A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
October 26, 2016
OCTOBER 25, 2016
by Maria Panaritis and Karen Langley, HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - A controversial proposal to extend the civil statute of limitations for child sex-abuse victims appeared to collapse Tuesday, after supporters said the House was unlikely to move an amended version of the bill or reintroduce the original measure.
With little chance of its passing, they said, they will try to revive it when the Assembly reconvenes next year.
"The process is over at this point," said Rep. Mark Rozzi (D., Berks), a clergy-abuse victim who had been the bill's fiercest advocate.
Both the GOP-controlled House and Senate had supported expanding victims' rights to sue, but split sharply on whether those rights should be applied retroactively for victims abused decades ago.
The House approved such a provision, but the Senate, after fierce lobbying from the insurance industry and the Catholic Church, removed it from the bill this summer and sent it back to the House.
Keith Moor and Mark Buttler, Herald Sun
October 25, 2016
CARDINAL George Pell has vowed to cooperate with Victoria Police in its ongoing probe into child sex abuse allegations made against him.
His office confirmed he has been voluntarily interviewed by Victorian detectives who flew to Rome last week.
“The Cardinal repeats his previous rejection of all and every allegation of sexual abuse and will continue to co-operate with Victoria Police until the investigation is finalised,” a statement from Cardinal Pell’s office in Rome said.
“The Cardinal has no further comment at this time.”
It was the first time the sex allegations made against Cardinal Pell have been put directly to him.
“Three members of Victoria Police travelled to Rome last week where Cardinal George Pell voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault,” Victoria Police spokeswoman Leonie Johnson said today.
“As a result of the interview, further investigations are continuing.
“We are not prepared to comment further at this time.”
Cardinal George Pell has voluntarily participated in an interview with Victoria Police in Rome, about allegations of sexual assault.
Three officers travelled to Rome last week to interview Cardinal Pell, Victoria Police said in a statement.
Investigations are continuing as a result of the interview, the police statement advised.
“We are not prepared to comment further at this time,” it read.
Victoria Police in mid-August revealed it was considering laying charges over alleged historical sexual assaults in Ballarat between 1976 and 1980 and East Melbourne between 1996 and 2001.
Cardinal George Pell has been interviewed in Rome by Australian detectives over child abuse allegations dating back to the 1970s. The cleric denies the charges.
The office of Cardinal George Pell released a statement on Wednesday repeating his July rejection of "all and every allegation of sexual abuse."
The Cardinal, who is the Vatican's Australian-born financial controller, was interviewed in Rome last week, by Victoria Police detectives over child abuse allegations, Victoria Police confirmed in a statement on Wednesday. "Three members of Victoria Police travelled to Rome last week where Cardinal George Pell voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault," the statement confirmed.
"As a result of the interview further investigations are continuing. We are not prepared to comment further at this time," the police statement added.
The Cardinal "will continue to cooperate with Victoria Police until the investigation is finalised," his office confirmed. "The Cardinal has no further comment at this time," it said.
SYDNEY, Australia – Vatican finance chief George Pell has been interviewed by Australian police in Rome over sexual assault claims, authorities said Wednesday, October 26, but no charges have yet been laid.
It follows explosive allegations against Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in July, which he strongly denied.
Victoria state police said in a statement that 3 officers "travelled to Rome last week where Cardinal George Pell voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault".
"As a result of the interview further investigations are continuing. We are not prepared to comment further at this time."
Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press Tuesday, October 25, 2016
SYDNEY (AP) — Australian police flew to Rome to interview a top Vatican cardinal about allegations of sexual assault dating back decades, officials said Wednesday.
Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' top financial adviser and one of his most trusted aides, has long been dogged by allegations he mishandled cases of clergy abuse when he was archbishop of Melbourne and later Sydney. In recent months, Pell has faced accusations of child abuse himself when he was a young priest in the 1970s.
On Wednesday, police in Australia's Victoria state confirmed that they had interviewed Pell over the allegations.
"Three members of Victoria police traveled to Rome last week where Cardinal George Pell voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault," police spokeswoman Amara Bostock said. "As a result of the interview, further investigations are continuing. We are not prepared to comment further at this time."
The allegations involve two men, now in their 40s, who say Pell touched them inappropriately at a swimming pool in the late 1970s. Separately, a man told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that he saw Pell exposing himself to three young boys in a surf club changing room in the late 1980s. Pell was at the time a senior priest in Melbourne.
By Louise Milligan, staff
Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, has been interviewed by Victoria Police detectives over historic child abuse allegations.
In a statement, Victoria Police confirmed to the ABC's 7.30 program that "three members of Victoria Police travelled to Rome last week where Cardinal George Pell voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault".
"As a result of the interview further investigations are continuing. We are not prepared to comment further at this time," the statement said.
The ABC's 7.30 program revealed the allegations on July 27, with complainants Lyndon Monument and Damian Dignan interviewed on the program about alleged inappropriate touching at Ballarat's Eureka pool in the 1970s.
October 25, 2016
Australian police said on Wednesday they have interviewed the Vatican's Australian-born financial controller, Cardinal George Pell, in relation to allegations of sexual assault.
Victoria state police said investigations were continuing as a result of last week's interview in Rome, but declined to comment further.
Pell, who was a priest and then archbishop in Australia before taking the Vatican role in 2014, confirmed he participated in the interview but denied the allegations.
"The cardinal repeats his previous rejection of all and every allegation of sexual abuse and will continue to co-operate with Victoria Police until the investigation is finalised," his office said in a statement.
Pell, 75, this year testified at an Australian government inquiry into institutional child abuse, where he said the Roman Catholic Church made "catastrophic" choices by refusing to believe abused children, shuffling abusive priests from parish to parish and over-relying on counseling of priests to solve the problem.
Associated Press in Vatican city
Tuesday 25 October 2016
The Vatican and Argentina’s bishops have finished cataloguing their archives from the country’s dictatorship era, and will soon make them available to victims and their relatives who have long accused the church of complicity with the military rulers.
A joint statement on Tuesday said the process of digitizing the archives had been completed and that procedures to access the information would be forthcoming. No date was set, and the opening for now is restricted to victims, detainees, their relatives and the religious superiors of victims who were priests or nuns.
Official estimates say about 13,000 people were killed or disappeared in a government-sponsored crackdown on leftist dissidents during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship. Human rights activists believe the real number was as high as 30,000.
The statement said the decision to open the church’s archives was taken at the express direction of Pope Francis, “in the service of truth, justice and peace”.
Francis – then the Rev Jorge Mario Bergoglio – was the young Jesuit superior in Argentina during the military dictatorship, making his decision to open the archives all the more remarkable.
By The Associated Press Posted Oct. 25, 2016
VATICAN CITY (AP) " The Vatican and Argentina's Catholic Church say they have finished cataloguing their archives from the country's brutal "dirty war" and will make them available to victims who have long accused the church of complicity with the military dictatorship.
A joint statement Tuesday said the process of cataloguing and digitalization had been completed and procedures for victims to access the information would be forthcoming. The statement said the decision to open the archives of the Vatican, its Buenos Aires embassy and the Argentine bishops' conference was taken "in the service of truth, justice and peace."
Pope Francis had pledged to open the archives when pressed by relatives of "desaparecidos" or disappeared, particularly the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. He was the Jesuit superior in Argentina during the country's 1976-1983 dictatorshi
BOB ALLEN | OCTOBER 25, 2016
A Kansas judge has ruled that two victims of sexual assault suing a Southern Baptist church will remain anonymous in court proceedings.
Johnson County District Court Judge Kevin Moriarty granted a motion last month allowing the plaintiffs to proceed using pseudonyms in their case against Westside Family Church in Lenexa, Kan., a Southern Baptist congregation founded in 1977 with an average attendance of 4,700.
In June the church filed a motion claiming the teenage sisters and their parents were using their anonymity to generate “a Pearl Harbor-style barrage of negative publicity” timed to coincide with the congregation’s Vacation Bible School.
David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said it was the first time in his 28 years of advocacy work he had witnessed a religious organization trying to “out” a minor coming forward to allege sexual abuse.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, firstname.lastname@example.org
A former Brooklyn priest who was convicted of child sex crimes is up for parole in northeastern Pennsylvania. We hope he’s kept in prison. And we hope this news prompts others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes to call police so he might be charged with and convicted on other offenses and be kept away from kids even longer.
[New York Daily News]
In March 2008, Steven Wolpert pled guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a felony, with an eight year old in 2006 and 2007 in Hawley Borough, PA. He was sentenced in June 2008 to nine to 18 years in prison.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016 For more info: Barbra Graber, SNAP Leader, 540-214-8874, email@example.com
Support group posts info about lawsuit against him
On Wednesday, he will talk about concerns with congregants
A minister who was accused and sued for covering up sexual abuse within his church is reportedly holding a meeting Wednesday with his congregants to discuss the matter. A support group plans to email members of the congregation with information about the accusations.
Rev. Samuel G. Wenger is head pastor at Freedom Fellowship, an independent church he started in Broadway VA after he was denied a vote of affirmation from his congregation at Cornerstone Church also in Broadway.
In 1990, he was named in a civil lawsuit along with Living Word Christian School and Living Word Fellowship Church in Stryker, Ohio, where he was administrator and pastor, respectively. He and his co-defendants were charged by a victim of a predatory youth pastor at Living Word with "fail[ing] to act upon the supplied information of [perpetrator Curtis Monk]'s conduct and attempting to hide the guilt of Monk by directing the blame and humiliation upon the minor plaintiff and making her believe that the actions of Monk were caused by her behavior." The case was eventually settled out of court.
Vatican Information Service
On Saturday 15 October 2016 in Vatican City, the Executive Commission of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, composed of the President Archbishop José María Arancedo of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, first deputy president Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, second deputy president Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello of Salta, and the secretary general Bishop Carlos Humberto Malfa of Chascomús, met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, and other officials of the Secretariat of State, for an evaluation of the work of cataloguing and digitalisation of the archive material from the period of the Military Dictatorship (1976-1983), conserved in the Archives of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, the Secretariat of State and the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires.
It was acknowledged that this process of organisation and digitalisation, which was carried out in compliance with the decisions and indications of the Holy Father and represents the continuation of work already initiated years ago by the Argentine Episcopal Conference, has been completed.
On the basis of a protocol to be established shortly, access can be given to the relative documents for consultation by victims and direct relatives of the desaparecidos and detainees and, in the case of religious or ecclesiastics, also their major superiors.
The American Conservative
By ROD DREHER • October 24, 2016
I was dismayed over the weekend to learn this:
In 2004 Bishop Demetri of the Antiochian Archdiocese entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of attempted fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct. To be specific he “grabbed the breast of a North Carolina woman seated next to him at a slot machine in the Turtle Creek Casino outside Traverse City” and was “highly intoxicated” (see here for more) as was evident from the closed circuit video that captured the event. He was drunk, he was gambling, and he sexually assaulted a woman.
Bp. Demetri was relieved of his duties and then suspended (it should be noted that the Antiochian Archdiocese recently deleted their pronouncement on this issue from their website, but a cached version is available here). In 2008 he was “restored as vicar of the Iglesia Católica Apostólica Ortodoxa De Antioquia México-Venezuela-Centroamérica-El Caribe in the Exarcado De El Caribe”(see more here). This was all covered on this blog some years ago (see here).
In a surprising new chapter to this saga, it seems Met. Joseph is making Bp. Demetri a locum tenens of sorts (a pseudo-locum tenens) for the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
25 October, 2016
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a discussion paper examining the growing interest in trauma-informed care and the implementation of trauma-informed approaches to support survivors of trauma, including survivors of child sexual abuse.
The discussion paper, Principles of trauma-informed approaches to child sexual abuse, was produced by Dr Antonia Quadara and Cathryn Hunter from the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Authors described trauma-informed care as emerging from the growing awareness of the impacts of trauma on victim/survivors of child sexual abuse and recognition that human-service systems needed to avoid inadvertently re-traumatising survivors of child sexual abuse.
Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said the discussion paper provides an important contribution to our understanding of the key principles of trauma-informed care. These principles include:
* having a sound understanding of the prevalence and nature of trauma arising from interpersonal violence and its impacts
* ensuring practices and procedures promote the physical, psychological and emotional safety of consumers and survivors
* adopting service cultures and practices which empower consumers in their recovery by emphasising autonomy, collaboration and strength-based approaches
* recognising and being responsive to the social and cultural contexts which shape survivors’ needs and healing pathways
* recognising the importance of relationships in overcoming trauma and supporting healing.
“The concept of trauma-informed care is about building an understanding of the traumatic impacts survivors will face at all levels of an organisation or system,” Mr Reed said.
“The discussion paper suggests that effective implementation of trauma-informed approaches will assist survivors of abuse and should help inadvertently re-traumatising them,” Mr Reed said.
Read the paper.
[with video performance of "99 Candles in Ballarat"]
25 Oct 2016
In 1973 Ian Whitehead was a young man boarding in Ballarat.
What occurred around him at the time could only be described as a nightmare.
What Ian didn't know about those nightmares was that his school friends were part of them.
They were victims at the hands of a clergy child sex abuse scandal that would not fully be understood until almost half a century later.
But Ian can understand, he was a victim himself while a student at St Kevin's College in Toorak in 1972.
He later learnt of the stories from his friends, while others he will never know.
But more than 40 years on he returned to Ballarat for one very particular reason.
That reason was to film a videoclip for his new song "99 Candles in Ballarat".
Shannon Deery, Herald Sun
October 24, 2016
A FORMER Salvation Army worker who has faced off against 12 juries this year can finally be exposed as a deviant sexual predator who tortured small children.
Remorseless rapist Robert Burnett continues to defiantly maintain his innocence, despite being found guilty of abusing a string of kids in a reign of terror spanning three decades.
Now the 77-year-old is behind bars and facing the prospect of a 20-year jail term that could see him never released from prison.
From 1978 Burnett routinely raped children.
October 24, 2016
An Orthodox Brooklyn yeshiva has agreed to pay two of its former students $2.1 million for alleged sexual molestation they suffered at age six from a senior rabbi on the school’s faculty—the first known case of such a settlement by a Jewish day school.
Yeshiva Torah Temimah, a prominent school on Brooklyn’s Ocean Parkway with more than 600 students, originally made the court settlements secretly with the plaintiffs. But the settlments were disclosed Sunday by the New York Post, which reported that attorneys for the two students had filed papers complaining that the yeshiva had failed to make the payments.
“This is unheard of,” Rabbi Yosef Blau, a spiritual adviser at Yeshiva University in Manhattan, told the Post. “I am not aware of any other settlements,” said Blau, who is a longtime advocate for victims of child sexual abuse.
In fact, most such suits are peremptorily dismissed—or never filed—because New York State law bars alleged victims from filing a civil complaint after they turn 23; one of the strictest statutes of limitation for child sex abuse allegations in the country.
October 24, 2016
By Janene Pieters on October 25, 2016
So far the Roman Catholic Church paid nearly 30 million euros in damages to Dutch victims of sexual abuse, De Limburger reports.
A complaint committee set up to investigate the abuse received a total of 3,678 reports of people being sexually abused in the Roman Catholic Church. Of these 2,060 were sent through for further investigation and 1,000 were determined to be grounded. At least 300 people dealt with exceptionally serious abuse, for which the compensation can be up to 100 thousand euros.
According to the committee, structural abuse happened in the church. "Not all church officials did wrong. But the fact that tere are so many perpetrators justifies calling it strucutral abuse." Wiel Stevens, chairman of the committee, said to the newspaper.
By Sue Yanagisawa, Kingston Whig-Standard
Monday, October 24, 2016
Retired Roman Catholic priest Robyn Q. Gwyn, who was found guilty in late September of sexually assaulting a Kingston man when his accuser was still a boy in the late 1980s to early 1990s, pleaded guilty Monday to victimizing a second child between 2000 and 2002.
Assistant Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis said the second victim first came to light in May 2014 when Deacon William Gervais, the archbishop’s delegate for misconduct, filed a report with Kingston Police.
He told Superior Court Justice Brian Abrams that Gervais disclosed a former altar boy, by then in his early twenties, had revealed the abuse to church officials because he was having “flashbacks” about it.
The young man subsequently provided a statement to police in late July 2014 and officers laid additional charges against Gwyn in November that year.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Victims blast Philly archbishop
He brings controversial group here
Its founder & his top aide abused kids
Several with the order are now in Philly parish
Advocates say Chaput “must denounce predators”
SNAP also charges “Pope’s visit last year changed nothing”
Local Catholic officials “ignore Francis’ pledges,” victims allege
Pontiff said ‘enablers’ would be ‘held accountable’ but they aren’t, SNAP feels
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will urge Philly’s top Catholic officials to:
“come clean” about importing a controversial, ultra-conservative Catholic cult-like order (Sodalitium Christianae Vitae) whose founder is a confirmed child molester,
stop promoting the order and start warning other US bishops about it, and
act on the promises Pope Francis made in Philly a year ago by exposing and disciplining even a few priests who hid or ignored child sex crimes, and disclose more about clergy sex abuse cases.
WHEN: Monday, Oct. 24 at 1:00 pm
WHERE: Outside the Philadelphia Catholic archdiocesan headquarters, 222 North 17th Street (corner of Race) in Philadelphia
WHO: Five-seven members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Chicago woman who is the organization’s founder
1) In recent years, Chaput has brought to Philadelphia a controversial Catholic sect based in Peru whose founder molested kids. The sect's founder and seven aides are also accused of kidnapping and assaulting youth. Several members of the group, including a priest, now run the parish and Newman Center at both Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania. But as best SNAP can tell, Chaput has never disclosed or discussed the crimes of the group’s Peru-based officials, or explained or apologized for his vigorous support of the group, either in Pennsylania, Colorado or Peru.
New York Daily News
BY MICHAEL O’KEEFFE
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, October 24, 2016
A former Catholic priest from Brooklyn who pleaded guilty in 2008 to sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy is up for parole — but a relative of the victim and an abuse survivors’ organization say he should remain in prison.
Steven Wolpert, who served as a priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn during the 1980s, pleaded guilty in 2008 to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 13, a first-degree felony.
A Pennsylvania judge sentenced Wolpert to nine to 18 years in prison.
The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole reviewed Wolpert’s case in August, but has not yet decided whether to grant him early release.
National Catholic Reporter
Anne Barrett Doyle | Oct. 24, 2016
Cardinal Timothy Dolan is trying something new. After years of successfully opposing legislation that would give New York abuse victims more time to sue, he has launched a victims' compensation program -- a first for the New York archdiocese.
This is the Year of Mercy, and the cardinal said he was inspired by the "grace and challenge" of this fact.
"I just finally thought: 'Darn it, let's do it,' " he told The New York Times.
The surprise move is winning the cardinal praise. The often critical New York Daily News commended him, citing his "remarkable moral courage."
As a researcher of the Catholic abuse crisis, I see his plan differently. While the fund certainly will help some victims, its biggest beneficiary will be Dolan and his management team. This is a legal strategy in pastoral garb, a tactic by the powerful archbishop to control victims and protect the church's assets and its secrets.
On its face, the plan is reasonable. A victim submits a claim form with documentation about rape or molestation by a priest or deacon. If deemed credible, the victim receives an award, which the archdiocese promises to disburse quickly -- within 60 days.
The program is being administered by Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the 9/11 fund and mediated the settlements between Jerry Sandusky's victims and Penn State.
But there's a catch -- two catches, actually. Victims must sign a legal agreement to abide by "all requirements pertaining to privacy and confidentiality," and they must release the archdiocese from future liability -- i.e., never sue it. (See section III, paragraph G of the IRCP's Protocol webpage.)
The News Journal
Jessica Masulli Reyes , The News Journal October 24, 2016
A judge once again postponed the sentencing for a former Navy chaplain and Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to taking pornographic pictures of a teen boy and then distributing the images.
Several sentencing dates for John Thomas Matthew Lee, 50, have been canceled since March, including the most recent one scheduled for Tuesday. He now is expected to be sentenced in February.
The request for a delay was granted after Lee's attorney complained in court filings that prosecutors initially said they would likely recommend a 25-year prison sentence, but now are asking the judge for a maximum of 50 years.
Rev Mark Carey, 51, above right, the son of former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, was arrested last week in connection with an assault on a young girl in the 1980s.
According to this report, his alleged victim, now in her 30s, claimed she was assaulted by Carey Jr when he was in his late teens and Lord Carey was a priest in the North-East.
Rev Carey was released on police bail and has since been suspended by the Church of England pending inquiries.
Father of three Rev Carey, who followed his father into the church in 1995, has not been seen since his arrest.
In a Twitter message posted after he was released by police, Rev Carey, whose father was Archbishop between 1991 and 2002, wrote:
I’m having a social networking break for a while.
He was joined at his home in Harrogate, North Yorks, yesterday by his father and mother Eileen. His wife Penny, 53, whom he married in 1988, refused to comment.
OCTOBER 24, 2016
Murderers Michelle Reynolds and Scott Harper will have their story air on tonight’s Killer Clergy on Investigation Discovery (ID). The salacious crime story made headlines more than a decade ago in Rome, Georgia, where authorities say that Michelle Reynolds had a sexual affair with youth minister Scott Harper. That affair, they say, led to the stabbing death of Michelle Reynolds’ husband, Thad Reynolds.
The Killer Clergy episode that will reenact the crime case is titled “Unholy Confessions.” Michelle Reynolds and Scott Harper are currently in prison. The story will be recounted through interviews with local police and friends or family members of the victim.
July 2004: Man Found Dead In Frito Lay Distribution Center
The body of Thad Reynolds, also known as Thad John Glenn Reynolds, was found in his office at the Frito Lay Distribution Center in Rome, Georgia. The 36-year-old man was a popular church member and deacon at the Hollywood Baptist Church. An autopsy report conducted on Reynolds showed that he had suffered multiple stab wounds to the body. Many of the wounds were defensive wounds as he fought for his life inside the office, according to Northwest Georgia News.
At the crime scene, police could see blood and papers strewn about the room. It was obvious that it was a targeted attack. Thad Reynolds was a good man with a good reputation in the town of Rome. It was baffling to consider who would want him dead.
Anglican Communion News Service
[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Complaints of church-based sexual abuse in Australia’s internal province of Victoria will be investigated by an independent body with its own board of directors. The dioceses of Melbourne and Bendigo have already approved the new structure, which will be considered by the dioceses of Wangaratta, Ballarat and Gippsland next year. The new body is being established by the Church but is separate from the dioceses and their archbishop. It will work across a number of dioceses.
The new body is included in new legislation approved by the Melbourne Synod at its meeting last week. The new legislation – created in part as a response to the Royal Commission and the 2013 Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into child sexual abuse – is “aimed at improving transparency, independence and avenues of redress for victims,” a diocesan spokesman said.
“There’s a need to act, and there’s a need to act now because we know enough to know what we should be doing,” Melbourne registrar Ken Spackman said, as he addressed the Synod meeting. He said that the chairman of the Royal Commission, Peter McClellan, had spoken twice to meetings of Anglican bishops and “dismissed the difficulties that we have”.
Mr McClellan added: “He has come back to ‘You have the ability to act if you wish, and you should wish’, and we do wish and this is why we are before you tonight.”
By LAURA MOWAT
Sun, Oct 23, 2016
A CHILD abuse lawyer continues to be paid £1,700 a day even though he has officially quit and does not go to the office.
Ben Emmerson QC quit the child abuse inquiry one day after he was suspended following concerns about his leadership.
The lawyer will continue to work on the £100 million inquiry until the end of November, which is two months after he officially quit.
Chairwoman of the inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay said: “He was continuing to be instructed for a short period to conclude the work. I believe it was two months.”
It is thought that Mr Emmerson has received £700,000 in two years as the leader of the inquiry.
Kaya Burgess, Religious Affairs Correspondent
October 24 2016
Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has said that he deserves to face personal criticism from the national child abuse inquiry for his support of a bishop later convicted of indecent assault, it is understood.
Lord Carey was told last week that he may be subject to “explicit criticism” from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse because of the way he handled revelations about Peter Ball, then bishop of Gloucester.
Lord Carey was Archbishop of Canterbury when allegations of abuse came to light in 1992 and when Ball received a police caution in 1993. Last week Alexis Jay, the professor leading the inquiry, said that Lord Carey’s application to the inquiry acknowledged that he “had a pastoral and disciplinary role in relation to Peter Ball at that time”.
A source close to Lord Carey was reported by the Sunday Telegraph as saying that he admitted he deserved criticism. “Clearly the Church didn’t handle it well and Lord Carey was naive in trusting Peter Ball. The acknowledgment now is he wasn’t doing the Christian thing by the victims.”
By Michelle Brown
The principal of Sydney's elite Trinity Grammar School has given evidence to the child abuse royal commission that is at odds with testimony already given by his deputy.
The commission is examining whether the private Sydney boys' school responded appropriately to allegations of the rape and attempted rape of boarding house students, sometimes with a wooden dildo.
Deputy principal Peter Green last week told the commission he provided incident reports alleging multiple assaults to the principal Milton Cujes on August 11, 2000.
The reports detailed the assault of a younger boarder by senior students, as well as allegations there had been other boys subjected to rape and simulated rape.
October 24, 2016
The headmaster of a prestigious inner Sydney independent school says he was unaware one of the school’s pupils had been raped repeatedly with a wooden dildo because he “delegated” the responsibility to find out what had happened and he was not told.
Milton Cujes, the headmaster of Trinity Grammar School in Sydney’s inner west, also told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse he didn’t follow up when reports of an incident were brought to him in August 2000, partly because they were brought to him “in the context of a Friday afternoon.”
Over months, the commission has previously heard, a student at the Anglican boys school was raped about 50 times by older pupils with a variety of items — including a wooden dildo. The student gave staff a written statement outlining what had happened.
However, Mr Cujes denied that details of the rape were brought to his attention, stressing he was only told was there were “junior boys involved in an altercation with some more senior boys”. It was recommended to him some of the boys should be suspended.
The Daily Telegraph
Ashleigh Gleeson, The Daily Telegraph
October 23, 2016
TRINITY Grammar’s headmaster has told a Royal Commission the school was making a decision about rape allegations “in the context of a Friday afternoon before trial HSC exams”.
Milton Cujes was today asked about whether he believed the way the school handled rape allegations made by a boy in August 2000 were “adequate”.
“They were adequate in terms of ensuring the safety of the boys. They were, in the context expeditious, bearing in mind that we couldn’t stop trial HSC exams,” Mr Cujes told the commission.
“... My impression... Was that the consensus was this was a dormitory incident that had gone too far, it needed attention and therefore in the context of the Friday afternoon before the trial examinations we needed to act and demonstrate that it was completely unacceptable, hence the endorsement of the suspension.”
Sydney Morning Herald
Two of Sydney's most prestigious private boys' schools have been accused of placing their reputations ahead of student welfare at a royal commission.
A teenager who was allegedly indecently assaulted while studying at The King's School told the inquiry the school had a culture of silence.
"The culture at The King's School was that you could stand up and make a complaint about the behaviour but then it would get worse," he said. "It was better to say nothing and hope for the best."
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told the witness, now 19, was called "cum rag" and "cum dumpster" by other boys after a fellow student allegedly ejaculated on his sleeping bag at a school camp in April 2013.
By RACHEL EDDIE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA and AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS
The principal of an elite private school has admitted allegations boys were raping fellow students with implements were not properly investigated.
A boy, known as CLB, claimed older students at Trinity Grammar had tried to rape him by 'lifting his legs in the air and pumping at his bottom' on August 11, 2000.
CLB reported the incident to the Summer Hill, inner-west Sydney, school the same day with allegations they had raped him with objects more than 50 times. He said they had been sticking a 30cm wooden dildo made in wood-tech class up other students' bottoms.
Principal Milton Cujes told the royal commission into child abuse the school had to decide on a punishment for the culprits 'in the context of a Friday afternoon' ahead of trial HSC exams the following week.
Andi Yu - AAP on October 24, 2016
A former student of The King's School in Sydney has told the abuse royal commission he was driven out of the school by relentless bullying that started after a boy ejaculated on his sleeping bag.
The now 19-year-old is the first from the prestigious private boys' school to testify at the inquiry, which is examining institutional responses to harmful sexual behaviours by students.
On Monday, the young man, referred to as CLC, described being a happy boarding student with plenty of friends until a cadet camp at the beginning of year 10 in 2013.
"During the night I woke up to hear laughing and one of the boys saying: 'Did you really do that? That's disgusting'," he told the commission.
It will not be discussed at a synod, but pressure is growing in favor of the ordination of married men. The most highly esteemed of the Italian theologians has puts a spotlight on the question in an authoritative magazine. And he is opting to hold on to celibacy: not only “opportune,” but “necessary”
by Sandro Magister
ROME, October 24, 2016 – Interviewed a few days ago by Gianni Cardinale for the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, “Avvenire,” the secretary general of the synod of bishops, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, confirmed that the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the new session in 2018 - “Young people, faith, and vocational discernment” - was the same one that the fourteen cardinals and bishops of the synodal secretariat had put on the top of the list of their proposals.
But Baldisseri also said that just after it, on the list, were the ordained ministries. Without specifying further but with the obvious, implied question of the ordination of married men.
Already once before, in 1971, a synod had addressed this issue. And many voices had been raised in favor of the ordination of “viri probati,” meaning “married men of mature age and of established probity.” That request was put to a vote and defeated only narrowly by the opposing side: 107 against 87.
New York Daily News
BY KENNETH LOVETT
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF Monday, October 24, 2016
ALBANY — The creator of a political action committee pushing to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults is convinced the governor will make passage of the measure a priority next year.
Gary Greenberg, an upstate investor and child sexual abuse survivor who created the Fighting For Children PAC, spoke with Cuomo at a recent fund-raiser the governor headlined for state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Nassau County).
Greenberg, whose PAC is supporting Kaminsky, said he believes Cuomo might include the call for passage of the Child Victims Act in his January State of the State address.
“He said he would propose it in early 2017 and that it’s going to get done,” Greenberg said.
October 23, 2016
The Presbyterian Church of America has apologized for the experiences of Native Americans at boarding schools that had ties to the church.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a group of people who attend a Presbyterian church in the state gave the official apology at the end of the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention on Saturday.
Convention co-chairman Jerry Isaac thanked the church and said he hoped other governments and groups take similar action.
New allegations of sexual assault have emerged against a Winnipeg priest and convicted sex offender, CBC News has learned.
Four men have come forward alleging Ronald Léger, 78, sexually assaulted them beginning when they were children aged 10 to 12, during the 1980s. All frequented the youth drop-in centre he founded, Teen Stop Jeunesse (TSJ).
Ronald Léger, former priest, pleads guilty to sex assault
Winnipeg police confirmed Friday afternoon Léger has been charged with eight counts of sexual assault and remains in custody.
"When I look at it now, the place was just a giant spider web," said one of the men. CBC News is protecting their identities because of the nature of the allegations.
October 23, 2016
KATHRYN POWLEY, Herald Sun
October 23, 2016 9:06pm
A MELBOURNE-based musician has released a stirring song to inspire and celebrate survivors of child sexual abuse in the Catholic education system.
Ian Whitehead’s “99 Candles in Ballarat” is dedicated to the brave survivors, their victims and families.
The song also pays tribute to those who suffered abuse and committed suicide.
Mr Whitehead, who was himself abused in a Catholic school, gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in a closed session in Ballarat.
A class-action lawsuit alleging sexual abuse at a former Catholic boarding school in Granby has been expanded to include the names of 11 religious brothers.
The lawsuit was initially launched earlier this month by an anonymous 56-year-old man, who says he was sexually abused more than 300 times at Mont-Sacré-Coeur College between 1973 and 1975.
His lawsuit named one priest, Brother Claude Lebeau, a member of the Les Frères Sacré Du Sacré-Coeur congregation, which ran the school at the time.
The claims in the lawsuit have not been tested in court. Lebeau is believed to be living in the Montreal area.
Since the lawsuit was launched, several more people have come forward saying they were abused at the school between 1940 and 1980, the plaintiff's lawyer said.
Misty Rae Hopkins, above, the widow of a Burnet pastor, has been sentenced to five life terms and four 20-year terms after she was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and indecency.
According to this report, prosecutors say she and her late husband confined and sexually abused their children over a period of seven years.
Assistant District Attorney Stacy Burke called Hopkins:
A truly evil person who tortured her children.
Hopkins, 49, and her late husband, John Hopkins, lived in Burnet where John Hopkins was the pastor of a church when the offences occurred.
The offences, committed from 1999 through 2005 in Burnet County, involved “numerous acts of sexual abuse” that she and her husband committed individually and in tandem.
When the oldest victim was 14, the family moved to Blanco County and later to Llano County.
By Freya Michie
Prestigious independent Victorian school Geelong Grammar says it wants to encourage survivors of past child abuse at the school who have not yet come forward to contact them for "guidance and support".
In a letter to all parents, the school announced it had appointed a new "survivor liaison coordinator" to help support those who were sexually abused at the school.
Principal Stephen Meek said the school believed there were former students who were survivors of past child abuse who had not yet come forward.
He said those people could be reluctant to come forward, because they did not want to speak to the school which they held responsible for their abuse.
October 24, 2016
Plans to provide compensation and medical support to tens of thousands of child sex-abuse victims have run into disagreement between the federal and state governments, with victims themselves saying they are likely to reject the Prime Minister’s preferred response.
Thirteen months after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended that a $4.3 billion national redress scheme be set up, those who work with victims say they fear the opportunity to achieve this may be lost.
The royal commission recommended establishing a single, independent body able to order institutions to apologise, pay compensation to and help with the medical expenses of an estimated 65,000 victims.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wrote to a psychiatrist who works with child-abuse victims earlier this month, saying “redress should be operated as a single national scheme by the federal government to provide equity and consistency for survivors”.
“We are committed to working with the federal government and other states and territories on the development of a single NRS (national redress scheme),” her letter said.
The Detroit News
Mike Martindale, The Detroit News October 22, 2016
Pontiac — An Oakland Circuit judge has been asked to dismiss a lawsuit by a graduate of a Madison Heights parochial school who claims she was exposed to sexual demands of a male teacher.
“Jane Doe” says she was a 17-year-old honors student at Bishop Foley Catholic High School in 2008 when her art teacher, Richard Fischer, allegedly initiated a relationship with her that encompassed inappropriate teacher-student physical contact on and off school grounds. She claims Fischer annually targeted and manipulated underage female students to be what he called his “girlfriend.”
It wasn’t until last November — nearly eight years later — that the teenager reported the matter to police after hearing the parent of another student had complained of Fischer to a guidance counselor in 2006 and nothing was done. “Jane Doe” said she was so ashamed she had never told anyone of the alleged sexual misconduct.
Native Americans who were part of a little-known Mormon program from 1947 to the mid-1990s share much of the same story. Year after year, missionaries or other members of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints approached these families and invited their children into Mormon foster homes. As part of the Mormon Indian Student Placement Program, Native American children would live with Mormon families during the school year, an experience designed to “provide educational, spiritual, social, and cultural opportunities in non-Indian community life,” according to the Church. Typically, the Mormon foster families were white and financially stable. Native American children who weren’t already Mormon were baptized. And some of them now claim they were sexually abused.
“They knew there were things going on. They just turned around and closed their eyes to it,” said BN, a former participant of the program who has filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against the LDS Church, and who remains anonymous in court documents, in an interview. So far, three sexual-abuse lawsuits involving four past participants have been filed in Navajo Nation District Court. No criminal charges have been brought against the defendants, who are also anonymous in all pleadings. The alleged victims include a brother and sister who were both in the program. The brother, referred to in court documents as RJ, claims in the lawsuit that he was not only sexually abused, but physically and emotionally abused, and forcibly had “his mouth washed out with soap whenever he spoke Navajo to the other placement children in the home,” according to court documents. A fourth lawsuit is pending, according to their lawyer, Craig Vernon.
The LDS Church maintains that the “plaintiffs’ allegations are just that—allegations,” according to David Jordan, its lawyer. While many of the perpetrators named in the suits are dead, “I can tell you that the surviving family members of the alleged abusers with whom we have been able to speak do not believe the allegations,” Jordan claimed. “I also want to emphasize that the Church would have had absolutely no motive to send a child back into an abusive environment if a report of improper conduct had been made by any of the plaintiffs.” The Church has not answered the allegations other than to challenge the jurisdiction of Navajo court, and has asked a federal judge to prevent the cases from going forward in tribal court.
October 24, 2016
A detective who helped build the case against one of the country’s most notorious pedophiles has revealed he urged his superiors to establish a taskforce to properly investigate the scourge of clerical sexual abuse and how he lamented the general lack of resourcing by the force.
Former detective sergeant Blair Smith said he was shocked to learn the extent of pedophilia within Catholic institutions when it first came across his desk in 1993, sparking years of “a total fight” with the church.
Mr Smith, who was part of a small Victoria Police unit investigating domestic violence and sexual assaults, has spoken publicly for the first time in The Australian’s podcast Ballarat’s Children.
He said he had received minimal support from his commanding officers as he pursued allegations of child sexual abuse against former Christian Brother Edward (Ted) Dowlan.
“I recall saying to someone — and it probably would have been the chief inspector — ‘these files and all these clerical complaints should have been handled by a taskforce’,” Mr Smith said.
“You’re like a one-man band …. as it goes up the ladder, it’s just another file.”
New York Post
By Susan Edelman
October 23, 2016
A prominent Orthodox Jewish school in Brooklyn agreed to pay an unprecedented $2.1 million to two former students who charged their teacher — accused serial molester Rabbi Joel Kolko — of sexually assaulting them, The Post has learned.
Kolko’s case marks the first time a New York yeshiva has paid off victims of sex abuse, experts said.
“This is unheard of. I am not aware of any other settlements,” said Rabbi Yosef Blau, a spiritual adviser at Yeshiva University in Manhattan and longtime victims advocate.
Secret settlements between Yeshiva Torah Temimah on Ocean Parkway and two boys — 6 years old when molested — were filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court a week ago when the yeshiva failed to make payments.
Lawyers for the two plaintiffs filed a judgment for $1 million — the total the yeshiva still owes both boys for the trauma they suffered.
Glens Falls Post-Star
The New York Roman Catholic archdiocese has announced it is willing to pay off the victims of pedophile priests in exchange for their silence.
Any records of such abuse and what the church did about it would also remain private.
It’s an attempt by the church to again avoid accountability and responsibility for the abuse of children.
It should hit home in this community.
It should be an outrage here because of what Father Gary Mercure did in Queensbury and Glens Falls.
He served as priest at Our Lady of Annunciation in Queensbury from 1982 to 1991.
He was the campus minister at Adirondack Community College from 1982 to 1999.
He was the principal at St. Mary’s-St. Alphonsus Regional Catholic School from 1991 to 1995 as well as a priest at St. Mary’s.
And he was convicted in a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, courtroom in 2011 of three counts of forcible rape on a child younger than 14.
John L. Allen Jr. October 22, 2016
Although nobody believes there's going to be a papal election anytime soon, the consistory taking place next month to create 17 new cardinals, 13 eligible to vote, is nevertheless the closest thing the Catholic Church has to the Iowa Caucus, when all the candidates are on display.
It may be election season in America, but that’s definitely not the vibe one gets in ecclesiastical Rome these days. Pope Francis is in good health, he remains fully in charge and operating at a breakneck pace, and there’s no sense that a transition is imminent.
As a result, no one’s spending a great deal of time thinking about papabili, meaning potential candidates for the papacy, because most people don’t believe the job is going to be available anytime soon.
On the other hand, there’s a consistory next month, meaning the event in which a pope creates new cardinals, so at least in theory the candidate pool is getting fresh blood. Moreover, virtually all the cardinals of the world will be in Rome for the event, which makes a consistory the closest thing in the Catholic Church to the Iowa Caucus - an early campaign milestone, when all the candidates are on display and anything seems possible.
Granted, from a faith point of view there’s something far more important than a political cattle call that will be happening on Nov. 19.
Alaska Dispatch News
FAIRBANKS – For the first time, a church organization has apologized to the Alaska Federation of Natives for its treatment of Native people and especially for abuses in boarding schools.
The Presbyterian Church's national general assembly agreed in June, at the prompting of Alaskans, to issue an apology to all Native Americans abused, mistreated or diminished through church schools and boarding schools or otherwise.
An expression of sorrow for long-ago wrongs was delivered in person at the AFN convention on Saturday by the Rev. Curt Karns, the Anchorage-based executive presbyter – or administrator – of the Presbytery of the Yukon.
"To those individuals who were physically, sexually and emotionally abused as students of the Indian boarding schools in which the (Presbyterian Church USA) was involved, we offer you our most sincere apology. You did nothing wrong; you were and are the victims of evil acts that cannot under any circumstances be justified or excused," Karns told the AFN convention.