Monday, January 31, 2011

Salesians' admission
Salesians admit sex abuse
Published on : 31 January 2011 - 1:58pm | By Robert Chesal (St. Agatha) More about: Catholic Church sex abuseDutch Roman Catholic churchHollandNetherlandsSalesians of Don Bosco
For the first time, a Dutch religious order has admitted its guilt in the Catholic sex abuse scandal. In a letter to the victims, which has been seen by Radio Netherlands Worldwide and NRC Handelsblad, the Salesians of Don Bosco express their “deep regret”. They also say they are working on a “generous” compensation package.

“In any case it is clear that Salesians are also guilty of committing sexual and emotional abuse and we condemn this unequivocally,” the letter says. The Dutch branch of the order also acknowledges its failure to prevent or respond to abuse. The trust of the children and their parents has been seriously harmed, say the Salesians.

Silence broken
“As an order we have not always handled reports properly and this has further damaged the trust placed in us.” The letter acknowledges that at various boarding schools and other institutions there was insufficient oversight. Intervention was inadequate and came too late.

It is now nearly a year since the Catholic abuse scandal in the Netherland first came to light, with the exposure of years of sexual abuse at the Don Rua boarding school in the eastern town of 's-Heerenberg. Forty-three victims came forward with allegations against the Salesians to Radio Netherlands Worldwide and NRC Handelsblad alone. The order’s first shocked reactions were followed by a lengthy silence, which has now finally been broken.

The letter describes practices that appeared to be aimed at stifling reports of abuse. “In a number of cases, parents and children were played off against each other, giving the children the feeling they had been abandoned. This is deeply regrettable.” Children who attempted to resist the abuse also faced threats.

The Salesians say the extent and seriousness of the abuse took them unawares. Where it was known about, action against the perpetrator was “not always fitting and adequate”. The order admits that appropriate measures could have prevented abuse from recurring.

The order says it is willing to confront its members who have been named by victims. But it will impose no further sanctions pending any legal action. “The Brothers who are suspected also have the right to a fair and thorough trial, and to defend themselves.”

The Salesians say they are now working on a compensation deal. “A collective settlement is in preparation,” the letter says.

Transfusion without parental consent
January 31, 2011 By admin 3 Comments

Ed Madden, BL,
Ed Madden, BL, looks at a recent High Court case in which Temple Street Hospital in Dublin sought an order sanctioning a blood transfusion for a baby boy against the wishes of his parents.

In the early hours of the morning of December 27 2010, following a hearing in his own residence, Mr Justice Hogan of the High Court made an order sanctioning the administration of a blood transfusion to a seriously ill, three-month-old baby boy against the wishes of his parents.

The baby was born in September 2010; sadly, his twin sister did not survive the birth. On Christmas Day, and while in hospital, he was very unwell, suffering from acute bronchiolitis. During the course of the day, his condition deteriorated. At one point, he stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated. He also had a hypoxemic episode — an incident with potentially ominous implications.

In the early hours of December 26, 2010, he was transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Temple Street. By early evening, the situation had become critical. While he suffered in any event from low haemoglobin, this level was dropping further by reason of his illness. The fact that the haemoglobin was dropping significantly hindered the capacity of his body to deliver oxygen to his vital organs and to maintain normal neurological functions.

By 9pm, it was clear that the haemoglobin level was on a downward spiral and had reached the point where a transfusion was absolutely necessary. While the child’s parents were anxious for his welfare and sought the very best medical care for him, as committed Jehovah Witnesses they were steadfast in their opposition to transfusion.

High Court order
Faced with this objection from the parents, the hospital decided to apply to the High Court for an order sanctioning the transfusion. Contact was made with the Court’s Duty Registrar, who in turn made contact with Mr Justice Hogan shortly after 10pm. It was agreed that an emergency hearing would be held in his home at midnight or as soon thereafter as the parties could assemble.

The hearing commenced shortly before 1am on the morning of December 27, 2011 and concluded at about 2:30am. The hospital was represented by solicitors and counsel. The parents appeared in person; given the time constraints, it had not been possible for them to obtain professional representation.

The treating consultant, Dr Kevin Carson, who is Clinical Director of Intensive Care at Temple Street, gave evidence detailing the medical history to date. He confirmed that the child’s life was in danger and that there were no medical alternatives to a transfusion.

For their part, the parents explained that while they wanted the best for their child and were delighted with the quality of the medical care that he had received, given the tenets of their religious faith they could not possibly consent to a blood transfusion.

They seemed resigned, however, to the fact that their religious objections would be overridden by the Court. The High Court had already sanctioned a transfusion in respect of one of their other children.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Mr Justice Hogan granted a declaration to the effect that it would be lawful in the particular circumstances of the case for the hospital to administer a blood transfusion to the child. He said that he would deliver a judgment in open court later, in which he would give the reasons for his decision.

In the course of his judgment, delivered on January 12, 2011, the Judge said that there was no doubt as to the sincerity of the religious beliefs of the parents. They struck him as “wholesome and upright parents” who were most anxious for the welfare of their child, yet steadfast in their own religious beliefs. An abhorrence of the administration of a blood transfusion was integral to those beliefs.

Before dealing with the substantive issue, the Judge dealt with the reasons why there had not been a public hearing of the case. This was due to the time constraints involved, the time of year and the fact that the application had to be heard in the early hours of the morning. A further consideration was that heavy snowfalls had blanketed the Dublin region, making travel very difficult.

While it had not been possible to hold the hearing in open court, he hoped that the delivery of the judgment would mitigate this somewhat by providing a record of what transpired.

Turning to the substantive issue, the Judge said that the starting point was Article 44.2.1 of the Constitution, which provides as follows: “Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.”

Article 44.2.1 protects not only the traditional and popular religions and religious den-ominations, but also provides a vital safeguard for minority religions and religious denominations whose tenets are regarded by many as unconventional. The antipathy of the Jehovah Witnesses to the taking of blood products might well come within the latter category.

In this regard, the Judge said that he would suspect that most Irish people would express “unease and even disdain” for a religious belief which required its faithful to abjure what is often a life-saving and essential medical treatment. The Witnesses, on the other hand, regard the blood prohibition as one which is not only scripturally ordained but also, when it arises, a practical test of faith.

The Judge said that while the right of a properly-informed adult with full capacity to refuse medical treatment — whether for religious or other reasons — is constitutionally protected, different considerations arose in the present case, where a very young baby was involved.

While parents have the constitutional right to raise their children by reference to their own religious and philosophical views, that right is not absolute. The State has a vital interest in ensuring that children are protected “so that a new cohort of well-rounded, healthy and educated citizens can come to maturity and are thus given every opportunity to develop in life”.

However, the right of the State to intervene and thus to override the constitutional right of the parents is expressly circumscribed by the Constitution. The circumstances must be “exceptional” and the intervention proportionate to the circumstances.

There must also have been a “failure” of duty on the part of parents. There was no doubt, however, that the Court may intervene in a case such as this where the child’s life, general welfare and other vital interests are at stake. The test of whether the parents had failed in their duty under the Constitution is an objective one, judged by the secular standards of society in general and of the Constitution in particular, irrespective of the subjective and religious views of the parents.

Religious objections
Given that the Constitution commits the State to protecting by its laws as best it may the life and person of every citizen, it was incontestable that the High Court is given a jurisdiction, and indeed a duty, to override the religious objections of the parents where adherence to those beliefs would threaten the life and general welfare of their child.

It was for these reasons that he had sanctioned the administration of a blood transfusion in the present case.

This declaration was limited to the particular clinical events and was not to be construed as conferring on clinicians an open-ended entitlement into the future to administer such treatment to the child.


Church abuse victims secure compensation
by Lisa Hutchinson, Evening Chronicle
Jan 31 2011
0ShareAdd a commentRecommend CATHOLIC church leaders have finally paid compensation to three brothers robbed of their childhoods by a paedophile priest.

The lads were sexually abused by Bernard Traynor, a trainee priest working in the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese in the 1970s.

They were in care at St Vincent’s childrens’ home in Newcastle when the abuse took place.

Traynor, now 56, formerly an assistant at St Robert’s in Morpeth, and a priest at St Anne’s in Low Fell, Gateshead, molested them for five years after befriending them in the home.

But his sordid past returned to haunt him 20 years on when the brothers finally found the courage to alert the authorities.

At Newcastle Crown Court in 1995, Sunderland-born Traynor pleaded guilty to a string of sex attacks and was given a two-year probation order after admitting six counts of indecent assault between 1972 and 1979.

The court heard how Traynor first came into contact with them and their fourth brother while visiting the orphanage in Lemington, as a student. Traynor was said to have molested the boys during a caravan holiday at Scarborough, at his parents’ home, on a nun’s bed and during confession.

After the case, the men were told because so many years had passed they weren’t eligible for compensation.

But in 2008 Lottery rapist Iorworth Hoare, who bought a £700,000 luxury home in Ponteland with his winnings, was successfully sued by his victim decades after he attacked her. The case changed the law to allow victims of assault to claim damages many years afterwards.

Three of the brothers, who do not want to be named, and all still live in Newcastle, consulted Thompsons Solicitors to claim compensation from the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese.

Thompsons was successful in settling the case for the men, now 49, 51 and 52, and clinched “substantial compensation”.

One of the brothers said: “Claiming compensation was never about the money. All our lives have been affected by the abuse we suffered at St Vincent’s. Had the abuse not happened we are certain that we would all have taken different paths but we never received a proper apology from the Diocese for what they put us through.

“Finally, after three decades, we have received acknowledgement of the abuse we suffered by the very organisation that should have been looking after our interests.”

Bryan Prudham from Thompsons Solicitors added: “What Traynor did was a gross abuse of his position.”

“While this compensation will never replace the lives these brothers feel they have lost as a result of the abuse they faced, we hope it will go some way towards providing a feeling of justice.”

Read More

Vatican rejected lawsuit
Lawyer for Wis. accuser: Vatican rejected lawsuit
Jan 30, 2011 2:48pm Email Print MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The attorney for a man who says he was sexually abused decades ago by a now-deceased priest at a Wisconsin school for the deaf alleged Sunday that the Vatican refused to be served with a lawsuit over the matter.
");?> St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who frequently clashes with the Catholic hierarchy over abuse allegations, said Sunday in a news release that his office tried to serve the lawsuit naming as defendants Pope Benedict XVI and other high-ranking officials at the Vatican, but that it was returned via Federal Express.

Anderson's client, listed in court papers as John Doe, is a deaf man from Illinois who alleged in his lawsuit that the late Rev. Lawrence Murphy molested him for a number of years while Murphy worked at a Milwaukee-area school for the deaf. The lawsuit contends that Pope Benedict and other Vatican officials conspired to keep quiet decades of abuse allegations against Murphy.

Anderson did not immediately return a call Sunday seeking comment. According to his release, he is planning a news conference Monday in which he'll accuse the Vatican of "dragging out the healing of deaf victims."

Jeffrey Lena, the U.S.-based attorney for the Vatican, said in an e-mail Sunday that the lawsuit should have been served through diplomatic channels as would be done with any foreign state. He wrote that holding a news conference on such a matter "is really just a form of grandstanding by Mr. Anderson for the press and the public."

A U.S. federal judge had in October asked the Vatican to cooperate in serving court papers to the pope and two other Vatican officials, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Cardinal Angelo Sodano. The Vatican is not obliged to comply with such requests.

Murphy, who died in 1998, has been accused of sexually abusing some 200 boys at the deaf school from 1950 to 1974. In 1996, Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland had complained about Murphy in a letter to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the powerful Vatican office led by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from 1981 until he became pope in 2005.

That office initially ordered Weakland to hold a canonical trial against Murphy in 1997, but later changed course after a letter from the accused. The Vatican noted Murphy's advanced age, failing health and lack of further allegations.

The Vatican argues it's not liable for clerical sex-abuse cases under canon law and a church structure that holds bishops — and not Rome — responsible for disciplining pedophile priests.

Plaintiffs in a similar case in Oregon have sued the Vatican using a similar approach. Anderson represents clients in that proceeding as well, and on numerous occasions has expressed a desire to hold prominent Vatican leaders liable for sexual abuse by priests.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Court calls bishop
Newcastle bishop called before Supreme Court
31 Jan, 2011 04:00 AM
NEWCASTLE Anglican Bishop Brian Farran has been called to give evidence in the NSW Supreme Court after controversial church disciplinary hearings in December against four clergy, including retired Newcastle Dean Graeme Lawrence.
Solicitors for Father Lawrence and Cardiff priest Graeme Sturt have advised the bishop to be available for cross-examination at a Supreme Court hearing set to start on Thursday, after the court granted the priests an injunction in December following professional standards board determinations against them.

Solicitors for the diocese are expected to seek an adjournment in the court today and Bishop Farran, who is overseas, is not expected to return to Newcastle until later this month.

The Anglican Church's defence includes that the NSW Supreme Court does not have "supervisory jurisdiction" to determine the priests' claims or, if the court finds that it does, the church has asked it not to exercise that power.

The Supreme Court will consider the priests' claims that the diocese had a case to answer over its handling of disciplinary hearings after the diocese investigated allegations against them in 2009 of inappropriate behaviour with a child in the early 1980s.

Both priests denied the allegations.

Their case names Bishop Farran as first defendant. Other defendants are retired NSW magistrate and professional standards board president Colin Elliott, University of Newcastle Chancellor and board member Trevor Waring, and board member Barbara Howard.

In a statement of claim Father Lawrence and Father Sturt alleged the board was "affected by actual bias against" Father Lawrence and had prejudged the allegations against him.

They alleged the board denied both priests procedural fairness and made an error in law in drawing an inference that Father Sturt "must have known" about alleged misconduct of other priests.

The priests alleged retired NSW policeman Phil Lloyd breached his duties as a prosecutor by using language to "inflame" the board against them.

They have sought an order to permanently restrain the bishop and the diocese from any future action over the original allegations made against them.

In defence documents Bishop Farran and the three board members denied the priests were entitled to any relief or damages from matters raised in their statement of claim.

United Methodists Confront Sexual Misconduct in the Church
By Audrey Barrick|Christian Post Reporter
The reality of sexual misconduct and abuse within the church has prompted United Methodists to come together this week to confront the problem and discuss ways to make the church a safe place.
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Though the denomination has already taken steps to address the issue, more has to be done to help heal those hurt by the church, said M. Garlinda Burton, the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women, according to the denomination's news service.

"I estimate that at least one-third to one-half of the dozens of victim-survivors I’ve counseled during the past eight years have left the church, either in shame or frustration, because they found no justice or healing," she told hundreds of lay and clergy leaders during the Do No Harm 2011 sexual ethics summit in Houston this week.

"We want people to come in, yet we have a lot of places that it's not safe for them to be."

Just in the past six months, Burton reported receiving 20 complaints of sexual misconduct.

This was the second time leaders from across The United Methodist Church convened to tackle the pervasive problem. The first event was held in 2006.

Both Burton and Darryl W. Stephens, assistant general secretary for advocacy and sexual ethics, underscored the importance of the summit but at the same acknowledged their limitations.

"We cannot eliminate sin from the church, but we can be 'wise as serpents and innocent as doves' as we learn to make the church the most welcoming, just and healing place that it can be," they said in their welcome letter to participants.

The focus of the Jan. 26-29 event was prevention, intervention and resolutions. It was designed to provide opportunities for sharing best practices, discussing emerging issues, and networking across the denomination

Ultimately, United Methodists are hoping to simply make churches safe.

"If the church cannot adequately address sexual misconduct and make people feel safe, we are not being a credible witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We see this as a pastoral role," Burton said, according to the United Methodist News Service.

It's been three decades since The United Methodist Church began studying trends and developing responses to help women dealing with sexual abuse in churches or by church professionals or ministers.

According to UMNS, half of all laywomen and one-third of laymen witness or are victims of some degree of sexual harassment or misconduct in their congregations. This includes inappropriate comments by a church leader as well as physical assault and stalking.

Along with Methodist lay and clergy leaders, the denomination's ecumenical partners from the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the World Council of Churches also attended the summit.

Ex-player says Riverside hoop program founder Lorch paid him millions to stay quiet about sex abuse
BY Michael O'Keeffe

Sunday, January 30th 2011, 4:00 AM

Russo for News/APErnest Lorch (sitting next to future NBA star Ron Artest at basketball camp in Indianapolis in 1996) helped found the Riverside Church basketball program.
Cataffo/NewsLorch was indicted on sexual abuse charges by a Massachusetts grand jury in October. Related NewsErnie Lorch, founder of basketball program that produced Ron Artest, sues molestation accusersLorch indicted for sex abuse by Mass. grand juryRiverside Church basketball founder Ernie Lorch files suit against sexual abuse accusersMass. DA: N.Y. protecting LorchExtradition hearing in sex-abuse case delayedAccused former coach Lorch gets his day in court
Sean McCray took Ernest Lorch's money for more than 10 years, thousands of dollars every month to launder uniforms and run errands for the founder of the prestigious Riverside Church basketball program - and to remain silent about how Lorch had sexually abused him 30 years ago.

McCray, a former Riverside player, says Lorch paid him at least $2 million between the late 1990s and 2008 to stay quiet about the abuse that began when McCray was 12 years old and continued off and on for nearly four years. Most of the abuse took place at the Gothic church, in hidden rooms and secret spaces. "He would take me into places I could never have imagined were there," McCray says.

McCray says that for more than a decade, Lorch would give him a wad of cash on the fourth of every month, first at the Morningside Heights church, later at a diner near Lorch's upper East Side home. McCray, now 42, says Lorch offered him $1,000 a month after McCray and his cousin, Robert Holmes, confronted him about the abuse sometime in 1997 or 1998, and threatened to go to the media with their claims. Instead, McCray says, Lorch offered to pay for their silence.

By the time his arrangement with Lorch abruptly ended in 2008, McCray was receiving $6,000 a month from the wealthy and now retired investment lawyer.

Riverside coaches and players took notice of McCray's monthly trips to the church, so he began washing uniforms and driving Riverside teams to games to deflect attention. But the real reason he showed up at Riverside every month for years, he says, was to get his money.

"I was protecting him," McCray says of Lorch. "He was buying my silence."

Sometimes McCray, who agreed to speak on the record for this story but refused to be photographed, would have to do more than keep his mouth shut to justify the monthly payments. McCray says Lorch told him to lie to the Manhattan District Attorney's office in 2002, when it was investigating allegations that Lorch abused Holmes. Two of Lorch's former attorneys, Martin Schmuckler and Paul Lieber, also pressured him not to testify on behalf of Holmes in a federal lawsuit his cousin filed in 2003, McCray says.

McCray says Lorch, 78, directed him to offer $10,000 to his former teammate, Louis Garcia, to recant allegations that Lorch has also sexually abused him. The offer came days before the Daily News published a story in June 2002 based on Garcia's claims; Garcia turned down the money and said earlier this month that he continues to stand by the allegations in the June 20, 2002, article.

Minister charged
West Harrison minister charged in rape of teen
By Barbara Livingston Nackman • • January 30, 2011

WEST HARRISON — A 38-year-old West Harrison man, a minister and principal of a church-affiliated school in the Bronx, has been indicted on charges of rape and sexual abuse of a teenage member of his congregation.

The abuse reportedly went on for more than three years and the victim became pregnant.
Michael Clare was charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of second degree rape, and a single count each of first-degree criminal sexual act, second-degree sexual abuse, third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
He is a minister at Harvest Worship Center International at 4036 White Plains Road in the Bronx and school principal of Harvest Preparatory Academy, the Office of the District Attorney of Bronx County said.
The alleged crimes occurred beginning April 1, 2006, several month's before the victim's 13th birthday, the district attorney's office said, and continued for more than 3 1/2 years, through Jan. 2, 2010, when the victim was 16 years old.
On a MySpace page, Clare is described as "a man of great integrity who leads by example and takes his ministry very seriously. He is a paragon, a model of excellence, and an ideal example of living and preaching the Gospel of Christ."
It also says he is married and has children.
Clare was first arrested June 14, 2010, after the victim and her family notified police and charged with second-degree rape and other offenses. Clare was released on bail of $20,000.
DNA evidence linked Clare to the victim, who had become pregnant at 15.
Subsequently, the charges against Clare were elevated to first-degree rape and he was arraigned on these new charges late Friday. Acting State Supreme Court Justice Doris Gonzalez raised the bail to $50,000 cash or $25,000 bond. It was not immediately available if he was still being held or had posted his bail.
The District Attorney's Office said Clare had been a Bronx resident, but according to arrest documents he had recently moved to West Harrison.

Statement regarding abuse cover ups

Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director +1 314 862 7688 US cell phone

On January 28, 2010, German newspapers ran the first of countless articles about the clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Admitted and credibly accused Catholic clergy were exposed, resigned, or were suspended. Church officials, including bishops, cardinals and the Pope, were shown to have known about many of the crimes yet either stayed silent or helped keep them quiet.

We want to take this opportunity to honor the courageous victims who found the strength to speak up, report their dangerous predators, expose complicit bishops and protect kids, We also want to remind people that little has changed in the church hierarchy and that legislative action is desperately needed to safeguard innocent children and vulnerable adults now and in the future.

Survivors want to emphasize that "innocent kids and vulnerable adults are still at risk and church officials are still reckless and secretive. Bishops are working harder than ever at public relations, but fundamentally, they still protect their secrets more than they protect their flocks."

Throughout this year Catholic officials have been forced to admit that clergy sex crimes were more extensive than they previously admitted. They also had to admit quietly moving accused or proven pedophiles.

This tragic, on-going pattern - in country after country, diocese after diocese, school after school - is sickening. Instead of considering each disclosure as some shocking aberration, it is time we realize that church officials across the globe essentially follow the same playbook: hiding the crimes, minimizing the damage, deceiving the flocks, shuffling the predators and endangering unsuspecting families. . .until finally being forced to quit by brave victims, assertive prosecutors, investigative journalists, and outraged Catholics.

Apologies are meaningless public relations. Words don’t protect kids. Action protects kids.

All too often, Catholic hierarchy does "the bare minimum," and responds only to legal action, rather than taking the initiative to help law enforcement find victims, witnesses and information that can help build strong criminal cases against predator priests.

On this one year anniversary survivors say it is time for
-- bishops to disclose the names of accused predator priests, and
-- aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by a member of the clergy
-- turn over to law enforcement any files they may have about abusive clerics,

-- personally visit places where predators worked prodding victims and witnesses to come forward, get help, call police, protect others and start healing.

Victim's story
Va. man's abuse story moves legislators to actShareThisPrint E-mail .By DENA POTTER

The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Wayne Dorough didn't come to Virginia's Capitol planning to get involved.
.But 15 minutes into the debate on whether Virginia should extend the time alleged sex abuse victims have to file lawsuits against their attackers from two years to 25, prospects for the bill weren't looking good. Even the proposal's sponsor was ready to settle for 10 years — still more than most states.

Then the 67-year-old Dorough rose from his seat and asked to speak.

Legislators had just heard from two other alleged victims, yet there was something different about Dorough's impromptu speech.

Dressed in blue jeans and a light jacket in a room filled with the signature dark, tailored suits of lobbyists, he spoke with neither the finesse of a lobbyist or the other victims who had been well groomed on pleading for the bill.

Trembling, with sweat beads on his temples, Dorough talked in a halting voice of a dark place that still haunts him. Even though it was 8 p.m. on Thursday, and the meeting had slid into its fourth hour, everyone in the room hung on to Dorough's every word.

The only sound was the distant hum of a cleaning crew's vacuum.

"I'm an abused victim. It happened when I was 8 years old until I was 14," Dorough said.

He told the legislators about how windshield wipers moving back-and-forth in the rain remind him of a sheet being flung back and his alleged abuser jumping in bed beside him. The man was a close friend of Dorough's family.

For six years, Dorough said the man abused him every time he had the opportunity — at Christmas, Easter, the Fourth of July.

"There's no way in the world I would go to my parents and tell them that I was abused," he said. He was afraid his father would have killed the man.

"Then I got married and started to raise a family. I didn't want it in my mind. I had a career and I didn't want to talk about it."

Not until he had grandchildren did he decide to do something. He had heard that those who are sexually abused as children end up abusing children themselves.

"All these things came into my mind and scared me to death," he said as his green eyes swelled with tears. "There's no way in the world I would want to be that way."

Subcommittee chairman Sen. John Edwards then spoke up.

"At what point would you have felt comfortable doing something — filing a suit or going to see a lawyer — in your life? At what age?" he said.

"I'm not comfortable with that now, to be honest with you," Dorough replied.

He went to police several years ago, but didn't press charges.

Edwards asked if Dorough had a repressed memory, a concern for the legislators. Virginia's current law says the statute of limitations runs either from the time of the abuse, or from when the accuser reaches 18 years old or the victim realizes they were abused.

Many child victims bury the memories and don't even know they were abused until something triggers it later in life, experts said. Legislators were worried such a substantial increase in the statute of limitations would allow lawsuits to be brought many decades later.

"I did not have a repressed memory," Dorough said. "I remembered it all along."

The Associated Press generally doesn't identify victims of sexual abuse, but Dorough agreed to publicly share his story. It was the first time outside of support groups that he had spoke about the abuse.

Although his alleged abuser wasn't a priest, he runs the group Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests. It's open to all sexual abuse victims.

Dorough spoke barely more than three minutes, then Edwards surveyed the silent room.

"Why don't we make it 20?" Edwards offered, recognizing it would be difficult to push a 25-year extension through the General Assembly.

Without debate, the subcommittee voted 2-1 to recommend increasing the statute of limitations to 20 years. The full committee will hear the bill Monday.

When it was over, Dorough thanked the legislators, walked into the hallway and cried.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Further charges
Irish state consider further charges against pedophile Oliver O’Grady
By CATHY HAYES, Staff Writer

Published Saturday, January 29, 2011, 9:23 AMUpdated Saturday, January 29, 2011, 9:23 AM

Oliver O'Grady: the elusive Limerick priest who was deported to Ireland 10 years ago. He now faces child pornography charges.
Read more: Defrocked Irish priest charged with possession of child pornography

State lawyers have confirmed that they are considering further charges against the defrocked pedophile priest Oliver O’Grady.

Currently O’Grady is living in Citi Hostel, Charlemont Street, Dublin. He has been remanded on bail for bail for another four weeks awaiting instructions from the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP).

Currently he is accused of the possession of pornographic image on USB keys and a hard drive at Citi Hostel, on December 10 last year. He appeared in court this week and has now been remanded for four week.

Judge Cormac Dunne has confirmed that the 65-year-old defrocked priest could receive further charges.

O’Grady confessed to molesting up to 25 children in the United States. He was charged with the molestation of two brothers between 1978 and 1991.

However, during an interview for the award-winning documentary “Deliver Us From Evil,” he confessed to having molested up to 25 children.

His acts cost the Stockton diocese millions in settlement claims from sexual abuse lawsuits.

In 1993, he went to prison to serve a 14-year-sentence for his crimes. He was released after six years and deported to Ireland.

He will appear in court on February 25 for further direction from the DPP.

Pastor convicted
NY jury convicts pastor of sexual abuse .Article Comments more in New York
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — A Long Island jury has convicted the pastor of a small congregation of sexually abusing two teenage brothers.

Miguel Leon, who preached to a Santeria congregation out of his Medford home, was convicted of 37 counts, including criminal sex acts and endangering the welfare of a child. The jury in Riverhead, N.Y., deliberated for 11 hours over two days.

Prosecutors say the brothers, 14 and 16, were abused from December 2008 to July 2009.

They say Leon led a group that practices Lucumi Yoruba, which prosecutors describe as a Santeria religion based on Christianity and West African spiritual beliefs.

Leon's attorney said he will appeal and added that Leon still maintains his innocence.

Pastor charged
Bronx Pastor and Principal Charged With Raping Teen: D.A.
DNA evidence escalates charge to 1st degree rape
Updated 8:15 PM EST, Fri, Jan 28, 2011

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A Bronx minister and principal of a church-affiliated school faces escalated charges of raping a teen in light of new DNA evidence, according to the Bronx District Attorney.

Reverend Michael Clare, a pastor at Harvest Worship Center and principal at Harvest Preparatory Academy was indicted by a grand jury on charges of rape in the first degree on Friday after DNA evidence linked him to the victim, who became pregnant at 15.

Clare was arrested last June when a young girl told family and police that this man had molested her from age 12 to 15. He was initially charged with rape in the 2nd degree under other offenses and was released on a bail $20,000 cash or $10,000 bond.

But that charge was elevated to the first degree in an indictment Friday. Acting State Supreme Court Justice Doris Gonzales also raised his bail to $50,000 cash or $25,000 bond, the D.A. office said.

If found guilty of charges of rape in the 1st and 2nd degrees, as well as in criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of child, Clare could be put behind bars for 25 years.

A defense attorney was not immediately reached for comment.

Old crimes
Old crimes, fresh wounds

Father James Hickey gives communion at the old chapel in the former Brother Rice High School during the 1979-80 school year. The photo is from the Brother Rice High School yearbook.
Published on January 29th, 2011
Published on January 29th, 2011
Steve Bartlett
The Telegram Father James Hickey is long dead, but some are still seeking closure
Topics : Winter Commission , Dorchester , Mount Cashel Orphanage , Vatican
Almost two decades after his death, Father James Hickey’s legal and moral legacy lives


There are still a dozen outstanding claims against or involving the pedophile priest, who, in September 1988, pleaded guilty to 20 charges of sexual assault, gross indecency and indecent assault involving teenage boys.

“They’re at a snail’s pace, is what they are,” St. John’s lawyer Greg Stack said of the cases.

His firm represents the 12 victims.

Hickey was sentenced to five years for his crimes and sent to the federal penitentiary in Dorchester, N.B.

His case was a watershed because a high-profile priest had been charged. Other charges against Catholic clergy followed, as did the Winter Commission, a church-led inquiry into the sexual abuse of children by clergy.

Royal commission

Around the same time, revelations that Mount Cashel Orphanage residents had been sexually abused by their Christian Brother caretakers surfaced, and prompted a royal commission.

The abuse scandals had the whole province agog throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Hickey died in 1992.

A number of the boys he preyed upon have sought compensation and many were part of a 1997 settlement.

Stack said the priest’s victims have had little success since then, even though most had filed complaints against Hickey with the police and thought they would have been included in the original agreement.

“It’s like someone got the reins hauled in on us,” he said.

Stack began representing Hickey’s victims in February 1989.

Four current cases are before the courts, but no judgments have been made.

In the other eight claims, the victims were found to be entitled to compensation, but the amount hasn’t been determined.

There had been 11 victims in this latter group, Stack explained, but two have been compensated and another is awaiting his money.

Stack said the lawyers are discussing the files weekly, but the process crawls along.

“The legal representatives for the church are certainly dragging this out,” he said. “Why? I don’t know.”

St. John’s lawyer David Hurley is representing the church’s insurer, which is responsible for eight of the claims.

He couldn’t offer a reason as to why the settlements are taking so long.

“We’re hoping to get them all finished this year, if possible,” Hurley said.

The significance of the recently surfaced 1997 letter from the Vatican asking Irish bishops not to report sexual abusers to the authorities is not lost on Stack.

Similar letter could account for delay

He wonders if Rome sent such a letter to the St. John’s-based archdiocese that year, especially since the settlement of claims has almost come to a halt since then.

“Whether it’s something from the Vatican we may never know unless we get a WikiLeaks-type letter,” he said.

“If there’s a comparable letter that could account for (the delay in resolution here), I don’t know.”

Stack said the slow pace is disappointing for him and baffling for the victims.

“They are very frustrated with it,” he said.

According to Stack, approximately 50 of Hickey’s victims have sought compensation

Some of the claimants who were part of the 1997 settlement have found closure and “have put it behind them remarkably,” he said.

Others who were part of that settlement haven’t been so fortunate, he added, noting that one of them was hospitalized this past year.

“And it’s all psychiatric problems that stem from the Hickey matters. A couple of the victims have tremendous difficulty coping with life, just general life, as a result of what this did to them.”

Stack doesn’t believe all of Hickey’s victims have come forward and he said the length of time it’s taking to resolve claims isn’t going to prompt them to act.

Still, he doesn’t think the slow pace should deter someone who Hickey preyed upon from taking action.

“It depends on the individual. If they’re troubled by it, it does still provide closure to address it,” Stack said.

“It’s saying, ‘I’m not going to let this person get the better of me. I was a victim and I deserve compensation. ... But I also want acknowledgement that I was a victim. I want the church to be aware that I was a victim.’”

Stack said he’s sure the victims who’ve come forward have helped the church reconsider its situation and what it’s doing to the faithful.

“Because the victims, by and large, were the most faithful Catholics. I think a lot of good people in the church are for disclosure and against what was in the papal letter that was recently disclosed.”

Attempts to reach the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s and its legal counsel were unsuccessful

Archdiocese settles
Omaha archdiocese settles Texas molestation suit
© 2011 The Associated Press
Jan. 28, 2011, 3:35PM
Share Del.icio.usDiggTwitterFacebookStumbleUponEmail Close [X]SAN ANTONIO — A Texas teenager who received a $1 million settlement from the Roman Catholic church in a molestation lawsuit has reached another settlement with a Nebraska archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of Omaha announced Friday it reached an undisclosed settlement with the alleged victim of John Fiala. The 52-year-old priest is in a Dallas jail facing criminal charges of soliciting someone to kill the teenager, who was 16 years old when the alleged abuse began in 2007.

Fiala was ordained by the Omaha archdiocese in 1984. The archdiocese said in a statement it settled because it wasn't clear that the church shared all information about Fiala when he left.

Fiala is charged with solicitation of capital murder. His alleged victim settled with the Archdiocese of San Antonio last week for $946,000

Accused priest re-hired
Former Sandusky priest, accused of sex crimes, protested in Detroit
Shawn Foucher..05:40 PM
Jan 28
The ghosts of yesteryear sometimes return, if only to haunt other places.

A former Sandusky priest who the Catholic church stripped of priestly duties in the 1990s is now working at a Detroit church — and advocates of sexual-abuse victims are protesting.

In 2005, the Toledo diocese said allegations that Herbert Richey sexually abused young boys were “found not only to be credible but substantiated.”

The priest also worked in Sandusky and Vermilion parishes, likely during the 1980s, authorities said.

Erie County Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Sigsworth said sheriff’s deputies received sexual-abuse complaints against Richey years ago and forwarded the information to Sandusky police.

Sandusky Detective John Orzech said a psychiatrist called in 2002 and reported that a patient claimed Richey sexually molested him when he was young.

But no victim ever came froward, Orzech said.

On Thursday, Detroit diocese spokesman Ned McGrath said in a press release that Richey served recently as an organist at one parish, and possibly served at others during the past decade.

He was removed from his current job this week, Catholic officials said, but protesters want answers as to why he was hired again in the first place.

Further charges
Former priest may face further charges, court told

Sat, Jan 29, 2011

THE DPP is considering pressing further charges against a defrocked priest accused of possession of thousands of pornographic images of children, it was confirmed yesterday.

Oliver O’Grady (65), with an address at a hostel on Charlemont Street, Dublin, was granted bail at Dublin District Court last month following his arrest and was remanded to appear yesterday.

Judge Cormac Dunne said he noted on the defendant’s last appearance that the court was told further charges could be brought and asked “is that still contemplated”. Det Johanna Doyle of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation replied “yes”.

Defence solicitor Kieran Conway said there was consent to an adjournment. Judge Dunne remanded Mr O’Grady on continuing bail to appear on February 25th pending directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions. The former priest remained silent during his brief court appearance.

Earlier the court heard the defendant had lived at various addresses in Ireland since he was deported from the United States, in 2001. He rents a lock-up facility and a postbox to store his belongings. As part of his bail conditions he must sign on twice daily at Harcourt Terrace Garda station. He also undertook not to seek travel documentation and has surrendered his passport to gardaĆ­.

The material allegedly confiscated included images and videos on a USB key, an external hard drive and a laptop. Det Doyle told the court: “We are talking about thousands upon thousands of images of child pornography. Children from the age of two and three up to teenage boys and girls.”

© 2011 The Irish Times

New kind of abuse?
Katia Birge's case of alleged rape by a Catholic lay minister: Does it signal new kind of abuse?By Melanie Asmar, Fri., Jan. 28 2011 @ 3:37PM Comments (5) Categories: News
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SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is criticizing Catholic officials in Denver, including Archbishop Charles Chaput, for their handling of the Katia Birge case.

Birge claims to have been raped by a Denver lay minister in 2008, when she was 25 years old.

Though Birge's case was dismissed in court, SNAP says its not because she's lying. Instead, the group points to a story recently published in Religion Dispatches magazine that suggests it's because she's an adult.

In "Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church: When Victims are Adults," journalist Kathryn Joyce posits that "demographic shifts and a dwindling priesthood may be creating a new set of scenarios for abuse."

After a decade of explosive sex abuse scandals, most prominently involving minor children, Birge's story doesn't fit the recognized narrative. She was already an adult when it happened, and her alleged attacker is not an ordained member of the clergy.
Both facts point to under-recognized trends in the church that touch on its continuing problem with sex abuse: that adults are often its victims, if rarely its public face, and that shifting staffing decisions in a Catholic church becoming more Hispanic have serious implications for how the church handles abuse.

Birge's case involves a lay minister named Juan Carlos Hernandez, who ran a Hispanic young adult church group called Christo Y Yo. According to Joyce's story, Birge became close to Hernandez, who was ten years older. One night, he drove her to a dark part of town, where she says he raped her in the front seat. He then told her she was a whore.

Birge eventually told her family. They informed the parish priest, who directed them to speak with the archdiocese. Birge says church leaders weren't very responsive, telling her they might have done something if she'd been a child.

Birge brought a lawsuit against Hernandez and the archdiocese, which was dismissed late last year. In her story, Joyce says the church implied in court that what happened between Birge and Hernandez was "just a date gone wrong."

Asked for comment today, archdiocese spokeswoman Jeanette De Melo had this to say:

The District Court for the City and County of Denver twice reviewed the complaint against the Archdiocese of Denver regarding Ms. Birge and Mr. Hernandez. The judge dismissed the case against the Archdiocese, indicating that there are no facts in the complaint that show negligence on the part of the Archdiocese. The court awarded the Archdiocese tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and costs against Ms. Birge. The Archdiocese chose not to collect the awarded fees.
This week, SNAP criticized the archdiocese's stance. In a statement, the group said:

Our hearts ache for this devout wounded woman who has been repeatedly betrayed by Denver's Catholic officials. We applaud her courage in coming forward, trying to prosecute and pushing Colorado's Catholic hierarchy to expose a predator and protect others. At the same time, however, we aren't surprised she suffered such hostility from men who profess to represent Christ.

Pastor guilty
Bluffs pastor guilty on 3 counts
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It took four women several years to report sexual abuse by a Council Bluffs pastor, but it took a jury only four hours to convict him.

Efrain Umana, 55, was found guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, third-degree sexual abuse and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. He was found not guilty of a second count of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

The victim in the second-degree sexual abuse was 11 years old at the time. Now, 18, she said was thankful that the jury – which consisted of eight men and four women – believed the women’s stories.

“I had no reason to lie. What did I get out of this?” she said. “The truth always wins.”

Umana testified on his own behalf Thursday, and denied that any of the allegations made against him were true. Apparently the jury disagreed.

Umana was also convicted of forcing intercourse with another woman who was a member of his Council Bluffs church, Templo Monte Horeb, as well as making unwanted sexual advances towards another parishioner.

His sentencing is scheduled for March 3. Second-degree sexual abuse is a class B felony in Iowa and carries a mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison. Because the charge is a “forcible felony,” Umana must spend 17½ years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Third-degree sexual abuse is Class C felony that carries a maximum prison term of 10 years, and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse is an aggravated misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.

Whether or not the sentences will be served consecutively or at the same time will be left to the discretion of the judge.

Diocese bars abuser
Whitestoner accused of theft
Sex offender Denice took money from St. Mel's church: Queens DA

By Connor Adams Sheets
Friday, January 28, 2011 11:07 AM EST
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Joseph Denice, a registered sex offender who has been banned from volunteering at schools including St. Mel's in Flushing, is facing charges of stealing $7,000 from St. Mel's Church, according to the Queens district attorney.
The registered sex offender recently expelled as a volunteer at St. Mel’s School in Flushing was back behind bars this week for allegedly bilking St. Mel’s Church out of thousands of dollars, according to the Queens district attorney.

Joseph Denice, 24, of Whitestone was arrested Jan. 13, not long after he made headlines for working at area schools despite having been convicted of and jailed for sexual abuse in June 2010. He currently faces one charge of grand larceny, one charge of petit larceny and one charge of criminal possession of a forged document, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Queens DA.

Facebook also deleted Denice’s account after allegations arose that he had contacted a young St. Mel’s student through the social networking site, prompting the school to stop using him as a volunteer, and causing state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) to go to the company to ask that his page be taken down.

If Denice is found to have made such contact with a minor, it may be a violation of the five-year probation period he was under upon being released after serving six months in jail for performing “full-body scans” on a 12-year-old boy in 2009, during which he fondled and sexually assaulted the child.

He was arraigned Jan. 14 and was being held at Rikers Island Tuesday afternoon after being remanded in lieu of $15,000 bail, likely due to the possible violation of his parole, Avella said.

The new senator is working on comprehensive legislation to ensure other sex offenders do not slip through the cracks of the New York state justice system.

“We’re trying to get everybody now to focus on this guy. He unfortunately knows how to work the system and the system now needs to work together to put him away,” Avella said. “His lies and his actions know no bounds, apparently. They show how somebody like this can manipulate the system.”

Denice allegedly admitted to police that he stole checks he found in the church’s office in December 2010, wrote them out to himself and gave them to his mother to deposit into her account, calling them “pay checks,” the complaint said.

The account to which the checks were linked was owned by Campion Lally, a Franciscan monk who took it out in order to help Brother Lawrence Larmann, a priest at St. Mel’s, the court papers said. Lally received a phone call on about Jan. 5 from Capital One Bank informing him that the account had been overdrawn. A Bank of America representative later said five checks totaling $7,707.22 made out to Denice were deposited into a Bank of America checking account belonging to Denice and his mother Laura Denice, who Joseph allegedly said had no knowledge the checks were stolen, the complaint said.

Denice passed a background check requested by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn before beginning his work at schools, including St. Mel’s School in Flushing, St. Kevin’s Church in Bayside, St. Kevin’s School in Flushing and St. Luke’s in Whitestone, in about 2007, according to the diocese.

ADVERTISEMENTHe was convicted of sexual abuse in June 2010 and served his six months, but the schools he volunteered at never found out about the arrest because he accepted a plea deal that allowed him to be registered as a Level 1 sex offender rather than the Level 2 the crimes usually carry, according to Avella. Level 1 sex offenders are not listed on the sex offender registry and the schools were never contacted about his conviction until parents raised the concerns that he contacted a St. Mel’s student via Facebook. The diocese then barred him from volunteering at its schools.

The diocese has said it is committed to doing everything within its power to stop future incidents of sexual abuse at its institutions.

Denice was scheduled to appear in court March 1.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Virginian sex assault victims blast Catholic Church
By Fredrick Kunkle
Adult victims who suffered sexual abuse as children have faced off in an increasingly acrimonious fight with the Catholic Church over whether to extend the time in which a victim can file a lawsuit against an abuser.

At a press conference Thursday in which victims told wrenching stories about being abused, Camille Cooper, director of legislative affairs for National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT), called on the Catholic Church to back down from efforts to limit Virginia's statute of limitations. She said the church already helped to cut the proposed extension to file a suit from 25 years to eight years.

"I've reached a whole new level of cynicism in being lobbied by the Catholic Church," Cooper said, adding that the church also sought to write into the bill an exemption for businesses and organizations that might be sued. She said she hoped that any church members who continued to oppose the bill would "find God" before the bill goes to the Senate's Courts of Justice civil affairs subcommittee.

Victims say the longer time frame is warranted because many children repress memories of the abuse and do not report or acknowledge the experience until years, or decades, later.

Current law requires a victim of childhood sexual assault to file suit within two years after the abuse occurred, after reaching adulthood, or after the abuse came to light. Bills sponsored by Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax) and Sen. Frederick M. Quayle (R-Chesapeake) would allow victims to sue their abusers up to 25 years later.

But Cooper said that after the Catholic Church spoke up at a House Courts of Justice subcommittee hearing, Albo's bill, HB1476, was amended to reduce the period to eight years.

Advocates hoped to push through Quayle's bill, SB1145, on Thursday without changes. The Civil subcommittee of the Senate Courts of Justice agreed to send the measure to the full committee after amending the period to 20 years.

Among the advocates pushing the bill was Becky Ianni, 53, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. She told of being abused by Monsignor William T. Reinecke when she was a girl in Alexandria.

"All the parents loved and trusted him. I loved and trusted him," Ianni told reporters. When the abuse started, she said, she buried the experience deep in her mind until her memory, triggered by a photograph of the priest, unearthed it 40 years later. Reinecke, confronted by another victim, committed suicide in 1992.

The church has been rocked in recent years by disclosures of widespread abuses and cover-ups by clergy. A call to Jeff Caruso, executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, was not immediately returned Friday morning.

Cooper said she would not be satisfied until there is no statute of limitations at all on bringing suit against an abuser. Placing limits on the time frame contributes to the repressive tactics used by abusers to silence their victims, she said.

Cooper and the other advocates of childhood sexual assault victims also urged the passage of a bill sponsored by Del. William R. Janis (R-Goochland) that would help judges to set monetary values when ordering restitution for the victims of child pornography cases. Under his bill, HB1995, a victim would receive at least $150,000.

A House subcommittee agreed to report the bill with an amendment that instead would set restitution at $1,000 for each offense. During the debate, lawmakers and advocates said an offense could be defined by prosecutors as each pornographic image taken and each time the image was reproduced and transmitted to others.

Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) has offered a similar, more loosely defined bill that will also go to the full Senate panel.

Trial date
Rape trial of Bayside pastor on in March

By Anna Gustafson
Friday, January 28, 2011 11:07 AM EST
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According to the Queens District Attorney, the trial for Phillip Joubert, the pastor of Community Baptist Church in Bayside, is expected to begin in March.
The trial for the Bayside pastor who faces charges of raping an underage girl who is related to him is expected to start in March, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney said.

Pre-trial hearings wrapped up this month for Phillip Joubert, 48, pastor of the Community Baptist Church at 46-19 206th St. in Bayside. Joubert’s next court date is March 4, the DA’s office said.

Joubert, who has been pastor of the church for seven years, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped a 13-year-old girl twice between July 25, 2009, and Aug. 2, 2009, according to the Queens DA. The girl is related to Joubert, according to the criminal complaint, although the Queens DA has not specified the specific family connection.

The church leader, who is also the founding pastor of New Light Missionary Baptist Church in Norwalk, Conn., faces charges of rape, incest, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, the Queens DA said.

Joubert’s attorney did not return a phone call for comment.

In 2009, Joubert allegedly “laid down on top” of the victim, “held her hands above her head as she cried and struggled to get out from underneath him” and then “hit her in the face, telling her to ‘be quiet,’” according to the criminal complaint.

The pastor used his church as collateral to post his $350,000 bail in December 2009, according to the Queens DA.

Joubert will also face a jury trial expected to begin March 1 at Norwalk Superior Court on charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to a spokeswoman at the Norwalk Superior Court.

The alleged rape in Queens came to light after a Nov. 14, 2009, incident at Joubert’s former residence in Norwalk, Conn., when the pastor allegedly punched a 13-year-old girl in the face and several times in the torso because the girl left her school notebooks stacked against the side of his couch, according to his Connecticut arrest warrant affidavit.

Following the assault, the victim told her mother about the alleged rape that had occurred at Joubert’s Queens home, according to Norwalk police. The teen’s mother called Norwalk police, who informed the NYPD about the allegations, police said.

Priest on trial

http://www.berkshireeagle.cAccused priest to face trial
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff,
Updated: 01/28/2011 12:07:30 AM EST

Friday January 28, 2011
PITTSFIELD -- Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the trial of a Roman Catholic priest accused of assaulting two boys in the Berkshires in the 1980s.

The Rev. Gary Mercure ministered to Catholics in New York’s Albany and Warren counties, where he came under fire for allegedly sexually assaulting several boys but was never charged. The statute of limitations for bringing criminal charges against Mercure had already expired by the time the accusations came to light, and New York authorities were unable to hold the priest criminally responsible.

Because Massachusetts has a longer statute of limitations, New York authorities assisted Berkshire County investigators seeking to hold Mercure accountable for alleged Massachusetts crimes. The priest is accused of assaulting two boys, now in their 30s, in Great Barrington, Monterey and New Ashford in the mid to late 1980s, according to police and prosecutors.

Authorities said the crimes occurred between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 1986, and Feb. 1 and Feb. 28, 1989. The alleged victims were from the Glens Falls, N.Y., area, and Mercure is accused of taking them on trips to Berkshire County to sexually assault them, according to authorities.

Mercure has been accused of similar crimes in Warren County, although those cases could not be prosecuted in New York due to the vintage of the allegations. Such crimes generally must be prosecuted within five years of commission.




Albany Diocese placed Mercure on administrative leave in early 2008 and later relieved him of all religious duties as a priest.
He was indicted by a Berkshire grand jury in October 2008 and arraigned the following month in Berkshire Superior Court, where he denied charges of forcible child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child younger than 14. During that proceeding, Mercure was deprived of the titular honor of his vocation when court officials referred to him merely as "Mr. Mercure" -- not "reverend" or "father," the traditional title for a priest.

After further investigation, Mercure was suspended "from all ministry" in August 2008, said Ken Goldfarb, a spokesman for the Albany Diocese. That meant Mercure could no longer celebrate Mass, appear publicly as a priest, or perform other church sacraments, Goldfarb said.

Mercure’s trial is finally getting under way in Berkshire Superior Court, following a series of adjournments. The case originally was scheduled to be heard in July 2010, but was postponed until September then November until this month’s date was selected.

"We’re getting started Monday morning," said Berkshire First Assistant District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello, who will prosecute the case with assistance from Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey.

Picking a jury for the trial could take some time, however, considering the amount of media attention the case has received in New York and Massachusetts. Potential jurors who are familiar with a case typically are dismissed from a jury pool.

Mercure, 62, who is free on personal recognizance, faces possible life imprisonment if convicted. His attorney, Michael O. Jennings of Springfield, did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

The investigations were conducted by Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the office of Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless.

Mark Lyman, director of the Albany area chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), claims Mercure abused at least a dozen Albany-area men when they were minors. SNAP is a national support group for victims of clergy abuse.

Goldfarb, in 2008 remarks to The Eagle, emphasized that the "oft repeated claim" that Mercure victimized a dozen men when they were minors "is just that -- a claim." The Albany Diocese "has not received that many complaints concerning this priest. That figure, perhaps while widely reported, has come solely from Mr. Lyman and his associates," Goldfarb said.

Lyman, during an impromptu press conference held outside the Berkshire County Courthouse following Mercure’s November 2008 arraignment, said the New York priest is accused of serious crimes, not personnel matters that can be swept under the rug by the Catholic Church.

"These are felonies. These are not canonical issues to be handled by church leaders," Lyman said.

Robert Chesal and Joep Dohmen honoured as Journalist of the Year
Published on : 27 January 2011 - 9:03pm | By Willemien Groot (Photo: Truus van Gog) More about: 2010 Journalist of the Year awardCatholic Church sex abuseEuropeHollandJoep DohmenNetherlandsnewsRobert ChesalVillamedia Magazine
Recognition for the work of journalists, and recognition for the thousands of victims of church sex abuse. This is how Radio Netherlands Worldwide reporter Robert Chesal characterised the 2010 Journalist of the Year Award. Robert Chesal and his colleague Joep Dohmen from the newspaper NRC Handelsblad received the award from the hands of Culture Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt.

Joep Dohmen and Robert ChesalPhoto: Truus van Gog
The annual prize is awarded by the editorial staff of the Journalists’ magazine Villamedia Magazine. Robert Chesal and Joep Dohmen were honoured for their series of publications on sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church; publications preceded by months of investigative journalism.

One revelation after another
Reports about church sex abuse had surfaced years earlier in Ireland, the United States and Germany, but everything remained quiet in the Netherlands, until Robert Chesal called up Joep Dohmen following an interview about abuse at a boarding school. Robert put the right journalistic question: “Was this man’s report an incident or symptomatic of a much wider problem?” Their collaboration led to a stream of publications featuring one revelation after another and eventually gave rise to the creation of the Deetman Commission which was charged with investigation the reports.

The statuettePhoto: Truus van Gog
Did it take too long?
At the award ceremony in The Hague press centre Nieuwspoort, the two laureates both asked their fellow journalists whether it had not taken too long for the issue to be addressed. In his acceptance speech, Joep Dohmen mentioned that there had been some reports on church sex abuse before his collaboration with Robert Chesal, but they had never led to a torrent of revelations. Joep Dohmen himself had published a report on the issue as early as 2002, but did not pay any attention to the boarding schools, while that was where the abuse was most widespread.

Better late than never
The abuse stories only grew into a media storm because large numbers of victims were willing to testify. And also because the church had public opinion going against it, mainly because shortly before priests had refused to give the consecrated host to gay believers. “When shortly afterward it became known that priests had been involved in child sex abuse, and that their crimes were covered up by the church leadership, all hell broke loose.” However, Robert Chesal had to agree: better late than never. ‘At least now there is a chance that those victims who are still alive will see justice done.”

Sex-Abuse Fallout
Milwaukee Archdiocese enters bankruptcy as Wilmington proposes how to emerge.
Share by STEVE WEATHERBE 01/28/2011 Comment

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki addresses a press conference at the Cousins Center in St. Francis, Wis., Jan. 4., after announcing that the archdiocese will file for Chapter 11 reorganization of its financial affairs under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
MILWAUKEE — A filing by yet another Catholic diocese for financial protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Act has raised questions about the best approach for dioceses to take in the wake of sexual-abuse lawsuits.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy Jan. 4, and on Jan. 10 the Diocese of Wilmington, Del., filed a reorganization plan under the same legislation that would see at least $750,000 awarded to each victim of clergy sexual abuse.

Chapter 11 allows both entities to put together a financial offer that would include not only the victims but other creditors, including employees with pensions, and to retain facilities and stay in operation.

Both dioceses filed on the eve of court actions, prompting critics to accuse them of attempting to avoid courtroom exposure of acts of abuse and neglect by Catholic clergy and of paying fair compensation.

“That kind of charge betrays a lack of understanding of the bankruptcy process,” said Thomas Smith, a law professor at the University of San Diego. “Bankruptcy is all about fairness to all the creditors. That’s why there is a judge involved with very strong powers.”

Smith’s own diocese settled its sexual-abuse claims for $200 million while in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, twice what it had offered initially.

Both Wilmington and Milwaukee are proposing to create compensation funds from the sale of diocesan assets, liability insurance payouts and contributions from other Catholic resources.

The Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004, one of the first to do so, sparking complaints that it was avoiding trials in several sexual-abuse suits. But it filed a plan that was ultimately approved by the bankruptcy judge and victims’ lawyers that paid $52 million to 177 victims, with another $20 million set aside for potential claimants.

Worth More Alive

Explained Smith: “One of the important things is to provide for future victims, who haven’t even complained yet. If the early cases go to trial, a jury can award a huge amount that leaves nothing for victims who come later.”

Chapter 11 bankruptcies have the advantage of allowing the survival of “a corporation that is worth more alive than dead,” he added. People will continue to go to church and to contribute, so a reorganization that allows this should produce a larger settlement.

The Portland Archdiocese mortgaged land, borrowed and claimed on its liability insurance policies to make a pool to pay off current and potential claimants. But to meet payments on its debts, said spokesman Bud Bunce, it was forced to reduce its operating budget by 25% and eliminate 20 full-time positions.

Bunce said the people of the archdiocese had responded supportively to the crisis.

“We’ve had no downturn in our annual appeal,” he said. The archdiocese kept people informed of the efforts being made to stay in operation and keep the parishes out of bankruptcy. “You look around today, and the sacraments are still being celebrated. The charitable activities are still being done. We’ve started a new capital campaign to raise $50 million for new schools, priests’ retirement, seminary education. But things are still very tight.”

The Wilmington Diocese would keep $3 million in working capital and contribute $30 million from the sale of assets such as the bishop’s residence. Another $69 million would come from “non-debtor” organizations such as the Catholic Diocese Foundation, parishes, schools, Catholic cemeteries and various care facilities which the diocese maintains are distinct legal entities.

This fund would also be shared by pension claimants such as school and diocesan employees, including priests, and parishes and other independent institutions who invested with the diocese, leaving $74 million for sex-abuse victims — about $750,000 apiece, according to the diocesan settlement plan.

Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy after a victims’ group of 24 rejected an offer of $4.6 million, or $191,000 each. The victims insist the amount of the settlement was not the issue; rather, it was the archdiocese’s refusal to release all relevant documents.

Both organizations had already reached settlements with hundreds of victims for tens of millions of dollars.

Earlier settlements from other dioceses averaged $33,000 per victim in Fairbanks, Alaska, $275,000 in Spokane, Wash., $330,000 in Tucson, Ariz., and $410,000 in Portland, Ore.

Some dioceses have settled without bankruptcy: Los Angeles, in 2007, for $660 million; Boston, in 2003 for $85 million.

Fat Targets?

Smith said that while “there is no doubt there have been abuses, I don’t think they’ve been worse than in any other organization. The difference is that Catholic dioceses are very fat targets to lawsuits. If you are abused in a Mormon church, you can only go after the assets of that church.” But because all the churches and schools in a Catholic diocese are owned “in corporate sole” by the bishop, “my little parish is on the hook for what’s done way on the other side of a very big diocese.”

Milwaukee is insisting the parish church and school properties which constitute the most valuable Catholic properties actually belong to the parishes and are merely held “in trust” by the diocese.

But Gerald Blanchard, a Georgia lawyer specializing in debts and bankruptcy, said that theory was rejected by the Oregon bankruptcy court in the early stages of the Portland Diocese’s Chapter 11 reorganization.

Blanchard wrote in a 2006 article in the Risk Management Association Journal that the bankruptcy court ruled, “Because the parishes are not separate legal entities … all of the parishes and the schools of the archdiocese constitute property of the estate that can be reduced to cash to pay off creditors.”

Blanchard said that the dioceses contradict themselves by assigning part of the fund to each parish to pay off from its own revenues, which is an admission they are part of the diocese.

The legal question is not completely resolved, however. The Oregon court conceded one point advanced by the diocese: that bankruptcy law might infringe “substantially” on the ability of parishioners to practice their faith if it resulted in the sale of parish properties.

This might well violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, said the court, but it then refused to decide on the matter unless it became necessary. It never did, because a settlement was reached. Portland incorporated its parishes separately while it was in bankruptcy, something other dioceses should imitate, according to Smith.

Smith added that bankruptcy had a demoralizing effect on his fellow Catholics. “But it is like something bad happening to your family. You don’t quit because of it,” he said. “I’m really sorry for the priests. They are afraid of going out wearing their Roman collar and having someone confront them in a restaurant.”

Attorney seeks to suppress evidence
Defense attorney in case of suspended Blessed Sacrament priest seeks to suppress evidence.By Keith Ferguson
Wicked Local Walpole
Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 11:12 AM

WALPOLE — The defense attorney of suspended Blessed Sacrament priest Emile Boutin filed a motion to suppress at Stoughton District Court last Wednesday and proceedings will continue to March 22.

Boutin, known as Fr. Mike to his parishioners, pleaded not guilty in June to a charge of indecent assault and battery after he was accused of inappropriately grabbing a 21-year-old man in a sexual manner behind a Rte. 138 parking lot in Canton.

Under his forthcoming motion, the defense attorney on March 22 will argue certain evidence in the case should be thrown out from use in a potential trial or judgment.

The priest was released from custody following the arraignment in early summer on $500 bail and on the condition that he will stay away from the alleged victim and the Rte. 138 “Park and Ride.”

The Archdiocese of Boston has banned Boutin from public ministry pending the outcome of this case.

15 monks guilty
Monastery sex abuse cases claim 40 victims

Fifteen monks were found guilty of sexual abuse at a monastery in Einsiedeln, in central Switzerland, in cases stretching back over six decades, an investigative panel said on Thursday.

The panel said there were at least 40 victims, with the majority of the cases occurring in the 1960s and 1970s.

The cases only began to come to light when preventive measures were introduced in 1998.

Nine of the monks found guilty committed indecent acts on children, the panel said.

Three monks were found to be ring leaders and the notion of sexual abuse at the monastery had become accepted, the investigators said.

For the first time last year, the Catholic Church in Switzerland compiled detailed statistics of cases of sexual abuse committed by priests and other pastoral workers.

Senate considers Bill
Miss. Senate Considers Child Protection Bill
Bill Would Require Clergy To Report Confessed Child Sex Acts
POSTED: 2:10 pm CST January 27, 2011
UPDATED: 5:13 pm CST January 27, 2011
JACKSON, Miss. -- A bill went before the Mississippi Senate on Thursday that would make it illegal for a priest not to alert authorities if someone confesses to child sex acts.

Senate Bill 2498, also known as the Mississippi Child Protection Act of 2011, makes it mandatory for adults to report it if they believe there is sexual abuse going on with a child under their care. That includes teacher, nurses, day care workers and even members of the clergy.

"If the confessor says, 'I am currently having a problem abusing a child sexually,' and only in that content -- in a sexual content -- it would go under this particular law," said Sen. Joey Fillingane, a Republican from Sumrall. "We in the Legislature hold it in the state's interest to protect that child."

The Child Protection Act would also make it mandatory for the state's abortion clinic to collect and save DNA from an aborted fetus if the mother is 15 or younger. The age of consent in Mississippi is 16, so anyone who has sex with someone younger than that is committing statutory rape, according to the law. The DNA collected by the clinic would be used to prosecute the father for committing statutory rape, supporters of the bill said.

Also, brought before the Senate on Thursday, Bill 2617, that if passed would make it a requirement that anyone conducting an abortion procedure must be an obstetrician-gynecologist with visiting rights at a local hospital.

Both bills will now go before committees for consideration.

Accused priest gets organist job
How did ex-priest accused of abuse get organist job at Macomb Co. parish?

8:38 PM, Jan. 27, 2011 | 40Comments

Detroit Free Press Staff WriterFiled Under
Local News
Macomb County
The Archdiocese of Detroit said today it will investigate how a former priest, removed from the priesthood in Toledo because of abuse allegations, was able to work as an organist recently at a Macomb County Catholic parish.

The archdiocese’s action came in response to revelations by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a support group for abuse victims.

SNAP members revealed that Herbert Richey, who was laicized from the priesthood in 1997 in Toledo because of several allegations that he had molested boys, had recently worked as an organist at St. Margaret of Scotland parish in St. Clair Shores, and possibly other Detroit-area parishes.

The archdiocese confirmed that in a statement released after SNAP members called a press conference this afternoon in front of the archdiocese’s downtown headquarters. Moreover, archdiocese spokesman Ned McGrath said Richey had been banned from working in any archdiocese parish or school in 2002, when it was learned he’d been in similar job at St. Joseph parish in Trenton.

McGrath, in a statement, said Richey “was immediately removed and ordered by the Detroit archdiocese not to work in any of its parishes or schools” back in 2002, at a time when the Catholic church was responding to a vociferous outcry about its secretive handling of priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

Since then, Detroit and Catholic dioceses nationwide have instituted background checks and screening procedures to prevent this kind of occurrence.

Matt Jatczak, SNAP’s Detroit leader, dropped off a letter addressed to Detroit Catholic Archbishop Allen Vigneron, demanding to know how Richey ended up working in Catholic churches when “ a simple Google search would have revealed the multiple credible and serious allegations against Richey that led to his being permanently defrocked by the Vatican.”

The Toledo Blade reported in 2005 that Richey was removed from ministry in 1992 and defrocked in 1997 after at least four boys in three Ohio parishes accused him of sexual abuse. Richey was never charged with a crime, despite an investigation by the Erie County Sheriff’s office. The Diocese of Toledo website also lists Richey as a former priest removed from ministry because of abuse allegations.

Jatczak said SNAP was alerted to Richey’s Detroit-area work by a Catholic parishioner who knew of Richey’s past.

“The Archdiocesan Review Board will commence an investigation of this matter with the intention of assuring this unacceptable situation does not happen again,” the archdiocese’s McGrath said in a statement.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Couple sues archdiocese
Couple sues archdiocese over sexual abuse issue
By Peter Smith • • January 27, 2011

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Buzz up!Twitter FarkIt Type Size A A A A woman is suing the Archdiocese of Louisville, alleging she was wrongfully fired as a bookkeeper at St. Therese Church after complaining that a priest who had allegedly been sexually abusive was living at the parish and circulating among children without supervision.

And her husband is also suing, saying the church's handling of this situation revived traumas he had suffered as a victim of an allegedly abusive priest decades earlier at the parish.
The lawsuit, filed by Gary and Margie Weiter of Louisville, also names Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and two priests as defendants — the Rev. Anthony Olges, pastor of St. Therese, and James R. Schook, whom the archdiocese suspended in 2009 and removed from ministry in 2010 after receiving an allegation of past sexual abuse.
The Weiters are seeking damages for wrongful dismissal and alleging the archdiocese's action was "outrageous and constitutes a departure from all reasonable bounds of decency."
The lawsuit alleges that the archdiocese violated its own policies on responding to sexual abuse. It said Schook "walked around unsupervised at the parish and rectory at St. Therese in shorts and/or swimming trunks, sandals and T-shirts in front of plaintiffs … and others, including children."
The lawsuit alleges that Olges terminated Margie Weiter's job in May 2010 "in retaliation for and as a proximate and direct result of (her) complaints and attempt to officially complain about and expose (the defendants') wrongful concealment and protection of … Schook."
Complaints in a lawsuit give only one side of a case. The archdiocese's spokeswoman did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.
The archdiocese suspended Schook in July 2009 after receiving a complaint that he had sexually abused a minor in 1985. After that, the archdiocese said it received other allegations against Schook from the 1970s and 1980s.
Gary Weiter was among 243 plaintiffs who settled with the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2003 for $25.7 million over claims of past sexual abuse. Weiter alleges said he was sexually abused by Edwin Scherzer, who has since been convicted on multiple counts of abuse, at St. Therese Church.
Weiter has been a member at the church for years but was unable to continue a volunteer job there because the dispute over Schook had revived his traumas, the lawsuit says.

Court backs church
Court backs church; Sex abuse victims respond

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell,

How sad that church officials try to exploit legal technicalities in a clergy sexual assault case. It’s even sadder that Catholic officials are apparently succeeding in this callous effort.

Those who report being sexually violated by clerics deserve their day in court. They shouldn’t be silenced because of archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly statutes of limitations. And if such statutes exist, church officials should not try to take advantage of them. Instead, if church officials believe they are innocent, they should let the truth surface in court, instead of seizing on any legal maneuver they can to prevent witnesses and evidence from surfacing.

Bishops can’t have it both ways. They can’t claim to be Christ’s representatives on earth while acting like cold-hearted CEOs, especially in clergy sexual misconduct cases.

£2m fraud

Playboy priest convicted of £2million fraud
by Adrian Shaw, Daily Mirror 27/01/2011

LISTENING sympathetically to his troubled parishioners, Father Antoine Videau portrayed himself as a caring priest.

But he was stealing money from collection boxes and charity donations and was convicted yesterday of fraud after amassing a £2million fortune over 20 years.

Videau, 64, also lived with a young mistress in a luxury villa and lavished the stolen cash on a string of women he drove around Europe in his red Ferrari.

The playboy padre defrauded nuns by renting out rooms in their convent as holiday flats and he spent church funds on a “cultural pilgrimage” to Las Vegas, the Sin City.

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He had 28 bank accounts for the cash and even siphoned off £500,000 fromthe estate of an archbishop after making himself the executor of the will. Videau, the parish priest in Calacuccia on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, cleverly concealed his wild life from his trusting flock.

Prosecuting lawyer Angeline Tomasi said the priest “did not know the difference between right and wrong” and described him as “manipulative and predatory”. She added: “He broke Church laws and the country’s laws.”

Videau was first convicted and handed a two-year prison sentence in May last year but was freed in December with permission to appeal.

But a higher court in Bastia upheld the conviction yesterday and re-imposed the jail term.

Read more:
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Trial postponed
Former Kingsport priest's Scott Co. court date moved to JulyBy Wes Bunch

Published January 27th, 2011 | Added January 27th, 2011 4:15 am | Comments

William Casey

GATE CITY — A former Kingsport priest who is accused of molesting a young boy more than 30 years ago will not appear in a Scott County courtroom until this summer after his trial was delayed earlier this week.

William Casey, 76, 740 Shakerag Road, Greeneville, was originally scheduled to appear in Scott County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. Wednesday, but his motion hearing was instead moved to June 27 at 2 p.m.

Casey’s trial date was also continued from Feb. 11 to July 14-15.

The request was made at the beginning of the week by Casey’s attorney, Walt Rivers of Big Stone Gap, and was granted by 30th Circuit Judge John Kilgore.

Rivers asked for the delay so he could have more time to prepare for Casey’s trial and because he is currently serving on a defense team in an ongoing murder case in Wise County.

Rivers made a similar request in November 2010 that was also granted.

At his arraignment hearing in August 2010, Casey pleaded not guilty to charges of forcible sodomy and indecent liberties with a child that stem from allegations he sexually molested a young boy in 1978 during a trip to Natural Tunnel State Park.

Casey could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of both charges.

Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said his office is proceeding with the case as if it will go to trial.

“We anticipate all of our cases going to trial,” McClung said. “We have a case that is very serious, and we’re treating it that way, and we’re proceeding with it as if it’s going to trial.”

While he awaits trial, McClung said Casey will remain on house arrest and be required to continue wearing his electronic monitoring unit.

In October 2010, Casey pleaded not guilty in Sullivan County Criminal Court to a single count of first-degree sexual misconduct and two counts of aggravated rape.

That trial is set to begin April 11 in Blountville.

Sex charge priest
Sex charge priest worked as chef in Stone home
By Andrew Wakefield
A CATHOLIC priest accused of sexually abusing young boys has been working just yards from a playgroup and church in Stone, the Newsletter can reveal.

CHARGED. . .Alexander Walsh.Alexander Bede Walsh appeared in court on Monday charged with the indecent assault and buggery of four boys in the 1980s and 90s.

The 57-year-old was arrested following a lengthy investigation by detectives and the Crown Prosecution Service into his work at a North Staffordshire church.

Now, it has been revealed that Mr Walsh has been working as a chef at Aston Hall, Stone - a home for retired and convalescent priests in Aston-by-Stone until two weeks ago.

The home, which is run by the Archdiocese of Birmingham, is next door to the Holy Michael Archangel Church and just a few hundred yards from Aston playgroup.

Archdiocese spokesman, Peter Jennings, confirmed Mr Walsh had been working at the home on a voluntary basis since around November 2009.

The Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, also released a statement to people in the parishes affected the revelations.

It reads: “I would like you to know that I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers at what must be a very difficult time for many of you following the news about your former priest, Fr Bede Walsh.

“I continue to ask Our Lord’s blessing on you and all your parish community.

“Should you need to talk to someone in the present circumstances my Safeguarding Co-ordinator, Jane Jones can be contacted during office hours on: 0121 230 6240 or at other times on 07976 516 629.”

The Archbishop of Birmingham added: “The Archdiocese of Birmingham has co-operated fully with the police and will continue to do so. As this matter is now the subject of legal proceedings it is not possible or appropriate for the Archdiocese to make any further comment at this time.”

Mr Walsh, of Abbots Bromley, is charged with 19 sexual offences against boys when he served as a priest in Coventry and in the Cheadle area of North Staffordshire. The boys were aged between eight and 16 at the time of the alleged offences.

He appeared at North Staffordshire Magistrates earlier this week and was released on bail to re-appear at Stokeon- Trent Crown Court on January 31.

Sue Hanson, Senior Crown Prosecutor and reviewing lawyer with CPS Staffordshire, said: “Following a long and detailed investigation by Staffordshire Police, we received a file in December 2010 on Alexander Bede Walsh.

“The file was carefully examined and reviewed in accordance with our Code for Crown Prosecutors, to ensure that we had sufficient evidence and that it was in the public interest to charge Fr Walsh with any criminal offences that he may have committed.

She went on: “With all of the evidence examined, detectives were authorised and charged Fr Walsh with 17 counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery on four boys when aged between 8 and 16 in the 80s and 90s.”