News Story of the Day

Victims of Catholic nuns rely on each other after being overlooked in the clergy sex abuse crisis

The sexual abuse of children by Catholic sisters and nuns has been overshadowed by far more common reports of male clergy abuse

On Wednesdays, the support group meets over Zoom. The members talk about their lives, their religious families and their old parochial schools. But mostly, they are there to talk about the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Catholic nuns.

The topic deserves more attention, they say. The sexual abuse of children by Catholic sisters and nuns has been overshadowed by far more common reports of male clergy abuse. Women in religious orders have also been abuse victims — but they have been perpetrators too.

“We’ve heard so much about priests who abuse and so little about nuns who abuse that it’s time to restore the balance,” said the group’s founder, Mary Dispenza, herself a former nun, in a speech to abuse survivors last year.

The Trial of Shmuel Krawatsky - by Asher Lovy

Jewish Week article in 2018 by 3 families of sexually abusing their children at Camp Shoresh, a day camp near Baltimore. Shortly following the accusation, Krawatsky filed a federal defamation suit against the families which was dismissed for jurisdictional reasons. Krawatsky then filed another defamation case in state court in September of 2018. In response the families filed a countersuit for the sexual abuse allegedly committed by Krawatsky against their children.

The case has dragged on for 6 years, bogged down in endless procedural fighting. A number of parties were dismissed from the case on both sides. The Jewish Week, and journalist, Hannah Dreyfus, who initially covered the allegations for the Jewish Week (now owned by 70 Faces Media), had initially been defendants in the defamation case, but were removed from the case in summary judgment. Camp Shoresh was also removed from the case after a ruling from the judge determined that they didn’t have sufficient notice to have known that Krawatsky was a potential threat.

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Mother of woman abused by Napa priest whose record was kept hidden speaks out

Santa Rosa, Sacramento Catholic Dioceses go public about priest accused in 2015 and later convicted

The Santa Rosa Diocese has gone public about a Napa County Carmelite priest first accused of abusing a Rocklin girl in 2015 and later convicted of felony molestation.

Former Cardinal Is Ruled Not Competent to Stand Trial in Sex Abuse Case

Theodore McCarrick was the highest-ranking cleric in the nation to face criminal charges in the Catholic church’s sprawling abuse scandal.

Theodore McCarrick grips a walker as he heads into court.
Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., in court in Massachusetts in 2021.Credit...Brian Snyder/Reuters
Ruth Graham

Ruth Graham writes about religion and faith

Jan. 10, 2024

The criminal case against a former cardinal who was once one of the most prominent and revered Catholic leaders in the country was suspended Wednesday, possibly ending efforts to prosecute him on sex abuse charges.

Theodore McCarrick, the highest-ranking Catholic official in the nation to be criminally prosecuted on charges of sexual abuse, was found not competent to stand trial.

Wisconsin county Judge David M. Reddy did not dismiss the case outright, since he said he did not have the power to do so. That decision will be up to District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld, who was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday. His deputy, Jim Sempf, said Mr. Wiedenfeld said Tuesday, the day before the hearing, that he had not wanted to dismiss the charges.

But any future prosecution would likely be difficult. Mr. McCarrick is 93, and his lawyers say he suffers from dementia. The Wisconsin judge said he was “not likely to be competent” within the rest of the statutory time frame that would allow the case to proceed.

The next hearing was not scheduled until December, though the case could be dismissed earlier.

Mr. McCarrick did not attend Wednesday’s hearing. His attorney, Jerome Buting, said the ruling “isn’t a victory or defeat, it’s reality.”


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Archdiocese of New Orleans, abuse survivors still far from settlement; ‘A knife fight since day one’

NEW ORLEANS (LA) [New Orleans, LA]

November 17, 2023

By Stephanie Riegel


After three-and-a-half years of courtroom squabbles, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and attorneys representing hundreds of victims of child sexual abuse are far from a deal that would allow the local Roman Catholic church to emerge from federal bankruptcy protection.

Two days of hearings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where Judge Meredith Grabill is overseeing the church’s Chapter 11 reorganization, covered a host of issues related to property sales, insurance claims and whether survivors of clergy sexual abuse should be permitted to file suit against individual parishes in addition to the archdiocese.

They yielded no rulings and largely demonstrated to parishioners, the public and Grabill how a process Archbishop Gregory Aymond hoped would allow the church to put the abuse crisis behind it had descended into bitter and drawn out legal disputes.

Attorneys representing abuse survivors are frustrated by the lack of progress, they said during the hearings. Meanwhile, attorneys for insurance companies said they’re being left out of settlement talks that will inevitably involve them.

“Everything has been a knife fight since day one,” said an exasperated Grabill while admonishing attorneys for the archdiocese for failing to disclose information related to a property sale.

She said she would likely need to “start imposing a move collaborative process.”

A long fight

Advocates of sex abuse victims want SF Archdiocese to sell unused property as reparations

Survivors group urges S.F. Archdiocese to sell off real estate to pay abuse victims

Nov. 1, 2023 Updated: Nov. 1, 2023 9:40 p.m.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone celebrates Easter Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral on April 12, 2020. A group of abuse survivors are arguing the archdiocese could sell parts of its $5.9 billion real estate portfolio to compensate its hundreds of victims instead of opting for bankruptcy.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone celebrates Easter Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral on April 12, 2020. A group of abuse survivors are arguing the archdiocese could sell parts of its $5.9 billion real estate portfolio to compensate its hundreds of victims instead of opting for bankruptcy.

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

A group of abuse survivors is challenging the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s decision to declare bankruptcy, arguing it could instead sell parts of its multibillion-dollar real estate portfolio to compensate victims. 

More than 500 civil lawsuits have been filed against the archdiocese, accusing hundreds of religious leaders of sexual abuse. The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late August, claiming it was necessary to manage litigation and compensation for each of the cases.

In a letter sent to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone Tuesday, SNAP — the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — argued the archdiocese should instead be utilizing its multibillion-dollar real estate portfolio to compensate victims.  

A pedophile priest fled the U.S. The FBI tracked him. How a California DA let him slip away


Deanna Hampton wants justice for her son. She wants the priest accused of sexually abusing her little boy to be brought back to the United States. She wants him to stand trial. She wants her son’s bravery – exemplified when he testified openly before a grand jury in 2014 – to mean something. Trevor died in a tragic accident two years later. TOP VIDEOS

But Deanna Hampton also wants something else. She wants those she believes have played a role in denying her son justice – most notably the Calaveras County District Attorney and the Catholic Church – to be held accountable. She also has questions for the FBI. The church acknowledges that Father Michael Kelly sexually abused Hampton’s son, Trevor Martin, then an altar boy, and at least two other young boys during his time in the Diocese of Stockton. “The diocese accepts full responsibility for the abuse of Trevor and the pain to him and your family,” a letter to Hampton from the diocese in 2017 said. Kelly denied the allegations.

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‘Grossly insensitive and disrespectful’ – Top US cardinal goes ahead with Armagh mass despite protests by survivors of clerical abuse

Sarah Mac Donald
Yesterday at 21:31

American prelate, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, ignored calls from Irish survivors of clerical abuse to step back from a mass yesterday to mark the 150th anniversary of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh.

Cardinal Dolan, who is the Catholic archbishop of New York, was the chief celebrant at the mass in Armagh.

However, survivors of clerical abuse in the diocese of Dromore, including victims of Fr Malachy Finegan, wrote to Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh ahead of the liturgy, describing themselves as “appalled” by the decision to invite the 73-year-old American prelate to the mass and “the role afforded to him as chief celebrant”.

The American cardinal has been criticised for his role in transferring $57m into a special trust, when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, in order to protect it from legal claims by clerical abuse victims. Other criticisms centre on a leaked 2017 transcript which suggested he sought to block the Child Victims Act, which extended the statute of limitations on victims of abuse in New York to pursue perpetrators in court

The Dromore survivors group expressed solidarity with US abuse survivor Chris O’Leary, who alleges he was abused by American priest Fr LeRoy Valentine at Immacolata parish in Missouri, in St Louis archdiocese in the mid-1970s. Cardinal Dolan served in the same parish at the same time as Fr Valentine.

Mr O’Leary expressed anger that the cardinal was being “feted” in Ireland. Speaking to, he accused the American prelate of brushing off his concerns in 2002 when he approached him as a bishop in St Louis to convey his concerns about Fr Valentine.

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The Court’s Pause: A Necessary Change for Victims

Justia [Mountain View CA]

August 22, 2023

By Kathryn Robb

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Some changes in the law are better late than never.

In 1978, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Reform Act, which created Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In short, Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code system was designed for those honest businesses who fell on hard times. It gave them a new day. The law allows a company to continue its day-to-day operations through the reorganization process and ultimately protects the business from the weight of its creditors.

In the past four decades, class action defendants, and their lawyers, have reaped the most benefits. The protections Congress intended have been morphed into the greatest legal shield for bad actors and negligent institutions. They have worn a clear path in their repeated sprint to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Most notably, they include: Purdue Pharma, Boy Scouts of America, USA Gymnastics, and the Catholic Church.

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