2 Bishops Resign in Minnesota Over Sexual Abuse Scandal, Vatican ex-envoy Wesolowski faces child sex abuse trial

June 16, 2015 Comments Off on 2 Bishops Resign in Minnesota Over Sexual Abuse Scandal, Vatican ex-envoy Wesolowski faces child sex abuse trial

2 Bishops Resign in Minnesota Over Sexual Abuse Scandal
By MITCH SMITH and LAURIE GOODSTEIN JUNE 15, 2015

CHICAGO — Two bishops in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis resigned their posts Monday, the second time this spring that American church leaders have stepped aside after complaints over their handling of sexual abuse claims involving priests.

In Minnesota, Archbishop John C. Nienstedt and an auxiliary bishop, Lee A. Piché, announced their departures less than two weeks after prosecutors in St. Paul accused the archdiocese of willfully ignoring warning signs of a pedophile priest. Their resignations followed the April exit of Bishop Robert W. Finn from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, who had been convicted of a misdemeanor for failing to report a priest who took pornographic pictures of girls….

John J. Choi, the prosecutor in Ramsey County, Minn., said the resignations would not affect his office’s criminal and civil cases against the archdiocese, which accused church leaders of failing to intervene against a priest despite repeated complaints of misconduct. That priest, Curtis Wehmeyer, has since been defrocked and imprisoned on sexual abuse charges involving boys in his parish.

“While today’s resignation will be viewed as a positive development by many in our community, the pending criminal action and civil petition and the ongoing investigation will continue,” Mr. Choi said in a statement. “As we have said, the goals of our actions are to hold the Archdiocese accountable, seek justice for the victims and our community, and to take appropriate steps to ensure that what we have alleged and intend to prove about the past conduct of church officials will never be repeated.”….

The Minnesota and Missouri church leaders are hardly the first bishops to resign under scrutiny or accusations that they failed abuse victims. Since the papacy of John Paul II — now St. John Paul — began in 1978, 16 other bishops have resigned or been forced from office under a cloud of accusations that they mishandled abuse cases, according to research by BishopAccountability.org, an advocacy group in Waltham, Mass. Archbishop Nienstedt is the 17th, by that group’s count.

Archbishop Nienstedt had become one of the most embattled figures in the American Catholic hierarchy, under fire in the courts, in the pews and on newspaper editorial pages. He had refused to resign about a year ago after coming under sharp criticism from his own former chancellor for canonical affairs, Jennifer M. Haselberger, who charged that the church used a chaotic system of record keeping that helped conceal the backgrounds of guilty priests who remained on assignment….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/us/archbishop-nienstedt-and-aide-resign-in-minnesota-over-sex-abuse-scandal.html


Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest

By MITCH SMITH JUNE 5, 2015

CHICAGO — Prosecutors in Minnesota filed criminal charges on Friday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accusing church leaders of mishandling repeated complaints of sexual misconduct against a priest and failing to follow through on pledges to protect children and root out pedophile clergymen.

The charges and accompanying civil petition, announced by the Ramsey County prosecutor, John J. Choi, stem from accusations by three male victims who say that from 2008 to 2010, when they were under age, a local priest, Curtis Wehmeyer, gave them alcohol and drugs before sexually assaulting them.

The criminal case amounts to a sweeping condemnation of the archdiocese and how its leaders have handled the abuse allegations — even after reforms were put in place by church leaders to increase accountability — and the charges are among the most severe actions taken by American authorities against a Catholic diocese….

Mr. Wehmeyer, 50, who was dismissed as a priest in March, was sentenced to five years in a Minnesota prison in 2013 for criminal sexual conduct and possession of child pornography. He also has been charged with sex crimes in Wisconsin.

The six criminal charges filed Friday, misdemeanors with a maximum fine of $3,000 each, accused the archdiocese of failing to protect children. Mr. Choi also filed a civil petition against the archdiocese that he said was intended to provide legal remedies to prevent similar inaction from happening again.

The 44-page criminal complaint states that concerns about Mr. Wehmeyer date to the 1990s, when he was in seminary and supervisors suggested that his past sexual promiscuity and alcohol abuse made him a poor candidate for the priesthood….

The charging documents also say that archdiocese officials knew that Mr. Wehmeyer used a boys’ bathroom at a parish elementary school instead of the staff restroom; tried to give an elementary-age boy a tour of the rectory in violation of policy; and took camping trips with boys where some of the sexual abuse was said to have occurred.

The archdiocese placed Mr. Wehmeyer in a monitoring program for priests facing complaints of abuse or other problems, but prosecutors said in court documents that the supervision and follow-through was “lax or nonexistent.”….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/us/catholic-archdiocese-in-minnesota-charged-over-sex-abuse-by-priest.html

Vatican ex-envoy Wesolowski faces child sex abuse trial
15 June 2015

The Vatican is to put its former envoy to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, on trial on child sex abuse and child pornography charges.

Pope Francis has also accepted the resignations of a US archbishop and his deputy, accused in Minnesota of having ignored a priest’s child abuse.

Jozef Wesolowski is accused of sexually abusing children in the Dominican Republic from 2008 to 2013. He is under house arrest in the Vatican.

The trial is to begin on 11 July.

Wesolowski, 66, is also charged with possession of child pornography, dating from his return to Rome in 2013….

Wesolowski, who is originally from Poland, was recalled from the Dominican Republic in 2013, after allegations surfaced accusing him of abusing Dominican boys.

He had spent five years in the Caribbean country as the papal envoy.

He was defrocked in June last year after he was found guilty by a Church tribunal – he is the highest-ranking church official to be defrocked for such abuse.

He will now be tried by a Vatican criminal court….
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33136393

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Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother, Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’, Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest, Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations

June 9, 2015 Comments Off on Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother, Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’, Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest, Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations

Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother in High School
Hastert Case Is Said to Be Linked to Decades-Old Sexual Abuse
– U.S. Accuses Ex-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’
– Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest
– Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations

Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother in High School

By JULIE BOSMAN and DAVE PHILIPPS JUNE 5, 2015
YORKVILLE, Ill. — As an enthusiastic young teacher and wrestling coach at the high school here, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert reliably had one student at his side, former classmates say. Stephen Reinboldt, a smart, slender, likable student who rose to become class president, was the wrestling team’s equipment manager. For four years, he arrived at practice early and stayed late, traveled with Mr. Hastert to overnight tournaments, even when only one wrestler was competing, and went for long rides in the coach’s sports car, sometimes driving it.

On Friday, Mr. Reinboldt’s younger sister, Jolene Burdge, said her brother, who died in 1995, was also sexually abused by Mr. Hastert, but hid the fact for years because he thought no one would believe him.

“Mr. Hastert had plenty of opportunities to be alone with Steve because he was there before the meets,” Ms. Burdge said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “He was there after everything because he did the laundry, the uniforms.”

The allegation comes a week after Mr. Hastert, who served for eight years as House speaker, was indicted on charges of making cash withdrawals, totaling $1.7 million, to evade detection by the authorities and lying to investigators.

Two people briefed on the F.B.I. investigation told The New York Times that Mr. Hastert was using the money to pay a former student hundreds of thousands of dollars to hide the fact that Mr. Hastert sexually abused him decades ago….

Ms. Burdge said she tried for years to get news organizations, including ABC News, and advocacy groups to pursue the story. She began in 2006 after it was revealed that Mr. Hastert had covered up claims that Representative Mark Foley, a Florida Republican, had sent sexually explicit emails to congressional pages.

She said she had given up on exposing Mr. Hastert. Then, two weeks ago, just before Mr. Hastert was indicted, she was contacted by the F.B.I….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/us/sister-says-her-brother-was-a-victim-of-ex-speaker-hastert.html

Hastert Case Is Said to Be Linked to Decades-Old Sexual Abuse
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT MAY 29, 2015
WASHINGTON — J. Dennis Hastert, who served for eight years as speaker of the House of Representatives, was paying a former student hundreds of thousands of dollars to not say publicly that Mr. Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago, according to two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in an F.B.I. investigation.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced the indictment of Mr. Hastert, 73, on allegations that he made cash withdrawals, totaling $1.7 million, to evade detection by banks. The federal authorities also charged him with lying to them about the purpose of the withdrawals.

The former student — who was not identified in court papers — told the F.B.I. that he had been inappropriately touched by Mr. Hastert when the former speaker was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, the two people said Friday. The people briefed on the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a federal investigation.

It was not clear when the suspected behavior, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times, occurred. Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill., from 1965 to 1981, and the indictment said the recipient of the payments was from Yorkville and had known Mr. Hastert for decades….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/us/politics/hastert-indictment.html

U.S. Accuses Ex-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’
By MONICA DAVEY MAY 28, 2015

CHICAGO — J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, has been charged with lying to the F.B.I. and making cash withdrawals from banks in a way that was designed to hide that he was paying $3.5 million to someone for his “misconduct” from years ago, a federal indictment released on Thursday said.

Mr. Hastert, 73, the longest-serving Republican speaker, had worked as a lobbyist since leaving office. The indictment, announced by the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said Mr. Hastert, who was once a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Ill., had so far paid $1.7 million to the person, who had lived in Yorkville and had known Mr. Hastert for most of his or her life. Mr. Hastert worked in Yorkville from 1965 to 1981.

In 2010, during meetings between Mr. Hastert and the unnamed individual, the two discussed “past misconduct” by Mr. Hastert against the person, according to the indictment….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/29/us/ex-house-speaker-j-dennis-hastert-indicted-on-federal-charges.html

Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest
By MITCH SMITH JUNE 5, 2015

CHICAGO — Prosecutors in Minnesota filed criminal charges on Friday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accusing church leaders of mishandling repeated complaints of sexual misconduct against a priest and failing to follow through on pledges to protect children and root out pedophile clergymen.

The charges and accompanying civil petition, announced by the Ramsey County prosecutor, John J. Choi, stem from accusations by three male victims who say that from 2008 to 2010, when they were under age, a local priest, Curtis Wehmeyer, gave them alcohol and drugs before sexually assaulting them.

The criminal case amounts to a sweeping condemnation of the archdiocese and how its leaders have handled the abuse allegations — even after reforms were put in place by church leaders to increase accountability — and the charges are among the most severe actions taken by American authorities against a Catholic diocese.

“Today, we are alleging a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior committed by the highest levels of leadership of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the course of decades,” Mr. Choi said in a statement….

The charging documents also say that archdiocese officials knew that Mr. Wehmeyer used a boys’ bathroom at a parish elementary school instead of the staff restroom; tried to give an elementary-age boy a tour of the rectory in violation of policy; and took camping trips with boys where some of the sexual abuse was said to have occurred.

The archdiocese placed Mr. Wehmeyer in a monitoring program for priests facing complaints of abuse or other problems, but prosecutors said in court documents that the supervision and follow-through was “lax or nonexistent.”….

An Ohio judge in 2003 convicted the Archdiocese of Cincinnati of failing to report sexually abusive priests in the 1970s and ’80s. The judge fined the archdiocese $10,000, the maximum allowed, after the archbishop entered a no-contest plea….
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/us/catholic-archdiocese-in-minnesota-charged-over-sex-abuse-by-priest.html

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Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations
Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer Monday, June 8, 2015

James Vivenzio says he thought pledging a fraternity at Pennsylvania State University would mean brotherhood and honor.

Instead, the 21-year-old from Great Falls, Va., says, he was force-fed buckets of liquor mixed with urine, vomit, and hot sauce; made to guzzle hard alcohol until he vomited; burned on the chest with a cigarette; and once was beaten by a member of Kappa Delta Rho after he failed to participate in a ritual.

And the university, he contends in a lawsuit filed Monday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, failed to act after he reported the abuse more than a year ago, including his telling the school about the existence of private Facebook pages fraternity members allegedly used to post revealing photos of females who may have been aware they were being photographed.

“It is not an understatement to say that I was afraid somebody could die unless the abuse, the Facebook . . . and all that was going on, were shut down permanently,” Vivenzio said Monday, reading from a statement at a news conference in his lawyer’s office in Center City. “I’m no hero and I’m certainly no martyr.”

The filing came the same day that Kappa Delta Rho’s national office announced it had expelled 38 of the 100 or so members of its Penn State chapter and put the rest on alumni status. Penn State last month suspended the chapter for three years after a university investigation found evidence of hazing, underage drinking, and sexual harassment.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and names the university, the fraternity, and the fraternity’s national office as defendants….
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20150609_Frat_whistle-blower_sues_Penn_State.html

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