Monthly Archives: May 2012
Archbishop Timothy Dolan Offered $20,000 To Priests Suspected Of Child Abuse To Make Them Leave The Priesthood
Archbishop Timothy Dolan Offered $20,000 To Priests
Suspected Of Child Abuse To Make Them Leave The Priesthood
Back when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan offered priests suspected of misconduct with children payments of $20,000 to induce them to leave the priesthood, according to the New York Times.
The news came out of bankruptcy filings, and is being publicized by a group representing the interests of victims of child abuse. From the report:
A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed on Wednesday that payments of as much as $20,000 were made to “a handful” of accused priests “as a motivation” not to contest being defrocked. The process, known as “laicization,” is a formal church juridical procedure that requires Vatican approval, and can take far longer if the priest objects.
“It was a way to provide an incentive to go the voluntary route and make it happen quickly, and ultimately cost less,” said Jerry Topczewski, the spokesman for the archdiocese. “Their cooperation made the process a lot more expeditious.”
This is brutal news for Dolan, who was previously praised very highly for his handling of abuse cases in Milwaukee after the reign of the notorious Archbishop Weakland, who stole from church coffers to pay for the lifestyle of his male lover.
Victims’ groups like Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will counter that these were corrupt payoffs, or even “bonuses” given to suspected rapists.
The Archdiocese and Dolan will argue that this was a small price to pay. If these priests did not accept this payment they would likely remain on the diocesan payroll for much longer during the long process of defrocking them.
Cardinal Dolan has not offered comment to the press.
Wis archdiocese paid priests to leave ministry
MILWAUKEE — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee confirmed Wednesday that it had a policy to pay suspected pedophile priests to leave the ministry.
The acknowledgement was prompted by a document made public by abuse victims’ advocates from the archdiocese’s bankruptcy that references a 2003 proposal to pay $20,000 to “unassignable priests” who accepted a return to the laity. The policy was crafted under then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is now a cardinal and head of the archdiocese in New York.
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests characterizes the payments as a payoff and bonuses to priests who molested children. The archdiocese disputes that characterization, saying the payments were in part to more quickly move those men out of the priesthood.
The group is calling on the archdiocese to release all records involving the payments and its handling of clergy sex abuse cases.
“You don’t give a bonus to a man who rapes children,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted SNAP Midwest director Peter Isely as saying Wednesday outside the federal courthouse in Milwaukee. “If they paid them anything it should have been for therapy and counseling.”
According to the Journal Sentinel, the 2003 bankruptcy document appears to be the first public acknowledgement of a formal policy to pay trouble priests to leave.
Disputing that, archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf told The Associated Press late Wednesday that both the payments and the policy regarding them had long been acknowledged by the archdiocese.
“It’s not new news,” she said.
“SNAP sounds like they’re saying these were kind of payoffs to priests who had substantial allegations against them,” Wolf added. She said the payments were to help the men transition to lay life without completely losing access to needs such as health care.
The Journal Sentinel article noted that Dolan used similar language in 2006 when he defended a payment to one former priest. A phone message seeking comment from the Archdiocese of New York late Wednesday was not returned.
Wolf also called the payments “a cost-savings for the archdiocese” because the process to involuntarily remove a priest is lengthy and involves Vatican approval.
The bankruptcy document highlighted by SNAP references a meeting of the archdiocese’s Finance Council in 2003 that included Dolan, who was then archbishop in Milwaukee.
According to the document, members discussed offering “unassignable priests” $20,000 to accept the process known as laicization.
Associated Press writer M. David Nichols contributed to this report from Chicago.
Veteran clergy sex abuse victim advocate Joey Piscitelli describes ordeal concerning the credibility of Cardinal Levada and the Diocese of San Francisco.
This is a video on you tube
The Vatican “pope” is not the “Holy Father” only our heavenly Father is (Matthew 23:9). The Roman Catholic Church is enslaving their people in religion, not freedom in the grace of Christ. Beware, the Vatican is ushering the world into a New World Order, under a new one world religious system that is tolerant to ALL teachings (which will be led by the antichrist), which is contrary to the messege Jesus gave, that he is the ONLY way to the Father John 14:6.
RUN from the RCC and the Vatican! Fairuse Act 1976
Ex-Kansas priest found guilty of plotting death of accuser
Prospective victim was man who had accused him of sexual
abuse. He could face life in prison.
DALLAS — A former Roman Catholic priest with ties to the Kansas City area was found guilty Thursday of plotting the death of a man who accused him of sexual abuse.
The Dallas County jury returned its verdict on John M. Fiala after a few hours’ deliberation.
After the verdict, testimony began in the penalty phase. Fiala could be sentenced to up to life in prison for solicitation of capital murder.
Prosecutors alleged that Fiala tried to hire a neighbor’s brother to kill the man who accused the priest of abusing him in 2008. That’s when the man was 16 and Fiala was the priest at a rural West Texas parish.
Defense attorney Rex Gunter told the jury that Fiala had no true intentions of having his accuser killed.
Fiala testified earlier Thursday that he was told by his neighbor, Scottie Fisher, that the neighbor’s brother would likely turn on him if he wasn’t convinced that the hit was on.
“I knew that if I didn’t do this, I’d be the one on the list, marked to be killed, according to what Scottie said,” Fiala said.
But the man Fiala met with in November 2010 and instructed to kill his accuser for $5,000 was actually an undercover police officer. Their entire conversation was recorded on video and played for the jury on Wednesday.
During closing arguments Thursday, prosecutors urged jurors not to believe Fiala’s claims that his actions were motivated only by fear that his own life was in danger.
“John Fiala is not a puppet,” said prosecutor Brandon Birmingham. “He is a puppeteer.”
Fiala was arrested September 2010 in Lawrence, Kan., and extradited to Edwards County, Texas, on four counts of sex crimes against children. The indictment in Edwards County is still pending.
From August 1998 until mid-2001, Fiala served as spiritual director to the SOLT (Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) community, which maintains a religious house in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. He did not have a parish assignment in the diocese.
Fiala was an associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee from Aug. 31, 2001, to January 2002. He helped at a parish in Holton, Kan., from January to April 2002, according to the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
No sexual abuse charges have been filed against Fiala in Kansas or Missouri.
When Fiala was charged with plotting a murder in the fall of 2010, Catholic officials on both sides of the state line said they received no complaints about Fiala when he was in the area.
Mendham man indicted in attack on monument to sex abuse
Written by Peggy Wright
A 38-year-old Mendham man was indicted Thursday on charges he used a sledgehammer to demolish a monument to victims of child sexual abuse outside St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Mendham.
The monument has been rebuilt and was dedicated last month.A Morris County grand jury issued an indictment that charges Gordon D. Ellis with criminal mischief by causing $2,000 or more in damage to property, unlawful possession of a weapon, desecrating religious or sectarian premises, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Ellis, who is receiving mental health treatment at an inpatient facility, is accused of using a sledgehammer Nov. 18 to destroy the monument, a black basalt millstone. Authorities said they believe that Ellis, an unemployed chef, was intoxicated at the time.
The memorial was dedicated in 2004 on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Church, where James T. Hanley, a former pastor who since has been defrocked, admittedly molested children decades ago. Some of Hanley’s victims proposed the monument, inscribed with a biblical phrase that says it is better to be cast into the sea with a millstone than to harm a child.
Last month, 100 people gathered at the church for the dedication of the replacement monument, created with black basalt from the Columbia River in Oregon.Ellis originally was held on $25,000 bail in the Morris County but was able to post the reduced bail of $10,000.
Punishment phase of trial continues for ex-priest convicted of trying to hire hit man to kill abuse accuser
Punishment phase of trial continues for ex-priest convicted of
trying to hire hit man to kill abuse accuser
Ex-priest John Fiala will soon learn whether he’ll be sentenced to life in prison or something less for trying to hire a hit man to kill a teenage boy who accused him of sexual assault.
The Dallas County jury that convicted Fiala yesterday is hearing testimony this morning in the punishment phase of the trial. Among those expected to testify is the abuse accuser, who is now 20.
The man is not being named because The Dallas Morning News generally does not identify possible victims of sex crimes. He also testified on Wednesday.
The 53-year-old former Roman Catholic priest faces separate charges he sexually assaulted the boy in West Texas several years ago, including at gunpoint. The purported hit man he tried to hire to kill the boy in a 2010 meeting in Dallas was actually an undercover Texas Department of Public Safety agent.
After Fiala’s arrest, authorities found photos of young men, and possibly boys, on his computer. Some of them were wearing only underwear and exposing themselves.
Fiala also apparently used a Facebook account under the name “Ziggy the Great,” collected toys and had a Sponge Bob Square Pants calendar, according to testimony.
Ex-priest James Patrick Jennings is ordered to stand
trial in Melbourne
In the mid and late 1960s, Father James Patrick Jennings was listed as a priest at St Vincent’s College — a Catholic boarding school for boys in Bendigo, 150 kilometres north of Melbourne. Father Jennings was then a member of the Vincentian religious order (this order is also called the Congregation of the Mission).
More than 40 years later, in May 2012, Jennings was charged in the Bendigo Magistrates Court with a series of child-sex offences, allegedly committed against boys at the school in the 1960s.
James Jennings, aged 79 when charged in court, faces multiple charges of gross indecency and indecent assault on a male child aged under 16. The charges relate to three complainants, all students at this Bendigo school in the 1960s.
Magistrate Jennifer Tregent heard evidence concerning the three complainants.
The court also heard from Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Morris, head of the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) at Bendigo Police. Senior Sergeant Morris received some information from a New South Wales police unit (Strike Force Belle), which was established to investigate allegations of sexual assaults on students at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst in central-west NSW. The Bathurst school was run by the same order of priests as St Vincent’s in Bendigo.
The court was told that James Jennings left the priesthood many years ago and he now lives in Tasmania.
On 8 May 2012, after a two-day preliminary hearing, the Bendigo magistrate ordered James Patrick Jennings to stand trial in a higher court on these charges. The magistrate listed the case for a later date in the Melbourne County Court, where initially a judge would have a brief “directions hearing” (to determine when and how the subsequent hearings would be held).
Jennings’ bail was extended pending the Melbourne County Court proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team at Bendigo (telephone 03 5448 1420) is continuing its inquiries.
St Vincent’s College was set up in Bendigo in 1955 and was run by the Vincentian Fathers. In 1977, it was taken over by the Marist Brothers. In 1983 this school then became part of Catholic College Bendigo.
Compassion or Cover-Up? Teen Victim Claims Rape; Forced
Confession in Church
For years, her church was all she knew but today, Tina Anderson has left that church and says she’s not going back.
“I still struggle, because I’ve been made to feel guilty for so long,” she told “20/20.”
Anderson was only 16 when she said she was forced to stand terrified before her entire church congregation to confess her “sin” — she had become pregnant. She says she wasn’t allowed to tell the group that the pregnancy was the result of being allegedly raped by a fellow congregant, a man twice her age.
She says her New Hampshire pastor, Chuck Phelps, told her she was lucky not to have been born during Old Testament times when she would have been stoned to death.
Phelps says that Anderson voluntarily stood in front of the church, but Tina says it was the first step of “church discipline” at her Independent Fundamental Baptist Church (IFB).
“I was completely in shock, but too scared to go and tell anyone because I thought I would get blamed for what happened,” Anderson said.
“I truly believed that it was my fault,” she said.
Her mother sought help from the pastor and they agreed to send her thousands of miles away to Colorado to live with another IFB family.
There, she said she was homeschooled and restricted from seeing others her age until she gave her child up for adoption.
In February 2010, after keeping her secret for 13 years, Anderson — who now has three more children and lives with her husband in Arizona — was contacted by police and agreed to press charges.
All the years that she lived with the memory of the alleged abuse, she says she held it tight. “You are told not to talk about it,” according to Anderson.
Today, the man accused of raping Anderson is awaiting trial. Ernest Willis, a former church member who lives in Gilford, N.H., is accused of raping Anderson twice — once in the backseat of a car during a driving lesson and a second time at Anderson’s home where she says he showed up when her mother was away. Willis was arrested in May, 2010 on felony sexual assault charges and has since pleaded not guilty. He has declined to speak with “20/20.”
Anderson told “20/20” that, as a pregnant teen, she confided her pregnancy to Willis. His reaction, she said, was to offer to pay for an abortion. When she rejected his offer, he presented another option, she said.
“He asked me if I wanted him to punch me in the stomach as hard as he could to try to cause a miscarriage,” she said. “I told him, ‘No, leave me alone.'”
Thirteen years after the alleged crime, Matt Barnhart, a former member of Anderson’s church, decided to write a post referencing Anderson’s story on a Facebook page for ex-members of IFB churches.
The site supervisor, who runs an advocacy group for former IFB members, Freedom from Abuse, alerted Concord police.
Anderson, who at the time was teaching voice at the International Baptist College in Chandler, Ariz., got the police call out of the blue.
“Right now I feel completely overwhelmed,” said Anderson. “It’s been tough. In my mind, I didn’t think he’d be arrested, and when I got the phone call I was completely shocked. My whole world has changed.”
Phelps, now a pastor at another IFB church, says that there was no church cover-up and that he had immediately reported the accusations to authorities. He says the church made many documented calls to the police to report the alleged rape, and that a report was made to the Division of Family and Child Services within 24 hours of learning about the accusations on Oct. 8, 1997.
“A hallmark of my thirty years of ministry has been complying with legal requirements and offering kindness to those seeking spiritual care,” he said in a statement to “20/20.” “The Concord Police never contacted me further about the reports or about the welfare or whereabouts of Tina Dooley Anderson.”
The church’s current leader, Pastor Brian Fuller, said that the Concord Police dropped the ball 13 years ago. “Let’s go to the police station, where thirteen years ago, somebody unconscionably took the reports, and put ’em away in a filing cabinet, let them gain dust,” Fuller said.
“20/20” reached out to the Concord Police, who declined to comment, citing the ongoing nature of the case.
Phelps repeatedly declined on-camera interview requests by “20/20” but in a statement said: “Tragically, Tina was involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with Mr. Willis…Tina lied to her mother and to me about this relationship. Tina begged her mother to protect Ernie and not turn this matter over to police.”
“20/20” later caught up with Phelps at the IFB church he now preaches at in Indianapolis. He defended the decision to keep Willis, Anderson’s alleged attacker, in the church.
“First, I didn’t know that he had impregnated a 15 year-old girl. Remember it was an accusation made, an accusation is not a conviction,” he said. “It’s not the responsibility of the church to close the doors to people who have real problems and issues, no matter how heinous. So I think you’ll find the community historically has always allowed heinous people, under careful guidelines to be part of churches.”
Anderson said she told both Phelps and her mother that she didn’t want to go to Colorado and wanted to live with her paternal grandparents in Texas.
“My mother is very much a follower,” said Anderson. “She believes she needs to do what [the church] tells her because they are men of God. But I don’t think she made the wisest choices.”
Anderson was sent to live with a family in Colorado who worshipped in an IFB church where Phelps had been a youth minister. It was, as Phelps has described it, an act of compassion.
According to Anderson, the local pastor in Colorado, Matt Olson, who is now president of Northland International University in Dunbar, Wisc., told her to write a letter to Willis’s wife apologizing for her part in what happened. Olson declined to speak to “20/20,” saying through his lawyer that his conversations with Anderson remain privileged.
In March, 1998, Anderson gave birth to a baby girl. Adoption records show that her alleged rapist, Ernie Willis, admitted he was the father.
Anderson’s traumatic journey began at a young age. She said she and her brother were severely beaten by her stepfather, Daniel Leaf. In 1989, Leaf went to prison for nearly a year for child abuse. After Leaf was released, Anderson said the abuse continued. Between ages 9 and 11, Anderson said her step-father sexually molested her and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
Anderson said she was only free of Leaf after he was sent to prison for a second time for molesting another minor.
At the age of 14, Anderson was hired as a babysitter for the Willis family. She said the first assault occurred in the backseat of a car during a driving lesson. Anderson said Willis pulled her into the back of the car and raped her.
Anderson said the second assault occurred at her home when Ernie Willis showed up there.
“He locked the door behind him and pushed me over to the couch. I had a dress on and he pulled it off. I pushed my hands against his shoulders and said ‘No,’ but he didn’t stop,” Anderson said.
When Anderson’s mother contacted Pastor Phelps, he insisted on the public apology, according to Anderson. At the same time the church congregation also heard a confession from Willis for being unfaithful to his wife. Former church members say that the confessions were presented as separate issues, but eventually some church members connected the dots.
Matt Barnhart, 41 and a father of four, says he witnessed the confession just six months after he joined the church, and it bothered him for years. But he says he felt that he could not speak out. “The whole culture is, no, you don’t question the ministry, you don’t question the pastor,” he said.
Willis continued to be a member of the church “in good standing,” according to Barnhart, and girls continued to babysit for him. After some time, Willis left the church, he said.
By January 2010, Barnhart had quit his membership after 15 years. “She’s a brave girl,” said he said of Anderson speaking publicly about it.
After attending college in Wisconsin, Anderson married and settled in Arizona. Anderson said she has a “wonderful husband who is 100 percent supportive.” Anderson also stays in touch with her first-born’s adoptive parents, whom she said provide a “very stable and good home” for her daughter.
The couple does not intend to go back to an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church.
“Going forward, we wouldn’t raise our children and subject them to that,” she said.
Still, Anderson says she hasn’t abandoned God or her faith.
“My relationship with God is fine. I’m not mad at God,” she said.
She says she knows what to tell her children about that dark chapter in her life.
“I would just say, ‘Mommy went through a time where some bad people did some, some tough things …but we’ve made it through,'” she said, “‘and God is still good.'”