Fr Lombardi on the situation in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay

Fr Lombardi on the situation in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay

(Vatican Radio) Responding to journalists’ questions, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi SJ, made a statement about the situation in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) and the Apostolic Visitation of Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló.

The Visitation was announced by the Apostolic Nuncio to Paraguay on 2 July, and took place from 21-26 July.

“Concerning the situation in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este (Paraguay),” Father Lombardi said, “I can confirm that in the course of the visitation, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló cautioned Bishop [Rogelio Ricardo] Livieres [Plano] against proceeding with further priestly ordinations. No other provisions were announced. Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló will report the results of his visitation to the Pope.”

News reports had also suggested that the Vicar General of the Diocese, Fr Carlos Urrutigoity, had been fired. Father Urrutigoity has been the subject of accusations of sexual misconduct involving minors at a school in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The Diocese has pointed out the allegations against Father Urrutigoity were never proven.

In his statement, Father Lombardi noted that Father Urrutigoity had been relieved of his duties as Vicar General shortly prior to visitation: “With regard to Father Carlos Urrutigoity, he had been relieved of his duties as vicar general by Bishop Livieres on July 14, a few days before the visitation, on the grounds of the completion of other duties on his part.”,_paraguay/1103701


Of three accused priests, one commits suicide, one admits rape

Of three accused priests, one commits suicide, one admits rape

On June 15, 1992, a 26-year-old man provided a legal statement accusing three Diocese of Lafayette priests of sexual misconduct against him in the 1970s and 1980s.

One of those priests, Ronald Lane “Jean Paul” Fontenot, pleaded guilty and was convicted in 1986 of statutory rape in Spokane, Washington, where he was transferred for counseling after he was placed on leave in Lafayette in 1983 when a civil lawsuit was filed.

A second priest, David Primeaux, admitted in a 1984 psychological evaluation that he started abusing children in 1980 at St. Benedict in Covington. The Diocese settled a lawsuit in 2000 in which Primeaux allegedly admitted molesting a boy while serving at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Milton in the early 1980s.

Primeaux left the priesthood in 1985 and later got married. When some of his victims confronted the wife of the priest-turned-professor in Virginia in December 2012, he committed suicide.

The final priest accused by the young man is the Rev. Gilbert Dutel, who today serves as pastor of St. Edmond Catholic Church in Lafayette.

Related: Alleged abusive priest serving in Lafayette

The 1992 victim’s statement and a 1995 affidavit by Abbeville attorney Anthony Fontana Jr. alleging sexual misconduct by Dutel were included in a recent investigation by Minnesota Public Radio.

Diocese of Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell issued a statement to The Daily Advertiser on Tuesday saying, “Many years ago, unproven allegations were made about Father Gilbert Dutel. An investigation took place back then which considered the totality of the facts available. No new information exists that warrants any action by the Diocese. In the absence of any contrary information, Father Dutel remains a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Lafayette.”

Dutel also issued a statement Tuesday: “The diocese, under Bishop Harry Flynn at the time, examined the claim. Upon completion of the process, it was found that the allegation was not credible and that I was innocent. I maintained my innocence then and I maintain my innocence now!”

In response to a series of questions regarding Dutel and any investigation that may have been conducted by the Diocese, the Bishop’s media liaison, Monsignor Richard Greene, said via e-mail Tuesday evening that he would discuss the questions with Jarrell on Wednesday. Greene has not responded to repeated information requests made Wednesday.

The young man’s 1992 statement claims Dutel, a family friend and priest in Abbeville, was the first priest to molest him after the boy confided in him details about being physically and sexually abused by his older brother.

The young man claimed most of the sexual encounters involving Dutel occurred when he was between 9 and 11 years old, in the mid-1970s. The last, when he was entering ninth grade, occurred at the church rectory, he said.

Primeaux was the second priest the young man said molested him when he became parish priest in Milton.

“Father Primeaux was relatively young compared to any priest we had had in our parish before,” he said. “And he was a kid’s kind of priest, you know what I mean?”

The young man, an altar boy whose mother was active in the church, said he and Primeaux became friends, playing tennis and sailing in the priest’s boat. Primeaux taught him how to drive a standard transmission car and let the boy drive his sports car, he said. He loved it so much, his parents bought him an identical car.

One day at the rectory the two worked until nighttime on the boy’s car, shared a pizza and decided he would spend the night.

“That night is when it first started and then after that it was just, I guess what you would think, sexual harassment after that,” he said.

Later, the young man — who said he was homosexual — met Fontenot, who was Primeaux’s friend. The two priests would go the the boy’s house for dinner or they’d go sailing together, he said. Once, when he was 15 or 16, both priests tried to have sex with him on the sailboat, he claimed.

Bangalore: Priest rapes minor at her home, held

Bangalore: Priest rapes minor at her home, held

An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a temple priest in Bangalore on Tuesday, less than a month after a seven-year-old was raped in a city school, sparking widespread protests in the southern city.

Police say the 53-year-old priest, a friend of the victim’s family, has been arrested. On Tuesday night, he forced himself upon the girl at her home when her parents were away. Hearing the victim’s screams, her two sisters – also minors – ran in from another room, forcing the priest to flee. Later, the parents filed a case with the local police.

Bangalore rape: Two gym instructors arrested


In another incident that came to light on Wednesday, a 26-year-old carpenter has reportedly confessed to police that he raped a seven-year-old girl. Results of the victim’s medical tests will reveal when the incident took place, police officials said. The carpenter’s mother worked as a domestic help at the girl’s residence. His family, however, says police tortured him to get the confession.  

Anger against sexual violence has been rising in the country since December 16, 2012, when a 23-year-old medical student was brutally gang-raped, and killed, by six men inside a private bus in south Delhi.

Activists say that a rape takes place every 25 minutes in India, but only 10% of sexual violence cases are actually reported to police.

The mounting numbers and growing public outrage forced the central government to amend the existing law, doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalising voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women. The law, passed by Parliament in March 2013, also makes it a crime for police officers to refuse to open cases when complaints are made.

Despite this, instances of sexual violence against women continue unabated, though police ascribe this to more people coming forward to report cases.

In one of the more recent incidents, two teenage Dalit girls were raped in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district and then hanged from a tree in May. Last month, a 22-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped, forced to drink acid and later strangled to death in another part of UP.

Schoolgirl’s rape: Kin of accused allege torture

A day after city police admitted to have arrested the wrong man in connection with the July 3 rape of a minor, relatives of another person arrested claimed that investigators made him confess with third-degree torture. The family also alleged that police illegally detained the man for 13 days before announcing his arrest on Tuesday.
The incident at Vibgyor High School had sparked sweeping protests in the city and nationwide outrage. Angry parents had pulled down the school’s gates, forcing it to stay shut for several days.

On July 29, police commissioner MN Reddi had revealed that the institute’s skating coach, taken into custody earlier, was innocent and two gym instructors had been arrested for the crime.

Read: India is asking: are our children safe anywhere?

On Wednesday, the family of one of the instructors claimed that he had been first detained by police on July 14. He was let off eight days later, only to be picked up again on July 25.

“When he came home on July 22, he could barely walk. His soles had blood clots and blisters. He had bruises all over his arms and could not clench his fists. He told me that the police had given him electric shocks and hit him with batons,” the man’s sister-in-law told HT.

Rejecting the allegations, additional commissioner of police Alok Kumar said, “As far as I know, no third-degree methods were used.”

Archbishop Nienstedt: I will not resign. (Updated)

Archbishop Nienstedt: I will not resign. (Updated)

In a column that will be published tomorrow, the embattled archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis says he will not resign. Soon after I reported that Archbishop John Nienstedt was being investigated for a series allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with seminarians, priests, and other adult men–part of which is now complete–an affidavit filed by Nienstedt’s former top canon lawyer strongly criticized the archdiocese’s sexual-abuse policies and practicies. Calls for his resignation began to grow. Earlier this week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an editorial urging the archbishop to step down. So did the New York Times. But Nienstedt won’t go.

Eighteen years ago, Pope John Paul II chose me to serve the Church as a bishop, an authentic successor of the apostles. A bishop’s role is more like that of a father of a family than that of a CEO. I am bound to continue in my office as long as the Holy Father has appointed me here. I have acknowledged my responsibility in the current crisis we face, and I also take responsibility for leading our archdiocese to a new and better day.

“This is what the Lord says to you,” Nienstedt’s column continues, citing Second Chronicles: “‘Stop being afraid, and stop being discouraged because of this vast invasion force, because the battle doesn’t belong to you, but to God.'”

Apologizing for the “distractions I have inadvertently caused,” the archbishop emphasizes three things about his response to the months-long scandal. First, he announces that he has a new leadership team that operates with the philosophy of “Victims First.” In consultation with victims, Nienstedt says he plans to hire a new victims liason–who will be a layperson. Second, he claims that he has never knowingly covered up sexual abuse. He admits that he was too trusting of the archdiocese’s process, and that “we did not handle all complaints the way we should have in the past.” And third, Nienstedt says that he has always been honest with his people. Over the past year, according to the archbishop, he has learned that he must change his leadership  style.

“As author Matthew Kelly reminds us,” Nienstedt concludes, “we as Catholics have a great story to tell, but we have let others tell the story for us. We need to get back to telling the story ourselves.”

Update: I asked archdiocesan spokesman Jim Accurso when the investigation of Nienstedt would conclude and whether the investigating law firm’s report would be made public. In response, he sent me a statement from auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché, which read in part: “I have received [the law firm] Greene Espel’s information. However, this matter involves more than just their role. The investigation is ongoing and I will respond appropriately as the review process continues.”

Vatican confirms predator priest is ousted

Vatican confirms predator priest is ousted

The Vatican confirmed today that Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity, a credibly accused serial predator, has been suspended from his post as deputy bishop of a diocese in Paraguay.,_paraguay/1103701 

The Pope should fire Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano. Livieres deliberately promoted a credibly accused abuser who admitted sleeping with teens and allegedly molested several of them.

Livieres ignored a fellow bishop who explicitly warned that Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity is “a serious threat to young people.” How much more reckless can a church official be?

And Pope Francis should harshly and publicly explain and denounce Livieres’ irresponsible actions, instead of letting him “save face” by yet-another vague and minimizing statement from a lower-level Vatican staffer.

This piecemeal, reactive approach – gently disciplining egregious wrongdoers only when they’re publicly exposed – won’t cut it. For years Vatican officials have taken belated, grudging and lenient action against church officials when their wrongdoing has been so bad that it prompted international criticism. So this hand-slapping of one Paraguay bishop is inadequate. It is far from ground-breaking.

Covering up abuse and endangering kids is a cancer on the church. It requires severe surgery, not an occasional band-aid only applied under duress. Francis must publicly oust a number of complicit bishops and say why in no uncertain terms if he really wants to get other bishops to stop putting innocent children in harm’s way.

Fr. Urrutigoity spent time in Canada, Switzerland, Minnesota (Winona), and Pennsylvania (Scranton). He’s accused of abuse in Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Finally, we are grateful for the hard, thorough and accurate research by that continues to help many concerned individuals track the whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics and document the reckless, callous and deceitful moves of complicit bishops.

Bob Schwiderski releases map of accused Christian clerics in Minnesota

Bob Schwiderski releases map of accused Christian clerics in Minnesota

For decades, Bob Schwiderski has been a voice for victims of clerical abuse. He’sblanketed the neighborhoods of accused priests with fliers and held press conferences to encourage others to speak out.

This week, Schwiderski kicked up his crusade. He released an updated version of a map he created showing where each of the allegations of sexual misconduct that he’s recorded over the years occurred and by whom. There’s 250 names total, and they include not only Catholic priests and monks, but Episcopal and Protestant pastors and their staff. You’ll also find four nuns.

See also:
Jennifer Haselberger was ignored, bullied before blowing whistle on archdiocese

The map is entitled “The Hunting Grounds” because Swiderski believes that places of worship, no matter the denomination, attract sexual predators. “Some people know that if they present themselves in this godly way they’ll have access to children,” he tells us. “And the families are trusting of the people who work in the churches.” 

He would have included allegations against leaders of other religions, but he doesn’t know of any. And even if he did, he’d need a second source. Every person on the map has at least two allegations against them, he says. Another list he keeps private includes 261 Christians. 

His careful approach of naming people publicly, which he honed as the head of the Minnesota chapter of SNAP, has the benefit of bringing victims together. Schwiderski asks everyone who comes forward with an allegation to contact their old friends and classmates, looking for similar stories of abuse. “All of a sudden, there’s two or three people and they haven’t talked in 20 years,” he says, “but now they have people to walk forward with.”

Many of the names on Schwiderski’s list have shown up on other ones compiled by Jeff Anderson, whose law firm represents victims, and by the dioceses of Minnesota, which were compelled to name “credibly accused” priests last year.

That is, except for the Diocese of New Ulm. Clerics and attorneys there have argued that two living priests deny the allegations and therefore don‘t want their identity made public.

Schwiderski’s own list shows dozens of Catholic priests with connections to New Ulm, including William Marks. Schwiderski says Marks abused him a hundred times as an altar boy in Hector, and when caught, disappeared into another parish.

“The Hunting Grounds” touches 345 cities in all but two of the state’s counties. Not everyone on the list is accused of abusing minors. Some are accused of having sexual relations with consenting yet vulnerable adults.

Ordered to stand trial: Father James Dokos, accused of stealing from church in Wauwatosa

Ordered to stand trial: Father James Dokos, accused of stealing from church in Wauwatosa

MILWAUKEE COUNTY (WITI) — A former Milwaukee-area priest accused of stealing from his church will stand trial.

Father James Dokos was in court on Wednesday morning, July 30th — facing charges of felony theft.

Prosecutors say he took more than $100,000 from Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa when he was a priest there.

If convicted, Dokos faces up to 10 years in prison.

He’ll be back in court in September — when he’s expected to enter a plea.

Nienstedt says he will continue as archbishop

Nienstedt says he will continue as archbishop

Archbishop John Nienstedt, under increasing pressure to step down amid scandal, said he will continue to serve as leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In a column posted to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ website, Nienstedt acknowledged that he has been a divisive figure among Twin Cities Catholics.

“I will continue to listen to those who express concerns about my leadership,” he wrote, “but I will also continue serving as I have been called to do.”

Nienstedt wrote that he has “never knowingly covered up clergy sexual abuse.”

“I have always been honest with the Catholics of this local Church,” he added.

“I am bound to continue in my office as long as the Holy Father has appointed me here.”

Archbishop John Nienstedt

Calls for Nienstedt’s resignation, which began soon after the clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted in the Twin Cities last fall, have grown louder in recent weeks. The Star Tribune joined the chorus Sunday, with an editorial calling for his ouster.

“For the sake of one of this state’s most valued institutions and the Minnesotans whose lives it touches, Nienstedt’s service at the archdiocese should end now,” the paper wrote. The New York Times last week cited the Twin Cities archdiocese in an editorial insisting the Catholic Church make its bishops accountable for covering up clergy abuse, saying the archdiocese has “made a mockery of accountability.”

Nienstedt’s letter, which will also run in this weekend’s edition of The Catholic Spirit newspaper, made note of his critics inside and outside the church, but said he will continue to serve as archbishop until the Vatican decides otherwise.

“In the end, it comes down to this: 18 years ago, Pope John Paul II chose me to serve the Church as a bishop, an authentic successor of the apostles. A bishop’s role is more like that of a father of a family than that of a CEO,” he wrote. “I am bound to continue in my office as long as the Holy Father has appointed me here.”

According to canon law, which governs the workings of the Catholic Church, a bishop cannot step down from his post. He serves at the will of the pope, and is required to lead the diocese until the pope either accepts his resignation or changes his assignment.

“The learning curve of the past 10 months has prepared my staff and me to lead this local Church through the present crisis to a much better place,” Nienstedt wrote. “I regret that some have lost their confidence in me.”

St. Ann asks Vatican to investigate Chaput; ‘He’s gone too far’

St. Ann asks Vatican to investigate Chaput; ‘He’s gone too far’

St. Ann parishioners in Bristol have asked the Vatican to investigate the stewardship of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on the recommendation of a consultant hired to appeal the closing of the parish.

St. Ann is one of five Bucks County churches closed in June and merged into nearby churches this month.

The parishioners hired Boston-based consultant Peter Borre and two lawyers based in Italy who are familiar with canon law to handle the appeal over the closure of their church. Borre recommended they also ask the Congregation for the Bishops, the senior personnel department of the Vatican, to look into how Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput is overseeing the archdiocese.

“We are asking for a formal investigation of Archbishop Chaput’s stewardship of the archdiocese because we contend that the cure is becoming worse than the disease,” he said.

The request and the church closure appeal were included in 48 pages of documents sent to Rome this month.

It is unfortunate that “rapidly spreading dysfunction,” as Chaput’s critics call it, is spreading through the archdiocese as Philadelphia prepares for the World Meeting of Families in September 2015, the investigation request states.

With the closure of dozens of schools and parishes throughout the archdiocese, the “dismantlement” of chancery functions and scandalous trials, “the climate in the city is becoming inauspicious,” the appeal states. It calls for an investigation to “make a careful judgment of recent events affecting tens of thousands of Catholics.”

The archdiocese doesn’t see it the same way, noting the Philadelphia archdiocese was entrusted by the Holy See with the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis appointed Chaput to the Pontifical Council for the Laity earlier this year.

“Both of those facts objectively point to the confidence the Vatican has in his ability and leadership,” said Kenneth Gavin, the director of communications for the archdiocese.

And “Archbishop Chaput has stated on numerous occasions that he understands the emotion involved with parish mergers, but that they are necessary for the viability and sustainability of the Catholic Church throughout the archdiocese. He would much rather be in the position of opening new parishes,” Gavin said.

Demographic changes weren’t addressed for years, and parish life and the availability of clergy have made pastoral planning necessary, he added.

But Borre argues Chaput is not protecting the parishes.

“The reason is, under canon law. the parish is the block of Catholicism, the place where the people encounter God,” Borre said. “The parish should be protected, not destroyed.”

Borre added since Chaput arrived to head the archdiocese three years ago, he’s shut down or changed central functions of the church — Catholic schools, a weekly newspaper, nursing homes and cemeteries. As a result, people have lost their jobs, he said. And there are more church closures expected.

The archdiocese said many administrative actions required Vatican approval. Examples include the sale of the former archbishop’s residence, the decision to lease cemeteries and outsource their management and the sale of nursing homes operated by Catholic Health Care Services, Gavin said.

“In each of those instances, appropriate approval from the Vatican was sought and obtained,” he said.

Although Catholic schools “are wonderful,” as Borre said, the Catholic Church’s priority under canon law is to protect churches, he said. Still, Catholics were hit hard by recent school closures too.

“He’s gone too far,” Borre said. “He’s thrown out the babies with the bath water.”

The archdiocesan officials believe they had to make those moves for the preservation of the religion.

“While an emotional response of that nature is certainly understandable, our Catholic faith is about something much greater and more important than any one church building,” Gavin said. “… It’s hoped that those who express a true love for the church will take time to reflect seriously on what is best not for themselves as individuals, but rather to think about how they can work together to build parishes that can effectively serve the spiritual and pastoral needs of generations yet unborn.”

If the Congregation for the Bishops goes ahead with the investigation, the governing body can do so in secrecy or in public, Borre said. It could take at least a year, he added.

A local retired bishop could be assigned as chief investigator and report to the Vatican, Borres said.

No matter the outcome, the archdiocese feels confident in Chaput’s handling of the church mergers, Gavin said.

“It’s important to understand that as part of its appeal review process, the Vatican very closely examines the process by which the archbishop reached his decisions,” he said.

“The Vatican has not only reviewed this process on multiple occasions without overturning a single merger decision, but also has expressed no concern whatsoever about the process being employed in the archdiocese,” the spokesman added.

Still, Borre strongly believes St. Ann has a shot with both the appeal and investigation request based on his experience.

He submitted investigation requests on Bishop Richard Lennon in Cleveland, and Bishop Joseph Cistone of Saginaw, Michigan, and it “remains to be seen whether ‘bishops’ will launch the investigation, known formally as an apostolic visitation.”

In Ohio, Lennon closed about 50 churches in 2009. Of those, 20 appealed the closures to Rome, and the Vatican agreed to review 11, Borre said. All 11 closures were overturned in 2012 by Rome’s Congregation for the Clergy, he added.

“Three of the 11 signed me up; the other eight I assisted informally, answering their questions from time to time,” he said.

Milwaukee church bankruptcy headed to mediation

Milwaukee church bankruptcy headed to mediation

MILWAUKEE — A federal judge ordered mediation Wednesday in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s bankruptcy case, saying she believed it was the best bet for resolving the hard-fought case and keeping more money from going to lawyers rather than sexual abuse victims.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January 2011, saying it would not have the money to pay if it lost lawsuits filed on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse. More than 500 abuse victims have since filed claims in bankruptcy court.

A reorganization plan proposed by the archdiocese earlier this year would give 128 victims roughly half of an $8 million insurance settlement. Others who have filed claims would receive nothing. Meanwhile, attorneys’ fees are now estimated at $13.7 million, and victims have been outraged by the idea that attorneys would receive more money than them.

Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley said during a morning hearing that she would likely issue a written order later in the day for mediation to take place in early September.

“The point of this is to try to negotiate a resolution quickly and stop the legal fees,” she said.

A mediation attempt in 2012 failed, in part because the archdiocese maintained there were too many issues to hash out. A sticking point this time could be whether the archdiocese’s former insurers participate.

But discussions will likely focus on a $55 million cemetery trust fund created by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan when he was the Milwaukee archbishop. Victims have hoped to tap into the fund for compensation, but the archdiocese says the money was given for cemetery maintenance and can only be used for that purpose.

A district judge’s decision making the trust fund off-limits in the bankruptcy case has been appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which heard arguments in June. It’s not clear when the appeals court might rule.

The archdiocese’s reorganization plan included a proposal to borrow $2 million from the cemetery trust fund to help cover its unpaid legal bills. Bankruptcy rules require the archdiocese to pay legal fees for itself and its creditors. In this case, most creditors are victims of clergy sexual abuse, but the archdiocese also has a mortgage on its headquarters and owes money to pension and health care plans.

Kelley halted payments to attorneys last year when the archdiocese expressed concern about having enough cash on hand to cover monthly expenses that typically total $1.5 million to $2 million. Nearly $6 million of the estimated $13.7 million in legal fees in the case remain unpaid.

Kelley agreed Wednesday to divide about $1.4 million among attorneys for both sides. The creditors’ attorneys had asked for payment, saying the archdiocese’s bank accounts have regularly had bigger balances than it anticipated in January 2013.

Archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said the extra cash reflected slightly better-than-expected income and a small cut in costs. He expressed satisfaction Wednesday with the mediation order, referring to a comment he made Tuesday when the archdiocese requested mediation.

“This seems to be the most sensible, practical and economical way to reach a resolution in the now nearly 4-year-old proceeding,” he said then in an email.

Monica Barrett, an abuse survivor who now speaks for others, said success in mediation will depend how the archdiocese approaches it.

“If Archbishop (Jerome) Listecki comes to the table with a realistic and compromising mentality, indeed this might be able to get resolved,” Barrett said. “… However if Archbishop Listecki continues to use this bankruptcy action as a hammer to use against survivors, nothing will get resolved. Up until this point, the only people who have been asked to compromise anything have been the victim-survivors.”