A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
September 3, 2015
[con il video]
Venezia, 3 settembre 2015 - Entra nel vivo la 72esima mostra del cinema di Venezia, anche se uno dei film più attesi è fuori concorso. Si tratta di 'Spotlight', film che commuove e convince, a giudicare dagli applausi a scena aperta alle proiezioni dedicate alla stampa.
Spotlight mette sotto i riflettori l'inchiesta del Boston Globe che portò alla luce lo scandalo della pedofilia tra i preti della città e la copertura della Chiesa: uscirono 600 articoli per raccontare oltre 1000 violenze ai bambini. E a farlo fu un pool - Spotlight appunto - di giornalisti come si deve. Il film, regia di Tom McCarthy, vanta un cast di tutto rispetto in cui spiccano Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo e Stanley Tucci. Di certo farà discutere anche in Italia: al centro c'è la figura dell'arcivescovo Bernard Law, che mise tutto a tacere e che, come ricorda l'ultima scena del film, è arciprete emerito della Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore a Roma.
Pope Francis still has to prove the Church is serious about addressing sex abuse by priests, according to the director of a major new film about how the damaging scandal was exposed in the United States.
Tom McCarthy's "Spotlight", a newsroom drama that focuses on how the Boston Globe broke a local story that was to become a global crisis for the Church, had its premiere on Thursday at the Venice Film Festival.
Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams as key members of the Globe's investigations team, the film recounts the paper's pursuit of evidence of how the local Catholic hierarchy, headed by Cardinal Bernard Law, systematically and, at times, cynically, covered up for abusive priests in their midst.
By the time the Globe's team had earned their Pulitzer Prize it had become clear that the Church in the Boston area had, for years, harboured more than 70 predatory paedophiles, shuffling them from parish to parish when the rumours got too loud and acting swiftly to ensure any legal suits were settled silently and secretly.
by Stephen White
posted Thursday, 3 Sep 2015
The only American bishop currently leading a significant curial office is Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston
There are indications that American influence in Rome has been on the wane in recent years, as a number of Americans have left – or been removed from – various high-profile curial posts. These changes reveal something about the state of the Church and the pontificate of Pope Francis. But what they reveal is not what one might first suspect.
A few short years ago one heard quite a bit about the “Americanisation” of the Roman Curia. Pope Benedict XVI had chosen an American, Cardinal William Levada, to be his successor as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the then Archbishop James Harvey was still prefect of the Papal Household, and Cardinal Raymond Burke was head of the Apostolic Signatura.
In addition to the curial posts he entrusted to American prelates, Pope Benedict created nine new American cardinals between 2006 and 2012. When the conclave of 2013 met to elect Benedict’s successor, 11 electors hailed from the States. Only the Italians boasted more.
Things look quite different today.
The only American bishop currently leading a significant curial office is Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, who moonlights as president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Cardinal Levada was replaced at the CDF. Archbishop Harvey was reassigned as Archpriest of St Paul Outside the Walls.
Vatican Information Service
1: The Holy Father appoints Msgr. Alberto Ortega as apostolic nuncio in Jordan and Iraq, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.
He also appoints Professor Alfredo Pontecorvi director of the Department of Health and Hygiene of the Governorate of Vatican City State. The new director is professor of Endocrinology and director of the School of Specialisation in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases at the Agostino Gemelli Teaching Hospital.
4. Bishop Fernando Jose Castro Aguayo, auxiliary of Caracas, Venezuela, is appointed as bishop of Margarita in Venezuela.
6. The Pope accepts the resignation of Bishop Joseph Kunnath, C.M.I., from the pastoral care of the eparchy of Adilabad of the Syro-Malabars, India. Bishop Kunnath is succeeded by Fr. Anthony Prince Panengaden, former protosyncellus and parish priest in the same eparchy.
He erects the apostolic exarchate for the Syro-Malabars in Canada and appoints Fr. Jose Kalluvelil as the first exarch, elevating him to the dignity of bishop.
8. Appointment of Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France, as the Holy Father's special envoy to the consecration of the new cathedral of the diocese of Creteil, France, to be held on 20 September 2015.
The Pope appoints Professor Fabrizio Soccorsi, former head physician of hepatology at San Camillo Hospital, Rome, as his personal doctor.
10. The Holy Father appoints Fr. Juan Carlos Bravo Salazar, parish priest of Nuestra Senora de Belen en Guasipati, as bishop of Acarigua-Araure, Venezuela.
Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, U.S.A., is appointed as the Holy Father's special envoy to the ceremony for the 450th anniversary of the first founding mass of the city of St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A.
14. The Holy Father appoints Fr. Paolo Bizzetti, S.J., as apostolic vicar in Anatolia, Turkey, elevating him to episcopal rank. The new apostolic vicar was formerly rector of the Patavina Residentia Antonianum.
15. The Pope appoints Bishop Michael Didi Adgum of El Obeid, Sudan, as coadjutor archbishop of Jartum, Sudan, and apostolic administrator of El Obeid.
22. Cardinal Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B., archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay, is appointed as the Holy Father's special envoy to the Fifth Eucharistic Congress of Bolivia (Traija, 16-20 September).
The Pope appoints Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” as his special envoy to the concluding ceremony of the First National Eucharistic Congress of the Czech Republic (Brno, 17 October).
24. The Holy Father accepts the resignation presented by Bishop Gilberto Delio Goncalves Canavarro dos Reis from the pastoral ministry of the diocese of Setubal, Portugal, upon reaching the age limit, and appoints Fr. Jose Ornelas Carvalho, S.C.I., superior general of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Dehonians) as the new bishop of Setubal.
26. The Holy Father extended the eparchy of Mandya of the Syro-Malabars, India, to include the six civil districts around Bangalore in which Syro-Malabar faithful are resident: Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Chickballapur, Kolar, Ramnagara and Tumkur.
The Pope gave his assent to the election by the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church of Fr. Antony Kariyil C.M.I., former director of the Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology, Cochin, India, as eparchal vicar of Mandya of the Syro-Malabars.
28. Appointment of Fr. Jean-Pierre Cottanceau, S.S.C.C., as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Papeete, French Polynesia.
The Daily Times
By Hannah Grover
FARMINGTON — An organization that is dedicated to helping the homeless may find itself without a home soon.
The building that houses Catholic Charities, 119 W. Broadway Ave., has been put on a list of properties to be auctioned off in connection to the Diocese of Gallup's bankruptcy.
The diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2013 as a way to deal with several lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Catholic priests from the diocese. Since then, it has released a list of more than 30 priests the diocese believes have been credibly accused of abuse.
It is also auctioning off 36 properties located in Arizona and New Mexico as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
Suzanne Hammons, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Gallup, said most of the properties are vacant. One other property on the list is also used for a ministry. That property, located in Winslow, Ariz., houses the St. Vincent de Paul Society's Food Bank, Hammons said.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Royal Commission to hold public hearing into Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and to continue the Ballarat hearing
3 September, 2015
The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing to inquire into the response of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne to allegations of child sexual abuse. The public hearing will commence on a date to be confirmed during the period 23 November to 18 December 2015 in Melbourne at the County Court of Victoria.
The Melbourne hearing will be co-ordinated with the continuation of the hearing into the Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat and evidence from witnesses common to each hearing will be received.
Further evidence in the Ballarat hearing, including the response of the Christian Brothers, together with final submissions in relation to the Ballarat hearing will be heard in Ballarat in the first half of next year.
The scope and purpose of the public hearing in relation to the Archdiocese of Melbourne is to inquire into:
1. The experience of survivors of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy associated with the Holy Family Parish, Doveton, and Holy Family Primary School, Doveton.
2. The response of relevant authorities within or associated with the Archdiocese of Melbourne to allegations of child sexual abuse against these Catholic clergy.
3. Any related matters.
The date for leave to appear applications will be announced closer to the hearing.
The public hearing will be streamed live to the public via webcast on the Royal Commission’s website at www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.
September 3, 2015
Aleph Melbourne says that the apology published by former Melbourne Yeshivah Rabbi Zvi Telsner “falls short”.
A release by Aleph states: “Whilst his resignation letter claims remorse for his actions, his apology falls short of addressing his claims that homosexual people can be cured of what he believes is an ailment.
To demonstrate genuine remorse for his harmful words Zvi Telsner must undertake secular education on homosexuality and strongly distance himself from any notion that homosexuality can either be cured or is abnormal.
As a senior religious leader in his community his authority combined with his ongoing intolerance of homosexuality will feed into the self-destructive outcomes that same-sex attracted people experience due to intolerance of their sexuality.
Homosexuality has not been considered an illness by mental health professionals for over 40 years and is now affirmed as a normal expression of human sexuality. For any person to consider it curable demonstrates gross ignorance.
By Danny Tran
Pressure is mounting on the Royal Commission in Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to return to Ballarat, with some victims considering a boycott if hearings are not moved from Melbourne.
The news has not swayed the royal commission, which appears to be going ahead with the Melbourne hearings in November.
Andrew Collins said survivors like himself were bitterly disappointed with the decision.
"They're saying well, we just can't do this ... if they're not going to put the survivors forefront in this, then maybe we won't go," he said.
"I think that by boycotting the event, it would send a message to the royal commission that they've lost the support of the very people they're there to help.
PUERTO RICO/REPUBLICA DOMINICANA
El Nuevo Dia
[Thursday, September 3, 2015
Suspicions are aroused in the death of Polish ex-nuncio Jozef Wesolowski, who was nuncio in the Dominican Republic and apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico between 2008 and June 2014, when he was demoted to the lay state by Pope Francis.
Wesolowski, 67, waiting for a trial at the Vatican after finding him guilty of sexual abuse in Santo Domingo, child prostitution and pornography. Many questions are left unanswered!
In the trial that in the Vatican State they should have revealed the identity of "others unknown" who participated in their depravity and if the sexual crimes committed both in Dominican Republic and "elsewhere" in Puerto Rico, where he traveled regularly, staying in the apartment that the Church pays to the apostolic delegates in Guaynabo.
The sexual abuse scandal involving priests in the Diocese of Arecibo was allegedly covered up by Wesolowski, an expert canonist, during the time that he represented the Pope Benedict XVI in the ecclesiastical province of Puerto Rico.]
por Jaime Torres Torres
Despierta suspicacias la muerte del exreligioso polaco Jozef Wesolowski, que fue nuncio en la República Dominicana y delegado apostólico en Puerto Rico entre 2008 y junio de 2014, fecha en que fue degradado al estado laical por el papa Francisco.
Wesolowski, de 67 años, aguardaba por un juicio en El Vaticano tras hallarlo culpable la fiscalía de Santo Domingo de abuso sexual, prostitución infantil y pornografía, según revelaciones de la prensa dominicana. ¡Qué muchas preguntas dejó sin responder!
En el juicio al que se hubiese enfrentado en el Estado del Vaticano debía revelar la identidad de los “otros desconocidos” que participaron de sus depravaciones y, si los crímenes sexuales cometidos tanto en República Dominicana como “en otros lugares”, también ocurrieron en Puerto Rico, adonde viajaba periódicamente, hospedándose en el apartamento que la Iglesia le paga a los delegados apostólicos en Guaynabo.
El escándalo de abusos sexuales que involucran a sacerdotes de la Diócesis de Arecibo fue alegadamente encubierto por Wesolowski, experto canonista, durante el tiempo en que representó al papa Benedicto XVI en la provincia eclesiástica de Puerto Rico.
En enero de 2014, la licenciada Agnes Poventud reveló a los medios la denuncia que un año antes presentó contra el obispo de Arecibo por un supuesto acto de índole sexual contra un hombre, cuando era menor. Como “medida cautelar”, según dispone el Derecho Canónico, si un sacerdote es acusado de conducta depravada es relevado de su ministerio mientras se investiga.
Chief Film Critic
It’s not often that a director manages to follow his worst film with his best, but even if he weren’t rebounding from “The Cobbler,” Tom McCarthy would have a considerable achievement on his hands with “Spotlight,” a superbly controlled and engrossingly detailed account of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the widespread pedophilia scandals and subsequent cover-ups within the Catholic Church. Very much in the “All the President’s Men”/“Zodiac” mold of slow-building, quietly gripping journalistic procedurals, this measured and meticulous ensemble drama sifts through a daunting pile of evidence to expose not just the Church’s horrific cycles of abuse and concealment, but also its uniquely privileged position in a society that failed its victims at myriad personal, spiritual and institutional levels. The result may be more sobering and scrupulous than it is cathartic or revelatory, but with its strong narrative drive and fine cast, “Spotlight” should receive more than a fair hearing with smarthouse audiences worldwide.
As with so many movies drawn from controversial real-life events, any attempt at damage control by the organization under scrutiny could merely wind up boosting the film’s commercial and cultural profile when Open Road releases it Nov. 6 Stateside. As such, Catholic officials might be disinclined to take up arms against “Spotlight” as vocally as they did with “Philomena” (2013), which invited legitimate criticism with its cartoonishly villainous Irish nuns and other dramatic liberties. McCarthy’s picture is all the more authoritative for its comparative restraint: Perhaps realizing the number of different ways they could have tackled a narrative of this density, the director and his co-writer, Josh Singer (“The Fifth Estate”), have shrewdly limited themselves to the journalists’ perspective, ensuring that everything we learn about the scandal comes to us strictly through the Globe’s eyes and ears.
There are no triumphant, lip-smacking confrontations here, no ghoulish rape flashbacks or sensationalistic cutaways to a sinister clerical conspiracy behind closed doors. There is only the slow and steady gathering of information, the painstaking corroboration of hunches and leads, followed by a sort of slow-dawning horror as the sheer scale of the epidemic comes into focus. When a reporter notes that he’d love to see the looks on the faces of Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou) and other Boston Archdiocese officials, it’s a measure of the film’s rigor that it refuses to oblige.
In such cases, the greatest erosion of trust may have less to do with the abuse in itself, than with the Church’s handling of the issue.
There can be little doubt that, if any one issue has seriously undermined public trust in the global Catholic Church in recent years, that issue would be child abuse.
Scandals erupting in Ireland, the USA, Australia and elsewhere have undeniably traumatised the world Catholic community. The Maltese Church was no exception, as the cases of Godwin Scerri and Carmelo Pulis – two priests convicted in 2012 of having abused up to 11 boys – made clear.
In such cases, however, the greatest erosion of trust may have less to do with the abuse in itself, than with the Church’s handling of the issue. Child abuse is of course a heinous crime, and can only be aggravated by the fact that many of the victims would be vulnerable minors entrusted to care institutions. But a crime it remains: and one that is by no means confined to the Catholic Church. Clearly, it would be unfair to tar the institution in its entirety on the basis of individual actions committed by a minority of its members.
In many instances, however, it was the Church’s failure to adequately act against this minority that truly shocked and outraged the wider public. Almost everywhere such scandals occurred, the subsequent pattern of behaviour seemed to be consistent: investigations would be carried out internally and behind closed doors; victims were often encouraged not to go public with their accusations; and most disturbing of all, it often emerged that some priests found guilty by such internal tribunals were simply transferred to other dioceses, where the pattern of abuse would continue unabated.
By Jaime DeLage
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Wednesday it is removing a former St. Paul priest from active ministry because of an allegation of sexual abuse.
At the same time it is returning a recently accused priest to ministry in Richfield.
Both decisions were made after investigations by the archdiocese's newly formed Ministerial Review Board, a confidential body that advises the archbishop on matters involving accused priests.
The priest being reinstated is the Rev. Gerald Dvorak, pastor of the Church of St. Peter in Richfield.
Dvorak was accused in May of sexually abusing a minor in the 1970s. The review board interviewed Dvorak and the complainant and concluded the allegation was not substantiated, according to a statement from Archbishop Bernard Hebda.
Minnesota Public Radio
Madeleine Baran Sep 2, 2015
The Rev. Gerald Dvorak, who went on a leave of absence in May because of an allegation that he sexually abused a child in the 1970s, will return to ministry after a confidential archdiocesan-funded review found the allegation to be "not substantiated," Archbishop Bernard Hebda said in a statement Wednesday.
Hebda did not describe the allegation against Dvorak or disclose the names of the people on the 12-member archdiocesan board that evaluated the claim. Dvorak will return to his assignment as pastor of St. Peter in Richfield. He could not be immediately reached for comment. Dvorak has previously denied abusing anyone.
"The Archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board (MRB) reviewed this entire matter, including results of the investigation and other information related to Rev. Dvorak's 37 years of faithful service to this Archdiocese," Hebda said in his statement.
"The MRB concluded that the allegation is not substantiated and recommended that Rev. Dvorak should be returned to ministry."
By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune SEPTEMBER 2, 2015
The Rev. Joseph Gallatin, accused of inappropriately touching a teenage boy on a mission trip in 1998, is the second priest in the past week disciplined by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for alleged child abuse — a pace considered “extraordinary” by some victim advocates.
Gallatin, who most recently served as pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota Heights, is barred from celebrating mass in a church, hearing confessions, wearing a priestly collar or engaging in other ministry activities. His case has been sent to the Vatican for “final resolution.”
“Imposing these precautionary measures reflects the seriousness of the allegation,” wrote interim archbishop Bernard Hebda in a statement, “but should not be viewed as a presumption of guilt.”
The archdiocese also announced the reinstatement of the Rev. Gerald Dvorak to the Church of St. Peter in Richfield. Dvorak was put on a leave of absence in May following an accusation that he sexually abused a minor in the 1970s. An archdiocese investigation determined the claim was not substantiated.
By Liz Zemba
Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015
Federal prosecutors have identified a fourth minor whom they contend a Somerset County priest attempted to photograph in the nude when he traveled to Central and South America, allegedly to have sex with orphaned boys.
A judge will decide whether jurors will hear from the alleged victim during the Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio's trial next week because none of the charges against the Roman Catholic priest involve the newly identified person, according to a motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Johnstown.
Jury selection for the trial, expected to last at least three weeks, is set to begin Tuesday.
The fourth victim's testimony is needed to prove Maurizio's motives in the alleged sexual abuse, prosecutors Amy E. Larson and Stephanie L. Haines said in the motion.
Now an adult, the alleged victim will testify that Maurizio tried to photograph him when he was a boy, naked in a bathtub and while performing a sex act at a Honduran orphanage, prosecutors said.
The Independent (UK)
Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski: Papal envoy who was sacked by Pope Francis and put on trial in Rome on charges of sexually abusing teenagers
Thursday 03 September 2015
Jozef Wesolowski was a former papal envoy to the Dominican Republic who went on trial during the summer for alleged sexual abuse of minors. The trial was an opportunity for Pope Francis to show that he is carrying out pledges to punish high-ranking churchmen accused of sexual offences or covering up abuse.
Wesolowski never set foot in the tiny courtroom for the trial, held in the building where he was living. On the eve of the trial's opening, he was taken to hospital with what the Vatican described as “a sudden illness”. He appears to have died of a heart attack.
But before the trial was adjourned for Wesolowski's illness, the court clerk's reading aloud of the charges gave a vivid idea of the case's gravity. Prosecutors alleged that Wesolowski “corrupted, through lewd acts, adolescents presumed to be between 13 and 16 years old, in order to carry out on them, and in their presence, sexual acts”.
Wesolowski was born in Poland in 1948, and was ordained in 1972 by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II. He was appointed as nuncio to Bolivia in 1999 and in 2000 was consecrated as Titular Archbishop of Slebte by Pope John Paul. He was subsequently nuncio to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, before taking up the same post in the Dominican Republic in 2008.
September 2, 2015
Cardinal George Pell will give evidence to a royal commission inquiry into child sex abuse in the Melbourne archdiocese as well as its Ballarat investigation.
The royal commission will hold a public hearing into the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne's response to child abuse from late November.
The hearing will run alongside the second stage of its inquiry into clergy abuse in the Ballarat diocese.
Cardinal Pell, now the Vatican's finance chief, had already agreed to return to Australia for the Ballarat inquiry.
Cardinal Pell is a former Melbourne and Sydney archbishop and Ballarat priest.
He and other witnesses who have evidence common to both inquiries will give evidence during a month-long sitting in Melbourne beginning on November 23.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
3 September, 2015
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hear oral submissions in relation to the public hearing for Case Study 22 on Thursday 17 September 2015.
The public hearing commenced on 2 February 2015 and examined the response of Yeshivah Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi to allegations of child sexual abuse.
The oral submissions will commence at 10am at Royal Commission Hearing Room 1, Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney.
The oral submissions will also be streamed live on the Royal Commission website.
By: Jennie Lissarrague
A Richfield priest has been allowed to return to public ministry after the Archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board determined that an abuse allegation against him was not substantiated.
Rev. Gerald Dvorak is the pastor of the Church of Saint Peter in Richfield. He took a voluntary leave of absence back in May after the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis received an allegation the he sexually abused a minor in the 1970s.
Dvorak denied the allegations when they surfaced. In a statement, he said, “I pray for all victims of sexual abuse, but I have never abused anyone. Please pray for me and all those involved.”
The investigation included interviews with Dvorak and the complainant. After the investigation, the board concluded that the allegation was not substantiated and recommended that Dvorak be returned to ministry.
The Wichita Eagle
BY STAN FINGER AND AMY RENEE LEIKER
The Wichita Eagle
A priest charged Tuesday with stealing nearly $151,000 from the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and two small southeast Kansas churches to finance his gambling habit told the diocese last year that he had misused parish funds.
The Rev. Thomas H. Leland, 48, is accused of one federal count of bank fraud for taking unauthorized reimbursements, salary advances and overpayments and too much money for conducting church services between 2012 and 2014 while he was the parish priest at St. Francis in St. Paul and at St. Ambrose in Erie, according to a charging document filed in U.S. District Court.
Diocesan spokeswoman Amy Pavlacka, in an e-mailed response to questions, said Leland “self-reported” misusing the money in March 2014.
Associated Press SEPTEMBER 2, 2015
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is reinstating one priest and removing another from active ministry.
Interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda said Wednesday the Rev. Joseph Gallatin was removed after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. The allegation was reported in 1998, but earlier reviews concluded there was insufficient evidence.
But a new ministerial review board concluded there was sufficient evidence. The case has been referred to the Vatican. Gallatin has denied the allegation.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
The spiritual head of Melbourne’s Yeshivah centre faced intense pressure from leaders of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community to quit to avoid embarrassment at a sex abuse royal commission hearing scheduled for later this month.
Rabbi Zvi Telsner, who told the commission in February that pedophiles and homosexuals could be “cured”, finally stood down earlier this week and apologised to victims of sexual abuse after it was revealed he bullied and berated an abuse victim last Thursday during a conversation about the centre’s leadership.
Rabbi Telsner allegedly kicked the victim out of a meeting and attacked other victims as “crazy” or “garbage” and out to destroy the community.
The Australian has been told Rabbi Telsner was asked to quit, a claim denied by the centre.
The latest allegations appalled some of the new members of the interim management of the Yeshivah Centre, which lies at the heart of the tight-knit community, who were bought in to replace the old board following shocking allegations of sexual abuse and cover-ups at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Australian Associated Press
Wednesday 2 September 2015
Geelong Grammar should repay the school fees of abuse victims because the elite school failed children and parents, a former student has told the royal commission.
The student, referred to as BKM, told the child abuse royal commission, which is hearing evidence about five decades of child abuse at the school, his final year was ruined when a teacher indecently assaulted him.
“They made my father pay an exceptional amount of money in school fees for me to attend the school and yet they failed me and him,” BKM said.
“I was sexually abused and repeatedly and seemingly uncaringly re-exposed to the situation that allowed the abuse.”
BKM, who described Geelong Grammar as one of the best schools in the world, said the schools and institutions involved in abuse cases should pay back the fees paid by parents as compensation.
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis released the following statement on Father Joseph Gallatin today. Per Archbishop Hebda's announcement, Gallatin's case has now been submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (a mere thirteen years after it was called for).
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Date: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Source: Tom Halden, Director of Communications
Today, Rev. Gerald Dvorak returns to public ministry as the pastor of the Church of Saint Peter in Richfield.
In May of this year, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis received an allegation that the Rev. Dvorak, pastor of St. Peter in Richfield, sexually abused a minor in the 1970s. In accordance with Archdiocesan protocols, the allegation was treated as credible pending an investigation. The definition of "credible" in this context means "not manifestly false or frivolous." The use of the term was neither a presumption nor a determination of guilt.
Law enforcement was notified and authorized the Archdiocese to conduct an investigation of the allegation. Rev. Dvorak took a voluntary leave of absence pending the outcome of that investigation. Upon completion of the Archdiocesan investigation, law enforcement was notified of the results of the investigation and the decision to reinstate Father Dvorak.
The investigation included interviews with Rev. Dvorak and with the complainant. The Archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board (MRB) reviewed this entire matter, including results of the investigation and other information relating to Rev. Dvorak’s 37 years of faithful service to this Archdiocese. The MRB concluded that the allegation is not substantiated and recommended that Rev. Dvorak should be returned to ministry. Judge Tim O’Malley, Director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, also reviewed this matter and was present for all MRB deliberations. He is in agreement with the MRB’s findings and recommendation.
I support the conclusions of the MRB and Director O’Malley, and so have ordered the reinstatement of Rev. Dvorak to public ministry.
I ask for your prayers and support for all victims of sexual abuse and their families.
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Date: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Source: Tom Halden, Director of Communications
Today, Rev. Joseph Gallatin was removed from ministry and his case involving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been referred to Rome for adjudication and final resolution.
In 1998, the Archdiocese received an allegation that Rev. Gallatin had inappropriate physical contact with a minor. The matter was considered by three Archdiocesan Review Boards, in 1998, 2002 and 2014. Each time, the earlier Boards concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to support a finding that Rev. Gallatin’s conduct in 1998 constituted sexual abuse of a minor. The 2014 Board recommended that Rev. Gallatin be permitted to continue in limited ministry. Rev. Gallatin’s ministry was restricted accordingly.
Since the 2014 Review Board’s recommendation, additional information from people involved in the 1998 incident has been obtained. The Archdiocese conducted further investigation and, as that information was uncovered, additional restrictions were placed on Rev. Gallatin’s ministry. Earlier this month, investigative results were presented to the newly-formed Ministerial Review Board (MRB). The MRB reviewed the entire matter, including information from years ago, the actions of previous review boards, and investigative information obtained recently.
The MRB concluded that there is sufficient evidence to support an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Because of that, the MRB recommended that Rev. Gallatin’s case be referred to Rome for adjudication in accordance with Canon Law. Judge Tim O’Malley, Director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, has also reviewed this matter and was present for all MRB deliberations. He is in agreement with the MRB’s findings and recommendation for referral to Rome.
I do not know how long it will take for Rome to resolve this matter, but I have confidence that they will proceed with fairness and justice for all parties involved. Effective immediately and for the duration of time that this matter is pending in Rome, Rev. Gallatin is prohibited from celebrating Mass in the presence of laity, hearing confessions, preaching, assisting at weddings or funerals or otherwise engaging in any priestly ministry. Rev. Gallatin is not permitted to wear a collar or present himself as a priest publicly. Imposing these precautionary measures reflects the seriousness of the allegation, but should not be viewed as a presumption of guilt. Rev. Gallatin has denied that he has sexually abused a minor and is accorded the presumption of innocence during this time.
By: Jennie Lissarrague
A priest who served in multiple cities throughout the state is being removed from ministry.
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced Wednesday that Rev. Joseph Gallatin was removed from ministry after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor.
The case has been referred to Rome for a final resolution.
The allegation was first received by the Archdiocese in 1998. Three review boards considered the matter, and each time they decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to support that his actions constituted as sexual abuse of a minor.
In 2014, a board recommended restrictions be put on his ministry.
Since 2014, more people involved in that 1998 incident have come forward with information, leading to more restrictions being placed on Gallatin’s ministry.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A former Louisville Catholic priest facing federal child porn charges will be released from jail.
Stephen Pohl was arrested in Florida last month for accessing child porn on computers at his church.
Pohl appeared in federal court Wednesday, and Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin agreed to release him on a $25,000 unsecured bond.
Louisville Archdiocese officials say the FBI found child pornography on his computer and photos of students from St. Margaret Mary parish, where he was pastor. Pohl has since resigned.
Pohl smiled briefly at family members as he entered the courtroom Wednesday. The 57-year-old will live with his mother while awaiting trial and cannot have computers in the home. He will also wear monitoring equipment.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - A replacement has been named for St. Margaret Mary parish after its former leader awaits trial on child pornography allegations.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz appointed Father Bill Hammer, who is currently the pastor of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, as Pohl's replacement.
Pohl currently awaits trial for allegedly accessing child pornography and has recently been released on $25,000 bond.
The sister of a teenage boy murdered by the IRA in 1973 has described her shock at hearing his case is the “most horrific” before the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.
Bernard Teggart was a vulnerable 15-year-old boy when he was abducted by the IRA, along with his twin brother Gerard, from St Patrick’s Training School in west Belfast in November 1973.
Gerard was let go, but his brother was beaten, tortured, shot and dumped near Belfast Zoo.
“At first they had taken Gerard, thinking Gerard was Bernard, because they were identical. They brought Gerard back and then came and took the two of them,” Alice Harper, Bernard and Gerard’s sister told UTV.
2 SEPTEMBER 2015
BY MAURICE FITZMAURICE
The brother of a schoolboy shot dead by the IRA says he was failed “at every level”.
Bernard Teggart was only 15 when he was abducted and murdered by the terror group in 1973.
The IRA denied being involved in the killing, but admitted it and apologised in 2004 and again in 2008. However, the teenager’s death was raised again today when it was introduced at the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry where it was described as the “most horrific” case of child abuse being considered by the probe.
Bernard Teggart was abducted from St Patrick’s Training School in West Belfast before being shot in the head some hours later. He later died in hospital.
(The following article discusses a difficult topic in story form. All characters are fictional, although the events referred to are based on an amalgamation of true experiences.)
She went to her pastor for advice, not sex.
Another woman accepted her pastor’s invitation to chair a committee he oversaw, not an invitation to be sexually preyed upon.
And still another woman was encouraged by her pastor to enter the ministry, not to enter a sexual relationship with her seminary professor, who was also the on-campus pastor.
Each of these women thought they knew what they had agreed to. None of these women ever expected a pastor to do something so egregious as to manipulate them into having sex with him. The worst part of it was that each woman blamed herself for having an “affair” with her pastor and each woman hid silently in her shame. By holding his secret, each woman protected the trusted authority figure who had betrayed her.
Varios jóvenes de los que supuestamente fueron abusados sexualmente por el fallecido exnuncio vaticano en el país Josef Wesolowski acudieron este miércoles a la Fiscalía del Distrito Nacional, donde exigen una indemnización. Uno de los jóvenes dijo que necesita el dinero para ayudar a su familia.
Santo Domingo.- Several youngsters who were allegedly sexually abused by former Vatican envoy the late Josef Wesolowski went to the National District Office of the Prosecutor on Wednesday, to demand compensation.
One boy said he needs the money to help his family, elcaribe.com.do reports.
Wesolowski, charged with sexually abusing boys during his tenure in the Dominican Republic, died at the Vatican reportedly from a heart attack last Friday.
By Antoinette Konz
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Father Steven Pohl, a former priest at St. Margaret Mary Church facing several child pornography charges, faced a federal judge Wednesday at his initial hearing.
During the proceedings, U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin approved Pohl's release on 24-hour federal home incarceration on strict conditions.
Pohl, who is being housed in Grayson County, will not be released until Thursday when they can get all of the required monitoring equipment set up at his mother's house, which is located in Jefferson County.
Prosecutors acknowledged acknowledged that his mother's home is located near several schools, but they said they do not believe he poses a risk to the community. They also said that while Pohl left the state during the investigation, they don't believe he did it to flee law enforcement, so they are OK with his release on home incarceration.
Pohl's attorney, Ted House, said Pohl was arrested at his sister's home near Tampa, Fla., and that he is "in no way" a flight risk.
Clergy abuse victims’ privacy to be debated in bankruptcy court, the craziest law review article ever, and a melodrama in the Pennsylvania AG office
By: Mike Mosedale September 2, 2015
In clergy sex abuse cases: Who gets to review victims’ claims?
The Wall Street Journal checks in on the latest legal jousting in U.S. Bankruptcy Court between the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and victims of clergy sex abuse.
Plaintiffs attorneys are pushing back against a request to allow as many as 1,000 additional individuals – including parish pastors, parish financial councils, board members and other lawyers – to review “the unusually detailed and intensely personal details” in the victims’ claims.
While those particulars have already been eyeballed by the archdiocese, insurance carriers, and the parishes’ bankruptcy lawyers, Mary Jo. A. Jensen-Carter – a lawyer representing a group of parishes – said in court papers that it is “imperative that individuals governing the parish be involved in the process of analyzing the claims.”
Judge Robert Kressel is expected to take up the matter at a hearing in Minneapolis tomorrow.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
For more information: David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Jeff Jones, Peoria SNAP leader (jjones10072gmail.com, 815 985 9441)
Victims challenge bishop about alleged predator priest
He’s a “credibly accused child molester,” church admits
But group worries that his whereabouts now are secret
“We fear he has hurt others or is hurting others,” SNAP says
Cleric reportedly also led weekend retreats for Catholic teenagers
A victims’ group is prodding Peoria’s bishop to be more honest about a just-suspended priest who allegedly committed child sexual abuse. It also wants Catholic officials to “aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered these crimes so the wrongdoers might be prosecuted.”
Last week, Fr. Terry Cassidy was removed as pastor of St. Anne’s parish in Peoria because of accusations of child sexual abuse. The announcement was made in a news release from the Peoria Diocese. But Bishop Daniel Jenky would “not specify a number of victims, when the misconduct occurred or when the allegations were made,” according to the Peoria Star Journal.
Leaders of a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests are writing to Jenky urging him to “take decisive action to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded and expose the truth.”
Specifically, SNAP wants the bishop to disclose:
--where Fr. Cassidy is now,
--how much time elapsed between the first abuse report against Fr. Cassidy and his suspension, and
--how many individuals have reported child sex crimes by Fr. Cassidy.
They also want Jenky to
--put Fr. Cassidy in “a remote, secure, independent and professionally-run treatment center, so that kids will be safe,”
--personally visit every place where Fr. Cassidy worked, “begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call law enforcement,” and
--turn over to law enforcement all church records about Fr. Cassidy.
“Catholic officials will often oust child molesting clerics from parishes because it’s a smart legal defense and public relations move for them,” said Jeff Jones, SNAP’s Peoria leader (jjones10072gmail.com, 815 985 9441). “The real issue is: Will church officials warn and help protect the public from these dangerous predators? That’s what almost every bishop refuses to do.”
“We hope Bishop Jenky will show some courage, go beyond the bare minimum and do what any caring shepherd would really do, by aggressively seeking out victims, witnesses and whistleblowers,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis. He is SNAP’s director. “For starters, Jenky should tell parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public where Fr. Cassidy is now so that kids can be kept away from him.”
“We’re afraid Fr. Cassidy may be hurting kids right now,” said Clohessy. “And it’s very likely others who were hurt by him are “still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame. So Peoria’s bishop, priests and lay Catholics should do everything possible to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.”
The IRA murder of a schoolboy is the "most horrific" case of child abuse being considered by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) , it has been revealed.
Barney Teggart, 15, was abducted from St Patrick's Training School in west Belfast in 1973.
He was shot in the head some hours afterwards and died in hospital.
Inquiry counsel said the killing is "the most horrific incident of child abuse to come before the HIA Inquiry".
It was revealed that the school authorities did not report the abduction to the police.
Arensberg-Pruett Funeral Home
Fr. Camillus Matthias Wurtz, OSB
(November 21, 1928 - August 16, 2013)
Father Camillus (Matthias) Wurtz, O.S.B. died on August 16, 2013, at the Heartland Regional Medical Center after a short illness. He was born on November 21, 1928, in Greenleaf, Kansas, the son of Matthias A. and Rhea (Hogue) Wurtz.
Vespers for the Dead, followed by visitation, will be on Tuesday, August 20, 2013, at 7 p.m. in St. Benedict's Abbey Church. The Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Camillus will be in the Abbey Church on Wednesday, August 21, at 10:30 AM, with interment following in the Abbey cemetery.
Memorials in honor of Fr. Camillus can be made to St. Benedict’s Abbey, 1020 N. Second St., Atchison, KS 66002. The Arensberg-Pruett Funeral Home of Atchison, Kansas, is in charge of arrangements.
Father Camillus attended Greenleaf High School 1942-1944, and finished at Maur Hill Prep School, Atchison, in 1945. He attended St. Benedict’s College for two years before entering the novitiate on July 10, 1946.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
Geelong Grammar has been exposed cynically dealing with child sexual abuse, including a cover-up and ruse where the school manufactured concern to limit the fallout of the decades-long scandal.
The child sex abuse royal commission has revealed explosive evidence detailing how the school council in 2004 had a policy of hushing up abuse and that in 2006 incumbent principal Stephen Meek was fully aware of confidentiality clauses used by the institution in deals with victims.
In damning evidence, the commission released a facsimile from 1997 written by the then head of the Toorak junior campus, Phillipa Beeson, detailing the legal strategy of dealing with a victim.
Ms Beeson told then Geelong headmaster Lister Hannah that the school should not admit liability to the victim but instead ingratiate itself with the victim, who was assaulted as a child in 1980 but the complaint was made in 1997.
Derrick Rose, @WHAS11 September 2, 2015
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- With an escort from United States Marshals, Father Stephen Pohl, the former pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish, is back in Louisville to face a federal judge in connection to a child pornography investigation, a federal official confirmed to WHAS11 news Wednesday morning, Sept. 2.
Pohl is facing charges of accessing child pornography here in Louisville.
The case started when an FBI task force began investigating Pohl. The investigation revealed that Pohl had several images of children on his computer as well as child pornography. The Archdiocese of Louisville revealed some of that investigation revealing that Pohl had nearly 200 images of schoolchildren from when he worked at Saint Margaret Mary.
Matthew Glowicki, @MattGlo September 2, 2015
The Rev. Stephen Pohl, the former pastor at St. Margaret Mary, has been extradited from Florida and is due to appear in U.S. District Court at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in Louisville, court records show.
Pohl was originally arrested in Florida last month and charged with a federal count of accessing child porn.
Investigators say Pohl viewed multiple pornographic online images of nude young boys ranging in age from infancy to mid-teens with their genitals exposed, according to a criminal complaint.
Pohl, 57, viewed those images on his laptop and desktop computer seized from the office and rectory of St. Margaret Mary Parish, said Detective Dan Jackman of the Louisville Metro Police Crimes Against Children Unit in a complaint affidavit.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Former St. Margaret Mary priest Stephen Pohl is back in Louisville.
Pohl will be in court at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to answer to a charge of knowingly accessing with intent to view material that contained an image of child pornography that had been transported using any means or facility of interstate commerce and foreign commerce by any means including by computer.
Pohl was arrested last month in Pinellas County, Florida. He resigned from his position at St. Margaret Mary a day before his arrest.
Investigators said they found more than 150 pictures of children from St. Margaret Mary School on Pohl's electronic devices. Detectives said several of the pictures of students were inappropriate.
An examination of the hard drives from Pohl’s office and home computers showed the presence of child pornography. The images were not downloaded, but rather appeared in the cache, indicating that he had accessed and viewed materials but did not download or purposely store them.
Eileen Ford Insights and Outbursts
“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
– Lord Acton
I spent a week last month at the Marie Joseph Spiritual Center in Biddeford Pool, Maine, on a directed retreat, speaking with one of the sisters for an hour each day but otherwise, remaining in silence most of the time.
At Marie Joseph, newspapers were available on a table near the entrance to the dining room but I wasn’t interested in news until I read “It’s time to end pattern of deceit and denial on clergy sex abuse cases,” a headline on the July 3-16 issue of the National Catholic Reporter.
It took me back to a painful time when I lost faith in a church I always respected. As a retired NYC Transit Police lieutenant responsible for investigating allegations against police officers at one time, I wondered if the church needed a civilian review board, for it was obvious that in at least one critical area, the welfare of children, church leaders failed to police themselves.
I shared those feelings with my director and our conversations helped me regain the sense of living in the present moment and enjoying my time there.
But I also felt a need to celebrate the “unsung heroes” responsible for any improvements in the church, not bishops or popes but the survivors of abuse and clerical negligence I got to know, many of them still standing outside Catholic cathedrals every Sunday, ignored by bishops and parishioners.
By Matt C. Abbott
A bit of good news to share: A reliable source has informed me that Father John Corapi, a popular priest among orthodox Catholics who departed public life after a tumultuous period a few years ago, remains in the priesthood and is re-establishing his spiritual life.
There's no indication he'll be returning to public life anytime soon, if ever. However, it's nice to know that Father Corapi can at least be a quiet prayer warrior during this extremely difficult time in the Church and world.
I won't go into the particulars about what transpired in the past – it's water under the bridge – and I'm sure there's information on the Internet (some of it more reliable than other information, obviously) for those who may not be familiar with the situation. Plus, those who really didn't pay attention to him in the first place likely don't care one way or the other about his current status.
Laut Staatsanwaltschaft bestand kein Autoritätsverhältnis zwischen dem Pater und den Burschen. Auch der Vorsatz der Belästigung sei nicht nachweisbar.
[Requiem for ex-nuncio Wesołowski took place in the rite for laymen.]
(Rom) Die Begräbnis von Józef Wesołowski, des ehemaligen Apostolischen Nuntius der Dominikanischen Republik und Titularerzbischofs, fand nicht im Ritus für Bischöfe, sondern für Laien statt. Wesołowski war von der Glaubenskongregation des sexuellen Kindesmißbrauchs für schuldig befunden und in den Laienstand zurückversetzt worden.
Der polnische Kurienerzbischof Konrad Krajevski, seit Sommer 2013 Päpstlicher Almosenier, leitete die Totenmesse für den ehemaligen polnischen Vatikan-Diplomaten, der im August 2013 von Papst Franziskus seines Amtes enthoben worden war (siehe Ex-Vatikandiplomat Wesołowski tot – Ihm drohten bis zu zehn Jahre Haft wegen Kindesmißbrauch).
Abuse victim and former Yeshiva student Manny Waks has welcomed the resignation of a senior Australian Rabbi.
Rabbi Zvi Telsner yesterday announced he would step down as head of Melbourne's Yeshiva Centre, which manages schools including Yeshiva College.
In a letter to the Jewish community on Tuesday evening, Rabbi Telsner apologised for the way he dealt with child sex abuse victims and their families.
"We must all be aware of how our words and actions impact on others and therefore would like to apologise for my conduct and urge everyone to show compassion and support towards victims and their families," he said.
Speaking with SBS from France this morning, Mr Waks said the decision was necessary.
By Sarah Farnsworth
A man with no memory of sexual abuse perpetrated at Geelong Grammar is trying to come to terms with shattered memories of his beloved school, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.
Luke Benson said he had only fond memories of his time at prestigious Victorian school from when he first started at the Highton campus in 1988.
He told the inquiry the school took pride in its ability to look after children and he developed incredibly close and intimate bonds with teachers and staff.
"I was made to feel loved," Mr Benson said.
"It was like going to a slumber party every night for two years."
LIFE was "brutal" at Timbertop, much like the scenes depicted in William Golding's classic novel about the descent into barbarity of a group of marooned schoolboys.
THAT'S how former student BKO recalls his time at Geelong Grammar School's rural campus, famously attended for two terms by Prince Charles in 1966.
In Golding's book Lord of the Flies, the stranded boys run riot and turn on one another once they are removed from the rules of civilisation.
BKO, who spent a year at Timbertop in 1973, describes the school campus on 325-hectares of bush and farming land as an unusual and "quite a brutal" environment.
"You're out in the bush with 14 other boys in your unit and you live very closely with those boys."
He said it was very different to Geelong Grammar's Corio campus, where if you did not get on with somebody you did not really have to see them much at all.
Sydney Morning Herald
September 2, 2015
A Geelong Grammar School student who was abused up to 40 times by a school tutor he considered a "father figure" has no memory of the abuse, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has heard.
Luke Benson, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, attended the school from the late 1980s to early 1990s, was asked to attend Prahran police station in 2005. There, he was informed that one of the school's house assistants, Philippe Vincent Trutmann, had admitted to sexually abusing him 30 to 40 times over a two-year period.
"It is confusing to have no recollection of the abuse," Me Benson said. "I have no memory of this happening and I inquired whether it was a mistake.
"The police told me that Trutmann had reviewed school yearbooks and identified from photographs the boys who he had abused. I think this was the worst day of my life."
Trutmann was sentenced to up to six-and-a-half years in jail in 2005, for sexually abusing 40 young male boarders at the school's Highton campus between 1985 and 1995.
Staff and agencies
Wednesday 2 September 2015
Former pupils of the elite Australian school where Prince Charles spent two terms have told a royal commission that complaints of sexual abuse against numerous teachers over decades were ignored or dismissed.
One witness, referred to as BKO, said Geelong Grammar’s rural campus, Timbertop, where in 1966 the 17-year-old prince spent most of his time, was a brutal environment and a “Lord of the Flies-type situation at times”.
Australia’s long-running royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse is holding a two-week hearing into events at Geelong Grammar. On Tuesday, a former student, Robert Llewellyn-Jones, told the commission the school was a “hothouse of violent acts” with a “subculture of brutality”.
On Wednesday, BKO told the commission, sitting in Melbourne, that the school was more concerned with avoiding scandal than dealing with abuse.
BKO said the school chaplain, the Rev John Davison, had fondled his genitals and those of boys during supposed hynotism sessions. When he reported the abuse to a maths teacher, Jonathan Harvey – who was later convicted for abusing a student – he found the process very threatening and was told he might be expelled, he said.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org)
For the sake of healing, we call on Pope Francis to aggressively do outreach in each of the ten nations where archbishop Josef Wesolowski spent time as a cleric. The pontiff should publicly beg anyone who was hurt by Wesolowski to come forward and get help.
(The nations are: Poland, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Dominican Republic, Italy and Puerto Rico.)
For the sake of justice, we call on Pope Francis to insist that church staff in each of these nations turn over files about Wesolowski to law enforcement. It’s possible that some of this predators’ colleagues intimidated victims, threatened witnesses, destroyed evidence, stonewalled police, shredded documents or broke laws in other ways. If so, they should be prosecuted, and Francis can help make this happen.
Regardless of what the pontiff decides, we call on the bishops of these nations to take these steps immediately.
Because it’s likely Wesolowski hurt kids in many (perhaps all) of these countries.
Because Catholic officials recruited, educated ordained, trained, promoted and moved Wesolowski.
Because Catholic officials call themselves “shepherds” who search for and help “lost sheep.”
By Bill Kirby Jr.
Joan Dayton let two assistant principals know, and in no uncertain terms.
"This is my school," the principal and co-founder of Freedom Christian Academy was telling Lin Wheeler and Hall Powers, according to an affidavit, who were concerned in 2012 about why she allowed a registered sex offender to perform odds jobs at the school. "I'm in charge here, and I can do whatever I want."
Paul Conner, 50, the registered sex offender, was arrested May 28 and charged with violating the Sex Offender Registration Act.
On Tuesday, Dayton stood before Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons and entered a plea of responsibility to aiding and abetting and conspiring with Conner's breach of the Sex Offender Registration Act on multiple occasions dating to 2010 at the private school.
"I am agreeing to what I did," Dayton, 64, told the judge. "I did know he was a past sex offender. It's a heavy price."
But Dayton, her lawyer said, was little more than a good-hearted woman trying to help someone along life's way.
By Michael Futch Staff writer
Joan Dayton, the former head of Freedom Christian Academy, had not spoken to the media since she and her school fell under scrutiny more than three months ago in a Cumberland County Sheriff's Office investigation.
On Tuesday, she talked for the first time publicly about why she allowed a registered sex offender on the school campus in 2011.
"I do want to say this: What I am agreeing to is what I did," she told Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons during a plea hearing.
Dayton faced Ammons and spoke softly, her back to her family and supporters in the courtroom. Some were weeping.
Her comments came one day after being charged with violating the Sex Offender Registration Act by "failing to report and aiding and abetting the violations committed by Paul Conner of being on school property."
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The former head of a Fayetteville private school told a judge on Tuesday that she takes full responsibility for hiring a convicted sex offender to perform work on the campus.
Joan Ellen Dayton, co-founder of Freedom Christian Academy, turned herself in Monday on a felony charge of violating the state's Sex Offender Registration Act. Authorities said she failed to report, and aided and abetted, Paul Conner, a registered sex offender who worked at the school.
In her appearance Tuesday in Cumberland County Superior Court, Dayton accepted a plea agreement of 11 months of probation, 50 hours of community service to be performed within 180 days and payment of court costs. She also is not allowed on campus during her probation.
If she completes the requirements, the felony charge will be dismissed.
01 SEP 2015
Freedom Christian Academy co-founder Joan Ellen Dayton was expected enter a plea on Tuesday to charges that she knowingly allowed a sex offender to work around students and then tried to cover it up.
According to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, Dayton violated the Sex Offender Registration Act by “aiding and abetting the violations committed by Paul Conner of being on school property,” the Fayetteville Observer reported.
Investigators said that Dayton allowed Conner to work at Freedom Christian Academy during the 2011-12 academic year while his wife was working as a teacher. The sheriff’s office was notified after a parent discovered that Conner was a sex offender.
Dayton surrendered herself at the sheriff’s office on Monday. She was charged with three Sex Offender Registration Act violations, including conspiracy to allow a sex offender on protected premises.
“There’s a duty, particularly on the school principal – a statute that provides a duty for persons who are aware of a sex offender violating the registration act,” Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office attorney Ronnie Mitchell told the Observer. “Their duty is to report that. Not to cover that up. And so a failure to make that report to law enforcement is itself a separate felony.”
Scottish Catholic Observer
The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland met with Dave Sharp after issuing an apology following the publication of the McLellan report
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow has met with a survivor of abuse within the Church.
Dave Sharp was granted the one-to-one meeting after the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland apologised to victims on behalf of the Church.
The 56-year-old, who was assaulted as a child at a Catholic brothers’ school in Falkland, Fife, said the discussion was very positive and he raised his concerns with the archbishop (above) in a ‘very open and frank’ way.
“I got the feeling I was the first victim the archbishop had spoken to in depth,” Mr Sharp said after the meeting took place. “I think it was eye-opening for him.
September 1, 2015
By Elana Sztokman
Many members of the Jewish community are scratching their heads these days about the seemingly bizarre decision by the board of the Riverdale Jewish Center to keep on Jonathan Rosenblatt as their communal rabbi despite significant evidence that he has been acting inappropriately in his leadership role. To be fair there are people like Dr Steven Bayme who, according to the New York Times , decided that they cannot morally justify staying in such a synagogue, despite four decades of commitment, and for that they should be commended. And yet, despite what seems like an obvious history of violations of some basic moral and Jewish tenets, the board is retaining Rosenblatt, making victims of sexual abuse and their allies question the ethical backbone of the entire Orthodox community.
In fact, though, we should not be so surprised by the support that Rosenblatt has gotten from some of his balabusim and some of his peers. There is a long list of sexual predators and other Torah offenders who have received enviable support even as their sins come to light. Motti Elon , for example, who was convicted of sexual assault against his male students, has a strong following in Israel and abroad, and is frequently invited as a lecturer around the country. Marc Gafni , another long-time sexual offender, is considered a celebrity in many places, while his offenses barely find mention in his bio or on his Wikipedia page (“Best-selling author” it is). Michael Broyde , whose bizarre crimes of fraud were not sexual but nevertheless far out of the bounds of Torah, seems to be leading a new minyan of followers. And while Barry Freundel is largely condemned for his outrageously hurtful crimes of mikveh voyeurism, he had many vocal supporters before the undeniable evidence against him came to light, and many voices of support during sentencing – including Orthodox machers and pundits declaring, “It’s not rape” and therefore he should have gotten a much shorter sentence.
It is not only in the Jewish world where high-profile sexual predators find high-profile support. It has taken dozens of testimonies of women and several decades before anyone began taking seriously the allegations against Bill Cosby – and he still has some major celebrity supporters. Accusations against Dominique Kahn-Strauss were dismissed by some of his peers with a jovial, “Everyone knows he likes women.” And in fact all we have to do is look to the Supreme Court where Clarence Thomas has been sitting silently for over two decades despite powerful testimony about sexual harassment against him. It seems as if it is often easier for men in positions of power to wiggle out of accusations of sexual abuse than it is for victims to be believed.
A priest in Italy has suspended all parish activity apart from Sunday mass, after being dogged by rumours that he fathered a child with a married member of his congregation.
Father Luciano Venturi, a 50-year-old parish priest in Monteobizzo di Pavullo, in the province of Modena, had endured the claims for over a year – but on Sunday he took decisive action, Gazzetta di Modena reported.
As the Sunday morning service was about to start, Venturi approached the pulpit, flanked by the parishioner he allegedly impregnated, her husband and their three young children.
Venturi then delivered a short homily on the subject of his supposed affair with the woman, addressing his congregation while reading a statement.
"I am not the father of that child," Venturi told his flock.
ALLEGATIONS of sexual abuse at the former Bayswater and Box Hill boys’ homes are the subject of a hearing in October.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has announced it will hold a public hearing to inquire into the experiences of children who lived in Salvation Army institutions between 1940 and 1990, which includes the notorious Bayswater Boys’ Home.
The home in Liverpool Rd, The Basin, operated from 1897 to 1986 and housed hundreds of boys who had been placed in legal custody.
Fewer than 2% of residents at a Catholic-run training school in Northern Ireland made abuse allegations, a lawyer told a public inquiry.
Police considered some of the claims surrounding St Patrick's in West Belfast to be "demonstrably" false, Joseph Aiken said. Of more than 4,000 residents only 66 individuals (1.45%) made allegations to the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry of some form of abuse.
Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart is leading the HIA probe, one of the UK's largest inquiries into physical, sexual and emotional harm to children at homes run by the church, state and voluntary organisations. On Tuesday it focused on St Patrick's, where sexual abuse by a member of staff has been proven.
Mr Aiken said: "Its size in percentage terms (1.45%) is striking in comparison to, for instance Rubane where approximately 20% of the 1,050 children who passed through that institution had made allegations of abuse in one form or another."
BONHAM, Texas -- The trial of Lyle Huddlestun, 43, began Monday with opening arguments.
Huddlesten is charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child under 17 years of age.
Bonham police officer Terry Bee testified saying these 20 to 22 incidents happened between 2007 and 2009 in Huddlestun's home.
The victim reported these allegations to authorities in 2013, claiming the incidents happened when he was 13 or 14 years old.
Two former students of Métis schools in Manitoba are suing the Roman Catholic Church and the province for alleged sexual abuse.
The lawsuit outlines allegations that date back more than 50 years, naming a priest and a nun, both deceased, as the perpetrators.
The plaintiffs' counsel, Israel Ludwig, hopes to settle the case outside the courtroom.
"What I would like to see is something that's non-adversarial. These people that suffered abuse are very sensitive people. They are fragile," Ludwig told CBC News.
"One of the things that personally bothers me when I take these cases forward is seeing my clients being re-abused by having to go through the process of telling their story and being subjected to some very tough questions."
The Sagar police have arrested a priest, Manjunatha Acharya, who was serving at Kalika Parameshwari temple in Sagar city, on the charge of sexually assaulting a minor girl on Monday.
According to the police, a father and daughter had gone to the priest’s house for astrological consultations.
The priest allegedly told the father the problem would be solved by offering worship at the nearby temple, and asked him to go there immediately. When the father left, the priest attempted to sexually abuse the girl. When the victim raised a hue and cry, the priest fled.
The police were able to nab him later.
September 1, 2015
Miriam Dalli / Jurgen Balzan
2 September 2015
Gozo bishop Mario Grech refused to answer questions on his decision to stand by a priest who was defrocked by the Vatican more than two years ago.
Asked by this newspaper for his reaction, Grech retorted “do you mind if I don’t?” and when pressed to give an answer he said “all your premises are wrong”.
Asked to elaborate, Grech said “I’ll tell you some other time.”
On Sunday, MaltaToday revealed how a Gozitan priest who was defrocked by the Vatican in 2013 had not yet been notified of his dismissal by Grech.
The priest in question, 63-year-old Dominic Camilleri, was investigated by the Maltese Church over the sexual abuse of minors. He had been accused of abusing a number of boys in Gozo over a number of years. Details are hazy since the cases were never reported to the police.
By Elizabeth Mohr
Private, sensitive information provided by victims of clergy sexual abuse could be disseminated to more than 1,000 people across the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis if a bankruptcy judge approves a request from parishes to expand access to confidential documents.
Attorneys representing victims oppose the broad request, saying many victims came forward hesitantly and with the understanding that the court had strictly limited who would have access to their claims, filed as part of the archdiocese's bankruptcy case.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel will hear oral arguments on the issue at 2 p.m. Thursday at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.
The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection in January, citing an operating deficit and concerns about more lawsuits for clergy sexual abuse.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas priest has been charged with alleging stealing nearly $151,000 from his two parishes and the Catholic Diocese to fund his extensive gambling.
A criminal information filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas charges Father Thomas H. Leland with bank fraud. The court issued a summons for a Sept. 23 initial appearance.
Leland was assigned in 2010 as the sole priest at St. Francis Parish in St. Paul and St. Ambrose Parish in Erie, both located in southeast Kansas.
Court records do not show a defense attorney, and church officials had no contact information for him.
POSTED: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
The Religion Newswriters Association met in Philadelphia this weekend. I stuck my head in for part of it on Friday. On Saturday I was a panelist to talk about covering papal visits like the one Francis is making to Cuba and the U.S. in September.
I’m not sure I can do justice to my co-panelist’s remarks, since I was not taking detailed notes, but here I thought I’d share a summary of my own remarks.
I was invited to speak because I’ve covered three papal visits since becoming The Inquirer’s religion reporter in 1995, and because I’ll be traveling with Pope Francis on his planes, and with the media pool, during his travels next month. ...
When I look back on that whole adventure now, I’m struck by two things: how plain-vanilla my reporting was, and how plain-vanilla these papal appearances were. Crowds would gather at Giants Stadium, Aqueduct Race Track, Central Park, and Oriole Stadium in Baltimore. And with as much grace and dignity and warmth as he could summon, John Paul would appear, celebrate Mass in the company of many bishops and cardinals, speak to the crowd, and withdraw.
In preparing for my RNA remarks I looked up only one of those stories, JP’s appearance at Aqueduct, and could only shake my head. It described the wind blowing his cassock, the weather, the fact that the race track was so muddy from overnight rains that they cancelled the popemobile circuit, and that the water fountains weren’t working, so people got bottled water instead. John Paul spoke on familiar themes about choosing life, and I interviewed several in the crowd who spoke of how touched they were to see him.
I suspect the other stories were equally bland, and ask myself now what I could have done better, but frankly I don’t have an answer. Apart from the celebration of Mass, the reason-for-being of these papal appearances was… the papal appearance. The Catholic Church talks about a thing called the “theology of presence” that's supposed to help explain the why of these things, but looking back I am now of the opinion that John Paul’s public appearances were also intended as assertions of his authority and the authority of Rome. I failed to note it in my stories at the time, but at each venue the attending cardinals and host archbishops were required to read a public statement of loyalty – almost a medieval declaration of fealty – to John Paul. Looking back, these appearances – with John Paul seated on what can only be called thrones -- were even reminiscent of a Roman emperor touring his provinces.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
NOTE – SNAP members went door-to-door yesterday (8/31) in the Brookside neighborhood handing out these fliers. (See media coverage on Channel 5 and KMBZ radio.)
Help us protect kids!
WHO WE ARE
We were molested as kids by priests, nuns, seminarians and bishops. We belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org).
WHY WE’RE HERE
Fr. Michael Tierney lives around here. He has been accused repeatedly of abusing kids and giving them drugs, liquor, pornography and ‘massages.’ His Catholic supervisors won’t let him work in a parish. Several child sex abuse lawsuits against him have been settled.
WHAT WE WANT
We want kids to be safe, victims to be healed, and people to be given the full truth about clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Kansas City area.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
--Please ask your neighbors or loved ones if they were hurt by Fr. Tierney (or by any of the other 25 publicly accused predator priests in KC Missouri or the 11 in KC Kansas).
--If they were, please urge them to get help (from independent sources) and call police, not priests.
--Please call/write Archbishop Naumann. Urge him, for the safety of children, to permanently post names of prove, admitted and credibly accused predator priests on his website (Roughly 30 other bishops have taken this step, which is a simple, inexpensive, common sense way to safeguard kids.)
Besides Fr. Tierney, the publicly accused KC MO area priests are: Fr. Thomas Reardon, Fr. John C. Baskett, Fr. Michael Brewer, Fr. Thomas J. Cronin, Fr. James H. Ford, Fr. Martin Froeschel, Fr. Richard Geimer, Bishop Joseph Hart, Fr. Mark Honhart, Fr. Sylvester Hoppe, Fr. Earl Johnson, Fr. James Lawbaugh, Fr. Francis E. McGlynn, Fr. Hugh F. Monahan, Fr. Stephen J. Muth, Fr. Thomas J. O’Brien, Fr. Thomas Parrott, Fr. Bede Parry, Fr. Shawn Ratigan, Fr. Isaac True, Fr. John Tulipana, Fr. James Urbanic, Fr. Thomas Ward, Fr. James Wegenek and Fr. Francis L. Wise.
The publicly accused KC KS area priests are: Fr. Thomas F. Cawley, Fr. Thomas A. Conway, Fr. William A. Finnerty, Fr. James A. Forsyth, Fr. William M. Haegelin, Fr. Finian Meis, Fr. Anthony Putti, Fr. Dennis E. Schmitz, Fr. John H. Wisner, Fr. Norman C. "Chuck" Wolfe and Fr. Camillus Wurtz.
Less than two weeks ago, I used a pen to fix a cover story in The Washington Post on Jared Fogle. I crossed out the word “underage sex” and wrote in “statutory rape” in the headline, and then changed a few more words in the story: “having sex with” and “sexual encounters with” became “raping” and “rapes of” underage girls. Then I took a picture and posted the image to Twitter and Facebook.
The image went viral. Using the most conservative estimates that don’t account for people copying and pasting on their own, the image has been shared well over 40,000 times. I want to talk about why that image resonated so strongly and make some suggestions about where to go from here.
People are sick and tired of rape culture. Rape culture is the way media, law, language, sexism, and social norms interact to create a world where sexual assault is commonplace. It manifested in the Post story by wrapping Fogle’s sexual misconduct with minors in the language of consensual sex.
We can, and should, talk about why this happened. It happened, in part, because of the inadequacy of the charges against Fogle: “Distributing and receiving child pornography, and conspiring to do so, as well as repeatedly traveling to engage in commercial sex acts with underage minors.” Here’s the problem: Legal language and technicalities can obstruct telling it like it is and pursuing justice to the point where it becomes an open question whether the law is designed to protect victims of sexual crimes or powerful, popular men like Jared Fogle and Bill Cosby.
In plain language and the lived experiences of victims of sexual assault, if a person is unable to consent to sex – it’s rape, and that includes the circumstance of an adult preying upon minors below the age of consent. The exchange of money does not override other factors that make a person unable to consent to sex. Fogle engaged in criminal sexual conduct with minors – and while journalists can say that, they can’t say he raped them unless or until the law says he did.
Rabbi Zvi Telsner, the head of the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne, Australia, resigned under pressure on Tuesday over his handling of a child sex abuse scandal, Australia’s ABC reported.
Telsner testified before a royal commission investigating the affair in February, and amongst other things told them he thought gay people and pedophiles could be cured through therapy, as well as counseling and spiritual guidance. The royal commission was examining how Jewish schools had responded to accusations of sexual abuse of children since the 1980s.
Telsner apologized to the Yeshivah community, as well as friends and supporters in a letter announcing his immediate resignation on Tuesday. He had allegedly called the sexual abuse victims "crazy."
Telsner said he endorses the Yeshiva Centre's values, policy and message of support and compassion for child sexual abuse victims and their families, according to Australian ABC. "I recognize that my conduct towards victims and their families did not demonstrate these values or behavior to the extent necessary of a rabbi in my position," he said in the letter.
The royal commission uncovered a culture of ignoring issues within the Yeshiva Centre, a lack of knowledge about child abuse and of sympathy for victims assaulted between the 1980s and 2010. It also revealed a teacher and other men linked with the school who were known to be or suspected of being child abusers were allowed to make contact with children.
Australia's Jewish community is in shock after one of its most senior rabbis stepped aside, apologising for his treatment of child sex abuse victims at a Melbourne Jewish school.
Rabbi Zvi Telsner has said he will step down immediately as head of Melbourne's Yeshiva Centre, which manages schools including Yeshiva College, apologising for his behaviour towards victims.
In a letter to the Jewish community on Tuesday evening, Rabbi Telsner apologised for the way he dealt with child sex abuse victims and their families.
"We must all be aware of how our words and actions impact on others and therefore would like to apologise for my conduct and urge everyone to show compassion and support towards victims and their families," he said.
Yeshiva College was among the Jewish schools in Melbourne and Sydney examined by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse concerning their response to sex abuse.
on August 27, 2015
Police and church leaders have neither seen nor heard from the Rev. Ysrael Bien since a judge signed a warrant for his arrest last week.
The reality that the priest may not return from the Philippines leaves the criminal investigation unfinished and his Sherwood congregation without a chance to face the man they once admired.
"I don't ever expect to see him again, but I think in his heart of hearts he knows how many people he's hurt," said parishioner Peter Hainley. "Owning it would be a really good step toward helping people heal."
Bien was the beloved pastor of St. Francis Catholic Church. He was trusted, even considered charmingly innocent.
Now, he's AWOL.
Bien, 34, is accused of hiding a camera in a bathroom at the church.
He left the country without permission shortly after Archbishop Alexander Sample put him on administrative leave in June, according to the archdiocese. He declined when the archbishop instructed him to return, then he stopped responding altogether. Sample has not heard from Bien since early August.
Detroit Free Press
By Patricia Montemurri, Detroit Free Press
September 1, 2015
Catholic priest Edward Belczak pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraud in connection with embezzling $573,000 of money from St. Thomas More church in Troy, the prosperous parish he led as pastor for nearly 30 years.
Belczak agreed to forfeit a plush Florida condo he bought with parish money and pay $573,000 in restitution. His sentencing will be Dec. 1; the sentencing guidelines call for him spending 33 to 41 months in prison.
Belczak wore his priestly collar during the hearing before U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow.
Belczak initially said he thought some donations to the parish were intended for him, but his comments did not seem to sit well with Judge Tarnow.
Carol tells her story of how she was sexual abused by her Steubenville parish priest between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. [ http://www.steubenvilletruth.org/ ] If you wish to connect with this survivor, contact: email@example.com
BY JAMIE DUNCANAAP
SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
A MAN who was molested while studying at a Melbourne Jewish school is celebrating after one of Australia's most senior rabbis stepped down over his handling of child sex abuse allegations.
RABBI Zvi Telsner has said he will step down immediately as head of Melbourne's Yeshiva Centre, which manages schools including Yeshiva College, apologising for his behaviour towards victims.
Manny Waks told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he was molested by the son of a senior rabbi and teacher at Yeshiva College, bullied by classmates who knew of the abuse and shunned by his community for speaking out.
In a jubilant tweet, Mr Waks said on Tuesday: "Finally. The news we have all been awaiting. I commend all those who stood up and voiced their views."
Rabbi Tvi Telsner was finally forced to resign as head of Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre. His misconduct over the years included helping accused molesters flee the country just ahead of the cops (e.g., Malka Leifer), threatening and shunning victims who went to the police, and orchestrating a barrage of abusive comments about victims who dared to go public with their charges.
ABC in Australia reports
Manny Waks, who went public in 2011 with allegations he was repeatedly sexual abused as a boy at Yeshivah College and accusations of a cover-up, said the rabbi was “at the heart” of the scandal, and said his position had been untenable for a long time.
“He has caused immense pain and suffering to the victims, to our families, but also to the broader Jewish community — not just to the Yeshivah community — because he has tainted all of us,” he said.
Jeff Anderson & Associates
Judge Guthmann’s Order Paves the Way for Trial in Ramsey County
Doe 30 Order on Summary Judgment
(St. Paul, MN) – The first civil trial regarding clergy sexual abuse of a minor under the Minnesota Child Victims Act will begin in the Doe 30 case on October 19, 2015, in Ramsey County District Court. The Diocese of Duluth is the defendant. An order issued by Ramsey County District Court Judge John Guthmann denied the Diocese of Duluth’s attempt to be dismissed as a party in the case, meaning the jury trial will begin October 19 before Judge Guthmann.
Plaintiff Doe 30 was sexually abused in approximately 1978 by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald, a priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (“Oblates”) religious order he met as a young parishioner at St. Thomas More Church in Lake Lillian, Minn., in the Diocese of New Ulm. Fitzgerald brought Doe 30 to St. Catherine’s Church in Squaw Lake, Minn., in the Diocese of Duluth, where he molested Doe 30. Fitzgerald was working as a priest at St. Catherine’s Church at the time of the abuse.
In 2014, Doe 30 filed a civil lawsuit against the Diocese of Duluth, the Oblates and the Diocese of New Ulm, regarding the abuse. Doe 30 brought his lawsuit under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which was enacted in 2013 and gives child sexual abuse victims until May 25, 2016, to file civil lawsuits. The Doe 30 case will be the first to go to trial in a case brought under the Child Victims Act.
“This trial will mark the first time that the Diocese of Duluth’s secret documents will see the light of day,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney for Doe 30.
Contact: Jeff Anderson: Office/651.964.3458 Cell/612.817.8665
Mike Finnegan: Office/651.964.3458 Cell/612.205.5531
Jeff Anderson & Associates
First time Diocese of Crookston Secret Documents Will Be Turned Over
Doe 19 Order Compelling Discovery
(St. Paul, MN) – Mahnomen County District Court Judge Kurt J. Marben has ordered the Diocese of Crookston - a Defendant in the Doe 19 clergy sexual abuse lawsuit - to produce all records pertaining to sexual abuse reported to have been committed by any priest before 1985. The secret documents will be produced to Doe 19 under seal as a result of a protective order previously obtained by the Defendants in the lawsuit.
The documents will provide a clearer picture of the Diocese of Crookston’s practices regarding abusive priests. The Diocese of Crookston has refused to provide these documents to Doe 19. The Diocese previously released a list of credibly accused priests but has refused to publicly release related documents. The other Defendant in the Doe 19 case – the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (“Oblates”) – was ordered to release similar documents in a separate clergy sex abuse case in Ramsey County in January.
“The Diocese of Crookston must finally disclose to Plaintiff what it knew about abusive priests, when it knew, and how it responded,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney for Doe 30. “We again urge the Diocese to publicly disclose this information. Only then, through full, public disclosure, will there be transparency, justice and healing for survivors.”
Doe 19 was sexually abused by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald, an Oblate priest he met as a young parishioner at St. Ann’s Parish in Naytahwaush, Minn., on the White Earth Indian Reservation, in the mid-1980s. Doe 19 brought his lawsuit under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which gives child sexual abuse victims until May 25, 2016, to file civil lawsuits.
Contact: Jeff Anderson: Office/651.964.3458 Cell/612.817.8665
Mike Finnegan: Office/651.964.3458 Cell/612.205.5531
Wall Street Journal
By TOM CORRIGAN
Lawyers representing more than 400 clergy sexual-abuse victims will head to court this week to fight a request from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s parishes for permission to review victims’ confidential bankruptcy claims.
Victims’ lawyers said that if the parishes’ request is approved by a judge, it could result in the dissemination of “unusually detailed and intensely personal” information to more than 1,000 additional recipients.
“Many of the additional permitted parties will reside in smaller parishes outside of the metropolitan area where confidential information is more likely to be linked to specific claimants,” Robert Kugler, a lawyer for the committee representing abuse victims, said in court papers.
Lawyers for the parishes, however, say the information included in the claims is crucial to efforts to broker a settlement with victims.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests canvass a street in Brookside with fliers.
The flier stated that a man that lives in Brookside is a retired priest, who was the subject of several sexual abuse claims. The priest in question, Father Michael Tierney, was never convicted of a crime.
SNAP's David Clohessey would like priests with credible claims of sexual abuse to be permanently removed from the clergy and kept in communes in rural areas.
"We think it is just unbelievably irresponsible for church officials to exercise no control, no supervision over these potentially dangerous men," said Clohessey.
1 September 2015
I am pleased that Yeshivah Centre’s (Melbourne) Rabbi Zvi Telsner has finally taken responsibility for his gross and repeated failures and has resigned from his role as Senior Rabbi and Head of the Yeshivah Synagogue.
Rabbi Telsner was at the very heart of this scandal. He was more than just a by-stander to the re-victimisation, bullying and harassment of victims and their families – he actively led his community down the terrible path which they pursued towards their victims. While some of the other rabbis and leaders at Yeshivah preached one thing but practiced another, Rabbi Telsner used the pulpit to encourage, normalise and actively participate in the excommunication of victims and their families.
On a personal note, I would significantly attribute my departure from Australia to him. He had the power and authority to ensure I was treated humanely. Instead he mobilised the forces against me, my family, additional victims and others. So the pain and suffering that resulted due to Rabbi Telsner’s actions and inactions is profound – something several of us have experienced until this very day. ...
Letter from the Yeshivah Centre Interim Committee of Management
י"ז אלול תשע"ה
1st September, 2015
Dear Yeshivah Community Members, Friends and Supporters,
At the Yeshivah Centre we are currently working hard to ensure that we have the appropriate policies and processes in place to guarantee a safe environment for our children. As well as appropriate policies, our values and behaviours need to reflect support to those who have been affected by this both now and in the future.
Today, Rabbi Telsner has notified the Committee of Management of his decision to stand down from his position as Rabbi at the Yeshivah Centre, effective immediately. This follows a recent event in which such values or behaviour to the extent required of a Rabbi in his position were not demonstrated. We support his decision and immediate resolve.
In Rabbi Telsner’s letter to the community he apologises for his past conduct and urges everyone to show compassion and support towards victims and their families throughout the moised and broader community. We echo Rabbi Telsner’s apology and his message of consideration and compassion and we resolve to make every effort to continue to move forward and improve in this regard.
Australian Jewish News
RABBI Zvi Hirsch Telsner has stood down, effective immediately, as the senior rabbi of the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne.
In a letter to the community tonight Rabbi Telsner told the community he endorses Yeshivah Centre’s “values, policies and message of continued support and compassion for victims of Child Sexual Abuse, their families and all of the community”.
He said that Elul is a time to reflect on ones values and behaviours as we prepare to herald in the New Year.
“I recognise that my conduct towards victims and their families did not demonstrate these values or behaviour to the extent necessary of a Rabbi in my position,” Rabbi Telsner said.
“Accordingly, I have decided to stand down from my position as Rabbi at the Yeshivah Centre, effective immediately.”
The head rabbi of Melbourne's Yeshivah Centre has announced he is stepping down, after months of pressure to resign over his handling of child sex abuse.
Rabbi Zvi Telsner appeared before the royal commission into child sex abuse in February, and while he denied shunning victims, he admitted he was complicit for not speaking out against it.
He has also told the royal commission he believed paedophiles and gay people could be "cured" by therapy.
In a letter sent to the "Yeshivah community members, friends and supporters" on Tuesday night, Rabbi Telsner apologised the way he had treated victims of child sex abuse.
"As a senior Rabbi at the Yeshivah Centre I acknowledge and endorse its values, policies and message of continued support and compassion for victims of child sexual abuse, their families and all of the community," Rabbi Telsner wrote.
September 1, 2015
Yeshivah Centre chief rabbi Zvi Telsner has stood down after he allegedly accused sex abuse victims of trying to destroy his community, calling one "crazy".
Rabbi Telsner resigned after it was revealed he had berated a victim during a conversation about the centre's leadership following a cover-up of sexual abuse within the centre.
He wrote a letter to the community on Tuesday, apologising for his conduct towards victims and their families, saying it did not demonstrate the centre's values.
"I have decided to stand down from my position as rabbi at the Yeshivah Centre, effective immediately," he wrote.
"We all must be aware of how our words and actions impact on others and therefore would like to take this opportunity to apologise for my conduct and urge everyone to show compassion and support towards victims and their families throughout the moised and broader community."
ABC - The World Today
ELEANOR HALL: The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse has been hearing today that Victoria's prestigious Geelong Grammar School failed to act on reports of abuse from students.
The commission is examining the handling of abuse at the school from the 1950s to 2007.
Several former students are to evidence they were assaulted by teachers or staff.
Samantha Donovan is following the commission hearings and joins us now in Melbourne. And a warning her report will contain some disturbing information.
So Sam, what has the commission heard about Geelong Grammar School today?
SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Well counsel assisting the royal commission, Eleanor, David Lloyd has started off by describing the school's history and a little bit about its campuses this morning. He's said its Australia's largest co-educational boarding school; it was first established in 1855 and many of its former students have risen to prominent positions in business, law, politics and medicine.
It's known of course to many Australians, Eleanor, because Prince Charles attended its Timbertop campus in the 1960s.
Two former Geelong Grammar students have testified about their brutal treatment, and the school's dismissive response, at the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse.
Established in 1855, Geelong Grammar has enjoyed a prestigious reputation - attended by Prince Charles and boasting a list of successful students including Rupert Murdoch and the late Kerry Packer.
However, in its long history there have been some dark chapters, read today as the Royal Commission examines its 32nd case study.
Former students recalled their experiences of sexual abuse while boarding at GGS in the 1960s and 1970s.
The reported offending was allegedly done by chaplains, a house resident and other students.
September 1, 2015
ONE of the country’s most senior rabbis has resigned after he was accused of covering up sex crimes and shunning child sex abuse victims.
Yeshivah Centre chief rabbi Zvi Telsner stood down indefinitely today amid claims he had continued to berate victims who exposed a widespread abuse cover-up within the Jewish community.
The Herald Sun understands Yeshivah’s interim committee of management was pressured to act after a heated exchange with a victim of abuse that saw him claim whistleblowers were trying to destroy the Yeshivah.
Rabbi Telsner, the leader of the biggest Chabad community in the Southern hemisphere, is the third person to lose a senior position after the child abuse royal commission probed the Yeshivah cover-up earlier this year.
Rabbi Telsner has notified the Committee of Management of his decision to stand down from his position as Rabbi at the Yeshivah Centre, effective immediately.
Stephan Uttom, Dhaka
September 1, 2015
A Dhaka court issued an arrest warrant against a Catholic priest on Aug. 30, about a month after a woman accused the priest of abuse and refusing to marry her after nearly 10 years of an alleged intimate relationship.
Felicita Murmu, 44, a Catholic from the indigenous Santal community, filed her case against Father Patras Hembrom, 43, also a Santal, on July 28 under the country's Women and Children Repression Act.
Murmu's lawyer Debendra Nath said that if found guilty, Father Hembrom could face 10 years in jail plus a fine. "Having a physical relationship with a woman with a false promise of marriage is a serious crime according to the law," she said.
Murmu said she was left with no option except to pursue a legal claim against the priest for his past alleged abuses.
The diocesan priesthood differs from membership in a religious order or institute (i.e. the Dominicans, Jesuits, Franciscans, etc.) in several ways. Priests who are members of religious orders vow to observe the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and they offer their ministry in service of the charism of their order. Diocesan priests, on the other hand, do not take vows. They make a promise of obedience and are obliged to perpetual sexual continence, but unlike religious priests they are under no obligation of poverty, communal life, or the communal ownership of property. Diocesan priests are incardinated into a particular diocese, meaning that at the time of their ordination they offer their life's ministry in service to the people of a particular diocese. In return, the faithful of the diocese are to see that the priests have what is necessary for their decent financial support both while they are in active ministry and during their subsequent retirement (delicately referred to as their 'third age'). Generally, this is achieved through a defined benefit pension plan.
Given the bargain that exists between priests and the dioceses they serve , I am sure more than one priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis considered jumping ship after receiving last week's letter announcing that the Pension Plan for Priests is currently funded at only 44%. It has been acknowledged for years that the plan has been underfunded, but I have never seen an actuarial valuation this low before. The letter does state that the Pension Plan Board anticipates that the plan will be fully funded in the next 15-20 years, but that claim is based in part on a continued annual funding level of $17,400 per priest per year. The unspoken variable is the presumed level of mortality of the priests currently drawing a pension.
On the positive side, at least at this point the pension funds have not been liquidated as part of any bankruptcy settlement. Whether that situation will continue remains to be seen.
A Geelong Grammar School student was threatened with expulsion after reporting a chaplain for molesting him during a hypnosis session, the child abuse royal commission has heard.
The same chaplain tried to hypnotise a bullied student in an effort to have sex with him before later becoming a church vicar in suburban Melbourne, the inquiry heard.
Counsel assisting the commission David Lloyd said former student BKO will give evidence that Rev John Davison touched him during one of two after-school sessions in which the chaplain tried to hypnotise a group of students.
BKO reported the incident to a teacher but found the subsequent process very threatening and was told he may be expelled, Mr Lloyd said.
Another former student Dr Robert Llewellyn-Jones, who was 15 at the time, said Rev Davison offered him support because he was being bullied, including incessant "mocking" or verbal bullying.
Sex abuse royal commission: Geelong Grammar chaplain tried to hypnotise students before sexually assaulting them
September 1, 2015
Education Reporter at The Age
A chaplain at one of the country's most prestigious private schools tried to hypnotise students before sexually assaulting them, a victim told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.
The royal commission turned its focus to Geelong Grammar, where serious and ongoing sexual abuse occurred from the late 1950s until 2007.
Former student and Sydney psychiatrist Dr Robert Llewellyn-Jones told the commission on Tuesday that the school's chaplain, the now deceased Reverend John Davison, befriended him in 1971 and then tried to hypnotise him with a watch in his locked office.
Reverend Davison then indecently assaulted him, before accusing Dr Llewellyn-Jones of propositioning him.
"There was a subculture of brutality," he said.
1 SEP 2015
A Geelong Grammar School chaplain hypnotised boys so he could molest them, boarders were sexually abused as they slept and students were subjected to incessant bullying and even abuse by their peers, an inquiry has heard.
A code of silence discouraged students from reporting five decades of abuse which continued until as recently as 2007 while those who did speak out were met with inaction or even threatened with expulsion, the child abuse royal commission heard.
Victim BKO has told the commission that Rev John Davison abused him during one of two after-school sessions in 1970 in which the school chaplain tried to hypnotise a group of students.
August 31, 2015
By Emma Nelson Star Tribune AUGUST 31, 2015
Bob Rich was in his 20s when he won an $850,000 settlement from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis — compensation for years of sexual abuse at the hands of the Rev. Robert Michael Thurner.
Rich and his family were hopeful the lawsuit, settled in 1992, would bring closure. But within four years, the money was gone. Some Rich gave away. Some went to a California beach house and a Porsche. Some he used to fuel a cocaine habit — an effort, he said, to ease the pain.
More than 20 years later, hundreds of survivors of clergy sexual abuse have filed claims against the archdiocese. Many were urged forward by the 2013 Minnesota Child Victims Act, which extended the statute of limitations for civil claims in child sex abuse cases.
Unlike Rich, these survivors won’t file suit. Instead, the assets of the archdiocese, which filed for Chap. 11 bankruptcy in January, will be divvied up among them. And settlements are unlikely to reach the amount that Rich’s did.
In 2004, 171 victims in the Portland archdiocese split $90 million. In August, negotiations in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee led to a $21 million settlement for 330 victims out of more than 500 who filed claims. In the Twin Cities, the archdiocese’s assets are estimated between $10 million and $50 million and more than 400 people have filed claims.
By DeAnn Smith, Digital Content Manager
By Heather Staggers, Reporter
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
He is one of the most controversial priests in the history of the Kansas City Catholic Church, and one group is upset that he has quietly moved into a neighborhood that's popular with families.
Father Michael Tierney is no longer an active priest, but he has not been defrocked by the Vatican despite the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph paying money to settle sex abuse claims involving Tierney.
Members of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests put fliers on the doors of those living near Tierney's home near Oak Street and East 64th Terrace. They said that residents have a right to know about the predator living among their midst.
"If a predator priest is so dangerous that a bishop won't let him work in a parish then he is too dangerous to live among families who don't know what he's done," said SNAP's David Clohessy.
The diocese settled with 32 sex abuse victims for abuse suffered at the hands of 14 priests including Tierney. Four child sex abuse lawsuits against him have been settled, and he has long been subject of SNAP's ire with the Catholic Church. Then Bishop Robert Finn apparently first learned of the allegations against Tierney in 2008 but apparently didn't remove him over "credible reports" of abuse until June 2011. The allegations dated back to the 1970s and 1980s.
CONCORD, N.H. – A New Hampshire prep school graduate convicted of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old classmate as part of a game of sexual conquest must register as a sex offender for life, a punishment his lawyer likens to being branded.
Legal experts and reform advocates say the punishment exceeds the crime.
Nineteen-year-old Owen Labrie was convicted Friday following a two-week trial that exposed a practice at St. Paul's School in Concord known as Senior Salute, in which graduating students try to have sex with younger classmates.
The Tunbridge, Vermont, resident faces up to 11 years in prison. He can ask the court to take him off the registry 15 years after he finishes his sentence.
By FRANCES D'EMILIO
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Eight minutes of silence instead of a homily marked the Vatican funeral Monday of a former papal diplomat, whose trial on charges of possession of child pornography and sexual abuse of minors had begun this summer in a Holy See courtroom.
A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said time for silent reflection followed the Gospel reading at Jozef Wesolowski's funeral in a Vatican administrative palazzo's chapel.
The Holy See, citing preliminary autopsy results, has said Wesolowski, 67, died of a heart attack in his room at the Vatican on Aug. 27.
During the funeral, a ritual prayer was recited so God might "cancel the sins that (Wesolowski) had committed with human fragility."
Cameras were banned during the funeral. Burial will be in Wesolowski's native Poland.
By: Jennie Lissarrague
A judge has ordered the Diocese of Crookston to produce all records about sexual abuse reported against any priest before 1985.
The diocese is a defendant in a clergy sex abuse lawsuit, and the documents will be produced under seal, according to lawyer Jeff Anderson. The lawsuit alleges that the victim was sexually abuse by the Rev. J. Vincent Fitzgerald; the victim says he met Fitzgerald at St. Ann’s Parish in Naytahwaush, Minnesota, in the mid-1980s.
The diocese previously released a list of credibly-abused priests but hasn’t publicly released the related documents, Anderson said. Anderson said the documents will show what the diocese knew about abusive priests, when it knew and how officials responded.
[The body of Jozef Wesolowski was dressed in cassock and he wore the bishop's ring. The Vatican held the funeral Mass monday. He was given the ceremony because although accused of pedophilia and expelled from the clerical state, the judgment did not become final.]
W sutannie i z pierścieniem biskupim złożono do trumny ciało Józefa Wesołowskiego, byłego nuncjusza apostolskiego na Dominikanie. W poniedziałek w Watykanie odbyła się msza żałobna za zmarłego. Zachowano odpowiedni ceremoniał, bo choć oskarżonego o pedofilię byłego arcybiskupa co prawda wydalono ze stanu duchownego, to jednak wyrok się nie uprawomocnił.
Mszę żałobną w intencji Józefa Wesołowskiego odprawiono w kaplicy Gubernatoratu Państwa Watykańskiego. Odprawił ją papieski jałmużnik arcybiskup Konrad Krajewski.
The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody
Autopsy on Archbishop Accused of Sexual Abuse Coordinated by the Same Man Who Performed the Disputed Autopsy on Two Murdered Swiss Guards
Posted on August 31, 2015
A Vatican trial for Pope Francis’ ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, age 67, was scheduled for July 11 but was halted due to the archbishop’s “illness.” Wesolowski was accused of soliciting sex for money from Santo Domingo’s poorest boys and possession of child pornography.
Had the trial taken place, testimony would have confirmed that the pope allowed Wesolowski to remain a free man for 14 months regardless of how many times the pope said he was taking “action” against prelates on the issue of sex abuse; and that, during this time, Wesolowski acquired more than 100,000 computer files of pornography with disturbing photos of children who were likely victims of human trafficking – an issue on which Pope Francis wants to be seen as a world leader. At a July 21 conference for mayors from around the world held in the Vatican, the pope told the group he hoped they would address “how climate change affects the trafficking of people.”
Wesolowski’s body was discovered on August 28 in his Vatican quarters. The next day, the Vatican announced that an autopsy was performed by “a commission of three [unnamed] experts, coordinated by Giovanni Arcudi, Professor of Forensic Medicine … From the first conclusions reached by the macroscopic examination, it is confirmed the natural cause of death was a cardiac event.” No mention was made where the postmortem was conducted.
William D. Lindsey
Kieran Tapsell on Bishop Geoffrey Robinson's Testimony Before Australian Abuse Commission: Vatican's Belief That Church Law Trumps Civil Law Is Big Obstacle for Commission
Highly recommended: Kieran Tapsell's conversation with Noel Debien of ABC Australia yesterday evening. Kieran Tapsell is an attorney and author of the book Potiphar's Wife: The Vatican's Secret and Child Sexual Abuse (Adelaide: ATF Press, 2014). In introducing Tapsell, Debien notes that the testimony last week of Bishop Geoffrey Robinson before the Australian Royal Commission about Sexual Abuse has gotten surprisingly little media coverage. I suspect this may be the case because, as I noted in my posting last Wednesday about Robinson's testimony, he was unsparing in his criticism of the silence of the powerful Pope John Paul II about the abuse crisis in the Catholic church, and he also stated bluntly that the popular Pope Francis has not provided real leadership for the church as it addresses this crisis.
In his discussion with Debien, Tapsell reads between the lines of Bishop Robinson's testimony, and points out that the Australian bishops — along with other bishops in other countries — could not address the abuse crisis effectively, when it began to come to their attention, because the Vatican had tied one hand behind their backs. Because the crisis deals with clerics, the Vatican insisted that all cases of clerical sexual abuse be referred specifically to the Vatican itself, and be treated as matters to be resolved by canon law — though canon law is frequently in conflict with civil law regarding sexual abuse of minors.
This strategy was crafted specifically by John Paul II and his right-hand man in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, who chose to respond to the Irish Murphy Commission report by maintaining that bishops, and not the Vatican, were creating the problem of ineffective response to the abuse crisis, since bishops were not following canon law. Though Irish civil law requires that priests abusing minors be referred to Irish criminal officials and not to the Vatican, to be dealt with per canon law . . . . And though the Vatican has simultaneously sought to maintain that priests abusing minors are independent agents who are in no way under the control of the Vatican or even of their diocesan bishops . . . .
Bill Donohue comments on a Catholic League-Polling Company survey of Catholics:
Earlier this month, the Catholic League commissioned The Polling Company, headed by Kellyanne Conway, to conduct a nationwide survey of Catholics. In addition to the usual questions asked of respondents, we asked about issues the media have little interest in pursuing. We also dug deeper, seeking to tap the ways Catholics are conflicted over various matters.
The problem with many surveys is that they seek to elicit a black and white response to contemporary subjects; this is especially problematic when contentious issues are being weighed. Our survey was designed to allow for a more nuanced, and therefore accurate, response.
The findings suggest that most Catholics are faithful sons and daughters, and this is especially true of practicing Catholics. To read my analysis of the survey data, click here. The analysis has been sent to the bishops of every diocese in the nation.