Category Archives: Father Michael Fugee
Pope Francis: ‘One in 50’ Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals are paedophiles
Pope Admits there are Child Rapists at Every Level in the Church
Francis pledged to drive out the ‘leprocy’ of child abuse from the Church
by Adam Withnall
Blogger Notes: A study done by The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect found that even though only 25% of citizens in the U.S. are Roman Catholic, 54% of the sexual abuse cases were perpetrated by Catholic priests. The church has paid at least 2.6 billion to settle sexual abuse cases. In 2007 alone the Los Angeles Archdiocese on July 15 announced the largest church settlement of sexual abuse lawsuits to date, agreeing to pay more than 500 alleged victims a total of $660 million. The abuse continues and the wealthy Vatican is easily able to cover these claims. The Vatican even has insurance policies to cover these operating costs.
Pope Francis has revealed that “reliable data” collected by the Vatican suggests that one in every 50 members of the Catholic clergy is a paedophile.
Speaking in an interview with La Repubblica, the Pope said his advisors had tried to “reassure” him that paedophilia within the Church was “at the level of two per cent”.
He pledged that he would drive away the “leprosy” of child abuse that was infecting the “house” of Catholicism.
“I find this state of affairs intolerable,” he said.
Pope Francis said his advisors at the Vatican had given him the two per cent estimate, which included “priests, bishops and cardinals”.
He also warned of much greater figures for people who were aware of the existence of abuse – sometimes within their own families – but who stayed silent because of corruption or fear.
His comments came a week after the Pope met with six victims of clerical paedophilia to apologise for their abuse at the hands of priests.
The meeting, with six British, Irish and German Catholics, was designed to acknowledge the gravity of the Church’s guilt and complicity.
Despite Pope Francis’s popularity, there has been criticism of Francis for failing to take a high-profile stand against the global paedophilia scandal.
His predecessor, Benedict XVI, met with victims of sexual abuse by priests, in Washington in 2008. He then met with victims in Australia, Germany, Malta and the UK.
In February and May, critical reports released by two separate UN committees condemned the Church’s “code of silence” on paedophile priests. It said this silence was allowing known sex offenders to continue working with children.
Independent News Service
When is a priest not a priest? When he’s molesting a child, diocese says in defense of lawsuit
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on June 02, 2014 at 6:31 AM, updated June 04, 2014 at 5:56 PM
Chris Naples says something snapped inside him that January day.
The Burlington County man sat in the gallery of the Delaware Supreme Court, watching as a lawyer for the Diocese of Trenton told the justices that the Rev. Terence McAlinden was not “on duty” — or serving in his capacity as a priest — when he allegedly molested Naples on trips to Delaware in the 1980s.
McAlinden, who once headed the diocese’s youth group, had introduced himself to Naples at a church-sponsored leadership retreat in Keyport. He’d heard his confession, included him in private Masses and discussed matters of spirituality with him.
Yet McAlinden wasn’t officially a priest when he took a teenage Naples to Delaware, the lawyer argued.
“How do we determine when a priest is and is not on duty?” one of the justices asked, according to a video of the session on the court’s website.
“Well,” replied the diocese lawyer, “you can determine a priest is not on duty when he is molesting a child, for example. … A priest abusing a child is absolutely contrary to the pursuit of his master’s business, to the work of a diocese.”
The statement — one prong of the diocese’s argument that it should not be held responsible for McAlinden’s alleged assaults — left Naples reeling.
“Any hope I had that the church was concerned about me as a victim or about the conduct of its priests was totally gone,” Naples, now 42, said in a recent interview. “They were washing their hands of it. I was shattered. I just couldn’t believe that was one of their arguments.”
Saying church officials must be held accountable for their handling of McAlinden, Naples has now filed suit against the diocese in Superior Court in Mercer County.
The lawsuit comes after the Delaware courts ruled Naples didn’t have jurisdiction to sue the diocese in that state because he couldn’t prove the trips were church-sanctioned. Naples did win a $3 million judgment against McAlinden individually in Delaware, though he has yet to see a penny.
He expects he never will, saying the priest has few assets.
“This has never been about the money,” Naples said. “It’s about exposing him for the monster that he is, and it’s about transparency in the diocese. They knew about McAlinden. They could have done something about it. And they did what every other diocese did. They kept it hush-hush and paid behind-the-scenes settlements.”
Also named as a defendant is St. Theresa’s Parish in Little Egg Harbor, where McAlinden was named pastor in 1988. For two decades leading up to the appointment, he served as director of the Catholic Youth Organization. The suit can be found here.
Naples, who lives with his wife and two children in New Gretna, first came forward to the diocese in 2007, alleging McAlinden sexually abused him for more than a decade, beginning when he was 13. The diocese investigated the claims, found them to be credible and suspended McAlinden from ministry, effectively ending his career as a priest.
Since then, two other men have made similar claims. One of the men, Patrick Newcombe, revealed at a press conference in 2011 that the diocese gave him a settlement in exchange for his silence. Newcombe first came forward in 1989 and reached a settlement in 1992. The other accuser, Bob Markulic, said McAlinden abused him in the 1960s at his first assignment, Our Lady of Victories Church in Sayreville.
Markulic received an undisclosed settlement from the diocese two years ago, said his attorney, Gregory Gianforcaro.
McAlinden, now 73, declined to comment when a reporter knocked on the door of his ranch-style home in Little Egg Harbor. He said he did not have an attorney.
During a December 2012 deposition in the Delaware court case, he acknowledged having an intense sexual relationship with Naples but said it began only after Naples turned 18.
He also admitted sleeping nude with “a number of” teen boys who were active in the diocese’s youth group. The overnights took place at Jeremiah House, the youth group’s headquarters in Keyport, and at the rectory of St. Theresa’s, he said. Other times, McAlinden said, teen boys bathed nude with him in a hot tub at his parents’ home in Toms River.
In the deposition, a copy of which has been obtained by The Star-Ledger, he called nudity in the hot tub “standard practice.” McAlinden said he had no sexual contact with the children.
Rayanne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the diocese, would not discuss the lawsuit or address McAlinden’s status.
Naples said the diocese told him in 2007 that McAlinden would be removed from the priesthood altogether, or laicized. Yet five years later, at the time of the deposition, McAlinden said he remained a priest, albeit a retired one, and drew a pension from the diocese. He augmented that pay by working as a real estate agent, he said.
‘He Knew How to Manipulate’
He called it “The Poor Box.”
McAlinden kept the 28-foot Bayliner cabin cruiser in Toms River, and to 13-year-old Chris Naples, it seemed pretty cool.
McAlinden offered to take him out on the boat when they met at the weekend leadership retreat in the summer of 1985. The teen’s mother, divorced and deeply religious, readily agreed, believing a priest would be a positive influence on her son, Naples said.
Nothing sexual happened on that first boat ride, a day trip, Naples said. An overnight trip followed on the Fourth of July. Naples said that day marked the first of hundreds of sexual assaults.
He contends McAlinden abused him at Jeremiah House, on the boat, in the rectory at St. Theresa’s, at the home of the priest’s parents in Toms River and on trips Delaware, Connecticut, New York, Atlantic City and the Virgin Islands.
In one instance, a housekeeper who was employed by the church walked into a bedroom while the two had sex, the suit states. It’s not clear if she reported what she saw. Other priests knew about Naples’ frequent sleepovers but said nothing, according to the suit.
One of those priests, the Rev. Thomas Triggs, served as assistant director of the diocese’s youth group under McAlinden. He frequently witnessed the teen walking into McAlinden’s room to spend the night, the suit states. Triggs also accompanied them on some of their trips, Naples said.
Triggs would go on to lead his own parish, St. Mary’s in Colts Neck. Last year, Trenton Bishop David M. O’Connell removed him after The Star-Ledger reported he allowed the Rev. Michael Fugee to interact with the parish’s youth group.
Fugee had been barred from ministering to children for life following accusations he repeatedly groped a teenage boy. Fugee has since been laicized. Triggs could not be reached for comment.
Naples says his abuse continued into his mid-20s. Asked why he didn’t stop or report it, he said he couldn’t, that McAlinden had emotional and intellectual control over him.
“He knew how to manipulate,” Naples said. “He would say things like, ‘If your mother found out about this special thing we have, she would die,’” Naples said. “He called it our little secret. And I thought I was the only one.”
It was McAlinden who introduced Naples to his wife, Patty, now a teacher. McAlinden presided over their marriage and baptized their two children. He is godfather to one of the kids.
Naples said he didn’t realize how badly the relationship with McAlinden affected him, even after it stopped being sexual in 1997. He felt he was “smothering in Saran wrap,” yet he didn’t know why.
Patty Naples noticed.
In an interview at the couple’s home, she said her husband became increasingly withdrawn and distant. By 2007, she was sure he was having an affair. On July 2 of that year, she confronted him. Chris Naples stormed out.
Hours later, he sat in his driveway, contemplating suicide, he said.
Ultimately, he told her that he’d been harboring a secret throughout their lives together.
“He said, ‘I was abused by Mac,’ and he just crashed,” Patty Naples said. “He was crying, and I was sobbing, and I was like, ‘No.’ I didn’t want to believe it, but Chris was breaking down in front of me, and I knew it was true.”
A month later, Naples brought his allegations to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. He said a detective was sympathetic but told him the alleged crimes were beyond the criminal statute of limitations.
Naples also confronted his alleged abuser during a phone call he taped. McAlinden made no apologies for the sexual contact during the conversation, which The Star-ledger has reviewed.
“At no time did I feel like I was using you or taking advantage of you,” McAlinden says on the tape.
Today, as he prepares for another lengthy legal showdown, Naples says he isn’t motivated by anger. He calls himself the “church’s best victim” because he has refrained from public attacks on the diocese.
But he said he wants an acknowledgment that the diocese could have done more. He said he also hopes his suit sends a message to other alleged victims.
“If it helps others who may be choosing something bad,” he said, referring to his own thoughts of suicide, “then they know they’re not alone.”
Pope Francis asked us survivors of priest rape and nun abuse of the Roman Catholic Church to forgive him the other day.
After talking to quite a few of my brother and sister survivors well….we find it rather insulting. These are the reasons why.
1. To be forgiven you MUST repent. Even Jesus Christ says this. To repent means you turn away from the evil you are asking forgiveness for. So has the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Francis and those whom committed either the crimes of cover ups and moving around of pedophile priests, or the priests themselves whom raped and abused us, and thus destroying our faiths, our lives, truly repented? In the opinions of the majority of priest and nun abuse survivors the answer is a resounding NO.
To truly show repentance, the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Francis must show real concrete action in cleaning this mess up and not just lip service and more empty promises to us.
Pope Francis MUST immediately fire and prosecute to the fullest extent the law allows and give the harshest penalties to all credibly accused Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops whom there is overwhelming evidence against they participated in these cover ups. We have positive proof many Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops did in fact cover up these crimes against us. Through their own words, through Church documents, through whistleblower accounts by the likes of Father Thomas Doyle and other brave priests, nuns and yes, leaders whom find this evil just as disgusting as we do and a cancer destroying this church, we do in fact have overwhelming evidence, that if these people were brought before a court of law, they would be convicted of their crimes of cover ups. 80% of the Cardinals and other leaders currently in the United States participated in this cover up, there is more than enough evidence against them to prove this.
Their excuses are weak, they did not know this was a crime is one of the biggest insults that can be said to us. This has been said by many of those whom covered up these crimes, or that they were ill prepared to deal with this. Well to the victims of these crimes..this is just another example of hey…we know what we did was wrong, but we will make any excuse to cover our butts.
2. Another priest was found whom raped children and is now safely in Paraguay. His name is Father Carlos Urrutigoity. This is just one more of dozens of other priests whom have still escaped justice through the help of the Roman Catholic Church along with such Cardinals as Bernard Law.
Again, despite the clear warning, and complaints of sexual misconduct against him, Urrutigoity was allowed to continue living and working in the Diocese of Scranton. Two years later, he was being accused of sexual misconduct again, this time in court.
In a 2002 lawsuit against Urrutigoity, and another priest Eric Ensey and the Diocese of Scranton, the two priests were accused of a pattern of sexual misconduct. Urrutigoity was accused of giving alcohol and cigars to teenagers, sharing beds and sleeping bags with seminarians and inappropriately touching at least two young men. The alleged acts were cloaked in a bizarre dogma upon which Urrutigoity and Ensey had founded their society.
One former member of the Society of St. John said in a deposition that he slept in the same bed as Urrutigoity after the priest said it would help him overcome his “puritanical attitude.” After a few months of their sharing a bed, the seminarian woke one night to find the priest’s hand first on his abdomen, then on his penis.
In a deposition for the lawsuit, a former seminarian in Minnesota said Urrutigoity asked him to insert anal suppositories in front of him. When he refused, the young man said in a deposition, Urrutigoity was furious, calling the act a betrayal. Urrutigoity at least twice invited him to sleep in the same bed, the man said in the deposition. One night, he woke up to find Urrutigoity was molesting him, the seminarian said.
The Diocese of Scranton settled the lawsuit in 2004 for more than $400,000. It also sent Urrutigoity and Ensey to The Southdown Institute, an organization in Canada, for a detailed psychological evaluation.Instead he should have been defrocked and turned over to the police for prosecution.
Following that evaluation, the Diocese of Scranton’s Independent Review Board made its recommendation, which was noted in the confidential minutes of the board meeting:
“In view of the credible allegation from the seminarian, his admitted practice of sleeping with boys and young men, and the troubling evaluation by the Southdown Institute, Father Carlos Urrutigoity should be removed from active ministry; his faculties should be revoked; he should be asked to live privately.”
A criminal investigation launched by the Lackawanna County district attorney was stymied by a lack of cooperation from St. Gregory’s and Pennsylvania’s short statute of limitations on sex crimes, said Tom Dubas, the lead investigator on the case. Dubas wanted to launch a grand jury investigation, but never had the chance.
“As soon as it got out that I was interested in a grand jury, both priests just disappeared,” Dubas said. “We never did convene one.”
Then, in 2008, Urrutigoity began making headlines again, this time in far eastern Paraguay in the den of iniquity known as the Tri-Border Area.
In 2008, Javier Miranda, a Ciudad del Este resident who was once an active volunteer at local churches, learned of a recent influx of international priests. He decided to research the newcomers.
It didn’t take Miranda long to unearth the scandals that had followed Urrutigoity. Immediately, he protested against the priest’s presence in the diocese, and was soon joined by dozens more local volunteers and even a group of 12 local priests, who in 2009 signed a letter denouncing Urrutigoity as a divisive figure.
The bishop of Ciudad del Este, Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, responded with a spirited defense of Urrutigoity, The priest had been slandered and persecuted, Livieres said. Miranda and other critics should join with the church in praying for a peaceful end to the controversy, he wrote on the diocese’s website.Miranda said far from being welcomed, he and the other vocal critics were ostracized by the church. Undeterred, Livieres continued to support Urrutigoity, not only was Urrutigoity active in the Catholic church in Paraguay, but he had been promoted to the position of vicar general, essentially the second most powerful post in the diocese of Ciudad del Este.
This rapist priest is still protected by the church. There are dozens and dozens more just like him, still protected and defended by those of the Roman Catholic Church.
This priest and all the others, including Cardinals like Bernard Law, whom is still protected by the Vatican, should be immediately fired, defrocked and prosecuted.
3. The church must stop hiding behind the statue of limitations they use against victims to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and paying for their crimes against us and make things right with the victims. Anything less would be pure hypocrisy.
They MUST keep their words and promises to us they signed onto with their Pledge to Protect and Promise to Heal charters with the Attorney Generals of each state.
The disgusting attacks against the priest rape victims MUST END. No more telling us because we did not punch our priests, we were responsible for our own rapes, or that we wanted to be raped and we enjoyed it and we are homosexuals because of it. No more blame games being put upon the victims of these evil crimes.
This is NOT a homosexual problem, this is a pedophile, hebephile and ephebophile problem. This is not just a sin, this is a crime, a FELONY crime and should be looked upon as such and these people whom have committed these crimes should be prosecuted. Just because they are the religious leaders of your church that does NOT give you the right to avoid prosecution for crimes you have committed, especially ones of rape, abuse and torture of children and teens. No more telling us priest rape survivors that we must forgive but must NEVER seek prosecution because that is Anti-Catholic and bigoted of us. Yes this problem exists in other denominations and other sections of the population. We find all of these crimes evil, disgusting and anyone whom rapes a child or covers it up should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and this means EVERYONE whom commits these crimes, whether they be a Roman Catholic or anyone else. Just because you wear a religious robe should NOT give you an out from being prosecuted for your crimes. If anything, they should be prosecuted with that much more vigor because these people portray themselves to be the moral leaders, the spiritual leaders, the head of the church. Jesus Christ would condemn them, so why should not we? Jesus Christ would say they should be prosecuted…for did he not say render unto God that which is Gods and render unto Man that which is Man’s? That means not only are we supposed to follow Gods laws, but mans laws to. Raping children and covering up these crimes are not only contrary to Gods laws, but man’s laws too.
In conclusion…if Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church wishes for us survivors of these evil, disgusting crimes against us, then they must first truly repent. This means doing all that I have described. If we were to forgive this, right now, without true repentance shown on your part Pope Francis then that would make us hypocrites.
For even Jesus Christ said…to be forgiven of your sins. you must first truly repent of your sins.
Published Date Thursday, April 24,2014
From the Link: http://www.berlindailysun.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49465:frank-laferriere-support-the-victims-not-the-victimizers&catid=73:letter&Itemid=428
To the editor:
If you were to find out that the leadership of a group or organization you belonged to had appeared before commissions and grand juries and openly admitted to covering up the abuses of children, from rape to severe beatings, to even the death of a child, and that this involved tens of thousands of members own children, and that the cover ups are wide spread throughout the organization or group, you would think that the membership of the group would rise up in arms and make sure that the leadership is arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows. That they would stand up and defend and protect their children over the leadership of their group or organization. Yet there is one such organization…though there are others….that its leadership is totally immune from liability for crimes such as these by it’s membership. This organization is known as the Roman Catholic Church.
While they have come far with this problem of child abuse, the Vatican announced that for 2011-2012 almost 400 priests had to be let go because of credible accusations of child abuse, including rape, there is still much to be done. While it is commendable that they caught and fired these priests, what about those whom participated in the cover ups of these crimes? Why are they not called to account for their crimes of the members own children? Why are the leadership of the church put above the law and those whom they have harmed? Why are they defended and even praised or made a saint?
There have been at least a half a dozen commission reports, like the Ryan Report, that detail the systematic sexual, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse of children and teens, children of the Roman Catholic Church; and the cover ups of these abuses by the leaders and even their highest leaders, ones whom are supposed to be the Vicars of Jesus while on this earth and in their position. Yet even to this day, not one credibly accused leader has ever been arrested or prosecuted for their crimes save one, Bishop Robert Finn and that case is being retried. Matter of fact, one of these, John Paul II was given sainthood. There is overwhelming evidence he participated in the cover up of and through acts of omission, turned a blind eye to, the pederast Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ. Yet he is given sainthood? This is an insult to all those whom are survivors of these evil crimes against us.
There are some incredible priests and leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. I have met some of them. From Fr Tom Doyle, ret., whom has fought tirelessly for the victims of priest abuse, at the cost of his being a priest, to even our own local priest Fr Kyle Stanton whom has helped me immensely, to groups like Catholic Whistleblowers, and others, they have sort of restored my faith that this problem of priests and nuns abusing children and teens will stop. Yet to truly set things right the following must be done.
1. All credibly accused leaders, from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, to Cardinals like Timothy Dolan, Donald Wuerl, Roger Mahony, Bernard Law, George Pell, and many others, against whom there is overwhelming evidence, through commission reports, grand jury testimonies and the churches own documents, must be fired. They must be arrested and prosecuted. We do this to other criminals, we demand this of any rapist or those whom cover up the rapes and abuses of children. They may be leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, but these men are criminals and deserve to be arrested and prosecuted and the victims deserve their day in court and justice for the crimes committed against them because of these leaders actions.
2. Abide by the Pledge to Protect, Promise to Heal charter all of the diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States signed. All attacks against the victims must stop. We are not responsible for our rapes, we did not enjoy being raped. We are not homosexuals because we were raped by a male priest. We are not liars, gold diggers who are out looking for a payday from the Roman Catholic Church.
We are your sons, we are your daughters, who want justice, whom want those who perpetrated these crimes against us punished, whom went through one of the most horrifying and terrifying experiences a human being can go through. We trusted these priests and nuns and they destroyed that trust with their evil crimes against us. We were raped, we were beaten, we had our souls, our hearts stolen from us, we had our bodies destroyed and abused. We did not deserve this, we were not willing participants and we refuse to remain silent while those whom are responsible for these crimes against us go free while we still remain trapped inside the prisons they created for us.
3. No matter what….put your children before your leaders. Protect and stand up and defend your children….not the leaders whom committed these evils against us. Your children should come first. Stand up for the victims of these crimes, whom are your own children. You may know one. Again, we are your sons, your daughters, your nieces and nephews, your God children, whom you vowed and promised to protect and defend.
I started going back to church. I even started photographing St Annes, an incredibly beautiful place of worship. I had no choice though, I had to stop because I felt like such a hypocrite. Far too many of us whom were victims still see those responsible for these evils against us in their positions as if nothing in the world is wrong. We victims are still being attacked, by people like Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League. We are still being attacked by parishioners whom have called me a liar to my face and how dare I spread lies and rumors and false accusations and gossip against the leaders. Well, sadly, I am not spreading lies, rumors and false accusations, these statements I have made can all be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law if it were allowed.
Yet while these leaders whom perpetrated these crimes against us are still in power, I cannot in good conscious go into the church. I cannot be part of a church where the leadership covered up the crimes of child abuse, child rape and put the church before the children and are still in power, for that makes me a hypocrite in my eyes.
I would love to go on a regular basis to St Anne, to be among the other worshipers, some of whom I made acquaintance and even friends with, especially Fr Kyle, but I cannot, for while the wolves are still in control….someone must stand outside the door for the defense and protection of the children and the victims.
Sin is one thing…sin can be forgiven when there is true repentance from the sin. There has been no true repentance among the leadership whom covered up these crimes. There have been staged acts of contrition, but no true repentance. For if they are to truly repent they must also submit to prosecution for the crimes they committed. They must not hide behind their robes of religion. If they seek to make laws for man like they do, they also must submit to the laws of man and be arrested and prosecuted for their crimes. No one, not even religious leaders, should be allowed to get away with crimes against children. They should not be above the law!
When it comes time to the crimes of the rapes and abuses of children and teens and the cover up of these crimes by the leadership…only justice in a court of law, where the victims may have their day in court to see those responsible for the crimes against them be tried and if found guilty sentenced to prison…that is true justice. The Roman Catholic Church promised this to victims and to prosecuting attorneys…but have failed to deliver on this promise. Instead they still fight the victims and hide behind the statue of limitations to deny justice to the victims. Ask yourself is this true justice? If you were raped would you say this is true justice?
In closing whom do you think Jesus Christ will stand up for in the end?
Those whom perpetrated these crimes against children and teens…or the children and teen victims?
Here is a clue: “For it would be better for you to tie a huge boulder around your neck and throw yourself into the deepest of lakes than to harm a single hair on the head of a child.”
Well the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church did a lot more than harm a hair on the head of a child. Whom are you going to stand besides? The ones Jesus Christ would stand up for? Or the ones He would toss into the pit of hell for their evils against children?
Frank LaFerriere, Berlin
Newark Archdiocese stirs outrage after allowing accused molester to live in parish
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on July 20, 2013 at 8:00 PM, updated July 20, 2013 at 9:39 PM
Parishioners at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Oradell first noticed the man in November. Each night, he slept in the rectory. Every morning, he attended Mass in the soaring brick church, across the street from the parish’s elementary school.
What parishioners didn’t know — what neither their pastor nor the Archdiocese of Newark told them — was that the man was an accused sexual predator.
The Rev. Robert Chabak, 66, was removed from ministry in 2004, when church officials determined there was evidence to support allegations he molested a teenage boy over a three-year period in the 1970s.
In the years since, Chabak has lived in a home once owned by his mother in the Normandy Beach section of Toms River. When Hurricane Sandy damaged that home, the archdiocese allowed him to take up residence at St. Joseph “out of a sense of compassion,” said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for Archbishop John. J. Myers.
But no one informed parishioners, who now say the archdiocese and the pastor, the Rev. Thomas Iwanowski, knowingly put children at risk.
It would be months before a few members of the parish discovered Chabak’s background. Under pressure from those parishioners, the archdiocese removed Chabak from St. Joseph in February, transferring him to a retirement home for priests in Rutherford.
But even then, parishioners said, Chabak repeatedly came back to St. Joseph to spend the night.
The furor has led to Iwanowski’s ouster as pastor, effective July 31. It also has spawned fierce criticism of the archdiocese, which has come under fire repeatedly for its handling of predator priests.
Most recently, Myers faced calls for his resignation in April and May after it was revealed the Rev. Michael Fugee had extensively interacted with teenagers despite a lifetime ban on ministry to children. Fugee has since been criminally charged with violating a judicial order.
Daniel O’Toole, the parishioner who led the effort to remove Chabak from St. Joseph, called Iwanowski and Myers “spectacularly tone deaf” given revelations about clergy sexual abuse and said the church has repeated its “past sins” by “recycling a problem priest into an unsuspecting community.”
“If these last two painful decades of scandal have taught us anything, it is that those who have engaged in sexual predation of children will continue to do so for as long as they are permitted access to children,” said O’Toole, 46, an attorney whose three children attend St. Joseph School.
“That access, in and of itself, presents a danger,” he said. “By allowing this man to live in the rectory within close proximity to parish children, schoolchildren and CCD students, the church breached its duty to its people.”
Several other parishioners have expressed similar anger and frustration but declined to speak for attribution. O’Toole said he is speaking for them.
Mark Crawford, the New Jersey director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national advocacy group, called Chabak’s placement at St. Joseph “truly disturbing.”
“It is absolutely reckless to take this chance with a known predator,” Crawford said. “Why are we still taking such risks and not informing parents and parishioners? Clearly, the archbishop is not being on the level or honest with the people in the pews.”
Chabak, who is now back in the Normandy Beach home, declined to comment when a reporter knocked on his door last week.
Voter registration records show he shares the home with Iwanowski, 64, when the pastor is not at St. Joseph.
In a brief interview outside the Oradell rectory, Iwanowski said he didn’t see the harm in Chabak’s stay at the church.
“He lived in the rectory and went to Mass every day. He didn’t do anything else,” Iwanowski said. “I don’t see the problem with that.”
Asked about the propriety of Chabak visiting the parish after his removal, Iwanowski said, “He came for dinner. You have friends, don’t you? He simply came for dinner and visited a friend. Does it matter that he stayed over?”
The pastor called it “interesting” that people were watching the rectory to note Chabak’s comings and goings. He also said the controversy has been largely manufactured.
“There were people who had problems with my administration of the parish, and this gave them something to latch onto,” he said.
Iwanowski announced his resignation in the July 14 edition of the church bulletin. He wrote that he met with the archbishop July 5 “to discuss the situation here” and that he and Myers “reached the conclusion it would be best for me to move ‘forward in faith.’” The message did not name Chabak.
Goodness, the archdiocese spokesman, would not say if Myers personally approved Chabak’s move to St. Joseph, calling it an archdiocese decision.
The spokesman said the placement was the result of an “extraordinary circumstance” given the extensive damage to Chabak’s house.
“When this situation happened, it was logical to see if Chabak could be put up at St. Joseph for a little while with his friend, and there was space available,” Goodness said. “It was somebody answering a call for help in an emergency time.”
He said Chabak was moved to the retirement home in Rutherford when it became clear it would take longer to repair his house than originally thought. Iwanowski, Goodness said, was well aware of Chabak’s restriction on ministry and ensured the suspended priest did not take part in parish life other than attend Mass.
Chabak, ordained in 1972, was assigned to St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Elizabeth when he allegedly molested a 15-year-old boy for three years in the 1970s, authorities told The Star-Ledger in 2004, when the allegation was reported.
The statute of limitations had long since expired, and Chabak was not criminally charged.
But an investigation by the archdiocese showed there was “sufficient information to begin a canonical process,” Goodness said.
While the church declined to laicize Chabak, or remove him from the priesthood altogether, it stripped him of his priestly faculties, meaning he may not wear a collar or represent himself as a priest in any way.
The archdiocese has allowed him at least two exceptions to the ban, giving him permission to preside over the funerals of his mother and his aunt, Goodness said. The aunt’s funeral was held at St. Joseph in June of last year.
In recent months, the archdiocese has been made aware of a second allegation against Chabak, Goodness said.
The accuser, an Essex County attorney, told The Star-Ledger he was a 14-year-old altar boy at St. Mary of the Assumption in Elizabeth when Chabak invited him and another teen to Normandy Beach for a weekend in December 1977.
The newspaper has agreed to withhold the man’s name because he is an alleged victim of attempted sexual abuse.
The lawyer said Chabak brought him to see the R-rated movie “Saturday Night Fever” and tried to “initiate” him into the priest’s “club.”
“To be part of the club you had to strip down naked and run around while he photographed it,” the man said.
The accuser said he refused.
Later that night, he said, he was sleeping on Chabak’s living room floor when he awoke to find the priest straddling him and trying to remove his shirt. The other teen, a 15-year-old, was holding his legs, participating in the attack, the man said.
He said he managed to punch Chabak in the face and free himself, then ran and hid in the bushes.
“I never went back to the church,” he said. “In that one incident, he stole my childhood and innocence. I’ve been emotionally detached ever since. That moment was defining to me. He ruined me.”
The man said he kept the attempted assault a secret for decades, eventually telling his mother and brother. By happenstance, he learned about Chabak’s move into St. Joseph parish from a friend.
He has since made contact with O’Toole, the Oradell parishioner, and shared the story with him. O’Toole, in turn, passed the information on to the archdiocese, though he did not provide the accuser’s name.
In June, Goodness referred the case to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. A spokesman for that office, Al Della Fave, said law enforcement is eager to speak to the alleged victim, though it appears a criminal case would be barred by the statute of limitations.
“Ocean County prosecutor’s officials are willing to help him in any way they can,” Della Fave said.
The man has declined to speak to the archdiocese and says he has no intention of filing a lawsuit. What he wants, he said, is for Chabak to be kept as far away from children as possible.
O’Toole called his fight to remove Chabak extremely difficult and disillusioning, saying he cares deeply about the Catholic church and his parish, which he has attended his entire life.
“I’ve had people suggest to me I should just let this go, and I shouldn’t stand up and speak the truth because it’s going to cause potential harm to the church or to the school,” O’Toole said.
“And to those folks, I would suggest looking the other way and not giving voice to these things is what has put us in this position — this position where we’re constantly putting out fires created by church administrators and bad priests,” he said. “Honesty is the only true hope for the future of the Roman Catholic church in the United States of America.”
The Catholic church should be outlawed forthwith
JohnB on outlawing the Catholic church today
From the link: http://www.molestedcatholics.com/
Talking whilst driving with my son today and I began to relate to him some details about a foot injury I had as a child. He had come home and shown me a blister on his foot; I told him he had not spent enough time in bare feet – that was the prompt, my topic could be my right foot or how long/harmful/life distorting the repression of the day to day Catholic cover up are – its part of the healing journey and a son who smiled today when he listened to me about this – its the story of how I had to cover up the injury even though I had to have ongoing medical attention and purpose made boots it was always done in the name of something else – my injured foot which had left me with a distinct limp because I walked with my foot turned in as it had been injured seriously when the car door was repeatedly slammed on my foot on the day the priest raped me at a little church in the beautiful hills of Central Victoria – its about how every Catholic knew what the cause was and every Catholic knew I was not permitted to speak about it – they were able to assist me with my pigeon toed-ness but they were not able to help me with my injured foot due to being slammed in the lock of the car door as that was a lie that would send me to hell – that’s why other kids parents were permitted to beat you if they heard you speak about it being what it in fact was. This was a conscious campaign by every catholic in that town, nuns and priests, knights of the Southern Cross, bishops, the local Catholic Policeman, the Editor of the local newspaper included – they all knew and participated – that to me is what the cover up was and the to me is what the cover up is today – that is what Catholic parishes across the world participate in still today – that is the Catholic cover up in action. It is bigger and stronger than just the Catholic hierarchy because so many have built their careers and their fortunes on.
The part skepticism plays in helping to clarify those truths and facts of your life – you realize that your own brothers and sisters were blackmailed in the same way over this and over dozens of other crimes that had occurred and were covered up – there was a regular murmurous uproar as another instances of sexual abuse was gossiped and whispered about and some kid bullied into fear of their life until the rules of secrecy were instilled (rather this repression was the enforcement of denial into the entire catholic population.
If society does not turn away from the path of the Catholic church and if it does not freeze its assets, its businesses then the vast majority of the real crime in our society will never be addressed and the world will never have had a real chance to raise our children in a peaceful, loving and truthful environment. Lets make 2011 the year we all come together to unite in the single cause of demanding our government ceases to trade with and Catholic or religious entity until democracy is restored in our country.
There is no precedent that permits a sector of society to enact genocide on its followers on the basis of religion. That is what we have today and what we have today is insidious and at the core of the ability of society to progress in the areas of human rights, dignity, respect, individuality, freedom of expression of thought and the freedom of speech.
While ever the Catholic church continues to exist and to be able to function as an organized religion it will be in the process of enacting the genocidal practices of the religion against some portion of society and it will continue to enable wars just as any organized religion can and repeatedly to the detriment of society does. The Catholic church is our most obvious example. We can either help the Catholic church to prevail or we can help our children to prevail. For every person on the planet the real choice they have to make is whether they will support the Catholic church or will they support the children.
2011 must be the year when those of us across the world who have an understanding of this and for us to collectively demand our governments brings it to a halt and never permits it to occur again. That is a part of their moral obligation to society. Any politician who today stands in support of the Catholic church should be collectively condemned through our united and collective voices.
Make 2011 the year when you connect up with a proactive survivor who speaks clearly and directly about the needs and the means of providing the safety and the protection our children and our society need.
The Catholic church and those who follow it today need to stand back and permit reason and justice to prevail, to permit each and every person within the boundaries of their country to live with the legitimate right to live in a free and democratic country free of repression and child abuse.
The Catholic church stands condemned as a psychopathic pariah and must be rejected in all forms wherever it is not regulated and policed.
Sex abuse cases are about children, not religion: Editorial
on May 14, 2013 at 1:36 PM, updated May 14, 2013 at 1:50 PM
The conviction of Yosef Kolko in Ocean County is another painful reminder that the scourge of child sex abuse – and the inexcusable failure of adults to do all they can to protect the victims – is not limited to the Catholic Church.
We saw in the Jerry Sandusky case that Penn State University tolerated the rape of children, keeping it hidden to avoid embarrassing the institution. And with the conviction of Kolko this week, we see the same sickening pattern in the Orthodox community of Lakewood.
This is a scourge wherever it occurs. And while it is gratifying to know that Kolko will likely spend many years in jail, it is disturbing that Orthodox leaders in Lakewood failed to respond when the father, himself a rabbi, sought their help.
Instead, the victim and his family were ostracized in Lakewood when they went to prosecutors in frustration. A flier was circulated in the town’s large Orthodox Jewish community claimed the victim’s father had made a mockery of the Torah and committed a “terrible deed” by going to prosecutors.
The answer in every case of suspected child abuse is to report the facts to the authorities, and allow prosecutors to investigate, no matter how embarrassing that might be. The Catholic Church has failed that test many times over, as did Penn State and the Orthodox leaders in Lakewood.
The result is not just that justice was delayed or denied for victims. It’s worse than that. It also puts other children at risk. Because when an adult is driven to sexually abuse a child, it usually doesn’t stop after one victim. It goes on until someone puts a stop to it.
Newark Archbishop John Myers is facing calls for his resignation, from this paper and from several prominent Catholic politicians in the state. A special wrinkle in his case is that he signed a legally binding agreement to keep an abusive priest, Michael Fugee, away from children. The Star-Ledger’s Mark Mueller documented that the agreement was broken, and that Fugee went on youth retreats, and ministered to children repeatedly, including taking their confessions.
The Jewish faith is not as hierarchical, so responsibility is not quite as clear. But any leaders, religious or civic, who tolerate abuse of children, should step down after apologizing to their followers.
This is not about religion. This is about crimes committed against children. It can’t be tolerated
Newark archbishop shielded at least 4 priests accused of sexual abuse
Published: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 8:30 AM Updated: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 6:40 PM
Eight years ago, Newark Archbishop John J. Myers stood among the nation’s bishops at a landmark gathering in Dallas and helped craft a policy intended to cleanse the priesthood of pedophiles and restore trust among shaken American Catholics.
In ratifying the Dallas Charter, Myers and his colleagues promised a new era of reform and transparency. Allegations of sexual abuse against priests would no longer be hidden from parishioners or police, and any priest believed to have molested a child would be permanently banned from ministry.
In the years since, Myers and his aides say the archdiocese has taken aggressive measures to identify abusive priests.
But a Star-Ledger review of the archbishop’s record since 2002 shows Myers on at least four occasions has shielded priests accused of sexual abuse against minors and one adult. In the four instances, the priests have either admitted improper sexual contact, pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct or been permanently barred from ministry by the archdiocese after allegations of sexual misconduct.
The archdiocese also wrote a letter of recommendation for one of the priests, a week after it learned he was accused of breaking into a woman’s home in Florida and possibly assaulting her.
From one perspective, the newspaper’s findings suggest Myers continues to take a cautious hand in publicly naming priests. The findings, coupled with testimony from a 2009 deposition, show the issue weighs heavily on Myers.
From another view, the archbishop has failed to live up to the guidelines and spirit of what was set forth in Dallas. The most controversial example is the Rev. Michael Fugee, who confessed to police eight years ago that he molested a 13-year-old boy. Fugee was never ousted from the priesthood, and the archdiocese assigned him last year as chaplain to St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark without telling hospital officials of his past.
In other cases:
– In 2004, the Newark Archdiocese wrote letters to six dioceses in Florida on behalf of the Rev. Wladyslaw Gorak, one week after learning Gorak’s ministry had been terminated in the Orlando Diocese — after he was accused of breaking into a woman’s home.
– Also in 2004, the archdiocese banned the Rev. Gerald Ruane from public ministry after investigating an allegation he molested a boy, but did not publicly notify lay people or other priests. Ruane continued to say Mass and wear his collar in public.
– In 2007, the archdiocese failed to inform lay people that it found a molestation claim credible against the Rev. Daniel Medina, who had worked in parishes in Elizabeth and Jersey City. The case wasn’t made public until a victims group uncovered an alert sent by the archdiocese in September 2008 to other bishops saying Medina was on administrative leave and could not be located.
Neither Myers nor the priests identified above would agree to an interview for this story. But Myers’ spokesman, James Goodness, said the archbishop has lived up to his promises of 2002 and that the archdiocese has carefully followed procedures meant to bar abusive priests from ministry. He said it has trained thousands of church employees to spot molestation, published procedures for filing sex accusations against priests and passed annual audits examining whether it keeps its promises. He noted, too, that the archdiocese has an agreement with the state Attorney General’s Office to forward all allegations of sexual misconduct to county prosecutors.
“We do not have priests in ministry without proper supervision, and those who have had credible allegations have been removed from ministry,” Goodness said. “We do notify the communities where people (priests) have served of the existence of allegations and the results of all our inquiries.
“We believe we are living both within the letter and the spirit of the charter,” he said.
Asked to provide the number of priests accused of or disciplined for sexual misbehavior with a minor since 2002, Goodness declined. In 2004, Myers did announce the results of an internal review prompted by the scandal. From 1950 to 2002, Myers said there were 91 allegations made against the 3,310 clergy who served in the archdiocese, and that 51 were deemed credible.
In the past, Myers has defended his policy of not naming accused priests, citing the need to protect their reputations and noting that accusers themselves often request anonymity.
“This has been difficult for me because of the special role I have as Bishop,” he wrote in 2004. “I know full well my responsibilities to investigate any accusation, and to fulfill my promise that we will provide safe environments for all young people. Yet I also feel keenly the pain that my brother priests experience when anyone has been accused.”
Longtime critics of the church say Myers’ record shows a continued arrogance.
“Archbishop Myers is not indicating any serious intent to protect kids from the credibly accused sex offenders he knows about,” said Anne Doyle, co-director of bishopaccountability.org, a watchdog group that compiles a database of news articles on priests accused of molesting minors. “It’s clear by the pattern that this practice is still one of arrogant secrecy.”
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Myers “continues to act slowly, deceptively, callously and irresponsibly.”
Though Myers rarely speaks publicly about the sex abuse issue, he did share his thoughts in a wide-ranging deposition for a lawsuit brought by Gorak’s victim. In the Nov. 3, 2009, deposition, he defended his handling of several cases, including that of Fugee, while also expressing sympathy for victims.
“Having met with various victims, they often blame themselves,” he said. “They often suffer loss of self-image and can move onto other more serious problems, trying to compensate for the feelings that they don’t want to deal with.”
“And what do you mean when you say ‘move onto other serious problems’?” asked the plaintiff’s attorney.
“Drugs,” Myers said.
On March 19, 2001, detectives arrived at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Wyckoff and picked up the Rev. Michael Fugee, who was alleged to have molested a 13-year-old boy.
For the first 90 minutes of an interview at the police station, Fugee denied the allegations, Detective John Haviland of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office later testified. Eventually though, Haviland said Fugee admitted to the charges and “then made some unusual comments about his sexuality, being a compulsive masturbator. He also stated he was bisexual, and that he was a virgin. He also said that he was infatuated with crotches or penis size.”
Haviland testified that Fugee then admitted to two separate incidents with the boy, where the priest “intentionally touched his crotch over his clothes. He said both times they were during wrestling, and that there were other people present, but he did not believe that they would have actually seen what he did. He described it as an urge.”
At trial in 2003, Fugee recanted the confession, saying he lied to police so he could go home earlier. The judge ruled the confession was “totally voluntary,” and a jury convicted him of aggravated criminal sexual contact while acquitting him of child endangerment. An appeals court later overturned the conviction, ruling the judge improperly instructed jurors. The appellate ruling did not question the validity of the confession.
Prosecutors dismissed the case in 2009 after securing an agreement with Fugee and the archdiocese through pretrial intervention stating that Fugee never again will minister to minors.
“We brought the case against him … believing that he did it, and believing that we could prove it,” Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said. “And notwithstanding the reversal, we still believe that he did it.”
In October 2009, The Star-Ledger learned Fugee had been given a job as chaplain at St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark. Approached in the chaplain’s office, Fugee showed a reporter a card that identified him as a “Roman Catholic priest in good standing.”
The hospital, upon learning of his past, had him removed.
Goodness said Myers does not view Fugee’s confession as genuine and thus believes he can return to public ministry.
“That’s one of the issues that got challenged in the courtroom,” Goodness said. Myers, he said, “says that there may have been problems with it (the confession).”
Goodness also said “a lot of people” in the court system felt Fugee’s confession should not be taken at face value. When asked who those people were, he named only Fugee’s attorney.
During the November 2009 deposition, Myers expressed disappointment that Fugee let detectives interview him without counsel.
“Is it your recollection,” the plaintiff’s attorney, Jessica Arbour, asked Myers, “that he (Fugee) admitted that he touched the boy?”
“Unfortunately, without his lawyer present, he did,” Myers said.
For its part, the Survivors Network, or SNAP, called Fugee’s assignment to St. Michael’s “particularly egregious” and said it was the most reckless move by any American bishop in 2009.
Last spring, Fugee filed a motion to have his case expunged from public records. A judge ruled against the expungement in October. Fugee’s current job, for the archdiocese’s mission office, involves its overseas missionary efforts.
‘A SEAL OF APPROVAL’
In 2004, two days before Christmas, the Newark Archdiocese learned the Rev. Wladyslaw Gorak, who had been assigned to work in the Diocese of Orlando, Fla., had been accused of assaulting a female parishioner.
Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski wrote to Myers and explained he had just terminated Gorak’s ministry, citing the priest’s erratic behavior in public and the complaint of a woman who said “that he broke into her house and may have had physical contact with her.”
A week later — on Dec. 30, 2004 — Myers’s number two, the Very Rev. Robert Emery, wrote six separate letters on Gorak’s behalf to church officials in other Florida dioceses. The letters — sent to officials in Miami, Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, St. Augustine, Venice and Pensacola-Tallahassee — noted that Gorak’s faculties had been removed in the Orlando Diocese and that the Newark Archdiocese subsequently placed him on six months of medical leave. But they made no mention of the fresh accusation against Gorak in Orlando.
“Father has expressed a desire to seek permanent ministry in Florida in the future and currently resides in Lakeland, Florida,” each one of the letters reads. “Father continues to enjoy the faculties of the Archdiocese of Newark. Should you be contacted by Father Gorak, I would be happy to provide you with additional information about his status.”
The Rev. Thomas Doyle, a Catholic priest who in the 1980s warned bishops about sex abuse among clergy, said the archdiocese should have mentioned the accusation “rather than try to pawn him off on someone else.”
The Rev. Thomas Reese, research fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, said the letter’s omission of the accusation was disturbing.
“Does he have to describe it in gruesome detail in the letter? No. The letter has to be clear enough that the bishop receiving it knows there’s a red flag here that needs to be investigated before he even considers taking this guy,” Reese said. “Saying that he continues to enjoy the faculties of the Newark diocese, he is giving a seal of approval for the guy.”
Goodness defended the letter and said “we put them on notice that they need to call us with anything if he does show an interest in working in another diocese.”
Asked why the letter did not mention the accusation, Goodness said he did not know.
The archdiocese placed Gorak on leave in May 2005, after Orlando police charged him with assault, false imprisonment, aggravated stalking and battery. A woman told police he broke into her home, pulled a telephone from its jack, removed his clothes and tore some of the woman’s clothes while trying to remove them, according to a police report.
Two months later, Myers wrote Gorak in jail, sending his prayers and best wishes, and promising that the church would follow the advice of the accused priest’s attorney.
In 2006, Gorak pleaded guilty to assault, and the archdiocese earlier this year settled a lawsuit brought by the accuser, the woman in Florida, for an undisclosed amount.
His history with women came into focus in the lawsuit. In 2004, when he asked to be transferred from Newark to Florida, the archdiocese informed the Diocese of Orlando that he was a priest in good standing even though a police report from 2001 and a confidential memo written by the Rev. Ron Marczewski, then of St. Adalbert’s in Elizabeth where Gorak worked in 1998, indicated serious misbehavior with women, court documents show.
The archdiocese contended in the lawsuit that the priest’s confidential memo never found its way to the chancery office. In depositions and court documents, church officials said they never talked to the priest about Gorak, even though on two occasions they formally reviewed Gorak’s record.
Only earlier this year did Myers begin proceedings to have Gorak laicized, that is, formally removed from the clergy, according to Goodness.
In the deposition last year, Myers was asked by the victim’s attorney what he would have done if told, before Gorak’s May 2005 arrest, that he had tried to rape a woman in Orlando. Myers said he would have recalled Gorak to Newark and advised him to return to his native Poland.
NO ALERTS ISSUED
On Holy Thursday in 2005, the Rev. Gerald Ruane concelebrated Mass at St. Joseph’s Shrine in Stirling. Weeks later, he appeared in vestments in a TV interview from Rome after Pope John Paul II’s death.
The problem was, Ruane wasn’t supposed to appear in public as a priest. And few people seemed to know of that restriction.
In 2004, the archdiocese permanently barred Ruane from ministry after investigating accusations by at least two minors. One, Michael Iatesta, said Ruane molested him throughout his adolescence. Ruane denied the allegations.
Upon learning of Ruane’s subsequent public appearances, Iatesta complained to church officials, who privately reprimanded the priest, according to the archdiocese. But Iatesta and SNAP officials said the archdiocese should have informed the public of the restrictions.
In March 2006, Myers changed his policy on alerting parishioners about investigations, saying he would alert parishioners when a pastor was permanently barred from ministry over sex allegations. At the time, a Star-Ledger review of policies in New Jersey’s four other dioceses showed Myers was the only one not already doing that.
SNAP praised the announcement of the change.
Four months later, the archbishop had to decide whether to alert a different parish about a different priest, the Rev. Daniel Medina.
Medina had pleaded guilty to child endangerment and was sentenced to three months’ probation. He admitted in court that he “inappropriately placed a young boy on (his) lap.”
The boy had alleged in 2004 that Medina had oral sex with him, when he was 8, in the sacristy of Blessed Sacrament Church in Elizabeth. The prosecutor, John Esmerado, said he told the archdiocese the plea bargain reflected his desire to avoid making the child testify, rather than from any weakness in the initial charge.
The archdiocese failed to alert parishioners in 2006 when Medina pleaded guilty, in 2007 when its review board deemed the accusation credible, or in 2008 when it alerted Catholic bishops nationwide that it had barred Medina from ministry and couldn’t locate him. SNAP eventually obtained that alert in September 2008 and publicized it.
Asked at the time why Myers hadn’t notified parishioners, Goodness said, “This is being done on our schedule.”
In April 2005, Gorak changed his name to Walter Fisher, six months after he assaulted the Florida woman and one month before his arrest. At the deposition in November 2009, Myers said the archdiocese did not know about Gorak’s name change until after the fact.
“It was inappropriate for him to do so without my permission,” Myers said. “His bishop in Poland or whichever diocese he had been ordained (in) should have been notified so that the ordination register could be changed to reflect this legal change.”
The attorney taking Myers’ deposition then asked if Gorak, by changing his name, had violated his oath of obedience to Myers.
“I don’t know if I would go that far,” Myers said, “but it was inappropriate because it introduced a confusion into sacramental record-keeping.”
Gorak isn’t the only former priest from the Newark Archdiocese to have a run-in with the law and then change his name. In 1982, the Rev. Carmine Sita of St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City admitted sexually assaulting a teenage boy. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five months’ probation.
He then legally changed his name.
Within a year of his guilty plea, he was the Rev. Gerald Howard. At that time — still on the rolls as a Newark Archdiocese priest — he went to work at a parish in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., and then as a counselor at a Missouri hospital.
The Newark Archbishop at the time, Peter Gerety, never informed the public about the name change. Neither did his successor, Theodore McCarrick. And neither did Myers — even after the archdiocese conducted a comprehensive review of its case files of abusive priests in 2002, in the wake of the scandal.
Mark McAllister, who says he was molested by Howard in Missouri in the 1980s, said the lack of notification allowed Howard “to continue in his deviant behaviors. … If you looked him up, you’d have found nothing. But if you looked up Carmine Sita — same person — you’d find a conviction for sexual molestation of a minor.”
Goodness said there was no need in 2002 to notify the public about Sita’s name change.
“There was a legal filing of his name change in the paper,” he said. “It was a matter of public record.”
Last autumn, McAllister settled claims against the Newark Archdiocese, Jefferson City Diocese and the Servants of the Paraclete, a religious order, for $600,000. The Newark Archdiocese gave $225,000 toward the settlement.
In April, officials in Cooper County, Mo., charged Howard, who is now retired, with the forcible sodomy of McAllister. The prosecutor, Doug Abele, said Howard is also facing charges in two other cases.
Overall, it is difficult to assess Myers’ performance or compare him with other bishops because much of the information on these cases is confidential. Clohessy, of SNAP, said he ranks Myers’ handling of the crisis in the bottom third of the 195 diocesan bishops’ in the country, “in large part because of his ongoing secrecy.”
The Rev. Thomas Doyle, who frequently testifies as an expert witness in lawsuits involving abusive priests, criticized Myers’ actions and said they are too common among bishops. He said American bishops, as a group, have behaved abysmally since 2002, and still seem to care more about protecting themselves from litigation than about helping victims heal.
“This brings great shame on the church,” said Doyle, who co-wrote a report in the 1980s warning bishops about the impending crisis. “I look back on all this and say: Something is drastically, fundamentally wrong with the Catholic hierarchy, if this is their consistent response across the board.”
According to the watchdog group bishopaccountability.com, 25 dioceses — including Philadelphia’s, but not Newark’s — have posted a list on their websites naming every priest removed after an accusation deemed credible by the diocese. Victims groups praise these lists, saying they deny abusive priests the cover of confidentiality that could help them abuse again.
Myers also has failed to regularly alert parishioners to investigations. Those alerts are now more common nationwide, Reese said. Among the bishops who notify parishioners is Bishop Paul Bootkoski of Metuchen. In 2003, SNAP singled out Bootkoski for praise, calling him the best American bishop at handling abuse allegations and noting that he alone among bishops had named a SNAP member to the diocesan panel that investigates allegations.
Victims’ advocates view those alerts as a basic tool to promote transparency and say it bolsters investigations by encouraging other victims to come forward. The bishops’ promises of 2002 explicitly included restoring reputations of priests who, after being removed for an investigation, were exonerated. But Myers has short-circuited that process by not being open about investigations early on, Clohessy said.
Indeed, Myers has opposed publicizing allegations since the early days of the scandal — with no apologies to his critics. Writing to lay people in April 2002, he acknowledged that sometimes, while the archdiocese tried to keep investigations quiet, “there have been a few recent instances where privacy has been lost.”
CA- LA archbishop reneges on Mahony ‘discipline’
Posted by Joelle Casteix on May 10, 2013
LA’s archbishop claimed disgraced predecessor wouldn’t engage in “public ministry.” Now, he’s apparently – and quietly – reversed himself, further betraying thousands of abuse victims and hundreds of thousands of parishioners.
Today’s LA Times reports that Archbishop José Horacio Gomez is violating his pledge to forbid Cardinal Roger Mahony from performing confirmations. And Gomez is giving no explanations.
In the midst of a scandal, under the glare of klieg lights and the outrage of parishioners, bishops will promise anything and everything to everybody. Later, when public attention wanes, they’ll go straight – but quietly – back to “business as usual.” This is the sad, simple truth that most of us foolishly and repeatedly ignore and that enables bishops to keep right on endangering the flock, concealing the truth, and recycling the molesters.
This is the “same old, same old.” Bishops say they’ll oust credibly accused clerics at the first allegation, and they don’t. They say they’ll be “transparent” about clergy sex abuse cases, and they aren’t. They say they’ll monitor predator priests, and they don’t. They’ll pledge to treat victims with compassion, then they don’t.
Why can bishops get by with this? Because they’re monarchs. Because their flocks tolerate it. Because the public has a short attention span. Because we want to believe the best about others. Because we let ourselves be convinced that deliberate cover ups are actually just “mistakes” and that bishops are “learning” and “reforming” when they’re not.
Recent examples include:
–Newark Archbishop John Myers promises to keep admitted and convicted child predator Fr. Michael Fugee away from kids, but let’s and/or enables him to be a hospital chaplain, hear kids’ confessions, go to kids’ retreats, go on trips to Canada with kids, and work in parishes.
–Joliet Bishop Peter Sartain says serial child predator Fr. Carroll Howlin is suspended and the Vatican orders that he be kept away from kids, but the Chicago Tribune discovers that’s not happening:
–Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn said he kept Fr. Shawn Ratigan away from kids but evidence has surfaced showing that he did not.
We could go on and on. We rarely expect dictators to keep their promises, especially when they’ve long been shown to be corrupt. Why are our expectations different when dictators wrap themselves spiritual armor rather than secular armor?
Finally, on this Mother’s Day weekend, we feel sorry for the Los Angeles Catholic moms who approach their children’s confirmation with joy only to be dismayed and betrayed because Cardinal Mahony is on the altar still being held out as an honorable, trustworthy spiritual figure.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact – David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, email@example.com), Judy Jones 636-433-2511, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Doblin: Newark archbishop goes to the mattresses
By ALFRED P. DOBLIN
RECORD EDITORIAL COLUMNIST
Alfred P. Doblin is the editorial page editor of The Record. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow AlfredPDoblin on Twitter.
NEWARK Archbishop John J. Myers is going to the mattresses. The archdiocese has hired Michael Critchley, a criminal defense lawyer who famously got Michael “Mad Dog” Taccetta, a member of the Lucchese crime family, an acquittal back in the 1980s. Showtime’s “The Borgias” should move its shooting location to Newark.
Myers is under fire because the archdiocese allowed the Rev. Michael Fugee to participate in youth events despite both Fugee and the archdiocese entering into an agreement with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office barring Fugee from such contact.
The priest, who resigned last week, had been convicted of groping a minor, but the conviction was overturned on a technicality. Rather than face a new trial, Fugee made a deal with prosecutors and part of that deal was no unsupervised contact with children and no ministering to children.
However, Fugee went on youth retreats and had one-on-one contact with children in the Newark archdiocese, as well as in dioceses outside of Newark, without the consent of those bishops. The Newark archdiocese has continued to claim it has done nothing wrong.
This would be just reprehensible if it occurred in the private sector; it is something baser, something more vile happening in the Roman Catholic Church. This institutional arrogance was at the heart of the national scandal of priests sexually abusing minors for decades while church officials did nothing to stop it, in many cases enabling the abuse. High-ranking clergy closed their ranks around predators, all to save the face of the institution rather than protect children. Actually, it was less about saving face and more about saving money. Predators are costly.
Yes, they are. They cost children their innocence, something that should be more sacred than the millions of dollars of church funds that have been pouring out like foul-scented sweat to compensate for decades of damage.
For an archdiocese that claims no wrongdoing, Newark’s hiring of a lawyer who can get a reputed mobster an acquittal says much. It says the archdiocese is nervous it may be criminally culpable. Well, cleaning up the Catholic Church is no different than cleaning up wharves along the waterfront. Unless the bad people go to prison, nothing changes.
That is why state Sen. Barbara Buono’s recent call for Myers’ resignation is pointless. The likely Democratic nominee for governor has been joined by Senate President Stephen Sweeney in demanding that Myers resign. Lamentations are so Old Testament; these are modern times. Bishops do not care what politicians say about morality. If Buono and Sweeney want to get Myers’ attention, they would be better off introducing a bill taxing church property. Myers would respond to that.
Fugee has a right to a good defense lawyer and so does the archdiocese; that is the promise of the American judicial system. The money to pay for that defense comes from the pews – indirectly, perhaps, but money used to pay for legal fees could have paid for charity work, for education, for ministering to the disenfranchised. Instead that money goes to pay for a legal defense of actions that are morally not defendable. In 2012, U.S. dioceses paid out $35,341,740 just in attorneys fees for sexual abuse cases.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is reportedly following the doings in the Newark archdiocese. That sounds good, but inside the Church it means little. Dolan, while prominent, has no authority over a New Jersey archbishop. The only way Myers will be removed is by action from Rome.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, of which Dolan is the current president, has been mum on Myers and Fugee. In the wake of the clerical sex scandal, the U.S. bishops created the so-called Dallas Charter that calls for zero tolerance in any credible case of sexual abuse. The annual compliance audit of the charter was released Wednesday. It cites great successes in educating dioceses on how to prevent future abuse. It also notes a critical limitation with the auditing process: the unwillingness of most dioceses to allow these independent observers to conduct onsite parish audits. Instead, they must rely solely on information provided by the diocese. The foxes are not only still guarding the hen house, they are writing the monthly newsletter as well.
Myers clearly ignored the intent of the charter, but there is no statement of condemnation by the conference, even though the conference is not silent when it matters to the conference. On Tuesday, Delaware legalized same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the bishops’ conference issued a release decrying a “serious injustice in Delaware.” It took less than 24 hours for a reaction.
The bishop who heads this particular subcommittee wrote, “Our society either preserves laws that respect the fundamental right of children to be raised by their moms and dads together in marriage, or it does not.”
What about: Our society either preserves laws that respect the fundamental right of children not to be put at risk by potential sexual predators, or it does not.
U.S. bishops are not shy criticizing public and government policy it views as wrong, but when it comes to admonishing their own, the men are as silent as a convent of cloistered Carmelite nuns. There should be universal outrage.
Instead of calling for forgiveness for failing to put children’s safety above a priest’s assignment, Myers called a lawyer. By all accounts, Critchley is the attorney to hire if you want an acquittal, but even someone as skilled as he cannot get Myers absolution.