News Story of the Day

2 Altoona Franciscan friars enter pleas in child sex abuse case

By STEPHEN HUBA, May 4, 2018, TribLive

Two Altoona Franciscan friars will serve five years' probation for their part in covering up the child sexual abuse committed by Brother Stephen Baker in the 1990s, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

The friars, Robert D'Aversa, 70, and Anthony Criscitelli, 63, entered no-contest pleas Friday to endangering the welfare of children, a first-degree misdemeanor, Shapiro said.

They are among the first religious leaders in the United States, and the first members of a Pennsylvania religious order, to be held criminally liable for covering up sexual abuse of children by other clergy.

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Senate Republicans urged to hold hearing for Child Victims Act

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Editorial: The evil of silence

By , May 1, 2018, The Buffalo News

It’s not just priests.

It’s also teachers, Scout leaders, Little League coaches and more. Pedophiles know their prey: who the most vulnerable are; where to find them; how to approach them and, critically, how to silence them.

Too often, they move from place to place, finding new targets while the public is left in an ignorance that, in some instances, has been deliberately imposed by institutional leaders. It needs to change.

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Cardinal George Pell to Stand Trial on Historical Sex Offenses

By Adam Baidawi, April 30, 2018, The New York Times

MELBOURNE, Australia — Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, must stand trial on several charges of sexual abuse, an Australian court ruled on Tuesday, promising to prolong a case that has already dragged on for months, and which many see as a moment of reckoning for a church racked by scandal.

Belinda Wallington, a Melbourne magistrate, found there was sufficient evidence for prosecutors to bring the cardinal’s case to trial, ending a two-month pretrial hearing, in which witnesses described abuse they said took place decades ago.

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Brooklyn, NY - Hikind: Employee Fired After Preying On Students At Prominent Girls’ School In BP; Administration Turned Blind Eye

By Sandy Eller, April 29, 2018, Vos Iz Neias

Brooklyn, NY - A Brooklyn girls’ school has found itself in a difficult position after numerous reports have surfaced alleging that an employee had been interacting with girls inappropriately for several years and that the school’s administration was reportedly aware of the behavior but did nothing to protect students.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind said that he had been contacted by multiple parents whose daughters attend the Bais Sarah school in Borough Park reporting the alleged behavior. 

According to Hikind, parents told the school’s owner and principal, Rabbi Nuchem Klein, about the alleged abuse perpetrated by a non-Jewish employee who goes by the nickname Spikey, but no action was taken.

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Four priests accused of sexual abuse served at one Buffalo-area parish

By  , April 29, 2018, Buffalo News

Members of Most Precious Blood Church in Angola were as stunned as any Catholics – and maybe more so – when the Diocese of Buffalo in March publicly named 42 priests who had been accused of child sex abuse.

The list released by Bishop Richard J. Malone included not just one priest who served in the village parish, but four. Parishioners had no idea.

"The sticker shock was the number, not that it had happened," said longtime member Karen A. Erickson. "The sticker shock of so many in your community was what had people talking."

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Montana Diocese reaches $20M settlement with Catholic sex abuse victims

After six years of litigation and three attempts at mediation, victims of Catholic clergy sex abuse in Eastern Montana have reached a settlement with the church.

The tentative $20 million agreement with the Great Falls-Billings Diocese was announced Friday by the diocese and two law firms representing the victims. 

The bankruptcy judge and the victims still must approve the settlement.

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Men say LI priest who led singing group abused them in mid-1970s

By Bart Jones, April 27, 2018, Newsday

Eight men who were members of a popular youth folk group at a Catholic church in St. James in the 1970s have filed reports with the Suffolk County district attorney saying they were sexually abused as boys by the charismatic priest who ran the group.

The men filed the accusations as part of the second phase of a program established by the Diocese of Rockville Centre to compensate clergy sex-abuse victims, according to Manhattan-based attorney Michael Reck, who is representing them.

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Pennsylvania is national leader in aggressively going after institutional child sex predators

By Ivey DeJesus, April 26, 2018, PennLive

More than any other state, Pennsylvania is aggressively going after child sex predators.

From multiple grand jury investigations into the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a similar grand jury probe into the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky and the investigation into systemic sex abuse of students at a New Hope private school, state prosecutors have positioned the state as arguably the most aggressive in the nation against child sex crimes.

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You asked, we answered: Why aren't accused priests in jail?

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It's been two months since The Buffalo News first reported that a retired priest from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo admitted that he sexually abused "probably dozens" of teenage boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Since then, The News also has published more than 30 stories related to the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

Among The News' findings:

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