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Middlesex priest accused of sex abuse

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:00 AM PST

MIDDLESEX (NJ) My Central Jersey February 26, 2018 By Suzanne Russell MIDDLESEX BOROUGH - The pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish has been accused of sexual abuse by three people when they were minors more than 30 years ago, Diocese of Metuchen Bishop James F. Checchio said in a letter to parishioners Sunday. Checchio said the Rev. Patrick J. Kuffner is on a leave of absence and the Rev. David Skoblow will serve as temporary administrator of the parish. The accusations relate to when Kuffner was a layman and teaching in Staten Island, New York, according to Checchio's letter.

Catholic sex abuse in Northwest isn’t new. Diocese bankruptcies started here.

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:54 AM PST

BOISE (ID) Idaho Statesman February 26, 2018 By Michael Katz It started in Portland. The Catholic Church there — as similar allegations spread worldwide — faced accusation after accusation of child sexual abuse by clergy. Then the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland reached financial strain it could no longer withstand. A total of 54 victims accused Maurice Grammond, a priest who worked at a handful of parishes from 1950 to 1985, of abuse. They sued, costing the church $33.4 million in settlements, according to the Oregonian. The church eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2004, having paid more than $53 million in settlements, according to The Washington Post. A total of 175 victims alleged abuse from the Portland church; their bankruptcy claims were settled for $75 million in 2007, according to Reuters. In the process, it became the first diocese in the country to declare bankruptcy due to sexual abuse cases.

Victims of Fr Finnegan urged to come forward

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:51 AM PST

NORTHERN IRELAND Lurgan Mail February 27, 2018 Victims of paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan have been urged to come forward after the Diocese of Dromore revealed it was aware of 12 allegations against the former teacher. Hundreds of boys from Lurgan and the vicinity travelled daily to St Colman's College in Newry to attend school during the period in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s when Fr Finnegan taught and was President. Last week parents at four Co Down primary schools have said they do not want the Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey to officiate at their children's confirmation after he said Requiem Mass for Finnegan. Bishop McAreavey admitted earlier this month that he had made an "error" by officiating at Finnegan's funeral in 2002. He described the former teacher's actions as "abhorrent, inexcusable and indefensible". It had been revealed recently that the Diocese of Dromore had settled a claim for sex abuse by Finnegan, who was accused of abusing pupils at St Colman's College in Newry. The diocese said it was aware of 12 allegations against the former teacher, who worked at the school from 1967 to 1976. Finnegan was never prosecuted. The first allegation against him came to light in 1994, with the then Fr McAreavey providing pastoral support to the victim, according to the Irish News.

Bishop Barros testifies before abuse cover-up investigation

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:47 AM PST

CHILE The Associated Press February 26, 2018 The bishop is accused of witnessing and covering up abuse. He denies the claims The Chilean bishop accused of covering up sex abuse by a paedophile priest has testified before a Vatican mission looking into the allegations, a priest involved in the interviews said Friday. Bishop Juan Barros has been among those interviewed by the team, said Fr Jordi Bertomeu, who has been handling recent interviews in the investigation. But he did not say when the interview occurred, or whether Bishop Barros appeared voluntarily or was summoned. Bishop Barros has been accused by survivors of witnessing and ignoring the abuse of young parishioners by Fr Fernando Karadima, who was removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of "penance and prayer" in 2010. Bishop Barros has denied knowing of the abuse.

Uniting Church mulls asking congregations to fund abuse compo claims

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:45 AM PST

QUEENSLAND (AUSTRALIA) Starts At 60 February 26, 2018 The Uniting Church of Australia in Queensland has suggested having congregations put more in the collection plate, or church schools hike their fees, to help fund compensation for child sexual abuse victims. The Courier Mail reported that the Queensland Synod had published a consultation document looking at options for funding claims that may come in in the future, having paid out almost $5 million in just the past 12 months to 31 people who were abused while in the care of the church. One of the options for funding future compensation could be to ask church members and associated entities such as schools and hospitals to pay a levy to cover future compo claims, the Courier Mail reports the consultation paper as suggesting. The levy could be covered by fund-raising drives by congregations, or an increase in the fees charged by schools, the newspaper said. Another other option for funding compensation was to sell some of the church's assets, which includes 19 schools and colleges, numbering among them the prestigious Brisbane Boys College, 250 churches, and four hospitals including the Wesley and St Andrew's in Brisbane. A third option would be for the church entity where the abuse occurred to fund the compensation, rather than the synod. The entities attached to the church include UnitingCare Queensland and Wesley Mission Queensland. The synod referred Starts at 60 to a statement by the Reverend David Baker, who's the Queensland synod's moderator, which said that the Courier Mail's report was misleading to infer that the church would not be able to meet its obligation to abuse survivors. "This is categorically not the case," Baker said in the statement. "We have the resources to meet our commitments to the redress scheme." Instead, the consultation document was intended to encourage consultation among congregations over future funding options, he said. "No decisions about any of the options have been made, nor are they likely to be made in the foreseeable future," Baker added.

Survivors, politicians propose sexual abuse reporting laws in Michigan

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:42 AM PST

LANSING (MI) ESPN February 26, 2018 By Dan Murphy The women who spoke up to help put convicted sexual predator Larry Nassar in prison are speaking again, this time in support of changes to Michigan laws that would make it easier to hold his enablers and future would-be abusers accountable. Six women who say they were abused by the formerly celebrated sports physician for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics joined a host of state politicians Monday afternoon to introduce a package of proposed legislation related to reporting sexual abuse. Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault in September 2016, said the proposed bills would take Michigan from one of the nation's least victim-friendly states in the judicial process to one of the nation's best at handling these cases. "The legislative package unveiled today will become a blueprint for our country," Denhollander said during a news conference at the state's Capitol.

Priest accused of using exorcisms to sexually assault women

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:27 AM PST

NEW YORK (NY) New York Post February 26, 2018 By Lia Eustachewich A Catholic priest in Italy has been busted for allegedly using exorcism to sexually assault young women, telling them they'd be "punished" by "angels and saints" if they didn't comply, according to a report Monday. Father Michele Baron is accused of forcing the women into sexual acts while "liberating" them from evil spirits, according to prosecutor Maria Antonietta Troncone, The Times of London reported. Baron allegedly beat, insulted and threatened the women, who were forced to sleep in the nude with him and his mistress, Troncone said. One woman told prosecutors she would be "punished by the Madonna, St. Michael and other angels and saints" if she didn't perform sexual acts. Barone also persuaded the women to quit taking prescriptions and follow a strict diet of milk, biscuits and glucose solution. He wasn't authorized to perform the exorcisms. He's been suspended from his priestly activities for a year.

Mid-Michigan priest charged with sex crimes

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:05 AM PST

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (MI) WNEM February 26, 2018 By Rachel McCrary and Kate Nadolski A local priest has gone before a judge, accused of multiple sex crimes. Father Robert DeLand, Jr., a pastor at St. Agnes Church in Freeland, was arrested in the late hours of Feb. 25 after months of investigation. DeLand, 71, was first accused of sexual assault in August of 2017 by a then 21-year-old man who claimed the incident happened at DeLand's house on Mallard Cove in Saginaw Township, according to Det. Brian Berg with the Tittabawassee Township Police Department. Police were then approached by a 17-year-old and his parents, concerned about the relationship developing between the teen and the priest.

Saginaw-area priest arrested on assault allegations

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:03 AM PST

SAGINAW (MI) The Associated Press February 27, 2018 Police in the Saginaw area have arrested a 71-year-old Roman Catholic priest who is accused of sexual assault. Jail records show the Rev. Robert DeLand was arrested Monday. He's the pastor at St. Agnes Church in Freeland. Police say they've received several complaints since August alleging assault, gross indecency, alcohol for a minor and possession of the Ecstasy drug. No charges have been filed, although the Saginaw County prosecutor is reviewing police reports. An email seeking comment was sent to the Catholic Diocese in Saginaw.

Saginaw Township priest accused of sexual assault

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 07:01 AM PST

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (MI) Michigan Radio February 26, 2018 By Bryce Huffman A Saginaw Township Catholic priest is under investigation for alleged criminal sexual activity. Father Robert DeLand Jr. is the pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Freeland and is a judicial vicar with the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw. DeLand was arrested by Tittabawassee Township Police after being under surveillance beginning in November. The 71-year old priest is accused of a sexual assault from August of last year. DeLand has since been accused of providing alcohol to a minor and purchasing the controlled substance MDMA – or Ecstasy.

N.J. priest reassigned after sex abuse allegations surface from time as Staten Island teacher in 1980s

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 06:58 AM PST

STATEN ISLAND (NY) SILive February 26, 2018 By Paul Liotta A New Jersey priest, who worked in Staten Island schools for more than 20 years as a layman, was put on a leave of absence Sunday after sexual abuse allegations connected to his time in the borough surfaced. Rev. Patrick Kuffner "has been accused by three individuals of sexual abuse while they were minors," according to a letter from Bishop James F. Checchio of the Diocese of Metuchen. The allegations stem from Kuffner's time as a layman and teacher on Staten Island more than 30 years ago, according to the letter. "As I am sure you will be, I am deeply shocked and saddened at this development, and I have a heavy heart for the individuals who came forward after many years of having carried such a tremendous burden," Checchio wrote in his letter. Kuffner could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

SafeToNet demos anti-sexting child safety tool

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 06:56 AM PST

UNITED KINGDOM TechCrunch February 26, 2018 By Natasha Lomas With rising concern over social media's 'toxic' content problem, and mainstream consumer trust apparently on the slide, there's growing pressure on parents to keep children from being overexposed to the Internet's dark sides. Yet pulling the plug on social media isn't exactly an option. UK startup SafeToNet reckons it can help, with a forthcoming system of AI-powered cyber safety mobile control tools. Here at Mobile World Congress it's previewing an anti-sexting feature that will be part of the full subscription service -- launching this April, starting in the UK. It's been developing its cyber safety system since 2016, and ran beta testing with around 5,000 users last year. The goal is to be "protecting" six million children by the end of this year, says CEO Richard Pursey -- including via pursuing partnerships with carriers (which in turn explains its presence at MWC). SafeToNet has raised just under £9 million from undisclosed private investors at this point, to fund the development of its behavioral monitoring platform. From May, the plan is to expand availability to English-speaking nations around the world. They're also working on German, Spanish, Catalan and Danish versions for launch in Q2. So what's at stake for parents? Pursey points to a recent case in Denmark as illustrative of the risks when teens are left freely using social sharing apps. In that instance more than 1,000 young adults, many of them teenagers themselves, were charged with distributing child pornography after digitally sharing a video of two 15-year-olds having sex. The video was shared on Facebook Messenger and the social media giant alerted US authorities -- which in turn contacted police in Denmark. And while the age of consent is 15 in Denmark, distributing images of anyone under 18 is a criminal offense. Ergo sexting can get even consenting teens into legal hot water. And sexting is just one of the online risks and issues parents now need to consider, argues Pursey, pointing to other concerns such as cyber bullying or violent content. Parents may also worry about their children being targeted by online predators.

Fr Malachy Finnegan victims complain to ombudsman

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 06:54 AM PST

NORTHERN IRELAND BBC News February 27, 2018 A group of victims is complaining to the police ombudsman about failures to investigate reports in 1996. Father Malachy Finnegan, who died in 2002 was accused of sex abuse by 12 people. Some parishioners are refusing to set foot in the parochial house where some of the abuse happened. Priests will no longer stay overnight in the parochial house after Saturday evening mass. The late Fr Malachy Finnegan, a former teacher, worked in St Colman's College in Newry from 1967 to 1976 and was later the President of the school. Victims claim that the police in Newry were alerted to the allegations in 1996 but failed to interview the priest who died in 2002. The police say that a formal complaint was never made but they did receive a report of historical abuse. Parishioners have told the BBC Spotlight team that they will no longer set foot in the parochial house in Hilltown and that priests will no longer stay overnight there. Recently the Catholic diocese of Dromore settled one of the claims against Fr Finnegan. Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, said the abuse was "abhorrent" and admitted he made an "error" by officiating at Fr Finnegan's funeral in 2002. The school began to remove the priest's image from its photographs last year.


Posted: 27 Feb 2018 06:52 AM PST

AUSTRALIA The Tablet February 26, 2018 By Mark Brolly The Chief Executive of an independent company established by the Catholic Church in Australia to develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards across Catholic entities says that if the safety of children and vulnerable people is not at the centre of the Church's mission in Australia and around the world, "then something has gone very, very wrong in the Church". Ms Sheree Limbrick, CEO of Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL), said the biggest future challenge facing the Church was the protection of children and vulnerable adults. "Regardless of the changes that have been made to the way in which the Church in Australia responded to, and dealt with, allegations and the survivors of child sexual abuse over the past 25 years, it has become very clear that more, much more, needs to be done," Ms Limbrick wrote on the Jesuit-operated Eureka Street website on 19 February, shortly before she was a panellist at the Catholic Social Services national conference, Hearing, Healing, Hope, in Melbourne from 21-23 February. She wrote that CPSL was a completely new process for the Australian Church, its leaders and organisations. "It brings with it its own set of unique challenges, not least of which is the perception that CPSL is stepping well over the mark and intruding on the independence of bishops and others. "From my perspective this is not right. CPSL will be consulting widely on the new standards, certainly not doubling up where appropriate standards already exist. It will offer extensive training on how to comply with the standards, and give Church leaders every opportunity to understand their responsibilities to ensure, as far as possible, children and vulnerable people are safe. "But that said, where there are failings and where, for whatever reason, a diocese or congregation continues to be unsafe, CPSL will say so, publicly. CPSL sets a new high-water mark in the ongoing development of a child-safe church in Australia."

Man who claims to have 'nearly killed a priest' to stop a sexual assault calls for state abuse inquiry to be widened [with video]

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 06:51 AM PST

NEW ZEALAND Stuff February 27 2018 By Katarina Williams A man who claims to have "nearly killed a priest" with his bare hands to stop an attempted ​sexual assault is calling on the Government to widen the scope of its historic state abuse inquiry. If faith-based institutions were to be incorporated into the inquiry, the Catholic Church said it would "cooperate whole-heartedly". Chris Travers, husband of former Green Party chief of staff Deborah Morris-Travers, has revealed in a Facebook post that he "choked" his alleged abuser to ward off the priest.