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April 20, 2005

Four Bay Area victims receive $5.78 million in church abuse case

April 20, 2005 [Associated Press] By Lisa Leff

SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco jury on Wednesday awarded nearly $5.8 million in damages to four people who were repeatedly fondled as children by a Roman Catholic priest in San Jose.

The plaintiffs, three men and one woman, received $5.78 million total, ranging for $1.3 million to $1.58 million each, according to a spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. They had asked for a total of $20 million, while a lawyer for the archdiocese had suggested that $1 million in combined compensation was appropriate.

The archdiocese stipulated at the start of the 2 1/2-week trial that church officials knew in the 1970s that the Rev. Joseph Pritchard had been accused of molesting young parishioners but did not investigate the claims or take steps to protect the children.

As a result, the only question put to jurors was how much the plaintiffs, three men and one woman, should be compensated for psychological suffering and loss of productivity attributed to their abuse, said Larry Drivon, an attorney who represented one of the victims.

"The church was forced to admit that molestation had been occurring and they should have known what was occurring," Drivon said. "It was a historic concession on the part of the church."

During the trial, the plaintiffs testified that Pritchard, who died in 1988, had fondled them under their clothes, sometimes with other children or three other priests watching.

The verdict, reached after 16 hours of deliberation, came less than a month after another jury awarded $437,000 to another man who was molested by Pritchard when the late priest was assigned to St. Martin of Tours church in San Jose. In that case, which involved the first of 24 people who have sued the Archdiocese because of abuse allegedly committed by Pritchard, the jury had to find the church liable before awarding damages.

San Francisco Archbishop William J. Levada said in a statement Wednesday that the archdiocese has taken steps to make sure the kind of abuse now being litigated in the courts would never occur today.

"While the incidents of abuse in these lawsuits date back more than two decades ago, this fact does not lessen our vigilance today, nor diminish our concern for victims of past abuse," he said.

The consolidated cases decided Wednesday were the third of more than 750 lawsuits against Roman Catholic dioceses in California to go to trial since the state in 2002 temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for filing old sex-abuse claims. The action came as a response to the child molestation scandal involving Catholic priests nationwide.

Last week, an Oakland jury awarded $1.93 million to two brothers in their 30s who were molested as young boys by the Rev. Robert Ponciroli at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Antioch. Ponciroli, 68, has been removed from public ministry and now lives in Florida.

Posted by Nancy at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2005

13 sex offenders on run from law

April 15, 2005 [Osceola News Gazette] Posted with Permission
By Brian McBride News-Gazette Staff Writer

There are 13 convicted sexual offenders who last reported an Osceola County address currently on the run from probationary supervision, a Florida sexual offender registry showed.

Another 17 are no longer at their last reported address given to authorities.

With the tragic loss of a 9-year-old Homosassa girl, Jessica Marie Lundsford, who authorities said was assaulted and murdered by a registered sexual offender that wasn’t living at his listed address, some local law enforcement officials and residents want to boost efforts to safeguard youngsters.

“It shouldn’t take a tragedy to wake us up,” said Kissimmee Police Officer Ralph Herrera, department spokesman. “Parents should always be guarding their children.”

St. Cloud resident Debra Carter, a child abuse survivor, is leading the local charge to motivate other county residents to join her on the Jessica Lundsford Team.

Started by the Jessica’s father Mark, a Web site is currently in the works to solicit volunteers from around the nation to help the family and legal representatives research the laws and penalties concerning sexual offenders and predators in each state. Once the research is complete, the team hopes to draw up a petition to collect signatures and seek stronger laws from state and federal lawmakers.

“I’m trying to get the rest of the local residents to join,” Carter said. “The more people know, the more they get involved, the stronger it will be.”

There are currently 290 registered sexual offenders in Osceola County, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement sexual offender registry.

There are 13 sex offenders who are currently listed as having absconded from probation, meaning they have fled from the Florida Department of Corrections non-confined supervision or control. According to the FDLE’s registry, they are:

• Brian D. Westbrook, 21, convicted of sexual battery with injury. Westbrook last reported a St. Cloud address in March of this year. Westbrook is a black male, 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 135 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes and a tattoo on his right arm that says “ethel.”

• David Allan Rupe, 46, convicted of sexual battery. He last reported a Kissimmee address in June of 2000. Rupe is a white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 160 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

• Jesus Rapalo, 54, convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation of a child under 12. He last reported a Kissimmee address in November 2002. Rapalo is a Hispanic male, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 170 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

• Ronald Price, 41, convicted of sexual battery on a victim under 12-years-old. He last reported a St. Cloud address in July of 2001. Price is a white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 164 pounds. He has brown hair, brown eyes and has a tattoo of a skull with crossbones on his left arm.

• Juan C. Palacio, 52, convicted of sexual battery on a victim under 12 years old. He last reported a Kissimmee address in October 2003. Palacio is a Hispanic male, 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 128 pounds. He has brown hair and green eyes. He has tattoos on his left arm consisting of the phrase, “Lord is my Protector,” an anchor, a woman’s face and a Playboy bunny. Tattoos on his right arm included, “I Love Irma,” “Gracias A. Dios,” a warrior’s head, dagger and a tiger.

• Manuel Montoya, 90, was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 16. He last reported a Kissimmee address in March of 2001. Montoya is a Hispanic male, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. He has gray hair, brown eyes and is missing his left hand.

• Cristian Armando Melendez, 26, was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 16. He last reported a Kissimmee address in June of 2003. Melendez is a Hispanic male, 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 185 pounds. He has black hair, hazel eyes and has tattoos on his right arm of Jesus Christ and a clown.

• Benjamin Chico Manguiat, 44, was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 16. He last reported an Osceola County address in July of 1999. Manguiat is a white male, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 145 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.

• Steven Hassan Farahat, 19, was convicted of lewd or lascivious conduct on a victim under 16. He last reported a St. Cloud address in November of 2004. Farahat is a white male, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 185 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

•Thomas Aquino Diaz Sr., 71, was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct on a victim under 16 and sexual battery on a victim under 12. He last reported an Osceola County address in May of 1998. Diaz is a Hispanic male, 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 179 pounds. He has gray hair, brown eyes and has a burn scar on his left arm.

• John Henry Davis, 43, was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 16. He last reported a Kissimmee address in August of 2001. Davis is a black male, 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 162 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

• Eddie Cajigas, 24, was convicted of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between 12 to 15. He last reported a Kissimmee address in June of 2004. Cajigas is a Hispanic male, 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 155 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes He has a tattoo of a crab with his birth date, 7-18-80, on his right arm and a spade with a face on it on his left.

• Cecil Gary Boyette, 47, was convicted of sexual battery. He last reported a Kissimmee address in March of 2005. Boyette is a white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 131 pounds. He has gray hair and green eyes. He has a surgical scar on his stomach. And he has a tattoo of “G.B.P.M.” on his left arm and a tattoo of “G.B.A.T.” on his right arm.

Once the offender or predator has absconded, the state corrections department has an absconders unit, which does nothing but look for the suspects, “24-7,” said state corrections spokesman Sterling Ivey.

A judge will also issue a warrant for their arrest. The warrant is then placed with the respective county sheriff’s office.

“Ultimately the Sheriff’s Office has the responsibility to carry out the warrant,” Ivey said.

There are 17 other sex offenders whose last known address was in Osceola County who have reportedly absconded from registration. They are no longer at the last reported address given to the Florida sexual offender registry. But while it may appear shady, law enforcement officials don’t have the authority to simply find and arrest them, authorities said.

“They do not commit a violation until they move to a new location and do not register,” said KPD’s Herrera.

U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Crystal River, has proposed the Jessica Lundsford Act, which would require more frequent checks on the whereabouts of sexual offenders, tell probation officers that an offender has a sex offense in his or her background and create a national registry of offenders, according to published reports. Offenders who are not where they’re supposed to be would be placed on electronic surveillance for the first offense and then sent to prison for life for a second offense, according to the proposed legislation.

John Couey, who confessed to killing Jessica, was illegally living in a home near the girl. She disappeared from her grandparents’ home on Feb. 24. She was found buried March 19 near the mobile home where Couey was staying.

“Sadly it’s the offenders and the predators who are on the run that we have to worry about,” Herrera said.

Herrera encouraged parents to access the FDLE registry.

They can access the site at www.fdle.state.fl.us and click in the sexual predators/offenders bar.

For more information contact the FDLE’s sexual offender/predator unit at 1-888-357-7332 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Posted by Nancy at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2005

Catholic Bishops Name Abuse Reform Chief

April 15, 2005 [Associated Press]

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops named a veteran Illinois state police official Friday to head the office that monitors the hierarchy's reforms to prevent clergy sexual abuse.

Since retiring from the state police in 2003, Teresa M. Kettelkamp has conducted audits in 16 Catholic dioceses for the Gavin Group, a private security firm working for the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection — the office where Kettelkamp will now be executive director. She also helped Gavin develop audit questionnaires and manuals.

Kettelkamp, of Springfield, Ill., replaces Kathleen McChesney, the first director and a former FBI executive who resigned in February.

The appointment was made by Monsignor William P. Fay, general secretary of the bishops' conference, with advice from the National Review Board, a lay panel that monitors both the bishops' reform program and the child protection office.

Kettelkamp, the mother of two college students, was the first woman to reach the rank of colonel in the Illinois state police.

She was manager of the Division of Forensic Services, supervising nine laboratories, and before that led the Division of Internal Investigation, which probes allegations of misconduct in the state police and Illinois state government. In another assignment, she supervised 28 agents who specialized in cases involving missing or sexually exploited children.

On the Net:

Bishops' child protection office: http://www.usccb.org/ocyp

Posted by Nancy at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

Former detention officer sentenced in abuse case

April 15, 2005 [Associated Press]

ST. ANTHONY, Idaho A former employee of the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections will spend up to 15 years in prison for child sexual abuse.

Wayne Potter got the sentence after pleading guilty to a pair of felonies in February.

Potter must serve at least three years in prison before he's eligible for probation.

A five-year-old girl and a ten-year-old girl had accused him of abusing them.

The 47-year-old had worked as a rehabilitation specialist at the state Juvenile Correction Center in Saint Anthony (in southeast Idaho) at the time of his arrest.

The girls weren't connected to the facility.

Posted by Nancy at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

Bills seek to repeal limitations on child sex abuse cases

April 15, 2005 [Associated Press]

Austin, TX — One of two bills proposing to eliminate the statute of limitations in child sex crimes cases was scheduled to be heard by a House subcommittee next week.

The bill would repeal the current Texas law, which requires that such criminal cases against a defendant must begin before the victim turns 28

We cannot allow a statute of limitations to be a passcard for someone who is willing to do this kind of damage and harm and hurt to the children of this state," said Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Houston, who filed the bill.

But some prosecutors don't think doing away with the statute of limitations will help victims, said Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Chairman Terry Keel, R-Austin.

"The statute of limitations are there for the benefit of victims," said Keel, a former prosecutor. "By eliminating the statute, prosecutors could refuse to go forward simply by telling victims on a righteous case that there is no statute of limitations. So there are consequences that have not been thought of that are anti-victim."

A similar bill filed by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, hasn't been scheduled for debate.

Currently, 17 states don't have statutes of limitations for these cases, and Texas should join that list, Ellis said.

"This legislation puts the prosecution of sexual crimes against children on par with murder and manslaughter," said Nathan Coburn, of Mothers Against Sexual Abuse, referring to two crimes that aren't subject to a statute of limitations.

Posted by Nancy at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2005

Sex Abuse Victims Target Fugitive Priests

April 13, 2005 [Associated Press]

Church Officials Asked To Help Extradite Accused Priests

VATICAN CITY -- American victims of clergy sex abuse urged church officials Wednesday to help extradite accused priests who fled to their religious orders in Rome or to foreign countries to escape punishment.

Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said religious leaders have a moral obligation to help prosecutors in these cases, so children are not at risk.

"The place where these men should be is almost anywhere except Rome," said Blaine, speaking at a news conference in a hotel near St. Peter's Square. "This is not about punishment. This is merely about prevention."

The Dallas Morning News reported last year that some religious orders were sheltering accused priests in Rome. They include clergymen who had been criminally charged in the United States or who had admitted molesting young people years before and now face additional claims.

The newspaper also found evidence of several priests accused of abuse in one country who then moved to another, where they were working in Roman Catholic churches or ministries.

Supervisors of the accused clergy in Rome told the Dallas paper they were not trying to help the men escape punishment, but wanted to give them a place to live and work away from children.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has declined to comment on the presence in Rome this week of the Survivors Network, which claims 5,600 members and has been pressing church leaders to acknowledge the scope of abuse in their dioceses for more than a decade.

On Monday, Blaine and another victim went to St. Peter's Square to protest the decision by the cardinals to ask Cardinal Bernard Law to lead an important Mass in St. Peter's Basilica mourning Pope John Paul II.

Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in December 2002 when unsealed court records revealed he had moved predatory priests among church assignments without notifying parishioners. He has apologized for his wrongdoing. The pope last year appointed Law archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, a ceremonial but highly visible post.

Some Catholics said protests around the time of the pope's death were inappropriate - and questioned whether anyone in the Vatican was even listening. The cardinals eligible to vote in the conclave have stopped giving media interviews. The election is set to begin Monday.

Marco Politi, a papal biographer and Vatican expert, said the Italian public was generally sympathetic to victims and did not resent their presence.

"I think that these two representatives of SNAP made a very dignified appearance," Politi said. "They were speaking with very great dignity about the sorrow and pain of the victims. They underlined that they didn't want to interfere in the inner life of the church in the conclave. They didn't ask Cardinal Law not to participate in the conclave, but they stressed that he himself should have refused to celebrate the Mass."

Politi also said there were many signs that cardinals understood the depth of the abuse problem, despite accusations of Vatican indifference from some Americans.

Last month, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, one of John Paul's closest aides whose name is mentioned as a possible candidate for pope, denounced "filth" in the church, "even among those ... in the priesthood," during the Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum.

Vatican officials also agreed two years ago to change church law for the United States so bishops had broader power to keep accused priests out of parishes. Those changes are now under Vatican review.

Posted by Nancy at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

Sex Abuse Victims To Name Predator Priests In/Near Rome

US-Based Group Upset About Molesters Moving
They Urge Church Officials To Warn Catholics, Tourists

WHAT
At a news conference, clergy molestation victims will
- name and discuss several accused sexually abusive clerics who live and work in and around the Vatican, and
- publicly urge Catholic officials to warn parishioners and the public about these men

WHEN
Wednesday, April 13, 2:30 p.m. (Rome time)

WHERE
Inside or outside the Hotel Michaelangelo, Via della Stazione di S.Pietro (near the Vatican) in Rome

WHO
Two US women who were sexually molested by priests and are leaders of the largest American support group for sexual abuse victims - SNAP - the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (a Chicago-based self-help organization of 5,000+ members)

WHY
Two award-winning US journalists have identified and written extensively about several diocesan and religious order clerics who are from other countries but now work and/or live in and/or near the Vatican, despite facing credible allegations of sexual abuse. Some face multiple accusations and even civil litigation or criminal prosecution.

Posted by Nancy at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2005

Sex Abuse Victims To Leaflet Outside Mass in Rome

April 10, 2005 [SNAP Press Release]

MEDIA ADVISORY ABOUT SNAP ACTIVITIES IN ROME

Sex Abuse Victims To Leaflet Outside Mass in Rome

US-Based Group Upset About Cardinal Law's Prominent Role

They Urge Cardinals To Speak Up For Victims

More SNAP Members Will Head To Vatican Later This Week

WHAT:

At a sidewalk news conference, clergy molestation victims will hold a news conference and

-- publicly urge Catholic Cardinals to insist that Cardinal Bernard Law be replaced in all services for the Pope,

-- speak out against the Vatican's hurtful decision to give Law high profile honors during a time when wounded Catholics are trying to focus on the Pope's life and death, and

-- urge anyone who was sexually assaulted by clergy to come forward and get help.


The victims are upset that church leaders stand silently by while Vatican officials rub salt into the wounds of already suffering victims and their families by giving Law such honors.


WHEN:

TODAY, Monday, April 11, 3:00 p.m. (Rome time)

WHERE:

Just outside the entrance to St. Peter's Square in Rome


WHO:

Two US women who were sexually molested by priests and are leaders of the largest American support group for sexual abuse victims - SNAP - the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a Chicago-based self-help organization of 5,000+ members


WHY:

Vatican officials have chosen, and Cardinals have apparently approved, ousted U.S. Cardinal Bernard Law to lead a special mass this evening, Monday, April 11th, in Rome to mourn the Pope's death. Law resigned as Boston's Cardinal in 2002 and was sent to Rome to live after being exposed for covering up thousands of sex crimes by his clergy in Boston.

SNAP members are upset that church officials essentially ratified Law's actions by allowing him this position of honor and prominence. Law publicly rubs salt into the wounds of thousands of victims and Catholics.

Despite horrific sex crimes and cover ups by Catholic clergy, many victims and troubled Catholics have held onto their faith and are sad about the pope's passing. They deserve a chance to focus on Pope's life and mourn his passing without the horrific distraction Law has become.

The group believes that Law's prominence in Rome is bringing more pain to already suffering victims and more sadness to already embarrassed Catholics. The group wants American Cardinals and other bishops to find the courage to break the code of silence in their church hierarchy, speak out on behalf of children raped in the church, and insist that Law be replaced and/or given no such honors in the future.

SNAP also plans to try and speak with Vatican officials this week in Rome and stress that the next Pope should be more pro-active, effective and compassionate in dealing with the world-wide sex abuse crisis.

SNAP is the USA's largest support group for people victimized by clergy.

CONTACT:

In Rome:
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP founder and president (in Rome) 312 399 4747

Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP outreach director (Grand Hotel Tiberio at Via Lattanzio 51)


In the US:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director (314) 566 9790 cell
Mark Serrano of Washington DC, SNAP national board member (571) 223 0042 work
Peter Isely of Milwaukee, SNAP national board member (414) 429 7259 cell
Mary Grant of Long Beach CA, SNAP western regional director (626) 419 2930
Mary Guentner of Milwaukee, SNAP Wisconsin coordinator (414) 418 3191 cell

Posted by Nancy at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

SNAP's Leaflet for Cardinal Law's Mass

Please Help Us Heal the Wounded and Protect the Vulnerable

WHO ARE WE?

We are men and women who were sexually abused by Catholic clergy and are trying to recover from the trauma and prevent others from being hurt. We belong to SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a confidential, independent support group for victims.


WHY ARE WE HERE?

Catholics across the globe deserve the opportunity to reflect on the life of and mourn the passing of John Paul II without the embarrassing, painful site of Cardinal Law, the "poster child" of complicit bishops.

Clergy sex abuse victims and their loved ones (especially the hundreds in the Boston Archdiocese) deserve to heal from their deep wounds without seeing Cardinal Bernard Law in a high profile position of honor and prominence in Rome.

We are deeply concerned about Law's hurtful actions. On Monday, the disgraced ex-head of the Boston Archdiocese will lead a special mass in honor of the deceased Pope.

At best, this is insensitive, at a time when millions of Catholics are trying to focus on the Pope's life and death. At worst, it rubs salt into already very deep wounds of caring Catholics and suffering victims.

We have formally asked the American Cardinals to intervene with Vatican officials to stop Law's involvement. We encourage Cardinals to find the courage to break the code of silence in their church hierarchy, speak out on behalf of children raped in the church, and insist that Law be replaced.

(If you are not familiar with Cardinal Law's cover up of cleregy sex crimes, please see http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/extras/coverups_archive.htm )

Please know that Massachusetts' top law enforcement official, the Attorney General, has said:

Cardinal Law bears "ultimate responsibility" for the "staggering" child sex abuse scandal.

The scandal is "due to an institutional acceptance of abuse and a massive and pervasive failure of leadership" by Cardinal Law. (Nearly 250 priests in his archdiocese stand accused of sex crimes.)

"The church cared more about itself than it did about kids.")


WHAT DO WE WANT?

--- Cardinal Law should step aside at this solemn moment and allow Catholics to grieve the loss of the Holy Father without the embarrassing, painful site of Cardinal Law, the "poster child" of complicit bishops.

--- Cardinals and bishops across the world should try and stop Cardinal Law's insensitive actions, or at least publicly speak out on behalf of those so severely, repeatedly and needlessly hurt on his watch in Boston.

--- The next Pope should forthrightly, compassionately, and effectively take prompt steps to safeguard the vulnerable and heal the wounded.


HOW YOU CAN HELP

--- Plead with any church official you know to intervene to try to convince Law to step aside.

--- Pray for the once trusting men, women, and children across the globe who have been harmed by abusive clergy and complicit church leaders.

--- Ask Catholics you know if they have been sexually abused. Be as supportive as possible if they acknowledge they have been hurt. Urge them to report the crimes to civil and criminal authorities. Help them find counseling. Tell them about our support group: SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Our web site is: www.SNAPnetwork.org

For more information: 312 399 4747, 314 566 9790 (US) or 1 877 SNAP HEALS

Posted by Nancy at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2005

Sex Abuse Victims Head To Rome

April 9, 2005 [SNAP - SurvivorsNetwork.org]

SNAP Is Upset Boston's Cardinal Will Say Special Mass For Pope

US Cardinals Should Try To Stop "Rubbing Salt Into Deep Wounds," Group Says

Several leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Chicago woman who is the group's founder, will head to Rome on Sunday, in part to protest Cardinal Bernard Law's prominent position in ceremonies surrounding the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

Barbara Blaine leaves town tomorrow afternoon, first to Milan, then to the Vatican. She plans to stay at least a week. Blaine and two other clergy sex abuse victims will also try to speak with Cardinals about factors they feel are important in choosing the next Pope.

Yesterday, SNAP sent letters to the American Cardinals who are now in Rome, expressing concern over Law's activities. On Monday, the disgraced ex-head of the Boston Archdiocese will lead a special mass in honor of the deceased Pope.

"This is hurtful decision, giving Law high profile honors during a time when thousands of Catholics are trying to focus on the Pope’s life and death, not on Law's horrific track record on child sexual abuse," said Dorris.

At a Los Angeles news conference yesterday, SNAP member delivered a letter to Cardinal Mahony's office, formally asking he and other church officials to intervene with Vatican bureaucrats and stop Law's involvement. A similar letter was sent by e mail or fax to the other ten American church leaders in Rome.

"It just rub salt into the already deep wounds of caring Catholics and suffering victims," said David Clohessy, SNAP national director.

The group believes that Law’s prominence in Rome is bringing more pain to already suffering victims and more sadness to already embarrassed Catholics. The group wants the American Cardinals to "find the courage to break the code of silence in their church hierarchy, speak out on behalf of children raped in the church, and insist that Law be replaced."


SNAP is the nation's largest support group for people victimized by clergy.

A copy of SNAP's letter to the Cardinals is below:

April 8, 2005

Dear Cardinal Mahony:

Many times we've stood outside your cathedral, publicly urging you to help heal the hundreds of wounded men and women who are suffering because of abusive clergy of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Today, we will stand outside your cathedral again, this time urging you to help heal the hundreds of wounded men and women who are suffering because of abusive clergy of the Boston Archdiocese, and indeed, the whole country.

We will also urge you to help heal the wounds of hundreds of thousands of Catholics who are frustrated and embarrassed by the insensitivity of church officials - both in Rome and in the US - and who deserve, at this historic moment, some escape from the "poster child" of complicit bishops, Cardinal Bernard Law.

Cardinal Mahony, you are the "dean" of the American Catholic cardinals, representing the largest archdiocese in America. In that role, and in your role as a shepherd, a pastor and a priest, we emphatically urge you to do what's right - and speak out against Cardinal Law's shameless self-aggrandizing.

It's been reported that Law is scheduled to say special mass for the Pope this Monday. And last Sunday, he gave an extensive interview to ABC news about the Pope, while steadfastly refusing to comment on the horrific church sex abuse crisis in which he played such a key role.

From our perspective, Law is exploiting this sad time for his own selfish rehabilitation attempt. Out of sensitivity and respect for those families who continue to suffer because of his cover ups, and in a spirit of genuine contrition, Law should avoid the public limelight.

Law should have the courtesy, decency, and humility to step aside voluntarily, out of deference to the well-being of clergy sex abuse victims, their loved ones, and the laity in the US.

If he genuinely wants to honor the Pope, he should avoid causing distractions to the solemn ceremonies and recluse himself from any other public role in the days and weeks again.

But the issue really isn't his behavior. It's the stunning and inexcusable silence by Law's brother prelates.

Vatican officials should prevail upon Law to stop rubbing salt into the already deep wounds of the American church and the hundreds of men and women whose faith has been stolen and whose pain is still crippling because of Law's abusive clerics. They should never have chosen him and they should now ask his to step aside.

Bishops and cardinals across the globe, especially in America, should also forcefully speak out now on behalf of the wounded, and insist that Law put the memory of

John Paul II and the needs of Catholics and clergy abuse victims above his own self-aggrandizement.

It's especially fitting and important that American bishops and cardinals show some spine and some principles now, and speak out.

And among all the American bishops and cardinals, you should lead the way. In 2002, you told the LA Times, when asked about the pressure on Cardinal Law to resign, “I don't know how I could face people. I don't know how I could walk down the main aisle of the church myself comfortably, interiorly, if I had been [guilty] of grave neglect."

On Monday night, Law will again "walk down the aisle," this time in a more exalted setting, in Rome He will act as if thousands have been magically healed or that the sex abuse cover-up never happened.

Sadly, no church leader has tried to stop this or denounce this. It is time for you and your fellow American cardinals to step up to the plate, and find the courage (as so many brave victims have done) to confront wrongdoing. The code of silence with which church officials shelter even the most egregious among themselves must be broken.

This is about preventing more preventable pain, not about punishing a man who has already caused or helped cause hundreds of shattered lives. We seek these things out of compassion for the victims of rape and sodomy by clergy, not out of anger toward the hierarchy.

Cardinal Law is correct when he says this is the time to "focus" on Pope John Paul II. Thousands of caring Catholics and wounded victims, however, find it hard to keep that focus when Law is apparently using the Pope's passing to try and rehabilitate himself much like Richard Nixon did after Watergate.

You can try to stop this hurtful move. You can speak out against it, regardless of whether anyone eventually listens. We implore you to do both.


David Clohessy
National Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
7234 Arsenal Street
St. Louis MO 63143
314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915

Barbara Blaine
President, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
PO Box 6416
Chicago IL 60680
312 399 4747

Barbara Dorris
Outreach Coordinator, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
6245 Westminster
St. Louis MO 63130
314 862 7688

Mary Grant
Western Regional Director, SNAP
Long Beach CA
(626) 419-2930 cell

Posted by Nancy at 06:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005

Judge grants new trial to ex-priest on sex abuse charges

April 8, 2005 [Associated Press]

BALTIMORE - A defrocked Baltimore priest will get a new trial on child sexual abuse charges.

Maurice Blackwell was convicted less than two months ago of molesting a former parishioner who later shot the clergyman.

A judge has granted a new trial, agreeing with defense arguments that jurors should not have heard prosecution witnesses testify about other alleged victims of Blackwell.

Judge Stuart Berger said in his order that "the bell has been rung" by the references to other victims, and that it's difficult" to un-ring that bell.

Posted by Nancy at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

Tougher sex offender penalties pass committee

April 8, 2005 [Associated Press]

DES MOINES, Iowa The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill calling for tougher penalties for sex offenders.

The bill requires D-N-A samples from all convicted sex offenders and eliminates shorter sentences for inmates who refuse treatment for sex abuse. It also requires two years of supervision of sex offenders after their release.

Supporters say they'll go even further next week. They're working on a revision that would double the penalty for committing lascivious acts with a child to ten years in prison. Also, sex abusers would be supervised for life and a second offense would bring a life prison sentence.

Senator Wally Horn, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, says it's a good start.

The call for tougher penalties comes in the wake of the slaying of ten-year-old Jetseta Gage. She was kidnapped from her Cedar Rapids home and killed last month. Roger Bentley of Brandon, a convicted sex offender, is charged in her death.

Posted by Nancy at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005

News from the San Joaquin Valley

April 7, 2005 [Associated Press]

FRESNO, Calif. - A former radio and television personality has been convicted on 13 counts of child molestation.

Nicholas Fanady, 62, known as Nick Ryan to listeners, was convicted of sex crimes against three boys, including 11 counts against one boy who was 9 or 10 when the sexual abuse occurred.

Testimony from that victim, now 19, capped an emotional, two-and-a-half week trial.

"The community is much safer now," the young man said Wednesday after the verdicts were read. "I feel something like this will not happen again."

Fanady, who confessed on the witness stand to molesting one child and pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting young boys at a local park, faces at least 30 years in prison. Superior Court Judge William Kent Hamlin set a sentencing date of May 9.

Fanady was fired as co-host of the morning news program at KFSN Channel 30 nearly five years ago, when the mother of another boy said that Fanady and her son went skinny dipping, and the man touched the boy sexually.

Another incident occurred in May, when Fanady allegedly approached boys at a city park, put his hand around one and took him to a secluded area. Fanady said in court he was trying to move the boy away from a river.

Fanady most recently worked for KMPH, a local radio news station, until his arrest last year.

Posted by Nancy at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

Social services department hoping to provide more details in abuse cases

April 7, 2005 [Associated Press]

BATON ROUGE, La. The state's social services department will ask the Legislature to loosen restrictions on the information the agency can provide in child abuse cases.

Currently, department officials can't talk about specifics in open child abuse cases and are, instead, only able to outline general policies the department uses to deal with child welfare.

Ann Williamson, secretary of the Department of Social Services, said the agency will ask lawmakers in the upcoming session that begins April 25th for the ability to speak about specific cases, including any detailed steps D-S-S has taken to try to protect the child and respond to allegations of abuse.

Williamson outlined the department's legislative agenda today to the Press Club of Baton Rouge. That agenda includes a proposed extra licensing fee on the facilities it regulates, like day care and assisted living centers, if D-S-S staff has to make multiple visits for certification.

Also, the department is proposing a two-year license for those facilities in good standing, rather than the current annual license. Williamson says that will free up staff to spend more time at facilities deemed neglectful instead of making annual visits to the places without problems.

Posted by Nancy at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)

Move to force Church to report abuse

April 7, 2005 [AAP}

South Australia - LEGISLATION requiring priests, church workers and volunteers to report knowledge of child abuse has passed the Upper House of the South Australian Parliament.

However, the bill introduced by independent MP Nick Xenophon, will not force priests to breach the confidentiality of the confessional after an amendment from the Liberal Opposition.

The bill will now go before the Lower House for debate. Mr Xenophon said today he was disappointed with the exemption for the confessional.

"But the alternative was for the bill to fail in the Upper House and the measure is still a dramatic improvement to require notification of child abuse," he said.

Posted by Nancy at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)

Software Helps Track Child Pornographers

April 7, 2005 [Associated Press]
By Beth Duff-Brown

TORONTO - Microsoft and Canadian authorities on Thursday launched a software program designed to help police worldwide hunt down child porn traffickers by enabling authorities for the first time to link information such as credit card purchases, Internet chat room messages and arrest records.

Microsoft said the Child Exploitation Tracking System is the first software designed specifically to capture pornographers who prey on children and sell their images via the Internet. It will allow police departments worldwide to share and track previously unlinked information on investigations and suspects.

David Hemler, president of Microsoft Canada, said Internet pornographers were computer savvy, so the program would put law enforcement officials "on the same level as the bad guys."

The open source program was developed by Microsoft Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto police, with the help of the Department of Homeland Security, Scotland Yard and Interpol.

The FBI has seen a 2,000 percent increase in the number of child pornography images on the Internet since 1996 and Canadian police estimate that more than 100,000 Web sites contain images of child sexual abuse. Experts say at least 95 percent of victims are abused by someone they know, either a relative or neighbor.

Hemler said Microsoft committed $4 million toward the program and that the software would be available to any police force at no cost.

John P. Clark, deputy assistant secretary of immigration and customs enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security, said the program released Thursday was the first dedicated to child protection.

"We were lending our expertise because we have established tracking systems," said Clark, who attended the launch.

The initiative was the result of a January 2003 e-mail sent to Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, from a member of the Toronto Police Service sex-crimes unit, asking for help in battling child pornography.

The billionaire, known for his philanthropy in the area of AIDS research and education, called on Microsoft Canada to develop software that would aid police officials.

Detective Sgt. Paul Gillespie, who sent the initial e-mail, told The Associated Press several suspected pornographers had already been arrested during testing of the new system. One man was arrested in Toronto last week, after a tip plugged into CETS linked with two previous reports on the suspect.

"When we pulled up all three, it gave us the ability to physically identify somebody and grounds for an arrest warrant," Gillespie said.

Gillespie said another suspect was arrested several months ago, after information from the FBI, Scotland Yard and Homeland Security, investigating child pornography chat rooms and credit card purchases of the images, were programmed into the system.

"It identified a link between one of those people on the credit card list with one very small consistency in this chat room in the UK," Gillespie said. "Both pieces of the puzzles were put together and out of that we were able to identify somebody; an abuser of a young child taking pictures with his own camera."
_____

On the Net:

Microsoft Canada: www.microsoft.ca
Royal Canadian Mounted Police: www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Toronto Police Service: www.torontopolice.on.ca

Posted by Nancy at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Remembing Victims Of Child Abuse

April 7, 2005

The community of Levelland, Texas remembered victims of child abuse Thursday night with a candlelight ceremony.

The audience blew out a candle as the name of a victim was read, until the entire room was dark.

Levelland Mayor Hugh Bradley stated that the City is honoring Child Abuse Prevention during this month of April.

Posted by Nancy at 01:30 AM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2005

N.Y. Lawyer Accused of Abuse Kills Self

April 6, 2006 [Associated Press]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A lawyer shot himself to death as jurors began deliberating whether he sexually assaulted two foster children he had been assigned to protect, authorities said Wednesday.

Andrew Dunn, 40, a law guardian for children appearing in Rochester's family court, didn't arrive at his trial Tuesday, setting off a manhunt that ended later that day when troopers found his body on an embankment next to a creek.

Dunn shot himself in the head with a 9-mm rifle he took from his brother's home, where he had been staying, and left a brief note that did not address his guilt or innocence, said William John, a senior investigator with the state police.

Dunn was accused of sodomizing and sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in 2002 and another boy from 1997 to 2003, when the child turned 13.

Jurors deliberated for several hours Tuesday without reaching a verdict.

"The thing these boys wanted most was for people to believe that Mr. Dunn did the things they said he did," prosecutor Cara Briggs said. "Now they'll never have that chance."

Dunn vehemently denied the charges when he testified during the trial.

Dunn, who had posted $25,000 bond, could have been sentenced to up to 50 years in prison if convicted.

Posted by Nancy at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005

Former priest pleads innocent to child rape charges

April 5, 2005 [Associated Press]

BOSTON— A defrocked Catholic priest pleaded innocent to child rape charges Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court and was released on $5,000 bail.

Robert Burns, 56, of Concord, N.H., is charged with six counts of rape of a child under 16, and seven counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

Prosecutors said Burns molested five boys while he was assigned to parishes in the Jamaica Plain and Charlestown sections of Boston between the mid-1980s and early 90s

Burns was convicted in 1996 of indecent assault of a child and was imprisoned for three years in New Hampshire. He was defrocked in 1999.

As conditions of his bail, Burns was ordered to have no unsupervised contact with children, report to a probation officer every week, and to surrender a passport if he has one, according to the Suffolk County district attorney's office.

Burns must return to court May 17 for a pretrial hearing.

The alleged abuse occurred while Burns was a priest assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Jamaica Plain and St. Mary's in Charlestown.

Posted by Nancy at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

Church abuse play wins Pulitzer

April 5, 2005

A play about child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church has been awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Doubt, by Oscar-winning writer John Patrick Shanley, won the prize just two days after the death of the Pope.

The play is about a priest accused of molesting a boy. It comes after a damaging scandal in the US Catholic Church that implicated 4,000 priests.

In other Pulitzer awards, Marilynne Robinson won the fiction prize and Ted Kooser picked up the poetry accolade.

Mr Shanley won an Academy Award for writing the screenplay for Moonstruck, starring Cher, in 1988.

Stars including Harvey Keitel and David Hasselhoff turned up when Doubt opened on Broadway last week after an acclaimed off-Broadway run.

Set in 1964 in The Bronx, where Mr Shanley grew up, it sees a nun confront a well-liked parish priest who she believes is abusing a 12-year-old boy.

"The play very much relates to religion," he said. "And the parable is a key way of talking about issues, ideas and moralities."

Last year, a report commissioned by the Church said more than 4,000 US Roman Catholic priests had faced sexual abuse allegations in the last 50 years in cases involving more than 10,000 children, mostly boys.

In the Pulitzer fiction category, Marilynne Robinson triumphed for Gilead, her National Book Critics Circle-winning novel about a dying Iowa preacher.

Journalism expose

US poet laureate Ted Kooser won the poetry prize for Delights and Shadows, while composer Steven Stucky picked up the music award for Second Concerto for Orchestra.

Other awards in the arts section were won by non-fiction books by David Hackett Fischer, Mark Stevens, Annalyn Swan and Steve Coll.

In the journalism section, the Los Angeles Times won the public service award for its expose of deadly medical problems and racial injustice at an inner-city hospital.

The paper won another award for international reporting for its coverage of Russia, while The Wall Street Journal also picked up two prizes.

Posted by Nancy at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2005

Carroll County child advocacy group gets grant

April 4, 2005 [Citizen Online]
Staff Report

OSSIPEE — The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office has awarded a $50,000 grant to fund the start-up of the Child Advocacy Center of Carroll County (CACCC) an established non-profit group whose mission is to serve children who are victims of sexual and physical abuse and their non-offending family members.

"Child Advocacy Centers effectively reduce trauma and stress experienced by children, and bring together professionals and agencies as a team — a multi-disciplinary team, to create a child-focused approach to child abuse cases," said Karen Hebert, Victim/Witness Coordinator for the Carroll County Attorney’s Office. No other agency focuses solely on the needs of the child. The Child Advocacy Center does just that.

The CAC is a proven model, using a holistic approach that brings together law enforcement, child advocates, mental health providers, medical professionals, child protection social workers and prosecutors to investigate and assess allegations of child abuse.

When a child is suspected of being abused the CAC will coordinate all agencies that need to participate in the planned investigation and assessment of that child’s case. The CAC will be a child-friendly setting that is physically and psychologically safe for children, where a person trained in forensic interviewing techniques would interview the child. The interviewing process uses the latest techniques and technologies to preserve the most accurate account of information from that child. The CAC tracks each child’s case, finding appropriate resources and referrals for the individual needs of that child. Services come at no cost to families and agencies. The need for updating the methods used by agencies to conduct investigation and assessments can be seen in recent data.

From 2001-2003 the N.H. Division of Children, Youth and Families Conway District Office received 957 referrals of neglect, physical abuse, mental abuse and sexual abuse. Each referral can have more than one allegation. This number does not include every out-of-home perpetrator referral, as this data is not maintained. The Carroll County Attorney’s Office received 113 referrals from law enforcement for prosecution during the same three-year period. Forty child abuse related convictions were obtained.

Establishing a CAC in Carroll County is part of a statewide initiative to respond to the individual needs of child victims and their families. In October of 2003, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office organized and supported the initiative with the assistance of the National Children’s Alliance. Each county in the state was provided with the opportunity for support and technical assistance to create an individual model to fit specific geographical and financial needs.

Professionals from Carroll County took that opportunity with the initial establishment of a steering committee that drafting the working model. A group of volunteers that believe in the CAC concept and saw the need for such an organization in Carroll County has since taken the next step.

Moultonborough Chief of Police Scott Kinmond was elected to serve as the president of the Board of Directors.

Other members of the board are David Tower CEO at Huggins Hospital serving as vice president; James Calomb, CPA of North Conway serving as treasurer, Bea Lewis-Wheeler of Meredith as clerk; Chris Coulter, general manager of Bald Peak Colony Club; Lt. Ken Fifield, of the Wakefield Police Department, Joan Davies of Jackson; Attorney Teresa Mahoney Mullen of Meredith; Justine Oktavec, supervisor of the Division for Children Youth and Families Conway District Office; Nancy Spencer Smith of Wakefield, and Liz Sweeney of Alton.

In addition to funds from the AG’s Office the CAC has also received a $2,500 grant award from the Carroll County Commissioner’s County Incentive Funds. The money will be used to hire a full-time program administrator and pay for support services, training, rent, equipment, start-up costs and outreach materials.

As a result of the grant award the Board of Directors is now actively seeking its first full-time program administrator and will be accepting resumes until April 1. The board’s goal is to complete the hiring process by late spring and begin operations by summer. The CAC has garnered the support of the Carroll County Association of Chiefs of Police, which have unanimously endorsed the concept of a CAC and agreed to serve as their fiscal agent through its developmental stage. Carroll County Attorney Robin Gordon fully supports the initiative and looks forward to the use of enhanced methods to investigate child abuse cases.

"We see the pain and fear in children’s eyes who have to endure multiple interviews, then often a physical examination and later a court trial. Having all agencies come to the same table with a CAC, we will have better continuity, consistency and success for prosecution of these cases," said Chief Kinmond.

"Carroll County Mental Health supports the development of the Child Advocacy Center and is very happy to be a partner in this process. Many of the children with whom we work will be positively impacted by the coordinator of information and care that is necessary at times when the children may be experiencing significant difficulty in their lives," said Laurie Brodeur CCMH director.

Development of the CAC in Carroll County has already come with training at no cost. In December of 2004, a team of eight professionals from Carroll County from law enforcement, child protective services, the mental health profession, the medical profession, victim advocacy and prosecution, attended a week-long training in

Portsmouth entitled Child Abuse and Exploitation Team Investigative Process, sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and Fox Valley Technical College. In March 2005, two police officers and one child protection worker from Carroll County were selected and sponsored by their agencies to attend the Childhood Trust Forensic Interviewer Training sponsored by the New Hampshire Network of Child Advocacy Centers and the N.H. Attorney General’s Task Force on Child Abuse & Neglect.

Detective Jill Barbour of the Conway Police Department; Detective Scott Moore of the Wolfeboro Police Department and Lisa Dekutoski, a child protection social worker based in Conway, all attended the week-long training held in Concord.

The CACCC is currently filing for status as a tax-exempt charity in an effort to enhance their abilities to receiving donations and gifts. Anyone interested in learning more about the CACCC can contact Chief Scott Kinmond at the Moultonborough Police Department at 476-2400. Donations can be sent to the Child Advocacy Center of Carroll County at P.O. Box 218, Ossipee, N.H. 03864

Posted by Nancy at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2005

Gingerbread House recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month

April 3, 2005

Over 140 new cases of Child Abuse were reported to the Gingerbread House children's advocacy center last year. "Children in our community are being victimized and robbed of their childhood," said John Wyckoff, agency executive director. "We have an obligation as a community to recognize and deal with this perpetuating cycle of abuse." This is one reason that the Gingerbread House children's advocacy center is joining in the recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.

The number of reported child abuse cases is only increasing as 92 cases have been seen at the Gingerbread House through the first half of the fiscal year 2004-2005 for the center.

The Gingerbread House which conducts forensic interviews of the child victims of sexual and/or serious physical abuse. Of these 92 cases, 80 involved sexual abuse and 12 involved serious physical abuse. Last year Gingerbread House interviewed a total of 132 cases.

Gingerbread House children's advocacy center is joining in the recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.

Gingerbread House has multi-disciplinary team members including representatives from Child Protective Services, every law enforcement agency in Ellis County and the Ellis County and District Attorney's Office. This team provides a coordinated effort in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases.

Utilizing a child-friendly environment for the child victims and their non-offending family members, the Gingerbread House has a trained interviewer on staff to talk with the child as team members watch via a closed-circuit video setup. This prevents further trauma to the child by reducing the number of times the child must tell his or her story.

"Try to imagine being a 6-year-old female child having to tell your story of how you were sexually assault and how you had trusted this person," Wyckoff said. "And because of this coordinated team effort and the support we provide to these children and their families, imagine this same child asking as she leaves the Gingerbread House, 'Can I come back next week and play again?'

By bringing this team of professionals together the center is able to minimize the number of times children must tell their story. The center's goal is to break the cycle of abuse one child at a time.

During Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month (April), the Gingerbread House will hold its annual open house from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at its offices, 820 Ferris Ave., Suite 230 in effort to intensify public awareness of the growing concern about child abuse.

The Gingerbread House opened its doors in December 1999. And the Gingerbread House expects to purchase land soon on which to construct its own facility - which will further continue its mission.

Their goal is to be in their own building in 2006 and will be starting a capital campaign in the near future towards that goal.

Gingerbread House is one of 59 centers throughout the state. Each center is a member of Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas, a nonprofit, state association that promotes and supports the development of local centers.

You can contact Gingerbread House at (972) 937-1870

Posted by Nancy at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2005

Fort Worth Diocese agrees to pay $1.4 million in abuse case

April 2, 2005 [Associated Press]

A Texas man who alleged that a priest now living in Massachusetts molested him when he was a minor will be paid $1.4 million by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, court records indicate.

Details of the out-of-court settlement were included in court documents filed last week, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Saturday.

The lawsuit against the dioceses of Fort Worth and Worcester, Mass., contended that Fort Worth Bishop Joseph P. Delaney knew that the Rev. Thomas Teczar posed a threat to children because of a "sexual interest" in adolescents, according to court documents.

Before moving to the Fort Worth area, Teczar had worked as a priest in the Worcester Diocese, where he was forced out after being accused of inappropriate behavior with a teenage boy.

Diocese spokesman Jeff Hensley declined to comment Friday and said Delaney could not speak because he was ill.

As part of the lawsuit, Delaney gave a deposition in which he said he was aware of the allegations against Teczar before bringing him to Fort Worth and that Teczar had admitted to Delaney his sexual feelings for adolescent boys.

Teczar worked at parishes in Fort Worth, Bedford and Ranger from the late 1980s until 1993, court documents state. A man who answered the phone at Teczar´s home in Dudley, Mass., declined to comment. Teczar is no longer practicing as a priest.

In February, Teczar denied the allegations in a telephone interview with the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester.

Daniel J. Shea of Houston, an attorney representing the man who says Teczar molested him, said the size of the settlement is commensurate with the damage done to his client. His client is identified by the name John Doe in court filings.

"Bishop Delaney was gracious and apologetic," Shea said. "I think they were sincere. And a measure of sincerity is when you put your money where your mouth is."

The lawsuit alleged that Teczar groped and raped two minor boys beginning in the early 1990s when he was serving as parish priest in Ranger, which is part of the Fort Worth Diocese.

Since its founding in 1969, the Fort Worth Diocese has settled one other sexual abuse case for $12,500. Shea said that some or all of the $1.4 million settlement could be paid by the church´s insurance.

Shea said he believes that the Fort Worth Diocese is responsible for the entire settlement amount. A report published in the Worcester newspaper quoted Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus as saying that his diocese will not pay any of the settlement because it had no responsibility for Teczar.

Raymond Delisle, spokesman for the Worcester Diocese, could not be reached for comment.

The dioceses and Teczar are still being sued by another Texas man who was part of the lawsuit. His part of the case is pending in a Fort Worth court.

Teczar has been charged in Eastland County with one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child, three counts of sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child with sexual contact, according to the Eastland County Sheriff´s Department. Teczar said last year that he did not abuse anyone and that the church is a target because it has money.

Posted by joshua at 01:08 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005

Indiana Trees Display Blue Ribbons for Child Abuse Prevention

April 1, 2005

South Bend, IN - A Tree in Indiana displays Blue Ribbons. One ribbon for each of 57 children who died in Indiana last year as a result of child abuse or neglect.

This month of April is Child Abuse Abuse Prevention Awareness month. And South Bend mayor Steve Luecke and members of the community tied blue ribbons to trees.

The mayor asked that people be more aware of children who may be expressing being abused. The mayor asked parents to be aware of their children friends speaking up or showing signs of possibly experienceing abuse. And asked that the parents be reporting this to authorities.

Posted by Nancy at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

Jury told of Jackson 'past abuse'

April 1, 2005 [BBC News]

Jurors in the Michael Jackson trial have heard for the first time about previous claims of child abuse against the singer from a key witness.
Larry Feldman, a lawyer who also represents the current accuser, spoke about a 1993 out-of-court payment made by Mr Jackson to an alleged victim.

But the court also heard investigators who had tested the star's bedsheets had found no DNA from his current accuser.

The star denies 10 charges, including child abuse and false imprisonment.

Also in court on Friday, an investigator defended the search of the singer's ranch.

Sgt Jeff Klapackis of Santa Barbara county sheriff's office answered claims by the defence that the 2003 search was overdone because Mr Jackson was a celebrity, saying that there was a high concentration of officers because they were only given one day to cover the whole ranch.

He also said it was unlikely his department had leaked news of the search to the press.

But he added that no traces of DNA from the current accuser, Gavin Arvizo, had been found in Michael Jackson's bed.

Both the accuser and his brother have claimed that they frequently slept in the bed.

'No lawsuit intended'

The judge had ruled on Monday that the jury could hear about five more boys the prosecution claim were sexually abused by the star.

Mr Feldman did not say how much the 1993 alleged victim had received in an out-of-court settlement, but said the matter had been "resolved in his favour".

Turning to the current case, he said the Arvizo family sought legal advice from him before alerting the authorities to abuse claims.

But the lawyer said he did not intend to file a civil lawsuit against Mr Jackson at that time.

He referred the family to psychologist Stan Katz, and then called prosecutors who later brought charges against the accused.

Mr Katz gave evidence in the trial earlier this week.

The psychologist also interviewed the 1993 alleged victim, and may be recalled to give further evidence when prosecutors start presenting testimony about previous allegations in three days' time.

Posted by Nancy at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)