Monsignor: Cardinal wanted accusers kept in dark
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Roman Catholic church official testifying
in his own defense says Philadelphia's late Cardinal Anthony
Bevilacqua ordered staff to keep alleged victims of priest sexual
abuse in the dark about other accusers.
Monsignor William Lynn also said Bevilacqua wouldn't let
parishes announce the real reason an accused priest was being
There's been testimony that parishioners were often told their
priest had health problems when he left for sex-offender treatment.
Lynn said that "mental health" can be a health condition.
That led Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington to ask
if Lynn remembers the religious teaching on sins of omission.
Lynn, the former secretary for clergy, endured a blistering
cross-examination Wednesday as he fights child-endangerment and
conspiracy charges over his handling of complaints that priests
were molesting children.
Suspended priest pleads guilty in child porn case
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A suspended Roman Catholic priest has pleaded
guilty to possessing and receiving countless images of child
pornography on his computer and now faces at least five years in
63-year-old Bartley Sorensen was a priest at a suburban
Pittsburgh parish in December when a church employee saw him
viewing a picture of a half-naked boy in his rectory office.
When she contacted a church abuse hotline, Allegheny County
detectives and the FBI eventually investigated and found thousands
of child pornography images on CDs, DVDs and in books in Sorensen's
A federal judge will sentence Sorensen on Sept. 13 but because
he faces a mandatory minimum five-year sentence, the judge revoked
his bond and turned him over to U.S. Marshals.
CALIFORNIA CHURCH ABUSE
Franciscan files tell abuse story
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Thousands of pages of confidential files for
nine Franciscan friars accused of molestation detail systemic abuse
within the Roman Catholic religious order dating back decades.
The files and sworn testimony paint a picture of abuse at St.
Anthony's, a Santa Barbara, Calif., boarding school that trained
future Franciscan priests and brothers. They reveal a pervasive
culture of abuse that affected generations of students.
St. Anthony's closed in 1987, just a few years before the first
of the former students began to come forward with their
The files were to be released as part of a $28 million
settlement in 2006, but disclosure was delayed six years in a legal
battle over the priests' privacy rights. The Franciscans say the
files contain no new information about crimes first reported in the
Parishioners act to speed up Ohio church reopening
CLEVELAND (AP) - Parishioners of one of 12 northeast Ohio
churches spared by the Vatican have appealed to Rome to speed up
the reopening by the Cleveland bishop.
Members of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Cleveland said the
appeal was filed Wednesday with the church office that ordered
Bishop Richard Lennon in March to reopen the churches. The bishop
agreed to abide by the directive.
The churches were among 50 in the Cleveland Diocese closed or
merged because of a shortage of priests, parishioners and money.
The St. Patrick's group wants the Vatican to expedite the
reopening if it hasn't occurred within 15 days.
Spokesman Bob Tayek says the diocese is making progress on the
reopenings. He says the bishop has been meeting with affected
parishioners on issues including legally re-establishing parishes.
Iowa-Nebraska NAACP leader can't back gay marriage
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The president of the Iowa and Nebraska
conference of NAACP branches says he's struggling with the group's
national board resolution to support same-sex marriage.
The Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. told The Des Moines Register that
Saturday's endorsement has made him uncertain about his future
membership and leadership in the group. He said he's "praying over
Ratliff is one of 64 members of the national board of directors
for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Ratliff, of Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des
Moines, has long opposed same-sex marriage. He told the newspaper,
"Marriage equality, for me, is between a man and a woman, period.
There is no other definition for me."
ELDERLY CHURCH GUARD KILLED
Teens charged in slaying of Mich. church guard, 84
DETROIT (AP) - Two Detroit teenagers have been arraigned on
second-degree murder charges in the slaying of an 84-year-old
security guard, who was shot in the parking lot of a church while
Bible study was taking place inside.
Alandre Boone, who is 18, and 15-year-old Anthony Williams have
been charged as adults in Joseph Lewis' death earlier this month.
They also face felony firearm charges. Both were denied bond
Lewis was sitting in a car the night of May 9 outside Victory
Way Assembly Church of God in Christ when he was attacked. During a
struggle, Lewis was shot to death. Police found Lewis' gun still in
Lewis' killing outraged residents, whose tips helped lead
Detroit police to the suspects.
ACLU sues Mo. county over prayers at meetings
WASHINGTON, Mo. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union wants
Missouri's Franklin County commissioners to stop saying prayers at
meetings, stop letting audience members say prayers and stop asking
everyone to bow their heads.
A lawsuit filed Sunday against the commissioners on behalf of an
anonymous woman claims the prayers at the beginning of meetings
violate both the U.S. and Missouri constitutions.
The Washington Missourian reported the ACLU sent the county a
letter in March asking commissioners to stop the prayers after
someone filed an anonymous complaint with the organization.
After receiving the letter, the commission reverted back to
offering a moment of silence at the beginning of its meetings, but
some citizens have prayed in recent weeks during the public comment
portion of meetings.
Secular group decries Hamilton Commission prayer
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A secular group has asked the Hamilton
County Commission in Chattanooga, Tenn., to stop opening its
meetings with prayer.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation's letter to commissioners
said a local person complained about the practice.
The group argues the prayers "flagrantly exceed" constraints
of a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court decision.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Commission Chairman
Larry Henley asked the county attorney to review the issue.
Man leading ethics probe of Baptist leader resigns
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The head of a group investigating
Southern Baptist Convention ethics leader Richard Land has
Arkansas pastor Richard Piles said he has taken over as Trustee
Board chairman for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
after Steve Faith left in order to commit more time to his local
church in Indiana, which is currently without a pastor.
Faith's resignation comes just days before the group is supposed
to release the findings of an investigation into comments by Land,
the commission's president, concerning the case of Trayvon Martin,
an unarmed black teenager who was shot to death in Florida by a
neighborhood watch volunteer.
Land recently issued two separate apologies for the comments he
made March 31 on his weekly radio show. He also apologized for
reading commentary from the Washington Times without attributing it
to the newspaper.
Jurors hear details of Fort Hood bomb plot search
WACO, Texas (AP) - Explosives experts found evidence of a bomb
in the making - a pressure cooker containing smokeless powder and
other material - in the Texas motel room of a soldier accused of
planning to blow up Fort Hood troops, according to testimony at his
Prosecutors have said Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo was stopped by
authorities just hours before assembling the bomb. Defense
attorneys have said that no bomb was built and that simply having
the items does not make him guilty of the charges against him.
Abdo, a Muslim soldier who was AWOL from Fort Campbell, Ky., is
accused of planning to detonate a bomb inside a restaurant
frequented by Fort Hood troops and then shoot any survivors.
An FBI agent testified that Abdo told him he planned the attack
to support another Muslim, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is charged in
the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that killed 13 and wounded more
than two dozen.
AME Church Bishop Hartford Brookins dies at 86
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Hamel Hartford Brookins, a bishop of the
African Methodist Episcopal Church for 30 years and a longtime
civil rights activist, has died in Los Angeles. He was 86.
A church statement says Brookins died Tuesday at his home.
The son of Mississippi sharecroppers, Brookins was minister of a
country church in Arkansas where he became acquainted with future
President Bill Clinton.
Before becoming a bishop, he served 13 years as pastor of First
AME Church of Los Angeles and led the congregation through the
construction of a multimillion-dollar cathedral.
Brookins helped found Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH and was
involved in the campaigns of Tom Bradley, the first black mayor of
Ohio Amish hair attack suspect loses bond appeal
CLEVELAND (AP) - A suspect in beard- and hair-cutting attacks
against fellow Amish in eastern Ohio has lost his appeal for
pretrial release from jail.
A federal judge in Cleveland ruled Wednesday in the case of
Lester Mullet. A defense lawyer said last month that keeping Mullet
locked up pending trial was a hardship for Mullet's pregnant wife.
Mullet, his father and 14 other members of their family or
community near Steubenville are accused of orchestrating attacks
last fall on other Amish in a church feud. Cutting a man's beard or
a woman's hair is considered highly offensive to the Amish.
Prosecutors opposed Mullet's release on bond, saying he
"joyfully" participated in the attacks and said he would do it
Mullet's father is accused of being the ringleader. All 16 have
pleaded not guilty.
Anne Hathaway's ex to be released from Pa. prison
LORETTO, Pa. (AP) - An Italian ex-boyfriend of actress Anne
Hathaway is about to be released from a Pennsylvania federal prison
following a real-estate scam.
Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke says Raffaello
Follieri is scheduled to be released Friday.
Follieri pleaded guilty to cheating investors by falsely
claiming he had Vatican connections that enabled him to buy church
property at a discount. He was sentenced in 2008 to 4 1/2 years in
Follieri agrees he owes more than $3.6 million to those he
ripped off. He used the money to support a playboy lifestyle that
included a $37,000-a-month New York City apartment and lavish
vacations with Hathaway, who dated him for four years.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)