor Edgar Pena Parra, was actually in charge when questionable payments were made that have cost the Holy See tens of millions of euros.

Priest who allegedly admitted 2013 child sex abuse under investigation by St. Tammany deputies

Times-Picayune and Advocate

October 15, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed this week that it is leading a criminal investigation into the Rev. Patrick Wattigny after the Catholic priest earlier this month allegedly admitted to molesting a minor nearly seven years ago.

If charges are brought, Wattigny, 53, would become only the third clergyman to be prosecuted by New Orleans-area law enforcement for alleged sex crimes involving children. Not one has been convicted of a crime.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond said he removed Wattigny from public ministry on Oct. 1 after the priest informed church superiors that he had abused a juvenile in December 2013. That was mere months after Wattigny had been transferred to new posts as pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist and chaplain at Pope John Paul II, both in Slidell, from similar positions at St. Benilde Parish and Archbishop Rummel High School, each in Metairie.

Aymond’s staff declined to specify where the alleged abuse occurred, saying only that appropriate law enforcement agencies had been notified.

Byzantine priest who made up hate crime ordered to life of penance after abuse allegation

Catholic News Agency

October 15, 2020

A Byzantine priest in Indiana has been ordered to a life of prayer and penance two years after he was placed on administrative leave for a credible accusation of sexual abuse. The priest made headlines in 2018 when he claimed to have been attacked in his parish church; a claim the eparchy said later had been fabricated.

After a period of “appropriate due process according to canon (Church) law” Fr. Basil Hutsko has been ordered to live a life of prayer and penance by Bishop Milan Lach, S.J. of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, the eparchy said in an Aug. 17 letter posted online, that was first reported this week by the Chicago Tribune.

“A cleric who has been ordered to live a life of prayer and penance has been permanently removed from engaging in public ministry and does not live on premises belonging to the Eparchy,” the letter stated.

Catholic Diocese of Richmond to pay $6.3M to victims of sexual abuse by priests, others

The Progress-Index

October 15, 2020

By Bill Atkinson

The money will go to 51 victims whose reports of abuse by priests in the diocese were substantiated by an outside auditing firm; no money from offerings or other parish-related sources was used

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond said Thursday it has agreed to pay $6.3 million to more than 50 victims who claimed they were sexually abused by priests, but the head of the organization says that does not mean the church is ending its ongoing investigation.

The CDR said the money for the Independent Reconciliation Program comes from the diocese self-insurance polic, loans and gifts from other religious orders. None came from offerings, endowments or other parish-related financial sources.

The IRP started by the CDR last February organized the funding, which was administered by a private Richmond firm specializing in major claims. A CDR statement announcing the awards said the diocese had no say in how much would be awarded or who would receive money.

"Reconciliation is a defining aspect of our diocese’s bicentennial year, a year in which we recognize the establishment of our Catholic faith in Virginia and a recognition of all that is part of our history," Bishop Barry C. Knestout, head of the Richmond diocese, wrote in a letter to parishioners on the CDR website. Knestout said the bicentennial presented the diocese with "another opportunity to work for justice" for the victims of clergy abuse.

Knestout identified that opportunity as having three facets — acknowledgement of wrongdoing, reconciling with the victims, and "attempts to repair the hurt we have caused."

In the report, the program administrators reviewed 60 documented claims. An additional eight were either withdrawn, incomplete or declared ineligible.

Of that 60, nine were denied. The remaining 51 were accepted.

Poland becomes testing ground for Vatican’s new anti-abuse legislation


October 15, 2020

By Paulina Guzik

In 1984 in the town of Międzybrodzie in southwestern Poland, a boy was abused by the local parish priest for more than five years, beginning when he was 12. Today, more than thirty-six years later, he is still looking for justice.

“Abuse was only one station in my personal way of the cross,” he wrote in a letter to Pope Francis last week.

The investigation into the case not only involved the accused priest and his bishop – the now retired Tadeusz Rakoczy – but might also involve Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, the longtime secretary of Pope John Paul II, who later served as Archbishop of Krakow from 2005-2016.

The Diocese of Bielsko–Żywiec, where the abuse happened, is in the Krakow ecclesiastical province.

A Polish priest is now accusing the cardinal of being informed about the case in 2012 in his role as metropolitan archbishop and doing nothing about it. The cardinal denies the accusations, and so far there is no concrete evidence that he knew about the abuse.

Archdiocese of Omaha: Alleged sexual misconduct came to light after priest's death


October 15, 2020

The Archdiocese of Omaha has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against a deceased priest.

In late September, the Archdiocese of Omaha concluded an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct with minors against a deceased priest, Fr. Theodore Richling, Jr., having received allegations of sexual misconduct with minors earlier this summer,\" a release stated.Richling died in 2019.

The conclusion of the investigation led to the substantiation of multiple instances of sexual misconduct with minors,\" the release stated.

The matter has been referred to the Douglas County Attorney.Fr. Richling had the following assignments ...

October 15, 2020

Indiana church defrocks priest who allegedly abused minor, faked assault claim

Washington Post

October 14, 2020

By Michael Gryboski

An Indiana priest who garnered headlines in 2018 after he claimed he'd been assaulted in a hate crime and was previously accused of sexually abusing a minor has been defrocked.

An Indiana priest who garnered headlines in 2018 by claiming that he had been assaulted in a hate crime and allegedly sexually abused a minor in the 1980s has been defrocked.

Father Basil John Hutsko of Saint Michael Byzantine Catholic Church in Merrillville claimed back in 2018 that he'd been assaulted by a man shouting “this is for all the little kids.”

In a letter from August that was recently posted online, the Ohio-based Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma confirmed that Hutsko had been removed from ministry.

Vatican Puts Priests on Trial Over Alleged Abuse Within Its Walls

New York Times

October 14, 2020

By Elisabetta Povoledo

One priest is accused of abusing an altar boy at a seminary near the pope’s residence, and the other of covering it up.

Rome - One priest accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in a prominent Vatican City seminary and another accused of covering it up went before the Vatican’s criminal tribunal on Wednesday, the first trial in the city-state over sexual abuse said to have occurred within its walls.

The charges date from 2007 and 2012 and center on allegations of abuse at the St. Pius X youth seminary, a residence for boys — typically between 12 and 18 — who are thinking of becoming priests. Students in the seminary often serve as altar boys in St. Peter’s Basilica, sometimes during papal Masses.

The priest accused of abuse, the Rev. Gabriele Martinelli, was 17 at the time of the initial alleged assault and was a senior altar boy at the seminary. The victim was 16. In 2017, Father Martinelli was ordained as a priest in Como, Italy.

Father Martinelli is accused of forcing the victim — who has been publicly identified only by his initials — through threats and violence to “submit to carnal relations, acts of sodomy, and masturbation” on a number of occasions in Vatican City, according to the charges read by a court clerk on Wednesday.

The Rev. Enrico Radice, who was the rector of the seminary at the time, has been accused of aiding and abetting the abuse. He lied to Vatican investigators, telling them in 2018 that he had no knowledge of abuse at the seminary, statements that hampered the investigation, according to the charges read by the clerk.

Both defendants were present in court on Wednesday for the procedural hearing, which lasted just eight minutes before the trial was adjourned until later this month, when both men are expected to take the stand. Neither defendant has responded publicly to the accusations, and lawyers for the defendants did not respond to requests for comment.

Toronto-based order of priests buried allegations of sex abuse at boys camp: whistleblower


October 14, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial, Jessica Bruno and Meredith Bond

For a group of underprivileged children from Toronto, a sunny escape became a cabin of horrors.

A whistleblower tells CityNews he reported allegations of child sexual assault by a Catholic Father and said he now wishes he hadn’t gone to the priest’s religious order to seek justice.

“In hindsight, knowing more now, I would have phoned the police,” said Bill Taylor. “But at 17, I did what I thought was right.”

This is the first time he’s publicly sharing his story.

In 1978, Taylor was a teen from Windsor who worked as a counsellor at Columbus Boys’ Camp. The now-closed Orillia institution hosted as many as 1,200 underprivileged children from the GTA every summer.

It was run by the Congregation of St. Basil, an order of Catholic priests now known as the Basilian Fathers, or Basilians, whose headquarters is in Toronto.

According to Taylor, a group of boys, between the ages of six and eight, told him and another counselor about their experiences with the Basilian director of the camp, Father Leo Campbell.

Taylor said the boys alleged that Fr. Campbell had been coming to their cabin at night, putting his hands in their sleeping bags and fondling them.

“He was sexually molesting the young boys,” alleged Taylor.

Taylor said he and another counsellor reported the allegations to Father John Malo, another Basilian priest at the camp. He remembers Fr. Malo appeared to be upset at the news.

Priest accused of sex abuse allowed to teach despite 'psycho-sexual tendencies'


October 14, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial, Meredith Bond and Jessica Bruno

If you’re a Catholic Priest accused of sexually assaulting a child in North America, there’s a good chance you could be sent to a sprawling inpatient complex just north of Toronto many have never heard of.

Southdown Treatment Centre is run by Catholic clergy to treat those in religious life with a long list of diagnoses, including pedophilia. Reports by its staff have shaped the Church’s decisions on how to handle admitted sexual abusers – including whether to allow them to continue to teach and minister to children.

CityNews first became aware of Southdown as part of its investigation into Father Leo Campbell, the now-deceased priest, teacher and principal, who allegedly abused teen boys, including Peter Luci.

Fr. Campbell was a member of the Basilian Fathers of Toronto, whose headquarters are in Toronto. The order’s calling is to teach, and they operate or staff schools and universities across Canada and into the United States and South America.

The Basilians’ personnel file on Fr. Campbell shows that he was sent to Southdown for evaluation twice, each time after allegations arose that he had sexually abused a minor.

The first time he checked in for a 10-day stay was in spring 1980. At the time, Fr. Campbell was working as assistant pastor in Windsor’s Assumption Parish, where he was also responsible for Chaplaincy at Assumption High School.

The incident that led to his stay at Southdown has been redacted from the staff’s report on Fr. Campbell’s time there. However, as part of the priest’s conditions of treatment, the full report was sent to his Basilian superiors at the time. An uncensored portion of the report does appear in a 2008 document by a Basilian priest investigating Luci’s allegations against Fr. Campbell.

Archdiocese of New Orleans prepares to add 7 Franciscan priests to clergy abuse list

Times-Picayune and Advocate

October 14, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The Archdiocese of New Orleans is preparing to add seven names to its list of local clergy found to have credible accusations of child molestation against them, after a Roman Catholic religious order released its own roster of accused priests last week.

The additional names, which include a priest who is believed to have preyed on a minor during his time in the New Orleans area, will bring the total number of alleged abusers publicly identified by Archbishop Gregory Aymond to 72.

Since Aymond released his initial list of 57 clergy in November 2018, a series of disclosures, some by the local archdiocese and others by regional religious orders not directly controlled by the archdiocese, have continued to raise the total.

The most recent release, by members of the Franciscan Friars chapter overseeing personnel in a region that encompasses Louisiana, contained a roster of 24 priests and seven religious brothers with “substantiated child sex abuse allegations against them,” according to order officials.

Of those Aymond identified as having worked in the New Orleans area, the Rev. Frank Davied, who now lives in Pueblo, Colorado, is the only one who the archdiocese believes may have molested a child during the period he spent in the area.

October 14, 2020

Vatican trial for sex abuse in pope’s youth seminary opens

Associated Press

October 14, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

A trial opened Wednesday in the Vatican’s criminal tribunal for two priests, one accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in the Vatican’s youth seminary and the other of covering it up.

The charges read aloud in the courtroom marked the first time the Vatican had publicly detailed its case against the two men, one of whom was himself a young seminarian at the time of the alleged abuse, 2007-2012, while the other was the then-seminary rector.

The case concerns the closed world of the St. Pius X youth seminary, a palazzo inside the Vatican walls just across the street from where Pope Francis lives and the criminal tribunal itself. The seminary, which is run by a Como, Italy-based religious association, serves as a residence for boys aged 12 to 18, who serve as altar boys at papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Vatican clears 91-year-old priest of abuse allegation

Boston Globe

October 13, 2020

By Andrew Stanton

The Vatican has determined that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against a 91-year-old priest is unsubstantiated, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said Tuesday.

The Rev. John P. Carroll, who was ordained in 1953, has been on administrative leave since 2005 while the allegation has been investigated, the archdiocese said in a statement. Carroll will remain restricted from ministry and has been given senior priest status, the statement said.

He most recently worked as parochial vicar at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy from December 1992 to December 2003, according to his assignment history on the archdiocese’s website.

He has also worked in West Newton, Dedham, Lowell, Arlington, Braintree, and Pittsburgh, Pa., according to the archdiocese.

Assignment History

St Agnes Parish
10/12/53 - 04/05/62

No Assignment
04/06/62 - 04/12/62

St Francis of Assisi Parish
04/13/62 - 02/10/63

Lend Lease
St Susanna
Pittsburgh, PA
02/11/63 - 08/31/72

St Margaret Parish
09/01/72 - 04/09/75

No Assignment
04/10/75 - 11/17/75

Associate Pastor
St Mary Parish
11/18/75 - 06/17/86

Parochial Vicar
St Bernard Parish
West Newton
06/18/86 - 06/30/90

No Assignment
07/01/90 - 12/10/92

Parochial Vicar
Most Blessed Sacrament Parish
12/11/92 - 12/02/03

Ex-Merrillville priest accused of abuse, faking assault is defrocked, church says


October 13, 2020

By Meredith Colias-Pete

A former Merrillville priest accused of sexually abusing a girl in the 1980s, and later faking a 2018 beating at St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church was officially banned from the priesthood this summer, according to a church statement.

After a nearly two-year review, Basil J. Hutsko was defrocked, according to a letter dated Aug. 17, posted online from the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, an Eastern Catholic sect based in Ohio.

Hutsko, 67, was placed on administrative leave in October 2018. He could not be immediately reached Tuesday.

He “has been permanently removed from engaging in public ministry and does not live on premises belonging to the Eparchy. He is not permitted to celebrate Divine Liturgy/Mass publicly or to administer the sacraments. He is forbidden to wear a clerical garb and present himself as a priest. He is bound in conscience to pray and offer acts of penance for those in need of healing due to the harmful actions of clergy,” according to the letter.

Hutsko gained national attention in August 2018, after claiming an unknown assailant attacked him inside the church, yelling, “This is for all the kids!” alluding to the Catholic Church’s decades-long sex abuse scandal.

The incident was investigated by the FBI for a time as a potential hate crime. The church later concluded he made up the assault.

14 priests from Toronto teaching order involved in sex assault cases


October 13, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial and Jessica Bruno

{Includes documents.]

A CityNews investigation has revealed at least a dozen priests belonging to a Catholic order based in Toronto have been accused of sexually abusing children – including three who were found guilty of assaulting dozens of children under their care.

The Basilian Fathers of Toronto is a group of priests whose calling is to teach. As one of the oldest Catholic orders in Canada, the group has run or staffed more than a dozen schools. Much of the admitted or alleged abuse detailed below happened at their institutions.

CityNews has compiled the first public list of Basilians who have been accused of or admitted to misconduct with children. It was assembled by combing through public court files, historical press coverage, and U.S. lists of credibly accused priests, published by Church officials themselves.

More than 170 such lists have been published in the United States, some voluntarily released by Catholic diocese and orders, others compelled as part of court cases, including Grand Jury hearings and bankruptcy proceedings for cash-strapped church organizations. No such lists have been published in Canada.

“It’s time to clear out the records and release the names of these priests,” says Brenda Brunelle, a Canadian leader of the Survivors Network of Accused Priests. “So people […] can be assured their children are safe.”

Pa. Supreme Court sets hearing in clergy abuse case

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

October 13, 2020

By Peter Smith


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Oct. 20 on the appeal from a Roman Catholic diocese in a case that could allow plaintiffs to sue over sexual abuse by priests in cases that otherwise would be barred by the statute of limitations.

The court will hear the case of Renee Rice of Altoona, who sued the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown alleging sexual abuse by one of its priests, the Rev. Charles F. Bodziak, in the 1970s and 1980s. The case is scheduled to be heard at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 20, with arguments livestreamed on YouTube, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

Ms. Rice’s lawsuit, filed in 2016, was dismissed by a Blair County judge who said the statute of limitations precluded suing over long-ago abuse.

But the state Superior Court ruled in 2019 that she could pursue her claim that the Altoona-Johnstown diocese covered up sexual abuse by numerous priests using a pattern of alleged fraud and conspiracy that continued right up to the 2016 release of a grand jury report into sexual abuse in the diocese. In similar cases in previous years, the Superior Court had ruled in favor of the church, but it based its latest ruling on a new Supreme Court precedent in a medical malpractice case, which said a patient with Lyme disease could sue long after a misdiagnosis because it took years for the disease to manifest itself.

Numerous plaintiffs have used the same legal theory of alleged fraud and conspiracy as the basis for lawsuits against the Pittsburgh, Greensburg and other dioceses that were subjects of a similar and larger grand jury report in 2018. Those still-pending lawsuits hinge on the precedent in the Altoona-Johnstown case.

October 13, 2020

Rochester diocese bankruptcy case: 500 sexual abuse claims are on the table

Democrat and Chronicle

October 13, 2020

By Steve Orr

A year after Rochester's Catholic diocese filed for bankruptcy protection, private talks continue toward a resolution, with 500 claims for compensation from sexual abuse victims at the top of the agenda.

The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2019, saying it could not afford to pay the compensation being demanded in a flood of new civil suits alleging sexual abuse by church ministers in past decades.

Since then, a battalion of lawyers has met in person and via videoconference to move the case slowly forward. The lawyers have so far billed the diocese more than $3 million in legal fees for their efforts.

In a letter to parishioners last month to mark the one-year anniversary of the filing, Bishop Salvatore Matano said discussions with insurers were about to begin, with the help of a court-appointed mediator.

"This begins part of the process to determine the funds available to settle claims and negotiate reasonable settlements," he said.

Still to be resolved is the impact of the sexual abuse claims on the diocese's parishes and affiliated organizations, such as Catholic Charities. They are separately incorporated and the diocese has insisted that they are independently operated.

Abuse survivors were given until mid-August to submit additional claims. When the deadline had come and gone, diocesan leaders found the weight of legal claims was far greater than they had feared.

"While even one claim of sexual abuse committed by anyone who violated his or her position of sacred trust would be intolerable, quite disturbingly approximately 500 claims were filed, a number extremely troubling," Matano wrote in his September letter.

He said he expected the total to be decreased by about 20% due to duplicates and claims that are the responsibility of other parties.

Still to be determined is whether information about those 500 claims and the Catholic ministers they accuse is made public as part of the settlement.

It's also not clear what will be done with some 43,000 pages of internal sub secreto files that the diocese has given to lawyers for the abuse victims. The files can be used to verify claims and to judge whether past diocesan leaders tried to hide the predatory behavior of some priests.

Such material has become part of the public record in some other diocesan bankruptcy proceedings, meant to help answer questions that have lingered for decades about the actions of church leaders.

Vatican putting 2 priests on trial accused of abuse, coverup

Associated Press

October 12, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Two priests are going on trial in the Vatican’s criminal tribunal this week, one accused of sexually abusing an altar boy who served at papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica, and the other accused of covering it up.

The trial, confirmed Monday by the Holy See press office, marks the first known time that the Vatican has criminally prosecuted a case of sexual abuse that allegedly occurred within its walls.

The proceedings starting Thursday were forced on the Holy See after victims and a whistleblower went public in 2017. Their stories undermined Pope Francis’ pledges of “zero tolerance” for abuse because the alleged crimes occurred in his own backyard and had gone unpunished for years.

The case concerns the closed world of the St. Pius X youth seminary, a palazzo inside the Vatican walls just across the street from where Francis lives. The seminary serves as a residence for about a dozen boys, aged 12 to 18, who serve as altar boys at papal Masses.

A onetime seminarian, the Rev. Gabriele Martinelli, is accused of molesting a younger seminarian when he himself was a senior altar boy at St. Pius X. The Rev. Enrico Radice was the rector of the seminary at the time, and is accused of aiding and abetting the crime.

Neither Martinelli nor Radice has responded publicly to the accusations. The order that runs the seminary, the Opera Don Folchi, has said the allegations were “mud” and “calumny,” though the diocese of Como where both men are now priests has removed them from ministry with minors pending an outcome of the case.

The scandal is particularly grave because the allegations of abuse were known since at least 2012 but were covered up for years by the Vatican and the diocese of Como, until they were exposed by Italian journalists Gaetano Pecoraro and Gianluigi Nuzzi in 2017.

They relied on the eyewitness testimony of the victim’s roommate, Kamil Jarzembowski, who was kicked out of the seminary after first reporting the abuse privately to church authorities in 2012.

Bishop Malooly thanks members of legal profession for consistent support during annual Red Mass

The Dialog - Diocese of Wilmington

October 12, 2020

By Mike Lang

Bishop Malooly took the opportunity at the annual Red Mass to thank the members of the St. Thomas More Society for everything they had done for the diocese and for him during his tenure in the Diocese of Wilmington. The Mass was held Oct. 11 at St. Mary Magdalen Church in north Wilmington.

The Red Mass marks the beginning of the judicial year and is named after the scarlet roabes worn by royal judges who attended the Mass centuries ago. This was the 33rd annual event in the Diocese of Wilmington. It was dedicated to Father Leonard Klein, the previous chaplain of the society, and Deacon Ed Lynch, one of the founding members of the St. Thomas More Society. Both died within the past year.

Noting that he had submitted his resignation to Pope Francis 20 months ago, Bishop Malooly told the congregation, “This will be my last time as ordinary of the diocese, to celebrate the Red Mass.

Previous Masses have featured guest speakers including Bishop John O. Barres of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y.; Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan of the Diocese of Camden, N.J.; and Father Robert Kennedy, retired dean of the canon law department at the Catholic University of America. That was not the case this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Usually, we have an erudite speaker who comes in for this Mass,” Bishop Malooly said. “Well, this is not going to be an erudite experience. This is an opportunity to thank you for all you have done during my time.”

He noted that when he arrived in 2008, the diocese was experiencing the fallout from the clergy sexual-abuse crisis. Many of the lawyers in the St. Thomas More Society were involved in the diocesan bankruptcy and reorganization, he recalled, and were able to participate in the capital campaign that followed.

Man claims he was sexually assaulted by former principal of St. Michael's College School


October 13, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial, Jessica Bruno and Meredith Bond

Peter Luci loaded his father’s shotgun into the trunk of his car, drove to St. Michael’s College School, and sat in the parking lot.

His eyes fixed on the front door, he was waiting to kill Father Leo Fr. Campbell.

“He looks like a regular person, but he’s not,” says Luci. “He’s a monster. He’s a predator. He really, really is. And he’s wearing the cloth of God.”

What spurred Luci to drive to St. Michael’s was years of sexual assault he tells CityNews he endured at Fr. Campbell’s hand, while Luci was a high school student in the early 1980s.

“He taught me how to give him a blow job… I didn’t know anything about this, I was a child,” Luci reveals. “When I think about it you know, smells come back to me, and textures.”

“It’s really important for me to talk about this, for myself and for others.”

For the last year, CityNews has been investigating reports of sexual assault by Fr. Campbell and other members of an order of Catholic priests, known as the Basilians, whose headquarters are in Toronto. We will be telling their stories in a multi-part series, online and in broadcast, beginning today. The order’s calling is to teach, and they operate or staff schools and universities across Canada and into the United States and South America.

Limerick priest jailed for sexually abusing young boy

Limerick Leader

October 12, 2020

By David Hurley

A priest who worked in several parishes in the Diocese of Limerick has been sentenced to three year's imprisonment after he was convicted of sexually abusing a young boy two decades ago.

The 60-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had denied nine charges relating to offences which occurred on dates between September 1, 1999 and December 31, 2002.

Some of the offences occurred at a named location in a village in County Limerick which cannot be identified in order to protect the identity of the victim.

The now adult was aged 12 or 13 when the first of the offences occurred after he developed what was described as a "most inappropriate and unhealthy" relationship with the priest.

The defendant was convicted by a jury last week following a two-day trial before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Limerick Circuit Court.

During the trial, the jury was told the offences involved him touching the victim's penis on numerous occasions and masturbating in his presence.

Imposing sentence this Monday, Judge Ó Donnabháin said the facts of the case were "disturbing" and he commented that the offences occurred at a time when most people in Ireland believed such behaviour had "been left in history".

Bishop of Limerick apologises to man who was sexually abused by priest as a child

Limerick Leader

October 12, 2020

By David Hurley

The Bishop of Limerick has apologised to a man who was sexually abused by a priest who was working in the Diocese of Limerick at the time.

The priest, who can't be named for legal reasons in order to protect the identity of the victim, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment this Monday following his conviction, by a jury, of nine charges of sexual assault and gross indecency.

The victim was aged 12 or 13 when the abuse first started more than 20 years ago - read court report here.

In a statement, issued following the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, Bishop Brendan Leahy said: "My thoughts first and foremost are with the victim in this case. I want to acknowledge the enormous pain that he has had to endure and, no doubt, the trial itself and all that led up to it deepened the hurt. It’s not just a huge trauma for him as he had to relive during this trial the dreadful experiences and the grave breach of trust inflicted, but I am also very conscious of the impact on his family. On behalf of the diocese of Limerick, I want to extend my deepest apologies to them for what they have all gone through but, of course, primarily to the man himself who has been abused, for whom no words of mine can repair the damage. I want to acknowledge also his courage in coming forward, which is something that is not easy to do."

Aymond reconsecrates church, altar; calls priest's acts 'demonic'

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

October 12, 2020

By Christine Bordelon

Pearl River LA - In an act of solidarity with the 350 parishioners of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Pearl River, a visibly upset New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond celebrated Mass Oct. 10 for a second consecutive week for the parish and reconsecrated its church and its new altar.

The parish had learned a week before that its 13th pastor appointed in July 2019, Fr. Travis Clark, was arrested Sept. 30 for alleged obscenity with two women in their church.

Before he began celebrating Mass, Aymond reiterated to those present his shock and anger over what happened — calling Clark's behavior inside the church obscene. He said he knew the Sts. Peter and Paul parishioners were shocked and angry, too.

"The desecration of this church and altar is demonic, demonic," he said. "Let me be clear, there is no excuse for what took place here. It is sinful, and it is totally unacceptable. Travis has been unfaithful to his vocation; he's violated his commitment to celibacy; and also, he was using that which was holy to do demonic things.

"He will not be able to serve in priestly ministry, and he will not be able to serve as a priest anytime in the future."

Aymond encouraged parishioners to move forward and said God will move forward with them. He asked them not to judge the church or priesthood by the actions of a few priests.

October 12, 2020

Pastor placed on administrative leave after two sex abuse allegations

Buffalo News

October 9, 2020

By Harold McNeil

The pastor of a Roman Catholic parish in Buffalo's Old First Ward has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Diocese of Buffalo into two allegations of child sex abuse made against the priest that date back to the 1970s, according to a statement released by the diocese Friday.

The Rev. Donald Lutz, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, was placed on leave by Apostolic Administrator Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger.

The diocese became aware of the first allegation against Lutz in a recent lawsuit that was filed on behalf of a woman whose identity was withheld in the complaint for privacy reasons.

The Buffalo News previously reported 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.

The lawsuit named the Amherst church as a defendant, but not Lutz, which means he would not have been served with a summons and complaint.

Sex abuse: The price of negligence, ignorance and cover-ups

Union of Catholic Asian News

October 10, 2020

By Rock Ronald Rozario

Church leaders in Bangladesh are perhaps relieved that a series of brutal gang rapes in the country have overshadowed and shifted public and media attention from the arrest of a priest on allegations of raping a minor girl.

Father Prodip Gregory, 41, a parish priest in Rajshahi Diocese, was arrested by police on Sept. 29, a day after the elder brother of the girl sued him.

He is the first Catholic priest from the minority Christian community to be arrested for rape. If found guilty, he will be the first priest to serve a jail term for rape.

Bangladesh’s rape law defines sexual intercourse with anyone under 16, even if consensual, as rape, with a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

The case garnered heavy media coverage in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, where people hear cases and punishment of Muslim clerics for rape now and then, but never about Christian clergy.

Bishop of Carlisle facing call to quit over reference

News & Star

October 11, 2020

By Phil Coleman

A Cumbrian activist fighting for victims of church related child abuse has called for the resignation of The Bishop of Carlisle after he wrote – but later withdrew – a character reference for a paedophile priest.

Former Carlisle Cathedral canon Robert Bailey, 71, was this week jailed after he admitted four sexual assaults against two young girls. One told a court that his abuse –committed after he left Cumbria – had ruined her life.

When his case came to the crown court for sentencing, it was revealed that the current Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Reverend James Newcome, had written a character reference for Bailey, though he later withdrew it and issued a ‘heartfelt’ apology to the priest’s two victims.

The Church of England is now investigating why the Bishop wrote the reference.

The issue became public in the week that the influential Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse’ released its report into the Church’s handling of child sexual abuse. The inquiry’s damning report concluded that the Church of England failed to protect children from sexual abuse.

It said the church created a culture where abusers “could hide”, with perpetrators often given more support than victims.

Inquiry to ask if ex-MP accused of child abuse was protected by police, prosecutors and politicians

Leicester Mercury

October 12, 2020

By Ciaran Fagan

Allegations against the late Greville Janner first surfaced when he was a Leicester MP

The official inquiry into multiple - and decades-old - child sexual abuse allegations against a former Leicester politician is to begin today.

The three-week hearing in London will examine how Leicestershire Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and other public bodies handled the allegations against the ex-MP and later peer, Greville Janner.

In particular, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, (IICSA), will seek to establish whether the senior Labour politician received preferential treatment because of his political and social status and, as a consequence, was never put on trial.

Parts of the hearing will go ahead behind closed doors to protect the identities of alleged victims.

The Janner investigation is one of a number of strands of its investigations into allegations of sexual abuse by significant public figures, including those within children’s homes and the Catholic and Anglican churches and in the Houses of Parliament.

New Orleans priest removed for abuse sent messages to high school student

Catholic News Agency

October 9, 2020

The Archdiocese of New Orleans reportedly knew for months but did not inform school officials that a priest chaplain at a Catholic high school had sent texts to a student, in violation of archdiocesan policies. The priest was removed from ministry last week after admitting to have sexually abused a minor in an unrelated case.

The principal of John Paul II High School in Slidell, Louisiana, wrote a letter to parents on Tuesday saying that he had not known of inappropriate texts sent to a student by school chaplain Fr. Pat Wattigny until Oct. 2, when he was informed about them by New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

Wattingy was chaplain of the high school until the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year, and even after he resigned from the high school faculty over the summer, neither school nor archdiocesan education officials were informed of his texting.

In fact, the school’s principal said he was not told about the texts for months — even though lawyers for the archdiocese had been informed by the student’s mother about the texts in February, several months before he was asked to resign from the school.

October 11, 2020

The Archbishop’s Silence

The American Conservative

October 9, 2020

By Rod Dreher

[See also Archbishop Aymond's letter.]

Here in south Louisiana, everybody is talking about the hurricane coming ashore today. But they’re also talking about this vile story from a small town north of New Orleans:


Obviously this is demonic. What is also infuriating is that Archbishop Aymond is treating this like a management problem. He’s stayed quiet (notice that the media found out through court filings), came in and exorcised the church, appointed a new priest, and sent an official letter saying that he is standing by the parish in its time of scandal.

“Be assured of my continued personal support and prayers for your parish community.” Those are the words of a bureaucrat, not a pastor. My God, this priest had kinky sex on the holy altar! The archbishop ought to be visibly shaken and infuriated by this desecration, and the pain it must cause the people of the parish. He has reportedly suspended Father Clark. Suspended? He ought to begin the defrocking process immediately, and make it publicly known that he is doing this.

Worse, it turns out that Father Clark had just been named chaplain of Pope John Paul II Catholic high school in nearby Slidell. He had been appointed to replace Father Pat Wattigny, removed from that position on October 1 after he admitted to Archbishop Aymond that in 2013, he molested a minor.

French cardinal says book royalties to go to abuse victims

Catholic News Service via Crux

October 10, 2020

By Jonathan Luxmoore

A French cardinal who resigned as archbishop of Lyon after being acquitted of failing to report clerical sex abuse said the royalties from his new book would go to abuse victims.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin told France’s RTL radio that the Archdiocese of Lyon would distribute the money.

“I’m not benefiting personally and I’m happy to do anything which helps the victims,” he said in early October.

His book, En mon âme et conscience (“In my Spirit and Conscience”), details events that led to his March resignation, six weeks after his suspended sentence was overturned on appeal. The French-language book was published Oct. 1.

He said he had been living a “discreet life” since July 1 as a convent chaplain for the Little Sisters of the Poor at Saint-Pern in Brittany. He also teaches at the Rennes archdiocesan seminary.

“I was not guilty of what I was accused, but this doesn’t mean I didn’t make mistakes,” Barbarin told the radio.

New book examines clergy sexual abuse — in the wide lens of history

National Catholic Reporter

October 10, 2020

Book Review by Thomas P. Doyle

About Corrupter of Boys: Sodomy, Scandal, and the Medieval Clergy
by Dyan Elliott

The "Catholic sex abuse crisis" is not a crisis. A crisis is a temporary period or series of events of an unstable and dangerous nature. It passes and the original situation is either better or worse than before.

Violations of the Christian obligation of chastity by clerics have been part of the life and culture of the Christian community since the first century. Throughout the two millennia of church history, the leadership elite — popes, bishops, abbots et al. — have tried in a variety of ways to keep the various violations covered by secrecy. History has shown that their success rate has been inconsistent.

Prior to the 1970s, public knowledge of the Catholic clergy's problems with celibacy had been largely limited to occasional stories of priests who have left the priesthood to marry or who were caught in an illicit relationship with a woman. Wrapping a good Catholic mind around the real possibility of the sexual violation of a child or a young adolescent by a priest was close to impossible in the 1940s, '50s, '60s or even in the post-Second Vatican Council '70s.

It turns out we exposed only a tiny tip of a massive iceberg. The bulk of that iceberg, which is hardly a solid mass but a mind-bending quagmire of little- and not-so-little-known documents from the primitive church to the late medieval period (third through 16th centuries), contains a landscape of the church that holds answers to most of the vexing questions that put our experience of sexual abuse into an entirely new light. The search for answers and explanations has been taken to a radically new and previously unstudied level by the intensive and extensive research of Dyan Elliott, a medieval scholar from Northwestern University.

The results of her research are nothing short of remarkable, stunning and most importantly, authentic. The results are in her new book The Corrupter of Boys, being released this month by the University of Pennsylvania Press. I have been privileged to read an advance manuscript of it. I will readily admit to having been obsessed with discovering and exposing every historic layer of the key elements of the systemic causes of the sexual abuse phenomenon. This requires plumbing the church's legitimate and unrevised history to its depths. Elliott has done this, and her work changes the conversation in dramatic and invaluable way.

Buffalo Priest Placed on Leave After Child Sexual Abuse Allegations

Spectrum News

October 10, 2020

A priest is on administrative leave following child sexual abuse claims made against him.

Buffalo's Apostolic administrator has placed Reverend Donald Lutz on administrative leave pending an investigation into two allegations of sexual abuse from the 1970s.

Lutz is the pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Buffalo.

One survivor is suing while the other is not, but reported the abuse to the victim assistance coordinator.

While on leave, Lutz will be restricted from presenting himself or functioning as a priest until the investigation is over.

A parish administrator for Our Lady of Perpetual Help has not yet been named.

Church abuse activist: ‘These ribbons are a cry for change’

News & Star

October 10, 2020

By Phil Coleman

Only victims can fully understand the lifelong impact of child sexual abuse.

But imagine that you were abused as a child and, after years of torment, your dreams haunted by unspeakable memories, you summon the courage to tell somebody.

In a sane world, that would be a first step on the road to justice and healing.

For Richard - a deep thinking Christian from north Cumbria, now in his fifties - it took 36 years to take that step. Abused as a child by Carlisle Cathedral Canon Ronald Johns, Richard wanted an apology.

It was 1993.

He reported Johns to the then Bishop of Carlisle, Ian Harland. Yet the Bishop did not report Johns to the police. Instead, he simply moved Johns to a church in Caldbeck.

Thirteen years later, in the summer of 2006, Richard tried again. This time he reported Johns to the police. After hearing about the abuse, the officer told him: “I’m really sorry to hear that - but there’s not a lot we can do.”

Johns was later prosecuted and jailed. But he was only one in a litany of Cumbrian clergymen convicted of child sex crimes. In February, a court heard about Catholic priest Peter Turner who, like Johns, admitted to his superior in the church that he was an abuser.

October 10, 2020

In case related to abuse at minor seminary, two priests face trial at Vatican

Catholic News Service via Crux

October 9, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Rome - Two priests connected to a minor seminary located at the Vatican will appear before a Vatican criminal court Oct. 14 on charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of students at the seminary.

Father Gabriele Martinelli faces charges of sexually abusing younger boys when he was a seminarian at the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary. Father Enrico Radice, former rector of the seminary, is accused of aiding and abetting the abuse.

The two were indicted in late 2019 following an investigation that began in November 2017.

Since the alleged abuse was said to have occurred prior to 2012, the Vatican had said a year ago, the court’s request to indict the two priests required the personal intervention of Pope Francis because at the time the crimes allegedly occurred, Vatican law required the victim himself to make the accusation within one year of the crime’s occurrence.

Pearl River church's altar removed, burned after priest, dominatrices allegedly had sex on it

Times-Picayune and Advocate

October 8, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and Sara Pagones

[Includes video statement by Archbishop Aymond about Clark and Wattigny.]

Amid news that a Pearl River priest was caught recording himself in group sex with two dominatrices on his church altar, an enraged Archbishop Gregory Aymond on Friday characterized the priest's actions as "demonic" and said he had the altar burned.

"It is a very tough time right now to be a Catholic in the Archdiocese of New Orleans to say the least," Aymond said in a video message addressed to parishioners and posted on the archdiocese's website, in response to questions from WWL television.

"Many people feel anger, betrayal and disappointment, and I feel the same way, as do my brother priests," he said. "What has happened concerning Pat Wattigny and Travis Clark is unacceptable. It’s sinful, and it cannot be tolerated. Let me be clear: Both were removed from ministry immediately and will never serve again in Catholic ministry."

Priest recorded having group sex on altar of Pearl River church, police say; 3 arrested

Times-Picayune and Advocate

October 8, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and Sara Pagones

The lights inside Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Pearl River were on later than usual on Sept. 30, so a passerby stopped to take a closer look.

Peering inside, the onlooker saw the small parish's pastor half-naked having sex with two women on the altar, according to court documents. The women were dressed in corsets and high-heeled boots. There were sex toys and stage lighting. And a mobile phone as well as a separate camera were mounted on tripods, recording it all.

The eyewitness took a video and called the Pearl River police, who arrived at the church and viewed that recording. Officers then arrested the Rev. Travis Clark, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul since 2019, on obscenity charges.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced the priest's arrest Oct. 1 but would not give specifics about why he was arrested. Nor would the police.

New details, however, have emerged in court filings that paint a lurid picture of a priest recording himself engaged in sexual role play while desecrating a sacred place within the church. Public records additionally show that one of the women, Mindy Dixon, 41, is an adult film actor who also works for hire as a dominatrix. On a social media account associated with Dixon, a Sept. 29 post says she was on her way to the New Orleans area to meet another dominatrix "and defile a house of God."

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Priest Found Unsuitable for Ministry

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

October 9, 2020

Reverend William E. Dean has been found unsuitable for ministry based on a substantiated allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1970s.

Contextual Background Regarding Reverend William E. Dean

Reverend William E. Dean has served in a limited ministerial capacity for several years as a result of disability. He was declared legally blind in 2001 and requires the assistance of a service animal. He has not been assigned to a parish since 2012. Since that time, he has served as chaplain at Camilla Hall, a retirement community for the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHMs) in Chester County. Father Dean has also resided at that location for the past eight years.

In June 2014 the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received a report noting concern that Father Dean may have engaged in inappropriate behavior with a minor while serving at Saints Philip and James Parish in Exton (Chester County) in the late 1970s. This report was the first of its kind lodged against Father Dean and did not include any allegations of criminal behavior. It did, however, identify the individual who was a minor at that time. This person was contacted by the Archdiocese on multiple occasions, but did not wish to engage in dialogue.

As all available facts relative to this report constituted a potential violation of The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries established by the Archdiocese, the required canonical (Church) investigation of Father Dean was launched. Had any information regarding alleged criminal activity been presented, the matter would first have been referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency in accordance with longstanding Archdiocesan policy.

The Archdiocesan Office of Investigations (AOI) undertook the canonical process. The AOI is responsible for conducting internal and canonical investigations following the conclusion of work performed by civil authorities. The AOI also performs investigations in matters that center on alleged activity that is not illegal in nature, but that may violate The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries established by the Archdiocese.

Phila. priest removed from ministry on sex abuse claim


October 9, 2020

By Matthew Gambino

Father William E. Dean, 70, has been removed from ministry due to an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor in the late 1970s.

The allegation was deemed credible by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Archbishop Nelson Pérez decided that the priest, ordained in 1976, is unsuitable for ministry.

For the past eight years Father Dean had been serving as chaplain at Camilla Hall, the nursing home for retired and ill Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Malvern.

The archdiocese announced the decision in a statement Friday afternoon, Oct. 9.

The allegation surfaced in October 2019 as part of the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program, citing abuse by Father Dean at SS. Philip and James Parish in Exton.

Priest found unsuitable for ministry after sex abuse allegation in Chester County is substantiated

Philadelphia Inquirer

October 9, 2020

by Julie Shaw

A Catholic priest has been found unsuitable for ministry after a finding that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1970s in Chester County, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Friday.

The victim reported in October 2019 that the Rev. William E. Dean, now 70, had committed the abuse while serving at SS. Philip & James Parish in Exton.

The allegation was reported to the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program, which was set up in 2018 to financially compensate victims of clergy sex abuse whose claims are too old to be taken to court. It was then reported to law enforcement, the archdiocese said.

The Chester County District Attorney’s Office informed the archdiocese in January that no criminal charges would be filed, the archdiocese said in a statement. The reason for that was not immediately known Friday.

The Archdiocesan Office of Investigation then conducted its own probe and forwarded the results to the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibilities Review Board, which shared its unanimous finding with Archbishop Nelson Pérez that the allegation of sexual abuse was substantiated and recommended that Dean was unsuitable for ministry.

Pérez accepted the recommendation. Dean’s case will now be forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in keeping with procedure for the formal canonical process.

October 9, 2020

New report details 44 accounts of alleged abuse by David Haas

National Catholic Reporter

October 6, 2020

By Sophie Vodvarka

[See Into Account's David Haas page, with links to 19 survivor accounts and a detailed report on the allegations.]

Accusers request ban on Haas' liturgical music, saying it retraumatizes them

Margaret Hillman cantors at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Sarasota, Florida, this fall. (Alex Dilan)
This summer while cantoring during Mass, Margaret Hillman was overcome by traumatic flashbacks that caused her to have panic attacks while singing music by Catholic composer David Haas.

Hillman's flashbacks were triggered by a press release from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) that supported the reports that the advocacy group Into Account collected from several women accusing Haas of sexual and spiritual abuse. Hillman said the allegations "felt so familiar."

Two weeks later, Hillman described sexual abuse by Haas in her own report with Into Account, an organization that supports survivors of sexual abuse in Christian contexts. Hillman, a 53-year-old musician, serves as cantor, choir member and assistant with the youth choir at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Sarasota, Florida, and cantor at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Venice, Florida.

Hillman also asked Venice Bishop Frank Dewane to tell parishes in the diocese to stop playing Haas' music at Mass and was pleased the bishop responded by sending a letter to all parishes to put a moratorium on Haas' music.

This July, Hillman, fellow survivor Susan Bruhl and former Haas colleague Laurie Delgatto-Whitten sent letters to all dioceses requesting to publicly ban Haas' music from liturgies, to ban him from working in the dioceses, and to reach out to other potential survivors of abuse.

New allegations surface about former Utah priest abusing 8-year-old boy

Salt Lake Tribune

October 9, 2020

By Courtney Tanner

A former Roman Catholic priest, currently in prison for sexually abusing students in Oklahoma and Michigan, faces new allegations of molesting a child while he was overseeing a Utah parish and adjoining school here in the 1970s.

In a lawsuit filed late Wednesday, a now 60-year-old man said he was repeatedly abused and threatened by church leader James Rapp while he was attending second grade at St. Ann School in Kearns. And, he said, the church knew about and “intentionally concealed” the assaults at the time.

“There was a cover-up, and that’s a big problem,” added Eric Olson, the man’s attorney.

Rapp has previously been sued for similar allegations at Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City. And he appeared on a list released by the diocese here in 2018 of priests “credibly accused” of sexual misconduct with minors. But, despite that, formal charges have never been brought against him in Utah, and the earlier lit was dismissed without a trial after a judge determined too much time had passed since the alleged abuse.

Shocking allegations from Pearl River priest's arrest last week


October 8, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and David Hammer

Travis Clark, the pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul since 2019, was booked with obscenity last week for the alleged encounter.

Pearl River LA - New, salacious details from police about the arrest of a Pearl River priest last week add to an already devastating period in the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ ongoing church sex abuse scandal.

Court documents filed by Pearl River Police state that a passerby saw the lights on inside Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church near 11 p.m. on Sept. 30, and stopped to witness the shocking actions of the church’s pastor.

Peering through glass doors and windows, the person who called police allegedly saw the Rev. Travis Clark, 37, half-naked on top of the altar, according to documents reviewed by The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate in its joint investigation with WWL-TV.

The complainant reported seeing two women in high heels and corsets on the altar with Clark, wielding sex toys. Stage lights were set up, as was a cellphone and camera, both mounted on tripods. All three were allegedly having sex together.

The passerby took a cell phone video and called the Pearl River police, who arrived at the church, viewed the footage, and arrested the group on accusations that they were having intercourse in a publicly visible place, the documents said.

Bishop provided reference for Wiltshire sex abuse priest


October 6, 2020

The Bishop of Carlisle has apologised for providing a character reference to a colleague who was subsequently jailed for molesting children.

The Church of England has launched an investigation after the Rt Rev James Newcome's reference was used in a case which saw Rev Robert Bailey jailed.

Bishop James said he made "an error of judgment" in providing the reference.

Bailey was jailed for eight years and four months in September after he admitted molesting two girls.

Bishop James said that he had provided a reference for Bailey, whom he had known for 18 years, but later asked for it to be withdrawn.

He said: "In April and at [Bailey's] request, I agreed to provide a character reference to go before the courts.

"On reflection I considered this to have been an error of judgement on my part and asked that the reference be withdrawn.

"I'm truly sorry that the reference was submitted and understand the pain that this will have caused those who suffered as a result of Robert Bailey's crimes."

October 8, 2020

Priests to be tried in Vatican choir boys abuse case

Agence France-Presse

October 8, 2020

An Italian priest accused of sexually abusing choir boys in a seminary and another priest who allegedly facilitated that abuse will go on trial in the Vatican next week.

The alleged abuse took place in 2011 to 2012 at the pre-seminary of St Pius X, an institution located on Vatican grounds that trains choir boys and is very close to Pope Francis’s residence.

Gabriele Martinelli is suspected of carrying out repeated sexual assaults on at least one victim when he was a seminarian aged 21 and lived in the building.

Martinelli was made a priest in 2017.

The boarders at St Pius X are mainly children and adolescents who stay there while they attend a private school in Rome, and participate as choristers in the masses celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica.

Enrico Radice, rector of the residence at the time of the alleged events, is accused of covering the abuse up.

The Vatican said last year the pair would be tried. The first hearing will be held on October 14, it said.

In midst of cardinal scandal, pope seeks to reassure money inspectors


October 8, 2020

By Philip Pullella

Pope Francis sought to assure external inspectors of the Vatican's financial operations on Thursday that he was pushing ahead with reforms, as the Holy See reeled from a scandal in which he fired a powerful cardinal.

In an address to Moneyval, the Council of Europe's financial monitoring arm, Francis listed recent actions he had taken to make Vatican finances more transparent.

He appeared to refer to the Vatican's latest financial scandals when he quoted the gospel story of Jesus driving the merchants from the temple and telling them "You cannot serve both God and money".

Last month, the pope fired Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, accusing him of embezzlement and nepotism. Becciu has denied all wrongdoing.

Moneyval is making one of its periodic inspections to check the Vatican is complying with international norms to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism.

"The measures that you are evaluating are meant to promote a 'clean finance', in which the 'merchants' are prevented from speculating in that sacred 'temple'," Francis said.

Italian media have this week run interviews with a woman who says she received 500,000 euros from Becciu to run a "parallel diplomacy" to help missionaries in conflict areas.

FAQ: Diocesan Reorganization

Catholic Star Herald - Diocese of Camden

October 8, 2020

Last week, the Diocese of Camden filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Here are some frequently asked questions.

1. What exactly is Chapter 11?

Chapter 11 reorganization is a process pursuant to which an entity seeks to reorganize financially under court supervision. The twin goals are for an entity to equitably and proportionally address the financial claims of those to whom it owes money and to emerge with its operations intact. A Chapter 11 filing immediately stops all efforts at collection of debts and legal actions against the entity. It does not mean that the entity is closing or terminating its programs. Under Chapter 11, an entity is able to maintain its normal operations, continue to provide employees with salaries and benefits, and pay retiree benefits.

2. Why is the Diocese seeking reorganization under Chapter 11 now?

The cost of settlements through the Independent Victims Compensation Program, which was established to provide expedited payments to victims of abuse, has already exceeded $8 million, and the Diocese’s financial position has been impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the recent repeal of the statute of limitations has resulted in over 50 lawsuits being filed against the Diocese involving long-ago claims of abuse. These factors have presented a financial position that is no longer sustainable, and the Diocese seeks to equitably and proportionally address the claims that it confronts, to address future claims that might arise, and to enable it to continue its missions of evangelization and service.

Obituary: Santiago "Charlie" Feliciano, Jr.

Plain Dealer

October 6, 2020

[See here for background on Charlie Feliciano.]

Santiago "Charlie" Feliciano, Jr. age 68. Beloved husband of Rosa; dear father of Judith Feliciano-Truitt (Gabriel); Santiago R. (Erica) of Charlotte, NC, Laura Feliciano-Bernaert (Darin) of Raleigh, NC and William (Jessica) of Columbus, OH; cherished grandfather of Isabella, Aurelia "Rae", Waylon, Rainier, Esme and Olive; fond brother of Jose (Molly), Cielo Feliciano-Kriz (Michael), Reyes and the late Robert; loving uncle of many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, contributions suggested to Snap Network, P.O. Box 56539, St. Louis, MO 63156. Funeral Mass Friday, October 9, 2020 at St. Dominic Church at 10:00 a.m. Masks are required. Interment Private, All Souls Cemetery.

Buffalo Diocese asking judge to speed up bankruptcy process

WIVB News 4

October 7 2020

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese is asking the judge handling its bankruptcy case to speed up the process and appoint a mediator to help negotiate a settlement.

In a letter, Diocese COO Sister Mary McCarrick told the judge that the organization could run out of money.

She added that dozens of schools and services could be affected, as well.

The Diocese wants to roll back the deadline for survivors of priest sex abuse to file a lawsuit from August 2021 to March 2021. Sister McCarrick says the earlier deadline will let the church pay more equal settlements to hundreds of abuse survivors.

The Diocese has already made drastic cuts, including slashing the entire Department of Youth & Young Adult Ministry, and the office of Lifelong Faith Formation.

Editorial: N.J. diocese bankruptcy filing creates uncertainty

South Jersey Times via NJ.com

October 6, 2020

Amid the world-shaking news of recent days, the announcement that the Catholic Diocese of Camden has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection created fewer ripples than it might have at some other time.

This may well have played into the diocese’s desire for the faithful and the community to regard the event as a “nothing to see here; business as usual” one. After all, Americans have been busy sorting sort out another set of circumstances concerning the health of its president, where the smiley faces posted in official updates turned out not to be what they first seemed.

The diocese may not be hiding anything, but its statement works hard to emphasize that the reorganization would have no effect on: the 62 individual parishes in seven South Jersey counties; any diocese-associated Catholic schools in the region; any direct employees of the diocese, their salaries and their pensions; or the donations to, or work done by, the House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal, Catholic Strong or Catholic Charities.

As for what victims of what Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan refers to as “long-ago claims of (clergy) abuse,” that might be another matter. The bishop’s statement says the diocese had to pay $8 million in settlements just this year through the New Jersey Independent Victims Compensation Program, and that it had to borrow the money. There’s none left: “The Diocese does not have the resources to equitably and proportionally address further claims at this time.” Some 50 lawsuits are still awaiting resolution, the bishop states.

Mystery Woman Admits 500,000-euro Payment From Dismissed Cardinal

Agence France-Presse via Barrons

October 7, 2020

A 39-year-old Italian woman confirmed Wednesday that she received 500,000 euros ($590,000) from the Vatican via influential Italian cardinal Angelo Becciu, forced to resign by the pope last month following accusations of embezzlement and nepotism.

"I didn't steal a single euro," Cecilia Marogna told newspaper Domani of the payments in tranches of tens of thousands of euros to her company based in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

Rather, "I have a letter from the cardinal giving me the right to travel and conduct diplomatic relations to help the Church in difficult countries," she said, claiming to know "senior members of the Italian secret services".

Marogna, 39, is like the 72-year-old Becciu a native of the Italian island Sardinia.

The payments to her came while Becciu was number two in the Vatican's Secretariat of State, which manages the Church's vast donations.

He has been accused of syphoning off funds destined for the poor to family members -- a charge he denies.

Marogna denied being Becciu's "mistress", claiming that she is a "political analyst and intelligence expert" and developed "a network of relationships in Africa and the Middle East" to protect the Vatican's representatives abroad.

Letter to the Editor: Diocese's concern is keeping secrets


October 7, 2020

I believe the Diocese of Rockville Centre has tried to avoid its responsibilities to the survivors of its clergy abuse, from being the only large diocese in the country to refuse to put out a list of credibly accused priests to trying to have the Child Victim Act declared unconstitutional. So now it is bankruptcy ["Diocese of Rockville Centre seeks bankruptcy," News, Oct. 2]. It would have you think it is concerned about the survivors when, to me, its concern always has been only keeping church secrets. These secrets would have been endangered in court discovery and litigation. I believe this is the reason this diocese is in bankruptcy and there is no list. I call this Bishop John Barres’ "burden." I say the diocese is bankrupt of any moral fiber when it comes to facing its sins of clergy abuse.

Janet Cleary Klinger,

Editor’s note: The writer is Nassau-Suffolk leader of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

For Coptic Church, changes, questions after priest ouster

Associated Press

October 7, 2020

By Mariam Fam

For 17 years, Sally Zakhari said she told priests and leaders in the Coptic Orthodox Church her childhood nightmare — how a Coptic priest visiting from Egypt sexually abused her at her Florida home during what was supposed to be her first confession.

“I’ve already gone to countless bishops. I’ve already gone to two different popes,” she told The Associated Press. She went to police as well.

She said she watched the priest — Reweis Aziz Khalil — continue serving at Coptic churches. Then, Zakhari aired her allegations on social media in July and Khalil was stripped of his priesthood and ordered to return to his pre-ordination name days later.

In announcing the move, Khalil’s Minya and Abu Qurqas diocese in Egypt mentioned undated complaints by congregants in Egypt as well as from the United States and Canada. A papal decree said disciplinary action had been taken against Khalil in the past for “his repeated infringements.” Neither statement specified the nature of the complaints or “infringements.”

The papal decree said prior action against Khalil included “defrocking him from all ministry” in 2014. It wasn’t clear what that entailed and there were times when Khalil served as priest after 2014.

In response to questions and a request to interview Khalil, his attorney, Michelle Suskauer, said by e-mail: “Mr. Khalil will not be responding to your questions and denies all allegations against him.”

For Egypt’s ancient Coptic Church, which is usually closed about its inner workings, the allegations and the laicization after sexual abuse claims were unusually public and shocked many. In the aftermath, some anti-abuse efforts were announced and questions were raised about oversight and the handling of Zakhari’s allegations.

Ex-Catholic priest in New Mexico dies before abuse trial

Associated Press

October 7, 2020

A former Roman Catholic priest has died just weeks before he was scheduled to go on trial in New Mexico after he was accused of raping a young girl at an Albuquerque parochial school decades ago, authorities said.

The New Mexico attorney general’s office said Sabine Griego, 82, died last week. The trial was scheduled to begin Nov. 16. A judge had released Griego on his own recognizance, so he was not in custody while awaiting trial.

His death is “deeply disheartening” to survivors, said Levi Monagle, an Albuquerque-based attorney representing survivors in the criminal lawsuit and in a separate civil case brought against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

“He evaded the criminal justice system for decades and for decades when it was pretty well known and acknowledged that he was implicated in childhood sexual abuse,” Monagle said.

Griego was arrested at his Las Vegas, New Mexico, home in 2019 and was charged with one count of sexual penetration of a minor and coercion resulting in great bodily harm and mental anguish, authorities said. He was held without bond at the San Miguel County Detention Center before being released pending his trial.

A priest abused him as a young boy. Another priest rescued him, only to do the same thing.


October 7, 2020

By Alex Napoliello

The young priest was supposed to be David’s savior.

A charismatic man of God, he vowed to protect the boy after years of sexual abuse at the hands of a well-respected Bayonne pastor.

The Rev. Kenneth L. Martin even confronted Msgr. Edward F. Wojtycha, his superior at St. Andrews Church — and David’s alleged abuser — in a heated argument, David said. After that, the boy felt protected. He found solace in someone who cared. Someone he could trust.

“He sold himself as my salvation, that he could somehow intervene,” David said. Martin turned out to be anything but a salvation.

The priest would also sexually abuse him, said David, 45, who requested NJ Advance Media identify him only by his middle name.

The abuse started when he was just 7 years old and lasted for years between the two priests, he said. He endured beatings, psychological torture — including threats against his family — and sodomy, David said. It happened in the church. At hotels. And at a Jersey Shore house.

David is not alone.

Martin is among the 188 clergy who stand credibly accused of sexually abusing children, according to a list released in 2019 by the five Catholic dioceses in New Jersey. Martin is also a defendant in a lawsuit filed in July by another man who alleges the priest sexually assaulted him between the ages of 11 to 14 in the early 1980s. And NJ Advance Media has spoken to a third alleged victim of Martin’s, Mark Crawford, who says he and two of his younger brothers were abused by the priest. Yet, Wojtycha — a man once called a “great inspiration” on the floor of the House of Representatives by then-Rep. Robert Menendez in 2003 — is not named on the list of credibly accused clergy. He died in 2009 after serving as a priest for 65 years, mostly in Hudson County.

October 7, 2020

Ex-altar boy who says R.I. priest sexually abused him on trip to NYC sues in New York

Providence Journal

October 6, 2020

By Brian Amaral

A man who said he was sexually abused as a minor by a now-deceased North Providence priest is suing Rhode Island’s Catholic diocese — but doing it in New York, which makes it easier to sue over abuse from decades past than Rhode Island does.

Philip Edwardo, now 53, said the Rev. Philip Magaldi of St. Anthony Church took him to a Waldorf Astoria hotel room in New York City and sexually assaulted him in 1983. It was one of at least 100 instances of sexual abuse over five years, he said.

Edwardo has also sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence in the Rhode Island state courts over abuse that he said occurred here. Like Rhode Island, New York recently extended its statute of limitations to sue over sexual abuse claims. New York, though, went further than Rhode Island in doing so.

Rhode Island in 2019 created a longer deadline, giving people until 35 years after they turn 18 to file suits over childhood sexual abuse. If their claims had already run out under the old law, they could still sue their perpetrators.

Can the diocese’s leaders be held liable as “perpetrators” of abuse? Edwardo, among others, is litigating that question in state court. Edwardo argues that the misconduct of diocesan institutions and leaders was so egregious that it veered into criminal conduct, meaning they can be sued as “perpetrators” under the civil law; the diocese said it cannot.

Archdiocese of New Orleans Removes Two Priests for Sexual Abuse and Obscenity with Women

Christianity Daily

October 6 2020

By Alex Best

Patrick Wattigny, a former reverend assigned to Pope John Paul II High School, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton, and St. Peter among other locations, came forward to report that he had sexually abused a minor in 2013. This report of the minor's sexual abuse was revealed due to the investigations into Wattigny's inappropriate behavior as Chaplain of Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell.

Wattigny had been under disciplinary investigation by the New Orleans Archdiocese for sending a student at Pope John Paul II unprofessional text messages that could constitute as "grooming." As a result of the investigation, Wattigny resigned from his post, as well as reported himself for sexual abuse. Wattigny has now been added to the New Orleans Archdiocese Clergy Abuse Report list.

Along with Wattigny, former Reverend Travis Clark has also been removed from ministry for obscenity with women. However, the Archdiocese has confirmed that the charge does not involve a minor.

In response to these incidences, SNAP New Orleans released a statement calling out the Archdiocese of New Orleans to take immediate action and outreach to prevent further incidents and encourage any other victims to come forward.

Former Catholic priest dies before abuse trial

Santa Fe New Mexican

October 6, 2020

By Michael Gerstein

A former Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children decades ago has died just weeks before he was scheduled to go on trial on charges he raped a young girl at an Albuquerque parochial school in the early 1990s.

Sabine Griego, 82, died last week, according to the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. His trial was scheduled to begin Nov. 16.

Levi Monagle, an Albuquerque-based attorney representing survivors in the criminal lawsuit and in a separate civil case brought against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, said Griego’s death is “deeply disheartening” to survivors.

“He evaded the criminal justice system for decades and for decades when it was pretty well known and acknowledged that he was implicated in childhood sexual abuse,” Monagle said.

Griego was arrested at his home in Las Vegas, N.M., in 2019 after being charged by the Attorney General’s Office with one count of sexual penetration of a minor and coercion resulting in great bodily harm and mental anguish. He was held without bond at the San Miguel County Detention Center before being released pending his trial.

The Anglican Church: Safeguarding in the Church of England and the Church in Wales

Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse

October 6, 2020

This investigation concerns the extent to which the Church of England and the Church in Wales protected children from sexual abuse in the past. It also examines the effectiveness of current safeguarding arrangements. A public hearing on these specific areas was held in 2019. This report also draws on the previous two case studies on the Anglican Church, which related to the Diocese of Chichester and Peter Ball.

In addition to recommendations made in the case studies, we make eight recommendations in this report, covering areas such as clergy discipline, information-sharing and support for victims and survivors. We will return to other matters raised in this investigation, such as mandatory reporting, in the Inquiry’s final report.

The Church of England is the largest Christian denomination in the country, with over a million regular worshippers. Convictions of sexual abuse of children by people who were clergy or in positions of trust associated with the Church date back to the 1940s. The total number of convicted offenders associated with the Church from the 1940s until 2018 is 390. In 2018, 449 concerns were reported to the Church about recent child sexual abuse, of which more than half related to church officers. Latterly, a significant amount of offending involved the downloading or possession of indecent images of children. The Inquiry examined a number of cases relating to both convicted perpetrators and alleged perpetrators, many of which demonstrated the Church’s failure to take seriously disclosures by or about children or to refer allegations to the statutory authorities. These included ...

Church of England forgave paedophiles and allowed them to continue working with children, inquiry finds

The Independent

October 6, 2020

By Lizzie Dearden

Almost 400 church employees have been convicted of child sex offences

The Church of England forgave paedophiles after they expressed remorse and allowed them to carry on working instead of protecting children, a report has found.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said that between the 1940s and 2018, 390 clergy members or people in positions of trust were convicted of child sex offences.

“The culture of the Church of England facilitated it becoming a place where abusers could hide,” said a report released on Tuesday.

“Deference to the authority of the Church and to individual priests, taboos surrounding discussion of sexuality and an environment where alleged perpetrators were treated more supportively than victims presented barriers to disclosure that many victims could not overcome.”

IICSA said that many members of the church regard forgiveness “as the appropriate response to any admission of wrongdoing”.

Lincoln priest who raped boy killed himself before court date

The Lincolnite

October 6, 2020

He’s named in a damning report about the Church of England

A former Lincoln priest, who killed himself the day before his court appearance over charges of rape, features in a new damning report concluding that the Church of England failed to protect children from sexual abuse.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse report says the Church’s failure to respond consistently to victims and survivors of abuse often added to their trauma.

Among the case studies in the report is Reverend Trevor Devamanikkam, who allegedly raped and indecently assaulted a teenager, Matthew Ineson, at least 12 times when the boy was living in his house, but this was before his time in Lincoln.

Devamanikkam was charged with six counts of sexual abuse in 2017, which were said to have taken place between March 1984 and April 1985.

He took his own life the day before his court appearance. A coroner concluded the accusations had caused him “huge anxiety” and he had intended to take his own life.

Inquiry details allegations of sex abuse at hands of Bradford vicar, Trevor Devamanikkam

Teoegraph & Argus

October 6, 2020

By Jo Winrow

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s (IICSA) report into the Anglican Church details the full case against the late Reverend Trevor Devamanikkam.

It states: "Trevor Devamanikkam was ordained in 1977 as a priest in the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds. In March 1984, he moved to a parish in the Bradford diocese, where he remained until 1985. Devamanikkam retired in 1996 but between 2002 and 2009 had permission to officiate in the Diocese of Lincoln.

"Reverend Matthew Ineson is an ordained priest in the Church of England. During his teenage years, he had difficulties with his parents and went to live with his grandparents.55 His family were religious and attended church regularly. Matthew Ineson was a member of the church choir and an altar server. As his grandparents were struggling, a local priest organised a respite placement living with Reverend Devamanikkam."

The report states that in 1984, aged 16, Matthew Ineson went to live with Devamanikkam and his housekeeper. On his second night, Devamanikkam came into Matthew Ineson’s bedroom, put his hand underneath the covers touched him indecently. It continues: "When asked if he liked it, Matthew Ineson said no. This continued for two or three nights, and then progressed to Devamanikkam telling Matthew Ineson to share his bed with him. Devamanikkam made it plain that, if he did not do so, he would be thrown out of the vicarage and would have nowhere to go. While sharing a bed over a number of weeks, Devamanikkam raped Matthew Ineson at least 12 times and also sexually assaulted him."

October 6, 2020

Cash-strapped Buffalo Diocese wants to speed up bankruptcy case

Buffalo News

October 6, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Buffalo Diocese officials, citing a sharp decline in donations and an estimated $4 million per year in bankruptcy costs, are pleading with a federal judge to speed up its reorganization by reducing the time childhood sex abuse victims can file claims and appointing a mediator to negotiate a settlement.

Diocese officials told Chief Judge Carl L. Bucki that the diocese is strapped for cash and no longer provides financial support for 19 programs and ministries, including outreach to youth and migrants, lifelong faith formation, evangelization efforts and aid to Catholic elementary schools.

The diocese discontinued tuition subsidies for 34 Catholic schools, which in the past have received as much as $4 million from the diocese, Sister Mary McCarrick, diocese chief operating officer, wrote in a letter to Bucki.

McCarrick said some schools “are in a very real danger of closing” because of the loss of diocese funding. Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger last month appointed a task force to study consolidations of churches and schools.

The diocese also has reduced spending for campus ministry, its outreach to deaf people, its Office of Worship and support for priest retirement homes, among other programs, according to court papers.

The diocese, trying to balance its budget, will spend $9.5 million on operations this fiscal year, which is less than half of what it spent just three years ago, Charles Mendolera, executive director of financial administration, said in court papers.

But Mendolera said the costs of the bankruptcy, including lawyers and other professional fees, will outpace any of the savings from the cost-cutting moves, especially if the diocese must litigate cases instead of trying to resolve them through mediation.

He urged Bucki to reconsider a Sept. 11 order that rejected requests for a mediated settlement process and set Aug. 14, 2021, as the deadline for abuse claims to be filed against the diocese. That's the same date the extended Child Victims Act window closes in state courts.

The diocese wants a deadline of March 15, 2021. Its lawyers argued that waiting until August could delay “meaningful negotiations” regarding a Chapter 11 plan until 2022.

The diocese also is seeking a mediated settlement process, which largely would spare the diocese and 161 parishes from having to defend themselves in individual child sex abuse lawsuits. More than 400 plaintiffs since 2019 have sued the diocese and other area Catholic entities, including parishes and schools, over alleged abuse, mostly dating back decades ago.

Majority of Camden diocese abuse claims left unprocessed amid bankruptcy filing

Catholic News Agency

October 5, 2020

The Diocese of Camden filed for bankruptcy last week, leaving abuse settlements unpaid for about two-thirds of the alleged victims who have come forward, according to court documents.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Camden’s bankruptcy declaration leaves 141 alleged victims unpaid; about two-thirds of all those who have come forward to the diocese seeking compensation. The diocese had to date paid out settlements to 71 victims.

Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden announced the bankruptcy decision Oct. 2, making Camden the first New Jersey diocese to file for Chapter 11.

Around the country, nearly two dozen dioceses have declared bankruptcy since 2004, including the Diocese of Rockville Centre hours before Camden.

Following Camden’s bankruptcy declaration, the remaining alleged victims – along with all of the dioceses creditors – will have a limited pot of money to draw from, and settlements will be determined by a bankruptcy court.

Dilworth School investigation: Manurewa vicar Ross Browne resigns following sexual abuse charges

New Zealand Herald

October 6, 2020

By Elizabeth Binning

An Anglican priest charged in connection with the historical sexual abuse allegations at Dilworth School has resigned from his position at a South Auckland church.

Former Dilworth Chaplain Ross Douglas Browne was the vicar of St Luke's Church in Manurewa when police arrested him last month.

The 72-year-old priest, who was also heavily involved in Scouts and amateur theatrical company the Auckland Gang Show, is accused of indecently assaulting three boys between 1991 and 2002.

Anglican Bishop of Auckland Ross Bay said he was distressed about allegations of historical abuse at Dilworth School and expressed his concern for "those who are the survivors of that abuse".

His comments came after Browne dropped his bid for name suppression at a hearing in the Auckland District Court this morning.

Former NYC student wore wire to catch alleged predator teacher

New York Post

October 3, 2020

By Melissa Klein

A Manhattan man wore a wire to nab the teacher he claims sexually abused him decades earlier — but even that failed to keep the alleged predator out of the classroom.

Nicholaos Papadopoulos, 53, says when he learned that Lawrence Svrcek taught at Francis Lewis High School in Queens in 2002, he felt he had to step forward to “potentially save someone.”

He said 20 years earlier, Svrcek, a gym teacher, sexually abused him and other boys at the Jamaica Day School run by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Queens. At the time, he says he and another boy told school officials, who booted Svrcek as a Boy Scout leader but allowed him to keep teaching. Svrcek also taught briefly at St. John’s University in 1999 and at John Bowne HS in Flushing.

Papadopoulos said when he reported Svrcek’s conduct to the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the city’s public schools in 2002, he was met with disbelief until he agreed to wear a wire.

He said he was petrified, but confronted Svrcek at Francis Lewis HS where, he says, the teacher “acknowledged everything.” Three others boys also came forward to investigators.

“Because too much time has passed, Lawrence Svrcek cannot be prosecuted; nevertheless, his inexcusable acts of sexual abuse toward these four male students were criminal and horribly wrong,” according to Special Investigator Richard Condon’s 2002 report, recommending that he be fired. He resigned in 2003, according to the Department of Education.

Former priest Sabine Griego dies weeks before trial

Albuquerque Journal

October 5, 2020

By Colleen Heild

A former Catholic priest accused of committing “heinous” sexual acts against children in New Mexico decades ago has died just weeks before he was to go on trial for the first-degree sexual abuse of a girl at the Queen of Heaven grade school in Albuquerque.

His death last week in northern New Mexico, where he had been released on his personal recognizance pending trial, was confirmed by the state Attorney General’s Office on Monday.

The pending criminal prosecution by Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office was expected to cap decades of civil allegations by more than 38 people, both men and women, who said they had been sexually abused by Griego as children and minors. His trial was set to begin Nov. 16.

“We are disappointed that the survivors of his abuse will not get their day in court, but our office will continue to hold institutions and those in positions of power accountable for their abuses in these cases,” said AG chief counsel Matt Baca.

Man says 2 New Orleans priests abused him; church gave him unlimited therapy but no abuse listing


October 5, 2020

By David Hammer


Three former classmates question why Archbishop Aymond has not added two priests to his list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Retired Catholic priest Luis Fernandez let his answering machine take the journalist’s call last month, but picked up when he heard the reporter mention molestation allegations.

Initially, Fernandez said he couldn’t talk about the claims brought against him by one of his former students because “he didn’t know anything about it.” But after hearing the ex-student’s name — Tim Trahan — Fernandez changed his tone.

“All that was taken care of by the Archdiocese (of New Orleans),” Fernandez said. “You need to talk to the Archdiocese.”

Fernandez, now in his 80s and living in Miami, stayed on the phone for nearly two minutes. He repeatedly deflected questions about Trahan, but passed on the opportunity to deny the allegations before hanging up.

Apprised of the exchange, Trahan argued it marks just one more reason to believe his allegations against Fernandez and another, now-dead priest, both of whom taught Trahan in the mid-1970s at St. John Vianney Prep.

Priest in NJ, former prep school chaplain, charged with endangering students

Catholic News Agency

October 5, 2020

Fr. Salvatore DiStefano, a former boys' prep school chaplain in New Jersey, was charged Thursday with use of children to commit a crime, and child endangerment.

“I want to recognize Attorney General Grewal’s Clergy Abuse Task Force and our Special Victims Unit for exhaustively and professionally investigating this case. The conduct unearthed by our investigative team represents an egregious and total betrayal of trust by a person who was supposed to be helping young men, not hurting them; conduct that might have gone unchecked but for their efforts,” acting Union County prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo said Oct. 1.

Fr. DiStefano, 61, was chaplain of Oratory Preparatory School in Summit, N.J., 13 miles west of Newark, until he was suspended in January during the investigation. He had been chaplain at the school since at least 2012.

He was charged with five counts of second-degree use of a juvenile to commit a crime and six counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

The prosecutor's office said his behavior had threatened the welfare of six students at Oratory Prep.

Cardinal Pell accuser denies bribe as Vatican intrigue grows

Associated Press via Seattle Times

October 5, 2020

By Rod McGuirk and Nicole Winfield

An Australian man who accused Cardinal George Pell of sexually abusing him denied Monday he was bribed for his testimony, shooting down the latest conspiracy theory to roil the Vatican amid a corruption investigation into its shady finances.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has speculated in recent days that Vatican investigators were looking into whether Pell’s nemesis at the Vatican, ousted Cardinal Angelo Becciu, wired 700,000 euros ($823,000) in Vatican money to a bank account in Australia, and whether that money was tied to Pell’s sex abuse trial.

Pell, brought in by Pope Francis to bring accountability and transparency to the Vatican’s opaque finances, was convicted but ultimately absolved by Australia’s High Court of allegations he molested two choirboys in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne while he was archbishop in the 1990s.

Corriere speculated that Becciu might have “bought” the testimony of Pell’s accuser to get Pell out of the Vatican. Becciu and Pell were known to have clashed over the Australian’s financial clean-up efforts at the Holy See.

Amid kerfuffle over title, new encyclical accents ‘brothers and sisters’


October 4, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome - Since the title of the pope’s new encyclical Fratelli Tutti was announced a month ago, there’s been debate over the translation, with several groups arguing that the phrase – translated by some into English as “All Brothers” – is exclusive of women.

Numerous individuals and Catholic women’s organizations have spoken out about the title.

Voices of Faith, an outspoken advocacy group for women’s rights and leadership in the Catholic Church, recently distributed an open letter from the Catholic Women’s Council to Pope Francis expressing “deep concern” over the title’s lack of inclusivity.

October 5, 2020

Camden Latest Catholic Diocese Bankrupted by Clergy Abuse Claims

BNN Bloomberg

October 2, 2020

By Josh Saul

The Diocese of Camden in New Jersey filed for bankruptcy, becoming the latest U.S. Catholic Church district to seek court protection from a surge of lawsuits filed by victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Camden diocese filed for protection late Thursday in New Jersey, joining at least five other dioceses that have declared bankruptcy this year to deal with sexual abuse claims. One of the largest church districts in the U.S., Long Island’s Diocese of Rockville Centre, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this week.

“This decision is intended to allow for the fair compensation of the victims of abuse, the payment of debts to our creditors, and the safeguarding of the assets which make our religious, educational and social service ministries possible,” Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan wrote in a letter posted on the diocese website.

Sullivan also blamed the Covid-19 virus for straining diocese finances. The pandemic restricted church attendance while also increasing the needs of the elderly, homeless and poor people the district serves, according to a court filing.

Shock, sadness after Slidell Parish priest added to credibly accused list


By Sara Pagones

October 1, 2020

“I didn’t see it coming, and I’m sad that this has happened again,” Caruso said. “It’s sad.”

Slidell LA - Church members at St. Luke expressed shock and sorrow as the news hit on Thursday about well-liked priest Rev. Patrick Wattigny, pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist in Slidell.

The archdiocese said Wattigny disclosed to them on Thursday his sexual abuse of a minor in 2013. The archdiocese said law enforcement has been notified of his case, though it did not give specifics. He has been added to the archdiocese's list of clergy credibly accused of abuse and was removed from ministry, effective immediately.

Gene Bellisario, who has served as head of the ushers ministry for 30 years, said that rumors had been circulating this summer when Wattigny went on retreat for two weeks and it was extended for another two.

Bellisario said he told people then that the priest might have been having personal or even health issues. He returned from the retreat seeming rejuvenated, and the talk died down.

Two More Catholic Dioceses File for Bankruptcy Protection

Legal Examiner - Saunders and Walker Attorney Blog

October 3, 2020

By Joseph H. Saunders

In a widely anticipated move, the Diocese of Rockville Centre has filed for federal bankruptcy protection. In their announcement yesterday, diocesan officials blamed a surge of priest abuse lawsuits and COVID-19 for the bankruptcy filing. What wasn’t mentioned concerns the fact that a bankruptcy filing allows the Diocese of Rockville Centre to put a hold on the lawsuits, reduce their financial obligations to survivors of sexual abuse, and, most importantly, allows the Diocese to maintain secrecy about how they handled the priest abuse crisis.

While not the largest diocese in the state of New York, Rockville Centre rivals Buffalo in terms of corruption and the poor manner in which survivors have been treated. Less than two decades ago, the Diocese was the subject of a grand jury investigation for its handling of the sexual abuse of minors. In the Grand Jury Report, the jurors blasted the Diocese for the manner in which they had handled the situation. Here is an excerpt from their closing remarks:

“Priests assigned to and working in the Diocese of Rockville Centre committed criminal acts in violation of New York State Penal Law Article 130, Sex Offenses, and other statutes designed to protect the health, safety and welfare of children. These criminal acts included, but were not limited to, Rape, Sodomy, Sexual Abuse, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance. Not one priest in the Diocese who knew about these criminal acts reported them to any law enforcement agency. Frequently, because of the nature of child sexual abuse the victims of this criminal activity do not and did not, in these cases, disclose it until they were adults. This was almost always after the statute of limitations for the criminal prosecution of these crimes had lapsed. Even when offender priests were sent to an out of state Diocese the tolling provisions of the New York State Criminal Procedure Law did not effectively work to allow a criminal prosecution. The limitations contained therein precluded the prosecution of offenders living out of the state. The Grand Jury concludes that officials in the Diocese failed in their responsibility to protect children. They ignored credible complaints about the sexually abusive behaviors of priests. They failed to act on obvious warning signs of sexual abuse including instances where they were aware that priests had children in their private rooms in the rectory overnight, that priests were drinking alcohol with underage children and exposing them to pornography. Even where a priest disclosed sexually abusive behavior with children officials failed to act to remove him from ministry.”

Diocese of Savannah faces lawsuit for covering up priest’s child sex abuse allegations


September 29, 2020

By Molly Curley

A lawsuit has been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah and its current bishop, claiming the church knew a priest was allegedly molesting children and agreed to cover up his actions.

Filed last week by Tate Law Group, LLC, on behalf of a Chatham County resident (whose name WSAV will not disclose at this time), the lawsuit accuses the church of conspiracy and fraud in its handling of allegations against Wayland Brown.

Brown died in prison last year while serving his 20-year sentence for sexually abusing two boys in the early 1980s when he was a priest in the Diocese of Savannah, assigned to St. James School.

Priest who served parishes in Mendon, Upton accused of sex abuse in the ’70s

Telegram & Gazette via MetroWest Daily News

By Elaine Thompson

October 2, 2020

The Diocese of Worcester and retired priest the Rev. Thomas E. Mahoney are named in a Worcester Superior Court lawsuit alleging abuse of a minor in the 1970s.

“Because of the serious nature of the allegation, and consistent with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Fr. Mahoney was notified that I have relieved him of his faculties as a priest,” Bishop Robert J. McManus stated in a press release on Thursday.

Mahoney, who lives at 5 Daniel Drive, Unit 5 in North Oxford, retired as co-pastor of St. Gabriel, the Archangel Parish in Upton in 2012. He was ordained as a priest for the Worcester Diocese in 1968. He also served at St. Mary in North Grafton; Our Lady of the Angels and St. Andrew the Apostle in Worcester; St. Mary in Uxbridge; and St. Michael the Archangel in Mendon.

According to the complaint, Mahoney used his position as a priest to groom and sexually harass the minor boy from 1971 until 1974. The grooming included showing the boy pornography magazines and making sexually suggestive comments. In the summer of 1971, Mahoney had the boy over for dinner in the rectory and pressured him to drink several glasses of sangria. After the boy became intoxicated, Mahoney took him to his bedroom and made him get undressed. Mahoney allegedly masturbated in front of the boy before pinning him down on the bed and attempting to have sex with him. The boy fought the priest off, gathered his clothes and left. But the sexual misconduct continued.

Priest accused of 2013 abuse allegedly sent inappropriate texts to minor in 2020


October 2, 2020

By David Hammer


About four months before the Rev. Patrick Wattigny allegedly disclosed to the Archdiocese of New Orleans that he sexually abused a minor in 2013, he resigned from his post as chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School because he sent a series of text messages to a student this year that violated diocesan policies, church officials said Friday.

An attorney representing the family of the student alleged Friday that the messages constituted “grooming” for sexual activity, including repeatedly asking the boy when his 18th birthday was.

A statement from the archdiocese denied that any of the messages contained sexual references “or innuendo,” but they nonetheless represented a breach of archdiocesan policy mandating professionally-toned communications with students.

The archdiocese said a disciplinary investigation into the messages not only prompted Wattigny’s resignation, but it also led to Wattigny’s disclosing his alleged abuse of another juvenile roughly seven years ago.

Former Farmington priest arrested on charges of sexually abusing teenager in 1970s

Detroit Metro Times

September 29, 2020

By Steve Neavling

A 78-year-old former priest in Farmington has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old in the 1970s as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel continues to crack down on abuse within the state’s seven Catholic dioceses.

Gary Berthiaume, 78, was arrested Tuesday at his home in Warrendale, Ill., and was charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony that carries up to 15 years in prison.

The assault allegedly occurred at the rectory of Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington in 1977, when Berthiaume was a priest with the Archdiocese of Detroit. That same year, Berthiaume was arrested for sexually assaulting two other minors in Michigan and sentenced to six months in the Oakland County Jail. After his release, he was transferred to the Diocese of Cleveland and then moved to the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois.

Prosecutors in Entre Ríos investigate claim priest raped nephew

Buenos Aires Times

September 29, 2020

Sergio Decuyper accuses his paternal uncle, Reverend José Francisco Decuyper, of raping him more than 35 years ago. 42-year-old says Pope Francis asked him not to file a criminal complaint.

Investigators in Entre Ríos Province are probing a new case of alleged historical sexual abuse by a priest from the Catholic Church, who stands accused of raping his nephew more than 35 years ago.

The probe refers to a complaint made by 42-year-old Sergio Decuyper, who has accused his paternal uncle, Reverend José Francisco Decuyper, of sexual abuse.

The incident allegedly took place at a family home near the city of Paraná, 480 kilometres northwest of Buenos Aires. Sergio alleges he was raped by the priest, who today is in his 80s.

The provincial Prosecutor's Unit for Gender Violence and Sexual Abuse confirmed on Monday that it had opened a case based on a criminal complaint against the octogenarian priest.

Adelaide female Anglican priest barred from practising because of marriage to woman


October 4, 2020

By Ben Nielsen

An Adelaide-based Anglican priest has accused the church of discrimination after she was refused permission to say mass and celebrate sacraments because of her marriage to another woman.

Sorel Coward sought approval from Archbishop of Adelaide Geoffrey Smith last year, but she said he had since denied her permission to officiate.

"All I wanted was the ability to be able to say mass, to celebrate the sacraments of the church, to bless those in their last hours of their life, in a little church in Adelaide, and nothing more," she said.

Priest committed to marriage

The Anglican Church in Australia does not recognise same-sex relationships.

"My wife and I have been happily married for 28 years," Sorel Coward said.

"I'm not going to have my marriage or my orders put into question.

"Absolutely nothing has changed and yet I'm being treated like a clergyperson who's been engaged in child sexual abuse."

Court enables child sexual abuse victims to sue Catholic Church

Mondaq / Sydney Criminal Lawyers

October 5, 2020

By Sonia Hickey

The Supreme Court of Victoria has overturned a deed of release signed by a victim of child sexual abuse, who was paid $32,500 by the Catholic Church in 1996 in exchange for his silence and no further legal action.

The landmark decision will enable two things: For this particular victim to now sue the church for damages, and secondly, pave the way for other victims to do so.

It's estimated that there are about 500 victims who signed similar deeds of release, often for small financial payouts, under the Catholic Church's controversial “Melbourne Response.

Overturning ‘paltry' settlements for victims
It was set up in 1996 by George Pell, who had his conviction for child sexual offences overturned in an appeal to the High Court in April this year. He has since left Australia and returned to the Vatican.

The fund was specifically set up by the church to compensate victims of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic Priests has long been criticised for handing out paltry payments which do not in any way reflect the severity of the life-long damage inflicted on survivors, nor the Church's ability to be financially accountable to victims, given that the value of the Church's assets in Australia alone are estimated at around $30 billion.

Podcast features survivor of priest sex abuse who is working with Columbus diocese

Columbus Dispatch

October 5, 2020

By Danae King

Neither priests nor the public really understand what survivors of clergy sexual abuse go through, but they're beginning to, says survivor Teresa Pitt Green.

Co-founder of Spirit Fire, a national "Christ-centered restorative-justice group" that helps Catholic churches reach out to survivors, Pitt Green recounted her personal story of being abused by a priest as a minor on a Sept. 30 episode of the podcast "Crisis: Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church."

She has also been working with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus on its response to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy since May 2019.

The podcast, which premiered Sept. 9, is produced by the Catholic Project. It has 17,379 subscribers. Pitt Green is featured, alongside another survivor, on episode four of the podcast, which ran Wednesday.

October 4, 2020

[News Release] Notice of Credible Allegation of Abuse

Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

October 2, 2020

Bishop Johnston and diocesan leaders recognize how difficult it can be for a survivor of clergy sexual abuse to come forward and appreciate the great courage it takes in making a report to the Church.

The diocese has received and deemed credible an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Thomas Reardon. This allegation was deemed credible following the diocesan Policy for Response to Allegations, by the Ombudsman, Independent Review Board and Bishop Johnston. The abuse occurred in 1972 at Camp Little Flower, a diocesan camp for children ages 7-12, at 83rd and Raytown Rd. where Reardon was Camp Director.

Reardon’s name is included on the diocese’s List of Accused Clerics with Substantiated Allegations, which can be found on the diocesan website here. He has been laicized and is not able to function as a priest or present himself as one publicly.

[Opinion] Screwed twice over: victims of abusive NJ Catholic clerics

Patheos (blog)

October 3, 2020

By Barry Duke

WHEN it was announced last Thursday that Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden in New Jersey, headed by Bishop Dennis J Sullivan, above, was filing for bankruptcy, people immediately began asking where this will leave victims of clerical abuse who were in line for compensation.

Well, it looks as if their claims could either go unresolved, or fall well below expectations.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, more than two-thirds of victims who signed up to participate in a fund set up by the Diocese to compensate victims have been left with “diminished expectations of seeing a payout.”

Last year 141 people who were encouraged by Sullivan to come forward and recount their experiences of abuse for fund administrators must now join a line of other creditors – including banks, independent contractors – to jostle in court over a limited pot of money that will be divided up by the bankruptcy court.

Across U.S. Catholic archdioceses, child protection policies vary widely

Penn Today

October 2, 2020

A report from CHILD USA, led by Professor of Practice Marci Hamilton, found that such policies lack uniformity, aren’t comprehensive, and often don’t take a victim-centered approach.

Although the 32 Catholic archdioceses in the United States have some sort of policy to protect children from clergy sex abuse, the content and quality of these policies varies, with little to no standardization across the board, according to a new report from the nonprofit think tank CHILD USA, founded and led by Penn’s Marci Hamilton.

“We live in a time where everyone is asking, How do we prevent child sex abuse in every institution, whether that’s the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church or at boarding schools,” says Hamilton, a national expert on child sex abuse and the Fels Institute of Government Professor of Practice. “In the past decade, some of the bishops have claimed to have the ‘gold standard’ for child protection and thus should no longer be subject to scrutiny or criticism for their past problems with child sexual abuse. We decided to examine the evidence.”

Abuse in the Catholic Church: Meisner's Truth

The Teller Report

October 2, 2020

Former Cardinal Joachim Meisner claimed to have been surprised by the abuse in the Catholic Church. But this representation is now wavering.

When the abuse scandal of the Catholic Church in Germany reached the public at the beginning of 2010, Joachim Cardinal Meisner was in the Cologne University Clinic.

He had to have an operation on his left knee.

Meisner later said he had thought of a smear campaign at first.

And then it came out that the reports were well-founded: "That horrified me, that horrified me!"

Diocese, priest named in abuse lawsuit

Catholic Free Press

October 1, 2020

Bishop McManus announced that the Diocese of Worcester has been named in a lawsuit, along with Father Thomas E. Mahoney, retired priest of the diocese, for abuse of a minor in the 1970s.

The law office of Attorney Carmen Durso is representing “John Doe” as the claimant.

Bishop McManus said, “Because of the serious nature of the allegation, and consistent with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Father Mahoney was notified that I have relieved him of his faculties as a priest.”

“The news of any claim of sexual misconduct with a minor is always shocking,” continued Bishop McManus. “I ask that you keep all victims of abuse in your prayers. I also ask that you keep Father Mahoney in your prayers as the matter is addressed.”

Camden's Catholic diocese left two-thirds of claims filed with sex abuse victim fund unpaid as it sought bankruptcy protection

Philadelphia Inquirer via Press of Atlantic City

October 3, 2020

By Jeremy Roebuck


More than two-thirds of the victims who signed up to participate in a fund set up by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden to compensate survivors of clergy sex abuse were left with their claims unresolved and diminished expectations of seeing a payout, according to previously unreleased information included in the diocese’s bankruptcy filings this week.

Now, 141 people who were encouraged by Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan to come forward and recount their trauma for fund administrators last year must join a line of other creditors — including banks, independent contractors and lawsuit plaintiffs — to jostle in court over a limited pot of money that will be divided up by the bankruptcy court.

In announcing the move late Thursday to become the first diocese in New Jersey to seek Chapter 11 protection from creditors, church leaders said their intent was not to dodge their responsibility to abuse victims, but rather to ensure a future for the institution that serves South Jersey’s nearly half-million Catholics.

New hope for Ballarat survivors as Catholic Church settlement is set aside

Ballarat Courier

October 2, 2020

By Jolyon Attwooll

A new Supreme Court decision could give survivors of historical sexual abuse in Ballarat a second chance to seek fair compensation from the Catholic Church.

The case related to a former altar boy abused by paedophile priest Daniel Hourigan in Gippsland between 1977 and 1980.

On Tuesday, Justice Andrew Keogh overturned the original settlement deed the Diocese of Sale had given to the victim, known as WCB.

Describing the abuse as "horrendous", Justice Keogh said the agreement was "not a reasonable assessment of the plaintiff's loss and damage in 1996, or adequate compensation by today's standards."

The decision overturns the original deed, which gave $32,500 to the victim, in exchange for his legal rights, as well as obliging him to remain silent about the deal.

Hourigan died in 1995.

It is the believed to be the first time such a settlement with the Catholic Church has been set aside.

One Ballarat survivor, who asked to be referred to by his pseudonym of "Moth" as current legislation prevents survivors from talking publicly, welcomed the Supreme Court judgement.

"It's very exciting, it's a great thing the courts have seen the deed was unjust.

"I am doing the same thing myself. It's very promising for people like me who are already in the legal system trying to get unjust deeds overturned."

'Moth' signed his first agreement in 1997.

He told The Courier he was cautious about giving details of the amount of compensation he received but said it was a very small sum and his options were limited at the time. "You couldn't do anything about it back in those days," he said.

"They approached me and offered me money so what do you do? You just take the money because there were no other legal processes."

"If you tried arguing with them over money, they just said 'Well, who are you going to sue?'"

In recent years, several legal developments have given more power to survivors seeking fair compensation for their abuse.

The so-called Ellis Defence, which meant the Catholic Church could not be sued, has now been scrapped, as has a time limit on bringing personal injury cases.

This latest Supreme Court decision was the first to relate to new legislation introduced last year, allowing courts to set aside previous judgements if they were deemed unfair.

'Moth' said: "Probably most of the victims of clergy sex abuse will be signed up in one way or another. They approached me, I didn't even approach them - so they were trying to get their bases well and truly covered."

"It will give [Ballarat survivors] the opportunity to do something about it or encourage them, because they've seen a deed of release be overturned."

A lawyer from the firm who represented the victim in court said the ruling had wide implications for survivors in Ballarat. Rightside Legal partner Grace Wilson said: "Daniel Hourigan was Gippsland's version of Gerard Ridsdale - a paedophile priest the Church knew about and shuffled from place to place."

She said many victims in Ballarat and elsewhere had given up their rights for "miserable, insulting sums".

"But now the power has shifted. The law is with survivors. Unfair and inadequate settlements can be overturned. The Church can be held to account."

Ms Wilson described the legal proceedings leading up to the overturning of the deed as "very hard fought".

"I think good Catholics across the country would be appalled if they knew how much time and energy and money the Church spent trying to defend their unfair past deed."

National Redress Scheme applicant numbers lower than expected, prompting calls for urgent investigation

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

By Erin Parke

David Francis is waiting for a dollar figure to be put on the sexual abuse he suffered as a child growing up in Catholic institutions in Western Australia.

"It's a bit weird, like the last chapter of your life being sort of sorted," he said.

"Like your final pay cheque, and you won't have to talk about it anymore."

The 58-year-old Nyul Nyul man was taken into state care at the age of six and — like thousands of other Aboriginal Australians — grew up in church-run mission

Vaticano, ricatti e dossier: è guerra tra alti prelati. Una pista porta in Australia

[Vatican, blackmail and dossiers: It is a war between high prelates. A trail leads to Australia]

Corriere della Sera

October 2, 2020

By Fiorenza Sarzanini


La lotta tra i cardinali Becciu e Pell. E il versamento di 700 mila euro

[The fight between Cardinals Becciu and Pell. And the payment of 700 thousand euros]

C’è una vera e propria attività di dossieraggio di alcuni prelati dietro la svolta dell’inchiesta che ha portato alle dimissioni di monsignor Angelo Becciu. Monsignori — ma anche funzionari della Segreteria di Stato vaticana — che avrebbero conservato documenti sugli investimenti immobiliari e sulla movimentazione dei conti correnti. Le verifiche riguardano numerosi bonifici, compreso uno da 700 mila euro che l’ex Sostituto avrebbe effettuato su un conto australiano. E tanto è bastato per far scattare i controlli. Proprio in Australia è stato infatti processato e poi assolto dall’accusa di pedofilia uno dei «nemici» di Becciu, monsignor George Pell. E adesso si sta verificando se sia stato effettivamente lui ad ordinare il versamento e chi ne siano i beneficiari.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: There is a real dossier activity of some prelates behind the turning point of the investigation that led to the resignation of Monsignor Angelo Becciu . Monsignors - but also officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State - who would have kept documents on real estate investments and on the movement of current accounts. The checks concern numerous transfers, including one for 700 thousand euros that the former Substitute would have made to an Australian account. And that was enough to trigger the controls. Indeed, it was in Australia that one of Becciu's "enemies", Monsignor George Pell, was tried and then acquitted of pedophilia . And now we are checking whether he actually ordered the payment and who the beneficiaries are.]

Dossier To Vatican Alleges Cardinal Becciu Covertly Channeled Money to Australia

National Catholic Register

October 3, 2020

By Edward Pentin

An Italian newspaper reported that Vatican prosecutors have received allegations that the funds were transferred after Cardinal George Pell returned there to face sexual abuse charges.

Vatican prosecutors are investigating allegations that Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu funneled 700,000 euro through the apostolic nunciature in Australia — an action that one Italian newspaper suggests could be linked to the strained relationship between Cardinal Becciu and Australian Cardinal George Pell.

According to an article in today’s Corriere della Sera, officials in the Secretariat of State have compiled a dossier showing numerous bank transfers, including one amounting to 700,000 euros that Cardinal Becciu’s department sent to an “Australian account.”

The dossier has been presented to Vatican prosecutors ahead of a possible upcoming trial of Cardinal Becciu. Pope Francis accepted his resignation on Sept. 24 and withdrew his rights as a cardinal but the Vatican has given no reason for his dismissal. The cardinal has denied the allegations against him as “surreal” and “all a misunderstanding.”

Becciu accused of sending Vatican funds to Australia during Pell trial

Catholic News Agency

October 2, 2020

Italian media have reported allegations that Cardinal Angelo Becciu transferred several hundred thousand euros from Vatican accounts to an account in Australia during the trial of Cardinal George Pell.

The cardinal has not responded to the allegation, which CNA has not independently corroborated.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Friday that the alleged transfer is part of a dossier of evidence being compiled by Vatican investigators and prosecutors against the cardinal, who was forced to resign by Pope Francis on Sept. 24.

Catholic school ex-chaplain accused of endangering students


October 2, 2020

A former chaplain at a Roman Catholic prep school in northern New Jersey faces criminal charges for engaging in “a pattern of behavior” that threatened the welfare of six students, prosecutors said.

Salvatore DiStefano, 61, who had been chaplain at the all-boys Oratory Preparatory School in Summit, allowed students to consume marijuana products in his office and tried to entice them to go off campus with him, according to a statement Thursday from the Union County Prosecutor's Office. He had been placed on leave in January following allegations of misconduct.

DiStefano is charged with five counts of using a juvenile to commit a crime and six counts of child endangerment.

October 3, 2020

Church sex abuse lawsuit targets diocese in Arizona, Indiana

Associated Press

October 1, 2020

An Arizona man who says he was sexually abused by an Indiana priest more than 40 years ago sued church officials in both states Thursday, saying they allowed the priest into a Navajo Nation school despite his predatory history.

The Diocese of Phoenix, the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana and the Rev. James Grear are all named as defendants in the lawsuit filed in Arizona’s Maricopa County. The plaintiff, who is Navajo, is seeking unspecified damages for pain, suffering and other costs.

The Navajo man was a 14-year-old student in the late 1970s when he met Grear, then the assistant principal at Chinle High School in northeastern Arizona. He said he initially looked up to Grear as they spent time together on youth and church activities, according to the complaint. But between 1977 and 1982, Grear allegedly made repeated and unwanted sexual contact.

R.I. judge hears arguments over whether Catholic Church leaders can be sued as ‘perpetrators’ of sexual abuse

Providence Journal

October 3, 2020

By Brian Amaral


When Rhode Island lawmakers in 2019 extended the deadline to file lawsuits over childhood sexual abuse, they said victims could sue even if the clock had already run out under the old law — so long as the victims were suing a “perpetrator.”

What is a perpetrator? A state Superior Court judge on Wednesday heard more than an hour of arguments on that issue from three victims of clergy abuse who say the leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Providence could be considered “perpetrators” under the new law even if they didn’t physically carry out the abuse — and from the diocese, which said they cannot.

“The General Assembly does not want the court to go down the rabbit hole that’s laid out in page after page of the plaintiffs’ brief,” Howard Merten, an attorney for the diocese’s leaders, told Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel in a remote hearing broadcast live on YouTube.

Before priest Pat Wattigny admitted sex abuse, texts to student led to resignation from Slidell school, church says


October 2, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and David Hammer

About four months before the Rev. Patrick Wattigny disclosed to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans that he sexually abused a minor in 2013, he resigned from his post as chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School because he had sent a student a series of text messages that violated diocesan policies, church officials said Friday.

An attorney representing the student's family alleged the messages constituted “grooming” for sexual activity, including repeatedly asking the boy the date of his 18th birthday. A statement from the archdiocese denied that any of the messages contained sexual references “or innuendo,” but they nonetheless represented a breach of archdiocesan policy mandating professionally toned communications with students.

October 2, 2020

Long Island Diocese Files For Bankruptcy Over Sex Abuse Lawsuits


October 1, 2020

By Alex Costello

The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed for bankruptcy because of the more than 200 lawsuits it is facing from sexual abuse survivors.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre announced Thursday it will file for bankruptcy because of the vast number of lawsuits it is facing from sexual abuse survivors. The diocese said the filing should not affect parishes or Catholic schools.

According to Bishop John Barres, the diocese is facing more than 200 lawsuits under the Child Victims Act — a law that allowed sexual abuse survivors to file suit against their abusers if the statute of limitations had passed. Disputes with the diocese's insurers also led to the bankruptcy decision, Barres said.

Analysis: Two years after McCarrick investigation began, report not yet in sight

Catholic News Agency

October 1, 2020

By J. D. Flynn

On October 6, 2018, the Holy See announced a review of its files and archives pertaining to Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Washington, D.C, who is now laicized and living in disgrace, a known sexual abuser who has offered no public words of repentance.

Since the Vatican’s investigation began:

- The longest government shutdown in U.S. history began and ended.
- Lori Loughlin, tv’s beloved Aunt Becky, was arrested, charged, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for bribing her daughters’ way into college.
- Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire, burned, and is now being rebuilt.
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, had a baby, quit the royal family, moved to L.A., and signed a deal with Netflix.
- A global pandemic swept across the globe, locked down nations for months, crippled economies, and killed more than 1 million people.

In the same timeframe, here's what has not happened: The publication of the Vatican's report on Theodore McCarrick, his rise to power, those who aided him, those who looked the other way, and those he harmed.

Attorney general’s report on Catholic Diocese to be released soon


October 1, 2020

By Christina Guessferd

It has been 13 months since the Burlington Catholic Diocese released its report on sexual abuse allegations, naming 40 priests.

We’re still waiting for the Vermont attorney general’s team to tell us what their investigation found. Now, they say that wait is almost over.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan tells us we can expect the report by the end of October or early November.

Donovan says he met with many of the survivors as recently as last week and plans on seeing them again Friday.

Lawsuit: Catholic priest abused children in Indigenous, rural communities in Arizona

Arizona Republic

October 1, 2020

By Lauren Castle


A lawsuit is claiming an abusive priest was moved to several Arizona school serving indigenous and rural communities.

A Catholic priest with a history of sexually abusing children was placed in several Arizona schools in Indigenous and rural communities, a lawsuit alleges.

The Rev. James Grear worked across Arizona and in other parts of the country and U.S. territories. The lawsuit filed Thursday claims the priest sexually abused a teenager, who is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, when Grear worked at Chinle High School in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Robert Pastor, attorney for the victim, said his client wants the community to know what the Catholic Church did.

Former Oratory Prep chaplain charged with endangering children

MyCentralJersey.com/Bridgewater Courier News

October 1, 2020

By Nick Muscavage


SUMMIT – An Oratory Prep chaplain, who was recently living in New Providence, has been charged with endangering six students at the Catholic private school.

Rev. Salvatore DiStefano, 61, who recently resided at Our Lady of Peace Parish on South Street in New Providence, was charged with five counts of second-degree use of a juvenile to commit a crime and six counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, according to a news release from the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

DiStefano previously served as the chaplain of Oratory Preparatory School in Summit but was placed on leave in January pending the outcome of a criminal investigation. The investigation revealed that he allegedly engaged in a pattern of behavior that threatened the welfare of six students.

Former Oratory Prep Chaplain Charged With Endangering 6 Students


October 1, 2020

By Caren Lisner

Prosecutors allege that he ran a club, "Knights of Malta," in which he gave some students edibles and encouraged another to mastrubate.

SUMMIT, NJ — A Catholic priest who previously served as the chaplain of Oratory Preparatory School in Summit has been arrested and charged with threatening the welfare of six students, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo said Thursday.

Prosecutors allege he ran a student club in which students engaged in illicit activities.

Salvatore DiStefano, 61, is charged with six counts of endangering the welfare of a child and five counts of use of a juvenile to commit a crime

Former NJ Catholic School Chaplain Charged With Endangering Welfare Of Students

Daily Voice

October 1, 2020

A priest and former chaplain of a North Jersey Catholic school was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of six students, authorities announced Thursday.

Salvatore DiStefano, 61, who most recently resided at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church New Providence, is charged with engaging in a pattern of behavior that threatened the welfare of six Oratory Preparatory School students, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo said.

DiStefano -- known to students as "Father Sal" -- was placed on leave last January pending an investigation.

[News Release] Two Priests Removed from Ministry

Archdiocese of New Orleans

October 1, 2020

By Archbishop Gregory Aymond

It is with grave disappointment and sorrow that I inform you of the removal of two priests from active ministry effective immediately.

Reverend Patrick Wattigny disclosed today his sexual abuse of a minor in 2013. His name will be added to the list of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Clergy Abuse Report. Law enforcement has been notified. His full assignment history is below.

Date of Birth: September 9, 1967
Ordination: June 4, 1994
Time of Abuse: 2013
Abuse Reported: October 1, 2020
Removed from Ministry: October 1, 2020
Pastoral Assignments:
- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Kenner
- St. Benilde, Metaire
- St. Luke the Evangelist, Slidell
- St. Peter, Covington
- The Visitation of Our Lady, Marrero
- Archbishop Rummel High School, Metairie
- Pope John Paul II, Slidell

If there are any victims, please call me so that we can accompany you in healing.

Reverend Travis Clark has been charged with obscenity with women. This charge does not involve abuse of a minor. Fr. Clark was serving as pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul in Pearl River.

Orleans Catholic Church Rev. Patrick Wattigny removed ministry because of child sex abuse admission


October 1, 2020

By Chris Finch

Two investigations ongoing with local priests

The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced Thursday that two priests have been removed from its ministry active immediately.

Reverend Patrick Wattigny disclosed today his sexual abuse of a minor in 2013. His name will be added to the list of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Clergy Abuse Report. Law enforcement has been notified, according to the Catholic Church.

Date of Birth: September 9, 1967
Ordination: June 4, 1994
Time of Abuse: 2013
Abuse Reported: October 1, 2020

Slidell pastor removed after admitting to sexual abuse of a minor in 2013


October 1, 2020

The archdiocese said law enforcement has been notified of Father Patrick Wattigny’s case, though it did not give specifics

Two local Catholic priests have been removed from active ministry, and one has been criminally charged with obscenity, according to the Archdiocese of New Orleans in a statement released on behalf of Archbishop Gregory Aymond on Thursday.

The two priests are Rev. Patrick Wattigny, pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist in Slidell, and Rev. Travis Clark, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul in Pearl River, have been removed from ministry, effective immediately.

The archdiocese said Wattigny disclosed to them on Thursday his sexual abuse of a minor in 2013. The archdiocese said law enforcement has been notified of his case, though it did not give specifics. He has been added to the archdiocese’s list of clergy credibly accused of abuse.

Camden Diocese Becomes Latest to File for Bankruptcy

Channel 4 TV (NBC - New York)

October 2, 2020


The Diocese of Camden has filed for bankruptcy, citing revenue losses because of the millions it paid out to clergy abuse victims and the pandemic. The filing on Thursday comes after New Jersey eased its civil statute of limitations in 2019 to make it easier for victims of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of clergy to sue for damages.

Diocese of Camden files to reorganize finances under bankruptcy protection

Cherry Hill Courier-Post

October 1, 2020

By Jim Walsh

The Diocese of Camden has filed for protection from creditors due to the combined impact of clergy sex abuse claims and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I have had to make many decisions in my time as your bishop, but few have been as

considered as this one," Bishop Dennis Sullivan said in a letter released Thursday night.

Sullivan said the diocese had filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy law.

Camden’s Roman Catholic diocese declares bankruptcy, citing COVID-19 costs and priest abuse claims

Philadelphia Inquirer

October 2, 2020

by Jeremy Roebuck and Stephanie Farr

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden filed for bankruptcy Thursday, becoming the first in the state to seek protection from financial claims since Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law last year allowing victims of decades-old sexual abuse to new opportunities to sue.

Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan cited the more than $8 million the church has paid out so far to victims in settlements and judgments as well as a loss of revenue since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in a letter explaining the decision to South Jersey’s Catholic faithful.

Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy, cites priest abuse lawsuits, coronavirus pandemic


October 1, 2020

By Chris Sheldon

The Catholic Diocese of Camden announced that it’s filed for bankruptcy due to rising costs of clergy abuse lawsuit payouts and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The effects of the pandemic, which have curtailed our revenue and deeply impacted our parishioners and neighbors, were further compounded by the over $8 million we have paid out this year through the New Jersey Independent Victims Compensation Program to victims of clergy abuse, money which we have had to borrow,” Bishop Dennis Sullivan said in a message to diocese community.

“If it were just the pandemic, or just the costs of the Victims Compensation Program, we could likely weather the financial impact; however, the combination of these factors has made that impracticable," he wrote.

NY diocese bankruptcy upsets alleged abuse victims

Associated Press via YouTube

October 1, 2020


New York's Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because of financial pressure from lawsuits over past sexual abuse by clergy members.

Church pastor and ex-TV presenter who abused boys in 30-year campaign faces sentencing - recap


October 2, 2020

By David Powell Evans

Benjamin David Thomas admitted 40 sex offence charges last week

A church pastor and former TV presenter who sexually touched sleeping boys and men or filmed them with a secret camera in a washbag will be sentenced today.

Benjamin David Thomas, who last week admitted 40 sex offences, left a string of victims "shocked, angry, violated and disgusted" after a near 30-year campaign of abuse.

The 44-year-old, a former Criccieth Family Church pastor, admitted a widespread pattern of offending.

October 1, 2020

[News Release] Diocese and retired priest named in lawsuit

Diocese of Worcester website

October 1, 2020

Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, announced that the Diocese of Worcester has been named in a suit along with Fr. Thomas Mahoney, retired priest of the diocese, for abuse of a minor in the 1970s. The law office of Attorney Carmen Durso is representing John Doe as the claimant.

Bishop McManus said, “Because of the serious nature of the allegation, and consistent with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Fr. Mahoney was notified that I have relieved him of his faculties as a priest.”

Long Island Catholic Diocese Bankrupted by Abuse Suits

Bloomberg News

October 1, 2020

By Josh Saul

- Diocese in Rockville Centre is eighth largest in U.S.
- Abuse lawsuits surged after statute of limitations was lifted

One of the largest U.S. dioceses in the Roman Catholic Church filed for bankruptcy after its finances were devastated by sexual abuse lawsuits and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since New York State passed a law that increased the statute of limitations on claims of sexual abuse, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island has been served with 223 sexual abuse lawsuits, according to court papers from the diocese’s late Wednesday filing.

“Chapter 11 was the only way to provide fair settlements to survivors while continuing to be of service to the 1.4 million Catholics in the geographical boundaries of the Diocese of Rockville Centre,” Bishop John O. Barres said in a news release. The filing is also necessary to manage disputes with the diocese’s insurers over abuse coverage and reimbursements, according to the release.

Diocese of Rockville Centre files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid clergy abuse lawsuits

WCBS 880

October 1, 2020

By Sophia Hall


The Diocese of Rockville Centre is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to help manage legal expenses and facilitate settlements with sex abuse survivors who brought lawsuits under the Child Victims Act.

Bishop John Barres said more than 200 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse have been filed against the diocese and Chapter 11 bankruptcy "offers the only way to ensure a fair and equitable outcome for everyone involved."

I-Team: Sex Abuse Plaintiff Secretly Recorded NYC Teacher Accused of Fondling Kids

Channel 4 TV

September 29, 2020

By Chris Glorioso and Kristina Pavlovic


The man says he chose to speak publicly because he believes the culture of silence around sex abuse continues to protect child predators, even today

A former Boy Scout wore a wire to stop his former teacher and scout leader from preying on him and his friends. Chris Glorioso reports.

A former student and Boy Scout is suing the Greek Orthodox Church and the Boy Scouts of America after he used a secret wire to record his alleged molester apologizing for inappropriate conduct.

Facing 200 Abuse Claims, Diocese Becomes U.S.’s Largest to Seek Bankruptcy

The New York Times

October 1, 2020

By Michael Gold

The move by the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island came after numerous lawsuits were filed under the Child Victims Act.

Facing more than 200 lawsuits over sexual abuse allegations, the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island said on Thursday that it filed for bankruptcy, the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States to do so.

The diocese, which serves about 1.5 million people, said it was seeking financial protection in part because of the passage of New York State’s Child Victims Act, which allows adults who were victims of sexual assault as children to file claims.

The diocese determined that it “was not going to be able to carry out its spiritual, charitable and educational missions” in the face of “the increasing burden of litigation expenses,” Bishop John O. Barres said in a video message.

Information regarding DRVC Reorganization provided by the Diocese of Rockville Centre

Diocese of Rockville Centre

October 1, 2020

– Diocesan Press Release English | Spanish
– Bishop Barres’ Letter English | Spanish
- Frequently Asked Questions

Letter from Bishop John O. Barres to the People of God of the Diocese of Rockville Centre

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Today, I have some important but difficult news to share with you. Earlier this morning, the Diocese of Rockville Centre has filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This decision was not made lightly. However, in the year since the passage of the Child Victims Act, more than 200 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse have been filed against the Diocese of Rockville Centre. What became clear is that the Diocese could not continue to carry out its spiritual, charitable and educational missions while also having to shoulder the increasingly heavy burden of litigation expenses associated with these cases.

Suburban NY diocese files for bankruptcy amid abuse lawsuits

Associated Press

October 1, 2020

By Michael R. Sisak

A Roman Catholic diocese in New York City’s suburbs Thursday became the largest in the U.S. to declare bankruptcy, seeking to protect itself from a torrent of lawsuits filed after the state suspended the statute of limitations for suing over sexual abuse by priests.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which encompasses much of Long Island and 1.4 million Catholics, said in filing for Chapter 11 protection that it will ask a bankruptcy court to put all cases on hold so that they they can be settled together — a process it says is more equitable but that victims say limits their ability to get at the truth.

“The financial burden of the litigation has been severe and only compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bishop John Barres said in a video and letter on the diocese’s website. “Our goal is to make sure that all clergy sexual abuse survivors and not just a few who were first to file lawsuits are afforded just and equitable compensation.”

N.Y. diocese files for bankruptcy due to wave of sex abuse lawsuits


October 1, 2020

By Don Jacobson

A Catholic diocese in suburban New York City on Thursday became the largest in the United States ever to file for bankruptcy to shield itself from lawsuits that make accusations of clergy sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre said it filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

"The filing is necessary to manage litigation expenses, address disputes with the diocese's insurers and facilitate settlements with abuse survivors who brought lawsuits under the Child Victims Act," church officials said in a statement.

New York Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy to cover abuse lawsuit costs


October 1, 2020

A Roman Catholic diocese in New York’s suburbs on Long Island, one of the largest in the United States, on Thursday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing the cost of lawsuits filed by sexual abuse victims, compounded by COVID-19 pandemic economic losses.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre said the move was sparked by the expense of dealing with a wave of more than 200 lawsuits filed by childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Diocese of Rockville Centre files for bankruptcy, citing Child Victims Act

The Island Now

October 1, 2020

By Rose Weldon

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will undergo a reorganization process, the organization’s leader Bishop John O. Barres announced today.

“We know that this will be difficult news for people across the diocese to hear, especially for many people of Long Island, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who depend on the church in so many ways,” Barres said in a video posted to the diocese’s website.

Rockville Centre is fourth NY diocese to file for bankruptcy

Catholic News Agency

October 1, 2020

The Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, announced it was filing for bankruptcy early Thursday morning, becoming the fourth of the state’s eight Latin Catholic dioceses to do so.

In an announcement on Oct. 1, Bishop John Barres said the diocese was filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, following more than 200 new clergy sex abuse lawsuits being filed against the diocese.

The passage of the Child Victims Act (CVA) in New York in 2019 allowed for sex abuse lawsuits to be filed in past cases where survivors had not yet taken action, long after the statute of limitations had expired.

Long Island Diocese Files for Bankruptcy After Surge of Sex-Abuse Lawsuits

Wall Street Journal

October 1, 2020

By Soma Biswas

A New York law lifting the statute of limitations for sex-abuse victims spurred litigation against the Diocese of Rockville Centre

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York’s Long Island filed for bankruptcy under the weight of more than 200 lawsuits from victims of sexual misconduct, becoming the largest diocese to seek chapter 11 protection in the U.S. over allegations of abuse by clergy.

The diocese, which covers nearly all of Long Island’s two counties, Suffolk and Nassau, filed for chapter 11 protection Wednesday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, with the aim of working out settlements with victims of clergy sexual abuse after New York lifted the statute of limitations for survivors.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre covers 1.4 million Catholics, according to court papers.

The diocese said lawsuits mounted after a state law temporarily lifted the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. The Child Victims Act, which came into effect last year, allows those alleging they were sexually abused as children to sue, no matter when the misconduct occurred.

Bankruptcy has been a common strategy since the early 2000s for religious groups and other organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America to manage the financial fallout from sexual-abuse lawsuits.

In a videotaped interview, Bishop John Barres said the Diocese of Rockville Centre “would not be able to carry out the mission...if it were to continue to shoulder the heavy burden of litigation expenses associated with these cases.”

Rockville Centre joins a list of more than 20 Catholic dioceses to seek bankruptcy protection since 2004, when a wave of sexual-abuse allegations against the church began. It is the fourth New York diocese—after Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo—to file for protection from creditors since the Child Victims Act went into effect.

Report finds flaws in Catholic Church abuse-prevention plans

Associated Press

October 1, 2020

By David Crary

Child-protection policies adopted by Roman Catholic leaders to curb clergy sex abuse in the United States are inconsistent and often worryingly incomplete, according to a think tank’s two-year investigation encompassing all 32 of the country’s archdioceses.

The analysis by Philadelphia-based CHILD USA said the inconsistencies and gaps suggest a need for more detailed mandatory standards for addressing sexual abuse of children by priests and other church personnel, a problem that has beset the church for decades and resulted in many criminal investigations, thousands of lawsuits and bankruptcy filings by numerous dioceses.

After a big wave of clergy abuse was reported in the early 2000s, U.S. bishops in 2002 created the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, more commonly known as the Dallas Charter, a baseline for reporting, training and prevention policies on sexual abuse.

R.I. judge hears arguments over whether diocese can be sued as ‘perpetrator’ of abuse

The Providence Journal

September 30, 2020

By Brian Amaral

When Rhode Island lawmakers in 2019 extended the deadline to file lawsuits over childhood sexual abuse, they said victims could sue even if the clock had already run out under the old law — so long as the victims were suing a “perpetrator.”

What is a “perpetrator”? A state Superior Court judge on Wednesday heard more than an hour of arguments on that issue from three priest abuse victims, who say the leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Providence could be considered “perpetrators” under the new law even if they didn’t physically carry out the abuse; and from the diocese, which said they cannot.

“The General Assembly does not want the court to go down the rabbit hole that’s laid out in page after page of the plaintiffs’ brief,” Howard Merten, an attorney for the diocese’s leaders, told Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel in a remote hearing broadcast live on YouTube.

The arguments looked back on some of the darkest chapters in the history of the Providence Diocese. The outcome will determine if that history will continue to be litigated in court: The diocese says the suits, filed by three men who said they were abused as boys by different Rhode Island priests, should be dismissed.

The alleged victims, on the other hand, say the case should go to a jury to decide.

Diocese of Rockville Centre files for Chapter 11 to manage legal expenses and facilitate settlements with abuse survivors

Long Island Catholic

October 1, 2020


he Diocese of Rockville Centre (“DRVC” and “The Diocese”) (www.drvc.org) announced October 1 the filing of a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The filing is necessary to manage litigation expenses, address disputes with the Diocese’s insurers and facilitate settlements with abuse survivors who brought lawsuits under the Child Victims Act.

Click above for a video message announcing this filing from Rockville Centre Bishop John O. Barres.

The Diocese believes its current and future liquidity will be sufficient to fund operations and ministries during the restructuring process and beyond. Vendors will be paid for all goods and services delivered after the filing, and transactions that occur in the ordinary course of business will continue as before. Employees will be paid their normal wages, and their benefit programs will continue uninterrupted.

Michigan AG to announce new abuse charges against Catholic priests

Catholic News Agency

September 30, 2020

Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel told local news this week that she plans to announce new charges against “a dozen or more” priests in the state, as part of a now two-year long investigation into abuse by Catholic clergy.

Nessel had most recently announced on Sept. 29 charges against a 78-year-old laicized priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Gary Berthiaume, who is accused of abusing a 14-year-old victim.

Nessel announced one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct against Berthiaume, which could lead to a 15-year prison sentence if he's convicted, the Detroit News reported.

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


September 30, 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.

Systemic impunity for police parallels clerical protection of abusers

National Catholic Reporter

September 30, 2020

By Daniel P. Horan

Last week's decision by a Kentucky grand jury to indict only one of three officers involved in a botched police raid that ended in the death of Breonna Taylor was, as so many things are these days, both shocking and yet unsurprising.

The shock hit me, as it did for thousands across the country, as still another plain instance of failed justice. Another person of color, this time, a young Black woman in her 20s sleeping in her own bed, killed by police without anyone found legally culpable for her murder.

The one indictment of a Louisville detective, which contained three charges of wanton endangerment for firing 10 shots through Taylor's apartment and into a neighboring residence where three other people slept, reflect charges that do not directly relate to the actual killing of Taylor. Authorities say that bullets from the gun of Brett Hankison, the indicted detective, did not strike and kill Taylor.

Former City of Buffalo youth mentor gets 2 years for sexually abusing teen

Buffalo News

September 30, 2020

By Aaron Besecker


A state judge on Wednesday sentenced a former city employee and youth mentor who admitted sexually abusing a teenage boy to two years in prison and 10 years' parole, the Erie County District Attorney's Office said.

Antwan Diggs pleaded guilty to felony sex abuse in February, four months after he was charged with abusing a 17-year-old boy in a downtown hotel. He will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison, prosecutors said.

State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns also issued an order of protection barring Diggs, 51, from having contact with the victim until Sept. 30, 2040.

Restorative justice film promotes healing, honors role of late ombudsperson

The Catholic Spirit

September 30, 2020

By Barb Umberger

Filmmaker Hunter Johnson took on a commission of a lifetime when he agreed to make a documentary about restorative justice for clergy abuse victims while honoring his father’s legacy.

Johnson, 31, is the son of the late Tom Johnson, a former Hennepin County attorney and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ first ombudsperson for clergy sexual abuse survivors, for whom he served as an independent advocate.

Not long after his father passed away June 8 after a six-year battle with prostate cancer, Hunter’s mother, Victoria Johnson, also an attorney, succeeded her husband as the ombudsperson.

Victoria Johnson provided feedback as Hunter completed sections of the film. When she saw the final, edited film, she felt overwhelming love for her husband and for her son, whom she said conveyed the story beautifully.

Child sexual abuse and insurance coverage: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Church Executive

September 30, 2020

By Gregory Love & Kimberlee Norris

Every church — whether it’s multi-campus or a recent plant — deals with insurance coverage.

Ministry leaders tend to gravitate to the least expensive policy options and often lack knowledge about what they should be looking for when securing coverage related to child sexual abuse risk. Unfortunately, this reality is revealed only when an allegation arises.

Clearly, child sexual abuse is a foreseeable risk causing incalculable harm to children, and a ministry’s primary responsibility is to protect children in its care. In addition to implementing an effective safety system (see prior articles in the “Stop Sexual Abuse” Series), simple financial stewardship requires a meaningful evaluation of current insurance relationships, coverages, limits and policy terms.

George Pell returns to Rome after acquittal on child abuse charges

The Guardian

September 30, 2020

By Melissa Davey and Angela Giuffrida

Cardinal returned to Vatican on Wednesday despite Australia’s Covid travel ban on ‘official Vatican government business’

Cardinal George Pell returned to Rome from Australia on Wednesday for the first time since being jailed – and then acquitted – on child sexual abuse charges.

The 79-year-old, wearing a face mask, briefly lifted his hand towards a crowd of waiting journalists at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, but said nothing before climbing into a waiting car.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said there was “currently no meeting planned” between the cleric and Pope Francis, who is currently dealing with a financial scandal at the Vatican.

But experts on the workings of the Vatican said a reunion between the head of the Roman Catholic church and the man he once appointed as his trusted anti-corruption tsar was “a given”.

Cardinal Pell arrives in Vatican for possible meeting with Pope


October 1, 2020


Cardinal George Pell has returned to Italy's capital after being exonerated of historic sexual abuse charges but his reasons for returning to Rome, and subsequently the Vatican, are yet to be officially announced.

Australia's highest-ranking Catholic had been on a leave of absence from his position controlling the Vatican's finances.

There were reports the Cardinal had arranged a meeting with Pope Francis.

Abuse survivor's court win against church

Australian Associated Press via Yahoo News

September 30, 2020

By Georgie Moore

A Victorian sexual abuse survivor has become the first Australian to successfully overturn a "terrible" settlement with the Catholic Church.

The man now plans to sue the church for his horrific abuse at the hands of now-dead Warragul priest Daniel Hourigan between 1977 and 1980.

Victoria's Supreme Court has set aside what it labelled the inadequate $32,500 settlement from the church in 1996.

The survivor, who cannot be identified, wants to use his long-fought victory to encourage others to "step forward and hold the church to account".

Brother spared jail for hiding child abuse

Australian Associated Press via Yahoo News

September 30, 2020

By Margaret Scheikowski

An 83-year-old former Marist Brothers headmaster has been spared time behind bars for concealing the child sexual abuse crimes of his Catholic colleagues.

William Wade, known as Brother Christopher, admitted failing to provide information to police in 2014.

They were investigating child abuse claims against Darcy O'Sullivan, known as Brother Dominic, and Francis Cable, known as Brother Romuald, when they were at the Hamilton Marist school in Newcastle in the late 1960 and 1970s.

Victorian child sex abuse survivor wins second chance to sue Catholic Church in 'landmark' case

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

September 30, 2020

By James Hancock

A victim of historical child sexual abuse has won what is believed to be a landmark case in Victoria against the Catholic Church, giving him a second shot at suing for compensation.

Hourigan died in 1995.

The victim, referred to as WCB, lost his childhood and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder for more than 40 years, the court was told.

He sued the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sale for "personal injury suffered" in 1996 and settled for $32,500.

But yesterday, a judge set aside the settlement because of recent legal changes and found the case should be reconsidered.

"The settlement embodied in the deed was not a reasonable assessment of the plaintiff's loss and damage in 1996, or adequate compensation by today's standards," the judge found.

Catholic headmaster walks free despite concealing abuse allegations

NCA Newswire via The Australian

September 30, 2020

By Steve Zemek


A convicted sex offender and former school principal has been spared prison despite failing to disclose to police details of sexual abuse allegations levelled at Catholic colleagues in what’s believed to be a first in Australia.

William Wade was on Wednesday allowed to walk free from Sydney’s Downing Centre despite the leniency of his sentence angering his former victims.

The 84-year-old pleaded guilty in the District Court to seven counts of concealing a serious indictable offence of another person after he omitted key information during a police interview about two teachers who sexually abused students at Hamilton Marist school in Newcastle in the 1970s.

The court heard how seven students came to him claiming they had been abused by Darcy O’Sullivan and Francis Cable - both of whom are serving prison sentences for indecently assaulting multiple boys.

Priest sexually abuses sick woman in private room

The Courier

September 30, 2020

By Rochelle Kirkham

A Catholic priest will serve 12 months in prison before he is deported to India after sexually assaulting a parishioner in the Ballarat district.

Alexander Athanas was sentenced at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to multiple acts of sexual assault earlier in September.

Magistrate Ron Saines said Athanas abused his position of trust and took advantage of a vulnerable woman.

Athanas, an ordained Catholic priest, arranged a private mass for a 28-year-old parishioner who had suffered serious health issues.

The victim arrived at the church with family members before Athanas took her alone upstairs to a private room in the presbytery where there was a mattress on the floor.

Mr Saines said Athanas directed the victim to remove her clothing and underwear.

"Despite her queries and timidity, you exploited her nakedness drawing crosses on her skin," he said.

The court heard Athanas touched the victim's breasts, buttocks and vagina for a period of time before she broke free from his embrace.

The victim told her family about the assault and reported it to police.

Athanas had arrived in Australia from India in May 2019 and worked at a number of locations including in the western region.

Mr Saines said Athanas' abuse of his position of trust was a major aggravating feature of the offence.

"Your role as a priest involved a trust held by her and her family as sacred," he said.

["This was a poor disguise of looking at and touching her sexually for your personal gratification." - Magistrate Ron Saines]

Mr Saines said the offending was also aggravated by Athanas' exploitation of the victim's vulnerability as someone who suffered serious health issues.

Mr Saines said Athanas' conduct was contrary to the ethics and teaching of religion but also involved contact with a parishioner which was prohibited due to the pandemic.

"You told her not to tell others... and to say it was a special full-body healing," he said.

Mr Saines said there was a degree of premeditation evidenced by the selection of the location, absence of witnesses and family and the mattress on the floor.

He said he took into account Athanas' early plea of guilty, his expression of remorse, his lack of criminal history, low risk of reoffending and more onerous time in prison due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Mr Saines said he must also take into the account the 'profound' impact on the victim and her family.

"The family describe social and spiritual isolation and wider isolation from their church community," he said.

["The victim's spirituality, faith in priests and the religion she has practised all her life has been shattered, her pre-existing health problems are exacerbated and her psychological health is significantly harmed." - Magistrate Ron Saines]

The court heard Athanas' visa had been cancelled, meaning he will be deported when he is released from prison and the Catholic Church in Victoria had withdrawn his authority to act as a priest.

Athanas was sentenced to 12-months' imprisonment. Mr Saines said the sentence would have been 20-months if he had entered a not guilty plea and then been found guilty.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Jack Fletcher said he would investigate whether a sex offender registration act order in Victoria would have any effect when Athanas' returned to India.