A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
August 4, 2015
AUGUST 4, 2015, BY KATIE DELONG
MILWAUKEE — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Tuesday, August 4th announced a $21 million settlement has been reached to compensate clergy sexual abuse survivors.
The settlement comes after four-and-a-half years of drawn-out, painful legal battles resulting in millions of dollars in legal fees to bankruptcy attorneys.
The Archdiocese objected to all 575 sexual abuse claims filed in bankruptcy court and attempted to have hundreds of the claims thrown out of court before the November 2015 plan of reorganization hearing. As a result, the creditors’ committee, which represents all creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings, was forced to make a decision that would prevent the case from being drawn out longer and incurring additional bankruptcy attorneys’ fees.
“We applaud the courage of the survivors who came forward, and the creditors’ committee, who fought every step of the way,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “The treatment of the survivors by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been harsh and hurtful. This process has been heartbreaking for many who have been treated so unfairly by hardball legal tactics. The survivors continued to stand up for what was right, what they believed in, and to make sure the truth was brought to light. Because of them, children are better protected.”
MADISON, Wis. — Aug 4, 2015
By SCOTT BAUER Associated Press
The Milwaukee archdiocese has agreed to a $21 million settlement with victims of clergy abuse.
The Roman Catholic archdiocese provided details of the settlement to The Associated Press on Tuesday before releasing them more broadly.
Archbishop Jerome Listecki says the settlement sets the stage for the archdiocese to close a bankruptcy proceeding that was filed in January 2011.
The proposed settlement will be outlined in detail in a bankruptcy court filing on Aug. 24. Judge Susan Kelley is expected to review terms of the deal in a court hearing on Nov. 9.
Jeff Anderson and Associates
August 4, 2015
Archdiocese fails to treat survivors fairly in long, drawn-out legal battle
(Milwaukee, WI) – Today the Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced a $21 million settlement to compensate clergy sexual abuse survivors. The settlement comes after four and a half years of drawn-out, painful legal battles resulting in millions of dollars in legal fees to bankruptcy attorneys. The Archdiocese objected to all 575 sexual abuse claims filed in bankruptcy court and attempted to have hundreds of the claims thrown out of court before the November, 2015, plan of reorganization hearing. As a result, the creditors’ committee, which represents all creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings, was forced to make a decision that would prevent the case from being drawn out longer and incurring additional bankruptcy attorneys’ fees.
“We applaud the courage of the survivors who came forward, and the creditors’ committee, who fought every step of the way,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “The treatment of the survivors by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been harsh and hurtful. This process has been heartbreaking for many who have been treated so unfairly by hardball legal tactics. The survivors continued to stand up for what was right, what they believed in, and to make sure the truth was brought to light. Because of them, children are better protected.”
On January 4, 2011, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Archdiocese claimed its initial purpose for filing was “[t]o provide compensation for the unresolved claims of victims/survivors of Abuse including those Abuse victims/survivors who have not yet come forward.” Prior to filing bankruptcy, the Archdiocese faced less than two dozen lawsuits over its handling of clergy sexual abuse cases and the disclosure of information and depositions of retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Richard Sklba.
Over two years after filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was forced to turn over thousands of once-secret church documents and depositions of top Archdiocese officials. These documents detailed Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Vatican’s role in sexual abuse cases and demonstrated how church officials and the Vatican repeatedly denied sexual abuse survivors justice by failing to act with urgency on reports of sexual abuse, often waiting years to remove a priest from ministry who had credible allegations of child sexual abuse.
The documents also showed that in July 2007, at Dolan’s request, the Vatican quickly approved the transfer of more than $56 million into a cemetery trust to “protect” the funds from sexual abuse victims. The cemetery trust funds continued to play a key role in the bankruptcy proceedings. Other revelations in this legal struggle showed Cardinal Dolan’s policy of paying predator priests to leave the priesthood.
The Archdiocese continued to fight survivors every step of the way. In November 2013, the Archdiocese attempted to settle with one of its insurers without the survivors’ participation. It also continued to try to hide behind the passage of time to get cases thrown out of court.
On March, 3, 2015, survivors emerged victorious when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and First Amendment did not preclude survivors from challenging the transfer of the cemetery funds.
For more information and to view the documents and depositions, visit http://www.andersonadvocates.com/Documents/Milwaukee.
Contact Jeff Anderson: Office/651.227.9990 Cell/612.817.8665
Contact Mike Finnegan: Office/651.227.9990 Cell/612-205-5531
Summary of Case: Born in Germany, James A. Mohm fought in WWI before emigrating to the United States. He was ordained a priest of the St. Cloud diocese in 1927. Mohm was assigned to parishes in Pierz, Hillman, Brushvale, Maine, Foxhome and Osakis. He was a hospital chaplain for a time in Breckenridge and was longtime pastor of St. James in the town of Maine and later of Immaculate Conception in Osakis. He died in 1982. Mohm's name was on the diocese's list released January 3, 2014 of 33 clergy involved in incidents of likely claims of sexual abuse of minors.
Born: December 2, 1897
Died: September 10, 1982
Some 30 gay rights groups said Tuesday they are sending members to the Catholic Church’s major family convention in September, in hopes of meeting with Pope Francis.
Equally Blessed — a coalition of Catholic organizations working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people — says it will have a dozen families at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September.
”Each and every one of these pilgrims is deeply committed to their Catholic faith,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, a member of the Equally Blessed coalition.
”We have to address the challenges that current Catholic teaching presents, and the way too many people are hurt by things that happen in the church,” said Ms. Duddy-Burke, who will attend the Philadelphia conference with her wife and daughters.
Members of Equally Blessed, along with 26 other organizations, sent a letter to Francis asking that he meet with their members and families during his U.S. visit.
By Rafael Romo Senior Latin American Affairs Editor
SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) —A priest at the center of an illegal baby adoption scam in Chile has been moved out of the country and faces no charges, even after admitting he participated in at least two illegal adoptions.
The Rev. Gerardo Joannon, who belongs to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts order, has been relocated to a house for priests in the city of Merlo, Argentina.
The transfer is supposed to be "an act of religious obedience" and a time to pray and serve penance, according to a statement issued by the order. The statement does not give a reason for his penance.
Joannon, who is in his late 70s, publicly admitted last year that he had facilitated illegal adoptions during the 1970s and '80s.
According to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts order and Chilean authorities, the priest took at least two babies from their biological mothers, either through lies or coercion, and in secret gave them to adoptive families.
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Sixth District Court of Appeal has affirmed an order that confidential discovery responses by the Roman Catholic Diocese in Monterey, in an action by a man who was a minor when he was allegedly sexually abused by a priest in 2004 and 2005, be turned over to a local newspaper.
The opinion was handed down Friday and was not certified for publication. Justice Franklin D. Elia authored it.
The Diocese had obtained a protective order in 2011 when it was sued by “John RJ Doe” in connection with the purported abuse of him by then-Father Edward Fitz‑Henry. The order said:
“Until further notice, no records produced in discovery shall be disseminated or their contents disclosed to third persons prior to trial or adjudication on the merits.”
According to news reports at the time, an investigation commissioned by the Diocese did not bear out allegations by Doe, but did find that there was credible evidence of sexual abuse by Fitz‑Henry of a youth 20 years earlier.
ABC - The World Today
ELEANOR HALL: Let's go now to the royal commission into child sexual abuse which has heard further evidence today about how the Jehovah's Witness Church dealt with a confessed child sex offender.
Angela Lavoipierre has been following the latest developments in the inquiry and she joins us now.
Angela, who was giving evidence this morning?
ANGELA LAVOIPIERRE: So the commission has heard from an elder of a Queensland congregation called Loganholme named Allan Pencheff. So, this all goes to a case of a woman known as BCG. Which has been one of the key focuses of the commission.
So her father, a senior member of the Jehovah's Witness Mareeba congregation in Queensland, abused her when she was 17; that was around 1989.
The commission has heard extensive evidence about the fact that BCG's account was not deemed to be provable under the biblical rules used by the Jehovah's Witness Church; that's despite the fact that her three sisters were also abused, and their father, as you mentioned, even confessed to some of the allegations at one point.
So BCH her father was ultimately disfellowshipped for infidelity in his marriage, charges that were completely unrelated to the abuse of his daughters.
By Danny Wicentowski Tue., Aug. 4 2015
After months of criticism, pastor Steve Wingfield is taking a paid sabbatical to escape the hubbub.
Boasting a congregation of more than 2,000 members, Wingfield's church, First Christian Church of Florrisant (or FCCF), is among the largest evangelical institutions in north county. It's also become a battleground between Wingfield's supporters and those who believe he failed to improve the church's sexual assault policies after a former youth minister was exposed as a child a molester and sentenced to 25 years in prison in March.
In a statement made during the July 26 Sunday services, Stan Dubose, vice chairmen of the church's board of elders, told the congregation that Wingfield needed a break.
"During this time away from the church, Steve will be seeking counsel, not only to address the stress, grief, fatigue and emotional trauma that he has sustained, but also to address issues that have become deficits to his management and leadership style," Dubose said, according to a recording made by a church member. "It is important for you to know that this action is in NO way a reflection of a change of direction on the part of the elders regarding our support, trust and belief that Steve Wingfield is a man called of God to be and to serve as senior pastor here at First Christian Church."
Pastors and parish administrators today received the following email from Archbishop Hedba regarding the August 3 filing deadline for claims against the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The deadline, you may recall, restricted the amount of time that victims of clergy sexual abuse had to file claims against the Archdiocese as a result of the Archdiocese's bankruptcy filing. Rather than having until May 25, 2016, as was legislated with the passage of the Child Victims Act, victims of priests and deacons of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis have only until midnight today to file notice of claims. What follows is Archbishop Hebda's statement to parishes about the deadline and the Archdiocese's efforts to see it upheld.
[Ischia (NA) - On a Sunday morning, bathed in spring sunshine runs fast the news that two priests of the Diocese of Ischia seem to have been "suspended": Don.Giovanni Trofa and Don Nello Pascale There is no certainty of official acts of the curia of Ischia. We only know that in their parishes respectively Fontana and Vatoliere.]
Ischia (NA) - In una domenica mattina baciata dal sole primaverile corre veloce la notizia che due preti della Diocesi di Ischia pare siano stati "sospesi": Don Giovanni Trofa e Don Nello Pascale. Non si ha certezza di atti ufficiali della curia di Ischia si sa solo che nelle loro parrocchie rispettivamente di Fontana e del Vatoliere - Schiappone celebrano altri sacerdoti. Ufficialmente i due prelati avevano comunicato che si allontanavano per problemi di salute e per un viaggio. La verità è che Sua Eccellenza il Vescovo di Ischia, Mons. Pietro Lagnese, gli aveva notificato la sospensione dalle funzioni sacerdotali, esautorandoli da tutte le funzioni religiose e rinviati al giudizio del Tribunale ecclesiastico.
Dunque, dalla Curia di Ischia sarà partito un plico contenente una documentazione riguardante i sacerdoti e che giunta presso la Santa Sede e vagliata opportunamente ha permesso al Vescovo di Ischia di notificare i provvedimenti ai due parroci che hanno lasciato l'isola alla volta di località rimaste segrete. Questo nel mese di Aprile.
[Victims of abuse in the Belgian Catholic Church have asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to bring Godfried Danneels and André-Joseph Léonard, among others, fbefore the new tribunal that will investigate bishops who allegedly covered up abuse.]
Slachtoffers van misbruik in de Kerk hebben aan de Congregatie van de Geloofsleer gevraagd om onder anderen Danneels en Léonard voor het nieuwe tribunaal te brengen dat nalatige kerkleiders moet beoordelen.
Paus Franciscus kondigde begin juni de oprichting aan van een tribunaal, in de schoot van de Congregatie voor de Geloofsleer. Dat moet bisschoppen horen die nalatig zouden zijn geweest in het aanpakken van dossiers van pedofiele priesters. Een rondvraag leert dat in België al verschillende slachtoffers Rome hebben aangeschreven met de vraag om aartsbisschop André-Joseph Léonard, kardinaal Godfried Danneels, oud-bisschop van Brugge Roger Vangheluwe en de bisschop van Hasselt, Patrick Hoogmartens, te berechten.
Een van hen is Joël Devillet. Hij werd als tiener jarenlang misbruikt door de dorpspastoor. Begin jaren negentig stapte hij naar Léonard, toen bisschop van Namen, maar die plaatste de priester gewoon over naar een andere parochie. In april werd Léonard daarvoor veroordeeld tot het betalen van 10.000 euro schadevergoeding.
by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.
4 Aug 20151
The pontificate of Pope Francis with his emphasis on poverty has resulted in a new tone of austerity in Vatican circles, with clerics avoiding any show of ostentation in favor of a new sobriety in dress, transportation and manners.
Francis has put aside official Vatican limousines, wears plain black shoes instead of soft red loafers and sits down to common meals with priests and other clerics in the cafeteria of the Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican residence where he is living. His Vatican spending cuts have affected almost everyone, and even the office in charge of naming saints has been told to lower expenses.
A shopkeeper named Luciano Ghezzi who sells clerical wear says that styles have definitely changed in the era of Pope Francis. When the Pope tones down his own dress, he says, “it is natural that everything around him takes on a more sober tone.”
“I know the bishop of Santo Domingo well,” Ghezzi told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. He has a wardrobe full of crazy miters. But he told me that now he is ashamed to wear that sumptuous headgear.”
William D. Lindsey
Recommended: Robert Blair Kaiser's Whistle, on Tom Doyle's Life and Work with Abuse Survivors
I appreciate Jerry Slevin's reminder, in a response to my posting earlier today, about Robert Blair Kaiser's last book (Kaiser died in April this year), Whistle. Jerry notes that Whistle is an examination of Tom Doyle's life and work with abuse survivors.
Whistle is Robert Blair Kaiser's last effort and a profile in courage about Tom Doyle's steadfast witness and advocacy on behalf of the victims of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. If one is looking for a credible historical account of this scandal, this is the book you need to have as a guide and a text and a roadmap for actions to be taken to never have this happen again. It highlights Tom Doyle's remarkable story (which continues ) from the inside.
The book is inexpensive and the net proceeds will go to survivors as indicated.
Jerry's valuable review of Whistle, which he mentions in his comment, is at the Amazon page for the book linked above. And here's a direct link to it.
As Jerry notes, if you purchase a copy of this book (and I hope you'll do so), you benefit survivors, since all proceeds of the book go to organizations supporting survivors. I'd like to tell you I've read Whistle, but I haven't. I was given a copy at the SNAP conference (and had a chance to meet and talk very briefly to Tom Doyle, who has long been one of my heroes).
By Rosa Prince, Assistant Political Editor
03 Aug 2015
During his 51 years in the House of Commons the rumours swirled around Sir Edward Heath like a mist of innuendo.
The bachelor prime minister flatly refused to discuss his private life, his only confessed passions music and his beloved yacht, Morning Cloud. Even those closest to him could not say for certain where his interests lay.
Now, a decade after his death, the former prime minister’s sexual leanings have once again become subject to public attention. Only this time, with an inquiry into claims of a cover-up over allegations he was to be accused of paedophilia, some answers must finally be provided to the many questions surrounding the mystery that was “Ted” Heath.
So what do we know about the private life of this most shy and retiring former premier?
Edward Richard George Heath was born in Broadstairs, Kent, at the height of the First World War, to a lower middle class family. His mother, Edith, would remain the woman he was closest to for the rest of his life.
A grammar schoolboy and talented musician, he won an organ scholarship at Balliol College, Oxford, before graduating in PPE on the eve of the Second World War in 1939 and enlisting.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
New plan must fairly compensate victims and demonstrate the archdiocese no longer practices sex abuse fraud
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee)
CONTACT: 414.429.7259 (Or Mark Salmon, 414.712.2092; Monica Barrett 414.704.6074)
The Milwaukee Archdiocese is scheduled to file into court soon a revised corporate reorganization plan in what is now the largest, longest and legally expensive church bankruptcy in US history.
The purpose of the archdiocese bankruptcy has always been twofold:
(1) To provide fair restitution to victims of childhood rape, sexual assault or abuse by clergy, vowed religious and other church workers assigned to or ministering within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee;
(2) To demonstrate that church officials are no longer involved in the institutional pattern and practice of fraud related to the concealment and transfer of child sex offenders.
Much is at stake in what the new plan actually proposes that is substantially different from the first one. If not, what will be resolved? Why wouldn’t the church sexual abuse crisis continue on indefinitely, become even more chronic, put children at risk, keep abusive clerics hidden, and leave complicit church officials unaccountable?
What should we look for and expect from a new plan that will prevent these terrible consequences and stop the ongoing erosion of trust in Archbishop Listecki’s leadership?
Any serious plan to compensate victims should both reflect the actual value and assets available to the archdiocese and be comparable to settlements to other victims in other church bankruptcies around the United States.
In the 1990s’, the archdiocese listed its net worth to its major insurance carrier as 1.3 billion dollars, including all of its parishes and properties. Even without those entities and assets, the archdiocese today has between $250 to $300 million dollars it could use to compensate victims, including approximately $65 million dollars in a likely fraudulently constituted “cemetery trust” created by former Archbishop Timothy Dolan before the bankruptcy filing. According to a ruling by the US Federal 7th Circuit Court the trust should be included in the archdiocese estate. But Archbishop Listecki is also likely have available to him under church law a $120 million dollar “Faith in our Future” fund, $15 million or more in property (including his lakefront archdiocesan headquarters), and $70 million dollars in a parish “investment” or “deposit” fund.
The average settlement for each survivor in the eight other US church bankruptcies is over $400,000 dollars each (note: the Fairbanks figure should also include the money from religious orders, which is sometimes not tabulated in press accounts of the archdiocesan settlement).
Total costs for a diocese depends on the number of victims, and there is a larger number of Milwaukee victims, but why would not expect a serious and fair offer from the archdiocese in its new plan would have to meet or exceed $150 million dollars.
If a new plan does not reflect these numbers or even get near them, the question will be: why would the bankruptcy court in Milwaukee treat victims so dramatically differently than other victims from around the US and how is that going to bring “healing and resolution” and not the very opposite? (Of particular importance will be the amount of money already paid to and proposed for lawyers’ fees and court costs).
Continuing Pattern and Practice of Fraud
While the issue of financial compensation of victims has, understandably, gotten much of the attention over the past four and half years in bankruptcy, maybe the more urgent question is if the Milwaukee Archdiocese has actually:
· ended its historic and demonstrated practice of concealing child sex offender clerics, dumping them into unsuspecting parishes and communities,
· is still providing incomplete and false information concerning what church sponsored ministers have been involved in criminal sex acts,
· still concealing information and documents concerning the true nature and extent of the problem,
· still covering up for complicit church officials, and
· lobbying to change state laws to provide continual exemption of clerics from criminal and civil accountability
Here, then, are three main points to look for in the new plan, which will determine, among other things, if the archdiocese is no longer involved in fraudulent practices and communication:
(1) 575 victim cases were filed into the bankruptcy now under court seal. These reports contain direct evidence of thousands of detailed acts of criminal rape, sexual assault and abuse. Of the 575 reports, according to victim attorneys, there are at least 100 never before identified clerics who are alleged to have committed child sex crimes. The alarming questions that obviously have to be addressed about these reports are: Who are these individuals? Where are they? Who is watching or supervising them? What crimes against children are they alleged to have committed? Why has not a single newly named cleric been identified to the public and removed from ministry by Archbishop Listecki for abusing a child and turned over to law enforcement?
(2) Court documents show that Archbishop Timothy Dolan, now Cardinal of New York, sought and received permission from the Vatican, in anticipation of court cases, to fraudulently conceal $60 to $65 million dollars in a hastily invented “cemetery trust” for the express purpose of not compensating victims of clergy sex crimes. Will that money be used to compensate victims and Dolan investigated for fraud?
(3) The Archdiocese is proposing a fund which gives church officials full and dangerous control over the counseling and mental health treatment of victims. Any new plan is going to have to place the management and availability of mental health services to victims in a manner completely independent from the archdiocese and in the hands of licensed and competent sexual abuse agencies and treatment providers.
When bankruptcy judge Susan V. Kelley accepted the filing for bankruptcy by the archdiocese four and a half years ago, her action halted dozens of victim cases in Wisconsin state court that would have likely resulted in widespread disclosure, transparency and accountability by the archdiocese for clergy sex abuse.
The archdiocese, in both written an oral briefs, motions and arguments has argued that not a single one of the 575 cases filed into court, cases Listecki himself urged victims to file, are valid.
In other words, if the new plan is not significantly different than the first one, why is the archdiocese even in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, especially if they continue to say there are no valid claims?
If that is the case, it’s long overdue for Kelley to dismiss the archdiocese from bankruptcy court altogether and have them investigated for filing bankruptcy in bad faith in order to avoid compensating victims and to continue significant elements of their fraudulent practice and behavior. In 2007, in the only other church bankruptcy larger than Milwaukee’s, Judge Louise DeCarl Adler did pretty much just that. Like Kelley, DeCarl Adler is a Catholic. After just 8 months in court, she dismissed the diocese from court, rebuked church officials from the bench, and called their attempt to avoid accountability and responsibility for clerical sex abuse through bankruptcy “disingenuous”. The result was that the diocese had to compensate victims for $200 million dollars. Parishes and schools did not close, corporate operations continued, and the diocese, for good or ill, has moved on.
If the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is not serious about compensating survivors and ending its fraudulent practices, expect Judge Kelley to show the same judicial authority and leadership on behalf of justice as Judge DeCarl Adler.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
4 August, 2015
The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing in Sydney on Monday 24 August 2015.
The scope and purpose of the public hearing is to hear the evidence of retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson regarding:
1. The history and development of the Catholic Church’s response to child sexual abuse prior to the introduction of Towards Healing.
2. His membership of the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Sydney.
3. The operation of Encompass Australasia.
4. His discussions with senior Vatican officials.
5. Any related matters.
Any person or institution who believes that they have a direct and substantial interest in the scope and purpose of the public hearing is invited to lodge a written application for leave to appear at the public hearing by 12 August 2015.
Applications for leave to appear should be made using the form available on the Royal Commission website entitled ‘Application for Leave to Appear at the Royal Commission’ and include a short submission setting out the basis on which it is said the applicant has a substantial and direct interest in appearing.
An architect of the Catholic Church's response to clergy sex abuse will give evidence to the child abuse royal commission.
Retired Sydney Bishop Geoffrey Robinson will detail his discussions with senior Vatican officials and the Catholic Church's response to child sex abuse before the 1996 establishment of Towards Healing, its national internal scheme for handling abuse complaints.
Bishop Robinson, who retired as auxiliary bishop of Sydney in 2004, has long been outspoken about the need for the church to confront clergy sex abuse.
His evidence will include the operation of Encompass Australasia, a church rehabilitation program which operated from 1997 to 2008 to treat clergy with psycho-sexual disorders and those guilty of offending against children.
INDIANOLA, Iowa —Authorities are investigating an alleged sexual abuse incident that took place between two camp employees.
Warren County Sheriff’s officials say the alleged incident happened at Camp Wesley Woods, just south of Indianola, on July 31. The victim is an 18-year-old woman and the suspect is an adult man who were both employees of the camp.
Officials said no campers were involved in the incident.
Camp Wesley Woods is a retreat center that is part of the United Methodist Church. The church’s spokesman, Arthur McClanahan, said camper safety is one of the church’s top priority.
A member of the Jehovah's Witness governing body in New York, who is in Australia, declined to be a witness at the royal commission into child sexual abuse.
On Tuesday the commission was told by lawyers for the church that Geoffrey Jackson who is in Australia for "private, compassionate matters" would not be able to give relevant evidence.
Angus Stewart, SC, counsel advising said the commission wrote a second time to the church lawyers asking if they would accept service of a summons on Mr Jackson because his evidence would be useful in relation to the formulation of policies and procedures by the governing body and the possibility of changing those laws.
Mr Stewart said it was decided not to summon Mr Jackson because lawyers outlined the compassionate reasons for his visit to the country, however the commission would need to hear more evidence from the church's governing body Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia - possibly by video conferencing.
By Annette Blackwell
August 4, 2015
A Jehovah's Witness official says the church's stance to never let women hold decision-making roles compares to Muslim and Aboriginal people adhering to their own ancient beliefs.
Rodney Spinks, who advises church elders on how to handle child sex abuse cases, told the sex abuse royal commission on Tuesday women would never make decisions in the Jehovah's Witnesses because it would mean changing a "clear scriptural arrangement".
Commission chair Peter McClellan said the practice did not fit with current understandings of responses to child sex abuse and asked if women could become decision makers because victims often preferred to tell their intimate stories to women.
Mr Spinks said there was no possibility that would happen because the church would not adjust what it saw as "clear instructions" in the Bible.
Australian Associated Press
Tuesday 4 August 2015
The Jehovah’s Witness church says it will comply with mandatory reporting obligations when they learn about sexual abuse crimes against children in their congregation.
A royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has heard that the theocratic church records more than one child abuse allegation every month yet in 60 years has never reported them to police.
In the second week of a hearing into the church’s handling of abuse incidents, the head of the community’s service desk, Rodney Spinks, acknowledged they dealt with matters internally and did not encourage reporting to police.
The service desk under the auspices of the church’s legal entity, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Australia, is the first point of contact for elders looking for advice on how to deal with child abuse reports.
Peter Kirkwood | 04 August 2015
A few months have passed since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse sat in Ballarat. Witnesses there, including paedophile and former priest, Gerald Ridsdale, spoke of some of the most horrific cases of abuse in the Catholic Church.
The Commission will continue hearings about the situation in the Ballarat Diocese in November. It confirmed at the end of last week that former Bishop of Ballarat, Ronald Mulkearns will be compelled to take the stand. Cardinal George Pell is also expected to give evidence then.
The ongoing revelations about sexual abuse in the Church have had a drastic effect on believers, forcing some to turn away from the institution, and demoralising many who remain.
In this edition of Eureka Street TV two journalists who are practising believers — one a cradle Catholic and the other a recent convert — speak candidly about the effect of the sexual abuse crisis on their faith. In their professional lives, both have reported on different aspects of the crisis.
August 3, 2015
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's Roman Catholic Archbishop Blase Cupich has removed a priest from his pastoral duties as authorities investigate why he had questionable material stored on a computer in his possession.
The Archdiocese of Chicago announced Monday they told the Cook County state's attorney's office that church officials found "sexual images and material" on the computer of St. Pancratius pastor the Rev. Octavio Munoz Capetillo. Church officials did not provide further details about what they found.
Chicago police officials will only say detectives are in the midst of an ongoing investigation.
Church officials say while the investigation is underway, an administrator will take over Capetillo's duties at St. Pancratius and he will reside away from the parish.
Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo, pastor of St. Pancratius in the Brighton Park neighborhood, was removed from ministry by Archbishop Blase Cupich on July 27, according to a statement posted on the Chicago Archdiocese’s website.
Munoz was removed from his post “pending resolution of an investigation of material found on a computer in his possession,” the statement said.
After the material was discovered, Munoz was reported to civil authorities, the statement said.
Chicago Police confirmed they were investigating Munoz but did not provide additional details Monday evening.
Minnesota Public Radio
Madeleine Baran Aug 3, 2015
Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis offered to give a priest who had been convicted of sexual misconduct $10,000 in exchange for leaving the priesthood, according to a court filing by the priest.
The Rev. John Bussmann made the allegation in a claim submitted Monday as part of the archdiocese's bankruptcy case. He said the archdiocese owes him $680,365 in unpaid salary, living expenses and other support.
Bussmann, 61, refused the archdiocese's $10,000 offer to leave the priesthood, according to a supplemental document he filed with the claim. "Because Fr. Bussmann considers his vocation a valid calling from Almighty God, he cannot in conscience 'sell' his priesthood for any amount of money," it said.
Bussmann's filing came on the final day for creditors to file claims against the archdiocese as part of bankruptcy proceedings. At least 342 alleged clergy sex abuse victims had filed claims as of Monday afternoon, according to victims' attorney Mike Finnegan. At least two other priests accused of sexual misconduct have also filed claims, as have many of the archdiocese's parishes.
By Elizabeth Mohr
Monday marked the deadline to file claims in the bankruptcy case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
By 5 p.m., more than 650 claims had been filed and processed, though the final number likely won't be available until Tuesday. At least 370 of those were filed by victims of clergy sexual abuse -- that number was expected to rise to more than 400 -- and more than 150 were filed by local churches or parishes. Dozens were also filed by other religious organizations and Catholic schools.
An attorney filing on behalf of many victims said it was shaping up to be the third-highest number of abuse claims in an archdiocese or religious order bankruptcy in recent memory. In the case of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, there were more than 500. In the Jesuits' Oregon Province case, there were about 460.
A Twin Cities archdiocesan legal representative could not be reached for comment.
The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, citing an operating deficit and sex abuse lawsuits.
There is hope that the archdiocese's many insurance policies will cover the claims, but the insurance companies have reportedly pushed back and how much eventual coverage will be available is unresolved.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Monday at 5 p.m. was the deadline for filing a claim against the Twin Cities Archdiocese.
As of Monday evening, the Archdiocese is facing $25.6 million in claims, but that figure will jump dramatically. Of the 655 claims against the Archdiocese, more than 400 are from victims of clergy abuse.
A bankruptcy court will decide at a later date how much those claims are worth, and there was a last minute rush Monday to beat the deadline.
At the offices of attorney Jeff Anderson the phone has not stopped ringing. Office coordinator Michelle Stoltz answered the phone all day.
“It’s been frantic, nonstop,” Stoltz said.
Stoltz said some victims waited until Monday to come forward and file a claim.
“I had a man tell me he was very nervous to call in,” Stoltz said. “He felt that God was going to strike him dead.”
By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune AUGUST 3, 2015
Clergy sex abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis poured in as the 5 p.m. deadline approached Monday. By the end of the day, the scope of the church’s problem was more clear: Attorneys counted more than 400 claims.
Attorneys representing sex abuse victims had been working around the clock to prepare the claims, stemming from the sexual abuse of children by dozens of Catholic priests over decades.
“It’s been very busy, both over the weekend and today,” said Mike Finnegan, an attorney with the St. Paul law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates. “There’s a lot of people with a lot of questions, some breaking their silence for the first time.”
An official count was not available from the bankruptcy court as of the filing deadline, but 370 claims had been filed as of Monday morning.
Finnegan said the 400 claims tallied represent the third highest number filed against a Catholic institution in bankruptcy. That is partly due to the large number of Catholics in the archdiocese, he said. There are about 800,000 Catholics in the 12-county metro area.
Survivors of child sexual abuse in Ballarat are up in arms over the royal commission's decision to move the hearings to Melbourne later this year.
The commission expects to hear from former bishop of Ballarat, Ronald Mulkearns, and Cardinal George Pell, when it continues its inquiry into Ballarat's Catholic Church in November.
However, the Ballarat and District Survivors Group said it was not consulted on the decision and called for the hearings to be held in the city.
Spokesman Andrew Collins said it was an important part of the community's healing process.
"The next step is to try and get the hearings moved to Ballarat or at least the bulk of the hearings here, otherwise it just won't have the same impact," he said.
Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich has faraway from ministry a former director of Casa Jesus, a famend archdiocese coaching program for Latin American males who aspire to develop into clergymen, after supplies have been discovered on a pc in his possession, the archdiocese stated Monday on its web site.
The Rev. Octavio Munoz Capetillo had lately been assigned pastor of St. Pancratius Church on Chicago’s Southwest Aspect.
"Given the character of the fabric, we reported our considerations to the civil authorities and can cooperate absolutely of their investigation," the archdiocese stated in a press release. "Within the interim, Archbishop Cupich has withdrawn Father Munoz’s … authority to minister."
Chicago police have opened a legal investigation into the matter, Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, stated Monday.
CHICAGO (WLS) -- According to the Chicago Archdiocese, St. Pancratius pastor and former Casa Jesus rector Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo has been removed from his ministry during a civil investigation.
Munoz served as associate director of Casa Jesus, a program that recruited Latin American men into the priesthood, from 2008 to 2009 and as director from 2009 to 2015. In July, he was transferred from Holy Name Cathedra to St. Pancratius in Brighton Park.
The Archdiocese posted a message on their website Monday saying the removal is "pending resolution of material found on a computer in his possession." The Archdiocese says due to the nature of that material, they reported concern to civil authorities and are cooperating with their investigation.
An Archdiocese spokesperson said that they contacted the Cook County State's Attorney after finding "sexual images and material," but did not offer any further details. The spokesperson also said that Munoz's transfer to St. Pancratius happened before church leaders learned of the materials in question.
3 AUGUST 2015
BY TOM PETTIFOR
Lowell Goddard launched Britain’s largest public inquiry into historical abuse from the “corridors of power” to the poorest parts of the country
Child sex claims against former PM Sir Edward Heath have emerged after a judge vowed to uncover the truth about abuse by politicians.
Lowell Goddard launched Britain’s largest public inquiry into historical abuse from the “corridors of power” to the poorest parts of the country.
The New Zealand judge said: “No one, no matter how apparently powerful, will be allowed to obstruct our inquiries. No one will have immunity from scrutiny.”
Heath is the first former Prime Minister to be linked to child sex abuse allegations that have swept across Westminster since Labour MP Tom Watson made allegations of an paedophile ring linked to Downing Street in 2012.
A raft of politicians from across the political spectrum has been accused of abusing children, including the late former cabinet minister Leon Brittan, Liberal Democrat Sir Cyril Smith and current Labour peer and former MP Lord Janner.
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
Arquidiócesis de Chicago
August 3, 2015
On July 27, 2015, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich removed Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo, pastor of St. Pancratius from ministry, pending resolution of an investigation of material found on a computer in his possession. Given the nature of the material, we reported our concerns to the civil authorities and will cooperate fully in their investigation. In the interim, Archbishop Cupich has withdrawn Father Munoz’s faculties, his authority to minister. An Administrator will be appointed to assume Fr. Munoz’s duties at St. Pancratius and Father Munoz will reside away from the parish until the matter is resolved.
The Archdiocese is committed to ensuring those serving our parishioners are fit for ministry. Archbishop Cupich offers his assurance of prayers and solidarity with the community at St. Pancratius, knowing that this development is unsettling and he pledges to provide updates on this situation as they become available.
Declaración en torno al Padre Octavio Muñoz Capetillo
3 de agosto de 2015
El 27 de julio de 2015, el Arzobispo Blase J. Cupich separó de su ministerio al Padre Octavio Muñoz Capetillo, párroco de San Pancracio, en espera de la resolución de una investigación sobre un material encontrado en una computadora que él tenía consigo. Dada la naturaleza del material, comunicamos a las autoridades civiles nuestras preocupaciones y cooperaremos plenamente en la investigación. En el ínterin, el Arzobispo Cupich ha retirado al Padre Muñoz sus facultades, su autoridad para ministrar. Se nombrará un administrador quien se encargará de los deberes del Padre Muñoz en San Pancracio, mientras que el Padre Muñoz residirá fuera de la parroquia hasta que se resuelva el asunto.
La Arquidiócesis tiene el firme compromiso de asegurarse de que aquellas personas que sirven a nuestros feligreses son aptos para el ministerio. El Arzobispo Cupich ofrece sus oraciones y su solidaridad a la comunidad de San Pancracio, a sabiendas de que estas noticias son inquietantes, y promete que estará dando actualizaciones sobre esta situación a medida que se produzca nueva información sobre el caso.
By Manya Brachear Pashman and Jeremy Gorner
Chicago police have confirmed a criminal investigation has been opened into a parish priest who was removed from ministry by the Chicago Archdiocese after it said materials were found on a computer in his possession.
The confirmation from police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi came after the diocese disclosed Monday on its website that the Rev. Octavio Munoz Capetillo had been removed as pastor of St. Pancratius Church on Chicago's Southwest Side.
"Given the nature of the material, we reported our concerns to the civil authorities and will cooperate fully in their investigation," the archdiocese said in a statement. "In the interim, Archbishop (Blase) Cupich has withdrawn Father Munoz's ... authority to minister."
Munoz, who was removed from ministry July 27, will reside away from St. Pancratius until the matter is resolved, the archdiocese said. A temporary administrator will be appointed to assume his duties at the parish.
Until his recent appointment at the church, Munoz had been director of Casa Jesus, a renowned archdiocese training program for Latin American men who aspire to become priests. In that role from 2008 to 2015, Munoz, a native of Mexico, sought candidates for the priesthood from Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and other Latin American countries in hopes of recruiting clergy who more accurately reflected the church in Chicago.
Munoz, who was ordained in 2004, was first assigned to St. Agnes Catholic Church in Chicago Heights.
JULY 30, 2015, BY ABBY BROYLES
SHAWNEE, Okla. — A former youth pastor was arraigned in Pottawatomie County on Thursday morning after being accused of sex crimes.
Brian Burchfield is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to teenage boys who attend a church he once worked for in Shawnee.
We’re told Burchfield was the youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church for several years and gained the trust of some teenage boys in the youth group.
Police tell us they’ve talked to four of those boys in the past week who told them their text conversations with Burchfield were starting to make them uncomfortable.
Police tell us Burchfield would ask the boys for pictures of themselves and talk to them about pornography.
THE Salvation Army failed in its response to numerous allegations made against its officers, a royal commission report into child sexual abuse has found.
THE report, released on Monday, found several allegations submitted to high-ranking members of the Salvation Army had not been investigated, while others had been mishandled and victims were left in the dark.
In one case, an officer rose through the ranks of the army despite admitting to abusing an eight-year-old girl.
The victim's mother previously told the commission she was "in disbelief" when Salvation Army officer Colin Haggar visited her in 1989 and said: "It wasn't that serious, I only fingered her."
Haggar admitted the abuse and was dismissed, but rejoined the army three years later and was promoted.
By Bob Allen
Two prominent Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma are cooperating with police after the arrest of a youth pastor charged with sending inappropriate text messages to four boys at his former congregation.
Police in Shawnee, Okla., arrested Brian Burchfield, 42, July 29 on charges of soliciting sex with a minor and computer crimes. At the time of his arrest Burchfield was serving as young adult pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, but his alleged crimes involve four teenage boys ranging from 14 to 17 years old he met at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, Okla., where he reportedly served from June 2006 to April 2014.
Last year Quail Springs Baptist Church was host church for the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. At the meeting Hance Dilback, the church’s pastor since 2003, was elected president of the state affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church, Todd Fisher, was president of the state convention’s pastor’s conference in 2013 and is a former trustee of Oklahoma Baptist University.
According to the Southern Baptist Convention membership database, Immanuel Baptist Church has 5,141 members and average attendance of 850, while Quail Springs has 4,808 members: and average attendance of 1,446.
Religion News Service - Spiritual Politics
Mark Silk | Aug 3, 2015
It’s been 30 years since Jason Berry broke the Catholic sex abuse story by courageously reporting on the case of serial abuser Fr. Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana. When national publications refused to touch the story, Berry published his investigation in the Times of Acadiana, and that little paper proved to be the mouse that roared. The National Catholic Reporter immediately took the plunge and before long the mainstream media lost its fear of reporting how bishops systematically put the protection of their clergy and their church’s reputation ahead of the protection of minors.
NCR marked the anniversary last month with a tough editorial, which has drawn an appropriately non-confrontational response from Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, Alaska, chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. To his credit, Burns acknowledges that the church’s considerable effort to establish a safe environment for children should not be taken as “a sign that we have somehow put this scandal behind us, nor is it an occasion for self-congratulation…Rather, our shepherds, myself included, need to face and repent of the betrayal of trust. Authentic and heartfelt repentance by the shepherds of our church is not a distraction from our mission: It is the mission at this moment in the life of the church and her leaders.”
So what’s wrong with this?
What’s wrong is that, after 30 years, we are well past the “facing up and repenting” phase of the scandal — and (finally) into the “consequences for misbehaving bishops” phase. Burns makes no reference to Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Archbishop John Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul, both of whom were clearly forced by the Vatican to resign this year for their handling of abuse cases. Nor does he note the tribunal that has been established by Pope Francis to deal with bishops charged with covering up and/or failing to report admitted or suspected abusers.
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
The Inquiry has launched a new area called Share your experience developed specifically for victims and survivors wishing to share their experience with the Inquiry team. A key part of this is the publication of a new form and further guidance for victims and survivors. Both of these documents are designed to help victims and survivors through the process of contacting the Inquiry and sharing their experience. All the information provided to the Inquiry will feed into the Truth Project - the strand of the inquiry that will allow victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experiences with the Inquiry.
More information about The Truth Project.
By PHILLIP MARTIN
When Bernard Cardinal Law, Archibishop of Boston, fled to the Vatican in 2002, he left behind a trail of human and financial wreckage: 550 victims abused by parish priests and court judgments that eventually topped $85 million.
Meanwhile, Law was assigned a comfortable post in Rome, where he disappeared from the headlines.
Law led America’s fourth-largest archdiocese for 18 years. His reputation as a public figure peaked during Boston's court-ordered school desegregation crisis, when the cardinal emerged as a steadying voice of sanity. However, as his role as the architect of the abuse cover-up emerged, first in the Boston Phoenix, then in the Boston Globe, Law was transformed into a pariah. With permission from Pope John Paul II, he resigned in 2002 ahead of the mandatory age of 75. Law was subsequently appointed head of Santa Marie Maggiore, one of the most significant basilicas in Rome. He retired from that post in 2011. Where is he now? What has he been doing since then?
Like many searches these days, this one begins with Google, in a café in Rome. I comb through recent articles, but none from 2015. And I come across an excerpt from Wikipedia that reads, "It was 'commonly believed that [Law would] live out his retirement in Rome' when he was retired in 2011. As of March 2013 he was still living at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore." So that’s where I’m headed.
ST. LOUIS (MO)
BARRISTER KEN CHACKES is now repping the mother of a young boy who police say was sexually violated by a priest at the Cathedral parish school in the CWE. That cleric, Fr. Joseph Jiang, recently became the first religious figure in Missouri to sue police, prosecutors and other claiming they “conspired” to violate his constitutional rights because of racism and anti-Catholic animus. Meanwhile, SNAP (also being sued by Jiang) says in a new court filing that Archbishop Robert Carlson is behind the priest’s lawsuit.
William D. Lindsey
One of the reasons I've been slow to post in the past several days, dear readers, is that I've been at the national meeting of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Alexandria, Virginia. Because I attended the meeting primarily to take part in the leaders' gathering preceding the conference itself, I don't have any kind of well-developed report of the conference to offer you. I didn't attend a large number of presentations at the meeting.
At National Catholic Reporter's website, Tom Fox has published the text of Tom Doyle's address to the conference, which I didn't hear (but have now read), and which is wonderful. It will give you a feel for the conference, I think, if you read it.
One of the experiences of this conference that I'll treasure is having the opportunity to meet not only some of the national SNAP leaders about whom I've long read and whom I've long admired, but also members of the amazing Mennonite contingent who attended this conference. As any of you who have followed this blog for any length of time will know, I've featured the work of Ruth Krall and Stephanie Krehbiel here repeatedly. Both are Mennonite scholars involved in the discussion of sexual violence within their own religious community of origin, the Mennonite Church USA.
Ruth and Stephanie were at the conference, and I so much appreciate having had the opportunity to meet them and other Mennonite folks attending the conference (though I suspect that in giving Ruth a big goodbye hug yesterday, I thoughtlessly smashed her glasses against her face — and I cringe at the memory of my thoughtlessness). It may not be apparent to those of you who haven't followed SNAP's development what a big deal it is that SNAP now has a lively (and sizable) contingent of Mennonites involved in the organization's work.
As many of you will know, SNAP began as something of a Catholic-specific organization. Its title indicates its early Catholic-specific focus: it's a group that was started largely by people who had experienced sexual abuse by priests when they were minors (though there have been, from the beginning, also SNAP members whose abuse occurred at the hands of nuns).
Reporting an Explosive Truth: The Boston Globe and Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church - The Knight Case Study Initiatives, The Journalism School, Columbia University
CSJ-09-0011.0 This case is about the calculus a news organization must make when it uncovers a story that incriminates the most powerful institution in its community. It also describes the personal toll on journalists of covering misdeeds in one’s own church. In August 2001, the Boston Globe’s new editor, Martin Baron, commissioned the paper’s investigative Spotlight Team to look into the case against Father John Geoghan, a Catholic priest charged with sexual abuse of children. Within a month, the team had begun to uncover many other instances of abuse by priests. The story was potentially explosive: Boston had the highest percentage of Catholics of any major US city. The Archdiocese, and Cardinal Bernard Law, were beloved and respected. The Globe and Law had a history of tense relations. The team suspended its research to cover the September 11 attacks, but picked it up again in October. As the pieces came together, it had to decide how to play what was a literally unbelievable story, how to manage a potential backlash from the community, and how to deal with the anticipated reaction from the Archdiocese. In November, it acquired a “smoking gun”—a document that implicated Cardinal Law. The Globe, which wanted to make certain its blockbuster story was faultless, was not fully ready to publish, but the document was public and rival news organizations could discover it. The team debated what to do.
Students discussing this case will have the opportunity to examine the special challenges of covering religion, especially the dominant religion in one’s own community. They will gain insight into how individual reporters process and cope with a horrific story. They can also explore investigative techniques; the Globe had to obtain most of its information over the active objections of the Catholic Church. Students will be introduced to Computer Assisted Reporting, as well as to court reporting. They will encounter the pressures of media competition. Finally, students should gain an understanding of the dynamics of team reporting, and how team members work together in the service of a story too large for any one of them.
["I always have time for you!" This sentence probably falls on every encounter a bishop with "his" priests, and he is - I suspect - make it clear that the Bishop also sees itself as chaplain, and that includes the pastoral care of his priests. This is a commendable attitude, and it finds its theological justification in the statement that the priests "take over the worries and responsibilities of bishops and realize so zealous in daily professional services rendered", which is why the bishops should listen willingly (cf.. CD 16).]
"Ich habe immer Zeit für sie!" Dieser Satz fällt vermutlich auf jeder Begegnung eines Bischofs mit "seinen" Priestern, und er soll - so vermute ich - deutlich werden lassen, dass sich der Bischof auch als Seelsorger versteht, und dazu gehört auch die Seelsorge an seinen Priestern.
Dies ist eine lobenswerte Grundhaltung, und sie findet ihre theologische Begründung in der Aussage, dass die Priester "die Sorgen und Aufgaben der Bischöfe übernehmen und in täglicher Mühewaltung so eifrig verwirklichen", weswegen die Bischöfe sie bereitwillig anhören sollen (vgl. CD 16). Auch sind die Bischöfe nicht nur gehalten, für eine gediegene Aus- und Fortbildung ihrer Priester Sorge zu tragen, sie sollen denen "mit tatkräftiger Sorge [...] nachgehen, die irgendwie in Gefahr schweben oder sich in bestimmten Punkten verfehlt haben" (CD 16).
Gesetzlichen Niederschlag hat diese Aussage im can. 384 CIC gefunden, in dem dem Bischof die Pflicht auferlegt wird, die Priester mit besonderer Fürsorge zu begleiten.
Evidence of historic sexual abuse at a Mirfield religious school will be considered in court for the first time later this year.
Numerous allegations of horrific abuse by priests and teachers at St Peter’s seminary in Roe Head, Far Common Road, during the 1960s and 1970s have been made in recent years.
However, despite £120,000 in compensation payouts, the cases have not reached court and there has been no apology or finding of guilt.
But a case will finally be tried in November this year, after former pupil Peter Murray, 57, launched his bid for a substantial damages payout.
The Liverpool-born nurse is suing the Verona Fathers, the religious order behind the college, for the abuse he says he suffered when he was a child.
Katholiek Actie Vlaanderen
[The promotion of pedophilia by the parish,
abusing their own relatives,
know and concealment of this 'misdeeds'
the abuse of disabled children,
the cover-ups of these messages,]
De promotie van pedofilie door het parochieblad,
het misbruiken van de eigen familieleden,
het weten en verzwijgen van deze 'euveldaden',
het misbruiken van gehandicapte kinderen,
het doofpotten van deze berichten,
[The sexual assaults by priests and religious have seriously damaged the image of the Catholic Church. In Switzerland many cases are time-barred. Perpetrators are often not identifiable. In early September a fund will be set up for victims of perpetrators within the church.]
Die sexuellen Übergriffe von Priestern und Ordensleuten haben dem Image der katholischen Kirche schwer geschadet. In der Schweiz sind viele Fälle verjährt. Täter sind oft nicht identifizierbar. Anfang September will die Kirche einen Fonds für Opfer einrichten.
Priester und Mönche sind Vorbilder. Sie vertreten eine Institution mit hohen moralischen Ansprüchen. «Jedes Mal, wenn ich mit einem Opfer zu tun habe, ist es für mich ein grosses Leiden», sagt Joseph Bonnemain. Er ist Sekretär des Fachgremiums «Sexuelle Übergriffe im kirchlichen Umfeld» und selber Priester. «Die Übergriffe belasten während Jahrzehnten ein Leben und machen Menschen zum Teil krank», fügt er hinzu.
Die Schweizer Bischöfe riefen 2010 Opfer sexueller Übergriffe im kirchlichen Umfeld auf, sich zu melden. Rund 200 Opfer meldeten sich. 182 mutmassliche Täter wurden erfasst, lediglich 20 Strafverfahren gegen katholische Priester und Mönche in dieser Zeit eröffnet. Der Haken dabei: Viele Täter sind gestorben, die meisten Fälle verjährt.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
August 3, 2015
The research, “Taking Us Seriously: Children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns” was conducted by the Australian Catholic University in partnership with Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology.
In the research published today by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, children and young people have identified what institutions should do to help them feel safe and be safe.
The children and young people who participated in the research said that in order for them to feel safe and be safe institutions need to have a focus on helping children and young people, value their participation, provide a safe physical environment, proactively protect them from unsafe people and experiences and employ safe and trusted adults.
Children and young people in the study also identified what makes a good response to safety issues including that adults and institutions take the time to listen to them and to acknowledge their concerns when they arise.
Royal Commission Chief Executive Philip Reed said hearing directly from children and young people was key to the Royal Commission’s understanding of best practice in preventing and responding to institutional child sexual abuse.
“Children and young people’s participation was central to this project,” he said.
“As well as including the direct views of children themselves, this study was guided by three children and young people’s reference groups.
“The researchers have now launched an online survey which aims to explore the issues arising in the focus groups with a broader sample of Australian children and young people.”
Mr Reed said the findings will inform the Royal Commission’s work on child safe organisations.
“A child safe organisation is one that actively protects children and young people from sexual abuse.
“This research is one of a suite of research projects involving children and young people and will add to our work in examining what organisational characteristics, culture, policies and practices – such as codes of conduct, complaint handling procedures, recruitment and supervision processes – will help keep children safer in institutions.”
The aim of the research was to seek the views of children and young people about safety issues - including child sexual abuse - in institutions, and how these are best addressed.
The report presents findings from ten focus groups with 121 children and young people conducted in a range of institutional settings including out-of-home care, schools, youth activities and childcare centres.
The children and young people who participated in the focus groups generally agreed that institutions were safe when a number of conditions were met:
* Focused on helping children and young people. This is demonstrated in the way adults interact with children; things children can do there; and signs that children are welcome (eg child-friendly posters, pictures and play areas).
* Valued their participation. This is demonstrated in the way adults and children interact; the value the institution places on understanding children’s fears, concerns, needs and wishes; and in mechanisms in place for children to complain, shape strategies and provide feedback.
* Provided a safe physical environment. Children felt most safe in ordered and child-friendly environments. They valued physical signs such as fences, security cameras, cameras and locks, and felt the best way of determining whether the environment is safe is to observe how children behave there.
* Proactively protected children and young people from unsafe people and experiences. This is identifying issues early; informing children of potential threats and hazards; actively communicating with children and their safety concerns; employing safe and trusted adults, and being open to monitoring by an external agency.
* Employs safe and trusted adults who: care about children and young people, act in appropriate ways, are available when children and young people need them, are able to talk about sensitive issues, prioritise children’s needs and concerns over the needs of other adults and institutions, and who do what they say they will do.
Read the full report here.
Read the kids summary here.
The focus groups are part of a broader research project examining children and young people’s views of safety. The project also involves an online survey which is being launched today. For more information, visit Australian Catholic University -Learning Sciences Institute Australia - Australian Survey for Kids and Young People.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
3 August, 2015
The Royal Commission’s Report of Case Study no.10 – the Salvation Army’s handling of claims of child sexual abuse 1989 to 2014 was released today.
This is the second case study report released into The Salvation Army. The report for Case Study 5 was released in March 2015.
The public hearing was held in March 2014 and examined The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory’s (covering New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT) response to claims of child sexual abuse at children’s homes it operated, the experience of people who made complaints and the disciplining of officers who were subject to allegations.
A number of the claimants gave evidence to the Royal Commission that they were concerned that The Salvation Army’s claims process was not clear. The claimants also said they were unaware of what matters were considered in the determination of ex-gratia payments.
The Commissioners found that in a number of claims examined in the case study The Salvation Army did not clearly explain the claims process including what steps it would take to discipline officers or members of The Salvation Army who were implicated by the claimants.
The Commissioners also found that in a number of the claims, The Salvation Army did not give the victims an opportunity to respond to the information it had obtained. This included not giving the victims the opportunity to respond to information it had obtained that contradicted or was adverse to the victim’s evidence. The Commissioners found The Salvation Army relied on this contrary or adverse information, to determine a low or reduced ex-gratia payment.
The case study also considered allegations of sexual abuse against Captain Colin Haggar.
In 1989 Captain Colin Haggar admitted to sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl at the Salvation Army Citadel in a central west New South Wales country town. As a result of a meeting of the Officers Review Board (ORB) both Captain Haggar and his wife, Captain Kerry Haggar, were dismissed as officers.
In 1993 the Haggars were permitted to return to their positions as captains of The Salvation Army. Colin Haggar then served in a number of managerial positions within The Salvation Army including at Samaritan House and Carinya Cottage. In 2012 he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel.
The Commissioners found Colin Haggar occupied a position of managerial responsibility for children even though he had admitted to sexually abusing a child. The Commissioners found that The Salvation Army should not have promoted Colin Haggar to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
The Commissioners found that Commissioner James Condon was, from 3 September 2012, required to report to the New South Wales Ombudsman the allegation of sexual abuse of a girl in 1989 by Colin Haggar as soon as Colin Haggar became responsible for Samaritan House and Carinya Cottage.
Commissioner James Condon did not take steps to report the allegation to the Ombudsman until 10 December 2013 because he had received equivocal legal advice as to whether he was required to report.
The Commissioners also found that from 15 June 2013, The Salvation Army had an obligation under section 35 of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW) to notify the New South Wales Children’s Guardian that in 1990 it had dismissed Colin Haggar.
Read the full report.
ST. PAUL, Minn - Victims of clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis must file their claims by 5 p.m. Monday.
The Aug. 3 deadline was challenged by victims' attorneys, who asked a U.S. bankruptcy court judge to honor a May 2016 deadline - the same filing cutoff for all other abuse victims in Minnesota. But, last week, Judge Robert Kressel reaffirmed his April decision, designed to expedite the archdiocese's reorganization plan.
The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January following a wave of clergy abuse lawsuits. Minnesota Public Radio News reports more than 400 creditors had filed claims. Abuse victims accounted for more than 250 of them.
A royal commission will continue to hear from senior officials of the Jehovah's Witness Church when it resumes its investigation into child sex abuse allegations on Monday.
In the witness stand on day five of the hearing will be church elders and officials from Watchtower Bible Tract Society of Australia - the church's legal entity.
Last week the commission heard from two women who who went through the Witnesses internal process for dealing with sex abuse allegations.
They revealed they were required to confront their abusers when they gave evidence at an internal judicial hearing before three elders - all men.
A ROYAL commission has heard that Jehovah's Witnesses rely on a biblical text, which also recommends the stoning of adulterous women, when it comes to judging child sex abusers in their midst.
BUT in the case of child abusers, the Book of Deuteronomy rule about needing two witnesses to a wrongdoing is applied, which in effect means it is highly unlikely the allegation against the abuser will be proved.
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah and sets out rules and laws based on Moses' teachings before the Israelites entered the Promised Land.
At the national hearing into how the theocratic church handles allegations of child sex abuse, Elder John de Rooy on Monday quoted Deuteronomy.
"No single witness may convict another for any error or any sin he may commit. On the testimony of two witnesses rules, or on the testimony of three witnesses the matter should be established."
Child sex abuse royal commission: Salvation Army commissioner took year to report that officer allegedly sexually abused girl, report finds
A Salvation Army commissioner failed to report to authorities for more than a year an allegation that one of its officers had sexually abused an eight-year-old girl, the child sex abuse royal commission has found.
Captain Colin Haggar admitted to sexually abusing the girl in the state's central-west in 1989.
After initially being dismissed, he was later given a position with managerial responsibility for children within the Salvation Army.
In a report handed down on Monday, the royal commission found commissioner James Condon was required to report the allegation to the state's Ombudsman in September 2012, as soon as Captain Haggar was given the new role.
However, Mr Condon failed to report the matter to the Ombudsman until December 2013 because, the report said, "he had received equivocal legal advice as to whether he was required to report".
By Karen Araiza
When Pope Francis comes to Philadelphia, friend and former colleague Silvia Tuozzo expects he may bring a “healing message” that addresses deep wounds left by the priest sex abuse scandal.
Before he was elected pope, Tuozzo was hired by Father Jorge Bergoglio in 2007 to help run the television station for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She saw him or spoke with him almost daily.
“What happened in America hurt him as a priest,” Tuozzo said from a balcony in the center of Buenos Aires that looks out over the Cathedral where Archbishop Bergoglio said Mass and served the people of his homeland.
Although he was a stern boss who rarely smiled, according to Tuozzo, the themes you hear Pope Francis talk about when he visits Philadelphia the last weekend of September, will be themes he has believed in and preached about for years.
"He has always spoken about a God of mercy. Since the first day. He really believes in a God of mercy. He really believes in love; love as healing. And I think he understands the pain in people," Tuozzo said. “I think he needs to heal the people [in the United States] and I think he will go with a healing program to America."
The Jehovah's Witnesses reinstated a man to the church after he repented leaving his wife, despite being accused of sexually preying on his four daughters, a royal commission has been told.
Less than three years after the man was stood down by the Witnesses for 'loose conduct and lying', he was welcomed back with the approval of church congregations in Queensland.
The man referred to as BCH was jailed in 2004 for multiple sexual offences against his daughter BCG, but his confession and her evidence were not enough to convince the church to expel him for child sex abuse.
BCH was stood down for leaving his wife and moving in with another woman.
August 2, 2015
Australian Associated Press
Sunday 2 August 2015
The Jehovah’s Witnesses church let “repentant” child sex abusers return to the congregation, who were then kept in the dark about their crimes, an alleged abuse victim has claimed.
John de Rooy, an elder in a Mareeba, Queensland, congregation in the early 1990s, was on a church judicial committee which heard a complaint from a woman who alleged her father had abused her and her three sisters.
The woman, given the pseudonym BCG, has given evidence her father repeatedly sexually abused her but the church’s committee found her allegations were unproven.
Last week BCG said the elders refused to accept the evidence of her sisters or her mother.
By the National Reporting Team's Lorna Knowles
A woman who alleges she suffered horrific child sexual abuse at the hands of a priest has accused the Catholic Church of failing to honour its pledge to treat victims with more compassion.
Gina Swannell is suing the church for damages in relation to sexual abuse she allegedly suffered when she was six years old at the St Francis Xavier boarding school in Urana, New South Wales.
Ms Swannell said the order of nuns which ran the school, the Presentation Sisters, had offered to mediate but the Church had declined to do so, leaving her to take her claim to the courts.
"People need to know that [what] is happening behind closed doors is not what they are saying to the public," she said.
Sexual abuse was a plague in the [ultra orthodox Jewish] community… because they denied its existence, allowing pedophiles full freedom to sexually molest children.
Before I ever wrote a word of “Hush,” I had written for years in the ultra-Orthodox world. My writings were taught in their schools. Being a writer brought me readers, and they would tell me their stories. And more and more of them were about sexual abuse…
You begin to hear a pattern. Something happened… but you can’t think about it in a world where it is denied. You deny it to yourself… You just think about it as an isolated event. You think this isn’t the community. It’s just me or her or him…
This isn’t some theoretical concept. It’s young adults committing suicide one after another. It’s people who go through hellish agony trying to untangle themselves and deal with the trauma. It’s knowing that as long as you are silent there’s another person you are literally killing. For me that book [Hush] was survival. So the ugliness that it unleashed was a nightmare to deal with. It’s something that still hurts me to think about. I guess it always will.
August 1, 2015
Take the motorway north across Auckland's Harbour Bridge and in 15 minutes you'll reach Albany.
There the once-green rolling hills are carpeted with light-industrial business parks – hectare after hectare of grey, low-rise boxes clumped into small groups around a carpark, with a roadside sign vaguely hinting at what might be going on inside.
In one of these grey boxes, a stone's throw from the Albany Expressway interchange, the occupants include an animal-exporting business, a builder who's never there, a web design company, and a smiley, white-haired Yorkshireman in his late 60s who occupies a small office with a computer, a meeting table and a view of a roundabout. His name is Bill Kilgallon, and his job is to help dig the Catholic Church out of a deep, ugly hole.
Since the mid-1980s, when the first reports of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests began to appear in the US, the scandal has mushroomed: the American church has spent a reported $3 billion settling lawsuits with victims. Abuse in church-run boys' school in Ireland was described in a 2009 report as having been at "epidemic" levels. Senior church officials have been sacked for moving known paedophile priests from diocese to diocese, or even between countries. Last year Pope Francis reportedly told an Italian journalist that as many as 1 in 50 members of the Catholic clergy was an abuser.
In New Zealand, meanwhile, at least a dozen priests or members of Catholic orders have been convicted of sexually abusing children.
The Morning Call
THE MORNING CALL
Robert Corby of Bethlehem tells a story about the time ex-football star Franco Harris visited Northampton Community College to lead a town hall meeting about how Penn State handled the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Corby, now 80, who says he was a victim of child sexual abuse by a priest, decided to attend, and at some point, very nervously, he stood up to speak about what happened to him. "I'm not here to question Joe Paterno's motives," he says he began. "I'm here to speak for all the victims of sexual abuse."
He was rewarded with applause — and a surprise when the event ended. "An old guy came down the aisle, tears running down his face," Corby recalled. "He said, 'Thank you for speaking up for the victims.'"
The first time I met Corby, we were at Juliann Bortz's kitchen table seven years ago, talking about Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States and the toll it was taking on people who were victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Benedict's first U.S. visit rekindled anger and anxiety over the betrayal by pedophile priests and the church leaders who allowed their crimes to continue. Bortz, then local coordinator for the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests — known as SNAP — was bombarded with phone calls from emotional survivors.
Bortz, then 58, was one of several victims who years ago sued the Allentown Diocese and church officials for systematically covering up years of abuse, including her alleged molestation by a teacher at Allentown Central Catholic High School when she was 14. The case was blocked by the state's statute of limitations.
National Catholic Reporter
Thomas C. Fox | Aug. 1, 2015
ALEXANDRIA, VA -- Dominican Father Thomas Doyle, who has worked with survivors of priest sex abuse for more than three decades, said Friday he continues to grapple with its full dimensions.
“It just seems too big to get my head around,” he said.
Dolye spoke Friday at the 2015 gathering of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), which drew several hundred abuse survivors and supporters to the Westin Alexandria hotel here.
He mused, considering the many years of work survivor supporters have been engaged in, adding the when they got into the work “there was no plan.” Those who got into efforts to bring priest sex abuse to the full attention of the church and force bishops to be accountable, he said, “still did not understand the widespread nature of sex abuse within the church.”
“We only knew the shocking reality that a few Catholic priests had sexually molested by rape and other forms of sexual violation, a number of Catholic children. … Before long however, some began to get glimpses of a far more treacherous and complex reality that was hidden behind the
Doyle, who has testified in numerous civil suits on behalf of sex abuse survivors, confirmed he met recently with four members of the Vatican commission appointed by Pope Francis to advise him on sex abuse. Recently, a book on Doyle's life and work with survivors was published on Amazon.
The following is the text of his July 31 remarks.
1. In the beginning there was no plan
When the reality of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy gradually emerged into the light back in 1984 and 85, there was no plan. Those of us who were involved back then and who are still around, Jason Berry, Jeff Anderson, Ray Mouton, Tom Fox and myself, among others, only knew the shocking reality that a few Catholic priests had sexually molested by rape and other forms of sexual violation, a number of Catholic children. The predatory priest who brought it all to the surface, Gilbert Gauthe, was a true pedophile with scores of pre-pubescent little boys left in his wake. Hence the inaccurate label, “The Pedophile Priest Problem.”
No one had any idea of the magnitude of the issue. In fact, I don’t think any of us even knew what the real issue was other than the fact that a few families had openly denounced Gauthe and in time a few other priests, to Church authorities.
Before long however, some began to get glimpses of a far more treacherous and complex reality that was hidden behind the thin cover of the few known cases of sexual abuse. Ray Mouton, Mike Peterson and I began to see some of the indicators as events rapidly unfolded in 1985, but we could not possibly have comprehended the monster that was slowly showing itself.