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"News of the Week"  

August, 2018 - Week 3
MJ Goyings
Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio,
for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.


Former Border Patrol supervisor admits harassing man who accused his brother-in-law of child sexual abuse

by Alex Riggins

A former Border Patrol agent from Chula Vista pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to abusing his authority to intimidate and detain a man who accused the agent's brother-in-law of molesting his young son.

Martin Rene Duran, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. He was also convicted by a federal jury in February on eight weapons charges for buying guns in Arizona with an Arizona driver's license despite living in Chula Vista.

According to the plea agreement submitted Thursday in San Diego federal court, Duran was a supervisory agent at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol station in May 2013 when he created false warnings in a government computer system for his victim, a man identified in court documents only as R.C.

The alerts — entered into the principal database used by officers to screen border-crossers — included notations that Duran knew to be false against R.C., a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. with no known criminal background.

One of the first alerts claimed R.C. was a mechanic who worked on drug-smuggling vehicles and was known to carry guns. Another alert said R.C. had made threats against U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

The warnings prompted CBP officers to stop R.C. several times as he crossed from Mexico into the U.S., sometimes with his family, including once when he and his wife were detained and separated from their young children for more than two hours.

According to prosecutors, at least one alert directed border authorities to contact Duran if they stopped R.C., and that's what they did in May 2013 when R.C. tried to enter the country at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Duran went to where R.C. was detained and began questioning him “regarding the personal matter involving R.C. and (Duran's) brother-in-law,” according to the plea agreement.

According to court documents, R.C. had accused Duran's brother-in-law, Raymundo Estrada Figueroa, of child sexual abuse. Estrada was reportedly having an affair with R.C.'s wife, who was the mother of the boys Estrada allegedly molested.

Estrada has been indicted on six counts involving alleged sexual abuse of two children under 12 years old. His case is still pending.

R.C. told investigators he believed Duran was trying to pressure him into dropping his accusations against Estrada. On Thursday, Duran admitted as much in court, prosecutors said.

“This agent … targeted a law-abiding citizen because of a personal vendetta, and for that he will pay a price,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said in a statement.

In February, a jury convicted Duran on seven counts of illegal transportation of firearms and a count of possession of a short-barreled rifle. The guns in that case were discovered in 2015 at his Chula Vista home during the investigation into the case he pleaded guilty to Thursday.

Duran is scheduled to be sentenced in both cases next month.

According to the plea agreement, his attorney will recommend a federal prison sentence no shorter than six months, while federal prosecutors will recommend a sentence no longer than three years and eight months.



Tucson man on death row for murder of girl, 4, could go free after judge's ruling

by Curt Prendergast, Arizona Daily Star

A Tucson man could be freed from death row after a federal judge overturned his 1995 conviction for the murder of a 4-year-old girl.

State prosecutors have until mid-September to refile charges against Barry Lee Jones or he will be released from prison, according to a July 31 order from U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess that cited poor performance by Jones' attorneys and a rush to judgment by investigators.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office filed notice Wednesday that it plans to appeal the order.

State prosecutors also asked Burgess to extend the time they have to retry Jones to 90 days so they can pursue “ongoing discussions regarding potential resolutions to the case,” according to U.S. District Court records.

Jones was convicted in the May 2, 1994, killing of Rachel Gray, 4, at the Desert Vista Trailer Park on East Benson Highway near South Alvernon Way. Rachel died after being struck in the abdomen, which caused a fatal small-bowel laceration. Doctors also found evidence Rachel was beaten and sexually assaulted at some point before her mother, Angela Gray, and Jones took her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Jones was arrested the same day and accused of sexual abuse, beating Rachel, placing her life in danger and felony murder. Jones, then 36, was convicted in April 1995 of first-degree murder and several charges related to sexual abuse and child abuse by a jury in Pima County Superior Court. He was sentenced to death, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent his case back to federal court in Tucson after finding reason to believe his attorneys failed to adequately represent him.

Burgess said there was a “reasonable probability” the outcome of Jones' trial would have been different if his court-appointed lawyers had done a better job during and after his trial.

Jones' attorneys at trial were Sean Bruner, who had handled one death-penalty case before being assigned to represent Jones, and Bruner's partner, Leslie Bowman, who had been admitted to the state Bar Association less than a year before, Burgess wrote. The Arizona Supreme Court appointed attorney James Hazel to represent Jones in 1999.

While representing Jones, “the central focus of the defense should have been an investigation into when Rachel suffered her injuries,” according to the 91-page order from Burgess, a judge from Alaska who was appointed to handle the appeal after all federal judges in Arizona were recused.

Bowman is now a magistrate judge in federal court in Tucson.

The prosecution said the fatal injury was inflicted on the afternoon of May 1 when Rachel was alone with Jones, Burgess wrote. Jones' lawyers should have presented the jury with evidence, such as a neighbor's testimony and pretrial statements from a doctor that indicated Rachel's injuries could have occurred days earlier.

Burgess also said evidence “demonstrated that the police investigation was colored by a rush to judgment and lack of due diligence and thorough professional investigation.”

Evidence was available that indicated the need for further investigation, such as reports that the girl and her siblings had been struck by their mother, Burgess wrote.

The children also may have been sexually molested by their brother or their mother's previous boyfriend. And Rachel complained that a neighborhood boy hit her with a metal bar.

Jones' attorneys failed to provide tissue samples to an independent pathologist who needed them to determine the timeline of Rachel's injuries, Burgess wrote.

They also should have pointed out inconsistencies in the testimony of the state's medical expert in Jones' trial and in the earlier trial of Rachel's mother, who was convicted of reckless child abuse and sentenced to eight years in prison.


Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Retreats for ‘gay priests, brothers' and ‘lesbian sisters' to take place in Milwaukee archdiocese

by Joseph Sciambra

From October 2 to 4, 2018, Fr. Bryan Massingale will lead "a retreat for gay priests, brothers, and deacons" at Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The Siena Retreat Center is overseen by the Racine Dominican Sisters. The retreat is sponsored by the dissident pro-gay marriage group  New Ways Ministry . Later this year, on November 16-18, 2018, the Siena Retreat Center will also host a conference for "lesbian sisters, congregational leaders, and vocation & formation ministers." The speakers include Cristina L.H. Traina, the chair of religious studies at Northwestern University. Traina is a member of St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church in Evanston, Illinois, Archdiocese of Chicago, where she is active in the Gay and Lesbian Ministry. In 2013, concerning the legalization of same-sex marriage, she wrote:

Same-sex marriage initiatives do not require Catholic clergy to marry gay and lesbian couples and do not devalue heterosexual marriage or encourage casual sex. If anything, same-sex marriage enshrines stable two-parent households as profoundly valuable, all things being equal, to children's welfare.

In a separate article, she again argued for an acceptance of same-sex marriage in the Catholic Church:

Pope Benedict acknowledged the integrity of people who want to use condoms to forestall the spread of an often-fatal disease, though the Catholic Church teaches that sex should be confined to marriage and that monogamy and abstinence are better protection than condoms against HIV/AIDS. American bishops could follow suit by acknowledging the integrity of same-sex couples who want to marry, declare their fidelity, and raise children together, though the Catholic Church teaches that marriage should be confined to heterosexual couples.

Traina concluded:

The implication of the popes' actions is clear: marriage equality could be an important stepping stone to a holy life and therefore just might be good law.

Bryan Massingale is currently a professor of theology at Fordham University. In 2017, Massingale spoke at New Ways Ministry's Eight National Symposium. In 1999, the co-founders of New Ways Ministry were officially silenced by the Vatican. In 2010, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, archbishop of Chicago and then-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the status of the organization "New Ways Ministry" (excerpted here):

No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.

According to an article from the  National Catholic Reporter about the 2017 New Ways Ministry Symposium:

Massingale, a priest of the Milwaukee archdiocese, shared a note he had received in 2002 from Rembert Weakland, who earlier that year had resigned as archbishop of Milwaukee after a man he'd had an affair with two decades earlier and he had paid to $450,000 to keep it quiet made the relationship public. Weakland wrote: "On the gay issue, the level of fears is so high that the official teaching of the church skates so very close to the edge of a new 'theology of contempt.'"

Massingale added:

The situation leaves the church in an often contradictory corridor or "open closet," ... one in which gays "are to be accepted sensitively and compassionately, as long as there is little or no public acknowledgment of their sexual identity,' lifestyle' or 'culture.'"

On March 16, 2018, Massingale was a panel presenter at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress for a workshop entitled "Transgender in Our Schools: One Bread, One Body." On the topic of transgenderism and the Catholic Church, Massingale stated that the Church is in "a period of discernment":

So, what do we do when we don't understand? It means the Catholic Church is all over the board on this. It means if you go to Holy Rosary College, and you transition as a student, they will welcome you with open arms, and the campus ministry will accept you and they will provide housing and accommodations. Or you go to Saint Kundykunda's, try not to pick anybody ... and you transition, you can be expelled. Because that's the kind of place we are at right now because the Catholic Church is in a period of discernment as we are trying to understand what we don't understand.

Concerning a change in Church teaching with regard to homosexual activity, in comparison to the process that took place in the Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Lutheran churches, Massingale argued:

They all went through a messy period marked by a divergence of opinion and open disagreement on approach[.] ... We can't expect the Catholic experience to be any different. The differences we see among official leaders are part of a normal process of coming to a different place.

He continued:

I think this is a call for us as Catholics to accept the reality that we live in a church that's in the midst of hesitant but real change and development. How do we help our people to understand that this isn't something that's entirely new in church history?

He would later add:

We're in this transitional time when we're moving out of one paradigm of understanding human sexuality and into another. That's part of the mess we're in, but it is our faith as Catholics that this mess contains the ground for new life and new birth.

Specifically addressing the transgender issue and the Catholic Church, Massingale said:

Because trans people are not talking about choosing their gender. They are talking about a process of discovery. And it's very different than I woke up one day and I am going to be a woman. No, it's not that simple. What it does say though is that the Catholic Church is like most of us. We're afraid. What are we afraid of? We're afraid that if we make room for that which we do not understand that we could be falling into moral chaos somewhere. 

On April 5, 2018, Jesuit James Martin promoted the upcoming retreat for gay priests at Siena Retreat Center on his official Facebook page. In 2017, when Archdiocese of Milwaukee priest Greg Greiten came out publicly as gay, Martin praised Greiten as "a pioneer." Archbishop Listecki of Milwaukee released  the following statement:

We support Father Greiten in his own, personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation.

According to the “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders,” from the Congregation for Catholic Education:

…the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture.” Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.

Please contact:

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee


Wachington, DC

Washington, D.C. newspapers: ‘Cardinal Wuerl must go'

by Claire Chretien

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two Washington, D.C. newspapers have published articles calling for Cardinal Donald Wuerl to resign as fallout from the Pennsylvania grand jury report continues.

The grand jury report details a number of clerical sex abuse cases that intersected with Wuerl's tenure as Bishop of Pittsburgh. He is being criticized for allowing predatory priests to remain in active ministry, shuffling them between dioceses and parishes.

On August 16, the American Enterprise Institute's Marc Thiessen wrote an opinion piece titled Cardinal Wuerl must go for the Washington Post.

“Wuerl, who served as the bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, did discipline some priests — and even went to the Vatican to fight an order that he reinstate one,” Thiessen acknowledged. “But the grand jury also wrote that he reassigned other predator priests — including the one who ‘groomed' [victim] George and introduced him to the [pedophile] ring that photographed him.”

“In at least one case, Wuerl required a victim to sign a ‘confidentiality agreement' barring him from discussing his abuse with any third party as part of a settlement,” he continued. “That is a coverup. In addition, the grand jury also wrote that under his leadership the diocese failed to report allegations of abuse to law enforcement, advocated for a convicted predator at sentencing, and then provided a $11,542.68 lump-sum payment to the disgraced priest after his release from prison.”

Comments that Wuerl made about his predecessor Theodore McCarrick – who resigned from the College of Cardinals after he was revealed to have been a serial abuser of priests, seminarians, and boys – have also come under fire.

“I don't think this is some massive, massive crisis,” Wuerl said. “It was a terrible disappointment.”

“Excuse me, Your Eminence? It is a massive, massive crisis,” responded Thiessen. “How was McCarrick allowed to rise through the hierarchy despite the countless warnings to both his fellow bishops and the Vatican that he was a sexual predator? Who knew? Who helped him?”

“The same conspiracy of silence that allowed sexual predators to flourish in Wuerl's Pittsburgh diocese for decades also allowed McCarrick to become, until just a few weeks ago, one of the most powerful American cardinals, even in retirement,” he continued.

Also on August 16, the Washington Examiner published an opinion piece titled For the church's and the nation's sake, Cardinal Wuerl must go. The byline on that article is “Washington Examiner,” suggesting it represents the sentiment of the paper's editorial board.

“In three cases, the grand jury report suggests Wuerl either obfuscated or kept quiet records of abuse by priests under his supervision in Pittsburgh,” the Washington Examiner observed. “One former priest, Rev. George Zirwas, was known to be part of a ring of priests who had exploited and raped teenage boys. Zirwas's co-conspirators were convicted of their abuse during Wuerl's first year, and fresh reports about Zirwas's abuse of boys trickled in during Wuerl's tenure there. Nevertheless, Wuerl moved him around to four different parishes before finally removing him.”

That paper also blasted Wuerl for what he said about his predecessor: “‘Disappointment' was the label he gave to the news that a prince of the church and a papal confidant had hosted gay sex parties, into which he recruited the aspiring priests in his charge.”

The Examiner criticized Wuerl for sounding “like a corporate spokesman” and not expressing “anger at the behavior of McCarrick, or of the priests he oversaw in Pittsburgh, or whoever may have hid from him the truth of these men's behavior. He has not acknowledged or addressed the anger of the average layman at our clergy.”

Wuerl is not exhibiting “the behavior of a good shepherd looking out for his sheep, whose friends and families and neighbors and seminarians and priests have been attacked by wolves. This is the behavior of a bureaucrat looking out for the reputation of his office.”

‘Mercy without truth and penance is PR'

Writer Sohrab Ahmari also took bishops to task for their reaction to the grand jury report.

“The most painful aspect of all this is the blasé response of many American hierarchs and especially those, like Washington Archbishop Donald Cardinal Wuerl, who are implicated in the report,” he wrote in the New York Post. “Wuerl and his colleagues have treated the report as a PR headache rather than a moral and spiritual wake-up call. They have acted like corporate reputation managers rather than successors to the Apostles. Instead of venting prophetic anger, they've taken refuge behind flacks.”

Ahmari castigated the U.S. episcopacy for its “heavily lawyered blabber” and ripped Wuerl for writing on a now-deleted archdiocesan website in his defense:

“While I served as Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and as our understanding of child sexual abuse increased, the Diocese worked to strengthen our response and repeatedly amended the Diocese's safeguards and policies.”

“That bit about ‘our understanding' of abuse ‘increasing' over time is particularly rich, as if the Catholic Church hadn't prohibited sexual immorality of all kinds for two millennia,” he responded. “Whatever ‘amending' took place during Wuerl's time in Pittsburgh wasn't enough. On his watch, the diocese allowed a predator priest, Ernest Paone, to interact with kids in other states, though cases against him had piled up at the Pittsburgh chancery.”

Ahmari concluded: “These days there is a lot of talk of ‘mercy' and ‘accompaniment' in the Roman Church. But these outrages call for a different kind of spirit: the spirit of judgment, the fiery spirit of Saint Paul, who raged against sexual immorality in the early Church in his epistles and consigned those who defiled the people of God to fates worse than excommunication. For mercy without truth and penance is just PR.”



(video on site)

Harvey Weinstein sex trafficking lawsuit can proceed, judge rules

Harvey Weinstein could face life behind bars

by Associated Press

A New York judge has ruled that an aspiring actress can sue Harvey Weinstein for violating sex trafficking laws because the proverbial casting couch, in which women are asked to trade sex for Hollywood opportunities, could be considered a "commercial sex act."

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet said the lawsuit filed by Kadian Noble last fall was fairly brought under sex trafficking laws Congress passed that had an "expansive" definition of what could be considered a commercial sex act. His ruling, dated Monday, was filed publicly Tuesday.

He rejected arguments by Weinstein's lawyers that nothing of value was exchanged between Noble and Weinstein in 2014 when they watched her demo reel in a Cannes, France, hotel room before Weinstein allegedly molested her and forced her into a bathroom to watch him masturbate.

Weinstein denies wrongdoing. His lawyers did not immediately return a request for comment.

"For an aspiring actress, meeting a world-renowned film producer carries value, in and of itself," Sweet wrote. "The opportunity, moreover, for the actress to sit down with that producer in a private meeting to review her film reel and discuss a promised film role carries value that is career-making and life-changing.

"The contention, therefore, that Noble was given nothing of value — that the expectation of a film role, of a modeling meeting, of 'his people' being 'in touch with her' had no value — does not reflect modern reality," the judge continued.

He included a footnote at the word "reality," citing sources that explain that the concept of the "'casting couch' — in which aspiring actors and actresses are promised valuable professional opportunities in exchange for sexual favors — has been in the American lexicon for nearly a century."

Weinstein claimed through his lawyers that letting the lawsuit proceed to trial means sex trafficking laws now cover all sexual activity between adults when one person holds power and influence over the other.

Sweet said that even if the prospect of a film role, a modeling meeting or a continued professional relationship with Weinstein were not enough to constitute "things of value" necessary under the sex trafficking statute, then her "reasonable expectation of receiving those things in the future, based on Harvey's repeated representations that she would, is sufficient."

Sweet also dismissed Weinstein's brother from the lawsuit.


New York State

Cuomo signs sex trafficking legislation that closes loophole

by Yoav Gonen

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed legislation that eliminates a mind-boggling loophole in state law that required prosecutors to prove victims of child sex trafficking weren't willing participants.

The loophole, which was highlighted by The Post in a multi-part series in April on sex trafficking in New York City, made it essential for child victims to testify against their assailants in court in order to get justice.

Now, under the Child Sex Trafficking Act, prosecutors will no longer have to prove force, fraud or coercion was used to prostitute out a child in order to secure more hefty convictions against traffickers.

“For the women who run our trafficking unit, I know that they think this is a game-changer,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who attended the bill-signing in Chinatown, told The Post.

“It's been a huge gap in our New York law,” he added. “It's bad enough as a trafficking survivor to testify against your pimp or your trafficker — to do that as a child takes unbelievable courage. This will help us protect those kids.”

The legislation, which was sponsored by Assembly Member Amy Paulin (D-Westchester) and state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island), has been blocked for years in Albany by Assembly Democrats — who were concerned about unintended consequences.

The final bill ensures that victims who help recruit other victims into sex trafficking won't be wrongly prosecuted.

Advocates said it will finally make violent felony convictions against sex traffickers the norm in New York.

“I know for a fact that what we're going to see is more of these pimps and buyers of sex locked up,” said Rev. Que English, of the advocacy group Not On My Watch. “We are now going to see more prosecutions and less revictimizations [in court] and more freedom for these children to come forward with their parents because they know they don't have to [be revictimized].”



(video on site)

Detroit nonprofit hosts prom night for victims rescued from sex trafficking

by Alan Campbell

DETROIT (WXYZ) - More than two dozens women victims of sex trafficking, and sex exploitation had a very special night, celebrating prom.

All the balloons were out and the decor lined the hallways at Alternatives for Girls in Detroit, even the red carpet was rolled out. Nearly 40 women celebrated a night they never experienced before.

"To have somebody to Love is this much and to do this for us it's just a blessing," said April Doss and survivor in attendance. 

It's a night many of us remember for the rest of our lives.  Celebrating prom with your friends in High school, and cherishing every moment. 

"I've never been to a prom and this is a dream come true for me.  It's a wonderful blessed exhilarating experience," said survivor Donna Evans.  

Alternatives for Girls celebrated their Inaugural prom night showing the women a good time.

"We've all  had certain circumstances that stopped us from going to the prom, but AFG made it up to us," Evans said.

The women enjoyed food, music and just good old fun, changing the narrative to what Friday nights used to be like them.

"Chaos..chaos I was on the streets so it was chaos," Doss said.

For the women in attendance, this Prom night is something they can now all cherish together, and they have a message for anyone trapped where they used to be.

"Keep your head up, keep trying, keep trying, keep trying, never give up," Doss said.

Alternatives for Girls say they plan on making this an annual event.



Man faces charges of Encouraging Child Sex Abuse, Encouraging Sexual Assault of an Animal

by News Staff

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A 56-year-old Corvallis man faces charges of Encouraging Child Sex Abuse and Encouraging Sexual Assault of an Animal, the Benton County Sheriff's Office said.

The investigation started back in May, when deputies served a search warrant at a Highway 99W home north of Corvallis.

"The search warrant was related to the illegal distribution of child sexual abuse material over the Internet," according to the sheriff's office. "Numerous computers and electronic devices were seized and analyzed."

On Tuesday of this week, deputies arrested Craig Adair Chapman as a result of the investigation.

Deputies booked Chapman into the Benton County Jail on:

  • 15 counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse in the First Degree

  • 15 counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree

  • 6 counts of Encouraging Sexual Assault of an Animal

He is being held on $1 million bail.



Woman indicted for child abuse after allegedly injecting son with insulin

Jerusalem ultra-Orthodox mother of 10 charged with five counts of suspected assault of 1-year-old


A Jerusalem woman was indicted Sunday for allegedly injecting her one-year-old son with insulin even though he did not have diabetes.

The woman, a 30-year-old ultra-Orthodox mother of 10, was charged at the Jerusalem District Court with abuse of a minor or helpless person by a guardian, and five counts of assaulting a minor or helpless person.

The indictment only dealt with suspected child abuse. When details of the case were cleared for publication last month, police said the woman was suspected of creating the appearance that five of her children have diabetes in order to falsely claim welfare benefits.

Police said at the time that the woman and her husband, who was also arrested but later released, received some NIS 800,000 ($220,000) in total and that the benefit claim would be investigated. According to Hebrew daily Haaretz, the financial aspect of the investigation is still ongoing.

According to the incident, after the toddler — who suffers from a number of medical issues — was hospitalized in serious condition, the mother told the family's doctor in June that her son had hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

The doctor then ordered the child be checked for diabetes and a day later the woman brought the toddler to Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center with low blood sugar.

While the child was hospitalized, the woman injected him with insulin at least five times between June 16 and 27, the incitement said, causing his blood sugar to drop to hypoglycemic levels.

After one such incident, doctors hooked up the toddler to an infusion device, but the mother turned it off and later bit a hole in the tube connecting it to her son in order to prevent it from working, according to the indictment.

“In her aforementioned actions, the defendant commitment acts of physical abuse against a minor for who she is responsible, attacking the helpless minor and giving him injuries that resulted in dangerous injury, or that harmed or were likely to badly or permanently harm the health of injured person,” the indictment said.

Prosecutors requested the woman be held in custody until the end of the trial.

The mother has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that she treated her children in the belief they were diabetic.



Some priests accused of child sexual abuse were sent to psychiatric clinics for treatment

by Anthony J. Machcinski

Though Pennsylvania enacted the first U.S. law 55 years ago that required mandatory reporting of child abuse to law enforcement, its Catholic dioceses didn't take it to heart.

Those first laws in the state placed the duty to report abuse on doctors and other medical staff. At least three states – Nebraska, Tennessee and Utah – required all people to report evidence of child abuse, according to a September 2014 Villanova Law Review article.

But much of the damage that Pennsylvania's abusive priests inflicted didn't leave bruises. And when those priests were discovered, bishops and other priests who were called on to investigate the allegations didn't treat them as crimes and rarely told law enforcement.

Instead, St. Luke Institute in the Washington suburb of Adelphi, Maryland, keeps appearing in the 900-page grand jury report released Tuesday. In total, at least 30 priests were sent there.

The report, which lists 301 priests in six Catholic dioceses accused of child abuse, names psychiatric treatment centers as part of the church's plan in dealing with problem priests.

Other treatment centers mentioned include St. John Vianney, a church-run facility in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, where at least 17 priests were sent, and Southdown Institute, a psychiatric facility in Ontario, Canada, where several others took sabbaticals. 

“By sending people to treatment, you're giving them treatment that will hopefully end the abuse.”

Susan Gibbs, St. Luke Institute

“(The dioceses), for an appearance of integrity, send priests for ‘evaluation' at church-run psychiatric treatment centers,” the grand jury report states. “They allow these experts to ‘diagnose' whether the priest was a pedophile, based largely on the priest's 'self-reports' and regardless of whether the priest had actually engaged in sexual contact with a child.”

These clinics also were highlighted in The Boston Globe's 2002 investigation into Boston Archdiocese priests.

St. Luke Institute's website calls itself an “international Catholic education and treatment center dedicated to healthy life and ministry for priests, deacons and men and women religious.”

Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for St. Luke, said her treatment center is part of the solution.

"(St. Luke) provided external information to the diocese so they could make the right steps," she said. "By sending people to treatment, you're giving them treatment that will hopefully end the abuse." 

Sister Dorothy Heiderscheit, chief executive of Southland Institute, said the church does not run her facility. It is layman owned and operated.

She declined to comment further, citing confidentiality issues.

St. John Vianney officials could not be reached for comment.

What is St. Luke Institute?

St. Luke Institute opened more than 40 years ago for the treatment of alcohol and substance abuse. But in the mid-1980s, officials at the institute began to notice a trend: Many alcoholics often had sexual or personality issues in addition to their addiction, so St. Luke's began treating broader issues. 

The institute's website says it now helps with recovery from “challenges such as anxiety, addiction, depression, substance abuse, boundary concerns, interpersonal problems, sexual issues and trauma.”

Since the facility opened in 1977, it has treated more than 10,000 people. Sexual-abuse problems have been only a small portion of that, Gibbs said.

For all clients, St. Luke uses a five-day evaluation that includes an "intensive" look into medical, psychological and spiritual evaluations. Following that, the diocese, the client and St. Luke therapists meet to discuss the findings, and a recommendation is made from that.

Often, those who are recommended and receive inpatient treatment stay for six months. After that, St. Luke officials send a recommendation on whether the client should return to ministry.

In some cases, the evaluation can help create a diagnosis based on the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. When those guidelines can't classify a client under a diagnosis – such as pedophilia – they can make additional recommendations that can warn the diocese of questionable behavior.

St. Luke staff also mandated reporters in Maryland. If child abuse is suspected or admitted, it must be reported to civil authorities in that state. 

St. Luke can make recommendations, but a diocese and the client have to act on it, Gibbs said.

While the report said sending priests to treatment centers was a key part of the plan to cover up abuse in the church, on several occasions, reports from St. Luke to Pennsylvania dioceses were received, but recommendations were ignored, according to various dioceses' notes detailed in the grand jury report:

• In February 1989, a St. Luke evaluation was summarized on Harrisburg Diocese Office of Judicial Vicar letterhead, diagnosing David Luck with paraphilia, a sexual deviation. Luck admitted to fantasizing about sex with boys, and institute officials recommended Luck not be in ministry or around children.

Luck wasn't suspended until May 1990 and was removed from the priesthood in 2005. The 57-year-old lives in York, Pennsylvania.

• In July 1996, St. Luke staffers evaluated Edward Kryston of the Pittsburgh Diocese, saying they had reason for “extreme caution” and that Kryston was at risk and needed much support. He was recommended to enter residential treatment as soon as possible, and it was “very important that he have NO contact with adolescents.”

A priest received a second letter from St. Luke a month later that said again it would be wise for Kryston to avoid ministry focused on junior or high school students. The information was forwarded to then-Bishop Donald Wuerl.

Wuerl, now archbishop in Washington, D.C., met Aug. 31, 1996, with Kryston and appointed him as a parochial vicar at St. Albert the Great in Baldwin, Pennsylvania, effective Sept. 23, 1996. Kryston was named a pastor there three years later.

The parish was closed in 2016. Kryston, 71, still lives in the Pittsburgh area, but his present status as a priest is not listed.

• On Feb. 8, 1988, St. Luke therapists recommended that children and adolescents not have free access to the Rev. James E. Somma's home, given the sensitivity to priests' relationships with children. Somma, who died in November 2002 at age 68  from complications of Parkinson's disease, remained in the priesthood in the Pittsburgh Diocese until at least early 2002.

In 2002, one victim reported that from 1984 until 1992, Somma sexually abused him, starting when Somma was an Air Force chaplain in Illinois and continuing on visits the teen made to Pittsburgh. During that time when Somma visited the child's family in Illinois, he traveled each time with a different boy, the grand jury report said.

The victim wrote, “When I visited Pittsburgh (at Somma's expense), the same boys hung around the rectory with him.”

• In October 1998, the Diocese of Pittsburgh sent the Rev. Paul Spisak to St. Luke for evaluation. In a letter from the diocese to Wuerl about the evaluation, findings included Spisak's having a compulsive sexual disorder and showing “significant interest in grade school boys.”

Instead of treatment, Wuerl assigned Spisak to residence at St. Mary of Mercy in Cecil, where he was allowed to assist with some duties of the parish, and he's listed as a St. Mary pastor in 1998 on the parish website. Spisak wasn't removed from ministry until 2003 after more sexual abuse allegations came to light.

The 74-year-old still lives in Pittsburgh.

How to fix the problem

The best way to combat sexual abuse is by educating children and parents about the signs of abuse, Gibbs said. It's not just an issue with the Catholic church; it's using the lessons learned in cases like these in everyday life. 

"Early reporting is one of the most important, most significant steps that we can take as a culture," Gibbs said. "If you report early, you can prevent abuse later."

Many of the biggest changes occurred in 2002, after the issue of child abuse and a larger cover-up came to light in Boston. One big change since then was the church telling those reporting to go straight to local authorities, even if the abuse is just suspected. 

"You don't have to know for sure," Gibbs said. "It's your job to flag it and let the professionals look into it. ... If you suspect it, report it because there's a child's life involved there." 

Child-safety tips

The Archdiocese of Washington published the following child-safety tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

1. Teach your children their full names, addresses and home telephone numbers.

2. Teach your children how and when to call 911.

3. Instruct children to keep doors locked and not to open doors to talk to anyone when they are home alone. 

4. Walk or drive the route to and from school with your children, pointing out safe places to go if they need help. 

5. Remind your children not to play outside alone and to stay with a group on outings. 

6. Remind your children that it is OK to say no to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused. (Officials expand on this tip later, saying to tell your children, "It's OK to be rude if someone is making you uncomfortable. Say 'no,' walk away and tell a trusted adult.")

7. Caution your children never to accept a ride from anyone unless you have told them it is OK to do so in each instance.

8. Teach your children how to locate help in public places. 

9. Help your children learn to recognize and avoid potential risks so they can address them if they happen. 

10. Teach your children if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting. 

Source: Archdiocese of Washington Child and Youth Protection


Scranton, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania grand jury report names Northern Tier Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse

The historic report detailed decades of abuse by hundreds of priests.

by Katie Sullivan Borrelli

Among the 301 priests whose names appear in a grand jury report on sexual abuse released in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, 14 were at one time assigned to parishes in the Northern Tier. Another eight were named in a list released by the Diocese of Scranton on the same day.

One priest, accused of sexually harassing a then-Marywood College graduate student, served in Towanda as recently as 2011. Another priest's alleged abuse dates back to 1940.

Pennsylvania Attorney General's office has called the report an "honest and comprehensive accounting of widespread sexual abuse by more than 300 priests."

It's more than 800 pages long; and in some cases, in addition to the names of each accused priest and their assignments, the report provides details into specific accusations made by more than 1,000 victims.

The investigation included six dioceses in the state — Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.

Here are the priests listed by the grand jury who served in the Northern Tier:

Joseph F. Meighan

From December 1981 to September 1984, Meighan served as pastor at St. Martin of Tours in Jackson. He went on to serve at five other locations before he was removed from ministry July 3, 2002, according to the report.

In 1970, at least four boys were interviewed and reported that Meighan had disrobed and fondled them. In 1990, a mother observed Meighan in the process of disrobing her 17-year-old son in the parlor of the rectory.

Lawrence P. Weniger

Weniger served at St. Thomas in Little Meadows from June 1949 to September 1951. His last listed post was as diocesan consultor in 1971. A summary of alleged abuse was not provided.

W. Jeffrey Paulish

Paulish was pastor at St. Francis Xavier in Friendsville, St. Patrick in Middletown and St. Thomas the Apostle in Little Meadows between July 2000 and July 2004.

He was caught having sex with a 15-year-old boy by campus security officers at the University of Scranton. He pleaded guilty to corruption of a minor in 2013 and was sentenced to 8 to 23 months in prison.

Martin M. Boylan

From July 2009 to July 2011, Boylan served as pastor at Ss. Peter and Paul in Towanda, as well as St. Michael in Canton, St. John Nepomucene in Troy and St. Aloysius in Ralston.

Boylan was serving as chaplain at Marywood College from 1989 to 1993 when a male graduate student alleged Boylan sexually harassed him and propositioned him for sex. Boylan was given a psychological evaluation and, after a leave of absence, returned to the ministry.

After 2011, Boylan's next assignment would be at St. Patrick in Scranton until 2016, when an 18-year-old man reported that he was touched inappropriately by Boylan in 2006. The victim said he was at a summer event at St. Vincent's Camp in Honesdale. The victim reported Boylan raped him. Boylan denied the allegation.

More than 300 priests were named in the report, but none face criminal charges. Nate Chute, IndyStar

Robert J. Brague

Brague twice served in the Northern Tier; once as assistant pastor at St. Peter in Wellsboro from September 1970 to April 1972 and then as pastor at Ss. Peter and Paul in Towanda from 1984-1988.

That year, Bishop James C. Timlin received two anonymous letters from a parishioner about rumors involving Brague and a high school female student, according to the report.

Five months later in August, Timlin received a letter from the sister of the high school female, who said Braque had sexual relations with her 17-year-old sister, who became pregnant. She further wrote that Brague had at least two other affairs. A month later in September, Timlin responded to that letter by stating Brague was removed from office as soon as the situation was brought to his attention.

He wrote, “Father Brague and your sister have a long, difficult road ahead … What has happened is their responsibility and certainly Father Brague will take care of his obligations.” In April of 1989, the victim gave birth to a baby boy.

Brague was appointed parochial vicar at St. Ann in Naples, Florida in 1990. ???

Joseph W. Bucolo

From April 1973 to September 1974, Bucolo was pastor at St. Thomas in Elkland. He would be removed from ministry in 2002, though he was listed as Pastor Emeritus at St. Nazarius in Pardeesville, Pennsylvania three weeks later.

Parents of a 10-year-old boy had contacted Bishop J. Carroll McCormick in 1971, telling him Bucolo took their son on a two-day vacation to the New Jersey shore the previous summer and that during the trip, Bucolo committed acts with their son, “unbecoming of a priest.”

According to the report, McCormick wrote on the memorandum that Bucolo “readily admitted the charge, insisting that once and only once did he commit an immoral act with the individual … and said he was very sorry. He claimed that it was in a moment of weakness it had occurred.” Bucolo agreed to see a psychiatrist and was placed under Charter restrictions in 2002 due to his admissions.

Then in 2010, a 64-year-old male reported to the diocese that he was abused by Bucolo when he was an 8-year-old altar boy. The victim and Bucolo entered into a settlement and release of all claims for the agreed amount of $20,000.

Gerald J. Burns

Forty-one years after Burns left St. Peter in Wellsboro — he'd been assistant pastor there — to serve at St. John the Evangelist in Wilkes-Barre, Bishop James C. Timlin received a letter from a woman who wrote her husband was sexually molested by Burns for years when he was an altar server at St. John's in Honesdale in the 1950s, just before Burns was reassigned to St. Peter. 

Burns denied any wrongdoing but agreed to retire. Timlin notified the victim that the diocese would cover the cost of his counseling, with the responsibility being shared by Burns. In 1999, Burns died.

Austin E. Flanagan

Flanagan served as pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle in Elkland from September 1979 to September 1980. 

In 1980, Bishop McCormick received a letter from a parishioner who advised that Flanagan was sleeping in sleeping bags with young boys, according to the report.

Flanagan related that one month prior to his admission to St. Vincent's Hospital in New York in 1990, he had been questioned about fondling two boys at a summer camp two years earlier. He did not deny that it happened.

In 2005, the Diocese of Scranton was contacted by a 34-year-old who claimed he was sodomized by Flanagan in the rectory at St. Mary's in 1973. Flanagan denied any wrongdoing. The allegation was reported to the Luzerne County District Attorney's office. Flanagan had been removed from active ministry three years prior.

Martin J. Fleming

In 2006, a female victim reported that she was sexually abused by Fleming in 1940 when she was six years old. Forty-two years before that, Fleming had served at a church in Wellsboro from November 1898 to March 1899.

Joseph A. Griffin

Griffin served as pastor at Ss. Peter and Paul in Towanda from 1952 to 1967. 

In 2009, a 42-year-old man said Griffin abused him when he was nine years old. Griffin touched him, rubbed his backside and slept with his arm around him. Griffin retired in 1976 but worked as part-time administrator at two churches in 1980.

Joseph F. Houston

Houston served as assistant pastor at St. Peter in Wellsboro from 1966-1970, then as pastor at Holy Child in Mansfield from 1977-1980.

Between those stints, in 1971, a priest reported that Houston and a minor female were observed going into a motel room late at night on multiple occasions. In 2002, the victim said the priest had taken advantage of her from the age of 14 to 17.

James F. Nolan

A 75-year-old man reported that he was groped by Nolan when he was 15-years-old as an altar boy.

Nolan had served as assistant pastor at Ss. Peter and Paul in Towanda for eight years from 1931-1939. He resigned in 1956.

John J. Tamalis

In 1997, a year after Tamalis departed from Holy Child in Mansfield where he'd served as pastor from 1990-1996, a 33-year-old male reported to the diocese that he was sexually abused by Tamalis in 1976 when he was 13.

Tamalis furnished alcohol to him and performed oral sex, according to the report. Tamaris admitted that he probably abused nine boys and young men.

He was removed from ministry in 1998 and received a dispensation from clerical state in 2007.

Lawrence P. Weniger

Weniger was pastor at St. Thomas in Little Meadows from 1949-1951 and at St. John in Troy from 1951-1960. In 2002, an adult male said that he was sexually assaulted while serving as an altar boy in the 1960s. After St. John, Weniger was pastor at churches in Pittson and Luzerne.

VIDEO: Survivors of child sexual abuse from priests share their stories in a video shown before Tuesday's news conference detailing decades of abuse. Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro

Also named

The following names were not included in the grand jury report. Their names were part of a list released by the Diocese of Scranton Tuesday, indicating individuals "for whom allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been admitted, established or determined to be credible." 

The Diocese said the list was published as part of its "ongoing commitment to transparency and to encourage sexual abuse victims to come forward."

Summaries were not included in the diocese's report.

Leo A. Burns

Burns was assigned to St. Peter in Wellsboro from June to September 1949. He died in 1988.

James J. Kane

Kane served at St. John in South Waverly in 1944. He died in 1985.

John A. O'Neill

O'Neill was assigned to St. John in Troy from October 1933 to February 1938.

John A. Pender

Pender served at St. John in Susquehanna in 1967. He died in 2009.

Mark T. Rosetti

Rosetti was assigned to St. Joseph in St. Joseph, Pennsylvania in 1994.

Robert Shilala

Shilala was assigned to St. Ann in Bentley Creek from 1973-1988. He died in 1997.

Thomas Sokolowski

Sokolowski served at Ss. Peter and Paul in Towanda from 1982-1987. He also served at St. Ann in Bentley Creek from 1988-1991, when he was assigned to St. Thomas in Elkland. He died in 2012.

William Wheeler

Wheeler served at St. Francis Xavier in Friendsville in 1970 and at St. Thomas the Apostle in Little Meadows in 1974. He died in 1988.

With the grand jury's report, all eight of the state's Catholic dioceses have been investigated by a grand jury, and victim advocates say this is the biggest and the most exhaustive such investigation conducted by any state.

At a news conference after the release of the report, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, "I'm here, finally, to announce the results of a two-year grand jury investigation (into the abuse allegations) and the systematic cover-up by officials in Pennsylvania and the Vatican."

The report described 301 predator priests who may have abused more than 1,000 victims. Shapiro said the grand jury believed that both numbers were low, that the number of victims could be thousands and thousands.

In a statement Tuesday, Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton offered his apologies to victims, their families and the church community.

"No one deserves to be confronted with the behaviors described in the report," Bambera said. "Although painful to acknowledge, it is necessary to address such abuse in order to foster a time when no child is abused and no abuser is protected."

Bambera said the diocese cooperated full with the grand jury and on Tuesday, posted a list of its accused clergy, staff and volunteers on its website.

"While the past cannot be changed, the Diocese of Scranton remains dedicated to keeping our children safe from abuse moving forward," he said.


Vigin Islands

'Silence Speaks, Secrets-Revealed' - Radio Drama on Child Sexual Abuse to Premiere on September 4th

The Women's Coalition of St. Croix's (WCSC's) new 26-episode radio series and talk shows will premiere on 95.1 – Isle 95, on Tuesday September 4, according to a release the coalition issued Friday. The two-minute episodes, featuring the stories of three survivors of child sexual abuse, will continue airing weekly on several local radio stations, and will be made available for streaming as podcasts on WCSC's website and social media channels, according to the release.

“Child sexual abuse affects survivors and communities. Education is a key part of prevention efforts and offering support to survivors,” said Clema S. Lewis, executive director of WCSC.

Silence Speaks, Secrets Revealed focuses on the experiences of three young people: a 7-year-old boy, a 16-year-old pageant queen and a 15-year-old girl whose family relocated to St. Croix recently. There will be a live, 30-minute talk show following the first broadcast of each episode on Isle 95. “Our after shows will feature experts in related fields, victim advocates and survivors. The discussion of the themes can continue, we'll take calls and provide listeners with helpful resources. These shows will be available as podcasts too,” said Carolyn Forno, assistant director of WCSC.

Sayeeda Carter and Regina Keels collaborated on the scripts for Silence Speaks, Secrets Revealed.  “This is a project that really touches me. Having been an educator for 25 years and having children tell me their stories. I thought it was just the most important work we could be doing at this moment,”remarked Ms. Carter. The writers are also educators at a high school on St. Croix. Ms. Keels was named Teacher of the Year for 2018, according to the release.

Listeners will learn about the devastating effects of child sexual abuse through this creative, entertaining programming, the release said. The writers and staff of WCSC hope community members will be encouraged by what they hear to change their experience, the experience of a child or of an adult who was sexually abused in childhood.

WCSC assisted 426 survivors of sexual violence last year, including those who experienced child sexual abuse, child pornography and sex trafficking, according to the release.

“We need to dispel the myths surrounding child sexual abuse. It's happening right here in the USVI. We must talk about it. We must educate our children on comfortable touch/uncomfortable touch. We must believe our children. Perpetrators need to be held accountable for their actions. Survivors need support,” Ms. Lewis also noted.

The creation and production of Silence Speaks, Secrets Revealed was supported by a grant from Raliance, a collaborative initiative to end sexual violence in one generation, made possible through a commitment from the National Football League (NFL), according to the release. It noted that the radio series' contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the NFL. WCSC is the first nonprofit in the U.S. Virgin Islands to receive a Raliance grant, according to the release.

For more information about child sexual abuse and WCSC's programs and services for people impacted by violence, including 24-hour crisis intervention, call 340.773.9272 or email For more information on Silence Speaks, Secrets Revealed, email WCSC at



'Go home, be a good priest': How 25 bishops in Pa. Catholic dioceses responded to sex abuse

by Sam Ruland and Candy Woodall, York Daily Record

In January 2004, a Pennsylvania bishop sent a letter to Pope John Paul II to tell him that an Allentown priest had an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old boy in 1979.

Bishop Edward Cullen noted the priest admitted the abuse in 2000. He was sending the letter to the Vatican four years later because the victim's family was threatening to go to the media if the Rev. Robert Cofenas was not defrocked. 

"Currently there is great danger that this case could become public," Cullen said in his letter to the pope, according to a Pennsylvania grand jury report released Tuesday.

Cullen recommended Cofenas be removed from the priesthood, following the wishes of the victim's family. 

The bishop's actions were common throughout dioceses in Pennsylvania, according to the grand jury report. When bishops were confronted with victims' stories of abuse or priests' admission of guilt, diocese leaders worked to conceal the truth. 

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all," the grand jury wrote in its report after a two-year investigation.

Child sex abuse was hidden for years by Roman Catholic church leaders. The coverup went all the way to the Vatican and included secret files in Pennsylvania dioceses, where state investigators found a log of abuses that dated back decades, according to the report.

Bishops, monsignors and priests often told grieving victims and families that nothing could be done because the statue of limitations had expired, meaning predator priests couldn't be charged for their crimes. 

Others tried to keep families from going public, sometimes blaming the victim. 

When a boy was raped, one church leader told his father, "After all, your son was over the age of reason."

In Catholic teaching, the age of reason is 7 years old, which is the age when children can receive their first holy communion.

The list below shows how 25 church leaders responded when confronted with stories of alleged abuse, according to the grand jury report and diocese records.

Diocese of Allentown

The Rev. David Connell, the Rev. Tim Johnson, Jim Gross, a former basketball coach:

When a victim told Johnson he was abused by Connell and Gross, Johnson told the victim not to report the abuse to police. The victim insisted on reporting, and Johnson severely beat the victim with a big leather belt and told the victim if he reported the abuse to the police, he would beat him even worse. 

Monsignor Gerald Gobitas upon learning of the Rev. Joseph Kean's abuse:

In October 2005, the parents of a fifth victim reported to Gobitas that their son had been sexually abused by Kean. Gobitas in a diocese report described the sex abuse as "the activity" and characterized it as Kean engaging in "immature behavior," such as "wrestling, chasing each other, tying each other up with rope, etc. In the midst of this behavior there were sexual assaults." 

Monsignor Alfred Schlert in reference to the Rev. Dennis Rigney's abuse:

After Rigney admitted he abused children, Schlert said in a letter to Monsignor Gobitas that Rigney was apprehensive about receiving therapy at a "special retreat" he was encouraged to attend by the diocese. "He retired without scandal, if he goes to the retreat with the other 'known' offenders, it will implicate him," Schlert said.

The diocese upon learning of the Rev. Gerald Royer's abuse:

A victim in 2002 told a priest Royer had abused him. During a meeting with a priest in the diocese, the priest acknowledged that Royer was a "bad actor," stating that the priest had counseled Royer. The priest offered no other advice for the victim and did not report the crime to authorities.

The diocese in reference to the Rev. Charles Ruffenach's case:

In August 2001, an adult victim reported Ruffenach had physically and sexually abused him. The abuse began in 1945 when the victim was in first grade and continued through  eighth grade. He said Ruffenach beat, paddled and sexually abused him when he attended St. John the Baptist school.

The diocese responded by stating that Ruffenach was deceased and therefore it could not pursue the victim's claims any further, but offered the victim counseling.

The diocese in response to Father Stephen Shigo's case:

In February 2012, a victim said he was sexually abused by Shigo while he was an altar boy in eighth and ninth grades. The diocese responded by offering six months of counseling.

Monsignor Anthony Muntone upon learning of the Rev. David Soderlund's case:

After learning of Soderlund's history of sex abuse, Muntone said if Soderlund lived at the rectory at Sacred Heart and "the hospital held him more accountable for his time, there shouldn't be any problems."

Diocese of Erie

The Diocese in reference to the Rev. Michael G. Barletta's case:

A fellow priest, Father John Fischer, walked in on Barletta sexually abusing a young high school student. The priest did not call the police.

Instead, the incident was reported to Bishop Alfred Watson two months later, after Monsignor William Hastings dismissed Fischer's report of Barletta and the naked child. Both Hastings and Watson brushed him off and told him to, "Go home, be a good priest."

In 1993, Monsignor Andrew Karg received a complaint from five fellow priests expressing serious concerns about Barletta. On April 29, 1993, Karg wrote to Bishop Donald Trautman about fears Barletta could be "crossing the line" into the private lives of the students at Erie Prep. He said Barletta was known to take pictures inside the boys' locker room of "the kids' crotch area" and that Barletta maintains a book of "crotch shots" in his residence.

Priests also questioned Barletta's personal vacations with the "good looking boys" and his trips to San Francisco with students. In another bullet point, Karg said, "Father Dollinger's fear is that if the Catholic Preparatory school ever had a law suit about a pedophile, will the 18 years of Father Barletta also come to light?"

The diocese in response to the Father Richard D. Lynch's abuse:

A victim came forward and said Father Richard Lynch touched him inappropriately while he was a senior in high school in 1978. Lynch touched him in a private area, and pushed him against the wall. 

In an undated official document from the Office of the Bishop, the writer states, “There are psychological issues present in [the victim]. He receives money from Social Security because of DISABILITY…he usually calms down as you talk to him.”

The diocese in response to the Rev. Salvatore P. Luzzi's abuse:

After several years teaching at Venango Christian High School, the Rev. Salvatore P. Luzzi was moved to St. Mark's Seminary, where he filled several roles. Over the course of his 30-year ministry, he was accused of sexual misconduct by eight male victims ranging in age from early teens to early 20s.

The grand jury report states that several former juvenile victims of Luzzi received phone calls or letters of apology from the Diocese, where Luzzi's behavior was dismissed as “Sal's way of expressing himself,” and his “touching approach” to ministry was attributed to his “Italian upbringing.” 

Director of Clergy Personnel regarding Father Gary L. Ketcham's case: 

Some time prior to March 1989, allegations of sexual misconduct by Father Gary L. Ketcham became known by the Diocese of Erie. He was accused of molesting two boys while in a drunken state.

Diocesan preparation for Ketcham's court case started later that year. The diocese loaned him money for attorney fees. In a promissory note to Ketcham from the diocese— in which they pledged to front him $25,000 for lawyer fees — the director of clergy personnel wrote, “Don't worry…you're good for it.”

Father John Fischer's response to the Rev. Joseph W. Jerge: 

The Diocese of Erie was first made aware of sexual abuse allegations against Joseph W. Jerge in early 1989. On April 19, 1989, he was sent to St. Luke's Institute for sexual psychological therapy.  He was placed back into ministry at St. John the Evangelist, but given restrictions and told to avoid contact with young boys.  At that time, Father Fischer wrote several letters to the administration at St. Luke's voicing his concerns that Jerge was failing in his efforts to stay away from the youth of the diocese. Fischer reported that Jerge had admittedly offended numerous children and was coaching youth basketball, hearing confessions, and ministering at a parish that had a swimming pool. 

Fischer went on to write that he felt that this swimming pool "will only nourish the sickness."

Bishop Donald Trautman's response upon learning of Monsignor James P. Hopkins' abuse:

On Aug.3, 1993, a victim wrote a letter to Bishop Trautman at the Diocese of Erie. She stated in the letter that in 1945, when she was 13 years of age, she experienced abuse at the hands of Monsignor Hopkins in the rectory of St. Titus. Whenever anyone would voice concern over Hopkins' behavior, she would always hear the conduct dismissed by others as, "Oh well, he's old, he doesn't mean anything by it."

Trautman responded to the victim saying, "Since Monsignor Hopkins died in July of 1957, there is no possible way to investigate your accusation."

Abuse survivor Sharon Tell was on stage during the presentation of the grand jury report that detailed decades of abuse by hundreds of priests. John Buffone,

Diocese of Greensburg

Bishop Anthony Bosco upon learning of Father Joseph L. Sredzinski's abuse:

Reports were made against Sredzinski in 1991 when a police office caught him parked in a cemetery alone with a young boy. The grand jury report also notes that numerous community members came forward expressing concern over Sredzinski's behavior. 

On Jan. 14, 1994, Bishop Anthony Bosco of the Greensburg Diocese wrote a letter to Sredzinski' s sister in response to her concerns that her brother was not being treated properly by the diocese. 

Bosco wrote to her: “At no time did we conduct an investigation with any of the families precisely because we did not want to agitate the waters any more.”

Diocese of Harrisburg

Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes' response to the Rev. Francis A. Bach's case:

In a letter dated May 1, 2007, Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes sent a summary of Bach's sexually abusive behavior to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Rhodes wrote that he did not believe there was a need for any trial or process, judicial or administrative.

Bach was living his life in "basic solitude, doing good when he can," and "spending time in prayer and penance, trying to make reparation for the harm he has caused others through his acts of sexual abuse that occurred early in his priesthood."

Father Robert Gribbin's response upon learning of the Rev. Anthony McGinley's abuse:

The diocesan file for Father McGinley contained a handwritten memorandum, dated November of 1953, by Father Robert Gribbin, who was stationed at Lebanon Catholic High School. Three high school boys reported that McGinley made "immoral advances" toward them.

Gribbin asked the boys "if they realized the terrible gravity of these charges." He asked if they "were so convinced of them, would they testify under oath to their truth." The boys notified Gribbin that two senior boys knew of the "immoral advances." Gribbin "warned them to be absolutely silent and dismissed them." 

Principal of Saint Joan of Arc school in Hershey upon learning of the Rev. Timothy Sperber's abuse:

The Diocese of Harrisburg received a report in 2004 from a female alleging that a priest sexually abused her around 1979 when she was around 10 years old. 

The victim told the principal that Sperber touched her in weird ways, and the principal became angry with the victim and said: “How dare you make these terrible accusations. You are a demon-child." 

VIDEO: Survivors of child sexual abuse from priests share their stories in a video shown before Tuesday's news conference detailing decades of abuse. Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father James W. Donlon in reference to the Rev. John P. Connor's case:

Records obtained by subpoena from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, show that in October of 1984, Father John P. Connor was arrested in New Jersey for sexually molesting a 14-year-old child.

An excerpt from the grand jury report reads: Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua (who was promoted to cardinal) and the Philadelphia Archdiocese accepted this dangerous priest readily but did nothing to ensure the propriety of his future conduct. Father James W. Donlon, the pastor of St. Matthew Church since March 1989, testified to the grand jury that Bevilacqua never told him about Father Connor's arrest or that he had been treated at Southdown for abusing alcohol and a 14 -year-old boy.

Donlon explained to the grand jury that he “would have been more careful about everything.”

Father John Markell upon learning of Father Richard J. Dorsch's abuse:

The mother of one of Dorsch's victims learned of the abuse to her son when Dorsch was arrested between 1994 and 1995. She stated that once she became aware of the abuse, she approached Father Markell, the parochial vicar assigned at the time with Dorsch at the parish.

Markell discouraged her from pursuing the matter any further and asked her son, “What did you do?”— as if implying he was responsible for, or encouraged, Dorsch's sexual misconduct.

Then-Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua in reference to the Rev. Joseph D. Karabin's case:

In March 1980, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received a report from a victim who was sexually abused by Father Joseph D. Karabin while Karabin was assigned to St. Joan of Arc.

Handwritten notes by Bishop Bevilacqua on one of the memorandums in Karabin's file stated, among other things, "I do not feel Father Karabin should be given another immediate assignment after leaving his present one. There should be some sign to him that what he did was very grave."

Father Norman E. Bevan's in reference to the Rev. Robert E. Spangenberg's case:

The documents provided by the Diocese of Pittsburgh revealed that Spangenberg was involved with at least two children, possibly more.

The diocese was first notified of Spangenberg's ministry in 1988 when a mother contacted the diocese on behalf of her son. Father Norman E. Bevan was assisting the family in counseling. In a letter to the diocese, Bevan wrote: “If we felt them to be true, we would recognize our responsibility to remove Father X from ministry and to insist on therapeutic rehabilitation. At the same time, we realize that a priest's reputation could be irreparably damaged by false accusations.”

Father James Ruggiero upon learning of Father Paul G. Spisak's abuse:

In October 1998, parish staff from St. Dominic reported Father Paul G. Spisak to the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Parish staff had found pornographic magazines, tapes and internet material in Spisak's room that depicted homosexual and sadomasochistic activity. There were also several pictures of Spisak with two different underage boys including pictures of the boys showing their buttocks and pictures of Spisak pulling down his swim trunks and pulling down the boy's pants.

An employee of the diocese was concerned with the relationship Spisak had with her son and reported her concerns to the diocese. In a letter dated April 23, 1999, Father Ruggiero wrote to the diocesan employee's son and requested to meet with him to discuss disturbing information that his mother had provided to the church. 

Ruggiero wrote in the letter, “I am sure revisiting these painful memories is not easy for you…I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to discuss this with your mother.”

The historic report detailed decades of abuse by hundreds of priests. John Buffone,

Diocese of Scranton

Bishop James Timlin upon learning of the Rev. Robert J. Brague's case:

On June 16, 1988, that same anonymous parishioner sent a second letter to Timlin, advising that the relationship between Brague and a teenage female was still continuing even after being reported. The parishioner stated that Timlin had disregarded the previous letter and further suggested that he did not have very much control over his priests.

On Aug. 29, 1988, Timlin received a letter from the sister of the high school female. She said Brague had had sexual relations with her sister at age 17 and became pregnant. She further advised that Brague had at least two other affairs.

Timlin responded to the letter by stating that as soon as the matter was brought to his attention, Brague was removed from office. Timlin noted that it was better to say as little as possible about the circumstances surrounding his removal rather than cause greater scandal through undue publicity. 

In the letter, he further noted that, "Father Brague and your sister have a long, difficult road ahead. . . What has happened is their responsibility and certainly Father Brague will take care of his obligations."

Bishop J. Carroll McCormick in reference to the Rev. Joseph Bucolo's case:

On Jan. 4, 1971, Bishop McCormick was notified that the parents of a 10-year-old boy had reported that during the previous summer, Father Bucolo took their son on a two-day vacation to the New Jersey shore area. They advised that during this trip, Bucolo committed acts with their son that were "unbecoming a catholic priest."

In a memorandum on the file, McCormick noted: “Father Bucolo called to see me this afternoon at my direction. He readily admitted the charge, insisting that once and once only did he commit an immoral act with the individual mentioned above - while on vacation last summer. He stated he had never before or since become involved in that way and said he was very sorry. He claimed that it was in a moment of weakness it had occurred.” 

Monsignor Joseph A. Madden upon learning of the Rev. James M. McAuliffe's abuse:

In 2010, a victim of McAuliffe met with Bishop Joseph Bambera to address concerns that even after reporting his abuse in 1963, McAuliffe continued to serve as a priest. 

McAuliffe's file contained information regarding this report and others. The file also showed that one monsignor in the parish at the time of the abuse, Madden, had written a letter to the parents of the abused in 1963. 

Madden made the following remark to the father of the victim, “after all, your son was over the age of reason.”



Sexual abuse victims: It's not too late to heal

by Lebanon Daily News

If there are more victims of sexual assault by a Catholic priest than those known to the grand jury and law enforcement, and if any of those victims live in Lebanon County, know this: It is never too late to get help healing from trauma.

That is the message from the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center of Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties (SARCC).

A survivor of sexual abuse as a child may never have spoken of the abuse for many reasons, and as an adult chose to "remove themselves from it or put it behind them," said Ali Perrotto, president and CEO of SARCC. But something in the present - a certain smell, a date on the calendar, or hearing news about their perpetrator, can bring back the trauma of the experience in their body, mind or emotions. It's called "trauma echoes."

Hearing Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announce the findings of a grand jury report on decades of child sexual abuse by some priests, and what legal experts call a systematic cover-up of the abuse by higher-ranking church officials, could be a tremendous trigger for a victim who may not have discussed their trauma, ever.

News media have published in print, online and on television the names of the priests, many of their pictures, and information about their status, whether laicized or removed from the church, in treatment, or deceased.

The Diocese of Harrisburg pre-empted the Attorney General's announcement by a week, listing its names of accused priests, followed by letters of apology and promise to hold predators accountable that was read at weekend Mass and handed to parishioners in church.

Through this blitz of announcements and news coverage, it's possible a victim is seeing their perpetrator's name or photo for the first time in decades, or are now learning of their perpetrator's death or crimes against others for the first time.

"It's never too late to start healing," Perrotto said. "And that looks different for each person. We offer (counseling and resource) services for days, weeks, months, years and decades after (the trauma). Really at any point in (the survivor's) life. 

In the Catholic church scandal in Pennsylvania, many of the known victims who gave information to police or the church were children at the time of the incident. Some endured assaults for years of their childhood, according to the grand jury's findings.

While it is common today for children to be intimidated by an adult abuser for fear of getting in trouble, or not being believed, the status of a parish priest in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s was even more intimidating in the culture of the church.

This was a time before cartoons on television spoke of "good touching and bad touching."

A priest who was hurting a child could very likely be invited to Sunday dinner by that child's parents or grandparents who would treat him as an honored guest. A boy designated by the priest to be a frequently serving altar boy or who take trips with the priest was seen by the Catholic community as favored by the church or that the boy could hopefully one day enter the priesthood himself to serve God and community.

"Thinking that people won't believe you (if you tell) can be seen as more painful than living with abuse," Perrotto said of victims. 

If the grand jury report and the list of names - 26 of those names are of priests who served in Lebanon County, and 14 of those 26 were at one parish, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the city of Lebanony - has brought trauma to victims or secondary trauma by exposure to this information, SARCC can help with your healing process.

What to do

1. Call SARCC at 717-272-5308 in Lebanon County. That number will be answered 24 hours per day. The person answering the phone will ask if you need to speak to a counselor. When you answer "yes" you are transferred to a trained counselor - you do not have to explain to the person answering the phone what you need or give reasons why you need to talk to a counselor.

2. Be prepared for SARCC staff to "meet you where you're at," as Perrotto explains it. That means you may want first just to talk on the phone. You may want to come into the office, or meet a counselor where you feel comfortable, like in a coffee shop.

3. With SARCC staff, together you find out what you need and options for healing, whether it's counseling, participation in a share group, or something else.

4. Don't reach for your wallet. SARCC is funded with money paid by people convicted of crimes through fees and fines. You don't have to worry whether you can afford counseling, or if someone in your life will notice money being paid for this service and have questions about what you're doing.

Important to remember

Anyone can reach out for help, whether you are the direct victim of sexual assault, or in the case of a widespread incident like this, you feel trauma by exposure.

Perhaps your family attended a church led by a priest on the list, or you served the church under someone named on the list but were not victimized by them - if you are affected by this it's encouraged you seek a way to heal, Perrotto said.

"In the case of significant cover-up by high-ranking officials like this ... it's OK to be affected. Seek help or support," Perrotto said.

SARCC serves survivors of all genders. There are survivor groups for men and boys who are victims.

"There is a lot of stigma in our culture," Perrotto said, regarding victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault is not limited to women; men and boys can be victims, as can members of the LGBTQ community.

Moving forward

SARCC services include educational programs for groups that work with or around children, from training for mandated reporters of child abuse under the expanded reporting law to a program called "Parents in the Know," that teaches how to identify the signs and symptoms of abuse, including signs of a child being groomed by another adult to be a victim, Perrotto said.

There are also programs for children, which SARCC staff has done in camp settings this summer, about good touch/bad touch and empathy.

"Our goal is to prevent abuse," Perrotto said, and that is on adults to fulfill that goal, she said.

Until there's a day when a person isn't sexually abused by another, those who are victims are encouraged to seek services to heal from their trauma.


Washington DC

U.S. church's response to sex abuse shows progress, but questions remain

by Catholic News Service OSV Newsweekly

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- With the Aug. 14 release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on priestly sexual abuse of minors, the U.S. Catholic Church again is confronting questions about its response to abuse allegations dating back several decades.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken steps to address abuse claims and prevent abuse, including the 2002 adoption of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" and special legal norms. Annual reports have documented compliance with mandated policies and practices to protect children and respond to allegations of clergy abuse. The charter was revised in 2005, 2011, and 2018.

Here are some key events in the U.S. church's response to allegations of abuse during the past 35 years.


-- The Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, suspends Father Gilbert Gauthe after he admits having sexually abused at least three dozen boys and girls. Over the next three years, lawsuits against the diocese and the priest's criminal trial and conviction draw national media attention for the first time to the clergy sexual abuse of children.


-- Several dioceses and state Catholic conferences develop policies for responding to abuse allegations.

-- At their spring meeting, the bishops discuss the abuse problem. A few bishops are given a report by three specialists, labeled confidential, warning that the problem is of crisis proportions and could cost the church billions of dollars.

-- In the fall, Father Michael Peterson, one of the report's authors, mails it to bishops who head dioceses. Although the bishops already have started addressing many of the issues at a national level through their own internal procedures and structures, several years later the report is leaked and victims and their lawyers cite its recommendations as evidence that the bishops were given a plan to follow in 1985 but simply ignored it.


-- Many dioceses establish stronger personnel policies and training programs to prevent abuse. In fall 1987, the bishops discuss the issue again, focusing on canonical issues of dealing with accused priests.

-- The conference sends bishops guidelines on developing personnel policies to prevent and respond to abuse. Many bishops re-evaluate decisions whether to return a treated priest to ministry after therapy or what kind of ministry to permit him to do.

-- While the numbers of allegations and lawsuits grow, a new trend develops: As time goes on, more of the new claims concern abuse from the distant past rather than recent misconduct.


-- Following a daylong discussion behind closed doors at the bishops' annual June meeting, the bishops' conference president issues a five-point statement summarizing principles behind the guidelines sent to dioceses four years earlier: Respond promptly to allegations; remove the offender and provide treatment for him if evidence supports an allegation; report incidents as required under civil law and cooperate in any criminal investigation; reach out to victims and their families; and "deal as openly as possible with members of the community about this incident."

-- At their November meeting, the bishops discuss the issue further and a group of bishops meets with adult survivors of abuse. The bishops' Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry forms a subcommittee on sexual abuse to make recommendations to the bishops.


-- The new subcommittee develops proposals for the bishops to discuss and recommends the bishops form a special task group to address the legal, moral, canonical, medical, therapeutic, pastoral, ministerial and administrative issues surrounding sexual abuse and its prevention.

-- Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez of Santa Fe, New Mexico, resigns following allegations of past sexual impropriety with two teenage girls.

-- At their June meeting, the bishops openly discuss clerical sexual abuse and the conference president appoints an Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse to address the issue.

-- Several years of Vatican-U.S. discussions culminate in a meeting of a U.S. bishops delegation with Vatican officials and a letter from Pope John Paul II publicly condemning sexual abuse of minors by U.S. priests.

-- At their November meeting, the bishops petition the Vatican for U.S. exceptions to general church law to make it easier to laicize priests who commit sex crimes against minors.

-- Pope John Paul authorizes special U.S. church laws for five years extending the statute of limitations on church trials and penalties for clerics who sexually abuse minors.

-- A Boston priest, John Geoghan, frequently accused of inappropriate conduct with children during 32 years of priesthood, is quietly removed from all ministry, and four years later is laicized by special papal decree.

-- The ad hoc committee commissions a survey of seminaries to assess their psychological screening of candidates and formation in sexuality issues.

-- The committee gives the bishops and the media the first volume of "Restoring Trust," which includes a detailed evaluation of existing diocesan policies and recommendations for more effective policies. Updated volumes are released in 1995 and 1996.


-- At the committee's request, a video on boundary issues in ministry is developed to help dioceses improve formation of church personnel.

-- The committee is reauthorized for three more years and mandated to focus on issues of healing for victims, education and future options for priest offenders.


-- The Vatican extends the special U.S. legislation on clerical sexual abuse of minors for 10 years.

-- The committee continues working on education and prevention issues and on diocesan policy reviews. It updates "Restoring Trust" resources and meets with victims and victim advisory groups.

-- The pope reserves certain especially serious church crimes, including clerical sexual abuse of minors, to the immediate jurisdiction of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The new legislation also extends the special U.S. legislation, with slight modification, to the entire church.


-- The Boston Globe begins an investigative series in January on decades of Boston archdiocesan mishandling of child abuse allegations and the priests who were accused. Archdiocesan personnel files on Geoghan -- released to the Globe by court order less than two weeks before Geoghan's criminal trial for child molestation -- are the most important evidence for the series.

-- Accused in civil suits of imposing indecent conduct or sexual abuse on at least 130 children, Geoghan is convicted of a single crime Jan. 18 and later sentenced to 10 years in prison.

-- The Globe series quickly sparks dramatic policy changes by the Boston Archdiocese. The story quickly burgeons into a national one as other news media begin similar investigations in their dioceses.

-- By April, the U.S. cardinals are summoned for a Vatican summit. The pope declares there is no place in ministry or religious life for anyone who would harm the young. The Vatican authorizes the U.S. bishops to propose special legislation that would bind all U.S. dioceses to adopt certain policies and practices to prevent and respond to clerical sexual abuse of minors.

-- Meeting in Dallas in June, the bishops adopt a "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" and special legal norms, subject to Vatican approval, to assure that all dioceses adhere to the charter.

-- A National Review Board is formed to oversee the compliance of dioceses with the charter and to commission two major national studies on the scope of the problem and its causes. A national Office for Child and Youth Protection is formed to help dioceses meet charter requirements and to assess each diocese's compliance.

-- Dioceses across the country begin updating their policies, establishing or modifying diocesan review boards, naming outreach coordinators, developing programs for victims and their families, forming or expanding safe environment programs and requiring background checks on staff and volunteers who work with children.

-- In December, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, faced with massive loss of confidence after nearly a year of intense scandal and controversy, resigns as archbishop of Boston.


-- The pope approves the norms as law for the U.S. church.

-- The Gavin Group, composed mainly of former FBI agents, is commissioned to conduct the first independent audit of dioceses to assess whether their policies and practices comply with the requirements of the charter and norms.


-- The first annual report on the diocesan compliance audits is released Jan. 6. Annual reports continue to be released.


-- A new Program of Priestly Formation that emphasizes human formation of seminarians, especially on formation for celibacy, is issued for all U.S. seminaries. It explicitly forbids seminary applicants who were involved in sexual abuse of minors.


-- During a U.S. visit, Pope Benedict XVI meets in Washington with victims of priestly sexual abuse after pledging the church's continued efforts to help heal the wounds caused by such acts.


-- The Vatican revises procedures for handling priestly sexual abuse cases, streamlining disciplinary measures, extending the statute of limitations and defining child pornography as an act of sexual abuse.


-- John Jay College of Criminal Justice releases "The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010," as required by the charter. The report concludes there is "no single identifiable 'cause' of sexually abusive behavior toward minors" and encourages steps to deny abusers "the opportunity to abuse."


-- Msgr. William Lynn, secretary for clergy of the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, is convicted of conspiracy for failing to properly supervise an abusive priest and ensure the welfare of his victim. He receives a three- to six-year prison term.

-- A Missouri judge convicts Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph of failing to report suspected child abuse, a misdemeanor. The charge was filed after the bishop learned a priest's computer contained child pornography and failed to report the incident to authorities.


-- Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, announces that Cardinal Roger M. Mahony would not have any administrative or public duties in the archdiocese because of past failures to protect children from clergy sex abuse, although the cardinal remained in "good standing."


-- Pope Francis says the leaders of the world's bishops' conferences and religious orders must do everything possible to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and are offer appropriate care for victims and their families.

-- Pope Francis approves new procedures for the Vatican to investigate and judge claims of "abuse of office" by bishops who allegedly failed to protect minors and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse.

-- Pope Francis accepts the resignations of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piche of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Days earlier, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office filed criminal and civil charges against the archdiocese alleging it failed to protect three boys who were sexually abused from 2008 to 2010 by an archdiocesan priest who was later dismissed from priesthood.


-- Archdiocese of New York receives an allegation that then-Msgr. Theodore E. McCarrick abused a teenage boy in 1971 and 1972.


-- U.S. bishops approve changes to the charter that Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, Indiana, chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, said would strengthen protections for young people.

-- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan announces that Cardinal McCarrick has been removed from ministry at the Vatican's direction after an investigation by the Archdiocese of New York found credible a charge that he sexually abused a teenager. Later, The New York Times publishes a front-page story detailing alleged abuse of two seminarians who became priests in the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, by Cardinal McCarrick in the 1980s that resulted in settlements to both men.

-- Pope Francis accepts Cardinal McCarrick's resignation from the College of Cardinals and suspends him from public ministry, ordering him to a "life of prayer and penance until the accusations against him are examined in a canonical trial.

-- A Pennsylvania grand jury releases a report linking more than 300 priests with sexual abuse claims involving more than 1,000 victims in six of the state's eight dioceses, stating the Catholic Church hid allegations of abuse and brushed aside victims. In a joint statement Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, Bishop Doherty, committee chairman, said the bishops "are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops" and were "committed to work in determined ways so that such abuse cannot happen."



Former students of Key School in Annapolis allege sexual misconduct

by Justin Wm. Moyer

A private school in Maryland has launched an investigation into allegations that a culture of sexual abuse flourished decades ago with administrators' knowledge.

Multiple former students told The Washington Post they were groomed and sexually abused by teachers in the 1970s at Key School in Annapolis and in some cases had intimate contact with adults that lasted years.

Two Baltimore lawyers are leading the investigation into the alleged misconduct at the school, which serves students from prekindergarten through 12th grade. Matthew Nespole, the current head of school, said in a statement this month that a February review of the allegations indicated former Key officials failed to protect students.

“It appears that members of the Key community neglected to respond appropriately to contemporaneous reports made by former students of faculty misconduct that includes the sexual victimization of students,” the statement said. “I offer my deepest sympathy to the victims and survivors and sincerely hope the investigation will help us begin the healing process.”

Joe Janney, president of Key School's board of trustees, said in a statement that the allegations are “credible and ... extremely upsetting.”

“The behavior of many of the accused is inexcusable and intolerable,” the statement said. “On behalf of the Key School, we deeply regret what occurred and apologize to all who were impacted by this.”

The allegations surfaced after 59-year-old Carolyn Surrick, who said she was abused by two Key teachers starting when she was 13, fought for years to shine a spotlight on her story and those of other accusers.

She wrote about the alleged abuse on social media in January using the hashtag #KeyToo — a reference to the #MeToo movement in which women have spoken out about sexual harassment and assault. One other accuser had spoken publicly before Surrick's campaign this year, but five additional women later came forward.

They do so at a time when institutions across the country — schools, churches and businesses — are reexamining how they have handled sex allegations over time.

Decades after the alleged abuse, the Key School stories, long whispered about, are being addressed by the school for the first time publicly. Some of the alleged perpetrators are dead or incapacitated, and it's not clear whether those who are living could be prosecuted.

“Because of what's going on — what's gone on in America — it's possible to get people to come forward, be present, and to shine a bright light,” Surrick said.

Surrick and other accusers said it was widely known that some Key teachers had sex with underage students. Some teachers were fired after complaints from students or parents, according to interviews with accusers. But many stayed in the classroom, continuing the alleged abuse. The accusers, now in their 50s and 60s, say the school has yet to confront the scope of the behavior, its effects still felt more than four decades later.

In all, seven former students have come forward to say they were sexually abused by teachers in the 1970s. The women said the abuse occurred while they were enrolled at the progressive coed school, located on 15 acres a few miles from downtown Annapolis.

Founded in 1958 by tutors at nearby St. John's College, Key was known for its informal atmosphere and curriculum that is based on the college's famous “Great Books” program. Key School had no dress code, classes were small and students were close to their teachers.

The school today has more than 600 students with an average class size of 16, according to its website. Tuition at the upper school is more than $28,000 per year, and the school's endowment is $12.5 million.

Anne Arundel County police say they've received no reports of any recent inappropriate conduct at the school.

Key isn't the first private school to have a culture of sexual abuse uncovered decades later. Scores of students were abused over decades at Horace Mann School in New York, a report commissioned by a group of the school's alumni showed after the allegations were revealed in 2012. Last year, Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut acknowledged that 12 former teachers molested students in the 1960s, and in 2016, the Boston Globe found that 67 private schools in New England faced accusations of sexual misconduct since 1991.

The investigation into the allegations at Key will be conducted by Baltimore lawyers Andrew Jay Graham and Jean E. Lewis. The lawyers said in a statement they will investigate “alleged instances of adult sexual misconduct involving students at the Key School.” Graham recently represented a police officer acquitted of murder in the case of Freddie Gray, whose death in 2015 triggered demonstrations and looting in the city.

David Badger, a headmaster at Key for about five years in the mid-1970s, said in a phone interview he fired “two, maybe three” faculty members during his tenure for what he called “fairly demonstrative allegations of sexual activity” with students.

“It was a very awkward time. I guess I kind of lost control of the faculty at some point,” Badger said. “I thought they were good teachers. I thought they were honest people. I think I was naive as hell.”

Megan Stone Venton, 60, said she was 16 when a teacher approached her for sex.

She said she had sexual contact with two teachers, whom she identified as Eric Dennard and Peter Perhonis, while she was a student. She said Dennard, an art teacher, asked her to perform oral sex in 1975 during a trip to an Eastern Shore bird sanctuary when she was 17. She said sex with Perhonis began when she was 16 and lasted into her 20s.

“I was just under his thumb for decades,” Venton said of Perhonis. “It's only been in the past — since my daughter became the age I was — that I really woke up about it all. I'm full of outrage now.”

Dennard, accused of sexual abuse or misconduct by six women who spoke to The Post, died of cancer in 1993. Perhonis, who has Parkinson's disease, lives at an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts and requires round-the-clock care. A family member who serves as medical proxy said the disease causes hallucinations and makes it difficult for him to have a coherent conversation.

“I believe you could interview him,” the family member said. “He'll tell you something. I don't know how much confidence I'd have whether it is true or not.”

The Post reviewed a letter Perhonis wrote to Venton in 1976, which Venton said she kept partly because she feared him.

“I hope you'll come by at Thanksgiving and visit,” he wrote a month after she turned 18. “If you're still interested in sleeping with me, I'll be here — if not, I'll still be here.”

Venton said when she was a student she told a staff member — Paul Stoneham, who retired from Key in the past few years — about Perhonis, and Stoneham told her he already was aware of it.

“He said, ‘I know, baby, I've got eyes,'” Venton said.

Annie Applegarth, 58, said Stoneham “made a full-on aggressive attack” on her in 1977, when she was a junior, and “made every attempt to do a full-on aggressive rape.”

Stoneham, who public records indicate is 70 or 71, did not respond to repeated phone calls and a letter sent to an address in Annapolis found in public records seeking comment. He also did not respond to a message left at an apartment in Annapolis where his name is listed on the directory.

Applegarth also said two teachers exposed themselves to her at the school, including Dennard, who she said would sometimes “drop his pants” while bragging of his sexual exploits with other students.

“Eric Dennard was a big proponent of showing how fabulous his penis was all the time,” she said.

Applegarth said she reported the behavior to another teacher, but nothing was done. She said she was inspired to come forward after hearing the story of Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics physician who was accused by hundreds of women and girls and convicted of sexual assault last year.

“Now I'm a 58-year-old woman who would like to hear, ‘I'm sorry,'” she said.

Sarah Conway, 55, a former student, said she had sex with Dennard and a former female student, who also worked at the school, beginning in 1978 when she was 14. The arrangement, which she characterized as an “open secret,” lasted for at least 18 months.

It continued after Dennard, who married the former student, left the school for reasons that aren't clear. (The Post isn't naming the former student. Her attorney says she also was a victim of abuse.)

Conway said she stood up during a memorial service for Dennard in 1993 and spoke about how his behavior affected her, and later met with school officials. She was told nothing could be done.

“There was no sense of institutional responsibility,” she said of the school.

Conway detailed the allegations in an Anne Arundel County police report filed in 1997 — a heavily redacted version of which was obtained by The Post. She spoke to police after Ronald Goldblatt, then headmaster of the school, sent a letter to the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services, indicating “he was reporting that [redacted] had possibly been the victim of sexual child abuse while she was a student at Key,” according to the report. Goldblatt didn't respond to telephone messages left for him.

The report continued: “She attended the service and publicly denounced Denard [sic] to those in attendance and related to them how he had abused her. She received a phone call from Mr. Goldblatt who apologized for her bad experience at Key School and related that he was unaware of the school's hostory [sic].”

The report indicated the case was closed because Dennard was dead. An Anne Arundel County police spokesman said that “the female wanted no further police action.”

Goldblatt also detailed claims of abuse in a 1997 letter to the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services.

Another woman, Valerie Bunker, 59, detailed what she called “grooming” by Dennard and another student that Bunker estimated began when she was a 16-year-old sophomore and the other student was a senior. Bunker would drink with them in downtown Annapolis bars, and Dennard would “try to set me up with different people,” she said.

“We all crawled in bed together — the three of us,” she said. “The two of them seduced me together. ... It continued for years. It was our thing.”

Bunker never reported the abuse, because having an affair with a teacher conveyed “rock star” cachet at Key, she said. She didn't think of herself as a victim until she had children of her own.

Now, she's angry. A history of abuse — at Key and elsewhere — has made it difficult to trust others. She said she's been hospitalized in psychiatric facilities three times under suicide watch.

“Your whole life trajectory is now changed,” she said. “Imagine if those teachers had taken me under their wing and pushed me toward something great.”

Bunker said she also had sex with another teacher, Vaughn Keith, while a student. Keith, who later taught at St. Albans School in the District and died of AIDS complications in 1990, according a Post report at the time, often hosted parties where Key students and teachers mixed, she said.

Badger, the school's headmaster in the mid-1970s, said Keith was one of the faculty members he fired over allegations of sexual activity.

Surrick, whose social media comments helped trigger the Key investigation, said she first had sex with Dennard in 1972 when she was 13. She became pregnant with his child at 14, she said, and he paid for an abortion.

She said she had sex beginning at age 14 with Richard Sohmer, a music teacher at Key, and she and Sohmer were members of a Renaissance musical group called Nymphs and Satyrs. Another former Key student in the group, Robin Bisland, said she also had sex with Sohmer, beginning when she was 16 and continuing into her 20s.

When Bisland told her father, who was a Key board member, about it, he had Sohmer fired from the school, she said. Sohmer had already been warned by the school once, she said — about sex with Surrick.

Bisland, now 60, said the abuse still affects her. Sohmer didn't respond to phone calls and letters seeking comment sent to a Massachusetts address found in public records.

Many former Key students who spoke to The Post said dating teachers wasn't just socially acceptable but also conferred social status.

Cari Nyland said she began having sexual contact with Key teacher Bill Schreitz the summer before her senior year in 1975 at age 16. It began during a backpacking trip that other students attended, she said.

In an email, Schreitz said the physical contact occurred in the summer of 1975 after he left Key in the spring.

“My understanding is that your story is about sex abuse at Key, presumably by Key School teachers teaching at Key School while simultaneously being sexually involved with their students,” he wrote in an email. “That was not my situation. Key School was not responsible for my actions. That responsibility was mine alone.”

Nyland also said Dennard put his hands in her pants at his home when she was in ninth grade.

“There was the culture of the school — if you were willing to go out with a teacher, that was considered a great thing to do,” Nyland said. “Why would you look to someone your own age when you could go out with an older man?”

Surrick said she reported the allegations to a board member in 1993 and the school's headmaster in 1996. She reported incidents to Anne Arundel County police in 1996 and met with six board members in 1997.

Police told her they couldn't help, and the school assured her such behavior would not happen again, Surrick said.

“They said, ‘We're not going to do anything,'” Surrick said. “‘It's a different school now.'”

Roz Dove, a daughter of a Key School founder, attended the school in the 1960s from third grade to eighth grade, when she was president of her class. She left Key for high school, then joined its board from about 1976 until 1990.

Dove said she has no firsthand knowledge of sexual misconduct at Key, but rumors — even jokes about the behavior — were pervasive. She said she regretted having been “a little blase” about what she said was “common knowledge” of abuse.

“I wish I had done more,” Dove said. “At the time, did I think anything about it? I did not.”



Saint Vincent Archabbey releases names of members accused of sexual abuse


Two days after the release of a bombshell report chronicling allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests across Pennsylvania — and decades after it removed many from ministry — Saint Vincent Archabbey in Unity on Thursday revealed the names of a dozen members it deemed to have been credibly accused of similar wrongdoing.

The list includes 11 Benedictine priests and one brother against whom “credible allegations” of child sexual abuse had been made to the archabbey since 1993. It was released, the archabbey said, in response to the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury report on 301 “predator priests” in six dioceses, including three archabbey members.

The members, all deceased, were: the Rev. Fidelis Lazar of the Pittsburgh diocese, the Rev. Giles Nealen of the Erie diocese, and the Rev. Charles Weber of the Greensburg diocese.

All but two of the 12 people named by the archabbey are dead. Many allegations stem from pastoral assignments taken by the Benedictines in other dioceses.

“The Archabbey Community is saddened by the behavior of those accused and extends its deep apology to any person who has been victimized by any member of the Archabbey Community,” Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki said in a statement.

Below are the names and details released by the archabbey:

The Rev. Raymond Balko, alleged to have abused a minor sometime in 1963 or 1964, when he was assigned to St. Mary Parish in Erie. Balko died in 1985. The allegation was reported to the archabbey in 2000.

The Rev. Gordian Burkardt, alleged to have abused a minor sometime in 1961 or 1962, when he was assigned to James Barry Robinson School in the Diocese of Richmond, Va. Burkardt died in 1985. The allegation was reported to the archabbey in 2006.

The Rev. Alvin Downey, alleged to have abused a minor in 1981, when he was assigned to weekend service at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Bellefonte, in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The allegation was reported to the archabbey in 2002. Downey was removed from ministry at that time and died in 2010.

The Rev. Joseph Gerg, alleged to have abused a minor sometime in 1969-71, when he was assigned to St. Benedict Parish in Baltimore. The allegation was made in 1997. In 2002, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, in accord with the U.S. bishops' “Dallas Charter,” publicly reported the allegation as credible, and he was removed from active ministry.

The Rev. Germain Lieb, alleged to have abused a minor between 1975 and 1978, when he was assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish, New Germany, in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Lieb died in 2006. The allegation was reported to the archabbey in 2018.

The Rev. Stanley Markiewicz, alleged to have abused multiple individuals between 1966 and 1971, when he was assigned to St. Vincent's Preparatory School in Latrobe. The first allegation was received by the archabbey in 2002. He was removed from active ministry at that time.

The Rev. Cosmas Minster, alleged to have abused an individual in 1942, when he was assigned to a weekend mission at St. Joseph Parish, Mt. Pleasant. Minster died in 1985. The complaint was reported to the archabbey in 2002.

The Rev. Emmeran Rettger, alleged to have abused multiple individuals between 1965 and 1967, when he was assigned to St. Benedict Parish in Covington, Ky. The complaint was reported to the archabbey in 1993, and he was removed from active ministry. Rettger died in 1999.

The Rev. Jerome Rupprecht, alleged to have abused an individual in the early 1970s while on a field trip in Emporium, Cameron County. Rupprecht died in 1982. The allegation was reported to the archabbey in 2002.

Brother Benet Salis, alleged to have abused an individual between 1964 and 1965 while a monk at St. Leo's Abbey in Florida. Salis died in 1991. The allegation was reported to the archabbey in 1993.

The Rev. Alcuin Tasch, alleged to have abused multiple individuals between 1950 and 1963, when he was assigned to 40 Holy Martyrs Parish in Baltimore. Tasch died in 1982. The allegations were reported to the archabbey in 1995.

The Rev. Herman Ubinger, alleged to have abused multiple individuals between 1966 and 1971, when he was assigned to St. Vincent's Preparatory School in Latrobe. Ubinger died in 1997. The allegation was reported to the archabbey in 2002.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh received a report in 1986 of Lazar sexually abusing an adolescent male that same year. Records indicate Lazar was serving as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bloomfield and St. Teresa Catholic Church in Koppel, Beaver County.

“Lazar took this victim on overnight trips. They slept in the same bed. The victim stated Lazar kissed him and began touching the child's genitals. While in bed, Lazar pulled the victim close to him, close enough (that) the victim felt the erect penis of Lazar,” the report said.

Lazar was sent away for treatment in 1987 and admitted being sexually active with children after his ordination, the report said.

Then-Bishop Donald Wuerl determined in 1989 that Lazar could not continue in ministry because of a diagnosis of ephebophilia, defined as a primary sexual interest in older adolescents, the report said.

Other instances of alleged abuse were traced to Lazar's service at Saint Vincent's Preparatory School in Latrobe in the 1960s and at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, Library, Allegheny County, in the early 1980s.

The grand jury report cited Nealen's “long history of sexually abusing numerous young boys.”

One victim was later arrested and criminally tried for also sexually abusing young boys, according to the report. He reportedly testified at trial that he had been an altar boy and had been sexually abused while Nealen was assistant pastor at Queen of the World Catholic Church in St. Marys, Elk County.

Nealen was abruptly removed from the parish, with no explanation being given to parishioners, according to a letter provided to the grand jury by the Erie diocese.

Weber allegedly fondled a boy's genitals in the early 1980s after giving a lecture at St. Gertrude Catholic Church, Vandergrift, on “the meaning of impure thoughts and actions,” the report said.

An allegation of sexual abuse against Gerg was reported to the Benedictines in 1997, according to The abuse stemmed from Gerg's time in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in the late 1960s and early '70s.

In 2005, the archabbey and the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown settled a lawsuit involving allegations of abuse against Downey in 1980, when he served at St. John the Evangelist Church in Bellefonte.

Downey allegedly performed oral sex on a teenage boy after giving him alcohol and drugs, according to news accounts.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at: 724-850-1280, or via Twitter @shuba_trib



Pope Francis breaks silence on Pennsylvania Catholic abuse scandal


A spokesperson for Pope Francis on Thursday broke the Vatican's silence on a grand jury report outlining sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, calling the details in the report “criminal and morally reprehensible."

“The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible,” the spokesperson said, according to media reports. “Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith.”

More from The Vatican: “The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith.... there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted
abuse to occur”

— Nikki Battiste (@NikkiBattiste) August 16, 2018

The statement comes two days after the publication of a report identifying more than 300 priests in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania who are alleged to have committed sexual abuse that was then allegedly covered up by the church.

The report, compiled by a grand jury that met for two years, detailed more than 1,000 instances of sexual abuse committed by the priests.

The Vatican had previously not commented on the report.

The report noted that members of the grand jury didn't think they had identified every priest who may have committed sexual abuse.

“We feel certain that many victims never came forward, and that the dioceses did not create written records every single time they heard something about abuse," the report states.

The publication of the report followed the resignation of Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who's been accused of sexually abusing multiple men.

U.S. Catholic bishops on Thursday called for an investigation into the allegations against McCarrick.


Dept of Justice


Former ICE Special Agent Arrested on Federal Civil Rights Charges that Allege He Sexually Assaulted Two Women

RIVERSIDE, California – A former special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was arrested this morning on federal civil rights charges that allege he sexually assaulted one woman and twice raped another woman after abusing his official position to convince them not to report his violent conduct.

John Jacobs Olivas, 43, of Riverside, was arrested this morning without incident by special agents from FBI and ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility.

Olivas, who was arrested pursuant to a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on August 1, was arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside. Olivas entered a not guilty plea, was ordered released on a $50,000 bond, and was ordered to stand trial on October 9.

Olivas – who began with his career with ICE in 2007 and resigned in September 2015 after working as an HSI special agent for just over six years – allegedly sexually assaulted the two victims in 2012.

The indictment alleges that Olivas attempted to rape one victim in January 2012 after making it clear to her “that the police would not be responsive to any report she may make about defendant Olivas because of defendant Olivas' position as a federal law enforcement officer.” Olivas allegedly violated the victim's constitutional right to be free from deprivations of liberty without due process, which includes the right to bodily integrity.

The indictment also alleges that Olivas raped another victim in September 2012 and then again in November 2012. Olivas allegedly also made clear to this woman that police would not respond to any report she might make about attacks by Olivas.

Olivas is charged with three counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, each of which carries a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The case against Olivas is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Professional Responsibility. Anyone who has information about Olivas' conduct, or who believes they may have been a victim, is encouraged to call the FBI at 855-324-7257.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph B. Widman, Chief of the Riverside Branch Office.


Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer
(213) 894-6947



301 ‘Predator Priests' Named In Pa. Grand Jury Sex Abuse Report: ‘They Were Raping Little Boys & Girls'

by Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The long-awaited state grand jury report into sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, including Pittsburgh and Greensburg, has finally been released.

The 1,300-plus page document, two years in the making, shines a light into the dark corners of these dioceses going back seven decades, exposing the predators and the efforts of their bishops to protect them.

The report begins with the following statement:

“We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this. We know some of you have head some of it before. There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. But never on this scale. For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere.”  

The report cites 301 priests, clergy and lay teachers with credible allegations against them. There are close to 90 in the Diocese of Pittsburgh alone.

Because of an on-going legal battle, more than a dozen names and identifying information have been redacted. But the report shows a consistent pattern of bishops having prior knowledge of the actions of these predatory priests, reassigning them and not alerting law enforcement.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said his office is not satisfied with the release of the redacted report. Shapiro said each one of those redactions represents a story of abuse that deserves to be told. He went on to say that he will fight to reveal the names currently redacted in the report.


The report states:

“All victims were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all. The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid scandal.”

“Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing: they hid it all.”

“Diocesan administrators, including the Bishops, had knowledge of this conduct and yet priests were regularly placed in ministry after the Diocese was on notice that a complaint of child sexual abuse had been made. This conduct enabled offenders and endangered the welfare of children.”

In addition, the report says administrators and Bishops “often dissuaded victims from reporting abuse to police, pressured law enforcement to terminate or avoid an investigation, or conducted their own deficient, biased investigations without reporting crimes against children to the proper authorities.”

The report includes some priests who stood trial and were convicted of sexual assault. In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, they include: Father Robert Wolk of St. Thomas More in Bethel Park; Father Richard Zula of Saints Mary and Ann in Marianna, Washington County, and Father Richard Dorsch, convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in North Park.

Until now, the Pittsburgh Diocese had been considered a leader in those reforms since now Cardinal, then bishop, Donald Wuerl defied the Vatican back in 1993 by refusing to reassign pedophile priest Anthony Cipolla. Wuerl was a leader in formulating policies to protect children, but in the report, his record here also comes under fire.

Just last week, current Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik warned the faithful that the report would be graphic and disturbing.

“I'm concerned about our people that they may be scandalized and tempted to turn their backs on God,” Zubik told KDKA.

In a letter read at Sunday mass, Bishop Zubik also said 90 percent of the cases involved incidents that occurred before 1990 and that the church has instituted safeguards and reforms to identify and weed out the abusers. He said no priest or deacon with a credible allegation against them is in active ministry today.

“I really felt it was important, the letter, to get people ready for the report because it's going to be tough, and at the same time, to realize the decisions that the Diocese of Pittsburgh makes today are far different than what would have been made over the course of the last 10, 20 years,” Zubik said.

But while most of the cases are old and the clergy accused are retired or deceased, just two weeks ago Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that Father Tomas Sweeney of the Greensburg Diocese had pled guilty to indecent assault.

“There can be no doubt that Father Sweeney is a predator priest,” Shapiro said.


Parent to Child

Quit Raising Your Kids to Act Tough. Teach Them to Be Mentally Strong Instead

There's a big difference between acting tough and being strong.

by Amy Morin -- Author, "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do"

A couple of years ago, a father came into my therapy office with his 9-year-old son and said, "I'm so proud of him for being so strong. He's only cried a few times since Grandma died." Sadly, comments like that from parents aren't that unusual.

Many of them mistakenly believe that a lack of emotion is a sign of strength. But kids who deny their feelings are simply acting tough --which is much different than being mentally strong.

In my book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, I share how to give up the common parenting habits that are robbing kids of mental strength. When parents give up these habits, they can help kids develop the mental strength they need to reach their greatest potential.

Here are five signs you're teaching your kids to act tough, rather than be mentally strong:

1. You encourage them to suppress their emotions.

Every time you say, "Quit crying," or "Stop acting like a baby," you're implying your child's feelings are wrong. Similarly, if you say, "Wow, you didn't even cry when I dropped you off at daycare today! Good job," you send a message that feeling upset is bad.

Mental strength building tip: Label your child's feelings and validate his emotions. Say things like, "I see you're really nervous about your dance recital," or "I know you are sad we can't go to the movies today. I feel sad when I don't get to do things I really want to do too." This will teach your child to name his emotions.

2. You correct their emotions, instead of their behavior.

Kids need consequences for their behavior, not for their emotions. So don't send your child to time-out for being upset. Send him to time-out for screaming loudly and disrupting everyone.

Mental strength building tip: Teach your child the difference between feelings and behavior. Say things like, "It's OK to feel angry but it's not OK to throw things," or "It's OK to feel sad but it's not OK to scream and throw yourself on the floor in the grocery store." Proactively teach your child socially appropriate ways to cope with uncomfortable emotions.

3. You deny their pain.

Saying things like, "That didn't hurt," or "Don't be so nervous. It's not a big deal," minimizes a child's feelings. But kids' pain is real--even if it seems disproportionate to the situation.

Mental strength building tip: Show empathy by saying, "I know you felt really scared today," or "I know this is hard for you to do." Teach your child that she can act contrary to her emotions--like stepping on stage for the spelling bee even when she's anxious. Provide praise for being brave when she chooses to face her fears.

4. You praise successful outcomes only.

While it can be tempting to praise your child for getting the most baskets in the game or getting an 'A' on a test, only praising his achievements will teach him that he must succeed to get approval. Over time, he'll put more energy into hiding his mistakes--rather than learning from them--or he'll refuse to engage in activities where he's likely to fail.  

Mental strength building tip: Praise the things that are within your child's control--like the effort he put into studying or the hustling he did on the field. Make it clear that you notice his hard work and that you're pleased with him when he puts in his best effort.

5. You prevent your kids from failing.

Correcting your child's homework to ensure she doesn't get any answers wrong or delivering her forgotten soccer cleats so she doesn't miss out on practice teaches her that failure must be prevented at all costs. So rather than learn how to bounce back from rejection or disappointment, she'll depend on you to guarantee her success.

Mental strength building tip: Let your kids make mistakes and fail sometimes. Teach them that they're strong enough to bounce back even better than before. Then, they'll have the confidence to take risks and step outside their comfort zones.

Become a Mental Strength Coach for Your Kids

Kids aren't born knowing how to be mentally strong. But, with your guidance and wisdom, you can teach them how to build the mental muscle they'll need to become their best.

If you see signs your kids are acting tough, take a step back and think about what steps you can take to help them become mentally strong. When you give up the bad habits that rob kids of mental strength, you'll give them the confidence and first-hand experiences they need to face life's toughest challenges head-on.


Father teaches som what in means to be 'a man'

10 Things to Teach your Son about True Manhood

In the book Season of Life, Joe Ehrmann says there are three false ideas of masculinity: athletic ability, sexual conquest, and wealth accumulation. Instead, true masculinity is defined by two principles. One is relationships…to love and be loved by your family. The other is to live for a purpose bigger than yourself. Great advice.

So, how are you doing on being a true man? And, are you teaching your son about being a real man? Here are the 10 things you must teach your son about true manhood.

1. Being a gentleman is still worth the effort.

Hold the door. Stand up when a woman leaves or joins the table. Walk on the “splash” side of the sidewalk. Attempt (gently) to pick up the tab. Go get the car when it's raining. Offer your hand. A strong man is a man who gives.

2. At the same time, be respectful.

All the above “gentlemanly” actions must be offered subtly, and – if necessary – set aside graciously when refused.

3. Take responsibility.

True manhood takes responsibility for its actions, choices, values, and beliefs. And – while taking responsibility, manhood is also willing to admit – with grace – when it is wrong.

4. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable.

Real strength allows other people in. Manhood is honest about feelings and not afraid to be known. True manhood never builds a wall where there should be a window or a fortress where there should be a sanctuary.

5. Actually “being” a man is more important than “talking” like one.

Real men don't just stand up and speak up – they “put up” too. Loud talk and tough posturing don't cut it. True manhood involves finding a need and doing something about it. Real men don't complain about social problems, they go out and do something about them. Real men don't point fingers – they work for solutions. Real men get calluses on their hands and not from flapping their lips.

6. Listen respectfully, disagree politely and never exclude women from the conversation.

True manhood is inclusive. It may be strong, but it's unfailingly polite. Men who equate bluster or machismo with strength are typically covering something up.

7. Love is stronger than muscles.

True manhood understands that brute force is less compelling than self-giving love. The best solutions to difficulties involved applied love.

8. The first shall be last.

True manhood puts others first. Jesus is quoted more than once as saying something like this: If you want to be a leader, then the place to be is on your knees, with a towel in your hand, washing someone's feet.

9. Manhood is, sometimes, more about what you could do but didn't than what you could have avoided but did anyway.

There's a lot of restraint – a great deal of “Quiet Strength” in true manhood. Real men tend to always have something in reserve.

10. True manhood is more about giving than about getting.

Our culture often touts a “men see what they want, then they go out and get it” view of manhood. But true manhood is more along the lines of “see what the world needs, then go out and do it.” Strength leveraged for the benefit of others.


Mom raising a daughter

7 Behaviors Someone That Was Unloved As A Child Displays In Their Adult Lives

Early childhood is a period of rapid change in the human brain. The brain builds complex network connections at a very fast rate during early or middle childhood.

A process called myelination, which's the brain neuron formation, is eighty percent complete by age 4.

The brain plays a role in literally everything we do, think, or say. In case a kid is not properly nurtured, it affects their brain development, preventing their emotional networks from being developed.

The connection between the childhood brain's personality characteristics and developmental traits is both universal and indisputable.

A psychologist, Peg Streep, discusses the link between adult and early childhood life. Namely, Streep notes that although everybody's childhood experience is different, there're reliable and broad statements that may be made about the impact of these experiences. Childhood experiences can shape a person's behavior and personality.

Here Are the Signs and Behaviors Someone That Was Neglected and Unloved During Childhood Displays:

1. Oversensitivity

Everyone has probably heard the phrase “Do not take this personally.” In fact, it's solid advice. Those who deal with their own problems usually project them onto other people.

But, for somebody who had the misfortune of growing up in an unloving environment, to not take things personally does go against the grain of their psyche.

2. Insecurity

If the child is misfortunate enough to grow up in a loving home, it's pretty natural to take things personally later in life. People who deal with problems and issues with themselves often project their issues onto others and can't understand that people are sharing their opinions and thoughts about a certain thing and it doesn't mean that they want to hurt them. The person also fears of rejection because as a child, the child felt unloved and insignificant in their parent's lives and in the family.

3. Fear of Failure

Unfortunately, kids that grow up in a neglectful environment may not develop a sense of self-worth. However, a loving and stimulating environment can instill fortitude and confidence.

A kid that's unloved may feel an absence of self-esteem that usually manifests as an unjustifiable sense of failure.

4. Poor Emotional Intelligence

A child learns what she's feeling through dyadic interaction; a mother's gestures and words teach the baby to self-soothe when she's stressed or uncomfortable. Later, the mother will play a key role in helping her daughter articulate her feelings, name them, and learn to manage her fears and negative emotions.

The insecurely attached daughter doesn't learn to regulate her emotions; she's either engulfed by them or walled off from them. Both insecure styles of attachments get in the way of naming emotions and using them to inform thought—key aspects of emotional intelligence.

5. Trust Issues

It's essential that the people that are surrounding the child are stable and show and live loyalty and trust. In the mind of the baby, everything programs itself what it sees and feels, the mind remembers through pictures and symbols. Without a stabilized surrounding, the child will have difficulties with trusting other, and more importantly, trusting itself.

6. Anxiety and Depression

Unloved kids usually develop mental health problems.

Anxiety and depression that stem from having experienced neglect or the inevitable complications that surface when the kid ages are common mental health problems.

7. Toxic Relationships

We all seek out the familiar (see the shared root with the word family?) which is just dandy if you have a secure base, and definitely less than optimal if you're an unloved daughter. The chances are good that, initially at least, you'll be attracted to those who treat you as your mother did—a familiar comfort zone that offers no comfort. Until you begin to recognize the ways in which you were wounded in childhood, the chances are good that you'll continue to recreate the emotional atmosphere you grew up with in your adult relationships.


See also:

If You Are A Daughter Of An Unloving Mother, Mourn The Mother You Deserved

Recovering from a childhood without love and support is not easy. One way to recover is to mourn the mother you needed and deserved but never had. It is very important to understand that everyone deserves a good mother and love.

Sadly, some people think that they did not deserve that kind of love, they believe they are worthless and unlovable. A period of mourning the mother you deserved to have is very important.

Some may say that the woman who did not give you love and support deserves your love, and when she is close to death, you should go and have that famous “closure.” But, at that moment, you ask why didn't she love you.

When your mother passes away, you mourn not over her, but over the mother, you wanted and needed to have.

Mourning is Hard

When you finally realize what kind of a woman she is, you realize that she will never be the mom you deserve to have. If you decide to stand on your own feet, she may become even worse, and you may lose contact.

Grieving a mother is hindered by feeling unworthy, unloved, and the core conflict. The conflict is between relationship a daughter had with her mom and her need for maternal support and love in adulthood.

This internal battle may continue for a very long time, and may even cause pain and the daughter may keep finding excuses of the behavior of her mother while she is waiting to gain her love and affection.

Some daughters feel afraid to cut off their mothers because they may feel more pain if the mother passes away. They believe that maybe their mothers may change.

The Stages of Loss

D. Kessler and E. Kübler-Ross are authors of the book “On Grief and Grieving.” In this book, they explain the five stages of loss. However, it does not mean that everyone would experience the same stages. So, what happens after a loss?

1. Denial

“I couldn't believe that a mother would choose to do this to her own child. How could she not love me?”

After a great loss, denial helps us pace the absorption of reality. This is the reason why a daughter may need a lot of time to accept that her mother will never change.

2. Anger

“I was angry for a very long time. Angry for her attitude, what we could have had. But most of all angry at her for her choice that she would rather feel RIGHT than have a relationship with me. She would choose to give it up for the sake of her screwed-up narcissistic self. This is what pissed me off the most.”

Anger is the second stage. After a death of a beloved, we tend to be angry at people, supernatural forces, the healthcare system, and so on. So, daughters in grief may be angry at their mothers even at family members.

Why family members? They may be angry at them because they did not protect them and did not see the toxic treatment earlier.

3. Bargaining

“I don't think I had this stage. There were ‘if only' feelings, but you can't bargain with a person like her. It just won't work.”

During this stage, a person feels that if they had done something, the situation would not be as it is. Daughters tend to change their behavior and please their mothers in order to change them.

And, while daughters are in grief, they may stop bargaining because they begin accepting that they cannot make their mothers love them.

4. Depression

“This stage has lasted decades. When the person is still alive, I think you always have this deep-down hope of reconciliation. Maybe she'll come around. Maybe on her deathbed, she will have an epiphany of some kind and realize what she's done. A last moment of clarity and confession. Don't hold your breath. It's been hard on me to see my friends and their moms who have great relationships. You think, ‘Why didn't I get that? I deserve that too, dammit!'”

It is normal to feel extreme sadness after a loss. And, the authors of the book say that depression is a way to keep us safe from shutting down the nervous system.

Also, it is normal to feel sad and sometimes depressed if you have had an unloving mother. The feeling of “the only one in the world who wasn't loved” is a feeling of isolation. This is a result of the well-known myth “every mother is loving.”

5. Acceptance

“I don't know whether I will ever have this stage fully until she's gone. One of the ways I have dealt with it is to be the very best mom I can be to my own children. They know all the family history. They get it and understand why I did what I did.”

This is the final stage which does not mean that everything is okay. It is about accepting that you have lost someone and learning to live with it. During this stage, we learn how to get back our lives.

The mourner begins forming new relationships and connections. So, that is why it is important for daughters to mourn the mothers they deserved.

To mourn the mother you deserved means to grieve that you did not have the mother that loved you, supported you, was proud of you for all your success, and everything that loving mothers do.