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Accountability

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.”

Bail reduced for California priest charged with molestation

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A Catholic priest jailed for more than a month on charges of molesting a teenage girl over a two-year period had his bail reduced from $5 million to $700,000 Thursday and is expected to be released within a day.

Fr. Uriel Ojeda, 32, of the Diocese of Sacramento was arrested Nov. 30 after diocesan officials notified police that a relative of the alleged victim had reported the abuse.

During the bail hearing, Deputy District Attorney Allison Dunham told Judge Marjorie Koller the priest had confessed to a diocesan official that he had sexually abused the girl while he was parochial vicar at Holy Rosary Parish in Woodland, Calif., his first assignment after his ordination four years ago.

Kevin Eckery, diocesan spokesman, told the Sacramento Bee that Ojeda confessed Nov. 30 during a car ride to Sacramento with diocesan officials who had gone to Redding, where Ojeda had been serving since 2009, to confront him with the allegations and remove him from ministry.

SNAP, Catholic League leaders talk abuse scandal on radio show

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Dave Clohessy and Bill Donohue, leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and the Catholic League, were interviewed back-to-back Friday morning on a popular St. Louis news-radio show, giving opposite viewpoints on the U.S. clergy sex abuse scandal.

The interviews, part of The Charlie Brennan Show on St. Louis' KMOX station, came one day after it was revealed that SNAP had received a subpoena from lawyers representing the St. Louis archdiocese to submit for deposition in the case of a priest accused of sexual abuse there.

The subpoena is the second SNAP has received so far. Clohessy submitted himself for deposition Monday in a case involving a Kansas City, Mo., priest accused of abuse.

As part of both orders, SNAP has been requested to turn over internal records, correspondence and email dating back 23 years.

Saying his organization had spent more than 300 man-hours deciding how to respond to the legal moves since news of the Kansas City subpoena, Clohessy said the moves by lawyers defending priests accused of abuse will lead to people being "increasingly afraid" to expose priests who might be abusing children.

Canadian bishop on probation for porn charges

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Retired Bishop Raymond Lahey, convicted of importing child pornography, was released from prison Jan. 4 after the judge gave him double credit for eight months already served.

The judge also imposed a period of 24 months' probation with strict conditions on the 71-year-old former bishop of Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

SNAP receives second subpoena request for documents

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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has been issued a second subpoena for one of its leaders to appear for testimony and to turn over internal records, correspondence and email dating back 23 years.

According to documents obtained by NCR this afternoon, Barbara Dorris, the group’s outreach director, was requested to give testimony Feb. 15 in a city case involving allegations of sexual misconduct against St. Louis archdiocesan priest Fr. Joseph Ross. The subpoena was mailed to Dorris and dated Dec. 30.

Boston cardinal reflects on abuse scandal's impact

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BOSTON -- "Our church will never forget the clergy sexual abuse crisis," said Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston in a document marking the 10th anniversary of the abuse scandal that first rocked the archdiocese in January 2002, the reverberations of which continue to be felt.

"The traumatic and painful days we experienced 10 years ago rightfully forced us to address the issue honestly and implement many necessary changes," said Cardinal O'Malley in the 2,500-word document, "Ten Years Later -- Reflections on the Sexual Abuse Crisis," released Jan. 4.

Cardinal O'Malley said that since his appointment in July 2003, "our highest priority has been to provide outreach and care for all the survivors of clergy sexual abuse and to do everything possible to make sure this abuse never happens again."

SNAP leader: Testimony was 'fishing expedition'

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David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), says his court-ordered testimony Monday in the case of a priest accused of sexual misconduct amounted to an "extraordinary fishing expedition" to try and get at the contents of "private communications" between him and sex abuse victims and whistle-blowers.

SNAP director may be forced to testify in abuse case

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The leading advocacy group for child victims of clergy sex abuse may be compelled to turn over 23 years of internal documents, correspondence and email to the attorneys of an accused priest unless Missouri state courts act to quash a court-ordered deposition.

David Clohessy, head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, has been ordered to appear for deposition in a county court case involving allegations of sexual misconduct against Kansas City diocesan priest Fr. Michael Tierney.

Victims’ advocates say if Clohessy is compelled to appear, it could have wide-ranging impact on the ability of victims of clergy sex abuse to identify their accusers and tell their stories without revealing their names in public.

A law professor noted for her decades of work with clergy sex abuse victims said the “end result” of Clohessy’s deposition would be “a huge chilling effect on helping child sex abuse victims at every stage.”

Clergy, survivors sign plea for Milwaukee sex abuse victims to come forward

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An alliance of priests, clergy sexual abuse survivors and advocates for abuse victims composed and signed a full-page ad that appeared Dec. 27 in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel encouraging "victim/survivors" to come forward before Feb. 1, the deadline for filing abuse claims against the Milwaukee archdiocese through an impending bankruptcy proceeding.

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September 12-25, 2014

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