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Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found.

 

These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and day care centers. They foster and care for children.

 

And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found.

 

A recent push by Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. to publish the names of those it considers to be credibly accused has opened a window into the daunting problem of how to monitor and track priests who often were never criminally charged and, in many cases, were removed from or left the church to live as private citizens.

 

Each diocese determines its own standard to deem a priest credibly accused, with the allegations ranging from inappropriate conversations and unwanted hugging to forced sodomy and rape.

 

Dioceses and religious orders so far have shared the names of more than 5,100 clergy members, with more than three-quarters of the names released just in the last year. The AP researched the nearly 2,000 who remain alive to determine where they have lived and worked _ the largest-scale review to date of what happened to priests named as possible sexual abusers.

 

In addition to the almost 1,700 that the AP was able to identify as largely unsupervised, there were 76 people who could not be located. The remaining clergy members were found to be under some kind of supervision, with some in prison or overseen by church programs.

 

The review found hundreds of priests held positions of trust, many with access to children. More than 160 continued working or volunteering in churches, including dozens in Catholic dioceses overseas and some in other denominations. Roughly 190 obtained professional licenses to work in education, medicine, social work and counseling _ including 76 who, as of August, still had valid credentials in those fields.

 

The research also turned up cases where the priests were once again able to prey on victims.

 

After Roger Sinclair was removed by the Diocese of Greensburg in Pennsylvania in 2002 for allegedly abusing a teenage boy decades earlier, he ended up in Oregon. In 2017, he was arrested for repeatedly molesting a young developmentally disabled man and is now imprisoned for a crime that the lead investigator in the Oregon case says should have never been allowed to happen.

 

Like Sinclair, the majority of people listed as credibly accused were never criminally prosecuted for the abuse alleged when they were part of the church. That lack of criminal history has revealed a sizable gray area that state licensing boards and background check services are not designed to handle as former priests seek new employment, apply to be foster parents and live in communities unaware of their presence and their pasts.

 

It also has left dioceses struggling with how _ or if _ former employees should be tracked and monitored. Victims’ advocates have pushed for more oversight, but church officials say what’s being requested extends beyond what they legally can do. And civil authorities like police departments or prosecutors say their purview is limited to people convicted of crimes.

 

That means the heavy lift of tracking former priests has fallen to citizen watchdogs and victims, whose complaints have fueled suspensions, removals and firings. But even then, loopholes in state laws allow many former clergy to keep their new jobs even when the history of allegations becomes public.

 

“Defrocked or not, we’ve long argued that bishops can’t recruit, hire, ordain, supervise, shield, transfer and protect predator priests, then suddenly oust them and claim to be powerless over their whereabouts and activities,” said David Clohessy, the former executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who now heads the group’s St. Louis chapter.

 
 

“IT WAS SUPPOSED TO MAKE ABUSE HISTORY”

When the first big wave of the clergy abuse scandal hit Roman Catholic dioceses in the early 2000s, the U.S. bishops created the Dallas Charter, a baseline for sexual abuse reporting, training and other procedures to prevent child abuse. A handful of canon lawyers and experts at the time said every diocese should be transparent, name priests that had been accused of abuse and, in many cases, get rid of them.

 

Most dioceses decided against naming priests, however. And with the dioceses that did release lists in the next few years_ some by choice, others due to lawsuit settlements or bankruptcy proceedings _ abuse survivors complained about underreporting of priests, along with the omission of religious brothers they believed should be on those lists.

 

“The Dallas Charter was supposed to fix everything. It was supposed to make the abuse scandal history. But that didn’t happen,” said the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer who had tried to warn the bishops that abuse was widespread and that they should clean house.

 

After the charter was established in 2002, some critics say dioceses were more likely to simply defrock priests and return them to private citizenship.

 

Before 2018’s landmark Pennsylvania grand jury report, which named more than 300 predator priests accused of abusing more than 1,000 children in six dioceses, the official lists of credibly accused priests added up to fewer than 1,500 names nationwide. Now, within the span of a little more than a year, more than 100 dioceses and religious orders have come forward with thousands of names _ but often little other information that can be used to alert the public.

 

Some of the lists merely provide names, without details of the abuse allegations that led to their inclusion, the dates of the priests’ assignments or the parishes where they served. And many don’t disclose the priests’ status with the church, which can vary from being moved into full retirement to being banished from performing public sacraments while continuing to perform administrative work. Only a handful of the lists include the last-known cities the priests lived in.

 

Over nine months, AP reporters and researchers scoured public databases, court records, property records, social media and other sources to locate the ousted clergy members.

 

That effort unearthed hundreds of these priests who, largely unwatched by church and civil authorities, chose careers that put them in new positions of trust and authority, including jobs in which they dealt with children and survivors of sexual abuse.

 

At least two worked as juvenile detention officers, in Washington and Arizona, and several others migrated to government roles like victims’ advocate or public health planner. Others landed jobs at places like Disney World, community centers or family shelters for domestic abuse. And one former priest started a nonprofit that sends people to volunteer in orphanages and other places in developing nations.

 

The AP determined that a handful adopted or fostered children, sponsored teens and young adults coming to the U.S. for educational opportunities, or worked with organizations that are part of the foster care system, though that number could be much higher since no public database tracks adoptive or foster parents.

 

Until February, former priest Steven Gerard Stencil worked at a Phoenix company that places severely disabled children in foster homes and trains foster parents to care for them. Colleagues knew he was a former priest, but were unaware of past allegations against him, according to Lauree Copenhaver, the firm’s executive director.

 

Stencil, now 67, was suspended from ministry in 2001 after a trip to Mexico that violated a diocese policy forbidding clerics from being with minors overnight. Around that time, a 17-year-old boy also complained that Stencil, then pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Casa Grande, Ariz., had grabbed his crotch in 1999 in a swimming pool. The diocese determined it was accidental touching, but turned the allegations over to police. No criminal charges were filed.

 

Since 2003, Stencil’s name has appeared on the Tucson diocese’s list of clerics credibly accused of sexually abusing children, and his request to be voluntarily defrocked was granted in 2011.

 

Copenhaver said Stencil passed a fingerprint test showing he did not have a criminal history when he was first hired part time by Human Services Consultants LLC 12 years ago.

 

“We did not have any knowledge of his indiscretions, and had we known his history we would not have hired him,” she said, emphasizing that he did not have direct access to children in his job.

 

Stencil was fired from the company for unrelated reasons earlier this year. He later said in a post on his Facebook page that he was working as a driver for a private Phoenix bus company that specializes in educational tours for school groups and scout troops.

 

“I have always been upfront with my employers about my past as a priest,” Stencil wrote in an email to the AP when asked for comment. He said he unsuccessfully asked years ago for his name to be removed from the diocese’s list, adding, “Since then, I have decided to simply live my life as best I can.”

 

The AP’s analysis also found that more than 160 of the priests remained in the comfortable position of continuing to work or volunteer in a church, with three-quarters of those continuing to serve in some capacity in the Roman Catholic Church. Others moved on as ministers and priests in different denominations, with new roles such as organist or even as priests in Catholic churches not affiliated with the Vatican, sometimes despite known or published credible accusations against them.

 

In more than 30 cases, priests accused of sexual abuse in the U.S. simply moved overseas, where they worked as Roman Catholic priests in good standing in countries including Peru, Mexico, the Philippines, Ireland and Colombia. The AP found that in all, roughly 110 clergy members moved or were suspected of moving out of the U.S. after allegations were made.

 

At least five priests were excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church because of their refusal to stop participating in other religious activity.

 

More than three decades ago, James A. Funke and a fellow teacher at a St. Louis Catholic high school, Jerome Robben, went to prison for sexually abusing male students together. Funke, released in 1995, was eventually bounced from the priesthood. But years later, the two men joined together again, promoting Robben as the leader of a church of his own making.

 

Since 2004, Missouri records show that Robben has listed his St. Louis home as the base for a religious organization operating under at least three different names. Beginning in 2014, those papers have identified Funke as the order’s secretary and one of its three directors.

 

Mary Kruger, whose son committed suicide when he was 21 after being abused by the men in high school, said she raised fresh concerns about Robben in 2007 when she heard he was presenting himself as a cleric.

 

At the time, he was being considered for promotion to bishop in a conservative Christian order based in Ontario, Canada. Kruger said members of the order told her that Robben had dismissed questions about his abuse conviction, claiming he had merely rented an apartment to Funke and that police blamed him for not knowing what went on inside.

 

Robben eventually was defrocked from the Christian order, and apparently then started his own. Until last year, when its paperwork expired, the group was registered with Missouri officials as the Syrian Orthodox Exarchate. However, a Facebook post from 2017 identified Robben _ photographed wearing a crown and gold vestments _ as the leader of a Russian Byzantine order raising money to build a monastery in Nevada.

 

Funke refused comment when approached by an AP reporter, and Robben did not respond to requests for comment.

 

“If they could wind up in jail next week, I’d be ecstatic,” Kruger said. “I think as long as they’re alive, they’re dangerous.”

 
 

LEFT THE CHURCH, COMMITTED CRIMINAL OFFENSES

As early as 1981, church officials knew of allegations that Roger Sinclair had acted inappropriately with adolescent boys. Two mothers at St. Mary’s Parish in Kittanning, Penn., wrote a letter to the then-bishop saying that Sinclair had molested their sons, both about 14 at the time.

 

Sinclair played a game where he would shake hands and then try to shove his hand at their genitals, the mothers said in their letter, parts of which were made public last year as part of the landmark report in Pennsylvania. They said he also tried to put his hands down one of the boy’s pants.

 

Other accusations emerged about Sinclair showing dirty movies to boys in the rectory, exposing himself and possibly molesting a teen he had taken on a trip to Florida a few years earlier. After a group of mothers called the police for advice, the police chief told them he had heard the rumors but took no action, according to documents reviewed by the Pennsylvania grand jury.

 

The church sent Sinclair for treatment, returned him to ministry and provided him with a letter that listed him as a priest in good standing so he could be a chaplain in the Archdiocese of Military Services, according to the grand jury. That assignment took him to at least four different states, including Kansas, where in the early ‘90s he was a chaplain at the Topeka State Hospital, a now-closed state mental hospital that had a wing for teenagers.

 

He was fired from that assignment in 1991 after trying multiple times to check out male teenage patients to go see a movie. Administrators said he had managed “to gain access to a locked unit deceitfully.”

 

Sinclair was removed from ministry in 2002 while the diocese investigated claims from a victim who said the priest sexually abused him in the rectory and on field trips beginning at Sinclair’s first assignment as a priest. He resigned a few years later, before the church concluded proceedings to defrock him.

 

When he started serving on the board of directors of an Oregon senior center and working as a volunteer there, he was required to pass a background check because the center received federal dollars for the Meals on Wheels program. But no flags were raised because he was never charged in Pennsylvania.

 

According to accounts from both former center staffers and law enforcement officials, Sinclair’s downfall began when the center’s then-director looked outside and saw him with his hand down the young man’s pants. He immediately barred Sinclair from the center, but left it up to the man’s family to decide whether to press charges. Three months later, after learning why Sinclair had been absent, an employee went to the police out of fear the former priest would target someone else.

 

Now-Sgt. Steven Binstock, the lead investigator in Oregon, said Sinclair immediately confessed to committing multiple sexual acts with the developmentally disabled man. He also confessed to sexual contact with minors in Pennsylvania 30 years earlier.

 

“He was very vague, but he did tell us that it was some of the same type of behaviors, the same type of incidents, that had occurred with the victim that happened here,” Binstock told the AP.

 

The Pennsylvania diocese had never warned Oregon authorities about Sinclair because it stopped tracking him after he left the church. The diocese, which did not tell the public Sinclair had been accused of abuse until it released its list in August 2018, declined to comment on his case.

 

The AP’s analysis of the credibly accused church employees who remain alive found that more than 310 of the 2,000 have been charged with crimes for actions that took place when they were priests. Beyond that, the AP confirmed that Sinclair and 64 others have been charged with crimes committed after leaving the church, with most of them convicted for those crimes.

 

Some of the crimes involved drunken driving, theft or drug offenses. But 42 of the men were accused of crimes that were sexual in nature or violent, including a dozen charged with sexually assaulting minors. Thirteen were charged with distributing, making or possessing child pornography, and several others were caught masturbating in public or exposing themselves to people on planes or in shopping malls.

 

Five failed to register in their new communities as sex offenders as required due to their sex crime convictions.

 

Priests and other church employees being listed on sex offender registries at all is a rarity _ the AP analysis found that only 85 of the 2,000 are. That’s because church officials often successfully lobbied civil authorities to downgrade charges in exchange for guilty pleas ahead of trials. Convictions were sometimes expunged if offenders completed probationary programs or the charges were reduced below the level required by states for registration.

 

Since sex offender registries in their current searchable form didn’t begin until the 1990s, dozens also were not tracked or monitored, because their original sentences already had been served before the registries were established.

 

The AP also found that more than 500 of the credibly accused former priests live within 2,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, childcare centers or other facilities that serve children, with many living much closer. In the states that restrict how close registered sex offenders can live to those facilities, limits range from 500 to 2,000 feet.

 

Decades after Louis Ladenburger was temporarily removed from the priesthood to be treated for “inappropriate professional behavior and relationships,” he was hired as a counselor at a school for troubled boys in Idaho.

 

Ladenburger was arrested in 2007 and accused of sexual battery; in a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. He served about five months in prison.

 

According to Bonner County, Idaho, sheriff’s reports, students said Ladenburger told them he was a sex addict. During counseling sessions, they said, the former Franciscan priest rubbed their upper thighs and stomachs, held their hands and gave them shoulder and neck massages. If students expressed confusion about their sexual identities, the sheriff’s reports say he fondled them and performed oral sex on them.

 

Ladenburger was fired from the school. In an interview with sheriff’s officials at the time, he “admitted being a touchy person,” kissing many students and having his “needs met by the physical contact” with the boys.

 

By then, he’d been gone from the church for more than a decade _ in 1996, the Vatican had granted his request to be released from his vows. No officials from his religious order or from the dioceses in six different states where he had served had warned the school or provided details of the allegations against him when he was a priest.

 

In a lawsuit involving a sexual abuse allegation against another member of the Franciscan order, the complaint cited Ladenburger as an example of the harm done when church officials don’t report accusations of abuse to law enforcement, saying he likely never would have been hired at the school if the Franciscans had reported him when they first became aware.

 

“For all intents and purposes, they set loose a ticking time bomb that exploded in 2007,” the lawsuit said.

 
 

WHY FORMER PRIESTS AREN’T TRACKED

If priests choose to leave their dioceses or religious orders _ or if the church decides to permanently defrock them in a process known as laicization _ leaders say the church no longer has authority to monitor where they go.

 

After the Dallas Charter came a rush to laicize, resulting in more than 220 of the priests researched by the AP being laicized between 2004 and 2010. Roughly 40% of all the living credibly accused clergy members had either been laicized or had voluntarily left the church.

 

The laicized priests also are increasingly younger, giving them even more years to lead unsupervised lives, according to Deacon Bernie Nojadera, the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection.

 

“That does create an opportunity for them to seek a second career,” Nojadera said. “So this is something a number of dioceses are grappling with and trying to figure out.”

 

For priests who don’t leave the church, dioceses and religious orders have more options to impose restrictions and monitoring. But how and whether that’s done ranges widely from diocese to diocese, since the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops cannot mandate specific regulations or procedures.

 

The AP found that the dioceses that released lists more than a decade ago have the most robust of the handful of existing programs.

 

In Chicago, accused priests who are removed from ministry can opt to join a program started in 2008 in which they continue to receive treatment, benefits and help, and get to “die a priest.” In exchange, they must sign over their right to privacy and agree to obey rules such as not living near a school.

 

“The monitoring is intrusive … I track their phone usage, I require daily logs of where they go, I track their internet usage and check their financial information and records. They have to tell me where they are going to be, who they will be with. And they have to meet with me twice a month face-to-face,” said Moira Reilly, the case manager in charge of the Chicago Archdiocese’s prayer and penance program.

 

Reilly, a licensed social worker, said many Catholics don’t understand why the church runs the program, instead pushing for every priest accused of abuse to be defrocked.

 

“If we laicize them or if we let them walk away … no one is watching them,” she said. “I do this job because I truly believe that I am protecting the community. I truly believe that I am protecting children.”

 

In 2006, the Archdiocese of Detroit hired a former parole officer to monitor priests permanently removed from ministry after credible abuse allegations. Spokesman Ned McGrath said the program requires monthly written reports from the priests that include any contact or planned contact with minors and information on whether they attended treatment among other things.

 

In other dioceses, priests are sent to retirement homes for clergy or church properties that are easy to monitor, but also are often in close proximity or even share space with schools or universities.

 

The analysis found that many of the accused clergy members still receive pensions or health insurance from the church, since pensions are governed by federal statute and other benefits are dictated by the bishops in each diocese.

 

Victims’ advocates and others have suggested dioceses devise a system in which those benefits are contingent upon defrocked priests self-reporting their current addresses and employment.

 

“All a bishop has to do is tell a predator: ‘Here’s your choice. You’ll go live where I tell you, and you’ll get your pension, health insurance, etc. and be around your brothers but be supervised,’” SNAP’s Clohessy suggested, adding that if the former priests don’t agree, their benefits could be withheld.

 

But several church officials and lawyers note that robust federal laws prohibit withholding or threatening pensions.

 

Other experts who study child abuse have suggested the church create a database similar to the national sex offender registry that would allow the public and employers to identify credibly accused priests. But even that measure would not guarantee that licensing boards or employers flag a priest credibly accused but not convicted of abuse.

 

Doyle, the canon lawyer, said the bishops might not believe they can monitor defrocked priests, but that they could be forthcoming about allegations when potential employers call and could also be required to call child protective services in the states where laicized priests move.

 

The bishops also could address the issue of oversight by initiating a new framework along the lines of the groundbreaking Dallas Charter, which was approved by the pope, Doyle said. But he added that he didn’t trust the current church leadership to meaningfully address the issue.

 

“The bishops will never admit this, but when they do cut them loose, they believe they are no longer a liability,” he said, referring to the defrocked priests. “I severely doubt there is an incentive for them to want to fix this problem.”

 

Nojadera noted that it isn’t that simple, since decisions default to the individual bishops in each diocese.

 

“We have 197 different ways that the Dallas Charter is being implemented. It’s a road map, a bare minimum,” he said. “We do talk about situations where these men are being laicized and what happens to them. And our canon lawyers are quick to say there is no purview to monitor them.”

 
 

LICENSED TO TEACH AND COUNSEL

In many cases, the priests tracked by the AP went on to work in positions of trust in fields allowing close access to children and other vulnerable individuals _ all with the approval of state credentialing boards, which often were powerless to deny them or unaware of the allegations until the dioceses’ lists were released.

 

The review found that 190 of the former clergy members gained licenses to work as educators, counselors, social workers or medical personnel, which can be easy places to land for priests already trained in counseling parishioners or working with youth groups.

 

One is Thomas Meiring who, after asking to leave the priesthood in 1983, began working as a licensed clinical counselor in Ohio, specializing in therapy for teens and adults with sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

 

Meiring maintained his state-issued license even after the diocese in Toledo settled a lawsuit in 2008 filed by a man who said he was 15 when Meiring sexually abused him in a church rectory in the late 1960s.

 

It wasn’t until 2016 that the Toledo diocese’s request to defrock Meiring was granted. State records show that Ohio’s Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board has never taken disciplinary action against the 81-year-old, who is among several treatment providers listed by a municipal court in suburban Toledo.

 

“We made noise about him years ago and nobody did anything. It’s mind-blowing,” said Claudia Vercellotti, who heads Toledo’s chapter of SNAP.

 

But Brian Carnahan, the licensing board’s executive director, said the law grants the authority to act only when allegations have resulted in a criminal conviction.

 

Multiple calls to Meiring at his home and office were not returned.

 

Few state licensing boards for professions like counselors or teachers have mechanisms in their background check procedures that would catch allegations that were never prosecuted. Some standard checks are conducted in every state, but the statutes regulating what can be taken into consideration when granting or revoking licenses vary. And because the lists of priests with credible allegations against them were so thin until the past year, there was little to cross-check.

 

Danielle Irving-Johnson, the career services specialist for the American Counseling Association, said criminal background checks are standard when licensing counselors, but that dismissing an application due to an unprosecuted allegation would be unusual.

 

“There would have to be substantial evidence or some form of documentation to support this accusation,” Irving-Johnson said.

 

The Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology was not aware of the allegations against former priest William Finger when he was licensed as a counselor in 2012. The Brooklyn diocese publicly named Finger only in 2017, even though he had been laicized since 2002 because of abuse allegations.

 

According to a complaint filed in January with the board, a woman who asked not to be named contacted Finger’s employer last year to say he had abused her for a decade, beginning when he was a priest and she was 12 years old. She said he kissed her, fondled her and digitally penetrated her and also alleged he had sexually abused her sister and a female cousin.

 

The employer fired Finger, now 83, and reported the allegations to the state’s licensing board.

 

In many states, allegations dating from before someone was licensed or that never made it to court would have been dismissed. But Alabama’s board issued an emergency suspension because it is allowed to consider issues of “moral character” from any point in a licensed individual’s life.

 

The decision whether to permanently suspend Finger’s license is pending. He did not return multiple messages from the AP but denied the allegations in a statement to the licensing board. He also remains licensed as a counselor and hypnotherapist in Florida.

 

The AP also found that 91 of the clergy members had been licensed to work in schools as teachers, principals, aides and school counselors, only 19 of whom had their licenses suspended or revoked. Twenty-eight still are actively licensed or hold lifetime certifications.

 

That’s almost surely an undercount, since some private, religious or online schools don’t require teachers to be licensed and states like New Jersey and Massachusetts don’t have public databases of teacher licenses.

 

School administrators in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, knew for years that sixth-grade teacher Joseph Michael DeShan had been forced from the priesthood for impregnating a teen parishioner. But nearly two decades later, he remained in a classroom.

 

DeShan, now 60, left the Bridgeport, Connecticut, diocese in 1989 after admitting having sex with the girl beginning when she was 14. Two years later, she got pregnant and gave birth. The diocese did not report DeShan to the police, and he was never prosecuted.

 

By 2002, he was working as a teacher in Cinnaminson when church disclosures about his past raised alarms. After a brief investigation, administrators allowed DeShan to return to the classroom, where he remained until last year, when a new generation of parents renewed cries for his removal.

 

The school board tried to fire him, citing both his conduct as a priest and recent remarks to a student about her “pretty green eyes.” In April, a state arbitrator ruled against the district, saying it had been “long aware” of DeShan’s conduct as a priest.

 

The state confirmed DeShan, who did not return calls for comment, still holds a valid teaching license, but that the licensing board is seeking to revoke it. Parents say he is not in a classroom this fall, but his profile remains posted on the school website and the idea he could be allowed back is troubling, said Cornell Jones, whose daughter was in DeShan’s class last year.

 

“When I found out about this guy being her teacher I was just, ‘No way _ there’s no way possible,’” Jones said. “I get a traffic violation and they make me pay. You violate a child and they just put you in a different zip code. How fair is that?”

 

The AP determined that one former priest had been licensed as recently as May. Andrew Syring, 42, resigned from the Omaha Diocese in November after a review of allegations that included inappropriate conversations with teens and kissing them on the cheeks. No charges were filed.

 

Dan Hoesing, the superintendent of the Schuyler Independent School DIstrict in Nebraska, said he could not disqualify Syring when he applied to be a substitute teacher because the former priest had not been accused of outright abuse or criminally charged. But Hoesing instituted strict rules requiring Syring to be supervised by another adult at all times, even while teaching, and banning him from student bathrooms or locker rooms.

 

Syring did not return messages for comment left with family members.

 

In many of the cases where a teaching license was revoked, the AP found the former priests went on to seek employment teaching English as a second language in private clinics, as online teachers or at community colleges.

 

“If these guys simply left and disappeared somewhere, it wouldn’t be a problem,” said Doyle, the canon lawyer. “But they don’t. They get jobs and create spaces where they can get access to and abuse children again.”

 
 

FILLING THE VACUUM

To a large extent, nonprofits, survivors groups and victims have stepped in to fill the void in tracking and policing these clergy members while they await stronger action.

 

Nojadera, with the bishops’ youth protection division, said more and more of his emails about priests are from concerned parishioners who are taking up the cause of protecting children.

 

“The lay faithful definitely seem to be stepping in,” he said. “Part of that is the awareness of the community in many ways based on the trainings we are having for our children and others in the parish communities.”

 

Gemma Hoskins, one of the stars of the documentary series “The Keepers” about abuse in a Baltimore Catholic school, also is taking up the cause.

 

Hoskins and a handful of volunteers have started a homegrown database using spreadsheets of clergy members created by a nonprofit called BishopAccountability.org to locate priests accused of abuse and post their approximate addresses.

 

“We’re careful. If their address is 123 Main Street, we’ll say the 100 block of Main Street like the police do,” she said. “We don’t want any of our volunteers to get in trouble, but it’s something all of us feel is necessary. If the priests are laicized, it’s even scarier … because it means the church isn’t tracking where they are living. They’re out there in the world as unregistered sex offenders.”

 

David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, said reports of abuse in the church have decreased and that all indications are that fresh allegations are being properly reported.

 

He also said that while keeping tabs on the accused abusers is important, the public shouldn’t assume all the former priests pose a big risk, noting that roughly one in every five child molesters reoffends.

 

“That’s lower than for a number of other violent crimes,” he said.

 

Still, he feels church leaders need to do far more to help track these clergy members, since anemic reporting in the past means little now prevents many of the priests from once again getting close to children.

 

“Tracking them is something they could have done as part of a general display of responsibility for the problem that they had helped contribute to,” Finkelhor said.

 
 

Sharon Cohen, Gillian Flaccus, Adam Geller, Justin Pritchard, John Seewer and Anita Snow contributed to this report, along with AP news researchers Jennifer Farrar, Randy Herschaft, Monika Mathur and Rhonda Shafner.
Associated Press

 
 

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bishop-accountability.org : Documenting the Abuse Crisis in the Roman Catholic Church

 

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  14. Pédophilie dans l’Eglise : le poids du silence (2017) présenté par ELISE LUCET (May 18, 2017)
  15. One in 14 Catholic priests accused of abuse in Australia (February 6, 2017)
  16. Des prêtres de Montréal se verront interdire d’être seuls avec des enfants (June 23, 2016)
  17. Le pape crée une instance pour juger les évêques couvrant des abus sexuels (June 10, 2015)
  18. Les propos du pape sur la pédophilie ont des échos jusqu’au Québec (July 15, 2014)
  19. Des victimes de prêtres veulent Mgr Ouellet comme pape (March 11, 2013)
  20. Pornographie juvénile : un prêtre de Sorel-Tracy accusé (March 8, 2013)
  21. Congrégations générales – Les problèmes de l’Église sur la table (March 7, 2013)
  22. Agressions sexuelles: un deuxième frère de Sainte-Croix sera arrêté (December 29, 2012)
  23. Symposium sur la pédophilie – Le pape appelle au «renouveau de l’Église» (February 15, 2012)
  24. Pornographie juvénile – Sitôt condamné, l’ex-évêque Lahey est libéré (January 5, 2012)
  25. Église néerlandaise: des «dizaines de milliers» de mineurs abusés sexuellement (December 16, 2011)
  26. Pédophilie – L’Église veut éduquer son clergé par Internet (June 28, 2011)
  27. Former Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey pleads guilty to child pornography charges (May 4, 2011)
  28. Pédophilie – Le Vatican va envoyer une «circulaire» aux évêques (November 20, 2010)
  29. Undercover Reporter Films Priests At Gay Clubs (July 26, 2010)
  30. Le Vatican durcit les règles contre la pédophilie (July 15, 2010)
  31. Top Catholic Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing His Own Sons (June 25, 2010)
  32. Pope addresses priest abuse scandal (June 11, 2010)
  33. Vatican Sex Abuse Prosecutor: Guilty Priests Are Going To Hell (June 4, 2010)
  34. Priest Accused Of Abusing Boy, Turning Home Into ‘Erotic Dungeon’ Surrenders To Police
    (May 26, 2010)
  35. Le Vatican publiera un guide contre la pédophilie (April 9, 2010)
  36. Agressions sexuelles par des membres du clergé – Les victimes exigent la démission de Mgr Ouellet
    (February 17, 2010)

***

 

La névrose chrétienne (1976) par le Docteur PIERRE SOLIGNAC (May 25, 2012)

 

***

 

QUÉBEC — Le crucifix de l’Assemblée nationale prend sa retraite des parlementaires: il ne trônera plus comme il le fait depuis des décennies derrière le trône du président de l’Assemblée nationale.

 

Comme prévu, on l’a décroché mardi de sa position stratégique pour observer les élus du Salon bleu, au moment où les députés sont tous partis en vacances.

 

Ce Christ en croix, symbole controversé de la connivence passée entre l’Église catholique et l’État québécois, incommodait la classe politique depuis des années, et ce, de plus en plus.

 

La récente vague de fond en faveur de la laïcité de l’État aura eu raison de ses partisans les plus irréductibles, qui vantaient sa valeur historique et patrimoniale pour justifier la décision de le laisser veiller sur les élus.

 

Le déplacement vers un lieu plus consensuel a donc été effectué mardi matin, point d’orgue d’une interminable saga.

 

Dans la plus grande discrétion, en marge du brouhaha habituel qui anime le Salon bleu, un employé de l’Assemblée nationale spécialisé dans le maniement des objets patrimoniaux, dont l’identité n’a pas été révélée, a enfilé ses gants blancs, s’est approché du trône du président, pour grimper dans un escabeau et s’emparer délicatement de l’objet religieux autrefois vénéré et aujourd’hui banni des lieux.

 

Ceux qui s’ennuieront de lui pourront toujours aller se recueillir devant l’alcôve où il sera bientôt placé, plus modestement, sur le parquet, entre le Salon bleu et le Salon rouge, d’ici la fin de l’été.

 

On y trouvera en fait les deux crucifix ayant orné le Salon bleu au fil des ans: le premier, dès 1936, à l’initiative du premier ministre Maurice Duplessis, et le second, qui était en place depuis 1982. Une notice explicative fournira l’historique des deux objets religieux litigieux.

 

Après des années de débats sur le sujet, le ministre Simon Jolin-Barrette a déposé une motion à l’Assemblée nationale visant à retirer le crucifix. Elle a été adoptée à l’unanimité le 28 mars. Cette motion stipulait que le Bureau de l’Assemblée nationale (BAN) recevait le mandat de déplacer le crucifix du Salon bleu pour le mettre en valeur ailleurs, dans l’enceinte du Parlement.

 

Dans le passé, le premier ministre François Legault avait mentionné plusieurs fois qu’à son avis, le crucifix du Salon bleu était un objet patrimonial qui devait rester en place. Il a finalement fait volte-face ces derniers mois, présentant sa nouvelle position comme un compromis offert aux détracteurs de la loi 21 sur la laïcité de l’État, qui interdit à plusieurs catégories d’employés de l’État, dont les enseignants, de porter des signes religieux.




Jocelyne Richer
La Presse Canadienne

 

***

 

Le retrait du crucifix du Salon bleu adopté à l’unanimité (March 28, 2019)
Retrait du crucifix de l’hôtel de ville de Montréal (March 20, 2019)
Benhabib veut débattre du crucifix à Québec (August 15, 2012)
Le crucifix est là pour rester à l’hôtel de ville de Montréal (February 19, 2011)

Le retrait du crucifix du Salon bleu adopté à l'unanimité

Ce crucifix a été placé au-dessus du fauteuil du président de l’Assemblée nationale en 1936. Photo: La Presse canadienne / Jacques Boissinot

 
 

Bien qu’il avait promis en campagne électorale que le crucifix de l’Assemblée nationale ne bougerait pas, le gouvernement Legault a fait adopter à l’unanimité une motion réclamant son retrait du Salon bleu, où il trône, afin de l’exposer ailleurs dans l’enceinte du Parlement.

 

Dans la foulée du dépôt de son projet de loi 21 sur la laïcité, le gouvernement de la CAQ a obtenu jeudi matin le consentement unanime de l’Assemblée nationale pour que le crucifix accroché au mur du Salon bleu depuis 1936 soit déplacé pour être « mis en valeur » à un autre endroit à l’Assemblée nationale.

 

Le libellé de la motion adoptée va comme suit : « Que l’Assemblée nationale mandate le Bureau de l’Assemblée nationale, suivant l’adoption du projet de loi n°21 “Loi sur la laïcité de l’État”, afin que ce dernier déplace le crucifix du Salon bleu pour le mettre en valeur dans l’enceinte du Parlement. »

 

La motion caquiste a été appuyée à l’unanimité par les 103 députés présents en Chambre. 22 sièges étaient vides lors du vote, dont plusieurs dans les rangs du PLQ.

 

Ce soudain changement de position du gouvernement au sujet de la présence du crucifix au Salon bleu, François Legault l’avait vaguement évoqué la semaine dernière lorsqu’il commentait le retrait du crucifix au conseil municipal de Montréal.

 

Il constitue une volte-face dans la mesure où M. Legault avait promis aux Québécois, lors de la campagne électorale, de maintenir ce symbole religieux au Salon bleu.

 

À l’époque, le chef de la CAQ avait expliqué que ce n’est pas pour sa signification religieuse qu’il désirait maintenir le crucifix dans la chambre des débats, mais bien pour sa valeur patrimoniale et historique.

 

Son parti s’était également opposé, en octobre 2017, à une motion de Québec solidaire qui réclamait un débat sur le retrait de ce symbole religieux.

 

 

Un compromis

Or, depuis deux semaines, le premier ministre Legault se disait dorénavant « prêt à en discuter ». Il avait notamment expliqué la semaine dernière, lors d’une mêlée de presse sur le sujet, que « tout le monde devait faire des compromis », y compris son gouvernement.

 

Ce qui fut fait, a confirmé jeudi matin le premier ministre, qui a expliqué que cette concession visait à obtenir l’appui le plus vaste possible dans la population québécoise à son projet de loi sur la laïcité.

 

« Je veux que ce débat se fasse avec le moins de dérapages possible, de façon sereine. C’est un geste important à poser et qui aurait dû être posé il y a une dizaine d’années », a expliqué M. Legault.

 

On fait un compromis sur le crucifix, on fait un compromis sur la clause de droits acquis pour rassembler le maximum de Québécois. C’est ça, mon objectif. – François Legault, premier ministre du Québec

Cette motion de la CAQ vise à clore une fois pour toutes l’épineux débat sur la présence d’un signe religieux ostentatoire dans la salle où débattent les députés, un lieu qui doit par définition être totalement neutre.

 

Pour plusieurs observateurs, il est incohérent pour les députés de l’Assemblée nationale de réitérer leur appui à la neutralité religieuse et au principe de séparation entre l’Église et l’État, tout en débattant chaque jour sous un immense crucifix.

 

D’un point de vue plus politique, c’est un compromis qu’offre le gouvernement à ses adversaires, alors que les débats s’annoncent âpres sur son projet de loi 21 censé réaffirmer et renforcer le principe de laïcité du gouvernement et de l’appareil d’État québécois.

 

Signe que les temps changent, en 2008, les députés de l’Assemblée nationale avaient approuvé à l’unanimité une motion du gouvernement de Jean Charest en faveur du maintien du crucifix à l’Assemblée nationale, en réponse au dépôt du rapport de la commission Bouchard-Taylor qui recommandait de le retirer.

 

 

83 ans au mur du Salon bleu

Ce n’est pas d’hier que la croix chrétienne trône à l’Assemblée nationale. C’est à l’initiative de Maurice Duplesssis, en 1936, que des crucifix ont été accrochés au-dessus du siège du président du Salon bleu et du Salon rouge, dans l’enceinte du Parlement.

 

Le crucifix qui ornait le Salon rouge a été enlevé en 1968, à la suite de l’abolition du Conseil législatif, qui faisait office de Sénat au Québec.

 
 

Radio-Canada

 

***

 

Retrait du crucifix de l’hôtel de ville de Montréal (March 20, 2019)
Benhabib veut débattre du crucifix à Québec (August 15, 2012)
Le crucifix est là pour rester à l’hôtel de ville de Montréal (February 19, 2011)


 

*WARNING: The following video may be disturbing to some viewers.

 

A Catholic priest was stabbed as he celebrated mass Friday morning at Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory. The incident was caught on video during a live streaming of the mass.

 

***

 

Un prêtre poignardé en pleine messe à l’oratoire Saint-Joseph

Photo : Jacques Nadeau, Le Devoir. L’abbé Claude Grou, le recteur de l’oratoire Saint-Joseph, a été poignardé en pleine messe vendredi. On ne craint pas pour sa vie.

 
 

L’agression de l’abbé Claude Grou en pleine messe vendredi matin à l’oratoire Saint-Joseph est un acte isolé, confirme le Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). Le suspect, un homme de 26 ans, a été arrêté et est connu des policiers.

 

« Il s’agit d’un acte isolé, rien n’a été revendiqué », indique Caroline Chèvrefils, porte-parole du SPVM.

 

Alors qu’il célébrait la messe de 8h30, le père Grou a été agressé à l’arme blanche. Les images de l’attaque ont été diffusées sur le Web, puisque la messe est retransmise en direct. La bande vidéo montre un homme portant une casquette blanche et un long manteau noir s’avancer d’un pas rapide vers le choeur. L’assaillant sort une arme blanche et la pointe vers le prêtre qui tente de s’enfuir. C’est à ce moment que le suspect semble poignarder à deux reprises l’abbé Grou. Les deux hommes tombent au sol, sous le regard paniqué de nombreux fidèles. L’assaillant se relève rapidement et reste sur place, tandis que le prêtre reçoit de l’aide.

 

À l’arrivée des policiers, le suspect n’aurait offert aucune résistance. L’homme, dont l’identité n’a pas été révélée, a été arrêté et amené en centre de détention où il devrait être interrogé dans les prochaines heures par les policiers.

 

Le prêtre aurait été blessé légèrement et a été transporté par les ambulanciers dans un centre hospitalier. On ne craint pas pour sa vie.

 
 

Scène violente

 

La scène violente s’est jouée devant une soixante de fidèles, qui étaient sous le choc après l’événement.

« Personne ne savait ce qui se passait exactement et j’ai vu que le prêtre bougeait un peu, loin de cette personne», a raconté Philip Barrett, qui a assistait à la messe.

 

« Il l’a frappé. Je n’ai pas vu clairement comment, mais c’était vers son corps, puis après je pense que le prêtre a tombé. Tout de suite, les gens ont réagi et sont allés vers le devant de l’église», a-t-il ajouté.

 

« L’assaillant était par terre, calme, et avait deux hommes par-dessus lui qui le maintenait », a raconté une autre témoin de la scène, Adèle Plamondon.

 

Dans une déclaration écrite, l’Archevêque de Montréal, Monseigneur Chistian Lépine a lancé un appel au calme. « Nous sommes tous en état de choc devant un acte de violence qui se déroule chez nous dans un endroit dédié à la paix. Nous savons que les lieux de cultes de différentes religions sont des cibles d’actes de violence. Nous voulons continuer sur des chemins de paix et d’amour, en croyant que l’on peut vaincre le mal par la prière et le bien », écrit-il.

 

La mairesse de Montréal, Valérie Plante, a réagi à l’agression sur Twitter. « Quel geste horrible et inexcusable qui n’a aucunement sa place à Montréal. Je suis soulagée d’apprendre que la vie du père Claude Grou, recteur de [l’oratoire Saint-Joseph] est hors de danger et que son état est stable. Au nom de tous les Montréalais, je lui souhaite prompt rétablissement. »

 
 

Améli Pineda
Le Devoir

Le crucifix rejoindra une section muséale qui sera créée dans l'hôtel de ville afin de mettre en valeur des objets patrimoniaux. Photo Alain Roberge, La Presse
Le crucifix rejoindra une section muséale qui sera créée dans l’hôtel de ville afin de mettre en valeur des objets patrimoniaux. Photo Alain Roberge, La Presse

 
 

Le crucifix trônant dans la salle du conseil municipal de Montréal sera retiré. La métropole profitera des travaux qui auront lieu à l’hôtel de ville pour les trois prochaines années pour enlever le symbole religieux et ne le réinstallera pas à la fin du chantier.

 

« Avec les travaux, on devait réfléchir à la place du crucifix dans la salle du conseil et on a pris la décision de retirer le crucifix », a annoncé ce matin Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, élue responsable des institutions démocratiques au sein de l’administration Plante.

 

L’ensemble des élus et des 200 employés travaillant à l’hôtel de ville déménageront en avril pour au moins trois ans, alors que l’hôtel de ville doit subir une importante cure de jeunesse.

 

L’administration Plante dit avoir profité de cette fenêtre pour réfléchir sur la place du crucifix. Au terme de la réflexion, il a été déterminé que la croix n’avait plus sa place au-dessus de la tête des élus.

 

Laurence Lavigne Lalonde a rappelé que le crucifix a été installé en 1937, un an après celui de l’Assemblée nationale à Québec. C’est le conseiller municipal Joseph-Émile Dubreuil qui avait demandé que la croix soit ajoutée à la salle du conseil « afin que les échevins se souviennent des serments qu’ils ont prêtés ».

 

« Il y a consensus pour dire que le contexte a changé. On vit dans une société qui a évolué et qui est représentée par des institutions démocratiques, qui se doivent d’être laïques, neutres et ouvertes. C’est pour cette raison que le crucifix sera enlevé et ne et ne sera pas réinstallé dans la salle du conseil à notre retour à l’hôtel de ville », a indiqué Mme Lavigne Lalonde.

 

Le crucifix rejoindra une section muséale qui sera créée dans l’hôtel de ville afin de mettre en valeur des objets patrimoniaux. Il sera ainsi visible pour les milliers de citoyens visitant l’hôtel de ville chaque année. « On est conscient que le crucifix un symbole important pour Montréal. L’objectif n’est pas de faire du déni de notre histoire, mais plutôt de mettre en valeur cet élément », assure Mme Lavigne Lalonde.

 

Ce n’est pas la première fois que la Ville de Montréal revoit son rapport à la religion. D’abord, le crucifix était absent à la construction de l’hôtel de ville en 1878. Il a été ajouté en 1937 en même temps qu’une prière a été introduite pour ouvrir les séances du conseil municipal. En 1987, Montréal a remplacé la prière ouvrant la séance par un moment de recueillement. Le crucifix devait être retiré en 1992 lors de travaux réalisés à la salle du conseil, mais il a finalement été laissé en place. En 2002, une consultation devait avoir lieu sur la place du crucifix, mais le projet a été abandonné.

 

« On vient clore ce chapitre de notre histoire et on réaffirme le caractère laïc de notre institution », a ajouté Mme Lavigne Lalonde.

 

La mairesse Valérie Plante s’est dite à l’aise avec cette décision et salué la création d’un espace dédié aux objets patrimoniaux. « Là où je suis rassurée, c’est qu’on va profiter de ce déménagement pour que, lorsqu’on reviendra dans notre hôtel de ville, on avoir cet espace muséal dédié aux objets patrimoniaux », a-t-elle dit.

 

L’hôtel de ville doit subir à partir de juin d’importants travaux de modernisation, qui nécessite son évacuation complète. La fondation du bâtiment, son électricité et l’imperméabilisation doivent être refaits. « C’est un bel édifice patrimonial, mais il est vétuste, pas sécuritaire à certains égards » a indiqué Benoît Dorais, président du comité exécutif. Les élus et 200 employés déménageront dans un édifice voisin, Lucien-Saulnier, le temps des travaux. Le retour à l’hôtel de ville n’est pas prévu avant 2022, soit au début du prochain mandat.

 

Le déménagement du personnel débutera le 5 avril. Le dernier conseil municipal prévu dans cette enceinte aura lieu le 15 avril. Dès le 13 mai, les réunions mensuelles des élus auront lieu à l’édifice Lucien-Saulnier.

 
 

Pierre-André Normandin
La Presse

 

***

 

Déclaration de l’archevêque de Montréal, Mgr Christian Lépine, à la suite de l’annonce du retrait du crucifix de l’hôtel de ville de Montréal

À Montréal, un crucifix a été installé dans la salle du conseil municipal en 1937, il y a maintenant 82 ans. Par ce geste, les élus de l’époque exprimaient la reconnaissance de notre histoire et de nos racines. Déjà en 1643, Maisonneuve avait posé la croix sur le Mont-Royal, de sorte que ce signe de l’Amour qui donne tout pour toute l’humanité, fait partie de l’espace public depuis la fondation de notre ville.

 

On apprend aujourd’hui que le crucifix qui orne les murs de l’hôtel de ville sera retiré et transféré dans un musée attenant. Cette décision appartient aux élus qui représentent la volonté des Montréalais qui sont tous citoyens à part entière de notre société.

 

En tant que signe vénéré par les chrétiens, le crucifix est un signe toujours vivant et ouvert au respect des autres croyances qui vénèrent leur propre signe. Malgré tout, rien ne nous empêche, peu importe nos croyances, de nous rencontrer sur la place publique et nous respecter, dans un esprit d’ouverture aux autres, alors que nous partageons tous la même humanité.

 

Du point de vue de la transmission des valeurs de vie spirituelle, de vivre-ensemble et de solidarité, le crucifix a toujours son sens en ce qu’il exprime et résume ce qui anime la population montréalaise, depuis la fondation de notre ville et constitue un héritage dont nous pouvons tous être fiers.

 

 

Christian Lépine
Archevêque de Montréal

 

***

 

Le crucifix est là pour rester à l’hôtel de ville de Montréal (February 19, 2011)

L'Abbatiale de la
Liturgie Apocryphe

"The production of nervous force is directly connected with the diet of an individual, and its refining depends on the very purity of this diet, allied to appropriate breathing exercises.

The diet most calculated to act effectively on the nervous force is that which contains the least quantity of animal matter; therefore the Pythagorean diet, in this connection, is the most suitable.

...

The main object was to avoid introducing into the organism what Descartes called 'animal spirits'. Thus, all animals that had to serve for the nourishment of the priests were slaughtered according to special rites, they were not murdered, as is the case nowadays".