A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
Click on the headline to read the full story.
December 21, 2014
The West Australian
December 22, 2014
The Christian Brothers have reopened 80 previously settled cases in the wake of royal commission hearings held earlier this year into sexual abuse at four WA orphanages.
In a written statement, the Christian Brothers said new settlements had been reached in 14 cases and mediation meetings had taken place recently in 20 cases in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The commission released a report on Friday which found that Christian Brothers leaders knew of allegations of sexual abuse of children at four WA orphanages and failed to manage the homes to prevent the systemic ill-treatment for decades.
Christian Brothers Oceania province leader Brother Peter Clinch said it had made significant progress on the commitment it made at the public hearings in April to re-examine cases that had been "settled on demonstrably unjust and unreasonably low terms".
The Journal Gazette
$1.9 million judgment against Catholic diocese
Rebecca S. Green The Journal Gazette
Almost every single thing for which Emily Herx asked the jury, she received.
Nearly $2 million in damages, and vindication, after the jury ruled that the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend discriminated against the former language arts teacher at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School when they fired her for undergoing in vitro fertilization.
The verdict came after about 51/2 hours of deliberation Friday afternoon, capping off a four-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Robert Miller Jr. in the expansive federal courthouse just a few blocks from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the center of the diocese.
As she waited for the jury to come in, Herx sat ramrod straight in her chair at the table next to her attorney, Kathleen DeLaney, her face anything but calm as she clearly tried to control her breathing and anxiety.
Throughout the trial, she heard herself characterized by the defense as a potential drug abuser, an emotional basket case and as someone who committed a sin so grave and immoral that no circumstances could justify it.
But after the verdict was read, she seemed to uncoil with relief, crying and holding onto DeLaney in a long and tearful embrace.
1. Exceptional “Grandma” figures, Hillary Clinton and Betty Clermont, are in different ways poised to challenge in 2015 the world’s most prominent “Grandpa” type figure, Pope Francis, as the Vatican priest child abuse and contraception ban controversies are set to boil over next year.
2. Betty Clermont is a retired grandmother armed only with a computer and Internet access. She is author of “The Neo-Catholics”. Her well researched recent reports relentlessly and exhaustively have shown the large gaps between Pope Francis’ deeds and words. Please see Betty Clermont’s exceptional, interesting and disturbing new report at:
3. [Daily Kos]
4. Hillary Clinton has been in Vatican struggles over women and children’s rights since at least her 1995 clash with Mary Ann Glendon, now apparently Pope Francis’ top female adviser, at the UN Beijing Conference on women’s rights. For a recent look back at Hillary Clinton’s 1995 efforts, please see , “20 Minutes That Changed The World: Hillary Clinton In Beijing.” and her 1995 address at Beijing at:
5. [Huffington Post]
7. Betty Clermont also has exposed repeatedly the captive main stream media’s subtle and troubling role in creating the Francis Myth. She has illustrated extensively the appalling power of the nearly monopolistic main stream media, almost stealthily, to create an “accommodating” world religious leader in Francis to facilitate the obscene and dangerous trend towards worldwide income inequality. Where are the main stream media investigators on these matters? Why are so many of them so often outdistanced by a lone, but courageous, grandmother like Betty Clermont?
8. The main stream media’s papal omissions, however, may soon be reversed in 2015. Two world media stars are on course to collide in the “battle of the sexes”, senior style, in 2015.
Sydney Morning Herald
December 22, 2014
One of Australia's best-known welfare organisations, the Salvation Army, has dropped 17 places from last year in the 2014 AMR Charity Reputation Index, a yearly survey which measures the overall reputation of the country's 40 largest charities .
The Salvation Army dropped from No.10 in 2013 to No.27 this year.
The results follows allegations of child sex abuse by Salvation Army staff that were the subject of a royal commission inquiry. More than 100 children came forward with reports of physical, sexual and indecent abuse.
In a February hearing of the royal commission, James Condon, leader of the Salvation Army's Eastern Territory, said the charity's reputation was no longer a priority.
"The priority is the survivor, not protection of the Salvation Army," he said.
The National Heart Foundation of Australia dropped nine places in this year's index.
The panel set up to run the public child sex abuse inquiry may be "disbanded" by Theresa May in the New Year, according to reports.
In a letter addressed to panel members, and leaked by investigative website Exaro News, the Home Secretary says she is considering three options which will give the inquiry full statutory powers - two of which would most likely require the panel being split up.
The three options outlined by May to secure the inquiry statutory powers, including the ability to compel witnesses to give evidence, are:
* the appointment of a new chairman who would then request statutory powers
* the setting up of a new inquiry panel under statutory terms
* holding the inquiry as a Royal Commission without the powers of a statutory inquiry
The Home Office said May was still considering all her options and nothing has yet been decided.
By Tom Symonds
Home Affairs correspondent
The independent panel set up to support the planned public inquiry into historical child abuse could be disbanded, the BBC understands.
Home Secretary Theresa May has written to panel members saying three options to give the inquiry full statutory powers are being considered.
Only one option does not require the panel to be disbanded.
A Home Office spokesman said Mrs May wanted to balance making progress "with the need to get this right".
The panel, which has started work, still has nobody to chair it after the first two nominations stood down.
By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent
21 Dec 2014
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has indicated for the first time that she is prepared to go back to the drawing board over the controversial Government inquiry into historic child sex abuse.
Members of the official inquiry panel set up by the Home Office said they were "devastated" that ministers were poised to scrap the existing set-up in the New Year.
However, groups representing alleged victims of abuse welcomed the development and said they hoped the new inquiry would have tougher powers, including the ability to force witnesses to give evidence.
In a letter to panel members Mrs May said she was considering a number of options, which would have "implications" for members.
By Sean Dilley, Sky News Reporter
Survivors have welcomed reports, in a letter seen by Sky News, that Theresa May is planning to scrap the panel set up to investigate allegations of historical child sex abuse.
The letter, signed by more than 60 victims and representatives who wish to remain anonymous, lists a series of demands for the Home Secretary regarding the Child Sex Abuse Inquiry.
It calls for a statutory inquiry to be declared, a public announcement that the existing panel will be scrapped and replaced on a "transparent fit-for-purpose" and the appointment of an inquiry chair who has "demonstrable experience and ability in challenging the establishment".
It reads: "Following the mistakes of the last six months, we consider your proposals as an opportunity to place the inquiry on to a firm footing whereby it can focus on dealing with organised and institutional abuse and cover ups at the highest levels.
SAT DEC 20, 2014
by Betty Clermont
“Americans will vote for Republicans even though they disagree with them on everything. [O]n the biggest issues facing Congress, they still agree with Democrats on ... almost everything. That includes issues like raising the minimum wage, making the rich pay more in taxes, letting illegal immigrants stay in the United States, taking action to stem global warming, legalizing same sex marriage and fixing the Affordable Care Act rather than repealing it,” noted Zachary A. Goldfarb, policy editor at the Washington Post, after November’s elections.
By 2014, “the state of the nation has improved dramatically over the past four years. Unemployment is down to 5.9 percent and consumer confidence is back to levels not seen since before the deep recession which began in late 2007. The stock market is at record highs while the annual federal budget deficit is less than half of what it was when Barack Obama first took the oath of office,” explained Jon Perr who cited the above article by Goldfarb.
A majority of Americans don’t know this because the corporate media don’t report it.
“At its founding [in 1934], the Federal Communications Commission viewed the stations to which it granted licenses as ‘public trustees’ and required that they make every reasonable attempt to cover contrasting points of views. The Commission also required that stations perform public service in reporting on crucial issues in their communities. Soon after he became FCC Chairman under President Reagan, Michael Fowler stated his desire to do away with this Fairness Doctrine.”
“The devolution of the American press began when Ronald Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine. [Broadcasters] no longer have an obligation to serve the public interest. Their only obligation is to their shareholders,” stated Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. ...
The following illustrates the appalling power of the corporate media to create a world leader and will hopefully generate a conversation, using this example, about how to overcome its lies and omissions. Information about Pope Francis withheld by the corporate media comes after the popular headline. ...
Pope Francis Addresses Sex Abuse Scandal
Next to appointing and promoting a dozen or so churchmen with records as dismal as his own in protecting predator pedophiles, there is no better example of Pope Francis’ lack of resolve to protect children than his handling of his former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski. For more than 16 months after being informed of the accusations against his ambassador, the pope left Wesolowski with free access to more children. Additionally, Pope Francis has done everything possible to prevent Wesolowski from being prosecuted by Dominican officials.
A Catholic deacon, Francisco Javier Occi Reyes, was arrested by the police on June 24, 2013. The deacon “said at the time of his arrest he was ‘pimping’ a youngster for Wesolowski, who was allegedly waiting in his vehicle nearby….The minors interviewed [by the police] admitted to masturbating for, and of taking part in oral sex with the archbishop as he filmed them with a cell phone [in exchange for cash] while another witness affirmed seeing porno in his laptop at the Vatican embassy.”
Occi confessed to the allegations. “When no one came to bail him out, the deacon sent an anguished letter dated July 2 to Wesolowski... The deacon sent copies of the letter to Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus López Rodriguez, the head of the Church in the Dominican Republic, and to a Dominican bishop, Gregorio Nicanor Peña Rodríguez. The cardinal then carried the evidence to the Vatican, where he met directly with Pope Francis according to Dominican officials.”
Reported with the usual “Pope Francis gets tough on sex abuse” headlines, on July 11, 2013, the pontiff enacted a civil law making sexual violence and possession of child pornography punishable by up to 12 years in prison not only for those who live in Vatican City State, but also all employees, including the diplomatic corps, of the Holy See. Those accused of these crimes would be tried by the Cardinal Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (Supreme Court) and two other judges of his choosing - providing a possible motive for the later dismissal of the independently-minded Cardinal Raymond Burke.
According to experts in international law, the Vatican could have waived diplomatic immunity for the ambassador. But in hindsight, it’s probable that Pope Francis wanted Wesolowski tried under his control.
Because the pope kept the information about Wesolowski secret, the general public knew nothing about the ambassador until a local TV broadcast on August 31, 2013. The result of a year-long investigation, the program contained testimony about Wesolowski’s crimes. Three days after the broadcast, a local bishop confirmed that Wesolowski had already been dismissed by the pope and that he had left the country only a few days earlier. There were accusations that the pope allowed Wesolowski to escape and his whereabouts remained unknown.
"For me it was a surprise to see Wesolowski walking along Via della Scrofa in Rome. The silence of the Church has injured the people of God," tweeted Santo Domingo archdiocese Auxiliary Bishop Víctor Masalles on June 24, 2014. Another report stated “the former papal nuncio was living in a fairly upscale house for prelates called the Casa del Clero.”
Organisations which help victims of child sexual abuse have been awarded £2 million by the Government due to a massive surge in their workload.
The Home Office and the Ministry of Justice said charities and other groups had seen an increase in demand because of the Government's high-profile inquiry into the issue, prompted by allegations of a Westminster paedophile conspiracy.
Organisations will be able to apply for a share of the fund if they are assisting people directly affected by issues covered in the inquiry.
Further cash was also announced for other groups assisting victims of sex abuse, brining the total to £7 million.
Dec 20, 2014 By Nick Dorman, Alex Varley-Winter
The former Metrpoplitan Police officers have agreed to compile formal statements on what they knew of VIP child abuse operations being shut down
Ex-cops who claim VIP paedophile investigations were axed in a cover-up are to hand a dossier to Britain’s most senior police officer.
They have agreed to compile formal statements on what they knew of operations being shut down.
The file will be presented to Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.
Last week we told how in messages on a members-only web forum for ex-officers, it was claimed probes which got close to explosing VIPs were “canned”.
Now we can reveal messages on the site detail the plan to compile a dossier for Sir Bernard and Home Secretary Theresa May’s Child Sex Abuse inquiry.
20 December 2014
By Alex Varley-Winter
Exaro today publishes postings on a private forum in which former officers from Scotland Yard discuss submitting statements on the cover-up of VIP paedophiles.
What is going on? How do we explain this recent wave of secularization that is washing over so much of America?
The answer to these questions is actually much less theological or philosophical than one might think. It is simply not the case that in recent years tens of millions of Americans have suddenly started doubting the cosmological or ontological arguments for the existence of God, or that hundreds of thousands of other Americans have miraculously embraced the atheistic naturalism of Denis Diderot. Sure, this may be happening here and there, in this or that dorm room or on this or that Tumblr page. The best-sellers written by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris—as well as the irreverent impiety and flagrant mockery of religion by the likes of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, House, South Park, and Family Guy—have had some impact on American culture. As we have seen, a steady, incremental uptick of philosophical atheism and agnosticism is discernible in America in recent years. But the larger reality is that for the many millions of Americans who have joined the ranks of the nonreligious, the causes are most likely to be political and sociological in nature.
For starters, we can begin with the presence of the religious right, and the backlash it has engendered. Beginning in the 1980s, with the rise of such groups as the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition, the closeness of conservative Republicanism with evangelical Christianity has been increasingly tight and publicly overt. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, more and more politicians on the right embraced the conservative Christian agenda, and more and more outspoken conservative Christians allied themselves with the Republican Party. Examples abound, from Michele Bachmann to Ann Coulter, from Mike Huckabee to Pat Robertson, and from Rick Santorum to James Dobson. With an emphasis on seeking to make abortion illegal, fighting against gay rights (particularly gay marriage), supporting prayer in schools, advocating “abstinence only” sex education, opposing stem cell research, curtailing welfare spending, supporting Israel, opposing gun control, and celebrating the war on terrorism, conservative Christians have found a warm welcome within the Republican Party, which has been clear about its openness to the conservative Christian agenda. This was most pronounced during the eight years that George W. Bush was in the White House. ...
A second factor that helps account for the recent rise of secularity in America is the devastation of, and reaction against, the Catholic Church’s pedophile priest scandal. For decades the higher-ups in the Catholic Church were reassigning known sexual predators to remote parishes rather than having them arrested and prosecuted. Those men in authority thus engaged in willful cover-ups, brash lawbreaking, and the aggressive slandering of accusers—and all with utter impunity. The extent of this criminality is hard to exaggerate: over six thousand priests have now been credibly implicated in some form of sex abuse, five hundred have been jailed, and more victims have been made known than one can imagine. After the extent of the crimes—the rapes and molestations as well as the cover-ups—became widely publicized, many Americans, and many Catholics specifically, were disgusted. Not only were the actual sexual crimes themselves morally abhorrent, but the degree to which those in positions of power sought to cover up these crimes and allow them to continue was truly shocking. The result has been clear: a lot of Catholics have become ex-Catholics. For example, consider the situation in New England. Between 2000 and 2010, the Catholic Church lost 28 percent of its members in New Hampshire and 33 percent of its members in Maine, and closed nearly seventy parishes—a quarter of the total number—throughout the Boston area. In 1990, 54 percent of Massachusetts residents identified as Catholic, but it was down to 39 percent in 2008. And according to an “American Values” survey from 2012, although nearly one-third of Americans report being raised Catholic, only 22 percent currently identify as such—a precipitous nationwide decline indeed.
December 20, 2014
By Jenn Ruckel, December 19, 2014
after more than a year without an official leader, the 18,000 Catholics in the 46 parishes of northern Alaska will now be led—for the first time in U.S. history—by an active duty military chaplain. Bishop Chad Zielinski was ordained in Fairbanks on Monday, and was welcomed by a host of priests, deacons, and parishioners from throughout the region.
The ceremony was a unique blend of Catholic and Native traditions, bringing people together all the way from North Pole to Barrow and Nome. While the diocese is still recovering from a dark chapter—more than 100 claims of sexual abuse at the hands priests and church volunteers—parishioners like Michael Welch say this is a time for healing, with the guidance and support of their new bishop.
Pacific Sunday News
Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno
Pacific Sunday News
A high-level Vatican official is visiting Guam's Catholic community next month, but whether the visit will be friendly, or investigatory, is in dispute.
"The Archdiocese of Agana is happy to welcome the pastoral visit of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai," the archdiocese stated Friday, in part, in a written statement to the media.
Hon is the secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Vatican office to whom some of Guam's Catholics sent letters over the past several months, seeking an investigation of the various controversies in the local archdiocese.
The Archdiocese of Agana emphasized, by underlining in Friday's media statement, that Hon's Guam trip is a "pastoral visit."
Hon's visit, according to the archdiocese, comes "in the wake of Archbishop Anthony Apuron's successful visit with Pope Francis last month in Rome." ...
More than a week ago, certain members of different parishes on Guam formed a nonprofit group called Concerned Catholics of Guam Inc., and announced the group plans to investigate the management of the local church, its financial books, and the archdiocese's handling of a sexual molestation allegation against Apuron.
Apuron has called the allegation a "horrible calumny," but declined to respond further to the allegation on the advice of his attorney because he's planning a defamation lawsuit to defend the church.
The group's president, Greg Perez, made a statement on Dec. 9 on why Concerned Catholics was formed. "A few of us would meet occasionally to discuss these stories about the archbishop, priests who have been allegedly blamed for mismanagement of funds or alleged disobedience and then removed from their parishes, the lack of transparency with the finances of the archdiocese, neglect of precious artifacts in the archdiocesan museum, among other issues," Perez said.
Tim Rohr, a Guam resident who writes a blog on Catholic issues, called Jungle Watch, believes the nature of the Vatican official's visit is investigatory. "The people who are coming -- the nature of their office is investigation," Rohr said.
The troubled child abuse inquiry panel could be disbanded in order for a new, more powerful, body to take over, Theresa May has indicated.
The Home Secretary has written to the panel's members setting out her plan for the inquiry to be given statutory powers, including the ability to compel witnesses to give evidence.
But the move has left members of the panel "devastated" that they could face being removed from the inquiry.
Mrs May told MPs last week that she wanted the inquiry - which is without a chairman following the resignation of two previous appointees - to be given extra powers.
That could mean waiting for a chairman to be appointed for the inquiry panel, who would then request statutory powers, or setting up a new inquiry panel under statutory terms.
The third option of a Royal Commission - as some want - would not have the powers of a statutory inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act and would be ''legally more risky''.
Saturday 20 December 2014
Theresa May is to scrap the panel for the independent inquiry into child sex abuse, it has been reported.
The home secretary wrote to each member of the panel to tell them she is considering turning it into a statutory inquiry, or setting up a fresh statutory inquiry or a Royal Commission, according to the Exaro News website.
The letter, which followed a meeting between May and panel members on Monday to discuss the future of the inquiry, added that any statutory inquiry panel would be newly appointed, and that existing panel members can apply for positions on the new panel.
She put this decision down to concerns raised about the panel by abuse survivors. May wrote: “As I said on Monday, I am currently considering these three options and I appreciate this has implications for the members of the panel.
“I should like to make clear that I appointed each and every one of you for your experience, your professionalism and your undoubted commitment.
The Worthy Adversary
Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 20, 2014
I hate watching sports … but I LOVE stories about sports.
The minutiae about how any particular game is played is usually lost on me. For me, going to a live sporting event is about the spectacle, not the stats or the rules.
But give me a documentary, movie, book, magazine article, or TV show about the PEOPLE in and behind the games, and I’m mesmerized. These stories draw me in because they are about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. These stories take place in a world—our world—where ANYTHING is possible. There are no victims and there is no pity. This is a world full of vision, enthusiasm, dreams, hope, love, and the value of tenacity.
Which brings me to a small island in the Western Pacific: Guam—an island full of ordinary people doing very extraordinary things. These people aren’t athletes—they are Catholics fighting to take back their church, their faith, and their reputations.
I went to Guam in 2010. Survivors on the island had asked me to come there and reach out to other survivors who felt like it was not safe to come forward and report. The Archbishop of Hagatna, Anthony Sablan Apuron—according to Catholics and critics—was perceived as a bully who scared and shamed victims into silence. So, for some sex abuse victims in the Archdiocese of Hagatna (the only diocese on Guam), coming forward and reporting abuse was tantamount to career and reputation suicide. For the rest, it was suicide.
So when Guam legislators passed a 2011 civil window that allowed sex abuse victims to come forward and use the civil courts to sue their abuser (but not the Archdiocese), victims didn’t come forward … it was just too risky.
Fast forward to 2014. This is where the story really begins. (Note: this story is SO complex and complicated, I know I’m going to miss some of the big points. But the story is still pretty darned juicy.)
Local Catholics, led by trail blazers such as Tim Rohr (a man Apuron had recruited to discredit me in 2010) and Fr. Matthew Blockley, decided that they had had enough. Apuron was pushing the Neocatechumenal Way, a lay movement within the church that according to John Allen, Jr., is “playing fast and loose with both Church teaching and the liturgical rules, fostering a cult of personality, and dividing parishes by insisting that members attend their own Saturday evening services rather than the usual Sunday Mass.”
(AGI) Vatican City, Dec. 20 - Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is no longer Camerlengo of the Holy Church of Rome. Pope Francis has replaced him with Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, the memorable Foreign Minister of Pope John Paul II and currently president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Bertoni turned 80 last Dec. 2 and therefore could not eventually participate in a Conclave. As Protodeacon, Cardinal Tauran announced the election of Pope Francis on March 13, 2013.
During the last few month, he closely collaborated with the Pontiff, especially in cleaning up the Vatican's financial sector and the IOR Vatican bank in particular. Born in Bordeaux, Cardinal Tauran is now 71 years old.
RASHIDA YOSUFZAI AAP DECEMBER 19, 2014
A FORMER priest who was provided with a character reference by Tony Abbott while he stood trial for sexually abusing an altar boy had further complaints made against him.
A REPORT by the royal commission into child abuse said those complaints justified "serious reservations and concern" about the danger John Gerard Nestor posed to children and his suitability for ministry.
Nestor was a priest in the Wollongong diocese in NSW when he was charged and convicted of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old altar boy in 1996.
Mr Abbott, then a parliamentary secretary in the Howard government, described Nestor as a "beacon of humanity" in a character reference provided for his former seminary colleague.
Nestor was later acquitted on appeal.
New York Times
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
DEC. 20, 2014
Six years ago, in the midst of the scandal over child abuse by rogue Catholic priests, the Vatican shocked many of the laity by ordering a sweeping investigation into the behavior and fidelity of the 50,000 American nuns who quietly labor in hospitals, prisons and outposts of the nation’s impoverished. The inquiry, ordered by the church under Pope Benedict XVI, seemed a deliberate distraction from the abuse scandal, and was tinged with male chauvinism.
Now, under the more egalitarian Pope Francis, the inquiry has been concluded with a generally positive report that mainly praises the sisters and their works in words of gratitude and encouragement.
The report should help counter the fear and discouragement that many sisters felt when Rome ordered the inquiry into the community life and finances of the nation’s 350 women’s religious orders. Far from discouraging the social justice ministries that nuns have pioneered, the report urged the sisters to continue their work taking on “the structural causes of poverty.” It even quoted Francis’s call for “a more incisive female presence in the church.” No means for achieving that were suggested, though the sisterhood was a bastion of good works during the harrowing scandal that saw hundreds of men dispatched from the priesthood.
Unfortunately, there is a second, more ill-advised inquiry still to be completed — into whether the national leadership of the nuns has taken on what a ranking prelate termed “a certain secular mentality” and “a certain feminist spirit.” The inquiry was begun under Benedict when Vatican officials expressed concern that teachings on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood might have been criticized at leadership conferences of American nuns.
Road to Recovery
[Note: This event has been postponed.]
Hartford, CT Archdiocese has been informed of clergy sexual abuse by a deceased Hartford, CT priest, Fr. Vincent A. Brown, but refuses to acknowledge and validate the sexual abuse claim of the victim, Charles Mc Gilton, and help him heal
Hartford, CT Archdiocese, despite knowing about sexual allegations against the late Fr. Vincent A. Brown, has not ordered a public golf tournament named after Fr. Vincent A. Brown to be re-named
Fr. Vincent A. Brown, formerly assigned to St. Mary’s Parish, Branford, repeatedly sexually abused a minor child, Charles Mc Gilton, when Fr. Vincent A. Brown was assigned to St. Lawrence Parish in West Haven, CT
A media event and leafleting to alert St. Mary’s Parish, Branford, CT, the greater Connecticut area, and the general public of the Hartford Archdiocese’s unwillingness to help a sexual abuse victim of a Hartford Archdiocesan priest, the late Fr. Vincent A. Brown.
Sunday morning and afternoon, December 21, 2014 after the 7:00 am Mass until the end of the 12:15 pm Mass (and all Masses in between). Press conference will be held at 11:30 AM.
On the public sidewalk outside St. Mary’s Parish, 731 Main Street, Branford, CT, 203-488-1607
Charles Mc Gilton, the sexual abuse victim of Fr. Vincent A. Brown, from West Haven, CT; Dr. Robert M. Hoatson, President of Road to Recovery, Inc. a non-profit charity that advocates for and assists victims of sexual abuse and their families; and other supporters.
Charles Mc Gilton was a young boy when his family lived near and attended St. Lawrence Catholic Church in West Haven, CT. Charles Mc Gilton delivered newspapers to the rectory at St. Lawrence Church where Fr. Vincent A. Brown invited him in and repeatedly sexually abused him there. Fr. Vincent A. Brown also sexually abused Charles Mc Gilton in a local West Haven store where many of Fr. Vincent A. Brown’s parishioners and neighborhood friends gathered to eat and talk. Subsequently, Fr. Vincent A. Brown was transferred to St. Mary’s Parish in Branford, CT, where, today, a golf tournament, which raises thousands of dollars annually for the parish school, is named for Fr. Vincent A. Brown, held at a local elite country club, and supported by local Hartford media personalities, civic and Church leaders, and other celebrities. Demonstrators will call on the Hartford Archdiocese in the person of Archbishop Leonard Blair, the people of St. Mary’s Parish, Branford, and all people in the greater Hartford/New Haven region to acknowledge and validate Charles Mc Gilton’s allegations, apologize for the sexual abuse he endured, and provide him with the resources he needs to heal. Demonstrators will also demand that the name of Fr. Vincent A. Brown be removed from the annual St. Mary’s Parish Golf Tournament and any other honorary titles he holds.
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., 862-368-2800
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA, 617-523-6250
By Philip Pullella December 20, 2014
A branch of the Franciscan religious order that runs churches and convents in 110 countries says fraud by some of its monks has plunged it into grave financial difficulty.
The Italian news magazine Panorama reported in its latest edition that tens of millions of euros of funds from the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) had been invested in offshore shell companies.
Brother Michael Perry, head of the OFM, said an internal investigation had uncovered “a number of questionable financial activities that were conducted by friars entrusted with the care of the patrimony of the order”.
In a letter posted on the OFM website on Wednesday, Perry said the order was in “grave, and I underscore grave, financial difficulty, with a significant burden of debt”.
The letter, addressed to all friars, said the order’s general treasurer had resigned but gave no details.
Nearly 50 years ago, a penniless monk arrived in Manhattan, where he began to build an unrivaled community of followers—and a reputation for sexual abuse. The ongoing accusations against him expose a dark corner of the Buddhist tradition.
DECEMBER 18, 2014
I. “That was the beginning of the sangha”
Eido Shimano, a Zen Buddhist monk from Japan, arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 31, 1964, New Year’s Eve. He was 32 years old, and although he had just spent four years in Hawaii, part of the time as a university student, his English was poor. Besides his clothes, he brought with him only a small statue of the Buddha and a keisaku, the wooden stick a Zen teacher uses to thwack students whose posture sags during meditation. Before flying east, he had been offered temporary lodging by a couple who lived on Central Park West. Not long after he arrived—the very next day, according to some versions of the story—he began to build his sangha, his Zen community. He did this, at first, by walking the streets of New York. The followers just came.
“It was the middle of the 1960s, full of energy,” Shimano recalled when we met for lunch last year. “And all I did was simply walk Manhattan from top to the bottom. And in my Buddhist robe. And many people came. ‘What are you doing? Where are you going?’ So I said, ‘I am from Japan and doing zazen practice’”—Zen meditation. It was a kind of Buddhism, he told the curious New Yorkers. Now and again, somebody asked to tag along. Yes, Shimano told them. Of course. Before long, he had a small space to host meditation sessions, and all were invited. “Little by little, every single day, I walked entire Manhattan,” Shimano told me in his still-fractured English. “And every single day I picked up two or three people who were curious. And that was the beginning of the sangha.”
Within weeks, Shimano had an enthusiastic sangha of perhaps several dozen novices, who met daily for zazen. They rotated from one follower’s apartment to the next, learning to sit and meditate. One day a Canadian woman in her 60s, who had been sitting with Shimano every day, said she was returning to Canada, and she handed him an envelope. “I opened it, and there was a check for $10,000!” Shimano said. He used that money to rent a five-room apartment at 81st Street and West End Avenue. Very soon thereafter—this is still early 1965—a friend told him that he might try to affiliate his growing organization with the Zen Studies Society, which had been founded by D. T. Suzuki, the Columbia University instructor whose English-language books had helped popularize Buddhism in the United States. Suzuki had returned to Japan, and his society was now moribund. Shimano went to see the society’s lawyer, George Yamaoka. “I said to George, ‘I came here about the ZSS,’ and he said, ‘Would you like to join?’ ‘Yes!’ I just signed. And then he immediately resigned, and I became the only ZSS!”
Headlines from the Catholic World
Rome, Italy, Dec 19, 2014 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- “To communicate is to unify” is the first of the “Ten Words of Communication” that Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, described in a lecture given Nov. 24 at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome.
Fr. Federico Lombardi was given an 'honoris causa' degree in social communication from the university, and in the lecture he held at ceremony he traced with passion the 25 years he has spent working in the Church’s communications, summing up all the teaching he had learned in Ten Commandments, which he called ‘Ten Messages.”
“There are people who think that conflict must be fed in order to make communication more dynamic. Let me stress that I am radically against this view; I hate and refuse this kind of communication. And this truly comes from my heart,” Fr. Lombardi said.
The first message is “communicating to unify,” and it is built on the background of the personal experience of Fr. Lombardi, who was appointed director of Vatican Radio in 1991, “on the day when the first bombs of the First Gulf War were lobbed.” ...
Fr. Lombardi then spoke about his experience as director of the Holy See press office, and of how much his work had been tried, especially in the cases of the clergy sex abuse scandal and of Vatican finances.
On the side of sex abuse scandal, Fr. Lombardi reminded that “Benedict XVI had spoken several times about the path of purification of the Church regarding these horrible signs of the presence of evil within herself.”
“Being on the frontline as a communicator permits and requires one to be involved in a very deep way in this path, and to take part in it trying to pay with your own personal suffering a little contribution to the huge price the Church has to pay off it,” Fr. Lombardi confessed.
And he stressed that the Seventh Message is “being ready, in solidarity with the community of the Church, to pay the often painful price of growing up in truth.”
SEYMOUR, Ind. —A southern Indiana pastor accused of making sexual advances on a 27-year-old man near a lake is charged with battery.
Gaylard Williams, 59, is the pastor at the Praise Cathedral Church of God in Seymour.
On Tuesday morning, he appeared at the Jackson County Superior Court.
According to court documents, the victim told police that on Friday, Williams approached his vehicle that was parked at Cypress Lake.
He said that when he rolled down his window, Williams grabbed and squeezed his genitals, and then requested that he perform oral sex.
The Raw Story
19 DEC 2014
A southern Indiana minister who preaches against homosexuality was accused of soliciting gay sex at a park.
Gaylard Williams, pastor of Praise Cathedral Church of God in Seymour, was charged with battery after a man said he grabbed his genitals last week at Cypress Lake.
A man parked at the lake Dec. 12 said the 59-year-old Williams asked him to roll down his vehicle window, then reached in and squeezed his genitals and offered to perform oral sex.
The man told the pastor he was “barking up the wrong tree” and acted like he was reaching for a gun.
He said Williams fled, but he wrote down his license plate number and called police.
Officers said Williams had gay adult material in his vehicle when they stopped him later.
COLBERT COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -
A former Sheffield church leader facing sex abuse charges is scheduled to go to trial next month.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation arrested Oliver Brazelle back in January.
He was working as the minister of music at First United Methodist Church when an investigation by the church found inappropriate behavior between Brazelle and three male victims.
Church leaders turned over their findings to police, who charged Brazelle with sodomy and sexual abuse.
December 19, 2014 4:45PM ET
by Claire Gordon @clairedon Google+
The blistering report on how Bob Jones University has handled sexual abuse reports is still warm off the presses and some victims are already skeptical that the university is willing to acknowledge the seriousness of what it exposed. They say BJU's response reeks of damage control.
In its two-year independent investigation, the nonprofit Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment found that sex abuse victims on the Greenville, South Carolina, campus were often urged to find the sin behind their rapes, pushed to repent for any pleasure they might have experienced during their assaults, and encouraged to reach out to their abusers and express forgiveness or ask forgiveness from them. The university's counselors were unlicensed and had no formal training in psychology.
Some students, the GRACE report found, were punished for reporting their abuse. Almost half said they were advised not to go the police. The 301-page dossier also paints a campus culture where sex abuse victims were made to feel like "damaged goods." In the past year, America Tonight has interviewed five former Bob Jones students who reported their abuse to school officials and all say they have yet to recover from how BJU treated them.
Thumbnail image for Report: Bob Jones University shamed victims of sexual assault
Report: Bob Jones University shamed victims of sexual assault
For decades, Bob Jones University, a self-described fundamentalist Christian college, has urged sexual abuse victims not to go to the police and counseled them to repent for the blame it said they share, according to an extensive independent investigation published last week.
Highland Community News
On Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, at approximately 1 p.m., deputies from the Victorville Sheriff's Station began investigating a report of unlawful sexual intercourse with a boy, now 17. The reporting party, the victim's father, called the station to report that his son disclosed he had a year long sexual relationship with Joseph Kealoha, 26, a volunteer group leader at the High Desert Church in Victorville. Kealoha's role was to mentor and assist adolescents in small study groups.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department's Specialized Investigations Division, Crimes against Children Detail took over the investigation. Upon further investigation, detectives learned that the victim met Kealoha while attending High Desert Church, specifically during a youth beach trip in August of 2013. Shortly after meeting, Kealoha began a dating relationship with the minor which ultimately led to sex acts. According to statements provided by the victim, these acts occurred monthly throughout the duration of the relationship, which came to an end in September 2014.
In addition to Kealoha's volunteer position at the High Desert Church, he is also employed as an instructional aid at Morgan Kincaid Preperatory School, as well as a program leader at Bradach Elementary School's "Think Together" program, both schools being part of the Adelanto School District. Kealoha was subsequently relieved of his duties at the church and the schools.
Telegram & Gazette
By Samantha Allen TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
WORCESTER — Hours after President Barack Obama said Sony Pictures "made a mistake" by shelving "Interview," Worcester-area filmmakers and movie lovers weighed in on the company's decision to abandon releasing the film.
Andrea Ajemian, a filmmaker who has set several of her films in Worcester County and who is a Worcester native, said the decision by Sony to pull the film was "mind-blowing." ...
Worcester-based filmmaker George "Skip" Shea, along with Ms. Ajemeian, said he would like to see "The Interview" released online.
"In a lot of ways, Sony's hands were tied because it appears the cinemas refused to show it and if they're pulling distributions, then (the film's producers) don't have much leverage," he said.
Mr. Shea noted that as a survivor of sexual abuse allegedly by priests, he has aired films with subject matter critical of the Roman Catholic Church. He's now in production with his current film that also touches on the topic, titled "Trinity," and says Sony's call now sets a dangerous precedent.
"It's very sad to me that regardless of the merit of the art (of 'The Interview') this has happened," he said. "How often are we going to cave to this stuff?"
Friday, December 19, 2014
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team reports that the sex abuse investigation of a popular North Side priest has been closed and no charges will be filed.
Since April, Fr. Michael O'Connell of St. Alphonsus Church in Lakeview has been under investigation for allegedly abusing a boy while serving at a different church. O'Connell has always maintained his innocence.
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says it is disappointed and wants O'Connell suspended.
KATHRYN POWLEY HERALD SUN DECEMBER 20, 2014
AN education official who worked at a UK council slammed for not protecting children from a plague of sexual exploitation has been sidelined from her Victorian job.
Dr Sonia Sharp has been serving as Victoria’s deputy secretary of early childhood and school education but has been moved to the Department of Health and Human Services while her recruitment is reviewed.
Education Minister James Merlino has previously said Dr Sharp should never have been hired - but now he is in government, he has stopped short of firing her.
From 2005-08 Dr Sharp was director of children’s services at Rotherham Borough Council, where an estimated 1400 children - some as young as 11 - were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013.
December 19, 2014
Bay City News Service
DALY CITY - A Daly City pastor at a church in San Francisco will face trial for one count of child molestation, a San Mateo superior court judge ruled Thursday.
Venije Singkoh, 70, pleaded not guilty to three counts of child molestation, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. San Mateo Superior Court Judge Donald Ayoob ruled today that Singkoh would face only one count at trial.
Wagstaffe said the judge determined that two less serious allegations involving the pastor kissing young girls at the church on the cheek and one kiss on the lips didn't fall under "lewd intent."
Prosecutors said Singkoh is a pastor at the Indonesian Pentecostal Foursquare Church in San Francisco. On Feb. 7, a 9-year-old girl told her parents he molested her on multiple occasions over the past year by placing her on his lap and kissing her inappropriately.
William D. Lindsey
At his Christian Catholicism site, Jerry Slevin argues that Pope Francis is making "a huge papal mistake" and "exhibiting his papal fallibility" by passing over Father Thomas Doyle, one of the leading authorities on the Catholic abuse crisis, as Francis adds new members to his commisison on abuse. Jerry points to Tom Doyle's extensive qualifications to serve the church on this papal commission:
Fr. Doyle is a Dominican priest with a doctorate in canon law and five separate master’s degrees. He sacrificed a rising career under Cardinal Laghi at the USA's Vatican Embassy to become an outspoken advocate for Catholic Church priest sexual abuse victims. Since 1984, when he first became involved with the issue of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy while serving at the Embassy, he has become an expert in the canonical and pastoral dimensions of this problem—working directly with victims, their families, accused priests, bishops, and other high-ranking Church officials.
Doyle has interviewed over 2,000 victims of clerical sexual abuse in the USA alone, and has been the only priest to testify in court in over 200 cases as to the legal liability of the Church. He has developed policies and procedures for dealing with cases of sexual abuse by the clergy for dioceses and religious orders in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
As an expert in this area, Doyle has delivered lectures and seminars for clergy and lay groups throughout the U.S. In 1989 he appeared as an expert witness before the legislature of Pennsylvania concerning that State’s child protective legislation. As an Air Force major stationed in Germany, and who also served as a military chaplain in Iraq, he holds 16 military awards and decorations for distinguished service.
Doyle currently serves as a consultant/court expert in clerical abuse cases throughout the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Israel and the United Kingdom. The Voice of the Faithful honored Doyle with their first Priest of Integrity Award in 2002. In recognition of his advocacy work for the victims of clerical sexual abuse, he has also received the Cavallo Award for Moral Courage (1992) and the Isaac Hecker Award from the Paulist Fathers (2003). In June of 2003 Doyle was also issued an official commendation from the Dominican Fathers for his "prophetic work in drawing attention to clergy sexual abuse and for advocating the rights of victims and abusers."
Trailed by bitter controversy, a six-year investigation of American nuns ended Tuesday with the release of a Vatican report that praised the religious sisters “for all that they contribute to the church’s evangelizing mission.”
The document released by Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life – a major Vatican office – drew on dozens of interviews in convents and religious houses which disproved allegations that caused Cardinal Franc Rodé, as prefect of the congregation in 2008, to order an investigation into “a certain secular mentality ... and perhaps also a certain ‘feminist’ spirit,” as Rodé told Vatican Radio at the time.
One of the more conservative cardinals in the Vatican, Rodé was not at the Tuesday press conference at which his successor, Brazilian Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, struck a tone of harmony with the nuns.
Within the politics of the Roman Curia, Braz de Abriz has also emerged as an ally of Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the American organization representing superiors of 80 percent of the orders of religious sisters. A separate Vatican office, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had imposed an overseer, Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain, the vet the group’s speakers and publications.
“The Vatican realized they messed up this situation and they are trying to mend fences,” Sister Christine Schenk of Cleveland told The GroundTruth Project. ...
As the investigation Rodé launched made news, Vatican officials saw the blowback in media coverage which cast the nuns, working on the margins with the poor, confronting cold male bureaucrats in Rome.
Rodé was an unstinting supporter of Father Marcial Maciel, a notorious pedophile and founder of the Legion of Christ, an order enmeshed in lawsuits in America for duplicitous fundraising. ...
Cardinal Rodé, in an interview with this writer in his Vatican apartment two years ago, said that the call to investigate had come from Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as Boston archbishop in 2002 amid the abuse crisis, and soon found redemption in Rome as pastor of a great basilica. The other prelate behind the call, said Rodé, was Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.
In 2003, Lori approved a $21 million abuse victims settlement involving several priests. Voice of the Faithful criticized him for allowing an accused monsignor to stay in his parish until he resigned, facing 2011 sex harassment allegations from a female church worker.
That double standard in leadership – bishops stained by scandal in the abuse cases, accusing nuns of bad faith – may be at its eclipse.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ROME (AP) — The main Franciscan religious order in the Roman Catholic Church is in a financial crisis because of alleged wrongdoing from within and outside its ranks.
The head of the Order of Friars Minor said in a statement from Rome that questionable financial activities by some friars and outsiders have caused a grave situation that threatens the financial stability of the religious order.
The Rev. Michael Perry says the order's financial oversight was either too weak or was compromised.
The general treasurer in the order's administrative offices has resigned. The order has notified church and civil authorities and is reviewing its finances going back to 2003. Perry revealed the crisis in a statement posted Wednesday on the order's website.
Milwaukee Business Journal
Milwaukee Business Journal
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached a $2.3 million settlement with insurers in the archdiocese bankruptcy case, and half of that amount would go to a proposed settlement of allegations of clergy sexual abuse.
The latest settlement would bring to $5.15 million the total amount available to people who have sought compensation. The new settlement figure was included in a motion filed Wednesday and is subject to approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Susan Kelley in Milwaukee.
"Our relentless pursuit of insurance carriers has brought $10 million into the (reorganization) plan," archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski told the Milwaukee Business Journal Friday.
Lloyd's of London previously agreed to pay $8 million to the archdiocese with $4 million of that planned as payments to clergy abuse victims and $4 million to pay the administrative costs of the case. The new development involves a settlement with OneBeacon Insurance Co. and Stonewall Insurance Co.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel Dec. 19, 2014
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached an agreement with its insurance companies for an additional $2.3 million, bringing to $10.3 million the amount its insurers will pay to help the archdiocese emerge from its nearly 4-year-old bankruptcy.
Under the terms of a motion filed in the bankruptcy this week, half of the $10.3 million would go to pay administrative costs — primarily legal fees that have now topped $16 million. Half would go into a trust for 128 of the bankruptcy's creditors, men and women who were sexually abused by diocesan priests as children.
The settlement brings the amount available to those survivors to $5.15 million, from $4 million in the archdiocese's original plan of reorganization.
Victims and their attorneys blasted the settlement as inadequate, and said they would object to the plan in court.
"All the insurance settlements here shut survivors out of the process and are taking money from survivors and putting it in the pockets of the bankruptcy attorneys," said Michael Finnegan, whose St. Paul, Minn., firm represents most of the 575 men and women who have filed claims in the bankruptcy alleging they were molested by priests and others connected to the church.
Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal December 19, 2014
A judge has denied the request of convicted child molester Rev. James Schook to be released from prison after serving six months of a 15-year sentence.
Schook, 67, was found guilty in April of molesting a 13-year-old alter boy in the 1970s. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on three counts of sodomy and one count of indecent and immoral practices.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry denied the motion for shock probation ahead of a hearing scheduled for Friday.
"The Defendant shall remain in custody to serve out his sentence in accordance with the law," Perry wrote in the order denying Schook's request.
National Catholic Reporter
Marie Rohde | Dec. 19, 2014
The Milwaukee archdiocese has asked a bankruptcy judge to approve a settlement with three insurance companies, a move that would more than double the $4 million the archdiocese has offered the survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
The archdiocese and the insurance companies -- London Market, OneBeacon, and Stonewall -- have been negotiating for more than four years and entered into mediation several times. According to the proposed agreement, the insurance companies will buy back policies for a total of $10.3 million. Half of the money will go to a fund for victims, and the other half will go toward legal fees that now amount to more than $18 million, some of which has already been paid.
The settlement agreement will not be finalized until approved by the bankruptcy judge, Susan V. Kelley, and is likely to be opposed by survivors who have filed claims, according to a lawyer and a survivor representative. Kelley could approve the agreement without the go-ahead, but it is unlikely, as no other diocesan or religious order bankruptcies have proceeded in the face of such opposition.
Jerry Topczewski, a spokesman for the Milwaukee archdiocese, said in a statement: "Because of the archdiocese's relentless pursuit of a settlement with insurance carriers, it has brought more than $10 million into the plan of reorganization which benefits abuse survivors and it brings us another step closer to a resolution of the Chapter 11 proceeding."
From the letter of the Franciscan Minister General, Brother Michael Perry, OFM:
In an effort to live as children of the light, the General Definitorium and I wish to bring to light a grave situation in which the General Curia of the Order now finds itself. The matter involves our financial stability and the patrimony of the Order. While our first concern has and remains verifying the nature, extent, and impact of what has occurred, we also recognize the significant role that external actors, people who are not members of the Order, have played in creating this grave situation.
In September 2014, the General Definitorium initiated a series of steps in order to conduct an internal inquiry into the financial dealings of the Office of the General Treasurer. A sub-commission within the General Definitorium was created to serve as an advisory group. Together we charted a course to collect reliable information, identify potential concerns, and examine all available documents in order to reach well-informed decisions about how best to proceed to guarantee the financial soundness of the Order in a manner consistent with our Franciscan values and way of life. We immediately sought advice from a highly regarded group of lawyers who continue to work for the Order. Competent ecclesiastical authorities also were informed of our concerns and have been updated on a regular basis. In addition, Provincials and Custodes in a number of the Franciscan Conferences also were provided with a brief, albeit incomplete, explanation of our situation and were requested to demonstrate their solidarity with the General Curia through prayer and in other significant ways. I regret that not all Provincials and Custodes were contacted. I ask of all Provincials and Custodes your understanding and for a financial contribution to help address the current situation, which involves also the repayment of significant debts. ...
Right, "without the full knowledge" -- of those who should have full knowledge... It is just so nice that the predecessor of the current Minister General for ten years (!), current Abp. José ("Call me Pepe") Rodríguez Carballo, was made Secretary and the personal man of the Pope in the Congregation for Religious. The same man who has been a key player in the ongoing dismantling of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.
Quite a promising start for the Year of Consecrated Life!
(Note: both in Italy and in many other places, large orders such as the Friars Minor also receive massive amounts of public funds, both through tax breaks and direct government contributions to their educational, healthcare, and charitable activities. Will authorities in Italy and elsewhere act accordingly considering the shady financial dealings of the past? As with the ongoing abuse scandal, will the intervention of Caesar be necessary to bring justice to this situation?)
Catholic Herald (UK)
by Madeleine Teahan posted Friday, 19 Dec 2014
The Franciscans is facing a “grave situation” following an internal investigation into the state of its financial affairs.
In a letter to the order, first reported by Rorate Caeli , Brother Michael A Perry, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), said: “I wish to bring to light a grave situation in which the General Curia of the Order now finds itself. The matter involves our financial stability and the patrimony of the Order. While our first concern has and remains verifying the nature, extent, and impact of what has occurred, we also recognise the significant role that external actors, people who are not members of the Order, have played in creating this grave situation.”
Brother Perry said that one of the key findings of the investigation involves a “number of questionable financial activities that were conducted by friars entrusted with the care of the patrimony of the Order without the full knowledge or consent of the former and current General Definitorium.”
He continued by saying that as a result of this finding the order had involved the civil authorities. He said: “Because of the scope and magnitude of these activities, they have placed the financial stability of the General Curia at grave risk. These questionable activities also involve people who are not Franciscan but who appear to have played a central role. For these reasons, the General Definitorium, working in unanimity, has decided to call upon assistance from civil authorities to take up this matter.”
Catholic News Service
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Ineffective budgetary oversight and "questionable" financial activities have plunged the Order of Friars Minor into significant debt and an extremely serious financial situation, its minister general said.
Following an internal investigation into the order's finances, U.S. Franciscan Father Michael Perry, the superior, announced to all members of the order that its general curia "finds itself in grave, and I underscore 'grave,' financial difficulty, with a significant burden of debt."
He attributed the situation to unapproved financial activity by some friars as well as non-Franciscans and said the curia had retained lawyers and contacted civil authorities.
The announcement was published as an open letter on the order's website Dec. 17. The announcement included a plea to Franciscan superiors around the world for "your understanding and for a financial contribution to help address the current situation, which involves also the repayment of significant debts."
An investigation begun in September discovered that "the systems of financial oversight and control for the management of the patrimony of the order were either too weak or were compromised, thus limiting their effectiveness to guarantee responsible, transparent management," Father Perry wrote.
The Order of Friars Minor (OFM), the Catholic Church's most prominent brotherhood of Franciscan friars, has said dubious dealings have led the OFM into serious financial trouble. An investigation is underway.
In an open letter posted on the OFM website Brother Michael Perry, head of the OFM, revealed that the results of an internal investigation showed the order was in serious financial difficulty and deeply in debt. Shady dealings by some friars with fiduciary responsibilities had put the order's finances at risk.
The Italian news magazine Panorama reported in its latest edition, under the headline "Franciscans at the cusp of bankruptcy" (Francescani sull'orlo della bancarotta), that tens of millions of euros of the OFM's funds had been invested in offshore shell companies. Some of the money apparently went missing in connection with the purchase and renovation of a hotel in central Rome.
Perry's letter, addressed to all the Order's friars, said the order's general treasurer, Giancarlo Lati, had resigned, but gave no details.
Perry's letter identified "three important elements" as having emerged from the OFM's internal investigation into the order's finances.
"First, the General Curia finds itself in grave, and I underscore ‘grave' financial difficulty, with a significant burden of debt," Brother Perry wrote.
The Guardian (UK)
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Friday 19 December 2014
The Franciscan order of monks has announced it is in grave financial difficulty after the discovery of a massive fraud.
An internal investigation begun four months ago has found that some monks who ran the Franciscans’ endowment engaged in “questionable financial activities” that have emptied the 800-year-old order’s coffers.
The Franciscans are a community within the Catholic church who follow St Francis of Assisi, who was known for advocating a life of poverty.
The order’s financial woes were disclosed in a rare open letter published this week by American monk, Michael Perry, the Franciscans’ minister general.
He painted a desperate picture of an order whose viability is in doubt and facing a “significant burden of debt” as a result of the deception. He also cast blame outside the church. “These questionable activities also involve people who are not Franciscan but who appear to have played a central role,” he said in the letter.
By Nick Squires, Rome
19 Dec 2014
It was founded 800 years ago by St Francis of Assisi, whose name was taken by the current Pope, but the Franciscan order of friars has found itself mired in a financial scandal allegedly involving fraud and embezzlement of tens of millions of euros.
A branch of the Roman Catholic order had invested some of its money in offshore shell companies based in Switzerland, which had in turn been involved in arms and drugs trafficking, Italian media reported.
A three-month-long internal investigation has found extensive financial irregularities at the heart of the Rome-based order, which has around 14,000 members worldwide and owns churches and convents in more than 100 countries.
Michael Perry, the American head of the Order of Friars Minor, took the unusual step of writing an open letter to friars and monks to inform them that the historic order now finds itself in a "grave situation", with millions of euros believed to be missing from its accounts.
He said the General Curia, the governing body of the order, "finds itself in grave, and I underscore 'grave', financial difficulty, with a significant burden of debt."
Lo scandalo è scoppiato nel mese di ottobre e anche il Papa lo è venuto a sapere: la procura svizzera avrebbe sequestrato alcuni depositi della congregazione dei frati minori francescani, per decine di milioni di euro, perché investiti in società finite sotto inchiesta per traffici illeciti, si parla addirittura di armi e droga. Gli investimenti risalgono al periodo in cui era superiore dei frati minori José Rodriguez Carballo, oggi segretario della Congregazione per i religiosi. Sotto accusa l’ex economo generale, padre Giancarlo Lati, che è stato fatto dimettere, e alcuni consulenti. Il sequestro dei fondi, gli interessi passivi da pagare e la perdita di una parte del patrimonio per investimenti spericolati, hanno messo in ginocchio i frati tanto da costringere il nuovo ministro generale, padre Michael Perry a recarsi negli Stati Uniti e in altre province a chiedere una colletta per aiutare la Curia generalizia.
I frati hanno tentato per settimane di tenere segreto questo scandalo. Finché Panorama lo ha scoperto e ha chiesto ufficialmente a mons. Carballo, padre Perry e al nuovo economico, padre Silvio de la Fuente di commentare queste informazioni. Da tutti è arrivato un secco “no comment”, forse nella speranza che nulla ancora sarebbe trapelato all’esterno. Una volta appreso che sul numero di Panorama in edicola sarebbe stata diffusa la notizia, il ministro generale è stato costretto a riconoscere ufficialmente l’accaduto, con una lettera pubblica che è un’ammissione ufficiale del dissesto ma non può essere presa ad esempio di trasparenza. O quanto meno è un esempio di trasparenza “obbligata” dall’esterno.
Religion News Service | By Josephine McKenna
VATICAN CITY (RNS) One of the largest Franciscan religious orders, founded on the humble teachings of St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago, announced it is on the brink of bankruptcy after admitting some of its monks embezzled funds from its accounts.
The Italian news magazine Panorama on Friday (Dec. 19) reported that tens of millions of dollars were missing from the Order of Friars Minor and had been invested in offshore companies.
Panorama also claimed Swiss prosecutors had seized Franciscan accounts in Switzerland because the account holders had allegedly invested in illegal operations that could include arms and drug trafficking.
Brother Michael Perry, the American head of the order, said an internal inquiry was begun in September and revealed “a number of questionable financial activities that were conducted by friars entrusted with the care of the patrimony of the order.”
In a letter posted on the order’s website, Perry said the order was in “grave, and I underscore grave, financial difficulty, with a significant burden of debt.”
1. Pope Francis likes to quip about women as Adam’s ribs. a demeaning allusion to the Genesis myth about Eve’s origin. Two modern “Adam’s ribs”, more like Joan of Arc types, and some American Sisters, are striking back at the “Argentinian Adam”. There is some overdue justice here, as Pope Francis often seems to treat women still mostly as moronic breeding machines. Ironically, then, that it is courageous women like the brave whistle blowing canon lawyer and former Minneapolis Archdiocesan chancellor, Jennifer Haselberger, and Minnesota Public Radio’s (MPR) tenacious reporter, Madeleine Baran, that are functioning as modern Joan of Arc’s to lance the papal veil, or the Wizard of Oz’s curtain, pick your metaphor.
2. For Haselberger’s extraordinary affidavit that she recently refers to in new comments ”after my affidavit was released in July of 2014 “, please click on this link to read it — you will be stunned! This affidavit is one of the most searing single statements ever by a Catholic Church insider and canon lawyer, alleging a widespread cover-up of clergy sex misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. She has made the most detailed claims yet, as a former insider no less, accusing archbishops and their top staff of lying to the public and of ignoring the U.S. bishops’ pledge to have no tolerance of priests who abuse.
3. And Madeleine Baran and her MPR team were just praised lavishly by Columbia University’s School of Journalism for MPR’s exhaustive coverage of the Minneapolis scandal that has earned them the very prestigious duPont Award with the following description:
4. MPR News: “Betrayed by Silence”
A heartbreaking, exhaustive investigation of sexual abuse and cover up in the Twin Cities Catholic Church
MPR News’ yearlong investigation exposed how leaders of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis continued to cover up abuse of children by priests, despite decades of assurances that the Catholic Church was safe. Reporters found that bishops provided secret payments to pedophiles, hid the names of abusers, failed to notify police of alleged sex crimes and didn’t warn parishioners of priests’ sexual misconduct. The report included everything from interactive databases of allegations against priests and where they served, and a display of internal church documents, to police records, court records, and victim settlement documents all showing extensive cover ups. MPR’s reporting has led to numerous actions to protect the public such as the opening of a criminal investigation of the archdiocese itself, resignations, forced retirements, leaves of absences, firings, and the release of names of abusive priests. The investigative team overcame the challenges rife in reporting this type of story: understanding the church’s complex structure and legal system; verifying old events and claims; the lack of documents available digitally; and the insular, private world of the priesthood.
By ANGELA THOMPSON Dec. 19, 2014
Wollongong Catholic Bishop Peter Ingham erred by not making public the reasons behind the 2008 defrocking of priest John Gerard Nestor, the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse has found.
In a damning set of nine findings handed down on Friday, the royal commission takes aim at the Catholic Church and some of its officials for not making notes of potentially incriminating internal meetings with Nestor, and for the five years it took for an internal appeal process to run its course.
The royal commission further found the decision by some clergy to have Nestor publicly participate in church services "undermined" the efforts of other priests to protect children.
Nestor was convicted of aggravated indecent assault in 1997, and acquitted seven months later.
He denied the central allegation in the case against him, that he slept on the same mattress as a 15-year-old altar boy.
He was defrocked by decree of the Pope in 2008, after further allegations surfaced and after long periods on administrative leave.
Śledztwo w sprawie podejrzanego o pedofilię Józefa Wesołowskiego zawieszone. Taką decyzję podjęła Prokuratura Okręgowa w Warszawie.
Powodem jest utrudniona współpraca ze śledczymi z Dominikany. Polski hierarcha pełnił tam funkcję nuncjusza apostolskiego. - Strona dominikańska nie odpowiedziała na wnioski polskiej prokuratury o pomoc prawną, nie mamy informacji kiedy zostaną one zrealizowane - wyjaśnia w rozmowie z Informacyjną Agencją Radiową Przemysław Nowak, rzecznik Prokuratury Okręgowej w Warszawie.
Dodał, że decyzja jedynie zawiesza bieg postępowania i nie rozstrzyga o jego istocie.
Od września - przez dwa miesiące - Józef Wesołowski przebywał w areszcie domowym w Watykanie. Na początku grudnia areszt się skończył i były nuncjusz może swobodnie poruszać się za Spiżową Bramą.
Poland’s public prosecutor suspended an investigation into statutory rape charges against Roman Catholic Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic.
Blaming lack of cooperation from the law enforcement authorities in the Dominican Republic, where the alleged sex abuse of minors took place, the Warsaw prosecutors announced suspension of the investigation on Friday.
„The Dominican side failed to respond to the requests from the Polish prosecutors for legal help and we have no information when they will be met,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office told Polish Radio.
The archbishop, who allegedly abused dozens of children during his spell as the nuncio, or the papal ambassador to the Dominican Republic, is currently under home arrest in the Vatican.
Religion News Service - Rhymes with Religion
Boz Tchividjian | Dec 19, 2014
As we arrive on the doorstep of another Christmas and 2014 comes to a close, I have spent some time thinking about these past twelve months and what I have witnessed as many faith communities finally begin to understand and address the many difficult issues related to child sexual abuse. Each step forward brings a new set of challenges that I believe give us much to look forward to in 2015.
Here are just a very few examples:
A conservative Protestant denomination adopted one of the strongest public statements on child protection by any religious denomination or community. Passing the statement was only the beginning. The challenge forward will be whether these words will actually propel faith communities to action in transforming their understanding and approach to child sexual abuse. Much to look forward to in 2015.
A powerful documentary brought to light allegations of systematic abuse and neglect of children inside a large and well-known Christian community. Making this amazing film was only the beginning. The challenge forward will be whether faith communities will embrace these brave voices as agents of change in creating cultures that better protect little ones and have no tolerance for those who hurt them. Much to look forward to in 2015.
A well-known fundamentalist institution requested an independent Christian organization to investigate its responses to sexual abuse disclosures made by students. Not only did this school voluntarily initiate this investigation, but also it agreed for the results to be made public. By voluntarily engaging in this independent and transparent process, this institution has set an historical and Gospel-centered precedent for Christendom and the watching world. Inviting the investigation and publicizing its results is only the beginning. The challenge forward for this institution and every other community that professes to follow Jesus will be to learn how to better love and comfort the afflicted, while implementing changes that value, protect, and serve the vulnerable. Much to look forward to in 2015.
William D. Lindsey
Some brief excerpts of responses to the Vatican report on American women religious that have struck me as well worth reading:
Joan Chittister maintains that the lingering questions about why this witch hunt took place and what role women are to have in the church point to the following conclusion:
These are the questions that will make real both the concern of the universal church for the development of women religious and for the development of the male church itself.
Christine Schenck reminds us of some telling details about what Rome immediately demanded of American nuns when the investigation was sprung on them:
At first, each community was required to submit detailed financial reports of assets, liabilities and cash flow along with lists of all the properties they owned. Rome also wanted to know each sister's age, her address, and her ministry. (This is especially puzzling since the Vatican seems to have had difficulty keeping track of whole orders of sisters, let alone individuals. Some communities were completely overlooked in mailings about the apostolic visitation.)
by William Oddie posted Friday, 19 Dec 2014
It’s just as bad in the Church of England, and worse in society at large
“Last month”, according to The Independent newspaper on Tuesday, “the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he dealt with issues of child sex abuse on a daily basis (my emphasis) and he anticipated that more ‘bad stories’ would emerge. He said: ‘I would love to say there weren’t, but I expect there are.’ He told the BBC that it was ‘becoming clearer and clearer that for many, many years things were not dealt with as they should [have been]’.”
Well, he has one consolation: the issue will not be clouded and confused, as it has been in the Catholic Church for years, by the non-issue of the marital status of the clergy involved. Most of them are married. This particular story had homed in on the now former Bishop of Gloucester (married, with four daughters) who had resigned suddenly after he was “placed at the centre of” a police inquiry over allegations of indecent assault on a child more than 30 years ago. The bishop had stepped down after nearly a decade as bishop on Friday citing “personal reasons”; these turned out to be that in the parish in south London where he was a curate in 1976, he is alleged to have been involved in “indecent assault on a child said to have occurred between 1980 and 1981”.
Next to THAT story, I place another, from Australia, where a report by something called the Truth, Justice and Healing Council (groan) has found (as in the Church of England) that “some Church institutions and their leaders turned a blind eye to what was going on for years”. Unlike the Church of England, however, the “Council” gave a possible reason for its clergy’s aberrant behaviour: they weren’t simply doing something inherently bad and sinful (and for which there is NO CONCEIVABLE EXCUSE): they were under a particular pressure. Guess what?
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Friday, Dec. 19 2014
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 312 399 4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com )
No child sex charges are going to be filed against Fr. Michael W. O’Connell, who is still on the job today in a parish despite allegations by two men that he sexually abused them as children. We’re disappointed in this decision and urge Archbishop Blase Cupich to honor his pledges to keep kids safe by suspending O’Connell.
We’re deeply saddened that Cupich, who talks such a good game about abuse, is recklessly keeping O’Connell around vulnerable families. We were equally saddened – but less surprised - that then-Cardinal Francis George did the same – for months - despite the two accusers and a pending criminal investigation into the allegations.
In a disturbing violation of church abuse policy, both George and Cupich let O’Connell claim to “self-monitor” by voluntarily keeping himself away from children in his parish.
Two weeks ago, we asked Cupich to:
1) immediately suspend O’Connell from his post at St. Alphonsus parish,
2) discipline all archdiocesan staff who have let him stay in the parish,
3) attend a “town hall meeting” we are holding about the troubling situation, and
4) personally visit St. Alphonsus and beg anyone who may have information that might prove or disprove crimes or misdeeds by Fr. O’Connell to call police.
Today, for the safety of children, we renew those requests.
This week, on Tuesday, we were told by the Executive Director of Cook County Department of Corrections, Cara Smith, that the investigation by the sheriff’s police department into the allegations against Fr. O’Connell is closed unless new information is brought forward. We understand that most child predators, especially clergy child predators, are tough to prosecute, in part because they are very shrewd, cunning, well-educated and well-spoken. We also understand that the bar for criminal prosecution is quite high.
But this decision doesn’t mean that Fr. O’Connell is innocent. Nor does it mean that Cupich should continue to gamble with the safety of children.
Here’s more background information about this troubling situation:
Fr. O’Connell was temporarily suspended in December 2013 after the archdiocese received an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a boy at Our Lady of the Woods in Orland Park years earlier. In April of this year, Cardinal George reinstated Fr. O’Connell even though the Cook County Sheriff’s Department had not closed the criminal case.
Weeks later, new allegations surfaced involving alleged abuse of different boy in the 1990s and police began investigating. Throughout this, however, archdiocesan officials kept Fr. O’Connell on the job.
This is precisely the kind of reckless behavior that Catholic officials have engaged in for decades, with disastrous results. It’s precisely the kind of irresponsible decision-making that Catholic officials have pledged for years would no longer happen.
Ordo Fratrum Minorum
My dear brothers, may the Lord give you peace!
In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul writes: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Eph. 5, 8-15).
In an effort to live as children of the light, the General Definitorium and I wish to bring to light a grave situation in which the General Curia of the Order now finds itself. The matter involves our financial stability and the patrimony of the Order. While our first concern has and remains verifying the nature, extent, and impact of what has occurred, we also recognize the significant role that external actors, people who are not members of the Order, have played in creating this grave situation.
In September 2014, the General Definitorium initiated a series of steps in order to conduct an internal inquiry into the financial dealings of the Office of the General Treasurer. A sub-commission within the General Definitorium was created to serve as an advisory group. Together we charted a course to collect reliable information, identify potential concerns, and examine all available documents in order to reach well-informed decisions about how best to proceed to guarantee the financial soundness of the Order in a manner consistent with our Franciscan values and way of life. We immediately sought advice from a highly regarded group of lawyers who continue to work for the Order. Competent ecclesiastical authorities also were informed of our concerns and have been updated on a regular basis. In addition, Provincials and Custodes in a number of the Franciscan Conferences also were provided with a brief, albeit incomplete, explanation of our situation and were requested to demonstrate their solidarity with the General Curia through prayer and in other significant ways. I regret that not all Provincials and Custodes were contacted. I ask of all Provincials and Custodes your understanding and for a financial contribution to help address the current situation, which involves also the repayment of significant debts.
National Catholic Reporter
Joshua J. McElwee | Dec. 19, 2014
The leader of the main group of the world's Franciscans has written members of his order around the world informing them that their financial stability is at "grave risk" because of "questionable financial activities" undertaken by staffers of the order's Roman administrative offices.
Because of the questionable activities the order's general treasurer has resigned and ecclesiastical and civil authorities have been called upon for help, writes Franciscan Fr. Michael Perry, the minister general of the order.
"The General Curia finds itself in grave, and I underscore ‘grave’ financial difficulty, with a significant burden of debt," Perry, head of the Order of Friars Minor writes in a posting on the order's website.
"The systems of financial oversight and control for the management of the patrimony of the Order were either too weak or were compromised, thus limiting their effectiveness to guarantee responsible, transparent management," he continues.
Social Affairs Reporter
HILLSONG Church founder Brian Houston should be referred to police for investigation after he failed to report child sexual abuse carried out by his father, the royal commission’s senior counsel has found.
Simeon Beckett, counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, also found Brian Houston — who was national president of the Pentecostal church umbrella organisation Assemblies of God when he heard about the abuse — had a “conflict of interest” and never told police about his father Frank Houston’s abuse of a boy from the age of seven in 1970. He first found out about the abuse in 1999.
His submission says that Frank Houston admitted the abuse to his son and this confession could have been used to secure a conviction had Brian Houston informed police. “As that information may relate to contravention of a law ... it is submitted it is appropriate to refer Pastor Brian Houston’s conduct to the NSW Police Commissioner,” it says.
The commission heard evidence that Frank Houston abused several children in Australia and New Zealand in the 1960s and 70s while at the Assemblies of God, before Hillsong existed.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
19 December, 2014
In 2014, we conducted 17 public hearings, held over 1,700 private sessions, and further progressed our work in research and policy. We also received 9,883 calls to the call centre, more than 5,000 emails and letters, and served 796 notices to produce.
The Royal Commission call centre will be remain open during the holiday season, with the exception of the public holidays, and can be contacted on 1800 099 340 Monday – Friday between 8am – 8pm AEDT.
Public holiday dates
Thursday 25 December 2014
Friday 26 December 2014
Thursday 1 December 2014
We recognise that the holiday season can be a difficult time and encourage those who need support to call Lifeline on 13 11 14. A list of the support services available in your state or territory can also be found at our website on the Support Services page.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. —A judge denied shock probation for a Louisville priest who sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1970s.
James Schook was convicted of sodomy and indecent or immoral practice with another.
He’s served about seven months of his 15-year sentence.
Room with a Pew
"But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be on your own front door."
In December of 1965, I left Saint Anthony’s Seminary in Santa Barbara on Christmas break and took the long train ride home to San Francisco. Keeping to myself, I spent most of the trip staring out the window and watching the scenery speed past me like a silent movie. The whole time I kept wondering: how could I explain to my parents what had been happening to me at school? For the first three months of my freshman year I had been emotionally and sexually abused by a Franciscan priest who served as the school’s prefect of discipline and used medical treatment as a ruse. I had no name for what I was experiencing. But inside I knew something was wrong. As I lay in bed each night in the dormitory listening to the other boys sleep, I slowly felt myself slipping into despair and depression.
As I rode the train north I was oblivious to the family crisis that was waiting for me on the other end. My parents had separated two months before and would eventually divorce six months later. But the news of their separation was purposely kept from me at the insistence of my offender who told my mother it could discourage my vocation. He advised her that it was best to tell me when I returned home for Christmas vacation.
Stepping off the train at the Southern Pacific terminal in San Francisco, I expected to be met by both my parents but was greeted only by my mother. It’s not hard to recall the joy I felt when I saw her. For the first time in months I felt safe. She was a tiny woman, barely five feet tall, and it seemed as though I towered over her now. My mind and my heart were compressed into one, enormous embrace that wrapped my arms around her small body, seven months pregnant. Her smile was big but her eyes were red and I could tell she had been crying long before I got there.
I hadn’t been away from home so long that I couldn’t recognize the unhappiness in my mother’s face.
When I asked where my father was she told me straight out that he had left. Then she led me to a coffee shop where we sat and talked for an hour and, without revealing too many details, made it clear who the guilty party was. My first reactions were shock and dismay. But as I listened to her story, which for many years would be the only version her children would hear, I realized that my mother had not only lost a husband of twenty-one years but also a childhood friend.
December 18, 2014
The JC's Australian correspondent has won a prestigious journalism prize for a documentary on child sexual abuse inside the Chabad headquarters in Melbourne.
Dan Goldberg produced Code of Silence, which last week won the Walkley Award for Best Documentary in 2014. The Walkley Awards are the highest journalistic award in Australia.
Code of Silence, screened on ABC in September, follows the journey of Manny Waks after he went public with allegations that he was abused as a student at Yeshivah College. It also follows the parallel story of his father, Zephaniah, who backs his son but finds himself ostracised from his community.
Tim Healy and the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation made another effort this week to convince stakeholders (meaning priests and donors) that the foundation is a separate entity deserving of their (and our) support.
I have already written about why I won't be contributing to the CSA this year, and I have also provided some reasons for why I don't think the word 'separate' (meaning to remove or severe from) applies to the foundation in the way that the Archdiocese wants us to believe it does. I wasn't planning to comment on the latest email sent to clergy, but the claim that they have 'worked tirelessly' seems to beg a response, as does the article that appeared yesterday in The Catholic Spirit.
This is the email to which I am referring:
I find it interesting that both The Catholic Spirit article and the email to priests claim that the 2014 campaign exceeded its fundraising goal in pledges. Pledges are different than actual money contributed, and I think we would all be far more interested to see the latter amount rather than the former- especially given that both the article and the email refer to the Foundation being unable to meet campaign expenses.
I also chuckle when I read about the 'tireless' efforts to create a separate foundation. Tim Healy, who, as I have already mentioned, is the brother-in-law of Bishop Cozzens, offers the following in support of his claim: the Foundation has a separate bank account, an 'independent board' (chaired by the brother-in-law of the bishop), separate employees, and its own database (where did they get my address then? I didn't give it to them.). What he does not mention is that this 'independent' foundation is operated out of the Hayden Center (the pastoral building of the Archdiocesan Central Corporation). In other words, the tireless work did not include moving from the old offices, or getting new phone numbers, etc, but instead they continued to use the same ones as they did before they were a 'separate' foundation. Some of you may remember that at one time the Catholic Community Foundation rented space in the Hayden Center, but they moved years ago when it was determined that remaining on Archdiocesan property called into question the independence of the CCF.
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director
It’s the season for giving and no one has found a way, as the saying goes, to make sure “to give back to yourself first” than the lawyers of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee who filed today a proposed $10 million settlement with insurers (one of them aptly named “Stonewall”) in the longest and most victim bashing bankruptcy in church history. Of the $10 million, lawyers made sure half of that amount will go to themselves, with total legal and court fees now topping over $18 million and no end in sight. I suppose we can safely conclude that after almost four years where justice for victims has not been pursued much in court, we can always have confidence the billable hours will be.
The archdiocese describes the deal in commercial terms as a “tremendous value”. But for whom? And what values are being extolled? Gospel values?
Most importantly, what of the 575 victims of childhood rape, sexual assault and abuse by dozens of Catholic clergy who filed cases into bankruptcy court? If Judge Susan V. Kelley approves the new settlement, $5 million will be added to an already proposed $4 million making available a total of $9 million in victim restitution. That’s about $15,000 thousand per victim and, if you figure about a dozen lawyers working in earnest, more or less, that’s about $1.2 million per lawyer. But, again, the fees are still rising.
This is why local survivor and clergy leaders and advocates last month wrote a detailed letter to Pope Francis asking for an investigation of the archdiocesan bankruptcy debacle. No one except lawyers are really being served by this proposal. And whatever one thinks of Pope Francis, this settlement is clearly in complete opposition and even defiance of his repeated call for justice for victims of priest abuse, fair compensation (if necessary through the civil courts) for those harmed, and an insistence that Cardinals, bishops and archbishops must stop evading accountability and responsibility for the consequences of these crimes.
Debra Alfarone, WUSA
December 18, 2014
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- More women are coming forward and accusing Georgetown Rabbi Barry Freundel of possibly videotaping them as they disrobed for a Jewish ritual bath called a mikvah.
Freundel was a religious leader at Kesher Israel Congregation in Georgetown until shortly after D.C. police arrested him and charged him with six counts of voyeurism in October.
Now, three women are part of a civil lawsuit stemming from those videotape allegations. One of the alleged victims part of the lawsuit, Emma Shulevitz, says she was converting to Judaism in 2012, and Freundel asked her to take a 'practice' mikvah,
"I feel so hurt, I feel so disappointed, and I feel like finally there's some understanding of what happened," Shulevitz said.
Shulevitz says after she saw that the 62-year-old religious leader was arrested, she remembered something that struck her as odd.
The latest woman to join a class action lawsuit against Georgetown University, Kesher Israel synagogue, the National Capital Mikvah and an Orthodox rabbi accused of secretly recording women during ritual baths described the suffering she's gone through since learning about a hidden camera that may have captured her naked.
Emma Shulevitz, who is 39 weeks pregnant and due any day, said when she went to the Mikvah to convert to Judaism in 2012, rabbi Barry Freundel told her not to put anything in front of a clock radio when she disrobed, News4's Chris Gordon reported. She said she has suffered greatly since learning it
"I feel betrayed,” she said. “I feel duped. I feel taken advantage of. Unfortunately this is a very, very sad situation."
Freundel was charged with six counts of voyeurism after Shulevitz reported her fears that she had been caught on camera and went public. He was accused of recording at least several women at a ritual bath next to Kesher Israel in Georgetown, where he was the rabbi.
The Jewish Daily Forward
Published December 18, 2014.
A lawsuit arising out of allegations of voyeurism at a Washington D.C. ritual bath added the Rabbinical Council of America as a defendant.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this month by a third-year student at Georgetown University’s law school, initially named as defendants Rabbi Barry Freundel’s Washington synagogue, Kesher Israel, the adjacent mikvah and her own law school for allowing Freundel’s alleged misdeeds to go unchecked.
At a press conference on Thursday, the law firm representing her — Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White — added the RCA as a defendant and added two additional plaintiffs in a class action, WJLA, the local ABC affiliate, reported.
Calls to the law firm were unanswered, and Rabbi Mark Dratch, the RCA’s executive vice president, said the organization had not yet been officially notified of the suit.
BY ALAN ERWIN – 19 DECEMBER 2014
Child abuse victims have been unfairly denied legal representation at a major inquiry into alleged historical offences at care homes, the High Court has heard.
A judge was also told they should be provided with a team of barristers and solicitors to ensure equality with those accused of inflicting sexual and physical assaults.
Judicial review proceedings have been brought by a woman who claims she was abused by a "high-profile public figure".
She is challenging a decision by Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) chairman Sir Anthony Hart to refuse her application for funding for legal representation at public expense.
Lawyers acting for the woman in the High Court challenge want his decision quashed, claiming it is unlawful and will give an unfair advantage to alleged perpetrators.
BY MARY E. HUNT DECEMBER 18, 2014
The other shoe dropped on December 16, 2014 at a press conference announcing the “final report” on at least one phase of the long-simmering Vatican struggle with U.S. Catholic sisters.
It was not a red Prada slipper, and the devil is still in the details.
Despite herculean efforts to make nice, the 12-page report and its presentation reinforce the Roman Catholic Church’s patriarchal power paradigm. And although many have hailed the report as a sign of the Vatican’s warming toward women, I am not convinced.
Six Years of Scrutiny
The first shoe dropped in 2008 when Cardinal Franc Rodé announced an Apostolic Visitation of active women’s religious communities. The goal of the inquiry—akin to a grand jury— was “to look into the quality of life of apostolic Congregations of women religious in the United States.”
The benign-sounding rhetoric was, to those in the know, an unmistakable signal of disapproval of how women religious were living increasingly self- and community-directed lives.
The Visitation was in no way experienced by the subjects or meant by the perpetrators “to convey the caring support of the Church in respectful, ‘sister-to-sister’ dialogue, as modeled in the Gospel account of the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth” as one “eyebrow-raising paragraph” in the report asserted—this revisionist history is pure fantasy.
by Jolene Toves
Guam - The Catholic Church will be welcoming a visit from three archbishops in January.
As the local Catholic church celebrates its jubilee year as a diocese they also welcome a pastoral visit from the secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai. Father Adrian Cristobal is chancellor for the Archdiocese of Hagatna and told KUAM News, "We are very happy and are very happy to welcome this pastoral visit a pastoral visit is exactly what it is like what Archbishop [Anthony] Apuron is actually doing right now he is going to the parishes he's visiting the people visiting the sick celebrating masses visiting the groups this is a pastoral visit done by the congregation."
Archbishop Savio will be accompanied by Reverend Father Tadeusz Nowak, and Archbishop Martin Krebs. You may recall Archbishop Krebs is the Vatican's ambassador or apostolic delegate to the Pacific Islands and was recently on Guam during which time he met with local clergy. After that meeting Father Adrian said Krebs had instructed them to build bridges with the local clergy with an open dialogue and reconciliation. He said, "They'll be visiting members of the clergy and the religious and member of the different groups and we believe it is a very fruitful visit we're looking forward to it and we believe it will help build a communion between the church and Guam and the Holy Father," he said.
While Father Adrian says this is the pope's way of extending blessings to the church, Jungle Watch blogger Tim Rohr spoke candidly about what he believes is the reason for the pastoral visit. He said, "I realize that the chancery is probably trying to as a precursor to a possible papal visit but in my opinion the person that is coming is the wrong person because if it was a papal visit they would be sending the secretary of the state or somebody from that particular office and so I really think it is an investigation."
While Rohr believes there is something going on and that the visit is so they can "see for themselves". Father Adrian Admantly says there will be no investigation or report, noting, "No in our communications with Vatican they have specifically said it was a pastoral visit to the archdiocese."
Pacific News Center
Written by Janela Carrera
Guam - Newly formed group Concerned Catholics of Guam may have just received its first warning from the Archdiocese of Agana as the group’s treasurer, Deacon Steve Martinez has just confirmed that Archbishop Anthony Apuron has censured him.
PNC Contacted Deacon Steve Martinez today who confirmed for us that Archbishop Anthony Apuron has just censured him and suspended him as a Deacon. The move comes just a week after the newly formed organization Concerned Catholics of Guam held a press conference announcing that they plan to investigate the Archdiocese of Agana. Deacon Martinez tells PNC that the Archbishop ordered him on Wednesday to resign as the group’s treasurer and member or face censureship.
Deacon Martinez says the Archbishop gave him a deadline of 4 pm Thursday afternoon, but he tells PNC that he asked Archbishop Apuron for reconsideration. That was not granted, Deacon Martinez says. The punishment is severe enough that Deacon Martinez says he had to cancel performing a wedding tomorrow because he’s been suspended from his duties.
The deacon received the notice ordering him to resign from CCOG in writing, telling PNC that it was signed by Archbishop Apuron and Chancellor Father Adrian Cristobal.
However, when PNC contacted Father Adrian, he told us that he was not aware of any censureship against Deacon Martinez.
Allegations of child sexual abuse against a former Hobart school teacher, previously thought to be dead, will not be considered by a royal commission.
Ronald Thomas, 77, was accused at a commission hearing in November of abusing boys while a teacher at exclusive Hobart school Hutchins in the 1960s.
At the time the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told Thomas had left Australia and later died.
However, in early December it was reported he was alive and living in New Zealand.
On Thursday the Hutchins hearing resumed and counsel assisting, Angus Stewart SC, said Tasmanian police intend investigating the allegations against Thomas.
'In order to avoid any risk of prejudicing that investigation this public hearing will not inquire any further into the allegations against Mr Thomas and moreover commissioners will not be asked to make any finding in relation to any allegations against Mr Thomas.'
Christian Brothers knew of sexual abuse at WA boys’ homes for four decades: Royal Commission report
EMILY MOULTON PERTHNOW
DECEMBER 19, 2014
FOR more than four decades the Christian Brothers’ Provincial Council knew of rampant sexual abuse at its WA boys homes, a major inquiry report has found.
The leaders of the Catholic order also failed to prevent further abuse from occurring at the WA institutions despite being aware of allegations.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse today handed down its findings into the allegations of widespread sexual and physical abuse at Castledare Junior Orphanage, St Vincent’s Orphanage Clontarf, St Mary’s Agricultural School Tardun and the Bindoon Farm School.
The report found that from 1919 to the 1960s, the Christian Brothers’ Provincial Council knew of sexual abuse allegations against some of its Brothers in institutions run by the Christian Brothers around Australia.
It also found that from 1947 to 1968, leaders of the Catholic order failed to manage the four institutions to prevent further sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children living there.
The West Australian
Amanda Banks, Legal Affairs Editor
December 19, 2014
Christian Brothers’ leaders knew of allegations of sexual abuse of children at four WA orphanages and failed to manage the homes to prevent the systemic ill-treatment for decades, a royal commission has found.
A report released today has found the Christian Brothers failed in their obligation to provide for and educate the orphans, with inspections by visiting supervisors from the order over the decades paying more attention to financial and religious matters than the welfare of the children.
The report by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has also found State authorities played a limited role in the care of the boys, which contributed to their isolation and limited options for disclosing their abuse.
The findings in the case study of the four homes come after a public hearing in Perth in April which laid bare harrowing details of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect and unpaid child labour at the Bindoon, Clontarf, Castledare and Tardun orphanages.
Eleven former residents of the homes told the two-week hearing of their stories of abuse, including being groomed as “sex pets”, sadistically beaten, raped, neglected in appalling living conditions and disbelieved or ignored when they reported their treatment.
Sydney Morning Herald
December 19, 201
Reporter, WA Today
Leaders of the Christian Brothers order failed to prevent sexual abuse of children living in four of its West Australian institutions, a report has found.
The report, compiled by the Royal Commission, found that in every decade between 1919 and the 1960s, the relevant Christian Brothers Provincial Council knew of allegations of sexual abuse around Australia - but that sexual abuse of children was viewed as, and referred to as, a 'moral lapse' or 'weakness'.
Part of the commision's report, Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, looks in to abuse that took place at Castledare Junior Orphanage, St Vincent's Orphanage Clontarf, St Mary's Agricultural School Tardun and Bindoon Farm School.
The report comes after a hearing in Perth earlier this year, where eleven men gave evidence and made allegations of sexual abuse against 16 named Brothers and told of physical and emotional abuse.
Realeased on Friday, the report found "the leadership of the Christian Brothers during the period 1947 to 1968 failed to manage each of the institutions, so as to prevent the sexual abuse of children living in those institutions".
By Courtney Bembridge
An inquiry into child sexual abuse at four Christian Brothers institutions in Western Australia has found that the organisation was aware of abuse allegations for decades - and the damage it could cause - but did not stop it.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse examined abuse at Christian Brothers institutions in Bindoon, Tardun and Perth between 1947 and 1968 and found management failed to prevent the sexual abuse of children living at the schools.
Some of the victims were as young as seven when they were sexually and physically abused by brothers and older boys.
Eleven of the schools' former residents gave evidence at hearings in Perth throughout April and May.
The men recounted stories of painful abuse and psychological damage they have suffered as a result, which led to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism.
Sixteen brothers were named as perpetrators of sexual abuse, but only four were ever charged and of those, only one was jailed.
Matthew Vella 19 December 2014
An inquiry into child sexual abuse at four Christian Brothers institutions in Western Australia – to whom Maltese child migrants were entrusted to in a bid to build themselves a new life – has found that the organisation was aware of abuse allegations for decades, and the damage it could cause, but did not stop it.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse examined abuse at Christian Brothers institutions in Bindoon, Tardun and Perth between 1947 and 1968 and found management failed to prevent the sexual abuse of children living at the schools.
Some of the victims were as young as seven when they were sexually and physically abused by brothers and older boys.
Eleven of the schools’ former residents gave evidence at hearings in Perth throughout April and May.
The men recounted stories of painful abuse and psychological damage they have suffered as a result, which led to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism.
The former pastor of the Elm & Hudson Church of Christ, Tom Bailey of Altus, was arrested Tuesday, Dec. 16 on a complaint of Child Sexual Abuse. (see the full story on the Altus Times website, altustimes.com) He has since been released from the Jackson County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
The Interim Minister for the Elm & Hudson Church of Christ, Daniel Ingram, provided the following statement from the church Elders about the reports, Bailey, and their church:
“In the past few days, Elm & Hudson Church of Christ has been mentioned in several media reports, and we felt it would be helpful to provide some insight into how our congregation has been impacted. On November 30, Tom Bailey resigned as our minister, effective immediately. As you might expect, he gave us very little information about the circumstances or reasons for his resignation, but our church leadership acted swiftly in accepting the resignation and doing their best to minister to those involved. Since that time, the charges now being reported in the media have come to light, and we remain deeply saddened by this situation. While none of these allegations relate to our church or to Tom’s role at our church, we have members of our family that are hurting and struggling. We ask the community to pray for Tom, his family, and all who are affected during this difficult time, especially the female victim who has been mentioned in the articles.
Here at Elm & Hudson, we are a broken people reaching out to a Savior who makes us whole. We are earnestly seeking to pour out God’s love on those most affected by this situation, and our sincere hope is that we will draw even closer as a family during this process. Elm & Hudson has been a loving family and an important part of the Altus community for over 100 years. We have always done our best to accomplish God’s purpose here on earth, and through His power, His love, His grace, and His mercy, we will continue to do amazing things here in our community for many more years to come.
By Derek Hendy, Internet Content Director
ALTUS, Okla._A former Altus pastor, charged with child sexual abuse, appeared in court for the first time Thursday.
Tommy Lynn Bailey is accused of sexually abusing a young girl over a period or seven years. The victim says the abuse started when she was 14 years old and lasted until this past September. Thursday, a judge ordered that Bailey is not to contact the victim himself or through anyone else. He cannot be in the presence of minors without adult supervision either.
by Elizabeth Espinosa
A local pastor is speaking out about a former employee who is facing sexual abuse charges.
Pastor Antonio Madrigal with Centro Cristiano Restauracion Familiar in Palmview is reaching out about former employee Jesus Bustos.
Bustos helped with choir classes and even held individual sessions.
Bustos was let go four months ago after Pastor Madrigal said allegations surfaced from one family claiming Bustos was making late calls to an underage girl.
Right now, Palmview police have charged Bustos with indecency with a child by sexual contact, and he is behind bars at the Hidalgo County Jail.
By Phil Rogers
In documents filed in a Spokane court, new Chicago Archbishop Blaise Cupich denies the assertions of a former deputy that he wanted to “sling mud at his former diocesan law firm” to “see what sticks”, in an effort to recover millions of dollars in fees.
The filing further illustrates the continued acrimony in a case which shocked many in the Spokane community, as Cupich led the Diocese in a split with its longtime lawyers.
Cupich is suing his former law firm, Paine Hamblen, accusing them of malpractice in a bankruptcy case stemming from millions of dollars in sexual abuse claims. In a deposition given earlier this year, Father Steven Dublinski, the former Vicar General of the Diocese, said Cupich told him he was “throwing mud at Paine-Hamblen to see if any mud sticks.”
After that, Dublinski said he made the decision that he could no longer serve as Cupich’s Vicar General.
“Vicar General should be able to support and represent this Bishop,” he said. “So I offered my resignation.”
In a sworn declaration given here in Chicago earlier this month, Cupich stated “at no time did I say we were filing the case as a way to throw mud at this law firm, or besmirch their reputation. It was always a matter of trying to let them know we were serious, and hoping that some aspect of our case would get their attention, and stick with someone in the firm who could provide some common sense.”
At issue was a provision of the bankruptcy settlement, isolating a $1 million fund for payment of future claims. Cupich argued that outstanding claims would exceed that million dollars, and put over 20 Church properties in jeopardy of foreclosure. Paine Hamblen counters that the future claims have totaled almost exactly what had been anticipated.
By Liam Heylin
A 71-year-old priest who continued to say Mass within his religious community after serving three years for sexually abusing schoolboys was sentenced to another three years yesterday for more abuse that dates back more than 30 years.
Judge Donagh McDonagh imposed a total sentence of five years imprisonment on Tadgh Ó Dálaigh of Woodview, Mount Merrion Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin. The last two years of the sentence was suspended.
Judge McDonagh noted from reports prepared for the sentencing hearing at Cork Circuit Criminal court that Ó Dálaigh’s ministry as a priest was confined to celebrating Mass within the community house of his religious order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, in Dublin.
The judge also acknowledged that Ó Dálaigh had taken active responsibility in managing his risk and adhering to a management plan in this regard which effectively monitored his every moment.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
REPORT OF CASE STUDY NO. 11: Congregation of Christian Brothers in Western Australia response to child sexual abuse at Castledare Junior Orphanage, St Vincent’s Orphanage Clontarf, St Mary’s Agricultural School Tardun and Bindoon Farm School
The Christian Brothers is a Catholic religious organisation.
The organisation is divided into areas known as provinces. Until 1953 there was one Australia wide province of the Christian Brothers. This was divided into two in 1953. In 1957 there was a further ivision into four provinces.
Each province was supervised by a Provincial Council. This supervision took the form of annual visits to communities by a member of the Provincial Council. A visitor would stay with the community for a number of days and would speak to and observe the Brothers in the community as well as others who were in contact with the community. The visiting member would then write a ‘visitation report’.
One of the four provinces that existed in Australia in 1957 was the Holy Spirit Province, based in Perth, which covered Western Australia and South Australia. The Holy Spirit Province was responsible for the four children’s homes in Western Australia:
Castledare Junior Orphanage
St Vincent’s Orphanage Clontarf
St Mary’s Agricultural School Tardun
Bindoon Farm School.
The four children’s homes operated from the late 1920s and closed down between the 1960s and 1980s.
The conditions at each home were basic. The food was often of a poor quality. The boys were given clothing but no shoes or underwear. The boys were involved in building work – for example, constructing a railway – and they also did landscaping and farm work.
Finding 1: In taking children into care, the Christian Brothers were obligated to provide for them and educate them. This was not done properly in all cases. Many of the children did not have any real education and instead were put to physical labour.
Finding 2: The visitation reports focused on the community of the Brothers and the finances and religious observance of each Brother, not on the welfare of the children. We agree with Brother Anthony Shanahan, a former Provincial of the Holy Spirit Province, that, although the Western Australian Child Welfare Department conducted inspections, the department had significantly less responsibility for the children than those within the institutions who were caring for the children on a daily basis.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Royal Commission releases findings on the responses of the Christian Brothers in Western Australia and the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong to child sexual abuse
19 December, 2014
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published two reports; ‘Report of Case Study 11: Congregation of Christian Brothers in Western Australia response to child sexual abuse at Castledare Junior Orphanage, St Vincent’s Orphanage Clontarf, St Mary’s Agricultural School Tardun and Bindoon Farm School’ and ‘Report of Case Study 14: The response of the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong to allegations of child sexual abuse, and related criminal proceedings, against John Gerard Nestor, a priest of the Diocese’.
Report of Case Study 11
This report examines the responses of the Congregation of Christian Brothers in Western Australia to child sexual abuse at Castledare Junior Orphanage, St Vincent’s Orphanage Clontarf, St Mary’s Agricultural School Tardun and Bindoon Farm School.
The four institutions operated from the late 1920s and closed down between the 1960s and 1980s.
During the hearing in Perth earlier this year, eleven men gave evidence and made allegations of sexual abuse against 16 named Brothers. The sexual abuse occurred in dormitories, in Brothers’ rooms, during movie screenings and in the grounds. It also involved Brothers watching boys naked in the showers. Most of the boys did not report the abuse; one of those who did was physically beaten.
The report found that from 1919 to the 1960s, the relevant Christian Brothers’ Provincial Council knew of allegations of sexual abuse against some Brothers in institutions run by the Christian Brothers around Australia.
The report also found that from 1947 to 1968, leaders of the Christian Brothers failed to manage each of the four institutions so as to prevent the sexual abuse of children living there.
The case study also inquired into the conduct and settlement of the class against brought against the Christian Brothers.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
REPORT OF CASE STUDY NO. 14: The response of the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong to allegations of child sexual abuse, and related criminal proceedings, against John Gerard Nestor, a priest of the Diocese.
This case study explored the ways that canon law procedures are used to prevent priests from exercising their priestly ministry and ultimately have them dismissed from the priesthood. It highlighted the complexity of those procedures.
It also illustrated significant changes in the response of the Holy See in Rome to child sexual abuse claims. During the period covered by the facts of this case study – 1996 to 2009 – there was confusion in both the Holy See and the wider Catholic Church about who has jurisdiction over allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy in the Curia of the Holy See.
In the early 1990s rumours started to spread and complaints were made about Nestor’s conduct with boys. We heard evidence that in 1993 Bishop William Murray (deceased) asked Father Brian Lucas to interview Nestor. Father Lucas conducted this interview in his capacity as a member of the Catholic Church’s NSW Special Issues Resource Group. Father Lucas told us that, in keeping with his usual practice, he did not take notes during or after this interview.
Finding 1: When Father Brian Lucas interviewed a cleric or religious about allegations of child sexual abuse before a formal Church process had commenced against that person, Father Lucas should have made a contemporaneous record of the details of what was said in the interview.
Finding 2: Failing to make and keep such a record had the consequence that:
1. the interviewer and the cleric or religious may be unable to recall what was said in the interview and what conclusions were arrived at if they were subsequently called upon to do so
2. written records that might otherwise have been available for use in a subsequent investigation, prosecution or other penal process are not available.
December 18, 2014
A senior Catholic cleric failed to note a key conversation with a paedophile priest which ensured a criminal admission was not recorded, a child abuse inquiry has found.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse today released its findings into allegations that the priest, John Gerard Nestor assaulted, children in Wollongong in the 1990s.
The commission found that the senior cleric at the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong, Father Brian Lucas, ensured there was no written record of admissions of criminal conduct and that this was done in order to protect the priest and the church.
There were rumours of Nestor's attacks on children from the 1990s and the Vatican authorities put children at risk by taking more than five years to finally agree on Nestor's removal from ministry in 2008, according to the commission report.
An outcome of Father Lucas' practice was to ensure that there was no written record of any admissions of criminal conduct in order to protect the priest and the Church.
Royal commission report
The report stated: "During the 1990s, rumours spread about camps that he (Nestor) ran where boys were swimming naked, showering in the open and where Nestor had conversations with boys about the size of their genitalia."
1. Pope Francis is evidently a “hands on” Jesuit pope. He appears to expect obedience and loyalty from all, as Cardinal Burke seems to have recently learned painfully. But Francis, now in his 79th year, is only one man and an old one at that. He needs assistance from “independent doers”, not just “loyal followers”. Very disappointingly, he has now bypassed Fr. Thomas Doyle, O.P., as described more below, the world’s top expert on the Catholic priest child abuse scandal. Fr. Doyle has been omitted from Francis’ endlessly evolving but rarely meeting “cherry picked” anti-abuse commission panel. This is despite Doyle’s public request for inclusion and their shared and significant history with Cardinal Pio Laghi decades ago.
2. This, in my view, will likely turn out to be a huge papal mistake. Pope Francis should have known by now that, in order to clean up the continuing child abuse mess and to regain worldwide Catholics’ rapidly diminishing trust, he urgently needs commission members who have clearly proven to be BOTH professionally experienced AND independently courageous, like Tom Doyle has. He is a rare combination in my view after decades practicing as an international lawyer.
3. Francis’ overlooking of Doyle sends a very bad signal about Pope Francis’ real intentions with the long delayed commission. The commission is now scheduled to meet together for an “all hands” organizational meeting in February, likely to be orchestrated by Fr. Robert Oliver, the commission’s chief of staff and the Vatican’s former top prosecutor. Oliver reportedly initially learned the ropes on the priest child abuse scandal under Boston’s infamous Cardinal Law, hardly a positive reference. Law, like Oliver, is in Rome, while the purported commission head, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, is in Boston and likes to communicate with the Vatican by fax!
4. In 2006, the Boston Globe reported that O’Malley indicated that administrative management is not his forte. Bishop Accountability has reported well on O’Malley’s and Oliver’s earlier shortcomings on addressing some suspected Boston priest abusers. This slow moving commission certainly made O’Malley’s limited management skills quite evident. Oliver and O’Malley will be assisted in the US by the sole US member, a former New Zealander who has worked for O’Malley in three dioceses. She also stood up for O’Malley in the same 2006 Boston Globe article about O’Malley’s poor handling of the termination of an alleged sexual harassing hospital executive.
5. So there you appear to have it. Pope Francis’ key team to clean up the scandal, at least in Boston, in the place where it first exploded a dozen years ago, is a old Boston team, perhaps with even occasional whispered advice from Cardinal Law in Rome. Amazing, just amazing! Is Pope Francis really serious?
by Jared Sichel
A federal judge ruled last week that Chabad of California intentionally misused $272,495 in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants it received in 2009 and must pay $844,985 in penalties, a portion of which will go to whistleblowers who brought the suit against Chabad.
Chabad of California’s head, Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, applied for the funds in 2008 as part of a national program to boost surveillance systems at religious institutions. He convinced two other local Chabad institutions — Chabad of Marina Del Rey and the Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon high school — to also apply for the grants and allow Chabad of California to carry out the logistics of managing the funds and contracting with a security firm.
But according to a ruling by Judge Morrison England, Cunin never established procedures for the money, and he also did not create a separate bank account to segregate and track the federal funds. The judge also ruled that Chabad did not use the funds for their intended purposes, and instead used the money for “regular operating expenses, including employee payroll, building repairs, mortgages, and utility expenses.”
Chabad of California’s attorney, Mark Hathaway, said that his clients were “very surprised” that England granted the Justice Department’s motion for summary judgment — the court ruled that the case didn’t warrant a trial because the facts against Chabad of California weren’t in question.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Thursday, Dec. 18
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org )
We are grateful that a Louisville predator priest won’t get shock probation. Keeping him behind bars is the best way to protect kids.
Time and time again, we’ve seen people claim they’ll oversee child molesters if they’re freed. But these predators are shrewd, manipulative and relentless. Why take chances with the safety of children?
Fr. James Schook needs to stay locked up. We appreciate that Judge Mitch Perry understands this. We hope that others who were assaulted by Fr. Schook find some comfort in this just ruling.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville priest convicted of sexually abusing a teenage boy will not be granted shock probation.
Rev. James Schook asked for shock probation in November -- only six months into his 15-year sentence. A hearing had been set for Dec. 19 to hear Schook's request, but Judge Mitch Perry denied the request one day before the hearing.
In April, a jury convicted Schook of three counts of sodomy and one count of indecent and immoral behavior with an individual and recommended the 15-year sentence, which the judge upheld.
In requesting shock probation, David Lambertus, Schook's attorney, told Judge Perry that Schook has the support of family members and friends who have offered to care for him and "make sure he abides by the rules of shock probation."
December 18, 2014 | Author: berger
Three priests have written to Pope Francis seeking an investigation into the Milwaukee archdiocesan bankruptcy. One of their concerns, a controversial move by then-Archbishop Tim Dolan to put $57 million into a cemetery trust fund he admitted “was to provide improved protection of these funds from “any legal claim and liability.” The intent of the bankruptcy proceeding for church officials “to exhaust silence and slander victims as well as to serve as a warning to others,” the letter asserts
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 18, 2014
WASHINGTON — Two women have joined a lawsuit saying they were sexually exploited by a rabbi accused of secretly videotaping women in a Jewish ritual bath.
The civil lawsuit was filed in early December in D.C. Superior Court and seeks class action status. On Thursday, two women joined the lawsuit, which was originally filed on behalf of a Georgetown University law student.
The rabbi the women say they were exploited by, Barry Freundel, was arrested in October and is charged with voyeurism for allegedly placing a hidden camera in the shower area of a ritual bath, called a mikvah.
By Joce Sterman December 18, 2014
WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A class-action lawsuit related to voyeurism against Georgetown rabbi Barry Freundel has named the Rabbinical Council of America as a defendant and named two specific victims as plaintiffs.
Freundel is accused of secretly videotaping women in a changing area near a ceremonial bath, called a mikvah, at Kesher Israel synagogue in Washington.
One of the newly named victims claims Freundel made her do a "practice dunk" in the Mikvah, a Jewish ceremonial bath used in conversion ceremonies, ahead of her own conversion. The new complaint also indicated that Freundel encouraged students from Towson University, where he was an associate professor, to make "field trips" to Kesher Israel.
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The lawsuit against alleged mikvah voyeur Rabbi Barry Freundel has been expanded, ABC 7’s Joce Sterman reported.
At a press conference today, a new amended complaint was released that says students from Towson University were encouraged by Freundel to "go on field trips" to use the mikvah in which Freundel allegedly had a hidden camera set up to video record.
Two new plaintiffs were added to the suit, one of whom claims that Freundel made her do "practice dunks” as part of her conversion process. The other new plaintiff was one of Freundel’s students at Towson.
And, along with Freundel’s former synagogue Kesher Israel and the Capital Mikvah he controlled, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), which previously investigated Freundel for other alleged misbehavior with female conversion candidates but took no action against him and did not warn the public, has been added to the lawsuit as a defendant.