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April 18th, 2008 Janet Patterson & Peggy Warren interview with ABC affiliate KAKE news regarding Pope Benedict's visit to the U.S.

July 25th, 2007 Interview with Toledo Blade - Adult Victims Must Be Recognized! "Although sexual relations between a priest and an adult is not a crime in Michigan or Ohio, it is illegal in nine states, according to Peggy Warren, founder of an advocacy group called Educating To End Abuse" "As Catholics, we hold these men of God on pedestals and we lay people can never be on the same playing field as a celibate, called by God, Roman Catholic priest,"

11/20/2010 THIS IS NOT A PROPOSED SKIT FOR SNL, ALTHOUGH, GOD IT WOULD MAKE A GOOD ONE - Pope: Condoms to stop AIDS may be OK in some cases Benedict said that condoms are not a moral solution to stopping AIDS. But he said in some cases, such as for male prostitutes, their use could represent a first step in assuming moral responsibility

Sunday, January 17, 2010    10 : 31 AM

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19 comment(s) found!

Ringleader Bishop : 1/16/2010
Look folks, you have to understand that in the Wichita Diocese, under the leadership of Bishop Jackels, the concept of money & prestige being more important than Catholic mission is the current unfortunate reality. Enjoy your new 16 million dollar Cathedral Bishop. This is all on you. Any sane person reading the article and who has followed these stories can see that after over $140,000 has been raised in 4 months with the priests actively trying to stop all fundraising efforts, that this is clearly agenda driven and money was just the useful excuse. Your corruption is staggering to behold, and these scandal ridden priests in Hutch are clearly what the Soviets used to refer to as your Useful Idiots (look it up). It is awful what has happened in the diocese over the last few years during your reign of destruction. Lawsuits, scandals, Pedophilia, Division, Deceitful priests, etc. Well enjoy your victory and by all means keep on with your agenda of destruction. Calvin was right when he pounded the notes on the door. You are proving the Protestants right.
-Pounding a note on the door

closing : 1/16/2010
The decision has been made. Let us now work together to make Holy Cross and Trinity the best for our children. Show them by our example to accept this decision, support our priests, and our parishes, to grow in faith, and to come together as one catholic family. We need to do it, and we can do it for the childrens sake.
-faith hope love @ OLG

Hiding : 1/16/2010
Where's the Bishop be hiding . He himself should have addresses these people. He uses Vorobil to do his dirty work. I feel sorry for this poor teachers that won't have jobs now. I bet the Bishop and Vorobil won't go hunger or worry about where their next meal is coming from. By the looks of them , it looks like their eating HIGH ON THE HOG!!!
-Sickened Parents

Cathedral? : 1/16/2010
A 16 million dollar cathedral? Are these men from God or the other guy? This is sickening to hear.

school closing : 1/16/2010
What does this do the the underpaid teachers at Holy Cross? Double their workload by taking on more children in the classroom? I'll bet they were already thinking that when the issue of the possibility of St. T closing was being discussed. From recent discussions, it is obvious the St. T students do not want to integrate with Holy Cross. I feel sorry for the teachers, they already do more than is required of them without compensation. Did the decision makers think about that?
-what were they thinkin?

St.T,OLG and H.C. : 1/16/2010
Some of you are talking like this is the end, and it will be if you keep the additude. What we raised funds for all these years was Catholic Education. Now are we going to roll over and give up or are we going to continue to fight like the O'Sullivans and the other fore fathers of our Hutchinson Catholic family back in the day. H.C. will need all the help we can give them to continue the wonderful programs that St.T's and that they currently provide. Hey it is all or nothing, and if you choose nothing I will keep you in my prayers because Hutchinson Catholic Community will really need them. God works through us, let's make it easy for him.
-treasure the past and fight for the future

Thanks : 1/16/2010
Thank you "faith, hope and love @ OLG" for you posting. I totally agree. People need to stop looking at this situation as a bad thing and recognize their children are receiving a huge GIFT! We will be united and can only grow as a strong Catholic community now. The students at St. Teresa's are going to be moving into a beautiful school, meet new friends and be welcomed by loving, caring teachers. Those students have been given a gift! We as adults need to be sure we show them that and unite.

Fault is everyone! : 1/16/2010
The closing of St Teresa' school has been coming for a very long time. When my children went there, the school was viewed as a separate enity. The parish council at the time complained about the drain on the money (there wasn't a school parent on the council). The school hasn't had the spirtitual support from the parish for a long time. But on the other side the school families and children could have been more active in the church. For as many children going to the school, there aren't many at mass on the weekends. I think the children needed to be more visible, sing, and serve at more masses, make thier presence known and not just at Mass for Catholic school week. I wish the end would have been differently, but it isn't. So now we must go on. Build from what we have. Make our community stronger. I would like to thank Holy Cross from taking our children in for us. I know you have very qualified and loving teachers. May God Bless everyone and hold those closest that are grieving the loss.
-Past St Teresa's school Parent

Unite! : 1/16/2010
What folks like Mr. Reza need to realize is that they are being the discriminate ones. Holy Cross has never said the students at St. Teresa's won't be welcome. Father Joe has stated that Holy Cross has plenty of classroom space for all. He has assured his staff that they will have all the help they need to provide for any student with special needs. It will be done right with no one left out. Mrs. Albert has painted the picture that only she and her staff can provide for Hispanic students, which is just not the case. Those students will get the best education and now have a great opportunity to gain many new friends which can only strenthen our community. Many parents are going to be shocked at the difference between the two schools. Why wouldn't you want the best for your children? This difference has nothing to do with financial status either, it has everything to do with the administration and how the people are treated. Thank you Bishop Jackels for your decision!

Closing : 1/16/2010
Don't put all the blame on the Bishop. If you read the article the Bishop accepted the recommendation from the parishes. The Bishop didn't act as overlord and say close the school. If you are mad I am sorry, I know that it is hard to have your school close. But the recommendation came from the priests and the Parish councils of Our Lady and St. Teresa. It is not up to the Diocese to fund local schools. If that is the case then all the schools in the Diocese would stop doing fundraisers and just let the Diocese fund them. I think you need to look at the situation and not just blame the bishop. I hope everyone will just find a way to make the situation work out for the better
-Holy Cross Parent

Sad Comments : 1/16/2010
Don't put all the blame on the Bishop. If you read the article the Bishop accepted the recommendation from the parishes. The Bishop didn't act as overlord and say close the school. If you are mad I am sorry, I know that it is hard to have your school close. But the recommendation came from the priests and the Parish councils of Our Lady and St. Teresa. It is not up to the Diocese to fund local schools. If that is the case then all the schools in the Diocese would stop doing fundraisers and just let the Diocese fund them. I think you need to look at the situation and not just blame the bishop. I hope everyone will just find a way to make the situation work out for the better
-Holy Cross Parent

St. T : 1/16/2010
For those complaining about the distance to get to Holy Cross--Hutchinson is not a metropolitan area. It is easy to get anywhere in this city within a ten minutes. Plan accordingly. If you still think it is too far, public schooling is the perfect option--with much to offer, a diverse student body, and great teachers--you cannot lose. While it would be great if prayer and religion were taught at public schools-- God and prayer begin at home. It is up to we, the parents, to teach our kids a belief in God, respect, prayer, and good behavior.
-hawk fan

closing : 1/16/2010
All the church councils according to some were not in favor of this. And as for having everyone come together, I think this surely shows that everybody is not in favor. The kids are the ones that will have the rough times. In the future it will all blow over and all the people that want this will be gone but the other families that could have used this school will end up in public schools. Or does the Bishop have some funds set aside to build more on to Holy Cross school. To this follower of the faith it looks like the only ones that gain out of this is Holy Cross. OLG closing too? St. T's closing also? Someone should ask these questions?

Catholics : 1/16/2010
I remember when priests would tell us that it is God's will. And that God would make it clear in his own time. St. T's has been a great school that has slowly been dying. Not from lack of love, but from lack of students and funding. Her story is repeated in almost every Catholic community across the US. God has blessed us with keeping St. T's going for 108 years. Catholic schools in 1962 averaged 40 students per class! Sadly, we no longer enjoy such a large Catholic community.
St. T's is now like a family member who is passing away. It is time to mourn, to send her to God with love, but most importantly, it is time to remember and to have our Hutch Catholic family come together.
Unfortunately, worse times are coming to all of us as our American economy continues to decline. Perhaps God is nudging our Hutch family to come together, consolidate our resources and possibly survive the next 10 years as our country's economic reality finally hits. Pray for St. T's, pray for the teachers and students, but please, pray for our Catholic community so that God will see us through as a family.
-St T's & H.C. Alumni Family

Build on this : 1/16/2010
Unite.. I totally agree. We should look at this as growth and strengthening our Catholic community. Now all the money can be directed to one Catholic grade school and one Catholic high school. Now the debate is over it is time to focus on culturing an excellent learning environment for our Catholic youth in Hutchinson.
-OLG parishoner

Today, I learned of the closing of St. Teresa’s school. I am saddened by this news like so many other former and present students and parents. When I started my education at St. Teresa it was a grade school, junior high and high school. It was a time when teachers were nuns except for a few lay teachers. Remember the long black habits the nuns had to wear. I use to think how uncomfortable it must be to wear such a garment especially during the summer months. No air condition classrooms in those days. Students had strict dress codes. Girl’s worn dresses and the boys had to have their shirts tuck in their pants. It was a time when the lunches were prepared from scratched. Who can forget the big cinnamon rolls and the peach cobbler? Maybe, I was just very hungry because during those days you had to fast 2 hours before communion. I can remember sitting in third grade when it was announced over the intercom that President Kennedy was shot. We all stood up and said a pray. In fact, I still have my catechism book “A Catechism of Christian Doctrine” from second grade in preparation for my First Holy Communion. First Holy Communion pictures were taken in front of the church. All the girls dress in white and the boys dressed in suits and hoping the pigeons would not poop on you. And who could forget Monsignor Reidy and Father Prichard. Every time Monsignor and Father Prichard enter our classroom we would stand up and acknowledge their presents. Times have changed.
As my parents wanted the Catholic education for me, I in turn wanted the same catholic education for my sons. I wanted my children not only to experience the required reading, writing, and arithmetic but also to experience the theological aspect of the catholic education. Like any school you had your good teachers that made a special influence on your life but you always remember the mean teachers too. Now there are more lay teachers verses nuns. Nuns no longer wear the long black habits. Times have changed.
My point to all this is: Nuns are almost non-existence in our catholic schools and now we are closing one of our beloved schools. What is next? The foundation of this parish was built on determination, perseverance and the vision that our priest had for us as stated in the history of St. Teresa parish. Does the younger generation of priest not understand this? Sure, the growth of St. Teresa is depending on her growth and commitment from their people. But at the same time, we need the guidance and leadership from the priest as the priest before them that founded this great church and school. I know times are hard. The economy has affected everybody. But if this parish made it through the depression why can’t we? Times have changed.

-Just my thoughts

United-Grateful : 1/16/2010
You sound a lot like K. J. Didn't you get the message from Voboril? Quit slamming St.T's.

Something else : 1/16/2010
I still can't believe my ears. We had the money to bail ourselves out. They should have never went to this Vatican II teachings. The church has been on a downhill collision course since. It's like it's being deluted down. Unbelievable!!! Makes even wonder about the Popes. John Paul Kissed a Moselum Bible and drank buddist potions. The Moselums are ANTICHRIST. Like I Said UNBELIEVABLE.
-We need John the Baptist

st T's : 1/16/2010
I'm not a catholic, but a resident of hutch for over 25 yrs. the beautiful St T's church has always inspired me to a time when religion was the forefront of society, not a 'scandal'. I went to st T's as a nursing student to do a presentation on interpersonal interactions for the young, and was overwhelmed at the attention and observance to the Lord in the classroom. It's too bad that one of the few remaining schools that promote Christianity is being closed. What a shame.

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Published online 1/15/2010 11:39 PM

(Travis Morisse/The Hutchinson News) Bob Voboril, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Wichita Diocese, right, talks with St. Teresa School parent Stephanie Larsen Friday after the announcement of the school’s closing. There’s more to the story: See for video.


St. T's sad farewell

Beloved school's end begets a new chapter: the legacy its parents, students will carry on

Despite four months of tireless campaigning by parishioners to keep their school open, it was made official Friday afternoon: St. Teresa Catholic Grade School will shut its doors in May.

Bob Voboril, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, was in Hutchinson on Friday afternoon to make the announcement.





"Bishop Michael Jackels has accepted the recommendation from the parishes of St. Teresa and Our Lady of Guadalupe to consolidate St. Teresa Catholic School with Holy Cross Catholic School on the Holy Cross parish campus, beginning with the 2010-2011 academic year," Voboril said.

Fathers Joe Eckberg, Holy Cross, Brian Nelson, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Nicholas Voelker, St. Teresa, were also present for the announcement.

Every member of the Catholic community of Hutchinson should receive a letter today from the bishop announcing the decision.

Many of the students, families and faculty of the parishes have opposed the closing, but a majority of the two parish councils signed a recommendation to Jackels on Jan. 5 that the school be closed.

"Before all else, I want to acknowledge how this decision will be experienced by many as a loss," Jackels said in a letter to the priests of the parishes. "It is my prayer that they will be consoled by knowing that the pooling of resources will strengthen the quality of Catholic school education - both at the newly consolidated elementary school and at Trinity Catholic Junior/Senior High School - provided to parents to help them in the fulfillment of their responsibility to form their children as disciples of Jesus."

As word of the announcement spread, about 20 concerned parents gathered in front of the school on East Fifth Avenue. Voboril, who was inside the building, came outside flanked by the three priests to answer questions from the crowd. He told them a school is kept open because a parish can fund it. Though fundraising efforts brought in more than $140,000 in pledges, the concern of the bishop, Voboril said, was whether the parish could keep up that amount year after year.

He noted the school's 108-year history as a wonderful legacy.

"The best way to continue that legacy is through consolidating the resources of all three parishes into one school."

Tears ran down the cheeks of Esther Flores Acosta, a St. Teresa alumna, who said she wasn't shocked at Friday's announcement after the parish council had made its recommendation. Her concern now is whether Holy Cross will have room for the additional students.

Currently there are 10 to 15 students per class at St. Teresa. Once the schools merge, Holy Cross will have up to 23 students per room.

The details of the transition still need to be worked out, according to Voboril.

"Work should begin immediately to provide a smooth transition for children and families from St. Teresa Catholic School," Bishop Jackels wrote. "I am confident that these students will be warmly welcomed in the spirit of Jesus, and that the special services offered for Spanish-speaking students at St. Teresa will be maintained in that same spirit."

Meanwhile, parents had many questions regarding the closure.

A grim-faced Miguel Reza, who serves on the parish council of Our Lady of Guadalupe, spoke in Spanish to several women outside the school trying to explain what was happening.

"Everybody hurts," Reza said. "We worked hard to try to keep it open. The decision is done. The door is closed."



10 comment(s) found!

St. T's closing : 1/9/2010
Yes dear readers this is a very accurate account of what is happening and Mr. Reza hit the nail on the head. We all pay taxes, well now the Nickerson schools and Hutch schools will have to spend that money on a child in a seat.
-Hey we're getting use to this.

Church doesn't discriminate : 1/9/2010
The Catholic Church does not discriminate on the basis of race. To the contrary, some parishes have been made to accept, and cater to, hispanics even though the people who paid to build and operate the parish and it's buildings were all non-hispanic. The Church never endorses racial discrimination! If you can't finance the operational costs of a school, public or private, you can expect to lose it. Many public schools are currently in the same dillema. School districts are scrambling to acquire enough funds to stay alive in a really bad economy. The present Administration in D.C. certainly isn't helping this problem be resolved, but is about to sell us out!

Dissappointed Donors!! : 1/9/2010
Hey Vorobil and Bishop , How do think this makes everyone that donated feel, This is one heck of a statement the people of St. Teresa is sending you two. Where's this money going to go to now, to feed you two and Your Families. Alot of these Children wil end up going to these atheist Public Schools , You act like you could care less. Are you sure you're Catholics? Jesus doesn't even want to loose "ONE" of his flock. You Hypocrites!!!
-Love Your Neighbor!!

: 1/9/2010
I hope that the bishop will not allow the school to close, and rather, work with the people to find a long term plan to keep it open!

: 1/9/2010
I hope and pray that Bishop Jackels will work with the parishoners of St.Teresas to keep our school open. With the work they've done just in a few months I think they can find a long term plan.

: 1/9/2010
money rules. even in the catholic church. it is unfair to the children, parents of those children, and to those who believe in the school's benefit the children. i am wondering how much government was involved in this decision. if the students were mainly hispanics who are not fluent in english, could this have been partly the reason for the recomendation of the school's closing?
just wondering from the view point of someone who has seen it before

Weak Leaders : 1/9/2010
I have heard all of the stories about this school closing and I think that the problem lies not in the financial part but in the lack of their parish priest to grow a spine, swallow his on selfishness and pride and stand up for Catholic Education. The money can be found the the fundraisers are proving this....the problem rests with the weak leader of the parish.
-Catholic Knight

St. Teresa's School : 1/9/2010
It's becoming obvious that the St. Teresa's school situation was a little more dire than we first knew. As an OLG parishioner it would have been nice to have known this sooner. While the financial situation is posted every week in the bulletin, we were never led to believe that it would lead to the closing of St. Teresa's school. It seems awful soon to recommend closing St. Teresa's school when we as parishioners just learned of the possibility of the school closing. I feel a little betrayed considering I've increase my tithing in hopes that St. Teresa's school would be saved. The parish councils should do a better job of communicating the financial situation and other issues to their parishioners. I sincerely hope that this won't lead to the closing of 1 of the 3 Hutchinson Catholic parishes (most likely Our Lady of Guadalupe).
-OLG Parishioner

: 1/9/2010
This is not a matter of a weak leader. Catholic Knight- you should be ashamed of yourself. And yes this is in a sense a financial matter. We have raised the money to keep the school open for another year but are we going to have to do this every year to keep the school open? There must be a long term plan ready to go in effect or that's exactly what's going to happen. And yes Tessa the fact that most of the students are Hispanic did play a role in the decision. That is a matter of integration. As much as many of you don't want to admit it, this city has somehow segregated the hispanics from the non hispanics. Holy Cross is a larger school and is more technologically advanced. I have a child in St. Teresas and love the school. I also have another child that is disabled and because of the funding and everything that it would take for her to go to school full time she is not able to attend St.Teresa. However, Holy Cross is more equipped to handle disabled children as well as give our children a better chance at their future. Closing the school is not abandoning the hispanic community, but pushing them into more oppertunities. If all 3 parishes are supporting one school, just imagine what it would mean for our children. United we stand. Seperated we fall. One Catholic family. One purpose-the catholic education of our children.
-mother of St.Teresa student

time to close : 1/9/2010
The school is run down and not enough money is available to keep it open. Time to close.
-Father Guido Sarduchi

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Published online 1/8/2010 10:33 PM


Bishop asked to close St. T's

Some say supporters trying to save school did not have voice in decision

Even though friends of St. Teresa's Catholic Grade School have raised $140,000 in cash and pledges, a majority of two parish councils signed a recommendation that the school be closed, according to two council members.

Miguel Reza and Deborah Castaneda said they were among three or four council members who did not sign the recommendation to Bishop Michael Jackels, while about 20 others endorsed it at a joint meeting of the parish councils Tuesday night.




Amy Pavlacka, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Wichita, would not comment on the specifics of the recommendation.

"We're at a point where we're waiting for the bishop to receive the recommendation, review it and react to it," she said.

Bishop Jackels was out of town attending a retreat for bishops this week but is expected to return to Wichita for a few days next week before leaving on another trip.

Teachers, parents of St. Teresa students and friends of the school have known for a little more than two months that $150,000 to $200,000 was needed to keep the school open. The school, which has 137 students in pre-K through sixth grade, does not charge tuition for children of active Catholic families. The school is instead supported by tithing by the members of St. Teresa and Our Lady of Guadalupe parishes. Bob Voboril, the superintendent of the diocese's Catholic schools, said in November that tithing by the two parishes was projected to fall $160,000 short of its goal for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Castanada said that with the amount friends of the school raised in two months, they had earned another year to come up with a long-term plan to save the school.

"I felt I had to stand for them and commend them for their hard work," she said. "I can't turn on them."

Reza, who with his wife, Feliciana, has raised three children who graduated from Trinity Catholic High School in Hutchinson, said he thought the majority of the parish councils who wanted to close the school were taking "the easy way out."

"I don't know," he said. "Maybe they don't want to work hard."

Reza was upset that many of those who were working hard to save the school were excluded from the closed council meeting Tuesday.

"This group of about 25 people are speaking for parishes with approximately 400 and 700 families, respectively," he said, "yet most of their meetings take place behind closed doors. Their voice never really sought the interest of the people at large.

"It seems that the voice of the people, including the students, teachers and families, has been stifled," he said.

Reza said he is trying to contact Bishop Jackels to convey to him that many parishioners do not agree with the recommendation.

"I'm going to keep fighting and working until the bishop says no," Reza said. "I will keep doing it until the last minute."

In recent weeks, friends of St. Teresa's have conducted rummage sales, bake sales, done holiday gift wrapping and phone solicitations to raise money to save the school. The campaign also got a major financial pledge from one donor. The Anchor Inn, a downtown Mexican food restaurant, will be sponsoring a fund-raising breakfast Sunday in the school gymnasium.

Reza and Castaneda said those who attended the meeting Tuesday were assured that if the school does close, all the children of St. Teresa will be welcome at Holy Cross Elementary, the city's other Catholic elementary school.

However, Reza said he fears some will not go there because there are social and geographic barriers.

Castaneda said that parents of St. Teresa students are concerned that Holy Cross is unprepared to deal with the influx of a large number of students who have learning disabilities or who are learning English as a second language.

Reza questioned the "social justice" of closing the school.

"What is happening here is the closing of exactly the type of school for which Catholic schools were founded," he said. "The majority of the students at St. Teresa School are Hispanic. They feel comfortable with the school and the location is fitting for them. The closing of the school will likely terminate their parochial education."

If the school closes, he said, he will feel like the diocese has abandoned the Hispanic community of Hutchinson - "Big time."


Received  via email from SNAP national director David Clohessy, 9.10.2008.

* * *

While supposedly living with top church official, priest molests 3 year old

After he’s arrested, archdiocese helps him flee to his native South America

Prosecutors then declined to pursue 2006-07 child sex crimes involving young girl

New civil child molestation and cover up case against Catholic hierarchy is filed

In rare move, lawsuit includes Ecuador diocese as a defendant too


At a news conference, a pre-school victim’s attorneys will announce and discuss a new child molestation and cover up lawsuit involving recent child sex crimes. It’s against two dioceses (one here, one in South America ) and a pedophile priest who

– lived with a high ranking Twin Cities Catholic official,

– molested a Minnesota girl, 

– was arrested, but

– has since left the country with the help of local church staff

The predator is now believed to be living in Ecuador .



TODAY, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 1:00 p.m.


At the law offices of Jeff Anderson, 336 Jackson (corner of Fifth) in downtown St. Paul, MN


Two attorneys (and a Spanish-speaking legal assistant) who represent this young victim and also represent hundreds of other men and women who were abused as kids by teachers, coaches, ministers, and other authority figures


In 2001, Fr. Francisco Montero a/k/a Fr. Francisco “Fredy” Montero was assigned to live with Fr. Kevin McDonough, vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis . From 2006 to 2007, Montero, a native of Ecuador , repeatedly molested a girl when she was three and four years old.

He arrived in Minnesota in February or March of 2001 and was assigned to Incarnation parish in Minneapolis, where the girl’s family belonged. (It’s also called Comunidad Sagrado Corazon de Jesus). Montero provided the mom ‘counseling’ while abusing her young daughter. After Montero was arrested for the abuse, McDonough helped Montero leave the US , the lawsuit says.

A Spanish speaking Twin Cities legal assistant recently called Montero in Ecuador. He admitted he’s now working in a Catholic parish there.

While in Minnesota , Montero, now 31, also said masses at St. John Newman in Eagan, MN, and started a newspaper and radio show, both in Spanish.

The suit, filed late yesterday in Ramsey County and served on the archdiocese, seeks unspecified damages. Defendants include the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Guaranda Diocese in Ecuador .


St. Paul attorneys Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell) and Mike Finnegan (651 227 9990, 612 205 5531 cell), and legal assistant Ivonne Manay (Spanish-speaking, 651 227 9990) 

  Overland Park man sentenced on child porn charge 

Not long enough!!!!  He should be in prison the rest of his life! Evil to the core!

Monday August 25, 2008 

A federal judge on Monday sentenced Brian D. Harris, 42, of Overland Park to 12 years and seven months in federal prison for distributing child pornography.

Harris pleaded guilty in June to one count of distributing child pornography. In his plea, he admitted that he installed file-sharing programs on his computer and used the programs to download files containing child pornography from other users. He also allowed other uses to download images of child pornography from his computer.

Among the items found on his computer were more than 60 movie files, including images of children younger than 3 years old being raped.

For immediate release: Sunday, Aug. 17

SNAP posts Archbishop’s “Ten most reckless & callous actions”

Group blasts Burke for “letting accused sex offenders work and live here”

As Archbishop Raymond Burke celebrates his last mass in St. Louis , leaders of a support group for clergy sex abuse victims are releasing a list of his ten “most reckless and callous actions in clergy sex cases here.”

The new list is posted at and is included below.

SNAP criticizes Burke for paying $500,000 to free a convicted predator priest, for moving a priest who’s been accused of molesting at least three boys, and for bringing a number of proven, admitted and credibly accused priests from elsewhere to live and/or work here.

For more information, contact

David Clohessy of St. Louis , SNAP National Director 314 566 9790 cell

Barbara Dorris of St. Louis , SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688 home, 503 0003 cell

—————-Burke’s most reckless and callous actions in clergy sex cases here (posted 8/17/08)

(Each fact cited below, in each case, has appeared in media accounts in at least one credible mainstream news source, and usually, in several such sources.)

1. On Friday, a Wisconsin judge sentenced a serial predator priest to six months in jail. Sometime between 2003 and 2006, Burke let that cleric, Fr. Bruce MacArthur, move to a church center for pedophile priests in Franklin County , even though MacArthur had been accused of molesting at least seven girls and was indicted in the attempted rape of a disabled, mute 54-year-old patient at a nursing home.

2. Right now, he’s quietly letting an admitted pedophile priest work at/near and live on/near St. Louis University .

He’s Fr. Vincent Bryce, who was suspended from two Michigan parishes in 2002 when he admitted molesting a child. (His direct supervisors have acknowledged the admission in writing). Bryce works at the Aquinas Institute, directly across the street from SLU and lives in Jesuit Hall, at the northwest corner of Grand and Lindell.

In December, a Chicago area newspaper disclosed that Bryce is here, but no St. Louis media have yet mentioned his name.

3. Right now, he’s quietly letting Fr. Robert Osborne work at a Kirkwood parish. Osborne left Vianney high school after being accused of molesting a boy. He later admitted giving liquor to kids and a second alleged sex abuse victim came forward.

Osborne was sued and his victim received a substantial settlement. Osborne’s direct supervisors, a religious order called the Marianists, refuse to reassign him to any of their dozens of schools they run across the US . But Burke lets him work in a parish here.

4. In 2006, he quietly let a Yakima priest work at St. Joseph’s in Clayton & St. Ambrose on the HiIl. Back in Washington state, that cleric, Fr. Darell Mitchell, had naked photos of boys on his computer and admitted that he had gone to other websites that showed naked boys. He’d also been accused of giving beer and numerous gifts to one minor, holding ‘boys-only’ dinners and game nights at his home, letting young men spend the night at the rectory, taking a minor on a European trip, and letting one boy live at the rectory with the priest for weeks one summer, introducing that minor to others as his “godson.” (When reports of his admissions & the allegations against him surfaced in St. Louis , he abruptly resigned.)

5. In 2005, he quietly let a Kansas priest live and work at St. Ambrose on the Hill. That cleric, Fr. Nicholas Voelker, had been accused recently of twice sexually assaulted a parishioner who got a protective order and a substantial settlement from church authorities because of the assaults.

6. He quietly let eight or nine proven, admitted or credibly accused archdiocesan predator priests live at Regina Cleri (a retirement home with virtually no security) in Shrewsbury . In 2005, when SNAP publicly disclosed this, Burke told the Post Dispatch the nun overseeing the sex offenders “is very strict - their comings and goings, everything is monitored. She is right on top of things.”

However, that same nun told the Post Dispatch that the priests in question serve as the facility’s “volunteer employees” doing everything from driving older priests to the hospital or drugstore to fixing computers. She admitted “she does not monitor the men if they go to a movie or for a walk. ‘I don’t police them like that. I would trust them all. I would.’

Among the pedophile priests at Regina Cleri: Michael Campbell, Hugh Creason, Alfred Fitzgerald, and Robert Johnston.

7. In 2004, he let a fugitive Canadian cleric, move to a church center for pedophile priests in Franklin County . Br. Gerald Chumik after California parishioners demanded he be moved for the safety of their kids. Media accounts describe him as a fugitive. He’s wanted for felony child molestation in Canada .

8. In June 2008, he named Fr. Alex Anderson a pastor in DeSoto. Anderson is accused of molesting three boys, none of whom know each other. The archdiocese paid one of his victims $22,500. Anderson sued one of his accusers for slander, and vowed to take his victim to court unless a number of concessions were met (a written retraction of the allegation, the removing Anderson ’s name from the SNAP website, etc.) None of those conditions were met.

9. In 2005, he “put up a half-million dollars to keep out of jail a priest convicted of sodomizing a teenage boy,” according to the Post Dispatch. More than a year later, that cleric, Fr. Thomas Graham, won a reversal of his conviction on a legal technicality - the statute of limitations. But he would have likely spent a year behind bars (and kids would have been safer) had Burke not spent $500,000 to free him, despite being convicted by an impartial jury that heard all the evidence.

10. He repeatedly ignored SNAP’s call for a moratorium on importing proven, admitted, and credibly accused serial predator priests at two church-run facilities:

        - RECON, also known as the Wounded Brothers Project, near Robertsville in Franklin County &                  

        - St. John Vianney Renewal Center near Dittmer in Jefferson County.

SNAP estimates that Burke has let literally dozens of sex offender clergy come to these centers, almost always without warning to neighbors, parishioners or the public. (In some instances, they are convicted, so are put on the state child molester’s registry.) Some of them are among the most prolific and notorious pedophile priests in the US (including Fr. James McGreal of Seattle who faced 35 accusers, and Thomas S. Schaefer and Alphonsus Smith, both priests from Washington who were among four priests who were indicted in 1995 on charges of sexually abusing nine boys.)

For more information:

David Clohessy of St. Louis SNAP National Director 314 566 9790 cell (

Barbara Dorris of St. Louis , SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688 home (


Woman fights for bill to prevent clergy abuse

WICHITA, Kansas, Feb. 8, 2007 - A Wichita woman is in a race against time to push a bill on clergy sexual abuse through the Kansas Legislature.

Peggy Warren is contacting everyone she knows to encourage the Federal and State Affairs Committee to hear House Bill 2206.

"It is so important to me and my family because of the devastation a priest did to my family," Peggy, sexual assault victim, said.

Peggy claims a priest in the Wichita Catholic Diocese sexually assaulted her. But Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston said after performing a full investigation, her office found no crime was committed.

Peggy says there was never a full investigation.

"I never talked to the district attorney, a detective, never gave them a statement," Peggy said. "There was no full investigation. The only information she got was from the Wichita Diocese.

Now she's fighting back with House Bill 2206. It would add clergy to the list of professionals including law enforcement and social workers, who cannot engage in consensual sexual relations with those they counsel.

The bill defines clergy as "a currently ordained member of the clergy or religious authority of any religious denomination or society."

Rep. Nile Dillmore, who introduced the bill, is worried it won't be heard since the legislative committee is running out of time.

He says there are 27 bills before the committee and less than two weeks to hear them all.

Bishop Michael Jackels of the Wichita Diocese says he was unaware of the bill and didn't have enough information to comment.

He did issue this statement saying, "The Catholic Church is committed to doing all that is humanly possible to protect all people from harm, especially from the horrible sin and crime of sexual abuse."

Meanwhile Peggy Warren is hoping Kansas will join 17 other states that hold clergy accountable.


Feb.15, 2008

A blind eye, indeed

I am writing in regard to Bishop Michael Jackels' commentary "Rule of compassion" (Feb. 10 Opinion) and his statement: "The Catholic Church... does not turn a blind eye to illegal behavior and would certainly not reward it."

Who does he think he is fooling? Has he forgotten the countless stories of child abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic priests since the Boston scandal broke in 2002? Time and time again, the church did not call authorities when it realized its priests were molesting children, but instead moved the priests to other towns or states.

And if that isn't bad enough, those church leaders who cover up the abuse or protect the abuser get rewarded for their behavior. Consider a case in Chicago where the Rev. Daniel McCormack was accused in August 2005 of molesting an 8-year-old boy, but Cardinal Francis George left McCormack in his job to continue to molest other children. The cardinal has since been elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Time and time again, I am contacted by clergy abuse victims who feel violated all over again when their victimizer or the church leader who mishandled their case is promoted to a higher position.

I hope and pray that someday Jackels' statements can ring true. But today I can't even hear a faint ding.


Posted on Wed, Feb. 13, 2008

Group looking into removal of female referee by religious school


Associated Press Writer

- Kansas activities officials are investigating why a religious school refused to let a female referee call a boys high school basketball game earlier this month.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association said referees reported that Michelle Campbell was preparing to officiate at St. Mary's Academy near Topeka, Kan., on Feb. 2 when a school official insisted that Campbell could not call the game. The reason given, according to the referees: Campbell, as a woman, could not be put in a position of authority over boys because of the academy's beliefs.

Campbell then walked off the court along with Darin Putthoff, the referee who was to work the game with her.

"I said 'If Michelle has to leave, then I'm leaving with her,' " Putthoff said on Wednesday. "I was disappointed that it happened to Michelle. I've never heard of anything like that."

Fred Shockey, who was getting ready to leave the gym after officiating two junior high games, said he was told there had been an emergency and was asked to stay and officiate two more games.

"When I found out what the emergency was, I said there was no way I was going to work those games," said Shockey, who spent 12 years in the Army and became a ref about three years ago. "I have been led by some of the finest women this nation has to offer, and there was no way I was going to go along with that."

Shockey noted that referees normally don't work Saturday games, but he agreed to officiate because his daughter's basketball game slated for that day was canceled.

He said that while he and Putthoff were talking with Campbell, the school's athletic director walked up and gave Campbell the $50 she would have been paid for working the games, then asked her to leave the gym.

Shockey said he left and went to a restaurant across the street from the academy, got something to eat, then tipped the waitress $41 - what was left of his $50 officiating fee after he paid for his meal.

"I wanted to get rid of that money as fast as I could," he said.

The Activities Association said it is considering whether to take action against the private religious school. St. Mary's Academy, about 25 miles northwest of Topeka, Kan., is owned and operated by the Society of St. Pius X, which follows older Roman Catholic laws. The society's world leader, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, was excommunicated by Pope John Paul II in the late 1980s.

Gary Musselman, the association's executive director, said the organization will not make a decision until it confirms whether St. Mary's Academy has a policy of not allowing female referees to work boys basketball games.

If that is indeed the school's written policy, Musselman said, the association could decide to remove St. Mary's Academy from the list of approved schools and take away its ability to compete against the association's more than 300 member schools.

St. Mary's Academy officials declined comment when contacted by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

St. Mary's Academy is among 30 schools on the list that are not full association members but compete against schools that are. Musselman said St. Mary's Academy plays one or two games per season against member schools but has no more scheduled this school year.

He said if removed from the approved list for next school year, St. Mary's Academy still would be able to compete against approved schools that are not members of the association.

Musselman said the association hopes to resolve the matter sometime this week. He said he sent a letter to the school's principal, Vicente A. Griego, the day of the incident but has not heard back from him.

Putthoff and other supporters of Campbell said they believe state activities officials will handle the situation properly.

Campbell did not return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.

However, she told The Kansas City Star that she was "dumbfounded" by the incident but that she is not angry at the school. She said she does not want the situation to go any further than it already has.

"This issue was going to come up eventually," said Campbell, 49, a retired Albuquerque, N.M., police officer who now lives in Ozawkie, Kan. "I just happened to be the person who was there this time.

"It's kind of a sticky situation. It needs to be looked at carefully, slowly, with all the facts."

But Shockey thinks the slight against his colleague is something that needed to be brought to the public's attention.

"I believe this has been an unwritten thing for a long time and either people didn't know or didn't want to know," he said. "Had someone told me about this, I would never have worked there in the first place."

Putthoff said he has called games at St. Mary's Academy off and on for 10 or 12 years, but doubts he will officiate at the school again.

"Out of defense to Michelle, I'm probably going to decline to go back there," he said. "We have to support our fellow officials."

Campbell, who is one of about five female referees in the Topeka Officials Association, has been officiating games for about two years.

"We don't support any institutions that would discriminate against any of our officials," said Steve Bradley, president of the Topeka group. "We support Michelle 100 percent.

"Michelle works hard. She cares about what she does. She is not a person who's on a crusade. She's a good person. She's a good official. You will not find a person who's more serious about doing a good job than Michelle."

Musselman said this was his first time dealing with a situation in which a school turned away a referee because of gender.

"We view officials not as male or female, Hispanic or African-American or Asian-American. We view officials as officials," Musselman said. "Discrimination against our officials is something we can't be party to."

Still, he said, the association wants to be fair to everyone involved and gather all the information before taking action.

Associated Press Writer Maria Sudekum Fisher contributed to this report.

Employee suspected of taking $270,000 from parish


The Wichita Eagle

Holy Savior, the Catholic parish and school serving the highest proportion of low-income students of any school in the Wichita diocese, has lost nearly $270,000 through apparent "misuse" by a former employee.

The Rev. Pat Malone, Holy Savior's priest, notified school and parish staff Friday, and sent a letter of explanation to the 275 families that attend the church at 1425 N. Chautauqua.

An independent review of financial records indicates $269,914 is missing, and a longtime office manager and bookkeeper is suspected of taking the money, Malone said.

Wichita police were notified of the loss Thursday, and a detective was assigned to the case Friday, said Gordon Bassham, police spokesman.

"I am truly sorry that this has happened," Malone's letter states. "I pray to God that we can come together to build a stronger parish and school for the future. The loss is a devastating blow to our parish family, but such events can also unify us and make us stronger."

The reaction among Holy Savior staff members was "shock and disbelief," Malone said.

The office manager, who has not been named, worked for Holy Savior for about eight years when the loss was discovered in October, Malone said.

The employee left the church when the loss was discovered. The church conducted an internal investigation before contacting police.

The money appears to have been taken in smaller amounts over a three-year period.

Others have told Malone that the person responsible used the money "to help other people," he said. "This person didn't take it to help themselves."

The loss "won't affect our operations, but it certainly affects our reserve and any savings we might have," he said.

The parish has insurance, but it could be a while before it finds out how much of the loss can be reimbursed.

"I'm sure it will not cover all of that (amount)," Malone said.

Holy Savior's parochial school has 175 students, 68 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, said Fred Solis diocesan spokesman. The school "serves one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city," Solis said.

By comparison, 16 schools in the Wichita school district have at least 90 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches, spokeswoman Susan Arensman said.

To prevent similar losses in the future, the parish has implemented a series of changes:

• Employees will be subject to full background checks.

• Two signatures will be required for all checks.

• The parish finance committee will meet monthly to review that month's activity.

• An independent accountant will review the parish's books annually.

The impact of the loss could be more prominent as the parish ponders its future.

Holy Savior leases the property for its school and that lease is up, Malone said.

Officials are looking to move the students to the former Carter Elementary public school building about a mile away, at least until a new school can be built.

"Ideally, we want to have it here adjacent to the church," Malone said. "It's important to have the church and school together.

"We're still determining the best course of action."

In the meantime, Malone is preaching forgiveness in the letter sent to parishioners, and to those who ask about what happened.

"We have to acknowledge, if you will, our own capacity for sin and inflicting pain and suffering on others -- and we have to work toward forgiveness," Malone said.

"Bitterness and anger in this situation does no good for anybody."

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or


Lawsuits alleging abuse are nearer to trial

The boys called them the party priests.

They held pool and lake galas where drinks were freely flowing, even for their teenage guests. They let the young boys drive and smoke in their cars, left dirty magazines around the rectory for them to read, and talked openly in graphic terms about sex.

For boys just entering the awkward stages of adolescence, nothing seemed cooler than hanging out with Monsignor Thomas O’Brien and Father Thomas Reardon of Kansas City.

Except for the price that many of the boys — now men — say they paid. They allege that the priests used their positions of power to prey on the youngsters, plying them with alcohol, groping them and offering them money for sex.

Though the alleged incidents occurred years ago, they are haunting both priests and the diocese today. A dozen lawsuits against either O’Brien or Reardon are winding their way through the courts, painting a graphic picture of lewd behavior involving scores of young men spanning several decades.

It included accusations of rape, sodomy, oral sex and masturbatory acts, according to the lawsuits.

Since January 2004, 12 men have sued O’Brien and 14 have sued Reardon. The lawsuits, one now settled and others moving toward trial, allege that the priests abused dozens of boys in locations ranging from the St. Elizabeth’s rectory at 75th and Main streets to a house on Lake Viking, a community about 60 miles northeast of Kansas City, where O’Brien and Reardon often took the youths for a weekend of swimming and partying.

Those lawsuits and several involving other priests had been placed on hold pending a decision by the Missouri Supreme Court on whether too much time had passed for such cases to be filed. However, a ruling last year allowed many of them to proceed, and some now have tentative trial dates.

The Kansas City Star began documenting the alleged abuse in 2002. Since then, the newspaper has interviewed dozens of men who, along with the lawsuits, allege a pattern of molestation that began in the early 1960s with O’Brien and continued unchecked with Reardon throughout the 1980s.

Through their lawyers, both O’Brien and Reardon have vigorously denied the accusations. Both men are no longer active as priests. O’Brien told The Star last week that he had never molested anyone.

“I deny that I’ve abused anybody,” he said. “Some of the accusers, I don’t even know. As far as teenagers, I may have used bad language around them once in a while, but I absolutely, positively, never physically abused any young men.”

Earlier this year, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph agreed to a $60,000 settlement with a Northland man who accused O’Brien and Reardon of molesting him in 1967.

Then in September the diocese agreed to pay an Independence man $225,000, its biggest settlement ever in a case of alleged abuse. The retired priest in that case, the Rev. Francis E. McGlynn, also was expected to pay $2,000 to the victim.

But as trial dates in the other lawsuits involving O’Brien and Reardon approach, The Star has learned that the diocese may have known about O’Brien’s alleged abuse as long ago as 1979.

Three alleged victims told the newspaper that either they or their parents contacted diocesan officials about O’Brien, yet he remained an active priest for decades afterward.

However, the diocese disputed that church officials knew about the alleged incidents but failed to act.

“There isn’t any evidence that is in our files or that we’ve seen that we had notice of claims and then didn’t do anything about it, or failed to take appropriate steps,” said Jon Haden, the attorney representing the diocese in the lawsuits.

Next page >

To reach Judy L. Thomas, call 816-234-4334 or send e-mail to

School is bullying

Hispanic families

In response to "School says: Speak English" (Oct. 20 Eagle): It is unfortunate that once again the Catholic Church has to flex its muscles and hurt children and families. Instead of suppressing cultural identity, the diocese easily could have hired translators to help ease the problem. The diocese might even have realized that it was in the best interest of everyone at St. Anne Catholic School to keep the translators on staff permanently, considering the growing Hispanic community.

The Catholic Church is the true bully in this situation. It is unfortunate that the Silvas and other families have to go through the pain to realize that the Catholic Church isn't all about executing the teachings of Jesus Christ but in many aspects is just the opposite -- an entity that thrives off of power, control and money. This is another example of the Catholic Church talking out of both sides of its mouth. Welcoming Hispanic minorities into this country and then requiring them to leave their native language at the door just doesn't jibe with the message of "love thy neighbor."


Coffeyville Journal Readers Views August 26, 2007

Kansas City diocese settles lawsuit in priest abuse case


Associated Press Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- An Independence man who claims he was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest in the 1970s has agreed to end his lawsuit for $227,000 in what his attorneys said Wednesday could be the first in a string of such settlements.

Frank Scheuring, the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and former priest Francis E. McGlynn reached the agreement Tuesday. It follows a Missouri Supreme Court ruling last year that changed the state deadline for victims to file lawsuits.

"That case opened the door for victims in Missouri," said Rebecca Randles, one of Scheuring's attorneys, during a news conference Wednesday.

In its June 2006 ruling, the state Supreme Court said that the state deadline for filing sexual abuse lawsuits is triggered not by when a wrongdoing is committed, but by when victims are capable of realizing the damage they suffered.

Attorneys for Scheuring, who are handling most of the Kansas City-area abuse claims, credited the Supreme Court ruling with helping them reach the settlement less than a week before the case was scheduled to go to trial in Jackson County Circuit Court.

The case is the first of the 26 cases they have filed against the diocese to be settled. Those cases involve nine priests and about 40 plaintiffs.

The diocese, which agreed to pay $225,000, said in a written statement that it hoped the settlement would allow "true healing" to begin. The diocese settled another sexual abuse claim in April for $60,000.

"As people of faith, the Catholic Church deplores sexual abuse as a profound contradiction of the teaching and witness of Jesus Christ," the diocese said. "In many ways, the church is a family. When one member of a family suffers, everyone suffers."

McGlynn, who agreed to pay $2,000 of the settlement, previously denied the abuse charges through his attorney. Steve Mirakian, an attorney for McGlynn, referred questions to the diocese.

As part of the settlement, Scheuring, now 47, and his family also talked to members of the diocese about ways to prevent abuse.

Scheuring was 11 years old when he confided during confessional that a neighbor was sexually abusing him. Instead of intervening, the suit alleged that McGlynn began his own three-year affair with the boy. Meanwhile, the neighbor continued to abuse Scheuring, his attorneys said.

"He was told during that time that the abuse perpetrated upon him by the priest was the priest's way of showing the love of God," said Randles, of Kansas City. "He had been taught that the priest was God's representative here on earth and stood in the shoes of Jesus Christ and when he was abusing him he was told this was Jesus Chris who was engaging in love."

Randles' co-council, Patrick Noaker, of St. Paul, Minn., said Scheuring initially was confused when news of the Boston sexual abuse cases began breaking.

"He actually wondered, 'Why don't those guys understand they are special? They were touched by God just like me,"' Noaker said.

When Scheuring realized in 2002 that he had been abused, he attempted suicide in a bathroom filled with religious icons and was hospitalized, his attorneys said. He filed the lawsuit in 2003.

"Frank never wants any other child to go through what he went through," Randles said. "He never wants any other child to have to question whether or not there is a God, whether or not there is a supernatural being that is a loving being out there, and whether or not that love is a form of abuse."

Two other plaintiffs -- Teresa White and a woman identified only as Jane I.K. Doe -- also allege McGlynn abused them at St. Mary's Church in Independence in the 1970s when they were minors.

Deposition reveals abuse allegations against O.C. Bishop Brown

A judge's unsealing of testimony in the Mater Dei High School case leads to the disclosure.

By Christine Hanley
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 14, 2007

As the Diocese of Orange's written pledge of transparency was burned to ashes by protesters outside an Orange County courthouse, a judge unsealed testimony Thursday revealing that Bishop Tod Brown had been accused of molesting a boy early in his priesthood.

The allegation was privately denied by Brown when it was lodged 10 years ago, dismissed as baseless after an internal investigation by church officials, and a short time later found not credible by police and prosecutors who looked into the complaint.

42 San Diego sex abuse cases ordered to trial

By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 25, 2007
SAN DIEGO -- A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge ruled Friday that 42 lawsuits filed by people alleging sexual abuse by Catholic priests here can go to trial, which could goad the Catholic Diocese of San Diego into settling those and other suits.

Andrea Leavitt, lawyer for a group of claimants, called the ruling by Judge Louise De Carl Adler a victory for victims of sexual abuse, many of whom have spent years seeking damage payments from the diocese.

"The victims are very encouraged," Leavitt said. "And they are very grateful that the court has the wisdom to grasp the gamesmanship the victims have been subjected to for years by the diocese."

Adler, in her ruling, said she will decide at a hearing Sept. 6 whether to throw out the diocese's bankruptcy lawsuit.

In February, as the first of the suits was about to go to trial, the San Diego diocese, with 1 million Catholics, became the largest in the nation to seek protection in Bankruptcy Court.

The Bankruptcy Court blocked the suits from going to trial. But Adler has been increasingly skeptical of the diocese's assertions that it could become insolvent if it had to pay damages to the 150-plus claimants. She has also criticized the diocese's financial record-keeping as being designed to mask the diocese's true worth.

Diocese attorneys have offered a $95-million settlement with 150-plus people who have filed claims. But Adler noted in her ruling that this is "far below the historic statewide average" of payments when abuse victims sue in state court.

The judge suggested that the diocese was "forum shopping," hoping that a settlement reached as part of a bankruptcy filing would cost less than one reached in a trial court.

The 42 lawsuits represent 58 claimants. In all, the diocese faces 127 lawsuits.

Diocese lawyers argued that Adler does not have the authority to send the 42 lawsuits back to the Superior Court for trial. Adler said there is a compelling public interest in settling claims involving the sexual abuse of children.

Claimant attorneys have said the diocese filed for bankruptcy to stop the suits from going to trial and spare Bishop Robert Brom from having to testify.

Brom and his lawyer did not return calls Friday.

A Cardinal’s Shameless Struggle for Survival

By Jason Berry | July 18, 2007


THE RECORD $660 million settlement that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay victims of clergy sex abuse marks the denouement of a strange legal drama. The litigation turned into a survival struggle for Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Mahony waged an expensive fight, which he lost at every rung of the ladder, to prevent release of clergy personnel files. The documents have still not been released. In 2002, church lawyers blocked the Los Angeles district attorney’s subpoenas for files of priests targeted for criminal investigation.

As the clock ticked on statutes of limitations, several cases died. Meanwhile, as civil cases mounted, release of the disputed clergy personnel files became a core issue for survivors, who wanted the truth revealed. What is Mahony hiding?

Mahony’s personal judgment has long been suspect. Consider Father Carl Sutphin, who shared living quarters with Mahony in two cathedrals over seven years until a 2002 Los Angeles police investigation of charges that Sutphin molested two sets of brothers. Only then did the cardinal force his retirement. In 1991, Mahony had sidelined Sutphin, a classmate of his in seminary, when a Phoenix man informed the cardinal that the priest had abused him and his twin brother years earlier. Sutphin went to St. Luke Institute in Suitland, Md., for treatment after which he became chaplain in a retirement home. At the time of his suspension, Sutphin was a resident with Mahony at Our Lady of Angels Cathedral.

Consider also Monsignor Richard A. Loomis, who was for several years Mahony’s vicar of clergy, responsible for the investigation of sexual abuse allegations. After Loomis was sued civilly as an abuser himself, Mahony stood by Loomis — until a second victim came forward. One could go on, and on, with accounts of the cardinal’s support of predators and callous disregard for victims. That pattern of governance was central to the litigation.

Mahony has made public apologies, while hiding behind the argument that therapists advised him to reassign repeat offenders. How many children must a priest abuse before a cardinal deems him morally unfit? The cold print in the priests’ files is Mahony’s nightmare.
Mahony’s lawyers used a First Amendment ruse, arguing that constitutional freedom of religion cloaked a bishop’s paper trail with pedophile priests. Stiff-arming judges, plaintiff attorneys, prosecutors, and abuse survivors, Mahony was buying time to protect himself, hoping media coverage would die down.

The news behind the news now centers on Pope Benedict XVI, who used uncommonly strong language as a cardinal about priest perpetrators, saying that “filth” had crept into the clergy.

In contrast, Pope John Paul II lavished praise on the notorious Father Marcial Maciel — founder of the Legionaries of Christ, and one of the worst clergy perpetrators — even after Maciel stood charged in a Vatican court. In May 2006, Pope Benedict banished Maciel from ministry.

As Catholics, we have no power to remove a bishop who violates the trust. Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as archbishop of Boston after a sex abuse scandal only after a group of brave priests publicly called for his departure. Even then, the Vatican rewarded Law by appointing him pastor of a basilica in Rome.

The Los Angeles scandal has dragged on several years. Mahony’s misconduct summons memory of Nixon in the bowels of Watergate.

By any logic of decency, Roger Mahony should stop apologizing, and take responsibility for his personal disgrace by resigning. He is unfit to be archbishop of anywhere.

Yesterday, Father Peter Lombardi, a Jesuit spokesman for the Vatican, said that the church had “decided to commit itself in every way to avoid a repetition of such wickedness” and now had a “a policy of prevention and creation of an ever more secure atmosphere for children and young people in all aspects of (its) pastoral programs.”

There can be no such policy until those who tolerate sexual crimes are themselves removed. By any logic of Catholic ethics, Roger Mahony should go.

If Pope Benedict XVI is serious about the church’s so-called policy of prevention, he should remove Mahony immediately — without a cushy post in Rome. Mahony’s ouster is years overdue.

Jason Berry is author of “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” and coauthor of “Vows of Silence,” an investigation of the Maciel case, and the subject of a forthcoming documentary film.

A 'window' for victims of abuse

Historic legislation from Sacramento allowed abuse victims to take legal action against the Los Angeles Archdiocese.


By Marci A. Hamilton, MARCI A. HAMILTON is a law professor at Yeshiva University and author of the forthcoming book "How to Deliver Us From Evil: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children."
July 19, 2007


WITHOUT question, the bravest souls involved in Los Angeles' $660-million clergy abuse settlement are the victims who came forward to sue the archdiocese. By now they have traversed more levels of Dante's inferno than anyone should have to experience.

But another heroic group has gone largely unrecognized — the Legislature. It is only because that body passed historic childhood sexual abuse legislation in 2002 that these lawsuits and settlement happened. That law created a one-year "window" into the legal system for claims that had been shut down by overly short statutes of limitations — as little as three years for some victims.

Indeed, in 2003, any California childhood sexual abuse victim could go to the courthouse and find that the statute-of-limitations lock had been taken off the courtroom door. And in they went — about 850 Catholic clergy abuse victims and 150 others who sued churches, the Boy Scouts and other institutions for employing known molesters. Even as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California's window for criminal prosecutions, the window has been held open for civil lawsuits.

In the Boston Archdiocese scandal, victims faced "charitable immunity" laws that limited the amount of financial damages they could recover. Expired statutes of limitations also weakened their cases, and as a result, they received much less compensation per victim. With the statute of limitations set aside, California plaintiffs came to the justice system with much more powerful claims.

The window law is the sole reason California dioceses and members of the church hierarchy, such as L.A.'s Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, were forced to face the prospect of truth-revealing trials and substantial damages. Once other California diocese settlements came in — and showed that plaintiffs had increased legal bargaining power — victims were able to demand release of church personnel files. The church has resisted releasing such files, but lawsuits filed under the window law revealed the identities of many perpetrators and their institutional enablers.

California's window legislation has a beneficial ripple effect across the country as well. Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in John Doe vs. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, for the first time permitted a clergy abuse case to go forward, and it is highly likely that facts from a California case involving Father Siegfried Widera made a big difference. Widera had been transferred back and forth between Wisconsin and Southern California, and his California victims had laid out their horrific stories in court. The church hierarchy knew Widera was a convicted serial child molester and hid that fact from parishioners in both states.

California may be starting a trend toward unlocking courthouse doors for childhood sexual abuse victims. Just last week, Delaware became the first state to follow suit with a window law of its own. Its Child Victims Act creates a two-year window to file suits and abolishes the civil statutes of limitations on sexual abuse cases going forward. The New York Assembly has passed similar legislation, hearings have been held by the District of Columbia City Council, and the introduction of window bills is likely in a number of states this fall.

The beneficiaries of such bills extend well beyond clergy abuse victims, and the statistics are sobering. Multiple studies have concluded that at least 20% of boys and 25% of girls have been sexually abused — the majority by family or family acquaintances. There is a crying need to give these victims a shot at justice. One incest victim told me that she didn't come to terms with her abuse until her 40s, and when she did, she told her father she was going to sue him. His response? Don't be silly — I have the benefit of the statute of limitations. This is a woman who deserves the California-type window, and there are millions like her across the country.

It is shameful that most states have had such short statutes of limitations on childhood sexual abuse. Even though states, including California, have been lengthening those limits, that doesn't help past victims whose claims have expired. These victims have been foreclosed from justice while predators enjoy a system that protects their interests first and foremost. California has shown the rest of the country a more heroic and noble path to follow.


LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Following a weekend of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a public apology, Cardinal Roger Mahony, leader of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, is due in court today to formalize a record $660 million legal settlement.


"It should not have happened, and should not ever happen again," Cardinal Roger Mahony said Sunday.

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Mahony is expected to personally attend a hearing before Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholtz.

He will be joined by attorneys for the archdiocese and lawyers for some of the approximately 500 people who claim they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests.

The settlement ends more than five years of litigation. It is by far the Roman Catholic Church's largest payout since the clergy abuse scandal first arose in Boston in 2002.

Mahony apologized Sunday to the plaintiffs, who claim to have been sexually abused by archdiocese priests. He acknowledged that the settlement will not buy back their childhood.

"There really is no way to go back and give them the innocence that was taken from them ... The one thing I wish I could give the victims, I cannot -- and that is a restoration to where they were originally," Mahony, who leads the largest U.S. archdiocese, told reporters.

"It should not have happened, and should not ever happen again," he said.

Church Scandal
Plaintiffs talk with CNN’s Larry King.
Tonight, 9 p.m. ET

Jury selection had been scheduled to begin Monday for the first of more than a dozen clergy abuse trials, and Mahony was to have been among the first witnesses called. Mahony had met with many of the plaintiffs in sessions he said had "an enormous impact on me."

Steve Sanchez, one of the plaintiffs, said he was disappointed his case will not be heard in court.

"Whether you give me a check for $10 or $10,000, where can I take that check and cash it at some place to make me 10 years old again?" he told CNN.

Sanchez, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the settlement should have come years earlier.

"The cardinal's dragged this on for a good five or six years now," he said. "Where we are at today or tomorrow with this settlement, could we have been here four, five or six years ago? Yes, we could have been if the cardinal had been outright and come forward and settled all these claims."

Esther Miller, another alleged victim, said the payout is "just the beginning of a different fork in the road."

"It doesn't mean I'm fixed ... It just means I will be able to pay for some of the treatments I should have gotten long ago," she said as she fought back tears. Video Watch what some plaintiffs have to say about the settlement »

Raymond Boucher, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the settlement, which involves 508 alleged victims, is expected to be finalized Monday morning.

About $227 million of the $660 settlement will be covered by insurance, Mahony said. Another $60 million will come from Catholic religious orders named in the complaints.

The archdiocese will have to sell some property and borrow money to pay its share, the cardinal said. But the deal "effectively ends all of the litigation involving the Archdiocese of Los Angeles," he said.

As part of the settlement process, the Los Angeles archdiocese released documents that showed a pattern of denial: Priests accused of sexual misconduct took sick leave, were sent to therapy or transferred to other parishes, and most were allowed to continue in the ministry for years after the first accusations.

Mahony said "almost all" of the priests or brothers involved were eventually convicted of crimes, and most of the cases took place before he became the archbishop of Los Angeles in 1985. Some of the cases date back to the 1940s.


Mahony acknowledged that not everyone would be satisfied, but he said the complaints have led to reforms within the church and efforts to protect young parishioners from sexual abuse.

"Even though I can't restore what was lost, there is good that has come out of this," he said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About The Roman Catholic Church

June 21, 2007

Chabad Motto? If At First You Don't Succeed, Sue the Victim

A Chabad man serves as the hazzan of a Chabad synagogue. Several years ago, outside another synagogue after a community event, the Chabad hazzan sexually assaults a woman who is a member of the Chabad synagogue. He is eventually arrested and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lewd conduct. He is sentenced, serves a very brief time, is given probation and community service.

Meanwhile, the victim civilly sues Chabad, in part because she claims Chabad sheltered the hazzan. Now Chabad has sought a judgment against the victim for more than $175,000 in attorneys' fees, and a judge is about to grant that.

The Chabad?

Court allows release of clergy personnel files
The ruling states that protecting children from abuse outweighs a priest's right to privacy.

By John Spano and Greg Krikorian,
LA Times Staff Writers

June 19, 2007,1,7242689.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

A judge ruled Monday that confidential personnel files on Roman Catholic clergy accused of molesting children can be made public even if the clerics were never charged with a crime and legal claims against them were not proven.

"The rights of privacy must give way to the state's interest in protecting its children from sexual abuse," Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Peter D. Lichtman said in his 22-page ruling.

The decision concerns a small number of Franciscan friars, who will have an opportunity to object to disclosure of specific documents before the files are opened.

Nevertheless, the ruling could have dramatic ramifications on more than 500 legal claims pending against the Los Angeles Archdiocese, which is accused of failing to protect parishioners from sexual victimization over the last 60 years.

In Los Angeles, lawyers spent years trying to negotiate a settlement, estimated to be as much as $1 billion, without success. The first trials are set to begin in July.

Now, the church is also facing possible disclosure of how it handled abuse complaints.

"I think it's very significant," John C. Manly, an attorney who represents plaintiffs in Los Angeles and Orange counties, said of Lichtman's ruling.

"This sends a message … that if you engage in the concealment of child sexual abuses, you will not only pay for your misdeeds but the public at large will be able to see what you did," Manly said.

J. Michael Hennigan, lawyer for Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and the L.A. Archdiocese, declined to comment, saying he had not seen the ruling. Donald Steier, who represents many accused priests in Los Angeles, also declined comment.

Robert G. Howie, an attorney for the friars, said the ruling misinterpreted California law on privacy rights, which he said were stronger than in other states.

"You've got officials in Washington who want to do everything they can do to prevent another 9/11. Does that mean they can conduct wiretaps whenever they want to?" Howie asked.

But 1st Amendment lawyers praised the judge's decision.

"The court properly balanced the constitutional right to privacy against the right of the public to protect its children and safeguard itself against future harm, and it found that the public's right to know overwhelmingly won out," said Tom Newton, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Assn.

The ruling came in the cases of 10 current and former Franciscans who were accused of fondling, masturbating, orally copulating and sodomizing boys and girls for 30 years starting in the 1950s.

Most of the allegations arose at St. Anthony's Seminary in Santa Barbara, which closed in 1987.

The church in March 2006 agreed to pay more than $28 million to 25 accusers. The victims asked Lichtman to release the files.

Lawyers for the Franciscan friars objected, contending that because the claims had been settled, Lichtman had no authority to order the files opened. In 2005, Lichtman released more than 10,000 pages from the personnel files of 15 priests and teachers as part of a court-approved $100-million settlement between the Diocese of Orange and 90 alleged molestation victims.

But the judge said at the time that he was "powerless" to pry open files on eight other priests and teachers who objected because the lawsuits had been settled.

On Monday, however, in a 22-page ruling, Lichtman stated flatly that California's "compelling interest in protecting children from harm is present regardless of the stage of the litigation."

"To answer any of the above questions in the affirmative would be to punish the alleged victims for seeking an early resolution of the cases and needlessly prolong matters through trial," Lichtman ruled. "It would provide the alleged perpetrators and enablers with a safe haven for settlement. The defendants' conduct would be forever hidden and safe from scrutiny."

Lichtman noted that all of the priests whose dossiers were in question had admitted abuse or "show[n] dangerous propensities toward youth."

Lichtman cited Franklyn Becker, a friar accused of multiple molestations. "In sworn testimony, Becker testified about his attraction to boys, his interest in the Man-Boy Love Association, his leanings toward being attracted to post pubescent boys, and that he gave names of people to the Archdiocese that might come forward with allegations," Lichtman wrote.

Lichtman also said that, according to sworn testimony provided by the plaintiffs, Santa Barbara had one of the highest per-capita concentrations of clergy pedophiles in the history of clergy abuse cases in the United States, with 41 clergy accused of assaulting 76 children.

The opinion gives victims "a tremendously strong argument, thanks to Judge Lichtman," said Timothy C. Hale, who argued the case for the accusers of the Franciscans.

"Often, it comes down to one simple choice: do we safeguard the reputations of one powerful adult or the well-being of many powerless kids," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "The judge made the right call."

Copyright © 2007 Los Angeles Times

Principal who criticized archdiocese fired

WLS By Karen Jordan

- A Catholic school principal who spoke out against the Chicago archdiocese's handling of a priest abuse case has been fired from her job.

Barbara Westrick was dismissed Thursday as head of Our Lady of the Westside School.

Father Daniel McCormack is accused of fondling boys at that school and its parish, St. Agatha's on Chicago's West Side. Westrick said she did not heed the warnings about repercussions for criticizing the Chicago archdiocese in the way it handled the Father Daniel McCormack alleged abuse scandal. A few months ago, a deadline to renew her contract passed and no action was taken.

She said there was no question that the Archdiocese was waiting for the right time to fire her.

"I just gave up my keys and I haven't said goodbye to my staff because I'm not supposed to come back," Westrick said.

Westrick said she knew the end was near and it became official Thursday. The archdiocese delivered the news that afternoon in a closed door meeting with Westrick and her attorney.

"The Cardinal is angry with me because I am the one who blew the whistle on the McCormack thing," Westrick said.

Westrick said the job termination is payback for criticizing Francis Cardinal George for letting McCormack stay at the school after he was arrested in August of 2005 and accused of molesting a young male student.

Westrick said she found out about the alleged abuse when a boy at the school told her in January of 2006 that McCormack molested him.

"The Cardinal allowed him to abuse them from September to December because he wouldn't take them out of the parish," Westrick said.

Westrick says she reported the alleged abuse to the Archdiocese and the police. Father McCormack was charged with several counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

She also criticized the archdiocese and the Cardinal about the situation and said that is why the school's new priest didn't renew her contract.

Father Larry Dowling said the termination was not payback but the result of an extensive review of her abilities.

"She was terminated based on my evaluation of her," Dowling said.

Westrick was principal for four years and left Thursday with only a picture as a reminder of the 200 students she will leave behind.

She said she is not sorry for speaking out about a situation that she felt was harmful to her students.

"I would do it again," Westrick said. "I would do it a hundred times again because these kid are not throwaways."

Father Dowling did not list the reasons he had for terminating Westrick. He said that the archdiocese does not discuss personnel matters.

Westrick and her attorney will review the termination letter and determine whether any legal action will be taken.

Meanwhile, Father McCormack will appear in court again on July 2.

'Pope's pastor' is father of three-year-old child
By John L Allen Jr Daily
Created Jun 1 2007 - 05:07
New York

In the wake of revelations that he is the father of a three-year-old girl, the popular pastor of a parish in Valle d’Aosta in Northern Italy, where both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have spent their summer vacations, will take a year-long sabbatical to reflect on his future as a Catholic priest.

Fr. Paolo Curtaz is a well-known figure in Italian Catholicism, the author of several books and a popular spiritual guide who maintains a web site with homilies and materials for retreats ( The Italian bishops’ conference recently used Curtaz in an advertising campaign designed to encourage Italians to designate a portion of their tax payments for the church.

When Benedict XVI arrived in Valle d’Aosta for his summer vacation in 2005, Curtaz jokingly welcomed him by saying, “Your Holiness, be careful, because while you’re here I’m your pastor.” Benedict responded by pledging to be “an obedient parishioner.” Curtaz exchanged similar words with John Paul II in 2004.

This week, however, news broke that Curtaz had stepped down as pastor of his parish, and will take a year-long sabbatical to reflect on his future. During this period, according to the agreement between Curtaz and his bishop, Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta, the priest is not to exercise any public ministry.

The move follows disclosures that Curtaz, 41, is the father of a three-year-old female child. The identity of the mother has not been revealed, but Italian news reports suggest it’s a local woman in her 40s.

A statement released by the Aosta diocese on May 31 said that Curtaz has not been suspended and that he remains bound by all the obligations of the priestly office. Further, the statement indicated, his status as a father is not incompatible with his identity as a priest; living together with the woman involved, on the other hand, or further violations of his obligations of celibacy, would not be acceptable.

“We well help Fr. Paulo in his journey of thinking and deciding about his priestly ministry,” the statement said.

The Code of Canon Law does not contain any penalties for priests with children, but it does provide for sanctions against priests who marry contrary to their vows of celibacy.

In an e-mail sent on Thursday to around 45,000 subscribers to his web site, Curtaz wrote, “I am a priest, I remain a priest, and I want to be a priest.”

“For me, what’s under discussion is not celibacy, but how I can live, if possible, my profound call without abdicating my responsibilities [as a father] which, believe me, I’ve always undertaken with conviction and effort,” he wrote.

“I want to confirm that I’m serene in my convictions and in my choices, and that the difficulty, in any case, is being created by this pernicious and insistent violation of privacy, my own and that of those I love. I’m unhappy that these events may have caused anyone to suffer, and for that I ask forgiveness.”

“As you’ve seen, I ended up on the front pages of national newspapers on a wave of gossip, this time clerical gossip,” Curtaz wrote. “The news of my resignation as pastor, which was confirmed by the statement of the curia, was something everyone already knew. What’s less known is the fact that, in harmony with the bishop and following a long and sincere discernment, I have arranged a sabbatical year of reflection.”

Curtaz added that the choice “belongs exclusively to my private sphere as a man and a priest, and all the attempts to dredge up details surrounding what happened should be named for what they are: gossip.”

Curtaz added that he wanted to “reassure the many persons who have been upset by the frenzy of news that has come out, and to thank people for their many expressions of esteem.”

“What’s under discussion for me,” Curtaz wrote, “is what I want to reflect on during this year – how I can exercise my ministry in this church that I have served, and that I love loyally, and if this church needs what I’m in a position to give.”

“Everything else,” Curtaz added, “belongs to the most intimate sphere of conscience that every human being should respect, and to the interior journey of every believer.”

“I’m going through a difficult moment,” Curtaz wrote. “Prayer for one another, which is born in the heart and leads to the truth, is a beautiful gift that believers give to one another.”

Proposals to execute pedophiles make headway in US
Monday, May 28, 2007

Also see:

The idea of executing child rapists, even when there in no loss of life, is making headway in the United States.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Louisiana Supreme Court last week upheld the death sentence for a pedophile, and the governor of Texas is soon to sign into law legislation to that effect.

In 1995, Louisiana was the first state to adopt legislation authorizing the death penalty for child rapists.

Ten years later, the movement to make pedophilia punishable by death really picked up steam after nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford was raped and buried alive in Florida by a man with a prior conviction for sex crimes.

Various versions of the "Jessica Law" sprang up all over in the country, imposing in most cases a minimum 25 year jail sentence and the wearing of an ankle bracelet for life for raping a child aged 12 or younger.

But in some states, elected officials amended their versions of the "Jessica Law" by adding the possibility of condemning a pedophile to death.

They include Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Georgia and Montana.

An overwhelming majority of lawmakers in Texas chose to join the list. Texas is responsible for a third of all executions carried out in the United States in the past 30 years and for two-thirds of those conducted so far this year.

The draft law is now on the desk of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has promised to sign it.

The idea seems to go against the grain in the rest of the country, where the death penalty is losing ground because of grave judicial errors and botched executions.

Organizations defending the rights of crime victims have differing views on the proposals.

"We are very concerned that this may reduce reporting of sexual assault, since most child abuse is made by someone close to the child," said Karen Rugaard, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

"It is already difficult to report about a father, an uncle, a family friend ... It will be worse when the child knows they can spend a very long time in jail or be sentenced to death," she said.

"We are worried that legislators did nothing to help prevent the violence," Rugaard added, expressing regret that the draft law does not call for any preventive measures.

Moreover, it is uncertain that executing non-murderers will comply with the US constitutional mandate barring "cruel and unusual" punishment.

The only man among more than 3,300 prisoners on death row who stands to lose his life under the new law is 42-year-old Patrick Kennedy, who was sentenced to death in Louisiana in 2003 for raping his companion's eight-year-old daughter.

In 1977, the US Supreme Court invalidated the death sentence of a rapist, arguing the punishment was disproportionate to the crime.

Later, evoking "evolving standards of decency," the court also rejected the death penalty for criminals who were minors or mentally retarded at the time they committed their crimes.

But on Tuesday, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Kennedy.

It argued that "given the appalling nature of the crime, the severity of the harm inflicted upon the victim, and the harm imposed on society, the death penalty is not an excessive penalty for the crime of rape when the victim is a child under the age of 12 years old."

The US Supreme Court could rule on the case next year.

Do the Jesuit's "Get It"?  Nah, they are just waiting for settlement papers to be signed before bringing him back to ministry and giving him a big, old, fat...promotion.

Published: Apr 30, 2007 12:30 AM
Modified: Apr 30, 2007 01:22 AM

Pastor's removal stuns flock
An evaluation of the Rev. Stephen M. Garrity will see whether he misused his influence in sexual relationships 25 years ago
DURHAM - The removal of the Rev. Stephen M. Garrity as pastor of Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church couldn't have come at a worse time.

Just Saturday, a concrete floor had been poured at the site of the new $2.8 million sanctuary two miles from the church's current location on the campus of N.C. Central University. The 67-year-old Garrity was the force behind the construction and fundraising.

When he didn't show up for Mass on Sunday morning, members were shocked to hear he had been "recalled" by his religious order, the Jesuits. According to the order, Garrity confessed to sexual relations with five adults 25 years ago. One of those people contacted the Maryland province of the order, which whisked Garrity away before he had a chance to say goodbye.

The congregation he left behind put up a strong front.

"This church will survive," said Bob Cefalo, the vice chairman of the parish council. "There's no question about it."

A representative of Raleigh Diocese Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Msgr. Michael Shugrue, broke the news after 9 a.m. Mass. The diocese provided several representatives to help people sort through their emotions after the service.

Burbidge will join the church's 250 members for Mass next Sunday, and the Jesuits sent the Rev. Frank O'Connor, a retired priest who had served the church in the 1970s, to run the church temporarily.

In a statement, Burbidge said the Diocese of Raleigh received no complaints about Garrity before the one in Maryland. The alleged sexual affairs did not take place in North Carolina. All priests in the Catholic church take vows of celibacy.

Garrity, who became pastor of Holy Cross in 2001, was beloved by the parish, the diocese's only mostly black congregation. Many said he was a good pastor and a caring person and suggested they would be willing to forgive him.

"That was 25 years ago; don't you think he paid the price?" asked Brenda Roventini, who moved to the area from Washington a year ago. "This church is going through so many changes."

Garrity, who is not suspected of pedophilia or any criminal activity, will be evaluated at an undisclosed treatment center, said Kate Pipkin, a spokeswoman for the order, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. She said the order will determine whether Garrity took advantage of people he was counseling or used his position of power inappropriately.

Before becoming a parish pastor, Garrity was known as a retreat leader who was schooled in the meditation exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order.


Staff writer Yonat Shimron can be reached at 829-4891 or

Posted on Mon, Apr. 30, 2007
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Friends official arrested in online sex sting


The Wichita Eagle

Wayne R. Morgan Jr.
Wayne R. Morgan Jr.

A Friends University official has been arrested in an undercover sting in which a Johnson County sheriff's detective posed online as a 14-year-old girl.

On Saturday, sheriff's detectives arrested Wayne R. Morgan Jr. at an undercover residence in Johnson County, said Master Deputy Tom Erickson. Morgan traveled to Johnson County from his home in Haven, Erickson said.

Morgan, 51, is associate vice president of academic affairs at the Wichita university, a Friends spokeswoman said.

At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, four Reno County sheriff's detectives served a search warrant at Morgan's home and seized two computer systems and related items.

Morgan was booked into the Johnson County jail on suspicion of indecent solicitation, the sheriff's office said.

He appeared in Johnson County District Court this afternoon and posted bond.

Friends University issued a statement that read in part: "Dr. Morgan has been placed on administrative leave today pending further investigation. He has been employed at the main campus of Friends University for less than a year. He was an administrator and had very little contact with students. His duties included overseeing outcomes assessment, adjunct faculty and university research.

"We are extremely shocked and saddened by this unfolding event, and as we are informed we will keep the University community updated. Please join us as we keep the Morgan family in our thoughts and prayers."

Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or

A typical Catholic Bishop's famous last words "I didn't know"

Bishop says he doesn't know value of assets
April 21, 2007

JOHN GIBBINS / Union-Tribune
San Diego Bishop Robert Brom (left) arrived at federal court yesterday for what would be a six-hour hearing.
Bishop Robert Brom and other officials of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego admitted yesterday that they understated the value of church property by many millions of dollars in its bankruptcy filings.

But Brom, making a rare appearance in the four-year-old legal battle over allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy, bristled at plaintiffs' attorneys who implied he and other diocese officials were not being truthful.

“I don't know who knows what the net worth of the diocese is, but I don't know,” Brom said under questioning.

The combative bankruptcy hearing on the diocese's finances was punctuated with several tense exchanges, including when a woman claiming to have been raped by priests confronted Brom.

U.S. Trustee Steven Katzman led the hearing and started the proceedings off by questioning Brom and other church officials about diocese finances, noting that much of the property is listed at tax-assessed values. That can be far lower than true market value – which the bankruptcy court requires.

Later, attorneys for the more than 150 people suing the diocese in the sexual-abuse scandal took over.

Before an audience of about 60 of the plaintiffs, church officials admitted the approximately $97 million they list as the sum of diocesan real-estate holdings is “not accurate.”

Brom acknowledged that he and other officials had failed to provide the court with appraisals of diocesan real estate.


The hearing: Yesterday's court appearance was the first opportunity for plaintiffs' attorneys and alleged victims to ask extensive financial questions of Catholic officials since the San Diego Diocese filed for Chapter 11 reorganization Feb. 27.

Highlights: Church officials said they do not know the fair market value of diocese property, though they acknowledged it is significantly higher than what is listed on amended financial statements.

What's next: The session on finances will continue May 31 in federal bankruptcy court in downtown San Diego.

Online: To review the amended financial statements and other documents filed in bankruptcy court, go to: uniontrib. com/ more/ diocese

“I am well aware of the concern you have; we share that concern,” Brom told Katzman. “We are willing to do our best to get you market values.”

Among the voluminous bankruptcy reports asked of the debtor, in this case the diocese, is current market value for its real estate. But after twice amending its real estate report since filing for Chapter 11 protection Feb. 27, Katzman noted, the diocese failed to list the market value of 32 of its 34 properties.

“Have any of these other 32 properties been appraised?” Katzman asked.

“I'm not aware of that,” Brom said. That answer was repeated by Richard Mirando, director of the diocese's finance office.

Among properties Katzman cited were lots the diocese owns on Third Avenue in downtown San Diego, leased to ACE Parking, with a tax-assessed value of $360,609.

“That property was acquired in 1946. Is it fair to say,” Katzman asked, “that market value for properties such as that is now substantially higher than assessed value?”

Mirando said it was.

Katzman also asked whether the diocese initially reported a pending sale for $65 million of 14 acres in Linda Vista, the site of the now-closed University of San Diego High School, to William Lyon Homes, which plans to build 533 condos there.

“That was an oversight,” said Susan Boswell, the diocese's lead bankruptcy attorney. “The answer is no.”

The diocese will share profits on the condo development, Mirando said. But he could not tell Katzman how much money the diocese figured it would eventually make on the deal.

Under questioning from Katzman, the bishop said the diocese filed for Chapter 11 reorganization “because we failed to reach a settlement after a lengthy attempt, and a serious attempt to do so.”

Brom said filing for bankruptcy protection would be the best way to balance a “fair and equitable response to all of the victims while not crippling the ability of the church to continue its mission.”

The hearing, which lasted more than six hours with no lunch break, got heated after Katzman turned the questioning over to attorneys representing alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse.

In a contentious tone, attorney John Manly said the diocese lists the value of Holy Cross Cemetery in southeastern San Diego at $11.3 million. He then asked if Brom or other diocese officials knew that in a 2005 civil case, the cemetery's manager valued the property at $40 million.

“I did not know that,” Brom said.

Plaintiffs' attorney Irwin Zalkin pointed out that the diocese valued the property for Marian High School in the South Bay, which is soon closing, at $2.8 million. He asked Brom if he knew that Shea Homes had offered $31.5 million for the property in 2006.

“I do not know the exact amount,” Brom said. “From my recollection, it was somewhere around 20-plus million.”

Zalkin said he was shocked by such answers. “Either they are the Keystone Kops, or they are not being truthful,” he said.

In a series of questions, plaintiffs' attorney Terry Giles asked about the analysis that diocese officials did to determine how much they could afford to offer during settlement negotiations.

“How could you have done all that financial planning without knowing the true and real value of your assets?” Giles said.

Brom replied: “I have no answer.”

The bishop insisted that he would tell the value if he knew it. Giles, however, was not convinced. “That is ridiculous on its face,” the attorney said at one point.

Even before that exchange, which came toward the end of the day, Brom grew agitated at repeated questions about whether he understood that he signed the newest financial statements under penalty of perjury.

The bishop said he did not like the insinuation that he was not being truthful.

“I want to say it clearly that they are true and correct to the best of my information and belief,” Brom said, reciting the last line of the legal declaration that comes just before his signature.

Susan Boswell, the diocese's lead bankruptcy attorney, interrupted her opponents several times, characterizing their questions as argumentative and complaining they went beyond the hearing's purpose – to glean information about the diocese's finances.

“The lawyers were giving speeches, they were not asking questions, in my view,” Boswell said afterward.

She also criticized attorneys for asking about documents that the diocese didn't have at the hearing, such as the bonds that were sold several years ago to finance the $80 million Cathedral Catholic High School in Carmel Valley.

“I wouldn't expect a CEO of a commercial enterprise to be able to sit in a meeting like that without those documents in front of them,” she said.

Boswell said Brom is “very sincere” in his desire to compensate victims and still continue the mission of the church. “This diocese will pay dearly for what happened 20 or 30 years ago,” she said. The diocese has offered $95 million to settle the sexual-abuse claims.

A woman claiming to have been raped by priests at Nazareth House, a now-defunct Mission Valley orphanage, was the first of more than a half-dozen alleged victims who spoke at yesterday's hearing.

Introducing herself as “one of your casualties,” the woman tearfully told of how she had accepted the diocese's offer to pay for her counseling.

Her nightmares, suicidal thoughts and panic disorder had lessened after 47 therapy sessions, she said. Then a letter from the Rev. Steven Callahan arrived notifying her of a policy to cease payments for therapy at 52 weeks. A plea from her therapist that the diocese reconsider was denied.

“I lived my rape 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” she said, weeping in the suddenly silent hearing room as Brom listened intently. “You released the names (of abusive priests) and not one of my perpetrators was on it.”

Brom said he would personally look into her situation. Callahan, seated near the bishop, said that in his letter, “I used the word policy, but I did not mean to convey that it was a policy.”

Several of the alleged victims said they were not happy with what they heard during yesterday's hearing. “They're obviously hiding assets to avoid a settlement,” said one 46-year-old man who said he was abused by a priest, who has since died.

“It just shows that they're not practicing what they preach right now.”

Mark Sauer: (619) 293-2227;

Mark Sauer: (619) 293-2227;

Friday, Apr 13, 2007

Diocese settles sexual abuse lawsuit

The $60,000 settlement is among the first by the diocese in cases involving local priests.

The Kansas City Star

A Northland man has settled a lawsuit with the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and two former priests for alleged sexual abuse in 1967.

The man, now in his 50s, contends that two priests molested him when he was 14 years old and that the diocese covered up sexual behavior by the priests for years.

The $60,000 settlement reached earlier this year after mediation with the Platte County man is among the first by the diocese in a local priest sex case.

The former priests, Thomas Reardon and Thomas O’Brien, are also named in several other pending sex abuse lawsuits for alleged acts decades ago. In all, about six former or active priests in the Kansas City area have been sued by more than two dozen plaintiffs in the last few years.

An attorney for O’Brien on Tuesday said his client denied any sex acts with children. Neither Reardon nor his attorney could be reached for comment, but Reardon also has denied any such acts.

Kay Goodnow, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said at a Tuesday news conference that she hoped the settlement signaled change for a diocese that had constantly fought such cases in court.

Rebecca Summers, a diocese spokeswoman, said, “We’re not in mediation on any of the other suits, but there is always a possibility.”

She urged any victims of clergy abuse to come forward to the diocese, authorities or both.

Goodnow urged any victims or witnesses to contact police. She praised the Platte County man for the courage to file his lawsuit.

“I think all Roman Catholics have been abused by the secrecy and conspiracy on these subjects,” she said.

Samuel Wendt, the man’s attorney, said his client suppressed the abuse but memories of it started coming back three years ago.

“He felt like that time was just a black hole,” Wendt said. “He didn’t remember things around that particular time.”

The stress of realizing what happened broke up his marriage and caused emotional problems, Wendt said.

The man’s lawsuit contends that Reardon sodomized him in the St. Elizabeth rectory and that both priests later took him and other boys to a lake retreat, got them drunk and molested them.

Reardon resigned in 1989. O’Brien retired in 2002 and has been told he can no longer work as a priest, Summers said.

Monsignor Robert Murphy, vicar general of the diocese, issued a statement that said in part: “A written apology rings hollow. I would welcome an opportunity, now this has left the legal arena, to talk heart-to-heart with this man.”

He, too, urged anyone who has seen or suffered sexual abuse by anyone in the church to “come forward so that we can begin the healing process.”

The diocese also has paid $10,000 to each of two victims who sued in other states for acts not committed in Kansas City.

To reach Joe Lambe, call (816) 234-4314 or send e-mail to

Posted on Tue, Apr. 10, 2007
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Hutchinson man accused of putting kids in dryer sent to Larned

The Associated Press

- A Hutchinson man accused of putting two young children in a clothes dryer will be sent to Larned State Security Hospital after being found incompetent to stand trial.

Aron Pritchard, 27, was charged with a single count of child abuse and another count of endangering a child after he placed a 3-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl in a clothes dryer on Nov. 28, 2006. Pritchard pleaded not guilty in March.

Prosecutors allege Pritchard put the children in the hot dryer to punish them for wetting their pants. The boy was treated for second-degree burns but the girl was not injured.

Pritchard maintains that he was giving the children rides in the dryer, and said he even put pillows inside the machine to cushion the children.

After a pretrial hearing Monday, District Judge Tim Chambers ordered that Pritchard be sent to Larned for treatment.

After Chambers denied Pritchard's request that his transfer be delayed so he could say goodbye to his family, Pritchard erupted into a profanity-laced tirade, which continued as officers took him out of the courtroom.

Pritchard will remain in the state hospital until professionals determine he is fit to stand trial.

Information from: The Hutchinson News,

For Cleveland Catholics, it's getting harder to take the words of top priests on faith.

While a $17.5 million embezzlement scandal plays out in court, the fighting has reached the highest ranks of the diocese -- and appears to be closing in on former Bishop Anthony Pilla and the diocese's former chief accountant, Father John Wright.

It began in 1997, when ex-CFO Joseph Smith and Anton Zgoznik are alleged to have begun a massive kickback scheme. The U.S. Justice Department claims the two men steered $17.5 million in diocese funds to Zgoznik's companies, which in turn kicked $784,000 back to Smith for "consulting."

Since 2004, when the scandal forced Smith from his job, Pilla and Wright, the longtime head of the diocesan Financial Office, have generally invoked a "we trusted unscrupulous individuals" brand of defense. But lawyers for Smith and Zgoznik say their clients were merely following orders from the two priests.

Now the gloves are coming off.

Defense attorneys want to subpoena financial records from the diocese and other institutions connected to the case. At issue is whether it was common practice for church leaders to use off-the-book accounts to reward valued employees. It's an argument at least partially supported by the feds.

Smith's indictment refers to a special fund -- created in 1996 by "the then diocesan financial and legal secretary" -- which paid Smith $270,000 in unreported income in addition to his regular salary. Wright was not only the financial and legal secretary at that time, but his name was on the account, according to the feds.

Philip Kushner, Smith's lawyer, also asserts the diocese used creative bookkeeping to pay Wright, his friends, and relatives over $700,000, and that Pilla had his own secret account in excess of $500,000 that "has never appeared on the [diocese's] books and records." The "Anthony M. Pilla charitable account," as it was called, was used for large cash withdrawals by the bishop, according to Kushner.

In a church press release, Pilla calls the accusations "scurrilous." Smith and Zgoznik "have resorted to false statements, half truths, and innuendo against [Pilla and Wright]," says the statement.

The U.S. Attorney's office has filed motions to halt the release of diocese financial data. Church lawyers are also trying to suppress the request.

But for a church widely stung by the secrecy -- and subsequent payouts -- of its massive pedophile scandal, attempts to once again bar a public viewing of the diocese's inner workings have a familiar ring.

"I would think that when you're a large, nonprofit religious organization, that you'd want all your parishioners . . . to know precisely every detail of the financial transactions you've ever made," says Robert Rotatori, Zgoznik's lawyer.

In the meantime, the revelations just keep getting worse for Father Wright. On March 15, Rotatori filed a motion that singles out Marilyn Ruane, an employee of the Catholic Cemeteries Association. (Church officials refuse to say what Ruane's job entails.) Wright, who now heads the CCA, described Ruane as a "friend" in a 2005 interview with prosecutors. He also admitted that he helped the woman get a job at Resultant Corporation, a company that did unexplained business with the diocese.

Rotatori asserts that Wright arranged for Resultant to be paid over $290,000 through Zgoznik's companies between 1997 and 1999, "in large part for [Wright's] personal purposes." The motion seeks Resultant's financial records to establish how much of that money went to Marilyn Ruane.

According to a Justice Department interview with Zrino Jukic, an associate of Zgoznik, "Ruane . . . was on the payroll at Resultant Corporation, but didn't work there."

More to the point: "Ruane was Father Wright's girlfriend."

That may explain why, according to Rotatori, Ruane made $31,500 when she started at Catholic Cemeteries in 1997, but had catapulted to $81,000 by 2004. If the raises seem a bit outsized for a religious entity funded by the dollar donations of little old ladies, Ruane isn't talking. "I really don't want to comment about that," she said sweetly when contacted by Scene, "but thanks so much for calling."

Wright's lawyer, Kevin Spellacy, calls the girlfriend claim "a cheap shot," saying it's unfounded. But when asked expressly if the claim is false, he declined comment and refused to put the direct question to Wright.

In the meantime, Catholics are left to wonder if the same men who ran the pedophile cover-up were draining the collection basket in their spare time.

Write Your Comment show comments (4)
  1. With regards to the article on the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, I have to say many things have now been enlightened for me. It's like a huge puzzle you have a hard time putting together and all of a sudden, pieces start falling into place. As a life long catholic (I'm 38 years old), I've been struggling with my faith in what I thought was only one priest, but after reading this article, I now realize it's most likely a "trickle down" affect. It would be really interesting to know what the "smaller" parishes within the diocese are doing with their finances, but from I understand, it's none of the parishoners business. I guess they will answer to God when the time comes.

    Thanks for the article!

  2. Whatever happened to truth? Confessionals are not to flush away recurring sins. I hope
    there truly is a Heaven and Hell, and guilty parties truly spend eternity with whom they have served. When lawyers are involved to keep the truth from emerging it is time for
    Christ to swing the sword of Justice. All this money spent on so few, while so many need help. So many struggling Parishes. If these men are guilty it truly shows that Satan is alive in their hearts. Two thousand and seven years of struggle undermined in one lifetime. If there are priests that are aware of injustices I beseech you to speak up as Christ would expect. Follow your hearts and not instructions of Diocese officials.

  3. It certainly will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the courts. It would be wonderful if it weren't true but I don't hold out much hope that that is the case.

    Sad, very sad.

    It does point out that accountability and transparency are practically as non-existant in the financial areas of the church as they are in the area of the sexual abuse of minors by clerics.

    It is up the the people in the parishes, in the pews to demand that real changes are made in the running of our church.

  4. These events were prophesized by Jesus two thousand years ago.

    Luke 12: 1- 4:
    He began to say to his disciples first, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

    How perfectly this prophecy fits. First the awful truth about the rape, sodomization and molestation of children was brought into the light and now the financial improprieties of the same group are making headlines across the country. The secrets will not end until there is transparency. Transparency will not begin until the pew people take back their church from a tainted hierarchy.

Tolerance Of Foley Is Sinful

by Helen Ubiñas

March 29, 2007

Forgive me, Father, but you have got to be kidding me.

There was Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell pounding his chest in Wednesday's papers: He's throwing the Rev. Stephen Foley out, and he doesn't care where the accused child molester lands.

"When the archbishop says something, the archbishop means it," the diocese spokesperson said.

When he finally gets around to it, that is.

Foley's been living off the archdiocese for a good 10 years since allegations of his misconduct with teenage boys surfaced. And unless Mansell really means to get tough - unless he starts the process of having Foley defrocked - the disgraced priest will still collect a stipend of about $1,400 a month, health benefits and a pension.

So, what's the holdup?

Oh, I was schooled on that one all day. Boiled down, diocesan spokesperson the Rev. John Gatzak said, the process to strip someone of their priesthood is a long and arduous one.

Numerous claims of sexual misconduct, a state police investigation, millions in payouts? That's apparently not nearly enough to present a strong case to the Vatican, which ultimately makes the decision.

No, Gatzak said, the Vatican looks for the accused to be convicted of a crime when it considers laicizing a priest. It also helps if the accused has admitted to his actions. Without those two key components, he said, it's extremely difficult to strip someone of their status.

Really? Because just across the border in Springfield, the diocese managed to defrock three priests in one year for sexual misconduct - and none had been convicted.

"Nothing's a slam dunk," Springfield diocese spokesman Mark Dupont said when I asked about the difference. Perhaps, he suggested, the Hartford archdiocese was being more pragmatic.

Nice - so when the Catholic Church's spin doctors aren't covering for pedophile priests, they're covering for wishy-washy bishops.

It's all part of a pattern: Bury the problem until it becomes too much of an embarrassment. Mansell reacted only after a story about Foley came out in the paper.

Not that Hartford is alone. There are priests serving time all over this country for sexual offenses who have yet to be defrocked.

The fact is there's plenty of ammo to cut Foley loose. Clearly, there was enough merit to claims in the early '90s for the archdiocese to remove Foley from his Glastonbury parish and place him at the St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, where he's been ever since.

And then there's the $2 million the archdiocese has paid to settle complaints and lawsuits against Foley. Three lawsuits are still pending.

Gatzak wasn't convinced; defrocking a priest isn't always the answer, he said.

"The potential loss of control is always a concern."

Control? You mean the kind of control the archdiocese had when Foley, a former state police and fire chaplain, lured young boys into his tricked-out Crown Victoria, complete with flashing lights, sirens and radios?

Or when even after being stripped of his duties in 1993, Foley continued to drive around in the same kind of car right under their noses?

Chancing eternal damnation, I asked Gatzak: "What control?"

"I think we knew of his whereabouts as much as is humanly possible without him being in prison," Gatzak said.

Funny - prison seems just the place to keep track of priests like Foley.

Helen Ubiñas' column appears on Thursdays and Sundays. She can be reached at
Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant

3/13/07 Southeast Kansas teacher accused of sex with student Associated Press INDEPENDENCE, Kan. - A teacher at a Christian school in southeast Kansas has been charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl who was her student, authorities said. Mote was a teacher at Tyro Community Christian School. Her husband, Kevin, is associate pastor at Tyro Christian Church and has taken a leave of absence because of the allegations.

Women's Ordination

Rev. Teczar gets 25 years for sex assault



EASTLAND, Texas— A priest from Central Massachusetts was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison after being convicted of the aggravated sexual assault of an 11-year-old boy in the early 1990s.

The Rev. Thomas Teczar, 65, was a priest in the Worcester Diocese before taking an assignment in the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese until his departure in 1993. He served in several parishes in Texas, including Ranger, where the victim was abused.

Rev. Teczar, who lives in Dudley, Mass., and who served as a priest in the Worcester Diocese until the mid-1980s, was convicted yesterday on three counts of sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child. He was sentenced to 25 years for each assault charge and 15 for the indecency charge; all sentences will run concurrently, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in its online edition yesterday.

The victim, now in his late 20s, testified yesterday that Rev. Teczar used threats, persuasion and the use of his Mercedes to entice a boy, then 11 years old, to have sex and keep it a secret.

Rev. Teczar told him he could have him taken away from his mother, the man testified before a state district judge.

He testified yesterday that he came forward in 2002 because he now has children.

“I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to them,” he said. “I wanted to get him off the street and put him where he belongs.”

Rev. Teczar was arraigned on the charges in 2003 in Texas and has been free on $30,000 bail.

He was arrested in Dudley in December 2002 on a warrant alleging he was a fugitive from justice and was arrested again in March 2003 on a governor’s warrant. Rev. Teczar has denied he fled Texas to avoid prosecution, and he returned on his own to Texas for the arraignment. He has also denied that he abused the boy, who is identified as John Doe II.

“John Doe II” settled a civil suit against the Fort Worth, Texas, and Worcester dioceses several months ago for $2.75 million, although Worcester did not contribute to the settlement. The entire amount came from the Fort Worth diocese.

The former priest’s brother, Edward Teczar, told the court Tuesday, “I know my brother. I know what he’s capable of and what he’s not capable of. I know he’s been falsely accused of something he would never do. Ever.”

But a Texas Ranger testified Tuesday that Rev. Teczar is a child predator who used another man — who was later convicted of sexual assault — as a “forward scout” to gain access to potential victims.

Other witnesses in the trial testified that Rev. Teczar exposed his victim to alcohol, drugs and pornography.

Rev. Teczar, who was ordained as a priest of the Worcester Diocese in 1967, was barred from ministry in the 1980s by the late Bishop Timothy J. Harrington, but he has not been defrocked.

Material from the Telegram & Gazette was used in this report.

Published Saturday, February 28, 2004

Allegations cost Wichita diocese $1 million

The state's largest Roman Catholic diocese spent more than $1 million on settlements, legal fees and therapy for victims of sexual abuse by priests and for priests facing allegations of abuse, according to a church report released Friday.

The Wichita diocese spent $897,500 on legal fees and settlements and $144,128 for therapy and counseling.

The figures were included in a report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In an open letter published Friday in the Wichita diocese's newsletter, The Catholic Advance, Monsignor Robert E. Hemberger apologized to victims of abuse.

Hemberger, the diocese's administrator, outlined steps the diocese has taken to prevent sexual abuse and asked people affected by abuse to forgive the church.

"Every bishop wishes he knew in the 1960s what he knows now about this sin, this illness, this crime," he wrote. "But the clock does not run backwards. How do we move forward?"

That remains a difficult prospect for the families of five boys who were victims of a single priest, Robert Larson. All five committed suicide as adults.

Janet Patterson, whose son Eric killed himself in 1999, now runs a support group for victims and their families.

"Forgiving implies that someone has taken responsibility and accountability for his actions, and will make restitution in any human way possible, and that he's generally remorseful," Patterson said. "And if God can't pardon a sinner unless he makes restitution and is generally willing to make up for his injustice, then I find it impossible to do more than God can do."

Larson, now defrocked, is serving a sentence of three to 10 years and will next be eligible for parole in September.

The bishops' report, carried out by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, found that 4 percent of Catholic clergy serving between 1950 and 2002 had been accused of sexual abuse. That amounts to 4,392 out of the 109,694 Catholic clergy during that time.

As a result of substantiated abuse claims, the Catholic Church paid out $533.4 million, The Associated Press has reported.

Nationwide, dioceses fielded 10,667 abuse claims over the period covered by the report. Of those, 6,700 were substantiated. About 3,300 weren't investigated because the accused clergymen were dead, and an additional 1,000 or so were found to be unsubstantiated.

In the Diocese of Wichita, nine priests were accused out of 368 who served over the 50-year period. Four are dead, four were removed from priestly ministry, and the abuse by one was never substantiated.

Other Kansas dioceses reported allegations that were at or below the rates reported nationally.

In the archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, 10 priests were accused of sexual misconduct involving minors, amounting to about 3.7 percent out of a total of 270 priests serving from 1950 to 2002.

Claims against three priests were judged unsubstantiated. None of the eight priests still alive is in a priestly ministry in any capacity, according to the archdiocese, which covers the eastern half of Kansas.

The archdiocese spent $483,261 on victims' care and settlements in abuse allegation cases. Another $62,378 was spent on psychological care for priests found responsible for abuse.

The Diocese of Salina reported that five priests out of 386 who had served in the diocese had been accused of sexual misconduct involving minors.

Allegations against four of those priests were substantiated -- representing about 1 percent of the total serving the diocese. Two of them have died, and the two still living are no longer active in the ministry.

The Rev. Barry Brinkman, a diocesan chancellor, said one priest left the priesthood voluntarily in 1989 after finishing psychological treatment. The other, the Rev. Ron Gilardi, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual abuse of a minor and is serving a 32-month sentence in a rehabilitation facility.

He will be released to his order in March.

Brinkman said he didn't have exact information on the amount of money spent related to settling abuse claims.

Six of more than 250 priests who served with the Dodge City Diocese over the past 50 years were accused of sexual abuse. All are either dead or living outside the diocese, and the incidents reported to the study happened between ten and 40 years ago.

The diocese has paid $11,000 for counseling and education.