August 17, 2018
Mark Alan Feeney and David John Croyle accused of sexual assault of a minor
KITTANNING (KDKA) — A church pastor and a fire marshal in Armstrong County are accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.
State police say 55-year-old Mark Alan Feeney, of Applewold, Pa., and 60-year-old David John Croyle, of Kittanning, are facing statutory sexual assault charges.
The two men allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy multiple times between April and September of 2016.
Croyle is a church pastor, Kittanning newspaper publisher and the vice president of the Kittanning City Council.
Feeney is a former fire chief and the present fire marshal for two Buffalo Township volunteer fire companies. He has been suspended pending the outcome of the criminal case. Feeney also was on the Applewold Town Council at one time.
Investigators tell KDKA the victim first met Croyle when he applied for a job at the Kittanning Paper.
Croyle allegedly sexually assaulted the teenager inside his apartment.
Troopers say they have text messages and other digital evidence to back up the victim’s account.
Feeney allegedly assaulted the teenager at his home on Ridge Avenue.
Investigators say Feeney and Croyle are acquaintances and they are not ruling out the possibility that Croyle may have introduced the victim to Feeney. They also say there’s no mistaking that both suspects knew the victim was minor.
“It was no accident. There was no mistake of age. It was an intentional act. They knew what they were doing,” Trooper Robert Rottman said.
Croyle and Feeney are in the Armstrong County Jail, both held on $150,000 bond.
August 4, 2018
- Peter Ball has moved to Somerset to start a new life after sex abuse conviction
- Ball, 86, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for historic abuse against boys
- The former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester was a friend of Prince Charles
“There is much more opportunity for sex with children in the Catholic Church,” says Ball.
A sex abuser bishop who was supported by Prince Charles has started a new life in the West Country where he hopes to become a Catholic.
Peter Ball, 86, moved into an 18th century property in a Somerset village after his release from prison last year for abusing 16 young men.
The revelations come days after it emerged Charles had described him as the victim of ‘monstrous wrongs’.
The supportive relationship was detailed in a series of letters given to the child sex abuse inquiry, which heard new claims of an alleged Establishment ‘cover up’ of Ball’s behaviour.
Despite his offences, the former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester is still the recipient of a generous Church of England pension.
Ball last night said he had been forbidden from discussing the ongoing inquiry, which is investigating how he escaped prosecution for decades after his offending came to light.
July 28. 2018
Philip Wilson in his magic penis hat
July 28, 2018
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The nun no longer goes to confession regularly, after an Italian priest forced himself on her while she was at her most vulnerable: recounting her sins to him in a university classroom nearly 20 years ago.
At the time, the sister only told her provincial superior and her spiritual director, silenced by the Catholic Church’s culture of secrecy, her vows of obedience and her own fear, repulsion and shame.
“It opened a great wound inside of me,” she told the Associated Press. “I pretended it didn’t happen.”
After decades of silence, the nun is one of a handful worldwide to come forward recently on an issue that the Catholic Church has yet to come to terms with: The sexual abuse of religious sisters by priests and bishops. An AP examination has found that cases have emerged in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia, demonstrating that the problem is global and pervasive, thanks to the universal tradition of sisters’ second-class status in the Catholic Church and their ingrained subservience to the men who run it.
Some nuns are now finding their voices, buoyed by the #MeToo movement and the growing recognition that adults can be victims of sexual abuse when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. The sisters are going public in part because of years of inaction by church leaders, even after major studies on the problem in Africa were reported to the Vatican in the 1990s.
The issue has flared in the wake of scandals over the sexual abuse of children, and recently of adults, including revelations that one of the most prominent American cardinals, Theodore McCarrick, sexually abused and harassed his seminarians.
The extent of the abuse of nuns is unclear, at least outside the Vatican. Victims are reluctant to report the abuse because of well-founded fears they won’t be believed, experts told the AP. Church leaders are reluctant to acknowledge that some priests and bishops simply ignore their vows of celibacy, knowing that their secrets will be kept.
However, this week, about half a dozen sisters in a small religious congregation in Chile went public on national television with their stories of abuse by priests and other nuns — and how their superiors did nothing to stop it. A nun in India recently filed a formal police complaint accusing a bishop of rape, something that would have been unthinkable even a year ago.
Cases in Africa have come up periodically; in 2013, for example, a well-known priest in Uganda wrote a letter to his superiors that mentioned “priests romantically involved with religious sisters” — for which he was promptly suspended from the church until he apologized in May. And the sister in Europe spoke to the AP to help bring the issue to light.
“I am so sad that it took so long for this to come into the open, because there were reports long ago,” Karlijn Demasure, one of the church’s leading experts on clergy sexual abuse and abuse of power, told the AP in an interview. “I hope that now actions will be taken to take care of the victims and put an end to this kind of abuse.”
TAKING VICTIMS SERIOUSLY
The Vatican declined to comment on what measures, if any, it has taken to assess the scope of the problem globally, what it has done to punish offenders and care for the victims. A Vatican official said it is up to local church leaders to sanction priests who sexually abuse sisters, but that often such crimes go unpunished both in civil and canonical courts.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the issue, said only some cases arrive at the Holy See for investigation. It was a reference to the fact that the Catholic Church has no clear measures in place to investigate and punish bishops who themselves abuse or allow abusers to remain in their ranks — a legal loophole that has recently been highlighted by the McCarrick case.
The official said the church has focused much of its attention recently on protecting children, but that vulnerable adults “deserve the same protection.”
“Consecrated women have to be encouraged to speak up when they are molested,” the official told the AP. “Bishops have to be encouraged to take them seriously, and make sure the priests are punished if guilty.”
But being taken seriously is often the toughest obstacle for sisters who are sexually abused, said Demasure, until recently executive director of the church’s Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the church’s leading think tank on the issue.
“They (the priests) can always say ‘she wanted it,’” Demasure said. “It is also difficult to get rid of the opinion that it is always the woman who seduces the man, and not vice versa.”
Demasure said many priests in Africa, for example, struggle with celibacy because of traditional and cultural beliefs in the importance of having children. Novices, who are just entering religious life, are particularly vulnerable because they often need a letter from their parish priest to be accepted into certain religious congregations. “And sometimes they have to pay for that,” she said.
And when these women become pregnant?
“Mainly she has an abortion. Even more than once. And he pays for that. A religious sister has no money. A priest, yes,” she said.
There can also be a price for blowing the whistle on the problem.
In 2013, the Rev. Anthony Musaala in Kampala, Uganda wrote what he called an open letter to members of the local Catholic establishment about “numerous cases” of alleged sex liaisons of priests, including with nuns. He charged that it was “an open secret that many Catholic priests and some bishops, in Uganda and elsewhere, no longer live celibate chastity.”
He was sanctioned, even though Ugandan newspapers regularly report cases of priests caught in sex escapades. The topic is even the subject of a popular novel taught in high schools.
In 2012, a priest sued a bishop in western Uganda who had suspended him and ordered him to stop interacting with at least four nuns. The priest, who denied the allegations, lost the suit, and the sisters later withdrew their own suit against the bishop.
Archbishop John Baptist Odama, leader of the local Ugandan conference of bishops, told the AP that unverified or verified allegations against individual priests should not be used to smear the whole church.
“Individual cases may happen, if they are there,” he said Thursday. “Individual cases must be treated as individual cases.”
PRIESTLY ABUSE OF NUNS IS NOT A NEW PROBLEM
Long before the most recent incidents, confidential reports into the problem focused on Africa and AIDS were prepared in the 1990s by members of religious orders for top church officials. In 1994, the late Sr. Maura O’Donohue wrote the most comprehensive study about a six-year, 23-nation survey, in which she learned of 29 nuns who had been impregnated in a single congregation.
Nuns, she reported, were considered “safe” sexual partners for priests who feared they might be infected with HIV if they went to prostitutes or women in the general population.
Four years later, in a report to top religious superiors and Vatican officials, Sr. Marie McDonald said harassment and rape of African sisters by priests is “allegedly common.” Sometimes, when a nun becomes pregnant, the priest insists on an abortion, the report said.
The problem travelled when the sisters were sent to Rome for studies. They “frequently turn to seminarians and priests for help in writing essays. Sexual favors are sometimes the payment they have to make for such help,” the report said.
The reports were never meant to be made public. The U.S. National Catholic Reporter put them online in 2001, exposing the depths of a scandal the church had long sought to keep under wraps. To date, the Vatican hasn’t said what, if anything, it ever did with the information.
Sister Paola Moggi, a member of the Missionary Combonian Sisters — a religious congregation with a significant presence in 16 African countries — said in her experience the African church “had made great strides” since the 1990s, when she did missionary work in Kenya, but the problem has not been eliminated.
“I have found in Africa sisters who are absolutely emancipated and who say what they think to a priest they meet who might ask to have sex with them,” she told the AP.
“I have also found sisters who said ‘Well, you have to understand their needs, and that while we only have a monthly cycle a man has a continuous cycle of sperm’ — verbatim words from the ’90s,” she said.
But the fact that in just a few weeks scandals of priests allegedly molesting sisters have erupted publicly on two other continents — Asia and Latin America — suggests that the problem is not confined to Africa, and that some women are now willing to break the taboo to denounce it publicly.
In India, a sister of the Missionaries of Jesus filed a police report last month alleging a bishop raped her in May 2014 during a visit to the heavily Christian state of Kerala, and that he subsequently sexually abused her around a dozen more times over the following two years, Indian media have reported. The bishop denied the accusation and said the woman was retaliating against him for having taken disciplinary action against her for her own sexual misdeeds.
In Chile, the scandal of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, an order dedicated to health care in the diocese of Talca, erupted at the same time the country’s entire Catholic hierarchy has been under fire for decades of sex abuse and cover-ups. The scandal got so bad that in May, Francis summoned all Chilean bishops to Rome, where they all offered to resign en masse.
The case, exposed by the Chilean state broadcaster, involves accusations of priests fondling and kissing nuns, including while naked, and some religious sisters sexually abusing younger ones. The victims said they told their mother superior, but that she did nothing. Talca’s new temporary bishop has vowed to find justice.
The Vatican is well aware that religious sisters have long been particularly vulnerable to abuse. Perhaps the most sensational account was detailed in the 2013 book “The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio,” based on the archives of the Vatican’s 1860s Inquisition trial of abuse, embezzlement, murder and “false holiness” inside a Roman convent. Once word got out, the Vatican poured the full force of its Inquisition to investigate and punish.
It remains to be seen what the Vatican will do now that more sisters are speaking out.
ONE SISTER’S STORY — AND YEARS OF HURT
The sister who spoke to the AP about her assault in 2000 during confession at a Bologna university clasped her rosary as she recounted the details.
She recalled exactly how she and the priest were seated in two armchairs face-to-face in the university classroom, her eyes cast to the floor. At a certain point, she said, the priest got up from his chair and forced himself on her. Petite but not frail, she was so shocked, she said, that she grabbed him by the shoulders and with all her strength, stood up and pushed him back into his chair.
The nun continued with her confession that day. But the assault — and a subsequent advance by a different priest a year later — eventually led her to stop going to confession with any priest other than her spiritual father, who lives in a different country.
“The place of confession should be a place of salvation, freedom and mercy,” she said. “Because of this experience, confession became a place of sin and abuse of power.”
She recalled at one point a priest in whom she had confided had apologized “on behalf of the church.” But nobody ever took any action against the offender, who was a prominent university professor.
The woman recounted her story to the AP without knowing that at that very moment, a funeral service was being held for the priest who had assaulted her 18 years earlier.
She later said the combination of his death and her decision to speak out lifted a great weight.
“I see it as two freedoms: freedom of the weight for a victim, and freedom of a lie and a violation by the priest,” she said. “I hope this helps other sisters free themselves of this weight.”
July 25, 2018
Acton Bowen, serial child rapist
We covered the case of Acton Bowen — an author, public speaker, and evangelist with ties to failed Senate candidate Roy Moore — earlier this year. He was taken into custody after being charged with second-degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, and second-degree abuse.
Now, he’s facing a new charge on the same grounds.
According to court records made public Thursday, the 37-year-old founder of Acton Bowen Outreach, was indicted June 22 on a felony charge of traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act.
… [Bowen] was initially arrested in April on those charges brought by Hoover police. The victim in that case was a young male, but police did not release his age except to say he is over 12 and under 16.
The new indictment involves the same Hoover victim, and an alleged incident that happened around the same time as the other reported crimes.
Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector said the department’s Special Victim’s Unit first launched the investigation three weeks prior to Bowen’s April 10 arrest. According to Alabama law, a person commits the crime of [second-degree] sodomy if he or she, being 16 years old or older, engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person less than 16 and more than 12 years old.
This story seems to be getting more intense. While the victim is the same, Bowen is now accused of traveling in order to commit the crime.
On the new charge, the indictment states Bowen “did knowingly and willfully travel within this state, to this state, or from this state by any means, or attempted to do so, or knowingly causes another person to do so or attempt to do so, for the purpose of engaging in any unlawful sex act with a child, including sexual intercourse, sodomy, a sexual performance, obscene sexual performance, or other sexual conduct for the benefit of (Bowen).” His bond on the new charge is set at $60,000 but he is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on no bond.
In addition to charges and arrests in numerous regions, there’s also a warrant out against Bowen from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. Authorities say they expect more charges against him in more counties, and that the FBI is involved.
There’s no telling how big this case will get, or how Bowen was able to keep his godly disguise on for so long, but I am glad he’s in custody and unable to hurt any kids. Hopefully those victims will get the justice they deserve.
July 17, 2018
Troy Anthony Piccaluga, child rapist
VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — A Methodist minister accused of having sex with two teenage girls has been arrested in Mississippi.
Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace told news media that 48-year-old Rev. Troy Anthony Piccaluga is charged with two counts of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery. He was charged Friday after being accused of having sex with girls between the ages of 14 and 16.
Piccaluga is the pastor at United Methodist churches in Eagle Lake and Redwood.
Pace says Piccaluga made contact with the girls between January and March.
Piccaluga is being held at the Vicksburg jail. It’s unclear if he has an attorney.
July 21, 2018
July 12, 2018
James “Ronnie” Messer, child rapist
A Morristown pastor was arrested Saturday and charged with aggravated statutory rape and sexual battery by an authority figure, according to a Newport Police Department report.
James “Ronnie” Messer was arrested at 11 p.m. Saturday after a family told police a 17-year-old girl had been raped by the pastor.
The girl’s sister reportedly told police the 17-year-old girl rode with the pastor to the Crossway Worship Center, after their plans to go swimming in the Hartford area were derailed by swift and muddy water.
The pastor reportedly led the girl through the Worship Center’s rear entrance to a room across from the men’s restroom where he raped her.
The pastor told police he thought the assault against the underage girl was consensual, according to the report. He was subsequently transferred to the Cocke County jail.
July 12. 2018
July 3. 2018
John A. Sarro, child rapist
Delaware prosecutors for the first time have brought criminal child molestation charges against a Catholic priest.
An indictment issued by a grand jury Monday charges 76-year-old John A. Sarro with first-degree unlawful sexual intercourse and second-degree unlawful sexual contact.
The charges involve a girl who was under the age of 16. Sarro is accused of fondling her sometime between September 1991 and August 1992 by touching her breasts. Prosecutors allege he later had oral sex with the girl between July 1993 and July 1994.
Sarro was one of several priests, both living and dead, about whom the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington disclosed in 2006 that it had received admitted, corroborated or otherwise substantiated allegations of sexual abuse.
In 2011, after seeking bankruptcy protection amid widespread allegations of child sex abuse by priests, the diocese agreed to pay more than $70 million in a settlement with nearly 150 alleged victims of sexual abuse.
But until now, no accused priest has faced criminal charges.
Sarro’s indictment appears to be based on a change in Delaware’s criminal code several years ago.
While the code states that prosecutions for most felonies must be commenced within 5 years, lawmakers approved a provision in 2003 allowing the prosecution for certain child sex offenses to be commenced “at any time.” The provision applied to all causes of action arising before, on or after July 15, 1992, the year that the statute of limitations had originally been expanded.
Prior to 2003, prosecutions for sexual offenses could be started either before the statute of limitations expired or, if that time had expired, within two years after the initial disclosure of the crime to authorities. The change in the law eliminated the statute of limitations altogether.
“This is totally unprecedented for Delaware,” Thomas Neuberger, an attorney who represented several alleged victims in the diocese bankruptcy case, said of the criminal charges against Sarro.
Neither Neuberger nor Bart Dalton, another lawyer involved in the diocese case, could recall Sarro’s name ever coming up, or any accusations against him by their clients.
“We never had anybody complain about Sarro,” Neuberger said, noting that his clients did include those who attended the same parish where Sarro worked.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the diocese said that in 2011, an individual reported abuse by Sarro at St. Helena Parish in Wilmington in the early 1990s. The diocese says it asked the individual for permission to report the abuse to law enforcement. The individual declined.
Diocesan officials said they were first made aware of alleged sex abuse by Sarro in 1997. He was then removed from ministry, prohibited from celebrating the sacraments in public, and barred from presenting himself as a Catholic priest. Church officials say the alleged abuse took place in the 1980s in Papua, New Guinea, where Sarro served as a missionary priest.
The bishop of the diocese applied to the Vatican for Sarro’s laicization in 2009 but that request was not approved.
It was not immediately clear whether Sarro has a lawyer.
Court records indicate that a fugitive warrant for Sarro, who lives in Elkton, Maryland, was issued Dec. 21.
Maryland court records indicate that Sarro appeared in Cecil County District Court on Dec. 22 and was released that same day after posting $2,500 cash bail. Sarro, who declined to waive extradition, is scheduled for arraignment Feb. 9.
Sarro did not immediately return a phone message left for him Thursday at the assisted living facility in Elkton where he lives.
May 21, 2018
Theodore McCarrick, smiling when he thought he had gotten away with rape and abuse.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Vatican has asked retired Washington, D.C., Archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to cease public ministry after finding he was credibly accused of sexually abusing a teenager almost 50 years ago, the archdiocese and McCarrick said on Wednesday.
McCarrick is among the highest-ranking of the more than 6,700 U.S. Roman Catholic clerics to be accused of sexually abusing children since the church’s sex abuse scandal broke in 2002, according to BishopAccountability.org, a private group that tracks the allegations.
McCarrick, 87, was accused of sexually abusing a teenager when he was a priest in New York, he said in a statement. He said he was innocent, but an investigation by the Church found the allegations to be credible and substantiated, the archdiocese said in a statement.
“The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is to refrain from any public ministry or activity until a definite decision is made,” the archdiocese said. McCarrick said he would follow the Vatican’s instruction.
“While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through,” McCarrick said in a statement.
The clergy sex abuse scandal erupted in Boston and rippled around the globe as abuse was found in many countries, costing the church billions of dollars in settlements and undercutting its moral authority.
May 15, 2018
All of the active Catholic bishops in Chile offered to resign in the wake of the scandal.
In Argentina ,the pope’s home country, where many of the bishops are personal friends of the pope, Francis effectively shut down investigations into child sex abuse by the clergy.
Police in Chile raided the offices of the Catholic church in two cities Wednesday, seizing documents related to a sex abuse scandal that has led to the resignation of three bishops and bruised the Vatican’s reputation in South America.
Police targeted the Santiago Ecclesiastical Court and the bishop’s office in Rancagua in the O’Higgins region in central Chile. 14 priests in the region are accused of performing sexual acts on minors, the Associated Press reported. Prosecutor Emiliano Arias led the raid in Santiago.
“In Chile, we are all subject to common justice,” he said, according to the AP.
The raids are the latest chapter in a long-running scandal surrounding the suspected sexual misconduct of Catholic clergy in Chile.
For years, Chilean Bishop Juan Barros was accused of not reporting a pedophile priest, his mentor Rev. Fernando Karadima. And for years, Catholic leaders including Pope Francis defended the bishop. As recently as January 2018, the Pope visited Chile and said there was “not a shred of evidence,” against Barros, NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reported.
Then the defense began to crack.
Later that month, the Vatican sent its top sex crimes investigator to Chile to look into claims of abuse. Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu produced a 2,300-page report on allegations that bishops in Chile were silent as priests raped and molested children.
In April, the Pope acknowledged he had made “serious mistakes” in his handling of the sex abuse scandal in Chile and summoned the country’s bishops to Rome to discuss it, Sylvia reported.
All of the active Catholic bishops in Chile offered to resign in the wake of the scandal.
Earlier this week, Pope Francis began accepting those resignations, starting with Barros and two others. The Pope previously met with abuse victims and asked for their forgiveness. Vatican Correspondent Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter told NPR that was an extraordinary move, adding “to meet with abuse victims who described the meetings with him as incredibly personal – that he asked for forgiveness on his own behalf and really kind of fell on the sword and said how wrong he had been.”
The raids came as Scicluna and Bertomeu returned to Chile for what the Vatican described as a mission to “advance the process of reparation and healing,” according to Crux.
The Vatican’s investigators Scicluna and Bertomeu met with prosecutor Abbott to coordinate their response to the sex abuse scandals, Reuters reported. Abbott said church and civilian authorities would create a system to protect victims who lodge complaints, according to the Associated Press.