News Story of the Day

Priest who taught at 2 Buffalo area high schools was target of sex abuse complaint


A priest who taught students at two Buffalo-area Catholic high schools for more than a decade was suspended from any public ministry in 2014 after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor, The Buffalo News confirmed this week.

The Rev. Michael M. Lewandowski, now 71, was suspended after the allegation was made in May 2014, according to the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Pa.

The Franciscan priest lived in the Buffalo area and taught at St. Francis High School in Hamburg and at Cardinal O'Hara High School in the Town of Tonawanda at various times from 1976 to 1991, according to directories published by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. While the complaint made against Lewandowski alleges that the misconduct occurred during the period of time when he was at the two Buffalo area high schools, Buffalo Diocese officials declined to say whether the alleged abuse took place in the Buffalo area.

Vatican arrests diplomat involved in Ontario child porn scandal

By Hamilton Spectator, April 7, 2018, The Hamilton Spectator

Windsor police issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for Monsignor Carlo Capella last September

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Saturday arrested a diplomat recalled from Washington last year amid investigations in Canada, the United States and the Vatican for possession of child pornography.

A Vatican statement said that Monsignor Carlo Capella was being held in gendarmerie barracks inside the Vatican, and that his arrest follows a Vatican investigation.

Police in Windsor, Ontario, said Capella allegedly uploaded child porn to a social networking site while visiting a place of worship from over the 2016 Christmas holiday. In the statement, Windsor police accused Capella of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography.

Erie bishop: Disclosures part of ‘search for the truth’

Catholic Diocese of Erie says it hopes to help victims, community with its release 51 names of accused priests, laypeople

Bishop Lawrence Persico likened the event to ending a kind of darkness.

In a stunning break from years of Catholic Diocese of Erie policy, Persico on Friday released the names of priests and laypeople credibly accused of sexually abusing minors or engaging in improper behavior with minors since 1944. (scroll down for the list of names.)

“When everything is shrouded in cloud, everybody becomes suspicious,” Persico said. “Now that we have turned on the light it should be somewhat of a relief.”

‘I Refuse to Let Someone Have my Power’: Stories of Survival After Sexual Assault

After more than a year of working with survivors to share their stories, aims to give a voice to stories of sexual misconduct in the Chicago area

Every 98 seconds someone in America is sexually assaulted.

The statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) gives shocking context to the #MeToo movement that went viral following the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations last year in Hollywood. Since then, a growing number of high-profile men have been accused of sexual harassment and assault, and women and men around the world have shared their stories, giving voice to the collective silence around sexual misconduct. 

Pedophile Priests Preyed In Local Parishes

The pedophile priest scandal in Boston, a story told in the Oscar nominated movie Spotlight, earned the Boston Globe a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for breaking the news.

But pedophile priests were commonplace decades earlier on the East End, a story that has, for the most part, gone untold. As reported last week exclusively in The Independent — this newspaper has followed the story since 2003 —the Diocese Of Rockville Centre often sent priests accused of inappropriate behavior to eastern Long Island, believing they would blend in better in the sparsely-populated communities here.

Mesquite pastor arrested for not reporting allegation that volunteer sexually assaulted girl, police say

By Tom Steele, April 3, 2018, Dallas Morning News

The pastor of a conservative Mesquite Baptist church where a father and son have been charged with sexually assaulting girls has been arrested after police say he didn't report the abuse.

Robert Arnold Ross, 70, pastor of Open Door Baptist Church, was booked into the Mesquite jail Tuesday morning on one count of knowingly failing to make a required child abuse report. His bail was set at $2,500.

Instructor at Mormon church sexually abused children as young as 2, Texas police say

Kristine Phillips, April 2, 2018, The Washington Post

A young man who served as an instructor at a Mormon church in Texas admitted that he sexually assaulted children, authorities said.

Police said 22-year-old Noel Anderson, who was a primary instructor at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, Tex., abused four children between the ages of 2 and 6. The crimes happened over seven years, during which time Anderson met the children through church meetings and other activities, according to the McKinney Police Department.

Clergy wins round in battle over Child Victims Act

By JOE MAHONEY, April 1, 2018, Press Republican

ALBANY — Advocates for a one-year window to allow child victims of sexual assault to bring civil suits against molesters and employers who enabled abuse were deeply disappointed that the measure was sliced out of state budget negotiations.

Those crusading for the Child Victims Act — legislation that has been opposed by the state's Roman Catholic bishops, some youth groups and the insurance industry — said they will resume their push in Albany's post-budget legislative session, which closes in mid June.

The one-year revival is intended to arm victims with the ability to pursue legal claims even decades after they were molested.

R.I. lawmakers mull ending statute of limitations on lawsuits

By Katherine Gregg, March 30, 2018, Providence Journal

Abuse victims gave wrenching accounts at a House hearing on the bill introduced by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, whose legislation was motivated by her own sister’s repeated abuse as a child by their family’s parish priest.

ROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island lawmaker has ripped the scab off the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal with legislation born out of her older sister’s repeated abuse, as a child, by their family’s parish priest.

Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s legislation would remove the seven-year statute of limitations on the pursuit of legal claims against perpetrators of sex abuse. The statute of limitations derailed a lawsuit by two former victims of an infamous pedophile priest in 2016.

Local man marks Good Friday with claim of sex abuse by Catholic priest

 CHRIS CAYA, March 31, 2018, WBFO 88.7

A local man is going public with claims of being sexually abused as a teenager by a Catholic priest employed by the Diocese of Buffalo.    

Mark Lynch, of Lewiston, says he was sexually assaulted in the rectory of Mount Carmel Parish, in Niagara Falls, by Father Joseph Schuster.

"It was 50 years ago. I was 13 years of age."

Lynch said, he just began his healing process in December. And he chose to break his silence, Good Friday, with great reverence for the traditions stolen from him by the abuse he suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest. 

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