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Accountability

Vatican summit speaker says abuse caused 'death of respect' for church leaders

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An Irish victim of sexual abuse bluntly told a Vatican summit this morning that her experience of being ignored, and her suffering minimized, by church leaders caused “the final death of any respect” she once felt for ecclesial authority.

Marie Collins said there must be “acknowledgement and accountability for the harm and destruction that has been done to the life of victims and their families” before she and other victims can regain trust in the leadership of the Catholic church.

Collins made the remarks at a four-day summit on the sexual abuse crisis titled “Towards Healing and Renewal” being held at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University.

Read the full story on NCR Today.

Victims caught up in Milwaukee's 'shell game'

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Dead Catholics have a vested interest in reducing settlements to clergy abuse survivors in Milwaukee, thanks to a shift of $55.6 million on the church balance sheets by then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan in 2008.

Dolan’s move in the twilight of his seven-year tenure in Milwaukee has emerged as a major issue in the archdiocese’s bankruptcy, which his successor, Archbishop Jerome Listecki, filed last February. One expert who has done extensive research on diocesan financial statements has described the move as “a shell game.”

Activist's challenge to archdiocese began with Weakland

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Steeped in the writings of Camus, Kierkegaard, Simone Weil and Emerson, Peter Isely put his career as a therapist on the line in 1993 when he identified himself as a victim of clerical sex abuse and criticized Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who at the time was lionized by NCR, Commonweal and The New Yorker as a progressive leader of a post-Vatican II church. Weakland had a victim assistance program, Project Benjamin, of which Isely was deeply suspicious.

September trial date set for KC bishop, diocese

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The trial of Bishop Robert W. Finn and the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., the first bishop and diocese to face criminal charges in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis, has been set for September.

Finn and the diocese were charged in October by a grand jury in Jackson County, Mo., with separate counts of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a diocesan priest who was arrested last May for child pornography.

Lawyers for Finn and the diocese met with Jackson County Judge John Torrence on Thursday to set a Sept. 24 trial date in the case. Finn and the diocese have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Speaking to NCR after the meeting, which was held in the judge's chambers, Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker said Torrence also set the next pretrial hearing for March 27, when the court would deal with motions from the defense.

Court documents reveal motives for deposing SNAP

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Attorneys seeking the deposition of the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) argued the group had colluded with an attorney representing an abuse victim in violation of a court gag order, and also worried that the advocacy group could be “routinely advising” victims to evade statutes of limitations, according to court filings.

California Supreme Court to decide on statute of limitations in abuse cases

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SAN FRANCISCO -- A major case that could reopen the statute of limitations window for sex abuse victims to file third-party claims is now before the California Supreme Court.

Should the court rule in favor of six brothers who say they were sexually abused by a priest of the Oakland diocese decades ago but only recently linked the abuse to their psychological difficulties, the church in California could see a wave of new clergy abuse lawsuits.

SNAP subpoenas harm key ally for victims

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Bartek Obloj's story defies description.

Before reaching his 14th birthday, Obloj hanged himself in 2007, leaving a note that his parish priest had molested him. (See: Polish church faces demands to confront sex abuse.)

The accused priest, Fr. Stanislaw Kaszowski, was moved to a new parish -- but not before personally celebrating Obloj's funeral Mass. Kaszowski continues in ministry and refuses to testify in court.

Lawsuit claiming harassment filed against KC diocese

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former employee of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was sexually harassed at work and then fired after making reports to superiors.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court by Larry Probst, alleges that Probst was subjected “to a sexually hostile work environment” because of unwanted sexual advances from another lay employee, “inappropriate and offensive” language in the office in which he worked, and inappropriate messages on diocesan computers. It seeks unspecified back pay and damages.

The diocesan spokesperson confirmed in an email that Probst had worked for the diocese “on an intermittent” basis from June 2005 until June 2011.

“Along with four other positions, Probst’s temporary position was eliminated at the end of the diocesan fiscal year, on June 30, 2011, solely for budgetary reasons,” said the statement. “At the same time, an existing full-time employee with six years of service to the diocese was assigned to offer support to four departments, including the Diocesan Archives.”

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August 15-28, 2014

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