News Story of the Day

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.

‘Who’s gonna believe an 11-year-old kid?’: WTOP anchor speaks out on being sexually abused by Catholic priest

A nightmare has haunted WTOP anchor Dan Ronan for decades. The recurring dream has plagued him for most of his life.

“I’m being chased out of the parking lot,” 63-year-old Ronan told WTOP’s DMV Download podcast. “I’m being chased through that parking lot on a dark evening. And he’s chasing me and he’s … screaming at me. And before he would catch me, I would wake up sweating and crying and shaking.”

In 1971, Ronan was sexually assaulted in Chicago, Illinois, by Father Thomas Gannon — a respected priest and professor who went on to teach sociology at Georgetown University between 1983 and 1986. Ronan was in the sixth grade at the time, and didn’t tell a soul about the assault for nearly 50 years.

‘I lost my childhood': Church abuse victims face lifetime of trauma

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NBC Bay Area has interviewed dozens of alleged victims and reviewed hundreds of recent lawsuits. Struggles with addiction, self-harm and legal trouble are common

NBC Universal, Inc.
NBC Bay Area has interviewed dozens of alleged victims and reviewed hundreds of recent lawsuits. Struggles with addiction, self-harm and legal trouble are common. Candice Nguyen reports.

Behind every court document in a new wave of lawsuits hitting the Catholic church is a tragic human story. 

Those stories are coming out across the state in the thousands, since a 2019 law opened a three-year window for child sex abuse victims to file new civil lawsuits, no matter when the alleged abuse occurred. 

NBC Bay Area has interviewed dozens of new accusers and reviewed hundreds of recent lawsuits. Addiction, isolation, depression and jail are all common themes in the lives of those who say they suffered abuse.

For one such woman, who asked NBC Bay Area to keep her name confidential, it took her own paralysis to interrupt that vicious cycle.

“I lost my childhood,” Jane Doe said. “I never had one. It molded me for what I was for  the rest of my life.”

Women say ‘Keepers’ figure was unnamed rapist in Catholic abuse report

The Baltimore Banner [Baltimore MD]

July 31, 2023

By Justin Fenton and Julie Scharper

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The women spent hours recounting painful memories to investigators with the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. They told of the priests who pulled them out of class at Archbishop Keough High School 50 years ago, then brutally raped and sexually assaulted them.

But when the attorney general’s office released its massive report on sex abuse in Baltimore’s Catholic archdiocese in April, the two women were shocked. Their stories were there on page 258, but a key detail was missing: the name of one of the men who they say raped them.

The report names more than 150 clergy and archdiocesan personnel accused of perpetrating or covering up abuse, with 15 names redacted. But this man’s name was not in the report. He was described only as “the Jesuit intern.”

Misconduct claims against two priests found to be unsubstantiated, another claim substantiated

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