Sunday, January 31, 2010

Archdiocese accused of silence about abusers

Archdiocese accused of silence about abusers
Saturday, January 30, 2010
By John Seymore
Citing recent reports that current and former Roman Catholic religious workers accused of molesting minors are housed near schools or living in undisclosed locations, victims’ advocates are criticizing the Chicago Archdiocese for staying silent about all accused clergy, teachers or volunteers with Chicago ties.

Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the archdiocese is falling back on secrecy despite promises since 2002 to be transparent.

The protest stems from a long-standing discrepancy between how dioceses and religious orders alert the public about clergy facing credible allegations.

“Members of a religious community are accountable to their major superior, not the archdiocese,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “Any allegation of professional or sexual misconduct that can be made against a brother is the responsibility of the religious congregation to which he belongs. The community is responsible for investigating and reporting allegations.”

Blaine said the distinction is “splitting hairs.” If an alleged abuser has any Chicago ties, whether he’s a native, served the church in Chicago or moved to Chicago after being removed from ministry elsewhere, the archdiocese should publicize his whereabouts.

Blaine cited the example of Joseph Lundowski, a church volunteer accused of molesting dozens of children in western Alaska in the 1960s and 1970s. On Monday, the Diocese of Fairbanks settled a lawsuit including claims against Lundowski for more than $9 million.

Blaine said Lundowski later returned to Chicago, and the church should have let people know when the suit was filed in 2004, eight years after Lundowski died.

She said the same is true in the case of former priest Frank Paduch, sued in 1997 for allegedly abusing a youth at St. Rita High School on Chicago’s South Side. The Chicago Archdiocese and Augustinian religious order reached a settlement two years later. The city of Berwyn hired Paduch several years later as its advocate for senior citizens. Berwyn police are investigating after the Survivors Network protested.

“If we want to have a safe society, people have to work together,” said Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She argues for transparency to enable that process. “

The Rev. Paul Lininger, executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, insists it’s up to each religious order to publicize names, but impossible to keep track of men after they’ve left.

That’s why Lininger said accused men are encouraged to stay within religious orders so they can be housed and held accountable for their actions.

But Blaine said that’s not effective. She has encountered at least one young person who knows Brother Anthony “Raimond” Rose, a Christian Brother named in multiple lawsuits for allegedly abusing students at two schools in Minnesota. Rose lives with other brothers next to De La Salle Institute, a coed high school run by the religious order.

“It’s reckless for them to live in that community,” Blaine said.

Pastor's son accuses him of threatening family

Alcoa pastor's son accuses him of pulling gun during argument at church
By Mark Boxley
markb@thedailytimes.com
Originally published: January 28. 2010 3:01AM
Last modified: January 28. 2010 12:19AM
The 32-year-old son of a well-known Alcoa pastor has taken out an order of protection against his father, claiming the man threatened him with a gun during an argument over the younger man's lack of church attendance.

The order of protection filed Monday by Michael Louis Colquitt, 32, Grayson Drive, Alcoa, stems from a Friday incident Colquitt reported to Alcoa police Sunday.

Colquitt reportedly told officers that his father — Joe Colquitt, 60, Evergreen Farms Lane, Greenback — called him to St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 178 Bessie Harvey Ave., Alcoa, “so they could talk.” Joe Colquitt was listed in the Alcoa report as being pastor at the church.


Once Michael Colquitt arrived to meet his father, he said Joe Colquitt was upset because he wasn't attending church like he should, and at some point alleged the argument came to a head with the pastor pulling out a handgun.

“(Michael) Colquitt stated (Joe) Colquitt pulled out a handgun and stated he would kill him, his wife and family,” the report said. “(Michael) Colquitt stated (his father) was upset because he cussed him.”

In the order of protection filed by Michael Colquitt — which was served to Joe Colquitt Tuesday — the allegations made by the younger man go one step further, as he claims his father “pulled out a gun and loaded it ... he pointed it at me numerous times ... he also punched me in my face.”

When officers contacted Joe Colquitt, he reportedly admitted that he did pull out a handgun during the argument, but said he pointed it at the ceiling, not his son.

The pastor denied threatening his son's wife and family, but said he told the 32-year-old that “because he cussed his father, God could kill his wife and family.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Safety, Joe Colquitt does not currently have a permit to carry a handgun.

Joe Colquitt declined to comment for this story when contacted by The Daily Times.

A phone message left for Michael Colquitt seeking comment was not returned.

The Alcoa police report also listed Joe Colquitt as an employee of Blount Memorial Hospital. While a representative of the hospital said she could not “confirm the employment status of any Blount Memorial Hospital employee or potential employee,” Colquitt was listed as working in customer relations in a BMH newsletter from October 2009. He was also listed as a BMH chaplain and customer service representative in an April 3, 2009 article in The Daily Times.

When the reporting officer contacted the Blount County District Attorney's Office about the case and explained the situation Monday, the office declined to prosecute Joe Colquitt “based on the conflicting stories and (because) there were no witnesses,” the report said.

The order of protection filed Monday prohibits Joe Colquitt from contacting Michael Colquitt or his family, and seeks to have a judge order the minister to “attend available counseling programs that address violence and control issues or substance abuse problems,” and prohibit him from owning, possessing, transporting or using a firearm or ammunition.

The case involving the order of protection is set to be heard at 9 a.m. Feb. 4 in front of Blount County General Sessions Judge Robert Headrick.

Friday, January 29, 2010

70 Irish priests accused of sex crimes in US

belfasttelegraph.co.uk
70 Irish priests accused of sex crimes in US
Friday, 29 January 2010


US victims of child abuse have unearthed a direct link to scandals in Ireland, revealing that 70 irish priests who worked in the States have been accused of paedophile crimes.




This dramatic disclosure follows the admission by the archdiocese of Boston that the list includes the late Fr Brendan Smyth, who worked briefly in Arlington two decades ago.


It had previously been thought that at that time he was on the run in the Republic from police in Belfast.


The Boston archdiocese was responding to the demands of victim-support groups, which have alleged in the wake of the Murphy Report that church leaders in Ireland sent accused priests to dioceses in other countries, including the US.


The revelations come as Irish victims of clerical child abuse have reacted furiously to the refusal of a retired Dublin auxiliary bishop to accept the finding of the Murphy Report that church authorities covered up paedophile crimes and either transferred offenders to other parishes or sent them abroad.


Bishop Dermot O'Mahony, who was censured in the report for his handling of complaints, has attempted to rally Dublin priests to his defence by openly challenging Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.


Last month, Archbishop Martin claimed that Bishop O'Mahony showed neither remorse nor apology and withdrew permission for him to administer the sacrament of confirmation.


Last night, prominent abuse victim Andrew Madden, who first outed the notorious Fr Ivan Payne, said Bishop O'Mahony should reflect on the damage done to so many children by what he did and failed to do.


Maeve Lewis, executive director of the One In Four victim-support group, said the bishop appeared to be questioning the validity of the Murphy Report's conclusion that there was a deliberate policy to cover up allegations of sexual abuse.


She added: "It is this culture of denial which facilitated the sexual abuse of children in the first place.


"If this response to the Murphy Report is widespread, then the Catholic Church will never be a safe place for children."


The US revelations came after an organisation called BishopAccountability.org published a list of 70 priests from Ireland who had been accused of molesting children, either in Ireland or while they were working in the United States.




This followed a public letter to Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, head of the Boston Archdiocese, asking him to identify any priests who have faced accusations of abuse elsewhere and who had worked in the area.


The Boston archdiocese disclosed that it had granted faculties to three priests on the list, including the late Brendan Smyth. The faculties permitted the clergymen to celebrate Mass and perform other duties.


In addition to Smyth, they include Joseph T. Maguire, a priest from the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, who was convicted of molesting more than a dozen boys in the state, and who died in 2005.


The archdiocese said that a review of its records shows that it was not aware of any accusations having been made against the priests when they were granted faculties, and that it found no records of accusations while the priests were there.


A spokesman said Smyth, the notorious Norbertine monk from Kilnacrott Abbey, in Co Cavan, who died in prison in 1997, was given permission to work as a priest in the archdiocese for two days in 1991.


But the Boston archdiocese has insisted that it has no record of any accusations being made against Fr Smyth while he was working for two days in St Camillus parish in Arlington.


Source Irish Independent

Man charged with abusing more boys at Haiti school

Last updated January 28, 2010 12:41 p.m. PT

Man charged with abusing more boys at Haiti school
By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A Colorado man charged with sexually abusing boys at a school he founded for street children in Haiti faces new charges that raise the number of alleged victims to 18.

Authorities accuse Douglas Perlitz of enticing children at the Project Pierre Toussaint school in Cap-Haitien into sex acts by promising them food, shelter, cash, cell phones, electronics and shoes. They say he also withheld benefits and threatened to expel the boys if they refused his wishes.

A new 19-count indictment incorporates old and new allegations against the 39-year-old Perlitz, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Perlitz pleaded not guilty last year to the original charges of abusing nine boys. His attorney, William Dow III, said Thursday that he would also plead not guilty to the new counts.

Perlitz, who founded the school when he lived in Connecticut, was arrested last September at his home in Eagle, Colo., and remains in custody.

Authorities characterize him as a sexual predator who used the charitable institution to sexually molest vulnerable children for a decade. They said Perlitz told an investigator that the alleged victims of molestation "need to move on and get over it."

Perlitz created a hierarchy among the boys by giving money, clothing and other items to some while others were denied basic items such as bed sheets, prosecutors say. Boys who engaged in sex acts with Perlitz understood they would face little or no punishment if they behaved abusively to other children, while those who refused sex acts with Perlitz knew they could be expelled and forced to return to a life on the street, authorities said.

According to the indictment, school volunteers and staff members were afraid to come forward with the allegations because Perlitz controlled the school's operations and "utilized the fear of unemployment and the difficult economic situation in Haiti." The indictment alleges Perlitz used his relationship with a religious leader and board members of a fund maintained by the school's fundraising arm to continue to conceal or try to hide his sexual conduct.

The superseding indictment charges Perlitz with nine counts of traveling outside the United States with the intent to engage in sexual conduct with minors and 10 counts of engaging in sexual conduct in foreign places with minors. Perlitz faces up to 30 years in prison on each charge if convicted.

The investigation is continuing, prosecutors say.

The school initially served mostly street children as young as 6 and later grew to include a residential program for high schoolers.

Mother killed son, 4, 'as a religious sacrifice'

Mother killed son, 4, 'as a religious sacrifice' just days after being released from a psychiatric ward
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:22 PM on 28th January 2010
A mother killed her four-year-old son as a religious sacrifice just days after being freed from a hospital and allowed to look after him.

Emma Manser, 24, believed she was the Messiah and had to sacrifice her own life and that of her young son Ryan.

She smothered him to death with a pillow four days after being released from a mental hospital and hours after warning her family that she wanted to kill them all.

Tragic: Emma Manser, left, killed her four-year-old Ryan and stabbed his grandmother Wendy Richards, 44, several times in Exeter, Devon
She then stabbed her own mother five times as she tried to resuscitate the boy, an inquest heard today.

Emma hanged herself three months later at a mental hospital in Sussex where she was being held.

Ryan Manser was on the child protection register and has been supervised by social workers since he was born.

A Serious Case Review carried out after Ryan was killed in April 2007 made 20 recommendations and the boy’s family have complained that more could have been done to protect him.

An inquest in Honiton, Devon, heard how Emma Manser had a history of mental illness dating back to her late teens when she had complained of being bullied and had started taking cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine.

She spent most of the nine months before the killing at the Cedars Unit at Wonford House Hospital in Exeter, where she was allowed home leave to visit Ryan at the home of her mother Wendy Richards in Whipton, Exeter.

Scene of crime: Mincinglake Road, Exeter, Devon where Ryan Manser was found dead
On the night of the killing she and the boy were both sleeping on mattresses on the floor of the living room when she smothered him with a pillow. They had been doing a jigsaw puzzle together just minutes earlier.

Mother-of-four Mrs Richards, aged 56, sobbed as she told the inquest Emma had threatened to kill all the family but she had not taken it seriously.

She said:'I thought she was only joking and didn’t mean it. I asked her why she came out with these things and told her she scared people.

'I went to bed and woke to find Emma standing there. She said: "What have I done to Ryan? Look what I have done to Ryan".

'She was icy. Her eyes were huge and empty. The way she said it was creepy and scary. Ryan was pale and lacking life. I screamed for someone to call an ambulance and tried pumping his chest.

'Emma came back into the room and said "I’ll kill you all" and I felt something go into my shoulder. I saw something shiny and she stabbed me again. I could feel the blood gurgling from my back.

'I don’t know why it happened. She had slept like that with Ryan quite a few times and nothing untoward had happened. I didn’t think she was a risk to Ryan. I didn’t think she would hurt him.

'I think they let her out too early. I told the social workers she should not be out so early. She still came out with lots of stupid things and I could tell she was not right. You could tell it from her eyes.

'It was hard because it was left to me whether to let her see Ryan or not. I could not turn her away because she was his mum.

'She had threatened to harm him, but she threatened to kill all of us. It was something she would say.

'At her worst she used to say she was the Messiah and had been put on earth to do God’s work. She thought she could read people’s thoughts, and they could read hers.

'She said she was going to take her life as a sacrifice and she was going to sacrifice Ryan as well. That afternoon I told her to stop going on about the Messiah and God because Ryan was around.'

Mrs Richards said her daughter had not changed because of her abuse of drugs but that it happened after Ryan’s birth. At first she coped well but then started staying in bed for much of the day, leaving the child on his own.

Mr Warren Robinson, representing Emma’s father Robert, has asked the coroner to examine how Ryan came to be killed at a time when his case was well known to social services and he was on the at risk register.

He said a summary of the Serious Case Review has been published, containing 20 recommendations, but its findings have not been released.

The inquest is continuing and the doctors and social workers are expected to give evidence tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Judge OKs Alaska diocese plan for abuse victims

Last updated January 26, 2010 9:58 a.m. PT

Judge OKs Alaska diocese plan for abuse victims
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- A judge has approved the final details of a bankruptcy plan revision for the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese that will help compensate sexual abuse victims.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Donald McDonald approved the reorganization plan at a Monday hearing in Anchorage. It was the third revision negotiated over nearly two years by the diocese and a creditors' committee representing nearly 300 abuse victims.

The plan, expected to be signed by the judge within two weeks, provides $9.8 million in compensation to be divided among victims.

Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa, who has represented most of the victims for the past seven years, said he still expects lengthy court action with two insurance companies - Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America and Travelers Casualty and Surety Co.

"This is no huge milestone - just another step along the path," Roosa said.

The diocese raised the money primarily by selling its properties to its own endowment fund. Its 46 parishes contributed $650,000, and Alaska National Insurance Co. added $1.4 million.

The money will be distributed by a court-appointed settlement trustee on a case-by-case basis, said James Stang, attorney for the creditors committee.

The settlement also requires Bishop Donald Kettler to travel for the next 18 months to small communities throughout the diocese to apologize to surviving victims and conduct healing ceremonies.

The diocese also must issue a general letter of apology and post names of accused abusers on its Web site. That list will include the names of priests, deacons, nuns, brothers and church volunteers, both living and dead.

"With this ruling we can now begin the process of restoring trust and healing," Kettler said in a statement.

The northern Alaska diocese sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2008 after multiple sexual abuse claims dating back to the 1960s were lodged against Catholic clergy and volunteers.

Stang said the creditors committee also was pleased with the plan, "but there is still a lot of work to be done."

The settlement designates $2.5 million for fees to be paid to attorneys, accountants and other professionals. It also includes a provision for a future claims fund.

---

Information from: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rape victim receives 101 lashes for becoming pregnant

Rape victim receives 101 lashes for becoming pregnant

A 16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault.


By Dean Nelson, South Asia Editor

Published: 4:30PM GMT 25 Jan 2010

The girl's father was also fined and warned the family would be branded outcasts from their village if he did not pay.

According to human rights activists, the girl, who was quickly married after the attack, was divorced weeks later after medical tests revealed she was pregnant.


Bangladesh's Daily Star newspaper reported that she was so ashamed following the attack that she did not lodge a complaint.


Her rape emerged after her pregnancy test and Muslim elders in the village issued a fatwa insisting that the girl be kept in isolation until her family agreed to corporal punishment.


Her rapist was pardoned by the elders. She told the newspaper the rapist had "spoiled" her life.

"I want justice," she said.

Asian mums losing 'honour babies'

Asian mums losing 'honour babies'

By Ushma Mistry
BBC Asian Network

Some single British Asian women are being forced by their families to give up their children as so-called "honour babies", according to a charity which wants action to uncover the scale of the problem.

Saima was just 17 when she fell pregnant. But, instead of feeling happy about becoming a mum, she knew her world was about to fall apart.

Although she longed to keep her baby, she was aware her strict Pakistani parents would never allow it because she was not married.

She declined her GP's option of an abortion and hid her pregnancy from her parents until a few weeks before she was due to give birth.

"As soon as my parents found out I was pregnant they kept me hidden in the house," she said.

"I wasn't allowed out until I gave birth to my son. They immediately adopted him as their own and a few days later I was sent to Pakistan where my dad had arranged my marriage.

"I wasn't allowed to return to the UK until I fell pregnant with my husband's child.

"My husband and I lived quite close to my parents so I had to watch them bring up my son and pretend he was my brother. My marriage didn't really work out and I was very unhappy."


“ In some cases, after a baby is born, what families will do is fly in an auntie and to the community this is that woman's child ”
Jasvinder Sanghera Karma Nirvana
Saima's name has been changed to protect her identity but the situation is all too real for her and many more young Asian women.

A charity has told BBC Asian Network it fears a growing problem of single women being forced to give up their babies because of "honour".

"It is a deeply hidden issue but a very relevant one that is kept underground," says Jasvinder Sanghera, who founded the charity Karma Nirvana to help victims of forced marriages and honour-based crimes.

She said: "The term 'honour baby' is used because the baby is said to have brought dishonour on that family.

"The cases could be in their hundreds, because we have no idea how many there are."

Lack of care

Most of the cases involve girls from south Asian backgrounds who have fallen pregnant out of wedlock or by a boyfriend from a different background.

Their parents force them to put their babies up for adoption or hand them over to other family members to prevent shame.

Some of these girls go to great lengths to conceal the pregnancies from their parents because they know they will never be accepted.

Ms Sanghera says her honour network helpline has received a number of calls similar to Saima's story.

She added: "In these cases, the families take it upon themselves to hide them from the world and refuse them any medical attention so they're not allowed any maternity care that other pregnant women get.

"I've seen cases where girls have had to wear tight clothing to hide the fact they are pregnant so nobody in the community finds out.

"In some cases, after a baby is born, what families will do is fly in an auntie from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, and to the community this is that woman's child."

Unrecorded

Dr Julie Selwyn is an adoption and fostering expert at the Hadley Centre in Bristol.

She said she first came across "honour babies" when she was carrying out her research into reasons children were put up for adoption.

"The reason children come into care is recorded and usually the main reason is abuse or neglect. There is no category called family honour," explained Dr Selwyn.

"In our sample of around 50 Asian children, half of them were there because of that reason."

Dr Selwyn's sample was taken from areas in London, the Midlands and the north of England.

All of the children went on to be adopted, but she says it is very difficult to know just how many cases actually exist in the UK.

There are now calls for cases of so-called honour babies to be recorded in the same way as forced marriages and domestic violence in a bid to gauge the scale of the problem.

"Once upon a time we had no statistics on forced marriages. When we started to engage on the issue, speak out about it, develop helplines and raise awareness then people started to report it.

"Now, thankfully, we have statistics on forced marriages - the same needs to happen with 'honour babies'."

The damage to Catholic Church

The damage to Catholic Church
Mon, Jan 25, 2010

THE NEED for reform of the national school system has become increasingly urgent as society undergoes rapid change. Two years ago, the Ryan report into the abuse of children in religious-run establishments generated debate on whether the Catholic Church should retain control of the sector. Now, following publication of the Murphy report, the electorate has made up its mind and supports ending that control by a margin of almost two-to-one, according to today’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.

Loss of confidence in the Catholic hierarchy, because of its handling of clerical sex abuse issues, may account for some of this shift in public opinion. Other factors should also be taken into consideration. The census of 2006 provided evidence of a growing multicultural student population and changes in religious demographics. In that context, control of more than 90 per cent of national schools by the Catholic Church, while they are fully funded by the State, raised questions concerning the right to religious practice under the Constitution while also touching on possible discriminatory treatment under equality laws.

Overcrowding at some Catholic-run national schools in the Dublin area during recent years and the refusal by the authorities there to accept immigrant children of different faiths caused Government whip Pat Carey to speculate that it might be time for the State to take responsibility for delivering an educational system. The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin believed the Catholic Church was ready to relinquish control where there was little or no demand for Catholic input. But he warned the Government would be on “dodgy ground” if it attempted to take over the entire system. Since then, apart from a handful of multi-denominational, VEC-run national schools being established, little has happened.

The Murphy report on clerical sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese has reignited the debate. Demand for change is strongest in this area and 61 per cent of those questioned felt the Catholic Church should relinquish its control at primary school level. Fianna Fáil supporters were least committed, but large majorities favoured such a development within Fine Gael and the Labour Party. Support for a retention of the status quo amounted to less than one-third across all social classes and age groups.

The extent of the damage caused by decades of clerical child abuse and systematic cover-ups is reflected by the fact that almost three-quarters of those surveyed believe the church did not responded adequately to the Murphy report. Only 16 per cent felt it had. With close on half of those questioned now regarding the church in a more negative light, members of the hierarchy face a monumental task in rebuilding trust with their congregations. They have limited grounds for hope. A slight majority of 52 per cent believe the church will change in order to prevent future clerical abuse. But more than one-third of respondents take a negative view. As bishops prepare for their visit to Rome, they have much on which to ponder .

© 2010 The Irish Times

Catholic Church 'should give up control of primary schools'

Catholic Church 'should give up control of primary schools'
STEPHEN COLLINS Political Editor

Mon, Jan 25, 2010

IN THE wake of the Murphy report a majority of people believe that the Catholic Church should give up its control of the primary school system, according to the latest Irish Times /Ipsos, MRBI poll.

When asked about the issue, 61 per cent of people said the church should give up control of the school system, 28 per cent said it should maintain its position and 11 per cent had no opinion on the matter.

Fianna Fáil voters were most supportive of the church maintaining its current role, while Sinn Féin voters were the most hostile to it continuing to have control of the system.

There were no great differences in terms of age. Over 65s were marginally more supportive of the church’s position, but the views of the 18-24 age group were almost identical.

There was also a uniform response in terms of social class but there were some regional variations with voters in Dublin most strongly against continuing church control and voters in the rest of Leinster most supportive. This reflected a national urban/rural divide on the issue, with the response of people in urban areas more negative than those in rural areas.

The poll was taken on Monday and Tuesday of last week among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.

When asked if their attitude to the Catholic Church had changed following the disclosures in the Murphy report about its handling of child abuse allegations, voters were almost equally divided. Forty-seven per cent of voters said their attitude to the church had become more negative; 47 per cent said it had not changed; 3 per cent said it had become more positive; and 3 per cent had no opinion.

Asked how they felt about the response of the church to the Murphy report, 74 per cent said the church had not responded adequately, 16 per cent said it had, and 10 per cent had no opinion.

People aged 65 and over were more inclined to believe that the church had responded adequately but even in this age group a large majority felt the response had not been adequate.

Voters in Dublin were strongest in the view that the church had not responded adequately while those in Connacht/Ulster were most inclined to the view that it had responded adequately.

In party political terms Fianna Fáil voters were more inclined to say the church had responded adequately but a substantial majority of party supporters still felt that it had not responded adequately.

Sinn Féin voters were the most negative about the church’s response.

The only positive aspect of the poll from the church’s point of view is that a majority of voters believe that it will change to prevent clerical child abuse from happening in the future.

In response to being asked if they thought the church would change to prevent abuse 52 per cent said they believed it would, 35 per cent said it would not and 13 per cent had no opinion.

As with the other questions on the Murphy report, Fianna Fáil voters were most inclined to the view that the church would change with 61 per cent of them believing that it would.

Fine Gael voters were almost equally inclined to the same view with 57 per cent saying the church would change.

Labour Party supporters were more negative, followed by the Greens with Sinn Féin voters the only ones to show a majority for the view that the church would not change.

In age terms those over 50 and the 18-24s were most inclined to the view that the church would change to prevent abuse in the future. Across the regions Dublin was again the most negative from the church’s point of view while Munster was the most positive.

© 2010 The Irish Times

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Judge acquits elderly priest on fourth day of abuse trial

Independent.ie
Judge acquits elderly priest on fourth day of abuse trial
By Sonya McLean
Saturday January 23 2010

A priest accused of sexually assaulting a Co Louth teenager was yesterday acquitted by direction of the trial judge after he ruled that the inadmissibility of the woman's psychiatric notes was prejudicial to the defence.

Father Maeliosa O Hauallachain, of Seafield Road, Killiney, Co Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to three charges of indecent assault on dates between July 31, 1981 and August 2, 1982.

It was alleged that the priest, now aged 72, had assaulted the woman when she was aged between 13 and 14. But Fr O Hauallachain was acquitted on day-four of the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Frank O'Donnell ruled that the case notes from a consultant psychiatrist, who treated the woman for 10 years, were inadmissible because the author died last year.

He told the jury of five women and seven men that the defendant was "deprived of exploring all avenues because (the notes) could not be produced in evidence".

He said he considered this "unsafe and that is why I am withdrawing the case from you".

The judge told the jury that there had been a suggestion in some of the notes that the complainant may have had a mental condition that could have created certain delusions.

In his ruling, the judge said: "The complainant made clear allegations and . . . the accused made trenchant denials . . . and if that was all I had to deal with the matter would go to the jury."


Unfair

"The inability to refer to these notes, which may illuminate the complainant's condition poses a real problem to the defence . . . and could lead to an unfair trial," he explained.

The judge added that he found it "very strange indeed" that, although the now dead psychiatrist first carried out a "psycho-sexual investigation" with the teenager in 1984, two and half years after the alleged offences, "it was not until 1994 that the allegation of sexual abuse was first made".

The judge said he had to consider the fact that the complainant alleged sexual abuse by an uncle to a social worker in 1994, but never mentioned the accused priest at that stage.

He said that the complainant, now aged 42, denied that she ever suffered from delusions, which were outlined in the psychiatrist notes, but admitted a "significant mental breakdown".

The judge told Fr O Hauallachain he was free to go.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Irish bishops meeting over sex abuse report

Irish bishops meeting over sex abuse report

The report led to the resignation of four Irish bishops
Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland are to meet to discuss the fallout of a report over the Church's failure to address sex abuse allegations.

The report was published in November and led to the resignation of four bishops in six weeks.

The Murphy report into abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004 was highly critical of the handling of priests who were suspected abusers.

The Pope is preparing a special letter to Irish Catholics.

This meeting of those bishops who do remain in office will focus on how the Church rebuilds public trust.

The Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, known as the Murphy report, laid bare a culture of concealment where Church leaders prioritised the protection of their own institution above that of vulnerable children in their care.

Pope's 'outrage'

Instead, paedophile priests were moved from parish to parish, free to repeat their actions on new victims.

Of five bishops named in that report, only the Bishop of Galway, Martin Drennan is still in office, despite calls for his resignation from victims of abuse.

Immediately after the report's publication, the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said he was "deeply sorry and ashamed" at the abuse of children described in the report.

Pope Benedict has also summoned Irish bishops to Rome next month for a series of meetings on the issue.

He previously said he shared the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by Irish people.

In a statement, issued after he met Irish church leaders in December, the Pope was said to be "disturbed and distressed".

Group urges bishop resignations

Group urges bishop resignations
JASON MICHAEL

Fri, Jan 22, 2010

A Catholic lay organisation has called for the immediate resignation of all Irish bishops implicated in the covering up of clerical child sexual abuse as found by the Murphy report.

The call comes as Catholic bishops gather in Maynooth today for an extraordinary general meeting. The EGM is discussing the summoning of Irish bishops to Rome by the Pope in the wake of the Murphy report.

In a statement, Voice of the Faithful Ireland (VOTFI) said the moral authority of the papacy in Ireland, and of Catholic bishops, is likely to collapse "if the promised papal pastoral letter to Ireland does not squarely address the issue of the widespread cover up by bishops of the outrage of clerical child sexual abuse".

"Especially damaging was the admission by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference on December 9th, 2009 that the Murphy report indicated a widespread culture of covering up of clerical child sexual abuse in the church.

"This should have been followed by the immediate resignation of all Irish bishops who had participated in or acceded to this cover up," the group said.

It should also have triggered an immediate declaration from the papacy that this cover up would be investigated and explained."

The organisation added it was well known to the faithful "this problem extends well beyond Ireland, and implicates the universal Church and its governance from Rome".

"The reluctance of implicated bishops to resign, and the failure of the papacy to declare any such intent, have so seriously damaged the moral prestige of the office of Catholic bishops, and of the papacy, that recovery may already be impossible."

VOTFI said it was alarmed at reports the papal pastoral may go no further "than to repeat empty condemnations of clerical sex abuse".

"Despite the strong leadership shown by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, the prestige and authority of Catholic bishops in Ireland, and of the papacy, continue to decline in the wake of the Murphy report of November 26th, 2009," the group said.

The group urged the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, among other steps, to request the papacy undertake an inquiry into all aspects of the clerical child sexual abuse scandal, ensure a thorough investigation of all remaining Irish dioceses is done, and request the immediate resignations of all Irish bishops implicated in the cover up.

© 2010 irishtimes.com

Indiana priest convicted of assaulting 2 boys

Indiana priest convicted of assaulting 2 boys
January 22, 2010

A priest of the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend has been convicted of assaulting two boys. The assault of one boy took place in 1979, a year before former Holy Cross brother James R. Blume was ordained a diocesan priest.

Blume told a police detective that in 1989, when he ceased to exercise his ministry following an allegation, the diocese “handed me $50,000 and told me to start a new life.” Blume was laicized in 2007.

Bonds set in Naperville child porn case

Bonds set in Naperville child porn case
Comments


January 21, 2010

By BILL BIRD wbird@scn1.com
Bonds were set Wednesday for a former music director of Roman Catholic Church parishes in Naperville and Glen Ellyn and his housemate, who are charged with storing pornographic images of children on computers in their home on Naperville's northwest side.

Associate DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Liam C. Brennan set a bond of $200,000 for Brian K. Milnikel, 45; and one of $100,000 for his roommate, Christopher F. Kontopoulos, 20. The men live at 894 Nelli Court in Naperville's Brookdale manor neighborhood.

» Click to enlarge image

Brian K. Milnikel (left) and Christopher F. Kontopoulos

Doug Delaney, executive assistant to Bishop J. Peter Sartain of the Roman Catholic Church's Joliet diocese, on Wednesday confirmed Milnikel worked from July 2006 until Tuesday as music director of St. James The Apostle Church in Glen Ellyn. "His responsibilities as music director were terminated" Tuesday immediately following his arrest, Delaney said.

Milnikel also worked from August 2004 until June 2006 as associate music director of St. Raphael Church in Naperville, Delaney said. St. Raphael is at 1215 Modaff Road in the central part of the city.

Church officials "fully cooperated with the authorities" in their investigation of Milnikel, Delaney said.

"It's very unfortunate," Delaney said of the situation. Milnikel "underwent an extensive background check before he was employed at either church," which included fingerprinting, he said.

Delaney added there was "no indication of any problems (and) no arrests in the past" involving Milnikel.

Kontopoulos and Milnikel were arrested Tuesday morning, after Naperville police executed a search warrant at their home. The pair had been under investigation since last fall.

Police allegedly found pornographic videos and images of children in both men's personal computers. Both face trial on Class 3 felony charges of possession of child pornography.

Milnikel and Kontopoulos remained in custody late Wednesday afternoon in DuPage County Jail. Arraignment dates of Feb. 22 have been set for both men.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Notorious Washington priest accused of molesting residents of boys’ home

Notorious Washington priest accused of molesting residents of boys’ home
January 21, 2010

Father Patrick O’Donnell, whose abuse of dozens of boys in the State of Washington helped bankrupt the Diocese of Spokane, has been accused of abusing residents of the Morning Star Boys Ranch, a home for troubled boys.

Also accused is Father Joseph Weitensteiner, who led the home for nearly four decades until his retirement in 2006. According to BishopAccountablity.org, Father Weitensteiner was accused in 2005 of abuse of 2 boys in 70s & 80s at Morning Star Boys Ranch. Resigned as head of Ranch in 4/06. Denied all the allegations. Reportedly took a lie detector test and passed. 19 plaintiffs allege abuse by Weitensteiner, Marvin Lavoy and others at the Ranch. 1 trial set for 1/10. In 11/09 Ranch transferred bulk of its assets to nonprofit Morning Star Foundation which will complicate any possible settlements or judgments.

Shorewood priest who tried to kill himself charged with 7 felonies

Shorewood priest who tried to kill himself charged with 7 felonies
By Jameel Naqvi | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 1/20/2010 5:29 PMA priest who tried to kill himself earlier this month after learning he was facing allegations of sexual abuse was formally charged on Wednesday, according to the Kane County state's attorney's office.

Alejandro Flores, 37, of the 600 block of Brook Forest Avenue in Shorewood, was charged with one count of predatory criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, all felonies that together carry a maximum sentence of 67 years in prison, the state's attorney's office said late Wednesday.

Authorities say Flores, who was parochial vicar at Holy Family Parish in Shorewood, sexually abused a boy younger than 13 between 2005 and 2010 while he was a seminarian assigned to St. Mary's Parish in West Chicago.

Flores has been removed from his church post and placed on leave pending the result of the case, according to the Diocese of Joliet.

The St. Charles family of the alleged victim reported the accusations to police on Jan. 4, two days before Flores lept off a 20-foot choir balcony at St. Mary's Carmelite Church in Joliet.

Joliet police arrested Flores Wednesday after he recovered from his injuries. He will be held in the Kane County jail and must post $100,000 to be released.

Flores is scheduled to appear in bond court Thursday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Priest 'made girl say 10 Hail Marys after assault'

Independent.ie
Priest 'made girl say 10 Hail Marys after assault'
By Sonya McLean
Wednesday January 20 2010

A WOMAN told a jury her priest made her say 10 Hail Marys as penance after he abused her in a confessional room.

Father Maeliosa O Hauallachain (72), of Seafield Road, Killiney, Co Dublin, pleaded not guilty to three charges of indecent assault on dates between July 31, 1981, and August 2, 1982, when the complainant was between 13 and 14 years old.

The Louth woman, who is now 42, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday that the priest abused her and told her not to tell anyone.

She told the court she started drinking heavily by the time she was 15 and would self harm and bathe herself in Savlon (an antiseptic cream).

"I felt terrible, dirty; felt there was a smell off my body. My behaviour deteriorated somewhat. I knew it was wrong," she said.

The woman told of how Fr O Hauallachain was manipulating her and how he had power over her.

"I was afraid of him. I felt if I broke my silence, God would harm me," the complainant said.

She said the first assault happened before she went to Fr O Hauallachain to say her confession.

Sinned

She knelt down beside a screen and had just said "bless me Father, for I have sinned" when Fr O Hauallachain "popped his head around and said 'Ah, it's yourself'."

He then took her around the other side of the screen and sat her on his knee. She continued to discuss some issues she was having before he put his arm around her and kissed her on the lips.

She said Fr O Hauallachain then got up and locked the door of the confession room.

He started to touch her breasts and kissed her on the lips. "He put my hand into the pocket of his habit and made me play with his penis.

"He then told me to say 10 Hail Marys for my penance and not to tell anyone what happened," the woman told the jury.

"Like a fool, I went out and said the Hail Marys. I felt so bad and ashamed of what had just happened in the house of God," she continued.

She said that the abuse continued when Fr O Hauallachain would "persuade" her into a room in the priory and touch her inside her underwear.

She said he would kiss her using his tongue and make her masturbate him. She said the same type of abuse would happen in this room in the priory most Sundays and sometimes as she was passing on her way home, up until the age of 15.

The complainant described how, on some occasions, O Hauallachain was not wearing any underwear under his robes.

The trial continues.

Judge says convicted priest a 'sexually violent person'

Judge says convicted priest will remain behind bars
Judge: Daniel McCormack a 'sexually violent person'
WGN News

A former Chicago Roman-Catholic priest and convicted sex offender is indeed a sexually-violent person a judge ruled Tuesday.

Tuesday's hearing dealt with the likelihood of whether Daniel McCormack would sexually-abuse more boys if he was released. McCormack will remain behind bars.

McCormack pleaded guilty in 2007 to fondling five boys aged 8 to 12 at St. Agatha's Catholic Church on the Chicago's west side. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Last September, shortly before he was to be paroled, state prosecutors filed to have McCormack sent to a mental health facility under Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Act. It says that convicted sex offenders can be kept locked up - even after they've served their sentences.

Tuesday's testimony pitted one psychiatrist hired by the Dept. of Corrections against another psychiatrist hired by the Attorney General. Both evaluated McCormack, and both used actuarial instruments that found he had a moderate to high risk of re-offending. But both sides disagreed as to whether he should remain behind bars.

In the end, the judge sided with prosecutors, and parishioners are relieved. "I walked in on him one time, and he's dressing an altar boy," says one St. Agatha parishioner. "It was the farthest thing from my mind that he was molesting the child, but as I look back, we all have 20/20 hindsight. It's so easy to say what could have, should have been done. It wasn't done, but it's being done now."

McCormack's attorneys tried to argue that using isolated clinical judgment to predict his future behavior was no better than leaving it up to chance. No date has been set for the trial by jury, but another hearing in the case is scheduled for March 2.

McCormack's family was in court but left without comment.

Copyright © 2010, WGN-TV

Defense: Healers thought dying son had cold or flu

Last updated January 19, 2010 1:08 p.m. PT

Defense: Healers thought dying son had cold or flu
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- A prosecutor in the trial of an Oregon couple charged with negligent homicide in the faith-healing death of their 16-year-old son says the defendants failed to meet the community standard for medical care.

Prosecutor Greg Horner made his statements Tuesday to a Clackamas County jury in opening statements in the case of Jeff and Marci Beagley of Oregon City,

The teen died in June 2008 of complications from a urinary tract blockage that doctors said could have been treated.

Defense attorneys say the defendants were not aware of the serious disease affecting their son Neil because his symptoms resembled a cold or flu.

The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.

Pope, Irish bishops plan summit on child abuse

Last updated January 20, 2010 1:57 a.m. PT

Pope, Irish bishops plan summit on child abuse
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

DUBLIN -- Roman Catholic officials in Ireland say the country's bishops are being summoned next month to a Vatican summit with Pope Benedict XVI to shape the pontiff's response to Irish child-abuse scandals.

Two church officials have told The Associated Press that Irish bishops have received letters this month from the pope inviting them to a Feb. 15-16 meeting. The officials spoke on condition they not be identified because the Vatican has yet to announce the event.

Irish government-ordered investigations published last year documented decades of Catholic coverups of child abuse within the Dublin Archdiocese and residences for troubled children. Four bishops implicated in the Dublin report have resigned for failing to tell police about abuse cases.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Actor speaks of his boyhood sex abuse anguish

Movie star Gabriel Byrne speaks of his boyhood sex abuse anguish

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Gabriel Byrne has revealed how he was "deeply hurt" by sexual abuse inflicted on him as a child by the Christian Brothers.




The irish film star opened up about the abuse in the first show of Gay Byrne's 'Meaning of Life' series on RTE television.

The actor talked frankly about his battles with alcoholism and depression in the past and expressed shock at the drinking culture among Ireland's young people.


Byrne was an altar boy during his childhood in Dublin and went at the age of 11 to train as a priest in England.


"Unfortunately, I experienced some sexual abuse. It was a known and admitted fact of life amongst us that there was this particular man and you didn't want to be left in the dressing room with him," he said.


"It took many years to come to terms with it and to forgive those incidents that I felt had deeply hurt me."


Another priest sexually abused him when he was 11 at the English seminary.


"It didn't go on over a prolonged period but it happened at a very, very vulnerable moment," Byrne recalled.




"Again I didn't think it severely impacted me at the time but when I think about my later life and how I had difficulties with certain issues, there is the real possibility they could have been attributable to that."


Byrne said he left the priesthood four and half years later because of his love of women.


"I went down to London during a break and we got on the bus and I walked up the stairs behind two girls in mini-skirts and that was the end of it for me," he said.


The actor, who has been open previously about his experiences with alcoholism and depression, said he had gone through very black periods in his life


He believes alcohol is linked to depression and is shocked at the amount of alcohol consumed by young people here.


"I think we've a huge problem in this country with alcohol and depression, they are often intertwined," Byrne said.


"I walked down Grafton Street a couple of months ago on a Saturday and it was scary beyond description."


The actor said it was "really sad to see young people vomiting in doorways".


"There is this plague of binge drinking where the idea is to get as out of it as you possibly can as quick as you can. That's alcoholism. Part of the disease is to remove yourself from reality as quickly as possible."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Madden leaves Church over failure of bishops to resign

Madden leaves Church over failure of bishops to resign
PATSY McGARRY Religious Affairs Correspondent

Mon, Jan 18, 2010

THE FIRST person in Ireland to have gone public - in 1995 - about his abuse by a Catholic priest has formally left the Catholic Church.

Andrew Madden, who was abused when an altar boy in Cabra parish in Dublin by Ivan Payne, wrote to the Dublin archdiocese before Christmas saying he wished to leave the Church. He received notice of his “cessation of church membership by formal act of defection. . .” from church authorities last week.

He also received a letter, dated January 11th, from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin expressing sadness at the decision to leave and saying it made him wonder whether the church could learn from it.

In a response to Archbishop Martin at the weekend, Mr Madden said that following publication of the Murphy report, he was “appalled, as I believe you may have been, by the behaviour of your fellow bishops as they did everything to try and hold onto office, four of them failing”.

The bishops “added insult to injury by a collective failure to immediately offer their resignations in acknowledgment of what they had done, or failed to do, and out of respect for the experiences of children sexually abused by Catholic priests in Dublin”.

He continued: “A church whose leading members behave in this way is not a church I want in my life, not even in name only. A church whose bishops shielded paedophile priests is not a church I want in my life.

“A church whose priests congregate to express support for those bishops continuing in office in direct opposition to what many victims asked for is not a church I want in my life. “A church which finds Bishop Drennan acceptable in its episcopal ranks, despite having been part of a church in Dublin between 1997 and 2004 which covered up the sexual abuse of children is not a church I want in my life . . . A church which parades itself as a state when it wants to avoid accounting to the citizens of a country whose children it has abused is not a church I want in my life.”

He said: “No priest will ever preach to me standards his own church doesn’t even try to live up to. No priest will ever comfort me when I am sick. No priest will hear my ‘sins’. No priest will instruct me in penance. No priest will bless my relationship with my beautiful partner, Alan. No priest will pray over my coffin when I am dead. And no priest will bury me in ‘consecrated ground’,” he added.

He recalled that in 1983, the church in Dublin decided he was not suitable for the priesthood.

“Two years earlier the same Catholic Church had allowed Ivan Payne to continue as a priest despite knowing that he had sexually abused

Bankrupt diocese wants to pay $10,000 per month to accused priests

Bankrupt diocese wants to pay $10,000 per month to accused priests
January 18, 2010

In a move that has angered abuse victims, the Diocese of Wilmington (Delaware) has petitioned a federal bankruptcy judge for permission to pay $10,000 in combined monthly benefits to six priests accused of abuse.

Upon investigation, an allegation against one of these six priests was deemed not credible. The others have been removed from public ministry, including the recently laicized Francis DeLuca, who repeatedly abused boys between 1962 and 1993 and had a vanity license plate with the words “Uncle Frankie Wankie.”

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Police step up probe into abuse collusion

Independent.ie
Gardai step up probe into abuse collusion
By MAEVE SHEEHAN
Sunday January 17 2010

GARDAI have stepped up an investigation into whether members of the force or the clergy broke the law in protecting child sexual abusers.

A dedicated team of detectives working under an assistant garda commissioner, John O'Mahony, is preparing to interview up to half-a-dozen members of the force whose actions were criticised in Judge Yvonne Murphy's report on child abuse in the Dublin archdiocese. It is understood that some individuals have already been interviewed but it is not clear whether these are priests or former members of the force.

The report is not only focusing on gardai but also on the actions of priests and clergy to see if there is evidence that they failed to act in relation to a criminal act.

Those who are expected to be interviewed include the retired Cardinal Desmond Connell and the retired chief superintendents Maurice O'Connor and Joe McGovern. There have already been calls from victims groups that Cardinal Connell be prosecuted.

Mr O'Connor was criticised in the report for having "inappropriate dealings" with Bishop James Kavanagh, at a time when the paedophile Fr Bill Carney, was investigated for indecent assault. The report found that Bishop Kavanagh tried to influence the investigation but was unsuccessful. Fr Carney was convicted because "lower-ranking gardai had done their job properly". The report said Chief Superintendent O'Connor could not take credit for that

Mr McGovern is criticised in the case of another priest, Fr X, who is not named in the report. The report found that two gardai failed to take notes when interviewing the priest about child sexual abuse allegations. When the priest later made limited admissions to the then-Chief Superintendent McGovern, the garda told his priest rather than investigating gardai. Other gardai who investigated Fr X were also criticised but not named by Judge Murphy, who concluded that the "connivance" of gardai in stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another was shocking.

"It is noteworthy that the Commission would not have been aware of the garda activity in question were it not for the information contained in the Church files," the report noted.

Other gardai who were criticised have since died.

The report is expected to take several months to complete and then it will be given to Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy.

He will decide whether the report should be forwarded to the DPP.

Justice minister Dermot Ahern said that under current legislation, anyone who knowingly failed to protect children from paedophiles is guilty of an offence.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Abuse not just Irish issue -- McAleese

Independent.ie
Abuse not just Irish issue -- McAleese
By Grainne Cunningham
Saturday January 16 2010

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese insisted yesterday that child abuse scandals are not "peculiar" to Ireland.

Mrs McAleese stressed the fact that child abuse was a global issue, just two days after a senior Vatican figure suggested the clerical sex abuse scandals here were not representative of the vast majority of Catholic priests.

Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, said, in the Vatican daily 'L'Osservatore Romano', that it would be wrong to "make generalisations" as a result of the Irish experience.

Asked if events "in certain parts of the world" suggested something had gone wrong between bishops and their priests, the cardinal said: "The painful Irish happenings -- which, by the way, have seen some bishops assume their responsibilities and resign -- simply do not relate to the entire episcopal ministry."

Referring to the Ryan and Murphy reports, President McAleese said that such matters "rightly absorb us in Ireland" but that the problems addressed by the reports, "as well as the vulnerability of children to abuse in the home, are peculiar neither to Ireland nor to the Catholic Church".

Mrs McAleese made her comments in the presence of the Papal Nuncio and dean of the diplomatic corps, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, and representatives from 58 countries at her annual New Year's greeting for the diplomatic corps at Aras An Uachtarain.

The Archbishop, who was attending the event for the first time since his appointment last spring, had earlier extended best wishes for the new year to Mrs McAleese and her family and the people of Ireland, on behalf of the diplomatic corps.

The ambassadors and their families enjoyed a drinks reception before being formally greeted by the President.

Mass. court denies ex-priest's bid for new trial

Mass. court denies ex-priest's bid for new trial
By DENISE LAVOIE
AP LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER

BOSTON -- A key figure in the Boston clergy sex-abuse scandal who claims his rape conviction was based on "junk science" lost his bid for a new trial Friday when the state's highest court validated his victim's claim of recovering repressed memories.

Paul Shanley said the judge at his 2005 trial should not have allowed prosecutors to present evidence about the theory of repressed-recovered memories to explain why the victim waited 20 years to report the abuse.

The victim, now in his 30s, claimed Shanley raped him repeatedly when he was a child attending catechism classes at a church in Newton. He said he repressed memory of the abuse for two decades until he saw media coverage of the clergy scandal in 2002.

The Supreme Judicial Court agreed with a Superior Court judge who ruled earlier that repressed memory theory, or "dissociative amnesia," is controversial, but generally accepted in the relevant scientific community. The high court said the theory is supported by "a wide collection of clinical observations and a survey of academic literature."

Shanley is serving is serving a 12- to 15-year sentence for child rape and indecent assault and battery.

His lawyer, Robert F. Shaw Jr., had argued that Shanley deserved a new trial because the jury relied on misleading, "junk science" testimony about repressed memories by prosecution witnesses.

"The scientific community overwhelmingly believes that there is no evidence of this," Shaw said Friday, after the ruling was released.

"We believe without any hesitation that these convictions are unjust, and we have done everything possible to demonstrate that," he said.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, whose office prosecuted Shanley, said he was pleased that the court upheld Shanley's convictions.

"Repressed memories of abuse is a legitimate phenomenon and provided a valid basis for the jury to find that the victim, a child at the time of the assaults, repressed memories of the years of abuse he suffered at the hands of Paul Shanley, someone who was in a significant position of authority and trust," Leone said in a statement.

A victims' support group, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said it hoped the ruling "will encourage others who were hurt by sex offenders to come forward, get help, expose predators, protect others and start healing."

During Shanley's trial, the victim tearfully described how the popular priest used to pull him out of classes and rape him, beginning when he was just 6 years old and continuing until he was 12.

Shanley, now 78, was known in the 1960s and 1970s as a "street priest" who reached out to Boston's troubled youth. Internal records showed that church officials were aware of sexual abuse complaints against him as early as 1967.

The clergy sex abuse crisis erupted in Boston in 2002 after church records were made public showing that church officials had reports of priests molesting children, but kept the complaints secret and shuffled some priests from parish to parish rather than remove them.

The crisis, which led to the resignation of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, spread as similar sexual abuse complaints were uncovered in dioceses across the country.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Man gets life after court rejects appeal for sister's 'honour killing'

Man gets life after court rejects appeal for sister's 'honour killing'
Published: 26 Nov 09 14:02 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20091126-23537.html

A German-Afghan man who stabbed his teenage sister to death in a grisly "honour killing" was sentenced to life imprisonment after a court in Karlsruhe rejected his appeal on Thursday.


In a crime that outraged Germany, the man, identified only as Ahmad-Sobair O. knifed his 16-year-old sister Morsal 23 times as he believed she brought dishonour to their family by wearing Western-style clothes and make-up.

The Federal Court of Justice said it was "convinced that the accused committed the crime because his sister, in his opinion, had 'stained the family's honour'."

The court rejected the appeal that the man was psychologically deranged and upheld the initial judgement by a lower court in Hamburg, in the north of the country.

The killer, aged 24 at the time, had said during his trial that he was "sorry from the bottom of his heart" for his actions. "That was my sister and I loved her," he told the court, breaking down in tears.

Germany has been shocked by around 50 so-called "honour killings" since 1996, mainly in the country's large Turkish diaspora.

Diocesan school superintendent accused of sexual misconduct

Diocesan school superintendent accused of sexual misconduct
January 13, 2010

The superintendent of Catholic schools in Scranton, Pennsylvania, has been granted a leave of absence, apparently because he was accused of sexual misconduct. Diocesan officials have not confirmed the charges against Joseph Casciano, but acknowledged that “a lay employee” was the subject of a complaint. Casciano guided the Scranton Catholic schools through a bitterly contentious era, in which many schools were closed to ease budget pressures on the diocese.

Group calls for investigation into Berwyn employee

Group calls for investigation into Berwyn employee

Posted Jan 14, 2010 @ 04:34 PM
Last update Jan 15, 2010 @ 12:45 AM
Berwyn, IL — The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is calling for the City of Berwyn to investigate an employee after the network learned he allegedly sexually abused five boys in the 1980s.

Barbara Blaine, SNAP’s founder and president, submitted a letter to the Berwyn City Hall Thursday asking for an investigation into Senior Advocate Frank Paduch’s past and why he failed to disclose the information about his past when he was hired.

A civil lawsuit in was filed in Cook County Circuit Court against Paduch in 1997 alleging Brother Frank Paduch sexually abused a student while at St. Rita High School in Chicago during the 1980-81 school year. The lawsuit claims the victim, a freshman at St. Rita during the 1980-81 school year, was sexually assaulted by Paduch.

The lawsuit settled for an undisclosed amount two years later. Blaine said two of the additional four alleged victims have come forward through an attorney, but none have filed a lawsuit against Paduch.

Blaine said she became aware of Paduch’s past after several citizens reported to her organization that Paduch was working for the city close to a school. Paduch works at the Berwyn Cultural Center at 6420 W. 16th St., which sits across the street from Lincoln Middle School.

“We are urging you to take immediate action to safeguard Berwyn’s citizens,” Blaine’s letter states. “We’re especially worried because he works near a school and in a community center where a theatre company is located.”

Blaine also alleges Paduch, who has worked for the city since July of 2005, lives with Josh Hamilton, a registered sexual offender. Hamilton, who shares the same address as Paduch, was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Tennessee, according to the Illinois Sex Offender Information registry.

Berwyn City Administrator Brian Pabst received the letter and said Police Chief William Kushner will comment on the issue Friday.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Archbishop Weakland defends his handling of sex-abuse cases

Archbishop Weakland defends his handling of sex-abuse cases
January 13, 2010

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland has defended his handling of sex-abuse complaints, with an email message to Associated Press saying that he did his best, given what he knew at the time. Archbishop Weakland—who has acknowledged that he shredded evidence of abuse by priests during his tenure in Milwaukee—has come under fresh criticism as he appears in the city this week to address the National Cathedral Ministry Conference. Sex-abuse victims have argued that the archbishop—who stepped down in 2002 after it emerged that he had paid over $400,000 in archdiocesan funds to buy the silence of a man who accused him of abuse—should not be granted the prominence of such a public appearance. The archbishop was also denounced by a state legislator who referred to him as a “piece of work” during hearings this week.

Proposed legislation could bankrupt diocese, Milwaukee archbishop warns

Proposed legislation could bankrupt diocese, Milwaukee archbishop warns
January 13, 2010

Newly installed Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee has warned a Wisconsin legislative panel that a proposal to extend the statute of limitations for child-abuse lawsuits could push local dioceses into bankruptcy. Noting the good works done by Catholic agencies that would be endangered by new lawsuits, the archbishop said: “We can’t ignore the injustice of targeting the Catholic Church.”

Archbishop Listecki was angrily challenged by one lawmaker, state senator Glenn Grothman, who questioned the status of Milwaukee’s former Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who attended the installation of the new archbishop last week. Noting that Weakland himself resigned in disgrace after being charged with abuse, Grothman asked: “Isn’t it really a poke in the eye to all these people who’ve suffered so horribly, to continue, after the actions of this man, to give him a place of honor in ceremonies?” Archbishop Listecki replied that Archbishop Weakland is now retired, and holds no position in the archdiocese.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Priest investigation ongoing in Kane County

Priest investigation ongoing in Kane County
By Josh Stockinger | Daily Herald StaffContact writerPublished: 1/12/2010 3:42 PM.Send To:

Kane County prosecutors are working to "solidify statements" involving a Joliet priest who attempted suicide last week after he was accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy, the state's attorney said Tuesday.

The Rev. Alejandro Flores, 37, tried to kill himself by leaping from a church balcony last Wednesday, two days after a St. Charles family lodged the complaint, according to police and the Diocese of Joliet.

On Tuesday, State's Attorney John Barsanti said Flores was apparently recovering in the hospital, but authorities know little about his condition. He declined to say whether criminal charges are imminent, but indicated that Flores' health could be a factor.

"Our best information is, he's not physically able to leave the hospital," Barsanti said.

Should Flores be charged while still recovering in the hospital, Barsanti said, it's possible the county could be "on the hook" for his medical bills.

Still, "When we're satisfied we can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, we'll move forward," he said. "At this point, we're solidifying (witness) statements."

The Diocese of Joliet said Flores was placed in a "monitored living situation" and removed of his duties after the allegations came to light Jan. 4. Two days later, Flores slipped out and threw himself from a 20-foot choir balcony at a Joliet church that is no longer in use, officials said.

Flores was a parochial vicar at Holy Family Parish in Shorewood. Church officials have said his accuser is not a parishioner at his church.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Special protection orders save nine-year-olds from forced marriages

From Times Online January 8, 2010

Special protection orders save nine-year-olds from forced marriages
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

Almost half those saved were children
Children as young as nine have been rescued from forced marriages under new special protection orders, The Times can disclose.

The nine-year-olds were among 86 females granted the civil safeguards in the 12 months since the forced marriage protection orders were introduced. Nearly half of the applicants, 39, were children with some as young as nine, the Ministry of Justice confirmed.

Although the overall number of 86 victims seems low, it is twice the number the Government had expected to seek help in the first year of the orders coming into effect.

Hundreds of girls and young women in the UK are forced into marriage each year, according to the report published by the Ministry of Justice into the first year of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act of 2007.

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The report says the women and girls come under physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional pressure.

“A woman who is forced into marriage is likely to be raped and may be raped repeatedly until she becomes pregnant,” the report says.

The children subjected to the orders have become child protection cases, the Ministry of Justice told The Times, and their families are also being worked with to help resolve the problem.

The orders allow police and councils to confiscate the passports of potential victims. Relatives can be forced to tell the authorities where women and children have been taken if they are no longer in Britain.

In 2008 alone, the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit dealt with more than 1,600 reports of possible forced marriage and 420 of these became cases. “Some victims are taken overseas to marry while others may be married in the UK,” the report says.

But the report notes that some authorities and schools are reluctant to publicise the new orders because of “the presence of a PC agenda whereby there was reluctance to risk causing offence”.

The report also notes that women can be putting themselves at serious risk when applying for a protection order. One judge is quoted as saying: “These girls are in a cleft stick ... they may be in danger ... but if they leave home they lose everything.”

Another judge in a court which had made two orders, neither local cases, said: “I would be gobsmacked if there wasn’t a greater need for these orders ... the social problem has not gone away.”

Home Office "honour-based violence" roadshows have rasied awareness of the issues around forced marriage. But the report says: “There was concern locally about stigmatising the minority communities, and people were afraid to use the court, despite active police involvement.” Victims were also thought to be afraid to give evidence against relatives.

Police also accused social services of being slow to act. The report says: “There were references to calls not always being returned, or cases being regarded as naughty children."

Last year Bridget Prentice, the Justice Minister, said women placed under the protection of the orders were “unlikely to see their family ever again”. Speaking at a conference in Leicester on forced marriage and “honour” violence, Ms Prentice said that the Justice Ministry expected about fifty women to seek help but police and care workers believe that many more than came forward could benefit from protection.

Ms Prentice said: “There is no doubt in my mind that we have provided a remedy to respond to a genuine need. The protection orders have demonstrated that there is a need for action, but also a need for caution and understanding of their impact on a young person who might then lose their family and community, and will need long-term protection and support.”

Fareed Chedie, spokesman for the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, set up in 2007 to provide a viable alternative for the Muslim community seeking to resolve disputes in accordance with Sharia, said his research had disclosed that the problem was much greater than many realised. The tribunal estimates that as many as seven in ten of all marriages involving UK citizens with a foreign element involve coercion.

Bishop calls allegations of sexual abuse and priest's suicide attempt 'tragedies'

Bishop calls allegations of sexual abuse and priest's suicide attempt 'tragedies'
Comments


January 8, 2010

By BRIAN STANLEY AND JOE HOSEY Staff Writer
JOLIET -- A priest accused of sexual abuse remains hospitalized in intensive care after reportedly attempting suicide by jumping from a church balcony Wednesday.

"Our diocese has suffered some tragedies this week which have saddened many people within the diocese and the entire community," Bishop J. Peter Sartain said Thursday.

Late Sunday night, the family of a 13-year-old boy contacted a priest regarding alleged sexual abuse by the Rev. Alejandro Flores, 37. On Monday morning, the priest reportedly contacted Sartain, who removed Flores from his position as parochial vicar at Holy Family Church in Shorewood.

"I spoke with Father Flores about the accusation and removed his priestly faculties," Sartain said, meaning Flores could no longer hold Mass, perform sacraments or wear his vestments.

Flores was taken to a diocese residence on Center Street where he would be kept from contact with children and "closely monitored."

"That was something we volunteered to do based on the serious nature of the allegations," Sartain said, when asked if anything in Flores' statements or behavior indicated he needed to be monitored.

Per policy, the diocese also contacted the Department of Children and Family Services and the Kane County state's attorney's office about the reported abuse Monday.

"Kane County authorities have directed the diocese not to disclose any other information (regarding the allegations)," Sartain said.

Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti expressed concern Thursday about too much information being released during the investigation, but he did offer a timeline of how the case developed.

The boy's family contacted the Joliet Diocese on Sunday and, on Monday, went to St. Charles police, who took a sex assault report, officials said. That information was forwarded on to the county's Child Advocacy Center, which is an arm of the state's attorney's office. Their investigation began late Monday and continues.

"It's sensitive," Barsanti said of the case.

Barsanti added that it appears the diocese followed protocol for the reporting an abuse allegation.

Balcony fall
Detectives investigating the allegation were reportedly en route to Joliet to interview Flores when he left the Center Street residence on foot around 9 a.m. Wednesday. He was reported missing to Joliet police shortly before noon.
He went to the site of the former St. Mary's Carmelite Church, 113 N. Ottawa St. Though the church has been closed for some time, the priory next door was only recently shut down, and Flores had lived there while studying to be ordained, a diocese spokesman said.

Flores apparently went up into the choir loft and jumped 20 feet to the main floor below, landing on some pews. He was found by a priest and a diocese employee at 12:38 p.m.

Since the church was boarded up, firefighters had to be led through the residence to get to Flores before police officers could get the doors open for a stretcher.

Police reports indicate a responding officer walked up to the balcony while firefighters were treating the injured priest and found "a jacket, cell phone, glasses, large knife and a bottle of liquor" there. Those items were processed by an evidence technician.

Flores, who reportedly suffered serious head trauma, was rushed to Silver Cross Hospital. Sartain visited Flores in the hospital Thursday, the bishop said.

'Well-liked' priest
A native of Bolivia, Flores grew up in an orphanage there and began serving as an altar boy. After beginning his seminary studies and working as a missionary in Bolivia, he attended Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., and worked during breaks at St. Mary's Parish in West Chicago. Flores was ordained in June and had been at Holy Family since then.
"Father Alex seemed very well-liked," one parishioner said. "English was not his first language (but the efforts he showed) giving the homily in broken English made people empathize with him."

Sartain noted the allegation did not involve a Holy Family parishioner and there have been no prior allegations of abuse against Flores, nor have there been any additional allegations.

"Recognizing the pain this young boy and his family are going through ... I want to publicly issue my apology to (them) that this happened under my leadership," Sartain said Thursday.

Bishop calls allegations of sexual abuse and priest's suicide attempt 'tragedies'

Bishop calls allegations of sexual abuse and priest's suicide attempt 'tragedies'
Comments


January 8, 2010

By BRIAN STANLEY AND JOE HOSEY Staff Writer
JOLIET -- A priest accused of sexual abuse remains hospitalized in intensive care after reportedly attempting suicide by jumping from a church balcony Wednesday.

"Our diocese has suffered some tragedies this week which have saddened many people within the diocese and the entire community," Bishop J. Peter Sartain said Thursday.

Late Sunday night, the family of a 13-year-old boy contacted a priest regarding alleged sexual abuse by the Rev. Alejandro Flores, 37. On Monday morning, the priest reportedly contacted Sartain, who removed Flores from his position as parochial vicar at Holy Family Church in Shorewood.

"I spoke with Father Flores about the accusation and removed his priestly faculties," Sartain said, meaning Flores could no longer hold Mass, perform sacraments or wear his vestments.

Flores was taken to a diocese residence on Center Street where he would be kept from contact with children and "closely monitored."

"That was something we volunteered to do based on the serious nature of the allegations," Sartain said, when asked if anything in Flores' statements or behavior indicated he needed to be monitored.

Per policy, the diocese also contacted the Department of Children and Family Services and the Kane County state's attorney's office about the reported abuse Monday.

"Kane County authorities have directed the diocese not to disclose any other information (regarding the allegations)," Sartain said.

Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti expressed concern Thursday about too much information being released during the investigation, but he did offer a timeline of how the case developed.

The boy's family contacted the Joliet Diocese on Sunday and, on Monday, went to St. Charles police, who took a sex assault report, officials said. That information was forwarded on to the county's Child Advocacy Center, which is an arm of the state's attorney's office. Their investigation began late Monday and continues.

"It's sensitive," Barsanti said of the case.

Barsanti added that it appears the diocese followed protocol for the reporting an abuse allegation.

Balcony fall
Detectives investigating the allegation were reportedly en route to Joliet to interview Flores when he left the Center Street residence on foot around 9 a.m. Wednesday. He was reported missing to Joliet police shortly before noon.
He went to the site of the former St. Mary's Carmelite Church, 113 N. Ottawa St. Though the church has been closed for some time, the priory next door was only recently shut down, and Flores had lived there while studying to be ordained, a diocese spokesman said.

Flores apparently went up into the choir loft and jumped 20 feet to the main floor below, landing on some pews. He was found by a priest and a diocese employee at 12:38 p.m.

Since the church was boarded up, firefighters had to be led through the residence to get to Flores before police officers could get the doors open for a stretcher.

Police reports indicate a responding officer walked up to the balcony while firefighters were treating the injured priest and found "a jacket, cell phone, glasses, large knife and a bottle of liquor" there. Those items were processed by an evidence technician.

Flores, who reportedly suffered serious head trauma, was rushed to Silver Cross Hospital. Sartain visited Flores in the hospital Thursday, the bishop said.

'Well-liked' priest
A native of Bolivia, Flores grew up in an orphanage there and began serving as an altar boy. After beginning his seminary studies and working as a missionary in Bolivia, he attended Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., and worked during breaks at St. Mary's Parish in West Chicago. Flores was ordained in June and had been at Holy Family since then.
"Father Alex seemed very well-liked," one parishioner said. "English was not his first language (but the efforts he showed) giving the homily in broken English made people empathize with him."

Sartain noted the allegation did not involve a Holy Family parishioner and there have been no prior allegations of abuse against Flores, nor have there been any additional allegations.

"Recognizing the pain this young boy and his family are going through ... I want to publicly issue my apology to (them) that this happened under my leadership," Sartain said Thursday.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

California priest suspended after admitting abuse of minor

California priest suspended after admitting abuse of minor
January 07, 2010

A priest of the Diocese of Stockton has been suspended after admitting that he abused a minor two decades ago.

“Father Leo Suarez has expressed deep sorrow over the hurt he has caused,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire. “He is currently in residential treatment and will no longer be able to exercise priestly ministry. I hold in prayer all who have been hurt by what happened.”

Father Suarez was ordained in 1988.

Anger in Milwaukee at Archbishop Weakland cathedral appearance, bronze image

Anger in Milwaukee at Archbishop Weakland cathedral appearance, bronze image
January 07, 2010

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is expressing anger at the appearance of Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk as keynote speakers at the 7th National Cathedral Ministry Conference at Milwaukee’s cathedral from January 11 to 14. The retired archbishops of Milwaukee and Cincinnati have admitted that they failed to report the clerical abuse of children to civil authorities.

SNAP is also objecting to the presence of Archbishop Weakland in a bronze image of the Nativity that has been in Milwaukee’s cathedral since its renovation in 2002.

Archbishop Weakland, who served as a concelebrant at the installation Mass of Archbishop Jerome Listecki earlier this week, publicly questioned Catholic teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts following the publication of his memoirs last year. He retired in 2002 after it was revealed that he used $450,000 in archdiocesan funds to pay a former male lover.

Bishop: Accused priest leaps from church balcony

Bishop: Accused priest leaps from church balcony
(http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/news/1977976,Bishop-Accused-priest-leaps_JO010610.article)

January 6, 2010

By BRIAN STANLEY bstanley@scn1.com

JOLIET — A priest who has been accused of sexual abuse reportedly tried to take his own life by jumping from the balcony of a downtown church Wednesday.

The Rev. Alejandro (Alex) Flores, 37, was found unresponsive but breathing at 12:38 p.m. Wednesday, after apparently crashing between pews on the main floor at the former St. Mary's Carmelite Church, 113 N. Ottawa St., according to reports.

Flores was ordained in June and served as parochial vicar at Holy Family Church in Shorewood, but was removed from his position Monday.

He had been ordained as a deacon at St. Elizabeth Seton in Naperville on Nov. 1, 2008, prior to becoming a priest.


'Sexual allegations'

Diocese employees had filed a missing persons report with Joliet police shortly before noon, Deputy Chief Mike Trafton said.

"He had not been seen since around 9 a.m.," Trafton said.

Different sources confirmed the Kane County state's attorney's office is investigating "sexual allegations" against Flores and that detectives had been in Joliet to interview him Wednesday morning.

"On Monday morning, I was informed by another priest that he had received a call from a family late Sunday night informing him that their 13-year-old son had told them he had been abused by Father Flores," Bishop J. Peter Sartain said. Per diocesan policy, Sartain informed the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the state's attorney's office of the accusation that day.

"Additionally, I immediately met with Father Flores, informed him of the accusation, removed his priestly faculties and placed him on administrative leave," Sartain said.

Sartain noted the allegation did not involve a Holy Family parishioner and there have been no prior allegations of abuse against the priest.

Sartain said Flores had "been closely monitored" since being relieved of his duties, but was able to leave the Center Street residence he'd been staying at on foot.

"As the officers were taking the missing persons report, they were notified Flores frequents the closed church," Trafton said. The priory next to the church is still used as a residence, according to reports.

"While they were getting this information, we received a 911 call from a priest at the location who had found Flores in the pews," Trafton said.

Since the church's doors have been boarded up, Joliet firefighters and police were met by a priest at the door of the priory and led through the residences to the church next door. Flores reportedly suffered serious head trauma.

Trafton said police are still investigating to confirm Flores jumped from the balcony, but Sartain referred to the incident was a suicide attempt. The balcony is approximately 20 feet above the church floor.

Police were able to open the church doors so Flores could be taken by ambulance for "rapid transport" to Silver Cross Hospital. Sartain said Wednesday night Flores was in stable condition in the intensive care unit.

'Added tragedy'

A native of Bolivia, Flores grew up in an orphanage there and began serving as an altar boy. After beginning his seminary studies and working as a missionary in Bolivia, Flores attended Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., and worked during breaks at St. Mary's Parish in West Chicago.

Flores was the third Hispanic priest ordained by the Catholic Diocese of Joliet. "My thoughts have been to mature in my faith and continue to look for more of what God wants from me," he told the diocese magazine in an interview last summer. "Obviously my plan was not God's plan, but I'm very happy where I am today."

Sartain said the diocese "will continue to cooperate with all law enforcement agencies in this tragic situation."

"I have been deeply grieved for the young boy whose family reported the abuse and for the entire family, and my prayers for them have not ceased," he said.

"This added tragedy (of Flores' alleged suicide attempt) compounds what was already a great sorrow, and I ask you to join me in fervent prayer for the boy and his family as well as Father Flores," Sartain said. "At difficult times such as this, we rely on God's wisdom every step of the way and ask that he impart the healing only he can give."

Advocates: abusive Irish priests assigned to US

Advocates: abusive Irish priests assigned to US
Article Details
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Religion News Service
Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse in Ireland have for decades been getting re-assigned to ministry positions in the United States, according to a church reform group with a new database of names.

BishopAccountability.org, which documents allegations of abuse, last week (Dec. 28) released the names of 70 accused Irish priests who at some point served in the United States. Many on the list (viewable at http://www.bishop-accountability.org/irish--priests--in--us/ [1]) are said to have died or no longer serve in the priesthood.

The group acknowledged that its database of accused Irish priests is likely not comprehensive and may not include any priests currently serving in U.S. parishes. Co-director Anne Barrett Doyle called on all U.S. bishops to release names of priests accused in Ireland, where an unfolding clergy sexual abuse crisis has led four bishops to resign in the past month.

"Bishops in Ireland, just like bishops here, have been moving accused priests around even though they know they're dangerous and putting them in populations where they can continue to offend," said Terence McKiernan, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, at a Boston news conference.

"Unfortunately, the places where they put them include our own backyard. And so the Irish crisis basically has become our crisis, too."

BishopAccountability.org is calling on Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen to include names of accused priests in a forthcoming report on the clergy abuse crisis in his country. The group has also asked Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley to set an example for other U.S. bishops by disclosing names of any Boston-area priests facing allegations of abuse in Ireland.

Before any priest gets assigned to the Archdiocese of Boston, his current bishop "confirms that he has not been the subject of any allegation of any inappropriate behavior concerning children," according to a written statement from the Archdiocese of Boston.

Safeguards are in place across the country to make sure parishes aren't assigned any abusive priests, but those standards can be challenging to implement when a priest is coming from another country, according to Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Because of the distance [between countries], you sometimes will have a harder time doing a background check on someone," Walsh said. "That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. It just means you have to make more effort."

Scout leader faces child sex charges

Last updated January 6, 2010 4:43 p.m. PT

Mo. town's top officer faces child sex charges
By JIM SALTER
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

FREDERICKTOWN, Mo. -- The top police officer in a remote Missouri town, a giant of a man who was also a Boy Scout leader, has been accused of sexually assaulting two boys, videotaping the acts and then destroying the recordings.

Kenneth Tomlinson II, 42, was arrested Tuesday and charged with 16 counts of sodomy. Authorities say he admitted having sex with the two boys, who are now 12 and 14. Tomlinson was jailed in Cape Girardeau County on $100,000 cash-only bond. Court records indicated he did not yet have an attorney.

Tomlinson joined the police department in Fredericktown - a community of 4,100 about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis - as a patrolman in 1997. He was promoted to captain, the top job, in April.

Mayor Danny Kemp, who said he was "floored" by the news of the captain's arrest, said the progress Tomlinson made while supervising six full-time officers was impressive.

"He turned the department around," Kemp said, inside his office just off the town square. "He was a great leader."

But Vicky Manche, who owns an A&M Restaurant downtown, said teens derisively referred to Tomlinson - described by one city worker as 6-foot-2 and about 450 pounds - as "Baby Huey."

"They ought to string him up," Manche said. "It's really pitiful when you put your trust in somebody and this happens. My grandsons are Boy Scouts so this hits close to home."

Manche's grandsons were not part of Tomlinson's troops, and it was not known if the alleged victims were either.

The two boys told authorities that the sexual abuse began last spring. One boy is 12, but was 11 when it began, he said. The other is 14.

A probable cause statement from the Missouri State Highway Patrol said Tomlinson admitted to having sex with the boys and videotaping some of the acts. The statement said Tomlinson and the boys viewed the video on the camera screen, then he destroyed the recordings.

Joe Mueller of the Boy Scouts of America's Greater St. Louis Council said he didn't know if the victims were members of Tomlinson's Boy Scout or Cub Scout troops. He said Tomlinson had led the troops in Fredericktown since 1998. His association with scouting has been revoked, Mueller said.

"Our heart goes out to the families of the children involved in the allegations," Mueller said. "We have made it a fundamental part of our organization to protect youth members and adult leaders as well."

Kemp said Tomlinson had no previous criminal record. He has been placed on unpaid leave from the department until the case is adjudicated. Sgt. Jason Gordon has taken over as interim leader of the department.

At the Mills Barbershop across from City Hall, owner Jane Mills said some of those getting haircuts found the allegations too difficult to talk about. Those who discussed it were mostly in shock, she said.

"It's very concerning because he's a policeman and a scout leader," she said. "It's very sad, and it's an embarrassment that something like this could happen."