Posts Tagged Associated Press
“Pennsylvania’s highest court on Tuesday (Oct. 20) grappled with whether a woman’s lawsuit on claims of sexual abuse by a priest decades ago should be allowed to proceed — a lower-court ruling that has launched many other lawsuits since it was issued a year ago.
“In oral argument, the justices focused questions on whether the plaintiff, Renee Rice, waited too long to sue the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
“Rice has argued that a 2016 grand jury report alerted her to allegations that church officials’ silence about a priest who she says molested her amounted to fraudulent concealment.
“The 2016 report in Altoona-Johnstown preceded the wider 2018 report that found decades of sexual attacks on children by priest in other Pennsylvania dioceses.”
By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
“For the first time, a clergy sex abuse trial opened Wednesday (Oct. 14) in the Vatican’s criminal tribunal, with one priest accused of molesting an altar boy in the Vatican’s youth seminary and another priest accused of covering it up.
“The case concerns the closed world of the St. Pius X youth seminary, a palazzo inside the Vatican walls just across the street from where Pope Francis lives and the criminal tribunal itself. The seminary, which is run by a Como, Italy-based association of priests, serves as a residence for boys aged 12 to 18, who serve as altar boys at papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica.
“According to the indictment read aloud Wednesday (Oct. 14), the Rev. Gabriele Martinelli, 28, is accused of abusing his authority as a more senior seminarian to force a younger seminarian into ‘carnal acts’ of sodomy and masturbation, using violence and threats, from 2007-2012.”
By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …
Investigation: Abuse allegations against Catholic bishop ‘credible’ / Associated Press in The Boston Globe
“The findings of retired Judge Peter Velis provide further evidence of the Catholic Church’s continued shameful cover-up of the wholesale sexual abuse of children at all levels no matter what the human cost …,” said attorney Mitchell Garabedian (Associated Press in The Boston Globe)
An independent investigation found that allegations of child sexual abuse by a former Roman Catholic bishop in Massachusetts were ‘unequivocally credible,’ according to an executive summary of the report released Wednesday (Sept. 16).
“Retired Superior Court Judge Peter Velis’s report of abuse allegations against late Diocese of Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon also criticized the way the diocesan review board handled the allegations.
“Velis found that there was a ‘reluctance to fervently pursue an evaluation of allegations against (Weldon) due to his prominence and revered legacy in the religious community.’
“Velis also found that mandatory reporters had not notified law enforcement.”
By Associated Press in The Boston Globe — Read more …
While the manual doesn’t have the force of a new law, it goes beyond the current Vatican policy about cooperating with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and police. (Associated Press)
“The Vatican told bishops around the world on Thursday (Jul. 16) they should report cases of clergy sex crimes to police even when not legally bound to do so, in its latest effort to compel church leaders to protect minors from predator priests.
“The Vatican issued a long-awaited manual for bishops and religious superiors on conducting in-house investigations into allegations of priests who rape and molest minors and vulnerable adults. While the Vatican has had detailed canonical norms in place for two decades, the laws continue to be ignored by some bishops who dismiss allegations by victims in favor of protecting their priests.
“While the manual doesn’t have the force of a new law, it goes beyond the current Vatican policy about cooperating with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and police. That policy requires bishops and religious superiors to report allegations of sex crimes with minors only where local laws require it.
“The manual says: ‘Even in cases where there is no explicit legal obligation to do so, the ecclesiastical authorities should make a report to the competent civil authorities if this is considered necessary to protect the person involved or other minors from the danger of further criminal acts.’
“And it says church leaders must comply with ‘legitimate’ subpoena requests.”
By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …
“Lawyers for the parents and survivors said the order issued late Tuesday (Jan. 7) is the first time private citizens have been allowed to challenge the church to prove it is complying with a reporting law.” (Associated Press)
Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.
“The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses have created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations. Lawyers for the parents and survivors said the order issued late Tuesday is the first time private citizens have been allowed to challenge the church to prove it is complying with a reporting law.
“The order, issued by Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward, also sustained the objections from the state’s other seven dioceses to being parties in the lawsuit because there were no specific allegations against them. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.”
By Claudia Lauer, Associated Press — Read more …
An AP analysis found more than 900 clergy members accused of child sexual abuse who were missing from lists released by the dioceses and religious orders where they served. (Associated Press)
Richard J. Poster served time for possessing child pornography, violated his probation by having contact with children, admitted masturbating in the bushes near a church school and in 2005 was put on a sex offender registry. And yet the former Catholic priest was only just this month added to a list of clergy members credibly accused of child sexual abuse — after The Associated Press asked why he was not included.
“Victims advocates had long criticized the Roman Catholic Church for not making public the names of credibly accused priests. Now, despite the dioceses’ release of nearly 5,300 names, most in the last two years, critics say the lists are far from complete.
“An AP analysis found more than 900 clergy members accused of child sexual abuse who were missing from lists released by the dioceses and religious orders where they served.
“The AP reached that number by matching those public diocesan lists against a database of accused priests tracked by the group BishopAccountability.org and then scouring bankruptcy documents, lawsuits, settlement information, grand jury reports and media accounts.
“More than a hundred of the former clergy members not listed by dioceses or religious orders had been charged with sexual crimes, including rape, solicitation and receiving or viewing child pornography.”
By Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer, Associated Press — Read more …
AP interviews with more than a dozen lawyers and clergy abuse watchdog groups offered a wide range of estimates but many said they expected at least 5,000 new cases against the church in New York, New Jersey and California alone, resulting in potential payouts that could surpass the $4 billion paid out since the clergy sex abuse first came to light in the 1980s. (Time)
A wave of new laws in 15 states that allow people to make claims of sexual abuse going back decades could bring a deluge of lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church that could surpass anything seen so far in its clergy abuse crisis.
“Associated Press reporting found it could result in thousands of new cases against the church and more than $4 billion in payouts.
“It’s a financial reckoning playing out in such populous Catholic strongholds as New York, California and New Jersey, among the eight states that go the furthest with ‘lookback windows’ that allow sex abuse claims no matter how old.
“That has lawyers fighting for clients with TV ads and billboards asking, ‘Were you abused by the church?’ And Catholic dioceses are considering bankruptcy, victim compensation funds and even tapping valuable real estate to stay afloat.”
By Bernard Condon and Jim Mustian, Associated Press, in Time — Read more …
The AP checked all the roughly 180 dioceses in the U.S. for information, reviewed thousands of pages of church and court records and interviewed more than 75 abuse survivors, board members and others to uncover a tainted process where the church hierarchy holds the reins of power at every stage. (Associated Press)
Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards.
“These independent panels with lay people in each diocese would review allegations fairly and kindly. And they would help bishops ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry.
“But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments. Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.
“The AP also found dozens of cases in which review boards rejected complaints from survivors, only to have them later validated by secular authorities. In a few instances, board members were themselves clergy accused of sexual misconduct. And many abuse survivors told the AP they faced hostility and humiliation from boards.”
By Reese Dunklin, Mitch Weiss and Matt Sedensky, Associated Press — Read more …
“A recent push by Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. to publish the names of those it considers to be credibly accused has opened a window into the daunting problem of how to monitor and track priests who often were never criminally charged and, in many cases, were removed from or left the church to live as private citizens.” (Associated Press)
Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found.
“These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and day care centers. They foster and care for children.
“And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found.
“A recent push by Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. to publish the names of those it considers to be credibly accused has opened a window into the daunting problem of how to monitor and track priests who often were never criminally charged and, in many cases, were removed from or left the church to live as private citizens.”
By Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer, Associated Press — Read more …
The abuse they say they endured at the hands of two Franciscans, Brother Paul West and Brother Donald Lucas, included beatings, rape, and other sexual violations beginning when they were nine and 10 years old. (associated Press)
As La Jarvis skimmed the four-page agreement, his thoughts flickered back more than two decades to the physical and sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a Franciscan Friar at a Catholic grade school in Greenwood. He told Gannon he wasn’t sure $15,000 was enough.
“‘He said if I wanted more, I would have to get a lawyer and have my lawyer call his lawyer,’ La Jarvis recently told The Associated Press. ‘Well, we don’t have lawyers. We felt like we had to take what we could.’
“La Jarvis considered his mounting bills, his young family and, with his wife’s consent, signed the agreement, dating it Jan. 11, 2019.
“Then Gannon announced it was time to eat.
“‘He was all smiles then,’ La Jarvis said.
“At the time, La Jarvis didn’t understand that the agreement he signed is unusual in several respects. It includes a confidentiality requirement, even though American Catholic leaders have barred the use of non-disclosure agreements in sex abuse settlements.”
By Michael Rezendes, Associated Press — Read more …