For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad, Polish archbishop appeals defrocking for sexual abuse: Vatican
August 26, 2014 Comments Off on For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad, Polish archbishop appeals defrocking for sexual abuse: Vatican
“the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic”
For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN AUG. 23, 2014
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — He was a familiar figure to the skinny shoeshine boys who work along the oceanfront promenade here. Wearing black track pants and a baseball cap pulled low over his balding head, they say, he would stroll along in the late afternoon and bring one of them down to the rocky shoreline or to a deserted monument for a local Catholic hero.
The boys say he gave them money to perform sexual acts. They called him “the Italian” because he spoke Spanish with an Italian accent.
It was only after he was spirited out of the country, the boys say, his picture splashed all over the local news media, that they learned his real identity: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic….
The case is the first time that a top Vatican ambassador, or nuncio — who serves as a personal envoy of the pope — has been accused of sexual abuse of minors. It has sent shock waves through the Vatican and two predominantly Catholic countries that have only begun to grapple with clergy sexual abuse: the Dominican Republic and Poland, where Mr. Wesolowski was ordained by the Polish prelate who later became Pope John Paul II….
Mr. Wesolowski has already faced the harshest penalty possible under the church’s canon law, short of excommunication: on June 27, he was defrocked by the Vatican, reducing him to the status of a layman. The Vatican, which as a city-state has its own judicial system, has also said it intends to try Mr. Wesolowski on criminal charges — the first time the Vatican has held a criminal trial for sexual abuse.
But far from settling the matter, the Vatican has stirred an outcry because it helped Mr. Wesolowski avoid criminal prosecution and a possible jail sentence in the Dominican Republic. Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic….
A Dominican bishop, Victor Masalles, visiting Rome in late June, said in a Twitter message that he was surprised to see Mr. Wesolowski “strolling the Via della Scrofa,” in the city’s picturesque ancient center. He added, “The silence of the Church has hurt the people of God.”….
Mr. Wesolowski, 66, was ordained at 23 in Krakow by Archbishop Karol Józef Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II. In 1999, he was appointed papal nuncio to Bolivia, and in 2002, he was reassigned to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan….
Neither the cardinal, nor other church officials, reported the allegations to the local authorities, Dominican officials say. Vatican guidelines say that criminal sexual abuse accusations should be reported in countries where reporting is required….
The case has reverberated in Poland, where prosecutors have sought to extradite Mr. Wesolowski, who holds both Vatican and Polish citizenship. Poland has indicted another Polish priest, the Rev. Wojciech Gil, who fled the Dominican Republic last year amid allegations that he abused altar boys in his rural parish. Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic say that Father Gil and Mr. Wesolowski spent time with young boys at the nuncio’s beach house….
Polish archbishop appeals defrocking for sexual abuse: Vatican
VATICAN CITY Mon Aug 25, 2014
(Reuters) – A Polish archbishop accused of child sex abuse in the Dominican Republic has appealed against a Roman Catholic tribunal’s decision to defrock him, the Vatican said on Monday.
Jozef Wesolowski, who had served as a Vatican nuncio or ambassador to the Caribbean nation, was sentenced in late June to be expelled from the priesthood, an extremely rare step against such a senior church official.
“Former nuncio Josef Wesolowski has recently appealed, within the prescribed limit of two months, against the most serious canonical sentence, that of a return to the lay state, which has been imposed upon him,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement….
If found guilty in a criminal trial, Wesolowski could risk extradition to the Dominican Republic, which has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case….
May 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
Future pope refused defrocking of convicted priest MATT SEDENSKY AP 5/30/10
The future Pope Benedict XVI refused to defrock an American priest who confessed to molesting numerous children and even served prison time for it, simply because the cleric wouldn’t agree to the discipline. The case provides the latest evidence of how changes in church law under Pope John Paul II frustrated and hamstrung U.S. bishops struggling with an abuse crisis that would eventually explode.
Documents obtained by The Associated Press from court filings in the case of the late Rev. Alvin Campbell of Illinois show Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, following church law at the time, turned down a bishop’s plea to remove the priest for no other reason than the abuser’s refusal to go along with it.
“The petition in question cannot be admitted in as much as it lacks the request of Father Campbell himself,” Ratzinger wrote in a July 3, 1989, letter to Bishop Daniel Ryan of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill….
Campbell’s misdeeds date back at least 15 years before his defrocking.
As an Army chaplain, he was reprimanded and ultimately left the service after abusing at least one boy, according to military and church correspondence. An Army letter in his file said he had exploited his rank and position as a chaplain “by engaging in indecent homosexual acts” with a child under 16 who had been under his supervision….
Campbell became a pastor upon his return to the diocese. In at least three instances after returning to diocesan work, he was forced to depart jobs as parish pastor or administrator “for reasons of health,” a euphemism for sexual abuse used within the church that Ryan himself put in quotes.
After workers at a rape crisis center alerted authorities that they were treating one of Campbell’s victims, police found he had been plying boys with video games, bicycles, watches and other gifts to get them to the waterbed in his second-floor rectory bedroom. Ryan sent Campbell to a New Mexico treatment facility after the arrest.
Campbell was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 1985, after admitting to molesting seven boys during his time as pastor of St. Maurice Parish in Morrisonville, Ill. He was released in 1992 after serving about seven years for sexual assault and sexual abuse.
Ryan apparently waited four years after Campbell went to prison, according to church files, before asking for the priest’s defrocking. It’s unclear what accounted for the delay.
describes allegations of abuse
Sex abuse victims say church is still tenaciously fighting claims – Even after convictions, some lawsuits have dragged on for more than a decade; church official blames complexities of judicial system
May 30 2010 …. The pressure Caruso experienced in battling the Catholic Church is not unusual, say those suing Catholic dioceses, priests and nuns over abuse. Despite the church’s pledge to handle victims with compassion — a position repeated this month by Pope Benedict — it too often plays a game of courtroom chicken with stall tactics, hostile discovery sessions and intrusive psychological probes that unnerve vulnerable clients, say victims and their lawyers.
“They don’t want to pay out the money,’’ said Jack Lavers, a Newfoundland lawyer who has worked both sides of the liturgical legal landscape. “There are (cases) that do start and never seem to finish.”
Seemingly relentless legal campaigns — especially against victims like Caruso, whose abuser had been convicted — appear to clash with church reforms adopted two decades ago after the Mount Cashel orphanage sex scandal. Pastoral outreach for victims of clergy abuse was among the recommendations in the 1992 “From Pain to Hope” report commissioned by the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops. Counselling and empathy for the abused were again recommended in a 2007 CCCB task force….
Sharp said each victim’s circumstances are unique and claims of harsh treatment “may very well be” in some cases. But London-area victims are “immediately” offered counselling with a professional of their choice as soon as they report abuse. “In our diocese we are committed to keep these things moving as quickly and fully as we possibly can,” said Sharp, who estimates he still has 20 active Sylvestre cases….
Lavers said courtroom reality is that plaintiffs often get worn down and agree to accept smaller sums or drop their cases completely….
The 65-year-old native of St. John’s, Nfld., is among a group claiming physical and emotional abuse at the Belvedere Orphanage — a female counterpart of Mount Cashel. More than 30 women are suing the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy and the province of Newfoundland. Her case is now 13 years old….
April 23, 2010 § Leave a comment
Victims want ‘abuse’ priests defrocked April 22, 2010 AAP
A church-related victims’ group is calling on the Vatican to defrock about 100 Melbourne priests implicated in sexual abuse claims which have been substantiated by church investigations.
The Melbourne Victims’ Collective, a group of 27 primary and secondary alleged sex abuse victims, wants the priests stripped of their titles and privileges.
A Fairfax newspaper (The Age) reported on Thursday that almost 300 sexual abuse allegations had been substantiated in Melbourne by the Catholic church since 1996 but only one priest had been defrocked.
300 abuse cases, one defrocking NICK MCKENZIE AND RAFAEL EPSTEIN April 22, 2010 VICTORIA Police has called for sweeping changes to the way Melbourne’s Catholic Church deals with sex crime allegations, as The Age reveals that only one priest has been defrocked for abuse in the past 14 years.
Nearly 300 allegations of sexual abuse have been substantiated by church investigations since 1996, when the ”Melbourne Response” was set up to deal with complaints. It is believed the abuses were perpetrated by approximately 100 priests, a figure the church will not confirm. Just one priest has been defrocked as a result. Some other priests lost their role serving a parish full-time.
Suit: Vatican No. 2 Got Letter From Abuse Victim – Lawsuit claims Vatican official got letter from victim on Wis. abuse earlier than known before By DINESH RAMDE and ERIC GORSKI MILWAUKEE April 22, 2010 (AP) A neatly typed letter dated March 5, 1995, is addressed to the No. 2 man at the Vatican and recounts the story of a priest who preyed on deaf boys trapped in dormitories with no chance of escape. The letter to Cardinal Angelo Sodano from one of the Rev. Lawrence Murphy’s alleged victims is more evidence for those trying to learn what Vatican officials knew about abuse claims at St. John’s School for the Deaf outside Milwaukee and when. The document was revealed Thursday in yet another lawsuit aimed at the highest reaches of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s also significant because it involves Sodano, a strong defender of Pope Benedict XVI’s handling of the global clergy sexual abuse crisis and a man whose own record on a separate high-profile case has come under scrutiny. The Vatican’s U.S.-based attorney, Jeffrey Lena, said in a statement Thursday that the lawsuit was a publicity stunt with no merit and it rehashes theories already rejected by U.S. courts.
Murphy, who died in 1998, is accused of sexually abusing some 200 boys at the deaf school from 1950 to 1974. He was put on a leave of absence when the allegations were revealed in the early 1970s. The lawsuit claims Murphy was still allowed to serve in ministry and work with children in another Wisconsin diocese into the early 1990s….Sodano has long been accused in news reports in U.S. Catholic publications and other outlets of stalling a Vatican probe of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the discredited founder of the Legionaries of Christ. The order has admitted that the late Maciel fathered at least one child and molested young seminarians.
Civil suit filed against former Hawaii priest for sex assault of teen 4/21/10 A former Roman Catholic priest who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2000 for sexually abusing a 13-year-old O’ahu boy is at the center of a civil lawsuit filed yesterday in Denver, Colo. The lawsuit alleges Mark Matson repeatedly assaulted a 15-year old boy while the teen was attending St. Andrews Seminary in Denver in 1976.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the former student, identified only as “John Doe,” who is now 49 years old and a resident of the Denver area. The complaint contends that when the student confronted Matson about a series of sexual assaults, the priest claimed to have found marijuana in the boy’s belongings and had him expelled from the Denver seminary.
German bishop ‘who beat orphans’ resigns From Times Online April 22, 2010 Roger Boyes, Berlin
The resignation of the conservative Bishop of Augsburg – accused of thrashing orphans with a carpet beater – has given a powerful boost to reformers in the German Catholic Church who are trying to stop the mass desertion of believers. It took almost three weeks to persuade the controversial bishop, Walter Mixa, 68, to step down and restore the credibility of the Church as it attempts to tackle and contain the growing scandal of physical and sexual abuse of children in its care.
The bishop is a close ally of Pope Benedict XVI and he had evidently counted on papal support as he stood firm against claims from at least six former pupils at a Catholic-run orphanage in Bavaria.
Irish Bishop Resigns Over Abuse Scandal By AP / NICOLE WINFIELD and MELISSA EDDY Apr. 22, 2010
(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation Thursday of an Irish bishop who admitted he didn’t challenge the Dublin church’s policy of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests. Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare is the third Irish bishop to resign in the past four months as a result of the Irish abuse scandal, and two more have offered to go. He said he was stepping down because he realized that “renewal must begin with accepting responsibility for the past.” Moriarty, 73, offered to resign in December after admitting he didn’t challenge the Dublin Archdiocese’s past practice of concealing child-abuse complaints from police.
Rabbi Sentenced 32 Years For Sexually Abusing Teen (WPIX)
joel engleman, Rabbi Baruch Lebovits (WPIX)