Tag Archive: Roman Catholic Church

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Kenneth Lewis Facing Child Sexual Abuse Charges

kenneth lewis

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Kenneth Lewis, a Catholic priest, is facing child sexual abuse charges stemming from an allegation that he sexually assaulted a thirteen-year-old boy while on trip. Lewis has been accused numerous times over the years of sexual abuse, but due to the statute of limitations, he was never prosecuted. Astoundingly, in 1995, after yet another round of sexual abuse allegations,  Lewis was allowed to continue in the ministry once he received “treatment.” According to Chicago Sun Times, Catholic officials ordered Lewis not to be alone with children. This is akin to a sugar addict working in a candy store being told not eat the merchandise.  The crimes Lewis is now accused of were allegedly committed in 2001. It seems, then, that whatever “treatment” Lewis received did not cure him of his predilection towards sexually abusing children.

Black Collar Crime: Australian Catholic Bishop Philip Wilson Covered Up Child Sexual Abuse

archbishop philip wilson

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Last week, Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, was found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse. He will be sentenced on June 19, 2018. Wilson pleaded not guilty, but the judge found the evidence against him compelling. After his conviction, Wilson stated, “I am obviously disappointed at the decision published today. I will now have to consider the reasons and consult closely with my lawyers to determine the next steps.”

The charges against Wilson hail from his days as a young priest. Several children came to Wilson will allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priest James Fletcher. Wilson did nothing. Fletcher would continue to abuse children for decades until he was arrested and  convicted of nine counts of child sexual abuse in December 2004. Fletcher died in prison in 2006.

Frank Brennan, an Australian Jesuit priest, human rights lawyer and academic, stated:

I would think that the mind of Pope Francis at this stage would be that if there be a conviction of a bishop in relation to a failure to disclose abuse in circumstances where the state thought that was criminal activity, then I would think the mind of the pope would be that that doesn’t measure up in church terms either and that therefore it would be impossible for someone to remain in the job as a bishop.

There’s no doubt that Archbishop Wilson in recent years … has been one of the good guys. He has been one of the bishops in the Catholic Church who have been trying to clean things up

But this relates to when he was a young priest. Even someone like him who later got it back in those years was so confined by our culture that it would seem there was no disclosure.

Brennan seems to be saying that people shouldn’t be too hard on Wilson. His nondisclosure of the allegations was typical of the times; and that Wilson in recent years has been one of the good guys, someone who tried to hold priests accountable for their criminal behavior. Really? Where’s the evidence for this claim? How many pedophile priests were reported, arrested, and prosecuted for their crimes under his watch? How many other children found deaf ears when they reported being sexually abused?

According to Wikipedia, Wilson did not change his ways as Brennan alleges. In May 2010:

…. Wilson came under scrutiny regarding two incidents relating to sexual abuse in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The first of these cases related to the alleged sexual assault of two girls in 1985 by Father Dennis McAlinden, a priest in the diocese. Wilson, the diocese’s vicar general at the time, was sent to speak to parents at the school where the assault was alleged to have taken place. The principal told the media that Wilson’s response was to remove McAlindon from his position and to provide help for him. In fact, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), “McAlinden was … transferred to a remote parish in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Over the next decade he sexually assaulted five more girls under the age of 10”. In 1995, Wilson was again asked by Bishop Leo Clarke to deal with the case, requesting that he take statements from the alleged victims. Wilson took the statements and returned them to the bishop. The ABC reported that the statements were never provided to police and, instead, Clarke defrocked McAlinden, with the promise “that his ‘good name’ would be protected”. In a statement to ABC in 2010, Wilson said he told Clarke that McAlinden should have been confronted in 1985 and, that as far as he was aware, this had occurred. He denied involvement in McAlinden’s transfer to Western Australia or his defrocking.

Robert Stone, the magistrate who found Wilson guilty, had this to say about the Bishop’s crimes:

The likelihood of two young boys individually telling the accused [Wilson] of acts of sexual misconduct by another priest who the accused knows … are matters I am very confident would be remembered for a very long time. You have to ask why the accused did not do what he himself says he would do now [go to the police] in the same situation. The answer I believe relates to the accused having a sense of knowing what he was hearing was a creditable allegation. In addition, the accused wanted to protect the church and its image.

 

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest David Poulson Facing Child Sexual Abuse Charges

david poulson

David Poulson, a Catholic priest with the Diocese of Erie, stands accused of sexually abusing two boys over a period of many years.  Worse yet, the Centre Daily News reports that the officials with the Diocese of Erie knew about Poulson’s predatory behavior since May 2010, but did not report it to law enforcement until September 2016.

According to the Centre Daily News:

the alleged assaults would usually occur on Sundays, after the boy served as an altar boy during mass. Poulson would then allegedly require the boy to make confession in the church, and confess to the assaults — to Poulson, who served as the priest receiving the boy’s confession.

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Diocese officials then interviewed Poulson, who admitted he owned the hunting cabin and took about 20 trips there — half of which were with young boys. He allegedly admitted he was attracted to young boys, and provided the names of the boys he took to the cabin. The diocese, in cooperation with the attorney general and grand jury investigation, then turned over the names of the boys to investigators.

In addition to the two boys from which the charges stem, the grand jury heard from nine others who recalled Poulson befriending them, flirting with them, joking and wrestling with them when they were minors. Poulson allegedly piled them with gifts, cash, dinners and alcohol. Prosecutors believe a sexual assault occurred in at least one of theses cases, but it was barred on the grounds of statute of limitations.

If these allegations are true, Poulson is one sick man. I hope authorities are looking into criminally prosecuting the Diocese employees who knew about Poulson’s abhorrent behavior and did nothing. They are every bit as culpable as he is.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Teacher Everest Moore Accused of Sexual Abuse

everest moore

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Everest Moore, a teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Williston, North Dakota, stands accused of sexually assaulting several girls.

Jamie Kelly, a reporter for the Williston Herald, writes:

A teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School who was arrested last month and charged with molesting three young girls has been accused of doing similar things to two more girls.

Everest Moore, 28, was charged Thursday with two class A felony counts of gross sexual imposition. The new charges allege Moore had sexual contact with two girls younger than 15 between August and February.

As in the case filed in March, the Williston police used the verbal testimony of investigators to support an arrest warrant, as opposed to the more common practice of using written affidavits.

Williams County State’s Attorney Marlyce Wilder said when the first case was filed that was done because of the sensitive nature of the allegations and to protect the identities of the girls.

The latest charges came about as part of the original investigation, according to Sgt. Detective Danielle Hendricks with the Williston police.
Investigators at the Williston Police Department started investigating Moore in mid February when someone who is legally mandated to report suspected sexual assault or child abuse told them of the allegations, police said.

At a bond hearing Thursday, Nathan Madden, assistant state’s attorney for Williams County, asked Northwest District Judge Paul Jacobson to set Moore’s bond in this case at $50,000, in addition to the $50,000 he posted in the previous case.
As part of the conditions of his release on bond, Moore was ordered to have no contact with St. Joseph Catholic Church or the school. Madden said that Jeff Nehring, Moore’s attorney, had reached out to both the state’s attorney’s office and the church to see if there was a way for Moore to attend Mass at another church in the parish.

Nehring, however, said Moore is a devout Catholic and that his actions show he is abiding by the terms of his bond. He asked Jacobson to allow the $50,000 Moore previously posted to cover the new charges.

Moore has strong ties to the community, Nehring said, and he has maintained his innocence.

“When we learned of the new charges, Mr. Moore turned himself in,” Nehring said.

Jacobson said he thought it would be appropriate to increase Moore’s bond because of the two new class A felony charges. He set bond at $70,000 for both cases, so Moore will have to post an additional $20,000 to be released.

Moore has taught at St. Joseph for five years, according to Nehring. He was also an assistant coach for the Williston High School football team and had been head coach for the Williston Middle School Track and Field team, but did not have a contract for this season, according to Williston Public School District No. 1.

….

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Diocese of Erie Releases List of Priests Who Have Been Accused of Sex Crimes

lawrence persico

Bishop Lawrence Persico

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Today, the Catholic Diocese of Erie released a list of fifty-one priests and laypeople who have been credibly accused of sex crimes.

GoErie.com reports:

Bishop Lawrence Persico likened the event to ending a kind of darkness.

In a stunning break from years of Catholic Diocese of Erie policy, Persico on Friday released the names of priests and laypeople credibly accused of sexually abusing minors or engaging in improper behavior with minors since 1944. (scroll down for the list of names.)

“When everything is shrouded in cloud, everybody becomes suspicious,” Persico said. “Now that we have turned on the light it should be somewhat of a relief.”

He apologized to the victims on behalf of the diocese and said the release of the list is meant to help victims by letting them know “they are not alone.” He encouraged more victims to come forward.

“We are willing to listen to them and accompany them as we search for the truth,” Persico said.

The cases on the list span from 1944 to the present and the list is made up of a total of 51 people — 34 priests, 21 of whom are dead, and 17 laypeople, two of whom are dead. Persico said the statute of limitations had expired in all the cases except three more recent cases in which criminal investigations are active.

Those on the list include the late Erie Catholic Bishop Alfred M. Watson, who died at 80 in 1990 and who the diocese said had been credibly accused of failing to stop abuse that was “credibly reported to him.” Persico said someone was abused because Watson, who served as bishop from 1969 to 1982, failed to act on the abuse allegation.

Also on the list is William P. Garvey, the former president of then-Mercyhurst College, who died at 81 in August. The diocese said its investigation showed Garvey had been credibly accused of abusing minors when he was a youth basketball coach at St. John the Baptist School in the 1960s and 1970s. The Erie Times-News first reported the allegations against Garvey in 2004, but Garvey called them “patently untrue” and Mercyhurst disputed them, citing “a lack of solid evidence.”

Persico’s release of the 51 names is unusual for Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States, most of which have kept such names secret. And the release of the names is unusual because the list includes laypeople and not just clergy.

“If we’re going to protect children, it is not just priests, but it is laypeople, too,” Persico said. “Why would I just put (in) priests if we know people who have not protected children?”

He said the release of the names, which he announced during a news conference at St. Mark Catholic Center, is also meant to help the community and the church, accused of covering up for abusive priests since the clergy sex-abuse scandal exploded nationwide in 2002. The Erie diocese on March 21 said it intended to release the names of accused priests soon. The diocese released that statement a day after the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released the names of 42 accused priests, 24 of whom are dead.

The Erie diocese’s disclosures also come as a statewide investigative grand jury is in the final stages of its review of how the Erie diocese and five other Catholic dioceses statewide handled allegations of clerical sexual abuse. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office is running the probes, which started in 2016.

The grand jury’s term is expected to end by April 30, with its report to be finished soon after. The report will be public and is expected to name abusive priests, based on previous grand jury reports on other Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. A year ago, the attorney general’s office released a highly critical 147-page grand jury report on the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Persico said he “probably” would have released the names of the accused priests and laypeople if the grand jury had not been meeting. [bullshit] He said he expects the grand jury report will include the names of more victims. The Erie diocese has cooperated with the investigation, which has included a review of diocesan records.

“We were going to do this regardless of what the report said,” Persico also said. “This is something I felt has to be done. We have to do all we can to protect children and minors across the diocese.”

“I know people stand firmly on both sides of whether or not releasing the names of these individuals is the right decision,” Persico said. “Some will say that it has taken far too long to publish these names. Others think we shouldn’t do it at all. They say we are not showing mercy.

“As Catholics, we believe the Lord has infinite mercy and absolution for those who are contrite and sincerely seek forgiveness. But that does not mean they are free from the ramifications of their behavior.”

He also said, “there will be some who will say this is not enough.”

One of those people is James Faluszczak, 48. He is a former Roman Catholic priest in the Erie diocese who in March said he was abused as a teenager in Erie in the late 1980s by Monsignor Daniel J. Martin, a former pastor of St. George Church in Millcreek Township who died at 88 in 2006. Faluszczak said the abuse occurred between when he was 16 to 19 years old. Martin’s name is on the list released Friday.

Faluszczak said he is grateful that Persico released the list, but he said he would have liked the bishop to also disclose where the accused priests and laypeople had been at the time of the abuse to help victims get a better idea of the scope of the problem.

“It is a start, but even the bishop acknowledged that more names will be coming,” Faluszczak said. “I think it would have been best to provide a list of where all these priests have served.”

….

You can read the entire story here.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Youth Worker Brian Werth Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse

brian werth

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Brian Werth, a youth worker at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Rockville, Maryland, was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for the sexual abuse of a church teenager.

The Bethesda Magazine reports:

A former youth minister at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Rockville was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for the sexual abuse of a teen parishioner, according to Montgomery County prosecutors.

Brian Patrick Werth, 34, had been arrested in 2016 in connection with the abuse of a then-16-year-old girl, to whom he had sent explicit text messages for two years and had sexual contact with her earlier that year. He was charged with a fourth-degree sex offense, sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree assault.

Judge Karla Smith sentenced Werth to one year for the sex offense charge and two years for the assault charge, according to a State’s Attorney’s Office press release. The two terms will be served consecutively, followed by five years of probation with COMET, a sex offender monitoring program that will include periodic polygraph and psychosexual testing. Werth is also required to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

Smith went beyond state guidelines, which recommend zero to six months for the charges, in the sentencing. Ramón Korionoff, a spokesman for the State’s Attorney’s Office, said the sentence was appropriate.

“It is our hope that this above-the-guidelines sentence will send a strong message that people in position of authority and trust must not abuse that power over the young people they are supposed to be serving,” he said in a statement. “Hopefully, yesterday’s sentence will be the first step in healing for the victim and the church community in this matter.”

….

Werth, who lived in Montgomery Village at the time, had known the victim through the church, and learned that she “adored him,” according to prosecutors. They began texting, and police later discovered he had sent graphic and sexual texts to her since the summer of 2014.

On about May 20, 2016, Werth kissed the teen and had other inappropriate sexual contact with her during a youth event at the church, according to police.

St. Elizabeth’s had fired Werth in 2016 after the pastor received a complaint against him that summer, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Washington at the time. The pastor contacted the Archdiocese’s Child and Youth Protection Office, which then reported the case to county police.

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Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Frank Lenz Accused of Sexual Misconduct

frank lenz

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Frank Lenz, a retired Catholic priest, stands accused of sexual misconduct.

UpNorthLive reports:

A northern Michigan priest is on administrative leave after allegations of sexual misconduct.

According to the Diocese of Marquette, Father Frank M. Lenz, a senior (retired) priest with the Diocese is being accused of sexual misconduct with a minor dating back to the 1970s.

Records show Father Lenz has denied the allegation.

The Diocese said Father Lenz has been removed from all public priestly ministry and prohibited from presenting himself as a priest in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The Diocese said this is not a final determination of guilt. Administrative leave is a precautionary measure while a credible allegation is being investigated.

“On behalf of the Catholic Church, I offer a sincere apology to all victims of clergy abuse,” said Bishop Doerfler. “There is no excuse for what happened to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I am willing to journey with you to find Christ’s peace and healing.”

Bishop Doerfler encourages anyone who may have suffered sexual misconduct by clergy, a church worker or volunteer to come forward to receive pastoral care leading toward healing. [ Yes, right after you report your allegations to law enforcement.]

….

WNMU-FM adds:

The action against Father Frank Lenz was taken because of a recently-made credible allegation of misconduct with a minor in the 1970s. Lenz has denied the claim.

The allegation has been reported to law enforcement and the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office. Lenz has been removed from all public priestly ministry and prohibited from presenting himself as a priest, in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The diocese says administrative leave is a precautionary measure while a credible allegation is being investigated.

Lenz was ordained in June of 1969 and retired to Senior Priest status in 2007.

Diocese Bishop John Doerfler responded by saying, “On behalf of the Catholic Church, I offer a sincere apology to all victims of clergy abuse. There is no excuse for what happened to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I am willing to journey with you to find Christ’s peace and healing.” [Sorry Bishop, but if you have been paying attention of late, offers of thoughts and prayers no longer suffice.]

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Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Jonathan Wehrle Accused of Embezzling Millions From Church

jonathan wehrle

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Jonathan Wehrle, pastor of St. Martha Church in Okemos, Michigan, stands accused of embezzling more than $5 million from his church, using the money to lavishly improve his properties. Evidently, taking a vow of poverty meant something different to Wehrle than it did other Catholic priests. I previously wrote about Wehrle’s crimes in May, 2017.

The Lansing State Journal reports:

A Catholic priest accused of embezzling more than $5 million from his central Michigan church spent about $100,000 on an indoor swimming pool and stained glass windows for his six-bedroom, 12-bathroom home, according to a lawsuit seeking to recoup some of the money.

In addition to the $45,000 indoor pool and nearly $55,000 in stained glass windows, the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle spent more than $134,000 on landscaping at his 10-acre (4-hectare) estate in Williamston and other properties, according to the lawsuit filed by Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Corporation, which insures the Catholic Diocese of Lansing.

Wehrle faces six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos, which is just east of Lansing and about 70 miles west of Detroit. Prosecutors allege that Wehrle spent the money on himself, including to build and maintain the estate.

The home, which has 10 fireplaces and three barns, was appraised at $1.28 million in 2012, when construction was only halfway complete, according to court records.

Police said bills for work on the property matched checks written from St. Martha.

Wehrle’s defense attorney, Lawrence Nolan, said the pastor had family money and an agreement with a bishop, now deceased, to use parish funds for a private residence.

Assistant prosecutor Andrew Stevens has said that Wehrle, who founded St. Martha in 1988, had “maintained pretty autonomous control” for nearly 30 years.

Princeton Excess also sued Wehrle this month after learning he wasn’t paying property taxes and that his homeowner’s insurance had lapsed, according to attorney Randy Marmor.

Wehrle’s estate was placed into receivership after a judge approved the insurer’s request Wednesday, the Lansing State Journal reported . The insurer said it’s paid out about $2.5 million to the diocese so far and wants to protect assets to cover those losses.

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Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Marcin Nurek Indicted on Sex Crime Charges

marcin nurek

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Marcin Nurek, a recently ordained Catholic priest, was indicted on “criminal sexual contact and child endangerment charges.”

Press of Atlantic City reports:

A recently ordained Roman Catholic priest accused of groping a 13-year-old girl under her skirt last summer has been indicted on criminal sexual contact and child endangerment charges.

Morris County prosecutors say the Rev. Marcin Nurek touched the girl’s buttocks over her underwear and told her she was “sexy.” The indictment was recently handed up by a county grand jury.

The 37-year-old priest was put on administrative leave by the Diocese of Paterson following his Aug. 3 arrest. He is an emigrant from Poland and was ordained into the priesthood in July.

Nurek’s lawyer, William Ware, declined comment on the indictment on Monday.

In September 2017, the Daily Record reported:

A recently-ordained Catholic priest who is accused of fondling a 13-year-old girl’s buttocks under her skirt in Boonton rejected a plea offer of Pretrial Intervention, a special supervision program under which criminal charges are dismissed if all conditions are successfully met, the defense lawyer said Tuesday.

The Rev. Marcin A. Nurek – who was barred by the Diocese of Paterson from acting as a priest after he was arrested on Aug. 3 – appeared Tuesday with defense lawyer William Ware for a brief, pre-indictment conference before Superior Court Judge Stephen Taylor in Morristown.

Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Meg Rodriguez said the charges against Nurek — criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child — have been marked for presentation to a Morris County grand jury for possible indictment, the precursor to a criminal tria

….

Nurek was released from the Morris County jail within a few days of his arrest, by order of a Superior Court judge. He is living at the diocese-owned Bethlehem Heritage in Chester Township and both Ware and Rodriguez said that Nurek has not violated any conditions of pretrial release.

After the hearing, Ware said that the Prosecutor’s Office offered Nurek the opportunity to be admitted into Pretrial Intervention to resolve the charges but he declined.

“He’s innocent,” Ware said.

….

Nurek allegedly followed a group of girls down a street in the town of Boonton and then reached a hand under a 13-year-old’s skirt, and groped her buttocks over her underwear, stating either “You’re sexy,” or “Hey, sexy,” according to authorities.

Nurek was located shortly after the incident and, authorities said, made admissions to police. Police also secured surveillance camera images that allegedly show Nurek following the girls.

 

Is God Pro-Life?

3 day old human embyro

Three Day Old Human Embryo.

A hundred or so local anti-abortion residents held a protest at ProMedica health system’s Defiance, Ohio facility yesterday. These zygote lovers were protesting Promedica’s decision to enter into a transfer agreement with Toledo’s lone abortion facility — Capital Care. Anti-abortion zealots in the Ohio legislature have passed numerous anti-abortion laws and regulations in recent years. One recent bit of legislative wonder requires abortion clinics to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital. This requirement has put most of Ohio’s abortion clinics out of business, much to the delight of anti-abortion God worshipers.

Ohio is on the cusp of being the first state to totally ban abortion; either by enacting strict, impossible-to-meet regulations or directly assaulting Roe v. Wade with a ban on abortion. This is what happens when Republicans are given super majorities in state legislatures. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion almost forty-five years ago. Yet, here we are, re-litigating an issue decided decades ago. And abortion is not the only right under attack. Republicans control most state legislatures. Believing that Christianity is the one true religion and that the Bible is the moral framework by which all Americans should live, these politicians demand that secular governments bow to God’s theocratic will. Abortion is just one issue, among many. Take any of the church and state issues litigated from the Scope’s Monkey Trial forward. Many of these court cases are being challenged and, in some instances, overturned. Christian zealots will not rest until the Christian flag flies over the White House and every state capitol. They will not rest until the wall of separation between church and state is breached and secularism is banished from the realm. One need only to look to the Middle East and Europe to see what happens when theocrats gain the power of the state; people die and freedoms are lost. The only way to turn back this assault is to elect to office people who value the U.S. Constitution and its secular principles and values.

Signs at the ProMedica protest sported messages such as: Killing babies is not healthcare, Abortion is always the wrong choice, and God is pro-life. Most of the protesters were either Evangelical or Catholic — the two dominant sects in this area. While Catholics, at one time, voted for Democrats and pro-union candidates, recent decades have brought a virulent swing to the right. These days, Catholics are every bit as caustic as Evangelicals, especially on issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage.

I have no doubt that these protestors sincerely believe that God is pro-life, but such a belief is rooted in fanaticism, and not fact. Anti-abortionists selectively appeal to the Bible as justification for their anti-abortion rhetoric, but a careful reading of the Bible suggests that God is not, in any way, pro-life; and that people who claim God is on their side are ignoring vast amounts of Biblical and historical evidence to the contrary. If anything, God is blood-thirsty, violent megalomaniac who has caused untold pain, suffering, and death (if he is indeed real, as Christians insist he is).

According to the Bible, the pro-life God of the Bible drowned millions of people with a flood, including children and pregnant women. How can it be said that God is pro-life if he murdered fetuses by drowning them? Down through the pages of the Bible we find story after story detailing Jehovah’s genocidal rage against anyone and everyone who refused to bow in fealty and worship him. The New Testament is no better. One need only look at the death of Jesus to see the homicidal tendencies of the Christian deity. What kind of father does what God did to his son? Worse yet, this same God created a place called Hell; a place where he tortures all non-Christians for eternity. This God is such a psychopath that he fits the dead with new bodies that will tolerate torture in the fire and brimstone of the Lake of Fire. What a monstrous being!

And then there’s the fact that if God is the giver and taker of life, then he is responsible for the ten to twenty percent of pregnancies that end with spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). If God is pro-life, why then are these pregnancies not carried to term? Surely, God can keep spontaneous abortions from happening. Why does he sit on the sidelines and do nothing? The same argument could be made for children who die due to war, murder, malnutrition, disease, and parental neglect. If God is pro-life, shouldn’t he intervene and save children from death? If God truly cares about the pre-born, surely he still cares for them after they are born. Yet, all the evidence points to the fact that God is indifferent to the plight of his created beings. One could even argue that the evidence suggests that the pro-life God is a figment of Christian imaginations.

No, God is not pro-life, and neither are his followers. Most pro-lifers have a schizophrenic approach to life. The very same people protesting at ProMedica can be found defending U.S. militarism, capital punishment, and all sorts of anti-life government policies. At best, most pro-lifers are pro-fetus, hypocrites of the first-degree. Take protesters who released balloons to honor the babies have been aborted. They showed no regard for what balloon releases do to the environment and wildlife: that released balloons eventually return to the ground, causing wildlife deaths when they are ingested. This fact is a great example of the myopia of anti-abortionists. They are one-issue crusaders who only believe in protesting in support of the pre-born. Once a child is born, all bets are off.

An anti-abortionist who lives near me told the Defiance Crescent-News, “They [ProMedica] became complicit in murder when they signed that transfer agreement.” As long as Christian zealots continue to believe that life begins at conception, and any and all forms of abortion are murder, there’s no possible way to work with them to reduce the need for abortion. Instead, people such as myself are forced to fight their irrational, anti-woman assault on women. Believing that God is on their side and the Bible is God’s inspired, infallible word, Evangelicals and conservative Catholics cannot and will not compromise. Trying to reach such people is a waste of time. All any of us can do is strip them of the power of the state. This is accomplished through electing politicians who believe it’s important to protect a woman’s right to choose; who believe that women have a Constitutional right to control their own bodies. At this juncture in American history, this means running Republicans out of office. Remember, if we don’t realize the importance of the hour, we are going to wake up one day and find ourselves living in what Evangelicals have long desired — a Christian nation. Come that day, abortion rights will be the least of our problems.

Previous Articles About Abortion
Abortion Facts, Lies, and Contradictions

25 Questions for Those who say Abortion is Murder

Why it is Impossible to Talk to Pro-Life Zealots About Abortion

Preaching the Anti-Abortion Gospel

What Anti-Abortion Zealots Really Want

Abortion: One Issue Voters

Is Abortion Murder? (A Rationalist’s Take)

Reducing the Number of Abortions

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Robert DeLand, Jr. Accused of Sexually Assaulting Children

robert deland jr

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Robert DeLand Jr. a Catholic priest in the Saginaw, Michigan area, stands accused of sexually assaulting children.

Michael Kransz, a reporter for Michigan Live, writes:

Investigators say nearly half a dozen people have come forward with stories of alleged sexual abuse, attempted or otherwise, at the hands of a Mid-Michigan priest charged this week with sexual assault.

Some of the new allegations against the Rev. Robert DeLand Jr., 71, date back nearly three decades, and all of them involve people who were minors at the time and accessed through DeLand’s role as a priest, said Tittabawassee Township Detective Brian Berg.

Apart from one female, most of the alleged victims are male, Berg said.

“We want to encourage these victims to know that we’re going to hear them, we’re going to listen and we’re going to leave no stone unturned,” Berg said. “No one is going to stand alone in this anymore.”

In addition to victim statements, Berg said police are receiving “dozens and dozens” of tips about the Freeland pastor since his arrest Sunday night, Feb. 25, at his Saginaw Township condominium on Mallard Cove.

“We’re trying to get our hands around the enormity of it and put it into some kind of logical order,” the detective said.

Saginaw Township Police Chief Donald Pussehl said his office has since received five calls regarding DeLand’s “questionable behavior” in the past.

“Throughout the years, some of the things he would do with young boys, such as inviting them to his home, was somewhat strange,” Pussehl said, relaying the callers’ concerns.

Chris Pham, a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, said the diocese is unaware of any past accusations against DeLand.

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DeLand’s arrest, and subsequent charges of sexual assault, came after Tittabawassee and Saginaw townships finished their months-long investigations into allegations of sex crimes involving alcohol, drugs and underage boys.

Separate cases, similar situations

Although the cases were separate, one involving a 21-year-old man and another a 17-year-old male, they were similar in DeLand’s alleged predatory tactics, said Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner.

“There was a number of grooming techniques that were used to befriend the victim, to prey on the victim’s weaknesses and to lure the victim to the residence on Mallard Cove,” Gaertner said Monday. “That was quite similar to the same techniques used in the case where he was arrested last night.”

That incident involved the 17-year-old victim.

The alleged criminal acts involve attempted or actual, unwanted sexual contact.

DeLand, known to some as “Father Bob,” held a variety of positions at numerous parishes and Catholic schools in the Saginaw and Bay City areas since he was ordained in 1973, according to Pham.

DeLand’s tenure at St. Agnes in Freeland began in July 2011. Before that, Pham said, he served as pastor at St. James Parish in Bay City from July 2005 until July 2011. During that time, he was chaplain of All Saints High School.

Following the criminal accusations, DeLand was placed on administrative leave, according to a diocese statement.

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Saginaw Township’s investigation began after a 21-year-old man reported in August that DeLand made unwanted, sexual advances on him while the pair were together at the pastor’s Mallard Cove condominium.

“Because of alcohol use, it did go further than what the victim had ever thought it would go,” Pussehl said.

Pussehl said the pair became acquainted through secular circumstances.

In November, parents of a 17-year-old male doing court-ordered community service with DeLand voiced concerns about the pastor’s behavior to Tittabawasee Township police.

“His parents were very concerned that he was grooming their son and touching him inappropriately and buying things for him and spending a tremendous amount of time with him,” Berg said.

Some of the alleged instances took place at the condominium, and others in DeLand’s residence in the church rectory, Berg said.

Berg took those concerns to the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office, where he learned of the Saginaw Township investigation. The 17-year-old agreed to help investigators by going undercover, ultimately leading to DeLands arrest.

DeLand was charged with attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency between males in the Saginaw Township case. Both are five-year felonies.

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On March 12, 2018, The Detroit News reported:

A teen is suing a Saginaw-area priest, accusing him of “grooming” the high school student with gifts and invitations to his condo, leading to inappropriate contact including back rubs, groping and suggestions to view gay porn.

The Rev. Robert DeLand was charged last month with criminal sexual conduct following accusations from two males, ages 17 and 21. Police say they have received other complaints since his arrest.

The 71-year-old priest is on administrative leave from St. Agnes in Freeland, where he has had been pastor since July 2011, the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw reported. The suit also names the diocese and its leader, Bishop Joseph Cistone, claiming steps weren’t taken to stop the cleric or look into allegations about DeLand’s conduct.

DeLand allowed the 17-year-old he met last year to perform community service at the church that the youth was ordered to complete over six months, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

When the youth returned to school that fall, the pastor was a volunteer “greeter” there, participated in school events and “engaged in a systematic pattern of ‘grooming’ behavior …, targeting the minor child, gaining his trust and/or providing him with gifts and favors,” attorney Todd J. Weglarz wrote.

Over time, DeLand took the student out of class to talk; bought him an expensive “vape” machine; invited the teen to his home to smoke; and “made inappropriate physical contact … during the school day, including back rubs, hugs and groping of the buttocks,” the court filing read. The priest also allegedly paid for his therapy to help deal with a friend’s suicide, texted or called him up to 17-20 times a day, then encouraged the student “to view large quantities of gay pornography,” according to the document.

DeLand invited the teen to his Saginaw Township condo last month to “party,” but that day, the cleric touched him “inappropriately, groping and fondling his crotch and buttocks, feet and toes,” the suit asserts.

The priest was charged Feb. 26 with one count each of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency between male persons. He also was charged with one count of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct/personal injury for an incident involving a 21-year-old, 70th District Court records show.

DeLand, who has been ordered by the court during the Feb. 26 hearing to wear an electronic tether and have no contact with anyone under age 21, could not be reached Monday.

His attorney and diocese representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit, which seeks at least $75,000 in damages, contends DeLand abused his position while Catholic Diocese of Saginaw leaders failed to properly investigate allegations he abused the teen as well as others, “which created a climate whereby boundary violations and inappropriate sexual misconduct directed towards children and were permitted, condoned and encouraged,” Weglarz said.

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Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest W. Thomas Faucher Arraigned on Child Pornography Charges

w thomas faucher

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

W. Thomas Faucher, a Catholic priest with the Diocese of Boise, has been charged with sexual exploitation of a child, distributing sexually exploitative material involving children, and felony drug possession.

The Idaho Statesman reports:

Hundreds of images of child pornography and drugs including marijuana, ecstasy and LSD were found in the home of a retired Boise priest, a prosecutor said at a Monday court hearing.

Longtime Catholic Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, 72, was brought into court in a wheelchair Monday evening for his arraignment on 14 different charges.

Most of the crimes involve Idaho’s law against child pornography: He is charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, and two counts of distributing sexually exploitative material involving children. His last two charges are both for drug possession. All of the charges, except one of the drug counts, are felonies.

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Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Kassandra Slaven offered more context Monday. She said some images on Faucher’s computer involved young children, including infants and toddlers. The images included children being subjected to different sexual acts and torture, she said.

Slaven also described email conversations where Faucher reportedly traded images and talked about his “sexual interest in children.” She said Faucher has a “very sophisticated knowledge” of exchanging and viewing child pornography. And in certain chats investigators viewed, she said, he expressed a desire to molest children. One such chat screen was open on his computer when police served the search warrant, she said.

Faucher talked in the chat about his “desires to rape and kill children,” Deputy Prosecutor Cathy Guzman said at a probable cause hearing earlier Monday.

Judge Michael W. Lojek ordered Faucher held on $250,000 bond — half of what Slaven sought — and directed him to have no contact with any children under 18. He is also forbidden from using the internet.

Faucher’s attorney, Mark Manweiler, argued that his client should be released, pointing to Faucher’s lack of criminal record and “impeccable reputation.” Manweiler said the priest answered five hours’ worth of questions from police, and said there has never been a claim of abuse or impropriety aimed at Faucher despite the “tens of thousands” of children his client has been around.

Manweiler also argued against the no-contact order. He said Faucher was expected to have many community members visit after leaving jail, and he did not want his client to unintentionally violate the order if visitors brought a child with them.

“(Faucher) is well-liked and well-known,” Manweiler said. “He counts among his good friends people at the highest level of both branches, both of state government and our local government and some judicial officials here in Ada County.”

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Faucher grew up in Boise and attended Saint Mary’s as a child. He was ordained in Boise on June 4, 1971, and returned here in 2002 to serve at Saint Mary’s. He joined Saint Mary’s just one month after revelations that a deacon there had viewed child porn.

Faucher has long criticized the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse by its priests. Earlier in 2002, while based at Sisters, Oregon, he told one gathering that the church was looking the wrong way at incidents of molested children, and that Cardinal Bernard Law “should resign” for the events eventually documented in the 2015 movie “Spotlight.”

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