Voices from Russia

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Catholic Church Lawyer Details Cover-Up Claims on Sex Abuse

01 sweep under rug



This is a read n’ heed… our people act in the same way. I need only mention the names of Gleb Podmoshensky, Panteleimon Metropoulos, Isidore Brittain, Sam Greene, and Seraphim Storheim. The lies issued forth by the institutional church and by the goodthinkers are disgusting and without warrant. Toddler assholes like Rod Dreher should shut up about the Catholics… we do the same exact thing (sadly enough).

Note well that the OCA hasn’t given up on denying Storheim’s guilt… they’re wasting the donations of the faithful in a bootless attempt to clear a perv. You can believe Mr Justice Mainella or you can believe Jeff Gindin (Storheim’s shyster mouthpiece)… I believe the former… he found Storheim and his lawyer “without credibility”. I agree. We have a shit-spattered byre to clean and we have no call to point fingers. This story illustrates a crank institutional culture that we share in its entirety. We’ve fallen and we REFUSE to get up. After all, didn’t the OCA give Peterson a “Get Out of Jail Free” card? ‘Nuff said…



A canon lawyer alleging a widespread cover-up of clergy sex misconduct in the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis made her most detailed claims yet, accusing archbishops and their top staff of lying to the public and of ignoring the American bishops’ pledge to have no tolerance of priests who abuse. Jennifer Haselberger, who spent five years as Archbishop John Nienstedt’s archivist and top adviser on Roman Catholic church law, also charged that the church used a chaotic system of record-keeping that helped conceal the backgrounds of guilty priests who remained on assignment. Haselberger said that when she started examining records in 2008 of clergy under restrictions over sex misconduct with adults and children she found “nearly 20” of the 48 men still in ministry.

She said that she repeatedly warned Nienstedt and his aides about the risk of these placements, but they took action only in one case. Because she raised alarms, she said that they eventually shut her out of meetings about clerical misconduct. She resigned last year. Haselberger wrote in an affidavit released Tuesday in a civil lawsuit brought by attorney Jeff Anderson, “Had there been any serious desire to implement change, it could’ve been done quickly and easily with the stroke of a single pen. The archbishop’s administrative authority in his diocese is basically unlimited”.

For years, the archdiocese pledged that it was following the national bishops’ policy, known as the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”, which lays out a series of requirements… from conducting background checks to alerting parishioners about offender priests and barring guilty clergy from parish assignments. Archbishop Harry Flynn, who led the Minneapolis archdiocese until retiring in 2008, was an architect of the 12-year-old plan. However, Haselberger said that she discovered in 2008 that the archdiocese hadn’t conducted background checks on most priests since the early 1990s.

When she drew attention to the lapse, she said that they told her to eliminate references to the date of background checks in a form pledging a priest is suitable for ministry. Haselberger said that she found priests’ records scattered in storage locations throughout the archdiocese, including the history of allegations against them, their compliance with the monitoring programme, and evidence of their misconduct. She said, “The presence of so many files in so many different locations meant that often important information didn’t make its way into the priest’s personnel file”.

She also said the archdiocese gave inaccurate information to auditors hired by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to monitor dioceses’ compliance with the child protection plan. Haselberger noted that the auditors didn’t have access to church files to check whether the archdiocese’s report matched the records. She said, “They would’ve found out that it didn’t”. Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens said in a statement that Haselberger’s “recollections aren’t always shared by others within the archdiocese”. He said that the archdiocese was taking steps toward “greater transparency and accountability”.

Since the clergy abuse scandal began in 1984, then, erupted into a national crisis in 2002, the American church has been flooded with revelations… from civil lawsuits, grand jury inquiries, and the bishops’ own research… about how dioceses consistently put the interests of the church above victims. Still, Haselberger’s accusations stand out because of her credentials and timing. She’s the highest-level official from an American diocese to make claims of a cover-up. A canon lawyer educated at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, she served as a judge on church tribunals in Minnesota and was trained through the US bishops’ conference on child safety and monitoring guilty clergy. In addition, Haselberger is coming forward in what Anderson calls “real time”. The bulk of previous disclosures about American bishops sheltering abusers were made years, if not decades, after the wrongdoing. Haselberger alleges a cover-up is happening now in Minnesota.

When Haselberger’s allegations first became public in a series of reports last September by Minnesota Public Radio, the archdiocese initially defended its record on preventing abuse. Since then, Nienstedt apologised for any mistakes and said in a deposition that he hid some information on accused clergy from police. A task force Nienstedt formed to review how the archdiocese handled abuse claims released a report in April conceding “serious shortcomings” by church officials. Haselberger said that the Rev Kevin McDonough… the archdiocese’s vicar general or top aide for 17 years, and brother of White House chief of staff Denis McDonough… never accepted the discipline plan American bishops adopted in 2002 that streamlined church law so that the dioceses could bar guilty priests from ministry or remove them from the priesthood altogether.

McDonough continued his previous approach of striking agreements with accused offenders to remain priests but stay away, sometimes providing them extra payments to do so. McDonough oversaw clergy misconduct cases until last September. Haselberger wrote, “He explained to me his position that dismissal wasn’t the right solution for the church”. Haselberger said that McDonough called the archdiocese’s monitoring system for priests guilty of sex misconduct “state of the art”. However, she said that the program relied heavily on self-reporting by guilty priests with no verification of what they reported. In one example, she said that Rev Robert Kapoun, accused of molesting several young boys, is enrolled in the monitoring program, but spends the winter months in Florida without oversight. Another priest, just out of prison after his conviction for victimising an adult woman during counselling, was placed in a retired priests’ home where minors worked. Haselberger said that the archdiocese learned of the problem from the priest’s probation officer. She said that when top Nienstedt lieutenant Rev Peter Laird learned about the problem, he said that the young people should be fired. Laird resigned as vicar general last September. He didn’t respond Tuesday to an e-mail request for comment.

Meanwhile, Nienstedt announced on 1 July that allegations were made against him several months ago of inappropriate sexual behaviour and he’d hired a firm to investigate. Nienstedt told the Catholic magazine Commonweal that he’d never engaged in sexual misconduct, nor had he made any sexual advances. Haselberger told Commonweal that the firm interviewed her, and investigators have about 10 sworn statements alleging sexual impropriety by Nienstedt. Last year, Minnesota lawmakers temporarily abolished time limits on civil lawsuits over child sex abuse, for three years. Similar windows for lawsuits in other states have resulted in total payouts by dioceses in the tens of millions of dollars and more.

15 July 2014

Rachel Zoll

Associated Press



We’ve done all of the above… and more. Look at how Paffhausen defended Ray Velencia… I’d say that the public record of the Koumentakos case speaks eloquently of both of these men. Also, don’t forget how JP allowed Ray, a priest under suspension, to present himself as a priest in good standing at a GOAA parish, and to sue Fr Michael Regan, a priest in good standing. Now, that’s something that’s never occurred amongst the RCs… a suspended priest suing a priest in good standing… that’s special, ain’t it? No, we have NOTHING to chortle about… we’re in WORSE shape than the RCs are, and we won’t get anywhere until we admit it and stop defending the plug-uglies.

However, must we drain the cup to the bottom? I hope not…



Sunday, 30 November 2008

A View from Moscow by Valentin Zorin… Reason for Worry



The Pentagon is stricken with panic. Dark clouds have gathered in the sky over a programme which has, for a quarter of a century now, generated billions upon billions of dollars for those whom the great President Dwight D Eisenhower described as the military-industrial complex of America. President-elect Barack Obama refrained from pledging continued action under what’s known as the Strategic Defence Initiative. He chose words with utmost care every time he would mention that pet project of his predecessors in the course of his electoral campaign. He said the Strategic Defence Initiative could survive if it could prove its effectiveness. That he sticks to that position was confirmed by his aide Denis McDonough. According to Mr McDonough, President-elect Obama wants the new technologies to prove their effectiveness. The director of the Washington-headquartered Antimissile Defence Agency, Air Force Lieutenant General Henry Obering, was quick to say that existing plans for antimissile defence are feasible and that he’d let Mr Obama know this. I can’t help noticing that a fairly vague word, “feasible”, was used by the definitely-annoyed Lieutenant General Obering. The director of the American anti-missile defence programme refrained from the use of stronger words. It wasn’t that this high-ranking member of the outgoing Administration was afraid of saying the wrong thing to supposedly change-hungry Mr Obama. It’s because the Pentagon is still looking for a way to prove it’s made good use of the decades of painstaking efforts and enormous allocations for its highly-ambitious strategic defence initiative. It’s looking for a way to prove that the USA has an impenetrable anti-missile umbrella.

Ronald Reagan got used to the idea of “Star Wars” in Hollywood, and the great physicist Edward Teller convinced him of the feasibility of the star wars project. The Strategic Defence Initiative was launched in 1983, but, Professor Teller would soon see that he’d made a mistake. An honest scholar, he tried to talk President Reagan out of the highly-demanding project. He tried hard, but got nowhere. The Strategic Defence Initiative landed in the lap of military-industrial corporations, which were only too happy to sign up for it. Fifty celebrated scholars of America, Nobel Prize winners, all of them, tried to use the combined weight of their distinguished personal records in an effort to ditch the ineffective and highly-dangerous Strategic Defence Initiative. They wrote to tell the White House that “no technology exists that’d enable the kill vehicle to keep ahead of improvements to offensive weapons… Even if the next planned test of the proposed anti-ballistic missile system works as planned, any movement toward deployment would be premature, wasteful, and dangerous”. Apparently, the American Nobel Prize winners had every reason to say what they said.

The latest economic developments show that an integral and highly important element of the arms race, which was re-started by the Bush Administration, the anti-missile defence programme, weighs down as an unbearable burden on the economy of the United States of America. Attempts to spread the arms race to outer space and plans for the opening of new missile bases explain the latest turn to the worse in international relations. This is what the fifty prize-winning scholars talked about eight years ago. However, the White House has, in defiance of facts and the elements, forced the Pentagon to hold one anti-missile test after another. Most of those tests were anything but successful, which brought celebrated physicist Andrew Sessler and other highly-qualified experts to declare that the system in question would, if it ever got fielded, prove dysfunctional.

The arrogant stubbornness of Washington, which kept pushing on with its pet project, placed a very heavy and incessantly-growing burden on the American economy. The federal government expects the final cost of its antimissile defence program to top 150 billion dollars (4.189 trillion roubles. 118.455 billion euros. 97.665 billion UK pounds). The federal government repeats what the godfathers of this programme say. Nevertheless, other knowledgeable people see that far-from-small sum as the tip of the iceberg. They expect the highly-questionable anti-missile defence program to cost from 800 billion to 1.2 trillion dollars (22.423 to 33.514 trillion roubles. 632 to 948 billion euros. 522 to 782 billion UK pounds). That cost estimate gives American policy-makers much food for thought. Alarmed voices were heard on Capitol Hill way before the eruption of the current crisis. It’s worth pointing out that the running mate of Barack Obama, Senator Joseph Biden, was one of those to doubt the advisability of additional allocations for the anti-missile defence program. Now that the American economy has come to face new problems, it’s only natural for increasingly-nervous Americans to start losing confidence in the ruling élite. After all, the Pentagon can’t dispel people’s fears with convincing figures and argumentation.

28 November 2008

zorin_vValentin Zorin

Voice of Russia World Service


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