A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
March 29, 2017
Across Victoria, on buildings associated with the Catholic church, blank rectangles are appearing.
They signify the fresh removal of plaques, installed decades earlier to signify the opening of a school, church, hospital or hall.
Etched on the plaques is a name: Most Reverend R. A. Mulkearns.
Bishop Ronald Austin Mulkearns blessed almost every Catholic building opened in the Ballarat diocese between 1974 and 1996. He also supervised one of the worst periods of clerical child sexual abuse in Australia.
Catholic Herald (UK)
by Catholic News Service
posted Tuesday, 28 Mar 2017
Prompt responses to emails and letters would be 'best practice', abuse survivor says
Acknowledging correspondence and treating victims with respect is the very least Church officials can offer, said survivors of clergy sex abuse.
Never letting a letter or email languish unanswered was such a key “best practice” of showing care and concern for victims of sexual abuse by clergy and religious that Marie Collins, an Irish survivor, stepped down from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors over the issue.
When it comes to whether an office should respond to a victim, “There’s an amazing ability to take whatever is simple” and make it sound “as if it’s highly complex,” said Declan Murphy, who was abused as an adolescent by two Christian Brothers in Dublin in the 1960s. Murphy, who was in South Korea, spoke to Catholic News Service via Skype in mid-March.
It’s a “basic courtesy” to respond, even if it is just a brief acknowledgment of receiving the letter with a general time frame of intended follow-up. “That’s the way most people work when they value and respect a person,” he said.
March 28, 2017
Updated: Mar 29, 2017
By Krystal Paco
The number of clergy sex abuse lawsuits rises. Today, over three dozen plaintiffs are suing the institutions they allege failed to protect minors from known pedophile priests.
They'll only be identified by their initials in an effort to protect their privacy, but they're telling all when it comes to the abuse they endured while under the watch of Father Louis Brouillard. While he's a known pedophile priest, the latest filings in the District Court of Guam provide horrific details of the sex abuse.
For 59-year-old R.M.C., he was neither an altar boy or a Boy Scout. According to his complaint, his family couldn't afford the uniform or club fee, but Brouillard allowed him to join outings with other boys from the San Isidro Catholic Church in Malojloj anyway. The complaint details occasions where the priest would share his food with the boys, then encourage them to get naked and lay in his bed. One-by-one, he'd perform sex acts on them assuring them "this is not a sin" and "if this were a sin then we would not be enjoying this."
R.M.C. says the priest would force his hands and head towards his privates, but somehow, he was able to sneak away.
By JORDAN PRESSThe Canadian Press
Tues., March 28, 2017
OTTAWA—The newly minted leader of the Conservatives in the Senate says he intends to take a second look at Sen. Lynn Beyak to see what, if any, actions the Tories should take over her comments on residential schools.
Beyak doubled down this week on her comments that there was “good” done in residential schools, insisting that she had no need for additional education about residential schools or indigenous culture, citing a long-standing friendship with an “aboriginal fellow” and her experiences in northern Ontario.
Beyak refused to elaborate Tuesday on the comments in a CBC interview where she described an outpouring of public support for her position.
Sen. Larry Smith, who takes over as Conservative leader on Saturday, said he plans to meet the rest of his leadership team to figure out if, among other things, Beyak should be removed from the aboriginal peoples committee, given the strong emotional reaction to Beyak’s comments inside and outside the Tory caucus.
Ken Stickney , email@example.com March 28, 2017
The Rev. F. David Broussard will enter a plea to child pornography charges at a 9 a.m. May 2 arraignment in District Court in St. Martin Parish.
Robert Chevalier, assistant district attorney in the 16th District Attorney’s Office, confirmed the court date Tuesday.
Broussard remains free on $25,000 bond. Chevalier said he was confident the priest, who is on administrative leave from the Diocese of Lafayette, would appear in court.
Under the conditions of his bond, Broussard was forbidden to use or possess a computer.
29 March 2017 Melissa Coade
A number of recommendations have been made in the latest report to come from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse's inquiry, but some lawyers have said that law reforms must go further to make a real difference.
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed the release of a new report concerning survivors of child sex abuse.
One of the latest documents to come from the royal commission is the report on redress and civil litigation. The report makes a key recommendation for all jurisdictions to remove limitation periods for child sexual abuse offences.
Dr Andrew Morrison SC, who is a spokesperson for the ALA, said the organisation considered the good work of the inquiry as an opportunity to secure justice for everyone.
He said enacting consistent reforms nationwide is the most direct way to deliver access to justice for all survivors of child sexual abuse.
28 March 2017 | by Christopher Lamb in Rome
The knights’ former Grand Master, Matthew Festing, has hinted at a re-election bid
Knights of Malta from across the world have been asked to help with Pope Francis’ reform of the ancient Catholic lay order ahead of a crucial gathering in Rome to elect a new leader.
But the plans for an overhaul come as the knights’ former Grand Master, Fra’ Matthew Festing, has hinted at a re-election bid, a move that sources in Rome say would throw the order on to a collision course once again with the Vatican.
Next month’s election takes place after a bruising public fallout between the order and the Holy See which led to the resignation of Festing and the appointment by the Pope of a personal delegate to assist with a “spiritual and moral” renewal of the knights.
Archbishop Giovanni Becciu, a senior official in the Secretariat of State and Francis’ point man with the 800-year-old order, has, along with the knights’ acting leader, asked all members to send proposed changes by the end of this month.
“The aim of the order’s reform, wished for by the Holy Father, is that of consolidating and prolonging its distinguished heritage of faith and of spirituality and for this reason we would like to begin a study which lays the groundwork for open and constructive dialogue,” Archbishop Becciu and Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann-Rumerstein write in their letter dated 6 March 2017 and seen by The Tablet.
By Mark Silk
Cardinal Sean O’Malley said last week that Pope Francis is committed to ending “the scourge of sex abuse.” Doth the cardinal protest too much?
I hope not. But things are not going well on the sex abuse front in Rome.
On March 1, abuse survivor Marie Collins resigned her position on the pope’s child protection commission, citing lack of cooperation from Vatican bureaucrats. The final straw, she said, was discovering that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which has responsibility for handling cases of child abuse by priests, has refused to respond to letters from survivors.
When the head of the CDF, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, sought to rebut Collins’ charges, she issued a humiliating point-by-point denunciation. The pope himself had approved the commission’s recommendation that the CDF respond to survivors’ letters.
Collins also pointed out that the CDF had declined papal instructions two years ago to establish a tribunal for disciplining bishops who have been negligent in handling abuse cases.
Updated: Mar 28, 2017
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A judge will allow "prior bad act" testimony from perhaps only one other church-abuse victim when a church official is retried on child endangerment charges.
Monsignor William Lynn is being retried after serving nearly three years of a three- to six-year sentence in a child endangerment case.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the conviction over weeks of testimony from 23 priest abuse victims not directly tied to his case.
This time, prosecutors asked to introduce complaints about nine other priests to try to show that Lynn helped the church cover up the priest-abuse problem.
The Guam Daily Post
Mindy Aguon | For The Guam Daily Post
Victims of sexual abuse can file civil action and protect their identity, according to attorney Kevin Fowler.
The attorney, along with Washington-based law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala, filed two lawsuits in the Superior Court of Guam yesterday against the Archdiocese of Agana and Father Louis Brouillard.
One lawsuit was filed by an individual with the initials "M.M."
Fowler said it is the first sex-abuse suit against the Catholic Church on Guam that protects the identity of sexual abuse survivors. He said it's common for courts to protect the identity of sexual assault victims, including survivors of childhood sexual abuse, at least until trial.
"People who survived abuse should not think they have to make their names publicly known in order to seek justice," Fowler said.
Despite growing calls for her resignation, a Conservative senator who argued that Canada’s notorious residential school system had some benefits says she stands by her comments.
Sen. Lynn Beyak, a member of the Senate’s standing committee on aboriginal people, is refusing to resign. She attended a committee meeting on Tuesday, even though some members have said they now feel uncomfortable working with her on indigenous issues.
During a speech in the upper chamber earlier this month, Beyak said the government-funded residential schools, where indigenous children suffered widespread physical and sexual abuse, were not all bad. She said negative stories about the schools are overshadowing the good things they accomplished, such as raising indigenous children as Christians.
The chairwoman of the Senate committee on aboriginal people, Lillian Eva Dyck, said Tuesday she’s “stunned” that Beyak continues to stand by her comments. Beyak also said in an interview that she doesn’t need any more education on residential schools because she too has “suffered” alongside survivors.
Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak reiterated her defence of residential schools in an interview with CBC News on Monday, saying, "I made my statements, and I stand by them."
Beyak, who had earlier said that residential schools were responsible for "good deeds," has argued there's no reason for her to step down from her position on the Senate's Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, despite suggestions from the chair that she should consider it.
"I think, if you go across Canada, there are shining examples from sea to sea of people who owe their lives to the schools," she said in her CBC interview, though she did acknowledge that the bad parts of the schools were "horrific."
Jesse Wente, an Indigenous pop culture columnist for CBC Radio's Metro Morning, spoke with host Matt Galloway on Tuesday about his reaction.
YouTube - TV2000
Published on Mar 27, 2017
Pedofilia. Nel comunicato della Pontificia Commissione per la Protezione dei Minori, riunitasi dal 24 al 26 marzo, l'auspicio di risposte più rapide
National Catholic Reporter
Joshua J. McElwee | Mar. 28, 2017
ROME A member of Pope Francis' commission on clergy sexual abuse says his group has asked the pontiff to create a new Vatican office to train the city-state's personnel in how to respond to letters from abuse survivors.
Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told the Italian Catholic channel TV2000 Monday that Vatican officials need training before they can respond to survivors.
"Many people in the Vatican do not know how to respond because they lack the psychological, theological and juridical background," said Zollner, who also leads the Pontifical Gregorian University's Center for Child Protection.
"It takes a complex set of competences and professional abilities," he said March 27. "We have asked the pope to create an office to train people who can respond, as we must, to people."
The question of how the Vatican responds to abuse survivors' letters has been raised this month following Marie Collins March 1 resignation as a member of the pontifical commission.
Galway Bay FM
Galway Bay fm newsroom – The conversion of the old Magdalene Laundry at Forster Street in the city has been delayed until the outcome of the future of an investigation into mother and baby homes is determined.
Domestic Violence Outreach Worker with COPE Galway Waterside House, Jackie Carroll has given a presentation on the service to members of the City Joint Policing Committee.
It was revealed at the JPC meeting that breaches of barring, safety and protection orders have almost doubled in the Galway city garda district.
According to garda figures, rapes in the city last year increased by 38 per cent compared to the previous year, while sexual assaults were up by almost 30 per cent.
Jackie Carroll from COPE Waterside House told the meeting that there is no legal definition of domestic violence in Ireland.
Publication of the second interim report of the commission of inquiry into mother and baby homes has been delayed because of the time required to respond appropriately to its recommendations.
Minister for Children Katherine Zappone pledged earlier this month to publish the report by the end of March but she said on Tuesday that the delay was “for very good reasons”.
Ms Zappone did not give a date for publication but she expected to be able to “clarify the time frame for the Government’s deliberative process in the coming week”.
The Minister was very disappointed that she could not publish it as she planned and she was “very sensitive to the expectation of former residents and their advocates who want to see the contents of the report”.
BY DOMINGO RAMIREZ JR.
An associate pastor told police he kept child pornography on his computer “to remind himself of what other people like to look at,” according to a search warrant affidavit.
James Rankin, 78, also saved about 50 images of children engaging in pornography as part of research for “a possible lesson involving Cupid, love and human trafficking seven to eight years ago,” the search affidavit stated.
But police noted that dates associated with some of the images were as recent as February, according to the affidavit obtained by the Star-Telegram on Monday.
Police say they believe the images appeared to be of “home-made”quality, according to the affidavit.
Rankin was arrested Thursday after employees at Best Buy called police to report they had found what they believed was child pornography on a computer brought in for repair by the associate pastor.
National Catholic Reporter
Peter Feuerherd | Mar. 28, 2017
A Florida pastor in ecclesial limbo, even after being cleared by a state attorney's investigation into taking financial advantage of an elderly parishioner, is being supported by parishioners who want him reinstated.
Fr. Christopher Senk, 67, pastor of St. Isabel Parish on Sanibel Island in the Diocese of Venice, Florida, was put on paid administrative leave Oct. 28 of last year by Bishop Frank Dewane until a church investigation is completed. Senk's case is being examined by the Vatican.
A sister of Marion McIntyre accused Senk of taking advantage of a friendship which included donations of thousands of dollars through which he personally benefitted. The case was investigated by the Lee County Sheriff's office and the state attorney for two years. In April 2016 the state attorney decided not to press charges in the case.
"We had such a wonderful parish," Shirley Bohnert, a St. Isabel parishioner for the past 20 years and supporter of Senk, pastor for the past 14 years, told NCR. "There's just no joy now. Now it's just like a pall over the parish, like someone has died," she said.
Yair Ettinger Mar 28, 2017
The arrest Monday of 22 ultra-Orthodox suspects on sexual offenses allegedly committed over the past two years against juveniles and women comes at a time of major change in the attitude of the Haredi public regarding the handling of sexual offenses. This is reflected first of all in a new level of cooperation between the Haredim and the police, even including educational institutions affiliated with particularly insular Haredi factions.
Another change relates to intensive coverage that Haredi news websites now devote to sexual offenses, even if it doesn’t extend to Haredi print journalism. It does, however, extend to Haredi social media.
But these arrests are a reminder that the traditional method of attempting to deal with sexual offenses within the community persists. Allegedly, records concerning the sexual predators were kept by a single person – known in Haredi circles as a “fixer.” This person is said to have operated under the auspices of a Jerusalem-based body known as the “purification commission” of the community, which works in various Haredi communities.
The fixer himself is not a suspect in the case and is not under arrest. He has been in contact with the police for years and testified in many sexual-offense cases, helping police obtain convictions. But it is now alleged that he also maintained a network that would field and investigate complaints about sexual offenses, using old-world methods accepted in the Haredi world. Usually, offenders who were said to have undergone “arbitration” proceedings of various kinds within the community reportedly were forced to undergo therapy, possibly with a psychologist, or they may have been “exiled” to another city.
The newly disclosed case was uncovered almost by happenstance after the fixer’s name came up in another major case in the Haredi community involving an attempt to incriminate two couples in Ukraine in connection with a family dispute. Last week an indictment was filed in that case. While investigators cleared the fixer of suspicion in the Ukraine case, they are said to have found that he had possession of the records that led to the new investigation.
Law enforcement officials in touch with the Haredi community have spoken of their increasingly close cooperation with the community’s leadership. A year ago a closed-door conference on the subject of sexual offenses was held under the auspices of the rabbi of the police Central District. And in Jerusalem, there is a center for treatment of juvenile victims in the Haredi community that operates with the involvement of police investigators, psychologists and municipal social workers.
Sources have recounted instances in which ultra-Orthodox schools have encouraged the filing of police complaints. Even if most cases are still handled without police being notified, until a few years ago it would have been unheard of to involve law enforcement officials. And now many Haredi schools, particularly for girls, have put programs in place to address the issue of sexual offenses in the family and community.
In the case of the 22 suspects, it now appears that representatives from the purification commission in touch with the police were using a two-track system of enforcement, one of which worked within the Haredi community and the other with outside officials. The investigation of the new case is therefore expected to look into what considerations came into play in deciding to turn certain suspects over to the police while quietly dealing with others inside the community.
Was it the severity of the allegations or did it have to do with the personal standing of the alleged victims and offenders? Did it have anything to do with the nature of their ties with the rabbis and others who dealt with the case?
Eli Schlesinger, a reporter for the Behadrei Haredim ultra-Orthodox website, who has been among the most prominent reporters covering the issue, which in the past wouldn’t have been touched by the Haredi media, noted that the purification commission has been providing major assistance to the police, and over the past year provided a great deal of material related to a major sexual offense case in Modi’in Illit. It is possible, Schlesinger added, that the new case will do damage to these cooperative ties.
Avigayil Heilbronn-Karlinsky is the founder of an organization called Lo Tishtok (Thou Shalt Not Be Silent), which began as a Facebook page and was transformed into an agency that provides substantial assistance to victims of sexual offenses in the ultra-Orthodox community. Although she supports involving the police, she told Haaretz there is no single sweeping approach that always applies. “There are a lot of private entities, not just Haredi ones, that legally deal with offenses in the community and sometimes they do it better than the police, whose means are limited,” she said.
But she also said her organization does not recommend dealing with cases in the traditional manner within the community, “other than in cases in which there is no alternative because legal authorities can’t help or because the victims will under no circumstances contact the police.”
Two particularly serious cases that were dealt with inside the Haredi community and are now the subject of legal proceedings involve two senior figures at Haredi yeshivas in the greater Tel Aviv area and in Jerusalem. The two cases were initially dealt with inside the community with the involvement of senior rabbis, but in both instances efforts to enforce the decisions in the cases failed. The offenders continued to commit sexual offenses and were not being punished.
The Lo Tishtok organization exposed one of the cases. Heilbronn- Karlinsky said, “In both cases, they were people who faced the threat of being turned over to the police, but even when they continued causing harm, the private and community officials never followed through on the threat. That’s what happened until we entered the picture and took the first complainant to the police.”
[The Diocese of Orne/ Seez chose to announce to the public that it had received a complaint from a victim about acts of pedophilia committed by one of its priests.]
C’est suffisamment rare pour être souligné : l’Eglise révèle une affaire de prêtre pédophile. Dans un communiqué diffusé jeudi, le diocèse de Séez (Orne) dénonce des faits d’agression sexuelle commis à la fin des années 80 sur une lycéenne, mineure à l’époque.
«Au mois de février, j’ai été saisi par une personne d’une plainte concernant des agressions sexuelles commises par un prêtre du diocèse de Séez, l’abbé Daniel Prunier», écrit l’évêque Jacques Habert. Le prêtre mis en cause est un homme de 92 ans aujourd’hui, gravement malade et hospitalisé depuis plusieurs semaines. Selon Ouest-France, Mgr Habert serait allé au chevet de l’abbé Prunier qui aurait reconnu les faits.
The woman who had been the victim of sexual assaults when she was a minor on the part of Father Prunier, then Domfront's priest, had revealed the facts to the former bishop in 1998.
Les instances religieuses savaient dès 1998
La victime avait contacté Monseigneur Dubigeon, alors évêque du diocèse en 1998. A l'époque, l'affaire avait été "réglée en interne". Elle n'a pas été ébruitée et les archives de l'évêché n'en font pas mention. L'évêque actuel, Mgr Habert, est allé hier à la rencontre des paroissiens de Domfront qui étaient eux-même stupéfaits de la nouvelle.
Communiqué issued by Monsignor Habert: Sexual assault on a minor by a priest Diocese de Seez.
[In a long communique that the editorial staff of CameroonWeb reveals in its entirety, the Saint-Jean Community reply to the accusations of pedophilia within its community.]
against which it is the object and informs that "Brother Emmanuel obviously stands at the disposal of the French and Cameroonian justice, if They consider it necessary ".
Dans un long communiqué que révèle en intégralité la rédaction de CameroonWeb, la Communauté Saint-Jean répond aux accusations de pédophilie dont elle fait l’objet et informe que « le frère Emmanuel se tient évidemment à la disposition de la justice française et camerounaise, si elles le jugent nécessaire ».
La communauté avoue qu’elle a « honte » et demande « pardon aux victimes et à leurs familles pour les agissements inadmissibles des frères incriminés et pour les dysfonctionnements de la communauté dans la gestion de ces cas dans le passé ».
[A young seminarian accuses a Coahuila priest of sexual abuse.]
La iglesia espera la resolución de las autoridades para saber si castiga o no al sacerdote
El padre abusó de él cuando se encontraba bajo los influjos del alcohol
En 2013, a sus 15 años de edad, el joven “José” ingresó al Seminario Diocesano de Piedras Negras, el cual era dirigido por el padre Juan Manuel Riojas, popularmente conocido como padre Meño. Tras su ingreso, fue tutelado por el sacerdote.
[Criminal lawyer Francisco Ibarra confirmed to Radio Fueguina that the priest Cristian Vázquez, accused of sexually abusing a minor, will be brought to probation next April 20, after the judge stated that there is sufficient evidence to suspect that the priest committed a crime.]
Será el próximo 20 de abril. Lo confirmó el abogado defensor de la joven víctima, Francisco Ibarra. "Entiendo que existen los elementos para probar que existió un abuso", sostuvo en diálogo con Radio Fueguina.
El abogado penalista Francisco Ibarra confirmó a Radio Fueguina que el sacerdote Cristian Vázquez, acusado de abusar sexualmente de menor de edad, será llevado a indagatoria el próximo 20 de abril, luego de que el Juez dispusiera que existen pruebas suficientes para sospechar que el cura cometió un delito.
“Se han realizado las medidas probatorias que se habían pedido y el señor Juez ha dispuesto la indagatoria para el mes que viene (20 de abril)”, explicó Ibarra, quien además señaló que existe “un cúmulo de pruebas y de declaraciones testimoniales que han sido corroboradas” y luego una Cámara Gesel “terminó de acreditar esto”.
Los Angeles Times
Two Orange County residents are suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, alleging that a Mission Hills cemetery has misused maintenance funds and left their family's gravesites in ruins.
Jodi Howard and William Howard, whose relatives are buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, filed the class-action suit March 21 after they had difficulty finding the grave markers of their loved ones.
They allege breach of contract, negligence and fraud by concealment.
Along with what they claim is the generally poor state of the cemetery grounds, the plaintiffs said grave markers were either missing, damaged or covered in overgrown weeds during their repeated visits.
[Vatican officials are not answering letters from abuse survivors.]
Die Päpstliche Kinderschutzkommission hat vorgeschlagen, dass an den Vatikan gerichtete Briefe von Missbrauchsopfern zeitnah beantwortet werden sollten. Dies geht aus der Erklärung der Kommission zu deren jüngster Plenarsitzung hervor. Was das genau bedeuten kann und wie die bisherige Praxis dazu aussieht, darüber hat Radio Vatikan mit dem Jesuiten Pater Hans Zollner gesprochen. Er ist Leiter des Kinderschutzzentrums an der Päpstlichen Universität Gregoriana und Mitglied der Päpstlichen Kinderschutzkommission.
Das ganze Interview hören Sie über das Anklicken des Lautsprechersymbols oben links.
[The pontifical commission for dealing with abuse has called on the Vatican to have more sympathy with victims of abuse in the Catholic church.]
Die päpstliche Kommission zur Aufarbeitung von Missbrauchsfällen hat den Vatikan zu mehr Mitgefühl mit Missbrauchsopfern in der katholischen Kirche aufgerufen.
Es sei wichtig, dass Briefe der Betroffenen an den Vatikan „zeitnah“ und „persönlich“ beantwortet würden, erklärte das Gremium am Montag. Dies könne zu „weiterer Transparenz und Heilung“ beitragen. Um diese Vorgaben umzusetzen, seien „spezifische Ressourcen und Prozeduren“ erforderlich.
[Berlin / Hildesheim - The bishopric of Hildesheim and the Archdiocese of Berlin have today launched calls for possible victims in connection with allegations of sexual abuse by the former Jesuit riest Peter R.. The Jesuit priest, ordained priest in 1971 in Berlin, worked as a teacher and youth worker at the Canisius College in Berlin from 1972 to 1981. He was then employed in the Bishopric of Hildesheim from 1982 to 1989, initially as a dean of youth welfare in Göttingen, and then from 1989 to 1997 in the municipality of Guter Hirt in Hildesheim, from 1997 to 1998 in the municipality of St. Christophorus in Wolfsburg and from 1999 to 2003 In the municipality of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Hanover. In 1995, he was released from the Jesuit Order and transferred to the Bishopric of Hildesheim as a priest.]
Berlin/Hildesheim - In Bezug auf Vorwürfe des sexuellen Missbrauchs durch den ehemaligen Jesuitenpater Peter R. haben das Bistum Hildesheim und das Erzbistum Berlin heute Aufrufe an mögliche Opfer gestartet. Der 1971 in Berlin zum Priester geweihte ehemalige Jesuitenpater war zunächst von 1972 bis 1981 am Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin als Lehrer und in der Jugendarbeit tätig. Er war dann ab 1982 im Bistum Hildesheim tätig, zunächst von 1982 bis 1989 als Dekanatsjugendseelsorger in Göttingen und anschließend von 1989 bis 1997 in der Gemeinde Guter Hirt in Hildesheim, von 1997 bis 1998 in der Gemeinde St. Christophorus in Wolfsburg und von 1999 bis 2003 in der Gemeinde St. Maximilian Kolbe in Hannover. 1995 wurde er aus dem Jesuitenorden entlassen und wechselte als Priester ins Bistum Hildesheim. Er war von zahlreichen Personen beschuldigt worden, sie als Minderjährige in den Jahren von 1970-1988 sexuell missbraucht zu haben.
Eric Bradach, Metro Editor
Those who suffered sexual abuse and assault as children decades ago may soon be able to obtain justice by having their victimizers prosecuted.
State Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, introduced Senate Bill 189 in January, which would eliminate the statute of limitations for all felony child abuse and sexual assault crimes. It already passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee, of which Bennett is a member, with a 10-0 vote March 7 and is now awaiting a full Senate vote, according to Illinois legislative records.
“What this does is say, ‘This shouldn’t be so complicated,’” Bennett said. “If a child has been sexually assaulted, the timeline should be up to that survivor to come forward, not some arbitrary time deadline.”
As a former assistant state’s attorney in Champaign County, Bennett said he primarily worked on cases of child sexual abuse and assault, and his experiences were a motivator in drafting the bill. The statute of limitations on these crimes can cause victims to hesitate coming forward, he added.
CT News Junkie
by Jack Kramer | Mar 27, 2017
HARTFORD, CT - A proposal to extend the amount of time adult victims of a sexual assault have to report the crime was the subject of an emotional Judiciary Committee public hearing last week.
Victims, and advocates for victims, told committee members at the hearing Friday that the additional time is needed because it sometimes takes years for victims to find the courage to come forward.
Some, such as the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, argued there should be no time limit to report sexual assaults, noting that more than 20 states across the country already have laws in place either allowing victims 10 years or more to report crimes, and some, no time period whatsoever.
But some committee members, while sympathetic to the victims, voiced concerns over whether extending the time period, past the current five-year time period, would prove to be too costly.
Inasmuch as Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has been engaged in a years-long, Moby Dick-like obsession to throw innocent Catholic priests in prison, there was a sense of poetic justice when federal prosecutors indicted Williams last week on numerous charges of using his influence in exchange for opulent gifts, trips, and cash.
[**Click to read the federal indictment against Philly DA Seth Williams (pdf)**]
According to the indictment, Williams "solicited, accepted, and agreed to accept" gifts including round-trip trips to the Dominican Republic, Las Vegas, California, and Florida; Luis Vuitton clothing; a Jaguar XK8 convertible; thousands in cash, and more. And if this were not enough, Williams also stole money from his own adoptive mother.
Back in 2011, Williams orchestrated a grand jury to issue a report which made international headlines with its claims that numerous priests from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia committed sex abuse. Years later, however, we now know that Williams' grand jury report was completely bogus, and it destroyed the lives of numerous innocent men.
By Brianna Smith
Published: March 27, 2017
SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – An Upstate mother spoke with 7 News about the effects of Word of Faith Fellowship Church on her relationship with her daughter.
The Associated Press released a series of articles outlining abuse allegations from former members of the church.
Constance Hardin says her daughter, Cherish Santos, joined Word of Faith Fellowship 6 years ago.
Hardin states that at first she was allowed to visit Santos, but the longer she was in the church, the more she says Santos pushed away.
By Emma Paling
A Conservative senator who was criticized for praising “some good things,” about residential schools will not step down from the Senate committee on aboriginal peoples.
“I’ve made my statements and I stand by them,” Lynn Beyak told CBC News on Monday.
She said she’s received “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” of letters of support since saying that the positive side of residential schools went unacknowledged.
"I've suffered with them up there," Beyak said of residential school survivors in her northwestern Ontario riding. "I appreciate their suffering more than they'll ever know."
At first glance, a 200 percent increase in the number of adult male victims of childhood sexual assault seeking help from Victim Services Inc. within the past year is alarming.
But put into perspective, the time frame roughly follows the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s release of a grand jury report detailing an alleged decades-long cover-up of child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
Are the two related? Mike Oliver, executive director of Victim Services, said there was “no way to gauge” because “that’s not a question that we ask (clients).”
However, the high-profile case and news coverage it received could have been the impetus for more victims to come forward, Oliver told reporter Dave Sutor.
Catholic News Service
By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Acknowledging correspondence and treating victims with respect is the very least church officials can offer, said survivors of clergy sex abuse.
Never letting a letter or email languish unanswered was such a key "best practice" of showing care and concern for victims of sexual abuse by clergy and religious that Marie Collins, an Irish survivor, stepped down from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors over the issue.
When it comes to whether an office should respond to a victim, "There's an amazing ability to take whatever is simple" and make it sound "as if it's highly complex," said Declan Murphy, who was abused as an adolescent by two Christian Brothers in Dublin in the 1960s. Murphy, who was in South Korea, spoke to Catholic News Service via Skype in mid-March.
It's a "basic courtesy" to respond, even if it is just a brief acknowledgment of receiving the letter with a general time frame of intended follow-up. "That's the way most people work when they value and respect a person," he said.
Updated: Mar 28, 2017
By Krystal Paco
The number of plaintiffs suing for clergy sex abuse rises. Today, two more victims file suit in the Superior Court of Guam. Today's fillings mark the 34th and 35th victims to surface since Guam law was changed to lift the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases.
Like the others, he alleges he was a victim of child sex abuse at the hands of a clergy member.
Only listed by his initials M.M., the 56-year-old alleges he was abused by priest and Boy Scout troop leader Father Louis Brouillard when he was around 10-years-old. The complaint, which was filed in the Superior Court of Guam on Tuesday, alleges Brouillard would drive around the Malojojo village on Saturday nights, picking up M.M. and other altar boys to serve mass the next morning - or at least that's what the priest told parents.
According to the complaint filed against the Archdiocese of Agana and the Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council, M.M. was subject to fondling, masturbation, and oral sex in the Church and rectory. The abuse wasn't limited to church grounds as M.M. alleges on Boy Scout outings, he was subject to having his genitals fondled in order to earn merit badges, such as swimming and water rescue.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A longtime Philadelphia church official is due back in court as lawyers debate how many church abuse victims should testify at his retrial.
Monsignor William Lynn is being retried after serving nearly three years of a three- to six-year sentence in a child endangerment case.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the conviction over weeks of testimony from priest abuse victims not directly tied to his case.
The new trial judge will ask prosecutors Tuesday to call fewer than a dozen victims, down from 23 at the first trial.
Lynn is accused of endangering an altar boy who says he was assaulted by a priest in 1998.
The Guam Daily Post
By Mindy Aguon | For the Guam Daily Post
Victims of sexual abuse can file civil action and protect their identity, according to attorney Kevin Fowler.
The attorney filed two lawsuits in the Superior Court today against the Archdiocese of Agana, the Boy Scouts of America and Father Louis Brouillard. One lawsuit was filed by an individual with the initials “M.M.”.
Fowler said it is the first suit that protects the identity of sexual abuse survivors. He said it is common for courts to protect the identity of sexual assault victims, including survivors of childhood sexual abuse, at least until trial. “People who survived abuse should not think they have to make their names publicly known in order to seek justice,” Fowler said.
The lawsuit filed by “M.M.” alleges that Brouillard, a former priest at San Isidro Parish in Malojloj and a Boy Scout Master on Guam, sexually abused him for approximately five years during overnight stays beginning when he was 9 years old.
March 27, 2017
Pacific Daily News
Haidee V Eugenio , firstname.lastname@example.org March 28, 2017
Two former altar boys allege former Catholic priest Louis Brouillard sexually abused them multiple times on parish grounds and during Boy Scouts of America activities starting when they were only about 9 years old.
Lawsuits filed by “M.M.”, now 56, and John Cruz, now 55, bring to 35 the Guam clergy sexual abuse cases filed thus far in local and federal court.
The first complaint identifies the plaintiff only as “M.M.," this is the first Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuit that protects a plaintiff’s identity. M.M. lives in Washington state. Cruz lives in Agat.
The men filed their lawsuits in the Superior Court of Guam against the Archdiocese of Agana and the Boy Scouts of America Tuesday morning.
Summary of Case: Wallace A. Harris was ordained for the Archdiocese of New York in 1972. He assisted at St. Joseph of the Holy Family for more than a decade and, from the late 1970s through the 1980s, was on the faculty of Cathedral Preparatory Seminary. In 1990 Harris was named pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Harlem, where he remained for nearly twenty years. In addition, he was administrator for several years of two other parishes in the 2000s - St. Peter's, and Resurrection in Harlem.
Through the years, Harris rose to prominence in the archdiocese. He held the position of Spiritual Advisor for the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, served on the Archdiocesan Priests Council, and was an Archdiocesan Consultor. In 2009 he was elevated to Monsignor. He was selected in 2002 to testify before the USCCB's National Review Board; Harris told the board that clergy sex abuse was a problem, but that too many innocent priests were being accused. In March 2008 Msgr. Harris gave the invocation for the new governor's inauguration and the following month he organized Pope Benedict XVI's mass at Yankee Stadium.
In June 2008 a man alleged that, when he was a 13- or 14-year-old Cathedral Prep student, Harris sexually abused him. The D.A. investigated and discovered another former Cathedral Prep student with allegations against Harris. Harris was suspended in late July. Soon thereafter a third man came forward, saying Harris sexually abused him when he was 13 to 16 years-old. This accuser said he was Harris' godson, and had been his student at St. Joseph's parish and Cathedral Prep. By September 2010 seven additional men had come forward. Harris denied the allegations. He was not criminally charged due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
In 2012 Harris was sentenced by the Vatican to "a life of prayer and penance." Per the archdiocese, he was living under "very, very close supervision" in a Catholic facility.
By John Paul Tasker, CBC News Posted: Mar 27, 2017
Senator Lynn Beyak says she doesn't need any more education about the horrors of the residential school system because she "suffered" alongside Indigenous people who were sent to the institutions.
The Conservative senator from northwestern Ontario reiterated her defence of the schools in an interview with CBC News on Monday.
"I made my statements, and I stand by them," she said. "I think, if you go across Canada, there are shining examples from sea to sea of people who owe their lives to the schools," she said, while acknowledging that the bad parts of the schools were "horrific."
"I've suffered with them up there. I appreciate their suffering more than they'll ever know," she said. "The best way to heal is to move forward together. Not to blame, not to point fingers, not to live in the past."
The Times (UK)
March 28 2017
The Catholic church’s commission on child safety has called on the Vatican to react “directly and compassionately” to letters from victims of clerical sex abuse after concerns were raised by Marie Collins.
Ms Collins, who was abused by a Dublin hospital chaplain when she was 13, was one of two victims on the 16-person Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. She resigned because a separate Vatican body was not responding to letters from victims and had refused to co-operate with the establishment of a tribunal into alleged abuse, which was announced by the Pope and promised significant resources in 2015. The tribunal has since been scrapped.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican body that oversees the theology of the church, had claimed that letters from victims were being deferred to local pastors and that the tribunal had only ever been a “blueprint”.
Last weekend the child safety commission held its first meeting since Ms Collins resigned. In a statement issued yesterday it emphasised the importance of writing back to victims. “The commission discussed the importance of responding directly and compassionately to victims/survivors when they write to offices of the Holy See. Members agreed that acknowledging correspondence and giving a timely and personal response is one part of furthering transparency and healing.”
TROY, Mo. (AP) — St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson is accused in a lawsuit of mishandling the case of a priest once charged with molesting a teenager.
The lawsuit filed in 2013 alleges that Carlson knew the Rev. Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang was a danger to children before Jiang was charged with sexual misconduct involving the then-16-year-old girl in 2012. Jiang was added as a defendant in the lawsuit in 2015. Jury selection began Monday.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Elizabeth Westhoff said in an email Monday that the archdiocese "has steadfastly denied these allegations since they were first raised and intends to defend itself in court."
According to the lawsuit, the girl told police that Jiang, then an associate pastor at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica, had molested her at her home in Old Monroe, Missouri, about 40 miles northwest of St. Louis. The suit also alleged that a witness saw Jiang kissing the girl on the mouth and touching her inappropriately "in the parking lot of the church rectory."
Religion News Service
By Josephine McKenna
ROME (RNS) Pope Francis’ sex abuse panel has pledged to continue its work minus the two sex abuse victims who were appointed to help overhaul the Catholic Church’s response to the scandal.
Irish abuse survivor — a term many prefer to be known by — Marie Collins recently resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. British abuse survivor Peter Saunders stepped down from the commission a year ago and has called for more urgent action to tackle perpetrators of these “vile crimes.”
But a commission statement vowed that victims of clerical abuse should have a voice in the future.
“Commission members have unanimously agreed to find new ways to ensure its work is shaped and informed with and by victims/survivors,” read a statement released after concluding a meeting in Rome on Sunday (March 26).
The New Indian Express
KALPETTA: At a time when the Church is struggling to get out of a sticky situation after a sexual abuse complaint surfaced against a priest in Kottiyoor, Kannur, comes the allegation from a girl saying a priest misbehaved with her at the Chundakkara church in Wayanad.
The police have launched a detailed probe based on the girl’s complaint.
She revealed the details to the child protection unit.
“We have received a complaint against the priest identified as Jino Mekkat. Our team is probing the matter,” confirmed Wayanad SP Rajpal Meena.
27 March 2017
A panel advising Pope Francis on child protection has called on the Vatican to react "directly and compassionately" to letters from victims of clerical sex abuse, reviving an issue that unleashed a storm just weeks ago.
The Pontifical Commission on the Protection of Minors made the recommendation after a weekend meeting.
It was the panel's first meeting since Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse, angrily quit after a similar request was turned down.
"The Commission discussed the importance of responding directly and compassionately to victims/survivors when they write to offices of the Holy See," the panel said in a statement issued on Monday.
"Members agreed that acknowledging correspondence and giving a timely and personal response is one part of furthering transparency and healing."
Catholic News Service
By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Following the resignation of a prominent member and abuse survivor, a pontifical commission charged with addressing issues related to clergy sex abuse vowed to continue to seek input from victims and survivors.
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said the resignation of Marie Collins was a "central topic" of its March 24-26 plenary assembly, and it "expressed strong support for her continuing work" to promote healing for abuse victims and ensuring best practices for prevention.
"Commission members have unanimously agreed to find new ways to ensure its work is shaped and informed with and by victims/survivors. Several ideas that have been successfully implemented elsewhere are being carefully considered for recommendation to the Holy Father," the commission said in a March 26 statement published by the Vatican.
Among the main concerns addressed by the commission was outreach out to victims, an issue first raised by Collins shortly after she resigned from her position.
The Supreme Court has ruled that three victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth are entitled to a full hearing of their claim for damages in the High Court.
The three had appealed a previous ruling that they were bound by the settlement of cases they had taken in Northern Ireland.
The man, his sister and their cousin - were sexually abused as children by Smyth between 1969 and 1988.
In the late 1990s, they settled actions in the Belfast High Court for £25,000 each for the man and the cousin and £16,000 for the sister.
They say they learned from newspapers in 2012, that the Catholic Church authorities had been informed of Smyth's abuse as far back as 1975, by another boy. The same boy had also said the man in this case had been away on a holiday with Smyth where abuse occurred.
The Irish News
A court in the Republic has said three victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth are entitled to a full hearing of a claim for damages.
The Supreme Court ruling came after the victims appealed a decision that they were bound by settlements of cases taken in the north.
The appeal was brought by a brother and sister and their cousin who were abused between 1969 and 1988.
In the late 1990s, the three settled actions at the High Court in Belfast.
They say they later learned through the media that the Catholic Church was aware of Smyth’s abuse in 1975 and launched fresh proceedings against Bishop Leo O'Reilly and Cardinal Sean Brady.
Three victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth are entitled to a full hearing of their claim for damages in the High Court despite previous rulings that they were bound by settlements of cases taken by them in Northern Ireland, the Supreme Court has ruled.
The three — a man and his sister and their cousin — were sexually abused as children by the since deceased Smyth between 1969 and 1988.
In the late 1990s, they settled actions in the Belfast High Court for £25,000 each for the man and the cousin and £16,000 for the sister.
They say in 2012, they learned from newspapers that as far back as 1975 the Catholic Church authorities had been informed of Smyth’s abuse by another boy who had also named the man in this case as having been away on holiday with Smyth where abuse occurred.
As a result, they brought new proceedings in the Republic here claiming, among other things, that they had suffered a recurrence of trauma as a result of the publication of that information.
National Catholic Reporter
[Pédophilie dans l'Eglise : le poids du silence - Cash Investigation (Intégrale) - YouTube]
Tom Heneghan | Mar. 27, 2017
PARIS A hard-hitting French television investigation has accused 25 Catholic bishops of protecting 32 accused clerical sex abusers in France over the past half century and often transferring them to other parishes or even other countries when they were singled out for sexual abuse of minors.
The French bishops' conference declined an invitation to participate in the France 2 television program aired March 21. A conference spokesman accused journalists of trying to blackmail the church, an allegation the program's editor vigorously refuted.
Mediapart, an online journal that cooperated in the investigation, called the resulting report "a French Spotlight," a reference to The Boston Globe team that in 2002 reported on sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese. The yearlong French inquiry was also published March 22 as a book titled Church: The Mechanism of Silence.
The controversy over the program, titled "Pedophilia in the Church: The Burden of Silence," came as the bishops' conference struggles to demonstrate its concern for abuse victims while details of past negligence keep emerging.
We have become so accustomed to boilerplate accounts of Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes that even the most absurd accusations leave us numb. This is wrong. Indeed, it is dangerous. It is also born of blind hatred of all things Catholic.
Those who are making wild-eyed accusations consider themselves tolerant and open-minded, yet they are anything but. Like all hard-core ideologues, their minds have been made up: they are both judge and jury, and their sentence has been delivered.
Some of us, however, are still persuaded by evidence, data, logic, and reason, and do not allow emotion to dictate our thinking. This surely includes many who have contacted me from Ireland. One of them recently sent a very sober and well-researched article written by an anonymous orphan from Galway. It debunks many myths about Irish nuns, and recounts some harsh realities.
Voz Iz Neias (US)
Jerusalem - Twenty two ultra-Orthodox (haredi) Jews were arrested Monday and charged with sexually assaulting minors and women. The individuals, who were not named, are all between the ages of 20-60 and are residents of Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, Beit Shemesh and Bnei Brak.
Police spokespeople said the arrests were made as part of an ongoing investigation into widespread sex crimes in haredi communities, and that the individuals arrested are suspected of committing crimes over a period of two years.
The police posted below video depicting the arrests on social media.
Nir Hasson and Yair Ettinger Mar 27, 2017
The police arrested 22 Haredim in Jerusalem and three other Israeli cities on Monday morning, on suspicion of sexually molesting minors and women over the last two years.
In some cases, ultra-Orthodox residents in the four cities – Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Betar Ilit and Bnei Brak – attacked the police, throwing stones and other items, and tried to block the arrests. In Jerusalem, the windows of two police cars were shattered by rocks.
The investigation by the police’s Jerusalem District began after they received information that ultra-Orthodox elements were concealing information on sex crimes in their community.
These Haredim allegedly received their rabbis’ blessing to seek and collect information on sexual predators in the community, without involving the police. They did so, even maintaining written records of attacks and the people involved. At the end of the process, the perpetrators were forced to agree to undergo therapy within the ultra-Orthodox world.
During their investigation, the police seized the notebooks in which the records were kept. Tens of alleged attackers were documented, some of whom had committed serial offenses, including against children, the police said.
Based on this information, the police arrested 22 suspects, ages 20 to 60. Each is alleged to have committed several attacks over the last two years.
Following the arrests, the police said that the ultra-Orthodox community had been handling the matter internally, collecting information and conducting some form of internal procedure, culminating in a sort of punishment.
The upshot, the statement said, was that the suspects could continue to live their lives without paying a penalty, and dozens of victims were left without help. The police added they will make sure that those arrested are brought to trial.
The records on the alleged sexual predators were kept by a single person – known in ultra-Orthodox circles as a “fixer.” This person operates under the imprimatur of a Jerusalem-based body known as the “purification commission” of the community, which operates in different Haredi communities (including the Hasidic and “Lithuanian” sects).
The fixer himself is not a suspect in the case and is not under arrest. He has been in contact with the police for years and testified in many sexual-offense cases, helping the police to achieve convictions. However, it has only become apparent now that he was maintaining a network that would field and investigate complaints about sexual offenses, using old-world methods accepted in the Haredi world.
Usually, offenders “tried” within Haredi circles are forced to undergo therapy, possibly with a psychologist, or might be “exiled” to another city.
The present affair arrives with the Haredi community in the midst of a changing attitude toward sex crimes. This is expressed chiefly by extensive collaboration with the police – even by the more extreme sects.
Another change is the intensive media coverage such cases receive on ultra-Orthodox news sites – though still not in the printed press – and in online forums.
Eli Schlesinger, a reporter for the Behadrey Haredim website, which is notable for its coverage of matters that were once silenced, noted that the purification commission is very helpful to the police and provided officers with information about alleged sexual offenses in Modi’in Ilit last year.
Cooperation with the police is based on the rabbis having faith in the process, Schlesinger said – a faith that might be damaged by the present investigation.
February 17, 2017
Last week’s JC reported that the Orthodox schools establishment had responded positively to the call to place relationships teaching on the curriculum. Judith Nemeth, executive director of the National Association of Orthox Jewish Schools was quoted as saying that compulsory relationships education was “good news for all”.
But how far will this go within Strictly Orthodox circles? Entrenched attitudes and beliefs — among parents as well as teachers — cannot be merely swept aside. And there is no area in which attitudes are more entrenched than that of sex education.
In Deborah Feldman’s memoir of her life as a Satmar Chasid, Unorthodox, one scene is not for the squeamish. A friend tells Deborah how her new husband managed to rupture her colon in a painful attempt to consummate the marriage. As an example of what happens without adequate sex education, it couldn’t be bleaker.
Even if that’s an extreme case, it’s not an exaggeration to suggest that some strictly Orthodox Jews are being brought up without full understanding of the complexities of sexuality and modern relationships or, at best, an understanding only within narrow religious parameters.
Officers pelted with projectiles and their vehicle windows are smashed, as they detain residents of Orthodox neighbourhoods
March 27, 2017
Israeli police were pelted with rocks with strictly Orthodox Jews across four cities in the early hours of Monday morning as they arrested 22 Charedi men suspected of sex crimes against women and children.
The men, who were being sheltered by their various religious communities, were arrested in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Betar Illit and Bnei Brak, as residents seeking to prevent the arrests turned on police, hurling projectiles at officers and smashing the windscreens of police vehicles.
The 22 arrested men are aged 20-60 year and in some cases were identified two years ago, but Israel’s tight-knit Orthodox communities have sheltered them from the law. Police say they believe Charedi leaders have also helped conceal their crimes.
According to reports in Israeli media, the police investigation revealed that the Charedi communities were dealing with the alleged sex crimes internally, with religious leaders ordering the perpetrators to get therapy within the community.
Times of Israel
BY STUART WINER March 27, 2017
Police on Monday arrested 22 suspects from ultra-Orthodox communities on suspicion they carried out dozens of sex crimes against women and minors over the past two years, but were sheltered from the law by community figures who preferred to deal with the matter in their own way.
Investigators believe that various senior ultra-Orthodox leaders were aware of the suspects’ alleged crimes but did not report them to police or welfare workers, police said.
The early-morning arrests of men aged 20-60 were made in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Beitar Illit, and Bnei Brak, cities with large ultra-Orthodox communities.
As police closed in on the suspects, ultra-Orthodox protesters tried to prevent the arrests by attacking officers and throwing stones at police vehicles, some of which were damaged.
Police suspect that the alleged crimes were not reported at the behest of so-called “modesty guards,” vigilante groups that act to enforce the ultra-Orthodox community’s strict lifestyle regulations of modesty and social behavior without the involvement of law officials or welfare authorities.
TROY, MO (KTVI)- Jury selection is set today in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Louis. According to our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the family of a teenage girl claims Archbishop Robert Carlson failed to discipline Father Joseph Jiang, who was charged at the time with molesting the girl in 2012.
Prosecutors later dropped the case.
TROY, Mo. (AP) — A trial is set to get underway near St. Louis over allegations by a young woman and her family that St. Louis' archbishop mishandled the case of a priest once charged with molesting her as a teenager.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2o0nyta ) reports that jury selection was scheduled for Monday in Lincoln County. The 2013 lawsuit alleges Archbishop Robert Carlson knew the Rev. Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang was a danger to children before Jiang was charged with sexual misconduct involving the young woman in 2012, when she was 16.
Jiang was added as a defendant in the lawsuit in 2015.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By Joel Currier St. Louis Post-Dispatch
TROY, MO. • Jury selection is set for Monday in a civil trial in which a Lincoln County teenager and her family have accused St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson of knowing a priest was a danger to children before the cleric was charged with molesting the teen in 2012.
Jurors will be selected Monday from a pool of about 110 Lincoln County residents, with opening statements set to follow in the trial presided over by St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer.
The lawsuit was filed in 2013 by the girl’s parents against Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis after she told police the Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, then an associate pastor at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End, had molested her at her home in Old Monroe. Jiang was added as a defendant in the lawsuit in 2015.
The alleged victim was 16 at the time of the alleged abuse. Jiang was in his late 20s. Charges of child endangerment and witness tampering that accused Jiang of leaving a $20,000 check and an apology on a family’s car as hush money were dismissed in 2013.
The presence of Marie Collins on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors seemed to guarantee both the commission’s seriousness and its effectiveness. Many believed that Ms. Collins, an outspoken survivor of clergy sexual abuse, would not allow the Vatican to ignore the urgent need to combat sex abuse and provide adequate protection for minors. That is why her resignation from the commission on March 1 was such a blow. In a letter published in The National Catholic Reporter on March 14, Ms. Collins said that “lack of resources, inadequate structures around support staff, slowness of forward movement and cultural resistance” made the commission’s work nearly impossible. In a later interview with America, she pointed to the resistance from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to adhere to Pope Francis’ instruction that Vatican departments should acknowledge every letter received from victims of abuse.
That prompted a response by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the C.D.F., dismissing Ms. Collins’s concern as fostering a “cliché” that pitted the Roman Curia against Pope Francis, and saying that “local shepherds” are better suited to respond to letters from abuse victims. That, in turn, led to an extraordinary statement from Ms. Collins rebutting his account and even correcting the cardinal’s statement that he had never met her. Overall, she said, “I would ask that instead of falling back into the church's default position of denial and obfuscation, when a criticism like mine is raised the people of the church deserve to be given a proper explanation. We are entitled to transparency, honesty and clarity.” Especially in the area of sexual abuse, where the church ignored and minimized reports for decades, the need for transparency must be evaluated from the perspective of the victims of abuse.
March 27, 2017
The perpetrators of institutional child abuse across Australia have been overwhelmingly adult men, most commonly members of the clergy and their victims most like to be boys aged between 10-14, a royal commission has heard.
The opening morning of the 57th and final public hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard over a third of child victims reported abuse that went on for over a year.
Thirty six per cent of the more than 6500 victims who have given evidence in private to the commissioners said they had been abused by multiple perpetrators, the commission heard.
“The majority of perpetrators were adult males, that is nearly 94 of child abuse victims reported abuse by a male perpetrator,” counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC said.
“The positions held by adult perpetrators within institutions most commonly reported were members of the clergy — that is 32 per cent, teachers — that is 21 per cent and residential care works — that is 13 per cent,” she said.
By Nicole Chettle
Victims have waited too long for a response to their suffering and protection of children should be a top priority in Australia, says the chair of the royal commission into child sexual abuse.
After three-and-a-half years with sessions in every capital city, the final public hearing has begun in Sydney.
Chair of the commission, Justice Peter McClellan, said it was remarkable there were failures at more than 4,000 institutions identified in abuse allegations.
He said more than 1,200 witnesses gave evidence about abuse that occurred at "public and private schools, detention centres, out-of-home care, churches, orphanages and government bodies".
"We have also inquired into defence establishments, sporting clubs, after-school care, dance and performing arts academies, institutions providing services for children with disability, scouts, healthcare providers and a yoga ashram."
Sydney Morning Herald
Thousands of institutions have been implicated in allegations of child sexual abuse, according to new data released by a royal commission.
As the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commences its final public hearing, chairman Justice Peter McClellan has urged child protection reform and proper redress for victims.
The $500 million inquiry is Australia's longest royal commission, starting in 2013 and due to finish with a final report to the federal government in December.
In his opening remarks to the hearing, Justice McClellan said governments and institutions needed to focus on redress and regulatory changes, "designed to ensure that so far as possible no child is abused in an institutional context in the future".
Monday, March 27, 2017
By Conall Ó Fátharta
Irish Examiner Reporter
Despite the many pronouncements on the Magdalene Laundries, the State is hugely concerned at the payout it may have to make, writes Conall Ó Fátharta.
FEW people will forget the apology offered by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in February of 2013 on behalf of the State to the women who suffered in the Magdalene Laundries.
He spoke of a “nation’s shame” and of women taking the country’s terrible secret and making it their own.
“But from this moment on you need carry it no more. Because today we take it back. Today we acknowledge the role of the State in your ordeal,” he said.
However, less than two years earlier in June 2011, many members of his Cabinet were determined to distance the State as far as possible from any liability.
A series of cabinet observations on a Department of Justice memorandum for Government seeking permission for the establishment of what eventually became the McAleese Committee reveal a Cabinet concerned about three things — not conceding on the issue of that State liability, calls for further inquiries into issues like Mother and Baby Homes and foster care settings and avoiding a redress bill.
Monday, March 27, 2017
By Conall Ó Fátharta
Irish Examiner Reporter
Concerns were expressed at Cabinet in 2011 that, if there was an inquiry into Magdalene laundries, it could lead to calls for inquiries into abuses in mother and baby homes, psychiatric institutions, and foster care settings.
The concerns are in a memorandum for Government seeking permission to establish what became the McAleese committee.
Some six years later, Ireland’s mother and baby home system and the treatment of more than 40 vulnerable adults in a foster care setting are now the subject of State inquiries.
The document from June 2011, obtained by the Irish Examiner, reveals that a key issue for government and the attorney general was that the move could lead to pressure for further inquiries and for redress.
It is also repeatedly stressed that the State was not liable for any women who suffered in Magdalene laundries.
The observations of the then Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn state that, although he is supportive of the approach outlined in the memorandum, “there may be demands for enquiries [sic] into other situations”.
Daily Mail (UK)
By Kelly Mclaughlin For Mailonline
Eerie photos from Magdalene Laundries around the world show children eating dinner as nuns watch over them and young women working on heavy equipment.
The images give an insight into life inside the laundries, which were places for women branded 'undesirable' by the church and orphaned children, where untold horrors are said to have taken place.
The establishments were set-up to house 'fallen women', a term that was used to imply female sexual promiscuity, when in reality they were women who had children out of wedlock.
These institutions, also known as Magdalene asylums, have sparked great controversy, only this month a mass septic tank containing the skeletons of 800 babies was found in County Galway, Ireland.
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Members of Pope Francis' sex abuse advisory board vowed Sunday to press ahead with their work even without abuse survivors on the panel following the resignation of a respected child advocate.
The commission wrapped up a plenary Sunday saying it would "find new ways" to ensure people who were abused by clergy shape and inform its work. But no specifics were announced, and it wasn't clear if survivors would be named as members down the line.
Irish abuse survivor Marie Collins, a founding member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, resigned on March 1, citing what she called "unacceptable" resistance to the commission's proposals from the Vatican's doctrine office, which is responsible for processing cases against abusive priests.
Collins mentioned in particular the alleged refusal by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to implement proposals approved by the pope and to collaborate with the commission.
(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] met for its eighth Plenary Assembly from March 24-26, 2017. The resignation of founding member Marie Collins was a key topic on the agenda. The Commission expressed its gratitude to her and supported her continuing work to promote healing for victims of abuse and the prevention of all abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. During the Plenary the Commision also discussed the importance of responding directly and compassionately to victims/survivors when they write to offices of the Holy See. The Plenary Assembly followed the Education Day on March 23, at the Gregorian University, co-sponsored in partnership with the Centre for Child Protection and the Congregation for Catholic Education.
Please find below the Concluding Statement
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] met for its eighth Plenary Assembly from March 24-26, 2017.
A central topic in this Plenary Assembly was the resignation of founding member Marie Collins. The Commission members expressed strong support for her and her continuing work to promote healing for victims of abuse and the prevention of all abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. They also expressed their particular gratitude that Marie Collins has agreed to continue working with the Commission’s educational programs for new bishops and the offices of the Roman Curia.
Commission members have unanimously agreed to find new ways to ensure its work is shaped and informed with and by victims/survivors. Several ideas that have been successfully implemented elsewhere are being carefully considered for recommendation to the Holy Father.
National Catholic Reporter
Joshua J. McElwee | Mar. 27, 2017
VATICAN CITY Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse has expressed its “strong support” for a former member of the group who resigned earlier this month due to frustration with Vatican officials' reluctance to cooperate with its work to protect children.
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said in a statement late Sunday that the resignation of abuse survivor Marie Collins had been “a central topic” of their discussions during their plenary assembly, held in Rome March 24-26.
“Commission members expressed strong support for her and her continuing work to promote healing for victims of abuse and the prevention of all abuse of minors and vulnerable adults,” said the statement.
Collins, who had been the last active member of the commission who is an abuse survivor, resigned March 1.
National Secular Society (UK)
Posted: Mon, 27 Mar 2017
by Keith Porteous Wood
The reach and power of the Catholic Church has waned considerably in recent years in Ireland. But there are troubling signs that its undue influence over the country is returning, writes Keith Porteous Wood.
It is difficult to envisage now, but when the UK was formed at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Dublin was regarded as the "Second City of the British Empire". Ireland's role in British political life was no less than that of England, Scotland and Wales from then until the progressive separations from Britain that started during the First World War.
The Catholic Church that had been suppressed by the Imperial power was quick to help fill the vacuum left by the British departure. The 1937 constitution was based on Papal encyclicals and presented on two occasions to the Vatican (a foreign state) for review and comment, and unsurprisingly accorded the Roman Catholic Church a "special position", a position it certainly occupied in education at least. This formal status was repealed only in 1972, but was not of course matched by any reduction in the Church's role in education.
The Church's power came from its pervasive and anti-secular influence in the Government and Parliament, where the pious may well have been faced with conflicts of interest, and not only on sensitive matters of social policy such as divorce and abortion, but crucially on financial matters.
March 27, 2017
The mother of Stephanie Otobo, the Nigerian woman who accused a cleric, Johnson Suleiman, of infidelity and abuse, visited the Omega Fire Ministry headquarters in Auchi, Edo State, on Sunday to plead on her daughter’s behalf.
Ms. Otobo’s sister accompanied their mum who is popularly called Mama Tope to the church. Their statements and apologies were beamed live on the church’s website on Sunday morning.
But in a swift video reaction on Instagram on Sunday, Ms. Otobo, who said she has since returned to Canada, claimed that her mother was threatened to apologise to the embattled pastor.
The budding singer also debunked her apology to Mr. Suleman, popularly called Apostle Suleman, saying she was threatened.
Inés San Martín March 27, 2017
ROME - Pope Francis’ point man in the fight against sexual abuse insists that the Vatican remains committed to holding bishops accountable for enforcing zero tolerance, but conceded that “time will be the test” in terms of how, and whether, new procedures for imposing accountability actually work.
“I think Madre Amorevole [a document issued by Pope Francis in June 2016] has put the spotlight on the problem, and has publicly committed the Church to a course of action,” said Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley in a Crux interview on Monday.
“Time will be the test of it, but I think it’s the first time there’s been that kind of a public commitment and a realization of the need for accountability,” he said.
“You need a clear process, from the point of view of the bishops, too,” he said. “Unfortunately, oftentimes in the past the way things were done is that if there was a lot of publicity around it, then the bishop just resigned. He never really had the chance to make his case. And if he were a bad actor and there wasn’t a lot of publicity, maybe nothing would happen.”
“That’s not the way to run a railroad!” he said.
Asked if the Vatican now has such clear procedures, O’Malley said, “I hope we do, but we need to see how it’s going to work.”
By Julie Mack | email@example.com
on March 24, 2017
Dr. Larry Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports medicine doctor, has been in the news since September 2016 when former patients first began accusing him of sexual abuse.
Neither Nassar, nor his attorney, have commented on the allegations. But a document released this week sheds some light what Nassar may have told investigators.
That document is a 28-page report from Michigan State University's Office of Institutional Equity, and summarizes a Title IX investigation into a complaint filed by Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to go public with allegations against Nassar.
The report, which says a "preponderance of evidence" supports Denhollander's accusations, includes a lengthy summary of the investigator's Sept. 8 interview with Nassar, who was fired two week after the interview.
Nassar is currently in federal custody on child-pornography charges, and also has been charged with 25 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving 10 women, nine of whom are former patients.
By Brigid Kennedy
March 26, 2017
Former MSU employee Larry Nassar was a catechist for St. Thomas Aquinas Church’s seventh grade class, though the parish is not eager to claim him.
Nassar also served as a Eucharistic minister at St. John Church and Student Center, also part of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, according to the spring 2000 edition of Communiqué, the magazine of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Nassar is accused of sexually abusing his patients and other young women with whom he had contact.
Nassar was arrested in December 2016 on charges of possessing “at least 37,000” images of child pornography.
March 26, 2017
March 27, 2017
In a case with striking similarities to testimony made by residential school survivors, two Indigenous adult women say they were repeatedly sexually abused by clergy at a Catholic day school in Manitoba they were forced to attend as children.
And now they've launched a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, the two now-deceased men they say were responsible, the province and other defendants.
Both women — one now 67 and Status Indian, the other a 63-year-old Métis woman — attended the same elementary school in Bloodvein, Man., about 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg, from about 1956 until the mid-1960s.
The two women say the same two men, now dead, fondled and raped them as children beginning at ages seven and six, respectively.
KALPETTA: A complaint has been lodged against a priest of the Chundakkara church for allegedly misbehaving with a minor girl. A case has been registered against Father Jino Mekkat based on the complaint.
It has been reported that the incident took place at the Chundakkara church while Father Jino was working in the Mananthavady diocese in September.
A child protection officer took a statement from the victim after he heard about the incident through confidential sources. The complaint states that the girl was called into the church and the father groped and misbehaved with her.
Honduras: Evangelical pastor was sentenced to 136 years in prison for sexually abusing four minors.The condemned's name is Franklin Geovanny Cabrera Sierra, 48 years old, who was a religious "leader" of the Evangelical Resurrection of Christ Church.]
Honduras – Pastor evangélico de la capital es condenado a 136 años de cárcel por abusar sexualmente de cuatro menores de edad.
El nombre del condenado es Franklin Geovanny Cabrera Sierra de 48 años de edad; quien era “líder” religioso de la Iglesia Evangélica Resurrección de Cristo.
Los deplorables hechos fueron realizados en la colonia La Independencia, Comayagüela; según se informó, un total de ocho veces.
[A complaint filed against Bishop Barbarin. ... The prosecutor of Lyon filed a complaint against Cardinal Barbarin in December 2016 for "non-denunciation" of sexual assaults and putting others in danger.]
Cette information fait visiblement moins de bruit que lors du dépôt de la plainte… Le procureur de la République de Lyon a classé sans suite, en décembre 2016, une plainte contre le cardinal Barbarin pour « non-dénonciation » d’agressions sexuelles et « mise en danger de la vie d’autrui ». Après neuf mois d’enquête, le ministère public a décidé de prendre cette décision « en l’absence d’infraction susceptible d’être caractérisée ».
Daily News Cameroon
[A survey conducted by "Cash Investigation" reveals cases of sexual abuse committed by brothers in the Saint John community. ]
Une enquête menée par « Cash Investigation » révèle des affaires d’abus sexuels commis par des frères enseignants de la communauté Saint-Jean. Ces derniers dirigent l’un des grands collègues de la capitale camerounaise, notamment le collège Francois-Xavier Vogt, communément appelé collège catholique Vogt de Yaoundé.
L’ampleur du scandale est sans précédent. L’église catholique serait impliquée mais cette dernière ferme les yeux de peur de ternir son image, d’après les révélations de l’enquête menée conjointement par des journalistes de France 2 et du site d'information Mediapart.
[Sexual abuse: How the Catholic Church transferred priests between Guinea and France (Mediapart)]
Par Daphné Gastaldi, Mathieu Martiniere et Mathieu Périsse (We Report)
Ce sont deux religieux soupçonnés d’avoir commis des agressions sexuelles. Le premier, à Lyon, a été exfiltré en Guinée. Le second, parti de Conakry, termine sa carrière en Haute-Loire. Ils n’ont jamais été dénoncés à la justice. Révélations tirées du livre Église, la mécanique du silence (JC Lattès), en partenariat avec « Cash Investigation ».
[The final report on sexual and other violence in the Regensburger Domspatzen is expected in May. The reason for the delay is "numerous supplementary information" which has been received in recent weeks and months from both known and new victims.]
Eigentlich sollte der Abschlussbericht zur Aufklärung der Übergriffe bei den Regensburger Domspatzen im ersten Quartal 2016 vorliegen. Doch durch viele neue Informationen verzögert sich der Vorgang um einige Wochen.
Der Regensburger Rechtsanwalt Ulrich Weber will seinen Abschlussbericht zur Aufklärung der Übergriffe bei den Regensburger Domspatzen im Mai veröffentlichen. Über den genauen Termin werde er noch informieren, teilte der unabhängige Sonderermittler am Mittwoch auf seiner Internetseite mit.
[In the run-up to the plenary session, the Pontifical Commission has been caught in the news because Marie Collins has declared her departure. This means only one abuse victim among the Commissioners: Peter Saunders. However, he is also on leave and remains outside the current session. Saunders was sexually abused as a 12-year-old by two Jesuits over four years.]
Im Vorfeld der Plenarsitzung ist die Kommission in die Schlagzeilen geraten, weil die Irin Marie Collins überraschend ihren Austritt erklärt hat. Damit ist nur noch ein Missbrauchsopfer unter den Kommissionsmitgliedern: Der Brite Peter Saunders. Allerdings ist auch er beurlaubt und bleibt bei der aktuellen Sitzung außen vor. Saunders wurde als 12-Jähriger von zwei Jesuiten sexuell missbraucht, über vier Jahre hinweg. Er hat es verdrängt bis seine beiden Kinder später in das Alter kamen, in dem er missbraucht wurde. "Alles, was damals passiert ist, war plötzlich wieder da", erzählt Saunders.
In einem Büro in London leitet Peter Saunders die erste Anlaufstelle für Missbrauchsopfer in Großbritannien und betreibt eine kostenlose Hotline. Einen Anruf im Dezember 2014 wird Peter Saunders nie vergessen. Am Hörer war der Vorsitzende der Kinderschutzkommission, die Papst Franziskus gerade erst ins Leben gerufen hatte. Die Frage, ob er der Kommission beitreten wolle kam für den Briten überraschend: "Ich dachte, jawoll, endlich die Gelegenheit, Dinge wahrzumachen und zu verändern!" Denn bereits in den 1990er-Jahren hatte Saunders auf eigene Faust versucht, das Thema Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche anzugehen. Aus seinem Engagement entstand NAPAC, ein zehnköpfiges Team, das Missbrauchsopfer in Großbritannien berät - unabhängig von der Kirche.
[At least 8,000 Catholic priests could be pederasts. The pope calls it the "leprosy infestation" of the Catholic Church: He means the estimated two percent of clergymen are pederast. That's a lot of men.]
Gut 8.000 katholische Priester sollen Päderasten sein
Der Papst nennt es den "Lepra-Befall" der Katholischen Kirche: Er meint damit die seiner Schätzung nach "2 Prozent" der Geistlichen, die als Päderasten auffallen. Das sind immerhin noch gut 8.000 Mann.
Seinem Vorgänger, dem deutschen "Wir-sind-Papst"-Ratzinger — gelang es in seiner 8jährigen Amtszeit gerade eben mal 8oo auffällig gewordene Priester auszuheben. Die 8.000, die der argentinische Jesuit Bergoglio — Künstlername: "Franziskus" — (also der jetzige Papst) meinte, müssten daher entweder unter Ratzinger übersehen worden sein, oder sie wären in der relativ kurzen Zeit seit der Amtsübernahme Bergoglios "nachgewachsen". In jedem Fall: Eine zehnfach erhöhte Zahl gegenüber der Ratzinger-Ära. Eine Katastrophe. Wie beim Frisör wäre es daher an der Zeit, den päderastischen "Nachwuchs" wieder mal zu "trimmen".
By Julius Joho For Citizen Digital
Published on 26 March 2017
Members of a Catholic church in Wundanyi, Taita Taveta County staged a demonstration today morning (26th March) demanding the removal of their priest who they claim has been mismanaging church funds and a secondary school sponsored by the church.
It took the intervention of the police to disperse the irate members of St. Anne Mghange Catholic Church who had paralyzed the normal Sunday church service.
According to the members, the new priest has been misusing church funds for personal gain, including employing ‘his own’ people to manage the school sponsored by the same church.
By Ginnie Graham News Columnist
Oklahoma Rep. Kevin McDugle wishes he could legally do something about the youth pastor who abused him around 35 years ago.
The stigma on sex abuse victims, particularly on boys, kept him from talking about it back then. The statute of limitations prevents him from doing anything about it now.
It’s why he joined as a co-author on a pair of bills — House Bills 1468 and 1470 — sought by Tulsa resident Virginia Lewis, herself a survivor of child sexual abuse. It allows victims to come forward with criminal and civil charges as late as age 45.
“I found out the individual who did it to me works at a church in Tulsa,” McDugle said last week.
“These bills do me no good. But I am contacting legal counsel to at least see if the church can be notified. They need to know, and we’ll go from there.”
The no-talk culture, shame and the added benefit of time are what predators depend on.
March 26 2017
The Christian Brothers dropped a threat to sue an abuse survivor over records he took from an industrial school in Limerick after his case was raised in the Dail.
Tom Wall, who survived a childhood of abuse at an industrial school in Glin, says he was asked by the Christian Brothers to burn the records when the school closed in 1973. But he retained many of the files, including his own.
The Christian Brothers claimed ownership of the files after Wall donated them to the University of Limerick and threatened legal action. The religious order backed down after Niall Collins, the Fianna Fail TD, raised Wall's case in the Dail last Wednesday. Deputy Collins called on the State to intervene to secure the records, which he said included "contracts for sale" that showed how children were effectively "sold into slavery".
The case has highlighted concerns about the records held by religious orders on the mothers and children who were incarcerated in their institutions. Survivors have complained about the difficulties accessing the records which the Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, said was "disconcerting".
by Norma Costello
Tuam, Ireland - When human remains were discovered in a septic tank in Tuam, in western Ireland, last month it didn't come as a complete surprise to everyone.
The unearthing at the site - a former home for unmarried mothers - was the result of a government commission charged with investigating claims of abuse by religious orders. Excavations uncovered an underground structure where human remains were found.
Local historian Catherine Corless had initially uncovered details of a mass grave at the home run by the Catholic Church affiliated Bons Secours, where, according to her, up to 800 infants born to unmarried mothers had been unofficially buried in a disused sewage tank.
But a 2014 email sent by Bons Secours' PR representative Terry Prone to filmmaker Saskia Weber dismissed the need for an investigation into the site, saying: "If you come here, you'll find no mass grave, no evidence that children were ever so buried, and a local police force casting their eyes to heaven and saying 'Yeah, a few bones were found' - but this was an area where famine victims were buried. So?"
Sunday, March 26, 2017
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ruled that an accusation of child sexual abuse against Father John Fitzgerald, 68, of the Diocese of Pittsburgh “has not been proven.” It could not be determined with certainty whether the abuse did or did not occur.
In addition, the congregation has directed Bishop David Zubik to take appropriate action that provides for the welfare of all parties involved, including the welfare of the public.
As a result, Father Fitzgerald has requested that he begin retirement. Bishop Zubik has granted his request. He will not exercise public ministry.
Father Fitzgerald, whose last assignment was pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Conway, Beaver County, has been on administrative leave since July 31, 2014, due to the allegation that he had abused a minor in the late 1990s. It is the only allegation against him ever brought to the diocese. Father Fitzgerald has maintained his innocence throughout. At the same time, the person who brought the allegation has maintained that the abuse did occur.