Archive for August, 2018
A Grand Jury report of widespread Catholic clergy abuse and coverup in Pennsylvania is no surprise / Voice of the Faithful
BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 15, 2018 – The findings of a grand jury in Pennsylvania that investigated sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy in six dioceses there cannot be called a surprise. Not after grand juries examining clergy sex abuse in two other Pennsylvania dioceses found the same pattern. Not after grand juries in other states and government commissions around the world have unearthed the same crimes and the same failures again and again.
What would be a surprise is if, this time, the Church hierarchy follows up on its numerous promises and expressions of sorrow and finally brings to account all those who participated in the crimes and coverups. Although Church officials can point to the positive efforts made to introduce child protection safeguards and abuse reporting going forward, such efforts cannot substitute for full justice – the Church and the Catholic faithful must hold accountable the many bishops, chancery officials, and even lay persons who knew of abuse, looked the other way, and allowed the predators to claim additional victims.
The latest report goes further than many others in the United States in naming the bishops who allowed abuser priests to escape justice. Now the test for the hierarchy will be whether these bishops face any sanctions for their failures, and whether all priests named as abusers are out of ministry. It is no longer sufficient to say a statute of limitations has passed or that the bishop now knows better. Justice and morality are not defined by legal stipulations. It’s long past time to do what’s right.
Voice of the Faithful has called for such accountability since its founding in 2002. As a lay organization seeking reform within the Church, we work with lay people, priests, and a few brave bishops to bring forward the changes that could guard against such abuses in the future. We promote programs that encourage both transparency and accountability, offer pathways to healing for those damaged by the abuse, and ask all Catholics to exercise vigilance.
However, given the administrative structure of the Roman Catholic Church, such efforts by the Catholic faithful must be endorsed and then implemented by the hierarchy if we are to obtain full transparency and accountability. Recent calls by some bishops, in the wake of news about former Cardinal McCarrick, for lay participation in holding bishops accountable would be a good start. The second step would be to address the clericalism that fosters such systemic failures.
Voice of the Faithful Statement, Aug. 15, 2018
Contact: Nick Ingala, email@example.com, 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity, and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse / The Washington Post
The report has helped renew a crisis many in the church thought and hoped had ended nearly 20 years ago after the scandal erupted in Boston. (The Washington Post)
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Aug. 14) released a sweeping grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, listing more than 300 accused clergy and detailing a ‘systematic’ coverup effort by church leaders over 70 years.
“State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday that more than 1,000 child victims were identified in the report, but the grand jury believes there are more.
“The release is the culmination of an 18-month probe, led Shapiro, on six of the state’s eight dioceses — Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses.
“Shapiro said that the report details a ‘systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.'”
By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Read more …
Albany bishop says laypeople should investigate misconduct by U.S. bishops / America: The Jesuit Review
As fallout from Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s resignation continues, at least one bishop is saying what Voice of the Faithful has been saying for the past 16 years: give the laity a voice in the governance and guidance of our Church. This is the way Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, N.Y., put it in America magazine when talking about a “high-level panel” of the USCCB suggested by Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl to “evaluate allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by one of its member bishops”: “‘To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised,’ he said … ‘Our laypeople are not only willing to take on this much-needed role, but they are eager to help us make lasting reforms that will restore a level of trust that has been shattered yet again,’ Bishop Scharfenberger said.”
Click here to read the rest of the story by Michael O’Loughlin in America: The Jesuit Review.
According to the document (court filing), the grand jury concluded that victims were “brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institutions above all.” (Associated Press)
A grand jury investigating clergy sex abuse in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses found that church leaders were more interested in preventing scandal than protecting children, in some cases discouraging victims from going to police or pressuring law enforcement officials to end or avoid investigations, according to a court filing.
“The grand jury’s full, nearly 900-page, report is expected to be released in the next two weeks.
“But a court filing made public Friday (Aug. 3), resolving one of many legal disputes over the report, included excerpts from the grand jury’s findings on the role of church leaders in the clergy abuse scandal.
“According to the document, the grand jury concluded that victims were ‘brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institutions above all.’
“‘The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid ‘scandal,’ the grand jury report says.”
By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press — Read more …
Cardinal Wuerl proposes national panel to investigate allegations against bishops / National Catholic Reporter
“We’re at a moment where the shock, because it involves a bishop, impels us now to do at the level of the episcopate what we did so successfully at the level of the priesthood,” the cardinal said in the interview. (National Catholic Reporter)
Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl has proposed that the national conference of U.S. Catholic bishops create a new high-level panel to receive and evaluate any allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by one of its member bishops.
“In an NCR interview focused on how the American church should address the wider systemic questions raised by the revelations of sexual abuse by his predecessor, now former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Wuerl also suggested that the Vatican could designate one of its offices to act on the proposed panel’s findings.
“Although Wuerl said he had not personally been aware of rumors about McCarrick’s alleged abuse of young men during the former cardinal’s time as a priest and bishop, he acknowledged that others have now brought forward earlier existence of such rumors.
“‘If there were [rumors], and if people heard them, there needs to be some mechanism by which there can be at least an evaluation and review of them,’ said Wuerl, speaking in a phone conversation.
“‘I think it’s very important that we … as bishops enter into that world and say, ‘If there is an accumulation of rumors, ought not something be said?” the cardinal continued.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Pennsylvania diocese releases full list of clergy accused of sex abuse, strips names of bishops from buildings / America: The Jesuit Review
In addition, “anyone accused of sexual misconduct will have his name removed from any place of honor,” (Bishop Ronald Gainer) said. (America: The Jesuit Review)
In a gesture meant to acknowledge the mishandling of sexual abuse against minors, buildings and rooms in the Diocese of Harrisburg honoring bishops dating back to 1947 will be stripped of their names, Bishop Ronald Gainer announced during a press conference at the diocese’s headquarters on Wednesday morning.
“‘The decision to remove names of bishops and clerics may prove to be controversial, but as bishops, I strongly believe that leaders of the diocese must hold themselves to a higher standard and must yield honorary symbols in the interest of healing,’ Bishop Gainer said.
“‘The leadership of the church did not in every case take adequate measures while handling matters related to offending clerics,’ he said. Bishop Gainer also released a list of every member of the clergy who has been accused of sexual abuse against children dating back to 1947.
“In addition, ‘anyone accused of sexual misconduct will have his name removed from any place of honor,’ the bishop said.
“Bishop Gainer also announced that he was waiving confidentiality agreements in settlements between the diocese and survivors of child sexual abuse. He said that the agreements had not been enforced “for some time,” but he had heard some people still did not feel free to talk about their experiences.”
By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …
Chile’s two cardinals become focus of clerical abuse investigation
“Pope’s Francis’s recent about-face on Chile’s clerical sexual abuse crisis, pivoting from strongly defending a bishop accused of cover-up to ordering investigations and summoning bishops to Rome to read them the riot act, appears to have been read as a green light to investigate by Chile’s civilian authorities(link is external), who in recent months have conducted multiple raids in several dioceses looking for evidence.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com
- Chile announces wide probe into Catholic Church sex abuse(link is external), By Associated Press on ABCNews.go.com
U.S. Catholic Church’s former public face on sex abuse faces decades of misconduct allegations
“One of the most recognized faces of the American Catholic Church was removed from the public ministry last month, making Cardinal Theodore McCarrick the highest ranking Catholic official in the nation to be removed(link is external) for sexual abuse of a minor. Now the New York Times reports that McCarrick touched young adult seminarians. John Yang learns more Rev. James Martin of America magazine.” By Judy Woodruff and John Yang, PBSNewsHour
- Sex abuse allegations against U.S. cardinal could test pope’s resolve(link is external), By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe
- Top Cardinal demands Vatican get tough with bishops on sex abuse(link is external), By Philip Pullella, Reuters
Catholic priests raise five main objections against grand jury report
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Jul. 17) is expected to release the latest salvo in a last-ditch effort to amend what is expected to be a blistering report on the Catholic Church(link is external) statewide. The court is slated to release the response of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro to efforts by at least two dozen priests seeking to revise the report from the 40th Statewide Grand Jury. The priests, current and former, whose names have been redacted from the report, have petitioned the court seeking to revise or block the release of the forthcoming 800-plus page report.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com
- Judge rules to make public prosecutor’s argument for unsealing church abuse grand jury report(link is external), By Melissa Klaric, The Sharon, Penn., Herald, on Poconorecord.com
- Sexual abuse is the story, but grand jury process is the issue in Pennsylvania Supreme Court(link is external), By Charles Thompson, PennLive.com
- Bishop warns that grand jury report on priest sex abuse, is graphic, sobering(link is external), By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com
Vatican expert: to fight sex abuse, the Catholic Church must invest in women
“One of the church’s experts on protecting children from abuse says that while today ‘there is much more awareness about the issue,’ the church has to invest more resources and include more women(link is external), especially where the church is growing fastest. ‘What is still lacking is an understanding that the protection of minors and the justice done to victims is a priority within the church,’ Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, told America on Thursday (Jul. 19). He added that some bishops and other church leaders sometimes see combating sexual abuse as ‘one topic among others’ and have not grasped that ‘this has to be a priority for the church.’” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review
Man says Cardinal McCarrick, his ‘uncle Ted,’ sexually abused him for years
“James was 11 years old when Father Theodore E. McCarrick(link is external) came into his bedroom in Northern New Jersey, looking for the bathroom. Father McCarrick, then 39 and a rising star in the Roman Catholic church, was a close family friend, whom James and his six siblings called Uncle Teddy. James was changing out of his bathing suit to get ready for dinner.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York times
- He preyed on men who wanted to be priests. Then he became a cardinal.(link is external) By Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman, The New York Times
- The Catholic Church should not be shocked by the McCarrick case – it should be ashamed(link is external), By the Editors of America: The Jesuit Review
- Catholic Church in New Jersey paid leader’s alleged sex victims(link is external), By Tom Davis, Manasquan Patch
- Cardinal McCarrick, seminarians and abuse: how could this happen(link is external)? By James Martin, S.J., America: The Jesuit Review
- Revelations of U.S. cardinal sex abuse will force pope’s hand(link is external), By Associated Press in Hawaii Star Advertiser
- Cardinal Farrell expresses shock over Cardinal McCarrick abuse case(link is external), By Catholic News Service
Addressing abuse, church must address the betrayal of community
“A particularly heart-freezing detail emerges in a 60-year-old man’s account of how he was abused as a boy by then-Fr. Theodore McCarrick(link is external) … To fully grasp the sense of betrayal ordinary Catholics feel toward their hierarchy, you must fully grasp the horror of this detail: James was abused by the man who baptized him. The man who stood in persona Christiat the baptismal font, at the family dining table, around the backyard family pool, abused a child of God. That fact that this same man would rise to the highest ranks of the Catholic Church only heightens the sense of betrayal.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff
Ex-chancellor’s arrest spotlights big picture in Chile abuse crisis
“Already the most serious clerical sexual abuse crisis(link is external) since the United States in 2002-2003 and Ireland in 2009-2010, the unfolding situation in Chile took another turn this week (Jul. 15) when the former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Santiago, the national capital, was arrested on seven counts of abuse and rape between 2002 and 2018, involving minors between 11 and 17, five of whom reportedly were his own nephews. The arrest was accompanied by a police raid of archdiocesan offices, which reportedly produced evidence that Church officials were aware of the accusations but did not report them to civil authorities.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
Auxiliary bishop serving top papal aide resigns after sex misconduct allegations
“An auxiliary bishop serving a top advisor to Pope Francis has resigned from office in Honduras after allegations that he sexually abused seminarians(link is external). Bishop Juan José Pineda Fasquelle served under Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga in the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital. The cardinal is the coordinator of the C9 Council of Cardinals which advises the pope on the reform of the Vatican curia and the governance of the Church, and he is considered one of Francis’s closest confidantes.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com
- Pope removes Honduran bishop accused of sexual misdeeds(link is external), By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on ABC-TV News
Melbourne archbishop-elect says Adelaide archbishop should resign
“Bishop Peter Comensoli, who will soon lead Australia’s largest Catholic diocese, is calling on Archbishop Philip Wilson to resign(link is external) following his conviction for neglecting to report sexual abuse. Comensoli, who currently leads the diocese of Broken Bay and will be installed as archbishop of Melbourne later this month, adds his voice to the growing number of Australian bishops who believe the disgraced head of the archdiocese of Adelaide should step aside.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com
- Australia’s Council of Priests seek Pope Francis’s intervention in Wilson case(link is external), By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com
- Archbishop’s refusal to go undermines church’s stand on child abuse,(link is external) By The Canberra Times Editorial Board
Australia’s bishops are under increasing pressure to make child abuse reports public after nuns, brothers and friars ‘favor’ release
“Australian orders of nuns and brothers have broken from Catholic bishops and called for public release of church-commissioned reports(link is external) responding to the child abuse royal commission. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference will hold an extraordinary meeting in early August to discuss its next move after Catholic Religious Australia, representing 150 orders and a partner with the ACBC in commissioning the Truth Justice and Healing Council reports, said members were ‘in favor of releasing’ them.” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald
A Catholic trifecta of disgrace: next step in abuse saga is due
“The Academy Award-winning movie ‘Spotlight’ offered a summary of the first part of what I predict will be a Catholic trifecta of disgrace(link is external). ‘Spotlight’ showed priests abusing minors and clerical higher-ups covering for them, making for a grim, ongoing tale of betrayal and corruption. The second aspect came into sharp focus in Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman’s recent Pulitzer-worthy article, ‘He Preyed on Men Who Wanted to Be Priests. Then He Became a Cardinal’ in which they spell out the dastardly deeds of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The authors made clear that McCarrick’s sexual exploits were many, widely known, and just as widely ignored on his way to a red hat. The third leg of this trifecta remains unexplored, but I predict/believe it will soon explode onto the scene: some priests’ use and abuse of women.” By Mary E. Hunt, National Catholic reporter
How Pope Francis could get back into the game on sex abuse reform
“For many victims of clerical sexual abuse and their advocates, last week offered a stark reminder of how far the Church has to go in cleaning house(link is external). Not only did Cardinal Theodore McCarrick face further accusations of abuse, including minors, but the right-hand man of one of Pope Francis’s chief advisers also resigned after accusations he had targeted seminarians for sexual favors in Honduras.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com
Pope Francis hit by triple run of sex scandals
“Sexual abuse scandals and revelations across three countries(link is external) at the weekend (Jul. 20-22) delivered a blow to the Pope’s zero tolerance for the culture of cover-up. One of the biggest headaches facing Francis is retired Washington archbishop Theodore McCarrick, 88, a leading church liberal. Cardinal McCarrick stood aside from ministry a month ago after a church investigation found an allegation that he abused a teenager 47 years ago in New York was ‘credible and substantiated’ …” By Tess Livingstone, The Australian
After new appointments, will Pope Francis’ stalled curial reform start moving?
“A long-time priority of Pope Francis, curial reform – specifically the overhaul of Vatican finances and communications(link is external) – has been hanging by a thread for the past few years, and some wonder about the pope’s ability to make any meaningful or lasting changes in the Vatican’s way of doing business.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency
PM Malcolm Turnbull calls on Pope Francis to sack Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson
“Malcolm Turnbull has called on Pope Francis to sack Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson(link is external), who has defied calls to resign his position despite his conviction for concealing child sex abuse. The Prime Minister, who meets with the nation’s most senior Catholics today (Jul. 19), said the head of the church must now intervene to force Wilson from office.” By Ben Packham, The Australian
Amid new sex abuse scandal, O’Malley issues warning to church
“Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said Tuesday (Jul. 20) he was ‘deeply troubled’ by the allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) by one of the most respected US cardinals, Theodore McCarrick — and laid out steps the Roman Catholic Church needs to take to address its continuing clergy sex abuse problems. McCarrick’s ‘alleged actions, when committed by any person, are morally unacceptable and incompatible with the role of a priest, bishop or cardinal,’ O’Malley said in a statement, warning that the church could lose its ‘already weakened moral authority’ if it doesn’t make changes.” By Martin Finucane and Danny McDonald, The Boston Globe
- Cardinal O’Malley calls for tougher standards, ‘especially for bishops,’ on sex abuse(link is external), By Catholic News Service
Pope Francis approves USCCB delegates for October’s Synod of Bishops
“Pope Francis has ratified the members elected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to represent the United States at Synod(link is external) of Bishops Oct. 3-28. The synod will meet at the Vatican to discuss ‘young people, faith and vocational discernment.’ The USCCB announced July 23 that the U.S. Church’s delegates will be …” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com
Vatican suspends Chilean deacon accused of child abuse
“The Vatican dismissed a Chilean deacon over sexual abuse accusations(link is external) in central Chile, the archdiocese of the city of Rancagua said Friday (Jul. 20), amid a widespread abuse scandal gripping the country’s Catholic Church. Luis Rubio was arrested for improper conduct and sexual abuse of minors when he was in charge of a Las Cabras school in 2013.” By Agence France-Press on Yahoo.com
CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS
Policy needed to address bishops’ violations of the vows of celibacy
“For the past several days, articles in the national media have reported accusations of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual improprieties with several adults and his criminal violations of the sexual abuse of minors … These cases and others require more than apologies. They raise up the fact that when charges are brought regarding a bishop or a cardinal, a major gap still exists in the Church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse(link is external). While the Church in the United States has adopted a zero tolerance policy regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests we must have clearer procedures for cases involving bishops.” By Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, The Pilot
Priests, celibacy and sex
“Recent news stories about financial settlements with adults who had sexual encounters with a bishop show that the issue of sex abuse in the Catholic Church is not limited to the abuse of minors(link is external). When Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was suspended from the priesthood after being credibly accused of abusing an altar boy, it was also revealed that financial settlements for his actions had been made earlier with two adults.” By Religion News Editorial Board
WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
Young women ask difficult questions to challenge church at recent Joan Chittister institute
“Eight female-identifying Catholics in their 20s and 30s, all of them students or recent graduates of programs in theology or divinity, gathered June 17-30 at Mount St. Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania, for the inaugural Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality(link is external): A Feminist Benedictine Option. The institute was a two-week intensive course on the work of author and lecturer Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister, especially her writings on monasticism and women in the Catholic Church.” By Breanna Mekuly and Jacqueline Small, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter
#MeToo, your excellency
“Can we face the heartbreaking facts? It is time for #MeToo in the Catholic Church. There is too much abusive behavior by — or ignored by — Catholic bishops(link is external). Washington, D.C.’s former archbishop, Cardinal Theodore (‘Uncle Ted’) McCarrick, reportedly was overly fond of his seminarians, and was finally punished for abusing a minor 47 years ago. Everybody knew. Nobody did anything … It’s time for the church worldwide to face up to abuse of power by bishops, especially but not only the physical and emotional abuse whispered about in seminaries, chanceries and gay bars. In the U.S., the famous (infamous?) 2002 ‘Dallas Charter’ is all about priests, deacons and minors. Bishops are not under the charter’s jurisdiction. Yet the root of this problem is at the top, not the bottom. The problem is endemic, and the problem is real.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter
- The truth about Cardinal McCarrick: the Catholic Church needs an inquest into what the pederast cardinal’s colleagues knew, and when.(link is external) By Ross Douthat, The New York Times
Melbourne’s new archbishop says promoting the Church as an ‘institution’ allowed ‘great evils’ to happen
“The new Archbishop of Melbourne says that seeing the Church as an institution rather than the ‘people of God’ allowed for ‘great evils’(link is external) to be committed and has pledged himself to rebuilding trust in light of the clerical sexual abuse scandal. Archbishop-elect Peter Comensoli, who will take up the leadership of Australia’s largest Catholic diocese on 1 August, said the abuse crisis was ‘paramount’ in everyone’s thinking and required a response at every level in the Church. Devastating findings by a recent royal commission found that 4,444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse against the Church, many of them covered up by bishops who had pursued a strategy of protection of assets against legal claims.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet
500 theologians to gather in Sarajevo to talk ethics, action
“Nearly 500 moral theologians and ethicists are to gather at the end of July for a first-of-its-kind meeting(link is external) focused how they can respond to the shifting global geopolitical environment and address contentious issues such as climate change and migration. Participants from about 80 countries are expected to take part in ‘A Critical Time for Bridge-Building: Catholic Theological Ethics Today,’ a July 26-29 event being held in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
$63K found stashed above the ceiling in priest’s basement
“Police said they found more than $63,000 in cash during a second search of the home of a Catholic priest charged with embezzling more than $5 million(link is external) from an Okemos parish. The money was found above ceiling tiles in the basement of the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle’s lavish home on Noble Road, Michigan State Police said Wednesday (Jul. 18) in a news release.” By Ken Palmer, Lansing State Journal
Rapid City priest charged with stealing from collection plate
“Prosecutors have formally charged a Rapid City priest who acknowledged he was responsible for stealing from the weekly collection plates(link is external). Father Marcin Garbacz is charged with first-degree embezzlement of property and petty theft for taking money from donations at St. Therese Catholic Church in Rapid City.” By Associated Press in Argus Leader
In Minnesota, Catholic Charities sues near-bankrupt diocese
“The fate of a children’s home is the subject of a lawsuit against the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minn., by the diocese’s Catholic Charities affiliate, which fears the diocese’s planned bankruptcy could disrupt services at the facility(link is external) … After 74 claims related to clergy sex abuse were made, the diocese made a Feb. 28 announcement that it would seek bankruptcy protection, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.” By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM
Survivors now have more time to sue for clergy sex abuse
“A new law in Hawai’i now gives survivors of child sexual abuse more time to file claims(link is external) against their abuser. Reforms to the state’s statute of limitations have been key in exposing the extent of child sexual abuse at various institutions, most notably the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. Nearly 60 priests associated with Hawaiʻi’s Roman Catholic Church have been accused of child sexual abuse. That’s according to a recent report by attorneys of abuse victims.” By Ku’uwehi Hiraishi, Hawaii Public Radio
CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
Catholic Church finally delivering on promises about clerical abuse
“To even casual observers of recent news about the Catholic Church, it’s clear that a new day has dawned(link is external). Finally, after decades of stalling, denials and civil lawsuits, Catholic dioceses seem to recognize their accountability for the criminal behavior of pedophile priests.” By Mary Sanchez, Sun-Sentinel
Leaked letter adds to pressure on Chile cardinal over sex abuse scandals
“Despite repeated attempts to distance himself from his country’s sexual abuse crisis, including recently asserting there’s a climate of ‘slander’ against the Catholic Church, Chilean Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago is facing mounting scrutiny(link is external) for his role in the scandals both from outside the Church and in. The latest headache for Ezzati, who heads the Archdiocese of Santiago, Chile’s capital, has come with the revelation of a letter by a brother archbishop, Alejandro Goic, who until recently led the Archdiocese of Rancagua.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com
- Chilean cardinal called to testify for suspected abuse cover-up,(link is external) By Catholic News Service, in The Pilot
Survivors of childhood abuse urge others to seek justice
“June Johnson Cleghorn, 59, a Kailua mother of two, is urging victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits against their abusers(link is external). Cleghorn did just that — and reached a court settlement in 2016 — after a teacher allegedly sexually abused her over a six-year period beginning in 1971 when she was a 12-year-old boarding student at Hawaii Preparatory Academy on Hawaii Island. Cleghorn and others spoke at a news conference last week with her attorney, Mark Gallagher, to raise awareness that the state has lifted the statute of limitations to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse until April 24, 2020, to file retroactive civil law suits against their alleged abusers and the organizations that allowed the abuse to continue.” By Denby Fawcett, Honolulu Civil Beat
Defrocked priest committed indefinitely to state facility for sex offenders
“Arguably Chicago’s most notorious figure in the national Roman Catholic priest sex abuse scandal(link is external) was committed indefinitely Wednesday (Jul. 17) to a state facility for sex offenders. In refusing to release Daniel McCormack under strict monitoring, Cook County Judge Dennis Porter noted that the defrocked priest had never cooperated with treatment or even admitted to a problem.” By Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune
NOPD launches criminal investigation after church sex abuse allegations
“A former Catholic deacon accused of molesting young boys(link is external) is now the subject of a criminal sexual abuse investigation. The attorney who represented one of the alleged victims in a large settlement with the Archdiocese of New Orleans hopes this will create lasting change. A man who suppressed memories for years claims former Deacon George Brignac raped and sexually abused him at Holy Rosary church.” By Amanda Roberts, F0X8 News
Lawsuit accuses priest of denying aid for sex abuse victim
“A man who says he was sexually assaulted as a child by a Catholic monk(link is external) in Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit accusing a priest of trying to conceal the abuse and refusing to help pay for his mental health treatment. The man said in the lawsuit filed on Tuesday (Jul. 18) that he was raped by Brother Joseph Martin while he worked at Saint Benedict Abbey in Harvard, Massachusetts in the 1970s.” By Alanna Durkin Richer, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com
- Abbey pledges cooperation with any sex abuse investigation(link is external), By Associated Press on WTOP.com
Catholic order pays $1 million settlement to eight victims of clergy sex abuse dating back decades
“A Catholic order has paid a total of $1 million to eight people who were sexually abused by two Catholic priests in the 1970s and early ’80s(link is external) in Massachusetts, the victims’ lawyer said Tuesday (Jul. 17). One of the priests, John J. Gallagher, was the subject of a letter written in 1992 by one of the victims to the late Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who at the time headed the Archdiocese of Boston. The letter, released by attorney Mitchell Garabedian, graphically detailed abuse the woman experienced in Lawrence in the mid-’70s, and serves as further evidence that Law had knowledge of sexual abuse by Catholic priests before it was widely publicized.” By J.D. Capelouto, The Boston Globe
Catholic order says 30 victims have alleged sexual abuse
“Leaders of a Catholic order in New Jersey said in a letter posted on its website that 30 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse(link is external) by the monks or lay faculty associated with a private school. In a joint letter written to the community on July 20, the head of St. Mary’s Abbey and the Delbarton School headmaster said the order had settled eight lawsuits with alleged victims, while seven others were pending.” By Associated Press in Minneapolis Star Tribune
Sexual assault charge dropped against former Hobbs priest
“The case against a former Hobbs Catholic priest accused of criminal sexual contact(link is external)has been dismissed. The Hobbs News-Sun reported that the criminal charge against former St. Helena Catholic Church priest Ricardo Bauza was tossed last week just days before he was slated to stand trial.” By Associated Press in Santa Fe New Mexican
Will Buffalo Diocese pay victims of sex abuse by religious order priests?
“Gary Astridge and Robert Swierat are two Buffalo area men in their early 60s who say they were repeatedly raped by Catholic priests(link is external) decades ago. The two have something else in common – they say the Diocese of Buffalo has so far refused to accept any responsibility for the incidents because the abuser priests were members of religious orders and not ordained by the diocese.” By Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News
Erie Catholic Diocese adds new names to list of clergy, laypersons credibly accused of sexual abuse
“The Erie Catholic Diocese has released an update to the list of clergy and laypersons who are credibly accused of actions(link is external) that the Diocese believes disqualifies them from working with children. The new names include Father William A. Rice, who is retired and living in Fryburg, Pa. The Diocese of Erie said it has received sexual harassment allegations concerning Father Rice involving both children and adults.” By Erie News Now
Clergy sex abuse revelations stun, anger Catholics in Buffalo
“Catholics in Buffalo, New York, are undergoing their Boston moment on sex abuse(link is external), 16 years removed from the events that rocked the wider church in the United States … On Feb. 27, Michael Whalen, 52, held a press conference at which he accused retired priest Fr. Norbert Orsolits of abuse inflicted when Whalen was a minor … Orsolits’ story was news to Catholics in Buffalo, who were never told that the priest was an accused sex abuser. The diocese was taken to task for a policy of not revealing the names of accused priests. Within weeks, Bishop Richard Malone, who came to the diocese in 2012, revealed the names of 42 accused clergy.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter
Abuse accusations against priests, bishops and cardinal reach levels not seen in years
“…But scandals are flaring up in Catholic dioceses(link is external) throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions, and in countries ranging from Chile to France to Australia to the upper ranks of the Vatican. Pope Francis himself, after initial defensiveness, is now removing bishops in Chile and lamenting a ‘culture of abuse and cover-up.’” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Clergy abuse survivors finding their voices, and each other
“Jim VanSickle recalls the ‘long walk’ into the room where members the 40th statewide grand jury waited to hear him. ‘I was nervous, I was sweating, thinking, ‘Lord, give me the words that I need,’ recalled Mr. VanSickle, 55, of Coraopolis. He sensed an assurance from that Lord, in whom he has retained faith in spite of the betrayals(link is external) he felt from its purported ministers: ‘Just be true to yourself and your story.’” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Supreme Court considers clergy abuse report
“The state Supreme Court continues to weigh whether or how to release a grand jury report detailing allegations of widespread sex abuse by priests(link is external) in six of Pennsylvania’s dioceses. As arguments come in from both sides, the head of a watchdog group that tracks efforts to hold the Catholic Church accountable for covering up sex abuse by priests said he’s unaware of any previous case where an appeals court intervened to consider whether individuals should be named in such court documents.” By John Finnerty, The Danville News
Bishops to release Catholic Church response to royal commission
“Australia’s Catholic bishops will release the Catholic Church response to the child abuse royal commission ‘as soon as possible(link is external)’ after an extraordinary meeting in Melbourne next week. Bishops will meet on August 2 and 3 after months of criticism from Catholic reform groups and some politicians about the failure to release a church-commissioned Truth Justice and Healing Council report handed to bishops in March.” By Joanne McCarth, Newcastle Herald
- Outraged Catholics say Australian church leaders are ‘locked in a misogynistic and unaccountable culture(link is external),’ By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald
Diocese faces Victoria’s largest abuse group action
“Victoria’s largest ever child sexual abuse group action(link is external) was set to be launched yesterday against the Sale Diocese … The diocese, named in the recent Royal Commission report as having the highest percentage of alleged pedophile priests in Australia, already has two other major ongoing child sexual abuse group actions underway. These legal actions, against St Patrick’s College/Catholic College Sale, and St Paul’s/Lavalla in Traralgon have bought forward more than 46 new alleged victims since March this year.” By CathNews.com
Catholic priest faces more historical sex charges
“A former Catholic priest is facing more charges of child sexual abuse(link is external), relating to incidents dating back to the 1970s. In April, the 83-year-old man from Subiaco was charged with physically and sexually assaulting seven boys and girls aged between six and 12-years-old while he was the priest at a Catholic church in Shenton Park.” By PerthNow.com
Chilean prosecutors probing 36 claims of Catholic Church sex abuse
“The Chilean civil authorities are investigating 36 accusations of sexual abuse against bishops, clerics and lay workers in the Roman Catholic Church, the national prosecutor’s office said on Monday (Jul. 23). The investigations are among 144 reports of sexual abuse(link is external) implicating 158 Church workers made since 2000, it added in a statement.” By Aislinn Laing and Cassandra Garrison, Reuters
Chilean priest accused of sexually abusing minors is arrested
“Authorities arrested a priest Thursday (Jul. 12) on accusations of sexually abusing minors(link is external), the latest turn in a scandal engulfing Chile’s Roman Catholic Church for having covered up abuses for decades. Oscar Munoz Toledo, a priest who was once the chancellor of Santiago’s archbishopric, was arrested by police on the orders of prosecutor Emiliano Arias, who is investigating 14 other suspended priests in the southern diocese of Rancagua for allegedly participating in a network of abuse.” By Associated Press in Star Tribune
IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND
Irish sex abuse survivors say Francis should admit to Vatican’s cover-up
“Several prominent Irish clergy sexual abuse survivors are calling on Pope Francis(link is external)to use his upcoming visit to their country at the end of August to admit to the Vatican’s role for decades in helping cover-up abuse cases on the island. Noting that the pontiff publicly decried a “culture of abuse and cover-up” in the Chilean Catholic Church in a letter to the people of that country in May, the Irish survivors say they are owed a similar admission about how the church sought to silence them and fellow victims.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Victim of Catholic priest asks others to come forward
“The Catholic church said Father Michael Shirres, who died in the 1990s, abused at least five children(link is external). Annie Hill said she was one of them, abused at five when Shirres was her local parish priest. ‘We think that the worst thing that can happen is what happened to us – but the worst thing I believe the can happen is that we do nothing and it happens to the next generation,’ she said.” By John Boynton and Rowan Quinn, Radio New Zealand
- Catholic priest ‘abused children for decades(link is external),’ By Mick Hall, New Zealand Herald