Priest

German priest admits 280 counts of sexual abuse

It’s ok everybody! He didn’t know it was hurting anyone… CRISIS AVERTED!

German priest admits 280 counts of sexual abuse

A German Catholic priest has admitted 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys in the past decade, saying he did not think he was doing harm.

Named only as Andreas L, the priest told a court in Braunschweig that he had first abused the nine-year-old son of a widowed woman parishioner.

After being banned by his diocese from making further contact with the boy, he abused two brothers, aged nine and 13.

Thousands of Germans have left the Church over revelations of abuse.

About 180,000 renounced their Catholicism in 2010, up 40% from the previous year, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports.

Pope Benedict XVI, a German by birth, briefly met victims of sexual abuse by priests when he visited his native land in September, expressing “deep compassion and regret” at their suffering.
Disneyland Paris

The priest on trial in Braunschweig faces a minimum prison sentence of between six and six and a half years.

He was arrested during the summer, after the mother of his earlier victim reported him to the authorities.

She acted after her son, now aged 17, revealed to her the abuse he had undergone for two years.

Sexual assaults were made on the three boys in various settings: at the priest’s house, on skiing holidays, in a parental home, on a trip to Disneyland Paris and at a church shortly before Mass.

The priest, who covered his face with a ring binder as he went into court on Thursday, said that while working in Braunschweig in 2004, he had begun a close relationship with the widow.

When Fr Andreas was moved to Salzgitter, her son often spent weekends with him, and the two would go off on short trips.

He would give the boy presents such as a camera and a mobile phone.

Abuse would often occur three times a weekend.

The priest said it had not been his intention to get close to the boy sexually, and that it had never occurred to him that he was doing harm.
Pornographic images

When the mother began to suspect her son’s relations with the priest were inappropriately close, she approached the diocese of Hildesheim, the priest’s employer, which forbade further contact with the boy.

The abuse of the two brothers then began under similar circumstances, the court heard.

After contact with these victims was also forbidden, the priest approached his first victim again, writing him a letter.

It was then that the truth about the abuse emerged.

“It was never my impression that the children did not consent,” the priest was quoted as saying at the trial.

When asked in court if he was a paedophile, he replied, according to local newspaper Braunschweiger Zeitung: “It would be wrong to say No but to say Yes would also fall short of the truth.”

When a prosecutor asked him in court if he thought a “father would do this to his children”, he was silent.

About 2,800 pornographic images were found on the priest’s computer, including several of his victims.

Correspondents say members of the public who were in the courtroom watched the trial with faces rigid from shock.

They included parishioners from St Joseph’s Church in Salzgitter, where Fr Andreas had once been a respected priest, according to Germany’s Spiegel magazine.

Church child protection chief caught with 4,000 child porn pictures

This sort of thing is so commonplace it’s hardly considered news at this point…

Church child protection chief caught with 4,000 child porn pictures

A child protection official for the Catholic Church has been caught with 4,000 pictures of child porn.

Father-of-four Christopher Jarvis was arrested after uploading pictures of children being abused to a website.

Married Jarvis, 49, a former social worker, was employed by the church following sex scandals about pervert priests.

His job was to monitor church groups to ensure paedophiles did not gain access to children in the church’s congregations.

But he was caught by police in March with more than 4,000 child porn images on his home computer and his work laptop.

He admitted 12 counts of making, ­possessing and distributing indecent ­images when he appeared before ­magistrates in Plymouth and is likely to face jail when he returns to court for sentencing next month.

Jarvis, who has been sacked from his job as child safeguarding ­officer, worked the Diocese of ­Plymouth for nine years.

Church spokesman ­David Pond said: “Mr Jarvis was suspended from his position as soon as the diocese became aware in March of the police investigation.

“The Bishop took that action and since then the Church has worked closely with the police.”

Cops: Abuse victim seeks revenge, beats up priest

Priest forces a 7 year old boy to fellate his 5 year old brother. 35 years later, they get their revenge by savagely beating him.

The priest’s entire family knew he was a child molester. Not a single one turned him in. One of them is a police officer.

Fucking disgusting.

Cops: Abuse victim seeks revenge, beats up priest

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A man allegedly molested three decades ago by a priest was arrested Friday on charges that he lured the clergyman to the lobby of a Jesuit retirement home and beat him in front of shocked witnesses, authorities said.

William Lynch, 43, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon for the May 10 attack that sent the Rev. Jerold Lindner to the hospital with bruises and lacerations, said Sgt. Rick Sung, Santa Clara County sheriff’s spokesman.

Lynch harbored a fantasy for years of confronting the priest, who also allegedly molested his little brother.

Sung said Lynch attacked the 65-year-old priest after he failed to recognize him at the Jesuits’ Sacred Heart retirement home in Los Gatos. The attack occurred in a small room adjoining the lobby.

“They’re saying it was pretty close to beating him to death,” defense attorney Pat Harris told The Associated Press. “They’re essentially saying that he waited all these years and then took out his revenge. It’s sort of the ultimate revenge story.”

Lynch and his younger brother settled with the Jesuits of the California Province, a Roman Catholic religious order, for $625,000 in 1998 after alleging that Lindner abused them in 1975 during weekend camping trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The boys, who were 7 and 5 at the time, were raped in the woods and forced to have oral sex with each other while Lindner watched, Harris said. Lindner has been accused of abuse by nearly a dozen people, including his own sister and nieces and nephews.

Lynch was to be released on $25,000 bail, Harris said. The attorney negotiated his client’s surrender and said Lynch will plead not guilty at his arraignment sometime next month.

Police connected Lynch to the attack using phone records, Sung said. A half hour before the beating, a caller identifying himself as “Eric” called the rest home and said someone would arrive shortly to inform Lindner of a family member’s death.

“The Father shows up in the lobby, at which point he was asked by the suspect if he knew who he was. When the Father answered ‘No,’ that’s when the suspect started attacking,” Sung said. “He was punching him in the face and all over the body. After the Father goes down, then the suspect takes off.”

Lindner was able to drive himself to the hospital. He did not return a call left on his answering machine Friday.

He has previously denied abusing the Lynch boys and has not been criminally charged. The abuse falls outside the statute of limitations.

Lindner was removed from ministry and placed at the Los Gatos retirement home in 2001. He was named in two additional lawsuits for abuse between 1973 and 1985, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The cases were included in the record-breaking $660 million settlement struck between the church and more than 550 plaintiffs in 2007.

The Rev. John McGarry, the provincial, said Lindner had fully recovered and had resumed his work at the retirement home, where he helps care for 75 retired and invalid priests.

“As you can imagine it’s very emotionally distressing to go through something like this. He hasn’t spoken a lot about it,” McGarry said of Lindner. “He’s living a quiet life of prayer and service within our community.”

Lynch declined an interview Friday but in a 2002 Los Angeles Times article, he said he’d had nightmares for years, battled depression and alcoholism and had attempted suicide twice because of the priest’s abuse.

“Many times I thought of driving down to LA and confronting Father Jerry. I wanted to exorcise all of the rage and anger and bitterness he put into me,” Lynch told the newspaper. “You can’t put into words what this guy did to me. He stole my innocence and destroyed my life.”

The Associated Press does not identify victims of sex crimes as a matter of policy, but Lynch previously came forward to tell his story.

Although rare, it’s not unheard of for victims of sexual abuse to take revenge upon their abusers — and it can be normal for victims to fantasize about revenge without acting on it, said Steven Danish, a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University who’s counseled sexual abuse victims.

In Lynch’s case, reading about Lindner in media accounts throughout the years and realizing he had gone unpunished could have pushed Lynch to act, said Danish, who has not treated Lynch.

“Imagine holding something inside for 35 years and letting it fester,” Danish said. “He’s probably thinking, ‘You’re living your life and here I am a failure and all because of what you did to me on that day.'”

There have been several other instances of violence, sometimes fatal, against priests accused of abuse since the Roman Catholic clergy abuse scandal unfolded in 2002.

In Baltimore, a man who claimed he was sodomized and fondled by a priest a decade before shot the clergyman three times after the priest told him to go away when he demanded an apology.

The defendant was acquitted of attempted murder but served 18 months of home detention on a gun conviction.

The following year, priest John Geoghan was strangled to death in his cell by a fellow inmate who claimed he was chosen by God to kill pedophiles. Geoghan was serving a 9- to 10-year sentence for groping a boy and was at the center of the Boston clergy abuse scandal. He had been accused of molesting as many as 150 boys.

Lindner was ordained in 1976 and taught at various Catholic high schools during his career, including 16 years as chairman of the English department at Loyola High School, a prestigious Catholic prep school in Los Angeles.

There, he launched nearly two dozen after-school programs for students, including a chess club and renaissance club, and became master of a Boy Scout troop that included mostly lower-income Puerto Rican boys, his older brother, Larry Lindner, told The Associated Press.

Most of Lindner’s family severed contact with him years ago after discovering he had molested his nieces and nephews when they were as young as 3. They were unaware of the attack, said his sister, Kathy McEntire.

McEntire said her brother molested her starting when she was 5 — and she learned 15 years ago that he also abused her son for years. She last spoke to her brother in 2001.

“Jerry’s violent and I would not be surprised if he did get beat up. I could understand somebody getting that mad,” McEntire told the AP. “I’ve often said myself that I don’t trust myself around him. I would likely wind up in jail because I’d probably kick him somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine — and I’m his sister.”

During their last visit nine years ago, McEntire asked Lindner if any of the abuse allegations were true.

“I said, ‘Is it true? He said, ‘Well, some of it,'” McEntire said. “I called him a few choice words and that was the last time I ever saw him.”

Larry Lindler, a retired Los Angeles police officer, said he last saw his brother more than two decades ago after he walked in on him molesting his 8-year-old daughter during a visit. The two were playing a game called “blankie” in which Lindner asked the little girl to lie over his lap like a blanket and then wiggled around as if trying to get comfortable.

“The last contact I had with him personally was the day after I caught him with my daughter and I told him he best get in his vehicle and leave,” he recalled. “I said, ‘If I go out to the truck and get my off-duty weapon out of the glove box, you’re a dead man.”

Church sex scandal takes toll on victims’ lawyers

Church sex scandal takes toll on victims’ lawyers

BOSTON — Attorney Ray Boucher helped secure a record $660 million settlement from the Los Angeles Archdiocese on behalf of more than 500 people molested by priests. Five days after the settlement was announced, his wife left him.

Eric MacLeish, the hard-charging lawyer whose work for victims helped spur the resignation of Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law in 2002, later suffered a breakdown, stopped practicing law and got divorced.

And Steve Rubino, once such an observant Catholic he couldn’t believe a priest would molest a child, lost his faith and eventually retired from the law.

“It moved me completely out of whatever religious context I was in — completely,” he said.

The sex scandal that rocked the nation’s Roman Catholic Church took a fearsome personal toll on some of the top lawyers who dared to challenge the institution.

While many of them ultimately reaped large fees for their services, the all-consuming workload, the pressure of battling the church and the stress of listening to graphic accounts of children’s suffering were debilitating.

“No one can handle these cases and come out of it the same,” said Sylvia Demarest, a lawyer who helped win a $119.6 million verdict against the Diocese of Dallas in 1997 and later built a national database on clergy sex abuse cases.

Demarest, now semiretired, said she grew frustrated with her inability to heal the wounds suffered by her clients. “What happens to kids when they’re abused and what happens to their brains when they are abused is something that we don’t know how to fix,” she said.

The crisis exploded in Boston in 2002, after internal church documents released publicly showed that church leaders for decades had shuffled sexually abusive priests from parish to parish. The scandal spread across the country as thousands of lawsuits were filed by people who claimed they had been victimized.

For MacLeish, the clergy cases reawakened memories of being sexually abused as a child.

MacLeish and other lawyers won an $85 million settlement in Boston in 2003 for more than 500 victims. But in the months after the landmark settlement was announced, MacLeish began to unravel. He developed insomnia and nausea, lost 40 pounds and couldn’t work.

He was rattled by the image of a 9-year-old boy who was repeatedly sodomized over nine hours by a priest. The boy buried his bloody underwear so his mother wouldn’t find out.

“The idea of him going off into the woods and burying his underwear, that really got to me,” MacLeish said.

MacLeish had been sexually abused by a family friend during a camping trip at 15. And he had memories of being molested at an English boarding school he attended as a boy.

“I began to realize why I had been doing this work and how much my own abuse had affected me,” he said. He said his pursuit of the church “was absolutely never about money.” He added: “The wealth I received was the knowledge that I had really helped my clients and helped to change the Catholic Church.”

Rubino, who retired last year after more than 20 years of representing clergy sex-abuse victims, was incredulous after a family friend came to him in 1987 and said a priest had sexually assaulted her 14-year-old son.

“I said, `Well, that’s impossible. Priests are celibate. What are you talking about?'” recalled Rubino, who grew up in a large Italian Catholic family.

Rubino, whose law office was in Margate City, N.J., spent the next 15 years becoming a canon law expert. He traveled all over the U.S and to Ireland, Canada and Australia to represent victims and help other lawyers. Story after story of abuse left Rubino disheartened about the Catholic Church.

“I was a true believer. I said my Hail Marys, my Act of Contrition, I learned Latin, I served Mass, I believed in God,” he said. “I don’t do any of that now.”

At the height of the scandal, Rubino was working 16- to 20-hour days and traveling constantly. His wife and three children resented it. “While I was (home), I was never there,” he said. “I was a second away from the next text, the next e-mail, the next phone call from a client.”

Rubino’s marriage survived, but Boucher’s did not. Boucher’s wife left him right after the 2007 settlement in Los Angeles.

“She just said, `Look, you’re on top of the world, the press is surrounding you, I haven’t accomplished what I want to accomplish in life, and I just don’t feel like I can stay with you,'” Boucher said. (Boucher’s ex-wife, Christine Roberts, declined to comment.)

Before that, Boucher had plowed through hundreds of cases in Los Angeles, and mostly managed to “box it up and store it away.” But, at times, the enormity of the pain caused by the abuse was overwhelming.

In 2004, Boucher was editing DVDs of victims describing how they were raped or otherwise molested by a priest. He saw a pile of about 150 DVDs ready to be mailed to Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony. Each DVD cover had a picture of the victim as a child, as they were when they were assaulted.

“I was stunned. I looked at them, and I’m sure I started to cry,” Boucher recalled. “I will never lose that image.”

MacLeish’s marriage also ended in divorce. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he began seeing a psychologist. Within two months, they were sleeping together and their affair led to his divorce, MacLeish said.

MacLeish, now a professor who teaches civil rights and criminal procedure at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, said he doesn’t regret the work he did, despite the toll it took on him and his family.

“There is not one case that I’ve heard of since 2004 where a known pedophile has been placed by the church into an organization where he would be able to do it again,” he said.

Rubino, 61, now spends time with his family and works as chief executive of a sports performance training center for kids. Rubino said it is a respite from the work he used to do.

“For the hundreds of damaged young lives I represented, the kids at (the center) are at the opposite end of the spectrum,” he said.

Boucher, 53, continues to represent victims.

“I can’t imagine walking away from people who are suffering from the isolation of sexual abuse,” he said. “I don’t know how — no matter what the personal, emotional toll might be — I don’t know how you walk away from that.”

Pope Benedict Rejects Pedophile’s Resignation

Pope Benedict rejects Irish bishop’s resignation

In a move that has stunned critics Pope Benedict XVI has rejected the resignations of two Dublin auxiliary bishops.

Bishop Raymond Field and Bishop Eamonn Walsh had both tendered their resignations in 2009 in the wake of the Murphy report into clerical child abuse.

Both men had come under intense pressure because they had served as bishops during the period investigated by the Murphy Commission into clerical child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The Murphy Commission in Ireland found that sexual abuse was ‘endemic’ in boys’ institutions but that the church hierarchy protected the perpetrators and allowed them to take up new positions teaching other children after their original victims had been sworn to secrecy.

‘Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops,’ Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said in a letter to priests of the Archdiocese reported in The Irish Catholic.

The two men are to be assigned revised responsibilities within the archdiocese, according to Doctor Martin.

Announcing their resignations in December, the two auxiliary bishops said: ‘It is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. We again apologize to them.’

Now their gesture of reconciliation has been halted by the pontiff. Archbishop Martin said the two men are ‘to be assigned revised responsibilities within the diocese.’

Doctor Walsh was appointed auxiliary bishop in Dublin in April 1990, while Doctor Field was appointed in September, 1997.

Gary O’Sullivan of The Irish Catholic says that the decision by the Pope has come as a surprise.

‘Well I think it’s quite a turnaround, this was not expected,’ he said. ‘It was expected that the resignations would be accepted in time. I think for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin this is really the Vatican saying ‘you got this wrong,’ he added.

Police: Girl raped, then relocated

Police: Girl raped, then relocated

After being raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer more than twice her age, a 15-year-old Concord girl was forced by Trinity Baptist Church leaders to stand before the congregation to apologize before they helped whisk her out of state, according to the police.

While her pastor, Chuck Phelps, reported the alleged rape in 1997 to state youth officials, Concord police detectives were never able to find the victim. The victim said she was sent to another church member’s home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. It wasn’t until this past February that the victim, who is now 28, decided to come forward after reading about other similar cases, realizing for the first time it wasn’t her fault that she had been raped, she told the police.

The police arrested Ernest Willis, 51, of Gilford, last week in connection with the case, accusing him of raping the girl twice – once in the back seat of a car he was teaching her to drive in and again after showing up at her Concord home while her parents were away. He was charged with four felonies – two counts of rape and two counts of having sex with a minor, court records show.

In a statement to the police, the victim said Willis came to her home in the summer of 1997 without warning.

“He said he wanted to talk to me about something so I let him in the house,” she wrote. “He locked the door behind him and pushed me over to the couch. I had a dress on and he pulled it off. I pushed my hands against his shoulders and said ‘No,’ but he didn’t stop.”

At the time of the alleged rape, Phelps was in touch with the police, who told him to contact the Division for Children, Youth and Families.

But moving the girl out of state prevented the police from collecting evidence or a statement, the police said yesterday.

“Without a victim, it makes it very difficult to have a case,” said Lt. Keith Mitchell. “That basically made the investigation very difficult.”

At the time, Willis also refused to give a statement, police records show.

So for 13 years, a file on the case sat closed and marked “unresolved” at the Concord police station.

Police records do not show whether detectives asked church leaders to help them get in contact with the victim or if information was withheld.

“If somebody tried to cover this up or not cover this up, that’s a separate issue,” Mitchell said.

Phelps did not return a message seeking comment yesterday. He no longer works at the church.

“The leadership of Trinity Baptist Church reported this alleged crime within 24 hours of hearing the accusations on Oct. 8, 1997,” said spokesman Peter Flint from a prepared statement. “We continue in our commitment to cooperate with authorities so that justice is served.”

‘Completely in shock’

The victim said she came forward after getting in touch with Jocelyn Zichterman, who runs an online group for victims of church abuse.

In a seven-page statement to the police, the victim recounted the moments leading up to her departure from New Hampshire.

At 14, she began babysitting for Willis, a well-known member of the church. She told the police she would often stay the night if he got home late.

Just over a year later, he offered to give her driving lessons. While in the parking lot of a Concord business, Willis asked her to pull over to switch seats, she told the police.

But instead he pulled her into the backseat and raped her, according to a statement to the police.

In the summer of 1997, Willis raped her again, this time while at her home while her mother was out, according to police records.

“I was completely in shock, but too scared to go and tell anyone because I thought I would get blamed for what happened,” she said.

Over the next few months, the girl became suspicious she was pregnant. She called Willis, who brought over a pregnancy test that came up positive, she told the police.

“He asked me if I wanted him to take me to a neighboring state where underage abortions were legal . . . and he would pay for an abortion,” she told the police. “He then asked me if I wanted him to punch me in the stomach as hard as he could because that might cause a miscarriage.”

She declined both.

‘Church discipline’

The victim told her mother about the pregnancy. Soon after, Phelps was also alerted.

The victim said Phelps told her she would be put up for “church discipline,” where parishioners go before the congregation to apologize for their sins.

She asked why. “Pastor Phelps then said that (Willis) may have been 99 percent responsible, but I needed to confess my 1 percent guilt in the situation,” the victim told the police.

“He told me that I should be happy that I didn’t live in Old Testament times because I would have been stoned.”

Fran Earle, the church’s former clerk, witnessed the punishment session.

At a night meeting of the church’s fellowship in 1997, Phelps invited Willis to the front of the room. Willis apologized to the group for not being faithful to his wife, Earle said.

“I can remember saying to my husband, I don’t understand it’s any of our business why this is being brought up,” Earle said.

Phelps then told parishioners a second matter was at hand; he invited the victim to apologize for getting pregnant.

“I can still see the little girl standing up there with this smile on her face trying to get through this,” Earle said.

A day after the session, Earle called the pastor’s wife, who said the victim had decided not to press charges for statutory rape.

“You’ve got to understand, we trusted our pastor and his wife to be telling us the truth,” Earle said. “They told us it had been reported. He reported it as a consensual act between a man and a woman. Well, I didn’t know a 15-year-old was a woman.”

Earle, who left the church in 2001 after 19 years, said it was regular to see young girls who were pregnant called to the front of the congregation to be humiliated.

Rob Sims, another former member, said the discipline sessions were formulaic – Phelps would read Bible verses, give a limited overview of what happened and then each person would read a statement.

“(The) statement agreed that they had done wrong and why they ‘now believed’ that they had sinned,” he said. “Then Pastor Phelps would give a few closing remarks and then a vote would be taken to remove the guilty party from membership or to keep them in membership but under discipline, or something to that effect.”

The police said the victim’s family asked for her to be moved to Colorado.

“I think that she clearly did not want to go to Colorado, and I’m quite sure she expressed that to the church, her mother and the pastor,” said Concord police Detective Chris DeAngelis. “However, she was a juvenile. Her mom requests assistance and that was what they came up with.”

Mitchell said the police are looking at pressing other charges.

Willis was released on $100,000 personal recognizance bail. He faces an arraignment June 16 in Concord District Court.

Bishop: 100 cases in 10 yrs for Italy priest abuse

Bishop: 100 cases in 10 yrs for Italy priest abuse

ROME — Italy’s bishops’ conference provided the first ever statistics of clerical sex abuse in the country Tuesday, saying there had been about 100 cases over the past 10 years that warranted church trials or other canonical procedures.

Monsignor Mariano Crociata, the No. 2 official in the Italian bishops’ conference, gave the estimate during a press conference on the sidelines of the bishops’ general assembly, the ANSA and Apcom news agencies reported.

He declined to say how many of the cases resulted in condemnation or defrocking of the priest, or how many were reported to police. While saying the church officials cooperated with police, he insisted that Italian law doesn’t require bishops to report suspected abuse.

Some lawyers for victims say bishops are required to report abuse since they are public officials. Vatican norms say bishops should follow civil laws in reporting abuse.

Crociata’s comments came a day after the head of the bishops’ conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, opened the bishops’ annual meeting by asking families to trust the Catholic Church despite the scandal, insisting that it had never intended to underestimate the problem.

The meeting came as more cases are coming to light in the Vatican’s backyard: On Tuesday, the ANSA news agency reported that a 73-year-old priest well known in Milan’s gay community had been arrested on charges he had sex with a 13-year-old boy, who is now 16. A day earlier, a priest in Savona went on trial for alleged sexual violence against a 12-year-old girl, ANSA said.

And last week, a Rome bishop testified in the case of another accused priest, the Rev. Ruggero Conti, that he knew about rumors of abuse two years before Conti was arrested yet didn’t alert police or the Vatican or proceed with any canonical trial against him.

Mario Staderini, a member of Italy’s Radical party who is a civil party in the Conti case, said it was unconscionable that a canonical trial hadn’t proceeded against Conti, given the evidence provided to his bishop, Monsignor Gino Reali.

Reali testified that he had spoken to 20-25 people, including two boys who said they had been abused by Conti, yet didn’t find their accusations credible. He said he convened a tribunal after receiving a written complaint from one of the boys, but it never got under way because the victim didn’t show up.

Conti is charged with sexual violence and other charges. In police interrogations, the boys — some as young as 13 at the time of the alleged abuse — said Conti would masturbate them and force them to perform oral sex on him in his home, where he frequently invited them to eat dinner and watch movies.

“How is it possible that only in Italy no bishop has felt the need to resign or make a mea culpa for failing to be vigilant?” Staderini asked in a statement.

He said if the Italian bishops’ conference wanted to be transparent and care for victims it should put some of the money that Italians earmark to the Catholic Church on their income taxes toward a fund for victims.

The main U.S. victims group, SNAP, Survivors’ Network for Those Abused by Priests, denounced Crociata for his defense of not reporting abuse to police, saying “it’s tragic and telling that most Catholic officials still insist on keeping clergy sex crimes secret.”

The group’s Midwest director Peter Isely said he doubted that there had only been 100 cases. “For decades, Catholic officials have underestimated and underreported the shocking extent of clergy sex crimes. We believe most of them still do.”

Priest accused of having ‘erotic dungeon’ surrenders

Priest accused of having ‘erotic dungeon’ surrenders

A Polish-born priest accused of sexually abusing minors in his parochial residence in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has turned himself in, state officials said Saturday.State security officials said Marcin Michal Strachanowski, 44, surrendered to authorities Friday night in the village of Realengo.

State Civil Police had issued a “preventative arrest” warrant against Strachanowski on Thursday. The priest is accused of handcuffing a minor in 2006 and forcing him to perform sexual acts at his home in the Divino Espirito Santo church in Rio de Janeiro’s west zone, the officials said.

According to Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, the priest could not be found Friday morning.

The newspaper reported that a 16-year old alleged victim told investigators that after being frequently raped by the priest, he was forced to remain silent and was threatened regularly.

Citing court statements, the newspaper reported that criminal Judge Alexandre Abrahao Dias Teixeira said police investigations revealed the profile of a man with a “compulsive attraction to having sex with adolescents” and that he had allegedly turned his parish residence into an “erotic dungeon” where he forced boys to have sex with him.

The unbelievers – What happens when a minister decides there’s no God?

The unbelievers – What happens when a minister decides there’s no God?

Walk into a church on a Sunday and you might find that a few of the people in the pews are atheists — there because they like the old hymns or the comforting murmur of the liturgy or because their spouses insist. Or because, at some level, they’re still pretending they believe. They are spectators, in other words, not participants.

But what about the person leading the service? How likely is it that a member of the clergy might be an atheist as well — delivering the sermon and choosing the Bible passages, and afterward paying house calls to offer spiritual counsel to those in trouble and doubt, all without believing in God?

Daniel Dennett decided to find out. A leading philosopher of consciousness, a Tufts University professor, and a famously outspoken atheist, Dennett has for years been curious about the phenomenon of nonbelieving clergy. And now, working with a researcher and clinical social worker named Linda LaScola, he has embarked on a project to find and publicize their stories.

He doesn’t yet have data on how common the phenomenon is, but last month Dennett and LaScola published their first anecdotal results, a paper that appeared both in a scholarly journal, Evolutionary Psychology, and on The Washington Post’s website. The paper is an annotated set of excerpts from interviews with five ministers whom Dennett and LaScola found through personal contacts in the clergy, seminaries, and progressive Christian and atheist organizations. Unlike most of the clergy members the researchers contacted, these five agreed to tell their stories publicly, albeit under pseudonyms and with personal details changed.

What emerges is a portrait of men (the one woman interviewed backed out at the last minute) grappling earnestly and incisively with the sort of theological quandaries familiar to anyone who has studied and doubted Christian doctrine. Just as strong, though, is the sense of secrecy and evasion that pervades their lives: having to hide their lack of belief from parishioners, friends, even family members. Some spoke of feeling trapped: questioning their fitness for the pulpit but unable to leave because of a mix of personal, cultural, and even financial reasons.

“She doesn’t need to hear this right now,” one says of his wife. “It’s not going to serve any of us. I feel like when the time’s right, I can talk to her about it. She won’t like it, but I will share it with her. And after I share it with her, I will start sharing it with other people.”

Dennett says his ultimate goal is a far larger study to give a true sense of how prevalent nonbelief is among the clergy. In the meanwhile, Dennett and LaScola are collecting stories one by one.Continued…