Tag Archives: Roman Catholic Pedophiles

Here Are the Worst Abuses by Catholic Priests from the PA Grand Jury’s Report

Here Are the Worst Abuses by Catholic Priests from the PA Grand Jury’s Report
By Hemant Mehta
https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2018/08/15/here-are-the-worst-abuses-by-catholic-priests-from-the-pa-grand-jurys-report/

The International Symbol for Unconvicted Pedophiles

I spent the better part of the day reading through the Pennsylvania grand jury’s report about the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandal that occurred in just six dioceses: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton.

That may have been a mistake. My mind is numb. I posted something brief yesterday about the document, but that was before going through the detailed accounts of what more than 300 priests did over the course of several decades. Those accounts are so much worse than the news reports indicated because they couldn’t include all these cases.

Most of the priests are dead now. Some of the stories were heavily redacted because the priests are alive and haven’t been charged with a crime. In some cases, the statute of limitations has long expired. But this was always about documenting the abuses more than anything. When you read this report and realize it’s just one group of priests in one state, you have to wonder what the stories would look like if a similar document was produced across the country, if not the world.

So brace yourself.

Here’s a running list of some of the more egregious things you’ll find in the report. It’s not everything. It’s not even everything for these priests. It’s just the stuff that will make your eyes permanently widen. The hope is that by highlighting these stories, people will realize the horrors covered up by the Catholic Church.

Maybe they’ll think twice before ever attending another Mass or donating any of their money to a Catholic school.

Maybe they’ll think twice before ever attending another Mass or donating any of their money to a Catholic school.

  • Father Francis “Frank” Fromholzer asked one girl, when she was 13 or 14, to read a story about Jesus that included the phrase, “the cock crows three times.” He made her repeat that phrase several times. When she left class, he “leaned in and nuzzled her neck and asked the victim if she knew what a cock was.”
  • Father Edward R. Graff was about to anally rape a child, but the victim ran away before it could happen, even though it meant running “into the street, mostly nude.”
  • Father Chester Gawronski fondled and masturbated at least 12 different children by saying he was just showing them “how to check for cancer.” (When one of these stories went public in 2002, Bishop Donald Trautman chastised the victim by arguing that he was only 14 when it happened, not 11 like the article said.)
  • Father William Presley abused three victims, one as young as 13, with “choking, slapping, punching, rape, sodomy, fellatio, anal intercourse,” and more.
  • Father Thomas D. Skotek raped an underage girl, got her pregnant, then paid for her abortion. His Bishop later said, “This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.” That letter was addressed to Skotek, not his victim.
  • Father Edmond Parrakow admitted to molesting “approximately thirty-five male children” because sex with girls was “sinful” and raping boys didn’t violate them. One altar boy said Parrakow told them to go naked under their cassocks during Mass because God didn’t want “man-made clothes” touching their skin during services. Parrakow now works in a shopping mall.
  • Father Raymond Lukac “married” a victim the moment she turned 18 by forging the head pastor’s signature on a fake marriage certificate. He eventually married her for real, had a child with her (impregnating her when she was 17), then got a divorce. He stayed in the ministry after being taken in by a “benevolent bishop.”
  • Father Robert Moslener taught middle school kids how to give blowjobs by telling them Mary had to “bite off the cord” and “lick” Jesus clean when he was born.
  • Father Augustine Giella abused five girls in the same family. Among other things, he collected their urine, pubic hair, and menstrual blood in a device attached to his toilet… then he ingested some of it. All of this happened after he worked at a Catholic high school and had been accused of telling a student he wanted to watch her go to the bathroom.
  • Father Arthur Long tried having sex with a 17-year-old at a high school he worked at by saying God wanted them to express love for each other that way. When she said God would punish them, he told her, “there is no Hell.”
  • Father George Zirwas was part of a predatory priest “ring” that “shared intelligence” on victims and exchanged them with each other. They “manufactured child pornography” on church property, using “whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims.”
  • Father Richard Zula asked three altar boys to “pose like statues” and tried to tie them up with rope. Zula also used whips and leather straps on a victim after tying up the person’s hands.
  • Father Robert N. Caparelli raped several boys as young as 10. He was eventually put in prison, where it was discovered he “had been HIV-positive for years.”
  • Monsignor Thomas J. Benestad forced a nine-year-old boy to give him a blowjob, then washed his mouth out with holy water “to purify him.”
  • Reverend David Connell served a high school boy juice. The boy later woke up with no memory of what happened, but there was “bleeding from his rectum.”
  • Reverend Edward George Ganster once dragged a child across a room by his underwear and beat him with a metal cross. He eventually quit the priesthood… but not before receiving a letter of recommendation for his new job… at Walt Disney World.
  • Father Richard J. Guiliani began abusing one girl when she was 14, forcing her to masturbate him and blow him. When she turned 18, he visited her and asked for sex and her hand in marriage. (She declined both.)
  • Reverend Henry Paul is the reason one little girl told her mother she knew how to “French kiss.”
  • Reverend Gerald Royer once molested a 12-year-old boy. The boy’s friend didn’t believe it… until, hidden in a closet, he witnessed the abuse himself. The victim, now 83, fought in wars, yet because of what Royer did, he could never hug or kiss his own children, who were boys. He can’t shake hands with men to this day. He can’t even see male doctors or dentists.
  • Reverend Michael G. Barletta was known to take pictures in a boys’ locker room and maintained a book of “crotch shots.”
  • Father Robert E. Hannon had several male victims, but his diocese dismissed allegations from one girl after Hannon denied it. His argument? He wouldn’t have done it because girls “do not have a penis.”
  • Father Gerard Krebs, a teacher at a Catholic high school, was asked for advice by a student whose girlfriend was pregnant. Krebs conducted a prostate exam to see if the boy was “capable of impregnating a woman.” Another victim said Krebs guided him through “sexual rituals” to “prove my faith and the fact that I was not a homosexual.”
  • Monsignor Daniel Martin and other priests in the seminary had a “fierce competition,” one victim said, to molest boys who didn’t have fathers or had bad relationships with them.
  • Brother Edmundus Murphy encouraged a victim to join their Catholic school’s wrestling team and taught him different moves, naked, because that’s what “the ancient Greeks and Romans did.” During those practices, Murphy sodomized the victim.
  • Father Gregory Flohr took a victim into the confessional and tied him up with rope. When the victim screamed, Flohr shut him up by shoving his penis in the victim’s mouth. When the victim wouldn’t accept it, Flohr sodomized him with a crucifix and called him a “bad boy.”
  • Father Charles B. Guth fondled a boy and stuck his finger up the child’s ass. Then he said to the boy that if their secret ever got out, the child and his mother would both burn in hell. Then he gave the boy a nickel.
  • Father Francis Lesniak told a victim that if he confessed his sins and wasn’t too bad, he’d “get to suck on a strawberry lollipop or popsicle.” After these confessions, which happened multiple times, Lesniak would whip his dick out and say it was a strawberry lollipop.
  • Father Henry J. Marcinek is the reason one victim said as an adult, “I don’t remember the last time I laughed.” That same victim later confessed that “I peed in [Marcinek’s] mouth, because he used to cum in mine” and that he felt like he was “fricking prostituting himself” at the age of 12 or 13.
  • Father Roger J. Trott anally raped a 21-year-old man with Down Syndrome, after which the victim was reportedly hospitalized for “surgery for a blockage of the lower bowel.”
  • Reverend Francis A. Bach had so many victims, then when his diocese confronted him about a particular allegation, he said he didn’t remember it, but responded, “With my history, anything is possible.”
  • Reverend James Beeman raped a seven-year-old in the hospital just after she had “had her tonsils removed.” He raped her again when she was 19 and pregnant.
  • Reverend George Koychick inappropriately touched several little girls. When confronted about it by his diocese, he admitted it, adding, “it was when I was going through a touchy/feely time in my life.”
  • Reverend Guy Marsico admitted to molesting several boys and confessing his sins to another priest. The advice was never to call police or turn himself in. Instead, he was told to “Pray about it and try to get away from it.” Then, when it happened again, he’d receive the same advice.
  • Reverend Patrick Shannon molested a 16-year-old boy during a camping trip. When the boy resisted, Shannon replied, “Sometime [sic] we say no when we really mean yes.”
  • Reverend Timothy Sperber sexually abused a girl no older than 10. When she told the principal of their Catholic school that Sperber “touched her in weird ways,” the principal called her a “demon-child” for making those “terrible accusations.”
  • Reverend Frederick Vaughn abused an 11-year-old girl, wrestling with her on the floor at her family’s home when her father wasn’t around. One time, when she resisted, he said, “I like a fighter.”
  • Reverend Leo Burchianti once entered a bathroom with an underage boy and put his hands down the boy’s shorts. When the boy told Burchianti to stop tickling him, the response was, “I’m not trying to tickle you, I’m trying to grab for something.”
  • Reverend Anthony J. Cipolla took a 9-year-old boy to his rectory bedroom, told the child to take off his clothes, then squeezed his penis a total of 70 times before sticking a finger into his rectum. Later, even though his mother wanted to file criminal charges, she dropped them because “she was threatened and harassed by church officials” and told that she should “let the church handle it.”
  • Reverend David F. Dzermejko fondled a young boy on a Ferris wheel during a church festival. The boy couldn’t get off the ride because Dzermejko told the operator “to keep the ride going three times longer than it should have.”
  • Reverend Bernard J. Kaczmarczyk went into the shower with a 12-year-old boy under the pretext that he needed to make sure the child was “showering properly.”
  • Reverend Anujit Kumar kissed an underage girl with his tongue and sucked her lips. When Church officials asked him about it, he was he was just trying to “recruit her for the convent.”
  • [Redacted] molested a child for years. When the victim turned 15 or 16, he asked the priest to stop and threatened to go public with what had happened. The priest “grabbed him by the throat and threatened to kill him if he told anyone.” He also threatened to tell the victim’s parents he was gay.
  • Monsignor Raymond T. Schultz masturbated in front of a student at their Catholic school. Afterwards, Schultz would give the kid a handkerchief to wipe the semen off his face. To this day, the victim said, he goes from “sad to angry” whenever he sees a white handkerchief.
  • Father Robert E. Spangenberg molested an underage boy several times. He also paid the victim a “finder’s fee” if he could find other young “chickens” for Spangenberg to have sex with.
  • Reverend Paul G. Spisak supposedly took pictures with underage boys in which their swim trunks were down to their ankles. His staff says they saw the pictures… until they disappeared. Spisak may have destroyed the images. A couple of years ago, however, he was arrested for a camera he placed in a mall bathroom. At first he denied it. Then he said he was sick, ran inside a stall, and flushed the memory card down the toilet.
  • Reverend Anthony P. Conmy molested a 10-year-old girl after dropping her friend off at home. He grabbed her wrists, put his hand over her mouth, put his knee in her stomach to hold her down, then said he wouldn’t kill her if she “would lie quietly.”
  • Reverend P. Lawrence Homer told a 14-year-old girl she had the body of an 18-year-old woman. He also commented on her “sex hair.”

That’s just a sampling.

The grand jury also noted how the Church managed to cover all these crimes up as long as they did. Leaders, they said, followed a “playbook for concealing the truth” that consisted of seven steps:

  1. Use euphemisms. (“Never say “rape”; say “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues.”)
  2. Don’t investigate with trained personnel. (Instead, let clergy members ask the victims “inadequate” questions before judging their own colleagues.)
  3. Evaluate priests at church-run “treatment centers.”
  4. Never say why a priest was removed. (Just say he’s on “sick leave” or something.)
  5. Keep providing priests with living expenses regardless of the allegations.
  6. Transfer the priests if his crime becomes public knowledge. (Send him to a place where “no one will know he is a child abuser.”)
  7. Don’t tell the police. (Keep it “in house.”)

Finally, is there any way to fix this?

Yes, said the grand jury, and they offered a few recommendations:

  • Eliminate the criminal statute of limitations. Pennsylvania law now permits victims to come forward until age 50, but the grand jury said they heard from victims who were, in some cases, in their 70s, but had no legal recourse anymore. They’ve spent their entire lives traumatized by what they went through and an arbitrary cutoff to seek justice is cruel.
  • Let victims sue the diocese in a timely manner. In many cases, victims “ran out of time to sue before they even knew they had a case.” They need a “window” of time in which to sue once they’re aware of the situation. It shouldn’t be closed off before they even know their options.
  • Laws must mandate the reporting of abuse, even in Church. There are too many loopholes in the state law that allowed churches to get away with not letting law enforcement know about what predatory priests were doing.
  • Confidentiality arguments must be tossed aside in criminal cases. The Church had them for decades. In some cases, they gave victims some money to silence them for life.

That second one is receiving criticism from some Catholics. They argue that suing the diocese — and getting money in a victory — would only hurt the parishioners who donated, not the priests who committed the acts or the others who covered it up. Though the flip side of that says… who cares? If the congregation is giving money to an organization complicit in these crimes, a lawsuit would teach them to stop donating to the church.

By the way, as of this writing, the Vatican hasn’t said anything.

Vatican press office said this morning that they have no comment on the grand jury report, and would not even say if Vatican officials have read it.

— Daniel Burke (@BurkeCNN) August 15, 2018

That says a lot, doesn’t it? Do they think people will just forget about it in a few days? An apology isn’t enough. The Church ought to be tougher on these priests than the law. They need to explain why the abuse was so pervasive and why they cover-up was so rampant. This wasn’t a bad apple. This is a rotten orchard surrounding the entire Vatican.

This is What the PA Grand Jury Learned About Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church

This is What the PA Grand Jury Learned About Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church
By Hemant Mehta
https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2018/08/27/this-is-what-the-pa-grand-jury-learned-about-sex-abuse-in-the-catholic-church/

"If kids got raped at Denny's as often as they get raped at church, every Denny's in the U.S. would be burned to the ground." Dan Savage

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses the recent revelations in Pennsylvania about the Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal.

As you may have heard, a Pennsylvania grand jury recently released a report about the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. They only looked at 6 of the 8 dioceses in the state and still produced a report that was more than 1300 pages long and implicated more then 300 priests and bishops and other Catholic leaders.

Many of them are dead. Some of the stories were heavily redacted because the priests are alive and haven’t been charged with a crime. In some cases, the statute of limitations has long expired. But this was always about documenting the abuses more than anything.

When you read this report and realize it’s just one group of priests in one state, you have to wonder what the stories would look like if a similar document was produced across the country, if not the world.

And I want to tell you some of what they found. Not because it’s disturbing — and it’s really disturbing — but because this stuff had been going on for decades. The Church knew about it. They covered it up. They transferred priests to different parishes. They told families they would take care of the problem and never did.

If you are giving money to the Catholic Church, or you attend Mass, or you even call yourself a Catholic at this point, you should know what it is you’re supporting.

Here’s just a sampling. And if this is too much to take, click away now. This is your warning.

One priest fondled at least 12 different boys by saying he was just showing them “how to check for cancer.”

One priest raped an underage girl, got her pregnant, then paid for her abortion. His Bishop later wrote in a letter, “This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.” That letter was addressed to the priest, not his victim.

One priest admitted to molesting approximately 35 boys because sex with girls was “sinful” but raping boys didn’t violate them.

One priest tried having sex with a 17-year-old at a high school he worked at by saying God wanted them to express love for each other that way. When she said God would punish them, he told her, “there is no Hell.”

One priest forced a nine-year-old boy to give him a blowjob, then washed his mouth out with holy water “to purify him.”

There was a priest who dragged a child across a room by his underwear and beat him with a metal cross. He eventually quit the priesthood… but not before receiving a letter of recommendation from the Church for his new job… at Disney World.

One priest molested a 12-year-old boy. That victim is 83 now, and he said he’s fought in wars, but because of what that priest did to him, he could never hug or kiss his own children, who were boys. He can’t shake hands with men to this day. He can’t even see male doctors or dentists.

One priest was known to take pictures in a boys’ locker room and maintained a book of “crotch shots.”

One priest fondled a boy and stuck his finger up the kid’s ass. Then he said to the boy that if their secret ever got out, the child and his mother would both burn in hell. Then he gave the boy a nickel.

You can read more about the horrific details here.

A rough transcript of the video can be found on the YouTube page in the “About” section.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

And if you like what you’re seeing, please consider supporting this site on Patreon.

Survivors stunned after Bishop Scharfenberger celebrates Mass with abusive priests

Survivors stunned after Bishop Scharfenberger celebrates Mass with abusive priests
By Charlie Specht
https://www.wkbw.com/news/i-team/survivors-stunned-after-bishop-scharfenberger-celebrates-mass-with-abusive-priests

Never trust a person who can clear their conscience of any immoral act by asking forgiveness from their imaginary friend

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Survivors of sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Buffalo reacted with outrage and despair Tuesday to news that interim Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger celebrated Mass the day before with multiple priests the diocese admits are credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

Scharfenberger invited priests of the diocese to Mass and lunch at St. Leo the Great in Amherst on Monday. At the Mass, dozens of priests dressed in robes and concelebrated, or shared the Mass and Eucharist with, the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski.

“I’m so very sad and confused today,” said Stephanie McIntyre, who said she was abused by Maryanski starting when she was 15 years old. “This is an all time low moment that hit me just when I thought I was ready to begin healing.”

Maryanski had been accused of abusing McIntyre decades ago at a parish in Barker, and he denied the allegations. But on Jan. 7, 2019, the diocese included both Maryanski and the Rev. Mark J. Wolski on its official list of “priests with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.”

Diocesan leaders previously said the priests’ cases would go to the Vatican, which makes the final decision on whether to defrock pedophile priests. A priest who attended the Mass on Monday told 7 Eyewitness News that both men — Maryanski and Wolski — were present, with Maryanski concelebrating the service and Wolski saying the convocation, or prayer, before the catered lunch. In 2018, a man said Wolski abused him from 1968 to 1970 while he was between 15 and 17 years old.

McIntyre said she started to cry and had “a total meltdown” upon hearing the news of Scharfenberger allowing Maryanski to concelebrate the Mass with dozens of other priests.

“[It] feels like justice was ripped away,” McIntyre said. “If the proof of my case doesn’t beg for justice, no victim will ever have justice.”

In a written statement released Tuesday afternoon, Scharfenberger said the gathering “was a private Mass…not open to the public” and added, “I deeply regret that this decision to gather privately in prayer and penance opened the door to yet another wound for those harmed.” Read Scharfenberger’s full statement here.

Also present at the Mass, according to the priest, was the Rev. Art Smith, who has been accused of sexually abusing multiple children (he denies the claims) as well as allegedly assaulting Fr. Ryszard Biernat while Biernat was a seminarian.

Biernat said Smith approached him Monday at the priest luncheon and began making bizarre comments.

“He asked if there could be mediation between me and him because ‘he never wanted to hurt me – he just wanted to show me how much he loved me and how much he cared for me,'” Biernat wrote on Facebook. “He said that he still loves me and it is all misunderstanding. I said to him that there is no misunderstanding. If you go into somebody’s bed and climb under the sheets and grab their genitals and kiss their neck there’s no misunderstanding there.”

Biernat wrote that when he worked as Bishop Richard J. Malone’s secretary, Biernat planned to apply for a restraining order against Smith because the priest kept contacting him after the alleged assault, but Biernat said Malone discouraged him from doing so.

“I have forgiven Art Smith, but to continue to hear how much he loves me and cares about me gets me so upset and angry,” Biernat wrote. “Why doesn’t he understand that this type of love is not OK? Why doesn’t he understand that this is not how you show that you care about somebody? 16 years after being sexually assaulted I still deal with this guy who would not let go. Sixteen years later I lay in bed and it feels like I am there again…”

Biernat said Bishop Scharfenberger was joined on the altar by Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz, Msgr. Robert Zapfel and the Rev. Joseph Gatto, who was accused by multiple men of sexual misconduct. Gatto denied the allegations but acknowledged spending time at a church “treatment center” in Canada.

He was returned to ministry by Malone last year, but the bishop reversed the appointment after outrage by parents. Since then, Zapfel has quietly allowed him to assume a position as parochial vicar at St. Leo’s in Amherst.

Lawsuit: Former Providence priest trafficked children for sex

Lawsuit: Former Providence priest trafficked children for sex
By Brian Amaral
https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20200227/lawsuit-former-providence-priest-trafficked-children-for-sex

And, the suit says, the Diocese actively thwarted efforts to stop the predator priest, instead giving him a new assignment, to St. Martha Church in East Providence.

A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence trafficked children for sex, using the guise of international charitable work to prey on boys at orphanages in Haiti and rectories in Rhode Island, a lawsuit filed Thursday says.

The diocese and its defenders looked the other way and actively thwarted efforts to stop the predator priest, the suit says. In one instance, a parishioner who later became associated with the diocese’s legal counsel reported leaving a party at a rectory because he was made uncomfortable by the presence of boys, some dressed in diapers, according to the suit.

And even today, the diocese continues to blithely minimize the toll of child sexual abuse, the suit says, such as when a West Warwick parish priest said recently that “pedophilia doesn’t kill anyone.”

The allegations are laid out in a complaint filed Thursday in Superior Court, Providence, against the diocese, Bishop Thomas Tobin, retired Bishop Louis Gelineau, and St. Joseph Church in Providence.

Reached Thursday, Gelineau declined to comment, citing his advanced age — he turns 92 in May — and frail health. He would not be able to analyze the issues or recall facts enough to make a comment, he said.

The diocese did not respond immediately to a request for comment sent after 4 p.m. Thursday.

The plaintiff, Robert Houllahan, a 51-year-old Providence resident, says he was molested as a child by the Rev. Normand Demers — who received the “protection and affirmative assistance” of the diocese and its leaders, the suit said. Houllahan is represented by attorney Timothy J. Conlon, who has represented numerous other priest-abuse victims.

Houllahan himself does not say he was trafficked to the United States for sex, but said he saw children from Central America when he was brought upstairs to Demers’ private quarters in the rectory of St. Joseph in Providence. Houllahan was molested there by two men, Demers and an unidentified person, the suit says.

Demers, who died in 2018, was included last year in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s list of clergy who it deemed had been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors.

Demers was removed from ministry in 2002, more than a decade after the diocese became aware he’d been accused of misconduct with minors at an orphanage in Haiti. He continued to serve as a Rhode Island priest despite the allegation, until a letter accusing him of sexual abuse at Fatima Hospital surfaced in 2002, according to Journal archives.

The suit says Demers was involved with foreign missions that had been described as “orphanages” or “schools,” but that were in fact known to the diocese as a source of child sexual-abuse victims both within the country and outside the country.

He brought child victims into the country as “sponsored” students and housed them on property supplied by the diocese and its leaders, the suit says. He also shared a child victim with at least one other predator, the suit says.

Demers used parish property to house boys, keeping between three and six with him and “sending back” at least one of them who rebuffed his sexual advances, the suit says.

But when people tried to report Demers’ conduct to the diocese, all its leaders did was protect their own, the suit said.

In 1989, for instance, a woman went to Haiti to become the new director of an orphanage and school that Demers had helped establish. She soon became concerned, though, because a teenage boy was sleeping in Demers’ room. Once she started working with the boys, she learned he was a “threat” to them.

The boys reported that he used clothes brought from Rhode Island as an excuse to undress and then molest them, the suit says.

She went to the police there, and Demers was arrested and held.

But then-Auxiliary Bishop Kenneth Angell, at the direction of then-Bishop Gelineau, promised the director that if she cooperated in dropping the charges against Demers, he’d be brought back stateside to “face this,” the suit alleges.

Based on the promises that Demers would be investigated, prosecuted and punished on his return, she signed a document allowing him to be released.

Demers not only faced no immediate consequences when he came back to Rhode Island, he received a new assignment at St. Martha Church in East Providence in 1990. He denied the allegations when they surfaced in 2002.

Civil litigation has helped expose the extent of past sexual abuse, Houllahan’s suit says. But he also takes aim at the diocese and its leaders for more current statements, like the West Warwick priest, the Rev. Richard Bucci, who told WJAR that, unlike abortion, “pedophilia doesn’t kill anyone.” He later backtracked from those comments, but they’re cited in the lawsuit.

Pedophilia can, in fact, be deadly, the suit notes; multiple victims of clergy sexual abuse in Rhode Island and throughout the country have died by suicide.

“The long-term effects of abuse can have generational costs — first in terms of the costs of treatment and injury to the victims, but secondarily in the destruction to the lives of the victim’s parents and other childhood family members, and thereafter to the victim’s spouses and children,” the suit says.

‘Church is no longer a safe place:’ State prison for local priest in indecent assault of girl

‘Church is no longer a safe place:’ State prison for local priest in indecent assault of girl
By Sarah Cassi
https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/2020/02/church-is-no-longer-a-safe-place-state-prison-for-priest-in-indecent-assault-of-girl.html

Kevin Lonergan, center, seen here on June 8, 2014, as he celebrated his first mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Pottsville, Pa.Andy Matsko/The Republican-Herald via AP | For lehighvalleylive.com

A former Allentown priest was sentenced Monday to state prison for the indecent assault of a girl he met through his city parish.

Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos noted it was a maximum sentence of one to two years in state prison for 31-year-old Kevin Lonergan, who has been free on bail in the case since he was charged.

Lonergan pleaded guilty in November to indecent assault of the girl, who was 17 at the time.

In addition to commending the bravery of the teen girl who came forward, Dantos took note of a prior accusation against Lonergan in another county.

In that incident, Lonergan was accused of molesting a 15-year-old girl, Chief Deputy District Attorney Matt Falk said. But the girl and her family did not cooperate with an investigation and the case stalled, Falk said during Monday’s hearing.

Lonergan was transferred to Allentown, a practice Dantos railed against as she hit her bench in the courtroom.

The Catholic church’s practice of transferring priests accused of misconduct came to light in the 1980s and continues more than three decades later, the judge said.

“There’s plenty of blame to go around, most of it on your shoulders,” the judge said to Lonergan.

The diocese in a prepared statement disputed Dantos’ characterization of what happened with the previous allegation.

“Regarding statements made in court, it is not accurate to say that the Diocese improperly transferred a priest who had committed an offense. Father Lonergan received a new assignment in 2016 only after Northampton County Children and Youth determined that the accusation was unfounded,” the statement said. “The Diocese took immediate action upon receiving the information on this previous allegation. Father Lonergan was forbidden from ministry, and the Diocese reported the allegation to law enforcement under its zero tolerance policy.”

The victim and her parents described a life of service to the Catholic church, and how the community built around their faith made the church a constant in their lives.

The victim described the rage she felt and the sleepless nights after the incidents with Lonergan, and the repercussions she and her family have dealt with since she reported the crime to authorities.

In one instance, a relative of Lonergan’s contacted the victim through social media, and offered her money to drop the case.

“I can feel your strength. Sometimes that’s not always an easy burden to bear, to be strong,” the judge said.

The victim’s mother and father described their devout faith, of raising their daughter in a church and community they trusted, and how church became a place of good memories and comfort.

“Church is no longer a safe place,” the victim’s mother said, adding that Mass is torturous for her and she cannot walk into a church without crying. “Kevin Lonergan’s actions have taken away my sense of security, my belief system.”

Since the charges were filed, the family has been isolated, and did not hear from their fellow parishioners or any priests.

“The church that we so believed in abandoned us,” the mother said.

Lonergan was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Church on 11th Street in Allentown, when he met the accuser in August 2017.

He got her cellphone number from another member of the church and communicated with her, mostly via Snapchat, through January 2018, the district attorney previously said. The messages included nude photos of Lonergan and one video, Dantos said.

In February 2018, Lonergan hugged the victim at church — she attempted to pull away, but he pulled her closer and grabbed her rear over her clothes, prosecutors said.

After the victim told another priest of the assault in June 2018, the diocese reported it to the DA’s office and Lonergan was immediately suspended from public ministry.

A family friend of Lonergan’s spoke of Lonergan “humbling” himself to work at his Pottsville auto dealership. When the man said the accusations against Lonergan didn’t seem to fit, the judge stopped him.

Dantos said Lonergan pleaded guilty, and that the presumption of innocence was gone. She then told the man to take a seat, and none of the other supporters in the audience spoke.

Lonergan, in his statement to the court, did say he was guilty, of the crime, of stealing the victim’s dignity, and of the pain suffered by his family.

Lonergan asked for forgiveness, and said he would “never forgive myself for what I have done.”

Lonergan was a priest for five years, and was previously assigned to St. Jane Frances de Chantal in Palmer Township from June 2014 to May 2016. Monsignor Stephen Radocha previously said there were no credible allegations made against Lonergan while he was assigned to St. Jane’s.

A concern was raised about him in 2016 by a third party, but Northampton County Children and Youth investigated and determined that concern to be unfounded, the monsignor said.

“The Diocese offers its heartfelt prayers to the victim, to her family, and to everyone who was hurt as the result of Father Lonergan’s actions,” the Diocese of Allentown said in a released statement. “From the beginning of this case, the Diocese followed its protocols to the letter, and will continue to do so. Bishop Alfred Schlert removed Father Lonergan from ministry and immediately notified law enforcement on the day the allegations were made.”

Lonergan will not return to ministry. Now that the criminal case is finished, the diocese will submit the case to the Vatican.

After the hearing, and asked about a possible appeal, defense attorney Eric Prock said he still needs to discuss possible next steps with his client, but that all options are on the table.

FBI ramping up its Buffalo Diocese investigation

FBI ramping up its Buffalo Diocese investigation
Interviews sex abuse victim in another state
By Charlie Specht
https://www.wkbw.com/news/i-team/fbi-ramping-up-its-buffalo-diocese-investigation

The FBI is pursuing a “wide-ranging” investigation of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and its role in covering up clergy sexual abuse over decades, according to news reports and three sources who have spoken to federal agents.

The Buffalo News first reported Friday that agents have spoken with multiple victims of clergy sexual abuse in Buffalo, even though many of the alleged sex crimes happened decades ago. The victims said agents are interested in proving historical and ongoing cover-ups perpetuated by Buffalo Diocese leaders, according to The News.

“They’re really looking for proof of a cover-up,” Nicole Delisio Wright, an advocate for victims of clergy abuse, told The News. “Any type of proof that there’s a widespread cover-up.”

Wright previously confirmed to 7 Eyewitness News that she was interviewed by federal agents. Two other sources also confirmed that they were interviewed by agents from the bureau, who asked about specific cases of sexual abuse and the way the diocese handled them.

Stephanie McIntyre, a victim of alleged sexual abuse by Fr. Fabian Maryanski, recently spoke with federal agents from her home in another state, she also confirmed Friday. McIntyre has been offered a $400,000 settlement from the diocese for the alleged abuse.

“With the encouragement of others who are helping to fight for justice, along with lots of prayer, I realized that I had both a moral and civil obligation to do this,” McIntyre told 7 Eyewitness News of her interview with the FBI. “I believe I was able to offer them information that will be very instrumental. I continue to pray that my suffering, my story, will help others to be able to obtain the transformational justice that they need and deserve in order to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward.”

FBI spokeswoman Maureen P. Dempsey said, “The FBI cannot confirm or deny any matter that may fall under its investigative purview unless and until it is made public through a court filing or press announcement.”

Buffalo Diocese spokeswoman Kathy Spangler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

7 Eyewitness News featured McIntyre’s story in September in Part 3 of its investigation into Bishop Malone. Maryanski first met McIntyre in 1984 when he was the pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in Barker. The Buffalo News reported her story in May, when Maryanski was still in active ministry at Nativity church in Clarence despite the allegations.

McIntyre, in a letter she sent to Bishop Malone in April, said the priest abused her for seven years, beginning when she was 15 years old. Maryanski maintains she was in her 20s at the time.

“My abuser not only robbed me of my youthful innocence,” she wrote, “but he destroyed my family.”

McIntyre hired a lawyer and reported the abuse to the diocese in 1995 but said she “was not offered one iota of help to deal with the fallout from Fr. Maryanski’s actions.”

Church documents show the diocese considered placing Maryanski on the list of 42 accused priests in March but officials concluded, “We did not remove him from ministry despite full knowledge of the case, and so including him on list might require explanation.”

The diocese withheld Maryanski’s name from the list and has still not included him on a list of credibly accused priests.

KEY LINKS IN THE BUFFALO DIOCESE SEX ABUSE SCANDAL:

Part 1 of the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team investigation revealed that Malone returned Fr. Art Smith to ministry despite allegations of inappropriate contact with a child. Malone returned the accused priests to ministry after a previous bishop suspended him, documents obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team show.

Part 2 revealed that Malone allowed Fr. Robert Yetter to remain pastor of St. Mary’s in Swormville despite multiple sexual harassment allegations by young men. 

Part 3 cited church records that showed more than 100 priests in the diocese were accused of sexual abuse or misconduct. Malone in March released a list of only 42 priests “who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.”

The investigative series sparked Buffalo civic leaders to call for Malone’s resignation and Catholics have mounted weekly protests in front of the Diocese of Buffalo Chancery. Malone in August held a news conference and refused to resign as Buffalo bishop.

In September, the State Attorney General launched a statewide investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and last week, it was revealed the FBI has launched its own criminal investigation into the diocese.

In October, “60 Minutes” aired a national investigative story on Bishop Malone and the Diocese of Buffalo. 

In November, I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht traveled to Portland, Maine. Malone served as bishop there before coming to Buffalo. There, Charlie spoke with advocates for victims of sexual abuse about how Malone had been accused of mishandling sex abuse cases. The I-Team also obtained new documents surrounding the cases which paint a much different picture of the bishop’s past.