Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Catholic Church's Secret Sex-Crime Files

The five co-defendants sit close enough to shake hands in the Philadelphia courtroom, but they never once acknowledge one another. Father James Brennan, a 47-year-old priest accused of raping a 14-year-old boy, looks sad and stooped in a navy sweater, unshaven and sniffling. Edward Avery, a defrocked priest in his sixties, wears an unsettlingly pleasant expression on his face, as though he's mentally very far away. He and two other defendants – the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, also in his sixties, and Bernard Shero, a former Catholic schoolteacher in his forties – are accused of passing around "Billy," a fifth-grade altar boy. According to the charges, the three men raped and sodomized the 10-year-old, sometimes making him perform stripteases or getting him drunk on sacramental wine after Mass.

Heinous as the accusations are, the most shocking – and significant – are those against the fifth defendant, Monsignor William Lynn. At 60, Lynn is portly and dignified, his thin lips pressed together and his double chin held high. In a dramatic fashion statement, he alone has chosen to wear his black clerical garb today, a startling reminder that this is a priest on trial, a revered representative of the Catholic Church, not to mention a high-ranking official in Philadelphia's archdiocese. Lynn, who reported directly to the cardinal, was the trusted custodian of a trove of documents known in the church as the "Secret Archives files." The files prove what many have long suspected: that officials in the upper echelons of the church not only tolerated the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests but conspired to hide the crimes and silence the victims. Lynn is accused of having been the archdiocese's sex-abuse fixer, the man who covered up for its priests. Incredibly, after a scandal that has rocked the church for a generation, he is the first Catholic official ever criminally charged for the cover-up.

-read the extensive, full report at Rolling Stone Culture.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Australian Professor says church suppressed child abuse report

"A LEADING child protection expert has urged the Victorian government to hold a public inquiry into the handling of child-sex cases by a Catholic religious order after the Catholic Church suppressed a report it asked him to write.

Sydney University law professor Patrick Parkinson wrote yesterday to the Victorian Attorney-General, Robert Clark, and Police Minister, Peter Ryan, seeking an inquiry into the behaviour of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

In his letter, Professor Parkinson says the church's actions have cast doubt on its commitment to protect children before it protects itself."
-full report at Sydney Morning Herald

'via Blog this'

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Clerical abusers shielded by 'cabal' -Dr Diarmuid Martin

The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has admitted that "a cabal" protecting clerical sex abusers may be operating at the highest levels in the Catholic Church.

Dr Martin said: "There may be a cabal in Cloyne. They may have friends in other parts of the Irish Church. They may have friends in Irish society. There may be friends in the Vatican."

Asked yesterday who was preventing the protection of children, he said: "The numbers that are involved in this are few. The damage that these people cause is horrendous. It's for all of us to see where they are, but in the long term I have to take the responsibility that in Dublin there are not cabals who reject our child protection laws"
- Independent.ie: "

Friday, 2 September 2011

Report criticizes Missouri diocese on priest porn case

"Catholic church officials in Kansas City are pledging to review immediately a new report on how to protect children after a local priest was charged in May with possessing child pornography.

A law firm hired by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph found in the report that diocese leaders "failed to follow their own policies and procedures" in responding to reports that priest Shawn Ratigan had hundreds of child pornography images on his laptop computer."

-full report from Reuters

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Pedophile scandal engulfs Church in Latin America

Brazil, the largest country in Latin America and by extension the country with the biggest Catholic population in the world, has been shocked by the pedophile scandal in recent weeks.

A hidden-camera video broadcast on television -- and now being sold illicitly on the streets -- shows one 84-year-old priest in northeastern Brazil, Luiz Marques Barbosa, receiving oral sex from a former choir boy in front of an altar.
Two other priests were implicated in the video, in which three former choir boys said they were sexually abused as minors by them. The video has triggered a parliamentary inquiry and Barbosa's arrest.
The local bishop in charge of the three priests, Valerio Breda, wrote to parishoners pleading for "forgiveness in the name of the Church."
Other Church officials in Latin America have done likewise.
"There is no place for a priest who abuses children. There is no excuse that can justify this crime," the head of Chile's bishops' conference, Alejandro Goic, told a news conference.
"We ask forgiveness, and we appeal for these acts to be communicated to us," he said, adding that the Church was committed to ensuring "these grave crimes are never repeated."
So far, 20 known cases of pedophile priests have been revealed in Chile, five of whom have been convicted.
The Mexican Bishops Conference a week early also asked for pardon for the crimes, including those perpetrated by the late founder of the Legion of Christ order.
The bishops pledged to allow civilian authorities to intervene "to carry out the law" in current and past pedophile cases.
Although the scandal has galvanized and revolted many in recent months, pedophilia is not new in the Church's activities in Latin America.
In 2002, five Argentine priests were convicted to eight to 24 years in prison for sexual abuse, while a bishop had to step down after being implicated in sexual impropriety.
A more recent case, in December 2009, saw an Argentine former archbishop, Edgardo Storni, given an eight-year prison term for abusing a seminarist in 1992.
Last year, a priest, Julio C├ęsar Grassi, was also convicted and sentenced to 15 years for sexual abuse and corruption of a minor in a foundation for vulnerable children.
Costa Rica was shaken by a priest, Enrique Delgado, famous for presenting a popular religious television program, who was sent behind bars in 2005 for 12 years for abusing three minors.
Also in 2005, orphans accused an Italian priest, Marcos Dessi, of sexually abusing them while he ran a Nicaraguan orphanage, earning him a 12-year prison sentence in Italy.
In Paraguay, ex-members of the parish blasted a local bishop, Rogelio Livieres, for covering up a priest's alleged abuse of an adolescent.
In Venezuela, where no predatory behaviour has come to light, Caracas Bishop Luis Armando Tineo told AFP that while he rejected such crimes and found them unjustifiable, "we can't fall into the impression that there's an epidemic." (By Ana Ines Cibils/ AFP)

Clerical Abuse - in Africa

MAKANKA, Sierra Leone — A rutted red dirt track leads to the "bar," a couple of homemade wood benches in the shade of an old tree dripping with wild mangoes. Within easy reach, there's a yellow plastic jerry can of the fiery palm wine the American priest loved.
A 40-year-old schoolteacher now charges that the Rev. James Tully gave the palm wine to teenage boys to make them more susceptible to his advances.
This faraway corner of West Africa — with no electricity or piped water — is where the Roman Catholic Church sent Tully, twice. The teacher told The Associated Press that Tully abused him and other boys repeatedly during his first stint in Sierra Leone, from 1979 to 1985. After a conviction in the U.S. for giving minors alcohol and groping them, the church sent Tully back to Sierra Leone for a second stint from 1994 to 1998.
Tully's story is an example of how the church transferred abusive priests from country to country, in a scandal now emerging worldwide. But it also shows the deep reluctance to come out against a Catholic priest in many parts of Africa.
Catholic Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg cautioned this month that the scandals in the church were not particular to the United States and Europe.
"It simply means that the misbehavior of priests in Africa has not been exposed to the same glare of the media as in other parts of the world," Tlhagale said.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Parish priest accused of rape by his 18-year-old helper

An 18-year-old woman has filed a complaint with public prosecutors in Agusan del Norte that a parish priest whom she had served as a domestic helper repeatedly raped her earlier this year.

The priest, Fr. Raul Cabonce, has reportedly sought refuge in the Bishop's residence in Butuan City and could not be reached for comment, but has previously denied the allegations.

The complainant said in her affidavit filed last Thursday that Father Cabonce had offered her a scholarship in exchange for her services as a "convent girl" who would serve his household needs.

Hired in her hometown of Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte where Cabonce was then parish priest, the alleged victim was brought to the town of Tubay last year when Cabonce was reassigned"

Coulm Kenny: It is the truly faithful who are aghast at the Church

Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe sees the Catholic Church "attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture: rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people".

Missing from his blame equation last week were non-criminal acts and omissions of the hierarchy and other Church authorities. These have contributed mightily to the decline of the Irish Catholic Church and to the despair of its faithful.

Bishop Boyce was speaking at Knock, Ireland's major shrine for the traditionally devout. It is a place where the truly afflicted go for comfort. Yet Bishop Boyce seemed to equate their personal problems with those of the institutional Church that is itself largely to blame for its own current troubles.

Last week too, Archbishop Dermot Clifford of Cashel and Emly, tried again to distance himself from the handling of child abuse complaints in Cloyne. But mere words will not redress the harm done for decades by a hierarchy that was unable or unwilling to change its Church's thinking and structures to meet modern needs."

Friday, 26 August 2011

Former Chicago priest sued for sex abuse - Houston Chronicle

 "A lawsuit has been filed by a Chicago teenager who claims he was a victim of a former Roman Catholic priest.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court accuses Daniel McCormack, the former priest at St. Agatha Catholic Church, of abusing the boy between 2004 and 2006."

Another lawsuit accuses former priest of sex abuse - Chicago Tribune

"Another person who says he was a victim of Daniel McCormack filed a lawsuit against the former St. Agatha Catholic Church priest today in Cook County Circuit Court accusing him of sexual abuse.

After McCormack pleaded guilty in 2007 to sexually abusing five boys and was sentenced to 5 years in prison, numerous other alleged victims came forward with similar stories of abuse.

The latest is an unidentified Chicago teenager who says he was sexually abused by McCormack between 2004 and 2006 in the West Side church’s rectory and school buildings, according to the lawsuit. The alleged victim was 11 or 12 when the abuse began."

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Catholic Officials in US Release List of Accused Priests

"Roman Catholic officials in Boston have released a list of priests accused of child sex abuse.

The Archdiocese of Boston says the publication of the names is part of an effort to protect children and “rebuild trust” in the wake of the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in recent years.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley said in a statement accompanying the posting that the effort is to ensure the “tragedy of sexual abuse is never repeated.”

The list contains the names of 157 priests and two deacons in cases over the last several decades. O'Malley did not include the names of 91 people, including dead priests who were never publicly accused and were never investigated by the Church."

Records: Priest in Ky. admitted sex addiction

 "Court records show a Roman Catholic priest accused of abusing boys in Kentucky in the 1970s told church officials he was a sex addict in 1985.

Records released Tuesday say the Rev. James R. Schook was not removed from ministry at the time because officials believed he was involved with men, not boys, according to The Courier-Journal (http://bit.ly/p6owkL). Instead, he was put into a treatment program.

Shook is now facing seven counts of sodomy in Jefferson Circuit Court involving two teens in the 1970s. He has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, David Lambertus, declined to comment to the newspaper about the released records."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

U.S. lawyer says Vatican knew of priest's sex abuse

"A lawyer representing a victim of priest abuse in a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic church said on Monday Vatican documents show the church hierarchy and the pope were ultimately responsible.

A lawyer for the church disagreed, saying the newly released documents show the Holy See was not involved in the offending priest's transfer from Ireland to Chicago and then to Portland, Oregon, where the victim was a minor in the 1960s.

In April, U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman in Oregon ordered the Vatican to produce documents in the case that alleged a cover-up of priest sex abuse.

At the time, the judge's order was termed a "historic step" by attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who sued the Holy See in Rome and U.S. archdioceses and church officials on behalf of an unnamed man in Oregon.

Anderson said on Monday an analysis of the 1,856 documents written in Latin, Italian and English showed the Vatican had direct control over the placement and laicization of Rev. Andrew Ronan, who left the priesthood in 1966 and died in 1992."

Monday, 22 August 2011

Hideaway bishop John Magee pledges full response to sex abuse report

"The Newry-born Catholic bishop severely criticised in the Cloyne report for his approach to child abuse cases has broken his silence.

Bishop John Magee, whose resignation was accepted by the Pope, is now thought to be timing a public response to coincide with the Vatican's official reply to the damning report.

Now retired, Dr Magee yesterday spoke for the first time about the report, after he was tracked down by the Sunday Independent to his home in Mitchelstown, Co Cork. He had not been seen since the report revealed serious mishandling of child sex abuse cases."

Friday, 19 August 2011

Trenton diocese to pay $1 million to five men in sex-abuse settlements

" The Catholic Diocese of Trenton has agreed to pay $1 million to five men who claimed their parish priest sexually abused them when they were altar boys 30 years ago.

The settlements, announced Tuesday, bring to $1.3 million the amount the diocese, which encompasses Burlington, Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer Counties, has paid to alleged abuse victims of the Rev. Ronald Becker, who served in parishes in the Trenton area from 1973 to 1989.

Becker was removed from active ministry in 2002 and has since died."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Former Fresno Priest Target of Sex Abuse Lawsuit

"New sexual abuse allegations have turned the Catholic diocese of Fresno into a target for protesters claiming crimes are covered up.

A lawsuit filed last week accuses a priest of sexually victimizing a boy in San Jose ten years ago. Father Don Flickinger started his career in Fresno and worked for many years at San Joaquin Memorial High School.

Flickinger also worked at St. John's in Downtown Fresno, and that's where protesters gathered Tuesday.

Abuse victims came to the church to shine a spotlight on what they call a "continuing cover-up" of sex abuse that reaches all the way to the top of the Catholic Church. But the church's deacon told Action News the church has mended its ways.

44 years ago, Julie Kliegel was a 7-year-old princess living on the grounds of the Catholic diocese of Fresno. But her kingdom crumbled in a single day. She says a priest and a seminarian beat and raped her, then left her lying there."

Friday, 12 August 2011

Weakland, Sklba to be questioned as part of archdiocese bankruptcy case

 "Retired Milwaukee bishops Rembert Weakland and Richard Sklba will answer questions under oath in October about the extent and alleged coverup of child sex abuse in the archdiocese, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley ruled on Friday.

However, that testimony won't be available to the public, at least initially.

Kelley granted a request by survivor-creditors to question the two, along with defrocked priest Daniel A. Budzynski, who is believed to have molested several children, as part of the church's bankruptcy proceedings.

The judge scheduled the questionings for the weeks of Oct. 17 and 24. But she imposed strict limits on their duration and ordered them sealed from public view.

"I don't want this on anybody's website," said Kelley, a reference to victims' attorney Jeff Anderson's distribution of Weakland's 2008 questioning, in which the retired archbishop referred to Sklba as his "go-to guy" in the handling of sex abuse cases.

"This isn't about embarrassing these people. This is about giving the parties relief," Kelley said."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Church sex abuse inquiry 'not needed'

"An independent inquiry into dozens of suicides among victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests and brothers in Victoria would achieve little, a Catholic bishop says.

Police investigating the case of convicted pedophile Brother Robert Best believe at least 26 victims of sexual abuse at schools in which he taught have committed suicide.

One of the investigating officers wants a parliamentary inquiry to investigate the deaths.

"If it helps the victims I'd be more than happy for it to go ahead," Bishop of Ballarat Peter Connors told AAP.
"I don't think they'll learn very much more ... I'm convinced we've done the best we can in more recent years."



Friday, 8 April 2011

Monterey diocese sued over sex abuse allegations

"Two men have filed separate lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey, claiming negligence by church officials allowed them to be molested by priests.

In one suit, the plaintiff says he was 9 when he was first molested by Father William Allison in the rectory of San Carlos Church in 1966.

The abuse continued for 18 months, although the man only recently discovered the psychological damage it inflicted, according to the suit filed on July 21 in Sacramento County.

It further claims diocese officials were aware of previous allegations of abuse against Allison and had reason to suspect he was abusing the boy, but did not inform his family. Allison is no longer alive, according to diocese spokesman Warren Hoy.

"At no time did defendant diocese ever send an official ... to advise parishioners either verbally or through a church bulletin that there were credible allegations against Father Allison," the suit contends."

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Payment offered to German Abuse Victims - but Rejected By Victims

The German Jesuits have offered a financial payment to the victims of sexual abuse at their schools, but victims have rejected the offer as too low.

German Jesuits offer payment to sex-abuse victims

Berlin - Germany's Jesuit order of Catholic priests is offering to pay 1 million euros (1.36 million dollars) in compensation to some 200 victims of sex abuse.
The offer, equivalent to 5,000 euros per person, was made public on Wednesday. It concerns mostly men who turned to investigators to report suffering a variety of abuses, including semi-naked caning by teachers, at the country's four Jesuit schools.
The scandal erupted last year, when a Jesuit secondary school in Berlin, Canisius College, wrote to former pupils seeking evidence of sex abuse.
Germany's Catholic bishops have yet to settle a separate compensation package for people who were abused in parish churches, diocesan schools and other institutions. The Jesuits are a semi- independent institution within the Catholic Church.
Thomas Busch, a Jesuit spokesman in Munich, refused to call the planned payments 'compensation,' saying the suffering of the abused could never be put right with money.

Sex abuse victims reject Church payout offer

Victims of sexual abuse at Jesuit schools in Germany said Thursday that the Catholic Church’s offer of €5,000 in compensation is too low.
“This sum is not at all sufficient to compensate for the damages suffered or to signal a recognition of guilt,” leader of the Eckiger Tisch victim’s group Thomas Weiner told daily Frankfurter Rundshau
Weiner also said he found it incomprehensible that victims already known to the Church would have to file an application to receive the payment.  

Monastery sex abuse cases in Switzerland claim 40 victims from 15 monks

Fifteen monks were found guilty of sexual abuse at a monastery in Einsiedeln, in central Switzerland, in cases stretching back over six decades, an investigative panel said on Thursday.
The panel said there were at least 40 victims, with the majority of the cases occurring in the 1960s and 1970s.
The cases only began to come to light when preventive measures were introduced in 1998.
Nine of the monks found guilty committed indecent acts on children, the panel said.
Three monks were found to be ring leaders and the notion of sexual abuse at the monastery had become accepted, the investigators said.
For the first time last year, the Catholic Church in Switzerland compiled detailed statistics of cases of sexual abuse committed by priests and other pastoral workers.