April 11, 2019
(TRENTON, N.J.) — A New Jersey priest has pleaded guilty to a child sexual assault dating back almost three decades.
The charge against the Rev. Thomas Ganley was the first sexual assault case brought by the state’s clergy abuse task force, which was established last September. Ganley was charged in January, just two days after the victim had called the state’s clergy abuse hotline.
The 63-year-old Ganley most recently was a parochial vicar at St. Philip and St. James Catholic Church in Phillipsburg.
Prosecutors say Ganley was a priest at Saint Cecelia Church in Woodbridge when the alleged assaults took place between 1990 and 1994. They say the victim was between the ages of 14 and 17.
April 10, 2019
TWIN FALLS — Four men were arrested over the weekend in a joint investigation between Twin Falls police and Homeland Security to catch sexual predators online.
Jeffrey Scott Davis of Rupert, Robert Allen Barney of Meridian, Aaron Evans of Twin Falls, and Solomon Peppley of Nampa were taken into custody on Saturday and arraigned on Monday after police said they attempted to meet with officers posing as underage teen girls.
Davis, 55, was charged with enticing a child through the internet after a Homeland Security investigator responded to a Craigslist ad Davis posted, according to the affidavit. Through text messages, an investigator posed as a 14-year-old girl.
Officers gave Davis an address to meet at after Davis asked the girl if he could perform a sex act on her and her friend, police said. When Davis arrived at the address, he was taken into custody.
Davis has been jailed on a $150,000 bond.
Evans, 26, was charged with enticing a child through the internet and possession of a controlled substance. Police said Evans responded to a fake profile on the social media website “Skout” and arranged to meet up with an investigator posing as a 14-year-old girl.
He also asked the girl if she smoked marijuana and told her he had some in his possession, according to court documents.
When Evans was taken into custody at the address given to him by the officer, he admitted to police that the conversations were sexual but said he only wanted to “make out” with the girl. Police found 3.9 grams of marijuana in Evans’s possession, according to an affidavit.
Evans was jailed on a $200,000 bond.
Barney, 39, was charged with enticing a child through the internet and driving under the influence after responding to an ad from a Homeland Security investigator on the website “Whisper,” according to court documents. Police said Barney had conversations about performing a sex act with an officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.
Barney was jailed on a $175,000 bond.
Peppley, who court documents said is a 23-year-old children’s pastor for a church in Nampa, was charged with enticing a child through the internet and sexual exploitation of a child after he responded to a Craigslist ad posted by investigators, according to an affidavit.
Peppley has volunteered in the midweek children’s program at Crossroads Community Church in Nampa, but was not a pastor there.
The Crossroads Community Church’s Facebook page posted a statement, saying the man was never alone with children and was not a staff member.
April 2, 2019
A Chilean Justice ordered an investigation Friday into alleged sexual abuse crimes by priest Tito Rivera in the Cathedral of Santiago in 2015.
Over the next five months, the investigation is due to be carried out during which time the accused will be subject to nighttime house arrest from 10pm to 6am and will be prohibited from leaving the country, as determined by the 13th Santiago Warden’s Court.
The resolution comes after the regional prosecutor of O’Higgins, Emiliano Arias, in charge of the investigations for sexual crimes committed within the Chilean Catholic Church, asked the Justice to formally impute Rivera.
The priest will be investigated for allegedly abusing a man, Daniel Rojas, in 2015, in a bedroom of the cathedral of Santiago, the heart of Chile’s Catholic community. Rivera’s priesthood has been suspended for 14 years due to several complaints in the canonical justice regarding alleged sexual abuse acts committed against minors.
Daniel Rojas, 43, denounced that in 2015 he went to the Cathedral and met with Rivera to request monetary aid for his daughter who suffered a severe urinary tract infection.
According to Rojas, the priest offered him a glass of water that allegedly contained a drug and then sexually abused him in one of the dormitories in the religious compound. Rojas also said that after confessing to Archbishop Ezatti, the Archbishop gave him 30,000 pesos (approximately US$45) and advised him to pray for his rapist.
Pope Francis announced Friday that all Vatican staff and diplomats from the Holy See abroad could receive jail sentences and fines if they are found to be covering up sexual abuse of minors. So far, 219 are investigated by the National Prosecutor’s Office of Chile. A total of 158 cases of sexual abuse against 241 people, 123 of which were infants at the time of the events..
March 26, 2019
A former Jehovah’s Witness is using stolen documents to expose allegations that the religion has kept hidden for decades.
In March 1997, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses, sent a letter to each of its 10,883 U.S. congregations, and to many more congregations worldwide. The organization was concerned about the legal risk posed by possible child molesters within its ranks. The letter laid out instructions on how to deal with a known predator: Write a detailed report answering 12 questions—Was this a onetime occurrence, or did the accused have a history of child molestation? How is the accused viewed within the community? Does anyone else know about the abuse?—and mail it to Watchtower’s headquarters in a special blue envelope. Keep a copy of the report in your congregation’s confidential file, the instructions continued, and do not share it with anyone.
Thus did the Jehovah’s Witnesses build what might be the world’s largest database of undocumented child molesters: at least two decades’ worth of names and addresses—likely numbering in the tens of thousands—and detailed acts of alleged abuse, most of which have never been shared with law enforcement, all scanned and searchable in a Microsoft SharePoint file. In recent decades, much of the world’s attention to allegations of abuse has focused on the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Less notice has been paid to the abuse among the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian sect with more than 8.5 million members. Yet all this time, Watchtower has refused to comply with multiple court orders to release the information contained in its database and has paid millions of dollars over the years to keep it secret, even from the survivors whose stories are contained within.
That effort has been remarkably successful—until recently.
A white Priority Mail box filled with manila envelopes sits on the floor of Mark O’Donnell’s wood-paneled home office, on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland. Mark, 51, is the owner of an exercise-equipment repair business and a longtime Jehovah’s Witness who quietly left the religion in late 2013. Soon after, he became known to ex–Jehovah’s Witnesses as John Redwood, an activist and a blogger who reports on the various controversies, including cases of child abuse, surrounding Watchtower. (Recently, he has begun using his own name.)
When I first met Mark, in May of last year, he appeared at the front door of his modest home in the same outfit he nearly always wears: khaki cargo shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, white sneakers, and sweat socks pulled up over his calves. He invited me into his densely furnished office, where a fan barely dispelled the wafting smell of cat food. He pulled an envelope from the Priority Mail box and passed me its contents, a mixture of typed and handwritten letters discussing various sins allegedly committed by members of a Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Massachusetts. All the letters in the box had been stolen by an anonymous source inside the religion and shared with Mark. The sins described in the letters ranged from the mundane—smoking pot, marital infidelity, drunkenness—to the horrifying. Slowly, over the past couple of years, Mark has been leaking the most damning contents of the box, much of which is still secret.
Mark’s eyebrows are permanently arched, and when he makes an important point, he peers out above his rimless glasses, eyes widened, which lends him a conspiratorial air.
“Start with these,” he said.
Among the papers Mark showed me that day was a series of letters about a man from Springfield, Massachusetts, who had been disfellowshipped—a form of excommunication—three times. When the man was once again reinstated, in 2008, someone working in a division of Watchtower wrote to his congregation, noting that in 1989 he was said to have “allowed his 11-year-old stepdaughter to touch his penis … on at least two occasions.”
I was struck by the oddness of the language. It insinuated that the man had agreed to, rather than initiated, the sexual contact with his stepdaughter.
After I left Mark’s house, I tracked down the stepdaughter, now 40. In fact, she told me, she had been only 8 when her stepfather had molested her. “He was the adult and I was the kid, so I thought I didn’t have any choice,” she said. She was terrified, she told me. “It took me two years to go to my mom about it.”
Her mother immediately went to the congregation’s elders, who later called the girl and her stepfather in to pray with them. She remembers it as a humiliating experience.
Her stepfather was eventually disfellowshipped for instances that involved “fornication,” “drunkenness,” and “lying,” according to the letters. But according to the stepdaughter, his alleged molestation of her resulted only in his being “privately reproved,” a closed-door reprimand that is usually accompanied by a temporary loss of privileges, such as not being allowed to offer comments during Bible study or lead a prayer. The letters make no reference to police being notified; the stepdaughter said her mother was encouraged to keep the matter private, and no attempt was made to keep the stepfather away from other children. (Calls to the congregation’s Kingdom Hall—the Witness version of a church—for comment went unanswered.)
By the time the letters were written, the man was attending a different congregation and had married another woman with children; he is still part of that family today. Near the end of the final letter in Mark’s possession is a question: “Is there any responsibility on the part of either body of elders … to inform his current wife of his past history of child molestation?”
Mark O’Donnell’s childhood was an isolated one. His parents, Jerry and Susan, had started attending Jehovah’s Witness meetings in the mid-1960s. Another couple from Baltimore had told them of Watchtower’s prediction that the world would end in 1975, bringing death to all non-Witnesses and transforming Earth into a paradise for the faithful. In 1968, just after Mark was born, Jerry and Susan were group-baptized in a swimming pool in Washington, D.C. Mark was an only child, and he inherited his father’s peculiar love of record-keeping. Mark would show up to meetings at the Kingdom Hall with a briefcase full of religious texts.
As in any religion, there’s some variation among Jehovah’s Witnesses in how strictly they interpret the teachings that govern their faith; Mark’s upbringing seems to have been especially stringent. As a child, he attended at least five meetings a week, plus several hours of private Bible study. On Saturday mornings, he joined his parents in “field service,” knocking on doors in search of converts. He was taught that most people outside the organization were corrupted by Satan and, given the chance, would try to steal from him, drug him, or rape him. Mainstream books and magazines were considered the work of Satan. If he broke any of the religion’s main rules, he could be disfellowshipped, meaning even his own family would have to shun him.
Throughout Mark’s childhood, he heard elders cite Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever holds back his rod hates his son.” Mark’s parents took the lesson to heart and beat him frequently. The religion forbids celebrating birthdays, voting, serving in the military, and accepting blood transfusions, even in life-and-death situations. Witnesses were encouraged to devote themselves to bringing more converts into the religion before the end of the world arrived. “Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property” to spend their last days proselytizing, said a Watchtower publication in 1974. “Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.” Some Witnesses stopped going to the doctor, quit their jobs, or ran up debt.
But piety, Mark noticed, did not always translate to morality. When he was 12, Mark became suspicious of a local Witness named Louis Ongsingco, a flight attendant who would bring home Toblerone bars for the local Witness kids and invite them to his apartment to act out religious plays. Mark noticed Ongsingco touching young girls in a way that made him uncomfortable. He told an elder about his concerns. But rather than take action against Ongsingco, the elder told him what Mark had said. Days later, Ongsingco pulled Mark aside and scolded him.
Mark’s instincts seem to have been right. In 2001, one of Mark’s childhood friends, Erin Michelle Shifflett, along with four other women, sued Ongsingco for sexual assault. The cases were settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Ongsingco died in 2016.
To Mark, the lesson was that for all the emphasis the elders placed on moral purity, there was no greater sin than speaking out against other Witnesses.
Irish bishop raped his own niece when she was just five and faced another two accusations of child sexual abuse before his death
March 24, 2019
- One of the women was paid out under the Residential Institutions Redress Board
- Additionally, a second settlement was confirmed by the Limerick Diocese
- His niece, Patricia Donovan, now 56, said: ‘It was rape, everything you imagine
Deceased Bishop Eamonn Casey faced at least three allegations of child sexual abuse before he died – with two high court cases being settled.
One of the women who have accused him was his niece, while another received a settlement under the controversial Residential Institutions Redress Board.
Documents obtained by the Irish Mail on Sunday confirmed the Redress settlement, and a second settlement was confirmed by the Limerick Diocese when the MoS directly asked them.
Patricia Donovan, the niece of the late Bishop Eamonn Casey has claimed she was raped and sexually abused by him from the age of five for more than a decade.
Speaking for the first time, his niece Patricia Donovan, now 56, said: ‘It was rape, everything you imagine. It was the worst kind of abuse, it was horrific.
‘I stopped being able long ago to find any words in the English language to describe what happened to me. It was one horrific thing after another.’
The Irish Mail on Sunday can also reveal that two other complaints of child sexual abuse related to incidents in the 1950s and 1960s.
Ms Donovan, who lives in England, brought her allegations to police in the UK in November 2005, and later to gardai.
Limerick detectives travelled to the UK to take a statement from her in January 2006, but by August of the same year, the Director of Public Prosecutions directed that no charges be brought on 13 sample allegations.
But in the course of seeking documentation relating to her case, Ms Donovan received case notes that confirm that Bishop Casey made a Redress board settlement with a woman in 2005.
March 19, 2019
A former youth pastor at an Estero church is back behind bars after being caught in a hotel with the same girl he was previously arrested for having inappropriate contact with.
According to law enforcement, Jerred Peacock was caught in a hotel last year with the same girl he is accused of sexually assaulting again.
Peacock had a “no contact” order with the girl, but he has continued to contact her after the arrest last October.
He is being held without bond on a new sex assault charge.
New Mexico priest is charged with raping an 8-year-old girl until she vomited and then making her clean it up
March 18, 2019
- Sabine Griego, 81, faces rape charges from assaults which allegedly took place nearly 30 years ago
- Authorities allege Griego assaulted an 8-year-old girl who was an altar server at a New Mexico Catholic school
- Police say Griego raped the girl on a number of occasions, which included vicious beatings that resulted in a broken nose
- Griego has been implicated in at least eight cases that were closed by authorities
- Police say they have evidence the Archdiocese of Santa Fe knew about the alleged rapes for at least 15 years
- Griego is believed to have raped more than 30 children over the course of decades
A former priest raped an 8-year-old girl nearly 30 years ago to the point where she vomited – only to then force her to clean up the mess, it has been alleged.
Sabine Griego, 81, was arrested on Tuesday at his New Mexico home for the alleged assault and other rapes involving the girl.
Griego, a resident of Las Vegas, New Mexico, has been charged with one count of sexual penetration of a minor and coercion resulting in great bodily harm and mental anguish.
The charges are just the latest allegations against Griego, who has also been accused of sexually assaulting more than 30 children over decades while in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Between 1993 and 1995, Griego was implicated in eight closed cases. He was put on leave from the church in 1993, but it wasn’t until 2005 that he was formally dismissed from clerical duties.
Griego is currently being held without bond at the San Miguel County Detention Center in Las Vegas.
Authorities allege that the archdiocese knew of the latest rape allegations made by the girl, ‘Jane Doe A’, for at least 15 years.
The arrest want cites a 2004 letter, which was marked ‘confidential,’ and signed by then-Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan.
The letter provides ‘direct evidence’ that the rape occurred and that the archdiocese discovered it after conducting its own investigation.
The first alleged rape took place after Griego took the girl to the church rectory. He told her that they would ‘play a special game,’ authorities allege.
It was during the assault that the girl vomited and was then forced to clean up the mess, authorities allege.
The girl told investigators that Griego raped her numerous times and that on a few occasions he made her drink wine.
Griego is also alleged to have used a wooden spoon to assault and beat her.
Griego is alleged to have targeted the girl when she was just in second grade at Queen of Heaven Catholic School.
She told investigators that Griego would spend time with her after school and over lunch.
He also offered her ‘weird black Halloween candy,’ police allege.
On one occasion, Griego began to allegedly rape her, knocking her to the floor and covering her mouth.
Griego has been implicated in at least eight cases that have been closed. He is believed to have raped dozens of children
She then bit his hand, prompting Griego to slap her. He then continued with the rape.
A year later, during another rape, Griego got angry with the girl and slammed her face into a table, resulting in a broken nose, police allege.
March 16, 2019
John G. Allen, from the Pennsylvania abusive pedophile priests list
A defrocked York County priest was arrested Thursday morning on charges that he molested two altar boys between 1997 and 2002.
John G. Allen, who served in several parishes throughout Lebanon, Gettysburg, Selinsgrove, New Cumberland, Steelton, Lancaster and Harrisburg, is facing four counts of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors, according to the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office.
Allen, a 75-year-old York County resident, abused the victims while they served as altar boys at St. Margaret Mary’s Alacoque Church in Harrisburg, the criminal complaint said.
One victim said he was fondled from ages 10 to 13. The other victim said he was assaulted from ages 12 to 14, according to the district attorney’s office.
Allen in August was among 301 abusive priests named in a Pennsylvania grand jury report and 71 named by the Diocese of Harrisburg.
A former altar boy filed a lawsuit in August against the Diocese of Harrisburg, claiming former Bishop William Keeler failed to protect him from an abusive priest.
Diocese concerns about priest date back to 1970
The Harrisburg diocese was concerned about Father John Allen’s sexual behavior in January 1970, but did not intervene for two decades.
In those 20 years, Allen sexually abused multiple young boys, according to the grand jury report, and, in 1992, he was arrested in Lancaster for soliciting an undercover officer for sex.
The diocese sent him for a mental health evaluation in 1991. Two years later, Bishop Nicholas Dattilo was told Allen went to a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting, where the priest “gave the impression to members that he was a pedophile and had an obsession with young boys,” according to diocese records shared in the grand jury report.
Dattilo didn’t remove him from practice. Instead, Allen took a leave of absence from St. Joseph in Lancaster in November 1992 and was reinstated eight months later at St. Theresa in New Cumberland, where he served from 1993 to 1995.
After a man came forward in April 2002 and reported he was abused by Allen for four years, from age 14 to 18, the Harrisburg diocese removed him as a priest.
Two months later, the diocese received a call to verify his employment for a new job. The caller didn’t want any additional information or a reference.
And Father M. McFadden said, “I did not volunteer any additional information,” according to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
Allen was officially dismissed from the Catholic church by Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 17, 2006.
March 13, 2019
A former New Jersey priest who had been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors was found dead in his Nevada home, and police are treating it as a homicide.
The body of John Capparelli was found Saturday morning by police conducting a welfare check at his home in Henderson, about 15 miles south of Las Vegas.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office said Capparelli, 70, died from a single gunshot wound to the neck. His body was found in the kitchen, a spokesperson said.
Police said they did not have a suspect at this time.
Capparelli’s name appeared on a list in February with 187 other clergy the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark said had been “credibly accused” of abusing minors.
He was never convicted of a crime, but he was laicized and permanently removed from ministry, according to the archdiocese.
He denied the allegations to NJ.com in an interview in 2011, saying: “Everything is not true.”
Capparelli moved to Nevada in 2016, the outlet reports.
The archdiocese said he worked at a number of churches and schools in New Jersey, including Our Lady of Fatima Church in North Bergen; Oratory Prep School in Summit; Holy Trinity in Westfield; and The Church of Saint Theresa in Kenilworth. He was also a temporary chaplain at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.
March 13, 2019
Pell, who served as the Vatican treasurer and was once part of Pope Francis’ inner circle, is the highest-ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church to be convicted of child sexual assault.
He was convicted of five counts at a hearing in December, but the media were prohibited from reporting about the details of the case due to a broad gag order meant to protect the integrity of the trial. He faced a total of 10 years in prison for each of those charges.
Pell, 77, will be eligible for parole in three years and six months and, if released, will be required to register as a sex offender for life. Judge Peter Kidd cited the cardinal’s advanced age and various health issues in considering his sentence.
“Each year you spend in custody will represent a substantial portion of your remaining life expectancy,” Kidd said Wednesday.
The sentenced stems from two incidents in the 1990s when Pell was the newly appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. He was accused of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old altar boys shortly after Sunday Mass, including an instance when Pell forced one of the boys to perform oral sex on him. During a separate incident, Pell was accused of grabbing a boy’s genitals.
A unanimous jury found him guilty of five counts of sexual abuse. Pell has maintained his innocence throughout the trial, and his lawyers have said they would appeal the conviction.
During the sentencing, Kidd said that, in his view, Pell’s “conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance” and called the actions “grave” and brazen.
“The argument of your counsel that this offending was committed by you, George Pell the man, and not by you, George Pell the archbishop, must be roundly rejected,” Kidd noted. “I do so without hesitation.”
One of the men who was abused by Pell released a statement through his lawyer after the verdict was handed down, saying the judge was “meticulous” in his ruling. But, he noted, it was “hard … for the time being, to take comfort in this outcome.”
“I appreciate that the Court has acknowledged what was inflicted upon me as a child,” the unnamed victim’s said through his attorney, Vivian Waller. “However, there is no rest for me. Everything is overshadowed by the forthcoming appeal.”
He added: “Being a witness in a criminal case has not been easy. I’m doing my best to hold myself and my family together.”
March 10, 2019
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The special police team has arrested former Tholicode Imam Shafeeq Moulavi, who has been accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl. The accused and his aide Fazil, a native of Perumbavoor, were arrested from a lodge in Madurai, putting an end to almost three weeks of man hunt. District Crime Branch DySP D Asokan said Fazil was the driver of the 35-year-old accused and had taken him to several places to avoid the police net. Before being holed up in Madurai, the accused took shelter in more than 10 places.
“After leaving the state, he went into hiding in several places in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. He changed his appearance to give the police a slip,” Asokan said. The police said Noushad, one of the relatives of the former Imam, was into plywood business and hence he knew several places in TN and AP. “Noushad was the one who dissuaded the accused from surrendering before the police. He suggested the accused the places to go into hiding,” the officer said.
The police ascertained the accused did not go to Bengaluru and statements to that effect were given to derail the probe. After grilling Noushad and another person, Sudheer, who was also arrested for his connection in this case, the police came to know the accused was in Madurai. A seven-member team led by Asokan went to Madurai and arrested the accused, his driver and also seized their car.
March 9, 2019
Riga (AFP) – A Latvian Catholic priest and two other people have been charged with human trafficking and sexual abuse of a male teenager with learning difficulties, local media reported Friday, citing justice authorities.
Laura Majevska, a spokeswoman for Latvia’s prosecutor general confirmed the charges against three suspects, although she refused to reveal their identities.
Citing unnamed sources, the Baltic News Service named one of the accused as Pavels Zeila (photo not available), a 73-year-old priest, who had served in a diocese in eastern Latvia.
“The abuser did horrible things to me while talking to me in a sweet voice: ‘What a cute boy!’,” the alleged victim told Latvian public broadcaster LTV in an interview aired before the indictment.
“Only later I was told he is a priest,” the vulnerable young man said, in the broadcast to a national audience.
Police arrested Zeila on suspicion of abuse in September, but he has since been released on bail.
Describing the details of the allegations at the time of the arrest, Armands Lubarts, chief of a police task force on human trafficking and pimping, told media that “one of the suspects ‘delivered’ the defenceless victim for a fee.
“The church representative, who was the end buyer, paid the fee and then committed violent sexual crimes against the victim,” Lubarts added.
Neither Zeila nor his lawyers have commented on the charges, which come as the Catholic Church has vowed to fight child abuse within its ranks.