News Story of the Day

As a child, I was relentlessly abused by a Catholic priest. As an adult, it almost killed me twice

Gerard Gorman faced unimaginable horror as an 11-year-old boarder in County Armagh. The pain haunted him for decades – then he took on the church


It was November 1970 and Northern Ireland was sliding into the Troubles, but for Gerard Gorman, a new pupil at St Colman’s College, the horror of that era began when Fr Malachy Finegan summoned him into a room, closed the door and told him to sit on a sofa.

Gorman was 11 years old and small for his age, with big blue eyes. Two months earlier, he had started as a boarder at the Catholic boys’ school in Newry, County Armagh. Staff tended to be aloof or intimidating, except Finegan, the religious education teacher, who was solicitous and avuncular.

DeSantis OKs $20 million to go to victims at Dozier, Okeechobee boys schools

Gov. Ron DeSantis Friday OK'd a process for hundreds of elderly men known as the White House Boys to apply for reparations for beatings and rapes they endured as children while in state custody.  

The governor signed the Dozier School for Boys and Okeechobee School Victim Compensation bill (HB 21), according to state Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, one of the bill's backers.

Gateway Church’s Robert Morris sex abuse allegations should spur revival laws in Texas

Victims should have a period of time to file civil suits after the statute of limitations has expired.

Pastor Robert Morris applauds during a roundtable discussion at Gateway Church Dallas Campus on Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Dallas. A statement issued on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, said that Morris has resigned after a woman said he had abused her on multiple occasions in the 1980s, beginning when she was 12.(Alex Brandon / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Last week, Cindy Clemishire came forward with allegations of child sexual abuse by Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church. Morris did not deny the allegations. What Morris did is what many abusers do — minimize and soften the descriptions of his behavior. It was, as Morris said, “inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady.”

It was more than “inappropriate.” If Clemishire’s allegations are true, it was criminal. And she was not a “young lady.” She alleges the abuse began when she was was 12.

A 12-year-old is generally in sixth or seventh grade. Her brain and body are still growing. Her permanent teeth are still emerging. She can’t drive, drink alcohol, smoke or vote. A 12-year-old is a child.

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 13 men report being victims of sexual assault as children. Those numbers equal a shocking 11% of all children worldwide.

Because of these alarming numbers, many state legislatures are responding with commonsense reforms to statutes of limitations. Unfortunately, Texas isn’t one of them yet.

Deceased Spanish Jesuit accused of abusing ‘hundreds’ of Indigenous girls

National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

June 19, 2024

By David Agren, OSV News


A Spanish Jesuit has been discovered to have documented his abuse of hundreds of Indigenous girls while serving as a missionary in rural Bolivia — atrocities which the Society of Jesus has known about since at least 2019 and did not immediately report to the civil authorities.

Jesuit Father Luis María Roma wrote in a diary of abusing girls, whom he often lured to a river and photographed inappropriately, according to the Spanish newspaper El País. The Jesuit province in Bolivia compiled a report on Roma’s acts in 2019, but withheld it from prosecutors, according to El País, which obtained a copy of the priest’s diary and the Jesuit’s investigation.

Dorothy Small on Abuse of Adults in the Roman Catholic Church

Dorothy Small an advocate for SNAP, Survivor Network for those Abused by Priests since 2019, was a child sex abuse victim. She also experienced sexual abuse by a clergyman as an adult. Dorothy courageously addressed the latter through successful litigation publicly disclosing her identity prior to the inception of the #Me Too movement. Victimized but not a victim she shares how she moved beyond surviving to thriving using adversity as a powerful motivator. She fortified herself with knowledge of personability disorders and tactics used by predators to help her spot wolves in sheep’s clothing. This has enabled her to feel safe in a world where safety is not guaranteed, even in institutions where one would expect it such as religious. A retired registered nurse with over forty years of clinical experience, Dorothy lives with her loving fur companions Bradley Cooper and Captain Ron, Boston Terriers. She is a self-published author, cancer survivor, mother, and grandmother. Dorothy is currently working on a book detailing her experiences in moving beyond a life of abuse and into a new life of freedom. 

San Diego Diocese to file for bankruptcy in the wake of hundreds of abuse claims

KPBS [San Diego CA]

June 14, 2024

By City News Service


The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego announced today that it will file for bankruptcy in the wake of hundreds of legal claims from alleged sexual abuse victims.

In a letter to parishioners and clergy, Cardinal Robert McElroy wrote that bankruptcy would help the Diocese fulfill its goals going forward, while also compensating abuse victims.

Last year, McElroy announced the possibility of bankruptcy in a separate letter, as he wrote then that the Diocese “must face the staggering legal costs” in response to lawsuits alleging abuse dating back as far as 1945.

Angry Catholics Wanted to Burn the Church. He Came to Save It.

New York Times [New York NY]

June 13, 2024

By Norimitsu Onishi


The Rev. Gérard Tsatselam boarded the ferryboat and settled in his usual place, on a reclining seat, at the back of a cold, unlit room that would have been packed in summer. Uneasy, he sat shrouded in his large, black coat as high winter winds delayed the boat’s arrival in the village where he was trying to save the church.

Except for a quick stopover for a funeral, he had not visited his parish — in Unamen Shipu, an Indigenous reserve on the frigid, isolated coast of northeastern Quebec — in months. Mold had invaded the presbytery and left him scrambling for lodging on each visit.

Another reason behind his unease was the enduring fallout from the accusations of sexual and other abuse by a predecessor, a Belgian priest. Though the transgressions dated back decades, during what Father Gérard called the Roman Catholic Church’s “colonial” era, dealing with the parishioners’ anger and distrust had fallen to him — a priest and missionary from the Central African nation of Cameroon.

Father Gérard had been Unamen Shipu’s priest for four years, and his predecessor long dead, when the accusations were leveled in 2017.

“The moment they came out, the dynamics changed,” he had said before boarding. “There’s a before and an after.”

He had watched, helplessly, as most of his parishioners broke with the church.

Now, returning to Unamen Shipu, Father Gérard planned to comfort his dwindling flock and restore the faith of those who had left. He would try to assuage the rage that had fueled threats to burn down the presbytery and to cast his predecessor’s body into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

“It’s a complex terrain,” Father Gérard said. “People are still Christian. They’re religious, they believe, they still have faith. But they’re really hurting a lot.”

“Too much,” he added after a pause, so softly it was easy to miss.

La. Supreme Court reverses previous decision, upholds law for childhood sex abuse lawsuits

June 12, 2014


In a stunning reversal of its decision earlier this year, the Louisiana Supreme Court has upheld a state law giving survivors of childhood sex abuse more time to file lawsuits, a ruling that holds particular significance for Roman Catholic dioceses across the state and hundreds of survivors of childhood abuse by priests and deacons.

In an opinion issued Wednesday, the state’s high court ruled 5-2 that the “lookback window,” which was unanimously approved by the legislature several years ago, is constitutional, giving abuse survivors a three-year window to file damage suits for the past abuse, regardless of how long ago it occurred.

"Given Louisiana's legitimate interest in protecting its citizens who were sexually abused as minors and in providing them with the ability to seek redress in the courts ... it is clear that defendants have failed to satisfy the heavy burden of proving the unconstitutionality" of the law, Chief Justice John Weimer wrote for the majority.

Joining Weimer in the majority were Justices William Crain and Jay McCallum, who supported the law in March, and also Justices Scott Crichton and Piper Griffin, who reversed their earlier stances.

Advocate Stephen Jimenez reflects on progress in honoring Child Victims Act

Spectrum News [New York NY]

June 6, 2024


Back in April, a state appeals court ruled that the insurance company Chubb may move forward with its lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New York.

Chubb is arguing its policies shouldn’t cover claims of child sexual abuse that may have been enabled and covered up by church officials.

However, advocates of child victims are pushing back and accusing Chubb and other insurers of denying and delaying payment to survivors to protect their own profits.

They are now calling on lawmakers and the State Attorney General’s office to intervene and investigate those insurance companies.

Stephen Jimenez, an advocate and survivor of childhood sexual abuse who helped pass the Child Victims Act five years ago, joined NY1 political anchor Errol Louis on “Inside City Hall” Thursday to discuss more.

Brownsville priest indicted on child sexual abuse charges

May 14, 2024

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.

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