Students at their desks in in 1945 with their teacher at All Saints Indian Residential School in Lac la Ronge, Sask., where use of the Cree language was strictly forbidden. Photo: Library and Archives Canada)

The Appalling Discovery in Kamloops Is Irrefutable Evidence of a Crime Against Humanity

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Alberta Politics Blog by David Climenhaga [Alberta, Canada]

May 30, 2021

By David Klimenhaga

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[Photo above: Students at their desks in 1945 with their teacher at All Saints Indian Residential School in Lac la Ronge, Sask., where use of the Cree language was strictly forbidden. Photo: Library and Archives Canada]

The appalling discovery of the bodies of 215 Indigenous children hidden in unmarked graves at the site of the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is irrefutable evidence of a crime against humanity. 

The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Band confirmed Thursday that ground-penetrating radar had detected the remains of the children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, which was operated by the Roman Catholic Church.

Many of us settler Canadians have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that for generations the policy of the Government of Canada toward our country’s first citizens was culturally genocidal in intent and sometimes literally genocidal in practice. 

But we are here now and…

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‘Every site checked’: FSIN demand governments search residential school sites for remains

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Global News [Toronto, Canada]

May 30, 2021

By Kelly Skjerven

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[With videos]

Following the discovery of a mass grave at a former residential school in Kamloops, BC., the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is calling on all levels of government to take action.

“We understand the enormous loss and mourn with the families affected by the 215 children found in Kamloops. We know that thousands of First Nations children did not make it home and were buried without any markers or outcry from the public. Canada and Saskatchewan have an immense amount of work in the area of reconciliation and addressing this horrific history” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron.

“We will not allow Government to continue to ignore these lost children. We must reconcile and reclaim the mass grave sites of our children from across Saskatchewan, within our Treaty Territories, in order to mourn and move forward.”

The FSIN…

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Vancouver mayor calls on feds to provide funding to Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
News 1130 - CityNews [Vancouver, Canada]

May 30, 2021

By Bethlehem Mariam

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Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart is responding to the disturbing discovery of the children’s bodies in Kamloops.

In a statement released Sunday, he says mourning is not enough.

“We must continue to seek the full truth of what happened at these so-called schools, as well as other systems of oppression created by our government to destroy Indigenous peoples,” he says.

Stewart says he’s calling on the Government of Canada to provide necessary funding and support to Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc to help identify lives lost.

He’s also calling on all residential sites in Canada to be expertly examined under the guidance of local First Nations.

The flag at Vancouver City Hall has been lowered to half mast.

Meanwhile, in Surrey, a memorial was underway Sunday afternoon to honour and mourn the children’s lives lost.

Organizers said participants planned to gather at Holland Park to pay their respects, light candles, and take part…

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This is not history; this is happening now

SAULT STE. MARIE (CANADA)
Sault Today [Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada]

May 30, 2021

By Josie Fiegehen

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A memorial has begun at Algoma University, formerly Shingwauk Residential School, to honour the lives of the 215 children found in an unmarked, mass-grave in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Local residents have been stopping by the steps of Shingwauk to honour the lives that were stolen and discarded by the residential school system, by dropping off a pair of children’s shoes.

Saturday night, I stopped by to offer tobacco as my contribution to the growing memorial.  At that point, there were about 45 pairs of children’s shoes, of all sizes, placed silently on the steps. As I was leaving, another car pulled in just after me, adding to the display. By this afternoon, the visual representation of solidarity had grown to over 215 pairs and various other offerings.

Jasmine Syrette, from Rankin, and her friend Celeste Maurer, from Beaverhouse First Nation, have been tracking and documenting the expansion of the memorial…

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Pope orders visitation of German archdiocese

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

May 30, 2021

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Pope Francis wants to examine the pastoral situation and handling of sexual abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Cologne

[Via Union of Catholic Asian News]

Pope Francis has ordered an apostolic visitation “to obtain a comprehensive picture of the complex pastoral situation” in the Archdiocese of Cologne and to investigate how accusations of clerical sexual abuse were handled, the Vatican nuncio to Germany announced.

The pope asked Swedish Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and Dutch Bishop Johannes van den Hende of Rotterdam to carry out the visitation, which include onsite visits in the first half of June, the note said.

In a short statement posted on the archdiocesan website, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, head of the archdiocese, said he had spoken to Pope Francis in February about tensions in the archdiocese over both the handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the diocese and the cardinal’s decision not to…

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‘It’s our truths’: Indigenous leaders call for ‘thorough’ probe to identify remains of children found at Kamloops residential school site

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Canada]

May 31, 2021

By Andrea Woo and Jeffrey Jones

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Indigenous leaders are calling for an examination of every former residential school site after the discovery of 215 children’s remains at one location in British Columbia. Confirming the identities of those who lie in unmarked graves and returning their remains to family are integral parts of truth and reconciliation, they say.

The grim discovery last week at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School has elicited a profound reaction across the country. Memorials sprung up in cities across Canada, with displays of children’s shoes and teddy bears to mark the young lives lost.

The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, said residential school survivors and their families “deserve to know the truth and the opportunity to heal” from the loss of children who died.”

A thorough investigation into all former residential school sites could lead to more truths of the genocide against our people,” Mr….

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The discovery of a mass grave at a former residential school is just the tip of the iceberg

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Canada]

May 30, 2021

By Mary Ellen Turpel-LaFond

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Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond (Aki-Kwe) is the director of the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre and a professor of law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, at the University of British Columbia.

Many Canadians have expressed their horror, shock and sadness at the announcement that the unmarked buried remains of 215 children were discovered in preliminary radar findings last weekend at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. And we should be sad; it is horrific. But it is not shocking. In fact, it is the opposite – a too-common unearthing of the legacy, and enduring reality, of colonialism in Canada. To the degree it is shocking, it is evidence of how much learning there is still to do.

Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, the chief of Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation, said it best: She called the discovery of the mass grave an “unthinkable loss.”…

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Springfield diocese to expand list of those ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Athol Daily News [Athol MA]

May 30, 2021

By Dusty Christensen

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The Catholic church in western Massachusetts has announced that it will release an expanded list of those credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor while serving the church.

In a letter to parishioners, Bishop William Byrne said the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield — comprising 79 parishes and seven missions across Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties — is expanding its criteria for disclosure of accusations. The diocese will release its updated list in early June, and Byrne said it will include a “considerable addition” by including those who were dead when an allegation surfaced, were members of a religious order or were lay employees of the diocese.

“As a Church, both locally and universally, too many times in the past we have failed to protect the innocence and dignity of minors from those who committed these heinous crimes,” Byrne wrote. “We can never erase the harm done, however, acknowledging…

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Claims of mass grave at Tk’emlups go back years

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Kamloops This Week [Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada]

May 28, 2021

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On the front page of the April 25, 2008, edition of Kamloops This Week was a story by then-reporter (and now Vancouver Sun city editor) Cassidy Olivier, with the headline, “Burial ground — or bogus?”

The story detailed claims by Kevin Annett, spokesman for the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared, that the land surrounding the former Kamloops Indian Residential School contained the remains of children who once walked the building’s halls.

Annett told KTW that not only did he have documentation to prove his allegations, but he also had eyewitnesses who would testify to witnessing several burials in the land adjacent to the residential school and the surrounding orchard.

But Annett’s claims that Tk’emlups was home to a mass grave were met with stiff opposition and severe doubt by local and regional Catholic Church officials, who in 2008 told KTW his allegations rested solely on anecdotal evidence and rumour.

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Remains found at Kamloops residential school ‘not an isolated incident,’ Indigenous experts and leaders warn

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

May 30, 2021

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Calls mount for protection of former sites in case more remains discovered

Indigenous leaders and experts in British Columbia are calling for the protection of sites of former residential schools, warning that the bodies of 215 children found in Kamloops, B.C., likely represent just a small portion of the thousands more who died while the schools were in operation. 

Linc Kesler, director of the University of British Columbia’s First Nations House of Learning, said it’s only a matter of time before the same type of technology used by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation reveals more physical evidence of the horrors of residential schools across Canada. 

“It’s absolutely not an isolated incident,” Kesler said. 

On Thursday, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said preliminary findings from a ground-penetrating radar survey uncovered the remains

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, director of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at the University of British Columbia,…

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Call to examine St. Paul’s Indian Residential school site after children’s graves found in Kamloops

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, British Columbia]

May 30, 2021

By David Carrigg

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An estimated 2,000 Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil Waututh children were forced into the North Vancouver residential school between 1899 and 1959

Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart has called for the “expert examination” of all residential school sites in Canada, including the old St. Paul’s Indian Residential school in North Vancouver.

Responding to news that the graves of 215 Indigenous children had been discovered using ground-penetrating radar at the old Kamloops Indian Residential School last week, Stewart said he was “calling for all residential school sites in Canada to be expertly examined under the guidance of local First Nations and Knowledge Keepers so that we can begin to identify the thousands of children we know are unaccounted for.”

There were 28 residential schools in B.C., with just one in the Metro Vancouver area (St. Paul’s Indian Residential school). These schools were established by a federal government that legalized the removal of Aboriginal…

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Up to 7,000 abuse survivors assisted by Catholic Church support service

KNOCK (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

May 30, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

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‘Endeavours to empower survivors to reclaim and rebuild their lives’, says Bishop

Over the past 25 years the Catholic Church in Ireland has provided a counselling service for almost 7,000 survivors of institutional, clerical, and religious abuse, and members of their families.

It is free and involves a network of counsellors in Ireland and abroad which provides essential therapy to those who have suffered such abuse, said Auxiliary Bishop of ArmaghMichael Router. He is a director of Towards Healing which, with its forerunner Faoiseamh, provides the counselling service.

“We are all too aware that many people here in Ireland and abroad, have suffered sexual and physical abuse at the hands of clergy and religious. For too long they suffered in isolation, without being heard, acknowledged, or helped,” he said.

Speaking Mass in Knock on Sunday, during the Armagh diocesan pilgrimage, he recalled how we live “in a world where human weakness…

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After 215 bodies found at school site, Canada requests flags lowered

TORONTO (CANADA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 30, 2021

By Rob Gillies

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The remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, were found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Sunday that flags at all federal buildings be flown at half-staff to honor more than 200 children whose remains have been found buried at what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school — one of the institutions that held children taken from families across the nation.

The Peace Tower flag on Parliament Hill in the nation’s capital of Ottawa was among those lowered to half-staff.

“To honor the 215 children whose lives were taken at the former Kamloops residential school and all Indigenous children who never made it home, the survivors, and their families, I have asked that the Peace Tower and all federal buildings be flown at half-mast,” Trudeau tweeted.

Mayors of communities across Ontario, including…

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P.E.I. First Nation to honour residential school victims from Kamloops, B.C.

(CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

May 30, 2021

By Tony Davis

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‘When these stories are validated by an actual grave site, it’s hard to ignore’

When Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould thinks about the bodies of the 215 children found buried at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., he thinks too about his own father, who attended a residential school in Nova Scotia. 

“What if he was buried in one of those unmarked graves? That means Chief Gould would not exist. That would mean my daughter, who is a nurse, would not exist,” said Gould.

Gould said it’s important for the community to honour those lost children, so he’s asking people on P.E.I. to donate children’s shoes.

The plan is to pile 215 pairs of them outside the First Nation’s administration offices as a memorial. The site will also feature mock graves, and residential school survivors are expected take part in a ceremony there Monday afternoon, if enough shoes have been collected…

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A woman mourns beside 215 pairs of children's shoes outside Vancouver Art Gallery during a memorial in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Saturday, after a mass grave of Indigenous children was found. Photo: Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Renewed calls for Catholic Church apology after Canada mass grave find

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Axios

May 30, 2021

By Rebecca Falconer

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[Photo above: A woman mourns beside 215 pairs of children’s shoes outside Vancouver Art Gallery during a memorial in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Saturday, after a mass grave of Indigenous children was found. Photo: Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

An Indigenous Canadian group announced plans Saturday to identify the remains of 215 children, some as young as three, found buried at the site of a former residential school, per CBC News.

The big picture: The discovery of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation children’s remains has renewed calls for the Roman Catholic Church to apologize for its role in Canada’s policy of the 19th and 20th centuries that saw Indigenous children removed from families to attend state-funded residential schools.

  • Many of the almost 150,000 children attending the schools from 1883 to 1996 to “assimilate” into white Canadian society encountered neglect and abuse, as their native languages…
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‘It was devastating,’ chief recalls after remains of 215 children found in Kamloops

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, British Columbia]

May 28, 2021

By Nick Wells, The Canadian Press

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“It’s a harsh reality and it’s our truths. It’s our history and it’s something we’ve always had to fight to prove.” — Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir

Hundreds of pegs, each marking the possible site of a child’s remains, were staked out on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops when Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir arrived at the site last weekend.

The First Nation used ground-penetrating radar over the long weekend in an effort to determine the fate of children who went missing from the school.

“It was shared with me that it was children from our community — it was devastating and quite mind-boggling,” Casimir said on Friday.

The survey work has uncovered the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The band has begun reaching out to other First Nations across Western Canada that might have…

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Discovery of mass grave of Indigenous children prompts grief and questions in Canada

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Washington Post

May 29, 2021

By Antonia Noori Farzan

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The discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school in British Columbia prompted outpourings of grief and questions as efforts to identify the students began.

Vigils and prayer ceremonies honoring the Kamloops Indian Residential School students took place across British Columbia after the discovery was announced last week, and an impromptu memorial sprung up in Vancouver as mourners laid out a pair of empty children’s shoes for each of the dead. Meanwhile, Canada’s House of Commons fast-tracked a bill that would create a new national holiday commemorating children who died while in residential schools.

The discovery has also prompted renewed scrutiny of the Roman Catholic Church, which operated the Kamloops school from 1890 to 1969.

Canadian authorities removed nearly 150,000 Indigenous children from their families between 1883 and 1996 and sent them to residential schools, where Indigenous…

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Editorial: An unsatisfactory finding of state incompetence

HARRISBURG (PA)
Tribune-Review [Pittsburgh PA]

May 30, 2021

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Sometimes, an investigation can turn up answers. Sometimes, they turn up questions.

It would have been nice if the Office of the State Inspector General discovered either in the dive into why a constitutional amendment never made it to the Pennsylvania primary ballot.

On May 18, the voters were supposed to decide whether to change up the constitution and allow survivors of child sex abuse legal recourse denied them by time. Because of missteps in the Department of State — which was supposed to advertise the amendment months earlier — that didn’t happen.

With some things, that might be annoying but not actually hurtful. Deadlines are missed every day, right? But missing this deadline meant people who already had been abused and denied justice for years were inadvertently victimized again by the government.

The inspector general didn’t find that someone deliberately botched the process — despite then-Secretary of State Kathy…

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Judge Daniel Ford to step aside as abuse task force chairperson and member

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
iObserve (Diocese of Springfield MA]

May 28, 2021

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Retired Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ford has submitted his resignation as chairperson of the Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield to Springfield Bishop William D. Byrne, effective immediately. He did so to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest or bias based on a paid legal consultant job that he has undertaken.

As the task force approached the latter stages of its work, having completed its data and information collection process, Judge Ford informed his colleagues that he had been retained to provide advice in a civil matter, having nothing to do with the Diocese of Springfield, but involving Egan, Flanagan, and Cohen, PC, the Springfield law firm which also represents the diocese.

“While my work with the law firm did not constitute a conflict of interest as prescribed by legal standards, in discussing this matter with the task force…

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Chile’s Jesuits confess ‘crimes, negligence and errors’ on sex abuse

(ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

May 29, 2021

By Inés San Martín

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In an internal report made public this week, the Jesuits of Chile acknowledge that based on accusations and investigations that emerged over a fifteen-year period, at least 64 people have been sexually abused by 11 Jesuit priests in the country.

Among those victims were 34 minors, both boys and girls.

The report compiles investigations carried out by the Jesuits in Chile between 2005 and 2020, meaning, five years before explosive revelations against former priest Fernando Karadima, found guilty of abusing seminarians, including minors, in 2011.

Since the first allegations were made by three of his survivors against Karadima in 2010, the Catholic Church in Chile has been embroiled in a series of allegations of both sexual abuse of minors and cover up of the crimes by bishops and other members of the hierarchy. Back in 2018, seeing the magnitude of the allegations, Pope Francis summoned the Chilean bishops to Rome…

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Former priest gets prison for abuse in Ontonagon County

ONTONAGON (MI)
Iron Mountain Daily News [Iron Mountain MI]

May 29, 2021

By Garrett Neese

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Jacobs scheduled to be sentenced July 2 in Dickinson court

One after another came the stories from the victims, now in their 50s and 60s.

The handsome, charming priest who seemed like he had a direct connection to God.

The way he abused their trust, sexually abusing them in the church or even in their own house.

And the way they’ve had to live with the memories in about 40 years since: the relationships with parents that were forever damaged, the marriages and careers that were derailed, the fears they still can’t shake.

Multiple victims called it a lifetime sentence. The man who imposed it on them, former priest Gary Jacobs, this week received eight to 15 years in Ontonagon County Circuit Court.

Jacobs, 75, was arrested in January 2020 after an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team. He also has been accused in Dickinson County,…

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Kenya: New Twist in Trial of Priest Accused of Savage Attack to Cover Up Pregnancy

KITUI (KENYA)
AllAfrica.com

May 25, 2021

By Kitavi Mutua

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A Kitui Court has for the second time postponed the judgment in a case in which a Catholic Priest is charged with attempting to kill a Form Two student and a child he is alleged to have fathered.

Kitui Chief Magistrate Stephen Mbungi yesterday apologised to a packed courtroom saying his judgment on the criminal trial of Father Japheth Mwove Kimanzi was not ready.

Mr Mbungi said his work had been disrupted at the weekend by a power blackout in Kitui but pledged to deliver the verdict on June 16th.

Father Kimanzi, who has since been ex-communicated from Catholic priesthood, is facing charges of assaulting and causing grievous harm to the woman and her child. The accused has denied the assault charges and told the court the woman was out to tarnish his name. He denied he had attacked her.

Yesterday, the magistrate apologised to the parties including the victims…

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Priest Who Attempted Murder Of His Lover And Child To Be Sentenced

KITUI (KENYA)
Kenya News Agency

May 26, 2021

By Yobesh Onwong’a

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The judgment of an excommunicated Kitui Catholic priest who attempted to murder his lover and child to conceal his promiscuity, will be delivered on June 16, 2021 before Kitui Chief Magistrate Stephen Mbungi.

Father Japheth Mwove Kimanzi, formerly of Kabati Parish under the Kitui Catholic Diocese, was accused of causing grievous harm to Ms Veronicah Musali Mutua at Muthale village in Mutonguni location, Kitui West on November 16, 2015 at about 10 pm.

The priest was also in the second count, charged with causing grievous harm to Lillian Mwikali, daughter to Ms Mutua.

The Priest who pleaded not guilty to both charges and released on Sh100, 000 bond with a similar surety with an option of Sh15, 000 cash bail was informed of the impending judgment on Monday at the Kitui Law Courts.

It is reported that trouble began when the priest denied fathering the woman’s child, who was born…

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Almost 7,000 abuse survivors avail of church funded counselling service

KNOCK (IRELAND)
RTÉ - Raidió Teilifís Éireann [Dublin, Ireland]

May 30, 2021

By Ailbhe Conneely

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Almost 7,000 survivors of institutional, clerical, and religious abuse and members of their families have availed of a counselling service funded by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland.

That’s according to the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Armagh Bishop Michael Router who is Director of the counselling and support service ‘Towards Healing’.

In a Homily at Knock today, Bishop Router said that in the past twenty-five years, almost 7,000 people have availed of the service.

“For too long they suffered in isolation, without being heard, acknowledged, or helped,” he said.

He added that the service “provides support that endeavours to empower survivors to reclaim and rebuild their lives”.

He said the Church had sometimes lost touch with what it is about and had ignored the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

“When that happens, we can neglect to display the…

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Bischöfe von Stockholm und Rotterdam untersuchen Situation

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Archdiocese of Cologne [Cologne, Germany]

May 28, 2021

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Das Erzbistum Köln teilt mit: Papst Franziskus hat eine Apostolische Visitation der Erzdiözese Köln angeordnet. Dazu hat der Heilige Vater Seine Eminenz Anders Kardinal Arborelius OCD, Bischof von Stockholm, sowie Seine Exzellenz Monsignore Johannes van den Hende, Bischof von Rotterdam und Vorsitzender der Niederländischen Bischofskonferenz, zu Apostolischen Visitatoren ernannt.

Die Gesandten des Heiligen Stuhls werden sich im Laufe der ersten Junihälfte vor Ort ein umfassendes Bild von der komplexen pastoralen Situation im Erzbistum verschaffen und gleichzeitig eventuelle Fehler Seiner Eminenz Kardinals Woelkis, sowie des Erzbischofs von Hamburg, S.E. Mons. Stefan Heße als auch der Herren Weihbischöfe, S.E. Mons. Dominikus Schwaderlapp und Mos. Ansgar Puff im Umgang mit Fällen sexuellen Missbrauchs untersuchen.

Rainer Maria Kardinal Woelki erläutert dies: “Bereits im Februar habe ich den Heiligen Vater in Rom umfassend über die Situation in unserem Erzbistum informiert. Ich begrüße, dass der Papst sich mit der Apostolischen Visitation ein eigenes Bild über die…

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Vatican launches investigation of abuse crisis in Cologne archdiocese

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

May 29, 2021

By Elise Ann Allen

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After months of public fallout over the reported mishandling of clerical abuse cases in the German Archdiocese of Cologne, a crisis which some German Catholics have cited as a reason to leave the Church, the Vatican has launched an apostolic visitation.

In a May 28 statement, the German bishops’ conference announced that “Pope Francis has ordered an apostolic visitation of the Archdiocese of Cologne.”

Those tapped to oversee the investigation are Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm, Sweden, and Bishop Johannes van den Hende of Rotterdam, president of the Dutch bishops’ conference.

According to the statement, the two prelates will begin their inquiry in the first half of June, and, among other things, will seek to obtain “a comprehensive picture of the complex pastoral situation” in the archdiocese.

As part of the probe, they will seek to identify potential mistakes made by Cologne’s archbishop, Cardinal Ranier Maria Woelki. The actions of…

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Shocking lawsuit alleges altar boy was drugged, sexually abused by priest in rectory in the 1960s

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

May 30, 2021

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A new lawsuit makes shocking allegations of sex abuse against a priest who served in the 1960s at St. Sylvester’s R.C. Church in Concord.

The Rev. Leo Mojecki is identified as the perpetrator in the lawsuit filed in April on behalf of an anonymous man by attorneys for the Herman Law Firm, based in Manhattan.

The Archdiocese of New York and the church at 856 Targee St. are named as defendants.

The lawsuit alleges that Father Mojecki “sexually assaulted and abused plaintiff on multiple occasions” from about 1964 to 1966 when the victim was about nine to 11 years old and attending the fourth to sixth grades at St. Sylvester School.

The abuse allegedly occurred in various locations on church property, including the rectory and a room where altar boys changed their clothes. Father Mojecki “wore his priest garb during instances of sexual assaults and…

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Canada mourns as remains of 215 children found at indigenous school

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
BBC [London, England]

May 29, 2021

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A mass grave containing the remains of 215 children has been found in Canada at a former residential school set up to assimilate indigenous people.

The children were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that closed in 1978.

The discovery was announced on Thursday by the chief of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was a “painful reminder” of a “shameful chapter of our country’s history”.

The First Nation is working with museum specialists and the coroner’s office to establish the causes and timings of the deaths, which are not currently known.

Rosanne Casimir, the chief of the community in British Columbia’s city of Kamloops, said the preliminary finding represented an unthinkable loss that was never documented by the school’s administrators.

Canada’s residential schools were compulsory boarding schools run by the government and religious authorities during the 19th and 20th…

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The Remains Of 215 Indigenous Children Have Been Found At A Former School In Canada

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
National Public Radio - NPR [Washington DC]

May 29, 2021

By Wynne Davis

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The remains of 215 children, including some as young as three, have been found in a mass grave on the grounds of a former residential school that was once part of a nationwide effort in Canada to separate Indigenous children from their families in an attempt to assimilate them.

The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery in a news release on Thursday, saying the remains were found after working with a “ground penetrating radar specialist” to confirm the mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Chief Rosanne Casimir called it an “unthinkable loss,” and said that while the deaths had been long spoken about, the residential school never documented them.

“We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” Casimir said. “We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect…

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Residential school survivors society calls for action following discovery of children’s remains

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

May 28, 2021

By Courtney Dickson

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Group says federal government, Catholic Church need to move beyond words after remains of 215 children found

WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) is calling on the federal government and the Roman Catholic Church to take action following the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried on the Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds. 

On Thursday, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said preliminary findings from a ground-penetrating radar survey uncovered the remains. Since then, federal government officials and leaders have taken to social media and sent out news releases offering support.

The school was run by the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969 when the federal government took over administration to operate it as a residence for a day school until it closed in 1978.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Friday that this discovery is “a painful reminder of that dark and…

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Remains of 215 children found buried at former B.C. residential school, First Nation says

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

May 27, 2021

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Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc say ground-penetrating radar was used to locate remains

WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.

Preliminary findings from a survey of the grounds at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School have uncovered the remains of 215 children buried at the site, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said Thursday.

The First Nation said the remains were confirmed last weekend near the city of Kamloops, in B.C.’s southern Interior. 

In a statement, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc said they hired a specialist in ground-penetrating radar to carry out the work, and that their language and culture department oversaw the project to ensure it was done in a culturally appropriate and respectful way. The release did not specify the company or individual involved, or how the work was completed. 

“To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir said in the statement.

“Some were as young as three years old. We sought out…

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South Buffalo parish removing memorial of accused priest Stanton

Monsignor William G. Stanton spent more than two decades as pastor of St. Ambrose Catholic Church in South Buffalo.

He died in 2004, but the church’s stained-glass windows and bronze memorial plaque stand as symbols of Fr. Stanton’s legacy of being open to change in the Catholic Church.

But now a new sort of change is coming as a parish comes to grips with allegations that Stanton was a child abuser. Two memorials to him in the rear of the church — a bronze plaque and framed vestments — will soon be taken down.

“That was very fulfilling to me,” said Kevin Brun, an abuse survivor and member of the Buffalo Survivors Group, which advocates for victims of child sexual abuse. “I think it’s a very important first step if we’re going to implement real, tangible change within the Diocese of Buffalo.”

Brun first approached leaders at the former St….

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Australia’s Holy See ambassador under fire for saying she wants to change ‘narrative’ away from George Pell

(ITALY)
The Guardian [London, England]

May 29, 2021

By Christopher Knaus

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Abuse survivors say Chiara Porro should be working to avoid a repeat of the child abuse scandal exposed by the royal commission

The new ambassador to the Holy See told a Catholic publication that her aim was to change the Vatican’s “narrative” about Australia away from the child abuse royal commission and cardinal George Pell – comments that have infuriated abuse survivors.

In an interview with Catholic Health Australia in September, the newly appointed ambassador Chiara Porro spoke of a recent audience with the Pope, during which she raised the work local Catholic groups were doing on health and education.

She then said: “You know whenever people [in the Vatican] think of Australia they think immediately about cardinal Pell and the royal commission.

“So my aim here is to change that narrative.”

The comments, which have since forced a clarification from the foreign affairs minister, angered abuse survivors, who say Australia’s…

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Canada: remains of 215 children found at Indigenous residential school site

OTTAWA (CANADA)
The Guardian [London, England]

May 29, 2021

By Tracey Lindemann

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  • Officials make grim discovery near Kamloops, British Columbia
  • First Nation chief says causes and timings of deaths not known

A mass grave containing the remains of 215 Indigenous children has been discovered on the grounds of a former residential school in the interior of southern British Columbia.

The grim discovery at the former school near the town of Kamloops was announced late on Thursday by the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc people after the site was examined by a team using ground-penetrating radar.

“We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” said Rosanne Casimir, chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, in a statement.

Some of the remains belong to children as young as three years old, but the causes and timing of their deaths are not yet known. “At this time we have more questions than answers,” said Casimir.

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More than 200 bodies found at Indigenous school in Canada

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 29, 2021

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The remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, have been found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school — one of the institutions that held children taken from families across the nation.

Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation said in a news release that the remains were confirmed last weekend with the help of ground-penetrating radar.

More bodies may be found because there are more areas to search on the school grounds, Casimir said Friday.

In an earlier release, she called the discovery an “unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.”

From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society. They were forced to convert to…

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Arrest warrant issued for former St. Vincent Catholic Charities employee on sexual assault

(MI)
Lansing State Journal [Lansing MI]

May 29, 2021

By Krystal Nurse

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A former employee of St. Vincent Catholic Charities children’s home is accused of sexually assaulting a teen girl at the facility. 

Lansing Township Police said on Friday Brett Donald Fellows, 30, is accused of committing “more than one sexual assault” between January and February this year with the teen.

In a news release, township police said they received a referral from Child Protective Services on Feb. 28, 2021 regarding sexual assault involving an adult male employee of St. Vincent Home, at 2828 W. Willow St., and “a 16-year-old female protected party placed at the facility.”

On Thursday, township police presented their investigation to the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, which issued an arrest warrant for Fellows’ on three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in foster care. 55th District Court Magistrate Stefani Godsey authorized Fellows’ arrest warrant Thursday. 

Lansing Township Police Chief John Joseph confirmed Fellows was fired from the group home after police received the Child Protective Services referral. St….

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The Kamloops Indian Residential School in 1937.Credit...Archdiocese of Vancouver

‘Horrible History’: Mass Grave of Indigenous Children Reported in Canada

OTTAWA (CANADA)
New York Times

May 28, 2021

By Ian Austen

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An Indigenous community says it has found evidence that 215 children were buried on the grounds of a British Columbia school, one of the many in Canada set up to forcibly assimilate them.

[Photo above: The Kamloops Indian Residential School in 1937. Credit: Archdiocese of Vancouver]

For decades, most Indigenous children in Canada were taken from their families and forced into boarding schools. A large number never returned home, their families given only vague explanations, or none at all.

Now an Indigenous community in British Columbia says it has found evidence of what happened to some of its missing children: a mass grave containing the remains of 215 children on the grounds of a former residential school.

Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation said on Friday that ground-penetrating radar had discovered the remains near the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, which operated from 1890…

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‘Clique’ of child abusers operated at top of former scouting body

(IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

May 29, 2021

By Jack Power

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Evidence abuser brought child to other perpetrator’s home to molest, says Elliott

An organised “clique” of child abusers operated at high levels in the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (CBSI), sharing knowledge with each other and in some cases providing children for others in the group to molest, an expert has said.

In one instance a known child abuser took a victim to the home of another perpetrator to be abused, according to Ian Elliott, the expert who reformed Scouting Ireland’s current child protection policy.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Mr Elliott said that during his review of historical abuse in former scouting bodies, evidence emerged of a “clique” of abusers within CBSI.

“I’m quite sure that there would have been an understanding between them and there would have been communication between them,” Mr Elliott said.

“One particular man who I spoke to, he spoke about being abused by…

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The Catholic Church Is Reinstating Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse

()
Vice [Brooklyn NY]

May 28, 2021

By Leah Feiger and Carter Sherman

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Over the last year, at least a dozen priests have returned to their parishes or new positions within the Church. In some cases, the Vatican has even overturned recommendations from local dioceses.

When news broke this week that Chicago priest Michael Pfleger would be reinstated following multiple accusations of sexual abuse, one of his accusers was crushed. It had taken decades for him to even speak out about what he said he suffered at the hands of Pfleger, who is among the most well-known priests in the Catholic Church. 

“It’s a cover-up because of his popularity,” the accuser, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his privacy, told VICE News. “They don’t see that side of him. They don’t know that side when I had bloody underwear. All they see is what’s going on with him now, what he has done since he has been at St. Sabina, the activist…

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Safeguarding: giving voice to the voiceless

(UNITED KINGDOM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

May 26, 2021

By Catherine Pepinster

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Nazir Afzal, the man who will lead the Catholic Church’s work on child safety, has an impressive track record in combating sexual abuse, and an understanding of the role of religion in people’s lives – he is a practising Muslim

It’s an all too common story. A young teenager cultivated by a friendly adult finds kindness being replaced by unwanted sexual advances and then threats if she tells anyone about it. And when the adults do find out, nobody accepts her story and the authorities do nothing.

Sounds familiar? It’s happened to plenty of victims – male and female – of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It’s happened in plenty of communities across Britain. But in one neighbourhood something changed. Nazir Afzal, a lawyer from Birmingham, arrived in the north-west of England to become the chief prosecutor of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

He discovered a series of grooming cases…

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Wholesale, Systematic, Organized Rape of Our Children and Media Praise for Pope Francis

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Open Tabernacle

May 29, 2021

By Betty Clermont

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“Everybody would know for sure that the Catholic Church has been part of the wholesale, systematic, and organized rape of our children if Archbishop Gregory Aymond testified, if he was deposed,” Richard Windmann told reporter Helen Lewis.

Aymond, head of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, wasn’t deposed nor did he have to testify because he had filed for bankruptcy two weeks before the case was to begin in court. “This a disappointing but not surprising move, as Archbishop Aymond now follows in the footsteps of dozens of Catholic officials who have chosen to declare bankruptcy rather than allow survivors of clergy sexual abuse to bring their claims forward in open court,” said Windmann one of the founders of Survivors of Childhood Sex Abuse.

The archdiocese cited “financial struggles as the primary reason why it filed for bankruptcy” in May 2020. However, in a letter sent to the Vatican two days…

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Nazir Afzal pledges ‘hostile’ Church for abusers

(UNITED KINGDOM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

May 18, 2021

By Catherine Pepinster

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Catholic bishops have embraced almost all the recommendations to improve their safeguarding made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), a report reveals this week.

According to an action plan from the Catholic Council for the IICSA, the bishops have agreed to implement major changes to the way they deal with victims of abuse, organise safeguarding training, and deal with those who fail to comply with safeguarding policies. All of them were recommended in a damning IICSA report last year into their handling of abuse.

And the plan also reveals that the Holy See will be revising its code of canon law so that for the first time crimes against minors will not be dealt with as a crime against the obligations of celibacy. Instead they will be dealt with under a category of “Crimes against the life, dignity and freedom of man” and will include a canon…

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Skull believed to belong to boy who disappeared from summer camp has been in possession of Colorado family

ALLENSPARK (CO)
9NEWS, KUSA & KTVD-TV [Denver CO]

May 27, 2021

By Kevin Vaughan

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Bobby Bizup was found dead after disappearing from Camp St. Malo in Allenspark in 1958.

More than 60 years after a deaf boy died after vanishing from a Catholic summer camp, federal investigators have obtained a stunning piece of physical evidence: a skull that’s believed to be the boy’s, 9Wants to Know has learned.

It’s not clear how the discovery could affect the ongoing federal investigation into the case, which was jump-started by a 9Wants to Know report that raised troubling questions about the 1958 disappearance of Bobby Bizup from Camp St. Malo near Allenspark.

The following summer, hikers discovered some of the boy’s remains several miles west of the camp, high on Mount Meeker in Rocky Mountain National Park. At the time, the incident wasn’t considered anything more than a case of a boy getting lost in the woods and succumbing to the elements.

But after 9Wants to Know…

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Priest John Clohosey not guilty of historical rape charge

(UNITED KINGDOM)
BBC [London, England]

May 25, 2021

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A Roman Catholic priest accused of raping a woman in 1986 has been found not guilty.

Retired John Anthony Clohosey, 72, had denied one charge of rape and said what happened between him and the woman was consensual.

During the six-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court, he said he wanted to have sex with the woman and that they kissed and cuddled but it went no further.

The woman had told jurors she was raped on her bed after she refused sex.

The jury returned the not guilty verdict after deliberating for 90 minutes.

The court heard how the woman, who cannot be identified, had asked the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle for help to pay a legal bill.

‘Not worldly-wise’

She grew angry when she was turned down, as the Catholic Church had paid out money to victims of sexual abuse, the court heard.

She said in an email…

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Irish-born priest cleared of historical rape charge

(UNITED KINGDOM)
Irish Examiner [Cork, Ireland]

May 25, 2021

By Tom Wilkinson

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Kilkenny-born Clohosey, whose last parish was in Crook, County Durham, and who now lives in Filey, North Yorkshire, was not “worldly-wise” about women, the court was told by Robin Patton, defending.

A Roman Catholic priest has been cleared of raping a woman in 1986 following a trial in the UK.

Retired John Anthony Clohosey, 72, who presided over churches across north-east England, denied one charge of rape, and said what happened between him and the woman was consensual.

During the six-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court, he said he wanted to have sex with the woman and that they kissed and cuddled but it went no further.

The complainant had told jurors she was raped by the priest on her bed after he repeatedly asked her for sex, which she refused.

His accuser, who cannot be identified, in recent years had asked the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle for help…

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Accuser’s age in Howell ex-pastor’s trial crucial to proving decades-old molestation charges

FREEHOLD (NJ)
Asbury Park Press

May 28, 2021

By Kathleen Hopkins

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As the former pastor of St. Veronica R.C. Church in Howell stands trial on charges he sexually assaulted a child on three occasions in the late 1990s, the dates of the alleged acts has become crucial to the case.

The victim, a 34-year-old woman, testified Tuesday and Wednesday that she suppressed memories of the three incidents for more than two decades, but said two of the incidents occurred when she was 11 and the third when she was 12.

But Robert J. Konzelmann, defense attorney for the Rev. Henry Brendan Williams, on Thursday produced a transcript of the woman’s statement to detectives and suggested she may have been coached to say she was younger than 13 when she actually might have been older when the alleged molestation occurred.

Thomas Fichter, assistant Monmouth County prosecutor, objected to what he said was hearsay being introduced at the trial, but he also…

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Howell ex-pastor told cops he only gave girl innocent ‘little squeeze,’ denied allegations

FREEHOLD (NJ)
Asbury Park Press

May 27, 2021

By Kathleen Hopkins

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Confronted with an allegation that he sexually abused the daughter of a deacon in his parish decades earlier, the former pastor of St. Veronica R.C. Church in Howell admitted to detectives that he touched the girl on the leg as a friendly gesture, but denied doing anything more than that.

“Oh, not at all, no, not at all,” the Rev. Henry “Brendan” Williams told then-Detective Sgt. Michael Magliozzo and Detective Thomas Manzo of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office when confronted with an accusation that he molested a child in the late 1990s.

That was on a videotape of the detectives’ interview with Williams in August 2019, after a woman made allegations that the priest had sexually abused her when she was a child. Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor viewed the videotape in court Wednesday as Williams’ trial on three counts of sexual assault resumed.

Magliozzo, who retired from the…

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Defrocked priest a no-show in child sexual abuse hearing

(TIMOR-LESTE)
Sydney Morning Herald [Sydney, New South Wales, Australia]

May 27, 2021

By Chris Barrett

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By air and sea, a judge, two sets of lawyers and a prosecutor have made their way from the East Timorese capital to the coastal enclave that borders Indonesia. They have assembled in Oecusse for a criminal trial that has divided a nation.

The problem is the defendant – once revered American missionary and Catholic priest Richard Daschbach – hasn’t shown up.

The 84-year-old is under house arrest in Dili accused of the systematic sexual abuse of girls under the age of 14 during the more than two decades he ran a shelter in the mountains near the remote village of Kutete for orphans, children of the impoverished and highlands women escaping from violence.

But his alleged victims, some of whom have also returned to Oecusse, have for a third time in three months been forced to wait for his closed-court trial to resume. Now the surging COVID-19 outbreak in the country…

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The Altar Boys: Horrific abuse and cover-up in Australia’s Catholic Church

(AUSTRALIA)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

May 28, 2021

By Oliver Farry

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Suzanne Smith’s account of sexual abuse is notable for the church’s lasting coldness

Book Title: The Altar Boys
ISBN-13: 9780733340178
Author: Suzanne Smith
Publisher: ABC Books/Harper Collins
Guideline Price: £8.99

Irish people will find much familiar in Australian journalist Suzanne Smith’s account of the decades of horrific sexual abuse perpetrated by priests and Marist brothers in the New South Wales diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. There’s the flagrant sadism meted out by clerics to children in their care and the long-running cover-up by a church that chose to move known offenders to new parishes rather than take punitive action. Many of the protagonists – abusers, facilitators, survivors and victims alike – have Irish names; the local Catholic community, mainly concentrated in the mining and industrial city of Newcastle, were largely the descendants of immigrants from Ireland, as well as Scotland and the north of England.

You wonder if this familiarity, not to mention the similarity to…

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Clergy sex abuse and “operation truth” for Jesuits in Chile

(CHILE)
La Croix International [France]

May 27, 2021

By Arnaud Bevilacqua

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The Catholic Church in Chile continues its long and painful work of uncovering sexual abuse.

The Jesuits are the latest religious group to come forward, acknowledging that a number of its members in the South American country sexually abused at least 64 people, 34 of whom were minors when the abuse occurred. 

The admission was made in a report issued by the Society of Jesus’ Center for the Prevention of Abuse and for Reparations (CPR), according to a May 25 news story by the Agence France-Presse (AFP). 

The CPR report said 11 Jesuits in Chile were credibly accused of abuse. It said nine of them were guilty of abusive situations with sexual connotations involving 34 underage victims.

The report came after an internal investigation of the period 2005-2020.

Five of the 11 Jesuits accused are already dead and three are no longer members of the Society of Jesus.

The…

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Jesuit Priests In Chile Abused 64 People, Including 34 Kids, Congregation Admits

(CHILE)
International Business Times

May 28, 2021

By Dane Enerio

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KEY POINTS

  • The Jesuit congregation of Chile admitted 11 of its priests were found guilty of sexual abuse
  • An investigation determined the number of victims was 64, 34 of whom were children
  • Five of the priests have died, three are under the congregation’s supervision and the last three have left the order

The Jesuit congregation of Chile admitted that a number of its priests had sexually abused 64 people, 34 of whom were children, between the years 2005 and 2020, documents showed.

An internal investigation by the Society of Jesus found 11 Jesuit priests guilty of “abusive situations with sexual connotation” involving underage victims, the Agence France-Presse reported, citing a report from the Catholic order obtained Tuesday.

According to the report, five out of the 11 perpetrators have died, while three are “currently under strict professional supervision plans.” The other three “are no longer part of the Society of Jesus,” the order said.

The Jesuit order…

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Sex abuse claims against Diocese of Rochester may go to trial

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM-TV, Ch. 13 [Rochester NY]

May 27, 2021

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The anonymity of some people making sex abuse claims against the Catholic Diocese of Rochester is being challenged.

An undisclosed number of survivors has indicated they intend to take their abuse cases against the diocese to trial.

The diocese, which has filed for bankruptcy protection, is seeking to unseal their identities.

The committee overseeing the bankruptcy case and sex abuse claims against the diocese has asked the court to seal the survivors’ identities.

A lawyer for some plaintiffs claims the move by the diocese is an attempt to intimidate victims.

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Pedophile priest citizenship appeal fails

(AUSTRALIA)
Australian Associated Press

May 28, 2021

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Convicted pedophile and former Catholic priest Finian Egan has failed a Federal Court appeal to retain his Australian citizenship.

The 86-year-old’s back-and-forth citizenship battle began while serving time in prison for sexual assault against minors.

The Irish-born man was charged in 2012 with eight counts of historical sexual offences between 1961 and 1987, against three girls aged between 10 and 17.

He was found guilty by jury in the NSW District Court and sentenced to a maximum term of eight years, with a non-parole period of four years from December 2013.

Peter Dutton was immigration and border protection minister when he made an application to revoke Egan’s citizenship in 2016, but from jail the elderly man sought a successful review to set aside this decision.

Following his release on parole in December 2017, Mr Dutton appealed and aired his views with Ray Hadley on Radio 2GB, saying Egan was a…

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86-year-old pedophile priest loses Australian court appeal

(AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 28, 2021

By Rod McGuirk

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An 86-year-old pedophile former Catholic priest came a step closer to deportation to Ireland when a court on Friday upheld a decision to strip him of his Australian citizenship.

Finian Egan has been fighting a five-year legal battle against former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s decision to cancel his citizenship over the defrocked priest’s criminal record.

Egan initially won an appeal in 2016 in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, a court that reviews government decisions.

But the Federal Court overturned that decision and a second tribunal hearing last year upheld Dutton’s action.

Egan on Friday lost a Federal Court appeal against the second tribunal’s ruling. His final option for appeal is the High Court.

Egan was a 25-year-old ordained priest when he migrated from Ireland to Australia in 1959.

He was convicted in New South Wales state in 2013 of sexually abusing three girls between 1961 and 1987. Egan was 79…

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Trial scheduled for Jehovah’s Witnesses elders accused of failing to report sexual abuse

CRYSTAL LAKE (IL)
Daily Herald [Arlington Heights IL]

May 27, 2021

By Katie Smith

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Two Jehovah’s Witnesses elders accused of failing to notify police that a congregant was sexually abusing a child are scheduled for a joint trial in July.

Jehovah’s Witnesses elder Michael Penkava, 72, of Crystal Lake, and Colin Scott, 87, of Cary, were charged in November with violating reporting provisions. Both men are accused of failing to notify police about a church member who later was convicted of sexually abusing a child.

The abuse continued for more than a decade after the church elders became aware of the accusations, prosecutors have said.

A judge on Wednesday denied a request to exclude testimony regarding potentially “confidential” meetings between church leaders and the now-convicted man.

However, questions surrounding the potential confidentiality of those meetings could arise again during trial, said Penkava’s attorney, Philip Prossnitz.

Ultimately, it was deemed premature to bar the potential testimony Wednesday, without knowing what that testimony might have revealed,…

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Diocese of Santa Fe Continues to Minimize Abuse as They Sell Off Assets in Bankruptcy Proceedings

SANTA FE (NM)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

May 27, 2021

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As they gear up to sell off assets in order to settle debts in an impending bankruptcy, Catholic officials in Santa Fe continue to minimize and sanitize the clergy abuse that has caused their current situation. We believe that Church leaders at the Archdiocese of Santa Fe must stop equating sexual abuse with “sin” and recognize the reality: it is a serious crime, and the impact on the victim is akin to the murder of the soul.

The recent  article about the decision of the Archdicoese of Santa Fe to sell off assets is largely focused on parishioners who “have to pay” for the “sins” of clergy abuse. It is difficult to miss that very little empathy is expressed for the people who were victimized as children. It is galling to read comments like those from Fr. Clement Niggel who asks that people pray for all who…

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Pope Francis orders apostolic visitation of Cardinal Woelki’s Cologne archdiocese

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

May 28, 2021

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Pope Francis has ordered an apostolic visitation of Germany’s Cologne archdiocese amid fierce criticism of its handling of abuse cases.

The archdiocese said in a May 28 statement that the pope’s apostolic visitors would evaluate “possible mistakes” made by its leader, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki.

The apostolic visitors will be Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and Bishop Johannes van den Hende of Rotterdam, president of the Dutch bishops’ conference, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

“During the first half of June, the Holy See’s envoys will visit the archdiocese to get a comprehensive picture of the complex pastoral situation in the archdiocese,” the statement said.

It added that the visitors would also examine possible errors committed by Archbishop Stefan Heße of Hamburg, who was Cologne archdiocese’s vicar general from 2012 to 2015, and the Cologne auxiliaries Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp and Bishop Ansgar Puff.

Heße said in March that he was offering…

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Richard Sipe at home in La Jolla, California, working on his tapestry of Torcello's Last Judgment. Still from Sipe: Sex, Lies, and the Priesthood

Richard Sipe and Sexual Abuse

SAN DIEGO (CA)
BishopAccountability.org [Waltham MA]

May 27, 2021

By Marianne Benkert Sipe

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[Photo above: Richard Sipe at home in La Jolla, California, working on his tapestry of Torcello’s Last Judgment. Still from Sipe: Sex, Lies, and the Priesthood]

The film you have just viewed honors Richard and serves as an outline of his life story.  This embodies his family, his time at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN as a student, seminarian and young priest.  It includes the major part of his professional life as a researcher, writer, teacher, and psychotherapist, and touches on his personal life as a husband and father.

     Richard made original contributions to the understanding of clerical celibacy and the immature narcissistic culture which tolerated and abetted sexual activity among its members.  The most recent and famous example is the now defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington D.C.   Rumors of his sexual activity with young seminarians had been rampant for years and yet he…

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The Catholic Church plays more games

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
New York Daily News

May 27, 2021

By Brian Toale

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Some may think the Diocese of Rockville Centre deserves kudos for releasing a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse. They would be wrong. Some may question why clergy sexual abuse survivors never seem to be satisfied with how the Catholic Church responds to them. They would be misinformed, but I cannot blame them for thinking so. There is a well-oiled public relations machine at work here.

For years, Bishops John Raymond McGann, William Francis Murphy and John O. Barres successfully kept allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members tightly under wraps. For nearly as long, survivors of childhood sexual abuse have asked the Diocese of Rockville Centre to provide a list of credibly accused clergy. But in 2003, when a Suffolk grand jury report exposed rampant sexual abuse and cover-up by the Rockville Centre Diocese, that request became a demand.

Eighteen years later, the list that the diocese finally “released”  View Cache

Advocates, survivors want Illinois attorney general to prevent release of ex-priest convicted of molesting children

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

May 27, 2021

By Manny Ramos

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A survivor who says he was sexually abused as a child by Daniel McCormack was subjected to “unspeakable” and “inhumane” treatment from the former priest and those actions are unforgivable.

Advocates and survivors of one of Chicago’s most notorious sex abuse cases are urging Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to keep defrocked priest Daniel McCormack locked up.

Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson, who specializes in child sexual abuse cases, called McCormack’s potential release an “imminent and urgent peril” to the public.

“Daniel McCormack as a priest … is a serial predator and has been incarcerated for some years,” Anderson said during a virtual news conference on Thursday. “We do know that he’s [McCormack] already sentenced scores, if not hundreds, of kids to a lifetime of suffering and we have to do everything today to prevent that from happening to others.”

A spokeswoman with the attorney general’s office…

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Of complicit bishops and compassionate priests

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Boston Globe

May 27, 2021

By Kevin Cullen

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Richard Lavigne, the pedophile priest who murdered Springfield altar boy Danny Croteau in 1972, was enabled, coddled, and protected by successive bishops, including some who abused children just as he did. Some good priests who stood up to them were punished.

Thanks to the good work of State Police and prosecutors in Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni’s office, defrocked priest Richard Lavigne has been exposed as the murderer of Springfield altar boy Danny Croteau, but it should never be forgotten that Lavigne was enabled, coddled, and protected by a series of Roman Catholic bishops.

Bishops who led the Diocese of Springfield valued their church’s reputation above the life of a 13-year-old boy and the well-being of the dozens of other children who Lavigne sexually abused.

In some cases, those bishops were abusers themselves, engaged in the same abhorrent behavior as Lavigne, who used his collar and the societal…

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Lawsuits: Priest sexually abused boys at Uniondale school, in Glen Cove church

UNIONDALE (NY)
Newsday [Melville NY]

May 27, 2021

By Bart Jones

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Lawsuits filed under the state Child Victims Act allege that a formerly high-ranking Long Island Catholic priest sexually abused boys in the 1970s at a Uniondale school — in one student’s case, more than 100 times — and in the sacristy of a Glen Cove church on his first clerical assignment.

Two of the three civil suits allege that while Msgr. Alan Placa worked at the now-closed St. Pius X preparatory seminary in Uniondale, he sexually abused students on campus multiple times over several years.

The third court filing alleges that Placa — for years one of the most powerful officials in the diocese — sexually abused a 12-year-old boy at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Glen Cove during his first parish assignment after being ordained a priest.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre is also named in the three lawsuits filed in State Supreme Court in Nassau County under…

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New Law Could Empower More St. Joseph’s Orphanage Survivors to Sue, but Hurdles Remain

BURLINGTON (VT)
Seven Days [Burlington VT]

May 26, 2021

By Chelsea Edgar

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Former residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington achieved a historic victory earlier this month: the passage of S.99, a bill that lifts the statute of limitations on lawsuits arising from childhood physical abuse. The Vermont legislation, the first of its kind in the country, allows survivors to file claims years, even decades, after the alleged abuse occurred. But for many of those former St. Joseph’s residents, the reparations they seek from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which owned the red brick orphanage on North Avenue that housed some 13,000 children from 1854 to 1974, could still be out of reach.

In the 1990s, nearly 200 St. Joseph’s survivors accepted $5,000 settlements from the diocese, which could impact their ability to pursue further legal action. Those who do manage to sue may only see a fraction of the payout they hope for; the diocese claims that past and pending…

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Springfield bishop says updated list of accused sexual abusers will reflect ‘considerable addition’

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive.com/The Republican [Springfield MA]

May 26, 2021

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

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In a letter to parishioners, churches and parochial schools in his diocese, Springfield Bishop William Byrne said the updated list of credibly accused sexual abusers that the diocese will post in early June “will result in considerable addition to the list.”

“The new list will now include posthumous allegations deemed to be credible by either the Diocesan Review Board or its predecessor, the Misconduct Commission,” Byrne said. “This will result in a considerable addition to the list which previously appeared on our diocesan website. Many of these credible allegations were previously excluded from our list because the accused was deceased when the allegation surfaced, was a member of a religious order, or were lay employees of the diocese.”

The bishop’s letter is dated Monday, May 24, the same day that the Hampden District Attorney’s Office revealed it had planned to charge convicted child molester…

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Defrocked priest Richard Lavigne clung to the cloth as COVID-19 claimed his life

GREENFIELD (MA)
MassLive.com/The Republican [Springfield MA]

May 26, 2021

By Stephanie Barry

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Despite being defrocked by the Vatican nearly 20 years ago, former Catholic priest Richard R. Lavigne clung to his hallowed former profession until his last breath.

According to his death certificate, Lavigne, 80, died of respiratory failure after contracting COVID-19 four days before he perished in a hospital bed at Baystate Franklin Medical Center on May 21. It was a Friday at 5:40 p.m.

His self-reported occupation, the record states: clergy, although, he was barred from public ministry after being convicted of child molestation in 1992. He was a longstanding suspect in the 1972 murder of altar boy Daniel “Danny” Croteau.

Given his rapidly declining health, investigators knew they were racing against time to button up a murder case against Lavigne in connection with 13-year-old Croteau’s death. Croteau was discovered floating facedown in the Chicopee River wearing his parochial school uniform.

Lavigne had…

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Diocese of Springfield to update list of credibly accused sexual abusers

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

May 26, 2021

By Danny Jin

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The Diocese of Springfield will expand its list of clergy and staff credibly accused of sexual abuse, its bishop said in a Monday letter.

Those accused posthumously, as well as religious order priests and lay employees of the diocese, will now be included, the Most. Rev. William Byrne said in the letter. The new additions are not necessarily newly accused, but rather were accused decades ago and previously excluded from the list.

The updated list will be posted to diospringfield.org in early June, Byrne’s letter said. Byrne will hold a news conference on the expansion on June 2 at 10 a.m. in Springfield’s St. Michael’s Cathedral, and the cathedral will also host a Holy Hour “for all whose lives have been impacted by the abuse crisis” on June 3 at 7 p.m.

Upon hearing feedback from survivors and others who criticized the diocese for its handling of the abuse, Byrne said…

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Springfield bishop to release list of credibly accused clergy next week

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
WGGB - WesternMassNews [Springfield MA]

May 26, 2021

By Ryan Trowbridge and Leon Purvis

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New information is coming out of the Diocese of Springfield following the revelations this week of evidence connecting late former priest Richard Lavigne to the murder of young altar boy Daniel Croteau back in 1972.

While speaking with Bishop William Byrne today, we asked him about the calls for him to release all the case documents on Richard Lavigne, what his plan of action is, and if the D.A. should investigate the diocese.

“I’m sickened and I’m angered. I’m apologetic for the role that the church had played in not doing all that we could at times,” Byrne noted.

Byrne shared his thoughts with Western Mass News after the Hampden District Attorney’s announcement on Monday that he had enough to charge defrocked priest Richard Lavigne – had he not died this past Friday – in the murder of 13-year-old Danny Croteau.

Calls followed on Tuesday for the diocese to release…

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Here’s what you need to know about the Child Victims Act, a proposed bill to allow survivors to pursue justice after sexual abuse

MADISON (WI)
Journal Sentinel [Milwaukee WI]

May 27, 2021

By Laura Schulte

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A proposed bill that would allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse to hold their abuser accountable is facing an uncertain future in the state Legislature. 

The Child Victims Act would allow survivors to pursue civil action against their abuser or the organization that employed the person, removing the current limitation that allows a person to pursue action only until they turn 35 years old. The bill, survivors say, would allow them to finally feel a sense of justice, share their stories as adults and hopefully prevent future crimes from taking place. 

The bill has been proposed time and again before the Legislature, only to stall in committee. But now that an investigation into sexual abuse by religious leaders has been opened by the state Department of Justice, survivors and their advocates are once again hopeful. 

Here’s what you need to know about the potential…

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Local Catholic properties will be sold at auction

SANTA FE (NM)
Valencia County News-Bulletin [NM]

May 27, 2021

By Julia Dendinger

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Starting in July, more than 200 parcels in Valencia County owned by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe will be put on the auction block to help pay for a bankruptcy settlement prompted by allegations of abuse perpetrated by priests and other clergy over decades.

Filings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of New Mexico show more than 260 properties scattered throughout the county, most of which are small quarter- and half-acre lots in the Rio Grande Estates and Rio Del Oro subdivisions in the southeast part of the county.

However, one of the properties is in the heart of the county — the church plaza at Immaculate Conception Church in Tomé.

The main plaza west of the church is 2.29 acres and there is an additional .32 acre triangular piece to the southeast of the plaza. The plaza is zoned Rural Residential 2, which is typically used for single family…

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Longtime Ottawa Catholic school teacher accused of sexual assault facing 45 new charges

OTTAWA (CANADA)
CTV Television Network [Toronto, Canada]

May 26, 2021

By Ted Raymond

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Ottawa police have laid dozens of new charges against a longtime Ottawa Catholic School Board teacher who was recently accused of sexual assault.

Rick Watkins, a.k.a. Rick Despatie, was charged with three counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation of a young person on April 20. Investigators said they were concerned there may have been additional victims and asked for more information.

Watkins, 57, was a teacher at St. Matthew High School for more than 25 years, the OCSB told CTV News Ottawa. He was suspended March 9, when the allegations first came forward.

On Wednesday, Ottawa police said other alleged incidents involving 14 youth under the age of 14 were reported to police since charges were first announced. Police say these alleged incidents happened while Watkins was employed as a teacher with the OCSB between 2004 and 2021.

He is now facing 45 additional charges, including 13…

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‘Internal systemic failures’ led to Wolf administration blunder that derailed child sex abuse amendment

HARRISBURG (PA)
Spotlight PA [Harrisburg PA]

May 26, 2021

By Angela Couloumbis of Spotlight PA

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HARRISBURG — “Internal systemic failures” were behind the Wolf administration’s bungling of a statewide referendum that would provide legal recourse to survivors of child sexual abuse, according to a much-anticipated report released Wednesday.

The Office of State Inspector General found no evidence that the administration’s failure to advertise the proposed constitutional amendment as required was deliberate or the result of outside pressure or “intentional malfeasance.”

But it did find the Department of State, which oversees elections, had no formal or written process in place for ensuring referendums appear on the ballot. There was also little, if any, executive oversight or staff training — a chronic complaint from employees interviewed for the inquiry — and paltry communication between the various bureaus within the department that are responsible for getting questions on the ballot.

The Department of State, according to the report, “lacked executive oversight, written policies and procedures,…

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Report: No malfeasance behind Pennsylvania’s botched constitutional amendment

HARRISBURG (PA)
The Center Square

May 26, 2021

By Christen Smith

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report issued Wednesday found lacking oversight and systemic failures – not willful disregard – within the Pennsylvania Department of State resulted in a botched constitutional amendment.

The Office of the State Inspector General’s probe of the incident found no evidence of “deliberate or intentional malfeasance” at play when department staffers forgot to advertise a proposed constitutional amendment that would open a two-year litigation window for survivors of child sex abuse after the Legislature passed its authorizing legislation, House Bill 963, in November 2019.

“On behalf of the Department of State, I apologize to the victims of abuse for the additional pain and distress we have caused them,” said Acting Secretary Veronica Degraffenreid during a news conference on Wednesday. “We are committed to ensuring such a failing will never happen again.”

Constitutional amendments must pass in the General Assembly in two consecutive legislative sessions before appearing before voters…

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Probe finds no intentional act to derail sex-abuse vote

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 26, 2021

By Marc Levy

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — An internal investigation into an apparent bureaucratic blunder by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration that scuttled a statewide voter referendum sought by victims of childhood sexual abuse found no evidence of a deliberate attempt to derail it.

The Office of Inspector General’s report, released Wednesday, said agents interviewed 22 current and former state employees and reviewed the email accounts of nine state officials for any evidence of outside influence or intentional acts.

Rather, it said, Wolf’s Department of State — which oversees elections and professional licensing and has about 500 employees — had no executive office, bureau or executive staff member responsible for overseeing internal processes for constitutional amendments.

The referendum was to be on whether to give victims of childhood sexual abuse a fresh opportunity to sue their abusers and complicit institutions, a proposal propelled by damning investigative reports in 2016 and 2018 on Pennsylvania’s…

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Child sex abuse survivors, supporters pressure Pa. Senate leader Kim Ward to bring bill to vote

HARRISBURG (PA)
Tribune-Review [Pittsburgh PA]

May 26, 2021

By Deb Erdley

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Survivors of clergy child sexual abuse turned up the heat this week on state Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, depositing a pouch of silver coins on the Hempfield Republican’s desk and labeling her a “Judas.”

Ward’s failure to schedule a Senate vote on a bill that would provide a day in court for child sexual abuse survivors whose cases fall outside the Pennsylvania statute of limitations is a bitter betrayal, survivors said. They likened it to the 30-piece bounty that disciple Judas Iscariot accepted before double-crossing Jesus Christ with a kiss at the Last Supper, according to the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible.

Ward, a devout Catholic, insisted she shares the survivors’ concerns and denied she is stalling. She said she is concerned the bill might not pass constitutional muster.

Tensions about the future of the so-called window of opportunity legislation, which passed the full House and then the…

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Former U.P. priest sentenced to 8-15 years for sex abuse

(MI)
MLive [Walker MI]

May 26, 2021

By Justine Lofton

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A former Upper Peninsula priest sat in court this week and heard from his victims before receiving a sentence of 8-15 years in prison for sexual abuse he committed in the 1980s.

Gary Jacobs, 75, pleaded guilty in Ontonagon County last month to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in a plea bargain that dropped several other sex abuse charges.

He was sentenced Tuesday, May 25, by Judge Michael Pope in Ontonagon County Circuit Court to 8-15 years on each count, including the second-degree charge, which will be served concurrently, The Daily Mining Gazette reports. Jacobs’ sentence hearing served as a platform for his victims – now in their 50s and 60s – to speak.

One victim described “a life sentence of scars and painful memories,” the report said. Several victims described a situation in which Jacobs befriended their parents, which…

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Victim’s family calls for investigation after learning convicted priest confided to fellow priests about abuse

LAFAYETTE (LA)
KATC-TV [Lafayette LA]

May 24, 2021

By Jim Hummel

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No longer under a gag order amid their lawsuit against the Diocese of Lafayette, a St. Landry Parish family is now able to address new concerns that were revealed in their case against convicted priest Michael Guidry.

In a deposition conducted earlier this year, Guidry testified that shortly after he molested Oliver Peyton in 2015, he confided in a support group of fellow priests outside the seal of confession.

“They are all supposed to be safe environment certified,” said Oliver’s mother Letitia Peyton. “They are mandated reporters for this type of behavior. They had knowledge of what happened and decided to keep each other’s ‘mistakes,’ as they called them, secret– that’s very alarming.”

KATC reached out to the Diocese of Lafayette for comment on the claim made by Guidry in his deposition, but we never heard back. Guidry was removed from ministry in 2018, three years after the abuse, when…

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Abuse survivors rage at stalled reforms

HARRISBURG (PA)
Tribune-Democrat [Johnstown PA]

May 26, 2021

By John Finnerty

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Abuse survivors and their supporters on Monday expressed intensifying anger and frustration as state Senate leaders continue to refuse to schedule a vote on long-awaited reforms that would open a window for lawsuits against child predators and those who covered up their crimes.

Cindy Leech was on the stage when Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the results of a grand jury report detailing the coverup of abuse by priests in Pennsylvania, a moment that caused such widespread outrage that abuse survivors and their supporters thought the time had finally come for the General Assembly to act to open a window for lawsuits.

Monday, Leech and her husband Bernie returned to the state Capitol to press the state Senate to finish the job.

The Leeches were there on behalf of their son Corey, who’d testified before an investigative grand jury about the abuse he’d suffered from Brother Stephen Baker, a Franciscan…

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These Priests Were Accused of Abuse and Were in the Camden Diocese

CAMDEN (NJ)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

May 26, 2021

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Last month on this blog we discussed how extensive clergy sex crimes and cover ups seem to be in the Camden diocese.

https://adamhorowitzlaw.com/is-the-camden-diocese-

But it seems, on closer examination, it is even worse than we initially suspected.

We at Horowitz Law have taken a closer look at the Camden diocese ‘credibly accused list.’ Not surprisingly, we found some accused priests who were in the Camden area but are not on that list. They are listed below:

(Church officials may claim that some of these are not ‘credible’ allegations. Regardless, these men have been accused of abuse and been ‘outed’ elsewhere and in some cases they appear on other lists of “credibly accused” clergy).

Fr. John H. Duggan, a Jesuit who worked at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden. His name is included on the Scranton PA diocesan ‘credibly accused’ list.

He also worked in the dioceses of Albany,…

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Clerical abuse victims are being betrayed. The state must act now.

PARIS (FRANCE)
International Association of Free Thought

May 15, 2021

By Keith Porteous Wood

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Keith Porteous Wood, spokesperson of IAFT and President of the National Secular Society (UK) cites numerous examples of clerics seemingly not being subjected to French law for failing to report suspected clerical abuse of minors, as has been required since 2000. He argues that fundamental changes are needed for victims to be protected.

In 2019, the former most senior Catholic cardinal in France (Philippe Barbarin) was sentenced to six months in prison, albeit suspended, for failing to report abuse of scouts over decades in a Catholic troop led by Bernard Preynat, now regarded as probably France’s most prolific paedophile. Preynat was only recently defrocked as a priest.

Given the guilty verdict, there was clearly a case to answer, yet Preynat’s victims had been unable to persuade the public prosecutor to prosecute Cardinal Barbarin and had to resort to an expensive private prosecution. The public prosecutor’s opposition continued when, given the guilty verdict, there was…

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The French State and clerical abuse

PARIS (FRANCE)
International Association of Free Thought

May 15, 2021

By Keith Porteous Wood

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Keith Porteous Wood, spokesperson of IAFT and President of the National Secular Society (UK) considers the contradictions of the French courts’ final ruling on Cardinal Barbarin’s failure to report suspected clerical abuse of minors and its troubling consequences

France’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, ruled on 14 April that the legal obligation to report sexual crimes against a minor ceases as soon as the victim becomes a capable adult. It was the former most senior Catholic in France, Cardinal Barbarin, whose obligation was at issue. It was his failure to report such assaults over several decades by Catholic scoutmaster (and until recently, priest), Bernard Preynat. He may be France’s most prolific paedophile, with an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 victims. The Cardinal knew of Preynat’s sexual assaults.

The consequence of this judgment is that Cardinal Barbarin is relieved of any legal responsibility to pay…

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Louisiana priest appears in court after arrest on child pornography charges

BOSSIER CITY (LA)
WVLA NBC Local 33 / WGMB Fox 44 [Baton Rouge LA]

May 24, 2021

By Nancy Cook, KTAL-TV

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BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Bishop Francis Malone of the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport on Friday issued a letter to the Catholic clergy and community in the diocese informing them that a local priest has been removed from serving as a priest, following his arrest on juvenile pornography and bestiality charges.  

Seby Chemmampallil, known in the Catholic community as the Rev. Seby Shan, CMI (Carmelites of Mary Immaculate), associate pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church in Bossier City, was arrested in Bossier City and charged with two counts of possession of pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13, two counts of distributing pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13 and two counts of sexual abuse of animals.

In his letter, Malone wrote that Chemmampallil is accused of “violating the Diocese of Shreveport’s Police Concerning Sexual Abuse of Minors,” noting that although the current allegations don’t involve…

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Pope orders minor seminary to move out of Vatican

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

May 25, 2021

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

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Pope Francis has ordered the minor seminary that is located inside the Vatican and currently at the center of a criminal sex abuse trial to move to a new location in Rome before classes begin in the fall.

The idea of moving the seminary had been under study “for some time,” said a statement May 25 from Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office. The idea, he said, was to find a building closer to where the students go to school in Rome and where they play.

Fr. Angelo Magistrelli, rector of the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary and superior of the Opera Don Folci, which runs the institute, told the Vatican court April 14 that the current enrollment is 26 boys and young men and that the number of inquiries about admissions had been increasing.

Boys as young as 12 live at the seminary, act as altar servers at…

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Pope Francis moves pre-seminary at center of abuse trial out of Vatican City

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

May 25, 2021

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The Vatican announced Tuesday that Pope Francis has decided to move a pre-seminary at the center of an abuse and cover-up trial out of Vatican City.

The Holy See press office said May 25 that the pope had told Fr. Angelo Magistrelli, rector of the St. Pius X Pre-seminary, during a recent audience that the institution would move to a new location in September.

The pre-seminary is a residence for about a dozen boys aged 12 to 18 who serve at papal Masses and other liturgies in St. Peter’s Basilica and are considering the priesthood.

The press office said: “His Holiness did not fail, on this occasion, to express his deep gratitude to Fr. Magistrelli for the work done in these 75 years since the foundation of the institution, recognizing that it retains its educational validity and asking that it may continue the appreciated liturgical service performed by the young students…

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Pope moves youth seminary out of Vatican amid abuse trial

(ITALY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 25, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis has decided to move a youth seminary outside Vatican City, taking action before the Vatican’s criminal tribunal renders a verdict in a sex abuse trial involving a former seminarian and an ex-rector.

The Vatican made no mention of the ongoing trial in its announcement Tuesday that the St. Pius X pre-seminary would relocate somewhere in Rome starting in September. The facility serves as a residence for altar boys ages 12-18 who serve at papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Vatican did not say why Francis made the decision. It said the move had been under study for some time and would also put the boys closer to their schools and recreational activities in Italy’s capital.

The presence of the residence inside the Vatican city-state’s walls posed a legal headache for the Vatican after a former seminarian came forward in 2017 to accuse a more senior one of…

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Germany looks for church reform, causing concern among some Catholics

BONN (GERMANY)
Angelus - Archdiocese of Los Angeles [Los Angeles CA]

May 24, 2021

By Catholic News Service

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Catholics around the world have their eyes on Germany as it works for change through its “Synodal Path,” which is debating the issues of power, sexual morality, priestly life and the role of women in the church.

Although some Catholics fear schism, the head of the German bishops’ conference has said he wants Synodal Path reforms to be decided and implemented in close coordination with the Vatican. Pope Francis has told German Catholics to make sure their Synodal Path was guided by the Holy Spirit, with patience for change.

Limburg Bishop Georg Bätzing, conference president, has been walking a bit of a tightrope. The theologian has been careful to ensure things are done in accordance with Vatican teaching, yet during the Third Ecumenical Convention in Frankfurt in May, he reiterated calls for change. For instance, he said he hoped that, with the Synodal Path, the Catholic Church could reach an…

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Advocate For Clergy Abuse Victims Calls For Release Of Files On Ex-Priest Accused Of Murder

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
WAMC, Northeast Public Radio [Albany NY]

May 25, 2021

By Paul Tuthill

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One day after a prosecutor in western Massachusetts publicly accused a recently deceased former priest of murdering an altar boy a half-century ago, there was a call for the Springfield Diocese to release its files. 

   Standing across the street from the headquarters of the Springfield Diocese, Robert Hoatson called for Bishop William Byrne to open the archives that might show what Catholic church officials knew about the sexual abuse and 1972 murder of 13-year-old Danny Croteau by then-priest Richard Lavigne.

“And tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what was known for 49 years about father Richard Lavigne and other priests and clergy in the Diocese of Springfield,” Hoatson said.

  A former priest, Hoatson is co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, Inc., a New Jersey-based non-profit that assists victims of clergy sex abuse and their families.  He said he was a…

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Defrocked Catholic priest dies as the District Attorney is preparing to arrest him for murder; SNAP reacts

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

May 25, 2021

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A Catholic priest who was the prime suspect in the 1972 killing of an altar boy died as law enforcement was preparing to arrest him for the murder. We hope that the closure of the police investigation brings some measure of comfort to the boy’s grieving family.

After many years of fighting for justice for their brother Daniel “Danny” Croteau,  the end of the nearly 49-year-old case must be a bittersweet development for his family.  With new evidence brought to light, the Hampden District Attorney was prepared to arrest Richard Lavigne on murder charges, but the defrocked priest died before he could be charged. 

Lavigne, a former Springfield priest, had many accusations of sexually abusing minors lodged against him. He was removed from ministry following his arrest on criminal charges of child sexual abuse in the early 1990s. The clergyman pleaded guilty to two of the…

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Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago reinstates Rev. Michael Pfleger after past sex abuse allegations

CHICAGO (IL)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

May 24, 2021

By Emily McFarlan Miller

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The Rev. Michael Pfleger, 71, will return to his position as senior pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina in Chicago on June 5, according to a letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Five months after allegations of past sexual abuse first were made against him, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has concluded there is “insufficient reason to suspect” the Rev. Michael Pfleger is guilty of allegations of past sexual abuse.

The result of the investigation by an independent review board was announced Monday (May 24) in a letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich to the church Pfleger has led for years, the Faith Community of St. Sabina in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

“I’m so relieved and glad this nightmare is over,” Pfleger said later that day at a press conference.

“If anything, I’m more emboldened, and I’m stronger, and I’m ready to fight more than ever in my life,” he added.

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Wounds still run deep on Sorry Day, writes Charmaine Clarke

WARRNAMBOOL (AUSTRALIA)
The Standard [Warrnambool, Australia]

May 26, 2021

By Charmaine Clarke

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When Sorry Day comes around each year it is a day of reflection for me, as the wounds which are still healing, resurface along with the memories of my immediate family whose lives were displaced and cut short.

The promise of self-determination was not around in my parents’ time, nor did they get to hear former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd give the apology in parliament on February 13, 2008. Like many across the nation, I watched and listened, my tears turning to sobs, partly relief of finally being recognised, and part deep sorrow and anger for losing my family.

I was two-and-a-half when I was removed from my family, along with five other siblings. All of us ended up in Ballarat’s Catholic homes, where some of my siblings endured unimaginable child abuse, of which they are forever scarred and broken. I too endured child abuse while being shunted around between…

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Timor-Leste lawyers cry foul over ex-priest’s abuse trial

(TIMOR-LESTE)
Union of Catholic Asian News [Hong Kong]

May 26, 2021

By Ryan Dagur

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Court accused of breaching rules by repeatedly postponing the trial of American Richard Daschbach

Lawyers for alleged victims in a sexual abuse case involving an ex-priest in Timor-Leste are to lodge an official complaint against officials at a district court where the case is being heard after the trial was postponed for a third time.

On May 24, the Oecusse District Court decided to again postpone the trial, which began on Feb. 22, after the defendant Richard Daschbach, his lawyer and a prosecutor failed to appear in court, supposedly because of travel restrictions imposed in the capital Dili to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The first postponement came just after the trial opened in February and the second came in late March. The next hearing is scheduled for June 7.

In a statement issued on May 25, lawyers representing 15 alleged victims said they intended to make a complaint to…

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Lawmakers pause sex abuse bill as critics cast doubt on constitutionality

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Politics [Denver CO]

May 26, 2021

By Michael Karlik

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The House Judiciary Committee postponed a vote on legislation that would give victims of past sexual abuse access to the justice system, after its sponsors requested more time to negotiate amendments in response to concerns about liability for the government and the difficulty of defending against decades-old misconduct.

Both proponents and critics of Senate Bill 88 conceded during a nearly three-hour hearing on Tuesday that the landmark victim rights measure would ultimately end up before the Colorado Supreme Court.

“Colorado has a legitimate right and interest in empowering its people to hold wrongdoers and institutions accountable for this criminal conduct,” said Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta, one of the SB88’s sponsors. “In my view, this bill is constitutional. It implements legitimate public policy.”

Supporters of SB88 have touted it as a unique solution to a problem that has gradually risen in the public’s consciousness: whether to allow victims of…

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Chilean Jesuits Recognize 64 Cases Of Sexual Abuse

(CHILE)
Barron's [New York NY]

May 25, 2021

By Agence France-Presse

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The Jesuit congregation of Chile has acknowledged that its priests sexually abused 64 people, including 34 children, between 2005 and 2020, according to a report from the Catholic order obtained by AFP Tuesday.

Eleven Jesuit priests were found guilty following an internal investigation of “abusive situations with a sexual connotation” involving underage victims, according to the report by the Society of Jesus, known colloquially as the Jesuits.

Of the perpetrators, “five have died, three are currently under strict professional supervision plans, and another three are no longer part of the Society of Jesus,” said the order.

The Jesuit order said that since 2018 it has been providing authorities background to the abuse allegations.

It added that 31 of the victims have received financial compensation.

Amongst those found guilty was Renato Poblete, the late former Jesuit leader who allegedly abused four minors and 19 adults over four decades from 1960.

Poblete,…

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Decades-old clergy abuse cases inching through courts

SANTA ROSA (CA)
KRCB 104.9, Northern California Public Media

May 24, 2021

By Marc Albert

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Sonoma County residents victimized decades ago by Catholic priests are still awaiting their day in court. 

Public outcry following a Boston Globe investigation–popularized by the movie Spotlight led California lawmakers… in 2019… to reopen the statute of limitations for civil cases involving sexual abuse by clergy. Victims must file by the end of next year.

Multiple suits now accuse the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa of failing to protect children from Gary Timmons, a former priest now 80 who joined the diocese in the late 60s. According to the Megan’s Law database, Timmons was convicted of committing lewd or lascivious acts with children in 1996. He was released from custody four year later, in 2000.

Attorney Mike Reck represents 10 local plaintiffs. Six have formally filed suits.

Reck says rather than dismiss Timmons, the diocese reassigned him from one community to another and placed him in charge of a summer camp. Reck said the alleged abuse occurred over decades…

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Investigators: Former Priest-Sex Offender Killed Massachusetts Altar Boy in 1972

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

May 25, 2021

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The suspect, Richard Lavigne, died in the hospital May 21 at age 80.

A Massachusetts prosecutor announced Monday that a convicted sex offender who had been dismissed from the clerical state, and who died last week, was responsible for the death of an altar boy nearly 50 years ago. 

The suspect, a former priest, Richard Lavigne, died in the hospital May 21 at age 80. 

On May 24, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni announced at a press conference that the  district attorney’s office’s investigation had concluded that Lavigne had killed Daniel Croteau, 13, who was found beaten and floating in a local river in April 1972. 

Lavigne, who was reportedly a family friend of the Croteaus and would often take the Croteau children on outings alone, was pegged early on as a suspect in the Springfield altar boy’s death. 

According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Lavigne pled guilty in 1992…

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Bossier City pastor facing charges for child porn, sexual abuse of animals

BOSSIER CITY (LA)
KSLA, Ch. 12 [Shreveport LA and Texarkana TX]

May 24, 2021

By Rachael Thomas

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BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) – A pastor from Bossier City is facing charges after being accused of possessing and distributing images and videos of sexual abuse of children, and sexually abusing animals.

Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office made the announcement Friday, May 21.

“My office and I will continue doing everything we legally can to protect the children of Louisiana. We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to bring child predators to justice,” Landry said.

Seby Chemmampallil, 36, is charged with the following:

  • Possession of pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13 (2 counts)
  • Distribution of pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13 (2 counts)
  • Sexual abuse of animals (2 counts)

Chemmampallil was booked in the Bossier Parish Maximum Security Jail.

The Diocese of Shreveport released a statement Friday on Chemmampallil’s arrest.

“Father Seby Shan, CMI, associate pastor of Christ the King Church, Bossier City has been accused…

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Crackdowns on child abuse in the Catholic Church have been toothless – this time we’ll root it out for good

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
i /inews.co.uk [London, England]

May 24, 2021

By Nazir Afzal

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I will help the Church bring in some of the toughest safeguarding measures in the country – failure to protect children will not be tolerated

The sexual abuse of children is a scourge found in many communities, institutions and situations within society. During my career I have come across situations where it appears to have been happening on an industrial scale.

Over three decades I have learned that victims have been failed by every institution responsible for safeguarding them, and seen how often reputation was thought to be more important than exposing abusers. Yet for the victims, suffering can be intense and lifelong, filled with shame, guilt and fear. This has to change.

My work in the successful prosecutions of those such as Stuart Hall, the cronies of Jimmy Savile and gangs grooming children in Rochdale has made clear that much remains to be done to protect children across every strata…

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BISHOP BYRNE’S STATEMENT ON D.A. ANTHONY GULLUNI’S ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE MURDER OF DANNY CROTEAU

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Diocese of Springfield MA

May 24, 2021

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“Today’s news that Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni was prepared to charge Richard Lavigne in the murder of Danny Croteau in 1972 brings sad closure to a tragic event which I know has hung over our faith community for decades. I was angered and sickened to hear Lavigne’s unapologetic admissions in the heinous murder of this innocent child.

It is incredibly disheartening to learn that a priest, a person ordained to care for God’s people, would have committed such an evil crime and then not taken responsibility for his actions. This is all totally contrary to the teachings that we as Catholics believe in and hold sacred.

It is also another reminder of our past failures as a Church and a diocese to protect children and young adults from such terrible predators in our midst. Although we have made great strides in improving our child protection efforts, that is little…

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Former Catholic Priest Dies Same Day He Was Due to Be Charged with 1972 Murder

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Newsweek [New York NY]

May 25, 2021

By James Crump

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A defrocked Roman Catholic priest has died on the same day he was due to be formally charged with the 1972 murder of a 13-year-old boy in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

On Monday, Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni announced that he had called state troopers to his office on Friday, May 21, to seek a warrant to arrest 80-year-old Richard Lavigne for the murder of 13-year-old Danny Croteau, but confirmed that the former priest died just a few hours later.

“Based on the accumulation of evidence, and in particular those admissions, as a prosecutor I believe that I was fulfilling my ethical duties by moving toward the charge of murder against Richard Lavigne…and I believe we could prove it,” Gulluni said.

According to a death record obtained by The Boston Globe, Lavigne’s death was listed as “acute hypoxic respiratory failure,” with the underlying cause of “COVID-19 pneumonia.”

“Regrettably, due to Lavigne’s…

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7 key revelations in the Danny Croteau murder case, according to legal filings

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Boston Globe

May 25, 2021

By Travis Andersen

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Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni on Monday announced he was about to charge former Catholic priest Richard R. Lavigne with the 1972 murder of 13-year-old Danny Croteau in Chicopee when Lavigne died last week at the age of 80.

Croteau, a former altar boy at St. Mary’s in Springfield when Lavigne was assigned there, died from multiple blunt force injuries to his head, records show.

And Lavigne, though he never confessed to killing the boy, told an investigator in the weeks before his death that he gave Croteau “a good shove” by the river and then left, before returning to the scene to find him floating in the water.

Here are key revelations from a 15-page statement of facts prepared by State Police Trooper Michael T. McNally to obtain an arrest warrant charging Lavigne, who died of COVID-19 related complications, with the slaying of Croteau, a Springfield…

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Lawyer for family of Danny Croteau says plans to charge deceased ex-priest Richard Lavgine with murder ‘raise more questions’

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive.com/The Republican [Springfield MA]

May 25, 2021

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

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Greenfield attorney John J. Stobierski had words of praise for Hampden Country District Attorney Anthony Gulluni with the announcement Monday that Gulluni planned to charge former Springfield priest Richard Lavigne with the 1972 murder of altar boy Daniel “Danny” Croteau.

However, Stobierski, who represented the now-deceased parents of Croteau, other of their family members as well as dozens of victims who came forward with sexual allegations against Lavigne, called the fact it took decades to bring forth such a charge “a travesty.”

Lavigne, who pleaded guilty to molesting two boys in 1992 and was removed from the ministry in 2004 after the settlement of scores of civil suits, died May 21, before he could be charged with the Croteau murder.

Gulluni on Monday declared the case, which has been the subject of books and on-and-off investigations, closed.

“It is a travesty that it has taken 50…

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