March 2, 2019
A Costa Rican priest was arrested Thursday a day after the Catholic Church had removed him from his parochial office for a complaint of “improper behavior toward a minor,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Priest Manuel Guevara Fonseca was arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning in front of a house in the city of Heredia, 8 km north of San José, the prosecution stated in a statement.
“He is being investigated as a suspect in the alleged crime of sexual abuse against a minor,” the prosecution’s statement read.
The prosecution authorities will take a statement from Guevara and will consider the possibility of requesting precautionary measures against him.
The Archdiocese of San José announced Wednesday night that Guevara had been removed from his position as priest in the district of Santo Domingo, north of the capital, while the church resolves a canonical complaint “for improper behavior against a minor.”
The case of Guevara occurred after the Vatican expelled Costa Rican priest Mauricio Víquez from the clergy last Monday. He faces nine complaints of sexual abuse of minors when he served as parish priest in different districts near the capital.
Víquez left Costa Rica last January and his whereabouts are currently unknown. The Prosecutor’s Office has issued an international arrest warrant as a result.
March 1, 2019
The cases, which will number in the many hundreds at least, will lay bare new details of past horrors and could push some of New York’s diocese to the brink of bankruptcy.
Unknown to many, the Catholic Church is a group of franchises, not unlike McDonald’s. The Vatican is financially immune from the debts of the parishes.
A new wave of allegations against Roman Catholic clergy will emerge in New York as a result of the new Child Victims Act. Matthew Leonard, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. After decades of anguish and argument over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, a final reckoning may be coming for New York parishioners.
Over the last quarter century, sexual abuse allegations, some of them horrendous, have been lodged in fits and starts against more than 400 priests and others associated with the church in New York state. The church hierarchy has been accused of concealing the truth about sexual misconduct as well.
But the number of past accusations and admissions pale in comparison to what’s happening today, and what will happen in the months ahead. The Democrat and Chronicle has found this confluence of events:
- More than 1,260 sexual abuse claims have been resolved and at least $228 million paid in compensation over the last two years under a systematic reconciliation program adopted by New York’s eight Catholic dioceses. Rochester is lagging, however, and has resolved about a half-dozen claims. By contrast, Ogdensburg, in less-populous St. Lawrence County, has already settled 39.
- A wave of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy will begin arriving soon in New York courtrooms and peak starting this summer. Big law firms are flocking to New York to take advantage of a new state law that eases stringent limits on who can file such suits.
- The cases, which will number in the many hundreds at least, will lay bare new details of past horrors and could push some of New York’s diocese to the brink of bankruptcy. What may be the first suit brought under the new law, filed Friday in Buffalo, is seeking $300 million for a single victim.
- The state Attorney General’s investigation of church sexual abuse has given investigators access to private diocesan records that will document still more instances of sexual misconduct and could well reveal past efforts by church officials to shield abusive clergy from discovery.
Combined, the three initiatives will provide a painful yet welcome opportunity for victims of sexual abuse to grievances against priests that have festered for decades.
Colleen O’Hara Carney and her sister say they were abused more than 45 years ago by a Jesuit priest, the Rev. Peter Conroy, a Rochester native who was a member of their extended family. His behavior including touching, grabbing and groping the girls when they were adolescents.
The family later reported the acts to the Jesuits and to the diocese of Buffalo, where Conroy was assigned in the early 2000s. At least one other complaint was made by a young woman who encountered Conroy on a college campus, Carney said.
Decades later, Carney is still troubled. “It keeps rearing its ugly head. He did this to me, and it’s been following me my whole life,” said Carney, who is 60 years old.
Earlier this week she signed the paperwork authorizing a lawsuit be filed against Conroy and the Jesuits.
“I just want acknowledgment,” said Carney, who added she hopes legal action will hold Conroy and his order to account, alleviate some of the anguish that she and her family feel and support the people who have worked to bring the church’s secrets to light.
The church’s reconciliation program is private, though victims are free to speak about their cases. Litigation can play out beyond public view as well, and the extent of the information that will be released by Attorney General Letitia James is unknown.
But advocates for sexual-abuse victims say they’re confident the flood of settled claims, lawsuits and the attorney general’s probe will reveal much.
“Because the doors of the courthouse have been locked, the information about what the dioceses knew and when they knew it, that remains under lock and key. The new law, frankly, is going to blow that door open. The survivors can share their stories,” said J. Michael Reck, a lawyer with a Minnesota firm that specializes in clergy abuse cases and has an office in New York City.
“We’re going to be able to crack open those secret archives,” Reck said. “I think what we know right now is a drop in the bucket. I think we’re going to find out a lot more.”
For decades, the rock on which child sexual abuse lawsuits foundered was New York’s statute of limitations.
These laws limit the amount of time that can elapse between an act of abuse and a lawsuit seeking damages for that act. There are statutes of limitations for crimes as well.
The underlying idea of a limitation is to ensure the best evidence and witnesses are available when the lawsuit is filed. But New York’s limitations for claims of child sexual abuse were among the most severe in the country.
Consider what happened with three high-profile civil actions filed against the Rochester diocese and its clergy:
- A Rochester woman filed suit in 1993 accusing Brother John Laurence Heathwood, a popular teacher and theater director at Bishop Kearney High School, of sexually assaulting her beginning in the late 1960s, when she was a student at the Irondequoit school. She said the attacks continued for years and included threats and coercion and left her unable to conceive children.
- At least six former altar boys sued the Rev. Albert Cason in 2002, claiming he sexually abused them in the 1960s while he served at St. John the Evangelist Church in Spencerport and at St. Patrick’s Church in Owego, Tioga County. He was accused of abusing boys on overnight camping trips and at a drive-in movie.
- Ten men filed a joint lawsuit in 2002 against the Rev. Robert F. O’Neill, accusing the once-popular priest of “sexual exploitation.” He allegedly molested numerous young teens in the late 1970s and early 1980s, often on trips to his cottage in Jefferson County.
In each of those cases, lawyers had what they believed was credible evidence that the plaintiffs had been sexually abused and left deeply scarred.
But they never had the opportunity to present that evidence in court. Each of the cases was dismissed out of hand, at least in part because the plaintiffs had waited too long to bring suit.
State law then required that most civil actions for such abuse be filed before the victim reaches age 23, and in some cases earlier than that. In each of the three high-profile cases, the plaintiffs were in their 40’s.
Experts say that gap in time between violation and litigation is common among victims of child sexual abuse. Many of them don’t come to terms with their injury until middle age.
“Some say the usual age of revelation is about 50,” said Robert Hoatson, founder of Road to Recovery, a support group for survivors of sexual abuse. “A victim only comes forward when they have the ‘tools’ to reveal the abuse.”
For that reason, multimillion-dollar jury awards against abusive priests and their dioceses have been rare in New York compared to other states with more liberal statutes of limitations.
But now the law has changed.
The Child Victims Act, which went into effect earlier this month, sets new and more relaxed time limits on civil actions. Victims of child sexual abuse now will be able to bring suit at any time before they reach the age of 55.
In addition, the law created a one-year window of time during which anyone may file suit over childhood sexual abuse, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred or the age of the accuser.
February 27, 2019
FRESNO, CA (KMJ)- A Fresno Anglican Church priest is arrested for sexual misconduct crimes against his followers.
Fresno police are aware of 22 potential victims — mostly undocumented Hispanic male adults and one female, but they believe Jesus Antonio Serna could have hundreds more.
Culminating a thirteen-month investigation, Serna was arrested at his office in Fresno at 7:30am, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019.
Serna told police he would tell his victims they were under the curse of witchcraft, and needed to be rid of it with a ritual he learned of in India.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Serna would then undress the victims, have them lie down on a recliner or a table and rub oil on the victim’s body telling them it was sacred oil and then masturbate the victims.
Serna led them to believe the ritual was spiritually or physically necessary for them to be healed.
All of the victims were members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church at 4147 E. Dakota, or at his office at 1300 East Shaw, which police say was more isolated.
The Bishop of the Anglican Church in Fresno learned of the crimes in October of 2017, when eighteen parishioners said they’d been victimized by Serna but were afraid to report the crimes to law enforcement..
Bishop Eric Menees confronted Serna on November 24th, and went to the Fresno Police in January of 2018, with the three victims.
Since that time, Chief Dyer’s been made award of 22 people assaulted but due to the reluctance of the victims to make statements, police could not take action.
After Bishop Menees kicked Serna out of the church, the disgraced priest later opened up his own Padre Dia Ministry at Holy Spirit Church, located at 4277 N. West Boulevard (not on Friant).
Chief Dyer during the press conference on Monday that the abuse may have been going on among his followers for years prior to 2014, during the time he was a priest in Yakima, Washington from 1997 to 2006.
Chief Dyer believes there are victims there, as well.
February 26, 2019
Cardinal George Pell: Vatican treasurer and highest ranking Catholic in Australia found guilty of five counts of child sexual assault
February 26, 2019
George Pell, convicted pedophile
We here at FuckThePope.com have been reading the media accounts of Pell’s conviction and are gobsmacked that so many express shock at the verdict. A priest raping alter boys is hardly news. We have to ask “Why the hell is anyone shocked?” Do people think that sex abuse is the province of only the lower echelons of the priesthood?
Cardinal George Pell, once the third most powerful man in the Vatican and Australia’s most senior Catholic, has been found guilty of child sexual abuse after a trial in Melbourne.
A jury delivered the unanimous verdict on 11 December in Melbourne’s county court, but the result was subject to a suppression order and could not be reported until now.
A previous trial on the same five charges, which began in August, resulted in a hung jury, leading to a retrial.
Pell, who is on leave from his role in Rome as Vatican treasurer, was found guilty of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 as well as four charges of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16. The offences occurred in December 1996 and early 1997 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, months after Pell was inaugurated as archbishop of Melbourne.
He is due to be sentenced on Wednesday, having been out on bail since the verdict and recovering from knee surgery.
Pope Francis, who has previously praised Pell for his honesty and response to child sexual abuse, has yet to publicly react, but just two days after the unreported verdict in December the Vatican announced that Pell and two other cardinals had been removed from the pontiff’s council of advisers.
Pell’s conviction and likely imprisonment will cause shockwaves through a global Catholic congregation and is a blow to Francis’s efforts to get a grip on sexual abuse.
It comes just days after an unprecedented summit of cardinals and senior bishops in the presence of the pope at the Vatican, intended to signal a turning point on the issue that has gravely damaged the church and imperilled Francis’s papacy.
Before returning to Australia to face the charges, Pell was for three years prefect of the secretariat for the economy of the Holy See, making him one of the most senior Catholics in the world. He was one of Francis’s most trusted advisers, and was handpicked to oversee the Vatican’s complex finances and root out corruption.
On the day of the dramatic verdict, after a four-and-a-half-week trial, Pell stood in the dock showing no reaction and staring straight ahead. The room was silent as the foreman told the court that the jury had found the cardinal guilty on all charges. Pell’s defence barrister, Robert Richter QC, when asked by journalists if he would appeal, responded: “Absolutely.”
Pell will now almost certainly face jail time.
The case against Pell centred around events of more than 22 years ago.
The jury found that in the second half of December 1996, while he was archbishop of Melbourne, Pell walked in on two 13-year-old choirboys after a Sunday solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral and sexually assaulted them.
The complainant, who is now aged 35 and cannot be named, said he and the other choirboy had separated from the choir procession as it exited the church building. The prosecution’s case hinged on his evidence, as the other victim died in 2014 after a heroin overdose. Neither victim told anyone about the offending at the time.
After leaving the procession, the complainant said, he and the other boy sneaked back into the church corridors and entered the priest’s sacristy, a place they knew they should not be. There they found some sacramental wine and began to drink. The complainant alleged that Pell had walked in on them and told them something to the effect that they were in trouble.
Pell manoeuvred his robes to expose his penis. He stepped forward, grabbed the other boy by the back of his head, and forced the boy’s head on to his penis, the complainant told the court.
Pell then did the same thing to the complainant, orally raping him. Once he had finished, he ordered the complainant to remove his pants, before fondling the complainant’s penis and masturbating himself. The complainant said the attack lasted only a few minutes, and the boys left the room afterwards, hung up their choir robes and went home.
Being in the choir was a condition of the complainant’s scholarship to attend St Kevin’s College, an elite independent school in the affluent inner-Melbourne suburb of Toorak, the court heard.
“I knew a scholarship could be given or taken away even at that age,” the complainant told the court. “And I didn’t want to lose that. It meant so much to me. And what would I do if I said such a thing about an archbishop? It’s something I carried with me the whole of my life.”
The complainant alleged that either later that year in 1996, or in early 1997, Pell attacked him again. He said he was walking down a hallway to the choristers’ change room, again after singing at Sunday solemn mass at the cathedral, when Pell allegedly pushed him against the wall and squeezed his genitals hard through his choir robes, before walking off.
The complainant told the court that after the attacks he could not fathom what had happened to him and that he dealt with it by pushing it to the “darkest corners and recesses” of his mind.
In his police statement, the complainant said he remembered Pell “being a big force in the place”.
“He emanated an air of being a powerful person,” he said. “I’ve been struggling with this a long time … and my ability to be here. [Because] I think Pell has terrified me my whole life … he was [later] in the Vatican. He was an extremely, presidentially powerful guy who had a lot of connections.”
In his closing address, the crown prosecutor Mark Gibson told the jury their verdict would come down to whether they believed the complainant beyond reasonable doubt. They should find the complainant an honest witness, Gibson said.
Pell pleaded not guilty from the beginning. He was interviewed by a Victorian detective, Christopher Reed, in Rome in October 2016, and the video of that interview was played to the court. In that interview Pell described the allegations as “a load of garbage and falsehood”.
When Reed said the attacks were alleged to have occurred after Sunday mass, Pell responded: “That’s good for me as it makes it even more fantastically impossible.”
Pell’s defence team told the jury there were so many improbabilities in the prosecution’s case that they should conclude the abuse could not have happened. Richter said it was unlikely that two boys could leave the choir procession after mass unnoticed or that the sacristy would be unattended or left unlocked, or that Pell would be able to manoeuvre his robes to show his penis in the way described by the complainant. The robes were brought into the court for jurors to view.
Richter used a PowerPoint presentation in the retrial during his closing address to the jurors, something he did not do in the first. One of the slides read: “Only a madman would attempt to rape two boys in the priests’ sacristy immediately after Sunday solemn mass.”
In his directions to the jury, the judge, Peter Kidd, told them that the trial was not an opportunity to make Pell a scapegoat for the failures of the Catholic church.
The jury took less than four days to reach their unanimous verdict.
Until now the trials have been subject to a suppression order and could not be reported. The reason for the strict order was that Pell faced a second trial in relation to separate alleged historical offences. The first trial was suppressed temporarily so information from it would be less likely to influence the jury in the second. Suppression orders are not unusual in such cases.
But Kidd has now ordered that reporting restrictions be lifted after the Department of Public Prosecutions dropped the second set of charges. Kidd had ruled that key evidence was inadmissible and could not be used, significantly weakening the prosecution’s case.
February 25, 2019
Reinhard Marx, part of the culture of clergy sex abuse cover-up
The Roman Catholic Church took pains to deliberately hide the extent of its global sex abuse crisis, going as far as destroying documents and failing to compile records that could be used to prosecute perpetrators, a top cardinal admitted this week.
At an unprecedented Vatican summit designed to tackle the church’s lingering child sex abuse scandal, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx shed light on the institution’s many failures to tamp down on the problem, telling the gathering of more than 190 bishops from around the globe that “the rights of victims were effectively trampled underfoot.” The National Catholic Reporter has more:
”Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created,” said Marx, beginning a list of a number of practices that survivors have documented for years but church officials have long kept under secret.
”Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them,” the cardinal continued. “The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution of offenses were deliberately not complied with, but instead canceled or overridden.”
The Catholic Church is in the midst of a reckoning over its wide-scale child abuse allegations that span the globe and date back decades. Thousands of child victims have come forward describing their abuse, while hundreds of priests have been reprimanded by the church as a direct result. But only recently has the shoe begun to drop for the highest-ranking officials, including those who are either accused themselves of sexually assaulting young children, or allowed the abuse to continue under their watch.
Just last week the Vatican defrocked Theodore McCarrick, an ex-cardinal and the former archbishop of Washington, who was accused of abusing at least three minors and harassing adult seminarians. It’s likely the first time that a cardinal has been expelled from the priesthood specifically because of sexual abuse, but comes too late for McCarrick’s victims to pursue criminal charges against their alleged abuser.
Pope Francis, who has had a mixed record on addressing the church’s pedophilia problem, convened the four-day summit in a landmark effort to curb the widespread and systemic failures that turned the issue into a global crisis. In his opening remarks on Thursday, Francis condemned the “scourge” of sexual abuse and said it was up to church leaders to “confront this evil afflicting the Church and humanity.”
But for years, it’s been others who’ve claimed the spotlight calling for accountability and reform — a trend that continued at the pope’s conference this weekend.
A Catholic nun took bishops to task: “This storm will not pass by. Our credibility is at stake.”
Activists and victims of clergy abuse are calling on the church to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy that would apply universal standards for abusive priests around the globe. So far, however, accountability measures have varied from region to region — if they happen at all. Even as more and more allegations of abuse come to light, factions within the church still deny its existence. Which is why one major theme to emerge out of this week’s summit focuses on transparency as a (small) first step to confront the crisis.
It’s a point driven home by Sister Veronica Openibo, a Nigerian-born nun and journalist, who in a standout moment in the conference, chastised church leaders to their face for their culture of silence and hypocrisy. As CNN religion reporter Daniel Burke noted of Openibo’s speech, “a nun just read the riot act to Catholic bishops over clergy sex abuse.”
February 25, 2019
Go right ahead and fuck all the kids you want. I’ve got your back.
Francis could have, with the stroke of a pen, made the sexual assault of children by clergy against church law which would demand the expulsion of violators from the priesthood. But he chose instead to offer another round of platitudes and vague promises leaving victims of sex abuse feeling victimized once again.
(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis closed out his extraordinary summit on preventing clergy sex abuse by vowing Sunday to confront abusers with “the wrath of God” felt by the faithful, end the cover-ups by their superiors and prioritize the victims of this “brazen, aggressive and destructive evil.”
But his failure to offer a concrete action plan to hold bishops accountable when they failed to protect their flocks from predators disappointed survivors, who had expected more from the first-ever global Catholic summit of its kind.
Francis delivered his remarks at the end of Mass before 190 Catholic bishops and religious superiors who were summoned to Rome after more abuse scandals sparked a credibility crisis in the Catholic hierarchy and in Francis’ own leadership.
“Brothers and sisters, today we find ourselves before a manifestation of brazen, aggressive and destructive evil,” the pope said.
February 23, 2019
David N. Moss, hypocrite of the month
A Mormon bishop from Utah has been arrested and removed from his Church position following an arrest on human trafficking charges.
David N. Moss, a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints bishop and former law enforcement officer, was recently arrested for attempting to “manage” sex workers by helping them avoid police. Moss also said he had “run” girls in the past.
Moss ultimately met with the two undercover officers, and during that meeting he showed them cash and said he was “not opposed to paying” for services, detectives allege. He also detailed ways to avoid police and at that point forcibly grabbed one woman’s hand and placed it on his genitals.
The document states Moss then unzipped his pants and exposed himself to the two undercover detectives.
Sex work itself isn’t the problem; the problem is that Moss was trying to put himself in a position to control those women (as he claimed to have done in the past). The religious hypocrisy is also obvious. Moss was eventually arrested and charged with exploiting a prostitute, patronizing a prostitute, sexual battery, and two counts of lewdness.
Moss was released that day and arrested February 19 at his home in Lehi. Moss admitted to the details in the chats and the discussions but denied having “managed” other women previously, booking records state.
Detectives wrote that Moss’ current position as a religious leader and his prior work as a vice squad cop in St. George gave them reason to worry there may be more victims out there.
They said both positions placed him in contact with potentially vulnerable people.
Moss was constantly surrounded by people who looked to him with respect and/or fear. He used that to his advantage to the point where other victims may still be out there. The one bright spot is that the Mormon Church acted quickly to remove him from his position, saying in a statement:
The behavior alleged in this incident is completely unacceptable and unbecoming of any member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and especially of someone serving in a position of local leadership. Upon learning of this situation, local leaders took immediate steps to relieve him of his role and to identify his replacement.
If only they acted that quickly when it comes to bishops who were accused of sexual assault yet weren’t shamed in the press.
February 22, 2019
New Delhi, India (CNN)As more than 200 leaders from the Roman Catholic Church meet in Rome for an unprecedented summit to address clergy sexual abuse, a crisis is being renewed in India.
In the southern Indian state of Kerala, accusations of sexual abuse involving the Catholic Church have demonstrated the challenges of holding some members of the clergy to account, and the clerical pressures victims face to remain silent.
Last Saturday, a senior Catholic priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Indian court for raping a 16-year-old girl in Kerala. The incident came to light only after the victim gave birth in February, 2017.
Robin Vadakkumchery, 51, was found guilty of raping the underage girl. He was handed down three concurrent sentences of 20 years each for rape and sexual abuse.
The case has been mired in controversy. The girl’s father attempted to direct the focus away from the priest — by initially telling police that he was the father of his daughter’s baby.
According to Beena Kaliyath, state prosecutor for the case, the girl’s father told police he was the one who had raped her, in order to take pressure off the Church. DNA testing subsequently proved that Vadakkumchery, the priest, was the father.
Police were alerted to the case by state child protection authorities two weeks after the girl delivered a baby, according to the court judgment from the sentencing.
During the trial, the girl, her father and her mother also claimed that the baby was the result of a consensual relationship between the victim and the priest and the girl was an adult at the time. The court rejected the documents which were furnished to corroborate the claim — ruling that they had been falsified.
Under Indian law, any sexual encounter with a minor under 18 automatically becomes ground for a rape charge.
John Dayal, the former president of the All India Catholic Union told CNN that because all religious authorities, including the church, are held in such high regard, it “makes it harder for the victims to expose the culprit.”
Dayal, who is also a human rights and political activist said that it’s often difficult for women to go public in such cases because “people will not believe her because they hold priests in such high esteem.”
Christianity is a minority religion in India, practiced by around 2.3% of the population, according to the most recent census data taken in 2011, but Kerala is home to a sizable Christian community that dates back hundreds of years.
That community has recently been rocked by sexual abuse scandals.
In another case, a group of women who spoke out about the alleged sexual abuse of a fellow nun have claimed that they are under pressure to withdraw their support for her.
In September, Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested on suspicion of raping a nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016.
Mulakkal, who is now based in the northern state of Punjab, has denied all allegations made against him and is currently out on bail. The investigation is still ongoing and the police have not filed official charges against him.
The case has drawn widespread attention in India — where like the rest of the world — it remains rare for members of the church to accuse senior clergy of wrongdoing publicly.
Controversy has surrounded the case — the nuns who lent their support to the sexual abuse allegations claimed last month the church is attempting to transfer them to other parts of the country, in an apparent attempt to silence them.
Earlier this month, Pope Francis for the first time acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops as a “problem” in the Catholic Church, saying that “we’ve been working on this for some time.”
“There have been priests and also bishops who have done that,” the Pope said of sexually abusing nuns. “And I believe that it may still be being done. It’s not a thing that from the moment in which you realize it, it’s over. The thing goes forward like this. We’ve been working on this for a long time.”
Pope Francis has said this week’s four-day summit, which began Thursday, will be a chance to hear abuse survivors speak about their experiences, to teach bishops about the church’s procedures to deal with abusive clergy and to seek forgiveness.
Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias and an Indian bishop will join clergy from across the world at the Rome summit.
But analysts question why it has taken this long to hold such a summit on sexual abuse in the church and questioned whether anything concrete can be achieved.
“My hope will be that people see this as a turning point,” Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, a member of the organizing committee, said Monday at a news conference.
“This is not the endgame. No one can say there will be no more abuse in the church or the world, but people will be held accountable.”
February 22, 2019
VATICAN CITY—In a gesture of goodwill intended to show the Papacy’s support for victims, Pope Francis announced Thursday that children who have been sexually abused by Catholic clergy would receive 10 percent off at the Vatican City gift shop.
“While we will never be able to completely undo the damage that was done, it is my hope that those who were sexually abused can ease some of their pain by enjoying a discount on hats, T-shirts, and other merch at our lovely gift shop,” said the Pontiff, who explained that the reduced prices would be offered to anyone who could provide proof of molestation and came forward prior to his rise to the Papacy in 2013.
“These were heinous crimes, and Christ calls on us to be generous towards those who have suffered. So please, browse the wide selection of devotional statuettes and decorative crucifixes available in our store, or go online and enter the code ‘MOLESTED’ to get the discount as well as free shipping on any orders over $100.” Pope Francis added that any clergy abuse victims who visited the Vatican in person could also enjoy a complimentary framed photo of either him or Pope Benedict.
Our thanks to theonion.com for this article.
February 22, 2019
He is also accused of having an astoundingly ugly wife.
A Pennsylvania church administrator stole $1.2 million from his religious community and used the money for family theme park vacations and other personal expenses, authorities say.
David Reiter, a 50-year-old business manager and occasional keyboardist for Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair, faces felony charges including theft, forgery, conspiracy and receiving stolen property, according to a criminal complaint obtained by HuffPost.
His wife, 44-year-old Connie Reiter, faces charges of conspiracy and receiving stolen property.
David Reiter, of South Park, was hired as Westminster Presbyterian Church’s financial administrator in 2001 and stayed in that role for about 17 years. He is accused of skimming money from the church’s funds between 2011 and 2018, according to the Allegheny County district attorney’s office.
During that time, Reiter was apparently an active member of the church ― playing keyboard for contemporary worship services and leading staff in worship during Christmas, Westminster’s senior pastor, Rev. Jim Gilchrist, told CBS affiliate KDKA on Tuesday.
“Everybody trusted him,” Gilchrist said.
Reiter allegedly falsified church accounts and created fake audit reports to cover his thefts. The complaint states that he charged about $220,000 in personal expenses on the church’s credit card and also made smaller unauthorized payroll transfers from church accounts to his personal accounts over the years.
The church funds were reportedly used to pay for vacations to Walt Disney World, Hershey Park and Cedar Point. Other expenses allegedly included Pittsburgh Pirates baseball tickets, music lessons for the Reiters’ children, restaurant bills, pet care, medical expenses, groceries, vehicle repairs and scrapbooking supplies.
Westminster Presbyterian Church’s board became suspicious in November when it attempted to perform a financial audit and was repeatedly told by Reiter that the auditor wasn’t available for a face-to-face interview. Reiter later gave a board member a cellphone number for the auditor but the person on the other end of the line was actually Reiter using a prepaid cellphone purchased with church funds, according to the complaint.
Reiter later confessed to Gilchrist that he had stolen money from the church, telling the pastor he did it “to make things better at home,” the complaint states.
“There was a tremendous amount of forethought and deception in this, which is all the more sad and just a sense of betrayal,” Gilchrist told KDKA.
The couple made an initial court appearance on Tuesday but didn’t enter pleas, The Associated Press reported. It’s unclear if they have retained attorneys.
Connie Reiter posted bail but her husband remains in jail, a district attorney’s spokesman told HuffPost on Thursday.
A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 28.
February 21, 2019
Marcin Michael Strachanowski, torturer and raper of children
SÃO PAULO, Brazil — The authorities in Rio de Janeiro said Sunday that they had arrested a Polish priest and charged him with sexually abusing a 16-year-old former altar boy.
The judge who issued the arrest warrant said the priest, Father Marcin Michael Strachanowski, 44, had used his parish’s rectory as an “erotic dungeon” to carry out sex acts with boys.
The police in Rio de Janeiro State said that Father Strachanowski, who was arrested late Friday, was being held at a police station awaiting court proceedings. He is accused of handcuffing the 16-year-old to a bed “to satisfy his sexual whims,” according to state prosecutors.
It is the third case of sexual abuse involving a priest in Brazil, which has the world’s biggest Roman Catholic population, in the last two months.
In April, Msgr. Luiz Marques Barbosa, 83, and two other priests were taken into custody in northeastern Brazil and accused of abuse after a videotape surfaced of Father Barbosa having sex with a former altar boy. Also that month, in Franca, in southeastern Brazil, prosecutors charged the Rev. José Afonso with abusing altar boys ranging from 12 to 16 years old.
The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro has relieved Father Strachanowski of his parish duties because of the criminal investigation, said Adionel Carlos da Cunha, a church spokesman. Mr. da Cunha said that church officials had been investigating Father Strachanowski for at least two years for suspected abuses of the teenager.