Black Collar Crime (June/July 2020)
Compiled by Bill Dunn
Arrested / Charged
Brian Mahiques, 41, Concord, NC: 2 counts of statutory sex offense and 3 counts of indecent liberties with a minor. Mahiques, lead pastor of Encounter Church, is accused of offenses when he was youth pastor at Refuge Church in 2005–06 involving 2 members of the church youth group who were under age 16. Source: WCNC, 5-7-20
Kris Casey, Worcester, MA, pastor of Adams Square Baptist Church, was cited a second time and faces a $300 fine for defying Gov. Charlie Baker’s ban on gatherings of 10 or more people during the coronavirus state of emergency.
Casey was delivered a warning by Police Chief Steve Sargent, who handed him a letter after his first Sunday service April 26. Several days later, 56 people attended the service.
“You know, some people aren’t happy we’re meeting today,” said Casey during the April 26 service, which was also streamed online. “To them, I say I’m sorry. I’m sorry you feel that way, but I would rather upset your feelings than disappoint my God.”
If Casey violates the order again, he will face a $500 fine and a possible criminal charge. Source: WCVB, 5-3-20
Levi Esh Sr., 63, Pequea Township, PA: Felony and misdemeanor counts of failure to report to appropriate authorities. Esh was bishop for 2 Amish churches when a congregation member allegedly admitted to him in 2012 or 2013 that he’d molested 3 girls. The charge says that Esh didn’t contact police or social services and handled the matter internally.
John G. Beiler, 41, is accused of 9 sexual abuse counts involving the girls between 2011–15. According to prosecutors, Esh told Beiler to admit his sins to the girls’ fathers and was excommunicated from the church. Source: WGAL, 4-23-20
Burnice L. Mikell, 64, Opa-locka, FL: Aggravated battery on an elderly person. Mikell, pastor of Mt. Tabor Ministries, which rents space from Opa-locka Church of God, is accused of battery on Felipe Madrigal, 70, president of the Rotary Club of Doral.
Madrigal told police he had gone to the area to deliver 12 pallets of food when Mikell got angry that he wasn’t contacted first about the delivery. Mikell apparently thought the food was going to be donated to his church and not handed out that day, Madrigal said.
He told police that when he asked the pastor why he wasn’t going to help, he punched him in the face, knocking him out. “My phone went flying. It is broken.” Source: WPLG, 4-23-20
Menachem Hilel, 29, Ariel Balon, 37, and Moshe Blumenfeld, 20, New York City, were charged variously with assault, criminal trespass, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration for violating the city’s social distancing restrictions outside the world headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch in Brooklyn.
“After numerous warnings from officers and continued disputes, three arrests were made,” NYPD Chief Terence Monahan wrote in a tweet. The temple is closed due to the coronavirus restrictions. Source: NY Post, 4-19-20
Richard O. Oduor, Rome: Negligently spreading an infectious disease. Oduor, a Catholic priest based in Italy, was charged in Kenya, where he presided over a relative’s funeral and several more Masses, distributed communion to congregants and failed to comply with quarantine regulations for travelers into Kenya, it’s alleged.
Oduor eventually tested positive for the coronavirus, was hospitalized for 2 weeks and has since recovered. He was charged after being released from the hospital. Kenyan officials were able to locate and quarantine about 130 people who had come into contact with him before he was diagnosed. Source: Catholic News Agency, 4-18-20
Wyndford Williams, Richmond, CA, pastor of All Nations Church of God in Christ, was cited for violating health ordinances enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19. He was the first Bay Area religious leader charged with such a violation.
A Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy found about 40 people who were not social distancing or wearing masks at Easter Sunday services, spokesman Jimmy Lee alleged. “The deputy first spoke to the deacon and asked to speak to the pastor who was in front of the parishioners. The pastor was uncooperative and refused to talk to the deputy,” Lee said. Source: Mercury News, 4-16-20
Muhammad Saad Khandalvi, leader of a mosque in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin suburb, has been charged with culpable homicide not resulting in death for hosting a nearly month-long March gathering attended by thousands of adherents of Tablighi Jamaat, a worldwide Sunni Muslim group that promotes a pure form of Islam and uses missionaries.
The event has been linked to 1,023 COVID-19 cases across 17 Indian states. Police also arrested more than 2 dozen others, including 16 foreigners, who participated in the gathering. The mosque’s premises include dormitories to house hundreds of people. Some of the attendees were unable to return to their homes when countries locked down their borders. Source: BBC, 4-16-20
Thirteen people in a suburb of Split, Croatia, were arrested in front of a Catholic church where they had gathered to support a priest who held a Palm Sunday Mass with 20 worshippers present, breaching measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Josip Delas, 70, who had been warned about breaching stay-at-home orders but still opened his church, was among those cited. Source: Balkan Insight, 4-14-20
Christian preachers Saw Kwe Wah and Saw David Lah and 2 others were charged in Myanmar by authorities for organizing religious gatherings in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) in defiance of a ban imposed in the wake of the coronavirus.
A video clip showed Lah telling worshippers they would be protected by Jesus. An official from the Health Ministry said at least 19 people who joined the ceremonies or were in contact with those who were present tested positive for the coronavirus. Source: Andalou Agency, 4-14-20
Fernando Aguas, Merced, CA, was cited for holding Easter Sunday services at Iglesia de Cristo with 50–60 people attending. “He put his entire congregation in jeopardy. One person could have showed up not knowing they’re infected [with COVID-19] and infected the entire congregation,” said Sheriff Vern Warnke.
Warnke rescinded the citation a week later after Aguas agreed to stop opening the church and instead visit people in their homes while ensuring social distancing. “You still have freedom of speech and freedom of religion, you’re just gonna have to do it a different way,” he said. Source: KFSN, 4-13-20
John McIntosh, Davis, IL: Criminal sexual abuse of a minor, alleged to have occurred last January. McIntosh is pastor at Cedarville Baptist Church, has been on the board of directors of a “crisis” pregnancy center and has worked summers for a Christian camp. He’s also accredited through the American Association of Christian Counselors.
“John has been married to Lori, a truly God-given helpmeet, since 1998,” the church’s website says. “John and Lori have been blessed with three children.” Source: WREX, 4-7-20
Samuel George, Toba Tek Singh, Pakistan, who is pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, catechist Yousaf Masih and 2 others were cited for leading a public procession on Palm Sunday in violation of a law banning gatherings. Pakistan at the time had reported 3,864 cases of COVID-19 and 55 deaths. Source: UCA News, 4-7-20
Fifteen men in Lakewood, NJ, were charged with violating Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order banning large gatherings after police broke up the funeral of Orthodox Jewish rabbi Chaim Moshe Strulovics, 72. About 70 people had gathered outside the synagogue, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement, and became “unruly and argumentative” when police moved in.
Of the 1,200-plus confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ocean County, Lakewood has about 36% of them, with a population of 103,000. At least 5 Lakewood rabbis have died of complications from the coronavirus. Strulovics had tested negative, his grandson said. Source: Washington Post, 4-3-20
Samuel Karyeah, 54, Gbarnga, Liberia: Statutory rape. Karyeah, dean of the Gbarnga School of Theology and senior pastor of a United Methodist parish, is accused of having intercourse with a girl, now 15, on multiple occasions from September 2019 through early 2020.
According to a family source, he promised to pay her school fees in exchange for sexual favors. Source: Liberian Daily Observer, 4-3-20
Augustine Yiga, Kampala, Uganda: Uttering false information and spreading harmful propaganda about the coronavirus. Yiga, pastor of Revival Christian Church and a father of 8, made a televised comment that “there is no coronavirus in Uganda and Africa.” At least 33 positive cases have been diagnosed in Uganda, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Deogratius Kiibi, pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mpigi, Uganda, was arrested for defying a presidential directive on religious gatherings. Seven parishioners in attendance while Kiibi was saying Mass were also charged.
President Yoweri Museveni on March 18 banned all mass gatherings to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Source: Daily Monitor, 3-31-20
John Orberg II, Glen St. Mary, FL: Child abuse. Orberg, pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Macclenny, is accused of groping a 16-year-old girl in his home in January. The girl, a family friend, told police she was asleep on the couch and awoke to him lying beside her and rubbing the insides of her upper thighs.
Several phone calls between Orberg and the girl were monitored by detectives in which he didn’t deny the allegation and blamed his behavior on a medication he took that night. Source: Action News Jax, 3-30-20
Pauly Padayatty, 58, Koodapuzha, India, was arrested for celebrating a funeral Mass despite provisions enacted to prevent spread of the coronavirus. Padayatty, pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, later apologized. More than 100 people attended.
Two other priests were charged after celebrating public Mass on March 19 after religious services were suspended due to the pandemic. The priests face 6 months in jail and a fine for violating restrictions. Source: AsiaNews, 3-23-20
Pleaded / Convicted
Kent Whitney, 38, Newport Beach, CA: Pleaded guilty to mail fraud and filing a false income tax return. Whitney, pastor of the now-defunct Church for the Healthy Self in Westminster, admitted he scammed investors in a church trust fund out of $33 million from 2014–19 by falsely claiming their money was safe and guaranteeing a high, tax-deductible return on investment in the reinsurance industry.
The online church was shut down in 2019 after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint and a judge froze church assets. Whitney founded the “virtual” church in 2014 after he finished serving 44 months for commodities investment fraud. Source: AP, 4-17-20
Clifford Whiteley, 73, Tipton, England: 9 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual assault of a child and 3 other sex offenses more than 10 years ago when he was a Jehovah’s Witnesses elder.
Judge Paul Farrer told Whiteley he used religion “to convince your victim she was complicit in your wrongdoing and, in that way, sought to silence her and, sadly, you succeeded for many years.”
Prosectors said church officials refused to share with police what they had learned from Whiteley during a church investigation. Source: Birmingham Live, 4-12-20
An unidentified Catholic priest in Paris was fined $150 for celebrating Mass on the Saturday before Easter at St. Nicolas du Chardonnet Parish with about 40 people present during the coronavirus lockdown. Police shut down the service.
The church continued with live-streamed services on Sunday and Monday, although social distancing rules were observed. Source: Daily Mail, 3-13-20
Civil Lawsuits Filed
Catholic Charities, the Archdiocese of New York and Msgr. Kevin Sullivan are being sued for sex discrimination by Alice Kenny, 63, ex-director of special projects for the nonprofit.
“Mr. Sullivan has made it clear that physical attributes and not accomplishments are what matter most when it comes to female staff,” the suit alleges. “Facing out of the office, he keeps a life-size cutout of a scantily-clad Beyoncé for all of the employees at Catholic Charities to see.” The suit says Sullivan once mentioned that “Jennifer Lopez’s scant attire catches his eye.”
Kenny, who was hired in 2008, and other female staffers complained in 2016 about perceived harassment by senior manager Frederick Joseph, who resigned after an investigation. As retaliation, Kenny asserts, she was moved from an office to “a small desk in a hallway” and denied promotions before a 2019 demotion. Source: NY Post, 4-27-20
Hawaii Catholic clergy are among those accused in claims by at least 100 former students, medical patients and church members who came forward by the April 24 deadline for child abuse survivors to file.
“Some of the conduct is so reprehensible that you wouldn’t believe someone of the clergy would do it. But unfortunately, we’ve seen it over and over again,” said attorney Mark Gallagher, who represents dozens of victims.
Bishop of Honolulu Larry Silva acknowledged the suits at a Sunday Mass: “I cannot tell you how it turns my stomach to read of the abuse these people have suffered, and not only that, but how their faith was damaged.” Source: Hawaii News Now, 4-24-20
The Children’s Home, Winston-Salem, NC, and the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church are being sued by a 59-year-old man who alleges he and other orphans were molested by a husband and wife serving as house parents in the early 1970s.
About 20 children lived in the cottage overseen by Bruce Jackson “Jack” Biggs and Beatrice Hatcher Biggs. Jack Biggs also served as a substitute preacher at the Christian facility. The plaintiff alleges he was sexually abused for about 3 years starting when he was 10 by both of the Biggses, who also encouraged him and others to touch the genitals of several girls.
The suit says the Biggses are believed to have been fired around 1973 due to abuse allegations. Beatrice Biggs, 82, who lives in a nursing home, is not a defendant. Her husband died in 2015. Source: Winston-Salem Journal, 4-17-20
The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, NC, faces 2 new suits accusing 2 priests of sexual abuse. An unidentified Georgia plaintiff who was 14 in the 1970s when he sought help from Joseph Kelleher to deal with a family move, alleges he was molested. Kelleher died in 2014.
A North Carolina man alleges he was abused at age 14 by a different priest, Richard B. Farwell. “T.T.” alleges the abuse occurred after he told Farwell he had been raped by a truck driver while hitchhiking. Allegations about Farwell molesting boys first surfaced in 1985. He was criminally charged by Rowan County authorities in August 2019 and is free on bail.
Both men had previously sued the diocese in 2011 and 2012 but the cases were dismissed because too much time had passed. A “look back” provision enacted by legislators last November opened a 2-year window for child sexual abuse lawsuits to be filed, regardless of the statute of limitations. Source: Insurance Journal/Fox Charlotte, 4-15-20
The Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans is being sued by a man alleging he was molested by James C. Collery, pastor of St. Ann Parish in Metairie in the early 1980s when he was a 10-year-old altar boy. Collery was ordained in 1948 and died in 1987.
“It is clear that because the Archdiocese knew about Collery’s sexual abuse of at least one minor in 1983, Collery could have been prosecuted within the statute of limitations had he been reported to police,” the suit says.
The suit adds that the archdiocese has “engaged in zero outreach to potential Collery victims which, upon information and belief, there are several.” Source: WVUE, 4-8-20
A suit naming the Catholic Diocese of Allentown, PA, alleges pedophile priest Robert G. Cofenas began molesting plaintiff “John Doe” when he was a 7-year-old altar boy at Holy Rosary Parish in Reading and continued the abuse until Doe, now 56, was in his 30s.
Cofenas was first identified in the 2018 statewide grand jury report on abuse in the church. The report said church officials were aware of Cofenas’ inappropriate contact with a boy in 1979 and that he admitted molesting boys in 1981 and 1986. He was defrocked in 2005 and died in 2013.
The suit also identifies former priests Stephen Halabura and James Agosta as among those who molested Doe. Halabura retired in 2008 and self-reported an incident of abuse in 2019, which the diocese referred to law enforcement. Agosta, who died in 1995, does not appear on the diocese’s list of credibly accused priests. Source: Morning Call, 3-31-20
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of New York and Long Island monastery priest Gerasimos Makris have been sued by former nuns Elizabeth Brandenburg and Maria Kallis, who for a decade were allegedly harassed and touched sexually by Makris and became outcasts in the church after they complained. Kallis allegedly bore the brunt of the sexual misconduct
The women felt so ostracized that they left the state in 2018 in order to feel safe. Makris allegedly apologized to them in 2017 and was returned to the pulpit after initially being banned amid the allegations.
Brandenburg, 38, and Kallis, 37, now live in Missouri and run a company that employs survivors of sex trafficking and sells soaps and candles. Source: NY Post, 3-20-20
Civil Lawsuits Settled
The Titus Trust (formerly the Twerne Trust), a British group that operates Christian resorts called “holiday camps,” settled a suit with 3 men and expressed “profound regret” for the abuse carried out by John Smyth, trust chairman from 1974–81. The scandal has embroiled the Church of England and Justin Welby, current archbishop of Canterbury, who worked at the camps in the 1970s and claimed to be unaware of Smyth’s abuse.
Settlement terms weren’t disclosed. An internal 1982 investigation found that boys were given “horrific beatings” while naked or seminude, mostly in Smyth’s garden shed, but the report was kept secret.
According to court documents, “The particular allegations are that [Smyth] made the complainants walk naked to the swimming pool at night; that he took showers with them in the nude; that he talked to them about masturbation and told them to be proud of their ‘dicks,’ as Jesus Christ had one; and that he assaulted them on their ‘rear bare buttocks’ with a table tennis bat.”
Smyth later moved to Zimbabwe, where he was the subject of fresh allegations, and then to Cape Town, S. Africa, where he was removed as a leader of his church after claims of inappropriate behavior 6 months before dying of a heart attack in 2018. Source: The Guardian, 4-5-20
The Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia has paid nearly $44 million in reparations to sexual abuse survivors, with the eventual total estimated at $130 million, Archbishop Nelson Perez announced. Since the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program was created in 2018, over 600 claims have been filed and 208 have been resolved, an average of about $211,000 per claimant.
Funding has come from the “sale of certain Archdiocesan assets, borrowing, and risk mitigation payments from related ecclesiastical entities.” Source: Philly Voice, 5-6-20
The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, NY, filed a motion in federal bankruptcy court seeking an injunction on lawsuits filed under New York’s Child Victims Act. About 250 suits have been filed since August, when the act gave victims 12 months to pursue even decades-old allegations.
The diocese said continued litigation would deplete its insurance reserves and reduce future settlements to survivors.
“This legal maneuver by the Diocese of Buffalo is just another example of the Catholic Church coldly putting its needs before the needs of victims,” said Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents 39 clients suing the diocese.
The diocese previously announced it would end financial support and health benefits for 23 priests with substantiated abuse allegations starting May 1 as part of the bankruptcy process. The men were continuing to collect a salary or pension from the diocese, amounting to at least $600,000 a year in “sustenance” payments.
Three of the suspended priests had remained on the diocese’s payroll even though they hadn’t functioned as clergy in more than 25 years. The diocese later said that pension plans would not be affected by the decision. Source: Lockport Journal/Buffalo News, 5-4-20
The 3 Catholic dioceses in Colorado — Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo — have paid over $3 million to 28 survivors of clergy sex abuse as part of a claims review by the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program. The review is ongoing, with 91 claims received so far, with 9 denied.
A 263-page report released in October detailed the abuse of 166 children by 43 clergy since 1950. Those who accept money are barred from filing a lawsuit against the church. Source: Colorado Sun, 4-23-20
The Catholic Society of Christ Fathers’ appeal of a court order to pay a sexual assault survivor 1 million zloty ($237,000) and a monthly annuity of $190 was denied by the Polish Supreme Court.
A priest identified only as Roman P. was sentenced to 4 years in prison in 2010 for abducting a 13-year-old girl from her parents and raping her over a period of 10 months.
Church records show about 400 Polish Catholic clergy have sexually abused over 600 children since 1950. Bishops and religious order heads have consistently insisted they’re not legally responsible for offenses of their subordinates. Source: Reuters, 4-1-20
The Catholic Diocese of Erie, PA, suspended processing of sexual abuse survivor claims for at least 90 days due to what it called “economic turmoil” caused by the coronavirus. By December 2019 the program had already cost the diocese nearly $12 million.
About 40 claims are still pending. The Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests called the move “hurtful and deceitful” and said it showed that abuse survivors should seek justice through the courts rather than through church-run programs. Source: NPR, 3-26-20
Paxton D. Singer, 25, Sugar Grove, IL, was denied reconsideration of a judge’s guilty verdict of his November 2019 disorderly conduct conviction for sending suggestive text messages to a 15-year-old boy who attended Harvest Bible Chapel, where Singer was a youth pastor.
Judge Michael Noland announced the decision in a 9-page ruling supporting his February decision to not order a new trial, a defense motion he had originally granted about 2 weeks after the trial. During the bench trial, he had acquitted Singer of solicitation of a minor. Defense attorney Terry Ekl then argued that another trial would amount to double jeopardy. Source: Daily Herald, 5-7-20
An estimated 2,500 ultra-Orthodox males attended the Brooklyn, NY, funeral of Rabbi Chaim Mertz, who died of COVID-19 complications. The NYPD broke up the crowd of mourners flouting the city’s social distancing guidelines but arrested no one and cited no one.
After the incident, Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a warning about future large gatherings amid the pandemic: “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives.”
A police spokesperson said officers responded to a synagogue on Kent Avenue in Brooklyn, where they issued 2 summonses over doors being chained from the inside. Another summons was issued for failure to social distance. Source: Newsweek/NY Daily News, 4-28-20
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld 10 convictions of Ronald Paquin, 77, a defrocked Catholic priest sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2019 for sexually assaulting a boy multiple times in the 1980s. He has already served 10 years in Massachusetts for molesting another altar boy. Source: Press Herald, 4-23-20
The appeal of William “Tom” Faucher, 74, was unanimously denied by the Idaho Court of Appeals. Faucher, a Boise Catholic priest, pleaded guilty to 2 child pornography charges in 2018 and was sentenced to 25 years. The appeal claimed the sentence was excessive and constituted cruel and unusual punishment because the offenses were cybercrimes with no victim contact and didn’t take into account his age and poor health.
“The court considered each of the mitigating factors Faucher has identified on appeal and weighed them against the aggravating factors, including that Faucher lied about the nature of his crimes, minimized their significance, did not accept responsibility, and showed no remorse and that many of Faucher’s supporters were unaware of the nature and the scope of his crimes,” the opinion said. Source: Press-Tribune, 4-21-20
Orthodox yeshivas for boys in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY, are running underground schools in closed synagogues and apartment buildings despite social distancing requirements designed to slow the spread of coronavirus, a parent whose child attended one of the secret schools alleged to a newspaper.
The New York City Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Williamsburg is a Haredi enclave home to the largest community of Satmar Hasidic Jews in New York City. Some classes, the source said, were broken into smaller groups to keep the numbers of students in a room at about 12, but some are running with full classes of 24 to 26. Source: The Forward, 4-20-20
Bernard McGarty, 95, La Crosse, WI, will no longer face prosecution for allegedly offering a woman $20 in May 2019 for sex, trying to kiss her and putting her hand on his genitals outside the public library.
District Attorney Tim Gruenke said given McGarty’s age and health problems and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he won’t face trial for 4th-degree sexual assault. McGarty paid a $250 disorderly conduct fine in 2014 for removing the covering from his groin and asking a Wausau massage therapist to rub his genitals. Source: WKBT, 4-6-20
Barry Freundel, 68, Washington, DC, a prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi convicted for secretly videotaping women in his synagogue’s mikvah bath, was released from prison early due to the coronavirus pandemic, announced Amy Zubrensky, an assistant U.S. attorney. “I know this news will be upsetting to many of you,” she said.
He was sentenced in May 2015 to 6½ years. His original release date was to have been near the end of 2021. “This early release, granting Freundel the ability to celebrate his own freedom together with Passover, is a final smack in the face to victims,” said a woman who wished to stay anonymous. Source: JTA, 4-1-20
Australian Catholic Cardinal George Pell, 78, is being investigated by police on a new allegation of child sexual abuse soon after the nation’s high court acquitted him on 5 historical child abuse charges. Pell spent over 400 days in jail after being convicted by a jury in December 2018. The appeals court ruled the jury should have found reasonable doubt as to his guilt.
The acquittal will likely be followed by a string of civil claims against Pell and the Catholic Church from abuse survivors and their families. “We will continue to pursue a civil claim on behalf of our client despite the high court’s ruling,” said attorney Lisa Flynn, representing a plaintiff alleging Pell molested his son as a choirboy. Source: The Guardian, 4-13-20
Allegations in Pakistan of sexual harassment, rape and physical abuse by Islamic clerics teaching in madrassas (religious schools) number in the dozens, an AP investigation showed. The AP documented cases through interviews with law enforcement, abuse survivors and their parents.
There are more than 22,000 registered madrassas in Pakistan, teaching over 2 million children, but many more are unregistered. Police said the abuse problem is pervasive and the scores of reports they receive are just the tip of the iceberg. None have resulted in the conviction of a cleric.
Officials said clerics often target young boys in a society where male interaction with girls and women is unacceptable and because boys are less likely to report assault. Source: AP, 4-13-20
A Muslim firefighter accused one of a trio of “three Hasidic Jewish teens” of deliberately sneezing on him while responding to a call in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Omar Sattar, 33, tested positive 9 days later for COVID-19.
The boys “taunted [Sattar] and asked him if he was afraid of the coronavirus,” said a letter to department headquarters from Lt. Kasey Koslowski of Engine Co. 282. They then ran off. Source: NY Post, 4-3-20
Removed / Resigned
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer, second-highest ranking prelate in the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, resigned the post over how he handled complaints about accused priest Geoffrey Drew, charged in August 2019 with 9 counts of raping an altar boy. He will remain a priest.
Church officials now admit they had received complaints in 2013 and 2015 about Drew, which prosecutors said were inappropriate but not criminal.
The current charges stem from a man’s accusations that Drew, now 57, raped him in 1988–91, starting when he was 10. Drew was not yet a priest but led the music ministry at St. Jude School. Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, 5-7-20
The San Antonio Archdiocese removed Carlos Davalos as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Helotes, TX, after 2 people accused him of sexual misconduct. A letter to parishioners alleged Davalos sent sexually inappropriate text messages to an adult parishioner earlier this year.
Five days after the first allegation, the archdiocese was informed that Davalos had addressed sexually inappropriate comments and questions to a minor. The allegation involving the minor was forwarded to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.
Patti Koo, who represents the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, called on the archdiocese to tell the public where Davalos is currently located and whether it’s near public spaces where children may be nearby. Source: KSAT, 5-7-20
James T. Hanley, 83, a New Jersey Catholic priest defrocked in 2003 after he admitted abusing over 20 boys over 14 years as far back as the 1960s, died of undisclosed causes at a nursing home.
Despite being laicized, Hanley had continued to receive a regular stipend from the church, said Paterson Diocese attorney Kenneth Mullaney.
The diocese settled lawsuits in 2004 with 21 of his accusers for nearly $5 million. “Now remember, Mark,” Hanley allegedly told Mark Serrano, who was 9 at the time he was molested in the 1970s, “this is our secret. This is something special that you and I share. Best not to share it with Mom and Dad.”
A new round of lawsuits started in 2019 under the state’s extended statute of limitations. Plaintiff “B.D.” alleged “he was abused by Hanley when he was 13, in or about 1968–69, and endured abuse similar to acts Hanley admitted to during a 2003 deposition — such as touching and rubbing of genitalia, oral sex, sexual use of a vibrator, open-mouth kissing and showing pornography,” records said. Source: nj.com, 4-29-20
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