Former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard was questioned last April by attorneys representing people who claim they were sexually abused by priests in the Albany Diocese. The deposition that Hubbard gave under oath was made public on Friday.
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The church needs to name and confront 'clerical fragility'
Last week two major U.S. Catholic universities hosted conferences that engaged ongoing historical and theological research on clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
The first, a symposium titled "Gender, Sex, and Power: Towards a History of Clergy Sex Abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church," was hosted March 27-29 by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame.
The second, a conference titled "'Our transgressions before you are many, and our sins testify against us' (Is 59:12a): Re-Imagining Church in Light of Colonization and Catholic Sexual Abuse," took place at Gonzaga University March 31-April 3.
Although I was out of town and could not attend the Notre Dame event, I was an invited participant in the Gonzaga conference, which was sponsored in part by the "Taking Responsibility" project based at Fordham University. The primary working group consisted of approximately 40 scholars from across North America, mostly historians and theologians (including some who had presented at or attended the Notre Dame symposium just a few days earlier). While there were two plenary sessions open to the public, most of these working sessions were closed to the invited participants.
‘Vos estis’ report charges Brooklyn’s Chappetto put minors at risk
News: 'Vos estis lux mundi'; Diocese of BrooklynThe Pillar
A December complaint sent through the U.S. bishops’ abuse reporting system alleges that a now-retired Brooklyn auxiliary bishop put minors at risk, by enabling a priest to be in contact with teenage girls despite allegations of grooming behavior.
Bishop Raymond Chappetto retired last month as auxiliary bishop and vicar general in the Brooklyn diocese. He is now the subject of a Vatican-ordered investigation under the terms of Vos estis lux mundi, the 2019 policy promulgated by Pope Francis on investigating abuse or administrative misconduct allegations against bishops.
Judge rules parish, school assets can be used to pay sex abuse victims
- Feb 27, 2022
District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ruled on Saturday that funds from the Archdiocese of Agaña’s Catholic parishes and schools could be used to help pay survivors of sexual abuse.
In January 2019, the Archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy to allow it to restructure its finances to pay the plaintiffs in about 202 clergy sex abuse claims.
The church listed $22.96 million in assets, with $45.66 million in liabilities, according to PDN news files.
Attorney Edwin Caldie, who represented some of the survivors and other creditors, said that the parties currently are trying to agree on a settlement between what the claimants are asking and what the church can pay without losing its entire community.
“It’s complicated. The church chose to file for bankruptcy and so the bankruptcy code, all of the laws, federal laws, relating to bankruptcy, they’ll guide and they’ll help us figure out what that is,” Caldie said.
Additionally, because the claims against the church are higher than it can pay, those involved have to figure out how to balance what the church can pay through bankruptcy, while ensuring as much as possible is paid to all victims.
According to Caldie, both the Archdiocese and the committee of survivors have proposed plans for reorganization.
Although Caldie believes that the committee’s plan is feasible, the church disagrees.
“That’s going to be the starting point for our discussions now, with our mediator, to see if we can figure out common ground to settle.”
Although the ruling wasn’t in the Archdiocese’s favor, Archbishop of Agaña Michael J. Byrnes said they will work with the creditor’s committee to compensate victims and survivors while still supporting their ministries, schools and parishes.
“We were all inspired by the extraordinary courage of Mr. (Leo) Tudela and his heartfelt call for everyone to work together for the good of those who have suffered excruciatingly from clergy sexual abuse in our Church, “ Byrnes said in a news release. “On behalf of the entire Catholic Church on Guam, I sincerely apologize for the grave harm members of the Church inflicted on you in past years. I pray for each of you every day. Our entire Archdiocese prays for you at all our Masses.”
He told senators in 2016 that he was sexually abused on three separate occasions by three people, including a priest, Father Louis Brouillard, connected to the Archdiocese of Agaña when he came to Guam in 1956, according to PDN files.
Tudela was among four people who testified at an August 2016 legislative public hearing on Sen. Frank Blas Jr.’s measure that eventually became the public law that lifted the time restriction on lawsuits for victims of child abuse.
At the time, criminal prosecution was impossible in most cases because of the statutes of limitations that were in effect.
The deadline to prosecute offenders expired decades prior, but Guam law has since changed to eliminate time limits on prosecuting future offenders.
Contact reporter Julianne Hernandez at [email protected] or 671-488-1439.
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Meet Two Women Who Uncovered Clergy Sex Abuse In Colombia
02/03/22 AT 4:40 AM
They were working for a Catholic bishop and had clear-cut orders from Pope Francis himself -- probe reports of pedophile priests in a city in Colombia.
What these two investigators -- two Catholic women with experience conducting criminal probes -- found was an utter bombshell: a network of predatory clergymen that sexually abused at least 20 people, reportedly taking turns with one of them.
The abuse was committed in Villavicencio, a central Colombian city of half a million people with a cathedral in the town square, and parts of the surrounding area that fall under one archdiocese.
The pope says fighting clergy sex abuse is one of his priorities, and in 2019, he told the bishop of Villavicencio, Oscar Urbina, to investigate alleged abuses by priests.
Helping other survivors
‘Behind Sacred Walls’ tells one man’s story of being raped by priests
DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
Michael Roberts comes from a religious Catholic family that never missed Sunday mass. And like hundreds of other boys who have come forward, he was abused by the priest at his church.
But Roberts’ story of abuse by Catholic priests is a little different from others. He was a little older than most victims we’ve heard about; he was 17 when he was first raped. But, Roberts explains, he was a young and naïve 17 with no sexual experience.
The purpose of Roberts’ book, Behind Sacred Walls, is to help other victims of abuse by religious figures, not to expose or punish those who hurt him. In fact, Roberts changes the names of his tormentors and never reveals the parish that protected his rapists.
Father Gregory, as Roberts calls him, began inviting himself to dinner with the family every week. Then he invited Michael on day trips. His parents were delighted that their favorite priest was taking such an interest in their son. They couldn’t imagine he was grooming Michael for years of abuse.
When Roberts at first tried to get Father Gregory to stop, the priest told him, “Your family will never find out.” And rather than distance himself from the family, the priest continued to ingratiate himself to them.
And Roberts thought his family would never believe that this kindly priest, who showed such rage in private, was capable of rape.