Archdiocese of Chicago Agrees to Pay $1.5 Million to Settle Sex Abuse Claim

The Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed he was sexually abused as a child by defrocked priest Daniel McCormack back in the early 2000s. This Catholic Church settlement pushes the total to over $11 million paid to survivors who were abused by McCormack. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Archdiocese of Chicago has had to pay out millions of dollars in order to settle a sexual abuse claim against one of its clergy.

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Hundreds of Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Filed in 2020 Against Catholic Church in New Jersey

More than 230 sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against the five Catholic dioceses in New Jersey from December 2019 to December 2020. The large number of lawsuits directly coincides with the state’s extension of its statute of limitations laws in civil actions for sexual abuse claims as well as its opening of a revival window which allows time barred claims to be brought before a specific date. The New Jersey revival window is set to close on November 30, 2021. Since it can often take years before a sexual abuse survivor feels comfortable enough to talk about being abused, extending the statute of limitations and opening the revival window gives victims an opportunity to receive some justice for what was done to them.

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Archdiocese of Chicago Investigating Separate Incidents of Sexual Abuse

The Archdiocese of Chicago suspended two priests from ministry within six weeks of each other due to independent allegations of child sexual abuse. Separate letters from Cardinal Blase Cupich stated that Rev. Daniel McCarthy and Rev. David Ryan were both asked to step away from ministry after the Archdiocese received allegations of sexual abuse of children against both priests.

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Buffalo Diocese Sued By New York Attorney General Following Two-Year Investigation

After a two-year investigation, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the Diocese of Buffalo, alleging it covered up allegations of child sexual abuse and misused charitable assets by supporting predatory priests instead of following protocol and reporting them to authorities. Former Bishop Richard Malone and former Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz were also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

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West Virginia Supreme Court Rules Religious Institutions Exempt from Consumer Protection Law

In an opinion issued in late 2020, the West Virginia Supreme Court rejected Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s claim that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act (CCPA) when it hired “admitted and credibly-accused sexual abusers” to work in schools and camps without warning prospective consumers.” The majority opinion stated that the CCPA does not apply to services offered by religious institutions.

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Catholic Church Parishioners Seek Financial Transparency from Dioceses

A survey done by Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) concludes that only five U.S. dioceses are financially transparent. According to its website, VOTF is “a lay organization of faithful Catholics. . .whose mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.”

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Texas Priest Sentenced for Child Sex Abuse

Texas priest Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez was sentenced to 10 years in state prison after pleading guilty to two charges of second-degree felony indecency with a child. The charges stem from when La Rosa-Lopez served at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe Texas in the 1990s and early 2000s.

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Lawyers for Sexual Abuse Victims say $300 Million Offered by Boy Scouts Falls Short

The Boy Scouts of America has offered to fund a trust with at least $300 million to compensate child sex abuse victims. The offer is part of a reorganization plan submitted by the Boy Scouts after filing for bankruptcy in 2020. The money will come from local councils, insurance policies and the sale of a collection of Norman Rockwell paintings.

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Truth and Reconciliation Commission Says Seattle Archbishop is Stonewalling Them

Heal our Heart, the citizen-led group of prominent Catholics in Washington State discussed last April, are continuing their call for a public review of the “Seattle Archdiocese’s private records on clergy abuse.” The alliance remains resolute that a ‘truth and reconciliation’ approach to the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal will bring healing through transparency.

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Illinois Priest Michael Pfleger Faces Sex Abuse Accusations

A popular Chicago priest is facing accusations he molested two brothers back in the 1970s when they were boys. The men, who now live in Texas, accused Father Michael Pfleger of sexually abusing them in his bedroom at the churches he served at on Chicago’s South Side. The brothers have chosen to remain anonymous since they still have family in Chicago and don’t want them to receive any backlash from Pfleger’s supporters.

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Maryland Statute of Limitations for Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases

How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in Maryland is a common question. For some Maryland clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades, to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even survivors who haven’t repressed those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.

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Pennsylvania Revival Window Moves Closer to Reality

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania made headlines in August of 2018 with the release of the Diocese Victim Report, which came after a two-year grand jury investigation into sexual abuse and cover-ups in six of the eight Pennsylvania Dioceses. In its wake, Pennsylvania legislators took aim at updating laws involving sexual abuse and a survivor’s ability to pursue a civil action against an abuser and the institutions that covered it up.

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Dioceses of Camden Files for Bankruptcy

On Oct. 1, 2020, the Diocese of Camden filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A press release subsequent to the filing cited COVID-19, payments already made through the Victims Compensation Program, and state legislative changes regarding the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims as the reasons the Diocese sought bankruptcy protection.

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What Does it Mean When a Priest or Clergy is ‘Credibly Accused’?

Dioceses have been publishing lists of ‘credibly accused’ priests or clergy regarding child sexual abuse since 2002. However, many people may wonder what it means if a priest or clergy member has been credibly accused of sexual abuse. What standards, if any, are in place for a name to be added to a particular list? A look at the history and process of how these lists came to be may help show what it means if a name is on an ‘accused’ list.

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Deadline Set for Filing Clergy Abuse Claims Against Diocese of Buffalo

Chief Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York set the bar date for victims with claims of sexual abuse against the Diocese of Buffalo at August 14, 2021. A bar date is the date by which creditors (victims) need to submit proof of a claim. This means that victims have until August 14, 2021 to submit a claim against the Diocese of Buffalo in federal bankruptcy proceedings. The diocese will be required to notify the public of the August 2021 bar date via notices through mailings, publications, and postings.

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Fr. Gary Carr Accused of Sexual Misconduct in Missouri

In April, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau issued a press release stating that an allegation of physical/sexual misconduct against Father Gary Carr met the criteria for publication. In July, the diocese issued a second release finding that three more allegations against Carr also passed the threshold for publication. All four allegations were made by men who claim that Fr. Carr made inappropriate physical/sexual contact with them when they were boys.

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Diocese of Phoenix Faces Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuits

In 2020, child sexual abuse claims against two priests who served in the Diocese of Phoenix made headlines. Alleged claims of sexual abuse of children against Father John “Jack” Spaulding and Father John P. Doran are a bleak reminder of the scale of clergy abuse not only within the Diocese of Phoenix, but the Catholic church as a whole.

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Allegations of Sexual Abuse Emerge Against Two Priests Who Served in the Diocese of Greensburg, PA

Allegations of sexual abuse by two priests who served in the Greensburg Diocese were brought to light recently by the State Attorney General’s office and the diocese itself. Father Emil Payer’s name was released by the diocese as part of a report by Bishop Edward Malesic. The report stated that Payer’s name was being added to the diocese’s list of priests who served within the diocese and had one or more “credible and substantiated” allegations of child sexual abuse brought against them. The second priest, Father Andrew M. Kawecki, was arrested and charged with several sexual abuse crimes against a former altar boy.

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Judge Rules Clergy Abuse Survivors Can File Lawsuits Against Archdiocese of Santa Fe

Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma is overseeing the Chapter 11 reorganization of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Thuma’s recent ruling would allow lawyers for clergy sex abuse survivors to file lawsuits against the diocese claiming it fraudulently transferred an estimated $150 million to avoid paying it to survivors. Lawyers for survivors allege the transfer of Archdiocese real estate and assets to parishes is an attempt to avoid bigger payouts to victims.

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Number of Clergy Abuse Lawsuits Filed in Pennsylvania Surge

Over the last few years, many states have passed reform bills to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse hold their abusers, and the institutions responsible for the abuse, accountable. Several states, including New York and California, have passed laws setting up what are commonly referred to as ‘revival windows.’ These ‘revival windows’ create a time frame for previously expired claims to be brought on behalf of the survivor.

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Lexington KY Diocese Releases Accused Priest List

The Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky released a list of 20 priests who served in the diocese and have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. The list was compiled after an independent investigation that reviewed all priest and church files, among other documents. The diocese notes in its official report that “the investigators were granted unlimited and unfettered access to all files and documents, all personnel, and all policies and procedures”.

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Concordia Preparatory School Student Alleging Sexual Assault

A federal lawsuit filed by a former Concordia Preparatory School student contains several sexual assault allegations dating back to 2018 when she was a student. The lawsuit alleges the school looked the other way and failed to act even though the student repeatedly reported the incidents. The alleged assaults took place at the private school in Towson, MD, just north of Baltimore.

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Diocese of Covington, KY Release List of Accused Clergy

The Diocese of Covington, Kentucky has released a list of priests who have served in its diocese and have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. The list comes after two former FBI agents spent almost a full year reviewing diocese records dating back to 1950. The comprehensive list contains the names of 59 priests and 31 others affiliated with the diocese dating back almost 70 years.

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Survivor Payments Suspended by Camden Diocese IVCP

Survivors who chose to seek clergy abuse compensation from the Diocese of Camden through the Independent Victim Compensation Program (“IVCP”) will have to wait a little longer. In July, the diocese suspended making new payments through its Independent Victim Compensation Program (“IVCP”). Camden diocese officials told program administrators Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille Biros the suspension was necessary because of a “precipitous decline in revenue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic”.

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How Long Do I Have to File a Clergy Abuse Lawsuit in New Jersey?

How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in New Jersey is a common question. For some New Jersey clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even those who haven’t blocked those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.

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New York’s Diocese of Rochester Files for Bankruptcy

In September of 2019, the Diocese of Rochester filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rochester. At the time of the filing, the petition noted the Diocese had $50-$100 million in assets, with liability estimates totaling $100 to $500 million. The Diocese of Rochester was the first New York diocese to choose Chapter 11 reorganization, however the Dioceses of Syracuse, Buffalo and Rockville Centre have all since filed as well. The Rochester diocese covers 12 upstate New York counties where an estimated 360,000 Catholics live.

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Pontifical Secrecy Rule Lifted in Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases

In December of 2019 the Vatican issued an instruction called On the Confidentiality of Legal Proceedings which essentially removed the pontifical secrecy rule related to clergy sexual abuse or misconduct cases. The directive by the Vatican should help ease communication between church officials and civil authorities around the globe regarding abuse cases.

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Connecticut Diocese Resolves Clergy Abuse Case

Rev. James Kowalski, the former dean of New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, reached an agreement with the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to resolve an allegation of clergy sexual abuse against him which dates back to 1984. A young woman alleged Kowalski sexually abused her when he came to visit her during her freshman year at college. Kowalski’s connection to the alleged victim started when he was a newly ordained priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, Connecticut, when the complainant was in middle school. At the time of the alleged abuse, Kowalski was serving at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Hartford.

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New York’s Rockville Centre Diocese Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The Rockville Centre Diocese in New York, which covers the Long Island area, and is one of the largest dioceses in the country serving 1.4 million Catholics, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The petition was filed on October 1 at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The filing was done to help the diocese manage legal expenses and facilitate settlements with sexual abuse survivors.

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Lawyers Battle to Properly Value Dozens of Buffalo Diocese’s Properties

The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy in February of this year in the wake of mounting clergy sexual abuse claims. The diocese opted for bankruptcy protection after seeing no other viable option to continue operating given the potential total future obligations the pending sexual abuse lawsuits could entail. The diocese continues to believe that bankruptcy doesn’t hurt abuse survivors, but only helps them by creating a compensation process that equally divides up funds among all abuse survivors, instead of favoring those who filed first.

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How Long do I have to File a Clergy Abuse Lawsuit in Illinois?

How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in Illinois is a common question. For some Illinois clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades, to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even survivors who haven’t repressed those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.

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How Long do I have to File a Clergy Abuse Lawsuit in California?

How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in California is a common question. For some California clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even those who haven’t repressed those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.

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Lawsuit Alleges Former Cardinal McCarrick Involved in ‘Sex Ring’

A lawsuit has been filed in New Jersey Superior Court against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for what’s being called a ‘sex ring’. The lawsuit is being brought by one of the survivors, who chose to remain anonymous, but is referenced as “Doe 14” in court documents. The complaint alleges Doe 14 was groomed to be part of a sex ring scheme that was headed up by then Bishop McCarrick. The complaint notes the scheme perpetuated over dozens of years and included multiple minors, some of which were seminarians, or those studying to become priests.

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Over $800k Awarded to British Columbia Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivor

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge awarded clergy abuse survivor Rosemary Anderson $844,140 on August 25th, 2020 at the conclusion of her case. After the passing of her father in 1976, Rosemary Anderson sought out the Roman Catholic church for comfort. She was only 26. It was during that time she was sexually assaulted by priest Erlindo “Lindo” Molon. In her lawsuit against the Kamloops Roman Catholic Diocese, she claimed Erlindo Molon raped her 75 -100 times over many months.

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