Catholic Church in California grapples with over 3,000 lawsuits alleging abuse

— Advocates have been stunned by the number of cases that surfaced during this revival window

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, headquarters for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, seen in 2013.

By Alejandro Molina

At least a third of the 12 Roman Catholic dioceses in California have either filed for bankruptcy or are contemplating doing so to deal with an influx of lawsuits filed by survivors of childhood sexual abuse after a state law opened a three-year window in which cases were exempted from age limits.

More than 3,000 lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Church in California under a 2019 state law that also extended the statute of limitations to allow all alleged victims of sexual abuse to sue up to the age of 40.

Advocates have been stunned by the number of cases that surfaced during the window, which closed at the end of December.

So far, two dioceses have declared bankruptcy.

The Diocese of Santa Rosa, which is facing more than 200 lawsuits, filed for bankruptcy in mid-March. In its bankruptcy petition, it claimed assets valued between $10 million and $50 million. It estimated its liabilities in the same dollar range.

The Diocese of Oakland, grappling with about 330 sexual abuse lawsuits, filed for bankruptcy in early May. It claimed assets valued between $100 million and $500 million with estimated liabilities in the same dollar range, according to its bankruptcy petition.

Oakland Bishop Michael C. Barber, in a letter, said, “worship sites” will close, and the diocese will have to “re-imagine” how other locations are used.

“I ask for your commitment to work with me and our pastors in the upcoming months as we determine how best to address the outcome of the bankruptcy process and how to ‘right-size’ our parishes to serve the faithful and all who come to us seeking Christ’s tender love,” Barber said.

The Diocese of San Diego made the decision earlier this month to file for bankruptcy sometime this fall, said Kevin Eckery, spokesman for the diocese.

Cardinal Robert McElroy, bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, announced in early February the possibility of bankruptcy as the diocese faces “staggering” legal costs in dealing with some 400 lawsuits alleging priests and others sexually abused children. Most of the alleged abuse cited in the suits took place 50 to 75 years ago, and the earliest claim dates back to 1945.

Most of the diocese’s assets, McElroy said in a letter, were used to settle previous allegations, ending in a $198 million payout in 2007. Eckery has predicted the cost of settling the outstanding cases against the diocese could amount to $550 million.

The dioceses in Stockton, Fresno and San Jose did not answer a query from Religion News Service to learn of their plans to deal with the lawsuits. The Diocese of Orange said that it had not yet finalized the number of pending lawsuits and that it was not considering bankruptcy. Deacon David Ford with the Diocese of Monterey said the diocese prefers “not to make a statement right now,” regarding any potential plans for bankruptcy.

Bishop Jaime Soto, in a statement in late February, said bankruptcy could be an option for the Diocese of Sacramento as it grapples with more than 200 lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse.

“To learn of this staggering number of claims is truly heartbreaking,” Soto wrote. “These claims represent real people whose lives have been damaged by the sins of individuals whom they had been taught to trust.

“… Given the number of claims that have been presented … resolving them may overwhelm the diocese’s finances available to satisfy such claims,” he wrote. “This financial challenge is unlike anything we have faced before.”

Rick Simons, a lawyer serving as the plaintiffs’ liaison for cases in Northern California, says the dioceses are addressing these cases “as they always have, by avoidance.”

Simons said a total of about 1,600 cases have been filed against the Catholic Church in Northern California. These cases — which are being coordinated through Alameda County Superior Court — span dioceses in Fresno, Monterey, San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Sacramento and Oakland.

“They say sympathetic words of responsibility and empathy for the victims in their public statements, and all their actions are exactly the opposite,” Simons said of the bishops.

According to Simons, about 500 cases are stayed by the Santa Rosa and Oakland bankruptcy proceedings.

“I’m trying to get cases set for trial, both because trials provide an incentive for settlement and because trials establish values that can be used for settlement of other cases, and of course, the defense doesn’t want to have any trials,” Simons said.

The national Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is preparing a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta requesting that he issue a report based on information gathered in the lawsuits as well as from when the dioceses were subpoenaed in 2019. The subpoenas were issued to review how the state’s Catholic dioceses handled sex abuse allegations, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We don’t think any of these entities are or will be made insolvent by any awards that are granted to survivors,” said Dan McNevin with SNAP.

McNevin said it’s a “double bottom line” when dioceses declare bankruptcy because it freezes the discovery phase of lawsuits “and they also create this impression that they’re broke and that they can’t afford to pay victims what they’re owed.”

“They want to avoid a jury,” McNevin said.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the most populous Catholic diocese in the country, with some 4 million Catholics, is not planning to file for bankruptcy, despite grappling with at least 1,100 lawsuits. The majority of these cases involve alleged abuse that occurred in the 1970s and earlier, the archdiocese said, and the accused clergy have died or are no longer in ministry.

How the Los Angeles archdiocese plans to avoid bankruptcy with so many cases pending is not clear. In a statement, the archdiocese said it has been “providing, on an ongoing basis, pastoral financial settlements directly to victim-survivors, regardless of the openings of the statute and when the abuse may have occurred.”

In a statement to RNS in early April, the Archdiocese of San Francisco said it was still in the process of evaluating more than 400 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, volunteers or archdiocesan staff. These cases date back more than 50 years, and a vast majority of the accused are dead, the archdiocese said.

In addition, a large number of the allegations against the San Francisco archdiocese include names of alleged abusers who do not appear to be priests assigned to the archdiocese, it said.

John Andrews, spokesman of the Diocese of San Bernardino, said there are no current plans to file for bankruptcy.

San Bernardino Bishop Alberto Rojas said in a statement in March that the diocese is evaluating “different legal and financial options” to resolve more than 130 sexual abuse lawsuits. A vast majority of the lawsuits involve abuses alleged to have occurred more than 30 years ago, he said.

The diocese, Rojas said, has provided victims with more than $25 million in settlement monies since 2003. Those settlements were paid through a combination of savings and insurance coverage with “little or no impact to our core ministries.” Now, Rojas said, “we must acknowledge the significant financial impact they would have on our local church.”

McNevin, of SNAP, credits the number of outstanding sex abuse claims to “delayed disclosure,” a phenomenon common to survivors of child sex abuse in which individuals remain silent for years before coming forward.

A 2020 report by Child USA found the average age at the time of reporting child sex abuse to be about 52 years. “The average age of abuse is somewhere in the 11- to 14-year-old range, so it’s a 40-year lag,” McNevin said.

McNevin also attributes the flood of cases to the lower stigma associated with being an abuse survivor. “There’s been a lot more awareness … So people are not embarrassed to say it happened to them. They no longer fear being called a liar,” McNevin said.

As SNAP drafts a letter to Bonta, McNevin said they are calling on the attorney general to “examine these bankruptcies closely.”

Just as in New York, where the Diocese of Buffalo has submitted to government oversight, McNevin said there’s an opportunity for Bonta “to really impose an appropriate, safe structure that will keep exposure at a maximum.

“What will happen will be a secular imposition of structure onto the Catholic Church that will force it to be safer,” he said.

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Church accused of adding to trauma of survivor by trying to thwart case involving paedophile priest

— Catholic church’s claim he could not have been an altar boy because he was baptised Anglican proved to be incorrect but delayed case for a year, in a legal move being heavily criticised

The accusation adds to a litany of complaints about the legal tactics being utilised by the Catholic church in Australia for abuse cases.


The Catholic church has been accused of causing added trauma to a survivor after it tried to thwart his case involving a notorious jailed paedophile priest by claiming he could not have been an altar boy because he was baptised in the Anglican church, a move that delayed the case for a year.

The accusation adds to a litany of complaints about the legal tactics being employed by the church in abuse cases, including its repeated attempts to permanently halt cases where paedophile clergy have died, a practice first revealed in an investigation by Guardian Australia.

In late 2020, a survivor who wishes to remain anonymous, sued the Maitland-Newcastle diocese for alleged abuse at the hands of the notorious pedophile Father Vincent Ryan, a priest who, before his recent death, served more than two decades in jail for abusing dozens of children.

The survivor alleged he was abused by Ryan at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cessnock in the early 1990s, when he worked as an altar server for Sunday mass.

His lawyers, Slater and Gordon, say the church took an aggressive approach to the claim, denying in court documents the abuse could have occurred because the plaintiff had been baptised in the Anglican church. The church alleged that this meant he could not have been an altar server at St Joseph’s and therefore could not have been abused.

The Slater and Gordon New South Wales abuse lawyer Jonathan Georgaklis said the suggestion delayed the claim by more than a year, as the survivor gathered statements from family and former acquaintances, some of whom he hadn’t spoke with in more than a decade, to prove he had served as an altar boy at St Joseph’s.

The process caused added trauma and significant legal expense. When he presented the fresh statements showing his service at the church, the church settled.

“It’s incredibly disappointing for abuse survivors to be treated so poorly by the institution that failed to protect them in the first place and is vicariously liable for the significant impact the abuse they suffered [had] on their lives,” Georgaklis said. “Abuse victims deserve better.”

The diocese said in response that it “regrets any further distress caused to survivors during proceedings”.

In a statement, it said the case was far more complex than simply a question about the religion of the survivor. The diocese said Slater and Gordon was focusing on one aspect of the case.

“[Slater and Gordon’s statement] does not acknowledge the evidence the diocese had from people who were involved in the church and the parish at that time the alleged abuse occurred that raised serious questions as to what actually happened,” the diocese said.

“The doubts that arose in investigating the claim were far broader than a simple question of the religion of the individual involved.”

The diocese said Slater and Gordon produced “credible, independent witness statements in November 2022”. That allowed the diocese to have sufficient certainty that the claim should be settled.

“Some legal firms present strong, well-prepared claims from the beginning that may allow the diocese to resolve the claim sooner than when there is enduring uncertainty.”

Guardian Australia has revealed a shift in the tactics of institutions in abuse cases – primarily Catholic orders operating in NSW – over the past 12 months.

Interviews with more than a dozen plaintiff lawyers and survivors, as well as an analysis of court records in 13 cases, reveal the church is routinely seeking permanent stays where clergy have died, arguing they can no longer receive a fair trial.

Permanent stays, where granted, halt survivors’ claims in their tracks and prevent them from reaching trial.

The church is also using the threat of permanent stays in such cases to low-ball survivors in settlement negotiations, abuse lawyers say.

The tactics, which will be the subject of a Four Corners episode on Monday night, has caused outrage among survivors.

They say the church, itself the architect of a decades-long cover-up of abuse, is effectively using the delay and ensuing death of perpetrators to argue that it can no longer receive a fair trial.

Institutions were emboldened by a decision in the NSW court of appeal last year, first reported by Guardian Australia, which ruled the death of the Lismore priest Father Clarence Anderson left the diocese unable to fairly defend itself against the allegations of a woman known as GLJ, who alleges that she was abused as a 14-year-old girl in 1968.

Court documents show the church had known of other abuse complaints against Anderson before GLJ’s abuse but failed to remove him from circulation, instead moving him between parishes, including Kyogle, Macksville, Maclean and Lismore. All four parishes showed complaints of abuse against Anderson, according to church records unearthed in the case.

GLJ’s lawyers, Ken Cush and Associates, have appealed the decision to the high court. The case is due to be heard in early June.

In another case, also revealed by Guardian Australia, the Marist Brothers Catholic order used the recent death of Brother Francis “Romuald” Cable, one of NSW’s worst Catholic school offenders, to attempt to block a claim by one of his survivors.

The Marists argued his death left the order unable to ask him about the abuse and therefore unable to receive a fair trial.

That argument was made despite the Marists being on notice of the claim for 22 months before Cable died.

They did nothing to seek his response to the allegations in that period.

Lawyers for the survivor, known by the pseudonym Mark Peters, accused the Marist Brothers of deliberately waiting for Cable’s death and then using it to stay the case.

The mother of another of Cable’s victims, Audrey Nash, whose son died by suicide aged 13, heavily criticised the church for its tactics.

“It’s disgraceful. Just disgraceful,” she said earlier this year. “More than that, it’s gutless … They learn nothing, they don’t change. In fact, they get worse.

“Now Romuald is dead, they’re trying to make out you can’t sue. I don’t know, it’s just awful. It really is. It’s worse than that, but I can’t say the words, the swear words.”

The NSW supreme court recently rejected the church’s attempt to use Cable’s death to stay the claim, finding the Marist Brothers should not have “the benefit of its own inaction”.

More recently, Scouts NSW was also successful in seeking a stay in a case where the perpetrator was still alive and available to give evidence about his former employer’s deficient child protection systems.

Despite his availability to give evidence, the courts found he would not be a reliable witness, because he may tend to give evidence that shifted blame onto his former employer.

That, combined with the absence of records and the deaths of other witnesses, left the institution unable to receive a fair trial against allegations it had failed to protect the survivor from harm, the court found.

The decision is being appealed.

The child abuse royal commission did not recommend reforms to end the ability of institutions to use stay applications in abuse cases, though critics say it could not have contemplated that they would be used in this fashion.

The royal commission did, however, make clear recognition of the barriers that delay survivors from coming forward for, on average, 22 years. The royal commission recommended that time limits on bringing claims be removed in recognition of the delay, leading to reforms across all jurisdictions.

Plaintiff lawyers and survivors, including John Ellis, say the use of stay applications where clergy have died goes against the intention of those reforms.

“In circumstances where there has been strong evidence in the royal commission of religious bodies being aware of abuses and covering them up, creating a situation where the leaders of the religious bodies became ‘the keepers of the secrets’, it is immoral for the same institutions to rely on the delay by survivors in coming forward … [and] the death of those ‘secret keepers’ to defeat the claims of survivors,” Ellis said earlier this year.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic high school teacher returned to classroom after abuse claim

The Attorney General’s report on child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore includes 37 redacted names of officials, clergy and non-clerical members of the Archdiocese.

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The parents never saw the Catholic brother as a threat to their son.

They encouraged his relationship with their boy, allowing him to take the child to baseball games and on overnight trips. They hoped he would inspire the boy to pledge his life to the church, as the man had done.

One night, while the two were sleeping in the same bed, the family friend fondled the boy’s genitals, his sister later reported to authorities. The allegation appears on Page 443 of the Maryland attorney general’s report on child sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The survivor himself described the abuse when contacted by the archdiocese in 2003, according to the report.

He felt responsible for what had happened, the report states, and for 10 years “guilt ate him alive.”

The report refers to the accused man only as “No. 153”; his name and the names of nine others accused of abuse are redacted under an order from the courts.

The Baltimore Banner has identified No. 153 as Ronald Nicholls, 74, of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, who taught social studies at the old Cardinal Gibbons High School in Southwest Baltimore in the 1970s. More recently, he served as a youth mentor and English language teacher at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Rehoboth, WRDE Coast TV reported.

Banner reporters matched details in the attorney general’s report to news articles, school yearbooks, property records and church directories to identify him.

Nicholls has not been charged with a crime. He is part of a cluster of eight men accused of child sexual abuse who taught at Cardinal Gibbons or lived in the school’s faculty residence in the 1970s. The archdiocese opened the all-boys school in 1962 and closed it in 2010 after years of declining enrollment.

Reached by phone, Nicholls was asked if he knew the attorney general’s report included one allegation against him.

“This is a personal issue. I’m not going to discuss that. Thanks,” Nicholls told a reporter before hanging up.

Four days later, an attorney sent an email to notify The Banner that Nicholls “reserves his right to pursue any and all defamation lawsuits if you or your company publish any article identifying his name.” The Banner asked the attorney four times if Nicholls denies being No. 153 in the report. The attorney did not respond to phone messages or emails.

The other church figures include the Revs. Joseph G. Fiorentino, No. 148; John Peter Krzyzanski, No. 151; Samuel Lupico, No. 152; and Joseph O’Meara, No. 155. The Banner also identified No. 156 as Michael V. Scriber, who attended a seminary and intended to join the clergy, according to the report, but who dropped out for academic reasons.

Spokespersons for the attorney general’s office and the archdiocese declined to comment for this article.

Also redacted are the names of five church officials who handled allegations of abuse. “Official C” has been identified as as W. Francis Malooly, the retired bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington. That identification was made last month by Terry McKiernan, the founder of, a Massachusetts nonprofit that collects documents related to clergy sexual abuse cases. The Baltimore Sun identified four additional redacted church officials and late Wednesday named the Rev. Thomas J. Hudson of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Western Maryland as alleged abuser No. 150.

Nicholls first came to the attention of the archdiocese in 2003 when the woman reported that he sexually abused her brother, the report states. The document describes the boy as 10 to 12 years old and does not specify the year the alleged abuse took place. His sister decided to speak up after Nicholls contacted her on social media in an attempt to reach him.

“She felt he did so because of the large volume of sexual assault allegations coming to light at the time and was worried about liability for his own abuse,” investigators wrote in the report.

The church reported the allegation to the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office and the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, an archdiocesan spokesperson said without specifying that No. 153 was Nicholls. The church also notified the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, writing that the “allegation appears to be credible,” according to the report. That’s because Nicholls had moved to Philadelphia by that time. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia did not respond to messages.

The sister said that she was told by the state’s attorney’s office that prosecutors will not do anything “because of the age of the victim,” according to the report. He was an adult when she reported the allegation. The office today could not find records of the allegation or any investigation. Legal experts say the act as described in the report would have been a misdemeanor at the time and subject to the misdemeanor statute of limitations, typically one year. Prosecutors are bound by the law as it existed when the abuse happened.

Nicholls is not the only former Cardinal Gibbons teacher accused of abuse. By 1969, three people who were later accused of child sexual abuse were teaching there, and a fourth lived in the school’s faculty residence, according to the report and a database maintained by

One of the men was accused of soliciting sex from and fondling several teenage boys who attended Mount St. Joseph High School, where he worked in the 1980s after leaving Cardinal Gibbons. Another alleged abuser who taught religion at Cardinal Gibbons was accused of repeatedly molesting twin brothers while serving as pastor of a Connecticut church.

The third person, the Rev. Kenneth Farabaugh, worked at Cardinal Gibbons for more than a decade and overlapped with Nicholls.

Years later, Farabaugh drove his car into a tree and was killed shortly before he was scheduled to speak with police about an allegation that he sexually assaulted a John Carroll High School student. Before his death, Farabaugh denied the allegation, but the archdiocese “questioned his credibility,” according to the report.

The other men accused of child sexual abuse who were associated with Cardinal Gibbons in the 1970s include the Rev. Robert Lentz, the Rev. John J. Sheehan and Brother Bob A. Lindemann, who was the high school’s assistant media director the same academic year Nicholls joined the staff.

The Banner identified No. 153 as Nicholls by matching details in the report to descriptions of Nicholls’ background and work history in a 2016 article from Camp Rehoboth Inc., a nonprofit community service organization dedicated to supporting the beach town’s gay and lesbian visitors.

The report describes No. 153 as a member of the Marianist religious order who left the group and was released from his final vows in 1980. Nicholls, the article states, left the Marianists in 1980 because he felt “too constrained by the order,” which requires members to pledge vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience.

The article’s description of Nicholls’ work as a teacher at Cardinal Gibbons in the mid-to-late 1970s matches the assignment history for No. 153. Yearbooks from that time show that Nicholls worked at the school as a social studies teacher for six years, starting in the 1975 school year.

Nicholls and Brother Matthew Betz both left the Cardinal Gibbons staff after the 1980 school year, as No. 153 did. But Betz was never released from his Marianist vows. He remained an active member of the religious order until his death in 1982, according to an obituary. He also joined the Cardinal Gibbons staff more than a decade before No. 153′s first known assignment in Baltimore.

Property records further connect Nicholls to the Marianists and to the report’s description of No. 153. Nicholls previously lived on Beechwood Avenue in Baltimore at an address listed in the Official Catholic Directory as a residence for Marianist brothers. Nicholls later moved to Philadelphia, according to property records and the Camp Rehoboth Inc. article. The report states that No. 153 also lived in Philadelphia.

The article goes on to describe Nicholls’ various jobs in New Jersey and Philadelphia after leaving Cardinal Gibbons. He taught elementary grades at a parochial school, drove a laundry truck and worked in catering as well as briefly for the Internal Revenue Service.

Nicholls’ name does not appear on the archdiocese’s list of credibly accused priests and brothers, nor does it appear on a similar list maintained by the Marianists.

Asked by the author of the Camp Rehoboth Inc. article what he wants as his legacy, Nicholls said he wants to be remembered well for the things he’s done.

“Especially, by the kids I taught and mentored,” he added. “I want to be regarded as having been a good influence.”

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Area Catholic clerics on newly released state list

More than 20 abusive clerics who once served at area Catholic churches and schools were named in a state report released Tuesday.


More than 20 abusive clerics who once served at area Catholic churches and schools were named in a state report released Tuesday.

The six dioceses in Illinois failed to disclose hundreds of abusive clerics before the state opened what would become a yearslong investigation into sex abuse within the church, Attorney General Kwame Raoul said Tuesday.

A 2017 law eliminated Illinois’ prior statute of limitations for child sex abuse, under which a 20-year clock began ticking on a victim’s 18th birthday. But that law was only prospective; a 2009 Illinois Supreme Court decision affirmed that attempts to alter the statute of limitations retroactively violated the due process rights of the accused.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Springfield Diocese said he supports the investigation and feels it is time to bring all the crimes out into the public.

“The attorney general’s inquiry into the history of clergy sexual abuse of minors in this diocese has served as a reminder that some clergy in the Church committed shameful and disgraceful sins against innocent victim survivors and did damage that simply cannot be undone,” Paprocki said. “As bishop of this diocese, I cannot undo the damages of the past, but I have been and continue to be fully committed to ensuring we do all we can to prevent abuse from happening again.”

Raoul’s report, however, suggests Paprocki could have done more. It states that the diocese didn’t list substantiated child sex abusers placed online until November 2018 and it was not until September 2022 that Paprocki authorized the diocese’s homepage to include a link to a “List of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.”

The 700-page report was issued following a four-and-a-half-year investigation. It includes the names of 451 Catholic priests and religious brothers statewide who abused nearly 2,000 victims since 1950. It also named 32 Catholic clerics who had served in the 28-county Springfield Diocese that includes Madison, Macoupin, Jersey, Greene and Calhoun counties.

Named in Raoul’s report, along with their assignments and number of abuse survivors, were:

• Alvin Campbell (died 2002) with 34 survivors. Assignments included 1982, Mother of Perpetual Help in Maryville.

• Joseph Cernich with 4 survivors. The abuse was listed as occurring in 1983 at Saint Ambrose in Godfrey.

• Victor Lucien Chateauvert (died 1999) with at least 2 survivors. Assignments included 1978-1981 at Saint Joseph in Granite City.

• Garrett Neal Dee with 4 survivors. Assignments included 1968-1971 at Immaculate Conception in Alton, 1968: Dominican Sisters at Bethalto, 1973-1976 at Saint Boniface, Edwardsville, and 1980-1981 at Saint Elizabeth in Marine.

• Robert Degrand with 1 survivor. Assignments included 1991-1996 at Saint Elizabeth in Granite City.

• Robert Dodd (died 2018) with 2 survivors. Assignments included 1964-1968 at Saint Paul in Highland and 1968 at SIUE Newman Catholic Community in Edwardsville.

• Robert Eagear (died 1984) with 1 survivor. Assignments included 1928-1934 at Saint Bernard in Wood River and 1958-1970 at Saint Peter and Paul in Collinsville.

• George Faller (died 1975) with 3 survivors. Assignments included 1918-1919: Saint Paul in Highland, 1919 at Saint Simon and Jude in Gillespie, 1919-1922 at Saint Mary in Alton, 1922-1924 at Saint Anseim in Kampsville, 1954-1961 at Saint Boniface in Edwardsville and 1961-1969 at Saint Joseph in Benld.

• Ray Frazen (died 1987) with 2 survivors. Assignments included 1940-1942 at Saint Patrick in Grafton.

• Joseph Havey (died 2017) with 14 survivors. Assignments included 1970 and again in 1974 at Saint Margaret Mary in Granite City, and 1975-1976 at Holy Ghost in Jerseyville.

• George Kromenaker (died 2010) with 1 survivor. Assignments included 1952-1954 at Saint Mary in Alton.

• Thomas Gregory Meyer (died 2012) with at least 1 survivor. Assignments included 1990-1998 at Saint Peter and Paul in Alton.

• Orville Lawrence Munie (died 1993) with at least 1 survivor. Assignments included 1981-1983 at Saint Isidore in Bethany.

• Joseph Cullen O’Brien (died 1978) with 14 survivors. Assignments included 1942-1945 at Saint Peter and Paul in Collinsville, 1945 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton, 1948-1950 at Saint Joseph in Granite City, 1968-1970 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton and 1968-1970 at Saint Patrick in Alton.

• Frank O’Hara (died 2006) with 5 survivors. Assignments included 1959-1985 at Saint Kevin in Rosewood Heights.

• Daniel L. Ryan (died 2015) with 5 survivors. Assignments included 1984-1999 as Bishop of Springfield Diocese.

• Aloysius Schwellenbach (died 2000) with 4 survivors. Assignments included 1945 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton, 1951-1952 at Saint Joseph in Granite City, 1964-1969 at Saint Margaret Mary in Granite City, and 1969-1970 at Saints Simon and Jude in Gillespie.

• Louis C. Shea (died 1996) with 2 survivors. Assignments included 1951 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton and 1954 at Saint Anselm in Kampsville.

• Francis Tebangura with 2 survivors. Assignments included 1980-1988 at Saint Margaret Mary in Granite City, 1988-2001 at Saint Elizabeth in Granite City,  2001-2002 at Our Lady Czestochowa in Madison, 2002-2006 at Saint Mark in Venice, IL (sacramental priest) and 2002-2006 at Saint Mary in Madison (sacramental priest).

• Walter Weerts with 22 survivors. Assignments included 1955 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton, 1957 at Camp Pere Marquette in Grafton, 1961-1963 at Saint Ambrose in Godfrey, 1963-1967 at Sacred Heart in Granite City, 1972 at Saint Paul in Highland, and 1979-1980 at Saint Boniface in Edwardsville.

• Frank Westhoff (died 2006) with 3 survivors. Assignments included 1959 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton, 1961-1964 at Saint Patrick in Alton, 1980-1985 at Camp Pere Marquette in Grafton and 1984-1985 at Saint Margaret Mary in Granite City.

Complete Article HERE!

Bolivia’s Catholic Church acknowledges being ‘deaf’ to sex abuse victims

People protest with signs against sexual abuse by a priest outside the Bolivian Archbishopric office in La Paz, Bolivia, Friday, May 19, 2023. Milton Murillo, a Bolivian priest, has been remanded in custody on suspicion of abusing seminarians a decade ago, shortly after news broke of what has turned out to be the largest pedophilia scandal in the Andean country’s history, involving the deceased Jesuit priest.


Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Bolivia acknowledged Wednesday that the church had been deaf to the suffering of victims of sexual abuse, commenting as a pedophilia scandal involving priests is rocking the country.

In a statement, the Andean nation’s Catholic bishops said that “as a church, we are facing a painful moment … because we are certain that we have been directly or indirectly involved in the deep pain caused to innocent victims.”

The statement comes amid the fallout from the case involving a late Spanish Jesuit priest, Alfonso Pedrajas. According to a private diary accessed by the Spanish newspaper El País, Pedrajas allegedly abused dozens of minors in Catholic boarding schools in Bolivia in the 1970s and 1980s. He died of cancer in 2009.

Earlier this week, Jordi Bertemeu, one of the Vatican’s top sex crimes investigators, arrived in Bolivia.

The bishops said that while “we know there is no way to compensate for the damage caused, we are committed to do everything possible to … seek a reparation, with the support of professionals who provide assistance and help heal wounds and scars.”

The Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation — which remains confidential — and has called on the victims to testify. New cases of sexual abuse have been uncovered as a result of this probe and one priest was sent to pre-trial detention for three months earlier this month.

Bolivian President Luis Arce sent a letter to Pope Francis earlier this week, requesting that the church release any documents about sexual abuse by priests in Bolivia.

In the letter, Arce calls on church authorities to “move from pronouncements to concrete actions to prevent impunity.”

In their statement, the Bolivian bishops said the church would set up two commissions to “determine responsibilities.” They promised to provide updates, saying they would “contribute to a transparent investigation” by the justice system.

The Jesuit Society in Bolivia previously apologized to victims and pledged to support the investigation while denouncing Pedrajas’ superiors for an alleged cover-up. Many of the people singled out are no longer in office or have died.

Complete Article HERE!