Tag Archives: Roman Catholic Pedophiles

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League shoves his foot down his throat over the movie Spotlight

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League shoves his foot down his pig throat over the movie Spotlight

Yuppers, got to hand it to Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League and Defender of the Degnerates of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophile Pimps, Priests, Nuns and the Parishioners who bow down and suck their dicks in unholy love.

1. First posting on Spotlight from Posting on the Catholic League blog, titled

“SPOTLIGHT” EXAMINES ABUSE SCANDAL which then contains a link to a pdf file written by Donohue at the following link: SHINING THE LIGHT ON “SPOTLIGHT” Bill Donohue. Now Bilbo Dildo makes the following statement:

“In the Catholic League‘s 2002 Annual Report, I even defended the media. “The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the New York Times covered the story with professionalism,” I wrote”

2. But Bill attacks the Boston Globe in a new posting BOSTON GLOBE REEKS OF BIAS on his Catholic League blog as follows:

“On the front page of the Metro Section in today’s Boston Globe, there is a story about the movie “Spotlight” that smacks of bias and gullibility; the former is driving the latter.”

He goes on to spew his typical bullshit defense of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophiles, as usual:

“Lisa Wangsness relies on Terence McKiernan of Bishop Accountability for her data. She writes that he told her that “the bishops could have agreed to make lists of abusive priests available nationwide.” Referring to him again, she writes that “More than 2,400 abusive priests nationwide have never been named.”

First, McKiernan is known for making up figures on the fly. A few years ago, after he told a sympathetic audience he was going to “stick it” to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, he accused him of “keeping the lid on 55 priests.” That is a lie. Several times I have personally challenged him to name the names and every time he runs.

Second, the term “abusive priests” is meaningless. Were they simply accused or was there a credible accusation made against them? Were the accusations substantiated or unsubstantiated? Was there a finding of guilt? Wangsness never tells us because it obviously doesn’t matter to her.

Third, what institution, including the Boston Globe, publishes the names of employees who have had an accusation made against them?

Fourth, how does McKiernan know there are 2,400 priests who have never been named? Did she ask him for verification?

Fifth, the figures for the Boston Archdiocese undercut the point that she and McKiernan are making. Indeed, there are more unsubstantiated accusations than there are findings of guilt.

Then Bill spews even more well worn bullshit from his well worn defense of his cult of pedophiles by of course, being a hypocrite. From his Catholic League posting LOUSY JOURNALISM ON “SPOTLIGHT”

3. “Bill Donohue comments on the way journalists are handling “Spotlight”:

“Spotlight,” which opens today, is being heralded as an example of solid journalism, the kind of movie that should be shown in college journalism classes. Ironically, many journalists who are touting the movie are proving just how lousy they are at their craft.

Journalists for the following media outlets got their facts wrong:

New York Post; The Daily Commercial; Associated Press; Wall Street Journal; Boston Globe; National Catholic Reporter; Vanity Fair; Los Angeles Daily News; Christianity Today; RogerEbert.com; New Yorker; New York; Observer; Chicago Reader; timesofmalta.com; The Verge; baretnewswire.org; SLANT; Paste;avclub.com; filmcomment.

Whether through laziness or ignorance, all of these sources misrepresented the facts by saying the problem was pedophilia. As the John Jay College of Criminal Justice researchers pointed out, less than 5 percent of the molesting priests were pedophiles. They found that 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent of them were postpubescent. That means the abusers were homosexuals.

Not to admit this is an expression of journalistic malfeasance, the kind that ought to be discussed in the classroom.”

So here is Bill, trashing the Boston Globe and others, he formerly defended as these news organizations for their professionalism in their reporting on the story, and now here he is trashing them for the same damn thing.

Of course, he then spews his typical bullshit about this being a homosexual and not a pedophile problem, using the John Jay College of Criminal Justice research, but totally ignores what the researchers said to his sorry ass way back in 2010:

“Whether through laziness or ignorance, all of these sources misrepresented the facts by saying the problem was pedophilia. As the John Jay College of Criminal Justice researchers pointed out, less than 5 percent of the molesting priests were pedophiles. They found that 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent of them were postpubescent. That means the abusers were homosexuals.”

But in an interview with Media Matters, Margaret Smith — a John Jay College criminologist who worked on the 2004 study — said that while Donohue “quoted the study’s data correctly,” he “drew an unwarranted conclusion” in asserting that most of the abusers were gay.

Explaining that it is an oversimplification to assume to that priests who abuse male victims are gay, Smith said: “The majority of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature. That participation in homosexual acts is not the same as sexual identity as a gay man.”

As an example, Smith pointed to the case of Marcial Maciel Degollado, a prominent Mexican priest who allegedly abused male children and also allegedly carried on affairs with multiple women. Smith noted that while Maciel allegedly abused boys, most people would not think of him as a gay man.

“What we are suggesting is that the idea of sexual identity be separated from the problem of sexual abuse,” said Margaret Smith, a researcher from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, which is conducting an independent study of sexual abuse in the priesthood from 1950 up to 2002. “At this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and an increased likelihood of sexual abuse.”

Seems Bill Pig Face Donohue of the Catholic League will use the John Jay report to make his false assertions that this is a homosexual and not a pedophile problem, but ignore what the very researcher and other researchers on this problem of child rape, pedophiles and other sex crimes against children, said to him.

SHINING THE LIGHT ON “SPOTLIGHT” Bill Donohue

The movie “Spotlight” is bound to spark more conversation about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, much of what the American public knows about this issue is derived from the popular culture, something this film will only abet. Therefore, the time is ripe to revisit what the actual data on this subject reveal.

When the Boston Globe sent the nation reeling in 2002 with revelations of priestly sexual abuse, and the attendant cover-up, Catholics were outraged by the level of betrayal. This certainly included the Catholic League. The scandal cannot be denied. What is being denied, however, is the existence of another scandal—the relentless effort to keep the abuse crisis alive, and the deliberate refusal to come to grips with its origins. Both scandals deserve our attention.

Myth: The Scandal Never Ended

When interviewed about the scandal in 2002 by the New York Times, I said, “I am not the church’s water boy. I am not here to defend the indefensible.” In the Catholic League’s 2002 Annual Report, I even defended the media. “The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the New York Times covered the story with professionalism,” I wrote.

A decade later things had changed. In the Catholic League’s 2011 Annual Report, I offered a critical assessment of the media. “In a nutshell,” I said, “what changed was this: in 2011, unlike what happened in 2002, virtually all the stories were about accusations against priests dating back decades, sometimes as long as a half-century ago. Keep in mind that not only were most of the priests old and infirm, many were dead; thus, only one side of the story could be told. Adding to our anger was the fact that no other institution, religious or secular, was being targeted for old allegations.”

It became clear that by 2011 we were dealing with two scandals, not one. Scandal I was internal—the church-driven scandal. This was the result of indefensible decisions by the clergy: predatory priests and their enabling bishops. Scandal II was external, the result of indefensible cherry-picking of old cases by rapacious lawyers and vindictive victims’ groups. They were aided and abetted by activists, the media, and Hollywood.

Regarding Scandal II, more than cultural elites were involved. “In 2011,” I wrote, “it seemed as if ‘repressed memories’ surfaced with alacrity, but only among those who claimed they were abused by a priest. That there was no similar explosion of ‘repressed memories’ on the part of those who were molested by ministers, rabbis, teachers, psychologists, athletic coaches, and others, made us wonder what was going on.”

The steeple-chasing lawyers and professional victims’ organizations had a vested economic interest in keeping the scandal alive; the former made hundreds of millions and they, in turn, lavishly greased the latter. But it wasn’t money that motivated the media and Hollywood elites to keep the story alive—it was ideology.

To be specific, the Catholic Church has long been the bastion of traditional morality in American society, and if there is anything that the big media outlets and the Hollywood studios loathe, it is being told that they need to put a brake on their libido. So when the scandal came to light, the urge to pounce proved irresistible. The goal was, and still is, to attenuate the moral authority of the Catholic Church. It certainly wasn’t outrage over the sexual abuse of minors that stirred their interest: if that were the case, then many other institutions would have been put under the microscope. But none were.

There is no conspiracy here. What unfolded is the logical outcome of the ideological leanings of our cultural elites. Unfortunately, “Spotlight” will only add to Scandal II. How so? Just read what those connected with the film are saying.

Tom McCarthy, who co-wrote the script with Josh Singer, said, “I would love for Pope Francis and the cardinals and bishops and priests to see this [film].” Would it make any difference? “I remain pessimistic,” he says. “To be honest,” he declares, “I expect no reaction at all.”

Mark Ruffalo plays a reporter, and, like McCarthy, he says, “I hope the Vatican will use this movie to begin to right those wrongs.” (My italic.) He is not sanguine about the prospects. Indeed, he has given up on the Church.

The view that the Catholic Church has not even begun to “right those wrongs” is widely shared. Indeed, the impression given to the American people, by both the media and Hollywood—it is repeated nightly by TV talk-show hosts—is that the sexual abuse scandal in the Church never ended. Impressions count: In December 2012, a CBS News survey found that 55 percent of Catholics, and 73 percent of Americans overall, believe that priestly sexual abuse of minors remains a problem. Only 14 percent of Americans believe it is not a problem today.

Commentary by those associated with “Spotlight,” as well as movie reviewers and pundits, are feeding this impression. But the data show that the conventional wisdom is wrong. The fact of the matter is that the sexual abuse of minors by priests has long ceased to be an institutional problem. All of these parties—Catholics, the American public, the media, and Hollywood—entertain a view that is not supported by the evidence. “Spotlight” will only add to the propaganda.

In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commissioned researchers from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct a major study of priestly sexual abuse; it covered the years 1950 to 2002. It found that accusations of the sexual molestation of minors were made against 4,392 priests.

This figure represents 4 percent of all Catholic priests. What was not widely touted is that 43 percent of these allegations (1881) were 4 unsubstantiated. To qualify as “unsubstantiated” the bar was set high: the allegation had to be “proven to be untruthful and fabricated” as a result of a criminal investigation.

In other words, roughly 2 percent of priests were likely guilty of molesting minors. Accusations proven to be false should carry no weight in assessing wrongdoing, yet the fabrications are treated by the media as if they were true. It must also be said that this rate of false accusations is much higher than found in studies of this problem in the general population.

More than half of the accused priests had only one allegation brought against them. Moreover, 3.5 percent accounted for 26 percent of all the victims. As computed by professor Philip Jenkins, an expert on this subject, the John Jay data reveal that “Out of 100,000 priests active in the U.S. in this half-century, a cadre of just 149 individuals—one priest out of every 750—accounted for a quarter of all allegations of clergy abuse.”

These data give the lie to the accusation that during this period the sexual molestation of minors by priests was rampant. It manifestly was not. Even more absurd is the accusation that the problem is still ongoing.

In the last ten years, from 2005 to 2014, an average 8.4 credible accusations were made against priests for molestation that occurred in any one of those years. The data are available online at the USCCB website (see the reports issued for these years). Considering that roughly 40,000 priests could have had a credible accusation made against them, this means that almost 100 percent of priests had no such accusation made against them!

Sadly, I cannot name a single media outlet, including Catholic ones, that even mentioned this, much less emphasized it. The Catholic News Service, paid for by the bishops, should have touted this, but it didn’t. This delinquency is what helps to feed the misperception that the Church has not even begun to deal with this problem.

In 2011, researchers from John Jay issued another report, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.” While the document was often critical, it commended the Church for its forthrightness in dealing with this problem. “No other institution has undertaken a public study of sexual abuse,” the report said, “and as a result, there are no comparable data to those collected by the Catholic Church.” Looking at the most recent data, the report found that the “incidence of child sexual abuse has declined in both the Catholic Church and in society in general, though the rate of decline is greater in the Catholic Church in the same time period.”

So much for the myth that the Church has not yet “begun” to address this issue. Every study by the John Jay researchers shows that most of the abuse took place between 1965-1985. This is not hard to figure out: the sexual revolution began in the 1960s and fizzled out by the mid-1980s. Libertinism drove the sexual revolution, and it hit the seminaries as well, especially in the 1970s. Matters slowed once AIDS was uncovered in 1981. It took fear—the fear of death—to bring about a much needed reality check.

Myth: Celibacy is the Root Cause

On October 28, 2015, a columnist for the Boston Globe wrote an article about “Spotlight” titled, “Based on a True Story.” Similarly, script writer Tom McCarthy said, “We made a commitment to let the facts play.”

No one disputes the fact that predatory priests were allowed to run wild in the Boston Archdiocese; the problem was not confined to Boston, but it was the epicenter. That molesting priests were moved around like chess pieces to unsuspecting parishes is also true. Ditto for the cover-up orchestrated by some bishops. This is the very stuff of Scandal I. Where the factual claims dissolve, however, is when the script claims to know what triggered the scandal.

“Spotlight” made its premiere on September 3 at the Venice Film Festival. A review published by the international French news agency, AFP, noted that “in Spotlight’s nuanced script, few in the Catholic hierarchy have shown any inclination to address whether the enforced celibacy of priests might be one of the root causes of the problem.”

The celibacy myth was debunked by the John Jay 2011 report. “Celibacy has been constant in the Catholic Church since the eleventh century and could not account for the rise and subsequent decline in abuse cases from the 1960s through the 1980s.” But if celibacy did not drive the scandal, what did? The John Jay researchers cite the prevalence of sexually immature men who were allowed to enter the seminaries, as well as the effects of the sexual revolution.

There is much truth to this observation, but it is incomplete. Who were these sexually immature men? The popular view, one that is promoted by the movie as well, suggests they were pedophiles. The data, however, prove this to be wrong.

When the word got out that “Spotlight” was going to hit the big screen, Mike Fleming, Jr. got an Exclusive for Deadline Hollywood; his piece appeared on August 8, 2014. The headline boasted that it was a “Boston Priest Pedophile Pic.” In his first sentence, he described the film as “a drama that Tom McCarthy will direct about the Boston Globe investigation into pedophile priests.” This narrative is well entrenched in the media, and in the culture at large. Whenever this issue is discussed, it is pitched as a “pedophile” scandal. We can now add “Spotlight’s” contribution to this myth.

One of the most prominent journalists on the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team was Kevin Cullen. On February 28, 2004, he wrote a story assessing a report issued by the National Review Board, appointed by the USCCB, on what exactly happened. He quoted the head of the Board’s research committee, well-respected attorney Robert S. Bennett, as saying it was not pedophilia that drove the scandal. “There are no doubt many 7 outstanding priests of a homosexual orientation who live chaste, celibate lives,” he said, “but any evaluation of the causes and context of the current crisis must be cognizant of the fact that more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.”

Bennett was correct, and Cullen knew it to be true as well. “Of the 10,667 reported victims [in the time period between 1950 and 2002],” Cullen wrote, “81 percent were male, the report said, and more than three quarters [the exact figure is 78 percent] were postpubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.” One of Bennett’s colleagues, Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins University, was more explicit. “This behavior was homosexual predation on American Catholic youth,” he said, “yet it is not being discussed.” It never is.

So it is indisputable that the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team knew that it was homosexuality, not pedophilia, that drove the scandal. Yet that is not what is being reported today. Indeed, as recently as November 1, 2015, a staff reporter for the Boston Globe said the movie was about “the pedophile priest crisis.” This flies in the face of the evidence. In fact, the John Jay 2011 report found that less than 5 percent of the abusive priests fit the diagnosis of pedophilia, thus concluding that “it is inaccurate to refer to abusers as ‘pedophile priests.’”

The evidence, however, doesn’t count. Politics counts. The mere suggestion that homosexual priests accounted for the lion’s share of the problem was met with cries of homophobia. This is at the heart of Scandal II. Even the John Jay researchers went on the defensive. Most outrageous was the voice of dissident, so-called progressive, Catholics: It was they who pushed for a relaxation of sexual mores in the seminaries, thus helping to create Scandal I. Then they helped to create Scandal II by refusing to take ownership of the problem they foisted; they blamed “sexual repression” for causing the crisis.

So how did the deniers get around the obvious? Cullen said that “most [of the molested] fell victim to ephebophiles, men who are sexually attracted to adolescent or postpubescent children.” But clinically speaking, ephebophilia is a waste-basket term of no scientific value.

Philip Jenkins once bought into this idea but eventually realized that the word “communicates nothing to most well-informed readers. These days I tend rather to speak of these acts as ‘homosexuality.’” Jenkins attributes his change of mind to Mary Eberstadt, one of the most courageous students of this issue. “When was the last time you heard the phrase ‘ephebophile’ applied to a heterosexual man?” In truth, ephebophilia is shorthand for homosexuals who prey on adolescents.

Even those who know better, such as the hierarchy of the Church, are reluctant to mention the devastating role that homosexual priests have played in molesting minors. In April 2002, the cardinals of the United States, along with the leadership of the USCCB and the heads of several offices of the Holy See, issued a Communiqué from the Vatican on this issue. “Attention was drawn to the fact that almost all the cases involved adolescents and therefore were not cases of true pedophilia” they said. So what were they? They were careful not to drop the dreaded “H” word.

Further proof that the problem is confined mostly to gay priests is provided by Father Michael Peterson, co-founder of St. Luke’s Institute, the premier treatment center in the nation for troubled priests. He frankly admits, “We don’t see heterosexual pedophiles at all.” This suggests that virtually all the priests who abused prepubescent children had a homosexual orientation.

The spin game is intellectually dishonest. When adult men have sex with postpubescent females, the predatory behavior is seen as heterosexual in nature. But when adult men have sex with postpubsecent males, the predatory behavior is not seen as homosexual in nature. This isn’t science at work—it’s politics, pure and simple.

I have said it many times before, and I will say it again: most gay priests are not molesters but most molesting priests have been gay. It gets tiresome, however, to trot this verity out every time I address this issue. That’s because it means nothing to elites in the dominant culture. Just whispering about the role gay priests have played in the sexual abuse scandal triggers howls of protest.

There is plenty of evidence that Hollywood has long been a haven for sexual predators, both straight and gay. The same is true of many religious and secular institutions throughout society. But there is little interest in the media and in Tinsel Town to profile them. They have identified the enemy and are quite content to keep pounding away.

There is no doubt that the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team deserved a Pulitzer Prize for exposing Scandal I. Regrettably, there will be no Pulitzer for exposing Scandal II.

Australian cardinal won’t fight sentence if he loses appeal

Australian cardinal won’t fight sentence if he loses appeal
By Trevor Marshallsea AP
https://cruxnow.com/church-in-oceania/2019/05/australian-cardinal-wont-fight-sentence-if-he-loses-appeal/

Disgraced Australian Catholic cardinal George Pell will not fight for a reduced jail sentence if he fails in his appeal of his conviction for molesting two choirboys in the 1990s, a court spokesman said Monday.

The 77-year-old Pell — the most senior Catholic official convicted of sex abuse — was sentenced in a Melbourne court in March to six years in prison. He must serve at least three years and eight months of the term.

Pell will appeal his conviction next month. His lawyers have filed an application arguing it should be overturned on three grounds.

But the application does not include an appeal of the length of the sentence, Andre Awadalla, a spokesman for the Court of Appeal in Victoria state, told the Associated Press.

“The only appeal application filed on the matter is an appeal against conviction,” Awadalla said. “His lawyers haven’t filed an appeal in relation to sentence.”

In sentencing Pell in March, Victorian County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd acknowledged that there was a real chance that Pope Francis’s former finance minister could die in jail.

Pell was convicted by a unanimous jury verdict in December on one charge of sexual penetration of a child and four charges of committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child.

He was found guilty of raping a 13-year-old choirboy and sexually molesting his 13-year-old friend in the sacristy of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996, months after he became archbishop of the city. He molested the first boy again about a month later. One of his victims later died of a heroin overdose at the age of 31.

Pell’s appeal application is set down for hearing on June 5 and 6, with three judges to first decide whether he should be granted leave to appeal.

His legal team will first argue that the verdicts were “unreasonable” since the jury could not have been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Pell was guilty based on the word of the surviving victim against “unchallenged exculpatory evidence” of more than 20 prosecution witnesses.

Pell’s lawyers are also expected to argue that Judge Kidd erred in not allowing them to use a video graphic in their closing arguments, which they said would demonstrate the offending that was alleged would have been impossible.

The third ground details an alleged “fundamental irregularity” in the trial in that Pell was not arraigned — asked if he pleaded guilty or not guilty — in front of the chosen jury.

If the judges accept the first ground, Pell’s conviction will be overturned and he will be released.

A new trial could be ordered if they accept the second or third grounds.

While Pell remains Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic, the Vatican has launched its own investigation into his convictions.

Catholic priest sentenced to prison for molesting teenager

Catholic priest sentenced to prison for molesting teenager
By AP
https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2019/09/catholic-priest-sentenced-to-prison-for-molesting-teenager/

A Catholic priest who pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a Northern California teenager for more than a year has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison.

KPIX-TV reports that Father David Mendoza-Vela, was sentenced Friday.

Prosecutors say Mendoza-Vela began molesting the boy in June 2016 when the victim was 14.

The 42-year-old priest was originally charged with 30 counts of lewd acts on a child. Twenty-five counts were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

Mendoza-Vela, who has since apologized to the boy, must register as a sex offender and stay away from his victim for at least 10 years.

Ordained in 2013, he was most recently assigned to the ministry at Fremont’s Corpus Christi Catholic Church.

He was placed on administrative leave after his March arrest.

Louisiana priest convicted of molestation released on bond

Louisiana priest convicted of molestation released on bond
By AP
https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2020/04/louisiana-priest-convicted-of-molestation-released-on-bond/

OPELOUSAS, Louisiana — A former Louisiana priest convicted of molesting an altar boy was released from jail on bond over coronavirus safety concerns.

Michael Guidry, 77, was released Friday nearly a year after he pleaded guilty to molesting a 16-year old boy after giving him alcohol in Guidry’s home, The Advertiser reported. The victim said in a civil lawsuit that he woke up one day in 2015 after doing chores in Guidry’s home and found the former priest molesting him, The Advocate reported. The victim told authorities about the molestation when he was an adult, four years after it happened.

Guidry, who served as the priest of St. Peter’s Church in Morrow, was then sentenced to 10 years in prison in April 2019, KATC-TV reported.

His release on bond from St. Landry Parish jail comes amid objections from state prosecutors after his defense attorney, Jane Hogan, requested an emergency appeal hearing because of the virus outbreak. Guidry had been awaiting another sentencing hearing after a request to reconsider his 10-year sentence was denied by a judge in September, KATC-TV reported.

Kevin Bourgeois, a volunteer at a New Orleans nonprofit group for survivors of clergy abuse, told KATC-TV Guidry’s release on bond sends a message to survivors that “their life is not as important as this sex offender’s life.”

Judge Alonzo Harris, the same judge who sentenced Guidry last year, had set the bond for Guidry. During that sentencing, the judge said “there are some things in life you just can’t tolerate and one is sexual abuse on our children by priests.”

Guidry will be placed on house arrest with an ankle monitor while on bond, and the court has also instructed him to not make contact with the victim.

Tommy Guilbeau, a defense attorney that is not involved in the case, said while it’s “highly unusual” for a felon convicted of child molestation to be on house arrest, not releasing them at this time would be “condemning them to die in a petri dish of COVID-19.”

The victim’s parents and siblings told the court last year that the abuse caused chaos and pain in their family. The family declined to comment to KATC-TV due to a gag order.

The AP does not usually name victims of sexual assault.

Abuse victim of Opus Dei priest wants case to be acknowledged

Abuse victim of Opus Dei priest wants case to be acknowledged
By Ines San Martin
https://cruxnow.com/church-in-europe/2020/07/abuse-victim-of-opus-dei-priest-wants-case-to-be-acknowledged/

ROSARIO, Argentina – On June 30, Father Manuel Cociña, a Spaniard, became the first priest belonging to the personal prelature of Opus Dei to be found guilty and sentenced by the Vatican of sexual abuse. He has 15 days to appeal, though sources have told Crux he’s not planning on doing so since appeals usually end worse for those found guilty.

Cociña, 72, was found guilty of molesting one young man, who was 18 when the abuse began in 2002. He’s been sentenced to five years of suspended ministry. He’ll have to spend the time in prayer in the residence where he lives, and after that, when he’s allowed back to ministry, he won’t be able to have contact with people under 30.

His victim was an Opus Dei member at the time of the abuse. Today he lives in Chile, is married, and remains a Mass-going Catholic. He spoke first with a Spanish news outlet and then with Crux, not out of “animosity towards the Church, nor the Work,” he said on Wednesday, using the colloquial term for Opus Dei, which is Latin for “Work of God.”

“What I want is for my case to become public so the Catholic Church in Spain, and Opus Dei there, can move forward in abuse prevention and transparency, as has happened in Chile,” said the survivor, who will be called “Lucas” to protect his identity.

“Eight years ago, the Catholic Church in Chile blew up because of the Karadima case,” Lucas said. “Maybe the same can happen here.”

The reference is to Fernando Karadima, the country’s most notorious pedophile priest, who was expelled from the priesthood by Pope Francis after the Vatican sentenced him to a life of penitence and prayer.

When Francis visited Chile in 2018, he accused Karadima survivors – James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz and Jose Andres Murillo – of “calumny” for asserting that Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, a protégé of Karadima, had covered up for his mentor.

Three months later, and after sending two top-notch investigators to Chile, the pontiff made a 180 degree turn.

He summoned all of Chile’s bishops to Rome,and they handed in their resignations; he publicly apologized to survivors; and he began purging the Chilean church, with several bishops replaced in less than a year, some removed from the priesthood, and several famous priests expelled for having abused minors.

Lucas, who decided to lodge a formal allegation against Cociña after the pope’s visit, believes much has improved since then. In Santiago, the country’s capital, there’s an office that tends to victims, OPADE, and protects those who make allegations. In his own case, they’ve covered his bills for both legal counsel and a psychologist.

“Everything is support and transparency,” Lucas said regarding his experience in Chile.

In Spain, however, he said he’s struggled. He first spoke to his spiritual director about the abuses almost a decade ago, yet Crux has confirmed that Cociña was transferred several times even after the allegation was made against him.

Cociña worked in high schools, seminaries and was even the rector of the Basilica of San Miguel, run by Opus Dei in Madrid. He was transferred to the basilica in 2002, a date Lucas remembers because it was “after the canonization of Escriva,” meaning, after the founder of Opus Dei was declared a saint earlier that year.

Two years later, Cociña was “quietly transferred” to Galicia, a province in northwestern Spain. Lucas said that move is especially worrying because “it happened after Boston,” meaning after clerical abuse allegations blew up in the United States.

“What enrages me is that this man has been abusing young men for 30 years throughout Spain, and the Work moved him from one place to the other,” Lucas said. “He’s been condemned for my case, because I’m the one who’s formally charged him. But this is not about my case, it’s about his life. And the lives he might have ruined.”

After Lucas made his allegation public in 2019 by speaking with a Spanish journalist, Opus Dei released a statement, acknowledging that in August 2018, the prelature in Spain had received from Chile an accusation of sexual abuse against Cociña.

The statement also said that less than a month later, and at the direct order of Monsignor Fernando Ocariz, the head of Opus Dei, a preliminary investigation was ordered. By Oct. 1, 2018, the priest had been restricted in his pastoral ministry, being banned from talking to people under 30, and restricted to the center where he lives.

By December 2018, the file was at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that handles allegations of sexual abuse by priests. It was this office that ruled on June 30 that the priest had been found guilty.

The sentence was communicated to Lucas, but no formal statement has been made. Furthermore, a representative of Opus Dei reportedly told Lucas that no statement should be expected, because his case “wasn’t that big … Cociña is no McCarrick or Karadima,” meaning, ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former Washington archbishop found guilty of abuse and removed from the priesthood by Francis.

“I’m very glad with the fact that there’s a sentence, because it means that what happened is finally acknowledged,” Lucas said. “At times, I felt I was crazy, that I was making it up. The sentence is small: Five years suspended and five more years locked in his center. But I haven’t seen the sentence, and I’ve received no institutional call from Opus Dei confirming it.”

“The person who told me was the man appointed by the prelate, who’s a lovely person and who’s been nothing but helpful and forthcoming, but who told me ‘This is canon law, you don’t have a right to the sentence, nor right to know who said what’,” Lucas said.

“The accused and I are not on even footing: I notify the Church of the abuse, and it’s the Church [Opus Dei] that canonically makes the accusation [to the CDF],” he said. “I know there are other accusers in the case against Cociña.”

Lucas has filed no civil complaint because of the statute of limitations.

What he’s been told is that sentence is 16 pages long and that it does, in fact, include other people who were reportedly molested by the priest.

“I’m not going to change canon law,” Lucas said dejectedly. “But what I want is for Opus Dei to release a statement saying ‘this person has been found guilty,’ as they did when the allegation was made.”

“I want a statement to be made, not because I’m obsessed with this story being in the media, but because some people know who I am. There are people in Spain who know I made the allegations, and I want for it to be publicly acknowledged: I didn’t lie, I’m not a crazy man who did this out of hatred of the Work.”

Cociña has 15 days to appeal the sentence, and until he formally decides not to do so, the sentence is not considered definitive. Until then, Opus Dei cannot publicly address the issue.

Buffalo Diocese files for bankruptcy after hundreds of sex abuse claims

Buffalo Diocese files for bankruptcy after hundreds of sex abuse claims. Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has led the diocese since December.
By Cayla Harris
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Buffalo-Diocese-files-for-bankruptcy-after-hundred-15091849.php

The Buffalo Diocese, temporarily headed by Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, filed for bankruptcy Friday morning as it grapples with hundreds of lawsuits alleging decades of child sexual abuse and cover-ups.

It is the second New York diocese to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy – which allows for reorganization of assets instead of liquidation. The Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy in September. The decision was largely anticipated as the Buffalo diocese, facing more than 250 lawsuits over the past six months alleging sexual abuse, has emerged as the most-named defendant in all Child Victims Act cases.

The state’s Child Victims Act in August opened a one-year window temporarily eliminating the statute of limitations for civil cases involving sex crimes. Since then, more than 1,600 cases have been filed statewide, many of them resurfacing decades-old allegations.

In a filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York – first reported by The Buffalo News – the Buffalo Diocese identified $10 million to $50 million in assets and $50 million to $100 million in liabilities. In court filings, Scharfenberger asserted that the filing was necessary “in order to respond to claims stemming from the Child Victims Act in an equitable and comprehensive manner, and to reorganize the financial affairs of the Diocese in order to permit it to continue to fulfill its ministries to the Catholic faithful of the Diocese.”

“We have no more urgent work than to bring about justice and healing for those harmed by the scourge of sexual abuse,” Scharfenberger said in a Friday statement.

The decision puts all lawsuits against the diocese on pause as leaders determine how best to address the allegations and compensate accusers. It does not affect the daily operations of local parishes.

Scharfenberger, who is temporarily leading the Buffalo Diocese after the resignation of its former Bishop Richard Malone in December, will address the media in Buffalo at a 1 p.m. news conference. He had been weighing the decision for months, repeatedly telling reporters that a decision would come “soon.”

“Whatever we do has to be done in a way that puts victims first,” Scharfenberger told Albany reporters in December, acknowledging that bankruptcy could freeze litigation but may also offer more equal payouts to survivors who have filed claims. “We want to look at all of those things, and then that might be the best way to go.”

He said at the time that the Albany Diocese is not considering a bankruptcy filing, and likely would not for “the next year or so.” The Albany Diocese has also faced its share of Child Victims Act cases, though far fewer, at about 65. The Albany Diocese serves about half the number of Catholics as the Buffalo Diocese.

“The decision in Buffalo does not affect the Diocese of Albany in any way,” Albany Diocese spokeswoman Mary DeTurris-Poust said in an email. “Until we know the full financial scope of the CVA as it relates to the Diocese of Albany, we cannot and will not make any decisions. We have nothing to announce, other than that we continue to respond in justice to survivors of abuse and urge anyone who has suffered such abuse to come forward.”

Survivors and attorneys, reacting to Friday’s filing, criticized the decision as a roundabout way of denying victims their day in court. They noted that bankruptcy allows the diocese to avoid releasing certain information and files about priests and clergy accused of abusing children – documents that would typically be unearthed during the discovery process.

Manhattan-based attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents dozens of survivors suing the Buffalo Diocese, said the diocese “is using bankruptcy to continue to conceal the truth about predator priests.”

State Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, a sponsor of the Child Victims Act, said the filing could help reveal “how deep the pockets are of the institution” – but at the expense of preventing survivors from speaking out in front of a judge in a public courtroom.

“It’s despicable that an institution that was responsible for the abuse of thousands of young people across the state of New York would try to hide behind the bankruptcy laws to prevent these individuals from receiving the entirety of the claim due to them,” he said.

Judge dismisses Buffalo Diocese’s attempt to get $1.7M Covid-19 loan

Judge dismisses Buffalo Diocese’s attempt to get $1.7M Covid-19 loan
By Jay Tokasz
https://buffalonews.com/business/local/judge-dismisses-buffalo-dioceses-attempt-to-get-1-7m-covid-19-loan/article_c01d9be2-8123-5dc4-a4ae-9e3a7e1f7a49.html

A federal judge in Rochester has ruled against the Buffalo Diocese’s efforts to secure a $1.7 million loan through the Small Business Administration’s national Paycheck Protection Program.

U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford on Wednesday dismissed the diocese’s lawsuit against the federal agency that runs the loan program and refused to grant a preliminary injunction that would have forced the SBA into considering the diocese’s loan request.

Wolford said in a written summary judgment the “SBA did not exceed its statutory authority” in adopting a policy that excluded entities in bankruptcy from qualifying for the loans.

The diocese’s lawyers had argued that the SBA illegally excluded the diocese from applying for a share of the $659 billion Congress made available to businesses that keep employees on their payrolls during social distancing shutdown measures prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Buffalo Diocese joined with the Rochester Diocese in asking the U.S. District Court for a preliminary injunction that would prohibit the SBA from denying the loan based on their bankruptcy statuses.

The Rochester Diocese sought $1.1 million from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and was ineligible because it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September. The Buffalo Diocese filed for bankruptcy in February.

Government lawyers explained in court that the SBA adopted the bankruptcy exclusion to speed up loan processing and to ensure lenders that it wasn’t approving unacceptably high-risk loans.

Without the PPP loans, the dioceses argued that they “will be forced to lay off or furlough essential employees which will have a permanent effect” on how their Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases are administered.

The Buffalo Diocese in March eliminated the jobs of 21 employees, a fifth of its workforce, due in part to the “anticipated financial impact of the pandemic.” The cutbacks followed a 2019 fiscal year loss of $5 million for the diocese.

With Catholic Masses suspended during the pandemic, area parishes have been unable to bring in offertory collections. In turn, the parishes have been unable to meet their financial obligations to the diocese, the diocese’s lawyers said in court papers.

With stay at home directives in effect, the diocese “will struggle to continue making payroll payments,” which is the main eligibility requirement for the Paycheck Protection Program, lawyers argued.

Wolford said in her ruling that she was not convinced. She called the diocese’s explanations about the financial impact of the pandemic ban on church gatherings “vague.”

The diocese’s lawyers “point out that offerings have dropped off precipitously, but they do not state what percentage of their funding comes from parish assessments versus other sources,” Wolford wrote. “Plaintiffs further have not claimed that they need PPP funds in order to make payroll—indeed, there is no indication in plaintiffs’ papers that they have not paid their employees’ salaries or that failure to obtain PPP funds would somehow cause Plaintiffs to cease to operate.”

Lawyers for the dioceses also said that the SBA added the bankruptcy rule arbitrarily, even though nothing in the CARES Act passed by Congress and signed by President Trump limits the diocese’s eligibility for the funds.

Wolford’s decision said the CARES Act was “silent regarding the eligibility of debtors in bankruptcy to participate in the PPP” and nothing in the legislation required a bankrupt debtor be eligible.

“This detail was left by Congress for determination by the SBA,” she wrote.

Small businesses and other entities – including churches and religious organizations – that employ up to 500 people are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to cover payroll costs, rent, mortgages and utilities.

The loan, which requires no fees or collateral, is fully forgiven as long as at least 60% of it is used for payroll. If that requirement isn’t met, the loan must be repaid over five years at a 1% interest rate.

Several other dioceses around the country and some Catholic parishes in Western New York have applied for and received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Buffalo Diocese facing backlash for seeking federal funds, relief in CVA cases

Buffalo Diocese facing backlash for seeking federal funds, relief in CVA cases
By Cayla Harris
https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Buffalo-Diocese-facing-backlash-for-seeking-15251143.php

Advocates for survivors of sexual abuse are denouncing the Buffalo Diocese this week after the institution, temporarily headed by Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, moved forward with two legal filings that activists say diminish victims’ experiences and could allow the diocese to dodge consequences for decades of alleged abuse and cover-up.

The most recent filing on Tuesday was a lawsuit against the federal Small Business Administration for denying the diocese’s application for relief under the CARES Act because of its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. It followed a separate legal action on Saturday in bankruptcy court, in which the diocese argued that all cases filed against the institution under the state’s Child Victims Act, including those that also name local parishes and schools, should be permanently suspended.

Last summer, the act opened a one-year “look-back” window allowing survivors of sexual abuse to pursue previously time-barred cases against their alleged offenders. The Buffalo Diocese, the most-named defendant in claims filed under the act, is facing more than 250 actions.

“The Buffalo Diocese should not use the current pandemic as an excuse to evade responsibility for the decades-long abuse of children,” said Michael Polenberg, the vice president of government affairs for the victims advocacy group Safe Horizon. “Every survivor of childhood sexual abuse deserves to hold offenders – including negligent institutions – responsible for their actions. That is the promise of the Child Victims Act … and that’s what survivors deserve.”

All lawsuits lodged against the diocese have been frozen since February, when the institution filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows for reorganization of assets instead of liquidation. Some cases that also name separate Catholic entities where the abuse allegedly occurred would typically be allowed to move to trial at a later date – a move the diocese said would open the door to a cumbersome and costly discovery process.

Buffalo Diocese spokesman Greg Tucker declined to make Scharfenberger, who took the helm of the scandal-plagued diocese in December, available for an interview on either topic.

On the federal stimulus funds, Tucker said the institution decided to sue the SBA because it “exceeded its authority” in denying money to an organization moving through bankruptcy proceedings. The CARES Act “makes no reference to disqualifying applications on the basis of an entity in Chapter 11 reorganization,” he said.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat and CVA sponsor, said in a statement Tuesday that the lawsuit “is just the latest example of the church failing to take responsibility for decades of egregious misconduct. They should be ashamed of themselves.”

In reference to the proceeding in bankruptcy court, Tucker said suspending all cases would allow the diocese to negotiate settlements “without the distraction of piecemeal litigation” and would also make the payouts more equitable for all survivors, not just those who filed first.

“While the process continues, any lawsuits against the diocese are halted to allow the diocese and its creditors to come to agreement on settlement terms,” he said. “The action that the diocese recently filed is intended to provide the same ‘breathing spell’ for parishes, schools and other Catholic entities in the hopes of achieving a global resolution.”

Stacey Benson, an attorney with the Manhattan-based law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates that represents several plaintiffs suing the Buffalo Diocese, said the filing was an “unnecessary legal tactic (that) is insensitive to survivors of child sexual abuse who have already been deeply harmed by the abuse they suffered, as well as by the actions and inactions of top diocesan officials.”

Indonesian Church goes public on an evil within

Indonesian Church goes public on an evil within. Sex abuse victim’s courage leads to the country’s first church-related case being prosecuted in court.
By Ryan Dagur
https://www.ucanews.com/news/indonesian-church-goes-public-on-an-evil-within/88598

It took many years for Yohanes — not his real name — to pluck up enough courage to reveal he had been sexually abused.

He says he was first attacked in 2008 while serving as a 12-year-old altar boy at St. Herkulanus Parish Church in Depok in Indonesia’s West Java province.

It happened after his fellow altar boys had returned home from spending time with their spiritual mentor, Syharil Marbun, who then allegedly took him to a secluded place and assaulted him.

He says he was too scared to report it because the perpetrator was an acolyte trainer and highly respected in the parish. “I didn’t even tell my parents,” he told UCA News.

The fact that his parents were also close to the alleged perpetrator also made it hard for him to reveal what happened,” according to Yohanes, who is now 24 years old and works in Jakarta.

He says he felt if he kept his distance from Marbun nothing would happen again, but he claims it did five years later in 2013 when he was 17.

He claims Marbun attacked him again after luring him to his house after an event they had attended with his parents.

“At the time, I thought he would not bother me as I was older and a long time had passed without incident, but it happened again,” he says. “I felt broken, depressed and dirty. My relationship with God was also broken.”

Feeling ashamed, he continued to build walls between himself and his parents and friends. However, things started to change on May 30 when he received an unexpected call from a friend inviting him to attend a parish meeting.

At the meeting, attended by other former altar boys, he was asked directly whether he had been sexually abused by Marbun. He was shocked to learn that many of the others at the meeting were also victims.

The fact that others were prepared to speak about their experiences encouraged him to do the same.

He says he felt guilty about not speaking out earlier about what had happened, which could have prevented further crimes.

“I didn’t believe there would be other victims,” he says, adding the revelation made him determined to help the parish team and lawyers investigate all the claims further.

“I felt a change in me after dismissing my fears. Now I feel free,” he says.

On June 6, during a meeting in which the victims’ parents, the parish priest and lawyers confronted Marbun, Yohanes’ testimony was pivotal.

Marbun, who initially denied the allegations, saying his acts of affection were misunderstood, finally confessed after Yohanes explained his experiences in detail.

“He could not deny it anymore,” Yohanes said. Marbun allegedly wrote down 13 names of other children he had abused. It is believed Marbun may have abused and raped at least 21 boys.

Yohanes is now actively involved in tracking down other victims. “I feel some are thinking like I did and are reluctant to speak. Many victims have turned to drugs to blot out the trauma,” he says.

Positive sign

The case is the first case of sexual abuse in the Indonesian Church to be prosecuted by state authorities. Previous crimes were kept quiet or settled privately to avoid bringing shame on the Church as well as the victims, observers say.  

Father Yosep Sirilus Natet, the parish priest of St. Herkulanus Church, which comes under Bogor Diocese, said the parish fully backs the alleged victims and the police in investigating the case.

Azas Tigor Nainggolan, a lawyer representing the victims, told UCA News that this case could open the lid on other such cases.

Since this case came to light, he has received word of other alleged abuses committed by church workers and religious people. He did not say whether any accusations were being made against clerics.

“They need to be investigated further,” said Nainggolan, who is also working with the bishops’ Commission for Justice, Peace, and Migrant-Itinerant People.

He said sexual abuse has long been a problem but no one dared speak up. Many Catholics have even criticized efforts to pursue such cases through the courts.

Nainggolan said many church people consider such cases as disgracing the Church, so should not be made public.

“But I feel the perpetrators, whoever they are, are criminals who must be prosecuted,” he said.

Inspired by Pope Francis

Yohanes hopes the case against Marbun will be the starting point for renewal in the Indonesian Church. “I’m pursuing this because I want to see drastic change on this issue within the Catholic Church,” he said.

He admitted feeling strengthened after reading about Pope Francis’ commitment to ending sexual abuse in the Church, including abolishing the rule of “pontifical secrecy” that allowed it to be covered up.

“I feel what we are doing is carrying out the Holy Father’s will,” he said.

“It also means that there is no more reason for the Church to cover such things up. It’s time for victims to speak out.

”Yohanes also called on the Church and parents to listen to children more closely.

“When I first told my parents about the abuse, their response amazed me. My parents cried and pledged full support in seeking legal action,” he said.

His parents, he said, had forgiven his abuser, which he said he might do in time. “But for now, I want him to face justice so that there are no more victims.”

Disturbing Report Uncovers Alleged Child Sex Abuse in Fiji’s Catholic Schools

Disturbing Report Uncovers Alleged Child Sex Abuse in Fiji’s Catholic Schools
By Hemant Mehta
https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2020/07/13/disturbing-report-uncovers-alleged-child-sex-abuse-in-fijis-catholic-schools/

Over the weekend, New Zealand’s TV 1 News aired a disturbing report about Catholic priests allegedly abusing children on the island nation of Fiji. One of the victims said on camera that when he attended a Catholic school, priests would lure boys up to their bedrooms using candy and oranges (rare treats), then sexually assault them.

But where did these priests come from? That’s the kicker: Many of them were kicked out of the Catholic Church in New Zealand and Australia because they were accused of sexual abuse. Instead of moving them to another local parish, as we’ve seen in the U.S., some of them went to Fiji, where they found new victims in a culture that reveres men of God.

The Church itself denies any wrongdoing… because they have rules!

While speaking to TV 1 News, [Archbishop] Father Perter Loy Chong says there has not been any reports of such allegations of abusing children.

The Archbishop adds that the church has a sexual abuse guideline which defines the process when something is reported or when someone presents an allegation.

Reporter Barbara Dreaver says that there’s no indication of how serious this problem is, but she says the Pacific island of Guam may be a useful comparison. Over there, she says, there are 300 lawsuits against more than 20 priests.

(Featured image via Shutterstock. Thanks to @LeoDotWalsh0x05 for the link)