After all of the stories of Catholic priests being accused of child abuse, among other atrocities, you would think they would have learned by now. Apparently for one Roman Catholic in Pennsylvania, the point hadn’t been driven home yet.
Sorensen, 63, was arrested by Allegheny County authorities in December 2011 after an employee at St. John Fisher Parish found him looking at a photo of a young boy sans underpants on his computer. An arrest affidavit said the female employee saw the image appeared to be a five to 10-year-old boy under the caption “Hottie Boys” on the priest’s computer in his residence.
Allegheny County police arrested Sorensen and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh removed him from active ministry and placed him on leave.
FOX News reports that Federal officials took over the investigation after a search revealed thousands of child pornography images, some of them sadomasochistic.
Sorensen pleaded guilty in May, expressing remorse to everyone but the young boys depicted in images on his computer. He is scheduled to appear in court this Friday on Federal charges.
Sorry, Reverend, God may forgive you, but the courts and likely thousands of others feel otherwise.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/467033/pennsylvania-priest-to-spend-eight-years-in-prison-for-child-pornography/#zJPrL4LlZygt3JXf.99
Missouri Diocese To Pay $600,000 Settlement In Child Pornography Case
Posted: 05/17/2013 2:31 am EDT
By David Gibson
Religion News Service
(RNS) The Catholic diocese in Missouri led by Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted last year of failing to report a priest who was taking pornographic pictures of children, will pay a $600,000 settlement to the family of one of the priest’s victims.
The family filed the civil suit in federal court in 2011 against Finn, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., and the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, who pleaded guilty last year to charges of producing child pornography.
Ratigan had taken hundreds of lewd and suggestive photos of young children; the lawsuit, which was settled on Tuesday (May 14), was filed by the parents of a girl who was 2 years old when Ratigan started photographing her in 2006.
“We hope this settlement comforts at least some of the many families who have suffered and are suffering because Bishop Robert Finn refused to call police, protect kids and monitor Father Shawn Ratigan,” said Barbara Dorris of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Last September, in an arrangement with prosecutors, Finn was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of failing to report Ratigan to authorities as required by law. Finn and the diocese had received multiple complaints about Ratigan in the months preceding the priest’s arrest in 2011 and church officials had seen some of the pictures of children on his laptop computer in December 2010.
Despite calls for Finn to resign, he has remained as head of the diocese. Diocesan spokesman Jack Smith told The Kansas City Star that the payout would be covered by insurance.
The tab for Finn’s own defense amounted to $1.4 million, the diocese said last year, which was covered by insurance plus funds collected from parishes.
The judge in the civil lawsuit dismissed the claim that Finn and the diocese aided and abetted Ratigan in possessing pornography.
The diocese previously paid out $10 million in 2008 to settle cases by plaintiffs who alleged sexual abuse by 12 priests. It still faces dozens of other lawsuits related to abuse allegations against other priests.
St. Louis Priest Father William Vatterott Indicted on Child Pornography Charge
William Vatterott, a Roman Catholic priest from St. Louis, was indicted yesterday on a federal child pornography charge — and could ultimately face ten years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.Vatterott, 36, will appear in federal court later this week or early next week to respond to the indictment, the U.S. attorney’s office says in a statement.
He was placed on administrative leave in 2011 after a complaint was filed with the Ballwin police. He had allegedly been involved in an underage drinking incident — and was accused of “inappropriate conduct.”
The indictment says that he possessed “at least two images of an unidentified nude boy on his computer” between June 2010 and June 2011.
In a July 2011 statement, Monsignor Richard Hanneke said that the Archdiocese of St. Louis had recently learned complaints of “inappropriate conduct” involving Vatterott:
More specifically, two teenagers reported incidents of inappropriate electronic communications received from Fr. Vatterott. Additionally, one teenager, who was 18 years old at the time, reported an incident involving underage drinking and other inappropriate behaviors. None of the reported complaints involved physical contact or solicitation of any sort. We are aware that these reports have been presented to law enforcement for investigation. As a result of these complaints, Fr. Vatterott has been placed on administrative leave while this matter is being investigated.
Vaterott, that statement said, had served as a pastor of St. Cecilia Parish since January of 2008 and prior was an associate pastor at Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin.
In the announcement of the indictment yesterday, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan stated the St. Louis Archdiocese has cooperated with the investigation. But David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), questions just how forthcoming the archdiocese has been. He suggests church leaders knew about the child pornography back in 2011 but chose instead to sugarcoat it.
“We hope that someday Catholic officials will stop using euphemisms like “inappropriate conduct” and “boundary violations” and start being more honest,” said Clohessy in a statement today. “It’s hard to believe they are trying to reforming when they deliberately use vague minimizing words for these heinous crimes.”
Yesterday the archdiocese released this short new statement, saying:
The Archdiocese of St. Louis has learned that Fr. William Vatterott, who had been the Pastor at St. Cecilia Parish in St. Louis and previously an Associate Pastor at Holy Infant in Ballwin, has been charged with possession of child pornography.
Fr. Vatterott has been on administrative leave from St. Cecilia Parish since June of 2011, when the archdiocese was made aware of these allegations. Since that time, the archdiocese has fully cooperated with the investigation conducted by law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis encourages all persons with reports of misconduct with a minor involving a member of the clergy or other church personnel to contact Deacon Phil Hengen, Director of Child and Youth Protection, at 314.792.7704 or the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800.392.3737 or law enforcement officials.
St. Louis, MO – A federal grand jury returned an indictment late this afternoon charging Father William F. Vatterott, 36, of St. Louis, 63111, with possession of child pornography between June 2010 and June 2011. He is expected to appear in federal court to answer the indictment later in the week or early next week.
U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan noted that the St. Louis Archdiocese cooperated with the investigation.
If convicted, this charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and an investigator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Rob Livergood is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Priest jailed for 8 years after 5,000 child porn images found in church office
A Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty last year to federal child pornography charges was sentenced on Wednesday to eight years in prison.
Bartley Sorensen, a 63-year-old former pastor of St. John Fisher Church outside Pittsburgh, Pa., pleaded guilty in May to receiving and possessing thousands of sexually explicit images of exploited children.
Investigators searched Sorensen’s church office, where they found 5,000 images on three CDs as well as additional photos and videos.
The images included young boys either posing naked or engaged in sexual activity with other prepubescent males or adult males, according to affidavits.
U.S. District Judge Alan Bloch sentenced Sorensen to serve 97 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. He also ordered the suspended priest to pay a $25,000 fine.
Catholic Bishop becomes most senior U.S. clergyman to be
CONVICTED in child porn cover-up
Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn was found guilty on Thursday of one count of covering up child pornography, becoming the highest-ranking American cleric convicted in the Roman Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal.
Bishop Finn, 59, was charged in 2011 with two misdemeanor counts of failing to alert authorities about a cache of lewd images depicting young girls that were found on the computer of Reverend Shawn Ratigan.
Jackson County Court Judge John Torrence acquitted Finn on a second count of covering up child sex abuse.
Finn received two years of probation, but that sentence was suspended and will be wiped from his record if he adheres to a set of conditions that include mandatory abuse reporting training and setting aside $10,000 in diocese money for abuse victim counseling.
‘I hope this begins a new chapter in the book in this community and other communities and that, truly, children will no longer be subjected to this kind of treatment,’ the judge said.
In August, Ratigan pleaded guilty to five counts of producing child pornography in federal court. Eight other charges were dismissed.
The diocese was also charged with failure to report sex abuse and had faced a $5,000 fine, but the cases were separated on Thursday. Prosecutors said they are willing to drop charges against the diocese after the Finn verdict.
In a statement released after the verdict, lawyers for Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said that the bishop is grateful that the court and prosecutors have allowed the case to be resolved without bringing it before a jury.
‘The bench trial, with a stipulation of testimony, has avoided the need for live testimony from diocesan employees, parishioners and others. This process has also resulted in the charges against the Diocese being dismissed by the state,’ the statement reads.
‘The diocesan process and procedures as previously existed failed to adequately identify the necessity to inform the Children’s Division of Shawn Ratigan’s behavior in a more timely manner. For this, the bishop is truly sorry.’
Rebecca Randles, a Kansas City attorney representing a dozen of Ratigan’s alleged victims in civil lawsuits, said it was ‘an amazing outcome, getting a bishop convicted of anything.
‘Of course we wish the diocese was also convicted, but we understand the process and how it works,’ she said.
Finn and several other officials within the diocese became aware of the pornographic photos depicting young girls allegedly taken by Ratigan in December of 2010 when they were discovered on the priest’s laptop by a computer technician.
Of the hundreds of photos found, many focused on the crotch areas of clothed children and one series showed the exposed private parts of a girl believed to be three or four years old.
Finn has acknowledged he was told in December of 2010 about the images. The bishop also has acknowledged that a parochial school principal had raised concerns about Ratigan’s behavior around children in May of 2010.
State law requires that the Division of Family Services be informed of such evidence of abuse.
Vicar General Robert Murphy confronted Ratigan about the photos, and the next day, Ratigan was found in his garage with his motorcycle running and a suicide note that apologized for any harm he had caused. Ratigan recovered after being hospitalized.
But even though Ratigan had acknowledged his wrongdoing, Finn did not notify law enforcement, according to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.
Instead, Finn sent Ratigan for a mental evaluation and then assigned him to an area convent, ordering him to stay away from children.
Later, after the diocese received reports that Ratigan had attended a St. Patrick’s Day parade and a child’s birthday party in violation of the bishop’s orders, Finn asked a church official to hand over copies of the photos recovered from Ratigan’s laptop to police.
Following Ratigan’s arrest, Finn made a statement to a meeting with other priests that he had ‘wanted to save (Ratigan’s) priesthood,’ according to stipulations made at trial.
Finn was indicted almost a year ago and was slated to face a jury trial on September 24, but agreed to the expedited bench trial earlier this week.
The bishop initially was charged with one misdemeanor count, but a second was added to acknowledge two separate time periods in which he failed to report suspected abuse.
On Thursday, he was acquitted of a charge spanning December 17, 2010, to February 10, 2011, because the judge said there was no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Finn knew about the pornographic photos.
The charge on which Finn was convicted involved a period from February 11, to May 11, 2011. Finn sent Ratigan to stay at a convent in Independence, Missouri, during that time, which prosecutors said showed Finn knew about accusations against the priest and the judge agreed.
Finn argued he should not face charges because he was not the diocese’s mandated reporter under the law. At the time, the responsibility rested mainly with Murphy.
Before his sentencing, Finn issued an apology.
‘The protection of children is paramount. Sexual abuse of any kind will not be tolerated,’ he said. ‘I truly regret and am sorry for the hurt that these events have caused.’
The Kansas City case is among a series of prosecutions and investigations of Catholic leaders around the country in the wake of the child sexual abuse scandal that has roiled the church. In July, Monsignor William Lynn was sentenced to up to six years in prison for covering up child sex abuse by priests in Philadelphia.
More Charges For Father Michael Miller
BPD arrest former St. Paul priest on three new charges stemming from forensic analysis.
By Robert Mayer June 20, 2012
The Berlin Police Department arrested Father Michael Miller of St. Paul’s Church on three additional counts to the ones he is already facing. Miller was charged and arrested for obscenity, possession of child pornography and risk of injury to a minor.
Miller’s case has been continued 11 times since he was originally charged on five felony counts of risk of injury to a minor and a misdemeanor obscenity charge. One of the reasons the court case may have been continued was that the Berlin Police Dept. was working on forensics from cell phones and computers, which according to police takes time.
These forensic clues provide more evidence in the case against Miller, who was very popular in his tenure at St. Paul’s.
As part of the ongoing investigation, police served a warrant on Miller, 41, pastor of Saint Paul’s Catholic Church in Kensington.
His case was originally ordered sealed by the court but was unsealed with lurid details of Miller’s relationship with a young boy.
Miller was hospitalized on July 4 when he was taken by Life Star helicopter to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. Mystery surrounded the circumstances of his illness or injuries, though the Hartford Archdiocese acknowledged that Miller was under investigation and that the Franciscan Friars and Archdiocese were cooperating with the investigation.
According to the warrant, the Berlin Police Department received a complaint from the mother of a 13-year-old boy whose family members are parishioners of the church, which is located in Kensington. The woman told police that her son had become uncomfortable with the correspondence on Facebook and text messages from Father Michael Miller.
Police confiscated two computers from Miller, but before they could arrest him, he was flown to St. Francis Hospital on July 4 by Life Star after suffering a still-unspecified medical condition.
According to the original arrest warrant, the conversations started innocently enough but escalated into sexual comments quickly.
The original warrant states that Miller, who uses an alias on Facebook, asked the boy about his sexual preference. Miller told the boy he was bi-sexual in high school and was addicted to pornography.
When police confiscated Miller’s computers, the priest admitted to texting and talking to the boy on Facebook but said that there was no actual contact.
Miller, according to the warrant, also told the boy on more than one occasion that he would like to perform sex acts on him and asked him to meet him, but the boy declined. The request to meet seems to have led to the boy to talk to his mother.
Attorney William St. John represents Miller, who is currently suspended from his church duties. Miller is due back in court July 9.
Gerald T. Slevin, Update–Criminal Charges of Vatican Child Abuse Cover-Up
Monday, April 16, 2012
Cross-posted on Open Tabernacle, 16 April 2012.
The Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: “Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.” (no. 2356)
The current Pope on Child Rape and Child Porno,21 December 2010 :
In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.
“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.
“It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”
I DON’T THINK THE POPE HAS EVER READ HIS CATECHISM.
Vatican announces silencing of Irish liberal priest Father Tony Flannery
Criticisms of Vatican on abuse, birth control, women priests, leads to inquiry
Father Tony Flannery, a Catholic priest who has been outspoken in his criticism of the abuse crisis in Ireland, has found himself under investigation by the Vatican for his liberal views.
Founder of the Association of Irish Priests, Father Flannery told TheJournal.ie that the Vatican has contacted him to inform him of the investigation.
The effect of the investigation was immediate. This week The Irish Catholic newspaper reports that Father Flannery had to cease writing his monthly column in the Redemptorist Reality magazine in response to news of the investigation.
The Irish Catholic writer Michael Kelly reported that, “It is understood that while Fr Flannery has the support of his superiors in the Redemptorist Order, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome has expressed disquiet about some of his articles and publications.
“It is believed that the views which have come under most scrutiny are Fr Flannery’s opposition to the Church’s ban on artificial birth control and his support for the ordination of women.”
Last year, Father Flannery welcomed Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s hard hitting criticism of the Church’s decades long mishandling of the child sex abuse scandals in Ireland.
The investigation is seen by critics as a crackdown on the association, which has been described as a ‘dissident group’ by more conservative members of the Church.
In recent months, the association has called for changes in the Church, including its theology on sexuality. Some of the association’s priests contend that priests should be allowed to marry and that the Church should permit the ordination of female priests.
A Redemptorist, Flannery is a native of Attymon, Athenry in County Galway, Ireland. He is the youngest in the family of four. He has two brothers: Peter, who is a fellow Redemptorist at Esker Monastery in Athenry, and Frank, the Fine Gael Director of Organisation and Strategy.
The crackdown comes on the heels of the Vatican ordered Apostolic Visitation, which found evidence of what it called a ‘certain tendency’ for Irish priests to hold opinions that conflict with those of the orthodox Magisterium, the Catholic Church’s teaching authority.
In a sign of hardening attitudes, the Visitation participants underlined that any dissent from the formal teachings of the Church were ‘not the authentic path towards renewal.’
Under the current circumstances, Father Flannery has been effectively silenced, with no indication of how long it will last.
On Holy Thursday Pope Benedict issued a very direct statement which slammed those priests who refuse to conform to church teachings.
1. For my Bridegroom’s wounds remain fresh and open as long as the wounds of men’s sins continue to gape. And Christ’s wounds remain open because of the sins of priests. They tear my robe, since they are violators of the Law, the Gospel and their own priesthood; they darken my cloak by neglecting, in every way, the precepts which they are meant to uphold; my shoes too are blackened, since priests do not keep to the straight paths of justice, which are hard and rugged, or set good examples to those beneath them. Nevertheless, in some of them I find the splendour of truth.’
Jesus Christ’s wounds will remain open as long as the Roman Catholic Church, it’s leaders and it’s priests do not submit to man’s authority in a court of law for their crimes against the children of the Roman Catholic Church. To hide behind Jesus Christ and say that you should not be prosecuted for these crimes because you are a person of religion only makes your crimes against the children of the Roman Catholic Church more evil.
Jesus Christ loved the children most of all. He even said that if you harm one hair on the head of one of these, your punishment would be worse.
The Pope broke his vows when he allowed two known pedophile priests to continue in the priesthood.
The priests broke their vows when they raped the children of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Bishops and Cardinals broke their vows when they covered up for the priests who raped the children of the Roman Catholic Church.
By these actions of the Pope, Bishops and Cardinals and Priests of the Roman Catholic Church and their refusal to submit to the courts of man for justice for the victims of rape and abuse by the priests, the wounds of Jesus Christ and the victims of priest rape will never heal.
It is the Pope, the Bishops, the Cardinals and the Priests who keep these wounds of Jesus Christ open and unhealed.
2. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance
The refusal of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to submit to the courts of the land for justice for the victims of priest rape is not truth. The refusal of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to turn in priests for rape of the children of the Roman Catholic Church is not truth. The words of Cardinal Timothy Dolan backing up Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in his attacks against the victims of priest rape, calling them all liars and gold diggers and going after SNAP because they fight for the victims of priest rape is not the truth.
The truth will only save the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the church itself, when these very leaders come clean, stop destroying evidence, stop denigrating the victims of priest abuse and those who work to help us.
There is no real truth in the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. You deny the truth and you deny the victims of priest rape true justice. Your truth is a lie. Your truth only seeks to protect the church and it’s leaders from the evil crimes committed by the Roman Catholic Church priests against the children of the church. Your truth seeks only to protect and hold from harm the leaders who covered this up and moved these priests who raped children to another parish so they could rape children again. You do not truly want the truth to come out and when one of the victims speak the truth about the horror they went through at the hands of one of your priests, you force them to sign away their right to speak out in any settlement you might offer to the victim, thereby showing again, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church does not want the truth to get out.
3. This is also the moment to offer heartfelt thanks to all those who work to help victims and to restore their trust in the Church, their capacity to believe her message. In my meetings with victims of this sin, I have also always found people who, with great dedication, stand alongside those who suffer and have been damaged.
So your heartfelt thanks to all those who work to help we, the victims of priest rape, is to attack such groups as SNAP and do all you can to put them out of business? To attack the victims and say we are all liars and gold diggers? You may speak these words Pope Benedict, but the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church supporting with money and help, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and James Salt of Catholics United speaks volumes. This is why I call you His Unholiness the Papal Bullshitter.
Your own Cardinal, Timothy Dolan support these attacks of Bill Donohue and James Salt against the victims of priest rape and the organizations that help and support us.
4. We are well aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society.
Your corresponding responsibility is not to destroy records and cover up these priests actions, nor prevent their prosecution. Again, Pope, only perverts and child rapists consider child pornography normal. Society does NOT consider child pornography as normal and prosecute those who produce and disseminate or even possesses child pornography.
You and your church truly failed in this recognition of the gravity of the sin committed by your priests because instead of recognizing it, you leaders hid it and fought it from coming to light. You have denigrated any and all reporters who spoke out about this evil. You denigrated and slammed those who stood up and spoke out about this evil sin as people only seeking to destroy the church. Your leaders and apologists scream how it is unfair that we are attacking the church when other religious organizations and human kind itself does these same things.
Those are poor excuses. See Pope Benedict, religious people are held to a higher standard. You hold yourselves up as a higher standard and a more moral person. You hold your religion as the guiding light for morality and life. Yet your religion is a den of pervert leaders who rape children with impunity, then hide behind your religion as a defense. Jesus Christ himself would tell you all that you are not of him nor were you ever were.
The Roman Catholic Church and it’s leaders have a history of brutality, murder, butchery, torture, slaughter and evil that is second to none. We are supposed to hold your church up as the shining example of morality and justice, truth and good, love and hope for all of us? When this church and it’s history is covered in the blood of millions of innocent men, women and children? The hundreds of thousands of young children who had their minds, hearts, souls and bodies raped by your priests and destroyed their lives and we are supposed to hold you, the Pope, who allowed two known pedophile priests to continue to rape the children of the RCC as all holy, and we should bow down to you and respect you?
Well my truth is Pope Benedict, I would never bow down to you, or anyone in your church. I excommunicated myself from your church the night your priest at St Thomas Moore Parish in Durham NH rape me.
5. In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a “better than” and a “worse than”. Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist.
So you are blaming the world for your priests actions against the children of the Roman Catholic Church? You, Pope Benedict say it is because of the pornography and the incest in the world that made it possible for your priests to rape us children of the church? That it is the moral failings of the non religious that causes the moral failings of the religious?
You, Pope Benedict are really slick. You claim that raping a child is evil and wrong, then you backflip and say it isn’t. Then you place all the blame for the evils and crimes that your priests and leaders did on the immorality of the rest of the human race? You accept no responsibilities for your actions, the actions of your leaders or the actions of your priests, instead you place the blame on the non religious, pornography, incest and drug use….things your priests should never be doing in the first place and should be excommunicated for in the second place.
Yes Pope Benedict, you sure are great with the double speak. Yet I know one person you will never fool. Your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….who has reserved a very nice place for you in hell.