Man abused by priest found dead in Ohio home
April 7, 2012 12:00 am
/ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The plaintiff in a landmark priest-abuse lawsuit against the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese has been found dead at his Ohio home at age 44.
Attorney Richard Serbin told the Altoona Mirror that his former client, Michael Hutchison, was found dead in Akron on Wednesday.
Gary Gunther, chief investigator for the Summit County medical examiner’s office, said the cause and manner of death is pending toxicology results, which will take at least three weeks.
“There are no signs of foul play,” Mr. Gunther said. “It’s probably going to be either a natural or an accident. There is no indication of suicide — there was no suicide note and no one we spoke with mentioned him being suicidal.”
Mr. Hutchison’s mother, Mary, sued the diocese in 1987 alleging church officials covered up the abuse of her son by a since-defrocked priest, Francis Luddy, who was also a family friend.
A Blair County jury awarded Mr. Hutchison more than $1 million after a 1994 trial, but that ballooned to $2.7 million by 2008 including interest and delayed damages due to numerous appeals.
Mr. Hutchison spoke out against abuse, and Mr. Serbin said Mr. Hutchison “suffered from age 10 on.”
Griffin: An amazing journey of forgiveness
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.
WHY DO YOU PARISHIONERS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH KEEP STANDING UP FOR YOUR PEDOHILE PRIESTS AND PEDOPHILE PIMP LEADERS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
WHAT PART OF THE LAW ON CRIMES OF AGGRAVATED FELONIOUS SEXUAL ASSAULT DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND? WHAT PART OF THE LAW ON CRIMES OF CHILD RAPE DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND? WHAT PART OF THE LAWS ON THE CRIME OF DESTROYING EVIDENCE AND COVERING UP CRIME DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?
WHY HAVE YOU PARISHIONERS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH NOT DEMANDED ALL OF THESE PRIESTS WHO RAPED YOUR CHILDREN NOT BE TURNED OVER TO THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO BE PROSECUTED FOR THE RAPE OF YOUR CHILDREN?
WHY HAVE YOU PARISHIONERS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH NOT DEMANDED YOUR POPE AND THE LEADERS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WHO KNEW ABOUT THE RAPE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND COVERED IT UP BE PROSECUTED FOR THIS?
DO YOU NOT REALIZE THAT YOU ARE FORSAKING THE CHILDREN OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WHO WERE RAPED BY YOUR PRIESTS, THEN RAPED AGAIN BY THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCH IN THE COVERUP, THAT YOU ARE SUPPORTING THE RAPISTS OF YOUR OWN CHILDREN BY YOUR NOT DEMANDING THESE PRIESTS BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT THE LAW ALLOWS OR THE LEADERS DONE THE SAME?
WHEN OH WHEN ARE YOU, THE PARISHIONERS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH GOING TO REMOVE YOUR BLINDERS TOWARDS YOUR LEADERS AND PRIESTS AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT BY YOUR CHILDREN?
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO FACE JESUS CHRIST WHEN YOU APPEAR BEFORE HIM AND HE ASKS YOU WHY DID YOU SUPPORT THOSE WHO RAPED THE CHILDREN OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND NOT DEFEND THE INNOCENT CHILDREN? WHY DID YOU NOT CHASE THESE DEMONS FROM THE CHURCH AND HAVE THEM PROSECUTED FOR WHAT THEY DID TO YOUR VERY OWN CHILDREN?
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO ANSWER JESUS CHRIST, YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR ON THAT DAY WHEN YOU APPEAR FOR HIM AND HE ASKS YOU WHAT DID YOU DO FOR THE VICTIMS OF PRIEST RAPE? DID YOU DEFEND THE PRIESTS AND THE CHURCH? OR DID YOU DEFEND THE CHILDREN?
RAPE OF A CHILD IS ILLEGAL AND WRONG. RAPIST OF CHILDREN SHOULD BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT THE LAW ALLOWS. THOSE LEADERS OF THE RCC WHO COVERED THIS UP AND PROTECTED THE PEDOPHILE RAPIST PRIESTS OVER THE CHILDREN OF THE CHURCH SHOULD BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT THE LAW ALLOWS.
I have been asked this by quite a few people. The question generally goes like this: “If you were raped by a priest, then how can you stand up for the gays and lesbians?” or “If you were raped by a priest, then how come you do not hate homosexuals?”
Well it is a pretty easy and simple answer.
Most of the priests who raped the children of the roman catholic church are not homosexual, they are pedophiles. There is a huge difference, trust me. There is the term pedophilia, which also falls under two categories.
PEDOPHILIA: As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia, or paedophilia, is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 or older) typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary). The prepubescent child must be at least five years younger than the adolescent before the attraction can be diagnosed as pedophilia.
HEMOPHILIA: refers to the sexual preference for individuals in the early years of puberty (generally ages 11–14, though onset of puberty may vary). Girls typically begin the process of puberty at age 10 or 11; boys at age 11 or 12. Hebephilia differs from ephebophilia, which refers to the sexual preference for individuals in later adolescence,and from pedophilia, which refers to the sexual preference for prepubescent children.While individuals with a sexual preference for adults (i.e., teleiophiles) may have some sexual interest in pubescent-aged individuals,the term hebephilia is reserved for those who prefer pubescent-aged individuals over adults. The term was introduced by Glueck (1955),who later credited it, without citation, to Paul Benedict.
EPHEBOPHILIA: is the sexual preference of adults for mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19. The term was originally used in the late 19th to mid 20th century, and has been more recently revisited by Ray Blanchard.It is one of a number of sexual preferences across age groups subsumed under the technical term “chronophilia“. Ephebophilia strictly denotes the preference for mid-to-late adolescent sexual partners, not the mere presence of some level of sexual attraction. In sexual ethics, it may be defined as a sexual preference for girls generally 14–16 years old, and boys generally 14–19 years old. Some authors define ephebophilia as a sexual preference for pubescent and adolescent boys.
As you can see from reading the above definitions, these priests who raped us children of the Roman Catholic Church would truly fit these definitions. From all of my research so far, 87% of all victims of priest sexual assault were under the age of 16 with many of them being between the ages of 12-16. This makes these rapist priests ephebophilles and hemophilles, not homosexuals.
Now this is the definition for a homosexual:
HOMOSEXUALITY: is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to “an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectionate, or romantic attractions” primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex; “it also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them.
From the definition above, you cannot compare a homosexual to a pedophile, nor can you term these priests who raped children homosexuals. Homosexuals are normally consenting adults, or teens. They do not rape their partners. Homosexuals, at least from the ones I know and all of my studies, hate pedophiles. They do not believe that sex between an adult and a child is right and is against the law.
While you can say that most of the rapes were between priests and boys, thus equating these actions to homosexuality, they are not true homosexuals. Homosexuals are not rapist of children, pedophiles are. They are pedophiles as they prey on children and rape them. They do not prey on adults, nor seek to have consenting homosexual relations with adults, nor even children. This is what differentiates the homosexual from the pedophile.
It is also illegal to be a pedophile while homosexuality is not illegal. The reason for pedophilia to be illegal is it is considered rape for an adult to have sexual relations with a child. Almost every civilized nation I know has laws against pedophilia. Almost every civilized nation I know has laws against child pornography. I do not know too many other civilized nations that have made homosexuality a crime, except in Muslim countries and hard core christian right groups who want to make homosexuality a crime.
There is no reason for me to hate homosexuals because of what this pedophile, ephebophiliac priest was, for in my mind and in all of my research on this, the priests who raped children are not homosexual, but pedophiles.
Hating homosexuals for the actions of pedophiles, or blaming homosexuals for the actions of pedophiles is wrong on so many levels. I have many friends and relatives who are homosexual and I find nothing wrong with their choice of sexual preference. Matter of fact, I am all for same sex marriages. What two consenting adults do is their business. It is not the courts business, it is not the legislatures business, it is not my business and it is definitely none of the religious rights business. We are a country supposedly founded on the principle of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and while what is your idea of life, liberty and happiness is yours, you have no right to step on another persons rights to their idea of life, liberty and happiness. If you do not like the idea of homosexuals marrying, the maybe you ought to think of it this way. What if it were the other way around and you were told YOU could NOT love, live, or marry the person you are in love with?
The biggest hate towards homosexuals are the Christian Right. It is time the Christian Right get their heads out of their asses. They scream how they should be allowed to practice their “religion” and that these rights were granted to them under the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Well these same rights are granted to all citizens of the United States, including homosexuals. The Christian Right needs to realize and learn this. If the Christian Right screams for their rights under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, then why are they doing all they can to deny these same rights to others?
I do not hate homosexuals for the priest raping me. I hate bigots who scream how evil homosexuality is, while defending pedophilia and pedophiles. Or blaming homosexuals for the actions of pedophiles.
These priests who raped us children of the Roman Catholic Church are NOT homosexuals, they are pedophiles. Sick and twisted individuals, who under the cover of their religious institution, preyed on young children to satisfy their sexual needs. They are pedophile priests. They are not homosexual priests.
I have no reason to hate homosexuals. I have every reason to hate pedophiles.
Convicted Hunter priest to retire
TORONTO Catholic priest Tom Brennan will break a three-year silence today in a statement announcing his retirement over church handling of a notorious Hunter paedophile priest case.
Victims and their families expressed relief yesterday that Brennan, convicted in 2009 of a charge flowing from a police investigation of the paedophile priest, would no longer hold the position of parish priest.
‘‘Thank God for that. Finally some justice,’’ said a victim who described the church’s failure to act against the Toronto priest until now as an ‘‘open wound’’.
Brennan will express regret for the ‘‘terrible things’’ that happened to young boys at a Hunter Catholic school where he was principal in the 1970s and 1980s when the paedophile priest, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a teacher.
He will express ‘‘sincere hope’’ that his retirement, from today, will bring peace to victims and their families experiencing ‘‘ongoing hurt’’ after he remained a parish priest following his conviction for making a false statement to police investigating the paedophile priest.
Brennan told police he could not recall boys, parents and teachers reporting sexual abuse allegations about the teacher-priest in the 1970s and 1980s.
In late 2009 a District Court judge rejected Brennan’s appeal against the conviction, saying he did not believe the priest could not remember the multiple complaints.
Brennan is retiring before completion of a church investigation ordered by Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Bill Wright early this year after meetings with victims and their families. The investigation is considering whether ‘‘any act or omission’’ of Brennan’s while at the school ‘‘might be subject to penalty under church law’’, Bishop Wright said.
It will be finalised, but will not be made public.
It follows former bishop Michael Malone’s repeated refusal to take action against Brennan after his conviction.
In a statement yesterday, Bishop Wright said some victims of the paedophile priest would ‘‘probably always think chiefly of Father Brennan as the man from whom they should have received help and protection’’.
While Brennan had consistently stated he could not remember requests for help relating to the paedophile priest, he had shown Bishop Wright the statement being released today in which he hoped his retirement would assist victims in their recovery and ‘‘bring them the peace they justly deserve’’.
Brennan announced his retirement at services on the weekend. He will remain at Toronto as caretaker priest until a new parish priest is appointed.
Lawsuits allege sex abuse by ex-Cathedral principal
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6140.
From the link: http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/04/06/45378.htm
Diocese and Bishop Are Still on the Hook
By JOE HARRIS
Friday, April 6,2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – A Jackson County judge refused to dismiss misdemeanor charges accusing the Kansas City Diocese and its bishop of shielding an abusive priest.
Bishop Robert Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are charged with failing to report suspected child abuse. Prosecutors said Finn and the diocese are mandatory reporters of abuse under state law.
Defense attorneys claimed the law is unconstitutionally vague, and that Finn was not the diocese’s designated reporter. Finn is the highest-ranking U.S. Roman Catholic official criminally charged for shielding an abusive priest, The Associated Press reported.
Finn has acknowledged that he was told in December 2010 about hundreds of images of small children, some of them pornographic, on the computer of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, and that a parish principal raised concerns about Ratigan’s behavior around children as early as May 2010.
But the diocese failed to turn over a disk containing the photos to local police until May 2011, after the church received reports that Ratigan had violated orders to stay away from children, according to the AP.
Finn and the diocese were charged with failing to report suspected child abuse.
“This court finds and concludes that persons of ordinary intelligence have no difficulty understanding the meaning of ‘immediately report,'” Circuit Judge John Torrence wrote.
Torrence also denied a request from attorneys for Finn and the diocese to have the cases tried separately, granted two defense motions to quash subpoenas and one to extend the deadlines before the trial, which is set for Sept. 24.
Finn has claimed that Vicar General Robert Murphy and a diocese review board were responsible for reporting suspected images of child pornography to the state. Prosecutors claim Finn was a mandatory reporter and admitted as much before a grand jury.
Ratigan is in jail, charged with three state child pornography counts and 13 federal counts of producing, possessing and attempting to produce child porn. He has pleaded not guilty.
Sex Crimes and the Vatican Documentary
Created in 1962, a now infamous document was issued in secret to bishops. Called Crimen Sollicitationis, it outlined procedures to be followed by bishops when dealing with allegations of child abuse, homosexuality and bestiality by members of the clergy. It swore all parties involved to secrecy on pain of excommunication from the Catholic Church.
This document was reissued in 2001 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and sent to all bishops. Yet rather than ordering more openness and cooperation with the authorities as demanded by both law enforcers and the victims, he reiterated its policies and ensured that the Code of Silence be applied to all cases of child abuse involving a priest. Cardinal Ratzinger also instructed that all cases should now be referred to his office directly and that he would maintain ‘exclusive competence’ over the handling of allegations. This is the Catholic Church’s policy to this day and Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI.
The policy laid out in the above document has led to systemic failure by the result that a significant number of priest have, in effect, been allowed to abuse again, and further children have been put at risk.
As the documentary explores, Colm O’Gorman is the man responsible for breaking open decades of abuse by Catholic Priests in Ireland in the BAFTA award-winning BBC special Suing the Pope. He links international ‘systemic evidence’ to argue the Vatican has a policy to cover up the sexual abuse of thousands of children across the world.
In Sex Crimes and the Vatican O’Gorman explores four separate cases internationally of widespread clerical abuse, putting the Roman Catholic Church on trial for the reckless endangerment of children. O’Gorman raises the question, ‘Is the Church in default of its obligation as a signatory to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child?’
A link to the documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MwOV8QF9d88