Tag: Catholic Church Corruption

Los Angeles Church Corruption Horowitz Law

Los Angeles Church Corruption – The Archdiocese That SHOULD Get it Right But Isn’t

If there was one city where the Catholic church hierarchy could try harder to do better on sexual abuse issues and church corruption, that place might be Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Archdiocese could reasonably make efforts above and beyond the norm, given that:

1. it’s the second-largest city in the US.

2. it’s the second-largest media market in the US.

3. it’s the largest archdiocese in the nation (with 4.1 million Catholics, LA has almost 1.5 million more Catholics than the second largest, New York City, which claims 2.5 million.)

5. it’s an archdiocese led for years by the now-disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony, whose successor once barred him from public ministry in all of the parishes he once led.

6. it’s an archdiocese that was forced to pay the largest abuse settlement in Catholic church history ($660 million to 508 survivors in 2007.)

7. it’s next door to a diocese that was forced to pay what “is believed to be the largest publicly disclosed payment the church has ever made to an individual victim of sexual abuse.”

8. it’s in a state where survivors can seek justice in court for two years (ending this December) until they turn 55 and can sue both individuals and institutions.

9. it’s in a state which has essentially eliminated the CRIMINAL statute of limitations.

Los Angeles Church Corruption is STILL Happening

So the Catholic hierarchy has many incentives to work overtime to prevent and root out child sex crimes and cover-ups in the Los Angeles area. But alas, that’s not happening. Consider the recent case of a small religious order called the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, which operates in Ventura County (part of the LA archdiocese).

The first two sentences of an expose in a Catholic publication give the gist of the story:

“Six novices were dismissed last June from the California novitiate of a small religious order, just weeks after they reported that their novice master touched several of them inappropriately without their consent and engaged in manipulation and other conduct which caused them “serious harm.”

Their dismissal came after an internal investigation cleared the novice master of wrongdoing. But investigators did not interview any of the novices before rejecting their claims. 

You read that right. Six young men claimed sexual misconduct by their supervisor, and their abuser was ‘cleared’ by church officials even though none were interviewed. The men were then kicked out of the Catholic institution they’d pledged themselves to.

FYI: A ‘novice’ is someone who has been accepted into a religious order for a period of probation before taking vows. Novices are usually very devout and feel a ‘calling’ to serve God and his church. So they are particularly vulnerable because to be fully accepted into an order, they must obey their superiors.

They were abused. Then, they were betrayed. Then they were ostracized.
Does it get any worse than this? Tragically, yes, in two key ways. First, All of the supervisor’s alleged wrongdoing, and there’s plenty of it, (drunkenness, driving while drunk, explosive bursts of anger) happened in or since 2020. Needless to say, that’s almost two decades after the entire US Catholic hierarchy began claiming “We’ve reformed” when it comes to abuse.

Second, at least two levels of church supervisors have apparently ignored or shunned these six brave victims and backed their abuser: the religious order itself and the LA archdiocese, headed by Archbishop Jose Gomez. Gomez, by the way, is the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. When his term ends in November, he will have spent three years as the elected and undisputed leader of all Catholic prelates in the nation. It’s worth noting that, according to The Pillar (which broke this story), the novices “were attracted to (the order’s) reverent liturgy and orthodox theology.” In other words, these young men were ardent believers. They clearly believe in the church, its teachings, its authority, and the whole package.

Let’s be clear: sexual abuse or manipulation or betrayal is horrific, regardless of whether the victim is a member of the American Atheists or the most faithful member of the flock. Still, we at Horowitz Law can’t help but feel especially sorry for abuse survivors who are especially trusting of Catholic clergy, especially those in leadership roles, and dedicate their lives to “serving God’s people.”

At this point, a skeptic might claim “Wait, you’re basing your critique largely on one news source, and a source few people are familiar with. What if The Pillar is biased?”

Two quick rebuttals.

First, this expose appeared almost a week ago on The Pillar website. As best we can tell, not a single church official – either with the archdiocese or the religious order – has made even a tepid statement denying these charges.

Second, The Pillar is a relatively new – and conservative – Catholic publication headed by two journalists who formerly worked for the Catholic News Agency. So if it has a bias, it’s not a secular or anti-church bias. It’s considered to be ‘orthodox,’ which is “in full communion with the church.”

We at Horowitz Law applaud these courageous young men. We deplore how callously and hurtfully they are being treated. But we are grateful that a light is being shone on this horror. And it’s taking place in one of our nation’s most survivor-friendly states, so there is at least a chance that their abuser and his accomplices may be brought to justice. We hope Los Angeles church corruption ends.

Southern Baptist Abuse Report

Four Takeaways from the Stunning New Southern Baptist Abuse Report

For those unaware, a new and remarkable Southern Baptist Abuse Report was released this week at the Southern Baptist Convention, showcasing the denomination’s handling of sexual abuse over the past two decades. Conducted by a third-party investigator, the new Southern Baptist Abuse Report features almost 300 pages of allegations, cover-ups of reported sexual abuse cases, and an internal list of 703 people suspected of abuse.

Here are four takeaways from the shocking Southern Baptist Convention showcasing child sex abuse and cover-up scandals that burst into the public consciousness this week.

1) Institutions can do more than they claim or admit.

For at least 15 years, Baptist officials repeatedly told victims, advocates and reformers: “We can’t compile a list of child molesting clergymen” and “We can’t take action to stop abuse as a national body because all our churches are independent.” Events of the last few days prove these claims of being impotent are just excuses. Within hours of the report being published, the SBC made two pledges that completely contradict the institution’s alleged inability to act.

First, the Southern Baptist Abuse Report revealed that the SBC was ALREADY keeping a list of Baptist predators. But they did so in complete secrecy. Now, the SBC says they’ll publish that list this week. Second, the SBC announced plans for a national church hotline for abuse reporting. That too contradicts the institution’s long-standing claim that it can’t create or ‘impose’ any nationwide abuse prevention or response steps because of its so-called ‘polity’ of ‘independence.’ 

2) Institutions can act fast when they want to.

When powerful entities finally, after years of enabling child predators, feel compelled to do something, they can move quickly. They will tell parents, parishioners, reformers, victims, advocates, and stakeholders, “We have to study this thoroughly and act deliberatively and get input from all parties,” making excuses to maintain their self-serving status quo.

But when push comes to shove, and forces coalesce to make some kind of change inevitable, institutions like the SBC and the Catholic church show that indeed. Again, on Sunday, the official position of the Southern Baptist Convention was “We can’t do a perpetrator database” and “We can’t have any kind of national policy or initiative on abuse.” By Wednesday, about 72 hours after the scathing report surfaced, the SBC did a complete turnaround. 

3) Institutions respond to public pressure.

At first glance, it might seem that the impetus for this sudden flip-flop by Baptist officials was the new report. But that’s a misinterpretation.

First, it was pressure – constant, powerful pushing and prodding from the bottom up that CAUSED the report to happen in the first place. Second, the pressure, which is sudden, intense, and visible SINCE the report surfaced that, is driving the reform. Notice we deliberately use the phrase “public pressure.” Many are naive about institutional evil. Many assume that disclosure of wrongdoing stops wrongdoing.

We at Horowitz Law know that often this is just not the case. Often, public awareness soon leads to public complacency, as people begin to assume, “Well, now that the truth is out there and the bad guys and their bad behavior is well-known, surely things are changing.”

4) Change CAN happen.

We see it and hear it and say it – and feel it in our bones – over and over again, “We’re a deeply divided country. Our institutions and our governmental bodies are stymied. They’re deadlocked. They can’t get anything done.” This week, brave Baptist survivors and advocates have shown us this is wrong. Their courage – and their success – remind us that hopelessness is foolish. It’s self-defeating. It causes deep wounds to keep festering. It allows corrupt people in power to stay in power. It lets criminals keep perpetrating crimes. 

And while we at Horowitz Law aren’t therapists or psychologists, we are certain that hopelessness can’t be healthy for any of us. So join us on the right side of history. Join us in shining a bright healing light on the secrecy that shrouds those who commit and conceal and ignore and enable devastating crimes against kids. Speak up! About abuse in EVERY denomination and institution and setting. Call for the removal of wrongdoers. Push for new and better laws that help police, prosecutors, and victims bring wrongdoers to justice. And DEFINITELY speak up if you’ve ever seen, suspected, or suffered child sex crimes or cover-ups. 

Change is possible. If you want to see it, or help it happen, speaking up is the first step.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped, or sexually molested by a person in a position of trust or authority, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer, Adam Horowitz, at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Archdiocese of Denver Horowitz Law

Surprising Secrecy in the Denver Archdiocese

Secrecy in the Denver Archdiocese? We at Horowitz Law hope we’re misreading the news out of the Denver Archdiocese, but we suspect and fear that we aren’t. A Colorado television station reported that a Denver archdiocesan priest had been accused of inappropriately touching a child in 2018. More specifically, a media report states that a priest in the Archdiocese of Denver inappropriately touched a minor in a public space when the young girl was exiting church immediately after Mass. Denver church officials supposedly followed their “Code of Conduct” and “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” by immediately reporting the allegation to authorities (or so they say). The cleric was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. So far, this sounds like they are actually following the correct protocol, right? Well, not really.

Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila is NOT revealing the name of the priest. At a bare minimum, this contradicts the promise and practice of Catholic officials across the country for a few decades.

Let’s start by noting the following facts:
1. This is an allegation of a serious crime
2. This allegedly happened recently
3. The alleged abuser is a still-living priest
4. This act is a possible cause for criminal prosecution

In other words, it’s NOT a decades-old allegation against a long-deceased cleric who can no longer hurt someone or be pursued by police and prosecutors. This priest is still alive and could still be abusive.

So, while a bishop should be prompt, honest, and thorough in publicly disclosing ALL reports of abuse, he should be particularly prompt, honest, and thorough in these circumstances. But again, we at Horowitz Law can find nothing on Aquila’s website indicating the name of the just-suspended cleric. Secrecy in the Denver Archdiocese? We think so.

What the Archdiocese of Denver DOES disclose is:
1. When it allegedly happened (in 2018, after Mass)
2. How often it allegedly happened (once)
3. What the incident involved (touching)
4. Where the incident happened (in a public space)

Clearly, the archdiocese does not take the position, “It’s just an accusation, so we can’t offer any details.” Instead, it takes the position, “The ONLY details we’ll offer are the ones that portray us in the best possible light.” Why aren’t they disclosing the priest’s name?

This just feels wrong to us, like there is secrecy in the Denver Archdiocese. It also contradicts the Catholic Church’s 20-year-old national abuse policy that supposedly mandates ‘openness’ in abuse cases. In fairness, let us admit that maybe we’re not seeing the whole picture here. Perhaps Aquila DID reveal the accused priest’s name, but local media is withholding it. But while sometimes one or two media outlets might act so cautiously, rarely, every news outlet in a relatively large metro area like Denver refuses to name an alleged offender.

A second possibility is that maybe Aquila has told his parishioners, but not the press, who this accused cleric is. That, too, sometimes happens, but it’s rare. When a Catholic official tells a few hundred people that a priest has been accused of child sex crimes, almost always, at least one of them passes the word along to one or more media outlets and the identity accused surfaces. So our very strong hunch is that Aquila is deliberately – and recklessly – keeping the alleged predator priest’s name hidden.

Let’s also note other worrisome choices of words in the archdiocesan announcement. It seems designed to minimize the possible crime, using words like ‘touching’ (instead of assaulting or molesting), ‘minor’ (instead of boy or girl), and ‘in a public space’, as if to suggest that if it were done there, it must not be too bad or someone would have seen it happen.

The archdiocese further says that the priest has been a ‘priest in good standing’ and has denied the allegation, neither of which adds anything helpful here. (After all, almost EVERY child molester is ‘in good standing with his employer BEFORE he’s accused of sexually violating a child.)
The only way to potentially decide whether Aquila is being secretive or disingenuous in this matter is to look at whether he’s been secretive or disingenuous in the past.

And we submit that the best measure of this is his archdiocesan list of child molesting clerics. Compare that list with the one put out by the independent and reliable archive BishopAccountability.org.

Here’s the archdiocese’s list:
https://archden.org/protection/history/historical-list/
Here’s BishopAccountability’s list:
https://www.bishop-accountability.org/dioceses/usa-co-denver/

The archdiocese’s list claims 27 offenders, while the latter includes 42. It becomes pretty clear that Aquila is being secretive once again.

Finally, it’s troubling that Aquila’s list provides so little information about the predators. In fact, under each priest’s name, it gives only three dates: when they were born, when they were ordained, and their status.

Is it helpful to know when a child molesting cleric began his life? Not really. Is it helpful to know when he/she officially became a priest or nun or bishop? Maybe, but not really. Is it helpful to know when he/she died or was defrocked or was excardinated? Somewhat. but again, it would be MUCH more helpful to know:

  1. Where he/she worked, every location, both inside and outside the diocese.

2. How much time did church officials protect the predator between the first abuse report and his/her suspension and/or exposure.

And, of course, it would be beneficial to see, on church credibly accused cleric lists, a strong appeal from the Catholic hierarchy to victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to come forward. Who knows if language like this might gently prod someone scared or pessimistic to pick up the phone and call law enforcement: “As your bishop, I implore you to take one step toward reversing centuries of hurtful secrecy in our church by calling police or prosecutors if you have any information or suspicions that might help them determine the truth of allegations against these clerics, whether they’re alive or dead, in our diocese or elsewhere.”

Again, who knows what impact this might have? But if this kind of language nudges even one witness, or whistleblower to call secular authorities, isn’t it worth it? And how will we know if a clear, strong appeal like this is practical unless bishops give it a try?

Last but not least, how about a middle name, or at least an initial for credibly accused clerics like Charles Brown or Tim Evans or Greg Smith or John Stein? There must be dozens of them in Colorado.
Let’s say you’re a single mom with kids in an apartment building. A guy with one of these names lives next door to you. Thanks to Archbishop Aquila’s ever-so-limited disclosure, it won’t be easy for you to figure out whether he is actually the credibly accused child molesting cleric or not.
And Aquila could remedy this very easily, but once again, he chooses not to. So, yes, there seems to be secrecy in the Denver Archdiocese, but that isn’t surprising at all.

Pedophile priests and alcohol Horowitz Law

The Correlation Between Pedophile Priests and Alcohol 

Pedophile priests and alcohol tend to go hand-in-hand. This statement is especially true for Fr. Stephen Kiesle, a California predator priest, who was recently arrested for killing a man while driving drunk. The news of this incident presents a few disturbing facts.

    • Many predator priests are still alive.
    • Most of them have not been defrocked (and are thus still getting paid by church officials).
    • Most of them live unsupervised, on their own, among unsuspecting neighbors.

If they have already broken laws by molesting children, common sense suggests they’re apt to do it again. This is especially true if they essentially escaped consequences for their child sex crimes. Kiesle was no exception. 

Fr. Stephen Kiesle, a twice-convicted child molester, was charged last week in a fatal crash that killed a man walking on a sidewalk with his wife in Walnut Creek, California. Fr. Kiesle has also been accused of – and repeatedly sued for – sexually abusing at least 15 children, allegedly tying up two of them. He went to prison and was put on probation. But for three years after being defrocked, Catholic officials let him volunteer in youth ministry at a parish. (Fr. Kiesle worked in at least four California cities – Pinole, Fremont, Union City, and Oakland – and had homes in two others – Truckee and Walnut Creek.)

As you might imagine, Fr. Kiesle is far from the only cleric to abuse both kids and alcohol. Many other examples of Catholic officials generated controversy because of their committing or concealing child sex crimes AND drinking excessively. It is even often regarded as the “curse of the Catholic clergy.” Here are just a handful:

There are generally two schools of thought about clerics like this. Some argue that those who assault kids or adults – or ignore or hide such assaults – drink heavily to mask their deep feelings of guilt or remorse.

Others maintain, however, that many of them are sociopaths who give little or no thought to the feelings or safety of others and drink to excess in part because they believe that they’re above the rules that apply to other people. According to research, alcohol has measurable effects on sexual arousal and risk-taking. A few drinks can increase the likelihood that a person will become the perpetrator or the victim of sexual assault and make a person more likely to have unprotected sex or pursue some object of desire that would be taboo under more sober circumstances.

Making a determination like this, is as they say ‘above our pay grade’ here at Horowitz Law. But this we DO know that ignoring wrongdoing encourages wrongdoing. And assuming that wrongdoers don’t need to face the consequences because they’ve supposedly changed or reformed or learned their lesson is reckless. It’s the opposite of prudence and justice. Every human being is accountable for their actions, priest or not. Nobody is above the law.

Predatory Jesuit Priests Horowitz Law

New Revelations About Predatory Jesuit Priests in the US

At first glance, there’s really nothing all that shocking about this headline “An investigation by The Dallas Morning News reveals that accusations against priests dating back to the 1960s were ignored, and predatory Jesuit priests were relocated to conceal allegations.”

Except perhaps when it was written. It wasn’t in the 1980s or 1990s or 2000s, or 2010s. It was last month. That’s right. Just last month, we learned that “14 priests who were stationed at Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas are credibly accused of sexually abusing children at some point in their careers.”

This would not be particularly noteworthy if not for a few inconvenient facts.

    1. The Jesuits posture as the ‘cream of the crop’ among Catholics. They are usually among the very most well-educated and well-connected Catholic clergy.
    2. They run dozens and dozens of schools. So, if ever there were a Catholic entity that should bend over backward to be honest and transparent about abuse and cover-ups, it’s the Jesuits.

But sadly, they don’t. And sadly, there’s plenty of blame to go around here. Besides the Jesuits, several diocesan bishops are doing little or nothing to help protect the vulnerable or help the wounded heal from these child molesting clerics. For example, Bishop Gregory Parkes of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Diocese. At least seven newly-identified clerics were (and who knows, one or more of them may still be) in his diocese. They include: 

    • Fr. Thomas J. Naughton, Fr. Francis M. Landwermeyer, Fr. Vincent A. Orlando, Fr. Claude P. Boudreaux, all of whom worked at Jesuit High School in Tampa.
    • Fr. Patrick H. Koch worked at Sacred Heart Academy in Tampa. 
    • Fr. Norman J. Rogge and Fr. Thomas J. Hidding, both of whom worked at Jesuit High School and Sacred Heart Church, both in Tampa.

But Parkes is not alone. Besides heading a Catholic diocese and sharing a title, what do the following prelates have in common?

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Orange California Bishop Kevin Vann, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Shreveport Bishop Francis Malone, Houston Archbishop Daniel DiNardo, Dallas Bishop Edward Burns, Corpus Christi Bishop William Mulvey, Mobile Archbishop Thomas Rodi, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, and El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz.

Due to a recent settlement, each of these prelates now knows that one or more child molesting Jesuit clerics are in their dioceses, and each is doing little or nothing to tell their flocks about these offenders.

The recent Jesuits settlement was made and publicized in Texas. It, of course, made the news across the state. But sadly, we at Horowitz Law have seen little if any attention in the news in California, Louisiana, Alabama, Maryland, Massachusetts, or Georgia, where many of these 14 predators lived or worked.

Why is it so important that each of these bishops do more to alert the public and parishioners about these abusive Jesuits? In part because an investigation by The Dallas Morning News reveals that accusations against priests dating back to the 1960s were ignored, and predatory priests were relocated to conceal allegations.

In other words, past and current church officials have practiced self-serving secrecy and recklessness for decades. If that is ever to change, current church officials must act radically different. Warning citizens and congregants of the names and work histories of known molesters is the place to start doing this. In 2020, a news article came out titled, “Despite revelations of clergy sex abuse and promises of transparency, a prominent Jesuit university does little to punish priests who cross the line.” Nothing has changed.

Here are just some of the places where these 14 abusers have worked:

    • Miami: Fr. Thomas J. Hiding worked at Gesù Parish.
    • El Paso: Fr. Thomas J. Naughton, Fr. Patrick Walsh, and Fr. Benjamin Wren worked at Jesuit High School.
    • Shreveport: Fr. Naughton worked at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Fr. Donald Dickerson worked at St. John Berchman parish, Br. Claude L. Ory was at St. John’s parish, and three priests – Fr. Claude P. Boudreaux, Fr. Charles G. Coyle, and Fr. Francis M. Landwermeyer – all worked at Jesuit High School, all in Shreveport.
    • Houston: Fr. Coyle, Fr. Naughton, Fr. Walsh, Fr. Benjamin Smylie, and Fr. Vincent A. Orlando worked at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.
    • Dallas: Fr. Coyle, Fr. Dickerson, Fr. Orlando, Fr. Wren, Fr. Boudreaux, and Fr. Walsh all worked at Jesuit College Preparatory School and/or Jesuit High.
    • Corpus Christi: Fr. Patrick H. Koch and Fr. Walsh worked at Corpus Christi Minor Seminary, and Walsh also worked at Jesuit High School, both in Mulvey’s diocese.)
    • New Orleans: Fr. Coyle, Fr. Landwermeyer, Fr. Dickerson, Fr. Harding and Fr. Koch, Fr. Walsh, Fr. Boudreaux, Fr. Naughton, Fr. Wren and Br. Ory often moved between Jesuit High School, Holy Cross High School, Tulane University, and Loyola University. (Fr. Boudreaux also worked at Immaculate Conception parish, and Fr. Hiding also worked at Holy Name of Jesus parish.)
    • Mobile: Br. Ory worked at Spring Hill College in Alabama.
    • Atlanta: Fr. Coyle worked at the Ignatius House Retreat Center in Georgia.
    • Boston: Fr. Coyle worked at Newton High School in Boston.
    • Baltimore: Fr. Coyle worked at Woodstock College in Maryland.
    • Orange CA: Fr. Naughton worked at St. Killian parish in Mission Viejo.
    • Sri Lanka: Fr. Boudreaux worked in Batticaloa. 
    • Italy: Fr. Boudreaux also worked at the Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome.

If past and present church officials have practiced self-serving secrecy and recklessness for decades, then radical change must occur now. Church officials need to be completely transparent with their members and citizens. Everyone deserves to know the truth about sexual predators. It must start now!

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergies nationwide. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse.  Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today. We can help.

Bishop Christopher Coyne Horowitz Law

Bishop Christopher Coyne Now Following in the Steps of Boston Cardinal Law’s Corrupt Footprints

Bishop Christopher Coyne –– The Mouthpiece for Boston’s Cardinal Law. Shouldn’t We Expect More From Him?

For three tumultuous years (2002-2005), Fr. Christopher Coyne was Boston Cardinal Bernard Law’s hand-picked spokesman. Cardinal Law, in case memories have faded, has been the most notoriously corrupt and complicit Catholic official in the US, responsible for ignoring or hiding the crimes of hundreds of predatory clerics.

In that role, Coyne talked with hundreds – perhaps thousands – of journalists about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups. Surely, one would expect, Coyne would have learned painful lessons about how crucial it is to be open about these horrors. But sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Because now, Fr. Coyne is Bishop Coyne, head of the Diocese of Burlington Vermont.

And in that role, like most of his brother bishops, Coyne is being less than fully transparent about child-molesting priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers, and other church staff. Just take a look at who Bishop Coyne is leaving OFF his ‘credibly accused’ abusers list:

  • Fr. Roger Carlin, who was sued nine months ago for allegedly abusing an altar boy in South Burlington, and who allegedly was transferred eight times over a 20-year career in Vermont. 
  • Fr. Jeffrey L’Arche, a LaSalette Missionaries priest who was put on the Springfield MA diocese’s credibly accused list. (He also worked in CT and FL.)
  • Fr. Mark Haight was sued in Vermont for child sexual abuse and put on the accused lists in Baltimore and Albany.
  • Fr. Robert D. Huneke, who is on the Rockville Centre NY accused list, reportedly molested kids in hotels in Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and Maine. (He also worked in Florida and later as a high school guidance counselor in Georgia.)
  • Fr. Michael J. O’Leary, who (like Huneke) is on the Rockville Centre NY accused list and who (again, like Huneke) reportedly molested kids in hotel rooms, including one in Jay Peak VT.

Coyne also ignores several credibly accused Edmundite clerics who were or worked in Vermont, including Fr. John A. Lanoue, Fr. John A. Stankiewicz, Fr. Paul I. Plouffe, Fr. Edward J. Stapleton, Fr. Aime J. Trahan, Fr. Paul A. Pinard (who also worked in Alabama and Canada) and Fr. Nelson B. Ziter (who also worked in Alabama). How do we know these Edumundites are ‘credibly accused’ abusers? Because their own supervisors, the hierarchy of the Edmundites, have declared this to be true on their website.

In 2019 Bishop Coyne finally released his list of proven, admitted, and credibly accused sex offending clerics. At that time he assured his flock that “We are doing everything we humanly can to make sure this (abuse) does not happen again.”

Everything? Really?

It’s hard to take Bishop Coyne at his word on this, given his continuing to act as his former employer, Boston’s Cardinal Law, acted for so long, erring on the side of secrecy rather than honesty, and on the side of minimizing clergy sex crimes rather than admitting them. Just another corrupt member of the Catholic church.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergies nationwide. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse.  Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today. We can help.

Church Officials Disbelieve Horowitz Law

Just Because Church Officials Disbelieve Victims of Sex Abuse, Doesn’t Mean We Will

We at Horowitz Law care about all survivors. But we feel especially sympathetic toward – and worried about – survivors who summoned the strength to come forward but were rebuffed by the very church officials who encouraged them to come forward to report their abuse.

It must be terribly upsetting: to do the hard, responsible, moral thing by reporting a heinous crime only to be told by church officials, “Sorry, we’re not going to do anything. There’s no evidence.” But guess what? Not believing you is abuse as well. They are committing the sin of silence. Just because church officials disbelieve victims, doesn’t mean we will.  When it comes to kids’ safety, we prefer to be on the side of caution.

And if you summoned the strength to report your abuse to church officials, only to be told that your report is “unsubstantiated” or “without merit” or “not credible,” our hearts ache for you, and we’d love to try and help you. We thank you for taking courageous action, even if the outcome was hurtful! Again, just because church officials disbelieve victims, doesn’t mean we will.

We’ve compiled an incomplete list of priests who have been accused of abuse, sometimes suspended, but then put back on the job (or exonerated) by a bishop or church body. It is, of course, possible that some of these clerics are wrongly accused. But it’s also possible, even more likely, that some of these alleged predators are in fact predators. Still, their church colleagues or superiors have opted to believe their denials rather than their accusers’ reports.

CALIFORNIA

  • Fr. Francis Arakal of Stockton
  • Fr. J. Patrick Foley of Sacramento
  • Fr. James Michael Ford of Los Angeles
  • Fr. Michael Eugene Kelly of Stockton
  • Fr. Editho Mascardo of Stockton
  • Fr. John H. Wadeson of Los Angeles
  • Fr. Christopher Berbena of Los Angeles

NEW JERSEY

  • Fr. Gabriel Zeis of Trenton
  • Fr. Kevin A. Gugliotta of Newark

VERMONT

  • Fr. John Milanese of Burlington

COLORADO

  • Fr. Melvin F. Thompson of Denver
  • Fr. Joseph A. Reade of Pueblo

MAINE

  • Fr. Antonin R. Caron of Portland

LOUISIANA

  • Fr. Luis E. Henao of New Orleans

So if you know current or former Catholics, especially in California, New Jersey, Vermont, Colorado, or Maine, we hope you’ll circulate this list. If there are others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered sexual abuse, misconduct, or harassment by one of these priests, we’d love to hear from them.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing survivors of sexual abuse who were victims of sexual abuse by a priest, minister, rabbi, deacon, nuns, or other clergies. We have handled multiple cases of sexual abuse by clergy. If you or someone you know was a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault at a church or other religious organization, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Catholic Bishop Corruption Horowitz Law

Catholic Bishops Conveniently Omit Pertinent Information Regarding Predator Priests

Many Catholic bishops state on their websites that none of them ever sent a known or suspected predator priest to another diocese. If you actually believe that, well, the facts show otherwise.

For years it’s been widely known that child molesting clerics were quietly sent to other states and dioceses once their abuse was made known to bishops. Indeed, several Catholic bishops and officials have admitted this, sometimes even under oath. With that said, bishops often make little or no acknowledgment of this self-serving pattern on their websites.

Perhaps the most recent example of this duplicitousness that Horowitz Law has found involves the Crookston Minnesota diocese. Fr. Robert Bester was a priest In Crookston. He died in 2019 but is accused of soliciting sex from an Alaskan man who taped the conversation and handed it over to a TV station to air. Crookston Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens discloses several Minnesota towns where Fr. Bester worked, including, Fisher, Alma, Leo, Benwood, Duluth, and Crookston. However, Cozzens hides the fact that Fr. Bester also worked in Alaska and North Dakota. 

We at Horowitz Law see this pattern often. Church officials and Catholic Bishops only disclose some details of where predator priests worked but conveniently omit the places they abused in.

Let’s look at another relatively small diocese of San Jose California, headed by Bishop Oscar Cantu. To his credit, Cantu acknowledges that several of its priests spent time overseas (Fr. Noel Senevirante in Sri Lanka and Fr. Hernan Toro in Colombia). And to his credit, he admits that several accused San Jose priests also spent time in San Francisco (Fr. Joseph Pritchard, Fr. Alexander Larkin, Fr. Lauren Largente, Fr. Philip McGrillis, and Fr. George Moss). But inexplicably, Cantu doesn’t admit that at least two of its predator priests, Fr. Raymond V. Dunn and Fr. Joseph Dondero, also spent time in San Francisco. 

Bishop Cantu notes that Fr. Angelo C. Mariano had one assignment in the San Jose area. But again, Cantu hides the fact that Fr. Mariano also worked in the Sacramento diocese (according to the Jesuits). Similarly, Cantu acknowledges that Fr. Phil Sunseri worked at one parish in his diocese. But inexplicably, the bishop hides the fact that Fr. Sunseri also worked in Arizona and New York (according to the Jesuits).

But what is even more alarming is that Cantu, like nearly every one of his colleagues, did something even worse than hiding work assignments. Cantu completely hides predator priests from the list at all. Cantu leaves OFF his ‘credibly accused’ list a number of clerics who belong there. For instance, there’s no mention on the San Jose church website of Fr. Edward Thomas Burke or Br. Charles Leonard Connor, who are both credibly accused of abusing at least one vulnerable adult, according to the Jesuits. Lawsuits against them have been settled. Bishop Cantu omits Fr. Joseph Lopez, who may still live in San Jose, where he moved after leaving the priesthood and was accused of molesting a high school girl in Los Angeles.

Why does any of this matter? Because bishops promised ‘full transparency’ on abuse. If they are breaking their promises and carefully parceling only partial information, then it’s hard to have faith they’re being honest about abuse. If bishops are hiding all or some of the work assignments of their predator priests, we must ask: What else are they hiding? And let’s get very specific. If a bishop doesn’t disclose that Fr. X worked in town Y, then a victim (or her friends or relatives) may well keep silent, thinking, “I thought Fr. X was here and spent time with (the victim), but I guess I was wrong.”

Because mentioning every work assignment that a predator has increases the chances that someone in one of those towns or parishes will realize that they saw, suspected, or suffered abuse and will go on to report that to law enforcement, which is bar far the very best way to ensure that other girls and boys are spared the life-long trauma of sexual victimization.

The bottom line: If you SAY you’re going to be open and honest, why not actually BE open and honest, all the way, like you promised? But then again, Catholic church corruption has been going on for decades.

Catholic Church Corruption Horowitz Law

Catholic Church Corruption – Bishops Tout Their Screening Process of Priests, But We’re Skeptical

It is no secret that clergy sex abuse and coverups are on the rise. In response to the hundreds of lawsuits filed regarding Catholic Church corruption and sexual abuse, Bishops are touting their screening process of new hires, claiming “We do much more now to screen our seminarians to stop predators from becoming priests.”  But we are skeptical, as predators are still getting into the priesthood.

If you’ve followed the clergy sex abuse and cover-up crisis, you’ve seen some variation of this many times over the past 20 years. . .But here’s what you have NOT seen over those years:

  • “School districts adopt Catholic abuse screening”
  • “On abuse, Protestant officials are learning from Catholic ones”
  • “Summer camps, learning from the church, weed out molesters”
  • “Daycare centers emulate Catholic dioceses on abuse”

The obvious point here is, that if Catholic bishops are doing such a great job of preventing abuse and “screening out” molesters, officials in other institutions and denominations would be beating down their doors to learn how bishops are making such phenomenal progress. There’s no evidence, however, that this is happening and we still see Catholic Church corruption.

Evidence Suggests That Catholic Officials Are Still Ordaining Molesters

In fact, the evidence suggests that Catholic officials, sadly, are STILL ordaining sexually troubled men.
Fr. Bryan W. Medlin of Gaylord, MI, ordained in 2013, came under investigation by the state attorney general just three months ago because he allegedly sent inappropriate texts to high schoolers. At the time, he was the assistant director of vocations for the diocese, which of course put him in close contact with devout teenagers and young adults, many of whom no doubt felt ‘called’ to become priests and realized that Fr. Medlin could make or break their potential careers in the church.

Fr. Kevin Lonergan of the Allentown PA, ordained in 2014, the diocese was charged with molesting two girls, one of whom he abused in 2018.

Also ordained in 2014, Fr. David Marcotte of the Indianapolis archdiocese was charged with child sex crimes in 2019. In his relatively brief priesthood, Fr. Marcotte has worked at more than half a dozen churches across Indiana.

Ordained in 2015, Fr. Geoffrey Brooke of Jefferson City MO diocese was put on leave in 2019 for “possible boundary violations.” Also, Fr. Charlie Richmond, a former chaplain for a middle school and high school in the LaCrosse WI diocese, has since been charged with repeated sexual assault of a child.

Ordained in 2017, Fr. Marcin Nurek of the Paterson NJ diocese, has since been “accused of groping a 13-year-old girl’s buttocks under her skirt.”

Ordained in 2018, Fr. David Huneck, a former high school chaplain in the Ft. Wayne-South Bend IN diocese, has since pleaded guilty (just weeks ago) to two felony charges of child seduction and sexual battery after six allegations were brought against him for sexual crimes against teenaged girls.

And in perhaps the most alarming case, a one-time Knoxville, TN is being sued for reportedly abusing and harassing a young church employee in 2019. Knoxville’s Bishop Richard Stika has also been named in the lawsuit which alleges that sexual abuse allegations against a former employee weren’t investigated properly. The lawsuit claims that Stika overreached in his response to the abuse complaint. It says the diocese hired an outside consultant to investigate the claims, but the bishop replaced the initial investigator with someone who only interviewed the former assistant and not the employee who made the allegation.

We at Horowitz Law are realists. We believe it is tragic, but not necessarily shocking, that predators still getting into the priesthood. Let’s admit two sad and scary realities.

  1. Child predators always have and always will seek out positions of power and trust so they can assault kids.
  2. There is no sure-fire test, process, or diagnostic tool that is really effective at identifying, in advance, adults who may later prey on children.

What IS, however, a real scandal and tragedy are how most Catholic officials continue to respond to these realities. Many of them, hoping to mollify their parishioners, keep claiming they’re doing what most can’t be done: screening and rejecting predators before they get ordained. They are still reacting slowly, recklessly, and callously when recently ordained abusers are caught. (See the Knoxville case mentioned above.)

We all abhor abuse. We want to prevent it. We want to believe, despite plentiful evidence to the contrary, that we’re smart enough to spot the bad guys before they get access to our kids. But that’s wishful thinking. Catholic bishops should admit this. And they should focus on what they CAN do: quickly oust potential predators at the very first ‘red flag,’ fully cooperate with law enforcement and widely publicize allegations so that others who may have suffered abuse can begin to recover from their horrific experiences.

Horowitz Law represents children and adults who were victims of sexual abuse by a priest, minister, rabbi, deacon, nuns, or other clergies in civil lawsuits. If you or someone you know was a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault at a church or other religious organization, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.