Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Church tries to avoid payment

Shocked Victim to Speak Publicly for First Time
Says Archbishop’s spiteful actions are hurtful to him and his family

What: At a new conference, a suburban Twin Cities man who was sexually abused as a
child by Father Thomas Adamson, will disclose his identity and speak out against
Archbishop John Nienstedt’s recent legal action attempting to make victim pay
$64,000 in legal expenses incurred by Minneapolis/St. Paul Archdiocese while
defending the priest’s sexual abuse and Archbishop Nienstedt’s subsequent
attempts to cover-up Adamson’s two decades long sexual predatory misconduct.


Pope knew

New records & witnesses incriminate Pope in child sex case

Statement by Lieve Halsberghe, SNAP Belgium Leader +32 475 910 918 SNAPBelgium@gmail.com

New witnesses and documents are surfacing in Munich that raise troubling doubts about the reckless handling of a predator priest there while Pope Benedict headed that archdiocese.

We’re saddened but not surprised by these disclosures. The hasty claims last spring that the Pope wasn’t informed that a pedophile was reassigned within his archdiocese simply never rang true. Now, the chances that those claims are legitimate are even more unlikely.

Unlike earlier revelations, these new charges are based on both church records and the first-person accounts of parishioners who “confirm delivery” of a letter detailing the predator’s continuing work with children in Munich on then Cardinal Ratzinger’s watch.

The new disclosures should prompt the Pope to directly and honestly address serious allegations that he let a credibly accused child predator work in his archdiocese without warning police, parishioners or the public. It’s clear now that terse denials from lower-level church staff claiming that the Pope knew nothing are simply not credible.

Two passages from the Der Spiegel article stand out:
--Today, previously unknown documents, as well as witnesses. . .are shedding new light on the case of the abusive cleric H., which first became public last March -- and also on the role of the current pope.
According to the allegations, during his tenure in Munich, Ratzinger did not give sufficient attention to the type of duties that were assigned to the alleged pedophile H. Despite massive allegations of abuse levied against the priest, the archdiocese led by Ratzinger allowed H. to continue to be involved in church work with children and young people.
--Recently discovered documents now show that there could have been no doubt in Munich about the priest's previous history. The head of personnel in Essen had informed Ratzinger's head of personnel by phone and in writing that, in regard to H., "there is a risk which has prompted us to immediately remove him from the parish." Furthermore, he said that "an official complaint has been lodged by members of the parish."

Until he directly and honestly answers questions about this clergy sex case and others, in Munich and elsewhere, the Pope’s ability to deal effectively with horrific child sex and cover up within the church will be extremely limited.

He owes Fr. Hullerman’s victims, Munich parishioners, and the wider church and community straight answers.

Sealed documents

SNAP To Protest Listecki Legal Request
By The WTMJ News Team
Story Created: Nov 30, 2010

(Story Updated: Nov 30, 2010 )

MILWAUKEE - Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network Of Those Abused By Priests, will protest today over a request by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki.

The archbishop is asking all court transcripts of Auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba's deposition about the church abuse case be sealed.

Victims are expected to send e-mails Listecki urging him to withdraw his motion

Church choir director molested singer

Lobdell: Singing to break the silence
November 29, 2010|By William Lobdell
Daily Pilot

For years, Elaina Kroll had stopped singing.

The Newport Beach resident had been robbed of her childhood passion by her church choir director, who molested her. The sexual abuse she had suffered as a bewildered 16-year-old had been, in her mind, cruelly fused together with music.

In the subsequent years, she would drop out of a prestigious music conservatory in Boston, suffer from depression and no longer have the desire to sing.

But Saturday night, at the fundraising gala in Anaheim for The Innocent Mission — a nonprofit she founded last year — Kroll will play the piano and sing Sarah McLachlan's hauntingly beautiful "Angel."

Tears will flow, including mine.

Diocese can use trust funds

N.B. Catholic diocese can use trust funds to pay sex abuse victimsCanadian Press: Monday, November 29, 2010

A judge has ruled that a New Brunswick diocese can compensate victims of sexual abuse through trust funds that were set up to help train future clergy.
Photo Credit: Michaela Rehle, REUTERSMIRAMICHI, N.B. - A judge has ruled that a New Brunswick diocese can compensate victims of sexual abuse through trust funds that were set up to help train future clergy.

Earlier this month, the Roman Catholic diocese of Bathurst asked the Court of Queen's Bench to allow it to take money from 21 trust funds that were intended to help educate men who want to become priests.

In a ruling today, Justice Fred Ferguson said the diocese could use some of the trust fund money to help compensate sexual abuse victims.

Ferguson ruled that the diocese can access more than $2.2 million of the $3.7 million in trust funds.

The 21 trusts are from bequests, such as donations and wills, made between 1911 and 1995.

A conciliation process has identified 35 people who deserve compensation and apologies as a result of being abused.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Brother admits abuses

A former Catholic teaching brother from St Joseph's College in Masterton has gone on trial accused of sex offences against two former pupils nearly 40 years ago.

Bede Thomas Hampton, 62, is now an interior decorator, according to court documents.

He returned voluntarily from Queensland to face 26 charges at a trial that began in the High Court at Wellington yesterday.

The charges relate to incidents alleged to have happened in the 1970s. St Joseph's closed in the 1980s.

At the start of his trial, Hampton pleaded guilty to two charges of indecently assaulting one of the boys. His lawyer, Christopher Stevenson, said he also acknowledged an incident with the other boy but it would be for the jury to decide whether it had been a criminal act.

Hampton pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of indecency on a boy aged 12 to 16, and six charges of indecency on a boy over 16. He also pleaded not guilty to two charges of sodomy.

Mr Stevenson said Hampton went to the Marist brothers as a 14-year-old and left 15 years later, and it was in that setting that he developed socially.

Prosecutor Kate Feltham told the jury that one of the boys was grabbed by the throat, pushed up against a wall and threatened when he told Hampton he wanted to see the school nurse about his bleeding bottom.

The two complainants are now in their 50s. In recent years one, who now lives in Australia, spoke by phone to Hampton.

Hampton apologised and said he had a problem at that time which he did not understand.

In March 2006 Hampton phoned the other complainant and apologised.

Hampton said it had happened to him as a boy and he had a mixed-up childhood, Ms Feltham said.

Later that year a New Zealand detective interviewed Hampton in Australia.

Hampton told her that what happened in his past was a mistake and it had never happened after that time.

The first of the complainants to give evidence told the jury that, at the time, he thought there was no-one he could tell about the abuse. He thought he would get into trouble and he was ashamed.

The trial is expected to take about two weeks.

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Priest sentenced

Man, 82, gets 90-year prison term in sex case in Louisa
Published: November 22, 2010
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nowBuzz up!Louisa, Va. --
A Louisa County judge today sentenced an 82-year-old former pastor to 90 years in prison for three counts of soliciting sex with a minor.

A jury in August found Irvin "Pete" Baldwin of Mechanicsville guilty of the three charges and recommended the 90-year prison term -- 30 years for each count.

That is the maximum allowed under the law for each solicitation charge.

Authorities say the three crimes occurred in 2009 -- on Nov. 23, Nov. 30 and Dec. 4.

Authorities say Baldwin communicated over the Internet with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl but who actually was a Louisa investigator.

Baldwin was arrested last December after traveling to Louisa to meet the girl.

Louisa Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Rusty McGuire has said he argued for a substantial sentence in part because of Baldwin's history as a pastor and a Sunday school teacher.

For more on this story, see tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Church refuses to compensate victim

Church refuses to compensate abuse victim
By QMI Agency

Last Updated: November 26, 2010 5:31pm
Email StoryPrintSize A A AReport TypoShare with:
FacebookDiggDel.icio.usGoogleStumble UponNewsvineRedditTechnoratiFeed MeYahooSimpySquidooSpurlBlogmarksNetvouzScuttleSitejot+ What are these? .MONTREAL – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec has no intention of compensating a Quebec City woman who took them to court for being raped by a priest in the 1980s.

Last week, Shirley Christensen, 37, gave the archdiocese an ultimatum – either offer her compensation for her abuse or see her in court.

But in a letter to Christensen on Friday, auxiliary bishop Gerald Lacroix refused her request for a settlement.

Christensen applied to sue the Quebec Archdiocese in 2007. She was seeking $250,000 in damages for sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of Paul-Henri Lachance between 1979 and 1981.

Lachance, now 79, pleaded guilty in 2009 and was handed an 18-month sentence.

Quebec Superior Court and the Quebec Court of Appeals dismissed the lawsuit because of an article in the Quebec Civil Code that places a three-year statute of limitations on civil lawsuits.

The case finally ended up in Canada’s top court, which tabled a judgement in October.

The Supreme Court didn’t strike down the statute of limitations on Quebec lawsuits but it told the lower courts to hear the case and consider whether the time limit on this lawsuit should have started in 2006.

In her court filings, Christensen claims to have suffered trauma in 2006 that triggered the memories of the sex abuse.

In a statement, Christensen said she still hopes to meet with Lacroix to explore the possibility of a settlement agreement

Church paid to hush up abuse

Catholic order paid €16,000 to hush up abuse
Friday 26 November 2010

A man abused as a child by seven priests from the Salesian order in the 1940s and 1950s was paid €16,000 for his silence, the NRC and Radio Netherlands report on Friday.

One of the seven was Jan ter Schure, who later became a bishop in Den Bosch, the paper says. Ter Schure died in 2003.

Documents also show that Rotterdam bishop Ad van Luyn refused a request from the victim to make the case public in 2008. Van Luyn, also a Salesian, was a classmate of the victim and head of the movement for years.

In March it emerged at least three Salesian priests connected to the Don Rua monastery had abused youngsters in their care in the 1960s and 70s.

Over 1,000 people who claim to be victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic church have since registered with the government commission investigating the widening scandal.

Bishop abused victim

Late Dutch Catholic bishop Jan ter Schure 'abused boy'
Jan ter Schure was bishop of Den Bosch Continue reading the main story
Related stories
Dutch bishops order abuse inquiry
Country profile: The Netherlands
A Dutch Roman Catholic bishop who died in 2003 abused a boy while serving as a priest at a monastery after the war, Dutch media report.

Jan ter Schure, who served as bishop of Den Bosch until 1998, is said to have been one of seven priests involved in abusing the boarding school pupil.

Church documents show the victim was paid compensation for "emotional damages" after ter Schure's death.

The religious order involved paid him 16,000 euros (£13,500, $21,000).

The abuse occurred at the Don Rua monastery in Ugchelen between 1948 and 1953. The monastery later relocated to the town of 's-Heerenberg.

Revelations this year of widespread sexual abuse at Don Rua prompted a wave of publicity about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands, Radio Netherlands reports.

The Church complaints body, Hulp en Recht (Help and Justice), has received more than 1,100 claims of abuse.

Victim 'ignored'

The unnamed victim asked the Bishop of Rotterdam, Adrianus Van Luyn, to publicly denounce abuses by the Salesian order two years ago, according to documents seen by Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Rotterdam newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

However, the bishop did not respond directly to his repeated requests and he turned instead to Hulp en Recht.

Asked about the bishop's actions, the Diocese of Rotterdam said the bishop had referred the victim to the Salesians.

It stressed that Bishop Van Luyn, who headed the Dutch Salesian order between 1975 and 1981, no longer had administrative authority over the order by the time of the victim's requests.

"As a diocesan bishop, Monsignor Van Luyn can unfortunately play no part in matters that concern orders or congregations," it added.

Herman Spronck, Father Superior of the Salesians in the Netherlands, declined to comment, Radio Netherlands adds.

Priest agrees to pay

Accused priest agrees to pay diocese $65K
StoryDiscussionAccused priest agrees to pay diocese $65K
By Tribune staff lacrossetribune.com | Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010 12:00 am | (7) Comments

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The Rev. Robert Chukwu .
..A Catholic priest accused of embezzling money from two Crawford County parishes has agreed to pay the Diocese of La Crosse $65,000.

The Rev. Robert Chukwu has until March 7 to make the restitution payment, according to a document filed last week in Crawford County Circuit Court.

Chukwu, 60, was charged with felony theft after the diocese accused him of taking more than $180,000 from St. Mary and St. Philip parishes. He later pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor theft charges, two of which will be dismissed if he completes a diversion agreement.

Chukwu denies stealing and says he invested a much smaller amount of church funds in household items he planned to ship to parishes in his native Nigeria, which would pay a premium for goods not available there.

Elders guilty


CONWAY – The minister and two elders at a local church have been found guilty for failing to report a case of suspected child abuse last year.

The three -- Pastor Timothy Dillmuth, 34, of Stowe, Maine, and elders Richard Eland, 62, and Robert Gagnon, 70, both of Brownfield, Maine -- are all members of Valley Christian Church on East Conway Road in Redstone. They will be sentenced Dec. 21 on the misdemeanor charges in the District Court of Northern Carroll County.

From left, Timothy Dillmuth, Richard Eland and Robert Gagnon
"God is a higher authority, not (the police) and they would do it again," District Court of Northern Carroll County Judge Pamela Albee wrote in her seven page decision, referring to testimony of a Conway police investigator of an interview he had with Eland.

A fourth man, Michael Wedge, 32, of Conway, cooperated with the investigation and his case was placed on file for one year.

Albee issued the guilty finding on Nov. 15, several weeks after the trial.

The pastor and two elders from Valley Christian Church in Redstone have been found guilty for failing to report a case of child sexual abuse. (LORNA COLQUHOUN)
The three men, she wrote, sought to have immunity from criminal liability in failing to report the case of suspected child abuse, "arguing that they acted in good faith in persuading the parents and the perpetrator to make report of abuse." The men were arrested in early February by Conway police and charged that they had reason to suspect a girl had been sexually abused but did not report it as required by state law.

In her order, Albee said Dillmuth had met with the parents of a child who had been molested by a member of the church, which he later confirmed after talking to the child.

At trial, she wrote, "the information was shared with other members of the board of elders in September 2009," and was discussed at "some, but not every" meeting of the board.

A month later, another member of the church urged the parents of the child to report the incident to authorities and, Albee wrote, was told to "keep his mouth shut." Dillmuth also talked to the concern church members and, according to the court document, told that person to "keep his mouth shut and that it was being taken care of." That church member subsequently left the church after belonging for over five years.

From left, Timothy Dillmuth, Richard Eland and Robert Gagnon
Wedge testified that at meetings of the board of elders, the issue became contentious and that in November 2009, "he expressed concerns that the abuse had not been reported to the (Division of Family and Youth Services) or to the police," Albee wrote.

In early February, after another church member who heard about abuse threatened to report the case to police and DCYF, "Pastor Dillmuth was in agreement that the abuse had to be reported that day."

That person, and the mother of the child, said they would both make reports.

A Conway investigator was assigned to the case and he contacted DCYF, too.

"During the course of the investigation, the detective's focus turned to the elders' role in failing to report the child abuse," Albee wrote. It was at that time Eland said the elders "respond to a higher authority." Albee wrote that it was only after a church member threatened to report the suspected abuse to police that the church officials "put pressure on the parents ... to do what the elders had a duty to do months before, report the child abuse to authorities."

While the men argued they were immune from criminal liability because they acted "in good faith" to persuade the parents and perpetrator to report, Albee wrote that it was "deliberately attempted" to keep it within the church.

"To permit an immunity defense under the facts of this case would eviscerate the very purpose of the Child Protection Act and its reporting law provisions," she wrote.

The charges against the men are misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

According to its website, Valley Christian Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist Convention of New England and includes ministries for men, women and children.

Archdiocese pursues victim

Archdiocese seeks $64K in abuse case
Archdiocese wants to recoup legal fees after a suit alleging abuse by priest in Burnsville was dismissed.

By ROSE FRENCH, Star Tribune

Last update: November 24, 2010 - 8:11 PM
Catholic clergy sex abuse victims are protesting a move by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to try to force an alleged victim to pay the archdiocese nearly $64,000 in legal costs -- the largest amount sought by the archdiocese to date.

The case involves an unnamed Twin Cities man who alleges he was sexually abused by former priest Thomas Adamson between 1980 and 1982, while Adamson was serving at Church of the Risen Savior in Burnsville. The lawsuit filed against both the archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona charges that church officials knew of abuse complaints but did nothing to prevent further abuse.

But Ramsey District Judge Gregg Johnson dismissed the case in October, saying the alleged abuse happened too long ago, according to the statute of limitations. The alleged victim is now appealing that decision.

Earlier this week, archdiocese officials asked Johnson to make the alleged victim cover its legal costs, much of which went to pay experts testifying in the case, according to court documents. The case was initially filed in 2006.

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference in front of the archdiocese in St. Paul on Wednesday, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called the archdiocese move a "mean-spirited" tactic designed to intimidate other victims because of the amount the archdiocese is seeking.

"We in SNAP believe it's immoral for a bishop to exploit legal technicalities and hide behind an archaic and predator-friendly statute of limitations," said David Clohessy, director of SNAP, referring to Archbishop John Nienstedt. "A profit-making secular businessman might do this. But it's just wrong for a professed spiritual figure to do so."

Students can sue


Former students can sue priests for abuse: Quebec judge
By Sue Montgomery, Postmedia News November 24, 2010 •Story•Photos ( 1 )
Former students of a Quebec Catholic school have been given the go-ahead to sue the school's priests for alleged sex abuse.Photograph by: Marco Campanozzi / The Gazette, The GazetteMONTREAL — A Superior Court Justice has given the go-ahead for former students of a Roman Catholic secondary school near Quebec City to sue the priests who allegedly sexually abused them.

The lead plaintiff in the suit, Frank Tremblay, is seeking $750,000 in damages for the sexual, emotional, physical and psychological abuse he said he suffered several times a week at the hands of a priest who was in charge of the students' dormitory.

Father Raymond-Marie Lavoie, 70, was arrested last December by the Surete du Quebec and charged with various sexual crimes involving nine minors.

His preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 31 in Quebec City.

The suit covers all students of Seminaire Saint-Alphonse, in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, just outside Quebec City, who were allegedly sexually abused by priests of the Congregation du Tres-Saint-Redemption between 1960 and 1987.

The order is responsible for the Saint-Anne-de-Beaupre basilica, one of the most recognized landmarks in Quebec.

Tremblay, who attended the college between 1981 and 1985, alleges the abuse took place in the living quarters of the boarders and in a vacation home used by the priests in Ste-Tite-des-Caps.

The suit, which is asking for at least $100,000 in damages for each victim, alleges the priests conspired among themselves, discussing which students they would abuse.

At least five priests were involved in pedophilia at the school, which had between 200 and 250 students, the suit claims. One of the accused priests was Father Francois Plourde, the school's former director, who has since died.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Former+students+priests+abuse+Quebec+judge/3878729/story.html#ixzz16gGkQYjk

Abuse cases

More than 660 sexual abuse cases reported to German Catholic church hotline in first 6 months
By: The Associated Press

24/11/2010 12:19 PM | Comments: 0
Print E–mail 0Share0ShareNewReport Error BERLIN - Germany's Roman Catholic Church says self-described victims have reported 664 cases of sexual abuse to its hotline, 432 of which were allegedly committed by priests or monks

Germany's Bishops Conference said in a statement Wednesday its psychologists and other experts have also had in-depth conversations with some 3,400 people in the first six months of the hotline's existence

It said 664 people confirmed the abuse allegations in a follow-up survey, and more than 80 per cent said they had been repeatedly abused. It said almost one in ten was seeking legal advice, and 6 per cent asked about financial compensation.

The hotline began operating March 30 when a widening abuse scandal — with most reported cases dating back decades — rocked the Catholic church in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI's homeland.

Priest guilty

Former Fairbanks pastor found guilty of sex abuse of a minor
by Chris Freiberg / cfreiberg@newsminer.com Fairbanks Daily News Miner
Nov 23, 2010 | 4136 views | 18 | | 10 | |
FAIRBANKS — A former Fairbanks pastor is in jail after being convicted last week of eight counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

A Fairbanks jury found Shawn Anthony Justice, 32, guilty of most of the charges, but deadlocked on three charges and found him not guilty of one count after more than week of testimony. Each count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Justice was remanded to Fairbanks Correctional Center immediately after the verdict, Fairbanks District Attorney Mike Gray stated in an e-mail. Sentencing is scheduled for March 24 before Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy.

“(Assistant District Attorney) Gayle Garrigues and Paralegal Marja Hallsten did a great job with a difficult case,” Gray said. “I was very pleased with their effort and with the result.”

Prosecutors will not seek to re-try Justice on the three charges the jury could not reach a verdict on, Gray said.

Justice met the now-15-year-old victim when he was pastor of Corinthian Baptist Church in 2007.

She testified during the trial that Justice began sending her text messages of a sexual nature the following year.

Her parents began monitoring her phone and computer use, but she said she sneaked out of her house on multiple occasions in 2009 to have sex with Justice at his apartment.

Justice was dismissed as pastor of the church in August 2008. He then led a satellite church, also in Fairbanks.

His firing by church elders led to a lengthy court battle about whether a church’s leadership or its congregation has the right to fire a pastor. That case ultimately was dismissed.

During the trial, jurors also heard about Justice’s 2003 misdemeanor conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Virginia.

In that case, Justice, then 24 years-old and a church choir director, had sex with a 15-year-old member of the choir.

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Former Fairbanks pastor found guilty of sex abuse of a minor

Victim entitled

Sexual Abuse Victim Entitled to $10M Attachment Against PriestSeed Newsvine
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voteBuzz up!A suit filed on behalf of William Dotson by Stratton Faxon on July 9 declares that the Reverend Stephen Bzdyra sexually molested an altar boy in the 1980s. The sexual abuse victim is now entitled to $10M attachment against the priest’s assets.

New Haven, CT (Law Firm Newswire) November 23, 2010 – William Dotson of Hartford, a 34-year-old Connecticut man, filed suit on July 9, against Reverend Stephen Bzydra for sexually molesting him while he was an altar boy at St. Francis Church in New Haven, Conn. and Saint Hedwig Church in Naugatuck, Conn. between 1985 and 1990. Dotson was found to be entitled to a $10 million attachment based on demoralizing evidence of repeated and horrific sexual abuse in October 2010.

Connecticut Personal Injury Law Firm Stratton Faxon
“William is very grateful that the court ruled in his favor supporting his case. The pedophile priest’s lawyer Hugh Keefe should be ashamed of himself for attacking William the way he did in court,” said Joel T. Faxon of Stratton Faxon, the trial law firm in Connecticut that represented Dotson. “The pedophile should come forward and take responsibility for his actions. The diocese and the Vatican should remove Bzdyra from his priestly duties immediately to protect the thousands of children of Connecticut from a Bzdyra attack.

Bzdyra is able to troll around the parks and playgrounds of Connecticut with impunity. This disgusting monster should be in jail. We have already forwarded the judge’s decision to the State’s Attorney’s office in hopes that he can be criminally prosecuted.”

The Catholic Diocese placed Bzdyra, the accused priest, on administrative leave in August pending their investigation. He had served as priest and religious education teacher at St. Hedwig’s Church in Naugatuck during the mid-1980s and early ’90s.

“There was more than adequate evidence to support the plaintiff’s claim that Bzdyra sexually abused him when he was a young boy,” said Justice Robert Berdon after a contested hearing. “The court finds that the testimony of the plaintiff was credible and overwhelming. The court finds that the abuse included anal rape, forced oral sex with Bzdyra, that Bzdyra compelled the plaintiff to masturbate him and Bzdyra ejaculated in the face of the plaintiff. This conduct went on for several years.”

Insurance does not cover diocese

Insurance doesn't cover Milwaukee priest sex abuse
Nov 23, 2010 10:23am Email Print MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee's insurance company doesn't have to pay damages that could arise from more than a dozen lawsuits involving sex abuse by priests, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The 1st District Court of Appeals decision, if it stands, means the archdiocese may have to pay millions of dollars to settle the cases. The archdiocese is currently in mediation with the plaintiffs and likely will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said in a statement.

"The resources of the archdiocese are limited and the loss of the financial contribution from insurance companies makes the challenge of resolving these cases all the more daunting," he said.

All but about $2 million of the archdiocese's $63 million in assets are legally committed to specific purposes and can't be used for settlements, he said.

The ruling stems from 13 lawsuits filed by people who claim they were molested by priests that the archdiocese knew posed a threat to children. They say the archdiocese insisted children would be safe around the priests despite knowing the men's histories.

The archdiocese's insurer, OneBeacon Insurance Company, argued it shouldn't be held responsible for damages. Its policy covers accidents, and the misrepresentation was intentional, the company said.

Two trial judges sided with OneBeacon. The archdiocese appealed, arguing it did not intend to harm the plaintiffs.

The appeals court disagreed, saying the victims weren't hurt by accident.

"While the Archdiocese may not have intended to harm the plaintiffs, it certainly intended to keep its knowledge of the priests at issue to itself, ultimately leading to the plaintiff's injuries," the ruling said. "The underlying cause of the plaintiff's injuries, the Archdiocese's misrepresentations, constitutes an act of volition."

Paul Scoptur, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs, said the ruling involves only the archdiocese and its insurance company and will have little effect on the alleged victims. He said he wasn't concerned the ruling could reduce potential monetary awards. The archdiocese should be able to cover them, he said.

"Our presumption all along was there wasn't going to be any insurance," Scoptur said. The archdiocese could be on the hook for a substantial settlement or judgment if the cases go to trial. Four years ago, it settled 10 cases against two priests with Milwaukee ties for about $16.5 million. They were accused of molesting children in California.

The archdiocese split the settlement costs with its insurance companies, which were required to cover some of the damages because those cases involved negligence. The cases involved in Tuesday's ruling are different; they essentially allege fraud.

To cover its share of the 2006 settlement, the archdiocese took out a loan for about $8.5 million, using its Cousins Center campus in St. Francis as collateral. The archdiocese has been trying to sell the campus, which doubles as the Milwaukee Bucks' practice facility, to repay the loan, Topczewski said

Peter Isely, a Milwaukee leader in the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the ruling should serve as a wake-up call to lay people to pay closer attention to church management because their contributions are now directly in play.

"They have to get engaged," Isely said, "and demand investigation, transparency and accountability."

Topczewski acknowledged the archdiocese takes in contributions from member parishes but said settlement payouts could come from a number of sources, including interest on investments, revenue from programs and real estate sales, just as in the California cases.


Grandma set ablaze to exorcise witchcraft Source : Daily Graphic | Fri 26th November, 2010 8:39 GMT
A 72-year-old grandmother suffered one of the most barbaric of deaths when she was burnt alive by a mob at Tema Site 15 after being accused of being a witch.

A student-nurse, who appeared on the scene, attempted to rescue the old woman from her ordeal but the woman died of her burns within 24 hours of arrival at the Tema General Hospital.

Five people who allegedly tortured and extracted the confessions of witchcraft from Ama Hemmah before drenching her in kerosene and setting her ablaze have been arrested by the Tema Police.

But the suspects, including an evangelist, denied the crime and claimed that they were rather praying to exorcise the evil spirit from the deceased, Ama, when the anointing oil they had applied to her body caught fire.

Two of the suspects are Samuel Ghunney, a 50-year-old photographer, and Pastor Samuel Fletcher Sagoe, 55, the evangelist.

The rest are Emelia Opoku, 37; Nancy Nana Ama Akrofie, 46, and Mary Sagoe, 52, all unemployed.

Briefing the Daily Graphic on the incident, the Tema Regional Police Commander, Mr Augustine Gyening, Assistant Commissioner of Police, said about 10 a.m. on November 20, 2010, Samuel Fletcher Sagoe visited his sister (Emelia) at Site 15, a suburb of Tema Community 1, and saw Madam Hemmah sitting in Emelia's bedroom at a time Emelia had sent her children to school.

Mr Gyening said Samuel then raised an alarm, attracting the attention of the principal suspect, Samuel Ghunney, and some people in the neighbourhood.

According to him, the suspects claimed that Madam Hemmah was a known witch in the area and subjected her to severe torture, compelling her to confess to being a witch.

He said after extracting the confession from Madam Hemmah, Ghunney asked Emelia for a gallon of kerosene and with the help of his accomplices, poured it all over the woman and set her ablaze.

Mr Gyening said a student-nurse, Deborah Pearl Adumoah, who chanced upon the barbaric act, rescued Madam Hemmah and sent her to the Community One Police Station, from where she was transferred to the Tema General Hospital, but she died the following day.

In their caution statement, the suspects denied the offence and explained that they poured anointing oil on the old woman which caught fire when they offered prayers to exorcise the demon from her.

The docket has since been sent to the Attorney-General's Department for advice, while the body of the deceased has been deposited at the Police Hospital mortuary for autopsy.

Priest tried to kill victim

Police: Priest solicited murder of boy accusing him of sex abuseBy Ashley Hayes, CNNNovember 23, 2010 -- Updated 1842 GMT (0242 HKT)
The Rev. John M. Fiala faces charges of solicitation to commit capital murder and aggravated sexual assault.STORY HIGHLIGHTS
John Fiala is jailed on $700,000 bail
He allegedly offered an undercover agent money to kill the teenager
Fiala also faces multiple sexual abuse charges
"This guy is an evil man," sheriff says
Sexual Offenses
(CNN) -- A Catholic priest, facing criminal charges and a lawsuit alleging that he sexually abused a teenage boy, is now charged with attempting to hire someone to kill the youth, authorities said Tuesday.

The Rev. John M. Fiala was in the Dallas County, Texas, jail on Tuesday, charged with one count of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the jail's website. He also is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. His bail totals $700,000.

Fiala, 52, of Dallas, was out on bond on other sexual assault charges involving the youth, now 18, when he allegedly attempted to negotiate the boy's murder, said Tom Rhodes, the teen's attorney.

He was arrested last week after he offered an undercover agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety $5,000 to kill the teen, according to department spokeswoman Lisa Block.

"This guy," Edwards County Sheriff Don Letsinger said, "is an evil man."

A call to Rex Gunter, the defense attorney listed in jail records for Fiala, was not immediately returned Tuesday.

The youth met Fiala in 2007, according to Rhodes. The attorney said the priest started "grooming him," buying him gifts including a computer and a car. In early 2008, when the boy was 16, under the guise of providing private catechism lessons, Fiala "gained access to him and began to sexually abuse him once or twice a month, including on church grounds," Rhodes said.

At the time, Fiala was administrator of Sacred Heart of Mary in Rocksprings, Texas, which is in Edwards County. The alleged abuse occurred in two counties -- Edwards and Howard -- and included the youth's rape at gunpoint, the attorney said.

Fiala allegedly threatened to kill the youth if he told anyone -- threats he repeated in daily text messages, Rhodes said, and Fiala also threatened to kill himself, telling the teen they would "go to heaven together."

The teen, after struggling with the abuse, told a school counselor, who notified authorities, Rhodes said. He filed suit in April against Fiala, as well as the archdioceses of San Antonio, Texas, and Omaha, Nebraska -- where Fiala was before Texas -- and Fiala's religious order, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, the attorney said.

The suit claims that all three covered up Fiala's record of abuse. All three have denied doing so, according to the San Antonio, Texas, Express-News. When former San Antonio Archbishop Jose Gomez and the religious order learned of the police investigation into Fiala's relationship with the teen, he was removed from active ministry in October 2008, the newspaper reported.

In September, an Edwards County grand jury indicted Fiala on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of aggravated sexual assault by threat, according to the Express-News. Fiala was arrested in Kansas by a fugitive task force and was extradited to Texas, where he posted bail on September 27, according to the newspaper. He then moved to Dallas County.

A grand jury in Howard County handed up an indictment last week on the two aggravated sexual assault charges, the Express-News said.

Meanwhile, "approximately a week ago, we got an anonymous phone call from someone saying, 'Look, I'm living in a building with this guy, and he's talking about killing this young man,' " Rhodes said. "Our response was, 'You need to call police.' "

Letsinger said he got a call November 11 from the neighbor. The man at first just told authorities they should "be looking at this guy," the sheriff said, but later said Fiala had offered him $5,000 to kill the teenager. The allegation surprised him, Letsinger said.

The Department of Public Safety and its Texas Ranger Division got involved, sending the undercover agent to speak with Fiala, Rhodes said. The conversation was caught on video and audiotape.

Rhodes said his client was relieved to hear of Fiala's arrest. He was attending college but had to withdraw and be spirited away somewhere safe because of the threats, he said.

"He's still very afraid, but he is hoping that this time Fiala will stay behind bars," Rhodes said.

A hearing on the lawsuit was held Monday, he said. The Omaha diocese had argued it should be sued in Nebraska rather than Texas. The judge rejected that argument, Rhodes said.

"I think he's cooked his goose now," Letsinger said of Fiala. "We know that pedophiles sometimes threaten their victims to keep them quiet. But this is kind of an older victim, and you wonder sometimes why they wouldn't come forward. ... I can see now the evil in this guy is pretty bad."

Guidelines change nothing

New Vatican guidelines on child abuse leave the door open to more cover-ups
New guidelines from the Vatican aimed at creating “a co-ordinated and effective programme” of child protection are to be sent out to bishops around the world. They will not instruct bishops to report sex abuse by clerics to the police, only for them to “collaborate” with the authorities when crimes are reported by others or uncovered by external agencies.

The guidelines will stress the importance of diocesan bishops convincing the public of their “effective commitment” to protect children attending church schools. It will also tell the hierarchy to be “attentive” in the selection and formation of future priests and religious.

An advance outline of the directive, which is to be circulated to the national conference of bishops, was given in the presence of the Pope at a summit of 150 cardinals in the Vatican last Friday by Cardinal William J Levada, who is head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

NSS member Sue Cox, a survivor of abuse herself and now a campaigner for others, said: “As usual, the Vatican is trying to dictate the terms. As usual they completely sideline the issues, and refuse to acknowledge their responsibility to the thousands of abused people who are still battling them for justice. The point is very much that until the church accepts that it needs to look outside the organisation and undertake full independent reviews, opens up to external scrutiny, it will neither deal with past issues – nor show any signs of moving forward.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Youth leader jailed

Former youth leader to jail

Woman gets six months for having sex with teen.

Date published: 11/23/2010


The former youth director at a Stafford County church was ordered yesterday to serve six months in prison for having sex with a boy in her youth group.

Jennifer Michelle Brennan, 37, was sentenced in Stafford Circuit Court to a total of seven years in prison with all but six months suspended. She was convicted of two felonies and a misdemeanor.

Brennan has maintained that she was raped by the 15-year-old boy, but yesterday she accepted responsibility for the "hurt that my role has played."

Judge J. Martin Bass' sentence came at the end of a three-hour hearing that at times was emotional.

Bass at one point told prosecutor Eric Olsen to "bring it down a notch" as he aggressively cross-examined a defense witness.

Bass also threatened to have some members of the packed courtroom held in contempt of court if there were any further distractions.

Court officials said some spectators were doing such things as rolling their eyes and giving dirty looks to the victim.

According to the evidence, Brennan was the director of youth services at St. Matthias United Methodist Church on Deacon Road when the incidents began in January of last year.

The 15-year-old victim was part of the youth group, and he had a sexual relationship with Brennan that included trysts in the parking lots at Walmart and Target and at Brennan's home in Spotsylvania County.

The boy said they had sex about 10 times and that Brennan initiated the encounters. Brennan said she was raped three times.

The boy eventually told his girlfriend about the relationship and the information got back to church officials, who took immediate action.

The boy's father and grandmother testified that they noticed that Brennan was spending an unusual amount of time with the teen, but weren't overly concerned because of Brennan's church connection.

"I couldn't believe it," the grandmother testified. "I trusted Jen. She seemed like such a nice person."

Defense attorney Mark Gardner put on two mental health specialists in an attempt to show that the sexual abuse Brennan claimed to have suffered as a child from her grandfather made her unable to respond appropriately in this situation.

Carol T. Giunta, a clinical psychiatrist, said that she believes Brennan was raped by the boy.

This infuriated Olsen, whose attacked Giunta's testimony so fervently that Gardner asked Bass to intervene.

Gardner pleaded for mercy yesterday. He said Brennan had no prior criminal record and has already suffered public humiliation and the loss of her career.

Brennan said she has been in isolation for the 67 days she has already been in jail and is eager to rejoin her husband and children.

"Shame is a powerful emotion and a heavy burden to bear," she said.

Olsen called Brennan's rape claim a lie and said "any consequences she is suffering are of her own making."

Brennan was previously convicted of using a communications device to solicit sex from a minor, child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.



Allegation Reported Against Reverend William G. Ayres

On Thursday of last week, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Reverend William G. Ayres, Pastor of Saint Michael Parish, and Parochial Administrator of Immaculate Conception Parish, both in Philadelphia. The Archdiocese reported to civil authorities this allegation, which concerns events from the mid 1990's. This is the first allegation of sexual abuse that the Archdiocese has received regarding Father Ayres.

Since 2006, Father Ayres has been Parochial Administrator of Immaculate Conception Parish in Philadelphia. Since 2007 he has also been Pastor of Saint Michael Parish in Philadelphia. Cardinal Rigali has relieved him of his assignment pending completion of a formal investigation. Father Ayres is no longer residing at Saint Michael Parish but at Villa Saint Joseph in Darby, the home for retired priests of the Archdiocese, and he has agreed to refrain from the public exercise of his priestly ministry during the investigation.

An announcement was made this past weekend at Saint Michael Parish and Immaculate Conception Parish regarding Father Ayres. Counselors from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Victim Assistance Office were available after Masses.

Father Ayres is 39 years old. He was ordained in 1999. He has served at the following parishes and offices in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in addition to Saint Michael Parish and Immaculate Conception Parish: Incarnation of Our Lord Parish, Philadelphia (1999-2002); Saint Katharine Drexel Parish, Chester (2002-2003) and the Office for Pastoral Care of Migrants & Refugees (2003-2007). He also served as Coordinator of the Laotian Apostolate (2001-2003).

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia recognizes that this public notice may be painful to those who have been abused. If anyone needs assistance please contact the Victim Assistance Office for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at 1-888-800-8780 or philavac@adphila.org.

Priest accused


Philadelphia priest accused of sexual abuse of child
Philadelphia Daily News

benderw@phillynews.com 215-854-5255

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced yesterday that a 39-year-old priest has been removed from his duties at two parishes amid an allegation that, while attending seminary, he sexually abused a child.

The news follows Friday's announcement that the Rev. Geraldo Pinero had stepped down as pastor of Incarnation of Our Lord Parish in Olney after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents produced a search warrant at the parish rectory.

Yesterday, the Archdiocese said the Rev. William G. Ayres, pastor of St. Michael parish in North Philadelphia, had recently been accused of abusing a minor in the mid-1990s while Ayres was attending St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook.

An announcement was made over the weekend at St. Michael, on 2nd Street near Jefferson, and at Immaculate Conception parish, at Front and Allen streets, Northern Liberties, where Ayres served as parochial administrator, that he had been removed from both posts.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell said the Archdiocese had notified the District Attorney's Office, but she declined to comment on the specifics of the allegation.

Ayres was moved on Friday from St. Michael's to Villa Saint Joseph, in Darby, a home for retired priests, including some who have been accused of sexual abuse.

Ayres, who was ordained in 1999, served at Incarnation of Our Lord from 1999 to '02, at St. Katharine Drexel in Chester in '02 and '03, and in the Office for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees from '03 to '07. He also was coordinator of the Laotian Apostolate from '01 to '03.

The Daily News was unable to reach him for comment yesterday, and a monsignor at Villa Saint Joseph declined to relay a message to him.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20101123_Philadelphia_priest_accused_of_sexual_abuse_of_child.html#ixzz16bhLZQMg
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Priest sued

Suit: Priest Lured Grieving Woman Into Sexual Relationship
November 19, 2010 8:02 PM

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From Stan Pillman

CHICAGO (STMW) – A lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court claims a woman grieving over the impending loss of her mother was lured into a sexual relationship with a Catholic priest who was counseling her.

The suit claims the woman met Fr. Fernando Zuleta in November 2008 when her mother was admitted to a hospice where he served as chaplain and grief counselor. She began daily counseling sessions to deal with the impending death of her mother from a terminal illness.

The priest encouraged the woman to meet him for a counseling session at a local restaurant for coffee, according to the suit. He began ordering alcohol for the woman until she became intoxicated.

The suit claims that even though the priest knew the woman was married he began kissing her and touching her body in a sexual manner. In subsequent meetings, he allegedly escalated his advances by engaging in intimate conversation, kissing and sexual touching.

The woman’s mother died one week after being admitted to the hospice and the woman and priest began having a sexual relationship on a regular basis, according to the suit. Until February 2009, the sexual relationship continued, often in the rectory of the priest’s parish, according to the suit.

In December 2008, the woman told her husband about the relationship, according to the suit. Her husband immediately informed the hospice, Zuleta’s immediate supervisor, officials at the Archdiocese of Chicago and the pastor of the parish.

The hospice terminated the priest, but the Archdiocese took no action, according to the suit, which names Zuleta, the Bishop of Chicago and the Archdiocese as defendants.

The suit claims the woman’s life began to spiral out of control during and following her sexual relationship with the priest. It also alleges she suffered extreme emotional distress, including loss of trust, a great sense of betrayal and of being exploited.

The eight-count suit seeks unspecified damages, expenses, attorney’s fees, costs and other relief.

Susan Burritt, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, said she wasn’t aware of the lawsuit and does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Sacistan charged

Sacristan charged with sexual misconduct
29.10.2010 - A former sacristan in Diekirch has been charged with sexual abuse of at least 6 young female acolytes.

Published on 29/10/2010 by News352 | Read 603 times.
On Thursday, the court of justice heard that the monastic officer abused the girls between 2003 and 2008. It turns out that the dean was aware of the occurrences yet failed to report them until finding out about the third one.

The victims' families are extremely unsatisifed with the verdict, stating that a 1-year deferred prison sentence and a fine were hardly enough to punish such behaviour.

The scandal has surfaced as one of the many cases involving sexual abuse linked to religious figures across Europe and is sure to fuel further local criticism of the Luxembourg catholic church.

Pastor charged

Marion Pastor Faces Sex Abuse Charges
Deputies: Girl's Mother Reports Youth Pastor
POSTED: 5:30 am EST November 22, 2010
UPDATED: 6:18 am EST November 22, 2010
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Comments (6)WINTER PARK, Fla. -- A 17-year-old girl's mother reported her youth pastor for an inappropriate relationship the two were having, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Daniel Robida sexually abused a 17-year-old girl, according to deputies in Marion County.

Deputies arrested 33-year-old Daniel Robida and charged him with sexual battery.

Robida is accused of having a sexual relationship with the 17-year-old girl. Deputies said the relationship was consensual.

Robida, a youth pastor at Harvest Community Church in Summerfield, is married and has three children.

The church released a statement in response to the allegations.

"We are saddened by the recent events and are praying for all parties concerned," read the statement.

Deputies said the two met at the church.

Help line

A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Helpline opens for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

The State’s first national helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will go live today. The helpline – 1890 929 539 – was set up when eight local helplines pooled their resources to run one national line. Those helplines received more than 2,000 calls last year, most calls people aged 25-45.

A recent Supporting LGBT Lives study found that 80 per cent of about 300,000 had been verbally abused.

The new helpline will operate initially between 7pm-9pm from Monday to Friday.

Increase in calls for sexual abuse help

Calls for help in dealing with sexual abuse have increased six-fold in a year, according to the charity One In Four. The counselling and advocacy organisation says that since the publication of the Murphy report in November last year, more than 1,140 people have contacted it.

This is a 267 per cent increase in calls, it says.

“As a result, One In Four has introduced a new support service for families where one or more members has experienced sexual violence.” It is hoping to raise funds at an art exhibition and fair on Thursday at the Department of Justice on Stephen’s Green, Dublin.

One in Four director Maeve Lewis said: “Hundreds of sexual abuse victims have reached out to us for help since the publication of the Dublin archdiocese report into . . . abuse by the Catholic Church leadership in Dublin.”

C of I Bishop of Tuam to step down

The Church of Ireland Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, Dr Richard Henderson, is to step down at the end of January to take up a new role in England, writes Patsy McGarry .

From March 5th he will be honorary assistant bishop in the diocese of Carlisle and team vicar in the Heart of Eden team ministry there. He will be based at Appleby-in- Westmoreland, Cumbria.

© 2010 The Irish Times

Pastor's foursome

Heavens, No! NJ Pastor Who Banned Church Leaders From Facebook Admits to Affairs
But his affair was NOT facilitated by the social-networking site, he claims
Updated 9:02 PM EST, Sun, Nov 21, 2010

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He did say thou shalt not commit adultery.

The New Jersey pastor who said Facebook was a "portal to infidelity," and demanded that all married church leaders delete their accounts or resign immediately, admits to having had a three-way, and sometimes four-way, sexual relationship with his wife and a male church assistant.

His affair did not stem from Facebook.

The Rev. Cedric Miller confirmed the information reported Saturday by the Asbury Park Press of Neptune, which cited testimony he gave in a criminal case against the church assistant in 2003. The relationship happened about 10 years ago.

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In his testimony in April 2003, Miller said that his wife had a sexual relationship with the assistant and that he was present at many of their trysts, reports the Asbury Park Press. He said the assistant’s wife was also there at times.

When asked to expand in detail on the affair, Miller testified, "We had crossed the line many times. I mean between the four of us. It was just, I mean there was touching, there was...it was crazy, it was as wrong as wrong could get,” reports the APP.

When the defense attorney asked if he was talking about sex, Miller said, “Yes.”

Miller gained national attention when he issued the no-Facebook-for-married-people edict this week. He said it came about because a large percentage of his marital counseling over the past year and a half has included infidelity stemming from the social-network website.

The 48-year-old leader of Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune Township claimed Facebook ignites old passions.

“It has come to my attention that a very painful part of my past has resurfaced,'' Miller wrote in an e-mail response to the APP Friday.

"This was resolved at that time and accordingly we will not allow it to detract from our mission at hand to save as many marriages as we can,” he said in the e-mail.

Miller said that his church leaders and other pastors were notified of the affair years ago.

Priest charged

Priest from Fenland to appear at court on child porn charges
Saturday, 20 November, 2010
12:13 PM

A ROMAN Catholic priest from Fenland will appear at Durham Crown Court charged with possessing child pornography.

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Father John Terence Paul Shannon, 57, of The Elms, Chatteris, is facing 17 charges of making an indecent photograph of a child on or before June 16, and possession of 763 indecent photographs of children.

Fr Shannon was suspended from his duties at the 200-year-old St Cuthbert’s Seminary at Ushaw College, near Esh, County Durham, in June.

He has since resigned from the college which trains students entering priesthood.

The offences are alleged to have been committed at Esh and relate to images classed as between levels one and four in terms of severity.

He appeared at Consett Magistrates’ Court on October 26 and spoke only to confirm his name and address.

John Garside, from the Crown Prosecution Service, applied to have the papers formally committed to Durham Crown Court.

Paul Donoghue, Fr Shannon’s legal representative, did not make any representation and no pleas were entered.

District Judge Michael Wood told Fr Shannon that his conditional bail had been extended and he would next have to attend Durham Crown Court on December 3 for a plea and directions hearing.

The arrest was prompted by information passed by the seminary to Durham Police and he was charged on August 6.

Protecting children

Protecting Children from the Church's Abuse Of Power
Read More: Catholic Child Abuse , Christianity , Clergy Sex Abuse , Pope Benedict XVI , Priest Abuse Scandal , Priest Sex Abuse , SNAP Abuse Organization , Survivors Network For Those Abused By Priests , The Unbreakable Child , Religion News

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Email Comments 272 The world continues to watch with genuine interest as the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church parades masks of contrition before the media, in an effort to convince the faithful that the Church has turned the corner on the clergy sexual abuse crisis. On Nov. 19, a gathering of Cardinals from every corner of the Church's influence will convene in Rome at the request of the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI. This meeting of Cardinals will include a discussion about the Vatican's response to sexually abusive priests.

"And as Catholic cardinals from around the world talk about abuse in Rome, clergy sex abuse victims from four countries will hold two events nearby," said Barbara Blain, president of SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests).

"SNAP leaders will also present detailed steps, urging world-wide Catholic prelates to protect the safety of vulnerable children now. They will ask the bishops and cardinals to act immediately regardless of the Vatican actions," said Kim Michele Richardson, SNAP spokeswoman, survivor and author of The Unbreakable Child.

I wonder if the Cardinals will discuss the full spectrum of abuse within the Catholic Church. There is another facet, an entire history that, if brought to light, reveals the abuse of thousands of orphans and other children of the faithful who were systematically abused by nuns, orphanage lay workers and countless other opportunists who snatched the chance to victimize the helpless, hidden as they were from the protective eye of law enforcement, under a veil of piety and charity.

I have spent the better part of the last decade advocating and fighting for justice for hundreds of adults, who, as children, were abuse victims during a period of 50 years (implicating a total of eight priests) within the community of Louisville, Ky., all the while trying to get my head around the ever-changing public relations machine within the "loving arms" of St. Peter's.

In 2003 several women and men revealed that they were victimized while captives at an orphanage operated by nuns from the order known as the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. From the late 1930s and into the 1980s, the various Archbishops serving the Louisville archdiocese, as well as parish priests, were empowered to remove a child from their parents and have them institutionalized against their and their parents will. Local government officials were lulled into a sense of security when social workers and other officials made infrequent and announced visits to the orphanage. I had the privilege to work closely with and for the survivors committed behind the mammoth walls of this dark orphanage. These children without families suffered the worst abuse I have ever uncovered, spanning a period of some 60 years. Many were residents of the orphanage for most of their childhood, suffering cruel abuses on a daily basis. These atrocities included ritualistic sexual assaults, brutal beatings and nuns dressing up little girls in white gowns and delivering these children to the resident priest for his sexual pleasure.

Over this past year we have come to learn that Pope Benedict XIV himself shielded these criminals from law enforcement, while serving as an Archbishop in Germany. In those days, the Pope was known as Cardinal Ratzinger, who would later become the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) from 1981 to 2005. The CDF is responsible for receiving all reports of clergy sexual abuse from bishops around the world.

This time period encompassed the greatest efforts the Church has ever exerted to shield itself from scandal. Then, the early 1980s saw the first criminal prosecution of a priest in the United States, followed by a wave of civil lawsuits that gained traction only when the Boston scandal broke in early 2002. What role did Cardinal Ratzinger play in quelling the inevitable scandal for nearly two decades? While he has literally had a change of "hats," he is the same human being who worked so diligently to keep the secrets of the Church safely within the walls of St. Peter's while childhoods were destroyed.

In the past few months we have heard the Pontiff publically criticize abusive priests, but he has yet to confront the root cause of this abusive culture: the cover up of abuse by bishops and cardinals. We do know that bishops who served in the United States from the 1950s through the early 2000s were forced to confront the reality of an abuser within his diocese. Cardinal Ratzinger exemplified the crisis elsewhere in the world by shielding abusive priests within his control as an Archbishop serving in Germany. In the early 1960s, legislatures of various states began to pass laws making it a crime for any citizen to fail to report known or suspected child abusers. By the time the scandal broke in this country in 2002, there was not one instance of a bishop reporting child sexual abuse to a law enforcement agency. Not one report.

This week, as the most powerful officials of the most politically influential religious organization in the world gather to discuss the Church's response to the priest sexual abuse scandal, the stark contrast between those with power and those with none could not be more profound. The Church continues to operate in complete secrecy, without any governmental oversight or accountability. This confluence reminds me of Lord Acton's most famous quote regarding the corruption inherent in power. Most readers will know this oft-quoted phrase, but few, if any, will know that Lord Acton was speaking of the Pope when he wrote the following in a letter to Mandell Creighton in 1887:

I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did not wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.
Until the governments of our world wrestle the power over children away from religious organizations operating in secrecy and without accountability, justice will remain an elusive butterfly.

Diocese loses lawsuit

Diocese loses lawsuit in priest sex abuse case
Daniel Tepfer, Staff Writer
Published: 11:26 p.m., Friday, November 19, 2010
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A state Superior Court judge in Waterbury Friday issued a judgment against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport in a lawsuit brought by a man who claimed he was abused by a priest at a Trumbull church in the 1980s.

Judge William Cremins issued the judgment without a trial for the plaintiff, who is only identified in court papers as "David Doe," after the diocese did not comply with the judge's order to turn over hundreds of secret documents purporting to detail abuse of children by priests at St. Theresa's Church.

"We are very pleased that our state court judges will not be intimidated by the stonewalling and bullying tactics of the Catholic church," said Joel Faxon, who represents the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Diocese officials did not immediately return phone calls for comment.

If the diocese does not successfully appeal the judgment, the judge would then decide how much money to penalize the diocese for the case.

In January 2009, Faxon filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Trumbull man against the diocese, claiming the plaintiff was severely abused by the Rev. John Castaldo in the 1980s. The suit claimed while a parish priest at St. Theresa's, Castaldo repeatedly forced the then-child to perform oral sex and also, under extreme threat and intimidation, attacked the boy for purposes of his own deviant sexual gratification.

The lawsuit also claimed Castaldo's superiors in diocese, including former Archbishop Edward Egan, knew about his "bizarre sexual proclivities" and not only did nothing about it, but proceeded to hire and promote Castaldo as fully fit to carry out his duties in the church, including those involving children.

All this occurred despite the fact that prior to Castaldo's assignment at St. Theresa's, there were very disturbing psychological assessments documenting that Castaldo "was fearful of his own aggressive drives," and was preoccupied with his "unresolved sexual urges," according to previously released court documents. Previously, documents showed Castaldo was expelled from his seminary for "remarkable bizarre behavior" of which the seminary's president-rector warned the Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocese.

Two other lawsuits were filed against the diocese claiming abuse by Castaldo.

Priest pleads guilty

Ex-priest pleads guilty on sex charges
BY STACI WILSON (Staff Writer)Published: November 20, 2010

MONTROSE - A former Episcopal priest pleaded guilty in Susquehanna County Court on Friday to sexually assaulting two teen boys.

Ralph Johnson, 83, of Gibson Twp., entered guilty pleas to two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse lodged against him in two separate cases. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

One of the boys - now in his 20s - was 14 at the time of the alleged abuse and has a mental disability.

The other victim, now 29, was between the ages of 11 and 15 during the time of the alleged abuse, according to police.

The Times-Tribune does not identify the victims of sexual assault.

District Attorney Jason Legg said the cases brought against Mr. Johnson underscore the fallacy of people who question victims who do not report these types of crimes sooner.

"The simple truth is that victims rarely report sexual abuse when it occurs. It usually takes a long time," Mr. Legg said. "In this case, we know that one of the victims was abused in the early 1990s and we know that the victim was telling the truth."

One of the components of this case, explained the district attorney, involved the applicable statute of limitations - and the various extensions by the state.

"If the Legislature had not repeatedly extended the statute of limitations, Mr. Johnson would have avoided legal responsibility for this horrific conduct," Mr. Legg said.

"I am thankful that the Legislature understands just how hard these crimes are for victims to report, and has extended the statute of limitations in recognition of those difficulties."

President Judge Kenneth Seamans ordered Mr. Johnson to undergo an evaluation by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board prior to sentencing on March 24.

Mr. Johnson was deposed in 2006 by Bishop Gladstone Adams of the Central New York Episcopal Diocese after similar allegations of inappropriate conduct surfaced while Mr. Johnson was serving at a parish in Owego, N.Y.

In a March interview, Bishop Adams said no victim ever came forward at that time to verify the allegations but he felt the information was credible enough to merit Mr. Johnson's discipline.

While ordained, Mr. Johnson served in parishes in Buckingham, part of a Philadelphia-area diocese; as well as at New York churches of St. Paul's, Owego; Zion Church, Windsor; and St. Ann's, Afton. He never served a parish in Susquehanna County or the Diocese of Bethlehem.

He has lived in the Gibson area since 1987. Prior to that, he owned property on Stanton Road in Thompson Twp.

Priest pleads guilty

Former Priest Pleads GuiltyBy WBNG News

Former Priest Pleads Guilty
November 19, 2010

Montrose, PA (WBNG Binghamton) A man accused of coercing minors to have sex while he was a priest pleads guilty in Susquehanna County.

Ralph Johnson, 82, of Gibson appeared at the courthouse in Montrose.

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He plead guilty to two charges related to engaging in sex with minors.

Johnson was a priest at St Ann's Church in Afton.

A man came forward and accused Johnson of molesting him for 4 years back in the 1990s when he was a teenager.

Other victims also came forward, including a man with a mental disability who said Johnson sexually assaulted him at age 14.

Johnson will be sentenced at the end of March in 2011.

Pastor imprisoned

Pulaski Pastor sent to prison for indecent liberties with children
Seventy-four-year-old Reverend J.P. Hale plead no contest Friday to seven charges of taking indecent liberties with a minor and six charges of non-forcible sodomy.

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A Pulaski County pastor will spend a little over six years in prison for having an inappropriate relationship with two minors.

Seventy-four-year-old Reverend J.P. Hale plead no contest Friday to seven charges of taking indecent liberties with a minor and six charges of non-forcible sodomy.

Hale will serve six years and four months in prison. After that, he'll have 20 years of supervised probation.

Residential schools

Author continues study of residential schools
Published: November 19, 2010 6:00 AM
Updated: November 19, 2010 6:34 AM
Author and human rights activist Kevin Annett launches his international book tour in Nanaimo Thursday (Nov 25).

Annett is known for his work to document and confront crimes in Canada’s Indian residential schools.

He recently helped lead a protest against Pope Benedict in London, England, where he served a public summons on the Pope for what he calls “crimes against the innocent”.

Much of this work is documented in his latest book, Unrepentant: Disrobing the Emperor, released by O Books in England.

Annett will be reading from his book and speaking at Vancouver Island University Thursday from 7-9 p.m., Bldg. 355, Rm. 203.

Teacher sentenced


Photo 1 of 1 | Zoom Photo +

Joshua DiMeo, right, listens to his lawyer, Charles Olsen, in Sullivan County Court in Monticello Thursday. DiMeo, 21, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of first-degree disseminating indecent material to a minor, a felony, and second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor.
TOM BUSHEY/Times Herald-Record
By Victor Whitman
Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 11/19/10
MONTICELLO — A former gym teacher at Liberty's Light & Life Christian School was led out of Sullivan County Court on Thursday handcuffed behind his back and bound for state prison after he was sentenced for sending an obscene photo to an underage girl last spring and fondling another girl.

Joshua DiMeo, 21, showed little emotion before Judge Frank LaBuda sentenced him on charges of first-degree disseminating indecent material to a minor, a felony, and second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor.

"Really, I am sorry for what I did," said DiMeo, his only comment.

"I am sorry for you," replied LaBuda, "because what you did hurt not only "» the two young girls but it hurt yourself, it hurt the school, it hurt many people associated with you and the good work that they and the school and ministry do."

DiMeo pleaded guilty in August in exchange for a plea deal that called for a three-year prison sentence on the felony. He was sentenced to one year on the misdemeanor to run concurrently. He will also be put on 10 years' parole upon release and have to register as a sex offender.

The girls, both 13, were students at the school, which was affiliated with the Liberty Free Methodist Church and closed because of the notoriety surrounding the case. DiMeo had known the girls for about two years.

On April 1, sheriff's detectives met DiMeo at the door of the Liberty home of the girl to whom he'd sent the obscene message. He admitted that he believed she was alone and intended to have sexual contact with her. DiMeo sent a cell phone picture of his penis, and wrote that he "wanted to see her naked" and also several graphic comments of what he wanted to do with her sexually.

DiMeo had no prior criminal record, not even a traffic ticket. While LaBuda advised him in August to turn himself into jail early, DiMeo chose to stay out on bail until his sentencing, and attend counseling.

"I think it is a sad day for the community, the victims and my client," DiMeo's lawyer, Charles Olsen, said. "I hope from this point forward he'll take whatever the Department of Corrections will offer him, so upon his release he can come back and be a productive member of society."

More victims

Pastor Soulja may have more victims
By Jessica Miller, Standard-Examiner staff
Last updatedThursday, November 18, 2010 - 9:03pmStory Images

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ROY -- Police have identified four more possible victims of sexual misconduct by Aaron Witcher, a 38-year-old pastor from Roy.
Witcher, a Christian hip-hop singer also known as Pastor Soulja, was charged two weeks ago with eight counts of rape after a police investigation into allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

All four of the potential new victims are from the Salt Lake County area, said Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham.

The cases related to those girls will now be transferred to that area, where local law enforcement agencies will investigate and decide whether more charges should be filed against Witcher.

Whinham said Roy police have not had any other reports about improper sexual relationships in the Weber County area.

"We've had people call us with some kinds of information from a historic perspective," he said. "But there are not other victims in the Weber County area."

The Salt Lake County cases are alleged to have occurred three to five years ago, Whinham said.

Locally, Witcher is accused of a sexual relationship that began with a girl when she was 15. She was a member of Witcher's Roy church, Crosswalk Christian Training Center.

Both parties have admitted to having a sexual relationship. The girl said sexual encounters occurred between two and 20 times, as well as other sexual acts, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Witcher admitted to having sex with the girl at least a dozen times in several locations, including the victim's home, a storage unit in Roy, the Business Depot Ogden and Roy Municipal Park, according to the affidavit.

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Archdiocese sued

Archdiocese sued over alleged abuse
By Abe Levy - Express-News Web Posted: 11/19/2010 12:00 AM CST Barbara Garcia Boehland of the support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests lays out pictures of alleged victims at a protest in front of San Fernando Cathedral. JERRY LARA/glara@express-news.net
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Ministry service of Louis White
1975-76: St. Ann's, San Antonio
1976-77: Sacred Heart, Floresville
1977-78: St. Joseph, Yoakum
1978-81: Notre Dame, Kerrville
1981-84: San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio
1984-87: St. Luke, Loire
1987-88: St. Vincent de Paul, San Antonio
1988: Left priestly ministry
1989: Removed from the priesthood
Source: Archdiocese of San Antonio

The Archdiocese of San Antonio is accused of covering up the repeated sexual assault of a 12-year-old boy by a priest and failing to adequately notify the Floresville parish where the alleged abuse took place nearly 35 years ago, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Bexar County.
The suit also claims the archdiocese sent a priest to intimidate the parish from helping abuse victims.

No longer a priest, Louis White was associate pastor of Wilson County's Sacred Heart Catholic Church in 1976-77 when he is alleged to have molested the boy up to three times a week for six months in his bedroom, a shop at the rectory and the church.

The victim is 46 now and remains anonymous in the suit, which also names White and does not specify a dollar amount for damages. White's whereabouts are unknown.

In public notices sent out in March 2009, the archdiocese said there were “believable” accusations of sexually assaulting a male teen against White and two other former priests — episodes between 1978 and 1982 at San Fernando Cathedral when they were associate pastors there.

Notices were published in the bulletins of 15 parishes where the men had served. A news release also was posted on the archdiocesan website. White's Floresville parish was not included in the initial posting but was later added with an explanation that “the parish was inadvertently omitted.”

The release went on to say White abused the San Fernando teen about 1981 and was removed from the priesthood for undisclosed reasons in 1989. The notices also urged anyone with concerns to contact the archdiocese. It is believed the teen is not the same alleged victim cited in Thursday's suit.

San Antonio archdiocesan spokesman Pat Rodgers declined to comment, saying the lawsuit had not been served and at any rate archdiocese policy is not to comment on pending litigation.

The suit for the first time reveals details about an accusation against White, matching the pattern highlighted in the national scandal that erupted in 2002 and expanded oversees in subsequent years.

Several years ago the San Antonio archdiocese said there were 58 reports of abuse against 20 priests out of a total of 2,113 priests serving from 1950 to 2002. It also reported it had paid more than $5.2 million in settlements over that span.

Nun abuse

Churchgoers hear a shocking tale of childhood abuse
12:00pm Thursday 18th November 2010

Print Email Share Comments(8) By Helen Orrell »

A WIVENHOE woman has spoken of the torture and torment she suffered at the hands of “sadistic” nuns as a child.

Churchgoers in the town listened in horror as Frances Reilly recounted tales of the institutional abuse she suffered in an orphanage run by the Poor Sisters of Nazareth, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

She told the congregation at St Monica’s Roman Catholic Church she was bathed in disinfectant, locked in cupboards and given daily beatings.

Yet when Government inspectors visited the orphanage, they completely missed signs of abuse, with children being silenced by fear of reprisals.

She said she and other girls wrote pleas for help on paper aeroplanes and threw them over the walls in the hope of being rescued.

When her father got in touch, she believed she had found a way out – only to learn he had died, when it was announced in morning prayers, one day.

Mrs Reilly’s first book, Suffer the Little Children, tells of her experiences under the nuns’ cruel regime. It was published in 2009 and recently found its way to Father Paul Keane, the priest at St Monica’s, who invited her to speak at the church, in De Vere Lane.

He said: “I simply thought it was the right and just the local church community had the chance to hear her story. The only thing we could do was listen to it.

“I was inspired by meeting Frances last summer and I’m very grateful she was kind enough to talk to us.

“I have had many people say to me they are pleased this is happening in the parish.”

Mrs Reilly, 56, said: “When he invited me in, I’d only been in a Catholic church once since I was a child. I thought it was absolutely huge for a Catholic priest to allow me in to talk about what I had been through. I have so much respect for him for doing that.

“I don’t blame the Catholic church for the fact paedophiles and sadistic women worked there, but what I was annoyed about was how it dealt with our complaints. At least now, people are starting to listen. People like Father Paul will do the Catholic church a lot more good than those who have tried to sweep it under the carpet.”

The mother-of-five finally won a ten-year legal battle against her tormentors in 2008 and was awarded an undisclosed sum in compensation, as did dozens of other victims.

Mrs Reilly is still campaigning for a full apology from the Government and the Church.

The Poor Sisters of Nazareth was founded in the mid-19th century in Hammersmith, London, to care for the very young and the very old.

For more than 100 years, Nazareth Houses all over Britain were home to thousands of children. The order no longer cares for children, instead running residential care homes for the elderly as the Sisters of Nazareth.

The order also operates in Australia, South Africa, the United States and Ireland and has been the subject of hundreds of abuse claims from those who were once in its care.


The priest and the schoolgirl:
A cover-up is revealed


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Broken Rites Australia helps victims of church-related

By a Broken Rites researcher

A Sydney woman (who will be referred to by Broken Rites as "Mandy") has revealed that a Catholic priest (Father Kevin Cox) sexually abused her for six years from the age of eleven. Furthermore, the sexual abuse resulted in a pregnancy at age 17 — and then the priest paid for an abortion.

After these six years, Father Cox reluctantly apologised to the family for his sexual abuse of the girl. He also reluctantly admitted the sexual abuse to his bishop. However, the diocese granted him a transfer to another parish and allowed him to continue working as a priest for the next 15 years, until Mandy finally reported the sexual abuse to the police when she was nearly 32.

After the police charged Father Cox in court with his earliest sexual crimes against the child (at the age of 11 to 13), his supporters in the church sprang to his defence. After a jury convicted him of these crimes, church leaders and priests wrote "good-character" references for him, asking the court for a lenient sentence. A judge gave Cox a part-time jail sentence but church lawyers appealed to a higher court against the criminal conviction and won an acquittal for the priest.

Privately, a church leader apologised to Mandy's mother, acknowledging that the priest had broken his priestly vows in doing what he did to Mandy.

And, to cap it all off, when Father Kevin Cox died in 2008, the Catholic Church gave him a grand funeral service, jointly conducted by three bishops and more than fifty priests. He went to his grave as a church hero.

The priest's background
Broken Rites has ascertained that Father Kevin Nicholas Cox was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1930, of an Irish father and Australian mother. Immediately after leaving school, he entered the Catholic order of Cistercian monks (also known as the Trappist order) at Roscrea, County Offaly, Ireland, to train for the Catholic priesthood.

He was transferred to Australia, when the Cistercians established a monastery at Yarra Glen, near Melbourne, in 1954. A year later, aged 25, he was ordained in Melbourne as a Cistercian priest, with Melbourne's Irish-born Archbishop Daniel Mannix performing the ordination ceremony. Cox adopted the "religious" name Father "Dominic" Cox, after the medieval monk Saint Dominic.

After 20 years in the Melbourne monastery, Father Cox transferred from the Cistercians, on loan, to the Sydney archdiocese, changing his name back to Kevin. The Sydney diocese used him as a relief priest at Kogarah (St Patrick's parish) in 1974-75 and Caringbah (Our Lady of Fatima parish) from 1975 to 1982.

Here is Mandy's story
Mandy's life has been shattered by Cox's sexual abuse, the breach of trust, the loss of faith, her disrupted adolescence, the pregnancy, the abortion and the church's hypocrisy and cover-up.

Broken Rites has digested the following account from typed, sworn statements, made by Mandy, her mother Beryl and other family members, and witnessed by a police officer. The statements were later submitted in the preliminary court proceedings.

Mandy, born in mid-1964, is from a large, devout Sydney Catholic family in Caringbah (in Sydney's south), where the family's life revolved around the "Our Lady of Fatima" parish.

When Father Kevin Cox (then aged 45) joined their parish in 1975 as an assistant priest, he began visiting this family. He eventually took a particular interest in "helping" Mandy, aged 11, who was then a pupil at Father Cox's parish school.

The family trusted Father Cox with Mandy "because he was a Catholic priest". He began meeting Mandy for an early-morning jog at an oval near the Caringbah parish school. After one of these jogs, he jokingly put his hand inside Mandy's shorts and underpants for the first time.

He began spending more time alone with Mandy than the family was aware of — almost daily, either before school or after school or at weekends.

He molested her regularly in the Sacristy (a room near the church altar), telling her that, if anybody knocked on the door of this room, she was to hide. Later, other offences occurred regularly in a spare room at the school, in the presbytery, and in a parked car (sometimes after Saturday evening Mass),

At first, the abuse consisted of Father Cox fingering Mandy's genital area. At first, innocent Mandy did not realise that this was "sex", especially because he was a Catholic priest. On later occasions, the priest made Mandy touch his genitals, and he would ejaculate on her naked body. He told her: "If you tell anybody about this, it will cause a scandal for you."

This forced Mandy to bear the burden of secrecy and deception. She was prevented from telling her parents about the abuse.

Meanwhile, during the years of abuse, Father Cox continued to be a "friend" of Mandy's gullible family. He conducted a wedding ceremony for one of Mandy's sisters and baptised one of Mandy's nephews.

Pregnancy and abortion
Until Mandy was 16, the abuse always stopped short of sexual penetration but, at age 16, it progressed to full sexual intercourse. The intercourse continued for about a year and, at 17, Mandy became pregnant. Around this time, she was finishing Year Eleven at high school.

Father Cox then told Mandy to have an abortion. One of her sisters has made a sworn statement that the priest handed cash to the sister for the abortion, which was performed (after her 17th birthday) at a clinic in Surry Hills in inner-Sydney.

After the abortion, Mandy's mother Beryl was told about it. She was devastated because abortion was contrary to Catholic Church teachings and she was doubly shocked to learn that her daughter had been sexually abused by Father Cox. This undermined the whole basis of the family's Catholicism. At this stage (with Mandy aged 17) her mother presumed that the sexual abuse was relatively recent (perhaps for a year), not realising that it had been going on for six years.

The mother told the police in her sworn statement:

'I was very shocked, and upset... I remember he [Fr Cox] picked me up in his car and drove to the Camelia Garden, Caringbah. We sat in the car and talked. I said to him something like, "You were a friend of all of us, I don't know how I'm going to tell [my husband], he'll want to kill you."

'I don't remember what he [Cox] said exactly, he was making excuses. He said, "I'm sorry, it's a terrible thing."

After Cox mumbled his apology, the mother demanded that he tell his bishop about the sexual abuse, which he did. She also demanded that he leave this parish. The mother's statement says: "Father Cox must have spoken to the bishop because he left the parish very soon afterwards. I believe he went to the Pyrmont area [in inner-Sydney]."

The Caringbah parish gave Fr Cox a farewell party but the parishioners were not told the real reason why he was leaving.

The sex abuse did not affect Father Cox's career. Indeed, at his later parishes, he was rewarded with a promotion from "Assistant Priest" (at Caringbah) to "Administrator" or "Parish Priest" (that is, in charge) of Sydney parishes. Broken Rites has found him listed at:

Pyrmont (St Bede's), 1982-87;

Auburn (St John of God), 1988;

Woollahra (Holy Cross parish), 1989-91, acting as the parish administrator on behalf of retired archbishop James Carroll; and

Enmore-Tempe (St Pius V parish), as the Parish Priest in charge, 1992-96.

The congregations in these parishes were not told the reason why Father Cox had been rescued out of the Caringbah parish.

The impact on Mandy
Because of the priest's sexual abuse, Mandy's personal development was crippled. For example, when assaulting Mandy, the priest used to tell her: "Look what you are making me do — you naughty girl, you!" This blaming of Mandy convinced her that she is a "bad" person, and she is still suffering from the effects of this guilt.

Mandy's mother still did not realise that the sexual abuse began at the age of 11, not just 17. The mother had been puzzled for years why Mandy developed into such a disturbed and "naughty" girl from about age 11 onwards.

Another impact was that the priest monopolised Mandy's adolescent years, so she did not develop proper relationships with boys and girls her own age. And because her first "sexual" experience was with a Catholic priest, this damaged the way in which she would later be expected to develop a sexual relationship with an appropriate person of her own choosing.

She married in 1986 (aged 22) but the marriage broke up. One problem was that the trauma about the priest haunted Mandy's mind and it hindered her sexual relationship with her husband.

Mandy was now living in poverty with her two children, whereas the church was still providing accommodation and income for the priest. Depressed, Mandy tried to take her own life.

The church shuns Mandy
For many years after the abortion, Mandy remained silent about what Father Kevin Cox and the Catholic Church had done to her life. Like many church-abuse victims, she felt powerless to tackle the Catholic Church.

Early in 1996, Mandy began having counselling with a Sydney nun (Sister "Mary") but Mandy's emotional health was deteriorating. After consulting Mandy's family, Sister Mary notified the Sydney archdiocese about what Father Cox had done to Mandy and her family. Around Easter 1996, the archdiocese withdrew Fr Cox from the Enmore-Tempe parish, announcing that he was going "on leave".

To help her healing, Mandy wished to have a meeting with church officials, with Fr Cox present, so that Cox would offer her an apology in person. However, no such a meeting or apology was granted.

During 1996, the Australian bishops announced a new strategy on managing church sexual-abuse complaints (the "Towards Healing" project). On 26 November 1996, one of Mandy's close relatives (let us call her "Abbie") wrote (in confidence) to a leading spokesman for "Towards Healing", pleading for help for Mandy through "Towards Healing". This letter (and Broken Rites has examined a copy) explained how Mandy's life had been disrupted by Cox (damaging her faith and leaving her in poverty) and asking the church to help her to achieve "healing".

However, the archdiocese failed to help Mandy. This neglect was contrary to the "Towards Healing" document, which had promised (in paragraph 17 on page 4 of the 1996 edition): "The church authority shall immediately enter into dialogue with victims concerning their needs and ensure they are given such assistance as is demanded by justice and compassion."

Police charges
From this time on, Broken Rites received an occasional phone call from one or other of Mandy's relatives, reporting on developments and discussing strategies for obtaining justice.

Rejected by the archdiocese, Mandy no longer felt any obligation to maintain the church's code of silence about its sexual abuse. Therefore, she contacted Sydney's Petersham police station and was interviewed by Detective Stephen Rae. In May 1997 (aged 31) she made a sworn, signed police statement, outlining her encounters with Father Cox from the age of eleven onwards.

Following a police investigation, prosecutors selected three of the many incidents in Mandy's statement. The prosecution charged Father Cox with indecent assault (i.e., non-penetrative sexual activity) involving a child under 16. From the numerous encounters between Cox and Mandy, the prosecution charged Cox regarding three incidents:

the first jogging incident at the Caringbah oval (when Mandy was aged 11);

the first incident in the church sacristy (aged 11); and

one of the early car-parking incidents (at Wanda Beach, aged 13).
The prosecution alleged that these assaults up to age 13 included Cox fingering the girl's genitals and also him rubbing his own genitals against her until he ejaculated on the outside of her body.

The prosecutors confined the charges to these early incidents because the penetrative sex after the age of 16 is more difficult to prosecute if the defendant claims to have had the 16-year-old victim's consent (whereas "consent" is not allowable as a defence if the victim is a child under 16). Nor was it a criminal offence for a priest to pay for an abortion.

When Mandy's mother Beryl (at the age of 71) learned the details of these charges, she realised for the first time that the priest's sexual abuse of Mandy began at age 11, not 17.

Preliminary court hearing
Late in 1997, preliminary proceedings were held before a magistrate at Sutherland Local Court.

Cox's defence was arranged by the legal firm Carroll and O'Dea, who were the solicitors for the Sydney Catholic archdiocese. He was represented in court by a senior (and up-and-coming) barrister, whose sibling was a very senior priest in the Sydney archdiocese.

Cox was driven to court every day by a fellow priest, who sat in the courtroom as Cox's personal support person.

The clergy, however, did not comfort Mandy or her mother or sisters. In fact, in court the church's legal team was clearly trying to defeat Mandy.

In court, armed by the church's legal team, Father Cox entered a plea of "not guilty".

Journalists knew that the charged priest was named Father Kevin Cox, but during these preliminary proceedings, the magistrate imposed a media-suppression order, prohibiting media outlets from naming the priest or the parish. A barrister from News Limited (publishers of the Sydney Daily Telegraph) went to the court, applying for the suppression order to be lifted, but the magistrate refused.

The intercourse, the pregnancy and the abortion at age 17 were mentioned at the magistrate's hearing, and this information helped to demonstrate Father Cox's propensity for sexual abuse.

Following normal practice in a contested case, the magistrate then "committed" Cox (that is, he scheduled him) to undergo a jury trial in a higher court, the New South Wales District Court.

Jury trial
The jury trial was held, chaired by a judge (not a magistrate), in the District Court at Campbelltown (in Sydney's south-west) in October 1998. For jury purposes, the prosecutors again confined the charges to the three incidents that had been selected for the 1997 preliminary hearing.

Before the jury was selected, the judge made rulings about the trial procedure. The judge ruled that the jury must not be allowed to know about the intercourse and the pregnancy, both of which occurred after Mandy's 16th birthday. The judge's reason for this is that the three charged incidents were confined to Mandy's earlier years (at the age of 11 to 13) — well before the pregnancy and the abortion. In any sexual assault case, the victim's 16th birthday is an important cut-off date, because after this birthday a defendant can try claiming that he had the victim's consent, which is not possible to claim under the age of 16.

The judge refused to let the jury hear evidence from Mandy's mother or two sisters.

He allowed the church lawyers to ask Mandy very personal questions about when she entered puberty.

The church lawyers tabled a letter (mentioned earlier in this article) which "Abbie" (a relative of Mandy) had written in confidence to "Towards Healing" about Father Cox's abuse of Mandy and the effects on Mandy's subsequent life. In court, the church lawyers used this letter in an attempt to discredit Mandy, claiming that Mandy's allegations must have been merely a trick to obtain "compensation".

Guilty verdict
In October 1998, the District Court jury found Cox guilty on the first two incidents and it let him off on the third.

The judge heard submissions from the prosecution and from the defence regarding what sort of sentence should be imposed.

Ms Robyn Denes, who appeared in court representing the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, told court that the seriousness of Father Cox's offences could not be under-estimated.

She said: "The breach of trust is all the more stunning because of the awe and respect the children [in the parish] held him in. He was a priest in a parish who committed offences against a young girl who was part of the parish. The evidence discloses a systematic abuse of a young child. She was eleven years old when it happened."

Ms Denes said that there had been no evidence of contrition or remorse from Father Cox.

The church's legal team had assembled a thick file of "character" references from bishops and priests, all urging a lenient sentence for the priest. This file was submitted in court by the church's defence lawyer Paul Byrne, Senior Counsel. Byrne, who was hired for this trial (though not for the previous preliminary prodeedings), was one of the most prominent criminal lawyers in Sydney.

A part-time sentence
Instead of sentencing Cox to a normal jail term, the judge gave him two years of periodic detention — that is, part-time jail, which could be served (for example) at weekends.

The state prosecutor then asked the judge to lift the media-suppression order on the publication of Cox's name but the judge refused, thereby protecting the priest and the church. At this stage, therefore, Father Cox's name (and his conviction) could not appear in the media. The sentence was reported in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on 31 October 1998, page 15, with the priest not named.

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions appealed to a higher court about the leniency of Cox's sentence, while the church lawyers appealed against the conviction.

Three judges heard the appeal. This was not a re-trial and there was therefore no jury. The three judges reviewed the transcript of the jury trial and based their decision on this reading, plus legal submissions by the prosecutors and the church lawyers.

The appeal judges delivered their written judgement on 31 March 1999. The appeal judges noted that, although Cox was charged with three incidents, Mandy had difficulty in distinguishing each of the three charged incidents from the numerous other similar uncharged occasions.

The judges allowed Cox's appeal on the ground of the complainant's inability in evidence to state precise dates and times of the three charged offences.

They also decided that the two convictions were unreasonable because they were "inconsistent" with the acquittal on the third charge. Therefore, to achieve "consistency", the judges overturned the convictions on the first two charges.

One of the appeal judges, in his written judgement, made several puzzling statements, including:

This judge rejected the allegation that Cox's sexual assaults occurred almost daily. He wrote: "While this intensity of sexual activity is, of course, possible, to my mind it is improbable." (Really?)

This judge mistakenly referred to the jogging incident taking place at the "Canterbury" oval instead of the Caringbah oval. (How carefully did His Honour read the trial transcript?)

Media reports
At the appeal hearing, the church lawyers neglected to seek an extension of the media-suppression order. Therefore the appeal result was reported in Sydney newspapers, which published Father Kevin Cox's name for the first time. The Daily Telegraph named Cox on (1 April 1999, p. 15.

Later, Mandy's family was keen for the church's behaviour to receive more detailed media exposure. Mandy gave an interview to the Sunday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald (the Sun-Herald), which published a feature article by senior journalist Alex Mitchell. This article, too, named Cox.

Thus, the cover-up was exposed.

Despite Cox "getting off" in the criminal courts, the church hierarchy acknowledged privately that Father Cox did indeed break his priestly vows in his sexual abuse of Mandy. According to the church's "Towards Healing" document, the breaking of priestly vows constitutes sexual abuse.

A senior member of the Sydney archdiocese hierarchy later visited Mandy's mother and apologised on behalf of the church for what Father Cox had done to Mandy and to the family.

Still a priest
From the time he was charged by police in 1997 until the appeal court result in 1999, Father Kevin Cox was listed in the annual Australian Catholic Directory as "on leave", although still living in church premises. Mandy's family members believe that, during his court proceedings, Cox was residing in the Leichhardt parish (in Sydney's inner-west), where a friend of Cox was working as a priest.

After his successful appeal, the Sun-Herald reported that Cox would continue as a priest, possibly overseas. (This indicated that Cox still had the blessing of the Catholic hierarchy in Sydney and elsewhere.)

The Sun-Herald article about Cox alarmed many readers, who were concerned about the issue of child protection, especially as some of the Catholic Church's abuse victims were starting to report these crimes to the police, instead of just reporting them to a church official. This public exposure of Father Cox (and the church's cover-up) embarrassed the church, which issued a written statement a week later at the Caringbah parish, acknowledging the Cox court case but declaring the matter "closed".

Another victim
The Sun-Herald article about Mandy prompted an anonymous woman to write to her after tracing Mandy's family through the telephone directory. This letter provided proof that Mandy was not the only person who was sexually abused by Father Cox. The letter, received by Mandy on 26 May 1999, said:

"I was saddened and a little distressed to read of your recent experience with the law and the church. Not only because of the apparent injustice of the situation, but because I believed that you were most likely to be telling the truth.

"And the reason for this belief is that I, too, had a liaison with the person in question [that is, Father Cox]. However, since I was married, in my early twenties, at the time, I've always thought that it was my responsibility and my fault. I did not realise that I had other feelings about it all until I read of your experiences. Perhaps I could have expected to be protected from such an experience. Perhaps I could have expected better behaviour from a priest, maybe that he would protect me from my own self-destructiveness, not collude with me in it. Maybe it wasn't ALL my fault.

"I'm really not too sure of the purpose of this letter, except to tell you that I support you and feel for you. I can't imagine what it must be like to have gone through all that, and then have it turned back on you. I only hope that, in some way, you can now put it behind you, and become the woman you were meant to be, unfettered by memories of the past, and strengthened by the courage and conviction you demonstrated in telling your story.

"I have this vision of you receiving great bags of mail, just like this one, from all the women who most likely have a similar story to tell. Perhaps they, too, will in some way be freed by your story, and now be able to recognise that it was not their fault. They did not, and do not, deserve to be treated in this manner. My hope is that the burden you have carried will be lifted from you, and that you will now be free to achieve your potential.

"No-one can really understand what you have endured, but in sending you these thoughts of love, and encouragement, and thanks, perhaps I can return a little of what you have given to me

"P.S. Because I lack your courage, I will remain anonymous."

Broken Rites is wondering: How many other victims did Father Kevin Cox have?

No more parishes
After the publication of Cox's name in the Sydney newspapers, the church did not appoint him to any more parishes in Sydney. Every year since 1999, Broken Rites has checked Fr Kevin Cox's listing in the annual edition of the Australian Catholic directories. From 2000 to 2008, these volumes continued to list Fr Kevin Cox as a priest of the Sydney archdiocese. His address was listed as "retired, care of the Sydney archdiocesan office".

The Catholic Church continued to look after Father Cox. About 2002, when he was aged 72, the church provided accommodation for him in a residence for retired priests at Culburra, a popular holiday destination on the New South Wales south coast.

A grand farewell for a church hero
In 2008, Reverend Father Kevin Cox (still a priest and still "reverend") died, aged 78. His funeral took place in one of his former Sydney parishes — at St Pius' Church, Enmore — on Thursday, 4 December 2008. A glowing obituary of Father Cox appeared in the Sydney Catholic Weekly, 21 December, 2008.

Cox's Requiem Mass was concelebrated (that is, jointly conducted) by three of Sydney's auxiliary bishops (Bishops David Cremin, Julian Porteous and Terry Brady) and more than fifty priests.

Bishop Cremin, who was one of Sydney's three auxiliary bishops at the time of Mandy's pregnancy, was born in Ireland (the same country as Kevin Cox) in 1930 (the same year as Cox). Cremin retired in 2005.

Auxiliary Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, who retired in 2004 (and who often has expressed sympathy for church victims), is not mentioned in the report of the funeral. Presumably he did not attend.

The Catholic Weekly obituary stated: "His [Fr Cox's] requiem was a prime example of good liturgy. It was free-flowing and personal, like Fr Cox himself. "

The obituary said: "The Mass, led by Bishop David Cremin, from the placing of symbols to the final commendation, led by Fr Tom Feunell, was personal, reverent and prayerful. Bishop David let it flow and proceed without in any way interfering with the harmonious liturgy arranged by Fr John Ford and colleagues."

According to the 2010 edition of the annual Australian Catholic Directory, the above-mentioned Father John G. Ford has retired from parish work. His former Sydney parishes include Pyrmont, Stanmore and Leichhardt.

At the requiem, a homily was delivered by Fr Kevin O'Grady (a Sydney priest for more than fifty years), who told those present: "Kevin Cox was my friend. You are here today because he was your friend also."

Summing up Father Cox's life, Fr O'Grady told the congregation: "What a wonderful mixture of a life so joyful."

Broken Rites is wondering what Mandy and her mother and sisters would make of this final day of cover-up.