Diocese of Providence to name ‘credibly accused’ clergy

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

June 30, 2019

By Donita Naylor

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence will publish a list Monday of clergy, priests and deacons who are “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of minors.

The complete list of names as well as other pertinent information will be published at 8 a.m. Monday on the diocesan website: www.dioceseofprovidence.org

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Families speak out against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over sex abuse allegations

UNITED STATES
ABC News

June 29, 2019

By Cho Park, Erin Brady, Juju Chang and Eamon McNiff

[PHOTO: These four women and two other families filed a civil lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints alleging they failed to warn or protect them from a sexual predator.]

The following report was put together by reviewing trial testimony and court documents, and interviewing multiple plaintiffs who were involved in a lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. The plaintiffs in that lawsuit alleged that the Church and several Church officials failed to take steps to protect the plaintiff’s children from a teenager who was ultimately convicted of sexually abusing two young children.

The Church told ABC News in a statement, “These allegations are false, offensive, and unsubstantiated. As soon as Church leaders learned of abuse by this individual, they encouraged the parents of the abused children to report to West Virginia police and confirmed the report.”

The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed payment in 2018.

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Legal papers outline alleged sex assaults by ‘Father Jerry’

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times-Union

June 29, 2019

By Paul Grondahl

Claims of “unspeakable atrocities” by ex-area priest come as legal window opens

In his bedroom upstairs at the Home for Wayward Boys in Knox, the priest had a king-sized waterbed with royal blue satin sheets.

The Rev. Gerard R. “Jerry” Miller, a priest of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette order founded in Hartford, Conn., repeatedly sexually assaulted teenage boys in his care on that waterbed for three years beginning in 1984, two of his victims alleged in legal documents their lawyers sent recently to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and the Albany County district attorney’s office.

In outlining their case in preparation for filing a lawsuit, Martin Smalline and JoAnn Harri, a husband and wife team who run an Albany law firm, laid out allegations of “rape and sexual assault … but also the trafficking of children across state lines, along with obstruction of justice and concealment of criminal behavior.”

The victims’ accounts in the legal documents allege that in addition to assaulting boys in Albany County, Miller drove teenagers under his care to Agawam, Mass., and Atlanta, Ga., where they were sexually assaulted by Miller and another priest identified only as Father Jim.

In the spring of 1986, according to statements attorneys provided to authorities, the two alleged victims who are part of the legal action were sexually assaulted at the same time on the waterbed by Miller and Father Jim when the second priest visited Altamont.

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Bishop reinstates three priests accused of inappropriate remarks

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO-FM (NPR affiliate)

June 30, 2019

By Mark Scott

Three Catholic priests who were placed on leave after making inappropriate remarks during a party with seminarians in April are being reinstated.

Bishop Richard Malone is returing Fr. Arthur Mattulke, Fr. Patrick O’Keefe and Fr. Robert Orlowski to active ministry, effective this Friday.

Malone said an investigation found no inappropriate physical conduct by the priests. He said corrective measures were taken, including retraining in the Diocesan Code of Conduct.

The Bishop praised the seminarians for coming forward.

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Rhode Island lawmakers pass bill giving sexual abuse victims 35 years to bring lawsuits

PROVIDENCE (RI)
The Boston Globe

June 26, 2019

By Amanda Milkovits

The Rhode Island General Assembly overwhelmingly passed legislation on Wednesday to give victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue perpetrators and hold institutions and public entities accountable.

The legislation heads to the desk of Governor Gina Raimondo, who is expected to sign it into law.

It extends the statute of limitations to 35 years after victims reach adulthood.

Victims will have 35 years to bring lawsuits against individual perpetrators, regardless of whether the case had been “time-barred” under previous laws. The bill also keeps state law allowing victims to file suits within seven years of “discovering” they’d been abused.

They will also have 35 years to bring lawsuits against institutions and organizations, as well as the state, municipalities and quasi-public agencies. Nesslebush said she insisted on adding those agencies, after seeing the widespread abuse by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State and Larry Nassar at Michigan State University.

However, the 35-year extension is prospective only against institutions, except under the seven-year “discovery rule.”

The bill caps a years-long battle brought by survivors of sexual abuse, and in the waning days of this session, appeared that the effort was going to fail when the House and Senate brought forward conflicting bills.

Then Wednesday afternoon, Senator Donna Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket, suddenly announced a compromise with the “best parts” of her bill and the bill sponsored by Narragansett Representative Carol Hagan McEntee.

The legislators didn’t waste time. Within two hours, the compromise legislation flew through the Senate Judiciary Committee, unanimously passed the Senate to applause, and then sailed through the House, 70 to 1. (Representative Brian C. Newberry, R-North Smithfield, was the only nay.)

The governor said Wednesday evening that she intended to sign it into law.

“Abuse of any kind cannot be tolerated anywhere. As a mother, I find reports of child abuse particularly disturbing,” Raimondo said in a statement. “I’ve long supported efforts to hold abusers accountable and ensure that victims are given the time needed to come forward.”

The sudden revival of the bill had surprised McEntee, as well as some of the victims who had testified on the legislation and admitted losing hope as time ran down.

Nesselbush praised their courage and singled out two victims who were invited to the announcement and the votes — McEntee’s sister Dr. Ann Hagan Webb, who’d testified about being molested by the family’s parish priest, and Jim Scanlon, whose accusations against a priest at Boston College High School were part of the movie “Spotlight.”

Scanlon trembled a little after the announcement. “I’m surprised, pleasantly surprised,” he said.

This was for the victims, who could finally get justice, Scanlon said.

In short, victims will be able to sue their alleged abusers, as well as institutions such as the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and other “youth-serving” organizations.

Kathryn Robb, executive director of Child USAdvocacy, said the bill was a move in the right direction, but there was still more work needed. “Unfortunately, it still allows institutions to conceal their horrific acts of child abuse and cover-up, and hence many victims are left without any justice,” she said in a statement.

However, the lobbying arm of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence announced it supported the bill. “It is now time for the process of achieving justice and healing for victims to move forward,” the Rhode Island Catholic Conference said in a statement.

McEntee had sponsored the bill in honor of her sister, Dr. Ann Hagan Webb, who had testified in despairing details about being molested starting when she was five.

The two sisters hugged each other after the bill passed the Senate. They beamed at each other across the House floor as the vote came through.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, who’d backed the legislation, congratulated Webb. Noting that Wednesday was her birthday, he added, “I don’t believe in coincidences,” and wished her a happy birthday.

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Church sex abuse scandal makes newly ordained priests want ‘to be holier’

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Democrat

June 30, 2019

By Paul Guggenheimer

David Egan is well aware of the stigma attached to priests in the wake of the Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal.

“I assume that other people assume things about me, that they’re very suspicious of me now,” Egan said. “If you walk out in public with a collar on, I think people are questioning ‘Is this one of the good guys? Or is this someone who has committed some terrible sin among his own flock?’ ”

Egan is one of four area men who were ordained to the priesthood Saturday by Bishop David A. Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh during a Mass of Ordination at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland.

In addition to Egan, 30, of Glenshaw, the new priests are Timothy Deely, 37, of Greenfield, Brendan Dawson, 30, of West Deer and Mingwei Li, 31, who immigrated with his family from China and grew up in the South Hills.

“Freedom of religion is limited in China. Coming to the U.S. was part of God’s plan,” Mingwei said.

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Pope Francis or Steve Bannon? Catholics must choose

VATICAN CITY
La Croix International

June 21, 2019

By Robert Mickens

American alt-right leader enlists Catholic allies to turn people against the pope

Among all the world’s political and social leaders, Pope Francis stands increasingly alone as the most powerful force for global peace and stability. Thank God – and the cardinals who elected him in March 2013 – that the Argentine Jesuit is the current Bishop of Rome.

In an age when alt-right populists are masquerading as Christians and using religious symbols to scare believers into embracing racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and ultra-nationalism – all so starkly at odds with the Gospel, by the way – Francis has played an indispensable role in preventing a dangerous spiral into a full-blown clash of civilizations.

This is because there are people as crazy as the populists in other currents, as well.
Another pope may not have had the courage, fortitude or deep and genuine faith to stand against all this and not allow himself to be co-opted to the Christian sovereigntists’ cause.
And while the 82-year-old Francis has not been able to convince enough voters to reject the populists, he has kept most bishops, cardinals and other Catholic leaders from publicly endorsing them. This is no small matter.

Populists state that their intention is to defend the Judeo-Christian heritage of the Western world. And, unfortunately, this is quite enticing to those for whom Catholicism is, in essence, a Eurocentric philosophical ideology and moral code.

Tribal Catholics of the “no salvation outside the Roman Church” type like the message.

And the man who has enlisted them is Steve Bannon.

The American millionaire populist who rails against the elites

Chief architect of Donald Trump’s election to the U.S. presidency and co-founder of the far-right Breitbart News, the 65-year-old Bannon is now the most famous ringleader of the alt-right’s populist fear-mongering movement.

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Cardinal Burke cuts ties with institute, citing its alignment with Bannon

VATICAN CITY
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

June 25, 2019

U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke has resigned from the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, saying it has become “more and more identified with the political program” of Steve Bannon.

In a letter posted on his Twitter feed, Burke said June 25 he had urged the institute to return to its original purpose of promoting the respect of human dignity but “it has not done so,” so he was terminating his relationship, including being the institute’s honorary president. Eleven other cardinals make up the institute’s advisory board and Bannon, former chief strategist at the White House, is a patron and member of the board of trustees.

“I have been made aware of a June 24 LifeSiteNews online article — now removed — entitled ‘Steve Bannon hints at making film exposing homosexuality in the Vatican,’ in which the insinuation is made that somehow, through my association with Mr. Benjamin Harnwell of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, I was involved in a meeting between Mr. Bannon and Mr. Frederic Martel, author of the book, ‘In the Closet of the Vatican,’ to promote a film version of Mr. Martel’s book,” Burke said in his letter.

“LifeSiteNews made no contact with me to verify my possible involvement,” he said. “Given the overall content of the article and given several statements made by Mr. Bannon in the article, I must make the following clear:

“I do not, in any way, agree with Mr. Bannon’s assessment of the book in question,” Burke said. “Furthermore, I am not at all of the mind that the book should be made into a film. I disagree completely with a number of Mr. Bannon’s statements regarding the doctrine and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church.

“Above all, I find objectionable his statement calling into question the church’s discipline of perpetual continence for the clergy, in accord with the example and desire of Christ …” he said.

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It’s Not the Church That Has Let Me Down – It’s the Clergy

UNITED STATES
Patheos

June 30, 2019

By guest writer William M. Shea

James Carroll’s recent essay on the priesthood in The Atlantic, the critical responses by Thomas Reese and James Martin, and the tempered comments by Donald Cozzens (NCR) indicate to me that the discussion of reform has taken a significant turn. We seem now to be asking questions about the structure of authority in the Roman Catholic church rather than only about sin and how to counter it. The pope and bishops, for all their admirable attempt to amplify the reporting and handling of changes of abuse and cover-up by bishops, are struggling to keep the reform urges inside the boundaries of the received structures of authority, i.e., there are to be no independent lay bodies to open and review cases. All is to remain under hierarchical control.

In my own reading experience it was Garry Wills’ book, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition (2013) that decisively kicked open the door on the dissolution of the clericalism and hierarchism that, in my view, plague the Catholic church and, one way or another, most of the Christian churches, none of which has found an ideal solution. This intensified discussion in the last decade is fraught with many dangers, I admit. Even I, a retired and increasingly breathless old man, have been accused of apostasy by the renowned archbishop of Philadelphia for my memoir, Judas Was a Bishop (2015).

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Vincent Nichols acknowledges safeguarding criticism as he celebrates priests

ENGLAND
Premier Christianity

June 30, 2019

The leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales has referred to the abuse inquiry into the Catholic church but swiftly moved on to celebrate priests.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrated a National Mass of thanksgiving and renewal for priests at Westminster Cathedral on Friday lunchtime, welcoming everyone and then saying:

“In recent days, in the IICSA Report and in the media, there has been sharp criticism of our work of Safeguarding in the Catholic Church, and of aspects of my ministry in Birmingham. I acknowledge this, of course.

“Yet this not the time nor place for those matters. Rather today is about you, my brother priests, about your faithfulness, your steadfast generosity, your ministry of healing, your endurance, not least under the burden of the grievous damage done to innocent victims by just a very few of our brother priests. I thank you for your faithfulness, your generosity, your perseverance. I thank you, as do each of us bishops, and the people of your parishes. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!”

He then moved on and did not refer to the topic again in his homily.

In June, Cardinal Vincent Nicholls was criticised in the report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse for putting the reputation of the Church before welfare of children.

He was the Archbishop of Birmingham between 2000 and 2009, the Archdiocese which was looked into thouroughly.

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Catholic Religious Sisters Gather for Conference in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Public Radio

June 30, 2019

By Andrea Y. Henderson

Giving Voice, a peer-led national organization for nuns and religious sisters under the age of 50, convened for a four-day conference to build bridges between religious life and social justice issues.

Eighty of the group’s sisters from around the country and other nations worked together at Fontbonne University to push for change within the church and create a cross-generational culture of community and growth.

In 2016, Pope Francis wrote a letter to men and women religious calling for the church to become experts in spiritual conversation. And at this year’s convention the sisters examined his letter and found ways to “live boldly” in their faith by communicating and witnessing to others who live various lifestyles.

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Irish newspapers apologize for fake Rome seminarian sex scandal story

IRELAND
Irish Central

June 30, 2019

Top Irish newspapers The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, and The Evening Echo have printed formal apologies for a seminarian sex scandal story regarding the Pontifical Irish College in Rome that proved to be fake.

In May 2018, The Irish Times published a story claiming that two seminarians were dismissed from the Pontifical Irish College in Rome after being found in bed together. The story was subsequently reported by a number of other media outlets.

Claims that the sex scandal occurred after students attended a Mass commemorating Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae on artificial birth control also proved to be false. There was no such Mass.

Connor Gannon, a former clerical student at the college in Rome, launched High Court proceedings against a total of eight newspapers to clear his name.

The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner and the Evening Echo have all issued apologies acknowledging they referred to and identified Gannon. The three newspapers have said there was no truth in and no basis for the allegations made, TheJournal.ie reports.

Each publication acknowledged that the article was “false and should not have been published” and have agreed to pay damages to Gannon for the “upset and distress caused to him by the article.”

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Rossford Schools reviews sexual harassment policy after Murtha incidents

TOLEDO (OH)
The Blade

June 29, 2019

By Jay Skebba

Rossford Schools is considering changes to its sexual harassment policy after being criticized for concluding female students touched against their wishes by a former school administrator weren’t sexually harassed because their academic performance didn’t suffer.

The move would make Rossford an outlier among most of its neighbors, as many school districts throughout the Toledo area — including Rossford — use the exact same policy language to determine if an employee committed sexual harassment.

But what actions specifically fall under those guidelines can be left up to interpretation, and that means different districts likely would have interpreted the sort of situation that transpired in Rossford in different ways.

The debate over what constitutes sexual harassment at Rossford Schools surfaced this spring when Pat Murtha resigned as athletic director and assistant high school principal. Mr. Murtha resigned April 22, and records from a district investigation obtained by The Blade in May concluded he engaged in the following behavior:

Mr. Murtha, who served as an anti-harassment compliance officer, often pinched or pulled a girl’s nose, tugged on her ears, rubbed her head, messed up her hair, and took her food without asking. She asserted Mr. Murtha touched her about 40 times since the middle of the 2017-2018 school year.

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‘Bling Bishop’ a classic case of Vatican’s ‘Ironic Employment Division’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

June 28, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

In “The Simpsons,” the annual Halloween episodes are known for their spoofs of the supernatural. Back in 1993, one of my favorites featured a vision of Hell, where the legendarily donut-loving Homer has been assigned to the “Ironic Punishment Division.” He’s tethered to a chair as a machine force-feeds him pastry after pastry.

(Homer appears delighted, mumbling “more please!” after each mouthful, leading a frustrated demon to say: “I don’t understand it … James Coco went mad in 15 minutes!”)

I thought of that episode this week, speaking to a visiting clergyman who was astonished to discover that German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van-Elst – better known to the world as the “Bling Bishop,” whose exuberant spending in the Diocese of Limburg in 2013 caused such a furor that he was granted a “sabbatical” by the newly-elected Pope Francis – is actually now a Vatican official.

My cleric friend recently attended a meeting in the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, where Tebartz-van-Elst led the discussion. He said he spent a few minutes trying to figure out where he’d heard the name before, until realization dawned: “My God, he’s the bishop of bling!”

Welcome to the “Ironic Employment Division” in Pope Francis’s Vatican.

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Revealed: the true costs of George Pell’s abuse compensation scheme

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Age

June 30, 2019

By Farrah Tomazin

The controversial scheme set up by George Pell to handle sex abuse claims against Melbourne’s Catholic Church spent almost as much money paying its independent commissioner as it did compensating hundreds of victims.

The church’s own figures reveal that between 1996 and March 2014, the archdiocese spent $34.27 million to run its so-called Melbourne Response, but only $9.72 million – or 28 per cent of it – was used to compensate 307 child sex abuse victims.

The bulk of the money during that period was spent on other operational costs for the scheme, including $7.8 million to employ barrister Peter O’Callaghan, QC, as its independent commissioner, and a further $4.7 million on general legal fees.

Mr O’Callaghan’s job was to determine the credibility of victims’ claims and make suggestions about what action to take against alleged abusers.

Another $432,000 was used to fund the compensation panel that made recommendations about ex gratia payments, and $11 million was used to fund the church counselling service known as Carelink, most of which was spent on staff and administration.

The figures, contained in a spreadsheet labelled “strictly confidential”, are the most up to date the archdiocese has ever been required to provide publicly. They were subpoenaed by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as “supplementary information” and until now have been buried in thousands of documents that form part of the commission’s landmark inquiry.

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Superior Court reinstates priest molestation lawsuit filed against Altoona-Johnstown Diocese

HARRISBURG (PA)
Pennsylvania Record

June 28, 2019

By Karen Kidd

The state Superior Court recently reinstated a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown filed by a woman who alleged she was repeatedly molested by a pedophile priest in the 1970s and 1980s.

In its 38-page decision, the Superior Court reversed a December 2017 Blair County Common Pleas Court decision dismissing the lawsuit filed by Renee’ A. Rice, saying the diocesan defendants were not entitled to judgment on the pleadings based upon the statute of limitations. “All three of Ms. Rice’s issues on appeal have merit,” the Superior Court said in remanding the case.

Judge Deborah A. Kunselman wrote the Superior Court decision in which judges Eugene B. Strassburger and Jacqueline O. Shogan concurred. Strassburger is a retired senior judge was assigned to the Superior Court in this case.

In her lawsuit, Rice alleged that she was about 9 when a then-priest at St. Leo’s Church in Altoona, Rev. Charles F. Bodziak, began molesting her and continued to do so for years, as often as twice a week. Rice said the abuse occurred in the church’s rectory, a cemetery and in Bodziak’s car and did not end until 1981.

The diocesan defendants argued that the statute of limitations on Rice’s claims ended in October 1987, two years after her 18th birthday.

Blair County Judge Jolene Grubb Kopriva agreed and dismissed Rice’s lawsuit.

“To support that contention, they [the diocese] predominately relied upon two cases from this court that had affirmed judgments on the pleadings in favor of pedophile clergy and various, corporate manifestations of the Catholic Church under the statute of limitations,” the Superior Court’s decision said.

The Superior Court reinstated Rice’s lawsuit based on a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Nicolaou v. Martin, which was handed down about 10 months after Kopriva’s dismissal and which abrogated the Superior Court decisions upon which Kopriva had relied.

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Francis warns German Catholics they can’t just do their own thing

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

June 29, 2019

By Inés San Martín

As the Catholic Church in Germany prepares to embark on a synodal process motivated in part by a desire to stop a hemorrhage of faithful, Pope Francis has sent them a letter reminding them they don’t walk alone but with the universal Church.

In the missive he also reminds the Germans that a “structural” reform, simply changing to adapt to modern times, is not the solution.

The Church’s raison d’etre, Francis wrote in a letter released by the Vatican Saturday, is that God “so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that all who believe in him may not die, but may have eternal Life.”

This means that the transformation and revitalization sought after by the German Church, with a synod called by the bishops’ conference, cannot simply be a “reaction to external data or demands,” including a drop in births and aging communities. Though these are “valid causes,” Francis wrote, seen outside the ecclesial mystery they could stimulate a reactionary attitude.

The pope’s letter to the Catholics of Germany comes three months after Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising announced that the local church was embarking on a “binding synodal process” to tackle what he says are the three key issues arising from the clerical abuse crisis: Priestly celibacy, the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, and a reduction of clerical power.

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Melbourne archbishop: Abuse crisis, upcoming plenary council dominated ‘ad limina’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

June 29, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Australian bishops spent the past week in Rome meeting with Pope Francis and the head of various Vatican offices, and the matter of Cardinal George Pell, convicted of historical sexual abuse but awaiting the result of his appeal, risked becoming the elephant in the room.

Yet, according to Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, it didn’t, because it was directly addressed in most of the official conversations the 40 bishops had during their June 24-28 ad limina visit to Rome.

Though he wouldn’t reveal what was said about Pell, the archbishop told Crux on Thursday that there have been “two things” running through most of their meetings: The clerical sexual abuse crisis (Pell included), and the upcoming plenary council for the Church in Australia.

“The reality is that, in Australia, in a very real way, we stand at the feet of the Cross,” Comensoli said.

“The people who’ve been abused and their families, the devastation it’s caused, the suffering associated with that, the further traumatization that comes from the processes they’ve been put through in the past by the Church, all of that is part of the realness of where things are at.”

In addition, he noted the suffering of those who, without being survivors or members of their families, have been “traumatized” by the scandals, who are “disgusted by the way processes were applied.”

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The Long Slow Death of Religion

PASADENA (CA)
The Good Men Project

June 29, 2019

By James A. Haught

By now, it’s clear that religion is fading in America, as it has done in most advanced Western democracies. Dozens of surveys find identical evidence: fewer American adults, especially those under 30, attend church—or even belong to a church. They tell interviewers their religion is “none.” They ignore faith.

Since 1990, the “nones” have exploded rapidly as a sociological phenomenon—from 10% of U.S. adults, to 15%, to 20%. Now they’ve climbed to 25%, according to a 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). That makes them the nation’s largest faith category, outstripping Roman Catholics (21%) and white evangelicals (16%). They seem on a trajectory to become an outright majority. America is following the secular path of Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and other modern places. The “Secular Age” is snowballing.

Various explanations for the social transformation are postulated: the Internet exposes young people to a wide array of ideas and practices that undercut old-time beliefs: That family breakdown severs traditional participation in congregations. That the young have grown cynical about authority of all types. That fundamentalist hostility to LGBTQ+ persons and abortion has soured tolerant-minded Americans. That clergy, child-molesting scandals have scuttled church claims to moral superiority. That faith-based, suicide bombings and other religious murders horrify normal folks.

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Latter-day Saints over sex abuse allegations

NEW YORK (NY)
ABC News

June 29, 2019

By Cho Park, Erin Brady, Juju Chang and Eamon McNiff

The following report was put together by reviewing trial testimony and court documents, and interviewing multiple plaintiffs who were involved in a lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. The plaintiffs in that lawsuit alleged that the Church and several Church officials failed to take steps to protect the plaintiff’s children from a teenager who was ultimately convicted of sexually abusing two young children.

The Church told ABC News in a statement, “These allegations are false, offensive, and unsubstantiated. As soon as Church leaders learned of abuse by this individual, they encouraged the parents of the abused children to report to West Virginia police and confirmed the report.”

The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed payment in 2018.

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Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto talks priests, deacons accused of sexual abuse

SACRAMENTO (CA)
ABC 10 News

June 28, 2019

Bishop Jaime Soto is speaking with us in his first sit down interview since revealing the names of 44 priests and two deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing children and young adults over the past 70 years.

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Settlement Reached in Arkansas Clergy Abuse Case, SNAP Calls for Further Action

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 28, 2019

Now that five men have bravely disclosed their childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, Arkansas Catholic officials must work to find others who were hurt and may be trapped in silence, shame and self-blame.

We are grateful to the survivors of Fr. John McDaniel who stepped forward, sought justice and exposed this predator. We believe that other victims of sexual violence will feel vindication because of their courage, and we hope this settlement brings them some measure of healing.

But while this case has settled, the work is far from over. Most abuse victims never report what happened to them and instead live silently with their pain. If Bishop Anthony Taylor wants to be a real shepherd, he will use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to urge anyone with information or suspicions about Fr. McDaniel – or any other abusive priest, nun, deacon or other church staffer – to come forward to independent sources of help, like police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups like ours.

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Addressing the roots of clergy sex abuse

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCrois International

June 28, 2019

By Father Amado L. Picardal

(This is the final part of a three-part series from Redemptorist Father Amado Picardal on the clerical sex abuse crisis.At the root of clergy sex abuse is the “dark side” of leadership. To overcome the dark side, a priest must be aware of it and acknowledge its existence. This requires spending time in solitude, silence and prayerful reflection.

This is a time spent for examining his life and conscience. This should be done regularly and be part of the rhythm of his life. This is a time for introspection — to examine the lights and the shadows of his exercise of leadership.

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Priest with two child porn convictions in Merced County still getting paid by diocese

MERCED (CA)
Sun Star

June 28, 2019

By Vikaas Shanker

A Catholic priest twice convicted of possessing child pornography in Merced County — and recently released from prison — has continued to receive checks from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno since he was first arrested nearly five years ago.

Father Robert Gamel, 69, was released on post-release community supervision from the California Institution for Men prison in Chino on April 13, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Gamel was incarcerated four years, including 605 days of time served in Merced County jail, following his second arrest on possession of child pornography, according to a CDCR statement.

Gamel, the former head of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Los Banos, where he was affectionately known as “Father Bob,” now resides in Tulare County with his family. He remains on paid administrative leave, pending a canonical investigation, said Diocese of Fresno Chancellor Teresa Dominguez.

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Texas priest accused of exposing himself to teen during confession

HOUSTON (TX)
ABC 30 News

June 28, 2019

By Guy Davies

A priest at the center of an alleged child sex scandal in Houston has been indicted on charges of exposing himself to a teen during confession.

Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston faces his fifth sexual-abuse charge in Conroe, Texas, based on alleged incidents in the 1990s and 2000s. La Rosa-Lopez exposed himself to an unnamed 15-year-old during confession in the year 2000, according to the indictment.

The minor alleges that after confessing his homosexuality to the priest, La Rosa-Lopez asked him vulgar questions and “proceeded to open the partition window in the confessional booth and exposed (himself).”

The victim spoke about the incident in a session with a therapist in 2017, according to the lawsuit.

The indictment means there are now five charges against La Rosa-Lopez involving three alleged sexual-abuse victims.

ABC News contacted the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, which referred questions about the case to La Rosa-Lopez’s attorney, Wendell Odom, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon told ABC News that they are hoping to get to trial by the end of this year or early 2020.

“Obviously, we feel strongly about the evidence against La Rosa-Lopez and our pursuit of justice for victims,” he said. “We look forward to presenting our case to a Montgomery County jury soon.”

Michael Norris, the head of the Houston arm of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, told ABC News that his hope is that La Rosa-Lopez pleads guilty, and that the Catholic Church is in need of reform.

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Springfield Diocese investigating woman’s claim she was sexually abused by priest as a teen

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

June 28, 2019

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is investigating an allegation of sexual misconduct against a deceased priest by a former Berkshire County resident that dates back to the early 1970s when the woman was a high school sophomore.

The allegation against the Rev. James D. McKenna was reported Thursday by the Berkshire Eagle, which quotes the woman, who now lives in Ohio, as alleging McKenna would get her drunk on a weekly basis and press her to engage in sexual activity that stopped short of intercourse in a parish rectory.

It quotes a letter the woman is said to have sent Bishop Mitchell Rozanski in September detailing the alleged abuse saying that the priest “would get me drunk until I could no longer fight back his advances. He is the reason I have been an alcoholic for a good part of my life.”

The woman is said to have received a response from Rozanski in October, thanking her, as reported by the Eagle, for “having the courage to write to me and share this painful experience with me” and urging her to contact the intake person at the time in the diocesan office for reporting claims of clergy sex abuse.

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Is the devil responsible for the clergy abuse crisis? One expert thinks so

WASHINGTON (DC)
Fox News

June 28, 2019

By Lauren Green

Is the devil behind the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis?

In his new book ‘Infiltration, The Plot to Destroy The Church From Within,’ Dr. Taylor Marshall attempts to get at the spiritual roots of the clergy sex abuse crisis as well as other problems in the church, claiming the devil is to blame. Dr. Marshall joins Lauren Green to discuss his book, the sex abuse scandal and share his thoughts on what has contributed to the spiritual decay within the church.

New York’s Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan described last year’s months of revelations about decades of clerical sexual abuse as “the summer of hell.” It’s a figure of speech that one author believes may have more bite than bark. In other words, demonic forces may have played a large part in the Catholic Church’s crisis.

A warning here: If you don’t believe that Satan and his spiritual band of evil malcontents are on the prowl in this world, don’t bother reading his book – per his request.

Author Taylor Marshall said, “We have to remember from the Christian point of view going back from well before the beginning of time, there is the fall of the angels. Lucifer and a third of the angels fell. And then all the way up to the time of Christ, there was all of these betrayals that were spiritual in nature.”

In his new book, “Infiltration, The Plot to Destroy the Church From Within,” Marshall attempts to get at the spiritual roots of the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

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Former Catholic priest who served in Blacksburg among 6 more clergy linked to child sexual abuse

RICHMOND (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

June 27, 2019

By Andrew Adkins

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond added six priests to a list of clergy who served in the diocese and were accused of sexual abuse against a minor, bringing the total to 49.

Five of the six men whose names were announced Thursday are dead, while the status of one priest is unknown, the diocese said.

One of the men, Stanley F. Banaszek, served as a priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Blacksburg and as a chaplain at Virginia Tech in 1974-75, according to an advocacy group for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

That brings to seven the number of former clergy on the Richmond diocese list with past ties to the region spanning from Bedford to Blacksburg.

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New Ulm Diocese reaches $34 million settlement with abuse survivors

NEW ULM (MN)
Catholic News Service

June 28, 2019

The Diocese of New Ulm has reached a $34 million settlement with 93 survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

In a letter to Catholics of the diocese, Bishop John M. LeVoir said he believes the settlement “we have reached is a fair one” for abuse survivors and also allows the diocese to continue its ministry to those it serves throughout south and west-central Minnesota.

“(It) represents years of respectful negotiations with those representing victims and survivors in order to come to a fair resolution of claims while continuing essential church ministry,” he said June 26. “I believe the settlement agreement we have reached is a fair one.”

News reports quoted Jeff Anderson, an attorney for many of the New Ulm claimants, as saying that reaching the settlement was “a big day for survivors.”

“Throughout this process, all of the survivors have demonstrated tremendous courage and patience,” he said. “They have advanced the child protection movement and made their communities safer for kids.”

A June 26 diocesan news release on the agreement said the funds for the settlement “are made up of insurance coverage settlements and cash and property contributions from the diocese and parishes, including parishes that do not have claims against them.”

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An Indianapolis Catholic school has fired a teacher in a same-sex marriage after a Jesuit school in the city did not

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
CNN

June 25, 2019

By Jason Hanna, Carma Hassan and Daniel Burke

Two Catholic high schools in Indianapolis were facing the same instruction from an archbishop: Fire a teacher who is in a same-sex marriage, or lose the archdiocese’s recognition as a Catholic institution.

One refused last week, and is keeping its gay, married teacher. But officials at the other have announced they are firing theirs.

Adding to the tense situation: the two teachers have been married to each other since 2017, multiple sources have told CNN. Their marriage, which the couple shared on social media, led a local Catholic to complain to the archdiocese, the sources said.

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Diocese of Richmond Adds Six Names to Credibly Accused Clergy List

RICHMOND (VA)
Richmond Diocese

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2019

Catholic Diocese of Richmond Adds Names to Clergy List

(RICHMOND, Va.) – Today, the Diocese of Richmond announces six names have been added to its list of clergy that have a credible and substantiated claim of sexual abuse against a minor. The names were added after additional information was brought forward and a review was completed in consultation with the Diocesan Office of Safe Environment and the Diocesan Review Board. The names of the individuals with credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse, as well as additional information, can be located on the Richmond Diocese website: www.richmonddiocese.org.

The six priests added are below:

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Northern Cambria Priest placed on leave following allegations of sexual misconduct

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
WJACTV

June 27, 2019

By Travis Gary

A Northern Cambria priest has been placed on leave from public ministry after being accused of sexual misconduct involving a minor in the 1980s, according to a release from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

According to the release, Father Donald Dusza was pastor of Prince of Peace Parish.

The 63-year-old Twin Rocks native was ordained as a priest in 1983 and has served various parishes throughout the diocese.

Dusza became pastor of Prince of Peace in 2017.

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R.I. General Assembly passes bill to extend sex-abuse statute of limitations

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

June 26, 2019

By Katherine Gregg

The Rhode Island General Assembly has passed legislation to give the victims of sexual abuse more time to sue the priests, teachers, coaches and others who molested them when they were children.

After a weeks-long standoff over conflicting versions of the bill, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a version of the bill introduced by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee on behalf of her sister, Annie, with only one significant change. Shortly afterward, the full Senate unanimously voted to approve the legislation. The House then voted, 70-to-1, to send the bill to the governor.

Rep. Brian Newberry, R-North Smithfield, was the only lawmaker to vote no.

“This is Annie’s bill,″ said an emotional McEntee, who introduced the legislation in the name of her now 66-year-old sister, Ann Hagan Webb, who was sexually molested repeatedly by their family’s parish priest in West Warwick for a period of seven years that began, she has testified, when she was 5 years old.

“This is a scourge on our society,″ McEntee said. “You’ve seen it all over the country, all over the globe, and we’re not different here in Rhode Island,” but now “we are giving the victims their day in court, the day they so much deserve after so much wrong has been committed on them.”

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AG’s office releases update on the charged defendants in the Clergy Abuse Investigation

LANSING (MI)
WILX News 10

June 28, 2019

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has released an update on the defendants charged in the Clergy Abuse Investigation.

Patrick Casey had a probable cause conference on May 30. The defendant waived his preliminary exam before the Wayne County 18th District Court Judge Mark A. McConnell. An arraignment on information is scheduled for July 18 in the Wayne County 3rd Circuit Court. The defendant is out on bond.

Timothy Crowley is being extradited from Tempe, Arizona and will be delivered to Washtenaw County Jail in early July.

Vincet DeLorenzo has been extradited from Marion County, Florida and delivered to Genesee County Jail on June 17 and was arraigned on June 18. His probable cause conference was adjourned to Aug, 1 for discovery. The defendant is out on bond.

Neil Kalina was extradited from Los Angeles County, California and delivered to Macomb County Jail. He was arraigned on June 20 in the Macomb County District Court. A probable cause conference is scheduled for July 2 and a preliminary exam has been set for July 9.

Jacob Vellian has been charged and we are working with federal authorities to extradite him.

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Report: 22 Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse Had Assignments in Northern Arizona

FLAGSTAFF (AZ)
KNAU Radio

June 28, 2019

By Zac Ziegler

Of the 22 identified, 18 are dead, one is in prison for sexual abuse, and the whereabouts of three are not definitively known.

Jeff Anderson is with Anderson and Associates, the firm that released the report.

“There has not been a full accounting by the Catholic Diocese in Phoenix of all the names that should have been disclosed by the Catholic Bishops past and present.”

The Diocese of Phoenix issued a statement, saying it’s reviewing the report, and that none of the accused are in active ministry in Arizona.

It encourages victims to come forward and contact law enforcement.

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John Gehring on Why Catholic Bishops Need a Year of Abstinence on Preaching about Sexuality

ITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage blog

June 26, 2019

By William Lindsey

It might seem obvious that a church facing a crisis of legitimacy caused by clergy raping children would show more humility when claiming to hold ultimate truths about human sexuality.

Instead, in the past month alone, a Rhode Island bishop tweeted that Catholics shouldn’t attend gay pride events because they are “especially harmful for children”; a Vatican office issued a document that described transgender people as “provocative” in trying to “annihilate the concept of nature”; and a Catholic high school in Indianapolis that refused to fire a teacher married to a same-sex partner was told by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis that it can no longer call itself Catholic.

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Addressing the roots of clergy sex abuse

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

June 28, 2019

By Father Amado Picardal

At the root of clergy sex abuse is the “dark side” of leadership. To overcome the dark side, a priest must be aware of it and acknowledge its existence. This requires spending time in solitude, silence and prayerful reflection.

This is a time spent for examining his life and conscience. This should be done regularly and be part of the rhythm of his life. This is a time for introspection — to examine the lights and the shadows of his exercise of leadership.

This is the time to see the ulterior motives behind deeds and behavior. The question that one must constantly ask is: “Which temptation am I most vulnerable to? How far have I succumbed to the temptation of the dark side?”

Acknowledging that he is a sinner and have submitted to domination from the dark side is the first step. There is a need to recognize and struggle against his personal demons.

This requires going through a process of conversion (metanoia) — a conversion to Christ, a moral conversion — to change how he behaves and how he lives.

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A Chance to Change: A Review of “Everything Hidden Shall Be Revealed”

Patheos blog

June 27, 2019

By Mary Pezzulo

I have just finished reading a thought-provoking book by my friend Adam A. J. DeVille.

The book is entitled Everything Hidden Shall Be Revealed: Ridding the Church of Abuses of Sex and Power. It provides some intriguing ideas on how to reform and heal the Church from the horrendous culture of abuse that we’ve seen revealed in the news again and again for a year now. Deville is an Eastern Catholic pointing out ways in which the Latin church could benefit from changing her canons to be run and disciplined more like the East, or more like the Latin Church was at some point in her past. The changes he suggests are in the bureaucracy of our church, not in her teaching. And while they are relatively drastic changes, DeVille gives very solid theological reasoning for all of them.

One of DeVille’s major premises is that the laity are not just a lesser breed of Catholic, destined only to blindly follow clerics here and there. He refers to the laity as “laics” and stresses that they themselves are ordained to a sort of priesthood– not the same as the priesthood of the clergy, but not a lesser Catholic either, only a different member of the Body of Christ. And this is something I agree with one hundred per cent. If we are ever to reform the Church and recover from the sex abuse crisis, we must end the idolatry of clericalism and the arrogant contempt that priests in general have shown for the laics.

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Diocese lists third priest linked to city who has credible child sex abuse accusations

ROANOKE (VA)
Roanoke Times

June 28, 2019

By Andrew Adkins

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond added six priests to a list of clergy who served in the diocese and were credibly accused of sexual abuse against a minor, bringing the total to 49.

Five of the six men whose names were announced Thursday are dead, while the status of one priest is unknown, the diocese said.

The priests were accused of sexually abusing a minor either while working in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond or elsewhere. The diocese did not release specific details of the abuses “out of respect for the privacy of survivors,” the statement said.

One of the men, Patrick J. Cassidy, was a priest of the Diocese of Richmond and had nine assignments in Virginia, including Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville, according to a list published on the diocese’s website. He was ordained in 1947 and died in 2003.

The diocese initially published the list of clergy in February. The new names were added after “additional information was brought forward and a review was completed in consultation with the Diocesan Office of Safe Environment,” it said in a statement.

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Diocese places priest on leave, cities sexual misconduct

ALTOONA (PA)
Atoona Mirror

June 28, 2019

By Dave Sutor

The pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Northern Cambria has been placed on leave from public ministry by Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak.

The Rev. Donald W. Dusza, a 63-year-old Twin Rocks native, is not permitted to function as a priest while on leave. An administrator will be named for the parish.

“The action follows an accusation of sexual misconduct involving a young person,” the diocese stated in a press release. “The alleged incident dates back to the 1980s.”

A call was placed to the church for comment. A man, who did not give his name, declined to talk and suggested contacting a diocese spokesperson.

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A nascent #ChurchToo movement could improve gender equality in the black church

LOS ANGELES (CA)
University of Southern California
June 27, 2019

By Susan Bell

The first advice the Reverend Najuma Smith-Pollard gives male pastors is not to use terms of endearment when addressing women clergy.

“What I tell them is, number one, she’s not your baby, she’s not your boo, she’s not your sweetie-pie. She needs to be Reverend or Elder or Minister or Miss,” she said. “Recently, I’ve had pastors self-correct, so where before they would have said ‘baby,’ now they say, ‘Oh, Reverend Najuma.’”

Two years ago, Smith-Pollard, a pastor and program manager with the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement at USC Dornsife’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC), says those conversations were not happening with anywhere near the same level of concern. The catalyst, says Smith-Pollard, whose work and expertise focuses on the African-American Church, has been the #MeToo movement, which has gathered momentum since late 2017 following the scandal surrounding widespread allegations of sexual abuse by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and other well-known, powerful men.

Like #MeToo, the nascent #ChurchToo movement is starting to mobilize and empower women to address long histories of abuse. Smith-Pollard says concerns are growing in the African-American church that #ChurchToo will reveal widespread sexual and physical abuse of women within the black church — revelations that, as they ripple out across congregations, could be devastating for many church communities and their leaders.

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Woman claims sexual assaults by former Lee priest

PITTSFIELD (MA)
Berkshire Eagle

June 27, 2019

By Larry Parnass

Katherine Finn Diaz waited decades to tell her story of Catholic clergy abuse. Then she could delay no longer.

Diaz says that when she was a high school sophomore in Berkshire County in the early 1970s, the Rev. James D. McKenna lured her into a sexual relationship by plying her with alcohol. His assaults began after she volunteered to play the organ and help direct a youth choir associated with the former St. Francis Church parish in South Lee.

Over the course of 18 months in 1973 and 1974, Diaz says, McKenna regularly served her alcohol from a bar in the rectory’s living room, then pressed her to engage in sexual contact that she felt unable to fight off and now terms sexual abuse.

“He led me up the stairs and started kissing and fondling me,” Diaz said, speaking of how the assaults began.

Diaz blames her routine consumption of alcohol with McKenna for the start of a drinking problem that followed her into adulthood.

“I became an alcoholic. His purpose was to get me drunk. Very drunk. He did that every time I went to church by myself, which was every week,” Diaz said during the course of several telephone interviews from the Columbus, Ohio, area, where she lives.

The sexual contact initiated by McKenna never resulted in intercourse and was carried out while both remained dressed, said Diaz, who at the time was known as Kerry Finn.

After decades concealing what she experienced, Diaz detailed the priest’s actions in a letter last fall to the Springfield Diocese, for which McKenna served. She said she also reported McKenna’s behavior to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office and to state police.

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Monroe Priest Indicted On Three Additional Counts Of Child Indecency

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Public Media

June 27, 2019

By Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

A Montgomery County grand jury has indicted Catholic priest Manuel Antonio La Rosa-Lopez with three additional counts of child indecency, arising from child sexual abuse allegations, according to court records. La Rosa-Lopez was a priest at Conroe’s Sacred Heart Church and had already been indicted with two counts of indecency with a child.

Tyler Dunman, special crimes bureau chief at the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, told News 88.7 Tuesday there are three victims so far.

On May 13, La Rosa-Lopez was arraigned on the two initial counts at the Montgomery County 435 District Court in Conroe and entered a not guilty plea.

The new counts against the priest are related to two acts that allegedly occurred in February 1999 and one act that allegedly occurred in June 2000.

La Rosa-Lopez was originally charged in Montgomery County on September 10, 2018. He is one of the 42 clergy included in a list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor released by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in January.

On November 28, 2018, the Conroe Police Department, Texas Rangers, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and other agencies executed a search warrant at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

It was the fourth search warrant executed in the joint law enforcement investigation of La Rosa-Lopez.

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Little Rock Diocese settles sexual abuse claims against priest for $790,000

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
THV11

June 27, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock responded to a settlement between the church and five men who say they were sexually abused by a priest in the 1970s.

The victims, represented by a North Little Rock attorney, said Father John McDaniel sexually abused them when they were students at Holy Souls Catholic School located in Little Rock.

Each of the boys were between 12 and 15 years old at the time.

In a list released last year, Bishop Anthony Taylor named priests credibly accused of sexual abuse, one of the names was Father John McDaniel.

The list also urged any other victims to come forward.

The Dioceses’ statement outlines the payments it made to settle this case out of court. Diocesan Spokesperson Dennis Lee said the settlement was mediated by a mutually agreed upon third party in May.

Since there was no confidentiality agreement, the victims, the attorneys, and the church are all allowed to release details at any point.

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Guest Blog: The Statute of Limitations Maze

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 28, 2019

By John Winer

After what seemed like a brief lull, various Dioceses throughout the United States are facing a steady stream of accusations from adults who, as children, were sexually abused by clergy in the Catholic Church. And, there seems to be a great deal of willingness on the part of elected officials to help streamline the process, something that did not exist in previous generations.

Throughout the country there seems to be a reawakening of these allegations as District Attorneys in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and elsewhere have either brought new charges or released the names of priests and others accused of child sex abuse. Archdiocese of New York named 120 clergy who were “credibly accused” of child sex abuse and a law firm released another 300 names accused of abuse in New Jersey.

There is reason to believe the California government will change the civil statute of limitations standard currently in place. The change will allow adult survivors of sexual abuse while a minor to bring claims up to their 40th birthday. At the same time, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of adults will be changed from two years to 10 years. This will allow California sexual abuse victims to have a far larger window to bring a civil case for monetary damages.

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Diocese of Little Rock pays $790,000 to settle priest-abuse claim of 5 ex-students

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Arkansas Democrat

June 28, 2019

By Youssef Rddad

The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock confirmed Thursday night that it paid nearly $800,000 to five men who say an Arkansas priest sexually abused them when the men were boys in the early 1970s.

North Little Rock attorney Josh Gillispie filed a legal claim on behalf of the men that said the Rev. John J. McDaniel sexually abused them while the men were students at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church in Little Rock.

Dennis Lee, a spokesman for the Diocese of Little Rock, confirmed the diocese agreed to pay $790,000 to settle the case after reaching an agreement with the men through a third-party mediator last month.

The settlement is the first publicly acknowledged payment by the Diocese of Little Rock since the diocese released a list of clergy who worked in Arkansas at some point and had credible or substantiated claims of sexual abuse against them.

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Diocese of Metuchen Bishop James Checchio votes for abuse accountability measures

BRIDGEWATER (NJ)
Courier News

June 28, 2019

Nick Muscavage

Bishop James F. Checchio of the Diocese of Metuchen participated in a series of three separate votes to hold bishops accountable for instances of sexual abuse of children or vulnerable persons, sexual misconduct, or the intentional mishandling of such cases.

The votes, which took place June 13 at the Spring General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Baltimore, were based on and consistent with the new universal laws for the reporting and handling of complaints against bishops, as set forth in the Motu Proprio “Vos estis lux mundi” – or “You are the light of the world” – issued by Pope Francis in May.

The Motu Proprio is a legislative text that modifies or adds to church law, known as canon law, which applies universally to the Catholic Church throughout the world. The Holy Father’s Motu Proprio calls for a mandatory process – not voluntary – for church investigations of complaints against bishops, not just priests and deacons, for allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

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‘How Much Is a Little Girl Worth?’

NEW YORK (NY)
Fortune

June 27, 2019

By Mary Pilon

Jan. 24, 2018, Rachael Denhollander walked into a Michigan courtroom to speak about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child from Larry Nassar. She was the last in an extraordinary procession of nearly 150 women to offer an impact statement at the sentencing hearing of the longtime USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor.

Standing at a podium facing Nassar as her words were beamed out worldwide, Denhollander, a former gymnast—and now herself an attorney, an advocate for child safety, and a 34-year-old mother of four—concluded her statement with a question:

“How much is a little girl worth?”

For decades, Nassar’s work as a doctor treating athletes at Michigan State University (MSU) and for USA Gymnastics helped give him unfettered access to girls and young women that he serially sexually abused. Since Denhollander became the first survivor to publicly accuse the doctor of abuse, in September 2016, an estimated 500 women have come forward saying that they, too, were abused by Nassar. Some experts on the case think that number could eventually pass 1,000. In July 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to child pornography charges, and months later, he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault of minors. He will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. In May 2018, MSU agreed to pay a $500 million settlement to victims who had sued the university, among the largest sums ever paid in relation to sex-abuse claims.

As a consequence of that financial victory, Denhollander’s question has taken on a painfully literal meaning.

While the settlement represented the end of one long, difficult story, it signaled the beginning of another. Survivors like Denhollander have been deep in negotiations with lawyers and mediators over the disbursement of the settlement funds. In a process that involves an awkward combination of apologetic recognition, dispassionate mathematics, and, often, a torturous recounting of abuse, hundreds of women are learning what their suffering was “worth” in dollar terms.

Roughly a year into the mediation process, many of the survivors have now received their answers—in decisions about their payouts, known as allocations. For one woman, it was a low five-figure sum that will help her retire credit card debt and relocate; for another, it was an amount in the high six figures, enough to cover bills related to her mental health treatment and to enable her to work with other survivors. For a third, it’s a donation to a nonprofit she cares about. For each, the check will be worth considerably less than its face value, after taxes and attorneys’ fees. And for many, the money itself is a hurtful reminder of the abuse that took place.

The idea of a process that attaches financial value to acts of abuse is appealing to no one, presenting a challenging tangle of money, law, and trauma. Advocates and survivors are the first to say that settlements are more about a sense of justice than about money; no sum could ever compensate for the damage done. At its worst, the process can feel like an invasive haggle that reduces the experience of profound harm to a flat dollar figure. “It’s the trauma you went through, basically, being ranked against [that of] other girls,” says Grace French, a ­Nassar survivor who works in marketing and is a cofounder of the Army of Survivors, a nonprofit that helps those who have experienced abuse. “I do think a lot of girls are still struggling with that after getting that number.”

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Archdiocese releases review of abuse-prevention policies, procedures

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Catholic

June 27, 2019

By Michelle Martin

A review of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s policies and procedures on the prevention of sexual abuse of minors, the way the archdiocese reports and investigates allegations and how it supports victims showed many strengths, as well some areas that could be improved.

Monica Applewhite, an internationally recognized expert on sexual abuse and the development of policies and procedures to deal with it, was hired last year to evaluate what the archdiocese has done and could do better.

The review was not sparked by any particular incident in the archdiocese, Applewhite said. Rather, she was asked to look at the systems that were in place to prevent and respond to clerical sexual abuse and suggest any further steps the archdiocese can take.

William Kunkel, the archdiocese’s general counsel, said the archdiocese has asked outside experts for help evaluating and strengthening its sexual abuse prevention and response policies since they were first instituted in 1992.

However, this was the first time a U.S. Catholic diocese has asked Applewhite for this kind of review, she said. She has worked with other dioceses on developing and implementing policies, and from 2003 to 2007 she oversaw the response to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People by religious communities in the United States, helping them develop their own accreditation policies and directing the accreditation process.

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Diocese Will No Longer Name Buildings for Bishops, Pastors, Individuals

Patheos blog

June 27, 2019

By Deacon Greg Kandra

From press release from the Diocese of Richmond:

On the same day six names were added to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s list of clergy with credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse, Bishop Barry C. Knestout initiated a policy directing all diocesan institutions, schools and parish buildings to only identify themselves with the following: the names of saints, the mysteries of the faith, the titles of our Lady or of our Lord, or the place where the ministry has been established. They will no longer be named after an individual bishop, pastor, founder or individual.

The policy goes into effect today, June 27, 2019.

“Overcoming the tragedy of abuse is not just about holding accountable those who have committed abuses, it is also about seriously examining the role and complex legacies of individuals who should have done more to address the crisis in real time,” said Bishop Knestout. “The continued honorific recognition of those individuals provides a barrier to healing for our survivors, and we want survivors to know that we welcome and support them in our diocese.”

Currently, the only school building, parish or diocesan location that requires a change because of this new policy is Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School located in Virginia Beach. The school returns to its former name of Catholic High School which it was named in 1993 when it moved to its Princess Anne Road location. For more on the history, founding and naming of the school, visit: https://www.chsvb.org/about/history.

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Bishop Weldon allegation may prove test for bishop accountablity

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

June 27, 2019

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski’s recent meeting with a man who says he was sexually abused by the late Bishop Christopher Weldon may test new church guidelines on how to handle claims against a bishop, as well as deliver justice for an alleged victim.

A statement released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield following the June 20 meeting said that the alleged victim’s remarks had been documented and an initial report filed with the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office. Further, it referenced “the courage it takes any person, including this individual, to share such a traumatic story of abuse.”

The Springfield Diocese noted that Rozanski was “seeking guidance on how this complaint should now be handled in light of the new policies and procedures agreed upon last week by the U.S. bishops but not yet implemented.”

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Married priest debate set to rise again

TORONTO (CANADA)
Catholic Register

June 27, 2019

By Michael Swan

The Vatican put a discussion about married priests on the agenda for the Oct. 6-27 Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region. The working document for the Rome meeting calls for “ministry with an Amazonian face” and greater access to the Eucharist in remote communities that rarely see a priest.

Like the Amazon, Canada’s north faces a severe shortage of priests and a complete absence of Indigenous priests.

“The people really do appreciate the sacraments. At this point, they just can’t do that without a priest,” said Bishop Jon Hansen of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith.

Hansen’s diocese covers 1.5 million square kilometres and 30,000 Catholics with six parishes, 27 churches and no incardinated priests. Priests currently serving in Canada’s north are on loan for periods of anywhere from six months to two years.

“So I’m constantly on the lookout,” Hansen said.

A conversation in Rome this fall about ordaining married, Indigenous priests for service in their own communities — priests who could offer the Mass fluently in Indigenous languages — has certainly perked up Hansen’s ears.

“I think it would continue to be of interest to me, so I will follow it closely,” he said.

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Catholics Debate the Future of Priestly Celibacy

NEW YORK (NY)
Wall Street Journal

June 27, 2019

By Francis X. Rocca

This October, bishops meeting at the Vatican will consider the possibility of ordaining married men to serve as priests in remote parts of the Amazon region. If the Synod of Bishops recommends such a move to ease celibacy rules and Pope Francis approves, it will be the first time in a thousand years that the Roman Catholic Church has routinely ordained married men as priests.

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SNAP Celebrates Survivor Advocates as Rhode Island Assembly Advances SOL Reform

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 27, 2019

We applaud lawmakers in Rhode Island, especially Rep. Carol McEntee, for advancing needed reform to the civil statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse. The bill that these legislators have now forwarded to Gov. Gina Raimondo for her signature will help create safer, more informed communities in Rhode Island.

We are especially grateful to Ann Hagan Webb, a powerful speaker, advocate, and survivor whose efforts were central to the passage of this bill. Rep. McEntee, the sister of this dynamic advocate, said to the press that “this is Annie’s bill.” Ann’s willingness to share her story of abuse publicly and work with survivors and legislators was critical to building momentum for this reform and we applaud her effort.

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Diocese of Richmond Adds 6 Names to its List of Accused

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 27, 2019

The Diocese of Richmond has added an additional 6 names to their list of clergy accused of abuse. We call on Bishop Barry Knestout to personally visit each parish where these men worked or spent time and urge witnesses, whistleblowers, and survivors to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.

The more information that is added to these lists, the more information that gets into the hands of parents and parishioners, leading to safer communities for children and vulnerable adults. These updates can also help bring comfort to survivors who previously may have believed they were alone. For those reasons, we are glad Richmond catholic officials have added these names. But there is still more information that is needed for these lists to be as helpful as possible.

First, the diocese should ensure that as much information related to allegations as possible is released. This includes not only names of the accused and their current status, but also a full listing of the locations they worked, a picture, and information related to when the allegations were first received and what was done in response. Similarly, these lists should be expanded and updated to include not only priests, but also deacons, nuns, bishops, or any other church staff that has been publicly accused.

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AN UNEXPECTED VOICE, A PAINFUL MESSAGE

BOSTON (MA)
The Pilot

June 26, 2019

By Greg Erlandson

For those who say the Church doesn’t get it, or the Vatican doesn’t get it, I offer up Msgr. John Kennedy. Msgr. Kennedy has perhaps the most unenviable job in the Church today. He is head of the Vatican office that investigates allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

“I can honestly tell you that when reading cases involving sexual abuse by clerics, you never get used to it, and you can feel your heart and soul hurting,” he said recently. “There are times when I am poring over cases that I want to get up and scream, that I want to pack up my things and leave the office and not come back.”

Msgr. Kennedy made this remarkable admission in a speech to a room full of Catholic communicators and journalists during the 2019 Catholic Media Conference. His speech lasted more than an hour, during which you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. At its end, he received a standing ovation.

The ovation was not for his rhetorical skills, but for his honesty. He spoke frankly about the excruciating purgatory of his work.

“One of the worst things is seeing photographs and exchanges of chats or messages that are often presented in the acts of the case,” he said. “In all honesty, this work has changed me and all who work with me. It has taken away another part of my innocence and has overshadowed me with sadness.”

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Italian prelate resigns amid flurry of charges, including political muscle

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

June 27, 2019

By Elise Harris

Italian Bishop Francesco Cavina has resigned from his post in the Diocese of Carpi following a flood of media allegations accusing him of mingling ecclesial and political affairs during the election of the city’s mayor earlier this year.

In April an article appeared in the Italian magazine L’Espresso accusing Cavina of “electoral corruption,” saying he participated in a campaign to defame his city’s mayor and accepted favors from the deputy mayor, Simone Morelli, in exchange for helping Morelli get votes from the Church.

Cavina was reportedly being investigated by police for being part of an alleged system of favors and patronage with city officials. According to the magazine, police wiretapped some 10 phone calls in which he was allegedly mingling in political affairs, ensuring a electoral victory to Morelli, who reportedly offered gifts to the Church in exchange.

The report also alleged that Cavina accepted too many gifts from faithful in his diocese, at times receiving quasi-romantic notes from a woman he reportedly referred to as ‘an angel’, and that he intervened using contacts in the Holy See to stop proceedings against a young priest accused of pedophilia.

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Hearing postponed for former Flint-area priest accused of sexually assaulting boy

FLINT (MI)
Flint Journal

June 27, 2019

By Roberto Acosta

A court hearing has been postponed weeks for a former Flint-area priest accused of sexually assaulting a young boy at a Burton Catholic church.

Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, was scheduled for a probable cause conference on Thursday, June 27 in Genesee District Court after being formally arraigned last week on three counts each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Mike Manley, DeLorenzo’s attorney, made a brief appearance in court Thursday afternoon when it was decided the hearing would be moved to early August. DeLorenzo was not in court.

The charges against DeLorenzo and four other priests were announced May 24 by Attorney General Dana Nessel.

A five or six-year old boy who attended primary school at a Catholic Church in Burton from 1995 – 2000 is the alleged victim of sexual assault by a former Flint-area priest, according to an affidavit released by the Attorney General’s Office.

The victim, listed as “John Doe” in charging documents, is not being identified.

The boy attended the primary school Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Burton starting when he was five or six years old in 1995, when the misconduct is said to have begun. The abuse lasted for five years, according to officials.

During this time, DeLorenzo allegedly penetrated, fondled and caressed the boy during blessings and while praying, according to the affidavit. Some of the incidents are said to have taken place in the less visible areas of the Holy Redeemer Church.

In taking on the case, Manley said he’s defending DeLorenzo “to ensure he receives a fair trial.”

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Victims call for Phoenix diocese to reveal all sex abusers

PHOENIX (AZ)
Associated Press

June 27, 2019

By Bob Christie

Victims of sexual abuse and attorneys representing them on Wednesday called for the Phoenix Diocese of the Catholic church to disclose the names of all priests who have been accused of child sex crimes.

The demand came at a news conference where Minnesota-based attorney and longtime clergy abuse victim advocate Jeff Anderson released a report with the names of 109 clerics he says have been accused of crimes against children.

The Phoenix Diocese has publicly released a list of 43 names of clergy who have been “credibly accused” of abuse since the diocese was formed in 1969 and removes them from their clerical duties. Priests accused before that year are disclosed by the Tucson and Gallup, New Mexico, dioceses, which oversaw parts of the region before the new diocese was created.

The diocese said it appeared the list contained names of priests identified on its website and those maintained by other dioceses and religious orders, and that none of those identified by Anderson are in an active Phoenix-area ministry. The Associated Press located one of the names left off the Phoenix list as one maintained on a list by the Gallup diocese.

But Anderson and other advocates say the Phoenix diocese owes victims complete transparency and should disclose every name, including those that have worked for other religious orders allowed to work in the diocese.

He said he believes the diocese has underreported the number of priests who have worked and been accused of child sexual molestation.

“It is time for transparency, and it’s time for disclosure,” Anderson said. “And this is our best effort to begin the process of full disclosure here,” he said of the list he released .

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Richmond Catholic Diocese adds 6 clergy members to sexual abuse list

RICHMOND (VA)
WTVR TV

June 27, 2019

By Nick Boykin

Six names have been added by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond to a list of clergy who have credible and substantiated accusations of sexual abuse of a minor against them.

The six names added by the Diocese are Stanley F. Banaszek, Anthony M. Canu, Patrick J. Cassidy, Leonardo G. Mantei, Thomas D. Sykes and Vincent The Quang Nguyen. The only one not known to be dead already is Vincent The Quang Nguyen.

The list, which was first released by the Diocese in February, contains names of priests and their status in the Church. Some have passed away and others are listed as removed, laicized, convicted or suspended if their status is known.

“Back in February, when we published a list of clergy against whom there are credible and substantiated claims of child sexual abuse, we acknowledged the list would be updated,” said the Barry C. Knestout, bishop of Richmond. “As we continue to engage with survivors of abuse and learn more about the history of our diocese, we continue our commitment to transparency. It is my sincere hope that the additions of these individuals will help provide healing for anyone who suffered at their hands.”

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Law firm releases details on Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse in Phoenix

PHOENIX (AZ)
Phoenix Business Journal

June 27, 2019

By Tanner Puckett

Attorneys with Jeff Anderson & Associates released a report June 25 containing the names, photos and information of 109 clergy accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Phoenix.

“It is time for transparency, and it is time for disclosure,” said Jeff Anderson, whose Minnesota-based law firm advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

“The reason why we are here today and disseminating this information is because there has not been a full accounting by the Catholic diocese in Phoenix of all the names that should have been disclosed by the Catholic bishops, past and present.”

The report includes assignment histories and details of accusations. Also included are those who were assigned to or living within the Dioceses of Gallup and Tucson before the formation of the Diocese of Phoenix in 1969.

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4 added to New Orleans archdiocese’s list of clergymen credibly accused of sex abuse

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Advocate

June 27, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The list of Catholic clergymen who served in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and are faced with credible claims of sexually abusing minors grew by four names this week.

Robert Poandl, Christopher Springer, Lawrence Dark and Archibald McDowell were all added Monday to a list that had initially been released Nov. 2 and consisted of 55 priests as well as two deacons.

Poandl and the three others had been religious-order priests who were assigned to work in the archdiocese decades ago. While the archdiocese said it was later notified of sexual misconduct claims against them, their orders were in charge of investigating the cases and determining whether they were credible.

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Sarah McDonald said her organization was “recently” notified that the accusations against all of them had indeed been deemed credible, leading to the decision to add all four to a list which now includes 61 clergymen who are suspected of child sexual abuse.

The archdiocese didn’t further address the timing of the updates to its list. It came shortly after the nation’s Catholic bishops met in Baltimore to pursue stronger accountability and transparency on complaints pertaining to the decades-long clergy sexual abuse crisis.

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Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School to be renamed Catholic High School

VIRGINIA BEACH (VA)
News Channel 3

June 27, 2019

By Nick Boykin

Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach will no longer have Bishop Sullivan in its name.

The move was announced by Bishop of Richmond Barry C. Knestout, who stated that the school will return to its former name of Catholic High School.

Buildings in the Diocese will now only be named after saints or titles with other Catholic meanings, not after individuals.

Catholic High School is the only building in the Diocese that currently requires a name change. “Overcoming the tragedy of abuse is not just about holding accountable those who have committed abuses, it is also about seriously examining the role and complex legacies of individuals who should have done more to address the crisis in real time,” Knestout said.

“It is my hope and prayer that the policy change is another way to assist survivors of abuse in their healing, especially those who have, in any way, experienced the failure of Church leadership to adequately address their needs and concerns,” he said.

The change comes after a push by a survivor named Thomas Lee. He’s been calling for the school’s renaming for about 10 years. He says he was abused at St. John Vianney Seminary in Goochland County by Fr. John Leonard and says Bishop Sullivan covered up facts to allow Leonard to continue to serve as a priest.

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Hanna Boys Center abuse survivor speaks publicly after $6.8 million settlement

SANTA ROSA (CA)
Press Democrat

June 26, 2019

By Mary Callahan

He left his abuser behind when he departed Hanna Boys Center, a graduate at 18, onto another life.

But the anguish of what happened — six years of sexual abuse at the hands of his case worker at the Sonoma Valley residential facility for troubled boys — nearly took him down anyway.

“It was a very, very dark feeling,” said Robert Kennedy, 25, identified until Wednesday in civil and criminal court proceedings only as a John Doe.

His abuser, Kevin Scott Thorpe, who was promoted to clinical director at Hanna months before his June 2017 arrest, is now serving 21 years in state prison in the San Joaquin Valley. Kennedy, one of his victims, kept his story to himself until coming forward two years ago, detailing his claims to law enforcement and later filing a civil suit against Thorpe.

“I felt like I was suffering in silence, and if I did speak that it wouldn’t even matter,” Kennedy said. “That’s what I kept telling myself.”

On Wednesday the Santa Rosa man spoke for the first time outside of court about his experience, standing at a press conference outside the Hanna Boys Center and later in an exclusive interview. The account he shared followed news on Tuesday that he and his brother, another of Thorpe’s victims, had reached a $6.8 million settlement in their pair of lawsuits against Hanna Boys Center and the affiliated Santa Rosa Diocese of the Catholic Church.

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Abuse survivor: exhausted and hopeful for the future

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

June 27, 2019

By Betsy Schindler

I opened the Baltimore Sun recently and saw a page of articles on childhood sexual abuse. Southern Baptist Church delegates were meeting in Birmingham, Ala., to begin addressing years of sexual abuse by pastors and youth ministers. And Catholic bishops were meeting in Baltimore to discuss the next steps in addressing the ongoing problem of decades of sexual abuse. I felt exhausted by the overwhelming evidence of abuse everywhere you look, but also hopeful that finally something can be done to prevent future abuse.

I attended the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse symposium in April, and there was much discussion of prevention, but also of the lifelong damage inflicted on survivors. It was estimated that survivors spend at least $300,000 in therapy over their lifetimes, but I was thinking of the personal cost to myself.

I thought about how things could have been different if my step grandfather had never entered our family. If my family had never attended two particular churches. I imagine I wouldn’t have temporarily dropped out of college because of an eating disorder. I would have still had student loans to pay off, but maybe I would have paid them off before the age of 50, because I wasn’t spending so much money on therapy and surviving.

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Lawyers, victims release new information on accused priests, ask for statewide investigation

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Mirror

June 26, 2019

By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Lawyers and victims gathered in a hotel conference room Wednesday afternoon to release a report they hope will help survivors of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic priests to come forward.

The report consists of 109 priests and other clergymen who have been accused of sexual predation in Arizona, specifically those in the Phoenix Diocese.

“It is time for transparency and it is time for disclosure,” Jeff Anderson, an attorney who has been representing victims for more than 30 years, said while introducing what he and his firm are calling the Anderson Report.

In a written statement on the press conference held by Anderson’s firm, the Phoenix Diocese encouraged victims to call local law enforcement.

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Victims question Kamala Harris’ record on clergy abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

June 26, 2019

Joey Piscitelli was angry when Kamala Harris emerged as a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. It brought back the frustration he felt in the 2000s, when he was a newly minted spokesman for clergy sex abuse victims and Harris was San Francisco’s district attorney.

Piscitelli says Harris never responded to him when he wrote to tell her that a priest who had molested him was still in ministry at a local Catholic cathedral. And, he says, she didn’t reply five years later when he wrote again, urging her to release records on accused clergy to help other alleged victims who were filing lawsuits.

“She did nothing,” said Piscitelli, today the Northern California spokesman for SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Survivors of clergy abuse and their attorneys say that Harris’ record on fighting sex abuse within the Catholic Church is relevant as the U.S. senator from California campaigns for the presidency as a tough-on-crime ex-prosecutor who got her start prosecuting child sexual abuse cases. They complain that Harris was consistently silent on the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal — first as district attorney in San Francisco and later as California’s attorney general.

In a statement to The Associated Press, the Harris campaign underscored her record of supporting child sex abuse victims but did not address her silence regarding victims abused by Catholic clerics.

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Vicar found guilty of sexually assaulting student on a transatlantic flight

LONDON (ENGLAND)
ITV News

June 26, 2019

A vicar has been found guilty of sexually assaulting an American male student on a transatlantic flight. A jury returned a unanimous verdict at Newcastle Crown Court.

The Reverend Peter McConnell, who was a vicar at Longhorsley, in Northumberland, had denied the claim.

The 23-year-old PhD student said he was subjected to “sleazy comments” and groped under a blanket on overnight flight 0066 from Philadelphia to Heathrow in March 2017.

The 64-year-old clergyman, who was vicar at St Helen’s Church, in Longhorsley, Northumberland, had been in the USA to visit his sister after she suffered a serious illness. The court heard he’d had up to five quarter bottles of wine during the flight, although he denied he was drunk.

The student said he reported what had happened to the airline and the Church of England. The police became involved as a result.

McConnell will be sentenced on 29 July 2019.

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SNAP Calls for Transparency from Church Officials in Fargo, ND

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 26, 2019

The Diocese of Fargo has potentially kept children and vulnerable adults in harm’s way for months by not publicly disclosing a child sex abuse accusation against a local priest. We call for the responsible party or parties to be disciplined by Church officials, both in the US and in Rome.

According to the media report, more than a year ago a woman reported to the Diocese of Fargo that she was molested as a child by Fr. Jack Herron. However, we know this only because she had the strength and courage to disclose this horror to a newspaper. We call on the Diocese to explain why it would endanger the faithful and the public, as well as violate Church policies and promises, by hiding this information for months.

Informed communities are safer communities, and in choosing to keep this information internal, Catholic leadership in the Diocese of Fargo have put children and vulnerable adults within their borders at risk.

Members of the public who have been around an accused child molesting priest for decades need and deserve to know who and where he is. This kind of secrecy only protects wrongdoers while leaving others at risk. We are glad that the press broke this story, and we hope that others with information or suspicions about Fr. Herron – or any other priest, nun, deacon, or church staffer – will call independent sources of help, like police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups like ours.

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More Names Released in Arizona, but not by Church Officials

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 26, 2019

Today, the names of more abusive clergy who worked and lived in Arizona will be revealed at a press conference. We are grateful to Jeff Anderson and his team for getting this important information out to the public. At the same time, we are disappointed that this transparency did not come from church officials themselves.

Informed communities are safer communities, and the more information about accused clergy that church officials share with parents and parishioners, the more knowledgeable and vigilant they will be. This helps protect children and vulnerable adults. Similarly, when church officials release information about abusers, the communities where those abusers served in will know to look deeper in their midst for survivors who may not have come forward but are still in need of help.

Simply put, transparency is good for everyone.

So we are glad that independent reports continue to be publicized and that this important information gets released. We hope that in the future, church officials will live up to their promise to be “open and honest” regarding cases of clergy sex abuse and will release this kind of information on their own.

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Diocese of New Ulm reaches $34M settlement in sex abuse cases

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

June 26, 2019

By Paul Walsh

A tentative settlement announced Wednesday between the Catholic Diocese of New Ulm and 93 people who allege they were sexually abused by clergy as children calls for the claimants to receive roughly $34 million.

The agreement in principle now goes for approval to U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where the south-central Minnesota diocese filed for protection from its creditors in March 2017.

“This is a big day for the survivors,” Jeff Anderson, attorney for many of the New Ulm claimants. “Throughout this process, all of the survivors have demonstrated tremendous courage and patience. They have advanced the child protection movement and made their communities safer for kids.”

Anderson also represents clients in negotiations with dioceses in St. Cloud and Winona-Rochester. He said last month that litigation against the Crookston diocese is going forward after settlement negotiations broke down.

The Diocese of Winona-Rochester claimed bankruptcy in November of 2018 and set a deadline in April 2019 for those wishing to file a claim of sexual abuse. A total of 121 claims had been filed against the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, naming 17 priests. Many of them were filed as a result of the state’s Child Victims Act, which lifted the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse for three years. At the time, Bishop John Quinn said bankruptcy was necessary to ensure the victims are able to get justice and heal.

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Cardinal Dolan Refuses to Remove Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Eight Children

Legal Examiner blog

June 26, 2019

By Joseph Saunders

For the second time in six month’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, refuses to remove a priest accused of sexual abuse. The latest incident involves Monsignor John Paddack, stationed at Church of Notre Dame on W. 114th St. in Manhattan.

The priest has been accused of sexual abuse by eight different individuals and the Archdiocese, and specifically Cardinal Dolan, has known about the allegations since 2012 but has stubbornly refused to take action.

Five accusers leveled abuse allegations against Paddack in March, with one former student at Cardinal Hayes High School recalling how he went to the priest for counseling over suicidal feelings. Rafael Mendoza said Paddack instead asked him to strip naked and examined him with a stethoscope.

The abuse occurred when Mendoza was a freshman in 1996.

“He would take me to his office and he would tell me to remove my shirt, unbuckle my pants. I can remember the coldness of the knob of the stethoscope while he’s checking my heartbeat and all around my chest and slowly going down to my genitals,” Mendoza said. “Just seeing his face turn bloodshot red while doing this, I go back now and think he was getting something out of this.”

Paddack also worked at St. Joseph By the Sea on Staten Island and the Church of the Incarnation in Manhattan.

According to Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, this is the second time in the past year that Cardinal Dolan kept the vulnerable in harm’s way. Just six months ago it was revealed that Fr. Donald Timone, himself twice-accused of abuse, was able to stay on the job even though Catholic officials paid one of his victims a six figure settlement.

Cardinal Dolan has spoken publicly about his concern for survivors of sexual abuse by priests but his actions belie his words. When the NY state legislature was considering helping survivors by enacting statute of limitations reform, the Cardinal had his lobbyists spending money and fighting vigorously against the measure. Fortunately, this year, the legislation finally passed and NY sex abuse survivors can now hold the Archdiocese of New York and other dioceses in NY accountable for aiding and abetting abusive priests.

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The Biggest Deterrent to Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
The Atlantic

June 26, 2019

By Hannah Giorgis

In the United States, about one-third of child-sexual-abuse victims come forward with their allegations before adulthood. Another third disclose far later in life—the median age is 52—and the rest never reveal their past trauma at all. In recent years, many children’s advocates have looked to shift these low reporting numbers (and correspondingly low rates of prosecution) by addressing a legal hurdle that lies in the way of many victims seeking court-based justice: the statute of limitations.

Speaking yesterday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, the lawyer Kathryn Robb, who serves as the executive director of CHILD USAdvocacy, noted a clear gap between lawmakers’ understanding of abuse and their visions of justice. “There’s a lot of ignorance about the nature of trauma, why victims don’t disclose, and the idiocy of statutes of limitations, their arbitrary unfairness,” Robb said. “That’s a bit of a frustration, just trying to educate legislative leaders and governors across the [country].”

As of this year, 38 states (as well as the District of Columbia) are reconsidering their statute of limitations for sexual-abuse cases. Robb and her fellow panel speaker Marci Hamilton—the founder, CEO, and academic director of CHILD USA—spent 16 years attempting to persuade New York state legislators to pass laws that would lift restrictions on victims who come forward with allegations later in life. In New York, the criminal statute of limitations for felony sexual abuse of a minor has been extended to age 28; for misdemeanors, survivors can come forward until they reach the age of 25. For civil cases—against people and institutions—the statute of limitations now extends to age 55.

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Louisville archdiocese says proper steps were followed while investigating a priest

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Courier Journal

June 26, 2019

By Billy Kobin

The Archdiocese of Louisville said it followed proper procedures while investigating a priest at a Highlands church who was accused of taking inappropriate photos of students.

But a national support group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse is calling on Vatican officials to discipline Archbishop Joseph Kurtz — the head of Louisville’s Catholic diocese — for “recklessly and secretively” handling the investigation into the priest, who was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.

As the Courier Journal first reported Tuesday, the Rev. Jeff Gatlin resigned earlier in June as pastor at St. Francis of Assisi, 1960 Bardstown Road, to deal with health issues, according to the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Previously: Louisville priest resigns after being accused of ‘inappropriate’ photos

Gatlin, 51, had been accused of “inappropriate picture taking” of students during a May 13 field day celebrating the end of the parish school year, officials said.

The church’s school serves students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Cecelia Price told the Courier Journal in an email that officials received one “specific complaint about a possibly inappropriate photo and some general concerns from other parents.”

Price said the photos were intended to be used for an eighth-grade video and that the photo related to the specific complaint “showed nothing inappropriate.”

“It was a shot of two students in a conference room working on room set-up,” Price said, declining to provide more specifics on the complaint.

One week after the field day, St. Francis of Assisi School principal Steve Frommeyer shared an email with parents in which Gatlin wrote that a “number of concerns have been raised and accusations have been made about my actions of taking pictures of students at the field day activities.”

“Though I do not believe I have done anything wrong, I have asked Archbishop Kurtz to appoint a temporary administrator so that I can cooperate with a review of what occurred, as well as my overall ministry as pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish,” Gatlin wrote.

His comments were also included in a May 24 bulletin sent to parishioners.

“You are in my prayers. Please keep me in your prayers,” Gatlin wrote.

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Ex-priest dies months into imprisonment for raping boys

SAVANNAH (GA)
The Associated Press

June 25, 2019

By Russ Bynum

A former Catholic priest who pleaded guilty last year to raping two boys decades earlier has died just several months into a 20-year prison sentence in South Carolina.

Wayland Yoder Brown, 75, died at a hospital June 8 from what appear to be natural causes, South Carolina Corrections Department spokeswoman Chrysti Shain said Tuesday. The ex-priest had been imprisoned since his guilty plea last October.

“It’s too soon to have an official ruling, but it was expected,” Shain said of Brown’s death. “There’s nothing suspicious.”

Brown had already been dismissed from the priesthood and served five years imprisoned in Maryland for sexually abusing two other boys when he was indicted by South Carolina prosecutors in 2017.

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Settlement Reached in the Diocese of New Ulm Bankruptcy Case

NEW ULM (MN)
Anderson Advocates

June 26, 2019

(New Ulm, MN) – A settlement has been reached in the Diocese of New Ulm bankruptcy case, which involves 93 claimants who were sexually abused as children by clergy and others in the Diocese.

The Diocese and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (“Creditors Committee”), comprised of clergy sexual abuse survivors, have reached an agreement in principle toward a resolution of the bankruptcy. The settlement calls for payment of approximately $34 million to the 93 sexual abuse claimants. The Diocese previously agreed to the release of names of credibly accused priests.

“This is a big day for the survivors,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney for many of the New Ulm survivors. “Throughout this process, all of the survivors have demonstrated tremendous courage and patience. They have advanced the child protection movement and made their communities safer for kids.”

The Creditors Committee and the Diocese will submit a Disclosure Statement and Plan of Reorganization to the United States Bankruptcy Court. These documents are subject to approval by the Bankruptcy Court. Once the documents are approved, the 93 survivors will be sent ballots and vote on the Plan. The Bankruptcy Court must then approve the Plan the survivors approve by balloting. After that, the claims are evaluated by a claims reviewer to determine award amounts.

The settlement includes contribution of $8 million from the Diocese and its parishes with the rest of the approximately $34 million being funded by insurance carriers for the Diocese.

Contact: Jeff Anderson: (651)227-9990 (office); (612)817-8665 (cell)
Mike Finnegan: (651)227-9990 (office); (612)205-5531 (cell)
Molly Burke: (651)227-9990 (office); (651)283-7606 (cell)

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Scicluna: I was saved by sex abuse victim

ROME (ITALY)
CATHOLIC HERALD

June 26, 2019

By Aaron Benavides

Archbishop Charles Scicluna said that his life may be been saved by a victim of sexual abuse after he developed gall bladder trouble during a visit to Chile.

In an interview with a Maltese radio station, Scicluna said the incident occurred during his February 2018 trip to investigate the cover-up of sexual abuse by Bishop Juan Barros.

Scicluna was tasked by Pope Francis to interview victims of sexual abuse, but was feeling unwell and experiencing abdominal pain during the visit.

During one of the interviews, a victim who works as a medical consultant questioned Scicluna about his symptoms and recommended he go to the hospital for testing.

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Names of 109 clerics accused of sex abuse in Phoenix Diocese to be released

PHOENIX (AZ)
3TV/CBS 5

June 26, 2019

A group of survivors, advocates and their lawyers will release the names of 109 clerics accused of sexually abusing kids in the Diocese of Phoenix Wednesday afternoon.

They will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Phoenix.

The report will include the names, histories, photographs and information of all 109 clerics accused.

The report comes after the Arizona Legislature passed legislation that extended the age limit for sexual abuse survivors to bring claims against a perpetrator and the institution that may have protected the perpetrator, according to a news release.

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Auxiliary bishop latest to be hit with sex abuse allegation in archdiocese

HOUSTON (TX)
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

June 25, 2019

By Samantha Ketterer and Nicole Hensley

The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has temporarily stepped aside from public priestly duties after being hit with what the archdiocese has termed a “false allegation” of sexual abuse from 1971.

Several chancery departments and at least one pastor received letters addressed to Bishop George Sheltz, containing an accusation of molestation, archdiocesan officials said in a statement dated Friday.

The letter writer, who said she was a minor in 1971, also expressed anger that her current pastor was being moved to another parish. She indicated she would go public with her accusation against the auxiliary bishop if he went forward with the re-assignment.

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Portland diocese installs 24/7 misconduct hotline

PORTLAND (ME)
Press Herald

June 16, 2019

The Diocese of Portland has created a 24/7 hotline to receive complaints about priests or other church employees who are accused of misconduct that violates church ethics rules.

The reporting system is operated by an Akron, Ohio-based Red Flag Reporting and will take reports about fraud, misconduct, harassment or substance abuse among clergy, the diocese said in a statement Tuesday.

However, the system is not intended to be a way for the public to report clergy sexual abuse, the diocese said, encouraging anyone with information about sexual misconduct in the church to contact “civil authorities.”

“Several months ago, after hearing from people around the state, the diocese started the process of establishing this system for individuals to express their concerns in an easily accessible way,” Bishop Robert P. Deeley said in the statement. “The system is organized to ensure that these reports will be handled in a timely and thorough manner.”

The diocese said the company “ensures accountability at the diocesan level by overseeing the handling of each complaint,” the statement said. Posters will be placed in churches, diocesan schools and buildings with the hotline number. Complaints can be received in English or Spanish, or can be submitted online.

People who report misconduct also will be granted whistleblower protection.

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Indian cardinal seeks to quash sex abuse cover-up case

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
UCA News

June 26, 2019

India’s Cardinal Oswald Gracias and two of his auxiliary bishops have asked Bombay High Court to quash a case that accused them of failing to report to police alleged child sex abuse by a Catholic priest.

The top court of Maharashtra state on June 25 postponed hearing the case to July 1.

“The charge against the cardinal and his deputies is that they failed to initiate action, but it is incorrect. And therefore the police case is challenged in the High Court,” the clerics’ counsel Jayant Joseph Bardeskar told ucanews.com on June 25.

Mumbai police filed the case against Cardinal Gracias of Bombay and Bishops Dominic Savio and John Rodrigues accusing them of not acting against an archdiocese priest accused of molesting a child despite complaints from the child’s father.

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Woman accuses Fargo priest of sexually abusing her as a teen in the 1970s

FARGO (ND)
In Forum

June 26, 2019

By April Baumgarten

A woman who says she was sexually abused by a Fargo priest in the 1970s is sharing her story.

The woman, who asked not to be named, has reported the allegations against retired Father Jack Herron, who was a priest at St. Anthony of Padua, to the Catholic Diocese of Fargo and the Fargo Police Department. She told The Forum Herron groped her and touched her inappropriately in the church’s rectory.

“I have to deal with this. It’s kind of like how your life is a puzzle,” she said. “I’ve dealt with everything else in my life that were struggles except this one corner piece.”

The woman was 15 to 16 years old when the alleged inappropriate contact occurred, according to a January letter to the diocese. The letter, which was obtained by The Forum, was from her attorney and described how she had sought Herron’s help in answering questions about the Catholic faith.

Though the alleged abuse didn’t happen immediately, the letter details inappropriate touching. At times, Herron called her “his little lady,” the letter alleged. The priest allegedly asked her to keep the interactions a secret.

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Altoona-Johnstown Diocese appeals court ruling

ALTOONA (PA)
Tribune Democrat

June 26, 2019

By Dave Sutor

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona–Johnstown has challenged the ruling in a case that – if upheld – could significantly expand the ability of alleged childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse to file civil claims against the church.

In December 2017, Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva dismissed a case brought by Renée Rice against the diocese, then-retired (now deceased) Bishop Joseph Adamec, the estate of deceased Bishop James Hogan and the Rev. Charles Bodziak because the abuse she alleged Bodziak committed, from 1975 or 1976 through 1981 when they were both at St. Leo’s Church in Altoona, was past the commonwealth’s statute of limitations.

A three-judge Superior Court of Pennsylvania panel overturned the decision earlier this month, stating that if a jury finds a confidential relationship existed that resulted in fraudulent concealment of information, then defendants cannot gain rulings in their favor based upon the statute of limitations expiring.

Rice’s attorney in the original hearing, Richard Serbin, argued that his client could not have known the full level of the diocese’s alleged effort to protect predator priests until the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General released a grand jury report that provided details about the alleged decades-long coverup.

He believed the conspiracy lasted until Bodziak was placed on leave in January 2016 or maybe even until the grand jury report was issued in March 2016.

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Ivory Coast bishops announce new structure for protection of minors

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

June 26, 2019

Catholic bishops in the Africa nation of Ivory Coast have announced the creation of a national body to protect minors and vulnerable persons from clerical sex abuse.

The establishment of such a mechanism is one of many new requirements aimed at combatting the scourge that Pope Francis outlined on May 9.

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Breaking Catholic Seal of Confession to Report Sex Crimes

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
NBC News Bay Area

June 26, 2019

By Pete Suratos

One of the largest settlements has been reached for sexual abuse cases involving a diocese in the North Bay.

The news comes on the heels of Catholic Church officials calling on state lawmakers to reconsider a bill that would penalize priests for not reporting the sexual abuse of minors told to them during confessions.

A letter was sent by the president of the Catholic League calling the bill unjust and even threatening to sue.

The bill would penalize priests for not coming forward with sexual abuse claims involving minors told to them in the confessional by a coworker or another priest.

While the Catholic League believes priests should be held accountable for their actions, the bill — if passed — would violate a sacrament of the church.

The letter comes as lawyers for two brothers sexually abused by a clinical director for a Sonoma Valley boys home reached a $6.8 million settlement. The home is affiliated with the Santa Rosa Diocese of the Catholic Church. It’s the largest single settlement in more than a quarter-century for the area.

As of May, the diocese has paid out more than $30 million in settlements for clergy abuse.

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Looking into the clerical sex abuse crisis

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

June 26, 2019

The clerical sex abuse phenomenon has become a global crisis in recent years. Local Churches have been asked to address it. It is the responsibility of bishops’ conferences, dioceses and religious congregations. It also requires the active involvement of the laity.

Before coming out with concrete measures, it is important to clarify what the crisis or problem is all about, its extent and causes. Before any prognosis, a diagnosis is necessary. There are questions that need to be answered. What is clerical sex abuse all about? How widespread is it?

There are many who see it as the sexual abuse of children or minors by the clergy that has been covered up and allowed to continue due to clericalism.

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Former Jackson priest accused of sex abuse

JACKSON HOLE (WY)
Jackson Hole News

June 26, 2019

By Emily Mieure

The first name on a list of Wyoming priests accused of sexually abusing young boys is former Jackson clergyman Gerald Chleborad.

When reached by phone at his home in Colorado, 84-year-old Chleborad refused to comment about the serious claims.

“I don’t have anything to say,” Chleborad said Thursday before hanging up.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne released the list earlier this month after internal investigations revealed “substantiated allegations of sexual abuse.”

Three adolescent males reported being sexually abused by Chleborad, according to the list, in 1984-85, 1995 and 2003.

Chleborad moved to Jackson in the early ’90s and served as a priest at Our Lady of the Mountains and Sacred Heart Chapel in Grand Teton National Park, according to newspaper archives.

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Break the silence: French bishops start dialogue with children of priests

PARIS (FRANCE)
National Catholic Reporter

June 26, 2019

By Elisabeth Auvillain

As the Catholic Church of France is coming to terms with scandals of clergy sexual abuse and abused women religious, other victims of canon law have been asking for recognition. They are the sons and daughters of priests.

Following a promise made in February, three children of priests met June 13 with Bourges Archbishop Jérôme Beau, president of the French bishops’ Commission for Ordained Ministers and Lay Ecclesial Ministers.

“This was a very encouraging meeting, said Anne-Marie Mariani, one of the three members who were representing the group she founded, Enfants du Silence or “Children of Silence.”

She said the meeting with Beau is just the beginning and that another is planned for October.

“The church has agreed to open its archives and help children of priests know more about their fathers,” she said. Children of priests “often find out the truth only upon their [father’s] death,” she noted. “We are now hopeful that these situations won’t happen again.”

She added there is no way to know how many children of priests there are in France.

Beau said, “What matters is first to listen to these children of silence who express their suffering and to understand what is at stake.”

This meeting comes at a time when the French Catholic Church is trying to regain credibility after damaging revelations of numerous sexual and spiritual abuses by priests toward children and women religious.

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The SBC Pretends to Care About Sex Abuse

Patheos blog

June 26, 2019

By Captain Cassidy

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) just had its big Annual Meeting this year. There, they featured three main messages. First, they registered dim awareness of the huge sex-abuse scandal engulfing their denomination. Second, they outlined their response to that scandal. And third, they drilled down harder than ever on their culture wars–and sent a firm message to those clamoring for changes. Today, let me show you how we know where their real priorities are, what their real message was, and why they had to send it.

The Scandal Heats Up.
Early this year, two Texas newspapers released a story called “Abuse of Faith.” It detailed the sex abuse scandal erupting in the SBC. Even more, it had the potential to do to the SBC what the Spotlight stories had done to the Catholic Church, and for the same reasons, and in the same ways.

In “Abuse of Faith,” hundreds of victims shared stories of abuse at the hands of many dozens of SBC church ministers. Those victims also openly discussed the many ways that the SBC’s biggest denominational leaders had tried to bury those stories, silence them, and pretend nothing bad was happening.

After the story broke, the SBC dithered about what to do. A few leaders cried copious crocodile tears, including J.D. Greear, their current denominational president. Clearly they all hoped it would just blow over. But it didn’t. It got worse and worse.

When Greear insisted on an “investigation” into some of the churches named in “Abuse of Faith,” the resulting circus farce only drew attention to the SBC’s shortcomings. (See endnotes. This one runs deep.)

Addressing a Scandal, Sort Of.
Having failed utterly to quell outrage, of course, the SBC’s top leaders now felt they had to say something about the scandal at their Annual Meeting. They couldn’t just ignore it.

But they sure came as close as they humanly could to it.

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Belleville Diocese waiting to see if Pope accepts resignation of controversial bishop

BELLEVILLE (IL)
News Democrat

June 26, 2019

By Teri Maddox

Bishop Edward K. Braxton turns 75 on Friday, prompting supporters and critics to wonder how much longer he will be leading the Catholic Diocese of Belleville.

Canon law requires bishops to submit resignations at age 75, but it’s up to Pope Francis whether to accept them.

“The ministry of a bishop in a diocese requires a total commitment of energy, and anything, including age, that decreases the ability to dedicate oneself fully to serving the church and the faithful is the reason that retirements are offered at 75,” said Monsignor John T. Myler, diocesan spokesman and rector at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Belleville.

Braxton plans to submit his resignation on Friday, Myler said, but nothing will change with day-to-day operations until the Pope makes a decision.

“Sometimes the Pope may ask a diocesan bishop to remain for a certain period — months, a year, even several years,” Myler said.

The Rev. James “Clyde” Grogan predicts it won’t be long for Braxton. The retired priest is among those who believe the bishop has been rigid, insensitive, arrogant and non-transparent during his 14 years in Belleville.

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Uproar over a gay teacher fired by Indianapolis Catholic school highlights ongoing divide

NEW YORK (NY)
Salon

June 25, 2019

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Last Sunday, Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Ind., posted an open letter on their website addressed to the “Cathedral Family.” In it, the school’s president Rob Bridges and board chair Matt Cohoat announced the school would be terminating the employment of an openly gay teacher.

“Archbishop Thompson made it clear that Cathedral’s continued employment of a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage would result in our forfeiting our Catholic identity, due to our employment of an individual living in contradiction to Catholic teaching on marriage,” Bridges and Cohoat wrote.

This decision caught the attention of national media, especially as another Catholic school in Indianapolis, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, had severed ties with the archdiocese just days before, after refusing to fire their openly gay teachers.

The Cathedral decision is the result of a months-long deliberation process that reveals building tension between progressive Catholics — especially younger ones — and conservative church leadership, and raises questions about what Catholic communities, and politics in those communities, will look like in the coming decades.

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Sex offender, former Catholic priest reportedly presided over Masses in Fillmore

CAMARILLO (CA)
Ventura County Star

June 25, 2019

By Tom Kisken

A former Catholic priest removed from ministry and convicted of molestation was reportedly presiding at home Masses in Fillmore, according to a May 30 alert from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The notice from the archdiocese’s Vicar for Clergy Office to priests, deacons and parish life directors warns that Carlos Rene Rodriguez has no permission to act as a Roman Catholic priest. It said parishioners reported Rodriguez was celebrating Masses held at residences in Fillmore and surrounding areas.

Archdiocese officials said Rodriguez was removed from ministry in 1987 after being accused of abusing a teenager at St. Vincent Church in Los Angeles when he was part of the Vincentian religious order. After treatment and a return to limited ministry at a Santa Barbara retreat center, he left the religious order in 1993 ending his authority to serve as a priest in the archdiocese.

Archdiocese officials said he was laicized — removed from the priesthood — in 1998. The archdiocese includes Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and is the largest in the nation.

In 2004, he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of molestation from 1988 to 1993 — beginning after Rodriguez was sent to the retreat center — involving brothers from Santa Paula. He was incarcerated in 2004 and released in 2008, according to archdiocese officials in a written statement.

Archdiocese officials also said Rodriguez presented himself as a priest in 2016, using the name of Father Carlos Ramirez at a church not affiliated with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The May notice from the Vicar for Clergy Office said he was removed from ministering at the church.

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Defrocked Savannah Catholic priest Wayland Brown dies

SAVANNAH (GA)
Savannah Morning News

June 25, 2019

By Jan Skutch

Former Savannah Catholic priest Wayland Yoder Brown has died just months after he began serving a 20-year sentence for sexually assaulting two Savannah boys while still a priest.

South Carolina Department of Corrections official said Brown, 76, died at a hospital on June 8.

Brown pleaded guilty on Oct. 23 in Beaufort County, S.C., to nine charges including six counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, second degree and three counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, first degree.

“I do not expect the defendant to live through that sentence,” Judge Robert Hood said in imposing the 20-year sentence.

South Carolina 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone, who prosecuted Brown, said he hoped prosecuting Brown before he died gave his victims “at least some measure of peace.”

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Auxiliary bishop latest to be hit with sex abuse allegation in archdiocese

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

June 25, 2019

By Samantha Ketterer

The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has temporarily stepped aside from public priestly duties after being hit with a “false allegation” of sexual abuse from 1971, according to the archdiocese.

Several chancery departments and at least one pastor received letters addressed to Bishop George Sheltz, containing an accusation of molestation, archdiocesan officials said in a statement dated last Friday.

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Group calls on Cleveland Catholic Diocese to be more transparent

CLEVELAND (OH)
Fox 8 News

June 25, 2019

By Bill Sheil

A national organization that represents clergy sex abuse victims is calling on the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland to release records of an exhaustive 2002 grand jury investigation into the priest-pedophile scandal.

“We think the time is now for church officials in Cleveland to lift the cover of secrecy and release these records to the public,” says Zach Hiner, the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Last Friday, the diocese released the names of 22 more clerics against whom have been made substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse – most of them are now dead – bringing the total number of names released in Cleveland to 51.

In 2002, as the abuse scandal exploded nationwide , FOX 8 did a series of reports focusing on the Cleveland Diocese.

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For Second Time, Cardinal Dolan Keeps Accused Priest on the Job

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 25, 2019

A New York City priest is still on the job even though seven men say he molested them. This kind of inaction only further endangers children and vulnerable adults and we call on Vatican officials to punish and demote him.

Making matters worse, this is the second time in the past year that Cardinal Dolan kept the vulnerable in harm’s way. Just six months ago it was revealed that Fr. Donald Timone, himself twice-accused of abuse, was able to stay on the job even though Catholic officials paid one of his victims a six figure settlement.

In today’s case, Monsignor John Paddack is accused of molesting eight boys between 1984-2002. Lawyers for the survivors of Msgr. Paddock said that Cardinal Dolan first learned of the charges back in 2012, according to the Daily News. Yet Paddock was allowed to remain in ministry, in a move that defies common sense.

Msgr. Paddack is less the issue now than Cardinal Dolan. Most credibly accused predator priests profess innocence. And thanks to the courage of these eight men, the public, police, prosecutors, parishioners and parents are now warned about Msgr. Paddack.

But top Catholic officials must take action now against Dolan, the head of the second largest archdiocese in the US, who has repeatedly put children and vulnerable adults in harms way. Under Pope Francis’ new edict and the new system for reporting developed by church officials in Baltimore earlier this month, Cardinal Dolan would be one of the men tasked with investigating accusations against other bishops.

Given Cardinal Dolan’s actions in the past year, we do not believe he would be up to this task. The Vatican should remove him from his post and send a clear and strong message that this kind of inaction will not be tolerated.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Catholic Church Spending Millions To Keep Predatory Priest’s Safe

PENSACOLA (FL)
Ring of Fire Radio

June 24, 2019

By Mike Papantonio

Via America’s Lawyer: Mike Papantonio and Trial Magazines Editor Farron Cousins discuss a new report showing that the Catholic Church has spent millions of dollars lobbying against the efforts to hold their own clergy members liable for molesting children.

Transcript:
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: A new report shows that the Catholic Church has spent millions of dollars lobbying against the efforts to hold their own clergy members liable for molesting children. You know, I look at this, I’m look at this story. Everyday you go to the newspaper when you see another molestation story and you hear the, you hear this, the same thing. Oh, we feel terrible about this as the Catholic Church. We apologize. We’re trying to turn a new leaf on this. We’re so sorry.

While they’re saying that they’re spending five, six, $7 million state by state, trying to make sure that the statute of limitations doesn’t change, so they’re old priest can’t be held responsible for, for going after little boys. I mean, and that’s that, that’s the Catholic Church. That’s this, that is this crazy culture, this, this, this, this cult like thing that we call the Catholic Church nowadays. We accept as a church. It’s a cult.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Our Opinion: For future’s sake, Church must confront past

BERKSHIRE (MA)
Berkshire Eagle

June 25, 2019

The acknowledgment by the Springfield Diocese that former Catholic Bishop Christopher J. Weldon has been credibly accused of sexually abusing an altar boy is welcome, yet overdue. As is too often the case with dioceses across the nation, Springfield had to be pushed into doing what it should have done at the first opportunity.

Last week, the diocese filed an initial report of a claim of abuse with the office Hampden County District Attorney Gilluni (Eagle, June 22). This came the same day that the Most Rev. Bishop Rozanski met with a Chicopee man who says Bishop Weldon was one of several members of the clergy in the Springfield Diocese who abused him in the 1960s when he was 9 or 10. The Springfield Diocese includes Berkshire County.

The meeting and the referral came three weeks after the diocese denied it had received a credible accusation against Weldon. In response to an Eagle story by Larry Parnass reporting that a diocesan review board had notified the bishop last September that it found the alleged victim’s story about his molestation by Bishop Weldon to be “compelling and credible,” the chairman of the review board, John M. Hale, asserted in a statement released through the diocese that the former altar boy did not accuse Bishop Weldon of abuse to the review board, so the board could not have found that he engaged in improper conduct. This dismayed three people in attendance who recalled hearing the specific allegation made, one of whom, a practicing Catholic and clinical psychologist, accused the diocese of lying as part of a cover-up.

It remains unclear how the chairman of the review board could deny the contents of a letter to the bishop that he presumably signed off on. It is clear, however, that in-house diocesan review boards, which are supposedly independent, aren’t the best way to get at the truth of allegations that directly impact the diocese.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Why Catholic bishops need a year of abstinence on preaching about sexuality

NEW YORK (NY)
Religion News Service

June 25, 2019

By John Gehring

If Catholic bishops hope to reclaim their moral credibility after revelations about covering up clergy sexual abuse, the hierarchy might start by sending a simple but potent message: Church leaders should take a year of abstinence from preaching about sex and gender.

It might seem obvious that a church facing a crisis of legitimacy caused by clergy raping children would show more humility when claiming to hold ultimate truths about human sexuality.

Instead, in the past month alone, a Rhode Island bishop tweeted that Catholics shouldn’t attend gay pride events because they are “especially harmful for children”; a Vatican office issued a document that described transgender people as “provocative” in trying to “annihilate the concept of nature”; and a Catholic high school in Indianapolis that refused to fire a teacher married to a same-sex partner was told by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis that it can no longer call itself Catholic.

There is an unmistakable hubris displayed when some in the church are determined to make sexuality the lynchpin of Catholic identity at a time when bishops have failed to convince their flock that they are prepared to police predators in their own parishes.

Even before abuse scandals exploded into public consciousness more than a decade ago, many Catholics were tuning out the all-male hierarchy’s teachings on sexuality. Surveys show the vast majority of Catholics use birth control and nearly 70 percent now support same-sex marriage.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Two Cases of Ongoing Cover-up in the Archdiocese of New York

NEW YORK (NY)
Law office of Jeff Anderson

June 25, 2019

A Survivor Who is a New York Priest to Reveal Identity of Priest
Who Sexually Abused Him and Others as Children;
Name of Priest Continues to be Held Secret by Cardinal Dolan

Msgr. John Paddack Still in Ministry After 7 Reports of Child Sexual Abuse;
Survivor Abused by Paddack to Speak Publicly for the First Time Tuesday

At a press conference Tuesday in New York City, a sexual abuse survivor and the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates will:

• Reveal an Archdiocese of New York priest’s full account of abuse as a teenager by a serial offender whose identity will be made public tomorrow for the first time and expose how survivors are re-victimized by the Archdiocese’s Compensation Program;
• Introduce a survivor of Msgr. John Paddack who will speak publicly for the first time about his abuse by Paddack;
• Demand the Archdiocese of New York and Cardinal Dolan remove Msgr. Paddack from ministry at the Church of Notre Dame in New York.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.