The Catholic Church strictly forbids priests from divulging what penitents tell them duringconfession
A bill that would require clergy to report child abuse or neglect in Washington was advanced by the state’s House, prompting concern from some Catholics who are seeking a clergy-penitent exemption to protect the seal of the confessional.
Catholics in the state have expressed concern the House’s version of the bill could force priests to violate the civil law in order to uphold church law regarding the seal of confession.
The bill passed the House on April 11 in a 75-20 vote.
A Bangor woman wants to warn others of the abuse she endured from former Catholic priest Anthony Cipolle, who was a Reverend at St. John’s in Bangor from 2017 until 2020.
Melissa Kearns, who shared her story with the Portland Press Herald, claims Cipolle sexually, emotionally and psychologically abused her in 2018. The Press Herald says it reviewed numerous texts and emails between Cipolle and Kearns that support her claims.
Cipolle was expelled from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland in 2020 after a Maine judge accused Cipolle of “inflaming” a situation that led to the murder of Renee Henneberry Clark in 2018, who he was a spiritual adviser for.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Cipolle had gotten into a fight with Clark’s brother-in-law, who shot Clark 10 times hours later.
The public has the right to know exactly what that pain and suffering looks like. Not from the loudest attorney or a diocese spokesperson, but from a victim of clergy sexual abuse.
I was one of over 400 plaintiffs under the New York Child Victims Act seeking civil relief from the Albany diocese. As imperfect as it was, the process was providing tangible justice through early releases of documents and depositions. Most notable to me, the 2021 testimony of Bishop Howard Hubbard admitting to sheltering criminal priests: moving them from parish to parish, never notifying the public of their danger. The legal process under the CVA was a godsend. I was finding answers and learned my sadistic priest wasn’t an aberration; he was protected by the church that raised me. I never really stood a chance.
Rep. Carol McEntee's new bill would totally remove time limit on filing suit for child sex abuse by clergy
Alleged victims rallies in support of the bill
RI Catholic Church, ACLU and insurance lobby oppose bill
Case working through courts would determine if RI Diocese was a 'perpetrator' of abuse
PROVIDENCE – The war has begun anew over legal responsibility – and more specifically,who should be made to pay– for the sexual abuse of children, with the Rhode Island Catholic Church, the state's insurance lobby and the ACLU on one side and alleged victims on the other.
And once again, McEntee's sister, Ann Hagan-Webb, a licensed psychologist who specializes in work with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, has told an abridged version of the story she has told Rhode Island lawmakers year after year, for six years.
WORCESTER — Assumption University has donated more than $30,000 in contributions to the university from a retired priest named in a public 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on clerical sexual abuse of children in the state to abuse survivors, Assumption President Gregory Weiner said in a message to the university community.
According to Weiner, the unnamed priest made a bequest commitment to Assumption University's capital campaign in September 2021.
Weiner,who was named university president in Octoberafter serving as its interim leader since April 2022, said he learned in the fall of the gift and the priest's appearance in the grand jury report as someone credibly accused of child sexual abuse.
Weiner said he has since directed the university administration to both review its internal processes for evaluating major gifts and to formally inform the priest that the university will not accept the bequest.
Instead, Weiner said, the university has donated the priest's prior contributions to Assumption totaling $31,713.04 to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). The donation was designated for services to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania.
"While the University is in no position to adjudicate allegations made against any individual, we are in a position to say — and do say — that Assumption has no tolerance for association with anyone credibly accused of heinous crimes against children," Weiner said.
Responding to a reporter's question, Weiner said that the priest's name is public information from the 2018 report, but the university will not identify him as they have no investigative means to assess the allegations.
The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report is one of the broadest inquiries into clerical sexual abuse in the U.S.
Conducted from 2016 to 2018, the redacted report lists over 300 clergy members in from six of Pennsylvania's eight dioceses as facing credible accusations of sexually abusing children.
Names from the dioceses of Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Erie, Greensburg and Harrisburg were included in the report. The dioceses of Philadelphia and Altoona–Johnstown were subject to earlier grand jury investigations and were not part of the 2018 report.
Along with a list of accused clerics, the report details patterns of conduct the grand jury found the dioceses to have used to coverup abuses.
The names of about two-dozen of the listed priests are redacted from the report released to the public.
In a statement, SNAP applauded Assumption's handling of the revelation.
"Through their actions, Assumption University officials are setting an example for Catholic institutions around the world," the statement read. "They are demonstrating an earnest and thoughtful way to go beyond platitudes and take serious and significant action to help survivors heal."
The insurance carrier for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego filed a lawsuit Friday contending that because the diocese violated the terms of its insurance policies, the company should not have to pay out any money to settle claims from hundreds of people alleging they were victims of sexual abuse by clergy over the last several decades.
The lawsuit was filed in San Diego federal court by Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America, the insurance provider for San Diego and other Catholic dioceses. The company wants a judge to order that it has no duty to “defend or indemnify” the diocese or any parish against claims of sexual abuse by clergy from 1958 through 1990.
It is not clear why the lawsuit gives that time frame. The lawyer for Catholic Mutual did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys say 1500 new lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Church in Northern CA alone. The Investigative Unit has independently reviewed nearly 700 of them.
An NBC Bay Area analysis of nearly 700 lawsuits filed against Catholic institutions across Northern California over the past three years suggests the church’s child sexual abuse scandal in the region is significantly worse than the public previously knew.
More than 200 of the clergy and lay employees of the Catholic Church named in the wave of lawsuits have never been publicly accused of being sexually abusive towards children and teenagers until now, NBC Bay Area’s investigation found. Some of the newly accused continue to work as priests.
Other alleged perpetrators named in the civil filings have faced previous accusations but now face new claims, some of them dozens.
Cumberland County Superior Justice Thomas McKeon’s ruling Tuesday means the cases could proceed to trial, but the diocese has 21 days to file an appeal with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. In the meantime, the pre-trial discovery process is still paused.
An attorney and a spokesperson for the diocese did not respond to emails Tuesday afternoon asking about their plans to appeal, but the church has previously said it plans to take the issue to the state’s highest court.
“The court agrees that these questions are important, given the number of related cases already docketed,” McKeon wrote, with “a large number of new cases anticipated.”
Knoxville News Sentinel USA TODAY NETWORK – TENNESSEE February 6, 2023–The Catholic Diocese of Knoxville is asking a judge to grant greater secrecy as the church continues to defend itself in an explosive sexual abuse lawsuit. The effort is in large part due to the reporting of Knox News. The Catholic Diocese of Knoxville has asked a judge to allow it to keep secret internal documents as it defends itself in an explosive sexual abuse lawsuit. The diocese, citing ongoing coverage by Knox News, requested the protection of materials related to the church’s sexual abuse review board and from “private meetings of priests of the Diocese.” The diocese also refiled a request to protect investigative documents related to complaints filed against Bishop Richard Stika. The lawsuit was filed by a former church employee who says he was raped by a church seminarian. The man says the diocese, led by Stika, interfered with the investigation and worked to discredit him. Knox News is not naming the man because he says he was the victim of a sexual assault. The diocese argues it needs protection specifically because of the “continued publicity that this litigation has garnered over the past year – most recently exhibited by the multitude of articles published by the Knoxville News Sentinel over the past month.”