“Five Philly priests ousted after inquiry about abuse” & “Five Philadelphia priests sanctioned in sex abuse probe”

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The Daily Times (Delaware County, PA)

Published: Friday, May 04, 2012

By PATTI MENGERS
pmengers@delcotimes.com

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput on Friday announced the fate of eight Roman Catholic priests who are among 26 suspended early last year while officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia reviewed complaints against them of inappropriate behavior with minors.

Three of the completed cases involve priests who had once served in Delaware County. At least nine suspended priests with Delaware County connections are among 17 still awaiting decisions on their futures. They include the Rev. Paul Castellani, pastor of St. Philomena Church in Lansdowne, the Rev. Msgr. John Close, pastor of St. Katharine of Siena Church in the Wayne section of Radnor and the Rev. Mark Gaspar, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Charity Church in Brookhaven.

“The task of investigating past allegations of sexual misconduct is complex and time-consuming. It cannot be hurried or abbreviated without violating the whole purpose of the review,” said Chaput who claimed a gag order legally limited him in what he could reveal.

Child abuse watchdogs decried Chaput’s delay in decisions about the bulk of the suspended priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

“The priests were kept quietly in ministry for years after the allegations and then were quietly investigated for another year while the statute of limitations clock continued to tick,” said Terence McKiernan, president and co-director of BishopAccountability.org, the world’s largest data center focused on the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis.

During a press conference Friday at archdiocesan headquarters in Philadelphia, Chaput said all of the cases were first referred to the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams whose February 2011 grand jury report triggered the archdiocesan review launched by former Philadelphia archbishop, Cardinal Justin Rigali.

“Six of the 26 cases have not yet been cleared by law enforcement, so our own internal investigation has not begun. In two more of the 26 cases, we’ve just recently received clearance from law enforcement and our internal investigation is now proceeding,” said Chaput.

Nine other cases are awaiting either examination by an archdiocesan review board headed by former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Gina Maisto Smith, or a decision by Chaput who was installed as Philadelphia’s archbishop last September.

The suspended priests are among 37 named in the 2011 grand jury report as causes of concern for alleged incidents that apparently were no longer within the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution. One priest was already on administrative leave and two are incapacitated and out of active ministry. Two are members of religious orders and no longer serving in the archdiocese, but their superiors have been notified by archdiocesan officials about concerns over the abuse allegations. Initially eight cases were found by Smith to warrant no further investigation.

Smith and her team of law enforcement and child abuse experts are reviewing allegations that range from exceeding acceptable boundaries with language or touching, to sexual assault of minors.

Smith said on Friday that the review board has gathered more than 400,000 documents, interviewed more than 225 witnesses in the United States and foreign countries and visited many parishes in an effort to corroborate allegations of abuse.

“Our overarching objective was to determine whether a priest was suited for active ministry when viewed through the lens of protecting children,” said Smith, a mother of five who prosecuted sex crimes for almost 20 years before joining the Philadelphia law firm of Ballard Spahr.

While they are on administrative leave the clerics are not permitted to publicly exercise their priestly duties, reside at parishes or have any parish responsibilities. They are required to live in private residences. Chaput makes the final decision on the suspended priests’ dispositions.

“Three priests have been found suitable for ministry. Five priests will not return to ministry although they have the right to appeal this decision to the Holy See. A ninth priest is now deceased, and his case cannot be concluded,” said the archbishop.

McKiernan said on Friday that Chaput missed a crucial opportunity to deal with allegations of sexual violence against children in a transparent way and repudiate the failed policies of his predecessors, Rigali and the late cardinals Anthony Bevilacqua and John Krol.

“Instead he has given us more of the same. He has reinstated three priests, and removed five others, who now can appeal to the Vatican. One deceased priest’s allegations were deemed ‘inconclusive’. But he has given us absolutely no information about the alleged crimes or about how they were investigated,” said McKiernan.

The Rev. Daniel Hoy, who served at St. Joseph Church, Collingdale from 1964 to 1969 and at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Morton from 1971 to 1979, died at age 89 last July 25 so a full investigation of sexual abuse allegations against him could not be completed.

Allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against the Rev. Msgr. Michael Flood were found to be unsubstantiated and he was determined to be suitable for ministry. The 72-year-old priest was on staff at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Marple from 1969 to 1974. Ninety-two-year-old Rev. Philip Barr, who served at Holy Saviour Church in Lower Chichester in 1952 and 1953 and at Our Lady of Fatima Church in the Secane section of Ridley Township from 1958 to 1962, was also cleared of sexual abuse allegations by Chaput.

In addition, the Rev. Michael Chapman, 56, of Philadelphia, was deemed suitable for ministry after allegations of violating boundaries were determined by Chaput to be unsubstantiated.

The Rev. Robert Povish, 47, who was on staff at Archbishop Prendergast School for Girls in the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby from 1992 to 1996, was found unsuitable for ministry for violating the Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries.

Among suspended priests serving in other counties who were found unsuitable for ministry because of violating boundaries are the Rev. George Cadwallader, 56, the Rev. Msgr. Francis Feret, 75, and the Rev. Thomas Rooney, 61. The Rev. John Reardon, 65, was found unsuitable for ministry because of substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

The priests who were determined to be unsuitable for ministry will have the choice of a supervised life of penance and prayer or laicization which means they would be defrocked by the Vatican and removed from the priesthood. Chaput noted that it is easier for archdiocesan officials to monitor those who remain in the priesthood, but are out of active ministry.

Counselors from the Keystone Crisis Team are expected to be on-site this weekend at parishes served by suspended priests who have been found suitable for ministry, as part of a new archdiocesan support program called “Honesty, Healing and Hope in Christ: Confronting Sexual Violence in Our Archdiocese,” headed by Mary Achilles.

It will be up to the priests Chaput has exonerated to decide if they want to return to their former posts and if they want to share the nature of their investigations with parishioners.

“The decision is in their hands and, of course, the parishioners will have a voice. Initially some may want to go back, some may not want to go back,” said Chaput.

Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said Friday she was shocked that only eight cases of the 37 mentioned in the 2011 grand jury report, were resolved.

“This weekend Chaput should start visiting churches where the three priests with ‘unsubstantiated’ allegations worked. He should beg victims, whistle-blowers and witnesses to come forward, share information and get help,” said Blaine.

The 26 priests’ suspensions came on the heels of a scathing Philadelphia grand jury report released Feb. 10, 2011 — the second in six years — that accused archdiocesan officials of mishandling clerical sexual abuse cases. The grand jury investigation resulted in the arrest of two priests, a former priest and a male Catholic school teacher for the alleged sexual abuse of boys, and an archdiocesan official who Williams maintains endangered children because he did not turn over known pedophile priests to civil authorities.

The Rev. Msgr. William Lynn, who served as the archdiocese’s secretary for the clergy from 1992 to 2004 and is the first American Catholic church official charged in connection with covering up child abuse, is now on trial in Philadelphia with one of the accused child abusers, the Rev. James Brennan, a former faculty member at Cardinal O’Hara High School.

Within days of the grand jury report’s release, the reverends Joseph Gallagher, Stephen Perzan and Joseph DiGregorio were removed from active ministry. Gallagher served as assistant pastor at the former St. Michael’s Church in Chester from June 1970 until October 1974. Perzan was assistant pastor at St. Pius X Church in Marple from June 1974 to June 1975. DiGregorio was associate director of the regional Catholic Youth Organization from April 1968 to June 1970. Twenty-one more priests were placed on administrative leave March 8, 2011, and two retired priests were suspended around March 30, 2011.

____________________________________

Five Philadelphia priests sanctioned in sex abuse probe

Chicago Tribune

Reuters

4:32 p.m. CDT, May 4, 2012

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA, Pa., May 4 (Reuters) – Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput stripped five priests of their duties and apologized to their victims on Friday following an investigation into a pedophilia scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic archdiocese.

The sanctions come as the archdiocese nears the end of its investigation into 27 priests who were put on leave when a January 2011 grand jury report raised questions about their
possible involvement in abusing children.

Chaput said five of the cases were substantiated in the investigation, and those priests would be barred from public ministry, meaning they can no longer perform duties such as
saying Mass. They can appeal to Rome, and later could be defrocked.

Another three priests under investigation were cleared. One priest named in the grand jury report has since died.

Chaput, who said he has spoken with those priests whose cases have been resolved, apologized for a scandal that has rocked the church.

“I have in the past and will here today share my deep sadness and offer my heartfelt apology on behalf of the Archdiocese to all victims of clergy sexual abuse,” he said at a
news conference.

“The process of reviewing these cases was designed to ensure that the decisions announced today reflect our commitment to protect children, assist victims, restore the integrity of the priesthood and provide evidence to the broader community that they can have confidence in these outcomes,” he said.

Among those caught up in the broader scandal is Monsignor William Lynn. He is standing trial on charges of child endangerment and conspiracy over accusations he covered up abuse allegations against priests, many of whom were simply transferred to unsuspecting parishes.

His trial is in its sixth week and testimony is continuing. He faces 28 years in prison if convicted of all counts.

Chaput said the investigation into the remaining cases brought up by the grand jury should be concluded within weeks.

Chaput’s predecessor, Cardinal Justin Rigali, put all 27 clerics on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

(Editing by Paul Thomasch and Xavier Briand)

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Wonderful testament

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Attended the funeral service for Lorraine Eaman in Cornwall yesterday. Standing room only in the church – a wonderful testament to Lorraine and comfort to the Ron and the family.

Today off to Montreal to pick up our son and his family at the airport.

Sylvia

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Former Sacred Heart priest charged with stealing ring

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A former associate pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in East Grand Forks has been charged with stealing a wedding ring left on a kitchen sink by a parishioner. But the Rev. Carlos Felipe Velez Rivera, 45, has not been charged in connection with other allegations made by the Catholic Diocese of Crookston that he misappropriated donations and started a special missions collection without authorization while at Sacred Heart.

GrandForksHerald.com

03 May 2012

By: Chris Bieri and Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

A former associate pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in East Grand Forks has been charged with stealing a wedding ring left on a kitchen sink by a parishioner.

But the Rev. Carlos Felipe Velez Rivera, 45, has not been charged in connection with other allegations made by the Catholic Diocese of Crookston that he misappropriated donations and started a special missions collection without authorization while at Sacred Heart.

In Minnesota district court in Crookston on April 16, Carlos Velez — the name he went by at Sacred Heart — pleaded not guilty to two felony theft charges. The charges, filed April 3, each carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Allegations against Velez

According to the criminal complaint, on Feb. 3, East Grand Forks police met with Monsignor David Baumgartner, vicar general for the diocese, and the Rev. Larry Delaney, pastor of Sacred Heart, who said a missing wedding ring had been found in Velez’s living quarters in the parish rectory.

They said on Nov. 26, Rachel Bridgeford took her wedding ring off to wash dishes at the church. Delaney said he saw the ring the next day but left it there, anticipating someone would claim it.

On Jan. 12, church officials started an investigation into Velez’s suspicious behavior regarding money coming into the church, according to the affidavit.

Velez’s was asking for money for some kind of mission work in Africa, but he did not handle or process the funds according to diocesan policy, Baumgartner told the Herald.

When one of the donors from Sacred Heart came to the diocese asking for a record — for tax purposes — of her gift to Velez, they learned the woman’s check to Rivera had been deposited in the priest’s personal account, Baumgartner said.

On Jan. 28, church officials found the parishioner’s missing ring inside a clock in a cupboard in Velez’s residence.

Velez’s explanation

Velez told police he found the ring near a stairwell and put it in his pocket, later dropping it into the clock.

Velez said he didn’t tell Delaney about the ring he found because it was found on the stairs, not near the sink, where the parishioner had left her ring.

Velez also told police that he didn’t know the value of the ring and forgot about it after putting it in the clock.

On Feb. 3, church officials turned over the results of their investigation to East Grand Forks police.

Bridgeford told police she wanted to press charges against Velez for stealing the ring, which she said is worth $1,900.

Questions about collections

On Feb. 4, diocesan officials placed Velez on administrative leave “pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of theft of personal property, misappropriation of donations solicited by him for Africa, initiating a special collection without permission and failure to follow internal controls regarding the proper treatment of donations to the parish,” according to a news release from the bishop’s office.

But East Grand Forks Det. Rod Hajicek said Velez won’t be charged in connection with the allegations over the African special collection, only for his alleged theft of “personal property,” the ring.

Nobody knows the total amount of money Velez collected for the purported African mission and Velez claimed he sent all collections on to the cause, Baumgartner said.

“It’s possible that Father Carlos gave the money to where he said he did, but he doesn’t have authority to take a collection like that,” Baumgartner told the Herald.

The diocese rescinded its invitation to Velez to work in Sacred Heart or anywhere else in the Crookston diocese, Baumgartner said.

Velez remains a priest under the authority of the Boise, Idaho diocese, where he came on a visiting assignment in October 2010, first in Bemidji, then to East Grand Forks in summer 2011. Baumgartner said the Boise bishop was informed of the allegations against Velez.

The former Sacred Heart pastor is living in an apartment in Grand Forks and has no permission to work as a priest anywhere, Baumgartner said.

Attempts to reach Velez through his attorney Joel Arnason were unsuccessful.


Reach Bieri at (701) 780-1118; (800) 477-6572, ext. 118; or send email to cbieri@gfherald.com.Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; email slee@gfherald.com.

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5 Philly priests removed after abuse inquiry

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yahoo.com

04 May 2012

By MARYCLAIRE DALE | Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Five priests will be permanently barred from ministry after the Philadelphia archdiocese substantiated allegations of sexual abuse or inappropriate conduct, a Roman Catholic archbishop said Friday.

Three other suspended priests will return to ministry, and another died during the investigation, Archbishop Charles Chaput said. Another 17 cases remain under review, he said.

“When a child is harmed, the church has failed. When trust is lost, the church has failed. When the whole community suffers as a result, the church has failed,” Chaput said. “We can’t change the past. But I pray — and I do believe — that the lessons of the last year have made our Church humbler, wiser, and a more vigilant guardian of our people’s safety.”

Four of the five cases substantiated were said to involve “boundary” or “behavioral” problems, not sexual assaults.

Yet a lawyer for one accuser said one of those four priests had raped his client at St. Timothy’s Parish rectory in Philadelphia in the early 1970s.

“How do they define boundary issues, if somebody reports, credibly, that he was sexually raped — both orally and anally — as a 9-to-11-year-old?” said the man’s lawyer, Daniel Monahan of Exton.

The accuser, now in his 50s, contacted the archdiocese in 2006. He met last year with church investigators, a team led by a former child sex-crimes prosecutor and retired detective, and detailed his allegations, Monahan said.

The announcements came as a former archdiocesan official, Monsignor William Lynn, stands trial on child-endangerment and conspiracy charges. He faces up to 28 years in prison if convicted of helping the church cover up abuse complaints as the secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. Defense lawyers say he took orders from the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

None of the accused priests whose fates were announced Friday could be reached for comment. Phone listings rang unanswered or had been disconnected, and their former parishes did not know their whereabouts.

About two dozen other priests were suspended more than a year ago, after a grand jury report again blasted the archdiocese for keeping accused priests in ministry. A 2005 grand jury report had raised the same concern.

U.S. bishops have had a “zero tolerance” policy for abusers since 2002.

Priests removed from ministry can agree to serve a life of prayer and penance in a church-run facility, where they can be monitored. Some might agree to leave the priesthood, while others may be laicized after a church trial. The priests can also appeal the decision.

Chaput inherited the sex-abuse problem when he arrived from Denver last year. He declined to provide details Friday of how old or how serious the cases might be. Most had earlier been deemed not credible by his predecessors.

“I need to balance the need for transparency with the pain already felt by victims — pain which we acknowledge and do not wish to compound,” Chaput said.

Priests who were cleared of the accusations could return to their parish or perhaps move to a new assignment, decisions Chaput plans to make after consulting with the priest and parish. He met with the eight accused priests this week to tell them their fate, meetings he called “very difficult.”

About 65 other Philadelphia priests have been credibly accused of sexual assault or abuse since the 1940s, according to the archdiocese’s website. Twenty are now deceased. Twenty more remain have been placed in restricted ministry in recent years, and another 25 have been laicized. The archdiocese lists their names and church assignments on the website.

Philadelphia prosecutors unearthed hundreds of abuse complaints from secret church files for a watershed 2005 grand jury report that named 63 credibly accused priests, many still in ministry at the time. But they said the alleged crimes were too old to prosecute. No one was charged, and church leaders blasted the report as anti-Catholic.

The second grand jury report, issued in February 2011, charged three priests and a teacher with more recent sexual assaults. And prosecutors brought a case against Lynn, on the legal theory that he endangered children by keeping accused priests on the job.

Lynn’s trial is now under way. Jurors are hearing a daily drumbeat of graphic sexual assault allegations involving about priests whose personnel files were known to Lynn. The trial, which began March 26, is expected to last about three more weeks.

Chaput, at Friday’s news conference, offered his “heartfelt apology” to all victims of clergy abuse, and said he would be happy to meet with any of them. In contrast with earlier church policy, he said he that all of the accusations against the 26 suspended priests had been referred to law enforcement. It’s not clear if any are recent enough for police to contemplate charges.

David Clohessy, executive Director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, was disappointed that so few cases have been resolved.

“It leaves … priests accused with little or no supervision, living among unsuspected neighbors, and no clarity whatsoever among Catholics or citizens,” Clohessy said.

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Former Port Richmond pastor will be removed from ministry

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philly.com

Posted: Fri, May. 4, 2012, 3:01 AM

By John P. Martin and Claudia Vargas

Inquirer Staff Writers

A former Port Richmond pastor is among the Catholic priests who will be permanently removed from ministry over child-sex abuse allegations, according to a lawyer for a man who said the cleric raped him.

Archdiocese of Philadelphia officials notified the accuser on Thursday that Msgr. Francis J. Feret won’t be reinstated, attorney Daniel Monahan said.

Feret, 75, spent more than a decade as pastor of St. Adalbert in the city’s Port Richmond section, and twice as long as a teacher and administrator at Cardinal Dougherty High School.

Reached by phone late Thursday, Feret said: “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything to say,” then hung up.

He was among 26 priests suspended last year while the archdiocese reexamined allegations that they had sexually abused or acted inappropriately around minors.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is scheduled to disclose the results of that investigation at a news conference on Friday afternoon. Church officials have declined to say which or how many cases had been resolved or would be discussed by Chaput.

A source familiar with the process said about a dozen of the affected priests were expected to learn their fates in private meetings with the archbishop on Thursday and Friday. Some would be exonerated and reinstated; others face permanent removal, according to the source.

Church officials also planned to notify those victims whose allegations were deemed credible.

That’s how Feret’s accuser learned the priest’s fate, according to his lawyer. The man reported the abuse to the archdiocese in an e-mail in 2006, Monahan said. He said Feret began sexually assaulting him at age 9 in the early 1970s. The alleged abuse included oral and anal sex, the lawyer said.

Monahan declined to publicly identify his client or the church where the abuse occurred. The Inquirer does not publish the names of sex-crime victims or accusers without their permission.

The accuser has not filed a lawsuit but has been interviewed by police, according to Monahan.

Ordained in 1962, Feret worked until 1983 at Cardinal Dougherty, according to the website Who’s Who in Polish America.

In 1994, he was named pastor at St. Adalbert, serving an ethnic, working-class community where many residents speak Polish. Neighbors interviewed Thursday said they weren’t aware of the decision but said Feret had been gone for some time.

Steve Endrik, a St. Adalbert’s parishioner for 50 years, said that Feret was not popular, but that the situation was sad. Another church member said parishioners did not press for answers after Feret’s suspension.

“It’s sensitive,” said the man, who asked not to be identified because his sons attend the school. “We just stay out.”

Public records show Feret moved in the fall to Villa St. Joseph, a church-owned retirement home in Upper Darby for priests. The site is also a residence for accused abusive priests who have agreed to a supervised life of prayer and penance, though it was unclear whether Feret had done so.

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Cardinal in child abuse conspiracy urged to quit

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The Sydney Morning Herald

May 5, 2012

Henry Mcdonald

 

Sean Brady.

Cardinal Sean Brady … calls to resign. Photo: Peter Morrison

DUBLIN: The Irish Catholic primate, Sean Brady, is under intense pressure to stand down over a child abuse row after further calls for his resignation were made by Ireland’s Foreign Minister and the editor of the influential newspaper The Irish Catholic.

Cardinal Brady is resisting demands that he step down after revelations on television this week that he failed to inform parents and police about a list of children who were being sexually abused by one of Ireland’s most notorious paedophile priests.

The leader of Ireland’s Catholics has refused to accept he should resign his position despite the scandal over a 1975 deal between a young boy abused by Father Brendan Smyth and the church which bought the young victim’s silence for decades.

A BBC investigation found the victim gave Cardinal Brady, who was a note-taker at the meeting where the deal was made, a list of names and addresses of children Smyth was abusing. Cardinal Brady, who was then a priest, did not inform the children’s parents or the police.

Sam Adair, one of those abused by Father Smyth after 1975, told Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE: ”The facts of the matter are that this man was a leading, skilled canon lawyer, highly paid and sought after, and promoted to the highest rank of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe. He was a skilled canon lawyer; he was not a note-taker.”

Eamon Gilmore, who is Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister as well as the Foreign Minister, intensified the pressure on Cardinal Brady to resign, joining Garry O’Sullivan, editor of the The Irish Catholic, as well as Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, in calling for him to step down.

”I’ve always believed in the separation of church and state,” Mr Gilmore said. ”I think it is the job of government and of the state to enact our laws and to ensure that those laws apply to everybody whether they belong to a church or not.

”But it is my own personal view that anybody who did not deal with the scale of the abuse that we have seen in this case should not hold a position of authority.”

Speaking in parliament, Mr Gilmore described the revelations in the television program as ”another horrific episode of failure by senior members of the Catholic Church to protect children”, and said the cardinal should resign for failing to report the accusations to the authorities.

The Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, who last year denounced Vatican interference in investigations into clerical sexual abuse in Ireland, said the office he held precluded him from calling for the cardinal’s resignation but on Wednesday said the primate should ”reflect” on the contents of the BBC program.

While The Irish Catholic often defends the church from liberal and secular opponents, O’Sullivan, writing in Dublin’s Evening Herald, accused Cardinal Brady of demonstrating no ”emotion of human sentiment for victims” on RTE television on Wednesday evening, when the Catholic primate insisted he would not step down.

O’Sullivan said it was better for the church’s ”future recovery” that he now resign and ”hand in his hat”, a significant intervention which will increase the pressure both in Ireland and Rome.

Mr McGuinness said: ”Ultimately, Cardinal Brady’s response is a matter for himself and the church, but it is a very grave situation for survivors of abuse, for the Catholic Church and for Catholics across Ireland.

”Speaking personally, I believe he should reflect on the wisdom of this position which will leave many Catholics wondering whether anything is to be done by the leadership of the Catholic Church to ring the changes which many believe are required at such a sad time for all.”

__________________________

Ireland’s top Catholic cleric faces calls to resign over abuse scandal

CNN

May 4, 2012 — Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)

From Peter Taggart, for CNN

Cardinal Sean Brady, Ireland's top Roman Catholic cleric, insists he does not plan to step down.
Cardinal Sean Brady, Ireland’s top Roman Catholic cleric, insists he does not plan to step down.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: An abuse survivor says Cardinal Sean Brady should face more questions
  • Brady being criticized for how he handled cases of sexual abuse of children by priests
  • A new TV documentary says Brady was more involved in a 1970s cover-up than he admits
  • Brady says he did what he was supposed to do at the time and insists he won’t resign

Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNN) — Ireland’s top Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Sean Brady, was under mounting pressure to resign Friday amid renewed allegations about his role in dealing with the sexual abuse of children by priests.

A British television documentary repeated claims made in 2010 that Brady was told of attacks by pedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth in 1975 but did not inform police or the parents of the victims.

The documentary also claimed that Brady, then a priest, had a greater role in the church investigation of the Smyth allegations than he has admitted. New details and documents also were produced.

Responding to the BBC program, Brady repeated his defense that he had done his job by passing details of all allegations to his superiors.

He told CNN that he felt “betrayed” when he discovered that church officials had taken no action against Smyth, who continued to abuse children for years throughout Ireland and in the United States.

Smyth was eventually imprisoned and has since died.

Brady has accepted that during the 1970s, he was “part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society and the church,” but he has insisted he does not intend to resign.

The Catholic Church in Ireland said Friday that a previous request from Brady for Pope Benedict XVI to send a bishop to help him with his work would be “reactivated.”

Calls continued from abuse victims and lawmakers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for Brady to step down.

Abuse survivor Jon McCourt told CNN that further inquiries should be made into Brady’s role.

“Many people have been prosecuted for a lot less and served years in prison,” he said.

“At the very least, an investigation should be carried out. The law is the law, there was no immunity. He was legally obliged to inform the authorities, and not doing so has caused a lot of people a lot of pain.”

One of the most senior politicians to speak out has been Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Eamon Gilmore.

“It is my own personal view that anybody who did not deal with the scale of the abuse that we have seen in this case should not hold a position of authority,” he said.

Gilmore, also the country’s foreign minister, last year decided to close Ireland’s embassy in the Vatican, citing the need to cut costs. Brady said then he was “profoundly disappointed.”

The government and church in the mainly Catholic country have been at loggerheads in recent times after a series of state-backed investigations into sexual abuse by priests and other church figures over several decades.

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Paedophile priest dubbed ‘The Night Priest’ jailed for abusing and plying altar boys with cocaine, 18 YEARS after church chiefs were first warned about him

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The Daily Mail Online

PUBLISHED: 13:18 GMT, 4 May 2012 | UPDATED: 14:27 GMT, 4 May 2012

  • Italian Father Ricardo Seppia given nine years in prison
  • Fellow priest said he warned church chiefs in 1994
  • Father Seppia arrested after gay nightclub investigation
  • He sent ‘obscene texts’ to arrange sex with children
  • Case is latest sex scandal to rock Catholic Church

By Nick Pisa In Rome

A paedophile priest who plied altar servers with cocaine before sexually abusing them has been jailed for nine and a half years by an Italian court.

Father Riccardo Seppia, 51, was arrested by police after they discovered his activities during an investigation into the supply of drugs to Milan’s gay nightclub scene.

Stunned officers listened in as Father Seppia said: ‘Come on over I’ve got some snow’ – code for drugs. In another conversation he said: ‘Bring the usual gift, I am very lonely.’

Jailed: Father Ricardo Seppia sent 'obscene' texts to young boys arranging to meet themJailed: Father Ricardo Seppia sent ‘obscene’ texts to young boys arranging to meet them

When details of Father Seppia‘s case emerged last year in his parish at Sestri Ponente near Genoa he was immediately suspended by his local bishop – although there were claims that church chiefs had been warned about him almost 20 years ago.

Fellow priest Father Piercarlo Casassa said at the time: ‘I told the Church authorities about him in 1994 but I was ignored. People had told me he had a untoward approach with the scouts (altar boys) and I told the authorities he was not the right person to have around youngsters but no-one listened to me.’

His claims were backed up by local parishioners who told Italian media that Father Seppia had been nicknamed ‘The Night Priest’ because of his habit of going out late and sleeping in.

The case is the latest sex abuse scandal to rock the Roman Catholic Church and comes after Pope Benedict XVI said the Vatican would be introducing tougher guidelines on dealing with clergy who take advantage of children.

Two years ago the Vatican was at the centre of a worldwide storm after it emerged there had been thousands of cases of paedophile priests in Ireland, Germany, America and Belgium which were covered up and not acted upon.

Police said the investigation on Father Seppia focused on gyms and saunas in the Milan area which he visited and that two other men – including a former trainee priest – were also questioned as part of the investigation.

He was charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old altar boy, attempted child prostitution and supplying cocaine. A charge of possessing child pornography was dropped.

Father Seppia appeared in court in Genoa shaven-headed and dressed in a blue shirt and jeans, and hung his head as the prosecutor Stefano Puppo told the judge he had targeted ‘problem children’ and had sent them ‘obscene texts as he tried to arrange sex with them.’

Before the sentence was read out Father Seppia told judge Roberta Bossi: ‘I would just like to apologise for all those erotic SMS texts full or erotic fantasies and blasphemies that I sent to altar boys and other children. I am sorry for my behaviour because it was wrong.’

Judge Bossi dismissed his apologies and sentenced him to four years, two months and twenty days for the sex abuse and attempted child prostitution charges and five years and four months for the drug offences, making a total of nine and a half years. He was also fined €28,000 (£22,700).

He will serve his sentence, a year of which has already been served on remand, in a sex offenders section at nearby San Remo jail.

Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, leader of the Catholic Bishops Conference based in Genoa, refused to comment on the case, leaving it to his spokesman Father Silvio Grilli.

Father Grilli said: ‘We take note of the court’s decision and express once again our pain for what happened to the victim and parishioners. It is appreciated that Father Seppia did apologise when in court.’

Last years new guidelines on dealing with paedophile priests was drawn up by Cardinal William Levada, of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and was sent to all clergy members worldwide.

It underlines the Church’s zero tolerance policy on abuse and highlights how to ‘prevent, collaborate and deal’ with civilian authorities investigating abuse claims.

The document tells church officials that they should collaborate with police and report to them any suspected allegations of child abuse – this was not obligatory before the new guidelines.

Two years ago Pope Benedict described his horror at the dozens of sex allegations which hit the Church.

At one stage even he was drawn into the scandal when he was accused of dragging his heels when dealing with a case involving a priest in his native Germany when he was Archbishop of Munich in 1980.

 

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Suspended Pa. priest appeals teen contact charges

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The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, PA)

Fri May 04, 2012, 10:42 AM EDT

Associated Press

SMETHPORT — A suspended Catholic priest has appealed his conviction on charges of concealing the whereabouts of a child and corruption of minors stemming from his relationship with a 15-year-old northwestern Pennsylvania boy whose mother had told the priest to stop contacting the teen.

Sixty-year-old Samuel Slocum, of Cyclone, is serving two years’ probation for his conviction in January.

The priest remains suspended from ministry by the Erie diocese but argues in the appeal that McKean County prosecutors didn’t prove the charges against him.

The Bradford Era reports that Slocum contends he didn’t hide the boy’s whereabouts from his mother, and says the boy wasn’t “corrupted” because the priest never encouraged him to commit a crime or do anything inappropriate.

Prosecutors didn’t charge Slocum with sex crimes, but say some contacts with the boy were suggestive or flirtatious.

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Former Saskatchewan residential school supervisor going to trial

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 Global Saskatoon

Friday, May 04, 2012 9:44 AM

A former dormitory supervisor at a Saskatchewan residential school has been ordered to stand trial on 17 charges of indecent assault.

Seventy-year-old Paul Leroux was charged with indecent assault after complaints were filed by former students at the Beauval Indian Residential School.

The preliminary hearing wrapped up Thursday in Meadow Lake.

The complainants were between the ages of three and 18 when the alleged incidents occurred between 1960 and 1967.

A date and location for the trial has not been finalized.

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Former Saskatchewan residential school supervisor going to trial

The Huffington Post

Posted: 05/ 3/2012 11:17 pm Updated: 05/ 4/2012 12:22 am

CP | By The Canadian Press

MEADOW LAKE, Sask. – A former dormitory supervisor at a Saskatchewan residential school has been ordered to stand trial on 17 charges of indecent assault.

Seventy-year-old Paul Leroux was charged with indecent assault after complaints were filed by former students at the Beauval Indian Residential School.

The preliminary hearing wrapped up Thursday in Meadow Lake.

The complainants were between the ages of three and 18 when the alleged incidents occurred between 1960 and 1967.

A date and location for the trial has not been finalized.

(MBC)

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 Judge Determines Enough Evidence Exists To Send Former Supervisor to Trial

MBC Network Radio Online

Thursday, 03 May 2012 22:43

A former dormitory supervisor at the Beauval Indian Residential School will be going to trial.

Seventy-year-old Paul Leroux is facing a total of 17 charges.

He was charged with indecent assault after complaints were filed by former students at the school.

The preliminary hearing in the case concluded today in Meadow Lake.

The complainants were all between the ages of three and 18 and the alleged incidents occurred between 1960 and 1967.

A date and location for the trial has not been finalized.

 

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US lawyer abused by Brendan Smyth says Seán Brady should be criminally investigated

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RTE News Ireland

Updated: 11:13, Friday, 4 May 2012

A victim of Fr Brendan Smyth has said Cardinal Seán Brady should not only resign but should be investigated by secular authorities for possible criminal charges.

A victim of Fr Brendan Smyth has said Cardinal Seán Brady should not only resign but be investigated by secular authorities for possible criminal charges.

US lawyer Helen McGonigle was abused by the paedophile priest in the late 1960s in Rhode Island.

Speaking to BBC Ulster this morning, Ms McGonigle said she was “outraged” by Cardinal Brady’s response to allegations in a BBC documentary broadcast this week.

The Shame of the Catholic Church’ claimed that Cardinal Brady did not pass on information about abuse to families of children involved.

Ms McGonigle said he had shown “arrogance and insensitivity”.

The lawyer said the events of 1975 came after Smyth “had destroyed” her family, but said she had great sympathy for those who suffered in subsequent years.

Ms McGonigle said Cardinal Sean Brady’s “duty as a human” was to protect children. She said the failure to act properly on Brendan Boland’s complaint was “unforgivable”.

Elsewhere, the Catholic Communications Office has rejected reports that Cardinal Brady was willing to resign two years ago over the affair.

A report in today’s Irish Independent says that the Vatican rejected an offer from Cardinal Brady to step down.

More calls for resignation

Meanwhile, one of the country’s leading theologians has said Cardinal Brady has lost his moral credibility and should resign as the Catholic Primate of All Ireland.

Fr Vincent Twomey, a retired professor of moral theology at St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, said there were issues arising from the current controversy that the Catholic Church must address internally.

Earlier this week, the BBC documentary alleged that claims made by a boy in 1975 – to a church inquiry – were not passed on to parents of other victims or to gardaí or police.

Fr Twomey said that he thought Cardinal Brady should now step down for the good of the church.

The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has also called for the cardinal to resign.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Pat Kenny, she said: “He was a man in his middle 30s at the time who was a Doctor of Divinity.

“You could say at that stage that people like that were tremendously naiive. But he was highly educated. He also held a position in a school.

“I personally think that he needs to reflect on his position, and were he to ask me for my view on a personal basis, I would say his position is not really sustainable.”

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Theologian calls on Cardinal Sean Brady to resign

BBC News Northern Ireland

o4 May 2012

One of Ireland’s leading theologians has said Cardinal Sean Brady should resign as Catholic Primate of all-Ireland.

It follows fresh claims about a church inquiry into clerical child abuse.

Fr Vincent Twomey, a former Professor at Maynooth College, told RTE that Cardinal Brady has lost his moral authority.

Cardinal Brady is accused of failing to do enough when alerted to abuse allegations when he was a priest.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and the Irish deputy PM have both questioned whether Cardinal Brady should remain in his job.

On Tuesday, a BBC documentary revealed that in 1975, a 14-year-old boy who had been sexually abused by a paedophile priest, Fr Brendan Smyth, gave the then Fr Brady the names and addresses of other children who had been abused.

It said Fr Brady did not pass on the details to the police or parents.

On Friday, Helen McGonigle, an American lawyer, who is a victim of Brendan Smyth, also said Cardinal Brady should resign.

She said she was “outraged” by the cardinal’s reaction and said she felt for Brendan Smyth’s victims.

She said she knew the cardinal was standing by his statement that he had “acted and recorded the information and passed it on”.

“But the analogy I draw is you see a burning building with children inside and you say that you have called your boss and you have told them,” she added.

“There are children inside a burning building and then you see that no-one is coming to rescue the children in the burning building why don’t you call the fire department and the police?”

On Thursday, Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said detectives would look at the documentary to assess whether it should be included in their investigation into institutional abuse.

“For the last number of months there has been an investigation ongoing under an operation called Operation Charwell into alleged institutional abuse and this is really the context in which we will examine the material that was made available through the BBC documentary,” he said.

There is a lot at stake for the Vatican, with the important International Eucharistic Congress due to take place in Ireland early next month.

This four-yearly event is formally a celebration of the mass …and in particular what Roman Catholics believe is the “real presence” of Jesus in the blessed bread and wine shared by the congregation.

But it is also a huge convention, bringing Roman Catholics together from across the world for worship and discussion – on this occasion on the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council which made profound reforms in the Church.

The loss of the Church’s leader so close to the event could overshadow the Congress.

“Before we launch into an investigation or make knee-jerk responses to that, we will take an objective, evidence-based assessment of the material that was in that programme.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, Fr Gerard Cusack, abbot of the Norbertine Order at Kilnacrott Abbey in County Cavan, of which Father Brendan Smyth was a member, said he felt Cardinal Brady should not resign.

“I think it is a difficult decision for Cardinal Brady, I would be supporting him in his efforts to continue,” he told Northern Sound radio.

“I think he should hold on.

“I think he has moral authority, he has called himself a wounded healer in the past and he is.”

Fr Cusack, who was not abbot at Kilnacrott Abbey when Brendan Smyth was there, said the order was “gravely sorry” for what had happened.

He also said it was endeavouring to help with counselling and was prepared to meet anybody.

Fr Cusack said the order had “helped a lot of people with out-of-court settlements”.

The abbot said Brendan Smyth was “a difficult man”.

“It is only now we can see how he was grooming victims, little did we know he was abusing these people,” he said.

“Very few people were aware of the cunning nature of people with this disease, it is a real affliction.”

Fr Cusack said that Brendan Smyth had been taken to a number of psychiatrists on the island of Ireland for treatment.

“Every effort was made to get the best professional treatment for Brendan Smyth,” he said.

“We did our best, but our best was not good enough.”

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Cardinal Sean Brady vows to remain as former RUC officer says failures let abuse go on

The Belfast Telegraph

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A former RUC officer who was close to the Brendan Smyth investigation has said that the paedophile priest would have been stopped from ruining countless other lives had he been reported to the authorities in 1975.

Cardinal Sean Brady yesterday vowed he would not resign as the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland despite new claims that he failed to act on evidence he obtained about clerical child abuse.

The beleaguered Primate — Ireland’s most senior cleric— remained defiant that he would not step down as church leader after mounting pressure grew following further alleged ‘cover up’ revelations rocked the church.

But Cardinal Brady failed to answer questions about his role in interviews with victims of Smyth, particularly why he did not tell police about his criminal activities.

Dr Brady blamed his then superiors for failing to stop Smyth continuing to abuse children over the next 20 years, adding that he felt “betrayed” by their inaction.

“I reported it to my superior, who then reported it to the superior of the priest in question. I trusted that it would happen,” he said. “We’re not hiding behind procedures. There was no desire on my part to cover up, it was to make sure that this abuse stopped.”

Cardinal Brady’s staunch defence came after a BBC documentary said a 14-year-old victim of Smyth warned him in secret interviews in 1975 there were a possible five other victims.

It said Cardinal Brady — then a priest — had been given names and addresses of those being abused by Smyth. He passed the information onto his superiors but not to police or parents.

The senior cleric became visibly flustered when challenged about why he failed to report evidence of child rape to police. Dr Brady admitted there was nothing stopping him from going to civil authorities when he learned of accusations against serial paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth in 1975.

But he refused to take any personal responsibility for the failure, saying it wasn’t his place to report the accusations and that he did what he was “sent there to do”.

The former RUC officer said: “It is my view that there were up to 30 victims of Brendan Smyth between 1975 and his arrest in 1991 — and to be honest there could be dozens more that we never ever found out about,” said the officer.

“Predatory paedophiles like Smyth just don’t suddenly stop.

“I have no doubt these victims and God knows how many others would have been saved from the most horrific attacks had Smyth been stopped earlier.

“The failure of the Catholic Church to deal with this in 1975 is really unforgivable.”

Asked what he thought the then Fr Brady should have done, he said: “There was a culture of keeping this in the Church back then. But had he called in the police Smyth could have been stopped. He should have told the parents.

“That’s my view but it’s not for me to say whether he should resign or not.”

Dr Brady accused the BBC This World programme entitled The Shame Of The Catholic Church, which raised the new claims, as “exaggerating” his role into the 1970s investigation.

“I did what I thought I should do, namely I took the evidence very carefully I was acting as a note-taker not an investigator as the programme said.

“And my main concern there was that the abuse would stop. That the abuser would be halted.

“I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth. Even my bishop had limited authority.”

He added in a statement: “With others, I feel betrayed that those who had the authority in the Church to stop Brendan Smyth failed to act on the evidence I gave them.

“However, I also accept that I was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the Church, which thankfully is now a thing of the past.”

In a statement the BBC said: “We stand by the programme which accurately and impartially reports its findings.”

Intense scrutiny on role

Cardinal Sean Brady — the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland — is facing mounting pressure to resign from his post over his handling of the case of notorious paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth.

The Primate of all-Ireland had maintained he was just a note-taker during meetings with a victim of Smyth — altar boy Brendan Boland who was just 14 at the time.

Allegations outlined as part of a BBC documentary into clerical abuse claimed Sean Brady was an investigator into the paedophile priest and that he had failed to pass on any warnings to other victims, their parents, or police, despite accepting the evidence of Brendan Boland and another boy.

A note for a Church inquiry into Smyth in 1975, at which Cardinal Brady was present, puts him in an investigative role.

After abusing Brendan Boland between 1973 and 1975, Fr Brendan Smyth went on to abuse more children, including the sister of another victim named to Cardinal Brady, who was abused for seven years, and four of his cousins who were abused until 1988.

Support from Armagh

Parishioners in Armagh have said while the latest allegations involving clerical child sex abuse has “no doubt” damaged the Catholic church they still support Cardinal Brady.

Patrick Corban, a parishioner for more than 70 years, said he felt Cardinal Brady was a “scapegoat”.

“Yes, the church and bishops at the time all handled the situation badly, there is no doubt about that,” he said. “But there is a larger agenda here. It seems to me the cardinal is being made a scapegoat here.”

The 76-year-old added: “He was at the time obeying the rules and reporting the matter to the senior He did everything he could within the rules he was working in. I believe he is a good man and should not resign.”

Another woman who wished to remain anonymous said: “There is no doubt in my mind that this has damaged the church. But I don’t think if he resigned it would do any good.”

Another man said: “The cardinal was a priest at the time and was doing what he thought was the right course of action.”

Priest’s superiors failed

Cardinal Sean Brady has claimed the only people who had the authority within the Church to stop the prolific serial sex abuser Brendan Smyth were his abbot and his religious superiors in the Norbertine Order.

Abbot Fr Kevin Smith stepped down from his position in the wake of Smyth’s conviction for child sex abuse in 1994.

However, as Smyth’s superior at Holy Trinity Abbey in Kilnacrott, Co Cavan, since 1969, he had known for some time about the paedophile priest’s “propensity to molest children”.

Writing to UTV journalist Chris Moore in 1994, the abbot said: “Fr Smyth’s behaviour has perplexed and troubled our community over many years.”

Fr Smith admitted he had made “many errors” in dealing with Smyth.

Smyth’s abuse of children surfaced soon after his ordination as a member of the Norbertines in 1945. Fr Smith said the serial abuser was re-assigned every two or three years to prevent him from “forming attachments” to families and their children.

An ‘incredible’ response

A reired garda detective who brought a paedophile priest to justice said Cardinal Sean Brady’s response to the fresh revelations is “incredible”.

Martin Ridge said the cardinal’s insistence of a lack of guidelines on dealing with clerical sex abuse in 1975 did not stop him from reporting criminal activity.

Mr Ridge, who helped the investigation into notorious child rapist priest Fr Eugene Greene, said: “I still find it utterly incredulous that anyone can say there were no guidelines on dealing with sex abuse when the law bans such despicable behaviour. It was the duty of anyone, regardless of who they were in 1975, to report rape and child rape to gardai.”

Asked if he believed Church leaders who failed to inform gardai of past crimes should face sanction, he insisted: “The (Irish) Government has spoken about making it a criminal offence for failing to report such crimes.

“My view is simple — such behaviour is already a crime. Withholding information on any criminal offence is in itself a crime by law.”

Primate: I followed rules

Cardinal Brady also admitted that little has changed in the Church with regard to reporting paedophile priests. He insisted he followed the rules at that time.

“I followed out in my actions, what I was sent there to do, to get the evidence, to bring it to the people who had the power to stop this,” he said.

“No, I didn’t have any power over this man,” Dr Brady said, when it was put to him that he could have called police himself.

He confirmed that he wasn’t forbidden by any of his seniors to report the matter to civil authorities; nor did he make further inquires to ensure that the matter had been dealt with.

“I reported it to my superior, who then reported it to a superior of the priest in question, and it was up to them then to take things on. That would still be the case today,” he said.

Dr Brady insisted that he thought something would be done about the allegations.

“I trusted that it would happen, that’s why, when I discovered later on that in fact it hadn’t happened, I was dismayed.”

 

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