There has been more news in the press lately about abuse by priests and clergy. This page includes healing resources for victims, prevention education/resources for clergy, and a few news articles about this abuse.
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Survivor Connections - Have assisted in connecting victims of the same perpetrator
Child Abuse Survivor - Blog by a male survivor of childhood abuse,
Sources say payout will be largest in scandal's history
From CNN Correspondent Drew Griffin
Friday, December 3, 2004 Posted: 4:51 AM EST (0951 GMT)
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The Diocese of Orange in Southern California and 87 victims of clergy sexual abuse late Thursday announced a settlement in what sources told CNN will be the largest payout in the history of the Catholic Church abuse scandal.
"I am pleased to announce ... a settlement that is both fair and compassionate," said Tod Brown, the bishop of Orange County. "We will be able to fairly compensate the victims in a way that allows our church to continue its ministry of service to the entire community."
Precise details of the agreement will not be available until all parties have signed the settlement, a joint statement from the diocese and the victims said, but sources close to the agreement said it will far exceed the $85 million settlement against the Archdiocese of Boston in a similar case.
Along with the financial aspects of the settlement came an apology.
"I intend to write a letter to each victim personally seeking forgiveness and reconciliation and let me once again extend on behalf of the Diocese of Orange and myself a sincere apology and request heartfelt hope for reconciliation and healing," Brown said.
The victims -- people who were molested by 43 Catholic priests, nuns, teachers, even a choir director -- hugged and thanked the bishop for acknowledging their pain.
Priest pleads guilty as sex abuse trial set to begin
By Denise Lavoie
AP Legal Affairs Writer
Wednesday, December 1, 2004
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - A Catholic priest arrested in New Hampshire on charges he raped an altar boy pleaded guilty in a Massachusetts court and was to be sentenced Wednesday.
The Rev. Robert Gale admitted raping the boy at St. Jude’s parish in Waltham between 1980 and 1985, when the boy was between 10 and 15 years old. He pleaded Guilty Tuesday, just as jury selection was set to begin in his Middlesex Superior Court trial.
Prosecutors said the boy was sexually abused by Gale about twice a month. The alleged victim is now 34 and was in the courtroom with his parents Tuesday as Gale pleaded guilty to four counts of child rape.
"I feel at peace," Gale told Judge Charles Grabau.
Gale faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Prosecutors and defense lawyers declined to say whether they had agreed upon a sentence recommendation as part of a plea deal.
Gale’s lawyer had argued during pretrial hearings that the charges should be thrown out because they were filed in August 2002, after the 15-year statute of limitations for rape had expired.
But prosecutors said Gale had moved to New Hampshire, and by leaving the state he’d temporarily stopped the clock on the statute of limitations. Gale claimed he was just visiting his sister in New Hampshire, and was actually living in Boston.
Gale was arrested at his home in Middleton, N.H., more than two years ago.
In May, a judge refused to dismiss the case, saying a jury should decide whether prosecutors filed the charges too late.
Gale, now 63, was one of dozens of priests accused of molestation in thousands of pages of church documents made public last year. The Boston Archdiocese has spent over $90 million to settle with more than 550 alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.
Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall told the judge that if the case had gone to trial, prosecutors would have presented evidence that Gale, then an associate pastor at St. Jude’s, performed o___ s__ on the boy and forced the boy to perform o___ s__ on him on numerous occasions between May 1980 and April 1985.
When questioned by the judge, Gale admitted he sexually abused the boy repeatedly.
The victim first told a friend about the abuse in 1995 and reported it to authorities in 2002, according to prosecutors. Gale was indicted later in 2002.
In a report on the sexual abuse crisis within the Boston Archdiocese issued in July 2003, state Attorney General Thomas Reilly said allegations that Gale was sexually abusing children in the 1970s and early 1980s were brought to senior archdiocese managers in 1979, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1992 and 1994.
Gale, who is still a priest, has been on administrative leave. Under archdiocesan rules, a priest is put on leave when a credible accusation of abuse is raised.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said the church did not have a comment on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley said Gale has not been defrocked, but is not currently assigned to a parish. Gale told the judge he is now working as a personnel resource staffer at a company he did not name.
Gale and his attorney declined to comment after he pleaded guilty.
The Roman Catholic Dioceses of Palm Beach and Rockville Centre, N.Y., have settled a sexual abuse lawsuit involving a former priest accused of molesting a teenager while he served at a Boca Raton church.
December 3, 2004
The Palm Beach Post www.PBPost.com
West Palm Beach, FL
Attorney Andrew Pelino, who represents the plaintiff, whose name was not disclosed, said the settlement was "more than $100,000," but his client didn't want the full amount disclosed.
The plaintiff, now 28, alleged that former priest Matthew Fitzgerald molested him in 1991-92 when he was a teenager and Fitzgerald served at Ascension Catholic Church in Boca Raton. The lawsuit, filed in September 2003, contended the teen sought counseling from Fitzgerald because he was upset over being molested by a teacher.
"This is a very emotional case," Pelino said. "My client, who's now an adult, is now married, and his family, especially his mom and dad, have suffered excruciating heartache."
Miami attorney Douglas Jeffrey, representing Rockville Centre, said his client had no comment on the settlement, which was reached separately with each diocese.
In June, a judge dismissed five of the suit's eight counts on grounds the four-year statute of limitations had expired. The dismissal temporarily removed Rockville Centre as a defendant, but an amended version of the suit included the diocese.
In a statement, Palm Beach spokesman Jim Brosemer called it an "amicable resolution" and said Bishop Gerald Barbarito continued to ask for "any victims of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy to make themselves known, so that some type of pastoral care can be extended.
Fitzgerald's attorney couldn't be reached for comment. Two brothers have also sued Fitzgerald, alleging he fondled them when they were young men and he was a priest at St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens.
During the past six years, Palm Beach has had two bishops who have admitted to molesting boys.
In 1998, Bishop J. Keith Symons resigned after admitting he had previously molested five boys in three parishes, becoming the first U.S. prelate to step down after admitting sexual abuse of boys.
His replacement, Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell, resigned in March 2002 after admitting serial molestation of an underage student at a Missouri seminary where he was rector. He was replaced by Bishop Sean Patrick O'Malley, who left in July 2003 to lead the Archdiocese of Boston, which has been at the center of the clergy sex abuse scandals. Barbarito succeeded O'Malley in Palm Beach.
Prosecutors working to nab priests on run
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 3, 2004 12:00 AM
MESA - Accused priests are pleading guilty to sex charges and the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix says protecting children is a "top priority," but there's still unfinished business for prosecutors.
Three of the eight priests indicted on sex charges have eluded prosecution by fleeing to Ireland and Italy. The third has not been located but authorities believe he is in Mexico.
After months of time-consuming extradition proceedings, a court in Ireland will consider Nov. 12 whether the Rev. Patrick Colleary should be forced to stand trial on two counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor.
Prosecutors also are working to return the Rev. Joseph Henn, whose location is known in Italy, and the Rev. Joseph Briceno, who is believed to be in Mexico.
Henn and Briceno also face sex charges. In addition to the fugitive priests, the Rev. Paul LeBrun is scheduled to appear at a court hearing in Mesa later this month, with his trial anticipated in April, authorities said.
Rachel Mitchell, Mesa sex crimes bureau chief with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, said tracking down the fugitive priests is necessary to complete the crackdown on sex abuse within the church.
"There is a changing culture, so hopefully it won't happen again," Mitchell said last week after the Rev. Karl LeClaire became the latest priest to plead guilty to criminal charges stemming from accusations of sexual abuse.
The child molestation trial of LeClaire, former pastor of Mesa's Queen of Peace church, came to a sudden end last Thursday when he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with sexual motivation, a reduced charge. He originally faced 10 to 24 years in prison if convicted on child molestation and sexual conduct with a minor charges.
Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens will decide Dec. 3 if LeClaire will serve up to a year in jail as part of his probation, and if he will be required to register as a sex offender.
"We've done a lot, but until we hold them responsible, it is unfinished," Mitchell said.
Sex Abuse Database Ready In 2005
DALLAS, Nov. 1, 2004
The Catholic Church says it has no national database of accused priests. Kathleen McChesney of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says bishops disagree on whether they should have that kind of database.
(AP) A lawyer has compiled a list of 2,600 Roman Catholic priests nationwide who have been accused of sexual misconduct against children and plans to post it online by early next year.
Sylvia Demarest, a Dallas lawyer, and her staff spent 11 years on the list, which a victims' rights advocate says may encourage those who were abused to come forward.
"This is just a huge public service," said David Clohessy, executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "I'm thrilled it will be in good hands and will be accessible, and won't sit idly on a shelf."
He said those with questions about backgrounds of individual priests can use the list for research.
Demarest said the database of alleged "priest perpetrators" and other Catholic officials who have been accused of sexually abusing children was assembled from public sources, such as court filings and media reports. The entries will list names of those accused and the time, place and nature of the alleged misconduct as well as whether a lawsuit or criminal charges resulted.
It is believed to be the only database of national scope that identifies individual priests. Demarest said she started working on it in 1993 while representing clients molested by a Dallas priest.
According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the church has no national database.
"There is a difference of opinion among the bishops as to whether one should be maintained at the national level. That has not been resolved," said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Sex Abuse Group Wants Trial for Maine Victim
SNAP Urges Maine Bishop Not to Interfere
Friday, September 24, 2004
For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP Founder and President 312 399 4747
Leaders of a support group for clergy sex abuse victims are urging the Bishop of Maine not to interfere with a pending trial in Maine District Court.
In a letter sent today to Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Diocese of Portland (Maine), leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), urged Bishop Malone to stand aside and allow clergy sexual abuse victim David Gagnon to have his day in court.
Yesterday, in a dramatic turn of events, Gagnon's lawsuit in Maine District Court for $370 in past due therapy fees was continued to trial which will include the calling of witnesses including current and former bishops. (see attached article by Bill Nemitz of Portland Press Herald).
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is the oldest and largest support group for clergy sexual abuse victims in the country. It is based in Chicago and has just over 5,000 members.
SNAP Oregon responds to the Archdiocese of Portland's
Declaration of Bankruptcy
reported by Larry Stammer
The Los Angeles Times
July 6, 2004
Portland's Archbishop, John G. Vlazny, announced his decision in a letter to parishes. "Today I am doing something I hoped I would never have to do," he wrote.
At a news conference later, he told reporters: "The pot of gold is pretty much empty right now."....
An attorney who represents a
dozen victims in Portland, and David Clohessy, national director of the
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, both said they were skeptical
about Vlazny's claims of lacking money.
Oregon Bishop Barred From Asset Transfer
Posted on Mon, Feb. 03, 2003
BEND, Ore. - A judge on Monday barred the Roman Catholic Bishop for Eastern Oregon from transferring diocese assets to individual churches while facing nearly $70 million in claims for alleged sexual child abuse by a priest. David Slader, attorney for the 18 plaintiffs, argued that Bishop Robert Vasa's plan to distribute the assets was an attempt to avoid the claims. He said Judge Michael Adler's ruling could set a precedent.
"Oregon is the test case the church is using for this asset protection strategy," he said. The 18 men are plaintiffs in a $60.8 million lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baker alleging the late Rev. David Hazen sexually abused them as boys in the 1950s and 1960s.
Slader said tax records showed property held by the diocese was assessed at $19 million. Vasa says since taking over the diocese three years ago he has been working to transfer ownership of properties to the individual churches that use them, and never intended to avoid any future liabilities.
"These assets are not being dissipated. They are simply going to their rightful legal owner," said Greg Lynch, the diocese's attorney. "Don't get persuaded by the profound horror of the acts alleged to have occurred decades ago." The judge temporarily banned transfers by the diocese. A hearing on a permanent injunction is not expected for several months.
Diocese in N.J. Settles sex abuse Case
Posted on Thurs Mar 13, 2003
CAMDEN, N.J. - The Catholic Diocese of Camden agreed to pay $880,000 to settle a claim by 23 men that they were sexually abused by priests decades ago, the diocese said Thursday. The men alleged the abuse happened from the 1960s to the 1980s. They sued in 1994, years before sexual child abuse by priests grew into a national scandal. The lawsuit had been working its way through a series of hearings to determine whether the statute of limitations had run out on each allegation.
"I am hopeful that this reconciliation will speed the process of healing for those who have been harmed in any way," Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said. The diocese, which serves about 445,000 Catholics in southern New Jersey, has established a support group for people who were abused by priests. The group met for the first time in February. Meanwhile, another New Jersey diocese announced Thursday that the Vatican (news - web sites) has defrocked a retired priest who has been accused of molesting boys.
The Rev. James Hanley was notified March 7 that his petition to Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II had been granted, the Diocese of Paterson announced. Hanley, who is in his mid-60s, could not immediately be reached for comment. The announcement did not satisfy Mark Serrano, who accepted $350,000 in a settlement with the diocese in 1987. He has said Hanley molested him from 1974 to 1981, when he was between the ages of 9 and 16.
"Father Hanley may no longer wear the Roman Catholic collar, but he still poses and threat to children today," said Serrano, who now lives in Leesburg, Va.
In other news Thursday involving the nationwide scandal, a former priest in California was arrested on charges of committing lewd acts on a child. John Peter Lenihan, 57, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl that led to her pregnancy and an abortion two decades ago.
Lenihan was arrested in Ventura County and jailed in Orange County in lieu of $100,000 bail. Lenihan's attorney, Ron Talmo, said his client was innocent. Lenihan, former pastor at two Orange County churches, agreed to leave the priesthood last year after Catholic officials paid $1.2 million to woman he allegedly had sex with, who became pregnant when she was 16.
Ex-priest gets 30 years for sexual child abuse --Richard Pollard, arrested in August on eight charges of sexual battery, is put away for decades-old abuse.
By GRAHAM BRINK, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 11, 2003
TAMPA -- In the courtroom Monday, John Benton towered over the old man in the orange jail jumpsuit who wouldn't meet his gaze. Thirty years earlier, Richard Pollard, then an Episcopalian priest, had taken advantage of Benton, repeatedly molesting him as a young boy. "You have raped and assaulted your last innocent victims," Benton told him Monday.
Pollard, 74, said nothing in response. Then Circuit Judge Jack Espinosa sentenced him to the maximum term, 30 years in prison. "You violated the most sacred trust possible," the judge said before bailiffs led Pollard out of the courtroom. For Benton, the day was bittersweet. He pumped his fists in joy when he heard the sentence, but seeing Pollard made him angry. He said afterward that he had come forward last year when he thought Pollard's actions might be swept under the carpet. "I had to do something," said Benton, 39, who was abused from the age of 6 until he was 11. "This could not be ignored by the church."
Pollard, who is married and has three grown children, lived in New Port Richey at the time of his arrest last year. He served as vicar of St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Zephyrhills from 1964 to 1969. He then served at St. Andrew's Church in Tampa before moving in 1974 to All Saints Episcopal Church in Tarpon Springs, where he served until his retirement in 1992. The first allegation against Pollard arose in 1995. Pollard agreed to pay for counseling and never to serve as a priest again. Police, however, were not notified. In June, Pollard was officially defrocked by the church after two other men came forward with allegations that he fondled them when they were teenagers in the 1970s. Pollard did not admit to wrongdoing when he renounced his orders, a church official said.
Benton, who had been an altar boy and sung in the choir, then went to the police and wore an electronic recording device to capture Pollard on tape admitting what he had done. Police arrested Pollard in August on eight sexual battery counts in two counties. The abuse happened in Tampa and Tarpon Springs, both at Pollards' home and at the two churches in those cities. Pollard fondled the boys and had them perform o___ s__ on him, police said. Pollard still faces charges in Pinellas County. In Tampa, he was sentenced under the 1970s statutes. He will have to serve about 12 years before becoming eligible for release. He suffers from heart trouble and has had triple bypass surgery. "I don't think he will ever get out of prison," Benton said. -- Graham Brink can be reached at (813) 226-3365 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Catholic bishops and sexual child abuse
Dallas Morning News
Roughly two-thirds of top U.S. Catholic leaders have allowed priests accused of sexual child abuse to keep working, a systematic practice that spans decades and continues today, a three-month Dallas Morning News review shows. The study - the first of its kind - looked at the records of the top leaders of the nation’s 178 mainstream Roman Catholic dioceses, including acting administrators in cases where the top job is vacant.
Excluded from the study were auxiliary bishops who, in larger dioceses, serve in subordinate roles but still can vote on many matters before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the 17 bishops who lead eparchies, which are diocese-like entities that worship according to the Eastern rite.
In checking whether a bishop had protected priests or other church representatives accused of sexual child abuse, reporters Brooks Egerton and Reese Dunklin relied on published reports, court records, interviews and church records obtained in civil litigation. Most protected priests were accused of sexually abusing minors - primarily adolescent boys, but also younger ones, and a sizable number of girls of various ages. The newspaper’s study also covered behavior that indicated a sexual attraction to minors, such as viewing child pornography or, in one case, trading sexually charged e-mails with someone a priest believed was a minor.
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