Archive for September 3rd, 2019

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


September 2, 2019

TOP STORIES

Australian court upholds Cardinal Pell’s conviction on abuse charges
“A panel of three Australian judges has upheld the conviction of Cardinal George Pell for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s in a 2-1 decision(link is external), ordering the Vatican’s former number-three official to continue serving a six-year prison term. The decision, announced by the Court of Appeal in the southeastern state of Victoria early Aug. 21 in Australia, marks another historic moment in an historic case. Pell, who was long the highest-ranking Catholic in Australia but was brought to Rome in 2014 by Pope Francis to restructure the Vatican’s finances, is the first Vatican official charged by authorities on abuse allegations, the first convicted, and the first sentenced to jail. He is now also the first to lose on appeal.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Rep

RICO suit against Buffalo diocese alleges conspiracy in sexual abuse cases
“Twenty-two plaintiffs filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 against the Diocese of Buffalo, a province of the Society of Jesus, multiple priests, eight parishes, three high schools, a seminary, among others, alleging ‘a pattern of racketeering activity’ that enabled and covered up clerical sexual abuse(link is external).

The lawsuit was filed on the first day of a legal ‘window’ allowing for sexual abuse lawsuits to be filed in New York even after their civil statute of limitations had expired.” By Catholic News Agency

Wyoming bishop’s decades of abuse destroyed lives, traumatized families
“As parishioners attended the Feast of the Assumption Mass inside Guardian Angels Catholic Church on August 15, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) gathered outside on the sidewalk for a press conference marking an occasion that many believed would never come. Less than 24 hours earlier, police in Cheyenne, Wyoming, recommended to prosecutors that a one-time Guardian Angels priest, who would go on to become a beloved Catholic bishop, face criminal charges for the sexual abuse of minors.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Hundreds of lawsuits filed on first day of New York litigation window
Over 400 lawsuits were filed in New York state on the first day of a one-year window in the statute of limitations(link is external), allowing abuse survivors to file suit against their abuser or the institution where the abuse occurred. The lawsuits include an allegation against a sitting bishop and a RICO suit against the Diocese of Buffalo and the Northeast Province of the Jesuits. Other suits were filed against laicized former archbishop Theodore McCarrick, and against retired Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany. Hubbard has denied the allegations.” By Catholic News Agency

Retired pope responds to criticism of his reflection on abuse crisis
“Responding to criticism of notes he published about the roots of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, retired Pope Benedict XVI said the fact that the critiques barely mentioned God proved his point(link is external). ‘As far as I can see, in most reactions to my contribution, God does not appear at all,’ which is ‘exactly what I wanted to emphasize’ as the central problem, he wrote in a brief note to Herder Korrespondenz, according to KNA, the German Catholic news agency.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

In Mississippi Delta, Catholic abuse cases settled on the cheap
“A famed Catholic religious order settled sex abuse cases in recent months by secretly paying two black Mississippi men $15,000 each and requiring them to keep silent about their claims, The Associated Press has found. The cash payments are far less than what other Catholic sex abuse survivors have typically received(link is external) since the church’s abuse scandal erupted in the United States in 2002. An official with the Franciscan order denies the two men’s race or poverty had anything to do with the size of the settlements.” By Michael Rezendes, Associated Press

ACCOUNTABILITY

Aussie headaches on Pell case could be child’s play compared to Rome’s
“Up to this point, the ire of those who believe Cardinal George Pell is innocent of the charges of child sexual abuse brought against him in his home country has been directed largely at the Australian judiciary, most recently at a Victoria appeals court that upheld his conviction on Wednesday in a 2-1 split decision. Assuming that ruling holds up, however, such frustration could quickly shift from the Australian system to the Vatican’s(link is external), because that’s where the action would be next – and honestly, the heartburn there could be much more intense.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

CARDINAL PELL

Editorial: Those who dismiss Pell verdict ignore integrity of legal system
“The response in certain circles to the Aug. 21 court decision upholding Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys(link is external) in the 1990s was as swift as it was irrational. Edward Peters, a canon lawyer who teaches at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary, claimed in a tweet some 40 minutes after the verdict that ‘the testimony used to convict Thomas More was more plausible.’ Hours later, John Paul II biographer George Weigel questioned at First Things whether people would want to travel to Australia anymore because of ‘mob hysteria.’ First Things editor Matthew Schmitz likened an aggrieved Pell to the suffering Christ.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Why Justice Mark Weinberg believed George Pell should go free
“One of the three Court of Appeal judges who heard George Pell’s appeal believes there is a ‘significant possibility’ the cardinal did not commit the child sex crimes(link is external) he’s in jail for and would have acquitted him. Justice Mark Weinberg said he was not convinced by the victim’s evidence and could not exclude the possibility that some parts of the former choirboy’s testimony were ‘concocted.’” By Adam Cooper, The Age

Appeals court upholds Cardinal Pell conviction on abuse charges
“An Australian appeals court upheld the conviction of Cardinal George Pell on five counts of sexually assaulting two choirboys(link is external) more than two decades ago. A three-judge panel of the Appeals Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria announced its decision Aug. 21 in Melbourne. Chief Justice Anne Ferguson read the decision during a 30-minute hearing.” By Catholic News Service

BISHOPS

Pressure mounts on Buffalo bishop after two seminarians resign over scandal
“As pressure continues to mount for Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone to step down over his handling of sex abuse cases(link is external), two seminarians have publicly left the diocesan seminary and echoed calls for his resignation. The first seminarian, Stephen Parisi, withdrew in a 6-page letter dated August 15 where he outlines what he describes as a lack of proper governance. He concluded his letter by directly addressing Malone, offering a stinging assessment of his leadership and pleading for his resignation.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

World’s oldest living bishop, who is uncle of Chile’s president, accused of abuse
“Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera, has urged for the Catholic Church to be investigated over clerical sexual abuse, and he gave his full support to new law that ends the statutes of limitations on abuse cases. However, when it comes to the allegations made against his uncle, the world’s oldest living bishop(link is external), he’s having a hard time believing it. Archbishop Bernardino Piñera, who served as Archbishop of Serena from 1983-1990 after previously serving as Bishop of Temuco, is being investigated by the Vatican over allegations that he sexually abused a minor 50 years ago.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Facing lawsuit, retired Albany Bishop Hubbard says he has ‘never sexually abused anyone’
“Retired Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany said in a statement Aug. 16 he ‘never sexually abused anyone’ and is taking a voluntary leave of absence(link is external) from the Diocese of Albany to deal with the allegations. The Evangelist, Albany’s diocesan newspaper, reported that a lawsuit filed Aug. 14 accuses Bishop Hubbard of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in the late 1990s. The suit was filed the day New York state’s Child Victims Act went into effect.” By Catholic News Service in America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Face facts, says LCWR president: Sisters have been part of Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal
“Catholic sisters must face the reality that they have also been part of the sexual abuse scandal in the church(link is external), said the president of the leadership conference representing most women religious in the United States. Holy Cross Sr. Sharlet Wagner, the 2018-2019 president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), spoke on the issue in her Aug. 15 presidential address at the organization’s annual assembly, which drew nearly 700 women religious and guests to the Aug. 13-16 event.” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Real reform in the Church requires a faithful laity, priests says
“For the Catholic Church to be renewed, the entire body of Christ – especially the laity – must strive to live the faith devoutly(link is external). This was the message of Father Roger Landry, who works for the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations, at a Eucharistic assembly in July. ‘While in history, reforms have been championed by popes, bishops, founders of religious orders and their spiritual sons and daughters, the real reform of the Church happens when lay people assimilate it and live it,’ he said.” By Catholic News Agency in Catholic Herald

Sisters count on the ‘multiplication factor’ of lay partners in their ministries
“Every person has a gift that they bring with them, no matter how insignificant. I can only be aware of this gift if I am open and accept the possibility of change. So partnering/working with non-vowed people has positively made my life and ministry more effective(link is external). I worked with a young woman whom I see as the epitome of honesty and transparency. In my work, I have to give an accurate, updated account of the funds of a group of people. This young woman helped me through it. She is very accurate in accounting for the funds that come in and go out of the office.” By The Life Panelists, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

Vatican tells Argentinian court accused bishop has job in Rome, despite being suspended
“Despite being investigated for allegations of having sexually abused two seminarians, an Argentinian bishop close to the pope(link is external) has once again been allowed by a judge to travel to Rome. The judge said that Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta has ‘collaborated’ with the investigation and has a document from the Vatican saying he must return to Rome ‘to continue with his daily work’ – even though he has been suspended from his job.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Vatican invokes Cardinal George Pell’s ‘right to appeal’ after child sexual abuse conviction upheld
“The most senior Catholic cleric in the world to be convicted of child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell, has lost his appeal against his conviction, but maintains he is innocent. In a brief statement issued after the decision the Vatican reiterated that Pell maintained his innocence, and that it was now ‘Pell’s right to appeal to the high court.’(link is external) ‘At this time, together with the church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members who commit such abuse,’ the statement also said. No mention was made of stripping Pell of his cardinal title.” By Melissa Davey, The Guardian

VOICES

U.S. bishops should drop everything and focus on preventing schism
“I have a modest proposal for the U.S. bishops’ conference. They should scrap their entire agenda for the upcoming November plenary and address a single question: To what degree are the seeds of a de facto schism being sown within the U.S. church?(link is external) Last week, a friend called my attention to a website called ‘Faithful Shepherds’ that was launched a year ago by LifeSiteNews. They state that their purpose is to provide a ‘one-stop database’ about where Catholic bishops stand on certain issues and to ‘encourage bishops to be faithful to Christ.’ By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church sex abuse: the difference a Pennsylvania grand jury made in lives of survivors
“It has been one year since the Pennsylvania grand jury report named 300 sexually abusive Roman Catholic priests in the state. After an 18-month investigation, the grand jury concluded that ‘over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records’ … As a scholar who has spent the last eight years interviewing Catholic survivors of clergy sex abuse, I know that even though there were only a few convictions in Pennsylvania, the release of the grand jury report was a watershed moment for survivors(link is external).” By Brian Clites, Pennsylvania Capital-Star

Is it time for the U.S. church to hold a regional synod to address the abuse crisis?
“The conference of bishops, meeting in Dallas, had lately adopted a charter and norms for the protection of children. Now the eight called for something more. Convene a plenary council or regional synod, they urged their fellow bishops, and use it to get at the roots of what had happened so as to prevent anything like that from ever happening again … Now it seems that those eight bishops were ahead of their time. In the face of a crisis even worse than 17 years ago, the idea of a regional synod for the Catholic Church in the United States looks increasingly appealing(link is external).” By Russell Shaw, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

A year later, Pennsylvania Senate still dodging grand jury findings on clergy abuse
“One year after an investigating grand jury gave Pennsylvania legislators all the evidence they needed to update laws on child sexual abuse — in fact, Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking work led to reforms in other states, including New Jersey — the response in Harrisburg has been little more than ‘we’ll get to it.’ Someday(link is external). The grand jury report identified more than 300 priests as sexual predators and thousands of victims. It spawned investigations by other states’ attorneys general and a probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.” By Lehigh Valley Express Times Editorial Staff

Let the handlers of predatory priests pay in full
“Priests are supposed to offer spiritual comfort to adults and counsel young people on the values they will need later in life. They are not supposed to be sexual predators taking advantage of children(link is external). That’s what makes the release of a list of alleged pedophile priests from this area, including one formerly of the Sacred Heart Church in Cairo, a tragedy and a disgrace. The priests were named in lawsuits filed against the Albany Diocese by alleged sexual abuse victims under the Child Victims Act. It’s an offensive litany of accusations, both legally and morally.” By HudsonValley360.com Editorial Board

CHURCH FINANCES

As the Archdiocese of Detroit awaits its judgement day, it plays hide-and-seek with its money—including a Cayman Islands venture
“While the local Catholic Church promotes its efforts to protect children today, it’s been busy protecting its financial assets(link is external) as a day of fuller reckoning for past sexual abuse survivors draws closer. Across the country, statute of limitations laws on civil actions have been eroding, leading to costly settlements for abuse victims. Only intense lobbying by the insurance industry and the Catholic Church has restrained this tide in Michigan.” By Michael Betzold, Detroit Metro News

Priest accused of stealing nearly $100K from Downingtown parish
“A priest is accused of stealing close to $100,000 from his Downingtown parish, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office said. Father Joseph McLoone was arrested Wednesday (Aug. 21) for the theft of $98,405.50 from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church(link is external). McLoone, 56, took over as pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish following the removal of Msgr. William Lynn due to Lynn’s indictment and incarceration. Officials said McLoone accomplished the theft by diverting parish funds into a secret account, misappropriating fees charged to parishioners, and other fraudulent activity.” By ABC-TV6 News Philadelphia

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Corey Feldman calls for Hollywood sexual abuse victims to support bill to change California statute laws
“Corey Feldman is hoping to use his voice and celebrity status to help fellow victims of sexual abuse(link is external). The actor, who serves as Child USA’s ambassador and has spoken out extensively about the alleged abuse he suffered as a child actor, is urging abuse victims in Hollywood to sign a letter that he will be sending on Thursday (Aug. 15) to the California Senate in relation to current laws about the state’s statute of limitations.” By DNYUZ.com

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Why childhood victims stay silent about abuse for decades
“It took Ann Fossler more than 25 years to reveal that she had been repeatedly molested when she was as young as 6 years old. Fossler said she first confided in a counselor in the 1980s that a Buffalo Diocese Catholic priest who was a close family friend sexually abused her for several years and that she kept it secret because she feared her parents, who adored the priest and were devout Catholics, would be crushed by the revelation(link is external).” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Why is the Child Victims Act ‘look-back’ window so short?
“Buffalo News readers have asked a number of questions since Wednesday (Aug. 14), when the Child Victims Act opened a one-year window for filing civil lawsuits(link is external) over old allegations of childhood sexual abuse. The questions ranged from why the look-back is only a year long to why steps are not being taken against the Vatican. To answer the questions, The News gathered information from attorneys representing people who say they were abused, attorneys representing priests accused of molesting children, the Buffalo Catholic Diocese and past stories in The News.” By Lou Michel and Qina Liu, The Buffalo News

ALASKA

Bombshell report: Seven local clergy named in sex misconduct cases
“A bombshell report released by local Catholic leadership named seven Southeast Alaska clergymen who since 1951 have been ‘credibly’ accused of sexual misconduct(link is external). The Diocese of Juneau on Wednesday (Aug. 21) announced the results of an Independent Commission’s review of decades of files including sexual misconduct allegations within the diocese. The commission was formed in late 2018 by Bishop Andrew Bellisario, and it consisted of a retired police lieutenant and retired judges.” By Ben Hohenstatt, Juneau Empire

ARKANSAS

Arkansas church, Diocese of Little Rock sued over alleged sexual abuse
“The Diocese of Little Rock and the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Tontitown are being sued by an unidentified person who alleges both were negligent for allowing a priest to sexually abuse him(link is external). The lawsuit filed by ‘John Doe 201’ claims that he was sexually assaulted when he was a teenager by priest Joseph Correnti. John Doe 201 is now an adult resident of the State of Arkansas and is claiming the repeated sexual battery happened from approximately 1995 to 2002, beginning when John Doe 201 was approximately 14 to 15 years old.” By Associated Press on CBS-TV11News

CALIFORNIA

Bakersfield priest sues founder of Catholic group for defamation
“A Valley priest who has been the target of several sexual abuse allegations is suing the founder of a Catholic organization for defamation(link is external). According to the civil lawsuit, filed through Kern County Superior Court earlier this month, Stephen Brady, founder of Roman Catholic Faithful, made statements about Msgr. Craig Harrison that were ‘false, defamatory, libelous and slanderous.’” By Monica Velez, Valley Public Radio News

East Bay priest charged with sexually abusing child facing nearly five years in prison
“An East Bay priest who repeatedly sexually assaulted a child is facing nearly five years in state prison(link is external), officials said. Hector David Mendoza-Vela on Friday (Aug. 16) pleaded no contest to five counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child age 14 or 15, court documents show. David Mendoza-Vela, 42, a Catholic priest in Fremont, has been arrested on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, according to arrest records and the church. (Courtesy of Alameda County Sheriff’s Department). Last month, he pleaded not guilty to 30 criminal counts filed against him in April by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.” By Joseph Geha, East Bay Times

ILLINOIS

Illinois attorney general and Cardinal Cupich have private meeting; discuss clergy sex abuse investigation
“Amid a protracted state investigation of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, Illinois’ top law enforcement official has met with Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich(link is external), the ABC7 I-Team has learned. The one-hour, one-on-one discussion took place at Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office in the State of Illinois Thompson Center about two weeks ago. The Archdiocese of Chicago and Illinois’ five other Roman Catholic dioceses have been subjects of an ongoing investigation by the state attorney general’s office for the past year.” By ABC-TV7 News Chicago

KANSAS

Activists urge Kansas to broaden reporting of clergy abuse
“David Clohessy and Larry Davis stood on a busy Topeka street corner Tuesday (Aug. 20) for a moment of silence on behalf of people who committed suicide after they were abused by priests … Both men had plenty to say, however, across the street from Topeka’s Mater Dei Catholic Church about their belief Archbishop Joseph Naumann, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, hadn’t been proactive enough in reaching out to victims or in identifying alleged perpetrators involved with Catholic churches(link is external).” By Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capitol-Journal

MICHIGAN

Michigan priest accused of tying up teenage boy, taping mouth and eyes
“The ongoing investigation into sex-abuse claims involving Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses has resulted in more charges by the state attorney general’s office, this time against a former Otsego priest. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today that Father Brian Stanley, of Coloma, is being charged with one felony count of false imprisonment(link is external). If convicted, Stanley would face up to 15 years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender, according to state law.” By Ryan Boldrey, MLive.com

MINNESOTA

Clergy abuse survivor to coordinate Minnesota archdiocese’s outreach
“Paula Kaempffer, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse she suffered as an adult working in the church, knows firsthand about the kind of healing that can take place. And as the new outreach coordinator for restorative justice and abuse prevention(link is external) for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, she said healing ‘takes a lot of personal work’ and ‘a lot of inner strength to recapture the power that has been taken away from you.’” By Joe Ruff, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

MISSOURI

St. Louis County priest already deemed sexually violent sentenced again
“The first U.S. Catholic priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was convicted in Illinois has been sentenced to 10 years in prison(link is external) for abusing two boys in Missouri in the 1990s. Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty in May to two counts of sodomy for abuse that occurred at a St. Louis County parish in Bridgeton. Lenczycki is 75. Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with abusing three boys in the 1980s in Illinois. He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison.” By Associated Press on NBC-TV5 News

NEW JERSEY

First Catholic priest charged with sex assault after tip to AG’s clergy abuse hotline to be sentenced
“A disgraced Roman Catholic priest who admitted to sexually assaulting a teenage girl three decades ago will be sentenced(link is external) Monday (Aug. 26) in Superior Court in Middlesex County. Thomas P. Ganley, 63, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a girl who was a member of the youth group he led in the 1990s. The priest’s case was the first criminal case prosecuted after the start of the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Task Force, which was formed last year to investigate allegations of clergy abuse.” By Sophie Nieto-Munoz, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW YORK

Five adult siblings claim a childhood of abuse by the priest who kept them as his mostly secret family
“Five adult siblings recently claimed a childhood of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse by Francis Melfe, a Roman Catholic priest(link is external) whom, they say, kept them and their mother as his mostly-secret family at a large suburban Guilderland home. Edith Thomas, the mother of the five adult children, told The Enterprise this week, ‘They haven’t spoken to me since 1992.’” By The Altamont Enterprise Guilderland

Child Victims Act tears open North Country’s history of sexual abuse
“Lawsuits filed last week under the Child Victims Act claim children were targeted by abusers and pedophiles over a period of decades in dozens of communities(link is external) across the North Country. The Boy Scouts are named in at least one of the suits, but most of the cases target the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. More than 400 lawsuits were filed statewide last week under the Child Victims Act, after New York temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on sexual violence cases.” By Brian Mann, North Country Public Radio

In disturbing allegations anonymously filed, three priests accused of abusing 7-year-old boy together
“In a graphic and disturbing case filed under the Child Victims Act, three priests are accused of sexually abusing a seven-year-old at St. Francis High School(link is external) in the late 1970s. The anonymous plaintiff says that in 1977, Father James Smyka, Father Aurelian Brzezniak and Father Patrick Mendola sexually abused him in a shower room in front of an audience of between 15 to 20 other priests.” By WVIB-TV4 News

Long Island hit with dozens of sexual abuse lawsuits under Child Victims Act
“Since Aug. 14, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed across New York State related to the Child Victims Act(link is external), which went into effect that day. The law, signed in February by Governor Andrew Cuomo, gives a one-year grace period, eliminating the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims. Suits have already been filed against every Catholic diocese in the state, Boy Scouts of America, Rockefeller University, schools, hospitals, nonprofits and other organizations.” By Marco Schaden, Long Island Weekly

Filings detail clergy, school abuse in Niagara County
“Lawsuits filed in Niagara County reveal the details of abuse suffered by scores of children over the past several decades(link is external). The filings are among the hundreds of court documents that flooded state courts after the opening of the Child Victims Act ‘look-back window,’ which allows survivors to submit civil lawsuits against their abusers that may have lapsed due to the legal statute of limitations. The majority of the civil legal complaints accuse clergy or employees of the Diocese of Buffalo of sexual and physical abuse.” By Philip Bambini, Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

NORTH DAKOTA

Priest won’t face child sex abuse charges in Fargo
“A Catholic priest in south-central North Dakota will not face criminal charges after being accused of sexual misconduct involving a child in Fargo(link is external), but the case could go to a prosecutor in McHenry County after an investigation revealed one incident allegedly happened there. The Cass County Attorney’s Office announced Monday (Aug. 19) it would not pursue a criminal case against the Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga, who has served as a priest at three North Dakota churches in McIntosh County since 2010.” By April Baumgarten, Forum News Service, in The Bismark Tribune

OHIO

Activists demand Columbus Diocese expand list of clergy accused of abuse
“Advocates from SNAP gathered in front of St. Joseph Cathedral to demand the Catholic Diocese of Columbus add the names of three more ministers to its official list of clerics credibly accused’ of sexual abuse(link is external). The Columbus Diocese in March published a list of 36 clergy, both alive and deceased, alleged to have sexually abused minors.” By Adora Namigadde, WOSU-FM Columbus National Public Radio

Cincinnati priest arrested and indicted for sexually abusing minor
“A Cincinnati priest removed from ministry last month for grooming behavior has been indicted on nine counts of raping an altar server(link is external). Fr. Geoff Drew was arrested Aug. 19 on allegations dating back 20 years, which concern Drew’s time as music minister at a local parish, prior to his ordination as a priest. The accusations concern abuse said to have taken place over two years, when the reported victim was 10 and 11 years old. If convicted, the priest could face life in prison.” By Catholic News Agency

SNAP leader: Catholic churches need better vetting for priests
“The Rev. Geoff Drew, suspended last month after allegations of inappropriate behavior, now stands charged with nine counts of rape(link is external) — all for incidents that allegedly happened before he entered the priesthood. Dan Frondorf, a local leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Drew never should have been able to become a priest — and the Catholic church should develop a better process for keeping predators out of its clergy.” By WCPO-TV9 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Two more Catholic priests accused of child sex abuse
Two more Catholic priests are being accused of child sex abuse(link is external). The Diocese of Pittsburgh says it is aware that someone registered with the compensation fund. The complaint named fathers Larry Smith and Joseph Girdis. It says the abuse happened when the victim was 12 years old and was living at the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth.” By KDKA-TV2 News

Court allows lawsuit against diocese
“The Pennsylvania Superior Court has denied the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown’s application for re-argument in the lawsuit(link is external) of a woman who claims a pedophile priest consistently molested her in the 1970s and ’80s in Blair County. Wednesday’s (Aug. 14) ruling reaffirming that Renee A. Rice can pursue her lawsuit against officials in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese reflects an evolving legal landscape, according to Rice’s attorney, Richard Serbin of the Janet, Janet & Suggs law firm.” By Russ O’Reilly, Altoona Mirror

SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina Catholic priests and diocese silent on how they’ll handle allegations on Sunday
“Sunday will once again bring South Carolina’s Catholics to church as fresh allegations of child sexual abuse surface, this time in a lawsuit against the bishop who presides over the state(link is external). Bishop Robert Guglielmone, who has led the state’s Catholics for more than a decade, has denied the allegations, which are alleged to have happened in the late 1970s while he was a priest in New York. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday (Aug. 14) along with hundreds of others as New York state loosened its statute of limitations for such lawsuits.” By Mike Ellis, The Greenville News, in The Independent Mail

TEXAS

Victims of child sex abuse have new chance to hold abusers accountable in court
“John Delaney, a survivor of child sex abuse, wants other victims to know this: Starting Sept. 1, they could have another chance to hold their abusers accountable in court(link is external). Delaney and the San Antonio chapter leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered outside the Bexar County Courthouse Tuesday (Aug. 27) morning to raise awareness about a new Texas law going into effect next month that allows victims of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits against abusers up to 30 years after they turn 18.” By Marina Starleaf Riker, San Antonio Express-News

VERMONT

Catholic Diocese of Burlington to release names of priests in church investigation
“A 10-month investigation into potential pedophile priests is done. The Catholic Diocese of Burlington will release its report Thursday (Aug. 22). But our Darren Perron obtained details of that report, revealing decades of abuse by 40 priests(link is external). ‘I’m 66 years old… This individual had an elevated place in my family’s life. So, no, I never told my parents,’ John Mahoney said. He didn’t tell them that he was repeatedly abused by a priest starting in eighth grade. Mahoney kept the secret– until now.” By WCAX-TV3 News

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Priest guilty of sex abuse; list of D.C., Baltimore accused priests
“A Catholic priest who served in both Maryland and Washington, D.C., was convicted Thursday (Aug. 15) of four counts of child sexual abuse(link is external) against two children that happened on the grounds of his parish, Shrine of the Sacred Heart Parish in Northwest Washington. The Rev. Urbano Vazquez, 47, of Washington, D.C., committed the abuse from 2015 to 2017, prosecutors said. He was arrested in November 2018.” By Deb Belt, Patch.com

WISCONSIN

Clergy abuse: Here are the resources offered to victims in Wisconsin by diocese
“The Catholic church both nationally and in Wisconsin has been under intense scrutiny recently with a rising number of people claiming priests sexually abused them. In Wisconsin alone, more than 130 priests are known to have sexually assaulted children in the state(link is external). That number is likely to grow as Madison, La Crosse and Superior dioceses review their files and investigate abuse allegations. Officials with each of Wisconsin’s five Catholic dioceses said they urge anyone who knows about or is suspicious of current, ongoing abuse to report directly to local police immediately. Dioceses then ask that a report be filed with the church, as well.” By Laura Schulte, Wausau Daily Herald

WYOMING

Diocese says more abuse victims have come forward
“More people who say they’re victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Wyoming clergymen have come forward(link is external) since the release in early June of a list of 11 men who the Diocese of Cheyenne deemed had faced substantiated accusations of abuse. That list identified 30 known and substantiated victims of the 11 men. Twenty-nine victims were juvenile boys and girls, while one was identified by the diocese as a vulnerable adult. It’s unclear how many more victims have come forward since the list was released in the diocese’s newsletter and on its website June 12.” By Seth Klamann, Casper Star Tribune via Wyoming News Exchange

AUSTRALIA

Coalition agrees to pass laws forcing priests to report child abuse
“New legislation forcing priests to report child abuse to authorities even if disclosed in confession(link is external) now has enough support to pass through both houses of Victorian Parliament. The Andrews government introduced the legislation earlier this month compelling priests to break the seal of confession to report disclosures of child abuse, but the Coalition stopped short of supporting it at the time. However, on Monday (Aug. 27) Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien revealed he would back the bill.” By Benjamin Preiss, The Age

Argentina prelate says clerical abuse crisis ‘just beginning’ in pope’s country
“Although by now Catholics in some parts of the world have lived with the ferment caused by revelations of clerical sexual abuse for decades, a bishop who heads a commission for preventing abuse in Argentina says that in Pope Francis’s native country, the crisis is ‘just beginning(link is external).’ ‘It’s not that the abuses are beginning, but society’s awareness, with cases becoming public,’ said Bishop Sergio Buenanueva, of San Francisco, in the region of Cordoba.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CHILE

Pope sends video message to new abuse prevention center in Chile
“Pope Francis begins by saying that, through this video message, he wants to be present on this day on which the Fundación Cuida takes shape. The purpose of this new centre, he says, is not only to address the serious problems of prevention and abuse, but to conduct research and to seek policies(link is external) that can ‘save more and more minors from everything that is abuse, everything that is manipulation and that in some way destroys their hearts.’” By Vatican News

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica priest wanted for sex abuse of minors arrested in Mexico
“Costa Rican Catholic priest Mauricio Víquez Lizano, on the run since January of this year, was arrested this Sunday (Aug. 18) at dawn in San Nicolás de Los Garza, Monterrey, in the Mexican state of Nuevo León(link is external). The priest, 55, was wanted in 194 countries since he fled Costa Rica for alleged sexual abuse, qualified rape and aggravated corruption against minors. See more: Catholic Priest Mauricio Víquez fled after the Church warned him about a criminal complaint? The Attorney General of Mexico confirmed the detention.” By QCostaRica.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Chichester publishes in-depth study of abuse in its diocese
“The diocese of Chichester should not be too hasty in its attempts to consign sexual abuse to history, a new report suggests(link is external). The diocese was marked out by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse for special interest, based on the number of high-profile cases of abuse. An earlier report by Dame Moira Gibb also examined aspects of abuse in Sussex. This week, the diocese quietly published a third report, Sexual Abuse by Clergymen in the Diocese of Chichester: ‘You Can’t Say No to God’ … The authors warn the diocese ‘not to be tempted to approach the future by adopting the mantra ‘That was then; this is now.’” By Hattie Williams, Church Times

GUAM

More than 220 former altar boys, students and Boy Scouts launch sex abuse lawsuit Guam’s archdiocese
“More than 220 former altar boys, students and Boy Scouts are suing the Catholic clergy in Guam in a shocking sex abuse scandal(link is external) that has spanned generations and involved the island’s archbishop. The Catholic clergy in U.S. has been shrouded in a sex abuse scandal over the past decade and now it has left its mark on the American island territory of Guam.” By Brinkwire.com

INDIA

Judge in India says Christian education ‘highly unsafe’ for future of children
“A representative of the local Catholic bishops’ council called the remarks of an Indian High Court judge attacking Christian education ‘unfortunate.’ Madras High Court Justice S. Vaidyanathan on Friday said, ‘there is a general feeling among parents of students, especially female students, that coeducational study in Christian institutions is highly unsafe for the future of their children(link is external).’” By Nirmala Carvalho, Cruxnow.com

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