Showing posts with label SNAP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SNAP. Show all posts

Jul 2, 2013

Vatican Conspired to Hide $Millions from Sexual Assualt Victims

U.S. Senator (R-Wisconsin), Ron Johnson
Opposed Wisconsin Child Victims Bill giving
legal protection against Predator Priests
Update: Two facts to keep in mind about the Milwaukee Archdiocese documents released on July 1

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) testified before the Wisconsin State Senate in 2010 against state legislation, the Child Victims Act, to eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes, making it easier for victims of sexual abuse to seek damages from the Catholic Church or any other culpable institution, Talking Points Memo, Dan Bice, Daily Kos, Uppity Wisconsin, and many other online journals reported.

In 2009, Johnson, a private citizen, also traveled from Oshkosh to Madison to deliver additional testimony opposing the Child Victims Act.

Johnson was successful in his efforts.

In Johnson ready now to recant his testimony?

Today would be a good time.

Not sure how often Johnson reads the New York Times, but today's report that "documents reveal that Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, as Milwaukee’s archbishop, moved to protect $57 million in church assets from sexual-abuse victims," is the kind of news that might result in a Johnson re-think.

And today, State Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) has reintroduced the Child Victims Act, noting that the "National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect estimates that only about 3 percent of child molesters are ever caught. That raises the specter of hundreds of pedophiles walking the streets of Wisconsin towns, safe in the knowledge that they are protected by the law from ever being held accountable for their crimes."

Whose side is Ron Johnson on?

His friends hide $57 million and he helps kill legislation that would offer a chance of some measure of healing for sexual assault victims.

From a policy perspective Johnson takes the side of the perpetrators, against the children.

With allies like Sen. Ron Johnson, the Vatican, Cardinal Dolan and the molesters must believe they are untouchable.

They are not.

That smoke wafting from the Vatican and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan's New York plush offices today is not white smoke signaling the election of a new Pope.

This smoke is emitting from a smoking gun; or perhaps more justifiably described as a decades-long smoke screen the Catholic Church hierarchy has emitted to cover up the sexual abuse of its clergy against children.

Out of Milwaukee, we are treating to the news reported by Laurie Goodstein (NYT) that documents reveal Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, as Milwaukee’s archbishop, moved to protect $57 million in church assets from sexual-abuse victims. [See also Michael D'Antonio's and M.L. Johnson's reporting on the Catholic Church's shanda.]

Why should people traumatized for life by the Catholic Church hierarchy, with the complicity of the Vatican, be compensated?

It's called decency, a human trait apparently absent from Cardinal Dolan, regarded by some as a reformer—in Catholic Church holy nomenclature, this means a church official who has beseeched the hierarchy to stop shielding predatory priests, stop molesting children, but works against legislation stopping victims from receiving funds from the Church to help treat sexual trauma.

Not surprisingly, the Republican legislature didn't slip in the Child Sexual Abuse Victims Act into the state budget (lamely opposed by the Democratic Party). I guess sexual abuse victims don't make for sympathetic players in Scott Walker's Wisconsin. Open for business, and that includes you, sexual predators, just don't get caught and then you're home free.

Writes Goodstein:

But the documents lift the curtain on [Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan's] role as a workaday church functionary concerned with safeguarding assets, persuading abusive priests to leave voluntarily in exchange for continued stipends and benefits, and complying with Rome’s sluggish canonical procedures for dismissing uncooperative priests who he had long concluded were remorseless and a serious risk to children. In one case, the Vatican took five years to remove a convicted sex offender from the priesthood.

“As victims organize and become more public, the potential for true scandal is very real,” he wrote in such a request in 2003 to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Vatican office charged with handling abuse cases until he became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Victims on Monday called for a federal investigation into the actions of Cardinal Dolan and his predecessors, but the cardinal sought to deflect criticism by saying in a statement Monday that he welcomed the release of the documents.

The current archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome E. Listecki, had announced his decision to release the documents in April, one day before a judicial hearing. Lawyers for abuse victims had asked a judge to compel their release.

Archbishop Listecki released a letter last week warning Catholics in his archdiocese that the documents could shake their faith, and trying to explain the actions of church leaders while offering apologies to victims.

“Prepare to be shocked,” he wrote. “There are some graphic descriptions about the behavior of some of these priest offenders.”
Shocked by "true scandal?" No shit.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests '(SNAP) reaction is to seek the hidden $ millions and award the money to the 1,000s of victims.

New York Cardinal conspired with Vatican while in Milwaukee to transfer nearly $57 million into new corporation for the “protection” of funds “from any legal claim and liability”

Milwaukee Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January 2011 not claiming Dolan’s transferred funds as assets.

Survivors asking US attorney to investigate Dolan for criminal charges of “fraudulent conveyance”

Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee) CONTACT: 414.429.7259

Click here for Dolan letter to Vatican.
See Below for Ron Johnson Testifing Against Child Abuse Victims; Opposing Child Victims Act in Wisconsin

Feb 25, 2013

Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese—No Contrition, More Shameful Attacks on Victims

Lobbying for the church blocked measures helping
child victims in Wisconsin, Arizona and Connecticut in 2010.

Update: Vatican Summoned Before UN Committee on Rights of the Child

The Catholic Church. What is wrong with these people in the Catholic hierarchy? Have they no sense of shame? Not even the Catholic Church's GOP friends can save these predators now.

By David Clohessy

Jim Stang is a bankruptcy expert. He’s been involved in nine Catholic institutional bankruptcies-more than any other attorney. In 2010, he was named “Bankruptcy Lawyer of the Year.” He knows this stuff.

And according to the National Catholic Reporter, Stang says that he has “not faced anywhere near the number of challenges to claims” as in Milwaukee.

In recent years, 574 alleged victims have come forward in response to the Milwaukee archdiocese bankruptcy filing. Catholic officials are trying to toss out 400 of them.

What a particularly cruel "bait and switch" maneuver. Church officials repeatedly claim “We’re seeking bankruptcy so we can be sure we’re able to help ALL victims.” Then, after running mandatory notification ads across Wisconsin urging victims to come forward, church officials now try to disqualify 400 of them.

Again, no other Catholic institution has played this kind of legal hardball with this many alleged victims.

And while we’re on the subject of Catholic bankruptcy claims, thanks to the AP’s Rachel Zoll who got it right recently, when she wrote “Milwaukee is the eighth diocese in the U.S. to seek bankruptcy protection since the abuse scandal erupted in 2002 in Boston.”

Notice she didn’t say or assume that dioceses seek bankruptcy protection because they’re broke. That’s a common – and wrong-headed - assumption. Zoll simply states the fact, without ascribing motive.

The sun doesn’t rise each morning because many people drink coffee then. The fact that two things may happen around the same time doesn’t indicate causation.

And Catholic officials don’t declare bankruptcy because they’re running out of money. They declare bankruptcy to avoid embarrassing trials that expose the corruption of the hierarchy.
As we written here before maybe now Wisconsin's dumb Sen. Ron Johnson will disavow his speaking out against the Wisconsin Child Victims Act just before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Feb 22, 2013

How Do PR Men of Catholic Church Speak with Straight Faces

Lobbying for the church blocked measures helping
child victims in Wisconsin, Arizona and Connecticut in 2010.
By David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
“How does he keep a straight face?” That’s the question I often think about the public relations staffers who work for Catholic officials.

Take Joseph Zwilling, the PR man for New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Here’s what Zwilling released yesterday about his boss’ deposition in clergy sex crimes cases:

"Today Cardinal Dolan had the long-awaited opportunity to talk about his decision nine years ago in Milwaukee to publicize the names of priests who had abused children and how he responded to the tragedy of past clergy sexual abuse of minors. . .” (Annysa Johnson and Bruce Vielmetti of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Long-awaited? Really?

Ever met anyone who really looked forward to being deposed by a hostile lawyer in a child sex case?

Dolan’s a chatty guy. He blogs a lot. He gives lots of interviews. Maybe we missed it, but we don’t recall even once hearing Dolan say “Geez, I’m just dying to sit in a room for hours, surrounded by lawyers, and face questions under oath about predator priests. . .”

Notice too that Zwilling mentions Dolan’s alleged desire to talk about “the good work and progress that took place to ensure the protection of children and pastoral outreach to victims" in Milwaukee and Dolan’s decision there “to publicize the names of priests who had abused children.”

That move, we’re convinced, was part of a shrewd strategy to forestall legislative reform that would have enabled more child sex victims to expose more predator priests in court.

But regardless, if publicizing the names of child molesting clerics in Milwaukee was “good work” and “progress,” why does Dolan refuse to do the same thing in New York?
Maybe now Wisconsin's dumb Ron Johnson will disavow his speaking out against the Wisconsin Child Victims Act just before he was elected to the U.S. Senate. First, he needs to pray on it, I suppose.

As Dan Bice reported in June 2010:
"People want a senator (referring to Johnson) who is going to fight for victims of abuse, not lobby against them," said John Kraus, a senior strategist for the incumbent Democrat [running against Ron Johnson]. "If he won't stand with children who are victims of abuse, who will he stand with?"

Here are the key political questions:

Why did a guy considering a run for statewide office decide to jump into a controversy that cuts across party lines? What upside could there be?

Only (Ron) Johnson can answer those.

In an interview last week, he said he was first contacted on the issue by Deacon Tim Reilly, director of administration for the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. Though a Lutheran, Johnson is a big backer of Catholic schools and was serving on the diocese's finance council at the time of his testimony.

The proposal [the Child Victims Act] would have eliminated the statute of limitations for future victims of child sex abuse and opened a three-year window for past victims.

It [the Child Victims Act] was opposed by the insurance industry and church organizations, including the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which argued the bill could bankrupt it. The measure had the support of several police organizations, social workers and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

Feb 11, 2013

Pope Is Driven from Office; Survivors' Group Responds

Update: Pope’s Resignation May Make International Prosecution Easier, Says Center for Constitutional Rights

Can anyone imagine an institution with less credibility to explain why Pope Benedict XVI has announced he is resigning?

Less than one week after the release of the film, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, which implicated the Vatican and the Pope in the cover-up in the Roman Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal and exposed the scandal to a widening audience, the Pope says he's resigning because of advancing age.

The Pope's statement includes no mention of the Church's sexual abuse scandals.

No apologies. Nothing.

The Times reports today:

When he took office, Pope Benedict’s well-known stands included the assertion that Catholicism is “true” and other religions are “deficient”; that the modern, secular world, especially in Europe, is spiritually weak; and that Catholicism is in competition with Islam. He had also strongly opposed homosexuality, the ordination of female priests and stem cell research. ...

Benedict’s tenure was caught up in growing sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church that crept ever closer to the Vatican itself.

In 2010, as outrage built over clerical abuses, some secular and liberal Catholic voices called for his resignation, their demands fueled by reports that laid part of the blame at his doorstep, citing his response both as a bishop long ago in Germany and as a cardinal heading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles such cases.

In one disclosure, news emerged that in 1985, when Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, he signed a letter putting off efforts to defrock a convicted child-molesting priest. He cited the priest’s relative youth but also the good of the church.

Vatican officials and experts who follow the papacy dismissed the idea of his stepping down at the time. “There is no objective motive to think in terms of resignation, absolutely no motive,” said Father Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. “It’s a completely unfounded idea.”

Reuters reports: "Ratzinger served in the Hitler Youth during World War Two when membership was compulsory."  

A strange observation. Since when is collaboration with NAZIs compulsory?  

Most of the press is going along for the ride in its uncritical reporting of what the Vatican says as though this were a credible source of information.  

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has also issued a statement.

The statement is published below in its entirety.   
The College of Cardinals will now look to its membership for a new leader, someone who can lead the Church into a new era. We hope that they look for a man among them who will protect the most vulnerable among the faithful: innocent children and reach out to the most hurt among the faithful: victims of clergy sexual abuse.

For the Church to truly embody the spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ, it must be led by a pontiff who demands transparency, exposes child-molesting clerics, punishes wrongdoers and enablers, cooperates with law enforcement, and makes true amends to those who were hurt so greatly by Catholic priests, employees and volunteers.

The era of cover-up and secrecy in the Catholic Church must end. Our greatest hope is that the newest Pope agrees and becomes a true leader in the spirit and teaching of the Gospels..

Victims of child sexual abuse agree on one thing: they want to ensure that what happened to them never happens to another child. The only way for that to happen is for the Cardinals to select a Pontiff who puts child safety and victim healing first, as the teachings of Jesus Christ dictate.

Feb 5, 2013

Wisconsin Gets Leading Role in Catholic Church Atrocity Film

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Alex Gibney: "Judging from statements from the Vatican, it's as if there has barely been a sex abuse crisis." ... "I think what this film does is show what happens to institutions when they become so convinced of their own goodness that they imagine that they can do no wrong."

Wisconsin, former Milwaukee DA E. Michael McCann (1968-2006), the city of Milwaukee, Boulder Junction, Three Lakes, former Archbishop Rembert Weakland and host of heroic activists refusing to remain victims are featured in Alex Gibney's powerful, disturbing, inspiring and brilliant new documentary on the Catholic Church and its systemic preying on children by Catholic priests protected from on high, the current pope, Rat-something, who gives a shit what the guy's name is—Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.

McCann and the Milwaukee Police Dept. don't come off well. They come off as bystanders and careerists who chose to look the other way.

Weakland is a hero, just not to the Catholic Church and its sick dogma.

By the way, to keep up on this ongoing atrocity, bookmark the good folks at SNAP, Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests.

Ron Johnson, Wisconsin's dumb senator, is not mentioned by name in the film but as he and his fellow Republicans saw fit to kill the Wisconsin Child Victims Act and take the side of the molesters and rapists, his actions live in the film as well.

I'm betting the current Republican legislature and Scott Walker won't have a change of heart.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.
The Republican Party has consolidated its allegiance with the the hierarchy of the Catholic Church now.

That's why the Wisconsin Child Victims Act was killed. Locally, around here (the Madison area) Morlino is the head shit-head.

Whenever I think of organized pond scum such as the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, I take solace in the words of Norman Cohn. A "mood of passive compliance" is all that is required for atrocities to take place.

But these victims, robbed of their childhoods, spoke up, beginning with homemade flyers (at right) they handed out at Milwaukee City Hall and Catholic institutions.

This is the beginning of how this came to light. I surely would like to meet these people some day and have a cold beer with them.

Passive compliance v. these brave people.

Passive compliance never stood a chance.

Feb 29, 2012

Back from Rome, GOP-loving Archbishop Listecki Hits Back Again

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Annysa Johnson in the MJS notes this morning that, "Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, who just returned from a papal meeting in Rome, issued a letter to local Catholics on Tuesday excoriating the media, lawmakers and plaintiffs' attorneys in the bankruptcy."

I could not think of a less credible character than the pederast-protecting, Scott Walker-defending Listecki to excoriate anybody.

Listecki's letter is an outrage in itself referring to the legion of sexual attacks against minors by stating child rape has: “sometimes [been] very badly handled by Church leaders.”

You think?

That's right Listecki, mass rape of children has been badly handled, as in enabled and perpetrated; but Listecki cries out that the Catholic Church is the real victim.

There is no excuse for what happened within the Church. But there is also no excuse for public officials or media to hold the Church to a different standard than other institutions in society.

As a Church, WE voluntarily hold ourselves to a higher standard.
I was not aware of the media or any public official taking up the cause of rapists and sexual assualt perpetrators, except for the Catholic Church.

As Gene Lyons writes in Salon: "In a bankruptcy proceeding [in early February], the diocese of Milwaukee listed 8,000 claims of sexual abuse among its liabilities. I’m with Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce, who writes that the great contraceptive kerfuffle with the Obama administration represents a fairly obvious power play by 'the institutional American church to regain the power and influence in the secular government that it lost when it was exposed to be a multigenerational conspiracy to obstruct justice.'"

To keep up on the higher standards of the Catholic Church, see SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, working since 1988 to stand up for and help heal the sexually abused. And please check out the video below:

Murder of Our Soul from Farcry Productions on Vimeo.

Feb 16, 2012

Archbishop works AGAINST sexually abused children; Gives GOP thumbs-up for averting its gaze

Scott Walker should tell Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki to direct his energy towards helping the children abused and raped by Catholic Church priests. Then he and Sen. Ron Johnson should renounce the Church's crime against humanity, and offer some help.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki has found the chutzpah to advise Wisconsin about corruption, Scott Walker and the recall.

As Dan Bice writes:

In case you missed it, here is the eight-minute segment in which Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki sits down with WITI-TV (Channel 6) over the weekend to chat about Gov. Scott Walker, the possible recall election and church and politics.

The bottom line: Listecki gives his blessing to Walker but not the recall.
Survivors of the Church are outraged.

SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests has been working since 1988 to stand up for and help heal the sexually abused. It's mission is clear:

We expose predators and those who shield them. We build policies and practices within secular and religious organizations that protect children now and in the future.
SNAP finds that perpetrators, most infamously the Catholic Church—guilty of nothing less than mass rape and abuse of children—enjoy the company of collaborators covering up the crime, and compounding the crime by becoming the obstacle to healing the trauma of its predatory priests.

WISN reported:

Advocates for the sexually abused ... claimed the move was more about protecting church secrets than about money.

The head of SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said the group is very interested in what will happen during the bankruptcy proceedings.

"The biggest we concern we have about the next step is, kind of much to our amazement, the archdiocese is going to be in court Feb. 9 and their lawyers will try to throw out the vast majority of victims they asked to come forward," said Peter Isely.

The Milwaukee archdiocese is the eighth in the U.S. [out of 32 archdioceses] to seek bankruptcy protection since the scandal in the Catholic Church came to light in 2002.
Now, the Catholic Church hiearchy has consolidated its political alliance with the Republican Party; and the GOP (see Is the Catholic Church Just a Super PAC in Robes?) is not particluar about the company it keeps if it helps the Party acquire power.

But decent people of Wisconsin should stand up for the betrayed children and demand accoutability from Listecki no matter how deeply into the black hole of nihilism the Church has veered. In return for averting its eyes from the Church's sins committed onto children and women, the GOP is assisting the Church's political maneuver stating repeatedly that President Obama is at war with religion, and blocking bills protecting children.

As Jimmy Breslin writes in his The Church That Forgot Christ (Simon and Schuster, 2004), after leaving the Catholic Church in disgust:

I know one thing. [Former Head of the Bishops Conference William D.] Gregory's church history cannot stand the light of a heavy candle. I issue mine [estimate of abused children] after doing what he and his bishops don't know how to do: walk the streets of the parishes and listen to Catholics who, slowly, reluctantly, but so surely, tell of atrocities by priests on the young.
If the desperate Catholic Church wants to dive further into American politics, so be it; the United States is often a free country.

But the Catholic Church—as the misogynistic and child-rapist protection racket that it has become—and its collaborators like Scott Walker, Ron Johnson and the Republican Party need to look into their conscience and stop, not make worse, the trauma that 100,000s of human beings carry with them until they die.