Monthly Archives: September 2013

Archdiocese knew of priest’s sexual misbehavior, yet kept him in ministry


Archdiocese knew of priest’s sexual misbehavior, yet kept him in ministry

By Madeleine Baran, MPR News

September 23, 2013
OID Number:240097 Name:	CURTIS CARL WEHMEYER Birth Date:	9/28/1964 Current Status:	 Incarcerated Location:	Minnesota Correctional Facility - St Cloud Admit Date:	2/6/2013 Anticipated Release Date **:	5/30/2016 Anticipated Release Type:	Supervised Release Date Expiration Date:	1/28/2026 Case Worker:	C. McGraw (320) 240-3000 Supervising Agent:	 Controlling Offense Information *: Offense Description:	OBSCENITY-FE-OTHER ACT-OTHER DEPICT MINR-MINOR Offense Modifier:	NOT/APPL Minnesota Statute(s):	617.247.4(a) County of Conviction:	RAMSEY Court File Number:	62CR128120

OID Number: 240097
Name: CURTIS CARL WEHMEYER
Birth Date: 9/28/1964
Current Status: Incarcerated
Location: Minnesota Correctional Facility – St Cloud
Admit Date: 2/6/2013
Anticipated Release Date **: 5/30/2016
Anticipated Release Type: Supervised Release Date
Expiration Date: 1/28/2026
Case Worker: C. McGraw (320) 240-3000
Supervising Agent:
Controlling Offense Information *:
Offense Description: OBSCENITY-FE-OTHER ACT-OTHER DEPICT MINR-MINOR
Offense Modifier: NOT/APPL
Minnesota Statute(s): 617.247.4(a)
County of Conviction: RAMSEY
Court File Number: 62CR128120

 

Curtis Wehmeyer kept his white 2006 camper parked outside Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul where he served for six years, three of them as pastor.

With the shades drawn, Wehmeyer could avoid the obligations of priestly life. He got drunk, smoked pot and looked at child pornography. He also lured to the camper two boys whose mother worked at the parish, plied them with alcohol, turned on pornography and told them to touch themselves. Several times, he touched one of the boys, according to police records.

The family trusted “Father Curt.” As a priest, he had special powers. He could anoint the sick and baptize the young. Maybe, the mother hoped, he could inspire one of her sons to become a priest.

That hope died last summer when one of the boys told his aunt what happened in the camper. The mother went to another priest, and then to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Soon after, police arrested Wehmeyer, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing the boys, ages 12 and 14, and possessing child pornography. A judge sentenced the priest to five years in prison.

In public statements, the archdiocese expressed regret for “the pain caused by clergy misconduct” and offered support to victims. And it emphasized that it immediately reported the allegations to police. “They did the right thing,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in September 2012.

The message from the archdiocese was clear – this wouldn’t be like the many horrific clergy sex abuse cases that rocked the Roman Catholic Church a decade ago. Times had changed. The safety of children mattered more than the career of a predator priest.

The reality was far different. This wasn’t the first time Wehmeyer had been in trouble. Top archdiocese leaders knew of Wehmeyer’s sexual compulsions for nearly a decade but kept him in ministry and failed to warn parishioners, according to canon lawyer Jennifer Haselberger, who resigned in April, and dozens of other interviews and documents.

A memo written in 2011 obtained by MPR News from police shows the former vicar general – the top deputy of the archdiocese – did not want parish employees to know about Wehmeyer’s past.

“At every step of the way, this could have been prevented,” Haselberger said. “This is just failure after failure after failure after failure.”

The Memo

The decision in 2011 to still keep Wehmeyer’s sexual behavior secret came at a time when the Rev. Kevin McDonough was assuring the archdiocese’s 800,000 parishioners that the church was doing everything it could to protect children from abuse. Across the nation bishops were being forced to confront their decisions to protect priests and hide abuse, which resulted in millions of dollars in payments to victims. At the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the fallout from the clergy sex abuse scandal had been minimal

The Rev. Kevin McDonough served as vicar general — the archbishop's second in command — from 1991 to 2008. He's pastor of two parishes and has long been a leader within the archdiocese. (Getty Images/File 2007)

The Rev. Kevin McDonough served as vicar general — the archbishop’s second in command — from 1991 to 2008. He’s pastor of two parishes and has long been a leader within the archdiocese. (Getty Images/File 2007)

McDonough likely knows more about clergy sexual abuse cases than anyone else at the archdiocese. He served as vicar general from 1991 to 2008 under Archbishops John Roach and Harry Flynn and more recently served as the “delegate for safe environment,” a job that includes oversight of all child abuse prevention efforts in the archdiocese. He quietly left that role earlier this month.

In an interview with MPR News in 2010, McDonough said priests need to be held to a high standard. “The reality is our first obligation is to protect the members of the church,” he said. “So we ought to be, of course, a hundred times stricter against anyone who could harm especially the vulnerable members of our church.”

At the time he said that, McDonough already knew that Wehmeyer had engaged in troubling sexual encounters — that he had approached young men for sex at a bookstore and cruised nearby parks.

In the 2011 memo to the head of the archdiocese’s program for monitoring priests who posed a risk, McDonough explained why he thought parish employees didn’t need to know about Wehmeyer’s actions.

“I think that you share with me the opinion that he really was not all that interested in an actual sexual encounter, but rather was obtaining some stimulation by ‘playing with fire,'” McDonough wrote. “This sort of behavior would not show up in the workplace.”

McDonough also asked Wehmeyer for his opinion on whether to tell parish employees. Wehmeyer, who by that time had already sexually abused the children of a parish employee, advised against it.

McDonough wrote, “I agree with Father Curtis that disclosure there would only serve to out his sexual identity questions (which, by the way, would be unlikely to surprise any observant person in the parish!)”

He concluded, “My recommendation is that we would encourage (or even require) Father Wehmeyer to disclose his pattern of self-destructive behavior to a small circle of trusted friends.”

McDonough sent a copy of the memo to the Rev. Peter Laird, the current vicar general.

At the time he said that, McDonough already knew that Wehmeyer had engaged in troubling sexual encounters — that he had approached young men for sex at a bookstore and cruised nearby parks.

In the 2011 memo to the head of the archdiocese’s program for monitoring priests who posed a risk, McDonough explained why he thought parish employees didn’t need to know about Wehmeyer’s actions.

“I think that you share with me the opinion that he really was not all that interested in an actual sexual encounter, but rather was obtaining some stimulation by ‘playing with fire,'” McDonough wrote. “This sort of behavior would not show up in the workplace.”

McDonough also asked Wehmeyer for his opinion on whether to tell parish employees. Wehmeyer, who by that time had already sexually abused the children of a parish employee, advised against it.

McDonough wrote, “I agree with Father Curtis that disclosure there would only serve to out his sexual identity questions (which, by the way, would be unlikely to surprise any observant person in the parish!)”

He concluded, “My recommendation is that we would encourage (or even require) Father Wehmeyer to disclose his pattern of self-destructive behavior to a small circle of trusted friends.”

McDonough sent a copy of the memo to the Rev. Peter Laird, the current vicar general.

A copy of the memo:

oaint Peter Claver Catholic Church
375 North Oxford Street
Saint Paul, MN 55104
(pastor) 651--621--2261 (fax) 651-647-5394
9 May 2011

Memo 0: Tim Rourke
From: Father Kevin McDonough
Re: Father Curtis Wehmeyer and Disclosure

Tim, I have taken some time to think about the question of whether there is some sort of
disclosure that would be needed or useful in his regard. My conclusion is that I would
recommend against any disclosure in his workplace, but that I would like to know that he has
disclosed his history with responsible priest friends. Let me lay out my thinking.

Disclosure in the church--rectory-office setting is aimed at preventing a priest from misusing
his position as a priest to obtain impermissible favors (sex, money, information) from those to
whom he ministers. With Father Wehmeyer, that has never been a question. His troublesome
behavior has been to drive his car to "cruise" places that are known settings for anonymous
same~sex sexual encounters. On one occasion, he also engaged a man in a suggestive
conversation in a Borders bookstore. His priesthood came up in the conversation when he tried
to use the fact that he is a priest as a way to deny that his ambiguous comments were meant to
start something sexual. In fact, I think that you share with me the opinion that he really was
not all that interested in an actual sexual encounter, but rather was obtaining some stimulation
by "playing with fire". This sort of behavior would not show up in the workplace. I agree
with Father Curtis that disclosure there would only serve to out his sexual identity questions
(Which, by the way, would be unlikely to surprise any observant person in the parish!).

On the other hand, disclosure to a group of peers is meant to help a priest to remain
accountable for the spiritual and work needed to maintain and improve his
trustworthiness. I do not recall: has he done so? In fact, I do 11ot remember whether he has a
priest support group of any sort. I think that he would do well to have some real friends who
can challenge him about how he is doing in living his priestly vocation with integrity.

My recommendation is that we would encourage (or even requi1'e) Father Wehmeyer to
disclose his pattern of self--destructive behavior to a small circle of trusted friends. I am

sending a copy of this memo to Father Laird, so that he can weigh in on the matter as well.

Cc: Father Peter Laird

Since 1892, an African-American Catholic Community
of Faith in Jesus Christ

McDonough, in an interview with MPR News last week, said he still thinks that his response was appropriate and the risk zero, given the information available at the time. “Nothing, nothing, nothing in this man’s behavior known to us would have convinced any reasonable person that he was likely to harm kids,” he said.

Laird and Archbishop John Nienstedt declined to be interviewed for this story. Wehmeyer, who is in prison in St. Cloud, also declined an interview request.

“A grave danger,” says one lawyer

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson exposed the clergy sex abuse cover-up in Minnesota in the 1980s. Since then, he’s filed lawsuits on behalf of thousands of victims of sexual abuse across the country.

“The review of this [McDonough’s] memo sounds an absolute alarm that this guy is a grave danger,” Anderson said. “And any parent that is told of even a part of the contents of this memo would never allow their kids to be even close to this … priest.”

Anderson said the memo shows the archdiocese continues to cover up sexual acts by clergy and protect the reputation of its priests at the expense of the faithful.

“How many more are there being concealed and protected and given safe harbor by this archbishop and the choices he’s making in real time right now?” Anderson said. “It’s very upsetting.”

Thomas Doyle, a Dominican priest who was one of the earliest national whistleblowers on clergy sex abuse in the 1980s, said the memo shows that parents cannot trust the archdiocese to protect their children.

“Celibate clergy who aren’t trained in psychology are in no position to make that kind of a judgment call over someone like Wehmeyer,” he said.

Doyle called the memo “goofy, quasi-psychological mumbo jumbo.”

“I mean, sit him down with a group of his peers and disclose to them what his problems are so that they’ll help him mature? Wait a minute, come on. That’s nonsense,” he said.

Predator priest

Wehmeyer was born in Michigan in 1964, the product of an affair between a married woman and an unknown man. He had a “chaotic childhood,” his lawyer told a judge early this year. Before moving to Minnesota, he studied industrial design and technology at Northern Michigan University.

Wehmeyer later enrolled in night classes at the University of St. Thomas, where he received a bachelor’s degree. Then he spent nearly two years with the Carmelite brothers at St. Michael in West St. Paul before deciding to enter St. Paul Seminary, according to a 2001 article in The Catholic Spirit newspaper headlined, “Architect drafts exciting new blueprint.”

The newspaper profiled the newly ordained Wehmeyer, then 36, and included a photo of “Father Curtis” with short dark hair, a neatly trimmed goatee and a smile. He had just been assigned as associate pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in West St. Paul.

Wehmeyer told the newspaper he looked forward to helping people in need. He added that some of the rules of architecture also apply to the priesthood.

“A priest needs to stay in the parameters of what the church teaches,” Wehmeyer said. “But the church, in her wisdom, allows a space that the priest can operate out of with a certain creativity to reach people where they’re coming from.”

Three years later – in 2004 – Wehmeyer approached two young men ages 19 and 20 for sex at a Barnes & Noble store in Roseville. “It was really strange, the way he came on to us,” one of the men, Andy Chapeau, said in an interview with MPR News.

Wehmeyer leaned close to one of the men and said, “Are you f—horny right now?”

A Catholic parishioner and family friend who learned of the encounter took statements from the two men and sent them to McDonough, along with his own letter expressing alarm. The parishioner told McDonough that he had a 15-year-old son who attended a youth group with Wehmeyer.

McDonough met with the concerned parishioner and one of the men approached by Wehmeyer at the bookstore. He assured them that Wehmeyer was receiving counseling. The parishioner wasn’t satisfied with McDonough’s answers, and he worried that he might hear about Wehmeyer in the news years later. When that happened, the parishioner wrote a furious letter to Nienstedt, the archbishop.

In an interview with MPR News, the parishioner declined to discuss what happened, calling it a “painful experience.”

After Wehmeyer’s actions at the bookstore, the archdiocese sent him to St. Luke Institute, a treatment center in Silver Spring, Md., for clergy with sexual and psychological disorders. When Wehmeyer returned he was supposed to attend regular Sexaholics Anonymous meetings and report his attendance to then-Archbishop Harry Flynn, Haselberger said.

“I know I shouldn’t be here”

Wehmeyer didn’t stay out of trouble for long.

An officer spotted the priest, wearing a plaid shirt and jeans, inside a pickup truck at a popular cruising spot at a St. Paul park one afternoon in 2006. Wehmeyer told the officer he didn’t know the area was a popular place for anonymous sex.

“The only thing he said was, ‘I’m a priest. I know I shouldn’t be here,'” the officer recalled.

Wehmeyer left, but circled back twice.

The officer knew McDonough, the vicar general, as the person at the archdiocese who handled clergy sex cases. Although the officer hadn’t seen Wehmeyer breaking the law, he wanted to warn the church.

“They would have other little pieces that I wouldn’t have, put it all together, they might be able to act on it, if they had other suspicions,” he said. “It might be just enough for them to do something to prevent another child from being hurt.”

He headed over to the Chancery on Summit Avenue in St. Paul to meet with McDonough. While the officer explained how he found Wehmeyer in the park, McDonough pulled out a book that looked like a yearbook for priests. “He opened it up to a page with, I don’t know, 20 pictures on the page and said, ‘Do you recognize anyone on this page?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s him right there,'” he said.

McDonough told the officer that the priest had already gotten in trouble for flirting with a young man at a bookstore, and that the archdiocese was “going to have a very serious follow-up and intercede … Whether it was treatment or discipline, I have no knowledge,” the officer said.

That year, Flynn moved Wehmeyer to Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul to serve as parochial administrator.

New archbishop, same priest

Nienstedt was appointed archbishop in 2008 after Flynn retired. He hired Haselberger as the archdiocese’s chancellor for canonical affairs. She advised the archbishop on the internal laws of the Roman Catholic Church, which include specific procedures on the handling of grave sins like child sexual abuse, and ran the records department.

Archbishop John Nienstedt was appointed to lead the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2008. (MPR photo/Jennifer Simonson)

Archbishop John Nienstedt was appointed to lead the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2008. (MPR photo/Jennifer Simonson)

 

A few months after she arrived, Haselberger received an angry phone call from Wehmeyer, who believed he was supposed to be listed as the pastor of Blessed Sacrament, not simply as an administrator.

Haselberger opened Wehmeyer’s file and realized there was no background check on the priest, even though the diocese had a policy that required background checks for all clergy.

Haselberger kept looking, and saw documents that reported Wehmeyer had a sexual addiction and the archdiocese knew about it.

She knew that Nienstedt was considering whether to promote Wehmeyer, so she sent him a memo alerting him to review the file. She also attached a copy of the earlier psychological and sexual assessment of Wehmeyer. The priest’s personnel file included evidence that Wehmeyer had violated the archdiocese’s code of conduct several times.

Haselberger assumed that would end Wehmeyer’s career as a priest. It did not.

While she waited for a response, the archdiocese continued to receive reports on Wehmeyer — three in 2009.

In one case, a priest called to say that Wehmeyer had approached him for sex.

Someone else reported seeing Wehmeyer acting suspiciously with boys at a campground. Those were the same boys Wehmeyer was later accused of abusing, Haselberger said. The archdiocese’s child safety policy forbids priests from spending time overnight alone with a child.

Jennifer Haselberger served as chancellor for canonical affairs for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from August 2008 to her resignation in April 2013. (MPR photo/Jennifer Simonson)

Jennifer Haselberger served as chancellor for canonical affairs for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from August 2008 to her resignation in April 2013. (MPR photo/Jennifer Simonson)

 

Haselberger saw handwritten notes from then-Vicar General Paul Sirba about the campground complaint. Sirba called the mother of the boys and said she needed to help Wehmeyer observe appropriate boundaries, she said. Sirba, who is now the bishop of Duluth, did not return a call for comment.

Then, around midnight after his 45th birthday in September 2009, Wehmeyer drove drunk to a Kwik Trip gas station in Spring Valley and tried to pick up some teenagers. He asked one teenage boy how old he was and invited him to his campsite to celebrate his birthday.

When a sheriff’s deputy arrived, Wehmeyer pleaded with the officer not to arrest him.

“Wehmeyer stated he cannot get in trouble because he is a Catholic priest and way too many people depend on him,” Fillmore County Sheriff Deputy Tim Rasmussen wrote in his report.

Rasmussen told Wehmeyer he was under arrest for drunk driving, and the priest asked to call Joseph Kueppers, a St. Paul lawyer in private practice who was one of his parishioners. Kueppers is now the top attorney for the archdiocese.

In 2010, Nienstedt appointed Wehmeyer as pastor of Blessed Sacrament and St. Thomas the Apostle, two St. Paul parishes that later merged.

Haselberger remembers the day she learned that Wehmeyer had sexually abused boys at Blessed Sacrament. She was walking past Andrew Eisenzimmer, the archdiocese’s top attorney at the time, in the Chancery hallway.

“We’ve got another allegation of abuse,” he said.

Haselberger followed him into his office and asked for the name of the priest.

Wehmeyer.

“But I warned them,” she said.

Police investigation

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said in a statement that it immediately reported the allegations of sexual abuse by Wehmeyer to police. However, the St. Paul Police Department investigative file indicates that the archdiocese did not talk to police for several days. It also never told police about Wehmeyer’s past sexual behavior.

The horrific secret began to unravel on May 31, 2012, according to the police report, when two young girls in the same family told their mother that one of their brothers might have sexually abused them. The mother didn’t understand how the boy could’ve learned about sex already. She asked him if he’d been watching pornography.

Yes, the boy said. Wehmeyer showed it to him.

The mother confronted Wehmeyer and he denied it.

Wehmeyer then invited the mother and her son into the living room of the rectory. He said he’d caught the boy using his computer in the camper — and he asked him to confess. The boy denied it “and hung his head down” in disbelief, the police report said.

A few days later, the mother met with the Rev. John Paul Erickson at the Church of Saint Agnes and told him that she thought one of her boys had sexually abused her two younger daughters. Erickson urged her to call police. There’s no indication in the police file that Erickson called police. Minnesota law requires priests to report allegations of child abuse, unless the priest learns of the allegation during confession.

The mother then talked to a relative who suggested that maybe someone had sexually abused her son. The relative came to their home and asked the boy if he wanted to talk to her about it. He “broke down crying and said yes he did,” the relative later told police. One of the other brothers also talked, and they both described sexual abuse by Wehmeyer, according to the police report.

The mother called Erickson and told him about the allegations that Wehmeyer sexually abused her two boys. Erickson told the mother that he needed to report it to the archdiocese.

The mother called Erickson again on June 14. She told him that her son said Wehmeyer showed him pornography, gave him beer and cigarettes, exposed his genitals to the boy and touched the boy. Erickson told the mother she needed to report it to police.

Four days later, the mother called the director of the archdiocese’s victim assistance program and scheduled a meeting for the next day. At that meeting, program director Greta Sawyer recorded an interview with the boy, before anyone who worked for the police had talked to him.

On June 20, Deacon John Vomastek, the clergy services director, emailed a St. Paul police commander in reference to the case. “The person we talked about will be relieved of duties tomorrow,” Vomastek wrote.

Before police arrived, McDonough and Vomastek confronted Wehmeyer at the Blessed Sacrament rectory, according to police. McDonough took the priest’s handgun and one of his computers and told Wehmeyer he needed to move out.

McDonough also told business administrator Debbie Phillips that Wehmeyer was being removed as pastor because of credible allegations of child sexual abuse. At a meeting later in the day, Phillips was told not to say anything to employees or parishioners.

That same day, Wehmeyer was getting ready to leave when Sgt. William Gillet of the St. Paul sex crimes unit showed up.

The priest’s eyes were damp. “It was not watery from tears,” Gillet said. “I think watery from fright.”

Wehmeyer refused to answer questions. Gillet tracked Wehmeyer’s camper to a storage facility in Oakdale the next day. Gillet said he suspects Wehmeyer destroyed evidence because it was mostly empty. Police retrieved the computer and the gun from the archdiocese but didn’t get much cooperation from McDonough, who never returned the investigator’s calls, said Gillet.

McDonough said he doesn’t remember getting any phone calls from Gillet. “I have many, many people tell me they’re calling me and they can’t reach me,” he said, because people forget to leave a message.

The police file suggests Wehmeyer was trying to gain access to other children. Police received a call last August from the leader of a Catholic youth group called Service to the Cross. She said Wehmeyer wanted to be the group’s spiritual director. She said she refused because she felt “uncomfortable” with him.

She told police that Wehmeyer hosted a youth group meeting at his church and brought his camper to a youth retreat in July 2011. About a year ago, she recalled, Wehmeyer said parishioners should pray for priests for “sins of sexuality.”

Police said they’re also investigating whether another boy was abused by Wehmeyer.

A reckoning

Haselberger said her life changed when she realized that she did not protect two children from an abusive priest.

“From the very moment, I’ve been asking myself, ‘What else could I have done? What pressure did I not apply? Who didn’t I talk to? What on earth could have happened?'” Haselberger said.

“It’s an enormous sense of guilt, and one of the things I found so troubling in the aftermath is that from where I was standing, I was the only person experiencing it.”

McDonough, now the pastor of two churches, remains a prominent, influential figure in the Twin Cities. As he looks back, he said, he wishes that Wehmeyer had never become a priest. “I have tremendous, tremendous regrets about the outcome… But I have no regrets based on the information we have.”

After the arrest, Haselberger recalled that no one at the senior level at the archdiocese held meetings to talk about how the abuse happened or how to help the victims. Instead, officials focused on how to spin the story as an example of the church’s quick response to allegations of sexual abuse.

“I had a hard time with that, that attitude and the desire to portray it that way, instead of to be honest,” she said. “There were a lot of senior staff that should have been wearing sackcloth and ashes and praying the rosary around the Cathedral in hopes that people would forgive us for letting this happen,” she said.

After Wehmeyer pleaded guilty, Haselberger said she worked around the clock reviewing court records and drafted a letter for Archbishop Nienstedt to give to the Vatican requesting that Wehmeyer be kicked out of the priesthood. Nienstedt was already going to Rome in late November, so Haselberger assumed he could carry the letter with him.

“Father [Vicar General Peter] Laird came into my office with the file that I had prepared for the archbishop and gave it to me and said, ‘You’re going to have to send it FedEx.’ And I was like, ‘What? I thought the archbishop was going to carry it.’ And he said something of the extent of that he didn’t want to be bothered.”

Laird left for Rome the following day.

Nearly a year later, the archdiocese is still waiting for an answer from the Vatican.

Even though no one had listened to her concerns about Wehmeyer, Haselberger hoped that would change after the archdiocese learned that he had abused two children.

“The people who were making the decisions not to disclose, the people who were making the decisions to appoint him in light of all this information, that we were monitoring him but failed to notice all of these incredible things, we should all be held responsible,” she said.

“And as Catholics, thankfully, even if it doesn’t happen in this life, we know it will in the next. There will be a reckoning.”
Sasha Aslanian, Mike Cronin, Meg Martin and Tom Scheck contributed to this report.


 

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Pennsylvania priest jailed after being caught with pantsless boy, police say


Pennsylvania priest jailed after being caught with pantsless boy, police say

By The Associated Press
on September 21, 2013 at 4:48 PM, updated September 21, 2013 at 5:12 PM

From the link: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/pennsylvania_priest_jailed_aft.html

SCRANTON, Pa. — A Catholic priest whose ministry included counseling troubled youths is facing charges in northeastern Pennsylvania after police say he admitted to sex acts with a 15-year-old boy.

The Rev. William Paulish was in Lackawanna County prison, unable to post $50,000 bail Friday. The charges include corruption of a minor, indecent exposure, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person under 16. Court records did not list a lawyer for Paulish.

The Times-Tribune of Scranton reported that Paulish, 56, has been reassigned 15 times by the Diocese of Scranton after being ordained in 1988 and has had three separate leaves of absence.

The diocese did not respond to the newspaper’s requests to explain the reassignments and absences. In a press release, the diocese said it removed Paulish from his assignment as assistant pastor at Prince of Peace Parish in Old Forge and suspended his ability to work as a priest.

Paulish and the boy were caught by Dunmore police after Penn State Worthington Scranton security guards reported the priest’s car as suspicious when they saw it Thursday night parked near the tennis courts.

The boy did not have pants on when police arrived and both later admitted to performing sex acts, police said. Paulish told investigators that he arranged the meeting through an ad he posted on Craigslist, police said.

Priest found with pantless boy has been reassigned by Diocese 15 times since 1988


Priest found with pantless boy has been reassigned by Diocese 15 times since 1988

From the link: http://forums.canadiancontent.net/news/118997-priest-found-pantless-boy-has.html

SCRANTON, Pa. — A Catholic priest whose ministry included counseling troubled youths is facing charges in northeastern Pennsylvania after police say he admitted to sex acts with a 15-year-old boy.

The Rev. William Paulish was in Lackawanna County prison, unable to post $50,000 bail Friday. The charges include corruption of a minor, indecent exposure, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person under 16. Court records did not list a lawyer for Paulish.

The Times-Tribune of Scranton reported that Paulish, 56, has been reassigned 15 times by the Diocese of Scranton after being ordained in 1988 and has had three separate leaves of absence.

Documentary on child abuse in the Catholic Church wins three Emmys


Documentary on child abuse in the Catholic Church wins three Emmys

“Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” wins Creative Arts Emmys

From the link: http://www.irishcentral.com/ent/Documentary-on-child-abuse-in-the-Catholic-Church-wins-three-Emmys-VIDEO-224552431.html

The feature documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” has picked up three Creative Arts Emmys for exceptional merit in documentary filmmaking, outstanding writing and outstanding picture editing.

The movie is about child abuse by a Catholic priest in a US school. It tells the story of four deaf men who were abused during the 1960s and who sought to expose the Catholic Church’s cover-up of pedophilia around the world.

Directed by Alex Gibney it was partially funded by the Irish Film Board.

Speaking to our sister publication, the Irish Voice, Gibney said “I was raised Catholic so it was obviously an emotional issue for me…I mean, it’s a shocking story for anyone but particularly for Catholics.

“What motivated me to take it on was the particular poignancy of this story, involving over 200 deaf students and the fact that they appear to be the first ones in the United States who raised a public protest about what happened to them.”

He spoke about the cover ups involving the Catholic Church and also governments. He ended by saying “Criminal prosecutions should only stop when we know that the cover ups have stopped.

“Prosecutions are important in terms of making them stop. You’re now seeing them in the United States where priests are being held to account not just for abusing but also for covering up abusing priests.

“That’s why survivors are so furious at the church, because it doesn’t seem to understand the need to show justice.”

Read the full interview here.

Check out the trailer for the documentary here:

Gabriel Byrne compares Irish Catholic Church to the Taliban


Gabriel Byrne compares Irish Catholic Church to the Taliban

Stars in new BBC drama series ‘Quirke’ set in 1950s Ireland

From the link: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Gabriel-Byrne-compares-Irish-Catholic-Church-to-the-Taliban–224844342.html

Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, starring in the BBC drama "Quirke", has compared the Catholic Church of his youth to the Taliban Photo by Google Images

Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, starring in the BBC drama “Quirke”, has compared the Catholic Church of his youth to the Taliban
Photo by Google Images

Irish actor Gabriel Byrne has compared the Catholic Church in Ireland to the Taliban.

The 63-year-old actor, whose new BBC drama series ‘Quirke’ is set in 1950s Ireland, recalled an incident when his mother, who was pushing him in a pram, stepped off the sidewalk into the road to make room for a priest.

“It was almost a Taliban-esque society,” he said. “That’s how much power they had. Now all the rocks have been lifted and all the maggots have crawled out. The Catholic Church is a tyrannical, evil institution, there’s no doubt about it – anti-woman, anti-homosexual, anti-love, anti-condom, totally elitist.”

In 2011, the actor revealed on an Irish chat show how he was sexually abused between the age of eight and 11 by Christian Brothers in the Roman Catholic seminary where he was studying to be a priest.

“I didn’t think it severely impacted me at the time,” he told broadcaster Gay Byrne. “But when I think about my later life, and how I had difficulties with certain issues, there is a real possibility they could have been attributable to that.”

Now he says, “Whether the Catholic Church attracts paedophiles or whether the Catholic Church itself breeds paedophiles, I don’t know the answer. But because of this culture of secrecy, and because there’s no accountability, priests – and nuns – could commit crimes against children and realise they didn’t have to pay for it – the Church would never hand them over to the legal authorities. I think anybody who betrays the trust of a child deserves to be punished.

“A child doesn’t have the understanding of the world to know what’s really good or bad,” he continues in this generalised vein. “As far as they’re concerned, what an adult tells you to do is the right thing to do, and to take advantage of that is a crime against the soul of a child,” he told the Independent.

The actor, who now resides in the United States, had to return to the Dublin of his youth to film the BBC’s adaptation of John Banville’s 1950s-set thrillers, written under the pseudonym of Benjamin Black.

Byrne said the experience was like “crashing into the past.”

“By absolute coincidence we filmed in the very first apartment I ever had, on Pembroke Road,” he says. “We shot in the theatre where I made my first professional appearance – I hadn’t been in there since – and to walk into it… phew! Déjà vu doesn’t begin to describe it.”

‘Quirke’ will air on BBC1 later this fall.

What’s Wrong with the Magdalenes Redress Scheme?


What’s Wrong with the Magdalenes Redress Scheme?

 

Jun 28, 2013

From the link: http://humanrights.ie/law-culture-and-religion/whats-wrong-with-the-magdalenes-redress-scheme/

It has been some time since we last covered the issue of the Magdalene Laundries. Since we last posted, the organisation Justice for Magdalenes has ceased its advocacy work on behalf of survivors . It will carry on research work – in particular an oral history project – under the directorship of Katherine O’Donnell at UCD. Justice for Magdalenes are to be commended for their years of important work. At the Jim Kemmy Thirst for Justice Awards Clare McGettrick asked that the Magdalene women would be treated as ‘national treasures’ and not as ‘second best’. This week, Mr. Justice John Quirke published his recommendations for a statutory redress scheme. His recommendations have been accepted by the government. It is difficult to conclude that this is the best we can do. Here are 10 problems with the Quirke scheme. There are certainly others.

1.  Even an excellent redress scheme is only part of the answer.

Doing restorative justice also requires us to look beyond the immediate context of the Magdalene laundries. In a really creative and thorough report the Irish Human Rights Commission stresses that the Government must also take steps to prevent the repetition of the sorts of abuses suffered by the Magdalene women ; for instance

  • revisiting legislation on the detention of adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems.
  • legislating against forced labour.
  •  strengthening gender equality legislation.
  • safeguarding the rights of adopted persons to information on their family of origin. (See news of a recent High Court case considering illegal adoptions here).
  • reconsidering the state’s obligations to ensure  non-state actors obligations with human rights principles.
  • improving state record-keeping practices.
  • reforming the burial and exhumation laws, the inadequacy of which was exposed by the High Park scandal. The orders’ records of death and burials continue to provoke disquiet among activists.

2.      Quirke is based on McAleese. McAleese wasn’t good enough.

I blogged on the McAleese report soon after its publication . UNCAT has confirmed that the Interdepartmental Committee was not an independent inquiry of the sort required to meet Ireland’s obligations under international human rights law. McAleese must be followed by an independent inquiry with full statutory powers to compel and retain evidence. The accuracy of the McAleese Report is put in doubt by Quirke. For instance, while the McAleese report suggested that 61% of women admitted to the Laundries remained there for less than a year, the  Magdalene women who presented evidence to Quirke’s team gave testimony indicating that this figure is closer to 9%. A new inquiry must also revisit McAleese’s findings on physical abuse within the Laundries, which are grossly at odds with the testimony collated by Justice for Magdalenes (This is, of course, unsurprising because the Interdepartmental Committee ignored JFM’s submissions of that testimony). The Quirke redress scheme is based on McAleese’s findings. In consequence, it does not purport to offer a remedy to women who suffered physical abuse in the Laundries.

3.      The redress offered under the scheme is inadequate.

As well as making arrangements for healthcare provision, the Quirke scheme offers tax-free ex gratia payments to women based on the length of their documented service in the laundries. Representative groups are divided as to the adequacy of this element of the scheme.The scheme provides for a top figure of 100,000 euro in redress; the figure available to a woman who has spent 10 or more years in a laundry. Very few women fall into this category. The majority of women who spoke to Mr. Justice Quirke’s team had been in a laundry for 1-5 years. Most of these women are 66 or over, in ill-health, badly educated and living in relative poverty. A woman of 66 who had been in a laundry for  4years, would receive:

  • Weekly payments equivalent to the state contributory pension, if she is not already in receipt of that pension.
  • 32,500 euro in general damages. General damages provide redress for “the harsh and  physically demanding work required of the women and the traumatic, on-going effects which their  incarceration and misery within the laundries has had upon their security, confidence and self-esteem”, as well as for the women’s educational deficit and current poor living conditions. General damages are capped at 40,000 euro. A woman who spent, say, 20 years in a laundry is not entitled to more.
  • 24,000 euro in respect of the labour undertaken in the laundries.  No woman will receive more than 60,000 euro in respect of labour in the laundries, whatever her length of service.

A woman in this category will not receive a 56,500 euro lump sum. 50,000 euro will be paid as a lump sum, with the remainder to be paid in weekly installments for the rest of the woman’s life. The woman in our example would receive a weekly income of 239 euro, which represents the combination of her state pension, assuming she is receiving it for the first time (230 euro per week) and the remainder of the redress due to her which is to be eked over the remainder of her life at a rate of 9 euro per week. The absolute maximum ‘top up’ to the state pension which any woman will receive under this scheme is 130 euro per week. This life income will not pass to dependents when the woman dies. When we take account of the age and ill-health of the majority of Magdalene women, it seems clear that many will die before they have been paid the full redress due to them under Quirke’s formula. This is an especially troubling prospect for women who spent longer periods of time in the laundry, who are entitled to larger sums under the scheme.

4.      Redress is not the same as compensation.

The Quirke scheme does not purport to offer compensation of the kind that would be available in a personal injuries claim. This scheme is not tailored to women’s individual injuries and experiences. It is a broad brush scheme based on broad brush assumptions. While a remedy in a personal injuries claim aims to put the claimant in the position she would be in had she not been wronged, this scheme aims only to “reflect the wish of the Irish  community to reduce the hurt and pain suffered by the Magdalen women by providing them with  monetary payments and with  sufficient health and other State benefits to ensure that the remainder of  their lives will be made as comfortable as is reasonably possible.”

Page 36 of the Report quotes Stephen Winter:

“In a restorative approach, monetary payments as sist the faultlessly burdened by  significantly increasing the material resources available for ongoing development at both  individual and community levels. But this is not their only restorative purpose. By  recognising past failures, monetary redress payments play a role in expressing state  sincerity. In terms of sincerity, individual payments fill an expressive gap in the  depersonalised context of state redress…  The voluntary character of the ex gratia  payments may appear to support this expression of state sincerity. Not bound by the  courts to deliver through an adversarial process pitting the state (yet again) against its  victims, the payments’ discretionary quality expresses the sincere nature of the state’s  reconciliatory intent.”

It is not clear that payments which appear to be patently inadequate can perform this function of sincerity. Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed on twitter) notes that Frank Shortt, who successfully sued the state for 27 months false imprisonment (a good analogy for the experience of the many Magdalene women who were illegally detained in the laundries) was awarded millions of euro in damages. There is a danger that if the state is perceived to have downgraded the Magdalene women’s financial entitlement, then the restorative expression of sincerity will begin to look more like risk management.

5. The redress scheme is run on heavily paternalistic principles.

As discussed above, where a woman is entitled to more than 50,000 euro under the Quirke scheme, part of the ex gratia payment will be received as a life income, which cannot then be passed on to a woman’s family as an inheritance. Women are not gaining an asset and do not have full control over the payments received. This provision is made in order to ‘strike a balance’ between the needs of ‘vulnerable’ women who fall within the scheme and those who are more capable of managing their own affairs. Why both groups of women should be treated identically is not clear.

6.   Women living in the care of religious orders are not properly provided for.

Little of substance has been said about the position of those women who live in institutions run by the former Magdalene orders.  What supports will be put in place to ensure that they have appropriate advocacy, that the money they receive under the scheme is properly used, and that their decisions are properly respected? Many of the orders with whom these women live, and lived under the laundries regime, are funded in respect of their care as ‘service-providers’ under the terms of the Health Act 2004. How will their payments under the scheme interact with that funding?

7.      Eligibility.

The Quirke Report stresses that the scheme’s administrator (as yet unidentified) must apply  ‘a fair and robust  eligibility or qualification process so that eligible applicants will have access to institutional and  other relevant records and receive such additional and other co-operation and assistance from  State and other agencies as they may require in order to enable them to properly record and verify  the work which they have done and the periods(s) o f time which they have spent within the  laundries.’ Eligibility may pose a significant hurdle. For instance, the records of the Magdalene Laundries in Galway and Dun Laoighre  are not available. Other Magdalene women contend that the records of their period in the laundries are inaccurate, unreliable and in some cases have been deliberately altered. The religious orders still retain control of their records of women’s incarceration.

8.      The waiver.

Women participating in the scheme are required to waive their entitlement to sue the state or its agencies in respect of their period in the Magdalene Laundries. Of course, the state is very well protected in this regard both by the statute of limitations and the principles on vicarious liability.  Nevertheless, as the IHRC notes in its report at p.104 , many Magdalene women have, in principle, a claim against the state for breach of constitutional rights. This should not be lightly removed by an administrative scheme.

9.      It is important to decouple remedies from an aggressive and slow adversarial process, but there is still room for responsibility.

Mr. Justice Quirke says of his scheme that:

(i) it will exclude mutually antagonistic roles and positions and will avoid invasive and painful inquiry and interrogation
(ii) it will not require the individual assessment of any of the Magdalen women and
(iii) it  will be a speedy procedure as part of a final process of healing, reconciliation and  closure and, in consequence,
(iv) it should reflect the expressed wishes of an  overwhelming majority of the 337  Magdalen women who actively participated in a consultation process with the Commission.

These are all laudable goals in the context of this redress scheme. However, it is important to recognise that the desire to avoid antagonism and delay can only take us so far. In particular, this scheme cannot do all of the work of ‘healing, reconciliation and closure’. As Katherine O’Donnell said on Wednesday’s Late Debate on RTE radio, taking the Magdalene women’s experience seriously means taking the time to do justice. Doing justice will necessarily entail further interrogation of the state’s involvement in the laundries. Closure cannot mean concealment.

10.  The religious orders which held women in Magdalene Laundries may not contribute to funding the redress scheme.

At the launch of the Quirke Report, the Minister for Justice suggested that the religious orders which were involved in the running of Magdalene Laundries should contribute to the redress scheme. However, two orders have said that they do not plan to contribute. The religious orders are relying, in this regard, on the McAleese Report’s finding that the Magdalene Laundries were not profit-making enterprises. I criticised this finding here as based on incomplete and highly subjective evidence. Findings in relation to the laundries’ finances fell outside the terms of reference of the McAleese Report. The Inter-Departmental Committee, as Simon McGarr notes on Twitter, nevertheless included figures on the laundries’ finances for reasons of ‘public interest’. It is extremely disturbing to see these findings used to avoid participation in the redress scheme. The Quirke report raises, and not for the first time, the question of the State’s apparent inability to hold church organisations responsible for human rights abuses.  The Irish Examiner reminds us that several religious orders implicated in the Magdalenes scandal amassed large sums of money in property deals during the economic boom.

Written by Máiréad Enright

Máiréad Enright lectures at Kent Law School. She is also a PhD candidate in the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, University College Cork. Her research interests are in gender and the law, law and religion, citizenship and the political dimensions of private law. You can contact her at M.Enright[at]kent.ac.uk or (+44) 1227 827996.

Author’s Website

 

Father John P. Connor


Father John P. Connor

From the link: http://www.bishopaccountability.org/reports/2005_09_21_Philly_GrandJury/Philly_05_08_Connor.pdf

Father John P. Connor
Father John P. Connor, an admitted child molester in his home diocese of Camden, New Jersey, served from 1988 until 1993 as assistant pastor of Saint Matthew parish in
Conshohocken.
He did so thanks to an understanding described by Cardinal Bevilacqua’s assistant from his tenure in Pittsburgh as a “tradition of bishops helping bishops.” That “tradition” led Cardinal Bevilacqua to help his friend, Bishop George H. Guilfoyle of Camden, by assigning Fr. Connor to a diocese where parishioners did not know that the priest had molested a 14-year-old student.
Bishops Guilfoyle and Bevilacqua agreed to place Fr. Connor first in the diocese of Pittsburgh and later, after Bevilacqua’s transfer, in Philadelphia, each time with access to a fresh group of children unprotected by informed parents.
When Archbishop Bevilacqua assigned Fr. Connor to duties at Saint Matthew Church, it was with the directive to “educate youth.”
Cardinal Bevilacqua tried to justify his actions to the Grand Jury by claiming that he first learned that Fr. Connor’s 1984 arrest was for sexual abuse of a minor by reading about it in a newspaper in April 2002. The Grand Jury finds that this testimony was untruthful.
In 1985, before he accepted the priest into the Diocese of Pittsburgh, then-Bishop Bevilacqua handwrote on a memo that Fr. Connor could present a “serious risk” if assigned there.
In 1993, when Fr. Connor’s New Jersey victim threatened to sue the Camden diocese and expose Fr. Connor’s abuse, Cardinal Bevilacqua was fully aware of the potential scandal and acted quickly to have Fr. Connor transferred out of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and back to Camden.
Cardinal Bevilacqua’s decision to place this dangerous New Jersey priest in a Philadelphia-area parish, coupled with his refusal to inform its pastor or parishioners of the priest’s predilections, certainly put the children at Saint Matthew at “serious risk.”
Indeed, a year after Fr. Connor returned to Camden, a priest and a teacher from Saint Matthew warned Secretary for Clergy William J. Lynn that Fr. Connor was continuing a “relationship” he had developed with an 8th-grade boy at the Conshohocken parish.
Monsignor Lynn acted promptly – notifying the Chancellor in Camden and the Archdiocese’s attorney, John O’Dea. He did not notify the boy’s mother who, in 1994, had no way of knowing the priest she trusted with her son was an admitted child molester.
Father Connor is arrested in 1984 in New Jersey for molesting a minor.
Ordained in 1962, Fr. John Connor was a 52-year-old theology teacher and golf coach at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, New Jersey, when he was arrested for molesting a 14-year-old student in October 1984. According to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Fr. Connor befriended the victim, “Michael,” when he was a freshman honors student at Bishop Eustace. The priest invited the boy to Cape May for a weekend to play golf and help repair the roof on Fr. Connor’s trailer. The boy’s mother agreed, she said, because “he was a priest.”
The priest and student played a round of golf and then went to Fr. Connor’s trailer. There, the priest served beer to the 14-year-old and announced he was about to have a “religious experience.” Michael described the experience to prosecutors as mutual masturbation.
When the priest attempted another sleepover the next weekend, Michael’s mother alerted police. With Michael’s assistance, they caught the priest in a sting operation and recorded an incriminating phone call with the boy. Father Connor was arrested in the principal’s office at Bishop Eustace.
The priest did not, however, go to jail or even trial. Lawyers for the Diocese of Camden negotiated a pretrial intervention with the Cape May Prosecutors’ Office. The terms of the deal Connor cut were that he would admit molesting the boy in exchange for having the record of his arrest erased if he were not rearrested within one year.
Michael’s mother later complained to a newspaper reporter that, while Fr. Connor’s life and career went on as if nothing happened, her son was so humiliated that he fled school, changed his name, and moved far away. In the April 21, 2002, Philadelphia Inquirer article, she referred to the year of his abuse as “the year my son died.”
Cardinal Bevilacqua, then Bishop of Pittsburgh, agrees to accept Father Connor into the Pittsburgh Diocese to accommodate Bishop Guilfoyle of Camden, New Jersey.
After his arrest, Fr. Connor spent much of the following year in treatment at the church-affiliated Southdown Institute outside of Toronto. As the priest’s release neared, Fr. Connor’s bishop in Camden, Bishop Guilfoyle, wrote to Bevilacqua, who was then Bishop of Pittsburgh. In a confidential letter of September 5, 1985, Bishop Guilfoyle asked Bishop Bevilacqua whether he would consider accepting into the Pittsburgh Diocese a priest who had been arrested and was coming out of Southdown Institute, a facility that treated sexual offenders. He stated in the letter that he would call Bishop Bevilacqua with details. Bishop Guilfoyle explained to Bishop Bevilacqua later that he could not keep Fr. Connor in Camden because of scandal.
According to documents from the Pittsburgh Diocese, Bishop Bevilacqua consulted with his personnel aide, Fr. Nicholas Dattilo, and showed him Bishop Guilfoyle’s letter. Father Dattilo raised several appropriate concerns about bringing Fr. Connor to Pittsburgh. In a memo dated September 11, 1985, Fr. Dattilo told Bishop Bevilacqua that they needed more information about the nature of Fr. Connor’s “problem.” Assuming there must be “scandal to necessitate an assignment outside the diocese,” Fr. Dattilo wanted to know, “what happened?” He noted that “if the problem is homosexuality or pedophilia we could be accepting a difficulty with which we have no post-therapeutic experience.” He concluded: “If, after you have talked to Bishop Guilfoyle you believe there is no serious risk in accepting Fr. Connor, we will do everythi ng we can to keep the tradition of bishops helping bishops intact.” (Appendix D-16)
After speaking to Bishop Guilfoyle, Bishop Bevilacqua wrote on Fr. Dattilo’s memo: “I cannot guarantee that there is no serious risk.” Despite this acknowledgement, and after receiving reports from Southdown that spoke of Fr. Connor’s “sexual preference for late adolescent males,” Bishop Bevilacqua agreed to give Fr. Connor an assignment in Pittsburgh.
The file contains no further detail about the basis for his decision, and Cardinal Bevilacqua could provide none when the Grand Jury questioned him about the matter. Rather, the Cardinal tried to place blame on Fr. Dattilo (who died recently, after becoming Bishop of Harrisburg): “It’s the responsibility of the Clergy office to follow up any kind of concerns.” Memos from Pittsburgh’s files, however, suggest that Fr. Connor was hired at Bishop Bevilacqua’s insistence. Father Dattilo said in his memo of September 11, 1985, to Bishop Bevilacqua: “If, after you have talked with Bishop Guilfoyle you believe there is no serious risk….” Father Dattilo’s “recommendation” to accept Fr. Connor, written one day after his bishop responded, “I cannot guarantee there is no serious risk,” was less than enthusiastic. Father Dattilo listed, prominently, among the reasons for the recommendation, “what [he] perceive[d] as [Bishop Bevilacqua’s] inclination to assist Bishop Guilfoyle and Fr. Connor.”
Cardinal Bevilacqua also refused to admit in his Grand Jury testimony that he was aware of the nature of Fr. Connor’s crime at the time he hired him. But the Southdown Institute report, which Bishop Bevilacqua received, specifically warned against giving the priest responsibility for adolescents. Father Dattilo’s September 18, 1985, “recommendation” cited the “serious consequences of a recurrence” given “the nature of the incident for which he was apprehended.” Bishop Bevilacqua initialed this memo, adding a note that: “He must al so be told that his pastor/supervisor will be informed confidentially of his situation.” There is, therefore, excellent reason to believe that Cardinal Bevilacqua did know the nature of Fr. Connor’s crime when he agreed to accept him.
Father Connor stays in Pittsburgh only so long as Bishop Bevilacqua is there; Archbishop Bevilacqua then finds a parish for him in Conshohocken.
Father Connor began work in Pittsburgh in October 1985 after his release from Southdown. He remained there three years, first in a hospital chaplaincy, then in a parish. From the start he was anxious to return to Camden, but, as reflected in a May 12, 1986, memo from one of Bishop Guilfoyle’s aides, Msgr. Buchler, to his bishop, Bishop Guilfoyle repeatedly put him off.
Efforts to find other dioceses willing to take Fr. Connor were unproductive. As noted in the same memo: “Ordinaries of dioceses are beginning to become somewhat ‘gun shy’ about accepting priests from other dioceses. The potential for legal ramifications are becoming more and more prohibitive.” September 1986 memos from Bishop Guilfoyle’s aides, Frs. Frey and Bottino, to their bishop recorded that some dioceses, such as Baltimore, were so wary of taking on Fr. Connor that they said they would require the extraordinary protection of an “indemnity agreement” whereby the Camden diocese would agree to “exonerat[e] them from any incident and damages caused by any acts of Pedophilia on the part of Father Connor . . ..” After Bishop Bevilacqua left Pittsburgh, Fr. Dattilo revoked Fr. Connor’s assignment. A 1988 letter from Fr. Connor to Bishop Guilfoyle recorded that Fr. Dattilo cited “legal complications” and suggested Fr. Connor apply to Philadelphia since Archbishop Bevilacqua had been willing to accept the priest before.
TO FINISH READING THE REPORT PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK:

http://www.bishopaccountability.org/reports/2005_09_21_Philly_GrandJury/Philly_05_08_Connor.pdf

PRESS RELEASE Bevilacqua strikes from the grave


PRESS RELEASE Bevilacqua strikes from the grave
Mike Ference

Mike Ference

 

I sent this out on April 14, 2013. Bishop Zubik still gets a free pass from DA Stevie Blunder Zappala. The Pittsburgh Diocese simply does not have to account for their crimes. Please consider passing this forward.

PRESS RELEASE

Bevilacqua strikes from the grave

Pittsburgh , PA — April 14, 2013 — Since the start of the year, hardly a week goes by where Father Ron Lenguin doesn’t have to explain the sexual shenanigans of another Catholic priest or cleric from the Pittsburgh Diocese. Here it is, early April and the accusations are coming almost every other day.

The newest allegation for Lenguin to address dates back to the time of Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua’s tenure as leader of the Pittsburgh Diocese. For now, the survivor chooses to remain anonymous.

Here’s what we know. John Doe met with a detective from the Northern Regional Police Department in Allegheny County (724-625-3157) on March 21, 2013 at 11:00 am. John Doe made a statement which should have been turned over to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr. for further review and possible investigation.

The alleged abuse occurred approximately from early 1986 to mid 1987. Father John (Jack) Connor was named in the complaint. St. Alphonsus in Wexford , PA is the parish where Father Connor was serving at the time of the alleged assault.

Father Connor, an admitted child molester served in the Pittsburgh Diocese from 1985 to 1987. Originally from the diocese of Camden , NJ , Connor came to Pittsburgh with the blessing of Bevilacqua. It was to help his close friend, Bishop George H. Guilfoyle of Camden . Keeping Connor in New Jersey could lead to more scandals and a probable law suit by one of Connor’s victims.

It’s called a “tradition of bishops helping bishops.” Some call it “passing the trash.”

During his term in the Pittsburgh Diocese, Connor was assigned as a hospital chaplain, possibly Sewickley Hospital , St. Alphonsus Parish in Wexford and St. James Parish also in Sewickley.

For more information on Father John Connor visit Bishop-Accountability:http://www.bishopaccountability.org/reports/2005_09_21_Philly_GrandJury/Philly_05_08_Connor.pdf

The first domino to fall in the Roman Catholic Church’s child rape and abuse scandal in the South and Central American countries. This is just the beginning, and stories will begin to break like they did decades ago in the USA, then Europe and Australia.


The first domino to fall in the Roman Catholic Church’s child rape and abuse scandal in the South and Central American countries. This is just the beginning, and stories will begin to break like they did decades ago in the USA, then Europe and Australia..

The first domino to fall in the Roman Catholic Church’s child rape and abuse scandal in the South and Central American countries. This is just the beginning, and stories will begin to break like they did decades ago in the USA, then Europe and Australia.

Bishop accused of abuse

2013-09-22 09:54

Lima – Pope Francis has removed a Roman Catholic bishop in Peru who an influential former prelate says is suspected of sexually abusing minors.

Gabino Miranda, 53, was removed as part of the new pope’s “zero tolerance” policy against abuse, the Reverend Luis Bambaren, the retired former Peruvian bishops’ conference chief, told reporters on Friday.

Miranda is only the second bishop known to have been removed in recent times by the Vatican over sex abuse allegations.

The Reverend Percy Quispe, spokesperson for the archdiocese of Ayacucho where Miranda was assigned, confirmed his removal to The Associated Press on Saturday.

He said Miranda departed in July but did not specify the reason.

Miranda had since 2007 led the youth ministry of Peru’s bishops’ commission. He was a close associate of the powerful Cardinal Juan Cipriani of Lima, sharing membership in the conservative Opus Dei organisation.

In bad taste

The regional prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Friday that an investigation had been opened into Miranda but did not specify the subject.

Cipriani expressed displeasure with Bambaren on Saturday in a radio interview from the Vatican, where he was to meet with the pope on Monday. “I don’t think it’s in good taste for a retired bishop to have made an accusation that is somewhat exaggerated or at the very least strong.”

Bambaren, an 85-year-old Jesuit, did not return AP phone calls seeking comment and Quispe said the archbishop of Ayacucho, Miranda’s former superior, was traveling abroad and could not be reached.

The Vatican also did not respond to AP requests for comment on the case.

Opus Dei issued a statement on Friday saying that Miranda “denied any crime having to do with minors” but said it had very little information about his situation. Attempts to reach Opus Dei officials to try to determine Miranda’s whereabouts were unsuccessful.

Miranda had spent his career in Peru’s Quechua-speaking southern Andes.

Allegations of abuse

Earlier this month, the Vatican confirmed that its ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, had been recalled and removed from his job amid a Vatican and Dominican investigation into allegations of abuse.

For decades, bishops have been virtually untouchable when it comes to Vatican discipline as they function very much as kings in their own diocesan fiefdoms.

The most prominent bishop to have been removed for alleged abuse was the archbishop of Vienna, Hans Hermann Groer, two decades ago.

 

– AP