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Brownsville priest indicted on child sexual abuse charges

May 14, 2024 By: Stefany Rosales A Brownsville priest who is accused of sexually abusing a child has been indicted. The indictment filed on May 8 shows Fernando Gonzalez Ortega, 52, faces three charges of sexual assault of a child, one charge of sexual abuse by a clergyman, a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child and a charge of indecency with a child.

Watchdog groups respond to new revelations of two accused sexual predators in Cleveland parishes

Watchdog groups respond to new revelations of two accused sexual predators in Cleveland parishes   They ask: How many other sex offenders are active in the diocese?   In a letter to Bishop Malesic, they express concern about his “carelessness” and urge him to take immediate action   For Immediate Release, May 10, 2024   In the wake of revelations yesterday that two accused sexual predators are helping to lead Mass in Cleveland parishes, two watchdog groups are calling on Bishop Edward Malesic to act immediately to identify and remove all other diocesan personnel who might pose a risk to children and young people.   Calling the news “alarming,” a co-director of BishopAccountability.org and a longtime Ohio leader of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are urging Malesic to take “personal responsibility” for ensuring that only adults with clean records work at his parishes, schools, hospitals, and summer camps.   In the last 24 hours, the public has learned of two accused sexual abusers serving in leadership posts in Cleveland parishes.   A Cleveland news station revealed yesterday that at St. Thomas More in Brooklyn OH, the man leading the parish in song on many Sundays for the last year is, shockingly, listed on the state’s sex offender registry. He recently served a year in prison for attempted sexual contact with a child.Exclusive: Sex offender allowed to help lead CLE Catholic church masses, Channel 5 News, 5/9/2024 And a national Catholic newspaper reported Thursday that Rev. Jeffrey Weaver, a priest accused by a diocesan official in the 1990s of sexually exploiting a teenager, has been presiding at the Latin Mass at St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish in Cleveland.Cleveland priest at center of Vatican II altar damage previously accused of abuse, National Catholic Reporter, 5/9/2024

Catholic priest arrested in Texas; SNAP reacts

Credit: Garland Police Department For Immediate Release:  May 7, 2024 Police in Garland, Texas, said today in a news release that they had arrested a priest from the Catholic Diocese of Dallas on two felony counts of indecency with a child. We are grateful that law enforcement has charged the clergyman. However, we are concerned that there may be other victims and we urge the Diocese to do outreach.  The Diocese of Dallas said that it was made aware last week of accusations that Fr. Ricardo Reyes Mata inappropriately touched a juvenile girl at a residence in Garland. According to the Diocese’s statement, Church officials immediately filed a report with Child Protective Services and law enforcement. Fr. Mata was also removed from public ministry. We commend the Diocese for this appropriate response. However, we also believe that this arrest shows us once again that the persistent claims from Church officials that the abuse scandal is a thing of the past are simply not true. Each month we read, on average, of at least two news reports about the arrest of Catholic clerics or staffers for sexual abuse or misconduct. This disturbing news from Texas reaffirms that clergy sexual abuse is still very much a thing of the present. Moreover, Fr. Mata was only ordained in 2022. The priest was appointed Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas in July of 2023. He also worked as the Parochial Vicar of St. Jude Parish in Allen and was the Chaplain at Bishop Dunne High School. We feel it is incumbent upon Bishop Edward J. Burns to announce this arrest in every place that Fr. Mata was assigned either as a cleric or a seminarian, and to beg anyone who may have experienced, witnessed, or suspected abuse to contact the Garland Police Department at 972-485-4840. It can take victims decades to acknowledge their abuse and find the courage to come forward. However, the fact that one survivor has already been identified, may help to shorten this process. In the meantime, it is important to recognize that rules and regulations do not protect children, and that there is no effective protocol to screen for potential offenders. Parishioners and the public need to be aware of these facts, and remain alert for signs that a child is being groomed or harmed. CONTACT: Melanie Sakoda, Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 814-341-8386) (SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Diocese of Kalamazoo provides list of those “disqualified from working with kids,” survivors’ group wants more information posted

For immediate release: April 19, 2024 The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo recently released a list of names of those “disqualified from working with kids.” While information like this is always welcome, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, hopes that additional information will be added to the list soon. It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering alone and in silence. Seeing that they are not the only one helps victims heal, and could also encourage others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward. So, we are grateful that Bishop Edward Lohse finally published a list. However, traditionally the lists of Catholic dioceses have provided information about clergy, and sometimes other individuals, who have been “credibly accused” of the crimes of child sexual abuse and/or child pornography. The other categories for removal Bishop Lohse identified: continued violations of a child-protection policy after warnings, failing as a mandated reporter to report allegations of abuse of children, failing to act to prevent abuse that they knew to be happening, and physical abuse of children, are likely laudable additions that will help protect boys and girls from suffering childhood trauma. Yet, we cannot help by worry that is all too easy for the parishioners and the public to assume that the clergy, or even the non-clergy on the list, did not commit life-changing and heinous crimes. Thus, we believe that it is extremely important for Bishop Lohse to identify which people fall into which of categories.

Thurs. 5/16, 1pm KC MO presser-New abuse suit filed v. Christian boarding school

Unprecedented abuse suit filed vs. Christian boarding school Case charges ‘faith-based’ institution ‘brainwashed’ vulnerable teen It’s filed under new federal law that’s “a big help to sex trafficking victims” Prominent survivor who sued her parents to speak; they face felony charges SNAP: “But time is running out for MO lawmakers to safeguard children” Group wants more & tougher regulation of controversial ‘faith-based’ facilities Legislative session ends Friday; No progress yet on protecting kids,’ they say WHAT Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, child abuse victims will ---disclose and praise a new, barely-noticed federal law that will help abuse and trafficking victims,   ---announce the filing of an unusual civil child sex abuse suit against a Christian boarding school, ---blast Missouri’s attorney general for “doing virtually nothing” to protect boarding school kids and ---beg lawmakers to do so in the waning hours of the legislative session. WHEN Thursday May 16 at 1:00 p.m. WHERE On the sidewalk just south of the Charles E. Whittaker US Federal Courthouse, 400 E. 9th St., corner of Oak, (in Ilus Davis Park) in Kansas City, MO WHO Two-three abuse victims including --A nationally-known survivor, activist and whistleblower who sued her parents for abusing kids at a Christian reform school who has been profiled in national media including Dateline, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Dr. Oz and an Amazon Prime documentary and numerous media outlets), and --a St. Louis man who for 30 years headed SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Boarding school abuse victims news conf – 11:15am, Wed 5/15 in Jeff City MO

Prominent boarding school abuse victim speaks out She sued her parents; They now face 100+ felony charges Now, she blasts AG for “insulting letter & endangering kids” Group to Bailey: "Hold zoom meeting with suffering survivors" In last minute plea, they call on lawmakers to strengthen child safety laws WHAT At a sidewalk news conference, a nationally-known survivor, activist and whistleblower will discuss --startling new revelations that a Missouri sheriff dealt with at least 15 run-away teens – including two just last Saturday – from a Christian boarding school over the past three years, -- the upcoming criminal trial of her parents on 100+ felony abuse charges stemming from their years-long severe mistreatment of kids at their boarding school, and -- her just-resolved unusual civil lawsuit against her mom and dad. Holding signs and childhood photos, she and other abuse survivors will also reveal a “terse and insulting” letter they recently received from Missouri’s attorney general, and hand-deliver a harshly critical letter to him urging him to --“stop making excuses and start taking action against these controversial, private, largely unregulated ‘faith-based’ boarding schools," and --hold a Zoom call soon with dozens of victims to "hear their pain and hopefully become more motivated to protect youngsters in these settings.” In the waning days of the legislative sessions, they will also beg lawmakers to enact measures to --impose stricter regulations on these "private, secretive and troubling so-called ‘reform schools’" and --reform Missouri’s ‘archaic and arbitrary’ laws that protect child predators and their supervisors. WHEN Wednesday, May 15 at 11:15 a.m. WHERE On the sidewalk outside the Missouri Attorney General's office, 207 W. High Street (between Broadway and Washington) in Jefferson City WHO A nationally-known survivor and activist who helped persuade prosecutors to file charges against her parents for abusing kids at their reform school and a St. Louis child sex abuse victim who for 30 years headed SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Tues 5/14/2024 Springfield MO news conference

Victims of boarding school abuse speak out They allege ‘horrific mistreatment’ at Stockton ‘school’ Crucial criminal trial against two owners is set to  start this fall Survivors beg MO AG to act on growing scandal & meet them on Zoom Group also asks lawmakers to reform MO's ‘hurtful’ child sex suit deadline WHAT Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, child abuse victims and their supporters will --urge ‘witnesses, whistleblowers and other victims’ of abuse at a now-shuttered southwest Missouri ‘faith-based’ boarding school to contact law enforcement soon, before a crucial criminal trial begins this fall, --speak publicly for the first time about the horrific experiences (including sexual, physical, emotional and educational abuse) they suffered at two controversial and barely regulated similar facilities in southern Missouri, --blast Attorney General Andrew Bailey for essentially ignoring a letter they hand-delivered to his office last month which urged him to take three steps to protect kids at these institutions, and --beg him to meet with and listen to them in a Zoom meeting so he’ll understand their pain. They will also --prod lawmakers, in the waning days of this legislative session (which ends Friday) to reform Missouri’s ‘archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly’ statute of limitations on child sexual abuse, and ----urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered abuse at any facilities like these to contact “independent sources of help, like police, prosecutors, therapists, attorneys, loved ones and support groups.”WHEN Tuesday, May 14 at 1:00 p.m. WHERE On the sidewalk outside the federal courthouse at 222 S. John Q. Hammons Pkwy (between Broadway and Washington) in Springfield MO WHO Three women who were sent to these facilities as youngsters and were severely mistreated at a southwest Missouri ‘faith-based’ boarding school. One is Amanda Householder, a nationally-known survivor, activist and whistleblower who, in a highly unusual move, sued her parents for severely abusing purportedly ‘troubled kids’ at the two now-shuttered Christian reform schools they ran for years. The couple face a trial this fall on 100+ felony charges. (Amanda’s experiences have been profiled on Dateline, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Dr. Oz and an Amazon Prime documentary and numerous media outlets.) Joining them will be a St. Louis child sex abuse victim (and Drury College grad) who for 30 years headed SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

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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