News Story of the Day

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.

Former Cardinal Is Ruled Not Competent to Stand Trial in Sex Abuse Case

Theodore McCarrick was the highest-ranking cleric in the nation to face criminal charges in the Catholic church’s sprawling abuse scandal.

Theodore McCarrick grips a walker as he heads into court.
Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., in court in Massachusetts in 2021.Credit...Brian Snyder/Reuters
Ruth Graham

Ruth Graham writes about religion and faith

Jan. 10, 2024

The criminal case against a former cardinal who was once one of the most prominent and revered Catholic leaders in the country was suspended Wednesday, possibly ending efforts to prosecute him on sex abuse charges.

Theodore McCarrick, the highest-ranking Catholic official in the nation to be criminally prosecuted on charges of sexual abuse, was found not competent to stand trial.

Wisconsin county Judge David M. Reddy did not dismiss the case outright, since he said he did not have the power to do so. That decision will be up to District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld, who was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday. His deputy, Jim Sempf, said Mr. Wiedenfeld said Tuesday, the day before the hearing, that he had not wanted to dismiss the charges.

But any future prosecution would likely be difficult. Mr. McCarrick is 93, and his lawyers say he suffers from dementia. The Wisconsin judge said he was “not likely to be competent” within the rest of the statutory time frame that would allow the case to proceed.

The next hearing was not scheduled until December, though the case could be dismissed earlier.

Mr. McCarrick did not attend Wednesday’s hearing. His attorney, Jerome Buting, said the ruling “isn’t a victory or defeat, it’s reality.”


Full article here>>>

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

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