Category: Priest Abuse

3 Priests to stand trial for covering up sex abuse: Now what about the rest?

by John McKiggan






Three Franciscan priests have been ordered by a Judge in Pennsylvania to stand trial on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy for covering up sexual abuse by a fourth Priest.

The priests are charged with enabling Brother Stephen Baker to sexually abuse a number of boys at Bishop McCort High School. According to witness testimony during the priests’ preliminary inquiry, the accused, Father Giles Schinelli, Father Robert D’Aversa and Father Anthony Criscitelli knew that Baker was a pedophile and yet the accused priests continued to assign Baker to jobs where he would have contact with children.

Systemic cover up?

How Will Pope Francis Respond to the Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis?

by John McKiggan






Newly ordained Pope Francis has certainly started his papacy by making the headlines. He turned down the luxurious Papal housing in the Apostolic Palace in favour of a simple hotel room, he travelled to a juvenile detention centre to wash the feet of the inmates, and he has issued what is seen as a strong statement against sex abusers in the clergy.

Pope Francis, the head of 1.2 billion followers of the Roman Catholic faith, called on the Church to act against clergy sex abuse. He demanded that the Bishops’ conferences around the world need to step up to disciplining the priests and assisting the victims. USA Today reports, :

“This could be an indication that he will move from a strongly centralized government of the church of 1.2 billion people to one that places increased authority locally.”

Breaking the Silence

by John McKiggan






Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

For those of you that have not seen the “Explosive” Documentary About Sexual Abuse at a School for the Deaf CBC is now showing the documentary Mea Maxima Culpa online.

Given the widespread media attention given to priest sexual abuse scandals around the globe I am concerned that the public is becoming desensitized to the issue.

Did the Moncton Archdiocese Break the Law by not Reporting Priest Sexual Abuse?

by John McKiggan






Priests Suspended After Alleged Child Abuse

Last week the Archdiocese of Moncton announced that two of it’s priests Rev. Yvon Arsenault and Rev. Irois Despres had been removed: “from any ministry whatsoever following allegations of serious sexual abuse on minors on their part.”

Concern Over Failure to Report

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Updating Guidelines on Priest Sexual Abuse

by John McKiggan






Canadian Catholic Bishops are attending their annual Conference this week. The Conference (the CCCB) runs from Sept. 24-28th and is expected to include approximately 90 Bishops from across Canada.

New Rules?

One of the important items on their agenda is the updating of their guidelines for the prevention of clerical sexual abuse. On their approach to the new guidelines the CCCB president, Archbishop Richard Smith told The Catholic Register:

Irish Bishop’s Apology: Evidence of a much bigger problem?

by John McKiggan






Sexual Abuse Was “Friendship”?!

Dr. John Kirby, a Catholic Bishop in Ireland, recently apologized for the role he played in transferring abusive priests from one parish to another. In an attempt to explain his decisions he stated:

“I was unaware of the recidivist nature, or the compulsive nature of sexual abuse and I felt that it was a friendship that had gone astray, and was wrong.”

What Does Monsignor Lynn’s Conviction Mean for the Catholic Church?

by John McKiggan






On Friday, June 22, 2012, Monsignor William Lynn was convicted by a jury on charges of criminal endangerment. The case marks the first time that any official within the Catholic Church has been held criminally responsible for sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Landmark Decision

I don’t believe the importance of this conviction can be overstated. Every province in Canada and every state in the United States have laws that require persons in authority to report suspected cases of child abuse. The website BishopAccountability.org has a huge database of American priests who have been publicly accused of sexual abuse.

Albert LeBlanc – Ex Priest and Probation Officer Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse

by John McKiggan






Albert LeBlanc a fomer catholic priest from the Yarmouth Diocese pleaded guilty this week to charges that he sexually abused six boys in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Some of the charges stem from the period when LeBlanc was employed as a priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yarmouth the later charges relate to periods when he was employed as a case worker with Social Services and then a probation officer.

LeBlanc is facing 44 more charges which are scheduled to be dealt with in August.

The Diocese of Yarmouth has already been sued by several of LeBlanc’s victims. The potential legal exposure for the Diocese, Family and Children’s Services and Probation Services could be enormous.

Bishop’s Report Shows Abuse Allegations Against Priests Continue to Increase

by John McKiggan






The US Conference of Catholic Bishops released a report this week supposedly showing the number of sexual abuse allegations made against American priests last year. How the data in the report should be interpreted depends on your point of view.

The report indicated that there were 594 new credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest during 2011. That’s more than a 15 percent increase over the previous year.

However, the Conference of Catholic Bishops is quick to point out that “only” 23 of the new allegations involved children who were under the age of 18 in 2010 or 2011. In other words, the Bishops are trying to suggest that the problem of sexual abuse by priests is an historical one and that there are few current cases of sexual abuse by priests.

Court to Rule on Reliability of Repressed Memory in Abuse Case

by John McKiggan






Sexual abuse victims often struggle for years with memories of the traumatic abuse they suffered as children. In some cases, the experiences are so traumatic that they block out (or repress) the memories.

This week the Minnesota Supreme Court is hearing a motion to determine the validity of repressed memory in sexual abuse cases.

Courts will not allow expert evidence unless the party seeking to submit the evidence can establish that the evidence is reliable.

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