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January 15, 2021

'The list has triggered emotions': Victims' attorney digs deeper into priests accused of abuse

MASSACHUSETTS
Standard-Times

January 14, 2021

By Kiernan Dunlop

https://www.southcoasttoday.com/story/news/crime/2021/01/14/attorney-garabedian-diocese-list-priests-accused-abuse-fall-river-new-bedford-taunton-victims-minors/4149456001/

The sheer number of names on the Diocese of Fall River’s list of clergy credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor is shocking on its own, but the list provided little information about when and where the abuse occurred, how many victims there were, and who knew about it.

Additionally although the lists contain 75 names, an attorney for victims of sexual abuse believes it is incomplete.

“I think it's incumbent on the Diocese of Fall River to practice complete accountability and transparency and list church employees such as custodians, lectors, and deacons in addition to religious priests, seminarians, and diocesan priests [in its credibly accused list],” Mitchell Garabedian said.

Garabedian released his own list of credibly accused clergy in January of last year to pressure the diocese to release its list, which it had originally said would be released in spring of 2019, and the attorney’s list included a custodian.

[Opinion] Clergy abuse survivors' worst fears about compensation funds may be warranted

FLORIDA
adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

January 14, 2021

In recent years, most New York bishops have set up allegedly “independent” payout programs for victims of clergy abuse. The stated intent of the programs was to obtain “reconciliation” and “healing.” The Catholic Dioceses in New York denied accusations that their real goal was to prevent legislation reforming the statute of limitations and litigation that would reveal duplicity by the Catholic hierarchy.

From the start, we at Horowitz Law, along with many victims and advocates, were cautions if not outright skeptical. We feared that these programs had a different purpose: to stop the civil windows lawmakers were pushing that give suffering victims more chance to expose corrupt clergy in court.

“Bishops want to persuade legislators ‘back off, we’re handling this crisis ourselves’,” we said. “There’s no need for legal reforms by outsiders.”

[Media Statement] Reconciliation Programs are Aimed at Protecting the Catholic Church, not Supporting Survivors

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 14, 2021

https://www.snapnetwork.org/leaked_transcript_plain_reconciliation_programs_aimed_protecting_catholic_church_supporting_survivors_jan21

A recently leaked transcript has added more weight to a fact long suspected to be true – that the Archdiocese of New York had every intention of preventing the passage of the Child Victim’s Act. We are saddened but not surprised by this news, especially given that Catholic officials have spent millions trying to deny victims their day in court.

We have long known that Independent Reconciliation Programs like the one launched by the Archdiocese of New York in 2016 are designed less to support victims than they are to protect the assets and reputation of the Church. There is nothing shocking to us about the comments by Kenneth Feinberg or, according to Mr. Feinberg, the thinking of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. We believe that those very thoughts and opinions have long formed the backbone of the Church’s strategy to appear to be working on behalf of victims when they are really trying to silence them and prevent stories about abuse and cover-up from reaching the public.

[Media Statement] Horrifying Report from Ireland Demonstrates Human Toll of Enabling Institutional Abuse

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 13, 2021

A horrifying report from one of the world’s most Catholic nations is the latest in a series of government-commissioned investigations that demonstrates yet again the Church’s propensity for committing terrible abuses and then working to cover them up. We hope that this shocking report will spur other nations, including the US, into using the full powers of their government to investigate cases of wrongdoing within their own borders. We need to lay bare the truths that have long been hidden from the public.

This newly-released report demonstrates that the abuse scandal within the Catholic Church goes beyond the serial sexual abuse of children. This investigation, which studied 18 “Mother and Baby homes,” confirms that, in essence, young unwed mothers were enslaved, berated, tortured and shamed, and many of their children lost to neglect or even outright murder. These homes were managed by institutions of the Catholic Church in concert with the national government and demonstrate the depravity of officials who desire control over women and their bodies.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s lawyer viewed church program to compensate sexual abuse victims as a hedge against legislation: report

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

By Larry McShane

January 14, 2021

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-cva-transcript-church-fund-20210114-fiu2rek6ufc7llqmbqk4aqttky-story.html

An attorney with the Archdiocese of New York suggested the church’s program to compensate childhood sexual abuse victims was intended to blunt the passage of the state’s Child Victims Act, according to a newly revealed transcript of a 2017 call.

ABC News, after obtaining the transcript, reported the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program was launched in part to convince legislators there was no need to reopen the statute of limitations on lawsuits seeking damages for victims with decades-old claims.

“We want to be able to show Albany that people are accepting this money and signing releases,” said attorney Kenneth Feinberg in the call about the compensation fund, according to ABC News. “You don’t need to change the statute.”

Gabriel Byrne phoned the priest he accused of sexually abusing him: ‘I wanted him to be terrified’

UNITED KINGDOM
Metro

January 13, 2021

By Emma Kelly

Gabriel Byrne called the priest he accused of sexually abused him in the hopes of confronting him.

The actor opened up about the abuse he suffered as a young boy in the Catholic Church in 2011, alleging that a ‘kind’ priest sexually abused him after he travelled to an English seminary aged 11 to train as a priest.

In his new memoir, Walking with Ghosts, the 70-year-old said that he called the priest, but that the man claimed not to remember him.

According to Page Six, Byrne wrote: ‘I wanted in those last seconds to call him a c*** and say that even though I don’t believe in Hell, I hope he does because I want him to be terrified and burn forever.

Bearing Witness to the Legacy of Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes

IRELAND
Literary Hub

January 11, 2021

By Caelainn Hogan

Caelainn Hogan Traveled the Country to Speak to Survivors

At a random apartment viewing in Dublin a few years ago, the woman moving out, who happened to be born the same year as me, told me she had been adopted as a baby from an institution run by nuns, where “unmarried mothers” were sent in secret. These women were usually forced to work, had their names changed, and were separated from their children. As a millennial whose generation mostly thought these institutions were part of a distant past, she was only beginning to search for answers.

For the last few years, these strangely intimate and sudden revelations have been a part of my life, because almost everyone in Ireland has a story about how these religious-run institutions have affected someone they loved. Sitting hungover with a friend in the sun or asking someone at a shrine for directions, I would suddenly find out they or someone they knew was a survivor of these so-called homes.

Explained: What is Ireland’s mother and baby homes controversy?

The Indian Express

January 15, 2021

By Om Marathe

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin has apologised for the country's mother and baby homes, where thousands of unmarried mothers and their children were cruelly treated from the 1920s to the 1990s. What happened at these homes?

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin on Wednesday apologised and expressed remorse for the country’s mother and baby homes, where thousands of unmarried women and their children were cruelly treated from the 1920s to the 1990s.

The apology came after the publication of a long-awaited report into the functioning of these institutions on Tuesday, which found an “appalling level of infant mortality” at 18 such homes that were investigated. The facilities — most of them run by the Roman Catholic Church — housed women who became pregnant out of wedlock, including victims of rape and incest, and also worked as orphanages and adoption centres.

As per the report, around 15 per cent of all children who lived at the homes during the period — roughly 9,000 — died due to brutal living conditions.

9,000 children died in Ireland's brutal homes for unmarried mothers and babies run by the Catholic Church in the 20th century, damning report reveals

IRELAND
Daily Mail

January 13, 2021

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9138905/Damning-report-finds-thousands-unmarried-Irish-mothers-babies-suffered-refuge-homes.html

- In total, 15 percent of the 57,000 children at the 18 institutions investigated by the Mother and Baby Home Commission died between 1922 and 1998

- The report published yesterday said the homes 'provided refuge' for the mothers when they had nowhere else to turn and found that blame 'rests mainly with the fathers of their children and their own immediate families'

- But the women faced appalling emotional torment at the hands of the nuns - forced to work scrubbing floors while being called 'fallen,' 'sinner', 'dirt' and 'spawn of Satan'

- Commission said high death rates among infants 'probably the most disquieting feature of these institutions'

Elaine Loughlin: Government knew about mother and baby homes but did nothing

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

January 13, 2021

By Elaine Loughlin

Local and national authorities side-stepped responsibilities and caused confusion, allowing mother and baby homes to operate as they did

The Government knew everything but did nothing.

For the first 50 years after independence, as thousands of infants were left to die in mother and baby homes, the plight of unmarried mothers and their babies was never discussed at Cabinet.

Our local and national authorities conveniently created confusion and uncoordinated governance structures which meant that everyone was responsible but the finger of blame could be pointed at no one.

"Some oversight was exercised by national and local government but there was no clear policy on oversight and no clear demarcation between the roles of national and local government," the commission found.

Mother and Baby Homes: State and society turned blind eye to thousands of deaths

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

January 12, 2021

By Aoife Moore

Thousands of children died in Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes with no concern from the State or society, the Commission of Investigation has found.

Main points of the report:

- 56,000 women were incarcerated, 5,616 of them under 18. Some were as young as 12

- Approximately 9,000 of the 57,000 babies born in these homes died

- Ireland had the world's highest proportion of women sent to mother & baby homes in the 20th century

- In the 1930s and 1940s, 40% of babies in the institutions died before their first birthdays
75% of the children born in Bessborough in 1943 died in their first year. In that same year, 62% of babies born in the Bethany Home died

Michael D Higgins: Mother-and-baby homes a 'violation of rights'

IRELAND
BBC News

January 15, 2021

Irish President Michael D Higgins has described what occurred in the country's mother-and-baby homes as a "violation of fundamental rights" of Irish citizens.

The institutions housed women and girls who became pregnant outside marriage in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

A report published on Tuesday found an "appalling level of infant mortality".

"State and Church bear a heavy responsibility for this," said Mr Higgins.

About 9,000 children died in the 18 institutions under investigation.

The Irish government said the report revealed the country had a "stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture".

'On admission her clothes were removed, her hair was cut. She was told: "You're here for your sins"'

IRELAND
The Journal

January 12, 2021

The first-hand testimony from those who were sent to mother and baby homes are included in today’s landmark report.

‘I was told by a nun: “God doesn’t want you… You’re dirt.”‘

“You could almost feel the tears in the walls.”

“Her mother called her a ‘prostitute and a whore’. Three of her uncles were priests and her parents were worried about how her pregnancy would affect them.”

THE ABOVE ARE just three of the hundreds of accounts from survivors in the long-awaited final report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.

The key recommendations from today’s report include a State apology, redress and that access to their birth information should be given to survivors of mother and baby homes.

The commission discovered that about 9,000 children died in the 18 homes under investigation: slightly over one in every seven children who were in the institutions.

Irish mother and baby homes: Timeline of controversy

IRELAND
BBC-TV

January 12, 2021

The findings of a major investigation into how women and children were treated in Irish mother and baby homes are due to be published.

The investigation began in 2015 after claims emerged that hundreds of babies were buried in a mass, unmarked grave near a home in Tuam, County Galway.

The "Tuam babies" controversy, as it became known, sparked international shock and outrage.

It prompted the Irish government to set up a wide-ranging investigation into the operation of mother and baby homes, in a bid to shed light on the lives and deaths of thousands of former residents.

Supreme Court of Canada decision in favour of Mount Cashel victims will have sweeping implications: lawyers

NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
The Telegram via the Chronicle Herald

January 14, 2021

By Barb Sweet

https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/canada/supreme-court-of-canada-decision-in-favour-of-mount-cashel-victims-will-have-sweeping-implications-lawyers-541161/

Even if the monumental decision had gone the other way Thursday for the now elderly victims of sexual assault at the former Mount Cashel orphanage, one John Doe said he would have felt they gave it their best shot.

But instead there was lightness for him that the fight was finally done, and victory was theirs at last.

When the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday refused to grant the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s leave to appeal a civil decision that held it responsible for sexual abuse suffered by boys at the infamous Christian-Brothers-run orphanage during the 1950s and early ‘60s, the retired educator was elated and grateful to the lawyer who had fought for the victims for more than 20 years.

“They were terrific, absolutely terrific. He is absolutely magnificent. (The firm was) always on a mission and they treated us with so much understanding and humanity,” the man said of St. John’s lawyer Geoff Budden. “I am happy for all the boys, the victims.”

The man was one of four John Doe plaintiffs in the case, which represented about 60 clients in total. One of the man’s four brothers who were also victims of abuse died before the decision came out, as did one of the four John Does.

“I am sad for those who have passed away or are no longer with us,” said the retired educator. “(But) it’s a great day for everybody all around, except for the church. They are facing up to their demons."

The retired educator said the Christian Brothers who abused the boys likely saw them as non-entities.

"And maybe we ourselves began to feel that way," he said of the repercussions.

The leave to appeal was dismissed with costs by the Supreme Court of Canada.

“We won,” Budden said moments after hearing of the decision late Thursday morning.

“I feel it’s a tough day for the archdiocese. I feel joy for the clients. I feel relief that we delivered the results for our clients. … And I feel sad for those who didn’t live to see this day."

Budden reflected on the long road that he began in 1998 but was resolute the day would finally come. There are no more legal challenges for the church to fight against the victims.

“Isn’t that nice. It took a long enough time, eh,” said another of the John Does, who is retired from the military.

“I was determined to myself I would be damned if I would die before a decision would be made. It’s a big relief. It’s over now."

The man said religion was drilled into them every day and they couldn't understand how to even begin to deal with the sexual abuse when it happened, since they saw the Christian Brothers as father figures.

"It’s only recently, actually, that I was thinking about how screwed up things got, because life was life. That was my life. I didn’t know,” he said.

He said he tried to make the best out of his situation once he left the orphanage.

“I consider myself pretty lucky, actually — if I hadn’t joined the army…,” the man said.

Church's liability to victims confirmed as legal battle over Mount Cashel abuse ends

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
The Canadian Press via Kamloops This Week

January 14, 2021

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused a bid by the Roman Catholic archdiocese in St. John's to appeal a ruling that found it liable for sexual abuse at the former Mount Cashel orphanage.

Thursday's court decision ends a legal battle that first shook Newfoundland and Labrador decades ago. It also determines once and for all that the church has a responsibility to the victims of the abuse that took place at the notorious former orphanage, at the hands of the Christian Brothers in the 1950s.

Canada’s Supreme Court says archdiocese is responsible for orphanage abuse

CANADA
Catholic News Agency

January 15, 2021

Canada’s highest court has ruled that the Archdiocese of St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador will be responsible for Mount Cashel Orphanage child abuse lawsuits against the Congregation of Christian Brothers.

On Thursday, Canada’s Supreme Court announced that it rejected a final appeal of the archdiocese, which had argued that it should not be held responsible for abuse by the congregation (also known as the Christian Brothers of Ireland), because it was the lay group of brothers and not diocesan priests in charge of the orphanage.

The legal battle over Newfoundland’s infamous Mount Cashel sexual abuse is finally over. But one of the four plaintiffs didn’t live to see it

CANADA
Toronto Star

January 14, 2021

By Steve McKinley

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/01/14/the-legal-battle-over-newfoundlands-infamous-mount-cashel-sexual-abuse-is-finally-over-but-one-of-the-four-plaintiffs-didnt-live-to-see-it.html

The final chapter in the wrenching story of sexual abuse at Newfoundland’s infamous Mount Cashel orphanage was finally written Thursday, bringing an end to a decades-long saga that haunted a region, turned many away from the Roman Catholic Church — and helped prompt a closer look at the issue of abuse within it.

The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear an appeal from the Archdiocese of St. John’s that was seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that the church can be held responsible for the sexual abuse suffered by boys there in the 1950s.

That decision brings to an end a 21-year legal battle that began in 1999, as four men deemed “John Does” as plaintiffs for the purpose of the case sought compensation for their abuse by members of the Christian Brothers of Ireland order, which ran the orphanage.

Supreme Court of Canada rejects Catholic archdiocese appeal over Mount Cashel

NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
CBC News

January 14, 2021

Archdiocese of St. John's declines comment following decision

The Archdiocese of St. John's is liable for the abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage in the 1950s, after Canada's highest court declined to hear one last appeal from the Catholic Church.

The Supreme Court of Canada released its decision Thursday, simply saying it rejected the application from the Archdiocese of St. John's.

The decision brings to an end a painstaking process for victims who were abused at the orphanage when they were children. The case has been snaking its way through the courts for 21 years.

High Court Ruling Means Roman Catholic Church Responsible for Mount Cashel Sexual Abuse

NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
VOCM

January 14, 2021

The Supreme Court of Canada has denied an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church in St. John’s to appeal a ruling that found the church responsible for abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage.

That means the Church must pay damages to dozens of victims of abuse dating back to the 1950s.

Geoff Budden, the victims’ lawyer, says it brings to an end a decades-long legal battle over sex abuse at the orphanage.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of St. John’s said its lawyers must review and analyze the ruling before making public comment.

Archdiocese liable for Mount Cashel settlement

NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
Catholic Register

January 14, 2021

The Archdiocese of St. John’s is responsible for paying victims of child abuse at the Newfoundland’s infamous Mount Cashel Orphanage.

In a decision announced Jan. 14, the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear one last appeal from the archdiocese, which has always denied it was responsible for the abuse that occurred at Mount Cashel dating back to the 1950s. The orphanage was run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland, which declared bankruptcy in 2012 while settling abuse lawsuits. The orphanage itself was demolished in 1992.

The archdiocese has argued before the court that it was not involved in the orphanage’s day-to-day operations and that the Christian Brothers was a lay organization whose members were not ordained priests of the archdiocese.

Supreme Court of Canada rejects Catholic Church bid for leave to appeal landmark decision that said it was liable for the sexual abuse suffered by orphans at the hands of Christian Brothers in the 1950s and 1960s

NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
The Telegram

January 15, 2021

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to grant the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp of St. John’s leave to appeal a landmark civil decision that held it responsible for sexual abuse suffered by boys at the infamous Christian-Brothers run orphanage during the 1950s and early ‘60s.

The leave to appeal was dismissed with costs Thursday.

It ends a legal battle the now elderly former residents fought for more than 20 years, led by St. John’s lawyer Geoff Budden.

“We won,” said Budden moments after hearing of the decision.

“I feel it’s a tough day for the archdiocese. I feel joy for the clients. I feel relief that we delivered the results for our clients... And I feel sad for those who didn’t live to see this day.”

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses Catholic church’s appeal in Mount Cashel case

NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
NTV.ca

January 14, 2021

By Bart Fraize

[VIDEO]

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal by the Catholic church for abuse at the former Mount Cashel orphanage.

In July, the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal found the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John’s has a responsibility to victims of abuse at the orphanage. The archdiocese appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. On Thursday, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal with costs.

The case involves four survivors who had first launched their claim for damages in 1999.

January 14, 2021

EXCLUSIVE: Leaked transcript shows NY church’s attempt to block Child Victims Act

NEW YORK
ABC News

January 14, 2021

By Pete Madden

In a 2017 meeting, church leaders discussed the politics of reconciliation.

When Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the longtime leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, introduced the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program to the public in Oct. 2016, he expressed his hope that offering financial settlements to the victims of sexual abuse by clergy would both “promote healing” and “bring closure” after more than a decade of constant scandal.

“It is only appropriate that we take this opportunity to follow Pope Francis and once again ask forgiveness for whatever mistakes may have been made in the past by those representing the Church, even by us bishops,” Dolan said, “and continue to seek reconciliation with those who have been harmed and feel alienated from the Church.”

When Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer Dolan appointed to administer the program in New York City and Long Island privately pitched it more than a year later to the representatives of three Upstate New York dioceses, however, he suggested that Dolan was motivated in part by something else: politics.

“I think the Cardinal feels that it is providing his lawyers in Albany with additional persuasive powers not to reopen the statute,” Feinberg said of the program. “We are already doing this, why bother? Don’t reopen the statute. We are taking care of our own problem. I think that is guiding Cardinal Dolan as well.”

ABC News has obtained the transcript of a confidential Dec. 2017 teleconference in which Feinberg, a prominent mediation expert, alongside his colleague Camille Biros, heralded the benefits of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program Dolan established to leaders and lawyers from the Dioceses of Syracuse, Buffalo and Rochester.

Dolan himself is not listed among its participants and does not appear to have been on the call, but Feinberg repeatedly claimed to be familiar with Dolan’s thinking.

Should alleged victims of child sex abuse have more time to sue? Soon voters may decide

HARRISBURG (PA)
Fox 43 TV

January 13, 2021

By Jamie Bittner

The amendment would allow alleged victims of child sex abuse more time to file lawsuits. However, critics say it could take away rights of the accused.

https://www.fox43.com/article/news/should-alleged-victims-of-child-sex-abuse-have-more-time-to-sue-soon-voters-may-decide/521-0ed88dfe-1e3c-4164-ab06-1f911aee6757

Voters may soon decide if alleged victims of child sexual abuse will have more time to file civil lawsuits against the people or organizations they are accusing. However, critics voiced concern the proposal could tip the scales of justice towards the accuser while taking away rights of the accused.

House Bill 14 is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the state constitution that would establish a 2-year-long window in which civil claims arising from child sexual abuse could then be asserted even if they had previously been barred by a statute of limitations.

The House Judiciary Committee moved the legislation to the full House on a vote of 24-1. The proposal by Republican Rep. Jim Gregory of Blair County has received bipartisan support with cosponsor Democrat Rep. Mark Rozzi of Berks County. In an interview with FOX43 both lawmakers noted that the proposal is something victims have been fighting for over 20 years.

Controversial proposed changes to PA Constitution moving at Capitol

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

January 13, 2021

By John Finnerty

A House panel on Wednesday moved two proposals that would ask voters to amend the state Constitution – one to allow adult survivors of child sex abuse to sue even if their statute of limitations has expired and a second to have appeals court judges elected by region instead of statewide.

Both measures passed both chambers of the General Assembly in the last legislative session, so if they pass unchanged in the weeks ahead, voters could see them on the ballot in May.

The proposal to allow adult survivors of child sex abuse to sue their abusers and organizations like the Catholic Church, which covered up for child predator priests, was approved by the House judiciary committee by a vote of 24-1.

North Dakota bill would force priests to violate confession seal in abuse cases

Catholic News Agency

January 13, 2021

By Mary Farrow

Three North Dakota state legislators introduced a bill this week that would oblige Catholic priests to violate the seal of confession in cases of confirmed or suspected child abuse, on penalty of imprisonment or heavy fines.

The bill was introduced Jan. 12 by state senators Judy Lee (R), Kathy Hogan (D), and Curt Kreun (R), and state representatives Mike Brandenburg (R) and Mary Schneider (D).

The current mandatory reporting law in North Dakota states that clergy are considered mandatory reporters of known or suspected child abuse, except in cases when “the knowledge or suspicion is derived from information received in the capacity of spiritual adviser”, such as in the confessional.

KX Conversation: North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem

NORTH DAKOTA
KX-TV

January 13, 2021

[VIDEO]

In our Jan. 13 KX Conversation, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem joined us to discuss the recent investigation of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses.

This was a months-long criminal investigation, and Stenehjem discussed the outcome and the level of difficulty a case like this may be for BCI agents.

53 individuals were accused and all but two of the clergy were deceased. No one faces charges from this investigation.

Pennsylvania lawmakers pass several bills that could appear on future ballots

HARRISBURG (PA)
CBS-TV 21 News

January 13, 2021

This afternoon, lawmakers at the State Capitol in Harrisburg passed several constitutional amendments that you could eventually vote on.

Three bills that we've been following have passed in committee this morning.

They include a measure that would open up a two-year window of justice for victims of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests.

Three decades after Mount Cashel orphanage abuse scandal, victims are still fighting for justice

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
Globe and Mail

January 13, 2021

By Greg Mercer

For most people, it’s just another shopping plaza. They come and go from the liquor outlet, hair salon, medical centre and grocery store, loading their purchases into cars in a parking lot that fronts a busy street.

But John Doe No. 26 will never forget what used to be here.

The 80-year-old grandfather can still vividly see the notorious Mount Cashel orphanage that stood at this St. John’s site until it was demolished in 1992. He was a resident there for seven years, until he was 15 years old, and suffered unspeakable violence and abuse at the hands of men who were supposed to care for him.

Mother and Baby Homes report: Main findings and recommendations

IRELAND
Irish Times

January 12, 2021

Responsibility for harsh treatment lies with fathers and families backed by State and churches

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes published its long-anticipated report on Tuesday. It investigated decades of harm caused to tens of thousands women and children at 14 mother and baby homes and four county homes across Ireland between 1922 and 1998.

Findings

*Fathers and families Responsibility for the harsh treatment of unmarried mothers in Ireland lies mainly with the fathers of the children and “their own immediate families” but supported by and condoned by the State and the churches. It says many of the homes provided a refuge, even if harsh, while the families provided no refuge at all.

*No alternative The report finds no evidence that women were forced to enter the homes by the church or State It says most women had no alternative. Many women contacted State or church agencies seeking assistance as they had nowhere to go and no money. Women were also brought to homes by family without being consulted.

*Infant mortality Some 9,000 children died in mother and baby homes, around 15 per cent of all those who entered the institutions, the report found. In the years 1945-46, the death rate among infants in mother and baby homes was almost twice that of the national average for “illegitimate” children. The commission said the high rate of infant mortality was a “disquieting” feature.

*Little public concern The report found little evidence that politicians or the public were concerned about children in the homes, despite the “appalling level of infant mortality”.

*Unmarried mothers There were about 56,000 unmarried mothers and about 57,000 children in the homes investigated by the commission. While such institutions were found in other countries the proportion of unmarried mothers sent to homes in Ireland was probably the highest in the world.

*Abuse of women The report finds while “there is no doubt that women in mother and baby homes were subjected to emotional abuse but there is very little evidence of physical abuse and no evidence of sexual abuse”.

*Abuse of children - It said there was some evidence of physical abuse of children “which, while unacceptable, was minor in comparison to the evidence of physical abuse documented in the Ryan report.” The report found no evidence of any sexual abuse of children.

*Pregnancies - Some pregnancies were the result of rape; some women had mental health problems, some had an intellectual disability and the only difference with other women not in homes was that they were unmarried. It said their lives were “blighted” by pregnancy outside marriage.

*Local health authorities - Some institutions with the worst conditions were owned by the local health authorities. “County homes, Kilrush and Tuam had appalling physical conditions.”

Recommendations

*Records - Adopted people should have a right to their birth certificates and birth information. A mechanism could be put in place to allow a birth mother to argue for her privacy rights.

There should be a central repository of the records of institution so information can be obtained from one place.

There are no records of burials of children who died in many cases, it finds.

*Redress - Any decision on financial redress is a matter for Government, the commission said.

– But as some groups in similar situations have received financial redress the State should not discriminate, it said.

– Women who worked outside the institutions without pay, women in the Tuam home in Co Galway who had to care for other mothers’ children and those who looked after other residents in county homes should be compensated.

– Women who spent lengthy periods in homes should also be considered for redress.

*Fund - The Government could consider earmarking a specific fund for current disadvantaged children.

*Tusla - The commission defended the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) and its approach to providing information to adopted people. It said the problem was not with Tusla but with the law.

Archbishop apologises, urges those who know of more unmarked graves to come forward

IRELAND
Irish Post

January 13, 2021

By Rachael O'Connor

IRELAND'S ARCHBISHOP has apologised "unreservedly" for the Church's role in the Mother and Baby Homes scandal.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, issued a statement apologising yesterday following the release of the Mother and Baby Homes report which was six years in the making.

Among other things, the report found that, in the homes investigated by the Commission, 15% of all children born in the institutions died-- approximately 9,000 out of 57,000.

Women and children recalled instances of physical and emotional abuse while being detained, and mothers felt forced to give their children up for adoption.

Call for ‘full-scale' northern inquiry following Republic's mother and baby homes report

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Irish News

January 13, 2021

By Suzanne McGonagle

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2021/01/13/news/call-for-full-scale-northern-inquiry-following-republic-s-mother-and-baby-homes-report-2185700/

AMNESTY International last night called for a “fullscale inquiry into the appalling tragic scandal of mother and baby homes” in Northern Ireland.

Women forced to give birth in the homes and the children born in the institutions have joined with the charity in calling for a public inquiry into abuses they say they suffered.

Amnesty said there were more than a dozen mother and baby home-type institutions in the north, with the last one closing its doors as recently as the 1990s.

Some 7,500 women and girls gave birth in the homes, which were operated by both Catholic and Protestant churches and religious organisations.

Higher infant mortality rate, appalling conditions and emotional abuse - the Mother and Baby Homes report at a glance

IRELAND
Independent

January 13, 2021

By Hugh O'Connell

A right for adopted people to access their birth information – including their birth cert and other records - among recommendations of the Commission

https://www.independent.ie/news/higher-infant-mortality-rate-appalling-conditions-and-emotional-abuse-the-mother-and-baby-homes-report-at-a-glance-39960509.html

The 2,865-page report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes has been published, covering the period from 1922 to 1998 – a span of 76 years.

Ireland was “especially cold and harsh for women” during the earlier half of the period under the commission’s remit and that all women “suffered serious discrimination”, the Commission says.

Women who gave birth outside of marriage were subject to “particularly harsh treatment”.

Responsibility for this, the report states, rests mainly with fathers of their children and their own immediate families. It adds: “It was supported by, contributed to, and condoned by, the institutions of the State and the Churches."

Here are some of its key details and findings.

Church urged by Taoiseach to help compensate for mother and baby homes survivors’ trauma

IRELAND
Independent

January 13, 2021

By Gabija Gataveckaite and Philip Ryan

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/church-urged-by-taoiseach-to-help-compensate-for-mother-and-baby-homes-survivors-trauma-39963088.html

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has called on the religious orders associated with mother and baby homes to make a “financial contribution” to a redress scheme for survivors.

It comes as it emerged the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes report has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for review.

Speaking at the launch of the report, the Taoiseach said the gardaí can “obviously” pursue some of the issues outlined in the commission’s investigation even though a significant length of time has elapsed.

He specifically highlighted that many of the women in the homes were under the age of consent when they became pregnant.

‘We did not live up to our Christianity’ - order of nuns who ran infamous Tuam Home apologises

IRELAND
Independent

January 13, 2021

By Cormac McQuinn and Sarah MacDonald

Sisters of Bons Secours will participate in State's planned redress scheme

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/we-did-not-live-up-to-our-christianity-order-of-nuns-who-ran-infamous-tuam-home-apologises-39964026.html

THE order of nuns that ran the infamous Mother and Baby Home at Tuam have apologised for the treatment of women and children at the institution and the "disrespectful and unacceptable" way infants who died were buried.

The Sisters of Bon Secours also confirmed to Independent.ie that they will participate in the Government's planned redress scheme for survivors.

The scandal of what happened in the various Mother and Baby homes around the country was revealed due to the work of historian Catherine Corless.

‘The shame was not theirs – it was ours’ – Taoiseach issues State apology to victims of Mother and Baby Homes

IRELAND
Independent

January 13, 2021

By Eoghan Moloney and Senan Molony

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/the-shame-was-not-theirs-it-was-ours-taoiseach-issues-state-apology-to-victims-of-mother-and-baby-homes-39964713.html

Survivors of mother and baby and county homes are blameless and did nothing wrong, the Taoiseach has told the Dáil in a formal State apology.

Mothers “did nothing wrong and have nothing to be ashamed of,” Mr Martin told TDs in the National Convention Centre.

The treatment of women and children is something which was the direct result of how the State, “and we as a society acted,” he said.

“The report presents us with profound questions. We embraced a perverse religious morality and control, judgmentalism and moral certainty, but shunned our daughters.

Dáil hears call for church assets to be seized if religious orders refuse to pay for abuse

IRELAND
Independent

January 13, 2021

By Senan Molony

Seizure of Catholic Church assets by the State is being mooted in the Dáil as a possible resort if its bodies will not pay compensation to the survivors of Mother and Baby Homes.

The religious orders of the Catholic Church must make appropriate contribution to the victims in atonement this time around, the Dáil was told by various TDs.

Former FF Minister Michael Woods agreed a €120m gesture from the Church nearly 20 years ago after earlier reports of institutional abuse — but most of the commitment was reneged upon.

“We need to ensure this time round, that those religious institutions make their contribution,” said Labour Party leader Alan Kelly.

“If they don’t make their contribution, we will pass legislation — I will draft it myself — to ensure that we can take their assets to ensure that they make that contribution.

January 13, 2021

[Opinion] Fathers disappear, untraceable and unseen, in tragedy spanning decades

IRELAND
Independent

January 13, 2021

By Nicola Anderson

Punishment fell on women while men got on with the rest of their lives, writes Nicola Anderson

In the harrowing personal stories of how desperate Irish women were forced to enter through the unwelcoming doors of mother and baby homes, their partners in pregnancy are cast as mere bit players.

The men at the heart of this wide-ranging tragedy that spanned decades feature merely as the shadowy instigators of misfortune, before being allowed to disappear into the backdrop, unseen and largely untraceable.

In a deeply conservative Ireland that pre-dated contraception and where parish priests sometimes turned up at dance halls to ensure couples were not dancing too closely, punishment fell on the woman for falling pregnant and for falling to safeguard her chastity.

Irish PM says ‘perverse’ morality drove unwed mothers’ homes

IRELAND
Associated Press

January 12, 2021

By Jill Lawless

Ireland’s prime minister said Tuesday that the country must “face up to the full truth of our past,” as a long-awaited report recounted decades of harm done by church-run homes for unmarried women and their babies, where thousands of infants died.

Prime Minister Micheal Martin said young women and their children had paid a heavy price for Ireland’s “perverse religious morality” in past decades.

“We had a completely warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy. Young mothers and their sons and daughters paid a terrible price for that dysfunction,” he said.

Martin said he would make a formal apology on behalf of the state in Ireland’s parliament on Wednesday.

Ireland to apologize for massive abuse at ‘mother and baby homes’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Politico Europe

January 12, 2021

Report found that approximately 9,000 newborns, infants and young children died at facilities across the country.

By Shawn Pogatchnik

Unmarried mothers and their infant children suffered cruel and often lethal neglect in Ireland’s so-called mother and baby homes, a five-year state investigation has concluded.

Prime Minister Micheál Martin said he would issue an official apology to the survivors of the institutions following Tuesday’s publication of the final report from the Commission of Investigation Into Mother and Baby Homes. It examined conditions and policies at 18 such homes where Ireland sent 56,000 women with out-of-wedlock pregnancies from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Martin said the 3,000-page report details “a deeply misogynistic culture” that doomed thousands to speedy deaths or lifetimes of regret.

“We did this to ourselves,” he said. “We had a completely warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy, and young mothers and their sons and daughters were forced to pay a terrible price for that dysfunction. We embraced a perverse religious morality and control which was so damaging … All of society was complicit in it.”

Mother and baby homes scandal: Irish PM apologises to victims - saying 'the state failed you'

IRELAND
Sky News TV

January 13, 2021

By Stephen Murphy

[Play Video - Irish PM's apology to mothers and babies]

The Irish prime minister has issued an apology following a report into the deaths of 9,000 children in institutions for unmarried mothers and their babies.

A five-year investigation by a judicial commission of investigation detailed how the children died at 18 institutions between 1922 and 1998.

Speaking today in the Dail, the lower house of the Irish parliament, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said that as a society "we embraced a perverse religious morality and control, judgementalism and moral certainty, but shunned our daughters."

Irish leader apologizes for cruelty to unwed mothers and babies at homes run by the state and Catholic Church

IRELAND
Washington Post

January 13, 2021

By William Booth and Karla Adam

In a signal moment, to mark Ireland's "dark, difficult and shameful" treatment of unmarried women and their babies over the 20th century, the republic's prime minister, Micheál Martin, rose in the Parliament in Dublin on Wednesday and formally apologized for the state's complicity in "a profound failure of empathy, understanding and basic humanity."

Martin spoke after the long-awaited release of a 3,000-page report from the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes, which investigated conditions for the 56,000 unmarried mothers and 57,000 children who passed through the system — at 18 homes run by the state and by Catholic charities — from 1920 until 1998, when the last facility was shuttered.

The unmarried mothers, often destitute, desperate and young, with nowhere else to turn, sought last-ditch refuge in the homes or were shoved into them, having been cast out by their families.

Infant mortality at the institutions was in many years double the national average. Some 9,000 infants died — 15 percent of all those who were born in the system — a statistic the investigators call “appalling.”

Most of the babies who survived were offered up for adoption, often without full consent by the mothers.

Martin said: “We treated women exceptionally badly. We treated children exceptionally badly.”

The Irish leader said his society had suffered from a “warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy,” with a “very striking absence of kindness.”

“We honored piety but failed to show even basic kindness to those who needed it most,” he said.

New details of what happened to the women and their babies still have the ability to shock — though testimonies, novels, films and news reports have told of the homes for years.

The release of the report has dominated the conversation in Ireland, even as the country faces the world’s highest rate of coronavirus infections.

The Irish Times called the findings a condemnation of Irish society in past days, “its rigid rules and conventions about sexual matters, its savage intolerance, its harsh judgmentalism, its un-Christian cruelty.”

9,000 babies died in Ireland’s mother and baby homes

IRELAND
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

January 12, 2021

[VIDEO]

A disturbing report into Ireland’s mother and baby homes, where unwed mothers were sent to give birth and forced to give their babies up for adoption, says along with other indignities, 9,000 babies died in the care of the 18 homes. The Irish Catholic Church, which ran the homes, has apologized and the prime minister is also expected to apologize this week.

Irish PM issues state apology for mother and baby homes abuses

IRELAND
Al Jazeera

January 13, 2021

A ‘profound generational wrong’ was visited upon those who wound up in Ireland’s network of Catholic Church-run homes for unwed mothers and their children, Irish PM says.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has offered a formal apology in the country’s parliament for the treatment of unmarried mothers and their babies in a network of church-run institutions from the 1920s to the 1990s.

A government-commissioned report published on Tuesday found an “appalling” mortality rate of around 15 percent among children born at mother and baby homes, reflecting brutal living conditions at the sites and laying bare one of the Catholic Church’s darkest chapters.

Some 9,000 children died at the 18 homes – the last of which closed in 1998 – covered in the report.

Irish PM apologises over mother and baby homes

IRELAND
BBC News

January 13, 2021

The scandal became an international news story when "significant human remains" were found on the grounds of a former home in County Galway

The Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) has apologised after an investigation into the country's mother and baby homes.

The report found an "appalling level of infant mortality".

Established in the 19th and 20th Centuries, the institutions housed women and girls who became pregnant outside marriage.

Micheál Martin apologised for the "profound and generational wrong" to survivors of mother-and-baby homes.

About 9,000 children died in the 18 institutions under investigation.

The Irish government said the report revealed the country had a "stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture".

Irish church and state apologise for callous mother and baby homes

IRELAND
The Guardian

January 13, 2021

By Rory Carroll

Taoiseach accepts state responsibility for historic cruelty as Catholic primate acknowledges ‘painful truths’

The Irish state and Ireland’s Catholic church have made landmark apologies for running and enabling a network of religious institutions that abused and shamed unmarried mothers and their children for much of the 20th century.

The taoiseach, Micheál Martin, led government figures on Wednesday in accepting responsibility and expressing remorse for mother-and-baby homes that turned generations of vulnerable women and infants into outcasts.

Eamon Martin, the Catholic primate of all Ireland, led statements from bishops and nuns that apologised for the central role of the church in a dark chapter of Irish history.

Ireland's 'brutally misogynistic culture' saw the death of 9,000 children in mother and baby homes, report finds

IRELAND
CNN

January 13, 2021

By Kara Fox

Thousands of babies and children died in 18 of Ireland's mother and baby homes -- church-run institutions where unmarried women were sent to deliver their babies in secret, often against their will -- over eight decades, according to a landmark report.

On Tuesday, the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters -- which was set up to investigate what happened in 14 mother and baby homes and four county homes from 1922 to 1998 -- announced the 9,000 deaths as part of the final findings of its near six-year inquiry.

Around 56,000 people -- from girls as young as 12, to women in their 40s -- were sent to the 18 institutions investigated, where some 57,000 children were born, according to the report.

Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes

IRELAND
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

January 12, 2021

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: To see the 2,865-page report in its entirety, click here. To see the section entitled Archives of the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, click here.]

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters was established by the Irish Government in February 2015 to provide a full account of what happened to vulnerable women and children in Mother and Baby Homes during the period 1922 to 1998. It submitted its final report to the Minister on 30 October 2020.

Each element of the Report can be accessed through the links below.

The Report deals with issues which many may find distressing. If you are affected by the issues raised in the Report, contact details for support are available under ‘Counselling supports'.

Mother and Baby Homes report: A ‘shameful chapter of recent Irish history’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

January 12, 2021

By Pat Leahy and Patsy McGarry

Investigation tells of cruelty, emotional abuse and soaring infant death rates

[VIDEO]

Ireland has again been brought face-to-face with its cold and callous past with the report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes revealing stories of cruelty, emotional abuse and soaring infant death rates in a series of State- and religious-run institutions.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the report outlined a “dark, difficult and shameful chapter of recent Irish history” in which an “extraordinarily oppressive culture” had “treated women exceptionally badly”.

The State, churches and – most of all – the families of pregnant women and the fathers of their children were responsible for the ill-treatment of women, according to the report which took more than five years to research and compile.

Report Gives Glimpse Into Horrors of Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes

IRELAND
The New York Times

January 12, 2021

A government commission found high death rates, unethical vaccine trials and traumatic living conditions at 18 homes that housed unwed mothers up until the 1990s.

By Megan Specia

A government-commissioned report released on Tuesday found a shocking number of deaths and widespread abuses at religious institutions in Ireland for unwed mothers and their children. Survivors say the document is a small step toward accountability after decades of horrors.

The report, the culmination of a six-year investigation, detailed some 9,000 deaths of children at 14 of the country’s so-called mother and baby homes and four county homes over several decades, a mortality rate far higher than the rest of the population. The institutions, where unmarried women and girls were sent to give birth in secrecy and were pressured to give their children up for adoption, were also responsible for unethical vaccine trials and traumatic emotional abuse, the report found.

Irish report: Religious-run homes 'significantly reduced' children's survival

IRELAND
National Catholic Reporter

January 12, 2021

By Joe Little

An Irish government investigation has found that death rates among "illegitimate" infants in southern Ireland's religious-run mother and baby homes during parts of the 1930s and 1940s were twice that of the national average.

The report, released Jan. 12, says the frequently Catholic-run homes "did not save the lives of 'illegitimate' children; in fact, they appear to have significantly reduced their prospects of survival."

The quasi-judicial probe also found that the proportion of unmarried mothers admitted to the homes during the last century was probably the highest in the world.

Report lifts lid on harsh and unforgiving attitudes towards unmarried mothers

IRELAND
The Irish Catholic

January 12, 2021

By Michael Kelly

A five-year investigation into the treatment of unmarried mothers in State-funded Church-run homes has said that the blame for their “harsh treatment” rests primarily with their families but that both the Church and State condoned this.

The report of the ‘Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters’ was published this afternoon (Tuesday) and reviewed 18 institutions from the period 1922-1998. It found that “Ireland was a cold harsh environment for many, probably the majority, of its residents during the earlier half of the period under remit”. The report said that Ireland was “especially cold and harsh for women”.

The responsibility for the “harsh treatment” of unmarried mothers “rests mainly with the fathers of their children and their own immediate families”, the report said.

For victims of Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes, inquiry stirs up painful past

IRELAND
Reuters

January 12, 2021

By Ben Dangerfield

Haunted by ghostly visions of the brothers she never knew, Anna Corrigan had a bad night ahead of the publication on Tuesday of a 3,000-page report into the horrors that unfolded at Ireland's Church-run Mother and Baby Homes.

Her older brothers, John and William Dolan, were born at one of the homes for unmarried mothers and their infants, in the provincial town of Tuam in western Ireland. They are thought to be among 802 babies and children who died at the home and were unceremoniously dumped in a mass grave by the Catholic nuns who ran it.

"I had a very bad night's sleep last night," Corrigan told Reuters in a Zoom interview from her home in Dublin, describing unsettling dreams about her fam

Rev. David Bonnar, a longtime Pittsburgh priest, becomes bishop of Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN (OH)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

January 12, 2021

By Peter Smith

Longtime Pittsburgh priest David Bonnar became the Roman Catholic bishop of Youngstown on Tuesday afternoon before a pandemic-limited congregation in a solemn ceremony in which family and Pittsburgh-area friends took prominent roles.

Bishop Bonnar was consecrated at the Cathedral of St. Columba, which echoed with choral anthems and brass fanfares. Attendance was limited due to the pandemic, and masked worshippers were seated at socially distanced spots in the pews.

Bishop Bonnar, 58, was a pastor and administrator in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, most recently serving as pastor of St. Aidan Parish in the North Hills, and he was a former Pittsburgh Steelers chaplain.

Priest accused of abetting alleged sex abuse ring hired by diocesan charity

VATICAN CITY
Religion News Service

January 12, 2021

By Claire Giangravé

The mother of an alleged abuse victim claims the priest broke the confidence of the confessional to warn church officials of a coming investigation.

On a scorching day in August 2015, the mother of a teenage girl walked into the confessional of a small church near the Sicilian city of Catania, in southern Italy. She believed that the leader of her lay Catholic group, a man known as the Archangel, had repeatedly raped her underage daughter and possibly others.

She trusted the priest, the Rev. Orazio Caputo, who had worked closely with the Archangel’s Catholic Culture and Environment Association or ACCA, to listen to her fears. In the highly devout context of Sicily’s Catholic culture, the mother believed she could speak freely to her usual confessor about her growing suspicions and mounting guilt.

Two years later, the Archangel, Piero Alfio Capuana, 76, was taken into custody after a police investigation found what authorities say is credible evidence that he had sexually abused at least six underage girls.

Thousands of Clergy Abuse Records Handed Over to Victims in Buffalo

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

January 12, 2021

The abuse victims, who make up a committee of unsecured creditors in the ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization for the diocese, have also agreed to keep the contents of the records confidential.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Diocese of Buffalo released thousands of clergy abuse documents and related records to abuse victims and their lawyers this week as part of an agreement in ongoing clergy abuse negotiations during its bankruptcy.

According to The Buffalo News, these records were given to victims in exchange for an agreement that pending lawsuits against individual Catholic entities such as parishes or schools are stopped from proceeding.

These abuse victims, who make up a committee of unsecured creditors in the ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization for the diocese, have also agreed to keep the contents of the records confidential.

January 12, 2021

Catholic priest pleads not guilty to rape, assault charges on minor

CAPE COD (MA)
Cape Cod Times

January 11, 2021

By Jessica Hill

The Catholic priest charged with multiple counts of rape pleaded not guilty to all charges Monday during his arraignment in Barnstable Superior Court.

Mark Hession was arraigned on charges including two counts of rape, one count of indecent assault and battery on a child less than 14 and one count of intimidation of a witness. He was released after posting $2,500 cash bail.

Judge Mark Gildea also ordered that Hession’s passport be taken away and that he stay away from the complainant. Hession is due to reappear in court for a pretrial conference on Feb. 24.

Hession, who delivered the homily at the funeral for U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in 2009, was accused of assaulting a child under 14 with the “intent to commit rape and did commit rape upon such person” on multiple occasions between 2005 and 2008 in Barnstable County, according to redacted indictments.

Diocese of Charleston faces second lawsuit in a week

CHARLESTON (SC)
WCSC-TV

January 11, 2021

A lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Charleston alleges abuse dating back decades.

The new suit is the second filed against the diocese in a week’s time.

The lawsuit was filed by a man who claims a priest sexually abused him over span of two years in the mid-1970s while the defendant was a student at St. John’s Catholic Church and Cathedral School.

The victim says in the suit he was 13 when he he started to be abused on a weekly basis. He said Frederick Hopwood, a priest, would put his hands down the victim’s pants and molest him.

Alleged church sex abuse victim says George Brignac raped him in 1977

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE-TV

Janury 11, 2021

By Kimberly Curth

Alleged church sex abuse victim says George Brignac raped him in 1977

Brian Manix held on to a secret for 43 years and says it took its toll.

“These people don’t realize what they’ve done to all of us. I’ve gone to drugs, I’ve gone to alcohol, I’ve tried to commit suicide three times,” said Manix.

Manix was an altar boy at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in New Orleans when George Brignac was a deacon.

He says he was just 10-years-old in 1977, when Brignac raped him in City Park.

“Which was my favorite place to hang out and he knew that, that’s where I always fished,” said Manix. ”He tried to rape me a second time again in City Park but this time in his car and I was able to escape and run.”

Government 'may force religious organisations' to pay compensation to Mother and Baby Home victims

IRELAND
The Irish Post

January 11, 2021

By Rachael O'Connor

THE VICTIMS of Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes may receive compensation for the abuse they suffered behind closed doors.

From the mid-to-late 20th century, unwed mothers in Ireland were sent to special, Catholic-run 'Mother and Baby Homes', where some remained for the rest of their lives.

While the cruel, unjust nature of these homes has been known and acknowledged for some time, a new report leaked to the media yesterday revealed some of the most harrowing statistics to date.

The report, seen by The Irish Independent, is due to reveal that an estimated 9,000 children died in the just 18 institutions investigated. That figure represents one in seven or 15% of all children born in homes studied.

These deaths took place across 14 Mother and Baby Homes and four sample State-operated County Homes.

Since the foundation of the State in 1922 up until the closure of the last of these homes in 1998, the commission report found 56,000 mothers passed through these homes and 57,000 children were born within these institutions.

Pope Francis Defrocks Maltese Priest Who Sexually Abused 13-Year-Old

MALTA
Lovin' Malta

January 12, 2021

By Benjamin Abela

Pope Francis has accepted the Conventual Franciscans Order’s request to dismiss Donald Bellizzi, the Maltese priest convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy, iNews Malta reported.

Last November, Bellizzi, a former Burmarrad Franciscan, was sentenced to three years in prison after forcing a minor to masturbate him.

Bellizzi’s offences first began in 2010, when he would invite youths interested in becoming priests on retreats to the Franciscan convent in Burmarrad. Investigations into the case were kicked off after the Curia received reports of the abuse.

Mormon bishop, 42, is charged with sending sexually explicit messages to a child after he was allegedly caught 'lying about his age on Pinterest'

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail Australia

January 12, 2021

By Daniel Piotrowski

- Nicolas Pierre Faivre, 42, is charged over alleged sexually explicit conversations
- Faivre was a bishop at the Church of Latter Day Saints in Blue Mountains
- The offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment
- Faivre was refused bail during an appearance at Penrith Local Court on Tuesday

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9137059/Nicolas-Pierre-Faivre-charged-alleged-sexually-explicit-messages-child.html

A Mormon bishop has been charged with allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to a child after a tip off about his Pinterest account.

Nicholas Pierre Faivre, the former bishop of the Leura Ward of the Church of Latter Day Saints, had his Blue Mountains home raided by the Federal Police on Monday.

Detectives seized a mobile phone and two tablet computers and charged Faivre, 42, with two counts of 'transmit indecent communications' to a minor.

Father Bill Lombardy accused of sexual abuse by former altar boys: suit

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

January 11, 2021

By Priscilla DeGregory

One-time priest and chess grandmaster Father Bill Lombardy — who was portrayed by actor Peter Sarsgaard in a movie about famed chess player Bobby Fischer — has been accused of sexually abusing two altar boys in a new lawsuit.

The now-deceased Lombardy — whose training of Fischer was depicted in the 2014 movie called “Pawn Sacrifice” — is accused in a Bronx Supreme Court lawsuit from last week of sexually assaulting two students in the 1960s, when he taught at St. Mary’s School in the Bronx.

Lombardy trained Fischer — whose character in the movie was played by Tobey Maguire — from age 11 through his historic win against Soviet Boris Spassky in the chess world championship in Iceland in 1972.

Suit Alleges Sexual Abuse at Point Retreat

CAPE MAY (NJ)
Cape May County Herald

January 11, 2021

By Bill Barlow

A New York state woman filed a lawsuit alleging she endured abuse by clergy members while staying at the Marianist Center, on Yale Road, in Cape May Point.

For over 50 years, the Marianist Family Retreat Center, on the corner of Yale and Cape avenues, in Cape May Point, has been the site of contemplation, celebration and prayer for the faithful.

One woman alleges that in summer 1974, it was a site of horror and violation that still hurts decades later.

At the time, she was 14 years old and a volunteer camp counselor, according to a complaint filed in Superior Court Jan. 6. Identified in the court documents as Jane Doe RP, she filed a suit against the center and the Marianist Province of the United States, alleging that she faced repeated sexual abuse from two clergy members.

Report to reveal scale of abuse at Ireland's mother and baby homes

IRELAND
The Guardian

January 12, 2021

By Rory Carroll

Results of investigation expected to tell how 9,000 children died in 18 institutions between 1922 and 1998

The grim history of a network of religious institutions in Ireland that abused and shamed unmarried mothers and their children for much of the 20th century is to be laid bare.

A judicial commission of investigation into Ireland’s mother and baby homes has documented shocking death rates and callousness in institutions that doubled as orphanages and adoption agencies.

The mother and baby homes commission is to share a 3,000-page report with survivors of the system on Tuesday. Its five-year investigation was prompted by the discovery of a mass grave of babies and children in Tuam, County Galway.

Ireland to lay bare scandal of baby deaths at Church-run homes

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Reuters

January 11, 2021

By Padraic Halpin

An Irish inquiry into alarming death rates among newborns at church-run homes for unwed mothers will hand down its final report on Tuesday, laying bare one of the Catholic Church’s darkest chapters and leading to demands for state compensation.

The Church’s reputation in Ireland has been shattered by a series of scandals over paedophile priests, abuse at workhouses, forced adoptions of illegitimate babies and other painful issues.

Pope Francis begged forgiveness for the scandals during the first papal visit to the country in almost four decades in 2018.

The remains of 802 children, from newborns to three-year-olds, were buried between 1925 and 1961 in just one of the so-called Mother and Baby Homes, a 2017 interim report found.

Then-Prime Minister Enda Kenny described the burial site at Tuam, in the western county of Galway, as a “chamber of horrors”.

January 11, 2021

Confidentiality dispute piles pressure on cardinal accused of mishandling abuse cases

Catholic News Agency

January 10, 2021

German media have criticized the Archdiocese of Cologne for offering to provide a “background briefing” to journalists about an unpublished report into clerical sex abuse on condition that they signed a confidentiality form.

Journalists from several media organizations reported that they had refused to sign the form and walked out of the meeting on Jan. 5, which was called to explain issues regarding the report’s methodology.

The archdiocese claimed that the non-disclosure requirement sought to protect the identities of the people referred to in the report. But journalists balked at the suggestion, with one national newspaper citing “a deep-seated distrust” in the wake of recent developments between the diocese and media.

The form would have required journalists not to mention any sexual abuse described in the report, any named perpetrators or people responsible for handling allegations of abuse, as well as any recommendations by the independent report’s authors.

Cologne archdiocese had initially commissioned the Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl to lead an independent investigation into the handling of sex abuse cases. But it decided not to publish the firm’s report, citing what it called “serious methodological deficiencies.”

A Mother’s Fight for Justice

NIGERIA
This Day

January 11, 2021

Okon Bassey writes that Mrs. Deborah Okezie, the mother of 11-year-old Don-Davis Archibong, a junior secondary school one student of Deeper Life High School, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, is bent on getting justice after her son was allegedly sexually abused and molested by some senior students

A mother’s love knows no bounds and for Mrs. Deborah Okezie, that love has been sorely tested recently while trying to get justice for her son, 11-year-old Don-Davis Archibong, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 1 student of Deeper Life High School, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital. She recently took to social media to protest the alleged sexual abuse and molestation of her child by two senior students of the school.

The Deeper Life High School, Uyo is one of the two campuses of the a co-educational secondary school owned and run by the Deeper Life Bible Church, pastored by one of Nigeria’s influential preachers, Pastor Williams Kumuyi.

Indian activists welcome retrial in rape-murder case

KERALA (INDIA)
UCA News

January 7, 2021

By Saji Thomas

Protesters say police sabotaged the investigation and did not present evidence before the court

The High Court in southern India's Kerala state has set aside a trial court's acquittal of four men accused of the rape and murder of two minor girls three years ago and ordered a retrial.

The court on Jan. 6 also directed the special court functioning under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) law to oversee a reinvestigation of the case.

“We are now hopeful that the girls and their family will get justice,” said Father Augustine Vattoli, a priest of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese who has been leading a campaign demanding justice.

January 10, 2021

Trove of Buffalo Diocese abuse records turned over to victims in bankruptcy court

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 10, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

https://buffalonews.com/news/local/trove-of-buffalo-diocese-abuse-records-turned-over-to-victims-in-bankruptcy-court/article_a43dd8ce-4e9a-11eb-bb44-93864abd9851.html

Lawyers and survivors of childhood sexual abuse are reviewing more than 25,000 pages of internal Buffalo Diocese documents relating to clergy abuse, diocesan finances and personnel files.

Diocese lawyers began handing over the files in December under the terms of an agreement that they hashed out with abuse survivors who make up the committee of unsecured creditors in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, according to multiple sources.

Whether the general public will be able to examine the confidential records someday remains unclear and likely will be subject to intense negotiations during the bankruptcy proceedings.

Firms cut legal fees by $2K in church bankruptcy ahead of hearing

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

January 10, 2021

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Firms cut legal fees by $2K in church bankruptcy ahead of hearing

https://www.postguam.com/news/local/firms-cut-legal-fees-by-2k-in-church-bankruptcy-ahead-of-hearing/article_d8a53556-5176-11eb-91bb-03b877ffdddf.html

Two law firms in the Archdiocese of Agana's two-year-old bankruptcy case reduced their legal fees by $2,162.50, ahead of a court hearing on the latest interim fee applications.

The fourth interim fee applications from law firms now amount to about $478,400.

The archdiocese's bankruptcy marks its second year this month. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is aimed at reorganizing the church's finances, and compensating nearly 300 Guam clergy sex abuse survivors while also keeping all Catholic schools and parishes open.

[Opinion] Abuse inquiry: we all know the outcome

NEW ZEALAND
Gisborne Herald

January 10, 2021

By Matthew Epsom

We must already know what the New Zealand Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care will reveal about the Catholic Church in New Zealand. That's because it has been said before, time and time again, across the globe, by many other inquiries into the exact same issue.

Independent inquiries worldwide have already looked into what happened to children, young people and adults at risk in the care of the Catholic Church over past decades. Australia's Royal Commission, England and Wales' IICSA Report, the McCarrick Report and Pennsylvania Report in the USA, Ireland's Murphy Report, and the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child, among others, have all reached the same conclusions — that thousands of cases of clerical and religious child sexual abuse, dating back to the 1950s, were routinely buried by bishops and congregational leaders of the Catholic Church across the globe.

Taoiseach to give Dáil apology to those impacted by Mother and Baby Home

IRELAND
The Journal

January 10, 2021

Micheál Martin is to give the apology on behalf of the State and wider society.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN is to apologise to those who were placed in mother and baby homes in the Dáil next week.

As first reported by the Sunday Independent, the Taoiseach will give the apology on behalf of the State and “wider society” on Wednesday, a government spokesperson has confirmed to TheJournal.ie.

In correspondence sent to survivors’ groups, Minister for Children and Equality Roderic O’Gorman said that he was “deeply angered” to see details of the Mother and Baby Home report leaked to a newspaper.

Fall River Diocese list of clergy accused of sex abuse includes 5 former Wareham priests

FALL RIVER (MA)
Courier Sentinel via Wicked Local

January 9, 2021

By Frank Mulligan

A list of Diocese of Fall River clergy accused of committing sexual abuse of a minor has been published by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha and includes five priests who had been assigned to St. Patrick’s Church in Wareham, two to St. Margaret’s in Buzzards Bay, and one assigned to St. Rita in Marion.

The priests who had been assigned to St. Patrick’s in Wareham include Mark R. Hession, born in 1958, ordination in 1984, faculties - permission granted to clergy that enables them to practice public ministry within a certain diocese – suspended. He was also assigned to St. Joan of Arc, Orleans; Holy Name, Fall River; St. Mary, New Bedford; Charlton Memorial Hospital, Fall River; St. Joseph, Taunton; Holy Rosary, Fall River; St. Patrick, Falmouth; Our Lady of Victory, Centerville; Our Lady of the Assumption, Osterville; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Seekonk; Holy Family East Taunton. Assignment dates were not listed.

Five former St. Patrick’s priests accused of abuse

WAREHAM (MA)
Wareham Week

January 9, 2021

By Chloe Shelford

Five priests who served at St. Patrick’s in Wareham have been accused of sexual abuse, according to a list of 75 accused clergy published on Jan. 7 by the diocese of Fall River.

It is unclear when these priests worked in Wareham, and many served at more than eight churches over their careers.

St. Patrick’s declined to comment for this story.

Several of the priests are facing criminal charges:

Mark Hession has been charged with two counts of rape, one count of indecent assault and battery on a child less than 14, and one count of intimidation of a witness.

Badaun gang rape: Accused priest sent to 10-day judicial custody

UTTAR PRADESH (INDIA)
Hindustan Times

January 9, 2021

Edited by Abhinav Sahay

Priest Narain used to live in the temple premises, where the woman was gang raped and murdered.

The prime accused in the brutal gang rape and murder of a 50-year-old woman on Sunday night in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district was sent to judicial custody till January 18 by a local court on Friday.

The prime accused, a temple priest named Satya Narain (53), was arrested by a police team in a village in Ughaiti area of Badaun on Thursday night. An award of ₹50,000 had earlier been announced for his arrest.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had also tasked the special task force (STF) to hunt for the prime accused but he was finally arrested by a team of local police.

Over two dozen Attleboro area priests on sex abuse list released by diocese

ATTLEBORO (MA)
Sun Chronicle

January 7, 2021

By David Linton

https://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/over-two-dozen-attleboro-area-priests-on-sex-abuse-list-released-by-diocese/article_5941d60c-87db-5e5d-83a2-a442b993c477.html

Two dozen priests who served in the Attleboro area were among 75 clergy whose names were released by the Fall River Diocese Thursday as having been credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

“As I pray for a spirit of healing and reconciliation, I know that we cannot move on without an honest accounting of the past,” said Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha in a prepared statement.

“As your bishop, I am deeply and profoundly sorry for the abuse that was perpetrated by priests within this diocese and have recommitted myself to doing everything in my power to ensure this never happens again,” he said.

Catholic church pays $2 million to settle local abuse cases

EVERETT (WA)
Heraldnet.com

January 10, 2021

By Caleb Hutton

Two former priests at St. Michael in Snohomish were among four “credibly accused” of molesting children.

The Archdiocese of Seattle has reached over $2 million in settlements in the past six months due to credible allegations of sexual abuse against four Catholic priests in Western Washington, including two former leaders of a parish in Snohomish and one in Everett.

The Rev. Michael C. OBrien led St. Michael Parish from 1974 to 1979.

He was succeeded by the Rev. Dennis Champagne from 1979 to 1999, who then became the priest of St. John Bosco Church in Lakewood. Church leaders put Champagne on leave in 2002, after someone accused him of sexual misconduct.

Longtime advocate for community, lightning rod for critics, Pfleger forced to watch others carry on his work

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

January 9, 2021

By Annie Sweeney and William Lee

https://www.bluemountaineagle.com/life/national/longtime-advocate-for-community-lightning-rod-for-critics-pfleger-forced-to-watch-others-carry-on/article_16bee690-cfac-5579-ae92-8ce156c50a74.html

In his years of seemingly relentless advocating and fighting for social justice in Chicago, the Rev. Michael Pfleger has often charged into the center of controversy, publicly defying and rebuking his church and city leaders on everything from gun violence to race and economic disparities.

He has been arrested while protesting outside a suburban gun shop. He ran afoul of his downtown church bosses, earning suspensions. He lost a foster child to gun violence and faced hateful reactions in some Chicago enclaves after standing with victims of police shootings.

Throughout, Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest from a white working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side, has built trust and amassed a dedicated following, leading with a righteous fury that garnered national attention from his base at St. Sabina in Auburn Gresham, the city’s largest Black Catholic congregation.

January 9, 2021

[Media Statement] Diocese of Camden Submits Plan of Reorganization, Survivors Left in the Cold

NEW JERSEY
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 5, 2021

In the closing hours of 2020, the Diocese of Camden made an outrageous strategic move to protect itself from scrutiny. On New Year’s Eve, Bishop Dennis Sullivan submitted a Plan of Reorganization that prioritizes the protection of the Diocese against scandal over accountability and compensation owed to those harmed by sexually abusive clergy. The plan sets a new low for the Diocese’s self-interest, doubling down on the callousness and contempt for survivors.

This plan will allow the Diocese of Camden to move at an extremely fast pace through their bankruptcy proceedings by setting a “bar date” of March 2021. To us, the fact that the Diocese was allowed to declare bankruptcy in the first place is absurd, and this incredibly swift process to limit claims and protect finances will only harm survivors at the expense of a wealthy institution.

N.J. Catholic diocese has a plan to compensate victims of abuse. Advocates aren’t happy.

NEW JERSEY
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

January 8, 2021

By Blake Nelson

Advocates for people sexually abused by clergy are opposing a plan from a New Jersey Catholic diocese to compensate victims.

The Diocese of Camden announced a proposal on Dec. 31 to speed up the process of setting aside millions of dollars for abuse claims, after the church filed for bankruptcy in October.

“The Diocese wants to continue to pay survivors rather than lawyers and other professional advisers,” the church said in a statement.

Alleged church sex abuse survivors say they feel betrayed by joint Archdiocese and SNAP New Orleans statement

NEW ORLEANS
WVUE-TV

By Kimberly Curth

January 8, 2021

https://www.fox8live.com/2021/01/08/alleged-church-sex-abuse-survivors-say-they-feel-betrayed-by-joint-archdiocese-snap-new-orleans-statement/

Alleged church sex abuse victims tell Fox 8 they feel betrayed by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest, or SNAP, after one of the group’s leaders met with the New Orleans Archbishop.

SNAP’s Kevin Bourgeois and Archbishop Gregory Aymond released a joint statement this week saying while the two groups have appeared at odds over how the Archdiocese has handled sexual abuse claims by clergy in the past, they have common goals for healing victims and their families.

“What Mr. Bourgeois and I are doing together is for the good of people and for the healing of those who have been hurt and once again I deeply apologize to those who have been hurt by the sexual abuse of minors,” said Aymond.

Retired Dutch priest, accused of abusing 2 New Orleans boys decades ago, denies wrongdoing

NEW ORLEANS
WWL-TV

By David Hammer

January 8, 2021

Faced with a formal church investigation into allegations that he sexually abused a New Orleans altar boy in the mid-1970s, the Rev. Father Joseph deWater denies wrongdoing and suggests his accuser should not “dwell on things when he was a young boy.”

DeWater, who capped a 35-year career in the New Orleans area as a pastor, coach and educator by having a Roman Catholic school gymnasium named for him in 2003, granted WWL television an extensive interview at his home in the village of Voorhout, Netherlands, about 35 minutes south of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam.

Former Easton priests among 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused in Fall River Diocese

FALL RIVER
Standard-Times

January 9, 2021

By Kiernan Dunlop

https://www.enterprisenews.com/story/lifestyle/faith/2021/01/08/fall-river-diocese-releases-list-clergy-credibly-accused-sex-abuse-easton-immaculate-conception/6593393002/

Two years after announcing a review of allegations of sexual abuse against minors, the Diocese of Fall River on Thursday released a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused, including two former Easton priests.

“As I pray for a spirit of healing and reconciliation, I know that we cannot move on without an honest accounting for the past,” Bishop Edgar M da Cunha said in a press release from the diocese. “As your bishop, I am deeply and profoundly sorry for the abuse that was perpetrated by priests within this diocese and have recommitted myself to do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”

Diocese of Fall River Bishop Edgar M. DaCunha announced Thursday the release of a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Jim Scanlan, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse that occurred during his time at Boston College High School, said it's never a bad thing to have a list released.

Former Bishop Stang priest among those credibly accused of sexual abuse

DARTMOUTH (MA)
Dartmouth Week

January 8, 2021

By Kate Robinson

A Catholic priest who once worked at Bishop Stang High School is among those credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor in a list of 75 accused clergy published on Jan. 7 by the diocese of Fall River.

Father William W. Norton, who died in 2004, is one of 53 priests, seminarians, and other religious leaders against whom allegations of sexual abuse is considered considered “credible” by the diocese.

According to a diocese statement, credible allegations are those that meet a “semblance of truth” standard similar to that of probable cause (in which there is a reasonable basis for believing a crime was committed).

Catholic diocese releases names of credibly accused priests

FALL RIVER (MA)
Associated Press

January 8, 2021

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River in Massachusetts has released a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

More than three-quarters of the names released by the diocese Thursday have already been made public through previous announcements from the church, media reports, or other means, according to a statement.

There are currently no priests in ministry who have been credibly accused.

Sr Abhaya case: Kerala Catholic Bishops Council claims CBI did not prove charges

KERALA (INDIA)
The News Minute

January 9, 2021

The KCBC said that all the verdict did was to satisfy falsely created public opinion.

Weeks after a CBI court in Thiruvananthapuram convicted Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy, an editorial on KCBC News, the newly launched website of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) claimed that the investigating agency could not prove charges against the accused. Sr Sephy and Father Kottoor were found guilty in December after 28 years under Sections 302 (Murder) and Section 449 (House-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death) of the Indian Penal Code, and have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mother and baby homes: another chapter from dark side of 20th-century Ireland

IRELAND
Irish Times

January 9, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

Commission set to publish final report on outrageous abuse of women and children

It is probable that the most shocking revelations from the report from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission investigation, due to be published next week, are already known to us.

In its fifth interim report, published in April 2019, it confirmed that at Tuam “the memorial garden site contains human remains which date from the period of the operation of the Tuam children’s home so it is likely that a large number of the children who died in the Tuam home are buried there”. Local historian Catherine Corless had established that 796 children died there.

That interim report continued: “The human remains found by the commission are not in a sewage tank but in a second structure with 20 chambers which was built within the decommissioned large sewage tank.”

[Media Statement] Supporters of Popular Priest Accused of Abuse Demonstrate Publicly, Likely Scaring and Shaming Victims into Silence

CHICAGO (IL)
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 7, 2021

Supporters of a popular and prominent Catholic priest in Chicago took to the streets to show their support for the accused cleric. While we understand that these supporters have a right to their opinion, we hope that in the future they will utilize alternative means of support that will not scare or shame victims into silence.

One of the things being harped on by the supporters of Fr. Michael Pfleger is that the allegations of abuse against him are from 40 years ago. To those who do not spend a lot of time thinking about sexual violence, this delay in reporting can seem baffling, but in reality delays like this are incredibly common. Data shows that the average age of a survivor of sexual violence to come forward is 52 and most survivors suffer in silence and self-blame for decades. This fact is only compounded when the abuser in question is someone who holds a prominent position in their community, like a valued coach, popular teacher, or trusted priest.

[Opinion] As ‘Father Mike’ faces an abuse allegation, supporters rally to defend famed priest

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

January 8, 2021

By Mary Mitchell

A decades-old sexual abuse allegation against the Rev. Michael Pfleger has taken away one of Chicago’s most powerful voices.

Forty years is a lifetime.

I look back at where I was 40 years ago, and, while I marvel at how far I have come, I cringe when I consider where I have come from.

These are the thoughts that crossed my mind when I learned the Chicago Archdiocese announced there would be an investigation of an allegation that accused the Rev. Michael Pfleger of sexually abusing a minor four decades ago. It was a gut punch.

Father Mike? How is that even possible? The activist priest is as famous as a rock star. His civil rights activism includes turning St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church into a sanctuary for Black Roman Catholics and residents of Auburn-Gresham.

Sociologist and criminologist to produce police-style 'social network analysis' of clerical crime across the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese

NEWCASTLE (AUSTRALIA)
Newcastle Herald

January 9, 2021

By Ian Kirkwood

https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/7079148/new-study-to-produce-abuse-map-by-tracking-moves-of-catholic-figures-across-hunter-region/?cs=7573&utm_source=website&utm_medium=index&utm_campaign=sidebar

A Newcastle University academic and a colleague from Queensland are embarking on a Hunter version of a research project that analysed the movements of Catholic figures around Victoria to uncover an alleged 16 child abuse networks within the Melbourne and Ballarat dioceses.

Newcastle sociologist Dr Kathleen McPhillips and criminologist Dr Jodi Death of the Queensland University of Technology's law faculty will lead the project, which recently received ethics approval from both institutions. Both Dr McPhillips and Dr Death (pronounced "Deeth"), have published widely on clerical child abuse.

The Melbourne mapping was carried out by one of Dr Death's PhD students and drew on her work, including a 2017 book on the Royal Commission and other Australian inquiries.

Campaigner resigns over victims' compensation

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

January 9, 2021

By Lauren Harte

A campaigner for victims of institutional abuse has resigned in disgust after some victims were offered as little as £10,000 in compensation.

Martin Adams, from Survivors Together, says many victims of historical abuse have lost all faith in the redress board that was part of the late Sir Anthony Hart’s Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry recommendations.

The HIA studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.

There were 76 homes that operated during that time and abuse victims from all of them would be eligible to apply for compensation.

Former principal of Wildomar’s Faith Baptist Academy pleads guilty to molesting teen in 1990

SAN BERNARDINO (CA)
San Bernardino Sun via the Press-Enterprise

January 8, 2021

By Joe Nelson
.
The former principal of Wildomar’s Faith Baptist Academy pleaded guilty Friday, Jan. 8, to molesting a teenage student who babysat for his family more than 30 years ago.

Laverne Paul Fox, 61, who also formerly served as the bus director for the affiliated Faith Baptist Church, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of sexual abuse involving a minor before Judge Mark Mandio at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. Fox is scheduled for sentencing on April 30, and faces a maximum of four years, eight months in prison, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

January 8, 2021

'No sin' - former New Orleans priest says he befriended accuser, denies sex abuse

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WWL-TV

January 8, 2021

By David Hammer

In a remarkably candid interview from his native Holland, Father Joseph de Water took questions from WWL-TV about accusations that he abused a young boy years ago.

Faced with a formal church investigation into allegations that he sexually abused a minor in the mid-1970s, Father Joseph deWater is denying wrongdoing and suggests his accuser should not “dwell on things when he was a young boy.”

DeWater, who capped a 35-year career in the New Orleans area as a pastor, coach and educator by having a Catholic school gymnasium named for him in 2003, granted WWL-TV an extensive interview at his home in the village of Voorhout, Netherlands, about 35 minutes south of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam.

Texas diocese asks state Supreme Court to drop accused deacon’s defamation suit

LUBBOCK (TX)
CNA

January 8, 2021

The Catholic Diocese of Lubbock, Texas has asked its state Supreme Court to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought against the diocese by one of its former deacons, who claims he was wrongfully accused of child abuse.

The diocese holds that the suit should be dropped in order to protect the Church’s First Amendment rights to protect matters of theology, Church discipline, compliance with Church moral teaching and ecclesiastical governance from the jurisdiction of civil courts, according to Courthouse News Service.

In 2019, former deacon Jesus Guerrero, 76, filed a lawsuit against the diocese, after his name appeared on a public list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The list was published on the diocese’s website in January 2019 in the wake of widespread abuse investigations throughout the Church in the United States.

The One Missing Fact

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal Magazine

January 7, 2021

By Paul Moses

How EWTN misreported the Viganò letter

EWTN’s website declares that “Our mission is simple. We aim to bring you reliable, accurate, trustworthy news, from a perspective of faith. We prize integrity, fairness, and a commitment to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

But in reporting one of the biggest stories to hit the Catholic Church in recent years, EWTN, which says it is the largest religion-news organization in the world, was neither reliable, nor accurate, nor trustworthy. Its coverage of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bold call for Pope Francis to resign his office willfully ignored the gaps and contradictions in his claims (except to explain them away), promoted his credibility, and slanted the narrative against the pope.

This can be seen even more clearly now that the Vatican has released its report on the Holy See’s role in advancing the career of Theodore McCarrick to his pinnacle as cardinal-archbishop of Washington and elder statesman of the American Church—all the while concealing multiple allegations that he sexually harassed and abused seminarians and young priests. But from the start, EWTN shaped the story to fit its increasingly Fox News-ified agenda.

Malta archdiocese condemns charismatic group accused of abuse

ROME
Crux

January 8, 2021

By Elise Ann Allen

Following a 5-month investigation into the charismatic Community of Jesus the Savior, the Archdiocese of Malta has issued a decree forbidding participation in the group after finding what it described as abusive tendencies causing harm to members.

In a Jan. 8 communique, the bishops’ conference of Malta, consisting of the Malta and Gozo dioceses, said they “reaffirm the decision to disassociate themselves from Komunità Ġesù Salvatur,” referring to the group by its Maltese name.

They said this decision was the product of a 5-month investigation conducted by a Church commission which conducted interviews with the leaders of the community, and others who were willing to speak.

Clergy Sex Abuse Defamation Case Reaches Texas Supreme Court

LUBBOCK (TX)
The Texan

January 7, 2021

By Isaiah Mitchell

The Diocese of Lubbock defended their choice to publish the name of a credibly accused sex abuser yesterday before the court.

A priest and a lawyer crossed through a bar — in court, that is. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Texas heard a case between a Lubbock deacon who claimed his diocese defamed him by putting him on a list of credibly accused sex abusers. The Lubbock Diocese believes a ruling in the deacon’s favor would set a precedent against the freedom of churches to discipline their clergy in the manner they see fit.

The case, Diocese of Lubbock v. Guerrero, begins with a sexual incident between deacon Jesus Guerrero and an adult woman that landed him on a list of credibly accused abusers. The Diocese of Lubbock originally labeled him among “Clergy with a Credible Allegation of Sexual Abuse of a Minor,” but later corrected themselves to include “vulnerable adults” alongside children.

Springfield Diocese hires ‘neutral’ agency to gather input from sex abuse victims to improve accountability, prevention

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

January 7, 2021

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

A Deerfield-based organization contracted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is seeking help from clergy sexual abuse survivors as it develops recommendations for the diocese to improve prevention and accountability.

The announcement that recruitment of survivors who were sexually abused by Catholic priests, sisters and other members of the church community is underway by Stop It Now! for an independent report to the diocese was made during a press conference Thursday afternoon outside the Bishop Marshall Center on Elliot Street.

Taskforce announces initiative in response to sexual abuse within Diocese of Springfield

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
WWLP

January 7, 2021

By Hector Molina

An independent task force announced an initiative on the response to sexual abuse within the Diocese of Springfield.

Bishop William Byrne joined members of the independent task force along with representatives from the Stop It Now! organization Thursday at 2:30 p.m. outside the Bishop Marshall Center on Elliot Street in Springfield.

According to a news release sent to 22News from the Diocese of Springfield, the news conference is about an initiative to conduct listening sessions and surveying those who were sexually abused by members of the Catholic clergy.

Australia’s financial crime watchdog conducts ‘detailed review’ of Vatican transfers

VATICAN CITY
CNA

January 7, 2021

Australia’s financial crime watchdog said Thursday that it is conducting a “detailed review” of Vatican-linked transfers worth $1.8 billion.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), a government agency, said Jan. 7 that it was seeking to shed light on the mystery transfers in cooperation with the Vatican.

“AUSTRAC is currently undertaking a detailed review of the figures and is working with the Holy See and Vatican City State Financial Intelligence Unit on this matter,” the agency said in a statement to the Associated Press.

Reports of a money transfer from the Vatican to Australia date back to Oct. 2, when Italian media claimed that an alleged transfer was part of a dossier being compiled by Vatican investigators and prosecutors against Cardinal Angelo Becciu.

Comunicado Oficial da Arquidiocese de Belém

[MEDIA STATEMENT] Official Communiqué of the Archdiocese of Belém

BELÉM (BRAZIL)
Archdiocese of Belém

January 3, 2021

A Arquidiocese de Belém reitera ao povo de Deus, com transparência e serenidade, que está acompanhando as investigações em curso, com a certeza e a confiança de que, ao final, prevalecerá a verdade.

Informa ainda que, devido ao sigilo imposto e em respeito às leis, não pode divulgar mais informações.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The Archdiocese of Belém reiterates to the people of God, with transparency and serenity, who are following the investigations underway, with the certainty and confidence that, in the end, the truth will prevail.

He also informs that, due to the secrecy imposed and in compliance with the laws, he cannot disclose more information.]

[Media Statement] Diocesan Response to the Sexual Abuse Crisis

FALL RIVER (MA)
Diocese of Fall River

January 7, 2021

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V.

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we begin this New Year, I pray that God will bless us all with His grace and bring peace to those in our community who have suffered greatly during the pandemic and the many other challenges we have all faced in 2020.

The scourge of clergy sexual abuse has deeply wounded so many people in our Church. It has touched every diocese worldwide and continues to affect us all – laity and clergy – in significant ways. Today, it is with a contrite heart and commitment to the healing process that I have published a list of clergy, diocesan and religious related to the Diocese of Fall River who have been credibly or publicly accused of committing sexual abuse of a minor.

The review of Diocesan records, some going back 70 years, was incredibly arduous and time consuming. While this review has taken longer than first anticipated, it was crucial that we took the time needed to do it right.

Activist Chicago Priest Is Accused of Sexual Abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
The New York Times

January 7, 2021

By Allyson Waller and Marie Fazio

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, known for his social activism, was accused of abusing a minor 40 years ago, the Archdiocese of Chicago said this week.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, an influential Catholic priest with an activist streak, has stepped aside from his parish on Chicago’s South Side while the authorities and the Archdiocese of Chicago investigate an allegation that he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, told the parishioners of St. Sabina Church, where Father Pfleger is the senior pastor, about the allegation in a letter on Tuesday, saying that the archdiocese’s Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review had been notified about it the day before.

The archdiocese, he said, reported it to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The archdiocese did not disclose details of the accusation against Father Pfleger, nor did the state’s attorney’s office, which said it had referred the matter to the Chicago Police Department. The Police Department said it had opened an investigation but declined to release additional information.

[Media Statement] Archdiocese Settles Three Abuse Cases from 1960s, '70s and '80s

SEATTLE (WA)
Archdiocese of Seattle via Northwest Catholic

January 7, 2021

The Archdiocese of Seattle has reached settlements totaling just over $2 million in three separate cases involving allegations of sexual abuse against four priests of the archdiocese.

During the past six months, settlements were reached in the following cases:

Allegations of sexual abuse by Father Dennis Champagne and Father Michael C. OBrien at St. Michael Parish in Snohomish in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The settlement was reached July 16, 2020. Champagne, who was pastor from 1979 until 1999, was put on administrative leave in 2002 after the archdiocese received an allegation of sexual abuse. He remained on administrative leave until a canonical process was completed, then was placed on permanent prayer and penance, removing him from ministry. OBrien was St. Michael’s pastor from 1974 to 1979. After the archdiocese received a credible complaint of sexual abuse, a canonical process was completed, and in 2010 OBrien was laicized (returned to the lay state).

An allegation of sexual abuse by Father Paul Conn, who served as parochial vicar at Queen of Angels Parish in Port Angeles from 1985 to 1988. In 1988, the archdiocese learned of the sexual abuse allegations and facilitated a report to the police. Conn was arrested and charged, pled guilty to six counts of indecent liberties and served time in prison. From the time of his arrest until 2005, he was not allowed to serve as a priest, and in 2005 he was laicized. The archdiocese reached a settlement in the case on November 19, 2020.

[Media Statement] Diocese of Fall River MA Finally Releases List of Accused Priests

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 7, 2021

Finally, after years of refusal, Catholic officials in Fall River have followed the lead of nearly 160 other dioceses around the country and released a list of priests known to have abused children. This step is long overdue and must be followed by extensive outreach campaigns to ensure victims are informed, parishes are alerted, and the public can learn the true scope of clergy abuse within Fall River’s borders.

We appreciate that Diocesan leaders in Fall River went a step further than many of their counterparts and chose to list, from the outset, religious order priests and clergy who spent time in Fall River but abused elsewhere. Hair splitting over who had jurisdiction over these clerics is not valuable when it comes to informing the public about dangerous men, an exhaustive list of abusers and their information is.

One critical piece of information that is missing from this list, however, is when Catholic officials first learned of the allegations against each priest and what steps were taken in response. We hope that Bishop Edgar da Cunha will update his list to include those critical details. In order to fix what is broken one needs to have all the pieces first, and a clear look at how Diocesan leaders handled each allegation is an important piece.

Fall River Diocese releases names of clergy accused of abuse

FALL RIVER (MA)
WJAR-TV

January 7, 2021

By Amanda Hoskins

The Diocese of Fall River released the names of 75 credibly or publicly accused of sexually abusing a minor Thursday after a long review of internal records.

Some of the records and accusations date back 70 years, with most cases involving conduct that happened between the 1960s and 1980, according to a release from the diocese.

"We did it for the victims, the survivors to bring a sense of justice and healing for them," said Bishop Edgar da Cunha.

Cunha had been criticized in the past for not releasing the list sooner.

After two-year review, Fall River Diocese releases list of clergy credibly accused of abuse

FALL RIVER (MA)
The Standard-Times

January 7, 2021

Two years after announcing a review of allegations of sexual abuse against minors, the Diocese of Fall River on Thursday released a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused.

“As I pray for a spirit of healing and reconciliation, I know that we cannot move on without an honest accounting for the past,” Bishop Edgar M da Cunha said in a press release from the diocese. “As your bishop, I am deeply and profoundly sorry for the abuse that was perpetrated by priests within this diocese and have recommitted myself to do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”

The diocese’s review revealed that 44 of the 650 priests who have served as a Fall River Diocesan priest since the diocese’s founding in 1904, or roughly 7%, have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Priests and abuse victims call for Woelki to step down

GERMANY
The Tablet

January 5, 2021

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

In the escalating crisis that is reverberating across the German Church several priests in the archdiocese of Cologne have called for their archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, to resign.

Woelki is accused of failing to inform the Vatican about a serious sexual abuse allegation involving a priest after he took office as Archbishop of Cologne in 2014.

In a carefully worded Christmas Eve address Woelki did not apologise for the fact that he himself – as the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” alleged in mid-December – is supposed to have covered up for a suspected child molester.

UP: Temple priest, aides charged with rape-murder of woman

UTTAR PRADESH (INDIA)
Hindustan Times

January 7, 2021

Police arrested the two accomplices, Jai Pal alias Jaspal and Vedram Pal, under charges of gang rape and murder on Tuesday but the main accused, Satyaveer alias Satya Narayan , is still on the run, said Badaun special superintendent of police Sankalp Sharma.

A temple priest and two accomplices allegedly gang-raped a 50-year-old anganwadi worker, fractured her leg and ribcage, before leaving her bleeding to die in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district, state police said on Wednesday.

Police arrested the two accomplices, Jai Pal alias Jaspal and Vedram Pal, under charges of gang rape and murder on Tuesday but the main accused, Satyaveer alias Satya Narayan , is still on the run, said Badaun special superintendent of police Sankalp Sharma. The crime was allegedly committed on Sunday when the woman went to the local temple, said the victim’s family members in the police complaint

Reportagem da TV Globo expõe supostos abusos cometidos por Dom Alberto Taveira

[TV Globo's 'Fantástico' report exposes alleged abuses by Dom Alberto Taveira]

BRAZIL
OLiberal.com

January 3, 2021

By Ana Carolina Matos

Matéria televisiva traz novos detalhes e relatos sobre as denúncias contra o Arcebispo Metropolitano de Belém

[Television piece brings new details and reports on allegations against the Metropolitan Archbishop of Belém]

“Não sei por que aceitei ser submetido a tudo isso. Você fica fragilizado, preso àquilo”, diz ex-seminarista vítima de abuso sexual

[“I don't know why I accepted being subjected to all of this. You are fragile, stuck to that ”, says ex-seminarian victim of sexual abuse]

BRAZIL
El Pais

December 21, 2020

By Aiuri Rebello

Ex-seminarista diz que foi chantageado para aceitar abuso sexual do qual afirma ter sido vítima por parte do arcebispo metropolitano de Belém

[Ex-seminarian says he was blackmailed to accept sexual abuse of which he claims to have been a victim by the metropolitan archbishop of Belém]

https://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2020-12-20/nao-sei-por-que-aceitei-ser-submetido-a-tudo-isso-e-uma-construcao-voce-fica-muito-fragilizado-preso-aquilo.html?rel=listapoyo

No relato abaixo, um dos quatro ex-seminaristas que fez a denúncia ao MP e às autoridades eclesiásticas, hoje um estudante universitário de 26 anos, conta sua história e fala sobre a relação com a Igreja Católica, sua religiosidade e sobre o assédio e abuso sexual do qual afirma ter sido vítima por parte do arcebispo metropolitano de Belém, dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: In the report below, one of the four ex-seminarians who made the complaint to the MP and ecclesiastical authorities , today a 26-year-old university student, tells his story and talks about his relationship with the Catholic Church , his religiosity and about harassment and abuse of which he claims to have been the victim of the metropolitan archbishop of Belém , Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa.]

Archbishop Aymond and his fiercest critic make peace, pledge to collaborate on priest abuse crisis

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

January 6, 2021

By Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com, and David Hammer, WWL-TV

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond and one of the local Catholic Church’s most vocal critics announced a detente Wednesday, pledging to ensure justice for victims of sexual molestation by clergy and to collaborate on preventing further abuse.

Local SNAP chapter leader Kevin Bourgeois, left, and Archbishop Gregory Aymond announced on Jan. 6, 2021, that they would collaborate on resolving the local Catholic Church's ongoing clerical molestation scandal. This photo was taken during a meeting on Dec. 15, 2020, which preceded their joint pledge to work together.

In a joint statement from Aymond and Kevin Bourgeois, the leader of the New Orleans chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the two sides said they would create “a program for healing for victims of abuse” aimed at “rebuilding trust between them and the church.”

“Though we may have different ideas and methods, we have common goals: healing for victims, their families and prevention of abuse,” the statement from both men said. “Let us be clear: clergy sexual abuse is a scandal, it is a sin, and it cannot be tolerated.”

The release didn’t provide information on any specific plans or initiatives. Still, it marked a notable thawing of relations between two men who had been clashing publicly for nearly 18 months.

January 7, 2021

After abuse accusation, Fr. Michael Pfleger says he's 'devastated, hurt, angry'

CHICAGO (IL)
Catholic News Agency

January 6, 2021

Father Michael Pfleger, an outspoken activist Chicago priest, has issued a short response after the Archdiocese of Chicago announced it is investigating an allegation that he sexually abused a minor over 40 years ago.

“I am devastated, hurt and yes angry, but I am first, a person of faith, I trust God,” Pfleger said on his Facebook page Jan. 6. “Please keep me in prayer and the faith community of St. Sabina. I have been asked by the diocese not to speak out at this time. I am blessed with good leadership and amazing members, whom I love.”

Referring to the person who made the allegation, Pfleger said “Pray also for the person, my life is more than a 40-year-old accusation, and on that and my faith I will stand... The Lord is my Shepherd... I love you...”

Police to arraign Deeper Life school officials over alleged sexual abuse

AKWA IBOM STATE (NIGERIA)
Premium Times

January 6, 2021

By Cletus Ukpong

Some officials of the Deeper Life High School have been detained by the police.

The police in Akwa Ibom State are preparing to arraign some officials of the Deeper Life High School over the alleged sexual abuse of an 11-year-old student of the school in Uyo.

Some officials of the school were said to have been detained after attending a meeting at the police headquarters, Uyo, summoned by the Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

David Okokon, lawyer to the parents of the boy said to have been sexually abused by two senior students of the Deeper Life High School, told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday morning, he would be in court today for the arraignment.

“They (the police) are arraigning those people found culpable, this morning,” said Mr Okokon who flew into Uyo from Abuja for the case.

[Media Statement] Statement of Attorney Jeff Anderson

ST. PAUL (MN)
Jeff Anderson & Associates (plaintiffs' law firm)

January 6, 2021

For decades, Reverend Michael Pfleger has earned the praise of peers, parishioners and community members alike, particularly in his role as a prominent priest and advocate in the Archdiocese of Chicago. That is undeniable. And because of this, many in the community have immediately rallied in support of him, decrying the actions of the Archdiocese and protesting his administrative removal pending investigation of sexual abuse allegations naming him as perpetrator.

It’s time for understanding and data gathering; understanding of the dynamics of childhood sexual abuse by an authority figure. When that authority figure is a priest, the child is unable to process what has happened to them, to report it, or take any action. If they do, it is often decades later. This level of understanding requires all of us to realize it takes time for these things to come to the surface and be reported. As advocates for and attorneys of survivors of sexual abuse for four decades, working with thousands of survivors in the Chicagoland area and across this country, we understand the dynamics of childhood sexual abuse by clergy.

2021 brings new challenges to Church in Latin America

Angelus News

January 5, 2021

By Inés San Martín | Crux Now

There was no “bang” when most of Latin America rang in the New Year due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but in Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil, 2021 brought “new” concerns. ...

***

Brazil, a bishop under investigation for abuse

Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa, from the Brazilian city of Belem do Para, is under investigation both by local police and the Vatican, for alleged sexual abuse against four seminarians who were between 15 and 18 when the abuse reportedly happened, between 2010 and 2014.

The prelate is being investigated after a journalistic investigation by the Brazilian news site G1. The website interviewed all four alleged victims.

According to one of the accusers, the abuse took place every three months, during a span of two years. Three out of the four alleged victims ended up leaving the seminary, while the fourth was expelled for disciplinary reasons.

After the report, the Vatican dispatched a delegation to investigate the case. The archdiocese released a statement in which it “reiterates to the people of God, with transparency and serenity, that the investigations are ongoing, with the certainty and confidence that, in the end, truth will prevail.”

In the meantime, the archbishop is still in his position, denying all allegations and calling them the “action of the devil.”

Archdiocese of New Orleans, SNAP meet for first time in attempts to unify for abuse victims

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WDSU-TV

January 6, 2021

For the first time, two organizations who have been at odds amid a growing list of victims of sexual assault at the hands of Catholic clergy have come together.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans and New Orleans-area advocate SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) have had a strained relationship ever since the list of accused priests started.

Both organizations issued the following statement saying that first steps were taken to work together for victims:

"For the past 18 months, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and local SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) leadership have appeared at odds, often publicly and in the media, over how the archdiocese has handled claims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Reporters storm out of press conference after Catholic officials ask for silence on child abuse report

GERMANY
Independent

January 6, 2021

By Andy Gregory

Cardinal who commissioned report and sat on it for months faces calls to resign

Journalists have stormed out of a press conference in Germany after Catholic Church officials asked for their “absolute silence” on a long-awaited report into child sex abuse.

A vast and comprehensive report investigating decades of alleged sexual abuse of young people at the hands of clerics and the resulting institutional cover-up in the Archdiocese of Cologne – the world’s wealthiest Catholic diocese, and Germany’s largest – had been pledged back in 2018 by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki.

But Cardinal Woelki, who is also accused of failing to notify the Vatican about alleged abuse by a now-deceased priest known as Father O and faces calls to resign from fellow priests and abuse victims, has been withholding the report since its completion in March.

Germany: Catholic officials ask reporters for 'silence' on child abuse report

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle

January 5, 2021

Reporters walked out of a press event in Cologne after church officials asked them to sign a confidentiality agreement. The officials were due to discuss issues around a key report on child abuse. Journalists were asked to keep the contents of the report a "secret"

With the Catholic Church shaken by the child abuse scandal in Germany, journalists walked out of a press event organized by church representatives on Tuesday.

The Archdiocese of Cologne had called for a press conference to discuss an unpublished child abuse report. Specifically, church officials were to explain issues regarding the report's methodology. These issues, at least according to Cologne Archbishop Reiner Maria Woelki, were the reason for withholding the document from the public in its current form.

Church representatives said they would show journalists a redacted version of the document. They also asked reporters to sign a pledge to keep the contents "secret," including information on crimes, alleged perpetrators and implicated church officia

Indonesian church worker jailed for molesting altar boys

JAKARTA (INDONESIA)
UCA News

January 7, 2021

By Ryan Dagur

Syahril Marbun handed 15 years following first sexual abuse trial in a civil court involving Indonesian Catholic Church

A church worker in Indonesia has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting altar boys following the first-ever sexual abuse trial in a civil court involving the Indonesian Catholic Church.

Depok District Court in West Java convicted Syahril Marbun on Jan. 6 for abusing two altar boys at St. Herkulanus Parish in Depok in Bogor Diocese, where he served as liturgical coordinator.

He was also ordered to pay a fine of 200 million rupiah (US$14,360) and to compensate the two victims, aged 14 and 15, with 6.5 million and 11.5 million rupiah respectively.

The sentence was harsher than the 11 years demanded by prosecutors. The judge said it was because Marbun abused his position as an educator and guide to the boys.

As archdiocese’s safe environment deputy takes national AMBER Alert role, former St. Paul Police community affairs chief steps in

ST. PAUL (MN)
The Catholic Spirit

January 6, 2021

By Dave Hrbacek

https://thecatholicspirit.com/news/local-news/as-archdioceses-safe-environment-deputy-takes-national-amber-alert-role-former-st-paul-police-community-affairs-chief-steps-in/

Janell Rasmussen remembers a press conference held by Ramsey County Attorney John Choi several years ago. As the deputy director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, she stood on one side of Choi’s podium with other representatives of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to address clergy sexual abuse.

On the opposite side stood law enforcement officers. Among them was Paul Iovino of the St. Paul Police Department. Little did Rasmussen and Iovino know then that they would someday work on the same team.

Thanks to some big moves in December, they will now serve together in the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment. Rasmussen is leaving her full-time position but staying on part time, while Iovino comes in as her replacement. Rasmussen, who joined the archdiocese in 2016, was hired last month as the national AMBER Alert administrator, replacing Jim Walters, who is retiring. She will start full-time in that position in March.

Supporters Rally Around Father Michael Pfleger Amid Sexual Abuse Claim

CHICAGO (IL)
CBS 2 TV

January 6, 2021

[VIDEO]

Activists and community members are rallying around Rev. Michael Pfleger, after the Archdiocese of Chicago removed him from his post at St. Sabina, after claims he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago. CBS 2's Mugo Odigwe reports.

Catholic community reacts to sexual abuse allegations levied against Father Pfleger

CHICAGO (IL)
Fox 32 Chicago

January 6, 2021

[VIDEO]

Heidi Schlumpf, executive editor of the National Catholic Reporter, talks about the Catholic community's reaction to the temporary removal of Father Pfleger from St. Sabina's Church in lieu of sexual abuse allegations.

Chicago priest stepping aside after sex-abuse allegation

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press

January 6, 2021

By Don Babwin

Activist Chicago priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger has been asked to step aside due to an allegation of sexual abuse

Nationally known activist Chicago priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger has been asked to step aside due to an allegation of sexual abuse that occurred decades ago, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago announced.

The archdiocese said Tuesday that its Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review received an allegation that the 70-year-old Pfleger sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago. Cardinal Blase Cupich in a letter to members of the South Side church Faith Community of Saint Sabina, which is pastored by Pfleger, noted the allegation hasn’t been proven as true or false and guilt or innocence should not be assumed.

Pfleger, who has garnered attention for taking on everyone from drug dealers to Jerry Springer, responded to the allegation Wednesday by asking for prayers for himself and the person making the accusation.

Texas Diocese Asks Court to Toss Libel Suit Over List of Accused Abusers

TEXAS
Courthouse News Service

January 6, 2021

By Cameron Langford

The Catholic Diocese of Lubbock urged the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by a former deacon who claims it falsely outed him as a child molester.

Texas Catholic bishops say the case threatens to uproot tenants of church autonomy enshrined in the First Amendment and open churches up to crippling liability simply for following their principles.

Jesus Guerrero said he was “shocked, confused, hurt and I knew that it wasn’t true” when the diocese published a list of clergy it said had been “credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor” in January 2019 and his name was on it, according to his brief with the state high court.

January 6, 2021

Priest accused of sexually assaulting parishioner denies claims but admits to having affair

NEW JERSEY
NJ Advance Media

January 5, 2021

By Matt Gray

A New Jersey priest has acknowledged he had an affair with a woman who recently filed a lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted her.

The Rev. Robert L. Sinatra, of St. Padre Pio Parish in Vineland, admitted the affair in a Jan. 2 letter to parishioners, but denied that he assaulted the woman.

“With a deep sense of embarrassment and shame, I write to let you know that in late 2018 I had a two-month affair with an unmarried woman,” Sinatra wrote.

The letter and the woman’s lawsuit do not identify her by name. The suit describes her as a parishioner who participated in church activities.

Sinatra remains at his post with the parish and the Camden Diocese has no plans to remove him at this time, a spokesman said.

Sinatra met with Bishop Dennis Sullivan, head of the Camden Diocese, to report the transgression and ended the affair, according to the letter, which notes that the woman also met with Sullivan in July 2019.

Sullivan allowed Sinatra to continue serving as a priest while he “agreed to seek spiritual direction and counseling to prevent any future lapses.”

Sinatra, who was named pastor of the St. Padre Pio Parish in 2015, said he paid for a year of counseling to help the woman deal with the situation and Sullivan agreed that the diocese would pay for additional counseling.

“Although ending this relationship was difficult for me, it was obviously very difficult for her as well,” Sinatra wrote.

Though Sinatra said he blocked the woman’s phone number and severed any known social media connections with her, “she still found occasions to be in my presence,” he wrote.

She filed the civil suit in state Superior Court on Dec. 18.

It names the parish as defendant and accuses supervisors of failing to recognize that Sinatra posed a danger to others.

“Fr. Sinatra exploited his position of authority over Plaintiff as a priest, counselor and spiritual director,” the suit states. “Defendant and the Diocese knew or should have known that Fr. Sinatra was a danger to parishioners before Fr. Sinatra sexually assaulted Plaintiff.”

Pfleger removed from parish after sexual abuse allegation

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times via Daily Herald

January 5, 2021

Father Michael Pfleger, the longtime pastor at St. Sabina Church and an outspoken anti-gun violence advocate, has been removed from the Auburn Gresham parish following revelations of a decades-old sexual abuse allegation against a minor.

Cardinal Blase Cupich announced "the difficult news" in a letter to the St. Sabina community Tuesday, saying he has "asked Father Pfleger to step aside from ministry following receipt by the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor more than 40 years ago."

Cupich said Pfleger agreed to his request and will live away from the parish during the course of the archdiocese's investigation. The allegation has also been reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state's attorney's office, Cupich said.

Pfleger Asked to Step Aside From Ministry After Child Abuse Allegation, Chicago Archdiocese Says

CHICAGO (IL)
NBC-TV Chicago / Channel 5

January 5, 2021

[VIDEO]

The Archdiocese of Chicago has asked Father Michael Pfleger to step aside from his ministry following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that was received by the Archdiocese’s Office of Child Abuse Investigations and Review.

According to a letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich, the allegation stems from an incident that occurred more than 40 years ago.

“Father Pfleger has agreed to cooperate fully with my request and will live away from the parish while this matter is investigated,” Cupich said in the letter.

Father Michael Pfleger accused of sexually abusing child decades ago, steps away from ministry: archdiocese

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS-TV / ABC7

By Eric Horng

January 5, 2021

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich sent a letter to the St. Sabina parish Tuesday informing them Father Michael Pfleger will be stepping away from his ministry after being accused of sexually abusing a child.

In the letter, Cupich said the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review received an allegation of sexual abuse of a child that happened more than 40 years ago.

Cupich said Pfleger agreed to step aside from his ministry and will live away from the parish during the investigation. Father Thulani Magwaza will temporarily serve as administrator of St. Sabina parish, and will attend to the church and the school.

Chicago archdiocese removes longtime pastor after sex abuse allegation from 40 years ago is reported

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune via The Southern

January 6, 2021

The longtime pastor of the city’s largest Black Roman Catholic parish has agreed to step away from ministry after a 40-year-old sex abuse allegation surfaced, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Tuesday.

In a statement, the archdiocese gave no details about the allegation other than it involved a minor more than 40 years ago. “Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed,” the statement read.

Father Michael Pfleger, activist Chicago priest, faces claim of abusing minor

CHICAGO (IL)
Catholic News Agency

January 5, 2021

By Kevin Jones

The outspoken activist Chicago priest Father Michael Pfleger faces an allegation that he sexually abused a minor over 40 years ago, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has said, adding that the claims have not been proven true or false and are under investigation.

Cardinal Cupich shared what he said was “difficult news” in a Jan. 5 message to members of Saint Sabina Church and the Saint Sabina Academy. Pfleger has served as a priest at the southside Chicago church since 1983 and is presently described as its senior pastor.

Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Father Michael Pfleger

CHICAGO (IL)
Archdiocese of Chicago

January 5, 2021

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

The Archdiocese of Chicago Distributed the Letter Today to The Faith Community of Saint Sabina and Saint Sabina Academy Community. Parishioners ask for prayers, patience and privacy at this time.

Dear members of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina and the Saint Sabina Academy Community,

I write to share some difficult news about your senior pastor, Father Michael Pfleger. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have asked Father Pfleger to step aside from ministry following receipt by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor more than 40 years ago. Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed.

Chicago's Fr. Pfleger removed over sex abuse allegation

UNITED STATES
National Catholc Reporter

January 5, 2021

By Christopher White

A popular Chicago priest has stepped aside from ministry following allegations that he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago.

In a Jan. 5 letter to St. Sabina Parish and Academy, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich informed the historic parish on the city's south side that senior pastor Fr. Michael Pfleger had agreed to step aside and cooperate while the allegation is investigated.

Pfleger, age 71, is a long-time social activist and has led the historically African American parish since 1981. He has become known throughout the country as a prominent crusader for racial justice, gun control and against drugs. He has previously adopted two children and one foster child. In 2011, he was previously temporarily suspended by Cardinal Francis George after refusing to take another assignment as the head of a local high school.

"Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false," wrote Cupich. "Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed."

Cupich's letter also stated that the allegation was reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State's Attorney.

Event series' proposals aim to raise women's voices in San Diego Diocese

SAN DIEGO (CA)
National Catholic Reporter

January 6, 2021

By Sophie Vodvarka

The 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse sent shock waves through the U.S. Catholic Church. For Bridget Gramme, the moment felt like a "call to women" to improve the church.

"I'm a cradle Catholic, it's my community and my identity and my kids go to Catholic schools," Gramme said. "It's something we really believe in and the community is so important to us. Maybe it's time we step it up and not just sit around and let these things happen."

Gramme is an attorney and member of the advisory board of the Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego.

North Dakota concludes investigation of clerical sex abuse

WASHINGTON D.C.
Catholic News Agency

January 5, 2021

By Christine Rousselle

An 18-month-long investigation into child sexual abuse in North Dakota’s two dioceses has concluded, the state’s attorney general announced Monday.

The investigation focused on a list of 53 men who had previously been identified by the dioceses of Bismarck and Fargo as being accused of sexual abuse. The dioceses considered the allegations against these 53 priests “substantiated.”

The state identified one person, Fr. Odo Muggli, a priest of the Order of St. Benedict, whom they suspect abused at least one child. Muggli was not on the list of initial 53 names as he is not a diocesan priest. Muggli is accused of abusing a child in the 1970s.

Poland: Church cancels lease of liberal Catholic magazine

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press

January 6, 2021

A liberal Roman Catholic magazine in Poland that recently criticized some high-ranking church officials says local church authorities in Krakow have terminated the publication’s office lease after almost 76 years.

The Tygodnik Powszechny (General Weekly) said on Facebook and on its website that a letter from the Krakow Curia delivered Monday gave the magazine three months’ notice to move out. The curia owns the building at 12 Wislna St. that has housed the magazine since 1945.

The publication did not say if it was given an explanation. But it said that moving from the old downtown building to a new location would be an opportunity for a technological upgrade.

The curia did not respond to an email seeking comment.

In its editorials and articles, Tygodnik Powszechny recently criticized anti-LGBT comments by the head of the Krakow diocese, Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski. It also criticized some prominent church leaders, including Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the former secretary to the late pope St. John Paul II, for having taken an evasive approach to the issue of pedophile priests in Poland and elsewhere in the world.

Polícia e Vaticano investigam acusação de assédio e abuso sexual contra arcebispo de Belém

[Police and Vatican investigate allegation of harassment and sexual abuse against archbishop of Bethlehem]

BRAZIL
EL PAÍS

January 4, 2021

By Aiuri Rebello

https://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2020-12-20/policia-e-vaticano-investigam-acusacao-de-assedio-e-abuso-sexual-contra-arcebispo-de-belem.html

Investigação contra Arcebispo Metropolitano de Belém

[Investigation Against Metropolitan Archbishop of Belém]

Quatro ex-integrantes do Seminário São Pio X formalizaram denúncia ao Ministério Público em agosto deste ano acusando Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa de usar suposta terapia para ‘curar’ a homossexualidade como pretexto para tocar seus corpos nus e promover abusos como testes à ‘tentação’ do sexo

[Google Translation: Four former members of the São Pio X Seminar filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor in August this year accusing Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa of using alleged therapy to 'cure' homosexuality as a pretext to touch their naked bodies and promote sex abuse as tests of 'temptation'.]

Brazilian archbishop faces accusations of abuse of seminarians

SÃO PAULO (BRAZIL)
Crux

January 6, 2021

By Eduardo Campos Lima

Archbishop Alberto Taveira Corrêa of Belém, an archdiocese with more than 2 million residents in the Amazon region in Brazil, faces criminal and ecclesial investigations after being accused of sexual harassment and abuse by four former seminarians.

The accusations were disclosed by the Brazilian edition of the Spanish newspaper El País at the end of December and became a high-profile scandal on January 3, when TV Globo’s weekly news show Fantástico aired a report on the story.

The names of the former seminarians have not been revealed. All of them studied at the Saint Pius X seminary in Ananindeua, in Belém’s metropolitan area, and were between 15 and 20 years old when the alleged abuse happened.

Australian bishops puzzled by reported money transfers from Vatican

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

January 5, 2021

By Inés San Martín

Australia’s bishops are seeking answers after the country’s financial watchdog reported that there have been over 47,000 separate transfers from the Vatican or affiliates worth $1.8 billion in the past seven years.

Both the Vatican and the Australian church have denied knowledge of the transfers, made public in December by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC), in response to a parliamentary question by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. The amount of the transactions was first reported by the local newspaper The Australian.

The transfers from the Vatican to Australia rose rapidly from $71.6 million in 2014 to $137.1 million in 2015 before doubling again to $ 295 million in 2016 and peaking at $581.3 million in 2017, according to Austrac disclosures in response to Fierravantti-Well’s questions during Senate estimation hearings.

January 5, 2021

Father Marcelo Rossi and Fabio de Mela defend archbishop accused of sexual assault

BRAZIL
VerietyInfo.com

January 4, 2021

In Fantasy (3) this Sunday, it was revealed that 4 former seminarians were accusing the House of Albert Taveira Correa, Archbishop of Belen do Par, of sexual violence.

The archbishop was defended by the religious.

Among them are Father Marcello Rossi and Fabio de Mello.

“At this hour of battle we are together in prayer,” Father Marcelo Rossi said.

“Don Alberta has supported me many times. I would like my prayers and my commitment to do the same for him right now, ”Melo said.

Brazil archbishop investigated for sex abuse

RIO DE JANEIRO (BRAZIL)
Agence France-Presse

January 5, 2021

Police in Brazil said on Monday they were investigating the archbishop of the city of Belem for alleged sexual abuse against underage seminary students.

Confirmation of the investigation came after four alleged victims of Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa accused him of years of abuse in a sweeping investigative report aired Sunday night on Brazil’s biggest broadcaster, TV Globo.

The alleged victims, who spoke on condition of anonymity, accused the 70-year-old archbishop of abusing them from 2014 to 2018, when they were between 15 and 18 years old.

The former seminarians recounted a pattern of abuse by the archbishop of the northern city.

He would invite them to his home, bring them to his bedroom, ask them questions about sexuality and masturbation, then have them remove their clothes and begin touching and fondling them, sometimes while praying, they said

'Ele me tocou', diz ex-seminarista que acusa arcebispo de Belém de abuso sexual

['He touched me', says ex-seminarian who accuses archbishop of Belém of sexual abuse]

BRAZIL
Globo.com

January 3, 2021

Quatro ex-seminaristas denunciam Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa de usar seu poder para investidas sexuais não consentidas em encontros privados. A Polícia Civil e o Vaticano investigam o caso.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: Four former seminarians denounce Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa of using his power for sexual advances not allowed in private meetings. The Civil Police and the Vatican are investigating the case.]

Catholic Diocese of Charleston facing new lawsuit

CHARLESTON (SC)
WCSC

January 4, 2021

By Nick Reagan

The Catholic Diocese of Charleston is facing a new lawsuit. Court documents filed late Monday afternoon accuse a member of the church of sexual abuse and a systematic cover up of that abuse.

The charges were filed by a woman referred to as Mary Roe 1818. She alleges one of the priests, Frederick Austin McLean, repeatedly abused her and her sister when they were kids.

According to the suit, the abuse took place during the victim’s formative years as a child between 1961 and 1966.

Lawmakers seek to extend North Dakota statutes of limitation in child sex abuse cases

NORTH DAKOTA
The Forum

January 5, 2021

By C. S. Hagen

“The effort behind this is to send a message of hope to survivors. It’s really sending a message of hope and that we care,” said Rep. Austin Schauer, R-West Fargo.

Three state legislators, a Republican and two Democrats, aim to revise North Dakota's statute of limitation laws this legislative session to open up windows of time for survivors of child sex abuse to pursue legal avenues in civil courts.

Planning on the bills began before North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem released a report Monday, Jan. 4, stating that because of current statute of limitation laws, criminal charges won’t be filed against any of the 53 priests named in the Fargo and Bismarck dioceses lists of priests who faced substantiated allegations of child sex abuse.

Much of the abuse occurred from the 1950s to the 1980s, and many of the priests named on the lists are dead. Current state law stipulates that the statute of limitations for child sex abuse is 21 years. Failure to report child abuse, a misdemeanor, has a statute of limitation of two years.

Rep. Austin Schauer, R-West Fargo, Sen. Kathy Hogan, D-Fargo, and Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, are working together on bills that would create an “open window” of two years for sexual abuse victims to file a civil lawsuit, and would extend the statute of limitations from three to 10 years for sexual abuse of a minor, Schauer said.

[News Release] Investigation of Catholic Dioceses Concludes

BISMARCK (ND)
Office of the Attorney General

January 4, 2021

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem today announced that the investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses has concluded.

The eighteen month long criminal investigation commenced around the time the two North Dakota Catholic Dioceses, headquartered in Fargo and Bismarck, compiled and released a list of 53 individuals for whom they felt allegations of child sexual abuse had been substantiated. Stenehjem met with Bishops David Kagan and John Folda in June of 2019, and requested access to inspect all the records of the church relating to clergy abuse, and the Bishops agreed.

Stenehjem assigned four seasoned agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the cases. The Dioceses cooperated with the Attorney General’s office in allowing the agents to review all complaints, records and files, including allegations for those not previously designated as “substantiated” by the Dioceses.

No charges possible for priests after child sex abuse investigation, North Dakota AG says

BISMARCK (ND)
Grand Forks Herald

January 4, 2021

By April Baumgarten

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the Fargo and Bismarck dioceses releasing their lists of 53 priests and other Catholic officials who faced substantiated allegations of child sex abuse.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says that after a lengthy investigation, criminal charges won't be filed against any priests or other Catholic officials accused of sexually abusing children in the state.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation found that two living priests could have faced criminal charges for allegedly abusing children. However, the statute of limitations has run out, Stenehjem said Monday, Jan. 4.

“I regret it will not be possible to have these men face their victims at a trial and face the potential consequences, but I hope it brings a measure of comfort to the victims that these crimes were eventually investigated,” Stenehjem said in a statement.

ND Attorney General - Catholic Abuse Investigation

NORTH DAKAOTA
Knox Radio

January 4, 2021

By Pat Sweeney

North Dakota's attorney general says his office's 18-month investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the state's two Roman Catholic dioceses will not result in any charges.

Wayne Stenehjem says too much time has passed to prosecute the two lone living clergy members. The investigation began when the Fargo and Bismarck dioceses provided the state a list of 53 clergy members who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

ND Attorney General announces end of investigation into sexual abuse by clergy

NORTH DAKOTA
Williston Herald

January 4, 2021

https://www.willistonherald.com/news/public_safety/nd-attorney-general-announces-end-of-investigation-into-sexual-abuse-by-clergy/article_4224ead6-4eba-11eb-8cad-93476a8fe62c.html

Issues with the statute of limitations on allegations mean no criminal charges will come from the state’s investigation into decades-old allegation of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

The investigation started about 18 months ago, when the Catholic Dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck released a list of 53 people who had been accused of sexual abuse in cases the diocese believed were substantiated.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem met with Bishops David Kagan and John Folda in June 2019, and asked to inspect all the records of the church relating to clergy abuse.

Stenehjem: Deaths, statute of limitations preclude any prosecution of sex abuse crimes committed by ND Catholic Dioceses clergy

NORTH DAKOTA
KXNet.com

January 4, 2021

By Keith Darnay

https://www.kxnet.com/news/local-news/stenehjem-deaths-statute-of-limitations-preclude-any-prosecution-of-sex-abuse-crimes-committed-by-nd-catholic-dioceses-clergy/

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem today released the results of an investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses.

The bottom line: Of the 53 people named by the Dioceses, and an additional person identified by the state during its investigation, all but two have died.

And the allegations against the remaining two date back to the 1970s, meaning the statute of limitations in effect at the time had run out, precluding any current prosecutions.

Investigation into clergy members accused of child sex abuse runs out of time

BISMARCK (ND)
KFYR

January 4, 2021

An investigation conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigations into the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses found two clergy members accused of child sex abuse cannot be charged because the statue of limitations has run out.

According to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, an 18-month investigation looked into 53 individuals with the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses accused of child sex abuse.

Of the 53 names, only two were alive at the time the investigation began, Norman Dukart of Dickinson and another clergy member who moved to Minnesota.

BCI agents say during the course of the investigation another clergy member, Odo Muggli of the Assumption Abbey in Richardton, was identified as another suspect.

Attorney general concludes child sex abuse investigation in Fargo, Bismarck dioceses

BISMARCK (ND)
KVRR

January 4, 2021

By Jim Monk

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says an 18-month investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic dioceses has concluded.

Stenehjem says the investigation began around the time when the Diocese of Fargo and the Diocese of Bismarck released a list of 53 people whom they believed that allegations of child sexual abuse had been substantiated.

STENEHJEM: INVESTIGATION INTO CATHOLIC DIOCESES CONCLUDES

NORTH DAKOTA
AM 1100

January 4, 2021

By Chris Larson

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem today announced that the investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses has concluded.

The eighteen month long criminal investigation commenced around the time the two North Dakota Catholic Dioceses, headquartered in Fargo and Bismarck, compiled and released a list of 53 individuals for whom they felt allegations of child sexual abuse had been substantiated. Stenehjem met with Bishops David Kagan and John Folda in June of 2019, and requested access to inspect all the records of the church relating to clergy abuse, and the Bishops agreed.

Stenehjem assigned four seasoned agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the cases. The Dioceses cooperated with the Attorney General’s office in allowing the agents to review all complaints, records and files, including allegations for those not previously designated as “substantiated” by the Dioceses.

Investigation into clergy sex abuse in Catholic Church concludes in North Dakota

FARGO (ND)
KEGO

January 4, 2021

By Paul Jurgens

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Monday that the investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the two catholic dioceses in the state has concluded.

The 18-month criminal investigation began around the time the two North Dakota Catholic Dioceses, in Fargo and Bismarck, released a list of 53 people for whom they felt allegations of child sexual abuse had been substantiated. Stenehjem met with Bishops David Kagan and John Folda in June of 2019, and requested access to inspect all the records of the church relating to clergy abuse.

Stenehjem assigned four agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the cases. The Dioceses cooperated with the Attorney General’s office in allowing the agents to review all complaints, records and files, including allegations for those not previously designated as “substantiated” by the Dioceses.

January 4, 2021

[Commentary] The Credibility Deficit of Victoria’s Courts

AUSTRALIA
Quadrant Online

January 3, 2021

By David Ward

State institutions have good and bad pandemics like war correspondents have good and bad wars. The lockdown came at a convenient time for Victoria’s criminal courts, where jury trials quietly resumed last month. It allowed the unresolved questions about the state’s judicial leadership to be shuffled down the priority line, south of the interim settings and subject to operational requirements. The problem for the courts is that applying the law correctly is generally regarded as an operational requirement. It’s a problem because the courts are operating again and the questions are still unresolved.

You wouldn’t necessarily have known it from the analysis but George Pell’s High Court appeal was decided on the facts, law and “judicial method”. That’s extraordinary, and the divergence between the state and national court on all three was clear-cut and irreconcilable. There was no disputing which authority prevailed, nor where the corrections had to be made, and seen to be made. That was in April.

[Commentary] The Next Pope

Open Tabernacle (blog)

January 4, 2021

By Betty Clermont

Plans for the election of the next pope are well under way. In the last quarter of 2020, there have been indications as to what the next pontiff will say and do. He will continue to make meaningless policies and procedures about child sex abuse. So thousands upon thousands of children around the world will remain at risk of being sexually tortured. All will be severely traumatized for life. Many will die.

The next pope will maintain his predecessors’ opposition to women’s and LGBTQ person’s human rights while appearing to be liberal on issues pleasing to the American mainstream media.

In contrast to the major portion of Pope Francis’ pontificate, leaders of the Catholic rightwing are uniting behind the pope and will continue in the future, doing whatever is necessary to bolster the prestige and importance of the head of the Church.

As has been true since the 1978 election of Pope John Paul II, the pontiff will reign, but Opus Dei* will govern.

Signs of the Time

A report on the former archbishop of Washington D.C., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was released on Nov. 10. It had been started more than two years earlier. Pope Francis had ordered this account be made only after the New York Archdiocese found that an allegation of sex abuse of a minor by Cardinal McCarrick was “credible and substantiated” in June 2018. After the announcement, two other accusations of sexual abuse of minors by McCarrick were revealed.

Trial of former St. Helen's seminarian now scheduled for May

OHIO
News-Herald

January 3, 2021

By Andrew Cass

https://www.news-herald.com/news/trial-of-former-st-helens-seminarian-now-scheduled-for-may/article_70baadfe-4dd4-11eb-8bb2-278c4bf471e5.html

The trial of a Strongsville priest with Geauga County ties is now scheduled for late May, federal court records show.

The priest, Robert McWilliams, 40, is facing charges of two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, three counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of transportation of child pornography, one count of receipt and distribution of visual depictions of real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and one count of possession of child pornography.

McWilliams is a former seminarian at St. Helen’s Catholic Church in Newbury Township.

A trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio was previously scheduled for Feb. 18, but in December defense attorney Robert A. Dixon asked for the case to be continued, citing ongoing challenges stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Dixon’s motion was unopposed by federal prosecutors. Northern District of Ohio Judge Sara Lioi set a new jury trial date of May 24. The new deadline for a plea deal in the case is set for April 9, court records show.

McWilliams was arrested Dec. 5, 2019, at St. Joseph in Strongsville after the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force raided his office and living space. He was facing criminal charges in Cuyahoga and Geauga counties, but prosecutors in both ultimately dropped their cases after a federal complaint was filed Feb. 21 in the The Northern District of Ohio U.S. Court.

Swimming, tennis join redress scheme but Jehovah's Witnesses stay out

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

January 4, 2021

By Paul Osborne

Hundreds of applications by abuse survivors for redress will start to flow through in the wake of more institutions joining the support scheme.

But Families Minister Anne Ruston said she remained concerned three organisations had still not signed, meaning 77 applications from abuse survivors could not be progressed.

About 450 institutions have signed up to the national redress scheme covering more than 60,650 sites including churches, children's homes, schools, swimming centres and sports clubs.

Having named and shamed a number of institutions in July, more than 100 bodies signed up before December 31.

Cardinal Marx says failure to publish German abuse report is a disaster

GERMANY
La Croix International

December 21, 2020

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Top papal advisor criticizes fellow German cardinal, saying refusal to disclose independent findings on abuse will hurt everyone

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, who is one of Pope Francis' closest advisors, has criticized fellow German Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki for refusing to publish an independent report on clerical abuse in the latter's Archdiocese of Cologne.

"What the public now perceives is lawyers squabbling about quibbles on the backs of the (abuse) victims," Marx told the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung in a long interview on December 15.

"That is disastrous for all of us," said the 67-year-old Bavarian, a member of the pope's Council of Cardinals and coordinator of the Holy See's Council for the Economy.

PURE EVIL: ‘Paedo priest’ arrested for ‘filming sick sex attacks on 53 children after recruiting vulnerable kids into church’

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sun

January 1, 2021

By Will Stewart and Imogen Braddick

A Russian priest has reportedly been arrested after allegedly filming sick sex attacks on more than 50 children.

Yury Abramov, 39, a former activist in the pro-Putin political party United Russia, faces multiple charges of abuse from the last decade.

Known as Father Spiridon, the alleged paedophile is accused of molesting children aged 12 to 16, and making pornographic videos of his victims.

The now-suspended priest is also a computer sciences teacher at a school in Amurzet, eastern Russia.

A church bell ringer named Sergey Moos, 27, is suspected of acting as an accomplice.

A total of 53 children are suspected to be victims of Abramov, state media outlet RIA Novosti reported, citing a law enforcement source.

Controversial new French archbishop wants to bring healing

FRANCE
La Croix International

December 21, 2020

By Mélinée Le Priol

Exclusive interview with Archbishop Olivier de Germay of Lyon, successor to Cardinal Philippe Barbarin

Archbishop Olivier de Germay has officially taken over as the head of the Archdiocese of Lyon, one of France's oldest and most important local Churches.

The 60-year-old native of Tours, whom Pope Francis appointed last October to succeed the scandal-damaged Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, was formally installed last Sunday in Saint Jean Cathedral.

He served the last eight years as Bishop of Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. He now takes up the reins in Lyon, which, since 2016, has been seen as the epicenter for the clergy sex abuse crisis in France.

Archbishop de Germay spoke with La Croix's Mélinée Le Priol about his desire to work for the unity of his new archdiocese.

Former Capuchin priest Yurgel accused of abuse in new lawsuit

NORTH CAROLINA
Catholic News Herald

December 29, 2020

Former Capuchin Franciscan priest Robert Yurgel, who was dismissed from his religious order and removed from the priesthood in 2010, has been accused by a second man of child sexual abuse in the late 1990s while Yurgel served as a parochial vicar in the Diocese of Charlotte.

A California man, now 28, alleges in a civil lawsuit that Yurgel abused him at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte when the man was about 5 to 7 years old. Yurgel was assigned by his New Jersey-based religious order to work in the Charlotte diocese from 1997 to 1999.

The lawsuit was filed Dec. 14, 2020, in Mecklenburg County Superior Court against Yurgel, the Diocese of Charlotte, and Yurgel’s former religious order, the Capuchin Franciscans’ Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis in Union City, N.J.

Survivors reflect on Australia sex abuse inquiry, three years on

AUSTRALIA
Al Jazeera

December 15, 2020

By Ali MC

The landmark inquiry gave survivors a chance to talk, while legal changes have allowed them to seek redress.

Kym Krasa was just eight years old when she was first sexually abused by a member of the Catholic Church.

A so-called “part” Aboriginal child, she had been taken from her impoverished family and placed in an orphanage.

But instead of being cared for, she was abused, and the abuse would continue for the next decade at the hands of a priest and church parishioners, and as a teenager, by a man for whom she was forced to work as a domestic servant.

It was not until the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established in 2012 that Krasa, now 67, could finally talk about her experiences. It is now three years since the commission completed its work.

January 3, 2021

Nearly 40 years later, a former Boy Scout remains haunted by alleged assault

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

January 1, 2021

By Brian MacQuarrie

After nearly 40 years, a middle-age man with five children remains haunted by the memory of a Boy Scout camping trip to New Hampshire.

Kevin Hannon had been sleeping during a rainy night in 1981, sheltering in a tent near Adams Pond in Barnstead. He woke suddenly to a hand groping his genitals, he recalled recently. Shocked and confused, he did not say a word as the perpetrator withdrew and walked away.

The 14-year-old recognized the man who had touched him, someone Hannon had trusted, a respected member of the West Roxbury neighborhood where they both lived, and the scoutmaster of his troop.

“I was afraid to tell anybody, afraid to be ridiculed, and afraid of how people would think of me,” Hannon said in an interview at his kitchen table. “When I came home from camp, I felt a little lost. I contemplated hurting myself.”

This autumn, Hannon finally came forward with the allegation, becoming one of more than 95,000 people to file sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America before a Nov. 16 deadline set by US Bankruptcy Court. The 110-year-old organization had asked for bankruptcy protection in February as the rising cascade of allegations posed a potentially crippling blow to its finances.

The bankruptcy proceedings, which have paused previous lawsuits, are expected to cause a dramatic restructuring of the Boy Scouts, which has reported more than $1 billion in assets but is beset by dwindling membership and revenues.

Hannon is among 105 former Boy Scouts represented by Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer who filed suit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston during the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the church.

New sex abuse and ‘grooming’ allegations target former Staten Island priest

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
Staten Island Avance

January 2, 2021

By Kyle Lawson

Former priest Ralph LaBelle has again been accused of sexually abusing a young male parishioner on Staten Island.

According to a civil complaint filed last week in Richmond County state Supreme Court, St. George, the victim was “groomed” and sexually abused between the ages of 13 and 16-years-old.

At the time, LaBelle was assigned to St. Clare’s R.C. Church in Great Kills. He was there from 1979 to 1985.

The plaintiff, Donald O’Brien, is seeking damages from the Archdiocese of New York and St. Clare’s for “severe and permanent” injuries that have included “pain, suffering, emotional trauma and humiliation.”

LaBelle already was included on a list of clergy credibly accused of abuse unveiled in April 2019 by the Archdiocese of New York. He was laicized in 2005, after several victims had come forward.

Obituary for Bishop Geoff Robinson

AUSTRALIA
Pearls and Irritations (blog)

January 3, 2021

By Michael Kelly

[For more about the impact of Bishop Robinson, see: Case Study 31: Retired Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; Australian bishop testifies on prevalence of child sex abuse in the church, by Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter, September 10, 2015; and 'I was abused too': The bishop who fought for sex abuse victims, by Anne Lim, Eternity News, December 15, 2017.]

Saying farewell to Bishop Geoff Robinson as we did when he died on December 29, 2020, is saying goodbye to one of the few Australian Catholic bishops with his integrity and reputation for honesty and championing the defence of the weak and the abused still intact.

He was outstandingly intelligent and compassionate. He lent his considerable knowledge of Church law to ease the burden of those who suffered the effects of failed marriages. He focused on what is essential in Christianity by his very accessible, popular commentaries on the Synoptic Gospels. His commentaries were well appreciated by preachers and believers of all denominational allegiance

While our paths overlapped from time to time, it is what he will be best remembered for most – caring for and promoting the rights of children abused by Catholic officials, including priests – that brought about a very significant intersection of our paths in 1997.

Bishop Robinson returns to the Father at 83

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Weekly

December 30, 2020

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, a former auxiliary bishop of Sydney, died on 29 December after a long battle with terminal illness. He was 83.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP paid tribute to the late Bishop, who recently marked 60 years of priesthood and had been a bishop for 36 years.

“I saw Bishop Robinson before his death and he was impressively peaceful, prayerful and looking forward to going to the Father,” Archbishop Fisher said in a statement issued after Bishop Robinson’s death.

“In this life he served in parishes, as a canon lawyer and law lecturer, and as an auxiliary bishop of Sydney. In the latter role he was very helpful to me when I was first appointed as an auxiliary bishop alongside him. He long contributed to the governance of Catholic education in NSW and, again, graciously helped with the ‘handover’ to me of the Catholic schools portfolio in Sydney and statewide.

An outspoken voice

“Bishop Robinson was an outspoken voice for the victims of child sexual abuse within the Church and the need for just redress and effective child protection going forward. He was undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in moving the Church forward on these matters,” the Archbishop said.

After abuse, addiction, and recovery, Mike McDonnell works to help others

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

January 3, 2021

By Isabella Simonetti

Mike McDonnell understands how victims can lose their way.

He was abused by two Catholic priests, one of whom was later convicted, a dark secret that traumatized him so much he became addicted to drugs and alcohol, two of his three marriages failed, and he stole about $100,000 from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — a crime for which he served nearly a year in jail.

But through recovery, and maintaining his Catholic faith, McDonnell, 52, has rebuilt himself as a victims advocate as he tries to help others. He’s now a local leader for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

“He’ll take phone calls at all hours of the day and night,” said Shaun Dougherty, a board member of SNAP and a fellow advocate. “He’ll talk victims through any problem that they have. He’ll find resources for them if they need it. He’ll help guide them in any way that he can.”

Many of the victims McDonnell supports have suffered unemployment, divorce, the loss of a home, or addiction.

“I’m able to validate what they are sharing with me,” McDonnell said. “They’re getting an understanding that someone else has walked the same path.”

[Opinion] The Dawn Patrol: Frank J. Hanna's Strange Secret

UNITED STATES
The Dawn Patrol (blog)

December 31, 2020

By Dawn Eden Goldstein, S.Th.D.

EWTN's firing of radio host Gloria Purvis this week further exposed what many observers have already known about the international Catholic media network: partisan politics plays an outsize role in determining which voices are heard there and which ones are silenced. In the words of Christopher Lamb, "it is Fox News under a Catholic cover."

To better understand what has happened to EWTN and, by extension, to the mainstream of the pro-life Catholic nonprofit world—a world I was part of for many years as an employee of the Cardinal Newman Society and Americans United for Life, and as a frequent EWTN guest—I did a deep-dive into the finances of one of its major donors, Frank J. Hanna III. What I discovered should concern every Catholic and particularly those who, like myself, are appalled by how the Catholic pro-life movement—whose goal of ending abortion I fully support—has been hijacked by people who elevate Trump while deriding the Holy Father.

Seattle archbishop is stonewalling push for more transparency of church sex-abuse cases, group contends

SEATTLE (WA)
Seattle Times

January 2, 2021

By Lewis Kamb

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-archbishop-is-stonewalling-push-for-more-transparency-of-church-sex-abuse-cases-group-contends/

Their ranks include ex-federal prosecutors, a retired judge, a one-time assistant police chief, even a former priest. But a group of prominent Catholics say they still can’t get an audience with Seattle’s new archbishop in their push to address the fallout of a lingering scandal.

Members of Heal Our Church, a Seattle-based alliance of practicing Catholics who seek a public review of how the Roman Catholic Church’s worldwide sexual abuse scandal secretly festered within the parishes of Western Washington, contend they’re being stonewalled by Archbishop Paul Etienne.

Since requesting a meeting with Etienne in January, group members said the archbishop has refused to discuss their call for a citizen-led review of the Seattle Archdiocese’s private records on clergy abuse. Group members contend only full disclosure of the secret files — with a public airing about the archdiocese’s known pedophile clergy members and how the church dealt with them — can ultimately heal the church and rebuild trust within the broader community.

Child abuse allegations against Troy church divide family, friends, community

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times-Union

January 3, 2021

By Edward McKinley

“No matter what people say negatively, it’s painful, it’s hurtful, it’s discouraging, it’s angering and it can defame the Lord’s bride, the church, most of all,” Pastor Phil Smith, of Victorious Life Christian Church, said in an early August sermon. “The enemy seeks to defame our Lord and give Him a bad name.”

His message — only God is the source of ultimate judgment and forgiveness — was typical for a sermon. But the apparent inspiration for the message on that Sunday was atypical, and it was not the enemy harming the church’s reputation, but a young woman suing them for allegedly abetting and harboring a Sunday school teacher who she says sexually abused her as a girl.

Abigail Barker, 27, recently filed a lawsuit against Mark Rhodes, a member of the church who was her Sunday School teacher and deacon. The civil complaint alleges Rhodes took off the 5-year-old’s pants and underwear while he was babysitting her and put his face against her vagina, leaving her traumatized from the incident.

The defendants in the lawsuit are the church, Rhodes and Dominick Brignola, leader of the church. Brignola was a former close friend of Barker’s father, she said, and a contentious email exchange between them is included as an exhibit in the lawsuit.

The church, located on Fifth Avenue in the heart of downtown Troy, is like many churches: an interwoven community of tight-knit families. Barker’s family was active in the church, she said. The children in the church were friends. Their parents were also close, with relationships forged beginning when they were kids attending the church themselves. Officials with the church, including Rhodes, who is still an active member, declined to to be interviewed for this story, contending they are precluded from discussing a pending lawsuit.

Barker’s story of abuse is far from unique. The lawsuit was filed under New York’s Child Victims Act, signed into law in 2019, which opened a look-back window for people who say they were abused as children to file lawsuits outside the statute of limitations. Nearly 5,000 cases have been filed across the state, and the window is open until August. Thousands of claimants have identified religious organizations of all denominations as the settings of their trauma and church leaders as the perpetrators.

Rush to join child sex abuse redress

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

January 3, 2021

By Richard Ferguson

Swimming Australia and Football NSW are among groups to have signed up to the federal redress scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse, giving hope to nearly 440 abuse survivors that their com­pensation claims may soon be addressed.

Tennis NSW, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Presbyterian Church WA, ­Seventh-Day Adventists, Football NSW and Missionaries of God’s Love, Swimming Australia and Football NSW are among 135 institutions to sign up to the redress scheme before a December 31 deadline that Scott Morrison set if groups did not want to be punished.

The likes of Jehovah’s Witnesses have still failed to sign up to the scheme, created in the aftermath of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse, designed to support victims of child abusers in churches, schools, sporting codes and other institutions.

Bishops want answers from Austrac

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

January 3, 2021

By Dennis Shanahan

Catholic bishops are considering asking Australia’s international fin­ancial watchdog to reveal whether any of the $2.3bn sent from the Vatican City since 2014 went to Catholic organisations in Australia.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, told The Australian that asking Austrac if any of the recipients were designated as Catholic dioceses, charities or religious ­orders was an option.

The bishops are already working on a direct request to the Pope to investigate and explain how $2.3bn was transferred from the Vatican City to Australia over six years without their knowledge, amid a global financial scandal engulfing the Holy See.

Springfield Diocese plans continued reforms in handling of clergy sexual abuse claims

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

January 3, 2021

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield will move forward in 2021 with a new bishop at the helm and building on reforms implemented under former Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski to better address how it handles allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

A task force report is expected in the coming months to recommend restructuring the diocesan review board that hears allegations of abuse and expand its ranks to include non-Catholics.

Reforms initiated under Rozanski came after national attention was paid to a Pennsylvania grand jury report in fall 2018 that cited a church cover up that protected more than 300 “predator priests,” as well as a scandal closer to home. A subsequent survivor-driven investigation found credible sexual abuse allegations against deceased Springfield Bishop Christopher J. Weldon.

In May — two months before the results of the year-long Weldon investigation were released — the diocese created an Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse to make recommendations on how it could improve that response.

The task force, headed by retired Superior Court Judge Daniel Ford, expects to issue its recommendations this spring with input from survivor focus groups and others.

“There are a number of stakeholders in this process and one of the most important ones, if not the most important, are the survivors of sex abuse — the victims who were victimized by priests or by other employees of the diocese,” Ford said.

In addition, the diocese has entered into an agreement with Western Massachusetts district attorneys. The diocese agreed to notify their offices of any allegations involving a minor or vulnerable person before conducting its own internal investigation.

“The Church and the diocese have a responsibility to ensure that we are reporting allegations of crime to law enforcement. Once we conduct the intake, we refer it to law enforcement and are hands off,” said Jeffrey J. Trant, director of the diocesan Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance. “The last thing we would ever want to do is unintentionally have an impact or interfere with a law enforcement investigation.”

Trant was hired in June 2019, around the time the allegations against Weldon became public. The claimant told the Berkshire Eagle he had appeared before the diocesan review board in June 2018 with those allegations, as well as similar claims against two other priests. Three months later, he received a letter from the board saying it found his testimony “compelling and credible” and that Rozanski would be advised.

However, the complainant questioned why Weldon’s name was never added to the diocesan website list of credibly accused clergy. The diocese responded by saying that it did not list clergy accused after their deaths, but also became immersed in controversy when it said that the claimant did not make allegations against Weldon to the board.

Allegations of a cover-up resulted in Rozanski meeting with the claimant, referring a report on the Weldon allegations to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, and asking retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis to investigate the allegations.

Velis issued the results of his year-long investigation in June. He concluded in part that “the allegations of the Complainant of sexual molestation committed upon him by Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, both as a principal, and as a ‘coventurer’ that included anal rape, indecent assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are unequivocally credible.”

He determined the complainant, who first met with diocesan officials in 2014, had been poorly served by lack of documentation, communication and commitment in addressing his allegations. The retired judge recommended a number of steps for better oversight, including the services of an Administrative Supervisor of Investigations to ensure procedure compliance.

Recently installed Springfield Bishop William D. Byrne said he appreciates “hearing from victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their advocates.”

He met remotely with victim-survivors prior his Dec. 21 ordination, where he praised their courage and honesty — though some reportedly had hoped for more specifics on diocesan reforms.

Byrne called the process “ongoing,” adding he is looking “forward to receiving the report from the task force and hearing their recommendations.” He said he expects the “updated list of credibly accused clergy, including the names of all diocesan and religious order clerics even those who were accused after they were deceased” to be completed in the coming months.

Trant’s work over the last 19 months has won praise from the victim-survivor community with one member saying Trant is “out there, actively meeting with survivors and not just listening, he is hearing them because we have begun to see change happening for the that first time in three administrations.”

He added, the new bishop “will have our support if we can see through his actions that his motives are serious.’

A central focus of the Velis report was the diocese’s reliance on a single investigator, and the importance of an investigator’s confidentiality and objectivity. It recommended sanctions for violations of those mandates.

Trant was instrumental in the diocese’s hiring of three investigators for sexual abuse claims and the assigning of two to each claim.

“At the end of the diocesan process, we had failed an individual because of the significant amount of time when that person first came forward, how we responded, when we responded and how we conducted fact finding and ultimately the ambiguity and lack of specificity around ultimate response to that individual was unacceptable,” Trant said.

He added, “We have a responsibility to report to civil authorities any reports of abuse whether it happened yesterday, 10 years ago or 50 years ago.”

Trant briefs the bishop on abuse allegations, a departure from past practices.

“When I was hired, one of the changes made was that I report directly to the bishop,” Trant said. “In the past, my predecessor had reported to the vicar general.”

Once the diocese is notified by the district attorney’s office that it can begin its process, the investigation is presented to the diocesan review board, Trant said.

The current practice has been for the chair of the review board to write a letter to the bishop of its findings and recommendations. Trant said he delivers it by hand to the bishop for his review.

This most recently has been Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester who served as apostolic administrator between Rozanski’s Aug. 25 installation as archbishop of St. Louis and the Dec. 21 installation of Byrne as bishop here.

“With respect to Bishop McManus, he would receive the recommendation and, in every instance, he accepted it and then directed me to write a letter on his behalf to the survivor or to their legal counsel informing them of his acceptance of the review board’s recommendation and offering his sincere apologies,” Trant said.

“So, we have instituted a process to make sure at every step of the way it is documented and that it is timely and they we are helping to close the loop because we have a responsibility to provide survivors who come forward with an answer,” Trant said.

Judge Ford, who was involved with Trant in meetings with Western Massachusetts district attorneys, said the diocesan task force is also focused on input from victims of clergy sexual abuse. It has contracted with an area organization to organize focus groups.

“We have entered into a contract with an organization in Northampton called Stop It Now! They are a professional independent group and we have contracted with them to organize a series of focus groups with people who identify as survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the Springfield Diocese,” Ford said. “They tell us the work will take three months to identify and recruit people to participate, to formulate the type of questions they want to ask and then to review them and do a report.”

Ford said the meetings will take place in a “safe, trauma-informed setting” and the groups are viewed by the task force as “the best way to allow these people who have been victimized to have a voice in what we eventually recommend.”

The task force has also been “engaged in rewriting the bylaws of the diocesan review board,” he said.

“There is going to be a recommendation that the review board be reconstituted in some way,” Ford said. “One of the things bylaws will call for, if approved by the bishops, is that there will be nine members on the board and that there be non-Catholics on the board. This I think will go a long way to boosting public confidence in the review board.”

The task force has also reviewing 500 responses to an online survey that asked Catholics for their thoughts on how the diocese has handled allegations of clergy abuse.

“We wanted to get some input from the people in the pews,” Ford said. “The people are the backbone of the Church and we wanted to find out what they think.”

The task force is also considering outreach to clergy and religious. “The priests, deacons, nuns are important stakeholders and we want to get input from them as well,” Ford said.

He anticipates completing the report three or four months into the new year.

“It will be out sometime in late winter or early spring and I will hand deliver it to the bishop and give him as much time as he needs to go through it and reasons for the recommendations,” Ford said. “It will incorporate everything we have done and what we think ought to be done.”

January 2, 2021

Vatican denies knowledge of $1.8 billion transferred to Australia

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

January 1, 2021

By Philip Pullella

The Vatican and the Australian Catholic Church have both denied knowledge of transfers worth US$1.8 billion which Australia’s financial watchdog says have been sent from Rome to Australia in the past seven years.

“That amount of money and that number of transfers did not leave the Vatican City,” a senior Vatican official with knowledge of the city-state’s finances said on Wednesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Vatican would be seeking details from Australian authorities on the specific origin and destination of the money.

“It’s not our money because we don’t have that kind of money,” he said. “I am absolutely stunned.”

[Letter to Editor] Archbishop Martin’s legacy

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

January 2, 2021


Sir,- While I would like to wish Dermot Farrell well, as he takes up his challenging role as Archbishop of Dublin in 2011, it is important to acknowledge the 16 years of service that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has given to his archdiocese.

The scandal of child abuse by a minority of those in ministry is one that will never be forgotten but today our parishes across the Dublin archdiocese have robust child protection polices and procedures in place, there is a zero-tolerance approach to child abuse and, as far as possible, the church is once again a safe place for children in Dublin.

Above all else, this is a legacy of which Archbishop Martin should be proud. – Yours, etc,

FRANK BROWNE,
Templeogue,
Dublin 16.

Catholic Archbishop-elect of Dublin prepares for major reorganisation

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

January 2, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

Dermot Farrell assures change will follow consultation with priests and parishioners

With half of Dublin’s priests over 70 and due to retire within the next five years and congregations ageing and declining, the Archbishop-elect Dermot Farrell of Dublin faces the job of managing decline.

These problems are now exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, not least financially, with income down by up to 80 per cent in Dublin during the first lockdown last spring and priests’ income cut by 25 per cent.

January 1, 2021

Here's what we uncovered this year about Cardinal McCarrick, beach houses and sex abuse

NEW JERSEY
NorthJersey.com

December 30, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

A series of investigations by The Record and NorthJersey.com this year exposed new information about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s rise to power through the church hierarchy despite abuse allegations that surfaced as early as the 1980s.

The Record and NorthJersey.com also reported this year that church officials tried to curtail McCarrick’s use of a Jersey Shore beach house, where he allegedly abused seminarians, as far back as the 1980s.

His time as archbishop of Newark included the purchase of at least two beach homes, including one tied to a mysterious debt, and a pattern of ignoring abuse allegations against priests under his control — in one case when the claim was bolstered by a letter from the therapist of a deceased victim.

The investigations also found that a still-secret church inquiry uncovered new evidence related to allegations that a priest stole $1 million from two parishes in New York and used the money to pay for lavish vacations along with sex and bondage sessions at a Jersey Shore home he bought for cash.

Insurance company sues Diocese of Brooklyn over sex abuse cases alleging it knew of prolific abuser

NEW YORK
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

December 29, 2020

By Sean Lahman

https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2020/12/29/diocese-brooklyn-insurance-company-sues-priest-sex-abuse-cases-child-victims-act/4070827001/

An insurance company representing the Diocese of Brooklyn says it should not be responsible for paying settlements to victims who say they were sexually abused by the Diocese's priests.

In a federal lawsuit filed Monday, Arrowood Indemnity Company asks the court to rule that it should not be obligated to defend or indemnify the Diocese because of "allegations of the Diocese’s long-standing specific knowledge of individual instances of abuse and its decades-long culture of coverup."

Arrowood also alleges that the Diocese has failed to provide copies of internal documents that would shed light on what it knew about allegations of abuse and what steps it took in response.

"The information the Diocese has provided... is inappropriately redacted, contains large chronological gaps, and is missing numerous pages without explanation," court papers said.

[Opinion] 'An Open Invitation For Fraud’: Falsely Accused Priest Calls Out Shakedown Racket Against Catholic Church, Lack of Due Process

UNITED STATES
The Media Report (blog)

December 28, 2020

Kudos to Msgr. Joseph P. Kelly of the Diocese of Scranton (Pennsylvania) for fighting back!

After the Diocese of Scranton created a "Survivors Fund" to dole out free cash to anyone who says they were abused by a priest, no matter how long ago, a group of imprisoned felons came forward to claim that Kelly abused them some 45 years ago. Back then, a court had appointed the accusers as troubled teens to attend a school for boys that Kelly once directed.

The diocese somehow determined that the accusations were "credible" (whatever that means). But Kelly has not only vehemently declared his innocence, he has also issued a scathing statement denouncing the entire process leading to his removal from ministry.

A recent issue (pdf) of The Catholic Light, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Scanton, featured Kelly's broadside against a system in which easy loot is handed out to convicted criminals while an accused priest is not even afforded the opportunity to defend himself.

[Media Statement] Retired Priest from St. Augustine Accused of Abuse

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

December 30, 2020

A retired priest from the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida has been accused of abuse. Now, parents and parishioners must demand answers from Catholic leaders on the history of this allegedly abusive cleric and demand steps be taken to protect children and prevent future cases of abuse.

The Diocese would not specify how many allegations Father David Terrence Morgan is facing or the nature of the accusations against him. However, we find it difficult to believe that the Church just learned of the charges against the priest given the 2018 announcement where Fr. Morgan announced he was going on “sabbatical” to work with a “spiritual advisor.” Vague announcements and postings are commonly used when a clergyman has been accused of abuse, and we suspect that these are the typical, sanitized explanations used to hide allegations.

JSO: No criminal charges for retired priest following sexual abuse allegations

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
First Coast News TV

December 30, 2020

Days after the Diocese of St. Augustine confirmed abuse allegations against one of its retired priests, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says that it will not be pursuing criminal charges.

According to an incident report from JSO, criminal charges cannot be pursued against Father David Terrence Morgan due to statute of limitation restrictions.

First Coast News reached out to Morgan for comment, but have not yet heard back.

The 2020 report concerns an alleged incident happened in 1977. Morgan, now 71, was 27 years old.

On Sept. 24, 2020, an alleged victim told JSO that they had a sexual relationship with Morgan, who was a priest at the time, that lasted anywhere from two to three months.

Retired priest of Diocese of St. Augustine under investigation

ST. AUGUSTINE (FL)
Action News Jax/CBS 47, Fox 30

By Christy Turner

December 29, 2020

A retired priest with ties to a historic church in the heart of downtown St. Augustine is under investigation for allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Diocese of St. Augustine confirmed the investigation into Father David Terrence Morgan, but wouldn’t share additional information to protect the integrity of the case.

Father Morgan was with the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine as recently as 2018 before he retired.

Diocese of St. Augustine investigating abuse allegations against retired priest

ST. AUGUSTINE (FL)
First Coast News, WLTV

December 29, 2020

By Matthew Copeland and Haley Harrison

https://www.firstcoastnews.com/article/news/local/diocese-of-st-augustine-investigating-allegations-against-retired-priest/77-2bd60b9e-f09c-4643-9441-07e56663f1d9

The diocese said the Church reached out to law enforcement to also investigate the allegations against Father David Terrence Morgan.

The Diocese of St. Augustine is investigating abuse allegations against retired priest Father David Terrence Morgan, according to a bulletin by the diocese to parishioners.

The diocese said the Church reached out to law enforcement to investigate the allegations, in addition to conducting its own investigation, which the bulletin states found "the allegations have a semblance of truth based on an initial review, but guilt has not been determined."