Posts Tagged clergy sexual abuse scandal

Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced to 12 months’ detention for child abuse cover-up / Australian Broadcasting Corporation News

Wilson is one of the few clerics to have been charged with concealing child abuse and he is believed to be the first Australian clergymen convicted of the offence. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation News)

The most senior clergyman in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse, Adelaide’s Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson, has been sentenced to 12 months’ detention.

“Magistrate Robert Stone adjourned the matter to August 14 while Wilson is assessed for home detention.

“He will be eligible for parole after six months.

“In May, the 67-year-old was found guilty of concealing the sexual abuse of children between 2004 and 2006 at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s.

“In sentencing, Mr Stone said ‘there is no remorse or contrition showed by the offender.'”

By Nancy Notzon, Australian Broadcasting Corporation News — Read more …

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At last, bad news is good news in the Catholic sex abuse scandal / National Catholic Reporter

In this sense, we should be happy to see more bad headlines because it means more bad actors are being caught. (National Catholic Reporter)

In the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals, what seems like bad news for the church — seemingly daily headlines about clergy being disciplined — is actually good news.

“The truly bad news of the scandal, of course, has been the horrible abuse of children, which will have negative effects on them for the rest of their lives. The good news is that perpetrators have been caught and exposed. Accusations are being investigated and the guilty are being punished. When the abuse scandal was first uncovered in the United States some 30 years ago, bishops in other countries denied they had a problem. What is clearly a worldwide problem is now getting attention at the highest level in the church, thanks to Pope Francis.

“In this sense, we should be happy to see more bad headlines because it means more bad actors are being caught.

“Some of the cases that have received media attention in recent months include …”

By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

 

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Catholic clergy sexual abuse: moving toward accountability?

Recent events revolving around Catholic clergy sexual abuse suggest the proverbial tide may be turning in the scandal from the Church’s knee-jerk closing of institutional ranks to action against perpetrators and abettors, both by the Church and civil authorities.

A marked example of how far the institutional response has progressed toward accountability is retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick stepping down from active ministry after the Vatican determined that allegations of sexual abuse were found “credible and substantiated.” The abuse occurred nearly 50 years ago when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of New York. Nothing additional was known about the incident at the time of this writing, but McCarrick is likely the first cardinal to step aside because of sexual abuse.

Another obvious evidence of a change in the Church’s attitude is the change in Pope Francis. Over just a few weeks he has shifted from calling Chilean abuse survivors’ allegations “calumny” to removing three bishops, after he met with Chilean abuse victims and Vatican investigator Archbishop Charles Scicluna turned in his report. Chilean police and prosecutors also raided Catholic Church offices in the Osorno Diocese of Bishop Juan Barros. Scicluna and his colleague, Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, have returned to Chile to help ensure “adequate responses to each case of sexual abuse of minors.”

The Archdiocese of Mexico City’s response has been a partnership with the Survivors of those Abused by Priests on programs to protect children. To date, SNAP has been so critical of the Church for its handling of the scandal that it has become anathema to most bishops, particularly in the United States.

Throughout the scandal’s history, many Catholics have taken a jaundiced view of survivor settlements. Yet, in St. Paul-Minneapolis, which rose out of bankruptcy only recently with a $210 million settlement with survivors, parishioners are actually contributing to the settlement. “It’s the right thing to do,” said Father Daniel Griffith at Our Lady of Lourdes. “We’re all part of the archdiocese, and we all need to be part of the solution.”

States’ attorneys general have long tried to pry open the scandal, with limited results, but momentum is building, most visibly in Pennsylvania. A report is due at the end of this month from a grand jury investigation covering six dioceses (Greensburg, Allentown, Scranton, Erie, Harrisburg, Pittsburg — As of this writing, the Pennsylvania Supreme court has tempoarily blocked release of the report). Those close to the report tout conclusions as the worst ever. Legislators there are hoping the report finally will prompt changes in the state’s statute of limitation for sexual assault, which devastating grand jury reports in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese and Philadelphia Archdiocese were unable to achieve; although the 2011 report in Philadelphia resulted in the convictions of two priests.

Where the law allows, national governments have investigated institutional abuse of minors. The Church has figured highly in these investigations, which, for example, have taken place in Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and The Netherlands, and a statutory inquiry in the United Kingdom and Wales is ongoing. At least in Australia, the inquiry has led to changes in the law that include attempting to force priests to break the seal of confession where clergy sexual abuse of a minor is involved.

Speaking of Australia, the scandal has ensnared two highly placed prelates there. Cardinal George Pell is now standing trial on multiple counts of historic sexual abuse, while on leave from his position as Vatican treasurer. Archbishop Philip Wilson’s trial for covering up clergy abuse recently resulted in his conviction, and he is to be sentenced next month.

Guam’s Archbishop Anthony Apuron is now appealing his Vatican conviction earlier this spring for “certain accusations” of sexual abuse of minors. He has been removed from office. The Church and lawyers there are attempting to settle more than 170 civil suits brought by abuse survivors (184 people in Guam have said they were abused by clergy or others associated with the Church).

Predicting where all this will lead is risky. These events, however, are not the same as the apologies and promises that too often in the past have not resulted in change. They are examples of the Church and civil authorities actually taking action.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of Australia’s bishop conference told Cruxnow.com that the atmosphere today in the Vatican is totally different than in 2002. Now, “there is a determination to work with all the local churches in really trying to, first of all, understand the phenomenon and the scale and the complexity, and then to tie action, not just wring the hands or have another discussion, but to actually take action … There is absolutely no room for complacency, but there is room for encouragement.”

As Voice of the Faithful was recently quoted in a PennLive.com article on the Pennsylvania scandal, perhaps “we’ve come to a point where the Church has realized this cannot go on.”

(For many more examples of how the tide may be turning on the clergy abuse scandal see Voice of the Faithful’s most recent “Focus” news roundup column.)

Reprinted from Voice of the Faithful’s In the Vineyard e-newsletter.

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Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution / Associated Press in The Boston Globe

Prosecutor Gian Piero Milano had asked for a stiffer sentence because of what he called the ‘‘great’’ amount of material accessed, which included 40 to 55 photos, films, and Japanese animation found on his cellphone, in iCloud, and on a Tumblr account, which Capella viewed even after he had been recalled by the Vatican in August 2017. (Associated Press in The Boston Globe)

The Vatican tribunal Saturday convicted a former papal diplomat and sentenced him to five years in prison for possessing and distributing child pornography in the first such trial of its kind inside the Vatican.

“Monsignor Carlo Capella admitted to viewing the images during what he called a period of ‘fragility’ and interior crisis sparked by a job transfer to the Vatican embassy in Washington.

“He apologized to his family and the Holy See, and appealed for leniency by saying the episode was just a ‘bump in the road’ of a priestly vocation he loved and wanted to continue.

“Tribunal President Giuseppe Dalla Torre read out the verdict after a two-day trial and sentenced Capella to five years in prison and a fine of about $6,000. Capella will serve the sentence in the Vatican barracks, where he has been held since his arrest earlier this year.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe — Read more …

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Retired Washington cardinal out of ministry after credible abuse accusation / National Catholic Reporter

He is likely the first cardinal to step down from active ministry for sexually abusing a minor. (National Catholic Reporter)

“In a shocking announcement, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., before retiring in 2006, has announced that he is stepping down from active ministry after allegations of sexual abuse were found ‘credible and substantiated.’

“‘The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry,’ according to a statement from the New York Archdiocese where the complaint was lodged.

“He is likely the first cardinal to step down from active ministry for sexually abusing a minor.

“‘I realize this painful development will shock my many friends, family members, and people I have been honored to serve in my sixty-years as a priest,’ McCarrick said in a statement.

“The incident of sexual abuse of a teenager occurred 47 years ago, when McCarrick was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, the statement said. No other details about the allegations were given.”

By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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#MeToo, earlier scandals mean pending sex abuse report can’t be ‘a small problem’ / PennLive.com

“I think we’ve come to the point where the church realizes this cannot go on,” said Nick Ingala, spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, a worldwide movement of Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse and the integrity of the church and its clergy. (PennLive.com)

In the mid-2000s, when then-Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham launched an investigation into clergy sex abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, she was assailed for waging a campaign against the Roman Catholic Church.

“It was a virtual repeat of what had played out just a few years prior in 2002 in Boston. That year, officials at the Archdiocese of Boston accused The Boston Globe of mounting an anti-Catholic agenda after the paper published a series of scathing reports detailing decades of molestation of thousands of children by priests and its systemic cover up by church officials.

“At times, both in Philadelphia and Boston, Catholics rallied behind the church and defended their faith as legions came to terms with revelations of the assaults.

“Nearly a decade later, a pending grand jury investigation report into clergy sex abuse allegations and cover-up across six dioceses in Pennsylvania stands against a markedly changed landscape.

“In the intervening years, the 1.2 billion-strong church has been rocked by a string of equally scathing reports of child sex abuse, which regardless of their origins – archdioceses in Europe, Australia and Latin America – have at times implicated the Vatican.”

By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com — Read more …

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Pope removes Chile bishop accused of abuse cover up / Cruxnow.com

The removals come ahead of a pastoral visit by two papal investigators to Osorno to “advance the process of reparation and healing.” (Cruxnow.com)

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a controversial Chilean bishop accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse, making it the first such accepted resignation since all the country’s bishops offered to step down in May.

“The pontiff had appointed Bishop Juan Barros to the southern diocese of Osorno in 2015, causing uproar both among the locals and the victims of the country’s most infamous pedophile priest.

“The Vatican announced Francis’s decision on Monday, and said Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo, an auxiliary bishop from the capital Santiago, would serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese.

“Two other bishops also had their resignations accepted: Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar of Valparaíso.

“Barros was only 61; the other two bishops were 75, the mandatory retirement age for bishops in the Church.

“The removals come ahead of a pastoral visit by two papal investigators to Osorno to ‘advance the process of reparation and healing.'”

By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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