Priest calls out archbishop over clergy sex abuse response Read more: Priest calls out archbishop over clergy sex abuse response.

Priest calls out archbishop over clergy sex abuse response

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) –

In churches and living rooms across the metro, the debate is on over how the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has handled allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members — but one priest used the power of the pulpit on during Sunday’s sermon.

At Church of the Assumption, the faithful fill the pews every Sunday to hear from their parish priests — and they got an earful this past weekend as the preacher took aim at church leaders over the growing scandal.

During his 6.5-minute homily, Father Stephen O’Gara admitted he’s never gotten along with Archbishop John Nienstedt, and he didn’t pull any punches when it came to the archbishop’s response to allegations of clergy abuse and cover-ups.

“It’s not going to be through e-mails and letters in the ‘Catholic Spirit.’ He needs to stand before us and explain himself,” O’Gara insisted. “Only then will he have the respect called to his office.”

O’Gara went on to say he believes the scandal is about arrogance, and he openly confessed that he feels conflicted about the Church’s state of affairs.

“This is not some small matter. This is a big deal. It’s the first time, I must say, in 69 years that I’m embarrassed to be a Catholic,” O’Gara said.

After the homily, the congregation broke out into a round of applause, which can be heard on the recording Ann Farrell made.

“I wanted to share and have people read it, hear the words O’Gara said prior to losing their faith in the church,” she explained.

Farrell accidentally recorded the homily while trying to record the choir. In it, O’Gara urged his congregation to read the column written by Reuben Rosario, a writer for the Pioneer Press. After hearing the sermon for himself, Rosario said many of the sentiments the priest expressed echoed his own — and he was happy to hear them voiced.

“Dynamic, refreshing for some parishioners who want the archdiocese to come clean,” Rosario said of O’Gara’s words. “To me, what O’Gara said was something that needs to be said [by] someone in his position.”

Rosario also believes the archbishop will need to be more open if he wants to have a prayer of regaining the trust of local Catholics.

Fox 9 News reached out to both O’Gara and a spokesperson for the Archdiocese, but did not hear a response from either.

Read more: Priest calls out archbishop over clergy sex abuse response – KMSP-TV http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/23812156/priest-calls-out-archbishop-over-clergy-sex-abuse-response#ixzz2jHua5xLH

John Furlong cleared in one abuse case, still under investigation.

Twin Cities archdiocese faces new sex abuse suit

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A woman who alleges a priest molested her in the mid-1980s when she was a young girl sued him and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Tuesday, saying church leaders including then-Archbishop John Roach knew he was dangerous because he had previously confessed to abusing another child.

Her attorneys also released documents that they say show the Rev. Robert Carlson, now the archbishop of St. Louis, was among top officials who knew of the case.

The lawsuit alleges the archdiocese was negligent when it placed the Rev. Robert Thurner at St. Joseph’s Parish in West St. Paul because he already had admitted that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy while serving at his previous church, St. John the Evangelist in Hopkins. He made those admissions to Roach, Carlson and other local archdiocese officials, the lawsuit said.

Attorney Jeff Anderson said the woman, identified in the lawsuit only as Doe 23, was 7 or 8 years old when she was abused in 1984 or 1985 while attending St. Joseph’s school.

Doe 23 decided to come forward amid the wave of fresh public criticism fueled by recent news reports of how current archdiocese leaders have handled other clerical sexual misconduct allegations, Anderson said. She had been unable to sue earlier until the Legislature this year opened a three-year window in the statute of limitations for lawsuits by victims of childhood sexual abuse, he said.

Thurner does not have a listed phone number. The archdiocese had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, but spokesman Jim Accurso said in an email that he believes Thurner is “dealing with some serious and advanced elderly issues.”

Officials from the St. Louis archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Thurner served at several Twin Cities churches from 1951 until he retired in 1991 after he was named in a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse. Anderson released church documents, which were turned over in earlier lawsuits, showing that Thurner met in November 1982 with Roach, Carlson other senior officials and admitted having sex with the 16-year-old boy. Thurner resigned as pastor of St. John’s and Roach appointed him associate pastor at St. Joseph’s in early 1983, the documents show.

Carlson was a top official in the archdiocese before he was promoted to auxiliary bishop in 1984. He became archbishop of St. Louis in 2009. Attorney Mike Finnegan, who works with Anderson, said Carlson was a central figure in handling several local clergy sex abuse cases in the 1980s.

No criminal charges were ever filed against Thurner, Anderson said. The lawsuit filed in Ramsey County seeks unspecified damages over $50,000 and an order for the archdiocese to release the names of all its priests who’ve been credibly accused of molesting children.

The current archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John Nienstedt, is under fire amid fresh allegations from a former canon lawyer for the archdiocese that he and other leading church officials mishandled other cases of sexual misconduct by priests. There have been public calls for his resignation and his top deputy has stepped down.

In response, Nienstedt has ordered a review of all clergy files by an outside firm. He has also appointed a task force to address issues of clergy sexual abuse within the archdiocese. While the archdiocese characterizes the task force as independent, Minnesota Public Radio on Tuesday published a letter from the leader of the task force to other priests indicating that members will have only limited access to church files.

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/Investigators-access-to-clergy-abuse-files-limited-4935060.php

Sex abuse allegation against John Furlong dropped: report

Sex abuse allegation against John Furlong dropped: report

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – There are reports that one of the sexual abuse investigations involving the former head of the Olympic Games in Vancouver has been dropped.

In a statement to News1130, the RCMP will not confirm or deny the report, saying only that the “file remains open” in regards to John Furlong.

He has been accused of physical and sexual abuse when he worked as a teacher in BC’s north in the 1960s.

Furlong has vigorously denied all of the charges against him and has launched lawsuits of his own.

http://www.news1130.com/2013/10/28/sex-abuse-allegation-against-john-furlong-dropped-report/

John Furlong says he’s been ‘living in absolute hell’ since allegations.

John Furlong says he’s been ‘living in absolute hell’ since allegations

John Furlong, the man who organized the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, says he is trying to reclaim his life by using the courts to fight back against allegations of sexual abuse brought against him last year.

In an interview with CTV’s Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, Furlong says he’s been “living in absolute hell” for the past 17 months after a weekly Vancouver newspaper published allegations claiming he physically and verbally abused First Nations students while working as an 18-year-old volunteer teacher in northern B.C. more than four decades ago.

In a report published last September, the Georgia Straight said eight former students signed affidavits about their experiences at Immaculata Elementary in Burns Lake, B.C., in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. They alleged a young Furlong would hit and kick them, as well as make racist comments, while serving as a physical education teacher.

PHOTOS

 

John Furlong exclusive interview Lisa LaFlamme CTV

John Furlong sits down for an exclusive interview with CTV’s Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme.

Over the summer, two women — Beverly Abraham and Grace West — filed separate civil lawsuits accusing Furlong of sexual abuse. A third student filed a third lawsuit last month, alleging he, too, was abused.

Furlong has categorically denied all of the allegations made against him.

“The question is almost insulting,” he told CTV News in an exclusive interview. “When this was handed to the RCMP for the first time, I thought, first of all, it would last a week. I thought a week and it would be over. But it’s (been) 17 months of living in absolute hell.”

He added: “I know that I did nothing to any of those kids. I’m sorry if they’ve had challenges or difficulties in their life. But I have never, ever, ever inappropriately touched anybody in my life.”

The Roman Catholic diocese that ran the Burns Lake school has also denied the allegations.

In a statement of defence filed over the summer, the Diocese of Prince George says it has no record of Grace West or the third complainant even being at the school.

“I don’t know what is behind (the lawsuits) … because they didn’t happen.”

Furlong — an Irish immigrant who permanently moved to Canada in 1974 — became a household name during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. As CEO of the VANOC organizing committee, he’s received a number of awards and recognitions, including the Order of Canada, the Order of B.C., and induction into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

Soon after the Georgia Straight article was published, Furlong filed his own lawsuit against the newspaper, as well as against the freelance reporter who wrote the piece.

The article Laura Robinson suggested Furlong lied about his past at Immaculata Elementary. Robinson noted that Furlong’s Olympic memoir, entitled Patriot Hearts, did not mention that his first trip to Canada came in 1969 when he was a Catholic missionary. Instead, he starts his story in 1974, saying he was recruited to move from Dublin to Prince George, B.C., to set up a high school athletics program.

“I didn’t put (Burns Lake) in the book because I didn’t think it was relevant,” Furlong explained. “But it is a pretty long leap to say because (someone) didn’t put something in a book that something terrible happened.”

Furlong has since dropped the lawsuit against the paper to focus solely on his case against Robinson. He accuses her of having a “personal vendetta” against him and claims she has a history of inaccurate reporting.

“She’s made life as hell for me as you could possibly make it, and I don’t understand the inspiration,” Furlong said. “But today, I’ve got to the point where enough is enough.

“My goal now is to never let this happen to another person, to not let anybody face what we have faced,” he added. “I’m going to escalate my court case against Laura Robinson because of what she’s done and because I’m not alone.”

Furlong said the allegations were especially poignant since they came soon after one of the best years of his life. He admits he wasn’t able to read the article through to the end.

“I woke up that day and it was probably one of the top three worst days of my life,” he said. “I frankly never read it until the end. You can’t read garbage like that.”

He says he’s since read “pieces” of it over time, calling the article a “stinger.”

“I couldn’t describe how bad it’s been: It’s been hellish for me, my family. And the things they have been put through,” Furlong said. “And now the RCMP have come to a conclusion and they’ve concluded that I’ve done nothing wrong. I said that at the beginning … and to have to live through this on the basis of such a complaint has just been horrible.”

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/john-furlong-says-he-s-been-living-in-absolute-hell-since-allegations-1.1517854#ixzz2jHsP3smn

John Furlong says police have cleared him of abuse allegations made by student

John Furlong says police have cleared him of abuse allegations made by student

VANCOUVER – The man who organized the Vancouver Olympics says he’s been cleared by police of sexual-abuse allegations brought by a former student, though the RCMP says the file remains open.

The allegations against John Furlong surfaced following a newspaper article published last fall, suggesting he physically and verbally abused First Nations students at Burns Lake, B.C., while teaching at a Catholic school there in the late 1960s.

This past July, Beverly Abraham and Grace West filed separate lawsuits against Furlong alleging sexual abuse, and a third lawsuit was filed last month by a man who said he, too, was sexually abused.

Furlong said in an interview with Global News that police gave him a letter in April saying they found nothing to substantiate allegations by one of the complainants, identified as Abraham in a letter to Furlong that was posted online. According to the letter, the police would not be sending a report to Crown counsel.

“If you want to imagine yourself in this position put yourself as far into hell as you can go but just keep on going,” said Furlong.

In fact, he said he has been living a “nightmare,” and the worst experience of his life was sitting in a room with an RCMP officer, being investigated and asked questions.

“To actually sit there and have an officer look me in the eye and ask me the kind of things that we’re talking about now, I mean it was sickening.”

Global News reported Furlong will now drop his lawsuit against the newspaper. Furlong also said he will fight the civil lawsuits and escalate his own action against journalist Laura Robinson because “the process has been disrespected.”

Meantime, Abraham has told Global News that she’s devastated.

“My heart is just beating so fast, not with anger or anything,” she said. “I’m just so heartbroken right now.”

RCMP Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said in an email the force asked major crime investigators from another province earlier this year to review their investigation because of the “serious and sensitive nature” of the allegations.

He said the review resulted in a number of investigative recommendations that police continue to follow up on.

“Our file remains open at this time,” said Vermeulen, who declined to comment further because civil actions are underway.

Lawyer Jason Gratl, who represents all the plaintiffs, said the RCMP contacted Abraham two weeks ago and informed her they were wrapping up their investigation.

“My client complained to them, saying they hadn’t interviewed all the witnesses,” said Gratl. “They said they’d call her back the next day to discuss that issue. Then they didn’t call her back.”

In her statement of claim, Abraham alleges Furlong would ask her to stay late after class before molesting her in the gym, the equipment room and a mechanical closet.

Abraham, who was 11 at the time, said in the statement that Furlong also emotionally and psychologically manipulated her, calling her his “beautiful Indian girl” and saying it was not wrong for him to touch her.

Grace West, 53, filed a separate statement of claim, alleging that almost every week Furlong would touch her breasts and vagina while stroking himself. West’s claim also states Furlong would kick her almost every day, calling her “dirty Indian” and “squaw.”

Abraham does not state that Furlong physically abused her. Rather she claims he would request that the school’s nuns force her to kneel and the nuns would strike her open palms repeatedly.

Furlong has already said in court documents that he doesn’t recall if he taught West and Abraham during his time as a volunteer teacher at the school.

“The defendant denied that he sexually molested or physically abused or engaged in any inappropriate conduct in respect of the plaintiff,” said two identical statements of defence filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

Meantime, the man said he was a nine-year-old student when Furlong arrived as a volunteer teacher in 1969.

The man said Furlong isolated him in a small room after class, and on two occasions forced him to masturbate him. On a third occasion, the statement of claim said there was forced anal intercourse by Furlong.

“During and after he sexually abused the plaintiff, the defendant John Furlong called the plaintiff a ‘dirty little Indian,”’ the document said.

“The defendant John Furlong told the plaintiff that if he ever told anyone about the abuse no one would believe him.”

The man said he has suffered emotionally and psychologically from the abuse, and “was generally disempowered as a result of racism and geographic isolation.”

None of the claims from the three lawsuits have been proven in court.

“I have no grudge against any of those young kids, but none of this is true. None of it,” said Furlong. (Global News, The Canadian Press)

Copyright 2013 Canadian Press.

All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/131028/john-furlong-says-police-have-cleared-him-abuse-allegations-

Department of Justice rejects Magdalene group’s criticism of McAleese report

Department of Justice rejects Magdalene group’s criticism of McAleese report

The Department of Justice has sharply criticised a submission by the Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) advocacy group to the McAleese committee on the extent of abuses in the Magdalene laundries.

The group had claimed that the McAleese report, published last February, minimised the physical and psychological abuse suffered by women in the laundries, as reported in its submission.

The McAleese report was also criticised by Felice de Gaer, rapporteur to the UNCommittee Against Torture (Uncat), who wrote to the Government on May 22nd last on the issue.

She said Uncat had received information that the State was presented with extensive survivor testimony by the group “and was aware of the existence of possible criminal wrongdoings, including physical and psychological abuse”.

In its response to Ms de Gaer, the Department of Justice has acknowledged that JFM “did present a great volume of material purporting to point to the existence of possible criminal wrongdoings, including systematic physical and psychological abuse”.

However, it says “many of the general allegations relied on reports unsupported by any direct knowledge and were not supported by the facts uncovered by the McAleese committee.”

It continues: “As regards ‘survivor testimony’, we understand that JFM had to rely on a relatively small number of accounts. The testimony of 10 women was provided [by JFM] to the McAleese committee.

“Seven of these were identified – three were anonymous. This contrasts with the much larger sample of the testimony of 118 women available for the McAleese report.”

It says that “of these 10 accounts provided by JFM, none described systematic physical abuse or torture, although four referred to isolated incidents of physical punishments. The remainder made no reference to physical abuse. None of the testimony has been ‘tested’ in civil, criminal or other proceedings.”

It recalls that “in the JFM submission to Uncat dated May, 2011, there is reference in appendix II to ‘Selected witness testimony’ included in the 2009 Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.”

It says the testimonies“are from women who had transferred to residential laundries from industrial or reformatory schools. The reference by JFM to testimonies given to the commission by these women could be interpreted as meaning that there is evidence regarding the Magdalene laundries that has been subject to cross-examination and whose credibility has been tested and given appropriate weight by a tribunal. That is not the case.”

“There were many residential laundries that were not Magdalene laundries and it could not be assumed that the witness testimony does refer in fact to Magdalene laundries.”

Last June, Claire McGettrick of Justice for Magdalenes said it shared many of the concerns raised by the UN committee.

The group had submitted 796 pages of testimony to the McAleese inquiry team, but “not one syllable” drawn from those documents appeared in the final report, she said.

“The McAleese report should not have gone as far as alleging that there was little abuse in the laundries because that’s simply not true.”

In a follow-up statement on June 18th, the group said it was “deeply troubled that the IDC final report [McAleese report] ignored the 793 (sic) pages of transcribed survivor testimony submitted on behalf of 11 women, four daughters, three family members and four additional witnesses.”

It continued: “In the process, we contend that the IDC final report marginalises the women’s lived experiences in these institutions, minimising the physical and psychological abuse suffered, while evading the human rights violations.”

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/department-of-justice-rejects-magdalene-group-s-criticism-of-mcaleese-report-1.1576048

New trial date set for man in sexual assault case

New trial date set for man in sexual assault case

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A May 27 trial date has been set for a convicted Big Island murderer charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl six years ago.

The 2009 conviction of 56-year-old Peter Kalani Bailey in the assault case was overturned. Supreme Court justices in March 2012 said a mistrial should have been declared because a juror had revealed Bailey’s murder conviction.

 

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald (http://bit.ly/1aBaSd6) reports Bailey was convicted in 1979 of murder, kidnapping and robbery in the shooting death of a 17-year-old Oahu girl. He was paroled in 2002.

On July 22, 2007, he was working as choir director at Hamakua Coast Assembly of God Church and charged with four counts of attempted sexual assault of the girl at the church. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

http://thegardenisland.com/news/state-and-regional/new-trial-date-set-for-man-in-sexual-assault-case/article_d1986918-afc9-5616-8243-2b022655ea5c.html

Hillsborough pastor removed from ministry over ’70s-era sex abuse allegation

Hillsborough pastor removed from ministry over ’70s-era sex abuse allegation

The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Hillsborough has been removed from ministry over allegations that he sexually abused a child in the late 1970s.

The Rev. Msgr. Raymond L. Cole, 70, who leads St. Joseph Parish in the Somerset County community, was an associate pastor at St. Mary Parish in South Amboy when the alleged abuse occurred, according to a letter read aloud during weekend Masses at St. Joseph.

Metuchen Bishop Paul Bootkoski wrote in the letter that Cole “steadfastly denies the charges against him.” At the same time, the bishop wrote, canon law requires the removal of a priest when an allegation of sexual abuse “has been deemed to have a semblance of truth.”

Bootkoski said he was alerted to the allegation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which did not pursue criminal charges because the statute of limitations had long since passed.

A retired investigator from the prosecutor’s office looked into the claim on behalf of the diocese. The Diocesan Review Board, a panel of lay people and clergy members who examine sex abuse allegations — also investigated the matter, interviewing Cole and the alleged victim, Bootkoski said.

“Both the investigator and the review board reported to me that they found the information and circumstances surrounding the allegation were not frivolous,” Bootkoski wrote.

Bishop-Paul-Bootkoski.JPGMetuchen Bishop Paul Bootkoski, seen here in 2010, removed The Rev. Msgr. Raymond L. Cole from ministry Oct. 25, 2013, over a sex abuse claim.Star-Ledger file photo 

The bishop said he planned to forward the case to the Vatican and that it was likely Cole would receive a canonical trial.

The letter did not identify the gender of the accuser or say how old he or she was when the alleged incidents occurred. It also did not address when Bootkoski first learned of the claim.

“Until now, I was aware of nothing in Msgr. Cole’s past suggestive of inappropriate behavior,” Bootkoski wrote.

Cole, who has been a priest for 41 years, could not be reached for comment.

He was removed from ministry Friday, the same day Bootkoski distributed the letter to priests of the diocese. The bishop’s note can be found in its entirety here.

Erin Friedlander, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said Cole is now staying with relatives. He will continue to receive his salary while the case is investigated, Bootkoski wrote.

“Let us be earnest in our prayers for Msgr. Cole at this most difficult time in his priesthood, for all who are victims of mistreatment by those who represent the church, and for all the church’s efforts to eradicate the terrible scourge of sexual abuse from the body of Christ,” the bishop wrote.

Calls to deacons, staff and parishioners at St. Joseph were not immediately returned Monday.

Parish websites typically carry a biography of a pastor or a weekly pastor’s message, but there was little trace of Cole on the St. Joseph website Monday, suggesting the parish or the diocese deleted information and photos ahead of the priest’s removal.

What is known from various online publications of the diocese is that he served for a time as executive director of the diocesan Department of Pastoral Life and that he worked on issues of policy, including how to address the shortage of Catholic priests.

Earlier this month, he was scheduled to preside over the Diocesan Youth Mass in Piscataway. It could not immediately be determined if he attended.

The Diocese of Metuchen is home to more than 630,000 Roman Catholics in Hunterdon, Somerset, Warren and Middlesex counties.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/10/hillsborough_pastor_removed_from_ministry_over_70s-era_sex_abuse_allegation.html

Task force supervisor to control group’s access to clergy abuse information

Task force supervisor to control group’s access to clergy abuse information

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A task force created to address theclergy sexual abuse crisis in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will only have access to information provided by a church official.

The task force will not investigate allegations against specific priests, and priest files will not be made public, according to an Oct. 21 letter to clergy by the Rev. Reginald Whitt.

Whitt, chosen by Archbishop John Nienstedt to create the task force, will control the panel’s access to information about clergy abuse. “Access to these files will be within my control, and limited only to what is necessary for the Task Force to be able to make an informed decision with respect to their policy review,” he wrote.

• Full coverage: Church under scrutiny

Whitt’s letter appears to contradict Nienstedt’s characterization of the task force as independent. It also raises the question of how the task force will be able to make fully informed decisions without access to all information.

In an email to MPR News last week, Nienstedt wrote, “The Task Force will have unprecedented authority to examine any and all issues associated with clergy sexual abuse. Its findings and recommendations will be welcomed and implemented.”

The archdiocese responded late Monday afternoon with a statement promising the task force “will provide a truly independent analysis from a group of outside and impartial experts to help tell how we can do better.”

The archdiocese has been under scrutiny since September, followinginvestigative reports by MPR News that found Nienstedt and other church leaders failed to warn parishioners of a priest’s sexual misconduct, did not turn over possible child pornography to police for nine years, and gave special payments to offending priests, including pedophiles.

Nienstedt created the task force in response to the investigation and growing concerns by parishioners. He said it was important that an assessment of the archdiocese’s handling of clergy abuse issues be done by “an independent group so that there can be no question of the integrity of the review.” The panel, he added, would have “full authority and all the resources needed to complete their work.”

Victims of clergy abuse have called for a grand jury investigation of the archdiocese’s handling of abuse claims, arguing that recent reports show the church cannot be trusted to review its own cases. Earlier this month, St. Paul police asked anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest to contact law enforcement. Police continue to investigate the archdiocese’s role in a child pornography case.

In his letter to clergy, Whitt said he plans to draft a “confidentiality agreement requesting that each [task force] member acknowledge that they are prohibited from divulging or making any use, in any venue, or for any purpose, of any information relating to individual priests they obtain during the course of their work as members of the task force.”

Whitt attempted to alleviate concerns among some priests that their personnel files will become public. “I understand that many of you may be anxious about your right to privacy and a good reputation,” he wrote.

The letter details a complicated process involving three separate committees, none of which will have access to all information or be able to enact any new policies without Nienstedt’s approval.

It is unclear whether the mission of these three committees is any different from church policies already in place.

The archdiocese has had a written policy for handling clergy sexual abuse since at least 1986, and the Vatican has its own detailed process for handling complaints. Nienstedt said last week that some church officials may not have followed its policies.

The two new committees detailed by Whitt are called the Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards Task Force and the Ministerial Standards Board. Whitt’s letter also references a revised Clergy Review Board, but it is unclear how the board has been revised. The Clergy Review Board already is supposed to serve as an advisor to the archbishop on sexual misconduct.

The archdiocese this afternoon said the Clergy Review Board will now focus only on clergy sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults rather than “the full spectrum of clergy misconduct” and that the Ministerial Standards Board will deal with all other issues.

The committees are separate from Nienstedt’s announcement last week that he will hire an outside firmto “review all clergy files.”

It is unclear why the archdiocese has created four separate entities.

Whitt said he will publish the findings and recommendations of the task force and will implement the recommendations. A spokesperson for the archdiocese previously said there is no timeline for when the report will be completed, and the archdiocese has not decided which firm to hire.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated Oct. 28, 2013, at 5 p.m. to include a response from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/10/28/catholic-church/clergy-abuse-task-force-leaders-oversight-includes-full-control-of-inform

10 Year Prison Sentence For Teacher Who Repeatedly Contacted Victim

10 Year Prison Sentence For Teacher Who Repeatedly Contacted Victim

Former Mount St. Mary Academy teacher and volleyball coach Kelly O’Rourke, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a student, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for repeatedly contacting the victim.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports Judge Barry Sims said he was coming down hard on the teacher for willfully disregarding the court’s no-contact order after pleading guilty in the case.

Last month O’Rourke pleaded guilty to violating the terms of her original sentence and read a statement in court apologizing for her actions.

O’Rourke is alleged to have called the student more than 50 times while serving a four month sentence.

The judge said he listened to recordings of some of the calls, in which O’Rourke said she wanted the victim in her life as her girlfriend.

Last month a school administrator also entered a guilty plea for failing to report the relationship to police.

http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/10-year-prison-sentence-teacher-who-repeatedly-contacted-victim