A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
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• First of Catholic scandal reports due this week
USA Today, By Cathy Lynn Grossman.
UNITED STATES: U.S. Catholic bishops on Tuesday will release the first of three major reports promised after the child sexual abuse scandal erupted two years ago. It's expected to account, diocese by diocese, for the church's reform efforts. The reports are required by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' policy, which was adopted at an emotional meeting in June 2002 in Dallas. Speakers excoriated the bishops for failing to protect children and teens from sexual predators in clerical collars.
"It will show the American people that the bishops have kept our word," Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill, head of the bishops' group, said Sunday on ABC News' This Week With George Stephanopoulos.
The bishops have had 18 months to take steps to remove any credibly accused priests, reach out to victims and establish Safe Environment Programs for preventing abuse and for reporting offenses.
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 08:53 PM
• Only Catholic Church Has Clergy Shortage
UNITED STATES: Contrary to recent statements made by several Bishops, including U.S. Bishops' Conference president Bishop Wilton Gregory, only the Catholic Church is experiencing a clergy shortage. Gregory has said that a married priesthood will not help the Catholic priest shortage because the Protestant church, which allows a married clergy, also has a shortage. A Purdue University study by James D. Davidson, reported in the December 1, 2003 issue of America magazine, found that since 1981 all Protestant denominations registered an increase in clergy of 3 to 35 %. Only the Catholic Church registered a hefty 22% decrease.
• Cardinal Sodano praises Legionaries' founder despite nine credible accusations of sex abuse.
UNITED STATES: On November 11 the second most powerful figure in the Catholic Church, Cardinal Angelo Sodano publicly praised Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. In 1997, nine former Legionaries members, all highly regarded professional people, accused Maciel of sexual abuse and brought a canonical complaint against him. The complaint was never adjudicated by the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
• Optional Celibacy Campaign Takes Off
UNITED STATES: A FutureChurch organized press conference at the November U.S. Bishops meeting yielded rich fruit. For the first time, two bishops, Chicago's Cardinal Francis George and Bishop Michael Pfeifer of San Angelo, TX publicly supported the Milwaukee priests' call for discussion of optional celibacy. Our delegation to Washington also delivered 7000 letters asking for open discussion of the issue as the "first installment" in an eighteen month Corpus Christi Campaign for Optional Celibacy. 1700 of the letters were collected just four days earlier at the annual meeting of Call to Action.
Sr. Christine Schenk (FutureChurch), Crystal Chan and Dan Daley (CTA National), Anne Harter (FOSIL), Jim and Sally Orgren (CTA Buffalo) and Fr. Jack O'Malley (Association of Pittsburgh Priests) gave public statements about the Corpus Christi Campaign for Optional Celibacy. The group later met for over 30 minutes with two U.S. Bishops Conference staff members who told them: "you are clearly concerned people who love the Church."
• Syracuse Diocese's release sex abuse information
News 10 Now, by: News 10 Now Staff
SYRACUSE (NY): The Syracuse Diocese handed out a letter to the church over the weekend with information on sexual abuse allegations dating back to 1950.
The letter says 16 priests have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor and were removed from the ministry permanently.
Since 1950, nearly 100 people have filed allegations against the Syracuse Diocese for sexual abuse.
Of all the priests who have served the diocese since 1950, 49 have been accused of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church.
• Report To Be Issued On Catholic Church
A report scheduled for release on Tuesday, grades how well the Roman Catholic church has responded to its far-reaching sex scandal.
An independent firm evaluated every diocese in the country for the report.
The firm used a charter adopted by Catholic bishops in June of 2002, establishing guidelines for protecting children.
The report rates how well each diocese including those in Southern Colorado complied with the charter.
Spokesman Ed Gaffney says the springs catholic church already knows its grade in Tuesday's report.
He says it's good partly because there hasn't been a proven case of sexual abuse in ten years.
But the Springs diocese didn't get a perfect score.
• Syracuse Catholic Diocese Releases Number of Sex Abuse Allegations
SYRACUSE (NY), WTVH
During masses on Sunday, Bishop James Moynihan issued a report to all parishioners about the sexual abuse of minors in the Syracuse Diocese. That letter addressed many unanswered questions about the scandal in the church for more than half a century. A summary of the reports is as follows:
• A total of 96 individuals alleged sexual abuse by clergy affiliated with the Syracuse Diocese since 1950.
• Among 734 priests who have served in the diocese since that time, 49 have been accused.
• 16 diocesan priests have been permanently removed from the ministry.
• 5 priests have been cleared of allegations.
• 13 of the priests accused are deceased.
• 2 clergy were laicized (voluntarily dispensed from the clerical state) prior to the diocese receiving allegations.
• Bishops' president: Audit will show dioceses implementing abuse prevention plan
WBZ 4, Sunday January 04, 2004
UNITED STATES: The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says an upcoming report on whether dioceses are implementing a mandatory discipline plan for sexually abusive priests will show "the bishops have kept our word" to punish offenders and protect children.
The audit found that dioceses "are either in full compliance or in the process of working toward compliance," Bishop Wilton Gregory said in an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
But he also said some of the 195 dioceses did not participate in the review. He would say only that the number was "minuscule" and their reasons will be included in the report, which is to be released Tuesday, two years after the abuse crisis began.
"The bishops have kept our word, that we intended to implement a protocol which we would follow in each diocese," he said. "And that, I believe, is an important step forward."
The bishops adopted the plan in June 2002, at the height of the scandal, which began two years ago this week with revelations about a single predatory priest in the Archdiocese of Boston and spread to every American diocese.
• Oakland diocese faces barrage of sex abuse lawsuits
The Mercury News
OAKLAND, Calif.: Church leaders are bracing for long legal battles as dozens of lawsuits were filed in the San Francisco Bay area last week, beating a Wednesday deadline on claims alleging decades-old molestation by priests.
"We definitely have seen a surge in the last two weeks," said Sister Barbara Flannery, the Diocese of Oakland chancellor who has worked on sexual abuse issues.
The surge of litigation is the result of a California law that took effect Jan. 1, 2003, lifting for one year the statute of limitations for molestation lawsuits. Previously, alleged victims could sue only until their 26th birthday, or within three years of discovering they had emotional problems linked to the molestation.
• Eden or evil?
MySA.com , By Dane Schiller, Express-News Mexico City Bureau
SAN ISIDRO DE GRECIA, Costa Rica: On the edge of a lush coffee plantation, San Antonio Catholics with careers ranging from law to biochemistry invest their faith in a shaggy, black-haired prophet who never made it past third grade.
Drawn to this hilly compound by the belief that Juan Pablo Delgado is God's messenger, the pilgrims reject three bishops' warnings not to be tricked by the enigmatic 24-year-old, who shares with them daily messages from a Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary only he hears and sees.
They follow what they feel in their hearts and sniff from Delgado's socks - which they smell in praise for the sweet scent that's said to come from wounds on his feet similar to those of the crucified Christ.
And they laugh at outsiders who compare them to doomsday cultists like Jim Jones' People's Temple followers, who committed mass suicide in Guyana in 1978, or David Koresh's Branch Davidians, who perished in an inferno ending a federal siege of their compound near Waco in 1993.
"We are engineers, lawyers, doctors - we are not crazy people," said Guadalupe Nypaver, 64, of San Antonio.
But leaders of the Catholic Church, who admit to having laymen spies, paint a far different picture of this Eden in Central America.
Delgado's spiritual adviser is Father Alfredo Prado, 73, who recently was dismissed from his Oblate order and accused of sexually molesting two San Antonio teenagers more than 30 years ago, when he served at St. Timothy's Catholic Church.
• Masses of Torts
Religion in the News, by Marc Stern
UNITED STATES: Not so long ago, it was a common complaint that reporters covering controversies involving religion and law understood the law but knew little about religion. Coverage of the recent sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic church indicates that there are now many journalists who can write knowledgeably about religion but few of them appear to be at home with legal affairs.
Of course, journalists cannot be experts in everything. Without an understanding of the legal context, however, the Catholic church's response to sexual abuse litigation seems like nothing more than an evasion of moral responsibility.
Increasingly the Catholic crisis resembles one of those mass tort cases like tobacco or asbestos in which a relative handful of illegal acts are alleged to violate the rights of hundreds or thousands of individuals. In April the diocese of San Bernardino even filed suit against the archdiocese of Boston over transferring a priest who allegedly committed abuse, exactly as companies involved in other mass tort litigation sue one another to shift blame and responsibility.*
But the Catholic crisis has been written about with barely a reference to the larger issue of mass torts - as if elected officials throughout the country were not currently wrestling with it under the politically partisan rubric of "tort reform." In mass tort cases the tort system is often unfair to defendants. But without it, many wrongs would go without legal redress.
• Philadelphia archdiocese says it is in 'full compliance'
Penn Live, The Associated Press, Jan 1, 2004, 11:57 a.m. ET
PHILADELPHIA (PA) (AP): The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia said it is now in "full compliance" with recommendations issued by American bishops in the wake of the sex-abuse scandal. Cardinal Justin Rigali said the archdiocese has addressed concerns raised by an audit team during a September visit.
Auditors had recommended that Philadelphia keep track of priests who have been removed from ministry, provide sex-abuse training and materials "in the various languages of parishioners," and work with a seven-member board "to expedite resolution of remaining procedural issues to satisfy its commitment to bring prompt and just closure to outstanding allegations."
In a pastoral letter Thursday, Rigali said the archdiocese "immediately initiated steps to fulfill the recommendations."
Rigali said investigators initially found the archdiocese to be in "basic compliance" with the charter's provisions that dioceses have sex-abuse review boards, formal procedures for responding to abuse complaints, background checks on clergy and lay workers, and staff training on identifying abuse.
• Troubled ex-S.A. clergyman still with group in C. America
MySA.com, By Dane Schiller, Express-News Mexico City Bureau
SAN ISIDRO DE GRECIA, Costa Rica: Father Alfredo Prado has a new life here, a reinvigorated purpose and circumstances as unusual as his protégé, self-proclaimed visionary Juan Pablo Delgado.
The 73-year-old Austin-born clergyman has proclaimed the Gospel for decades in Texas, Mississippi, Arizona and villages in Mexico, where he used a bullhorn to preach under the stars.
Because of problems in his past - the exact nature of which neither he nor Catholic Church officials would describe - he doesn't have the church's permission to be in Costa Rica or to function as a priest. He says he needn't answer to church officials on that subject - just to the Virgin Mary.
And so he prays, counsels, advises and even celebrates Mass with pilgrims who come here to listen to Delgado, who says he receives messages from Jesus Christ, the Virgin and St. Michael.
Prado said he is Delgado's spiritual adviser and that he was called here by the Virgin.
He said the Oblates turned their backs on him despite his having preached the Gospel for so long.
• Unrestrained Authority: Secrecy's Toxic Companion
Christifedelis, By Charles M. Wilson
UNITED STATES: The distinguished Italian canonist, Count Capponi, once said that our Lord entrusted the care of his most precious possession on this earth, his Church, to the care of us sinners and for two thousand years she has had to suffer the effects of human malice and human error. Count Capponi's observation is especially relevant in view of the present difficulties confronting the Church. I might add that whenever men act foolishly or maliciously, they naturally seek to hide their follies and misdeeds from others and they do not hesitate to use whatever means are available to accomplish this end.
As we have seen in a special way over the last six months, the obsession with secrecy in the governance of the Church acts like a narcotic upon those who use it. It dulls the senses and, over time, it takes more and more of the substance to produce the same effect. A natural companion to this narcotic is the exercise of power - unrestrained by the objections of those who are governed by that power and unchecked by the intervention of external forces.
Most CHRISTIFIDELIS readers live in countries where the political structures generally respect the civil rights of their citizens and their legal systems provide some means of redress when these rights are violated. Even though our legal systems are by no means perfect, it is arguable that in general our civil rights are better protected by the state than our ecclesial rights are recognized and protected by the Church. At times this leads us to entertain the notion that the Church might be much better off if she would only incorporate within her own system of governance more elements of our secular political structures and legal systems. Whether this would really help the Church and assist her carrying out the mission given her by Christ is another question.
• The Narcotic of Secrecy
Christifedelis, http://www.st-joseph-foundation.org/newsletter/2002/cfd20-2.htm , By Charles M. Wilson and R. Michael Dunnigan
UNITED STATES: An ecclesiastical Enron. The Church's Watergate. A cancer on the Church. Observers have fixed on these three images to describe the widespread seduction of young boys by Catholic priests in dioceses across America. The observers who use these images no doubt wish to shock the public into appreciating the magnitude of the scandal. In fact, however, these metaphors are inadequate. Unsettling though they may be, the problem with these images is not that they go too far, but rather that they do not go far enough. Images of disease and institutional corruption may be apt to describe the strictly sexual portion of the current scandal, but they fail to do justice to the scandal beneath the scandal.
As the secular press has made clear, the scandal beneath the sex scandal is the American bishops' culture of obsessive secrecy. What the press has not made clear, however, is just how deep and extensive the roots of this culture are. The roots are deep enough to give the culture of secrecy a firmly entrenched position in American dioceses, and they are extensive enough to influence virtually every question that the U.S. bishops address.
To describe accurately this arch-scandal of the American bishops, one requires images of an entirely different order of magnitude. Thus, if pedophilia is the Watergate of the American bishops, then the culture of secrecy is their Chernobyl. If the seduction of adolescent boys (ephebophilia) by predatory homosexual priests is another Enron, then the culture of secrecy that coddles these priests is another stock market crash. And if active homosexuality among American priests and seminarians is a cancer on the Church, then the culture of secrecy that conceals and excuses their behavior is another Plague, another Black Death.
• Plaintiffs victimized by terms of church's abuse settlement
Boston Herald, As you were saying/Joseph E. Gallagher Jr, Sunday, January 4, 2004
BOSTON (MA): The question, asked facetiously, is "What do you call a thousand lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean?" The answer, "A good start," and as victims of clergy sex abuse and their advocates review the grim elements of the archdiocesan settlement agreement, we can see why.
This is a profoundly flawed agreement, so flawed it serves no one's interest adequately. On the one hand, the church is hurt because it has lost yet another opportunity for genuine redemption. It needed to help craft a settlement of compassion, and instead it forged a hard bargain, battering victims into a no-win situation. On the other hand, victims are disappointed once again because the agreement manifests a total sense of disconnect between what victims wanted and what the church was willing to give. To the church, it was all about money, and offering as little as possible. To victims, it was about so much more than money. Sadly, some victims have said plaintiffs feel almost like prostitutes now that they've been compensated financially for having been sexually violated.
Many victims and advocates feel that a healing settlement offer would have addressed the following issues:
Full disclosure: We know who the victims are. But who are the sexually abusive priests and where are they? And how can Archbishop Sean O'Malley be certain they will abuse no more? O'Malley has a history of refusing to cooperate with authorities on this issue. Just ask Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh. O'Malley refused to release the names of 22 abusive priests in the Fall River Diocese for more than 10 years.
• Study of diocese to withhold names
Reporter-News, By Loretta Fulton, January 4, 2004
TEXAS: No one involved in allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy will be identified, even when a national report becomes public in early February.
Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer of the Diocese of San Angelo released preliminary findings Friday that revealed "credible allegations" that four priests abused minors.
The allegations were made by six people. The report also showed one credible allegation against a candidate for the seminary, and no credible allegations against deacons.
The seminary candidate never entered seminary, and the priests are no longer assigned to churches in the diocese, which includes Abilene's four parishes, Pfeifer said.
Pfeifer said he is forbidden from identifying victims, accusers or clergy cited in a report done by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
• Report to show most dioceses following abuse plan
Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, Published January 4, 2004
UNITED STATES: An upcoming report on whether Roman Catholic bishops are implementing their new mandatory discipline plan for sexually abusive priests will say most dioceses are complying, but "there is still a lot that needs to be done," the official overseeing the audit said Friday.
Kathleen McChesney, a former top FBI agent and head of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, said the size of some of the largest dioceses slowed their progress, while others lacked the personnel or financing for quick compliance.
The plan not only dictates how bishops should respond to abuse claims, but also requires them to take steps to prevent molestation, such as conducting background checks on all clergy and lay workers in the diocese and training them to identify abuse. The largest archdioceses employ more than a thousand priests, McChesney said.
"Considering it's only been about a year since people have been working on it, there's been a lot of progress, but nobody is going to tell you that it's all been done," McChesney said in a phone interview. "What you're going to find is that most of them are [complying], but there is still a lot that needs to be done."
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 07:58 AM
• Archbishop says Denver Archdiocese compliant with sexual abuse charter
Casper Star-Tribune, By BEN KIECKHEFER, Associated Press Writer
DENVER (CO) (AP): The Archdiocese of Denver is fully compliant with a national charter enacted in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church, parishioners heard Saturday.
That news came in a letter from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput that churches throughout the diocese were instructed to read at all Masses over the weekend.
Last summer the Gavin Group of Boston audited the Denver Archdiocese as part of a national examination of each diocese's policies about and response to the scandal involving hundreds of priests across the country.
"The investigation team commended the archdiocese in several key areas, including proactive conduct policies that began in the early 1990s," the letter reads.
The full report will be released Tuesday.
Several parishioners at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver Saturday evening said they were happy with the church's openness about the scandal and the release of the report.
• Church searches for right words on clergy abuse
Star-Ledger, Sunday, January 04, 2004, BY JEFF DIAMANT
MENDHAM (NJ): No one knows whether James Kelly's suicide last October in front of an NJ Transit train in Morristown stemmed from the childhood sexual abuse he endured by a Mendham priest or from other personal problems.
Still, while gathered after his funeral on the grounds of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Mendham -- where the abuse occurred more than two decades ago -- people who were abused by the same priest discussed naming their support group chapter after Kelly, a 37-year-old telecommunications salesman from Morristown who had recently been laid off.
"We were just kind of having an open table discussion," recalled Bill Crane, who, like Kelly, was sexually abused by former Rev. James Hanley. "And it dawned on me that something really needs to take place that is tangible, to bring to light the seriousness of what we endured as children, so it won't be forgotten."
Crane suggested erecting a small monument, and received approval from the group and the church's pastor, the Rev. Kenneth Lasch. When dedicated in April outside the church's Pax Christi Center, the 400-pound basalt monument -- shaped like a millstone -- will evoke a biblical saying that is meaningful to Christians who were sexually abused as children.
• Local dioceses await national abuse report
Daily Herald, By Sara Burnett, Posted January 04, 2004
CHICAGO (IL): Local Catholic dioceses tweaked their policies for handling clergy sex abuse amid revelations in 2002 that some Catholic Church leaders had covered up abuse for decades.
On Tuesday, a national audit will reveal whether the dioceses - and the 192 others across the country - are following the directives set by the nation's bishops during their historic meeting in Dallas in June 2002.
The review was conducted by a team of 50 auditors who spent about a week at each of the nation's dioceses. The team is led by a former FBI investigator.
The auditors worked in teams of two between June and October, interviewing staff and checking to see that the dioceses are following "The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
• Phila. archdiocese in 'full compliance'
Philadelphia Inquirer, By Jim Remsen, Inquirer Faith Life Editor
PHILADELPHIA (PA): The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia reports that it has achieved "full compliance" with the U.S. bishops' sex-abuse protection charter after addressing several concerns raised by investigators auditing dioceses' policies.
Full results of the audit of all 195 American dioceses are to be released Tuesday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The review, commissioned in 2002 at the height of the priest sex-abuse scandal, was conducted by audit teams consisting mostly of former law-enforcement agents.
Philadelphia joins a number of dioceses in providing advance summaries of their audit results. Others, including the Camden diocese, are expected to release their reports Tuesday as requested by the conference.
Yesterday, Andrew Walton, spokesman for the Diocese of Camden, said: "We have received a very, very positive audit report which commends the Diocese of Camden for adopting measures which go above and beyond the requirements of the bishops' charter."
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 07:26 AM
• Letters oppose probation for priest
The Courier Journal, By JASON RILEY, email@example.com
LOUISVILLE (KY): The letters have come from the Rev. Louis Miller's victims and their families, from Catholics who are struggling to find their faith in the wake of the church's sexual-abuse scandal and even from a pastor who grew up with Miller and has known him for decades.
Their message to Jefferson Circuit Judge Ann O'Malley Shake is overwhelmingly one-sided: Miller is a danger to the community who must pay for his crimes and should not be granted shock probation after serving only six months of a 20-year sentence.
"I know he is old, but releasing him on the basis of 'shock probation' opens again the wounds of so many people," wrote the Rev. Joseph Fowler, a pastor at St. Cecilia's who said he has known and served with Miller for more than 40 years.
"He has harmed so many people in so many places throughout our community that so short a time served in jail mocks any sense of justice the court (might) have meted out," Fowler said.
Posted by Kathy Shaw firstname.lastname@example.org at 07:25 AM
//////////////////// End of Clergy Sex Abuse Tracker www.ncrnews.org/abuse (formerly on Poynter website), January 04, 2004
Clergy Sex Abuse Tracker, www.ncrnews.org/abuse, Monday, January 05, 2004 edition follows:-
• Bishops' audits called 'baby step' by abuse victims
WASHINGTON (DC) AP: The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP] says America's Roman Catholic bishops have only taken "a baby step toward accountability."
SNAP leader Barbara Blaine spoke on the eve of the release of audits gauging how U-S dioceses have complied with a mandatory policy to protect youths and punish their molesters.
She says most bishops are only "making belated and begrudging and bare-minimum progress."
Blaine says the review board that conducted the audits interviewed only three of SNAP's 46-hundred members and offered little encouragement for abuse victims to come forward.
She and other leaders of the victims' advocacy group said bishops are still concealing the names of abusers, allowing some to continue working around children.
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 09:26 PM
• Group Unhappy With Bishop's Report on Sex Abuse
ST. LOUIS (MO) (KSDK): A national group representing priest abuse survivors say they're upset with a new report out by the Catholic Church.
Sunday, Bishop Wilton Gregory said the new report shows bishops have kept their word about punishing sex abusers in the Catholic Church and protecting children. Gregory spoke during and interview with ABC News. Gregory says one flaw in the report is that not all 195 Catholic dioceses took part.
The sex abuse plan was adopted a year and a half ago at the height of the scandal that rocked the church.
SNAP says the church has not made enough progress. "In essence the bishops created the game, they made up the rules, picked the players hired the umpires and then declared themselves the winner," said SNAP activist Barbara Dorris.
SNAP members say only a select group of victims were questioned. They didn't even know auditors were in town, until they left.
• Bishop says audit finds compliance
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, By JOHN BLAKE
ATLANTA (GA): The leader of Roman Catholics in Atlanta said Monday that a long-awaited report will show that the city's archdiocese is in "full compliance" with new sex abuse reforms.
The audit, prepared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will be released this morning and will detail which Catholic dioceses across the nation are complying with the new reforms.
"I am very pleased that the . . . audit verifies that the Archdiocese fully complies with the commitment to eliminating or preventing such abuse, and to responding quickly and effectively if it should occur," Archbishop John F. Donoghue wrote in a statement read to parishioners in Atlanta during church services Sunday.
• U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to Release U.S. Catholic Church Compliance Audit
UNITED STATES: News Advisory:
WHAT: U.S. Catholic Church Compliance Audit
WHEN: Tuesday, January 6, 2004 10 a.m. ET
WHERE: National Press Club Holeman Lounge 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor Washington, DC 20045
The Office of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is issuing this Report based on an audit of U.S. dioceses and eparchies (dioceses of the Eastern Catholic Churches) to assess their compliance with the "Charter." The compliance audit was performed by the Gavin Group, Inc., Boston, Mass.
• About 800 cases filed against Catholic church statewide
The Mercury News, by GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (CA) (AP): About 800 people statewide took advantage of a one-year window in 2003 to file molestation lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs.
The lawyers say negotiations over the claims could yield one of the largest clergy abuse settlements in the nation's history.
The initial estimate came as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops prepared to release the results of an audit Tuesday identifying how well the nation's 195 dioceses have complied with the church's two-year-old charter addressing the clergy sex abuse scandal.
About 500 of the cases are against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation's largest, while another 175 are spread among the dioceses of Orange, San Diego and San Bernardino, said attorney Ray Boucher, whose office is handling filings for 320 plaintiffs in Southern California. About another 125 are against dioceses in Northern California, including the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
In some cases, the dioceses aren't yet sure of the total number of lawsuits they face. At least one diocese was still being served with new lawsuits Monday, five days after the official filing deadline of Dec. 31, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was still sorting through its cases. The Diocese of Monterey sent paralegals to a number of counties Monday to try to tally the lawsuits against it, a spokesman said.
• Reno, Las Vegas dioceses in 'full compliance'
Las Vegas Sun, By BRENDAN RILEY, ASSOCIATED PRESS
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP): Roman Catholic dioceses in Reno and Las Vegas said Monday that they're in full compliance with recommendations issued by American bishops in efforts to deal with a nationwide sex-abuse scandal involving clergy members.
Bishop Phillip Straling in Reno and the Very Rev. Bob Stoeckig, representing Bishop Joseph Pepe in Las Vegas, said the two dioceses that cover the state were advised they met terms of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The charter was adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002 to prevent sexual abuse by clergy or church employees and to ensure that cases of abuse are dealt with promptly and openly.
• Abuse Survivors Slam Bishops' Report
Newsday, By Carol Eisenberg
UNITED STATES: Victims of sexual abuse by priests blasted a report due out Tuesday by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops, saying that auditors assessing how the bishops implemented new sexual abuse policies talked only to a small and skewed group of victims.
"This is largely glorified, voluntary self-reporting," Barbara Blaine, founder and president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said in an interview Monday. "The bishops defined the rules of the game. They figured out who was going to play. They hired the umpires. And now, surprise, they're claiming victory."
The comments by critics like Blaine on the eve of the report's release follow numerous laudatory statements by bishops, including all three New York-area prelates, previewing positive reviews from investigators.
The intensity of the competing rhetoric -- even before the report is released -- speaks to the huge stakes in the battle for the hearts and minds of American Catholics as three major reports promised at the height of the sexual abuse scandal in June 2002 are published.
• Mother's faith lasts despite scandal
The Orange County Register, By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI
ANAHEIM (CA): Kneeling, Sherida Ruiz clasps her hands together to pray, and gazes up at the wooden crucifix hanging in St. Justin Martyr Church in Anaheim.
It was here that her two children, now adults, were baptized. It was here that Ruiz mourned her first husband's death.
And it was here where Rev. Sigfried Widera met Ruiz's son, who says Widera molested him at the family's home when he was 10.
Christopher Huicochea, 34, of Santa Ana is suing the Catholic Church. Widera, who was removed as a priest in 1985, committed suicide last year as he faced criminal prosecution on accusations that he molested Huicochea and three other preteen boys.
"Sometimes I have a hard time concentrating on the Mass," said Ruiz, who remains Catholic. "This place reminds me of what happened (to Christopher).
"But I need my faith. I know when I receive the body and blood of Christ, that's he's there, helping me," she added.
• Diocese works for children's safety
Ironwood Daily Globe
MARQUETTE (MI): The Catholic Diocese of Marquette took steps this fall to help ensure a safe environment for children in its churches and schools, but more remains to be done.
During the initial phase of the Protecting God's Children Program, approximately 1,165 people attended one of the 13 awareness sessions that were held in communities across the Upper Peninsula from September to November.
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 05:36 PM
• Advocates Unhappy with Audit of Knoxville's Catholic Diocese
WATE, By YVONNE NAVA, 6 News Anchor/Reporter
KNOXVILLE (TN) (WATE): Catholic churches in Knoxville want to make sure a sex scandal doesn't hit home again, by having an internal audit. But a group of victim advocates are unhappy with the findings.
Nearly two years ago, former Knoxville Bishop Anthony O'Connell resigned as a bishop in Florida. It happened after he admitted to sexual contact with a teenage seminary student in Missouri back in the 1970's.
The church audit on the Knoxville diocese will be released Tuesday morning. But Bishop Joseph Kurtz read a letter at Sunday mass that gave people a prelude to the report.
And members of a local group for clergy abuse victims called SNAP are outraged by the findings. "I thought, what are they thinking when the diocese is so cavalierly saying we have one credible allegation?" Susan Vance said. "And to my knowledge, that was because it was in the press."
As Vance puts it, according to the bishop's letter the Knoxville diocese will report one allegation of sexual abuse. And the report will only cover what happened from 1988 to now.
• New Hampshire Diocese Earns Praise For Abuse Response
CONCORD, N.H.: New Hampshire's Roman Catholic diocese is being praised for facing up to and dealing with sexual abuse by its priests, according to a national report.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops report being released Tuesday -- two years after the abuse rose to a national crisis -- outlines whether dioceses are implementing a mandatory discipline plan for sexually abusive priests.
The Gavin Group, an independent firm, reviewed implementation of the plan.
Regarding New Hampshire, the Gavin audit found "that we are not only in complete compliance ... but also that two particular aspects of our pastoral response warrant national commendation," Bishop John McCormack said in a statement.
Diane Murphy Quinlan, a spokeswoman for the Manchester Diocese, said the New Hampshire church was singled out for "its open communication policy" and its "Bethany" support group for adult survivors of child sexual abuse.
• Church Sexual Abuse Report
WBNG, by Grant Loomis, Jan 5, 2004, 17:54
BINGHAMTON (NY): Greater Binghamton's Catholic churches are a part of the Syracuse Diocese.
As part of its new church reporting system, the Diocese says 49 priests have been accused.
16 have been permanently removed from the ministry. The Diocese is now encouraging other organizations that deal with children to come clean about sex abuse.
• Changes are welcome, but more are still needed
Miami Herald, BY EILEEN P. FLYNN, email@example.com
MIAMI: Tomorrow the Catholic Church's Office of Youth and Child Protection is due to release a report on the compliance of U.S. dioceses to the procedures that they adopted in 2002. Most Catholics expect that the bishops will receive high marks for compliance. They will also probably apologize again for the suffering of victims and pledge themselves to better management of the church.
The bishops, however, will be making a big mistake if they think that this will be enough. Catholics will not agree to simply let them get back to business as usual. This New Year does not represent a chance to just move on; important steps remain to be taken. Two of these are of great significance: structuring financial reform and tackling the issue of the priest shortage.
Recent bishops statements about how much money dioceses have paid in settlements declare that monies paid have not come from annual appeals or Sunday collections. Bishops suggest that diocesan self-insurance, payments from insurance carriers and "other" sources of revenue, such as interest on investments or sales of properties, have been used.
This is disingenuous. No one has four wallets. In many cases, annual appeals would not have been necessary if diocesan funds were not used to settle claims.
• Names of accused remain concealed
Post-Standard, By Renee K. Gadoua, Staff writer
SYRACUSE (NY): Bishop James Moynihan said Sunday he released a report on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse's history of clergy sexual abuse in an effort to rebuild trust.
But he remains firm in his refusal to reveal the names of priests accused of - or found guilty of - sexually abusing minors. "You'll never have names," he said, during an interview at the diocese office, 240 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse.
Moynihan cited the Eighth Commandment [Ninth in other faiths] - "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" - to explain his refusal to reveal names. The moral code that commonly refers to lying also forbids revealing a person's hidden faults or making a false statement that hurts a person's reputation, he said.
"Please, God, I'm not going to be guilty of either of those sins," he said.
• Editor of NC Catholic fired for publishing an article with criticism of the church
Independent Weekly, http://indyweek.com/durham/2003-12-31/news2.html , by Patrick O'Neill, December 31, 2003
RALEIGH (NC): Some argue that the Catholic Church is broken and wounded and in need of healing. John Strange found out there can be severe consequences for saying so in print--especially if you're the editor of the NC Catholic, the semi-monthly newspaper published by the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. December 31, 2003
Diocese of Raleigh Bishop Joseph Gossman, who also is publisher of NC Catholic, walked into Strange's Catholic Center office a week before Christmas and notified his editor he was being immediately terminated from the position he'd held for almost a decade.
Strange's demise was the result of criticism of the church expressed in an interview with Chapel Hill author William Powers that Strange wrote for the Dec. 14 issue. The story was about Powers' new book, Tar Heel Catholics: A History of Catholicism in North Carolina (University Press of America).
• Mediator reportedly hired by diocese
Republican, By BILL ZAJAC, firstname.lastname@example.org
SPRINGFIELD: A mediator has been hired to try to settle clergy sexual abuse lawsuits in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, and March 15 is the target date for settlement, according to two alleged clergy sexual abuse victims.
Paul A. Finn, the mediator who helped settle 552 suits in the Archdiocese of Boston, has been hired in the past month or so by the Springfield Diocese, according to the mother of a man who has sued the diocese on the complaint of clergy sexual abuse and two other plaintiffs, who spoke on condition that their identities be kept secret.
Sandra L. Tessier, the mother of Andre Tessier of Hartford, said diocesan outreach worker Laura F. Reilly told her several weeks ago that Finn had been hired. Reilly said her comments were misunderstood.
Finn, diocesan lawyer John J. Egan and plaintiffs' lawyers Carmen L. Durso, Raipher D. Pellegrino and John J. Stobierski all refused comment.
• Editor fired from Catholic newspaper
News Observer, http://newsobserver.com/news/story/3178530p-2863418c.html , By Vicki Lee Parker
RALEIGH (NC):The longtime editor of the N.C. Catholic, a semimonthly newspaper published by the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, has been fired after the publication printed an article that included criticism of the church.
John Strange, who was the editor of the N.C. Catholic for nearly a decade, said he was "surprised and saddened" by the decision of Bishop Joseph Gossman. Gossman declined to say exactly why he dismissed Strange in the week before Christmas. ...
But Strange said the firing came after an interview with Chapel Hill author William Powers, who wrote the book "Tar Heel Catholics: A History of Catholicism in North Carolina," which was published in October. In the article, Strange included unflattering comments that Powers made about the church.
Powers said Strange asked him during an interview about the future of the Catholic Church. Powers said that the church was having trouble recruiting priests, and that it should consider allowing women and married men to become priests.
Strange quoted Powers as saying, "No organization has trouble finding key workers unless there is something wrong with it."
• Church to defrock clergymen: Archdiocese targets accused priests
Boston Herald, By Robin Washington
BOSTON, Massachusetts: The Archdiocese of Boston has begun the defrocking process against at least two priests in the sexual molestation scandal and is likely to pursue removing dozens of clergymen from the priesthood before the church's abuse policy is reviewed at the end of the year, the Herald has learned. Archdiocese spokesman the Rev. Christopher Coyne confirmed yesterday that church officials recently asked some accused clergy to voluntarily leave the priesthood. "That would be the first way to go," he said of the voluntary removals, adding, "I haven't heard anything about any number." Yet multiple sources told the Herald two priests named in the recent $85 million settlement were directly approached by church leaders within the past month asking for their removal, and a third is facing trial by a church tribunal that could result in laicization. ... Among those are the Rev. Robert Kelley, who ran a Back Bay flower shop until his imprisonment last year, and the Rev. Robert Morrisette, now a concierge at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Defrocked priest Hugh Behan of Missouri was later employed as a greeter at Disney World. "If they just laicize them, they can become school teachers, soccer coaches or Boy Scout leaders," Durso said. "They've got to find a medium security monastery and put them in a place where they can't offend."
• Gregory: Dioceses working on plan
Belleville News-Democrat, Associated Press
BELLEVILLE: Belleville Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says an upcoming report on whether dioceses are implementing a mandatory discipline plan for sexually abusive priests will show "the bishops have kept our word" to punish offenders and protect children.
The audit found that dioceses "are either in full compliance or in the process of working toward compliance," Gregory said in an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
But he also said some of the 195 dioceses did not participate in the review. He would say only that the number was "minuscule" and their reasons will be included in the report, which is to be released Tuesday, two years after the abuse crisis began.
"The bishops have kept our word, that we intended to implement a protocol which we would follow in each diocese," he said. "And that, I believe, is an important step forward."
• Ex-pastor slated for court in sex case: Alliance Church 
VESTAVIA HILLS (AL): A former Vestavia Hills pastor indicted on sex-related charges has a February court date in Jefferson County Circuit Court.
Richard Drew Barker, 44, is scheduled to appear in court in connection with three charges - first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree sodomy and second-degree sodomy. The case is to be heard by Judge Gloria Bahakel at 9 a.m. Feb. 17 in Room 405 of the Mel Bailey Criminal Justice Center, 801 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North.
Barker, former pastor of Vestavia Alliance Church, was indicted Dec. 5 on the charges. Vestavia Hills police began the investigation in November. Barker surrendered to authorities Dec. 11 and later was released after posting a $10,000 bond.
Barker, who was on paid leave of absence since November, resigned from his pastoral position Dec. 12, said David Ball, a church elder. Ball said the church has not replaced Barker, who had been the pastor for seven years.
• Laity must get involved
NEW ORLEANS (LA): Since the initial revelations of sexual abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests, there have been many letters on the editorial page. These letters have expressed outrage, cynicism, skepticism and heartache. Such emotions are understandable. After only a short existence in New Orleans, the local chapter of Voice of the Faithful, is thriving. We have heard and shared the same emotions. The Catholic community is concerned for its church but unsure of a proactive option for the laity.
The sexual-abuse scandal is only a symptom of the real crisis, which is the lack of communication and involvement between the laity and hierarchy. Accountability is a must on all levels. Recently, the Archdiocese of New Orleans held several "listening" meetings. The last meeting at Notre Dame Seminary exposed a disconnected faith community. Parishes are unfamiliar with one another. We felt as if we had just discovered a brother we never knew, living on the other side of town, a brother with problems.
New Orleans is a unique place, and Catholicism is a large part of what makes it special. We love our church, but Catholics of New Orleans have got to take responsibility for our church.
• SR Diocese passes abuse audit
The Press Democrat, By GUY KOVNER
SANTA ROSA (CA): The Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese was found in a nationwide audit to be complying with U.S. bishops' standards for preventing child sexual abuse, a diocese official said.
The diocese, however, failed to receive the highest rating, a commendation for fully addressing the problem of sex abuse or for "exceptional transparency and openness."
Instead, it received at least two recommendations, calling on the 140,000-member diocese to complete an educational program for parents and volunteers on recognizing sex abuse, and to produce more preventive materials in Spanish.
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 05:21 AM
• Audit lauds diocese's policy
The News Journal, By BETH MILLER
DELAWARE: A team of auditors, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, found the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has complied with the bishops' mandate to protect children and youths from sexual abuse.
Some victim advocates, however, fear the auditors' report will be given too much credence, and that people will assume the audit means a thorough examination of past and present practices.
The Wilmington diocese, which serves the approximately 220,000 Catholics in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, released the auditors' two-page report for publication today. A complete report on all 195 dioceses will be released Tuesday.
• Catholic bishops to report on abuse
The Dallas Morning News, By SUSAN HOGAN/ALBACH
DALLAS (TX): Six months ago, retired FBI investigators began quietly visiting the nation's 195 Catholic dioceses. Their goal was to see how well bishops were complying with the sexual abuse charter adopted in Dallas in the summer of 2002.
The results of the unprecedented audit, paid for by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will be released on Tuesday. The audit was conducted by the Gavin Group of Boston, which dispersed 54 investigators to see whether bishops were fulfilling the 17 promises they made in the charter.
Bishops say the report card will provide a measure of accountability that American Catholics have demanded in the face of a scandal that has led to the removal of more than 400 priests and bishops over the last two years.
But advocates for sexual abuse victims are wary. Some say the auditors only had access to information provided by bishops - the very church leaders whose secrecy allowed the scandal to mushroom in the first place.
"The bishops think this is going to exonerate them," said the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a priest, canon lawyer and victims' advocate based in North Carolina. "But everybody knows the audits are self-reporting by the bishops, and because of that, the problems will be understated."
• Reaction mixed on Diocese report
Observer-Dispatch, MELISSA A. CHADWICK
UTICA (NY): Local priests say the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is moving in the right direction in reporting abuse to its parishioners, but an alleged victim of clergy sexual abuse says there still is a long way to go.
In the wake of a diocese report released over the weekend that stated 16 priests have been removed from ministry in the last two years, local Catholic leaders and alleged sexual abuse victims are divided.
The report, which was given to churchgoers over the weekend, comes before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is to release its report on whether dioceses are implementing a mandatory discipline plan for sexually abusive priests.
That report is to be released Tuesday.
"This (reporting) is nothing new. We have been trying to let our people know about what is going on," said the Rev. Arthur Hapanowicz of Holy Trinity in Utica. "Obviously honesty is always going to be the right thing."
• Archbishop: Audit goes well
San Antonio Express, By J. Michael Parker, Express-News Religion Writer
SAN ANTONIO (TX): A national audit will commend the Archdiocese of San Antonio for having most of the provisions in place for a new mandatory plan to deal with complaints about child sexual abuse, Archbishop Patrick Flores said. But a victim's mother and the archbishop both said improvement is still needed.
Kathleen McChesney, director of the U.S. Catholic bishops' national office for Protection of Children and Young People, will announce comprehensive results for the nation's 195 Catholic dioceses Tuesday.
That is also when Auxiliary Bishop Patrick Zurek, Monsignor Lawrence Stuebben and victim assistance director Judy Perillo will announce San Antonio's results at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Paul's Community Center.
"The audit team gave us a very good grade," Flores said last week. "The only thing (still to be completed) was that we should have a police clearance for everyone who works for the archdiocese - including volunteers."
• Gregory renews call for healing from abuse scandal
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, By AISHA SULTAN
UNITED STATES: Bishop Wilton Gregory reiterated his message of healing within the Roman Catholic church and reaffirmed his support for celibacy for priests, in a televised interview Sunday morning.
The interview on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos aired two days before the church releases its first report on how American dioceses have handled the sexual abuse of children since passing a policy 18 months ago to better protect children.
Gregory is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He did not reveal any details of the pending report, except to say, "It will show the American people that the bishops have kept our word" about changing how the church handles allegations of sexual abuse.
He added that nearly all dioceses have fully put in place the policy, or are working toward complying with it. The few exceptions are due to specific circumstances that will be noted in the report, he said.
• Reporting child abuse not optional
Dayton Daily News
OHIO: In the category of important, unfinished legislative business: The Catholic Church's child sexual-abuse scandal brought to light a possible crack in Ohio law about who must report known or suspected child abuse.
Some lawyers for the Catholic Church hinted to prosecutors who were investigating which priests and officials knew about abuse allegations that if anyone was indicted, the lawyers might argue that priests don't have a legal obligation to report such suspected crimes. Even the prospect is amazing.
After all the evidence that's come out about church officials turning a blind eye to criminal offenses against children, imagine a priest's lawyer standing in court arguing that his client was exempt from the law that applies to teachers, social workers, nurses and all manner of people who are mandated to alert police if they think a child is being hurt. You have to hope that it never would have come to that.
• Churches comply with 2002 charter
Greeley Tribune, Story by Annie P. Hundley
COLORADO: Weld County Catholic churches are following guidelines established in 2002 to protect children from sexual abuse, according to a letter from Archbishop Charles Chaput read at all Masses this weekend.
Chaput's letter said an audit conducted last summer found the Archdiocese of Denver in compliance with the 2002 charter. The audit praises the church for its proactive sexual misconduct policy put in place in 1991. The full report will be released Tuesday.
"Sexual misconduct is a serious sin," Deacon Joe Meilinger read at Sunday's noon Mass at Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Greeley. "When it occurs in a church-related setting, it wounds innocent children and families, betrays the believing community and undermines the discipleship of thousands of good priests and layworkers."
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 05:05 AM
//////////////////// End of Clergy Sex Abuse Tracker www.ncrnews.org/abuse , January 05, 2004
Clergy Sex Abuse Tracker, www.ncrnews.org/abuse, January 06, 2004 edition follows:-
• Report cites Indy deficiency, commends Lafayette, FW-SB Dioceses
WHAS, By KEN KUSMER / Associated Press
INDIANA: The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis did not meet all of the U.S. church's guidelines for protecting children from sexual abuse until after auditors pointed out a deficiency, a report said.
After being audited by an outside group of investigators Aug. 4-8, the archdiocese began training clergy, employees, volunteers and others on providing safe environments for children. The additional training brought it into compliance with child safety standards adopted in June 2002, said the report released Tuesday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The report also commended the Fort Wayne-South Bend and Lafayette Diocese for noteworthy programs. It said all five Indiana dioceses - which also include the dioceses of Evansville and Gary - now comply fully with the national standards.
Some lay Catholic groups critical of bishops said the audits did not go far enough in investigating the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the U.S. church the past two years, and that bishops manipulated the report by hand-picking those interviewed by auditors.
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 06:02 PM
• Five of Six Illinois Dioceses Comply With Sex Abuse Recommendations
CHICAGO (AP): Five of Illinois' six Catholic dioceses are doing all that church officials and outside investigators have recommended to prevent the sexual abuse of children by priests, according to church audits released Tuesday.
Only the Diocese of Peoria failed to comply with one of its audit's recommendations under a new national policy set up by the Catholic Church in the wake of a wave of sexual abuse allegations against priests. Officials there said they were working to correct the issue.
But critics said the audits measure only whether the dioceses had written policies in place to prevent abuse -- and not necessarily whether they were following them.
"I don't want to throw water on their efforts here. I just think they should be billed for what they are: a minimum," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Blaine also said any praise seems disingenuous as some Catholic organizations in Illinois fight a new state law that grants more time for lawsuits over sexual abuse cases. The groups have said the legal challenges are based on constitutional issues that have nothing to do with their efforts to prevent sexual abuse.
• Local Diocese Audited for Compliance with Church Policy
SAVANNAH (GA): In the midst of several shocking sex scandals, the Catholic church enacted a new charter last June on how it would handle sexual abuse cases involving the clergy. In the months that followed, 54 auditors visited more than 100 diocese, including Savannah's, to find out if they are in compliance. WTOC spoke with officials at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist to find out how they did.
Auditors were looking to see if the church was cooperative and if they had anything to hide. What used to be handled strictly within the Catholic church is now being dealt with in other ways. "Anyone who has any concern, we are encouraging to call law enforcement," said diocese spokesperson Barbara King.
With the church working to clear its name, many policies have been put into place to help deal with any sexual abuse head on. "Anything that reaches the level that law enforcement should be told, we are working very closely with any legitimate law enforcement agency in Georgia," said King.
• Upper Peninsula Briefs
MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP): The Diocese of Marquette is complying with rules and procedures on child sexual abuse established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a report said. The Office of Child and Youth Protection, a church agency that oversees compliance with the policy, issued the report Tuesday.
It was based on audits of all 195 U.S. Catholic dioceses by Gavin Group of Boston, an independent investigative firm established by former FBI official William Gavin.
"This problem is really being taken seriously," Bishop James Garland of the Marquette diocese told The Mining Journal. "We feel ... our bishops have been very straightforward."
• Church responds to abuse suit
Napa Valley Register, By DAVID RYAN
CALIFORNIA: More than two weeks after claims of sexual abuse surfaced against Monsignor Joseph Alzugaray of St. Apollinaris Catholic Church, his lawyer and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa are fighting back, saying the priest was cleared of wrongdoing in previous inquiries initiated by church officials in Santa Rosa and Los Angeles.
Santa Rosa Diocese spokeswoman Deirdre Frontczak said an investigation performed in 2002 by a diocese independent review board found no evidence he sexually abused a Southern California girl. The diocese oversees St. Apollinaris and other Catholic churches in Napa County.
A Dec. 17 lawsuit, Romo v. Doe, was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Erin Brady and 16 other alleged victims of sexual abuse. The complaint names Alzugaray and 26 other priests, alleging the clerics used their positions in the church hierarchy to create an environment that protected child molesters. Brady was the only one to level claims against Alzugaray.
Church officials in Los Angeles did not respond to requests for comment.
• Toledo's Priests and Sexual Abuse Policy
TOLEDO (OH):Two auditors came to Toledo this summer. They looked over records and policy and interviewed people in the diocese. Here's how Toledo complied with the Dallas charter and how critics are responding. The Toledo diocese feels Tuesday's announcement out of Washington, D.C., means it's doing the right things to combat sexual abuse by priests. Sally Oberski of the Toledo diocese says, "That means we're taking care of business here. We're getting to the serious process of healing for the victims. "
The audit gave Toledo one recommendation and two commendations. The recommendation is that it revise the sexual abuse policy to incorporate a provision that calls for the permanent removal of clergy after even one act of sexual abuse against a minor. Oberski said, "We have to remove a priest immediately when the allegations are made. We've done that and it's literally in publication process right now." The commendations are for developing that sexual conduct policy in 1988 and revising it in 1995 and for using three retired police detectives to investigate abuse.
• Washington dioceses in compliance with national policy
By JOHN K. WILEY / Associated Press
WASHINGTON: Washington state's three Roman Catholic dioceses are in compliance with a new mandatory policy adopted to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to a church audit released Tuesday.
Critics immediately criticized the study, saying it was flawed because auditors were not given access to bishops' personnel files.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, the Diocese of Spokane and the Diocese of Yakima each was found to be in compliance with 18 articles for protecting children mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last year.
• Audit: California dioceses in compliance with sex abuse charter
Mercury News, GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (CA): A national audit released Tuesday found that California's 12 Roman Catholic dioceses have complied with a 2-year-old charter designed to address the church's sexual abuse scandal.
But the Archdiocese of Los Angeles - the nation's largest - must still make improvements in the way it reports allegations of sexual abuse to authorities and improve its cooperation with prosecutors during sexual abuse investigations, the audit said.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles currently faces about 500 molestation lawsuits and is in mediation to try to settle cases. It is also the subject of a grand jury investigation.
• Priests Accused Of Abuse Removed From Upstate Dioceses -- 44 since 2002
Newsday, By BEN DOBBIN, Associated Press Writer
ROCHESTER, N.Y.: At least 44 priests suspected of sexually abusing children have resigned or been removed from ministry in upstate New York's Roman Catholic dioceses since 2002, when clergy abuse became a national crisis for the church.
All five dioceses have carried out a new mandatory church policy to prevent sex abuse by priests, and their leaders offered fresh apologies Tuesday to victims and their families.
In Rochester, Bishop Matthew Clark promised that "everything within our power will be done to ensure that we will work tirelessly to prevent such incidents now and in the future."
"I cannot express enough my sorrow that even one child was subjected to sexual abuse by a member of the clergy," Monsignor Robert Lawler said in a letter to parishioners in the Ogdensburg diocese in northern New York. "It simply should never happen, and is a grave violation of the sacred trust placed in us by the Lord and by the faithful."
• L.A. Archdiocese Adheres To New Mandatory Policy
LOS ANGELES (CA): The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is adhering to the new mandatory policy U.S. Catholic bishops adopted in an effort to crack down on sexual abuse committed by priests, according to a church audit released Tuesday.
Church reviewers commended Cardinal Roger Mahony and his staff for the "adoption of a strong policy on sexual abuse and (the) creation of a review board long before implementation of the charter."
The archdiocese was found "to be compliant with all articles of the 'Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,' adopted by the Catholic bishops of the United States at their meeting in Dallas in June 2002," according to a statement from the Los Angeles archdiocese.
But the review did not satisfy some local sexual abuse victims.
"We're basically telling people to view the audit with a lot of skepticism," Mary Grant of SNAP -- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests -- said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
• Clergy Sex Abuse Report Says Orlando Diocese In Full Compliance
ORLANDO, Fla.: The Roman Catholic Church released a key report Tuesday on the clergy sex abuse scandal. This report included Orlando, where the local diocese was also investigated. Auditors have determined the Orlando diocese has complied with all of the policies in the 2002 charter designed to protect young people. The local diocese was also commended for its prevention programs put in place even before the charter was created. And yet, since the charter went into effect, there was still a local case in which a minor accused a priest of sexual abuse.
"One case of child sexual abuse is one too many," says Sister Lucy Vazquez.
• Summary Reports of Dioceses and Eparchies
WASHINGTON (DC) United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Alphabetically by State | By Dioceses
• Statement Regarding Upcoming USCCB Audit Report
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests [SMAP], Statement by Barbara A Blaine, MSW of Chicago
UNITED STATES: "In the days ahead you will be hearing a good deal from America's Catholic bishops about their so-called audits.
We believe, however, that these so-called audits are fundamentally flawed. They are a small step forward. But they are already being mischaracterized and oversold by self-congratulatory bishops.
Essentially, bishops have defined the rules of the game, decided who plays, paid the umpires, and are now declaring themselves the winners.
They defined the rules, by writing up the Dallas charter themselves, a very weak and vague document. They've decided who plays, by determining who the interview teams got to speak to. They paid the umpires, by appointing the National Review Boards. Now, all across the country, bishops are using these upcoming reports to proclaim "We're doing all we should be doing."
• Detroit's Roman Catholic archdiocese meets protection guidelines, audit says
MLive.com, By SARAH FREEMAN, The Associated Press
DETROIT (MI) (AP): The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Detroit is carrying out a new mandatory policy adopted by bishops nationwide to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to a church audit released Tuesday.
The archdiocese received four commendations in the national audit, that determined that 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully complying with the plan, which dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires bishops to take steps to protect children.
• Providence Diocese Commended In Church Audit
PROVIDENCE (RI): Nearly all of the nation's Roman Catholic bishops are carrying out a new mandatory policy they adopted to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to a church audit released Tuesday. Critics said the study was fundamentally flawed.
The review found 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully complying with the plan, which dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires bishops to take steps to protect children. Among the 20 considered out of compliance are the archdioceses of New York; Anchorage, Alaska; and Omaha, Neb. Four dioceses were not audited.
The Diocese of Providence is listed as compliant with the plan and was commended for Bishop Robert Mulvee's support of a settlement with 37 abuse victims. It was also commended for outreach to victims.
"The audit experience was a good one. It was very helpful to us in terms of reviewing our policies and our efforts to create a safe environment and avoid any of these problems in the future," Monsignor Paul Theroux told News Channel 10. "But I think the audit report affirmed what we're doing, and helped us to sort of look ahead and to continue to build on what we're doing as having a good foundation and being in compliance with the bishops' charter."
• 2 Northeast Ohio Churches Not Carrying Out New Policy
UNITED STATES: An audit ordered by a Roman Catholic Church agency finds most bishops are carrying out a new mandatory policy on child sex abuse prevention.
Two of the 20 dioceses which auditors say are out of compliance are in northeast Ohio.
They are the Diocese of Steubenville and the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of Saint Josephat in Parma.
Steubenville Bishop R. Daniel Conlon says the church is working to improve the areas cited in the audit, including the need for background checks of adults who work with children.
• Buffalo diocese gets positive marks for abuse policy
Buffalo Business First
BUFFALO (NY): The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is complying with a national policy to prevent sexual abuse by priests, according to a church audit released Tuesday. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that Buffalo is among 171 U.S. dioceses that are in full compliance with guidelines that require churches to punish guilty priests and to protect children from being abused.
Twenty dioceses, including the archdiocese of New York, were cited for failing to fully implement the policy. Four dioceses were not audited.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned the report from the Gavin Group, a Boston firm headed by William Gavin, a former FBI official. Advocates for victims' groups charged that the audit was unreliable because the bishops exercised too much control over it.
Gavin's auditors visited the nation's dioceses between June and October. They interviewed bishops, priests, prosecutors and victims.
Diocesan officials in Buffalo were commended for developing what the report called "an exemplary code of conduct" for Western New York priests and church officials.
• Audit shows diocese is in compliance
News Observer, By YONAT SHIMRON
RALEIGH (NC): The Diocese of Raleigh has taken steps to combat sexual abuse by priests and is in compliance with reforms called for by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, an independent auditor has found. Those reforms include establishing lay review boards, conducting background checks for employees, offering victims assistance offices and setting up detailed policies on handling abuse allegations. The Raleigh diocese was audited by an independent company, The Gavin Group of Boston. In its report, released today, the auditors found that the diocese demonstrated a policy of openness and transparency and that the bishop had met personally with parishioners directly affected by reports of clergy misconduct. Three priests in the 54-county diocese were removed in 2002 for allegations they contributed to sexual abuse.
• Richmond Diocese "not fully complying" with reforms to prevent clergy sex abuse
WVEC, Associated Press & WVEC.com
RICHMOND (VA): The Catholic Diocese of Richmond is among 20 dioceses identified by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection as failing to fully comply with a policy adopted to prevent sexual abuse by priests.
On August 11, 2003, two auditors came to the Diocese of Richmond. At that time, then Bishop Walter Sullivan said, "I am glad to have the audit take place because we are so very proud of our Review Board and the thorough and effective way we've been addressing the tragedy of sexual abuse."
Two weeks after that, on the heels of the US Bishops meeting in Dallas, the Diocese announced it had a newly- established diocesan sexual abuse Review Board.
Nearly a half dozen priests in the Richmond Diocese were forced to retire from the clergy in the wake of the sex abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church.
• Report: Boston archdiocese in compliance with sex abuse policy
Providence Journal, By DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press Writer
BOSTON (MA) (AP): Two years after the clergy sex abuse scandal erupted here, the Boston Archdiocese is complying with reforms put in place by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, but still needs to do a better job of documenting abuse allegations, according to a report released Tuesday.
A national audit measuring compliance with a policy established by the bishops in June 2002 found that 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully complying. The policy requires bishops to take steps to protect children and lays out a policy for punishing guilty priests.
The audit praised the Boston Archdiocese for an aggressive outreach program, which has included sponsoring a national conference of mental health professionals to deal with issues related to sex abuse by priests.
Investigators also commended Boston for its efforts to give 200,000 church and school workers "safe environment" training to identify and prevent abuse, and for establishing a support group for the parents of people who have been abused by priests.
• Church Abuse Audit: List
Here www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=1589140 is the list of dioceses identified by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection as failing to fully comply with a policy adopted to prevent sexual abuse by priests.
Those identified as "eparchies" are geographic districts for Catholics who accept the authority of the pope, but follow different rituals.
• New York Archdiocese Falls Short in Sex Abuse Review
ABC 7, By Art McFarland
NEW YORK (New York-WABC, January 6, 2004) - The Archdiocese of New York is under fire for not complying with a new policy to prevent sex abuse by priests. It is just one of handful of dioceses nationwide that's not following the rules.
There has been 90 percent compliance with the anti-sex abuse guidelines. The fact that New York is not included in that compliance may be troubling for some area Roman Catholics.
The intent of U.S. Catholic officials was very clear.
Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President, USCCB: "During established meetings, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops adopted the charter for the protection of children and young people, which stipulated that each diocese would implement specific policies and procedures."
But still, the nation's most important archdiocese here in New York is on the short list for non-compliance. The rules were adopted in June of 2002 when the sex abuse scandals were at their height, grabbing almost daily headlines. Cases such as that of former Catholic priest and convicted child molester John Geoghan sent a shockwave through the Catholic Church in the U.S.
• N.Y. Archdiocese: Abuse Prevention Program Planned
Newsday, By FRANK ELTMAN, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK: A child abuse prevention program will be implemented by the end of the school year in the Archdiocese of New York, bringing it into compliance with national efforts by the Catholic Church to respond to allegations of priest sex abuse, a church official said Tuesday.
The New York Archdiocese was among 20 of 195 dioceses nationwide found to be not fully compliant with the new sex abuse policies, according to a church audit released Tuesday.
The review, conducted last year by investigators, including former FBI agents, was meant to help enforce church reforms and will be conducted annually. The auditors interviewed bishops, diocesan personnel, victims, abusive priests, prosecutors and lay people.
The audit found the archdiocese had yet to complete its implementation of a Safe Environment Program, which provides church personnel with training and education on the prevention of sexual abuse of minors.
• A scandal hits home
Los Angeles Times, by Deepa Bharath, Daily Pilot
NEWPORT-MESA (CA): For Joelle Casteix, going to church is not the same as it was when she was a little girl.
The 33-year-old Corona del Mar woman says her faith in the Catholic Church, an institution she revered throughout her childhood and part of her adolescence, was shattered after she was sexually abused by her own high school teacher, a Catholic priest.
Casteix is among the thousands of Americans who have claimed they were sexually abused by priests, leading to a scandal that has raged for the last year.
As many as 800 claims were filed statewide over the last year by people who said they had been molested years ago as children. The civil cases grew in number last year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a California law that had permitted the retroactive criminal prosecution of old child molestation cases.
• First 'Charter' Implementation Report Issued by Catholic Bishops Conference
WASHINGTON (DC), Jan. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- All dioceses and eparchies (dioceses of the Eastern Catholic Churches) have been found "to be compliant with some or all articles" of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," adopted by the Catholic bishops of the United States at their meeting in Dallas in June 2002.
This is the conclusion of the Report on the Implementation of the `Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,' issued by the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The Report is based on an independent compliance audit conducted by the Gavin Group, Inc., of Boston Massachusetts, headed by William Gavin, a former official of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who was in charge of FBI offices in New York, Miami, and Denver.
• Priest's nephew files suit
San Mateo County Times, By Jason Dearen
CALIFORNIA: After more than 40 years, the nephew of a deceased Junipero Serra High School priest is seeking damages for sexual abuse allegedly committed by the priest in the late 1950s.
The civil suit, filed in December by the 57-year-old nephew of the Rev. Joseph Pritchard, claims that on two or more occasions, the priest took the boy back to his living quarters on the Serra High campus after family holiday parties and molested him.
"Commencing in approximately 1956, on at least two or more occasions, after family holiday parties in which Fr. Pritchard had been drinking alcohol for several hours, Fr. Pritchard chose to bring plaintiff to his living quarters at Serra High School to spend the night with him," the lawsuit claims.
Pritchard died of cancer in 1988.
The nephew's suit is one of 19 filed against Pritchard by alleged victims of molestation, said the plaintiff's attorney, Michael Zimmer. The other suits were filed early in 2003 by people who attended St. Martin of Tours parish in San Jose, where Pritchard served as pastor after leaving Serra High.
• Connecticut dioceses in compliance with child protection plan
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP): All three Roman Catholic dioceses in Connecticut are in compliance with the sweeping changes triggered by a nationwide child abuse scandal, church officials said Tuesday.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced results of an audit under the church's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The church audit found that 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully complying with the plan, which dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires bishops to take steps to protect children.
• Minister cuts One in Four funding by 25%
One in Four
IRELAND: The One in Four service, which assists people who were sexually abused as children, will receive 25 per cent less funding from the Department of Health this year than they did in 2003. Patsy McGarry reports in The Irish Times.
The service, which is run by people who themselves were sexually abused as children, employs therapists who are qualified to the highest professional standards and who are accredited to relevant profession bodies, One in Four director, Mr Colm O'Gorman said last night.
He also said he is writing to the Minister for Health, Mr Martin, seeking clarification of his Department's understanding of services provided by One in Four. Mr O'Gorman was responding to a report in yesterday's Sunday Tribune which, based on Department of Health records, indicated directors of the National Counselling Service had questioned the ethics of "the abused counselling the abused", as at One in Four.
• Report Card On Priest Abuse
UNITED STATES: (CBS/AP) Nearly all of the nation's Roman Catholic bishops are carrying out a new mandatory policy they adopted to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to a church audit released Tuesday. Critics said the study was fundamentally flawed.
The review found 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully complying with the plan, which dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires bishops to take steps to protect children. Among those considered out of compliance are the archdioceses of New York; Anchorage, Alaska; and Omaha, Neb.
The prelates commissioned the report from the Gavin Group of Boston, a firm led by a former FBI official, and the investigation was overseen by Kathleen McChesney, a former top FBI agent and head of the bishops' watchdog Office of Child and Youth Protection.
• Audit: Nearly all bishops adopting reforms
Baltimore Sun, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (DC): Nearly all of the nation's Roman Catholic bishops are carrying out a new mandatory policy they adopted to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to a church audit released today. Critics said the study was fundamentally flawed.
The review found 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully complying with the plan, which dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires bishops to take steps to protect children. Among those considered out of compliance are the archdioceses of New York; Anchorage, Alaska; and Omaha, Neb. The prelates commissioned the report from the Gavin Group of Boston, a firm led by a former FBI official, and the investigation was overseen by Kathleen McChesney, a former top FBI agent and head of the bishops' watchdog Office of Child and Youth Protection.
Victim advocates said bishops had too much control of how the audit was conducted, so it should be viewed skeptically.
• Lawyers say archdiocese could defrock some priests
Boston Globe, By Ralph Ranalli
BOSTON (MA): Following the $85 million settlement with victims of clergy sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Boston appears to be gearing up an effort to defrock or otherwise discipline some accused priests, according to lawyers for abuse victims.
The lawyers said yesterday that they have received an increased number of requests lately from the archdiocese for their clients to participate in canonical court proceedings, the church's internal forum for disciplining priests.
"The topic has come up during our discussions with the archdiocese," said Boston lawyer Roderick MacLeish Jr., whose firm, Greenberg Traurig, represented more than 200 abuse victims who last month received settlement checks from the archdiocese. "We are seeing lots and lots of letters coming in . . . saying they want to see our clients at some point."
MacLeish declined to say which priests archdiocesan officials inquired about, but Carmen L. Durso, a Boston lawyer who represented more than 40 abuse victims, said he had recently received numerous similar letters regarding several priests who had been accused as part of the massive clergy sexual abuse litigation.
Durso said those priests included the Rev. Bernard J. Lane, who lawyers for victims claim molested at least 17 boys, many of them when he was director of Alpha-Omega House, a now-closed Littleton home for troubled adolescents. Lane has denied the allegations through his lawyer.
• Diocese's new abuse rules late for many, but welcome
NEW HAMPSHIRE: When institutions get too big, ethics can lapse and corruption often sets in. We've seen it in big government, big business and, lately, we've seen it all too closely in big religion.
We've been tough on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester. With good reason. The diocese has spent upward of $20 million to settle 227 cases of child sexual abuse by clergy members. This scandal will forever remain a horrific blotch on the church's history.
But, just as we have been tough when we thought it was necessary, we'll also offer praise when appropriate. So we congratulate the church for its new policy on child sexual abuse. The new policy includes criminal background checks for all New Hampshire priests, mandatory reporting of suspected incidents of child sexual abuse, and comprehensive definitions of "inappropriate behavior" to leave no stone unturned.
• Victims fault Catholics' audit
Arizona Daily Star
ARIZONA: At least one victims group already is critical of a new national audit gauging Roman Catholic dioceses' responses to the sexual abuse crisis. The audit is scheduled to be released today by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Paul N. Duckro, director of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson's Office of Child, Adolescent & Adult Protection, expects the audit to be a positive reflection of changes the local diocese has made since reaching a multimillion-dollar settlement with 10 sexual abuse victims and their families in 2002. "We think it was very thorough," Duckro said. "We've made a lot of progress and we have to continue working at the parish level. We're really trying to get a culture change." The national Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, SNAP, issued a press release Monday criticizing the audit as largely "glorified, voluntary self-reporting" and as showing little substantial progress by bishops.
• Church/Sex Abuse
SYRACUSE (NY): An audit of 190 Catholic Diocese across the country show that most Bishops are complying with tougher sex abuse standards, but that more needs to be done to council victims. The next phase of the audit could be the most controversial. It will reveal the number of victims of abuse it can identify. Locally, the Syracuse Diocese is releasing its numbers about clergy sexual abuse in hopes of repairing its relationships with parishioners. Bishop James Moynihan of the Syracuse Diocese, which includes Broome and Chenango Counties, released data on sex abuse involving Diocese's clergy since 1950 on the Diocese's website.
• Diocese report card due today
Cincinnati Post, From staff and wire reports
CINCINNATI (OH): After years in which Catholics seemingly have learned more about their church in courtrooms than at Sunday services, a national bishops panel is to release a report today assessing whether each of the nation's 195 dioceses is complying with new guidelines concerning sexual abuse by priests. Although spokesmen for the archdiocese of Cincinnati and the diocese of Covington declined to comment prior to the report's release, other jurisdictions, including the archdiocese of Louisville, have said in advance that the audit shows they have complied with the policies approved by bishops at a national convention in June 2002.
Today's report card from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops comes two months after the Cincinnati Archdiocese reached a historic agreement with Hamilton County prosecutors in November, in which the archdiocese was convicted of five counts of failing to report allegations of priest sex abuse of minors to authorities in the 1970s and 1980s. The archdiocese agreed to set up a $3 million compensation fund.
• US Catholic bishops face scrutiny
BBC News, By Jane Little, BBC Religious Affairs correspondent
UNITED STATES: Results of an unprecedented audit of how America's Roman Catholic bishops handled accusations of clergy sexual abuse are to be published shortly. The report is expected to show that most bishops have kept promises made 18 months ago to better protect children.
The US Church has been rocked by a wave of sexual abuse scandals.
Victim support groups have already rejected the results of Tuesday's report, accusing bishops of still covering up the truth.
• Austin Diocese releases sex abuse report
American-Statesman, By Eileen E. Flynn
AUSTIN (TX): Six priests who are accused of sexually abusing at least 15 children in the Diocese of Austin during the 1970s, '80s and '90s either have died or are no longer in ministry, according to a report church officials will send to Catholics in the 25-county region this week.
But the diocese will withhold the priests' names and the places they served, Bishop Gregory Aymond said Monday.
Providing details about the accused, he said, would "not be appropriate."
"Just because we say there is a credible allegation is not a court of law saying it happened," Aymond said, "though in today's world, we take action and go the extra 10 miles and make sure they are not in ministry."
• AS BISHOPS RELEASE AUDITS, THIS WARNING: 'THE SEASON OF JUDGMENT HAS BEGUN'
Spirit Daily, www.spiritdaily.com/crisisasbad.htm
UNITED STATES: As the bishops release a major report on compliance of American dioceses with new abuse standards, there is good news and not-so-good news at this time when the Church continues to grapple with one of its biggest crises since the Reformation.
The good news is that, at least in many dioceses, the incidence of sexual abuse and especially pedophilia appears to have been lower than what the media -- and a number of in-church critics -- have portrayed. One case of abusing a youngster among the entire clergy is too many -- and a terrible tragedy; it remains difficult to believe that a priest would compromise a young person in such a way. In larger dioceses like those of Los Angeles and Boston, the raw numbers are jarring. Eight hundred lawsuits in just California!
But let's start putting this -- and the sacred priesthood -- in perspective. In Albany, one of the nation's most modernistic dioceses, the bishop asserts that only two percent of 814 priests who have served since 1950 had "credible" sexual allegations of any kind against them. We're not naive: we know there could be more, perhaps even substantially more. But the diocese has cleared 11 of 15 current or former priests. None of the accused are now active.
• Audit finds diocese abuse policy sound
Sacramento Bee, By Jennifer Garza
SACRAMENTO (CA): After addressing concerns raised by an independent auditor, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento is in "full compliance" with the national policy on dealing with clergy sexual abuse, according to a report that will be released today.
"I'm happy about our good news. I found the process reassuring to me as a bishop," said William K. Weigand, the spiritual leader of the Sacramento area's 500,000 Catholics.
The policies of 195 dioceses were reviewed over a six-month period by the Gavin Group, a Boston-area consultant hired by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. National results also will be announced today.
• Former priest abused 18 boys [1971-83]
Evening Press, by Evening Press reporter
BRITAIN: A retired Roman Catholic priest from York sexually abused 18 young boys over a period of 12 years, a court has heard.
Noel Barrett, 61, of Lawrence Street, admitted 31 charges of indecent assault on boys aged nine to 13 when he worked at churches in Middlesbrough, Hull and Ireland.
Barrett, who became a priest at the age of 28 but is now retired, pleaded guilty to 15 indecent assaults on two boys aged nine and 11 between 1973 and 1976, when he worked at St Joseph's Church in Marton Road, Middlesbrough.
Barrett also asked for 16 indecent assaults, each on a different boy in Middlesbrough, Hull, County Kerry, Stradbally and Dublin between 1971 and 1983, to be taken into consideration at Teesside Crown Court.
• Church sex abuse audit due today
Star-Ledger, BY JEFF DIAMANT
NEW JERSEY: A new report to be issued today by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops assessing the response of 195 dioceses to the clergy sex abuse scandal is expected to be the most complete account yet of the bishops' efforts to prevent sex abuse.
The long-awaited release has been billed as the bishops' main attempt to show they have learned from the sex abuse crisis that has shaken the church since January 2002. The diocese audits being made public today -- almost exactly two years since reports emerged that many bishops knowingly shuffled priests who sexually abused children to other parishes -- will include summaries on each diocese's compliance with rules the bishops adopted in July 2002, as well as an overall analysis by the auditors and related recommendations.
Many diocesan officials, including those for New Jersey's five dioceses, already have said in general terms that the audit judged their dioceses favorably but have withheld specific results until today's scheduled news conference in Washington.
• Report Tracks Bishops' Response to Claims
The Ledger, By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer
WASHINGTON (DC): Roman Catholic bishops in America are carrying out the policy they adopted to stamp out sex abuse by priests, but more needs to be done, a new report finds.
A group representing victims said the report lacks credibility because church leaders had too much control over how it would be conducted.
The report, to be released Tuesday, is based on audits the bishops commissioned of all 195 U.S. dioceses to see if they have been following the reforms.
Kathleen McChesney, a former top FBI agent and head of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, oversaw the review and said most bishops are complying with the reforms, "but there is still a lot that needs to be done."
"Considering it's only been about a year since people have been working on it, there's been a lot of progress, but nobody is going to tell you that it's all been done," McChesney told The Associated Press last week.
• Area dioceses comply with new policy
Post-Dispatch, By Patricia Rice
ST. LOUIS (MO): The Gavin Group of Winthrop, Mass., will release its audit today in Washington on the nation's 195 Catholic dioceses and eparchies.
The bishops' policy, the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, was passed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002. It came as a result of the clergy sex-abuse scandal and some bishops' failure to address criminal behavior. Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, in his role as the elected conference president, will participate in the announcement with William A. Gavin, president of the Gavin Group, a secular investigative group. The company sent teams of two or more investigators to each diocese for in-person interviews and to audit records. This is the first major public report on the charter implementation. Audits will be done annually.
Receiving letters showing that they were in compliance were the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the dioceses of Belleville and Springfield, Ill.; Kansas City-St. Joseph and Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Jefferson City; and the 34-state Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, based downtown.
• Catholic dioceses to get audit reports
Indianapolis Star, By John J. Shaughnessy, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS (IN): All five Catholic dioceses in Indiana expect to receive final notice today that they have complied with the U.S. Catholic bishops' efforts to end the church's sexual abuse scandal.
The dioceses of Evansville, Gary, Lafayette and Fort Wayne-South Bend all confirmed Monday that they were already found to be in compliance with the reform charter that was adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002.
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis will wait until this morning when the Catholic bishops release their report to comment on the evaluation of its measures to prevent abuse. Still, archdiocese spokesperson Susan Borcherts noted Monday, "We believe our archdiocese is in full compliance."
• Syracuse Dioceses reveals 16 priests removed
Ithaca Journal, By RYAN DEUEL and GEORGE BASLER, Gannett News Service
The complete report can be viewed on the Syracuse Diocese Web site at: www.syracusediocese.org
SYRACUSE (NY): The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has removed 16 priests from permanent ministry in the last two years, according to a report released Sunday by the diocese.
Danielle Cummings, spokeswoman for the diocese, said a letter written by Bishop James M. Moynihan was distributed at all weekend Masses in the seven-county diocese, which includes Broome and Chenango counties. This is the first time the diocese has gathered numbers.
The diocese will not identify specific priests who have been removed, or cleared of allegations. Tompkins County is part of the neighboring Diocese of Rochester.
"In an effort to help restore the bonds of trust and to be reconciled with you, I believe it is necessary to share what we have learned over the past two years," Moynihan wrote in the letter. "Like you, I am shamed by the harm done by so many, and I extend to those who have suffered abuse from anyone representing the Church and to their families, my most sincere apologies."
• Audit: Diocese follows rules to prevent abuse
Seattle Times, By Janet I. Tu
SEATTLE (WA): The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle is complying with the standards put forth more than a year ago by the nation's bishops to prevent sexual abuse of minors by clergy, according to a national report to be released today.
The report, conducted by an independent auditing firm, the Boston-based Gavin Group, on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, surveys how well the nation's 195 dioceses are complying with the standards passed by the bishops and approved by the Vatican in 2002.
Victims' groups, however, said the Gavin report is being "mischaracterized and oversold."
The auditors interviewed church officials, civil authorities, some victims and members of review boards composed primarily of lay experts. They also evaluated whether each diocese was complying, such as establishing liaisons with civil authorities; having an outreach program to victims; and conducting background checks of employees.
• Diocese to release abuse report
Valley Morning Star, By SARAH OVASKA, The Monitor
McALLEN, TEXAS - The number of priests accused of sexually abusing minors will be released today by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, along with the number of child victims and monies paid out in settlements.
The count of abusive priests and church workers will go back to 1965, when the diocese was created. No names of accused church workers or victims will be released.
Today's release will be the most extensive information offered by the Brownsville Diocese in connection with church workers accused of past sexual misconduct.
The information will be available at 8 a.m. on the diocese's Web site, www.cdob.org .
Parishes within the four counties in the Brownsville Diocese - Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy - were part of the Corpus Christi Diocese before 1965. The Corpus Christi Diocese had seven priests accused of sexual misconduct, 13 victims and $1.3 million paid out in settlements since 1950, said Marty Wind, spokesman for the Corpus Christi Diocese. It is not clear when those incidents occurred and if any abuse involved parishes that are now part of the Brownsville Diocese.
• Catholic Church Releasing New Report
AUSTIN (TX): Almost two years after the sex abuse scandal rocked the Catholic church, a new audit details how dioceses around the country are handling abuse.
U.S. Catholic bishops mandated the report in their 2002 meeting in Dallas. It won't be officially released until Tuesday.
Two former FBI investigators along with a national review committee audited the Austin Diocese back in August.
For a week they studied detailed reports and interviewed people within the church before essentially grading Central Texas Catholic churches on how they handle and prevent sexual abuse.
"A copy of this report will be sent to every catholic household in the diocese this week," Bishop Gregory Aymond with Austin Diocese said.
• Victims' group hits church audit
The Washington Times, By Julia Duin
WASHINGTON (DC): Clergy sex-abuse victims were not properly interviewed nor were Catholic dioceses forthcoming in an audit to be released today, a survivors group said yesterday. "These so-called audits are fundamentally flawed," said Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). "Essentially, bishops have defined the rules of the game, decided who plays, paid the umpires and are now declaring themselves the winners." Results of the 400-page audit, expected to be revealed today at the National Press Club, will detail how well the 195 U.S. Catholic dioceses are implementing the rules of a mandatory plan to locate and remove abusive priests. It was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
• Report due on bishops' response
GoErie.com , By Ed Palattella, firstname.lastname@example.org
ERIE (PA) More details will come to light today on what the Catholic Diocese of Erie has done to protect children from sexual abuse.
The evaluation of the Erie diocese - which already was found to be in "full compliance" with new rules aimed at protecting children - is included in a study of all 195 Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States.
The study, to be released nationwide at 10 a.m., will provide a diocese-by-diocese look at how thoroughly bishops have complied with a child-protection charter that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted in Dallas in June 2002.
The nations' bishops have "kept our word" by carrying out the audits on which today's study is based, said Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., who heads the bishops' conference.
A prominent victims'-rights group is criticizing the process behind the study as being too dependent on the bishops' oversight.
• Audit finds diocese complies with policy on abuse
The Gleaner, By Gleaner staff
KENTUCKY: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Owensboro has been found to be in compliance with an audit conducted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops assessing cooperation with a national sexual abuse policy.
The audit was conducted to determine if the Diocese of Owensboro -- which includes Henderson, Madisonville, Hopkinsville, Paducah and other areas -- has met guidelines set by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, church law and the diocesan sexual abuse policy. "I was very happy that the auditors found us doing all that we had promised to do and that we have every intention of doing what is expected of us in the future," Bishop John J. McRaith said in a press release. "Not only did they find us in full compliance, they even gave this diocese several commendations on various steps we have taken for prevention of abuse."
• Clerics' Sex Abuse Victims Say Lay Boards Ignore Them
New York Times, By PATRICK HEALY
NEW YORK: The review boards that hear allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic priests tread over terrain where emotions are raw, facts are often in dispute and people's lives hang in the balance. Set up in the wake of the church's sexual-abuse crisis, the lay boards listen to accusations and then try to decide if the stories are credible.
People who serve on the volunteer boards say they are dedicated to the work, but a national victims-advocacy group says that many abuse victims feel shut out after taking their cases to the boards. Sexual-abuse victims in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Iowa have said that the experience left them cold.
Some were able to tell their stories directly to the boards, while others said they were not allowed to. Some received letters telling them about the disposition of their case; others, like Juliann Bortz of Allentown, Pa., said they were told to expect a phone call and are still waiting.
"I never heard anything again," said Ms. Bortz, 54, who said she told her story of abuse to the Allentown Diocese in September 2002. "I just kind of waited for the phone call. After two years you start thinking, I guess I'm not going to hear."
• Officials say Reno diocese in compliance with national charter
Reno Gazette-Journal, by Carla Roccapriore
RENO (NV): The Catholic Diocese of Reno is in compliance with a newly adopted national charter that addresses how the church will handle allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, diocesan officials said.
Adopted in June 2002 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People required the nation's 193 dioceses to detail procedures for addressing allegations of staff misconduct.
"Many things aren't new, and many things the charter is requiring, we're already doing," said Brother Matthew Cunningham, diocese spokesman. "If an allegation is made, we have published numbers in the parish bulletins on how an alleged victim can contact me.
"Once a report is received, if it involved a person currently a minor, I would report it to child protective services immediately, and I'd ask anyone who reported it to me to also call child protective services," he said.
• Officials respond to audit on abuse
St. Joseph News-Press, By HEATHER HOEFER, email@example.com
MISSOURI: The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph received a clean bill of health and a commendation from a national audit released today on how the local Catholic community has handled sex-abuse allegations.
The Gavin Audit Report, completed in September, investigated the response and reporting of allegations to authorities, background screenings of employees and volunteers, and the reassignment of accused clergy, according to a news release issued by the Catholic Chancery.
"We were found to be in full compliance," said the Rev. Patrick Rush, the local diocese's vicar general. "… We did make mistakes along the way. I regret, certainly my colleagues regret, the pain that was caused."
• Audit: Sex allegations credible
News-Democrat, BY PATRICK J. POWERS, firstname.lastname@example.org
BELLEVILLE: Charges of sexual abuse against 17 priests and one permanent deacon have been found credible since 1950, according to a recent audit of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville.
The voluntary audit is conducted as part of a national study released today on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It examined all allegations made against priests in the Belleville Diocese from 1950 until 2002. Some of its findings include:
• 46 people made allegations of sexual abuse as a minor by a priest or deacon.
• 25 of 350 priests were accused of sexual abuse, 22 from within the Belleville Diocese and three from another diocese or religious order.
• Allegations against eight priests were either unfounded, anonymous or so vague that a full and fair investigation was deemed impossible.
• Victims: Abuse Report Not a Fair Picture
Newsday, By Carol Eisenberg
UNITED STATES: Victims of sexual abuse by priests blasted a report due out today, saying that auditors assessing how the nation's Roman Catholic bishops implemented new sexual abuse policies talked to a too small and skewed group of victims.
"This is largely glorified, voluntary self-reporting," Barbara Blaine, founder and president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said in an interview yesterday. "The bishops defined the rules of the game. They figured out who was going to play. They hired the umpires. And now, surprise, they're claiming victory."
Criticism by Blaine and others, on the eve of the report's release, follows numerous laudatory statements by bishops, including all three New York-area prelates, who have touted positive reviews from auditors.
The intensity of the competing rhetoric even before the report is released speaks to the huge stakes in the battle for the hearts and minds of American Catholics as three major reports promised at the height of the sexual abuse scandal in June 2002 are published.
• Archdiocese gets good audit grade
The Courier-Journal, By PETER SMITH, email@example.com
LOUISVILLE (KY): A national audit to be released today shows that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville has complied with sexual-abuse policies approved by bishops in Dallas in June 2002, the archdiocese says.
Contained in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the policies require that all abusive priests be removed, set new guidelines for handling allegations and mandate safe-environment programs to prevent abuse.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops plans to release the audit, including a report card on each of the nation's 195 dioceses, this morning. The release comes on the second anniversary of media revelations in Boston that ignited the national crisis over sexual abuse by priests.
The Diocese of Owensboro, Ky., also has complied with the policies, according to a portion of the report provided yesterday. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis says it also expects to be found in "full compliance," although it didn't provide a report.
• Fort Worth Diocese says it passed evaluation
Star-Telegram, By Darren Barbee
FORT WORTH (TX): An audit of the nation's Roman Catholic dioceses will show that Fort Worth's complies with a sexual-abuse charter adopted by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops about 18 months ago in Dallas, diocesan officials said.
The audit and a report by the conference to be released today detail efforts in the nation's 195 dioceses to institute reforms ranging from setting up a toll-free victims' hot line to removing abusive priests.
"We got a good commendation at the end of it," said the Rev. Joe Schumacher, the Fort Worth Diocese's vicar general. "They said, 'Everything that was asked at the Dallas meeting of the bishops has been done by you people since 1991.' "
National victims' groups called the audit smoke-and-mirrors public relations -- a review of implementation and not practices, carefully controlled and manipulated by bishops.
• Diocese faulted in audit
Honolulu Advertiser, By Jim Dooley
HONOLULU (HI): An audit of the Diocese of Honolulu, part of a nationwide effort to quantify sexual abuse by priests and analyze efforts to assist victims, faulted local church leaders for only recently developing an outreach program for victims and being late in developing "clear standards of behavior" required of priests and other church officials in regular contact with minors.
The audit also ordered the diocese to develop a "safe environment" training program for clergy, educators, parents, employees and volunteers working with children and to make sure that background checks be performed for all personnel in regular contact with children.
The diocese said it recently developed its training program and is working with the city prosecutor's office and its own legal personnel in finalizing the background check program. It also has started an outreach program with Catholic Charities Hawaii and has adopted a code of conduct for priests and other church personnel.
In 10 other areas, the audit found the diocese to be in compliance with directives adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 after a devastating clergy sex-abuse scandal shook the church. The diocese was praised for establishing a policy on alleged sexual misconduct within the church in 1990 and for establishing a standing committee to advise the bishop on misconduct allegations.
• Catholic diocese lauded in audit
The Patriot-News, BY MARY WARNER
HARRISBURG (PA): The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg said yesterday it is in "full compliance" with get-tough rules drafted 18 months ago by U.S. bishops to protect minors from predatory priests.
The diocese also said the auditors gave Harrisburg "special recognition for the efficiency, thoroughness and open handling of allegations." The full audit, to be released today in Washington, will provide the first glimpse of steps taken around the country, diocese by diocese, in response to a sexual abuse scandal that broke in Boston two years ago.
Some dioceses, including Harrisburg, announced in advance how they fared in the audit, conducted by investigators from the Boston-based Gavin Group.
• 2nd Suit Targets Ex-Priest
Los Angeles Times, By Tracy Wilson
CALIFORNIA: A second lawsuit has been filed against a former Catholic priest accused of molesting boys while he served as a pastor at a Camarillo church.
The suit was filed late last month in Ventura County Superior Court by a former altar boy, now 43, who alleges he was sexually abused by the priest between 1971 and 1973 after the pastor was transferred to St. Mary Magdalen Church in Camarillo. The suit alleges that the priest abused two boys at another Southern California parish before he was transferred. Because of rules imposed by the state Legislature, the former priest and other defendants were not identified by name in the suit, but generally referred to as Father John Doe and Doe Archdiocese. Attorneys must get authorization from a judge before identifying the defendants in the suit.
However, attorney Philip Erickson, whose firm has now filed two lawsuits against the priest, identified him as Father Carl Sutphin.
• 90% of Dioceses Meet New Rules
Los Angeles Times, By Larry B. Stammer and Richard Winton
UNITED STATES: All but 10% of the nation's 194 Roman Catholic dioceses have fully complied with rules and safeguards to prevent sexual abuse of minors by priests, the church's watchdog office will report today in the aftermath of a scandal that has rocked the U.S. church for the last two years.
The much-anticipated report said that bishops have made significant progress in implementing "zero tolerance" regulations as required under a national church charter on sexual abuse adopted in June 2002. But the document, a copy of which was obtained by The Times in advance of its official release in Washington, declared that 20 Catholic dioceses and Eastern Rite Catholic districts, all outside of California, had not made enough changes, and urged the nation's bishops to take corrective action there.
In most cases, those 20 dioceses, including Anchorage, Honolulu, Omaha and New York, had not established formal codes of conduct, not developed classes for parents on how to spot signs of sexual abuse, or not properly started background checks for priests and other church employees, according to the report.
Leaders of sexual abuse victims' support groups said they were skeptical about what they believed would be the report's mainly upbeat conclusions, although they had not yet seen it.
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 06:19 AM
• Audit cites La Crosse diocese
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, By MEG KISSINGER, firstname.lastname@example.org
WISCONSIN: An audit released Tuesday found that 90% of the nation's Roman Catholic dioceses are complying with regulations to guard against sexual abuse of children by clergy - with a few exceptions, including the Diocese of La Crosse.
The audit cites the La Crosse diocese for failing to develop, implement and publicize standards of conduct and a safe environment program.
"We were shocked and very disappointed to see our name on that list," said Rose Hammes, communications director for the Diocese of La Crosse.
La Crosse Bishop Raymond Burke, who is leaving La Crosse at the end of the month to be installed as archbishop of St. Louis, was not available for comment. However, Father Lawrence Dunklee, vicar for priests for the La Crosse Diocese, said Burke would be sending the auditors a "strong letter expressing our disappointment and concern and asking for a clarification and an apology."
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:07 PM
• Statement Regarding Bishops' Audit
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
SNAP leader Mary Grant of Long Beach CA
CALIFORNIA: "Church leaders had more than 18 months to be fair and inclusive with this report, and by their own admission, they were not. They refuse to say how many victims were interviewed. That's because there were few. And church leaders admit that bishops "handpicked" (Dallas Morning News) the few victims who were included.
They also admit, according to today's LA Times, that interviewers were "unable to view personnel files to verify that every diocese was following" the Charter. Instead, auditors "relied primarily on the information provided by the diocese."
It's no surprise, then, that bishops are now patting themselves on the back. Bishops' misleading depiction of this report is little more than shameful PR posturing."
• Two years later, one diocese's efforts to heal
The Christian Science Monitor, By Jane Lampman | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
TUCSON, ARIZ.: When the Catholic sex-abuse crisis broke open in Boston two years ago, Tucson, Ariz., was already struggling with its own scandal. The local bishop, Manuel Moreno - so popular in the heavily Hispanic diocese that his photo could be found on restaurant walls - struggled to respond. Under fire, he reached a major settlement with victims for an estimated $16 million. Then, he and his appointed successor, Bishop Gerald Kicanas, held open forums with angry parishioners. One of Bishop Kicanas's first steps when assuming the top job was a forthright public apology. Despite the efforts, however, the Tucson diocese still faces at least 17 lawsuits over priest abuse, and some critics think church officials aren't doing enough to aid victims.
In many ways, Tucson's experience typifies the progress and pressures still confronting bishops and their flocks as they seek to prevent abuse in the future and restore trust within the church.
• Archdiocese Fails Sex Abuse Audit
KTVA, By Heidi Loranger
ANCHORAGE (AK): The Archdiocese of Anchorage is not fully complying with new standards imposed on catholic churches to prevent sexually abuse by priests. The results of a country-wide audit show the Archdiocese is within the nation's ten percent that is failing to fully comply.
The Archdiocese of Anchorage, which covers South Central Alaska, failed in four sections of the audit. Of the 195 diocese around the country, Anchorage is one of 20 that does not have all the safety precautions in place. Officials here say they're on the right track, but staffing is everything and they don't have enough of it.
The Archdiocese of Anchorage began in 1966. Since then church leaders say 16 priests who committed sexual misconduct have worked here. All of this came to light last year after the United State's Conference of Catholic Bishops ordered policies in place to protect against clergy misconduct within the church.
• Sexual Abuse Audit
BURLINGTON, Vermont: The head of the independent audit firm says their mission was to make sure individual dioceses are in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
"From June to November of 2003, 54 auditors visited 191 Catholic Dioceses in the United States," said William Gavin of the Gavin Group. "We reviewed Diocesan policies of dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of minors."
Father Wendell Searles says the two auditors spent a week in Vermont, and made six recommendations to the diocese to better deal with allegations of sexual abuse. "The process on handling a complaint was not completely clear," he said. "They suggested that we re-write that."
• Panel Audits Catholic Diocese of Tucson
TUCSON (AZ): The Tucson Diocese is one of nearly 200 nationwide audited to determine how the Roman Catholic Church in America is responding to the sex abuse scandal. An independent panel, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Bishops, released it's findings Tuesday. Overall the panel says the U.S. Catholic Church has done a good job dealing with the accusations against priests. They did not rank individual parishes, that is to come later. The Diocese of Tucson says it's working hard to prevent sexual abuse.
• Most Of Wisconsin's Catholic Dioceses Following Sexual Abuse Policy
MILWAUKEE (WI): Four of Wisconsin's five dioceses have been found to be following a new mandatory policy adopted to prevent sexual abuse by priests.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops found the Diocese of La Crosse is among 20 dioceses across the country which have failed to fully comply with the policy.
The audit on La Crosse says it has not published standards of conduct for priests and deacons, as well as diocesan employees, volunteers and other church personnel who have regular contact with children.
The audit also found La Crosse hasn't developed training seminars for adults and clergy who have contact with kids. And, it hasn't completed background investigations on members of the clergy and others who have ar contact with minors, except teachers.
It also found the diocese doesn't have a policy to provide immediate pastoral care for victims and their families.
But since the September audit, the report notes the La Crosse Diocese complied with most of the requirements, but still hasn't published standards of conduct or a safe environment program.
• San Diego Diocese Gets Graded
SAN DIEGO (CA): The San Diego Catholic Diocese is getting high marks for its reform efforts in light of the abuse by some of its priests, 10News reported.
An independent investigative panel issued the good grade.
But 10News pointed out why some believe the diocese still isn't doing enough.
The report -- part of a three-part report -- will be made public over the next couple of months. The diocese handpicked the panel to look into whether the church was doing enough to put an end to sexual abuse and to help victims who have been molested by priests.
Rod Valdivia, from the San Diego Catholic Diocese, said, "We're very happy again with the results of the audit. We hope to continue whatever we can to provide safe environments both at our churches and our schools."
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 07:52 PM
//////////////////// End of Clergy Sex Abuse Tracker www.ncrnews.org/abuse , January 06, 2004
• Kathy Shaw thanks Faith Purification Programme for kind words and support. UNITED STATES (Jan 6, 2004): Thanks so much for your kind words and support! I realize that tracking these stories is important not only to me and other journalists but to many others as well. The tracker is devastating in its ability to put a lot of small items together from far-out places so people can see the pattern of abuse and deceit. If you find any articles I miss, please send me the URL. Thanks again, Kathy, January 06, 2004
AUSTRALIA (Jan 5, 2004): ----- Original Message ----- Sent: Monday, January 05, 2004 7:34 AM Subject: Thanks from Western Australia
Dear Ms Shaw,
THANK you very much for the amazing amount of work you put in to expose the corrupters of the nicest of our young people. I say nicest, because most of the youngsters the clergy corrupt are the most "Christian" and have the most loving and trusting parents. I took this battle on in February 2002, and want to congratulate you and thank you. Your work is part of a global struggle to awaken any of the "sheep" who are wakeable, and to keep the law enforcement officers honest in their job of stamping out this heinous heresy -- preaching perfect purity and so inculcating guilt, and then causing young people to feel guilty. Season's Greetings!
Kathy Shaw's answer: January 06, 2004
Clergy Sex Abuse Tracker, www.ncrnews.org/abuse, January 07, 2004 edition follows:-
• Church sued again in abuse scandal -- Church for all Nations [1998-99]
The News-Tribune, by KAREN HUCKS
TACOMA (WA): A man who says he and his two brothers were molested during the 1990s by the same Tacoma youth pastor is suing the Church for All Nations, two pastors, several church elders and the youth pastor.
The man alleges he suffered substantial psychological trauma because the youth pastor, Herman Glenn Jr., molested him from 1998, when he was 15, through June 1999.
The suit contends the church and the named pastors and elders were negligent in hiring, supervising, training and investigating Glenn. They either knew or should have known he would harm children, the suit alleges.
A lawyer for the church could not be reached for comment.
Glenn, 38, was the youth pastor for the nondenominational church from 1993 to 1999. He was sentenced in October to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to raping three boys from the church.
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 08:40 PM
• Feeney faces civil suit in California 
Post-Crescent, By Dan Wilson
WISCONSIN: Former priest John Patrick Feeney, facing a February trial on sexual assault charges in Outagamie County, is the target of a civil suit in California for allegedly molesting a 15-year-old boy there in 1967.
Feeney, 76, is charged in Outagamie County with four counts of attempted sexual assault of a child and one count of sexual assault of a child for the alleged assaults of two brothers, ages 12 and 14, while he was the parish priest at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Freedom in 1978.
The civil suit, filed Dec. 2 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges the assaults of the boy occurred while Feeney was still technically assigned to a parish in Wisconsin.
However, according to Los Angeles attorney John Manley, who filed the suit, Feeney made extended visits to the Los Angeles area between 1967 and 1972 to see relatives and was assigned duties by the Los Angeles Archdiocese while he stayed there, including duties at a church and school in Simi Valley. That parish is also named in the lawsuit.
• Five more people beat deadline, file suit against Sacramento diocese
SACRAMENTO (CA): In the past two weeks, five people have filed suit against the Sacramento Catholic diocese, beating a year-end deadline that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations in molestation cases. The five new suits brings the total of claims in the past year accusing priests in the Sacramento diocese to 33, said James Sweeney, diocesan counsel.
"These are the only new ones we know about at this time. More may have been filed, but we haven't heard about any," Sweeney said.
He added that the final number of lawsuits filed against the diocese before the deadline may not be known for several weeks.
So far, a total of 10 priests have been accused of sexual misconduct in the Sacramento region - none of whom currently serve in the diocese. Two are deceased, three have fled the country, one is a priest in a religious order and no longer in the diocese, three are no longer in active ministry and one is a schismatic priest.
That priest, the Rev. Mario Blanco, is now working in Tacoma, Wash., as a "traditionalist" priest. He does not recognize papal authority or post Vatican II teachings. Blanco, who served in the diocese in the early 1970's, faces more allegations than any other priest. Seventeen men have accused Blanco of sexually abusing them.
• Prosecutor: Former Rev. Miller Withdraws Early-Release Request ($25.7m cost)
LOUISVILLE (KY): A prosecutor said that a retired Catholic priest serving a 20-year sentence for sexually abusing children has withdrawn his request for early release.
Jefferson County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Carol Cobb said she was informed Tuesday night that the Rev. Louis Miller's attorney would file a motion withdrawing a request for shock probation.
Last month, a judge said she would consider releasing the 73-year-old priest, who was also sentenced to a consecutive 10-year prison term on charges in neighboring Oldham County. His attorney had one month, until Thursday, to file letters supporting Miller's early release.
At the start of the week, all but two of 20 letters filed with the court urged the judge to keep Miller in prison.
More than 100 people have publicly accused Miller of molesting them. He was a key figure in a series of lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Louisville that resulted in a $25.7 million settlement.
• Local diocese gets passing grade
Napa Valley News, By DAVID RYAN, Register Staff Writer
SANTA ROSA (CA): A nationwide church audit revealed Tuesday the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa -- which oversees churches in the Napa Valley -- is following guidelines set out by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct. But the audit also gave the diocese the lowest marks in the Bay Area.
The Boston-based Gavin Group released the results of its 2003 audit of diocese practices to determine which ones followed instructions issued by Catholic Bishops in June 2002. The Catholic Bishops' edict sought to make the diocese more responsive to allegations of sexual abuse and work to prevent abuse in the future.
The review found 90 percent of the 195 U.S. diocese were fully complying with the plan, which dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires bishops to take steps to protect children. Among the 20 considered out of compliance are the archdioceses of New York, Anchorage, Alaska, and Omaha, Neb.
• Diocese Responds to Audit
MEMPHIS (TN): An audit ordered by a Roman Catholic Church agency finds most U.S. Diocese have are following policies to prevent sexual abuse.
A spokesman for the Diocese says most of the new reforms for the church are in place but the Memphis organization still needs to finish background checks on employees and work on its safe environment program for children.
Background checks on some employees were already mandatory. The new policies require checks on all church employees.
"So now they becoming are a regular part background check for pretty much anyone who has any contact with children, training will be mandatory for people to go through to recognize this. There will be publicity just to make people aware. Just to be on the safe side, " John Morris, spokesman for the Diocese, says.
• The two Roman Catholic dioceses in South Dakota received high marks...
Aberdeen News, Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota: The two Roman Catholic dioceses in South Dakota received high marks in a church audit of policies designed to prevent sex abuse by priests and others.
Almost all of the nation's Catholic bishops are carrying out a new mandatory policy they adopted to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to the church audit released Tuesday.
Both South Dakota dioceses were awarded at least one commendation in the audit.
"We're certainly in full compliance and continuing to work hard to assist anyone who needs help," said Jerry Klein, chancellor of the Sioux Falls Diocese.
Bishop Robert Carlson, leader of the Sioux Falls diocese, was commended for his initiative in responding to allegations of sexual abuse of minors and "his pastoral outreach to victims-survivors of clergy abuse."
• Dioceses pass tests
Sun Chronicle, BY GLORIA LaBOUNTY
ATTLEBORO (MA): The Archdiocese of Boston and the Diocese of Fall River are in compliance with a new national policy on sexual abuse, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The audit conducted for the bishops by the Gavin Group of Boston made several recommendations for the two dioceses that have since been carried out, the report said.
• Davenport Diocese not part of abuse audit
DAVENPORT (IA): Allegations of pedophile priests in the Catholic Church won't be swept under the rug anymore, according to church leaders who say there's a new doctrine being followed.
"I believe these findings show we bishops are keeping our word."
A new report released today in Washington by the Council of Catholic Bishops says 90% of the 195 dioceses in this country, including the one overseeing Illinois Quad City area churches, are complying with the new rules and regulations aimed at safeguarding against abuse.
But the Davenport Diocese is specifically cited in the report, for not giving auditors free reign. Meanwhile, some sex abuse survivors say they don't buy any of the report, accusing the bishops of grading themselves..
• Wyoming diocese complies with sexual misconduct policy
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP): - A U.S. Roman Catholic church audit found the Diocese of Cheyenne in full compliance with the new mandatory policy to prevent sex abuse by priests.
Nearly all of the nation's Roman Catholic bishops are carrying out the policy they adopted. But critics said the study was fundamentally flawed.
The Diocese of Cheyenne was praised for its proactive leadership on the issue, following a 2003 audit.
• Diocese complied with guidelines, says report
Kentucky Post, Post staff report
KENTUCKY: Although gratified to be found in compliance with new church guidelines dealing with sexual abuse by priests, the diocese of Covington recognizes that the finding is only one step toward healing the wounds of the past, officials said Tuesday.
"We recognize that restoring trust in local and national church leadership is a long and difficult process requiring our dedicated attention in the years to come," said Covington diocese spokesman Tim Fitzgerald.
A comprehensive report released Tuesday found that the Covington diocese and the Cincinnati archdiocese, like most dioceses nationwide, had complied with the new guidelines adopted by bishops in June 2002.
• Iowa's Roman Catholic Church Spends More than $2 Million on Sex Abuse Cases
KCRG, From The KCRG-TV9 Dubuque Newsroom
IOWA: Three of Iowa's four Roman Catholic dioceses have spent more than two million dollars to settle sex-abuse cases and pay for victim treatment.
The Dubuque Archdiocese received 67 credible allegations against 26 priests. The Sioux City diocese received 33 allegations against ten priests and deacons and in Des Moines, 30 people made allegations against ten priests and deacons.
• Diocese Speaks About Report Findings
Team 4 News, Reported By: April Norris
BROWNSVILLE (TX) JANUARY 6: The trail of alleged abusive priests goes back all the way to 1965.
"Our report basically is the investigation of our archives of our personnel files to see how many priests have actually been accused of sexual abuse of minors," said Father Diaz.
The Brownsville Diocese claims out of about two hundred, only seven priests have sexually abused one or more minors since 1965.
"Diocese of Brownsville, Bishop Pena and all of us are very sorry because seven is too many."
It's all in black and white. From 1978 to today, the Brownsville Diocese paid out around $432,000 to victims.
• Abuse audit compliance pleases local Catholic leaders
Herald-Whig, By Steve Eighinger
ILLINOIS: The Rev. Mike Kuse of St. Mary's Parish in Quincy believes steps taken 10 years ago have allowed the Diocese of Springfield to be one of the leaders in preventing sexual abuse of children by priests.
The Diocese of Springfield, which oversees most of the parishes in the Quincy area, was one of five dioceses in Illinois to receive a positive report Tuesday from outside investigators for its efforts in preventing abuse, strengthening the networks to help victims, conducting criminal background checks and improving training to recognize signs of improper activity.
"I think it's a start, but as a church we have a long way to go," Kuse said. "This was an earthquake within the church, and I do not view (these kinds of programs) as an option ... they are a necessity. It will be an ongoing process."
The Rev. Bob Jallas of All Saints Parish in Quincy agrees.
"This is definitely a step in the right direction, but just one in a series of steps," Jallas said. "All of this needs to be up front. If we are going to be a church of any integrity it has to be done. It is long overdue." Over the past two years, Catholic dioceses from coast to coast have been rocked with charges of child abuse by church leaders, some from decades earlier.
• Area diocese found in compliance with plan
The Garden City Telegram, By KATHY HANKS, email@example.com
KANSAS: St. Mary and St. Dominic Catholic churches can boast everyone in their parishes who are working with children are in compliance with a mandatory discipline plan. And that puts St. Mary Father James E. Baker's mind at ease.
"It means not only the clergy, but all volunteers, all employees, all teachers, everyone who has contact with children (at both parishes) are in compliance," Baker said. "That makes me feel good."
Baker said between 38 to 40 people at St. Mary, 509 St. John, went through the background checks, and participated in a training forum. Sister Katherine Therese of St. Dominic, 615 JC St. said about 60 people from that parish received a clearance.
• LC Diocese Responds to Report
LOUISIANA: Audit teams from the Gavin Group visited Dioceses from August to October and interviewed church leadership, lay workers, some local law enforcement officials and asked to see new reform policies and procedures. Baton Rouge and Houma-Thibodaux passed on the first try. Elsewhere, auditors issued instructions where they found a mandated reform was not in place, or recommendations when a reform was nearly in place or could be improved.
They also issued a number of commendations. The auditors commended the Archdiocese of New Orleans for its outreach to parishes on sexual-abuse issues and the Archdiocese's coordination with religious orders in enacting changes. Alexandria was among a handful of Dioceses in the nation found to be "significantly behind" putting reforms in place. Auditors commended the Diocese of Lake Charles for its communications policy. But the report says the Diocese still had work to do on background checks and the implementation of a safe environment program.
KPLC contacted the Diocese of Lake Charles today. They say there are inaccuracies in the report. Despite what the report claims, officials say the code of conduct for priests, deacons and others who have regular contact with children have already taken place.
They add, the safe environment program
• Exhibit in lawsuit alleges lack of action by diocese. Moved molesters from place to place
EL PASO (TX): Were priests who were accused of sexually abusing children, moved from parish to parish by the Diocese of El Paso?
Attorneys representing an alleged victim said if the diocese had taken action, their client may not have been molested by former Cathedral High School Principal Brother Sam Martinez.
ABC-7 has obtained an exhibit from a lawsuit that attorneys claim prove a pattern of the diocese sweeping problems under the rug; one of the problems being, moving priests to different locations after being accused of sexual abuse at a prior location.
The exhibit is in the form of a letter allegedly sent to the bishop. The writer of the letter is referring to a priest named David Holley. Although the current suit names Martinez as the alleged abuser, attorneys are using what they are saying is a similar situation that took place years ago involving David Holley.
The background of Father Holley in relation to this lawsuit began in 1972. Father Holley was accepted to serve in Alamogordo under the Diocese of El Paso after receiving treatment for sexually abusing children. Alamogordo was under the Diocese of El Paso back then; it no longer is.
• Panel Recommends Settlement Plan For Abuse Allegations
PROVIDENCE (RI): The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence would settle decades-old cases of alleged clergy abuse by offering lifetime counseling and $25,000 to each victim, under a proposal from an advisory committee.
Alleged victims would also have the chance to instead collect up to $90,000 through arbitration.
Dennis Roberts II, chairman of the seven-member lay diocesan advisory panel, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the Most Rev. Robert Mulvee has accepted the recommendation. There was no immediate response from the Diocese of Providence.
Roberts said cases covered would be those the diocese believes it could not be sued for, due to statute-of-limitations laws.
"We are dealing with cases for which there appears to be no legal justification," said Roberts, a former state attorney general. "We're kind of extending the (diocese's) hand to these people."
Attorney Tim Conlon, part of a legal team that represents about 40 alleged victims, welcomed the proposal, which he said is better than an earlier offer. He said he thinks a settlement for many of the alleged victims he represents can be worked out.
• Some dioceses cited in national audit for exemplary practices
Catholic News Service, By Jerry Filteau
WASHINGTON (DC) (CNS): Besides listing flaws and weaknesses, the national report on the sexual abuse response audits of U.S. dioceses also highlighted exemplary policies, personnel and practices that auditors found in many dioceses.
The 418-page report -- the first in what is intended to be a series of annual audit reports -- was released at a press conference in Washington Jan. 6. The audits were conducted last June to November by investigators of the Boston-based Gavin Group, composed mainly of former FBI agents.
In conjunction with the report's release the bishops' national Office for Child and Youth Protection released three lists of dioceses which the auditors considered particularly notable for their overall sex abuse and prevention program, their safe environment programs or the quality of their victims' assistance coordinators.
• Victims step up call for Boston archdiocese to supervise suspended priests
Herald Tribune, By DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press Writer
BOSTON (MA): Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims in Boston have made tracking abusive priests one of their priorities, but some say such monitoring may prove impossible.
In a report released Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Boston and most dioceses across the country received high marks for complying with a national policy to prevent clergy sex abuse. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, however, said the church still needs to find a way to locate and supervise priests who have been suspended or removed from the priesthood for abusing children.
Suggestions from victims groups include asking the church to set up a kind of sex offender registry for priests, much like registries for sex offenders convicted in criminal courts.
In such a system, priests who have been defrocked or voluntarily left the priesthood because of abuse allegations could be identified by potential employers or neighbors who want to make sure their children don't have contact with them.
• Former S.F. priest pleads guilty to embezzlement
San Francisco Chronicle, by Jaxon Van Derbeken
SAN FRANCISCO (CA): A former San Francisco Catholic priest -- freed from jail in 2002 on multiple child molestation charges -- pleaded guilty Tuesday to state tax evasion and embezzlement of church funds.
But Patrick O'Shea, the former monsignor of St. Cecilia's parish in San Francisco who spent two years behind bars, will most likely not serve any further time in jail, under the plea agreement.
He is expected to be sentenced on Feb. 23 to time already served. He also will be ordered to pay $187,000 in restitution to the church.
"The archdiocese gets its money back, he has served a sufficient time in jail, and now can get on with his life," said his attorney James Collins.
Assistant District Attorney David Pfeifer said the plea was favorable, saying that O'Shea would be on parole for at least four more years.
• Calling Church Leaders to Task
Valley Advocate, by Maureen Turner
MASSACHUSETTS: Like many Catholics, Terence McKiernan was shocked when story after story began to emerge of priests who had sexually abused children in their parishes. "But, arguably, what the bishops did was much, much worse," McKiernan said last week from his home in Newton.
For decades, many bishops simply covered up abuse cases, moving abusive priests from parish to parish, sometimes even sending them off to other dioceses, with no warning to parishioners -- all with the apparent intent of protecting the church as an institution, not its members.
"I have no idea what goes on in the head of a guy like [convicted child molester Father John] Geoghan -- it's kind of its own category of pathology," said McKiernan. "But when you have guys sitting in an office in a chancery knowingly moving a guy like that into a parish where they know he's going to do it again -- I don't know what goes on in the head of a guy like that."
That history is what inspired McKiernan and two other activists to start www.Bishop-Accountability.org, a website that chronicles the role of church leaders in the scandals through thousands of church documents, news reports and legal papers.
• Maine diocese abides by new rules
PORTLAND, Maine: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has complied with church rules adopted in 2002 to prevent sexual abuse of minors by priests, according to a church audit.
The report released this week gave the Portland diocese one "instruction," or order, to improve and two "recommendations" to improve. It also issued two commendations.
• Suspended Priest Returns to Class
BRIGHTON (NY) Jan 07: Management at McQuaid High School Wednesday announced the return of a priest teacher from a suspension that followed a claim he had abused a student 24 years ago when he worked at a New York City school.
Father John Costello was welcomed back earlier in the day by students at the Catholic school. The school says the popular teacher was given a standing ovation.
Priests at McQuaid are part of the Provincial of New York Jesuits. That religious order tells NewsSource 13 that the person who accused Costello of sexual abuse has recanted his story, claiming the abuse came from another former priest at the Regis High School. That claim is under investigation. The priest involved left the priesthood and is retired.
• Bishop fires diocesan editor
National Catholic Reporter, http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2004a/010904/010904f.htm , By PATRICK O'NEILL
RALEIGH (NC): Some people argue that the Catholic church is broken and wounded and in need of some healing. John Strange found out there can be severe consequences for saying so in print -- especially if you're the editor of the NC Catholic, the bimonthly newspaper of the Raleigh diocese.
Raleigh Bishop Joseph Gossman, who is publisher of NC Catholic, walked into Strange's Catholic Center office a week before Christmas and notified his editor he was being immediately terminated from the position he has held for almost a decade.
The decision was the result of an interview with Chapel Hill, N.C., author William Powers that Strange wrote and published in the Dec. 14 issue. The story was mostly about Powers' new book, Tar Heel Catholics: A History of Catholicism in North Carolina.
A retired sociology professor who served as a priest in New York before leaving the active priesthood, Powers approached Gossman in 1997 about writing the history. Gossman authorized the book and gave Powers full access to diocesan archives to do his research. The book was published in October.
• Long Island and New York priests call for summit meetings
National Catholic Reporter, By Dick Ryan
NEW YORK: Speaking of "sadness" and "desperation," priests in two New York dioceses have asked for urgent meetings with their episcopal bosses to address "widespread dissatisfaction" and hurtful leadership.
In an October letter sent to Bishop William Murphy of the Rockville Centre diocese, on Long Island, N.Y., 52 of his priests implored the bishop to meet with them and discuss "a general malaise and even an abiding anger within our beloved diocese."
Murphy agreed to meet his clergy and a Jan. 19 summit is scheduled.
Seventy-four priests of the New York archdiocese asked to meet with Cardinal Edward Egan to discuss a number of troubling issues "that cause pain and difficulty," particularly the cardinal's treatment of priests accused of sexual abuse. They asked to meet before the end of the year, but as of Dec. 19 the cardinal had not received the letter of invitation, according to the archdiocese's information director.
• Diocese lauded for abuse outreach
Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise, By Matt O'Brien
WORCESTER (MA): An audit found the Worcester Catholic Diocese in full compliance with the 2002 Dallas Charter on clergy sexual abuse, a set of mandatory guidelines set forth by the U.S. Catholic Bishops.
Church leaders in Worcester County celebrated the Tuesday findings, which praised the diocese for its outreach work to protect children from sexual abuse, while critics lambasted the assessment as superficial.
"They gave themselves a good report card," said Ann Hagan Webb, a New England coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, as she learned about the national results. "They hired auditors that they picked."
• Combining clergy suits hailed
Republican, By BILL ZAJAC, firstname.lastname@example.org
SPRINGFIELD (MA): The consolidation of all the pending clergy sexual abuse suits against the Springfield diocese and their assignment to one judge is a good thing - even if it means rearguing pending motions in the cases, according to some alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.
"It makes a great deal of sense to have the cases combined and all the issues surrounding these cases in front of one judge. It should have been done a long time ago," said Stephen J. Block of Springfield who filed suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield 20 months ago accusing the Rev. Richard R. Lavigne of sexually abusing him when Block was a minor.
Hampden Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini announced several weeks ago that he will be presiding over the now consolidated cases. Diocesan officials did not respond to a request for comment.
"In the end, I think things will move along faster. I'm pleased. This could have been done six months ago," said Thomas M. Martin of Springfield who, like Block, filed suit 20 months ago accusing convicted child molester Lavigne of sexually abusing him as a minor.
• Vatican orders trial for N-J priest accused of sex abuse
PATERSON New Jersey (AP): Separate rulings from the Vatican involving alleged sex abuse by priests in New Jersey.
The Vatican says a 72-year-old priest accused of abusing a teen-age boy more than 40 years ago must face a church trial.
But it also says an 87-year-old priest who's also facing sex abuse allegations is too old to face a tribunal.
The two priests both serve in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, which announced the rulings.
• Isle diocese fails to meet all directives
Star-Bulletin, By Mary Adamski, email@example.com
HONOLULU (HI): Although several Catholic priests here have been removed from public ministry after sexual abuse accusations, an audit found the church in Hawaii has failed to reach out to the victims with spiritual and psychological support.
The diocese of Honolulu was instructed to "develop an outreach program for victims of sexual abuse" and to develop clear standards of behavior for priests and other employees who have contact with children and youth, educate employees on maintaining a safe environment and set a procedure for background checks of all diocesan and parish employees who will deal with children.
The local diocese was found to be in noncompliance with four of 14 directives adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 to address the scandal of sexual predator priests in many American cities. The conference yesterday released results of the first audit, conducted in 191 dioceses by the Gavin Group Inc. of Boston, headed by former FBI agent William Gavin. The audit left dioceses with "instructions" about noncompliance, recommendations and some commendations.
• Review gives diocese OK
Republican, By BILL ZAJAC, firstname.lastname@example.org
SPRINGFIELD (MA): The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is among 90 percent of U.S. dioceses that are in compliance with the church's new policy to protect children from clergy sexual abuse, according to a church audit released yesterday.
The extent of abuse in the Springfield diocese since 1950 won't be released for at least another week in connection with a different study.
The review of the 195 U.S. dioceses found 20 dioceses not in compliance, including the archdiocese of New York. Four dioceses were not audited. The plan, adopted by bishops in 2002, dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires bishops to protect children.
Skepticism with the report was voiced by Peter Pollard, the coordinator of the Springfield affiliate of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
"These regulations and intentions are fine, but they were created by the same people who dropped the ball all along," Pollard said.
• Audit praises diocese
Desert Morning News, Utah, By Lee Davidson
WASHINGTON - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is among 82 percent of dioceses nationally that are fully complying with new guidelines designed to prevent sexual abuse by priests and other leaders, according to an audit completed Tuesday.
However, victims groups said the audit and guidelines are flawed and merely amount to "long overdue minimal steps certainly not worthy of praise."
U.S. Catholic bishops two years ago, while meeting in Dallas to address widespread revelations of sexual abuse by priests, adopted new guidelines designed to help prevent such problems and to aid victims.
• Dioceses Are Moving Ahead on Abuse, Audit Finds
New York Times, By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
WASHINGTON (DC), Jan. 6: Auditors for the Roman Catholic Church have concluded that while most bishops have instituted the sexual abuse prevention measures they agreed to in 2002 they are still only beginning to respond appropriately to the problem of sexual abuse by priests and church employees.
The auditors' report, released on Tuesday by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is the result of an unprecedented decision by the bishops to hire outside auditors to go into each diocese and scrutinize church procedures. Most of the auditors were former F.B.I. agents, and many were not Catholic, said William A. Gavin, a former F.B.I. official whose consulting firm conducted the study.
The study was largely based on interviews with church officials and appointees, although auditors also talked to local prosecutors and some victims, Mr. Gavin said. Victims' advocates immediately criticized the report as failing to take adequate account of the experiences of victims and laypeople and as basing the conclusions on superficial indicators.
• Trenton Diocese in compliance
The Times, By LISA CORYELL
TRENTON (NJ): Parishes in the Diocese of Trenton are among many Roman Catholic churches in New Jersey taking steps to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to a church audit released yesterday.
The diocese has been found in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People developed in 2002 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"We are pleased that the independent audit has found us to be in compliance with the charter developed by the U.S. Bishops at our June 2002 meeting," said the Most Rev. John M. Smith, bishop of Trenton.
• Most Catholic Dioceses Pass Sex Abuse Audits
Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59392-2004Jan6.html , By Alan Cooperman
WASHINGTON (DC): Nearly 90 percent of the Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States have fully complied with the rules set by the nation's bishops 18 months ago to prevent sexual abuse of children, auditors hired by the church reported yesterday.
But the other 10 percent -- including the archdiocese of New York and the dioceses of Richmond and Arlington -- have not yet fulfilled instructions from the auditors to address specific shortcomings, such as delays in conducting criminal background checks on church employees.
The president of the U.S. bishops conference, Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville, Ill., hailed the report as evidence of "solid progress" toward ending the scandal that has rocked the church for two years. "I believe that these findings show that we bishops are keeping our word," he said.
• Diocese gets passing grade in abuse audit
News-Chronicle, By Ray Barrington
GREEN BAY (WI) The Green Bay Catholic Diocese is in full compliance with a national charter for protection of young people against sexual abuse by church leaders, Bishop David Zubik said Tuesday.
The national report from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops covers an audit last year on how diocesan policies were being changed after the sexual abuse cases nationwide came to light in recent years.
The audit was conducted Oct. 20-24 by the Gavin Group, run by a former FBI official, William Gavin.
• Arlington Diocese Is Slow to Adopt Rules
Washington Post, By Caryle Murphy
ARLINGTON (VA): The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has failed to implement two key portions of the child protection policy adopted in 2002 by U.S. Catholic bishops, according to a national report card issued yesterday.
The Washington and Baltimore archdioceses got higher marks in the report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Both were rated as fully compliant with the new policy and commended for actions they took, in some cases before 2002, to protect children from sexual predators in the clergy.
Of the 191 U.S. dioceses studied, Arlington was one of 20 found not to have fully complied with the child protection regulations, which the U.S. bishops approved after the church was rocked by a child abuse scandal in early 2002. The Arlington diocese includes 21 Northern Virginia jurisdictions. The Richmond diocese, which covers the rest of Virginia, was also rated not fully compliant.
• Church says N.Y. Archdiocese falls short on child safeguards
The Journal News, By GARY STERN
NEW YORK: About 90 percent of the country's 195 Roman Catholic dioceses are fully complying with a much-publicized, 19-month-old national policy to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to a church audit released yesterday.
The Archdiocese of New York was among only 20 dioceses deemed not in compliance, although the audit said that the archdiocese is very close to the mark and has taken several steps to strengthen its program to stop abuse.
As expected, critics of the church's past efforts to deal with abuse called the audit a near whitewash that was orchestrated by the nation's bishops. Many noted that the bishops recommended whom auditors should interview in each diocese.
"The audits are flawed," said David Cerulli, the New York area leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "The bishops set up the whole procedure, picked all the players and declared themselves the winner. I'm not surprised they're going to say that everything is fine."
• Diocese passes test in abuse audit
Albany Times Union, By BRIAN NEARING
ALBANY (NY): The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese is following nationwide rules to protect children from sexual abuse by priests and deal with past victims, according to an audit of 191 dioceses released Tuesday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
That was welcomed by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, who has been under fire from some victims advocates who say he has not done enough to help victims over the years and get pedophile priests out of the ministry.
"The results of this independent audit reflect the diligence and commitment of the diocese to respond properly to allegations of misconduct and to prevent any minor from becoming a victim of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon in our diocese again," Hubbard said.
• Jackson, Biloxi commended in sex abuse prevention audit of Miss. Catholic dioceses
The Clarion-Ledger, By Matt Volz, The Associated Press
MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi's Roman Catholic dioceses are in line with a church policy meant to keep priests from sexually abusing children, audits for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops show.
The Jackson and Biloxi dioceses were each commended for their policies and practices in the audits conducted last year and released Tuesday.
The Jackson diocese has at least eight sex abuse lawsuits pending against it, including a $48 million suit brought by three brothers - Kenneth, Thomas and Francis Morrison - who say they were abused by a priest in the 1970s.
• Dioceses complying, audit shows
San Francisco Chronicle, by Elizabeth Fernandez, Jonathan Curiel, Chronicle Staff Writers
SAN FRANCISCO: An 18-month audit of American Catholic dioceses shows that the vast majority have complied with new, stricter measures designed to prevent sexual abuse of children, a U.S. Catholic Bishops group said on Tuesday.
The audit was ordered after a national church scandal - first centered in Boston - erupted in early 2002 over priests accused of sexual abuse.
The report's major finding: Out of 191 dioceses and eparchies (dioceses of Eastern Catholic Churches), 171 had complied with new guidelines to protect children and monitor clergy. The three major regional dioceses -- San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose -- were awarded high marks in the audit.
• Area diocese faulted for anti-abuse policy
Marshfield News Herald, The Associated Press and Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers
WISCONSIN: Like nearly all the nation's Roman Catholic dioceses, four of Wisconsin's five dioceses are following a new mandatory policy adopted to prevent sexual abuse by priests, according to a church audit released Tuesday.
But the Diocese of La Crosse was among about 20 identified nationally by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection as failing to fully comply with the policy to prevent sexual abuse by priests, adopted in June 2002.
"The diocese has not published standards of conduct for priests and deacons, as well as diocesan employees, volunteers, and any other church personnel (except teachers) in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people," the La Crosse report said.
• Audit: Diocese complying with reforms
Amarillo.com , By BRANDI DEAN, email@example.com
AMARILLO (TX): Two years ago this week, a scandal began that rocked America's Roman Catholic Church. Tuesday an audit was released that said the church is making a solid effort to fix the problem.
After an audit performed between Aug. 18 and 22, the Diocese of Amarillo received a commendation for removing offending clergy from ministry, and a recommendation that printed, bilingual complaint forms be developed and made available.
The diocese took care of the recommendation by Dec. 1 and was declared compliant with the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People." U.S. bishops adopted the charter in their 2002 Dallas meeting to deal with sexual abuse by clergy.
• Diocese gets 3 awards in complying
The Journal Gazette, By Rebecca S. Green
FORT WAYNE (IN): The local diocese received a commendation by auditors gauging compliance with guidelines developed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in response to the clergy abuse scandal. As part of a report released Tuesday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend was found to be in compliance with the Charter For the Protection of Children and Young People and was praised for its early-established policies.
Bishop John M. D'Arcy was lauded for his "open and transparent communication policies and efforts," according to the report.
• Audit credits diocese for abuse fixes
Portland Press Herald, By JOSHUA L. WEINSTEIN
PORTLAND (ME): The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has complied with rules that U.S. bishops instituted in June 2002 to prevent sexual abuse, according to a report issued Tuesday by auditors hired by the church.
The report offered the Portland Diocese one "instruction," or order, to improve and two "recommendations" to improve. It also issued two commendations.
Before the report was officially released Tuesday, the Portland Diocese had addressed the instruction and recommendations.
• Victim sues to recoup therapy cost
Portland Press Herald, By GREGORY D. KESICH
MAINE: One victim of sexual abuse by a Maine priest says the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is not living up to the promises made in the wake of the clergy abuse scandal, and he has taken his case to small claims court.
David Gagnon of Ottawa, Ontario, has filed a $700 claim against Bishop Joseph Gerry of Portland for failing to pay therapy bills, as Gerry promised to do several times, including in an open letter published in newspapers two years ago.
Church officials say they never refused Gagnon, but only asked for more information about the alternative treatment he was receiving called Jin Shin Do, which uses the Japanese technique of acupressure to resolve physical manifestations of mental trauma.
• Cleveland, 90% of dioceses comply on abuse reform
Plain Dealer, Karen R. Long
CLEVELAND (OH): Almost 90 percent of Roman Catholic dioceses have embraced sterner national policies to combat child sexual abuse, says an audit the national bishops conference released Tuesday.
Two independent auditors, both former FBI agents, found the Cleveland Catholic Diocese in full compliance with the standards the bishops crafted in Dallas 18 months ago. The audit gave Cleveland a commendation for identifying the problem of clergy sexual abuse relatively early, with a written policy in 1989.
"We see it as a major step to regain the trust of the people," said diocesan spokesman Bob Tayek.
• Rochester diocese given good grades in abuse audit
Ithaca Journal, By MARKETTA GREGORY, Gannett News Service; mgregory@DemocratandChronicle.com
ROCHESTER (NY): Most Roman Catholic dioceses -- including Rochester's -- are following a policy adopted by U.S. bishops to prevent sexual abuse in the church, according to a nationwide church audit released Tuesday.
"I'm pleased, gratified that we've come to this significant moment," Rochester Bishop Matthew H. Clark said. But compliance with the policy doesn't automatically heal the wounds of the victims, he added.
In fact, the audit irritated some victims who believe it was slanted in favor of the church.
• Audit: Church Sex Abuse Policy Has Holes
phillyBurbs.com , By RACHEL ZOLL, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (DC): Inconsistent record-keeping and inadequate tracking of accused priests are among factors keeping the U.S. Roman Catholic church from complying fully with a directive designed to stop priestly sexual misconduct.
An internal audit did show that 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were honoring their pledge to stamp out sexual abuse. But it also demonstrated that the reforms they enacted are not adequate on their own.
The bishops adopted the policy to protect children and restore trust in the church's shattered leadership after a scandal over prelates who sheltered guilty priests.
Bishops will spend the coming months reviewing the policy, which was meant to be revised after two years. The audit said bishops largely were strictly following the current plan, which dictates how priests who molest children should be punished and requires bishops to enact safeguards against abuse.
• "Lawsuits filed in county allege childhood sex abuse." Seminary, Adventist school (URL missing) [1964-89]
Santa Cruz Sentinel, By CATHY REDFERN
SANTA CRUZ (CA): Two lawsuits filed in the county allege painful childhood sexual abuse by teachers and a priest at two religious-oriented high schools and claim school officials failed to prevent the abuse.
The suits were filed last week in Santa Cruz County Superior Court as attorneys scrambled to meet a Dec. 31 deadline on a one-year extension of the statute of limitations for certain child molestation lawsuits.
One suit claims abuse by a now-deceased priest in 1964 at a former seminary in Santa Cruz.
In the other suit, Reinhold Tilstra of Susanville claims he was sexually abused by a teacher at Monterey Bay Academy in La Selva Beach in 1985, when he was a 15-year-old freshman. The boarding school is operated by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Tilstra claims Ronald E. Wittlake and a fellow teacher, Lowell E. Nelson, habitually molested male students. The suit claims that Wittlake, who taught at the school from 1981-1989, gave alcohol and marijuana to teen boys, plus other "special favors" - trips to movies and concerts - and then sexually assaulted and raped them in his office, and other places.
• Audit finds progress in local diocese
BY DAVE MUNDAY, Of The Post and Courier Staff
CHARLESTON: Most U.S. Catholic dioceses, including the Diocese of Charleston, are making progress toward appropriately responding to allegations of sexual abuse by church workers, according to an independent audit released Tuesday.
It was the first report since American bishops in June 2002 adopted stricter policies for dealing with priests and deacons who sexually abuse children. The audit was conducted by the Gavin Group of Boston, led by retired FBI investigator William Gavin, an experienced compliance auditor.
The audit found 90 percent of the nation's dioceses, including the Diocese of Charleston, complied with all the provisions laid down by the bishops.
• 2 Delayed on Policy Audit: NY dioceses fall short
Newsday, By Carol Eisenberg
NEW YORK: The Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn have made strides in removing sexually abusive priests from ministry and protecting children from abuse, but neither is in full compliance with the landmark sex abuse policy enacted by the nation's bishops, according to an independent audit.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre, however, was found in full compliance with the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, passed by the bishops 18 months ago. So were the overwhelming majority of the nation's 195 dioceses.
Rockville Centre was also commended for its outreach to victims.
"I believe these findings show that we bishops are keeping our word," Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said at a news conference yesterday. "However, the completion of the audit and this report does not tempt us to be complacent. ... In the memorable words of history's most eloquent statesman, we have not reached the end, or even the beginning of the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning," he said, quoting Winston Churchill.
• High marks: Church lauded on anti-abuse policy efforts
Boston Herald, By Robin Washington, Wednesday, January 7, 2004
BOSTON (MA): The Archdiocese of Boston and other Catholic dioceses are largely abiding by the U.S. church's measures to stop clergy sexual abuse, a national church panel said in releasing an audit of compliance with the rules yesterday.
"The audit results represent solid progress," said Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
But he acknowledged a point made in the report that: "Neither this audit process or the full and complete implementation of the Charter will provide a total guarantee that there will never be another case of child or youth sexual abuse committed by a member of the Catholic clergy."
Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, whose diocese was among 191 of 195 found to be in compliance, also noted that following the norms alone would not end molestation.
• Archbishop to address BC conference
BOSTON (MA): Boston Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley will speak at Boston College next Wednesday as part of a conference, sponsored by the school and the Boston Archdiocese, on clergy sexual abuse and its effects on victims' mental health.
Jack Dunn, a college spokesman, said yesterday that more than 200 mental health workers from around the country will meet to discuss "victim needs and best practices" during the daylong conference.
The conference is part of a series of events from the school's "Church in the 21st Century" program. This is the first time Boston College has collaborated with the archdiocese after more than 100 events.
• Boston's internal inquiry presses on
Boston Globe, By Ralph Ranalli, Jan 7, 2004
BOSTON (MA): A top aide to Boston Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley said yesterday that the archdiocese is moving forward with its internal investigations of priests suspended for alleged abuse and that church officials planned to have all the cases resolved by the end of the year.
Over the last two years, the archdiocese has placed more than 30 priests on administrative leave, pending internal church investigations and possible canon law proceedings. While a small number have been reinstated, more than two dozen remain in limbo -- unable to say Mass or perform other duties, but technically remaining priests -- while the church investigations continue.
While offering no specifics, the Rev. John J. Connolly, O'Malley's special liaison for sexual abuse matters, said the church hoped to have all outstanding cases resolved by the end of 2004.
Under church law, priests can either choose to be laicized or can be removed from the priesthood involuntarily after a lengthy process governed by canon law.
• Audit finds safeguards working in US dioceses
Boston Globe, By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, Jan 7, 2004
WASHINGTON (DC): The Catholic bishops of the United States, whose credibility tumbled after revelations that many of them repeatedly failed to protect children from sexually abusive priests, are honoring a promise to report all allegations of abuse to civil authorities and to remove abusive priests from ministry, according to an unprecedented audit of the nation's largest religious denomination. The audit, funded and coordinated by the church but conducted by a team made up largely of retired FBI agents, found that about 90 percent of the nation's 195 Roman Catholic and Eastern Rite dioceses are complying with the provisions of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," the church's plan for preventing future abuse of minors and responding to abuse complaints.
Church officials released the audit yesterday, exactly two years after a report in the Globe about the Archdiocese of Boston's repeated reassignment of abusive priest John J. Geoghan set off a nationwide scandal that led to the ouster of several hundred priests. The crisis also led to lawsuits that have cost the church tens of millions of dollars and to changes in civil and church law aimed at protecting children.
• Diocese program against abuse wins high praise
San Bernardino Sun, By EMILY SACHS
SAN BERNARDINO (CA): The San Bernardino Diocese has one of the Roman Catholic Church's eight best programs for preventing sexual abuse of children and young people, a national audit has found.
The audit grew out of the sex scandal that has rocked the church for more than a year.
It found that the diocese, which covers San Bernardino and Riverside counties, in full compliance with a June 2002 charter on protecting children. The charter was drawn up by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Of the 195 dioceses studied in the first-ever audit, 20 failed the review.
A spokeswoman for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the bishops may consider it an honest investigation, but they were also the ones who picked the auditing firm, gave it guidelines and provided information.
• Report praises state's Catholic dioceses
SGVTribune.com , By Marianne Love, Staff Writer
CALIFORNIA: A national audit released Tuesday found California's 12 Roman Catholic dioceses have complied with a 2-year-old charter designed to address the church's sexual abuse scandal.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles released a glowing report about its efforts to comply with the audit that measured how it implemented a self-imposed charter, but not the number of priests accused of molesting children from 1976 through 2003.
Orange County reported Friday that 16 priests molested 47 children from 1976 through 2002, and that it paid $4.6 million to victims and $66,000 for counseling to victims and family members over those years.
Los Angeles has indicated it will release its numbers Feb. 27, as part of a nationwide push toward accountability. The second and potentially more important study, also commissioned by the bishops, will tally every church abuse case since 1950.
In a written statement, Cardinal Roger Mahony said he was pleased with the report's results.
"Our first commitment is, of course, to the protection of children and that involves among other things making sure that our policies and procedures are effective and up-to- date,' Mahony said.
• New Allegations Of Abuse
TEXAS: The Catholic Church makes a promise today to stop sexual abuse by priests. On the same day the church opens up, NEWSCHANNEL 5 uncovers a new allegation. The victim spoke only NEWSCHANNEL 5's Lisa Cortez, who agreed to conceal his identity.
A grown man recalls the fear of an 11-year old boy. The victim was an altar boy at Saint Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Sebastian. He says he spent the night with other altar boys at the home of a trusted priest. He explains to NEWSCHANNEL 5 that the priest took him into another room. He then asked the young boy to get something behind the desk. It was at that moment that the man says the priest attacked him.
He tells NEWSCHANNEL 5 that the priest grabbed him and he raped him. The man says it happened continuously for six more years and he was paid to keep quiet. The victim says he never told anyone while it was going on for fear he would bring shame on his family.
• Catholics release audit on preventing abuse
Washington Times, By Julia Duin
ARLINGTON (VA): An audit of America's Roman Catholic bishops yesterday said the Catholic Church is following the reforms it had adopted to prevent sex abuse by clergy, but 20 of the 194 dioceses, including the Diocese of Arlington, are behind on setting up safeguards for children.
Arlington, it said, had no method - other than self-reporting - of checking the credentials of diocesan priests, employees and volunteers who have regular contact with children. It was ordered to begin criminal background checks for all such employees and to update its "safe environment" program for children and translate it into Spanish.
In response, the Arlington diocese said it had conducted criminal background checks on its 157 priests after a September visit by investigators.
• Sexual abuse claimed in D.C. archdiocese
Washington Time, By Julia Duin
WASHINGTON (DC): A Washington law firm that helped win an $85 million sex-abuse settlement from the Roman Catholic Church in Boston has told the Archdiocese of Washington that it represents at least 10 sexual-abuse victims for which the church must "accept responsibility."
While the letter to the archdiocese from the firm Greenberg Traurig does not use the word "lawsuit" or make any direct threats, it demands that Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick meet with the abuse victims and discuss eight requested actions including paying for outside therapy for victims and the public naming of priests accused of abuse.
The letter tells the Washington Archdiocese that "our investigation to date reveals a history of abuse and negligent supervision comparable to that of Boston."
The letter, distributed to reporters last night, tells church officials that several firm clients were victimized by a sex ring in a Prince George's County parish over a 20-year period and presents the archdiocese with eight demands.
• Findings are start in easing abuse crisis, leaders say
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, By Jon Sawyer, Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau Chief WASHINGTON (DC): An outside audit finding general compliance with safeguards against sexual abuse by Catholic priests was described by church leaders Tuesday as important but only a start in addressing one of the worst crises ever for the Catholic Church in America.
The audit was commissioned by the Office of Child and Youth Protection, an internal watchdog group established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops after its enactment of a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The audit, released Tuesday, found that 171, or 90 percent, of the 195 dioceses and eparchies - Eastern Rite divisions of the church - were in compliance with the reporting and procedural safeguards required under the charter, approved by the bishops at their meeting in Dallas in June 2002.
• Church finds diocese follows the rules
The Union Leader, By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
NEW HAMPSHIRE: A church-commissioned audit of the nation's Roman Catholic dioceses found the Manchester diocese in full compliance with the Catholic bishops' child protection policies and commended it for creating a support group for victims of clergy sexual abuse and an open communications policy.
The Manchester diocese was among 191 dioceses visited by members of an independent auditing firm last year to assess how well they implemented policies adopted by the nation's bishops in Dallas in June, 2002 to prevent child sexual abuse by clergy.
The review found 90 percent of the nation's dioceses were in full compliance with the policies. The audit and a report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' watchdog Office of Child and Youth Protection were made public yesterday.
"I am gratified to learn that our continuing efforts to protect children and young people and promote a safe environment in our parishes, schools, and other ministries are considered by an independent audit to be on target," Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack said in a statement.
• Church's efforts to stop abuse criticised
iafrica.com , by Ken Dermota
UNITED STATES of AMERICA: US Roman Catholic bishops said they are doing what they can to stop priests from sexually abusing children, but victims decried a church audit of the effort released on Tuesday as flawed.
A report on efforts to purge sexual predators from church ranks said abusers had been removed from possible contact with children, but did not say how many or what had happened to them.
"How many? Where are they? Is there a backlog? Is there? - I don't know," Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said at the release of the audit in Washington.
• Survey indicates how well Catholic dioceses help victims heal
Gazette-Times, By Carol Reeves
OREGON: A national survey of how well Catholic dioceses are complying with new guidelines to prevent sex abuse among priests shows the Archdiocese of Portland is on track in promoting healing and reconciliation among victims/ survivors and protecting its children. ...
The only criticisms lodged against the Portland archdiocese were the lack of a system to monitor who receives "safe environment" training and the need to develop and implement such training programs among Catholic youths who attend public schools rather than parish schools. Both recommendations have already been resolved.
"For more than 15 years the Archdiocese of Portland has operated with clear policies for the protection of our children and for dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse by pastoral ministers and church employees. The directives offered by the bishops' charter have strengthened our policies and renewed our commitment to this important task," said the Most Rev. John G. Vlazny, Portland's archbishop.
"There was never a question about our decision to be in full compliance with the charter. I am grateful to all our pastoral ministers and people who have shared my resolve and taken this matter seriously," he said.
• Critics of guidelines say audit is flawed
Gazette-Times, By The Associated Press
UNITED STATES: Critics of the way the Catholic Church has responded to sexual abuses against children by priests say the audit of church efforts to prevent future problems is flawed.
The independent review of the 195 U.S. dioceses indicated 90 percent of them are in compliance with new guidelines established in 2002 by bishops in the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."
The prelates commissioned the report from the Gavin Group of Boston, a firm led by former FBI official William Gavin, and the investigation was overseen by Kathleen McChesney, a former top FBI agent and head of the bishops' watchdog Office of Child and Youth Protection.
But victim advocates said bishops had too much control of how the audit was conducted, so it should be viewed skeptically.
The bishops recommended whom the auditors should interview. And according to the report, auditors were unable to view personnel files that would verify whether bishops were complying with the policy's ban on transferring offenders from one diocese to another.
"This is the bishops grading themselves based on a test they devised," said Peter Isely, of the Midwest chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "I don't think anyone is going to be too surprised that after years of chronic failure they are now going to tell us they have miraculously become star performers."
• Richmond diocese falls shy of full compliance
The Virginian-Pilot, By STEVEN G. VEGH
RICHMOND (VA): The Catholic Diocese of Richmond still lacks educational programs to raise awareness about sexual abuse of children, but it meets all other requirements set by the nation's bishops for preventing such abuse by clergy and church workers, according to a national audit released on Tuesday.
The review found that 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully complying with the bishops' charter on sexual abuse, which dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires dioceses to take steps to protect children.
The Richmond diocese, which encompasses South Hampton Roads, was among the 20 dioceses considered out of compliance.
• Some Catholics feel audit falls short
Courier & Press, By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Courier & Press staff writer 461-0783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
KENTUCKY: Family members of a man molested by a Catholic priest say a report released Tuesday does not reflect frustrations of Catholics who feel church officials misled them.
Dennis Kurzendoerfer, whose brother was a priest and abused his son, said the national audit of diocesan practices falls short of the promised resolution. Yet despite the feelings of betrayal at the hands of church and brother, Kurzendoerfer and his immediate family returned to a Catholic service for the first time in 18 months on Christmas Eve. Kurzendoerfer said church officials played too prominent a role in providing documents to the independent auditors, headed by a former FBI agent.
"The bishop is in a big position of authority," Kurzendoerfer said. "When it comes to No. 1, the bishop is going to cover (himself) first."
• Victim: Board is 'all show and no go'
GoErie.com , By Ed Palattella, email@example.com
ERIE (PA): The Catholic Diocese of Erie has declined to let victims meet directly with the diocese's lay review board on clergy sexual abuse.
But a nationwide auditors' report released Tuesday recommends ways for that situation to change in the Erie diocese and in dioceses elsewhere throughout the United States.
Auditors who examined the nation's 195 Roman Catholic dioceses want the dioceses to consider letting the lay review boards meet with victims, accused priests and others connected to clergy sexual abuse.
• Victim: Board is 'all show and no go'
GoErie.com , By Ed Palattella, firstname.lastname@example.org
ERIE (PA): The Catholic Diocese of Erie has declined to let victims meet directly with the diocese's lay review board on clergy sexual abuse.
But a nationwide auditors' report released Tuesday recommends ways for that situation to change in the Erie diocese and in dioceses elsewhere throughout the United States.
Auditors who examined the nation's 195 Roman Catholic dioceses want the dioceses to consider letting the lay review boards meet with victims, accused priests and others connected to clergy sexual abuse.
• Indianapolis archdiocese is in compliance
Indianapolis Star, By John J. Shaughnessy, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS (IN): The Archdiocese of Indianapolis earned a passing grade Tuesday as Catholic dioceses across the United States received their first report cards concerning efforts to end the church's sexual abuse scandal.
An independent audit of the country's dioceses also revealed that the Indiana dioceses of Evansville, Gary, Lafayette and Fort Wayne-South Bend also complied with the U.S. Catholic bishops' reform efforts.
The independent audits represented "an unprecedented step for the Catholic Church" to confront "the tragic and terrible problem of sexual abuse of children and young people by clergy," said the Most Rev. Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
• Area dioceses praised for efforts to prevent sex abuse by priests
Providence Journal, BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN, Journal Religion Writer
PROVIDENCE (RI): The first national audit of how well Catholic bishops are implementing the church's new national policy on preventing sex abuse by clergy gave the Diocese of Providence high marks yesterday, though lawyers representing some 40 alleged victims who recently came forward said much still had to be done.
The widely anticipated report was drafted at the request of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, based on extensive interviews conducted by former FBI agents working for the Gavin Group of Boston.
It commended the Providence Diocese for initiating a "progressive outreach policy" in response to allegations of sexual abuse as early as 1992, and praised Bishop Robert E. Mulvee for his support of a legal settlement with 37 people who had filed sexual-abuse claims during the last decade, and for meeting with the "victim/survivors" individually and collectively.
Lawyers Carl DeLuca and Timothy Conlon said that the Providence Diocese had made great strides during the past two years to heal the wounds that their clients had suffered as a result of misconduct by priests. However, they said they thought the diocese was beginning to retreat "a little bit" in the way it was responding to allegations from their new clients, whose cases date back many years but who came forward during the last couple of years.
• Lansing Diocese complies with rules
Lansing State Journal, Staff and Wire Reports
LANSING (MI): Ninety percent of the nation's Roman Catholic bishops - including those in the Diocese of Lansing - are following a mandatory policy to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to a church audit released Tuesday. Critics said the study was fundamentally flawed.
The review found most of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully complying with the plan established in June 2002, which dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires bishops to take steps to protect children.
Among the 20 judged not fully compliant are the archdioceses of New York; Anchorage, Alaska; and Omaha, Neb. Four dioceses were not audited for various reasons.
• Audit finds local diocese in compliance
The Advertiser, by Trevis R. Badeaux, firstname.lastname@example.org
LAFAYETTE (LA): The juvenile sex abuse scandal that rocked the U.S. Roman Catholic Church in 2001 and 2002 left Lafayette Diocesan officials with no other choice but to "do the right thing," one local church official said on Tuesday.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops earlier in the day made public the findings of independent audit of the church's 195 dioceses. The audits sought to check diocesan compliance with a revamped discipline policy regarding sex abuse of minors adopted in June 2002 by the conference.
"The task was not to just be in compliance with what the Bishops' Conference had recommended, but to do the right thing," said Monsignor Russell Harrington, chancellor and clergy vicar for the Lafayette Diocese.
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 03:23 AM
• Audit hails efforts to bar abuse by priests
Philadelphia Daily News, By GLORIA CAMPISI, email@example.com
PHILADELPHIA (PA): Nearly all of the nation's Roman Catholic dioceses, including Philadelphia's, are carrying out a new mandatory policy that U.S. bishops adopted to prevent sex abuse by priests, according to a church audit released yesterday.
Victim advocates charged that the audit was flawed because the bishops had too much control over how it was conducted.
"They hired the umpires and then they declared victory," said John Salveson, local spokesman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
• Audit: Church Complying With Abuse Policy
Dayton Daily News, By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer
WASHINGTON (DC) (AP): An audit of whether U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are keeping their pledge to prevent clergy sex abuse found most church leaders are complying, but the reforms they enacted are not adequate on their own.
The bishops adopted the policy to protect children and restore trust in the church's shattered leadership after a scandal over prelates who sheltered guilty priests.
Bishops will spend the coming months reviewing the policy, which was meant to be revised after two years.
An audit released Tuesday found 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were complying fully with the current plan, which dictates how priests who molest children should be punished and requires bishops to enact safeguards against abuse.
• Diocese wins bishops' praise
St. Cloud Times, By Sarah Colburn, firstname.lastname@example.org
ST. CLOUD (MN): The St. Cloud Diocese received three commendations in the two-page report released Tuesday that relates specifically to the local diocese.
A total of 297 recommendations for improvement were issued during the 191 audits. About 65 percent of the dioceses and eparchies audited received recommendations, according to the audit report. The Diocese of St. Cloud received no recommendations.
It did, however, receive commendations. Overall, 68 percent of the dioceses and eparchies received from one to six commendations.
• Ex-agents faced reluctant aides
Boston Globe, www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2004/01/07/ex_agents_faced_reluctant_aides/ , By Thanassis Cambanis, Globe Staff, Jan 7, 2004
WASHINGTON (DC): It only took a day in the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, for a team of seasoned former FBI agents to declare defeat. The Roman Catholic Church had sent them as part of a nationwide audit to examine whether the diocese had implemented a new policy to deal with sexual abuse by priests.
But church leaders and priests refused to talk to the auditors without their lawyers present. The former agents left town in frustration.
"That's not a legitimate audit," recalled former FBI counterterrorism specialist William A. Gavin, a Winthrop resident and 28-year bureau veteran.
Gavin's company, which included 50 retired FBI agents, was hired to audit 191 of the 195 Catholic dioceses nationwide and question top church officials about their compliance with the sweeping new policy, which mandates reporting, clear procedures, and effective response to allegations of child sex abuse by clergy.
The former agents confronted a reluctant clerical culture, with many priests unaccustomed to persistent questioning by lay people and still adjusting to the new expectations of accountability that resulted from the clergy sex abuse scandal. While Davenport was the most extreme case, the team of former agents met varying degrees of anxiety and initial resistance as they swept through the dioceses over a four-month period beginning in June.
• Bishops lauded for child safety
Baltimore Sun, By Frank Langfitt
WASHINGTON (DC): The vast majority of Roman Catholic bishops have complied with orders to implement safeguards designed to protect children from sexual abuse, according to an audit released yesterday by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Some sexual abuse victims' groups, however, criticized the audit as narrow and cursory, saying it relied too much on the candor of church employees and too little on independent verification.
The Archdiocese Of Baltimore was among 175 Roman Catholic and Eastern Rite dioceses found in compliance.
• Diocese lauded for sex-abuse measures
The Press of Atlantic City, By THOMAS BARLAS, (609) 272-7201
NEW JERSEY: An audit authorized by the nation's bishops commends the Diocese of Camden, the target of numerous sexual-abuse allegations, for its measures to protect youthful victims of such abuse.
A summary of the audit released Tuesday by the diocese states that the diocese fully complies with a plan approved by the church hierarchy that dictates how guilty priests should be punished and requires bishops to take steps to protect children.
While diocese officials were lauding the report, representatives of victims and victims groups had concerns with the audit.
• Diocese reports sex abuse allegations
Sioux City Journal
SIOUX CITY (IA): The Diocese of Sioux City has released data that provides specific details on the issue of sexual abuse of minors dating back to 1950.
Catholic parishioners in Northwest Iowa were given the information last week in a letter that was sent to some 36,000 households from the Most Rev. Daniel N. DiNardo, bishop of Sioux City.
Release of the information is consistent with a mandate from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that dioceses be "transparent" in communication about the issue of abuse of minors, said Jim Wharton, director of communications for the diocese. The data indicate that the Diocese of Sioux City has received 33 allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against 10 priests of the diocese during the past 53 years.
• Diocese fulfills charter
The Arizona Republic, by Michael Clancy
PHOENIX (AZ): Sean Drolet of Scottsdale says the training he received from the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix helps him understand some of the more difficult situations that could lead to allegations of sexual abuse.
The training program was one of the criteria the diocese implemented to comply with the national bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. A report on how dioceses performed nationwide was released Tuesday.
Drolet, 35, who teaches religion to children at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Scottsdale, said the best part of the training was the role-playing that took place in small groups. It enabled participants to gain a deeper understanding of how problems can develop.
"I'd like to see the feedback from the sessions given to priests," Drolet said. "But I was glad that they asked for advice on how to improve the training, and a lot of good ideas were volunteered."
• Report praises diocese
The Press-Enterprise, By MICHAEL FISHER, BETTYE WELLS MILLER and CLAIRE VITUCCI
SAN BERNARDINO (CA): The Diocese of San Bernardino is complying with reforms to protect children from sexual abuse by priests, earning praise in a national report released Tuesday that critics called self-serving and skewed.
Overall, the audit commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops found 90 percent of the nation's 194 Roman Catholic dioceses are meeting goals outlined in a sweeping charter approved in June 2002 by the bishops as they sought to cope with the clergy sex-abuse scandal gripping the church.
The charter for reform requires dioceses to remove sexually abusive priests permanently, designate a person to assist molestation victims and create a confidential review board of mostly lay people to advise bishops on abuse allegations. Dioceses must report sexual-abuse accusations to authorities and not transfer any accused cleric to another diocese without disclosing the priest's background.
• Audit notes Catholic reforms in N.O.
NEW ORLEAN (LA) Times-Picayune
By Bruce Nolan Staff writer
A team of corporate auditors announced Tuesday that 82 percent of the nation's Catholic dioceses, including the Archdiocese of New Orleans, have enacted all the internal reforms bishops promised after a sexual abuse scandal rocked the church two years ago -- evidence that "we bishops are keeping our word," said Bishop Wilton Gregory, a spokesman for the national church.
The audit of 194 Catholic dioceses by the Gavin Group Inc., a private firm staffed largely by former FBI agents, shows "solid progress on the journey toward fulfilling the vision" to rid the church of sexual abuse of children and reach out to past victims, Gregory said. The audit measured the bishops' performance in enacting local reforms promised in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted at a June 2002 gathering of the U.S. Catholic leadership in Dallas.
• Archdiocese Told To Check Retired Priests
Hartford Courant, By FRANCES GRANDY TAYLOR
HARTFORD (CT): The Hartford Archdiocese has been told it should contact the dioceses where two priests accused of sexual abuse now live to determine whether restrictions placed on them are being enforced.
The recommendation was included in Tuesday's report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the audit of 195 U.S. dioceses, conducted in response to the sexual abuse scandal. The audit found that 90 percent of dioceses had complied with mandates adopted by the bishops in June 2002.
Each of Connecticut's three dioceses - Hartford, Bridgeport and Norwich - was found to be in compliance with the Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and "had not transferred any priests or deacons who had credible allegations of sexual abuse lodged against them to any other diocese for ministerial assignment or residence since June 2002."
• Audit lauds archdiocese's abuse policy
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, By KATHY GEORGE
SEATTLE (WA): Even as a new national audit praised Seattle's Catholic Archdiocese for a model abuse-prevention program, local alleged victims stepped up their own efforts to address past wrongs.
Today, lawyer Michael Pfau will sue on behalf of three men alleging that they were physically and sexually abused as children at the hands of local Catholic-run institutions. His firm already handles the cases of 70 people who have sued or are planning to sue over abuse by priests.
Meanwhile, Jim Biteman, director of the Seattle Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called for better communication with the victims of priest abuse and more compassion from church leaders.
The victims "need to be apologized to. They need to be taken seriously," he said.
• Most dioceses taking steps to stop sex abuse, audit finds
Denver Post, By Eric Gorski, Denver Post Religion Writer
DENVER (CO): Nearly 90 percent of U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses, including all three in Colorado, are carrying out mandatory guidelines adopted 19 months ago to help prevent child sexual abuse, according to a major church-sponsored report issued Tuesday.
The Denver Archdiocese won extensive praise for its efforts, including hiring a full-time staff person to work on the issue and ensure the diocese's compliance.
The head of the independent audit commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called it "an extraordinary report card" that for the first time gave laypeople access to information about how church officials dealt with abuse allegations.
• Area youths are protected, diocese review finds
El Paso Times, by Leonard Martinez and Erica Molina
EL PASO (TX): The Catholic Diocese of El Paso encourages anyone who has been abused by a member of the clergy to call its chancellor, Susan Martinez, at 872-8407. The El Paso and Las Cruces Catholic dioceses have complied with rules adopted in 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops after allegations of child sexual abuse were made against priests in various parts of the country, an audit shows.
"I'm grateful that the diocese has been seen as in compliance," said the Rev. Carmen Mele of the El Paso Catholic Diocese's Peace and Justice Ministry. "This confirms something I have felt for a long time. We have been very serious in handling these cases. It's a priority for Bishop (Armando X.) Ochoa."
Audits of both dioceses were released Tuesday and show that they follow the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was passed in Dallas in June 2002. The conference of bishops called for an independent audit of dioceses to assess the level of compliance with the charter.
• Fall River Diocese passes muster
Herald News, by KATHLEEN DURAND
FALL RIVER (MA): A report issued Tuesday by the U.S. bishops' Office for Child and Youth Protection shows that the Diocese of Fall River is in compliance with the new Catholic Church anti-abuse charter.
"The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" was adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 in response to the widespread scandal of sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere.
• 82% of U.S. dioceses met audit request
El Paso Times, http://www.borderlandnews.com/stories/borderland/20040107-65515.shtml , by Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, January 7, 2004
WASHINGTON (DC): U.S. leaders of the Catholic Church, rocked for two years by a child sexual abuse scandal, Tuesday announced that 82 percent of dioceses have complied with a national policy designed to oust predatory priests and keep children safe.
Wilton Gregory, bishop of the Belleville, Ill., diocese and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, released a diocese-by-diocese audit report that he says proves bishops are keeping promises of reform.
But victims' advocates called the $1.8 million audit report inadequate, vague and unlikely to restore the church's damaged credibility.
"The bishops wrote their own test, graded it themselves and now they are announcing that they have passed," said David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests [SNAP].
• Allentown Diocese gets auditors' nod
The Morning Call, By Kathleen Parrish
ALLENTOWN (PA): The Diocese of Allentown and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are complying with the U.S. Catholic bishops' charter on sexual abuse prevention after addressing concerns raised by church auditors.
The Diocese of Scranton earlier met conditions of the policy, adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002.
In addition, the Allentown Diocese received a commendation for expanding a program that helps parishioners and clergy work through the church's sexual abuse scandal.
Called Healing the Body of Christ, the program ran during the six weeks of Lent last year in Roman Catholic churches in Lehigh, Berks, Carbon, Northampton and Schuylkill counties.
Posted by Kathy Shaw at 02:43 AM
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