News Story of the Day
Criminal Charges for the Church? Why a Federal Prosecutor Thinks Cover-up of Abuse Is Worth Investigating Now
Two years ago, a federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh considered filing a racketeering lawsuit against a Roman Catholic diocese over its handling of child sex-abuse complaints, but left office before he could make the bold move.
However, a colleague in Philadelphia is now taking aim at the church this month, sending grand jury subpoenas to dioceses throughout Pennsylvania as he tries to build a federal criminal case centered on child exploitation.
U.S. Attorney William McSwain of Philadelphia has a head start on the work, given the sweeping state grand jury report released this summer, which found that 301 priests molested more than 1,000 children over seven decades. McSwain, a Harvard Law School graduate and former Marine sniper platoon commander, was appointed by President Trump and took office just four months ago.
By Maryclaire Dale and Eric Tucker, Associated Press, October 18, 2018
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal prosecutors have opened an investigation of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand secret files and testimony from high-ranking leaders in what victims’ advocates say is the first such probe ever launched by the U.S. Justice Department.
By Janice Park, October 16, 2018, WUSA9
WASHINGTON -- The Archdiocese of Washington released a list Monday of 31 priests. It names priests involved in cases with credible accusations of abuse.
By Andrea Swalec, October 15, 2018, NBC Washington
The Archdiocese of Washington has released the names of 28 former members of clergy who they say were "credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors" dating back as far as 1948.
Pennsylvania Republican Leadership Spits in the Eyes of Child Sex Abuse Victims with Faux Justice in New Proposal
By MARCI A. HAMILTON, October 13, 2018
The 2018 Pennsylvania Attorney General’s grand jury report on the six Pennsylvania dioceses not yet investigated for clergy sex abuse looked like it could move mountains at first. The account of over 300 priests and over 1000 victims certainly has garnered worldwide attention and empathy for the victims and their families. Republican leadership, however, with few days left in the legislative calendar has proved incapable of such empathy.
Instead, Senators Scarnati and Corman have produced a cynical “tribunal” that gives bishops and insurance companies what they love most: immunity from discovery. This is faux justice is an insult to every survivor in the state. It is also every child-molesting cleric’s best friend as it keeps their wrongdoing secret and every enabling institution’s best friend as it keeps their wrongdoing secret.
By Ivey DeJesus, October 10, 2018, PennLive
With time running out on the legislative clock, victims and advocates of child sexual abuse are ramping up efforts to pressure state Senate Republicans to approve a measure that would give adults who were abused as children an opportunity at justice.
A few weeks ago, a tide of optimism buoyed survivors and advocates with expectations that reforms would finally see the light of day. Late this week, those hopes may have been dealt a lethal blow.
October 12, 2018, Bay City News Service, SF Gate
OAKLAND (BCN) -- Survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church, alongside a former member of the clergy, held a news conference this afternoon outside the Oakland Diocese to "out" who one survivor says is a "predator priest."
Joey Piscitelli, Northern California leader for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he was repeatedly molested by Father Stephen Whelan in 1969 and 1970 - when Piscitelli was just 14. .
By BRIAN CLITES, OCTOBER 11, 2018, Salon
Widespread public shock followed the recent release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that identified more than 1,000 child victims of clergy sexual abuse. In fact, as I know through my research, the Vatican and its American bishops have known about the problem of priestly pedophilia since at least the 1950s. And the Church has consistently silenced would-be whistleblowers from within its own ranks.
In the memory of many Americans, the only comparable scandal was in Massachusetts, where, in 2002, the Boston Globe published more than 600 articles about abuses under the administration of Cardinal Bernard Law. That investigation was immortalized in the 2015 award-winning film, “Spotlight.”
What many Americans don’t remember, however, are other similar scandals, some even more dramatic and national in scope.
On October 10, bishops from dioceses throughout Texas announced that they would be releasing lists of names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse. Houston SNAP leader and SNAP board member Michael Norris went on The Isiah Factor to discuss this news with FOX 26 Houston's Isiah Carey.
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.