########## Poynteronline Abuse Tracker, www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46,
Monday, December 15, 2003 edition follows:-
• The Education Of Lauryn Hill. VATICAN CITY: Lauryn Hill launched a blistering attack on the Catholic church at the weekend, urging religious figures to "repent" whilst speaking on a stage regularly used by the Pope.
The former Fugees singer was playing at a Christmas show on Saturday evening in Vatican City, in the hall Pope John Paul II uses for his weekly address.
Hill took the opportunity to speak her mind about allegations of sexual abuse in America, before an audience that included top Vatican cardinals, bishops and the cream of Italian society.
The Rome newspaper La Repubblica also reports that Hill did not sing the track credited for her in the programme, but instead performed a song about social injustice.
Before the song, she insisted: "I did not come here to celebrate the birth of Christ with you, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for the death inside this place."
-- Dotmusic.com, "The Education Of Lauryn Hill," www.dotmusic.com/news/December2003/news31746.asp , [Posted by Kathy Shaw, Poynter]
[COMMENT: The heading is a "punny misquotation" of her debut solo album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," for which she won five Grammy awards. She had shot to fame in the mid-1990s with band The Fugees, whose album "The Score" sold 17 million copies, to become one of the biggest hip-hop chart successes of all time. She has a son and daughter by Rohan Marley, the son of Reggae legend Bob Marley. COMMENT ENDS.]
• Catholic leaders get an angry sermon. VATICAN CITY: US hip-hop singer Lauryn Hill stunned leading members of the Roman Catholic Church when she accused them of moral corruption, exploitation and abuse during a Christmas concert at the Vatican.
Hill launched her diatribe in front of an audience of 7500 guests at a packed Paul VI hall, used by Pope John Paul II for indoor public audiences.
"I'm not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Christ, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death in this place," Hill said, reading from a prepared statement as she came on stage for her performance as part of an all-star gala concert.
"Holy God has witnessed the corruption of your leadership, of the exploitation and abuses, which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy," she added, calling on the hierarchy to "repent". -- The Age, Melbourne, "Catholic leaders get an angry sermon," www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/12/15/1071336884995.html, December 15 for 16, 2003
• Suit alleges molestation by Portland priest in '80s.
Statesman Journal, http://news.statesmanjournal.com/article.cfm?i=72312 , The Associated Press, December 15, 2003.
PORTLAND (OR): A 35-year-old man has filed a lawsuit claiming that a former Portland priest repeatedly molested him in the mid-1980s.
The plaintiff, who filed the $5.1 million suit last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court under the initials "N.D.," claims that the Rev. Anthony Smith molested him at a Portland church. Smith was most recently chaplain and director of the Newman House at the University of Pacific in Stockton, Calif. On Wednesday, he was removed from his ministerial duties pending an investigation into the charges, said Sister Barbara Thiella, chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Stockton. Such a move is standard since U.S. Catholic bishops in 2002 adopted a policy to deal with a growing number of allegations of clergy sexual abuse. Thiella said that Smith, who belongs to the Denver province of a religious order called the Redemptorists, went to Stockton about two years ago. Thiella said she was not aware of any past accusations against him. Bud Bunce, spokesman for the Portland Archdiocese, said in a statement that he could not comment because he had not seen the complaint.
• Court order seeking 50 years of diocese details could be model for others.
DAVENPORT (IA) (AP): A Clinton County district court judge's order to force the Davenport Catholic Diocese turn over 50 years of documents about abusive priests could be used as a model in other cases around the country. Judge C.H. Pelton's order on November 26th required the diocese to hand over any documents about sexual abuse among priests during the past 50 years. The documents must be given to an attorney representing five of eight people suing the diocese. They claim they were sexually abused as children by their priests. Attorney Roderick MacLeish, who forced the Boston archdiocese to disclose four decades of secrecy surrounding abuse, says the order is only the second time in the nation that the church has been forced to reveal so much information to plaintiffs. He says the order will likely reveal details about how the diocese handled abuse complaints. Opponents of the order say it will force the diocese to defend cases involving priests who are long dead or retired.
• Lauryn Hill Tells Catholic Church To Repent. Link, -- AllHipHop.com , By Nolan Strong, 7:52 PM, Dec 14, 2003. VATICAN CITY: Lauryn Hill accused the Catholic Church of exploitation and moral corruption and urged them to repent from the stage of a Christmas concert she was performing in at the Vatican. "I'm not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Christ, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death in this place," Hill said as she read from a prepared statement. "Holy god has witnessed the corruption of your leadership of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy," Hill continued. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, one of the most senior figures in the Church, was at Saturday's concert. His aide labeled Hill's statement as a rash outburst and that she disrespected "the place she was in and for those who invited her."
• Singer attacks Catholic church. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_2003_12_15_hill.shtml , -- ekklesia , Dec 15, 2003. VATICAN CITY: Hip hop singer Lauryn Hill has caused controversy by severely criticising the Roman Catholic Church during a concert at the Vatican, reports the BBC. She told the audience, which included senior church officials, that the church had been corrupted by its clergy. Ms Hill alluded to high profile cases of sex abuse of children by priests in the US. It is expected her speech and performance will be cut from the concert when it is aired on Italian TV on Christmas Eve.
• Lauryn Hill critizes the church at the Vatican. Link, -- U-Redlands Daily Facts, VATICAN CITY (AP): During a Christmas benefit concert at the Vatican, Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill launched into an unscheduled tirade against priests who abuse children, according to news reports Sunday. Hill read a statement criticizing the church and its leaders during the Saturday night concert, where she was a featured performer. Several Italian newspapers on Sunday ran translations of the statement, which was delivered in English. They quoted her as saying there was "no acceptable explanation for defending the church."
• Lauryn Hill Disses The Catholic Church. Link, -- antiMUSIC, musicNEWS, VATICAN CITY: The Vatican got an earful from Lauryn Hill when she blasted the Catholic Church from the stage during a Christmas Concert on Saturday. Hill was invited to participate in the Christmas Concert at the Vatican which was filmed for Italian TV. Hill took the opportunity to accuse the church of exploitation and moral corruption, alluding to sexual abuse of children by U.S. priests and challenged them to repent. "I'm not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Christ, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death in this place," Hill said from the stage according to press reports. "Holy God has witnessed the corruption of your leadership of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy." "I realize some of you may be offended by what I'm saying, but what do you say to the families who were betrayed by the people in whom they believed?" The Church was not pleased with the outburst. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, a senior member of the Holy Sea attended the concert.
• Lauryn Rips Church On Vatican Stage.
New York Post, www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/13453.htm, December 15, 2003.
VATICAN CITY: R & B singer Lauryn Hill, from a stage used by the pope, shocked Catholic officials at a concert by telling them to "repent" and alluding to sexual abuse of children by U.S. priests. The broadside came during the recording on Saturday night of a Christmas concert attended by top Vatican cardinals, bishops and many elite of Italian society, witnesses said. Hill made her comments before singing at the concert, held on the stage Pope John Paul uses for his weekly general audiences and other events. The pope was not present. "I did not come here to celebrate the birth of Christ with you but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death inside this place," she said according to a newspaper account. "God has been a witness to the corruption of his leadership, of the exploitation and abuses . . . by the clergy," she said. This was an apparent reference to the scandals in the United States over the sexual abuse of children by priests. Hill told the crowd to seek blessings "from God, not men," and said she did "not believe in representatives of God on earth."
• Abuse survivors tell their stories. Link, -- News 14, By Lisa Hernandez, News 14 Carolina. CHARLOTTE (NC): Last December, dozens of Boston-area priests faced charges of molesting more than 400 children. One year later, victims of sexual abuse gathered in Charlotte to tell their stories with the hope of ending sex crimes against minors. David Fortwengler belongs to the Charlotte chapter of SNAP- the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He first told his story in March of 2002, and put his abuser behind bars after being silent for more than a decade. "The courage of other victims coming forward, of reading those stories in Boston, as sure as I was that I had to be quiet for 34 years, I knew instantly that I had to tell," Fortwengler said. The priest who molested him at age eleven is now serving an 18-month sentence. While David considers that a victory, he values prevention over consequence.
• Miami Archdiocese will not disclose names of 38 priests accused of sexual misconduct.
-- Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/miami/sfl-dpriests14dec15,0,4106236,print.story?coll=sfla-news-miami, By Vicky Agnew, December 15, 2003.
MIAMI (FL): The Miami Archdiocese said Sunday it will not release the names of 38 priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors since the archdiocese was founded in 1958. The names were found in 64 complaints against priests who have died, retired, left the priesthood or are on leave, said Miami Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta. "There is no one in active ministry who is any one of these 38 people," Ross Agosta said. "I am not sure what revealing the names of priests who might be dead would achieve at this time ... We are doing our best to make sure anyone who has a credible allegation against them -- meaning it could be true -- is not in active ministry." The list was gathered by a special committee created by Archbishop John C. Favalora and submitted last summer as part of a national survey conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. The results are to be released in February, Ross Agosta said.
• Insurers paid clergy sex claims. Link, -- Miami Herald, By Jay Weaver And Donna Gehrke-White, email@example.com . MIAMI (FL): Insurers for the Archdiocese of Miami have paid $9.3 million for settlement, legal and counseling costs to resolve sexual-abuse claims against its priests and other employees since it began insurance coverage in 1966, says a church report released over the weekend. The payments covered some of the archdiocese's 90 abuse claims by minors through Dec. 1, but church officials could not say exactly how many. Nor could they say how much the archdiocese paid for such coverage or whether it also resolved any claims from its own resources. "No parish money is used for this," including donations, archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said on Sunday. The eight-page report, which included a letter of apology from Archbishop John C. Favalora for the nationwide clergy scandal, disclosed for the first time that 38 South Florida priests were accused of sexual misconduct since the archdiocese was founded in 1958. The report stressed that the number represented less than 1 percent of 4,340 priests who have served the archdiocese during the past 45 years.
• Sex claims against 38 cause division among laypeople. MIAMI (FL): With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, parishioners at South Florida churches are talking about the child sex-abuse allegations that have dogged the Miami Archdiocese. On Sunday, the debate continued as churches released a report that says 38 priests have been accused of sexual misconduct involving minors since the diocese was founded 45 years ago. Many of the parishioners say they don't believe that the priests they have known for decades could be guilty of such crimes. Others say they are horrified by the number of accusations -- worried that at least some might be true. "It's very sad if the people who have the trust of these children treated them in this way," said Eduardo Castellanos, 46, visiting Our Lady of Charity, which overlooks Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove. "You hear of so many of these cases. Some might be motivated by people seeking money. But some are probably real." At St. Francis de Sales Church in Miami Beach, rocked by abuse allegations against its pastor, the Rev. Alvaro Guichard, several parishioners defended their spiritual leader. He was suspended last week so that the most recent allegations could be investigated. -- Miami Herald, "Sex claims divide Miami parishioners," Link, By Richard Brand, Natalie P. McNeal and Kathleen Fordyce, firstname.lastname@example.org .
• Arbitration for clergy sex abuse nears end. http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/localRegional.bg?articleid=547 , -- Boston Herald, By Robin Washington, Monday, December 15, 2003. BOSTON (MA): With only a handful of plaintiffs' stories left to be told, the arbitration stage of the Archdiocese of Boston's $85 million clergy sexual abuse settlement ends this week. On Wednesday, arbitrators responsible for determining the individual awards in the deal will hear the last of some 540 cases. Their decisions will be made Saturday and the payouts from the church will come a week from today, participating lawyers said. But the process of impartial observers listening to plaintiffs' stories and determining their value may not be as cut and dried as perceived at the outset of the deal, when a payment range of $80,000 for fondling cases up to $300,000 for those involving rape was developed. "There's not necessarily a correlation between the amount of psychological injury and the physical abuse. It's all bad," plaintiffs' lawyer Roderick MacLeish Jr. said. Added attorney Mitchell Garabedian: "Because of the nature of the abuse and resulting injury, these cases will be difficult to value. We've gone through many boxes of tissues."
• Bishop wants to continue dialogue, says communication is 2-way street. ERIE (PA): In this space last week, I explained that the newspaper is not involved in any conspiracy against the Erie Diocese or Bishop Donald Trautman. During the days that followed, the response has been overwhelming: 53 readers support the newspaper's role and its reporting, three felt the church deserved a better fate. That said, I felt it only fair to offer Bishop Trautman the same forum to tell his side of the story. Today we publish his letter to the editor. To keep the debate alive, please write to the bishop directly or send your letters to the editor. It's your voice that matters.
Rick Sayers, Executive Editor
Dear Mr. Sayers,
In your December 7th column you advocated "open communication" between the Erie Catholic Diocese and the Erie Times-News. Communication, however, is a two-way street.
As you know, I initiated a dialogue in person with the publisher of the Erie Times-News, Mr. Jim Dible, regarding the omission of any reporting of positive Catholic Church events, such as its sesquicentennial celebration, and the extensive reporting of negative stories about the Church.
When I met with Mr. Dible I never voiced concern over the reporting of sexual abuse stories on clergy. I did, however, raise several issues: total omission by the Erie Times-News of any treatment of the 150th anniversary of the Catholic Diocese of Erie, a Cathedral packed to overflowing with 15 bishops present, television coverage on all three local stations, but no mention in the Erie Times-News.
-- GoErie.com , "Bishop wants to continue dialogue, says communication is 2-way street," http://goerie.com , Sunday, December 14 2003, (Posted by Kathy Shaw, Poynter)
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########## Poynteronline Abuse Tracker, www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46,
Tuesday, December 16, 2003 edition follows:-
• After scandal, diocese asks school volunteers to sign misconduct policy. -- The Advocate, http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/local/scn-sa-abuse4dec18,0,3978182.story?coll=stam-news-local-headlines , By Donna Porstner, December 16, 2003. STAMFORD (CT): It took more than chips and soda, clusters of preteen girls wearing makeup and mini skirts, and a disc jockey with a strobe light to pull off St. Gabriel Middle School's Snow Ball dance Friday night. The 10 parents chaperoning the event were required to read and sign a 16-page document detailing the Bridgeport Diocese's sexual misconduct policy. It warns that even innocent hugging, tickling or other horseplay could be misconstrued as inappropriate contact. "Any volunteer who chaperones a dance or goes on a field trip, has any contact during the day with students, has to sign that document," Principal Robert Cavaliero said. Chaperones who hadn't signed were asked to do so in front of him at the start of the dance. (Posted by Kathy Shaw, Poynter)
• Ex-priest Colleary mailing cards from Ireland, but Giandelone coming out from jail. PHOENIX (AZ): The fates of two men who were arrested just days apart last year in connection with an investigation into clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix have taken distinctively different turns. John Giandelone, a former priest, was among the first to be convicted in connection with the sexual abuse investigation and is expected to be released Friday, having lost an unusual bid to remain behind bars. Meanwhile, Father Patrick Colleary, remains free in Ireland, after being released from jail there after a family friend posted 10 percent of his $35,000 bail. Colleary has mailed Christmas cards to friends in Arizona that proclaim his innocence and thank supporters who sent cards and letters "while I was unjustly held in Madison Street Jail last Christmas season." Colleary has been fighting extradition to Arizona and is staying with relatives in Ireland. "My final story of great joy, I will be home for Christmas. It sure will beat Madison Street and Sheriff Joe (Arpaio's) menu," Colleary wrote in a Christmas card sent to some parishioners. -- The Arizona Star, "Ex-priest Colleary mailing Christmas cards from Ireland," Link, Associated Press, Dec. 16, 2003.
• Fresno Diocese sued in alleged abuse in 1960s.
Fresno Bee, Link, By Michael Baker, (Published Tuesday, December 16, 2003.
CALIFORNIA: A Southern California man is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, saying he was sexually abused more than 35 years ago by a prestigious priest who is now dead. John Gregory Pech, 51, says he was molested by Monsignor Joseph Pacheco during the 1960s while the priest taught at parishes in Tulare and Merced. Pacheco, a former dean of the Merced-Mariposa area of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, died from cancer at the age of 60 on May 17, 1992. The diocese has not been served and could not comment on the lawsuit, said William Lucido, communications director for the diocese. Pacheco has never been the subject of past allegations, Lucido added.
• Melbourne priest Fr John Gwillim freed on sex assault charges. Blames celibacy. [1979-80]
CathNews, "Melbourne priest freed on sex assault charges," www.cathnews.com/news/312/92.php
AUSTRALIA: A priest who sexually abused a schoolboy and said celibacy was to blame for his indiscretions walked free from the Melbourne County Court yesterday after being given a suspended sentence. The Age reports that Judge Fred Davey described 71 year old Fr John Barry Gwillim as a model priest, popular with his flock at St Peter's Church in East Keilor and a gifted arranger of hymns. But, continued Judge Davey, Fr Gwillim met the 15 year old boy for sexual encounters in his car, in a motel room and at his presbytery during late 1979 and early 1980. Judge Davey said Fr Gwillim was unlikely to reoffend and wholly suspended his sentence of two years and eight months. "In any event, you will serve another sentence, the sentence of a disgraced priest whose good works will be forgotten," he said.
• Pope calls for 'chastity training' on sexual conduct for priests.
Hindustan Times, Link, Agence France-Presse, December 15, 2003.
VATICAN: Pope John Paul II on Monday called for trainee priests to receive guidance on how to meet the Roman Catholic Church's ban on sexual relations for its ministers. "Their formation must be such that they are ready to put aside all earthly ambition in order to act in the person of Christ. They are called to be detached from material things and to devote themselves to the service of others through the complete gift of self in celibacy," he said. The 83-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church added during a meeting with Sudanese bishops visiting his Vatican City headquarters that "scandalous behaviour (by trainee priests) must at all times be investigated, confronted and corrected." The Catholic Church has been rocked in recent years by a series of sex-abuse scandals across the world.
• Singer told Vatican of sexual perversions, lives broken, corrupt leadership, no excuse. VATICAN CITY: Soul singer Lauryn Hill stunned Vatican officials at a Christmas concert by launching an attack on paedophile priests.
Former Fugees star Hill, 28, said she accepted her invitation only so she could protest at child sex scandals in the United States.
She told the 7,000 crowd: "I am sorry if I am about to offend some of you. I did not accept my invitation to celebrate with you the birth of Christ.
"Instead I ask you why you are not in mourning for him in this place?
"I want to ask you, what have you got to say about the lives you have broken?
"What about the families who were expecting God and instead were cheated by the Devil?
"Who feels sorry for them, the men, women and children damaged psychologically, emotionally and mentally by the sexual perversions and abuse carried out by the people they believed in?
"Holy God is a witness to the corruption of your leadership, of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy. There is no acceptable excuse to defend the church."
There was silence for several minutes from the audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican as many of them could not speak English.
-- Mirror, "What Soul Singer Told Vatican," www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/content_objectid=13728881_method=full_siteid=50143_headline=-- God-- s-- a-- witness-- to-- the-- corruption-- of-- your-- leadership-- to-- abuse-- by-- the-- clergy-- name_page.html , From Jeremy Charles In Rome, Dec 16 2003.
• Court of Appeal Upholds Sealing of Papers in Investigation of Possible Abuse by Priests.
-- Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Link, By a MetNews Staff Writer, Dec 15, 2003.
CALIFORNIA: The public has no right to access to proceedings related to the grand jury investigation of allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled Friday. Hearings on motions to quash subpoenas duces tecum issued by the grand jury should be closed to the public, and all related papers should remain sealed, to the extent necessary to maintain grand jury secrecy, Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein wrote for Div. Three. The Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily Journal brought a writ petition challenging an order by retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas Nuss. District Attorney Steve Cooley supported the newspapers. Nuss, who was named as discovery referee after the Court of Appeal ruled last year that the grand jury had the authority to issue the subpoenas, ruled in August that all future pleadings, orders, and hearings involved in litigating motions to quash filed by the archdiocese would be closed and sealed. Klein, writing for the Court of Appeal Friday, said the presumptive right of access to judicial proceedings under the First Amendment does not extend to the grand jury. The U.S. Supreme Court, she explained, has based the presumptive right on the "tradition of accessibility" to the courts and the "significant positive role" that public access plays in the process. Neither of those bases applies to the grand jury process, Klein declared, noting that grand jury proceedings are traditionally closed and that "public access to grand jury proceedings would hinder, rather than further, the efficient functioning of the proceedings."
• Molestation Allegations.
ABC 30, Link, Dec 15, 03.
CALIFORNIA: A lawsuit has been filed against the Fresno Diocese by a 51- year- old man who claims he was molested by a priest. The accuser says the incidents happened at Saint Rita Catholic Church back in the 1960's, where Father Joseph Pacheco was a priest. Father Pacheco died of cancer in 1992. The man claims the alleged abuse took place in the church's rectory and during camping trips when he was 12 years old. A one year suspension of the statute of limitations is allowing civil filings in old sexual molestation cases involving children, but those cases must be filed by the end of the year.
• THE MILLSTONE: A MONUMENT TO VICTIMS OF PRIEST ABUSE. NEW JERSEY: When a millstone-shaped monument is installed next spring on the grounds of the Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph in Mendham, N.J., the pain it memorializes will not be that of death, but of the struggle to reclaim life. The 400-pound basalt sculpture, commissioned by former parishioner Bill Crane, will stand as a monument to victims of child sexual abuse by priests. Crane is one of more than 20 people who say they were abused there and at another area church in the 1970s and early '80s by former priest James Hanley, who was forced to retire in 1988. Hanley was formally removed from the priesthood in March but was never criminally prosecuted because the New Jersey statute of limitations had run out. The Millstone is the first and only monument in the nation in remembrance of clergy abuse, say officials of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Crane and other survivors came up with the monument idea at the funeral of a childhood friend and fellow St. Joseph parishioner, James Thomas Kelly, 37, who committed suicide in October. -- USA Today, Link, By In-Sung Yoo, Dec 15, 2003.
[COMMENT: Presumably the millstone was chosen because of the Christian Scripture quotation condemning people who lead children into a sinful lifestyle: "But anyone who is the downfall of these little ones who have faith in me would be better drowned in the depths of the sea with a great millstone round his neck" (Matthew 18:6, see Mark 9:42 and Luke 17:2). COMMENT ENDS.] Dec 15, 2003
• Beaumont Catholic Diocese reports 5 priests and one seminarian abused children. BEAUMONT (TX): Bishop Curtis J. Guillory of the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont released statistics Sunday showing credible allegations that five priests and one seminarian in the diocese have abused minors between 1966 and 2002 and that more than $350,000 has been paid to victims of abuse. The statistics are part of a national study commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops covering the past 50 years. The statistics for Beaumont cover the 36-year history of the diocese. A story on the front page of the Dec. 12 edition of the East Texas Catholics reported on Guillory's release of the information and a letter from Guillory in the diocese newspaper detailed the findings and the reasons they were being released. "In a spirit of openness and transparency, I want to release statistics for the Diocese of Beaumont at this time," Guillory wrote. "From 1966 to 2002, we have had approximately 313 clergy (priests and permanent deacons) ministering in the diocese. Of this number, we have established credible allegations that five diocesan priests and one seminarian have abused minors during this time period." Of the five priests, Guillory writes, "two are deceased, and three are no longer in ministry. Regarding the seminarian, we revoked our sponsorship of him, and he was dismissed from the Seminary shortly after we confirmed the allegation that was made in late summer 2001 and reported to civil authorities." -- The Orange Leader, "Beaumont Catholic Diocese reports cases of abused minors," Link, By Roger Cowles, Southeast Texas News Bureau, Dec 16, 2003
• No jail time for priest, 71.
Herald Sun, http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,8174343%255E2862,00.html , by Philip Cullen, Dec 16, 2003
AUSTRALIA: A Catholic priest has escaped an immediate prison term for abusing a teenage boy more than 20 years ago. But a County Court judge yesterday said John Gwillim, 71, would serve the "sentence of a disgraced priest" whose good deeds would be forgotten. Judge Fred Davey said the community would not gain from Gwillim serving an immediate jail term because of factors including his ill health, low risk of reoffending and remorse. "In any event, you will serve another sentence," Judge Davey said. "The sentence of a disgraced priest whose good works will be forgotten but the memory of your disgusting conduct will blot your record from people's memory forever."
• Pair protest at church, decry lack of response.
CHARLOTTE (NC): Two Charlotteans who said they were sexually abused as children by priests staged a quiet protest Sunday morning outside St. Matthew Catholic Church. Bundled up against a cold rain, David Fortwengler and Kristy Brown stood outside the massive church in the Ballantyne community and handed out 150 fliers criticizing Roman Catholic Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte for what they called his lack of response to their concerns. Jugis was installed as spiritual leader of the 140,000-member Charlotte diocese Oct. 24 at St. Matthew Catholic. The day before the celebration, Fortwengler delivered a letter to Jugis asking him to help in "reaching out to children and protecting children." Fortwengler asked Jugis to help publicize the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP] and to divulge the names of lay review board members who hear cases of allegations. Friday, diocese spokesman Kevin Murray said Jugis was "still considering the SNAP proposal." -- The Charlotte Observer, "Pair protest at church, decry lack of response," www.charlotte.com , by KEN GARFIELD, Religion Editor, Monday, December 15, 2003.
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########## Poynteronline Abuse Tracker, www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46,
Wednesday, December 17, 2003 edition follows:-
• Swales sex suit enters its final phase.
London Free Press, http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/News/2003/12/17/289366.html , December 17, 2003
CANADA: A sexual abuse lawsuit against a retired priest and the Roman Catholic Diocese of London entered its final phase yesterday when closing arguments began in a London courtroom. The final legal salvo was led off by London lawyer Paul Ledroit, representing the Swales family in the suit. Brothers John, Ed and Guy Swales, their parents and sister are suing the diocese and retired priest Barry Glendinning for pain and suffering they say resulted from sexual abuse by Glendinning when he was a teacher at St. Peter's Seminary in London during the early 1970s. The diocese has filed a counterclaim against John Swales, saying he was responsible for some of the trauma experienced by his siblings because he physically, sexually and emotionally abused them. Swales has acknowledged he abused his siblings and has reconciled with them. Family members have not brought a claim against him. The Superior Court trial has extended over three weeks in June, three more in September and another five days in late October. The case is being heard by Justice John Kerr without a jury. The trial has heard dramatic testimony about how the Swales brothers and other children engaged in oral sex, nude massage and body painting during camping trips with Glendinning and visits to his seminary quarters. (Posted 7:58:39 AM by Kathy Shaw, Poynter)
• Pope says "scandalous" priests must be confronted.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters): Pope John Paul said on Monday that scandalous behaviour among Catholic priests must be "confronted and corrected" and stressed the need for celibacy. "(Priests) are called to be detached from material things and to devote themselves to the service of others through the complete gift of self in celibacy," the 83-year-old pope said. "Scandalous behaviour must at all times be investigated, confronted and corrected," he told an audience with visiting Sudanese bishops in an apparent reference to recent sex scandals that have shaken the Church. Boston was the centre of a scandal that swept the United States last year after it was discovered that several dioceses had moved priests known to have abused children from parish to parish without alerting the public. Similar incidents later came to light around the world, causing discontent and accusations of Church cover-ups from many rank-and-file Catholics.
• Catholic civilian driven off panel for telling news media she favours settlement of lawsuits. LONG ISLAND (NY): A member of the civilian review board advising Bishop William Murphy on how to proceed against priests accused of sexually abusing minors said Tuesday that a top diocesan official told her to step down for speaking out in favor of settling the lawsuits brought by victims. Lorraine Armet, a Lindenhurst child birth nurse, said she has kept the confidentiality of those proceedings. However, she will not continue to participate because she said Murphy is trying "to silence her" for siding with victims. Responding to Armet's claims Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre first confirmed that the Rev. Robert Batule asked Armet to leave the board because she spoke with the media in violation of a verbal agreement not to have any contact with the press. While Armet had asked Batule to put the dismissal in writing, spokeswoman Joanne Novarro said she did not know whether Murphy would be sending a letter to Armet. However, she said Batule acted for the diocese because he is the bishop's representative to the board. -- Newsday, Catholic Civilian Board Member Told to Leave Panel, http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-liabus1217,0,6634263.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines , By Rita Ciolli, 9:36 PM EST, December 16, 2003
• Diocese Sets Up Nonprofits for Building Funds.
Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-diocese17dec17,1,7026171.story?coll=la-headlines-california , By William Lobdell, Times Staff Writer
CALIFORNIA: Donations for the proposed Roman Catholic cathedral in Santa Ana and various parish building projects will be funneled into two newly formed nonprofit corporations, ensuring that they cannot be tapped for sexual abuse settlements, Diocese of Orange officials announced Tuesday. Church officials said the arrangement is needed to boost donor confidence that financial gifts will be used for their intended purpose. The concern is that the money would be used to help settle the more than 50 cases that have been filed against the diocese by alleged victims of molestation by priests. The move by church officials is largely cosmetic, because by law, money given for specific projects can't be used for other purposes, said Shirl Giacomi, chancellor for the diocese. "We have always had donor-restricted funds … but the general public seems to want more assurance that their future contributions will not go for settlements," Giacomi said. "Separate corporations will assure both donors and other onlookers that the restricted gifts are respected and valid."
• Tulare man files sexual abuse suit against church. [1965-68]
Mercury News Link
FRESNO, Calif: A Tulare man has sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno for sexual abuse he said happened more than 35 years ago. The priest mentioned in the lawsuit, Monsignor Joseph Pacheco, taught at parishes in Tulare and Merced counties and was a former dean of the Merced-Mariposa area of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. He died of cancer in 1992. John Gregory Pech, 51, said he was molested between 1965 and 1968, when he was an altar boy, and accused the diocese of covering up the events. The lawsuit was filed in Fresno County superior court. The diocese had not seen the suit, and could not comment, said William Lucido, communications director, adding that Pacheco has never been accused in the past.
• Boston Archdiocese to Close Underused Parishes.
Washington Post, Link, By Jonathan Finer, Page A02, Wednesday, December 17, 2003.
BOSTON (MA) Dec. 16: The leader of Boston's Catholic Archdiocese on Tuesday outlined plans to close underutilized parishes, the latest in a series of attempts by the church to overcome financial troubles exacerbated by revelations of sexual abuse by its priests. Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley told a gathering of about 600 Boston area priests that the parish closings are necessary because of a decline in church attendance, the archdiocese's financial condition and a shortage of priests. He gave no details on the number of parishes that would be closed, though some priests have speculated that several dozen of the region's 358 parishes will be affected. In announcing the closings, O'Malley also made a plea for unity among the clergy, a theme he has echoed repeatedly since he took the helm of the nation's fourth-largest Catholic archdiocese in July and quickly helped broker an $85 million settlement with more than 500 abuse victims.
• Group asks University Jesuits to seek out abuse victims.
ST. LOUIS (MO): A man who settled a sex abuse claim against a retired Jesuit priest for $185,000 said Tuesday that St. Louis University has an obligation to find others who may have been victims decades ago. But a security officer blocked an attempt by Tom Kevin O'Connor to enter DuBourg Hall to hand a letter about his concerns to university President Lawrence Biondi. The officer promised to deliver it to Biondi's office there. In October, the Missouri Province of the Jesuits paid O'Connor, 49, of Charlottesville, Va., a $185,000 settlement over claims he was molested by the Rev. John J. "Jack" Campbell. O'Connor, a 1972 graduate of St. Louis University High School, was the 13th man to bring credible allegations of sexual abuse against the Campbell, a Jesuit official has acknowledged. -- Post-Dispatch, Group asks SLU to seek out abuse victims, www.stltoday.com , By TIM BRYANT, Dec 16, 2003
• First US bishop accused of molesting dies in Hawaii.
HONOLULU (HI): Retired Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario, a Scranton native who went to Hawaii in the 1950s and rose to become the island's third bishop, has died. He was 77. The first U.S. bishop accused of sexually abusing a minor, Bishop Ferrario always denied the charge. His male accuser maintained anonymity at a 1989 news conference, then went public and filed a 1991 lawsuit that was dismissed as too late. Bishop Ferrario, who died Friday night after experiencing chest pains, was initially taken by a friend to Castle Medical Center, where his successor, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, administered the anointing of the sick, formerly known as last rites, diocesan spokesman Patrick Downes said Saturday. -- Scranton Times Tribune, Retired Bishop Ferrario, Scranton native, dies in Hawaii, www.zwire.com .
• Catholic Reform Groups Want Bridgeport Bishop Reviewed.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn.: Two Catholic reform groups are calling on the Catholic Church to conduct a review of Bridgeport Bishop William Lori, accusing him of protecting a priest whom they say molested a child. The alleged incident took place in 1978. The groups, Voice of the Faithful [VOTF] and Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests [SNAP], say Lori isn't living up to the church's zero-tolerance policy. "If zero tolerance is zero tolerance, then that doesn't allow for continuing people in ministry," said Joseph O'Callaghan of Voice of the Faithful. The Diocese of Bridgeport had no comment. The groups say the alleged victim has shared in the $21 million payment the diocese made to victims in October. -- NBC 30, Link
• Ex-professor ex-Baptist convicted for molestation. 
MANY, LOUISIANA: A convicted child molester who District Attorney Don Burkett considers one of the worst sex offenders in this region faces yet another prison term following his conviction Monday in 11th Judicial District Court. Judge Stephen Beasley convicted Samuel G. Teague, 56, after a half-day bench trial. Teague was found guilty on one of two counts of molestation of a juvenile. "He faces a lengthy term in jail," said Burkett, who prosecuted the case. "He's probably one of the worst sex offenders I've seen in my almost 20 years as DA. Not necessarily as far as these kids, because we caught it before it went very far." Teague, a former Louisiana College professor and interim youth director at an Alexandria Baptist church, captured headlines in 1991 when he was arrested in Grant and Rapides parishes on multiple counts of child molestation. Teague was originally charged with 27 counts in Grant Parish and 23 counts in Rapides Parish. However, he pleaded guilty to five counts total, which led to a 15-year concurrent prison sentence. -- Shreveport Times, "Ex-professor convicted for molestation," www.shreveporttimes.com , by Vickie Welborn / The Times Mansfield Bureau, Posted on December 16, 2003.
• Catholic League Calls Lauryn Hill 'Pathologically Miserable'.
TheBostonChannel.com ; Link, Tuesday, December 16, 2003
BOSTON: Lauryn Hill went off on the Catholic Church -- and now, a Catholic advocacy group is going off on her. The Catholic League is out with a statement criticizing Hill for her comments at an appearance in Vatican City over the weekend. Hill was performing at a benefit concert at the Vatican over the weekend when she read a lengthy statement blasting the church for failing to crack down on priests who abuse children. The Catholic League's response, however, was more personal. Catholic League president William Donohue noted that last year, Hill told an audience in New York that her life was "a mess" -- and that her comments indicate that "nothing seems to have changed." Calling Hill "pathologically miserable," the statement said Hill's problems don't justify her criticism of the Catholic Church. The statement says Hill's recording career is "already in decline" -- and that the league expects that her career "will continue to head south." (Posted by Kathy Shaw, Poynter)
//////////////////// End of www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46, Wednesday, December 17, 2003
• Cathedral building plans like Rome fiddling while Nero honoured. "Cathedral Update, or Pay 'Satisfaction' for Abused People?," PERTH, W. Australia (Letter to news media) Dec 17: I would think that the Catholic Church has enough problems, what with world-wide and local child sex-abuse problems, to be planning to spend millions on expanding the Perth cathedral for 200 extra people. Surely your editors could have written about the disgraced ex-Boston Cardinal Law, who transferred molesting priests to other parts as "priests in good standing," still being in the good graces of Rome. [He is not the only "condoning prelate" in the Vatican's good books.] Compensation is causing Boston's new archbishop to sell the episcopal mansion and its hectares of grounds, and there will be sales of parish churches and schools for the next year or so.
American hip-hop singer Lauryn Hill, in a Vatican concert last week, criticised the Pope and his team for child abuse, yet our news media doesn't In Ireland a Church-commissioned report of psychologists has told the bishops they mismanaged child abuse there, which is costing millions of euros. In recent weeks African clergy have apologised for abusing nuns, and the uproars in the Philippines and Malta are still abating.
In recent weeks in Melbourne a repeat offender was jailed, after years of secrecy due to the Derryn Hinch intervention. These newsitems deserve a place in our daily press, because the religious press isn't giving enough space to the dereliction of duty by religious leaders. Perhaps archbishops and bishops ought to get such unwelcome news from some good e-mail newsletters. And, you donors to the Church, save your dollars in case the current sex-offenders are reported in time for prosecutions and claims for damages.
MORE INFORMATION: http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/ethics/ethcont60.htm , and http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/ethics/ethcont61.htm#cathedral . -- (Name and address supplied), "Rome fiddles while Nero honoured" letter sent to newspapers and ABC News Radio, Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Want some leaflets "Cathedral Update, or Pay Satisfaction for Abused People?" with petition forms? One is for safer religions in general, one is for an end to the RC marriage ban. Click: "Cathpetition".
• MAKO has 146 clerical abusers listed, out of 711 total. AUSTRALIA: 146 Australian sex offenders are now listed within the Churches, 711 in total on MAKO/Files. Prevention must be the Priority. -- MAKO (Australia, Movement Against Kindred Offenders, also publicises where offenders live), e-mail of Dec 17 03. See "MAKO/ Files-WITHIN THE CHURCH," www.mako.org.au/holyhell.html , and "MAKO PETITIONS," www.mako.org.au/petition.html" . [Faith Purification Programme's online petition forms that can be printed direct from the browser and signed on paper are at makemore.htm] Dec 17 03
• 19 bishops out globally due to scandal. BOSTON: Sex scandals have resulted in the resignations of 19 Roman Catholic prelates worldwide since 1990. - One of several startling facts in Boston Globe "Spotlight Investigation, Abuse in the Catholic Church," www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/ , checked Dec 17, 2003
########## Poynteronline Abuse Tracker, www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46,
Thursday, December 18, 2003 edition follows:-
• Ex-church leader to face sex assault trial. The Express Times, http://www.nj.com/news/expresstimes/pa/index.ssf?/base/news-9/10717438235700.xml , By RUSS FLANAGAN, Thursday, December 18, 2003
WILSON BOROUGH, PENNSYLVANIA: A former youth church leader was ordered to stand trial Wednesday on charges he sexually molested a teenage boy many times over a one-year period. During nearly 45 minutes of testimony, the 14-year-old victim said Donald Bruce Howells, 41, molested him at least 50 times from August 2002 to July 2003. The abuse allegedly began in a Virginia hotel room during an August 2002 vacation, the victim testified during a preliminary hearing before District Justice Michael Koury Jr. The victim said he first met Howells after befriending his son and daughter when he was 5 years old. He said he frequently visited and slept at the Howells' home in the 400 block of South 21st Street over the next several years but was never sexually molested until he went on vacation with the Howells in 2002. ... Howells had served as a youth leader at the First Evangelical Congregation Church in the first block of North 10th Street in Easton. At the church, he helped organize and supervise activities such as basketball and Bible study sessions. The abuse is unrelated to his work at the church, prosecutors have said. (Posted by Kathy Shaw, Poynter)
• Clergy sex abuse arbitration complete. Portsmouth Herald, Link, By Associated Press, December 18, 2003
BOSTON (MA): Two months of intense, often emotional arbitration sessions to determine the size of settlement awards for more than 500 victims of clergy sexual abuse ended Wednesday. Arbitrators have spent the last two months meeting with each of the victims to hear their individual stories. Under a settlement agreement reached with the Archdiocese of Boston in September, victims will receive anywhere from $80,000 to $300,000 each, based on the type and severity of abuse, and the psychological harm caused to victims. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who had 120 clients go through arbitration in the last six weeks, said the process was both cathartic and grueling for the victims. "We went through many boxes of tissues," Garabedian said. "Many of these people didn't come forward for years because they were afraid no one would believe them," he said. "When they talked to the arbitrator, they were grateful there was another person they could tell their story to who would believe them."
• Hudson priest retires: Rev. Thomas Curran was accused last year of decades-old abuse. [1970s] MetroWest Daily News, http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/local_regional/huds_priest12182003.htm , By Carolyn Kessel, Thursday, December 18, 2003
HUDSON (MA): The Rev. Thomas Curran, who was removed as pastor at St. Michael Parish last year after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor decades ago, has retired from his job. Curran wrote a letter given to St. Michael parishioners last weekend, informing them he had resigned for health reasons. Curran, 57, came to Hudson in 1996 where he was known as "Father Tom" and remembered by a few church members as a good and respected man. Curran and his lawyer, Russell B. Higley of Cambridge, have denied claims that he sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1970s at St. Mary's Parish in Cambridge. Church documents detail an interview with a man now imprisoned for rape of a boy who claimed Curran raped him and introduced him to the Rev. Paul Shanley, who further abused him and encouraged him to prostitute himself. Curran defended himself in his letter to his parishioners. "Since the time I was falsely accused of sexual abuse, you have probably prayed for my return. For that I am most grateful. Now is the time to move on with our lives. St. Michael Parish is not served with an absentee pastor; you need a shepherd to guide you on your journey to God," Curran wrote.
• Fates differ for 2 priests. Casa Grande Valley Newspaper, http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=10672090&BRD=1817&PAG=461&dept id=222071&rfi=6 . MESA, Ariz. (AP): The cases of two men who were arrested just days apart last year in connection with an investigation into sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix have taken distinctively different paths. John Giandelone, a former priest, was among the first to be convicted in connection with the sexual abuse investigation and is expected to be released Friday, having lost an unusual bid to remain behind bars. Meanwhile, the Rev. Patrick Colleary remains free in Ireland after being released from jail there after a family friend posted 10 percent of his $35,000 bail. Colleary has mailed Christmas cards to friends in Arizona that proclaim his innocence and thank supporters who sent cards and letters "while I was unjustly held in Madison Street Jail last Christmas season." Colleary has been fighting extradition to Arizona and is staying with relatives in Ireland.
• Rockville Centre diocese, formerly panned by grand jury, now wants secrecy, and vocal abuse panelist out, she says. Published: December 18, 2003:
TONY BROOK, N.Y., Dec. 17: The panel that reviews allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests on Long Island works in a secret world where members do not discuss investigations publicly, have agreed not to talk to reporters and even protested when the diocese wanted to use their names in a news release. Now, one member of the review board says a top diocesan official has demanded that she step down because she publicly criticized the Diocese of Rockville Centre and its leader, Bishop William Murphy. In interviews two weeks ago with Newsday and The New York Times, the board member, Lorraine Armet, criticized the church's response to a sexual-abuse lawsuit and said Bishop Murphy should pay victims restitution or resign. Ms. Armet said on Wednesday that the Rev. Robert Batule, a church liaison to the 11-person review board, called her on Dec. 5. Father Batule thanked Ms. Armet for her service, she said, then told her that she was not allowed to speak with reporters and had to leave the panel. "I felt I had the right to protest," said Ms. Armet, a nurse from Lindenhurst, N.Y. "I didn't work for the bishop." -- The New York Times, Diocese Wanted Her Out, Vocal Abuse Panelist Says, www.nytimes.com , By PATRICK HEALY, Published: December 18, 2003
• Monsignor Says He'll Continue to Fight Charge of Sex Abuse.
The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/18/nyregion/18PRIE.html?ex=1072414800&en=fbae53991a04efc9&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE , By DANIEL J. WAKIN, Published December 18, 2003 NEW YORK: Msgr. Charles M. Kavanagh, the most prominent New York priest caught up in the clerical sex-abuse scandal, acknowledged yesterday that he had had a close, even affectionate relationship with a teenage seminarian, but adamantly denied that it was sexual. Speaking out for the first time since the Archdiocese of New York suspended him in May 2002, Monsignor Kavanagh expressed remorse for any hurt he might have caused the seminarian who accused him. But he promised to keep fighting for his reinstatement as a Roman Catholic priest in good standing. "When I gave my life to the church I didn't promise to be perfect," he said. "I stand at a point in my life now, proud of that and innocent of abuse, and also stand there expecting and having the right to expect the church's loyalty and honor." Monsignor Kavanagh, 67, was once one of the most influential priests in the archdiocese. He ran its fund-raising campaigns, organized the annual Al Smith political dinner, led a major parish -- St. Raymond's in the Bronx -- and even organized Cardinal John J. O'Connor's funeral.
• Former priest charged with criminal sexual abuse . ILLINOIS: A former Mercer County priest removed from the pulpit in 2002 amid sexual-misconduct allegations surrendered to authorities Wednesday after he was charged with fondling a boy under age 17 last month. Gregory J. Plunkett, 58, who was asked to resign as a priest in May 2002, turned himself in to Mercer County authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Mr. Plunkett was charged with one count of criminal sexual abuse, a Class 4 felony, for an alleged incident about Nov. 29. Mr. Plunkett allegedly fondled the boy through his clothing, "knowing (the victim) was unable to give knowing consent," according to court records. -- Dispatch, www.qconline.com , By Jason M. Rodriguez.
• Priests accused of abuse removed. Philadelphia Inquirer, Link, By Mark Fazlollah and David O'Reilly.
PHILADELPHIA (PA): The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia has dismissed four priests accused of sexually abusing teenagers years ago and is preparing to identify them publicly today. The Rev. Edward V. Avery, a former pastor of St. Therese of the Child Jesus parish in East Mount Airy; the Rev. John A. Cannon, a former chaplain at St. Joseph Home for Aged; the Rev. Leonard A. Furmanski, a former pastor of St. Titus parish in Norristown; and the Rev. Francis X. Trauger, an assistant at St. Michael the Archangel parish in Levittown, have been removed from those assignments. Their cases have been referred to the Vatican for review, a step that could lead to their being defrocked. The dismissals will be made public in today's edition of the Catholic Standard and Times, the archdiocesan newspaper. The article indicates that the dismissals occurred over the "past several weeks." The article, however, does not give details of the abuse or say how many alleged victims were involved.
• DA fights to keep Porter jailed. NEW BEDFORD (MA): Bristol County District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr. said Wednesday that he has petitioned Superior Court to keep convicted pedophile and former priest James R. Porter, 68, incarcerated until he is found to be no longer dangerous, if that ever occurs. Walsh has served Porter with a copy of the petition and a probable cause hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14 in New Bedford Superior Court. If a judge determines there is probable cause to believe that Porter is a sexually dangerous person under state law, the court may order him held until a trial verdict on that point is made. Under the civil commitment process, Porter has a right to trial by jury on the issue of whether he is a "sexually dangerous person." If he is found to be such a person, he can be held indefinitely, although he has the right to a yearly review of his condition. Porter pleaded guilty in 1993 to 41 counts of sexual assault against 26 victims and was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison. With statutory time credits and under sentencing schemes in effect at the time he committed his crimes, Porter is scheduled to be released from prison on Jan. 30. -- Herald News, www.heraldnews.com , by MARC MUNROE DION, and The Associated Press.
• Swales abuse suit now in judge's hands. [1970s] London Free Press, http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/News/2003/12/18/290368.html
CANADA: The Roman Catholic Diocese of London was not liable for the harm inflicted on London brothers by a sexually abusive priest, a lawyer for the diocese argued yesterday. Peter Lauwers of Toronto, part of the legal team representing the diocese in a $7-million sexual abuse lawsuit, said there's no doubt John, Ed and Guy Swales were sexually assaulted by Rev. Barry Glendinning in the 1970s. But the diocese is not liable for the harm caused by the abuse, since there's no evidence it knew of Glendinning's activities, Lauwers said. And the abuse occurred outside Glendinning's work for the diocese, he said. Evidence showed the abuse occurred between 1969 and 1974 while Glendinning was a teacher at St. Peter's Seminary in London. The priest became a trusted family friend after meeting the Swales brothers at a summer camp in 1969.
• Priests Colluded in Sex Abuse, Suit Claims. [1966-2002] Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-priest18dec18,1,5652205.story?coll=la-headlines-california , By Jean Guccione and William Lobdell, Times Staff Writers
LOS ANGELES (CA): High-ranking priests allegedly used positions of power within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to gain access to the children they are accused of abusing and to cover up for other clerics, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by 17 alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse. The lawsuit alleges that a "systemic failure" of the archdiocese to protect children occurred because of self-serving actions by a close-knit fraternity of guilty priests. "The presence of such a high number of high-ranking child molester priests in the [Los Angeles] archdiocese underscores the institutional and cultural acceptance and acquiescence in child molestation by priests," according to the 46-page complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the Los Angeles archdiocese and others. Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg called the allegations "over the top and without merit." "Abuse of minors is often a crime that happens in darkness," said Tamberg, who said the archdiocese has acted aggressively since the 1980s to battle sexual abuse by priests. He said the notion that there was an organized band of sexually abusive priests was preposterous. The suit also alleges that abusive priests were promoted into positions of prominence between 1966 and 2002, including key posts such as auxiliary bishops, vicar generals, recruiters of priests, school board members and judges in the archdiocesan court that passes judgment on priestly misconduct.
• Priest Witch Hunt Claims Innocents And Villains. New York Post, www.nypost.com/commentary/13791.htm , By STEVE DUNLEAVY, December 18, 2003 NEW YORK: In this generation, Msgr. Charlie Kavanagh has been the best-known priest in New York, with of course the exception of three cardinals he served under. Yesterday he broke 18 months of painful silence and did what he was loath to do -- hit back at the man who accused him of sexual abuse. "I never had any sexual contact whatsoever with my accuser," he said in the 11th-floor office of his attorney, John Dearie. The life of Msgr. Kavanagh -- one of the most respected and influential priests in New York, a fixture at Saint Raymond's in The Bronx -- was now coming out of the nightmare. A man -- who has been identified before, but there is no need for that today -- a seminarian, in May 2002, charged Charlie with inappropriate sexual behavior, which he claimed happened 26 years ago. "Now I know that in a court of law a lie-detector test is inadmissible. But on Oct. 31 and again on Nov. 6 of this year, I took two polygraph tests which certainly showed the allegations were false," he was telling me. But then the big one. Posted by Kathy Shaw 9:43:04 AM
• Judge spares priest prison.  ALBANY (NY): A Catholic priest who admitted Wednesday in Rensselaer County Court that he tried to get a 14-year-old boy to have sex with him two years ago was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to stay away from the boy. The Rev. Michael J. Miller, 46, pleaded guilty to the felony before Judge Patrick McGrath, saying that on Aug. 21, 2001, he drove up to the boy, who was riding his bicycle at a city parking lot along the Hudson River, and asked the teenager to get into his sport utility vehicle. "I met a boy and solicited oral sex from him," Miller told McGrath. Miller was a chaplain at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Washington County before being placed on administrative leave shortly after his arrest and several months before the Catholic clergy sex scandal erupted nationwide. -- Albany Times Union, www.timesunion.com , By BOB GARDINIER, Thursday, December 18, 2003.
• Lawsuit Alleges Abusive Priests In LA Archdiocese Protected Each Other.
NBC 4, www.nbc4.tv/news/2713270/detail.html ,
LOS ANGELES (CA): A lawsuit alleges 28 high-ranking priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles protected each other from allegations of sexual abuse in a "systemic failure" to protect children. The civil lawsuit, filed on behalf of 17 alleged priest sex abuse victims, says the archdiocese had an "institutional and cultural acceptance and acquiescence in child molestation by priests." The suit claims priests accused of molestation were given refuge at parishes run by sexually abusive pastors. It alleges that abusive priests were named to prominent positions -- such as auxiliary bishops, vicar generals and recruiters of priests -- between 1966 and 2002. Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg called the allegations "over the top and without merit." "Abuse of minors is often a crime that happens in darkness," he said.
• Suspect in priest's death may have fled the state, Lexington police say. The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com/localnews/2003/12/18ky/met-4-priest12180-4551.html , By MURRAY EVANS, Associated Press
LEXINGTON, Ky.: The man who Lexington police believe killed a retired Catholic priest and convicted sex offender earlier this month likely has fled the state, an officer said yesterday. Police Lt. James Curless said the suspect, 26-year-old Jason Anthony Russell, "knows we're looking for him and is avoiding apprehension." He refused to elaborate. Joseph Pilger, 78, was found dead in his southeast Lexington home Dec. 5. The Fayette County Coroner's office ruled that Pilger died from multiple blunt-force trauma injuries. Police obtained an arrest warrant for Russell from Fayette District Court on Tuesday. Russell is charged with murder, Curless said. Police have entered his name in a national crime database. Curless said Russell, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound white male with brown hair and brown eyes, had lived at Pilger's residence, "but we don't know if he was living there at the time of the murder."
• Priest Murder Suspect Still At-Large. WKYT, www.wkyt.com/Global/story.asp?S=1569420&nav=4CALJkUh ,
LEXINGTON (KY): The man Lexington police believe killed a retired Catholic priest and sex offender earlier this month likely has fled the state. Police obtained an arrest warrant for 26-year-old Jason Russell on murder charges in the death of 78-year-old Joseph Pilger. Pilger's next-door neighbor, Karen Owens, has said that a young man began staying with Pilger during the month before the priest's death. Police Lieutenant James Curless said Pilger and Russell were not related. Curless says he doesn't know how the two came to know each other. Pilger's car, which Owens said was missing, has been recovered. Pilger pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in 1995 for abusing three brothers and their cousin in 1968 and 1969, when he was their pastor in Morganfield in western Kentucky.
• Speaking Out on Abuse. Newsday, http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-liabus183589086dec18,0,7650531.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines , By Rita Ciolli, December 18, 2003.
LONG ISLAND (NY): Lorraine Armet, the Lindenhurst nurse told to leave the diocesan review board for publicly siding with victims of sexual abuse, said yesterday that there was at least one written complaint of improper behavior by a priest toward minors that was not sent to the board. "There were things that were with merit that we didn't see. I know we didn't see all the cases," Armet said at a news conference sponsored by Parents For Megan's Law in Stony Brook. Joanne Novarro, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, said on Tuesday she was unable to comment on Armet's charge because she was unfamiliar with the letter involved. She did not respond to requests for comment yesterday. Bishop William Murphy asked Armet, who specializes in child birth, and her husband Ronald, a retired Suffolk County police officer, to serve on the 11-person civilian board last year. The group has met regularly for 18 months to advise the bishop on whether priests accused of sexually abusing minors should be returned to the ministry. It also reviews abuse prevention policies put in place by the diocese.
• Bridgeport Bishop taken to task on abuse policy.  WTNH, www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=1569434&nav=3YeXJkVl , AP, 8:00 AM Dec. 18, 2003
BRIDGEPORT (CT) (AP): Two organizations involved in helping victims of abuse by Roman Catholic priests claims Bridgeport's bishop is ignoring church rules. They claim Bishop William Lori is not abiding by the no tolerance policy by allowing a priest accused of molesting a 17-year-old girl 25 years ago to continue to serve in a parish. Monsignor Martin Ryan, of Saint Edward the Confessor in New Fairfield, has denied the allegations. Church officials have repeatedly said he is not a threat to children and should not have his good name marred.
• DA files petition against pedophile Porter release. FALL RIVER (MA): Calling former priest James Porter a "vicious predator," the Bristol district attorney filed a petition with the Superior Court yesterday to keep the pedophile priest in prison "until he is found to be no longer dangerous." Porter, scheduled to be released from prison Jan. 30, was convicted in 1993 of 41 counts of sodomy, indecent assault and battery on a child and unnatural and lascivious acts against a child. The charges involved 23 children. "If ever there was a sexual offender who sees children as vulnerable prey, who is likely to repeat his horrendous conduct given the opportunity, James Porter is his name," DA Paul Walsh said in a statement. -- Boston Herald, DA files petition against pedophile ex-priest release, news.bostonherald.com , By Tom Farmer, Thursday, December 18, 2003
• DA seeks to have Porter ruled sexually dangerous.
FALL RIVER (MA): Saying that former priest James R. Porter remains a danger to children, prosecutors yesterday took the first step toward having him declared a sexually dangerous person, which could keep the convicted pedophile locked up for the rest of his life. In papers filed yesterday in Bristol Superior Court, prosecutors said that Porter, who admitted molesting 26 children in the Fall River Diocese in the 1960s, was kicked out of a Department of Correction sex offender treatment program in September 2002 for not acknowledging the emotional damage he caused his victims. Bristol prosecutors also said that a specialist concluded that Porter has a "mental abnormality or personality disorder" that would lead him to seek out new victims if released from prison. He has been in prison since December 1993, when he pleaded guilty to 41 charges of child rape, indecent assault and battery, and unnatural acts against a child. Porter, 68, the first Massachusetts priest to be convicted of systematically molesting children, was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison, but is scheduled to be released from prison Jan. 30 because of good conduct credits he earned in prison. -- Boston Globe, DA seeks to have Porter ruled sexually dangerous, www.boston.com , By John Ellement, Dec 18, 2003.
//////////////////// End of www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46, Thursday, December 18, 2003
• Boy porn on Wesley former principal Bednall's computer. PERTH, W. Australia (Dec 18): Former Wesley College principal John Macdonnell Bednall logged on to websites depicting child pornographic images more than 750 times in a month, Perth Magistrate's Court was told yesterday.
The prosecution will allege an analysis of the hard drive of the computer used by Mr Bednall revealed a substantial number of hits on websites displaying naked children in sexual poses.
Mr Bednall, 56, of Mosman Park, resigned last year as headmaster of the exclusive South Perth school after allegations he inappropriately used the school computer.
He has pleaded not guilty to using his work computer to obtain an objectionable article, a charge which comes under the Censorship Act.
Police prosecutor Sen. Const. Glenn Lloyd told the court an analysis of computer hard drives at Mr Bednall's home and work revealed a road map of the sites he accessed in July 2002.
Investigations uncovered 330 hits to a wide variety of websites, 338 hits on a Russian boy scout site and, in a single week, 101 hits into one called Johnny Boy Paradise.
Sen. Const. Lloyd claimed Mr Bednall also entered the words "young + boys + erections" into an internet search engine which had links to other pornographic sites. He said the wide variety of sites demonstrated a course of conduct on the part of Mr Bednall between July 1 and 31 last year.
But Tom Percy QC [Queen's Counsel, i.e., very senior barrister], for Mr Bednall, argued the single charge failed to support prosecution claims of ongoing or continuing behaviour by his client.
Mr Bednall was unable to mount a proper defence until the exact date, website address and offensive article was specified.
Without that information, Mr Percy said it would be difficult to establish who was using the computer at the time of the alleged offence.
Sen. Const. Lloyd said the single charge related to Mr Bednall's use of the computer system rather than the number of offensive articles accessed.He argued the task of detailing every individual access to the website would be exhaustive and time-consuming.
Magistrate Vicki Stewart ordered the prosecution to provide the defence with more specific details about the charge before the case resumed today.
-- The West Australian, "Former principal on porn charge," www.thewest.com.au/20031218/news/general/tw-news-general-home-sto117271.html , By Anne Calverley, p 13, Dec 18, 2003
########## Poynteronline Abuse Tracker, www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46,
Thursday, December 18 (2nd), 2003 edition follows:-
• Abuse Tracker at new home will still have 7-day-a-week Kathy Shaw. ST. PETERSBURG, Florida, U.S.A.: Two weeks from today, on Jan. 1, 2004, The Clergy Abuse Tracker will move from Poynter Online to the website of the National Catholic Reporter. Poynter launched the Tracker in March 2002, mostly as a resource for reporters covering the story of sexual abuse in the church. Traffic to the site grew quickly, and now more than 1,000 subscribers receive the Tracker by e-mail seven days a week. The Tracker section generates more than half a million page views on Poynter Online each month. The service has developed a constituency far beyond journalists to include survivors, attorneys, and church officials, among others.
Largely because of Poynter's more targeted focus on journalism, we decided this Fall [Autumn] that we should seek a new home for the Tracker. Given the NCR's ground-breaking reporting on the topic -- and the paper's constituency within the church -- the NCR seemed like a natural new home. The terms of the transition are simple: There's no payment involved, and the only things changing hands are the ongoing editions of the Tracker, beginning Jan 1. We'll keep past editions available on Poynter Online as a searchable archive, linked from the new site at NCR.
(Disclosure: I have been a member of the board of directors of the NCR since 1999. I've invited scrutiny from Poynter colleagues on the situation, and we haven't come up with any conflicts. But I welcome your questions/challenge if my dual roles -- with NCR and Poynter -- raise any questions in your mind.)
One element that won't change in this transition is its most important dimension: Kathy Shaw. Kathy has done the bulk of the work on the Tracker for more than a year and a half, seven days a week, holidays included. Kathy has agreed to continue her extraordinary (and volunteer) service to the community that has grown up around the Tracker. So to Kathy, Poynter offers its thanks -- and best wishes for the next chapter of the valuable service she has done so much to build and sustain.
Thanks, too, to loyal readers of the Tracker. You'll be in good hands with the folks at NCR.
-- Poynteronline Abuse Tracker, "New Home for the Abuse Tracker," by Bill Mitchell, Thursday, December 18, 2003. (Posted 7:11:08 PM by Bill Mitchell)
//////////////////// End of www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46, Thursday, December 18 (2nd), 2003
########## Poynteronline Abuse Tracker, www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46,
Friday, December 19, 2003 edition follows:-
• Defrocked priest arrested on sexual abuse charge. Peoria Journal Star, www.pjstar.com/news/police/b1l3k0f7006.html
ALEDO ILLINOIS (CNS): A defrocked Catholic priest who was removed from the Peoria Diocese has been arrested on a criminal sexual abuse charge in Mercer County following a two-week investigation. Gregory J. Plunkett of New Windsor turned himself in to authorities Wednesday afternoon at the Mercer County Jail. "It's been an ongoing investigation for a couple of weeks," said Mercer County Sheriff's Department Investigator Jeff Dale. "There was a warrant issued for his arrest." The Class 4 felony is in connection with an incident allegedly involving a boy younger than age of 17. The Mercer County Sheriff's Department is being assisted in the investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. (Posted by Kathy Shaw, Poynter)
• Man agrees to be extradited from Ohio. Herald-Leader www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/7527818.htm , By Delano R. Massey.
LEXINGTON (KY): The man charged with murder in the death of a retired Catholic priest and convicted sex offender is being held in an Ohio jail. Jason Anthony Russell, 26, was arrested by Ironton, Ohio, police Wednesday night. Yesterday, he agreed to be extradited to Kentucky. "He's available for pickup anytime they want him," said Ironton Police Capt. Jerry Leach. Russell was taken into custody Wednesday about 10:15 p.m. when an Ironton police officer spotted him in the passenger seat of a vehicle at a 24-hour gas station. Police in Ironton had been on the lookout for him for days. Russell is charged in the fatal beating of Joseph J. Pilger, his 78-year-old roommate, who was found dead Dec. 5 at his Lexington home at 260 Pleasant Pointe Drive, police said.
• Clergy-abuse mediation begins. Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, Link, By TOM HEINEN, email@example.com , Posted: Dec. 18, 2003
MILWAUKEE (WI): A landmark mediation effort that could involve more than 50 victims of clergy sexual abuse began Thursday afternoon as Archdiocese of Milwaukee officials, including Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, met with representatives of the victims. The session, requested by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was arranged by Eva Soeka, the Marquette University professor whom Dolan named last month to design and manage a new dispute resolution system that church officials hope will finally heal festering sexual abuse issues. Although Soeka is still designing that system for individual cases, the eagerness of the survivors network to move ahead quickly with a group mediation while sexual-abuse legislation is still pending in Madison helped prompt Thursday's meeting. Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske will serve as a mediator for the group effort, along with Daniel Blinka, like Geske a professor at Marquette University Law School, the victims group said. Soeka, a nationally respected mediator and director of the Center for Dispute Resolution Education at Marquette, is participating as an observer.
• Ironton man waives extradition. The Herald-Dispatch, Link, By DAVID E. MALLOY, Dec 19, 2004.
IRONTON (OH): An Ironton man charged with the murder of a retired Catholic priest in Lexington earlier this month has waived extradition back to Kentucky. Ironton police arrested Jason Anthony Russell, 26, about 10 p.m. Wednesday at South 5th and Walnut streets, said Capt. Jerry Leach of the Ironton Police Department. Russell, who listed his address at an apartment complex at 612 S. 10th St., Ironton, waived extradition during a hearing Thursday morning before Ironton Municipal Court Judge Clark Collins, Leach said. Ironton police and the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department were instrumental in the arrest, according to a press release from the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police. Lawrence County Sheriff's deputies recovered a vehicle belonging to Joseph Pilger, 78, who was found dead in his home in Lexington Dec. 5. The Fayette County coroner's office ruled Pilger died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries. Sheriff Tim Sexton said the vehicle was recovered Dec. 3 in Decatur Township in a field off Ohio 93. "We had the car impounded," Sexton said. "It was later processed for evidence by Lexington police." Police believe Pilger was killed Dec. 2.
• Catholic report on sex abuse released. [15 abuser clergy] Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com/ecp/news/article/0,1626,ECP_734_2517125,00.html , By MARK WILSON, 464-7417 or firstname.lastname@example.org , December 19, 2003.
KENTUCKY: In the 60-year history of the Evansville Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, 15 priests have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor. More than two months ahead of the scheduled release of the Roman Catholic Church's national report about priest sex abuse, the Evansville Diocese is voluntarily releasing that and other information in its own report, as are many other dioceses around the nation. The information was submitted earlier this year for a national survey on sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church. It is being posted on the diocese's official Web site www.evansville-diocese.org and included in the latest issue of its newsletter, The Message, which is being mailed out to 7,000 homes in a 13-county area of Southwestern Indiana. Those homes could begin receiving the newsletter as early as today. Since 1944, according to the report, four priests in the Evansville diocese have been removed after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Three others have been found to be innocent.
• Priests' dismissals confirmed. Philadelphia Inquirer, Link, By David O'Reilly,
PHILADELPHIA (PA): The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia yesterday confirmed reports that it had dismissed four priests for sexually abusing teenagers and said its actions were proof that it was "living up to its promise" of zero tolerance of sex abuse. "We do not like making this announcement at this time of year," archdiocesan spokeswoman Catherine L. Rossi said in an interview yesterday, "but it was a necessary part of the process of disclosure." Rossi said all four priests -- who, combined, have been associated with more than two dozen local parishes -- denied the allegations. The archdiocese has not ruled out the possibility of future dismissals, Rossi said. Cardinal Justin Rigali, she said, "has asked that all old cases be reviewed, including those not considered credible."
• Grand jury still probing. [35 accused by Church] Philadelphia Daily News, Link, By JIM NOLAN, email@example.com .
PHILADELPHIA (PA): When the Catholic Church moves faster than the district attorney's office, you know it must be serious. In April 2002, District Attorney Lynne Abraham convened a grand jury to investigate allegations of priest sexual abuse of minors. The announcement came on the heels of disclosures by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that it had determined there was "credible evidence" of abuse charges against 35 of its priests dating back 50 years. Yesterday, the archdiocese publicly disclosed the names of four of those priests, along with word of their dismissals and proceedings under way to have them defrocked. But more than 20 months later, there is still no word on how many, if any, indictments will come out of the grand jury.
• Priests axed to 'protect' the young. [4 removed] Philadelphia Daily News, Link, By RON GOLDWYN & WILLIAM BUNCH, firstname.lastname@example.org .
PHILADELPHIA (PA): They were "cold cases" -- unproven allegations of sexual abuse against priests that gathered dust in files of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for as long as four decades. The priests were rotated into new parishes, and the young alleged victims grew up. The archdiocese investigated, found the allegations not substantiated, but kept the files. All that was before the sexual-abuse scandal that started in Boston two years ago and that has rocked the American Catholic Church ever since. Over the past six weeks, the old, festering allegations ended the long careers of four Philadelphia-area priests, now barred from their duties by new Cardinal Justin Rigali and tossed from their church residences.
• Suspect is arrested in slaying of sex-offender priest. The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com/localnews/2003/12/19ky/met-4-priest12190-3246.html , By MURRAY EVANS, Associated Press, Dec 19 2003.
LEXINGTON, Ky.: Police in Ohio have arrested a man who Lexington police believe killed a retired Catholic priest and sex offender earlier this month. Jason Anthony Russell, 26, was arrested in Ironton, Ohio, late Wednesday, Lexington police Lt. James Curless said. Ironton Police and Lawrence County Sheriff's officers took Russell into custody, Curless said. Russell is in the Lawrence County jail in Ironton. He waived extradition during arraignment yesterday in Ironton Municipal Court. Lexington police obtained an arrest warrant for Russell on Tuesday from Fayette District Court. Russell is charged with the murder of 78-year-old Joseph Pilger, who was found dead in his southeast Lexington home on Dec. 5.
• Sex abuse victims get mediation. Post-Crescent, Link, The Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (WI): About 50 victims of sexual abuse by clergy entered new mediation with the Milwaukee Roman Catholic Archdiocese Thursday over demands that include financial restitution and more public disclosure on abusers. The group sessions differ from previous meetings, in which victims complained they were required to meet privately on church property with archdiocesan officials. The independent mediators are Eve Soeka, director of Marquette University's Center for Dispute Resolution Education, and Marquette law professors Daniel Blinka and Janine Geske. Blinka is a former Milwaukee County assistant district attorney who serves on the state Ethics Board. Geske, founder of the dispute resolution center and a former state Supreme Court justice, wrote the 1997 decision that ended most civil abuse claims against religious groups in Wisconsin.
• Groups Say Bishop Ignoring Abuse Policy. Hartford Courant, http://www.ctnow.com/news/local/hc-lori1219.artdec19,1,1583242.story?coll=hc-headlines-local , Associated Press, December 19, 2003
BRIDGEPORT (CT): Two organizations involved in helping victims of abuse by Roman Catholic priests claim Bridgeport Diocese Bishop William Lori is ignoring church policy on zero tolerance. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests claims Lori is not abiding by the policy by allowing a priest accused of molesting a 17-year-old girl 25 years ago to continue to serve in a parish. Monsignor Martin Ryan, pastor of St. Edward the Confessor in New Fairfield, has denied the allegations. "The safe-environment initiative that Bishop Lori has been pushing says they do not tolerate abuse. We expect that would be across-the-board," Joseph O'Callaghan, chairman of the local chapter of Voice of the Faithful, the other group, said Wednesday. David Cerulli, director of the New York branch of the survivors' network, recently wrote to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, charging that Lori's failure to remove Ryan is a violation of the national church's zero-tolerance policy.
• Clergy abuse victims to learn award amounts. [540 victims] Boston Herald, http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/localRegional.bg?articleid=666 , By Eric Convey and Robin Washington, Friday, December 19, 2003.
BOSTON (MA): A day that 540 victims of clergy sexual molestation have awaited since launching legal action against the Archdiocese of Boston over the past two years is at hand. In meetings and conversations with attorneys tomorrow, the victims are scheduled to learn how much they've been awarded by an arbitrator who heard their stories and assessed the severity of the abuse they suffered and its effect on their lives. Settlements ranging from $80,000 to $300,000 will be paid to lawyers Tuesday. As church checks clear in about a week, law firms will send payments to victims. "Many victims are anxious and hoping that the court resolution to this matter will bring some sort of healing and closure to their lives. For many victims, it's just too little too late," said Mitchell Garabedian, who has 120 clients covered by the settlement.
• Payment near for victims of church sex abuse scandal. [541 victims]
Boston Globe, http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/353/metro/Payment_near_for_victims_of_church_sex_abuse_scandal+.shtml , By John Ellement, Dec 19 2003.
BOSTON (MA): Today, in a college lecture hall in Easton, a group of men and women will put a dollar value on the pain of hundreds of men and women sexually abused by Catholic priests. Tomorrow, the 541 people who have accepted an $85 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Boston will find out how much an arbitrator believes they should receive as compensation for the abuse they suffered, some of them decades ago, when they were molested by their parish priest. "No matter what [arbitrators] do, the money isn't going to be enough. The money is not what I'm looking at anyway; that's just more symbolism," said Alexa T. MacPherson, a 28-year-old Dorchester woman who was molested by a priest for several years beginning when she was a toddler. "I just don't want it to happen again." Under the agreement, individual awards to victims will range from $80,000 to $300,000, depending on the severity and duration of the abuse. The archdiocese will hand over checks on Monday to victims' attorneys, who will deduct legal fees and costs before making payments to victims. Lawyers will deduct roughly 33 percent for legal fees, plus additional money for costs associated with the lengthy legal battle with the archdiocese.
• Compensation for nine of Michael McArdle's victims. [1970s] ROCKHAMPTON, Queensland, AUSTRALIA: Rockhampton's Catholic Bishop has expressed hope that the mediation process that agreed on compensation for nine victims of sexual abuse helped to acknowledge the harm done by former priest Michael McArdle. McArdle is serving a six year prison term on more than 60 child abuse charges arising from his time as a priest in the Rockhampton diocese in the 1970s. Bishop Brian Heenan says he played a role in the mediation process, which he hopes offered a genuine apology and provided support, including counselling. The lawyer for the victims, Roger Singh, says the Catholic Church was co-operative in the process. -- ABC, Bishop involved in abuse mediation, www.abc.net.au/westqld/news/200312/s1013451.htm, Friday, December 19 2003.
• Archdiocese and LaSalette order pay for molestation of teen boys. [CURRENT, $10m]
ATLANTA (GA): Catholic Church officials have settled a $10 million lawsuit brought by the parents of two teenage boys molested over 18 months by a church worker at St. Ann Catholic Church in east Cobb County.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta and an order of Catholic priests associated with a 44-year-old lay worker at St. Ann agreed to the settlement late Wednesday, said attorney Fred D. Bentley Jr. The settlement includes the reading of a public apology from the church's pulpit on the first Sunday in January, Bentley said.
The Atlanta Archdiocese and the Missionaries of LaSalette agreed to pay a Cobb couple an undisclosed amount to compensate them for medical costs resulting from the molestation of their 14-year-old sons, Bentley said.
"The family is appreciative of the attention it received from the church and intends to move forward in the Catholic faith," Bentley said Thursday. -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Archdiocese settles suit over molestation of teens, Link, By DON PLUMME, Dec 19, 2003.
//////////////////// End of www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46, Friday, December 19, 2003
• Rockhampton compensates nine victims of Fr Michael McArdle. [1972-79, 9 victims]
BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia (Dec 19): Nine boys who were victims of a Queensland paedophile priest have received compensation from the church.
The boys were sexually abused by Michael McArdle from 1972-1979 in various locations in Queensland where he served as a priest. McArdle, 68, was in October jailed in Brisbane for six years, with a parole recommendation after two years.
Lawyer Roger Singh said the compensation was won through a mediation process with the diocese of Rockhampton. . . . The children, aged from eight to 14, were abused at altar boy camping excursions, in the church change rooms and in the church presbytery. . . . McArdle had pleaded guilty to a total of 62 charges, involving 56 counts of indecent dealing against boys aged under 14 and six counts against girls aged under 14.
SOURCE: Catholics compensate nine abuse victims (ninemsn/AAP, http://news.ninemsn.com.au/National/story_53871.asp , 18/Dec/03) "He molested 14 boys and two girls aged between eight and 13 in parishes all over Queensland between 1965 and 1987. The centres involved were Rockhampton, Biloela, Longreach and Jundah in central Queensland, Farleigh outside Mackay in north Queensland and Fraser Island, Monto, Gin Gin and Bundaberg in south-east Queensland."
Men reach out-of-court settlement over church abuse (ABC 18/Dec/03)
Rockhampton bishop asked to quit (CathNews 22/10/03)
Diocese of Rockhampton | Bishop Brian Heenan
Rockhampton bishop renews apology to priest´s victims (CathNews 10/10/03)
Rockhampton bishop calls meetings to discuss church sex abuse (CathNews 15/8/02)
Public apology for Rockhampton priest´s sex abuse (CathNews 17/6/02)
Church apologises to abuse victims (The Age)
Church apologises for abuse (The Courier-Mail)
Pope laments ´scandalous behaviour´ of some priests (Ananova)
-- CathNews, "Rockhampton Diocese compensates nine abuse victims," www.cathnews.com/news/312/114.php , Dec 19, 2003 [COMMENT: The amount of compensation not known from CathNews nor from Courier-Mail newsitem. COMMENT ENDS.] Article: Dec 19, 2003
• Headmaster porn case 'flawed'. PERTH, W. Australia (Dec 19): A claim that former Wesley College headmaster John Bednall logged on to hundreds of child pornography websites was fatally flawed, his lawyer told Perth Magistrate's Court yesterday.
Tom Percy QC called for the case to be dismissed after the prosecution failed to specify whether the exact date, website or offensive article giving rise to the alleged offence.
He disputed police claims that Mr Bednall, 56, of Mosman Park, had accessed such websites hundreds of times in one week.
After two days of legal argument, Magistrate Vicki Stewart reserved her decision until February. . . .
Data logs of the images had been lost or erased in the past 14 months but school staff would testify about what they saw on the principal's computer.
Mr Percy said his client never admitted accessing the sites for perverse or improper reasons but rather for "entirely legitimate educational reasons."
"How can one person visit a site 380 times in one week?" Mr Percy said.
He blamed the excessive number of hits recorded on a computer error.
########## Poynteronline Abuse Tracker, www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46,
Saturday, December 20, 2003 edition follows:-
• Judge Potter comes out of retirement to replace Bamberger. BURLINGTON, KENTUCKY: A Jefferson County judge who retired in 2000 to earn a master's degree in forestry from Yale University, was assigned Friday to oversee the nation's first class-action suit alleging sexual abuse by priests. John W. Potter has since come out of retirement and will replace Boone Circuit Judge Jay Bamberger. Bamberger removed himself from the case Monday after announcing he will retire at the end of the year. Potter, 60, declined to talk about the case when reached at his home in Louisville Friday. As a senior status judge, Potter has agreed to work 120 days a year for five years in exchange for an increase in state retirement benefits. He inherits a case that was put on hold last month when a diocesan attorney asked the chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court to remove Bamberger. The diocese claimed the judge was biased against the church. Bamberger, a veteran and well-respected judge in Northern Kentucky, retired before the chief justice had a chance to rule. -- The Cincinnati Enquirer, Judge assigned to priest case Link, By Jim Hannah, Dec 20, 2003 (Posted by Kathy Shaw, Poynter Abuse Tracker)
• Guest column: Healing can begin as diocese responds. Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com/internal.php?story_id=1021947&t=Opinion&c=22,1021947 ,
IOWA:Editor's note: This column written by Ed Burke is signed by his brothers Al and Eugene, sister, Helen and nephew Pat McClimon. The Burke family came forward in a Barb Ickes column in the Dec. 14 Times with allegations of sexual abuse within the Davenport Diocese. Bishop Franklin this week agreed to personally meet with the Burkes. The family intends to arrange for a meeting after the holidays. The Burke family was inspired to come forward and stand in unity with the young men who have filed sexual abuse lawsuits against the Davenport diocese. We respect their courage and we invite others to stand with us. At Mass last Sunday in one of the early prayers we prayed for justice and truth. My prayer is that these six young men experience these virtues from the Diocese of Davenport. I remembered the Bishop in my communion prayers today and hope the Bishop remembered each of us. I do not want to linger over his letter in response (published in the Sunday, Dec. 14 QUAD-CITY TIMES http://www.qctimes.com ,) which states, "it has been my practice and desire to meet with any individual who believes he or she has been abused at any time by one of the priest of this diocese." My family's recall is slightly different. My brother, Al, while meeting with the Chancellor never recalls being offered the opportunity to personally meet with the bishop. My sister Helen's first letter received no response. Her second letter, six months later, January 2003, made no allegations against the Diocese of Davenport but merely wanted her family to receive an apology from the bishop as the Spiritual Head of the diocese. I am sure it was not intended, but the letter she received from the Chancellor conveyed no opportunity to personally meet with the bishop. Please believe me when I say that the abused are not the enemy of the church! Most of the abused who I have met and know are extremely active in their parishes. So what do we want? We want what we were taught in our formative years in the Roman Catholic Church by our clergy and lay leaders.
• Boys slept with baseball bats to repel molester. CALIFORNIA: Even now, after all these years, Francisco Chavez looks over his shoulder when he enters the basement of his parents' Oak Park home. The room is empty now. Chavez and his brothers moved out long ago in an attempt, they say, to leave behind everything the basement represented. They didn't get far. "We never dealt with it ... so one way or another we always ended up back here," says Chavez, referring to his parents' house. Walking around the basement, Chavez's voice begins to crack when he points to the bedroom where he says the four boys slept with baseball bats by their sides in case the man who stalked them returned. What happened? Even now, Chavez, 35, is trying to make sense of it. That is why he and his brothers filed suit and why he says they are determined to go to court. The sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church over the past two years is entering a new phase -- the phase of settlements. To help victims and to put an end to the scandal, dioceses across the country are reaching financial agreements with those who say they have been sexually abused by priests. -- Sacramento Bee, Stepping forward, Link, By Jennifer Garza, Published 2:15 a.m. PST Saturday, December 20, 2003.
• Deadline nears for victims to make claims. CALIFORNIA: Many victims of childhood sexual abuse are unaware that time is running out on a law that temporarily lifts the statute of limitations on filing lawsuits. Victims rights groups have spent the past few weeks leafleting church parking lots, malls and other public places throughout the state to inform people about the Dec. 31 deadline. "Most people have no idea about the law," says Joelle Casteix of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, in Newport Beach. "Our goal is to make sure that every child who has been hurt will get the justice he or she needs. My biggest fear is that survivors will come forward too late." Under the law, which is in effect for 2003 only, childhood sexual abuse victims who are older than 25 may sue employers or responsible third parties who knowingly protected molesters. Previously, alleged victims could not sue after their 26th birthday. Although the law applies to all California employers, the bill was passed in the wake of revelations that some Catholic religious leaders knowingly transferred pedophile priests without telling parishioners. While some Southern California dioceses expect the number of claims to surge before the year-end deadline, both victims rights groups and lawyers for the church say they anticipate few last-minute lawsuits against the Sacramento Catholic diocese. -- Sacramento Bee, Link, By Jennifer Garza, Published 2:15 a.m. PST Saturday, December 20, 2003
• New York priests lament treatment of accused clergymen. NEW YORK (NY) (December 20, 5:03 a.m. AST): A group of New York priests reportedly signed a petition to Cardinal Edward Egan, saying morale in the archdiocese "is at an all-time low" and asking to meet with him to discuss the treatment of clergymen accused of sexual abuse. The names of 69 priests, who called themselves Concerned Priests of New York, were typewritten on the petition, which was dated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Dec. 12, The New York Times reported Saturday. The archdiocese has 560 active priests. "The impression that you have given is that those men who stand accused are 'damaged goods,' and it would be better if they did not return to active ministry," according to the document, which the newspaper said it had obtained from one of the signers. One priest, the petition stated, "seems to have been coerced" into signing a document asking to be removed from the priesthood without a trial, according to the Times. -- Anchorage Daily News, New York priests lament treatment of accused clergymen Link, The Associated Press, Dec 20 03
• Victim-blamer Hollingworth retires with expensive publicly-funded office, etc. AUSTRALIA: Former governor-general Peter Hollingworth has moved into palatial offices at Melbourne's most exclusive corporate address as part of his taxpayer-funded golden handshake. Dr Hollingworth has set up shop on the 21st floor of 101 Collins St at a cost to taxpayers of more than $100,000 a year. Dr Hollingworth's golden handshake includes $184,000 annually from the public purse despite being governor-general for fewer than two years. ... Dr Hollingworth resigned as governor-general in May after a church-initiated inquiry criticised him for allowing a pedophile priest to keep preaching in 1993. He apologised for his actions. He expressed "profound regret" for blaming a girl, 14, for a sexual relationship with a priest. -- Herald Sun, Hollingworth's high life, www.heraldsun.news.com.au , By IAN HABERFIELD, Dec 21, 03
• SNAP decision: Priest deserved jail. TROY (NY): An advocacy group blasted Rensselaer County Court Judge Patrick McGrath Thursday, a day after he decided not to send a priest, who admitted asking a minor for sex, to jail. "Why would judge McGrath make the conscious decision to place a known child sex offender out into the community? Why place the children of the capital region at risk?" asked Mark Furnish, Capital District chapter leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "SNAP is disappointed that Judge McGrath would rather protect an abusive priest over protecting children." On Wednesday, McGrath sentenced Rev. Michael Miller to five years probation. Miller could have faced 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for one count of third-degree criminal solicitation, a felony. Miller pleaded guilty to asking a random 14-year-old boy for oral sex while the boy was riding his bike in a park along the Hudson River. McGrath said Miller was never indicted by the district attorney's office and the victim's family agreed to the sentence. "I never would have accepted the plea if he was indicted," McGrath said Thursday. -- Troy Record, www.troyrecord.com , By: James V. Franco.
• Priests Contend Cardinal Fails to Support Accused Clerics. NEW YORK: In a rare challenge, 74 priests of the Archdiocese of New York indirectly assailed Cardinal Edward M. Egan for failing to support their brother priests accused of sexual abuse, and called for a face-to-face meeting. "We need to tell you again what you already know; the morale of the New York presbyterate is at an all-time low," the priests said in a petition to the cardinal. The reason, they said, is that the propositions of church law and Pope John Paul II's teachings on a bishop's care of his priests "have not been done." They said the archdiocese failed to follow proper procedures in dealing with priests accused of sexual abusing minors and that in one case, a priest "seems to have been coerced" into signing a document asking to be removed from the priesthood before any trial. "The impression that you have given is that those men who stand accused are `damaged goods,' and it would be better if they did not return to active ministry," the petition said. The signers, who call themselves Concerned Priests of New York, include monsignors, retirees and priests from Manhattan, the Bronx and the northern suburbs. There are about 560 active priests in the archdiocese. --The New York Times, www.nytimes.com , By DANIEL J. WAKIN, December 20, 2003
[COMMENT: Hmm! In Australia, on the other side of the coin, a priest who kept reporting a molesting priest to his superiors got no support either. "Shepherds"? COMMENT ENDS.] December 20, 2003
!!!: 'Shoot the messenger.' Catholic League true to form, and blaming the NCR about the homosexual invasion! UNITED STATES (News Release): Soon after The Boston Globe broke the story of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in 2002, a website dedicated to journalism began to post stories in a section titled, "Clergy Abuse Tracker." The website, Poynter Online, typically posts articles found in newspapers that deal with clergy abuse.
Effective January 1, 2004, the Tracker will find a new home: it will be on the webpages of The National Catholic Reporter. In making this announcement yesterday, an employee from Poynter, Bill Mitchell, admitted that he has been a member of the board of directors of The National Catholic Reportersince 1999. Anticipating charges of a conflict of interest, Mitchell said, "I've invited scrutiny from Poynter colleagues on the situation, and we haven't come up with any conflicts."
Catholic League president William Donohue was amused:
"It is so utterly predictable. Those who rail against corruption in the Catholic Church have no problem compromising elementary standards of ethics themselves. Poynter alleges to track clergy abuse in all religions, but over the past couple of years the Catholic League has noticed an almost total fixation on the Catholic clergy (note: there is a story by AP today about a former Protestant youth minister arrested again for molesting another boy, but you won't see it on Poynter).
Moreover, we have brought stories to the attention of Poynter several times - stories about clergy sexual abuse committed by non-Catholic clergy. We have also been struck by the posting of stories that have nothing to do with sexual misconduct, but nonetheless are unflattering to the Catholic Church.
"Now the cat's out of the bag. This has been a inside job all along. The National Catholic Reporter is home to the most dissident Catholic views of any media source. Moreover, its refusal to tell the truth about the homosexual scandal in the Catholic Church is shameful.
"It's so reassuring to know that Mitchell's buddies at Poynter have given him a clean slate. They all deserve a Jayson Blair award for integrity."
-- News Release from The Catholic League, "Poynter guilty of conflict of interest," http://www.catholicleague.org/03press_releases/quarter4/031219_poynter.htm , Friday, December 19, 2003
[COMMENT: Wrong, wrong, wrong! Just check these "References / Chronology" pages, and you will see a number of newsitems, sent by Poynter, about sex or physical abuse by clergy and employees of other religions, including non-Christian ones. If the Catholic League was sincere about warning the public, a sustained search of the Internet would have given the league a list of groups trying to chronicle the sorry spectacle of people preaching purity, but behaving like "judas sheep" leading youngsters into self-centred sinful ways, laden with undeserved guilt feelings. They include: Black Museum of Clergy Child Abuse, Broken Rites, Call to Action USA, CPAT Child Wise, Future Church USA, "Perplist" of Clare Pascoe Henderson, John XXIII Co-op, MAKO Movement Against Kindred Offences, National Catholic Reporter USA, Poynter Institute, Ross Institute, Wanderer newspaper USA, and the abuse news ought to be sent to the National Catholic Register USA and The Tablet Britain, to help wake them up. -- Faith Purification Programme, 05 Jan 04. COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 19, 03]
• Victims may reveal names of priests allegedly involved in sex-abuse. Mercury News, Link, By Chuck Carroll
CALIFORNIA: The names of 10 more current or former Roman Catholic clergymen from Northern California who allegedly abused victims sexually will be disclosed today in San Francisco. At a news conference in front of the San Francisco Archdiocese' chancery on Peter Yorke Way, two or three alleged victims are also expected to call on the church to "come clean" on all known or suspected abusers before the end of the year, when the clock runs out on their right to file suit. One of the alleged victims, Gene Reedy of Tucson, Ariz., recently settled a civil suit with Christian Brother Francis Verngren and his order, for seven figures, according to Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. SNAP organized a similar event recently in Saint Louis, naming 30 clergy. Verngren, who died two weeks ago, abused Reedy in the late 1960s, when Verngren was the principal of St. Mary's Preparatory Grammar School in Berkeley, according to Reedy's lawsuit. The church admitted Verngren abused other children, too, SNAP said.
//////////////////// End of www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46, Saturday, December 20, 2003
• Senate Inquiry into enforced child care. MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia, Dec 21: On the child migration front ... little development this year and the issue has disappeared largely from the public agenda in Australia. The Senate Inquiry into traditional care held public hearings in Perth, 9, 10 December but there was little or no publicity at this stage. The remainder of the hearings, NSW, Qld, and Tasmania due in February-March 2004. Report thereafter, but the Community Affairs References Committee is extremely busy. However, the combined written submissions, oral evidence and FINAL REPORT will contain overall a mine of evidence on the question and of interest in comparable countries and to historians of orphanges, child care and so on. Australia is disappearing into the summer holiday haze. Every best wish for the Christmas season. -- Dr Barry Coldrey, Melbourne, e-mail, Dec 20, 2003
########## Poynteronline Abuse Tracker, www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46,
Sunday, December 21, 2003 edition follows:-
• Sex crisis deepens. [9 complaints] The Mercury, http://www.themercury.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,8234729%255E3462,00.html , By ELLEN WHINNETT, Chief Reporter, Dec 22, 03 AUSTRALIA: The sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in Tasmania is deepening -- nine separate complaints have now been made against senior church officials. A second woman has lodged a complaint with the church about the alleged sexual behaviour of a senior priest. And it has been revealed that complaints made by four women against a church employee are unresolved more than 18 months after they were first lodged. The church has established a process through which alleged victims who refuse to take part in the Towards Healing process can take their complaints to a panel of lawyers and psychologists. In the latest developments:
* Sex abuse campaigner and victims rights lobbyist Denise Cripps has lodged a complaint that she was allegedly indecently assaulted by a priest who she had gone to for marriage counselling.
* The priest has been suspended from active ministry as a result of an earlier complaint from "Pauline", a woman who alleged the priest had used his senior position and age to coerce her into a sexual relationship.
* The church has still not resolved complaints from four women who alleged they were the victims of inappropriate behaviour from a senior church employee. (Posted by Kathy Shaw, Poynter)
• Methodists' Puckett Pleads Guilty To Public Indecency. 
TENNESSEE: Lamar Puckett, former minister of music at Hixson United Methodist Church, pleaded guilty Wednesday in General Sessions Court to public indecency.
Judge Ron Durby ordered Puckett, 49, of 8139 Holly Crest Drive, to pay a $500 fine. He is prohibited from coming onto TVA property where the offense occurred. He was convicted of fondling another man in a parking lot at Chickamauga Dam on Oct. 18. A TVA police officer said he earlier gave Puckett a warning on the same offense on June 5. He has left the church, and Hixson United Methodist has hired a new choir director. -- The Chattanoogan, "Puckett Pleads Guilty To Public Indecency," Link
• Minister accused of molestation. SAN BERNARDINO (CA): A Loma Linda girl testified Thursday that her adult neighbor, who is the pastor of a local Indonesian church, fondled and kissed her last month after she went to his apartment looking for a friend. "He asked for a hug and then he started kissing all over me," said the 11-year-old girl, who was not identified by name in court. Johannes Ginting, 46, the pastor of the Indonesian Community Fellowship in Colton, is accused of committing lewd acts on the girl . He and the girl alleged victim live in the same apartment complex, officials said. -- The Press-Enterprise, Minister accused of molestation, http://www.pe.com/localnews/sanbernardino/stories/PE_News_Local_bmolest05f1f1.html , By TIM GRENDA. (Posted by Kathy Shaw 7:45:27 AM)
• 541 abuse victims learn settlement amounts. [541 victims] BOSTON (MA): With trepidation and in some cases tinges of regret, 541 people who said they were sexually abused by priests learned yesterday the amounts they will receive from the Archdiocese of Boston. "This money means nothing to me. In a way I wish I didn't have it," said a tearful Alexa MacPherson, who says she was sexually molested by a Dorchester priest for years and is getting less than $250,000. "This is a road I wish I wasn't even on." "I thought I'd feel light-hearted," she said. "Instead I feel weighed down. . . . I feel like a price has been put on my head. That's not what I wanted." William Oberle, a tradesman who said his settlement equals about a year's pay, said plaintiffs feel almost like "prostitutes" now that they've been compensated financially for having been sexually violated. -- Boston Herald, Abuse victims learn settlement amounts, http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/localRegional.bg?articleid=708 , By Eric Convey Sunday, December 21, 2003
• Supposed victim denies molesting allegation. MADISON, WISCONSIN: There may be other allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct by a Baraboo priest who was removed from his duties in September, Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino said Friday in a carefully worded letter to the members of St. Joseph parish in Baraboo. The letter was in response to an outcry of support for the Rev. Gerald Vosen, pastor of St. Joseph, who was removed from his duties in September after a Sun Prairie woman told a legislative committee the priest had sexually abused her brother more than 25 years ago. The alleged victim denied any abuse and questioned his sister's motives. Bill Brophy, spokesman for the diocese, said parish members at St. Joseph have written hundreds of letters and e-mails to Morlino and to the Sexual Abuse Review Board of the Madison Catholic Diocese, reviewing the complaints against Vosen, to re-instate their priest who has been living at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Center in Madison. "It would be wrong for anyone to presume that the single allegation made by a family member of a victim and then subsequently denied by the victim himself, is the only allegation to which we are forced to respond," Morlino wrote in his letter. "It would be wrong to presume that the denial by a particular victim of any allegation against Father Vosen brings the whole matter to an end. It would be wrong to presume that." . . . -- Baraboo News Republic, Bishop continues investigation, Link, Dec 20, 03
• DA tries to keep Porter behind bars. Standard-Times, Link, By JOHN DOHERTY, Dec 21, 2003
NEW BEDFORD (MA): In this corner of the world at least, Father James Porter's name has become synonymous with the sex abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic Church. Last week, the former priest who was convicted of molesting some 28 children during his time as priest in three Bristol County parishes in the 1960s was back in the news. Bristol County District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr. filed paperwork in Superior Court seeking to have Mr. Porter declared a sexually dangerous person who should remain in state custody. Mr. Porter, now 68, is eligible for parole in January after serving about 11 years of the 18- to 20-year sentence he received in December 1993. Mr. Walsh's office argued that Mr. Porter was likely to offend again if released into the community, and that he has not been rehabilitated.
• Abuse victims will get up to $300G. [~ 540 victims] Lowell Sun, Link, By MATT MURPHY
BOSTON (MA): The main legal battle over clergy sex abuse in the Boston archdiocese ended yesterday when arbitrators announced how much money individuals can expect from the church's landmark settlement with abuse victims. The decision culminated months of mediation during which victims were forced to relive their abuse, telling stories of rape and molestation to arbitrators who had the unenviable task of dividing the $85 million settlement. About 540 victims will receive $80,000 to $300,000, depending on the circumstances and severity of their abuse. Specific sums for individual victims were not available yesterday. The church has said it will sell church property, including the archbishop's residence, to help pay for the settlement. When it means recalling some of the most traumatizing events in your life, a check in the mail hardly seems just compensation. But many victims of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal last night were breathing easier knowing the book has been closed on a painful chapter in their lives.
• Abuse victims receive settlement amount. [$US 85m] Boston Globe, http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2003/12/21/abuse_victims_receive_settlement_amount/ , By Jenna Russell, Dec/21/2003
BOSTON (MA): Hundreds of people who were sexually abused by Catholic priests learned yesterday exactly how much money they will receive in an $85 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Boston. The victims' plans for the money, described by one victim as less than a year's pay, include buying Christmas presents, paying children's college bills, and getting help with substance abuse. One man who received the maximum $300,000 told his lawyer he would buy his first car; another recipient planned to give the cash to a support group for priest abuse victims. Despite the payments, which should be distributed to attorneys this week, some victims said the money brought no closure on a day many described as a final public milestone in the priest abuse scandal that erupted two years ago with revelations that church officials knowingly reassigned abusive clergy. "As for me, I'm tired," said John King, 37, a victim from Methuen. "I have no solace in any of this. I'm drained, and I'm going to go and try to do some nice things for my daughter."
• Fr Kavanagh wins support of 300. NEW YORK: A reception honoring a Bronx priest's four decades of service turned into a rally yesterday with supporters insisting he be cleared of sex abuse charges. "When truth is on your side, justice will prevail. God knows he's a good man," said Ann O'Keefe, who works at St. Raymond's parish in the Bronx, which Msgr. Charles Kavanagh led until his May 2002 suspension. O'Keefe was among 300 people who turned out at a Parkchester restaurant to honor the 40th anniversary of Kavanagh's ordination. Cardinal Edward Egan suspended him after former seminarian Dan Donohue accused Kavanagh of making sexual advances roughly 23 years ago. -- New York Daily News, Priest wins support, Link,
• Priest commits suicide over sex claims.  JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Sex scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church around the world has spread to South Africa with the death of the popular Father Mfikiselwa Martin Khambule. Khambule, previously of the St Wendolins/Klaarwater parish, reportedly committed suicide on Friday, December 12, amid allegations that he had intercourse with a fellow male Catholic church member 10 years ago. The man, who claimed that Khambule had sex with him, Thembinkosi Khanyile, 35, alleged in September this year that several male members of the church had left because of Khambule's advances. A spokesperson for the Diocese of Mariannhill, Father Alexius Madela, told City Press that at a hearing early this month, Khambule was found not guilty on the charges of sexual misconduct but guilty of bringing the church into disrepute by being drunk during the alleged incident in 1993. The investigation followed Khanyile's demand in September of R50 000 from Khambule to be "cleansed". Asked why it took him 10 years to make the allegations against Khambule, Khanyile said he was encouraged by news reports that the South African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) was calling on all people who were sexually abused by priests to come forward with information. -- News 24, Priest commits suicide, http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1462118,00.html , by Mandla Zulu, Dec 21, 2003, 11:35 - (SA)
• Curbing Rabbinic Abuse. NEW YORK: During the question-and-answer session of a forum last week on rabbinic abuse, several female health-care professionals in the audience spoke with passion and frustration about a well-known rabbi in their local community whose affairs with women in his office, they said, have gone on for years. The speakers said they felt stymied as to how to take action against the unnamed rabbi, who is highly respected, and help the women involved, who are too embarrassed to speak out. Their remarks underscored a central theme of the evening sponsored by The Jewish Week and Makor: that rabbinic abuse -- sexual, emotional and psychological -- is an ongoing problem, whether or not individual cases make the headlines. For all the increased public awareness and reforms made in recent years, the stigma of shame and secrecy among victims, particularly in the Orthodox community, still prevents many abusers from being identified and punished. Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani (spiritual adviser) at Yeshiva University and one of the program's three panelists, encouraged the women who spoke out not to lose hope and urged them to keep up their efforts to resolve the situation, even if it takes years. Rabbi Blau, who has sought to focus communal attention on the problem of rabbinic abuse for years, was joined on the panel by Dr. Michelle Friedman, a psychiatrist and director of pastoral counseling for rabbinical students at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in Manhattan, and Arthur Magida, a journalist and author of "The Rabbi and the Hit Man," an account of a New Jersey rabbi convicted in the murder of his wife in 1994. -- The Jewish Week, Curbing Rabbinic Abuse, Link, Staff Report, Saturday, December 20, 2003
• Gary bishop removes monsignor over admitted abuse during the 1960s. GARY (IN): A Roman Catholic priest has has been removed from priestly ministry over sexual misconduct with a minor while he was assigned to the cathedral of the Gary Diocese more than 30 years ago. Monsignor Don Grass admitted he committed the abuse, which occurred while he was an associate pastor at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary in the late 1960s, Bishop Dale J. Melczek said in a statement distributed Saturday night. "Monsignor Grass ... while manifestly repentant, admitted that the allegations were true," the statement said. Grass, who was ordained in 1961, had been pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Crown Point 1983. Telephone calls to the church went unanswered Saturday night, and Grass could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the diocese, Brian Olszewski, said he did not know where Grass has been staying since his removal this past week. -- WHAS, Gary bishop removes monsignor over abuse during the 1960s, Link, By KEN KUSMER / Associated Press
• Hundreds Rally to Support a Local Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing a Minor. ABC 7, Link, By Jeff Pegues (Parkchester-- WABC, December 20, 2003)
NEW YORK: Family, friends, and former congregation members gathered on Saturday for a rally in support of Monsignor Charles Kavanagh. The priest is the highest ranking cleric in the Archdiocese of New York to be implicated in the church's sexual abuse scandal. Monsignor Charles Kavanagh was pastor of Saint Raymond's Parish until May of last year. His supporters say he should get his job back while others insist he shouldn't because of the allegations of sexual abuse. Msgr. Charles Kavanagh, Suspended Priest: "I have no bitterness in my life. I'm frustrated because I see the best part of the church here. But I'm fine." Late Saturday afternoon, Monsignor Kavanagh reassured his supporters that he wasn't giving up. Eighteen months after being suspended from his duties at Saint Raymond's Parish, he vows to be vindicated. Msgr. Charles Kavanagh, Suspended Priest: "My integrity is in place. I will be vindicated. Tomorrow will be filled with all the blessings that my life has been filled with in the past."
• People Claiming Priest Abuse Learn of Settlement Amounts. [542 victims] BOSTON (MA) Dec. 20: Hundreds of people who say they were abused by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston learned on Saturday how much money they would receive as part of an $85 million settlement reached with the church in September. Each plaintiff will get $80,000 to $300,000. An arbitrator who met individually with plaintiffs and their lawyers over the past six weeks determined the amount. The amounts were based on type and duration of abuse and how it affected the victim. The checks [cheques] will be written on Monday, the Rev. Christopher Coyne, an archdiocesan spokesman, said. Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley said in a statement that no amount of money could completely compensate those who were abused. However, he said, "we hope that the conclusion of this phase of the settlement will provide survivors and their loved ones with some measure of healing and peace." The revelation of the settlement amounts, which were delivered to lawyers' offices on Saturday morning, ends nearly two years of legal wrangling between the church and lawyers for the 542 victims who signed the agreement, the largest ever by an American diocese to resolve sexual abuse claims. Only 10 victims did not participate in the settlement. -- The New York Times, People Claiming Priest Abuse Learn of Settlement Amounts, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/21/national/21BOST.html?ex=1072587600&en=5ded030963b2f40f&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE , By KATIE ZEZIMA Published: December 21, 2003
• Ex-minister seeks new trial in fondling case.  MISSISSIPPI: Shane Davis, a one-time minister serving prison time for his conviction on child fondling charges, is seeking a new trial on grounds the alleged victim has recanted his court testimony. Davis, the former pastor of a church in Starkville, was convicted in April 1999 on the child fondling charges in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court and sentenced to 8 years in prison. According to court testimony, Davis reportedly molested the child and showed him sexually explicit videotapes in 1998, when the boy was 8 years old. Davis appealed his conviction, but it was upheld by the state Court of Appeals. Attorney Jeffrey Hosford of West Point, who represents Davis, is asking the court to overturn Davis' conviction and order a new trial on grounds the boy, now age 13, had voluntarily given a sworn affidavit recanting his testimony during Davis' trial. -- The Clarion-Ledger, Man seeks new trial in fondling case. Link, The Associated Press
• Bronx priest, "affectionate" with seminarian, addresses former parishioners. THE BRONX (NY): On Saturday, Monsignor Kavanaugh, the priest suspended from his Bronx parish amid accusations of sexual abuse, addressed his former parishioners. The event drew hundreds of friends and well-wishers who stand by his claims of innocence. The ovation he received left Monsignor Kavanaugh in tears. He was suspended from his position at Saint Raymond's Parish 18 months ago after a seminarian accused him of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh has acknowledged what he calls an "affectionate" relationship with the man, but flatly denies any sexual interaction. While the New York archdiocese investigates the charges, most of his parishioners continue to stand by him. -- News 12, Bronx priest accused of sexual abuse addresses former parishioners, Link, Dec 20, 03
• Two clergy fail to stop sex abuse trial. [1968-77 +] IRELAND: Two members of a religious order who taught in a west of Ireland school have failed to secure High Court orders restraining their trials on charges of indecently assaulting former pupils. One complainant had told a priest of the alleged assaults in confession but was told by that priest to pray for his own forgiveness, the court heard. Another complainant had tried to avoid the alleged abuse by making himself fat because as he saw it, fat children were not abused. The first applicant faces trial on 179 charges of indecent assault from 1968 to 1977, while the second applicant, who served 12 years on separate assault charges, is facing charges in connection with two boys. Both had sought to prevent their trials on grounds of delay in making the complaints, prosecutorial delay and other factors. -- One in Four, Two clergy fail to stop sex abuse trial, Link, >From The Irish Times Online, http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2003/1218/1016197663HM4RELIGIOUShtml , Dec 18, 2003
• Expert says over 100 abused by Brothers of Charity and staff. IRELAND: A consultant and specialist in disability and abuse has written to the Minister for Health and Children, Mr Martin, expressing concern "about the alleged sexual abuse of large numbers of learning disabled people" at the Brothers of Charity Kilcornan centre, Clarinbridge, Co Galway. Dr Margaret Kennedy, who works in both Ireland and the UK, said she had "been made aware of the likelihood of up to 100 residents being sexually abused there over the years. "Many by Brothers of Charity, many by other service users who have been so corrupted they simply copy the sexual behaviour that was perpetrated against them." Dr Kennedy has been training staff with the Brothers of Charity in Galway for over three years in a client-protection programme. -- One in Four, Expert tells of concerns on sex abuse allegations, Link by Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent in The Irish Times, www.ireland.com , Dec 19, 03
• NY Priests Challenge Cardinal Over Sex Cases. NEW YORK (Reuters): Scores of New York priests accused Cardinal Edward Egan of failing to support fellow priests charged with sexual abuse of minors, one of the priests said on Saturday. A Dec. 12 petition signed by 69 priests says the archdiocese has given the impression that men who stand accused are "damaged goods." In one case, a priest "seems to have been coerced" into signing a document asking to be removed from the priesthood before trial, the petition says. "We need to tell you again what you already know; the morale of the New York presbyterate is at an all-time low," says the document, parts of which were published by The New York Times on Saturday. Rev. Edward Byrne of St. Ann's church in Ossining, New York, who signed a cover letter accompanying the petition, confirmed the content of the document. He declined to comment further until the priests get a response from the cardinal. But archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said the document has not yet been received. "We went through every piece of mail last night and no letter," he told Reuters. -- Reuters, NY Priests Challenge Cardinal Over Sex Cases, http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=4026662 , Sat December 20, 2003 01:38 PM ET.
• Priest suicides amid claims he lost members because of advances to men.  SOUTH AFRICA: Sex scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church around the world have claimed a South African victim in the popular Father Mfikiselwa Martin Khambule. Khambule, previously of the St Wendolins/Klaarwater parish, committed suicide on Friday, December 12, amid allegations that he had sexual intercourse with a fellow male Roman Catholic church member 10 years ago. The man who claimed that Khambule had sex with him, Thembinkosi Khanyile (35), alleged in September this year that several male members of the church had left because of Khambule's advances. A spokesperson for the Diocese of Mariannhill, Father Alexius Madela, told City Press that at a hearing early this month Khambule was found not guilty on the charges of sexual misconduct but guilty of bringing the church into disrepute by being drunk during the alleged incident in 1993. -- News 24, Sex claim: priest dead, http://www.news24.com/City_Press/City_Press_News/0,,186-187_1462010,00.html , by MANDLA ZULU.
• Guilt feeling, though raped at 8. [1950s-80s ] CALIFORNIA: It looks normal enough -- the small circle of casual-looking bankers, lawyers, teachers, mothers, retirees, thirtysomethings, neighbors -- but something is very wrong here. When a hip-looking guy wearing a tense smile and leather jacket speaks of the priest he says raped him, he laughs uncomfortably, holding back two decades of nagging pain with the awkwardness of a young boy's first Confession. A 44-year-old Monrovia native tells a sad joke, the punch line: "guilt," like that she and others felt for decades, "travels faster than the speed of light." She just got finished saying how a priest raped her in a basement when she was only 8 years old. An Alhambra attorney allegedly molested by a priest during the 1950s at a West LA Catholic school is "still on a high" that another victim of his "perpetrator," as they call those who hurt them, has come forward. For the first time in half a century he feels a unique validation of his pain, finally knowing for sure that he's not alone. These are the LA-area members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a national victims support group started 11 years ago and now nearly 5,000 strong. As many as 150 members from as far as Ventura County, West LA and the western end of the San Fernando Valley meet the first and third Monday of each month at Glendale's Verdugo Hills Hospital, according to the group organizer, an LA bank executive who said he was abused by a priest as a child. -- Pasadena Weekly, "They're not alone," www.pasadenaweekly.com/cityBeat/citybeat2.html , By Joe Piasecki and André Coleman
//////////////////// End of www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=46, Sunday, December 21, 2003
• Individual donations grow, but Catholic Sunday attendances down 5.0%. CHICAGO (Illinois): Fewer people in the pews translated into less money for parishes while increasing pension and insurance obligations created a deficit in the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Pastoral Center budget, according to the annual report for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The annual October count of people attending Mass showed that attendance was down 5.9 percent last year. That led to a 2.9 percent decrease in parish revenue, said Thomas Brennan, the archdiocesan director of finance, and overall operating deficit for parishes of $36 million. In fiscal 2002, the parishes had a combined surplus of $24.2 million, Brennan said. “The contributions, such as those received on Sundays, Holy Days, Christmas and Easter, represent the largest source of parish revenue, and they grew on a per-person basis of 4.8 percent in fiscal year 2003,” Brennan said, but it was not enough to offset the declining number of contributors. Cardinal George said he was disturbed that more pews are going empty, as only 25 to 30 percent of the 2.4 million registered Catholics go to Mass on a regular basis. (by courtesy of Catholic News http://www.cathnews.com/news/401/6.php , "5.9% decline in Mass attendance in Chicago last year," Jan 2 04) -- Catholic New World (Archdiocese of Chicago publisher), "Individual donations grow, but Pastoral Center and parishes showing deficits," http://catholicnewworld.com/cnw/issue/donations_122103.html , By Michelle Martin, Dec 21 03
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