Awaiting Details of the Bishop’s Fund and End of the Year Reading

There are only a few days left until the Diocese of Scranton releases the information on the Bishop’s Victims Compensation Fund.  I am confident that Bishop Bambera will over-promise and under-deliver to victims and their families. If you plan to make a claim against the Diocese of Scranton, watch their news release page for information.  I expect the lies and blame deflection will flow from Bill Genello’s office as soon as the details of the “Independent Survivors Compensation Program” ooze out of the Chancery on Wyoming Avenue.

Look for requirements that will disqualify as many people with credible accusations as possible.  If you were raped/molested/harmed by a priest in a religious order teaching in a Diocesan school, you might be out of luck.  The Bishop will probably flick that booger towards the religious order and ignore that the crimes were committed within his curia.  As in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, they will probably offer you the services of an attorney to help you navigate the rules of the fund.  Please be aware, that the attorney being paid by the Diocese will not have your best interests at heart.  If the Diocese is paying the bills, the lawyer is working for the Bishop and not for you.  I strongly recommend that you get your own legal representation, working for your interests and yours alone.

The best bet in Pennsylvania is to enact legislation that opens a civil litigation window, sweeps aside the need for confidentiality agreements, and forces institutions like the Catholic Church to comply with laws protecting children and vulnerable adults.  All victims should have the right to bring a claim in front of a judge.  The format of the compensation funds is stacked to favor the Dioceses.

I have been reading some articles linked from sites like Catholics4Change.org or sent in from readers of this blog (thanks Barb!).  I am going to offer you some links to spike your outrage or just leave you shaking your head at the myopic idiocy of Church leaders.

Abuse Talking Points Interrupt God’s Word 

Can victim funds help heal wounds of Pa. church sex abuse scandal?

NY archdiocese issued suitability letter for priest under abuse investigation

Catholic abuse victims face new obstacle | Editorial

Business as usual in the Catholic Church

Ticking time bombs in the church

Cardinal Wuerl, despite stepping down due to abuse scandal, presides over grand Basilica Christmas Mass

The Cardinals and the Bishops are ending 2018 full of deceit.  I hold out little hope for change when the clock strikes midnight tonight, and we charge headlong into 2019.  Over the last ten years writing on this blog, I have always been in awe of the Church Hierarchy’s ability to be unfeeling, uncaring, unchristian buffoons.  I don’t think they will disappoint in their stupidity in the new year.

BISHOP BAMBERA SHOULD RESIGN WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT!

 

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts

trojan_horse

It has been a while since I read the Aeneid in which Virgil warned “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.” I will paraphrase in the traditional English fashion.  “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”   Today, the Trojan Horse was rolled out of the Chancery on Wyoming Avenue in Scranton.

Just days after the mid-term elections failed to turn the Pennsylvania Legislature from red to blue, the Roman Collar Crime Syndicate in Pennsylvania announced the formation of a  “Compensation Program for Survivors of Sexual Abuse.”

A press release from the Bishop made the announcement that was heavy on diocesan empathy (sarcasm intended) and light on details.  The text is available on the Diocese Website.   I will put the wording of the release at the bottom of this post.

Survivors will need to weigh their options in the coming months on what they want to do.   I see this as nothing more than the Dioceses in Pennsylvania trying to settle claims of horrible abuse for pennies on the dollar.  I strongly recommend that if you are going to consider going this way that you get competent legal advice.

The Devil is in the details. There are no details here yet.  The Devil must still be advising the Bishop on how to proceed.  I will wait until this flushes out a little more.  This doesn’t look like transparency and justice. It seems like an attempt to buy silence on the cheap.

The press release from Bill Genello reads as follows:

SCRANTON, PA (November 8, 2018) – The Diocese of Scranton announced today the creation of an Independent Survivors Compensation Program for those who have suffered sexual abuse by clergy, religious or lay employees. Participation in the Program by survivors is entirely voluntary.

The Program will be administered by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, two leading experts in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. They will have absolute autonomy in determining compensation for survivors, and the Diocese of Scranton will abide by their decisions. Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros are currently managing a number of high-profile compensation programs nationwide, including similar programs started by five Catholic Dioceses in New York. Those programs collectively have provided over $200 million in compensation to more than 1,000 survivors. They have received positive feedback from those who participated.

An Independent Oversight Committee will oversee the implementation and administration of the Program. The Diocese will have no authority over this committee. Compensation decisions are final and cannot be appealed or overturned by the Diocese or the Independent Oversight Committee.

“Providing compensation to these survivors is the right thing to do,” said the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton. “Several weeks ago, Pennsylvania’s Bishops announced support of such a program, which was recently discussed but not enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Diocese of Scranton is therefore moving forward and is offering this Program for survivors.”

Parish and school assets, as well as contributions and bequests from parishioners and donations to the Diocesan Annual Appeal, will not be used to fund the Program. Rather, the Diocese will use available reserves and will sell assets and borrow money as needed. While the Program will require significant resources, the Diocese will strive to maintain its core mission to serve the local community.

The Diocese continues to refine the Program so that it better serves survivors. Further details concerning the Program will be made available in the near future, including a website for survivors to obtain information and claim forms. The Program is anticipated to launch in January 2019.

New Allegations of Sexual Abuse in the Diocese of Scranton

From the Associated Press this morning:

Scranton Catholic schools superintendent investigated over sex abuse allegation

By The Associated Press

January 12, 2010, 11:20AM

SCRANTON, Pa. — A northeastern Pennsylvania prosecutor is looking into a sex abuse allegation against the superintendent of schools for a Roman Catholic diocese.

Luzerne County District Attorney Andy Jarbola said Monday that his office is looking into claims reported to the Diocese of Scranton about Superintendent Joseph Casciano. Jarbola says the statute of limitations has run out in the case but his office is reviewing the allegations of inappropriate touching.

Casciano has taken a leave of absence. Diocese officials have not given a reason for the leave. A phone listing for Casciano could not immediately be located Tuesday.

It keeps happening in the Diocese of Scranton

An email from a reader alerted me to yet another priest that has been relieved of duties in a parish in the Diocese of Scranton. In a report from the Times Leader, a priest was removed after he attempted to project an informational DVD about the annual diocesan fundraiser on October 25th. Allegedly four photographs of “minimally attired adult males” were displayed.  Bill Genello,   spin master for the Diocese of Scranton, announced that the photos were not pornographic.  Well thank goodness for that!

Father Edward Lyman was removed as administrator of St. Anthony, St. Bridget and St. John the Baptist parishes in Throop, Pennsylvania. The current whereabouts of Father Lyman are unknown.

At some point the parishioners of the Diocese of Scranton need to start demanding accountability from the Diocese. I don’t know what the last straw will be. These people have rallied behind priests that have abused, molested and raped children. They have supported priests with child pornography on church computers and they have tolerated priests that have had inappropriate relationships with adult parishioners. What does it take? I am at a loss.

I would love to see an independent investigation into the Diocese and their policies to determine if the parishioners, particularly the children are safe. The diocese will not take responsible action. It seems that bishop after bishop has failed to take proactive steps to set standards and turn over priests who have violated the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States to appropriate authorities.

Local District Attorneys and the U.S. Attorney should look into the continuing saga of sexual crimes against both children and vulnerable adults, fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice on the part of the Chancery, all the way to the office of the Bishop. (I know the Diocese of Scranton is currently without their own shepherd, I could argue that has been the case for decades…)

I would hope that law enforcement officials got a look at the laptop to determine if child pornography laws were broken before the IT gurus wiped all the evidence from the hard drive. Given the chance, I have no doubt that the diocese will destroy evidence to protect itself.

Where ever Father Lyman is, I hope he has been questioned thoroughly by law enforcement. If no crimes have been committed, I would hope the Diocese takes the appropriate sanctions against this priest if he has violated Diocesan rules. What will probably happen is that this guy will get shuffled to the next unsuspecting parish.

I wonder if Father Lyman is bunking in with Father Timchak, they seem to have a common interest in photography.

Child Pornography in the Rectory at Lords Valley, Pennsylvania

In case you are one of the people who believe that the worst of the sex scandal in the Catholic Church is over, I have more bad news.  Another priest in the Diocese of Scranton has been reported, this time for child pornography.

Father TimchakAccording to news reports, and this is a story that is just breaking this evening, Father Robert Timchak was in court in Milford to begin answering charges for possession of child pornography and tampering with evidence.  According to news channels in Scranton, the investigation has been ongoing since December 2008 when someone tipped off the Diocese of Scranton that he had child pornography on his computer.

According to Channel 16 in Scranton, Timchak has served as pastor at several Catholic churches in the area, including the Transfigurations Church in West Hazelton, Saints Peter and Paul in Hazelton and most recently Saint John Neumann in Lords Valley

On the St John Neumann website this evening is a note to parishioners that reads:
Due to the recent problems in the Catholic Church,The Church has provided information for any individual that may have questions about the Bishop’s decision in Dallas. Please go to the following web site of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops www.usccb.org.

You will note that the Diocese has not put any information that tells you that your priest has child pornography on his computer nor does it tell you to contact the Pennsylvania State Police if you have information that would benefit law enforcement or the Pike County District Attorney. There is nothing on the website for the combined Transfigurations Church and Saints Peter and Paul in the Hazelton area. No need to let too many people know that a potential predator was in their midst. That is the way the Diocese of Scranton rolls!

I have to ask the obvious question here, why did it take the Pennsylvania State Police 11 months to check this guy’s computer and arrest him? Why did the Diocese of Scranton leave this “priest” in the parish since December 2008? I would love to ask if the Diocese of Scranton went into the community looking for possible victims. I wonder how many families in the parish where close to Father Timchak? Of those families, how many had young boys that were left alone with Father Timchak? Are any of the photos on the computer children of the parishes to which he was assigned?

Once again the Diocese showed the blinding speed with which it deals with potential child molesters wearing Roman Collars.  I imagine it took Bill Genello that long to practice the line “the Diocese has no comment” in front of the mirror in the bathroom. It was, no doubt, Bill Genello that put the brilliant and totally useless line on the church website. In case you are reading this Bill, I did a screen grab to document your referral to an organization that your most recent Bishop, Joseph Martino claimed did not have any authority in his diocese.

I am very familiar with this area. I served mass at Good Shepherd.  I lived in Hemlock Farms from 7th grade through my graduation from high school in 1978. I also lived there during the first two summers when I attended the University of Scranton.St John Neumann draws parishioners from that development. I lived in Hemlock Farms during the time frame where I was abused and raped by Father Gibson.

I am sure that there are a lot of parents in Lords Valley, West Hazelton and Hazelton who are having some very difficult conversations with their children tonight. If I may offer advice, please be supportive and don’t overreact if you child starts to tell you about things that make you uncomfortable. If your child has had a noticable change in personality, attitude, school behavior or has been withdrawn, moody or depressed seek help. I strongly recommend you do not go to the Diocese of Scranton. As kind and gentle as Joan Holmes may seem to you, the Diocese will try to collect information and spin this to their advantage. Do not let them control any aspect of this process, they will turn on you.

The Diocese of Scranton has an adversarial record in dealing with victims and their families over the years. Don’t let them re-victimize you, your family or your community. Believe me when I tell you from first hand experience, they will not make you a priority. They will protect the Diocese, the Diocese’s bank account and the priest before they will do anything for victims.

WBRE Coverage of Martino Resignation

Martino, Dougherty Officially Announce Resignations

Shared via AddThis

Coverage of the resignation of the Bishop of Scranton from PAHOMEPAGE.com and the news team at WBRE, Channel 28.

The reason cited for the resignation of the bishop was his health. I am sure that there is much more to the story. As I have stated in the past, and have provided proof from the Diocese of Scranton’s own paperwork, “health issues” are a convenient excuse for removal of priests from their positions. It seems that it can apply to the bishop as well. It is tough to listen to him say how well he feels and then a few minutes later lament that health is the reason for his stepping down. As with anything from this diocese, there are many mixed messages and many unanswered questions.

Like many others, I await for the real story of this resignation to come out.

Reports: Bishop Martino to Resign

This morning, the Scranton Times Website had an article indicating that Bishop Joseph Martino was going to resign his position as Bishop of Scranton early next week.

Still no information from the Chancery or Bill “the mouthpiece” Genello on the reasons for the “Bully of Wyoming Avenue’s” abrupt departure. The Bishop has already started moving his personal belongings to the Fatima Renewal Center in Dalton, Pennsylvania.

Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia will guide the direction of the Diocese until a new bishop is appointed by the Vatican to fill the vacancy left by Martino’s impending resignation.

Why is he resigning? We impatiently wait for the news. The longer the diocese waits to explain all this, the less credible they will be. Of course, to many of us, the Diocese of Scranton is not very credible to begin with.

With a change in leadership will there be a change in the diocese’s policy of denying, lying and deceiving parishioner? Will there be a house cleaning of all those that hid pedophiles in the diocese for years? Will the new Bishop try to fix the damage caused by Martino, Timlin and others before? I would like to see the new Bishop address the problems head on and honestly. I just don’t think that the Vatican is capable of appointing an honest man of god to the job.

More information to come as it becomes available.