News Story of the Day
In yesterday’s Louisville Courier-Journal, award-winning religion writer Peter Smith wrote about the need for evangelical churches to confront sexual abuse and cover-ups within their own ranks. It’s a need that was recently given voice in a public statement written by former sex crimes prosecutor Boz Tchividjian and signed by more than 1,500 people worldwide.
The statement was prompted in part by a lawsuit brought by eleven plaintiffs alleging the cover-up of sexual abuse within churches affiliated with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Tchividjian said the lawsuit “underscored larger issues,” and his statement alluded, not only to the case, but also to religious leaders who have publicly defended Sovereign Grace and its president, including prominent Southern Baptist leaders.
Steve Theisen, 61, is the Iowa director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Unlike the vast majority of men and women whose lives have been positively affected by the support SNAP provides to victims of clergy abuse, Theisen was not sexually abused by a Catholic priest: he was sexually abused by a Catholic nun.
Newark, N.J., Archbishop John J. Myers, under fire for his lax supervision of a priest under court order not to minister to youth, faces new questions concerning his handling of clergy sex abuse allegations while he was bishop in Peoria, Ill., more than a decade ago.
Attorneys for abuse victim Andrew Ward announced Tuesday that they had reached an agreement with the Peoria diocese over a lawsuit accusing Msgr. Thomas Maloney of molesting Ward when he was a boy in the mid-1990s. The diocese settled the suit for $1.35 million. Maloney died in 2009 at age 73.
"They know they don't have to keep their victims quiet forever, just long enough to run out the clock."
Inclusion of two Catholic sisters in a July release of clergy sex abuse documents in the Los Angeles archdiocese highlights a need for sisters' orders to investigate abuse allegations, says a former leader of the lay group set up by the U.S. bishops to monitor the church's sex abuse policies.
"I think what we have learned in the last 10 to 12 years is that this is not a kind of misconduct that is peculiar to Roman Catholic priests," Judge Michael Merz told NCR Aug. 5.
BELLEVILLE — The cost of a kitchen renovation for Bishop Edward Braxton, questions about his recent trip to Africa and worry that priests suspected of molesting children aren't being monitored were the subjects of a small rally Monday outside the Diocese of Belleville's chancery office.
Seven members of the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests demonstrated with small signs on the street corner opposite St. Elizabeth's Hospital.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — In therapy sessions, the priest confessed the shocking details he’d kept hidden for years: He had molested more than 100 boys, including his 5-year-old brother. He had sex with male prostitutes, and frequented gay strip clubs.
The admissions of the Rev. Ruben Martinez are included among nearly 2,000 pages of secret files unsealed Wednesday that were kept on priests, brothers and nuns who belonged to religious orders but were accused of child molestation while working within the Los Angeles archdiocese.
A Chicago-based religious order on Thursday acknowledged sending a clergyman accused of inappropriate behavior to Argentina, the same day a victim's advocacy group criticized the order for allowing him to remain in the ministry.
Brother Richard Suttle now works under the supervision of a monitor in Buenos Aires and is "not involved in any work with children," the Rev. Rosendo Urrabazo, who oversees Claretian Missionaries in the United States, said Thursday. Urrabazo also confirmed that the order and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix investigated an accusation of inappropriate behavior against Suttle in 2008.
The seemingly limitless book of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy – and its coverup by a doggedly self-preserving church administration – added yet another new chapter this week. Just one month after Milwaukee released a mind-boggling 6,000 pages of documents revealing the personnel files of over 40 priests with “verified abuse claims against them” and the clever maneuvers the church went through to protect millions of dollars in its funds from lawsuits, on Wednesday five Los Angeles religious orders released 1,700 pages of documents pertaining to“a dozen priests, brothers and nuns accused of sexual misconduct.”
Breaking news out of Milwaukee today as thousands of pages of documents have been released from the Catholic Archdiocese there. The papers show that Archbishop Timothy Dolan bribed priests to keep them quiet about the child sex abuse scandal, purposely shuttled nearly 57 million dollars out of the Milwaukee Archdiocese before it declared bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid paying settlements to victims, and was far more concerned with accused priests’ well-being and comfort than with the victims themselves. The papers, published on the Archdiocese website as well as on the website of victims’ lawyers, detail depositions, personnel files and court papers in relation to 42 separate child sexual abuse cases.
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.