Voice of the Faithful Focus, June 2, 2023

June 2, 2023


Sex abuse in Catholic Church: Over 1,900 minors abused in Illinois, state says
“More than 450 credibly accused child sex abusers have ministered in the Catholic Church in Illinois over almost seven decades, the office of the state’s attorney general, Kwame Raoul, said Tuesday (May 23) in an investigative report. That is more than four times the number that the church had publicly disclosed before 2018, when the state began its investigation. The 696-page report found that clergy members and lay religious brothers had abused at least 1,997 children since 1950 in the state’s six dioceses, including the prominent Archdiocese of Chicago.” By Ruth Graham, The New York Times

Pope sends Vatican official to Bolivia as abuse allegations escalate
Pope Francis has sent one of his top sex crimes investigators to Bolivia at a time when the Andean nation is being shaken by an escalating pedophilia scandal involving priests. Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, a leading member of the church’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, arrived in Bolivia on the same day as a former Jesuit seminarian landed in the country vowing to reveal more information about alleged cases of abuse.” By Carlos Valdez, Associated Press, in The Journal

Archdiocese of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley is sued by three alleged sexual abuse victims who claim Arlington Catholic’s former vice principal assaulted them
“Archdiocese of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley has been sued by three alleged sexual abuse victims who claim that Arlington Catholic High School’s former vice principal assaulted the teens last decade. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented clergy sexual abuse victims for decades, on Monday (May 22) said he filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of the three alleged childhood sexual abuse victims against O’Malley, Bishop Robert Deeley, and Bishop Peter Uglietto. The three victims allege that they were sexually abused by Steven Biagioni while he was vice principal and an administrator at Arlington Catholic.” By Rick Sobey, Boston Herald

Catholic Church in California grapples with more than 3,000 lawsuits, alleging child sex abuse
“At least a third of the 12 Roman Catholic dioceses in California have either filed for bankruptcy or are contemplating doing so to deal with an influx of lawsuits filed by survivors of childhood sexual abuse after a state law opened a three-year window in which cases were exempted from age limits. More than 3,000 lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Church in California under a 2019 state law that allowed alleged victims to sue up to the age of 40.” By Alejandra Molina, Religion News Service


Illinois AG’s bombshell clergy abuse report not surprising
“Voice of the Faithful cannot pretend to be surprised, even as we are outraged, by the Illinois attorney general’s Catholic clergy abuse report released yesterday, May 23 … Voice of the Faithful cannot adequately describe the anguish Catholic clergy child abuse causes victims, survivors, and the entire Body of Christ, as personal testimonies of abuse in this and similar reports detail … We intend, however, to continue to speak this truth to power and to watch carefully how well the Church today follows its own child protection guidelines.” By Voice of the Faithful

Latest report on clergy sex abuse within Catholic Church gives ‘voice to survivors’
“The 11-year-old boy was an altar server at St. John Vianney in west suburban Northlake during the early 1960s, when a popular priest began inviting him out to dinner, drive-in movies and even sleepovers at the rectory. His parents were pleased. ‘Where could you be safer?’ they remarked at the time. The Rev. Thomas Francis Kelly offered the boy beer at the rectory and then, in the middle of the night, the child awakened to find the priest sexually assaulting him.” By Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune, in Quad-City Times

Complete list of accused clergy in Belleville Diocese with new details from state report
“Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office recently released a 696-page report on child sex abuse by Catholic clergy, providing information on all six dioceses in the state. Below is a complete list of the 43 priests and deacons listed in the report with ‘substantiated’ allegations who served in the 28 counties in southern Illinois covered by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville.” By Belleville News-Democrat


What Catholics should know ahead of the Synod of Bishops
“On Oct. 4, the Synod of Bishops will convene in Rome, remaining in session until Oct. 29, almost four weeks. It will recess and then reconvene in October 2024. Catholics will take notice because of two factors. As part of a preliminary process, around the world many Catholics, not only bishops or clergy and including thousands of Americans, virtually in every parish, discussed Church policies, and even teachings, as preparation for the synod.” By Msgr. Owen F. Campion, Our Sunday Visitor

Sometimes a video is worth a thousand theological words
There are a couple things the video captures that my poor prose only hinted at. One was the significance of the liturgical celebrations. After the Boston College event, I wrote: ‘The combination of time spent socializing with time for prayer together, and serious intellectual and pastoral discussions, is what has transformed these two events into an ecclesial gathering rather than the typical academic conference.’ That is true, but so inadequate.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter


The U.S. bishops are meeting in June. Synodality is not on the agenda
“In two weeks, the U.S. bishops’ conference will hold its spring plenary in Orlando, Florida. One never knows what to expect from these June meetings. Many bishops do not attend the spring meeting, and the schedule is much less intense than the schedule for the November plenary. Orlando has many distractions. I doubt some bishops would visit Disney World, but more than a few would be right at home on Space Mountain … Notice anything missing from the press release announcing next month’s meeting? There is not a single mention of the ongoing synod. Not one mention. The most consequential development in ecclesiology since the close of Vatican II, and no one who looked at the press release said to themselves: “Hey, wait a minute. What about synodality?” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter


Editorial: Catholic Church confronting collapse in number of priests
“There have been warnings before from the Catholic Church about the challenges associated with the decline in the number of priests but rarely has the alarm been sounded as clearly and as loudly as it has this week by Bishop Donal McKeown. In a pastoral letter to the Diocese of Down and Connor, Dr McKeown, who is its Apostolic Administrator alongside being Bishop of Derry, has candidly set out the scale of the looming crisis.” By The Irish Times Editorial Board


Glad you asked: can women preach in Catholic churches?
Can women preach in churches? People may answer this question in different ways, depending on their denomination or faith tradition. Some Christian churches allow for women to be ordained. In others, women are barred from any kind of teaching or leadership position at all. Many women working in faith-based ministries have likely heard such statements as ‘it’s unBiblical for women to preach,’ ‘women should be silent in the churches,’ or ‘women are to be subservient to men, as the church is to Christ.’” By Editors at U.S. Catholic


Stay, leave or convert: some Catholics at a crossroads about religion amid sexual abuse allegations against priests
“Many Catholics seem to be at a crossroads following the release of the report in Maryland and allegations of other such abuse across the country. People are leaving organized religion completely, converting, or continuing to observe only certain parts of their Catholic heritage. Others are sticking with it, choosing to blame the people, not the religion. This is happening as people are already generally moving away from organized religion.” By Jasmine Vaugfhn-Hall, The Baltimore Banner


Latest Vatican financial scandal involves former monastery that housed Jews during WWII
“Purchased by the Vatican in 2021 as a dormitory for foreign nuns studying at Rome’s pontifical universities, the building now stands empty, a collateral victim of the latest financial scandal to hit the Holy See. Pope Francis has asked aides to get to the bottom of how at least $17 million, including money to refurbish the dorm, was transferred from the Vatican’s U.S.-based missionary fundraising coffers into an impact investing vehicle run by a priest, The Associated Press has learned. Two years later, the U.S. fundraiser says the money is gone, and the monastery is shuttered. Its renovation is tied up in bureaucratic red tape, while the nuns studying in Rome are still housed at a convent a 90-minute commute away.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review


Commentary: I received restorative justice from the Catholic Church after surviving clergy abuse
“I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by clergy in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Bringing justice to abuse survivors is a main goal of the attorney general’s efforts, and I certainly agree with that. I hope to add to that conversation by introducing a key element of justice for survivors that I think is missing in the conversation. I am a beneficiary of my abuser’s name being listed on the website of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and there is justice and institutional accountability in that. I am also the beneficiary of restorative justice, which is the element that I feel is missing. Beyond the attorney general’s goal of justice and giving voice to survivors as an aid to healing from the painful trauma of childhood abuse, efforts at restorative justice have helped me, and many others like me, to live a fuller and more complete life.” By Michael Hoffman, Chicago Tribune, in The Brunswick News

Cupich’s lackluster response to alarming undercount of Catholic clergy sex abuse won’t cut it
Now is a moment of reckoning for the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses — a time to come clean and shine a full light on child sexual abuse within the institution and, where still possible, bring the abusers and their enablers to justice. Cardinal Blase Cupich has an open door and the responsibility to do just that with this week’s release of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s nearly 700-page report that indicated how alarmingly widespread the problem has been in Illinois: The number of child sexual abusers within the church is four times higher than what the dioceses have previously reported.” By Chicago Sun Times Editorial Board

Church abuse failures put all ages at risk
When Susan and I started Catholics4Change in 2011, we were moms in our early 40’s and both had two children in Catholic school. Two Grand Jury Reports investigations of child sex abuse in the very Archdiocese where our children were educated, played sports, received their sacraments, were published for all to read. My children are only in their early 20’s and when they began their Catholic school education there were over 60 predator priests roaming free in the parishes. This is not an issue of the long ago past.” By Kathy Kane, Catholics4Change.com


Bill inspired by sexual abuse allegations at Kanakuk Kamps dies in Missouri legislature
“A legislative push to extend the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil action failed this year — despite mounting evidence in Missouri and nationally that abuse can take years to come to light. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Brian Seitz, R-Branson, would have extended the amount of time survivors have to file civil action against a perpetrator from age 31 to age 41. But it stalled in the legislative process.” By Clara Bates, Missouri Independent


A survivor of abuse by a Catholic priest in Chicago shares his experience
“NPR’s Scott Simon speaks to journalist Dan Ronan, who was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest in Chicago. A recently released report details widespread misconduct by Illinois clergy. A report from the Illinois attorney general’s office released this week says 451 Catholic priests abused at least 1,997 children across the state between 1950 and 2019. Previously, just two Roman Catholic dioceses in Illinois had released lists of substantiated allegations of abuse, saying just 103 priests or religious brothers had abused children during those seven decades.” By Scott Simon, National Public Radio

‘The damage this does is chronic’: clergy sex abuse survivor shares story
“John Bellocchio tells a gut-wrenching story. Growing up in New Jersey, the Catholic Church played a major role in his community and family life. ‘The church was a central aspect, physically, as well as spiritually,’ he said. But everything changed, he alleges in court filings, when he was around 13 and volunteering as an altar server at a mass led by Father Theodore McCarrick. At the time, McCarrick was the Archbishop of Newark and a high-ranking figure in the church.” By Larry Potash and Andrew Schroedter, WGN9 News Chicago


White County man who says priest molested him files lawsuit against Diocese of Little Rock, two churches
“A White County man who says he was molested when he was a 10-year-old altar boy 42 years ago by a now-deceased Catholic priest filed suit Thursday against the Diocese of Little Rock and two churches where Richard Patrick Davis was pastor. A Pocahontas native, Davis died in May 2020 at age 83 after 57 years as a priest in Arkansas, serving past the traditional retirement age of 65.” By John Lynch, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


Arkansas bishop to lead Mass focused on victims of child sexual abuse
“Catholics will gather at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock on Sunday (Apr. 30) to pray for survivors of child sexual abuse. Bishop Anthony Taylor will lead the Mass for Hope and Healing, which is held each April in Arkansas in conjunction with National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Little Rock diocese’s Safe Environment Office sponsors the event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Deacon Matthew Glover, the diocese’s chancellor for canonical affairs, said Taylor has been involved with the Mass for Hope and Healing since its inception in 2017.” By Frank E. Lockwood, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


‘We need to fix it’: Bay area Catholics speak out about abuse scandal
“As a wave of new lawsuits reignites the Catholic church’s child sexual abuse scandal in California, NBC Bay Area sat down with a group of everyday Catholics to discuss a wide range of issues, including how the outpouring of accusations has impacted their faith. ‘You say you’re Catholic, and then you wonder what that person who’s looking back at you is thinking,’ parishioner Toni Wilkerson said about the ongoing scandal. While they didn’t agree on everything, one common theme emerged from the discussion: The desire for more transparency and dialogue from church leaders.” By Candice Nguyen, Michael Bott, Alex Bozovic and Michael Horn, NBC-TV Bay Area News

Judge must reconsider effort to block Catholic diocese libel suit, appellate court rules
“A trial court must reconsider its denial of a motion to block a libel suit stemming from an email allegedly containing a false insinuation that Diocese of Orange Bishop Kevin Vann used Orange Catholic Foundation funds to cover legal expenses for clergy accused of child sex abuse, a state appellate court has ruled. Suzanne Nunn, former interim executive director of the foundation, sent the email to 47 Catholic leaders throughout the country after Vann unilaterally terminated her and the organization’s board of directors in June 2020.” By Scott Schwebke, Orange County Register


Former Aspen priest won’t be charged
“The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute a former St. Mary Catholic Church priest accused of sexually assaulting an altar boy multiple times over a four-year period, following an investigation that didn’t yield sufficient evidence to file criminal charges, the Aspen Police Department said Wednesday (Apr. 26). ‘The investigation was conducted with the assistance of the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On review with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Aspen police closed the case as unfounded. No charges will be filed,’ an APD news release states.” By Rick Carroll, Aspen Daily News


Ex-Delaware bishop named as Catholic official who covered up clergy sex abuse in Baltimore: Report
“Former Catholic Diocese of Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly was one of several past high-ranking Archdiocese of Baltimore officials identified as those who helped cover up sexual abuse, according to a Baltimore Sun exclusive article published online late Thursday (May 4). Malooly — along with the Most Revs. Richard ‘Rick’ Woy, G. Michael Schleupner, J. Bruce Jarboe and George B. Moeller — helped abusive priests get away with their crimes, either concealing the extent of a priest’s misdeeds or striking deals with prosecutors to avoid a criminal charge, according to the Sun’s article.” By Esteban Parra, Delaware News Journal


Another girl comes forward after teacher’s arrest for alleged child sex abuse at two schools in Miami
“A 29-year-old teacher — who was working at a Jewish private school when police officers arrested him for child sex crimes at a private Catholic school and a charter school — is facing more charges on Wednesday in Miami-Dade County. Eric Bernard Givens, also known as ‘Mr. G.,’ has been at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center since Friday (May 11) without bond. County jail and court records show that on Wednesday he was facing charges in cases involving three girls.” By Adrea Torres, Local 10 News Miami


What new information does report reveal about Belleville Diocese child-sex-abuse cases
“The public has been hearing about child sex abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Belleville since the early 1990s, when church officials acknowledged that some of its priests had been ‘credibly accused.’ A report released last week by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office is peeling back a few more layers. The report examines problems in all six Catholic dioceses in the state. The section on the Belleville Diocese contains disturbing narratives on six former clergy, describing sexual encounters between children and priests in graphic detail, as well as cover-ups by past church leaders.” By Teri Maddox, Belleville News-Democrat

Survivors of sex abuse by Catholic priests in Joliet diocese react to Illinois AG’s report
“The sharpest criticism in the Illinois attorney general’s report on sex abuse in the Catholic church in Illinois is for the diocese of Joliet and its handling of reported abuse cases under the late Bishop Joseph Imesch. The report details 69 cases of abuse there. David Rudofski and Eddie Burkel had never met before Tuesday, but both men are survivors of sexual abuse by different priests in the Joliet diocese. ‘As an adult I’ve learned how it affects you and how it just breaks you down,’ said Burkel.” By Sarah Schulte, ABC-TV7 Eyewitness News

Cardinal Cupich details streamlining process to handle sex abuse allegations in Catholic Church
“Cardinal Blase Cupich spoke with ABC7 Chicago exclusively Thursday (May 18) about how all six Illinois Catholic dioceses are now streamlining their process for handling allegations of sexual abuse by a member of the Catholic clergy. The hope is to give people a better understanding of how the Illinois Catholic dioceses handle allegations of sexual abuse of minors, but survivors have said church leaders need to do more. ‘We wanted to make sure that we followed the same kind of format and the ways that we communicate information,’ Cupich said.” By Cate Cauguiran, ABC-TV7 News

Attorney: Illinois diocese new sexual abuse procedures ‘50 years too late’
“Decades too late.’ That’s how one person describes the recent efforts from the six Illinois Catholic Dioceses to streamline their process for handling allegations of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy. These new procedures are meant to give people a better understanding of how the diocese will handle allegations of sexual abuse, but survivors and advocates say church leaders need to do more. Marc Pearlman is an attorney who represents survivors of sexual abuse in Illinois. He’s covered hundreds of cases; he says nearly 90% of those involve one of the six Illinois dioceses.” By Anthony Ferretti, WIFR-TV23 News

Father James Flynn reinstated to ministry
“On April 18, Cardinal Cupich sent letters to parishes where Father James Flynn served informing of his reinstatement … ‘On April 15, the Independent Review Board of the Archdiocese of Chicago met to consider the results of its investigation and determined that there is not a reasonable cause to believe that Father Flynn sexually abused a minor. The Board recommended that the file be closed and Father Flynn be returned to ministry. Therefore, after considering their recommendations, I am restoring Father Flynn to ministry, effective immediately,’ the letter (from Cardinal Cupich) said.” By Chicago Catholic


Former Dubuque priest accused of past sexual abuse of a minor
“A priest in Florida has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor while he was serving as priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque in the 1980′s. Father Leo Riley was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 1982. The alleged sexual abuse of a minor, reported earlier this month, is said to have happened between 1985 and 1986 while Riley was serving as associate pastor at the Church of Resurrection in Dubuque. He requested to move to the Diocese of Venice, Florida in 2002 to be closer to his parents and became a priest there in 2005.” By KCRG-TV9 News


Church has responsibility to invest in care of sex abuse victims
“This past Wednesday (Apr. 26), the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph observed a Day of Prayer in Atonement for Those Harmed by Sexual Abuse in the Church. All of our parishes were asked to offer Mass and other prayers for this intention. The sexual abuse scandal is one of the saddest chapters in the church’s history. The scandal involved representatives of the church, priests and bishops, violating their promises to God and the church by using innocent children or vulnerable adults for sexual pleasure.” By Archbishop Joseph Nauman, The Leaven, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas


U.S. Catholic cleric backed out of $1m settlement with sexual a use victim
“A US Roman Catholic cleric who admitted in criminal court to sexually abusing a child before his ordination backed out of a seven-figure settlement agreement with his victim after learning he would have to register as a sex offender, the Guardian has confirmed. The deacon in question – attorney Virgil Maxey “VM” Wheeler III – died earlier this year after writing a will expressing his desire to donate much of his money to prominent institutions, mostly in the Louisiana community in which he worked. His victim is now calling on the beneficiaries to reject those gifts from his abuser.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian


U.S. priest’s sentence offer for molesting child too lenient, says accuser in case
“A Louisiana man accusing a Roman Catholic priest of molesting him as a child has spoken out against what he says is an overly lenient sentence being offered to the defendant in exchange for a guilty plea. The accuser, 24, is pressing a criminal case against Patrick Wattigny, who worked as a chaplain at the alleged victim’s high school and was charged with abuse against him in 2013.” By Ramon Antoinio Vargas, The Guardian


Counselor for Maine diocese disciplined for ethics violations
“A licensed social worker who works with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland was disciplined by a state regulatory board over her interactions with a woman who has accused a priest of taking advantage of her in a time of crisis. Carolyn Bloom, an independent clinician for the diocese, admitted to violating a national code of ethics for social workers and agreed to pay for and participate in a year-long supervision program.” By Emily Allen, Portland Press Herald


Catholic abuse survivors face long road, tough memories and constitutional challenges as they prepare to sue the Baltimore Archdiocese
“It’s still about four months before victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the Baltimore Catholic Archdiocese will be able file civil suits against the church. However, the wheels are already in motion for what could be a monumental payout to survivors. Meanwhile, the Archdiocese is likely to drag out the suits by challenging the constitutionality of the cases and possibly bringing them to trial. A recent Maryland Attorney General’s Office report implicated 156 priests and church employees in abusing at least 600 children over the last 80 years, but experts in the field and legal analysts think it could actually be thousands of people who suffered at the hands of the Archdiocese.” By Scott Maucione, WYPR National Public Radio News

Archbishop Lori affirms support for transparency in addressing sexual abuse
“Archbishop William E. Lori confirmed that no one who has been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor is currently in ministry in the archdiocese, and that he has confidence that all clergy and employees are committed to protecting children and enforcing the archdiocese’s child protection policies. In a May 11 exclusive interview with the Catholic Review, he expressed his support for some clergy in the Archdiocese of Baltimore who have been identified by a local media report as the officials whose names are redacted in the report of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office regarding clergy sexual abuse in the archdiocese.” By Christopher Gunty, Catholic Review

Ex-pol, others allege sex-abuse horrors by Baltimore priests before historic suit
“A former Maryland state senator and two other men have detailed their harrowing accusations of childhood sex abuse by Baltimore-area priests to The Post — as their lawyers prepared Tuesday (May 9) to unveil a planned historic class-action lawsuit against the archdiocese. The expected legal action comes on the heels of a bombshell April report by Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown that listed 156 priests suspected of abusing more than 600 children in the past eight decades — and a recent reversal on the statute of limitations that had prevented such lawsuits.” By Jesse O’Neill, New York Post

Baltimore church sex abuse survivors call for resignation of archbishop, want redacted names disclosed
Baltimore Catholic sex abuse survivors are calling for Archbishop William Lori to resign. This comes after local newspapers published the redacted names of church officials accused of abuse and cover-ups in the Baltimore Catholic Church. Survivors want the church to name the rest. The grand jury report identified 158 clergy accused of abusing more than 600 victims. But 15 names were redacted or kept out of the report.” By Paul Gessler, CBS-TV News Baltimore

Attorney Ben Crump to file lawsuit on behalf of archdiocese sexual abuse survivors
“Nationally known civil rights attorney Ben Crump and renowned attorney Adam P. Slater are planning to file a lawsuit on behalf of Archdiocese sexual abuse survivors … Attorney Crump and Attorney Slater will also launch a petition calling for the passage of legislation that would remove the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse across the nation..” By Sinead Hawkins, FOX-TV25 News

Believe us: survivors express anger, hope following release of attorney general’s report
“Lovingly displayed in a windowsill of Elizabeth Ann Murphy’s home in Timonium is a rectangular ceramic sculpture depicting a sailboat tossed on a stormy, turquoise sea. God’s outstretched hands hover over the fragile vessel, a reminder of his constant presence. Standing near the painted ceramic are three other pieces of art: a figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a small wooden carving of Christ carrying his cross, and a little glass rooster – an ever-present symbol of betrayal. For Murphy, who experienced horrific sexual abuse for three years while a student at Catholic Community School in South Baltimore in the early 1970s, the artwork offers consolation. It’s also a reminder of suffering.” By George P. Matysek, Jr., Catholic Review


Lawsuit accusing Catholic bishop of sexual abuse settled
“A lawsuit brought by a former altar boy who said he was raped as a child in the 1960s by a now-deceased Roman Catholic bishop in Massachusetts has been settled, the sides announced Friday (May 26). The plaintiff identified in court papers as John Doe alleged in the suit filed in February 2021 that not only was he abused by former Diocese of Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon as well as two other clergy, but also that the church engaged in a yearslong coverup to protect the bishop’s reputation and legacy. The suit also said that even after abuse allegations against Weldon were found to be credible, diocesan officials as late as 2019 denied them.” By Mark Pratt, Associated Press, on Boston.com

Former altar boy’s lawsuit against former New Bedford priest alleging sexual abuse settled
“A civil lawsuit brought by a man alleging he was sexually abused by a former New Bedford priest when he was an altar boy over 30 years ago has been settled ‘in the low to mid six figures,’ according to the plaintiff’s attorney. Jason Medeiros was a former altar boy at St. Anthony of Padua Church in New Bedford and participated in a Catholic youth group. Both were supervised by Father Richard Degagne, according to a press release issued by Boston-based attorney Mitchell Garabedian.” By Frank Mulligan, South Coast Today


Vincent Delorenzo, an ex-priest in Michigan, pleads guilty to sexually assaulting 5-year-old after funeral
“A Michigan priest pleaded guilty this week to sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy after he had officiated a funeral service for a family member. Vincent Delorenzo, 84, formerly of Flint, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Delorenzo was a former priest with the Lansing Diocese. The assault happened in 1987.” By John Dodge, CBS News Chicago


Former St. John Vianney school nurse charged with sex crimes against underage student
“A former nurse at St. John Vianney High School here has been charged with felony sex crimes after admitting to sexual contact with an underage student. Erin Foerstel, 43, of Kirkwood, faces charges of statutory sodomy in the second degree and sexual contact with a student younger than 17, the age of consent in Missouri. Foerstel confessed to police that she performed a sexual act on a student at Vianney last month while employed at the school as a nurse, Kirkwood detective Donald Douglas wrote in a probable cause statement.” By Nassim Benchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Reinstatement of Fr. Kevin Christofferson
“My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: After contacting Butte Silver Bow Law Enforcement and following the completion of a third-party investigation and consultation with the Diocesan Review Board, I am reinstating Father Kevin Christofferson, a priest of the Diocese of Helena and pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Polson and Sacred Heart Parish in Ronan, to active ministry effective May 8, 2023. A report of sexual abuse against Fr. Christofferson, which was alleged to have occurred over twenty years ago, was not substantiated.” By Most Rev. Austin A. Vetter, Bishop of Helena


Attorney: DA demands teen’s confidential records to prosecute sex abuse case
“A state district judge late last year rejected a consolidated plea prosecutors had offered a former school health aide accused of molesting four children after parents of two of his alleged victims spoke in opposition to the agreement. An attorney representing one of the accusers says in a new court filing the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office days later dismissed the charges related to his client — the most serious of those leveled against Robert Apodaca — and is making access to the teenager’s protected mental health records a condition for refiling them.” By Phaedra Haywood, Santa Fe New Mexican


I-Team: Diocese of Buffalo attempts to keep child sex-abuse documents secret, loses appeal
“Despite a settlement by the Diocese of Buffalo in the lawsuit brought on by New York’s attorney general and promises made by Bishop Michael W. Fisher, there is not a new era of transparency within the Catholic diocese.” By Sean Mickey, WKBW-TV7 News Buffalo

Jury awards $95M to man who accused Rochester-area priest of child abuse
“A jury Wednesday (May 10) awarded $95 million to a local man who alleged he was sexually abused in 1979 by a former Rochester-area priest who also has been accused by others of sexual assaults. The local man alleged that the former priest, Rev. Foster P. Rogers, sexually abused him in Rogers’ car in July 1979. The victim was then 15. Rogers now has limited income, according to letters he wrote the court, and the local man awarded the $95 million is unlikely to see even a tiny sliver of the award.” By Gary Craig, Democrat & Republican


Ohio priest convicted of sexual abuse of minors
“Parish priest Michael Zacharias, 56, was convicted on five counts of sex trafficking by a federal jury in the Northern District of Ohio last Friday (May 12). Zacharias has been on administrative leave from the Diocese of Toledo since he was arrested on Aug. 18, 2020. His crimes, committed between 1999 to 2020, involved three victims, two of whom were still minors when Zacharias began abusing them. The former pastor now faces a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison. His sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.” By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency


Priest removed from assignments in three RI communities – now giving Mass at notorious parish
“Diocese of Providence Priest Eric Silva — who has been removed from diocesan assignments at Catholic schools and parishes in Cranston, Barrington and Narragansett — now has a new home. Now, Silva is assigned to St. Joseph Church on Hope Street — the parish associated with one of the most infamous Catholic priests — Priest Norman Demers. Silva’s name does not appear on the St. Joseph website, or weekly handout, nor does he introduce himself when giving mass.” By GoLocalProv.com


Washington clergy still not required to report child abuse
“Just before Washington’s legislative session ended, in a last-ditch attempt to push through her bill mandating clergy to report child abuse, state Sen. Noel Frame proposed a compromise. The bill, which would have added clergy to the state’s list of mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect, ran into a sticking point. Catholic lobbyists — and a majority of state Senators — wanted to carve out an exemption for priests if they learned of abuse or neglect through a confession, which is viewed as sacred within the Catholic Church.” By Wilson Criscione, Crosscut.com


Ending child sexual abuse in Africa hamstrung by religion, poverty
“Ten years have gone by and Chido Mpira (now 19) has adamantly refused to join the family when they go for church gatherings every week. While the community never understood her, her immediate family did, however they had agreed that Chido’s demise was a secret that should be kept within the family. But Chido who has spent the last decade to herself has vowed she would rather die than attend church as she has been subjected to rape by her church minister at the tender age of nine. Her family refused to report him for fear of touching the ‘anointed’ one of God.” By Melody Chikono, NewsDay


Survivor of former Townsville pedophile priest Neville Creen reveals toll the abuse took o her life
“As a child Megan was full of promise. She did well at high school. She was liked and people used to tell her she should be a comedian. She was vivacious, quick-witted and was a devoted teen athlete. This story contains content that readers may find distressing. But when the 59-year-old was five, a predator entered her life and his actions would eventually stamp out all that made her who she was — her sense of humor, her confidence and her pride. Former Catholic priest Neville Creen was jailed in the early 2000s for abusing 22 other children.” By Baz Ruddick, ABC News

Government removes redress scheme restrictions
Access to the National Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse will be expanded to prisoners and a wider range of former child migrants. The changes announced yesterday were part of the Albanese Government’s response to an independent review of the scheme. Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the Government was seeking to make the redress process as smooth as possible.” By CathNews.com

Church insurer facing challenges due to abuse claims
“Church leaders say they remain fully committed to engaging with survivors of abuse with justice and compassion, including in the payment of compensation, as changes at Catholic Church Insurance loom. Catholic Church Insurance is considering winding down its operations unless another substantial bailout is made by dioceses and religious orders and is discussing closing its new and renewal general insurance business amid a continuing surge in abuse claims, as well as the liability impacts of factors such as Australia’s erratic weather.” By CathNews.com


Bolivia’s Catholic Church says it was ‘deaf’ to sexual abuse victims
“Roman Catholic Church leaders in Bolivia said on Wednesday (May 24) the institution had been ‘deaf’ to sexual abuse in Church-run schools and said they were taking action after a series of accusations in recent weeks led to protests and a legal investigation. The accusations were sparked by the publication in Spanish newspaper El Pais in April of the diary of a late Jesuit priest, which contained multiple confessions of the sexual abuse of children in the schools he ran in Bolivia. It alleged Church officials knew about the abuse but did nothing.” By Monica Machicao and Brendan O’Boyle, Reuters

Bolivia to investigate late Spanish priest accused of abuse
“The top Bolivian prosecutor launched an investigation Monday (May 1) into a late Spanish priest who allegedly abused several minors in Bolivia dating back to the 1980s. The case of Jesuit priest Alfonso Pedrajas Moreno, who died in 2009, came to light over the weekend in a report by the Spanish newspaper El País. Attorney General Wilfredo Chávez said on Twitter that he was seeking information from the Spanish consulate on the case, and that he was asking the Catholic Church to comment.” By Associated Press


Priest arrested in sexual assault of 8-year-old girl in Little Grand Rapids First Nation, RCMP say
“A Roman Catholic priest has been accused of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl in Little Grand Rapids First Nation — and Manitoba RCMP say they’ve identified other possible victims. ‘We do not wish to traumatize or further traumatize the young victim by sharing her experience in such a public manner,’ Supt. Scott McMurchy, Manitoba acting criminal operations officer, said at a news conference on Tuesday (May 30). ‘However, we believe that other children may have been harmed in a similar way.’” By Caitlyn Gowriluk, CBC News

Winnipeg man who alleges two Catholic priests sexually abused him as a child sues Archdiocese of St. Boniface
“A man who alleges two Catholic priests sexually abused him as a child three decades ago is taking the Archdiocese of St. Boniface to court. The Winnipeg man, now 44, is suing the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, the archbishop of St. Boniface and the Red River Valley School Division. The man alleges the abuses happened in 1990 and 1991 when he was a student at St. Jean Baptiste Elementary, then a part of the Red River Valley School Division.” By Bryce Hoye, CBC News

‘We can heal together’: Guelph man overcomes childhood sexual abuse by founding Recovery Speaking initiative
“Though he says he feels like a ‘warrior’ now, at 71, 60 years ago Robert McCabe was just a sweet and quiet boy. A child, who, after being sexually assaulted by his Catholic priest in a motel room while travelling to Montreal, spent the night curled up in a chair crying ‘no, no, no.’ The Guelph man said sharing his memories has helped him to reconcile with them. He has finally forgiven himself and his abuser who is now deceased, after a life of coping using alcohol, and a quest for recovery and justice. He founded Recovery Speaking initiative in 2020 and runs a men’s support group held Thursdays online, because he said, ‘there is hope after dealing with sexual abuse and trauma.’ By Joy Sturthers, Guelph Mercury

Archdiocese of Toronto threatens sexual aabuse accuser in legal defense
“In 2019, (David) Cullen, 59, was reviewing test results with a team of doctors when one asked a pointed question: had he ever been sexually abused as a child? That’s when he says the memories came flooding back. ‘I had buried it. I had buried it so deeply and it caught me off guard. I started dealing with shame right away,’ he told the CBCs The Fifth Estate in his first interview since launching a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto.” By Timothy Sawa, CBC News

Child sex abuse lawsuits reveal alleged warnings about priest years earlier
“The Catholic church in Ottawa has quietly settled three child sexual abuse lawsuits involving notorious priest Dale Crampton, cancelling three separate jury trials that were scheduled to be heard in Ottawa this spring. Two of the three plaintiffs alleged they were not only assaulted by Crampton, who killed himself in 2010, but also by his superior, auxiliary bishop John Beahen, at Crampton’s cottage in West Carleton. Beahen died from a stroke in 1988.” By Kristy Nease, CBC News


French Church names another retired bishop suspected of abuse
“The French Church has identified one of the previously unnamed retired archbishops investigated for sexual abuse, a revelation delayed because civil prosecutors did not inform Church officials that they had closed the case without taking any action. After a prosecutor confirmed reporting by Famille Chrétienne, the archdioceses of Auch, Lyon and Toulouse issued a joint statement confirming that a nun had accused retired Auch Archbishop Maurice Gardès in 2020 of ‘moral and sexual harassment, spiritual abuse and sexual aggression.’” By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet


Abuse victims meet pope after Munich to Rome bike trek
“A group of victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church had an audience with Pope Francis on Wednesday May 17), after reaching the goal of their bicycle challenge. The initiative — the stated aim of which is to be seen and heard — was organized by victims’ groups in the Munich and Freising archdiocese under the motto ‘We’re leaving! Church, are you with us?’ What did the journey entail? The group of nine abuse victims, along with their riding companions, traveled 715 kilometers (about 450 miles) in ten stages over as many successive days. To symbolize their emotional state, they also took along stones bearing words to reflect their thoughts and feelings.” By Deutche Welle

Zdk demands establishment of structures to deal with abuses in Catholic Church
“The Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) believes that the process of coming to terms with the abuse scandal in the Church is far from complete. At the spring plenary meeting in Munich on Saturday, ZdK Vice-President Wolfgang Klose demanded, among other things, the establishment of structures to deal with cases in Catholic associations and organizations. In addition, it must be clarified how the ZdK can cooperate with the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) on the issue. Klose demanded that the committee accompany the reappraisal in the DBK and the Catholic dioceses in a critical manner.” By StarConnectMedia.com


Hungary: clerical sex abuse victims hope for justice
“The handling of sex abuse cases in the Hungarian Catholic Church has got off to a very difficult start. One well-known priest has quit after revealing that he himself is a survivor of sexual abuse, while another victim was charged with harassment when he refused to stop searching for answers. Despite all this, neither man has lost his faith. Both, however, hope for change within the Church.” By Deustche Welle


Indian Catholic priest gets bail in sexual abuse case
“A Catholic priest in a southern Indian state has been granted bail after he was remanded in custody for over a month for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage student and four other women. A local court in Nagercoil, in Tamil Nadu’s Kanniyakumari district, granted conditional bail to Father Benedict Anto, a member of Marthandam diocese of the eastern rite Syro-Malankara Church, on April 24. ‘The diocese suspended the priest soon after police acted against him,’ Father S Varghese, the vicar-general of the diocese, told UCA News on April 27.” By UCANews.com


Journalistic investigation shows Polish Church under Communism was plagued by clerical sexual abuse
The number of victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Poland between 1944 and 1990 may be close to 1,100, with the number of abusers close to 300. Those are, however, not the official findings of the church in Poland. On March 15, the bishops announced they will create a commission of experts to investigate past cases of abuse of minors by clergy in the country.” By Paulina Guzik, OSV News

Church was ‘naïve’ over child sex abuse, says Polish bishop after report indicates 1,000 victims
“One of Poland’s most senior bishops has apologized for neglect in how the country’s Catholic church dealt with child sex abuse by priests in the past, after a new report indicated over 1,000 victims during the communist period. Wojciech Polak – who is archbishop of Gniezno and primate of Poland – claimed that the church had ‘often been naive in dealing with these crimes.’ However, he also noted that the communist authorities exploited the issue to blackmail priests into collaborating.” By Notes from Poland

Poland’s Catholic church launches campaign on how to report sex abuse
“Poland’s Catholic church is providing every parish in the country with posters explaining how people can report cases of sex abuse as well as presenting the rights of victims and the types of support that are offered to them. The materials, part of a campaign launched by the Polish episcopate, are intended to present ‘in an accessible way’ the church’s system for ‘extending support and necessary help to victims.’ ‘We want to make people aware that anyone in need of support can use it,’ wrote Piotr Studnicki, the head of the episcopate’s office for the protection of children and youth.” By Notes from Poland


Courage conquers shame: Portuguese Church sex abuse survivors speak out
“A recent report estimates nearly 5,000 children have been abused by members of the Portuguese Catholic clergy. Survivors are now speaking out about their suffering. The Portuguese Church hierarchy gathered in Fatima on 20th April to ask for forgiveness for the sexual crimes committed against minors by Catholic clergy. A report published in February estimates that nearly 5,000 children have been abused since 1950. Euronews reporter Valérie Gauriat went to Portugal to meet those concerned.” By Valerie Gauriat, EuroNews

Portuguese bishops pledge reform on clerical sex abuse
“Portugal’s Catholic bishops have vowed to stick to a path of reform in the matter of clerical sexual abuse, two months after an independent commission published a 400-page report that detailed incidences of child abuse and estimated a minimum of 5000 cases over the past 70 years. During the bishops’ plenary meeting in Fátima, Bishop José Ornelas presided over a special Mass for abuse victims, saying, “There can be no condoning situations or attitudes that endanger the lives of innocent people…’” By Filipe Avillez, The Tablet


The Spanish priests accused of child abuse in the United States who fell off the radar
“Manuel Fernández is a Spanish priest who was ordained in 1959, ending up in New Jersey by 1979. But in 2002, he was accused of child abuse — which occurred in the 1980s — and was removed from his post. However, Fernández then returned to his diocese in the city of Ourense, in northwestern Spain. From there, he continued to be a priest, living quietly, without anyone in the community knowing about his past. The bishop’s office didn’t take any special measures, claiming that there was no record about his background on the other side of the ocean.” By Íñigo Domínguez and Andrea Garcia Baroja, El Pais