Posts Tagged Pennsylvania
“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 …
“‘It’s disappointing,’ said John Salveson, a victim founder of the Foundation to End Child Abuse, an advocacy group. ‘I just don’t know what it’s going to take to get these legislators to do the right thing.'”
A controversial proposal to extend the civil statute of limitations for child sex-abuse victims appeared to collapse Tuesday (Oct. 24), after supporters said the House was unlikely to move an amended version of the bill or reintroduce the original measure. With little chance of its passing, they said, they will try to revive it when the Assembly reconvenes next year.
“With little chance of its passing, they said, they will try to revive it when the Assembly reconvenes next year.
By Maria Panaritis and Karen Langley, Philly.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
I have said it before and I will say it again:
“Accountability and transparency for the crimes of childhood sexual abuse today and in the future absolves no one from the accountability and transparency for the sexual crimes committed against children in the past.
“Deep pockets denied the rights of all those who were sexually abused as children.
“Their right to access justice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was denied them by groups that had much to lose; the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese along with the other Pennsylvania dioceses as well as the insurance industry and several business lobby groups.”
By Sister Maureen Paul Turlish on PennLive.com — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
Clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania may bring federal racketeering charge; victims and lawmakers act
Feds may seek racketeering suit for clergy abuse in diocese
By Associated Press
A federal prosecutor may file a racketeering lawsuit against a Roman Catholic diocese where a state grand jury found two former bishops helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 clergy over a 40-year period.
“The ongoing investigation of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese grew out of the prosecution of the Rev. Joseph Maurizio Jr., U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Friday (Apr. 1).
“The 71-year-old Somerset County priest was convicted last year of molesting two street children during missionary trips to Honduras. He was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison, fined $50,000 and forced to pay his victims $10,000 each.
“Hickton said the ongoing investigation concerns whether diocesan officials engaged in a pattern of criminal activity that would fall under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as RICO.”
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As Pennsylvania confronts clergy sex abuse, victims and lawmakers act
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
By the age of 12, Maureen Powers, the daughter of a professor at the local Roman Catholic university, played the organ in the magnificent hilltop Catholic basilica here and volunteered in the parish office. But, she said, she was hiding a secret: Her priest sexually abused her for two years, telling her it was for the purpose of ‘research.’
“By her high school years, she felt so tied up in knots of betrayal and shame that she confided in a succession of priests. She said the first tried to take advantage of her sexually, the second suggested she comfort herself with a daily candy bar and the third told her to see a counselor. None of them reported the abuse to the authorities or mentioned that she could take that step.
“So when a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed in a report in March that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, which includes Loretto, engaged in an extensive cover-up of abuse by as many as 50 church officials, Ms. Powers, now 67, decided to finally report her case. She called the office of the Pennsylvania attorney general and recounted her story, including the name of her abuser, a prominent monsignor who was not listed in the grand jury report.”
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Father Carlos Urrutigoity glides into the sanctuary, his ivory and scarlet robes swishing between the pews. Revered by his flock in the unruly diocese of eastern Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este, the priest will deliver his sermon to hundreds of worshippers. They will later clamor outside the church to meet the man, to receive his benediction.
“This is a man who’s been described by bishops from Switzerland to Pennsylvania as ‘dangerous,’ ‘abnormal’ and ‘a serious threat to young people.’
“He has spent two decades flitting from diocese to diocese, always one step ahead of church and legal authorities, before landing in this lawless, remote corner of South America. Here, in the pirate-laden jungle near the Iguacu falls, he has risen to a position of power.
“Today, despite warnings from the bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where in 2002 Urrutigoity was accused of molesting a teenage boy and sleeping with and touching other young men, this priest leads a starry-eyed cadre of young male seminarians. Despite once being accused of running what a fellow priest called a ‘homosexual cult’ in the hills of Pennsylvania, Urrutigoity now graces the diocese website here, advertising seminars for budding young Catholics.
“Urrutigoity’s voyage from his native Argentina to Pennsylvania and back to South America represents a new chapter in the shocking story of abuse in the Catholic Church.
“It illustrates the church’s seeming inability to prevent a priest accused of illegal acts in the United States from fleeing to a remote developing country — even one on the doorstep of Pope Francis’ homeland — and remaking himself into a powerful religious leader.”
By Will Carless, GlobalPost — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“Surely that single verdict (Msgr. William Lynn convicted of endangering the welfare of a child), on that felonious charge, would embolden other prosecutors to hold other powerful decision-makers accountable. Even in cases where they were not charged with touching anyone. Even when the official had never met the victim.”