News Story of the Day

Monk Sexually Abused Former Marmion Academy Student: Aurora Police

Joseph J. Charron, 66, turned himself into police following detectives' extensive investigation into allegations made in September 2021.

Police's extensive investigation included interviewing multiple potential witnesses, collecting evidence and presenting the case to the Kane County State's Attorney's Office, officials said.
Police's extensive investigation included interviewing multiple potential witnesses, collecting evidence and presenting the case to the Kane County State's Attorney's Office, officials said. (Google Maps)

AURORA, IL — A 66-year-old Marmion Abbey monk surrendered to Aurora police Wednesday morning after police determined he sexually abused a former Marmion Academy student, officials said.

Police charged Joseph J. Charron, also known as Brother Andre, with eight felonies, including three charges of criminal sexual assault (force), three charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (sexual conduct by a person in a position of authority of a victim under 18), and two charges of criminal sexual abuse (non-consensual sexual conduct).

In September 2021, Aurora police took a report from the former student detailing several instances of sexual contact with the monk while the person was a student at Marmion Academy, 1000 Butterfield Road, police said.


The monk, who taught at Marmion, didn't stop after the student graduated, according to Aurora police.

Charron was placed on administrative leave after school officials were notified of the allegations, and the monk was barred from the school's campus and other ministerial functions, police said.

Marmion Academy and Marmion Abbey both cooperated with the police's extensive investigation, which included interviewing multiple potential witnesses, collecting evidence and presenting the case to the Kane County State's Attorney's Office, officials said. Marmion's internal investigation into Charron's conduct continues, police noted.

Detectives have not yet determined if Charron had sexual contact with other Marmion Academy students, officials said. Police are asking anyone with information or anyone who might have been victimized by Charron to call the police department's investigations division at 630-256-5500 or email [email protected]


Irish priest appointed to senior Vatican role investigating abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

April 25, 2022

By Patsy McGarry

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An Irish priest, Msgr John Kennedy has been put in charge by Pope Francis of leading investigations into child abuse allegations against the Catholic clergy worldwide.

The 53-year-old monsignor is the new secretary of the disciplinary section at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which has responsibility for dealing with credible allegations against clergy.

He had been serving at the office since being appointed there by Pope Francis in 2017 and his appointment is part of a major shake-up of the Vatican curia being undertaken by Pope Francis.

The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has two new sections: a doctrinal section and a disciplinary section. Italian priest Msgr Armando Matteo has been appointed secretary at the doctrinal section.


Appellate ruling rejects Albany diocese’s efforts to keep pedophile priests’ records secret

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

April 24, 2022

By Brendan J. Lyons

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany’s effort to keep secret the psychological treatment records of suspected pedophile priests was rejected Thursday by a state appellate court in a ruling that could affect thousands of Child Victims Act cases in New York.

The appellate panel also upheld state Supreme Court Justice L. Michael Mackey’s decision ordering the diocese to turn over the personnel records of at least 48 priests whom the church determined had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse over a period stretching from 1946 to 1999.


Oakland priest convicted of child molestation allegedly kills federal worker while driving drunk

April 19, 2022Updated: April 19, 2022 12:22 p.m.
A defrocked Bay Area Catholic priest convicted of child molestation and accused by multiple families of sexual abuse and assault during his decades-long tenure has now been arrested for allegedly killing a man while driving drunk in a gated community.
Stephen Kiesle, the 75-year-old who was at the center of an Associated Press exposé on Pope Benedict, was arrested Sunday morning on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence, Walnut Creek police told Rossmoor.com.

The crash took place at around 9:15 p.m. in the “active adults 55+” gated community of Rossmoor, Rossmoor.com reported, when Curtis and Laurelyn Gunn were walking home from an event at the nearby Gateway Complex. While approaching an intersection, a car going above the 25 mph speed limit hit the Gunns while driving on the curb, striking Curtis head-on and scraping Laurelynn. Curtis Gunn was pronounced dead at the scene, the news site said.

Kiesle was arrested about an hour later, according to Contra Costa County records. 

 


Diocese moves to reinstate freeze on cases

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Beacon [Rochester NY]

April 18, 2022

By Will Astor

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Known as adversarial proceedings or APs for short, such trials look to have a bankruptcy judge resolve differences between parties in a case. Parties not satisfied with a bankruptcy judge’s ruling can appeal the ruling to a federal district court.

As the Rochester Beacon previously reported, the expiration of a Bankruptcy Court stipulation putting the state court sexual-abuse claims against the church on hold came after one of the two parties who struck an agreement some two years ago to halt the state court cases declined to renew the pact. 

Previously, parties to that pact—the bankruptcy’s official creditors committee and the diocese—had renewed the March 2020 agreement 11 times. Late last month, one party balked.


The church needs to name and confront 'clerical fragility'

NCRonline

 

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.


Deposition from former Albany bishop released in diocese abuse investigation

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.


‘Vos estis’ report charges Brooklyn’s Chappetto put minors at risk

News: 'Vos estis lux mundi'; Diocese of Brooklyn

The 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, who retired as Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn March 7, 2022.
Bishop Raymond Chappetto. Credit: Diocese of Brooklyn.

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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.

Balance

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.”


The mediator in the case is bankruptcy judge, Robert Farif who is based in Hawaii.

Byrnes

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.


ACTION ALERT Launch of Survivors' G7 Call to Action to End Childhood Sexual Violence

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 24, 2022, G7 leaders will be meeting in a virtual summit as a kick-off meeting to prepare for the main G7 Summit on June 26-28 June in Germany.  
The G7 Survivors' Mobilization Task Force approved the G7 Call to Action to End Childhood Sexual Violence approved a Survivors' G7 Call to Action to End Childhood Sexual Violence last week
and dozens of survivors organizations and allies are joining this advocacy campaign. 
ACTION REQUEST:
Please Contact the G7 Sherpas, Heads of State, and Cabinets Ministries are our top priority today because of the G7 leaders virtual call tomorrow. You can find the presentation with details of G7 sherpas here.  
If you have additional information/contact information about G7 sherpas please do share it so we can update the presentation.
TALKING POINTS  for conversations with, or emails to, G7 sherpas here.
G7 TARGET LIST with a tab for every G7 country here  If you have additional information/contact information please do share it so we can update the spreadsheet.

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