Seksualiteit en een geestelijk ambt
Persberichten tot 11 november 2008
825 miljoen voor slachtoffers misbruik Ierland
DUBLIN 11 november 2008 Ieren die als kind zijn misbruikt in instellingen als weeshuizen en scholen, hebben bijna 825 miljoen euro aan schadevergoeding ontvangen. Dat heeft de raad die voor de toekenning van de vergoedingen verantwoordelijk is, dinsdag laten weten.
Van de 14.541 mensen die een aanvraag voor een uitkering wegens fysiek, seksueel en emotioneel misbruik hebben ingediend, hebben er 10.796 inmiddels een positieve reactie op hun verzoek ontvangen. De staat financierde de meeste instellingen waar het misbruik sinds de jaren dertig van de vorige eeuw plaatshad, maar de leiding was meestal in handen van rooms-katholieke ordes en congregaties. Het betreft scholen, weeshuizen, ziekenhuizen en kindertehuizen.
De raad, die in december 2002 werd opgericht, hoopt zijn werkzaamheden eind volgend jaar te hebben afgerond. Elke maand worden ongeveer 220 dossiers afgehandeld. 25 personen hebben de maximale schadevergoeding, een bedrag tussen 200 duizend en 300 duizend euro, ontvangen. De gemiddelde uitkering is ruim 65 duizend euro.
Zes jaar geleden zegden achttien religieuze ordes en congregaties de staat 128 miljoen euro toe als onderdeel van een overeenkomst waarbij hun werd beloofd dat zij niet voor het misbruik zouden worden vervolgd.
Settlements reached in Chicago priest abuse cases
CHICAGO - The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said Tuesday it had agreed to pay more than $12.6 million to settle lawsuits by 16 people who accused priests of sexual abuse.
"My hope is that these settlements will help the survivors and their families begin to heal and move forward," Cardinal Francis George said in a statement in which he also apologized for the abuse.
Bron Associated Press 12 augustus 2008
CHICAGO | Chicago's Catholic archdiocese agreed Tuesday to pay more than $12.6 million to settle lawsuits by 16 people who accused priests of sexual abuse over three decades, including one who served in South Holland.
Miljoenen wegens seksueel misbruik
Denver. Het aartsbisdom Denver heeft een schikking getroffen in zestien zaken waarin priesters van seksueel misbruik werden beschuldigd. het bisdom in de Amerikaanse staat Colorado betaalt daarvoor 3,5 miljoen euro.
Dat hebben aartsbisschop Charles Caput en de advocaat van drie slachtoffers dinsdag bekendgemaakt. De beschuldigingen hadden betrekking op drie inmiddels overleden priesters, die tussen 1954 en 1981 in het aartsbisdom werkten. De eerste gevallen hadden zich in 1950 voorgedaan. In juli vorig jaar trok het aartsbisdom Los Angeles 660 miljoen dollar uit voor 500 slachtoffers.
Bron Reuters 2 juli 2008
RK-Kerk in VS betaalde 615 miljoen in 2007 voor misbruik
WASHINGTON (ANP) - De Rooms-Katholieke Kerk in de Verenigde Staten heeft vorig jaar 615 miljoen dollar (bijna 400 miljoen euro) moeten uitgeven in verband met seksueel misbruik van kinderen door priesters en andere geestelijken.
Dat bleek uit een vrijdag gepubliceerd rapport van de Amerikaanse Conferentie van Katholieke Bisschoppen. Het overgrote deel (526 miljoen dollar) was bestemd als schadevergoeding aan slachtoffers van misbruik. Dat is bijna het dubbele van het bedrag dat in 2006 werd uitbetaald. Circa 23 miljoen ging naar therapie voor slachtoffers of hulp aan vermeende daders. En nog eens 60 miljoen ging op aan advocatenkosten.
Uit het rapport blijkt dat vorig jaar 689 nieuwe aanklachten van misbruik zijn ingediend. De meerderheid van de zaken speelde zich al decennia geleden af. De meeste slachtoffers waren mannen en meer dan de helft was tussen de tien en veertien jaar oud toen het seksueel misbruik begon. Het aantal aanklachten nam de afgelopen drie jaar af, maar de schadevergoedingen stegen
Zie voor verwijzingen naar artikelen over seksueel misbruik in de pers:.
In Alaska betaalt een kloosterorde in een schikking 34 miljoen euro aan de 110 slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik. 13 jezuïeten zouden tussen 1961 en 1987 kinderen hebben misbruikt. De priesters hoeven geen schuld te bekennen en ze worden niet vervolgd.
Jesuits say no settlement yet over sex abuse claims
By Mary Beth Smetzer
A $50 million agreement to settle 110 claims of clerical sexual abuse filed by Alaska Natives against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus has been reached, the attorney for the plaintiffs said today.
A statement from the Jesuits, however, took strong issue with the statement by Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa that a settlement had been reached.
“While the Jesuits have been dedicated to finding a just and timely solution to these cases, it is my understanding that there are still many issues that need to be finalized before it is appropriate to make an official announcement about a settlement,” the Rev. John Whitney, Oregon Province provincial, said in the statement.
“When those issues are resolved, we will be available for a more complete discussion of the matter.”
Whitney said the Oregon Province is “disappointed” that the plaintiffs’ attorneys issued a news release earlier in the day saying a settlement had been reached. He called the action “premature and detrimental to the work of healing about which we are all concerned.”
For the past seven months, attorneys for the claimants and the Jesuits have been working on a mediated settlement.
If the settlement assertion by Roosa is correct, the agreement would be the largest single settlement against a Catholic religious order. It does not include the approximately 135 child sex abuse claims still standing against the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese.
The sexual abuse involved 13 or 14 clerics and spanned nearly 30 years, from 1961 to 1987, Roosa said. The ages of the children ranged from 5 years old to teenagers.
Roosa said the victims are now in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
In some villages it is difficult to find an adult who was not sexually violated by the priests, who then used religion and their power to silence hundreds of children, Roosa said.
"Despite all this, no Catholic religious leader has yet to admit that problem priests were dumped in Alaska. For our clients, this settlement represents a long overdue acknowledgment of the truth of their stories of abuse, stories that until today were largely denied and belittled by apologists for the abusers," he said.
Roosa said the Catholic Church first was notified of the Alaska cases of abuse in 2002.
The cases include those involving the Rev. James Poole, founder of Catholic radio station KNOM in Nome. Poole, who lives in an assisted living facility in Spokane, Wash., worked in a number of towns and villages in rural Alaska.
Roosa said the cases also involve Joseph Lundowski, who died in 1993. Lundowski was a Trappist monk who volunteered for the bishop of Fairbanks, Roosa said.
"He was a very prolific molester and molested about 60 kids," he said.
The cases do not include those against the Diocese of Fairbanks, which owned and managed the churches in the villages in rural Alaska where the Jesuit priests were assigned. Those 135 lawsuits have been reduced to 10. Those cases are expected to be mediated in December.
Aartsbisdom Los Angeles, het grootste katholieke aartsbisdom van de VS, keert 660 miljoen dollar uit aan slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik door priesters en andere geestelijken
Deze schadeloosstelling is gesloten tussen het aartsbisdom en vertegenwoordigers van de slachtoffers. De regeling die ervoor moet zorgen dat rechtszaken tegen het aartsbisdom van Los Angeles worden afgeblazen, komt er op neer dat elk slachtoffer iets meer dan 1,3 miljoen dollar krijgt. Afgesproken is ook dat vertrouwelijke dossiers over priesters na door een rechter te zijn bekeken, zullen worden vrijgegeven.Dat wordt van belang geacht, omdat uit de dossiers kan blijken of leiders van het aartsbisdom priesters die zich schuldig hebben gemaakt aan seksueel misbruik de hand boven het hoofd hebben gehouden.
In totaal heeft de katholieke kerk in de VS al meer dan twee miljard dollar uitgekeerd aan slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik door priesters. Een van degenen die in Los Angeles naar de rechter waren gestapt, Steven Sanchez, zei tegelijkertijd opgelucht en teleurgesteld te zijn dat er een regeling is getroffen.
Bron AP 16 juli 2007
'Vaticaan te traag met bestraffen seksueel misbruik'
ROME - Het Vaticaan neemt te veel tijd om een oordeel te vellen over priesters die van seksueel misbruik worden beschuldigd. Bij de leiding van de RK Kerk zijn sinds 2001 ongeveer duizend klachten tegen priesters en leden van religieuze ordes en congregaties ingediend, maar slechts tien daarvan zijn afgehandeld.
Dat schrijft het Italiaanse weekblad Panorama, een van de bladen van het concern van oud-premier Silvio Berlusconi, deze week. Het blad is nagegaan wat er is gebeurd met de klachten, die sinds 2001 bij de congregatie voor de geloofsleer zijn ingediend. Paus Benedictus XVI was meer dan twintig jaar hoofd van dat Vaticaanse bestuursorgaan, tot hij in april 2005 tot hoofd van de RK-Kerk werd gekozen.
Het artikel in Panorama komt kort voor de Italiaanse publieke omroep RAI een documentaire van de Britse omroep BBC uitzendt. Daarin wordt het Vaticaan ervan beschuldigd dat het het seksueel misbruik door priesters en religieuzen toedekt. Zo zou de leiding van de kerk een priester die daarvan wordt verdacht eerder overplaatsen naar een ander bisdom dan dat zij hem bij de politie aangeeft.
De krant La Stampa heeft van de commotie die het besluit van de RAI om de BBC-documentaire uit te zenden heeft veroorzaakt, gebruikgemaakt om aandacht te besteden aan de zaak van de Mexicaanse pater Marcial Maciel. De 85-jarige pater, oprichter van de conservatieve beweging Legionairs van Christus, kreeg in mei 2006 opdracht van het Vaticaan zich uit het openbare leven terug te trekken en een leven van gebed en boetedoening te leiden. Hij was tien jaar daarvoor al beschuldigd van seksueel misbruik van priesterstudenten. Maciel hoefde zich niet voor een kerkelijke rechter te verantwoorden en hij werd niet geëxcommuniceerd. Bron ANP 1 juni 2007
448 klachten over misbruik priesters VS in 2006
WASHINGTON - 12 april 2007: In 2006 zijn 448 rooms-katholieke priesters in de Verenigde Staten beschuldigd van seksueel misbruik van kinderen. Daarvan waren ruim zevenhonderd kinderen het slachtoffer.
Dat blijkt uit cijfers die de Amerikaanse bisschoppen donderdag hebben gepubliceerd. De kerkleiders hebben alleen die beschuldigingen in hun overzicht opgenomen die geloofwaardig lijken.
De meeste kinderen waren tien tot veertien jaar, toen de priesters zich aan hen vergrepen. Het aantal meldingen is in vergelijking met de jaren ervoor afgenomen. In 2005 klaagden 783 kinderen een priester aan wegens seksueel misbruik, in 2004 bijna 1100. De meeste beschuldigingen hebben betrekking op gebeurtenissen die zich tientallen jaren hebben voorgedaan.
Volgens de bisschoppen is 70 procent van de priesters die in 2006 van misbruik werden beschuldigd, niet meer in functie. Zij hebben uit eigen beweging of door de kerkleiding gedwongen het ambt neergelegd of zijn niet meer in leven.
De seksschandalen hebben bisdommen, religieuze ordes en congregaties en rooms-katholieke instellingen in de Verenigde Staten in 2006 meer dan 300 miljoen euro gekost.
Aarsbisdom Los Angeles treft voor 60 miljoen dollar
een schikking in 45 zaken van seksueel misbruik door 22 priesters.
Het Aartsbisdom Los Angeles, het grootste in de Verenigde Staten, treft voor 60 miljoen dollar (45 miljoen euro) een schikking in 45 gevallen van seksueel misbruik. Bij de zaken waren 22 priesters betrokken. Ze hebben zich voorgedaan in twee periodes waarin het aartsbisdom geen, pf alleen een beperkte verzekering had tegen claims van seksueel misbruik. Er zijn nog honderden klachten niet geschikt. In totaal heeft seksueel misbruik dor priesters de Amerikaanse katholieke kerk sinds 1959 1,5 miljard dollar gekost. In 2004 schikte het aartsbisdom Orange in Californië 90 gevallen voor 100 miljoen dollar.(AP)
Bishops condemn BBC abuse claim
The Catholic Church has accused a BBC documentary of a "deeply prejudiced attack" on the Pope over claims of a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse. Panorama examined a document which allegedly encourages
secrecy in dealing with cases of priests abusing children. It says this was enforced by Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger before he became Pope.
but the BBC said it stood by the programme.
Misuse of the confessional'
The document called Crimen Sollicitationis was written in 1962 and apparently instructed bishops how to handle claims of child sex abuse. Programme makers asked Father Tom Doyle, a former church lawyer who was sacked from the Vatican for criticising its handling of child abuse, to interpret the document.
He said it was an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child abuse, which stressed the Vatican's control and made no mention of the victims. The Catholic Church said the document was not directly concerned with child sex abuse, but with the misuse of the confessional.
Archbishop Nichols, speaking on behalf of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, said of the programme: "It is false because it misrepresents two Vatican documents and uses them quite misleadingly in order to connect the horrors of child abuse to the person of the Pope."
He added that the editing, which used old footage and undated interviews, was misleading, and said the BBC should be ashamed of the standard of its journalism. Of its viewers, he said: "They will know that aspects of the programme amount to a deeply prejudiced attack on a revered world religious leader."
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has written to the BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, to complain.
A BBC spokeswoman said the BBC has a well-defined complaints system and would reply to the letter once they receive it. She added: "The protection of children is clearly an issue of the strongest public interest."
Sex crimes and the Vatican
A secret document which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church is examined by Panorama. Crimen Sollicitationis was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became the Pope.
It instructs bishops on how to deal with allegations of child abuse against priests and has been seen by few outsiders. Critics say the document has been used to evade prosecution for sex crimes.
Crimen Sollicitationis was written in 1962 in Latin and given to Catholic bishops worldwide who are ordered to keep it locked away in the church safe. It instructs them how to deal with priests who solicit sex from the confessional. It also deals with "any obscene external act ... with youths of either sex."
It imposes an oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation and any witnesses. Breaking that oath means excommunication from the Catholic Church.
Reporting for Panorama, Colm O'Gorman finds seven priests with child abuse allegations made against them living in and around the Vatican City. One of the priests, Father Joseph Henn, has been indicted on 13 molestation charges brought by a grand jury in the United States.
During filming for Sex Crimes and the Vatican, Colm finds Father Henn is fighting extradition orders from inside the headquarters of this religious order in the Vatican. The Vatican has not compelled him to return to America to face the charges against him.
After filming, Father Henn lost his fight against extradition but fled the headquarters and is believed to be hiding in Italy while there is an international warrant for his arrest. Colm O'Gorman was raped by a Catholic priest in the diocese of Ferns in County Wexford in Ireland when he was 14 years old.
Father Fortune was charged with 66 counts of sexual, indecent assault and another serious sexual offence relating to eight boys but he committed suicide on the eve of his trial.
Colm started an investigation with the BBC in March 2002 which led to the resignation of Dr Brendan Comiskey, the bishop leading the Ferns Diocese. Colm then pushed for a government inquiry which led to the Ferns Report.
It was published in October 2005 and found: "A culture of secrecy and fear of scandal that led bishops to place the interests of the Catholic Church ahead of the safety of children."
The Catholic Church has 50 million children in its worldwide congregation and no universal child protection policy although in the UK there is the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults.
In some countries this means that the Crimen Sollicitationis is the only policy followed. The Vatican has refused repeated requests from Panorama to respond to any of the cases shown in the film.
september 2006 Kerk VS compenseert slachtoffers misbruik
Het aartsbisdom van de Amerikaanse stad Milwaukee in de staat Wisconsin zal 12,5 miljoen euro betalen aan tien slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik door een priester. De slachtoffers wonen niet in Wisconsin maar in Californië. Ze zijn misbruikt door een priester die in 1973 in Wisconsin wegens een zedendelict met een tiener is veroordeeld.
Het aartsbisdom Milwaukee probeerde destijds de zaak in de doofpot te stoppen en regelde voor de priester een overplaatsing naar Californië, zonder dat het de kerkelijke autoriteiten in die staat op de hoogte stelde van diens strafrechtelijk verleden. De man ging in Californië gewoon verder met zijn praktijken. Achteraf bleek dat hij in
Wisconsin nog veel meer slachtoffers had gemaakt. Maar door een verschil in wetgeving krijgen die, in
tegenstelling tot de Californiërs, geen schadevergoeding. In Wisconsin geldt een verjaringstermijn van zes jaar en het hooggerechtshof van die staat zag geen aanknopingspunten om van die regel af te wijken.
De advocaat van de slachtoffers had betoogd dat de kerk zijn cliënten had bedrogen. Volgens hem ging de verjaringstermijn pas in op het moment dat de kerk wel opening van zaken gaf over de priester. Het gerechtshof volgde die redenering niet. Een hulporganisatie noemde daarom de schadevergoeding voor de Californiërs een ‘gemengde zegen’. De priester pleegde in 2003 zelfmoord in Mexico, door van een gebouw te springen. Bron: Trouw
Paus straft pater voor seksueel misbruik
Michaël Zeeman Volkskrant 20 mei 2006
Paus Benedictus XVI heeft persoonlijk zijn goedkeuring verleend aan de disciplinaire straf tegen pater Marcial Maciel Degollado. De priester wordt beschuldigd van seksueel misbruik van seminaristen. De paus draagt de nu bejaarde geestelijke (86) op zijn leven voortaan te wijden 'aan gebed en boetedoening, onder het afzien van iedere openbare ambtsuitoefening.'
Madel Degollado, oprichter van de congregatie van de Legionairs van Christus, wordt buiten zijn eigen organisatie geplaatst. Het Vaticaan zegt met deze maatregel af te willen zien van een proces tegen de priester binnen de procedures van het kerkrecht.
Door geen canoniek proces tegen hem te voeren geeft het Vaticaan Madel Degollado geen openlijke straf, maar tegelijkertijd doorbreekt het wel de gangbare wolk van stilte waarmee gevallen van seksueel misbruik door priesters worden omgeven.
Maciel Degollado is een Mexicaanse priester, wiens misdragingen al decennia bekend zijn bij het Vaticaan. Via zijn organisatie, die actief is in Amerika, Australië en Europa, heeft hij talrijke roomskatholieke seminaries en universiteiten bezocht.
De eerste melding van zijn onkuise handelingen dateert van 1948, de laatste van 1997. Die laatste, aangekaart door enkele vooraanstaande oud-legionairs van Christus, had overigens betrekking op de jaren vijftig en zestig.
Volgens de verklaring die de persdienst van het Vaticaan gisteren deed uitgaan zijn de aantijgingen tegen Madel Degollado weliswaar vaker onderzocht, maar namen zij pas vanaf 1998 ernstige vormen aan. De priester heeft zich enkele jaren terug daar openlijk tegen verweerd. De Congregatie voor de Geloofsleer oordeelde de klachten echter overtuigend genoeg om tot maatregelen over te gaan. Alleen vanwege diens hoge leeftijd is afgezien van een proces.
Persbericht bisdom Dublin
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has been providing priests of the Dublin diocese with preliminary data concerning child sexual abuse by priests arising from an independently conducted review which examined the personnel files of over 2800 priests. 1350 diocesan priests and 1450 from religious congregations or other dioceses have been identified as having held an appointment from Archbishops of Dublin in the period 1940-2006.
The information was provided to priests during five clergy meetings held over the past few weeks and at the regular Deanery Meetings which took place on Monday 6th March and is a comprehensive update of figures released in October 2005. Also included is information regarding priests, other than Diocesan priests, who held appointments in Dublin over the 66 year period.
Based on the most up to date information currently available the following statistics have been compiled
· Allegations have been made against 68 Priests of the Archdiocese.
· Suspicions have been raised concerning 7 priests of the Archdiocese.
· Allegations have been made against 23 Religious priests or priests from other dioceses who held an appointment in the Diocese.
· Suspicions have been raised concerning 4 religious or priests from other dioceses.
These figures include new allegations and information which have been brought to the attention of the diocese as a result of the independent review, the publication of the Ferns Report and ongoing work by the Child Protection Service. They do not include allegations and suspicions made regarding priests who carried out ministry within the ambit of their own religious order.
Criminal convictions have been brought against 8 priests. To date 105 civil actions have been brought against 32 priests of the diocese or priests who held appointments. 65 of these have been brought to a conclusion and 40 are on-going. Settlement of claims has amounted to €5.8 million (€4.1 million in settlements and €1.7 in legal costs for both sides). Since 2003 the diocese has invested €2.5 million in its child protection and related services.
It has also been pointed out to priests that these figures are constantly being updated as new information continues to emerge. A process of evaluation and scrutiny of the statistical data is continuing, particularly regarding the differentiated nature of the allegations or concerns involved. There is information concerning possible abuse by priests whose names it has not been possible to identify. Overall figures cover a wide range of situations from allegations which have proven to be unfounded to the worst crimes against children.
It is the policy of the Archbishop that all allegations and suspicions be reported by the Diocesan Child Protection Service to the appropriate civil authorities.
Archbishop Martin repeats his invitation to anyone who might have been abused by a priests ministering in Dublin Diocese or who might have knowledge of such abuse, to come forward to the Diocesan Child Protection Service, to the Garda Siochana, the Health Service Executive or to a counselling or support service of their choice
Priester na dertig jaar gestraft om verkrachting
St Louis: 17 november 2005 :Een 72 jarige rooms- katholieke priester in de Amerikaanse stad Sint Louis is tot twintig jaarcel veroordeeld omdat hij in de zeventiger jaren een jongen heeft verkracht. De zaak zou zijn verjaard, maar de rechter oordeelde 17 november 2005 anders.(bron AP)
Scandal-hit cardinal to lead Mass
A support group for sexual abuse victims has condemned a decision by the Vatican to choose Cardinal Bernard Law to lead a Mass for Pope John Paul II.
Cardinal Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston in 2002 following accusations that he covered up sexual abuse of children by priests. Members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests are flying to Rome to protest at Monday's service. Cardinal Law is scheduled to lead one of nine memorial Masses in Rome.
David Clohessy, national director of the survivors' network, said: "It's an unbelievably insensitive move that simply rubs salt into the very deep wounds of thousands of abuse victims and American Catholics."
The protesters plan to hand out pamphlets at St Mary Major Basilica, where Cardinal Law will lead the Mass. James Post, the president of another advocacy group, the Voice of the Faithful, said: "Cardinal Law continues to be the living symbol of the blackish blemish on John Paul II's papacy."
Cardinal Law, now the archpriest at St Mary Major, has apologised for "decisions which led to suffering" and resigned as archbishop in December 2002 after being called to the Vatican. The Boston Archdiocese avoided bankruptcy by agreeing to sell land and buildings for over $100m to fund legal settlements to more than 500 abuse victims.
One former Massachusetts priest, John Geoghan, was convicted of indecent assault and battery of a 10-year-old boy and was killed in prison while serving a 10-year sentence.
Geoghan was jailed for 10 years in 2002 - and later killed in prison
In February 2004, a report commissioned by the Church said more than 4,000 US Roman Catholic priests had faced sexual abuse allegations in the previous 50 years, in cases involving more than 10,000 children - mostly boys.
Sources in the Church say the decision on Cardinal Law probably only reflected the importance of his current post as archpriest of St Mary Major Basilica.
Cardinal Law is also eligible to vote for the new pope.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Timeline: US Catholic sex scandal
The main events in the ongoing sex abuse scandal involving the US Roman Catholic Church and in particular the Boston Archdiocese, which has been at the centre of many of the highest-profile accusations.
1984: Bernard Law is appointed archbishop of Boston, and elevated to cardinal a year later.
1985: Sex abuse by priests becomes a national issue in the US for the first time, as Louisiana priest Gilbert Gauthe pleads guilty to 11 counts of molestation of boys.
1992-3: The Reverend James Porter of Fall River diocese, Massachusetts, is accused of abusing children in five US states in the 1960s and 1970s. He later pleads guilty to 41 counts of abuse.
1992: US bishops meeting in South Bend, Indiana, admit attempts by some of their number to hide abuse.
1993: First legal proceedings brought against Dallas diocese over sex abuse by the priest Rudolph Kos.
13 July, 1998: Dallas diocese forced to pay more than $31m to victims of Kos.
1999: Former Massachusetts priest John Geoghan indicted on child rape charges.
8 January, 2002: Vatican publishes guidelines on how to deal with paedophile priests, saying all cases should be reported to Rome.
9 January: Cardinal Law apologises to victims of John Geoghan and promises a tougher line on abusive priests in future.
18 January: Geoghan convicted of indecent assault and battery of a 10-year-old boy, for which he later receives a 10-year prison sentence.
4 April: Two US men, in Florida and Oregon, begin legal action which symbolically names the Vatican for its alleged role in covering up sex abuse cases.
8 April: File released on the Rev Paul Shanley, alleging he publicly advocated sex between men and boys and still received the backing of the archdiocese for his ministry.
23 April: Pope John Paul II calls emergency meeting with US cardinals in Rome.
2 May: Paul Shanley arrested in California and later charged on three counts of child rape. He denies the charges.
13 June: US bishops approve "zero tolerance" national policy on abuse, but the Vatican demands changes to protect rights of priests.
17 September: Boston Jesuit priest James Talbot charged with raping and assaulting three teenaged students.
19 September: The Boston Archdiocese reaches $10m settlement with victims of John Geoghan, retracting a previous settlement of $30m which the Church said would have bankrupted the archdiocese.
3 November: Cardinal Law apologises for "decisions which led to suffering".
13 November: US bishops meet in Washington and approve revised policy on abusive priests which takes account of Vatican concerns.
On the same day, Roman Catholic activists from the Survivors First group launch an online database listing 573 US priests accused of involvement in paedophilia since 1996, later dropping 100 of the names.
3 December: New revelations about eight priests in Boston archdiocese accused of abusing women and girls, taking drugs and supplying drugs in return for sexual favours.
6 December: Cardinal Law leaves for the Vatican, on the same day that he reportedly is ordered to appear before a grand jury investigating sex abuse allegations.
13 December: Cardinal Law resigns as archbishop.
Cardinal Law resigned, accused of covering up sex abuse by priests
April 2003: The Boston Archdiocese avoids bankruptcy by agreeing to sell land and buildings for over $100m to fund legal settlements to more than 500 abuse victims.
24 August: John Geoghan is killed in a Massachusetts prison.
27 February 2004: A report commissioned by the Church says 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.
1 July: The key accuser of defrocked priest Paul Shanley is dropped from the case by prosecutors.
7 July: In an unprecedented move, the Portland Archdiocese files for bankruptcy because of the huge costs from clergy sex abuse lawsuits.
The action halts a trial of a lawsuit seeking some $155m against the late Rev Maurice Grammond, who was accused of molesting more than 50 boys in the 1980s.
28 September: Prosecutors drop a case against former Massachusetts bishop Thomas Dupre, hours after he is charged with raping two children in the 1970s.
15 November: US Roman Catholic bishops elect Bishop William Skylstad as their new president. His Washington diocese faces bankruptcy due to the volume of compensation claims made by alleged victims of child abuse.
3 December: After two years of talks, the diocese of Orange County, California, settles a sex abuse lawsuit brought by 87 plaintiffs for an unspecified sum. The diocese later says the package is worth $100m (£53m).
7 February: A US court convicts Paul Shanley of four charges relating to offences committed in the 1980s including rape and indecent assault.
Story from BBC NEWS:
US diocese makes $100m abuse deal
The Roman Catholic Church in California is to pay $100m (£53m) to the alleged victims of sexual abuse by clergy members, a US judge has announced.
The settlement, in Orange County, is the largest made by any Roman Catholic diocese in the United States. It exceeds the payment made by Boston's diocese, where claims of abuse within the Church in America first emerged.
Bishop Tod Brown made an apology at a press conference, which was attended by some of the 87 victims. "I seek their forgiveness, I hope for reconciliation and I know they have now begun their healing process," he said. Some of the details of the settlement emerged last month when the Church announced it had reached a deal after two years of talks.
The diocese will pay half of the $100m settlement, and eight insurance firms will pay the rest. "Let this be what everyone remembers from today: that nothing is more important than the protection of our children and our youth," said Bishop Brown. He promised changes to personnel policies to ensure "as much as humanly possible, that these things will never happen again".
Threat to church
Some of the plaintiffs attending the hearing were tearful. "The acknowledgement of what happened to us makes the difference," said Max Fisher. "We are no longer just alleged victims. It means more to me than anything." The amount exceeds the payment of $85m (£44m) to more than 500 plaintiffs two years ago in Boston.
Thousands more cases are still pending in Los Angeles and other parts of the US, with several dioceses reportedly facing possible bankruptcy as a result. The scandals, which surfaced in Boston in January 2002, have threatened the Roman Catholic Church in the US and beyond.
Details of the Orange diocese settlement have not been given, but payouts will be based on the length and severity of the abuse and other factors. The allegations dated from 1936 to 1996 and were made against 31 priests, 10 lay workers, one religious brother and two nuns, the Associated Press reported.
Story from BBC NEWS:
US priest convicted of raping boy
A court in the United States has convicted defrocked Roman Catholic priest Paul Shanley of raping a boy at a Massachusetts church in the 1980s.
The victim, now 27, lowered his head as the verdicts were read out in the Cambridge court on four charges including rape and fondling.
Shanley, at the centre of a scandal which shook the Boston archdiocese, reportedly showed no emotion. The 74-year-old could face a maximum sentence of life in prison. He was taken into custody after the verdicts. He had been pleading not guilty.
Other alleged abuse victims of priests attended the trial
Jurors had deliberated for nearly 15 hours in the only case against the priest to be fully prosecuted, after three other alleged victims withdrew their testimony over the past seven months.
The one person now confirmed as a victim of the former priest is a firefighter living in the Boston area. Shanley has been accused of abusing dozens of other alleged victims in civil lawsuits.
In September 2003, the archdiocese of Boston agreed to pay $85m to settle more than 500 civil suits accusing priests of sexual abuse and church officials of covering up the scandal. Accusations have been levelled at some 200 priests and a cardinal, Archbishop Bernard Law, resigned over the scandal. Rodney Ford, whose son Greg was one of the three accusers dropped from the case, welcomed the verdict as "a relief". "The validation that all the victims of Paul Shanley must feel today must be unbelievable," he said.
Abused in the confessional
Shanley's trial had turned on the reliability of the victim's memories of the abuse.
The adult man said he had repressed them as a child, but they flooded back three years ago when other allegations against his abuser were reported by the media. During the trial, he broke down on the stand as he gave details of the abuse, which began when he was six years old.
Shanley would pull him out of Sunday morning catechism classes to rape and grope him in the church toilet, the rectory, the pews and, he said, the confessional. "It felt awful," the victim said in court. "He told me nobody would ever believe me if I told anybody." Shanley's defence team tried to argue that the accuser's recovered memories were unreliable even if he believed them to be the truth.
Police finally arrested Shanley in 2002 in California, where he had been living since leaving Massachusetts in 1990. Public outrage at the abuses committed by Shanley and fellow Boston priest John Geoghan, a convicted paedophile who was killed in prison in 2003, was compounded by suspicions that Church leaders had sought to cover up their crimes by shuffling them from posting to posting.
Documents revealed at earlier hearings, including a detailed diary kept by Shanley himself, showed that he had suffered from sexually transmitted diseases. He had been in contact with disadvantaged youths as far back as the 1970s when he worked as a "street priest", dealing with drug addicts, runaways and homosexuals.
According to his diary, he helped "kids shoot up properly". There were also grounds for believing that Shanley had associated with advocates of paedophilia in the late 1970s.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Defrocked priest sentenced to 12 to 15 years for child rape
CAMBRIDGE -- A judge sentenced Paul Shanley yesterday to 12 to 15 years in prison for child rape, condemning the defrocked priest for using his revered status to prey on a vulnerable little boy.
Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the Boston Archdiocese's clergy sex abuse scandal, was convicted last week of repeatedly raping and fondling the boy at suburban parish in the 1980s, beginning when he was 6 years old.
The sentencing was seen as an important milestone by victims who packed the courtroom to watch the once-popular priest receive his punishment. As a wobbly Shanley was led from the courtroom in handcuffs, many in the audience burst into applause and one man called out "Goodbye."
Judge Stephen Neel said Shanley used his position as a priest to gain the trust of his victim.
"It is difficult to imagine a more egregious misuse of trust and authority," he said.
Shanley, 74, once known for a being a hip "street priest" who reached out to troubled children and homosexuals, will be eligible for parole after eight years. He was also sentenced to 10 years' probation.
"He used his collar and he used his worshipped status in that community," said prosecutor Lynn Rooney, who asked for a life sentence. "There has been no remorse shown on the part of this defendant. There has been no acceptance of responsibility."
Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, said the prosecution's case was built on "vilification, half-truths and lies."
"This process...is one that has been profoundly distorted by emotion," said Mondano, who did not make a specific sentencing recommendation.
Shanley's accuser, now a 27-year-old firefighter in suburban Boston, said the former priest would pull him from Sunday morning catechism classes and rape and fondle him at St. Jean's parish in Newton.
The case hinged on the reliability of the victim's memories of the abuse, which he said he recovered several years ago as the clergy sex abuse scandal unfolded in the media.
"I want him to die in prison, whether it's of natural causes or otherwise. However he dies, I hope it's slow and painful," the man said in a victim impact statement read in court by Rooney.
His father told Shanley: "You robbed my little boy of his innocence. You destroyed his understanding of good and bad and right and wrong."
District Attorney Martha Coakley said afterward that the victim was disappointed with the sentence. "I think he very much wanted to hear the word 'life,'" Coakley said.
But Coakley said the man also understands that given Shanley's age, "as a practical matter, the sentence imposed today will be life."
She said if Shanley is released on parole, prosecutors would seek to have him civilly committed for the rest of his life under the state's sexually dangerous persons law.
During the trial, the victim man broke down and sobbed on the witness stand as he described in graphic detail being abused by Shanley in the church bathroom, rectory, confessional and pews.
"He told me nobody would ever believe me if I told anybody," he testified.
Mondano asked Neel to allow Shanley to serve his sentence in the less-violent county lockup, rather than in state prison, but the judge turned down the request. Another notorious pedophile priest, John Geoghan, was killed in a state prison, allegedly by a fellow inmate.
Victims of abusive priests and their advocates were happy with the sentence.
"The important thing is that he's off the streets," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "We're relieved and grateful and believe Massachusetts is a safer place because of this decision."
Shanley worked with Boston's troubled youth in the 1960s and '70s. Even then, allegations began surfacing about sexual contact with some of the young boys he was supposed to be helping.
He was one of the few priests among hundreds implicated in the scandal to face criminal charges. Most others escaped prosecution because the statute of limitations ran out long ago. But in Shanley's case, the clock stopped when he moved out of Massachusetts.
He was arrested in California in May 2002 and charged with raping four boys at St. Jean's. All four claimed they recovered memories of the abuse after the scandal broke.
But the case ran into numerous problems. In July, prosecutors dropped two accusers in what they said was a move to strengthen their case. Then, on the day jury selection began, they dropped a third accuser because he disappeared after a traumatic experience on the witness stand at a pretrial hearing last fall.
The clergy abuse scandal began in early 2002 when Cardinal Bernard Law acknowledged he shuffled Geoghan from parish to parish despite evidence the priest had molested children.
It intensified later in 2002 when the church released Shanley's 800-page personnel file. He argued for acceptance of homosexuality and pushed for gay rights -- a violation of church teachings. He called himself a "sexual expert" and advertised his counseling services in the alternative press.
He resigned from parish work in 1989 and moved to California. At the time, Law, who resigned as archbishop in December 2002 at the height of the scandal, praised his "impressive record." Boston church officials recommended him for a job in the Diocese of San Bernardino as a priest in "good standing."
( Denise Lavoie is a Boston-based reporter covering the courts and legal issues. She can be reached at dlavoie(at)ap.org. )
Porter's death ignites emotions
BOSTON -- Before hundreds of sexual abuse allegations shook the foundations of the Archdiocese of Boston, and lawsuits exposed a hierarchy that protected pedophile priests, there was James Porter.
The 1993 case of the former priest, who died on Friday at a Boston hospital at age 70, was an early bellwether of a broader scandal that would hit a decade later. His death evoked strong emotions among victims, his wife and others whose lives became intertwined with his.
Peter Calderone, 55, of Attleboro, Mass., a Porter victim, said he was glad that Porter's "not a menace to society any longer."
"It's going to take a long, long time for Porter's devastation to fade from history," he said.
David Clohessy, president of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he hoped Porter's victims could now find some measure of peace.
"Many parents and victims warned church leaders about Porter," he said. "Not surprisingly, they were essentially ignored. Had church leaders heeded these warnings, much might be different today. Had church authorities acted responsibly, thousands of once-trusting Catholic families could have been spared so much severe pain."
But Porter's wife, Anne Porter, said her husband was a changed person by the time he died.
"I have no question he is forgiven," she said from her home in Providence, R.I. "In God's eyes, James Porter is a far better person than I am."
Porter died at New England Medical Center, where was brought on Jan. 26 from Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston, a Department of Correction medical facility. Though a cause of death was not released, he'd been ill for months with cancer.
Porter had finished his prison sentence last January. But he was being held pending a civil commitment hearing to determine if he should be committed as a sexually dangerous person. A hearing last month was postponed because Porter was too ill to appear.
Porter's case was one of the first high-profile examples of the church moving a priest accused of molesting children from parish to parish.
After he finished seminary work in 1960, Porter was assigned to St. Mary's parish in North Attleboro, Mass., near the Rhode Island border. He began molesting children within weeks, but he stayed until 1963, when he was transferred to a Fall River, Mass., parish. Complaints soon emerged there about his behavior.
In 1965, he was transferred to New Bedford, Mass., where he allegedly molested even more children. Another priest who would later be accused of abuse, Paul Shanley, sent Porter to New Mexico for treatment. More allegations of abuse followed him: in Texas, Minnesota, and New Mexico.
Porter left the priesthood in 1974, married and became the father of four children, but was convicted of molesting his children's teenage baby sitter in 1987. After his release from a Minnesota jail after four months, he returned to face trial in Massachusetts. In 1993, he pleaded guilty to molesting 28 children and was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison.
Frank Fitzpatrick, 54, of Cranston, R.I., and others went public in the early 1990s with allegations against Porter.
"We were the first victims to use our names and name our perpetrator," he said. "We were the first to use our names, show our faces. It wasn't easy back then. Everybody was afraid."
In May 2004, Porter married Anne Milner, a former nun who he met while in seminary. The two met again four years ago after Milner wrote him a letter in prison.
Anne Porter, who was with him when he died, said her husband's death is not a loss, but a release "from the confines of prison."
She said Porter's funeral service would be private, because "he's had enough circus and cutting and cruelty."
"We have had the four happiest years of our lives together," she said. "They are not ended. They will continue. We do believe that we will spend eternity together."
( Associated Press writer Brooke Donald contributed to this report from Providence, R.I. )
BOSTON -- The conviction of defrocked priest Paul Shanley was both a real and symbolic victory for victims of clergy sexual abuse. But the guilty verdict will not bring a quick end to the three-year scandal that has fractured the Roman Catholic church in Boston and across the country.
Although there is only one known criminal case pending against a priest within the Boston Archdiocese, there are more than 100 civil lawsuits accusing priests of sexually abusing children. And the pain felt across generations of children molested by their parish priest remains ever-present.
"Shanley's conviction was certainly a very important milestone in the ongoing battle. It has tremendous importance for all of us, but I know that there are still new victims coming forward," said Phil Saviano, who founded the New England chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
"I firmly believe there are victims from the '90s who we have not yet heard from. There were still a number of priests then who felt they had free rein and could act without consequences."
Boston attorney Carmen Durso, who settled 40 lawsuits against the archdiocese in 2003, said he has filed another 25 lawsuits since then, naming 18 different priests. The Shanley trial, he said, has brought even more phone calls to his office from people who say they were molested by priests.
The scandal erupted in Boston in 2002 after church files released publicly showed a decades-long history of a church hierarchy that regularly received complaints about priests who were molesting children. Instead of removing the accused priests, church officials moved them from parish to parish.
In September 2003, the archdiocese agreed to settle more than 550 civil lawsuits for $85 million. The crisis led to the resignation of former Cardinal Bernard Law, and the appointment of Archbishop Sean O'Malley -- who had received accolades for his handling of the aftermath of a smaller-scale sex abuse scandal when he headed the Fall River Diocese.
An investigation by the state attorney general eventually concluded that about 1,000 children within the Boston Archdiocese were molested by more than 240 priests since the 1940s.
The crisis that unfolded in Boston spread across the country, leading to thousands of lawsuits being filed against other dioceses that accused priests of abusing children.
"It's incredible just how pervasive this is around the country," said Durso. "By letting Boston get to the dimensions that it did, the church ensured that this thing would be like wildfire going across the country."
"Instead of fighting, if from the very beginning they said, 'We made terrible mistakes, we're going to correct it now,' things might have been different," Durso said. "But once it got as bad as it did, it really emboldened people in other cities. Victims in other places said, 'We can do something, too."'
These days, the epicenter has shifted and California has become ground zero for clergy abuse complaints.
More than 800 civil cases are pending against Roman Catholic dioceses in California, about 500 of those against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. District attorneys around the state also have filed a number of criminal cases against priests or former priests.
In December, a record $100 million settlement between alleged victims and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, resolving 90 lawsuits with allegations that spanned six decades -- from 1936 to 1996.
David Clohessy, the national director for SNAP, said the crisis is bound to continue for years to come.
"The vast majority of dioceses in America -- especially those outside of the four or five big metropolitan areas -- are light years behind Boston in terms of disclosures, lawsuits, prosecutions and even the removal of abusive priests," Clohessy said.
Shanley, now 74, was one of the most notorious priests in the scandal. He was convicted Monday of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at a parish outside Boston in the 1980s. He was one of fewer than a dozen priests who prosecutors have been able to charge criminally in the Boston area.
Most priests accused of wrongdoing escaped prosecution because the statute of limitations ran out long ago. But shortly after leaving the Newton parish in 1989, Shanley moved out of state, effectively stopping the clock.
Another central figure in the sex abuse scandal, defrocked priest John Geoghan, was convicted for groping a 10-year-old boy. Geoghan was beaten and strangled in prison in 2003, allegedly by a fellow inmate.
The Rev. Paul Hurley is currently facing trial after being charged in August 2002 with repeatedly paying a teenage boy for sex inside the rectory of a Cambridge church in 1987 and 1988. Hurley, who is charged with two counts of child rape, has pleaded innocent.
Paul Baier, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts non-profit corporation whose Web site documents the clergy sex abuse crisis, said Shanley's conviction may make it more comfortable for victims to come forward.
"They just want to be validated and to have someone believe them," Baier said. "To actually have a priest convicted and have that widely reported provides victims with a modicum of hope that they will be believed and there will be a chance for justice."