Priests & Abuse of Authority

Written by Janet

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington says they have no choice but to keep paying retirement benefits to six priests who church officials have confirmed are pedophiles.  Last month, the diocese filed for Chapter 11. 

Officials had told the judge the church would not make any payments to priests accused of sexual abuse without a court order, even if the abuse had not been substantiated.  As of late Thursday, the diocese said it has an obligation to care for retired clergy, including priests dismissed from public ministry.

This motion filed now asks for permission to continue paying benefits to six confirmed pedophiles, including 80-year-old former priest Francis DeLuca, who was defrocked after serving a jail term in New York for repeatedly abusing his grandnephew.



  1. newsdeskinternational

    Diocese in Alaska agrees to $10M abuse settlement

    The Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks and representatives of almost 300 alleged victims of clergy abuse have agreed on a settlement of almost $10 million.

    The agreement was discussed Tuesday at a status hearing in federal bankruptcy court and will need to be finalized. The deal could be completed by mid-January.

    Plaintiffs’ attorney Ken Roosa said some of the payoff would be put aside to pursue as much as another $100 million from two of four insurance companies for the diocese that have balked in court at paying on behalf of the church. The rest would be divided among alleged victims, depending on the severity of abuse.

    Roosa said the diocese would accept liability for “many, many” millions of dollars. In return, a committee representing claimants would agree that it can’t collect that money from the diocese, but instead would go after the insurance companies.

    Complaints of sexual abuse of a minor have been filed in recent years against the diocese, with some allegations dating back 50 years.

    The diocese filed for bankruptcy protection last year and all proceedings are overseen in bankruptcy court in Anchorage.

    The diocese was “extraordinarily pleased” with the agreement, according to a spokesman, who called it an important milestone in its reorganization effort.

    “We look forward to working with the claimants so that the insurance companies fulfill their obligations,” Chancellor Robert Hannon said. “This is all about finding a just way to compensate those who were harmed and we’ll have much work to do to restore their trust.”

    Roosa said the agreement with the diocese is an improvement over an offer last month that would have guaranteed each alleged victim $5,500 apiece in a reorganization plan that would provide $11 million to victims and creditors.

    Diocese attorneys had said the secured pay would have been a minimum to settle the claims and that there would be roughly $7.5 million more later for plaintiffs.

    Roosa said the amount was not hard money, but based on property sales minus paying off debts including legal fees, and that victims would have received just a fraction of the money.

    “We said ‘no,”’ he said. “We want money set out – hard cash directly going to the victims, to the survivors.”

    Another hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4 before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Donald MacDonald to hear unresolved insurance issues pertaining to the diocese’s revised reorganization plan.

  2. newsdeskinternational

    Investigation Finds Irish Bishops Covered Up Decades of Priests’ Child Abuse

    The Roman Catholic Church in Dublin covered up decades of child abuse committed by priests because bishops wanted to protect the church’s reputation at the expense of victims, an expert commission reported Thursday after a three-year probe into previously secret church records.,2933,577106,00.html?test=latestnews

  3. newsdeskinternational

    Diocese bankruptcy judge unseals victim settlement

    The judge presiding over the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington ordered Thursday that details of a settlement with an alleged victim of priest sexual abuse be unsealed.

    Judge Christopher Sontchi ordered the diocese to promptly disclose the settlement amount paid to James Sheehan in response to a request from The Associated Press seeking access to judicial records in the case.

    The diocese had not filed the disclosure notice as of Thursday night, but Sheehan attorney Tom Neuberger told the AP that the case was settled for $17,500.

    Attorneys for Sheehan and the diocese asked Sontchi last month to approve the settlement and to keep the amount paid to Sheehan confidential. Such secrecy is routine in civil lawsuits, but a debtor in bankruptcy is expected to open its finances to scrutiny by creditors and the court.

    A Delaware bankruptcy judge ruled against such secret settlements two years ago, but diocese attorneys noted in a joint motion submitted to the court that this case was different because Sheehan was requesting secrecy.

    Neuberger said he decided to have the settlement amount sealed for strategic reasons in advance of a trial in Sheehan’s lawsuit against the Oblates of St. Francis de Sale, a Catholic religious order that was a co-defendant of the diocese.

    Sheehan, 63, claimed he was abused by the late Oblate priest Francis Norris in 1962 at Salesianum School in Wilmington.

    Neuberger said he did not want the settlement to taint the jury pool. He denied that he wanted to keep the relatively small amount secret to avoid setting a precedent for settling scores of other priest sex abuse cases against the diocese. Those cases created a potential liability that drove the diocese to seek bankruptcy protection in October.

    “It’s not a precedent in any fashion whatsoever for any case,” Neuberger said.

    A New Castle County jury that heard Sheehan’s lawsuit ruled last month that the Oblates were liable under the Delaware’s Child Victims Act, but it also concluded that the liability was not the proximate cause of the harm Sheehan claimed to have suffered, and awarded him no damages.

    That ruling came in the first lawsuit under Delaware’s Child Victims Act to go to trial. The act, passed in 2007, gave alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse two years to file lawsuits for offenses that happened long ago and otherwise would have been barred under the statute of limitations.

  4. newsdeskinternational

    Pedophile ex-priest linked to boys-ranch case

    Patrick O’Donnell, whose infamy as the abuser of as many as 66 children was inextricably linked to the scandal that bankrupted the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, also insinuated himself into a nonprofit home for troubled boys, a Superior Court jury was told on Wednesday.

    The former director and a former resident of the Morning Star Boys’ Ranch testified in the case of Kenneth Putnam v. Morning Star Boys’ Ranch about their acquaintance with the defrocked priest O’Donnell.

    Putnam accuses the Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner, 77, who retired as ranch director in 2006, and a now-deceased counselor of sexually molesting him at the ranch in the ’80s.

    Putnam’s is one of 19 lawsuits claiming sexual or physical abuse at Morning Star.

    Under questioning by Putnam’s Seattle attorney, Tim Kosnoff, Weitensteiner testified that he’s known O’Donnell for decades and that O’Donnell was a Boy Scout in his troop in the early 1950s.

    Their acquaintance was renewed in the 1960s after Weitensteiner became a ranch counselor and later — after being ordained a Catholic priest in 1966 — director of Morning Star.

    Weitensteiner testified that in the late 1970s or early 1980s, O’Donnell, a child psychologist who frequented the ranch, was preparing to conduct psychological evaluations of some boys. But a woman called Morning Star to complain that O’Donnell was a pedophile who’d undergone sexual-deviancy treatment in Seattle from 1976 to 1978. O’Donnell served at Seattle’s St. Paul Church from 1976 to 1978 and has been accused of abusing boys in the Seattle.

    “We decided we better not use him,” Weitensteiner said.

    Also testifying was Paul Baggett, 48, who said he was repeatedly sexually abused by O’Donnell on ranch property and on trips in the ’70s.

    Under questioning by attorneys, Baggett acknowledged that he was a recovering drug addict who hallucinated and heard voices.

  5. newsdeskinternational

    Bishop appointment raises abuse questions

    A new bishop’s appointment in Kentucky raised questions about his suitability for dealing with Catholic priests’ sexual abuse, an abuse survivors’ group said.

    Rev. William Medley, who has been a priest for 27 years in the Archdiocese of Louisville and was appointed Owensboro bishop in December by Pope Benedict XVI, served from 1989 to 1993 as a clergy personnel director for a bishop who re-assigned five priests facing accusations of the sexual abuse of minors, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Sunday.

    Some of the accused priests were convicted and sentenced to prison, the newspaper said.

    Owensboro parishioners “have the right to be aware” of Medley’s involvement in those cases, said Cal Pfeiffer, a Louisville member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

    “These things raise some real questions, and if they are never brought out, it would show there’s no consequence for him, for how he handled his job, Pfeiffer said.

    The decision to re-assign priests rested with then-Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, who retired in 2007, facing criticisms over information that he had kept some abusive priests in ministry. Such practice was commonplace until the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People established a zero-tolerance policy on priests’ sexual abuse, the Courier-Journal said.

    Medley said he would handle any future revelations of abuse seriously.

    “I think what I need to say to the people in Owensboro, and certainly any victims that would come forward, would be that I fully support the charter,” Medley said.

  6. newsdeskinternational

    Deaf school students say Wis. priest abused them

    Steven Geier says that four times in the mid-1960s, the Rev. Lawrence Murphy coaxed the then-14-year-old student into a closet at St. John’s School for the Deaf just outside Milwaukee and molested him, using God to justify his actions.

    Geier said when he told Murphy what was happening was wrong, the priest replied, “Oh, yes. God sent me. This is confession.”

    Geier, now 59 and living in Madison, was one of about 200 deaf boys at the school who say they were molested by the late priest decades ago in a case now creating a scandal for the Vatican and threatening to ensnare Pope Benedict XVI.

    “Father Murphy put everything into the context of God,” Geier said through a sign-language interpreter Thursday. “I felt like I was really brainwashed.”

    Some allegations became public years ago. But they received renewed attention this week after documents obtained by The New York Times showed Murphy was spared a defrocking in the mid-1990s because he was protected by the Vatican office led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope.

    The Vatican on Thursday strongly defended its decision not to defrock Murphy and denounced what it called a campaign to smear the pope and his aides.

    In recent weeks, Benedict also has come under fire over his handling of an abuse case against a priest in Germany three decades ago when he was a cardinal in charge of the Munich Archdiocese.

    In the Milwaukee-area case, Murphy was accused of molesting boys in the confessional, in dormitories, in closets and during field trips while working at the school for the deaf from the 1950s through 1974. Murphy died in 1998 at age 72.

    Geier shook his fist in anger as he talked to The Associated Press about Murphy.

    “I can’t believe (the pope) can be so stupid,” Geier said. “He is supposed to be doing God’s work and yet abusing children is in direct conflict with that. … Where is God’s punishment for Father Murphy abusing all those boys? Is that kind of behavior acceptable to God?”

    Arthur Budzinski, 61, said Murphy began abusing him in the early 1960s when, at the age of 12, he asked Murphy to hear his confession. Instead, Budzinski said, the priest took him into a closet under the stairs and sexually assaulted him. There were two other assaults in Murphy’s bedroom and Budzinski’s bed in his dormitory room, he said.

    “It seemed like my father would be walking into a trap every time,” said Gigi Budzinski, his 26-year-old daughter who interpreted his sign language.

    Church and Vatican documents showed that in the mid-1990s, two Wisconsin bishops urged the Vatican office led by Ratzinger to let them hold a church trial against Murphy.

    However, Ratzinger’s deputy at the time decided the alleged molestation occurred too long ago and said Murphy – then ailing and elderly – should instead repent and be restricted from celebrating Mass outside of his diocese, according to the documents.

    Murphy’s alleged victims also included at least one teen in a juvenile detention center in the 1970s.

    Donald Marshall, now 45, said Murphy visited him several times a week at the center, where he was sent at age 13 for burglary. Marshall said the abused happened when the priest visited the boy while he was isolated in a cell after a fight.

    “He was sitting on my bed, reading the Bible to me, and he put his hand on my knee,” Marshall said. “He leaned over and started kissing me. That’s when he tried to put his hand down my pants.”

    The Associated Press does not normally identify victims of sex crimes, but Budzinski, Geier and Marshall allowed their names to be used.

    One of the documents, written by the Rev. Thomas Brundage of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and dated October 1997, said some of Murphy’s assaults began in the confessional, where he began by asking the boys about their being circumcised. Brundage said at least 100 boys were involved.

    “Odds are that this situation may very well be the most horrendous, number-wise, and especially because these are physically challenged, vulnerable people,” Brundage wrote.

    The archdiocese entered mediation in 2004 with a number of people who claimed to have been victimized by priests. The archdiocese has paid compensation to Murphy’s victims, but spokeswoman Julie Wolf would not say how much. Through mid-2009, the archdiocese said, it paid out $28 million to settle allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

    Budzinski said that when he was 26, he and two others victimized by Murphy went to police. E. Michael McCann, then the Milwaukee County district attorney, said his office couldn’t file charges because the six-year statute of limitations had run out.

    The Vatican issued a strong defense of its handling of the case. The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said there was no cover-up and denounced what it said was a “clear and despicable intention” to strike at Benedict “at any cost.”

    The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement noting that the Murphy case did not reach the Vatican until 1996 – some 20 years after Milwaukee church authorities first learned of the allegations. Lombardi said the absence of more recent allegations was a factor in the decision not to defrock Murphy.

  7. newsdeskinternational

    Deposition: Levada defends decision on Ore. priest

    In a newly released court deposition, a top Vatican official who is a former Portland archbishop defends not telling Oregon parishioners about the sex abuse allegations against a priest he restored to duty.

    The deposition also shows that the official, Cardinal William Levada, insisted he had given complete information to the pastor of the parish about the history of Father Joseph Baccellieri. Documents provided by the archdiocese show his position was parochial vicar, an administrative, not pastoral post.

    The archdiocese says there were limits on his ministry that no other abuse allegations against him arose. However, there was nothing in records e-mailed by the archdiocese to The Associated Press on Friday showing there was any explicit prohibition on contact between Baccellieri and parishioners. The documents also show that over the years Baccellieri had also been named pastor and co-pastor, before retiring in 2002.

    Levada was archbishop of the Portland Archdiocese from 1986-95. He now is head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and has become a central figure in defending the Vatican in its handling of abusive priests.

    In 2006, Levada gave a deposition as dozens of Oregon sex abuse lawsuits were pending against the church.

    In a transcript of his testimony released Friday by one of attorneys in those cases, Levada said Baccellieri had gone through therapy and the recommendation was that “he was not at risk for reabusing and that it would be prudent to reassign him.”

    Jeffrey Lena, a California-based attorney for Levada, deferred immediate comment and told The Associated Press he would try to send a statement about the release of the deposition on Friday but it did not arrive. Lena was traveling over the holiday weekend and had limited cell phone reception.

    There was no answer Saturday at Levada’s Vatican office; most Vatican offices were closed for Easter.

    Some Baccellieri case details had been released earlier but this is the first word of Levada’s testimony on it.

    Levada said in the deposition he did not think parishioners needed to be told about the priest’s history.

    “It might give people the implication that if they are being told this, that I am suspecting that he – he may be at risk – he may be a risk to their children,” Levada said during questioning by Kelly Clark, one of the attorneys for dozens of men who alleged they were abused by Oregon priests.

    The deposition was released by Erin Olson, another attorney who represented abuse victims in the Oregon lawsuit and who was instrumental in getting the testimony from Levada. Olson said parts of the deposition were redacted that made reference to three individuals involved in pending litigation.

    Olson said she decided to release it because she was angry over Levada’s defense of the way the Vatican handled a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting as many as 200 deaf boys.

    Levada posted a statement on the Vatican Web site saying that Pope Benedict XVI should not be held responsible for a church decision in the 1990s not to defrock the Wisconsin priest.

    Levada left Portland to become archbishop in San Francisco in 1995. He took over as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger after Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005.

    The Wisconsin case had been referred to the Vatican’s doctrinal office when Ratzinger was in charge of it.

    As archbishop in Portland, Levada removed Baccellieri in 1992 after complaints involving teenage boys but allowed him to return on a limited basis under close supervision in 1994.

    Levada also set conditions for Baccellieri, including continuous counseling and therapy, regular reporting by his therapist to the Archdiocese of Portland, close monitoring, limitations on ministry activities and residence outside a parish setting or under the supervision of other priests.

    In the deposition, Levada told attorneys, “If I thought Father Baccellieri would be a risk to any child, I would never have reassigned him.”

    But Clark was critical of Levada during the deposition.

    “Wouldn’t you have some sort of a pastoral moral requirement to let individual parishioners make that determination for themselves?” Clark asked.

    “I think it was prudent to act the way I did,” Levada replied. “I stand on that – on that judgment I made.”

    In a 2004 press release, the archdiocese noted there were no further complaints about Baccellieri before his retirement.

    Olson and Clark were among the lead attorneys in a 2007 settlement of Oregon sex abuse lawsuits for more than $50 million. The Portland Archdiocese became the first Roman Catholic diocese in the nation to declare bankruptcy on the eve of trial for the first of those lawsuits in July 2004.

  8. newsdeskinternational

    Priest accused of US abuse still working in India

    Vatican officials warned church officials in India to monitor a Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Minnesota, but four years later he continues to work in his home diocese.

    In a 2006 letter to the bishop of the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, Archbishop Angelo Amato wrote that the Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul would be watched in his home diocese “so that he does not constitute a risk to minors and does not create scandal.”

    Amato was secretary to Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles all abuse cases.

    The letter is among evidence gathered by Jeff Anderson, the attorney for Jeyapaul’s accuser.

    Jeyapaul denies the charges and has no plans to return to the U.S. to face the courts. His current bishop says Jeyapaul has a paperwork job in his office and does not work with children.

  9. newsdeskinternational

    Priest accused of US abuse won’t fight extradition

    A Roman Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a teenage parishioner in Minnesota said Tuesday he would willingly leave his native India and try to clear his name in the courts if the United States tried to extradite him.

  10. newsdeskinternational

    Minn. attorney: Extraditing priest may take years

    Extraditing a Roman Catholic priest from his native India to face charges of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Minnesota could take several years, the prosecutor in the case said Thursday.

    Roseau County Attorney Lisa Hanson said federal officials told her the extradition of Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul could last four or five years if he’s uncooperative. A formal extradition request was filed with the Department of Justice last fall, she said.

    “I’m told the process is very slow and convoluted,” Hanson said. “If he decides to fight it, we could be looking at a very long process.”

    A Justice Department spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on extradition proceedings.

    Jeyapaul was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in January 2007. Authorities believe he assaulted a 14-year-old female parishioner in the rectory of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Greenbush, a small town near the Canadian border where he was assigned.

    Jeyapaul, 55, has denied the charges and said he was willing to return and face them. The charges were filed more than a year after he returned to India.

    Hanson said she is committed to seeing Jeyapaul face the U.S. courts even if it takes years. But she said if Jeyapaul truly wants to face the charges, he and his superiors have the power to expedite it.

    “We would appreciate any cooperation from the Catholic church in getting him to come back,” Hanson said.

    Jeyapaul came to Minnesota in 2004, and was assigned to the church in Greenbush, about 340 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

    He returned to India to visit his ailing mother in late 2005. While there, allegations surfaced in Minnesota of an inappropriate relationship he allegedly had with a 16-year-old girl. Jeyapaul was accused of gaining her trust by encouraging her interest in becoming a nun.

    Bishop Victor Balke of the Diocese of Crookston told Jeyapaul not to come back or he would go to the police, according to an e-mail sent by Balke and provided by a victim’s attorney. Jeyapaul was later charged with sexually assaulting the 14-year-old girl.

    Balke raised concerns with several top Vatican officials about Jeyapaul’s continued service to the church. The Vatican said officials thought Jeyapaul should be removed from the priesthood but church law left the decision to his local bishop in India. The Most Rev. A. Almaraj, the bishop of the Diocese of Ootacamund, held a canonical trial and sentenced Jeyapaul to a year in a monastery.

    Almaraj said he could not take strong action unless Jeyapaul’s guilt was proved. Jeyapaul now works in the diocese’s office handling paperwork for schools.

  11. newsdeskinternational

    Letter: Canadian church knew of abuse allegation

    A letter written by a late Catholic bishop shows church officials in Canada knew of sexual abuse allegations against a priest who later became a top Vatican official.

    Bishop Joseph Windle of Pembroke, Ontario, sent the letter to the pope’s envoy to Canada in 1993.

    The letter is about Monsignor Bernard Prince, a friend of the late Pope John Paul II who served as the secretary general for the Vatican’s Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1991 until his 2004 retirement.

    Windle writes that he discussed the allegations with his archbishop before Prince’s Vatican promotion. The letter discusses the importance of keeping the matter secret.

    Prince was convicted in 2008 of molesting 13 boys in Canada between 1964 and 1984. He was defrocked and is in jail.

  12. newsdeskinternational

    Worries about Calif. priest came early in career

    Even in his seminary days in the early 1970s, there were questions about California priest Stephen Kiesle: Colleagues said he had trouble relating to adults, lacked spirituality and didn’t seem committed to anything but youth ministry.

    Those colleagues, who helped make the case to the Vatican in 1981 seeking to let him leave the priesthood, said they were concerned before Kiesle was ordained, and more so after revelations Kiesle had molested children in his parish.

    Still, future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas from the diocese to act on the case, according to a 1985 letter in Latin obtained by The Associated Press that bore his signature as then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. It would take another two years before the Vatican doctrine watchdog office headed by Ratzinger would approve Kiesle’s own request to leave the priesthood in 1987. Vatican attorney Jeffrey Lena said the matter proceeded “expeditiously, not by modern standards, but by those standards at the time.”

    Kiesle pleaded no contest in 1978 to lewd conduct for tying up and molesting two boys and was sentenced to three years probation. He took a leave of absence from his parish position, and in 1981 returned and asked the Oakland bishop to be laicized, or removed from the priesthood.

    In building a case to laicize Kiesle, the Rev. George Mockel of the Oakland Diocese asked priests who had worked with Kiesle to share their opinions of his time in seminary and work in the priesthood after being ordained in 1972.
    One colleague was the Rev. Louis Dabovich, of the Church of the Good Shepherd, where Kiesle served as a deacon in the early 1970s.

    Dabovich said he was somewhat concerned about Kiesle’s relationship with the youths, but never heard complaints. Only years after Kiesle left the parish did Dabovich say he learned of “some improprieties.” Dabovich also said he had spoken with then-Oakland bishop Floyd Begin about concerns he had regarding Kiesle, including the books he was reading and his general lack of maturity and spirituality.

    Another colleague, the Rev. George Crespin, the diocese chancellor, worked with Kiesle at Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Union City. He described Kiesle as talented, creative and bright, but also disorganized, unmotivated and highly undisciplined. Crespin wondered why Kiesle joined the priesthood.

    California church officials wrote to Ratzinger at least three times to check on the status of Kiesle’s case and Cummins discussed the case with officials during a Vatican visit, according to correspondence obtained by AP. At one point, a Vatican official wrote to say the file may have been lost and suggested resubmitting materials.

    As Kiesle’s fate was being weighed in Rome, the priest returned to suburban Pinole to volunteer as a youth minister at St. Joseph Church. He was eventually defrocked in 1987.

    Kiesle, who married after leaving the priesthood, was arrested and charged in 2002 with 13 counts of child molestation from the 1970s. All but two were thrown out after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law extending the statute of limitations. He pleaded no contest in 2004 to a felony for molesting a young girl in his Truckee home in 1995 and was sentenced to six years in state prison.

    Now 63 and a registered sex offender, Kiesle lives in a Walnut Creek gated community, according to his address listed on the Megan’s Law sex registry. An AP reporter was turned away when attempting to reach him. William Gagen, an attorney who represented Kiesle in 2002, has not returned repeated calls seeking comment. More than a half-dozen victims reached a settlement in 2005 with the Oakland diocese alleging Kiesle had molested them as young children.

    Only the Vatican can approve removing someone from the priesthood, whether it is requested by the priest or his superiors. At the time of Kiesle’s petition, a variety of Vatican offices handled them. In 2001, Ratzinger required all cases involving abuse claims to go through his office, streamlining the process.

    In the November 1985 letter, Ratzinger says the arguments for removing Kiesle were of “grave significance” but such actions required very careful review and more time. Lena, the Vatican attorney, said Ratzinger’s instruction to offer Kiesle “paternal care” was a way of telling the bishop he was responsible for keeping Kiesle out of trouble. Lena said Kiesle was not accused of any child abuse in the 5 1/2 years it took for the Vatican to act on the laicization.

    A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said the letter showed no attempt at a cover-up.

    A woman who has alleged in a lawsuit that Kiesle sexually abused her as a child reacted angrily on Saturday to the Ratzinger letter. She said it seemed the Vatican was more concerned with scandal than protecting children.

    The woman identified herself by her first name only, Anne, during a news conference in San Diego with her attorney. The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of alleged sexual abuse, however, Anne has chosen to speak publicly about her experience.

  13. newsdeskinternational

    Retired priest suspended on ‘vague allegations’

    The Diocese of Superior in Wisconsin has suspended a retired Catholic priest from church activities while police investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.

    Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank says an attorney for the diocese in Wisconsin contacted him with “vague allegations” and he reported the matter to Superior police.

    Police Capt. Chad La Lor said Wednesday that detectives are investigating allegations made against the priest of “inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature” involving a 19-year-old. Diocese spokesman Richard Lyons says the alleged victim was a young man.

    The suspension comes amid a worsening global clergy abuse scandal focused on how Pope Benedict XVI has dealt with problem priests in his past church roles.

  14. newsdeskinternational

    New bishop once blamed devil for abuse lawsuits

    A Chicago bishop who once blamed the devil for sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church and proposed shielding the church from legal damages has been named to lead an Illinois diocese.

    Thomas Paprocki, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Chicago, was announced Tuesday as the church’s ninth bishop of Springfield.

    The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said it was disappointed with Paprocki’s promotion.

    “It says to us that the Vatican is more interested in doctrinal purity than child safety – or at least that child safety isn’t the No. 1 priority,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s executive director.

    Paprocki, 57, said three years ago that the principal force behind the waves of abuse lawsuits was “none other than the devil.”

    He said the cost of litigation was making it more difficult for the church to perform charitable works. An attorney himself, Paprocki proposed that the courts revive an old policy of shielding nonprofit organizations from lawsuits over negligence and abuse.

    “The settlement or award of civil damages is punishing the wrong people, namely the average parishioner or donor whose financial contributions support the church but who have no role in the supervision of clergy,” Paprocki said in October 2007 during a special Mass for judges and attorneys.

    Paprocki didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon. A message seeking comment also was left Tuesday afternoon with the papal nuncio’s office in Washington.

    In a news conference earlier in the day, Paprocki said the church must address sexual abuse to help restore trust. “I know what a painful and what a troubling issue that this sin and this crime is that confronts us in the church,” he said, according to The (Springfield) State Journal-Register.

    Paprocki was ordained in 1978. He co-founded the South Chicago Legal Clinic to offer legal services to the poor and later became a top aide in the Chicago archdiocese.

    He succeeds Archbishop George Lucas, who was named to lead the Omaha archdiocese last June.

  15. newsdeskinternational

    Vatican official left abusive priest in pastor job

    The pope’s hand-picked replacement to oversee abuse cases at the Vatican did nothing to restrict a California priest after learning in 1995 that the priest had molested a 13-year-old boy a decade earlier.

  16. newsdeskinternational

    Settlement in 26 Vermont priest sex abuse cases

    Dozens of former altar boys who sued Vermont’s Catholic church over allegations of sexual abuse by priests 30 years ago will share in a nearly $18 million settlement of their cases.

    The attorney for the 26 plaintiffs and the bishop of the statewide Diocese of Burlington said Thursday they were pleased by the settlement, but both acknowledged that the cases had been difficult for the victims.

    “Our clients are very happy to have the opportunity to close this chapter in their lives,” said plaintiff attorney Jerome O’Neill. “All of them know that nothing goes away, nothing changes the pain. They will live with this the rest of their lives, but at least now they can put this piece behind them and move forward.”

    An arbitrator will divide the settlement among the plaintiffs, depending on the nature of their injuries, their recoveries and other factors, O’Neill said. Payments are expected by the end of June, he said.

    Bishop Salvatore Matano asked for prayers to help the victims heal from the abuse.

    “This has been a very painful process for the victims and for all the members of our diocesan family,” Matano said. “I once again apologize most sincerely for the pain the victims have suffered. I ask that you join me in praying always for these wounded and hurt brothers and sisters.”

    The lawsuits accused the diocese of negligent hiring, and many of the cases centered on the defrocked Rev. Edward Paquette, who was the target of allegations before he transferred to Vermont in the mid-1970s. Paquette had worked in parishes in Rutland and Montpelier and in Christ the King Church in Burlington, and he was accused of molesting dozens of altar boys.

    The diocese didn’t dispute that the molestations occurred. The 80-year-old priest recently told the Burlington Free Press newspaper he was sorry for his actions and prays daily for the families of the people he harmed.

    The head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, called the settlement purely a business deal by the diocese.

    “Anyone who assumes this somehow suggests reform in the diocese is naive,” David Clohessy said. “The credit for this settlement lies squarely with the brave victims who had the strength to come forward, the wisdom to seek justice in the courts and determination to persist despite years of expensive, futile and self-serving legal maneuvers by Vermont’s bishop.”

    Last month, a judge set a Sept. 20 trial date for the cases unless they could be settled out of court.

    Besides the 26 pending cases that were settled for $17.65 million, the two sides agreed to settle three cases that had already been decided in court with multimillion-dollar awards and were on appeal, bringing the total the diocese has paid to more than $20 million, O’Neill said. The diocese said the settlements were much more modest than the jury awards but would remain confidential.

    O’Neill said he would have preferred to have gone to trial but did what is best for his clients. He surmised the diocese decided to settle following three multimillion-dollar verdicts.

    “Three multimillion-dollar verdicts later they finally realized they were not going to get Vermont juries to just dismiss these people with small amounts of money or find for the diocese,” O’Neill said.

    In a statement posted on the website of the 118,000-member diocese, Matano said that to make the payment the church would sell its Burlington headquarters, which includes prime, undeveloped Lake Champlain waterfront property, and a lakeside summer camp on Malletts Bay in Colchester.


  17. newsdeskinternational

    Vatican details US sex abuse defense

    The Vatican on Monday will make its most detailed argument yet for why it is not liable for bishops who allowed priests to molest children in the U.S., in a motion that could affect other efforts to sue the Holy See in American courts, The Associated Press has learned.

    Click here to read the story:

  18. newsdeskinternational

    Victims decry church payments to molester priest

    A defrocked California priest who admitted molesting more than 25 children is due to begin receiving monthly payments from an annuity purchased by the Stockton Diocese when he turns 65 on Saturday.

  19. newsdeskinternational

    Cardinal denies corruption allegations

    A cardinal under investigation in a sprawling corruption scandal denied wrongdoing and insisted Monday he acted for the good of the church while handling real estate transactions for the Vatican office that funds missionary work abroad.

  20. newsdeskinternational

    Police raided the home and office of the recently retired archbishop of Belgium on Thursday, carrying off documents and a personal computer as part of an investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests, officials said.

    Read more:

  21. newsdeskinternational

    Court lets Vatican-sex abuse lawsuit move forward

    The Supreme Court won’t stop a lawsuit that accuses the Vatican of conspiring with U.S. church officials to transfer a priest from city to city despite repeated accusations that the clergyman sexually abused young people.

  22. newsdeskinternational

    Police: Conn. priest stole $1M for male escorts

    A Roman Catholic priest in Connecticut was charged Tuesday with stealing $1.3 million in church money over seven years to use for male escorts, expensive clothing and luxury hotels and restaurants.

  23. newsdeskinternational

    Vatican revises its rules on clerical sex abuse

    Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, right, and Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s sex crimes prosecutor, talk to the media during a briefing to present a new set of norms The Vatican issued to respond to the worldwide clerical abuse scandal, cracking down on priests who rape and molest minors and the mentally disabled, at the Vatican, Thursday, July 15, 2010. The norms extend from 10 to 20 years the statute of limitations on priestly abuse and also codify for the first time that possessing or distributing child pornography is a canonical crime. But the document made no mention of the need for bishops to report abuse to police and doesn’t include any “one-strike and you’re out” policy as demanded by some victims’ groups.

  24. newsdeskinternational

    German bishop resigns over handling of abuse case

    The bishop of Hamburg – the world’s first female Lutheran bishop – has resigned amid criticism of her handling of a sex abuse case.

  25. newsdeskinternational

    Mo. Special Olympics ousts ex-priest over abuse

    A former Roman Catholic priest who was part of a $5 million sex abuse settlement in Wisconsin two decades ago was suspended from a volunteer position with Special Olympics Missouri and has admitted some of the abuse.

  26. newsdeskinternational

    Wis. justices uphold ex-Jesuit priest’s conviction

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the sexual abuse conviction of a once-prominent Jesuit priest who insisted he was unfairly prosecuted for acts dating to the 1960s.

  27. newsdeskinternational

    Pa. diocese sued after abuse accuser’s suicide

    The estate of an alleged clery abuse victim who committed suicide is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh because it stopped paying for his mental health treatments.

  28. newsdeskinternational

    Plaintiffs give up sex abuse case against Vatican

    Three men who sued the Vatican over sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Kentucky have asked a court to dismiss their case.

    Plaintiff’s attorney William McMurry told The Associated Press the case is ending because of an earlier ruling that the Vatican is a foreign nation and can’t be held liable for policies the suit contended shielded abusive priests. He said most U.S. victims have reached settlements with a diocese and can’t go after the Vatican now.

    McMurry said a months-long search for victims who haven’t settled and could pursue the lawsuit failed to find any willing to come forward.

    The dismissal motion was filed Monday in federal court in Louisville.

    Vatican lawyer Jeffrey Lena says the case showed “absolutely no evidence of Holy See involvement in the abuses.”

  29. newsdeskinternational

    Vatican rejects resignations of 2 Dublin bishops

    Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has told priests that the Vatican has rejected the resignations of his two auxiliary bishops following their reported involvement in the Roman Catholic Church’s cover-up of child abuse.

    Read more:

  30. newsdeskinternational

    US Catholic Church tarred with new child sex abuse scandal

    The Roman Catholic Church in the United States has become embroiled in a new pedophilia scandal with six women and one man alleging sexual abuse by a priest over three decades.

  31. newsdeskinternational
  32. newsdeskinternational

    Does the madness ever end?

    ALLENTOWN, PA.: Priest accused of impregnating teenager

    A Pennsylvania couple secretly videotaped a Roman Catholic priest having sex with their 18-year-old daughter in the basement of their home and are now suing, saying he got her pregnant.

    Read more:

  33. newsdeskinternational

    Pa. priest won’t face charges over videotaped sex

    A Roman Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania has begun the process to defrock a priest whose dalliances with a teenage girl were videotaped by her parents. She later gave birth to a daughter.

    But Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams says his office won’t press charges against the Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito because the relationship started when the girl was 18.

    A spokesman says the Diocese of Allentown began putting paperwork together over the weekend for the process known as removal from the clerical state — popularly known as defrocking. The diocesan spokesman, Matt Kerr, says the final decision is up to the Vatican.

    Last week, the girl’s parents filed a lawsuit saying Bonilla carried on a sexual relationship with the girl while he was the chaplain of Reading Central Catholic High School and she was a senior there.

  34. newsdeskinternational

    Ore. abuse case lawyers want to question

    Lawyers for a man who wants to hold the Vatican accountable for the priest who molested him in the 1960s want to question top cardinals.

    The lawyers filed papers Wednesday in Oregon outlining requests for depositions from Cardinal William Levada and others. Levada heads the office that defrocks pedophile priests.

    The man known in court documents as John V. Doe filed suit eight years ago. No trial date is set.

    Recent legal arguments have focused on whether the Vatican is actually the employer of priests. A ruling that they are could allow the suit to go ahead.

    The Vatican’s lawyers argue it is not responsible for individual priests.

    In August, three men dropped a Kentucky suit that tried to link the Vatican to the abuse scandal.

  35. newsdeskinternational

    Belgium church abuse detailed by Adriaenssens report

    Harrowing details of some 300 cases of alleged sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in Belgium have been released by a Church investigator.

  36. newsdeskinternational

    And it’s not just the Catholics:

    Baptist bishop named in sex suits

    A prominent Baptist bishop in the Atlanta area used his stature to pressure young men into having sex, two lawsuits filed late Tuesday allege.

    The suits were filed in DeKalb County by two former congregation members against Bishop Eddie Long of the 10,000-seat New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, WGA-TV, Atlanta, reported.

    “Long utilized his spiritual authority to coerce certain young male members and employees of defendant New Birth into engaging in sexual acts and relationships,” Maurice Robinson and Anthony Flagg, both in their early 20s, allege in their lawsuits.

    The TV station said the suits claim other members of the megachurch probably didn’t know what was going on but that church money was used to foster the relationships.

    In his suit, Robinson claims Long used “monetary funds from the accounts of defendant New Birth to entice the [young men] with cars, clothes, jewelry, and electronics.”

    Robinson says the bishop would use “the Holy Scripture to discuss and justify the intimate relationship.”

    WAGA said Long had not responded after a copy of the lawsuits were faxed to him.

  37. newsdeskinternational

    4th man sues Ga. megachurch pastor

    A fourth young male member of Bishop Eddie Long’s megachurch is suing the prominent pastor, claiming Long coerced him into a sexual relationship.

  38. newsdeskinternational

    Italian priest abuse victims hold first public meeting

    Victims of child abuse by Catholic priests in Italy have gathered in Verona, and called for such abuse to be made a crime against humanity.

  39. newsdeskinternational

    Ga. megachurch pastors congregation standing by him despite claims of sexual relationships

    Many followers of embattled Baptist megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long remained unwavering in their support as their pastor vowed to fight like David versus Goliath against claims he lured four young men into sex.

  40. newsdeskinternational

    Brand pastor built fosters fierce member loyalty

    A billboard near an Atlanta highway reads, “Love Like Him, Live Like Him, Lead Like Him.” The motto refers to Jesus Christ, but the smiling face next to it is that of Bishop Eddie Long.

  41. newsdeskinternational

    Pastor says he won’t be pulled into ‘street fight’

    A megachurch pastor accused of luring four young men into sexual relationships said Sunday that he won’t be pulled into a street fight over the allegations and vowed that his faith has been strengthened.

  42. newsdeskinternational

    Judge overturns contempt order against diocese

    A federal judge has reversed a contempt of court order against the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, a rare victory for the diocese in the long-running legal action involving past sexual abuse by priests.

  43. newsdeskinternational

    Unsealed Calif. church docs show abuse allegations

    Attorneys for nearly 150 people who claim sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests made nearly 10,000 pages of previously sealed internal church documents public Sunday, revealing at least one previously unknown decades-old case in which a priest under police investigation was allowed to leave the U.S. after the Diocese of San Diego intervened.

  44. newsdeskinternational

    Accused preacher often used sexual imagery

    Atlanta megachurch pastor Eddie Long, now facing sex charges from four young men, once preached, “The job of the preacher is to bring fresh sperm.”

  45. newsdeskinternational

    Top Catholic educator concealed abuse knowledge

    Kevin Price was struggling with memories of the sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a high school teacher, so he reached out to the religious order that runs the Catholic school he attended.


  46. newsdeskinternational

    In Plea for Leniency, Child Sex Abuser Says Relationship With Priest is Linked to His Pedophilia

    Fox News

  47. newsdeskinternational

    No bail for Irish priest accused of sex abuse

    A federal judge has denied bail to a priest who is fighting extradition to his native Ireland where he’s wanted on sex abuse charges.

    Fox News

  48. Janet

    Attorney in sex-abuse cases releases list of accused priests

    A Boston-area attorney for hundreds of clients who say they were abused by priests released on Wednesday a list of what he says are 117 members of the clergy or religious orders accused of abusing minors

  49. newsdeskinternational

    Bishops told not to follow law

    The Vatican warned Irish bishops not to follow new child protection guidelines that put the interests of victims ahead of priests, a letter appears to indicate.


  50. Janet

    Del. diocese settles with abuse claimants for $77M

    Lawyers say that 146 people who allege they were sexually abused by Diocese of Wilmington priests have settled a lawsuit that would provide them with money from a $77 million trust fund.

    Fox News

  51. Janet

    Another sex scandal hits Catholic Church

    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles says it will remove from ministry a priest accused of having a long-term sexual relationship with a teenage girl.


  52. Janet

    Abusive priests live unmonitored

    Carl Sutphin was a problem priest who left ministry in the Roman Catholic church just before being charged nearly a decade ago with 14 counts of molestation for sexually abusing six children.


  53. Janet

    Parents sue Miami archdiocese over abuse

    A Florida couple says the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami failed to investigate complaints about a music teacher who later molested their son.


  54. Janet

    Trial can go forward in US church abuse case

    The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Philadelphia faces the prospect of an unprecedented criminal trial over its handling of the priest-abuse scandal after a judge on Friday upheld child-endangerment charges against a high-ranking church official.

  55. Janet

    Priest charged in child sex case ordered to trial

    A Southern California priest has been ordered to stand trial on felony charges he had sex with a 12-year-old boy.


  56. Janet

    Priest admits sex with cousin, steps down

    A popular California priest, with a pulpit extended by technology, says he will step down in light of public disclosure of his affair with a cousin.


  57. Janet

    Abuse Claims against U.S. Priests Rise in 2010

  58. Janet

    New lawsuit accuses Philadelphia church of sexual abuse

    Attorneys on Monday filed a civil lawsuit against the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, already rocked by a pedophilia scandal, saying it tried to cover up sex crimes by a priest that caused his victim to attempt suicide.

  59. Janet

    Lawsuit claims Vatican covered up child sex abuse

    A lawsuit has been filed against the Vatican on behalf of the mother of a victim of sexual abuse by an imprisoned Chicago priest.

  60. Janet

    Belgian church to pay victims for abuse

    The Belgian church says it is willing to pay compensation to victims of sexual abuse by clergy to help those abused restore their dignity.

  61. Janet

    Irish Summon Vatican Diplomat Over Abuse Cover-Up

    Ireland’s government has summoned the Vatican’s ambassador after an expert report found that Rome secretly discouraged Irish bishops from reporting pedophile priests to police.

  62. Janet

    Pa. man: ‘Callous’ church let 3 pedophiles rape me

    A Philadelphia man at the heart of an unprecedented criminal case against the Philadelphia archdiocese says the church let two priests and a teacher rape him.

  63. Janet

    N.Y. priest, 87, arrested on sex charges

    An 87-year-old New York priest was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage girl who had just begun working in his church, authorities said.

  64. Janet

    Attorney: Documents show Vatican controls priests

    An attorney for a man who claims he was sexually abused by an Oregon priest in the mid-1960s said Monday that newly released Vatican documents show the Holy See exercises firm control over the placement and removal of offending priests, a claim that a lawyer for the church quickly disputed.

  65. Janet

    Boston list of abusive priests incomplete?

    Critics say a list of Catholic priests involved in sexual abuse allegations released by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston has some gaping holes.

  66. Janet

    Vatican rejects Irish criticism over sex abuse

    The Vatican on Saturday vigorously rejected claims it sabotaged efforts by Irish bishops to report priests who sexually abused children to police and accused the Irish prime minister of making an “unfounded” attack against the Holy See.


  67. Janet

    Lawsuit claims Missouri priest fathered parishioner’s child

    Already under fire as a number of priests face accusations of sexual improprieties with children, the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph now confronts allegations one of its priests fathered a child.


  68. Janet

    Kansas City Bishop Is First to Be Charged Criminally With Sheltering Abusive Clergyman

    Kansas City’s Catholic bishop was charged Friday with not telling police about child pornography found on a priest’s computer, making him the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official indicted on a charge of failing to protect children.

    Fox News

  69. Janet

    Catholic bishop orders South West child protection review

    The Roman Catholic Church has ordered a widespread review into its safeguarding children procedures in the South West.


  70. Janet

    Report slams Dutch Catholic Church over sex abuse

    As many as 20,000 children endured sexual abuse at Dutch Catholic institutions over the past 65 years, and church officials failed to adequately address it or help the victims, according to a long-awaited investigative report released Friday.


  71. Janet

    550 abuse claims filed against Wisconsin archdiocese

    About 550 people have filed claims for restitution for alleged sexual abuse by clergy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee — the most of the eight dioceses in the U.S. that have sought bankruptcy protection, a lawyer in the Milwaukee case said Wednesday.

    Fox News

  72. Janet

    Eight new civil suits allege more Philadelphia priest abuse

    Eight more priest-abuse lawsuits were filed Tuesday against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its priests, including a jailed Roman Catholic monsignor who now says he was convicted following a sham abuse plea by a co-defendant former priest.

    Fox News

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