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Ex-adviser to Monaco’s royal family sentenced to 3 years in Philly child porn case

by Jeremy Roebuck Published an hour ago EASTON — A Roman Catholic priest and former confidant of the royal family of Monaco was sentenced Monday to more than three years in prison for accessing a trove of pornographic images of children while working in the royal palace. https://www.inquirer.com/news/william-mccandless-sentence-monaco-princess-charlene-prince-albert-oblate-order-20230123.html

Diocese of Fargo priest arrested on suspicion of committing sexual exploitation

(For Immediate Release February 3, 2023) A North Dakota priest, removed from ministry last month pending an investigation of "inappropriate conduct," was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of committing "sexual exploitation by therapist." We applaud the brave victims for speaking up and contacting the police about this young priest. Contrary to what Catholic bishops say, clergy sexual abuse is NOT a thing of the past. This is the third arrest that we know of in 2023. Moreover, these arrests are likely a drop in the bucket, because only between 2 and 10 out of 100 victims of clerical abuse report within a year of being molested, and one-third never, ever report. Fr. Neil Joseph Pfeifer, 48, was arrested in Rugby, North Dakota, and taken to the Pierce County Correctional Facility, where he awaits formal charges. Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo said in a statement, “Father Pfeifer remains out of ministry as pastor of the Basilica of St. James in Jamestown, St. Margaret Mary in Buchanan, and St. Mathias in Windsor, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation." Bishop John Folda also noted in his statement that "The Diocese of Fargo is cooperating fully with the investigation." We find it unsettling that Catholic officials always emphasize how cooperative they are when a victim comes forward. We suspect this is an outright attempt to disassociate themselves from the horror of sex-related crimes, and to make it appear to parishioners and the general public that they were totally clueless. Instead of routinely practicing this “damage control,” Church leaders should be reminding people that crimes involving sex are still prevalent among ordained clergy and professed religious. In fact, perpetrators become more shrewd, cunning, and effective over time, because they learn how to better pick victims who cannot tell or will not be believed. We are grateful that the investigation has been moved into the secular realm. Independent professionals in law enforcement should investigate crimes, not the biased and often corrupt amateurs in Church offices. Beyond "cooperating" with the criminal investigation, the Bishop of Fargo should make it a point to visit every place where Fr. Pfeifer worked and urge those who may have experienced, witnessed, or suspected abuse to contact the police immediately. We hope the victims' courage will prod others with information about Fr. Pfeifer to step forward, get help, call police, protect others, and start healing.   CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected] 267-261-0578)  (SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

"Prolific, notorious" St. Louis predator priest passes

(For Immediate Release January 31, 2023)  A former St. Louis priest who admitted he violated dozens of boys and was serving a life sentence in prison for child sex crimes has passed away.From 1981 to 1983, Fr. Romano Ferraro was at St. Joan of Arc parish in south St. Louis city. A man he molested as a child there committed suicide in 2006 after a long struggle with depression.Fr. Ferraro also worked at Jewish Hospital, Barnes Hospital, and lived in Webster Groves at a now-shuttered church facility called The House of Affirmation (4 Joy Avenue).https://www.bishop-accountability.org/assign/Ferraro_Romano_J.htm

Quebec Cardinal Ouellet set to retire amid sexual abuse allegations

(For Immediate Release January 30, 2023)  The Vatican announced on Monday that Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who oversees the influential bishops' office, will retire on April 12. The announcement that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, comes two weeks after allegations of sexual misconduct against Ouellet by a second woman in the Quebec Archdiocese were made public. In August 2022, Pope Francis passed up a perfect chance to demonstrate that even those closest to him, such as Cardinal Ouellet, are not immune to investigation.  We simply do not understand why the uninvited actions by a high-ranking Catholic official that is the subject of a current lawsuit can be so easily -- and quickly -- dismissed by the Church. Victims who fight hard to bring forth the wrong done to them do not have the luxury of retirement, their fight continues. It shows the superficiality of the Church's promises to handle such accusations competently. Pope Francis shouldn't wash his hands of Ouellet upon this announcement. We believe that it is no longer acceptable to continue to ignore church officials' involvement in sex crimes, the news of it flows steadily. Additionally, it makes adults' suffering worse and encourages complicity from other church officials. We urge Pope Francis to take all possible measures to bar Ouellet from using any sort of public forum or position. We also urge Ouellet to refrain from applying for such positions or platforms.   CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager, (267-261-0578, [email protected]) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President (814-341-8386, [email protected]) (SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)                                                                                                            ###

Survivors and Advocates in DRC call for Zero Tolerance for Clergy Sex Abuse

  MEDIA ALERT (page 4 en français) [For Immediate Release, January 25, 2023; http://bit.ly/3vSuVnq ]   Current Clergy Sex Abuse Cases in DRC Exposed   Historic Press Conference to be held on Eve of Pope’s visit to the DRC on Clergy Sex Abuse   Clergy sex abuse victims in Kinshasa call on Pope to help   Survivors and Advocates in DRC call for Zero Tolerance for Clergy Sex Abuse   For the first time in Africa, international activists will join with Congolese survivors and advocates in a press conference to highlight the failure of the Catholic Church to protect survivors and whistleblowers.    Pope Francis will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo the week of January 31 to February 3, 2023. On Monday January 30, survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their advocates from the Congo, U.S. and Europe will be in Kinshasa to hold a press conference in order to:   Share information regarding a current case of clergy sex abuse and cover-up in the DRC, including details on how the victim and her family have been silenced and the harm done to her advocates.  The victim and a witness are scheduled to testify by Zoom during the press conference. Expose corruption within the DRC judicial system that has benefitted church officials and perpetrators at the expense of the abused;  Insist Pope Francis enforce his recently enacted "apostolic letter"  by immediately removing and sanctioning abusive priests and their bishop enablers to send an important message to the continent of Africa that there is zero tolerance for clergy sex abuse and coverup.   Press conference details:  WHEN: Monday January 30, 2 PM, West Africa Standard Time (and CET/Paris); 1PM London,  8AM US Eastern Time (New York),  5AM US Pacific Time (Los Angeles). Midnight, Sydney Time.   WHERE: Hotel Leon, 41 avenue Luambo Makiadi, Gombe, Kinshasa (“Délices” room) HOW:  In person and by Zoom (open to all) , link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Bj731M10TXqUVi2EK2IfkA  (contact Marc Artzrouni (address below) for any question).    WHO:    Tim Law Founding/Board Member, ECA [email protected],    Tel: +1-206-412-0165   Denise Buchanan Survivor, Founding/Board Member, ECA [email protected], Tel: +1-310-980-2770 Benjamin Kitobo  Survivor, Founding Member, ECA [email protected], Tel: +1-314-482-0861 Come Musuluku Victims’ lawyer, President, COME, Kinshasa [email protected],  Tel: +243-817779450 Marc Artzrouni (Zoom) SNAP Europe Representative [email protected],  Tel: + 33 - 6 95 73 65 92 LANGUAGE: French with interpretation in English    MORE INFO: In July 2022, the Washington Post published an extensive exposé  of an ongoing case in the DRC of clergy rape of a 14yr-old girl and the retaliation against whistleblowing nuns and a priest. The article shows how Catholic Church officials worked together in violation of recently enacted Church law to protect the accused rapist at the expense of his young victim and of the whistleblowers who are now in hiding in a nearby country in fear of their safety.   BIOS: Tim Law is the co-founder of Ending Clergy Abuse and an attorney in Seattle, Washington, USA. He is a Catholic, and in 2014, he became active at the local level to confront his archdiocese on the issue of clergy abuse. In 2015, he met Barbara Blaine, founder of SNAP, and was introduced to the national and international dimensions of clergy abuse in the Catholic Church. In 2017, Barbara Blaine, Tim and others conceived what became ECA in Geneva, Switzerland in 2018. ECA is an international association of survivors and advocates from 20+ countries and 6 continents whose mission is to compel the Vatican/Roman Catholic Church to protect children from clergy abuse and to promote justice for survivors. ECA played an important role in Rome at the 2019 Pope’s Summit on Clergy Abuse coordinating the voices of the international survivor/activists before the bishops and the world press promoting Zero Tolerance as an universal law of the Church.   Denise Buchanan Denise Buchanan who is a Jamaican survivor of clergy sexual abuse, is a founding member of Ending Clergy Abuse and a board member.  She is a Psychoneurologist, University Professor, Child Protection Advocate, Sacred Garden Designer, International Speaker and Author. Denise has presented her case before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee Against Torture and was one of a few individuals who met with the Pope’s top Cardinals on the Clergy Sexual Abuse Issue. She is also the co-founder of the Get Business Smart Foundation in Jamaica which was created to train young people to develop a holistic approach to life through integrating mind-body-spirit.   Benjamin Kitobo was born and raised in Likasi, Zaire (now, the DRC). In 1980, at age 13, he began attending the minor seminary in the diocese of Kolwezi, with the hope of becoming a priest. He was raped and sexually assaulted there for four years by his teacher, Fr. Omer Verbeke, a Belgian missionary. In the 1990s, Kitobo emigrated to the USA and became a nurse. In 2002, he discovered that Verbeke, who had been sent back to Belgium, was still working with children. Kitobo filed a lawsuit, the priest admitted to the abuse, and the Belgian diocese of Ghent paid Kitobo a settlement of $25,000. Kitobo lives today with his wife and family in  St. Louis, Missouri.   Come Musuluku is a lawyer in Kinshasa, who defends victims of sexual violence and their families in the DRC.  He is the founder of "Club des Orateurs Majeurs Excellentissimes" ("Club of Major and Outstanding Orators"). COME is a newly established Congolese NGO whose goal is to provide legal and other assistance to victims of sexual abuse regardless of the setting: family, civil society, churches, etc.  Musuluku is working  with  ECA and SNAP  to bring up with the UN Human Rights Commission the case of victims of sexual abuse in the DRC.   Marc Artzrouni is SNAP’s Europe Representative,  based in France. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is the largest, oldest and most active US support group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns and others). Marc is a French-American university professor emeritus who works closely with French and Swiss survivors organizations. He is particularly interested in improving the flow of information between such associations in Europe and those in America, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. 

Survivors and Advocates urge others to step forward as New California law has opened a window to justice for those sexually assaulted as adults

    Media Advisory (For Immediate Release January 25, 2023)      New California law has opened a window to justice for those sexually assaulted as adults Survivors and advocates will gather at the State Capitol today to call attention to AB 2777 Whether the abuse occurred in a religious institution or elsewhere, SNAP urges victims to take advantage of this opportunity WHAT: At a sidewalk news conference, abuse survivors and advocates who are part of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, will gather to draw public attention to The Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act (Assembly Bill 2777), which went into effect on January 1st. SNAP will urge those who were the victims of sexual assault as adults to consider filing civil lawsuits for damages against those who abused them and the institutions that covered up for the perpetrators. WHEN: January 26, 2023, at 1 PM WHERE: California State Capitol, 1315 10th St (between L and N Streets), Sacramento. We will gather on the lawn to the left of the steps.

'Victims back reform bill & seek predators' names'

(For Immediate Release January 19, 2023)    Victims back reform bill & seek predators' names They blast ex-Kansas AG for 'weak, vague' report Group files "Open Records Act" request to publicly ID abusers Survivors want more time to 'seek justice & expose molesters.’   WHAT Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will ask the Kansas attorney general to protect kids by: --publicly naming dozens of unknown child molesting clerics recently investigated by the KBI, and--releasing the full abuse report, not just a 21-page summary. They will also give out copies of an Open Records Act request they're sending to the new AG to learn the identities of those 'who committed or concealed child sex crimes' and blast his predecessor for issuing a "weak, vague and short abuse report" that "protects wrongdoers, not children." WHEN Friday, Jan. 20 at 1:15 p.m. WHERE On the sidewalk outside the Johnson County Courthouse on Santa Fe Street (north of the administration building and west of city hall) in Olathe Kansas WHO One-two Kansas state legislators, a former Kansas cleric, a Kansas abuse survivor who testified before a panel in Topeka, and three-four abuse survivors (some who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) WHY 1) Earlier this month, then-AG Derek Schmidt refused to publicly name even one proven, admitted, or credibly accused child molesting Catholic cleric when he released what SNAP calls a "short, weak and vague" report into the church's ongoing abuse crisis. (Other state AGs across the country have done far more thorough reports and disclosed names of abusers.) SNAP is asking Schmidt's successor Kris Kobach to voluntarily reveal the names of dozens of Kansas Catholic clergy who have perpetrated, ignored, or hid child sex crimes and release a longer, more detailed report that 'will deter other institutions from similar cover-ups.'And the group is filing a formal Open Records Act request for the names. 2) The victims strongly support a measure, now pending in the Kansas legislature, that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to "expose those who commit or conceal crimes against kids" in civil courts. It is sponsored by Sen. Cindy Holscher (D-Overland Park) and Rep. Bob Lewis (R-Garden City) and relaxes the state's "archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly" statute of limitations, SNAP says, which both "helps protect vulnerable children and heal wounded adults." CONTACT: David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected], Tom White  913 927 2859, [email protected] (SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)  

SNAP Virtual Mini Conferences

These virtual mini conferences are free to all and will feature opportunities for survivors and advocates to learn about topics like healing, advocacy, and self-care from a variety of different speakers throughout the year. Our next mini conference will be on October 8, 2022 and will feature Kathryn Robb of CHILD USAdvocacy and Mark Crawford of SNAP New Jersey.

We are especially grateful to the Ribera Law Firm of San Francisco, California for being a Gold-level Sponsor for our mini-conferences. Their support is critical to our ability to hold these free events and we are grateful to them for their support. Learn more about the Ribera Law Firm here.

 

Additionally, SNAP is very grateful for the generous support of our 2022 mini conferences that has been provided through a grant from Oak Foundation Children First Fund, a fund of Tides Foundation.

 

Take Action and Stop Child Sexual Abuse

If you see child sexual abuse, or have a reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse or your child has been sexually abused, call 911 or your local police immediately. 

If you suspect abuse, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or visit the Child Help Hotline. Trained crisis operators staff the lines 24/7 to answer your questions. If necessary, they will show you how to report in your local area.

Child pornography is a federal crime. If you see or suspect images that may be child pornography, report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTip Line

 

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