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January 31, 2008

RELIGION: Founder of Legionaries Dies without Ever Going to Trial


By Diego Cevallos

MEXICO CITY, Jan 31 (IPS) - Marcial Maciel, the founder of the influential conservative Catholic order Legionaries of Christ, "took with him to the grave secrets and guilt for which he never asked forgiveness," said activist Joaquín Aguilar, referring to the numerous accusations of pedophilia faced by the Mexican priest, who died in the United States.

"It’s a pity that he was never held accountable by the justice system," Aguilar, the Mexico director of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told IPS.

In a statement on its web site Thursday, the Legionaries of Christ reported that Maciel, who was born in the Mexican state of Michoacán in 1920, died in the United States, but did not provide further details.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 PM

Mexican Catholic leader accused of sex abuse dies


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican founder of an ultra-conservative Catholic movement who was accused of child abuse and sanctioned by the Vatican has died aged 87, his Legionaries of Christ group said on Thursday.

Marcial Maciel died of natural causes in the United States on Wednesday, the Legionaries said on their Web site. Maciel founded the group in 1941 and it now operates in 40 countries.

Pope Benedict ordered Maciel to retire to a life of "prayer and penitence" in 2006 after years of allegations that he had sexually abused boys and young men.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:48 PM

Controversial Mexican priest Marcial Maciel dies


Mexico City - Father Marcial Maciel, the controversial founder of the Catholic congregation known as the Legion of Christ, has died at age 87. Maciel died of natural causes on Wednesday in the United States, where he had lived in retirement, Alvaro Corcuera, the Legion's director general, said Thursday on the congregation's website.

For decades, Maciel - who was close to the late Pope John Paul II - fought accusations of sexual abuse against priests, former seminarians and former students.

Following a lengthy internal investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church asked him to retire from public life in May 2006. The Legion always maintained its leader was innocent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:45 PM

Vatican Insider and Accused Molester Dies


Jan. 31, 2008

A well-connected Vatican insider who was accused of molesting young priests in training has died. Father Marcial Maciel never faced a trial nor was he punished by the Vatican despite the fact the church had asked him to stop all public ministry appearances.

A number of former priests had told Vatican investigators they were abused by Father Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, a small but wealthy Catholic order that operates in United States and 25 other countries.

The allegations were presented to Pope Benedict XVI in 1998 when he was a cardinal. Some of the accusers said then-Cardinal Ratzinger attempted to cover up the case because of Maciel's prominence and close relationship with Pope John Paul II.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:42 PM

Legionary of Christ Founder Dies at 87


[With background links, including the text of the statement disciplining Maciel.]

ROME, JAN. 31, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ and the Catholic lay Regnum Christi movement, died Wednesday at age 87.

A communiqué from the Legionaries of Christ reported that Father Maciel died in the United States and that he had "communicated to Father Álvaro Corcuera, general director of the congregation, his desire that the funeral be celebrated in a climate of prayer, in a simple and private way."

"The Legionaries of Christ and the members of the Regnum Christi movement announce with sorrow the loss of their dear father founder who was the instrument of God in beginning this work at the service of the Church and society," the note added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:40 PM

Founder of Legion of Christ dies


By Martin Barillas

Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, died on January 30. In an official statement, Rev. Alvaro Corcuera - the current General Director of the Legionaries - said that Rev. Maciel went to heaven. The funeral for Maciel will take place in his hometown of Cotija in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, but a date has not been set.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:36 PM


Legionaries of Christ
Regnum Christi

Father Álvaro Corcuera, General Director, together with the Legionaries of Christ
and the members of the Regnum Christi Movement
announce the departure of their beloved founder, Father
to heaven on January 30, 2008,
and express their deep gratitude to all those who wish to unite in prayer
for the eternal repose of his soul.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:31 PM

Mexican priest disciplined over sex abuse allegations dies


2008-01-31 18:57:52 -

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Rev. Marcial Maciel, the most prominent Roman Catholic official to be disciplined by the Vatican for alleged involvement in child sex abuse, has died, the conservative order he founded said Thursday.
The 87-year-old Mexican priest died on Wednesday in the United States of natural causes, said a statement on the web site of the Legionaries of Christ. The order was a favorite of the late Pope John Paul II.
The Vatican spent eight years investigating allegations against Maciel made by former seminarians, and in 2006 _ a year after the election of Pope Benedict XVI _ it asked him to conduct «a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing every public ministry,» meaning he could not celebrate Mass in public and was a priest in name only.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:09 PM

Legionaries of Christ founder passes away


Denver, Jan 31, 2008 / 12:36 pm (CNA).- Father Álvaro Corcuera, General Director of the Legionaries of Christ, announced today that their Founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, has died in the United States at the age 87 from natural causes.

In the official statement, Fr. Corcuera announced "the departure of their beloved founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado to heaven on January 30,” as well as the Legionaries “deep gratitude to all those who wish to unite in prayer for the eternal repose of his soul".

By the will of Father Maciel, the funeral will be celebrated privately, "in an atmosphere of prayer and simplicity in his hometown, Cotija, in the state of Michoacán, Mexico."
Fr. Marcial Maciel was born in Cotija de la Paz, Mexico on March 10, 1920.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:04 PM

Religious Order Leader Maciel Dies


VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Rev. Marcial Maciel, a Mexican priest who founded the Legionaries of Christ religious order and was disciplined by Pope Benedict XVI after sex abuse allegations, has died in the United States, his order said Thursday. He was 87.

Maciel died Wednesday of natural causes, the conservative religious order said on its Web site. It did not say exactly where he died.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:00 PM

Jesuit backs principal amid gossip over e-mail


By Dorothy Korber

Aiming to quell gossip that has upset students and parents, the president of Jesuit High School in Carmichael on Monday addressed campus rumors involving the school's principal, the Rev. Edward Fassett.

President Greg Bonfiglio, who heads the exclusive Catholic boys school, said the rumors stem from a photograph Fassett inadvertently displayed to faculty and staff in October -- an incident that was handled at the time. Bonfiglio emphasized that Fassett has not resigned and has not been dismissed, contrary to stories that had Jesuit students buzzing last week.

. . .

During an Oct. 23 meeting with a dozen faculty and staff members, Fassett booted up his laptop computer and the screen displayed a photograph attached to an e-mail sent to him by someone else, according to Bonfiglio.

The photo depicted a nude man in a pose reminiscent of Michelangelo's David, recalled David Novak, a Jesuit High assistant principal.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:16 AM

Quattro amici... nel vicino bar


S. Giustina in Colle
(V.M.) Quattro amici al bar! Così si è trasformata la serata di don Sante Sguotti a S. Giustina, dopo due giorni di autentico boicottaggio alla calata dell'ex-parroco nell'Alta Padovana. In mattinata gli organizzatori avevano deciso di annullare l'incontro, ma l'ex-sacerdote si è lo stesso presentato all'appuntamento con un seguito di una decina di fedelissimi. Molto pochi i locali: solo una decina, più che altro per curiosare sul personaggio, anche se qualcuno ha ribadito che "il diritto di parola, non può essere negato a nessuno".


Four friends..... in the coffee shop around the corner

(V.M) Four friends at a coffee shop ! That was how it came to be the evening of Rev. Sante Sguotti at S. Giustina after two days of authentic boycott against the visit of the former parish priest coming from North of Padua. In the morning the organizers decided to cancel the meeting, but the former priest went to the appointment with about ten of very faithful followers. A small number, an additional ten, were the local people who were present mostly out of curiosity for the personage, even if someone just reaffirmed "the right of speech can't be denied to anybody".

Having been the doors of the town's hall locked, the debate was rerouted to a small room of a nearby coffee shop, transforming into a meeting among friends. The Rev. Sante, as usual, stated again his convictions and spoke about the necessity the ecclesiastical hierarchies open a debate for those cases in which a priest falls in love. He cited the episode of a friend of his, almost his same age, who had performed his duty in a nearby parish at S. Giustina, and that once he had confessed his love for a woman he was rejected and discriminated, as if he were an outcast.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:00 AM

Settlement tops $79 million in diocese suit


[A more complete version of an article blogged previously.]

By Brett Barrouquere

About 240 people have now been awarded more than $79 million in a class-action settlement between victims of sexual abuse at the hands of church officials and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Northern Kentucky.

Two special masters in the case reviewed claims from 400 people. A statement Monday from plaintiffs' attorney Stan Chesley said the special masters approved 243 and rejected 157 claims, with 100 of those rejections being appealed to a judge.

The settlement, reached in February 2006, is between the Covington Diocese and more than 350 people who said they were abused by priests and diocese employees since the 1950s in 57 counties across a large swath of Kentucky.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:55 AM

Court: Priest Sex Abuse Suit Barred by Statute of Limitations


By Steven M. Ellis

Suits against a religious order of the Catholic church by two men who claim that they were sexually molested by a priest while minors is barred by the statute of limitations because the men cannot show that the order had prior knowledge of similar conduct by the priest, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.

Rejecting the men’s argument that the Salesian Society’s lack of records regarding allegations of abuse against the priest and other clergy members raised an inference that the society received such allegations but failed to document them, Div. Eight affirmed a trial court ruling that the men’s claims were barred under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 340.1 because they could not establish that the society knew or had reason to know that the priest molested other children prior to the alleged incidents.

The men, identified as Gil Doe and Richard Doe, alleged that Richard Presenti, one of the society’s priests, abused them in 1962 and 1972, respectively, while they were attending the society’s Boy’s Camp in Middletown, just north of Santa Rosa. Their suits, brought in different counties, were made part of a coordination proceeding and assigned to Alameda Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:40 AM

Archdiocese in the red: Catholic Church was banking on failed sale of Cousins Center


[Includes links to previous articles, an archive of coverage, and the Milwaukee archdiocese website.]

By Tom Heinen

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is facing a $3 million deficit in its current budget and will need to make substantial cuts in staffing and services for the fiscal year that begins July 1, partly because a deal to sell the Cousins Center fell through, an archdiocesan spokesman said Wednesday.

Money from that sale was to have been used to pay off a loan the archdiocese incurred to cover about $4.6 million of its $8.25 million portion of a nearly $17 million settlement of 10 sexual abuse lawsuits in California in 2006. Depending on the sale price, more than half of the money would be used for that, with the remainder available for other needs.

Archdiocesan officials have not identified who the expected buyer was. However, hedge fund operator Stark Investments had been interested in buying the property and announced last week it was buying other land instead.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:48 AM

Alleged victims accuse priests of sexual abuse


[Includes video]

By Laurel Myers

Father Rene Hebert was a priest at L’Annonciation parish in Sudbury and enjoyed working with the youth, so much so that he took the boys on camping trips. But these trips weren’t about singing around the campfire and honing the boys’ outdoors skills. Hebert fed the boys alcohol and took advantage of their innocence.

R. D. Sabourin was a victim of the priest’s deviance. Fifteen at the time of the sexual abuse, Sabourin walked roughly a dozen miles out of the bush one night to get away from a man he trusted, to inform his parents.

A meeting was held with the Bishop, assurances were given and prayers were encouraged, but nothing ended up happening to Father Hebert.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:33 AM

Second chance for priests after ‘spiritual reform’


By Bernadette Parco

Two Cebu diocesan priests who were involved in separate sexual misconduct cases in the past will resume their duties together in a different parish.

Fr. Oscar Ornopia and Fr. Joey Belciña are part of a new six-member team ministry in Minglanilla town.

Before returning to active duty, both priests “underwent a process of spirituality,” according to Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:28 AM

January 30, 2008

The Crafty Perpetrators Remain

Patrick J. Wall
Clergy Abuse and the Catholic Church

More than a month ago, Sister Sheila McNiff of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus published a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed piece claiming that the clerical sexual abuse problems in Los Angeles have come to an end.

I do not blame her for attempting to close the door on an ugly decades-old chapter of the Archdiocese’s history - she was just doing her job. Those of us who have worked for the Roman Church were all taught to protect the Bishop. And that is exactly what she is doing.

The op-ed’s chart and accompanying text do the “numerator/denominator shuffle” by portraying the state of the local church as one with new procedures that have miraculously stopped bishops, priests, and deacons in the archdiocese from sexually abusing minors and vulnerable adults.

That is simply not the case. The truth is actually much scarier: only the simple criminals have been caught. The craftier clerical pedophiles and ephebophiles remain. Or better put: how can a couple of rules stop a 2000-year SECRET history of sexual abuse? The church (under the rule of the Pope) has been secretive for its entire history - how can one Cardinal change it? More importantly, why would he want to?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:31 PM

Abano Terme Altri dieci giorni ...


Abano Terme
Altri dieci giorni e per don Sante Sguotti la situazione potrebbe peggiorare. Respinto il ricorso presentato dal prete papà per ottenere la sua riammissione nella parrocchia di Monterosso la Congregazione per il Clero ha confermato le decisioni assunte dal vescovo Antonio Mattiazzo.


In ten days.......

In ten more days and for the Rev. Sante Sguotti the situation could get even worse. Rejected the appeal presented by the "priest father" to be reinstated in his parish of Monterosso, the Congregation for the Clergy confirmed the decisions taken by bishop Antonio Mattiazzo. But the "priest father" had already taken that decision for granted. The real lightning in a clear sky is the request advanced by the clergy: within ten days the Rev. Sante, in order to remain in the catholic church, must convert, that means in simple words to continue to support (economically) his son but stop his relationship with the woman he loves, Tamara Vecil. In case of refusal he'll be reduced to the lay state. That means if the Rev. Sante will decide not to abandon his lover he'll have to renounce to being a "Reverend" and face all the consequences. Not only that. Just in these days reliable sources confirmed that some women faithful pressured Tamara Vecil to leave Rev. Sante Sguotti. "Converting? Just in the next ten days will occur Ash Wednesday - he explained with his usual irony - I'll go and receive the ashes from the Rev. Giovanni Brusegan, if he'll be able to convert me I'll say good-by to my family otherwise I'll continue along my path".

But another expiring date could keep the rebel priest of Monterosso sleepless. Within 30 days he must decide if he wants to present an appea against the decisions taken by bishop Antonio Mattiazzo at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature. "It was clear my appeal would be rejected - explained Rev. Sante - but that forced the Church to read all my speeches, watch all my TV appearances and for that I feel some satisfaction. Besides the same Congregation for the Clergy confirmed the bishop behaved very harshly with me". The sentence, issued within a very surprising short period, only after the Rev. Sante's confession during the "Buona Domenica" TV talk show, according to the "priest father" showed that when the procedure against him was opened bishop Antonio Mattiazzo had no concrete evidence against him. Meanwhile the town of Santa Giustina in Colle changed its decision and denied the priest the possibility to have a debate in the town hall.

Riccardo Bastianello

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:14 PM

Santa Giustina in Colle (V.M.) ...


(V.M.) "E' una sconfitta per la democrazia e la libertà di pensiero: non potevamo immaginare che un dibattito pubblico con una persona anche scomoda come l'ex-parroco di Monterosso, don Sante Sguotti , potesse scatenare una tale contrapposizione in paese".


(V.M.) "It's a defeat of democracy and freedom of thought: we couldn't imagine that a public debate with a person even if not so much orthodox as the former parish priest of Monterosso, Rev. Sante Sguotti, could unchain such a turmoil in the town". That is concisely the thought of the organizers of the meeting on "celibacy and marriage in the catholic church of the third millennium", which featured as a guest the former Paduan priest and that was cancelled even if the former parish priest was present in the town anyway. And the debate, instead of being held in town's hall as scheduled, took place instead in an adjacent coffee shop, attended by about thirty people.

Meanwhile, in the past two days, the organizers received anonymous telephone calls and cards full of invectives. Against the initiative were lined up some town administrators and councilmen, notwithstanding mayor Federico Zanchin had given his placet.

Evidently the personage Rev. Sante Sguotti doesn't get the sympathy of the "ultra catholics" and therefore to avoid further divisions it was decided to cancel the appointment. It's however likely that in the end that unexpected and forced epilogue won't be devoid of consequences.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:07 PM

Sacramento diocese rapped


A victims rights group has criticized the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for waiting six months to disclose that a priest had been accused of sexual molestation.

Leaders of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Tuesday that church officials were "extraordinarily reckless to keep a child-abuse allegation secret for that long."

David Clohessy, national director of the victims support group, called the delay "an egregious violation of the bishops' promise to openly and promptly suspend priests credibly accused."

Church officials announced Monday that the Rev. Francisco Hernandez-Tover, 59, was removed from ministry this week after investigation of a complaint that he had molested a teenage boy in the 1980s at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Colusa.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:19 AM

Press Release


By Robert P.M. Talach
January 29, 2008

[This statement was read by Talach at a press conference in Sudbury, Ontario. Survivors also spoke at the press conference. For video excerpts, see Ending the silence: Plaintiffs detail years of abuse by priests. See also Family support has been key for victims.]

We are here today to expose the crimes of six men, six priests, six predators who have violated the very essence of what they represented. Rather then being a force of good they descended into evil. And it is their own victims who following decades of struggling with the impact of that evil have found the strength to come here today to set the record straight.

They come to you, the media and the public for three main reasons.

First, this conference is intended to empower them and other victims like them. It is to send a message that they are not alone. They wish others to not despair for where there are forces of evil there are forces of good.

Secondly, they seek assistance in proving the ugly truth which they all know to well. Few crimes of this nature transpire without others knowing, suspecting or even experiencing them. It is those others who these victims reach out to today. They need their help in letting the truth be told.

Thirdly, they want positive change for the future. They demand that the light of day illuminate the problem of childhood sexual abuse. For many it is a taboo subject, especially in cases such as theirs. But it is only through exposure that this plague can be identified and confronted. In cases involving clergy there is an extra level of disbelief and denial which must be overcome. Today is a step in that direction.

The above objectives though cannot be achieved by remaining in the abstract so let me outline the tragedies which these individuals have experienced. I will do so chronologically so that you can appreciate both the duration and depth of what we are dealing with.

In 1956, Greg O'Connor was a keen Grade 9 student at Scollard Hall in North Bay. He was younger and smaller then his colleagues because he had skipped a grade in elementary school. His academic prowess quickly faded after he caught the eye of Father Magnus J. Fedy. Fedy was serving in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie but was a Religious Order priest from the Congregation of the Resurrection in Ontario, which is based out of Waterloo. Over the course of three school years Fedy abused Greg. The abuse took place in Fedy's quarters and involved fondling, masturbation and anal penetration. Greg eventually dropped out and the abuse ended but the impact has been with him ever since.

At the same time that Greg's abuse commenced Thomas Miller who lived beside Scollard Hall meet another member of Scollard Hall's staff. Father Victor Killoran was also a member of the Congregation of the Resurrection. Though not a student, Thomas frequented the school grounds and Killoran quickly provided Thomas with treats such as access to the gym, the showers and the roof. But such admission had a sinister price tag, which eventually consisted of fondling, masturbation, oral sex and anal penetration. The abuse lasted almost four years.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:24 AM

'Free to roam'


[A reposting by the Spokesman review, identical to a previous post, except that this version includes a photo of O'Donnell and a summary at the top of the article. Both versions also include a link to the Spokesman Review's comprehensive coverage of the crisis and bankruptcy in Spokane.]

By John Stucke

* With ex-priest Patrick O'Donnell as their neighbor, La Conner residents are frustrated with the system – and angry they didn't know about his history of sex abuse.

La Conner, Wash. -- In this idyllic town nestled near the Puget Sound and surrounded by tulip fields, residents of the Shelter Bay neighborhood are in an uproar: They have inherited a Spokane problem that has left them in disbelief.

Patrick G. O'Donnell, a former priest in the Spokane Catholic Diocese and notorious pedophile who has admitted to molesting dozens of teenage boys over three decades, has lived quietly among them for the past four years.

Now 65, O'Donnell smiles and says hello to the children playing in front yards or walking along the street and lives in a house with pleasant views of a community park and playground.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:44 AM

Web site resource for priest scandals


A huge repository of documents outside Boston is becoming an online destination for lawyers and historians studying the sex scandals in the Catholic Church.

The office of bishopaccountability.org in Waltham holds tons of documents pertaining to the investigations and allegations against priests accused of sexual abuse.

The Boston Globe said Tuesday [see Vast archive on abuse aids victims, scholars] that the operators of the site want to make it a "go-to" Web destination for historians and for the release of new documents in the sprawling scandal.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:34 AM

Father Mercure Target of More Sexual Abuse Allegations


Queensbury—More accusations of sexual abuse by a priest allegedly occurring more than a quarter century ago when he was assigned to churches in Queensbury and Glens Falls surfaced this week when four more men pointed their fingers.

The Rev. Gary Mercure who currently serves as the pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Williams Churches in Troy was placed on a paid leave of absence earlier this month when allegations of sexual misconduct involving a teenage boy were made when Mercure served as associate pastor of Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish in Queensbury during the 1980s.

Four more men came forward this week to accuse Mercure of sexual misconduct more than 25 years ago. During a news conference conducted by SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, Michael Flynn of Clifton Park and Lake George, accused Mercure of engaging in sexual misconduct when Mercure was assigned to St. Teresa of Avila Church of Albany during the 1970s as did another man who did not want to be identified.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:30 AM

Abuse charge costs priest: Served in many Sacramento Valley Catholic churches


By Howard Yune

A former Catholic priest in the Mid-Valley has been stripped of his title after allegations he sexually abused a 13-year-old boy in Colusa more than 20 years ago.

Bishop William Weigand of the Diocese of Sacramento on Monday announced the penalty against The Rev. Francisco Hernandez-Tovar, who served at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Colusa from 1986 to 1988.

"He'll never work as a priest and he'll never minister again," Kevin Eckery, a diocese spokesman, said Tuesday. The 59-year-old Hernandez-Tovar, a priest for 27 years, is not allowed to work for any diocese in any capacity and cannot draw a salary.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:23 AM

Appeals court rebuffs molestation lawsuit


By Bob Egelko

A state appeals court rejected a lawsuit Tuesday by two Bay Area men who said a clergyman molested them in 1962 and 1972 at a Sonoma County camp run by a Catholic order, which responded to their complaints by giving the clergyman two promotions.

The Second District Court of Appeal said the two men, identified only as Richard and Gil Doe, had presented no evidence that the Salesian Society knew Father Richard Presenti posed a risk of sexual misconduct before he allegedly molested them.

A California law gave victims of childhood sexual abuse that occurred many years earlier a one-year period, in 2003, to file civil suits against churches and other institutions that employed the molesters. Plaintiffs had to be able to prove the institution knew of the employee's illegal conduct and failed to take protective measures.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:19 AM

Arrest imminent, former cop says: Loss of faith in system spurred Duncan man's refusal to testify at abuse inquiry


By Rob Shaw

Former Ontario police officer Perry Dunlop, who is the subject of an arrest warrant for refusing to testify at a sex abuse inquiry, says he won't run from police and will await arrest at his Vancouver Island home.

"I don't run from fights," he said in an interview yesterday. "I never have ... I guess I wait until they come and get me."

An Ontario court issued a warrant for Dunlop's arrest earlier this week after he disobeyed a court order to appear before a public inquiry into sexual abuse allegations he first helped investigate in Cornwall, Ont., in the 1990s. Dunlop said he has lost faith in the legal system and won't participate in the inquiry.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:14 AM

Stories go to grave: Bishop Plouffe says full story of abuse allegations may never be known


By Carol Mulligan

We will never know the full story behind claims of sexual abuse against Roman Catholic clergy and the people who make them, says Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe.

Plouffe isn't denying there have been instances of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, but they are hard to prove when the priests named in lawsuits are dead.

"Let's put it this way: 'They've taken it to their grave,' " said Plouffe on Monday in a 55-minute interview with The Sudbury Star.

Plouffe was responding to a news conference held hours earlier at which seven lawsuits against Roman Catholic dioceses and a religious order of priests were announced by Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers of London, Ont.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:10 AM

January 29, 2008

Catholic bishops to support commission on residential schools


By Bill Curry

Ottawa, Ontario - Catholic bishops pledged their support yesterday for a truth commission on Indian residential schools, saying Catholics will speak publicly at the hearings to “balance” the official history of what happened for decades behind closed doors.

Participation from the Catholic Church, which ran about 70 per cent of the schools jointly with the federal government, was far from certain until now.

Sylvain Lavoie, the Archbishop of the Keewatin-Le Pas diocese spanning northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, said the public will learn that abused students were not the only victims in the federal schools policy that lasted more than 100 years.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:54 PM

More Allegations of Abuse


By Kristin Lowman

Father Gary Mercure, pastor of both Sacred Heart and St. William's Parishes in Troy, was granted a leave of absence last week while being investigated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

The leave of absence stems from an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a minor. The allegation dates back to the mid-1980's when Father Mercure was Associate Pastor of Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish in Queensbury.

Today, at a press conference organized by Snap, The Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, four more men announced Father Mercure abused them.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:38 PM

Diocese Pays Out $79 Million In Sex Case


By the Associated Press and Bob White

About 240 people have now been paid more than $79 million in a class-action settlement between victims of sexual abuse at the hands of church officials and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Northern Kentucky.

Two special masters in the case reviewed claims from 400 people. A statement Monday from plaintiffs' attorneys says the special masters approved 243 and rejected 157 claims, with 100 of those rejections being appealed to a judge.

The settlement is between the diocese and more than 350 people abused by priests and diocese employees since the 1950s in 57 counties across a large swath of Kentucky.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:18 PM

Sex, money and bad habits


By Pearlie Joubert

Joannesburg, South Africa - A Catholic priest who brought a defamation suit against a family which charged him with sexual misconduct involving their daughter, has withdrawn his case.

In addition to charges of inappropriately touching girls, teenagers and women, 63-year-old Father Bernard van der Hulst, of the Fish Hoek parish, also frequents the Grand West casino so often that he qualified for a “Most Valued Guest” gold card. He has also been seen in the adult section of his local video shop reportedly hiring pornographic videos.

Van der Hulst was allegedly under police investigation on at least seven charges of sexual misconduct involving young girls in Pretoria when the church transferred him to Fish Hoek about 20 years ago. A few years later, at least four more charges were laid with the police in Fish Hoek.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:09 PM

Priest Recruitments Are Up At Archdiocese And Covington Diocese


By Jenell Walton

A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about whether or not there would be enough priests to serve all of the Catholic parishes in Greater Cincinnati and across the country.

However, the head of the Cincinnati Archdiocese's Vocations office said recruitment for Seminarians is up.

Recruiting Catholic priests is a top priority for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

In fact, the Archdiocese formed a special vocations committee in 2005. Those efforts are paying off.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:00 PM

Multimillion-dollar lawsuits launched against Ontario Catholic dioceses


Seven multimillion-dollar lawsuits have been launched against three Ontario Catholic dioceses, with an eighth suit set to be launched in two months.

The lawsuits are against seven Roman Catholic priests, six of whom are dead, for alleged sexual abuse, said lawyer Rob Talach Tuesday.

Talach's firm, London, Ont.-based Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers, is representing the seven plaintiffs who are seeking $4.5-million each for pain and suffering and mental distress stemming from the alleged sexual assaults.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:54 PM

Two judges share how they guided church case


By Sandi Dolbee

She pushed in the courtroom. He coaxed behind closed doors. She set deadlines. He crafted bridges.

Then, as a settlement neared, she postponed a crucial showdown to give him a few more days to seal the deal.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Louise DeCarl Adler and U.S. Magistrate Judge Leo S. Papas insist it would be wrong to say the two judges coordinated their efforts toward resolving the largest Catholic bankruptcy case in the country.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:32 PM

Priest Loses Calif. Appeal in Abuse Case


Filed at 11:19 p.m. ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The state Supreme Court ruled Monday against a Roman Catholic priest who wanted his molestation conviction thrown out because of alleged prosecutorial misconduct.

The unanimous decision overturned an earlier ruling by a state appeals court. That court reversed the conviction of Fernando Lopez after finding that the prosecutor erred during his trial by expressing her personal opinion to the jury. The case now goes back to the state appeals court.

Lopez, a Colombian citizen, was convicted of molesting three boys over three years at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish and sentenced to nearly seven years in prison in 2005. The case marked Los Angeles County's first successful prosecution of a Catholic church clergy abuse case after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law that had lifted the statute of limitation in old molestation cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 PM

Udc contro il "cattivo maestro" don Sante


Santa Giustina in Colle. (V.M.) Anche la sezione dell'Udc di Santa Giustina in Colle esprime disagio per la serata sul tema "Celibato e matrimonio nella Chiesa Cattolica del terzo millennio", che vedrà l'intervento di don Sante Sguotti (nella foto a fianco) nella sala pubblica comunale questa sera alle 21.


Udc against the "bad teacher" Rev. Sante

(*Udc is the Union of the Christian Democratic party)

Santa Giustina in Colle. (V.M.) The Udc branch of Santa Giustina in Colle expresses uneasiness for this evening's meeting on the theme "Celibate and marriage in the Catholic Church of the third millennium", where the Rev. Sante Sguotti is scheduled to speak in the Town Council room at 9 p.m.

In a note of the party's secretary, Matteo Beghin, is there affirmed: "The Udc obviously recognizes the inviolable right to freedom of thought and speech, in addition to the importance of a debate with different point of views. However, it doesn't deem opportune the diffusion of messages contrasting the values and the sensibility of our community. In the respect of anybody's personal vicissitudes - Beghin continues - we can't share the stance of those who instead of taking responsibility for their own choices and act consistently, prefer the research of a questionable media attention and an easy notoriety, in contrast with the sobriety of their freely chosen mission, fomenting contrasts and divisions among the community of the faithful which was entrusted to him and provoking a deep uneasiness for the Bishop and the entire ecclesiastic community".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 AM

Priest accused of abuse removed from ministry


By Jennifer Garza

A Catholic priest accused of sexual misconduct with a 13-year-old boy in the 1980s has been permanently removed from the ministry after a diocesan investigation found the allegation credible, church officials announced Monday.

The Rev. Francisco Hernandez-Tovar, 59, will no longer be allowed to work as a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento or any other diocese. Bishop William Weigand barred Tovar from the ministry at the recommendation of a diocesan review board.

"Right now, we're in the process of looking for more victims if there are any," said Kevin Eckery, diocesan spokesman. "The person who came forward is a very brave man."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:12 AM

Dioceses face seven $4.5-M suits; North Bay area man among victims accusing priests of sexual abuse


In 1956, Greg O'Connor was a keen Grade 9 student in North Bay and had even skipped a grade, but that soon faded and he eventually dropped out of school after suffering what he says were three years of abuse at the hands of a priest.

O'Connor and six others Monday announced they were suing the Roman Catholic dioceses of Sault Ste. Marie and London, Ont., as well as the Congregation of the Resurrection in Ontario.

The seven lawsuits - each seeking $4.5 million for pain and suffering, mental distress and special damages - name six priests, who the men and women allege abused them as children decades ago. Only one of the six priests is still alive.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:04 AM

Family support has been key for victims


By Carol Mulligan

Some audience members were stone-faced as their loved ones sat before reporters listening to details being read out by their lawyer of sex abuse they allege they suffered at the hands of priests decades ago.

Claims of fondling, masturbation, oral sex, anal penetration, digital penetration, mutual masturbation and other sexual acts were read off like shopping lists.

Not all of those in the audience were stoic as lawyer Robert Talach of Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers in London, Ont. tried to sum up years of sexual abuse - and decades of the after-effects of it - in 30 minutes for reporters.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:56 AM

Ending the silence; Plaintiffs detail years of abuse by priests


By Carol Mulligan

At 65, Greg O'Connor has accomplished a great deal in his lifetime. He earned a degree in biology. He graduated at the top of his class in the former Cambrian School of Nursing. He serves as deputy-mayor of Mattawa in the Township of Calvin.

But O'Connor lowered his head Monday and wept as he recounted the impact the sexual abuse he said he suffered more than 50 years ago by a Roman Catholic priest in North Bay has had on his life.

O'Connor is one of six plaintiffs represented by Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers of London, Ont., who are suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie for $4.5-million each for sexual misconduct they claim to have suffered as children by priests employed by the diocese.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:53 AM

Rev. Leibrecht returning to parish life: The 77-year-old outgoing bishop says he is "really not the type to sit down."


By Linda Leicht

After 23 years as bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Catholic Diocese, the Rev. John Leibrecht says it is "time for the changing of the guard."

The 77-year-old bishop will become a parish priest again March 31, when the Rev. James Vann Johnston is ordained the sixth bishop of the diocese. Johnston's appointment was announced Thursday.

"I'm a very, very happy person," said Leibrecht, referring both to his time as bishop and the choice for the new bishop. He is also happy that he will be able to continue to serve in the diocese as a "senior priest in service."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:24 AM

Local group angry with Catholic Diocese


[Includes video]

Latham, NY - A local group is angry with the Albany Catholic Diocese who granted a leave of absence to a priest accused of abusing children.

The group, SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, gathered in Latham to speak to the press about the alleged abuses by Father Gary Mercure while involved in the Albany Diocese. Bishop Howard Hubbard authorized Father Mercure's voluntary leave about a week ago. Group members say they want to help bring justice for the victims of abuse.

If a predator can keep their victims silent long enough, they can basically walk away, commit a crime and walk away scot free. We want to change that. We need to change that," said Mark Lyman, SNAP Upstate Coordinator.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:12 AM

More claim abuse by Troy priest: Alleged victims come forward after cleric is placed on leave


By Scott Waldman

Troy, New York - At least seven men have come forward in the last week to claim they were sexual abuse victims of a Troy priest.

The Rev. Gary Mercure, 59, pastor of the Sacred Heart and St. William parishes in Troy, was granted a paid leave of absence by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany after he was accused on Jan. 11 of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy in the mid-1980s.

The subsequent allegations stemmed from Mercure's time at Our Lady of the Annunciation in Queensbury and St. Teresa of Avila in Albany.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:05 AM

Four more men accuse priest of sexual abuse


Four more men came forward Monday to accuse a Catholic priest who formerly was assigned to churches in Queensbury and Glens Falls of child sexual abuse.

Two of the men told reporters that father Gary Mercure molested them for years when he was the priest at Our Lady of the Annunciation church in Queensbury in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Both spoke at a news conference in Latham on condition their names not be used, and said Mercure abused them over 7 years, beginning when they were 8 years old.

Two others told reporters that Mercure committed sexual misconduct with them when Mercure was assigned to St. Teresa of Avila Church in the 1970s. One, Michael Flynn of Clifton Park and Lake George, gave his name, while the other did not.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:02 AM

Time for church to show moral leadership: plaintiff


A plaintiff in one of six new $4.5-million lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie is calling on the church to show leadership to ensure no other child suffers sexual abuse at the hands of clergy.

Sudbury businessman Thomas Miller, 59, was eight years old when he alleges he was sexually abused by Father Magnus J. Fedy at Scollard Hall, a then all-boy's Catholic school in North Bay.

Miller is one of the plaintiffs in seven new lawsuits in total launched by Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers against two Roman Catholic dioceses and one religious order for historic cases of child sexual abuse by clergy.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:48 AM

Multimillion-dollar lawsuits filed against dioceses


Sudbury, Ontario - Victims of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic priests announced seven multimillion-dollar lawsuits in Sudbury yesterday.

Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers of London, Ont., are representing seven people suing the Catholic dioceses of Sault Ste. Marie and London as well as the Congregation of the Resurrection in Ontario.

The litigation names six priests, only one of whom is still alive.

Each of the plaintiffs is seeking $4.5-million for pain and suffering, mental distress and special damages.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:38 AM

Neighbors find child molester living down block in La Conner: Neighbors aghast they didn't know about ex-priest


La Conner, Washington - Former Spokane priest Patrick G. O'Donnell, who has admitted to molesting dozens of teenage boys over three decades, has been quietly living in this Western Washington town for the past four years, to the surprise of neighbors.

O'Donnell was named in 66 of the 176 claims alleging sexual abuse by priests in the Spokane Catholic Diocese, more than any other single priest, and the diocese considers him "credibly accused."

That history has his neighbors upset.

"It's unbelievable this can happen," said Jennifer Smith, who lives down the street from O'Donnell.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:31 AM

Sex-abuse victims' suits last bid for justice: lawyer


By Joe Matyas

A lawsuit is the only means of justice left for some adults sexually abused as children by pedophile priests, a London litigation lawyer said yesterday.

Five of six priests named as abusers in lawsuits filed against the Roman Catholic dioceses of Sault Ste. Marie and London are dead, said Rob Talach of Ledroit Beckett.

Some were charged or convicted of offences in the past, he said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:27 AM

Court issues warrant for stonewalling inquiry witness: B.C. resident Perry Dunlop skipped Cornwall, Ont., abuse inquiry despite contempt conviction


An Ontario court issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of a former Cornwall, Ont., police officer who disobeyed a court order to testify at a public inquiry into sexual abuse allegations in Cornwall.

Perry Dunlop, who now lives in Duncan, B.C., refused to show up at the Cornwall inquiry on Jan. 14 despite the order issued by a divisional court in November, when he was found guilty of contempt of court.

The provincial inquiry is looking into the way sexual abuse allegations made in eastern Ontario over decades were handled by authorities.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:47 AM

Judge orders former priest to pay $4.2 million


Augusta, Maine - A former Roman Catholic priest has been ordered to pay $4.2 million for allegedly sexually assaulting a boy in the late 1980s.

Superior Court Justice Joseph Jabar ordered Raymond Melville to pay $3.2 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages to William Picher of Augusta.

Picher, 34, filed the lawsuit last February against Melville and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland claiming he was repeatedly abused by the Melville between 1986 and 1988 when he was a student at St. Mary's School in Augusta.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:36 AM

Priest must pay in sex case


By Betty Adams

Augusta - A superior court justice has ordered a Roman Catholic priest to pay $4.2 million for allegedly sexually assaulting a boy in Augusta in the late 1980s.

Justice Joseph Jabar ordered the Rev. Raymond Melville, who was most recently in Oklahoma and is no longer working as a priest, to pay $3.2 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages to William J. Picher, 34, of Augusta.

Picher, through his attorney, Walter McKee, had accused Melville of sexual assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress between Sept. 2, 1986, and June 9, 1988.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:25 AM

Man Wins Millions In Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Former Priest


[Includes photo of priest]

By Rhonda Erskine

A Maine court has awarded four million dollars in damages to a man who says he was sexually abused by a priest years ago. Raymond Melville was a priest at St. Mary's in Augusta back in the late 1980's.

William Picher was a 12-year-old parishoner.

Picher's attorneys say those in charge of the diocese knew that Melville had a history of sexually abusing children, yet they continued to assign him to Maine parishes.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:13 AM

Vast archive on abuse aids victims, scholars: Database lists 3,000 accused priests


By Michael Paulson

Waltham - In a drab office building on Main Street, Terry McKiernan and Anne Barrett Doyle are quietly amassing a vast archive of abuse: thousands and thousands of documents chronicling the sprawling crisis that has confronted the Catholic Church.

Atop a bookcase sits a valise sent by a victim from West Roxbury, crammed with news clippings, church bulletins, the victim's mother's handwritten notes on conversations with church officials, and a letter the victim wrote the pope, never acknowledged.

A closet-sized room is lined with file cabinets, filled with 100 boxfuls of papers donated by a Texas lawyer who painstakingly amassed a database of 3,000 Catholic priests nationwide accused of abuse.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:07 AM

January 28, 2008

L'arrivo di don Sante con il celibato dei preti mette in subbuglio la parrocchia di Fratte


Santa Giustina in Colle
(V.M.) Ha scatenato un vero e proprio putiferio l'incontro organizzato per domani sera nella sala pubblica comunale, con l'ex-parroco di Monterosso, "don" Sante Sguotti. L'iniziativa, in particolare non è per niente piaciuta al consiglio pastorale della parrocchia di Fratte, e così ieri mattina, direttamente dal pulpito, è arrivata l'espresso invito a non partecipare alla conferenza.



The arrival of Rev. Sante bringing the issue of priests' celibacy provokes turmoil in the parish of Fratte

Santa Giustina in Colle

(M.V) A real and true turmoil was stirred for tomorrow evening meeting to be held in the public town hall with the former parish priest of Monterosso, the "Rev." Sante Sguotti. The initiative, wasn't particularly well received by the pastoral council of the parish of Fratte, and for that reason, yesterday morning, directly from the pulpit, came the express invitation not to participate to the conference.

It was easy to imagine that the official church public stance provoked different reactions. As soon the Masses were over the argument on everybody's mouth was more related to the presence of the former parish priest in the town than to the issue to be discussed: "celibacy and marriage in the church of the third millennium".

Many parishioners however shared at once the position of the church expressed during Mass, declaring unambiguously that "each person is free to do what he thinks best, but there was no need to give so much publicity to personal choices". Other parishioners didn't instead miss to stress the point that the theme of the meeting wasn't related to the personal choices of the former parish priest, but to the necessity to understand if the evolution of the sacerdotal ministry could change in respect to the present rules.

To sum it up the organizers' intention of the meeting, to be held at 8.30 p.m. in the public room of Saint Giustina, is meant to offer a chance for a debate and the possibility to confront with different opinions. That the official ecclesiastical hierarchies were against the debate and that they would enter intervene so heavily nobody would have ever guessed. For that there is the necessity to wait until tomorrow to understand what will prevail, if the curiosity for the personage or the prohibition of the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

Abuse Victims Protest Church of Priest Under Investigation


This Sunday, victims of clergy sex abuse gathered outside Sacred Heart Church in Troy. They say they were there to expose what they were calling the "predatory behavior" of a local priest.

But, the protestors themselves received an earful from parishioners as they made their way inside for services. One exchange heard from the street, went as followed:

Protestor: "We are just trying to protect children,"
Parishioner: "We are too. We love children, and so does everybody,"

The protestors, aligned with S.N.A.P. (the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests), held signs referring to Father Gary Mercure. Last week, the Albany Diocese announced that Father Mercure had taken a voluntary leave of absence while the Diocese investigates allegations of sexual abuse against the priest, dating back to the mid-1980's.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:39 AM

Salesian Order of Priests Are the Last Standing in Los Angeles


By Cheryl Buchanan

Or maybe it would be more appropriate to say that they are the last lying? But, I've always had trouble with the whole question over when to use "lying" or "laying" in a sentence. If one means not telling the truth and the other means hiding out in the weeds and avoiding responsibility and continuing to hope it will all just go away... well then I guess they both work. Its just a matter of semantics.

Anyway, on January 22nd Plaintiffs represented by Kiesel, Boucher and Larson filed an amended complaint for Punitve Damages against the Salesian Order of priests. This particular complaint pertains to the sexual molestation by: Father Titian (aka "Jim") Miani, Father Larry Lorenzoni, and Brother Ralph Murguia who are the perpetrators named in the trial scheduled for this April 2008. The Salesians are the only Order left who did not take part in the global settlement with the Los Angeles Archdiocese in July of 2007. Several other Salesian cases involving additional perpetrators: Brother John Verhart, Brother Mark Epperson, Brother Anthony Juarez, Brother Ernie Martinez, and Brother Jessie Dominguez are also currently being scheduled for trial.

Father John Itzaina, described as "second in command of the Salesians of the West Coast" recently told the Los Angeles Times on January 24, "We abhor any abuse, especially of the young, be it sexual or psychological, physical, or emotional." He went on to say that the Salesians do not defend Miani, but "absolutely deny" that the Order had any notice that he posed a danger to youth. (Siblings File Abuse Lawsuit Against Catholic Order, LA Times, 1/24/08)

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:30 AM

Popular youth mentor dies at 39


By Edythe Jensen

A popular Chandler youth mentor has died at 39.

Those who knew him say Robert "Scott" Detherage changed the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged teens by coaching them in a public housing basketball team and encouraging them to study, stay in school and stay out of trouble.

. . .

What most people didn't know was Detherage was also an alleged crime victim preparing to testify against Monsignor Dale Fushek, former pastor of St..Timothy's Catholic Community in Mesa. Fushek is facing sex charges for his alleged conduct with church youths in the 1980s. Court documents allege that Detherage was one of Fushek's victims, but a statement released by the Maricopa County Attorney's office said prosecutors knew of his declining health and dismissed the charges related to him so he wouldn't have to testify.

"The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is saddened by the death of this courageous witness. A charge (in the Fushek case) related to this witness was dismissed some time ago, in large part because of his health," said the statement, released Friday.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:24 AM

States Take Aim at Abusive Teachers: Legislation Proposals Seek to Better Protect Students from Sexual Misconduct


[This article discusses action in California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington state, and West Virginia.]

Heeding a steady drumbeat of sexual misconduct cases involving teachers, at least 15 states are now considering stronger oversight and tougher punishment for educators who take advantage of their students.

. . .

"We've got to be on a bully pulpit with our school districts," said Missouri state Rep. Jane Cunningham. The Republican's legislation would eliminate statutes of limitation for sexual misconduct, allowing victims to come forward and bring charges against abusers no matter how many years had passed since the crime.

. . .

A nationwide Associated Press investigation published in October found 2,570 educators whose teaching credentials were revoked, denied, surrendered or sanctioned from 2001 through 2005 following allegations of sexual misconduct. Experts who track sexual abuse say those cases are representative of a much deeper problem because of underreporting.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:03 AM

Jefferts Schori Accuses Fleeing Episcopalians Who Want Their Properties of Being Like Child Abusers


By David W. Virtue

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church believes that Episcopalians who flee the Episcopal Church and want to keep their properties are being like child abusers.

Here is what she said; "It would be easier to let U.S. conservatives secede to join another Anglican province without a fight, but I don't think that's a faithful thing to do. Episcopal leaders are stewards of church property and assets, protecting past generations' legacies and passing them on to future Episcopalians. Allowing congregations to walk away with church property condones bad behavior. In a sense, it's related to the old ecclesiastical behavior toward child abuse, when priests essentially looked the other way. Bad behavior must be confronted."

So there you have it.

Faithful former Episcopalians who simply want to uphold Holy Scripture and the gospel as normative; who eschew pansexual behavior and believe sex should stay within the bonds of heterosexual marriage; who believe that all religions are not equal and who believe that Jesus is uniquely Lord of history, are being shunted to the back of the bus. Episcopal Church's new religion because some General Convention resolution says so, or we can leave behind the buildings built by those who did believe the faith once delivered, and turn them over to Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:56 AM

'Our church'


[Includes video montage of still photos]

By Kim Vo

Sid Dumuk got Sunday Mass rolling, instructing worshipers to greet their neighbors before singing the entrance procession. Then Steve Armatis read from the Old Testament, Mary Webb from the New Testament, and the Rev. Art Willie gave the Gospel according to Luke.

Later, 14 people in khakis and skirts fanned out across the church offering communion wafers and wine.

All told, about 20 people actively led Mass that crisp Sunday morning at St. Maria Goretti's parish in San Jose - and only one of them was a Roman Catholic priest.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:41 AM

Catholics pan church closings: Pottsville area parishioners place ads, circulate petitions against consolidation plan


By Daniel Patrick Sheehan

Steve Babinchak, a daily communicant with one eye on the eternal and the other on this troubled world, strays into territory far beyond nostalgia as he argues against the impending closure of churches in the Diocese of Allentown.

''Everybody in an instant in the whole world will see their soul, see their sin, and a lot of people are going to come back to the church,'' the Schuylkill County man said, summarizing the prophecy of Our Lady of Garabandal -- in which four Spanish children claimed in the 1960s to have seen images of the Virgin Mary, who said God would give people one last chance at redemption by allowing them to glimpse the state of their souls. With such an episode imminent, the diocese can't justify closing churches, said Babinchak, imagining floods of repentant sinners searching for places of refuge and finding them shuttered.

It's perhaps the most esoteric argument being mounted by the laity as parish consolidation, a process that has unfolded slowly across the five-county diocese in the past year, picks up speed. Some churches could vanish beginning this year as the diocese tries to reconfigure itself to serve shifting Catholic populations -- shrinking in cities, growing in suburbs -- with a dwindling number of priests.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:36 AM

Testimony may begin today in sexual abuse case


By Michael Zeigler

Testimony is expected to begin today in the trial of a Rochester School District sentry charged with sexually assaulting 10 boys, including some students.

Andre T. Johnson, 35, faces felony and misdemeanor charges alleging that he sexually abused, sodomized or endangered the boys, who were 10 to 16, from May 1, 1999, through Aug. 31, 2006. If convicted, Johnson faces up to 50 years in prison. As jury selection began Thursday in his trial in state Supreme Court, Johnson rejected an offer to plead guilty and receive a 25-year prison term.

. . .

The acts allegedly occurred at the school, in the parking lot of another school, in Johnson's home and in parking lots, swimming pools and a church where Johnson was a deacon.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:32 AM

Former minister pleads guilty to sex charges


A former Lawrence County minister has pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual abuse of children by possessing child pornography.

Robert D. Schmidtberger, former pastor of Rose Point Reformed Presbyterian Church for 12 years, could face a jail term of 12 months less two days, to 24 months less four days, followed by 15 years of probation.

Under Megan’s Law, he also will be required to register his address with the state police.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:28 AM

January 27, 2008

Scandali, affari e misteri tutti i segreti dello Ior



LA CHIESA cattolica è l'unica religione a disporre di una dottrina sociale, fondata sulla lotta alla povertà e la demonizzazione del danaro, "sterco del diavolo". Vangelo secondo Matteo: "E' più facile che un cammello passi nella cruna dell'ago, che un ricco entri nel regno dei cieli". Ma è anche l'unica religione ad avere una propria banca per maneggiare affari e investimenti, l'Istituto Opere Religiose.


The Istituto Opere Religiose (IOR) is the Vatican bank. In its coffers 5 billion euros.

Record interest rates for those who hold a current account, impermeability to controls and total secrecy

Scandals, business and mysteries
All the secrets of IOR


The Catholic Church is the only religion endowed with a social doctrine, based on the fight to poverty and the attack to the devilish nature of money, dubbed the “sterco del diavolo” (devil’s faeces). The Gospel according to Matthew: “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”. But it’s the only Religion to run its own bank to make business and investments, the Istituto Opere Religiose.

The IOR’s head office is a marble case set within the Vatican walls. A four hundred century suggestive tower built during the papacy of Niccolo’ V, with nine-meter-thick walls at its base. The entrance is a discreet door, with no writings, initials or symbols.

Only the 24/7 presence of the Swiss guards give a sign of its importance. Inside there is a big computer room, with only a window and a teller machine. Through this “eye of a needle” pass immense and often obscure fortunes. The most prudent estimate is that the total deposits amount to five billion euros. The Vatican bank offers to its current account holders, among whom, as once stated by its President Angelo Aloia, “some people who had problems with justice”, interest rates superior to the best hedge funds and one valueless advantage: total secrecy.

More impermeable to controls than the Cayman Islands, more discrete than the Swiss banks, this Vatican Institution is a real heaven (fiscal) in earth. A check book with the IOR name doesn’t exist. All deposits and money transfers are made only using cash or gold bars. There is no previous paper trace.

For the last twenty years, since the trial for the scandal of the Banco Abrosiano ended, the IOR is a black hole nobody has the courage to look into. To get over that bank crack, which had ruined tens of thousands families, the Vatican bank only gave $406 million to the loss adjusters: less than one quarter of the due $1,159 million according to then Italian Minister of the Treasury, Beniamino Andreatta. That scandal was accompanied by infinite legends and by a trail of very important people’s cadavers. Michele Sindona was poisoned when in jail at Voghera, Roberto Calvi was hanged under the Black Friars’ bridge in London, Prosecutor Emilio Alessandrini was killed by a group of terrorists denominated “Prima Linea” , lawyer Giorgio Ambrosoli was killed at the entrance of his home by a mafia man who had just arrived from USA.

That without keeping into account the most disturbing mystery, the death of Pope Luciani only thirty-three days after he was elected, on the eve of his decision meant to remove Paul Marcinkus and the IOR’s top echelons. About the end of Giovanni Paolo I some macabre gossips were spread about, helped by the Vatican’s reticence.

No autopsy was made to ascertain the alleged and sudden heart attack and the notebook about the IOR the Pope held in his hands before going to bed in his last night was never found. Paul Marcinkus, born in Cicero (Chicago) at a short distance from Al Capone’s headquarters, was the protagonist of one of the most clamorous and unexplainable careers of the Church’s recent history. Tall and athletic, a good baseball and golf player, he was the man who saved Paolo VI from the assassination attempt in the Philippines. But perhaps that wasn’t enough to explain the support of an intellectual like Montini, the author of the most advanced encyclical in the history, the Populorum Progressio, for this American priest with the perennial behavior of a Wall Street adventurer, with his golf sticks in his custom-built cars, the Avana cigar glued to his lips, the stupendous blond secretaries and his P2’s poker friends. (Note: P2 was a secret association accused of having organized a coup d’etat in Italy).

With the successor of pope Luciani, Marcinkus found an immediate accord. Karol Wojtyla liked that Eastern European immigrants’ son who spoke Polish very well, hated the communists and seemed so sensitive to the Solidarnosc’s battles. When the magistrates in Milan issued an order for the arrest of Marcinkus, the Vatican closed itself into a stronghold to protect him and refused any collaboration with the Italian justice, waving his foreign passports and its extraterritoriality.

It took Woytjla ten years to decide to remove one of the main responsible of the Banco Ambrosiano crack from the IOR’s Presidency. But he never spent a word of condemnation nor a veiled criticism: Marcinkus was and remains for the Catholic hierarchy “a victim”, or better “a naïve victim”.

Since 1989, with the arrival to the IOR’s Presidency of Angelo Aloia, a gentleman of the “white finance”, friend and collaborator of Gianni Bazoli, many things within the IOR are going to change. Some of them don’t change either. The role of the IOR’s reformer entrusted to the lay Caiola is much vaunted by the Vatican hierarchy in the outside world as much it was impeded inside the Vatican, especially in the first years.

As the same Caloia privately said to his friend and catholic journalist Giancarlo Galli, the author of a fundamental but impossible to find book titled “Finanza Bianca (Mondadori, 2003). “ The real IOR’s dominus – wrote Galli – remained monsignor Donato De Bonis, who had a relationship with all the powerful people in Rome, be they politicians or business men. Francesco Cossiga (a former President of the Italian Republic) called him affectionately “Donatino”, Giulio Andreotti (many times Prime Minister in the past) gave him his utmost esteem. And then aristocrats, financiers, artists like Sofia Loren. The monsignore had the power to give the authorization to open a secret current account at the IOR and that explained why among all those privileged ones there were also those who had to respond to justice.

Sometimes monsignor De Bonis personally accompanied the current account holders with their cash and gold to the caveau, through a staircase, to the top of the tower, “nearer to the sky”. The contrast between Caloia and De Bonis, the latter theoretically an underling, were frequent and very harsh. Giancarlo Galli commented: “ A golden managerial law says that in case of conflict between a superior and a subordinate, the latter would give up. But being the IOR a very particular institution, when a lay person collides with a tunic bearer, then the latter would prevail”.

Caloia’s financial glasnot proceeded very quickly, but that didn’t impede that the IOR’s shade was evocated during all the scandals of the last twenty years. From those connected with the politicians to the massacres of the two best and honest Sicilian prosecutors in 1993 and from the recent illegal attempts to buy banks illegally to the recent Soccer League scandal. But as it appeared, that shade disappeared. Nobody knew or wanted to look beyond the impenetrable walls of the Vatican bank.

The autumn of 1993 was the most cruel season for many of the most important political leaders. Soon afterward the real or fake suicides of businessmen like Gabriele Cagliari and Raul Gardini, in the morning of October 4, a telephone call is made to the President of the IOR by chief prosecutor Francesco Saverio Borrelli: “ Dear Professor, there are problems regarding IOR, its contacts with Enimonts…..”. The fact is that the biggest share of the “mother of all kickbacks”, precisely 108 billion lire in Treasury Bonds, transited through the IOR. The money had been in the current account of an old client, Luigi Bisignani, a member of P2 and journalist, collaborator of the Ferruzzi group and free lance business man, later sentenced to 3 years and 4 months of jail for the Enimont scandal and recently investigated by prosecutor Luigi De Magistris for another scandal, which was dubbed “Why Not”.

After Borrelli’s telephone call, President Caloia hurried for consultation with monsignor Renato Dardozzi, a fiduciary of Secretary of State Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, “ Monsignor Dardozzi – he told Galli - with his “elegant” language said I was in the shit and, to make me understand that, he ordered a camp bed for me so that I could live in the Vatican. I opposed that, answering I would continue to live in the Hassler hotel. However I accepted the advise to consult some law scholars. An answer to Borrelli had in any case to be given !” The answer consisted of a few but final lines: “ Any answer could be given only through an international rogatory request”.

The magistrates evaluated the rogatory hypothesis. The IOR doesn’t own any bank in the Italian territory, it doesn’t issue any checks and as “a main institution of the Vatican City” it’s protected by the Concordato (the accord made with dictator Mussolini in 1929): any request must be made through the Italian Foreign Ministry. The probability to get a rogatory in these conditions are zero.

In addition to that the effect of an investigation by the judges in Milan would have a devastating effect in the public opinion. The magistrates gave up and pretended to be satisfied from the official explanation: “ The IOR couldn’t know about the destination of the money”.

The second episode, even darker, dates back to the mid-nineties, during the mafia trial to Marcello Dell’Utri. In a video conference from USA, former mafia man Francesco Marino Mannoia revealed that “Licio Gelli had invested Toto Riina’s money, the mafia boss of Corleone, in the Vatican bank”. “ The IOR guaranteed the Corleone mafia investments and discretion”. Mannoia’s confessions are first rate. He had been the chief of all the heroin refineries activities of Western Sicily, which was the main source of profit for the mafia gangs. He couldn’t but know where that money went. In addition to that he advanced an hypothesis. “When the Pope (John Paul II) came to Sicily and excommunicated the mafia men, the bosses were very angry at him because they brought their money to the Vatican. That’s the reason why two bombs were made to explode in front of two churches in Rome”.

Mannoia wasn’t one of secondary importance. According to Giovanni Falcone, the prosecutor subsequently slain by the mafia in Sicily, he was “the most trustworthy of the collaborators of justice”, even more precious than former mafia boss Buscetta. Any of his statements found objective proofs. Only in one instance there were no proceedings to ascertain the facts, which is the one about the IOR.

The magistrates of the Dell’Utri’s case didn’t investigate the IOR because it wasn’t strictly related to the accused or former Prime Minister Berlusconi and sent their papers to their colleagues, who were investigating former Prime Minister Andreotti. Prosecutor Scarpinato and the other investigators knew about the experience made by Borrelli and they didn’t sign the request for the international rogatory. Someone in the Palace of Justice in Palermo observed: “ Didn’t we already make enough enemies to go now even against the Vatican?”.

On the the IOR dealings a curtain fell for about ten years, until the failed takeover of an important bank by the so called “furbetti del quartierino” ( an expression used to describe the authors of that attempt: “the sly upstarts of an humble neighbourhood”). On July 10 last year the chief of the “furbetti”, Giampiero Fiorani, confessed to the investigators when he was in jail: “At the Swiss Bsi there are three current accounts of the Holy See, which amount, I am not exaggerating, to two three billion Euros”. Fiorani reported to the Milan prosecutor, Francesco Greco, the list of his “black” money deposited in the Vatican coffers: “The first “black” money I deposited was given to cardinal Castillo Lara (the President of Apsa, the administration of real estate belonging to the church) when I bought the Cassa Lombarda. He asked me thirty billion lires, possibly coming from a foreign current account.

Other deposits followed, many of them, to judge from the lamentation of the same Fiorani when he met cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the powerful prefect of the congregation of the Italian Bishops and right hand of Cardinal Ruini: “ I’m one who always gave you money, always in cash, and everything was OK, but when I fell into disgrace you don’t even make a phone call to my wife to know if I’m well or not”.

The Vatican soon abandoned Fiorani, but on the other hand defended Antonio Fazio (the former Governor of the Bank of Italy) until he was forced to resign, when he was abandoned by everyone. The two Vatican newspapers Avvenire and Osservatore Romano repeated until the last day the theory of a “political plot” against the Governor. On the other hand, the career of that strange banker who at the meetings of the European Central Bank’s Governors never cited Keynes but for at least one hundred times only the Papal encyclicals, can be partly explained by the Vatican support.

He was under the protection of cardinal Camillo Ruini and cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, an intimate friend of Fazio, who had celebrated the Mass for the 25th anniversary of the Governor’s wedding with Cristina Maria Rosati.

Obviously the reports by Fiorani weren’t used to discover the secrets of the IOR and the Apsa and their singular relationship with the Swiss banks and the fiscal paradises all over the world. It’s difficult to explain for example that “pastoral exigencies” dictated the necessity to separate the Cayman Islands from the natural Jamaican diocese of Kingston, putting them “missio sui iuris” under the direct power of the Holy See and under the supervision of Cardinal Adam Joseph Maida, a member of the IOR college.

The fourth and last involvement of IOR in the Italian scandals is almost comic in comparison to the previous ones and is relative to Calciopoli (as it was dubbed the recent match fixing scandal regarding many Italian soccer teams). According to the investigators in Rome, Mr. Palamara and Mr. Palaia, the black funds of Gea, the society of mediation run by Mr. Moggi, one of the principal authors of the scandal, were deposited in the Vatican bank, through the good offices of another trusted Vatican banker with a not very clean past record, Mr. Cesare Geronzi, father of the main stockholder in Gea. It’s alleged that in the IOR’s caveau there is deposited the personal “little treasure” belonging to Luciano Moggi, esteemed to be in the order of 150 million Euros. As usual, rogatories and controls are impossible. But it’s sure Mr. Moggi enjoys a great consideration in the Vatican. The catholic press always defended him and he was always well received in the Cardinal Ruini’s court during the pilgrimages to Lourdes. He now even runs a column of “sports and ethics” in the daily on-line newspaper close to Pope Benedict XVI, where the former manager of the Juventus soccer team, arraigned for corruption, is now throwing the first stones against other people’s corruption.

With the image of Luciano Moggi, master of catholic moral, we close the last episode of our investigation about the money of the church. The IOR’s secrets will remain perhaps for ever buried in the case-tower.

The age of Marcinkus is now in the archives but the opacity encircling the bank of the Holy See is very far from dissolving in transparent waters.

We only know that the coffers and the caveau of the IOR have never been so full and that deposits continue to flow, encouraged from 12% yearly interest rates or even higher. To give precise numbers is, as it was said, impossible. The few ascertained ones are the following. With a per capita income above $ 407,000 the Vatican city is by large the “richest State in the world”, can be read in the recent Marina Marinetti’s inquest published on Panorama Economy. According to some Fed’s estimate in 2002, the outcome of the only inquest by an International authority on the Vatican’s finance and limited only to the Usa territory, the catholic church owned in USA $298 million in bonds, $195 million in stocks, $102 million in long term securities, in addition to $ 273 million in joint ventures with Usa partners.

No Italian authority has ever started an investigation to ascertain the economic weight of the Vatican in its host country. An enormous power, direct and indirect. In the last decades the catholic world conquered the traditional stronghold of the lay and liberalist Italian minorities, the financial world. Since the death of financier Enrico Cuccia, the worst enemy of Sindona, Calvi and the IOR, the “white finance” conquered more and more space. The definition is surely generic and it includes people with different background. But all of them maintain a close relationship with the Vatican hierarchies, with the catholic associations and with the prelature of the Opus Dei. In an Italy where politics counts less than finance, the catholic church wields more power in the bank business than in the period in which the country was mainly run by the Christian Democratic party.

(With the collaboration of Carlo Pontesilli and Maurizio Turco)

( January 26, 2008)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

"Free to roam"


[Includes link to the Spokesman Review's comprehensive coverage of the crisis and bankruptcy in Spokane]

By John Stucke

La Conner, Wash. -- In this idyllic town nestled near the Puget Sound and surrounded by tulip fields, residents of the Shelter Bay neighborhood are in an uproar: They have inherited a Spokane problem that has left them in disbelief.

Patrick G. O'Donnell, a former priest in the Spokane Catholic Diocese and notorious pedophile who has admitted to molesting dozens of teenage boys over three decades, has lived quietly among them for the past four years.

Now 65, O'Donnell smiles and says hello to the children playing in front yards or walking along the street and lives in a house with pleasant views of a community park and playground.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:02 PM

Diocese won’t pay into suit settlement: Case alleged abuse by ex-area priest


[See also the list of accused extern and order priests released by the San Diego diocese.]

By Jay Tokasz

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo won’t contribute toward the settlement of a sex abuse lawsuit in California that identified 38 members of the clergy, including a deceased priest who had retired from the Buffalo Diocese.

The lawsuit was part of a global settlement reached late last year between the San Diego Diocese and 144 people who said they had been abused.

The San Diego Diocese, which had filed for bankruptcy earlier last year, agreed to pay $198 million as part of Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:17 AM

Bishop Saltarelli's accomplishments


[See also The people's priest who became a bishop]

As CEO and the spiritual shepherd of 58 parishes in the Diocese of Wilmington, Bishop Michael Saltarelli's achievements include:

. . .

• Opening three new schools and several large new churches in the fast-growing suburbs. (The diocese has added 64,000 members in the last 10 years, growth for which the bishop does not take credit.)

• Launching a partnership of friendship and mutual assistance with the Diocese of San Marcos, partly because many Georgetown immigrants come from Guatemala.

• Adopting new policies for the protection of children to comply with a 2002 mandate from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the wake of the abuse scandal. Creating a review board to consult on cases of abuse while offering pastoral care to victims and families.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:01 AM

The people's priest who became a bishop: After 12 years, Michael Saltarelli contemplates life after Wilmington diocese


By Gary Soulsman

He doesn't know when he'll get a call saying that it's time to step aside as shepherd of the largest faith on the Delmarva Peninsula.

. . .

He will leave behind a diocese that has increased by 64,000 people in 10 years, added three new schools and several new churches in fast-growing suburbs, expanded its Hispanic ministry, and ordained 23 priests. The diocese also has been buffeted by the priest sexual-abuse scandals, and forced to close three schools where attendance declined.

. . .

In the months ahead, the bishop will need the traits that supporters say he has -- a mix of empathy, humor, decisiveness, real-world savvy and a grounding in faith -- to face what Neuberger says will be 20 more sex-abuse suits. Saltarelli hopes they can be settled through mediation.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:53 AM

Letter to the Editor: Diocese rightly settled lawsuit with abused man


By Sister Maureen Paul Turlish

The Diocese of Wilmington is to be congratulated for settling the sexual abuse lawsuit brought by Navy Cmdr. Kenneth J. Whitwell ("Diocese expresses sorrow for abuse," Jan. 18). I hope this signals a new relationship between victims of childhood sexual abuse and the individuals or organizations who might have been complicit in the abuse.

With the Child Victims Law in July, Delaware passed landmark legislation for legislatures throughout the United States to follow.

Let us hope the settlement also signals to other dioceses the wisdom of moral decisions rather than legal maneuvering that has proven to be harmful to the church in too many courtrooms and statehouses across the country.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:48 AM

Sneak Preview of The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture


By Philip F. Lawler

. . .

How did the Catholic faith, which had built up its public influence so steadily during the 20th century, lose all that influence within the span of a generation? That is the question this book seeks to answer.

The most obvious answer is that the sex-abuse scandal that shook the Boston archdiocese in 2002 sapped the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy. The faithful, according to this explanation, would no longer follow the orders issued by bishops who had allowed their priests to prey on altar boys.

That theory seems compelling at first glance. There can be no doubt that the prestige of Catholicism has suffered enormously as a result of the scandal. But as an explanation of how the Church lost public influence, the theory fails in two respects. First, the decline in Catholic clout was underway long before the first shocking stories of sexual abuse hit the headlines. Second, the sex-abuse crisis hit several other cities before it struck Boston. If the scandal itself could cause a major shift in political alignments, we should have seen the same changes in other communities. But the "People's Republic of Massachusetts" is unique.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:40 AM

Priests, nuns in minority at Catholic schools: Laity taking school reins


[Includes video of a typical day for Sr. Catherine Osimo]

By Marjorie Hernandez

When Catherine Osimo attended Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana in the 1960s, it was common to see Catholic nuns in their habits heading classrooms and teaching everything from religion to mathematics.

Sisters, brothers and priests from various Catholic religious orders oversaw the education of 1,300 Mater Dei students, with only two lay people on the faculty, Osimo said.

Four decades later, Osimo is leading her own class at Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai. She is known to students as Sister Catherine Osimo — one of only five with religious titles among the 51 faculty and staff at the Catholic school.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:35 AM

Cape Fear Profile: Ann Flaherty has sewn up a quilt project


By Michael Futch

Sanford — Artist Ann Flaherty, facing fears of her own death three years ago, trusts her life to something more than blind chance.

. . .

The 51-year-old Flaherty is a quilter, and she’s been known to spend months figuring out a design in her head before turning inspiration into a patchwork creation. She’s looking to notch a reputation among art circles on the strength of her nontraditional quilts of many colors, designs and underlying social meanings.

. . .

After learning that her childhood priest, whom she loved, was involved in Boston’s sexual abuse scandal, Flaherty worked out her anger in the quilt she titled, “’Tis Enough to Cause the Saints to Weep.”

She’s Irish-Catholic, and that work, which depicts hands breaking a Celtic cross, has been shown in a Sacred Threads show in Ohio.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:27 AM

Bishop pressured to defrock Mesa priest Fushek


By Lawn Griffiths

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix is being pressured to defrock and stop paying Monsignor Dale Fushek, former pastor of St. Timothy’s Catholic Community in Mesa.

Fushek is on paid leave as he awaits trial on seven misdemeanor counts of sexual misconduct with minors.

In a Thursday letter, David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called on Olmsted to act swiftly to rein in Fushek, who is preaching publicly even though he says he doesn’t represent himself as a priest. Diocesan policy calls for pastors to refrain from public ministry while they await resolution of sexual misconduct cases against them.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:18 AM

Publication of Orientations for Diocesan Sexual Abuse Protocols


January 21, 2008

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is pursuing the work it began nearly 20 years ago on sexual abuse by publishing Orientations for diocesan sexual abuse protocols.

The document is intended to assist Catholic dioceses in Canada in updating their diocesan protocols for the prevention of sexual abuse and for their pastoral response to complaints about possible sexual abuse of minors by clergy or other personnel under diocesan responsibility.

By publishing the Orientations, the CCCB is supporting the work of the Bishops who continue to ensure appropriate measures in their respective dioceses, so children can be in a safe pastoral environment.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:06 AM

Orientations ... for updating a diocesan protocol for the prevention of the sexual abuse of minors


Dated October 2007
Released January 21, 2008

1. Introduction

These orientations are intended to assist Catholic dioceses in Canada in strengthening their diocesan protocols for the prevention of sexual abuse and the pastoral response to complaints about possible sexual abuse of minors by clergy or other personnel who are under diocesan responsibility.

Orientation 1.1 Safe Environment

This document gives priority to creating a safe environment for pastoral activities in which the protection of minors is imperative. The elements described below repeat, clarify or strengthen the recommendations in From Pain to Hope, which thus is a necessary reference. Over the past 15 years, the problem of sexual abuse by clergy has highlighted the need for dioceses to adopt effective methods for preventing abuse, for responding to abuse complaints and for reducing risks.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:56 AM

Canadian bishops update sexual abuse guidelines: Protocols are not binding on dioceses


By Deborah Gyapong

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' (CCCB) forcefully-worded orientations to guide dioceses in updating their sexual abuse protocols stop short of being binding on the bishops.

"That's the nature of our organization," said CCCB president Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber, noting the conference does not have authority over individual bishops. The orientations were posted Jan. 21 on the CCCB's website - www.cccb.ca.

In an interview from Winnipeg, Archbishop Weisgerber described the orientations as "very good and very clear guidelines, with a very strong recommendation from the conference" for the bishops to "adopt or adapt according to their own circumstances."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:52 AM

Former priest abused children while a student at Maynooth


John Brosnan, a former priest in the Kerry diocese, has pleaded guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court to 53 counts of sexual assault against five members of the same family, aged between nine and 16 years, on dates between 1965 and 1973.

Mr Brosnan has already served four years in prison after he was convicted in 1997 of abusing five children in the Kerry area during the early 1980s.

John Brosnan appeared before Judge Carroll Moran at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court on Monday for sentencing.

The court heard Mr Brosnan carried out the abuse when he was aged in his early 20s and was studying in Maynooth to become a priest. The assaults happened when he was back in Kerry on holiday from college.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:46 AM

No appeal for 'abuse cash' priest


[Includes links to previous stories]

* A priest who financed the grooming of a young girl for sex has lost his bid to appeal against his five-year sentence.

Father Jeremiah McGrath, 64, who had worked as a missionary in Africa, gave £20,000 to paedophile Billy Adams.

Adams used the cash in 2005 to shower a 12-year-old with gifts then raped her repeatedly over a six-month period.

The appeal court said McGrath's conduct had "facilitated the continuation of extremely grave offences and required no lesser sentence".

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:41 AM

Father brings 63 years of eclectic experience to his parish


[NOTE: Rev. Tony Cureton has NOT been accused of any misconduct. This article is included here for the insight it offers into the demographics of the Catholic priesthood.]

By Susan Ager

Tony Cureton is 63 years old, the divorced father of two young women he raised alone. He is a grandfather, too.

He nursed until her death a woman he calls "my beloved in Christ," and still wears the ring she would have given him on their wedding day.

He has been a Girl Scout leader, a cop, a teacher and a monk.

Now, he is a new priest of the Roman Catholic Church, a latecomer to a vocation young men are spurning.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:25 AM

Priest Is Sacked After Admitting 18-Year Affair


By Charles Lavery

A senior priest has been sacked by the Catholic church after admitting an 18-year affair with a married woman.

Monsignor Joseph Creegan, whose overnight stays with a divorcee were revealed by the Sunday Mail last week, admitted the relationship with a SECOND woman to his bishop.

His secret mistress, who has been married more than 25 years, complained to the church after she was dumped by Creegan.

Bishop Vincent Logan confronted 66-year-old Creegan, who admitted the affair. The bishop then apologised for the "hurt caused to people by Monsignor Creegan's conduct over the years".

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:20 AM

New head of Jesuits meets with pope at Vatican


The new leader of the Jesuits met Saturday with Pope Benedict XVI and told him the religious order would study the pontiff's invitation to confirm their «total» adhesion to Catholic teaching, including on divorce, homosexuality and liberation theology.

The Jesuits have had a tense relationship with the Vatican on issues of doctrine and obedience. The Vatican occasionally disciplines Jesuit theologians and issues reminders of the their vows of obedience to the pontiff.

The Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, a Spanish missionary and theologian with extensive Asian experience who was elected as superior general Jan. 19, had a «warm and friendly conversation» with the pontiff, the Jesuits said on their Web site.

Shortly before Nicolas' predecessor, Dutch priest Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, handed in his resignation for reasons of age, he received a letter from Benedict in which the pope said it could be «extremely useful» if the Jesuits reaffirm «total adhesion to Catholic doctrine.»

The pope wrote Kolvenbach that he was particularly concerned about «those neuralgic points which today are strongly attacked by secular culture,» according to the text released by the Jesuits.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:14 AM

Put pedophile priest scandal behind us now, say the bishops, find closure. Right. What about the rest of the crimes?


By Kay Ebeling
No we can’t put this all behind us now, or find closure, whether with or without a settlement, dear bishops and cardinals, et al. The church has to take responsibility for what it did, not just to the 20 or 30 thousand people who are walking around the world damaged from sex abuse by pedophile priests in the Catholic church, but its responsibility to the entire American culture.

By allowing pedophiles to operate, protecting them, and covering their crimes, the church is in part responsible for the epidemic of sex crimes against chilren we have in this country today.

Pedophiles network. Even before the internet they found each other and compared notes. So when word got out that priests were getting away with it, pedophiles in other areas of life got enabled and empowered. Men who tended toward pedophilia entered the priesthood to gain free access to children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:55 AM

January 26, 2008

Reforming and Renewing the Church Using Gospel Nonviolence


If you haven’t met Dick Taylor from Philadelphia, you’ve missed a real treat. Dick’s quite a guy. He’s a man of action with fire in the belly, but you’d never know it because he’s centered, kind, and gentle and projects a calm demeanor.

Dick, a student and teacher of gospel nonviolence, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the civil rights movement. Dick is a Catholic, a VOTF member, and dedicated to church reform.

Dick has written a new book, Love in Action: A Direct-Action Handbook for Catholics Using Nonviolence to Reform and Renew the Church. Here is an excerpt (note the testimonials) from the homepage of his very professional website that he is using to market the book:

This website describes the only book dedicated entirely to showing how concerned Catholics can unleash the powerful methods of “gospel nonviolence” to reform and renew the Church. In addition to Catholics, anyone who is working for social change in any realm—peace, justice, human rights, ecology, race relations or any other area of social transformation—can use this book to be more effective in bringing about the changes they envision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 PM

Teaching the Gospel of Management: Program Aims to Bring Transparency to Church Business Practices


By Ron Alsop
January 8, 2008

The reputations of many Roman Catholic parishes have been tarnished in recent years, both by the priest sex-abuse scandals and a growing number of embezzlement cases. That has prompted a burgeoning movement to improve the management and leadership skills of church officials through new programs being offered primarily at Catholic universities. M.B.A. Track columnist Ron Alsop talked recently with Charles Zech, director of the Center for the Study of Church Management and a professor of economics at Villanova University's School of Business in Villanova, Pa., about the launch of its master's degree in church management in May and the need for more sophisticated and more transparent business practices in parishes and religious organizations.

WSJ: Why did Villanova decide to create a master's degree in church management?

Dr. Zech: We find that business managers at both the parish and diocesan level often have social work, theology or education backgrounds and lack management skills. While pastors aren't expected to know all the nitty-gritty of running a small business, they at least need enough training in administration to supervise their business managers. Before starting the degree, we ran some seminars in 2006 and 2007 as a trial balloon to see if folks were interested enough to pay for management education. The seminars proved to be quite popular, drawing people from all over the country, including high-level officials from both Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:53 AM

Brazilian Church Files 28 Lawsuits Against Brazil's Largest Newspaper


Brazilian journalist Elvira Lobato and the newspaper for which she works, Folha de S. Paulo, the largest daily in Brazil, are the target of at least 28 lawsuits filed by 28 members of the Brazilian-founded and based Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God).

The authors of the lawsuits say they were insulted by her investigative report, entitled "Universal turns 30 with a business empire", published on December 15, 2007. It's possible that more lawsuits will still be filed of which the journalist and the newspaper have not yet been informed by the justice system.

Lobato's report investigated the assets amassed by the church over the previous 30 years and revealed the way these properties are managed between the bishops.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:37 AM

Ex-coach guilty in Wisconsin


[Includes a link to the school's statement about Crary and to the major 2007 Columbus Dispatch series on teacher misconduct - including sexual misconduct - in Ohio schools. ]

By Jennifer Smith Richards

Three years after Worthington Christian High School hired Jason Crary, officials heard that something inappropriate had happened with a student at his former school.

But no criminal charges had been filed and, after speaking with the parent of the student, Worthington Christian officials didn't lend credence to the rumors. That was in 2002.

Yesterday, Crary pleaded guilty in Wisconsin to four felony counts of sexual assault by a school staff member.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:18 AM

Huckabee Not Speaking at Church Mired in Sex-Abuse Scandal


By Bob Allen

Mike Huckabee will not be speaking this weekend at a north Florida Baptist church facing pending lawsuits that allege molestation and cover-up. His campaign says he never agreed to it in the first place, contradicting a press release sent out by the church, while a support group for victims says he backed out after they complained.

Leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests on Thursday urged Huckabee to reconsider his Jan. 27 speaking engagement at Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. EthicsDaily.com reported Wednesday that the church Web site listed Huckabee as its Sunday-night preacher. That announcement has since been removed.

Friday's Florida Times-Union reported that people at Huckabee's Little Rock campaign office said they never agreed to the appearance, which a church spokesman termed "surprising."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:02 AM

Group Criticizes Church for Inaction Against Accused Priest


By Kevin Tripp

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has been accused of failing to take the proper steps against a Valley priest awaiting trial on sex charges.

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, is a national group for victims of priests.

Spokeswoman Barbara Dorris said the church is not doing enough about Monsignor Dale Fushek, who is on administrative leave as a priest and has been preaching at non-denominational services in Mesa.

"They can defrock this predator, they can stop paying this predator," Dorris said. "Their actions will speak louder than words."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:58 AM

DeLuca to face charges in Delaware


A former priest who spent 60 days in jail for sexually abusing a teenage boy in Syracuse will not have similar charges thrown out in Delaware. A federal judge in Wilmington has rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against Francis DeLuca.

DeLuca is accused of sexually abusing a boy in Delaware more than 300 times between 1968 and 1975. His attorneys had argued that the U.S. District Court did not have jurisdiction in the case, however, the judge ruled that the law did not prohibit the federal court from hearing the case.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:54 AM

Former teacher looks to reverse pleas to assault: Terry Sullivan now claims he’s innocent of sexually abusing several teenage boys


By Phil Ray

Hollidaysburg — Terry Sullivan, who served more than a year in prison for indecent assault of several teenage boys, now says he is innocent and wants to withdraw the no-contest pleas he entered three years ago.

Sullivan, a former high school basketball coach and math teacher, is on parole. A condition of his sentence is that he must register as a sexual offender under Pennsylvania’s version of Megan’s Law.

. . .

Sullivan resigned as a math teacher in the Hollidaysburg Area School District and boys basketball coach at Bishop Guilfoyle High School.

When it came time for trial, he entered no-contest pleas to indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of a minor and selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:49 AM

Silence to Hope aided


By Heather Travis

The Roman Catholic Diocese of London gave $60,000 to Hope & Healing Associates of Chatham-Kent to help support male sexual abuse victims.

The funding was designated for the Silence to Hope project, which provides sexual abuse support groups, workshops, weekend retreats and education and awareness programs for men living in Essex, Kent, Lambton, Huron, Perth, Middlesex, Elgin, Oxford and Norfolk counties. The program also refers abuse survivors to caregivers and professional help.

The money is not only for sexual abuse victims of the church, said Tom Wilken, project coordinator for the Silence to Hope project.

"We recognize that the problem is very large," said Wilken. "To be quite honest, $60,000 isn't going to provide enough services for all men in this large of an area."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:23 AM

Dead priest to be named in sexual abuse suit


[Includes photo of Thibert as a child]

By Trevor Wilhelm

Wayne Thibert was a freckle-faced outcast when his priest befriended him, then spent the next six years sexually abusing him while warning him his soul was in jeopardy if he didn't comply.

Those are among the allegations of a lawsuit Thibert's lawyers have filed against the London diocese. The lawsuit alleges the late Rev. Lawrence Paquette sexually assaulted the boy repeatedly at St. Gregory church and rectory in former St. Clair Beach, in his car and in hotel rooms across Southern Ontario.

"I was an outcast from a lot of things," said Thibert, 51. "I guess he might have seen that. He became my friend."

Thibert's lawsuit is one of six the London law firm Ledroit Beckett will announce Monday during a news conference in Sudbury. The law firm is also launching legal actions against the diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and a religious order called Congregation of Resurrection in Ontario, alleging sexual abuse by five other priests. Those lawsuits allege the abuse of minors in North Bay, the Sudbury area and Field, Ont., at an all-boys high school and a centre for troubled youth, among other places.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:10 AM

Additional civil lawsuits coming against diocese


[This article has been posted on the web in other versions containing additional details 1 2.]

By Carol Mulligan

A lawyer representing several plaintiffs in lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie is calling on Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe to follow the lead of colleagues in other parts of Ontario.

Robert Talach says there are examples Plouffe can look to of how to deal fairly with people who claim they were sexually abused as children by priests.

Talach will hold a news conference Monday in Sudbury to announce seven more civil lawsuits by men and women alleging sexual misconduct by six Roman Catholic priests. All but one of the priests is dead. Five of the priests served at churches in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:05 AM

Priests accused of abuse in city: Six clergy named in lawsuit, one still living


[This article has been posted on the web in other versions containing additional details 1 2.]

By Carol Mulligan

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie has been hit with six more civil lawsuits from men and women claiming they were sexually abused as children by priests with the diocese.

Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers of London, Ont., will hold a news conference Monday to announce it is suing the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, the Roman Catholic Diocese of London and the Congregation of the Resurrection in Ontario on behalf of seven plaintiffs.

The litigation names six Roman Catholic priests, only one of whom is alive. He is Father Gerald Roy of Field. Half of the priests named have been charged or convicted of criminal offences. Roy is one of them.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:59 AM

Diocese faces sex abuse lawsuits: North Bay, Powassan among sites of alleged misconduct


[This article has been posted on the web in other versions containing additional details 1 2.]

The Roman Catholic diocese of Sault Ste. Marie has been hit with six civil lawsuits from men and women claiming they were sexually abused as children by priests decades ago.

Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers of London, Ont., are scheduled to hold a news conference Monday to announce the Sault. Ste. Marie lawsuits, as well as one in London.

The firm is suing the Sault diocese, the Roman Catholic diocese of London and the Congregation of the Resurrection in Ontario on behalf of seven plaintiffs.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:54 AM

When the human soul is left charred and empty


By Rev. Eric Strachan

"A child who has been abused needs society to kneel before him or her and bend its ear to the whispers of his or her pain." - Charlene Smith

The insurance company called me the other day. It was time for the annual renewal of the church policy.

"I'd suggest," said my caller, "that you increase your liability coverage and give some further consideration to insurance for physical and sexual abuse."

"You're right," I said, "but it deeply saddens me that the church has to protect itself for fear its staff or congregants are charged with abuse."

"I understand," said our insurance rep, "but the reality is..."

Indeed, there is an alarming reality, an endemic problem within the global institution we refer to as the Church, a problem at times that seems so pervasive, a disease so dreadfully horrible that the once public perception of the Church as a paragon of virtue, and a model of all that is good and noble in society, appears but a distant memory.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:49 AM

Editorial: Let's not make Perry a martyr


[See also Rev. Thomas P. Doyle's reply.]

It was no big surprise that former Cornwall police officer Perry Dunlop didn't show up Monday for his scheduled appearance at the Cornwall Public Inquiry.

He made it perfectly clear that he had no intention of being on hand Monday, despite the threat of having the Ontario Divisional Court issue a bench warrant for his arrest.

Last fall, the same divisional court found Dunlop in contempt of court when he refused to testify at the inquiry after taking the witness stand.

Dunlop, depending on who is providing the analysis, is viewed as either a celebrated whistleblower or rogue cop who carried out a vigilante investigation while serving with the Cornwall force.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:42 AM

Persecution of Perry Dunlop shameful


By Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P.

Your editorial "Let's not make Perry a martyr" reveals either a profound lack of comprehension of the social dynamics that emerge from revelations of child sexual abuse, or it is clear evidence of your paper's complicity in the cover-up. It betrays an insensitivity and a bias that is unacceptable for a newspaper such as the Standard-Freeholder.

Child sexual abuse is a horrendous crime. Historically when it has been committed in families or by members of public or private institutions, the family members and institutional leaders go to any length to deny the fact of abuse and discredit the victim or anyone who reports the abuse. The campaign to destroy Perry Dunlop is not something the Catholic church or other local organizations dreamed up. The same tactic has been used before and unfortunately the organizations that expect the greatest respect and in which are placed the greatest trust are the worst offenders, the Catholic church and law enforcement, in Perry's case, being the clear examples in Cornwall.

Perry Dunlop's life has been turned into a nightmare because of retribution against him by the organizations that have both produced and protected the sexual abusers. There is nothing praiseworthy in turning what is mistakenly called a "public inquiry" into a pillory for the very people who had the courage to come forward on behalf of defenceless victims.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:38 AM

January 25, 2008

Sneak Preview: Chapter I of Faithful Departed


Jan. 25, 2008 - This is the 1st introductory chapter of Phil Lawler's book, The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture. The book will be formally released next month-- February 2008-- by Encounter books.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 PM

Clergy abuse suit can go to federal court


By Beth Miller

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that U.S. District Court was an appropriate place for Robert Quill to file his clergy sexual abuse suit.

Attorneys for the Rev. Francis G. DeLuca, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and St. Elizabeth Church had asked Judge Sue L. Robinson to dismiss the case. They argued that the Child Victim's Act -- the new Delaware law that eliminated the civil statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases and allowed Quill to file his 35-year-old allegations -- specifically mentions Superior Court, not federal court, as the place to file such suits.

Robinson ruled that nothing in the law forbids federal court and that, in the Quill case, federal court was an appropriate venue.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:13 AM

Will Danny Croteau's murder be solved?


By Matt Abbott

The following is an excerpt from Joanne Connors-Wade's book No Tomorrows:

In 1972 Danny Croteau was found floating in the Chicopee River. At the time, Father Richard Lavigne, a friend of the Croteau family became the prime suspect.

Following Danny Croteau's death, Lavigne continued to work quietly within the church. He was assigned to six different parishes in ten years. In 1982, he was assigned to the small town of Shelbourne Falls where he remained for ten years. The murder of the 13-year-old altar boy remained unsolved.

When Danny was murdered on Friday, April 14, 1972 and found the following morning, the investigators uncovered a dark side of the 'good father.' As the investigation intensified, all leads came back to Father Richard Lavigne. He became the prime suspect, the only suspect

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:06 AM

Tuition costs, sagging enrollment worry Brevard's Catholic schools


[Includes data sidebar and map of area Catholic schools]

By Kate Brennan

Whether it’s math or science, music or language arts, God is always the main subject at Catholic schools.

That, along with small class sizes, a family-like feel and a focus on morality, is why many Brevard County students and their parents choose a Catholic parochial education over a public one.

But those numbers are dwindling, both nationally and locally, a shift that has left Catholic schools struggling to remain viable.

Nationwide, Catholic school enrollment has declined 56 percent since its peak in 1960, when more than five 5 million students attended 12,900 schools. Last year, about 2.3 million students attended 7,500 Catholic schools, according to the latest data available from the National Catholic Educational Association.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:30 AM

Shelter says co-founder stole funds: Lana Jacobs accused of taking up to $40,000 in donations


By T.J. Greaney

[Also includes links to a letter sent by the shelter to supporters and a statement by co-founder Steve Jacobs.]

Lana Jacobs, co-founder of St. Francis House homeless shelter for men, has left for St. Louis amid accusations of stealing as much as $40,000 in donations.

Jacobs, 58, is accused of appropriating money intended to pay utility bills and other expenses at the shelter, located at 913 Range Line St. She is also accused of falsifying real-estate documents to use the women’s shelter she operated, Lois Bryant House, as collateral for a loan in 2005, unbeknownst to others involved with that charity.

Her husband, Steve, said he discovered Jacobs had been secretly asking for donations to be sent to a personal post office box only she could access.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:19 AM

LA Archdiocese: Sex? Sell!


By Lindsay William-Ross

When the chips are down and you need cash to settle up some legal matters, unloading some real estate is a good move.

Which is precisely why the Roman Catholic Archdiocese has sold off their 3424 Wilshire Boulevard Archdiocesan Catholic Center to Jamison Properties for a cool $31 million. Of course, that $31 million is just a drop in a bucket with a pricetag of $660 million for the church's past sins. According to the San Jose Mercury News, "Cardinal Roger Mahony announced last year that the archdiocese would sell the Catholic Center and other church properties to raise money to settle hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. Church officials had identified about 50 other nonessential properties that could be sold to fund settlements."

Staffers for the Archdiocese will be packing up and shifting their offices, some to four of the floors in the same building they'll be leasing back from Jamison Properties, and the rest will be based on the grounds of a cemetery--always a pleasant place to do the Lord's work, no? The last major move the Archdiocese made was in 1996, when the nice people of ThriftyPayLess donated the building, helping to extract the church from their troubled digs on James M. Wood Boulevard (once upon a time West Ninth Street) after the area endured the 1992 riots. Not exactly a case of looking a gift horse in the mouth, but certainly a clever financial spin on regifting nonetheless.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:56 AM

Boston archdiocese buys building for $100


Braintree, Mass. - Billionaire developer Thomas Flatley’s sale of a four-story office building off West Street to the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston will result in property assessed at $14.3 million being removed from the town’s tax rolls.

. . .

Sometime this summer 250 to 300 archdiocesan workers will be moving to Braintree.

. . .

The building, which is being renovated, will include all departments now housed at the archdiocese’s Brighton campus as well as other agencies serving the region’s 2.1 million Catholics.

The consolidation is expected to help out the financially strapped archdiocese.

The recent clergy sex abuse scandal cost the archdiocese about $90 million in a settlement with more than 550 abuse victims.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:00 AM

The Rev. Budd challenges constitutionality of sex charges


By Kevin Behr

Delayed again.

That’s the story in the criminal sexual conduct case of the Rev. Donald Dean Budd, who made his first appearance since June in Winona County District Court on Wednesday.

Nearly a year after Budd, 63, was charged with 10 felonies for having an inappropriate sexual contact with a woman he counseled, his attorney, Rich McCluer, pledged to continue challenging those charges on due process and constitutionality issues.

Judge Jeff Thompson ordered McCluer to submit his written argument by March 14 and gave Winona County Attorney Chuck MacLean until April 18 to file a response. Thompson said he will take the arguments under advisement April 21 and will make a decision some time after that, effectively delaying the Budd case again until probably May.

The case was delayed several times last year because of a very similar case before the Minnesota Supreme Court. In that case, ex-Roman Catholic priest John Bussmann was convicted of having a sexual relationship with two women while giving them religious advice. The court threw out the conviction saying some evidence unfairly entangled religious doctrine with law.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:50 AM

Huckabee won't be coming to preach: The GOP candidate said he never committed to the Jacksonville church


By Jeff Brumley

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will not be preaching Sunday at Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville. That much is for sure.

. . .

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests - SNAP - said Thursday night that Huckabee got cold feet after learning of a sex-abuse scandal at the church involving a former minister.

"There may be no Baptist congregation in the country that would be a more troubling place for any public figure to appear than this one," said David Clohessy, the network's national director.

Trinity's former pastor, the Rev. Robert Gray, was arrested in May 2006 and charged with multiple counts of molesting children as much as three decades ago. By the time he died in December 2007, he faced criminal trial for capital sexual battery and Trinity faced civil suits from some of Gray's victims.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:38 AM

All invited to Mass today for new archbishop


By Karen Jowers

The military’s Catholic archdiocese is encouraging members of the military community to attend the Jan. 25 Mass that will install Archbishop Timothy Paul Broglio as the fourth military archbishop.

The 2 p.m. Mass will be held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

A ceremonial procession of hundreds of priests, deacons, cardinals and bishops will precede the Mass at 1:30 p.m., and officials urge those attending to arrive by 1 p.m. for seating.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:34 AM

Trial Set for Radio Host Bernie Ward on Child Porn Charges

NBC 11

San Francisco -- Former radio talk show host Bernie Ward was given a date of June 9 in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday for a trial on charges of receiving and distributing child pornography on his computer.

The trial date was set by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who also scheduled a hearing on pretrial motions for April 24.

Ward, 56, a former host on KGO radio in San Francisco, is accused of three counts of receiving child pornography, knowingly distributing it and attempting to distribute it in December 2004 and January 2005.

. . .

Ward, a former Catholic priest who is married and has four children, previously hosted a nighttime 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. show Monday through Friday and a Sunday morning show called Godtalk on KGO.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:30 AM

Town Endorses Law on Child Sex Abuse


By Robert Wargas

The town of Southold is joining the New York Coalition to Protect Children in the support of state legislation that would extend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse acts, said Town Supervisor Scott Russell.

Having already passed through the New York State Assembly with nearly unanimous bipartisan support, the bill now is in the state Senate.

Officials resolved at last week's town board meeting that such legislation is necessary because "sex crimes against children are damaging to the most vulnerable in our society and the predators should not be permitted to roam freely after a limited time."

The bill would extend the time period in which offenders may be prosecuted for sexual crimes committed against a child younger than age 18. The statute of limitations on child sex crimes would be extended to five years, but that time limit would not begin running until the child has reached age 23 or until the crime is reported to the authorities - whichever happens first.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:24 AM

Letter to the Editor: Catholic Church should treat the abused justly


By Loretta Kilby

It is gratifying that Navy Cmdr. Kenneth Whitwell's lawsuit against the Diocese of Wilmington has been settled and that it recognizes its moral obligation to him.

The only way the church can regain its credibility is by acknowledging all victims of clerical sexual abuse, apologizing and providing justice to them. I am grateful to Delaware lawmakers for changing the statute of limitations for civil cases.

I hope the church will lead in other states as statute of limitations laws are being challenged. Justice might be expensive, but it is the right thing to do.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:11 AM

Letter to the Editor: The church & gays II


By Anne Marie Zellner

It was with dismay that I read Anthony Brown's letter about the Diocese of Greensburg's initiative to support a "Marriage Protection Amendment" to the state Constitution.

The Roman Catholic Church vehemently supports separation of church and state when the question is whether clergy should be mandated to report suspected child abuse.

. . .

If the church leadership wants to get involved in a "protection amendment," they should consider supporting the elimination of statutes of limitations for the sexual abuse of children. Opening avenues to real justice and healing for Pennsylvania's survivors of childhood abuse would do far more to justify the church's claims to moral authority in civil law.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:05 AM

Archbishop Buechlein's cancer is rare at his age


By Robert King

The cancer diagnosed in Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein is a relatively rare form that is especially unusual in people older than 60, a medical expert said Thursday, but is a kind that's curable in a majority of cases.

. . .

The most painful aspect of the job, Buechlein has said repeatedly, has been the clergy sexual abuse crisis, and his response to it locally has been controversial.

The archdiocese has acknowledged the existence of past abuse and offered to pay for victims' therapy. It also has complied with new guidelines intended to prevent abuse.

But in court, where more than a dozen sexual abuse lawsuits against the archdiocese remain, the archbishop's legal representatives have argued that victims' cases should not be heard because the statute of limitations has expired, producing sharp criticism from victims' groups. To date, the archdiocese has yet to agree to a single case settlement beyond therapy and medical expense payments.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:01 AM

Retired detective now stalks the mind of a predator


By John Karas

When it comes to childhood predators, society still has it all wrong, says a veteran East Hartford police detective.

. . .

There have also been questions if pedophiles are attracted in professions that give them power over children - teachers, boy scout leaders, priests - Kenary pointed out, and while there are no specific studies on this, it should be something parents should always be aware of.

"Is every teacher, Boy Scout leaders and priest a pedophile?" Kenary asked. "No. But a parent must keep in mind that one could be." And then there is the second group of sexual offenders against children, the regressed offender, the sexual predator that attacks children opportunistically, Kenary related. Generally under-adequate, from a dysfunctional home, inhibited, with low self esteem, no sense of self or identity, with little education and possibly intellectual deficits, this offender will try anything sexual, and mostly offends against girls. The crime is usually committed on impulse, inside the family, when the other partner is away, and often involve alcohol. And he always tries to deny the facts, sometimes blaming the attack on his victim. "Talk with your children, open lines of communication about sexual safety, talk to them about these people," Kenary pleaded with his audience.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:55 AM

A unique pilgrimage into priesthood


By Crestina Chavez

It took him 37 years. But it could be said that it was Father James Misko's calling to become a man of faith.

. . .

The Catholic Church was associated with scandal and controversy in 2002, when reports of sexual abuse within the church led to regulations worldwide.

So why would someone want to join the priesthood in light of those allegations?

"It just encourages me, to be a better priest, to be a holier priest, to be someone who is there for the people, and to be someone who can be trusted, someone who is good with children," he said.

Father James gave up the chance to have his own children when he became a priest.

"It's really not that lonely. There are 25,000 families in my parish in Pflugerville and there's always someone to talk to," he added.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:50 AM

Sifting through scandal: Author examines church's role in abusive priests


By María Cortés González

A just-released book criticizing the way the Catholic Church has handled abusive priests for decades is gaining national media attention.

The book, "Sacrilege, Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church," might also get local readership. The first chapter, "The Rectory Boys of El Paso," tells how the city had its own abusive priests in the 1940s with some graphic details from court affidavits.

"It happened in El Paso É and there were several cases in El Paso," author Leon J. Podles, a former federal investigator, said in a telephone interview. "I talked to one victim who was from Las Cruces."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:45 AM

Priest to serve as bishop in Missouri: Johnston 2nd in local diocese named to high office recently


By Ina Hughs

For the second time in less than a year, a Roman Catholic clergyman in the Diocese of Knoxville has been appointed to a high office.

Pope Benedict XVI announced Thursday the appointment of the Rev. James Vann Johnston Jr. as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Johnston, a Knoxville native, is currently chancellor and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Knoxville and is the pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Alcoa, along with its mission, St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Townsend.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:37 AM

Springfield has new bishop: Johnston is diocese's Vatican-named replacement


By Linda Leicht

When James Vann Johnston Jr. steps into the role of bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, he will work to serve as a "shepherd after the heart of Christ."

Johnston, 48, served in the Diocese of Knoxville, Tenn., since he was ordained as a priest in 1990. He will be ordained as the sixth bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau on March 31.

. . .

Susan Vance, director of the Tennessee chapter of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests — SNAP, pointed out that Knoxville has been home to abuser priests before 1988. She said Johnston has refused to cross reference with the Nashville and Memphis dioceses to find those priests and has continued to keep pictures of O'Connell on display in churches and schools.

"He hides behind the letter of the law to keep from being compassionate," she said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:34 AM

Bishop John Leibrecht: A life of devotion


By Linda Leicht

When John Leibrecht was announced as the new bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Catholic Diocese in 1984, his old friends were not surprised.

Leibrecht, known as Jack to his classmates, was voted most likely to succeed when he was in seminary, said the Rev. Ralph "Jake" Duffner, who was in school with Leibrecht back in the 1950s.

"If anyone gets (to be a bishop), Leibrecht will get it," was the students' conviction, said Duffner, a priest at St. Ambrose parish in Chaffey, in the east part of the diocese.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:30 AM

New bishop named for Mo. diocese


By Tim Townsend

Pope Benedict XVI named the Rev. James Vann Johnston Jr., a priest in the diocese of Knoxville, Tenn., as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau Thursday.

Johnston, a 48-year-old native of Knoxville, will succeed Bishop John Leibrecht, 77, who has led the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese for more than 23 years. Johnston is chancellor of the Knoxville diocese and pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Alcoa, Tenn.

Leibrecht attended St. Louis Archdiocesan Latin School, St. Louis Preparatory Seminary and later Kenrick Seminary. In 1956, he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Joseph Ritter of St. Louis. Leibrecht worked in Catholic education in the St. Louis archdiocese for 20 years, including nine years as superintendent.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:25 AM

Tennessee Priest to Be Bishop in Missouri


Benedict XVI named Father Vann Johnston Jr., the chancellor of the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, as bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

The 48-year-old priest will succeed Bishop John Leibrecht, 77, who presented his retirement to the Pope.

Bishop-designate Johnston, a native of Knoxville, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Knoxville in 1990.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:22 AM

January 24, 2008

Letter on Archbishop Raymond Burke and Rev. Marek Bozek


Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis is asking the Vatican to defrock Father Marek Bozek. story here

Father Bozek is the pastor of the St. Louis, Missouri parish that refused to turn over $9 million in parish corporation assets to the Archbishop, who then excommunicated the parish council and Father Bozek and suppressed the parish.

If I had been president of Voice of the Faithful on the day this news story about the defrocking broke, here’s what I would have said to Archbishop Burke and the Vatican.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 3:38 PM

She founded resource for sex abuse victims


By Bryna Zumer

Vicki Polin, a counselor specializing in sexual violence, noticed years ago that there seemed to be no Jewish resources for sex abuse victims, and she was uncomfortable referring them to Christian organizations, which she felt might proselytize them or be unable to speak to Jewish issues.

Before relocating to Israel in 2001, she attended Neve Yerushalayim, a women's college in Jerusalem, and saw that people who had been sexually abused had no place to turn.

"All these young women started telling me what happened to them," Polin said. "I started seeing what a problem it was."

A Chicago native, she moved to Baltimore in 2002 and, in 2003, launched the nonprofit International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault, now known as The Awareness Center.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:38 PM

Child sex abuse lawsuit against priest can go forward


A federal judge in Wilmington has rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit in a clergy sexual abuse case.

Attorneys representing the Rev. Francis DeLuca argued unsuccessfully that the U.S. District Court did not have jurisdiction in the case.

The attorneys cited language in the state law eliminating the civil statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases, saying it designated Superior Court for the cases. However, Judge Sue Robinson ruled that the law did not prohibit the federal court from hearing the case.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:19 AM

Southwestern president responds to victims' rights group criticism


By Tammi Reed Ledbetter

* Patterson says he told Gilyard to cease pursuing career in the ministry

Fort Worth—An activist organization that describes itself as a "group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures" has once again made headlines by attempting to tie allegations of abuse by a non-Southern Baptist pastor to what they describe as a Southern Baptist entity leader's "blind-eyed response to clergy sex abuse" 16 years ago.

The widely distributed news release, which accuses Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson of negligence in the early 1990s in dealing with the pastor in question, found a quick venue for further distribution by the alternative media outlet EthicsDaily.com, a forum founded by moderate Baptists who routinely offer objections to the conservative leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Meanwhile, Patterson released a statement Jan. 9 disputing the SNAP news release and noting that the pastor, Darrell Gilyard, was expelled from Criswell College when Patterson was president once his guilt was substantiated. Patterson said he even moderated the meeting during which Gilyard resigned the church he pastored as a Criswell student.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:13 AM

From the pulpit to prison


A former pastor in Van Buren County will serve time after admitting to a sexual assault.

Pastor James Hatfield used to minister at The Center of Life Church in Paw Paw. It was while he was a pastor there that authorities say he started abusing a girl that was in his care, abuse that began when the girl was in middle school, and continued through high school.

Hatfield later pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault, and Tuesday he was sentenced to at least a year and nine months in prison.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:08 AM

Spanish bishop denies equating homosexuality with child molestation


Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain - A Spanish Catholic bishop who linked homosexuality with child molestation has retracted his statement, saying he did not intend to compare the two, press reports said Wednesday. "I have not in any way compared, nor wanted to compare, nor do compare homosexuality with the abuse of minors," Tenerife bishop Bernardo Alvarez told a Canary Islands television station on Tuesday.

"The abuse of minors is morally a very serious sin and judicially it is a crime," he explained.

Alvarez made headlines nearly a month ago by linking homosexuality with paedophilia and by saying that some children desired and possibly even sought out sexual abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:02 AM

Church allowed female priests in first millennia


Jennifer Green, Canwest News Service
Published: Monday, January 21, 2008

The Catholic church ordained women for the first 1,200 years of Christianity, says a new book by a U.S. scholar.

Then, in a struggle for political power in the 12th and 13th centuries, it vilified females, banned married clergy and rewrote its own history to excise clerical women.

Women were made deaconesses (equivalent to deacons) episcopae (bishops), and presbyterae (priests), and they preached, heard confessions, performed baptisms and even blessed the bread and wine for communion, says Gary Macy, a theology professor at Santa Clara University in California.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Archdeacon to Archbishop: Zip It !!!


By Tom Archdeacon

This week Saint Louis University basketball coach Rick Majerus finds himself in a bigger holy war than he ever imagined.

. . .

But now he’s finding himself facing a full court press from St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, the outspoken and often polarizing head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis.

. . .

My advice to Burke, clean your own house first.

Four years ago, it was reported his archdiocese paid out $2 million to settle 18 claims of sexual abuse involving five priests. At the time 16 more suits were pending. There may be more now.

A few of those priests’ transgressions happened as far back as the 1970s and yet some of them still were handing out communion long after that.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:08 AM

The cardinal, his men and the McCormack legacy


By Susan Hogan/Albach

Two years ago this month, the Rev. Daniel McCormack was arrested for molesting boys. He's in prison now. And the top leaders in the Archdiocese of Chicago who might have stopped him have risen in their church positions.

Cardinal Francis George

At the height of the sexual abuse scandals in 2002, U.S. Catholic bishops adopted a policy calling for the removal of any priest credibly accused of child molestation. Beforehand, George had argued repeatedly on national television that the "zero tolerance" policy was too stringent. McCormack was first picked up by police in August 2005, but not charged. The cardinal's review board recommended that the priest be removed from ministry, the archdiocese said. But the cardinal refused. McCormack went on to abuse other children. He pleaded guilty last July and was sent to prison. Four months later, the cardinal was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bishop George Rassas

When McCormack was first arrested in 2005, Rassas was the archdiocese's vicar general. Despite the arrest, he allowed McCormack to receive a priestly promotion. The priest was kept in the West Side parish he served and went on to abuse more children. McCormack was arrested again in 2006. A few weeks later, Rassas was made an auxiliary bishop.

Chancellor Jimmy Lago

As the archdiocese's chancellor, Lago oversees the offices that handle sexual abuse. After McCormack's 2006 arrest, Lago told another media outlet that he regretted "that he was on vacation" when the priest was first arrested in 2005. And "not in the loop when a school principal came forward in 1999 with the first allegation against the priest." Not aware of McCormack? Really? Lago called for a so-called "independent" investigation into how McCormack slipped through the archdiocese's system. In releasing the report, the tough talking chancellor was hailed as a hero with unquestioning acceptance by the Chicago Tribune. The cardinal bestowed Lago with even greater responsibility in handling abuse. The question not raised: Should Lago have been fired?

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:01 AM

Group seeks St. Norbert Abbey's help: Letter calls for priest's surrender


[Updated version of an article blogged previously]

By Patti Zarling

De Pere — A survivors group for people abused by clergy wants the St. Norbert Abbey to help turn over to authorities a priest accused of molesting a boy during a four-day visit to St. Norbert College in the 1980s.

The group called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, delivered a letter to Abbot Gary Neville on Tuesday, urging the abbey to immediately turn over to authorities the Rev. Edward J. Smith.

In 2007, Smith was found guilty in a federal civil suit in Delaware of sexually assaulting Ken Whitwell, now 39, over a three-year period in the 1980s.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:53 AM

Former Gatesville Episcopal vicar sentenced in sexual assault of boy


By Erin Quinn

The 62-year-old man who served as vicar of the Episcopal Church of St. George in Gatesville was sentenced to three years in state prison after a Lampasas County judge found him guilty of sexually assaulting a boy in a Lampasas church rectory.

Jim Carlton Wooldridge was sentenced at a hearing last week by 27th State District Judge Joe Carroll in Lampasas.

A spokeswoman with the judge’s office said the incident happened Dec. 1, 2006, in the rectory at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lampasas, where Wooldridge lived since 1994. Wooldridge also was fined $5,000 plus court costs following his conviction for second-degree felony sexual assault of a child.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:37 AM

Sexually abusive priest's prison death natural: inquest


[With links to articles on Sylvestre's plea, sentencing, and conviction]

The 84-year-old retired priest convicted of sexually abusing dozens of girls died of natural causes, a coroner's inquest has concluded.

The jury said Wednesday that nothing could have been done to prevent Charles Sylvestre's death at the Kingston Penitentiary on Jan. 22, 2007, the Kingston Whig-Standard reported.

Sylvestre's official cause of death was pneumonia, but he had other health problems such as age-related dementia.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:19 AM

The Good Father


[This television special, aired a year ago, is an in-depth report on Sylvestre. View the video of The Good Father, and a video of an interview with victims' lawyer Bob Talach. See also a transcript of the Talach interview, a Sylvestre timeline, a Vatican abuse timeline, a Sylvestre photo gallery, a brief report on the worldwide problem of abuse by clergy, and documents in the Sylvestre case.]

By Hana Gartner
February 28, 2007

The flat, fertile farmland of southwestern Ontario is populated with towns and communities whose spiritual lives have been tended, for generations, by Roman Catholic clergy. The priests of these communities are the living symbols of God on earth and the relationship with their parishioners is based on trust and faith.

Father Charles Sylvestre was convicted of 47 counts of indecent assault in 2006.

Father Sylvestre: convicted pedophile

But, for more than four decades, beginning in the 1950s, at least one Catholic priest preyed on the young girls of his parishes. By the time he was arrested and convicted, Father Charles Sylvestre was identified as one of the worst pedophile priests in Canadian history. The number of his known victims is in the dozens, but is potentially far greater than that.

In the autumn of 2006, the fifth estate began investigating the priest's history of abuse, who knew about it and when and why he was able to serve in parishes for more than forty years.

What the fifth estate found was that senior clergy in the Diocese of London knew as far back as 1962 that young girls had complained about Father Sylvestre's abuses. Their response, at the time, was to send Sylvestre to a retreat in Montreal before police investigators could question him. They would send him two more times to treatment facilities. Over time, victims reported the abuse to their teachers and parents; many weren't believed, and "Sylvestre the Molester," as he became known, kept on. He retired in 1993.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:01 AM

Sylvestre's death natural


By Ian Elliot

Kingston -- Disgraced and defrocked priest Charles Sylvestre died of natural causes at Kingston Penitentiary, a coroner's jury ruled yesterday.

It took the jury only about 20 minutes to deal with the case of Sylvestre, who died in prison almost one year ago to the day, on Jan. 22, 2007, where he was serving time for molesting girls in London, Chatham, Paincourt, Sarnia and Windsor over a 30-year period.

Inquests are mandatory when a person dies in prison, but in one of the most rapid death-in-custody hearings in recent memory, the jury found Sylvestre died of natural causes.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:57 AM

Priest denied appeal on sex grooming charge


[With photo of McGrath and links to earlier coverage]

A Fermanagh-based priest jailed last year in England for helping to fund the grooming of a young girl for sex by a paedophile has lost his attempt to appeal against his sentence.

64-year-old Jeremiah McGrath, who comes originally from Co Kerry, had worked as a missionary in Africa with the Kiltegan Fathers and more recently had spent time in the diocese of Clogher, based in Rosslea Co Fermanagh.

McGrath gave more than £20,000 to a paedophile, Billy Adams, who used the cash to buy gifts for a 12-year-old girl.

Adams, originally from Belfast but with an address in Bootle in Merseyside, raped the girl repeatedly over a six-month period in 2005.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:50 AM

Lampasas priest sentenced to prison time for sexual assault


[Includes video]

A Lampasas Episcopal priest pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and was sentenced to three years in state prison.

Police arrested Reverend Jim Wooldridge last January. They began investigating him after a 16-year-old and one of his parents came forward with the abuse allegations.

Wooldridge had been the longtime rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lampasas.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:46 AM

State Releases Report on Sexual Abuse Cases


[Includes video with more information. The Idaho report is available at the Idaho AG's website for 2007 (the report just released) and earlier years. The 2007 report is a 5.7M PDF. It does not mention abuse by priests but provides useful information about sexual abuse generally.]

Duncan's high profile case is just one of many more cases involving child sexual abuse in the last few years.

Idaho's attorney general has released its annual report on these cases.

The numbers are slightly lower in this 19th report over the previous year.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:22 AM

Siblings file abuse lawsuit against Catholic order


[See also the LA Times database entry on Miani.]

By John Spano

Three siblings who say they were molested as children by the same Los Angeles priest filed new allegations of abuse this week against a worldwide religious order, which is the only Roman Catholic organization involved in the 6-year-old clergy scandal that has yet to settle any civil claims.

The three allege the Salesian Society, with 16,000 priests, ignored clear signs that Father Titian Miani was a dangerous pedophile. Over the years, he was placed in a succession of church roles in different locations, including a boys orphanage in Canada and a boys school in Bellflower, where he preyed on more than a dozen children, according to the civil lawsuit.

The allegations, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, contend that the Salesian Society routinely transferred its accused members "often internationally" and placed loyalty to clergy "far above the duty to protect poor and vulnerable children." The siblings alleged that Miani abused them repeatedly in the mid-1960s.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:10 AM

Fears Anew in an Area Rife with Sex Offenders


By Corey Kilgannon

Mastic, N.Y. — Last Thursday, a sixth grader waited for the school bus across the street from her house in this working-class community on Long Island.

Before the bus arrived, a burgundy Hummer with no license plate pulled up. The driver lowered the window.

“He told her, ‘If you get in, I’ll give you a ride to school,’ ” recalled the girl’s father, Richard Alliegro, 51. “She told him no, but he kept trying to talk her into it. Then the bus pulled up and she ran on, and the guy drove away.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:58 AM

Ex-priest charged in sex-abuse suit set for release next month


By Erin Sauder

The Geneva priest who made headlines four years ago after being charged with having sexual relationships with two teen girls is expected to be released from prison next month.

St. Peter Catholic Church priest Mark Campobello, 43, was arrested on charges that he had a sexual relationship with an adolescent girl while he was a priest in residence at St. Peter in 1999. He was later charged with sexually abusing another student while he worked at Aurora Central Catholic High School between 1999 and 2000.

He began serving his eight-year prison sentence at the Illinois River Correctional Center in 2004.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:54 AM

January 23, 2008

Belleville priest calls on bishop to discuss alleged misuse of funds


Belleville, Ill. - The head of the priest senate in the Belleville Diocese says Bishop Edward Braxton should speak publicly about his alleged misuse of local donations to a Vatican fund for the poor.

Last month, the diocesan finance council sent a letter to the U.S. papal nuncio concerning the use of money from a restricted account.

Father Jerry Wirth heads the Belleville priest senate. He said fundraising for a wide variety of causes could be hurt if parishioners suspect donations are not being used properly.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:54 AM

Bishop apologizes for spending from restricted funds


Belleville, Ill. - A Roman Catholic bishop in Belleville, Illinois, accused of misusing donations to two special funds is apologizing today.

Edward Braxton is bishop of the Diocese of Belleville. He says he's found a benefactor whose donation will replenish both funds completely.

In a statement, Braxton says he thought he had discretion over how money donated to two special funds was spent.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:48 AM

So Cal children in danger thanks to early release of pedophile priest Carlos Rodriguez from Norco Prison last Sunday


By Kay Ebeling
Pedophile priest Carlos Rodriguez was released from Norco Prison east of Los Angeles Sunday January 20th, after serving 3 years and 8 months of an 8 year 8 month sentence for child molestation. Rodriguez was released to the Huntington Park parole office jurisdiction and is known to have extended family in nearby City of Commerce.

“I found out Friday and he was released on Sunday,” said Rodriguez crime victim Eric Barragan, who lives in Mexico City. “I got the call from California’s Victims office. They gave me these 800 numbers that I couldn't call from Mexico, so I called SNAP and they organized this event.”

The SNAP press conference took place Tuesday afternoon January 22, and was attended by 3 survivors, a survivor’s mom, and 4 news reporters, two with cameras. Across the street an ecology group bussed in more than a hundred protesters and a parking lot full of reporters covered their demonstration. They were protesting plastic bags. They had a six foot tall sculpture made from used plastic bags and signs with pictures of a dead seal, beached and strangled by plastic bags in the ocean. . .

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Letter to the Editor: Parish vigils nothing if not vibrant


By Susan Lynch

RE "BIG tab still rises at shut churches" (Page A1, Jan. 18): The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston says, "We feel these people should come home to the church and be part of vibrant parishes." But members of parishes who are holding vigil in these churches are already part of vibrant parishes - nobody could sustain a round-the-clock vigil for more than three years in anything less than a vibrant parish.

more stories like thisIf the archdiocese wants to reverse whatever outflow of cash it cites from maintaining parishes in vigil, the answer is simple: Open them officially.

They have proved that they can administer themselves; they have repeatedly requested that a priest be made available to celebrate Mass and provide sacraments, but they do not require a full-time, on-site member of the clergy. Since projections show that a shortage of available priests could leave many parishes without a full-time, on-site clergy member, why not learn from these parishes in vigil how to make that scenario work?

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:41 AM

Braxton: Funds restored; rift remains


By Tim Townsend

Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton apologized Tuesday for spending about $18,000 from restricted diocesan and Vatican funds, and said he'd "secured a gift that will replenish" both funds.

But his priests, while hopeful, said Braxton will need to do more than apologize to restore their trust. They said they plan to hold the bishop to a pledge he made Tuesday to work more closely with his finance council "to ensure that such a problem does not occur again."

Last week, the Post-Dispatch reported that Braxton had bought vestments for an ordination of two priests at St. Peter's Cathedral in Belleville, using about $8,000 in donations to a Vatican fund called the Propagation of the Faith. The fund is strictly dedicated to international mission work.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:36 AM

Statement by Bishop Edward K. Braxton


[Rocco Palmo in Whispers in the Loggia provides the text of Braxton's statement in HTML form with related links.]

As Bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, I have the responsibility to oversee the temporal goods and finances of the Diocese in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officer. (“It is the role of the finance officer to administer the goods of the Diocese under the authority of the Bishop…”(Cf. the Code of Canon Law #494-3) This is a very serious responsibility for each of us.

When I decided that the new table and chairs for the Chancery Office conference room and the vestments and altar linens for the Cathedral of St. Peter should be paid for out of a special fund for diocesan buildings from the Future Full of Hope campaign and a bequest for the propagation of the faith, it was my judgment that these were funds over which I had some discretionary power. At the time of this decision I stated, in writing, that if it was determined that my judgment was incorrect in this matter, I would replenish both funds with revenues obtained from an outside benefactor. After several weeks of discussion, the Chief Financial Officer and the Diocesan Finance Council have not agreed with my judgment.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:24 AM

Bishop apologizes for spending restricted funds: $18,000 to be repaid


By George Pawlaczyk

* 'Benefactor' will pay it, Braxton says

After weeks of controversy between himself and the diocesan finance council, Bishop Edward Braxton issued a public apology Monday for approving spending $18,000 on new furniture and ceremonial garments with money from restricted funds.

Braxton also announced he had obtained funding from an "outside benefactor" that would repay $10,100 spent on a conference table and chairs from the local "Future Full Of Hope" account and about $8,000 for new ordination vestments taken from money collected for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. The pontifical fund is dedicated to the poor worldwide and cannot be spent in the country it is raised.

"While this gift resolves the immediate question concerning restricted and unrestricted funds, it does not resolve the larger question of the confusion, mistrust, misunderstanding, loss of confidence, and even anger caused by these developments. I regret this very much, and I apologize for anything I may have done, even unwittingly, to contribute to this situation," Braxton wrote.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:20 AM

Ex-pastor found guilty of abusing girl


By Rocco LaDuca

Prosecutors Tuesday said the Rev. William Procanick’s guilty verdict of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl suggested nobody should mistake his actions for a harmless backrub.

“It was apparent the jury found that he had, in fact, went beyond a simple backrub in caressing and massaging the sexual or intimate parts of a child for the purpose of sexual gratification,” Assistant District Attorney Doug DeMarche Jr. said.

Procanick, the 54-year-old former pastor of Resurrection Assembly of God church on Kirkland Avenue, was found guilty in Oneida County Court of first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:14 AM

Appeal court decision having wide-ranging impact on Cornwall inquiry


By Elisabeth Johns

Cornwall, Ont. — An appeal court ruling from last week has already had an impact on procedure at an inquiry probing the institutional response to allegations of a pedophile ring in Cornwall, Ont., and commission staff warned Tuesday the decision could have even further repercussions.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Ontario Provincial Police on Friday, overturning a previous decision by the Ontario Divisional Court.

The force was opposed to the commissioner heading the inquiry hearing two witnesses, a woman and her mother, discuss their allegations about how police in Alexandria handled the woman’s rape complaint in 1993.

On Tuesday, counsel representing the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese, the provincial police and the police union opposed the introduction of evidence which related to how the Cornwall probation and parole office responded to allegations of abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:07 AM

LA Archdiocese Offices Sold for $31M


By Jacob Adelman

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has sold its 12-story administrative headquarters building to help pay last year's $660 million settlement with people alleging sex abuse by clergy, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The Archdiocesan Catholic Center was sold to Jamison Properties of Los Angeles for $31 million, archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg said.

Staffers who oversee the archdiocese's cemeteries will move to office space on the grounds of a cemetery, Tamberg said. Others will consolidate in four of the building's floors that church officials will lease from the new owner, Tamberg said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:57 AM

Magnolia chapel demolished


By Kristen Grieco

Former parishioners and local historians looked on with sadness yesterday as St. Joseph Chapel, once a central gathering place for the Magnolia Catholic community, was torn down.

The chapel was destroyed in hopes that the property will become more appealing for sale, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston. The last Mass there was celebrated on Christmas Eve 2004.

The chapel was closed and the property put up for sale as part of the church reorganization plan, under which the archdiocese attempted to recoup some of its losses from the settlements in the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:54 AM

Inquiry tough on van Diepen


By Elisabeth Johns

One night, Jos van Diepen's daughter came home crying. She said she had seen her father's name on a website that contained allegations he hung around with a gang of pedophiles at different parties in the Cornwall area.

The recently retired probation officer would later lose friends because of the accusations on the website, be ostracized at work and even be spat on. His purpose in attending the Cornwall Public Inquiry over the past week has partially been to clear his name.

. . .

He admitted to asking Michael Neville, counsel representing Rev. Charles MacDonald, whether there were charges against the priest for allegedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old probationer in the mid-1970s. van Diepen said he also asked Peter Chisholm, the lawyer representing the Children's Aid Society, what the rules were for people to report abuse of young persons.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:48 AM

Is Bishop Earl Paulk a Christian Sexual Predator?


By Delores Williams

For years Catholic Priests have been being beat up for behavior done over twenty years ago, but it seems that while everyone was draining the parish bank accounts, another group was sweeping a huge scandal under the rug.

Jim Baker and his tryst, Ted Haggard and his male prostitute story pale in comparison. What might you ask is that huge? How about the minister who had his brother's wife and a few of his parishioners? You might say, "Men sleep around," but does the wife of the brother give birth to the son and present it to her husband as his? Juicy! You know, it just occurred to me that you really can't make this stuff up. So I shall give you all the details, and make my case why a sexual predator got away with it.

Who: Bishop Earl Paulk
Church: Chapel Hill Harvester Church,
Allegations: Repeated Sexual Misconduct

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:36 AM

Life Teen founder begins independent praise center


By Patricia Zapor

The priest-founder of a popular church youth program who has been suspended from public ministry has established a nondenominational Praise and Worship Center in Mesa, Ariz., that is drawing hundreds of participants a week. The local bishop has warned Catholics to stay away from the services and not to support the center.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:29 AM

Seattle man files abuse complaint against Catholic Archdiocese


By John Iwasaki

A Seattle man who says a priest and other men in religious authority sexually abused him about 50 years ago filed a complaint Tuesday against the Seattle Roman Catholic Archdiocese and three other entities that operate Catholic schools in Washington.

The man, now in his mid-60s and identified in court documents by the initials T.M., is seeking damages from the archdiocese, Congregation of Christian Brothers, Saint Martin's Abbey and Saint Martin's University.

He said he was abused by at least two Christian Brothers who were teachers, identified as Brother Duffy and another whose name might be Brother Ryan, from about 1955 to 1957 while he was a student at Briscoe Memorial School in Kent.

He also said the late Rev. Leonard Feeney, a teacher, abused him from about 1957 to 1959 while he was a boarding student in the high school program at Saint Martin's College in Lacey.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:24 AM

Lawsuit alleges sex abuse 50 years ago


By Jeremy Pawloski

A 65-year-old Seattle man says in a lawsuit that he was sexually abused in the 1950s by a Catholic priest at the former Saint Martin's High School in Lacey.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in King County Superior Court. The plaintiff, identified in the suit only by his initials T.M., also alleges that two members of the Congregation of Christian Brothers sexually abused him at Briscoe School, a defunct Catholic boarding school in Kent.

Among the defendants named in the lawsuit were the Catholic archbishop of Seattle; the Congregation of Christian Brothers; Saint Martin's Abbey; and Saint Martin's University.

. . .

Fellinger said that the priest who's accused, Father Leonard Feeney, died in 1980. She said she does not know how he died.

. . .

T.M. was 12 and in seventh grade when the abuse by the Christian Brothers started in 1955. The brothers, identified in the suit as Brother Duffy and Brother Ryan, were some of T.M's teachers. The abuse is alleged to have occurred in Brother Duffy's room, in the Briscoe Home Farm and at a nearby grove, as well as in Canada during a school trip and during outings to property near Angle Lake owned by the Briscoe School.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:17 AM

SNAP Asks D.A. for Criminal Investigation of Priest


An organization for victims of sexual abuse by priests is calling for charges against a Norbertine priest who spent time at St. Norbert College in De Pere.

Ruling on a civil lawsuit, a federal court in Delaware found Friar Edwin Smith guilty of sexually assaulting Ken Whitwell, and awarded Whitwell $41 million.

The alleged abuse happened during a three-year period in Delaware started in December 1982.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:06 AM

SNAP and St. Norbert Abbey


[Includes informative video]

A group that supports victims of clergy abuse is taking up a new case and calling for a trial. SNAP is going after the Norbertine Religious Order. Members of SNAP say, Wisconsin law would allow for the prosecution of criminal charges against a Norbertine Priest. The group claims that priest raped a boy in the early eighties while visiting St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere. FOX 11's Mark Leland has both sides.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:53 AM

Activists want Norbertine priest to face sex abuse charges


By Patti Zarling

De Pere -- An advocacy group for people abused by clergy wants St. Norbert Abbey to help turn over to authorities a priest accused of molesting a boy during a four-day visit to St. Norbert College in the 1980s.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, today delivered a letter to Abbot Gary Neville, urging the abbey to immediately turn over to authorities the Rev. Edward J. Smith.

In 2007, Smith was found guilty in a federal civil suit in Delaware of sexually assaulting Ken Whitwell, now 39, over a three-year period in the 1980s.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:48 AM

January 22, 2008

Archdiocesan Catholic Center purchased by Jamison Properties


The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has announced that its 12-floor administrative headquarters has been purchased by Jamison Properties for $31 million. Last year, Cardinal Roger Mahony announced that the Archdiocese would sell the Archdiocesan Catholic Center to help fund the Archdiocese's portion of the $660 million settlement in civil litigation related to claims of sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese will lease back four floors of the building under terms of a five-year lease agreement with Jamison Properties.

"We are pleased with the acquisition of this property, and with the decision of the Archdiocese to continue its operations as a tenant," said Dr. David Lee, M.D., president of Los Angeles-based Jamison Properties.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 PM

Dialogues aim to foster healing within church


By Eileen Markey

Boston - It worked in post-apartheid South Africa. It works for thousands of couples in bitter divorces. Can structured mediation and conflict resolution work to reconcile disaffected Catholics with the Catholic church? A group is trying it in Boston.

Last year, in Boston -- the city that was at the epicenter of the clergy sexual abuse scandal and its cover-up by the Catholic hierarchy -- the Paulist Center began a campaign to foster reconciliation between aggrieved Catholics and the Boston archdiocese. Last fall, Catholics and former Catholics sat down with Richard Erikson, the archdiocese’s vicar general. They told their stories and attempted to arrive at understanding, not as enemies, but as fellow Christians. On Jan. 25, at their national conference, the Paulist Fathers -- an order of Catholic priests founded in 1858 as missionaries to North America -- will decide whether to expand the ministry to their 14 Paulist centers around the country.

The point isn’t necessarily to get the disaffected believers back in the pews, but to foster dialogue -- and, organizers hope, healing -- for people deeply hurt by their church’s behavior.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:38 PM

In Boston, signs of gradual recovery emerge


By NCR Staff

Boston - Five years after Cardinal Bernard Law left Boston in the wake of one the most horrific scandals in the history of U.S. Catholicism, signs of gradual recovery are emerging. Most notably, the Boston archdiocese recently announced that the Catholic Appeal, its principal annual fundraising effort, raised $14.5 million in 2007, a 5 percent increase over the year before.

The financial picture is one of few measurable signs of recovery in an archdiocese where Mass attendance and donations plunged precipitously following unprecedented revelations of Law’s ongoing cover-up of criminal sex abuse. Donations dropped from $17.2 million in 2000 to $8.8 million in 2002, when the dimensions of the scandal became public. Resentment against how church leaders had handled the crisis exploded in 2002, when The Boston Globe published an investigative report on notorious priest abuser John Geoghan and a Massachusetts judge released thousands of previously secret documents detailing the hierarchy’s activities in transferring known child abusers among parishes and dioceses.

Although the clergy sex abuse crisis had been the subject of national and regional news reports since the mid-1980s, Boston was the first place where the full extent of the church’s cover-up became public. The documents released by court order revealed both the horrifying details of abuse and the church’s cavalier response to victims and others concerned about the ongoing abuse. The revelations were dramatically at odds with years of protestations by church leaders, including Law, blaming the media for exaggerating the scandal’s extent.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:31 PM

Rant and rave: Shades of grey


By Natalie Musseau

It would be much easier if all of life's questions had clear-cut answers. But, more often than not, those answers are hidden in varying shades of grey.

That's where the St. George's Catholic Diocese now finds itself.

For some 20 years, former priest Kevin Bennett sexually abused boys in various parishes in the diocese. He was convicted in 1990. In a civil lawsuit that concluded in 2004, Canada's Supreme Court found the diocese directly and vicariously liable for the abuse suffered by 36 victims.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:22 PM

Local priest helps Catholics through ordeal


By Natalie Musseau

Father Lee Lainey is doing his best to offer support to Catholics along the southwest coast dealing with a legacy of abuse by a former priest.

Father Lainey said the long road of finding out about the sexual abuse, court cases and issues with the payment of compensation to the victims started some 18 years ago and will likely go on for some time to come.

While he admits that a few people have stopped attending church because of the issue, the ordeal has brought most Catholics closer together as a community.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:18 PM

After the fall



Five years after the most tumultuous fall from grace in the history of American Catholicism, Cardinal Bernard Law seems to have achieved something in Rome few might have thought possible Dec. 13, 2002: a degree of normality.

Gone are the days when Law’s every syllable was scrutinized on the front pages of American newspapers, when scrums of television cameras tracked him morning, noon and night. Some 4,000 miles from the eye of the storm, Law has become an accepted and largely unremarkable figure in the Eternal City, influential in certain ways, but no one’s idea of a power broker.

Gone, too, are the days when he had easy access to the corridors of secular power. Those who watched Law in action still swap stories, for example, about the time Law dropped in unannounced on then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert to harangue him about debt relief for impoverished nations. A jogging suit-clad Hastert arrived out of breath, but already briefed about a conversation Law had with then-Majority Leader Dick Armey a half-hour before, in which Law said he wouldn’t threaten, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings,” since that would be sexist, but “until the thin guy dances.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:14 PM

More time would be useful for abuse compensation: bishop


A Roman Catholic diocese may need more time to pay the rest of the money owed to sexual abuse victims, a bishop said Tuesday.

The Diocese of St. George's says it has paid almost $8 million of a $14-million compensation agreement, with 40 victims of sexual abuse.

However, the diocese missed payments last year to the victims of Rev. Kevin Bennett, who molested them between the 1960s and 1980s.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 4:12 PM

Mondrowitz Extradition Process


Despite what you may have read elsewhere over the past few days, this is what the Avrohom Mondrowitz extradition process looks like from here out:

Last Thursday, January 17 was the final extradition hearing in this round, so to speak.

The judge will issue a decision on extradition in approximately one month. (The time frame is a very educated guess from a well-placed person in Israel. Still, it is only a guess.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 AM

“Non-essential real estate:" LA Archdiocesan Catholic Center sold for $31 million to help cover costs of clergy sexual abuse settlement


The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has sold its 12-story chancery on Wilshire Boulevard to help pay part of the costs of a record-breaking $660 million lawsuit settlement with alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse reached in July 2007.

The archdiocesan newspaper, the Tidings, reported the sale in its Jan. 18 edition. The archdiocese sold the Catholic Center for $31 million to Jamison Properties, but will lease back four floors of the 12-floor building from Jamison under a five-year lease agreement.

Last May, before the record settlement was reached, Cardinal Roger Mahony announced that, to cover the costs of settlements already agreed to by the archdiocese, he would sell the Archdiocesan Catholic Center, or chancery, located in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles. “It is only right that the Archdiocese begin this process by demonstrating our commitment to reach final settlement in these cases by selling our central administrative building,” said Mahony. The cardinal announced as well that the archdiocese would sell other “non-essential real estate properties” to meet its share of settlement costs.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:52 AM

Mexican clergymen, experts debate punishments for priests who sexually abuse children


Mexico City, Mexico - Clergymen and religious law experts on Monday began debating how to prevent sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and what punishment such crimes should carry.

The talks were part of a four-day symposium organized by Mexico's Pontifical University, or UPM, and the Mexico City Archdiocese. The symposium seeks to examine sexual abuse by priests with an academic eye and to discuss punishment and prevention strategies.

Such crimes violate the Ten Commandments and "have devastating consequences for the victims, their families as well as for the Church and clergyman," Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera said in a statement read at the talk.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:32 AM

Swiss Catholic Church in 'paedophile' admission


[Includes video]

Switzerland - The Catholic Church has stunned its members in France and Switzerland by admitting it was aware of an alleged paedophile priest's activities but did not report him to the authorities. The cleric is suspected of abusing children in several communities in the two countries over the past 40 years. He has already been interviewed by French police.

A spokesman for the Church in a western region of Switzerland said they were opening their own inquiry into the affair. They are appealing for information about his alleged crimes. Prosecutors in France have asked their Swiss counterparts to interview the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The affair came to light after he told a newspaper in Lyon that he'd commited abuse in France. That spurred the Swiss Catholic hierarchy into action.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:59 AM

New Beginnings heals abused victims


By Marketa Stastna

The welcoming environment of Seventh Day Adventist Church opens its doors to victims of sexual abuse. The bi-monthly support group, New Beginnings, works on the premise that help can be found by sharing one's stories with others in the group. The group's organizer, who cannot be named to protect her confidentiality further noted that the incorporation of healing through music, a youth support group component as well as the introduction of guest speakers is also in the group's future.

For more information about the support group or to report an abuse, call Molokai Sexual Assault emergency Crisis Response at 553-3623.

The 24-hour support hotline is 646-0054.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:33 AM

Without a prayer: Diocese non-payment delivers added blow to victim


[Includes photo]

By Michelle Stewart

It's been a long, lonely and often tumultuous road for Randy Johnston since former priest Kevin Bennett spent several years molesting and controlling him as a child.

Randy was one of more than three-dozen boys Bennett molested while he was a parish priest on the Burin Peninsula.

It's been a protracted 18-year battle in the courts that first saw Bennett convicted and jailed and later found the diocese of St. George's liable and consequently ordered to compensate Bennett's victims.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:27 AM

Orleans woman named in abuse lawsuit against Canadian school


By Susan Milton

Orleans, Massachusetts - An Orleans woman is one of six defendants named in a $225 million lawsuit alleging physical, psychological and sexual abuse at a Canadian prep school linked to the Community of Jesus.

Mary Haig French, a former administrator and teacher at the recently closed Grenville Christian College, is named in a $225 million suit seeking class-action status in Ontario Superior Court.

The suit by four former students names as defendants the school, the Anglican Diocese of Ontario, two Episcopal priests ordained by the diocese who also served as school headmasters, and the priests' wives, who are also identified as school administrators or instructors.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:20 AM

Another sexual assault charge laid against an 84-year-old Cornwall-area priest


By Andrew Seymour

Another charge of sexual assault has been laid against an 84-year-old Cornwall-area priest after a man came forward alleging he had been abused as a young teenager.

Police charged Father Lucien Lussier with indecent assault Wednesday following a month long investigation into allegations that the now retired priest had sexually assaulted the man while he was visiting Father Lussier in Alexandria between 1955 and 1960.

Police did not release any specific details about the nature of the alleged assaults.
The latest charge comes four months after police charged Father Lussier with three counts of indecent assault after a man came forward alleging he had been sexually assaulted by the priest between 1954 and 1960.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:14 AM

Funeral held for former Norwich Bishop Daniel Hart


Norwich, Connecticut - Hundreds of mourners and clergy from around the state have paid their final respects to former Bishop Daniel Hart, who led the Roman Catholic diocese of Norwich for eight years.

The 80-year-old Hart died Monday at a Windham nursing home after six-month battle with cancer.

At his funeral Mass Friday at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich, mourners remembered him as a gentle spirit and a leader who was always accessible for guidance. Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell celebrated the Mass and Hart's successor, Bishop Michael Cote delivered the eulogy.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:05 AM

Bishop Daniel A. Hart; pastor at heart led Conn. diocese


By Bryan Marquard

The mystery of faith spoke to Bishop Daniel A. Hart when he was a child trying to decide whether he was hearing a call to the Roman Catholic priesthood.

"I was fascinated with the ministry of the priests, particularly during Mass, the changing of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ," he told The Day, a newspaper in New London, Conn., in 2002. "I remember watching carefully and watching for that. It was a very compelling kind of experience."

Though he was trained as an administrator and spent most of the years after his ordination as vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Boston, auxiliary bishop, regional bishop, and bishop of the diocese in Norwich, Conn., he remained devoted to parish ministry. In retirement, Bishop Hart bowed out of his family's holiday gatherings in New England and traveled to Tupelo, Miss., where he spent Christmas and New Year's Day attending to a church that did not have a priest.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:00 AM

Episcopal bishop tested in first year


By Daniel Burke

For a woman sitting on a very warm seat, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, seems remarkably cool.

Even those who disagree with her progressive leadership agree that the 53-year-old remains unflappable under duress.

"She's centered and intense," said the Rev. Kendall Harmon, a well-regarded conservative theologian from South Carolina. "You get a sense when she answers a question that she's trying to channel all her passion in one place."

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 5:50 AM

January 21, 2008

Italians throng Vatican to support silenced Pope


[Includes photos]

By Stephen Brown

Vatican City - Tens of thousands of students, politicians and ordinary Romans thronged the Vatican on Sunday in a major show of sympathy for Pope Benedict after protests led him to cancel a speech at Rome's top university this week.

"Thank you all for this show of solidarity," a smiling Pope told the cheering, clapping crowds who filled St. Peter's Square in much bigger numbers than usual. Some waved banners denouncing the "censorship" imposed by members of La Sapienza university.

The Pope called off a speech at the university scheduled for Thursday after a small group staged protests and sit-ins against what they called his antiquated views on science. The university was founded by a pope more than 700 years ago.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:26 PM

Accused priest had worked in Nebraska


By Christopher Burbach, with material from Associated Press

A priest who worked in Nebraska parishes in the 1980s is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct with a minor in the mid-1970s, the Archdiocese of Omaha said Friday.

The Rev. Patrick Henry has been on administrative leave from the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, since June because of the allegation.

From 1980 to 1992, Henry served parishes in Norfolk, Papillion and South Sioux City.

The person who made the allegation in Ohio recently repeated it to Omaha Archdiocese officials, said the Rev. Joseph Taphorn, chancellor of the archdiocese. That triggered Friday's move to notify the public in Nebraska of the investigation and to invite anyone with concerns to contact the archdiocese.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 2:20 PM

Church admits "complicity" in sex abuse case


The case of a Swiss priest who was moved to France by superiors who knew he had already sexually abused at least one child is rocking the Swiss Catholic Church.

On Monday the Swiss Bishops Conference announced it would review its directives for handling suspected cases of paedophile crimes by priests.

This follows the description at the weekend by a high-ranking church official as "complicit" the Church's failure to denounce the priest to civil authorities when it became aware as early as 1989 that he was a paedophile.

In an interview with Le Matin newspaper on Sunday, Nicolas Betticher of the Catholic Church's diocese that covers Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, explained how the Church moved the priest from Switzerland to Grenoble in France, where he admits sexually touching at least one child, his then 12-year-old nephew, in 1992.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:46 PM

Don Sante, messa con Milingo


Due preti ribelli, Emmanuel Milingo, scomunicato, e don Sante Sguotti, ex parroco di Monterosso sospeso a divinis, hanno celebrato la messa insieme e distribuito l'eucarestia a un centinaio di fedeli riuniti in un albergo di Grisignano di Zocco (Vicenza). Un passo che a don Sante, il prete innamorato di Monterosso, potrebbe far rischiare a sua volta la scomunica.


The Rev. Sante at Mass with Milingo
The celebration, forbidden by the bishop, could open the way to excommunication

The two rebel priests, Emmanuel Milingo, excommunicated, and the Rev. Sante Sguotti, former parish priest of Monterosso suspended “a divinis”, celebrated Mass together and gave the Eucharist to about one hundred faithful gathered in a hotel at Grisignano di Zocco (Vicenza). A step which could also make the Rev. Sante, the priest-in-love of Monterosso, risk the excommunication.

The bishop of Padua, monsignor Antonio Mattiazzo did in fact suspend him “a divinis”, imposing the former parish priest – who had a son from his companion he is living with – to abstain from all priestly functions. Yesterday the Rev. Sante was punctual at the appointment with Milingo, who had been a guest with his Korean wife of the association “Gesu’ e’ amore” (Jesus is love) at Grisignano.

Just the members of that association, in addition to some curious people, assisted to the Mass celebrated by the two rebel priests, saying prayers in favor of bishop Mattiazzo, too. Milingo, who also gave the unction to sick people, is convinced that the Rev. Sante can’t be excommunicated: “ Only God can do that” he affirmed. At the same time the Rev. Sante chose to be silent. To the question if he thought to have made a further step on the way to excommunication, the former parish priest of Monterosso limited himself to saying: “Here I am”.

With yesterday’s celebration the tour of Italy by monsignor Milingo will end. In the next days he’ll fly to South Corea, his wife’s country of origin.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 AM

Church got site at steep bargain: $14 million space sold for under $100


By Michael Paulson

Braintree - Thomas J. Flatley, the self-made billionaire who has been unloading a portion of his real estate empire, has sold to the Archdiocese of Boston for less than $100 a property with an assessed value of $14 million that will become the church's new administrative headquarters.

The archdiocese is now renovating the 140,000-square-foot office building, which sits alongside Interstate 93, and is planning to move 250 to 300 employees from Brighton and several other sites into the Braintree office park sometime this summer.

The archdiocese announced last May that it was planning to move into the Braintree building, at 66 Brooks Drive, but declined to reveal the details. The Globe pieced together a picture of the transaction from filings with the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, the secretary of state's office, and the Braintree assessor's office.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:59 AM

A Triumphant Return for Pastor Charles Dickerson


[Includes video]

By John-Thomas Kobos

Over 400 people attended church here this morning.

All of them wanted to welcome back their leader, the man who was just acquitted of all sexual abuse charges - Pastor Charles Dickerson.

Pastor Charles Dickerson is preaching for the first time at Pearly Grove Baptist Church since a jury cleared him of sex abuse charges.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 8:22 AM

Accusations leave Troy congregation in shock


By Scott Waldman

*Allegations of sexual misconduct, discussed in church, have parishioners at Sacred Heart at a loss

Troy - A wave of shock spread through Sacred Heart church Sunday morning as the congregation was told its priest is accused of having sexually molested a teenager in the 1980s.

The church was quiet as the Rev. Ronald Menty told the parishioners, some of whom were learning of the charges for the first time, why the Rev. Gary Mercure had not led the 11 a.m. Mass.

Mercure is on a paid leave of absence from the ministry pending an investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct in the mid-1980s, according to the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:44 AM

Audit shows slight surplus for diocese



WORCESTER— The Diocese of Worcester showed a slight surplus on its financial ledger last fiscal year, despite a whopping $5.2 million owed to it by more than half of its member parishes.

An audit released by church officials last week showed the diocese with $34,372,749 in unrestricted revenues and $33,056,453 in unrestricted expenses — resulting in an operating surplus of 4 percent.

The audit was compiled by O’Connor, Maloney & Co. P.C. of Worcester and examines the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31.

The report was good news to diocesan officials, who have been wrangling with a number of financial challenges over the past decade. For example, the diocese faced a financial crisis in 2003, when officials had to deal with a deficit of nearly $794,000. Since then, officials have made significant strides in balancing the budget.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

S.N.A.P. responds to sex abuse allegation in Albany Diocese


[Includes video]

Albany - The Albany Diocese says it has a zero tolerance policy for clergy sexual abuse of minors. The Diocese encourages anyone who, as a minor, was sexually abused by a member of the clergy to report the incident to authorities or the Diocese itself so that the allegation can be investigated and the potential victim assisted.

One group that provides assistance to church abuse victims is the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests or S.N.A.P. Mark Lyman is the upstate coordinator for that organization and joined us Sunday:

The Albany Diocese says it has a zero tolerance policy for clergy sexual abuse of minors.
"We as an organization, Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests local and national doesn't feel bishops have worked hard enough to be honest about how many predators there are. We want to change that,” said Mark Lyman.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 6:22 AM

January 20, 2008

Parishioners "Saddened" by News of Priest Allegations


The Albany Diocese is investigating sex abuse claims against one of their own. The allegations are against Father Gary Mercure, a leader of two Troy congregations. At his own asking, the priest has been granted a leave. On this Sunday, however, the faithful are finding his absence hard to come to terms with.

NEWS10's Nicol Lally has reaction from one of the churches where Father Mercure served.

"It's just very sad that this has to continue for our Catholic Church," spoke one unnamed churchgoer.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 7:10 PM

Priest on leave during inquiry


By IRENE JAY LIU, Staff writer

First published: Sunday, January 20, 2008

TROY -- The Rev. Gary Mercure, pastor of Sacred Heart and St. William parishes in Troy, has been granted a paid leave of absence from the ministry during an investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a teenage boy in the 1980s, Albany Roman Catholic Diocese officials said.

The allegation stems from Mercure's time as associate pastor of Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish in Queensbury, spokesman Ken Goldfarb said Saturday.

The diocese was informed of the allegation on Jan. 11.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Milingo launches book, presses anti-celibacy crusade


Rome, Jan. 18, 2008 (CWNews.com) - Excommunicated Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo denied that he is setting up an alternative church, as he appeared at a press conference in Rome to launch his autobiography-- entitled, ironically, Confessions of an Excommunicate.

The African prelate, who is visiting Rome for the first time since his excommunication in June 2006, told reporters that there is "no contradiction between marriage and the priesthood." He vowed to press his campaign for an end to the discipline of clerical celibacy, saying that married priests "have the right to remain in the Catholic Church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:37 PM

Religious paid father to allow abuse, Irish man charges


Dublin, Jan. 18, 2008 (CWNews.com) - An Irish man has revealed that he believes his father was paid by Marist brothers who abused him sexually.

Paul Gordon testified on January 18 in a sentencing hearing for Martin Meaney, a former Marist brother who has admitted molesting Gordon in the 1970s, when the Irish man was a student at St. John's National school in Sligo. Gordon told the court that he thought another Marist had paid off his father to allow the abuse to continue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:34 PM

Confusion blamed for wrong report on O'Hara church theft


A spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said Wednesday that miscommunication is to blame for an initial overstatement of the amount of money stolen from an O'Hara church between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Initial reports said between $10,000 and $20,000 had been taken from St. Joseph Parish. Diocesan spokesman Rev. Ron Lengwin said that sum was the entire collection, and that $2,000 to $4,000 was taken. Large bills were taken from four of six bags, he said.

The parish has insurance to cover the theft, Lengwin said.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:58 AM

1980s sex allegation against priest will be investigated


Troy, New York - An Albany-area priest has been granted a paid leave of absence from the ministry while sex allegations against him are investigated.

Reverend Gary Mercure is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor during his tenure as an associate pastor in Queensbury in the 1980s. Albany Roman Catholic Diocese officials say the alleged victim is a male who was a young teenager at the time.

The diocese's Sexual Misconduct Review Board is investigating the allegation, which was reported to the diocese last week.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:49 AM

While predators are safe, innocent are at mercy of politicians


By Emer Kelly

The Opposition, in the person of Alan Shatter, Fine Gael spokesman on children, wants an immediate "limited" referendum on children's rights. This would be in addition to the full referendum the Government is pledging to amend the Constitution to protect the rights of the child.

The terms of that full referendum will depend on the deliberations of the all-party committee set up by the Oireachtas last November under the chairmanship of Mary O'Rourke of Fianna Fail. It is due to report back to the Dail in March.

According to the Minister of State for Children, Brendan Smith, the full referendum will be held this year. But not during the run-up to the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty; that might confuse the issues.

Posted by Anne Barrett Doyle at 9:38 AM

«La Chiesa umiliata da don Sante»


La vicenda di don Sante Sguotti, la contestazione al Papa avvenuta all'università "La Sapienza" e la mancanza di modelli di riferimento per i giovani, sono stati alcuni dei temi affrontati dal vescovo durante il tradizionale incontro con i giornalisti, avvenuto ieri al Duomo per ricordare San Francesco di Sales, patrono appunto degli operatori dell'informazione.


Bishop Antonio Mattiazzo dealt with the hottest issues: problems related to young people, the role of the media and the case of former parish priest Sguotti

“The church has been humiliated by Rev. Sante”
“He lied many times, he misled me, but notwithstanding all I continue to feel pity for him”

The Rev. Sante Sguotti’s story, the recent protests against the Pope at the Rome's University “La Sapienza” and the lack of role models for the young were some of the issues the bishop dealt with during the traditional meeting with the journalists in the Duomo of Padua yesterday to commemorate Saint Francesco di Sales, the patron of those who work in the news.

As to the former parish priest of Monterosso, monsignor Mattiazzo underlined: “We are facing a very painful situation, a scandal. For a Christian it’s a humiliation, but we are not discouraged: where sin abounds, the Grace of God abounds, too”.

Moreover he categorically excluded that either Rev. Sante or Emmanuel Milingo could celebrate Mass.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

Unholy orders


Bryan Kay

In a court case that has exposed corruption within the Catholic Church in Costa Rica, a panel of judges last month condemned three men to a total of 97 years imprisonment for the parts they played in events that led to the murder of a popular radio journalist.

Parmenio Medina Pérez, a Colombian, was gunned down outside his home in 2001 after broadcasting a series of reports about alleged embezzlement at Radio María, run by Father Minor de Jesús Calvo Aguilar.

Calvo, alongside businessman Omar Chaves, had been accused of ordering Medina's killing. The priest, who had spent four years in prison on remand, was acquitted of participation in the murder but sentenced to 15 years for fraud. The judges ruled that he had been involved in swindling cash donated by Radio María listeners for good causes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Key witness boycotts Cornwall sex abuse inquiry


By Terry Pedwell

Cornwall, Ontario – The inquiry probing decades-old allegations of systemic sexual abuse in eastern Ontario resumed Monday without the court-ordered testimony of the man who started it all, a former police officer who remains unrepentant about boycotting the hearings.

Perry Dunlop's off-duty, parallel investigation in the 1990s made public stunning allegations of a ritualistic pedophile ring operating decades earlier in Cornwall, Ont.

With a running bill of $23 million and another key witness already testifying he lied when he told Dunlop he witnessed the alleged ring in action, the inquiry began its first hearing day of the year calling Dunlop to the witness stand.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:51 AM

Church officials investigate sex abuse allegations


Troy -- A priest in Troy has taken a leave of absence while church officials investigate allegations that he sexually abused a minor.

At his request, the Albany Diocese granted Reverend Gary Mercure a leave of absence. Mercure is the pastor of Sacred Heart and St. William Parishes in Troy.

The allegations date back to the mid-1980's, when Father Mercure was an associate pastor at a Church in Queensbury.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:31 AM

Audit results not in a year after scandal broke at Greenwich church



Greenwich - In the year since financial discrepancies forced the Rev. Michael Moynihan to resign as pastor of St. Michael Church, Frank Boyle still faithfully performs his duties as an usher, while June Crabtree remains a loyal parishioner.

Boyle and Crabtree, two Greenwich residents who are among the many Moynihan supporters, said that while some people have left the parish since his ouster, others, have chosen to stay at the North Street church.

"It's still my church," Crabtree said. "I just love the church itself."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:14 AM

Former Siouxland priest accused of sex abuse


A former Siouxland priest is being investigated for sexual abuse.

The Omaha Archdiocese says Patrick Henry, 66 is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor in the mid-1970's.

Henry worked at Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk, Nebraska in the fall of 1980, and later served as Pastor for the Saint Michael Parish in South Sioux City, Nebraska until 1994.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:51 AM

January 19, 2008

“Who Touched Me: Healing form Sexual Brokenness”


Peter Isely

“Who touched me?”

This is a question that Jesus asks in Mark’s gospel (5:31) after a woman sneaks up from behind him and touches him. It is a simple and routine question that we all ask when we are suddenly and unexpectedly touched. But because it is Christ that asks this question, it is no longer an ordinary question. It is a sacred question. It is God’s own question.

According to the gospel account, the woman who touched Jesus, without his foreknowledge or permission, had been afflicted for twelve years with interminable bleeding. Biblical scholars suggest that she was suffering from a severe disorder in her menstrual cycle, which would have also rendered her ritually unclean in Jewish society. The gospel tells us that she had spent all her money seeking a cure and “suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors (v. 26).”

In the account, Jesus is blanketed by a large and pressing crowd. Many people are brushing up against him, which is undoubtedly why the disciples find his question absurd and unreasonable (v. 32). He is also in the middle of an urgent mission. But only this woman, whose name we do not even know, and her touch have the astonishing capacity to stop Jesus from his urgent task. Upon physical contact (we are told she barely brushes his robe with her hand) he immediately “realizes that power has gone out of him (v. 30).”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 PM

«Battezzerò Rocco a Pasqua»


Poche settimane fa la confessione: «È vero, il figlio è mio». Ma evidentemente don Sante Sguotti non si vuole rassegnare alla sua sospensione e ieri, pochi minuti prima di incontrare Emmanuel Milingo, ha rilanciato "e a Pasqua lo battezzerò". Insomma i due preti ribelli, da ieri alleati in un'unica lotta contro il celibato dei preti, non vogliono proprio allontanarsi dalla chiesa cattolica.


ABANO – In a restaurant at Monterosso the meeting between Rev. Sante and Milingo with his wife Maria Sung

“I’ll baptize Rocco at Easter”: It’s the wish of the priest suspended “a divinis”.

The excommunicated bishop: he didn’t make any mistakes

A few weeks ago his confession: “It’s true, that’s my son”. But evidently the Rev. Sante Sguotti doesn’t want to resign for having been suspended "a divinis" and yesterday, a few minutes before he met Emmanuel Milingo, he said defiantly “and at Easter I’ll baptize him”. This shows the two rebel priests, now allied in the fight against priests’ celibacy, don’t want to abandon the catholic church by any means. So much so that the same Milingo expressed his willingness to baptize the little Rocco, the son of the “priest father” of Monterosso.

One wonders if Rev. Sante would ever be able to find a priest (one who hasn’t been excommunicated or who isn't in a conflict with the church) willing to baptize a son born from the union of a parish priest and a parishioner. However,it doesn’t seem people have abandoned him. If it’s true that the parishioners of Monterosso are more distant from the stance taken by the priest father (at yesterday's meeting there were no more than fifty faithful) at least thirty are the women who knocked at the door of the “Chiesa Cattolica dei Peccatori” (Catholic Church of the sinners) to confess to be the lovers of an equal number of clergymen.

The restaurant “Al Filo’ “ at Monterosso yesterday evening was the setting for a meeting between the exorcist and healer excommunicated by the catholic church after his marriage with Maria Sung and the "priest father" of Monterosso. “My story, Rev. Sante’s story and the one regarding 150,000 priests all over the world – explained Milingo to the journalists who were pressing him with a lot of questions – teaches that sexuality is not an illness, that celibacy can be acceptable but can’t be obligatory, that just those matters related to sexuality created all those problems many clergymen have been responsible of in the course of time”.

The appeal the Rev. Sante and Milingo are making to the clergy is just to stand up in public and confess their eventual love relationships and create a common front in order to change the present situation. “Peter was married, the apostles were married and Jesus never promoted celibacy – the exorcist and healer continued – only through love one can be nearer to God”.

How the fight of the two priests will continue after this “saintly” alliance is too soon to say. We know for sure that today the two clergymen will meet again at the Hotel Centrale at Grisignano di Zocco (Vicenza). The “Healer”, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. , will meet the faithful and then he’ll celebrate the Mass in the hotel lobby.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:28 PM

Project Truth Commission: Don't expand inquiry's mandate, judge told


By Kirk Makin

A judge heading a controversial inquiry into an alleged pedophile ring in Cornwall, Ont., was dealt a stinging slap in the face from the Ontario Court of Appeal yesterday for unwisely trying to expand his sprawling probe into a "truly breathtaking" new realm of evidence.

In a 3-0 decision, the court expressed amazement that Mr. Justice Normand Glaude would even consider expanding his mandate beyond allegations that a ring of influential local men assaulted scores of children and conspired to protect one another from discovery.

Judge Glaude's misunderstanding of his mission "single-handedly broadens his mandate beyond all proportions," Mr. Justice Michael Moldaver said, ruling in favour of a legal challenge from two police forces, a Roman Catholic diocese, a police association and the Ontario government.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:50 PM

Pastor innocent on all counts: Jurors find Charles Dickerson not guilty on three charges each of rape and molestation.


By Chris Collins

It was like a church revival -- in a courtroom.

A dozen members of southwest Fresno's Pearly Grove Baptist Church clapped and cheered, hugged and cried. "Oh, Jesus! Oh, Jesus!" one woman kept shouting.

Another member stomped on the ground yelling, "Thank you, Lord!"

Their pastor, Charles Dickerson, 37, had been found not guilty on three counts of molestation and three counts of rape.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:42 PM

Diocese expresses sorrow for abuse: Diocese of Wilmington settles case for $450,000


[Includes link to the News Journal's feature The Hidden Abuse, which provides in-depth coverage, links to additional articles, video profiles of survivors, and diocesan documents.]

By Beth Miller

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has settled a sexual-abuse lawsuit brought by Navy Cmdr. Kenneth J. Whitwell for $450,000, a sum believed to be about four times more than any previous settlement the diocese has made with abuse victims.

Whitwell had sued the diocese, Archmere Academy, the Norbertine religious order and its priest, the Rev. Edward Smith, alleging that Whitwell was the victim of almost three years of rape by Smith while Smith was working at Archmere in Claymont in the 1980s.

The settlement was announced Friday morning to Superior Court Judge Robert B. Young, who is handling the lawsuit.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:29 AM

Navy doctor settles abuse suit with diocese


By Randall Chase

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has agreed to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by a Navy doctor for $450,000, attorneys said Friday.

The settlement with Cmdr. Kenneth Whitwell was announced moments before a judge heard arguments in a lawsuit against church officials, including arguments on the constitutionality of a new state law that allows victims previously barred from the statute of limitations to seek damages for past abuse.

In March, Whitwell was awarded $41 million in damages by a federal jury after alleging that he was raped by the Rev. Edward J. Smith. A judge awarded Whitwell a default judgment after Smith, a former religion teacher at Archmere Academy in Wilmington, failed to respond to the lawsuit.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:27 AM

Archdiocese warns of sex claim against priest


Omaha, Neb. - A priest who once worked in Nebraska is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct before he was ordained, the Omaha archdiocese announced today.

The Rev. Patrick Henry, 66, had been serving as pastor of St. Christine Parish in Euclid, Ohio, until June, when he was placed on administrative leave because of a complaint filed with the Omaha archdiocese.

The archdiocese said in a news release that Henry was accused of ''sexual misconduct with a minor'' in the mid-1970s, before he was ordained as a priest. Details of where that alleged abuse occurred were not available today.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:23 AM

Diocese Asks Public to Report on Priest Now under Investigation


[Includes photograph.]

The Archdiocese of Omaha is asking for the public's help in a sexual abuse investigation involving a priest who once worked in Nebraska.

The Cleveland Diocese said the Rev. Patrick Henry, 66, is on administrative leave because of an allegation of sexual misconduct before he was ordained.

Henry worked at the Scared Heart Parish in Norfolk in 1980. He was an associate pastor at St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion from 1981-'84.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:20 AM

Diocesan drive surpasses goal


By Beatrice O'Quinn

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield's annual Catholic Appeal has raised almost $3 million in its most successful campaign for a decade.

The charitable appeal collected $2,932,756 last year, exceeding its 2006 drive by $10,000.

The Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, bishop, said that for a second year in a row the appeal exceeded its goal.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:16 AM

As bishop announces closures, Catholic high schools plan to expand


[Includes related article, map, video of Bishop Clark's statement, Clark's letter to parents, and many comments from readers.]

By Erica Bryant

More than half of Monroe County's diocese-run Catholic schools will close in June because of severe declines in enrollment and financial woes that Bishop Matthew Clark called "crippling."

Thirteen schools — 12 elementary and one junior high — will close, affecting 1,868 students in kindergarten through grade 8 and close to 200 staff members.

Clark said during a news conference Friday that the closures are necessary to sustain the remaining 11 elementary and middle schools the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester operates in the county. In addition, families who are registered with a parish will get tuition breaks. The annual per-student tuition will be reduced from $4,050 to $2,950, along with a tuition cap of $7,300.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:48 AM

Pastors hold limited tickets to papal Mass at Yankee Stadium


By Corky Siemaszko

Pope Benedict, at Saint Peter's Basilica for New Year's Eve service, will celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium in April.

New Yorkers hoping to score a ticket to the papal Mass at Yankee Stadium had better cozy up to their pastor because each Brooklyn and Queens parish is getting just three of the precious passes.

"The pastors will choose how to distribute them," said Frank DeRosa, spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes Queens. "They don't have the tickets in hand yet."

Why so few tickets? Because there are 202 parishes in the Brooklyn diocese "and lots of demand," DeRosa said.

Pastors in the New York archdiocese, which has 413 parishes spread across Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and seven suburban counties north of the city, also will decide who gets to watch Pope Benedict celebrate Mass on April 20.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:32 AM

Bishop draws names for Mass with Pope Benedict


Tickets to to see Pope Benedict XVI in New York City are going fast.

Bishop Howard Hubbard from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany drew five names of people who will be able to attend Mass at Yankee Stadium with the Pope on April 20th.

Diocese representatives said they are getting 400-500 tickets for the event, and they will draw names until the spots are filled.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:29 AM

Sex offender takes step toward priesthood: The Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska has installed the man as a lay reader of the liturgy


By Beth Bragg

Anchorage, Alaska - A registered sex offender who served more than a year in prison for sexually abusing minors is wearing robes that signal he has taken a first step toward priesthood in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Terenty Dushkin, 26, was installed as a lay reader of the liturgy last month by Bishop Nikolai, the church's highest-ranking official in Alaska. Church officials say they did so knowingly.

"This is not a scandal in any way," said Chancellor Archimandrite Isidore, the church's No. 2 official here.

"The church believes everyone is redeemable. We don't think people are necessarily damaged goods that have to be locked away."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:24 AM

Judge Orders More Information from Diocese


Providence -- A judge has given the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence 30 days to provide more information about sexual abuse allegations against dozens of priests, saying the church had been overly selective in its reporting of complaints of misconduct.

Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel, who is handling the cases of three men who say they were abused by priests, ordered the diocese to report all allegations of misconduct it had received -- including not just sexual abuse complaints but also accusations of "horseplay, touching, physical contact."

The judge had previously directed the diocese to provide information, dating to 1971, of priests accused of first- or second-degree child molestation or third-degree sexual assault. The diocese had identified 83 priests, but on Thursday, Vogel expanded her order to include a broader range of inappropriate behavior.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:14 AM

Religion in the News


[Note: This is an expanded version of a story that we blogged previously. The revised version includes quotes from an interview with the USCCB's Teresa Kettelkamp but is otherwise nearly the same.]

By Joe Milicia

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is discouraging its employees and volunteers from making anonymous reports of sexual abuse of minors, a policy change that appears to be unique among U.S. dioceses and has outraged church watchdogs. However, it has the support of the local prosecutor's office.

. . .

"They're encouraging reporting and openness," he said. "Anonymous information may not be helpful whatsoever and encourages a climate of secrecy."

Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, wasn't aware of other dioceses adopting similar policies.

She agreed that anonymous reports were difficult to investigate and substantiate and noted that the Cleveland Diocese is only discouraging them.

"If they were saying, 'We're not taking any more anonymous complaints' that would be of concern to me," Kettelkamp said. "I just hope it doesn't discourage people from coming forward."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:05 AM

Attorneys File to Vacate Priest’s Murder Conviction


Toledo—Attorneys for convicted murderer and Roman Catholic priest Gerald Robinson have filed a motion seeking to vacate his 2006 murder conviction in the 1980 death of a 71-year-old nun, claiming they have uncovered new evidence that the priest’s defense team failed to present at his trial.

Robinson, now 69, has consistently maintained that he did not kill the nun on April 5, 1980. He is serving a sentence of 15 years to life after his request to remain free pending appeal was denied. He did not testify during his three week trial in 2006.

He was represented at trial by a four-member defense team consisting of John Thebes, Alan Konop, Nicole Khoury and John Callahan.

According to attorneys John Donohue and Richard Kerger who are handling Robinson’s appeal, several witnesses say they have information indicating that someone else killed Sister Margaret Ann Pahl and that they had either told Robinson’s defense attorneys or attempted to do so before or during the priest’s trial but the information was not presented at trial.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:00 AM

Another sexual assault charge laid against an 84-year-old Cornwall-area priest


By Andrew Seymour

Another charge of sexual assault has been laid against an 84-year-old Cornwall-area priest after a man came forward alleging he had been abused as a young teenager.

Police charged Father Lucien Lussier with indecent assault Wednesday following a month long investigation into allegations that the now retired priest had sexually assaulted the man while he was visiting Father Lussier in Alexandria between 1955 and 1960.

Police did not release any specific details about the nature of the alleged assaults.

The latest charge comes four months after police charged Father Lussier with three counts of indecent assault after a man came forward alleging he had been sexually assaulted by the priest between 1954 and 1960.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:57 AM

62-year-old Lampasas man fined $5,000, will serve time in criminal justice institution


Jim Carlton Wooldridge, 62, of Lampasas, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division and fined $5,000 in the 27th District Court on felony charges of sexual misconduct.

According to Lampasas District Clerk Terri Cox, Wooldridge was charged with two counts of sexual assault and indecency with a child, who was 15 years old at the time of the alleged event. He was indicted on March 14 and pleaded guilty to both charges.

Wooldridge had been rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Lampasas.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:54 AM

Church deals with sex arrest


By Carli Brosseau

Members of an East Side church whose youth minister was recently accused of child molestation are standing behind the church's leadership as it evaluates if it did all it could to protect the congregation.

"We're really trying to be open and honest about this," said Pastor John Anderson of the East Tucson Baptist Church, 9100 E. Speedway Blvd., where the suspected abuse took place. "This is new territory for us. They don't teach this in seminary."

The congregation of about 120 came under the spotlight after the Dec. 11 arrest of its youth minister, Christopher Decaire, 57, of the 9000 block of East Shiloh Street.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:50 AM

Loss of news talk show dismays Mexicans


[Includes video with additional detail. See also our page on the Aguilar abuse case involving Cardinal Mahony and Cardinal Norberto Rivera, including links to documents.]

By Reed Johnson

* Supporters of journalist Carmen Aristegui say the cancellation of her radio program poses a threat to the country's move toward greater democracy.

Mexico City -- For some Mexicans, it was as if a combination of Diane Sawyer and Christiane Amanpour had been summarily bounced from the airwaves.

That's been the widespread reaction to the Jan. 4 decision by journalist Carmen Aristegui to end her prominent 5-year-old morning talk show on the capital's W Radio, due to what she described as growing editorial differences with the station's co-owners, Mexico's multimedia giant Grupo Televisa and Grupo Prisa, Spain's largest media conglomerate.

. . .

She indicated that she believed her show, "Hoy por Hoy" (Day by Day), had annoyed powerful interests, including Roman Catholic Cardinal Norberto Rivera and President Felipe Calderon's administration.

"Everything seems to indicate that there is someone that called for my head and someone that yielded it," Aristegui was quoted as saying.

. . .

She also has reported on a lawsuit accusing Rivera and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony with conspiring to protect a priest accused of child abuse. Last year, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that he had no jurisdiction, effectively ending the case.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:31 AM

'A Loving Way To Say Thank You': Hundreds Bid Farewell As Former Bishop Hart Laid To Rest In Norwich


By Izaskun E. Larrañeta

Even in the face of death. Bishop Emeritus Daniel A. Hart never questioned God's plan for him and he never lost faith, his successor told mourners Friday.

“His acceptance of suffering and sickness is a model to us all,” said the Most Rev. Michael R. Cote, bishop of Norwich, who delivered the homily at Hart's funeral Mass at the Cathedral of St. Patrick. “With the ominous news of his illness, he asked for prayers, not for a miraculous cure, but rather for prayers that he might be faithful to God's will.”

. . .

Hart headed the diocese at the height of breaking news of the sex scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

“Bishop Hart led the diocese in the midst of crisis, and its turbulence caused some to doubt, and still others to lose confidence, in the church,” said Cote. “The bishop's adept handling of these challenges kept the diocese on course and helped to heal wounds inflicted by crisis. He personally called or wrote to all who expressed their disappointment, their feeling of being let down by what they had trusted and hoped in.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:27 AM

Pope to Jesuits: Reaffirm "Total Adhesion to Catholic Doctrine" on "Sexual Morality"


[The article also provides the full text of Pope Benedict's letter to Kolvenbach.]

By John-Henry Westen

Rome - In a letter to the Jesuits, gathered at their 35th General Congregation dated January 10, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI has called on the ancient order which has been rocked by scandal to reaffirm their "total adhesion to Catholic doctrine" mentioning specifically the Church's teachings on "sexual morality".

The letter comes in the wake of the homily given by the Pope's representative at the opening of the Assembly on January 7, which bemoaned the infidelity of some in the order to the teachings of the Church. (see coverage [with the text of Cardinal Rodé's address to the Jesuits])

. . .

In the letter, the Pope stated: "so as to offer the entire Society of Jesus a clear orientation which might be a support for generous and faithful apostolic dedication, it could prove extremely useful that the General Congregation reaffirm, in the spirit of Saint Ignatius, its own total adhesion to Catholic doctrine, in particular on those neuralgic points which today are strongly attacked by secular culture, as for example the relationship between Christ and religions; some aspects of the theology of liberation; and various points of sexual morality, especially as regards the indissolubility of marriage and the pastoral care of homosexual persons."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:14 AM

January 18, 2008

Ill. bishop faces claims he misspent funds on furniture, garments


By Jim Suhr

An advocacy group for victims of clergy abuse implored Roman Catholics across southern Illinois on Thursday to earmark or cut back their donations to the church until complaints that the bishop misspent money can be sorted out.

Pastoral groups in the 104,000-member, 124-parish Diocese of Belleville, Ill., have asked for Bishop Edward Braxton to address claims he bought ceremonial garments with about $8,000 in donations to a Vatican world outreach fund meant to help the poor.

Braxton also may have bought a wooden chancery table and chairs with $10,000 from a "Future Full of Hope" fund for children and adults, the Belleville News-Democrat reported this week, citing a motion criticizing Braxton passed by the fund's board.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:06 PM

Group demands Braxton respond to charges he misused money for poor: SNAP, laity call for accountability


By Daniel Kelley

Protestors outside the Belleville chancery office Thursday demanded Bishop Edward Braxton disclose information surrounding allegations he misused money earmarked for the poor.

David Clohessy, spokesman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), joined seven other protestors saying Catholics deserve better than the secrecy surrounding Braxton's purchase of $10,100 for office furniture and $8,000 for new vestments.

Fairview Heights resident Jeff Mueller, who is a member of both SNAP and the Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity, said such conduct would not be tolerated in any other context.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:49 PM

Big tab still rises at shut churches: 14 contested buildings cost $880,000 a year


[See also Chancellor James P. McDonough's email to archdiocesan priests]

By Michael Paulson

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston says it is spending $880,000 a year to maintain 14 churches that it has tried to close but are occupied by protesters, tied up in litigation, or restricted because of appeals to the Vatican.

The cash-strapped archdiocese says it is shelling out the cash to heat, insure, and maintain the buildings, five of which have been occupied by protesters, in some cases for more than three years. The others are vacant, but the archdiocese has been unable to sell or reuse the properties because they are tied up in civil lawsuits or canon law appeals.

Compounding the archdiocese's money woes, the sale of closed parishes has generated just $62.7 million - far less than the several hundred million once anticipated - and most of the sale revenue has already been spent to shore up various church funds and assist existing parishes with operating and construction costs, the archdiocesan chancellor reported in an e-mail to priests. In addition, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley has pledged to spend $2.5 million on the new consolidated Catholic school in Brockton, said James P. McDonough, chancellor of the archdiocese.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:28 PM

Rebel priest publishes life story


By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

The former head of the Catholic Church in Zambia, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, has launched his autobiography in Rome.

Archbishop Milingo was excommunicated for marrying and for attempting to ordain four married Catholic priests as bishops in the United States.

This is the first time that he has returned to Rome since his formal excommunication by the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:17 PM

Milingo: «In Italia i preti sposati tremano di fronte alla parola Vaticano»


ROMA (17 gennaio) - Emmanuel Milingo, il presule esorcista scomunicato dal Vaticano, ha annunciato che continuerà a consacrare vescovi, nonostante il divieto pontificio.


Milingo: " In Italy married priests tremble from fear of the Vatican"

Rome (January 17) - Emmanuel Milingo, the exorcist bishop excommunicated by the Vatican, announced he'll continue to ordain new bishops, notwithstanding the Pontifical prohibition. He is planning for five new episcopal ordinations in USA, but none of them in Italy for here even "married priests tremble as soon as they hear the word Vatican and then they flee and hide". " If the Holy See represents the Mother, why is it everybody is afraid of it? " he asked himself, repeating however that, despite the "persecutions" he had to suffer, he feels to belong to the catholic church and hopes one day all 150 thousand married priests scattered all over the world could return to it. "Let me be clear, I don't want to found another church, we have the right to remain in the catholic church because there is no contradiction between marriage and priesthood", affirmed the emeritus archbishop of Lusaka who in May 2001 brought turmoil in the Vatican after he married Korean acupuncturist Maria Sung.

In a Roman bookshop to present his biography, "Confessions of an excommunicated", written by the journalist Raffaella Rosa and published by Edizioni Koine', Milingo, still dressed as a catholic bishop and with his wife Maria Sung, was met by a crowd of photographers, TV cameras, journalists, but also by fans and detractors. There were those who wanted to make polemics as well as pranksters: "Do you like the "gnocca?" ( slang for the female intimate body part) the bishop was asked by the anchorman of the satirical TV program "Le Jene" (the Hyenas), who got a very scholarly answer based on the fact that God created a man and a woman and not a "celibate".

There were those who had come to promote their political party, like Giuseppe Graziani, national secretary of the "Partito di Rifondazione socialista", who - sitting at the conference table - assured Milingo the support of his movement. Two days ago the excommunicated bishop met Rev. Sante, the former parish priest from near Padua, who recently admitted to be the father of a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Judge orders diocese to release all data


[See also Stanton's previous feature article on the Providence abuse files with Tom Mooney, as well as a filing by Bishop Tobin on them.]

By Mike Stanton

An exasperated Rhode Island judge ordered the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence yesterday to provide much more information regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against dozens of priests going back nearly four decades.

The ruling came during a three-hour hearing in which Superior Court Judge Nettie C. Vogel referred to retired Providence Bishop Louis E. Gelineau as a “see-no-evil, hear-no-evil type of guy, apparently,” in his handling of complaints against a Woonsocket priest in the late 1970s.

Vogel is presiding over bitterly contested lawsuits by three men — Marc G. Banville, Donald Leighton and Christopher Young — who say that they were molested by three different priests years ago, and that church leaders have engaged in a pattern of covering up allegations of abuse. The suits are the last remaining from dozens of cases that ended with a historic settlement in 2002 and subsequent mediation — and they have gone further than the earlier cases in prying open the church’s secret archives documenting what its leaders knew and did.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:15 AM

Bill would erase sex abuse suit deadlines: Critics say the measure might be unconstitutional


Madison, Wis. -- People who believe they were sexually abused as children would no longer face a deadline for filing a civil lawsuit under a bill a legislative committee considered Wednesday.

Critics told the Senate Judiciary, Corrections and Housing Committee the bipartisan measure would expose the Catholic church in Wisconsin to expensive lawsuits and is probably unconstitutional. Supporters countered the state's current deadline -- file by age 35 -- is arbitrary and doing away with it would expose more sexual predators.

"This bill is about protecting victims and giving them the ability to tell their story," said Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, one of the bill's co-sponsors. "We truly believe it will make Wisconsin a sex predator's worst nightmare."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:11 AM

Priest admits molestation, according to court filing


By Randall Chase

Wilmington, Del. - A Roman Catholic priest named as a defendant in a child sex abuse lawsuit had admitted molesting the accuser, according to court papers filed this week.

The Rev. James W. O’Neill, a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales and a former principal of Salesianum School in Wilmington, is accused in the lawsuit of sexually abusing former student Eric Eden hundreds of times over a 9-year period beginning in 1976, when he was 8 years old.

Eden alleges that the abuse occurred at his family’s home, in O’Neill’s rectory bedroom and office at Salesianum, and elsewhere.

O’Neill, now 68 and living in Washington, D.C., was relieved of his duties as pastor of a Greensboro, N.C., church in 2003 after officials learned of allegations of “inappropriate behavior.”

In a response filed Wednesday to Eden’s amended complaint, an attorney for Oblate officials and Salesianum stated repeatedly that his clients deny any allegation of negligence or other wrongdoing, but that O’Neill has admitted molesting Eden.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:59 AM

Group works for justice for victims of abuse


[With photos of presentation. See also the documents relating to Maida, which were filed with the complaint in the John Doe 119 case.]

By Joe Rossiter

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said that Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida, when a bishop, allowed a priest to move to another parish, despite knowing of allegations of sexual misconduct with children.

Three members of SNAP gathered outside the downtown offices of the Archdiocese of Detroit on Thursday to present a letter of protest regarding the allegations against Maida and how he handled the Rev. John Feeney while serving as a bishop in Wisconsin in the 1980s.

Peter Isely, Midwest director of SNAP, said that while Maida was a bishop in Green Bay, he allowed Feeney, now serving a 15-year prison term in Wisconsin, to move to St. Francis DeSales parish in Las Vegas, despite repeated and confirmed allegations that the priest had molested children.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:49 AM

Press Release: Detroit Cardinal Let Known Pedophile Priest Work Elsewhere


. . .

In the 1980’s, as Green Bay’s bishop, Cardinal Adam Maida allowed Fr. John Patrick Feeney to move to Las Vegas and work in a parish, despite repeated and confirmed allegations that Feeney had molested kids and written warnings about Feeney’s sexual proclivities.

Recently released, long-secret church records show that Feeney, who had been assigned to 20 parishes in the Green Bay diocese over a period of 20 years, was deemed “untreatable” by Wisconsin treatment specialists. According to church documents, reports concerning Feeney’s abuse were received by diocesan officials since Feeney’s “very first assignment.”

In October 1983, Maida was named Green Bay’s bishop. That month, his predecessor wrote to Feeney that “civil authorities” including “the Attorney General” of Wisconsin had ordered the diocese to either get Feeney into secure treatment or he “would be prosecuted.” Instead, that bishop told Feeney that he would write “a good letter of recommendation” to an out of state bishop that would contain no mention of his criminal behavior against children.

In September 1984, instead of putting Feeney in treatment, Maida let Feeney move to a Las Vegas parish, with no warning to parishioners or the public.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:43 AM

Archdiocesan Catholic Center purchased by Jamison Properties


The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has announced that its 12-floor administrative headquarters has been purchased by Jamison Properties for $31 million. Last year, Cardinal Roger Mahony announced that the Archdiocese would sell the Archdiocesan Catholic Center to help fund the Archdiocese's portion of the $660 million settlement in civil litigation related to claims of sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese will lease back four floors of the building under terms of a five-year lease agreement with Jamison Properties.

"We are pleased with the acquisition of this property, and with the decision of the Archdiocese to continue its operations as a tenant," said Dr. David Lee, M.D., president of Los Angeles-based Jamison Properties.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:41 AM

Bishop sets high priority on developing relationships


By Susan Olp

Great Falls - The new bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings admits to being a bit of an introvert.

. . .

Previously, he served as bishop of the Diocese of Juneau. Before that, he was first a deacon and then a priest at various parishes in the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

. . .

While bishop of the Diocese of Juneau, Warfel on two occasions had to deal with sexual-abuse cases involving priests. He said the issue is one that happens all throughout society, not just among priests.

But Warfel said should it surface in his new diocese, he won't hesitate to deal with it. Every child must be provided a safe environment, he said, an environment in which no harm can befall him or her.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:35 AM

Editorial: Silence hurts bishop, church


Some questionable financial dealings in the Belleville Catholic Diocese have spilled into full public view in recent weeks.

• The diocese's Financial Council filed a complaint with the Vatican over misuse of money donated to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. A council member wouldn't say how much money is involved, or what was bought with it.

• A separate panel that oversees money from the Future Full of Hope campaign objected to $10,100 being used for a new conference table and chairs in the diocesan office.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:33 AM

Q&A: Sheehan talks about his decision to enter the priesthood


By Nicole Coleman

Albion — Kevin Sheehan II is a shy, quiet 19-year-old who just happens to dream of becoming a Roman Catholic priest.

Strange as it may seem for a young, handsome man with the world at his fingertips, it is a decision that has been tugging at his heart for a long time now, he said.

The youngest son of Albion Village Trustee Kevin Sheehan, he is a lifelong member of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Albion. There, his faith grew as an altar server, an active youth group member and a vocalist in the folk group at Sunday Mass. When he talks about attending church, his eyes light up.

. . .

Q: There are priests who have had negative media attention within the past few years for being accused of sexually abusing or molesting children. In some ways, it has put a stigma on all priests. As someone who is pursuing the profession, what are your thoughts about that?

In a world where the normal pecking order for adults is to become married and start a family, will it be difficult for you to give that up?

A: It doesn’t concern me. People should know not all priests are like that. There are a lot more out there who haven’t done anything wrong.

I don’t think marriage is for me.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:28 AM

Editorial: Instinctive, ill-advised: Reinstating work, residency rules on sex offenders will force predators underground


The sexual abuse of children provokes two responses: an instinctive, blindly emotional reaction of anger at the victimization of an innocent child, and a more rational reaction designed to prevent such heinous acts from happening in the future.

In voting to reinstate blanket residency and work limits on all sex offenders, a legislative committee has succumbed entirely to the first response and ignored the second, more productive reaction. The results, if approved by the Legislature as a whole, would be counterproductive for children.

Under previous Georgia law, one of the most restrictive in the country, all those convicted of sex-related offenses were treated as sexual predators. They were forbidden to live near parks, playgrounds, skating rinks, neighborhood centers, gymnasiums, school bus stops and community swimming pools. They also could not legally work near a child care facility, school or church.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:21 AM

Guzzo fuelled innuendo: lawyer; Admits many statements were exaggerated or 'rhetorical'


By Elisabeth Johns

A former MPP helped to fuel the rumour and innuendo about an alleged pedophile ring operating in the city when he made inaccurate public statements, a lawyer for the Ontario Provincial Police suggested at the Cornwall Public Inquiry on Wednesday.

OPP counsel Suzanne Costom questioned Garry Guzzo for at least two hours during the final and lengthy day of his testimony.

A number of other parties called into question inaccuracies in Guzzo's public statements during the cross-examination, during much of which Guzzo admitted he indeed made numerous mistakes.

Guzzo, who represented the provincial riding of Ottawa-West-Nepean, stood up in the Queen's Park legislature numerous times calling for a provincial inquiry into the police investigations of the sexual abuse of minors in the Cornwall area.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:18 AM

If God is everywhere, why do so few people find Him?


By David Kupelian

. . .

Which brings us to painful truth No. 2: Our churches obviously aren't doing a great job of shepherding a righteous nation. But this shouldn't come as a huge surprise. After all, major scandals – like the Roman Catholic Church's 10,000-plus cases of alleged clergy sexual abuse of children, or mainline Protestant denominations on the verge of splitting apart over astonishingly absurd and unbiblical issues like ordaining open homosexuals as religious leaders – are driving many people away. The crisis in the establishment church is so great, some are even calling for major reformation on par with the Protestant Reformation in the 17th century.

As a result, writes Barna in his 2006 book "Revolution," "Committed, born-again Christians are exiting the established church in massive numbers."

Likewise, author David Morrow, in "Why Men Hate Going to Church," documents the feminization of the modern Christian church, which the author says caters to women, children and the elderly by creating a safe, boring, predictable environment. Although many men, he insists, really do desire an authentic faith experience, they consider run-of-the-mill church services to be tedious and irrelevant. (Interestingly, this is much the same observation some critics of public education have made about today's schools – that they're geared more toward holding girls' attention than boys'.)

One result of this crisis is the growth of the home-church movement – something basically unheard-of a generation ago, but experiencing rapid growth in the last few years.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:13 AM

Pastor: Principal failed to report staff-student relationship


By Amanda Glowish

* While at Mission Viejo Christian School, George Gay knew of suspicious messages, school officials say.

Mission Viejo – The former principal of Mission Viejo Christian School knew of an improper relationship his son-in-law, Armando Lucero – then 25 – was having with a 15-year-old student and did not report it to school and law-enforcement officials, according to an executive pastor at the school.

Nearly two years later, George Gay, the 51-year-old educator who has since founded Heritage Christian School in Mission Viejo, oversees 100 students and about 15 faculty members – a role that some people feel he shouldn't be allowed to have.

"It's a privilege working with children," said Darrin Smith, executive pastor of Mission Viejo Christian Church. "Once you allow exploitation of one child, you don't get that right anymore."

Supporters consider Gay a devoted principal.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:07 AM

Touching wasn’t sexual, former pastor testifies


By Rocco LaDuca

A former Clinton pastor told jurors in Oneida County Court Thursday that there was nothing sexual about the way he massaged a 7-year-old girl who was spending the night at his home last March.

But in a phone conversation recorded by Oneida County sheriff’s investigators, the Rev. William Procanick is overheard telling the girl’s mother he was wrong to have “caressed” the girl’s body that night.

Procanick, the 53-year-old former pastor of Resurrection Assembly of God church on Kirkland Avenue, is facing trial this week on felony sexual-abuse allegations he inappropriately touched the young daughter of a family friend while they both lay on his bedroom floor.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:04 AM

Church Members Start Healing Process


[Includes video]

By J.D. Wallace

Members of East Tucson Baptist Church don't want to believe one of their own has been arrested on charges of sexual abuse.

Christopher Decaire was arrested on Friday after police served a search warrant at the church. Decaire, a youth minister at the church, now faces nine charges of sexual misconduct and abuse of a 13-year-old girl who attends the church.

"It is hard to hear that because I know the guy. I think he's a great guy," said Luis Camacho, whose children attend a youth Bible study at the church.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:49 AM

January 17, 2008

Priest abuse lawsuit rejected: Ohio high court rules case was filed too late


By Dan Horn

The Ohio Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit Wednesday that claimed a Norwood priest impregnated a young woman and then pressured her to give the baby up for adoption.

The court's decision resolved the last of several dozen lawsuits filed since 2002 that had accused priests of abusing children in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

As in the previous cases, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the alleged victim had waited too long to file her lawsuit.

The woman, who has not been identified, accused the Rev. Norman Heil of having sex with her several times in 1965 when she was a 16-year-old student at Regina High School in Norwood.

She claimed the priest and a nun told her the church would cast her out and her child would not be baptized if she kept her baby.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:09 PM

Guzzo under fire at inquiry


By Elisabeth Johns

Lawyers at the Cornwall Public Inquiry hammered a former Tory MPP and provincial court judge after he admitted making mistakes as he tried to get his own government to call a probe into sexual abuse allegations.

Former Ottawa-West Nepean MPP Garry Guzzo took the stand in lieu of ex-city cop Perry Dunlop, who had been scheduled to testify at the inquiry.

The lawyer for the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese tried repeatedly to get Guzzo to admit he was "mistaken" over whose name appeared on registration slips from a seedy motel in Florida known to attract pedophiles.

Guzzo testified previously he had a meeting with OPP Det. Insp. Pat Hall, who was working on the Project Truth investigations, in which he said Hall had registration slips from the Saltaire Motel which indicated Bishop Eugene LaRocque stayed there on occasion.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:06 PM

Group to focus on priest abuse at K.C. demonstration


The Missouri Survivors Network of those who were Abused by Priests - SNAP - will hold a demonstration and press conference this afternoon in Kansas City.

The organization will discuss two recent lawsuit settlements involving priests accused of sexual child abuse, including one who worked at a Springfield church in the early 1950s. The Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, which was established in 1956, has no record of O'Brien.

Monsignor Thomas J. O'Brien, who worked at St. Agnes Cathedral 1951-54 when it was part of the Kansas City Diocese, and Father Thomas Reardon, who has worked in several Kansas City parishes, were accused of molesting a boy at least three times in 1974 at St. Elizabeth's Church in Kansas City. The diocese settled a lawsuit against the two priests last month, according to SNAP.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:01 PM

R-rated sacrilege


Julia Duin

At first it seemed like just another press conference on sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The invitation was about a new book: "Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church" by Leon Podles, a scholar whom I'd last interviewed almost 10 years ago about his prior book "Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity."

So I showed up at the National Press Club Tuesday morning. What I discovered is probably the first R-rated account of what was really done to all those thousands of mostly teenage boys by abuser priests overseen by compliant bishops. It takes a strong stomach to work through the first few chapters that give the gory details about this ecclesiastical horror show.

Previous books on abuse, Podles told us, had been sanitized by not going into detail what sorts of rape, torture and sadism were perpetrated on innocent children. Not his. He had to form his own publishing company to get the book out after the publisher that commissioned the book backed out and no other publisher would take it because of the sexual content.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 PM

Bishops are branded 'narcissistic sociopaths': Abused priest dismisses church attitude to victims


By Anita Guidera

A priest who suffered sexual abuse has branded bishops and priests who fail to reach out to abuse victims as "narcissistic sociopaths".

Father Patrick McCafferty has launched a blistering attack on the institutional church, claiming it was inflicted with a deep sickness "from the top down".

The outspoken priest, who is currently a doctoral student at Dublin's Milltown Institute, has also called on the Church to repent and make reparation for the sins of its members.

Speaking yesterday, he revealed he had been sexually abused as a child between the ages of four and seven. He also claimed he was assaulted by a priest when he was a young seminarian.

"I know the particular devastation clerical sexual abuse has on victims," he said.

He was speaking on Donegal's Highland Radio in response to claims that jailed paedophile priest Eugene Greene had been sent financial gifts from parishioners.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:58 PM

Prosecutors argue ex-Clinton pastor's back rubs too sexual


By Rocco LaDuca

Attorneys began to argue in Oneida County Court Wednesday whether a former Clinton pastor went too far in touching a 7-year-old girl who was spending the night at his house last March.

The Rev. William Procanick is facing trial this week on charges of first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child after he was accused of having inappropriate contact with the young daughter of a family friend.

Procanick, the 53-year-old former pastor of Resurrection Assembly of God, says he was merely massaging the young girl's back as he normally did anytime she and her sister spent the night at Procanick's Kirkland Avenue home. The girls usually asked for such massages as they tried to fall asleep, the defense argues.

The Procanicks would occasionally care for the girls as their struggling mother tried to get her life back in order, so such overnight stays were not out of the ordinary, Procanick has said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:55 PM

Former Bishop Daniel A. Hart Dies at 80


By Hilda Munoz

New Haven - Former Bishop Daniel A. Hart, who led the Norwich Diocese for over a decade and was the target of lawsuits stemming from the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, has died. He was 80.

He had been ill with cancer for six months, according to Diocese spokesman, Michael Strammiello.

Hart was born Aug. 24, 1927. He became an ordained priest in Boston in 1953 and was a vice chancellor in the Boston archdiocese.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:51 PM

'Doubt' opens door for dialogue: Riverside Theatre to stage Pulitzer Prize-winning play Jan. 25 to Feb. 17


By Diana Nollen

Iowa City — Google "parable" and the definitions range from "simile" to "a short fictional story told to illustrate one or more moral points."

"Doubt: A Parable," however, raises more questions than it answers. The 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning play will unfold Jan. 25 to Feb. 17 at Riverside Theatre, 213 N. Gilbert St. A free discussion on the play will begin at 5:30 tonight at the theater.

Set in 1964 at a Catholic school in the Bronx, the play's conflict arises when the principal, Sister Aloysius, grows suspicious of Father Flynn's intentions as he befriends a new student, the only African-American boy at the school. She has no proof of wrongdoing, just a gut reaction, and what she does with that reaction sets the play in motion.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:47 PM

Catholic Priest Returns to Ministry, Good Name Restored


Father Albert Gondek, a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Charlotte returns to ministry after being cleared of misconduct allegations.

Bishop Peter J. Jugis has returned Father Albert James Gondek to the position of Pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Lexington. Father Gondek resumed his duties on Sunday, December 23, 2007.

Father Gondek and Bishop Jugis will meet with members of the parish at the conclusion of the 10:30 am Mass on December 23rd to explain the process leading to the re-instatement.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:44 PM

Ex-priest who abused boys is living in Indiana


[Scroll down to read this story.]

A former Roman Catholic priest sentenced to probation last week for sexually abusing two Bullitt County boys is now living just south of Indianapolis and has registered as a sex offender in that state.

Daniel C. Clark, 59, is living in Greenwood in Johnson County, according to the Indiana Sheriffs' Sex and Violent Offender Registry Web site.

Clark pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of the Bullitt County boys.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:40 PM

Catholic Deacon in Silver Spring Faces More Charges of Abuse


Silver Spring, Md. -- A Roman Catholic deacon charged last month with incest for allegedly abusing an underage female relative in the 1960s and 1970s is facing more allegations of abuse.

Police say Dan Paul Stallings was charged Tuesday with child sexual abuse after a second victim came forward alleging that she was abused in 1998 after an event at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring. Police say the victim was 15 or 16 years old.

The Archdiocese of Washington says Stallings has been barred from ministry since his initial arrest in December. At that time, the archdiocese sent letters to parishioners notifying them of the incest charges and asking anyone with information to contact detectives.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:36 PM

Church deacon charged again with child sexual abuse


By Agnes Jasinski

A deacon at a Silver Spring church charged in December with incest against a female relative has been charged with child sexual abuse in another case.

Dan Paul Stallings, 71, of the 10000 block of Woodland Drive in Silver Spring and a deacon at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring since 1986, was charged Tuesday for an incident in 1998 involving a female who was 15 or 16 years old at the time, according to a news release from the Montgomery County Police Department.

The woman came forward last month after Stallings was charged Dec. 11 with 10 counts of incest against a female relative, police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said. The relative claimed she was abused more than 60 times between 1967 and 1973, according to charging documents filed in District Court. Stallings admitted to police he began abusing the relative when she was 12 years old, according to the documents.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:30 PM

Local Pastor Arrested: National Religious Leader Accused of Turning a Blind Eye


By Lindy Thackston

Jacksonville, Fl. -- Pastor Darrell Gilyard watched his congregation at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church grow by the thousands since he first took the pulpit in 1993.

But after one of those members accused him of sending obscene sexual texts to her teenage daughter last month, he resigned.

Pastor Gilyard was arrested Monday by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on lewd and lascivious charges.

It isn't Gilyard's first time to meet with such accusations.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:26 PM

Former Pastor Arrested on Charges He Sent Lewd Text Messages to 14-year-old Girl


By Bob Allen

An African-American Baptist preacher once promoted by past Southern Baptist Convention presidents Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines and the late television preacher Jerry Falwell surrendered to police in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday afternoon on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a 14-year-old girl.

Darrell Gilyard, 45, took a voluntary leave of absence as pastor of Jacksonville's Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church Dec. 21 after a member of his church told police she found obscene text messages from him on her daughter's cell phone Oct. 23. Gilyard resigned Jan. 4 from the church he led over a 14-year-period to grow from a dwindling congregation into a 7,000-member mega-church.

An arrest warrant issued after a six-week investigation alleged that Gilyard "did solicit a person under 16 years old to commit a lewd act by sending her lewd text messages and requesting for her to send him lewd text messages back."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:22 PM

Parish Predators: SNAP’s David Clohessy Wants to Know What Took Cardinal Daniel DiNardo So Long


Cardinal Daniel DiNardo should tell Houston Catholics why he waited two months to announce that a diocesan priest had been accused of sexually abusing a child, the head of a victims’ advocacy group said in a press conference today.

Standing outside the Archdiocese Chancery downtown, David Clohessy, head of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said DiNardo should have called police as soon as allegations surfaced against Rev. Stephen Horn last November. The two-month gap could have given the 63-year-old Horn time to destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, threaten witnesses or flee the country, Clohessy said. The accuser, now an adult, told church officials that Horn abused him when he was a minor, from 1989 to 1993. The alleged abuse occurred when Horn pastored Christ the King Catholic Church. DiNardo announced Jan. 13 that Horn is in a treatment center.

Citing DiNardo’s “stunning callousness and recklessness” in handling the allegation, Clohessy said the Cardinal should disclose the name and location of the center. He also said the Archdiocese should post the names of local priests accused of child molestation on its Web site, like several other dioceses across the country have.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:18 PM

Editorial: Recalling A Humble Priest: Bishop Hart left an impression on more than just Catholics in the region


[For a different perspective on Hart, during the two decades (1976-95) that he administered the Boston archdiocese's South or Brockton Region as auxiliary bishop, see a 3/25/84 letter to Cardinal Law describing Hart's callous treatment of a woman abused by one of Hart's priests. See also a 5/22/79 letter by Bishop D'Arcy to Cardinal Medeiros, complaining that a housekeeper had been beaten up by a Boston priest because Hart ignored D'Arcy's earlier warning. That priest was later accused of sexually abusing 3 girls and 2 boys. Hart handled many other abuse cases. See, for example, documents from the Towner and Meffan files.]

The impression one had in meeting Bishop Daniel A. Hart was that this was a humble man. That may seem an odd fit for a person who sat at the top of the diocesan hierarchy, but in the case of Bishop Hart the quality seemed entirely appropriate.

Bishop Hart, the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Norwich, died on Monday at age 80. He served as bishop from 1995 to 2003.

. . .

In 2002, Bishop Hart likewise offered an apology for the suffering inflicted by priests who had sexually abused children. “I am saddened by this and I ask for forgiveness,” Bishop Hart said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 1:02 PM

A boy's death revisited


[See also Cullen's 2003 article Danny's Story: Death of an Altar Boy, and investigative files.

By Kevin Cullen

Springfield - Danny Croteau has been dead these 36 years, dead almost three times as long as he was alive.

more stories like thisHe was 13 years old, an altar boy, when they fished his body out of the Chicopee River, his head bashed in.

From the very beginning, the chief suspect was a local priest, Richard Lavigne. But it was a time and a place when few would believe a priest could molest, much less kill, a child. Whether it was incompetence, conspiracy, or a lack of evidence, no one was ever charged with Danny Croteau's death, even though it seemed as if just about every police officer who worked on a case that has spanned four decades believes the killer was Richard Lavigne.

Lavigne was coddled by his superiors in the Springfield Diocese for 20 years, shipped from parish to parish, where he molested children throughout Western Massachusetts, killing souls just as surely as some believe he killed Danny Croteau.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:51 PM

Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph pays $45,000 settlement


The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has paid $45,000 to a Kansas City-area man who alleged that two priests sexually abused him in 1976.

The alleged abuse by Thomas Reardon and Thomas O’Brien was unusual in that it involved a 16-year-old boy who was not a Catholic, said the unidentified man’s attorney, Sam Wendt.

The settlement also differed in that it was reached last month before a lawsuit was filed. A diocese spokesman said other such settlements have been quietly made in the past, but he did not know how often.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:19 AM

Abuse Allegations: Private school faces new $200-million lawsuit


By Michael Valpy

A second lawsuit filed against Grenville Christian College and the Anglican Diocese of Ontario claims the now-closed private school was operated as a mind-control cult that left former students physically, mentally and sexually traumatized.

The suit paints a bizarre portrait of the school near Brockville, Ont., where students were told that illnesses and disabilities were the result of unconfessed sin and where a former headmaster, an Anglican priest, preached that AIDS and killer bees in Texas were evidence of the approaching end of the world.

The suit, filed by former students as a class action, asks for $200-million in damages and seeks a so-called Mareva injunction to block the sale of the school and its 107-hectare property overlooking the St. Lawrence River. An earlier class-action suit was filed in November. The Ontario Provincial Police are also conducting a criminal investigation into complaints of sexual and physical abuse. None of the allegations against the school, church or individuals have been proven in court.

The latest lawsuit details the close relationship over 30 years between the school and the Kingston-based Diocese of Ontario and alleges the school prospered because of its advertised connection with the diocese and the Anglican values it was supposedly promoting.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:11 AM

Defrock sex abuser priest, angry victims demand: 'No rational reason why he shouldn't be fired': lawyer


By Andrew Seymour

The lawyer representing eight of the 13 men sexually abused by Msgr. Bernard Prince says several of his clients are "adamant" that the retired Ottawa Valley priest be defrocked for his crimes.

"This guy has breached every fundamental tenet of being a priest. Not just once or twice, but for decades," said Rob Talach, of the London law firm Ledroit Beckett. "That alone should be reason for him to lose that prestige and that position. At the end of the day, there is no rational reason why he should not be fired," said Mr. Talach.

On Monday, Msgr. Prince, 72, was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading to, and being found guilty of, 13 charges of indecent and sexual assault involving young males between 1964 and 1984.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:07 AM

Guzzo wants to put former premier on stand: Former judge, MPP tells Project Truth inquiry to summon Mike Harris


By Elisabeth Johns

Cornwall — A former Conservative member of the Ontario legislature says an inquiry probing the institutional response to allegations of systemic child sexual abuse in the Cornwall area should hear from a former premier.

Garry Guzzo, who represented Ottawa-West Nepean, said Tuesday that the inquiry should question former premier Mike Harris about his role in how the Project Truth investigations were conducted.

In August 2001, Ontario Provincial Police ended a four-year probe of the alleged pedophile ring, dubbed Project Truth, concluding the allegations were baseless.

A total of 114 charges were laid against 15 high-profile men in the 1990s, but the courts ultimately convicted just one man who had no connection to the alleged sex ring.

Guzzo took the stand Tuesday in lieu of ex-city police officer Perry Dunlop, who had been scheduled to testify at the inquiry.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:30 AM

January 16, 2008

(ri.ba.) "Abbiamo scelto di vivere ...


(ri.ba.) "Abbiamo scelto di vivere con una donna, ma non abbiamo commesso nessun peccato. Amiamo tutti e due la chiesa cattolica senza se e senza ma".



“We chose to live with a woman, but we didn’t commit any sins. Both of us love the Catholic church unconditionally ”. But notwithstanding the words of the “priest father” of Monterosso, the Rev. Sante Sguotti, it appears decidedly little credible that their love towards the Catholic church is devoid of any condition.

It was near Rome that took place the first encounter between Rev. Sante and Emmanuel Milingo, the exorcist excommunicated by the Catholic church after his marriage with Maria Sung. The meeting started with a long and affectionate hug between the two rebel priests. What did they say to each other? It’s clearly a secret, provided you are not willing to open your wallet as was done by the weekly magazine Gente, which reports in today’s issue an exclusive interview paid 1000 euros to each one.

“Priests’ celibacy was never a dogma, but only an easy way to control the clergy: we’ll fight so that the Pope can open his eyes” commented Milingo, the former archbishop of Lusaka. A statement which was enriched by another one made by Rev. Sante, the “priest father”, who added “it’s not a sin to abandon celibacy. On the contrary, it’s a way to humanize the priesthood” while showing the former Zambian archbishop the photos of the little Rocco, the child he had from his companion Tamara, a love story which cost him the suspension “a divinis”.

“I was expelled from the community. I went to the sanctuary of the Virgin of Pompei with my wife, but they denied me the communion. I can’t live without the Eucharist – added Milingo – people sends me hundreds of messages every day from all over the world. In a few days I’ll go back to New York, and, God willing, my wife Maria and I will have a child”. But before going back home Milingo will meet Rev. Sante Sguotti to lay the foundation for the battle against priests’ celibacy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:39 AM

Complaint in John Doe 119 v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Las Vegas, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, and Fr. James Patrick Feeney


See also the complaint's exhibits from diocesan files. The complaint and exhibits are also available as a single file (2.2 megabytes).

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:40 AM

Statement from Ned McGrath


We're always saddened when we hear of a case or even a suggestion of abuse involving Catholic clergy. Because the matters raised in news conferences today might be headed for litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.

Ned McGrath
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Detroit
January 15, 2008

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:33 AM

Attorneys file to free priest charged with nun's murder: Petition hints deceased cleric had role in her killing


By David Yonke

Attorneys for Gerald Robinson have filed a court petition seeking to overturn the Toledo priest's 2006 murder conviction and raising suspicions about another Catholic cleric, now deceased, who worked with Robinson as a chaplain at the hospital where the crime occurred in 1980.

The petition, filed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, quotes Sister Dorothy Marie Balabuch, a Sylvania Franciscan nun, as saying she worked as a housekeeper for the Rev. Jerome Swiatecki and described the priest as an "immoral man" with "a very bad temper" and a fondness for knives and "hard-core pornography."

The court document also quotes a security guard, hired two days after the murder at the former Mercy Hospital, saying that "in my youthful zeal and my desire to catch the perpetrator, I accused Father Swiatecki" of murdering Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.

David Cone said the priest replied, "So what if I did? Who do you think you are? Look around you. You are a nobody. Nobody is going to believe you."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:00 AM

Archbishop suspends clergyman


By Christopher Burbach

Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss has suspended from the ministry a former assistant pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church who has a federal lawsuit pending against the archdiocese.

The suspension means that the Rev. Ernest Ogugua, who now lives in New York, is temporarily banned from saying Mass or performing any other act of priestly ministry.

. . .

Ogugua sued Curtiss, the Rev. Dan Kampschneider and the archdiocese in federal court on Dec. 10, alleging discrimination on the basis of race and national origin. Ogugua is a naturalized U.S. citizen who grew up in Nigeria.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:34 AM

Slain Altar Boy's Father Given New Hope with Release of Records


The father of a 13-year-old altar boy who was murdered 36 years ago said Monday he has renewed hope that his son's killer will be brought to justice after a judge ordered the release of thousands of pages of investigative records.

The family's former parish priest, Richard Lavigne, has long been considered a suspect in the death of Danny Croteau, who died from a blow to the head on April 15, 1972. The boy's body was found on the banks of the Chicopee River. Lavigne has never been charged and has denied any involvement.

One of the documents includes a statement from a witness who claims she saw the boy's parish priest the night Danny was killed, but was threatened by the then-bishop and district attorney from coming forward, according to a ruling last week by Berkshire Superior Court Associate Justice John Agostini. The document has not yet been released, and the judge does not spell out in his ruling what the woman claims she saw.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:28 AM

Sex abuse victims want inquiry


By Mark Dunn

Victorian victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy have demanded the State Government set up an independent justice commission into the crimes.

At least 14 victims of notorious pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale have formed a group to lobby for a Department of Justice investigation into how victims were paid widely varying compensation by the Catholic church.

. . .

Defrocked priest Ridsdale, 72, is considered to be one of Victoria's most prolific child sex offenders.

He is serving a minimum 19 years for raping and molesting 40 children, aged 6-16, between 1961 and 1987.

Ridsdale will be eligible for parole in 2013.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:23 AM

Shepherd of the Hills Church receives 'finest bells in the world'


By Brett Rowland

Eden — Four historic bells were installed Tuesday at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Eden.

The St. Francis de Sales bells — that once hung at the Cousins Center in Milwaukee — have a long history and are considered to be some of the finest in the state.

. . .

The bells, weighing from 495 pounds to more than a ton, were cast in 1963 at the Paccard foundry in France and shipped to De Sales Preparatory Seminary in Milwaukee. The seminary eventually became the Cousins Center, the former home of the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese. The archdiocese is in the process of selling the Cousins Center to help pay for a $16.6 million sexual abuse settlement with victims of clergy abuse, according to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:20 AM

Superior diocese noted in new book on sex scandals


The Superior diocese is one of 49 Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in 24 states and the District of Columbia that are mentioned in “Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church.”

The book, by abuse survivor Leon Podles, is being released today at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Superior is mentioned mostly in connection with the late Rev. Irving Klister, said Fran Griffin, who is handling media inquires about the book. Klister was a one-time diocese chancellor and founding editor of the Superior Catholic Herald who abruptly left for Texas in the 1950s at the time of his confessed abuse of a 14-year-old boy. He later was convicted on child pornography charges.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:15 AM

Group accuses archdiocese of acting too slow on priest sex abuse allegations


A survivors group is calling on the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to take a tougher stance against a priest accused of sexual abuse.

Last Sunday, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo revealed there is credible evidence Father Stephen Horn abused a child 19 years ago.

Horn has been removed as pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Southeast Houston and the district attorney’s office has been contacted.

On Tuesday the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said the archdiocese waited too long to release its findings to the public and police.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:11 AM

Risky Living Arrangements: Boyfriends Pose Greatest Threat to Children, Experts Find


By Wayne Laugesen

Denver — The problem of sexual abuse of children has reached near-epidemic proportions, but the culture has yet to confront its most common causes.

Most people have heard about the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. They also hear about the children who get abducted by strangers or get lured by Internet perverts.

And occasionally, newspapers will run a story about a teenage boy having sex with a beautiful 20-something teacher.

They seldom hear of the biggest threat of childhood sexual abuse: cohabitation and the single mom’s boyfriend.

. . .

David Finkelhor, director of the university of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, has found that children living in broken homes or with single parents are at a higher risk of physical and sexual assault than children living with two biological or adoptive parents.

“Certainly, a lot of men come into a home with good intentions and provide a good male role model for children,” Kraizer said. “But the single woman with a child is the perfect opportunity for an abuser. She provides a victim and a place.”

Kraizer, who’s quick to admonish past Church officials who covered up abuse by clergy, said the media’s obsession with clergy abuse of children reached absurd proportions. She said it has caused more fear of men in the collar than of live-in boyfriends.

“With the help of the media, we’ve developed a fear factor toward clergy that is overblown,” Kraizer said, adding that fear of stranger abuse is also overblown.

“In the mid-’80s through about 1995, there was a lot of awareness about the true nature of child sex abuse,” Kraizer said. “People were aware that strangers weren’t the big issue. In the last 10 years, however, things changed. The high publicity crimes became the agenda, and the issues have become completely distorted. My experience is that new parents have no understanding of what the real threats are.”

Though a recent series by the Associated Press showed an epidemic-like phenomenon of sexual abuse in public schools throughout the country, Kraizer said few people have developed a fear of teachers. Nor, she said, should they.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:56 AM

Green Bay Catholic Diocese, Ex-priest Named in New Lawsuit


By Emily Matesic

An alleged sexual assault victim in Nevada filed a lawsuit against former priest John Patrick Feeney, the Green Bay Catholic Diocese, and the diocese of Reno-Las Vegas.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, announced the filing of the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon.

The victim, identified only as John Doe 119, says Father Feeney sexually assaulted him in 1984 when he was 13 years old.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:57 AM

Daniel A. Hart, Ex-Norwich Bishop, Dies: 'Humble priest' who led diocese for eight years was 80


By Izaskun E. Larrañeta

Norwich — Bishop Emeritus Daniel A. Hart, 80, who led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich from 1995 to 2003, died Monday at the St. Joseph Living Center in Windham after a six-month-long illness.

. . .

In 2002, Bishop Hart returned from a meeting of the nation's Catholic bishops and told a gathering of 200 local Catholics at the Norwich cathedral that he would enforce the bishops' new charter prohibiting any priest who had ever molested a child from serving in the ministry.

“I join with my brother bishops in apologizing for the hurt inflicted on all victim-survivors of sexual abuse by priests and bishops,” he said. “I am saddened by this and I ask forgiveness.”

He said he believed that the sexual misconduct policy the diocese had had since 1994 was good, but was fully committed to following the new, stricter charter.

He also said, “I am not aware today of any priest on active duty who is a danger to a child.”

That same year, a Superior Court judge dismissed claims in a lawsuit that Bishop Hart had knowingly allowed a diocesan priest to sexually abuse a teenage boy.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:48 AM

Bill would lift limits on child abuse suits


By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon

Colorado's Catholic Church leaders are planning to again fight a bill that would give victims more time to sue predators who sexually abused them as children.

A measure by state Rep. Gwyn Green, D-Golden, would lift the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits for children who suffer sexual abuse from now on. Any past victims for whom the statute of limitations has expired would have a two-year window - starting in July - to file a civil lawsuit against their alleged abusers or any institution that knowingly allowed the abuse.

Ted Thompson, executive director for the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children, called on Colorado lawmakers to unanimously pass the bill.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:44 AM

Tougher abuse penalties sought: People who do not report it targeted, too


By Peter Smith

A bill filed by state Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, would toughen penalties for both those who sexually abuse minors and those who know about such abuse but fail to report it to authorities.

House Bill 211, prompted by revelations in recent years of sexual abuse by clergy, teachers and others in positions of authority or trust, would make sexual contact with someone younger than 16 a felony if committed by someone older than 21.

Under the bill, anyone in a position of authority or trust who has sexual contact with someone younger than 18 could be charged with a felony.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:39 AM

Archbishop wants St. Stan priest defrocked


By Tim Townsend

Archbishop Raymond Burke has begun the process of defrocking the pastor at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church.

Rev. Marek Bozek, 32 and a native of Poland, said Monday that he received a letter from Burke last week, informing him that he should present himself before the archbishop for "canonical admonition."

In the letter, Burke said he's begun the process of laicization, or being "dismissed from the clerical state," for Bozek. The letter cited Bozek's participation in schism at the church that has been locked in a battle with the archdiocese over control of its assets and his public support for, and participation in, an ordination ceremony of two Catholic women last year.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:36 AM

Fresno pastor testifies, denies sex assault: Charles Dickerson takes the stand in his own defense


By Chris Collins

Fresno pastor Charles Dickerson took the witness stand Tuesday to deny accusations that he sexually assaulted two girls who are relatives in his family. He also denied molesting a 16-year-old boy.

Dickerson, dressed in a pinstripe suit and wearing a tie, spoke confidently as he testified in Fresno County Superior Court. His defense attorney, Glenn LoStracco, asked him a series of questions about whether prosecutors' accusations were true, to which Dickerson replied, "No, sir."

In March, one of the girls testified in a preliminary hearing that when she was younger than 10, Dickerson started molesting her. Later, the girl said, after she became pregnant by another man, Dickerson raped her in his bathroom. But two months ago, the two girls recanted and now say the abuse never occurred.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:34 AM

Ex-deacon guilty in sex assault of girl, 6: Odem man, 65, apologizes to family, faces up to life in prison in sentencing today


By Mary Ann Cavazos

A 65-year-old Odem man found guilty on Tuesday of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child remained stoic as the judge read the verdict.

Stephen Douglas Livingston was accused of inappropriately touching a 6-year-old girl on May 11 during a church movie outing at Five Points Cinema in Corpus Christi.

Jurors deliberated for about two and half hours before reaching a guilty verdict on both charges.

Livingston, who was a deacon and longtime member of First Baptist Church of Sinton, also was indicted last week on three counts of indecency with a child in San Patricio County, court officials said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:26 AM

Tucson Youth Pastor Accused of Sex Crimes


By Mark Stine

"Think about getting hit in the stomach unexpectedly and getting the wind knocked out of you."

That's how Pastor John Anderson describes his congregations reaction after one of the East Tucson Baptist Church youth ministers was arrested for several sex crimes.

Anderson said, "Shock, anger, denial rationalization, all of those are taking place right now."

Taking place because Christopher Decaire was arrested on Friday and charged with nine felonies. He's accused of sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl from the church.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:21 AM

Thousand Points of Light Pastor Charged with Perjury


By Sarah Posner

Earl Paulk, televangelist and former pastor to the now almost defunct Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Atlanta, was charged with perjury yesterday, for lying under oath in a lawsuit brought by a former congregant, Mona Brewer, who charges that he forced her to have sex with him over a fourteen year period. In sworn deposition testimony in the suit, Paulk admitted to having sex with Brewer, but said it was consensual. The perjury charge comes in because he testified that she was the only woman he's had sex with outside his marriage. (At least a dozen women, including his own granddaughter, have accused him of sexual abuse.)

But late last year, court-ordered paternity tests confirmed something that had been rumored for years: that the 80 year-old Paulk was actually the father of his nephew, Donnie Earl Paulk. In other words, he had slept with his brother's wife.

During the George H.W. Bush administration, the president bestowed upon Paulk one of his "thousand points of light" accolades, summoning Paulk to the tarmac in Atlanta so he could meet the pastor on Air Force I. If that's not a morality (or lack of morality) tale about how messed up it is for politicians to curry favor with religious figure because they are presumptively pure, I don't know what is.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:16 AM

January 15, 2008

‘Absolute Power’


By Tony Hopfinger | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Jan 14, 2008

In the Yupik Eskimo village where Tom Cheemuk lived as a child in the 1960s, there was no running water. Homes in the tiny community of St. Michael were lit with gas lamps and generators. The town shared a single telephone. As a boy Cheemuk picked berries and gathered goose eggs on the pockmarked Alaskan tundra and fished for tomcod on the windy shores of the Bering Strait. Like most other children, he also spent many days inside the weather-beaten little Catholic church, helping the Jesuit missionaries who held such powerful sway over Eskimo life. That meant doing what you were told—even if it was wrong—and staying silent about it.

For Cheemuk, now 53, the past was buried for decades, through a lifetime of struggling with shame, anger and alcoholism. "I remember Mom asked me why there was blood on my underclothes," he said one recent frigid night in his cramped house in the Eskimo village. His sat alongside his wife, sometimes breaking into tears. "I was afraid to tell her what happened. I thought I might go to jail."

It is one of the darkest chapters of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. More than 110 children in Eskimo villages claim they were molested between 1959 and 1986, raped or assaulted by 12 priests and three church volunteers. Families and victims believe that another 22 people were sexually abused by clergy members but have since killed themselves. The Jesuit Oregon Province, which includes Alaska, has agreed to pay $50 million in damages. It is believed to be the largest settlement ever against a religious order.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:36 PM

panel discussion after Narrow Bridge movie


The Awareness Center wants to thank Phil Sibley for volunteering his time to create the following video recording of the panel discussion that occurred after the Baltimore Screening of the film 'Narrow Bridge'.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 PM

Milingo incontra don Sante e annuncia: «Anch'io avrò un figlio come te»


ROMA (15 gennaio) - «Abbiamo scelto di vivere con una donna, ma non abbiamo commesso nessun peccato». Un lungo incontro, cominciato con un abbraccio affettuoso, ha visto faccia a faccia monsignor Emmanuel Milingo e don Sante Sguotti, i due "preti dello scandalo". Le foto e un'intervista sull'incontro, nella quale Milingo ha annunciato anche il desiderio di avere un figlio dalla moglie Maria Sung, vengono pubblicate dal settimanale Gente in edicola domani.


Milingo meets Rev. Sante and announces:
“I’ll have a child like you”

ROME (January 15) – “We chose to live with a woman, but we didn’t commit any sin”. A long encounter, begun with an affectionate kiss, saw face to face Emmanuel Milingo and Rev. Sante Sguotti, the two “priests of the scandal”. The photos and an interview, in which Milingo announced his wish to have a child from his wife Maria Sung, will be published by the weekly Gente tomorrow.

“Celibate has never been a dogma, but only a way to control priests: we’ll fight so that the Pope will open his eyes”, said the former archbishop of Lusaka , excommunicated for having ordained married bishops in USA.

“It’s not a sin to abandon celibacy and it’s sure it’s not a caprice. On the contrary, it’s a way to humanize priesthood”, former parish priest of Monterosso in Abano Terme (Padua) added, after having shown Milingo the photo of his son Rocco, the child he had from his companion Tamara, whose relationship cost him the “suspension a divinis”.

“I have been expelled from the community. With my wife I went to the sanctuary of the Virgin of Pompei, but they denied me the Communion. I can’t live without the Eucharist”, Milingo said about what had happened to him in the first day of his trip in Italy, adding: “People sent me hundreds of messages from all over the world every day . In a few days I’ll go back to New York. And, god willing, my wife and I will have a child”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:14 PM

Abano. Sante e Milingo in tv


(ri.ba.) L'alleanza contro il celibato dei preti è ormai fatta. Don Sante Sguotti, il prete papà di Monterosso, e Emmanuel Milingo, l'esorcista scomunicato dalla Chiesa Cattolica dopo il matrimonio con Maria Sung, saranno a Canale Italia lunedì mattina per parlare della loro lotta.


Abano. Sante and Milingo on TV

The alliance against priests' celibacy was made. The Rev. Sante Sguotti, the priest and father of a child at Monterosso, and Emmanuel Milingo, the exorcist excommunicated by the Catholic Church after his wedding with Maria Sung, will be at Canale Italia on Monday morning to speak about their battle.

After their presence of both "religious rebels" at the newly-weds fair in Naples, they will meet on Friday at the Restaurant "Al Filo" at Monterosso, a neighbourhood of Abano. Meanwhile Rev. Sante has announced he will marry Tamara, the woman he loves and the mother of his son, within this year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 AM

Arizona Supreme Court weighing priest's misdemeanor trial case


* Msgr. Fushek's petition to the state Supreme Court asks for a jury trial because although the charges are misdemeanors he could be ordered to register as a sex offender if convicted.

The Arizona Supreme Court is weighing whether a priest facing misdemeanor charges of sexual improprieties with teens is entitled to a trial by jury.

Msgr. Dale Fushek has been on leave from active ministry since late in 2004, when accusations arose that he behaved inappropriately when a seminarian assigned to his parish sexually abused a youth.

Msgr. Fushek, who founded Life Teen, an international youth ministry program, is still awaiting trial on misdemeanor charges filed in 2005. Several counts were later dropped, but one count of assault, one of indecent exposure and five of contributing to the delinquency of a minor remain unresolved.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:24 AM

Slain Altar Boy's Father Given Hope


By Denise Lavoie

The father of a 13-year-old altar boy murdered 36 years ago hopes his son's killer will finally be brought to justice now that thousands of pages of case file records are to be released.

"We've been in the dark for years," said Carl Croteau, whose son, Danny, died from a blow to the head on April 15, 1972. "We hope this leads to something."

The documents are expected to be released next week, unless Hampden District Attorney William Bennett appeals the ruling. Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini last week ordered Bennett to release the files.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:17 AM

Church officials sat on abuse allegations


[Includes video]

By Kevin Quinn

There are allegations of abuse by a priest in the Galveston-Houston archdiocese. The church knew about it since November. The question is -- why did it wait until Friday to tell authorities?

Back in November, the archdiocese re-assigned a priest for allegedly sexually abusing a youngster between 1989 and 1993. The Houston police sex crimes unit found out about it on Friday and Eyewitness News was told about it Sunday in a news conference.

The archdiocese admits that in mid-November it knew about the allegations of sexual assault of a child. But the church didn't tell the district attorney's office or the Houston Police Department until just last Friday.

. . .

DiNardo says the alleged abuse happened at the Christ the King Church on North Main between 1989 and 1993, when Pastor Stephen R. Horn officiated there.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:12 AM

Judge tosses $1.75 million judgment for priest's daughter


Lincoln, Neb. -- A federal judge has dismissed the $1.75 million judgment for a woman who says she was sexually assaulted by her father, a former Fellowship Baptist pastor who led churches in Lincoln.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf threw out the verdict against Gordon Vella and vacated the award, upon request of the woman's attorney.

The civil lawsuit filed against Vella stated that he sexually abused his daughter from 1978 to 1983, when she was between 5 and 11 years old.

The daughter, now in her 30s, suffered from dissociative amnesia and repressed memories of the abuse until January 2003, according to the lawsuit.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:04 AM

Retired Norwich bishop dies of cancer at 80


[See also more information about Hart and Norwich.]

Norwich, Conn. - The Most Rev. Daniel Hart, retired bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich, has died. He was 80.

Hart had been fighting cancer the past six months and died Monday, diocesan spokesman Shane Griffith said.

Born Aug. 24, 1927, Hart became an ordained priest in 1953 and later became a vice chancellor in the Boston archdiocese. Hart was installed as bishop of Norwich in 1995 and retired in 2003 at age 75.

. . .

Hart also oversaw the diocese during a tumultuous time for the Roman Catholic church as priests around the nation were accused of child sexual abuse. Many of the allegations came from adults who said they were molested years earlier as children. Hart became a defendant in lawsuits stemming from the sexual abuse scandal and was accused of failing to protect victims from predatory priests. He was cleared of most of those charges in 2002.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:42 AM

Thou shalt not collect: Lawyer disappointed with bishop's stance in sexual abuse compensation


By Michelle Stewart

St. John's lawyer Gregg Stack says he was confident Bishop Douglas Crosby would move heaven and earth to see the debt owing to victims of a priest's sexual abuse was paid in full.

But Stack told the Aurora last Wednesday, he is very disappointed to learn an 18-year-old case involving former priest Kevin Bennett and more than three dozen of his victims will drag on much longer than he ever anticipated.

Bishop Crosby, whose diocese of St. George's was ordered to pay $14 million in settlement compensation to the victims, relayed (through correspondence) to Stack last week the money is not there to satisfy the remaining $7 million of settlement debt.

"I am very disappointed with Bishop Crosby," Stack, who represented most of the victims in the civil case, said. "There was a proposal made about two years ago and at the time he (Crosby) extended his hand and said, 'look, this is an obligation we will meet in this fashion; you will get a payment of this much at this date, this much at this date, an so on' and he said to us personally when he was in here (St. John's), 'I will make sure this is done to the best of my ability.'"

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:37 AM

Priest guilty in attacks: Sexually molested 13 young boys


By Tina Peplinski

Pembroke -- Monsignor Bernard Prince was sentenced yesterday to four years in a federal penitentiary for sexually abusing 13 boys.

The retired priest pleaded guilty to 11 counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault. He was found guilty on another count of indecent assault.

Prince's name will be added to the national sex offender registry for the next 20 years. He must also provide a sample of his DNA and is prohibited from attending any public parks or pools, or volunteering where children under the age of 14 are present.

The abuse occurred at his Wilno cottage and Ottawa apartment. At the time of the incidents, the boys, all from devout Roman Catholic families, ranged in age from 12 to 16 years.

Twelve of the victims and their families packed the Pembroke courtroom to hear the decision.

Two of the men read their victim impact statements aloud and Crown attorney John Pepper read the remaining four.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:19 AM

Retired Vatican official sentenced to 4 years for sexually assaulting boys


A retired Vatican official was sentenced Monday to four years for sexual assaults against 13 boys between 1964 and 1984 in Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley.

Bernard Prince, 72, was sentenced by Justice Julianne Parfett in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Pembroke, Ont., about 150 kilometres west of Ottawa.

In the morning, he was found guilty on one count and subsequently pleaded guilty to 12 more charges involving a total of 13 different boys.

Prince originally had faced more than 30 charges, including buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency, against 13 boys aged 12 to 15, many of whom were altar boys he met in the small Polish community of Wilno, near Algonquin Park.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:19 AM

'Deep breach of trust'


By Andrew Seymour

* Sentence sets stage for massive lawsuits against church. Former Pembroke priest and Vatican insider gets four years for sexually abusing boys

Pembroke - A prominent Ottawa Valley priest whose service to the Catholic Church was rewarded with a Vatican post was sentenced to four years in prison yesterday for sexually molesting 13 young boys.

Reading from a handwritten statement, Msgr. Bernard Prince, 72, showed no emotion as he apologized to his victims for his "legal and moral" wrongdoing after being found guilty of one charge of indecent assault and pleading guilty to 12 more charges of indecent and sexual assault. Court heard the assaults took place between 1964 and 1984.

"I wish to sincerely apologize to everyone concerned for the harm that I have caused, directly or indirectly," said Msgr. Prince, a personal friend of the late Pope John Paul II.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:14 AM

January 14, 2008

News in Brief


The Jerusalem District Court ruled yesterday that Avrohom Mondrowitz, an ultra-Orthodox man who fled the United States for Israel two decades ago to avoid sexual abuse charges, must remain in custody until the end of legal proceedings against him. The United States seeks the extradition of Mondrowitz, 60, a member of the Gur Hasidic sect, and the court ruling stemmed from the suspicion he may attempt to escape Israel before his extradition. Mondrowitz was arrested in Jerusalem in November for allegedly abusing dozens of children at his unlicensed psychology clinic at his Brooklyn, New York, home during the 1980s. He fled to Israel in 1985. (Haaretz Staff)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:28 PM

Your Tax Dollars May Be Supporting Abusers: Government Suppport of Catholic Charities

Patrick J. Wall
Clergy Abuse and the Catholic Church

The sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by Roman Catholic Clerics is the most damaging financial event in over two centuries. Not since Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) turned over the Papal States (central Italy) and disbanded the Papal army in the 1860s has the Church lost so many assets. Just recently, the bishops of California settled for in excess of 1.8 billion U.S. Dollars with national totals closing in on $4 billion.

But they shouldn’t be surprised … The 1985 Doyle/Peterson/Mouton Report warned the bishops of $1 billion worth of exposure.

What should concern the average American are the billions of Federal and State government dollars given to Catholic Charities for social services.

Yes, your tax dollars.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 PM

Court rules alleged U.S. pedophile Mondrowitz must stay in custody


By Haaretz Service

The Jerusalem District Court ruled on Monday that Avrohom Mondrowitz, an ultra-Orthodox man who fled the United States for Israel two decades ago to avoid sexual abuse charges, must remain in custody until the end of legal proceedings against him.

The United States seeks the extradition of Mondrowitz, 60, a member of the Gur Hasidic sect, and the court ruling stemmed from the suspicion he may attempt to escape Israel before his extradition.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:23 PM

Don’t sue us, says the Church, we'll pay for your therapy. Then only pedophile data they count is from lawsuits.


By Kay Ebeling
“They wouldn't have paid for my therapy if I had sued. I had to sign a paper that they would not be liable in any other financial way,” said Ann Hagan Webb.

Only an omnipotent organization operating outside the law like the Catholic Church can carry out a Catch 22 like this: Archdioceses offer victims help with therapy as a way to "heal" without lawsuits. Then when it cooks up its statistics on pedophile priests, the Church only counts successful lawsuits. Catch 22. (For example Sr. McNiff's chart in the LA Times, see January 8 post.)

In Ann Webb’s case, they paid for her therapy, but the church says hers is a false claim. A portrait of her perpetrator greets you when you walk into Sacred Heart Church in Providence, Rhode Island.

Last time Webb’s husband saw that portrait he smashed his fist through the glass.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:08 PM

Letter Sent to Parishioners about Sexual Abuse Allegations


The following letter [by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo] was sent to parishioners of Christ the King Church on Jan. 13, 2008, regarding sexual abuse allegations:

Dear Parishioners of Christ the King Church:

An allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been made against Father Stephen R Horn, formerly Pastor of Christ the King Church. The allegation stems from Father's alleged interaction with an individual between 1989 and 1993, while he was Pastor at Christ the King.

When sexual abuse of a minor by a priest is alleged, a preliminary investigation is conducted promptly and objectively. If there is sufficient evidence that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred, the Diocesan Bishop is required to withdraw the accused from sacred ministry and otherwise to restrict him pending the outcome of a process in Rome.

A Special Panel of the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston's Review Board investigated the allegation against Father Horn, offering those involved the opportunity to present evidence and to suggest witnesses and avenues of further investigation that they considered informative. As a result of that investigation, the Special Panel and the Review Board itself have concluded that sufficient evidence does exist that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred. They have recommended that Father Horn be withdrawn from ministry pending further proceedings.

An allegation is not a determination of guilt and we each have a right to our good reputation. However, the Archdiocese takes allegations of sexual abuse of minors extremely seriously. Accordingly, it is my conclusion that Father Horn should be removed from active ministry at this time.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:48 AM

Cops check priest-abuse claims


By Alison Gendar

State police have interviewed two of the alleged abuse victims of Monsignor George Zatarga - possibly the first step toward criminal charges, law enforcement sources said Thursday.

Zatarga, 65, was removed from the American Martyrs Parish in Bayside, Queens, last month after admitting to "inappropriate behavior" with at least five young men during his 40-year career in the Brooklyn Diocese.

While three of the victims, all in their 40s, allege their abuse happened when they were in their teens, two of the victims told investigators Zatarga had molested them in the past two years at the priest's country home in Greenfield, N.Y.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:49 AM

How He Got Here: Pledging Allegiance


By Michael Leahy
December 16, 2007

. . .

Then, as now, Powers and Giuliani were "like brothers separated at birth," Powers says. Their circle included another bright, ambitious Bishop Loughlin classmate, Alan Placa, who sometimes double-dated with Giuliani. Placa pledged the same fraternity at Manhattan as Giuliani and Powers did, and became editor in chief of the student newspaper. Giuliani was a liberal columnist for the paper and a passionate fan of John F. Kennedy.

The three friends would go on to New York University Law School, after which Placa would become a Catholic priest. The men's devotion to one another has remained absolute in the four decades since. Placa helped Giuliani secure a church annulment of his first marriage, officiated at his second marriage, baptized both of his children and presided over the funeral of Giuliani's mother in 2002. During his mayoral years, Giuliani invited Placa to join his staff at Gracie Mansion, but Placa declined.

After Giuliani left office, Placa's New York diocese suspended him from the priesthood after child molestation allegations. Giuliani, who by then had established a security consulting firm, came to his old friend's rescue. He hired Placa at Giuliani Partners and has remained his steadfast benefactor and defender ever since, even as detractors demand that he explain his close relationship with, as one child abuse activist has put it, "a credibly accused child molester."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:27 AM

Chapel at Xavier may yet bear McGinn's name


By Rasha Aly

Xavier College Preparatory High School officials have yet to decide whether they should name the school's future chapel after a Coachella Valley priest who has been accused of sexual abuse.

The Rev. Malachy McGinn, who died in 1997 after serving at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Palm Springs since 1985, was one of 38 priests with "credible" allegations included on a list published on the diocese's Web site March 30, 2007.

When the list was released, Xavier officials said they might continue with plans to name the future chapel after McGinn. More than six months have passed since the list was published, and a decision has not been made.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:14 AM

Victim's family to address findings


By Brian R. Ballou

The parents of a 13-year-old altar boy whose 1972 homicide remains unsolved are expected to speak out today about newly released investigative records on their son's case.

"We've been kept in the dark for 36 years, and now there's some light finally being shed on the murder of our son," said Carl Croteau, 77, of Springfield, in a phone interview yesterday. His son, Danny Croteau, died from a severe blow to the head on April 15, 1972, and his body was dumped on the banks of the Chicopee River.

Last Wednesday, Springfield Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini ordered Hampden District Attorney William M. Bennett to release more investigative files on the case, prompted by an appeal filed by The Republican, a Springfield newspaper.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:09 AM

Guest column: Diocese acted to protect children


[See also the guest column by Peter Isely.]

By Timothy G. Reilly
Director of Administration for the Diocese of Green Bay

As a diocese, we will never be able to undo the harm and pain of clergy sexual abuse of minors. What we can do is apologize for the actions of 35 of our diocesan priests, both living and deceased, who, from 1950 to 2002, have had credible allegations of abuse against them. Today's apology is added to those of our previous bishops and, in a special way, to the apology of Bishop David Zubik at the Service of Apology on Oct. 2, 2006. We extend our heartfelt compassion to those who have been abused and continue to invite victims to talk about the ways in which we can assist in their journey toward healing.

In addition to listening and sincerely attempting to help the particular needs of the abused, we have taken aggressive measures to ensure the safety of our children. In recent weeks, these measures have been publicly misrepresented and misreported. I'd like to speak clearly and frankly about our actions.

On Jan. 2, a plaintiff who recently filed a civil action against the diocese dating back to 1978, said: "The overwhelming reason for us to bring this action now is really that the diocese has never really come to grips or taken responsibility for what has occurred in the past. Frankly, it could be continuing now. The veil of secrecy about this is almost stunning." This statement is untrue and cannot go unchallenged.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:02 AM

Residential school protesters gather in Vancouver


Vancouver - Protesters gathered outside a downtown Vancouver Catholic church Sunday, demanding to know the locations where children were allegedly buried at residential schools in the province.

The crowd stood in front of the Holy Rosary Cathedral where they hoped to give a letter to Vancouver's archbishop.

Organizer Kevin Annett, a former United Church minister, claims native children who died at the schools were buried in mass graves -- but none of those allegations have been proven.

"It isn't just about sexual and physical assault anymore, it's about genocide -- it's about murder," he said outside the church.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:51 AM

Group turns up heat on Catholic Church

CKNW - AM980

A confrontation outside a Cathedral in downtown Vancouver brings up, once again, the plight of aboriginal children housed in residential schools across Canada.

"I was raped by a Catholic priest in the residential school."

Rick Lavallie and others gathered outside Holy Rosary Cathedral Sunday morning to demand the Catholic Church identify burial sites, where they claim abused children lie.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:48 AM

Amid Sadness, Sound Strategy


Proving how truly different things are down in Texas -- and the lessons some of us can learn from that -- the Cardinal of the South called a press conference... on his own accord... to face down questions on a priest's removal from ministry... at his chancery... on a Sunday afternoon.

If the confluence of the above terms seems unusual, it's because the scenario is without precedent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

Natives want children's remains returned: Protesters claim as many as 50,000 died over a century


By Lora Grindlay

A Vancouver Catholic priest was confronted yesterday by natives demanding the repatriation of the remains of children they say are buried at former residential schools.

About 20 protesters, members of a group called Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared, rallied at Holy Rosary Cathedral and delivered a letter to Archbishop Raymond Roussin, asking that the cause of death and whereabouts of the children's remains be disclosed.

The group wants the remains returned to their families for proper burial and memorials erected.

Organizer and documentary filmmaker Kevin Annett estimates there are at least half a dozen burial sites at former B.C. residential schools run by the Catholic Church.

"We know that there's mass graves behind the school in Port Alberni, in Alert Bay, in Mission, right next to the grounds of the Mission Folk Fest," said Annett, a former United Church minister who is the author of a book and a film on the subject.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:41 AM

Local priest removed from ministry after sex abuse allegations


[Includes video]

A priest accused of sexually abusing a boy between 1989 and 1993 was removed from ministry after investigators determined the allegations had merit, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo announced Sunday.

The victim, who is now an adult, told church officials in November that the Rev. Stephen R. Horn abused him while he was pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church, DiNardo said.

A special panel from the Archdiocesan Review Board investigated the allegations and concluded there was sufficient evidence to suggest that the abuse had occurred, he said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:37 AM

Ireland 'left out' in atonement drive for sins of the Fathers


By John Cooney

The Vatican's call on Catholics to atone for the child clerical sex abuse scandals that have rocked its foundations in recent years has handed a poisoned chalice to the Irish bishops.

A week after what has been described by one commentator as Rome's "largest global prayer initiative ever seen", the Irish bishops have not yet received a letter instructing them what to do in order to make reparation to the thousands of young people raped by priests and nuns.

The purported aim of this Rome initiative is "to make amends before God for the evil that has been done and hail once more the dignity of the victims".

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:34 AM

Group says DA should rip Giuliani; Letter: Rudy 'hurtful' to molest victims



Monday, January 14th 2008, 4:00 AM

Unsatisfied with Rudy Giuliani's campaign-trail defense of a Long Island priest accused of molesting boys and suppressing complaints against other clergymen, protesters have turned to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota for help.

Members of SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - showed up at Spota's Hauppauge office on Thursday to hand him a letter that urges the prosecutor to blast the ex-mayor and Republican presidential hopeful for his "repeatedly hurtful, insensitive and misleading public comments and innuendos" about a Suffolk grand jury report on the sex abuse scandal within the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Specifically, SNAP members are bothered that Giuliani, in cities across the country, has steadfastly defended his life-long pal, Msgr. Alan Placa, who was accused in the 2003 grand jury report of sex abuse but was never tried because of the statute of limitations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 AM

January 13, 2008

Archdiocese ousts priest accused of sex abuse


[See also the Galveston-Houston archdiocese's January 2004 abuse report.]

By Betty A. Luman

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced on Sunday that a priest accused of sexually abusing a minor has been removed from ministry.

The allegation against the Rev. Stephen R. Horn, former pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church, was made in November. The abuse allegedly occurred between 1989 and 1993.

Horn served at Christ the King from 1981 to 1994. He has served as pastor of St. Luke The Evangelist since 1994.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 PM

Bishop Juan Arzube dies at 89


[See also the Arzube obituary in the Los Angeles Times.]

Retired Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Juan A. Arzube, among the country's first Hispanic bishops ordained in the post-Vatican II era, died Dec. 25 in Los Angeles. He was 89, and had lived at Nazareth House in West Los Angeles since 2002.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 31 at the Chapel of the Risen Christ at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City for Bishop Arzube, the second Hispanic bishop ordained in the U.S. (after Auxiliary Bishop Patrick Flores of San Antonio) when he was made a Los Angeles auxiliary in 1971. His involvement with various issues in the church and in the community prompted new outreach to Hispanics in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:38 AM

Judge: Open altar boy murder file


[See also the Lavigne documents that have already been released.]

By Stephanie Barry and Buffy Spencer

Springfield - A Superior Court judge has ordered Hampden County District Attorney William M. Bennett to release more investigative files in the 36-year-old unsolved murder of altar boy Danny Croteau, including a witness' allegations that she was pressured by the then bishop and district attorney about information concerning a priest who was a suspect.

Judge John A. Agostini rejected arguments that the investigation into the 1972 murder is ongoing and that unsealing the materials may discourage new witnesses from coming forward.

The judge issued three orders last week in the context of an ongoing dispute between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield and its insurance carriers. The carriers recently pushed to open investigative files in more than a dozen clergy abuse cases as a means to probe whether the diocese turned a blind eye to allegations of abuse.

The most notorious of these cases in Western Massachusetts focuses on now-defrocked priest Richard R. Lavigne, of Chicopee. He has been sued for abusing dozens of former parishioners, and was the prime suspect in the bludgeoning murder of Croteau, 13. Lavigne was never charged in the killing and has denied any involvement.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:16 AM

Church rejects group’s criticism of diocese audits


By Mark Guydish

The Diocese of Scranton can brag all it wants about training, background checks, and annual compliance with rules set by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to prevent child sex abuse, but it is “essentially a sham,” according to the head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,” or SNAP. It’s a charge a spokeswoman for the Conference of Catholic Bishops rejects.

The Jan. 3 edition of The Catholic Light, the diocesan newspaper, noted that an independent audit had shown that the diocese is in full compliance with the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” enacted by the Conference of bishops in 2002 after the priest sex scandal broke in Boston and spread rapidly. The diocese said that nearly 8,000 adults and more than 54,000 children have undergone training on how to spot and prevent child abuse, and that background checks have been done on all diocesan employees and volunteers.

But SNAP quickly issued a press release dubbing the audit – conducted nationwide on each diocese every year by The Gavin Group Inc. – as “a glorified self-survey” and said “it is neither independent nor a real audit.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:12 AM

Priest under investigation for possible “inappropriate behavior” at Saratoga camp


Saratoga Springs — A 65-year-old priest who acknowledged his “inappropriate behavior” after allegations of sexual abuse were reported to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn could be under investigation by State Police in Wilton for similar behavior that may have occurred at his summer camp in the town of Greenfield last year.

Monsignor George F. Zatarga was placed on administrative leave from his role as pastor of American Martyrs parish in the Bayside neighborhood of Queens, according to the diocese.

. . .

On Sunday, The Daily News reported that at least five men told the diocese that Zatarga molested them as teenagers, with the most recent allegations occurring in 2007, when Zatarga took an 18-year-old man to his home “outside upstate Saratoga Springs.”

. . .

The town of Greenfield assessor’s office confirmed on Tuesday that George F. Zatarga owns two adjacent properties along a rural stretch of Ormsby Road in Porter Corners, which includes a seasonal camp on the grounds. Tax bills for the properties, six miles north of Saratoga Springs, are forwarded to a Bayside (Queens) address belonging to Zatarga.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:06 AM

Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson in new book about sexual abuse


By Stephanie Innes

Catholic dioceses in 23 states, including Arizona, are discussed in the new book, Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church, which will be released at a news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 15 in Washington D.C.

The 675-page book chronicles the sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in the United States and abroad.
Dioceses in Arizona, as well as 22 other states will be discussed in the book. Those other states include California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

The book’s author is Leon J. Podles, Ph.D., who worked for 20 years as a federal investigator. He spent more than 10 years researching and writing the book.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:03 AM

Guest column: Diocese should release names of priests


[See also the guest column by Timothy G. Reilly.]

By Peter Isely

Last week, in conjunction with a lawsuit filed by two victims of child sexual assault by convicted pedophile priest John Patrick Feeney, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) petitioned the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, through its current Vatican-appointed administrator, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee, to release the names, settlement locations, and case dispositions of 51 clergy whom church officials determined sexually abused children.

If you go to the Web site of the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing, you can see how every other profession working with children — social workers, teachers, pediatricians — deals with complaints of misconduct. After a confidential professional investigation, if the charges are found to be true, disciplinary action is taken, such as suspending or revoking a license. Then, the findings are made public.

Concerned some physician or therapist may have sexually assaulted a child or a patient? Go the Web site and find out.

Where's the Web site for clergy?

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:58 AM

Church closings more than a numbers game


The process has begun — and it won’t be pretty.

Last weekend the first announcements were made about what are being called parish “mergers” in the Catholic Diocese of Allentown.

Of course, what will really happen is that certain Catholic churches will be closed and others will remain open, but “merger” sounds better. It’s all about the spin, you know, when dealing with bad news. I’m not faulting the diocese for using the word, considering what needs to be done, but for those people who are very attached to their particular parish, exchanging one six-letter word — closed — with another six-letter word — merged — isn’t going to ease the pain too much.

Before I go any further, let me be clear about one thing. This column is not going to beat up on Bishop Edward Cullen or the diocese. That is not the intention. I have not agreed with the decision-making from Allentown in many cases, especially recently with regard to Catholic schools in northern Schuylkill County, and the same goes for how policies have been implemented. And even if the bishop really doesn’t much like us, as some alleged comments attributed to him indicate, to turn everything into “The bishop hates us” is simplistic and unfair. So, if you are looking for an editorial brickbat here, look elsewhere to read something more to your liking.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:50 AM

Editorial: Honour Emma's parents


Emma Foster need not have died. If she had not been sexually abused by Catholic priest Kevin O'Donnell, she would most likely have been a happy, well-adjusted 26-year-old woman.

She might have been married or have had children. But Emma died alone and in despair during the week, clutching her childhood teddy bear.

Her story is sickening. She was a vulnerable child when first serially abused by the notorious child molester. It went on for five years.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:47 AM

January 12, 2008

Abuse survivors seek Law’s removal from Vatican congregations


By Carol Zimmermann

Washington -- Members of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests are calling for Cardinal Bernard F. Law’s retirement and subsequent removal from eight Vatican congregations before the pope’s visit to the United States in April.

Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, along with three other SNAP members, personally delivered a letter to the Vatican Embassy in Washington Jan. 9 stating their desire that Law, former archbishop of Boston, officially retire. The letter was addressed to Pope Benedict XVI in care of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Law, archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome since 2004, will turn 77 in November. A former bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo., he was archbishop of Boston from 1984 until he resigned in December 2002 in the wake of controversy over his handling of cases of sexual abuse committed by Boston priests.

Editor’s Note: In its next issue, which goes to press next week, NCR takes an indepth look at Cardinal Law in Rome: what his activities are, how he’s been received, how much influence he holds, and, to the extent possible, what sense Law makes of his circumstances. The story will be available online Jan. 15

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:31 PM

Campaign launched against pedophiles


[See also Spectre of evil haunted her to the end about Emma Foster.]

By Kim Wilson

Emma Foster's legacy hopefully would be to help parents become more aware of the perils of pedophiles, her mother, Christine, said yesterday.

After years of battling to help her daughter after she was sexually abused by a pedophile priest, Mrs Foster has devised a powerful campaign to grab parents' attention.

"We want to make parents aware of what happens with sexual abuse and that there are symptoms," she said of the campaign that plays on the phrase "ignorance is bliss".

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:23 PM

Minn. man wins permission to sue Archdiocese for abuse damages


A Minnesota man who claimed he was abused by a Roman Catholic priest 25 years ago can seek punitive damages from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona.

In a 2006 lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court, the victim, who is not named, alleges he was sexually abused by Thomas Adamson, of Altoona, Wis. It also accused the church of negligence and fraud for not stopping a pedophile priest.

The ruling by Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin on Thursday is the second time one of Adamson's victims has been allowed to sue for punitive damages, said St. Paul lawyer Jeffrey Anderson, who is representing the plaintiff.

The other case was in 1989.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:41 AM

Spectre of evil haunted her to the end


By Kim Wilson

A family's brave battle to save a child sexually abused by a priest ended tragically last week with the death of the Melbourne woman.

Emma Foster, 26, died alone on her bedroom floor clutching her teddy bear, a treasured first birthday present from her parents.

It was a tragic end to a life shattered by abuse by the the family's parish priest.

For 13 years, Emma's parents, Anthony and Christine, battled to keep their eldest daughter alive as she rode a roller-coaster of drugs and self-destructive behaviour.

. . .

Emma and younger sister Katie were victims of Father Kevin O'Donnell as students at Sacred Heart Primary School, Oakleigh, from 1988 to 1993.

O'Donnell served 15 months' jail after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting 11 boys and one girl, aged eight to 14, between 1946 and 1977. He died after his release in 1997.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:35 AM

Former priest's plea deal allows him to avoid more prison time


[Includes video]

By Elizabeth Donatelli

A former priest accused of molesting two young boys in Bullitt County was sentenced Friday. Even though the victims told the judge they agree with the decision, some in the courtroom feel he should serve more time. WAVE 3's Elizabeth Donatelli was there.

Former Catholic Priest Daniel Clark admitted there is enough evidence for a jury to find him guilty by entering an Alford plea, but he won't serve another day in prison.

Clark was found guilty of sexually abusing two boys under the age of 12 between 1999 and May of 2002. The defense appealed. His conviction was overturned by the Kentucky Supreme Court in June of 2007 because of improper testimony regarding a prior conviction of a sex offense.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:27 AM

Supreme Court denies former priest Janssen’s motion


By Ann McGlynn

A request for the Iowa Supreme Court to review a contempt of court order that sent a defrocked priest to jail has been denied.

James Janssen, 86, reported to the Scott County Jail on Wednesday to begin serving a 180-day sentence. His attorney had asked the Iowa Supreme Court to review the matter in December after Chief Judge Bobbi Alpers found Janssen in contempt for not producing $80,000 in missing savings bonds. The bonds were to be put toward a $1.4 million civil judgment against Janssen for sexually abusing his nephew, James Wells.

While Alpers ordered Janssen to jail, District Judge Mary Howes, in a separate lawsuit filed by Wells against Dorothy Janssen, found that she helped James Janssen hide his assets when he faced several civil lawsuits alleging sex abuse. Dorothy Janssen is James Janssen’s sister.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:24 AM

Judge says alleged priest-abuse victim can seek punitive damage


St. Paul -- Ramsey District Judge Kathleen Gearin has ruled that a man who says he was molested in the 1980s by former Catholic priest Thomas Adamson can seek punitive damages in his lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona.

The lawsuit accuses the archdiocese and diocese of negligence and fraud for not stopping one of the most notorious pedophile priests in Minnesota history. Adamson has been accused of sexually abusing as many as 28 children during his 25 years in the priesthood.

Adamson is a former priest at St. Francis Catholic Church in Rochester. He had admitted sexual misconduct with boys in the Winona diocese beginning in 1961 and in the Twin Cities archdiocese after his transfer in 1975.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:17 AM

Man seeking punitive damages against former Diocese of Winona priest accused of sexual abuse


By Kevin Behr

A man accusing a former Diocese of Winona priest of sexually abusing him in the early 1980s will be allowed to seek punitive damages in a civil lawsuit, a Ramsey County District Court judge ordered this week.

The suit was brought in 2006 by a man labeled “John Doe 76C,” who alleges Thomas Adamson sexually abused him between 1980 and 1982 at an Apple Valley, Minn., church. The victim was an altar boy at the time. The suit also accuses the Diocese of Winona and the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis of negligence and fraud for not stopping a pedophile priest.

The ruling by Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin on Thursday is the second time one of Adamson’s victims has been allowed to sue for punitive damages, said St. Paul lawyer Jeffrey Anderson, who is representing the plaintiff. Anderson successfully brought one victim’s case to trial and won a $2.7 million verdict against the Diocese of Winona. The diocese paid a significantly lesser amount after an appeal.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:13 AM

Gilyard, once darling of SBC elites, again forced to resign over sex


By Greg Warner

Once touted by Southern Baptist leaders as the nation's next great African-American preacher, Darrell Gilyard has resigned from his fifth church over charges of sexual misconduct -- this time with underage girls.

Dogged for 20 years by dozens of allegations of extramarital sex with parishioners, Gilyard, 45, resigned Jan. 4 after 15 years as pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, a 7,000-member megachurch in Jacksonville, Fla. Police are investigating a Nov. 29 complaint filed by a member of the church claiming Gilyard sent sexually explicit text messages to her middle-school daughter.

A native of Palatka, Fla., Gilyard rose to sudden fame in the Southern Baptist Convention in the late 1980s under the mentorship of former SBC presidents Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson. The attention catapulted him to several pastorates as well as appearances on Jerry Falwell's nationally broadcast TV program.

His story of growing up a homeless orphan living under a bridge in Jacksonville, which Falwell promoted with a video biography, was later discredited.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:09 AM

Auntie's Awakening: Now Anne Beiler Serves Life Lessons to Others in Pennsylvania's Amish Country


By Tamara Jones

Gap, Pa. - Her name is as familiar and cozy as the hot pretzels and cold lemonade she used to sell. Auntie Anne. So easy to imagine her in an apron, arms open for a hug, rosy cheeks powdery with flour. From Buffalo to Bangkok, Anne Beiler built her fortune, kiosk by kiosk, food court by food court, on a deceptively simple recipe.

. . .

In the early days of Auntie Anne's, the Beilers moved along with some of Anne's siblings to rural East Texas to help their pastor build a church there. The televangelist 1980s were heady, scandalous years in charismatic Christian circles, and seven years into the Texas adventure, allegations of corruption and sexual misconduct tore their new church apart. The Beilers returned to Lancaster County.

One day, Anne nervously approached Jonas. "Honey, you heard about the pastor and the women and the money," she remembers stammering. "Well, I was one of those women."

The very first time she had gone to the pastor's office for help, six months after Angela's death, she recounted, "he seduced me. I was a grieving 26-year-old mother who had just lost her child, with no reason to believe I couldn't trust a pastor, and I felt like I had lost my husband, too, because we couldn't connect anymore. That first day as I left his office, he told me, 'Jonas cannot meet your needs, but I know I can.' "

. . .

Even now, she finds it hard to describe the six-year hold the pastor had on her, sometimes referring to it as her abuse, another time as rape, never as an affair or relationship. Anne knew that two of her sisters were under the same terrible spell at the same time. "Jonas and I call him 'The Beast,' " she says. "I would threaten to tell, but he would always say no one's going to believe you, that I couldn't live without him, that I needed him. I was clean for six months before I was able to tell Jonas."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 11:00 AM

Mitt and his faith: Remembering when candidate Romney was Bishop Romney


By Peggy Fletcher Stack

Belmont, Mass. - As a wildly successful American executive, wealthy capitalist and Harvard man, Mitt Romney might have lived out his life among the country-club set and never really encountered an ordinary citizen.

Mormonism made that impossible.

During more than a dozen of his key years at Bain Capital in the 1980s and early 1990s, Romney was also an LDS bishop (equivalent to a pastor) and stake president (presiding over several congregations in the same area) in Belmont. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no paid clergy; Mormon men take turns overseeing wards (congregations) and stakes while continuing their professional work.

. . .

The problem of women

Not everyone shared that positive view of Romney. Though somewhat progressive in his approach, Romney was still a product of LDS male culture of the time. He didn't initially believe, for example, that there were any cases of physical or sexual abuse of women in the stake, though plenty of evidence pointed to it.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:55 AM

St. Andrew’s sold to local church: Bethel AME won’t make changes


Forest Hills—The former St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church complex has been sold to the local Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church as its new headquarters.

. . .

St. Andrew’s was once home to infamous child-molesting priest John Geoghan, whose crimes there later sparked the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal. Maryetta Dussourd, a mother and aunt of several Geoghan victims, has led a controversial effort to have St. Andrew’s landmarked and some type of memorial to sexual abuse survivors established there. Dussourd could not be reached for comment.

Hammond said he is open to discussing a memorial, emphasizing that Bethel AME doesn’t want to “whitewash or pretend things didn’t happen.” But, he added, the church also wants to celebrate the site’s good memories, especially with St. Andrew’s 90th anniversary and Bethel AME’s 20th anniversary approaching.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:47 AM

Ex-officer expects to be arrested


Duncan -- A former Ontario police officer, whose investigation to expose an alleged high-ranking pedophile ring saw him ostracized from the force, said he expects to be arrested next week for refusing to testify in a government inquiry.

Perry Dunlop had already been found in contempt for refusing to answer questions last fall. Inquiry lawyers say Dunlop could be fined or imprisoned.

But Dunlop said he has no intention of travelling to Cornwall, Ont., because he has "no faith" in a judicial process that has taken 15 years and cost him his job, home and life in Cornwall.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:42 AM

Obituary: Juan Arzube, 89; bishop was lauded as an activist but tainted by accusation


[See the LA Times database entry on St. Alphonsus parish, showing the assignment there of Arzube, Castro, Pina, and Hernandez. See also an obituary of Arzube in The Tidings.]

By Mary Rourke

Juan Arzube, a Catholic bishop who was known as an advocate of Mexican American Catholics in Los Angeles and a social activist on their behalf, has died. He was 89.

. . .

A clergyman for 53 years, Arzube fell under suspicion in 2003 when he was accused of molesting an 11-year-old boy years earlier. He denied the charges, but his case was part of the record-breaking settlement the archdiocese reached with hundreds of plaintiffs last summer.

. . .

Arzube's years at St. Alphonsus were troubled in other ways as well. He was pastor there from 1971 to 1981; during that time, two other priests stationed at the parish with him were also accused of sexually molesting minors.

"Assignment histories show that several molester priests were closely associated with Arzube," said De Marco, who took Arzube's deposition in 2006 while investigating his client's case.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:38 AM

Priest gets 5 years probation: Registration as sex offender required


[Includes video of the Clark sentencing with brief interviews of Rev. Gary Hayes and Vince Grenough. Also includes a gallery of photos.]

By Peter Smith

A judge "reluctantly" ordered former Roman Catholic priest Daniel C. Clark to serve probation yesterday for the rest of a 10-year sentence on sexual-abuse charges after approving a plea agreement reached with prosecutors in November.

The agreement, which will also require Clark to register as a sex offender in Kentucky, followed his plea on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse involving two Bullitt County boys.

Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress' approval of the sentence wraps up a legal case that was reopened in May when the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned Clark's original conviction in 2003.

Clark, 59, entered an Alford plea in the case in November. Under an Alford plea, the defendant doesn't admit committing the crime but acknowledges there is sufficient evidence for a conviction.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:24 AM

SNAP Releases Letter from Bishop to Abusive Priest


By Sarah Thomsen

[Includes video; see also a copy of the Wycislo letter to Feeney]

An organization for victims of sexual abuse by clergy is releasing documents to the public which it says prove the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay covered up the repeated sexual abuse by Father John Patrick Feeney.

A lawsuit filed by two brothers abused by Feeney in the 1970s alleges the diocese moved Feeney from parish to parish, knowing he molested numerous children. Feeney was convicted of the abuse in 2004 and sent to prison, and was defrocked by the Church in 2005.

Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests says the documents it released Friday prove the diocese did exactly what SNAP claims -- covering up for a former priest. Perhaps the most telling evidence is found in a letter to Feeney from then-Bishop Aloysius Wycislo dated October 3, 1983.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:53 AM

Letter from Bishop Aloysius J. Wycislo to Rev. John P. Feeney


Dear Father Feeney:

Writing this letter in the twilight of my resignation as the Bishop of the Green Bay Diocese saddens me very much. I could have hoped to leave the problem to my successor, but that would not be fair. As I go through the total file of the hearings, your meetings with the Personnel Board and your response, the conclusion seems to be that in your best interest another diocese, another atmosphere, new people and new faces might be the answer to your problem.

It is a pity that serving the Diocese of Green Bay for thirty years ends in this way, but, really, haven't we all tried? Again and again there were so many assignments. In my case, I am capable of forgetting about all this and writing a good letter of recommendation for you to a new Bishop, and I hope and pray you will find one.

Summarizing, therefore, the recommendations of the Personnel Board to me I would concur with that Board that I support your request to be released from assignment in the Green Bay Diocese for work in another diocese. To this end, you have my permission to seek a meeting with another Bishop, and as I said above, I will be happy to be in contact with such a Bishop.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:30 AM

January 11, 2008

Accused priest shielded no more: Alleged victim can seek damages


By Julian Emerson

Catholic church leaders in Minnesota and Wisconsin have sought for years to protect one of the nation's most notorious pedophile priests from public scrutiny, but on Thursday a decision by a Minnesota judge returned the spotlight to Altoona resident Thomas Adamson.

Ramsey County Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled that a Minnesota man who filed a lawsuit against Adamson in 2006 claiming the priest sexually abused him 25 years ago can seek punitive damages against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and the Winona, Minn., diocese. As in most cases involving allegations of sexual abuse, the plaintiff's name is not made public.

The case marks just the second time one of Adamson's victims has been allowed to sue for punitive damages, said St. Paul lawyer Jeffrey Anderson, who is representing the plaintiff and has prosecuted numerous abuse cases against Adamson since 1984. The other case in which seeking punitive damages was allowed occurred in 1989.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:23 AM

Judge gives man go-ahead in suit against dioceses


By Pat Pheifer

Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin has ruled that a man who says he was molested in the 1980s by former Catholic priest Thomas Adamson can seek punitive damages in his lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona.

The suit accuses the archdiocese and diocese of negligence and fraud for not stopping one of the most notorious pedophile priests in Minnesota history. Adamson has been accused of sexually abusing as many as 28 children during his 25 years in the priesthood.

The plaintiff, a Twin Cities man identified in court documents only as John Doe 76C, alleges that he was sexually abused from 1980 to 1982 while Adamson was serving at Risen Savior parish in Apple Valley.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:13 AM

Priest's victims wait for payment


St. John's, Newfoundland -- The lawyer for a group of men who were sexually abused by a priest are unlikely to get their full compensation from the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. George's, in western Newfoundland, their lawyer says.

Greg Stack says the diocese has paid only half of the $14-million settlement owed to the 40 men, who were abused as children by former priest Kevin Bennett. Bennett was convicted in 1990 of hundreds of sexual assaults against altar boys dating to 1961 and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Stack struck a deal on compensation with the diocese, which would prevent it from declaring bankruptcy, but would see regular payments made to the victims from the sale of its assets.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:07 AM

Victory for equity: Senate leader calls us to the mountain top


By Clint Talbott

Most of us spend little or no time watching the proceedings at the state Capitol. That is, of course, as it should be. We elect people to represent our interests and then hope for the best.

Casual observers of state politics see partisan bickering and petty egotism. But the Colorado Legislature also has its share of good deeds and fine people.

Peter Groff is one of the good ones, so it is particularly gratifying to watch his ascent. On Wednesday, he because the first African American to serve as president of the Colorado Senate.

. . .

Groff, 44, succeeds Joan Fitz-Gerald, who stepped down to run for Mark Udall's seat in Congress. As it happens, Fitz-Gerald was the first woman to serve as Senate President. Let us hope that critics are kinder to Groff than they were to Fitz-Gerald. Some Denver pundits showed a deep and visceral loathing of her.

That animosity may have had its roots in the fact that she took courageous stands for victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, thereby offending the most zealous and unreasonable factions of the Catholic Church. Additionally, the enmity she faced may have been rooted in sexism -- an ancient prejudice that people tend to view as practically gone. It isn't.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:03 AM

Pastoral challenges for the New Year


By Fr. Richard McBrien

Pope Benedict XVI's recent encyclical on the virtue of hope serves as a reminder that many people begin each new year with the generic "hope" that it will somehow be better than the old one. They even make resolutions to insure that it will --- all the way from losing weight to being more courteous to their co-workers.

. . .

It is in the context of such pastoral developments as these in the Archdiocese of Hartford that one should pay close attention to a recent article in Commonweal magazine by a priest-sociologist in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Paul Stanosz. The article is entitled, "The Other Health Crisis: Why Priests Are Coping Poorly" (Nov. 23, 2007).

His archdiocese has announced the closing of its 151-year-old seminary and the proposed sale of its 44 acres of prime real estate to pay clergy sexual-abuse claims, with the possibility of bankruptcy on the horizon if Wisconsin's statute of limitations on abuse cases is lifted.

"Among priests, meanwhile, there is much talk of high stress, poor health, and low morale," Father Stanosz writes. "More and more are battling burnout and depression as well as suffering heart attacks and dying prematurely. Two have committed suicide in recent years."

Add to all this "the polarization that exists between recently ordained and long-time priests --- what some call JPII priests and Vatican II priests, respectively."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:55 AM

San Fernando Region News


. . .

On Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m., San Fernando Region Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson will speak on "Current Issues in the Archdiocese." The bishop will address past clergy sexual abuse, current Safeguard the Children policies, archdiocesan finances and the priest shortage.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:53 AM

Ask Dr. Helen: Should Men Be Kicked Out of the Church Nursery?


By Helen Smith

Should men be kicked out of the church nursery for the crime of being male? Reader Sarah thinks this is unfair—so do I:

Dear Dr. Helen,

My question is in relation to an incident that happened recently at our church. A friend of mine was assigned to teach our son’s nursery class (like Sunday School, but for tiny ones ages 18 months to 3 years). There are about a dozen children in this class, so there were supposed to be two teachers, but they hadn’t assigned anyone yet, so my friend’s husband volunteered to help his wife out. A parent of one of the children complained to the bishop that a man was teaching the nursery class, so my friend’s husband was asked not to help out with the class anymore.

I understand that there’s been a problem in my church in recent years (not in my congregation, but in other congregations) with some high-profile cases where a male teacher, teaching alone, sexually abused a child in the Sunday School class, so I thought it was a good idea when they instituted the two-teacher rule (every class is to have two teachers, which for practical reasons is a good idea). But I think this is going too far. Women can’t kick all the men out of positions of caring for children, and then turn around and complain that men don’t help out with the kids or that there’s a shortage of teachers. I would like to go to the bishop and complain about this, but I need some facts first. I am familiar with conditional probabilities and would like to crunch a few numbers for him.

. . .

Dear Sarah,

Your bishop may not be as safe as he thinks if he uses only female teachers. Although PC books and statistics would like us to believe that women do not commit sexual offenses against children, this is not the case. For example, here is some interesting information on female sex offenders from the Canadian Children’s Rights Council.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:39 AM

Fmr. teacher faces 295 sex crime counts


[Includes video]

Dover, Del. - A former teacher in Delaware is under arrest for 295 charges linked to the sexual abuse of a student over 2 years.

Police in Dover say Jason W. Stalnaker, a former teacher at the Capitol Baptist School located on Kesselring Avenue, assaulted the 15-year-old student.

The attacks allegedly happened during a 15-month period during 2002 and 2003 when the victim was a student in his class.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:35 AM

Butler Co. Pastor Sentenced for Alleged Sex Abuse


[Includes video]

By Neil Relyea

There were shocking words used in court Thursday to describe a Butler County pastor: "He preyed upon her like a wolf to a lamb."

That preacher was sentenced Thursday for the attempted sexual battery of and sexual imposition upon a 17-year-old girl.

The case has deeply divided one congregation.

Through the years, 9News was told Pastor Bruce Curtis did plenty of good for his community.

But much of it was undone last year when the 54-year-old was counseling a teenager and allegedly used scripture to try to coerce the girl to touch him sexually.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:25 AM

Group claims N. Texas pastor overlooked abuse


[Includes video and links to SNAP letter and Patterson's press release in response]

By Jim Douglas

The organization that took on the Catholic Church over sex abuse has accused a prominent North Texas Baptist leader of letting a predatory preacher move from church to church.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said they want Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to suspend its president, Dr. Paige Patterson.

Pastor Darrell Gilyard is the center of the controversy. In early January, he resigned from a large Baptist church in Jacksonville, Florida after he allegedly sent lewd text messages to a teenaged girl.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:15 AM

Group wants seminary leader suspended


By Terry Goodrich

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has asked Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees to suspend seminary President Paige Patterson, alleging that Patterson "turned a blind eye to clergy sex abuse" by a former Richardson pastor.

Patterson responded that the network (SNAP) has made "snap judgments" that are "misinformed and inaccurate."

The request sent by e-mail Tuesday claims that "multiple students" at The Criswell College in Dallas told Patterson in 1991 that they had been abused by the Rev. Darrell Gilyard, then the preacher at Victory Baptist Church in Richardson.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:11 AM

Southwestern president responds to victims’ rights group criticism


By Tammi Reed Ledbetter

An activist organization that describes itself as a “group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures” has once again made headlines by attempting to tie allegations of abuse by a non-Southern Baptist pastor to what they describe as a Southern Baptist entity leader’s “blind-eyed response to clergy sex abuse” 16 years ago.

The widely distributed news release, which accuses Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson of negligence in the early 1990s in dealing with the pastor in question, found a quick venue for further distribution by the alternative media outlet EthicsDaily.com, a forum founded by moderate Baptists who routinely offer objections to the conservative leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Meanwhile, Patterson released a statement Jan. 9 disputing the SNAP news release and noting that the pastor, Darrell Gilyard, was expelled from Criswell College when Patterson was president once his guilt was substantiated. Patterson said he even moderated the meeting during which Gilyard resigned the church he pastored as a Criswell student.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:06 AM

Man testifies Fresno pastor abused him: Preacher is on trial in sex crimes against two girls


By Chris Collins

James, a 23-year-old Seattle man, says that the most terrifying moment in his life occurred while he was resting on a couch in pastor Charles Dickerson's home one night in July 2000.

The man, who identified himself only as "James R.," testified in Fresno County Superior Court on Thursday that he was 16 when Dickerson -- then a pastor at a church in an eastern Washington state town -- molested him as he was about to go to sleep on a couch. He said Dickerson moved his hand up James' leg and then orally copulated him.

James said he tried to pretend to be asleep.

"I was scared, very scared," he told the jury. "It was a very, very uncomfortable and fearful moment for me. Probably the most fearful point in my life. I figured I would just stay still and maybe he would just leave me alone."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:01 AM

First Day of Charles Dickerson's Trial: Pastor Charles Dickerson Is Facing Seven Counts of Sexual Abuse


[Includes video]

Eight women and four men are sitting on the jury.

Dickerson still holds his position as Senior Pastor at Pearly Grove Baptist Church in Southwest Fresno.

The prosecutor said during opening statements the molestation happened over several years because the children were afraid to report it.

The defense points out the accusers have recanted their statements saying the abuse never happened.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:52 AM

Churches urged to ‘be on the record’ about their role in residential schools


By Marites N. Sison

It is important for churches to “be on the record” about the role that they played in the residential schools and what they have done to facilitate healing and reconciliation with aboriginal people who were affected by that legacy, said an official of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Bob Watts, interim executive director of the commission, said that while the commission is intended to be “victim-centered,” it was also important to hear how the churches, including the Anglican Church of Canada, have been affected and changed by the sad legacy of residential schools.

“Canadians need to hear from those who have witnessed the stories (of former students) about what (their) experiences have been … about what individuals and institutions are prepared to do to move forward,” he said. He cautioned, however, that reconciliation and healing does not happen overnight and would depend heavily “on the goodwill of peoples and institutions.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:45 AM

Press release: Diocese on track with compensation for victims of sexual abuse


The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation (RCEC) of St. George's continues to be in full compliance with the terms of the court-approved proposal to compensate victims of sexual abuse.

The proposal, the terms of which were negotiated with the full and willing participation of legal counsel for the victims, was accepted by the victims and approved by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador in July 2005.

Since that time the Corporation's representatives have engaged in full disclosure in their meetings with the Trustee Advisory Committee, established as a requirement under the court-approved proposal. At its most recent meeting held yesterday, January 9, Mr. Greg Stack, counsel for 36 of the 40 victims, was present as a member of the committee.

Under the terms of the proposal the Corporation was to liquidate all of the Corporation's assets for the benefit of the victims in a fully transparent process. The Corporation has thus far been successful in its compensation strategy; $7.8 million of the $14 million settlement has been paid to the victims to date.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:35 AM

Molester allowed to become Orthodox reader


The Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska has allowed a former theological student convicted of molesting minors to become a lay reader.

Terenty Dushkin is a registered sex offender. He was a student at a seminary in Kodiak when he was arrested at the age of 22 and spent more than a year in prison.

Church officials say they were aware of Dushkin's past when they invested him last month, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Although he is not a priest, he wears robes during services and the office could be a step toward the priesthood.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:31 AM

Ex-vicar accused of sexually abusing three boys


A retired vicar, who administered for the Church of England in Northamptonshire, faces a trial in the summer accused of sexually abusing three youths more than 20 years ago.

The Rev Colin Pritchard, aged 63, who was a curate in Duston until 1980 and in charge of St Andrew's Church, Wellingborough, until 1989, appeared at Northampton Crown Court.

Originally charged with a single offence of conspiracy to commit indecent assaults, he now faces nine substantive allegations against three boys, who cannot be named by law.

The unmarried former vicar, now of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy to commit indecent assaults with Roy Cotton, who has since died, four indecent assaults on a young boy, three indecencies with a child and an attempted serious sexual assault between December 1979 and November 1983.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:26 AM

Pastor who gave naked healing baths guilty of sexually assaulting woman


By Peter Small

* Man, 59, who charged $150 for black magic baths fathered child with young woman he had treated

A pastor has been convicted of sexually assaulting a parishioner to whom he gave healing baths and naked rubdowns to rid her of evil spirits.

At the same time, a jury of nine men and three women acquitted Rev. Frank Seeko Lawrence of separate counts of assaulting and threatening to kill the woman, now 29, by whom he fathered a child.

They also found him not guilty of sexually assaulting a second woman, now 45, who also had his baby.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:23 AM

January 10, 2008

Case of Rabbi Baruch Lanner

The Awareness Center

Rabbi Baruch Lanner was released from prison today. He will be living in an apartment in Elizabeth, NJ. It is not known at this time which synagogue he will be attending or where he will be spending this shabbos.

As part of Baruch Lanner's parole agreement, Baruch is court ordered to continue in therapy for sex offenders treatment. Lanner will also be mandated to a life time of parole. The Awareness Center is still waiting to hear what the rest of Baruch Lanner's parole agreement includes.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in other cases -- our religious leaders have a habit of advocated for the rights of sex offenders, verses advocating for those who have been sexually victimized by sexual criminal acts. As a people it's vially important that each of us demand that the needs of the survivors come first. It will require everyone's help to insure that are community leaders do not repeat this pattern with Rabbi Baruch Lanner, as they have done in the past.

As of today there is no proven treatment that will "cure" a sex offender, especially one with the past history as that as seen in the case of Rabbi Lanner. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to keep our children safe, and help monitor convicted sex offenders like Rabbi Baruch Lanner from being physically abusive and or molesting another child.

Baruch Lanner is going to have a road ahead of him. We all need to insure he has a way to earn a living. He's right to be out in public also needs to be protected. The problem is trying to not violate his rights at the same time as protecting innocent children from becoming one of his next victims.

Like many other convicted sex offenders, Baruch Lanner will most likely spend the rest of his life always be inches away from committing another sex crime. It's sort of like an alcholoic trying to stay away from his or her next drink. As a people we need to help Baruch Lanner keep away from our children, to insure he stays in remission. We all can help do by asking to both community and religious leaders of Elizabeth, NJ the following:

• What safety measures have Jewish community leaders established in Elizabeth to help insure Baurch Lanner has no contact with children under the age of 18? (this includes inside of synagogues and other public institutions.)

• Have you send out flyers to community members with Baruch Lanner's picture on it. The flyers should include warning the community of Baruch Lanner's past history of being physically abusive towards boys and sexually abusing teenage girls? The goal is to keep Rabbi Lanner away from minors. ...

Allegations surrounded Rabbi Baruch Lanner for years. The allegations include kissing and fondling scores of teenage girls in the 1970s and '80s, repeatedly kicking boys in the groin, and reports of taking a knife to a young man in 1987, and propositioning girls in 1997 at the yeshiva high school where he was principal for 15 years.

Rabbi Raphael Butler, who was the executive vice president of the Orthodox Union who supervised Baruch Lanner for 19 years, was accused by many of covering up for Lanner. When questioned about the allegations Butler responded to the New York Jewish Week as saying: "he has never heard any specific allegations against Rabbi Lanner, though he has heard the rumors for many years. "It's like chasing shadows," he said with frustration.". . . "our method of dealing with the rumors has been to have a bet din, as an independent entity, evaluate the charges, and we abide by all its decisions."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:54 PM

Dunlop may be hit with 'severe penalty'


By Elisabeth Johns

Former city cop Perry Dunlop could face "severe penalities" if he fails to testify at the Cornwall Public Inquiry, said Lead Commission Counsel Peter Engelmann.

Dunlop has told the Canadian Press he has no intention of attending the inquiry again to testify.

He was convicted of contempt of court by the Ontario Divisional Court in late 2007 after refusing to testify at the inquiry when he showed up twice, once in September and again after Thanksgiving.

The officer credited with bringing to light allegations of child sexual abuse involving a young boy and a priest was subpoenaed prior to his first appearance at the Cornwall Public Inquiry in September. Dunlop is scheduled to testify at the inquiry on Monday.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:36 AM

Woman Speaks to KNDO about Alleged Clergy Sex Abuse


[Includes videos]

It's been more than 47-years since Fran Cuhtahlatah says she was sexually abused by a catholic priest in her Toppenish parish. Wednesday she sat down with KNDO's Kylie Meyer to talk about the abuse.

Cuhtahlatah says she can remember two specific times where Father Michael Simpson sexually abused when she was just ten years old. She says one time even happened in her house.

"He cornered me in the kitchen at my house. I'm the oldest of seven children, and my brothers and sisters were all in the living room. He pushed me into the corner and grabbed me and rubbed his hands all over my body. When one of my siblings asked a question of him from the living room, he ran out of the house," Cuhtahlatah says.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:21 AM

Yakima diocese pays $200,000 to settle abuse lawsuits by women


Yakima, Wash. -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Yakima has paid $200,000 to settle lawsuits by four women who said they were sexually abused by a priest as children in the 1960s.

In addition, Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla apologized to the women in personal letters, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

"I can assure you that I am personally committed to the safety and well-being of all the people of the Diocese of Yakima entrusted to my pastoral care, particularly children and youth," Sevilla wrote.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:16 AM

The Powerful Medicine of Michael Haney


By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)

I want to start my first column of 2008 the way I ended in 2007; I want to start the year by talking about mascots and how offensive they can be to 90 percent of the indigenous population of America.

I have been writing a weekly column since 1978. Every week for 30 years I have sat down at a typewriter, and now a computer, to put my opinions, opinions garnered from the many conversations I have had with Native Americans over all of these years, on pages that I hope reflect those views, views that are often alien to those of the majority of Americans.

Thirty years ago, when I wrote about the abuse of Indian children in the mission boarding schools, the majority of white Americans did not want to hear about it. That was long before the abuse of white children by Catholic priests started to make the headlines. And even after those horrific happenings were made public, white America still didn’t want to hear about the very same crimes of sexual, psychological and cultural abuse of Indian children. No one, except the Indian people themselves, gave a damn. Instead I was castigated by the Catholic Church, lied about by the priests at the very Indian mission school I attended for nearly 11 years, and my weekly column was dropped from a local daily newspaper by the editor who accused me of “Catholic bashing.”

It is no comfort to me, now that everything I wrote about turned out to be the truth I knew it to be, to say I told you so because the wounds of those many years of abuse have not healed and the Indian children, now adults, that suffered this abuse have not been compensated for the horrors they suffered at the hands of the Catholic priests, brothers and sisters.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:10 AM

11 Sue St. Francis Over Molestations: Number Alleging They Were Abused By Physician Now Stands At 59


[St. Francis Hospital is a healthcare ministry of the Archdiocese of Hartford.]

By Daniel P. Jones

Eleven new plaintiffs have filed suits charging St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center with negligence for failing to prevent a prominent staff physician, the late Dr. George Reardon, from molesting them when they were children.

. . .

New Haven lawyer Joel Faxon on Wednesday filed a complaint on behalf of five new plaintiffs — bringing the total to 59.

By comparison, there were 43 accusers — some of whom did not file lawsuits — in the Hartford Archdiocese Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal that was settled in 2005 for $22 million.

. . .

For photos, video and more stories on the Reardon case, visit www.courant.com/reardon.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:01 AM

The Questions That Each Presidential Candidate Should Be Asked Regarding His or Her Views on the Constitutional Line Between Church and State


By Marci Hamilton

The Constitution proscribes any "religious test oath" for officeholders. In other words, no candidate for political office may constitutionally be required to swear to support any particular religion. Rather, anyone holding any belief, or holding no religious belief at all, has the right to run for political office.

. . .

The Republicans

Rudy Giuliani

. . .

There is a far larger question before you now: As you well know, the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy is embroiled in a debacle involving numerous instances of childhood sexual abuse by clergy and other employees. As I have written in a past column, you have kept in your employ, despite much public criticism, Alan Placa, a former priest credibly accused of engaging in the sexual abuse of children. You have even gone so far, according to some reports, to question whether Placa, in fact, might not have done what prosecutors have strong evidence he did.

Just how far are you willing to go to protect your church from the operation of the law, especially when criminal activity is involved? Based on your past performance, your personal loyalty to your church appears to have trumped your obligations to the Constitution and the law.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:21 AM

SNAP Wants More Information on Accused Priests


[Includes video]

An advocacy group for those sexually abused by members of the clergy is asking the Brown County district attorney to confirm that he is acting to protect children from abusive priests.

Peter Isely is midwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He delivered his letter to District Attorney John Zakowski, saying he wants the D.A. to tell how many names the Green Bay Roman Catholic Diocese has given him of priests accused of sexual misconduct.

He says he'll make similar requests of the D.A.'s of other counties in the diocese.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:18 AM

A Mother's Reason for Joining SNAP


[Includes videos]

By Emily Matesic

A national support organization for victims of sexual abuse by clergy says it isn't trying to harm the Green Bay Catholic diocese.

Instead, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) says it's just trying to get the diocese to come clean.

In the last week, SNAP officials have accused the diocese of covering up what it claims are dozens of cases of sexual abuse. The diocese refutes those claims, and says in the past several years it turned over information to law enforcement about any substantiated allegations of sexual abuse.

It's been 20 years since Judith Schauer's son David was molested by former Green Bay priest Donald Buzanowski. In 2005, Buzanowski was convicted and sentenced to 32 years in prison for his crimes.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:11 AM

SNAP to Meet with D.A., Plans Next Step


[Includes videos]

By Emily Matesic

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski has agreed to meet with them.

The group requested the meeting Tuesday.

SNAP says it not only wants to verify the Green Bay Catholic Diocese turned over the names of clergy it investigated for substantiated allegations of sexual abuse but also wants the D.A. to release the names and whereabouts of those clergy members.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:07 AM

Former priest reports to jail just before deadline


[Includes mug shot]

By Ann McGlynn

As a priest, James Janssen was known for wearing white instead of the customary black.

On Wednesday, the defrocked priest traded his white coat, white stocking cap, white shoes and light blue jeans for the orange jumpsuits of the Scott County Jail.

Janssen, 86, turned himself in at the jail to serve a 180-day sentence for contempt of court.

He was ordered Tuesday to go to jail after he failed to produce $80,000 in missing savings bonds to be put toward a $1.4 million civil judgment against him for sexually abusing his nephew, James Wells. In fact, the documents he did produce indicate even more bonds are not accounted for.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:02 AM

Former priest reports to jail to serve contempt sentence


By Brian Krans

Defrocked Davenport priest James Janssen began Wednesday serving his 180-day jail sentence for contempt of court in Scott County.

Dressed casually and carrying a bag of medications and $20, the 86-year-old turned himself into the Scott County Jail just before the 10 a.m. deadline.

Tuesday, Scott County Chief Judge Bobbi Alpers sentenced the former priest to six months in jail after she found him in contempt of court for failing to produce $80,000 in savings bonds.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:57 AM

’07 fund drive nets archdiocese $14.5M


The Archdiocese of Boston surpassed its goal by half a million dollars when it raised $14.5 million during its 2007 annual fund drive.

The 5 percent increase over the previous year is closer to the amount raised before the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The annual campaign raised $17.2 million in 2000, but that dropped to $8.8 million in 2002 as details of the crisis were made public.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:53 AM

Fresno pastor on trial in abuse after girls recant: Two girls said they first told of sexual abuse because they tired of pastor's rules


By Chris Collins

Even though two girls in Fresno pastor Charles Dickerson's family now say they were lying when they accused him of sexually abusing them for years, prosecutors argued Wednesday that jurors should still find Dickerson guilty of molestation and rape.

Dickerson's defense attorney, Glenn LoStracco, said in an interview prior to opening statements in Dickerson's trial Wednesday that a defense investigator interviewed the girls two months ago, and they recanted their allegations of sexual abuse.

He said the girls had originally come up with their molestation stories because they were tired of living with Dickerson's rules and wanted him to leave the house.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:50 AM

Sexual Molestation Trial Begins for Valley Pastor


[Includes video]

By Derrol Nail and Charlene Lee

Pastor Charles Dickerson is still the senior pastor at the Pearly Grove Baptist Church, but for the next few weeks, he'll spend most of his time standing trial for allegedly molesting and raping his two teenaged step-daughters.

The pastor maintained little reaction as prosecutor Arturo Corona began detailing how Dickerson allegedly groped one step-daughter while laying naked in his bed, and on another occasion raped that same teenager while she was two months pregnant.

But Defense Attorney Glenn LoStracco says both of Dickerson's daughters have since recanted their accusations against their step-father.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:45 AM

Church Youth Worker Found Guilty in Sexual Abuse Case


[Includes audio of statement by the mother of 2 victims]

James Downs, a former church youth worker in Laveen, has been found guilty on charges related to the sexual abuse of three male children under the age of 15.

Downs, 34, was found guilty on 28 counts, including 14 counts that call for life in prison with no possibility of parole for 35 years - meaning consecutive prison sentences exceeding 500 years.

He is accused of abusing the children between June 2001 and September 2006.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:39 AM

Ex-Church Worker Convicted Of 28 Sex Charges: Man, 34, Faces Possible 500-Year Prison Term


[Includes list of counts and video]

Phoenix -- A former church youth worker has been found guilty of 28 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys over a five-year-period, County Attorney Andrew Thomas said on Wednesday.

James Downs, 34, and all three victims attended New Destiny Christian Church in Laveen, Thomas said.

Downs was indicted on Dec. 13, 2006, following his arrest on Sept. 15, 2006.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:34 AM

Church gives sex offender a role in step toward priesthood | Russian Orthodox: Criticism unwarranted in view of crime's circumstances, chancellor says


By Beth Bragg

A registered sex offender who served more than a year in prison for sexually abusing minors is wearing robes that signal he has taken a first step toward priesthood in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Terenty Dushkin, 26, was installed as a lay reader of the liturgy last month by Bishop Nikolai, the church's highest-ranking official in Alaska. Church officials say they did so knowingly.

"This is not a scandal in any way," said Chancellor Archimandrite Isidore, the church's No. 2 official here.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:27 AM

Not guilty of exploiting teen: Judge rules 17-year-old girl made up accounts of sexual abuse


By Dianne Wood

Tears erupted on both sides of a Kitchener courtroom yesterday after a judge acquitted a former church youth leader of sexually exploiting a young girl under his care.

The 54-year-old man who had been accused of at least 10 incidents of intercourse, anal sex and oral sex by the 15-year-old girl, fell into the arms of his family in Superior Court in Kitchener.

The girl, who was with her parents on the other side of the courtroom, also burst into tears before walking out with her parents and a support person.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:24 AM

Church out of cash to pay abuse victims: lawyer | More properties need to be sold to make next payment, diocese says


More than three dozen Newfoundland and Labrador men who had been sexually abused by a priest may never receive another dime from a compensation package, their lawyer says.

Catholic Diocese of St. George's had sold off many of its properties, including churches that were bought back by congregation members, to help settle a $14 million settlement over abuse committed by priest Kevin Bennett.

But Greg Stack, the St. John's lawyer representing 40 claimants, said the diocese says it cannot pay any more, with only half of the settlement payments complete.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:18 AM

Public Inquiries and the Protection of Children


The National news is filled with murders and rich men taking money that doesn’t belong to them. Sports figures are cheating the system by using drugs that enhance their performance. A four year old child is molested by her father for the pleasure of a paedophile who lives many miles away. The father gets caught and receives a four year prison term, one year for each year of this young girl’s unprotected precious life.

Canada has a sorry history of human rights violations in its institutions. The atrocities perpetrated on our First Nations children are now an accepted part of history. After decades of ignoring and minimizing the issue they were finally given compensation this year. Money for a lost heritage and childhood that can never be replaced. The children of Mount Cashel, the Duplesse Orphans and the thousands or children who today are in our child welfare system because of abuse and neglect are a picture we don’t want to see too clearly. No institution is sacred and we hear reports of abuse in our National Ballet School, in our churches and within our sports institutions. We will sit down during the holidays and try to believe that charities managed to get a turkey and gifts to every child living in an impoverished home. We will try not to think about the many children in Canada who have no home, no safety and no love.

When all the mental health professionals get together and try to understand what makes people do such horrible things to children, they come up with many theories. Is it in the brain, or the upbringing? We do know that it seems impossible to give someone a conscience.

Currently in Cornwall Ontario there is an ongoing public inquiry that is looking to find the truth about decades old allegations of abuse against children by many people who worked for various institutions in that city.

In September of 1993, a Cornwall Police Officer named Perry Dunlop discovered that no one was going to do anything about abuse that was being allegedly perpetrated by a local Catholic priest. He did what he could. He reported the allegations to the local child welfare authorities. He lost his job for obeying provincial laws that mandate the reporting of child abuse allegations. Eventually Perry got his job back but the harassment became too much and he moved his family to the other side of the country.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:15 AM

Ex-cop who alleged Cornwall pedophile ring refuses to testify at inquiry


By Dirk Meissner

A former police officer credited with bringing to light explosive allegations of widespread child sexual abuse in eastern Ontario says he's convinced the dark stories that have divided the community are true - but he says he won't testify before a public inquiry because he says the justice system hasn't listened to him for 15 years.

Perry Dunlop, a decorated former officer from Cornwall, Ont., has been scheduled to testify but he told The Canadian Press in an exclusive interview he won't be there because he's lost faith in the justice system.

He said he's prepared to face the consequences if he's arrested.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:08 AM

Perry Dunlop going to jail? I will be happy to serve this sentence...


By Kay Goodnow

I am a 71 year old mother of three and grandmother of 7 marvelous young people. I am also a suvivor of priest abuse dating back to 1952. It would be an honor for me to serve any prison time imposed on Perry Dunlop. He is a very brave man, who has been targeted by this Inquiry/Inquisition. He has three young daughters and a devoted wife. He believes that the system has failed him and apparently that is true.

He should not be jailed for speaking his truth, and I find it hard to believe that intelligent Canadians will allow that to happen.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:01 AM

Trial wraps up against priest


By Marie Zettler

Monsignor Bernard Prince, a former Wilno priest who faces one count of indecent assault for incidents that allegedly happened 30 years ago, will hear the verdict in Pembroke court Monday.

The 44-year-old complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, accuses Prince of repeated sexual abuse between 1976 and 1979.

In his trial summation, Crown attorney John Pepper described Prince's close relationship with the complainant's family.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:57 AM

Crown, defence wrap up submissions in priest sex case


[Includes photo of Prince]

The trial for a retired priest accused of indecent assault on a young male more than 30 years ago is expected to wrap up on Monday when the judge delivers her verdict.

The expected ruling by Justice Julie-Ann Parfett follows three days of evidence that concluded Wednesday with closing submissions from the Crown prosecutor and defence counsel.

Msgr. Bernard Prince, 72, is facing 13 charges of indecent or sexual assault on 13 young males. He has pleaded not guilty on one of the counts that he sexually assaulted a now 44-year-old man at his Wilno cabin and Ottawa apartment between 1976 and 1979.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:53 AM

Compo for church sex assault victim


By Geesche Jacobsen

A woman has been awarded compensation for repeated sexual assault by a former pastoral assistant and youth leader at a Baptist church.

Louise Audet, 41, was awarded $45,000 for the abuse, which started in 1982, when Cheryl Groth, 51, was her year 10 teacher at Picton High School.

The abuse continued for about four years when Groth introduced her to Baptist churches where Groth had become involved in youth groups and later as a pastoral assistant.

Ms Audet first complained to the church 20 years ago, but believes it failed to act. When she was later told the case could not proceed in the criminal courts, she took civil action against Groth, which finished last month.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:48 AM

John Allen’s top 10 neglected stories of 2007

What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

My friend Mr. John L. Allen, Jr., the nearly ubiquitous fair-minded former Rome correspondent for the über-liberal NCR, has presented for our consideration his list of the top 10 neglected stories of 2007.

I am wondering if you agree with his list. It is pretty good, though I have a quibble.

Top 10 neglected Vatican stories of 2007


Every society has its shorthand ways of signaling what it considers important. At the level of pop culture, Americans know something registers when David Letterman or Jon Stewart pokes fun at it; more seriously, however, we grasp that something matters if it lands on the front page of The New York Times. [Is the NYT relevant anymore outside an increasingly small circle?]

By that standard, one can only conclude that for the United States in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI was no big deal.

As incredible as it seems for a figure regarded as a major global newsmaker, the pope appeared on the front page of the Times only twice this year (discounting any mention after mid-December, when this article was written): on Jan. 8, in a piece about the resignation of his nominee as archbishop of Warsaw, Poland, amid charges of collaboration with the communist-era secret police; and a May 7 look ahead to his trip to Brazil, focusing on the continuing strength of liberation theology in Latin America.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

January 9, 2008

Editor Mary Matalin Stands By Her Disgraced Potomac Man


By Dermot McEvoy

As chairman of the Republican National Committee’s "Catholic Outreach" effort in 2004, Deal W. Hudson set himself up as the arbiter of Christian morality, questioning whether John Kerry should receive Holy Communion because of his pro-choice stance, asserting that the Pope really was for the war in Iraq and denouncing those who supported stem-cell research. And Hudson wasn’t delicate in his tactics—he got Ono Ekeh, a father of three, fired from his job at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for African American Catholics for running a pro-John Kerry Web site. "If you’re going to play in the sandbox," Hudson said of Ekeh’s firing, "then you have to take the consequences of your public utterances and your public actions."

All of which makes him the perfect person to write a book titled Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States, a manifesto coming in March from Threshold Editions, Mary Matalin’s conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster. Perfect, that is, if—as Threshold is betting—the target audience of religious conservatives is willing to overlook a sex scandal that has twice derailed Hudson’s career and that, coincidentally, is detailed in another new book, Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes That Run Our Government by Dana Milbank (Broadway Books).

"Deal Hudson has owned up to his actions and it does not undermine his contribution to activating conservative Christian voters, or the quality of Onward, Christian Soldiers," a spokesperson for the imprint told PW in an email. "If books were published based solely on authors’ past personal histories, there would be far fewer books indeed."

In 1994, while he was a tenured professor at Fordham University, Hudson, who was married, had a sexual encounter with one of his female students, Cara Poppas, an 18-year-old freshman. Soon after, the student left Fordham and filed a sexual abuse suit. The claim against the school was eventually dismissed, but Hudson resigned and paid $30,000 to settle the case.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:53 PM

Dear Holy Father


By Susan Hogan/Albach

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is calling for Pope Benedict XVI to retire 76-year-old Cardinal Bernard Law. Bishops and cardinals must submit their resignations to the Vatican at age 75.

In a letter posted today on its web site, SNAP noted the cardinal's role in the church's selection of new bishops. Law was forced to resign as Boston's archbishop in 2002 because of his role in predator priest cover-ups. The Vatican immediately assigned him to a post in Rome and allowed him to continue serving on influential committees.

"We respectfully ask that you insist that Cardinal Law honor the mandatory retirement age for bishops and step down before you visit the U.S. this spring," SNAP said in the letter.

The letter is being sent to the Vatican via the nuncio in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:42 PM

Letter to Pope Benedict XVI


Dear Holy Father:

We are members of a confidential self-help group for men and women who have been sexually abused by clergy (Catholic and otherwise). Our goals are to help heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable. We join with other Catholics who believe that our Church needs to be a visible witness to the healing of survivors.

We write because of your upcoming trip to the US and the on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up scandal. Specifically, we write to propose a simple but meaningful step you could take in the weeks ahead to help ease the suffering of thousands of Catholics, ex-Catholics, and child molestation victims.

The continued high-profile status and influence of Cardinal Bernard Law, in the literal and figurative center of Catholic power, rubs even more salt into the still fresh and very deep wounds of thousands. Regardless of how one characterizes his motives, for years and years, Cardinal Law’s actions have clearly led to immense and largely preventable devastation to the lives of hundreds of once trusting and innocent and vulnerable children, their loved ones, the Boston Catholic community, and indeed, across the US.

As you know, he sits on eight important Vatican dicasteries, and has a particularly troubling, powerful role in the selection of new bishops. This, coupled with his increasing public visibility, again exacerbates intense pain among many.

We respectfully ask that you insist that Cardinal Law honor the mandatory retirement age for bishops and step down before you visit the US this spring. A more clear, simple and effective step could better ease our suffering is hard to imagine. And without this step toward basic justice and accountability, other gestures you or other church officials might take regarding clergy sex crimes and cover ups will ring hollow. “It’s time to forgive,” some might say. Many have already forgiven him. But forgiveness toward a wrong-doer doesn’t mean callousness toward the innocent. Forgiveness also doesn’t guarantee a sinner promotions and unfettered access to power, especially when those moves add to an already overwhelming reservoir of still-unaddressed sadness and suffering among victims and the laity.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:36 PM

Order in James N. Wells v. James Janssen


By Judge Bobbi M. Alpers

January 9, 2008

Order that James Janssen serve 180 days in jail for failing to purge himself of contempt. See also the original 11/6/07 Ruling finding Janssen in contempt. For background, see Defrocked priest sentenced to 180 days in jail, by Ann McGlynn, Quad-City Times, January 9, 2008.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:57 PM

Ruling in James Wells v. Dorothy Janssen


By Judge Mary E. Howes

January 8, 2008

Ruling that property be transferred from Janssen's sister to James Wells. For background see Judge tells ex-priest’s sister to hand over assets, by Ann McGlynn, Quad-City Times, January 9, 2008.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 5:46 PM

GUEST POST: Rabbi Baruch Lanner – An Eyewitness Account of Manipulation, Violence and Abuse in the Name of Kiruv


Rabbi Baruch Lanner is due to be paroled this week.

Yochanan Lavie, a frequent FailedMessiah.com commenter, tells the story of his teenage encounters with rabbinic child abuser Rabbi Baruch Lanner.

These encounters include Lanner kneeing boys in the groin and Lanner sobbing about his own abusive childhood.

Read it all, after the jump:

My Encounters With Rabbi Baruch Lanner
By Yochanan Lavie

After my family moved around the corner to an Orthodox synagogue, I was attracted to, and envious of, Sabbath observance. Reform Judaism seemed pallid and churchy to me. The Hertz Chumash used back then in our Reform synagogue was a subversive text. It spoke to me; that one could believe in the Torah as divine revelation and not be a knuckle-dragger. My study of Jewish history and lore also convinced me that Orthodox Judaism was more authentic. An article in The Village Voice by Carol Getzoff called “Tripping Out on Torah,” about ex-hippies becoming Lubavitchers made being frum seem cutting edge and cool. Also, corny as it seems now, Fiddler on the Roof was inspirational to me. So I stepped in to the Orthodox shul around the corner, not knowing what reception I would get, and started my spiritual journey. A year later, I convinced my open-minded parents to send me to Frisch, a Modern Orthodox yeshiva high school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 PM

Ten Common Myths about the Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults by Clerics

Patrick J. Wall
Clergy Abuse and the Catholic Church

Myth #1 - Catholic priests are no more likely to be pedophiles than other groups of men.

Roman Catholic bishops, priests, and deacons are vowed to a life of perfect and perpetual continence. (canon 276 CIC83) This is the lens with which we should view the following facts from the John Jay Center for Criminal Justice Study commissioned by the Bishops.

Since 1950, 4,392 priests and ten bishops have resigned or been removed for credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors and vulnerable adults. Twenty-two percent of the allegations self-reported by the bishops were for children under the age of ten and 6% of the victims were under the age of seven (John Jay pg.9). I know of no other religious denomination, organization, or group in the world who is reporting these percentages or gross numbers of crimes as agents of their organization.

Myth #2 - The celibate state of priests does not lead to pedophilia.

Three different theologians and scholars employed by the Church in the twentieth century - as well as the Church’s own psychiatrists and psychologists who were ignored by the Hierarchy - disagree. I would go further and say that celibacy itself violates the natural law, betrays revealed faith and reason, and leads to numerous sexual paraphilia, including pedophilia, ephebophilia and bestiality. Beginning with Reverend Thomas Verner Moore in 1936, the Church has been attempting to understand the crime of stuprum (sex between an adult and a child) and other psychological infirmities of the clergy in the discipline of psychology.

Moore first studied the insanity rates among Catholic clergy and found them higher than the general population. Further, Moore also studied and published on detection measures of pre-psychotics who apply for admission to the priesthood or religious communities. In November 1971, Conrad W. Baars, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic presented a paper to the Synod of Bishops meeting in Rome titled, “The Role of the Church in the Causation, Treatment, and Prevention of the Crisis in the Priesthood.“

The results were that only 10%-15% of priests attain adult maturation and 20%-25% have serious psychiatric difficulties.

Also during 1971, the Holy See made the Servants of the Paraclete an order of Pontifical rite. The third church therapist who was ignored is Reverend Michael Petersen of the Saint Luke Institute. Petersen along with Thomas Doyle, O.P. and Raymond Mouton, Esq. submitted a report to the Bishop for the 1985 Collegeville, MN. meeting that the scandal was going to explode if the Hierarchy did not attend to the victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

The Year in Review: Important Events of 2007


This page summarizes 19 important stories of 2007 with links to investigative reporting, documents, and streaming video. Email us with comments, stories we should have included, and commentaries that moved and informed you in 2007. We'll post your favorites next week.

1) Hand of God, 2) Gumbleton Resigns, 3) Cleveland Financials, 4) Teczar Convicted, 5) CNN's Tom Roberts, 6) Maiello Verdict, 7) Spokane Bankruptcy Ends, 8) Few Portland Documents, 9) Delaware Child Victims Act, 10) Los Angeles Settles, 11) San Diego Settles, 12) Aguilar Documents, 13) Giuliani and Placa, 14) Jesuit McGuire Indicted, 15) USCCB Elects George, 16) Jesuits Settle Alaska Claims, 17) Davenport Settles, 18) Providence Files, and 19) Franciscan Newman Indicted

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:17 AM

Judge tells ex-priest’s sister to hand over assets


By Ann McGlynn

A man sexually abused for years by his uncle, defrocked priest James Janssen, is entitled to $255,607 from Janssen’s sister, plus her house, car and more than $112,500 in bonds and accounts in her name, a judge ruled Tuesday.

James and Dorothy Janssen must vacate the house they share at 4315 W. High St., Davenport, within 45 days and transfer its ownership to James Wells. She must transfer the title of a 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis, as well as $102,500 in bonds and $10,000 in a Treasury Direct account within 30 days.

The ruling is to help satisfy a $1.4 million verdict against Janssen for abusing Wells when he was a child. Scott County District Judge Mary Howes found James Janssen fraudulently transferred more than $700,000 in savings bonds to his sister after the first of several lawsuits against him was filed.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:13 AM

Defrocked priest sentenced to 180 days in jail


A defrocked priest will spend 180 days in the Scott County Jail after he failed to produce $80,000 in missing savings bonds to be put toward a $1.4 million judgment against him for sexually abusing his nephew.

In addition, the documentation James Janssen did provide possibly showed he is hiding $80,000 more in bonds than the $80,000 he was ordered to hand over.

Janssen, 86, is required to report to the jail by 10 a.m. today, Scott County District Judge Bobbi Alpers ruled Tuesday.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:10 AM

Ex-priest doesn't produce bonds, gets jail time


By Brian Krans

Defrocked Davenport priest James Janssen must turn himself in at the Scott County Jail Wednesday morning after a judge sentenced him today to six months in prison for failing to produce $80,000 in savings bonds.

In November, Scott County Chief Judge Bobbi Alpers found Mr. Janssen in contempt of court for allegedly hiding money that is set to go to his nephew, James Wells, as part of a $1.89 million civil judgment in a sexual abuse case.

Since ordered in 2005 to provide the court with a list of his assets, Mr. Janssen has only provided a handwritten copy of a list of bond numbers that totaled $80,000. He testified that he found the list, but couldn't recall where the original note was.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:02 AM

Father Gary Underwood update


By Stephanie Innes

Looks like the Rev. Gary E. Underwood may be heading to trial on charges that he molested three teenage boys during the 1980s.

Underwood, 53, is facing charges of child molestation and sexual conduct with a minor in connection with reports that he abused three boys while working as a priest at St. Odilia’s Catholic Church on Tucson’s Northwest Side.

Underwood is accused of molesting the three teenage boys _ all of them under the age of 15 — during the early 1980s. He had asked that the criminal case be dismissed because of the long delay in charging him. The judge didn’t buy it.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:50 AM

Diocese settles four sex abuse lawsuits for $200,000


By Mark Morey

The Catholic Diocese of Yakima has paid $200,000 to settle lawsuits brought by four women who alleged that they were sexually abused when they were children in the 1960s by a now-deceased Toppenish priest.

As part of the settlement, Bishop Carlos Sevilla, who was not in office at the time, apologized to the women in personal letters, according to a news release from the diocese. The diocese announced the settlement Tuesday.

"I can assure you that I am personally committed to the safety and well-being of all the people of the Diocese of Yakima entrusted to my pastoral care, particularly children and youth," Sevilla said in the apology letters.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:44 AM

Priest under investigation has local ties


By Thomas Dimopoulos

Saratoga Springs -- A 65-year-old priest who acknowledged his "inappropriate behavior" after allegations of sexual abuse were reported to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn could be under investigation by State Police in Wilton for similar behavior that may have occurred at his summer camp in the town of Greenfield last year.

Monsignor George F. Zatarga was placed on administrative leave from his role as pastor of American Martyrs parish in the Bayside neighborhood of Queens, according to the diocese.

In a letter read at church services in early December, parishioners were told of the allegations placed on the diocese's telephone reporting line and that Zatarga agreed to undergo counseling and treatment.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:41 AM

Priest Sex Abuse Trial


By Brian Joyce

Jury selection is underway in another civil suit filed by a former altar boy who claims Vermont's Roman Catholic Diocese failed to protect him from a pedophile priest.

. . .

"In this case, two instances of inappropriate sexual contact between a priest in the Diocese and Mr. Perrotte when he was 14 years old in St. Anne's Parish in Milton. It happened in 1980," explained Perrotte's lawyer, John Evers.

Perrotte claims the sexual predator was former Vermont priest Alfred Willis. Last month, a civil trial jury determined that the Diocese did not protect another former teen parishioner from Father Willis three decades ago. The award in that case was $15,000.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:35 AM

Diocese discourages Catholics from attending services by priest who “resigned”


Phoenix - Hundreds disregarded a request from the Diocese of Phoenix to ignore services by former Monsignor Dale Fushek. According to the Arizona Republic, more than 600 people packed three rooms at the Mesa Convention Center last weekend.

Though the diocese has opposed the suspended priest’s non-denominational services since his inaugural service on Thanksgiving, Fushek has filled the center three times with a loyal congregation despite facing misdemeanor sex charges.

The former pastor of St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Mesa and founder of the youth ministry, Life Teen, drew 700 people to his service on December 23 and nearly 500 on Thanksgiving. Jim Dwyer, the spokesman for the Diocese of Phoenix told the Arizona Republic that “We're actually encouraging Catholics to refrain from attending. We would hope that they don't…”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:32 AM

Local man suing Green Bay Diocese for priest’s abuse


By Lisa Curtis

Cedarburg - A Cedarburg man who is suing the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay for covering up an abusive priest’s past misdeeds said he isn’t challenging the church, but rather those in charge of it.

"The church is the people. It’s the leadership we’re challenging," said Todd Merryfield, who is suing the diocese with his brother, Troy, after they were abused as children by one of its priests.

"They could have stopped this at any point and none of us would be going through this."

The Merryfields’ suit claims the diocese is guilty of fraud and negligence for transferring Father John Patrick Feeney to St. Nicholas Church in Freedom in 1976 despite "widespread accusations, allegations and rumors regarding sexual improprieties."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:23 AM

SNAP Asks D.A. to Verify Reports on Abusive Clergy


[Includes video; sidebar includes diocesan statement]

By Emily Matesic

A national organization for victims of sexual abuse by clergy wants the names of priests investigated for sexual abuse in Brown County.

SNAP -- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests -- wants the district attorney to release those names.

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay says it turned over names of priests to district attorneys in 2004 for what it termed "substantiated allegations" of sexual abuse.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:14 AM

Group urges DA to take action against deviant priests


By Andy Nelesen

A support group for people abused by clergy is calling on Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski to take action with the names of deviant priests he’s been supplied by the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay.

Peter Isely, Midwest director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, delivered his letter today to Zakowski’s offices.

At a press conference before delivering his letter, Isely said he wants Zakowski to articulate how many names he received from the Green Bay diocese and what action he has taken with those names.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:10 AM

More Charges of Sex Abuse Filed Against Local Pastor


[Includes video]

Tyrone Moore, a registered sex offender who spent time in prison for his crimes, was charged today with two counts of a Lewd Act on a Minor. The alleged victims in those cases are the 9th and 10th people to accuse Moore of sexually abusing them.

41-year-old Moore is a pastor at the Full Word Ministries in North Charleston. He has been in jail since November of 2006 when North Charleston police arrested him on charges of Criminal Sexual Conduct.

Just a few weeks later Goose Creek police charged the pastor with more than twelve additional crimes ranging from Lewd Act on a Minor, Criminal Sexual Conduct and failing to register on the sex offender list.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:05 AM

Jury Finds Former Shelby Youth Minister Guilty


Christopher C. Sprinkel, 32, of Shelbina was found guilty of felony child molestation in the first degree during a jury trial at Macon County Courthouse on Jan. 3 and 4. The trial, presided by Judge Hadley E. Grimm, was moved to Macon County on a change of venue from Shelby County.

Sprinkel formerly served as youth minister at the United Methodist Church of Shelbina, according to a Feb. 2006 article from the Shelbina Weekly newspaper.

According to a press release from Shelby County Prosecuting Attorney James McConnell, the jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that Sprinkel had sexual contact with a child under the age of fourteen on Jan. 9, 2006.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:01 AM

Bullitt youth pastor in sex abuse case sues girl's mother


By Daarel Burnette II

A Bullitt County youth pastor charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl at his church has sued the girl’s mother, accusing her of slander, libel and defamation of character.

Clayton Pruett, 25, was arrested on Dec. 14 for allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with the girl at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, where he serves as a youth pastor.

Pruett also is an assistant wrestling coach and substitute teacher for Bullitt County Public Schools.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:58 AM

Some things I've learned along the way


By Fr. Lou Guntzelman

. . .

There is a great public awareness of pedophilia today. Along with it comes the impression that a valid solution is just to punish the perpetrators severely enough and warn them to stop it - as if it were simply a matter of behavioral choice. How simplistic!

The cause of such heinous abuse lies within the earlier psychosexual development of the predator. As one psychologist puts it, "The perpetrator is fixated in an incestuous libido cycle in which he or she is seeking to reconnect with an earlier aspect of his or her history."

The person's body has grown, but their psychosexual development has not. This is not to excuse a pedophile or pretend that he or she is not responsible for their behavior. It is to shed some light on why some adults seek gratification with children, and find it formidable to become attracted to another person more inwardly developed. Hopefully the psychological field will make significant strides in dealing with people so affected.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:51 AM

Priest to plead guilty in sex assault: Retired cleric to make plea to two of 13 charges, Pembroke court hears


By Andrew Seymour

A retired priest and former Vatican official intends to plead guilty to at least two of 13 indecent and sexual assault charges against him, court heard on Tuesday.

The revelation about the impending guilty pleas came from Crown prosecutor John Pepper during the second day of testimony in Msgr. Bernard Prince's trial into a single count of indecent assault.

Msgr. Prince intends to plead guilty in at least two cases involving men who on Tuesday provided the court with similar-fact evidence that the now 72-year-old former priest fondled or engaged in other inappropriate sexual behaviour with them when they were teens.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:45 AM

Priest's lawyer questions witness memory


By Tina Peplinskie

Pembroke -- The man who claims he was sexually abused by Monsignor Bernard Prince was repeatedly challenged by the priest's defence attorney yesterday.

Prince's lawyer, Chris Kelly, spent four hours hammering away at the 44-year-old man's testimony. Kelly suggested the complainant asked for a transcript of previous testimony so he could remind himself of what he'd said in the past.

"The reason is the lack of confidence in your memory and you had to work to assemble these memories into a narrative," Kelly said. "It is not a product of your constant memory."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:41 AM

Huge test of credibility for Churches in secular world


By Alf McCreary

. . .

One of the major challenges facing the Catholic Church worldwide, as well as a drop in vocations, is the continuing shadow cast by the scandal of clerical sexual abuse.

In America, the Catholic Church is estimated to have paid out $$2bn to victims, and the Pope has already instructed Catholics to pray "in perpetuity" to cleanse the Church of paedophile clergy.

The latest figures show that around 100 allegations of such abuse were made in Ireland in the 40 years from 1962, and that 21 priests were involved.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:36 AM

Blatant lies in Victim Assistance Coordinator's LA Times opinion piece. I know, because they involve my case.

City of Angels

Plus Archdiocese lead law firm runs anonymous clergy case website. What are they ashamed of?

By Kay Ebeling
I HAVE TO SAY THIS. Sister Sheila McNiff was directly involved in my case for a few hours in 2003, the same Sister Sheila McNiff who wrote an opinion piece published in the LA Times December 18th praising the church for having obviously solved its pedophile priest problems way back in the 1980s and here’s a chart to prove it.

There is an active comment area at the Times for persons to respond online to McNiff’s piece linked at left. The “Blowback” was supposed to be open for 2 weeks, but mysteriously the Times is running only a small selection of comments since the first three days.

I have to say this. There’s blatant lies and coercive truth bending in Sister Sheila McNiff’s op-ed piece (surprise, surprise). I know because of the way Sister Sheila McNiff handled my own case back in December 2003.

She writes for the Times: “As coordinator of the Victims Assistance Ministry of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I have been privileged to walk with many of these victims, to listen to their stories... to offer support and counseling and to be available to them when needed.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:35 AM

January 8, 2008

VOTF and the Reform of the Governmental Structure of the Catholic Church


Thomas Doyle

January, 2008

If one looks at what has happened in the institutional Catholic Church since 1965, the year that Vatican II ended, one sees a roller-coaster ride of progressive advances and regressive retreats. Since the reign (and I use that word intentionally, rather than “pontificate”) of John Paul II the institution has been on what some call a restorationist path. This refers to the process of restoring the Catholic Church to the splendor of the pre-Vatican II days when bishops were princes, the pope was the emperor and the lay people kept their mouths shut and their wallets open.

All along there has been a movement among some lay, cleric and hierarchical Catholics to continue with the vision of Vatican II. Today, all of the bishops in that movement in the US are either dead, retired or in exile. The “Vatican II” clergy are growing old, discouraged, tired and are either retired or have left altogether. They have been replaced by a couple generations of younger clergy who often describe themselves as “John Paul II” priests. Others describe them as the ‘Catholic Taliban,” “the Young Nazis” or words to that effect. Lately several scholars have written about them and the assessment is worse than discouraging. It’s frightening.

The need for deep reform exploded to the surface in January, 2002 with the revelations in Boston that Catholic bishops had been hiding, enabling and supporting sexually dysfunctional criminals in the priesthood. VOTF started off and brought with it hope, a voice for anger, disillusionment and frustration. Now we are five years down the road from January 6, 2002. This was not the beginning salvo of the clergy abuse assault. That happened in summer of 1984 with the revelations in Louisiana that the bishop there had done was Bernard Law had done…but Lafayette is not Boston and the Times of Acadiana is not the Boston Globe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:11 PM

Hearing for teacher accused of sex abuse still unscheduled


By Mark Vierthaler

Tabatha Adams, a former second-grade teacher at Sacred Heart Cathedral School who is charged with sexually assaulting an 8-year-old student, appeared in court Monday to learn the date of her preliminary hearing.

The date will be determined later this week.

Linda Eckelman, Adams' court-appointed attorney, said the prosecution and defense would set a date after looking at their respective calendars. Eckelman also asked the court to reduce Adams' bail from $500,000 to $50,000 so she could stay with her parents in Salina.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:16 PM

Local Woman Speaks Out About Abuse


[Includes video]

By Kathryn Snodgrass

An area woman who says she was molested as a child by a priest spoke publicly for the first time today.

Twenty-eight year-old Beth Rocker says she was abused by a recently suspended priest at a church in Lore City, Ohio.

Rocker filed a formal complaint today with the Guernsey County Sheriff's Department about the sexual abuse she endured over a three-year period from 1989 to 1991 that started when she was just 10 years old.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 12:11 PM

Ex-priest Janssen's contempt hearing delayed


By Ann McGlynn

A contempt-of-court hearing to determine whether defrocked priest James Janssen will face a fine or jail time for failure to produce financial documents was delayed today because Janssen’s court-appointed attorney was sick.

The hearing will be Tuesday instead.

In November, Janssen, 4315 W. High St., Davenport, was given two months to produce the savings bonds by Scott County District Judge Bobbi Alpers. He could face a fine of up to $500 or up to six months in county jail if he does not do so.

The defrocked priest was ordered by a jury 2½ years ago to pay his nephew $1.9 million for years of sex abuse. An analysis by an accountant hired by nephew James Wells showed that he did not account for $80,000 in savings bonds.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:29 AM

Guernsey County Priest Formally Accused of Sex Abuse


[Includes video]

A woman who claims she was sexually abused by a priest said she came forward because keeping silent will only hurt others.

The alleged victim field a complaint Monday with the Guernsey County Sheriff's Department against Rev. Gary Zalenski, a Catholic priest who formerly served in Neffs.

The woman, who is now 28 years old, said Zalenski abused her over a span of years starting when she was 10 years old.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:26 AM

Victims Too Late in Allegations Against Brooklyn Priest


By Ryan Thompson

After recently accusing a former Brooklyn priest of molesting them decades ago, three brothers, as well as a New York City attorney, must accept that the law will absolve the Father of his alleged sins.

Father George Zatarga, of the Diocese of Brooklyn, cannot be prosecuted for his purported crimes from years ago; the statute of limitations has run its course. The men had five years to formerly accuse the man they say inappropriately touched them during Zatarga’s “counseling” sessions.

New York Criminal Procedure Law states that the statute of limitations regarding these types of sexual offenses is five years. However, if the victim is under the age of 18, that five-year period begins to run when the victim turns 18 years old, or when the victim reported the crime to a law enforcement agency or statewide central registry of child abuse – whichever occurred first.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:22 AM

Suspended Priest Accused of Sex Abuse Defies Diocese and Leads Non-Denominational Prayer Services


By John Connolly

Phoenix, Arizona - Despite warnings and requests from the Diocese of Phoenix, a suspended priest who faces criminal sex abuse charges has been leading prayer services attended by his personal devotees.

Monsignor Dale Fushek, who faces multiple sex-related misdemeanor charges, holds non-denominational prayer services at the Mesa Convention Center. The diocese has requested that Catholics not attend the services, because of the scandal caused by them.

"We're actually encouraging Catholics to refrain from attending We would hope that they don't," said Jim Dwyer, a spokesman for the diocese. "I think most leaders in the church would say your devotion should be to Christ, not an individual leader."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:19 AM

Priest slept nude with boy, court hears


By Andrew Seymour

A retired priest and former Vatican official would fondle, shower and sleep nude with a young male at his Wilno cabin and Ottawa apartment, a Pembroke court heard Monday.

Testifying on the first day of Msgr. Bernard Prince's trial on a single charge of indecent assault, the now 44-year-old alleged victim said the sexual conduct began in the summer of 1976 when he was 13 years old.

According to the man, who cannot be named due to a court-ordered publication ban, Msgr. Prince's request for a back massage was a prelude to a series of 10 to 12 sexual encounters over a two-week period while the two stayed in the cabin alone. According to the man's testimony, Msgr. Prince would strip naked before guiding the boy's hand to his genitals. Msgr. Prince allegedly would fondle the boy's genitals at the same time.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:00 AM

'I despise the man': Accuser faces down priest in courtroom


By Tina Peplinskie

Pembroke -- A man who said he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest over a three-year period recounted details of the alleged incidents in Pembroke Superior Court yesterday.

The 44-year-old Toronto man, who can't be identified because of a publication ban, testified about abuse he claims to have suffered at the hands of retired monsignor Bernard Prince between 1976 and 1979.

Prince, a close friend of the man's family, faces one count of indecent assault for incidents alleged to have occurred at his cottage in Wilno, at the complainant's home in Madawaska Valley and during a week-long visit to Prince's apartment in Ottawa.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:55 AM

Priest from Newbury jailed for sexually abusing a string of young girls over a 25-year period


A retired priest, living in Newbury, has been jailed by a court in Ireland for sexually abusing several young girls over a 25-year period.

Father Patrick McDonagh, 75, pleaded guilty on December 20 to eight counts of sexual and indecent assault on four girls, and voluntarily admitted abusing six others, all aged between six and 10 at the time.

Counsel for the prosecution, Melanie Greally, told the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin that when he was arrested a year ago for allegedly abusing a young girl in 1990, McDonagh had told police that he had also abused nine other girls.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:52 AM

Benedict XVI Calls Catholic Faithful to Adoration in Reparation for Clergy Sex Abuses


By John Connolly

Rome - In an attempt to atone for homosexuality in the Roman Catholic priesthood, Pope Benedict XVI has called for constant prayer in churches worldwide in what some claim is the largest prayer initiative ever seen.

The instruction was sent to bishops in the form of a letter by Cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Brazil, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy. He told L'Osservatore Romano, that the Pope wanted Catholics to pray "to make amends before God for the evil that has been done and hail once more the dignity of the victims," who had suffered from the "moral and sexual conduct of a very small part of the clergy". He did not indicate how long he saw the adoration continuing.

Cardinal Hummes said a letter had gone to "dioceses, parishes, rectories, chapels, monasteries, convents and seminaries" calling on them to organize groups of adorers of the Blessed Sacrament.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:44 AM

Vatican official proposes plans for reparation for priestly abuse


By John Thavis

Vatican City -- A leading Vatican official has proposed a worldwide program of eucharistic adoration to seek spiritual reparation for the damage caused by the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, said the initiative would involve dioceses, parishes, monasteries, convents and seminaries in a prayer movement to support priestly holiness.

In a particular way, the initiative will ask reparation "for the victims of grave situations of moral and sexual conduct of a very small percentage of clergy," Cardinal Hummes said in an interview Jan. 4 with the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:40 AM

Pope asks for prayers for abusive clergy


Pope Benedict XVI spoke at the Vatican calling for daily prayer to rid the Catholic Church of "grave situations" involving the sexual activity of some clergy.

The pope asked Roman Catholics to pray for the "mercy of God for the victims of the grave situations caused by the moral and sexual conduct" of clergy members in daily prayers of penance and purification, The Times of London said Monday.

Church leaders at the Vatican said each parish or diocese shall designate a person or group to conduct daily and continuous prayer services to cleanse the church of the scandal.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:37 AM

Worldwide Eucharistic adoration campaign for priests and sex abuse victims started


Vatican City - The Congregation for the Clergy has launched a worldwide Eucharistic adoration campaign for the holiness of priests and for vocations to the priestly life. One particular focus of the new effort is to pray for the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

According to Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, the head of the Vatican dicastery, the purpose of the initiative is for there to be somebody, somewhere, praying for priests every hour of the day before the Blessed Sacrament, as well as imploring the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

Hummes, the head of the Vatican ministry for the clergy, said a letter was sent to "dioceses, parishes, rectories, chapels, monasteries, convents and seminaries" calling on them to organise groups of "adorers". The letter asks the faithful "to make amends before God for the evil that has been done and hail once more the dignity of the victims", who had suffered from the "moral and sexual conduct of a very small part of the clergy.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:34 AM

Bishop Harrington timeline


A look at Bishop Bernard Harrington's years at the Diocese of Winona:

2002: The sex-abuse crisis hits the U.S. Catholic Church. "I am concerned for those whose faith is shaken," says Harrington, who calls for a day of fasting and prayer "for the sins of sexual abuse."

2003: Reveals the diocese's insurance companies have paid $3.7 million in the past 15 years resulting from abuse claims, with most of the money paid before 1993 in a case against "one accused perpetrator." He also says the diocese paid $1.7 million in legal costs and settlements in the past 15 years, most of that resulting from claims against the same perpetrator.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:29 AM

Past bishops in the Diocese of Winona


John Vlazny (1987 to 1997). Left the Diocese of Winona after he was chosen to lead the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon.

Loras Watters (1969 to 1987). The first bishop to see the effect of the priest shortage that continues today.

Edward Fitzgerald (1950 to 1968). Known as "the building bishop." Many of the familiar buildings in the diocese were built under his leadership, including the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary and several churches.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:26 AM

Retiring Winona diocese bishop weathers trials of position


By Matt Russell

The end is in sight for Diocese of Winona Bishop Bernard Harrington, who is expected to retire in September when he turns 75, an age at which Catholic bishops are required to submit their resignations.

. . .

The bishop also faced the sex-abuse scandal that hit the Catholic Church in 2002.

The diocese formed a local board of review for sexual misconduct after the scandal hit and launched an online "learning community" for recognizing and reporting child abuse. The diocese also passed audits for compliance with the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Harrington took steps to prevent abuse, but he could have released more information about priests suspected of past abuse, said Bob Schwiderski, Minnesota director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:22 AM

Diocese of Winona's Bishop Harrington to retire


By Matt Russell

The end is in sight for Diocese of Winona Bishop Bernard Harrington, who is expected to retire from his position in September.

In September, Harrington will turn 75, an age at which Catholic bishops are required to submit their resignations.

. . .

Harrington is a native of Detroit. He served five years as an auxiliary, or assistant, bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit before coming to the Diocese of Winona in 1999.

. . .

The bishop also faced the sex-abuse scandal that hit the Catholic Church in 2002.

The diocese formed a local board of review for sexual misconduct after the scandal hit and launched an online "learning community" for recognizing and reporting child abuse. The diocese also passed audits for compliance with the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Another challenge Harrington faced was an ongoing priest shortage. He stepped up recruitment of prospective priests, encouraged lay ministers to play a greater role in parishes and furthered a program of clustering churches, a program in which congregations share pastors.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 9:11 AM

Cleveland diocese discourages anonymous reports of sex abuse


By Joe Milicia

The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is discouraging its employees and volunteers from making anonymous reports of sexual abuse of minors, a policy change that has outraged church watchdogs but has the support of the local prosecutor's office.

Church policy had required any suspicion of sexual abuse by church personnel be immediately reported to civil authorities. The revised policy says a person reporting abuse to civil authorities should include his or her name, address and telephone number to help assist in an investigation.

"That's just as wrongheaded as possible. That's just silly," said David Clohessy, spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "All reports of abuse should be encouraged, anonymous and otherwise, especially with an institution with such a horrific track record on this issue. Many victims and witnesses are terrified of retribution, and some information always beats no information."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:13 AM

Compo for church sex assault victim


By Geesche Jacobsen

Picton - A woman has been awarded compensation for repeated sexual assault by a former pastoral assistant and youth leader at a Baptist church. Louise Audet, 41, was awarded $45,000 for the abuse, which started in 1982, when Cheryl Groth, 51, was her year 10 teacher at Picton High School. The abuse continued for about four years when Groth introduced her to Baptist churches where Groth had become involved in youth groups and later as a pastoral assistant. Ms Audet first complained to the church 20 years ago, but believes it failed to act. When she was later told the case could not proceed in the criminal courts, she took civil action against Groth, which finished last month. The District Court found that Groth had sexually assaulted Ms Audet and had tried to penetrate her digitally while she was allegedly falling in and out of consciousness.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:10 AM

Police seek man accused of sexually assaulting a minor


[Includes video]

By Bob Robuck

Austin Police said a 16-year-old girl was the victim of sexual assault at the Rock Austin Church in East Austin, and now they're looking for the man she claims attacked her.

An arrest warrant is out for 27-year-old Gene Young, who works at the church. In the affidavit the girl claims Young befriended her when she was 12 and began texting her two years later with suggestive messages.

The document states that in March, 2006, the girl began a sexual relationship with Young, and that she had sex with him at the church more than 100 times.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:05 AM

Accusations swirl around priest: Brooklyn clergyman, at center of molestation probe, investigated in Saratoga County


By Dan Higgins

Ballston Spa -- A Catholic clergyman accused of sexually abusing boys for decades in the New York City area is under investigation for similar behavior in Saratoga County earlier this year, a prosecutor said Monday.

Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy said he was contacted recently by prosecutors in Kings County about Msgr. George Zatarga. Murphy said a file on the Brooklyn-based Zatarga arrived at his office Monday and he has not yet reviewed it.

"If we think it's appropriate we will turn it over to the proper law enforcement agency for an investigation. Beyond that I can't comment," Murphy said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:00 AM

Criminal Complaint Filed Against Priest


By Fred Connors

CAMBRIDGE, Ohio — Beth Rocker traveled a long way to file a criminal complaint alleging she had been sexually abused by a former Belmont County Catholic priest.

She came from Jerusalem, Israel.

Rocker, 28, met with Guernsey County Sheriff Michael R. McCauley and Prosecutor Daniel G. Padden Monday, at which time she alleged that in the early 1990s the Rev. Gary Zalenski sexually abused her several times.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:56 AM

Former Ohio Woman Names Catholic Priest As Her Molester


[Includes video]

By D.K. Wright

Cambridge, Ohio -- Beth Rocker grew up in the Cambridge, Ohio, area.

She alleges that Father Gary A. Zalenski sexually abused her when she was 10 and 11 years-old, from 1989 to 1991.

"After you finish catechism and take your first communion, everyone in the parish becomes an altar boy, an altar girl, a server," she said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:42 AM

Controversy surrounds suspended priest's services


[Includes video]

By Kathryn Garcia

Hundreds continue to flock to worship services put on by suspended priest Dale Fushek, even though the Diocese of Phoenix is urging Catholics not to attend.

"We try to focus on the positive and what we're here to do, which is to pray and worship," said Brad Kuluris, spokesman with the Praise and Worship Center.

It was standing room only at the Mesa Convention Center where Fushek, who is charged with misdemeanor sex charges against minors, led services.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:35 AM

Catholics flock to service led by accused priest


By Yelena Galibov

His East Valley parishioners are looking to Dale Fushek for spiritual leadership on Sundays and turning the other cheek on the multiple sex-related charges he faces.

Fushek, 55, faces one count of assault, five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of indecent exposure for allegedly engaging in sexual discussions during teen confession and exposing himself in a hot tub.

Many disregarded those allegations and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix’s instruction to boycott Fushek’s new Praise and Worship Center by attending the third service at the Mesa Convention Center on Sunday.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:24 AM

Panel: Merge 6 parishes


By Leslie Richardson

McAdoo — The weekend announcement that six parishes in the McAdoo area would be merged into one is another step in the church consolidation process that started in February, according to an official from the Allentown Catholic Diocese.

According to Matt Kerr, director of communications for the diocese, Monsignor Edward Zemanik did what all of the Northern Schuylkill parishes should be or will be doing — keeping the parish informed of the work of the deanery region committees.

“The minutes of the deanery region committees are to be printed in the church bulletins,” Kerr said Monday. “Monsignor Zemanik also discussed the matter with the congregation, which is good.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:19 AM

Faithful await fate: Priest says parishioners deserve to know about church merger plans


By Amanda Christman

There is still much work to do as the Diocese of Allentown manages a shortage of priests by consolidating or merging churches, a spokesman said Monday.

But a local council charged with reviewing churches in the North Schuylkill Deanery has an idea of what needs to be done.

“To this point, they feel there should be a merger,” diocese spokesman Matt Kerr said.

A 12-member deanery council is examining six churches – St. Patrick, St. Kunegunda and St. Mary of the Assumption in McAdoo, Immaculate Conception of Kelayres, and St. Michael and St. Bartholomew in Tresckow.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:10 AM

Catholic church under pressure to stop sale of paedophile's book


By Henry McDonald

The Catholic church in Northern Ireland is facing demands that it withdraw a book it has been selling which was secretly written by a convicted paedophile.

Where Donard Guards was written under a pseudonym by Father Daniel Curran, who has three convictions for sex offences against young boys. The priest tried to hide his identity by using the nom de plume "Nicholas Russell".

The book - one of the biggest local sellers in Northern Ireland over Christmas - was advertised in the bulletin at Maghera parish, County Down, as "a quality history of Newcastle ... written by a parishioner" and available for sale in the parish shop. Curran lives in Newcastle, a seaside resort at the foot of the Mourne mountains.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:07 AM

Interest in the priesthood is on the upswing, says Baltimore archdiocesan vocations director


By George P. Matysek Jr.

. . .

There are currently 26 men studying to become priests for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. They come from all parts of the archdiocese, and they include several international seminarians from Central and South America and one from Nigeria.

Last year’s incoming seminarian class stood at 13 – the biggest class in nearly two decades, according to Father Francik. He expects that this year’s class will also hit double digits.

The vocations director believes new archdiocesan efforts have helped renew interest in the religious life. They include programs like “Operation Genesis” and “Dare to Dream” – two daylong priesthood vocations camps for boys and teens. Cardinal William H. Keeler has also been very supportive, holding vocation suppers for young men considering the priesthood and serving as retreat master at annual discernment retreats – programs continued by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:02 AM

Childhood memories haunt woman


By Judy Wiff

She was five or six the first time she remembers her brother sexually assaulting her.

. . .

Investigators at first believed they could prosecute Brostowitz on two counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault and four counts of incest because Wilson reported the abuse before she turned 45. But because the events occurred before 1989, a new state law does not apply.

. . .

Oneida County Sheriff Jeffrey Hoffman wrote letters to Gov. Jim Doyle and state and federal lawmakers, urging them to plug this hole in the law.

“I know that over the years, the statutes involving child sexual assault have been changed to give the victims time to acknowledge their abuse and report it,” wrote Hoffman. “It appears that these changes have left out several generations of victims.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:52 AM

January 7, 2008

"Arrestate il prete latin lover"

La Stampa

OSTUNI (Brindisi)
Mai che questi ragazzini si facciano i fatti loro, ha forse pensato l’insegnante di religione. E’ nel diario della figlia che un operaio di 44 anni ha trovato conferma alle voci di paese e ai suoi sospetti: un bell’incontro tra la moglie e il prete. Intenso, duraturo, delicato e passionale: «Amore, mi sono appena guardata allo specchio e ho un livido sul labbro. Ne sai qualcosa?», scrive lei al suo riferimento sipirituale e fisico.


In OSTUNI in Puglia: a man prefers to go to the carabinieri than to the divorce lawyers

"Arrest the priest Latin lover"

Husband accuses the parish priest for sexual violence: he stole my serenity

You are not supposed to look into children's diary as children must not look into the cell phones of their parents. But it happens. And daddy looks into the pages of her daughter's diary and he is hit by how the child is praying Jesus: she asks Jesus to placate her pain for the betrayal of her mother and more than that with a priest, perhaps the one who is teaching her religion. And she implores Jesus so that the future of the family could be safeguarded, avoid its dismemberment, abandonment and tears.

The betrayed investigator in his report to the carabinieri adds other elements. There are messages copied on paper, by pen, written by his wife. "It seems I went to Heaven", "I won't ever tire to thank God to have allowed our encounter. You are the most beautiful thing ever happened to me". "Your love made me dream, it was so beautiful and I miss you so much. I love you so much I could die". And she also loves him "to die from". Luckily the blue collar worker doesn't make them content . He prefers to go to the carabinieri.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Vatican calls on the faithful for mass apology for sex scandals


By John Hooper

The Vatican has called on Catholics to atone for the sex abuse scandals that have engulfed their church in recent years by taking part in what may be the largest global prayer initiative ever seen.

Cardinal Cláudio Hummes told the Vatican's official daily, L'Osservatore Romano, that every diocese in the world should name a priest to work full-time on the arrangements for the "perpetual adoration" of the eucharist. This would involve parishioners taking turns to keep a round-the-clock vigil in front of a consecrated host representing the body of Jesus.

The initiative has all the hallmarks of the thinking of Pope Benedict, and would certainly not have been launched in this way without his full support.

Hummes, the head of the Vatican ministry for the clergy, said a letter had gone to "dioceses, parishes, rectories, chapels, monasteries, convents and seminaries" calling on them to organise groups of "adorers". The aim was "to make amends before God for the evil that has been done and hail once more the dignity of the victims", who had suffered from the "moral and sexual conduct of a very small part of the clergy". He did not indicate how long he saw the adoration continuing.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:38 AM

Pope calls for continuous prayer to rid priesthood of paedophilia


By Richard Owen

Pope Benedict XVI has instructed Roman Catholics to pray “in perpetuity” to cleanse the Church of paedophile clergy. All dioceses, parishes, monasteries, convents and seminaries will be expected to organise continuous daily prayers to express penitence and to purify the clergy.

Vatican officials said that every parish or institution should designate a person or group each day to conduct continuous prayers for the Church to rid itself of the scandal of sexual abuse by clergy. Alternatively, churches in the same diocese could share the duty. Prayer would take place in one parish for 24 hours, then move to another.

Vatican watchers said that there was no known precedent for global prayer on a specific issue of this kind. There are about one billion Roman Catholics worldwide.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:34 AM

600 attend former priest's services


By Dan Shearer

More than 600 people brushed aside a request from the Phoenix Catholic Diocese to avoid services led by former Monsignor Dale Fushek, packing three rooms at the Mesa Convention Center on Sunday.

The Praise and Worship Center, launched on Thanksgiving by Fushek and former priest Mark Dippre, mixes Catholic and evangelical worship styles and largely draws an over-40 crowd loyal to Fushek despite his legal problems.

Fushek is accused of misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and indecent exposure stemming from his relationships with five teenage boys from 1984 to 1993. The Arizona Supreme Court heard an appeal in the case in December but has not issued an opinion.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:24 AM

Ex-priest's theft case all or nothing as plea talks break down: Accused of embezzling $1 million in donations


By Jay Richards

Warren County prosecutors said Friday that there will be no plea negotiations in the case of former priest Robert Ascolese, who is accused of embezzling nearly $1 million in church charity funds.

Defense attorneys said they will seek to dismiss indictment charges against Ascolese and alleged accomplices in March.

Ascolese, 46, now living in Perth Amboy, N.J., was indicted in September 2006 on charges of theft, forgery, issuing forged checks, falsifying public records, tampering with public records, theft by deception and conspiracy. He allegedly embezzled nearly almost $1 million in funds from St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Washington, N.J.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:21 AM

The Schools settlement: Ottawa paying out $1.9 billion to aboriginal former students


By Alexandra Paul

By the end of January, $1.9 billion should be in the hands of people who had to attend residential schools set up for status Indians.

Aboriginal leaders say children who were forced into the schools under federal law were also systematically stripped of their aboriginal identities, languages and culture under a misguided government assimilation policy. Hundreds of survivors reported sexual, physical and emotional abuse in the institutions. The court-supervised compensation is the first official recognition of the toll the schools exacted on the aboriginal population in Canada. It's also believed to be the largest compensation package ever to First Nations.

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution office, handling the distribution of cheques through Service Canada, had estimated the number of eligible recipients at 80,000 coast to coast, but more have filed for cheques. Some will be eligible and some won't be.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:17 AM

A third of Catholic churches shut down in small Quebec city


By Tu Thanh Ha

Montreal — In nearly six decades playing the organ at her Quebec parish, Colette McCarthy witnessed historic changes in the Roman Catholic liturgy, as celebrations switched from Latin to French and mixed choirs were introduced.

But the most significant trend she noticed was that each year there were fewer priests, fewer masses and fewer churchgoers.

And so it was that yesterday, the first Sunday of 2008, Mrs. McCarthy's hometown of Rimouski found itself with a third of its Catholic churches closed.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:12 AM

Diocese to weigh fate of churches


By Angela Carbone

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield will spend the coming months "listening" to parishioners in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire counties as it weighs the future of its churches.

Nearly a year after the diocese was presented with a downsizing recommendation that called for closing three churches, merging 10 churches into five, and linking several dozen others across Western Massachuetts, there is still no definitive plan.

The diocese will schedule "listening sessions," which it hopes to complete by spring. The diocese is seeking input from church leaders and members from 10 regions it has established in the four counties it serves, according to spokesman Mark E. Dupont.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:07 AM

Critics finally see some chinks in Spota's armor


By Bart Jones

Thomas Spota has enjoyed such a sterling reputation as Suffolk County district attorney that it is not easy to find people willing to say anything remotely negative about him.

. . .

Since winning office in 2001, he has steadily burnished his reputation and even gained national attention by investigating sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, rooting out corruption among politicians of all stripes and methodically prosecuting tough-to-win cases like the 2001 murder of East Hampton financier Ted Ammon.

. . .

2003 - Releases Grand Jury report on sexual abuse by 58 priests in the Diocese of Rockville Centre dating back decades. Wins national attention for issuing one of the first such reports in the country.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:02 AM

Visiting historical Brooks Cemetery will get much easier


By Capi Lynn

Hopefully the dreaded days of parking along the narrow shoulder of busy Brooklake Road NE and climbing the steep embankment to pay respects are numbered.

. . .

A group of descendants formed the cemetery association in 2001, hoping to establish better access. The association was on the verge of being conveyed the deed about the time the archdiocese filed bankruptcy in 2004, under the weight of sexual abuse lawsuits.

Now after three years, conveyance of the deed is in the works, according to St. Joseph Catholic Church, which oversees the cemetery for the archdiocese.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:56 AM

'Pillars of the community' grooming children on the internet


By Jon Land

Some people thought to be pillars of the community are being arrested as predatory paedophiles, police tell a TV programme to be shown tonight.

. . .

The ITV1 programme tracked down and confronted a former priest allegedly trying to groom a schoolgirl from Wales.

In a confrontation in a German internet cafe, 36-year-old Martin admits to sending 12-year-old Becky photos of naked young girls, asking her to send him a bra she has worn and having child pornography on his computer at home.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:51 AM

Medical board's action on 123 sexual exploitation cases seen as not enough


By Tom Kisken

He called her "sweet pea," held her hand and warned her about moving too fast with her fiancee. What began as flirtation morphed into an affair that was twice consummated.

. . .

Sex with a patient is a twisting of authority on the same level as abuse at the hands of a priest or a teacher, said Steve Altchuler, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a U.S. authority on patient-doctor relationships.

"The impact is absolutely devastating," he said. "The patient feels they've been taken advantage of by someone they've trusted. Sexual violations go to the very core of who we are."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 6:44 AM

January 6, 2008

BOSTON VIGIL, part 2: "You Can't Honk for Justice"

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling

In Boston this morning Bob Sidorowicz said: “We used to have a sign that said honk if you're for justice. The church called the police because of all the honking. The next week our sign said You Can’t Honk for Justice.”

Sidorowicz was at the cathedral in downtown Boston this morning at a vigil honoring the sixth anniversary of Boston Globe articles which brought the pedophile priest issue into national view. However, the group, aka Sidewalk VOTF, has continued to hold vigils on Sundays in front of the cathedral in Boston since 2002. (A link to the first article in the Globe is in the left column of this blog.)

Sidorowicz: I’ve been doing this about five years now. I read about it in the Globe when it first broke and I was really angry and wanted to do something. I came down here and asked these people if I could stand with them and I haven’t left.

“About 40 or 50 people showed up for Mass today in a cathedral that holds about 1700. They have one major mass and this is it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:54 PM

Moglie lo tradisce con sacerdote


His wife betrays him with a priest
In Ostuni, a husband reports his wife's behavior at the carabinieri's station

(ANSA) - OSTUNI (BRINDISI), January 6 - He finds out his wife has a relationship with a priest, who teaches religion to his daughter, and reports the fact to the carabinieri. The story, published today in some local newspapers, happened in Ostuni, in the Province of Brindisi. It seems the relationship started in 2006. The man, a 44-year-old blue collar worker, is said to have found a diary where his wife logged the affectionate SMS messages exchanged with the priest. "It seemed I went to heaven", was one of the messages sent her by the priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 PM

BOSTON VIGIL: There were almost as many protesters as people attending Mass

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling

(First report on vigil outside Boston Cathedral today honoring sixth anniversary of Boston Globe 2002 reports on pedophile priests.)

“I realized the Catholic Church had manmade rules and I was following them,” said Rosemary Morgan explaining why at age 80 she still shows up almost every Sunday to protest on the sidewalk outside Boston Cathedral. “I was mentally abused in my marriage," she said. “If I got married again I’d be excommunicated so it discouraged me. Then having this happen and other things in my life.”

She’s known as Our Lady of the Lawn Chair, one of a group of 25-30 who keep the fires burning in Boston while accusations of sex abuse by priests continue across the country. They show up every week, even as those in the news business see pedophile priests as old news.

Most who come to the vigils are not "survivors" or family members of crime victims. These are just plain outraged people who aren’t going to go back home now and let the church get away with years of covering up and aiding and abetting pedophiles. Perhaps three of the 25 persons outside Boston cathedral this morning are reportedly survivors. Those three left early.

“We came 6 years ago to the cathedral and we were stunned at the response we got shocked at the whole thing,” said Ruth Moore.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:38 PM

Judge: Statute of Limitations Doesn't Apply in Priest Abuse Case


Burlington, Vt. - A new development in the case against a former Vermont priest accused of molesting several young men.

Superior Court Judge Matthew Katz ruled Friday that the statute of limitations does not apply in the case of James Turner, who recently won his lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese. In early December, a jury agreed Turner had been abused by former priest Alfred Willis, and awarded him $15,000 in damages. But the jury also said the statute of limitations in the case had run out, so Turner could not collect that money. This latest decision from Judge Katz might change that.

After the jury's ruling, Turner's attorney filed a post-trial motion, asking Judge Katz to re-examine the statute of limitations issue. Ruling on that motion, Judge Katz agreed with the lawyers that the Roman Catholic Diocese did not prove the statute applied in this case.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:43 AM

Church's abuse defense takes hit


By Kevin O'Connor

A judge has thrown out a jury decision that Vermont's Catholic Church isn't liable for a pedophile priest because an accuser's civil lawsuit was believed too old to prosecute under the state's statutes of limitations.

"This defense of statute of limitation should not have been submitted to the jury," Judge Matthew Katz wrote in a ruling this week.

As a result, the statewide Roman Catholic Diocese will have to pay $15,000 to James Turner, a 47-year-old Northeast Kingdom native, for his claims that it failed to protect him from the former Rev. Alfred Willis, a priest in Burlington, Montpelier and Milton before being defrocked in 1985.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:40 AM

Judge says Diocese isn't protected by time in priest case


Burlington, Vt.—A Superior Court judge has overturned a jury ruling that Vermont's Roman Catholic Diocese isn't liable for a pedophile priest because a victim's lawsuit was filed after the statute of limitations had expired.

The ruling by Judge Matthew Katz could mean the diocese will have to pay $15,000 to James Turner, 47, who claimed the church failed to protect him from the actions of the former Rev. Alfred Willis.

Last month a jury found that the Diocese failed to supervise adequately the now-defrocked Willis and awarded Turner the compensatory damages. But the jury also found that under the statute of limitations, Turner should have brought the claim by 1998.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:37 AM

Court tosses appeal try by priest: He is serving time for possessing child porn; said sentence too harsh


By Chris Parker

A Schuylkill County Catholic priest serving a four- to 10-year state prison sentence for having hundreds of child pornography images has lost his state Superior Court appeal to reduce the term, and officials say his massive collection will be destroyed.

The sentence against Ronald Yarrosh, 60, former assistant pastor at St. Ambrose Church in Schuylkill Haven, was upheld by a three-judge state Superior Court panel.

District Attorney James P. Goodman said the ruling, by President Judge Kate Ford Elliott, Robert E. Colville and Susan P. Gantman, means the county can finally obliterate the extensive collection of pornographic magazines, pictures, books and videotapes Yarrosh kept in a rented Hazleton storage bin and a vacant Jim Thorpe home.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:31 AM

Maryland Bishops set Legislative Agenda


By George P. Matysek, Jr.

Annapolis, Md. - Repealing the death penalty is among the actions Maryland Catholic Conference leaders believe can be accomplished this year. The conference also has high hopes that a business tax credit to help nonpublic schools can be established, along with a proposed program to benefit women with unplanned pregnancies.

. . .

The conference will be fighting expected legislation legalizing same-sex marriage and a bill that Catholic leaders say would cripple the church's ministries by allowing child abuse-related civil suits that had been previously prevented by the statute of limitations.

. . .

Saying that it would cripple the many outreach ministries of the Catholic Church in Maryland, the conference will again oppose legislation allowing civil lawsuits against the three Catholic dioceses serving Maryland -- the archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, Del. -- for sexual-abuse claims stretching beyond the current seven-year limitation. While such a bill was defeated last year, another is expected to be introduced this session, Dowling said.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:24 AM

Bill would give victims more time to report abuse


By Judy Wiff

A bill recently introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature would remove the time limit for filing civil lawsuits for injury resulting from sexual assault of a child.

While the new law would apply mainly to future victims, it would also give victims of earlier abuse a three-year window to file a civil suit.

“We’ve been very pleased with the support. It’s a bipartisan effort,” said Bill Berndt, River Falls. Berndt, a former state senator, is the Wisconsin representative and lobbyist for the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:18 AM

No need to alter sex-abuse laws


By Richard J. Bartlett
December 30, 2007

A recent Times Union Perspective article by Marge Markey, a member of the state Assembly, and Marci A. Hamilton, a professor at Cardozo Law School, requires response. The article [Victims in law] supported Assemblywoman Markey's bill to loosen the limitations of time, both criminal and civil, applicable to cases alleging sexual abuse of minors.

The proposal would amend the Criminal Procedure Law by extending for an additional five years the current law that a minor who alleges that he or she was abused has until the minor reaches age 23 to come forward with the charge that the abuse took place and the alleged abuser is prosecuted. That means a prosecution may be brought 10 or more years after the event allegedly took place, an unreasonable extension of time.

No mention is made in the article of the 2006 amendment to Section 30.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law, by which the crimes of first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree aggravated sexual abuse and first-degree sexual conduct against a child were exempted all together from the limitations of time for prosecution. These significant changes are a more than sufficient response to the demand for relaxation of the limitations of time with respect to serious sexual abuse of minor cases.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:12 AM

Victims tell of Brooklyn priest sex abuse


[Includes photo of Zatarga]

By Alison Gendar

George Zatarga allegedly abused boys inside his home near Saratoga Springs.

Father Zatarga liked to watch.

That's what one of the men said as he recounted how more than 20 years ago the priest told him to undress and stand naked in front of a mirror while the priest watched.

"Here he was, supposedly living a life of service in the name of the Lord, but he was doing this to his children," said the victim, now a 39-year-old New York City lawyer. "He was aiming for heaven but he was going the other way."

Msgr. George Zatarga of the Diocese of Brooklyn was placed on administrative leave after he admitted to "inappropriate behavior" during his 40-year career, according to a Dec. 1 letter from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to parishioners.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:59 AM

Hundreds remain loyal to Fushek


[Note: The first 14 paragraphs of this article are almost identical to Diocese urges Catholics not to attend Fushek services, which was linked in Abuse Tracker on January 4, 2008. But then this article provides new material, and a new photograph.]

By Jim Walsh

The Diocese of Phoenix is urging Catholics not to attend a suspended priest's non-denominational services, but Dale Fushek's magnetism keeps filling the Mesa Convention Center while he awaits trial on misdemeanor sex charges.

. . .

Many of those in attendance asked not be quoted by name. Some said they wanted to support an old friend, while others said they missed Fushek's charismatic preaching while at St. Timothy's.

After the previous service, the diocese criticized Fushek for violating the terms of his suspension, which barred him from acting as a priest or engaging in any form of public ministry.

Fushek was suspended in December 2004 when he was accused in a civil suit of performing a sex act on himself and watching as another priest sexually abused a teenage boy in 1985. The case was dismissed when the diocese reached a $100,000 settlement with the victim.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:50 AM

Can the Church learn to listen?


By Raymond A. Schroth

. . .

I'd like to say that I thought of that analogy myself. But the Shakespeare-God is the creation of George Dennis O'Brien, whose new book, Finding the Voice of the Church (Notre Dame University Prress), is an imaginative and challenging attempt to get the Catholic Church, which he acknowledges has recently lost much of its moral authority, to speak with a different voice by first learning how to listen.

I first encountered Dennis O'Brien, philosopher and president emeritus of the University of Rochester, in the 1970s when he wrote in Commonweal magazine that philosophy should be taught not by philosophers but by English teachers.

O'Brien confesses to being a "Commonweal Catholic," and considers his stance a "middle-of-the-road liberalism" sympathetic with the Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) agenda for lay participation in the governance of the church. But O'Brien is unpredictable in his analysis of the church's plight, and anyone who reads him merely to have his or her convictions bolstered is in for a few surprises.

The American bishops, he says, have lost their public voice not merely because of the sexual abuse scandal. Even though American Mass attendance surpasses that of de-Christianized Europe, here the younger generation is falling away from Christian belief. One reason is that once the Vatican Council closed, "the spirit of dialogue evaporated." John Paul II and then Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, conducted a teaching papacy, not a learning papacy, as if they feared open discussion.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:41 AM

New book published about priests who served Dodge City Diocese


By Charlene Scott

Archivist Tim Wenzl has compiled a most unusual book that tells the stories of 317 deceased priests and bishops who served the 28-county area that now is the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.

The book is “Priests on the Prairie, Southwest Kansas Territory.” Each page is devoted to a different priest who is listed according to the day of the year he died, Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. The pages are in a binder, so the stories of other priests can be added to the book after their deaths.

“There are some amazing men among these priests,” said Wenzl. “The book includes not only diocesan priests, but religious order priests. Many priests from foreign countries have served the diocese: German, Irish and French. In the future, biographies will be added for priests from Burma, Africa, India, Ecuador, the Philippines and Vietnam.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:35 AM

Pope steps in: Phoenix bishop appointed as temporary head of Gallup Diocese


By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola

For Catholics in the Diocese of Gallup, the third day of the New Year brought a sweeping change in local church leadership.

The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, has been appointed apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Gallup by Pope Benedict XVI, and Gallup Bishop Donald E. Pelotte has been granted a one-year medical leave of absence.

. . .

Sex abuse allegations

When asked about his approach to dealing with clergy sex abuse allegations — in light of the recent civil lawsuit against the diocese by a Navajo man who claims a Franciscan priest sexually abused him in Shiprock in the mid-1980s, Olmsted said he had a three-step approach.

First, he said, he emphasizes the importance of law enforcement authorities being notified about the allegation. Secondly, Olmsted said, he tries to extend a pastoral response to the person making the allegation and to their family, and thirdly, he authorizes an investigation into the credibility of the allegation.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:27 AM

Regarding the lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis


Q: Regarding the lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis: During the time this stuff was going on, was Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger working in that diocese? Was he a parish priest or was he working in administration?

A: Gettelfinger was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1961, was named domestic prelate (in the vernacular, "monsignor," although that's not a title, but a form of address), and became bishop of the Diocese of Evansville in 1989.

In the interim — including the period when lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis allege sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests at parishes within the Archdiocese took place — Gettelfinger served the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in various capacities. Over the years, he was an associate pastor and pastor, teacher, guidance counselor and principal at Bishop Chatard High School; the diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools; the rector of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral; the Archdiocesan Chancellor and Vicar General.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:23 AM

Second Oregon man alleges Omaha diocese ignored abuse reports


[Note: This January 4, 2008 article is no longer accessible on the website of the Beatrice Daily Sun. We provide a link to Google's cache of the article.]

Omaha, Neb. - A second man from Springfield, Ore., has filed a lawsuit in Nebraska alleging that the Omaha Archdiocese ignored reports that one of its priests was having improper contact with children.

The lawsuit was filed this week in U.S. District Court on behalf of Nick Johnson, who contends the Omaha diocese allowed him to be abused in the late 1970s by the Rev. Duane Lucas, now deceased.

The same allegation was made in an April lawsuit filed on behalf of Cary Claar of Springfield, a city of 55,000 in western Oregon.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:17 AM

Oregon man alleging abuse sues Omaha Archdiocese


An Oregon man says in a lawsuit that the Omaha Archdiocese ignored reports that 1 of its priests was having improper contact with children.

Nick Johnson of Springfield, Oregon, is suing the archdiocese in U.S. District Court in Omaha.

Johnson says he was sexually assaulted by the Reverend Duane Lucas, now deceased, from the late 1970s into the 1980s.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:12 AM

Cardinal: Pray for Sexual Abuse Victims

The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Vatican cardinal is calling for special prayer sessions worldwide for the victims of sexual abuse by priests.

A letter has been sent to bishops urging them to promote initiatives in their dioceses for special prayers, Cardinal Claudio Hummes said in an interview published in Saturday's edition of Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano. He did not indicate when such initiatives might begin.

"There have always been problems because we are all sinners," said Hummes, who heads the Vatican office overseeing priests worldwide.

"But in these times some truly very grave deeds have come to light," he said in a reference to the scandals of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:21 AM

January 5, 2008

«Preghiera per le vittime dei preti pedofili»

Corriere della Sera

CITTA' DEL VATICANO - Prayer and perpetual eucharistic adoration, at world wide level, for the victims of pedophilia and abuses committed by priests.