First it was Catholic Charities of Rockford, Illinois. Now both Peoria and Joliet Catholic Charities have followed suit in reaction to new policiesA designed toA accommodate civil unions.A They have written letters to the Department of Children and Family Services explaining that it was against their practice to place children with unmarried ...
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#400 Sep 5, 2012
"CHILEAN DIOCESE TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED SEX ABUSE OF FORMER SEMINARIAN"
Santiago, Chile, Apr 12, 2012 / 12:09 pm (CNA).- The Diocese of Valparaiso in Chile says it is determined to establish the facts surrounding accusations of sexual abuse that a former seminarian, now a protestant minister, has leveled against two bishops and five priests.
“We want to know the truth, and both the accuser and the accused are free to speak out responsibly and to be listened to with respect,” read an April 10 statement signed by Vicar General Msgr. Leopoldo Nunez Huerta and posted on the Chilean bishops' conference website.
During a television interview on April 3, the accuser, Mauricio Andres Pulgar Lazo, alleged he was the victim of sexual and psychological abuse while in the seminary at age 13.
In addition to naming several priests in his accusations, he also alleged abuse by Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso and Bishop emeritus Javier Prado of the Diocese of Rancagua.
“I am not an enemy of the Catholic Church. The enemy is in those who don’t want to keep their promises. The only thing I am asking of these people is that they overcome their fear of speaking out, they know that silence doesn’t solve anything,” Pulgar Lazo said.
The Diocese of Valparaiso said it has consulted with civil and ecclesial attorneys and has named a special investigator to look into the allegations.
The statement said the investigation into the allegations against the two bishops will be handled by the Holy See through the Apostolic Nunciature in Chile.
Msgr. Nunez Huerta said the Diocese is responding to the accusations in accord with the guidelines established by the Bishops’ Conference of Chile for handling cases of sexual abuse. The results of the ecclesial investigation will be made public once the process is complete, he said.
The statement emphasized that both the bishops and the priests involved in the allegations “have maintained their innocence regarding the charges against them and they have expressed their intention to fully cooperation with the canonical investigation that is underway.”
#401 Sep 5, 2012
"18 ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE AGAINST 19 PRIESTS IN KILDARE AND LEIGHLIN"
Eighteen allegations of sexual abuse have been made against 10 priests in the Catholic Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin over the past 37-years, a report revealed today.
The review by the church's child safety watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC), issued 12 recommendations to make child safety structures "more robust".
The report stated it was "regrettable" that not all of the suggestions about actions to improve child safeguarding outlined in a report in July 2006 had not been followed up by the time of the review.
Monsignor Brendan Byrne, Diocesan administrator, said work was underway on fulfilling the recommendations as soon as possible including the appointment of a lay person as a designated person on the child safeguarding team.
The report found there was a "sense of disconnection" in the safeguarding network which could be due to the diocese having had "relatively few cases to deal with".
Msgr Byrne said he wished to "reaffirm the commitment of our diocese to be fully accountable to the highest safeguarding standards".
The 18 allegations were made against 10 priests between January 1975 to May 2012. These involved eight deceased priests and two living priests, who are out of ministry.
There has only been one conviction of a priest of having committed an offence against a young person since 1975.
In March 2009, former parish priest Fr Peter Cribben, in Newbridge and Rhode, Co Offaly, was given a three year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to three charges of indecent assault on a 14-year-old schoolboy.
A civil case was settled, with the diocese contributing €175,000, or €226,659 including legal fees.
In another case a priest was facing very serious criminal charges before the courts when he died in 2002. The diocese contributed €133,835 in a civil case.
The diocese confirmed there are no further civil cases pending.
The report stated the two living priests about whom allegations were made - including Fr Cribben and the priest who was not subject to a criminal charge - were out of ministry and receiving diocesan support and both gardai and health services were also informed.
Msgr Byrne said he was "mindful once again of the stories of people who have suffered great pain".
The report does not cover priests from other religious orders in the diocese.
- Louise Hogan Independent.ie, 9-5-12
#402 Sep 5, 2012
Bernard G. Shero is charged with raping an altar boy at St. Jerome's Parish in northeast Philadelphia in the late 1990s and stands trial on Sept. 4, 2012.
The third attacker, ex-priest Edward Avery, pleaded guilty in March to sexual assault and was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.
The victim, now 23, was expected to take the stand against both Shero and Engelhardt, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The court has ordered a continuing gag order prohibiting lawyers or witnesses from talking to reporters about the trial.
Billy Doe also testified earlier this year in the landmark conspiracy trial against Msgr. William J. Lynn, 61, the first U.S. church official convicted of covering up sex-abuse claims against Roman Catholic priests. Billy's ordeal helped prosecutors build a case against Lynn.
Edward Avery was kept in his parish even after Billy's allegations surfaced, prosecutors said.
For his part, the victim has led a troubled life, struggling with a drug addiction and being kicked out of two high schools. He has also been arrested on charges including shoplifting.
The young man, who only spent an hour on the witness stand during Lynn's trial, said he kept his abuse secret for years.
"I thought I did something wrong - and it's a priest," he said of Avery's assault. "I didn't think anyone would believe me."
According to the grand jury report, Engelhardt was the first to assault Billy, who referred to the abuse as "sessions." Soon after, Avery also began "sessions" with the boy.
The following school year, Shero was accused of raping Billy in a park while giving the boy a ride home.
[email protected], 9-4-12
#403 Sep 5, 2012
Charles F. Engelhardt is charged with raping an altar boy at St. Jerome's Parish in northeast Philadelphia in the late 1990s and stands trial on Sept. 4, 2012.
The trial of a former priest and a parochial school teacher accused of molesting the same young boy was abruptly postponed Tuesday after a death in the family of a defense attorney.
A new trial date for Father Charles Engelhardt, 65, and ex-teacher Bernard Shero, 49, will be decided on Friday and the case will be turned over to a new judge because of scheduling conflicts.
The delay was likely to frustrate both the prosecution and the alleged victim, identified only as "Billy Doe." Billy was allegedly repeatedly molested and raped by Shero, Engelhardt, and a third priest beginning in 1998 — one of the most disturbing complaints of child sex abuse to come out of the Philadelphia Archdiocese.
This was the second time the trial of Shero and Engelhardt had been delayed. The two men have pleaded not guilty.
[email protected], 9-4-12
#404 Sep 5, 2012
San Jose, California (CNN)-- A California jury Thursday acquitted a man charged with assaulting a retired Catholic priest, in a case that prosecutors had described as a vigilante attack.
William Lynch, 44, was accused of confronting the Rev. Jerold Lindner, 68, during a visit at Sacred Heart Retirement home for Jesuit priests in Los Gatos, California, where Lindner had been living since retirement in 2001.
Prosecutors claimed that Lynch walked into the retirement center on May 10, 2010, under the pretense of delivering news about a relative, and attacked his former pastor.
Lynch and his younger brother had claimed more than a decade earlier that Lindner sexually molested them during church-led camping trips in northern California when they were 7 and 5 years old.
During Lynch's assault trial, Lindner denied abusing the boys and maintained his innocence from the witness stand.
But two days into Lindner's testimony, his attorney notified the court that his client was invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and would not testify further for fear of a perjury prosecution.
Lynch also took the witness stand and testified that he only had wanted the priest to sign a confession, and he said he had punched him after experiencing an irrational fear triggered by memories of the alleged abuse.
Lynch's defense attorney, Pat Harris, claimed Lindner was responsible for his client's actions.
"Society is the victim in all this ... because there's a man sitting up there at Los Gatos who is a rapist, who molests children, and he's allowed to go free," Harris said.
The statute of limitations on criminal molestation allegations had expired when Lynch and his brother went public with their allegations in 1997.
But in a civil lawsuit that was settled in 1998, Lynch and his brother asserted that Lindner sodomized them and forced them to have sex with each other while Lindner watched. In that suit, Lynch and his brother received a $625,000 settlement with the Jesuits of the California Province.
In the assault case against Lynch, he faced four counts stemming from the 2010 incident. The jury Thursday acquitted him on three counts and was unable to reach a decision on the fourth charge.
The judge declared a mistrial on that count, and dismissed the charge.
Dozens of Lynch supporters, including his parents, gathered with demonstration signs outside the Santa Clara County Courthouse proclaiming the defendant's innocence.
Before the trial, prosecutors offered Lynch a plea deal offer that would have required a year in jail.
In closing arguments, prosecutors urged the jury to refrain from being swayed by Lynch's emotional testimony describing the alleged childhood trauma he claimed to have endured at the hands of Lindner.
After the verdict, Jim Muyo, a spokesman for the California Province of the Society of Jesus, released a statement saying they respect "the legal process and the findings of the judge and jury in the case of William Lynch. CNN, 7-9-12
#405 Sep 7, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— The first American bishop criminally charged in the clergy sex abuse scandal was found guilty Thursday of a misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse, a conviction that extends the struggle of Roman Catholic leaders to restore trust in the church.
Bishop Robert Finn was acquitted on a second count. He received two years of probation, but that sentence was suspended and will be wiped from his record if he adheres to a set of conditions that include mandatory abuse reporting training, setting aside $10,000 in diocese money for abuse victim counseling, and instructing all diocesan agents to report suspected criminal activity involving minors.
Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph were each charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to report suspected child abuse to the state. Prosecutors said they dropped charges against the diocese, and the judge is expected to sign off on that Friday.
The bishop, dressed in his traditional black garb, sat calmly throughout the hearing, even as he heard the verdict. He apologized before being sentenced, saying, "I truly regret and am sorry for the hurt these events have caused."
The charges stemmed from the child pornography case of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, in which Finn and other church officials knew about photos on the priest's computer but didn't turn him in for six months. Finn initially was charged with one misdemeanor count, but a second was added to acknowledge two separate time periods in which he failed to report suspected abuse.
On Thursday, the bishop was acquitted of a charge spanning Dec. 17, 2010, to Feb. 10, 2011, because Jackson County Judge John M. Torrence said there was no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Finn knew about the pornographic photos.
The charge on which Finn was convicted involved a period from Feb. 11 to May 11, 2011. Finn sent Ratigan to stay at a convent in Independence, Mo., during that time and ordered him to stay away from children and avoid taking photos. Prosecutors said that showed Finn knew about accusations against Ratigan, and Judge Torrence agreed.
Finn argued he should not face charges because he was not the diocese's mandated reporter under the law. At the time, the responsibility rested mainly with Vicar General Robert Murphy.
A computer technician found child pornography on Ratigan's laptop in December 2010 and reported it to the diocese. Of the hundreds of images found, many focused on the crotch areas of clothed children and one series showed the exposed genitals of a girl believed to be 3 or 4 years old.-
#406 Sep 7, 2012
- Finn has acknowledged he was told in December 2010 about the images. The bishop also has acknowledged that a parochial school principal had raised concerns about Ratigan's behavior around children in May 2010.
State law requires that the Division of Family Services be informed of such evidence of abuse.
Murphy confronted Ratigan about the photos, and the next day, Ratigan was found in his garage with his motorcycle running and a suicide note that apologized for any harm he had caused. Ratigan recovered after being hospitalized.
Finn sent Ratigan out of state for a psychological examination, and then ordered him to stay at the convent.
Later, after the diocese received reports Ratigan had attended a St. Patrick's Day parade and a child's birthday party, Finn ordered that police be given copies of the photos recovered from Ratigan's laptop.
Ratigan pleaded guilty last month to federal charges of producing and attempting to produce child pornography, admitting to taking photos of children 2 to 9 years old. Prosecutors said they will request that he spend the rest of his life in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
"I think that this is an amazing outcome, getting a bishop convicted of anything," Kansas City attorney Rebecca Randles said of Finn's conviction. Randles is representing a dozen of Ratigan's victims in civil lawsuits.
"Of course we wish the diocese was also convicted, but we understand the process and how it works," she added.
Since 2002, when the abuse scandal erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has spent tens of millions of dollars on child safety, including employee background checks and training for teachers and others on identifying abuse. Dioceses nationwide have removed hundreds of clergy who had been accused of molestation and barred them from any church work.
Finn's lack of action to address Ratigan, even as the larger church moved to implement reforms, frustrated Missouri parishioners and prompted some to call for Finn's resignation.
Finn had been scheduled for a jury trial starting Sept. 24. But prosecutors and Finn's defense team surprised the court by agreeing to a set of stipulated facts, negotiated by both sides, that were presented to the judge before Thursday.
Torrence conducted a bench trial, hearing brief opening statements Thursday before recessing to consider his verdict, which came about an hour after the trial's start. No witnesses or other evidence was presented.
While still damaging to Finn and the diocese, the trial and conviction before the judge – instead of a jury – averted weeks of potentially embarrassing evidence about what Finn and others did or didn't do to address Ratigan's problem.
"The advantages of the process we used was that all of the victims and the victims' families were spared a very trying process," Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said. "These victims' families – and I've spoken with many, many of them about today's case – they were all ecstatic that this could end today, with their child's anonymity protected."
Finn's attorneys, in a statement given to reporters after the trial, said having the judge hear and decide the case "avoided the need for live testimony from diocesan employees, parishioners and others."
"This could have been a lengthy and emotionally difficult trial for all persons affected," they said. huffington post, 9-7-12
#407 Sep 13, 2012
JOLIET — The Joliet Diocese is allowing a priest accused of molesting a 14-year-old Joliet boy in the 1970s to return to a limited ministry.
In May 2010, after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor surfaced, the Rev. F. Lee Ryan was removed from his ministry at St. Edmund Parish in Watseka and St. Joseph Mission in Crescent City.
A spokesman for Bishop R. Daniel Conlon confirmed by email Wednesday that Ryan will be allowed “very narrow ministry” to homebound parishioners of St. Edmund Parish and St. Joseph Mission.
A written statement from Conlon said the determination was made after Catholic officials in Rome decided that, according to church law in place at the time of the abuse, Ryan did not commit a serious crime by the church’s standards and could not be permanently removed from ministry.
According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the church law in place at the time stated a 14-year-old was at an age of consent.
“This is a shocking and dangerous move by Bishop Conlon,” said a statement from SNAP, which pointed out that Conlon is in charge of children’s safety for all of America’s bishops as head of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ committee on sexual abuse. South Town Star, 9-12-12
#408 Sep 13, 2012
-“What part of ‘one strike and you’re out’ do Catholic officials not understand?” the SNAP statement read.
The victim, a 52-year-old man now living out of state, said Wednesday someone from the diocese told him about the decision on Ryan earlier this week.
“I was actually in disbelief. I just couldn’t believe that they would (reinstate Ryan),” said the victim, who asked that his identity be kept private.
He said Ryan established a relationship with him while he was a student at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox.
The man said Ryan would pull him out of class to smoke in a confession room and that he would sometimes drink beer with Ryan at his apartment in the evenings.
When the man told Ryan he thought he was gay, Ryan began taking him on walks through Hammel Woods forest preserve in Shorewood.
They eventually spent weekends together at an Indiana motel, he said. Ryan asked the man to call him Lee so no one would know he was a priest, the man said.
One night when the man was 16, Ryan confronted him while he was in a car parked outside a Joliet bar with another teen his age.
“(Ryan) was very angry,” the man said.“He said,‘Aren’t God and I enough for you?’”
A few years later, the man moved out of state. He went through years of therapy. After he was laid off from a job about 20 years later, he told his mother about the abuse.
His mother told a friend who worked for then-Bishop J. Peter Sartain. An investigation began, and the man’s allegation of abuse was substantiated by the diocese.
The man is still in therapy — paid for by the diocese, he said.
Members of SNAP say they want Conlon to “immediately reverse course, keep Fr. Ryan out of ministry, and put him in a treatment center so that children will be safer.” South Town Star, 9-12-12
#409 Sep 13, 2012
Kansas City Bishop Convicted of Shielding Pedophile Priest
By JOHN ELIGON and LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: September 6, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— A Roman Catholic bishop was found guilty on Thursday of failing to report suspected child abuse, becoming the first American bishop in the decades-long sexual abuse scandal to be convicted of shielding a pedophile priest.
Bishop Robert Finn took over the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri in 2005.
Bishop in Missouri Waited Months to Report Priest, Stirring Parishioners’ Rage (August 15, 2011)
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David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, and Janelle Lazzo of Call to Action, embraced on Thursday during a demonstration at the courthouse in Kansas City, Mo.
In a hastily announced bench trial that lasted a little over an hour, a judge found the bishop, Robert W. Finn, guilty on one misdemeanor charge and not guilty on a second charge, for failing to report a priest who had taken hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls. The counts each carried a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, but Bishop Finn was sentenced to two years of court-supervised probation.
The verdict is a watershed moment in the priest sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the church since the 1980s. Bishops have been eager to turn the page on this era and have put in place extensive abuse prevention policies, which include reporting suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities. But the Kansas City case has served as a wake-up call to Catholics that the policies cannot be effective if the bishops do not follow them.
It was an abrupt ending to a case that has consumed the church in Kansas City and threatened to turn into a sensational, first-ever trial of a sitting prelate. The case had been scheduled for a jury trial later this month, but on Wednesday the prosecution said it would be decided in one afternoon by Judge John M. Torrence in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Before being sentenced, Bishop Finn, 59, his jaw quivering, rose in court and said:“I am pleased and grateful that the prosecution and the courts have allowed this matter to be completed. The protection of children is paramount.”
He added,“I truly regret and am sorry for the hurt that these events have caused.”
The church managed to avoid a lengthy, highly public jury trial like the one earlier this year in Philadelphia, where a high-ranking assistant to the archbishop was convicted of child endangerment and sentenced to prison for three to six years.
The Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker, said that the expedited trial spared the young victims and their parents from having to testify. She said it also meant that the disturbing photographs of children would not be shown in open court. She said the victims and their families “were all ecstatic that this could end today.”
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, like some other victims’ advocacy groups, applauded the unprecedented conviction of a bishop but said in a statement that the sentence was too lenient.“Only jail time would have made a real difference here,” it said.
The judge dropped two charges against the diocese itself.
The case began when the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, a charismatic parish priest who had previously attracted attention for inappropriate behavior with children, took his laptop computer in for repairs in December 2010. A technician immediately told church officials that the laptop contained what appeared to be pornographic photographs of young girls’ genitals, naked and clothed.-
#410 Sep 13, 2012
- Father Ratigan attempted suicide, survived and was sent for treatment. Bishop Finn reassigned him to live in a convent and ordered him stay away from children. But Father Ratigan continued to attend church events and take lewd pictures of girls for five more months, until church officials reported him in May 2011, without Bishop Finn’s approval. The bishop was found guilty on the charge relating only to that time period.
Father Ratigan pleaded guilty in August to federal child pornography charges, and is awaiting sentencing.
Ms. Peters Baker told the judge in opening arguments that Bishop Finn had been given ample warning that Father Ratigan was a danger to children. She said that the priest had even admitted to Bishop Finn that he had “a pornography problem.”
The prosecutor said:“Defendant Finn is the ultimate authority. The buck does stop with him.”
In May 2010, the principal of the Catholic elementary school where Father Ratigan was working sent a memo to the diocese raising alarm about the priest. The letter said that he had put a girl on his lap on a bus ride and encouraged children to reach into his pockets for candy, and that parents discovered girl’s underwear in a planter outside his house. Bishop Finn has said he did not read the letter until a year later.
The prosecutor said the photographs discovered on Father Ratigan’s laptop in December 2010 were “alarming photos,” among them a series taken on a playground in which the photographer moves in closer until the final shots show girls’ genitalia through their clothing. Confronted with the photographs, Father Ratigan tried to commit suicide, but survived and was briefly hospitalized.
Bishop Finn sent Father Ratigan for a psychological examination, then assigned him to live in a convent and told him not to have contact with children. But despite the restrictions, Father Ratigan presided at a girl’s First Communion and attended an Easter egg hunt and a child’s birthday party.
The bishop is required as part of his sentence to start a training program for diocesan employees in detecting early signs of child abuse, and in what constitutes child pornography and obscenity. He must also create a fund of $10,000 to pay for victims’ counseling.
Bishop Finn and the diocese still face 27 civil suits, 4 of them involving Father Ratigan.
It is unclear whether Bishop Finn will come under pressure by the Vatican or his fellow bishops to resign. Asked at a news conference about Bishop Finn’s future, Ms. Peters Baker, demurred and said,“You’ll have to call Rome.”
Judge Torrence, at the close of the trial, said that he hoped that this ended “a long and dark chapter” in history.“I am convinced that this was an appropriate and just way to wrap this up and let everyone move on,” he said.
John Eligon reported from Kansas City, Mo., and Laurie Goodstein from New York. The New York Times, 9-7-12
#411 Sep 24, 2012
AUSTRALIA CATHOLIC CHURCH ADMITS OVER 600 CHILD ABUSE CASES
Australia's Roman Catholic Church has confirmed that 620 children have been sexually abused by its priests since the 1930s in the state of Victoria, the ABC reported on Sunday.
The Catholic Church of Victoria's admission came in a submission to a state parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse cases by religious and other organizations after the suicides of dozens of people abused by clergy.
Campaigners, however, say the real figure could be up to 10,000 victims in the state of Victoria alone.
Most of the abuse cases took place between the 1960s and the 1980s, with another 45 cases being investigated.
In the submission, the Catholic Church said it committed to fully cooperate with the inquiry and to not "disguising, diminishing or avoiding the actions of those who have betrayed a sacred trust".
Father Shane Mackinlay of the Ballarat Diocese admitted the church had its "head in the sand" for a long time, adding there had been a history of resistance to face the truth about "shocking abuse" that happened within the church, both by the clergy and in the wider community.
Child abuse by Roman Catholic priests has been a top issue in Australia in recent years. During his visit to Australia in July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI made a public apology for the abuse. RIANOVOSTI, 9-23-12
#412 Sep 25, 2012
Fifteen will get you twenty.(unless you are a female teachers abusing male students, then that's okay)
#413 Sep 25, 2012
PRIEST RESIGNS AFTER ACCUSATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
EVERGREEN PARK, Ill.—
A Catholic priest in Evergreen Park has resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct.
Reverend Gary Miller has stepped down from his duties as pastor of St. Bernadette parish.
The archdiocese has reported the case to DCFS, and is sending a report to the Vatican.
Miller is also banned from performing any public ministry.
Cardinal Francis George will name a new pastor next month. WGN, 9-24-12
#414 Sep 26, 2012
PASTOR SENTENCED TO 330 YEARS IN PRISON FOR MOLESTING BOYS
A pastor was sentenced Friday to 330 years in prison for sexually assaulting five boys between the ages of 9 and 15 in his Lake Forest apartment between 2007 and 2011.
Oscar D. Perez, 69, was an Apostolic pastor and bishop at Iglesia Antigua, a church that rented space at St. George’s Episcopalian Church in Laguna Hills.
Perez befriended various families at the church, enlisted children to help with church services, and eventually began to invite the victims over to his apartment, sometimes for sleepovers, prosecutors said.
Perez was arrested and charged in the assault of two victims in September 2011 after a boy told his mother of the abuse. Further investigation yielded three more apparent victims.
The pastor was was found guilty in July on 22 felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, four felony counts of lewd acts on a child and sentencing enhancement allegations for lewd acts against multiple victims. LA Times, 9-14-12
#415 Sep 26, 2012
JOLIET PRIEST IS OUSTED AGAIN
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will blast Joliet’s bishop for
--acting “deceptively and recklessly” last week by putting a suspended, credibly accused predator priest, and
--giving vague reasons this week for suddenly reversing himself and removing the priest from active ministry.
The victims will also urge Joliet’s bishop to
--step down as head of the US bishops’ Committee on Child Sex Abuse,
--put the priest in a remote, secure treatment facility, and
--“come clean” about the number of child sex accusations against the priest.
TODAY, Tuesday, September, 19, at 1:00 p.m.
Two-three members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( SNAPnetwork.org )
Outside the Joliet Catholic diocese headquarters (“chancery office”) at 425 Summit St. in Joliet IL.
Yesterday, in a surprising reversal, Joliet Bishop Daniel Conlon removed Fr. Lee Ryan from active ministry for the second time.(Fr. Ryan was first ousted in May 2010 because of credible child sex abuse allegations.)
Last week, Conlon announced that he would reinstate Fr. Ryan, implying that church officials in Rome were essentially forcing him to do so.
The abuse accusations, deemed credible in 2010 by Joliet Catholic officials, are made by a Florida man who says he was sexually violated, starting at age 14, by Fr. Ryan at a Providence Catholic high school in New Lenox the 1970s. Although Fr. Ryan denied the allegations, then-Bishop J. Peter Sartain ousted him.
Despite these facts, and a decade-old “one strike” and “zero tolerance” abuse promise made by all American prelates, Conlon put Fr. Ryan back on the job. Less than a week later, Conlon has reversed course. SNAP is blasting Bishop Conlon for his recklessness and deception in putting Fr. Ryan back into ministry and his vagueness in changing his mind, and the callousness of the actions, which are very hurtful to Fr. Ryan’s victim.
“Last week Bishop Conlon implied that he had no say in Fr. Ryan’s reinstatement, blaming Vatican officials” said SNAP’s Barbara Blaine.“Yet if that claim were true, there’s no way he would be able to remove Fr. Ryan today.”
SNAP wants Bishop Conlon to immediately step down from his position as the chair of the USCCB’s Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. And the organization wants Conlon to disclose how many individuals have accused Fr. Ryan of child sex crimes.
At the time he was suspended, Fr. Ryan worked at St. Edmund’s parish in Watseka, IL. That’s where Conlon put him back in ministry last week. David Clohessy, 9-19-12
#416 Sep 26, 2012
VICTIMS PROD CHURCH TO ACT ABOUT ARRESTED PRIEST
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will hand out fliers to urging Greek Orthodox church officials to
--to make public every location where a recently-arrested priest worked, and
--aggressively seek out and help anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered any misconduct by him or other clerics.
They will also urge any other victims, witnesses or whistleblowers with any knowledge or suspicions of clerics’ crimes to contact law enforcement immediately.
Tuesday, Sept. 25th at NOON
Outside Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 555 North High Street, Columbus, OH
Two or three clergy sex abuse victims and supporters who belong to a nationwide a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( http://www.snapnetwork.org/ )
Last week, Father Patrick Nicholas Hughes was arrested by the Franklin County Sheriff’s office for trying to meet up for a sexual encounter with two boys, ages 9 and 14. Hughes is the acting dean at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral on the southern edge of the Short North.
Hughes has been charged with attempted rape, a second-degree felony, and attempted unlawful sexual contact with a minor, a fourth-degree felony.
In light of these charges, SNAP feels that this is likely not Hughes’ first sexual misconduct. The group fears there may be other children who have already been harmed by him and that church officials should actively be reaching out to them. Church authorities should also be using parish bulletins and websites and other resources to urge witnesses and whistleblowers to contact law enforcement, so that Hughes might be effectively prosecuted, SNAP believes.
When he was arrested, Hughes gave his home address as 6191 Zumstein Dr. on the North Side, which is a Hawthorn Suites hotel.
Hughes is the acting dean at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral on the southern edge of the Short North. Judy Jones, 9-25-12
#417 Nov 30, 2012
50 Reasons to Boycott the Catholic Church
The Church uses its resources to oppose social progress and positive change all over the world.
November 26, 2012
Last month in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar died, and she shouldn't have. Savita was a 31-year-old married woman, four months pregnant, who went to the hospital with a miscarriage in progress that developed into a blood infection. She could easily have been saved if the already doomed fetus was aborted. Instead, her doctors did nothing, explaining that "this is a Catholic country," and left her to suffer in agony for days, only intervening once it was too late.
Savita's death is just the latest in a long line of tragedies directly attributable to the doctrines and beliefs of the Roman Catholic church. I acknowledge that there are many good, progressive Catholics, but the problem is that the church isn't a democracy, and those progressives have no voice or vote in its governance. The church is a petrified oligarchy, a dictatorship like the medieval monarchies it once existed alongside, and it's run by a small circle of conservative, rigidly ideological old men who make all the decisions and choose their own successors.
This means that, whatever individual Catholics may do, the resources of the church as an institution are bent toward opposing social progress and positive change all over the world. Every dollar you put into the church collection plate, every Sunday service you attend, every hour of time and effort you put into volunteering or working for church organizations, is inevitably a show of support for the institutional church and its abhorrent mission. When you have no voice, there's only one thing left to do: boycott. Stop supporting the church with your money and your time. For lifelong Catholics, it's a drastic step, but it's more than justified by the wealth of reasons showing that the church as an institution is beyond reform, and the only meaningful response is to part ways with it. Here are just a few of those reasons:
1. Throughout the world, Catholic bishops have engaged in a systematic, organized effort going back decades to cover up for priests who molest children, pressuring the victims to sign confidentiality agreements and quietly assigning the predators to new parishes where they could go on molesting. Tens of thousands of children have been raped and tortured as a result of this conspiracy of silence.
2. Strike one: " What did the pope know and when did he know it? " The current pope, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was personally implicated in a case from the 1970s in which at least three sets of parents reported that a priest in his diocese had sexually abused their children. In response, Ratzinger assigned the priest to therapy, without notifying law enforcement, and washed his hands of the matter. That priest was back on duty in just a few short days and went on to molest more children.
3. Strike two: In 1981, again when the current pope was Cardinal Ratzinger, he got a letter from the diocese of Oakland asking him to defrock a priest who had acknowledged molesting two children. Ratzinger ignored this letter, and several followup letters, for four years. Finally, in 1985, he wrote back saying that more time was needed, and that they had to proceed very slowly to safeguard " the good of the Universal Church " in light of "the young age of the petitioner" -- by which he meant not the victimized children, but the pedophile priest.(By contrast, when a rogue archbishop ordained married men as priests, he was laicized six days later.)
4. Strike three: In 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a letter, De Delictis Gravioribus , to all Catholic bishops advising them how to handle accusations of sex crimes by priests. There was no recommendation to contact the police, but rather an instruction for them to report such cases only to the Vatican and tell no one else: " Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret.
#418 Nov 30, 2012
5. Some church officials, like the American friar Benedict Groeschel, have blamed the epidemic of child molestation on sexually wanton boys who tempt priests into assaulting them.
6. They threaten to cut off funding for immigrants' rights advocates because they sometimes work with gay-rights advocates . Preventing immigrants from getting legal and medical aid is less important than ensuring the church isn't contaminated by even indirect contact with anyone who helps gay people.
7. In a sign of how ridiculously disproportionate and unhinged the church's martyrdom complex is, the current pope has compared expanding the rights of women and gay people to the murderous anticlerical violence of the 1930s Spanish civil war .
8. They've used their official UN observer status to team up with Islamic theocracies like Iran and Libya to oppose calls for family-planning services to be made available in the world's poorest nations.
9. They've gone to desperately poor, AIDS-ravaged regions of Africa to spread the life-destroying lie that condoms don't prevent transmission of HIV .
10. In the mid-20th century, they appointed a special papal commission to study whether Catholicism should permit the use of birth control. When the commission almost unanimously recommended that they should, they ignored that recommendation and doubled down on their absolute ban on contraception .
11. They excommunicated the doctors who performed an abortion on a pregnant 9-year-old who'd been raped by her stepfather .
12. They did not excommunicate the stepfather.
13. Savita Halappanavar wasn't the first: Catholic-run hospitals are willing to let women die rather than get lifesaving abortions , even when a miscarriage is already in progress and no possible procedure could save the fetus.
14. They refused to provide contraception or abortion to women who were abducted and forced to work as prostitutes , and then filed a lawsuit complaining it was violating their religious freedom when the government took away their contract .
15. In Poland, they ordered politicians to vote for a law banning IVF and threatened to excommunicate any who didn't comply .
16. They were a major source of the pressure on the Komen Foundation that led to its disastrous decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood .
17. They've announced an inquisition into the Girl Scouts to get to the bottom of its association with morally suspect groups like Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.
18. They've been one of the major forces attacking Obamacare, filing lawsuits arguing that non-church Catholic employers should be able to decide whether or not employee health insurance plans will cover contraception . This is effectively an argument that a woman's employer should be allowed to force her to pay more for medical coverage, or even place it out of her reach altogether, based on his religious beliefs.
19. In Australia, they allegedly derailed a police investigation of an accused pedophile , putting pressure on higher-ups to get an investigating officer removed from the case.
20. They demanded that Sunday school teachers sign a loyalty oath agreeing to submit "will and intellect" to the proclamations of church leaders.
21. Some top church officials, including the current pope , have advocated denying communion to politicians who support progressive and pro-choice political ideas . Notably, although the church also opposes preemptive war and the death penalty, no conservative politician has ever been denied communion on this basis.
22. They've cracked down on American nuns for doing too much to help the poor and not enough to oppose gay marriage , condemning them for displaying a seditious "feminist spirit."
#419 Nov 30, 2012
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23. In Germany, where parishioners pay an officially assessed tax rate to the church, they've tried to blackmail people who don't want to pay the church tax , threatening to fire them from jobs in church institutions. In some cases, if the person opts out but later loses the paperwork, they demand on-the-spot repayment of decades of back taxes .
24. In America, bishops have compared Democratic officeholders, including President Obama, to Hitler and Stalin and have said that it jeopardizes a person's eternal salvation if they don't vote as the bishops instruct them to.
25. They fight against equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. It's not enough for the Catholic church hierarchy that they refuse to perform church weddings for gay and lesbian couples; they want to write that prohibition into the civil law and deny marriage equality to everyone who doesn't fit their religious criteria, and have invested vast amounts of money and effort into doing so. In the 2012 election cycle alone, the church spent almost $2 million in an unsuccessful fight to defeat marriage-equality initiatives in four states .
26. They've compared gay sex to pedophilia and incest and called for it to be forbidden by law , saying that "states can and must regulate behaviors, including various sexual behaviors."
27. They've shut down adoption clinics rather than consider gay people as prospective parents. The church's official position, apparently, is that it's better for children to remain orphans or in foster care than to be placed in a loving, committed same-sex household.
28. They barred an anti-LGBT bullying group, anti-teen-suicide foundation from a Catholic school ceremony , explaining that the group's mission is "contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church."
29. They told a teenager he wouldn't be allowed to go through confirmation because he posted a pro-gay-rights status message on Facebook , and they expelled a preschooler from a private Catholic school because his parents were lesbians .
30. They have a history of dumping known pedophile priests in isolated, poor, rural communities , where they apparently assumed that local people wouldn't dare to complain or that no one would listen if they did.
31. They've given huge payouts -- as much as $20,000 in some cases -- to pedophile priests , to buy their silence and quietly ease them out of the priesthood, after specifically denying in public that they were doing this.
32. When the Connecticut legislature proposed extending statute-of-limitations laws to allow older child-abuse cases to be tried, the bishops ordered a letter to be read during Mass instructing parishioners to contact their representatives and lobby against it .
33. To fight back against and intimidate abuse-survivor groups like SNAP, the church's lawyers have filed absurdly broad subpoenas demanding the disclosure of decades' worth of documents .
34. In the Netherlands, some boys were apparently castrated in church-run hospitals after complaining to the police about sexual abuse by priests .
35. When a Catholic official from Philadelphia, William Lynn, was charged with knowingly returning predator priests to duty, his defense was to blame those decisions on his superior, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, thus acknowledging that the corruption reaches to the highest levels of the church.
36. When confronted with hundreds of complaints about child-raping priests spanning decades, a Dutch cardinal used the same "we knew nothing" excuse once given by Nazi soldiers . Several months later, it was reported that this same cardinal had personally arranged to move a pedophile priest to a different parish to shield him from accusation.
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