Diocese releases more information on the ISCP

If you are a survivor in the Diocese of Scranton, you will need to look at the Diocese website for the Independent Survivors Compensation Program.  The link is at the end of the news release and is not part of the main Diocesan site.   The Bishop also released a video. There is not a lot of substance there, just a rehash of points in the letter mailed to survivors by the Victim Assistance Coordinator (VAC) (I should check that envelope to see if that was a bulk mailing).  It is replete with politically correct attempts at “empathy” for victims within the Diocese that should appease the most ardent of the Bishop’s apologists supporters.

I strongly recommend that you get legal advice from someone not associated with the Diocese of Scranton.  If you have not come forward with a report of your abuse yet, you should go to the police, district attorney for your jurisdiction or the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and make your statement to civil authorities.

Some vital information on who may file a claim from the FAQ Sheet for the program:

The persons eligible to participate in this Program are: a) individuals who allege they were sexually abused as a minor by clergy (whether incardinated within the Diocese of Scranton or a member of a religious order serving within the Diocese of Scranton), lay teachers or employees associated with the Diocese of Scranton, or b) the Legal Representative (as defined below) of those Claimants. The following additional criteria apply:
• For new allegations first reported after November 8, 2018, the Claimant must first report the allegation of abuse in writing (with a copy submitted to the Administrators) to the appropriate District Attorney’s Office in order to participate in this Program. A finding of criminal liability by the District Attorney is not required for participating in this Program. All new allegations of abusereceived through this Program will also be reported to the appropriate District Attorney by the Diocese as required by law and Diocesan policy.
• The Claimant must not have previously entered into a settlement agreement resolving the same claim of clergy sexual abuse against the Diocese and/or a member of clergy.
• The Claimant must not have previously litigated his/her claims to resolution against the Diocese or any related entities. However, a Claimant whose claims were dismissed or resolved solely on the grounds that they were barred by the Pennsylvania statute of limitations and no other basis, remains eligible to participate in the Program.
From the Diocese FAQ Sheet

The letter I received from the VAC last week indicated that more details would be forthcoming from the administrators of the ISCP.  As of this writing, I have not received that package yet.   I will provide updates when it does arrive.

Everyone needs to assess their own situation and make decisions that are right for themselves and their families.  Only you can decide how you are going to proceed.

I am providing links to the Claim Form, Protocol, and Fact sheets in a .pdf format.  These documents are from the package received from the administrators managing this process.

iscp claim form

iscp protocol

iscp fact sheet

 

 

 

 

A Professor Shows the Bishop His Back

US_Seal_3D

A friend emailed me a link to an article reporting that Professor Barry Kuhle stood up and turned his back on Bishop Joseph Bambera of Scranton during the Bishop’s remarks at the inauguration of the Father Scott R. Pilarz S.J. as the new President of the University of Scranton.  2018-09-27-Scranton_Professor_Protest

The article reported that Professor Kuhle’s sister was sexually assaulted by a temple leader in her pre-teens. She committed suicide in 2007 and the day of the inauguration would have been her 42nd birthday.

Professor Kuhle has called for Bishop Bambera to resign in the wake of the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.  I would like to add my voice to that call.

Bishop Bambera has admitted to returning Robert Gibson to a parish by order of Bishop James Timlin.  He should have known better.  His defense is that he was following Timlin’s directions.  If he had a moral backbone, he would have turned Gibson over to the police.   Gibson was subsequently caught grooming another boy after Bambera released him back into the Diocese.

Well done, Professor!

Michael Baumann

The University of Scranton, Class of ’82

 

 

And they will know we are Christians by our love…

It never fails to amaze me that the some of the nastiest comments that come into this blog are from self-proclaimed good Catholics.  A case in point, in the last week I have had two comments come in from “Ted Conley” (NDHS East Stroudsburg class of 83?).  The first comment I will assume is for me, the second was directed at a person who has commented on posts in the blog before.  I don’t always agree with that individual’s comments but I have put many of them up on this blog.  The text of this “Good Catholic’s” comments go like this:

Yup, “The Church is the Real Victim!” is so unfortunately true. This bottom-dwelling scum drags down the greatness of God and Jesus. Makes me nuts on a regular basis. Always hoping there is a special place in hell preheated and waiting for these soul-stealing a-holes.

and…

{name deleted}, do you sift the web for chances to bash Catholicism? Most all Catholics I’ve ever met are wonderful caring people. Please peddle (sic) your tripe on the heathen websites where you’re surely appreciated.

 

You are a class act, Ted!  I am sure you sit in your pew piously on Sunday morning (or perhaps on Saturday evening because you like sleeping in on Sundays!)  It is your particular level of vitriol that sets you as one of the more stereotypical Catholics who are in denial about what is going on in your church.  Go ahead and drink the Kool-Aid, make excuses for the hierarchy of your church protecting pedophiles, using parishioners’ money to keep their dirty little secrets and vilify the victims of pedophile priests. 

What you seem to miss is that many people like me do not attack your faith or your fellow Catholics, we simply are amazed at the fact that, in spite of overwhelming evidence of wrong doing, you either put your head in the sand or go for character assassination.   The latter being the first sign of a weak argument.

The title of this post is from a hymn written by Peter Scholtes with additional words and music by Carolyn Arends.  The lyrics to the hymn are:  (Hey Ted, sing along!)

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

By our love, by our love

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

By our love, by our love

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

Love is patient, love is kind
Never boasts, not full of pride
Always hopes, always trusts
The evidence of Christ in us

This is my commandment that you love one another that your joy may be full

 

It is ironic that every time I have heard this hymn it reminds me of the hypocrisy of many (not all) Catholics.  Ted is a prime example.  I am sure he is a pillar of his church.  But outside of the church he seems to be a little different based on the words and tone of his acidic comments. (He must be a lawyer!)   I can tell you are a Christian by your love, Ted.  You are a real sweetheart!  

I hope there is a special place in hell for preheated for heathens like me.  I am sure it will be a damn spot cooler than where Ted and his “lovable” Catholics will be heading.  Bring it Ted, be another mindless Catholic automaton! Perhaps it is the lack of “evidence of Christ” in people filled with hate, Ted for instance, that makes people like me cringe at hymns sung by hypocrites.  Is it any wonder that people are leaving the church in droves?

Rolling Stone Article

A fast post this morning on an article that appears in the most current edition of Rolling Stone Magazine.

The article is about the organized coverup of sexual crimes committed in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.    I will have more to say about this later.  You should read the article!

I found out about this latest review of the crisis of sexual crimes committed by Roman Catholic Clergy and the coverup of those crimes by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in a blog by Susan Matthews , Catholics4Change.

I have to get to work, more on this later.  You have a reading assignment!

 

 

If it is July, It must be time for the SNAP Conference

The SNAP Conference is coming up this weekend in Northern Virginia.  Beginning Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, just south of Washington, D.C., SNAP members from all over the country and perhaps from around the world will come together to listen to speakers, mix and exchange stories and try to draw some comfort and strength from other victims of sexual crimes committed by clergy.

I attended the conference a few years ago when after I went public with my own story of abuse.  The weekend was eye-opening.  There were people in the room who had made great strides towards recovery while others were still on their personal journeys.

At the conference I sought out some of the leaders of SNAP and talked to them about really networking the membership, setting up a blog roll for the people blogging on the topic of sexual crimes committed by clergy and lay employees of religious organizations and finding a way to use social media to bring this group together.  There was lots of enthusiasm, but no action.

I withdrew my support for SNAP after I started seeing a pattern of odd behavior and  an effort by the National Director to stifle any kind of initiative to do new things or come up with a more coherent strategy to lobby for changes in the laws of states that have not extended statutes of limitation to allow for more time to protect the rights of children or vulnerable adults who have been the victims of crimes committed by clergy.

There are some people who have contended that SNAP is controlled by the church while others say it is an organization that funnels clients to attorneys who make a lot of money suing the church.  I think that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.   I also think that the current leadership is rehashing a strategy that is not working.  If you look at the schedule of events for the upcoming conference you do not see any sessions in the main room, or as breakouts, about how to actually network the community through social media or to encourage blogging or other modern methods of harnessing the power of the community.  You don’t see sessions on enabling survivors to work on local and state lawmakers to lobby for changes in existing laws.

You also do not see an open discussion of the organization’s budget, the decision-making process of National Leaders or the selection of board members out of the people who allegedly make up the membership of this organization.

You do see a lot of diverse groups talking about victimization and you will most likely hear a request for donations.  What we have is not activism, it is passive submission to an agenda set by a very few, with those few having a direct financial stake in the agenda.

I would attend a SNAP Conference where the state of the organization to include a detailed discussion of budget and financial issues is encouraged.  I would like to see an organization that would see the election of board members out of the membership in good standing.  I would like to see National Leaders held accountable for their methods, tools and strategies.  If they fail to meet goals agreed to by the membership, it should be the right of the members to demand a change in leadership.

There are many questions that don’t seem to be answered.  There are many who would like to ask questions without fear of retribution from the National Leaders and their more zealous disciples.

I find it ironic that many of the tactics that the Catholic Church has used to control and isolate victims are part of the SNAP leadership strategy to remain firmly in place, collecting a paycheck and controlling a dialogue that is not really theirs to control.

Have a dialogue with all Survivors, encourage a conversation and realize that there is value in differing opinions.  Take time to discuss the business of SNAP and establish procedures that will encourage confidence in those who donate to non-profit organizations that comply with established standards and best practices.  Make this organization a true network and you will see results.

Finally, stop wasting everyone’s time changing the church.  It is never going to happen.  This fight will not be won in the pulpit or the pews, it has to be fought and won in the state legislatures and the courtroom.  I have said it before and will continue to say it.  There will be no profound change in the way the Catholic Church deals with pedophile priests until the church, as an institution,  has to pay a price set by civil society that is so terrible that it has no choice but to change as an institution or perish.  SNAP can be on the leading edge of that change or remain a self licking ice cream cone that does little more than offer a paycheck to a select few who may not really know where to lead the organization.

We will see what happens in northern Virginia over the weekend.  Unfortunately, I do not hold out hope for any new direction!

Con Artist, Gabriel Tetherow Continues His Career of Deceit

I am getting tired about writing about this guy. It seems our favorite connoisseur of kiddie porn wearing a Roman Collar is at it again, this time allegedly living in a basement of a house owned by a man named Art Noel in Dover, Pennsylvania. ( I guess that is better than living in a van down by the river.)

I do not understand how anyone can be gullible enough to give this man quarter? How does he continue to act as a priest when he has been ordered to stop? How do people not see through this creep?

It seems that “Father” Tetherow is professing that he is innocent of the charges related to child pornography, despite his guilty plea. Yes, he pled guilty to using a computer in the rectory of St. Anne’s Parish in the Diocese of Scranton for downloading child porn. But the “good father” is saying he pled out because he was set up by the diocese, or the police, or the boogie man. He has also claimed that the other priest in the rectory is guilty of the crime and that he was only protecting the seal of confession for the other priest. So what we have here is either that he is lying to keep his little band of “faithful” paying his bills, buying into his ultra conservative and way out of the mainstream Catholicism or he is breaking the seal of confession by telling people he was protecting the other priest who confessed within the confines of the sacrament of penance. In summary he is either a liar (say it ain’t so) or he is violating his holy orders. Oh yeah, I forgot, he has been ordered to stop presenting himself as a priest and cease any ministry.

He seems just too important to tell the truth, maintain his silence and follow holy orders. He has snowed other schismatic organizations before. Just ask Chairman Dave in York about how this “priest” misrepresents himself in order to advance his personal ambition.

Once again, Tetherow is trying to open a school. And his “flock” seems to be going along. The reader of this blog that alerted me to the latest misadventure of the basement dwelling convicted priest has sought assistance from the Diocese of Scranton and local media to expose this potential predator. But no allies are to be had.

If you live in the Dover, Pennsylvania area, be aware of this wolf wearing a roman collar. Remember, Evil may come dressed to confuse you and to deceptively earn your trust. Do you really want this man to have access to your children?

The only thing that evil needs to prosper is for good people to do nothing. In Dover, nothing is being done. I wonder how this will all end? I wonder who will have to sacrifice the innocence of a child to this monster before the community realizes the true danger in the basement.

My prior posts on Tetherow include:
The friend of my enemy is my enemy…“Father” Gabriel Tetherow – “Ultimate Service Provider!”
Letters, we get letters…A Few Last Thoughts on the Chairman of Sts. Peter and Paul Mission’s Hateful Letters and Articles
AngelQueen.org
Father Gabriel, Former “Mr. Oregon”?
Another York Cult Member Writes In…
More information on Father Tetherow and his troubles at St Ann’s can be found at:

Scranton Times-Tribune article from February 12, 2005

Star-Ledger article from March 18,2005
Scranton Times-Tribune article from March 18, 2005

FACSA Update on Pennsylvania Legislative Initiative

After a long day working on a project, I came home to find an email in my personal account announcing a press event on 1 March to discuss the Pennsylvania Child Victim Act Legislation that will be introduced in Harrisburg by State Representatives Louise Williams Bishop (isn’t that an ironic last name?) and Mike McGeehan.

While I am trying not to get my hopes up, if this legislation is successful and finds a way to become law, I and many others would be able to seek something we have been denied by the Catholic Church, the truth! (I bet the boys on Wyoming Avenue thought I was looking for a payday!) I want someone to actually tell me the truth, answer my questions and be up front and honest. Shocking, my demands have always been so unreasonable! (Do I need to tell you to adjust your computer sarcasm setting, again?)

Here is the text of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse press release:

FACSA ACTION ALERT

WHAT: Press Conference to discuss PA Child Victim Act Legislation
WHERE: The Harrisburg Capitol Building Rotunda, Harrisburg PA
WHEN: Tues. March 1, 2011 at !0 AM
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Any one interested in supporting legislation that will hold the criminals who commit child sex abuse accountable.

FURTHER DETAILS: State Reps. Louise Williams Bishop and Mike McGeehan, D-Phila., will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 1 at the state Capitol Rotunda to discuss legislation introduced (H.B. 832) and (H.B. 853 ).
The purpose of the news conference is to discuss Rep. Bishop’s legislation that would abolish the statute of limitations on both criminal and civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse and to discuss Rep. McGeehan’s legislation to reopen a two year window to bring civil suit for victims of childhood abuse whose statute of limitations have expired.

Attending the news conference Tuesday will be Bishop, McGeehan, Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, SnDdeN – (NSA) National Survivor Advocates Coalition, Tammy Lerner (FACSA) The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, Sherry Sensenig, (PROP) Parents Reaching Out to Parents, Marita Green (VOTF-GP) Voice of the Faithful of Greater Philadelphia, Joy Wuenschel, SNAP-Philadelphia Survivor Network of Those Abused by Priests, Pam Erdely, (SNAP) Pittsburgh.

State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop D-Philadelphia Mike McGeehan D-Philadelphia

Our mailing address is:
The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse
740 Cornerstone Lane
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Our telephone:
(215) 870-0680

End Text for FACSA.

If you are a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I ask for your active support. Call your Representative and Senator in Harrisburg and demand that your legislature do the right thing to protect children and to afford the opportunity for justice to those who have been long denied that justice.