Posts Tagged clergy abuse victims
“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 …
To head off the bill and to push other items on its agenda, the Catholic Conference has spent hundreds of thousands a year on lobbyists. For example, the conference last year paid Sheinkopf Ltd. $5,000 a month, the Greenberg Traurig firm $6,000 a month and New York City attorney Stanley K. Schlein another $6,000 a month. The conference represents New York’s Catholic bishops and is headed by the archbishop of New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. (The Buffalo News)
The state’s Catholic Conference has spent $1.8 million over six years lobbying Albany to, among other things, derail a bill to make it easier for sex abuse victims to sue.
“The Democratic-led state Assembly approved the Child Victims Act last week, but its prospects for passage in the Republican-led Senate are less likely.
“The act’s most controversial provision would open a one-year window in which victims currently blocked by New York’s statute of limitations could sue for damages linked to decades-old abuses. But the Catholic Conference says the act would force institutions to defend misconduct ‘about which they have no knowledge, and in which they had no role.’
“To head off the bill and to push other items on its agenda, the Catholic Conference has spent hundreds of thousands a year on lobbyists. For example, the conference last year paid Sheinkopf Ltd. $5,000 a month, the Greenberg Traurig firm $6,000 a month and New York City attorney Stanley K. Schlein another $6,000 a month.
“The conference represents New York’s Catholic bishops and is headed by the archbishop of New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”
By Matthew Spina, The Buffalo News — Read more …
An amended bankruptcy plan for the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese would potentially double the funds set aside for its creditors to the tune of as much as $133 million. Despite that increase, attorneys representing the 440 claimants say that the archdiocese’s contribution to the trust falls well short of its total assets, what they estimate above $1 billion, as does the per-person payout when compared to past similar settlements …
“While ‘at first blush’ the new proposal seems like a lot of money, it ‘falls so far short’ when compared to settlements in other dioceses, Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the creditors, said at a press conference Tuesday (Nov. 15) afternoon outside the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.
“‘This is a sham. It is deficient, and it’s misleading, and so we really have to call it out for what it is,’ he said.”
By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“… there is the matter of history and some fundamentals to the long and ugly narrative that cannot be ignored …”
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan may have the purest of motives in designing the new compensation program for victims of clergy sex abuse. He must realize, however, that he is working against a history of activity, including his own, of members of the U.S. hierarchy that hardly inspires trust …
“The devil, in this instance, is in both the details and the larger context. Two details raise concerns for (Anne Barrett) Doyle (BishopAccountability.org):
- Victims are required to sign a legal agreement that appears to bind them to privacy and confidentiality.
- As part of the agreement, victims receiving an award agree, in releasing the archdiocese from future liability, not to sue the church in the future.
“That second point is important because of the context. The archdiocese is engaged in an ongoing and persistent effort to keep New York state from passing the Child Victims Act, which would extend the statute of limitations allowing victims a longer time to sue following abuse … Dolan’s timely initiative could also be a legal strategy aimed at eliminating those who might make future claims against the church under a new law.
“If that appears terribly cynical, there is the matter of history and some fundamentals to the long and ugly narrative that cannot be ignored …”
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
Kansas City is still waiting for the bishop and the Catholic diocese to do the right thing / The Kansas City Star
The only reassuring news to come out of an arbitrator’s recent finding against the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is that its Victim Advocacy Program, created in 2008 in response to the priest abuse scandal, is operating well.
“But every other conclusion of the arbitrator — upheld last week by Jackson County Circuit Judge Bryan Round — brought shame to the diocese and provided more than enough reasons for Bishop Robert W. Finn, already convicted of a misdemeanor, to resign.
“In ordering the diocese to pay $1.1 million for violating its agreement with sex abuse victims, arbitrator Hollis Hanover was blunt: ‘Where they (the victims) expected protection, they received desertion; where the assertion of authority on their behalf was required, they received betrayal.’
“He also said he hopes ‘that I am dead wrong in my opinion that this Diocese as presently constituted will not mend its ways.’
“Everyone hopes that. But there’s little reason for optimism.”
Editorial in The Kansas City Star – Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
We (the editors of National Catholic Reporter), like so many others, are taken with your very human and pastoral approach to life’s difficult issues, with your deep compassion that you don’t hesitate to demonstrate and with your insistent exhortation to move out of our comfortable churches and go encounter the rest of humanity, especially those on the margins …
“We claim a certain authority in addressing the issue (of clergy child sexual abuse) because we have been investigating and analyzing the scandal for so long. Countless times we have heard the defense that most abuse of children occurs outside the church and that the church has done more than any other institution to become transparent and aggressive in preventing abuse.
“The other side of that truth, Your Holiness, is that no other institution on earth had the means or the will to hide as much crime and sin for so long. The reality is that while the incidents of abuse of children are horrific, the larger and more persistent scandal is how many bishops and cardinals hid the sin, paid victims enormous sums of money to stay silent and refused to tell even their fellow bishops and priests of potential problems when they transferred troubled priests … ”
Click here to read the rest of the editorial.