Fake Nuns Try to Save Spanish Sex Priest

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

sex priest

Two devotees have undergone chastity exams to defend their sect’s ex-Catholic prelate, who stands accused of telling female followers his ‘holy’ semen would purify them.

ROME — Some people will do anything for love—even deny it. Or at least that’s what it appears two Spanish pseudo-nuns have done in an attempt to save Feliciano Miguel Rosendo, a priest who has been accused of forcing them to take part in orgies by claiming his semen was holy and represented the “body of Christ” and would “purify” them.

The nuns reportedly agreed to virginity tests in the Spanish town of Tui to prove that they hadn’t had carnal relations with the prelate, despite eyewitness accounts that imply at least some sexual contact.

Rosendo was arrested in December 2014 on charges of sex abuse and tax crimes associated with the Order of Saint Michael Archangel, a Roman Catholic sect whose choir performed for Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 during his apostolic voyage to Madrid. After allegations of sexual escapades and money laundering surfaced, the Vatican relieved Rosendo of his duties—after which the prelate simply changed the name of his sect to the Voice of Serviam and apparently carried on with business as usual, unusual as it might have been.

The prelate remains a Catholic priest, but the Vatican has disassociated itself with the sect. Prior to the 2014 arrest, a number of nuns testified that Rosendo persuaded them to perform sex acts on and with him, proclaiming the purifying properties of his ejaculate. One woman, who eventually left religious life and went on to marry, testified that Rosendo even forced her to have sexual relations the night before she got married and after she had wed. “I married Fernando to stop suffering abuse by Miguel, but I was surprised when, after the wedding, the abuse continued,” she told the court, according to the Spanish edition of The Local news website.

The original case’s court documents show that Rosendo apparently rotated the religious ladies through his bed in the house in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, north of Madrid, that they apparently all shared. According to local press reports, Marta Pax Alonso, a self-declared nun who has never been actually affiliated with any Vatican-recognized Catholic order, was his chief assistant and lover.

Alonso, however, is one of the women who took a virginity test to prove that she had never had vaginal sex. She was also arrested in 2014 for financial crimes. That year, several family members of the nuns in question reportedly pleaded with Pope Francis to persuade the women to leave Rosendo’s alleged sex sect, but the Vatican apparently never responded on behalf of the pope. However, Renzo Fratini, the papal nuncio (or Vatican ambassador) to Spain, is said to have offered his support.

Citing Madrid’s College of Physicians, The Local reports the chastity tests showed the non-nuns were, indeed, virgins, stating that they “have an intact hymen with no signs of having had sexual relations, recent or old. We can rule out that they had sex with vaginal penetration and there has been no deflowering.”

There are, of course, no tests to prove or disprove the act of fellatio or other sexual activities that fall short of intercourse. Rosendo awaits trial for both sexual abuse and financial crimes.

Complete Article HERE!

Ex-priest gets 20-40 years in prison for sexual assault

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — Victims confronted a former Roman Catholic priest in court Friday as he was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison for sexually abusing students at a Michigan high school in the 1980s.

A judge heard more than two hours of testimony from six men who described in detail how James Rapp molested them. Rapp coerced students into having sexual contact while working as a teacher and wrestling coach at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson.

“His crime and position was a murder on my soul,” Andy Russell said. “He’s a monster and his path of destruction extends far further than it ever should have.”

James Rapp stands during his sentencing hearing at the Jackson County Circuit Court, in Jackson, Mich., on Friday, April 29, 2016.
James Rapp stands during his sentencing hearing at the Jackson County Circuit Court, in Jackson, Mich., on Friday, April 29, 2016.

The Associated Press doesn’t typically identify victims of sexual abuse, but Russell has talked publicly to the Jackson Citizen Patriot about what happened at the school.

In February, Rapp, 75, pleaded no contest to criminal sexual conduct. He was in prison in Oklahoma for similar crimes when he was charged in Michigan last year. He worked in Philadelphia; Salt Lake City; Naperville, Illinois; Duncan, Oklahoma; Jackson, Michigan and Lockport, New York before he was defrocked as a priest.
An investigation in Michigan began in 2013 when victims approached the sheriff’s department. Some victims said they complained to school officials in the 1980s but no action was taken.

Russell said he was kicked out of Lumen Christi — “the best thing that ever happened to me,” the Citizen Patriot reported.

Rapp will be eligible for parole after 20 years. His maximum prison sentence is 40 years.

“I think it’s evident that the only way to heal, move forward and to protect others from this same thing is to bring it out into the open,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaiti said of the victims. “Shed light on it, and expose the truth. And they’ve done that. They are true heroes in a horrible situation.”

 Complete Article HERE!

‘If there is a hell, you deserve to be first in line,’ victims speak in former priest’s sentencing

By Benjamin Raven

Photos of James Rapp sit on the table during the sentencing hearing for James Rapp at the Jackson County Circuit Court on April 29, 2016.
Photos of James Rapp sit on the table during the sentencing hearing for James Rapp at the Jackson County Circuit Court on April 29, 2016.

JACKSON, MI — James Rapp’s Friday, April 29 sentencing wasn’t just about how long the former high school priest and coach would spend in prison.

It was about giving the 75-year-old former Jackson Lumen Christi High School priest’s victims a chance to tell their stories and confront the man they once viewed as an authoritative, respected figure.

Six of James Rapp’s victims provided gripping, detailed testimonials of how the former priest and coach abused them and affected their lives. Some remained anonymous, but others made the choice to make themselves known in court.

Rapp, who is currently serving a 40-year prison term in Oklahoma where he pleaded no contest to lewd molestation, was sentenced to up to 40 more years in prison by Jackson County Circuit Judge Susan Beebe.

Andrew Russell delivers a speech during the sentencing hearing for James Rapp at the Jackson County Circuit Court on April 29, 2016.

He pleaded no contest to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in February. As part of a plea agreement, 13 charges of criminal sexual conduct were dismissed.

Photos of victims were placed on a table in front of Beebe and in plain sight of Rapp, his attorney Alfred Brandt and Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis, who prosecuted the case.

The case was prosecuted by the Attorney General Cold Case Sexual Assault Project, with Povilaitis sitting.

“These victims were robbed of their childhood and that can never be undone,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a press release.

Chuck Schickler speaks during the sentencing hearing for James Rapp at the Jackson County Circuit Court on April 29, 2016.

Each time one of the six men approached the stand, their eyes locked with versions of their younger selves.

Some victim statements were short, some long, some were prepared while others came off the cuff.

“Looking at that picture in front of me from 1984, and I wonder who I could have been,” Andrew Russell said, without a prepared statement. “His crime and position was a murder on my soul. He’s a monster and his path of destruction extends far further than it ever should have.”

Russell went on to say that he never thought getting kicked out of Lumen Christi would be the “best thing that ever happened to me.” Rapp served as a priest, teacher, maintenance supervisor and coach during his time at Lumen Christi from 1980-86.

Russell claims he was dismissed from the school the year after he presented the allegations to Rev. Joseph Coyle, Lumen Christi High School’s first principal. He claims he didn’t get a formal hearing in front of a committee when he was dismissed, just a visit to Coyle’s office.

Jackson Circuit Court Judge Susan Beebe delivers the sentence during the sentencing hearing for James Rapp at the Jackson County Circuit Court on April 29, 2016.

Another victim, John C. Wood, came forward with additional allegations against Lumen Christi administrators’ alleged transgressions. Wood cited a school wrestling trip to Detroit where the team stayed in a diocese-owned dormitory.

Wood was paired to share a room with Rapp, and said the wrestling coach “said the Lord’s Prayer on his knees, got in bed with me and had his way.”

Some time after the event had passed, Wood told his parents and the allegations made their way to Coyle. Wood said Coyle made him tell him what happened under confession rather than in a formal hearing or in his office.

“‘Some sins are so awful, we cannot talk about them,'” he said Coyle told him in Latin. “I was told I would go to hell if I ever talked about what I said in confessional.

“Well, if I’m going to hell for being here today, I’ll see Coyle there and we can talk about it some more.”

Wood claimed that Rapp was gone three days later, with the story that he was sent to help another parish. He said his family was told this was an isolated incident and Rapp would never be allowed around children again.

Rapp’s investigation started in 2013 after two men came forward to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. He was ordained in 1959, went on to work in Philadelphia from 1959-61; Salt Lake City from 1968-73 and Lockport, N.Y. from 1979-80 before coming to Lumen Christi. After that, he went to Naperville, Ill. from 1987-90; and Duncan, Okla. from 1990-98.

Each of the victims met Thursday night, April 28, in what Russell described as “a hell of a club to belong to.” While each victim’s story and tone differed, they all thanked Povilaitis and Jackson County Sheriff Detective Sergeant Tim Schlundt for their handling of the investigation.

Victim A, a man who chose to remain anonymous, compared Rapp to a reptilian predator and said the only equally tragic aspect is in the way the Catholic Church handled these crimes.

“There was collusion at Lumen Christi. It was my teachers against me. I felt like I could be hunted on any given day in my school, plucked from any given class,” he said during Friday’s proceedings. “His network of colleagues allowed him to facilitate his activities; they watched him pull boys out of class unquestioned.

“Other priests, even those who have passed away but are officially honored at Lumen Christi with charitable societies bearing their names, all knew about the raping of Lumen Christi boys. Their cover-up will be exposed, soon enough.”

Victim A went on to say that his “true losses are incalculable,” and when it comes to intensive therapy to combat his PTSD and other struggles, the Catholic Diocese has not offered a “single penny” of support.

He wasn’t the only victim to shed light on medical issues as Victim J, another man who chose not to reveal his name, stepped forward to admit he attempted suicide in the 1980s and had issues with substance abuse.

“Sober for 13-years in about a month,” he said, as Beebe congratulated him. “I’m almost 50 years old, but part of me is stuck being a 15-year-old boy trying to figure out where my life went.”

Complete Article HERE!

Retired priest accused of exposing himself to a minor, charged

Father Richard Thomas


GREEN BAY — A local retired priest faces multiple charges after he allegedly exposed himself to a minor.

Father Richard Thomas, 78, of Green Bay, was charged with four felonies Thursday.

The Green Bay Catholic Diocese released the following statement:

The Diocese of Green Bay received a report of misconduct involving Father Richard Thomas, a diocesan priest. Upon receiving this report, the diocese notified civil authorities. Following the policies of the Diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct, Father Thomas, a senior (retired) priest, has been restricted from performing any public ministry pending the outcome of the civil authorities’ investigation. This is an ongoing investigation and the Diocese is fully cooperating. The Diocese asks for prayers for all involved in this matter. The Diocese remains committed to the protection of children and vulnerable adults. Its policies include permanently removing from ministry any clergy who have a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor against them. In addition, the Diocese requires all clergy, employees, and volunteers in all parishes, schools and diocesan offices to complete mandatory background checks and training on keeping children safe. Since 2003, 35,284 background checks have been completed and 37,054 people have completed the “VIRTUS – Protecting God’s Children” program. (Data reported October 2015) If you know of an incident of sexual abuse of a person who is now under the age of 18 by a priest, deacon, employee or volunteer, please immediately call the civil authorities and then the diocese.

Complete Article HERE!

Three Franciscan priests ordered to stand trial in sex abuse case

This combination of file photos shows Giles Schinelli, left, Anthony Criscitelli, center, and Robert D'Aversa, when they were arraigned on charges of child endangerment and criminal conspiracy at a district magistrate in Hollidaysburg, Pa.
This combination of file photos shows Giles Schinelli, left, Anthony Criscitelli, center, and Robert D’Aversa, when they were arraigned on charges of child endangerment and criminal conspiracy at a district magistrate in Hollidaysburg, Pa.

By Peter Smith

Hours of testimony and legal jousting led to a quick conclusion Wednesday afternoon when a judge ordered three Franciscan priests to stand trial on charges of conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children for their oversight of a sexually abusive friar.

Blair County District Judge Paula Aigner made the ruling without elaborating after a prosecutor argued that the three put hundreds of children in harm’s way over nearly two decades by assigning the late Brother Stephen Baker to work among them.

“The safety of children was on the line,” Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye said during closing arguments. The friar’s supervisors responded as a “bureaucracy,” he said, informing their insurance company but not Baker’s supervisors or parents at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown. They decided “how much risk was appropriate to expose other people’s children to,” he said.

Defense lawyers countered that the priests knew little of what is now known about Baker’s attacks — and that they acted responsibly on what they knew.

“It’s easy to Monday-morning quarterback and say Baker was a disgusting man,” said Charles Porter, representing the Very Rev. Giles Schinelli. But, he said, “there is no evidence of any conspiracy.”

But Mr. Porter said afterward he wasn’t surprised by the decision because the burden of proof to send a case to trial is lower than for a conviction, which would require proof beyond reasonable doubt.

The hearing took place at Blair County Courthouse. Judge Aigner set a June 3 arraignment date. She also rejected motions to dismiss the cases under the statute of limitations.

All three of the defendants are former ministers provincial for the Franciscan Friars, Third Order Regulars of the Immaculate Conception Province, based here in Hollidaysburg. In addition to Father Schinelli (who led the order from 1986 to 1994), the other defendants are the Very Revs. Robert J. D’Aversa (1994-2002) and Anthony Criscitelli (2002-2010).

They sat wordlessly behind their attorneys during the proceedings, dressed in black clerical garb.

Baker committed suicide in January 2013 at the Hollidaysburg monastery when the enormity of his offenses became publicly known. Authorities now say he molested more than 100 children in Johnstown and elsewhere, but this case hinges on what his supervisors knew and when they knew it.

Attorneys for the three Franciscans aggressively cross-examined the investigators who testified in the case. The lawyers argued there is no evidence among the 8,000 pages of internal Franciscan documents seized by authorities that show the three ever sat down together to talk about what they knew of Baker’s assaults and how to handle him.

Special Agent Jessica Eger of the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation maintained that Father Schinelli knew of an allegation against Baker in the early 1990s, reported it to the province’s insurance company, but never told officials at Bishop McCort.

Mr. Porter said the allegation was vague and that Father Schinelli referred Baker to a mental health clinic, but that the friar passed the clinic’s psychological evaluation, which found no evidence of sexually deviant tendencies.

Still, Mr. Dye said no parents, aware of such facts, would have consented to having their child taught by Baker if they had known what his superiors knew.

Father Schinelli assigned Baker to work as religion teacher at Bishop McCort beginning in 1992.

Baker also volunteered as an athletic trainer and molested the athletes he was ostensibly helping with stretching, equipment fitting and therapy.

Baker often used such occasions to grope the players’ private parts and digitally penetrate them anally, according to a grand jury report released in March. A former student testified earlier this month that Baker molested him so many times it came to seem normal and that many fellow students talked of similar experiences.

Retired Bishop McCort High School Principal William Rushin testified that no one told him when he hired Baker in 1992 of any allegation against him, and that he received a positive reference from John F. Kennedy Catholic High School near Youngstown, Ohio — where Baker taught and where victims later came forward.

Mr. Rushin said he never hired any staff member with such an allegation against him.

Father D’Aversa removed Baker from the school in 2000 after another allegation surfaced from an earlier Baker assignment in Minnesota. But Father D’Aversa appointed him as vocations director, giving him regular access to children, including on overnight retreats.

Robert Ridge, representing Father D’Aversa, argued that his client did put numerous restrictions on him.

Even after concerns grow and Father D’Aversa removed Baker from that assignment, Baker continued to work at the Friar Shop — a gift store at the Altoona Mall — and to volunteer at St. Clare of Assisi Church in Johnstown.

“That’s endangering children in the mall,” testified Special Agent Eger. But attorney James Kraus, representing Father Criscitelli, disputed the idea that “you are endangering children by allowing someone to go in public.”

Ms. Eger also said that even though Father Criscitelli put Baker on a “safety plan,” the friar’s supervisor in Hollidaysburg went on a sabbatical and there is no evidence anyone else was assigned to mind him. Father Criscitelli himself was working in Minnesota.

The three priests belong to a tiny group — also consisting of a Missouri bishop and a Philadelphia monsignor — who have ever been charged with covering up for an abuser.

Afterward, a victim’s advocate watching the court proceedings said he was “thrilled” with the judge’s ruling.

“One of the things victims have been waiting for is for the criminal courts to be able to judge these matters,” said Robert Hoatson, a former priest and director of the New Jersey victim support group Road to Recovery.

Complete Article HERE!