September 24, 2018

USA: New York Attorney General Subpoenaed All New York Roman Catholic Dioceses As Part Of Sex Abuse Probe. 😦 Clergy Abuse Survivors Push For Federal Investigation Into Catholic Church.

Fox5 News, DC local
written by AP
Thursday September 6, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has subpoenaed all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state as part of an investigation into the handling of sex abuse allegations.

A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly told The Associated Press the subpoenas went out Thursday.

The subpoenas seek documents relating to abuse allegations, payments to victims or findings from internal church investigations.

Underwood's office is pursuing a civil investigation into the church's response to abuse reports and has also reached out to local prosecutors authorized to convene grand juries or pursue criminal investigations.

Church officials say they will cooperate.

The announcement comes three weeks after a grand jury investigation found rampant sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by about 300 priests in Pennsylvania.
WKBW ABC7, Buffalo local
written by CNN staff
Sunday September 2, 2018

Survivors of clergy sex abuse stood in front of the Vatican embassy in Washington on Thursday and urged two higher powers -- the Pope and the U.S. Department of Justice -- to take concrete steps to prevent more abuses and hold abusers accountable.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and Center for Constitutional Rights have also sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein demanding an "investigation and prosecution of high-level officials in the Catholic Church" for sexual crimes and cover-ups.

"It is long past time for the US Department of Justice to initiate a full-scale, nationwide investigation into the systemic rape and sexual violence, and cover-ups in the Catholic Church, and, where appropriate, bring criminal and/or civil proceedings against the hierarchy that enabled the violations," the groups said in the letter.

Pam Spees, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said a Department of Justice official has confirmed receipt of the request. Spees was part of the small protest in front of the Vatican embassy on Thursday.

Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said, "We don't confirm or deny the existence of investigations."

"They have plenty of evidence," said Peter Isely, spokesman for the group Ending Clergy Abuse. "Let's launch this investigation. Let's do it now."

SNAP's letter demanding a federal investigation is dated August 15, one day after a damning report by a grand jury in Pennsylvania said there is credible evidence that 301 "predator priests" abused more than 1,000 children in six dioceses since 1947.

Because the statute of limitations had run out on most of the crimes, only two priests have been charged as a result of the two-year-long investigation.

But the Pennsylvania report has prompted officials in several other states, including Illinois and Missouri, to open inquiries into allegations of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy.

SNAP said they have been asking for a federal investigation into the Catholic Church since 2003, during the church's last widespread scandal of clergy sex abuse.

As the embassy's white and yellow papal flag waved behind them, the abuse survivors also called on Pope Francis to release documents that could shed light on what top Vatican officials knew about Washington's former cardinal, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of abusing a minor and seminarians.

McCarrick has denied accusations that he abused the minor and has not commented on the allegations about seminarians.

In an explosive letter published Sunday, former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò said that top church officials, including Pope Francis, knew that McCarrick had been accused of abusing seminarians but covered it up. Viganò also accused Francis of lifting restrictions placed on him by the previous pope, Benedict XVI.

Vigano wrote that documents backing up his accusations were in Vatican files in the Washington embassy, where he worked from 2011-2016, when he was removed by Pope Francis.

The Pope has said he will not comment on the accusations.

"I will not say a single word about this," he said on Sunday in a press conference aboard the papal plane. "I believe the statement speaks for itself. And you have the sufficient journalistic ability to make your conclusions. It's an act of trust."

The Vatican has not responded to a CNN request to review McCarrick's church files. CNN also attempted to speak to Vatican officials at the embassy in Washington on Thursday, but no one answered the door.

Isely urged the Pope to immediately take three steps: enact a policy of "zero tolerance" worldwide for any priest credibly accused of sexual abuse; do the same for bishops accused of sexual abuse or covering up the crimes of others; publish a global registry of every Catholic priest credibly accused of sexual abuse.
Breitbart News
written by Dr. Susan Berry
Wednesday September 19, 2018

Four young men have reached a $27.5 million settlement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and an afterschool program following claims that a male religious education teacher sexually abused them as children.
The settlement is one of the largest ever awarded by the church to individual victims of abuse, reports the New York Times.

The victims, now between the ages of 19 and 21, said they were repeatedly abused by Angelo Serrano, 67, a catechist and organizer of the religious education programs at St. Lucy’s-St. Patrick’s Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. The young men said the abuse took place between 2003 and 2009, when they were between the ages of eight and twelve. They added that the abuse occurred inside the church, in Serrano’s apartment behind the church, and at the afterschool program, which is affiliated with the parish.

One of the boys reported the abuse to his mother, who reported it to the police. Subsequently, Serrano was arrested in 2009 and pleaded guilty two years later to first-degree sexual conduct charges. Currently, he is serving a 15-year sentence at the Fishkill Correctional Facility.

The pastors at the church during the time of the reported abuse, Rev. Stephen P. Lynch and Rev. Frank Shannon, were named as co-defendants in the case.

According to the Times, Justice Loren Baily-Schiffman of Kings County Supreme Court wrote in her 2017 order that the “record is clear that Lynch and Shannon had knowledge that for years Serrano often had several boys, including plaintiff, sleep over at his apartment.”

“In fact, both Lynch and Shannon testified that they visited Serrano on numerous occasions when young boys were present,” the judge wrote.

Lynch testified in a deposition that he saw Serrano kiss an eight- or nine-year-old boy on the mouth and inappropriately embrace him.

Beatrice Ponnelle, a church secretary who shared an office with Serrano, also testified that young boys would come into the office and do their homework while sitting on Serrano’s lap. Additionally, though a church rule prohibited children from being alone in an office with a staff member, Serrano was often the only adult left in the office with the young boys, she said.

The Dorothy Bennett Mercy Center, the afterschool program located next to the church, has agreed to pay about one-third of the multi-million dollar settlement. According to the Times report, each of the four victims will receive $6,875,000.

Earlier in September, ABC News reported that New York attorney general Barbara Dale Underwood subpoenaed all Roman Catholic dioceses in the state as part of an investigation into alleged sexual abuse by clergy and cover-ups of the alleged abuse by church leaders:

In New Jersey, a special hotline was launched last week as the state’s attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, formed a new task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and attempts to cover up the alleged abuse:

The state investigations are put in motion in the wake of the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report alleging more than 1,000 victims of sexual abuse – most of them boys – by Roman Catholic clergy in that state during a 70-year period.

The Pennsylvania report was followed by the release of a letter, written by Archbishop Carlo Viganò, the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States, who linked the sexual abuse scandal, as well as ensuing cover-ups by some bishops, to an extensive “homosexual network” within the church.

In his letter, Viganò charged that, as the papal nuncio to the United States, he personally informed Pope Francis of disgraced Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s longstanding sexual abuse of priests, seminarians, and minors on June 23, 2013 – three months after the College of Cardinals had elected Francis as pope. The pontiff, nevertheless, “continued to cover for [McCarrick],” Viganò said.

The former nuncio wrote that, despite being aware of McCarrick’s abusive history, Pope Francis “did not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on [McCarrick] and made him his trusted counselor.”

Viganò also attributed a number of important papal appointments in the United States, including those of Cardinals Blase Cupich in Chicago and Tobin in Newark, to McCarrick’s influence over Pope Francis.

In his letter, Viganò has called upon Pope Francis to resign his office. The pope, however, has doubled down on his claim that both the accusations and the calls for accountability are the work of Satan.

“Among us is the great accuser, who always goes to accuse us before God, in order to destroy us,” the pope said. “Satan: He is the great accuser.”

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