former pope knew of abuse, Bishops Reinstate Accused Priests, 'ritual beatings'
- also: Papal ally accused of 'ritual beatings'
1963 letter shows former pope knew of abuse By GILLIAN FLACCUS (AP)
4/1/10 LOS ANGELES A newly released letter to then-Pope Paul
VI indicates the Vatican was aware of clergy abuse in the U.S. nearly
five decades ago. In the 1963 letter released Wednesday, the head of a
Roman Catholic order that oversaw treatment of pedophile priests tells
the pope he recommends removing pedophile priests from active ministry.
The letter is a summary of the Rev. Gerald M.C. Fitzgerald's thoughts on
problem priests that appears to have been requested by the pope after
Fitzgerald's 1963 visit to the Vatican. Fitzgerald headed the New
Mexico-based Servants of the Holy Paraclete. The letter was released in
Los Angeles by attorneys for California clergy abuse victims who
obtained the document during litigation.
U.S. Bishops Quietly Reinstate Accused Priests by Barbara Bradley
Hagerty March 31, 2010 While the Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal
unfolds in Europe, the Catholic Church in the U.S. is under renewed
scrutiny. In the wake of its own scandal almost a decade ago, the U.S.
church says it has reformed its policies for handling sexual abuse
allegations and will remove from ministry every priest who is credibly
accused of abuse. But some of those priests are now being quietly
Juan Rocha was 12 years old when he says he was molested by his parish
priest, the Rev. Eric Swearingen. He eventually brought his complaints
to the bishop of Fresno, Calif., John Steinbock. When Steinbock said he
didn't find the allegations credible, Rocha sued the priest and the
diocese in civil court. In 2006, the jury found 9 to 3 that Swearingen
had abused Rocha. But it could not decide whether the diocese knew about
it. Rather than go through a new trial, the two sides settled. At the
time, Steinbock said he thought the jury got it wrong, and that while
the Catholic Church should protect children, "doing this cannot be done
in such a manner as to punish innocent priests."....Today, Swearingen
serves as priest at Holy Spirit parish in Fresno, where he also oversees
the youth ministry. Swearingen did not return phone calls, and Steinbock
declined requests for an interview....Swearingen's case is not an
isolated one, says
Anne Barrett Doyle, who works with the watchdog group
BishopAccountability.org. She says that recently, bishops have started
quietly returning to ministry priests who previously have been accused
of abuse. Doyle and others have identified about a dozen clergy who have
been accused, arrested or sued for abuse and returned to ministry. She
says the process for investigating priests is secret, and often the
diocese says nothing about the charges against a priest when it returns
him to ministry. In 2003, a criminal-trial jury convicted the Rev.
Michael Fugee, a priest in Newark, N.J., of molesting a teenage boy.
Later, an appellate court overturned the verdict because of the judge's
instruction. Rather than undergo a new trial, the prosecutors and the
Archdiocese of New Jersey agreed to keep Fugee away from children. When
officials at a local hospital where Fugee was serving as a volunteer
chaplain saying Mass and ministering to families learned of
the criminal trial in his past, they were horrified.
Papal ally accused of 'ritual beatings' German bishop accused of hitting
child with carpet beater at church-run home By Tony Paterson in Berlin 1
April 2010 The child abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church widened
yesterday as a leading German bishop personally appointed by Pope
Benedict was accused of ritually beating and punching children at a
church-run home during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Five former residents of the St Josef's home in Bavaria submitted
written statements to Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper
claiming the Bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, a controversial
conservative churchman appointed by the Pope in 2005, used to hit and
degrade them during punishment sessions at the home....Bishop Mixa is
renowned for being a member of the hardline conservative group of German
Catholic Church leaders, to which the Pope belonged before his
appointment to the Vatican.
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