A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
August 28, 2016
Jonathan H. Adler
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held that recent amendments to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) are unconstitutional because they impose retroactive punishment on sex offenders in violation of the Constitution’s prohibition on ex post facto laws. Among other things, the plaintiffs argued that amendments to Michigan’s SORA increased the severity of its requirements after their convictions imposed retroactive punishment. In John Does #1-5 v. Snyder, the Sixth Circuit agreed.
Judge Alice M. Batchelder wrote for the court, joined by Judges Gilbert S. Merritt and Bernice B. Donald. Her opinion for the court begins.
Like many states, Michigan has amended its Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) on a number of occasions in recent years for the professed purpose of making Michigan communities safer and aiding law enforcement in the task of bringing recidivists to justice. Thus, what began in 1994 as a non-public registry maintained solely for law enforcement use . . . has grown into a byzantine code governing in minute detail the lives of the state’s sex offenders . . . Over the first decade or so of SORA’s existence, most of the changes centered on the role played by the registry itself. In 1999, for example, the legislature added the requirement that sex offenders register in person (either quarterly or annually, depending on the offense) and made the registry available online, providing the public with a list of all registered sex offenders’ names, addresses, biometric data, and, since 2004, photographs. . . . Michigan began taking a more aggressive tack in 2006, however, when it amended SORA to prohibit registrants (with a few exceptions . . .) from living, working, or “loitering”1 within 1,000 feet of a school. . . . In 2011, the legislature added the requirement that registrants be divided into three tiers, which ostensibly correlate to current dangerousness, but which are based, not on individual assessments, but solely on the crime of conviction. . . . The 2011 amendments also require all registrants to appear in person “immediately” to update information such as new vehicles or “internet identifiers” (e.g., a new email account). . . . Violations carry heavy criminal penalties.
August 29, 2016
A former dean of Newcastle’s Anglican cathedral wrote a character reference for an alleged pedophile priest at the centre of a new police investigation, a royal commission has heard.
The reference was one of three provided by Graeme Lawrence for the criminal trials of alleged sex offenders within the NSW diocese, according to evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Mr Lawrence was himself later defrocked after having group sex with a teenager.
The former cathedral dean prepared the reference in about 2001, although the charges were ultimately “no-billed”, meaning prosecutors decided not to pursue the case.
The Newcastle diocese subsequently released a media statement falsely claiming that the priest, who cannot be named, had been acquitted, the commission has heard.
The priest moved to the Victorian diocese of Ballarat.
The Jersey Journal
By Joan Quigley | For The Jersey Journal
on August 28, 2016
This wasn't a good-news month at two Catholic high schools in Bergen County.
Without admitting wrongdoing, officials of Bergen Catholic High School agreed to pay $1.9 million to 21 former students who alleged sexual abuse decades ago. And Paramus Catholic High School was knocked down in court on its plea to deny a hearing to a teacher who was fired because she is in a same-sex marriage.
Mitchell Garabedian, attorney for seven people in the Bergen Catholic suit, said that between 1963 and 1978 students were subjected to routine sexual abuse by some of the Christian Brothers in charge of the school. The students were between 13 and 17 years old at the time, he said, and had been taught to do whatever the brothers instructed, no matter how they felt about it.
The victims recalled being told to pull down their pants so they could be whipped with leather straps or pinched and groped by some instructors. Others said they were punched or beaten for minor offenses, while some complained not about touching of any sort but having to remove their underwear to allow brothers simply to stare at them.
Court-ordered payments will be distributed during the first week of December, with each award ranging from $65,000 to $115,000. An arbitrator will decide how much each alleged victim receives based on the nature of the abuse suffered, the duration and frequency of such abuse, and the extent of injuries suffered.
Road to Recovery
“Move-in Day” for Fordham University students should signal “Movement Day” for the Northeast Province of Jesuit Priests and Brothers in reasonably settling the case of childhood sexual abuse of Neal E. Gumpel by a deceased Jesuit priest, Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., who taught and lived on the Fordham campus for many years
Reports of childhood sexual abuse by Fordham University and Fordham Prep Jesuit priests and lay teachers, including Neal E. Gumpel’s credible claim of sexual abuse by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., continue to surface in the aftermath of the recent announcement by Fordham Prep alumnus, Michael Meenan, that religion teacher, Fernand Beck, sexually abused him in 1984
Neal E. Gumpel was a high school student from Westchester County, New York, who was sexually abused as a minor child by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., deceased Fordham University and Fordham Prep teacher, who was teaching at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, while Neal E. Gumpel was visiting his brother, a student at Maine Maritime Academy. Jesuit leaders thus far have refused to help Neal E. Gumpel heal by validating and reasonably settling his claim which they have found to be credible
The Jesuits of the Northeast Province, in a media report, recently expressed their willingness to help victim/survivors of sexual abuse by Jesuit Priests and brothers, BUT they have not done so with Neal E. Gumpel
A demonstration and leafleting alerting the media, Fordham University and Fordham Prep students, parents, alumni and the general public about the growing number of reports of sexual abuse against Fordham University and Fordham Prep faculty and staff members in the aftermath of the recent announcement (New York Times, New York Post, The Ram, e.g.) by Michael Meenan, Fordham Prep ’84, that he was sexually abused by his religion teacher, Fernand Beck, during a graduation party in Westchester County, New York. Demonstrators will also draw attention to the claim of Neal E. Gumpel, a childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., a deceased Fordham University and Fordham Prep teacher, at Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, Maine, and which was found credible by Jesuit leaders of the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus. However, the Northeast Province of the Jesuits still have not validated Neal E. Gumpel’s claim, thus preventing Neal E. Gumpel from healing
Sunday, August 28, 2016 from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm
On the public median outside the Fordham University gates near 400 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York, which also is in front of the entrance to the New York Botanical Gardens
Neal E. Gumpel; his wife Helen, Gumpel; and Robert M. Hoatson, Fordham University Ph.D., 1988, co-founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families
Neal E. Gumpel’s account of having been sexually abused by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., has been found credible by the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), but the Jesuits have yet to reasonably settled Neal E. Gumpel’s claim. Recently, in a media report, the Jesuits expressed their willingness to help victims of childhood sexual abuse. It is time for the Jesuit Priests and Brothers of the Northeast Province to reasonably settle the childhood sexual abuse claim of Neal E. Gumpel.
Demonstrators will call upon the Jesuits of the Northeast Province, including Jesuits at Fordham University and Fordham Prep, to stop their foot dragging and reasonably settle the childhood sexual abuse claim of Neal E. Gumpel.
Robert M. Hoatson, Fordham University Ph.D., 1988 – 862-368-2800 – email@example.com
August 27, 2016
The Press Democrat
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | August 27, 2016.
Minnesota and then Michigan evidently grew too hot for John Nienstedt, a former Catholic archbishop who was accused of protecting predatory priests and who now cools his heels in Wine Country.
Nienstedt came far west after departing Minnesota under duress and stopping briefly in Michigan. A newspaper report out of Battle Creek earlier this year revealed that only two weeks after Nienstedt arrived and took a temporary church post there he “left amid a swirl of criticism.” Residents opposed to his assignment hounded the diocese and the media, and pulled tuition support for a school associated with the church, according to another news report.
His resignation in June of 2015 as the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis came 10 days after prosecutors there filed criminal charges against the archdiocese that he ran since 2008, alleging “its failure to protect children.”
Earlier last year, in the midst of multiple lawsuits, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy, citing “the scourge of sexual abuse of minors.” ...
HAVING MOVED ON on to the North Bay, Nienstedt now is doing work at the private Napa Institute, created by Orange County attorney and Meritage Resort & Spa owner Tim Busch. The institute’s declared mission is “to equip Catholic leaders to defend and advance the Catholic Faith in ‘the Next America’ — today’s emerging secular society.”
Nienstedt has presided over Mass at the chapel at Meritage, in Napa. Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, which encompasses Napa County, is aware he’s here and said the resort chapel is “a suitable place for him to celebrate Mass.”
J. Terry Steib, a former missionary, was introduced as the new Catholic bishop of Memphis on the 23rd day of March in 1993.
He was the fourth bishop — and first African-American bishop — in the 23-year history of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis.
Last week, Steib officially retired on the 23rd day of August, having led the diocese for 23 years. ...
Steib's critics say he didn't do enough to keep predators away from the flock — especially clergy sex abusers.
"Bishop Steib disclosed information on predator priests only when forced to do so by external forces," said David Clohessy, a former Memphian and national director of SNAP — Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests.
"He didn't discipline a single church employee for ignoring or concealing clergy sex crimes."
In court depositions, Steib admitted he made mistakes that put children at risk. But he said the church "responded according to what it knew and believed at the time."
Some say Steib was too quiet about a lot of things.
By Dave Sutor
The resignation of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is not expected to impact the trial against three priests accused of failing to sufficiently protect children from Brother Stephen Baker, who was believed to be a child predator.
Revs. Giles A. Schinelli, Robert J. D’Aversa, and Anthony M. Criscitelli each face charges of conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children. Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye, the lead prosecutor in the case, has argued the three defendants – in their roles as ministers provincial of the Third Order Regular, Province of the Immaculate Conception – gave Baker assignments that provided him access to children.
A status conference is scheduled to take place Wednesday in the case against Schinelli, D’Aversa, and Criscitelli.
The trial is not likely to begin until 2017, according to Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva.
Baker allegedly abused at least 100 students at what was called Bishop McCort High School when he served there from 1992 through 2000. The friar died from a reported suicide in 2013.
By Dave Sutor
The Catholic Church is deeply ingrained in the Johnstown region's identity.
Worshipers have celebrated and mourned together, lived lives of virtue, served their communities, and raised their children in the faith – all within the framework of the institution. But, that same structure allowed countless acts of alleged child sexual abuse to take place – and be covered up – in the opinion of Robert Hoatson, founder of Road to Recovery, a New Jersey-based advocacy group.
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a report that accused the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona–Johnstown of perpetrating a decades-long conspiracy to shield priests and other religious leaders who preyed upon children.
The investigation started after the office learned Brother Stephen Baker allegedly abused students when he served at what was then Bishop McCort High School in the 1990s.
Hoatson is a former Irish Christian Brother and Roman Catholic priest who was laicized – had his privileges withdrawn – in 2011 after challenging the church for allowing abuse and coverups to occur.
“In 40 years of being inside the church, and then obviously now five years outside the organization of the church, I have never seen a phenomenon quite like Stephen Baker and the affect he's had on a geographic section or area of our country,” Hoatson said in a meeting with The Tribune-Democrat.
“Having been here so long now on different occasions, it's almost as if these beautiful hills around here – or mountains, whatever you call them – a dome was put over it, and the secret was kept in here for so many decades that, even today, it's the hardest place I've experienced to get people to talk about it.”
By Mauro Visigalli
Mauro Visigalli, of Codogno, Italy, is a lawyer in Italian courts and at the Vatican.
Posted Aug. 26, 2016
I am an Italian "avvocato rotale." I usually work in the Roman Curia of the Catholic Church where certain canonical crimes arrive for consideration from all over the world. For this reason, I often look at American newspapers online, sometimes printing out their pages for my folders.
I was doing that the other day, searching for news about a priest who entrusted his case to me, when I found in The Providence Journal an article about a different priest, unknown to me ("Priest prohibited from serving," news, July 1). His story made me want to share some thoughts, based on my professional experience.
What amazes me is that in a country like yours, where the rights of the accused are considered so important, that rights do not seem to count when a priest is accused of a sexual crime. Such is the paradox of a 95-year-old priest who is prohibited from serving based on "credible" facts of an incident that happened 60 years before.
I would simply ask: How could someone defend himself against such old charges? And is the "presumption of innocence" a mere option, or has it been replaced in these cases with a "presumption of guilt?" I can find this same expression — "credibly alleged" — on the websites of many American dioceses, with attached blacklists of priests smeared forever after having dedicated their whole life to the church (sometimes dead priests, too). Some websites include a red button and phone numbers with the list, so that everyone can easily send in his or her accusation and everyone can infer, however wrongly, that such crimes are absolutely normal in the church!
Do you know how many of those "credible accusations" started with a simple anonymous letter? Do you know how often the letter was sent from someone who was in a position to gain from the denunciation? Do you know how many priests weren't found guilty but are still suspended because their bishop is frightened about public opinion? Do you know how long the accused priests, immediately suspended from their ministries with a simple letter from their bishop, live under the double pressure of a civil and a canonical tribunal?
Fri Aug 26, 2016.
by John Schreier
A retired western Iowa priest who serves as a chaplain at St. Albert has been suspended following his arrest on invasion of privacy charges Thursday.
The Rev. Paul Monahan, 83, has been charged with five counts of invasion of privacy, a serious misdemeanor, according to online court records.
Bishop Richard Pates has suspended Monahan from all public ministry while the investigation and court proceedings are ongoing, according to Anne Marie Cox, a spokesperson for the diocese. Cox said that Monahan was first suspended July 8 when the diocese became aware of the allegations.
The charges stem from an incident at a high school track meet in April, according to the diocese. An arrest affidavit or other court documents to provide more detail on the charges were not available Friday night, when Monahan was released on his own recognizance, according to the Pottawattamie County Jail.
Iowa Code 709.21(1) – the statute under which Monahan was charged, according to online court records – relates to the recording or photographing of an unknowing victim in a state of partial of full nudity.
Des Moines Register
Joey Aguirre, firstname.lastname@example.org August 26, 2016
A retired Catholic priest is facing invasion of privacy charges after an alleged incident at a high school track meet in April, according to a news release from the Diocese of Des Moines.
The Rev. Paul Monahan has been charged by the Iowa Attorney General's Office with five counts of invasion of privacy, according to the Friday release. An attempt to reach the attorney general's office for more information was unsuccessful.
Diocese of Des Moines Bishop Richard Pates suspended Monahan on July 8 after learning of the investigation. The suspension will remain in place until the case is resolved by authorities.
Monahan, ordained in 1960, retired in 2004 and then served as a senior chaplain at St. Albert Schools in Council Bluffs. He was a teacher at Dowling Catholic for fours years in the 1960s before being assigned to St. Albert, where he served in a variety of capacities before retiring.
Peoria Journal Star
By Andy Kravetz
Journal Star public safety reporter
PEORIA — An appellate court panel this week found a Peoria County judge erred when she threw out a lawsuit by a man claiming he was sexually abused by a priest.
The panel of 3rd District Appellate Court judges held the man's lawsuit, which was filed in 2012, wasn't time-barred by state law even though the abuse happened in the early 1990s. Rather, Judge Mary K. O'Brien wrote, with Judges Robert Carter and Vicki Wright concurring, the lawsuit should be allowed to proceed as the man claimed in his suit that he blocked the abuse out of his memory until 2011. As such, the statute of limitations hadn't tolled.
The man, now 37, sued the Rev. Norman Goodman, Holy Family Catholic Church, and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria in July 2012, alleging Goodman, who is deceased, sexually abused him from 1991 to 1994 when he was 13 to 15 years old. Goodman was a priest based in Lincoln.
Under a 1991 law, those alleging child abuse must file civil claims within a certain time frame. Any lawsuits after that were barred because of a statute of limitations. A change in the law in 1994 repealed that section, but an Illinois Supreme Court case a few years later upheld the sentiment of the 1991 section of law.
By John Schreier / World-Herald News Service
A retired western Iowa priest who serves as a chaplain at St. Albert has been suspended following his arrest on invasion of privacy charges Thursday.
The Rev. Paul Monahan, 83, has been charged with five counts of invasion of privacy, a serious misdemeanor, according to online court records. Bishop Richard Pates has suspended Monahan from all public ministry while the investigation and court proceedings are ongoing, according to the Diocese of Des Moines.
The charges stem from an incident at a high school track meet in April, according to the diocese. An arrest affidavit or other court documents to provide more detail on the charges were not available Friday night.
Monahan was released on his own recognizance Friday evening, according to the Pottawattamie County Jail.
MY PARENTS DIDN’T like Father Ted. They didn’t get it. If my Mum and Dad were alive today they’d be in their 80s. They were a generation that grew up in an Ireland dominated by the Catholic Church.
For my parents, Fr Ted was like a fly on the wall documentary about priests. They couldn’t laugh at it. They couldn’t enter into the comedic spirit of it. They simply couldn’t suspend disbelief in order to laugh at Fr Ted, Fr Jack and Fr Dougal.
It was as though you ‘couldn’t make it up’. And yet, Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews had made it up. They had conceived, devised and constructed an elegant satire that eloquently described the comic, dark reality of the organisational culture of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
I have been reminded of Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews in the recent media coverage of the controversies that have engulfed the national seminary at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Media reports of a ‘gay subculture’ at the college and the alleged widespread use of the gay dating app Grindr among seminarians read like the script of a Fr Ted episode.
The news value of these stories have pushed them to the top of the news agenda. This dynamic may have obscured the real story however. To be honest, I believe the sexual orientation of seminarians or priests is largely irrelevant in the context of the grave challenges that confront the institution of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Indeed, much of the coverage has been voyeuristic and gay shaming – perhaps unwittingly revealing a deep-seated homophobic bias among some commentators.
The current controversy about a gay culture at Maynooth is misplaced and the church authorities should be focusing on why so few young people are seeking to join the priesthood rather than seeking to make seminaries gay-unfriendly places, according to former president Mary McAleese.
Dr McAleese said that she found the focus on whether there is a gay culture at Maynooth worrying but she traced it to the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality with which she profoundly disagreed and which did nothing to make gay people feel welcome within the church.
“We have the phenomenon of men in the priesthood who are both heterosexual and homosexual but the church hasn’t been able to come to terms with the fact that there are going to be homosexuals in the priesthood, homosexuals who are fine priests,” said Dr McAleese.
“They haven’t be able to come to terms with that because the teaching of my church, the Catholic Church, tells them that homosexuality is, of its nature, intrinsically disordered – those are the words of pope Benedict and that homosexual acts are, in his words, evil,” she added.
Another day, another flavourless statement from Maynooth. It is remarkable how an institution as vibrant and effective as the Catholic Church during its 2,000-year history should become now so lost within a gilded labyrinth.
There is a way out of this maze of its own construction, as leaders from Pope Francis to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin realise. But their dilemma is how to secure buy-in for essential reforms from the Church's management class.
The scale of the necessary overhaul is significant, and many within the hierarchy are resistant to change. This means the reformers have a circle to square: on the one hand, gradual reform will meet with less resistance from traditionalists; on the other hand, it might be dismissed as tinkering at the edges.
For the Irish hierarchy to stick its collective fingers in its ears and go "la la la, we can't hear you" is no solution to the crisis lapping at its doors. It has pursued such a policy for decades, with dwindling vocations and empty churches to show for it.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin is among those trying to effect change - but will it be watered down so that the public barely notices any difference? This week's statement from Maynooth's trustees will do little to reassure the faithful, who have anxieties both about alleged seminary 'sexcapades' and the theologically inflexible priests being formed there.
Former president Mary McAleese has said that seminaries in Ireland should be “gay friendly”.
This week it emerged that a closer eye will be kept on how Maynooth's seminarians spend their time from now on as part of a stricter regime being introduced in the wake of the gay dating app scandal.
The Irish Independent reported that all trainee priests will now be required to eat their evening meal in the college rather than being allowed to dine wherever they choose. They will also be required to attend evening rosary at 9pm, which hasn't been obligatory until now.
The seminary council will now eat both breakfast and dinner with the seminarians in the historic Pugin Hall rather than in the Professors' Refectory.
But Dr McAleese, a staunch Catholic who campaigned fearlessly for a yes vote in the same-sex marriage referendum, told the Daniel O’Connell Summer School in Kerry yesterday that the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality was worryingly dangerous, according to the Irish Times.
Adults identifying themselves as "religious nones" have increased over the last few decades, and a recent Pew survey explored why they chose to move away from religion.
About 78 percent of the respondents of the survey said that they grew up in religious environment, but departed from the religion.
Pew received hundreds of different responses when the participants were asked to elaborate in their own words why they left their religious groups. Though the responses were diverse, Pew said, the research center was able to categorize some responses under common threads.
Some 36 percent said they were disenchanted with the religion, and about 7 percent said they were not interested in or did not need religion. Around 7 percent also said that their views evolved. Only 1 percent said they experienced a crisis of faith.
Many of the respondents said that they departed ways with religion because of its organized ways and hierarchy. About one in five Americans held this view.
Others also said that they saw religion becoming too much like a business, and also mentioned sexual abuse by clergy as one of the reasons for their leaving their childhood religion.
Jonah Hicap 27 August 2016
Sexual abuse of minors is the No. 1 reason why religious organisations in the United States went to court in 2015, according to a lawyer.
Richard Hammar, a lawyer who specialises in legal issues related to churches and clergy, recently published his report on the Church Law and Tax website.
He categorised state appellate court and federal court rulings, which totalled 12,000 decisions, to identify the cases that most threaten religious organisations.
Hammar said sexual abuse of minors was the leading cause, accounting for 11.7 percent of the cases.
"Sadly, for several years the sexual molestation of minors has been the number one reason that churches went to court," he wrote.
New York Daily News
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Friday, August 26, 2016
A conservative Florida pastor who said that the victims of the Orlando massacre got “what they deserve” is being charged with child molestation.
Bishop Kenneth Adkins was arrested by Georgia authorities on Friday after allegations that he molested a boy under the age of 16.
The 56-year-old clergyman, who runs churches in Jacksonville, Atlanta and Brunswick, Ga., gained notoriety in the immediate aftermath of Omar Mateen’s shooting at Pulse nightclub in June.
He posted on Twitter that he had “been through so much with these Jacksonville homosexuals that I don’t see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve.”
27 Aug 2016
HAVING covered the first nine days of Newcastle hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Newcastle Herald is about to re-enter the fray on Monday, for two days of Anglican hearings followed by eight days on the Maitland-Newcastle diocese of the Catholic Church.
As I sat with my esteemed colleague Joanne McCarthy – who more than any other person laid the groundwork for this commission – I could not help but reflect on the mysterious set of codes and practices that is the Australian legal system.
I doubt I’m the only one whose first, reflexive response to the Royal Commission was to think that one of its first jobs would be to calculate the size of the child sex abuse problem – both currently and historically – in Australia. At this point, we must remember that this is not a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, per se. It’s a commission into the institutional responses to that abuse: in other words, what the organisations in question did about the abuse perpetrated by their members.
August 26, 2016
August 26, 2016
LINCOLN, Ill. -- A man who says he was sexually abused by a Lincoln priest has cleared a legal hurdle.
The alleged victim claims he was abused by Rev. Norman Goodman of the Holy Family Catholic Church between 1991 and 1994.
The lawsuit had been barred because the statute of limitations ran out.
That was overturned Friday by an appellate court panel because the man says he repressed memories of the abuse until 2011.
"They said the statute of limitations in this case wouldn't have started to run until he was 18, but because he couldn't remember because he'd suppressed the knowledge of the abuse, it was further (held) until 2011. When he first came to know that the injury existed and that it was wrongly caused," said Jonathan T. Nessler, the alleged victim’s attorney.
Guam Daily Post
Neil Pang | Post News Staff
In a statement released to the media on Aug. 25, Archbishop Anthony Apuron responded to claims that he opposed the Pope.
"I wish to declare that this is absolutely false and it is causing real, grave and immediate damage to the Church in Guam and to my good name," Apuron said in the release.
Apuron said he had always followed the Pope and has every intention of doing so in the future.
The disobedience in question refers to comments made by Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana, in a statement concerning a presentation made to the Presbyteral Council regarding the legal status of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary (RMS) property in Yona.
Hon said, "In truth, more than a year ago, the Holy See recognized the problems such a Deed Restriction created. Ever since then, more than once, the Holy See has instructed Archbishop Anthony Apuron to rescind and annul it. Clearly this instruction has not been carried out accordingly."
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. • ChurchMilitant.com • August 26, 2016
SNAP made accusations "negligently and with reckless disregard for the truth"
ST. LOUIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - A federal judge is ruling a St. Louis priest was the victim of defamation by an anti-sex abuse advocacy group that conspired against him.
On August 22, US. District Judge Carol E. Jackson wrote in a court order that the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) made public accusations that "were false and that they did not conduct any inquiry into the truth or falsity of these public statements, but instead made these statements negligently and with reckless disregard for the truth."
Father Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang of St. Louis sued SNAP last year after the sex abuse claims they litigated against him were suddenly dropped. Father Jiang says the leaders in SNAP launched a "smear campaign" against him in the media.
In June, the court ordered SNAP to produce documentation substantiating its accusations against Fr. Jiang. Its refusal to comply with the judge's discovery order resulted in Jackson's ruling this week in favor of the priest.
SNAP claimed the reason it refused to produce the documentation as ordered was what the judge called a "rape-crisis-center privilege," which didn't apply in this case. The judge concluded that SNAP had no legal defense for not producing the evidence beyond "repeated assertions of a nonexistent privilege."
York Daily Record
Brandie Kessler, email@example.com
August 26, 2016
Add three priests accused of child sexual abuse to the list of those with ties to the Harrisburg diocese.
The diocese confirmed Friday three names identified by the York Daily Record/Sunday News, which has been investigating the scope of abuse in the diocese.
Each priest had worked in York County at some point, according to the diocese. But the diocese did not specify where the alleged abuse occurred.
One allegation was received following the YDR's story, "Shadowed History," which published online Aug. 9 and in print Aug. 14. The diocese said it reported the allegation to law enforcement and has not determined whether it is credible.
The diocese confirmed credible allegations of abuse had been made against Robert Maher and George Koychick. The Daily Record is not naming the other priest at this time, as the allegation is still under investigation.
* Koychick -- The diocese said “credible allegations” against Koychick were made to the diocese in August 2003 about abuse that occurred in the 1970s, diocese spokesman Joseph Aponick said. Koychick had been stationed at St. Joseph’s in York from June 1953 to June 1957 and at St. Patrick’s in York from November 1967 to June 1981, Aponick said in an email. “Already being retired, and out of ministry, [Koychick] was formally forbidden to function in any capacity as a priest and law enforcement authorities were notified,” Aponick said. Koychick could not be reached for comment.
* Maher -- The diocese confirmed “credible allegations” against Maher were received in February 1994 from an incident that took place in the 1960s, Aponick said. According to "The Official Catholic Directory," Maher worked at St. Vincent's in Hanover in the 1960s and 1970s. Maher had been assigned to St. Rose of Lima in York from June 1937 to June 1939, Aponick said. He retired from ministry in May 1975 and died in June 1990, Aponick said. Aponick said law enforcement authorities were informed.
* The diocese received an allegation of abuse against another priest in early August, Aponick said, about an incident that took place in the 1970s. “This is a new allegation against a deceased priest, he previously had no allegations against him,” Aponick said. “We have reported it to law enforcement authorities; we are still awaiting details and are still looking into the case.” The priest served at a York County parish in the 1970s.
August 26, 2016
Meet the rabbi who’s on a mission to educate the Orthodox community about sexual abuse—and publicly out pedophiles while he’s at it.
For the past 15 years, Rabbi Yakov Horowitz has been trying to break the cycle of silence associated with abuse in the Orthodox community. According to the Torah, Jews are forbidden to turn criminals over to non-Jewish authorities, and are expected to face shunning and bullying from their community if they do.
As such, sexual abuse often goes unreported.
“You have people who are [very close.] Reporting on somebody who you’re friendly with, or who is someone’s uncle is more challenging than reporting on somebody you don’t know,” Horowitz told Vocativ. “…I’ve been telling parents to go to police.”
The rabbi has turned his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts into a one man campaign against sexual abuse.
“Warning to Boro Park parents about released sex offender Dascalowitz.” Horowitz tweeted last month, linking to a Facebook post he had written that includes the current address of sex offender Meir Dascalowitz, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in 2013.
A man who hopes his case will be heard at the European Court of Human Rights has spoken of the horrors he says he endured at a children's home in Ireland.
Derek Leinster, 75, was born at Dublin's Bethany Home in 1941. He wants a public apology and financial compensation.
The grandfather, who now lives in Rugby, says its only right that survivors of Protestant children's homes receive the same recognition as those from Catholic homes.
The Irish Government said a Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was established in February 2015, to find out what happened to vulnerable women and children in 14 homes, including the Bethany Home, from 1922 to 1998.
Sherele Moody | 27th Aug 2016
ALMOST 50 years ago, a tall, fun loving and incredibly charismatic Catholic priest strolled into a Brisbane schoolroom where he began systematically destroying the heart, body and soul of a 14-year-old girl.
That girl was Joan Isaacs and, despite 49 years having passed, the memory of the day she met the man who would sexually assault her over and over again is crystal clear.
"He came into our class to give religious instruction," Ms Isaacs says of Francis Edward Derriman.
She pauses for a moment, her soft voice trembling slightly while her hands trace mindless patterns on the table in her spotless dining room.
"We'd had pretty boring religious instruction from the chaplains before that," Joan recalls.
GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. - A Georgia pastor and conservative political activist was arrested Friday morning on charges of child molestation and aggravated child molestation.
Ken Adkins, 56, of St. Simons Island, turned himself into police at about 9 a.m., according to officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The GBI was requested on Aug. 12 to assist officials with the accusations against Adkins.
Adkins is currently in the Glynn County Jail. The investigation is ongoing.
Adkins has one church, with locations in Brunswick, Jacksonville and Atlanta, according to his website.
Adkins recently came under fire when he tweeted "homosexuals got what they deserved" after the deadly mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub. His Twitter account has since been set to private.
First Coast News
Destiny Johnson and Terry Dickson, Florida Times-Union , WTLV August 26, 2016
BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- According to a release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation given to First Coast News on Friday, Brunswick Pastor Kenneth Adkins, 56, turned himself in on Aug. 26.
Adkins turned himself in on one count of aggravated child molestation and one count of child molestation at approximated 9 a.m. Friday.
Adkins is known for being a controversial Pastor in Brunswick Ga. as well as being involved in Jacksonville politics, including the recent 'bathroom bill.'
The investigation against Adkins in regards to these child molestation charged began on Aug. 12 with the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson requesting the help of the GBI. The investigation is still ongoing.
By Terry Dickson Fri, Aug 26, 2016
Controversial pastor Ken Adkins has been charged with two counts of child molestation in Georgia and is in the Glynn County jail, officials said.
One of the two charges against the 56-year-old is aggravated child molestation, said Stacy Carson, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Kingsland office.
District Attorney Jackie Johnson asked the GBI on Aug. 12 to assist the Brunswick Police Department in an investigation of an accusation of child molestation against Adkins, Carson said. The investigation focused on suspected molestation in several locations in the Brunswick area including at Adkins’ church, a vehicle and a victim’s home, Carson said. The investigation is ongoing.
Lawyer Kevin Gough told the Times-Union he is representing Adkins and believes the accusations are said to have occurred in 2010. He said Adkins had willingly turned himself in. ...
Adkins is a controversial figure in Jacksonville politics, particularly because of comments and crude caricatures he posted on his Twitter account while he helped lead the fight against expanding Jacksonville’s anti-discrimination law to cover lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Among the criticisms that Adkins lodged was his assertion that expanding the law would make it easier for sexual predators to find victims in bathrooms.
26 AUG 2016
A Georgia pastor who said Pulse nightclub shooting victims got what they deserved has been arrested on child molestation charges.
Ken Adkins, of St. Simons Island, turned himself in to police about 9 a.m. Friday on aggravated child molestation charges, reported The Florida Time-Union.
The 56-year-old Adkins, who has congregations in Atlanta, Jacksonville and Brunswick, Georgia, is an outspoken anti-LGBT activist in the Jacksonville area.
He drew widespread condemnation for making offensive remarks about a fatal shooting that left 49 clubgoers dead and 53 others wounded at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
“I don’t see none of them as victims,” Adkins tweeted. “I see them as getting what they deserve!!”
Long Island, NY - August 25, 2016 - New York State Senate District 3 Candidate John De Vito’s campaign has received the endorsement of the Fighting for Children PAC. The political action committee was founded by Gary Greenberg to allow victims of childhood sexual assualt greater ability to seek justice and restitution for the crimes committed against them.
De Vito said that “Childhood victims of sexual abuse should not be denied justice because of an arbitrary law that prevents them from bringing their case in court. I will continue fighting tirelessly for the passage of the Child Victims Act. The Republicans obstructing this bill should understand that silence is complicity in allowing predators to remain on the streets. I take this fight personally."
Mr. Greenberg said that "John represents the kind of high ethical and moral fiber that we need in Albany to make sure that our legislatures care about taking predators off the streets, and providing justice for victims."
De Vito seeks to defeat freshman Senator Tom Croci (R-Islip) in a year that will feature economic fairness and public corruption as key campaign issues throughout the region. John is a 25 year-old lifelong resident of Mastic Beach, and a graduate of William Floyd High School and New York University.
In light of tragic suicides committed as a direct result of child sexual abuse, as well as other physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences suffered by innocents in our Jewish Orthodox communities and beyond; and,
In fulfillment of the Torah's precept, רעך דם על תעמוד לא")Do not stand by while your fellow's blood is spilled"); and,
As religious leaders responsible for our communities' institutions and their policies, as well as for
the physical and spiritual welfare of the members of our communities
We proclaim the following:
* We acknowledge that sexual abuse of children - committed by family members, acquaintances, rabbis, teachers, counselors, youth leaders, and other professionals - exists in our communities. This abuse has caused and continues to cause immeasurable harm to the victims, their families, and our entire community; it can destroy lives.
* We recognize in light of past experiences that our community could have responded in more responsible and sensitive ways to help victims and to hold perpetrators accountable.
* We condemn attempts to ignore allegations of child sexual abuse. These efforts are harmful, contrary to Jewish law, and immoral. The reporting of reasonable suspicions of all forms of child abuse and neglect directly and promptly to the civil authorities is a requirement of Jewish law. There is no need for people acting responsibly to seek rabbinic approval prior to reporting.
* We decry the use of Jewish law or the invocation of communal interests as a tool to silence victims or witnesses from reporting abuse. Regardless of the standing of the abuser, accusers and their family members must be treated in an accepting, nonjudgmental manner so that they feel safe and can therefore speak frankly and fully. This is necessary for them to receive suitable therapeutic support, and in order to facilitate proper investigation and pursuit of justice. Shunning or encouraging social ostracism of victims, their families, or reporters is forbidden.
Voz Is Neias
[Proclamation Regarding Child Safety in the Orthodox Jewish Community]
New York - In light of recent tragic suicides committed as a direct result of child sexual abuse, as well as other physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences suffered by innocents in Jewish Orthodox communities and beyond, a proclamation signed by a large and diverse group of rabbis from the United States, Canada and Israel has taken a firm stand against abuse in children, acknowledging that the Jewish community has been slow to recognize incidents of molestation in the past and calls upon schools and synagogues to institute policies that will prevent sexual abuse.
The statement, signed by close to 300 Orthodox Jewish rabbis, admits that rabbis and community leaders have not always dealt effectively or appropriately with victims of child sexual abuse or their perpetrators.
Released today by David Nyer, a licensed clinical social worker, the proclamation condemns the practice of using Jewish law to prevent victims from reporting abuse and describes any attempts to ignore child sexual abuse as “harmful, contrary to Jewish law and immoral.” Suggestions for greater safety in schools and synagogues included maximizing visibility so that children cannot be in unseen locations with adults, better screening of applicants including background checks and fingerprinting, and educating staff on recognizing and reporting possible incidents of child abuse.
Rabbi Yosef Blau, a senior mashgiach at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, called the statement a turning point for the Jewish community.
Heartfelt: Reflections on Faith, Sex & Public Health
by Nadiah Mohajir
Women & Girls initially was founded to focus on improving access to sexual health information and education in Muslim communities. As we held workshops across the country, we quickly realized something: once facilitators set a safe space and gained the trust of participants, the sheer number of stories of sexual violence that were shared were overwhelming. As a result, we quickly made the deliberate decision to include sexual assault awareness education in every one of its sexual health workshops. We believed that it would be a disservice to participants to not also cover topics such as boundaries, consent, and healthy relationships in our sexual health education programming. While discussing sexual violence is different than discussing women’s health, these two topics intersect in the experience of being a Muslim woman, understanding one’s body, and exercising bodily autonomy.
Last year, the importance of this work was more evident than ever. A young woman came forward with allegations of sexual assault against a prominent Chicago imam, Abdullah Saleem. HEART board and staff, along with a team of volunteers, publicly supported her, and within days, received dozens upon dozens of phone calls and emails from survivors of the same perpetrator. We began connecting these young women to the resources they needed: legal services, contacts in the criminal justice system, therapists, and awareness materials.
Of the numerous survivor stories related to this case that HEART initially collected, five survivors chose to move forward with civil legal proceedings, as reported in the New York Times in February 2015. The Illinois States Attorney filed criminal charges shortly afterwards. Both cases have been proceeding – and on August 25, 2016, Abdullah Saleem entered a plea bargain for both charges in the criminal case. This means that the criminal case was resolved out of court through a process of negotiation. As a result, the victims do not have to face the exhausting ordeal of going to trial and testifying in front of the defense, which typically utilizes tactics that humiliate and tear down the witness.
August 27, 2016
The Anglican Archbishop of Perth has denied telling the bishop of a diocese under investigation over alleged child sexual abuse that “a false statement had been filed by me with the royal commission”.
Archbishop Roger Herft, a former bishop of Newcastle, said the allegation was contained in a 2016 file note written by his successor, Bishop Greg Thompson, and tendered with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
While the file note has not been publicly released, a recent witness statement from Archbishop Herft said he had seen the document and “I don’t agree with everything that Bishop Greg has written”.
“In particular … I never told Bishop Thompson that a false statement had been filed by me with the royal commission in relation to the Church of England Boys Society,’’ he said.
The society, the subject of a previous royal commission investigation, organised youth camps in the Newcastle area at which at least one witness had described being raped by several men.
August 27, 2016
A Catholic lad coming of age in 1970s Newcastle was educated at his peril. The Marist Brothers operated two boys high schools in the region, neither of them safe. The third option was Saint Pius X College, staffed largely by the priests of what was then the Diocese of Maitland.
Pius was a diabolical place. The teacher-priests lived in quarters attached to the main classroom block, an arrangement that raised no eyebrows in that fabulously innocent decade.
The worst of them by a great margin was Father John Denham, perhaps not Australia’s most notorious pedophile priest but quite possibly the most prolific and without question the most expensive from the church’s perspective. His only competition in this regard is another Novocastrian, Father Vince Ryan.
Denham is jailed until 2028 for the sexual abuse of 57 boys, some of them barely out of preschool, most of them Pius students in their early teens. Police believe he abused twice that number and more, and the record shows he did so with uncommon brutality. From 1975 until 1980, according to judge Helen Syme of the District Court, Denham treated Pius as his personal “pedophilic smorgasbord”.
Updated: Aug 25, 2016
By Krystal Paco
After months of being attacked for a deed of restriction on the multimillion dollar Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona, Archbishop Anthony Apuron is looking to clear his name, not only here at home but with the Holy See.
In a statement issued to KUAM News, sent through his legal counsel Attorney Jackie Terlaje, Apuron states the Pope Francis has granted his request for a canonical trial. In his defense, Apuron states past claims made by apostolic administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai and other critics of the Yona property are causing "real, grave, and immediate damage to the church in Guam and to my good name, spreading scandal and confusion among the faithful."
While the deed of restriction is believed to hand over the RMS to the non-profit RMS Corporation and parties affiliated with the Neocatechumenal Way, Apuron contends the restriction merely blocks the sale and that if it wasn't for him, those looking to cash in would've converted the RMS from a seminary into a casino.
"I have always defended the moral life of the island opposing establishments which would bring money to few and moral misery and degradation to many," said Archbishop Apuron.
by Rodney Pelletier • ChurchMilitant.com • August 25, 2016
MAYNOOTH, Ireland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Ireland's Catholic hierarchy is ignoring the homosexual infestation of Maynooth seminary, instead claiming the solution to recent scandal is more women and less internet.
Despite recent public exposure of St. Patrick Seminary — the national seminary for Ireland — as being a hotbed of homosexual activity, a recent meeting of the trustees reveals a failure to deal with the source of scandal: homosexuality.
The trustees of St. Patrick Seminary — a group of the four archbishops of Ireland and 13 senior bishops — met on August 23 to discuss "the needs of the students and staff."
They claim the anonymous reporting of accusations has created an "unhealthy atmosphere," causing social media comments to be "speculative or even malicious."
To address the situation the trustees are deciding to review policies currently in place to determine the best way to deal with "whistle-blowers," and revise seminary policy regarding "appropriate use" of the internet and social media. A component of the seminary's recent scandal is frequent and open usage of the gay online dating app., Grindr, by gay seminarians.
August 27, 2016
It started with a grown man weeping in the witness box.
On the first day of its public hearings in Newcastle, NSW, earlier this month, Paul Gray broke down while describing to the child abuse royal commission his suffering at the hands of his godfather, Anglican priest Peter Rushton.
Asked if he wanted to stop giving evidence, Gray replied: “No, I need to read it. It’s important to me.” What followed was a very public reckoning for a region that arguably had suffered more than any other from child abuse committed by priests.
While much of the attention surrounding the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has focused on the Catholic diocese of Ballarat in regional Victoria, in Newcastle two churches — Catholic and Anglican — are in the inquiry’s sights.
Trying to estimate the true number of child victims is hopeless, but it is at least in the hundreds. Dozens of priests have been involved.
Updated: Aug 26, 2016
By Krystal Paco
Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai says he stands by the statement he made on August 18th related to the Declaration of Deed Restriction for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona.
On Friday night Archbishop Hon issued a response to a statement provided to media earlier in the day by Archbishop Anthony Apuron to clear his name. “Pope Francis never directed me to rescind the deed of restriction on the property,” Apuron stated.
In his August 18th press release Archbishop Hon stated Apuron was instructed over a year ago (more than once) to rescind and annul the Deed of Restriction, but the instruction was not carried out.
Apuron in his release responded that he never defied the Pope “I wish to declare that this is absolutely false and it is causing real , grave, and immediate damage to the Church in Guam and to my good name, spreading scandal and confusion among the faithful”. He added the Pope has granted his request for a canonical trial to clear his name. The statement was sent to KUAM from his attorney Jacque Terlaje.
In his response, Archbishop Hon said that he received the exact message which was released to the media today directly from Apuron via email. He added that it was read and discussed with the Presbyteral Council and their position on the matter had not changed since his press release issued on Aug. 18th. In that release he asked for “the collaboration of all the faithful to act with obedience to the directive of the Holy See.”
Aug 26, 2016
By Krystal Paco
It's become a great debate - and we're not talking about the upcoming election. We've heard from the Concerned Catholics of Guam, apostolic administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, and even rector to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary Father Pius Sammut, all of whom have different opinions on who owns the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona. And now, we hear from Archbishop Anthony Apuron himself who maintains the controversial deed restriction doesn't hand over the property, but protects it.
After months of being attacked for a deed of restriction on the multi-million dollar Yona seminary, Archbishop Apuron is looking to clear his name, not only here at home but with the Holy See.
In a statement issued to KUAM News on Friday sent through his legal counsel attorney Jacque Terlaje, Apuron states the pope has granted his request for a canonical trial. In his defense, Apuron states past claims made by Archbishop Hon and other critics of the Yona property are causing "real, grave, and immediate damage to the church in Guam and to my good name, spreading scandal and confusion among the faithful."
Pacific Daily News
Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News August 26, 2016
In a written statement dated Aug. 25, Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron said Pope Francis never directed him to rescind a deed restriction that gives a seminary and a theological institute the legal right to use church property in Yona.
Apuron said he alone can lift that property restriction, but said he cannot in his conscience lift that restriction.
“To lift the restriction would not only damage the ability of the Seminary to exist and carry out its canonical mission, but it would eliminate the fundamental canonical requisite for the existence of a public juridic person,” he said in the statement.
A public juridic person in the Catholic Church is the equivalent to a civil corporation, according to the website of Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a Texas-based diocese. Catholic schools, Catholic hospitals, parishes and other Church groups are considered public juridic persons.
Courthouse News Service
By JOE HARRIS
ST. LOUIS (CN) — A federal judge sanctioned the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and of its two leaders for violating her orders in a defamation case filed by a priest who claims he was wrongfully accused.
The Rev. Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang sued St. Louis, two city police officers, the parents A.M. and N.M., the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and SNAP leaders David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris in June 2015.
Jiang claimed in the lawsuit that the allegations were brought by a deeply troubled 12-year-old boy, that the officers failed to fully investigate the claims, and that SNAP embarked on a smear campaign.
Criminal charges against Jiang were dismissed by the city prosecutor.
U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson ordered SNAP to produce the boy's identity and the amounts of contributions made to SNAP from 2005 to 2012 by the law firm of Chackes, Carlson & Gorovsky so that Jiang's attorneys could prepare their case.
In a monumental victory for truth and justice in the Catholic Church abuse story, a federal judge has ruled that the lawyer-funded group SNAP indeed defamed St. Louis priest Rev. Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang and conspired to falsely claim the priest of child sex abuse.
In her ruling, the judge sanctioned SNAP, its national director David Clohessy, and its "outreach director" Barbara Dorris and ordered them to pay for Fr. Jiang's attorney fees and expenses.
[**Court docs: Click to read the federal judge's ruling against SNAP (pdf)**]
As we reported back in June 2015, Fr. Jiang filed a federal lawsuit against SNAP, who continued to publicly accuse the cleric of being a child molester even after being twice cleared of crazy sex abuse claims.
The abuse claims were outlandish from the beginning. The accuser "had made previous unfounded allegations of sexual abuse" and already had a reputation of being "a serial exaggerator to the point of being 'delusional.'"
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said the Catholic Church in Ireland needs to introduce better admission standards for trainee priests to attract the right candidates for priesthood.
Acknowledging that the national seminary in Maynooth "has to change", Dr Martin, who is a trustee of the college, told RTÉ's 'Morning Ireland': "Maynooth is not to be condemned but it is not to be canonised either."
He said there was a "recognition of the problems" facing Maynooth among the trustees and that the seminary has to change, "not just because of current allegations but because of the fact that we are living in a different world".
Referring to the trustees' statement on Wednesday outlining a series of changes on seminary formation, the Archbishop said there was a need for new ways of identifying, screening and training candidates.
The trustees of Maynooth - the 17 most-senior Catholic bishops - agreed this week to work on a new policy to protect whistle-blowers at the national seminary. It comes after a wave of allegations, many of them anonymous, of homosexual relationships between seminarians.
Further allegations were made that the college authorities did not treat such allegations with sufficient gravity. Critics of the college quickly seized on the controversy as evidence of a corrupt underbelly, while defenders of Maynooth rounded on the detractors and insisted that anonymous allegations should be treated with contempt.
Now, there are broadly two reasons why people make anonymous allegations: either they are bitterly spiteful, or they are petrified about the consequences of raising their concerns. A coherent policy that protects people who raise legitimate concerns is a must for every institution.
But, whistle-blowing aside, perhaps, in time, the bishops' pledge to review what sort of training would-be priests should undertake in 21st Century Ireland will prove more important. What emerges could kickstart an authentic reform and renewal of Irish Catholicism.
Saint Patrick's Seminary in Maynooth is not to be condemned, but it is not to be canonised either, according to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, speaking on RTÉ. If this was an endorsement, it was less than whole-hearted. He also said that the seminary would have to change not just because of allegations, but because we are "living in a different world".
After bishops admitted to having concerns at the "unhealthy atmosphere" at the seminary, Archbishop Martin tried to draw a line under the controversy. Unfortunately, his comments are unlikely to put matters to rest.
The church has endured a relentless barrage of criticism for elevating its interests and reputation above the needs of its followers. It has been charged with being aloof, arrogant and out of step. It has further been attacked for failing to confront weaknesses and for retreating into its shell.
It therefore has a responsibility to be open and transparent. Maynooth's board of trustees have said they will review social media policies and procedures for handling whistleblowers following allegations of trainee priests using dating apps. This came after Dr Martin's stated intention to send seminarians from his archdiocese to Rome, instead of the national seminary, due to his worries over "strange goings-on" in St Patrick's.
Trainee priests in Maynooth will be supervised at meal times under new stricter rules.
The move comes after claims that seminarians were using the gay dating app Grindr, and a suggestion that a gay subculture exists at the National Seminary.
The Irish Independent reports trainees will be required to eat breakfast and evening meals in the college instead of being allowed to choose where they dine.
Senior staff will eat with them.
A review of social media use at Maynooth has also been ordered.
The Archdiocese of Dublin confirmed earlier this month that it would not be sending its trainee priests to Maynooth.
A closer eye will be kept on how Maynooth's seminarians spend their time from now on as part of a stricter regime being introduced in the wake of the gay dating app scandal.
The Irish Independent has learned that all trainee priests will now be required to eat their evening meal in the college rather than being allowed to dine wherever they choose. They will also be required to attend evening rosary at 9pm, which hasn't been obligatory until now.
The seminary council will now eat both breakfast and dinner with the seminarians in the historic Pugin Hall rather than in the Professors' Refectory.
The tighter controls are part of a suite of measures announced on Wednesday by the trustees of Maynooth which included a review of "appropriate use of the internet and social media" by the 50 or so trainee priests and their staff.
Earlier this month, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin withdrew his seminarians from Maynooth following allegations that students were using gay dating app Grindr.
Andrew Norfolk, Chief Investigative Reporter
August 26 2016
The failed inquiry into a teacher’s alleged abuse of boys at Britain’s leading Catholic school may be reopened after four new witnesses came forward.
The Times revealed yesterday how Ampleforth College hushed up a potential scandal in 1989 when children complained of being touched inappropriately by Paul Sheppard, a science teacher. He was asked to leave but police were not told and the school, in North Yorkshire, gave him glowing references.
A police force is investigating claims by The Times that it bungled an inquiry into alleged sex abuse at a school.
It centres around the case of Paul Sheppard who was cleared last year of indecently assaulting a boy in 1989 at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire.
The Times says North Yorkshire Police failed to speak to two ex-pupils whose accounts could have led to Dr Sheppard being questioned about other child sex offences.
He denies any wrongdoing.
The force has asked the newspaper for details of the two former pupils.
The Times also says former pupils, who were told at the 11th hour they would not be giving evidence against Dr Sheppard, were falsely assured by police they were not required in court because their written statements had been accepted by the defence.
That explanation was not true, the paper says, while the former pupils claim the way the case was conducted by police and the prosecution was "shambolic".
BY MARTIN PHILLIPS, SENIOR FEATURES WRITER 26th August 2016
NESTLED in a tranquil North Yorks valley, Ampleforth College is where for two centuries the sons of the wealthy have been instilled with a “compass for life” by the monks who run it.
The independent school charges more than £33,000 a year for this special recipe for learning.
And there seems no doubt that it works, with talented ex-pupils including former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and actors Rupert Everett and James Norton.
But now a darker side has been uncovered at the country’s leading Catholic school, following an investigation this week by The Times.
It involves the cover-up of alleged sex abuse of children at the school 27 years ago, which has been linked to the suicide of at least one former pupil.
Gazette & Herald
Nadia Jefferson-Brown, Deputy news editor
PAST pupils at one of Britain's leading Catholic schools have spoken of their dismay over the way a trial involving a former teacher charged with sexual abuse was handled.
An investigation by The Times newspaper raised questions about the inquiry and subsequent trial last year, involving Paul Sheppard, now 53, a Canadian who taught at Ampleforth College.
He was arrested in 2014 on suspicion of serious sexual offences in 1989 against another pupil, who later committed suicide.
He was due to stand trial last year, accused of seven charges of indecent assault against five former pupils, but the charges involving all but one of the boys were dropped following rulings by the judge.
Judge Colin Burn ruled that the alleged incidences, including when the teacher was said to have stroked and kissed a boy as he slept, did not amount to "circumstances of indecency".
by Michael Alexander
August 26 2016
What makes the grave of 14-year-old Alexander Harvey, who died in 1960, particularly unusual is that he is buried between two men of the Christian Brotherhood – Richard Albeus Fitton, who died at Falkland aged 75 in 1958, and John Kevin Nugent, who died aged 78 in 1977.
There has been local speculation that the young boy buried in Falkland cemetery is a “forgotten victim” of the recently publicised abusive regime at the former St Ninian’s School.
Rumours have been circulating the Fife village recently that Harvey, thought to be an orphan, may have died at St Ninian’s in suspicious circumstances.
However that appears unfounded, according to an investigation by a local councillor.
Former teacher Paul Kelly, 64, and head teacher John Farrell, 73,were jailed for 10 years and five years respectively at Glasgow High Court after being found guilty of abuse said to have taken place at the school between 1979 and 1983.
For our exclusive report, see Saturday’s Courier
A former Jehovah's Witness elder recently convicted of child sex offences is back working with children from a Melbourne parish run by his father-in-law.
Richard Hill was found guilty last year of the offences against his six-year-old female cousin, who was also in the religion. He was put on the sex offenders' list and fined. The offences happened in 1981 when he was 20.
Hill, a roofing plumber of Doreen with an office in Brunswick, this week maintained his innocence and confirmed he was working with children while doorknocking as part of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious practice called 'proselytizing.'
His wife's father, Ken Hall, is the senior elder at the Plenty Kingdom Hall in outer Melbourne, where Hill now worships. "I am allowed to attend under strict conditions," Hill said. "The police know about that."
Hill appealed his conviction but then dropped the appeal.
This is Local London
A retired headmaster who was honoured by the Queen for his services to young people is facing jail after being found guilty of gross indecency with a 14-year-old boy.
John Coatman, 75, of Leyburn Gardens, Croydon, was today convicted of having sexual activity with the teenager in the 1970s following a trial at the Old Bailey.
He was headteacher at St Andrew's Church of England High School at the time and also worked with a Christian youth group, of which the victim was a member.
The abuse came to light in 2014 after the breakdown of the victim's marriage and problems at work, jurors were told.
He told the court earlier this week that Coatman made him feel “safe” and “valued” and he came to see himself as a "willing partner" in the sexual activity.
“In Australia, we seem to have reached a critical juncture. Not only are we afflicted by such things as the decline in Sunday worship, the fall in religious practices, the dearth of the priesthood and religious life etc…, we also face the biggest challenge to date, which is, the loss of our moral credibility and trust capital due to the sexual abuse crisis,” said Vietnamese-born Australian Bishop Vincent Long. He has called for a “prophetic reframing” of the Church’s attitudes rather than a “retreat into restorationism,”
Delivering the Ann D. Clark Lecture, Bishop Long of Parramatta diocese in western Sydney observed that the Australian Church is living a “watershed” moment in the wake of a series of recent crises,
Nevertheless, Bishop Long continued, the unexpected election of Pope Francis “and the way he exercises his leadership give us a breath of fresh air and a source of great hope.”
“I make bold to say that this is the unexpected way of God. Watershed moments can be catalysts for renewal and transformation.
EBENSBURG, PA - A former houseparent at a Pennsylvania Catholic school who’s accused of sexually assaulting two Chinese international students has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Twenty-eight-year-old John Bowman Thornberry, of Mills River, North Carolina, appeared in a Cambria County court on Tuesday. A judge reduced his bond to $100,000.
Thornberry was hired in 2014. He was removed in February from his job overseeing Chinese international students at Bishop Carroll High School in Ebensburg. One student said Thornberry fondled him. Another boy said he fought off a molestation attempt.
Authorities say Thornberry denied touching the students in a sexual manner during an interview with investigators. He faces charges including attempted indecent assault and institutional sexual assault.
One of the more remarkable features of the clerical child sexual abuse scandal has been the low conviction level of alleged perpetrators in the courts.
Last September the National Board for Safeguarding Children, the Catholic Church watchdog in Ireland, published a report looking at 325 allegations made against 141 members of six religious congregations.
Of those, the report found, only eight led to convictions.
Whatever the explanation, there is no doubt a sense of justice denied can compound the distress of abuse victims.
One such person is Jim. He is in his 30s, and his life “has been destroyed by the negative effects of sexual abuse”. So said his psychiatrist in a 2011 report seen by this newspaper.
August 25, 2016
By Tim Graham | August 25, 2016
“It's important to say right up front that this isn't a story about pedophile priests,” began the NPR reporter on Wednesday night....in a story with the online headline “Catholic Church Groups Fight Bills To Revive Old Sex Abuse Cases.”
Legislators have tried to pass retroactive windows to allow a so-called “grace period” for old sexual-assault allegations. Brian Mann reported New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Democrat, “wanted to open a one-year window -- a kind of grace period -- so that [alleged] victims who've waited too long can get a second chance to sue in civil court. New York's Catholic bishops hate this idea and spent more than $2 million lobbying to block the measure.”
The people who call their show All Things Considered didn’t consider this: what if a priest is unjustly accused? Does that ever happen? Just this week, a federal judge in St. Louis ruled for an accused priest named Xiu Hui Jiang in a defamation case against the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). District Court judge Carol Jackson ruled that SNAP defendants conspired “to obtain plaintiff’s conviction on sexual abuse charges” and that it was because of “discriminatory animus against plaintiff based on his religion, religious vocation, race, and national origin.”
Duluth News Tribune
A judge has granted the Diocese of Duluth an extension to file its plans for reorganization.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel on Thursday approved the diocese's motion to extend the deadline from Sept. 1 to March 17.
The diocese had requested the extension earlier this month, citing a planned mediation session in November with the creditors' committee representing victims of child sexual abuse. No objections were filed, as both sides have expressed a desire to reach a settlement.
A Yorkshire police force has said it is “hugely disappointing” that a number of historic child sexual abuse allegations made against a teacher at a leading private Catholic school were not put before a jury.
North Yorkshire Police today issued a statement in relation to the case of Paul Sheppard, a former teacher at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire who was last year acquitted of indecently assaulting a pupil.
The force said it had carried out a “complex investigation” into allegations made against Dr Sheppard and made “considerable efforts to present a strong case on a number of allegations” to prosecutors.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, four charges of indecent assault were made against the former teacher when the case was brought to trial at York Crown Court in 2015. Prosecutors said they believed “there was sufficient evidence to allow a jury to consider four charges of indecent assault”.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org)
We are grateful that an abuse case against a prominent Chicago Muslim cleric has been resolved. But now is not the time for complacency. It’s time for every single person who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Mohammad Abdullah Saleem – or cover ups by or at the Institute for Islamic Education – to come forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoers and protect kids. If he committed other crimes, he should be prosecuted for them too.
We’re glad Saleem will be on the sex offender registry for life. That will make it harder for him to win the trust of unsuspecting parents and hurt their kids.
Our hearts go out to the four extraordinarily brave women who report having been molested and assaulted by this cleric and to the 23 year old who is cooperating with law enforcement. We are grateful that some of these women are also seeking justice in the civil courts. Victims of sexual violence should use every avenue they can to warn the public about dangerous predators.
A suburban Islamic leader who was accused of molesting an underage girl and a female employee pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon and was sentenced to 24 months of probation.
Mohammed Abdullah Saleem, 77, who founded the Institute for Islamic Education in Elgin, must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
He was accused of repeatedly fondling a young woman who worked for him at the school, as well as a student who was a minor at the time, in some cases while making them sit on his lap.
The arrest of the conservative scholar on sex abuse charges was especially shocking given Saleem's stature in his community made up largely of Islamic immigrants from India and Pakistan. He is said to espouse a code of separation between genders and discourages even hand-shaking. The institute, which provides boarding to some students, runs separate programs for girls and boys.
The elderly, white-bearded imam had appeared to be close to accepting a plea bargain in recent days and had made two earlier court appearances this week as lawyers negotiated in private in the judge's chambers. On Tuesday, Judge James Karahalios gave Saleem until Sept. 2 to accept the proposed plea deal.
August 25, 2016
(JTA) — Three hundred Orthodox rabbis have signed a proclamation urging those suspecting child sex abuse to notify secular authorities and calling on Jewish institutions to take preventative measures to prevent abuse.
The letter, which was released Thursday and signed by rabbis from the the United States, Canada, Israel and Europe, recognizes that Orthodox communities “could have responded in more responsible and sensitive ways to help victims and to hold perpetrators accountable.” It also condemns attempts to ignore or silence abuse victims and witnesses.
Those suspecting sexual abuse do not need to seek rabbinic approval before contacting civil authorities, the proclamation states.
“We condemn attempts to ignore allegations of child sexual abuse. These efforts are harmful, contrary to Jewish law, and immoral,” it said. “The reporting of reasonable suspicions of all forms of child abuse and neglect directly and promptly to the civil authorities is a requirement of Jewish law.”
The letter strongly condemns ostracizing victims of sexual abuse and calls upon synagogues and schools to set up policies to prevent sex abuse, including carefully screening new employees, raising awareness of the issue, and teaching children about sexual development and safety.