News Story of the Day
UNITED NATIONS, Jul 18 2013 (IPS) - Mary Caplan was just 14 years old, and her father was dying of cancer. When she went to the local priest in her hometown of Jersey City to ask for prayers and help, he sexually abused her, and went on to do so for the next two and a half years.
“[The priest] told me there was a way that I could have a miracle for my father,” Caplan told IPS. “If I did certain things to him, because he represented Jesus, my father would have a miracle.”
SB 131 would give some victims of sexual abuse more time to file suit against employers. But church officials argue the bill opens it up to suits that are too old to fight.
At the height of the clergy sex-abuse scandal in 2002, Catholic leaders stayed silent as California lawmakers passed a landmark bill that gave hundreds of accusers extra time to file civil lawsuits. The consequences were costly.
You’d think lawyers suing a major religion that proclaims itself to be the guiding authority on moral behavior in every aspect of life would have the easiest job in the world.
Defendants wouldn’t even need to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They’ve already declared themselves the world’s foremost authorities on the truth.
When New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan was in charge of the Catholic Church’s Milwaukee operations, he moved an enormous pot of the church’s cash — $57 million — into a trust fund for cemetery maintenance. Though the archdiocese was in the middle of a gigantic lawsuit over its priests’ sexual abuse of children, Dolan called it routine bookkeeping.
Now the New York Times reports the discovery of a smoking gun: documents including a letter from then-Archbishop Dolan to the Vatican, explaining how the transfer protected the church’s millions in the event it lost in court.
When then-Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan sounded the alarm on abusive priests, the Roman Catholic Church dragged its feet — but when Dolan needed to protect tens of millions of dollars, the church acted without hesitation, bombshell documents revealed Monday.
The Vatican took only a month to give Dolan the go-ahead in 2007 to move $57 million into a trust in anticipation of an avalanche of sexual abuse lawsuits against the Milwaukee Archdiocese, which Dolan ran from 2002 to 2009.
But it took six years for Dolan to get the Vatican to defrock an out-of-control priest who had been convicted of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy.
Long before Father Donald Patrick Roemer was charged with molesting a young boy, his behavior had been observed by churchgoers, fellow priests, school officials and police authorities. Yet none of them did anything.
They stared at each other, the detective and the priest. Kelli McIlvain found interrogating him somewhat surreal. She had been raised Catholic and taught that a man in a black clerical shirt and white collar was nothing less than an emissary of God.
Hundreds of lawsuits with potential big payouts for victims of child sex abuse are expected after a new state law allows more time to sue accused perpetrators and the institutions where they worked.
The Catholic Church and other religious groups stand to be hit hardest under the Child Victims Act, according to victims rights advocates, who call the measure the nation’s most expansive such law.
US Star Whistle-Blower Clohessy on Sexual Abuse and the Difficulty of Coming to Terms
(This is the English translation of an article that appeared Sunday in the Kurier in Vienna)
He sat on the couch with US talkshow star Oprah Winfrey, he was a guest on Good Morning America, and even the The New York Times Magazine dedicated an extensive reportage to him. This man who has received so much media attention in the United States in recent years is David Clohessy, the spokesman of the NGO SNAP (see Info), which has taken up the cause of victims of sexual abuses in the church. He is the star among the investigators of sexual abuse in the USA.
New South Wales Police has admitted all records of a senior officer's involvement with a key Catholic Church body set up to deal with sexual abuse cases have been shredded.
This includes briefing papers and all documentation over a five-year period from 1998 to 2003.
The revelations come from Freedom of Information (FOI) documents obtained by the ABC's Lateline program.
The top level group established by the Catholic Church's bishops is known as the Professional Standards Resource Group (PSRG).
ASHLEY HALL: Victim support groups are outraged that senior members of the Catholic Church will be able to give evidence in private to the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into sexual abuse investigations in the Hunter Valley.
That privilege is normally only extended to victims of abuse.
But the Commissioner, Margaret Cunneen, has ruled that private hearings are appropriate because of the potential for criminal charges to be laid in the future.
Here's Eliza Harvey.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.