January 20, 2020
MICHIGAN — Two former priests who served in the Upper Peninsula have been charged with sex crimes, the state Attorney General’s office announced Friday.
Both men had ties to the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.
The charges come as state Attorney General Dana Nessel continues investigations into clergy abuse.
Nessel said that she authorized charges against Gary Allen Jacobs, 74, of Albuquerque, New Mexico for multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. The charges involved allege assaults between 1981 and 1984 in Ontonagon County and in early 1984 in Dickinson County.
State attorneys did not reveal information about the victims, other than to note that several charges involved a child between 13 and 16 and one charge involved a child less than 13.
Jacobs was arrested Friday in New Mexico and is awaiting extradition on eight felony charges.
The other former priest is Roy Joseph, 52, lives in India, state officials said.
The Attorney General’s office has authorized one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 2006 incident in Marquette County. Joseph served as a priest there at the time.
Michigan priest accused of tying up teenage boy, taping mouth and eyes
Sixth Michigan priest charged with criminal sexual conduct
Court records reveal years of alleged sex abuse by priests across Michigan
January 18, 2020
Lyon (AFP) – Accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 80s, a French Catholic priest confessed in court Tuesday to “caresses” he knew were forbidden, and said for 20 years “it happened every weekend”.
At scout camps, “it could be four or five children a week,” Bernard Preynat, 74, told a court in Lyon on the first day of his trial for preying on boys.
“For me, at the time, I was not committing sexual assault but giving caresses, hugs. I was wrong.”
Sitting up straight in the dock Bernard, Preynat‘s voice quavered as he admitted the interactions “did bring me sexual pleasure.”
But while he knew the actions were forbidden, he said he only finally understood that they were illegal thanks to “the accusations of the victims”.
The accusers were aged seven to 14 when the alleged crimes were committed between 1971 and 1991, when Preynat was a scout leader in Lyon.
The allegations against him sparked the biggest crisis in the French Church in decades and last year saw a cardinal convicted of covering up the alleged crimes.
Preynat was defrocked by the Church last July.
Former scouts have claimed he touched and kissed them and forced them into reciprocal fondling while they were in his care, including at camps. He denies ever kissing the boys on the mouth.
Francois Devaux, one of Preynat’s accusers and the founder of a victims’ organisation, spoke of the “hell” his parents, who had alerted church authorities about his experience, had lived through, and his own “very difficult, very complicated” adolescence as a result.
He said he had tried to commit suicide.
“I think I used to be a bright child. After, I lived a very dark life… flirted with dangerous things,” Devaux testified. He was ten when it happened.
“Pain, anger… Whatever the court decides, the harm and the trauma suffered in my childhood will continue. My responsibility is that this must never happen again,” said Devaux.
January 15, 2018
A Roman Catholic priest in Northern New Jersey was arrested and charged this week with multiple counts of child sex abuse dating to the early 1990s, the state attorney general’s office said. It was the first criminal case brought by New Jersey’s Clergy Abuse Task Force, which was formed last year to investigate abuse allegations in the Catholic Church.
Father Thomas P. Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree, the office of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a statement. The office did not reveal the sex of the victim, who it said was between the ages of 14 and 17 at the time.
Father Ganley was assigned to Saint Philip & Saint James Church in Phillipsburg at the time of his arrest, but the attorney general’s office said the abuse occurred between 1990 and 1994 at Saint Cecilia Church in the Iselin section of Woodbridge. Both churches are part of the Diocese of Metuchen.
“Our Clergy Abuse Task Force is diligently pursuing its mission to expose the truth about past wrongs and seek justice for survivors, because no person is above the law and no institution is immune from accountability,” Mr. Grewal said in a statement. “This case illustrates that we are prepared to move swiftly to investigate allegations, and where there are viable criminal charges, to pursue those charges.”
The Rev. James F. Checchio, the bishop of Metuchen, said in a statement that it had never received an accusation of sexual abuse or misconduct related to Father Ganley, who he said also served as a chaplain at St. Luke’s Warren Campus Hospital in Phillipsburg.
Kira Bub, a spokeswoman for St. Luke’s University Health Network, said in a statement that Father Ganley had never been employed as a chaplain at the hospital. Instead, she said he was “one of several religious leaders who when requested by patients was permitted to visit in their room to minister requested services.”
January 10, 2020
NOBLESVILLE, Indianapolis – A suspended Catholic priest in Indiana is facing charges alleging he sexually abused a child in 2016.
Father David Marcotte of Indianapolis is charged in suburban Hamilton County with child solicitation, vicarious sexual gratification and dissemination of matter harmful to minors.
The Indianapolis Archdiocese suspended the 32-year-old Marcotte from public ministry in February after its victim assistance coordinator learned of the abuse allegations. It said that at the time of the alleged abuse, Marcotte was assigned to St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg and St. Martin of Tours Parish in Martinsville.
A message seeking comment was left for Marcotte’s attorney.
January 10, 2020
Two Roman Catholic priests were each sentenced to more than 40 years in prison in Argentina for sexually abusing deaf children, a court in the western city of Mendoza ruled Monday.
Argentine priest Horacio Corbacho was sentenced to 45 years in jail, while a 42-year sentence was imposed on Italian Nicola Corradi for the abuse of some 20 children at the Provolo Institute for deaf and hearing-impaired children between 2004 and 2016.
The court said the sentences took into account the aggravating circumstances that the priests were responsible for the children’s wellbeing, as well as the fact that the victims were minors.
The institution’s gardener, Armando Gomez, was also jailed for 18 years for sexual abuse.
Outside the court a group of young people waited for the ruling with banners supporting the victims.
Corbacho, 59, and 83-year-old Corradi had been held in preventive detention since their arrest three years ago on charges of child sex abuse at the school.
Apart from the gardener, several other staff at the school were taken into custody after the allegations of abuse first came to light in 2016, and the institute, 1,000 kilometres west of Buenos Aires, was shut down.
They included a 42-year-old Japanese nun, Kosaka Kumiko, who was arrested later after surrendering to authorities. She was charged with complicity with the two priests.
The trial began on August 5 and heard evidence from 13 victims from the institute during in camera hearings.
Teenager, 19, kills ‘paedophile priest who abused him’ by ramming a crucifix down his throat and suffocating him
January 5, 2020
- Alexandre V. attacked 91-year-old Catholic priest at his home in Agnetz, Oise
- Roger Matassoli is accused of abusing the victim and his father
- Alleged to have abused at least four boys from 1960-2000
- Attacker has been charged with torture, murder and resisting arrest
A 19-year-old man has been arrested for killing a suspected paedophile priest by ramming a crucifix down his throat and suffocating him.
Alexandre V., who is alleged to have been abused by the priest, attacked the 91-year-old Catholic Roger Matassoli at the holy figure’s home in Agnetz, Oise, northern France.
Matassoli had been accused of sexually abusing at least four boys, including Alexandre and Alexandre’s father, between 1960 and 2000.
The priest had to be shifted from the diocese of Clermont in 1967 to the diocese of Saint-Andre-Farivillers, and was then moved to Agnetz, following allegations of paedophilia, reports Franceinfo. And yet he remained on the church’s payroll until 2018.
The attacker, whose full name has not been published, was arrested and charged with torture, murder and resisting arrest.
The priest’s body was found in his home with signs of torture on November 4.
Alexandre, who worked as a housekeeper in Matassoli’s home, was caught by authorities attempting to escape in the holy man’s car and arrested on the same day.
However, he was transferred to hospital due to alleged psychiatric problems and was not formally charged until December 26.null
The suspect had tried to kill himself after being abused by the priest, according to the suspect’s father Stephane, who has also claimed that his father killed himself when he learnt how his son had been abused by the priest.
Speaking about the priest’s impact on his family to French media, Stephane said the priest had ‘shattered a whole family’.
Police are investigating the case on the grounds that the killing was an act of revenge, reports French media. Alexandre has also told investigators he has no recollection of the events.
The priest is also alleged to have abused a man when he was aged between six and 15 years old in Saint-Andre-Farivillers, Franceinfo reports.
The victim’s sister Colette, who has made the claims, told the broadcaster that everyone in the village knew the rumours but no one took any action.
She also said that when a picture of Matassoli stripped naked was found in a landfill it was brushed aside, after the priest claimed it was taken when he was 18 years old and in the army.
‘(But) he did not look like an 18 year old boy in this photo,’ she said, before adding that young boys were invited to the priest’s home in the village every Thursday.
The priest had been officially removed from church duties in 2009 following the first allegations of abuse, but was kept on the payroll for another ten years, Beauvais bishop Jacques Benoit-Gonnin has revealed.
He was only removed after the bishop took into account the testimony of at least two alleged victims, and has claimed he was still paid due to ‘ecclesiastical errors’.
West Virginia Catholic bishop spent $4.6M renovating mansion where he ‘inappropriately touched young priests’ – fitting it with a sunken bar, a wine cellar and a $20K dining table – before church quietly sold it for only $1.2M after he was fired
January 6, 2020
A disgraced bishop spent $4.6million renovating the mansion where he allegedly made advances at young priests before the church quietly sold the property for just $1.2million.
Bishop Michael J Bransfield resigned as head of the Catholic Church in West Virginia in September 2018 amid allegations of sexual and financial misconduct. He was barred from public ministry by Pope Francis earlier this year.
A secret report later revealed how Bransfield spent more than $2.4million in church funds on personal travel, luxury items, liquor and prescription drugs – along with $4.6million on renovations to his diocese-owned home in Wheeling, where he allegedly groomed and inappropriately touched young men during his 13-year tenure as Wheeling-Charleston Diocese bishop.
After the allegations against Bransfield were made public over the summer, the diocese sold the Wheeling residence it had provided for him to David H and Meredith McKinley for $1.2million in August, according to Ohio County real estate records. David is the son of Congressman David B McKinley.
Church officials said they conducted the sale privately – without a real estate agent or online advertising – to avoid paying commission. The officials emphasized that the proceeds from the sale would go toward supporting programs for survivors of sexual abuse.
The private sale also had another effect: It kept the public from seeing just how extravagant Bransfield’s mansion was.
A Washington Post article published Sunday offers an inside look at the 9,200-square-foot Colonial Revival-style home – once known as Elmcrest – that Bransfield spent millions of dollars retrofitting with lavish amenities including a sunken basement bar, temperature controlled wine cellar and $20,000 dining room table.
The diocese offered the mansion at 52 Elmwood Place to Bransfield when he was installed as bishop in 2005. Just before he moved in, a plumber accidentally started a fire which caused $700,000 in damage.
Six people who worked on the home described to the Post how what was intended to be a modest renovation to repair the damage ballooned into an extensive, costly undertaking at Bransfield’s insistence.
‘It was always, “this” or “that” is what the bishop wants,’ said Jim Baller, the construction manager during most of the renovation.
Baller said Bransfield insisted on landscaping a large portion of the seven-acre property, planting trees to create a buffer between the home and a nearby interstate and installing a fish pond and waterfall as the focal point of the grounds.
Inside the home, Bransfield requested heated floors and jets in the master bathroom, five bay windows, a sun room, refurbished fixtures and a climate-controlled wine cellar with room for hundreds of bottles.
The unfinished basement was transformed into a sunken basement bar, where Bransfield allegedly plied young priests with alcohol and made unwanted advances on them.
Bransfield wanted the bar to be modeled after the cocktail lounge in entertainer Bob Hope’s Hollywood home.
‘The bishop said he wanted to bring clergy into the room and make a pleasant place where they could play cards,’ Denis Gill, the lead architect on the project, told the Post.
A crew of 25 to 30 masons spend a year constructing a stone fireplace in the basement, Baller said.
The Vatican investigation detailed how Bransfield would host lavish dinner parties at his home. Guests were seated in front of a massive portrait of the Last Supper as they dined on meals prepared by a personal chef.
After dinner, Bransfield would invite guests down to the basement bar, where he downed a half-bottle of Cointreau or more out of a tea cup, along with opioids like oxycondone.
‘Dinner guests who only visited occasionally were not invited to join the Bishop in the basement for after-dinner drinks, but he expected his Priest-Secretary, the Vicar General, overnight guests, and certain of his “favorite” young priests . . . to sit in the basement and be in his company,’ investigators wrote in the report.
‘One witness described this as “watching the Bishop watch television”. It was a ritual that none of the witnesses who experienced it reported that they enjoyed.’
The report includes an account from one seminarian who said he loathed staying at Bransfield’s home and ‘described multiple instances of overly aggressive hugs in which the Bishop would grab and squeeze various parts of the witness’s body’.
Witnesses also said that Bransfield would often invite guests upstairs to show them portraits of himself with important figures in the church, some of which were hung in his bedroom.
Bransfield ‘denied engaging in any sexual harassment or sexual activity with any priest or seminarian, either verbally or suggestively by his conduct’, the report states.
December 4, 2019
On Thursday, a Catholic priest(65-year-old) was arrested for making the girl students open sexually explicit content on his mobile phone.
Maria Antony Raj, who was the correspondent at government-aided St Mary’s High School on 5th Street Extension at Gandhipuram in Coimbatore, had on several occasions made girl students open sexually explicit content on his mobile phone. At least five girl students were affected, police said.
After the affected girls complained to their parents, they rushed to the school and asked the management to remove the correspondent. As he was not removed from the school, the parents approached the police.
Parents had approached school management on Monday and complained about the correspondent. They represented the issue again on Wednesday and asked us to remove him, one of the school officials said.
On Thursday, police visited the school and held inquires with the affected students, their parents, the school management and also the accused. Later the accused was taken to the All Women Police Station at Coimbatore Central.
The accused was booked under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, 2012.
Accused was remanded in judicial custody and further investigations were on to ascertain whether similar incidents happened at the school, DCP Balaji said.
December 1, 2019
The Vatican has been accused of harbouring a bishop wanted for alleged sex abuse offences, as Pope Francis railed against the evils of sexual exploitation on a visit to Thailand.
Prosecutors in Argentina have issued an international arrest warrant for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who is accused of sexually abusing young trainee priests, known as seminarians. He denies the charges.
Bishop Zanchetta, 55, who is close to his fellow Argentine Pope Francis, lives in the Vatican.
Not only that, he reportedly resides in Casa Santa Marta, an accommodation block in the shadow of St Peter’s Basilica where Francis has lived ever since his election six years ago.
Argentinian prosecutors have complained that the bishop has failed to respond to repeated emails and telephone calls about the abuse allegations, which were made last year by two young seminarians. The trainee priests also accused him of mismanagement of the diocese’s finances and abuse of power.
If convicted, the bishop would face up to 10 years in prison, but there is no extradition treaty between Argentina and the Vatican and for now he seems to be safely ensconced in Rome.
The stand-off emerged as Pope Francis made an impassioned speech in Bangkok on behalf of victims of sex trafficking, prompting accusations of a double standard in the Catholic Church’s stance on sex crimes.
“Despite being suspended from ministry, the Vatican has argued that Zanchetta’s ‘daily work’ requires him to be in Rome instead of facing trial in Argentina. This decision is at best questionable and at worst a Vatican-sponsored opportunity for Zanchetta to flee from justice,” said Zach Hiner, the executive director of victims’ pressure group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
“If Pope Francis was serious about his “all-out battle” against cases of clergy abuse, he would order Zanchetta to return to Argentina and face the allegations against him.”
Anne Barrett Doyle, of BishopAccountability.org, which documents the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, said: “It’s vital that Pope Francis ensures Zanchetta’s full cooperation with Argentine civil authorities. To do otherwise would put the Pope in violation of his own decree forbidding conduct by bishops that interferes with civil investigations.
“Francis must begin to set an example – especially because his protectiveness toward Zanchetta to date already raises disturbing questions about his commitment to ending complicity by Church officials.
“Francis should not have given Zanchetta safe harbour in the first place, given the bishop’s reported wrongdoing in Argentina.”
During an open air Mass in Bangkok on Thursday, he urged greater efforts in combating what he called the “humiliation” of women and children forced into prostitution.
Earlier, in a speech delivered at the office of the Thai prime minister, the Pope called for greater international commitment to protect women and children “who are violated and exposed to every form of exploitation, enslavement, violence and abuse.”
Except, of course, the pope’s friends who can do whatever they like without consequences.
November 12, 2019
n 11-year-old Italian girl has been hailed as a hero after using her cell phone to document the alleged sexual abuse inflicted on her by a Catholic priest.
Father Michele Mottola, 59, was arrested this week in Trentola Ducenta, near Naples, after audio recordings said to be of him and the girl were given to local press.
The bishop of Aversa, Angello Spinillo, was made aware of the allegations as early as May 2018 and suspended Mottola at the time, as well as reporting the allegations to the Public Prosecutor of the Commissariat of Aversa. However, no further action was taken against the priest.
Almost a year and a half later, action was only taken when the recordings were aired on Le Iene, a political TV show. It was then that the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Naples gave orders to arrest.
The audio, which was filmed over several occasions, contains several highly disturbing passages.
“Look, there’s nobody there,” a voice that is allegedly Mottola’s said in one, according to translations by Church Militant. “You are scared? Embrace me, kiss me.”
“Do you know that I love you?” the voice said in another. “Do you want a little kiss?”
November 8, 2019
A 90-year-old priest found battered to death at his home in northern France had been under investigation for sexual offences against boys, it has been revealed.
Father Roger Matassoli was found dead in his home on the Oise département on Monday. Police say he had suffered blows to the abdomen, skull and face and there were also traces of asphyxia, although officers refused to respond to reports in the French media that a crucifix had been placed in his throat.
The cleric had served as the parish priest of Froissy from 1988 to 2009, when he was removed from the ministry after accusations of sexual assault.
“In 2009, having heard a victim, I took measures against Fr Matassoli to remove him from the public exercise of the ministry,” said a spokesman for the local diocese.
“After a civil complaint was filed, a canonical procedure was initiated to hear known victims. Fr Matassoli was then banned from any ministry, even private.”
The Beauvais public prosecutor’s office reported two complaints in 2018 “concerning sexual assaults committed on two young boys when, aged 10 to 14, they were altar boys in Father Matassoli’s parish”.
The case was not proceeded with because under French law the complaints were time-barred, since they were committed in 1962 for one of the victims, and between 1976 and 1980 for the other.
A 19-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of the priest, but has been hospitalised due to what police described as serious mental health issues.
November 4, 2019
A former Roman Catholic priest, Arthur Perrault who fled to Morocco before he was returned to the United States and convicted of sexually abusing an altar boy in New Mexico in the 1990s was sentenced on Friday to 30 years in prison, prosecutors said.
“There are few acts more horrific than the long-term sexual abuse of a child,” Anderson said. “At long last, today’s sentence holds Perrault accountable for his deplorable conduct.”
Perrault’s trial attorney, Samuel Winder, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Perrault was convicted by a federal jury in April on six counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact with a minor in 1991 and 1992 at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, prosecutors said.
The victim, now an adult, testified that Perrault befriended him when he was 9 years old, showering him with gifts and trips before sexually assaulting him, prosecutors said.
Although he was convicted of abusing just one victim, prosecutors alleged in court filings that Perrault was a serial child molester who abused numerous young people over more than 30 years as a priest in New Mexico and Rhode Island.
At his trial, seven other alleged victims testified that Perrault, ordained in 1964, abused them during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
The Roman Catholic Church has been roiled by allegations of sexual abuse since 1992, when the Boston Globe newspaper revealed a decades-long cover-up by church hierarchy of sexual misconduct by its clergy.
The U.S. Catholic Church has paid out more than $3 billion to settle clergy abuse cases, according to BishopAccountability.org, which tracks the issue.
Under federal law, a convicted defendant must serve at least 85% of a sentence, meaning Perrault will likely die in prison.
Perrault fled the United States in 1992 when his criminal conduct became public, prosecutors said. He was located in Morocco, where he was arrested in 2017 following his indictment on the sex charges, and was extradited to New Mexico.
Linda Card, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, said Perrault served in the Air Force Reserve Chaplain Corps, and for a time was on active-duty status.