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Gerald T. Slevin, Update–Criminal Charges of Vatican Child Abuse Cover-Up


From the link: http://bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2012/04/gerald-t-slevin-update-criminal-charges.html

Gerald T. Slevin, Update–Criminal Charges of Vatican Child Abuse Cover-Up

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jerry Slevin continues to be vigilant about what’s happening with Catholic church officials and the child abuse cover-up, from a legal standpoint.  He has just sent another outstanding statement, this one about SNAP’s filing last week of new charges updating their previous filing of criminal charges against the Vatican with the International Criminal Court, for the Vatican’s internationally orchestrated cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.
Here’s Jerry’s statement:
SNAP, the international victims advocacy network, filed on April 11, 2012 with the International Criminal Court (ICC) a 19 page letter (“New Charges”), plus supporting documentation, updating  SNAP’s  prior September  2011  original  charges ( “Original Charges”).
The New Charges, include additional evidence supporting SNAP’s allegations against Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) and three top Vatican subordinates, Cardinals Bertone, Levada and Sodano. SNAP alleges this Vatican clique for years has been, and still is, orchestrating a worldwide criminal cover-up by Catholic bishops of  priest child sexual abuse, including acts involving  systemic rape, sexual violence and torture, of hundreds of thousands of defenseless children. These collectively would constitute “crimes against  humanity” under the ICC treaty.
After SNAP filed the Original Charges, almost 500 additional victims from over 60 countries contacted SNAP with new allegations that SNAP has added to the Original Charges. The New Charges (accessible by clicking here) also contain brief and clear updates, with citation links, concerning other recent relevant developments since the Original Charges, including:
(1) September 2011: The issuance of the scathing and devasting report, “In Plain Sight”, by Amnesty International Ireland, concerning the recent  history of priest sexual abuse of children  in Ireland and of the Irish government’s “hands off” approach until recently  to the Catholic Church hierarchy’s and priests’ appalling misdeeds;
(2) October 2011: The indictment of Cardinal Justin Rigali’s protégé, Opus Dei Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, for failing to report a child pornographer priest, and the April 5, 2012 court decision denying Finn’s motion to dismiss the criminal charges;
(3) November and December 2011: The issuance in Ireland of the sordid remainder of the Cloyne Diocese Report and the results of governmental audits in six additional Irish dioceses, all confirming in varying degrees a familiar pattern of abuse and bishops’ cover-up;
(4) December 2011: The issuance in the Netherlands of the massive Deetman report indicating tens of thousands of Dutch children had been sexually abused by priests over several  decades, supplemented by reports of several children being castrated following their reporting that they were sexually abused by clerics;
(5) January 2012: The publication of several articles highlighting the escalating  reporting of priest abuse of children in Poland and the special difficulty of getting governmental officials to confront the entrenched Polish Catholic hierarchy on priest abuse issues;
(6) March 2012: The publication by a former Legion of Christ priest of evidence of special canon law favoritism by the Pope and Cardinal Bertone towards admitted sexual deviant, Fr. Maciel, of Mexico;
(7) March-April 2012: The unprecedented ongoing  Philly criminal trial of a former top aide to Cardinals Bevilacqua and Rigali and the almost daily revelations of a decades-old cover-up, including document shredding by bishops and another  bishop’s admission under oath that  the important priest personnel decisions were always made by the Cardinals. The trial is establishing that a similar cover-up pattern was followed over a half-century by three different Cardinals with episcopal experience from five dioceses in four states, as well as in Rome. Each of the three Cardinals had close ties to the Vatican. The common cover-up pattern is indicative of at least policy coordination with Rome and, in some instances even, of direct coordination, as SNAP has alleged to the ICC generally with respect to the Vatican clique. This is discussed in more detail in my April 13, 2012 article about the Philly trial, accessible here.
(8) February-April: In New York, District Attorneys in the State Capitol, Albany, area have banded together to tighten up significantly the handling of claims of child sexual abuse by priests. In Milwaukee, a Federal bankruptcy judge has to date ruled against releasing massive records relating to priest child abuse in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Generally, the US bishops’ latest annual report confirms a rise in overall priest child sexual abuse claims, including some  additional new claims, as well as the continued failure of some bishops to follow even the weak US bishops’ child protection guidelines.
In addition to the foregoing, the New Charges also spell out clearly the long standing directives to the bishops from the Vatican to resist adopting mandates that Catholic bishops must promptly report priest child abuse claims to the police.
Finally, the New Charges crisply summarize the effort of senior US bishops and their highly paid apologists and attorneys to retaliate against SNAP, apparently for filing criminal charges against the Vatican clique with the ICC. The recent appointment of a woman and a mother as the new ICC lead prosecutor may be giving the Vatican clique some sleepless nights about SNAP’s ICC case. The New Charges will likely only increase the retaliatory efforts against SNAP.
The protections from prosecution  surrounding the pope have been extensive to date, but they may eventually prove to have been in vain. The pope runs a tight ship, perhaps a throwback to his teenage German military service in the dangerous days at the end of World War II. For more infomation on this, please read the comments under, “An Opportunistic Pope,” “The Pope at the Masters” and “Kids, Women and Bishops Beware,” accessible by clicking here.
The International Criminal Court, or the ICC, is structurally independent of the United Nations and the World Court, and was established as a permanent tribunal at the Hague, Netherlands, a decade ago by an international treaty now ratified by over 120 nations that are annually assessed to support the ICC’s staff of over 500 professionals, as described here.
The ICC’s  special focus is on handling crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes that, for various reasons, cannot readily be tried elsewhere, as in this case involving the Vatican. Given the geographical and chronological scope of the Vatican clique’s alleged crimes against humanity, there appears to be clear ICC juridiction over the Vatican clique if the ICC prosecutor decides to pursue the criminal case fully. Decisions to pursue criminal prosecutions frequently take a long period to evaluate, given the voluminous facts and documents, etc., sometimes taking over a year just for the decision to prosecute.
A new lead ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, presently Deputy Prosecutor, takes office  in a few weeks. She has been an advocate on behalf of African victims of violence, including those in Rwanda, and is a mother with two sons, one of whom reportedly  lives currently in the United States.  For more on Mrs. Bensouda, please see this recent Irish Times article.
Ironically, as the pope is increasingly engaged in a war against women’s rights  as part of his US efforts to replace Barack Obama, the pope’s fate may now be decided initially by a woman ICC prosecutor in a case led by a woman, Pam Spees, a no-nonsense and very competent international human rights attorney, with her excellent professional colleagues and experienced staff at SNAP’s legal advocates, the Center For Constitutional Rights, an exceptionally successful and highly regarded human rights advocacy group based in New York City and described more fully here.
For 300 years, the early Church generally prospered and grew under and obeyed  Roman law applicable to all Romans, including bishops. For most of the next 1,700 years after Constantine’s virtual takover of the Church hierarchy, the imperial Church hierarchy have mostly made their own rules as an unaccountable hierarchical monarchy and frequent player in European power politics. The power politics ended substantively in 1870  when the Papal States were lost to Italian populists, but the pope still clings to the fantasy that the Vatican is a sovereign nation and player yet in power politics. Of course, the hierarchy has personally benefited, and continues to benefit, greatly from the monarchical structure, which is mainly why it  fights so fiercely to maintain its power and wealth.
Almost 150 years later, the pope is still resisting becoming accountable to the international rule of law that applies to almost all other world leaders and nations. The ICC  and European financial regulators will likely soon change that permanently.

Cross-posted on Open Tabernacle, 16 April 2012.

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Griffin: An amazing journey of forgiveness


from the link: http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/news/x826304444/Griffin-An-amazing-journey-of-forgiveness#axzz1rTgg3box

Griffin: An amazing journey of forgiveness

Cambridge —

Michael Mack is a man of many credits as a writer and theatrical performer. Now age 55, he has also accomplished two things in the spiritual realm that rank as unique in my experience.

First, despite suffering sexual abuse as a boy at the hands of a Catholic priest, he is now an active member of the church and values its spirituality. All the other victims of clergy abuse I have known have distanced themselves from this faith community, most with continuing and understandable anger.

Michael’s second achievement strikes me as even more remarkable. He has forgiven the priest who violated him.

In a long interview with Michael, I found his account of both events fascinating. The violation took place when he was 11 years old, the forgiveness when he had reached middle age.

Incidentally, the reason for our being in touch was a scheduled performance of Michael’s one-person play “Conversations with My Molester – a Journey of Faith.” It was to be staged at the playwright’s parish, St.Paul’s in Cambridge.

Just before sending this column off, I actually saw the play along with an unexpectedly large audience. We found it spellbinding. Adding to the meaning of the occasion, an official of the Archdiocese of Boston responsible for overseeing child protection, Barbara Thorp, was present and took part in the discussion at the end.

The sexual violation of the boy Michael took place in Brevard, North Carolina, a small town in the western part of the state. Because their mother was ill, he and his siblings spent a year living with their aunt and her family there, rather than back home in Washington D.C.

The boy loved his parish church in North Carolina and envisioned himself becoming a priest someday. He soon became close to the pastor, the person who took Michael to his first basketball game, and acted toward him like a “surrogate dad.”

One day, the boy wandered into the church basement and sat down to play the piano. Then the priest appeared and invited Michael to come to the rectory. Once in this house, the priest brought the boy into a room, closed the door, and took advantage of the child’s innocence.

Days later, the priest left the parish and Michael, too, moved from Brevard soon afterward. “I left that day confused,” he recalls. “I felt that something big had just happened — something not right.”

Later, as a teenager, he was to experience something much worse, what he calls “self-loathing.”

As to the priest who assaulted him sexually, Michael lost complete contact with him for decades. But when he moved to Boston some 10 years ago, Michael made an astounding discovery.

The priest was also living in Massachusetts, not too far away in the orbit of Worcester. Though not defrocked, he was no long performing priestly ministry.

Michael’s repeated efforts to reach the priest were ultimately connected with a spiritual change in Michael’s heart. He had been moved to forgive the priest for what he had done.

As I listened to Michael’s story, I felt moved by his sincerity and his spiritual courage. He had managed to offer forgiveness to someone who, behind the full force of priestly status, had done him terrible harm.

Michael tells of going to the priest’s funeral. It was his first time in many years back in a Catholic church. There the man who had violated him and others was extolled as a good priest. Despite his forgiveness, Michael found it bizarre to hear his molester praised.

However, Michael does suggest the spiritual complexity of it all. “Nothing is ever completely forgiven,” he says. “I see it as a life-long journey.”

Richard Griffin of Cambridge is a biweekly columnist in GateHouse Media New England publications. His e-mail address is rbgriff180@aol.comand he welcomes your comments and questions. Richard’s Web site and blog is richardbgriffin.com. There you will find an archive of more than 800 of his columns as well as other material.

Lawsuits allege sex abuse by ex-Cathedral principal


from the link: http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_20329132/lawsuits-allege-sex-abuse-by-ex-cathedral-principal?source=most_viewed

Lawsuits allege sex abuse by ex-Cathedral principal

Posted:   04/05/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT

Three men recently filed separate lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by a former Cathedral High School principal and a priest in Las Cruces, according to court records.

Two of the lawsuits named as defendants Brother Samuel Martinez, the El Paso Catholic Diocese and the NOSF Inc. (New Orleans-Santa Fe District), formerly Brothers of the Christian Schools of Lafayette, La.

One of two lawsuits involving Martinez alleges religious leaders used the Sangre de Cristo Retreat Center in Santa Fe to hide priests who were accused of assaulting or molesting minors, instead of reporting them to the authorities.

The other lawsuit, which is against the El Paso Catholic Diocese, the Las Cruces Catholic Diocese and Our Lady of Health Parish in Las Cruces, involves a former priest identified in the court records only as “Santiago.”

“We were told that he (Santiago) is deceased and was a Franciscan friar from Mexico,” said S. Clark Harmonson, an El Paso lawyer who represents the plaintiffs in all three lawsuits.

A plaintiff referred to in court records only as “L.A.,” was a minor when he allegedly was abused by Santiago at the Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla Park, N.M., where Santiago lived and which was then the retreat center for the El Paso Catholic Diocese.

“On information and belief, Santiago abused other boys at Our Lady of Health Parish,” court records said. “The Diocese of El Paso knew or should have known of the sexual abuses of L.A. by Santiago and or the dangerous sexual propensities of Santiago.”

“L.A.,” who was an altar boy in 1978 when the alleged abuse occurred, is seeking a jury trial in connection with the allegations.

All three plaintiffs claimed that they suffer from severe emotional and psychological distress, and seek compensation for treatment.

No official was available at either diocese on Wednesday to comment on the allegations, and neither was anyone available at NOSF Inc., in Lafayette.

In the other two lawsuits, the plaintiffs identified as “John Doe” and “B.C.” alleged that Martinez abused them.

John Doe alleged that he was a student in 1970-71 in New Orleans at a school operated by the former Christian Brothers Schools in New Orleans (NOSF Inc.), a Catholic order that provided education in Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Colorado.

Martinez, who was a Spanish teacher then, allegedly “repeatedly sexually abused John Doe at the Christian Brothers School, according to court records, and that “Martinez sexually abused other minors before and after the time he abused John Doe.”

Around the same time that John Doe allegedly was abused, another minor boy, John Doe II, also a student at a Christian Brothers School, accused Martinez of abusing him as well.

“Martinez admitted to the principal that he touched John Doe II inappropriately,” court records said, and that the order he belonged to (NOSF Inc.) sent Martinez to the Sangre de Cristo Retreat for 100 days.

No further investigation was conducted to determine whether Martinez had abused other children before he was transferred to Cathedral High School in 1972. He was appointed the principal of Cathedral in 1976 and held that position until 1985.

Cathedral is a top private Catholic high school for boys in the El Paso region.

The Brothers of the Christian Schools, District of New Orleans-Santa Fe (NOSF Inc.), was under contract to run the school at the time.

“During his tenure at Cathedral High School, Martinez abused many other minor boys,” court records alleged. “When numerous reports of abuse surfaced in the early 2000s, Brother Martinez was again secreted to Santa Fe, where he was placed under a written ‘Safety Plan’ which curtailed (his) access to children.”

Harmonson said that church officials again failed to report the allegations to police.

“B.C.,” one of the plaintiffs, alleges that Martinez abused him in 1980 when he was a freshman at Cathedral High School.

The De La Salle Christian Brothers Provincials of the United States-Toronto Region is closing its Sangre de Cristo Center in Santa Fe in August, according to an announcement on the order’s website at sangredecristo.org.

In January, the El Paso Catholic Diocese settled for $1.6 million a previous lawsuit involving Martinez that two former Cathedral students had filed.

“We’ve heard that Martinez is in Louisiana now and is very ill with cancer,” Harmonson said.

Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at dvaldez@elpasotimes.com; 546-6140.