Category: Clergy Abuse

Bishop on Trial: Convicted of Covering up Sexual Abuse by Brother

by John McKiggan

Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison is on trial in ecclesiastical court facing accusations that he covered up sexual abuse by his brother, who is also a priest, on a 14 year old girl.

The Bishop is not facing criminal charges, nor is he being sued in civil court. The trial is taking place under the rules of canon (church) law. A panel of 5 bishops, 2 clergy and 2 lay members will decide whether Bennsion violated church rules Title IV of the Canons of the Episcopal Church by failing to disclose that his brother, John Bennison was having sexual relations with an underage female parishioner.

The Philidelphia Bulletin has reported that :

Priest Sex Abuser Appeals Conviction: Denies Existence of Repressed Memory

by John McKiggan

Paul Shanley the notorious defrocked priest and convicted sex abuser that was the center of the Boston priest sexual abuse scandal has appealed his conviction on charges of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s.

Shanley claims that his lawyer at his trial did not do a good enough job challenging the admissibility of the victim’s “repressed memories” of the childhood sexual abuse.

The District Attorney who prosecuted Shanley, Gerry Leone was quoted as saying:

Priest Charged with Sexual Abuse Chooses Trial by Judge and Jury: Quebec

by John McKiggan

Le Soleil has reported that Denis Tremblay, a priest from Sainte-Martine accused of sexual abuse, has elected trial by judge and jury.

Tremblay was a priest at Sainte-Martine for more than 20 years. He is charged with sexual molestation, indecent exposure and indecency on a person over whom he had authority.

The acts allegedly took place over a 40-year-period, between 1968 and 2007.

Ex-Cop who Snubbed Cornwall Sex-Abuse Inquiry Appeals Contempt Conviction

by John McKiggan

Perry Dunlop a former police officer who is currently serving a jail sentence for refusing to testify at the Cornwall Sexual Abuse inquiry he helped spark is appealing his contempt conviction, but still has no plans to give evidence at the sex-abuse probe.

The Canadian Press has reported that Dunlop has retained Ottawa lawyer Lawrence Greenspon to handle the appeal, which he initially filed himself as an inmate.

I have posted about Dunlop’s refusal to cooperate with the inquiry before.

Jury awards victim $8.7 million in Vermont priest-abuse case.

by John McKiggan

A jury has awarded a man who was sexually abused by Roman Catholic priest Rev. Edward Paquette $8.7 million dollars. The Burlington Free press has reported that the jury deliberated for almost five hours before returning with their verdict.

The jury verdict was for $950,000 in compensatory damages (what is typically referred to as compensation for “pain and suffering”) and $7.75 million in punitive damages.

I posted about this case when the trial started last week, and last year when the Bishop of the Diocese of Vermont threatened to sue Indiana’s Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese for failing to disclose prior complaints of sexual abuse against Paquette.

Lawyer wants to Question Pope about Sex Abuse Cover Ups

by John McKiggan

A lawyer representing three men who say that since 1962 the Vatican orchestrated a coverup of priests sexually abusing children in the United States wants a court order allowing him to question the pope about what the Catholic Church knew about sex abuse allegations.

I posted about how the Church tried unsuccessfully to stop the lawsuit last year.

The lawsuit is based, in part, on instructions that the Vatican sent in 1962 to Bishops worldwide instructing them to keep allegations of priest sexual abuse confidential, at the risk of excommunication.

Preliminary Inquiry Starts for Priest Charged with Sexual Abuse: North Bay, Ontario

by John McKiggan

A preliminary inquiry has started for Bernard Cloutier, a Roman Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting several young boys over a decade at various parishes in Northern Ontario.

It is alleged the incidents involving Bernard Cloutier began in 1974 and continued until April 1983. He has pleaded not guilty to the 22 charges he is facing.

The preliminary inquiry will determine if there is sufficient evidence for the charges to proceed to trial.

Diocese Ignored Sex Abuse Claims Against Priest: Vermont

by John McKiggan

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Vermont has been sued over allegations that the Bishop ignored previous allegations of sexual abuse when the Diocese hired Rev. Edward Paquette.

In a trial that started this week, Monsignor John McSweeney, who was chancellor of the Vermont diocese and handled details of hiring priests for then-Bishop John Marshall in the 1970s, testified that he did not know about such allegations until he reviewed church documents recently.

The documents, which chronicle the steps the Vermont diocese took while considering whether to hire Paquette in 1972, include several mentions of the alleged misconduct in letters from out-of-state church officials to McSweeney.

Judge Expands Abuse Claim Time Limits…Catches Up to Canada

by stemwebadmin

Judge John R. O’Malley denied the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph summary judgment Friday, after hearing arguments based on Powel v. Chaminade, which added new wording to how the statute of limitations can be applied in sexual abuse claims. The ruling allows a court to consider when a plaintiff not only recalled the alleged abuse, but recognized the harm it inflicted.
O’Malley’s decision allowed the lawsuit to proceed to a jury verdict. The Diocese settled within days.
The ruling means Missouri’s law is now similar to Canada. The 1992 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, M (K) v M (H), removed a major barrier to lawsuits by ruling that provincial limitation periods do not begin to run until the plaintiff is reasonably capable of discovering the wrongful nature of the defendant’s acts and the nexus between those acts and the plaintiff’s injuries.
Nova Scotia became the first Province to amend its Limitation of Actions Act to provide that the limitation period for sexual abuse cases does not start to run until the victim is aware of the full extent of the abuse and the injury suffered. In 1994, British Columbia amended its Limitation Act to eliminate all limitations for causes of action ‘based on misconduct of a sexual nature’ or ‘based on sexual assault’. The rest of the Provinces enacted similar legislation shortly thereafter.

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