Friday, October 12, 2018

The Catholic Church’s grim history of ignoring priestly pedophilia

Father Kris Stubna walks to the sanctuary following a mass to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St Paul Cathedral, the mother church of the Diocese on August 15, 2018 in Pittsburgh. (Getty/Jeff Swensen)

A comprehensive history of pedophilia in the Catholic Church from the 1950s to the 2002 Boston Globe investigation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Widespread public shock followed the recent release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that identified more than 1,000 child victims of clergy sexual abuse. In fact, as  know through my research, the Vatican and its American bishops have known about the problem of priestly pedophilia since at least the 1950s. And the Church has consistently silenced would-be whistleblowers from within its own ranks.

In the memory of many Americans, the only comparable scandal was in Massachusetts, where, in 2002, the Boston Globe published more than 600 articles about abuses under the administration of Cardinal Bernard Law. That investigation was immortalized in the 2015 award-winning film, “Spotlight.”

What many Americans don’t remember, however, are other similar scandals, some even more dramatic and national in scope.

Doubling down on secrecy

While the problem of priestly pedophilia might be centuries old, the modern paper trail began only after World War II, when “treatment centers” appeared for rehabilitating abusive priests. Instead of increased transparency, bishops, at the same time, developed methodsfor denying and hiding allegations of child sexual abuse.
During the 1950s and 1960s, bishops from around the U.S. began referring abusive priests to church-run medical centers, so that they could receive evaluation and care without disclosing their crimes to independent clinicians.

Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, who began his ministry in Boston and Quebec, was among those who advocated prayer over medicine. In 1947, Fitzgerald moved to New Mexico and founded the Servants of the Paraclete, a new order of Catholic priests devoted to healing deviant clergy. His belief in faith healing reflected a vocal minority of Catholic leaders who still viewed psychology as a threat to Christian faith.

Fitzgerald based the Paracletes in New Mexico. From 1947 to 1995, the state became a dumping ground for pedophile priests. As Kathleen Holscher, chair of Roman Catholic studies at the University of New Mexico, has observed, this practice forced New Mexico’s parishes to absorb, in effect, abusive priests from across the country.

Other priests sent to the Paracletes were returned back into ministry in their home diocese, reassigned to new parishes that had no way of knowing about their abusive past.
This system was sustained, in part, by the fact that few diocesan personnel files recorded past accusations by children and parents. As Richard Sipe, a psychologist who worked at a similar Catholic treatment center later revealed, bishops generally masked past accusations by instead recording code words like “tickling,” “wrestling” or “entangled friendship” in personnel files.

By 1956, Fitzgerald became convinced that pedophilia could not be treated, even as he continued to believe that prayers could cure other illnesses, such as alcoholism.

He petitioned U.S. bishops to stop sending him their child abusers, advocating instead for firing abusive priests and permanently removing them from ministry.

Fitzgerald eventually appealed directly to the Vatican, and met with Pope Paul VI to discuss the problem in 1963.

Hush money

It is unclear when the Church began using hush settlements to silence victims. The practice, however, was so widespread by the 1980s that the Vatican assigned church lawyers to adjust their insurance policies in order to minimize additional liabilities.

These included Fr. Thomas Doyle, a nonparish priest who specialized in Roman Catholicism’s internal laws; Fr. Michael Petersen, a trained psychiatrist who believed that priests with abusive disorders should be treated medically; and Roy Mouton, a civil attorney who represented one of the church’s most notorious pedophile priests.

Together, they authored a 92-page report and submitted it for presentation at the 1985 meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Church’s apparatus for controlling and governing American priests.

The document estimated that American bishops should plan to be sued for at least US$1 billion, and up to $10 billion, over the following decades.

Several of the nation’s most powerful cardinals buried the report.
In response, Doyle mailed all 92 pages, along with an executive summary, to every diocese in the United States. Yet there is no evidence that any bishops headed the report’s warnings.

1992: The nation’s first scandal

During the 1980s, victims began to speak out against the church’s systemic attempts to mask the scope of the crisis. In 1984, survivors of Fr. Gilbert Gauthe refused to be silenced by hush money, instead choosing the painful path of initiating public lawsuits in Louisiana. Gauthe ultimately confessed to abusing 37 children.

As these stories became public, more and more victims began to bring lawsuits against the Church. In Chicago, the nation’s first two clergy abuse survivor organizations, Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse Linkup (LINKUP) and the Survivors’ Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), were created in 1987.

In 1992, survivor Frank Fitzpatrick’s public allegations led to revelations that Fr. James Porter had abused more than 100 other children in Massachusetts. Widespread shock followed at the time as well as after Fitzpatrick’s appearance on ABC’s “Primetime Live,” when news anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed Fitzpatrick and 30 other Porter victims.

The national outcry forced dioceses across the country to create public standards for how they were handling abuse accusations, and American bishops launched new marketing campaigns to regain trust.

In spite of internal pledges to reform their culture of covering up abuses, the Pennsylvania grand jury report demonstrates that the Church’s de facto policy remains unchanged since the 1950s: Instead of reporting rape and sexual abuse to secular authorities, bishops instead continue to transfer predatory priests from one unsuspecting parish to the next.

Victims with no hope of justice

The issue of clergy sex abuse has also unleashed broader questions about justice and faith: Can courtrooms repair souls? How do survivors continue to pray and attend Mass?
As a scholar who studies communities of clergy abuse victims, I have asked Catholics to share their thoughts about the current crisis. Many of them tell me that “at least” Boston’s Cardinal Law “went to jail.” That leads to an awkward moment when I have to refresh their memory.

Cardinal Law was neither indicted nor arrested. Instead, Pope John Paul II transferred Law to run one of the Vatican’s most cherished properties, the Basilica of Saint Mary, essentially rewarding Law for his deft cover-up of the abuses in Boston.

In fact, no American bishops or cardinals have ever been jailed for their role in covering up and enabling child sexual abuse. Civil settlements have held the Church accountable only financially. A combination of political complacency and expired statutes of limitations has prevented most survivors from obtaining real justice.

Outraged by this lack of justice, survivors urged the International Criminal Court at The Hague to investigate the Vatican for crimes against humanity. The International Criminal Court declined, citing the fact that many of the alleged crimes occurred before the court was formed, and were thus beyond the scope of the court’s “temporal jurisdiction.”

To date, the highest-ranking priest tried in an American court is Philadelphia’s Monsignor William Lynn, who was charged with conspiracy and two counts of endangering children. His 2012 conviction for one count of endangerment was vacated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2016. He now awaits an unscheduled retrial.

Even as scholars and theologians have called for all of the American bishops to resign, there has been little talk of criminal prosecutions. If yesterday’s survivors do not find justice, tomorrow’s children will not know safety.

As the Pennsylvania grand jury emphasized:
“There have been other reports about child sexual abuse within the Catholic church… For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere.”

Undercover operation leads to 24 arrests in child sex crimes

Photos of the 24 men arrested as part of undercover operation led by the Mesa Police Department to find child sex criminals.

Local law-enforcement agencies made 24 arrests during a six-day period as part of an undercover operation targeting child sex crimes.

Mesa Police Department joined with Tempe, Gilbert and Chandler police departments as well as the Attorney General’s Office to conduct the operation, Mesa police officials announced Tuesday in a news release.

"Officers and undercover detectives placed ads on websites commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts," the release said.

Officials say the suspects, who ranged from 21 to 80 years old, were arrested after being suspected of soliciting and/or brokering deals for various sex acts.

A list of the suspects' names and charges can be viewed here.

"Crimes involving children are of the highest priority and I appreciate our partnership with all the agencies involved in the successful removal of these dangerous child predators from our community," said Ramon Batista, chief of police for the Mesa Police Department, in the news release.

Mesa Police Department said it conducts similar operations every year to reduce the demand for child and human sex trafficking in the area.

Officials urge anyone with information about someone being trafficked to contact their local police department or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or

Child Sex Trafficker Admits On Camera To Have Killed 400-500 Children

A child trafficker has gone on the record and confessed during a filmed interview to selling thousands of children into sex slavery and admitted to killing hundreds that he was "unable to sell."

British investigative journalist, Ross Kemp, tracked down and interviewed the child trafficker, who admits that he has lost count of how many young girls he has killed, but it's "somewhere between 400 and 500."

Kemp, an award-winning journalist who's best known for his fearless documentary making, seems to be struggling with his emotions during the interview in which he's sat face-to-face with the man as he admits to killing hundreds of kids.

Speaking about the encounter afterward, Mr. Kemp said he had to fight back the tears and was "shocked" and "horrified" by what the serial child killer told him, saying:

"Interviewing a guy who admits to killing 400 to 500 kids but doesn't know exactly how many – that did make me cry."

During the interview, in which Ross Kemp is sitting just inches away from the trafficker, "Mr. Kahn" reveals that he has "trafficked three or four thousand" young girls, "maybe more'.

Kemp then asks if it's true that he has sold girls as young as nine for sex, to which the man replies, "I've sold girls who are 12."

He then goes on to ask if he ever returns any of the children for any reason, to which he replies, "no". When he asks if it's true that he kills the children that he can't sell, Kahn replies:

"If they try to run away, or if there's any trouble selling them, they are killed and buried."

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

13 men, including Disney resort worker, arrested in Florida child predator sting

13 men, including a former military police officer and a cook at a Disney resort, were arrested in an undercover online child predator operation in Florida, according to WFTS.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said undercover detectives posed as girls and boys on social media platforms and dating websites from October 2 through October 7.
During the six-day “Operation Cyber Guardian Fall Haul,” 13 men communicated with undercover detectives thinking they were children between the ages 13 and 14 and showed up to a Polk County location to solicit sexual acts from the “children.”
The sheriff’s office said many of the suspects took condoms and lubricant but were greeted by detectives and arrested.
Those arrested included men in their 20’s, 30’s and 50’s, and were from Kissimmee, Montverde, Lake Mary, Davenport, Winter Haven, Orlando, and Holiday.
Among them were:
  • A man who said he knew he was HIV positive and solicited a boy who he thought was 14 to engage in unprotected sex.
  • A former military police officer who had been previously arrested, convicted and is on federal probation for lewd/Lascivious Molestation of a child.
  • A Lake Mary man who was arrested in Seminole County in November 2017 for obscene communication with a minor.
  • A man who brought a new I-Phone 8+ as a gift along with sex toys, condoms, lubricant, and male enhancement pills.
  • A cook at a Disney resort.
  • A food runner at a restaurant in Disney Springs.
“These predators are out there, trying to sexually seduce and violate children. They lurk in chat rooms and online, ready to groom children for sex,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “Fortunately, because of the great work of our detectives, at least 13 of them won’t be doing that any time soon.”
“The things that these predators say to children they believe are 13 and 14 are vile and disgusting. Even seasoned, trained detectives are repulsed,” Judd said. “The bottom line is that these predators need to be locked up and kept away from children.”
The 13 men arrested face a total of 58 charges (57 felonies, 1 misdemeanor) which include: attempted lewd lascivious molestation, using a communication device to commit a felony, attempted uninformed HIV infected sexual intercourse, traveling to meet a minor for the purposes of sex, attempted lewd battery, and transmitting material harmful to a minor.
A full lists of those arrested and charges can be found here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Florida ranks 3rd in US for human trafficking cases

Data: 57 active criminal cases in Florida last year, compared to 12 nationwide

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The state of Florida ranked third in the United States for the number of active criminal human trafficking cases in the federal court system last year, according to data released Friday by the Human Trafficking Institute.
The data shows Florida had 57 cases in 2017, well above the national average of 12.64.T
The findings in the 2017 Federal Human Trafficking Report show 84.7 percent of human trafficking cases last year in Florida were sex trafficking. That's when women and children are forced into sex slavery by working the streets as prostitutes or appearing in child pornography for profit by the people who have enslaved them. 
The cases are divided into three districts in Florida: northern, middle and southern. 
Northeast Florida, including the Jacksonville area, was part of the middle district, which had the highest number of active criminal cases with 26 -- compared to the southern district, which had the second-highest number of cases with 20, and the northern district with 11 cases.
According to researchers, the 59 active criminal and civil human trafficking cases in Florida last year generated 433 federal charges against 87 people.
One was of the silver linings in the data was that Florida ranked second in the U.S. for the highest number of criminal convictions last year. There were 31 convictions in Florida compared to the national average of 6.23 convictions. 
Anyone who is a victim of human trafficking can get help by calling the National Human Traffickinhg Hotline -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- at 1-888-373-7888. 

Catholic Church Paid $213 Million To 4,445 Children Sexually Abused By Pedophile Priests In Australia

These days, the Roman Catholic Church is synonymous with child sexual abuse. We owe nobody an apology for saying this. It's the truth. Cases of child sexual abuse and subsequent cover-ups committed during the 20th and 21st centuries by Catholic priests, nuns, and members of the Roman Catholic Order have led to numerous allegations, investigations, trials and convictions. The abused include boys and girls, some as young as 3 years old, with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14. It is beyond imagination that these so-called men and women of God have molested innocent children in this widespread way. The abuse is a worldwide problem in the church. There aren’t accurate statistics to determine the number of children these pedophiles in the church have abused worldwide because of the extent. From 2001 to 2010, the Holy See, which serves as the central governing body of the Catholic Church, considered sex abuse allegations involving approximately 3,000 priests dating back up to fifty years. Cases worldwide reflect patterns of long-term abuse and of the church hierarchy regularly covering up reports of alleged abuse.

Diocesan officials and academics knowledgeable about the Roman Catholic Church have revealed that sexual abuse by the pedophiles in the church is generally not discussed, and thus is difficult to measure. In 2014, the Vatican said 3,420 credible accusations of sexual abuse committed by priests had been referred to its institution over the past 10 years, and that 824 clerics were defrocked as a result. However, a new investigation carried out in Australia has shed light on the damning practice of Catholic priests and nuns in the country. According to the report, the Catholic Church paid US$213 million to victims of sex abuse committed by priests in Australia over decades. In 2002, a critical investigation by The Boston Globe in the United States led to worldwide media coverage of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. By 2010, much of the reporting focused on abuse in Europe. In 2012, Australia also announced it was to investigate the abuses by the church. By 2013, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commenced hearings on alleged Catholic Church sex abuse of children – mostly boys. In mid-February 2017, the commission issued a report revealing: “Catholic Church authorities made total payments of [AU]$276.1 million [US$213million] in response to claims of child sexual abuse received between 1 January 1980 and 28 February 2015, including monetary compensation, treatment, legal and other costs.” Of the 4,445 cases the church received between January 1980 and February 2015 in the country, the report said the church managed to identify 1,880 alleged perpetrators, who included 597 (32% ‘religious brothers,’ 572 (30%) priests, 543 (29%) lay people, and 96 (5%) religious sisters or nuns. According to the report, 90% of abusers were male while the abused were also mostly boys. 

According to the commission, sex abuse victims received AU$91,000 in compensation. The report by the commission also stated that the Christian Brothers group admitted during the hearing that both the highest total payment and the largest number of total payments is $48.5 million. It was paid in relation to 763 payments at an average of approximately $64,000 per payment. The Christian Brothers is a worldwide religious community within the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the commission said the Jesuits had the highest average total payment at an average of approximately $257,000 per payment (of those Catholic Church authorities who made at least 10 payments). The Jesuit is an order of religious men in the Roman Catholic Church. Critics, including those in the Catholic Church who want justice for the victims, say the system of payments is unfair and not all victims receive the same opportunities or compensation. The Church's Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive, Francis Sullivan candidly admitted to local media that not all victims have equal opportunities or compensation. “Even though the church has paid $270 million and it took a long time to get its act together to do that, there's no doubt the system of paying people and compensating them is best done independently of the church through a national redress scheme. Some congregations pay far more than others. Some dioceses pay far more than others. It's still not a fair system,” he added. “It's a picture of great unfairness and inequity between survivors across Australia depending on where they placed their claim,” Helen Last, Chief Executive Officer of In Good Faith Foundation, which represents 460 abuse victims also told the Reuters news agency in an interview. 

Friday, October 5, 2018



Active AMBER Alerts
NameMissing FromIssued ForAlert Date
Jonathan Nunez-CoronadoPhoenix, AZAZSep 1, 2018
Victor Nunez-CoronadoPhoenix, AZAZSep 1, 2018

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