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New York archbishop pushes against Child Victims Act litigation provision

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 09:23 AM PDT

BUFFALO (NY) Buffalo News March 20, 2018, updated March 21, 2018 By Tom Precious Albany – The spiritual leader of millions of Catholics in New York was at the Capitol Tuesday lobbying against a push to give a one-year window for alleged child abuse victims to sue for damages dating back decades. "Look-back would be toxic for us,'' Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said of a one-year litigation period being pushed by child victim organizations and many state lawmakers. Dolan, who is also leader of the New York State Catholic Conference, the lobbying arm of the state's bishops, said the church is supportive of "very vigorous" changes to statute of limitations that would increase the age for victims to file civil and criminal actions. But the church, along with organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, has said a one-year look-back period would open the floodgates to litigation against organizations that could have to defend themselves in cases involving alleged abusers who have been dead or retired for years or decades. Victims groups dismiss the church's concerns, saying other states that have created windows for litigation have seen no such floodgates open in their civil courts.

Bishop Malone: 'It was time to put those names out'

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 09:06 AM PDT

BUFFALO (NY) Buffalo News March 20, 2018, updated March 21, 2018 By Tom Precious [Includes streaming audio of the entire interview.] Bishop Richard J. Malone said Tuesday that it was important for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and for victims of clergy sexual abuse that he publicly identify 42 priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct involving children. In an exclusive interview with The Buffalo News hours after he released the list of 42 priests, Malone said the diocese may struggle because of its new transparency, but it will be a good struggle. "We've been working on this for months. Reviewing old cases and all of that. I have just become more and more convinced it was time to put those names out. The main reasons are really transparency. You've heard of the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. It calls us to transparency. I wanted that transparency to happen," he said. "We know if a sexual abuse victim sees the name in print of the abuser, sometimes that person might have been ashamed and hidden away. Seeing the name in print, acknowledged by the church, can liberate and empower that person to come forward. And we want them to come forward for help." "I think the tendency decades ago was perhaps like a family. You don't want to hang out the dirty laundry. But clearly there was dirty laundry. I hate to use that metaphor for human beings. But I felt it was time to bring it into the light." He noted that about 30 Catholic dioceses out of 197 in the U.S. have publicized the names of priests involved in sexual abuse allegations. "The majority have not," he said.

Chrism Mass Homily

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 08:21 AM PDT

BUFFALO (NY) Diocese of Buffalo March 27, 2018 By Bishop Richard J. Malone [Includes streaming audio of the sermon.] Reprinted with permission, the text of Bishop Richard J. Malone's Chrism Mass homily, delivered at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo on March 27, 2018. We gather for the Chrism Mass this year at a moment in our diocesan history when our Catholic community is in the throes of a crisis. Together, we are struggling to navigate through a storm - dark, unnerving, shocking, angering, faith-shaking. As much as we hate to think about it, the fact is that the past aberrant behavior of some of our priests - a few, in the big picture - long shrouded in darkness, has come into the light - thanks to the courage of one victim, Michael, who came forward and publicly disclosed his victimization. This revelation has triggered a series of other sad stories of trust betrayed and young people harmed. After consultation with our Presbyteral Council and Diocesan Pastoral Council - and with their strong endorsement - I disclosed the names of 42 priests who are known to have abused children and young people. I made that decision for 3 reasons: for transparency; for the empowerment the truth gives victims to come forth so that we can help them; and for mitigation of risk of future incidents when past abuses are identified. Our Catholic people are reeling, as are we priests, and understandably so. At the same time, I've received more support from both laity and brother priests than I can ever remember in 18 years as a bishop. I'm sure you have, as well, my brothers. We're in this together - all of us - lay, clergy and religious - who are the Church of Western New York. And especially we who are priests. I know from meetings with the victims - I met with two victims just yesterday - and from conversations with brother priests, who are angry and ashamed - I know the truth of Blessed - soon to be Saint - Oscar Romero's words: "There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried." Many of us know those tears. I do.

Launceston Christians apologise to sexual abuse victims

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 07:21 AM PDT

LAUNCETON (TASMANIA) The Examiner March 28, 2018 By Stefan Boscia A Launceston priest has no personal objection to making celibacy optional for Catholic Church clergy. Father Mark Freeman suggested it was one of several measures that should be considered to bring the church further in line with other Christian denominations. The Catholic Church forces clergy to remain celibate throughout their life, unlike other mainstream Christian denominations. A recent royal commission into institutional sexual abuse recommended the Catholic Church reconsider the practice.

Editorial: Church needs to make full disclosure in assuring parishioners and community

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 07:14 AM PDT

BUFFALO (NY) Buffalo News March 27, 2018 The Diocese of Buffalo failed the community by allowing priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children to remain in leadership roles. Now, it turns out the church's careless practices may have had other unintended consequences. The News found eight priests from the Diocese of Buffalo accused of sexually abusing children living near elementary and middle schools. Reporters had to search public records to find the addresses of the eight priests. The diocese named 42 priests it said had credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors brought against them. But it declined to disclose their addresses. The diocese should ensure the public knows of any such priests living in sensitive areas to forestall problems that could otherwise arise. The church should be upfront in managing this crisis and assuring the public. News staff reporter Jay Tokasz wrote that, in some cases, accused priests have been living across the street from a school or down the road only a few houses away. Law enforcement's role is limited. Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn Jr. explained the problem: Because they were never convicted of a crime, he said, "these individuals are not required to be registered" as sex offenders. It is true these accused priests were never found guilty of any offense, so they are not in any local database for sex registry offense. Legally, they cannot be prevented from living near a school. This worrisome situation circles back to the church's past practice of protecting priests, sending them for treatment near Toronto and then sometimes returning them to parishes and schools. It was an ugly practice that put more young people at risk, and not just here but other parts of the country. Now, the community is dealing with the inevitable consequences of the hierarchy's initial failure to treat child sexual abuse as the criminal matter that it is.

Weinstein Creditors Hire Firm That Represented Catholic Church Abuse Victims

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 07:10 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES (CA) Variety March 30, 2018 By Gene Maddaus The unsecured creditors in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy have hired Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones, a firm that has represented sexual abuse victims in a dozen bankruptcies involving the Catholic Church. The five-member committee of unsecured creditors includes two alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein's abuses: his former assistant Sandeep Rehal and former actress Louisette Geiss. The committee also includes WME, Cinedigm, and Light Chaser Animation, a Chinese animation studio. Geiss, who filed a suit alleging that Weinstein tried to force her to watch him masturbate in 2008, will chair the committee. James Stang, a partner at the firm, will be among the attorneys representing the unsecured creditors. The committee's goal will be to maximize the value of the Weinstein Co. estate in order to get the greatest possible recovery. The firm's involvement is a sign that the committee may take an aggressive approach, possibly even suing Harvey Weinstein to recover funds that he may owe the company. "It is not unusual in a bankruptcy case that one would look for assets that may be recoverable," Stang told Variety in an interview. "The committee is going to look at potential liability of third parties, other than the Weinstein Co., and that would include Harvey Weinstein. That's a given."

New book on Catholic clergy sex abuse cover up cites Guam

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 07:06 AM PDT

GUAM Pacific Daily News March 31, 2018 By Haidee V. Eugenio A new book on sex abuse in the Catholic Church has cited the Guam church and former Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron's attempts to invalidate a 2016 Guam law lifting the civil statute of limitation for child sex abuses. G.R. Pafumi released the first of two volumes of his book, "Inhumanity in the Name of Jesus," which argue the church's history and teachings made the cover-up of clergy sex abuse inevitable because of unchecked power and the belief in ecclesiastical infallibility.

Despite Abuse, They Stayed in the Church

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 07:03 AM PDT

BOSTON (MA) NewBostonPost March 29, 2018 By Kevin Thomas Elena received her fair share of faulty Catholic teaching as a child, never believing she was good enough … "so any imperfection must be willful on my part and therefore a sin …" "I learned not to trust my judgment on anything but to allow the priests and others in authority to usurp the role of my conscience and the role of God in my life." Then, Elena was molested by a priest when she was 12. "I felt like Jesus must be on his side." Remarkably, both Elena and her faith survived. "I realized, believing that Jesus was on the priest's side was part of the lie," she wrote. "I imagined how angry I would be if someone hurt one of my children.

Bishop Malone reacts to St. Mary’s priest facing abuse allegations

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 07:23 AM PDT

BUFFALO (NY) WIVB March 27, 2018 By Marissa Perlman A Pastor from a Parish in Dunkirk has been put on administrative leave by Bishop Richard Malone following an abuse complaint. Tuesday, the Bishop says their investigation into the allegations against Father Dennis Riter is still in the early stages. Dennis Riter was an active priest as of Palm Sunday, but now he will be released of his duties as long as this investigation continues. We spoke with Mike Reck, who represents victims of child sexual abuse. He says his new client "Matt," is the person who filed these allegations against Father Riter. It was a very different meeting for the annual appeal week campaign for Catholic Charities, Tuesday. Bishop Richard Malone was asked about how he learned of the allegations against Father Dennis G. Riter of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Bishop Malone said, "The initial look at the case convinced us it was not what we call frivolous. In other words this is something we need to look at, that is not a judgement at all yet." Bishop Malone says he was notified "very recently." He says he is praying for the victims and Father Riter, and wants the parish not to assume guilt. "There will be a professional investigation that will happen, and it's a mistake to judge." The situation is the first since the Bishop released a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse; where a priest was pulled from active ministry. Lawyer Mike Reck with Jeff Anderson and Associates is representing a former altar boy at Our Lady of Perpetual Help who wants to only be known as "Matt."

Priest placed on administrative leave

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 06:52 AM PDT

ARLINGTON (VA) Diocese of Arlington March 16, 2018 The Diocese of Arlington has been advised that Fairfax County Police Department also have an active investigation regarding Fr. Duesterhaus. Father Duesterhaus has stated that he is cooperating fully with the investigation. Fairfax County Police can be reached at (703) 691-2131. Posted March 14, 2018 Rev. Michael R. Duesterhaus, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor. The alleged incidents occurred between 2001 and 2004. Fr. Duesterhaus denies the accusation. No determination has yet been made regarding the allegation. The Diocese is fully cooperating with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like all priests, diocesan employees and volunteers who work with children in the Diocese of Arlington, Fr. Duesterhaus has undergone criminal background checks during his service. His current assignment, from which he is on administrative leave, is as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Winchester.

Man says priest Richard Judd molested him

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 06:42 AM PDT

BUFFALO (NY) Buffalo News March 27, 2018 By Aaron Besecker Fifteen years ago, when a man publicly accused the Rev. Richard P. Judd of sexually abusing him as a child, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo wouldn't answer questions about the preist, according to the Niagara Gazette. Now Judd's accuser is happy that the diocese included Judd on a list of 42 priests who had credible allegations of sexual abuse against them. The man, identified by the Gazette as Nick D'Amico, told the newspaper that Judd abused him when he was a student at an elementary school in the summer of 1975.

Letter: Catholic Church needs to help victims of abuse

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 06:40 AM PDT

BUFFALO (NY) Buffalo News April 1, 2018 By Suzanne Szustakowski The latest revelations about past sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the Buffalo Diocese are deeply disturbing. The article in the March 21 News has revealed just how many more priests were involved than we, as parishioners, were aware of. I had hoped the church leaders had learned the lessons of Boston, especially when our current bishop was in the Boston area and saw the destruction that scandal caused. As frequent visitors to the Boston area, we witnessed the empty churches, even on Christmas. We witnessed the distress of devout Catholics as the cover-up of this abuse persisted. Apparently this was not enough to reform the church's methods of dealing with this horrid crime. Even as these revelations are being made public, our bishop and prominent church leaders are protesting the passage of the look-back law that would allow victims recourse for past abuse. Our leaders are choosing to protect the church and not the victims.

‘Look back’ laws worry Catholic leaders over potential sex abuse lawsuits

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 06:36 AM PDT

NEW YORK (NY) America Magazine March 29, 2018 By Michael J. O'Loughlin Nearly two decades after revelations of sexual abuse by priests were widely reported, legislators in states around the country are considering changes to laws that would give victims of child sex abuse more time to file criminal and civil complaints. Catholic leaders in those places support many of those changes—but some claim provisions in the proposed laws unfairly target private organizations and that they could open them up to lawsuits over abuse that occurred decades ago. In New York, lawmakers are scrambling to pass a state budget before breaking for Passover and Easter this week. With backing from victims' rights advocates and the governor, they are considering a provision in the final bill that would alter the criminal and civil statutes of limitation for sex abuse cases. Part of the measure would create a one-year window that would allow civil suits to proceed for abuse that occurred decades ago, referred to as a look-back provision. "This extraordinary provision would force institutions to defend alleged conduct decades ago about which they have no knowledge and in which they had no role, potentially involving employees long retired, dead or infirm, based on information long lost, if it ever existed," Dennis Poust, the director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, wrote in an email to America.