News Story of the Day

After 20 years, North Jersey memorial to clergy abuse victims still stirs strong emotions

A Millstone memorial to victims of church sex abuse outside St. Joseph Church in Mendham, the 400-pound memorial honors victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, including victims at the parish itself. July 26, 2018. Mendham, NJ Bob Karp/Staff Photographer

By William Westhoven, Morristown Daily Record

April 29, 2024

Twenty years ago this month, what's thought to be the nation's first memorial to victims of clergy sexual abuse was unveiled at a church in a quiet corner of Morris County.

Today, two of the men who achieved that milestone at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Mendham are still challenging church leaders to acknowledge that "a lot of work still needs to be done."

"They still don't get it," said Monsignor Kenneth Lasch of his fellow clergy.

Lasch, now retired, was pastor at St. Joseph's in 1994 when victims of long-rumored sexual abuse at the church finally went public.

After the first of those survivors, Mark Serrano, came forward, "my life changed forever at that point," Lasch said in an interview, as the U.S. marked National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

A local tragedy gained national attention

Serrano would later became a national advocate for clergy abuse victims through the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). He took his story to the New York Times in 2002. The resulting front-page article brought national attention to a shocking local scandal.

More victims would soon come forward, including William Crane Jr., who with his twin brother was abused by clergy both at St. Joseph's and the nearby Delbarton School, where he lived on campus while his father served as assistant headmaster.

A priest at St. Joseph's, the Rev. James Hanley, was eventually defrocked after admitting he molested at least a dozen children and claiming Crane was the last.

Exclusive: US archdiocese must submit clergy-abuse documents to police

The Guardian

By: in New Orleans and David Hammer of WWL Louisiana

Date: April 24, 2024

In criminal investigation, New Orleans judge demands paper trail from archbishop Gregory Aymond all the way to the Vatican

The criminal investigation into child sexual abuse in New Orleans’ Roman Catholic archdiocese has entered a major new phase, after a judge ordered the church to turn over records to Louisiana state police showing how it responded to abuse allegations over the last several decades.

The order signed on Monday seeks files that would identify every priest and deacon accused of abusing children while working in the US’s second-oldest archdiocese; when those complaints were first made; and whether the church turned those cases over to police, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

Significantly, police are also demanding copies of all communications among New Orleans’ current archbishop, Gregory Aymond, his aides and their superiors at the Vatican, those sources said.

Advocates call for change after sexual misconduct allegations made against two Valley priests

By: Sarah Cervera, Channel 5, Rio Grande Valley, Texas

April 23, 2024 10:34 AM

Half a dozen advocates gathered in front of the San Juan Basilica on Monday to call for change.

As Channel 5 News has reported, in the last two months, two Catholic priests were accused of sexual misconduct.

"We wanted to give voice to the survivors that are here and make sure people understand why it's so hard for them to come forward," Patricia Koo said.

Koo is the SNAP San Antonio Chapter Leader. SNAP stands for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Cameron County DA’s office investigating McAllen priest accused of sexual misconduct

By Mark Reagan

Posted: April 20, 2024

The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation into a McAllen priest who resigned after the Diocese of Brownsville on April 3 issued a statement that it had received an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against the priest.

In a Friday afternoon statement, the DA’s office said that on April 4, another person contacted that office and also raised an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against Monsignor Gustavo Barrera.

“The allegation is under investigation by the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office,” the statement reads.

This is the DA’s office’s first public comment on the allegations against Barrera, who formerly served at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in McAllen.

Catholic Church in Kalamazoo releases list of people no longer allowed to work with children

By: Zac Harmon

Posted: April 18, 2024

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo is working on sweeping changes to its policy to protect children and youth with the first action being made Thursday, in the middle of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Bishop Edward Lohse announced a list of people being removed from eligibility of working with children in the catholic churches in the diocese. The people named in the list were accused of a number of different violations, including breaking the child-protection policy, failing to report allegations of abuse of minors, failing to prevent abuse they knew was happening, providing pornography to children, possession of child pornography, physical abuse of children, and sexually assaulting a child.

At 50, I had a flashback to a priest abusing me as a child. Then I decided to confront him

Mary Dispenza at home in Washington

'I was facing difficult truths – and once you start, you don’t want to stop’ ... Mary Dispenza at home in Washington. Photograph: Annabel Clark, The Guardian


Published by The Guardian

Mary Dispenza was almost 50 when she experienced her first flashback. At the time, she was in a workshop entitled Sexual Misconduct on the Part of the Clergy, which she had been asked to attend as part of her job in pastoral support for the Roman Catholic archdiocese in Seattle. To this day, she isn’t sure what words unleashed that memory.

She recalls only how clammy her hands became and how the room suddenly started spinning as she saw her seven-year-old self being lifted on to the lap of a priest in a dark, empty auditorium. She knew in an instant who he was.

Dispenza urgently wanted to leave that workshop, but she sat through to the end. “I didn’t fall apart, I didn’t tell anyone, but it cracked me open and woke me up,” she says. “It was amazing to me that I could really bury that for so long … but that’s what we do to survive.”

Dispenza talks of using two “survival strategies”. At first, she buried the knowledge, hiding it from everyone – including herself – as she built a life at the heart of the Catholic church, even spending 15 years as a nun. She describes it as “splitting” – a dissociation so complete that, even as the horror happened, she could function and move forward without giving it any conscious thought.

After that flashback, Dispenza needed a new strategy. She confronted her abuser, joined a class-action lawsuit against him for damages and has spent decades supporting other victims and campaigning to hold the church accountable for covering up sexual abuse. It is what she calls “a truth telling”, a move into the light.

Catholic Diocese of Sacramento files for bankruptcy, survivor group objects

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) worries the Diocese filing for bankruptcy means survivors will get much lower settlement payments.



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.

Read more here>>>>

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.

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