Tag: Clergy Sex Abuse

Suing the Church Horowitz Law

Top Reasons Why Suing the Church Can Ultimately Help It

This is what a hypothetical Q & A with a still-church-going Catholic who was abused by a priest, nun, seminarian, bishop, brother, or any other clerics when asked about suing the church.

Q: If someone at your church abused you, don’t you want to sue them and stop it from happening again?
A: “Sue my church? Heavens no! Surely there are other ways to make the church safer that are not so confrontational and adversarial.”

Follow-up: One would like to think so. But when it comes to children’s safety, why take any chances and waste time? Time and time again, history has shown that litigation is often the quickest way to shed light where it’s needed and prod slow-moving or recalcitrant decision-makers to act. If your goals include publicly exposing predators, getting them away from kids, stopping cover-ups, deterring deceit, or bringing comfort to those hurt in childhood, suing the church almost always works.

Q: If someone at your church abused you, don’t you want to sue them and stop it from happening again?
A: “But I love my church, and I would not want to do anything to hurt it.”

Follow-up: This may be precisely why you should consider stepping forward and taking action. Doing nothing about abuse or possible cover-up will likely HURT your church than speaking up. Of course, exposing horror will indeed be painful for a few church officials in the short term. But it may be the single most effective thing you can do for the church itself to make your church members safer and your church more transparent and healthy.

And let’s not confuse your church with its hierarchy. Exposing wrongdoing may hurt wrongdoers. But those wrongdoers are NOT the church. Nor do they belong in positions of power in the church. Your church is made up of moms, dads, grandparents, and children. Doesn’t their well-being and safety take precedence over the feelings or reputations of a few individuals high up in the church?

Q: If someone at your church abused you, don’t you want to sue them and stop it from happening again?
A: “But I don’t want revenge or punishment or compensation.”

Follow-up: Neither do most survivors. Your view is in fact admirable. Each of these – revenge, punishment, and compensation – can be problematic. Revenge often hurts the person who tries to inflict it more than the intended recipient. Punishment is only sometimes a worthy goal. And compensation isn’t always necessarily a good thing. But there are plenty of reasons to speak up that don’t relate to revenge, punishment, or compensation. These include prevention, justice, healing, and reform.

Q: If someone at your church abused you, don’t you want to sue them and stop it from happening again?
A: “I don’t want people to think I’m angry and bitter.”

Follow-up: That’s understandable. But maybe what other people might think of you shouldn’t be your top priority. Maybe stopping others from committing or concealing heinous crimes against kids should come first. Besides, if you have the personal wherewithal to survive horrible crimes and reach a level of maturity and success in your life, then you may be much more able to look beyond your own personal needs and wants. You may have a greater capacity to focus on the bigger picture: those who may have been hurt already or maybe in the throes of an abuser right now but are not so fortunate or don’t have the personal strengths you have.

Q: If someone at your church abused you, don’t you want to sue them and stop it from happening again?
A: “Basically, I feel like I’ve recovered from my abuse, so why would I sue now?”

Follow-up: Congratulations on your progress and hard work! We commend you for rebuilding your life. Others, however, are likely not so successful in overcoming abuse. Please think about them and how your taking action may well help them move further along in their own recovery. Think about the fact that self-serving clergy may still be in positions of power, both those who perpetrated and those who concealed your abuse. The fact that you’ve healed does nothing to hold these clerics accountable or decrease the chances that they’ll act hurtfully to others in the future.

Finally, please think about children who are at risk right now. Your speaking up through litigation might stop a child molesting cleric or a deceitful church supervisor. Filing a lawsuit might prevent another girl or boy from being severely violated by a supposed ‘Man of God’ like you were. Catholic church corruption has been going on for decades and it needs to stop. Check out Bishop Accountability for more info on your diocese.

Attorney Adam Horowitz 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.

Christian Brothers Horowitz Law

Christian Brothers Minimize Clergy Abuse By Omitting Pertinent Details of Predatory Brothers

Last year, we pointed out that a Catholic religious order, the Christian Brothers, posted the worst list of child molesting clerics we have ever seen. They listed predators only because they had to. They provided ZERO information about the accused: not where they are or were, not when they were ordained, not whether they pled guilty or admitted guilt or if they were sued dozens of times. . .NOTHING. They also restricted their list to just those clerics who faced two or more abuse reports. We are happy to report that a little more light has been shone upon this secretive outfit. But the new information has surfaced not because of, but in spite of, the order’s top officials.

It comes via the same source which has done so much to protect kids and expose criminals: the secular, mainstream media. Specifically, in a series of articles over the past few months, reporter Robert Herguth has dug deep to learn more about several US Catholic religious orders. (There are roughly 200 of them.) What Herguth found about the Christian Brothers seems far more damaging than what he discovered in other orders. 

Among the Sun Times’ Findings:

  • At least eight proven admitted or credibly accused Christian Brothers have been left off the order’s list. (Among them is Karl Walczak, who resigned as head of a Seattle school when he was publicly accused. At least one of his victims has been paid by the order.)
  • Six accused molesters are still with the order.
  • Roughly 27 of the men on the list are dead, and 16 are listed as former brothers.
  • The status and last known whereabouts of one particularly active predator, Br. Edward Courtney, couldn’t be determined. Courtney was accused of abusing more than 50 children in Illinois, Michigan, and Washington.
  • A prolific abuser died last year, having never been defrocked or even kicked out of the Christian Brothers. Brother Ronald Lasik grew up in Chicago, was convicted of molesting Canadian students, went to prison, and was later deported to the US. Lasik’s been called among the most prolific and savage sex abusers in the order.

But let’s take a step back and look again at the list in a broader light. Two simple points:

  1. Under its court agreement, the Brothers must keep the online list of its accused for a decade — until 2024. (Want to put money on whether the list will disappear on Jan. 1, 2024?)
  2. The Brothers make a startling admission alongside the very flawed list they provided: “The merits of most of the claims were not tested.”

So they’re essentially saying, “We named these men because we were forced to but aren’t admitting that ANY of them are guilty.” And in a move that we have seen NOWHERE else in the Catholic world, again, the Christian Brothers name only those clerics who faced two or more accusations of sexual abuse.

How do the Christian Brothers explain or justify this decision that is so helpful to them (by minimizing the abuse crisis) and so hurtful to survivors (by denying their reality)? The Brothers claim “it wasn’t the order’s decision alone but “a collaborative effort” of, among others, “the unsecured creditors’ committee” representing abuse victims in the bankruptcy case and “with the approval” of the judge.

Well, heads up, Brothers: Bankruptcy is over. No judge or committee is now involved. You have the ability – and we at Horowitz Law would say the duty – to tell (excuse the cliche) the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Here’s a simple, short-term compromise: Why not list the alleged abusers who face just one accusation but who admitted their crimes? And the alleged abusers who faced just one accusation but were found guilty in a criminal or civil court? Surely that tiny step towards transparency would not be hard, expensive, or controversial.

Or here’s another simple, short-term compromise: Why not list the living accused clerics, those who literally may be coaching soccer this morning, tutoring struggling students this afternoon, or even babysitting their still-in-the-dark sisters’ or brothers’ kids tonight? The Irish Christian Brothers say its mission is to address “the needs of today’s most vulnerable members of society.” Then why aren’t they living out their mission?

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.

LAWSUIT: Diocese of Scranton Priest Accused of Child Sexual Abuse

Diocese of Scranton Clergy Sexual Abuse Horowitz Law

On January 28, 2021, Horowitz Law filed a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit against the Diocese of Scranton in Lackawanna County. The suit. filed by attorneys Adam Horowitz and Jessica Arbour, alleges Father Joseph Meighan sexually abused the now 30-year-old victim for a period of years beginning in 1995  was the victim was five years old. The abuse continued until Father Meighan was finally relieved of his duties.

According to the suit, Meighan was a frequent guest at the boy’s home, as well as the homes of his grandmother and great-grandmother. He also served as a spiritual adviser to the boy. The suit claims that Meighan baptized the victim and presided over many Masses attended by the victim and his family at various parishes within the Diocese of Scranton.

The suit is among more than two dozen lawsuits filed in Lackawanna County Court that allege the diocese knew priests were sexually abusing children. Rather than take steps to protect them, the Diocese of Scranton transferred the priests to other parishes to avoid liability, the suits claim.

“He really was a revered and well-trusted priest in my client’s family, and unfortunately the Diocese of Scranton knew that he was a predator more than 20 years before the abuse actually started,” said attorney Jessica Arbour.

This is not Meighan’s first allegation. Fr. Meighan was among the 301 priests identified in the 2018 Grand Jury Report that named clergy members that faced allegations of sexual misconduct. That report revealed officials first learned Meighan was abusing children in 1970, when four boys at St. Boniface Church in Wilkes-Barre reported he fondled them. He was ordered to undergo treatment, but then returned to service. The Grand Jury Report also stated that there was a second set of allegations that came up in 1990 from a woman alleging that she had seen Meighan undressing her teenage son. At least three more complaints were made in 2003, 2007 and 2008 against Meighan, the report states.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Scranton. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Scranton now have legal options to recover damages.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Don’t Just Make a List of Predator Clergy! Give Their Names Quickly & One-by-One.

In any newspaper, the “Letters to the Editor” section is a real grab bag – sometimes goofy, sometimes confusing, and sometimes really perceptive.

In that latter category falls this one which appeared under the headline: “There’s no excuse for delaying Marianists’ victims list.” Here it is:

After decades of protecting predators, a locally based religious order recently released the names of dozens of child molesters it employed at area high schools.

 

I wondered why they are just disclosing this now. So I checked the website of the group, the Marianists. It said, ‘Our intent was to publish the list during the recent Lenten season. However, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the provincial council discerned it was in the best interest of the Province and our institutions to postpone the announcement to a more prudent time. The decision was later made to publish this list in June 2020.’ Huh?

 

What’s prudent about hiding — for even just weeks or months — the identities of 46 clerics that their own colleagues and supervisors publicly acknowledge are or were “found to have sexually abused a minor?” Those aren’t my words. That’s straight from the Marianist website.

 

That deliberate delay is irresponsible, not “prudent.” That gives criminals more time to hide their tracks, intimidate their victims, change their names, move overseas and take more and smarter steps to evade justice.

https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/mailbag/letter-theres-no-excuse-for-delaying-marianists-victims-list/article_a720fe16-b9a2-5e37-84a8-bd11b3b6ce70.html

 

Kudos to this letter writer, Dan Mosby of St. Louis Missouri. He nails it when he points out that it’s ‘irresponsible,’ not ‘prudent,’ to spend ‘weeks or months’ hiding the names of men who have hurt kids and may be hurting kids right now.

Church defenders brag that most US bishops and some religious orders (like the Marianists) have now posted lists of predators’ names and that few institutions do this.

What they neglect to admit, however, is that

—these lists are often vague and unusually incomplete,

—victims and advocates pushed for these lists for decades, and

these disclosures should never have been made in list form. They should have been done one by one.

Bishops should release the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics ONE AT A TIME, on the same day their wrongdoing has been made or proven clear or likely.

Because that’s how these determinations are made (or should be) – one at a time – in meetings in church offices. So waiting to put together a list, long or short, inevitably means information that might spare a child from a devastating crime stays hidden. And only wrongdoers benefit from such delays and secrecy.

Few outside the church hierarchy know this, but every month, a newsletter of sorts is sent out to all US bishops from their national conference in Washington DC. In it, names of problematic priests are given: priests who are con artists or embezzlers or preach wrong doctrines or (sometimes) assault kids or adults. What this means is that privately, about every 30 days, bishops are warned about troublesome clerics who might hurt their flock, their finances or their public images should these clerics move to or pass through their dioceses.

But that information is rarely shared with the pubic, leaving the public vulnerable to financial scans and sexual abuse.

(As an example, see the case below of Fr. Peter Balili, an Opus Dei priest who attended Notre Dame, worked in California, worked with “Shrines of Europe Pilgrimage,” spent time in three dioceses in California and Illinois and may be in the Philippines now.)

http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/removal-of-international-catholic-priest-from-belleville-diocese-kept-quiet/article_3314b603-a2fc-5406-b62e-e59d6f32b691.html

https://www.snapnetwork.org/il_snap_bishops_warn_bishops_about_him_but_not_the_public

And that leads to an obvious, simple question: why aren’t bishops’ public lists of credibly accused child molesters updated at least monthly? If one genuinely cares about vulnerable kids and wounded adults, that’s the least one would do.

Until the Catholic hierarchy starts warning the public about predators as often and as effectively as it warns its bishops about problematic priests, boys and girls will remain at risk in this institution.

(Here is the Marianists’ credibly accused clerics list: https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/marianists-release-names-of-members-they-say-abused-children-including-17-in-st-louis/63-97e86604-8fc7-4ae1-a032-51579fb1f678

SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUIT FILED IN POLK COUNTY AGAINST RETIRED PRIEST

SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST RETIRED CATHOLIC

PRIEST FRED RUSE

On Monday, April 27, 2020 sex abuse attorney Adam Horowitz filed a Complaint in Polk County Circuit Court against  Catholic priest Father Fred Ruse, who in 2018, suddenly retired from the active ministry. The suit, filed on behalf of a Sarasota County man, alleges that in 2001 and 2002, he was sexually abused multiple times by Father Ruse in a classroom and in the chaplain’s office at the Demilly Correctional Institution in Polk City, Florida when the plaintiff was approximately 14 and 15 years old.

The lawsuit claims that Father Ruse of the Diocese of Orlando, then pastor of St. Matthews in Winter Haven, Florida, used his status as a clergyman to meet privately with the plaintiff. He actively groomed the boy and gained his trust by showering him with attention and giving him gifts such as Harry Potter books according to the lawsuit. As their relationship developed Father Ruse allegedly began to fondle the plaintiff’s genitals and masturbate himself to ejaculation. The Complaint states that the sexual contact progressed to Father Ruse giving oral sex to the boy and receiving oral sex from him.

As a minor, the plaintiff did not have the legal capacity to consent to any sexual contact by Father Ruse. He was horrified and in shock.  The Complaint states that his isolation in the Correctional Institution coupled with the priest’s status compounded his trauma and distress, resulting in continual severe emotional, physical and psychological suffering.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the Diocese of Orlando. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a priest or other clergy, 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.

D.C. COUNCIL MEMBER DAVID GROSSO ALLEGES HE WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED BY FORMER VIRGINIA CATHOLIC PRIEST

D.C. COUNCIL MEMBER DAVID GROSSO ALLEGES HE WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED BY FORMER VIRGINIA CATHOLIC PRIEST AS A CHILD

According to media reports, on Saturday, March 14, 2020, a former Catholic priest from northern Virginia was charged with the sexual abuse of a minor between 13 and 15 years old that occurred in 1985. The following Monday, D.C. Council member David Grosso said, “The minor he assaulted was me.”

“I am making this statement because I understand the tremendous burden that victims of sexual assault and abuse carry throughout their lives,” Grosso said. “As I did many years ago, we all must find the courage to come forward, tell our stories, and seek justice and accountability from the perpetrator, as well as the churches and other institutions that have hidden or excused their behavior.”

The councilman’s alleged abuser, Scott Asalone, 63, is the former rector of St Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, Virginia. At the time of his arrest he was a management consultant and bookstore owner in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He will be extradited to Virginia to stand trial. 

According to records released by the Diocese of Arlington last year, Asalone is a former member of the Capuchin Friars order, and was removed from public ministry in 1993. He was dismissed from the Friars in 2007. His name is included in a list of all clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse in northern Virginia.

Asalone is the first person indicted as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Virginia Attorney General’s office and State Police into Catholic clergy abuse. The probe was initiated after the Pennsylvania attorney general uncovered hundreds of unprosecuted cases and more than 1,000 child victims in 2018.

“I know that stepping forward to share your experience can be difficult or scary but I want you to know that, even if it happened years ago, we will still take it seriously and make sure you get the help and support you need,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement to the public.

In 2018, Mr. Grosso helped pass the Statute of Limitations Amendment Act, which took effect in May 2019. It opened a two-year window for child sexual abuse victims in the District of Columbia to file civil claims despite being prohibited under the previous three-year statute of limitations. A member of the city council since 2013, Grosso said the emotional turmoil caused by reopening the investigation into his childhood trauma greatly influenced his decision not to seek a third term. He said he is again in therapy and working towards recovery. 

Mr. Grosso said it was important to “get the message out that people should speak up and that there is a chance for justice to happen.”

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims on behalf of children who were sexually abused by clergy of all religious denominations.  If you or someone you know was sexually abused by a clergy member of any religious faith, 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.

Diocese of Richmond Has a Compensation Fund for Victims of Pedophile Priests

Diocese of Richmond establishes financial settlement program for pedophile priest victims

On Monday, February 17, 2020, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced the creation of the Independent Reconciliation Program (IRP) to compensate those who were sexually abused as minors by clergy. With more than 50 priests who are credibly accused of sexually abusing children, this is one of the steps Bishop Barry C. Knestout promised to take as the Diocese of Richmond broadens its healing ministry to assist victim survivors.

In a letter to his parishioners Bishop Knestout said, “One of my most important pastoral responsibilities is to reach out to victim survivors of clergy sexual abuse, and to be a resource for them on their paths of healing. This program – designed and managed by a nationally recognized and highly respected, independent claims administrator – gives victim survivors an opportunity to receive monetary payment in a manner that is compassionate.”

Similar programs in other dioceses throughout the country have been established in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, and Colorado.   The Diocese of Richmond program will be administered by BrownGreer, a Richmond-based settlement firm.  The firm will determine payout amounts to be offered to each victim.  Payments shall be made by the Diocese of Richmond.

Clergy sex abuse survivors who want to participate in the IRP, must initiate a claim by April 3, 2020 and file the claim by May 15, 2020. To qualify for compensation, victims must have been a minor when the abuse occurred. If an offer is made, the victim will have 60 days to decide whether to accept or reject it. If the settlement terms are accepted, then the victim agrees to forfeit their right to take legal action against the Diocese of Richmond. 

A leader of Virginia’s chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a group that advocates for abuse victims said, “Our concern from SNAP, as far as compensation programs go, is — yes — victims may get funds that they need, but information is not exposed,” Rebecca Ianni said. “They’ll lose their right to sue. They’ll lose their right to have their day in court.”

The Roman Catholic Church is the world’s oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution. Church leaders have prioritized the wealth and reputation of the church over making victims whole. Establishing a program that helps in the healing of child sexual abuse victims by pedophile priests is step in the right direction to get the help these survivors need.

Horowitz Law represents victims of child sexual abuse by clergy in the Diocese of Richmond.  If you or someone you know was sexually abused by a clergy member of the Diocese of Richmond, 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.

cover up sexual abuse catholic church - Horowitz Law

The Catholic Bishops’ Lists of “Credibly Accused Priests” is Not What it Appears to Be

A fascinating story has just come out showing how deceitful and self-serving Catholic bishops are when it comes to their lists of ‘credibly accused’ child molesting clerics. In short, it shows that most bishops provide inadequate and inaccurate information about these predator priests.

https://www.propublica.org/article/catholic-leaders-promised-transparency-about-child-abuse-they-havent-delivered

Why?  Well, Mary Gautier, a Catholic researcher at a Catholic school, wants us to believe that one reason is that “smaller dioceses with limited budgets” supposedly “lacking the money or staff to dig through their archives.”

https://cara.georgetown.edu/AboutCARA/GautierCV.pdf

That’s bunk. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Any bishop who wants to compile a thorough list of predator priests, their work assignments and their whereabouts has or can get the resources to do that.

Consider this analogous situation: One Michigan official must wade through 1.5 million paper documents and 3.5 million electronic documents about abuse. That official recruited and trained 32 volunteers who put in over 1,400 hours at night and on weekends to help.

Which Michigan bishop showed such dedication to protect kids and expose wrongdoers? None of them. The official with this impressive dedication is Attorney General Dana Nessell.

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/12/23/michigan-nessel-clergy-abuse-probe/2737645001/

So let’s be real. There are lots of reasons bishops still refuse to ‘come clean’ about brothers, nuns, seminarians and priests who sexually violate kids. But “limited budgets or staff” isn’t one of them.

Gautier also makes another claim, one that’s somewhat more credible: “The church is very good at is recordkeeping but it’s very, very time consuming and labor intensive to really go through years and years and years of personnel records. . .”

OK, maybe she’s right. It takes hard work to comb through these documents.

But we’re talking about preventing boys and girls from being raped. We’re talking about possibly helping police and prosecutors lock up dangerous predators. We’re talking about a scandal-ridden institution helping to rebuild trust.

If all that’s not reason enough to put forth a sincere and serious effort to create and reveal complete and helpful lists of child molesting clerics, we can’t imagine what would be.

The Vatican Struggles To Keep Up With A Record Number of Sex-Abuse Cases Reported This Year

The Vatican Struggles To Keep Up With A Record Number of Sex Abuse Cases Reported in 2019

Late December 2019, the Associated Press reported that the Vatican office responsible for processing clergy sex abuse complaints, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has seen a record 1,000 cases reported from around the world this year. The CDF said there are four times more complaints this year than a decade ago, with many coming from countries that had no previous reported history of sexual abuse cases.

Monsignor John Kennedy said that he plans to expand his struggling, skeleton staff of 17 and add more people to help with the onslaught of cases.  “We’re effectively seeing a tsunami of cases at the moment, particularly from countries where we never heard from (before),” Kennedy said, referring to allegations of abuse that occurred years ago. 

For decades the United States has reported the most cases of clergy sex abuse. Now, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Italy and Poland are among the countries with the most cases being sent to the CDF. 

For nearly 20 years the CDF has processed 6,000 abuse cases. Pope Francis has said that it still had a backlog of 2,000. Now, the CDF must manage with the globalization of the sex abuse scandal.

Kennedy said the Vatican was committed to fighting clergy sex abuse and just needed more time to process the cases. “We’re going to look at it forensically and guarantee that the just outcome will be given,” he said.

In an attempt to streamline the project, the CDF is working on a database to access statistics from cases previously processed. It will also publish a guidebook for bishops and religious superiors to use so they can more efficiently process cases.

The role of priests in the church is to support the spiritual needs of their parishioners. Education, counseling, and guidance in times of need are responsibilities with which they are entrusted. A clergyman who sexually violates children has no place working in the Church. Any ministry in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential priests and protect their parishioners. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the United States. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a priest or other clergy, 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.