Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Mom Pimps 2 y/o; Southern Baptist; Cardinal; Demonic Incest Lead the Horror Stories on Today's USA PnP List

Texas woman sentenced to 40 yrs in prison for pimping out her 2 y/o daughter

© Lost in Texas / Facebook

A 25-year-old woman from Texas has been sentenced to 40 years behind bars for attempting to sell her two-year-old daughter for a sex act, for $1,200, to an undercover police officer who impersonated a willing pedophile.

In a carefully devised sting operation targeting child exploitation and abuse, led by Detective Serratt of the Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office, officers managed to track down and arrest 25-year-old Sarah Peters, who in February this year planned to sell her two-year-old daughter online to someone desiring to “engage in sex acts with the child for a fee of $1,200.00.”

Once Peters arranged to pimp out her daughter, she took the child to the drop off point in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston. When she and the toddler arrived at the Greyhound bus station she was immediately arrested by the Internet Crimes Against Children’s Task Force and Department of Homeland Security officers.

The child was then taken to a safe location, while Peters was booked into the Montgomery County Jail and charged with a number of offenses, including prostitution of a child and trafficking a child.

On Thursday, Texas Judge Phil Grant sentenced the woman to 40 years in prison on Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child, Attempted Human Trafficking, and Promotion of Prostitution of a Child charges, after Peters pleaded guilty to the crimes. “These sentences will run concurrently and Peters will not be eligible for parole on the Sexual Performance of a Child case until 2038,” Montgomery County District Attorney's office said in a press release.

“The events of this case are hard to believe – that a mom would willingly expose her own daughter to this type of danger. And without the proactive work of Detective Serratt and the ICAC Task Force, this child would have become a victim to the worse type of abuse,” Tyler Dunman, Special Crimes Bureau Chief said.

Former Texas camp counselor charged with
sexual abuse of 11-year-old
Author: Drew Knight, Pattrik Perez

PFLUGERVILLE, TX — A former counselor of the City of Pflugerville Summer Pfun Camp Program has been charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child after being accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old camper.

According to the Pflugerville Police Department, suspect Cameron Michael Kretsinger, now 27, met the victim, now 20, at camp when he was assigned as a counselor to her age group -- grades five and six. She stated he provided her his email address and phone number to keep communication.

Police said the victim reported the abuse to police on March 10, 2018. She stated sexual intercourse between her and the suspect, who was 17 at the time, continued up until 2011. She provided emails dated from Sept. 30, 2009, up until Feb. 5, 2012. Those emails consisted of communications about sending and receiving photos and videos, as well as Kretsinger confronting the victim about things he had done to her when she was 11 years old. According to police, naked photos of the suspect were also shown in these emails.

Court documents state the victim provided police with specific dates on when she and the suspect had sexual intercourse, as well as with movie stubs she had kept throughout the years on the dates she said she was sexually assaulted by him. She recalled four specific encounters in detail, all of which occurred within Travis County. In the last encounter, she said she was 12 years old while Kretsinger was 19.

Police later requested employment information about Kretsinger from the City of Pflugerville, confirming he was an employee with the camp from May 2009 to August 2013, as well as the same email address used in communicating with the victim. A day-off request, which was reported by the victim as one of the dates she said she was assaulted, was also confirmed.

According to an arrest affidavit, police met with Kretsinger on June 28 at the Pflugerville Justice Center, where he confirmed he had been a camp counselor from 2009 to 2013. The first summer was after he graduated high school. Police said he named three specific girls he worked with in his assigned age group, which the camp labeled as "fireballs," who were 11 or 12 years old.

Police said the suspect was shown the naked photos and emails the victim had provided, to which Kretsinger admitted were his. He reported that the victim had provided photos of herself as well, police said. Police said Kretsinger reported he was not sure if he still had the photos of her but that there was a possibility he may not have deleted them from a folder on his computer. Police said he also provided details of their sexual encounters, which were consistent with the victim's reports.

Also during the interview, police said the suspect confirmed the victim's report that he had also requested photos of her sister, who he said was likely eight or nine at the time.

While the alleged assaults appeared to have taken place offsite, the City of Pflugerville wants to ensure everyone's safety and wants parents of children who participated in the camp program during this time to be aware of the situation. Parents who believe their children may have been victimized are asked to call 512-990-6950. The police department is providing victim services for those affected. Counselors from 2009 to 2013 are also encouraged to call if they may have more information.

Anyone with concerns or questions about the Parks and Recreation programs is asked to call James Hemenes, parks director at 512-990-6350.

Florida sex offender accused of child porn-related crimes; faces 70 years to life
By Michelle Ganley

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A St. Augustine man is accused of trying to entice a minor online, the attempted production of child pornography, and soliciting child porn on the internet, the Department of Justice said Friday.

Kenneth Brian Hanger, 46, has been charged in an indictment, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez.

Hanger, a registered sex offender, faces 70 years to life in prison in this case, based on his previous child sex offense, authorities said.

In 1994, Hanger was convicted of aggravated indecent assault in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. In this most recent alleged offense, Hanger was detained last Friday, pending his trial.

The situation started May 22, when a detective with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office noticed that Hanger had been using a Facebook account that didn’t list his real name. This was based on sex offender registration information that Hanger had provided, according to court documents cited in a news release.

The detective then decided to pose as a child and he sent a friend request to Hanger’s account. Hanger accepted the request and made contact with the so-called child.

Between May 24 and June 5, Hanger and the “child” chatted online on several occasions, using a texting app. Hanger was advised and acknowledged that the “child” was 13 years old, investigators said.

On June 1, Hanger raised the topic of sex between the two of them, and suggested meeting for some sort of sexual activity, authorities said.

On June 4, Hanger and the “child” again discussed meeting for sex, and Hanger sent a graphic photo of himself. Hanger suggested that they would need to use condoms so that the “child” wouldn’t get pregnant and Hanger wouldn’t “leave any DNA,” according to the Department of Justice statement.

Later that day, Hanger asked the “child” to send him an explicit video showing “her” genitalia. The next day, Hanger was arrested at his home.

The case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sex exploitation and abuse.

Wisconsin Man Sentenced for Repeated
Child Sexual Assault

A judge has sentenced a Superior man to decades in prison for abducting and repeatedly sexually assaulting a teenager.

A Douglas County jury convicted 33-year-old Peter Alan Diehl of repeated sexual assault of a child, abduction of a child, and using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime during an April trial.  On Friday, Judge George Glonek gave Diehl a 60-year sentence, structured as 35 years of initial confinement and 25 years of extended supervision.

Douglas County District Attorney Mark Fruehauf says Diehl met the 14-year-old victim online and drove to the State of Virginia to pick her up on August 17, 2015.  She was missing for more than a month before the victim's mother received a call from the girl that was traced to Diehl.

The girl was found in Diehl's Superior home, which had no running water or utilities.  Fruehauf says a search warrant revealed evidence of sexual abuse and images of child pornography.

The victim said Diehl had sexually assaulted her about 50 times, Fruehauf said.

Earlier, Diehl was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for two federal child pornography counts.

Utah teen sentenced to prison for sex abuse of
boys under 7 y/o
By Gephardt Daily Staff 

FARMINGTON, Utah, — A 19-year-old Layton man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to abusing multiple children.

Alexander Clifton Winward had pleaded guilty in May to four counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.

As part of a plea deal, four additional charges of first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child were dismissed with prejudice. All charges were related to interactions with boys under the age of 7.

According to a probable cause statement, Winward pulled down the pants and underpants of each boy, and touched their genitals, skin to skin. In several cases, he molested one boy in the presence of others. The assaults took place in and around Winward’s house, the statement says.

“The Defendant told the Child 2 that in order to play on the X-Box, Child 2 would have to let this happen,” the probable cause statement said of one incident. “Child 1 and Child 3 were present during this incident.”

In another incident, the statement says, “Child 2 and Child 3 were hiding underneath covers from the Defendant during a Nerf War game,” the statement says. “The Defendant tried to pull the covers and reached underneath the covers and touched both genitals of Child 2 and Child 3.”

Farmington 2nd District Court Judge Michael Allphin sentenced Winward to 10 years to life on all four charges, but ordered the counts run concurrently.

He also gave Winward credit for time served in the Davis County Jail, which lessened his minimum sentence by 310 days.

And do we think he will learn anything in 10 months?

Iowa Man Spending Life in Prison for Sexual Abuse Has More Time Added to Sentence

ANKENY, Iowa  --  An Ankeny man serving a life sentence for sexually abusing a minor will now serve even more time.

The Des Moines Register reports Jeff Altmayer will serve two-year sentences consecutively for allegedly enticing minors in Jasper and Monoma Counties. Iowa DCI says Altmayer lured a 12-year-old girl into his car in Colfax in 2016 and then sexually abused her. Officials believe he could have attempted to lure as many as 19 girls throughout nine counties.

Altmayer was found guilty of sexual abuse, kidnapping, and enticing a child in January.

How many 2-year sentences are we talking about? Is the rape of a child worth only 2 years in Iowa? Are you kidding?

Convicted molester of 4 m/o in Michigan could be in prison the rest of his life
Author: Bob Gross, Port Huron Times Herald

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Mich. - A convicted child molester asked for a second chance Friday, saying he was a victim of child abuse and was on drugs and alcohol when he committed what a St. Clair County prosecutor called "vile and wicked acts."

"The only thing I can do is beg and plead with the court ... to have mercy on me and give me a second chance at life," said Nicholas Belkiewicz, 27.

"All I want is to be able to get the help I need and deserve so I can prove to everyone I'm not this horrible monster."

Judge Daniel Kelly was not moved. He sentenced Belkiewicz on 13 charges that could keep the Port Huron Township man behind bars for the rest of his life. According to court records, Belkiewicz was sentenced to a total term based on consecutive sentencing of a minimum of 63 years and four months to a maximum of 140 years.

Belkiewicz had pleaded guilty on June 4 to charges that included child sexually abusive commercial activity; first degree criminal sexual conduct with a person younger than 13; and second degree criminal sexual conduct with a person younger than 13.

The charges stemmed from several incidents that included sexual assaults on a 4-month-old baby girl. Belkiewicz had recorded that assault and others on a cell phone video.

Assistant Prosecutor Paul Soderberg said Belkiewicz also had downloaded "thousands" of child pornography images; had rigged a camera to record a minor girl taking a shower; and had recorded several sex assaults on sleeping 12-year-old girls who were at a sleepover in the home where he was staying.

Soderbergh said the images and recordings were found on Belkiewicz's phone. "But for that accident, he would still be out on the street," Soderberg said. "The only thing he's remorseful about is he got caught."

Both Belkiewicz and his lawyer, Fred Lepley, said Belkiewicz had been abused as a child and also was treated for depression and bi-polar disorder.

Belkiewicz said he was raped by other children while he was in foster care from when he was 9 to when he was 15. "I've never been more ashamed and sorry for anything that I've ever done," he said. "I'm not this type of person. I don't go around preying on other people's children."

Several parents of Belkiewicz's victims spoke before Kelly imposed sentence. They are not being identified to protect the identities of the children.

"I don't believe the crap that is coming out of his mouth," said one parent while choking back tears. "The nature of this crime is absolutely disgusting.

"He is a sick individual. I pray all these victims get justice."

Others spoke of the betrayal of their trust and the damage done to their children.

Kelly said he wanted to commend the families who attended the sentencing and spoke. "I can't begin to imagine the torment you've been put through," he said.

He addressed Belkiewicz directly. "I can't imagine for the life of me why someone with a history of sexual abuse as you would want to expose any other child (to that)," he said. "... The pleasure you got out of such an act, it doesn't make sense to anybody.

"This is just one of the saddest cases I've ever seen."

Some fault can be put on his drug use; some on his sexual abuse as a child and the lack of help he got to recover from that; but mostly he has to accept the blame. He had to know what he was doing was completely wrong.

History has caught up with Wisconsin's Matt Flynn

By Peter Isely and Sarah Pearson | Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests founder and Women’s March Wisconsin co-chair

Surely, if there is one axiom for public office and public service it is this: It's not OK to be involved in covering up child sex crimes.

In defiance of this simple truth, Matt Flynn, Democratic candidate for governor of Wisconsin, has repeated and ramped up his defense of his work for 15 years while chief lawyer for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1989-2004. Since early May, survivors of clergy sexual abuse, progressive women’s organizations, The Capital Times and Wisconsin Gazette editorial boards, two leading Democratic legislators  and others have called on Flynn to withdraw from the race.

Here is why.

Ten-thousand pages of court-ordered released priest abuse files counter every public statement Flynn has made about his work and role. They show, beyond doubt, that he participated in:
reassigning sex offenders, 
secretly paid off child molesters through his law firm, 
actively intimidated survivors, 
ensured sex offenders were not reported to law enforcement and 
successfully argued for laws prohibiting survivors from suing the church.

Flynn has accused both the Republican and Democratic Party “elite” of engineering a well-crafted campaign against him. But the indictment against Flynn originates from only one source: the senior management of the archdiocese. The files show a secretive, tight, loyal inner circle engineering the operation. They had a lawyer on their team: Matt Flynn. He was not a befuddled and clueless outside counsel. He was an inside man: giving continual direction, sometimes orders, innovating and strategizing plans, devising means of public misdirection, attacking anyone who threatened to interrupt or reveal the cover up.

Unfortunately for Flynn, the team recorded his direct involvement in real time, contemporaneous with events: copious and carefully drafted letters, memos, minutes to meetings, internal communications, handwritten notes, evaluations, victim reports, even direct admissions by offenders. Centuries-old church or canon law, with its obsession with ecclesiastical documentation, required it. These documents were kept in a safe inside the headquarters of the archdiocese called the Archivio Segreto, or “Secret Archive." Even the physical dimensions of the safe are specified.

Flynn’s activities, outside the heavily criticized decision to file court costs against victims who had to drop civil cases due to the statute of limitations, were unknown or unproven until these files were seen. Flynn tirelessly fought victims, journalists and news outlets to keep the public from seeing them.

As a lawyer, Flynn could have withdrawn his representation. Was he not ethically and professionally obligated to do so? He could have literally stopped child sex abuse.

Bishop Sklba, in a stunning letter dated Aug. 12, 1996, seven full years into Flynn’s tenure, writes that the team has decided to return a group of offender priests secretly back into parishes. This time, however, each will be assigned a fellow priest to check in on them. Which child molesters? Those “judged appropriate for this experiment.” In other words, Catholic children were test subjects, parishes the laboratories. Flynn is recorded having knowledge of and being directly involved in every priest case in the test group.

Albert Camus once observed that official history is written by those who make history, not those who suffer from it. Flynn's campaign is no longer one against his Democratic challengers or even Scott Walker. It's against a tragic and terrible history of suffering children in our state and his part in it.

Southern Baptist Leader’s Sexual Assault of a Child for Hidden for 11 Years

In 1997, when Anne Marie Miller was 16, she was assaulted by then-25-year-old Mark Aderholt, a prominent member of the International Mission Board which works with the Southern Baptist Convention to send people all over the world to proselytize.

Miller didn’t realize that their “relationship” was inappropriate until about a decade later, in 2005, but when she understood the “the gravity of what happened,” she reported the crime to the organization’s leaders. She was told an investigation would commence and that her case would be turned over to law enforcement.

They lied to her.

Not only did they fail to report the assault to authorities, they gave Aderholt the opportunity to resign rather than be terminated. For years, he was able to work with the SBC without anyone knowing he was an abuser.

She only found out these details a few months ago. Miller reported the assault to police on her own, and Aderholt was finally arrested a couple of weeks ago on charges of sexual assault against a minor and indecency (sexual contact) with a child. He faces up to twenty years in prison.

Miller writes on her blog about what’s happened since she told law enforcement her story:

Because of the overwhelming evidence of this crime, the Crimes Against Children unit of the Arlington, Texas Police Department quickly accepted, investigated, and when deemed credible, passed the case along to the Tarrant County District Attorney who then issued warrants for this man’s arrest. He was arrested, jailed, and released on bond — all within three months of my original police report.

While that is a victory, it should have happened years earlier. Instead, because the Southern Baptists didn’t take the allegations seriously, Aderholt worked his way up the Southern Baptist totem pole.

Despite the [SBC’s] investigation, Aderholt went on to serve as an assistant pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark. He rose up to be the associate director and chief strategist of the South Carolina Baptist Convention in 2016.

Miller is aware that some may wonder why it took so long for her to report this to law enforcement, and she has a response to that.

If there was one statement I could delete from human language in regard to sexual abuse reporting, it would be, “Why did he/she wait so long to report? Why now?” and I would like to address that in this post.

First and foremost, sexual trauma is brutal. The pain, shame, and confusion that happens when someone is violated on a physically intimate and in my case, a spiritual level destroys a person. It is more common than not that people do not immediately recognize or report sexual trauma. There are evidence-based studies that confirm this. To expect an abuse survivor to head over to the police soon after he or she was violated is insensitive, ill-informed, and without compassion.

For me, I did not recognize my abuse as abuse until I was my abuser’s age in 2005. When I was serving in student ministry at the age of 25, one night at a coworker’s 25th birthday party, I had a realization of how inappropriate a sexual relationship between a 25-year-old and a 16-year-old is. Serendipitously the following day, I saw a television program on the grooming process most predators use and it mirrored my experience. I was forever changed. The next day, I went to a counselor in my church to discuss it. I still didn’t realize what occurred was an actual crime. She was not well versed in mandatory reporting and did not know she needed to report this either.

This is only the latest example of how the Southern Baptists have overlooked or ignored sexual abuse in its church. It comes just months after SBC leader Paige Patterson was finally fired after years of ignoring similar cases — and even now, donors to the seminary he led are threatening to withhold funding from the school unless the trustees give him some benefits.

In this case, the story is straightforward: The Southern Baptists were aware of Aderholt’s crimes for more than a decade, yet he never suffered any consequences. A recent letter to Miller from an attorney with the International Mission Board, detailing what they did after she reported the assault, even leaves her with this unhelpful bit of encouragement:

I pray that even as this old wound arises in you, that would experience in a fresh way the love of Christ for you in Christ Jesus who was wounded for your transgressions and through whom you can have every blessing in the heavenly realms. I pray that you could turn to Him daily and taste and see that the Lord is good.

That… doesn’t solve anything.

If anything, this story should remind us of the consequences of what can happen when all sins are treated as equal — when sexual abuse is treated no differently than a consensual affair or premarital sex. It makes it much easier for religious leaders to look the other way when actual crimes are committed.

It’s not hard to imagine Aderholt apologizing profusely to everyone in his life (but not Miller) all while claiming God forgave him and would wash his slate clean. With this kind of theology, it’s no wonder that churches can be hotbeds for abusers.

The system is designed so that there are no real repercussions for their actions, no matter how grievous.

Idaho couple blamed 'demon' for
sexual abuse of daughters
Author: KTVB

CALDWELL -- A Caldwell couple is facing felony charges after investigators say the man molested four of his children, while his wife kept silent about the abuse for nearly two decades.

Lester Kester, 48, and Sarah Kester, 50, insisted to Canyon County Sheriff's Office detectives that "a demon" had entered Lester and caused him to repeatedly sexually assault the girls.

Detectives say they found evidence that Lester had sexually abused all four of his daughters over the course of at least 16 years, beginning in 2000.

The investigation began after the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's Children and Family Services contacted the sheriff's office June 21, informing detectives that one of the couple's daughters had come forward, telling authorities she had been molested by her father as a child.

During follow-up interviews, two of Kester's daughters told investigators they had been sexually abused by Lester, and reported that a third daughter had been as well.

The abuse continued until each girl was about 12 years old, the victims said. As the investigation continued, according to the sheriff's office, detectives found evidence that a fourth daughter had also been sexually abused, as recently as 2016.

The sisters told detectives that they had confronted their mother, Sarah, about the abuse three years ago, but nothing happened.

In an interview with investigators, according to the sheriff's office, Sarah Kester admitted she had known about the sexual abuse for 17 years, but did not report it because it was against her belief system to involve agencies like law enforcement, child protection services, or counseling services into her family matters.

Instead, she said, she prayed for "the demon" to leave her husband and tried to distract him with other tasks.

In a separate interview, Lester Kester also blamed a "bad guy" or a "demon" for his actions, according to the sheriff's office, and admitted to molesting all four of his daughters until they reached the ages of ten or 12.

Both Kesters were arrested and booked into the Canyon County Jail. Lester Kester is charged with four felony counts of lewd conduct with a minor, while his wife faces one charge of injury to a child.

Both are due in court July 26.

OK, those charges don't sound nearly as serious as the actions of the parents would warrant in my estimation. Good grief!

Ousted U.S. Cardinal Left a Trail of Abused Recruits

By Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman, New York Times

As a young man studying to be a priest in the 1980s, Robert Ciolek was flattered when his brilliant, charismatic bishop in Metuchen, New Jersey, Theodore E. McCarrick, told him he was a shining star, cut out to study in Rome and rise high in the church.

McCarrick began inviting him on overnight trips, sometimes alone and sometimes with other young men training to be priests. There, the bishop would often assign Ciolek to share his room, which had only one bed. The two men would sometimes say night prayers together, before McCarrick would make a request — “come over here and rub my shoulders a little” — that extended into unwanted touching in bed.

Ciolek, who was in his early 20s at the time, said he felt unable to say no, in part because he had been sexually abused by a teacher in his Catholic high school, a trauma he had shared with the bishop.

“I trusted him, I confided in him, I admired him,” Ciolek said in an interview this month, the first time he has spoken publicly about the abuse, which lasted for several years while Ciolek was a seminarian and later a priest. “I couldn’t imagine that he would have anything other than my best interests in mind.” 

McCarrick went on to climb the ranks of the Roman Catholic hierarchy — from head of the small Diocese of Metuchen to archbishop of Newark and then archbishop of Washington, where he was made a cardinal. He remained into his 80s one of the most recognized American cardinals on the global stage, a Washington power broker who participated in funeral masses for political luminaries like Edward M. Kennedy, the longtime Massachusetts senator, and Beau Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Suddenly, last month, McCarrick was removed from ministry, after the Archdiocese of New York deemed credible an accusation that he had molested a 16-year-old altar boy nearly 50 years ago.

McCarrick, now 88, who declined to comment for this article, said in a statement last month that he had no recollection of the abuse. He is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the United States to be removed for sexual abuse of a minor.

But while the church responded quickly to the allegation that McCarrick had abused a child, some church officials knew for decades that the cardinal had been accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching adults, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times.

Between 1994 and 2008, multiple reports about the cardinal’s transgressions with adult seminary students were made to American bishops, the pope’s representative in Washington and, finally, Pope Benedict XVI. Two New Jersey dioceses secretly paid settlements, in 2005 and 2007, to two men, one of whom was Ciolek, for allegations against the archbishop. All the while, McCarrick played a prominent role publicizing the church’s new zero-tolerance policy against abusing children.

The scandal of child sexual abuse by clergy has gripped the Catholic Church for nearly two decades, resulting in billions spent by the church on lawsuits, settlements and prevention programs. But while the church has made strides in dealing with sexual abuse of children, it has largely avoided a reckoning over sexual harassment and abuse suffered by adult seminarians and young priests at the hands of their superiors, including bishops.

Because bishops have control over priests’ assignments and complete loyalty is expected by the church’s clerical culture, seminarians and priests can be especially vulnerable to sexual harassment by their superiors.

“In the corporate world, there are ways to report misconduct,” Ciolek, 57, said at his home in New Jersey. “You have an HR contact, you have a legal department, or you have anonymous reporting, you have systems. Does the Catholic Church have that? How is a priest supposed to report abuse or wrong activity by his bishop? What is their stated vehicle for anyone to do that? I don’t think it exists.”

Now, after the fall of McCarrick, some Catholics are saying that the church is on the verge of confronting its own #MeToo moment, akin to the wave of painful truth-telling that has swept through other workplaces, schools and Hollywood.

The Rev. Hans Zollner, a member of the Vatican’s commission for advising the pope on protecting minors, said that he has seen more victims come forward in recent months with accounts of sexual abuse in the church that they experienced as adults.

“The #MeToo movement has created a momentum,” he said. “It has brought another level of attention to this kind of hidden abuse.”

‘Uncle Ted’

With his warm, gregarious presence, McCarrick rose quickly through the ranks of the church after being ordained a priest in 1958. As a bishop, he took pride in his success at recruiting young men to the priesthood — including one he met in an airport, according to his colleagues.

In 1981, the New York-born clergyman was made the bishop of the newly created diocese of Metuchen in central New Jersey. The young men he recruited would attend seminary at Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland, before being ordained as priests for the diocese.

Those who interacted with him back then said he was friendly with all the seminarians, but would invite a few he especially favored to overnight stays at a beach house in Sea Girt, New Jersey. It was a small, simple house, some six blocks from the ocean — a retreat that the diocese had purchased at McCarrick’s request in 1984.

About four or five seminarians and young priests would go to the house at a time, usually on a Friday, where they would sometimes cook dinner or order pizza and socialize over beers, Ciolek recalled. Before lights out, Ciolek said, McCarrick would assign sleeping arrangements, directing one seminarian to share his room, which had one large bed.

Sometimes, McCarrick would start to rub a young man’s back as the rest of the group was filtering toward the bedrooms. Other times, it would happen once the young man who had been selected to room with the bishop was alone with him.

“My observations were that people were disgusted by it,” said Ciolek. “There were some who gloried in the attention it brought on them, even if it was screwed-up attention. But I don’t remember anyone welcoming it and hoping they would be touched.” For Ciolek, there were about a dozen trips out of town with McCarrick, including to a fishing camp in Eldred, New York, with other seminarians, and once to Puerto Rico, where he waited in a hotel lobby while his host spoke with the local bishop. McCarrick also took him to New York Yankees baseball games. At one game, Ciolek said he was seated in George Steinbrenner’s box between the team owner and Henry Kissinger, in what he described as one of the highlights of his young life. But after the games ended, McCarrick sometimes took him to a small apartment on an upper floor of a hospital that he used for overnight stays in the city, and directed Ciolek to share his bed.

Ciolek said that even though he just wanted to be a parish priest, McCarrick would frequently bring up how he ought to go to Rome and climb the church hierarchy.

With the harassment, Ciolek said, McCarrick seemed to have a line he would not cross with him. The touching would stay above the waist, avoiding the genitals, he said. There was no kissing, no holding hands.

But a second former priest, who received a settlement from the New Jersey dioceses for abuse by McCarrick, did not describe such a limit to the physical contact. This priest, who declined to be interviewed and whose file was provided on condition that his name not be used, was also a member of McCarrick’s select circle of seminarians.

By 1986, McCarrick had been promoted by Pope John Paul II to a much bigger job: Archbishop of Newark, one of the country’s largest dioceses with more than 1 million Catholics. In the summer of 1987, this former priest alleged, McCarrick took him to an Italian restaurant in New York City, and then to the small apartment above the hospital. (Ciolek described the room in similar terms.)

There, McCarrick asked the seminarian to change into a striped sailor shirt and a pair of shorts he had on hand, and joined him in the bed, according to the seminarian’s written account. “He put his arms around me and wrapped his legs between mine,” the account states.

He also wrote that he once saw McCarrick having sex with a young priest in a cabin at the Eldred fishing camp, and that the archbishop invited him to be “next.”

In this former priest’s file were handwritten letters that the archbishop wrote to him when he was still a student, some signed “Uncle Ted,” and “Uncle T.” They sometimes addressed him as “nephew,” a term Ciolek said was used by the archbishop to refer to the young men he took on overnight trips.

One letter was written in 1987 while McCarrick was aboard a plane in Poland on a mission for the Vatican. “I just wanted to tell you how glad I am that we had the chance to get together this summer,” the archbishop wrote to the 26-year-old student. “It wasn’t as often as I would have liked but I know how ‘social’ my nephew is!”

Unstoppable Rise

McCarrick’s trip to Poland was a sign of his growing prominence. His brother bishops in the United States elected him chairman of their committees on migration, international policy and aid for the church in Central and Eastern Europe. He met with Fidel Castro in 1988.

The first documented complaint about McCarrick came at the latest by 1994, when the second priest wrote a letter to the new bishop of Metuchen, Edward T. Hughes, saying that McCarrick had inappropriately touched him and other seminarians in the 1980s, according to the documents.

The priest had a disturbing confession, the documents show. He told Hughes that he was coming forward because he believed the sexual and emotional abuse he endured from McCarrick, as well as several other priests, had left him so traumatized that it triggered him to touch two 15-year-old boys inappropriately. The Metuchen diocese sent the priest to therapy, and then transferred him to another diocese. But McCarrick’s stature remained intact; he was even given the honor of hosting John Paul II on a visit to Newark in 1995 and leading a large public Mass there for the pope.

Around 1999, Ciolek was called in by McCarrick’s former secretary in Metuchen, Monsignor Michael J. Alliegro, who knew about the trips with seminarians, including the bed-sharing. He asked Ciolek, who had left the priesthood in 1988 to marry a woman, if he planned to sue the diocese, and then mentioned McCarrick’s name. “And I literally laughed, and I said, no,” Ciolek said, adding that the monsignor responded with a sigh of relief.

In 2000, John Paul promoted McCarrick to lead the Archdiocese of Washington, one of the most prestigious posts in the Catholic Church in America. He was elevated to cardinal three months later.

At least one priest warned the Vatican against the appointment. The Rev. Boniface Ramsey said that when he was on the faculty at the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in New Jersey from 1986 to 1996, he was told by seminarians about McCarrick’s sexual abuse at the beach house. When McCarrick was appointed to Washington, Ramsey spoke by phone with the pope’s representative in the nation’s capital, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the papal nuncio, and at his encouragement sent a letter to the Vatican about McCarrick’s history.

Ramsey, now a priest in New York City, said he never got a response.

McCarrick’s ascent by that point seemed unstoppable, given his importance to the church. He was a prolific fundraiser; as a founding member and president of the Papal Foundation, he rounded up deep-pocketed donors to pledge $1 million to the pope’s pet causes. When John Paul made him Washington archbishop and a cardinal, the pope was in decline from Parkinson’s disease.

“He was not tracking these things closely because of his health, and his aides were not inclined to bring particular cases to his attention,” said John Thavis, a longtime Vatican correspondent and the author of “Vatican Diaries.”

Thavis pointed out that John Paul also disregarded multiple warnings about a different, more notorious sexual predator, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ and another renowned church fundraiser.

In 2002, when the turmoil in the church over the child sex abuse scandal was at a peak, McCarrick was among the cardinals summoned by the pope to help manage the crisis.

McCarrick voted in the papal conclave in 2005 that elected Pope Benedict XVI, and participated in the cardinals’ meetings in 2013 that led to the election of Pope Francis. He retired as leader of the Washington archdiocese in 2006 at 75, the standard retirement age for bishops.

A Reckoning

For many years, Ciolek, who became a lawyer after leaving the priesthood, told no one about his experiences. Then in 2004, after he began receiving counseling, he filed for a settlement from the church and received $80,000 from the dioceses of Trenton, Metuchen and Newark.

Two years later, the church paid a settlement of $100,000 to the other priest alleging abuse. That priest had been forced to resign in 2004 under the church’s new zero-tolerance protocols against child abuse, based on his confession about touching two boys a decade earlier.

Ramsey said he continued to warn church leaders about McCarrick. In 2008, he said, he raised the issue with Cardinal Edward Egan, the New York archbishop, but Egan cut him off quickly. Ramsey said he was disturbed in 2015 to see McCarrick serving at the funeral Mass for Egan, so he wrote to Cardinal Se├ín O’Malley of Boston, who had been appointed by Pope Francis to lead a commission on sexual abuse of children.

“I have blown the whistle for 30 years without getting anywhere,” Ramsey said recently.

O’Malley, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

Richard Sipe, a former priest who is an authority on clergy sex abuse, said that seminarians began to confide in him about the beach house sleepovers while he was a professor at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in the 1980s. He said he wrote a letter to Pope Benedict in 2008, telling him the illicit trips to the shore home “had been widely known for several decades.” One possible reason the allegations did not impede McCarrick’s ascent is that unwanted touching of an adult by a bishop or superior is not explicitly stated as a crime under the church’s canon law, Catholic legal scholars said. There is a relevant canon (a legal provision), which says that anyone who abuses their “ecclesiastical power” and “harms somebody” is to be “punished with a just penalty.” But it was never applied to McCarrick.

“He could have been removed from office — he certainly should not have been advanced,” said Monsignor Kenneth Lasch, a canon lawyer and retired priest in New Jersey who serves as a victims’ advocate.

The Vatican has removed bishops from their posts for having affairs with women and men; Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the church in Scotland, stepped down under Vatican pressure in 2013 after revelations of his sexual misconduct with seminarians and priests. But such punishments are rare, and are decided on a case-by-case basis by the Vatican.

In a statement to The New York Times, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark said that he was “greatly disturbed by reports” that McCarrick, his predecessor in Newark from 1986 to 2000, had “harassed seminarians and young clergy.”

“I recognize without any ambiguity that all people have a right to live, work and study in safe environments,” he wrote. “I intend to discuss this tragedy with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in order to articulate standards that will assure high standards of respect by bishops, priests and deacons for all adults.”

Many dioceses in the United States have their own policies on workplace sexual harassment. But there is no global policy in the Catholic Church on sexual harassment of adults, and no standard procedure for reporting sexual wrongdoing by one’s bishop locally, experts say.

The “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” adopted by U.S. bishops at the height of the child sexual abuse scandal in 2002, does not cover victims older than 18. The bishops’ charter also contained no procedures for holding bishops accountable other than “fraternal correction” by fellow bishops. McCarrick helped to draft the charter.

The Catholic Whistleblowers, a network of priests and nuns, recently sent a letter urging U.S. bishops to expand the category of victims to include adults — in particular those who are vulnerable to clergy sexual abuse because of overpowering intimidation by the abuser or because the victims are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It also urges them to apply its zero-tolerance policy to bishops, said Lasch, a Whistleblowers member.

When Ciolek received his abuse settlement in 2005, it came with no formal admission of fault, and it barred him from ever speaking to the media about the abuse. But since McCarrick’s suspension, Tobin and the bishop of Metuchen, James F. Checchio, have both apologized to Ciolek personally on behalf of the church.

“I am sorry beyond words, and embarrassed beyond belief, at this atrocious conduct,” Checchio wrote to him.

Ciolek has been released from his confidentiality agreements to permit him to speak publicly.

“If the church is genuine about cleaning up the rest of the mess, it ought to do something,” he said. “And that’s when I will judge the sincerity of the expressions of sorrow that I’m now receiving.”

No comments:

Post a Comment