Archive for May, 2019
May 31, 2019
LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Five Michigan Catholic priests have been charged with a total of 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Four of the men have been arrested while one awaits extradition in India. A sixth Michigan priest is facing an administrative complaint and his license as a professional educationally limited counselor has been suspended.
“In the last 30 hours, more than a dozen members of our investigative team have been in courtrooms in Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee, Macomb and Berrien Counties while other members of our team have been working with local law enforcement in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan – all in a carefully executed plan to take these charged defendants off the streets,” said Nessel. “Almost all of these charges came as a direct result of calls to our tip line but were then corroborated by files seized from the dioceses last fall, followed by multiple interviews with victims.”
Charges were filed as follows:
- Timothy Michael Crowley, 69, Lansing Diocese, was charged in Washtenaw County with four felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) 1, a maximum sentence of life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, and four felony counts of CSC 2 – a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Crowley, who was a priest in various parishes, including St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor, was arrested Thursday in Tempe, Arizona.
- Neil Kalina, 63, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Macomb County with one felony count of CSC 4, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring. Kalina, who was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township, was arrested Thursday in Littlerock, California.
- Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, Lansing Diocese, was charged in Genesee County with three felony counts of CSC 1, a maximum sentence of life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, and three felony counts of CSC 2, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. DeLorenzo, who was a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton, was arrested Thursday in Marion County, Florida.
- Patrick Casey, 55, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Wayne County with one felony count of CSC 3, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Casey, who was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, was arrested Thursday in Oak Park, Michigan.
- Jacob Vellian, 84, Kalamazoo Diocese, was charged with two counts of Rape, a maximum sentence of life in prison. Vellian was a priest at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Benton Harbor, and now lives in Kerala, India.
Some of the clergy arrested were “hiding in plain sight,” Nessel said.
During a news conference, Deputy Solicitor General Ann Sherman shared one instance where a priest was discussing another priest’s abuse of a child and shared his own philosophy on sexual assault. The priest allegedly implied the child teased and enticed the priest for the abuse to occur.
May 21, 2019
How the hell can anyone still be shocked by the sex crimes of ‘holy’ men?
WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) — A community is in shock after authorities arrested a Wilson pastor and charged him with first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
This is all part of an ongoing joint investigation between the Wilson Police Department and the FBI.
Prior to his arrest, Daniel Heath, 33, served as an associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Wilson for three years, and before that, youth minister for seven years.
Heath’s arrest warrant states he encouraged a 16-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity, and “perform sexual activities to herself for the purpose of producing material containing a visual representation depicting this activity.”
Authorities allege this all took place between December 2017 and April 2019.
It’s unknown if the victim is connected to First Baptist Church.
“This is a very hurtful time,” Henry Skinner, Chairman of Deacons at First Baptist Church said. “We’ve had to wrap our arms around each other, because of the feelings of hurt and grief.”
Skinner worked closely with Heath at the church. He said Heath was active as an associate pastor and youth minister, attracting members from all generations, especially young people.
“A younger group of individuals, who may or may not have been churched before, found their way here, and a found a place of worship and learning, and bible study that enriched their lives, and helped meet their needs,” Skinner said. “Daniel [Heath] was a part in recruiting that.”
Skinner said they’re embracing Heath’s family and the entire congregation at First Baptist Church to move forward together.
“A faith community lives on trust,” Skinner said. “A faith community has to trust in each other. They have to believe in each other, and when that is betrayed, when that falls away, it hurts.”
A federal indictment was also filed against Heath.
FBI officials told CBS 17 the case they investigated involved a victim from Texas.
May 18, 2019
An American pastor from New Jersey backed by a British former clairvoyant is running a network that gives up to 50,000 Ugandans a “miracle cure” made from industrial bleach, claiming drinking the toxic fluid eradicates cancer, HIV/Aids, malaria and most other diseases.
The network, led by pastor Robert Baldwin and part-funded by Sam Little from Arlesey in Bedfordshire, is one of the most extensive efforts yet to distribute the “miracle cure” known as MMS, or “miracle mineral solution”. The Guardian has learned that poor Ugandans, including infants as young as 14 months old, are being given chlorine dioxide, a product that has no known health benefit and can be extremely dangerous.
Baldwin, 52, is importing bulk shipments of the components of MMS, sodium chlorite and citric acid, into Uganda from China. The two chemicals are mixed to produce chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleach used in the textile industry.
The American pastor has “trained” about 1,200 clerics in Uganda on administering the “miracle cure” and each in turn uses it to treat about 50 congregants, usually after Sunday service. As an inducement, Baldwin is offering smartphones to those clerics who are especially “committed” to spreading the bleach cure.
Baldwin operates under a ministry he founded called Global Healing. The “church” advertises itself as “using the power of Almighty God … to greatly reduce the loss of life” in Africa.
Yet in a phone conversation with Fiona O’Leary, a campaigner against quack medicine who spoke to him while posing as a freelance journalist, Baldwin said he distributed the bleach through churches to “stay under the radar”.
“We don’t want to draw any attention,” he said during the call, a recording of which has been heard by the Guardian. “When you draw attention to MMS you run the risk of getting in trouble with the government or drug companies. You have to do it low key. That’s why I set it up through the church.”
He added that as a further precaution he uses euphemisms on Facebook, where he raises money through online donations. “I don’t call it MMS, I call it ‘healing water’, to protect myself. They are very sophisticated. Facebook has algorithms that can recognize ‘MMS’.”
Baldwin, who trained as a student nurse and is understood to have no other medical expertise, said he chose Uganda because it was a poor country with weak regulation. Speaking from New Jersey, where he is based, he told O’Leary: “America and Europe have much stricter laws so you are not as free to treat people because it is so controlled by the FDA. That’s why I work in developing countries.”
He added: “Those people in poor countries they don’t have the options that we have in the richer countries – they are much more open to receiving the blessings that God has given them.”
Asked how babies and children were treated with MMS, he said the dose was reduced by half. “Little tiny infants can take a small amount, they will spit it out. It causes no harm – they just get diarrhea.”
The Guardian contacted Baldwin by phone in New Jersey and asked the pastor to explain his work in Uganda. He said: “We use natural healing therapies to help people – that’s something Christians do.”
Then he said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea to be talking to the media right now.”
Asked what doses of bleach he was using in Africa, he abruptly ended the call.
May 16, 2019
DALLAS (AP) — Police searched the offices of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas on Wednesday after an investigation into child sexual abuse allegations against a former priest uncovered claims against others, a police commander said.
Investigators searched the diocesan headquarters and also a storage unit it uses and the offices of a church, police Maj. Max Geron told reporters.
We believed at this point that the execution of the search warrants was wholly appropriate for the furtherance of the investigation at this point,” Geron said.
The events began last August with the investigation of Edmundo Paredes , a former priest who is believed to have fled Texas following claims that he abused three teenagers. That investigation resulted in allegations of abuse by others, Geron said.
A copy of the warrants obtained by WFAA-TV refers to the 70-year-old Paredes and four others. All five were named in a report released in January by the diocese that identified former priests credibly accused of sexually assaulting a child.
Paredes is suspended from the diocese; the other four are suspended, on leave, retired or stripped of clerical duties.
Geron declined to release details on the suspects, potential victims or when abuse may have occurred. He said Wednesday’s search was meant to turn up documentation or data concerning the allegations against the men.
Tennessee pastor who was facing 72 years in prison for repeatedly raping his adopted daughter, 14, is jailed for just 12 after dozens of parishioners show up to court to support him
May 15, 2019
The group, which calls itself “We Support Rape”, thinks the good reverend should be free to fuck his daughter as much as he wants.
A former Tennessee pastor who repeatedly raped his adopted teenage daughter has been given an effective 12 year prison sentence after dozens of parishioners showed up to court to support him.
Prosecutors had sought the maximum term of 72 years behind bars for 41-year-old David Richards, The Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
But a judge cited his longtime ministry and the support he still receives as mitigating factors after more than 30 people showed up to support Richards at the sentencing last week.
Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword also pointed to the fact he had started a Bible study for fellow inmates at the Knox County Detention Facility.
The victim was 16 when she reported the abuse by her sole guardian, saying it began two years earlier.
Amber Richards, who chose to speak publicly after the February verdicts, said in her victim impact statement: ‘I wanted to throw my body away.’
Joined by her biological parents she added: ‘Not a day goes by that I don’t, in some way, think of what he did to me. I firmly believe if given the opportunity, he would victimize another young girl.’
She told authorities where they could find DNA evidence at her home and said Richards had texted her about taking their relationship ‘to the next level.’
Authorities said they found her mattress stripped bare and his phone factory reset, but they were able to recover his DNA.
But Richards, who continued to maintain his innocence, claimed his young victim made her allegations of sexual abuse because of his strict parenting.
May 14, 2019
The hate-spewing pastor has repeatedly called for the deaths of gay people and prayed for the death of Barack Obama.
Steven Anderson, a bigoted pastor known for his anti-gay sermons and celebrations of violence against his enemies, has been banned from Ireland following public outcry over his impending appearance later this month.
Anderson, who runs Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, was supposed to preach in Dublin on May 26 as part of a multinational tour, according to his website.
But after an online petition to “prevent the hate pastor” from appearing in Ireland garnered more than 14,000 signatures, an Irish judge tapped a never-before-used exclusionary order from the country’s 1999 Immigration Act to ban him, according to the BBC.
“I have signed the exclusion order under my executive powers in the interests of public policy,” said Irish Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan in a statement.
Anderson hasn’t made many headlines for a few years, but the vile content of his sermons seems to cause an uproar wherever he decides to preach. In 2016, he was arrested and deported from Botswana after joining a local radio station to declare that gays and lesbians should be killed. He was also banned from South Africa, which declared he and his congregation “undesirable persons,” according to CNN.
Another sermon he was supposed to give in Amsterdam this month was also stymied, as officials in the Netherlands last week moved to bar Anderson from entering that country, too, according to local media.
Previously, he prayed for the death of former president Barack Obama, and celebrated the gunman who killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando in 2016. At the time, the gunman claimed he did so in the name of the Islamic state.
Anderson’s hateful sermons, which include calling Jews “anti-Christs” and using homophobic slurs to promote violence against the LGBTQ communities, has landed him and his congregation in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups. According to a “doctrinal statement” on Anderson’s website, his congregation “opposes worldliness, modernism, formalism, and liberalism,” and “believes that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty.”
But he fell off the mainstream radar after his 2016 comments, until earlier this year, when a fellow extremist pastor named Donnie Romero resigned from his post in Texas after allegations that he solicited prostitution. During a sermon in January, Anderson elaborated on the allegations against Romero, whom he had preached with: “Basically, the major sin involved was being with prostitutes, and then there were also marijuana and gambling that were also discovered,” Anderson said on Jan. 3.
Anderson didn’t respond to HuffPost’s request for a comment for this story.
May 10, 2019
Because self-policing has worked so well in the past. Oh, wait…
The pope continues to be a major part of the problem.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking new church law Thursday requiring all Catholic priests and nuns around the world to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities, in a new effort to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks.
The law provides whistleblower protections for anyone making a report and requires all dioceses to have a system in place to receive the claims confidentially. And it outlines internal procedures for conducting preliminary investigations when the accused is a bishop, cardinal or religious superior.
Abuse victims and their advocates said the law was a step forward, but not enough since it doesn’t require the crimes to be reported to police and essentially tasks discredited bishops who have mishandled abuse for decades with policing their own.
It’s the latest effort by Francis to respond to the global sex abuse and cover-up scandal that has devastated the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy and his own papacy. And it provides a new legal framework for U.S. bishops as they prepare to adopt accountability measures next month to respond to the scandal there.
“People must know that bishops are at the service of the people,” said Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s longtime sex crimes prosecutor. “They are not above the law, and if they do wrong, they must be reported.”
The decree requires the world’s 415,000 Catholic priests and 660,000 nuns to tell church authorities when they learn or have “well-founded motives to believe” a cleric or sister has engaged in sexual abuse of a minor, sexual misconduct with an adult, possession of child pornography — or that a superior has covered up any of those crimes.
It doesn’t require them to report to police, however. The Vatican has long argued that different legal systems make a universal reporting law impossible, and that imposing one could endanger the church in places where Catholics are a persecuted minority. But the procedures do for the first time put into universal law that victims cannot be silenced, that clergy must obey civil reporting requirements where they live, and that their obligation to report to the church in no way interferes with that.
The global victims group Ending Clergy Abuse, or ECA, said the Vatican shouldn’t hide behind the argument that mandatory reporting to police is a problem in some countries.
“The church should establish the law for reporting and justify the exception,” said ECA’s Peter Iseley. “Instead, they are using the exception as a pretext for not reporting sexual abuse to civil authorities and to keep abuse secret.”
If implemented fully, though, the Vatican could well see an avalanche of abuse and cover-up reports. The decree can be applied retroactively, meaning priests and nuns are now required to report even old cases of sexual wrongdoing and cover-ups — and enjoy whistleblower protections for doing so.
Previously such reporting was left to the conscience of individual priests and nuns.
Canon lawyer Kurt Martens called the new law “revolutionary” by making sex abuse of minors and adults, as well as official cover-ups, subject to mandatory reporting.
“We owe gratitude to Pope Francis for this universal law of the Church, ensuring that a victim who wishes to tell his or her story cannot be silenced,” Martens tweeted.
Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability praised some of the provisions but said they weren’t enough, primarily because there were no sanctions envisaged for violations, and because the process remained entirely internal.
“Bishops watching bishops does not work,” she said.
While there are no punitive measures foreseen for noncompliance, bishops and religious superiors could be accused of cover-up or negligence if they fail to implement the provisions or retaliate against priests and nuns who make reports against them.
The law defines the crimes that must be reported as: performing sexual acts with a minor or vulnerable person; forcing an adult “by violence or threat or through abuse of authority, to perform or submit to sexual acts”; and the production, possession or distribution of child pornography. Cover-up is defined as “actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid” civil or canonical investigations.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican’s bishops’ office, said the inclusion of sex crimes involving adults was a clear reference to cases of sexual abuse of nuns and seminarians by their superiors — a scandal that has exploded recently following reports, including by The Associated Press and the Vatican’s own women’s magazine, of sisters being sexually assaulted by priests.
The pope mandated that victims reporting abuse must be welcomed, listened to and supported by the hierarchy, as well as offered spiritual, medical and psychological assistance.
The law says victims can’t be forced to keep quiet, even though the investigation itself is still conducted under pontifical secret. And in a novelty, the law requires that if victims request it, they must be told of the outcome of the investigation — again a response to complaints that victims are kept in the dark about how their claims were handled.
Victims and their advocates have long complained that bishops and religious superiors have escaped justice for having engaged in sexual misconduct themselves, or failed to protect their flocks from predator priests. Bishops and religious superiors are accountable only to the pope, and only a handful have ever been sanctioned or removed for sex abuse or cover-up, and usually only after particularly egregious misbehavior became public.
Last summer, the scandal over ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick epitomized the trend: McCarrick rose to the heights of the Catholic hierarchy even though he had credible allegations of sexual misconduct with adults against him that the Vatican had received. Francis defrocked McCarrick this year after a U.S. church investigation determined he sexually abused minors as well as adult seminarians.
The new procedures call for any claim of sexual misconduct or cover-up against a bishop, religious superior or Eastern Rite patriarch to be reported to the Holy See and the metropolitan bishop, who is a regular diocesan bishop also responsible for a broader geographic area than his dioceses alone.
Unless the metropolitan bishop finds the claim “manifestly unfounded,” he must immediately ask permission from the Vatican to open a preliminary investigation and must hear back from Rome within 30 days — a remarkably fast turnaround for the lethargic Holy See. The metropolitan bishop then has an initial 90 days to conduct the investigation, though extensions are possible.
The law makes clear he can use lay experts to help, a key provision that is already used in many dioceses. And it recommends that a special fund be set up to pay for the investigations, particularly in poorer parts of the world.
Once the investigation is over, the metropolitan sends the results to the Vatican for a decision on how to proceed.
The new law requires Vatican offices to share information throughout the process, since an untold number of cases have fallen through the cracks, thanks to the silo-like nature of the Holy See bureaucracy.
The procedures published Thursday are likely to form a key legal framework for U.S. bishops when they meet in Baltimore June 11-13 to adopt new accountability procedures, though it will certainly force them to scrap their existing proposals and make them conform to the new law.
May 3, 2019
An imam who fled the country after being convicted of historical sex attacks has been jailed for eleven and a half years.
Hifiz Rahman, 58, was found guilty of five sexual assaults at Queens Cross mosque in the West Midlands between March 1986 and August 1987.
He took a flight from Birmingham Airport to Bangladesh the day after his conviction last month.
Rahman was sentenced in his absence at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Judge Nicholas Cartwright said the father-of-seven from Netherton, who had not attended some of his trial because he claimed he was too unwell, had deceived his victims and own solicitors by lying about being sick.
Speaking about the offences, he said: “What he did was a gross breach of the trust placed in him.”
The court previously heard how Rahman, of Ballard Road, carried out “almost daily” assaults on one victim.
One woman, who was seven when the imam started assaulting her, said he was treated like a “god” by people associated with the mosque in Cradley Heath.
Hifiz Rahman was imam at the Queens Cross Mosque in Cradley Heath when the assaults took place in the 1980s
On one occasion, when she threatened to report him, he invited himself round to her parents’ house for dinner, she said.
Rahman’s passport was surrendered before the trial but a second one, unknown to solicitors, was used to fly to Dakar in Bangladesh.
Prosecution barrister Peter Arnold said “strenuous efforts” were being made to get him back to this country.
Vinny Bolina, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said it was in dialogue with its international division about the possibility of applying for an extradition.
Speaking after the sentencing, one of the victims said: “It’s over for now, we just need to get him back here to serve his time.
“His life is over and mine can now restart.”
Rahman was also told to pay £5,590 in costs and banned from working with children.
May 3, 2019
Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, former executive director of Chabad of East Brunswick, admitted in U.S. District Court in Trenton that he paid to have sex with a 17-year-old girl; she was a victim of sex trafficking.
Goodman, 35, a registered sex offender from a 2013 crime, is under house arrest until his sentencing although he is permitted to travel to pre-approved locations during the week of Passover, according to records from the April 12 hearing. Calls made to his attorney, Eric Kanefsky, to find out the names of the specific locations were not returned.
Chabad of East Brunswick was affiliated with Chabad of Central NJ until 2013.
Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, administrator at Rutgers University Chabad House, which is affiliated with Chabad of Central NJ, told NJJN that Goodman was not on campus for Passover; his parents, Rabbi Baruch and Sarah Goodman, are Chabad’s campus activities directors. “Absolutely not,” he said. “[Goodman] has not been in the building for several years since this began.”
May 3, 2019
LEXINGTON COUNTY — A former church pastor has been arrested on child sex charges stemming from incidents dating as far back as 1996, according to police in Lexington County.
William Oswald, 56, of Prosperity, was arrested and charged on multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, the South Congaree Police Department said Tuesday night.
Additional details about the arrest and allegations were not immediately available, but police said the charges stemmed from when Oswald lived in South Congaree from 1996 to 2001.
Oswald is jailed on six counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to Lexington County jail records, one of which involves a child under the age of 11 and three of which involve a child between the ages of 11 and 14.
Oswald was a part-time pastor at a church in Newberry, the South Congaree police chief told WIS.
First-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, which involves a victim under the age of 11, carries a minimum of 25 years in prison and up to life, under South Carolina law.
May 3, 2019
Police have arrested a former priest dismissed by the Vatican following accusations he sexually abused young girls in Timor-Leste.
Richard Dascbach, 82, who has reportedly admitted abusing children at Topu Honis orphanage he founded in Kutet in Oecusse district was arrested on April 28, according to local media reports.
The former Divine Word Society priest was taken to custody following mounting pressure from child activists and families of alleged victims, who expressed outrage he had been allowed to return last year to the orphanage he had founded, after the abuses came to light.
Doubts were expressed over the Timor-Leste’s government commitment to pursuing the case.
“I am relieved to hear he has finally been arrested,” a source and long-time supporter of the orphanage told ucanews.com on April 29.
“Justice has taken over a year in coming when the scandal broke,” said the source, who did not wish to be named.
However, many people in the community are still supportive of the former priest, because he is considered a “hero” for his contribution in the 1999 war of independence against Indonesia.
During the war, Dashbach led a local militia in protecting the locality and provided support for the community in many ways, including dispensing medicine and food to families in need.
“He is even considered to have magical abilities and thus the people both revere and fear him. All of this makes the local people not want to believe the allegations,” the source said.
Before being taken away, police allowed him to say goodbye to the community, which was recorded in a video circulated on Facebook.
The source added that the new orphanage director, Liliana Tarung, was also arrested for attacking a former resident who she suspected of having reported the abuse.
It wasn’t clear who was looking after the orphanage in her absence.
Daschbach’s arrest came after Fokupers, a Timorese advocacy group that supports women and children, published an interview with a victim who gave details about the abuse last week.
The victim, who was 8 years old when she first went to the orphanage, said she and her friends were asked to sleep in the same bed as Daschbach, who she said would sexually abuse them.
She said they were afraid and respected him so they did what he wanted.