December 31, 2004

Lawyer says priest will be cleared of sex allegation


PHOENIX An attorney says a former top official in the Phoenix Catholic diocese will be cleared of allegations of sexual improprieties.

Attorney Michael Manning says the allegation against Monsignor Dale Fushek (FYOO'-shek)is baseless and a source of disappointment for Fushek.

Fushek is the pastor of St. Timothy Catholic Church in Mesa and the founder of large youth group.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted placed Fushek on leave after an attorney notified the diocese that a client claimed to have recovered a repressed memory involving sexual improprieties by Fushek in 1985.

An attorney for the accuser says his client's claim is true and that he will continue to pursue the case.

Posted by kshaw at 08:25 AM

Church elaborates on priest's dark past


Friday, December 31, 2004
Star-Ledger Staff

A suspended priest charged with molesting teenage boys while working in Morris County had been blackballed 10 years ago by the Archdiocese of Newark when church officials determined he had committed "sexual misconduct" against two males, an archdiocesan spokesman said yesterday.

Richard Mieliwocki, 58, left the Catholic church and became a social worker, continuing to deal with young men. He avoided having his license suspended in 1999 for inappropriate behavior by agreeing to weekly monitoring for three years, a consent order showed.

Mieliwocki's past only now is catching up to him, and his case shows how someone with a checkered history can move from job to job without detection. Two of his employers said they knew nothing of the allegations against Mieliwocki when they hired him.

"He went under the radar screen, and he's been passed along and passed along. There's something unconscionable about that," said the Rev. Joseph Hennen, director of the Daytop Village drug-treatment center in Mendham. Authorities say Mieliwocki victimized four of the center's residents.

Newark Archdiocesan spokesman Jim Goodness revealed yesterday that Mieliwocki was removed from duty in February 1994 after the archdiocese found credence in two men's claims that Mieliwocki abused them beginning in 1988 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in South Orange.

Posted by kshaw at 08:20 AM

Ex-Williamstown priest accused of molesting teen

Berkshire Eagle

SPRINGFIELD -- A Western Massachusetts priest who once served in Williamstown has been removed from the ministry after he was accused of molesting a teenager in the 1970s.

The Rev. Michael H. Devlin, 62, was most recently chaplain at Providence Place in Holyoke. He was suspended in October after his alleged victim told the diocese's Review Board that he was abused. After the panel investigated the claims, Bishop Timothy McDonnell decided to permanently suspend Devlin earlier this month.

Laura Failla Reilly, the church's victim advocate, would not give many details of the allegation Wednesday. She said Devlin is accused of molesting a teenager several times while he was affiliated with St. Thomas' Parish in West Springfield and at All Souls' Parish in Springfield.

Devlin became the pastor of St. Patrick's Church in Williamstown in 1985. The Southworth Street church had 1,000 members at the time. He succeeded the Rev. Alfred C. Graves.

Posted by kshaw at 08:18 AM

Parishioners stand behind Mesa priest on charge


Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 31, 2004 12:00 AM

A Mesa church in crisis rallied behind a suspended priest Thursday, packing a forum to learn more about the allegations against Monsignor Dale Fushek.

While most parishioners attending the forum and Mass at St. Timothy's Catholic Church said they support Fushek, others were reserving judgment until more is known about a man's allegation that Fushek watched as another priest molested him in 1985.

"It's all lies. Anyone who knows Monsignor Dale knows it's lies," said Janet Maneke, who passed out "I support Monsignor Dale" buttons before the Mass. "We love Monsignor Dale. He's touched a lot of lives and done a lot of good."

Parishioner Frank Casa said he was so impressed by Fushek while attending a retreat in Mexico that he encouraged parishes in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., to adopt Fushek's Life Teen youth ministry.

But Casa said he is preparing himself for the worst-case scenario while hoping Fushek is eventually cleared of wrongdoing.

"I think we're all desperately hoping that this is not for real," Casa said. "On the other hand, there must be good reason to put him on administrative leave."

Posted by kshaw at 08:11 AM

Police seize material from office of B.C. youth minister

Anglican Journal


Police in South Delta, B.C., have seized “sensitive material” from the office of an Anglican youth pastor from Tsawwassen, B.C., who is currently in jail in Baja Peninsula, Mexico, over allegations of child sexual abuse.

Last July 15, Mexican authorities arrested Brad Firth, supervisor of youth activities at St. David’s church, for the alleged sexual assault in 2001 of a 14-year-old boy who attended a Bible camp at a church in the city of Ensenada. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Firth was in Mexico with a team of teens and and
adults from the diocese who went to Tijuana to help a church-run orphanage.

‘Our concern is for the protection of our children and to ensure a fair trial we are trying to be as responsible with the information as possible, and everyone in the congregation is called to do the same.’

Rev. Paul Woehrle, rector of St. David’s church, said that members of his congregation have been “traumatized” by recent media reports about Mr. Firth’s arrest and the seizure of material from his offices. He told Anglican Journal that concerns were raised over the fact that newspapers had carried photographs of Mr. Firth showing him with some children and youth of the community.

Posted by kshaw at 08:04 AM

8 homes planned for playing fields


Friday, December 31, 2004

WILBRAHAM - The planned construction of eight homes on Tinkham Road means neighbors and some athletic teams will lose a neighborhood recreation oasis where the homes will be built.

But while some neighbors hate to see the 4.79 acres across from the entrance to Minnechaug Regional High School developed, they are taking some solace in the belief that their property values will rise as a result of the construction.

"It was a great place for kids and dogs to run around, and many teams practiced there as well," said Sheila R. Albertson, whose 3 Edward St. home faces the property being developed by town resident and contractor Anthony Carnevale.

Her neighbor Armand A. Zolla said he has enjoyed 38 years of the undeveloped land and practice fields in front of his home.

But, he said, "Time marches on. Development was inevitable."

The land was sold for $750,000 recently as part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield's $7.75 million settlement of clergy sexual abuse suits.

Posted by kshaw at 08:00 AM

Legionaries Barred From Archdiocese

The Day

Published on 12/31/2004

Minneapolis — Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis has barred the Legionaries of Christ religious order from working in the archdiocese and prohibited its associated lay movement Regnum Christi from using archdiocesan property or parishes for its activities.

The conservative Legionaries are a favorite of Pope John Paul II, but the order has been criticized by former seminarians and others for being too rigid, secretive and competitive with other officials within the Roman Catholic Church. Also, its founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel of Mexico, has been accused of sexual abuse — allegations the religious order has denied.

Flynn notified parishes of his decision in a Nov. 23 letter that was made public a month later by a group critical of the religious order. Dennis McGrath, a spokesman for the archdiocese, confirmed the letter's authenticity. The Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, enacted a similar ban in 2002, said Robin Miller, a spokeswoman for the Columbus diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 07:58 AM

Audit: Phoenix diocese complies with sex-abuse policies


PHOENIX A recent audit shows the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix is following sex-abuse prevention policies.

The examination assessed compliance with the U-S Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The Phoenix diocese had a half dozen priests and former priests indicted on sexual abuse charges in 2003.

Auditors who examined the Phoenix diocese in early December found Bishop Thomas Olmsted has a policy for meeting with victims of sex abuse but hasn't had to do so.

No allegations were made between the latest audit and one conducted in November 2003.

Posted by kshaw at 07:54 AM

Group questions diocese delay


Dec. 31, 2004

By Jon Seidel / Post-Tribune staff writer

A national group that defends victims of sexual abuse by priests has demanded an explanation from the Gary Diocese for the length of an investigation of a Michigan City priest.

David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, sent a letter Thursday to Bishop Dale Melczek of the Diocese of Gary and to Bishop Thomas Wenski of the Diocese of Orlando to ask why it took eight months for them to respond to allegations made against the Rev. Richard Emerson.

About two weeks ago, Melczek announced that Emerson, 52, a Hammond native, would be placed on administrative leave from his position as pastor of Michigan City’s Notre Dame parish because allegations of sexual abuse made against him were judged to be credible.

Emerson has been accused of engaging in sexual activity with a minor while working as a priest in the Orlando Diocese during the 1980s.

The Rev. Brian Chadwick, the communications director for the Gary diocese, said no criminal charges have been filed against Emerson, although authorities in both Indiana and Florida have been informed. Emerson is restrained from public ministry or contact with minors pending a Vatican review, the diocese said earlier in a news release.

Posted by kshaw at 07:52 AM

The Year In Keeping The Faith

Orange County Weekly

by Gustavo Arellano

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve written a few stories about the Diocese of Orange sex-abuse scandal this year—31, actually. Most of them were well-researched, hard-hitting exposés critical of a church leadership that for decades refused to acknowledge the priestly pedophilia problem in Catholic Orange County. Some stories drew national attention, such as my piece about Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown’s purchase of a $1.1 million manse for himself near South Coast Plaza. Others ran under the headlines "All Aboard the Pedo-Train!" and "Hide the Buggering Priests!" or examined a mural at St. Joseph’s in Santa Ana I lovingly refer to as "Boner Jesus."

It’s a living.

Anyways, it’s been tough covering an imploding Church, and not just because of the barrage of angry Catholic e-mails and phone messages. Shortly after I began the series, my parents took me aside. They’re barely English-literate, but someone had apparently translated my "King of County Pedophiles" story for them, the article in which I excerpted a police report detailing how Father Eleuterio Ramos allowed three strangers in a San Diego motel room to blindfold a 14-year-old boy, then watched as they savagely gang-raped the teenager.

My parents have never been the most devout of Catholics—papi rarely attends Mass, and I can’t remember the last time mami took the Eucharist. Nevertheless, they ordered me to sit one night and yelled at me for a good hour. Orthodox or not, they’re Mexican Catholics, and insulting the Church in our culture is as serious a sin as saluting the American flag. Why write badly about the Church? they demanded. Why bash God?

Posted by kshaw at 07:43 AM

December 30, 2004

Clergy Abuse Support Groups Say Priest Violating Probation


Reported by: 9News
Web produced by: Neil Relyea
Photographed by: 9News
12/29/2004 9:36:13 PM

Two local support groups for clergy sex abuse victims say a convicted priest is not living up to his probation, and they want the judge to do something about it.

In July, Father Thomas Kuhn was sentenced to five years of supervised probation for public indecency and providing alcohol to minors while he worked as a Dayton-area priest.

But the groups voice of the faithful and survivors network of those abused say the former Elder High School principal has violated his parole several times.

Posted by kshaw at 07:51 AM

Allegations shock parish employees


Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 30, 2004 12:00 AM

Staff members at St. Timothy's Parish in Mesa were shocked upon learning that their pastor was placed on administrative leave Wednesday pending the outcome of an investigation but remain confident he will be cleared.

Tears welled in the eyes of the parish's gift shop manager when she was asked her reaction to allegations of a sexual nature leveled against Monsignor Dale Fushek.

"It's shocking and saddening," Virginia West said. "It is a sad time, but we're very loyal to Monsignor (Fushek), and we will stand behind him."
Fushek, the parish's pastor for 20 years, was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Phoenix when allegations surfaced involving a 14-year-old from two decades ago.

The Rev. Carlos Gomez, the associate pastor, said a question-and-answer session will be held after tonight's 7 o'clock Mass.

Posted by kshaw at 07:41 AM

Clinical therapist accused of having sex with girl, 16

Arizona Daily Star

By Becky Pallack and Sarah Garrecht Gassen

A North Side clinical therapist and charter school director is in jail, charged with having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old patient since August.

Richard E. Giberti, 42, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, said Deputy Dawn Barkman, a spokeswoman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department. He is in jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.

He can no longer work at a school, including TLC Charter School, which he opened in 2001.

The victim's mother reported Giberti to deputies after she discovered sexually explicit e-mails between Giberti and her daughter Tuesday morning, Barkman said.

The teen told her mother she was having a sexual relationship with Giberti, who had been her therapist since August. The Sheriff's Department would not reveal the specific type of counseling Giberti was providing the teen. ...

Before he became a therapist, Giberti had careers as a pastor and businessman, according to a résumé posted online on the TLC Charter Schools Web site.

He was a pastor of the Shining Light Assembly, a church in Maine, from 1990 to 1996. He provided therapy, including a weekly adolescent support group, at the church.

Posted by kshaw at 07:38 AM

Clergy, Boy Scout Leader Named In Church Sex Suit


POSTED: 7:37 am EST December 30, 2004

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- A former nun who taught at a Catholic school in Holyoke, Mass., during the 1970s is one of four clergy members and a Boy Scout leader named in a sex abuse lawsuit filed by five men.

One of the plaintiffs -- all of whom filed the suit anonymously under the name John Doe -- says he had a two-year sexual relationship with ex-nun Mary Jane Vidnansky. The man says she told him she became pregnant and had an abortion during their relationship. Vidnansky, who was once a member of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, taught at Mater Dolorosa School in Holyoke.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs says she left the order in the mid-1970s.

Attorney Carmen Durso says his client has pictures of Vidnanski that were taken in his bedroom, a lock of her hair and a report card that she signed.

"He ended the relationship when he started to become interested in people his own age," Durso told the Republican newspaper of Springfield. "He said she pursued him. He's really been shattered by the whole experience.

Vidnansky could not be reached for comment by the newspaper. A telephone listing for her could not immediately be found on Thursday.

Posted by kshaw at 07:34 AM

Diocese investigates monsignor

East Valley Tribune

By Kristina Davis, Tribune

A popular Mesa priest who founded the nation’s largest Roman Catholic youth organization has been placed on administrative leave while church officials investigate claims he knew about sexual misconduct involving a teen 20 years ago, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix announced Wednesday.

Monsignor Dale Fushek, pastor of St. Timothy Catholic Community in Mesa, is prohibited from priestly duties while investigators look into claims that he knew about sexual abuse at the church and was present during one of the incidents.

Attorney Frank Verderame notified church officials Dec. 22 that a former parishioner claimed to have recovered repressed memories of sexual molestation by the Rev. Mark Lehman, who served 10 years in prison for molesting students in the late 1980s at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School in Phoenix.

Posted by kshaw at 07:30 AM

Late Western Alaska priests accused in new lawsuit

Anchorage Daily News

The Associated Press

(Published: December 29, 2004)

FAIRBANKS - A man filed a lawsuit in Bethel this week that claims he was sexually abused by two priests while serving in Western Alaska villages during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Revs. Segundo Llorente and Francis Nawn, both deceased, are named as the assailants of the plaintiff, identified as Jack Doe 1.

According to the lawsuit, the man is a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church in Sheldon's Point, now known as Nunam Iqua. He claims he and others were sexually abused as children.

Named as defendants are the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska and the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province; and the Society of Jesus, Alaska.

Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa is representing the plaintiff. He also is representing dozens of others in lawsuits filed on behalf of alleged victims of sexual abuse by two other Jesuit priests, the late Rev. Jules Convert and the Rev. Jim Poole, 81, founder of Catholic radio station KNOM in Nome.

Posted by kshaw at 07:28 AM

Six file sex abuse lawsuits against Worcester Diocese

Telegram & Gazette

The Associated Press

WORCESTER, Mass.— Five people who claim they were molested by priests have filed lawsuits against the Worcester Diocese, which this month sought to dismiss or limit other sexual abuse suits.

Four men and a woman claim in the suits filed Tuesday in Worcester Superior Court that they were assaulted in the 1960s and 70s, according to their attorney, Carmen Durso.

A sixth suit filed Tuesday against the diocese claims a layperson hired by a priest assaulted a boy. All are seeking unspecified damages.

A spokesman for the diocese did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Locke hasn't ruled yet on a diocese motion to dismiss or limit lawsuits filed by a dozen men who claimed they were molested by priests.

Posted by kshaw at 07:26 AM

Five people sue Worcester Diocese

Capital News 9

12/29/2004 10:43 PM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

Five people who claim they were molested by priests have filed lawsuits against the Worcester Diocese.

Four men and a woman allege they were assaulted in the 1960s
and 1970s. Attorney Carmen Durso said a sixth suit filed against the diocese claims a layperson hired by a priest assaulted a boy.

Earlier this month, the diocese sought to dismiss or limit other sexual abuse suits. Diocese lawyers cited First Amendment protections of religion and a 1971 state law that had limited the amount of liability that charitable institutions could face.

Durso said the church should not be allowed to limit the size of the payouts because the abuse of children and shifting priests from parish to parish was not part of its charitable function.

Posted by kshaw at 07:25 AM

2 Brothers' Suit Accuses Priests of Molestation

Los Angeles Times

By Fred Alvarez, Times Staff Writer

Two brothers have filed suit against the Franciscan Friars of California and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, alleging sexual abuse by two priests at a Santa Barbara seminary.

The suit alleges that the brothers, now 22 and 25, were repeatedly molested while members of the boys choir at St. Anthony's Seminary from 1989 to 1994.

The suit, filed Dec. 15 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, identified the seminary priests as Robert Van Handel and Gerald Heather.

Van Handel was convicted of child abuse in 1994, sentenced to eight years in prison and now lives in Santa Cruz as a registered sex offender, according to the lawsuit and court records. Heather is reportedly living overseas.

According to the suit, the Friars and the archdiocese allowed Van Handel to establish and oversee the boys choir at St. Anthony's despite knowing the threat he posed to children. To date, 16 victims allegedly abused by Van Handel have been identified in Santa Barbara, the lawsuit said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:23 AM

The Legal System and Clergy Abuse in 2004


Thursday, Dec. 30, 2004

At the beginning of 2004, the legal system seemed to offer little, if any, recourse for clergy abuse victims. However, I am happy to report that, over the course of the year, the legal situation changed, at least to some extent - leaving victims with genuine reasons for optimism about the future.

In this column, I will contrast the state of affairs with respect to legal recourse for clergy abuse victims, at the beginning of 2004, with the state of affairs now. I will also sketch what still needs to be done if we are to truly afford victims some justice for the grievous harms they suffered, and if we are to do our best to deter future victimization.

The State of Affairs in January 2004

Here was the legal situation at the start of this year:

The situation in civil court was mixed, and dire in some states. Some state courts had held that a victim could not bring a civil cause of action involving sexual abuse by clergy against a religious institution - claiming wrongly that the First Amendment created a defense to such liability.

Similarly, various states, such as Massachusetts and New Jersey, had laws on the books permitting nonprofit institutions such as churches to avoid liability for the tortious acts of their employees or volunteers. As I discussed in a previous column, there was a time when charitable immunity was the prevailing rule. It has been on the wane almost since it first appeared, though, because it runs counter to the deep-seated American belief in holding those who harm others responsible for their conduct. Nevertheless, some states still retain the doctrine, and when they do, it drastically reduces potential liability for the Church, even for abuse that it was well aware of, and not only did not stop, but actually facilitated.

Posted by kshaw at 07:22 AM

Ex-nun named in sex-abuse suit


Thursday, December 30, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - In a first for the region, a former nun is among local clergy accused of sexually abusing minors in a suit filed yesterday by five men.

The suit targeting the former nun, three priests and a former Boy Scout leader was filed in Hampden Superior Court the same day the local Catholic diocese removed the Rev. Michael H. Devlin, 62, from ministry in an unrelated case following molestation allegations.

The suit, filed anonymously under the names John Doe, also accuses the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese of conspiring to cover up the abuse, which allegedly began decades ago.

All but former nun Mary Jane Vidnansky have previously been named in sexual abuse lawsuits. Two deceased priests - J. Roy Jenness and Thomas J. O'Connor - also are named in the lawsuit along with the Rev. Alfred C. Graves, former Boy Scout leader Bruce A. Mooney, the Boy Scouts of America and the diocese.

One of five John Does behind yesterday's claim said the nun, once a member of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph who taught at Mater Dolorosa School in Holyoke, became pregnant during a two-year sexual relationship in the mid-1970s.

A lawyer for the men said Vidnansky told the alleged victim she had had an abortion and left the order in 1976. He also said the plaintiff provided an old report card signed by Vidnansky, photographs of the woman he says were shot in his bedroom and a lock of her hair.

Posted by kshaw at 07:20 AM

Abuse claims breathe life into dead priests' past

Anchorage Daily News

Anchorage Daily News

(Published: December 30, 2004)

A popular Jesuit priest -- the country's first Roman Catholic priest to serve in a state Legislature -- and his successor at a parish in Sheldon Point are accused in a lawsuit of separately molesting the same boy there beginning in the 1950s.

The plaintiff says in the civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Bethel Superior Court that the Rev. Segundo Llorente molested him four times in 1956 and 1957, when he was 6 and 7 years old. He also accuses the Rev. Francis Nawn of abusing him at least five times when he was a teenager. Both men are deceased.

The plaintiff, who is identified in court papers as Jack Doe 1, seeks unspecified monetary damages from the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska Jesuits and the Jesuit province in Oregon, which is historically affiliated with the Fairbanks diocese. The lawsuit accuses the diocese and the Jesuits of knowing about the priests' sexual misconduct, of shifting them from parish to parish to conceal their activities and of "harboring them within the protective cloak of the church."

Ronnie Rosenberg, director of human resources for the Fairbanks diocese, said she has found no indication that anyone complained about Nawn or Llorente while they served the diocese.

"From what I can see of any records -- and I have been through just about every file in this building that would make sense to look at -- no, we were not aware of these sorts of allegations," she said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:17 AM

Diocese, woman settle abuse suit


Staff Writer

One of three women to contact the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese alleging she suffered abuse at the hands of the priest who founded KNOM radio in Nome, the Rev. James Poole, has reached a monetary settlement with the diocese and the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province.

Patricia Hess of Anchorage, represented by Fairbanks attorney Bill Satterberg, signed off on the undisclosed settlement agreement Dec. 13.

Hess, who now lives in Anchorage, said she was a teenager living in Nome when she was sexually molested by Poole.

She went public, offering her story, name and photograph to the media last spring after another woman, listed under the pseudonym Jane Doe, filed a lawsuit against Poole. Jane Doe stated she had been sexually molested by the priest more than 100 times from 1978 to 1984, starting when she was 10 years old. Hess said she saw Poole's face on television and memories started flooding back.

Satterberg said the Dec. 13 agreement with Hess was done privately and his client has decided to keep the settlement confidential.

Posted by kshaw at 07:15 AM

Phoenix Catholic official placed on leave over allegation of sexual nature


Joseph A. Reaves
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 29, 2004 04:45 PM

Monsignor Dale Fushek, founder of the nation's largest Roman Catholic youth organization, was placed on administrative leave Wednesday while his superiors investigate an allegation of a sexual nature brought by a former parishioner.

A spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix confirmed for The Arizona Republic that an attorney representing the parishioner alerted church leaders to the allegations Tuesday. "An allegation was brought to us by an attorney whose client claims a repressed memory involving Msgr. Dale Fushek," said Mary Jo West, communications director for the diocese.

"We have not received a claim or demand for money. We're investigating the matter." advertisement

Fushek's attorney, Michael Manning, said the diocese routinely puts priests on administrative leave while church officials investigate allegations. In this case, Manning said, he was certain Fushek was innocent.

"I know from speaking with him that there is absolutely no grounds for these allegations," Manning said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:11 AM

New sexual abuse lawsuits filed against diocesan priests

Telegram & Gazette


WORCESTER— New civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by six priests of the Catholic Diocese of Worcester, three of whom have not been accused previously in legal action, were filed Tuesday in Worcester Superior Court.

The suits name the Rev. John J. Bagley, former diocesan chancellor, who was removed in 2002 by former Bishop Daniel P. Reilly after another allegation was made; the Rev. Raymond P. Messier and the Rev. Henry S. Banach, who have civil suits involving other allegations pending against them; the Rev. Leo J. O’Neil, who is now retired; and the Rev. Bernard R. Reilley and Monsignor Michael L. Carney, both of whom are deceased. The suits were filed by Boston lawyer Carmen L. Durso.

The suits list the following allegations:

Rev. Bagley, now of Hyannis, allegedly assaulted a male victim in 1963 when he was assigned to Christ the King parish in Worcester. The alleged victim was about 15 at the time.

Rev. Bagley was pastor of St. Mary’s Church in North Grafton when he was removed from ministry in 2002 by Bishop Reilly after the bishop received another allegation of sexual abuse involving an underage youth who said he was sexually assaulted in 1967 at Christ the King parish.

Rev. O’Neil, now retired, was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Barre in 1975 when he allegedly sexually abused a 14-year-old boy, then an orphan living at the Stetson Home for Boys in the same town.

Monsignor Carney, who died in 1981, was assigned to St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Worcester in 1977 and 1978 when he allegedly sexually abused a 15-year-old boy.

Rev. Reilley, who died in 1990, allegedly sexually assaulted a girl in Worcester. A woman alleges she was sexually assaulted by Rev. Reilley in her Worcester home starting in 1952 when she was about 2 and continuing until about 1958.

Rev. Banach allegedly abused a boy age 12 or 13 in 1976 and 1977 when he was assigned to St. Hedwig parish in Southbridge. He is retired and living in Worcester. He has been accused of sexual abuse by three other men in a pending civil suit.

Rev. Messier allegedly abused a boy about age 12 in 1976 and 1977 when he was serving at St. Joan of Arc parish in Worcester. The alleged assault happened at the priest’s Charlton home.

Rev. Messier was pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Athol and St. Peter’s parish in Petersham when he was removed from ministry in 2002 by Bishop Reilly after another allegation was made. He is now living in Charlton. He has been accused by three other men in a pending civil suit.

The filing of these suits comes at a time when lawyers for alleged victims and the Worcester Diocese have been working to settle suits that were filed in 2002 and 2003.

James Gavin Reardon, lawyer for the Worcester Diocese, said he has not seen the new lawsuits and cannot comment. He added, however, that the new allegations will be turned over to the office of District Attorney John J. Conte.

Mr. Reardon said Mr. Durso frequently releases his lawsuits to the media before they are received by the diocese, which makes it difficult for the diocese to comment. He said that the lawsuits will be “answered in due course” within the courts.

Mr. Durso said he is filing these suits before the end of the year to protect the legal rights of his clients under the statute of limitations laws of the state. The lawsuits all state the alleged victims did not make the connection between past abuse and difficulties in their lives until about 2002.

He said had the diocese chosen to sit down and settle the suits out of court, further legal action might not have been necessary. “We could have had mediation talks,” he said.

Mr. Durso has been critical of the diocese for failing to hold settlement talks on the pending lawsuits and said the diocese’s settlement figures, which range from $3,000 to $7,500, are the lowest being offered in the United States and the world. The diocese has said the suits they have offered to settle for these sums lack merit.

Posted by kshaw at 07:07 AM

Accused ex-priest may be tested

Telegram & Gazette

By Gary V. Murray Telegram & Gazette Staff

WORCESTER— A retired priest accused of sexually assaulting a child may undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial.

The Rev. John J. Szantyr, 73, of Waterbury, Conn., is awaiting trial in Central District Court on four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14. The charges date back to the mid-1980s, when Rev. Szantyr was assigned to Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish on Ward Street. The sexual assaults are alleged to have occurred on various dates from June 1, 1985, to Dec. 12, 1987. The alleged victim, a boy, is now in his late 20s.

The criminal complaints against Rev. Szantyr were issued in 2003, after the alleged victim told investigators the man he knew as “Father John” touched him in an indecent manner when he was a child attending Our Lady of Czestochowa and Rev. Szantyr was a priest assigned to the parish.

A preliminary psychological examination of Rev. Szantyr by a court-designated forensic psychologist was conducted Dec. 16 at the request of Assistant District Attorney Joseph J. Reilly III, according to court records. The case was continued to Feb. 17 for a hearing to determine whether a further evaluation is in order and, if so, whether it should be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis, sources said.

In his written motion for the preliminary evaluation conducted earlier this month, Mr. Reilly said Rev. Szantyr’s lawyer, Edward P. Ryan Jr., had provided him with documentation that called into question Rev. Szantyr’s competency to stand trial.

Posted by kshaw at 07:02 AM

December 29, 2004

Sex Abuse Training Program Raises Eyebrows


By Ivan Gale
Religion News Service

NEW YORK, Dec. 29 - On a recent Wednesday evening at St. Anselm's School in Brooklyn, more than 60 church volunteers, teachers and coaches sat quietly watching a video in a basement meeting room. Subway trains passed beneath the building, periodically rumbling the floor. Suddenly, the room let out a collective gasp.

Onscreen, "Karl," a convicted pedophile, had just admitted molesting 500 young girls before being caught.

The video, "A Time to Protect God's Children," is part of a required workshop for all employees and volunteers of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn who interact with children. In the aftermath of the priest sexual abuse scandal--in which the Brooklyn Diocese was hit with a $300 million sex abuse lawsuit--the Catholic Church is implementing the sexual abuse prevention training, called Virtus, in Brooklyn and 94 other dioceses across the country.

The Virtus training is part of reforms adopted by Catholic bishops in 2002, which include establishing "safe environment" education programs. While Virtus is the most popular, some dioceses have created their own training sessions or bought other programs elsewhere.

Church leaders say the video and training have been received favorably. But they have also sparked indignation, disgust, even painful disclosures by audience members who were victimized in their youth. Victims groups welcome the training, but also say it is fundamentally a move to protect the Catholic Church from financial liability. Others cast doubts on whether it will have much effect.

Posted by kshaw at 05:20 PM

Springfield Diocese suspends priest accused of abuse


December 29, 2004

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- A western Massachusetts priest has been removed from ministry after he was accused of molesting a teenager in the 1970s.

The Rev. Michael H. Devlin, 62, was most recently chaplain at Providence Place in Holyoke. He was suspended in October after his alleged victim told the diocese's Review Board that he was abused. After the panel investigated the person's claims, Bishop Timothy McDonnell decided to permanently suspend Devlin earlier this month.

Laura Failla Reilly, the church's victim advocate, would not give many details of the allegation Wednesday. She said Devlin is accused of molesting a teenager several times while he was preaching at St. Thomas Parish in West Springfield and at All Souls Parish in Springfield.

Reilly said Devlin is currently staying with relatives who live out of state. She said he has denied the allegations against him.

Posted by kshaw at 05:10 PM

Denver Auxiliary Bishop Named San Antonio Archbishop


POSTED: 2:46 pm MST December 29, 2004

For the Most Rev. Jose Horacio Gomez, becoming Roman Catholic archbishop of San Antonio will be a homecoming of sorts.

Rev. Jose Horacio Gomez of Denver was picked to become the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Antonio.

Pope John Paul II on Wednesday named Gomez -- an auxiliary bishop in Denver -- to succeed retiring Archbishop Patrick Flores, Texas' top Catholic clergyman for 25 years.

A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Gomez worked at San Antonio's Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church from 1987 to 1999. And his grandparents were married at San Fernando Cathedral, the historic downtown church that dates to the 1730s. ...

In 2000, a man held the archbishop and his longtime secretary hostage for nine hours with what he claimed to be a homemade grenade. When the case went to trial, it was difficult to tell whether Flores was a witness for the prosecution or defense, "because he was so compassionate about the guy who tried to kill him," said the Rev. Virgil Elizondo, former rector of San Fernando Cathedral.

But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests complained that Flores' compassion did not extend to sex abuse victims, despite his frequent apologies for not doing more to protect children against abuse by clergy.

The archdiocese announced earlier this year that it paid more than $5.2 million over a 52-year period in settlements and counseling connected with sexual abuse of minors. It documented allegations against 20 priests by 58 victims.

Posted by kshaw at 05:07 PM

Turning the camera on priest sex abuse

The Boston Phoenix


When the priest at her childhood parish, in Rhode Island, was convicted of child molestation, personal anguish and conflict led Mary Healey-Conlon to dig deeper into the scandal that rocked both her church and her faith. Holy Water-Gate: Abuse Cover-up in the Catholic Church, a new documentary about the clergy sex-abuse crisis, is the result of her quest — a project driven by her private attempt to cope and to heal.

The film, which Healey-Conlon co-produced with Boston resident Louise Rosen, includes chilling testimony from a perpetrator priest who describes his abhorrent actions, and from a former abuse victim who later became a priest — and a children’s-rights crusader — himself. The stories are so powerful that Healey-Conlon has arranged to have counselors available for audience members at next week’s screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

In a phone interview with the Phoenix, the filmmakers talked about why society needs Holy Water-Gate to better understand the crisis, while victims need it to make sure the heat stays on the Catholic Church.

Q: What do you think this film adds to general understanding of the abuse scandal?

Mary Healey-Conlon: My hope is that it will certainly deepen the discussion and will also explain some of the dimensions of how this was allowed to happen, and the depths to which survivors still suffer. But most importantly, I think it’s important for people to see and hear some of the faces behind the stuff they’ve read about but never seen. So in terms of their experience of a film, the fact that they get to see a perpetrator on camera whose statements speak so directly about the institutional mindset is very important.

Posted by kshaw at 05:01 PM

Film on Abuse Cover-up in Catholic Church Wins Coveted CINE Golden Eagle Award


By: University of Rhode Island
Published: Dec 29, 2004

Holy Water-Gate: Abuse Cover-Up in the Catholic Church will premiere at the Coolidge Movie Theater, Brookline, Mass. on Monday, Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The hour-long documentary was written, directed and produced by Warren, R.I. resident Mary Healey-Conlon, now a lecturer in communications and film studies at the University of Rhode Island. She has just been notified that she has won a CINE Golden Eagle Award. Prior recipients include Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Ken Burns.

Motivated by abuse victims whose stories were being rejected and whose motives were being questioned, the independent filmmaker, who had worked as a legal assistant on behalf of some of the victims, picked up her camera in 1999 and began filming.

Five years and $180,000 of personal debt later, Healey-Conlon finished editing the documentary last June. Holy Water-Gate has been sold to television channels in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, and Denmark. Negotiations are underway for French, German, and U.S. broadcasts.

One of the first images in Healey-Conlon’s documentary is a photo of her grandfather, Jim Healey, receiving a blessing, as he became one of the first ordained deacons in the Catholic Church in Rhode Island. Healey was a communicant of St. Matthews Church in Cranston where Father James Silva was pastor.

Silva, Rhode Islanders would only learn years later, was sexually abusing children. The Diocese of Providence transferred the priest to 12 different parishes during the next 16 years where the pattern of abuse continued.

Posted by kshaw at 11:32 AM

Princeton bus driver faces child porn charges

Cincinnati Enquirer

By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

ST. BERNARD - A man who serves as a storefront minister here and a bus driver for Princeton schools faces federal child-pornography charges, federal officials said today.

Robert Elms, 49, also known as Father Dominic Elms of St. Mary's Traditional Catholic Church, surrendered today to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Cincinnati. A federal criminal complaint charges him with possessing and distributing child pornography.

A U.S. District Magistrate Judge ordered Elms jailed without bond awaiting a hearing Thursday afternoon. Officials did not disclose where he was jailed.

It remained unclear if Elms is an ordained minister, but he is not affiliated with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, authorities said. Elms had worked as a bus driver for Princeton City Schools for 14 years and was placed on a medical leave today after school officials received a report he was sick.

The charges against Elms stem from German authorities' investigation of a child pornography operation there a year ago, officials said. Immigration investigators in Virginia traced e-mails to Elms, then forwarded information to the Cincinnati immigration officials, court records indicated.

Posted by kshaw at 08:54 AM

Child Porn Charges May Be Tip Of Iceberg


POSTED: 5:21 pm EST December 28, 2004
UPDATED: 7:30 am EST December 29, 2004

CINCINNATI -- The Princeton school bus driver and minister busted on child porn charges may be guilty of even more shocking crimes, News 5's Emily Longnecker reports.

Robert Elms, who calls himself Father Dominic Elms, reportedly told authorities he's had sexual encounters with about 12 people under 18 years old over the past 20 years.

Those reports also say Elms' most recent encounter happened just two weeks ago with two young boys from his parish and a student at Princeton High School.

Elms, 49, had been a bus driver for the Princeton City Schools for 14 years. According to the district, someone called Tuesday requesting medical leave for him.

"At no time has anyone come forward in the past to make an accusation against this particular bus driver," said Chris Gramke, Princeton schools spokeman

Posted by kshaw at 08:50 AM

Filing reveals earlier incident



Six years before his 2002 arrest for the sexual abuse of five boys, former Henderson priest Mark Roberts was in trouble with church leaders over an incident involving a young man, according to a civil deposition Roberts gave earlier this year.

Around 1996, Roberts said, he was the subject of a church investigation into accusations he inappropriately touched a young man in a shower. The young man was homeless and had requested help washing his clothes, and Roberts took the young man to some apartments where Roberts was staying.

"I asked him to take off his clothes, I would go wash them for him in the washing machine, and that he could take a shower. ... I bought him a scrub brush for his back and different shampoo and different things that he wanted," Roberts said.

"The door of the bathroom was ajar, and so I went inside and I started washing him," Roberts said.

Roberts said the young man reported the incident to then-Vicar General Patrick Leary, who placed Roberts on administrative leave as pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Henderson.

Roberts denied the accusations, and he threatened to appeal any discipline to the church's highest officials in Rome.

Posted by kshaw at 08:48 AM

Ariz. pastor held in Fla. sex counts

The Arizona Republic

Susan Carroll
Republic Tucson Bureau
Dec. 29, 2004 12:00 AM

A Douglas pastor has been arrested in the reputed molestation of a 6-year-old Florida boy in 1996 and admitted to sexually abusing children in North Carolina and Michigan, authorities said Tuesday.

Robert Armand Enerson, 54, was booked into Cochise County Jail on Monday night on three charges of lewd assault on a child, said Lt. Carlos Guido Jr., a Douglas Police Department spokesman. Enerson, a pastor at the First Assembly of God in Douglas for two years, will be jailed pending extradition to Polk County, Fla., authorities said.

"Obviously we're continuing the investigation to see if there are additional victims," Guido said. advertisement

An affidavit prepared by Polk County investigators alleges that Enerson molested a boy repeatedly for about a week while serving as a pastor at the New Life Assembly of God in Wahneta, Fla., in 1996. The accuser, now 15, said Enerson entered a bedroom where the boy was playing video games and stroked the child's penis, according to the affidavit.

Posted by kshaw at 07:52 AM

Cops: Pastor molested Polk boy in '96, 2 others

Orlando Sentinel

By Amy L. Edwards | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted December 29, 2004

A church pastor accused of molesting a Polk County boy eight years ago and suspected of having sexual relations with two boys in other states was arrested Monday in Arizona, authorities said.

Robert A. Enersen, 54, now pastor of the First Assembly of God church in Douglas, Ariz., faces three counts of lewd assault on a child and is being held in an Arizona jail without bail, a Polk County Sheriff's Office report said.

Enersen conducted youth services for about two months in 1996 at New Life Assembly of God in Wahneta, a small town south of Winter Haven, but he was not on staff at the church. Investigators said Enersen and the victim knew each other outside the church.

In October, a boy who is now 15 told Polk detectives that Enersen inappropriately touched him on numerous occasions in November 1996, the report said.

The boy told detectives he didn't initially report the lewd acts because "he was afraid of the suspect due to the size of the suspect," authorities said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:49 AM

Pastor Arrested, Accused Of Molesting Boys In Florida, Other States

Local 6

POSTED: 5:49 am EST December 29, 2004

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- An Arizona church pastor accused of molesting a Florida boy eight years ago has been arrested, authorities said.

Robert A. Enersen, 54, pastor of the First Assembly of God church in Douglas, Ariz., faces three counts of lewd assault on a child and is being held in an Arizona jail without bail after his Monday arrest, a Polk County (Fla.) sheriff's report said.

The charges also include accusations from boys in Michigan and North Carolina.

A representative with the Assemblies of God national headquarters said Tuesday the organization was not aware of Enersen's arrest. He does not have any prior documented cases of misconduct in his file, the representative said.

Enersen conducted youth services for about two months in 1996 at New Life Assembly of God in Wahneta, Fla., a small town south of Winter Haven, Fla.

Posted by kshaw at 07:47 AM

Former Wahneta Pastor Charged in Molestation

The Ledger

By Lauren Glenn
The Ledger

BARTOW -- Arizona police arrested a former Wahneta youth pastor Monday on charges he molested a 6-year-old Polk County boy in 1996 and possibly abused other boys in Michigan and North Carolina.

Robert Enersen, 54, who now lives in Douglas, Ariz., faces three charges of lewd assault on a child.

According to a Polk County Sheriff's Office report, Enersen admitted to molesting the Polk County boy on several occasions.

Enersen also admitted to molesting a 10-year-old boy in North Carolina several times. He continued abusing the boy until he turned 17, according to the report.

Police also have accused Enersen of sexually abusing a Michigan boy. At the time of the alleged abuse in Polk County, Enersen, then 46, served as pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Wahneta, conducting youth services for about two months.

Posted by kshaw at 07:45 AM

New Sex Charges Filed Against LDS Primary Teacher


Dec 28, 2004 10:36 am US/Mountain

A Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Primary teacher already charged with fondling four young Syracuse girls is now charged in the abuse of four additional girls.

Aaron Marcos Montoya, 32, is now charged with nine counts of aggravated child sexual abuse and another possible victim will be interviewed Tuesday.

Police say the new abuse allegations occurred in Montoya's home, his car, and at Pineview Reservoir.

The newly discovered alleged victims range in age from 3 to 11.

None of the allegations are connected to Montoya's job as a bailiff at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office has placed Montoya on administrative leave.

Posted by kshaw at 07:39 AM

Local Minister Arrested In International Child Porn Sting


Reported by: 9News
Web produced by: Neil Relyea
Photographed by: 9News
12/28/2004 11:08:17 PM

A Tri-state minister is behind bars without bond and faces child sex abuse charges.

The St. Bernard man, who is also a school bus driver, is accused of abusing one of the students in his care.

"We hope that the parents say as vigilant as possible with their kids, I mean there's nothing more important in the world than the safety of your children," said John Estep, mayor of St. Bernard.

That's the message Estep has for parents after an international child pornography ring investigation led to an arrest in this Tri-state community.

Federal law enforcement officers working with local police arrested Robert Elms, 49, on December 21 after they found computers containing child pornography at his storefront church on Tower Avenue.

Elms is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography.

"They found computers and other evidence of child pornography," said Lieutenant Bill Ungruhe, of the St. Bernard police department.

A photograph from the website for "St. Mary's Traditional Catholic Church," identifies Elms as "Father Dominic."

Posted by kshaw at 07:37 AM


The Times-Picayune

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
By Bruce Nolan
Staff writer

Key local Catholic clergy for the first time Tuesday joined former victims of sexual abuse and their families in a public prayer service that supported victims and chastised some bishops who "frustrate" victims' search for justice.

The late afternoon ceremony drew about two dozen men and women to the front of Notre Dame Seminary where they joined in prayer, singing and a shared symbolic meal. Most participants were members of the local chapter of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, a group of childhood sexual abuse victims and their relatives.

But they were joined by the Rev. William Maestri, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the Rev. Pat Williams, the seminary's rector, prominent members of an archdiocese that has been accused by some of being insufficiently aggressive in responding to the sex-abuse crisis. Maestri and Williams prayed and sang with the group during the 15-minute event.

Archbishop Alfred Hughes would have attended, but was visiting family in the Boston area over the holidays, Maestri said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:25 AM

Catholic Church group: Rene Guerra mismanaged priests’ sexual abuse cases

The Monitor

December 29,2004
James Osborne
The Monitor

EDINBURG — The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office underwent renewed criticism Tuesday for its handling of sexual abuse cases involving priests from the Diocese of Brownsville.

The local chapter of Call to Action, a Chicago-based group of self-described progressive Catholics, staged a press conference outside the Hidalgo County courthouse calling for District Attorney Rene Guerra to extradite the Rev. Basil Onyia, the Nigerian priest accused of sexually abusing a mentally retarded teenage girl in San Juan. Onyia fled to his native Nigeria in 2001, shortly after a warrant was issued for his arrest by the Pharr Police Department.

The girl’s family filed a lawsuit against the diocese, which was settled out of court.

"We … are here to express our continuing outrage and dissatisfaction with the lack of efforts to prosecute and hold perpetrators of several sexual abuse and sexual exploitation cases," said CTA President David Saavedra in a written statement.

Posted by kshaw at 07:23 AM

Walsh looks back at ’04

Herald News

Gregg M. Miliote, Herald News Staff Reporter12/29/2004

NEW BEDFORD -- Bristol County District Attorney Paul F. Walsh is ready to tackle another year of criminal cases.

But before he does, he recently took a look back at the past year during a wide-ranging interview with a Herald News reporter, concerning issues ranging from budgetary constraints put on his office to the high-profile cases of pedophile ex-priest James Porter and notorious convicted cult killer Carl Drew.

Church plagued by sex abuse scandals

Walsh, who has been at the forefront of the Roman Catholic Church abuse scandal, pushed hard this past year to keep Porter behind bars for good.

Porter was set to be released this past January after serving 10 years in prison for molesting dozens of young boys during his tenure as a Diocese of Fall River priest.

But Walsh halted that release by filing a sexually dangerous person petition against Porter with the Superior Court. Instead of being released, Porter was held at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater and had to attend a week’s worth of emotionally charged testimony at a probable cause hearing to determine whether the commonwealth could go forward with a civil commitment trial.

Posted by kshaw at 07:21 AM

More priests accused of abuse


Staff Writer

The number of priests accused of sexual abuse decades ago in Western Alaska doubled Tuesday when a man filed a civil lawsuit in Bethel Superior Court.

The suit claims the two priests sexually abused the anonymous accuser at two different times while serving as missionaries in villages along Alaska's west coast and the lower Yukon River during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Rev. Segundo Llorente and Francis Nawn, both deceased, are named as the assailants of plaintiff Jack Doe 1. The suit claims the man, who is a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church in Sheldon's Point, now known as Nunam Iqua, was sexually abused as a child along with others.

The suit names the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska; the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province; and the Society of Jesus, Alaska, as defendants.
Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa is representing Jack Doe 1 and dozens of others in suits filed on behalf of alleged victims of sexual abuse by two other Jesuit priests--the late Rev. Jules Convert and the Rev. Jim Poole, 81, founder of Catholic radio station KNOM in Nome.

Posted by kshaw at 07:19 AM

December 28, 2004

A sorry state of affairs

The Independent

28 December 2004

Timothy McVeigh didn't do it. Nor did Monica Lewinsky. Tony Blair said he'd done it even though he hadn't - and eventually got someone else (Patricia Hewitt) to do it for him. For different reasons, none of these three offered an adequate apology for doing wrong - and the world, it seems, is a poorer place because of it.

Apology has never been the buzz word of the therapeutic community. Psychologists have preferred to focus on the healing benefits of forgiving and letting go. That could all change in 2005, however, with the publication in March of an authoritative new book claiming that the apology is "one of the most profound interactions that can occur between people".

Arguing that forgiveness inevitably follows an effective apology and is impossible without it, Professor Aaron Lazare, Dean of the University of Massachusetts medical school and the author of On Apology, says saying sorry has the power "to heal humiliations, free the mind from deep-seated guilt, remove the desire for vengeance, and restore broken relationships". ...

Another common pseudo-apology uses the conditional to avoid taking full responsibility for what has happened. Cardinal Edward Egan, of New York, qualified the apology he delivered at the height of the Catholic Church's paedophile crisis, three times in a sentence: "If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry." Few were reassured.

Posted by kshaw at 08:46 AM

Sex Abuse Lawsuits Add to Catholic Church Money Woes


By Deborah Zabarenko
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - First came the sex scandal. Then there were lawsuits. Now there are bankruptcies.

And some economic analysts believe this could be just the beginning of the financial fallout from widespread charges of clerical sexual abuse within the U.S. Catholic Church.

Nearly 11,000 people have accused priests of child sexual abuse from 1950 through 2002, according to a church-commissioned study released this year. There could be thousands more who have not yet come forward.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has acknowledged this as its worst scandal and vowed to "heal the hurt that has happened," in the words of departing conference president Bishop Wilton Gregory.

The question is how to pay for it.

"Even without the sex abuse scandal, the Catholic Church was in deep financial difficulty," said Charles Zech, an economics professor at Villanova University who monitors church finances.

Posted by kshaw at 08:43 AM

Camden bishop views new post as a homecoming


Courier-Post Staff
Bishop Joseph A. Galante, who arrived here this year as the spiritual leader of South Jersey's Catholics, is preparing to learn more about his new home.

"In January, I want to start getting out and meeting people in the parishes," says Galante, 66, who formerly was the No. 2 cleric in the Dallas diocese. "I'm hoping to do it three nights a week, just to listen to people's concerns."

No schedule has yet been set for the sessions, which will also allow Galante to meet with local priests, nuns and other church personnel.

Galante was installed April 30 as the seventh bishop of the Camden Diocese, which serves some 458,000 Catholics. He succeeded Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who left in 2003 to head the Brooklyn Diocese.

"I've probably never been happier in my life," said Galante, a native of Philadelphia who now is close to family members and to his longtime vacation home in North Wildwood. "I love the people here and I've been very warmly welcomed."

In fact, Galante draws cautious approval from a spokeswoman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a group that often is critical of church policies.

"He certainly seems to be trying," says Barbara Polesir, a Cherry Hill woman who represents the group's South Jersey chapter. "He has met with a number of survivors and he seems to be trying to see their point of view.

"So far, nothing concrete has been done, but I still believe he will be better (than previous bishops)," Polesir said.

In a sermon at his installation Mass, Galante apologized to victims of clergy abuse. But he also strongly defended priests who had done no wrong, saying they represent the bulk of the clergy.

Posted by kshaw at 08:40 AM

Divided results in molestation case

The Press-Enterprise

12:34 AM PST on Tuesday, December 28, 2004

By JOHN F. BERRY / The Press-Enterprise

SAN BERNARDINO - A jury found a San Bernardino pastor not guilty of one charge of lewd acts on a child Monday and could not reach a decision on the other, court officials said.

John Pepe Molia, 69, was arrested in 2002 and charged with the molestation of two underage sisters from his First Assembly of God Church congregation in San Bernardino.

"My client maintained his innocence throughout," Rajan Maline, Molia's attorney, said Monday. "The jury saw it his way."

Deputy District Attorney Jane Templeton was on vacation when the jury returned Monday.

Her boss, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Dwight Moore, said Monday that he is unsure whether the district attorney's office will retry the charge that resulted in a hung jury. Moore said jurors voted 7-5 in favor of guilt on that charge.

Posted by kshaw at 08:36 AM

Jury: Ex-pastor not guilty

San Bernardino County Sun

By JOE NELSON, Staff Writer

A former San Bernardino church pastor was found not guilty Monday in San Bernardino Superior Court on one count of child molestation, while his jury deadlocked on another identical count.

John Molia, 69, of San Bernardino will return to court Jan. 26 to find out if prosecutors will dismiss the remaining charge or go to bat.

Deputy District Attorney Jane Templeton, who prosecuted Molia, was out of the office Monday and not present when the jury returned with its verdict after four days of deliberations. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Dwight Moore filled in.

It was unclear Monday if county prosecutors will proceed with the case.

Molia was charged in March 2003 with two counts of lewd acts on a child for the alleged molestations of two sisters, now 20 and 22, between October 1991 and October 1997. The sisters were members of Molia's Samoan congregation at the Revived Samoan Assembly of God in San Bernardino and also close family friends.

Posted by kshaw at 08:29 AM

December 27, 2004

Former Muslim cleric gets 10 years for rape

Web India 123

London | December 24, 2004 7:32:51 AM IST

London, Dec 23 : A former Muslim cleric of Pakistani origin has been jailed for 10 years for raping and sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in a mosque where he was teaching.

Manzoor Hussain, 42, of Bristol was convicted of one offence of rape and four of indecent assault. The offences took place at a mosque in the city between July 1996 and March the following year.

At the time of the offences, Hussain was the imam at the mosque in Lower Cheltenham Place.

The Exeter Crown Court was told the girl had kept the attacks secret for six years because she did not think she would be believed.

Sentencing Hussein at Exeter Crown Court, Judge Graham Cottle said: "You were an elder in the community and a man to be revered and respected by children you taught.

Posted by kshaw at 07:55 AM

Jury Sent Home in 'Mosque Rape' Trial


By Chris Court, PA

A jury considering charges of rape and indecent assault by a former Muslim cleric on a 12-year-old girl at a mosque will continue to consider its verdicts tomorrow.

The panel deliberated for just over three hours at Exeter Crown Court today before Judge Graham Cottle sent them home for the night.

The accused, 42-year-old Manzoor Hussain of Ashley Road, Bristol, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of rape and four charges of indecent assault on the girl between July 1996 and March 1997 at the mosque in Bristol.

The girl, now 21, has told the jury she was indecently assaulted and raped by Hussain when she attended classes at the mosque to learn the Koran.

Posted by kshaw at 07:53 AM

Foray into film noir


By Anne-Marie O'Connor
Los Angeles Times
Posted December 27 2004

"Churches always give me such a feeling of peace," says Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar as he strides through a Catholic house of worship in Los Angeles. "Sometimes I wish I was a believer. Imagine coming to a place where you kneel down, recount all of your sins, and you are pardoned. Imagine how wonderful that would be. It is a marvelous invention."

The unburdening of a long-held secret and its mortal consequences is a central thread of his latest film, Bad Education, a drama fueled by sexual tensions in the Catholic Church that stars Gael Garcia Bernal as the "homme fatale."

For Almodóvar, Bad Education is something of a dark departure, a foray into film noir that he says is informed by the hard-boiled style of dated cinematic police thrillers as well as by the more ponderous meditations on power in The Godfather.

"The idea of the Mafia is something very close to the church, and I'm not the first to allude to that. If you remember, in The Godfather you see the power of the Church and the Vatican. In The Godfather, the church is treated like a kind of Mafia," says Almodóvar.

With a story driven by the transgressions of a pederast priest, Bad Education is "not exactly autobiographical," says the 52-year-old Almodóvar -- but it does draw on memories of his boyhood church school, where he said a priest molested a score of his classmates.

Posted by kshaw at 07:50 AM

Focus on Christmas’ true meaning urged

Telegram & Gazette

By Kathleen A. Shaw Telegram & Gazette Staff

As Christians through Central Massachusetts celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on this Christmas Day, area clergy are urging people to revisit the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, look into the manger where he was born in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago and find the real meaning of that event.

A number of area priests and ministers commented this week on Christmas from their perspective. ...

The Rev. Bruce Teague, graduate of College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, and Catholic chaplain at Amherst College, said the Christmas story is the story of Emmanuel, which means God with us.

“The divine story has become an only too human story. The Christmas narratives describes miraculous events: angels appearing to Mary, Magi from the East and those who are barren bearing fruit. But we also hear the joy of a woman giving birth. A child being born. A God being born as a human, vulnerable, fragile child. God is born into a living human history rooted in a family tree. We see a family forced to become refugees to protect their child.”

“God has become human so that God has embraced all of humanity, all of its weaknesses and vulnerabilities that nothing human is alien to God. Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. It is our task as Christians to begin to see God in all, particularly those who are poor and outcasts. For those of us who have been victimized by clergy sexual abuse — God, too, has become a victim,” he said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:36 AM

It was a year of tears

The Morning Call

By Dan Sheehan
Of The Morning Call

The Lehigh Valley's year began with a killing and advanced through an increasingly dismal shuffle of homicides, scandals, sinkholes, lawsuits, catastrophic floods and horrific car wrecks.

There were bright spots, of course, in 2004. Economic development boosters celebrated as camera giant Olympus America announced it would move its headquarters from New York to the Lehigh Valley in 2006, bringing hundreds of corporate jobs. ...

Fallout from the sexual abuse scandals that have afflicted the Catholic Church in recent years settled in the Valley. Since January, 11 current and former priests from the Diocese of Allentown have been accused of abuse in lawsuits filed in Lehigh, Berks and Schuylkill counties. The suits remain in litigation.

Posted by kshaw at 07:33 AM

Top 10 WMass news stories of 2004


Sunday, December 26, 2004

1. Springfield Bishop Thomas L. Dupre retires abruptly, citing health reasons, on Feb. 11, a day after The Republican confronts him with allegations he molested two boys decades ago. He later becomes the first Catholic U.S. bishop indicted on sexual-abuse charges, but the district attorney declines to prosecute, citing the statute of limitations.

Posted by kshaw at 07:30 AM

December 26, 2004

Bishop took over under tough conditions

East Valley Tribune

By Lawn Griffiths, Tribune
Out of the shadows of Bishop Thomas J. O’Brien’s troubled tenure in leading the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix came Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in December 2003.

A year into his job as the Vatican’s top agent in the Valley, Olmsted reflects a buoyant spirit and unassailable confidence that his stern, uncompromising approach — unflagging obedience to Rome — has restored trust across farflung parishes. Olmsted also believes he has put priests on notice that misconduct won’t be tolerated.

"Holiness" and "integrity" were words Olmsted, 57, used often in an interview late last week in his chancery office as he reflected on his first year as the shepherd for an estimated half-million Catholics across central and most of northern Arizona. He was installed Dec. 20, 2003, taking the symbolic crozier, or staff, and calling himself a "steward of hope and a servant of unity."

The Vatican’s choice of the Kansas native and bishop of Wichita came as a surprise. He was largely unknown, and the announcement of his name on Nov. 25, 2003, sent diocesan Catholics to their computer keyboards, searching Internet sites to find out what to expect. They found a man with heartland roots and strong credentials in administrative and teaching work in Rome and Ohio before being tapped as a bishop in 1999.

"The greatest challenge for me is to be faithful every day to Christ and to the mission he gives us," Olmsted said. Not the task of getting to the bottom of the priest sexual abuse scandals, not trying to get nominal Catholics back into the pews, not trying to find more priests so additional parishes can be developed.

Posted by kshaw at 09:17 AM

Basu: Leading by living their faith

Des Moines Register

December 26, 2004
So many unpleasant things have been done in the name of religion this year that some people were left wondering where God was. ...

• While the Davenport Catholic Diocese grappled with priest-abuse allegations, Father David Hitch of St. Mary's parish in Tipton showed he wouldn't be just another mouthpiece for the institution, that he stood with victims and for accountability. Hitch, whose own brother was one of the alleged victims, was quoted in this paper saying, "Personally, I wouldn't mind if the diocese had to stand trial for a case or two. . . . It may take going to trial for the people of the diocese to understand what the victims have been going through."

David Clohessy is executive director for the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and calls Hitch "amazing."

"It's extremely unusual for a priest to criticize a bishop, much less a diocese," he said, noting other statements Hitch had made. He called Davenport "the best example of where Catholic lay people stood with victims and helped make a big settlement. In the majority of cases, lay Catholics are bystanders, and in a few cases they work against the victims."

Posted by kshaw at 09:04 AM

December 25, 2004

Roman Kramek Must Account

Hartford Courant

December 24, 2004

NEW BRITAIN -- Roman Kramek, the Polish priest accused of sexually assaulting a teenage New Britain girl during a counseling session two years ago, has pleaded guilty in exchange for a nine-month prison sentence and 10 years of probation. The Rev. Kramek's courtroom plea brings this case to a legal conclusion of sorts. Yet it is still something short of a resolution.

The Rev. Kramek is due for sentencing Feb. 17. Before authorizing this plea deal, the court should require the Rev. Kramek to publicly acknowledge wrongdoing and apologize to his victim.

Finally, after serving his sentence, the Rev. Kramek is likely to face deportation to Poland. The Hartford archdiocese should ensure that his home diocese is aware of his disgrace. Only when the Rev. Kramek has publicly admitted the full extent of his betrayal - and he is defrocked - can this case be considered resolved.

Since his release from jail on bond two years ago, the Rev. Kramek has been surrounded by a fervent corps of supporters. Even after his appearance in Superior Court on Tuesday (and despite his own confession after the arrest), these supporters steadfastly maintain the Rev. Kramek's innocence.

Posted by kshaw at 07:48 PM

NCR publisher looks back at church, forward to time

The Kansas City Star

The Kansas City Star

When Tom Fox became editor of theAbuse Tracker in 1980, he never imagined what he now sees in the Catholic Church.

Back then Pope John Paul II was relatively new at the Vatican. Fox says he thought “that this was a great time when I could … really look at issues of the world — where Christianity is really practiced. We'd be focused outside on all the major faith issues, the major social justice issues, the mercy issues, the preaching issues. What I had not anticipated was that we were just entering into a kind of retrenchment” within the church.

But the church was “just beginning to turn inward,” says Fox, who will leave the Kansas City-based independent publication Jan. 1 after spending eight years as publisher.

Under this pope, he says, the church began to see the world “as evil, as basically flawed. The counterpoint to that is that the church is impeccable. What that led to very quickly was an inability of the church to be self-reflective.”

As that happened, Fox says, he began to get calls and letters from people in the church in pain, people who thought their voices were being stilled, scholars the Vatican was forbidding to teach in Catholic settings, even people who alleged sexual abuse by priests.

So Fox changed his original NCR agenda to let the publication focus on those stories. The independent weekly was writing about abusive priests as early as 1985 — more than 15 years before it became a national scandal noticed by the secular press.

“In 1986,” Fox says, “we wrote a front-page editorial saying there is now clearly a dual pattern, not only of the abuse but of the cover-up, and it was happening all over the place.

Posted by kshaw at 08:56 AM

Sex abuse suspect may face new counts

The Salt Lake Tribune

By Stephen Hunt
The Salt Lake Tribune

A Mormon children's gospel teacher charged with fondling four young Syracuse girls - some of them as they prayed or colored religious pictures - is now suspected of sexually abusing four other young girls, prosecutors said Friday.
Aaron Marcos Montoya, 32, was charged Wednesday in Davis County with five counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, first-degree felonies that carry mandatory prison terms of five years to life.
On Thursday, police interviewed four more alleged victims who came forward following news reports about Montoya's arrest.
Deputy Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said that after interviewing the new set of alleged victims, police hustled to prepare a probable cause statement to ensure Montoya would not bail out of the Davis County Jail, where he has been since his arrest on Tuesday.
Rawlings said Friday that he anticipated Montoya's initial bail amount of $100,000 would be doubled by these fresh allegations, which should keep him behind bars.

Posted by kshaw at 08:53 AM

$4 million face-lift is set at St. Augustine

Arizona Daily Star

By Stephanie Innes

St. Augustine Cathedral and the crumbling walls and buildings that surround it are slated for a $4 million makeover.

Financing for restoring the Downtown cathedral is being handled by a private group that calls itself Friends of St. Augustine's and has stepped in to raise funds and oversee the restoration.

The group will operate in a way similar to Patronato San Xavier, which was founded in 1978 as a nonprofit group dedicated to the preservation of Mission San Xavier del Bac.

"We are hoping that people of all faiths will come forward and help us," said Rosie P. Garcia, a 51-year-old Sunnyside High School teacher who is chairwoman of the new group's nine-member board of directors. ...

But attorneys for a majority of the plaintiffs in the pending legal actions are critical.

Tucson attorney Lynne M. Cadigan, who with law partner Kim E. Williamson is representing plaintiffs in 18 of the 22 lawsuits, called the funding plans a clear manipulation of the legal system.

Posted by kshaw at 08:50 AM

Calif. order to pay $6.3M to settle suits

Modesto Bee

The Associated Press

Last Updated: December 25, 2004, 06:15:18 AM PST

CONCORD, Calif. (AP) - A Roman Catholic religious order has agreed to pay $6.3 million to settle lawsuits brought by three former students who were sexually abused by counselors and teachers at an elite private school in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The largest of the three settlements, at $4 million, would be one of the biggest in California for a plaintiff in a clergy sexual abuse case, attorneys and victims advocates said Friday.

The abuse occurred when the plaintiffs, now in their 30s and 40s, attended the Concord school operated by the Christian Brothers religious order. One man said a teacher molested him on a school-sponsored ski trip, and another said a counselor molested him at a retreat in Napa.

The third man says another counselor repeatedly molested him during off-campus sessions. The order had transferred the abuser to Concord even though he was known to have had relationships with "sexual overtones" at another school, according to a 1968 letter from a Christian Brothers provincial leader that the order turned over as part of the lawsuit.

Posted by kshaw at 08:47 AM

22 priest sex-abuse suits denied

Cincinnati Post

By Kimball Perry
Post staff reporter

Because they didn't report their allegations until after the statute of limitations had expired, 22 people who accused former Elder High principal Father Lawrence Strittmatter of sex abuse cannot proceed with lawsuits.

That was Thursday's ruling by the Cincinnati-based Ohio First District Court of Appeals in upholding earlier rulings by four Hamilton County judges.

Those four Common Pleas Court Judges -- Melba Marsh, Robert Ruehlman, Thomas Crush and David Davis -- threw out separate lawsuits brought by Strittmatter's accusers, saying the suits were filed after the two-year statute of limitations on such cases.

Those who sued accused Strittmatter of sexually abusing them when they were students at Elder or Our Lady of Victory Parish and School. The suits noted Strittmatter's abuse lasted from 1961 until at least 1987. Their suits were filed between May and November 2003.

Posted by kshaw at 08:44 AM

Court right to put no time limits on filing sex abuse charges


The Missouri Supreme Court's decision to allow a child sex abuse case from the 1970s to go to trial came down to plain English.

Lawyers for the Rev. Thomas Graham argued that the statute of limitations had run out and that there was no way he could get a fair trial. Memories have faded; witnesses have died.

A state appeals court, however, agreed with prosecutors. Missouri law says there is no deadline to file charges for crimes punishable by death or life in prison, which include sodomy. The Supreme Court, in declining to take the case, agreed with the appeals court.

The decision is technically right. It also is philosophically correct.

It may take years before a sexual-abuse victim is willing to step forward and confront the adult who betrayed his or her trust. When an institution stands behind that adult, it is even more difficult for the victim to find the courage to seek justice.

Posted by kshaw at 08:40 AM

December 24, 2004

Geoghan slay suspect makes claims

Telegram & Gazette


WORCESTER— The inmate accused of killing defrocked pedophile priest John J. Geoghan in prison claimed in court yesterday that prison guards have interfered with his case, read his mail and listened to phone conversations, depriving him of his right to access to a lawyer.

Joseph L. Druce submitted a motion through his lawyer seeking to have the case dismissed on the grounds of interference. Superior Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman did not comment on the motion yesterday, but urged Mr. Druce’s court-appointed lawyer, John H. LaChance, to make arrangements with the superintendent of the state prison in Walpole, where Mr. Druce is being held, to assure the defendant that his rights are being preserved.

Mr. LaChance did not argue on behalf of Mr. Druce’s motion, but did say that his client has been so obsessed with the concern jail guards are reading his mail and monitoring his telephone conversations that he has difficulty communicating with him to prepare for the trial.

Mr. Druce has been moved to several prisons since the Aug. 23, 2003, killing of Mr. Geoghan, who was incarcerated for fondling a 10-year-old boy. Mr. Geoghan had been at the center of the Boston Archdiocese sex-abuse scandal. Mr. Druce, 38, was serving a life sentence at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley for the 1998 murder of a gay man.

Mr. Druce allegedly attacked Mr. Geoghan in his cell after jamming the door shut to prevent anyone from intervening. He allegedly told investigators after Mr. Geoghan’s death that he killed the former priest “to save the children.”

Mr. LaChance has informed the court that he plans an insanity defense, and has won approval to subpoena Mr. Druce’s medical records, as well as records compiled in a state investigation into the killing.

A report by a three-member commission found that failures in the inmate classification system, disciplinary procedures and internal investigative processes in the state Department of Correction contributed to circumstances leading to the killing of Mr. Geoghan.

Yesterday, Mr. LaChance notified the court that several of the records he has obtained through subpoenas have been sent to the clerk’s office for review by the district attorney’s office. However, Judge Hillman, acting on a request by Mr. LaChance, immediately sealed those records outside the view of the defense and the prosecution.

Mr. Druce complained in court yesterday that he is being harassed by jail guards pushing for him to enter a guilty plea rather than allow sensitive information — such as records in the investigative report, called the Delaney report — to be released at trial.

Posted by kshaw at 09:25 AM

Church needs €50m over next 10 years for sex abuse victims

Irish Independent

THE Catholic hierarchy will have to find up to €50m over the next 10 years to compensate sex abuse victims, pay for their counselling services and fund a revamped and expanded child protection service, the Irish Independent has learned.

The news comes as a €10m trust set up by the bishops using insurance funds is expected to run out within the next 12 months because of abuse payouts.

The result is that each of the 26 dioceses in the country will have to draw increasingly on their own resources to maintain the fund.

How they do this will be left up to each bishop, but the sale of property is certain to be one source of funds while there could also be special collections from churchgoers.

Already the Diocese of Killaloe has drawn on money raised by the sale of land around the bishop's house to make a contribution in the region of €40,000 to the trust.

Posted by kshaw at 09:17 AM

A noted theologian addresses VOT

Reading Advocate

Thursday, December 23, 2004

On Thursday, Dec. 2 the Winchester Area Voice of the Faithful welcomed noted theologian and author Fr. Donald B Cozzens, Ph.D., to a special meeting at St. Eulalia's Church in Winchester. About 100 people were in attendance.

Cozzens was ordained in 1965. He is currently writer-in-residence at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio where he teaches in the religious studies department. He has been trained as a pastoral theologian and psychologist, earned an MA from Notre Dame and a doctorate in psychology from Kent State. Cozzens has spoken on many radio and television programs as well as at meetings around the world.

Cozzens is the author of two award-winning and best-selling books, "The Changing Face of the Priesthood" (Paulist Press, 2000), which was translated into more than 6 languages, and "Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church" (Liturgical Press, 2002). "The Changing Face of the Priesthood" was written after 20 years of research. Cozzens's new book, "Faith That Dares to Speak" (Liturgical Press 2004) has an entire chapter devoted to Voice of the Faithful. The theme of Cozzens's talk was that the Roman Catholic Church is the last feudal system in the West and that its response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis was consistent with its feudal structure, namely to protect resources by secrecy and denial. Cozzens believes that the role of the laity is to challenge the Church to have accountability and transparency. According to Cozzens, Voice of the Faithful has shown the courage and maturity to speak truth to power.

Cozzens further stated that the scandal of clergy sexual abuse has touched priests, bishops and laity. For priests, the crisis has meant the collapse of respect. Some priests have shrunk their worlds to the boundaries of their parishes, while others fear false accusations of sexual misconduct. Bishops have far too often been loyal toward the Church hierarchy, their fellow bishops, and the whole institutional Church, rather than the most vulnerable - the victims of abuse - which is required by the Gospel.

Posted by kshaw at 08:43 AM

Judge dismisses molestation case against pastor's 14-year-old son

Seattle Post-Intelligencer


EVERETT, Wash. -- A judge has dropped a sexual abuse charge against a pastor's 14-year-old son, ruling that the chief prosecution witness, a 5-year-old girl, was not competent to testify.

Judge Thomas J. Wynne halted the trial Thursday in Juvenile Court after more than three days of testimony by more than a dozen witnesses before a packed courtroom.

Pastor Paul A. Stoot Sr. of Greater Trinity Missionary Baptist Church began a campaign to change state law after his son, 13 at the time, was questioned by a police detective for more than two hours in January without the teenager's parents or a defense lawyer present.

The boy was charged with first-degree molestation by improperly touching the girl, age 3 at the time, while she was staying with his family in the summer of 2002.

Police said the teenager confessed, but last month Judge Ronald C. Castleberry barred the use of his statement as evidence, ruling that it was coerced and that the boy did not understand his rights.

Posted by kshaw at 08:40 AM

Convicted bishop halfway through community service

Arizona Daily Sun

Associated Press Writer

PHOENIX -- The retired Catholic bishop who was convicted in a fatal hit-and-run has completed half of the community service hours he was ordered to perform as part of his sentence.

Bishop Thomas O'Brien, former leader of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, was halfway through the required 1,000 community service hours by last week, said diocese spokeswoman Mary Jo West.

O'Brien has kept regular weekly appointments at a hospital and nursing home, ministering to patients and residents, West said. ...

O'Brien resigned in June 2003 after police arrested him on suspicion of striking 43-year-old pedestrian Jim Reed with his car and leaving the scene of the accident.

Shortly before his arrest, O'Brien had signed an agreement with the prosecutor's office that protected him from any potential charges of criminal cover-up related to allegations of abuse by clergy.

In the agreement, O'Brien acknowledged that priests accused of sexual misconduct had been allowed to work with children and were sometimes transferred to other parishes without the knowledge of supervisors or parishioners.

Posted by kshaw at 08:37 AM

Correction: Priest Shot-Defrocked story

The Charleston Gazette

BALTIMORE (AP) -- In a Dec. 22 story about the defrocking of a priest for sexual abuse, The Associated Press erroneously reported the chronology of the case involving Maurice Blackwell. He was not returned to his parish after acknowledging a relationship with a teenager.

Blackwell was accused of sexually abusing Dontee Stokes in 1993 at his parish in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The priest denied the allegation, was given psychological treatment and allowed to return to his parish. Subsequently, a second person accused Blackwell of abusing him in the early 1970s. Blackwell acknowledged a relationship had occurred with that person, and the archdiocese removed him from the ministry in 1998.

Posted by kshaw at 08:32 AM

Boy-Buggering Bingo!

Orange County Weekly

by Gustavo Arellano

Now that the Orange diocese sex-abuse scandal is officially settled—a Dec. 6 conference disclosed the total at a record-breaking $100 million—pundits will speak of winners and losers. You’ll hear of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown, the church’s reputation, NAMBLA. But here are five winners and five losers that won’t get as much coverage:

Manly & McGuire: The Costa Mesa-based law firm primarily deals with real-estate law but represented 30 of the 87 cases against the Orange diocese. The tenacity of its three lead employees—attorneys John Manly (nicknamed "Mad Dog" Manly by church lawyers), Ryan DiMaria and monk-turned-researcher Patrick Wall—ensured that the settlement included the public release of priest-personnel files victims claim will show church complicity in their molestations. Thanks to their bulldog reputation, Manly, DiMaria and Wall are pursuing similar cases across the country. Next giant to slay: the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Judge Jim Gray: In 2001, Gray ordered the Orange and Los Angeles dioceses to pay DiMaria $5.2 million for abuse he alleged at the hands of Michael Harris, the former principal of Mater Dei and Santa Margarita high schools. At the time, it was the largest single-plaintiff, pretrial settlement in the history of the Catholic Church. More significantly, Gray forced Brown to disclose psychological records that diagnosed Harris with a sexual attraction to young boys. DiMaria vs. Harris came before the Boston archdiocese sex scandal and established a precedent for every priestly molestation case since.

Posted by kshaw at 08:30 AM

Church follow-up lacking



The majority on a prestigious citizen review panel has signed an alarming letter to Seattle Archbishop Alex Brunett highly critical of his approach to dealing with the reality of child sexual abuse by priests.

After studying the allegations of priests abusing children in the Seattle Archdiocese, seven of the 10 members of the Case Review Board endorsed the letter. Board member Mike McKay, former U.S. attorney, said Brunett's approach "suggests a lack of diligence."

The board chairman, retired King County Superior Court Judge Terrence Carroll, said Brunett had shown a "tendency to minimize things" on the child abuse issue. McKay said the archbishop tried to blunt the tenor of the board's final report and even refused to publish it until the members threatened to resign in protest. The letter said Brunett was trying to silence "disagreements or potentially unfavorable analyses of Archdiocesan actions."

These allegations are appalling.

Posted by kshaw at 08:23 AM

Former Hong Kong priest cleared of sexual abuse case

The Star

HONG KONG (AP) - A former Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in the 1970s in Hong Kong walked free Friday after a judge dropped the case, saying it would be impossible to have a fair trial over the decades-old matter.

Government prosecutor Steve Chui said the victim, now 42, was very disappointed with the ruling.

"He was very emotional and was crying,'' Chui said, adding that the Department of Justice will study the ruling before considering whether to appeal.

District Court Judge Patrick Li accepted the arguments by the lawyer of former Hong Kong priest Stanislaus Lee that the defendant could not get a fair trial because evidence had been destroyed, and potential witnesses had died or could not recall what happened.

Lee, 53, was accused of four counts of indecent assault for sexually abusing the boy in 1975-1977.

The judge granted the defense's request for a "permanent stay of proceedings'' to end the trial.

Posted by kshaw at 08:20 AM

Former DeLand priest accused of sexual misconduct

The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Staff Report

Last update: December 24, 2004

An Indiana priest who served one year at St. Peter's Catholic Church in DeLand has been placed on administrative leave after a church panel found "credible evidence" to support sexual misconduct allegations against him.

The case against the Rev. Richard Emerson, associate pastor of St. Peter's for one year beginning in January 1990, has now been turned over to a Vatican group to advise the bishop in Gary, Ind., how to proceed.

Emerson could not be reached for comment.

The case against him stems from a sexual abuse complaint lodged with the Orlando diocese in May, according to diocese spokeswoman Carol Brinati. Church officials turned over the information to the State Attorney's Office in Orlando and the Gary diocese where Emerson has worked for most of the last 28 years.

A 29-year-old man complained Emerson had abused him for seven years, beginning when he was 11, according to a June 10 diocesan letter to the state attorney quoted Thursday by the Orlando Sentinel.

Emerson worked at three Central Florida churches from 1987 to 1991 so he could be close to his ailing parents, Gary Diocese spokesman Brian Olszewski said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:18 AM

Suspended priest sentenced



December 24, 2004

Barry Ryan, the suspended and ailing Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to repeatedly molesting a 6-year-old Suffolk boy, said yesterday that he looks forward to his own imminent death as he was sentenced in Suffolk County Court.

Ryan, 56, of Palm City, Fla., is suffering from advanced liver cancer and has just a few months to live, doctors have said.

The boy's family often let Ryan stay with them soon after he was diagnosed with cancer, and he admitted that he repaid the kindness shown to him by doing "this terrible thing."

He told the father of his victim that he begs for the family's forgiveness as he sat in a wheelchair in Judge Ralph Gazzillo's Riverhead courtroom, flanked by attorneys.

Gazzillo, who delivered an impassioned assessment of the case from the bench, said no case "has been more disturbing nor more troubling than this."

Gazzillo gave Ryan to the negotiated sentence of 2 years.

But Ryan is not expected to see the inside of a prison, said Rosamaria Abbate, the Suffolk prosecutor who handled the case. His terminal illness may take his life before the date he is supposed to go into custody, which Gazzillo set for July 7, 2005.

Posted by kshaw at 08:16 AM

U.S. courts to track sealings, closures


Thursday, December 23, 2004
Star-Ledger Staff

After several years of debate, U.S. judges in New Jersey have enacted a rule to require courts to record whenever documents are sealed and courtrooms are closed to the public in civil matters.

Supporters hailed the change as an important step in maintaing public access to the workings of the justice system. Parties typically ask the court to seal records or courtrooms because they want to prevent the release of sensitive or damaging information.

Tracking such sealings or courtroom closures had been nearly impossible in New Jersey, where roughly three dozen federal judges preside over thousands of cases in courthouses in Newark, Trenton and Camden.

But as early as next month -- when a public comment period ends -- the federal court in New Jersey will maintain and post a report on its Web site detailing the cases that involve sealings and closures.

The rule also requires New Jersey's federal judges to explain why they are approving such actions. ...

The issue has been percolating since the early 1990s, but drew newfound attention in the wake of corporate and clergy sex abuse scandals, Drake University Law School Professor Laurie Doré said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:13 AM

Lawsuit Dismissed Against Bishop


A federal judge has dropped a retired bishop from a lawsuit filed by a Florida woman who claims she was molested by a Roman Catholic priest in the 1960s.

US District Judge Lawrence Piersol has granted a motion by Bishop Paul V. Dudley to dismiss for the plaintiff's failure to state a claim.

The sexual-abuse lawsuit will continue against the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Reverend Bruce MacArthur.

In February, Piersol dropped current Sioux Falls Bishop Robert Carlson from the suit.

Posted by kshaw at 08:05 AM

3 ex-students settle abuse lawsuit

San Francisco Chronicle

Katherine Seligman, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, December 24, 2004

Three former students at De La Salle High School in Concord who say they were sexually abused by counselors or teachers have received $6.3 million to settle three lawsuits against the Catholic order that operates the school, attorneys and plaintiffs said Thursday.

The former students, all now in their 30s and 40s, say the alleged abuse by members of the Christian Brothers Order happened during the mid-1970s to early '80s. One man says a teacher molested him on a school-sanctioned ski trip, and a second says a counselor abused him at a youth retreat in Napa.

In a third case, a former student says a different counselor repeatedly molested him during sessions off campus. The Christian Brothers order, which runs the prestigious private school, had transferred that counselor to Concord despite knowing that he had relationships with "sexual overtones" at another school, according to a 1968 letter from a Christian Brothers provincial leader that came to light after the lawsuit was filed.

"His behavior around me was as if he was entitled to touch me at any time, " said plaintiff Chris Barbour, 41. He said the counselor had molested him during sessions that he had sought out as a result of an earlier incidence of sexual abuse unconnected to the Christian Brothers.

Posted by kshaw at 07:59 AM

December 23, 2004

Jury finds priest not guilty of sex assault

Wicklow People

The Wicklow priest cleared of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl says he is preparing for 'the happiest Christmas I'll ever have'.

Fr. Chris Conroy (71) of 10 Rocky Road, Wicklow, was found not guilty of the offence at Wicklow Circuit Court by a unanimous decision of the jury on Friday.

He told the Wicklow People this week that he had suffered over the last two years but said he never worried for a minute. If he had not been exonerated, he said it would have been 'the biggest travesty of justice'.

'Here was an innocent man accused of something like this. I preserved my dignity at all times. I didn't have to go into the stand. This case was disproven beyond all reasonable doubt without my evidence,' he stated.

After the charges were brought against him, Fr. Conroy was suspended from all external religious duties, which he said was a terrible thing to happen to a priest.

He was hurt that he was not allowed to say the funeral Mass for a former student and could not perform marriage and baptism ceremonies for friends and family members.

Posted by kshaw at 05:28 PM

Minnesota archbishop bars Legionaries from his archdiocese

Catholic News Service

By Jerry Filteau
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a letter made public by an Internet posting in December, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis informed parish heads that the Legionaries of Christ are "not to be active in any way in the archdiocese."

He also instructed them that the Legionaries' lay associate movement, Regnum Christi, is to be "kept completely separate from all activities of the parishes and the archdiocese." The lay organization should not be allowed to use parish or archdiocesan property for any meeting or program, he said.

The St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese is not the first to bar the Legionaries, a religious order of priests whose approach to ministry and methods of vocations recruitment and seminary formation have been a source of controversy. The Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, has had a similar policy toward the Legionaries and Regnum Christi since October 2002.

Posted by kshaw at 01:02 PM

Church agreement on child abuse guidelines

One in Four

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent - Irish Times

The Catholic Church in Ireland has moved a step closer towards having in place guidelines on child-protection policy.

At a meeting yesterday its representatives agreed that professional directors of child protection, rather than a bishop or religious superior, should have responsibility for receiving and reporting allegations of abuse to the civil authorities. Meanwhile it will remain the responsibility of the bishop/superior to suspend/stand down the accused priest or religious, on consideration of recommendations of the director of child protection.

It was agreed also that the church would set up a national board on child protection which will have responsibility for the implementation of its policy as well as for auditing and publishing reports on its work.

It will further decide how many directors of child protection there will be on the island and the areas for which they will be responsible.

Posted by kshaw at 12:50 PM

265,000 Euro paid out to abuse victims, says bishop

One in Four

by Gordon Deegan – Irish Examiner

The Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh confirmed yesterday that the diocese paid out over a quarter of a million euro last year in the compensation for the pas sexual abuse of children by priests.

In publishing the diocese’s annual accounts for 2003, Bishop Walsh confirmed that a total of 265,000 euro was paid to two victims of sexual abuse last year.

A spokesman for the diocese is in the process of making a payment to a third victim. He declined to say how much had been paid to each victim, saying the bishop did not wish to comment on individual cases.

The vase proportion of the monies paid to the two victims came from a general church trust fund, the Stewardship Trust, established by the Irish Catholic Bishops to cover claims of clerical sex abuse. The accounts show that the trust paid 252,622 euro while the diocese paid 79,981 euro towards the trust in 2003.

Posted by kshaw at 12:49 PM

Egan faces grilling in sex lawsuit

New York Daily News

Edward Cardinal Egan said yesterday he will testify in a sex-abuse lawsuit against a former Connecticut priest who once worked for him.

"I will be there and I will be on time," Egan told reporters, after delivering gifts to emotionally disturbed children in the Bronx.

Egan said he learned this week that he had been subpoenaed in the suit, brought by a Bridgeport man who says he was molested while serving as an altar boy in 1991 and 1992.

Egan headed the Diocese of Bridgeport before becoming the archbishop of New York in 2000.

Egan also offered a brief defense of accused priest John Castaldo.

"The young man who is being accused of something never did anything out of line during my time there," Egan said.

Posted by kshaw at 10:57 AM

Priest in sex abuse claim

Herald Sun

Liam Houlihan, religious affairs reporter

TWO sexual misconduct complaints have been lodged against Australia's highest profile Anglican priest.

The Rev Father James Murray, religious affairs editor for The Australian newspaper, has been accused by two former students of groping and "far worse".

The accusations have been formally lodged with the professional standards unit of the Melbourne and Sydney diocese of the Anglican Church.

Father Murray has confirmed two complaints of a sexual nature were lodged against him.

The alleged incidents are claimed to have happened about 47 years ago at a Melbourne Anglican secondary school for boys.

Contacted by the Herald Sun last night, Father Murray, 77, said he was loath to comment without legal advice.

Posted by kshaw at 10:52 AM

High-profile priest to face probe

The Age

By Catharine Munro
December 24, 2004

The Anglican Church will appoint a senior lawyer to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct by a well-known priest and journalist.

Father James Murray, 77, a retired clergyman and religious affairs editor at The Australian, yesterday confirmed that the church was looking into events that allegedly occurred 47 years ago.

But he would neither confirm nor deny whether the claims filed in March by two men were true because he could not remember the complainants, he said.

"I'm not against the truth being told and I certainly am not a person who would be anything but ashamed of the behaviour," Father Murray said.

He refused to comment further and said he would be interviewed by church investigators next month.

"The church's processes is the one that will have to be gone through," he said.

Posted by kshaw at 10:50 AM

Lawyer to examine cost of clergy sexual abuse crisis

The Catholic Telegraph

DAYTON DEANERY - "The Wounded Body of Christ: Sexual Abuse in the Church" series will continue at the University of Dayton as attorney and professor Patrick Schiltz discusses the issue of "Too Much Law, Too Little Justice: How Lawyers Helped to Turn a Clergy Sexual Abuse Problem Into a Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis."

Schiltz, who holds the St. Thomas More Chair in Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, will speak at 7 p.m. Jan. 10 in the Sears Recital Hall in the Jesse Philips Humanities Center on UD's campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.

"I will focus on the role that lawyers, especially the church's own lawyers, played in creating the clergy sexual abuse crisis and I will talk about how those same lawyers now have the opportunity to help the church emerge from the crisis," Schiltz said.

According to Schiltz, clergy sexual abuse has become uncommon during the past decade but litigation continues to increase. The amount of settlements continues to rise, causing financial problems for several dioceses.

"Dioceses, for the first time, have turned to the bankruptcy courts for protection," Schiltz said. "Three dioceses have now filed for bankruptcy, and more are sure to follow."

Posted by kshaw at 10:48 AM

Gospel class sex abuse of kids charged

The Salt Lake Tribune

By Matt Canham
The Salt Lake Tribune

A gospel teacher at a Mormon ward in Syracuse allegedly fondled four young girls, some of them while they were praying or coloring religious pictures in his class.
Aaron Marcos Montoya, 32, of Syracuse, is charged in Farmington's 2nd District Court with five counts of aggravated sexual abuse, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison.
On Wednesday, Montoya, who was booked into the Davis County Jail on Tuesday, appeared in Farmington's 2nd District Court, where bail was set at $100,000.
Montoya works as a bailiff at the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, which provides security to the building, has placed Montoya on paid administrative leave.

Posted by kshaw at 10:46 AM

Clerics involved in 1 percent of child sexual abuse: NGO

Daily Times

By Shahzad Raza

ISLAMABAD: Clerics were involved in only one percent of over 1,200 cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) committed during the first three quarters of 2004, say statistics compiled by non-government organisation (NGO) Sahil.

The statistics revealed that 1,218 children were abused from January 2004 to September 2004. The figures only mentioned the cases reported in 27 newspapers. It was observed that a majority of the cases had not been reported.

The statistics showed 434 of the total CSA cases were committed by elderly cousins or other acquaintances of children. It added 176 cases occurred at the victims’ homes, 74 in fields, 31 in streets, 18 in jungles, 15 at workplaces, six in mosques, two in hotels, one in a church and one case in jail.

The statistical report said the places of CSA crimes in 461 cases were not reported in newspapers. It observed that the CSA rate in Pakistan was still touching the astonishing figure of 4.5 children a day, which was almost equal to that in year 2003.

During the first three quarters of the year 2004, around 197 girls were raped and 105 boys were sodomised. It was reported that 34 girls and 13 boys were murdered after being sexually assaulted.

Posted by kshaw at 10:44 AM

LDS teacher faces charges of sex abuse

Deseret Morning News

By Pat Reavy
Deseret Morning News

SYRACUSE — An LDS Primary teacher was accused of molesting young girls in his class during church and at his home.
Aaron Marcos Montoya, 32, who is also a Salt Lake County sheriff's officer, was charged in 2nd District Court with five counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. The charges included the aggravated enhancement because Montoya was in a position of trust in his church duties.
Two of the victims were allegedly molested at a ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints near 4500 West and 1700 South in Syracuse on Dec. 12. The attacks allegedly occurred in Montoya's Primary classroom while other students were present, Syracuse police Sgt. Mark Sessions said.
Two victims were allegedly attacked in Montoya's house near 1300 South and 3900 West over the past month, Sessions said. The young girls were at the house visiting Montoya's children, he said.

Posted by kshaw at 10:43 AM

Syracuse Police Arrest Primary Teacher On Child Sex Abuse Suspicion


Dec. 22, 2004

Police in Syracuse, Utah have arrested a primary teacher on suspicion of child sexual abuse. He's accused of abusing 4 children in his class. Sandra Yi joins us with more.

The suspect is also a law enforcement officer. They say, that's what makes this case even more disturbing. The suspect, 32-year old Aaron Montoya, is a corrections officer with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office. He's also a Primary teacher in his L-D-S congregation. Montoya is accused of fondling 4 of his students, ages 5 and 6, during class. Police aren't sure if any of the other kids witnesses the acts. They say there were as many as 6 children in the classroom, and there could be more victims.

Posted by kshaw at 10:41 AM

Former pastor on trial for sexual abuse

San Bernardino Sun

By JOE NELSON , Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO - A former church pastor sexually abused two sisters for six years at their homes and in remote areas of the city, threatening to kill one of them and later begging for forgiveness, a prosecutor argued Monday in Superior Court.

"This is a unique and complicated case. ... Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction,' Deputy District Attorney Jane Templeton said in her closing argument in the trial of John Molia, 69, of San Bernardino.

Molia, a former pastor of First Assembly of God Church in San Bernardino, faces two felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 and special allegations of having multiple victims.

He could be sent to prison for 15 years to life if convicted.

Posted by kshaw at 10:37 AM

Decision on clergymen's extradition expected in February


24 December 2004

A Sydney magistrate said yesterday he would hand down a decision in mid-February as to whether three St John of God clergymen would be extradited to New Zealand to face historic child abuse charges.

The trio - two brothers and a priest - face 64 charges of sexual abuse of students at Christchurch's Marylands school, which was run by the St John of God order between 1955 and its closure 30 years later.

Magistrate Hugh Dillon heard final submissions in Downing Centre Local Court yesterday from lawyers for the three men and the Australian Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, who are seeking to extradite the trio, aged 82, 69 and 57, - on behalf of New Zealand.

The men were arrested just after Christmas last year, but their case has dragged out the full year, bogged down by a logjam in the Sydney courts and the complex legal argument that developed in the case.

Mr Dillon said at the beginning of the week he had hoped to give his decision this week, but it became apparent yesterday that he would run out of time.

Posted by kshaw at 10:35 AM

26 men file two lawsuits against archdiocese

Seattle Times

Twenty-six men have filed two lawsuits against the Seattle Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church and the Congregation of Christian Brothers religious order, claiming past sexual abuse at Briscoe Memorial School, a now-defunct boarding school in Kent, and at Seattle's O'Dea High School.

The suits were filed Friday in King County Superior Court.

Both Briscoe, which closed in 1970, and O'Dea were owned by the Seattle archdiocese and managed by the Christian Brothers.

The abuses alleged in the suits range from the 1940s to the 1970s. Plaintiffs described physical and sexual abuse at Briscoe, including whippings and beatings, late-night molestations, oral sex and rape.

Brother Daniel Casey, with the Christian Brothers-Brother Rice Province, said he hadn't seen the lawsuits and declined to comment. Brothers with the Christian Brothers-Eastern American Province and their attorneys did not return calls seeking comment.

Greg Magnoni, Seattle archdiocese spokesman, said "we're confident [the Christian Brothers] will respond appropriately to these lawsuits."

Posted by kshaw at 10:18 AM

Audit pegs diocese's deficit at $20m

Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson and Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff | December 23, 2004

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, reeling from the aftereffects of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, spent $20 million more than it took in during the last fiscal year, according to a new audit.

The unusually large deficit -- twice what Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley has said the archdiocese is losing annually -- reflects costs associated with the sale of 43 acres of land in Brighton to Boston College, but also illustrates the archdiocese's dire financial condition.

The archdiocese faces continuing liabilities, including multiple lawsuits by people who assert they are victims of abuse by priests, which led the accounting firm, Grant Thornton LLP, to decline to express any opinion about the church's financial statements.

The archdiocese ''is involved in numerous lawsuits relating to claims of sexual misconduct by certain individuals beyond the claims covered under the December 2003 settlement agreement," the audit says.

Neither church leaders nor lawyers could estimate the potential financial impact of the abuse claims, the audit said, but ''the nature and magnitude of the potential effects of these claims on the financial statements is significant."

Posted by kshaw at 08:45 AM

Sex-offense registry mandatory for priest


By Andy Nelesen

The judge who sentenced former Norbertine priest James Stein to a year in jail and 10 years probation for molesting a 14-year-old boy has reversed part of her decision and now will require the 44-year-old man to register for life as a sex offender.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, Brown County Circuit Court Judge Sue Bischel wrote that, immediately after leaving the bench on Dec. 16, she second-guessed her decision not to require Stein to register.

“… At the end of the day, (I) became concerned that neither myself nor the attorneys had complete information regarding this issue because it was first raised at the conclusion of this very difficult hearing,” Bischel wrote in her ruling.

Bischel alerted the lawyers involved that she planned to revisit the matter and discovered that an additional section of Wisconsin law governs who must register as a sex offender and for how long.

Posted by kshaw at 08:38 AM

Mothers organize local chapter of anti-abuse network


By Jean Peerenboom

Two mothers whose sons accused Catholic clergy of sex abuse are starting a local chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. On Wednesday, they delivered a letter to Bishop David Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay asking for his support.

“We want him to put our contact information in The Compass, the diocesan newspaper, and on the diocesan Web site,” said Alice Hodek, who is starting the chapter with Judith Schauer.

At the same time, Hodek said the group is asking the bishop to contact leaders of other local church denominations to do the same.

Tony Kuick, communications director for the diocese, accepted the letter on the bishop’s behalf. “I extended the bishop’s prayers to the Hodek family and said the bishop is willing to meet the Hodeks after the first of the year.”

Hodek’s son, Mark, was a victim of former Norbertine priest James Stein, who was sentenced last week to 10 years’ probation and a year in jail with work-release privileges.

Posted by kshaw at 08:37 AM

Backsliding on priestly deeds

Seattle Times


Ecclesiastical process is a tiresome, worn-out dodge used by American Catholic bishops to paper over virtually every step of the sexual-abuse scandal by priests.

Two years ago, Seattle Archbishop Alexander Brunett offered a pithy observation that suggested he shared the frustration of the laity with bishops who spoke one way and acted another: "Our people are waiting for some kind of sign at all that we recognize we have some culpability in this matter," he said.

Now it appears Brunett is backsliding himself, delaying the release of a half-dozen names of offending priests until after the Vatican has looked at their cases.

The archbishop rightly has been challenged by the diocese's own independent review board, which looked at local cases of priests accused of sexual abuse. Brunett is trying to shoulder aside a distinguished and credentialed panel of Catholics and non-Catholics worried about the future of the church and the treatment of the scandal's victims.

Posted by kshaw at 08:36 AM

Allegation: Abuse by priest was long-term

Northwest Indiana Times

Special to The Times

ORLANDO | A letter sent from the Catholic Diocese of Orlando to the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office in June detailed sexual-abuse allegations against a visiting Indiana priest accused of molesting an Orlando boy for several years.

The Rev. Richard Emerson, who was placed on administrative leave Saturday by the Diocese of Gary, was accused of sexually abusing an Orlando boy from the time he was 11 until he was nearly 18 in 1993, the June 10 letter said.

Emerson, 52, now a pastor at Notre Dame in Michigan City, cannot take part in any public ministry nor have contact with minors while on administrative leave. The Hammond native has a long history with churches in the region, including ministering at Munster's St. Thomas More Church from 1996 to 2003.

The alleged victim, now 29, contacted the Orlando diocese through his attorney on May 25, alleging Emerson had taken him on trips to Key West, Chicago, Colorado and Indiana during the seven-year period. On a final trip to Indiana, he allegedly confronted Emerson, who admitted he "had a problem" and offered the teen $800 to keep quiet, according to the letter.

Posted by kshaw at 08:32 AM

Priest pleads innocent in kiddie porn case

North County Times

By: North County Times wire services

SAN DIEGO - A Roman Catholic priest from Point Loma, included in an international probe of child pornography, pleaded innocent Wednesday to misdemeanor possession of child porn charges and was jailed on $40,000 bail.

The Rev. Gary Michael Holtey, 59, was ordered into custody by San Diego Superior Court Commissioner Robert C. Rice despite arguments from defense attorney Daniel Williams that the defendant traveled from a Maryland rehabilitation center to make his court appearance.

Agents searched the the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and Academy parish office on May 6 and found printouts of child erotica and pornography, gay porn videos, film negatives of nude men and computer equipment, according to court documents.

"The defendant has a sexual preference for young boys," said Deputy City Attorney Judy Taschner, in arguing for $50,000 bail. "All minors are potential victims in his presence."

Taschner said Holtey left the state during the investigation, and authorities consider the defendant a flight risk and a danger to young boys he might come into contact with.

But Williams said the San Diego Catholic Diocese in providing financial and emotional support for Holtey's stay at the Maryland rehabilitation facility, where he is getting counseling.

Posted by kshaw at 08:30 AM

Priest to serve 15 to 21 months for receiving child porn over the Internet


The Associated Press December 22, 2004

A Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography over the Internet was sentenced to 15 to 21 months in federal prison.

The Rev. Elwood F. Figurelle, 71, the former pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mount Union, also must pay a $20,000 fine and participate in counseling. A federal judge in Williamsport also sentenced Figurelle to three years of supervised release.

"I got caught up in a very evil industry," Figurelle said at his sentencing Monday.

Figurelle in October 2003 pleaded guilty to a charge of taking obscene material from interstate commerce.

Prosecutors said they discovered the offense in February 2003 when Figurelle asked a computer store to transfer files from his old hard drive to a new computer he had just bought. Store employees turned the old hard drive over to the FBI after finding file names indicating they might contain child pornography.

Posted by kshaw at 08:28 AM

Asia ; Ex-priest asks HK court to halt sex abuse case

Asia News

Asia News, HONG KONG - A former Roman Catholic priest facing sex abuse charges in Hong Kong asked a court on Wednesday to halt all legal proceedings against him because the alleged offences took place too long ago to afford him a fair trial.

Stanislaus Lee, now a 53-year-old self-employed interpreter, has been charged with four counts of indecently assaulting a boy between 1975 and 1977.

The victim was 12 and Lee was training to be a priest at the time of the first alleged offence, which according to court documents took place in a school dormitory.

This is the second time a serving or defrocked cleric has been charged with sex crimes in Hong Kong and the case could turn the spotlight back on sex abuse cases involving Roman Catholic clergy around the world.

The clean-shaven Lee sat expressionless as his lawyer, Peter Duncan, told the district court that the alleged offences took place too long ago to allow a fair trial to take place.

Posted by kshaw at 08:25 AM

Former priest pleads guilty to teen rape

Telegram & Gazette


WORCESTER— The man shook his head in bewilderment as he took the stand in Superior Court yesterday, confronting his former priest, who minutes earlier had pleaded guilty to molesting him as a teenager.

“Where do you begin … to describe the certain pain people like this do to little children?” said the man, who is listed in court records only by his initials, J.H., in an effort to conceal his identity.

“We took a pedophile off the street today, so he can never do this again.”

James D. Campbell, a former Catholic priest in Warwick, R.I., pleaded guilty to rape, admitting he took J.H. and another teenager to a restaurant in Uxbridge nearly 30 years ago and molested them on different occasions.

Mr. Campbell, who was last known to be living with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Pennsylvania, will be sentenced Jan. 10 on charges of rape, two counts of assault and battery, two counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor, and unnatural and lascivious acts.

The assistant district attorney and Mr. Campbell’s lawyer recommended a 90-day jail term followed by 10 years of probation. Superior Court Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr. will consider the recommendation Jan. 10.

J.H. said in a victim impact statement yesterday that he is a “compassionate” man and so he agreed with the recommended sentence. Still, he lashed out at his former priest, who was an assistant pastor at St. Joseph’s Church in Rhode Island, saying he showed no compassion at all while pleading guilty.

“This guy just doesn’t get it,” J.H. said, urging Judge Agnes to keep in mind the “scar” the former priest left.

“I know you understand, and I know the court understands, but he just doesn’t get it. I did what I had to do and I feel justice has been served,” he said.

Mr. Campbell pleaded guilty to taking two teenagers to a restaurant in Uxbridge in 1975 and 1978, plying them with alcohol and molesting them. J.H., who was 16 in 1975, told police he was molested by the former priest, who was 32 at the time, after they had a meal. They returned to the priest’s car and the priest began touching him and putting his hand under his clothing, he told police.

A second victim, who was 14 at the time, told police Mr. Campbell bought her a meal and drinks and began touching her. She began to complain and the priest grew apologetic and did not rape her, according to statements made in court yesterday.

Posted by kshaw at 08:21 AM

Ruling restrains priest sex suits

Detroit Free Press

December 23, 2004


In a ruling that could stop lawsuits involving old allegations of sexual abuse by clergy in Michigan, a divided state Court of Appeals said Wednesday a man who claimed abuse in the 1970s cannot sue because he waited too long.

Lawyers for plaintiffs and victims' advocates decried the ruling, which they said puts Michigan behind states such as California, where legislative changes have allowed victims of decades of abuse by Catholic priests to file lawsuits.

The appeals court ruling upholds Michigan's statute of limitations, which requires victims in such cases to sue within three years of the abuse.

"What some judges don't understand is that many, many victims deny and minimize what happened and don't even understand they've been hurt," said David Clohessy, the St. Louis-based national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"It's only after the fourth failed marriage and the fifth DUI and the sixth bar fight that we begin to understand those horrible childhood incidents still cause us suffering and self-destructive behavior."

Posted by kshaw at 08:19 AM

Board criticism of archbishop grows

The Seattle Times

By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times staff reporter

A seventh member of a 10-person board charged with reviewing cases of Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse has signed on to a letter critical of some of Seattle Archbishop Alexander Brunett's actions.

Bill Lennon, a state-certified provider of sex-offender treatment and director of a counseling practice in Bellevue, said yesterday that he had been out of the country when six of the board members met earlier this month. That meeting was to discuss how they would respond after receiving a Dec. 3 letter from the archbishop saying the board essentially would be disbanded.

In a letter of response sent Monday, the six criticized Brunett for, among other things, suggesting future abuses by local priests were unlikely to happen; not releasing the names of offending priests until after the Vatican has decided their fates; and trying to soften a board report critical of church policies, and releasing it in October only after board members threatened to resign.

Lennon said yesterday he faxed a copy of his signed letter to board chairman Terrence Carroll, a retired King County Superior Court judge, to send on to the archbishop. "I believed in the statements that we were making," Lennon said of his decision.

Posted by kshaw at 08:17 AM

December 22, 2004

Children abused in home 'Most evil of men' jailed for 14 years

Yorkshire Post Today

Dave Mark
HE was described by the children he tormented and by the policeman who caught him as "the most evil of men".
Last night, the former principal of a Catholic care home who visited 25 years of sexual abuse on boys there was facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life behind bars.
In what was said to be "as bad a case of gross breach of trust as one can imagine", Brother James Carragher – previously hailed as an internationally-respected champion of children's welfare – systematically abused disturbed young boys at St William's Community Home, Market Weighton, between 1968 and 1992.
The 14-year jail term imposed yesterday came seven years after he walked free from prison having served five years of a seven-year sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to one count of buggery, one count of attempted buggery and 12 counts of indecent assault involving nine boys at St William's between 1972 and 1980.
Yesterday Carragher, 64 and living in Oxford, was convicted of five counts of buggery and 11 counts of indecent assault, following a 10-week trial. Even if paroled, Carragher will be in his mid-70s if he ever walks free from jail. The case involved 43 witnesses – many of whom were serving prisoners and several of whom were serving life prison sentences themselves.
During the period under investigation, about 2,000 male children passed through the home along with about 500 staff.
Det Supt Richard Kerman said: "James Garragher is the most evil man I have ever met and I do not say that lightly.
"He was in a position of trust as principal of the home and he used that position to abuse vulnerable children who had difficult backgrounds and who needed care and protection. During his contact with police he has never displayed any remorse."

Posted by kshaw at 03:55 PM

Egan to give deposition in suit against priest

Greenwich Times

By Ivan H. Golden
Staff Writer

December 22, 2004

Cardinal Edward Egan of the Archdiocese of New York will answer questions under oath in a Connecticut civil lawsuit involving allegations of sexual abuse against a former Stamford priest.

A spokesman for the New York Archdiocese issued a brief statement yesterday afternoon, saying that Egan would cooperate with a subpoena for him to give a deposition in the case.

"During the Cardinal's years in the Bridgeport Diocese, there was never any indication of any sort of sexual misbehavior on the part of the priest in question," The statement read. "The Cardinal has indicated that he will cooperate with the court in this matter."

Lawyers for "John Doe," a Bridgeport man who claims in a lawsuit that he was molested in the early 1990s by the Rev. John Castaldo, want to question Egan about why Castaldo was transferred so frequently between parishes in the 1990s.

Egan was head of the Bridgeport Diocese from 1988 through 2000, and lawyers for "John Doe" wrote in a motion last week that Egan, "had access to considerable information indicating John Castaldo was not fit for service as a priest in the Diocese."

Posted by kshaw at 03:52 PM

Sex case reopened

The Advertiser

Thursday, 23 December 2004

NOTORIOUS paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, who once worked in Inglewood, could face more charges after the case against him was recently reopened.

It is believed the Catholic church first became aware of Ridsdale's sexual abuse of children, mostly altar boys, while he was the parish priest at Inglewood in 1975.

However, he was not brought to justice until 1993.

The following year he was sentenced to 18 years in jail, with a 15-year non-parole period, after pleading guilty to 46 charges.

Described as Australia's most notorious paedophile, Ridsdale could be released in 2009.

However, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paul Coghlan QC, has indicated more charges could be laid against the man.

Posted by kshaw at 03:50 PM

Michigan appeals court: Statute of limitations expired on church sex abuse case


12/22/2004, 1:27 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The statute of limitations has expired on a sexual abuse claim against a former Roman Catholic priest and the Archdiocese of Detroit, the Michigan Court of Appeals said in a ruling released Wednesday.

The Wayne County case, filed by a plaintiff identified only as John Doe, stemmed from allegations of sexual abuse from 1972 to 1976 against Robert Burkholder. The case later was amended to cover another claim of sexual abuse from 1983 in Hawaii.

The alleged abuse took place while the plaintiff and his family attended Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Detroit.

The suit was filed in December 2002. A county judge ruled last year that the case could go forward, but the court of appeals reversed that decision.

"While we are thoroughly sympathetic with the plight of sexual abuse victims, especially those victimized by Catholic priests, our courts are constrained to correctly apply statutes of limitation and their exceptions in every case," the appeals court majority said in its decision.

Posted by kshaw at 03:48 PM

Detroit Archdiocese Responds to Cases Involving Clergy Sexual Abuse

Yahoo! Finance

Wednesday December 22, 3:58 pm ET

DETROIT, Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- This month, the Archdiocese of Detroit has been involved in two separate court rulings relating to the issue of clerical sexual abuse. On Tuesday, December 21st, in a two-to-one ruling, the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected an effort to suspend the statute of limitations in a case involving the Detroit archdiocese. The lower court ruling, if allowed to stand, would have impacted not only Catholic clergy, but possibly any number of institutions and professions, including doctors, lawyers and teachers. The following is a statement from the archdiocesan director of communications on the Appeals Court ruling:
"We are grateful the Court of Appeals accepted the legal argument presented. Our state and its citizens have been well served by the statute of limitations; it provides a reasonable amount of time for individuals to pursue civil complaints.

Posted by kshaw at 03:46 PM

Pope defrocks Md. priest accused of sex abuse

Baltimore Sun

By Brian Witte
The Associated Press
Originally published December 22, 2004, 4:16 PM EST

Pope John Paul II has defrocked a priest accused of sexually abusing a parishioner who shot the Baltimore cleric years later as publicity mounted over the child abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, The Associated Press has learned.

The pope decided in October to dismiss Maurice Blackwell "from the clerical state," and the Archdiocese of Baltimore received the official documents earlier this month from the Vatican, archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said today.

Blackwell, 58, is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 3 on four counts of child sexual abuse against Dontee Stokes. The alleged abuse began in 1989 and ended in 1992 -- a decade before the Baltimore barber shot Blackwell in front of the priest's home. Blackwell has denied sexually abusing Stokes, who was a teenager at the time.

Blackwell's trial has been postponed five times, and the archdiocese received word from Rome just before one of his previously scheduled trial dates. Caine said the archdiocese decided then not to make a public statement about Blackwell's defrocking out of consideration for how it could affect potential jurors.

Posted by kshaw at 03:45 PM

Former pastor facing 20 counts


By Onell R. Soto
December 22, 2004

A Roman Catholic priest whose Point Loma parish office was raided by federal agents and San Diego police in May has been charged with 20 misdemeanor counts of possessing child pornography.

The Rev. Gary Michael Holtey has not been arrested, has been cooperating with authorities through his lawyer and is scheduled to be arraigned today in San Diego Superior Court, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Deputy City Attorney Judy Taschner said she will ask a judge to set bail at $50,000.

Holtey is one of more than 100 people in San Diego and Imperial counties linked to child-pornography sites through credit card transactions in an international investigation, authorities said.

Agents searched the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and Academy parish office and found printouts of child erotica and pornography, gay pornography videos, film negatives of nude males, two computers and WebTV, a device used for accessing the Internet on a television, according to court documents.

Posted by kshaw at 09:05 AM

Kramek accepts deal

New Britain Herald

By JULIE A. VARUGHESE, Staff Writer12/22/2004

NEW BRITAIN -- The visiting Roman Catholic priest from Poland who sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in her grandmother’s apartment pleaded guilty Tuesday in New Britain Superior Court.

Roman Kramek, 42, a former priest at Sacred Heart Church, 158 Broad St., will be sentenced Feb. 17 to nine months in prison and 10 years of probation. According to his attorney, William Dow, he will return to Poland after serving his sentence. He is required to register as a sex offender and provide a DNA sample to the state police upon his release from prison. A pre-sentencing investigation will be conducted during which the priest’s background and his thoughts on the case and the impact on the victim’s life will be reported and presented to Judge Susan Handy.

Kramek appeared in a suit and had his hands clasped behind his back for most of the hearing. When Judge Joan Alexander, who is filling in for presiding Judge Handy, accepted his plea, he put his hands to his face and covered his eyes and nose. Later, Dow would not comment on whether the defendant felt any remorse for the victim.

The victim, seated in the front row next to victim’s advocate Kitt Tierney, appeared timid and was not seated facing front toward the defendant; rather, her body was turned toward Tierney and she was tearful.

Posted by kshaw at 09:03 AM

Investigation of claim against priest was short

Orlando Sentinel

By Christopher Sherman and Mark I. Pinsky | Sentinel Staff Writers
Posted December 22, 2004

The Orlando police detective who handled the allegation of sexual misconduct against a visiting priest said the case never advanced beyond an informal investigation because there was not enough evidence the encounter was lewd.

A visiting Roman Catholic priest from the Diocese of Gary, Ind., the Rev. Richard Emerson, was accused of grabbing a preteen boy in the groin or hitting him in the pelvic area on the sideline of a soccer game in Orlando in the late 1980s, said Detective Jonathan O'Hern of the department's Crimes Against Children unit.

"We determined that it probably wasn't sufficient to establish any lewd conduct," O'Hern said. There were not accusations of sexual comments or advances, he said.

The Diocese of Gary investigated the charges against Emerson from late May of 2004, when it received them from the Diocese of Orlando, until Dec. 18, when it announced Emerson's suspension.

That suspension "was based solely upon the Florida allegation," said Brian Olszewski, a spokesman for the Indiana diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 09:00 AM

Priest Pleads Guilty To Sex With Girl

Hartford Courant

December 22, 2004
By JOANN KLIMKIEWICZ, Courant Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN -- An hour after accepting a plea agreement on charges he sexually assaulted a teenage girl who sought his counseling, the Rev. Roman Kramek sat in the New Britain office of one of his supporters Tuesday and struggled to hold back all he's wanted to say since Christmas 2002.

"It has been psychological torture for me for two years," Kramek said in Polish through an interpreter. "And now I'm glad it's over."

Close to the anniversary of the Christmas Eve arrest that cast an uncomfortable spotlight on the Polish American community in New Britain, the priest - who had only meant to be on temporary assignment from Poland - accepted a nine-month prison sentence with 10 years of probation.

Earlier in Superior Court in New Britain, Kramek avoided trial and a possible 10-year sentence by accepting a plea deal that offered him the minimum for a second-degree sexual assault conviction.

As much as Kramek, 42, said he wanted to speak Tuesday, one of his supporters insisted he wait until his Feb. 17 sentencing, on the advice of his attorney.

"I want to say a lot," he said. "The worst thing is silence."

Posted by kshaw at 08:57 AM

Cardinal Subpoenaed in Priestly Abuse Lawsuit

The New York Times


Published: December 22, 2004
For the first time since becoming archbishop of New York in 2000, Cardinal Edward M. Egan is expected to testify as a witness in a civil lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by a priest, the cardinal's spokesman and lawyers involved in the case confirmed yesterday.

Lawyers for the plaintiff, identified as John Doe in court documents, told Judge Chase Rogers of State Superior Court in Stamford, Conn., last week that they needed the cardinal to testify to ensure that the cardinal's comments about the case would be available before the case goes to trial, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 11.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said he fully expected the cardinal to cooperate with the subpoena, as did two lawyers involved in the case. The issuance of a subpoena calling upon him to testify was first reported by The Greenwich Time yesterday.

Mr. Zwilling said that it was not the first time that Cardinal Egan had been deposed about alleged sexual misconduct in the church, though it would be the first time since he left Bridgeport to become archbishop of the New York archdiocese in June 2000. He became cardinal in February 2001.

Posted by kshaw at 12:40 AM

December 21, 2004

Supreme Court: No time limit applies in sodomy cases

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Jim Suhr
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Affirming a lower court's stance that no time limit applies to prosecuting someone for sodomy, Missouri's highest court Tuesday refused to hear the case of a Roman Catholic priest accused of child sex abuse during the 1970s.

The Missouri Supreme Court's ruling, without comment, upheld a September ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals that reversed a St. Louis judge's determination that too much time had passed for the Rev. Thomas Graham to be charged with the clergy abuse.

In asking Missouri's high court to hear the case, Graham attorney Art Margulis labeled the matter "of profound significance," suggesting that a ruling unfavorable to his client might spur more prosecutions involving sexual abuse by clergy.

Margulis directed questions about Tuesday's ruling to his co-counsel Christian Goeke, who said "we expected this was an issue the (Supreme Court) would take up simply because of its widespread ramifications."

Posted by kshaw at 05:27 PM

Man testifies against L.A. priest in sex abuse hearing


By Gillian Flaccus
1:29 p.m. December 21, 2004

LOS ANGELES – A young man testified in court Tuesday that a Roman Catholic priest molested him in the cleric's bedroom in 2001.

The witness was the first of three to be called during a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to try the Rev. Fernando Lopez on abuse charges.

Lopez, 40, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of felony lewd acts with a child, a felony count of sexual battery by restraint, two misdemeanor counts of child molestation and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery.

The priest, who was suspended by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in July, was arrested in September and is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

The preliminary hearing was delayed nearly three hours because court officials had to find a room big enough to accommodate 80 parishioners who showed up to support Lopez.

The first witness, a 23-year-old man whose name is being withheld, said he was abused about four years ago in a building near St. Thomas the Apostle Church after he sought out Lopez for advice because he was feeling depressed and alone.

Testifying through a Spanish-language interpreter, the witness said Lopez invited him to his bedroom, helped the victim undress and then forced him to masturbate Lopez.

Posted by kshaw at 05:25 PM

Second person settles sex-abuse case against ex-priest, archdiocese


04:00 PM CST on Monday, December 20, 2004

St. Louis (AP) -- A second person sexually abused by a former priest now imprisoned for sexual misconduct has settled his lawsuit against St. Louis' archdiocese and the one-time clergyman, a victims' advocacy group said Monday.

Attorneys for both sides of the case naming the Rev. Bryan Kuchar did not return telephone calls seeking specifics about the settlement, including the payout that a source close to the matter said involved "six figures."

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Louis said that organization might comment later.

The victim, unidentified publicly but described as now being in his early 20s, filed suit in April, claiming to have been sexually abused by Kuchar more than 10 times in the rectory of the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica, where the priest lived. The boy was 16 at the time.

Posted by kshaw at 05:22 PM

Editorial: Priest’s sentence leaves doubt

Green Bay Press-Gazette

Another former priest was sentenced for sexual misconduct Thursday. James Stein, a former Norbertine, was given a year in jail and 10 years probation for a molestation that was committed in 1988. Prosecutors and the victim had asked for five years in prison, half of the maximum possible penalty.

It was a tough spot for Judge Sue Bishel. She looked at the crime — molestation of a 14-year-old — and at the life the former priest has lived since. She looked at the therapy he has gotten and the remorse he expressed.

Bishel said the case was handled differently because Stein was a priest at the time of the offense. “But for the fact that this gentleman was formerly a priest, (prosecutors) would not, I do not believe, be recommending a prison sentence,” she said.

But Stein was a priest at the time and we do expect more of people in the clergy. We want to be able to trust them when we are at our most vulnerable. That trust has been violated and the light sentence exasperates the issue of public trust.

Posted by kshaw at 05:20 PM

Accused priest’s mission was to care for parents

Gary Post-Tribune

LONG BEACH — The Rev. Richard Emerson asked for an assignment to Florida so he could be closer to his ailing parents.

It was that assignment a few years ago that has now led to accusations of sexual misconduct against the 53-year-old priest.

Emerson was placed on administrative leave this weekend from Notre Dame Catholic Church at U.S. 12 and Moore Road. The parish was informed by Bishop Dale Melczek, who made the decision pending further investigation.

The Gary diocese isn’t disclosing much more about the allegation.

According to diocese spokesman Brian Olszewski, the person making the accusation was a minor when the alleged inappropriate conduct occurred.

Posted by kshaw at 07:55 AM

Board members rip archbishop over sex-abuse issue

The Seattle Times

By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times staff reporter

Several prominent members of an independent board charged with reviewing cases of Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse sent a scathing letter to Seattle Archbishop Alexander Brunett yesterday, attacking him on several key points.

Among their chief concerns:

• That the archbishop may be misleading the public by suggesting the problem of sexually abusive priests is over.

• That there's no evidence Brunett has put safeguards they recommended in place.

• That Brunett challenged their authority to write a report critical of church policies, that he tried to get them to accept a softened version of the report, and that he published the original version in October only after board members threatened to resign.

The letter also expressed surprise that Brunett was disbanding the case-review board and expressed concern that a new board yet to be formed may not be independent enough. And it criticized Brunett's decision to delay releasing the names of offending priests until after the Vatican had decided their fate.

Posted by kshaw at 07:53 AM

Stance on priest abuse troubles task force



A body of judges, lawyers and experts in child sexual abuse has accused Seattle Archbishop Alex Brunett of being unrealistic, and possibly misleading, in assuring the public that priests here are unlikely to molest minors in the future.

Further, the archbishop's insistence that priest sexual abuse is an old issue, long ago resolved -- in addition to his refusal to make public a list of accused clerics -- has led six of the 10 members of his independent Case Review Board to write Brunett a letter denouncing his approach.

"We cannot go into the night silently," said Mike McKay, former U.S. attorney for Western Washington and a member of the board who spent more than a year examining allegations of priest abuse. "This suggests a lack of diligence that concerns me deeply."

Brunett, he added in an interview, had fought the board members at every turn, attempting to modulate the critical tone of their final report and refusing to publish it until they threatened to quit in protest. The full, 28-page document was eventually released, as originally written, in October. It is available online at the archdiocese's Web site (

Posted by kshaw at 07:52 AM

Court wants Egan subpoena enforced

Greenwich Time

By Ivan H. Golden
Staff Writer

December 21, 2004

A Connecticut court has asked New York authorities to enforce a subpoena against Cardinal Edward Egan, of the Archdiocese of New York, ordering him to answer questions under oath in a sexual abuse case involving a former Stamford priest.

Judge Chase Rogers, of state Superior Court in Stamford, issued the request last week in response to a motion from a Stamford lawyer whose client, identified in court papers as "John Doe," claims he was molested in the early 1990s by the Rev. John J. Castaldo while Castaldo was a priest at St. Teresa Church in Trumbull. Rogers also asked New York authorities to enforce a subpoena against the Rev. Kevin Mackin, of Loudenville, N.Y.

The motion from the plaintiff's lawyer states that Egan and Mackin, "are important witnesses whose testimony is critical evidence in this case." Egan was head of the Diocese of Bridgeport in 1992, the year Castaldo was transferred from St. Teresa Church in Trumbull to St. Mark's Parish in Stratford. Mackin was president-rector of the Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, N.Y., in 1985, the year Castaldo was dismissed from the seminary.

According to the motion, "Cardinal Egan had access to considerable information indicating John Castaldo was not fit for service as a priest in the Diocese" and that he, "had and ignored other information indicating Castaldo was not fit to serve as a priest."

Posted by kshaw at 07:48 AM

$3.8 million settles 23 sex abuse suits

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Robert Patrick
Of the Post-Dispatch

The Archdiocese of St. Louis this year agreed to pay nearly $3.8 million to settle 23 civil suits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, including two suits settled last week, according to a church lawyer.

The settlements do not resolve open criminal cases or end the suits against individual priests, said Bernard Huger, a lawyer representing the archdiocese.

Huger said about $742,000 of the settlement total was covered by insurance. The church is still fighting with its insurance company over whether a nearly $1.7 million settlement reached in June will be covered.

Last week, the alleged victims of Michael McGrath and Romano Ferraro resolved their cases in a mediated settlement, joining two other victims who have settled their cases since August for a total of $270,000, Huger said Monday.

Posted by kshaw at 07:46 AM

Priest asks to return to church

Asbury Park Press

Published in the Asbury Park Press By RICHARD QUINN

BAY HEAD -- A Catholic priest formerly accused of sexual abuse -- the charges were dropped three months ago after the accuser committed suicide -- has asked the Diocese of Trenton to put him back in the borough parish he used to lead.

The Rev. Patrick Francis Magee, who was pastor at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic parish until the charges surfaced, met with Bishop John M. Smith last week and "asked to return to his assignment in Bay Head," diocesan spokeswoman Audra Miller said in a statement released Monday.

Magee's move was expected since the charges were dropped and he was allowed to return to the United States from Ireland. The diocese would put no timetable on when a decision will be made on his request.

Magee's case began in December 2003, when he was arrested in Ireland. He was visiting family in County Down, Northern Ireland, when a man accused him of sexual abuse in incidents said to have occurred there more than 30 years ago. Magee was a seminary student at the time, according to the Trenton diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 07:44 AM

Neb. Priest Receives Probation

Yankton Press & Dakotan

CENTER, Neb. -- A priest who formerly served area parishes has received one year of probation as part of a plea agreement involving sexually-explicit material.

The Rev. Jay Kruse, 50, formerly of Verdigre, Neb., has pleaded guilty to one count of Attempted Possession of Visual Depiction of Sexually Explicit Content. The charge is a Class I misdemeanor.

Kruse entered the plea in Knox County District Court. He had originally been charged with two counts of Possession of Visual Depiction of Sexually Explicit Conduct, a Class IV felony.

Kruse served St. Wenceslaus parish in Verdigre and St. William's parish in Niobrara, Neb., from June 2002 to June 2004.

District Judge Patrick Rogers presided at the sentencing. Knox County Attorney John Thomas prosecuted the case, while Omaha attorney James Schaefer represented Kruse.

Court records indicate the charges involve images of juveniles, according to the Knox County Court Clerk's office.

The matter was investigated by the Nebraska State Patrol and the Nebraska State Patrol Computer Crimes Unit.

Posted by kshaw at 07:41 AM

Judge prohibits release of tapes of former priest

Daily Herald

By Tona Kunz Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The public won't get to hear a secretly taped conversation where a teenager tries to get a former Geneva priest to admit to sexually abusing her unless the priest's civil lawsuit goes to trial, a judge ruled Monday.

Kane County Judge F. Keith Brown continued indefinitely the protective order prohibiting the release of the six audio tapes and their transcripts to the public or press. He said release of the tapes could tamper the jury pool and impinge on the fairness of a trial against former priest Mark Campobello, the Rockford Catholic Diocese and Bishop Thomas Doran. Brown cited attorney rules of conduct that prohibit the disclosure of information that may be testified to in trial.

Once the information was testified to at trial, it would become public, but that may never happen. An attorney for the diocese and Doran has said previously both parties are willing to negotiate a settlement.

Shorewood attorney Keith Aeschliman sought the tapes on behalf of two women who claim they were sexually abused by Campobello while one was a teenager at St. Peter's Church in Geneva and the other at Aurora Central Catholic High School.

Posted by kshaw at 07:38 AM

December 20, 2004

Second person settles sex-abuse case against ex-priest, archdiocese

The Kansas City Star

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - A second person molested by a former priest now imprisoned for sexual misconduct has settled his lawsuit against St. Louis' archdiocese and the one-time clergyman, a victims' advocacy group said Monday.

Attorneys refused to discuss specifics about the settlement involving the Rev. Bryan Kuchar, including the payout that a source close to the matter said involved "six figures."

The settlement is the latest of 22 reached this year through mediation by the Archdiocese of St. Louis, with at least three other cases pending, said Bernard Huger, an attorney for the archdiocese. Of the $2,101,800 in total payouts for those settlements, $742,144 has been paid by insurance and the rest by archdiocese reserves, Huger said.

"Our goal is to assist people with healing," Huger said. "We do want to listen to the people (making claims), hear what's said and see what kind of support and assistance can be provided. The goal is to move towards healing; it doesn't all happen in one day."

Posted by kshaw at 08:36 PM

Mediators say agreements reached in 47 of 112 abuse reports

Duluth News Tribune

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE - Mediators said Monday they had resolved 47 claims of clergy sexual abuse in the Milwaukee Roman Catholic Archdiocese.

The archdiocese's independent clergy sexual abuse mediation system had received a total of 112 reports of abuse since it started in January. Mediators said 22 cases are in the mediation process, and nine others are under investigation.

Confidentiality provisions in the agreements prohibit church officials and mediators from saying how the archdiocese resolved the claims, said Christine Harris Taylor, a coordinator with the mediation system.

Peter Isely, Milwaukee spokesman for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said some settlements ranged from $20,000 to $50,000.

Posted by kshaw at 08:34 PM

Former priest enters guilty plea

Philadelphia Inquirer

By John Shiffman

A defrocked Catholic priest who grew up in Northeast Philadelphia pleaded guilty today to sexually assaulting an altar boy in Camden County in 1995.

By pleading guilty to second-degree assault, James F. Hopkins, who had been living in Palm City, Fla., will face five to 10 years in state prison. Prosecutors withdrew a first-degree sexual assault charge that carried up to 20 years in prison.

Under a plea agreement negotiated by Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Donna Spinosi, Hopkins will also be required to register under Megan's Law.

Superior Court Judge Linda Baxter set sentencing for March 4.

Posted by kshaw at 08:33 PM

Journalist responds to Legion's "disinformation strategy"

Renew America

Matt C. Abbott
December 20, 2004

In response to my previous column on the Legionaries of Christ controversy, I received the following e-mail from journalist Jason Berry, co-author of the book 'Vows of Silence':

"I would like to counter an impression your readers may have regarding Father Marcial Maciel in the book that Gerald Renner and I published, 'Vows of Silence.'

"You noted that the Legion website [] refers to 'false allegations against Father Maciel, the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi to distort the record of Pope John Paul II and undermine his teachings.'

"The Legion's disinformation strategy suggests that in order to discredit Pope John Paul II (God bless him), two seasoned journalists, both Catholics, would spend years of research to promote false charges. Two hard facts are at the center of the book.

"1) In 1976 a priest who left the Legion, with his bishop's support, sent documents to Rome, accusing Maciel of abusing himself and other seminarians. A second priest, and ex-Legionary, vouched to Rome that he too was abused by Maciel. The Vatican did nothing then, nor as accusations widened when other men came forward in later years.

Posted by kshaw at 08:25 PM

MC priest accused of sexual misconduct



LONG BEACH — Rev. Richard Emerson, current pastor of Notre Dame Catholic Church in Michigan City and former pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in LaPorte, was placed on administrative leave Saturday after allegations of sexual misconduct from more than 10 years ago.

Bishop Dale Melczek, head of the Gary Diocese, made the announcement to stunned Notre Dame parishioners at both Saturday’s and Sunday’s Masses. He also read and handed out a letter explaining the situation in detail.

“Father Emerson had received permission … to minister in the Diocese of Orlando (Florida) between October 1987 and December 1997 in order to be closer to his mother and father who were experiencing some illness,” wrote Melczek.

“I was notified by the Diocese of Orlando earlier this year that they had received an allegation of sexual misconduct against Father Emerson. The alleged sexual misconduct with a minor took place in the late 1980s.”

Melczek’s letter went on to state that the matter has been turned over to civil authorities in Florida and Indiana.

The Gary Diocese was first made aware of the situation six to eight weeks ago, but had to go through several steps before deciding to put Emerson on leave, said a diocese spokesman.

Posted by kshaw at 03:51 PM

Editorial: On-site church audits best

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

From the Journal Sentinel
Last Updated: Dec. 19, 2004

“Trust but verify” was a sound basis for policy when President Reagan applied it toward the former Soviet Union. It would be an equally sound policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to adopt toward the 195 Catholic dioceses across the country. Instead, the conference seems to be moving toward a policy of “just trust,” something that may not be very reassuring for victims of clergy sexual abuse, the general public or parishioners in the pews.

Last month, the bishops decided to reduce the number of U.S. dioceses that will receive full on-site audits of their child protection programs next year. We don’t agree with some critics that this is a signal the bishops are abandoning their promise to deal seriously with clergy who abuse children and with church officials who provide cover for the abusers. We do think that most bishops, like Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, are sincere in their desire to protect children.

But we’re not sure those bishops realize how much work remains to be done to re-establish public trust in the church, and we suspect the new policy is a turn in the wrong direction.

Posted by kshaw at 10:39 AM

Bishops support Sikh community over controversial play


The Anglican and Catholic bishops of Birmingham have publicly expressed their support to the city's Sikh community over a play which they say portrays the Sikh religion in an offensive way.

The Archbishop of Birmingham, Rt Rev Vincent Nichols, lent his support on Sunday, and the Bishop of Birmingham, John Sentamu, expressed his sympathy with the Sikh community on Radio 4's Today Programme, on Monday.

On Saturday, Birmingham Repertory theatre had to cancel the production of Behzti - which means dishonour in Punjabi - after several hundred people tried to disrupt the production.

It is written by actress-turned-playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti - herself a Sikh - and is scheduled to run until the end of December.

Mohan Singh, a local Sikh community leader, said: "When they're doing a play about a Sikh priest raping somebody inside a gurdwara, would any religion take it?"

Posted by kshaw at 07:50 AM

Daycare employee confesses to molesting 7 children


11:12 PM EST on Sunday, December 19, 2004

An employee at a Pleasure Ridge Park church daycare center allegedly sexually abused at least seven 4-year-old boys, police said Sunday.

The pastor at Highland Park Christian Church told congregants Sunday that 46-year-old Brian Redmon had confessed to the crimes. Redmon, a man with no prior record, now faces 17 charges of first-degree sodomy and 14 counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Police believe there may be other victims.

"Redmon talked with us openly about his involvement in fondling children and also performing oral sex on some of them," said Detective Rhonda Speaker of the Crimes Against Children Unit.

Redmon worked at Highland Park Christian Church from December 2003 until October 2004. From October until November 2004, he worked at Southside Christian Childcare.

"There are really no words to express how much we hurt for the families involved," said Pastor Clint Palmer.

Posted by kshaw at 07:44 AM

Orlando parishioners told of sex-abuse claim

Orlando Sentinel

By Christopher Sherman | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted December 20, 2004

The Catholic Diocese of Orlando told the congregation of a local church Sunday that a visiting priest who worked there in the late 1980s is being investigated for possible sexual misconduct.

After an early morning phone call from the diocese about the allegation against the Rev. Richard Emerson, the Rev. Thomas Barrett told parishioners of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church on Edgewater Drive that anyone with knowledge of misconduct should contact police and church authorities.

"I ask that you pray for the victim," he told parishioners.

Longtime church member Sallie Amato said she had spoken about Emerson with other members who are active in the church.

"No one remembers him -- I've been here since the '50s," Amato said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:40 AM

Sikh leaders to meet police over play protest


LONDON (Reuters) - Sikh leaders in the Midlands will hold talks with police today after hundreds of angry protesters stormed a theatre to protest against a play that depicts sexual abuse and murder in a Sikh temple.

Three officers were hurt and three men arrested but later released on police bail after a peaceful protest against a Saturday night performance of the play turned violent, police said on Sunday.

The play "Behzti" (Dishonour), by Sikh writer Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, is described as a "black comedy".

It was not scheduled for Sunday, but another performance at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre is planned for Monday night.

"There are meetings due to take place tomorrow (Monday). One between the police and the Rep Theatre and one between police and representatives of the Sikh community," a police spokeswoman said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:37 AM

Bishop urges prayer after priest removed


By John Grant Emeigh / Post-Tribune staff writer

MICHIGAN CITY —Parishioners at a Michigan City church shocked by accusations of sexual misconduct against one of its priests were told to pray and begin healing during a visit Sunday morning by the head of the Diocese of Gary.

About 100 people braved a blizzard that morning to hear Bishop Dale J. Melczek address the issue during the 8 a.m. service at Notre Dame Church, according to diocese public relations official Brian T. Olszewski.

The diocese announced Saturday that the Rev. Richard Emerson, 52, was placed on administrative leave after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. Emerson, a native of Hammond, is accused of engaging in sexual activity with a minor while working as a priest in Florida in the 1980s.

Olszewski said Melczek assured the congregation that their “pastoral needs” will continue to be met in the absence of Emerson.

Posted by kshaw at 07:35 AM

Author's view on Legion of Christ controversy

Renew America

Matt C. Abbott
December 19, 2004

Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis recently threw down the gauntlet — at least in one respect. In an Oct. 22, 2004 letter to Father Anthony Bannon, territorial director of the Legionaries of Christ (, Flynn effectively banned the controversial religious order from the archdiocese, citing concerns of a "parallel Church." (To see a copy of the correspondence, visit

I asked journalist Lee Podles, whose upcoming book, A Harsh Light: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church, was featured in a previous column, what he thinks of, a site dedicated to refuting past sex abuse allegations against the founder of the Legion, Father Marcial Maciel.

"The issues are complex, and I make no judgment," says Podles, who devotes the following passage in his book to the Maciel controversy:

"The potentially most damaging allegations...are the subject of Jason Berry's and Gerald Renner's book, Vows of Silence, which examines in detail what he considers the Vatican's 'failure to investigate serious charges' in which seminarians allege that Maciel abused them in the 1950s. The charges and countercharges are murky, and much depends on one's appraisals of the character of the accusers. The Legion is disliked and even hated by some Catholics (and not only liberal Catholics). A successful attack on Maciel would discredit not only him, but also the Legion. The bishops and the Vatican tolerated abuse by unknown priests for decades; the bishops and the Vatican would have an even greater motive to cover-up allegations against Maciel. The Legionaries are a large and rapidly growing organization, extremely important in keeping Hispanics in the Catholic Church; the Vatican is not eager to discover any evidence its founder might be a pederast and homosexual. But the failure to conduct a thorough investigation means that there will always be a shadow on Maciel's name, even if he is completely innocent."

Posted by kshaw at 07:33 AM

December 19, 2004

Perjury charges urged against Mahony


By Jeffrey M. Barker
Record Staff Writer
Published Saturday, December 18, 2004

STOCKTON -- A group of people sexually victimized by Catholic priests asked the San Joaquin County district attorney this week to consider perjury charges against Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Mahony was bishop of Stockton from 1980-85. Late last month, he gave a deposition to attorneys preparing to go to trial in molestation lawsuits against Northern California dioceses.

The group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, wrote in a letter to District Attorney John Phillips that Mahony's comments during the deposition contradicted testimony he gave here during a 1998 civil trial against the Rev. Oliver O'Grady.

O'Grady was found guilty here in 1993 of four counts of lewd and lascivious acts against minors -- crimes he committed while under Mahony's supervision.

Assistant District Attorney Jim Willett said Friday his office had not received the letter from SNAP and could not comment on the allegations.

Posted by kshaw at 12:59 PM

Struggling to keep the faith


By Bret Schulte

Nearly three years after a series of staggering revelations of sexual abuse by its clergy, the Roman Catholic Church is still working its way through the fallout, with equal amounts of pain and hope. In Boston, where the story first broke, the archdiocese faces financial ruin. More than 80 churches are slated to be closed as church authorities fight a $10 million annual deficit, brought on by dying parishes and a 50 percent decline in donations since 2002. Yet for all their anger, area Catholics seem to be clinging even more tenaciously to their faith, with many parishioners fighting to have the closings reversed. That would include people like Ian Driscoll of St. Anselm in Sudbury, one of eight parishes staging 24-hour protest vigils. Ian is 12. After school, he goes home to eat, do his homework, and practice the trumpet. Then he goes to the church, where he sleeps every night, usually accompanied by his mother. He made plans to skip a Boy Scout trip last weekend so he could spend the night at the church as part of a celebration marking the vigil's 100th day. "When you have something, you don't care about it as much," he says. "But once you're going to lose it, you like it more."

A lot of American Catholics are reacting like Ian. In Boston, an $85 million settlement with more than 500 victims exacerbated an existing crisis for an overextended archdiocese in need of an overhaul. A mountain of pending lawsuits has forced three dioceses to declare bankruptcy this year, and in Los Angeles, a record settlement may be in the offing. As a result of the sex scandal, the American Catholic Church is no longer governed solely by all-powerful bishops. Sex-abuse victims, police investigators, attorneys, prosecutors, and insurance companies have forced a new openness in the church and unbolted the door to lay Catholics clamoring to get involved.

Reform. For a church that thinks in centuries rather than years, all the change has come as a bolt of lightning. While the scandal was still producing headlines, U.S. bishops convened in Dallas in June 2002 to create codes of church conduct and enacted a "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" that includes a controversial "zero tolerance" policy for priests who commit sexual abuse. Bishops understood that "the priority of the church now is to restore trust and heal hurt," says Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson. After some initial skepticism, Pope John Paul II endorsed the policy. The charter also opened up the church to lay supervision by creating a national review board of prominent Catholics to oversee reforms and an Office of Child and Youth Protection to implement the new "safe environment" program for children. At the local level, review boards are being created while pastoral and finance councils, stocked in large part by lay people, are being rejuvenated. "The Catholic Church is going to be the safest place for children in the country sometime soon," says the Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the Jesuit magazine America .

Posted by kshaw at 09:02 AM

Theatre defends actions over play

BBC News

The theatre at the centre of a major demonstration says it did all it could to prevent any outbreak of trouble.

Hundred of Sikhs protested outside the Birmingham Repertory Theatre against a play - Behzti (Dishonour) - depicting sex abuse and murder in a temple.

In a statement, the theatre said short of "blatant censorship" and cancelling the production, it could not have done more to appease the Sikh community.

Five police officers were hurt during struggles at the theatre on Saturday. ...

Mohan Singh, a local Sikh community leader, said: "When they're doing a play about a Sikh priest raping somebody inside a gurdwara, would any religion take it?"

Posted by kshaw at 08:38 AM

Sex-abuse priest gets 93 years in jail


AP - A Roman Catholic priest in south-eastern Brazil had been sentenced to 93 years in jail for molesting young boys, the cleric's attorney said.

Father Alfieri Eduardo Bompani, 60, was arrested in 2002 after 15 men came forward with allegations that he had abused them over a 15-year period. It was unclear when the abuse began or what age the men were at the time.

"The sentence was extremely harsh and unjust especially since my client is absolutely innocent," Bompani's attorney, Abramo Rubens Cutter, said in a telephone interview.

The sentence handed down by Judge Marcelo Siqueira was largely symbolic, since in Brazil the statutory limit for any crime is 30 years.

Posted by kshaw at 08:34 AM

Group wants priest information

Cincinnati Enquirer

A victim-rights group is urging a national Catholic panel to pressure Cincinnati's archbishop to disclose information on 16 priests newly accused of sexual abuse. Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests sent a letter Friday to theAbuse Tracker Review Board, a committee of laypersons appointed by bishops to monitor the church's sex-abuse scandal. The Cincinnati Archdiocese earlier this year said that 49 priests had been accused of sexual abuse. But this week, an attorney appointed to independently oversee a victim-compensation fund said he had received 132 allegations involving 65 priests. The newly accused priests could be abusers of adults, not children, officials said, possibly accounting for the different numbers. Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said names of priests are withheld unless allegations are deemed "credible" after an investigation.

Posted by kshaw at 08:31 AM

Flaws in church system let another scandal strike


Sunday, December 19, 2004
Star-Ledger Staff
Catholic Church law has required since 1983 that every pastor appoint a committee of lay members to help set spending priorities and manage the parish's money.

But when the Rev. Joseph Hughes was allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from an off-the-books bank account at Holy Cross Parish in Rumson for his own use, he didn't need to worry about being caught by a finance council looking over his shoulder.

He simply never appointed one.

The Catholic Church has been reeling for two years with revelations about clergy sex abuse. But critics say the arrest of Hughes last month and the disclosure this month of an investigation involving a former Morris County priest suggest the church has not done enough to address another scandal: the theft of parish funds by priests.

"I would guess that there have been many, many more priests that have abused parish finances than ever abused children," said Maria Cleary, regional coordinator of the reform group Voice of the Faithful in the Paterson, Newark and Metuchen dioceses. "The church has never done enough to stop it."

In the case of Hughes, authorities in Monmouth County allege he used money raised at golf tournaments and other charitable events to travel, dine and lavish a $57,000 BMW and other gifts on the young man who was the head of maintenance at the parish. Hughes has been free on bail since his arrest last month.

Posted by kshaw at 08:29 AM

Church backs minister, despite sex charges


DECEMBER 18, 2004 -- Despite the news of the their pastor's arrest, members of Straightway Ministries say they are standing behind Reverend Jonathan Ballard.

"We love him wholeheartedly and believe in him," says Associate Pastor Scott Holden. Holden and about 20 members of the church came together Friday night to show their support of the minister.

Rev. Ballard was arrested Wednesday at Straightway Ministries, on Highway 421 in New Hanover County.

Rev. Ballard is charged with several sex offenses involving a minor from his congregation. He's being held in the New Hanover County Jail under a $10 million bond. It's an amount his sister Michelle Ballard-Dempsy says is completely unfounded.

The Sheriff's Office says the bond is high because Ballard poses a danger to children.

Posted by kshaw at 08:23 AM

Some question $10M bond for pastor accused of sex offense

The Charlotte Observer

Associated Press

WILMINGTON, N.C. - A minister facing felony sex abuse charges is being held on a $10 million bond, a figure some suggest is unusually high.

The Rev. Jonathan W. Ballard, 34, was charged Wednesday with six counts of indecent liberties with a child and three counts of first-degree sex offense with a child. A magistrate set the $10 million bond that night.

Dick Ellis, spokesman for the state Administrative Office of Courts, said a number of factors can determine the bond amount, including the nature and circumstances of the alleged offense, the weight of evidence, and potential for jumping bond.

Ellis also said a $10 million bond sounds high.

T.A. Smith, a child abuse investigator with the New Hanover County sheriff's office, said the bond was high because Ballard is a flight risk and "a lot of (church) members would do anything to get him out." Smith also said Ballard has relatives in other states.

Posted by kshaw at 08:21 AM

DA defends plea agreement

The Daily Journal

District Attorney Norm Vroman said Friday that people in law enforcement or the legal community who think favors were given to Daniel Aram Garcia or that Garcia was allowed to plead to something that results in a lesser punishment because he worked for the courts are incorrect.

"That couldn't be further from the truth," he said. "Those people have no knowledge of the facts of the case. When people shoot their mouths off, it's usually out of ignorance."

Garcia pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of lewd and lascivious conduct with a 14- or 15-year-old, which comes with a possible jail term of 18 months, two years or three years.

Vroman dropped charges of oral copulation with a child under 16 and sexual penetration with a foreign object of a child under 16. He did not file a charge of continuous sexual abuse although police thought they had made a case for it.

Posted by kshaw at 08:14 AM

New Chapter for Prosecutor Who Went by the Book

The New York Times


Published: December 19, 2004

PHOENIX, Dec. 15 - Richard M. Romley, the flinty former marine who has served as prosecuting attorney of Maricopa County for the past 16 years, is retiring at the end of the month after taking down hundreds of killers and drug dealers, seven state legislators and one Roman Catholic bishop.

Mr. Romley, 55, a Republican, is weighing a run for governor or a seat in Congress in 2006. He said he would consider a job in the Bush administration, perhaps as drug czar or secretary of veterans affairs. After nearly two decades in the limelight, he is unlikely to fade away quietly.

Mr. Romley's critics call him self-righteous, inflexible and a tough and unforgiving boss. His admirers say the same thing.

Mr. Romley, whose legs were blown off by a land mine in Vietnam in 1969, confesses to a streak of self-righteousness. "I think it's my salvation," he said in an interview this week. "I'm very outspoken. I say what I believe in. People know where I stand."

Posted by kshaw at 08:10 AM

Charge against priest dropped

Fox 11

08:45 PM MST on Saturday, December 18, 2004

By Stephanie Innes / ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Arizona Daily Star
Valencía García

"The case has been dismissed. However, there is still some follow-up to do and it's under review," David Berkman, chief criminal deputy county attorney, said Friday.

Berkman said the Rev. Raúl Valencía García still could be charged with violating state law on reporting suspected child sexual abuse - a possible felony. If he is charged, Berkman predicted it would happen within the next 60 days.

Valencía García, 45, did not return a phone call Friday afternoon. Until recently, he was an associate pastor at St. Monica's Catholic Church, 212 W. Medina Road, but now he is working at St. Jude's Catholic Church in San Luis, near Yuma. He was ordained in June 2003.

Posted by kshaw at 08:08 AM

Former Orlando priest accused of misconduct

Orlando Sentinel

By Amy C. Rippel | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted December 19, 2004

A Roman Catholic priest who served in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando -- at an Orlando church and possibly one in DeLand in the late 1980s -- was placed on administrative leave after an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor, authorities said.

The Rev. Richard Emerson, 52, served in the Orlando area for more than two years in the late 1980s, said Brian Olszewski, communications director for the Catholic Diocese of Gary, Ind., where Emerson most recently served. Olszewski said the allegation "has to do with an incident that took place in the late 1980s when he was in the Diocese of Orlando."

Orlando diocese spokeswoman Carol Brinati said he served at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church on Edgewater Drive. Orlando Sentinel records show that Emerson possibly served at St. Peter's Catholic Church in DeLand in 1990.

Olszewski said the Indiana diocese learned of the allegation about eight weeks ago from officials at the Orlando diocese. After an investigation by an Indiana diocese team, parishioners at northwest Indiana churches where Emerson served were notified of the allegation.

Posted by kshaw at 08:05 AM

Priest accused of abuse while serving in Florida

The Ledger

GARY, Ind.
A northwest Indiana Roman Catholic priest, accused of sexual misconduct that allegedly occurred while he was serving in Florida, has been placed on administrative leave.

Gary Bishop Dale J. Melczek took the action against the Rev. Richard Emerson, 52, of Hammond, after the diocese's response team reviewed the allegations, diocese spokesman Brian T. Olszewski said in a news release Saturday.

He is restrained from public ministry or contact with minors pending a Vatican review, the release said. Emerson, who was ordained in 1978 in the Gary diocese, has been pastor of Michigan City's Notre Dame parish since July 2003.

According to the allegations, Emerson engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor in the late 1980s while he was a priest in the Diocese of Orlando.

Posted by kshaw at 08:03 AM

Diocese places priest on leave


Dec. 19, 2004

Post-Tribune staff and wire report

GARY — A Northwest Indiana Roman Catholic priest, accused of sexual misconduct that allegedly occurred while he was serving in Florida, has been placed on administrative leave.

Gary Bishop Dale J. Melczek took the action against the Rev. Richard Emerson, 52, of Hammond after the diocese’s response team reviewed the allegations, diocese spokes-man Brian T. Olszewski said in a news release Saturday.

He is restrained from public ministry or contact with minors pending a Vatican review, the release said. Emerson, who was ordained in 1978 in the Gary diocese, has been pastor of Michigan City’s Notre Dame parish since July 2003.

According to the allegations, Emerson engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor in the late 1980s while he was a priest in the Diocese of Orlando.

Posted by kshaw at 08:02 AM

Archdiocese loses money: report

Daily Southtown

Sunday, December 19, 2004

By Allison Hantschel
Staff writer

Most churches and schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago continue to run in the red, even as parishioners' contributions rise, according to the archdiocese's annual financial report released Thursday.

"Archdiocesan leadership understands the challenges to successfully continuing this mission, and is pursuing innovative ways to manage our revenues and expenses," Cardinal Francis George said in a statement. "Despite the difficulties of the present financial situation, we will meet those challenges."

The 374 parishes, 235 elementary schools and six high schools in the archdiocese lost nearly $50 million last year, an increase from a $36 million loss the year before.

And while parishioner contributions rose nearly 4 percent last year, church attendance fell, the report said.

Eight in 10 parishes had trouble breaking even.

The archdiocese pastoral center, which runs the local church, cut its deficit from $88.5 million in 2003 to $8 million last year.

In the past year several dioceses across the country have declared bankruptcy, including Portland, Ore., and Spokane, Wash. Both of those dioceses cited soaring costs of lawsuits over priest sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese of Chicago spent $18.2 million to settle sexual abuse claims in the past year, and archdiocesan officials said none of those settlement payments came from parish contributions.

"Bankruptcy is not an issue for the archdiocese at this point," said archdiocese finance director Thomas Brennan, citing nearly $950 million in assets the local church still holds. "We're not even close to that point."

Posted by kshaw at 08:00 AM

December 18, 2004

Priest sentenced to prison on fundamentalists’ false charges


by Nirmala Carvalho

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Fr Christo Das, a priest who has devoted his life to Tribals in the Diocese of Dumka in Jharkhand, a central Indian state governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was sentenced to three years in prison on false charges brought against him by Hindu fundamentalists, this according to Mgr Julius Marandi, Bishop of the same diocese.

Fr Christo Das, Vice-Principal of St Joseph's School at Guhiyajori in Dumka district, was sentenced on December 13 to three years in prison on sodomy charges dating back to 1997.

Dumka Court judge G N Pandey gave Fr Das a month to appeal to a higher court.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Bishop Marandi said after hearing the decision: “We are shocked and saddened by the court’s decision. We were expecting justice and a favourable court order. We will appeal to the district court and hope we will get justice there”.

He added that people are holding vigils and praying “for justice to be done” in the diocese’s convents and parishes.

The Bishop explained that Fr Das is a dedicated priest who has devoted his life to help Tribals. What better evidence of this than the fact that the entire Tribal population of Dumka Diocese is supporting him.

Unfortunately, “there are one or two Tribals who have been manipulated by the fundamentalists to press charges,” he said. “Raising the issue of sexual misconduct is proof enough that their intent was to discredit the priest. Father Das himself is convinced that the charges are designed to stop his work on behalf of Tribals,” he explained.

On September 2, 1997, Father Das was stripped and paraded naked after charges were levelled against him for allegedly sodomising a 14-year-old tribal boy attending his school.

Posted by kshaw at 07:42 AM

Catholic priest gets probation for improperly touching girl in Brighton

Allston-Brighton Tab

By Casey Lyons/ Correspondent
Friday, December 17, 2004

A Catholic priest who improperly touched a 16-year-old girl earlier this summer admitted to sufficient facts and acknowledged the complaint against him during criminal proceedings on Monday.

Father Varghese Pereppadan, 36, was sentenced to a one-year probationary period in a deal between the victim, the victim's family and the district attorney's office.

Pereppadan admitted to the court that he touched the chest of the victim, whom he knew, over her clothes. The incident took place on July 28 inside Our Lady of the Presentation Church in Oak Square, Brighton.

The priest, who is visiting from India, apologized to his accuser last week and accepted a one-year probationary period. During the next year, Pereppadan will be barred from seeing the victim and will have no unsupervised contact with minors.

Posted by kshaw at 07:40 AM

North Valley Priest Receiving Treatment

ABC 30

A letter from the Diocese, obtained by Action News, says Father Jean Michael Lastiri is currently receiving treatment at Saint Luke's Institute in Maryland after being removed from Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Merced.

He was disciplined after being charged with using the internet to solicit male relationships.

Action News has learned the church bulletin this weekend will contain a message from Bishop John Steinbock, noting his financial officer is looking at checks issued to Father Lastiri, which may have been used improperly.

Posted by kshaw at 07:38 AM

Priest admits child porn charges

BBC News

A 50-year-old Roman Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to 19 charges relating to child pornography.

Father Alexander Bede Walsh, who served in Banbury, Oxfordshire, until earlier this year, admitted charges of making indecent images of children.

The charges relate to offences in March this year, after which Father Walsh resigned from his post at St John the Evangelist Church in Banbury.

Posted by kshaw at 07:36 AM

Charge against priest dropped although case still under review


TUCSON, Ariz. A charge against a Tucson priest accused of failing to report possible abuse has been dropped.

However, the Pima County Attorney's Office says the case remains under review.

Prosecutors say the Reverend Raul Valencia Garcia still could be charged with violating state law on reporting suspected child sexual abuse _ a possible felony.

Until recently, Valencia Garcia was an associate pastor at St. Monica's Catholic Church.

He's now working at St. Jude's Catholic Church in San Luis.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson spokesman Fred Allison had no comment on the dropped charge.

Posted by kshaw at 07:34 AM

Jury indicts priest

Herald News

Daniel Fowler, Herald News Staff Reporter12/18/2004

NEW BEDFORD -- Father Stephen A. Fernandes was indicted by a grand jury this week on two counts of possession of child pornography and one count of disseminating obscene material to minors, said Joseph DeMedeiros, a spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

DeMedeiros said the embattled pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish will be arraigned in Superior Court at a later date.

Fernandes, a former pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Fall River, was originally arraigned in District Court in early November when he pleaded not guilty to a single count of possession of child pornography.

Bringing a case before the grand jury is standard procedure for cases involving serious charges because one can receive a maximum sentence of only 2.5 years in District Court.

Posted by kshaw at 07:17 AM

Polish priest offered plea

New Britain Herald

By JULIE A. VARUGHESE, Staff Writer12/18/2004

NEW BRITAIN -- The visiting Polish priest who was arrested two years ago for allegedly sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl will appear Dec. 21 in New Britain Superior Court to accept or reject a plea bargain offered by the state.

Father Roman Kramek, 42, of Sacred Heart Church, 158 Broad St., was arrested Dec. 24, 2002 for allegedly having non-consensual sex with a girl while her grandmother was in the kitchen of an apartment.

The details of the plea bargain could not be obtained from the State’s Attorney’s Office Friday afternoon after Kramek appeared in court that day.

According to court records, Kramek came over to the girl’s apartment, and was let in by her grandmother. When the girl arrived home in the afternoon of Dec. 18, he sat on the living room couch with her and allegedly asked her about a previous sexual assault she experienced. He then allegedly touched her inappropiately.

Posted by kshaw at 07:16 AM

Archdiocese reaches settlement over abuse

Seattle Times

Mediation talks this week between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and 15 people with claims of abuse by priests resulted in a $1.8 million settlement.

The archdiocese reached a definitive settlement with 12 people, including two parents of a man who said he'd been molested, and is close to a settlement with a 13th person, said archdiocese attorney Michael Patterson.

Twelve of the claims involved past molestation by the Rev. James McGreal, generally considered the archdiocese's most notorious offender.

Civil suits against McGreal, who is barred from ministry and living in a supervised church facility in Missouri, have resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements.

Posted by kshaw at 07:12 AM

Senior gets three years for abuse

Edmonton Sun


NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. -- An elderly man convicted of abusing native children in Mission and Kamloops has been given three years in prison. Gerald Moran, 75, was convicted of abusing the children at native residential schools decades ago. Moran was charged after an RCMP investigation looked at physical and sexual abuse in 14 church-run schools across the province. Moran, sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, was a boys' supervisor in schools in Kamloops and Mission.

The charges resulted from work done by the RCMP Native Indian Residential Schools Task Force, created in December 1994 to investigate complaints of historic physical and sexual abuse at the church-run residential schools around the province.

Posted by kshaw at 07:10 AM

Man sentenced to 9 months for molesting teen

The Express-Times

Saturday, December 18, 2004
The Express-Times

EASTON -- A Sunday school teacher was sent to prison Friday for endangering the welfare of a 15-year-old boy.

Donald Howells, 42, of Wilson Borough, was sentenced to nine months to two years in prison by Northampton County Judge Stephen G. Baratta.

Howells was convicted of the misdemeanor charge during a jury trial that ended Oct. 15. He was acquitted of multiple felonies, including 20 counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and statutory sexual assault and a single count of corruption of minors.

The boy testified during the trial that Howells, a former youth leader and Sunday school teacher at the First Evangelical Congregational Church on North 10th Street in Easton, molested him more than 50 times between August 2002 and July 2003.

Howells testified he did not molest the boy. His attorney, Steven Goldman, said the boy is emotionally unstable and made up the story to win his mother's approval. She testified she disapproved of the way Howells treated her son.

Posted by kshaw at 07:07 AM

Police chief and the notorious pedophile

Sydney Morning Herald

By John Kidman
December 19, 2004
The Sun-Herald

Police Commissioner Ken Moroney was once involved in a failed investigation into an Anglican priest who later became one of the state's most notorious pedophiles.

The revelation comes just a week after calls by NSW's top officer for a national summit on the growing menace of child abuse.

The case, which revolved around a complaint of indecent assault of an eight-year-old girl, occurred more than 20 years ago when Mr Moroney was a sergeant at West Wyalong.

Documents obtained by The Sun-Herald indicate police were reluctant to proceed because of the delicacy of placing such a young witness before a court without corroborative evidence.

The law finally caught up with the accused, Robert Ellmore, who is serving an 11-year jail term. His conviction in February 2002 caused a furore when it was learnt senior Anglicans knew of the allegations years earlier.

Posted by kshaw at 07:06 AM

Pastor convicted of molesting daughter


12/18/2004, 1:02 a.m. PT
The Associated Press

ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — A Linn County jury convicted a minister, Timothy Sean Sullivan, on two counts of sexual abuse involving his 12-year-old daughter.

Jurors deliberated a day and a half before convicting Sullivan, 36, the pastor of Liberty Christian Center, on Thursday. The daughter, now 12, is from a previous relationship.

Sullivan's wife, in-laws, and supporters from his church were with Sullivan throughout his six-day trial.

After the verdict Sullivan removed his glasses, slumped in his chair, and wept. Behind him in the benches, so did his family.

Before being handcuffed, he had time to talk quietly to his family, who embraced him across the bar. He handed over his jacket, tie, watch and wedding ring to his family.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 10. Judge John McCormick raised his bail from $100,000 to $200,000.

Posted by kshaw at 07:02 AM

Catholic bishops urged not to cut back on audits

Toledo Blade


Two national organizations that have closely monitored the nation's clerical sexual abuse crisis are asking U.S. Roman Catholic bishops to reverse their decision to cut back on the number of on-site audits that investigate dioceses' compliance with child-protection procedures.

Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic lay group, and Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a victims' advocacy group, have asked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to rescind their decision to scale back on the annual audits mandated by U.S. bishops in 2002.

The new procedures, adopted in November, end the requirement for outside auditors to visit dioceses if they were found to be in full compliance with the new safeguards in 2003 and 2004. Instead, such dioceses would fill out questionnaires on compliance.

A spokesman for the USCCB said the revision is intended to make the process more efficient, not to undermine the bishops' reforms.

In 2003, 90 percent of U.S. dioceses were found in full compliance with the safeguards adopted by U.S. bishops in Dallas in 2002. Final nationwide tallies for 2004 have not been reported, but the Toledo diocese was found to be in full compliance both years.

Posted by kshaw at 07:00 AM

$1.8 million church abuse settlement

Seattle Post-Intelligencer


The Archdiocese of Seattle said yesterday that it had reached a settlement of $1.8 million with 12 people who had been sexually abused as children by two priests.

The abuse dates to the 1960s, according to a statement that the archdiocese issued last night. It did not name the priests involved.

The settlement was reached through mediation talks, the archdiocese said.

A spokesman for the archdiocese could not be reached for comment last night.

Archbishop Alexander Brunett apologized to the victims in the statement.

Posted by kshaw at 06:56 AM

Zubik won’t name alleged abusers

Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Andy Nelesen

In the face of another round of pressure to release names of clergy accused of sexual misconduct, Bishop David Zubik continues to hold fast in his stance to keep the names secret.

However, he maintains the church is taking steps to hold clergy accountable.

“We have taken and are taking seriously the matter of preventing the sexual abuse of children by clergy,” Zubik said in a release issued late Thursday.

“This is evident in the immediate removal from ministry anyone who commits such a heinous act,” Zubik said. “It is evident in our consistent procedure of turning over all allegations to civil authorities, who have the power and authority to investigate, determine credibility and prosecute.

“It is evident in our notification to worshipping communities and the media when a priest has been removed.”

Zubik’s statement was prompted by the sentencing of the Rev. James Stein on Thursday in Brown County Circuit Court. Stein received 10 years’ probation and a year in jail for molesting a boy in 1988.

Posted by kshaw at 06:55 AM

Criminal case against ex-priest is pending

The Press-Enterprise

01:23 AM PST on Saturday, December 18, 2004

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

Prosecutors are considering whether to file charges against a former Inland priest accused in civil litigation of sexually abusing six teenage boys, Riverside County sheriff's officials said.

Over the past several months, detectives in Perris have been investigating molestation accusations targeting Jesus A. Dominguez, Riverside County sheriff's Lt. Peter Herrera said. Their findings were forwarded to the Riverside County district attorney's office for review earlier this month, he said.

"We worked a case that is currently at the DA's office, and they will decide whether or not to prosecute the case," said Herrera, who did not have any specifics on the accusations.

Prosecutors said they could not confirm nor deny whether they were reviewing the case.

Dominguez, 55, could not be located for comment.

The Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the Diocese of San Bernardino, said the diocese is unaware of any criminal investigation of Dominguez, who spent more than a decade in the diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 06:53 AM

Catholic Church told to give personnel files to plaintiffs by Dec. 28

The Daily Review

By Glenn Chapman, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND -- Catholic church officials have until three days after Christmas to turn over personnel files of priests accused of sexual abuse to attorneys, an Oakland judge ordered Friday.

If there are portions of records that defense lawyers believe shouldn't be revealed, they must specify the pages and the legal reasoning by Dec. 21, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw told a courtroom packed with attorneys involved in the approximately 160 civil suits combined under the title "Clergy III."

Those challenges should go beyond concerns about privileged relationships, such as attorney-client or doctor-patient, which will be addressed in an itemized log to be filed with the court, Sabraw said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:50 AM

Cardinal admits he provoked anger in abuse row

Irish Independent

THE former Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell, has acknowledged that his retirement helped the Church in Ireland because he had become the main "lightning rod" for public anger over the clerical sex abuse issue.

The cardinal said he regretted more was not done to help the victims of abuse, but stated that not all convicted abusers should be removed from the priesthood because this might not always be the best way to protect children.

Cardinal Connell was giving his first interview since his retirement in April after 16 years at the helm of the country's biggest diocese.

His time in office coincided with the eruption of public outrage over clerical sex abuse cases and the response of Church leaders to those cases.

He stressed that he did not retire because of the scandals, saying he had reached the age of retirement in any case, but he acknowledged: "My retirement was helpful. Rightly or wrongly, I became nationally the object of anger."

Posted by kshaw at 06:47 AM

December 17, 2004

Court clerk pleads guilty to sex charge

The Daily Journal

In an unusually swift resolution to a potentially charged case, Daniel Aram Garcia, 47, a county Superior Court clerk and pastor at a Redwood Valley church, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor of 14 or 15 years old.

The maximum penalty is three years in prison.

Held previously on a $500,000 bond, Garcia was released on his own recognizance and will go home to his wife in Willits until his sentencing Jan. 27.

Outraged comments are already circulating through the legal establishment in Ukiah that Garcia's position as a court clerk resulted in a lenient deal for him. Sources who have heard about the investigation allege that Garcia's admissions alone could have put him behind bars for many years.

Posted by kshaw at 04:50 PM

Albany pastor convicted of sexually abusing his daughter


ALBANY, Ore. - A jury has found a 36-year-old Albany pastor guilty of two counts of first-degree sexual abuse on his daughter.

Jurors deliberated for a day-and-a-half in the trial of Timothy Sean Sullivan, pastor of the Liberty Christian Center.

The victim, now 12, is Sullivan's daughter from an earlier relationship.

Sullivan's wife, in-laws, and supporters from his church were with Sullivan throughout his six-day trial.

Upon the reading of the verdict, Sullivan removed his glasses, slumped in his chair, and wept. Behind him in the benches, so did his family.

Posted by kshaw at 04:48 PM

Archbishop urged acknowledgment of priest's sex-abuse guilt

Catholic World News

Hobart, Dec. 17 ( - An Australia archbishop has urged the Catholic faithful to recognize the guilty of an influential priest who entered a guilty plea on charges of sexual abuse, although the cleric has avoided a prison sentence.

Archbishop Adrian Doyle of Hobart, Tasmania, remarked: "Everyone, including all Catholics in this archdiocese, must accept that Philip Green committed the offenses which he acknowledge in court." Msgr. Green received a 3-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to indecent conduct charges.

Posted by kshaw at 04:42 PM

Attorneys Back In Court In NorCal Priest Sex Abuse Case


POSTED: 12:36 pm PST December 17, 2004

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Attorneys in a mega-case involving more than 150 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests throughout Northern California are back in court today to resolve a host of pretrial procedural issues.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw, who is overseeing the cases, wants to refine and narrow the issues in the cases before the first of them go to trial next March.

The alleged sex abuse victims are suing Roman Catholic Church officials under a bill passed in the state Legislature in 2002 which lifted the statute of limitations, for one year only, on lawsuits filed against churches, schools and other institutions where employees allegedly molested children.

That bill allowed victims of abuse dating back many years, even as far back as the 1930s, to file suit during a one-year window in 2003.

One of the issues being discussed today is a request by defense lawyers for church officials that Sabraw narrow a previous ruling by a special court master that church officials give to the alleged victims' attorneys documents from the perpetrator priests' personnel files.

Posted by kshaw at 04:39 PM

Albany pastor convicted of sex abuse


09:06 AM PST on Friday, December 17, 2004

Associated Press

ALBANY, Ore. -- A jury has found a 36-year-old Albany pastor guilty of two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

Jurors deliberated for a day-and-a-half in the trial of Timothy Sean Sullivan, pastor of the Liberty Christian Center.

The victim, now 12, is related to Sullivan.

Sullivan's wife, in-laws, and supporters from his church were with Sullivan throughout his six-day trial.

Upon the reading of the verdict, Sullivan removed his glasses, slumped in his chair, and wept. Behind him in the benches, so did his family. He maintained his innocence throughout the trial and took the stand in his own defense.

Posted by kshaw at 11:25 AM

Child rapist implicates six co-accused

The Australian

December 18, 2004
LISBON: The chief accused in a high-profile trial of seven people charged in Portugal with sexual abuse of minors from a state-run institution has admitted his guilt on the witness stand and confirmed the charges against his co-defendants.

"I, along with the other defendants, am guilty of what is listed in the indictment," said Carlos Silvino, 48, a former driver at Casa Pia, a 224-year-old network of 10 homes and schools that care for about 4000 children.

Silvino, nicknamed "Bibi", told the court how he, a former Casa Pia inmate, had been raped "virtually every evening" from the age of four to 13, particularly by "two teachers, two educators, five older students and a priest".

Posted by kshaw at 11:09 AM

Archdiocese Not Releasing Names Of Priests Being Investigated

Fox 19

The Cincinnati Archdiocese says they are not sure how many, if any, more priests have been accused of sexually abusing children. The group called Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, or SNAP, believes the archdiocese should release the names of priests who are currently being investigated. The victims also got word this week that a $3,000,000 settlement fund will not be paid out this year but instead early next year. SNAP's Christy Miller says, "Our biggest concern in all of this is that there are other child molesters out there currently serving in ministry and that they could possible still be abusing children."

Posted by kshaw at 06:03 AM

Kerry priest defrocked by Pope over alleged sex assault

Ireland Online

17/12/2004 - 11:17:58

The diocese of Kerry has confirmed that one of its priests has been defrocked by Pope John Paul II.

The diocese refused to provide any further details, but the Vatican is believed to have taken the decision in August.

The priest in question hasn't been in active ministry for 10 years, but he worked in several parishes in Kerry during the 1980s.

At one time, he was the subject of a garda investigation into an alleged sexual assault, but the DPP decided not to prosecute.

Yesterday, the diocese of Ferns also confirmed that two if its priests - believed to be James Doyle and Donal Collins - had been removed from the priesthood by the Pope in light of their convictions for child sex abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 05:42 AM

Priest gets probation in assault

Boston Globe

By David Abel, Globe Staff | December 17, 2004

A 36-year-old Roman Catholic priest from India has admitted to improperly touching the chest of a 16-year-old girl while living and working at Our Lady of the Presentation Parish in Brighton, officials said yesterday.

As part of a plea agreement, Varghese Pereppadan admitted last week to charges of indecent assault and battery, said David Procopio, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office.

Pereppadan was sentenced to one year of probation, in which he cannot have contact with the victim or be in the presence of minors without supervision, Procopio said. If he returns home, the Archdiocese of Boston has agreed to notify his parish in India of the sentence.

If he does not violate the agreement, the charges will be dropped after a year, Procopio said.

"We determined that it was in her best interest to have this case resolved," Procopio said. "Certainly, it's a serious accusation. But he had no prior record, and this was a single incident, not a pattern of improper conduct."

Posted by kshaw at 05:40 AM

Priest gets year in jail in 1988 child abuse

Green Bay News-Chronicle

By Ray Barrington

A former Norbertine priest who entered a no-contest plea in August for fondling a 14-year-old boy in 1988 received one year in the Brown County Jail rather than the maximum 10 years in prison.

Judge Sue Bischel sentenced James Stein to 10 years in prison, but stayed the sentence, giving him 10 years probation.

She said, however, that she could not let him go without some incarceration because of a sexual assault conviction in an incident involving a college student in 1991 and two other similar incidents with other minors that were dropped as part of a plea bargain. She sentenced him to a year in the county jail, with good behavior and Huber Law privileges.

Along with the probation, Stein will be required to continue counseling, pay court costs, and provide a DNA sample for possible future use.

Posted by kshaw at 05:36 AM

Clergymen face court over sex abuse allegations


Three Victorian men with links to various churches will soon be summonsed to appear before court in Adelaide for alleged sex offences against children.

Members of the South Australian Police Paedophile Taskforce visited Victoria this week and reported three men for sex offences that allegedly occurred between the 1950s and the 1980s.

The taskforce's Detective Superintendent Grant Steven says it is important to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against children, regardless of the time frame.

"These matters aren't closed off and it's simply a matter of time in many of these cases before we're able to take action," he said.

In the latest development, a 71-year-old former Marist Brother teacher in country South Australia has been reported for an alleged offence against a 12-year-old in 1958.

A 72-year-old former Chaplin in the Adelaide Hills was also reported for an alleged offence against another 12-year-old boy between 1975 and 1976.

A 55-year-old former leader with the Seventh Day Adventist Church was reported for offences including rape against three boys in the 1980s.

Posted by kshaw at 05:32 AM

Sex abuse lawsuit closing in on deal

St. Cloud Times

By David Unze

A Stearns County judge is scheduled to hear arguments today that likely will settle a clergy sex-abuse lawsuit against St. Cloud Diocese and a former priest.
Attorneys have agreed to what's known as a "hi-low" settlement of the claims made by Wayne Eller against a former diocesan priest.

Two settlement amounts have been agreed on, and Judge Elizabeth Hayden's ruling on today's arguments will determine which settlement is triggered, said Jeffrey Anderson, the attorney representing Eller.

Eller has accused James Thoennes of molesting him in the mid-1960s at a Sauk Centre home where Thoennes' parents lived. Lawyers for the diocese, Thoennes and Bishop John Kinney are arguing that Eller's claims should be dismissed because they were filed years after the statute of limitations had expired.

That rule provides a time frame in which to file sexual-abuse lawsuits after the abuse occurred or was recalled.

Posted by kshaw at 05:30 AM

Pope dismisses 2 priests in Ireland for sex abuses

Billings Gazette

Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland - Pope John Paul II has defrocked two priests convicted of sexually abusing children in Ireland, an unprecedented move in this predominantly Catholic nation, church officials confirmed Thursday.

"The diocese confirms that two priests, previously convicted of child sexual abuse, have been dismissed from the clerical state," said the Rev. John Carroll, spokesman for Ireland's southeast Ferns Diocese, which has been hard hit by sex abuse scandals.

The church declined to identify either man, but only two priests from the Ferns diocese have been convicted of such abuse: James Doyle and Donal Collins. Collins received a four-year sentence in 1998 for abusing several boys; Doyle received a one-year suspended sentence in 1990 for abusing one boy. The church rarely defrocks priests, even those found guilty of crimes, and the decision was the first time the Vatican has dismissed a priest in Ireland over sexual abuse.

In this case, Ferns Bishop Eamonn Walsh sent a file to the Vatican requesting the two men's dismissal, a request granted last month by the pope in what Carroll called "a supreme decision" that cannot be appealed.

Posted by kshaw at 05:28 AM

Lawsuit against priest rejected

The Kansas City Star

The Kansas City Star

Reversing a recent decision, a Jackson County judge Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that alleges sexual abuse by a now-retired Kansas City priest.

Circuit Judge John R. O'Malley ruled that the statute of limitations has expired on Teresa White's claim that the Rev. Francis McGlynn sexually abused her in 1973 and 1974, when she was 17.

White alleged in a lawsuit filed 14 months ago that McGlynn abused her while she was taking courses from him at an Independence church to prepare for marriage. McGlynn denied the charges.

Three weeks ago, O'Malley denied a motion by the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to dismiss the suit. Attorneys for the diocese argued that White was required to file the suit within the five-year statute of limitations after she turned 21.

Posted by kshaw at 05:27 AM

Ferns child sex abuse report delayed until March


2004-12-17 08:00:07+00

The inquiry into clerical child sex abuse in the diocese of Ferns has reportedly been forced to delay its report into the matter until next March.

Reports this morning said the document was expected to have been presented to Health Minister Mary Harney before Christmas.

However, due to difficulties in locating witnesses and to some further investigations being conducted, the inquiry has been forced to delay the report until March at the earliest.

Posted by kshaw at 05:25 AM

Victim’s mother wants accused clergy named

Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Andy Nelesen

Moments after a Brown County judge sentenced the Rev. James Stein to 10 years probation and a year in jail for molesting her then-14-year-old son, Alice Hodek asked that Bishop David Zubik provide information about priests accused of sexual misconduct.

However, her demand differed from a request made after the preliminary hearing of another priest Dec. 2. Rather than release the names to the public, Hodek asked that Zubik release the clergy names to Catholic school officials and lay church leaders.

“Most of these individuals are now mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse under state law,” Hodek said. “They have a right to this information and will act responsibly with it.”

In response to the earlier call for names, Zubik issued a written statement defending his decision.

“Any member of the clergy who has a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against him has been permanently removed from ministry,” Zubik wrote. “It’s equally important to protect the rights of those who are falsely accused or those who have died and are not able to come to their own defense.

Posted by kshaw at 05:23 AM

Taskforce charges church officials


December 17, 2004

SOUTH Australia's Pedophile Task Force has charged three former church officials with sex offences, some dating back more than 40 years.

Taskforce detectives travelled to Victoria this week to make charge the men, police said today.

A 71-year-old former Marist Brother and teacher in country SA was charged with one count of indecent assault alleged to have occurred in 1958 against a 12-year-old boy.

A 55-year-old former church leader with the Seventh Day Adventists was charged with one count of rape, 13 counts of indecent assault and three counts of gratifying prurient interest.

The offences were alleged to have occurred between 1982 and 1986 against three boys in various country locations in SA.

Posted by kshaw at 05:20 AM

Church 'should apply to sack all priests found guilty of abuse'

Irish Independent

THE Irish Catholic hierarchy should apply to the Pope to have all of the 25 diocesan priests so far convicted of child sexual abuse dismissed from the clerical state, a victim support group leader said yesterday.

Mr Colm O'Gorman, head of the support group One in Four, reacting to the news, reported in yesterday's Irish Independent, that the Pope has 'sacked' two priests of the Ferns diocese following a request to do so from the acting Bishop of Ferns, Dr Eamonn Walsh.

Mr O'Gorman, who was a victim of the Ferns priest, the late Fr Sean Fortune, described the dismissal of the two priests as "an appropriate response that should be welcomed, although it comes 14 years after the sentencing of one of the priests".

He said: "I think where a priest has been convicted he should never again be [in the possession of] the authority he used as a way of abusing children in the past. This will mean laicisation in practice."

Posted by kshaw at 05:18 AM

December 16, 2004

Fellow clergy welcome priests’ dismissal

Irish Examiner


By Dan Collins
THE Irish Conference of Priests has welcomed the dismissal by the Pope of two members of the clergy convicted of sexual abuse.

The priests, James Doyle and Donal Collins, had worked in the Ferns diocese. Collins was given a four-year sentence in 1998, with three years then suspended, for incidents of sexual abuse against boys which took place in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1990, Doyle was convicted of indecent assault on a teenage boy in 1990 and received a suspended sentence of one year.

Yesterday, Fr John Littleton, president of the Irish Conference of Priests, welcomed the “dismissal of the men from the clerical state”. It was not the first time that the Pope had taken this step. If priests misbehave seriously then serious disciplinary measures should be taken against them and it was a good means to protect children, said Fr Littleton.

Posted by kshaw at 09:30 PM

Victim Walks Out of Priest's Sentencing


By Natalie Arnold

The victim in a clergy sexual assault case angrily walked out of a Brown County courtroom Thursday when his abuser was sentenced. Father James Stein was sentenced to one year in the county jail.

His victim, Mark Hodek, and his family asked the judge to give the Catholic priest at least five years in a state prison for sexually assaulting him when Hodek was 14 years old.

Stein faced three charges of second-degree sexual assault against a child. He pleaded no contest to one, and the other two were dismissed.

Hodek waited 16 years for this day to see Father Stein finally punished, but he couldn't bear to sit for one more second during the priest's sentencing, bursting from the courtroom to a nearby elevator.

Posted by kshaw at 07:06 PM

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting


Des Moines, December 16th, 2004 - Iowa's mandatory reporter law is more important than ever. Child sex abuse is all over Iowa headlines recently.

In Carroll, students are accusing fellow students of sexual harassment and accusing the school of failing to stop it. In the metro, Johnston youth pastor Mike Hintz is charged with sexual exploitation by a counselor for a relationship with a 17-year-old girl. In Centerville, a jury recently acquitted former teacher Tim Higbee of sexually abusing a student.

We looked into the state law designed to protect children. If your child is showing signs he or she is abused, people like teachers, doctors and counselors have to report it to the Department of Human Services (D.H.S.), but we found out there are a couple of interesting exceptions to the law.

Posted by kshaw at 07:00 PM

Church victims angry at delay

Cincinnati Post

By Kimball Perry
Post staff reporter

A group representing victims of priest sex abuse called Wednesday for the dispersal of a $3 million victim compensation fund paid for by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and urged that any new victims be paid from other money.

"We think it's outrageous that the archdiocese is further delaying justice," said Dan Frondorf, a Cincinnati spokesman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The archdiocese actually is not involved in determining who qualifies for the fund and how much they are awarded. The process involves a fund administrator and a tribunal to decide how the money is disbursed.

That doesn't matter, Frondorf said.

"This entire settlement fund is their creation," he said of the archdiocese.

Posted by kshaw at 08:42 AM

Priest again misses sentencing in sodomy case



December 16, 2004

A suspended Catholic priest who has pleaded guilty to charges that he sodomized a 6-year-old boy failed to appear at a scheduled sentencing for the second time in Riverhead yesterday, prompting prosecutors to threaten arrest if he doesn't show again.

The Rev. Barry Ryan, 56, of Palm City, Fla., confessed to abusing the boy in a private home on Long Island while visiting last year. Ryan, who served in parishes in Brooklyn and Queens in the 1970s and '80s, was suspended from priestly duties in 1995, following accusations that he engaged in inappropriate sexual activities while working as an Air Force chaplain in Mobile, Ala.

Ryan pleaded guilty in October to the charge, formally called second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child. Because he is dying from liver cancer, prosecutors and the victim's family agreed on a sentence of only 2 years, possibly to be served outside of prison.

But Ryan failed to attend two scheduled court dates in the past week, at which he was to receive his sentence from County Court Judge Ralph Gazillo. Instead Ryan remained in a Maryland hospice where he is receiving medical treatment.

Posted by kshaw at 08:40 AM

An Unshakable 'Doubt'

Washington Post

By Peter Marks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 16, 2004; Page C01

NEW YORK -- "Doubt" is the wonderfully apt title of John Patrick Shanley's remarkable new play about paranoia and pedophilia in the Catholic Church. Where the molesting of a child is concerned, the doubt of others is of comfort to the guilty and a torment for the falsely accused, and in Shanley's 90-minute work, the sowing of doubt is also a springboard to a provocative study of the tenuous nature of faith and the inconstancy of justice.

Anchored by a moving, riveting performance by Cherry Jones -- to whom Shanley has bequeathed her most rewarding part since her Tony-winning star turn in "The Heiress" nearly a decade ago -- "Doubt" is a reminder that there's life yet in the well-made play. A simple story told well remains a powerful tool in the hands of a playwright with something he's burning to get off his chest.

In "Doubt," Shanley -- who despite a trunkful of produced plays is best known for his screenplay for "Moonstruck" -- deals passionately and, yes, even amusingly with a subject that's been treated countless times in articles and documentaries, in made-for-television specials and feature films. That the topic retains the ability to rub nerves raw suggests that as a society we are still learning to grapple with its tragic impact, and also that many people both in and out of the faith remain deeply confused by the church's seeming complicity in a number of the cases that have come to light.

Posted by kshaw at 08:29 AM

Priest abused them, two charge in suit

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Two men filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming that a Roman Catholic priest, Robert F. Johnston, sexually abused them as young teenagers at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Valley Park.

In 2002, the church removed Johnston as pastor of Our Lady of Providence parish in Crestwood after a victim came forward and Johnston admitted abusing the boy more than 20 years before.

It's unclear whether that victim is one of the two men who filed the lawsuit. Timothy Dempsey, 41, of Pacific, claims that Johnston repeatedly molested him from 1977 to 1980.

The second man, listed as John Doe in the lawsuit, alleges similar acts during the same period. He is in his 40s and lives in St. Charles.

The suit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, also names the St. Louis Archdiocese and Archbishop Raymond Burke as defendants.

Posted by kshaw at 08:26 AM

Church crisis hurts parochial schools


Dick Ryan of West Islip is the author of "Holy Human: Stories of Extraordinary Catholics."

December 16, 2004

Sister Dorothy was the best teacher I ever had and that includes all those who ever stood, statues with chalk, at high school or college blackboards.

She was my first-grade teacher back on Manhattan's West Side and she taught us things about ourselves and God and crayons that were as simple as they were stunning.

The Sister Dorothys have always been the jewels of Catholic education but unfortunately, when problems arise today, the focus always pounces on something else for a solution.

For instance, with today's 57 regional and parish Catholic schools on Long Island mired in a huge drop in enrollment, the church honchos are naturally lunging for solutions with the official language of the Catholic Church: money. With the announcement of plans for a new Diocesan Education Foundation that will fund scholarships and other "special programs," there is also the proposal for still another annual collection, as well as a slick marketing campaign that will not only help fill the seats with tuition-paying kids but also fill the coffers of the schools' budgets. ...

To the surprise of nobody in the pews, the research people may discover that the answer to all those questions is exactly the same. There is a pervasive malaise in today's Catholic Church that feeds on the mistrust and sense of betrayal spawned by the sex-abuse scandal but that is also soured by church leadership's veneration of image, money and anti-abortion, their grand obsession and their version of the Holy Trinity. And some find it ironic, if not chilling, that children and money always seem to be at the center of many of the crises in today's church, with very differing focuses between parents and prelates.

Posted by kshaw at 08:24 AM

Major Rabbinical Council Slammed For Releasing Names in Sexual Abuse Case


By Rukhl Schaechter and Eric J. Greenberg
December 17, 2004

The nation's leading Orthodox rabbinical organization is being accused of betraying women who say they were sexually abused or harassed by a prominent New York rabbi hailed for counseling women about their troubled marriages.

Critics of the Rabbinical Council of America are blasting the group for giving Rabbi Mordecai Tendler and his attorney, Arnold Kriss, a copy of an internal report on the sexual harassment allegations, including the names of women who claimed Tendler harassed them. Kriss has vehemently denied the allegations against his client.

The RCA — the major association of Modern Orthodox rabbis — is being roundly criticized by outside experts, as well several women who say that when they cooperated with the investigation they never gave permission for their names to be shared. Tendler, the scion of a prominent rabbinic family, is the son of Yeshiva University Professor Rabbi Moshe Tendler, a leading Orthodox expert on bioethical issues, and a grandson of the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the Orthodox world's most respected religious arbiter for much of the 20th century.

Based on past experiences with Tendler and with his supporters, several women who cooperated with the RCA investigation said that they are scared about possible retaliation against them.

One of the alleged victims who cooperated with the investigation, Jillian Gordon, 42, slammed the RCA's decision to give Tendler the report as "a betrayal of women, an act of extreme negligence and indiscretion, and a violation of privacy."

Posted by kshaw at 08:18 AM


The Palladium Times

SYRACUSE (AP) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse said Wednesday it was removing a 65-year-old priest from ministry after finding sufficient evidence he may have sexually abused three young girls and a woman in the 1980s.

A second priest, meanwhile, was cleared of sexual abuse allegations.

Church officials said sufficient evidence was found incriminating the Rev. Thomas F. Keating, who allegedly abused three young sisters while serving as pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Cortland from 1982 to 1993. The sisters were 12, 13 and 14 at the time and attended the church's grade school.

Keating also was accused of sexually abusing a woman who had gone to him in 1982 to tell him she had been raped by another priest.

Spokeswoman Danielle Cummings said the diocese's finding does not mean Keating is guilty, but his case had raised "serious concerns."

Posted by kshaw at 08:16 AM

Sackings mark tougher line against clerical sex abusers

Irish Independent

IT IS a rare thing for a Pope to directly and summarily dismiss a priest from the clerical state. It will only happen in the most extreme and serious circumstances.

Usually, a priest will only be dismissed - "defrocked" to use the popular term - after he is tried by an ecclesiastical court in his own diocese.

If he is found guilty of the offence in question, and it could easily be an offence that has nothing to do with civil law, for example, breaking the seal of the confessional, he can appeal the decision to Rome.

All of this can takes years.

However, under procedures introduced by the Vatican in 2001, a Bishop can now short-circuit this process by sending a particularly serious case directly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Posted by kshaw at 08:14 AM

Trade magazine may set trend


Glenn Swain
Special for the ABG
Dec. 16, 2004 12:00 AM

Steve Kane is altering the dry-as-dust image of trade publications.

The publisher and editor in chief of Church Executive, a Phoenix-based monthly magazine designed for church administrators, executives and managers of the largest Christian churches throughout the United States, tackles controversial topics with edgy stories and editorials on church sexual abuse scandals, an Episcopal gay bishop and thorny tax-exemption issues.

"We're not muckrakers; we're dealing with issues that most trade publications don't want to put the resources or the intellect into," Kane said. advertisement

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We've never had anyone call and say, 'Shame on you for doing that.' They can tell when we've made an effort and tried to do something that's worth their time.

"Trade magazines have a bad rap. They're looked at as being low-grade with copy wrapped around ads. We're serious about adding genuine substance to the magazine and doing legitimate journalism."

Posted by kshaw at 08:07 AM

Fears about sexual abuse persist

Oakland Tribune

By Laura Ernde, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND -- Neighbors of a Catholic seminary that is housing seven suspected child molesters say their meeting with church leaders Tuesday night did nothing to assuage their concerns.

"I would say they made matters worse, trying to soft-soap things. This has become like a cesspool," neighbor Jerry Ratch said after leaving the closed-door meeting at St. Albert's Priory in Oakland's upscale Rockridge neighborhood.

Ratch and more than 30 other invited guests -- including neighbors and parents of students at two local schools -- spent nearly three hours meeting with leaders of the Western Dominican Province, the Catholic

order that runs the seminary. Province spokeswoman Carla Hass said she was disappointed the church wasn't able to persuade more people sufficient precautions are being taken to ensure that the men don't pose a threat.

Posted by kshaw at 08:05 AM

Diocese: No proof against Quinn


Thu, Dec 16, 2004


UTICA -- An internal investigation by the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse found "insufficient evidence" to substantiate allegations that the Rev. James Quinn sexually abused a youth more than 30 years ago, the diocese announced Wednesday.

Whenever allegations of sexual abuse are brought against a member of the diocese, church law dictates certain procedures must be followed to investigate, diocesan spokeswoman Danielle Cummings said.

"Our obligation is to learn the truth to the best of our ability," Cummings said, "and at this point, after a lengthy investigation over a 19-month period, the diocese has found that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate these allegations."

In a $150 million lawsuit, Quinn is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing John Zumpano in the 1960s while he was a student at St. Agnes Church, where Quinn was an assistant pastor.

Zumpano's lawsuit was dismissed by the state Supreme Court, and that dismissal was upheld by the state Appellate Division last month. Now, Zumpano's attorney, Frank Policelli, will ask the Appellate Division for permission Monday to bring Zumpano's case to the Court of Appeals.

Posted by kshaw at 08:03 AM

Priest removed

News 10 Now

Updated: 12/16/2004 6:46 AM
By: Al Nall, News 10 Now Web Staff

The Syracuse Diocese says its investigation into repeated allegations against Father Keating revealed there was significant evidence he may have sexually abused three young girls and a woman in the 1980s.

The alleged abuse occurred while he served as pastor at St Mary's Church in Cortland.

The attorney for the victims says the Diocese should have taken action a long time ago, to protect the community from a sexual predator.

"I know that Father Keating has been denying that he abused all of these people for two years. And now I think his own employer has indicated on the record that his denials have been false. So it certainly eases the burden of proving the actual abuse occurred,” said John Aretakis who is the victims' attorney.

Posted by kshaw at 08:01 AM

Bishop rules in case of Maine pastor accused of sexual abuse

Press & Sun-Bulletin

Press & Sun-Bulletin

A Roman Catholic priest, who was removed Wednesday from his Town of Maine church as a result of sexual-abuse claims at a former parish, will ask the Vatican to reinstate him, his attorney said Wednesday.

Thomas F. Keating, 65, will appeal his removal by Syracuse Diocese Bishop James M. Moynihan and expects to be exonerated, said Barry Abbott, a White Plains lawyer who represents the priest.

"Father Keating is deeply saddened by the bishop's actions and is disappointed in the bishop's refusal to hear from witnesses on his behalf, address facts uncovered by his investigation and consider the motives of his accusers," Abbott said in a statement.

Three of Keating's accusers, meanwhile, also issued a statement Wednesday, calling Moynihan's announcement "a small measure of comfort."

Posted by kshaw at 08:00 AM

Abuse payoffs may take longer

Cincinnati Enquirer

By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

Victims of sexual abuse by priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will have to wait longer than expected for compensation, and the claims involve more priests than previously reported, officials said Wednesday.

Matt Garretson, a lawyer overseeing the $3 million victims' fund, says he misjudged processing time because he underestimated the number of victims and priests.

Garretson expects to finish work on 132 claims in late February. He had hoped to complete processing by year's end, but said he based that date on an estimated 90 people filing by the Sept. 1 deadline.

"I owe it to each and every one of these victims to be fair and accurate ... we validate every claim so we can say we reserved the fund for the true victims of abuse."

Posted by kshaw at 07:58 AM

Vatican confirms dismissals of Irish priests

RTE News

16 December 2004 13:49
A spokesman for the Vatican has confirmed that Pope John Paul II has dismissed two priests of the Ferns Diocese in Co Wexford from the clerical state.

The official in the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would not name the two priests concerned, but said they had been convicted by the civil courts of child abuse.

Fr Donal Collins was a given a four-year sentence with three years suspended in 1998 for indecent assault and gross indecency against teenage boys.

In 1990 Fr James Doyle was convicted of indecent assault on a teenage boy and given a suspended sentence of one year.

Posted by kshaw at 07:56 AM

Pope Dismisses Convicted Priests


By Louise Hogan, PA

The Pope has dismissed two Irish priests who were convicted in the courts of sexual abuse, it was confirmed today.

The move is believed to be the first time the Vatican has directly dismissed Irish priests using a new fast-track procedure to remove those judged to have committed offences.

A spokesman for the Bishop of the Ferns Diocese, Dr Eamonn Walsh, said: “The diocese confirms that two priests, previously convicted of child sexual abuse, have been dismissed from the clerical state.

“The dismissal of a priest from the clerical state is a supreme decision of the Holy Father.”

The effect of dismissal from the clerical state is a permanent separation from all ministry, including the loss of all rights associated with the priesthood and the loss of authorisation to exercise ministry in the name of the Church.

Dr Walsh made an application to the Vatican to have the two men removed.

A spokesman for the diocese would not confirm the identities of the men.

Two priests of the Ferns diocese, James Doyle and Donal Collins, have been convicted of sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 07:54 AM

Decision over sex abuse charges expected today

The Courier

Thursday, 16 December 2004

A DECISION is expected today (Friday) on whether former Ballarat priest Gerald Ridsdale will face more sex abuse charges.

A meeting was held at Ballarat Police Station earlier this week between the Director of Public Prosecutions Paul Coghlan QC, more alleged victims and Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson, who investigated their complaints.

Mr Coghlan said yesterday that he expected an announcement on whether more charges would follow would be made today.

In August, Mr Coghlan declined to press further charges against Mr Ridsdale, which was deemed not in the public interest.

However, Mr Coghlan later offered to meet the complainants and reconsider his decision.

Posted by kshaw at 07:51 AM

December 15, 2004

Cardinal Untruths

LA Weekly

by Jeffrey Anderson

Confidential documents and sworn statements by Cardinal Roger Mahony were released last week, ending two years of legal maneuvers to shield "his eminence" from examination in the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal. The cardinal’s testimony, memos and letters offer a rare glimpse into Mahony’s formative years as a priest and young bishop in Fresno and Stockton from 1962 to 1985, and reflect on his moral standing as shepherd of 5 million Catholics in Los Angeles and ranking prelate in the United States.

Mahony emerges as a man of contradictions and memory problems. A man who claims never to have known a priest to have sex before 1968, who struggles to remember steps he took — or did not take — to address a pedophilia crisis of epic proportions. A man whose fitness to lead must now be examined in light of whether he is telling the truth or not.

Compelled by the court after months of resistance, Mahony was deposed recently at his lawyer’s office in downtown Los Angeles. Five lawyers representing hundreds of sex-abuse victims questioned Mahony for six hours about how he responded to accusations that priests in his charge had molested children. His stubborn refusal to answer all questions with candor was a virtual dare to his adversaries to dig deeper for the truth.

Victims who witnessed the deposition struggled to contain their emotions as Mahony’s attorneys coached the cardinal and cajoled victims’ lawyers, who in their blunt questioning conveyed a sense of moral outrage on behalf of people whose lives were ruined by a priest who might have been stopped had the cardinal done more. At stake was not only the tenuous negotiations of hundreds of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse, or the pending prosecution of a few rogue priests, or even the possibility of broader conspiracy charges against Mahony and his colleagues, but the credibility of the last remaining symbol of influence, power and authority in the U.S. Catholic Church.

Posted by kshaw at 09:34 PM

Sunday School Teacher Charged With Unlawful Sexual Conduct With Minors


POSTED: 6:07 p.m. EST December 15, 2004

CALDWELL, OH -- News 9 has learned that a Noble County man has been charged with four counts of sexual battery, two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of gross sexual imposition.

According to the Noble County Sheriff's Office, Lower Salem resident James Coyle was arrested recently on the charges.

Sheriff Landon Smith says the arrest happened after three young boys between the ages of 12 and 15 accused the 60-year-old of improper sexual contact.

The sheriff says Coyle knew the three boys because he was their Sunday school teacher at the Church of Christ in Caldwell. Coyle was a leader in the church and hadn't faced any criminal charges in the past.

Posted by kshaw at 06:24 PM

Former Youth Pastor Appears In Court On Sex Charges


POSTED: 5:00 pm CST December 15, 2004
UPDATED: 5:23 pm CST December 15, 2004

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Clive youth pastor accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old member of his congregation made his first court appearance Wednesday.

Michael Hintz, 35, appeared in front of a Polk County judge and was charged with sexual exploitation by a counselor.

Hintz, who is married with four children, is the former youth pastor at First Assembly of God Church on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines.

Police said in the spring, Hintz began a relationship with a Johnston girl who was a member of the church's youth group. The contact allegedly occurred at the girl's home and during an overseas mission trip to India.

Posted by kshaw at 06:22 PM

Clergy privilege is limited, court rules


Associated Press
Dec. 15, 2004 04:51 PM

Don't count on confidentiality if you make confessions about criminal conduct to church personnel who aren't considered clergy by the church involved.

The Court of Appeals refused to expand the so-called "clergy-penitent privilege" by overturning a trial judge's decision to permit a woman's admissions to a church's volunteer music director to be used as evidence in court.

After being indicted in 2003 on a felony charge of sexual conduct with a minor, Korri Lee Waters had contacted Dawn Worth, the music director of the Church on the Word in Glendale, asking for forgiveness and explaining that she wanted advice for how to start over. advertisement

Worth, who had the honorific title of "minister" at the nondenominational Christian church, forwarded the e-mail to the church's pastor, Daniel McCluskey, who told Worth that Waters would have to admit what she'd done.

Waters did so in an e-mail acknowledging her relationship with a 16-year-old boy in graphic detail, court papers said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:21 PM

Bishop Bans Priest Over Defilement


The Monitor (Kampala)

December 15, 2004
Posted to the web December 15, 2004

Michael J. Ssali

The Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kaggwa, has said a priest who allegedly defiled a girl in a lodge in Lyantonde Town last week embarrassed the Catholic Church.

In the letter to the priest, the bishop quoted newspaper reports which indicated that Rev. Fr. Richard Kalyango of Luvule Parish, was found in the lodge with two girls, 15 and 16 years old respectively and had had sex with one of them.

It read in part, "The incident reported about has brought much shame not only to you, but all the priests of the entire Catholic Church who are charged with preaching righteousness and being exemplary.

Posted by kshaw at 06:17 PM

Diocese clears priest of sex-abuse charges


SYRACUSE, N.Y. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse says it has cleared a priest of sex abuse allegations.

A diocesan investigation found insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations against the Reverend James F. Quinn.

In a statement, Quinn says the past 19 months have difficult and he looks forward to moving on and living out his priestly ministry.

Quinn has been on leave from his diocese job enlisting and counseling young men for the priesthood.

Last year, Quinn was named in a lawsuit filed by John Zumpano of New Hartford, who alleged he was sexually abused by Quinn from 1963 to 1970 while a student at Saint Agnes Church's grammar school and Notre Dame High School in Utica.

Posted by kshaw at 06:14 PM

CNY Priest Removed from Ministry


The Syracuse Catholic Diocese announced the removal of a Central New York priest Wednesday after a two-year investigation substantiated multiple claims of sexual abuse. According to Bishop James Moynihan, the diocese found enough evidence to remove Reverend Thomas Keating (pictured left) from the ministry and forward his case to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith at the Vatican. Father Keating had been the center of at least two lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and abuse while he served at St. Mary’s Church in Cortland in the 1980’s.
Last January, three sisters stepped forward to accuse Father Keating of sexually abusing them when he was a priest at Saint Mary’s Church in Cortland 20 years ago. Kristen, Karen and Amy Hansen worked in the rectory of the church during the three years the alleged abuse occurred. In 2003, another woman filed a lawsuit against Keating for alleged abuse at the same church. When she came forward in January, Karen Hansen said, “I have two daughters, three and five, and my faith has been shattered in this system that the Catholic Church has and I only hope they have some restored faith.” Father Keating worked most recently at the Most Holy Rosary Church in Maine, New York, near Binghamton. Due to the diocese’s decision, Keating can no longer celebrate mass or present himself as a priest. Keating’s attorney Barry Abbott issued a statement on Wednesday that his client was denied the right to a fair hearing. The civil lawsuits against him are still pending.

Posted by kshaw at 06:08 PM

Pastor of New Hope church arrested: Suspected of child sexual abuse

The Daily Journal

By QUINCY CROMER/The Daily Journal

The pastor of Redwood Valley's New Hope Christian Fellowship was arrested and booked into jail Tuesday morning on suspicion of sexually abusing a child.

Daniel Aram Garcia, 47, of Willits, was arrested by the Willits Police Department and booked into Mendocino County jail at 3:33 a.m. Tuesday with bail set at $500,000. He was also arrested on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a child, sexual penetration with a foreign object and oral copulation.

Mendocino County District Attorney Norm Vroman said Garcia also works as a clerk for Mendocino County Superior Court.

Willits Police Chief Gerry Gonzalez said all information regarding the victim will be withheld due to the sensitivity of the crime.

Posted by kshaw at 06:05 PM

Minister Accused of Sexually Abusing Teens


By Janelle MacDonald

(LOUISVILLE, December 15th, 2004, 5 p.m.) -- A minister and youth mentor now stands accused of abusing the teens he worked with. WAVE 3's Janelle MacDonald has the details.

Detective Rhonda Speaker says Isrom Perry-Johnson worked hard to gain the trust of the teens he worked with. "He just went above and beyond."

The 25-year-old Johnson was most recently a minister at Prince of Peace Church, which has been temporarily holding services in the Baptist Fellowship Center on Catalpa Street. But he also worked with teens at several mentoring programs, mainly in the city's west end.

Speaker says the church's youth began to rely on Johnson for even the most mundane requests. "Different kids would call him late at night and say, 'hey, would you take me to White Castle to go eat?' He'd get up out of bed and take them to White Castle in the middle of the night."

Posted by kshaw at 06:03 PM

Awakening the community to sexual abuse awareness

The Tidings

By Paula Doyle

St. Robert Bellarmine School principal June Rosena has a passion to protect children. Besides her 37-year career as a Catholic educator, Rosena has had a 20-year private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist where she counsels people in crisis, including child victims and adult survivors of sexual abuse.

She can easily speak for four hours straight about the devastating effects of child abuse, and she has riveted audiences as a Virtus child protection facilitator. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles implemented the Virtus training program in response to the national clergy sexual abuse crisis.

"I find it so rewarding to give the Virtus talks," said Rosena, who holds a Ph.D in psychology. "Thank God for this long overdue awakening for a situation that's been with us for centuries."

The statistics are staggering: one in four women and one in eight men experience sexual abuse during their lifetime. The perpetrators include parents, siblings, relatives, friends, teachers, coaches, clergy, religious and strangers --- in short, they can be anyone who has access to children.

Rosena estimates that she has spoken to 800 people at six different schools in the San Fernando Valley, including St. Francis Xavier in Burbank, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Sun Valley, St. Genevieve in Panorama City, St. Elizabeth in Van Nuys, St. Patrick in North Hollywood and St. Robert Bellarmine (school and parish) in Burbank.

Posted by kshaw at 06:01 PM

Forgiveness in the Church

Arlington Catholic Herald

By Bishop Paul S. Loverde
Special to the Herald
(From the issue of 12/16/04)

The fourth in a five-part series on Advent, Bishop Loverde considers how forgiveness in the Church is integral to the Church’s preparation for Christ this Christmas. In this column, Bishop Loverde considers forgiveness in the Church. In next week’s Christmas issue, Bishop Loverde will write on welcoming Christ anew this Christmas. The complete series is available online at

With Christmas just around the corner, we continue to prepare our hearts for the Lord Jesus by considering how forgiveness might remove the obstacles to His love. In last week’s reflection on the family, I pointed out that forgiveness in our parish begins in the home and that forgiveness in the universal Church begins in the "domestic Churches" of our homes.

The Church is, after all, our family of faith, and the same lessons apply. Just as we need to give and receive forgiveness within the family circle, so that same need also exists within the Church family. As we know painfully well from the past few years, this can be very difficult, especially when those in need of forgiveness are those whom we hold to a higher standard — those who hold positions of authority or responsibility in the Church and act in the name of the Church, including bishops, priests, deacons, religious brothers and religious sisters, Church employees and volunteers.

Yes, God calls each of us to holiness, but experience demonstrates that we often fail to respond to His call, instead acting in ways that are not Christ-like. Although we who represent the Church try to be Christ for others, we too are human and prone to sin. In fact, we do sin. Sometimes, this sin manifests itself in small ways, like impatience with others or lack of charity in thoughts or words or actions.

Tragically, sin is manifested in more serious ways, including the violation of the solemn commitment which bishops, priests, deacons and religious men and women make as they embark on their service to the members of the Church.

The abuse of minors and young people by some clergy and religious in past decades has profoundly scarred not only the victims and their families, but indeed to some degree, all the members of the Church. The experience of victims is beyond human words to describe adequately. In the Church, we are all connected, one to the other; we all have struggled with a range of emotions, including hurt, betrayal, anger, despair, rage and even the desire for revenge.

Posted by kshaw at 05:58 PM

Diocese upholds sex abuse charges against priest

New York Newsday

Associated Press Writer

December 15, 2004, 3:30 PM EST

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse said Wednesday it was removing a 65-year-old priest from ministry after finding sufficient evidence he may have sexually abused three young girls and a woman in the 1980s. A second priest, meanwhile, was cleared of sexual abuse allegations.

Church officials said sufficient evidence was found incriminating the Rev. Thomas F. Keating, who allegedly abused three young sisters while serving as pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Cortland from 1982 to 1993. The sisters were 12, 13 and 14 at the time and attended the church's grade school.

Keating also was accused of sexually abusing a woman who had gone to him in 1982 to tell him she had been raped by another priest.

Spokeswoman Danielle Cummings said the diocese's finding does not mean Keating is guilty, but his case had raised "serious concerns."

"These allegations are over 20 years old. Determining guilt or innocence is very difficult," Cummings said.

Posted by kshaw at 05:51 PM

Victims divided over public tactics of clergy abuse support group

Telegram & Gazette

Associated Press Writer

CORONA, Calif.— The leafletting outside St. Matthew Catholic Church started well, with parishioners accepting the brochures about clergy abuse being handed out by alleged molestation victims.

Then a woman standing on a church balcony screamed "You're evil!" and a man made an obscene gesture. The parish called police, who told the protesters they couldn't leaflet without a city permit.

The angry reaction came as no surprise to members of the Survivors Network of Those Abuse by Priests, or SNAP. Since the sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. Catholic church blew up in 2002, SNAP has sought the spotlight by publicly portraying itself as the official voice of thousands of victims.

While those victims embrace SNAP as a support group and a means to win long-overdue justice, its tactics have alienated many practicing Catholics and even some of the very people it hopes to help.

Some abuse victims said the group is too angry and confrontational, while others insist it's not activist enough. Others fault SNAP for its close financial relationship with clergy abuse attorneys, saying the link fuels perceptions that victims are only after the church's money.

The attitudes reflect the deep divisions among victims over how to proceed now that the first wave of the scandal has subsided. That question has profound significance for victims, many of whom will never see their molesters criminally prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.

Posted by kshaw at 01:10 PM

Trust the bishops?

The Arizona Daily Star

Two years ago, the nation's Catholic bishops finally acted on sexual abuse of children by priests. Among their moves was establishing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a set of tough procedures, and ordering audits to make sure they are complied with in each diocese.

Now, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is backing off on the audits, employing a practice common in organizational turnarounds: Stopping annual on-site audits for those dioceses found to be in compliance two years in a row and allowing them to self-report, instead.

Whether this will ever be the proper course for the church in America remains to be seen. The first audits showed compliance by about 90 percent of the dioceses, including Tucson. But, with the second set of audits just now being readied for release, it certainly is not yet time to take a more lenient approach toward monitoring the parishes. And certainly not until the bishops follow up on the finding by their special lay committee, theAbuse Tracker Review Board, that there "must be consequences" for bishops who helped cover up the decades of clergy abuse.

Thus far, the bishops are mum on their own culpability or that of their predecessors.

Posted by kshaw at 09:25 AM

Cincinnati Archdiocese postpones victim compensation

Middletown Journal

CINCINNATI — The planned end-of-the-year distribution of the $3 million by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as compensation for victims of sex abuse by church employees won’t happen.

A delay in the processing of the claims and the need to contact newly accused priests will postpone release of the money for about two months, said attorney Matt Garretson, administrator of the fund.

“That process has slowed,” Garretson admitted Tuesday.

There are, he said, two main reasons for that:

The 132 claims submitted by the September deadline were far more than anticipated;

The claims include allegations against priests the Archdiocese was previously unaware of being accused.

Posted by kshaw at 08:56 AM

Local pastor accused of molesting teens


07:11 AM EST on Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A Louisville pastor known for his volunteer work with teenagers will be arraigned Wednesday morning. He's accused of molesting the teens he met through his mentoring work.

Police arrested 25-year-old Isrom Johnson Tuesday and charged him with 16 counts of child sex abuse and sodomy. Detectives say the young minister would meet underprivileged youth through his volunteer programs and would make friends with them.

Detective Rhonda Speaker with the Louisville Metro Police Department said, "(He) then would buy them gifts, take them to his apartment, have them spend the night and things would happen."

The suspect's sister, Lashawnda Johnson said, "He's a man of God. We all go through struggles in life and this is just a test. They always target the ones that's doing good."

Posted by kshaw at 08:52 AM

Does diocese want justice or just to avoid bad press?

The Monitor

December 12,2004
Mack Harrison
The Monitor

Most religions promise justice in the next world. But what about justice in this one? The Catholic Church has helped accused rapists avoid prosecution all over the planet — even in the Rio Grande Valley.
I’m referring to The Dallas Morning News’ excellent investigative series on how Catholic Church workers can avoid facing sexual abuse charges by fleeing the country. The News reporting team spent a year tracking down priests accused of sexual abuse — including one clergyman charged with sexual assault in Pharr. They found that Catholic priests accused of sex crimes in one country often end up back in their native lands, still in the ministry.
That’s not a surprise to David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP; Web site:
“The focus remains very heavily on damage control,” he told me in a phone interview. He said even in the wake of the church sex abuse scandals over the past few years, “there’s been a focus on policies and procedures and paperwork, but very little substantive change.”

Posted by kshaw at 08:44 AM

Bishop makes leadership moves

The Union Leader

Staff Report

Bishop John B. McCormack yesterday announced major changes in assignments throughout the Manchester Diocese. The reordering puts lay professionals in two top administrative posts for the first time in the history of the Roman Catholic diocese.

Diane Murphy Quinlan, an attorney who joined the church leadership during the crisis over priestly misconduct, will serve as chancellor of the diocese, while Guy D. Chapdelaine, who has been serving as diocese's finance director for the past year, was named finance officer.

Posted by kshaw at 04:45 AM


Edmonton Sun


QUEBEC -- A Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to a year in prison Tuesday for sexually assaulting seven students 23 years ago. Quebec court Judge Pierre Rousseau refused to allow Rev. Gilles Noreau, 66, to serve his sentence under house arrest. The sexual acts took place at Le Petit Seminaire de Quebec, where Noreau taught between 1965 and 1988. He had been suspended as a priest, pending the outcome of the trial.

Posted by kshaw at 04:39 AM

Priest in jail for abusing 7 students

Montreal Gazette


December 15, 2004

Another Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for molesting adolescent boys.

Gilles Noreau, 66, a former Val Belair priest who taught at the Petit Seminaire in Quebec City from 1965 to 1988, was sentenced Monday to one year in prison.

Noreau pleaded guilty to abusing seven students during that period - the youngest victim a boy of 12.

Posted by kshaw at 04:37 AM

Former Riverside County priest sued for alleged sexual abuse

San Luis Obispo Tribune

Associated Press

RIVERSIDE, Calif - Six men claim that as teenagers they were molested by a man who is a former Roman Catholic priest and lay high school teacher, according to lawsuits filed in Los Angeles County.

Three of the men claim Jesus "Jesse" Dominguez, 55, abused them while he served the Diocese of San Bernardino at a Coachella church in Riverside County in the mid-1980s, The Press-Enterprise reported Tuesday.

Three other men accused Dominguez of abusing them in the 1970s at a Los Angeles County Catholic school, where he served as a teacher before being ordained a priest.

The men in the Coachella case are also suing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for negligence.

Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg said there were no records that Dominguez served as a priest in Los Angeles County.

Posted by kshaw at 04:31 AM

December 14, 2004

Court sends priest paraded naked to jail

New Kerala

[India News]: Dumka (Jharkhand), Dec 14 : A Jharkhand court has sentenced a Catholic priest who was paraded naked by miscreants naked seven years ago to jail for molesting a tribal boy.

Chief Judicial Magistrate G.N. Pandey of Dumka district Monday ordered three years rigorous imprisonment for Father Christudas, 48, a priest for 19 years.

Christudas, vice principal of St. Joseph's School at Guhiyajori in the district, was stripped and paraded naked in front of government officials Sep 2, 1997 after being accused of committing sodomy with a 14-year-old schoolboy.

Christudas said he would appeal the order.

Posted by kshaw at 02:26 PM

Priest sentenced to one year for sex assaults

Montreal Gazette


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Gilles Noreau, a former priest of Val-Bélair and ex-teacher at the Petit Séminaire, received a one year prison sentence after having pled guilty to seven charges of sexual assault. The offences were committed over a 23-year period, between 1965 and 1988, when he taught at the Petit Séminaire. The priest's victims were on average about 12 years old at the time the abuse took place.

Posted by kshaw at 02:23 PM

Hubbard bars lay minister over past

Albany Times Union

First published: Tuesday, December 14, 2004

ALBANY -- Bishop Howard Hubbard has banned a 75-year-old man from public participation in his Herkimer County church after learning that the onetime Christian Brother was convicted of child sexual abuse in Canada.

John Evangelist Murphy was a lay minister at St. Joseph's Church in Dolgeville, about 80 miles northwest of Albany. His crimes were mentioned in Dallas Morning News articles last week.

Murphy is serving a 20-month sentence of house arrest imposed by a Canadian judge following his conviction last year on four counts of indecent assault of four boys at the Mount Cashal Orphanage between 1950 and 1960.

Reached Monday, Murphy, whose first trial ended in mistrial in 2003, had little to say: "Shoot, this never ends. No comment."

Posted by kshaw at 08:36 AM

Court to decide if diocese shielded in abuse lawsuit

The Clarion-Ledger

By Jimmie E. Gates

A state Supreme Court panel heard more than an hour of arguments Monday on whether the First Amendment bars civil litigation against the Catholic Diocese of Jackson over alleged priest sexual abuse.

At stake is a $48 million lawsuit filed in 2002 in Hinds County Circuit Court by three brothers against the diocese saying they were sexually abused by a priest more than 30 years ago.

If the state's highest court rules the First Amendment doctrine of church autonomy gives the church control over its ecclesiastical matters, the lawsuit likely will be thrown out, lawyers for the plaintiffs say.
Last year, Circuit Judge Winston Kidd ruled the First Amendment didn't protect the diocese against the civil litigation. The diocese appealed to the state Supreme Court, saying the lawsuit infringes on the diocese's constitutional rights.

Posted by kshaw at 08:32 AM


Spirit Daily

The Press-Enterprise in Southern California reports that a one-time personal aide to former San Bernardino Diocese Bishop Phillip F. Straling who was alleged to possess stigmata now stands accused of molesting six teenage boys, according to lawsuits filed in Los Angeles County.

"Jesus 'Jesse' A. Dominguez is accused in the litigation of sexually abusing three altar boys while he worked at Our Lady of Soledad Church in Coachella in the mid 1980s," reports the newspaper. "He is also accused of molesting three boys at a Los Angeles County Catholic school during the 1970s, according to the three lawsuits."

Known as Father Jesse, Dominguez, now 55, was the subject of a stigmata investigation in 1984 after blood reportedly appeared on his hands during a Mass at St. Edward Catholic Church in Corona.

Posted by kshaw at 08:30 AM

Baker pastor faces court date for molestation charges

The Advocate

From a report by WBRZ's Ken Pastorick

A Baker minister accused of molesting at least three boys is set to go on trial in February 2005, more than four years since deputies made the arrest.
Prosecutors say they have enough solid evidence to send Benny McFarland away for a long time, but one of the alleged victims is upset his case has yet to make it to trial.

"He was supposed to be my father figure, and when you trust someone like that, you don't expect them to betray you," said Justin Hurst, an alleged victim.

Hurst turned McFarland in four years ago in September 2000. McFarland was arrested again in June of 2002.

Assistant District Attorney Barry Fontenot said he can see why Hurst is frustrated, but that he is doing everything in his power to get the case to trial and blaming circumstances beyond his control for the delay.

Posted by kshaw at 04:49 AM

Advocacy groups slam bishops for audit plans

MetroWest Daily News

By Rachel Zoll / Associated Press
Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Two victim advocacy groups accused Roman Catholic bishops yesterday of abandoning their pledge to root out sexually abusive clergy by reducing the number of U.S. dioceses that will receive full, onsite audits of their child protection programs next year.

But a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the changes were meant only to make the process more efficient, and were not a sign church leaders are backing away from reforms.

Massachusetts-based Voice of the Faithful, a lay Catholic group, and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the revisions will undermine whatever trust the bishops have restored in their leadership since the abuse crisis began in Boston in early 2002.

In each of the last two years, the bishops hired an outside auditor who sent teams largely made up of former FBI agents into all 195 U.S. dioceses. Their job was to determine whether the church had put in place the safeguards required under the anti-abuse policy that the bishops approved at their June 2002 meeting in Dallas.

Last month, the bishops authorized a new approach to the audits at their national meeting in Washington. They decided that dioceses found fully compliant twice will not be required to have onsite visits next year. Instead, they can fill out questionnaires that will be sent to the auditors for review. Some bishops had complained that the audits were expensive and time-consuming.

Posted by kshaw at 04:46 AM

Priest sentenced to Three years RI for sodomy

Team India News Network

Dumka (Jharkhand), Dec 13 : A priest associated with Dumka Dudhani Catholic Mission was today sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment by a local court here in connection with a 1997 sodomy case.

Chief Judicial Magistrate B N Pandey gave Christo Das, who was the superintendent of Ghuiajori Mission school, a month's time to appeal before a higher court. Das has since been on bail obtained from Patna High Court.

The judge also slapped a fine of Rs 1000 on Das. In case he failed to furnish the amount, he would have to undergo another six months of simple imprisonment.

As many as nineteen witnesses deposed during the trial.

Das had been the superintendent of the Mission school when a ninth standard student charged him with sodomy. Agitated students stripped Das and paraded him on the streets of Dumka before the police took him into custody.

Posted by kshaw at 04:39 AM

Priest leaving school, church after suspension

Staunton News Leader

By Ruth Jones/staff

HARRISONBURG — The priest at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church was suspended this week after admitting to a sexual relationship with an adult woman.

Richmond Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo announced the suspension of the Rev. Jim Gallagher during the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses Sunday morning.

Gallagher not only presided over the Harrisonburg church, but was one of four parish priests who came to Guardian Angel Regional Catholic School as a spiritual consultant once a month to have Mass with the students.

"He is so beloved by so many people," said school administrator Mary Thompson.

"We just found out about it last night," said administrator assistant Tina Obenschain. "It was just overwhelming and it just still is. Father Gallagher was not only loved by the children at Blessed Sacrament, but he was extremely loved at Guardian Angel. He did everything he could to build that parish community in so many ways. He will be greatly, greatly missed."

Posted by kshaw at 04:32 AM

Supreme Court hears arguments in Jackson Catholic Diocese motion

Sun Herald

Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. - A state Supreme Court panel on Monday heard arguments on whether the First Amendment prohibits lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese over allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

Three brothers filed a $48 million lawsuit in Hinds County Circuit Court in 2002. They claimed they were abused by a priest more than 30 years ago. The trial is on hold while the Supreme Court considers the diocese's motion for dismissal.

The diocese argues that the separation of church and state makes the church autonomous and that certain church documents are privileged.

"We are not saying somehow the church is above the law," said Martin Nussbaum, an attorney representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jackson.

Circuit Judge Winston Kidd ruled last year that the First Amendment doesn't protect the diocese from litigation, and the diocese appealed to the high court, saying the lawsuit infringes on its constitutional rights.

Posted by kshaw at 04:30 AM

Bishop Dendinger ordained

The Independent

By Mike Bockoven

Thousands of people watched live and on television on Monday as the Grand Island Diocese ordained its first new bishop in more than 25 years.

William J. Dendinger became the seventh bishop of the diocese in a ceremony that filled St. Mary's Cathedral to capacity an hour before its 2:30 p.m. start time. Dendinger replaces Bishop Lawrence J. McNamara, who served from 1978 through 2004.

Clergy, members of Dendinger's family and many others from across the state were present for the special ceremony, which included participation by the Most Rev. Gabriel Montalvo, titular archbishop of Celene and apostolic nuncio to the United States, a representative from the Vatican. ...

"I know for sure you have good priests to support you in ministry and many faithful Catholics spread throughout the diocese," he told Dendinger. "You have no diocesan debt and no lawsuits pending. You don't even have any public scandals caused by sexual abuse. Let me tell you this is the truth: You have inherited a blessed diocese."

Posted by kshaw at 04:29 AM

Former Inland priest accused

The Press-Enterprise

11:41 PM PST on Monday, December 13, 2004

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

A former Inland priest who was a one-time personal aide to former San Bernardino Diocese Bishop Phillip F. Straling now stands accused of molesting six teenage boys, according to lawsuits filed in Los Angeles County.

Jesus "Jesse" A. Dominguez is accused in the litigation of sexually abusing three altar boys while he worked at Our Lady of Soledad Church in Coachella in the mid 1980s. He is also accused of molesting three boys at a Los Angeles County Catholic school during the 1970s, according to the three lawsuits.

Dominguez, now 55, could not be located for comment Monday. Known as Father Jesse, Dominguez was the subject of a 1984 stigmata investigation after blood reportedly appeared on his hands during a Mass at St. Edward Catholic Church in Corona.

The Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the Diocese of San Bernardino, said a review of Dominguez's personnel files did not turn up any past sexual-abuse complaints targeting the cleric, nor any correspondence or accusations from the three Inland accusers who are now suing.

Posted by kshaw at 04:26 AM

Ex-priest waives right to hearing

Peoria Journal Star

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


CAMBRIDGE - A former priest with the Catholic Diocese of Peoria will face Wisconsin charges of second-degree sexual assault of a child after waiving his right to an extradition hearing Monday in Henry County Circuit Court.

Francis Engels, 68, of 702 N. Fremont in Kewanee, spoke briefly with a public defender about leaving some credit cards and other information behind before signing the waiver in a very brief appearance before Judge Ted Hamer.

Engels, dressed in orange county jail garb and flip-flops, signed the waiver without even reading it. Hamer handed it back, telling Engels to make sure he read and understood the document.

"You've agreed to waive extradition and go back to the state of Wisconsin?" Hamer questioned. "Yes, sir," Engels replied.

Posted by kshaw at 04:24 AM

December 13, 2004

Vatican firms up plans for U.S. seminary visitation in 2005

Catholic News Service

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican is consolidating plans for the much-anticipated apostolic visitation of U.S. seminaries, viewed by church officials as a crucial part of the response to the priestly sex abuse scandal.

Officials now expect the visitation to begin in the fall of 2005 with the start of the school year, sources in Rome said in December.

The Vatican is expected to publish soon an "instrumentum laboris" or working questionnaire that is about three pages long. It will act as an outline for the visits to more than 100 seminaries and other institutes of formation, which are expected to take several days each.

Already, the names of approximately 75 bishops and 100 priests who will carry out the visitations have been submitted and discussed by U.S. and Vatican officials. A facilitator to coordinate U.S.-Vatican contacts also will be chosen.

Sometime before the process begins next fall, the Vatican expects to publish a long-awaited and potentially controversial document on whether candidates with homosexual inclinations should be admitted to the priesthood.

Posted by kshaw at 07:56 PM

Church Audit Plan Rankles Advocacy Groups


AP Religion Writer

December 13, 2004, 4:24 PM EST

Two victim advocacy groups accused Roman Catholic bishops Monday of abandoning their pledge to root out sexually abusive clergy by reducing the number of U.S. dioceses that will receive full, onsite audits of their child protection programs next year.

But a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the changes were meant only to make the process more efficient, and were not a sign church leaders are backing away from reforms.

Voice of the Faithful, a lay Catholic group, and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the revisions will undermine whatever trust the bishops have restored in their leadership since the abuse crisis began in early 2002.

In each of the last two years, the bishops hired an outside auditor who sent teams largely made up of former FBI agents into all 195 U.S. dioceses. Their job was to determine whether the church had put in place the safeguards required under the anti-abuse policy that the bishops approved at their June 2002 meeting in Dallas.

Last month, the bishops authorized a new approach to the audits at their national meeting in Washington. They decided that dioceses found fully compliant twice will not be required to have onsite visits next year. Instead, they can fill out questionnaires that will be sent to the auditors for review. Some bishops had complained that the audits were expensive and time-consuming.

Posted by kshaw at 07:53 PM

Illinois priest waives extradition to Wisconsin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Associated Press

A Roman Catholic priest charged in Wisconsin with sexual abuse of a child more than 20 years ago on Monday waived extradition from Illinois, where he had been held without bail since last week.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's office had charged Francis Engels, 68, with two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child.

Engels appeared in Henry County, Ill. Circuit Court Monday and said he would not fight the extradition, said Terry Patton, the Henry County state's attorney.

Milwaukee Assistant District Attorney Jane Carrol did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press Monday inquiring about when Engels might be brought to Wisconsin.

The victim, Dan Koenigs, now 37, said three priests, including Engels, molested him many times between 1980 and 1985, according to his attorney, Joe Klest, of Schaumburg, Ill.

Posted by kshaw at 05:28 PM

Pedophile priest may face more charges

The Age

By Ian Munro
Law and Justice Editor
December 14, 2004

A decision is expected this week on whether pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale will face more sex abuse charges relating to a further nine people.

This follows a meeting at Ballarat police station yesterday between the Director of Public Prosec- utions, Paul Coghlan, QC, the alleged victims and Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson who investigated their complaints.

In August, The Age revealed that Mr Coghlan was refusing to press further charges against Ridsdale, who was jailed in 1994 and will be 75 before he is eligible for parole.

A further prosecution was deemed "not in the public interest", as the allegations could have been heard at Ridsdale's original trial.

Responding to what he called "disquiet in the community", Mr Coghlan later offered to meet the complainants and reconsider his decision. The mother of an alleged victim, who represented her son at yesterday's meeting, urged victims to come forward.

Posted by kshaw at 09:34 AM

Shepherds Finessing Their Flock

The New York Times

Published: December 13, 2004

The scandal over sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy is still raging in the courts, yet the American bishops have made a wrongheaded decision to cut back their auditing of local dioceses' compliance with the church's new child protection measures. The bishops concluded that 90 percent of dioceses had been examined, found in compliance and can "self-report" next year. The auditors will focus on dioceses that are not carrying out the safeguards fully. This easing of scrutiny hardly jibes with pledges of ongoing accountability.

In the face of the dark universe of abuse by priests - more than 700 dismissed in three years for sexually abusing thousands of children - it was commendable that the bishops' conference enacted some firm remedies, including a one-strike-and-you're-defrocked policy toward abusers. But the laity is still waiting for an accounting of bishops' culpability in protecting predatory priests and paying hush money to contain complaints.

That the crisis is far from over is clear in California, where Bishop Tod Brown of the Orange County diocese recently agreed to a record $100 million damage settlement with 87 victims. Bishop Brown's welcome decision to release internal church documents as part of the agreement contrasts with the struggle in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where Cardinal Roger Mahony continues legalistic stonewalling of 500 abuse claims. His refusal to turn over priests' personnel files to prosecutors was criticized by the laity panel the bishops appointed to monitor their actions.

Posted by kshaw at 09:07 AM

Sex offender got shelter job without background check

Chicago Sun-Times

December 13, 2004


There was no reason not to trust Michael Taylor, the woman once thought.

He said he was a church minister.

He promised to help find a home for her and her two sons.

He told her that if she stayed strong, God would find a way.

Taylor was the woman's case manager at a city-funded homeless shelter for women and children on the West Side. She first met him last summer.

But only now, after Taylor was arrested last month and accused of sexually assaulting her 13-year-old son, does the woman know the truth: Taylor, 48, is a convicted sex offender.

The woman, who did not want her name used, can't fathom why Taylor was counseling some of the city's most vulnerable people. ...

Then, as now, Taylor was affiliated with the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church on the South Side.

Posted by kshaw at 06:30 AM

National Tribunal needed for abuse victims: McLucas


TONY EASTLEY: The former Chairwoman of the Senate committee on Children in Institutions Jan McLucas says this story is a good example of why a national tribunal is needed.

And she says compensation for victims of sexual abuse should be taken out of the court system.

She's speaking to Nonee Walsh.

JAN MCLUCAS: These men have attempted to seek redress through the legal system. They have found themselves in a more invidious position than when they started. I find it very distressing when you read the story of what happened to them as children, and in their attempt to get some redress of that situation have found themselves financially, but more importantly very emotionally hurt.

Posted by kshaw at 06:21 AM

Abuse victims in debt despite compensation


TONY EASTLEY: Twelve men who suffered physical and sexual abuse in New South Wales Anglican boys homes 50 or 60 years ago - have found themselves tens of thousands of dollars in debt, despite being compensated.

The men from the Coventry and Ohio Boys homes, initially received money from the Victims of Crime Tribunal.

They then successfully pursued further compensation from the Anglican Church.

However they're now being told that because they're getting compensation from the Church, they must repay the original compensation given to them by the Tribunal.

That, they say, has left them tens of thousand of dollars out of pocket.

The men who were regularly beaten as children now feel they're being brutalised by the legal system.

Posted by kshaw at 06:20 AM

Va. priest admits to misconduct

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Dec 13, 2004

HARRISONBURG - Father Jim Gallagher resigned as pastor of Harrisonburg's Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church after admitting "sexual misconduct with an adult woman," the Catholic Diocese of Richmond said yesterday.

The Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo, bishop of the diocese, told parishioners the news before celebrating Mass. The diocese has temporarily suspended Gallagher pending an investigation, the bishop said.

Although Gallagher, 52, has resigned as pastor of the church, he has not left the priesthood, DiLorenzo said.

Gallagher arrived at Blessed Sacrament in June 2003 after serving for seven years at a church in Petersburg. He has been a priest for 17 years.

In his statement to parishioners yesterday, DiLorenzo said the diocese had learned that Gallagher "has admitted sexual misconduct with an adult woman. In the interest of privacy, the diocese will not release the identity of the person involved."

Posted by kshaw at 06:15 AM

Bishop says priest admits sexual misconduct, resigns


HARRISONBURG, Va. The pastor of Harrisonburg's only Catholic church has resigned after admitting sexual misconduct with an adult woman.

That according to an announcement today by the Diocese of Richmond.

Father Jim Gallagher has been a priest for 17 years. He arrived at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in June 2003 after serving seven years in a Petersburg chruch.

Bishop Francis X- DiLorenzo is head of the Richmond Diocese. He broke the news to parishoners before celebrating Mass today. The bishop says the diocese has temporarily suspended Gallagher pending an investigation.

Posted by kshaw at 06:13 AM

Resurrection Church will close

The Courier-Journal

By Matt Batcheldor
The Courier-Journal

The old Resurrection Catholic Church on Poplar Level Road, which has continued to hold weekend Masses after merging with Guardian Angels parish in 1999, will close permanently next month.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville plans to sell the church property, part of which is leased to Pitt Academy, to the Highlands Latin School for an undetermined sum. The sale is not final, but the last Mass will be celebrated at Resurrection on Jan.9, archdiocese spokeswoman Cecelia Price said.

Proceeds from the sale will help rebuild the archdiocese's coffers in the wake of a $25.7million settlement last year with victims of priest sexual abuse, Price said. Selling the church property was included in a five-year financial plan issued last year.

"Certainly, we understand it's a loss for the people who had been worshipping there," Price said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:10 AM

A small piece of good


Recently, the Archdiocese of Seattle was in the news because of a report criticizing it for - as the article put it - "poor record keeping and a habit of ignoring troubling behavior by clerics" that continued into the early 1990’s.

The Archdiocese of Portland has declared bankruptcy. The Diocese of Spokane faces claims that total $77 million and filed for bankruptcy protection last week.

The whole thing is an unmitigated mess.

Men of God did abominable things and then others seemingly ignored or, worse, tried to bury the problem.

I can’t defend that.

What I can do, however, is tell you a story.

Posted by kshaw at 06:07 AM

December 12, 2004

Cardinal Mahony accused of perjury in sex abuse case

San Francisco Chronicle

Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

Saturday, December 11, 2004

One of California's leading sexual abuse lawyers said Friday that newly released court documents show that Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony committed perjury during a 1998 trial in Stockton.

The accusation by Stockton attorney Larry Drivon came one day after a transcript of a deposition Mahony gave in Los Angeles on Nov. 23. was made public.

A spokesman for Mahony called the accusation "ridiculous.''

Mahony served as the bishop of the Diocese of Stockton from 1980 to 1985, when he was elevated to head the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese.

The Los Angeles prelate's deposition involves his supervision of the Rev. Oliver O'Grady, a convicted child molester whose actions have cost the California Catholic church millions of dollars. The deposition is in connection to a recent wave of lawsuits made possible by a 2002 state law that temporarily abolished the statute of limitations on abuse claims against the church and other employers of known sexual predators.

Posted by kshaw at 09:43 AM

Using a dose of fear to stop kidnappings

New York Daily News

WORKERS AND VOLUNTEERS for the Diocese of Brooklyn gasped and groaned as they watched nationally renowned child safety expert Ken Wooden lure children from a playground. As diocese members observed a polite, soft-spoken Wooden trick kids one-by-one, recruiting their help to find a supposedly lost puppy, they were shocked at how easily he gained their trust.

Some kids held Wooden's hand and others grabbed the leash he handed them as they joined in a chorus of shouts calling out the puppy's name.

"I believe by teaching these lures we won't have this awful scandal rain down on us again," Wooden said to parishioners after they watched his video presentation.

About 250 diocese youth workers gathered Monday at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston to hear Wooden, the author of "Weeping in the Playtime of Others: America's Incarcerated Children," explain ways to keep children safe from predators.

The discussion was part of an introduction of the Child Lures program the diocese has put in place to help prevent sexual abuse, abduction, Internet crime, drugs and school violence. The program is part of an initiative begun by U.S. bishops in June 2002.

Posted by kshaw at 09:02 AM

A priest's victim not robbed of faith

Orange County Register

The Orange County Register

SIGNAL HILL – A black-and white baby picture of David Guerrero hangs in his bedroom.

The artist, now 36, has added the words "$1.49 per pound" next to his smiling face, to symbolize how a priest snatched his 8-year-old body and, for three years, used it like a piece of meat.

Now, as one of 87 victims of clergy sexual abuse set to receive large sums from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in a historic settlement, Guerrero's artistic statement also poses the question: How much money do the victims deserve?

"I'm grateful for (any money), but we're getting pennies for what happened to our lives," said Guerrero, stretched out on a brown armchair in the living room of his mother's two-bedroom condominium in Signal Hill.

Sad-eyed Minerva Guerrero, 61, watched her son, the third of four boys, from the couch as "Silent Night" played on the stereo. An artificial white Christmas tree blinked incessantly. David's father, Robert, a 61-year-old dry-wall installer, was at work.

Minerva Guerrero, a homemaker, was sitting in the same spot in November 2002 when her hysterical son, jacked up on speed, told her he had been molested by Father Sigfried Widera while attending catechism classes at St. Justin Martyr Roman Catholic Church inAnaheim.

Posted by kshaw at 09:00 AM

Pastor is given four-year sentence for molestation

Skagit Valley Herald


A Skagit County judge, facing a courtroom full of about 50 family members and supporters of a pastor convicted of molesting two young girls, said he had to consider accounts of the defendant's good works in handing down a sentence.

With that, Judge Michael Rickert Friday sentenced Armando Villalobos-Perez to 4 1/4 years in prison, the shortest sentence he could have meted out under state law.

Sixteen people speaking at Villalobos-Perez's sentencing told the judge they believed the defendant to be innocent.

A jury Oct. 4 found Villalobos-Perez, 58, guilty of three counts of first-degree child molestation. The two victims were clients of his wife's day care. ...

Villalobos-Perez is the pastor of the Iglesia Santa Pentescostes Ovejas De Jesucristo, a Spanish and English Pentecostal church in Mount Vernon.

Posted by kshaw at 08:53 AM

Dover pastor accused of rape

Home News Tribune


The case of a Baptist pastor from Dover accused of repeated sexual assaults against a young woman in Connecticut was moved Friday to a court that handles the most serious felony cases, court officials said.

Andre L. McGuire, 46, whose family lives in Rahway and who is pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church, is married and has six children. He has been charged with four counts of sexual assault in Connecticut and has been held for more than a month in a Hartford correctional facility on $250,000 bail.

He was arrested on Nov. 8 after an investigation that lasted more than two years.

Members of his church said that up until this past week they were told he was away handling a family emergency.

Court records, which include statements by the alleged victim, detail some of the allegations and show the alleged victim first talked to law enforcement authorities more than two years ago, after she told some family members about her allegations and wrote a letter to administrators of the college che was attending at the time to explain why she was having a hard time keeping up her grades. She told them she had been raped.

McGuire, who had been living with his family in Rahway before his arrest, was accused in court papers of forcing himself sexually on the girl at various places in three states in 2001 and 2002.

Posted by kshaw at 08:49 AM


The Southern Illinoisan

Posted: Sunday, December 12, 2004 7:19 AM CST

It is with sadness that news was received that Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, who has served as head of the Belleville Diocese, has been re-assigned and will become Atlanta's sixth archbishop. He succeeds Archbishop John F. Donoghue, who is resigning. Pope John Paul II's appointment of Gregory to the Atlanta post was announced Thursday.

The 57-year-old Gregory has become an extremely important figure in the Catholic church. Gregory served as was president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for three years during the height of the clergy molestation crisis. Gregory was the first black president of the bishops conference when he was elected in November 2001.

At the time, his election was seen by black Catholics as long-awaited recognition of their presence in the church. A week before his term expired as leader of the conference, Gregory said the pressure of guiding the church through the height of the sex abuse crisis "drove me to my knees" spiritually.

Posted by kshaw at 08:43 AM

Nuns Protect List Of Members

Hartford Courant

December 12, 2004
By KIM MARTINEAU, Courant Staff Writer

A national group of Catholic nuns will not turn over a list of members to an advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse by clergy, or allow the victims to speak at its upcoming conferences.

The advocacy group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, made those demands to raise awareness about the problem of abusive nuns, at a time when news reports have focused heavily on abusive priests.

"All we want is to be part of the healing and education," said Mary Guentner, a social worker from Milwaukee who says she was abused as a teenager by a nun. "We are the experts. ... We can truly help develop a plan to put the healing of victims first."

A Connecticut woman, who claims she was abused by a nun when she was a senior at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, helped arrange a historic meeting in October with leaders from the nation's largest consortium of nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. At the meeting, Landa Mauriello-Vernon and four others asked the nuns to help them reach out to other alleged victims, by providing a link to the Survivors Network on their website and turning over contact information to the approximately 450 religious orders that belong to the Leadership Conference.

Posted by kshaw at 08:39 AM

Santa stint eases a heavy heart

Telegram & Gazette

Dianne Williamson

A year ago, Solomon E. Toledo Jr. was the well-regarded head of the young adult ministry for the Diocese of Worcester. He was earning a respectable wage and hoping to eventually parlay his experience into a higher post with a diocese on the West Coast.

Today, Mr. Toledo is homeless and living in his 1993 blue Buick LeSabre. He works part time at Wal-Mart in Whitinsville, but a salary cut in half by child support payments barely covers his food. And although he has struggled for years with clinical depression, he said he is nourished by a holiday ritual he has performed for three decades.

Every weekend, the 50-year-old Mr. Toledo dons a Santa Claus suit and sheds his sadness for a few magical hours. At a discount store in the Wal-Mart plaza, Mr. Toledo sits in a tall chair and allows the dreams of happy, innocent children to nurture his battered soul.

“I love it,” said Mr. Toledo, whose bleached beard and ruddy complexion make him a picture-perfect Santa. “The world is so bleak at times. But kids see me and their eyes shine. If I can’t be a youth minister anymore, I can at least be a symbol of love for children.”

A year ago last month, Mr. Toledo was summoned to the diocesan chancery office and summarily fired by Monsignor Thomas J. Sullivan. While the diocese has provided few details, Mr. Toledo said he was dismissed because of a 26-year-old allegation of sexual misconduct that occurred between the then 22-year-old youth minister and a 16-year-old girl in Riverside, Calif. No charges were ever brought against Mr. Toledo; last week, police in Riverside said they have no record of any investigation against him.

Mr. Toledo said the Worcester diocese was told last year by the girl’s mother that he had sex with the girl twice. Mr. Toledo denied the allegations but admitted that he kissed the girl in 1977, then apologized and told her he could have no sexual contact with her.

“I was wrong to kiss that young lady,” Mr. Toledo said. “We were both young. It was a very different time. But the Worcester diocese has made me feel like a criminal. And they took away something I was very, very good at.”

A native of San Diego, Mr. Toledo came to the Worcester diocese three years ago from Portland, Ore., where he did similar work. He loved his job in Worcester and was instrumental in starting the well-publicized “Theology on Tap” series, where younger Catholics would gather informally at the Irish Times to discuss religion or listen to a guest speaker.

Mr. Toledo had worked in Worcester for two years and was earning an annual salary of $32,000 when he was fired. He said no details of the allegations were revealed and he was denied a chance to defend himself or meet with the bishop. He was given three days to vacate the diocesan Oakhurst Retreat Center in Whitinsville, where he had been living, and he received no severance pay.

“Now that I’ve had a year to think, I guess I’ve grown kind of bitter,” Mr. Toledo said. “There was no investigation, no nothing. I believe I was made an example of to show that the diocese can move quickly. Priests are often protected, but a layperson has no rights in the Catholic Church.”

Raymond L. Delisle, diocesan spokesman, declined to discuss Mr. Toledo’s case, calling it a personnel matter. He said only that the “circumstances would not allow” Mr. Toledo to continue in the post, and he defended the diocese’s handling of its former employee.

“Personally, I don’t believe they would fire anyone without having real reasons or explaining the details,” Mr. Delisle said. “I felt bad about what’s happened to him, but that doesn’t change why they can’t use him in that position.”

After he was fired, Mr. Solomon lived on and off with friends for a few months before moving into his car. He tried unsuccessfully to find work in other dioceses. And with no health benefits or medication, Mr. Solomon struggles to stave off the depression he has dealt with since before moving to Worcester, a depression now exacerbated by his circumstances.

He found part-time work last year as a cashier at Wal-Mart. Half of his paycheck goes to support a 9-year-old daughter who lives in Oregon. He takes home $90 a week, which goes mainly toward fast food and gas. He sleeps in the front seat of his car in various residential neighborhoods in Northbridge, covering himself with a blanket.

Two weeks ago, he volunteered his services as a weekend Santa Claus at a dollar store called The Max in the Wal-Mart plaza. Mr. Toledo said he has played Santa for 30 years at malls, department stores and photo studios in California and Oregon. At The Max, Mr. Toledo tries to make a few bucks by charging visitors $4 for a photo, but he said it cost him more than he earns to buy a Polaroid camera and film.

“My life is very, very hard,” he said matter-of-factly. “But in order for depression not to conquer you, it’s important to do something rewarding. Playing Santa has always made my Christmas special. I know that I have to be this smiling, joyful-type person, so it helps me have a better attitude.”

Mr. Toledo said he’s trying to save money to make repairs to his car, so he can return to Oregon and be closer to his children. He’s looking for more holiday work and plans to run a classified ad to hawk his Santa services at parties and other events.

And while his life hasn’t turned out as he had hoped, he’s confident that his work over three decades will serve as a legacy to a career interrupted.

“My life will always be a success,” he said. “Through the help of God, I’ve changed a lot of lives. No one can take that away from me.”

He paused, then broke out in a broad grin that belied a year’s worth of loneliness and torment.

“And I really am a very good Santa.”

Dianne Williamson can be reached via e-mail at

Posted by kshaw at 08:33 AM

Sex abuse lawsuits could cost the Catholic Church dearly



By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS / Associated Press

The Roman Catholic church in Spokane educates thousands of school children, operates the state's second largest hospital, runs multimillion-dollar charities and provides for the spiritual needs of some 90,000 people.

But much is at risk because nearly 60 victims of child sex abuse and their lawyers are seeking more than $70 million in damages.

This is the central conundrum of the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the nation's largest church: How do you square the needs of victims who have courageously stepped forward to expose decades of abuse, while preserving all the good things the church does?

Victims insist they are not out to destroy the church, and should be commended for coming forward to expose a decades-long conspiracy of silence.

"We're all sick and tired of this thing," said Michael Ross, a local leader of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, who has sued the Spokane Diocese.

The diocese has known since at least 1944 that some priests were pedophiles, and did not take enough steps to protect children, Ross said. Offender priests would still be shuffled among parishes and free to molest more children if victims had not come forward, Ross said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:27 AM

Priest's extradition sought in abuse case

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: Dec. 11, 2004

Milwaukee police are seeking the extradition of a 68-year-old Peoria, Ill., priest who has been charged in a warrant here with bringing an altar boy to Milwaukee more than 20 years ago and sexually assaulting him.

The priest, Francis Engels, has been held in the Henry County, Ill., jail since Tuesday on two felony counts of second degree sexual assault of a child that were issued by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office. The priest is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court in Illinois on Monday morning.

The victim, Dan Koenigs, is now 37 and living in Chicago, according to his lawyer, Joe Klest, of Schaumburg, Ill.

Koenigs said he was molested many times between 1980 and 1985 by three priests, including Engels. Some of the abuse took place in Kentucky and Wisconsin, according to his lawyer. Koenigs was able to identify the Milwaukee motel were the abuse took place, Klest said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:21 AM

Stolen memories

Palm Beach Post

By Lona O'Connor
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Fourteen years after his wife Pat's death, Bob Hittel still lives under her spell.

Their home is infused with her presence. There she is in a black and white picture, the pretty teenager he fell in love with in 1942. In a photograph from middle age, with her thick brown wavy hair turned snow white, she was even more luminous.

Days after her death in 1990, Bob Hittel wrote to Pat's mother, calling their marriage "a fairy tale of love enduring all obstacles."

He soon discovered that his fairy tale had a dark underbelly of secrets, loathing and disgust.

Two months after Pat Hittel died, her husband discovered a diary she had secretly kept for years, hundreds of handwritten pages detailing her passionate love for another man. Although she carefully never mentioned his name, Hittel is sure his wife was writing about Frank Flynn, the family priest.

In the diary, she wrote about her husband of 47 years — and the man who displaced him in her heart:

"He loved me in a quiet way, not real exciting, but I knew I would be taken care of. But as I grew older I realized my inner life was not loved and never had been. Then I met him, oh so loving and exciting. I loved him oh so purely at first. I knew he loved me. He saw a piece of my heart and took it as his own. Oh Lord, how we loved in those first years. My love, my priest. I treasured our intimate talks, our love words to each other."

Pat Hittel was in remission from lymphoma when she met Flynn, a charming, warm-hearted priest, at St. John the Baptist parish in Fort Lauderdale.

Two years later, Flynn was transferred to St. Ignatius Loyola Cathedral in Palm Beach Gardens. Pat Hittel followed Flynn, regularly traveling more than 50 miles north to attend Mass and to study with Flynn for her college courses in religion.

Frank Flynn's name hit the headlines in 2002, after Palm Beach Diocese officials revealed they settled two sexual abuse lawsuits involving him.

Posted by kshaw at 08:19 AM

Mahony would do well to mimic Brown

Pasadena Star-News

THE Orange County Roman Catholic Diocese, under the direction of Bishop Tod D. Brown, has agreed to pay $100 million to settle 87 outstanding priest abuse cases. Brown said the diocese wants to move forward. He has cooperated fully with authorities as well, handing them internal church documents as requested. He is to be commended, and by all accounts, has earned accolades from grateful victims, relieved of sometimes lifelong burdens.

The decision and his actions stand in stark contrast to Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of the Los Angeles Diocese. Mahony has been secretive and reluctant to turn over any records that would indicate the church's handling of accusations against priests. Some 544 cases of alleged sexual-abuse cases have been brought against the diocese.

At best a misguided, and we believe damaging, miscalculation on the part of easily the most influential American Catholic leader.

While it is natural for Mahony to protect those in positions of authority, he should err on the side of the alleged victims and allow the justice system to work. There's little doubt the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office will leave no evidentiary rock unturned to exonerate those falsely accused.

Posted by kshaw at 08:16 AM

Effort to monitor priests falls short, groups claim

Contra Costa Times

By Robin Evans

The Diocese of San Jose has assigned two priests to watch over four colleagues removed from ministry -- and parish residences -- for sexual misconduct. The Oakland Diocese just hired a retired probation officer to keep tabs on nine priests, including three who moved out of state.

But victims and lay groups are wary of church efforts to monitor wayward priests because they're being told little about them. And national church officials say such efforts are not only inconsistent across the country but inherently inadequate.

"Generally speaking, there's not a real good, efficient way of monitoring these men," said Sheila Horan, assistant director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Posted by kshaw at 08:15 AM

December 11, 2004

Lay minister convicted of sex abuse at Mount Cashel told stop New York duties

Canadian Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany told a lay minister to stop any public duties in one of its parishes after investigating a news report that he was convicted of sex charges in Canada this year.

A Canadian judge allowed John Evangelist Murphy, 75, of Dolgeville, N.Y., to serve 20 months of house arrest in New York state, where no one has authority to supervise him, the Dallas Morning News newspaper reported Monday.

Murphy was convicted in May of fondling four boys in the 1950s while a teacher at Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, Nfld., run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland.

Murphy left the order decades ago and lived in New York state for years before he was extradited to Canada for trial, the newspaper reported.

Murphy, reached at home Friday, declined comment on Bishop Howard Hubbard's decision.

Posted by kshaw at 04:14 PM

Minister ordered to leave diocese

Capital News 9

12/11/2004 11:26 AM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

A local minister was forced to leave the Albany Diocese after a newspaper report showed he was convicted of sexually abusing four boys.

The Dallas Morning News said 75-year-old John Murphy, who was serving as a minister in Dolgeville, was sentenced to 20 months of house arrest for the assaults. According to the report, the abuse happened in Canada back in the 1950s.

Posted by kshaw at 04:13 PM

Ex-priest in Henry County jail

Peoria Journal Star

Saturday, December 11, 2004

CAMBRIDGE - A former priest with the Catholic Diocese of Peoria is in the Henry County Jail awaiting extradition to Wisconsin where he faces charges he sexually abused a Cambridge altar boy during trips to the state 25 years ago.

Francis Engels, 68, served as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Annawan before stepping down in 1993 amid allegations of sexual molestation from several former parishioners. He also had responsibility for St. Mary's Mission in Hooppole.

Engels was arrested Wednesday night in Henry County after Milwaukee County, Wis., issued a second-degree sexual assault warrant for him on Tuesday, the clerk's office confirmed. An extradition hearing will be held Monday in Henry County Circuit Court.

The charge relates to trips Engels allegedly took to Wisconsin in the 1980s with Dan Koenigs, who was an altar boy. Earlier this year, Koenigs, now 37 and living in Chicago, sued the Catholic Diocese of Peoria

Posted by kshaw at 03:30 PM

Church counselor charged with child molesting

Indianapolis Star

Star report
December 11, 2004

A Fishers man who is a youth counselor at his father's Indianapolis Eastside church was charged with having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl who is a church member, police said Friday.

R.H. Duncan Jr., of Greater One Way Apostolic Church, 5840 E. 16th St., was charged with five felony counts of child molestation Wednesday, said Indianapolis Child Abuse Unit Detective Chris Lawrence.

Lawrence said Duncan, 41, is accused of having sex several times in different locations, including the church, with the girl from December 2003 to March 2004.

Duncan's father, Bishop R.H. Duncan, is church pastor.

Posted by kshaw at 08:28 AM

Court allows man's abuse suit against church

The Courier-Journal

By Gregory A. Hall
The Courier-Journal

A Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling released yesterday will allow Kyle Burden's lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville to proceed.

Burden sued the archdiocese in 2002 alleging that it covered up sexual abuse in the 1980s by Daniel Clark, then an archdiocesan priest.

A year ago, Jefferson Circuit Judge Thomas B. Wine denied the archdiocese's request for summary judgment, saying the church failed to prove that Burden had not filed his lawsuit in a timely fashion.

The archdiocese asked the three-judge Kentucky Court of Appeals panel to overturn Wine's ruling, repeating its claim that Burden waited too long to file his suit.

Posted by kshaw at 08:25 AM

New abuse lawsuits filed in Sioux City

Des Moines Register

December 11, 2004

Two new lawsuits were filed Thursday in Woodbury County District Court, alleging child sexual abuse by the Rev. George McFadden and negligence by the Sioux City Catholic Diocese.

Former altar boys Joseph Boyok and Don Miller were raised in Catholic families in Sioux City. They claim they were abused by McFadden when they were students at St. Francis of Assisi school.

Jim Wharton, spokesman for the Sioux City diocese, did not return phone calls Friday.

Posted by kshaw at 08:22 AM

Web postings about accused priests blocked

Contra Costa Times


LOS ANGELES - A judge temporarily blocked the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from posting information on the Internet about priests accused of sexual abuse.

Superior Court Judge Haley J. Fromholz issued the emergency order Thursday during a closed-door hearing after a lawyer representing about 25 priests argued the move would violate his clients' privacy.

The attorney, Donald Steier, declined to comment because of confidentiality required as part of ongoing mediation.

A hearing was scheduled for Dec. 28 to determine whether the ban would become permanent.

The files, known as "proffers," contain summaries from church records kept on about 200 accused priests that were prepared by the archdiocese for lawyers representing alleged victims, said attorney J. Michael Hennigan, lead counsel for the archdiocese.

Posted by kshaw at 08:17 AM

Survivor: abuse by women religious 'rampant'

Renew America

Matt C. Abbott
December 11, 2004

I received the following e-mail from Gabrielle Azzaro of Cardiff, Calif.

"I am one of the survivors/victims who met recently with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) to discuss what we could do together to educate, treat, and prevent sexual abuse by women religious. Those women sat and listened to five horror stories from survivors aged 30 to 82, and their response was to send us a letter that said pretty things, but was totally devoid of any type of true action.

"Although they told us that 'LCWR's function is to provide its members with resources, education and support,' they did not see fit to include the education that only survivors of this horror could give. They said they could not 'endorse any specific group of survivors, but would rather work with individuals.' We encouraged them to endorse any and all groups of survivors, but they prefer to keep their horrible, dirty secrets among themselves and the individual, rather than allow them to reach the public.

Posted by kshaw at 08:14 AM

SNAP out to warn in C'ville

The Courier News

By Janelle Walker

CARPENTERSVILLE — Representatives of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests knocked on doors in Meadowdale subdivision Wednesday, telling residents a former priest accused of abusing children now lives in their neighborhood.

By canvassing the neighborhood in which John D. Murphy now lives, the SNAP activists said, they hope to protect other children.

"We want to ensure innocent children are not hurt the way we were hurt," said Barbara Blaine, an abuse survivor and SNAP founder who helped pass out fliers.

Murphy does not have a listed phone number and did not answer reporters' knocks at his door Wednesday.

Dan Herlihy of Chicago and Ken Kaczmarz of LaGrange Park, now members of SNAP, say they were both abused by the Carpentersville man in the late 1970s and early 1980s when he was a priest at St. Rita's Catholic School in Chicago.

Posted by kshaw at 12:21 AM

Attorney: Parishes, diocese separate Contradicts earlier filing in Phoenix

Casa Grande Valley Newspapers

Wire Services, Associated Press December 10, 2004

TUCSON (AP) - The lead bankruptcy lawyer for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson claims parishes are financially separate from the diocese.

In a court filing, attorney Susan Boswell says the diocese holds the parishes in trust "with each parish retaining the equitable and beneficial interest in that property."

Boswell wants an argument by another diocese that parishes are not separate financial entities stricken from a court's record.

Two months ago, attorneys filed a motion in Maricopa County Superior Court on behalf of the Diocese of Phoenix that said a parish "does not independently own any property or assets," and that parishes within a diocese are "part of the diocese itself" - separate under church law, but not civil law.

That contention directly contradicts what Tucson Diocese Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas has said - that parishes are separate financial entities that can be individually sued and are not part of the diocese's overall wealth.

Posted by kshaw at 12:18 AM

Catholic officials, DA to set meeting

Commerical Appeal

By Bill Dries
December 11, 2004

The District Attorney General's office and Memphis Catholic church officials plan to meet later this month to talk about why the diocese hasn't reported child sexual abuse allegations to authorities.

Assistant District Attorney General Kevin Rardin said a member of the Diocesan Review Board contacted him this week about a meeting "to try to come up with a policy that everybody can agree on."

Diocesan spokesman Father John Geaney said Catholic Bishop J. Terry Steib requested the meeting and that there is no agenda yet.

The session, which was still being scheduled Friday, comes after church officials said last week that parts of state law requiring them to report such abuse didn't apply in the cases of two priests accused years ago of sexually abusing children.

Posted by kshaw at 12:16 AM

Papal Address to Bishops of Minnesota, and North and South Dakota


VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2004 ( Here is the address prepared by John Paul II when he received in audience today the U.S. bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. The prelates were on their five-yearly visit to Rome.

* * *

Dear Brother Bishops,

1. In this, the last of my meetings with the pastors of the Church in the United States making their quinquennial visits "ad limina Apostolorum," I offer a warm greeting to you, the bishops of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

In the course of this year, I have engaged with you and your fellow bishops in a series of reflections on the threefold office of teaching, sanctifying and governing entrusted to the successors of the apostles. Through a consideration of the spiritual gifts and the apostolic mission received at episcopal ordination, whereby each bishop is sacramentally configured to Jesus Christ, the Head and chief Shepherd of his Church (cf. 1 Peter 5:4), we have sought to deepen our appreciation of the mystery of the Church, the mystical Body of Christ, enlivened by the Holy Spirit and constantly built up in unity through a rich diversity of gifts, ministries and works (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; "Lumen Gentium," No. 7).

Posted by kshaw at 12:13 AM

Lay minister convicted of sex abuse at Mount Cashel told stop New York duties


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany told a lay minister to stop any public duties in one of its parishes after investigating a news report that he was convicted of sex charges in Canada this year.

A Canadian judge allowed John Evangelist Murphy, 75, of Dolgeville, N.Y., to serve 20 months of house arrest in New York state, where no one has authority to supervise him, the Dallas Morning News newspaper reported Monday.

Murphy was convicted in May of fondling four boys in the 1950s while a teacher at Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, Nfld., run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland.

Murphy left the order decades ago and lived in New York state for years before he was extradited to Canada for trial, the newspaper reported.

Murphy, reached at home Friday, declined comment on Bishop Howard Hubbard's decision.

He told the newspaper his ministry at St. Joseph's Church consisted of reading the Bible during mass and visiting parishioners in the hospital.

Posted by kshaw at 12:12 AM

LA archdiocese blocked from placing accused clergy's information online

North County Times

By: Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- A judge temporarily blocked the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from posting information on the Internet on priests accused of sexual abuse. Superior Court Judge Haley J. Fromholz issued the emergency order Thursday during a closed door hearing after a lawyer representing about 25 priests argued the move would violate his clients' privacy.

The attorney, Donald Steier, declined to comment because of confidentiality required as part of ongoing mediation.

A hearing was scheduled for Dec. 28 to determine whether the ban would become permanent.

The files, known as "proffers," contain summaries from church records kept on about 200 accused priests that were prepared by the archdiocese for lawyers representing alleged victims, said attorney J. Michael Hennigan, lead counsel for the archdiocese.

Church officials and plaintiffs' attorneys agreed two years ago to a process in which information about accused priests could be shared through proffers instead of church personnel records.

Posted by kshaw at 12:08 AM

December 10, 2004

Priests pay up for sex abuse victims


From:The Irish Independent
Friday, 10th December, 2004

PRIESTS in the Ferns diocese have dipped into their own pockets to the tune of more than €75,000 to set up a new trust fund aimed at helping out victims of clerical sex abuse.

Serving and retired priests are contributing to the fund, which is one of a number of ways in which the diocese, one of the worst hit by scandals in the country, is responding to victims of abuse.

The fund, called the St Ibar's Trust, was set up during the summer. It came into being following talks between priests and diocesan officials about what clerics could do to help out clerical sex abuse victims.

The fund, which is governed by a deed of trust, helps the diocese to meet the cost of giving pastoral support and assistance to those who suffered abuse from priests of the diocese. A condition of the trust is that no monies from the fund can be used to help the diocese in meeting its legal fees arising from abuse claims.

Diocesan spokesman, Fr John Carroll said the fund consists purely of contributions from some of the diocese's 108 serving and retired priests.

Posted by kshaw at 07:22 PM

Pope discusses abuse with U.S. bishops

Fresno Bee

The Associated Press

(Updated Friday, December 10, 2004, 3:12 PM)

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul II told American bishops Friday that he shares their pain over the U.S. sex-abuse scandal and said he was aware of their determination to deal forthrightly with the problem.

The pope has raised the sex abuse scandal and other problems facing the U.S. church as American bishops have made their periodic visits to the Vatican this year. In the last such visit of the year, he saw bishops from Minnesota as well as North and South Dakota.

John Paul, who referred to the "pain and scandal of recent years" without mentioning the problem of sex abuse by name, said his meetings with American bishops have been consolation to him.

Posted by kshaw at 07:10 PM

Diocese: parishes separate

Arizona Daily Star

By Stephanie Innes

The lead bankruptcy attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson is rebutting a Diocese of Phoenix contention that parishes are not separate financial entities.

In a "notice of clarification" filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, Diocese of Tucson attorney Susan Boswell wrote that parishes are financially separate from the diocese, which holds them in trust, "with each parish retaining the equitable and beneficial interest in that property." She asked the court to strike the Diocese of Phoenix's arguments from the court record.

Phoenix attorneys Jon Weiss and Mark Wagner filed a motion on behalf of the Phoenix diocese in October that said a parish "does not independently own any property or assets," and that parishes within a diocese are "part of the diocese itself" - separate under church law, but not civil law.

Weiss and Wagner's motion was in connection with a civil suit alleging sexual abuse of a minor by two priests and a nun at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Phoenix during the 1960s. The civil action was filed by 51-year-old Allan S. MacDonald, who is in a state prison on assault and robbery convictions and is representing himself.

Posted by kshaw at 05:41 PM

In consultations with U.S. bishops, pope emphasizes healing, holiness

Catholic News Service

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a series of "ad limina" talks this year, Pope John Paul II has encouraged U.S. bishops to regroup pastorally after the sex abuse scandal and recover their prophetic voice on moral and social issues.

The pope acknowledged that the clergy sex abuse cases have brought a "crisis of confidence" in church leadership in the United States. But rather than dwell on the past failings, he praised the bishops for their response to the crisis and suggested it was time to turn the page.

The pope said rebuilding the church's credibility -- among Catholics and in society -- would ultimately be achieved through the holiness and witness of its pastors and faithful.

The "ad limina" visits, which began in March and ended in mid-December, brought the entire U.S. episcopate to Rome in 14 regional groups. Each group spent a week in meetings and special liturgies designed to underline their apostolic ties with Rome. "Ad limina" visits are required of heads of dioceses every five years.

Posted by kshaw at 05:36 PM


Spirit Daily

By Michael H. Brown

There's a book by a famous novelist named William Kennedy called O, Albany! I guess I'd headline this article the same.

I can not tell a lie: back when we lived in Albany, New York, there were certain "problems" in the diocese. The first priest I spoke to there was a traditionalist who had splintered from Rome. He was a nice guy, and I think sincere, but he ended up doing time in jail for theft from the parish. The next priest I saw was the pastor of a church who during Mass acted in a way that I found immediately upsetting with an altar boy. This was ten years before the abuse scandal. Was I seeing things? I knew I was not. Next was the priest who was supposed to do our pre-Cana. We went elsewhere when he gave us a marriage guide that endorsed masturbation (which is explicitly condemned in the Catechism). He also had a plaque saying something to the effect of "Respect Mother Earth," which seemed a bit New Age. Then we met a young priest at a rather hidden shrine, and enjoyed his orthodox views. We invited him over for dinner. Before he came he said he wanted us to know that he had been "falsely accused" of sexual abuse back in Massachusetts. We decided to postpone dinner.

At another nearby parish, I had two discussions with the pastor, first because a new priest there was not elevating the Host (in his humility, he started to do that when I sent him a Missal; he said he didn't know he had to raise it); the second with the pastor because the altar girls were wearing skirts halfway between the knees and hips. (Fortunately, he changed that to attire that fell to their ankles.) When we went to classes at that same church for the Baptism of our first child, the layman leading the group said that Baptism was what you made it -- that it didn't matter if you took it as a religious sacrament or as a simple occasion to have friends over and celebrate.

At the closest parish to our home was a nationally-known charismatic priest. When he couldn't come to dinner (he said he didn't do dinner at private homes), I wondered a bit, and later he made headlines when he was barred from priestly duties (and from even wearing a collar) when it was learned that he too admitted abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 04:36 PM

Belleville diocese likely to wait months for Gregory replacement


BELLEVILLE, Ill. The Belleville diocese will have to wait several months before learning who will replace Bishop Wilton Gregory.

Gregory led the diocese for nearly eleven years and is leaving to become archbishop of Atlanta.

The Belleville diocese now faces a time-consuming process for selecting candidates for a new bishop. According to the bishops conference, it often takes eight months or more to complete.

The archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, will distribute the names of candidates submitted by Gregory and other bishops to all the Illinois bishops.

Posted by kshaw at 03:41 PM

New Jersey Pastor No Longer Missing

Hartford Courant

December 10, 2004
By BILL SWAYZE, Newark Star-Ledger

A pastor of a New Jersey church who has been missing for a month has turned up in a Connecticut jail on multiple sex assault charges, shocking parishioners who say they had been told he was away on family business.

Andre McGuire, the 46-year-old pastor of the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dover, remains behind bars in Hartford, with bail set at $250,000, after Connecticut State Police charged him with four counts of third-degree sexual assault, according to an arrest warrant in Superior Court and court officials.

McGuire, according to court papers, forced a young woman to have sex with him on several occasions between November 2001 and March 2002 at motels along I-84 in Connecticut during trips to and from the woman's college. She was 18 at the time of the first incident.

New Jersey authorities alerted Connecticut's state police about the case, stating the woman had told authorities "he raped and sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions," according to the arrest warrant. He told investigators, "I had a relationship with [the victim] that was not forced," according to the arrest warrant.

Posted by kshaw at 03:35 PM

Orange County bishop behind abuse deal seen as moral, pragmatic

The Mercury News

Associated Press

ORANGE, Calif. - When Roman Catholic Bishop of Orange Tod D. Brown agreed to a record $100 million clergy abuse settlement, even some of his toughest critics praised him as a moral champion of the church.

But Brown said he was just making a practical - if financially painful - decision intended to protect his million-member diocese from fiscal and moral bankruptcy.

If the settlement talks had collapsed, a judge promised to set trial dates for the 87 lawsuits and start depositions and discovery. The bishop said he couldn't take that risk in a state where a jury once awarded $30 million to two people who claimed they were sexually abused by clergy.

"We knew that we could go to a certain point this side of bankruptcy and this settlement is the edge - it brings us to the brink," Brown said. "Had we not settled and had gone to trial, it would be just a question of time until we reached that total that forced us into bankruptcy."

Posted by kshaw at 03:31 PM

Bishop Gregory's Letter to the People of the Diocese of Belleville

Sun Times

My Brothers and Sisters,

When you receive this letter, I shall be in Atlanta, Georgia where it is being announced today that I have been appointed the next Archbishop of Atlanta. Since being notified of this assignment during Thanksgiving week, I have had much time to reflect on the many blessings that I have enjoyed during the nearly eleven years that it has been my privilege to serve as Bishop of Belleville.

I have reflected on your kindness, your support, your collaboration, and your encouragement which I pray have made me a better Bishop, a better person, and certainly a very grateful individual. Thank you is not sufficient to express my gratitude for your acceptance and countless acts of kindness. I have attempted to serve you with all of my heart and I ask your forgiveness for the mistakes that I made during my time in your midst.

Posted by kshaw at 03:29 PM

Blessed by the Devil

LA Weekly

by Jeffrey Anderson

Observers of the Catholic Church sex scandal saw for the first time last Friday what passes for mass closure in these parts. The Diocese of Orange agreed to pay $100 million to 87 victims of 31 priests — minus 40 percent for the victims’ lawyers.

Comes out to less than a million per victim, after the lawyers get paid, but it is a record settlement by the Orange Diocese, which has been crippled for the past year by revelations of corrupt priests and bishops and seemingly complicit D.A.s and cops. Eclipses the $85 million Boston settlement and every other diocese in the country, where for decades priests have buggered little boys, while vicars, bishops and cardinals let them.

Victims had huddled in a Los Angeles courtroom corridor for days, beckoned by their attorneys, who after haggling with the church behind closed doors for two years sensed that the end was near. The end, according to sex-abuse victims in Los Angeles who have weathered a similar ordeal but are dreading the same result, of the most choreographed, pre-ordained and self-serving charade the California legal system could muster.

Posted by kshaw at 03:26 PM

Attorney: Parishes financially separate from diocese


The lead bankruptcy lawyer for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson claims parishes are financially separate from the diocese.

In a court filing, attorney Susan Boswell says the diocese holds the parishes in trust "with each parish retaining the equitable and beneficial interest in that property."

Boswell wants an argument by another diocese that parishes are not separate financial entities stricken from a court's record.

Two months ago, attorneys filed a motion in Maricopa County Superior Court on behalf of the Diocese of Phoenix that said a parish "does not independently own any property or assets," and that parishes within a diocese are "part of the diocese itself," separate under church law, but not civil law.

Posted by kshaw at 03:24 PM

Chicagoan Gregory promoted to archbishop of Atlanta

Chicago Tribune

By Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporter
Published December 10, 2004

Belleville Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, the former Chicago churchman who shepherded the nation's Roman Catholic bishops through the tumult of the sex-abuse crisis, will become the next archbishop of Atlanta, church officials said Thursday.

Pope John Paul II tapped Gregory, 57, to succeed Archbishop John G. Donoghue, 76, who is retiring.

"I hope to follow his strong lead and example and learn to be a better listener to all of God's people before I chart out priorities," said Gregory.

Gregory will be installed as archbishop on Jan. 17, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The promotion makes Gregory only the second prelate to move to a larger diocese after serving a term as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Gregory's mentor, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, was the first.

Posted by kshaw at 03:22 PM

Rockridge priory, residents to talk

Contra Costa Times

By Guy Ashley

Neighbors have been invited to a meeting set for Tuesday at St. Albert's priory in Rockridge, the seminary whose officials admitted it houses seven clerics accused of sexually abusing minors.

But the meeting is off limits to the media and the group of clergy sex abuse survivors behind the first public revelations that the clerics were living in Oakland.

Strict limits on participation in the meeting were revealed by City Councilwoman Jane Brunner, who said her offers to organize a larger public meeting were rejected by officials of the Dominican Order of Catholic Priests, which operates the seminary.

"I invited them to a meeting on Dec. 16, but they said they had decided not to come," Brunner said. "They said they were concerned about having the media and SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) at the meeting."

Posted by kshaw at 03:21 PM

Two lawsuits allege abuse by priest

Des Moines Register

December 10, 2004
Two new lawsuits were filed in Woodbury County district court Thursday against the Rev. George McFadden and the Sioux City Catholic Diocese alleging child sexual abuse by the priest.

Former altar boys Joseph M. Boyok and Don Miller were reared in devout Catholic families in Sioux City. They claim they were abused by McFadden when they were students at St. Francis of Assisi school.

Currently there are 21 lawsuits alleging abuse pending against McFadden and the diocese. Another lawsuit against the diocese alleges abuse by a deceased priest, Everett Apt. Four lawsuit have been settled as have five abuse claims by men who did not file lawsuits.

It is likely additional claims will be made against the diocese, according to R. Scott Rhinehart, whose law firm represents a majority of the plaintiffs.

Posted by kshaw at 03:20 PM

Nuns reject victims' group proposal

Washington Times

Chicago, IL, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- An association of 75,000 Roman Catholic nuns rejected a proposal by a sexual victims' advocacy group to help encourage those who were molested to seek help.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious told the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in a letter dated Nov. 22 that they could not "meet their specific requests in the manner ... indicated," the Washington Post reported.

The two groups met in Chicago Oct. 3, during which SNAP asked the nuns' association to provide its members with information about SNAP, to identify contacts at individual orders for victims to call, and to allow SNAP representatives to address the nuns' annual convention.

"At every juncture, they've been resistant. They seem determined to repeat the same cold, bureaucratic and ultimately hurtful patterns we've seen in so many bishops," said SNAP spokeswoman Landa Mauriello-Vernon.

Posted by kshaw at 03:17 PM

Judge denies request for psychological exam of Stokes

Baltimore Sun

The Associated Press
Originally published December 10, 2004, 3:50 PM EST
A judge today denied a request by a priest's attorney to conduct a psychological examination of the man who accuses the cleric of sexually abusing him.

Baltimore Circuit Judge John Glynn said a psychological evaluation by a doctor selected by the defense could be hard to explain to the jury. Glynn said he thought the evaluation would be "contrary to the interests of justice."

"It's hard to imagine how that would help the jury," the judge said.

The Rev. Maurice Blackwell, 58, is accused of sexually abusing Dontee Stokes, 28, who shot Blackwell about a decade after the alleged abuse. Blackwell is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 3.

Posted by kshaw at 03:16 PM

Pedophile priests took victims to morgue

Renew America

Matt C. Abbott
December 10, 2004

The following information comes from journalist Lee Podles, whose book, 'A Harsh Light: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church,' is due out relatively soon.

Disturbing material, to say the least.

"Davenport-Chicago link"

"In 1948 a group of pedophile priests graduated from Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis: James Janssen, Francis Bass, and Theodore Anthony Geerts. They began a 50 year reign of abuse in Davenport with the knowledge of the three bishops of Davenport.

"They had strong connections to the Chicago area. When Bishop Hayes discovered James Janssen was an abuser, he sent Janssen to Chicago to live at St. Isaac Jogues parish in Hinsdale, to study at Loyola University, and to be treated by Father William Devlin, S. J., M. D., and J. V. P. Stewart. No one told the pastor of St. Isaac Jogues that Janssen was an abuser. Janssen worked with the Boy Scouts and families of the parish, and started abusing a twelve-year-old scout while convincing the therapists that he was cured.

"In the mid and late 1950s Janssen and Bass took Davenport boys to the Cook County Hospital Morgue, where the abusers had a contact. Janssen took his nephew James Wells (whom he had molested since he was five) to the morgue. One boy whom Bass took remembered: 'Each corpse seemed more horrible than the last. Some were decomposed. Others were frozen in bizarre and terrifying postures with their eyes and mouths wide open. Our guide stopped us often and provided details. He showed me some babies.' Bass took the boys to his uncle's house in the suburbs and molested them. Janssen told his victims that he knew men in Chicago who would pay to have sex with them: 'He also told me that I could make money letting older men perform oral sex on me and that he would show me how to make those connections in Chicago.'

Posted by kshaw at 03:12 PM

Archdiocese Not Liable In Suit

Hartford Courant

December 10, 2004
Associated Press

MILFORD -- A Superior Court judge has ruled that the Archdiocese of Hartford cannot be held liable for a West Haven priest's alleged sexual relationship with a female parishioner.

This week, Judge Patrick Carroll dismissed Doreen Ahern's lawsuit against the archdiocese, saying that since another judge ruled Matthew Kappalumakkel could not be held personally liable, the archdiocese cannot be held liable, either.

The key issue was whether Kappalumakkel breached a "fiduciary" relationship with Ahern, as her priest, by allegedly having sex with her. Judge Angela Robinson ruled in March that he did not.

Ahern, formerly of West Haven, alleged in the 3-year-old lawsuit that she had had a four-year relationship with Kappalumakkel.

Posted by kshaw at 09:47 AM

Attorney urging Catholic priests to unionize

The Bristol Press

By BRIAN McCREADY and MEGGAN CLARK, Journal Register News Service12/10/2004

MILFORD -- Calling the Archdiocese of Hartford "arbitrary, capricious and arrogant," a New Haven attorney is urging priests around the state to unionize to protect their due process rights when they’re accused of sexual misconduct.

It’s an idea many members of the Catholic clergy consider appalling and improbable, but attorney Hugh Keefe, who has represented many priests who have been accused of misconduct, said Thursday he has reached out to top state union leaders in an effort to help priests unionize. Keefe said he has also broached the topic with many priests.

"Lying under the surface is tremendous resentment from the vast majority of Catholic priests who feel betrayed and not backed up by the hierarchy of the church," Keefe said.

The Most Rev. Peter Rosazza, an auxiliary bishop in New Haven, called the notion of priests unionizing "repugnant."

Posted by kshaw at 09:42 AM

Sexual Reeling

Orange County Weekly

by Gustavo Arellano

At the beginning of this year, local victims of priestly pedophilia expected The Orange County Register to destroy the Diocese of Orange for good. After all, 2003 was a banner year for the daily, a year in which the Register consistently scooped its competitors in exposing the pederast-coddling sins of church officials. Some of its more shocking revelations included:

•Register opinion writer Steven Greenhut disclosing in his July 20 Sunday column the case of Father Cesar Salazar, whom diocesan officials refused to remove from St. Joseph’s in Santa Ana despite the discovery of child pornography on his computer. They finally did after the public uproar that followed the publication of Greenhut’s piece.

•Reporter Jim Hinch’s Sept. 14 story on how Mater Dei High School officials never reported to law-enforcement agencies allegations of student molestations at the hands of the Santa Ana parochial school’s teachers and sports coaches.

•A two-part, front-page Register exposé based on a police report in which Father Eleuterio Ramos admitted to molesting at least 25 boys during his tenure in the Orange diocese from 1976 to 1986.

But as the Orange diocese sex-abuse scandal nears its disgraceful end—Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown has agreed to pay $100 million to 87 victims of his child-raping employees, the largest clerical sex-abuse settlement in Catholic Church history—some sex-abuse victims are furious at the Register. When victims needed Orange County’s paper of record the most, they say, the Register failed them.But as the Orange diocese sex-abuse scandal nears its disgraceful end—Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown has agreed to pay $100 million to 87 victims of his child-raping employees, the largest clerical sex-abuse settlement in Catholic Church history—some sex-abuse victims are furious at the Register. When victims needed Orange County’s paper of record the most, they say, the Register failed them.

Posted by kshaw at 09:29 AM

Hunt for 'forgotten' abuse victims as claims hit £150,000

Glasgow Evening Times

UP to £150,000 compensation is being awarded to Glasgow residents who were victims of abuse in Ireland as children.
Scores of victims have already put forward claims and have been awarded between £40,000 and £150,000.
But organisers of a nationwide search believe there are thousands more "forgotten victims" living in Glasgow who are entitled to pay-outs.
All victims were subject to child abuse at 250 children's homes, industrial schools, reformatories or institutions run by religious groups in Ireland between the 1920s and 1970s.

Posted by kshaw at 09:27 AM

Black bishop ascends in Vatican's ranks

Duluth News Tribune

By Tim Townsend
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

(KRT) - ST. LOUIS - Belleville, Ill., Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, who guided the nation's Catholic church through the sexual abuse scandal, will now lead one of the country's fastest-growing dioceses.

Pope John Paul II on Thursday appointed Gregory to become the sixth archbishop of Atlanta. The nation's best-known black bishop, he will be installed on Jan. 17 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In a press conference in Atlanta Thursday afternoon with the man he will replace, Archbishop John F. Donoghue, Gregory expressed his thanks to the people of Belleville.

"I leave the Diocese of Belleville in Illinois with deep gratitude for the support and collaboration of the extraordinary people of that local Church during these past 11 years," he said.

Last month, Gregory finished a three-year term as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Although some of his fellow bishops and even officials inside the Vatican criticized various decisions Gregory made in that role - especially his steadfast support of the zero-tolerance policy for abusive priests - most praised his handling of the worst crisis the American Roman Catholic Church has faced.

Posted by kshaw at 09:25 AM

Predator's past under scrutiny

The Courier-Mail

Mark Oberhardt
AN assistant Baptist pastor, jailed for five years on sex charges in Queensland, could have left the US under a cloud for similar behaviour, it was alleged yesterday.

In the District Court in Brisbane, Michael Leeroy Marsh, 30, was sentenced to five years' jail with a recommendation for parole after 20 months when he admitted 16 offences against five boys, including three brothers.

The court heard Marsh, an American who arrived in Brisbane in 1998, used his position as a youth group leader to meet the boys and later molest them.

Most of the offences involved touching of the genitals but one of the victims was sodomised.

A large number of people from the church community were in court to see Marsh, who has now left the Baptist Church, kiss his wife farewell as he was led away to the cells.

The court heard Marsh had no previous criminal convictions. However, outside court parents of the victims raised the question of whether Marsh had come to Australia after he was "kicked out" of college for "something involving boys"?

Posted by kshaw at 09:23 AM

Coordinator to aid abuse victims


Friday, December 10, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - Clergy sexual abuse victims who have problems with mental health, substance abuse, housing, employment or other issues will be able to get help through a newly created resource position that one victim said could become a national model.

A victim resource coordinator position has been created and an accompanying $50,000 grant from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield to fund it has been awarded to Behavioral Health Network, the diocese announced yesterday.

"The goal is to refer individuals to the appropriate place to get help," said Laura F. Reilly, victim advocate for the Springfield diocese.

"If, for instance, it is a housing problem, the victim resource coordinator will be able to refer the person to the places where help can be found. It's not to pay for the housing, it is to point the person to the professionals who can help address the person's housing problem," Reilly said.

Also, the diocese's Fund for Help and Healing, which was established to provide short-term emergency financial help to clergy abuse victims, has spent $9,000 in responding to 32 requests for help since the fund was established in the spring, fund committee members Sandra L. Tessier and Sister Elizabeth Broughan reported yesterday.

Posted by kshaw at 09:20 AM

Residential schools agreement stands despite Ontario court's ruling

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada

Toronto, December 10, 2004 -- An Ontario Court of Appeal decision to certify a class of plaintiffs in a lawsuit for abuse at a native residential school "does not change or threaten in any way" the agreement between the Anglican church and the federal government that caps the church's liability at $25 million, says Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of the national church.

The decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed lawsuits by former students at the Mohawk School in Brantford, Ont., to proceed as a class action. The former students are suing the Anglican diocese of Huron and the federal government.

In a letter sent to all Anglican bishops earlier this week, Mr. Boyles said that any future findings of liability against the church for the sexual or physical abuse of students at the schools would be shared between the church and the government under the terms of the 2003 agreement.

The agreement says that the church and government would share in the payment of any awards on a 30/70 per cent basis.

Posted by kshaw at 09:19 AM

Update on Claims and Child Protection

The Tidings

Official Statement

The Diocese of Orange, Calif., reached a reportedly record-breaking financial settlement with 87 alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse late Dec. 2. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles issued the following statement Dec. 3:

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles continues to believe that a cooperative settlement process will better facilitate healing and reconciliation for and with those who have made allegations of past abuse by clergy. Both Cardinal Roger Mahony and the Archdiocese reiterate support for a comprehensive settlement that is just and fair to all parties involved.

While the Archdiocese's focus is on achieving a settlement that is both just and fair to all parties involved, the road to such a settlement is unique for each diocese. There are a number of factors that differentiate the situation in Los Angeles from the settlement in the Diocese of Orange that was reported in the press today.

The Diocese of Orange was formed in 1976, from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. As a much younger and smaller diocese, it faced far fewer civil claims than the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Posted by kshaw at 09:10 AM

Diocese hires outside agency to assist clergy abuse victims

Telegram & Gazette

The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.— The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has hired a Springfield-based mental health service agency to serve as an independent advocate and provide counseling and other assistance to clergy-abuse victims.

The one-year $50,000 contract with Behavorial Health Network was part of a $7.7 million settlement the diocese reached earlier this year with 46 people who claimed they had been abused by priests.

Marti Bono, one of those who settled his claims against the diocese, came up with the idea.

"In Boston and other places we've seen too many of our brothers and sisters get the money and fall by the wayside, even commit suicide," Bono said, pointing out that many abuse victims end up addicted to drugs or alcohol and have lingering mental problems.

Still, many victims of clergy sexual abuse are reluctant to seek help directly from the church for their problems, said Bono, who says he was molested by his childhood priest.

Posted by kshaw at 09:08 AM

Bishop Gregory to Lead Atlanta Archdiocese


ATLANTA, Georgia, DEC. 9, 2004 ( John Paul II accepted the resignation of Archbishop John Donoghue, 76, of Atlanta and appointed Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville to succeed him, the Vatican press office announced.

Archbishop Gregory, 57, recently completed a three-year term as president of the U.S. bishops' conference.

Wilton Gregory was born in Chicago on Dec. 7, 1947. He attended St. Carthage Grammar School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, Niles College of Loyola University, and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary.

Three years after his ordination to the priesthood, he began graduate studies at the pontifical liturgical institute Sant'Anselmo in Rome. It was there he earned a doctorate in sacred liturgy.

He was ordained a priest of the Chicago Archdiocese on May 9, 1973. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Chicago on Oct. 31, 1983.

Posted by kshaw at 09:05 AM

Newspaper: law officers fail to hunt down fugitive priests


DALLAS Police, prosecutors and judges in several countries reportedly did nothing to stop Roman Catholic priests from going abroad to escape sexual abuse allegations.

The Dallas Morning News has conducted a yearlong investigation into the international shuffling of accused clergy.

The newspaper found police and prosecutors who had failed to take the most basic steps to catch fugitive clerics.

Some law enforcement officials said they did not have the resources to hunt down wanted priests.

In San Angelo, a prosecutor allowed church officials to send Agusti Huerres, a candidate for the priesthood, home to Spain in 2000.

Posted by kshaw at 09:04 AM

Cardinal Defended Priest Transfer


Provided By: The Associated Press
Last Modified: 12/9/2004 10:21:26 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The leader of the nation's largest archdiocese says he responded quickly and decisively in a sexual abuse scandal in the 1980s, when as a bishop he dismissed two visiting Mexican priests accused of molesting children.

In a deposition transcript released Thursday, Cardinal Roger Mahony said the cases were different, however, than that of another priest investigated for molestation in Stockton, where Mahony was bishop at the time.

After a psychological evaluation and a police inquiry, Mahony transferred the priest, the Rev. Oliver O'Grady, to a rural parish in the Sierra foothill community of San Andreas. Two of O'Grady's alleged victims later claimed the molestation continued after the transfer.

Posted by kshaw at 09:02 AM

Archbishop Is Appointed for Atlanta

The New York Times


Published: December 10, 2004

ATLANTA, Dec. 9 - Pope John Paul II has named Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, who led the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops through the sexual abuse scandal, to head the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Bishop Gregory, who is currently bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., will be installed as archbishop in January, the archdiocese said.

Under Bishop Gregory's leadership, the bishops' conference adopted measures in 2002 to deal with the scandal, including mandates to remove any priest from the ministry who had molested a child, to report child sexual abuse to public authorities, and to create a structure to ensure church leaders' accountability.

The promotion can be viewed as a vote of confidence, said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, editor in chief of America, a Jesuit magazine.

Posted by kshaw at 09:00 AM

Wilton Gregory brings charisma

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/10/2004

Bishop Wilton Gregory, one of the most charismatic figures in the U.S. Roman Catholic church, has been named archbishop of the Atlanta archdiocese by Pope John Paul II.

Gregory, 57, was greeted Thursday with a standing ovation from local church leaders during an afternoon news conference. Minutes into his comments, Gregory had the room laughing and nodding in approval at his sharp wit and self-deprecating manner.

The bishop of the dioceses of Belleville, Ill., is a rising star in the U.S. church. He was the youngest American bishop at 35, the first African-American president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and one of the first American bishops to grapple with the church's sex abuse scandals before they would become a national issue.

Gregory said he will keep his office open to victims of clergy sex abuse and look for ways to work with other religious leaders in the city.

"I come with no preset agenda, but with an open heart," he said. "My heart and office will be open to all people."

Posted by kshaw at 08:58 AM

Two more sexual abuse lawsuits filed against priest, diocese

Sioux City Journal

By Nick Hytrek Journal staff writer

Two more sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Sioux City and a former priest.

Petitions filed Wednesday and Thursday in Woodbury County District Court bring the number of pending lawsuits to 22. Four others have been settled out of court.

Don Miller and Joseph M. Boyok both allege that the Rev. George McFadden sexually abused them in the early 1960's while he was the pastor at the now-closed St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Sioux City.

According to the lawsuits, Miller was under age 14 and Boyok under age 12 when the abuses occurred. Both men said there were repeated sexual acts that occurred while they were alone with McFadden on church property.

In allegations similar to those made in previous lawsuits, Miller and Boyok said that the diocese was negligent in its hiring and supervision and aided and abetted McFadden by transferring him to other parishes to cover up his actions instead of stopping them.

Posted by kshaw at 08:57 AM

Nuns group dismisses plan for drawing out abuse victims


By Caryle Murphy, Washington Post | December 10, 2004

WASHINGTON -- An association representing 75,000 Roman Catholic nuns has rejected a proposal from a victims advocacy group designed to encourage people who were sexually molested by nuns to come forward and get help.

The proposal was presented to officials of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a Silver Spring, Md., umbrella group of women's religious orders, by representatives of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, when the two sides met privately in Chicago on Oct. 3.

The proposal included five requests of the conference: place information about SNAP on the conference's Internet home page; request that individual religious orders in the conference do the same; provide SNAP with a list of those orders and names of contacts to call when a victim comes forward; allow victims to address next year's annual convention; and allow them to speak at conference workshops on sexual abuse.

Conference officials responded to the requests in a Nov. 22 letter, saying the group's efforts had heightened "our awareness of the long-term effects of sexual misconduct by women religious." But, the officials wrote, they could not "meet their specific requests in the manner . . . indicated."

Posted by kshaw at 08:55 AM

Mahony in '80s Banned Two Priests

Los Angeles Times

By Jean Guccione, Times Staff Writer

Two decades go when he was bishop of Stockton, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony ordered two priests accused of child molestation to leave the country, according to a transcript of a deposition he gave last month.

Mahony gave the deposition in lawsuits filed by people who claim they were molested by several priests, including a third one whom he transferred when he was bishop of Stockton.

Mahony said the two instances when he told priests to leave the country had slipped his memory.

"I had forgotten about those incidents," he testified in a Nov. 23 deposition in lawsuits alleging the Roman Catholic Church was negligent in failing to protect children from predatory priests. The transcript was made public Thursday.

Posted by kshaw at 08:54 AM

Pope names new Atlanta archbishop

Macon Telegraph

By Doug Gross
Associated Press

ATLANTA - The former president of America's Roman Catholic bishops, who led the prelates through the height of the clergy sex abuse crisis, was appointed archbishop of Atlanta on Thursday, signaling Vatican approval of his leadership through the scandal.

Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Wilton D. Gregory to serve as archbishop of Atlanta. Gregory, who had been serving as bishop in Belleville, Ill., will become Atlanta's sixth archbishop.

The appointment places a black clergyman at the head of an archdiocese based just blocks away from where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached. And it signaled an approving nod to a man who, as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, balanced difficult factions during one of the church's most difficult public periods.

"If he had gotten all sorts of people mad over at the Vatican, he would not be moving to Atlanta," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, an expert on the church hierarchy and editor of the Jesuit magazine America.

Posted by kshaw at 08:51 AM

Recognise faults, rise again, Pope tells U.S. Church

Reuters AlertNet

10 Dec 2004 13:44:59 GMT

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The American Roman Catholic Church must recognise its failings in the priestly sexual abuse scandal and rise up again with determination to heal the deep wounds, Pope John Paul told U.S. bishops on Friday.

The 84-year-old Pope, addressing a group of bishops from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said the leaders of the United States Catholic Church had to first renew themselves spiritually in order to truly renew their Church.

"I have shared the deep pain which you and your people have experienced in these last years," the Pope said.

The sexual abuse crisis erupted in 2002 when it was discovered that many U.S. bishops had simply moved priests known to have abused minors to new parishes instead of defrocking them or reporting them to the authorities.

Posted by kshaw at 08:44 AM

Shameful ovations

Boston Pilot

It was painful to watch 600 Catholics emotionally applaud a priest who bashed his peers, all the while holding himself up as the example of an ideal priest.

Father James Scahill of Springfield accepted the Voice of the Faithful’s “Priest of Integrity” award at the organization’s conference held Nov. 13 in Worcester. In his acceptance speech, Father Scahill lashed out at priests and bishops alike.

“It is regrettable that you should have to establish an award to give to a priest for integrity. Integrity is something that should be expected from us. Yet, inexplicably, the vast majority of clergy has been silent. In their complicit silence they have betrayed truth and turned their backs on children and minors. By and large, the clerics have been myopic company puppets instead of being men,” he said, receiving a standing ovation from the audience.

Those were but a few of the harsh words heard throughout the day. Other conference speakers set a similar tone.

References to the “monarchical Church,” the need to fight for a democratic American Church and an outright mockery of the U.S. bishops’ position on pro-abortion politicians were all part of the morning session.

Posted by kshaw at 08:42 AM

Toledo's Bishop Blair reflects on a year of crises in diocese

Toledo Blade


It's been an eventful year for Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, who was installed as the seventh bishop of the Toledo Catholic Diocese on Dec. 4, 2003.

Since that solemn ceremony at Rosary Cathedral, the new bishop has faced a number of serious crises, including the arrest of one of his priests for the 1980 murder of a nun; the recommendation to close or merge 33 parishes; $1.19 million in settlements paid to 23 victims of clerical sexual abuse, and a highly publicized dispute over moving the historic Lathrop House in Sylvania.

A Detroit native who was ordained a priest in 1976, Bishop Blair, 55, said yesterday that he would "defer to others" rather than grade himself on his first year in Toledo.

But in an interview in his spartan fourth-floor office overlooking the city's downtown, the bespectacled, gray-haired bishop acknowledged that he has been through some difficult times as leader of the 314,000 Roman Catholics in the 19-county Toledo diocese.

"The toughest things I think you know," he said in response to a question. "That would include the abuse cases and the [murder] allegations against Father [Gerald] Robinson."

Posted by kshaw at 08:38 AM

A voice grows a little softer

Star-Ledger Staff
The reform group Voice of the Faithful was created by lay Catholics in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal amid revelations that some bishops protected priests from prosecution.

The group, whose mission is to increase roles for laity in church governance, quickly drew thousands of people, its membership reaching 30,000 by June 2003 after less than 18 months of existence.

Yet even as it has grown to 200 chapters nationwide, the growth of the group has slowed dramatically over the last 18 months as public attention to the crisis has decreased.

Posted by dcoday at 08:20 AM

Abuse response defended

Associated Press Dec. 10

LOS ANGELES - Cardinal Roger Mahony defended his handling of abusive clergy in a deposition transcript released Thursday, saying as bishop of Stockton in the 1980s he immediately dismissed two visiting Mexican priests accused of sexually molesting children.

In wide-ranging and often combative testimony, the leader of the nation's largest archdiocese drew a distinction between those situations and the case of the Rev. Oliver O'Grady, another Stockton priest investigated for molestation around the same time.

Posted by dcoday at 08:10 AM