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….
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.”….
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….
Cardinal Dolan and the Sexual Abuse Scandal, Dolan Sought to Protect Church Assets, Files Show, John Paul II close to sainthood
July 5, 2013 Comments Off on Cardinal Dolan and the Sexual Abuse Scandal, Dolan Sought to Protect Church Assets, Files Show, John Paul II close to sainthood
– Cardinal Dolan and the Sexual Abuse Scandal
– Dolan Sought to Protect Church Assets, Files Show
– New York Times editorial calls allegations against Cardinal Timothy Dolan “shocking”
– John Paul II close to sainthood
Cardinal Dolan and the Sexual Abuse Scandal
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD July 3, 2013
Tragic as the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church has been, it is shocking to discover that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, while archbishop of Milwaukee, moved $57 million off the archdiocesan books into a cemetery trust fund six years ago in order to protect the money from damage suits by victims of abuse by priests.
Cardinal Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, has denied shielding the funds as an “old and discredited” allegation and “malarkey.” But newly released court documents make it clear that he sought and received fast approval from the Vatican to transfer the money just as the Wisconsin Supreme Court was about to open the door to damage suits by victims raped and abused as children by Roman Catholic clergy.
“I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability,” Cardinal Dolan wrote rather cynically in his 2007 letter to the Vatican. The letter was released by the Milwaukee Archdiocese as part of a bankruptcy court fight with lawyers in 575 cases of damage claims. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011. The law bars a debtor from transferring funds in a way that protects one class of creditors over another.
The release of about 6,000 pages of documents provided a grim backstage look at the scandal, graphically detailing the patterns of serial abuse by dozens of priests who were systematically rotated to new assignments as church officials kept criminal behavior secret from civil authority….
The documents showed how the Vatican slowly took years to allow dioceses to defrock embarrassing priests. Yet the same bureaucracy approved Cardinal Dolan’s $57 million transfer just days after the Wisconsin court allowed victims’ damage suits.
Dolan Sought to Protect Church Assets, Files Show
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN July 1, 2013
Files released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Monday reveal that in 2007, Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan, then the archbishop there, requested permission from the Vatican to move nearly $57 million into a cemetery trust fund to protect the assets from victims of clergy sexual abuse who were demanding compensation.
Cardinal Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, has emphatically denied seeking to shield church funds as the archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009. He reiterated in a statement Monday that these were “old and discredited attacks.”
However, the files contain a 2007 letter to the Vatican in which he explains that by transferring the assets, “I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.” The Vatican approved the request in five weeks, the files show….
Cardinal Dolan has been regarded by many Catholics as part of the solution. In public appearances, he has expressed personal outrage at the harm done to children, apologized profusely and pledged to help the church and the victims heal.
But the documents lift the curtain on his role as a workaday church functionary concerned with safeguarding assets, persuading abusive priests to leave voluntarily in exchange for continued stipends and benefits, and complying with Rome’s sluggish canonical procedures for dismissing uncooperative priests who he had long concluded were remorseless and a serious risk to children. In one case, the Vatican took five years to remove a convicted sex offender from the priesthood….
In his letter, Archbishop Listecki said the documents showed that 22 priests were “reassigned to parish work after concerns about their behavior were known to the archdiocese,” and that 8 of those “reoffended after being reassigned.”….
New York Times editorial calls allegations against Cardinal Timothy Dolan “shocking”
Claims “church officials kept criminal behavior secret from civil authority” in Milwaukee
By JAMES O’SHEA, IrishCentral Staff Writer Thursday, July 4, 2013
The New York Times has launched a strong attack on Cardinal TImothy Dolan over his alleged shifting of $57 million in funds when he ran the Milwaukee diocese to avoid paying off child abuse victims.
The New York Times editorial called the Cardinal’s actions “shocking” and stated Milwaukee “church officials kept criminal behavior secret from civil authority,”citing evidence newly available in 6,000 pages of documents.
The hard hitting editorial states “Tragic as the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church has been, it is shocking to discover that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, while archbishop of Milwaukee, moved $57 million off the archdiocesan books into a cemetery trust fund six years ago in order to protect the money from damage suits by victims of abuse by priests.”
Cardinal Dolan, has denied the allegation and described the charges as “old and discredited” allegation and “malarkey.”
However The Times says the new documents make clear “he sought and received fast approval from the Vatican to transfer the money just as the Wisconsin Supreme Court was about to open the door to damage suits by victims raped and abused as children by Roman Catholic clergy.”….
John Paul II close to sainthood
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 By Gary J. Remal
Word leaked from the halls of St. Peter yesterday that Pope John Paul II needs only a final OK from current Pope Francis to become a saint, and a Boston College expert said the effort would never have gotten this far unless the pope was ready to sign off….
Although some of the Holy See’s deep-seated problems — clerical sex abuse, dysfunctional governance and financial scandals at the Vatican bank — date from John Paul II’s tenure, his supporters say people are canonized, not pontificates. Bretzke said saints are not expected to be perfect….
October 18, 2012 Comments Off on Jimmy Savile BBC Sexual Abuse Scandal, Savile’s hospital access to be examined
Sexual Abuse Scandal Turns the Tables on BBC
By SARAH LYALL October 17, 2012
LONDON — The story seemed perfect for the British Broadcasting Corporation’s hard-hitting “Newsnight” program: a nationally beloved television host, it seemed, had also been a pedophile who for decades preyed on young teenagers in hospitals, in children’s homes — and in the halls of the BBC itself.
“Newsnight” found women willing to go on air to declare that the host, Jimmy Savile, who died last year, had abused them when they were young. But last December, as the segment neared completion, it was abruptly canceled by the editor in charge, who said there was not enough evidence to justify going ahead.
That decision, and the BBC’s earlier failure over four decades to investigate rumors about Mr. Savile’s behavior, is now the subject of three independent investigations. But they are just the latest and most explosive elements in a scandal that seems to widen by the hour, fed by a ferocious British tabloid press angry at the BBC’s coverage of the hacking scandal and eager, for a change, to write about misdeeds other than its own….
The Savile affair is by no means restricted to the BBC, drawing in some of Britain’s most important institutions. Scotland Yard has opened an investigation involving 14 other police forces and no fewer than 340 “lines of inquiry”; it said that from 1959 to 2006, Mr. Savile might have molested 60 or more underage girls.
But politically the primary focus is on the BBC. “Everyone has been sickened by the vile abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile,” Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour Party, said in the House of Commons. “What has deepened the revulsion is that this happened at the BBC, an institution so loved and trusted it is known as Auntie. This has cast a stain on the BBC.”
Even more embarrassing for the corporation is that in December, right around the time it canceled the Savile segment on “Newsnight,” it broadcast three separate programs praising Mr. Savile. BBC executives have said that there was no relationship between the decisions to cancel the critical program and to broadcast the laudatory ones….
It is hard to convey exactly what place Mr. Savile occupied in British public life. Known for his outlandish costumes, his fancy cars and his bizarre appearance — he had peroxide-blond hair that he wore in a kind of aging-pageboy, Prince Valiant-style cut — he was as familiar a presence as Johnny Carson or Dick Clark, and as odd a character as Pee-wee Herman. He was knighted by the queen; he was a friend of Prince Charles. Four thousand people attended his funeral last year. His obituaries described him as a national icon.
Mr. Savile worked as a radio disc jockey when disc jockeys were just being invented. On BBC television, he was the first host of the “Top of the Pops” show, which counted down hit records each week. He also fronted the hugely popular “Jim’ll Fix It,” in which he solved the problems and granted the wishes of viewers, most of them children.
He was also a tireless fund-raiser, credited with raising as much as $75 million, whose work took him into hospitals, children’s homes and schools. Many of the accusations against him have come from hospital patients who say he molested them while they were literally in bed….
Rumors of Mr. Savile’s behavior swirled around the BBC, in the music business, on Fleet Street. He was even confronted by tabloid reporters and BBC officials, but always denied everything. In 2007, the Surrey Police Department investigated complaints from hospital patients dating from the 1970s, but prosecutors failed to bring charges.
“I heard massive stories about Jimmy Savile being a dirty old man who kind of touched up anything in a skirt,” said a BBC reporter who began working there in the 1980s. She spoke on condition of anonymity because BBC employees are not authorized to speak to outside reporters.
Savile’s hospital access to be examined: Health officials announce inquiry into abuse at three institutions
By Sam Greenhill 17 October 2012
Health chiefs yesterday belatedly announced an inquiry into Jimmy Savile’s reign of abuse at three NHS hospitals. But it will be run by the Department of Health itself, raising fears it cannot be truly independent. Former barrister Kate Lampard will oversee the investigation to provide ‘independent oversight’, Downing Street pledged.
It will examine why the paedophile presenter was given the keys to Broadmoor mental hospital, a bedroom at Stoke Mandeville and free rein at Leeds General Infirmary. He allegedly raped and molested young victims for decades without anyone stopping him.
There are suspicions a blind eye was turned to the abuse because the hospitals reaped millions of pounds through Savile’s fundraising. Labour is still calling for a full independent inquiry into the scandal.
Deputy leader Harriet Harman said: ‘I think what we need to do is get to the truth….
Savile, who raised £40million for the hospital in his lifetime, boasted that he ‘lived’ in a bedroom managers had given him at Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, and said he could do as he pleased….
Astonishingly, he was even allowed to take young female patients out of the supposedly top-security hospital for rides in his Rolls Royce. And Savile boasted that he was actually responsible for getting some mentally ill patients – among them murderers – freed from their sentences.
Claims: Dozens of people have come forward to say they were abused by Savile at all three hospitals. He called himself the ‘Governor’ of the hospital and was inexplicably made chairman of a hospital taskforce by the Department of Health in the 1980s.
He grabbed me very tightly and said: This is my special move
Sue, 16, on Jimmy Savile cruise ship attack
Grinning beast … Savile pulls liner victim Sue on to bed in friend’s snap
By CHRIS POLLARD October 18, 2012
A VICTIM molested by Jimmy Savile on a cruise liner told last night how the star DJ lured her to his cabin and abused her when she was a starstruck 16-year-old.
Holidaymaker Sue Southgate was with a girl pal when he approached the two teenagers promising autographs.
The unsuspecting pair followed him giggling to his first class quarters on the P&O liner SS Canberra where he startled them by casually taking off his trousers — even though Sue’s friend had her camera.
Begging Sue for a “quick cuddle” as her chum took souvenir photos, the Top Of The Pops… — then aged 51 — pulled her on to his bed….
She said: “He was prancing up and down the corridors, introducing himself to everyone. He was obviously on the lookout for potential targets.”
Savile was kicked off the ship after a distraught couple accused him of inappropriate behaviour with their daughter aged just 14.
The captain said: “I told him he disgusted me and I wanted him off my ship when we reached Gibraltar. I told an officer to make sure he remained in his cabin. He was not allowed to leave it under any circumstances short of shipwreck.”
July 24, 2012 Comments Off on Penn State football punished by NCAA over Jerry Sandusky scandal
Penn State football punished by NCAA over Jerry Sandusky scandal
By Steve Yanda, Monday, July 23, 2012
Under legendary coach Joe Paterno, Penn State football became one of the most recognizable and successful brand names in college athletics. But on Monday, the NCAA levied unprecedented sanctions against the program for its role in the sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, erasing part of the team’s illustrious history and making its prospects in the near future increasingly dim.
The NCAA fined the school $60 million, imposed a four-year postseason ban on Penn State football, significantly reduced the number of scholarship players the team can field over the next four years, placed the program on probation for five years and enabled any current or incoming player to transfer and play immediately without restriction.
But perhaps the most significant individual sanction in the context of college football history is that all of Penn State’s wins from 1998 to 2011 have been vacated, which means that Paterno, who oversaw the Nittany Lions’ football program for nearly 46 years, no longer is the all-time winningest coach at college football’s highest level….
Earlier this month, former FBI director Louis J. Freeh released a report that found Paterno, in concert with three other top Penn State officials, had covered up allegations of child sexual abuse made against Sandusky, a former assistant coach on the football team, for 14 years….
Penn State has signed a consent decree and will not appeal the sanctions. In an interview with the Centre Daily Times, Penn State President Rodney Erickson said it agreed to the sanctions in order to avoid an NCAA death penalty….
Erickson said in a written statement that the money to pay the fine would not come from tax money, tuition dollars or donations….
UPDATE 4-Penn State hit with unprecedented penalties for Sandusky scandal
Tue Jul 24, 2012
* Penn State football avoids “death penalty”
* NCAA president cites “tragically unnecessary circumstances”
* No bowl games for four seasons, scholarships reduced…
By Edith Honan
July 23 (Reuters) – The governing body of U.S. college sports fined Penn State University $60 million and voided its football victories for the past 14 seasons in an unprecedented rebuke for the school’s failure to stop coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said the school had put “hero worship and winning at all costs” ahead of integrity, honesty and responsibility.
Penn State was not given the so-called “death penalty” that could have suspended its football program but it was banned from post-season bowl games for four years and had the number of scholarships available to players reduced from 25 to 15.
Penn State officials were accused of not taking action after being alerted that Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, was sexually abusing children. The scandal tainted one of college football’s leading coaches, the late Joe Paterno, and led to his firing last year along with other top school officials.
The punishment, announced by the National College Athletic Association at a news conference in Indianapolis, was unprecedented for its swiftness and breadth. It was the latest blow to an institution still reeling from Sandusky’s conviction last month on child molestation charges.
The case was another blotch on the diminishing legacy of Paterno, who until Monday’s action had held the record for victories among big-time U.S. college football coaches in a career that spanned more than 40 seasons. Paterno lost that status since the NCAA’s punishment includes voiding the Nittany Lions’ victories between 1998 and 2011 – the time period covering when allegations against Sandusky were first made and Sandusky’s arrest….
Emmert said the NCAA chose not to levy the so-called “death penalty” because it would have harmed individuals with no role in the Sandusky scandal….