Posts tagged ‘scandal of priest’

List of Christian evangelist scandals

1.Aimee Semple McPherson, 1920s–40s

One of the most famous evangelist scandals involved Canadian-born Aimee Semple McPherson in the 1920s, who allegedly had an extramarital relationship and faked her own death as a cover. She later claimed that she had been kidnapped, but a grand jury could neither prove that a kidnapping occurred, nor that she had faked it. Roberta Semple Salter, her daughter from her first marriage, became estranged from Semple McPherson and successfully sued her mother’s attorney for slander during the 1930s. As a result of this she was cut out of her mother’s will. Aimee Semple McPherson died in 1944 from an accidental overdose of barbiturates.

2.Lonnie Frisbee, 1970s–1980s

Lonnie Frisbee was an American closeted gay Pentecostal evangelist and self-described “seeing prophet” in the late 1960s and 1970s who despite his “hippie” appearance had notable success as a minister and evangelist. Frisbee was a key figure in the Jesus Movement and was involved in the rise of two worldwide denominations (Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard Movement). Both churches later disowned him because of his active homosexuality, removing him first from leadership positions, then ultimately firing him. He eventually died from AIDS in 1993.

3. Billy James Hargis, early 1970s

Hargis was a prolific author and radio evangelist. Hargis formed American Christian College in 1971 in order to teach fundamentalist Christian principles. However, a sex scandal erupted at the College, involving claims that Hargis had had sex with male and female students. Hargis was forced out of American Christian College’s presidency as a result. Further scandals erupted when members of Hargis’ youth choir, the “All American Kids”, accused Hargis of sexual misconduct as well. The college eventually closed down in the mid-1970s. Hargis denied the allegations publicly.

4. Marjoe Gortner, early 1970s

Gortner rose to fame in the late 1940s as a child preacher, but he had simply been trained to do this by his parents and he had no personal faith. He was able to perform “miracles” and received large amounts of money in donations. After suffering a crisis of conscience, he invited a film crew to accompany him on a final preaching tour. The resulting film, Marjoe, mixes footage of revival meetings with Gortner’s explanations of how evangelists manipulate their audiences. It won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, but was never screened in the Southern United States due to fears that it would cause outrage in the Bible Belt.[1]

5. Jim & Tammy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, 1986 and 1991

Swaggart’s confession where he declared to his congregation on television, “I have sinned against you, my Lord”, became an iconic image of the 1980s[2]

In 1986, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart began on-screen attacks against fellow televangelists Marvin Gorman and Jim Bakker. He uncovered Gorman’s affair with a member of Gorman’s congregation, and also helped expose Bakker’s infidelity (which was arranged by a colleague while on an out-of-state trip).[3] These exposures received widespread media coverage. Gorman retaliated in kind by hiring a private investigator to uncover Swaggart’s own adulterous indiscretions with a prostitute.[4] Swaggart was subsequently forced to step down from his pulpit for a year and made a tearful televised apology in February 1988 to his congregation, saying “I have sinned against you, my Lord, and I would ask that your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God’s forgiveness.”[5][6]

Swaggart was caught again by California police three years later in 1991 with another prostitute, Rosemary Garcia, who was riding with him in his car when he was stopped for driving on the wrong side of the road. When asked why she was with Swaggart, she replied, “He asked me for sex. I mean, that’s why he stopped me. That’s what I do. I’m a prostitute.”[7]

6.Peter Popoff, 1987

A self-proclaimed prophet and faith healer in the 1980s, Popoff’s ministry went bankrupt in 1987 after magician and skeptic James Randi and Steve Shaw debunked his methods by showing that instead of receiving information about audience members from supernatural sources, he received it through an in-ear receiver.[8]

7. Morris Cerullo, 1990s

A number of incidents involving California-based televangelist Morris Cerullo caused outrage in the United Kingdom during the 1990s. Cerullo’s claims of faith healing were the focus of particular concern. At a London crusade in 1992, he pronounced a child cancer sufferer to be healed, yet the girl died two months later. Multiple complaints were upheld against satellite television channels transmitting Cerullo’s claims of faith-healing, and a panel of doctors concluded that Cerullo’s claims of miraculous healing powers could not be substantiated. Cerullo also produced fund-raising material, which was condemned as unethical by a number of religious leaders, as it implied that giving money to his organisation would result in family members becoming Christians.[9]

8.Mike Warnke, 1991

Warnke was a popular Christian evangelist and comedian during the 1970s and 1980s. He claimed in his autobiography, The Satan Seller (1973), that he had once been deeply involved in a Satanic cult and was a Satanic priest before converting to Christianity. In 1991, Cornerstone magazine launched an investigation into Warnke’s life and testimony. It investigated Warnke’s life, from interviews with over one hundred personal friends and acquaintances, to his ministry’s tax receipts. Its investigation turned up damaging evidence of fraud and deceit. The investigation also revealed the unflattering circumstances surrounding Warnke’s multiple marriages, affairs, and divorces. Most critically, however, the investigation showed how Warnke could not possibly have done the many things he claimed to have done throughout his nine-month tenure as a Satanist, much less become a drug-addicted dealer or become a Satanic high priest.

9. Robert Tilton, 1991

Tilton is an American televangelist who achieved notoriety in the 1980s and early 1990s through his paid television program Success-N-Life. At its peak, it aired in all 235 American TV markets. In 1991, Diane Sawyer and ABC News conducted an investigation of Tilton. The investigation, broadcast on ABC’s Primetime Live on November 21, 1991, found that Tilton’s ministry threw away prayer requests without reading them, keeping only the money or valuables sent to them by viewers, garnering his ministry an estimated $80 million USD a year. In the original investigation, one of Tilton’s former prayer hotline operators claimed that the ministry cared little for desperate followers who called for prayer, saying that Tilton had a computer installed in July 1989 to make sure that the phone operators were off the line in seven minutes. Tilton sued ABC for libel in 1992, but the case was dismissed in 1993, and Tilton’s show was off the air by October 30, 1993.

10. W. V. Grant, 1996 and 2003

Like Peter Popoff, Grant was investigated by James Randi regarding his faith healing claims. He was then imprisoned for tax evasion in 1996. After restarting his ministry upon release, a TV investigation found that claims of healing he made at a 2003 revival in Atlanta were false.

11. Roy Clements, 1999

Clements was a prominent figure within British evangelical christianity. In 1999, he revealed he was in a homosexual relationship with another man, resigned his pastorship, and separated from his wife. He had written a number of well-received books which were withdrawn from sale when the news broke.[10]

12. John Paulk, 2000

John Paulk (no relation to Earl Paulk) is a former leader of Focus on the Family‘s Love Won Out conference and former chairman of the board for Exodus International North America. His claimed shedding of homosexuality is also the subject of his autobiography Not Afraid to Change. In September 2000, Paulk was found and photographed in a Washington, D.C. gay bar, and accused by opponents of flirting with male patrons at the bar. Later questioned by gay rights activist Wayne Besen, Paulk denied being in the bar despite photographic proof to the contrary. Initially, FoF’s Dr. James Dobson sided with Paulk and supported his claims. Subsequently, Paulk, who himself had written about his habit of lying while he openly lived as a homosexual, confessed to being in the bar, but claimed he entered the establishment for reasons other than sexual pursuits. Paulk retained his Board seat for Exodus, however he did so while on probation. Paulk did not run again for chairman of the board of Exodus when his term expired.

13. Paul Crouch, 2004

Paul Crouch is the founder and president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, or TBN, the world’s largest evangelical Christian television network, as well as the former host of TBN’s flagship variety show, Praise the Lord. In September 2004, the Los Angeles Times published a series of articles raising questions about the fundraising practices and financial transparency of TBN, as well as the allegations of a former ministry employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, that he had a homosexual affair with Crouch during the 1990s. The Times spoke with several sources that claimed that other evangelists such as Benny Hinn, Jack Hayford, and Paul’s son Matthew were aware that an affair had taken place. TBN denied the allegations, claiming that Ford’s claims were part of an extortion scheme and that the Times was a “left-wing and anti-Christian newspaper” for publishing the articles. In 2005, Ford submitted to and passed a lie detector test on the ION Television program Lie Detector.

14. Douglas Goodman, 2004

Douglas Goodman, an evangelical preacher, and his wife Erica were pastors of Victory Christian Centre in London, England. The church was one of the largest in the United Kingdom. He came into notoriety when he was jailed for three and a half years for the sexual assault of four members of his congregation in 2004. VCC was closed by the Charity Commission, but his wife Erica started a new church, Victory to Victory, in Wembley. Douglas has upon his release resumed full pastoral ministry alongside his wife.[11][12][13][14][15]

15. Kent Hovind, 2006

Kent Hovind is an American Baptist minister and Young Earth creationist. He is most famous for creation science seminars, in which he argues for Young Earth creationism, using his self-formulated “Hovind Theory.” He has been criticized by both the mainstream scientific community and other creationists. In 2006, Hovind who also has a reputation as a tax protestor had been charged with falsely declaring bankruptcy, making threats against federal officials, filing false complaints, failing to get necessary building permits, and various tax-related charges. He was convicted of 58 federal tax offenses and related charges, for which he is currently serving a ten-year sentence.[16]

16. Ted Haggard, 2006

Ted Haggard was the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado and was the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) from 2003 until November 2006. Haggard’s position allowed him occasional access to President George W. Bush. In 2006 it was alleged that Haggard had been regularly visiting a male prostitute who also provided him with methamphetamine. Haggard admitted his wrongdoing and resigned as pastor of New Life church and as president of the NAE. The high-profile case was significant also because it immediately preceded the 2006 mid-term elections and may have even affected national voting patterns[citation needed]. In January 2009, Haggard admitted to a second homosexual relationship with a male church member on CNN-TV and other national media, and when asked, would not directly answer a question about his other possible homosexual relationships.[17]

17. Paul Barnes, 2006

Paul Barnes is the founder and former senior minister of the evangelical church Grace Chapel in Douglas County, Colorado. He confessed his homosexual activity to the church board, and his resignation was accepted on December 7, 2006.[18] He started the church in his basement and watched it reach a membership of 2,100 in his 28 years of leadership. This scandal was notable because it was similar to Ted Haggard’s (above), it occurred in the same state (Colorado) and around the same time (late 2006).

18.Lonnie Latham, 2006

In 2006, Latham, the senior pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church and a member of the powerful Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, was arrested for “offering to engage in an act of lewdness” with a male undercover police officer.[19]

19. Gilbert Deya, 2006

Kenyan-born Deya moved to the United Kingdom in the 1990s and started a number of churches. He claims to have supernatural powers that allow him to make infertile women become pregnant and give birth. However, police investigations in the UK and Kenya concluded that Deya and his wife were stealing Kenyan babies. Deya was arrested in London during December 2006 and as of April 2010 he is currently fighting extradition to Kenya.[20]

20.Richard Roberts, 2007

In October 2007, televangelist Richard Roberts (son of the late televangelist Oral Roberts), was president of Oral Roberts University until his forced resignation on November 23, 2007. Roberts was named as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging improper use of university funds for political and personal purposes and improper use of university resources.[21]

21. Earl Paulk, 2007

Earl Paulk (no relation to John Paulk) was the founder and head pastor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Decatur, Georgia from 1960 until the 1990s. A number of women from the congregation came forward during the 1990s claiming that Paulk had sexual relations with them. Some of these claims have subsequently been proven correct. Moreover, Donnie Earl Paulk, the current senior pastor of the church and nephew of Earl Paulk, had a court-ordered DNA test in 2007 which showed that he was Earl’s son, not his nephew, which means that Earl and his sister-in-law had had a sexual relationship which led to Donnie’s birth.[22]

22. Coy Privette, 2007

Privette is a Baptist pastor, conservative activist, and politician in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Privette was president of the Christian Action League and a prominent figure in North Carolina moral battles. In 2007, Privette resigned as president of North Carolina’s Christian Action League and from the Board of Directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, following revelations on July 19 that he had been charged with six counts of aiding and abetting prostitution.[23]

23. Thomas Wesley Weeks, III, 2007

Weeks married fellow evangelist Juanita Bynum in 2002, but they separated in May 2007. In August 2007, Weeks physically assaulted Bynum in a hotel parking lot and was convicted of the crime in March 2008. The couple divorced in June 2008 and Weeks remarried in October 2009.[24]

24. Michael Reid, 2008

Bishop Michael Reid (born 1944) is a Christian evangelist in Essex, England and founder of Michael Reid Ministries who resigned from the role of pastor at Peniel Church in April 2008, after admitting to an eight-year extra-marital sexual relationship. The scandal was widely reported online[25][26][27] and in UK newspapers.[28][29] He has since re-developed an itinerant evangelistic ministry and has been speaking at a number of churches in the UK and overseas.

25.Joe Barron, 2008

Joe Barron, one of the 40 ministers at Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in the United States with 26,000 members, was arrested on May 15, 2008 for solicitation of a minor after driving from the Dallas area to Bryan, Texas, in order to allegedly engage in sexual relations with what he thought to be a 13 year-old girl he had met online. The “girl” turned out to be an undercover law enforcement official.[30][31][32]

26.Todd Bentley, 2008

Canadian Todd Bentley rose to prominence as the evangelist at the Lakeland Revival in Florida, which began in April 2008. Bentley claimed that tens of thousands of people were healed at the revival, but a June 2008 investigation by ABC Nightline could not find a single confirmed case. Bentley took a short break after the program was broadcast, but returned to leading the meetings. However, in August 2008, he stepped down permanently when it was revealed he was separating from his wife, Shonnah, and was in a relationship with Jessa Hasbrook, a member of his staff.[33]

27. Tony Alamo, 2008

On September 20, 2008, FBI agents raided Tony Alamo Christian Ministries headquarters as part of a child pornography investigation.[34][35] This investigation involved allegations of physical abuse, sexual abuse and allegations of polygamy and underage marriage. According to Terry Purvis, mayor of Fouke, Arkansas, his office has received complaints from former ministry members about allegations of child abuse, sexual abuse and polygamy since the ministry established itself in the area, and in turn, Purvis turned over information about the allegations to the FBI.[36] Investigators at the scene plan to conduct a search of ministry headquarters and the home of Alamo and interview children present on the compound. In late July 2009, Alamo (who had a previous conviction for tax evasion in the 1990s) was convicted on ten counts of transporting minors across state lines for sexual purposes, sexual assault and other crimes. On November 13, 2009, he was sentenced to the maximum punishment of 175 years in prison.[37][38]

28.George Alan Rekers, 2010

Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp of the Miami New Times reported on May 4, 2010, that on April 13, 2010, George Alan Rekers, a far-right Christian leader was encountered and photographed at Miami International Airport returning from an extended overseas trip with a twenty-year-old “rent boy“, or gay male prostitute, known as “Lucien” (later identified as Jo-Vanni Roman). Given his opinion on homosexuals and homosexual behavior, the scandal surrounds Rekers’ decision to employ a homosexual escort as a traveling companion, and how that runs contrary to Rekers’ public stances on such issues.

Rekers claimed that Lucien was there to help carry Rekers’ luggage as Rekers had allegedly had recent surgery, yet Rekers was seen carrying his own luggage when he and Lucien were spotted at the airport.[39] On his blog, Rekers denied having sex with the man.[40] In subsequent interviews, Roman said Rekers had paid him to provide nude massages daily, which included genital touching.

29.Eddie L. Long, 2010

On September 21st, 2010 a civil complaint was filed against Eddie L. Long by two young men that stated Mr. Long used his position as the church leader to entice the men into consensual sexual relationships in exchange for money, travel and goods.

Senate probe

In 2007, Senator Chuck Grassley (RIA) opened a probe into the finances of six televangelists who preach a “prosperity gospel“.[41] The probe is expected to investigate reports of lavish lifestyles by televangelists including: fleets of Rolls Royces, palatial mansions, private jets and other expensive items purportedly paid for by television viewers who donate due to the ministries’ encouragement of offerings. The six under investigation are:

  • Creflo Dollar and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar Ministries of College Park, Ga;
  • Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church Inc. and Benny Hinn Ministries of Grapevine, Texas;
  • Eddie L. Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries of Lithonia, Ga;
  • Joyce Meyer and David Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries of Fenton, Mo; and
  • Randy White and ex-wife Paula White of the multiracial Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries of Tampa

References

  1. ^ References for this section can be found in the main article on Marjoe Gortner and the film Marjoe.
  2. ^ Fessing up:The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Public Confession in America. Christian Century, Jan 13, 2009
  3. ^ “Transcript: Interview with Jessica Hahn”. Larry King Live (CNN). 2005-07-14. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0507/14/lkl.01.html. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  4. ^ Swaggart Is Barred From Pulpit for One Year. New York Times. 1998-03-30. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE6D7143EF933A05750C0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-04-17
  5. ^ King, Wayne (1998-02-22). Swaggart Says He Has Sinned; Will Step Down. New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE0D71F30F931A15751C0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-04-17
  6. ^ Swaggart, Jimmy. “Reverend Jimmy Swaggart: Apology Sermon”. americanrhetoric.com. http://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jswaggartapologysermon.html. Retrieved 2007-01-25.
  7. ^ “Swaggart Plans to Step Down”. The New York Times. 1991-10-15. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE5DA1E3BF936A25753C1A967958260. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  8. ^ Randi, James (1989). The Faith Healers. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-535-0 page 141.
  9. ^ References for this section can be found in the main article on Morris Cerullo
  10. ^ References for this section can be found in the main article on Roy Clements
  11. ^ “Scandal in the second biggest Pentecostal church in Britain”. http://www.rickross.com/reference/clergy/clergy322.html. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  12. ^ “Disgraced Dougles Goodman out of prison and back into the pulpit. Is this right?”. http://jesusblogger.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/disgraced-douglas-goodman-out-of-prison-and-back-into-the-pulpit-is-this-right/. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  13. ^ “Downfall of a preacher man”. BBC News. 2004-05-06. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/3020832.stm. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  14. ^ “Scandal in the church”. http://chiefshepherd.com/2008/03/scandal-in-the-church/. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  15. ^ “Fall from grace”. http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090621/news/news4.html. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  16. ^ Hovind v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2006-143, CCH Dec. 56,562(M) (2006).[1]
  17. ^Disgraced pastor Haggard admits second relationship with man“, CNN-TV Larry King, January 29, 2009.
  18. ^ “Pastor of 2nd Colorado evangelical church resigns over gay sex allegations”. Seattle Times. 2006-12-12. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003473739_webcolopastor12.html. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
  19. ^ Lonnie Latham scandal
  20. ^ References for this section can be found in the main article on Gilbert Deya
  21. ^ References for this section can be found in the main article on Richard Roberts
  22. ^ J. Lee Grady, It’s Time to Blow the Whistle on Corruption, Charisma Magazine, October 19, 2007
  23. ^ Moral activist Privette arrested
  24. ^ References for this section can be found in the main articles on Thomas Wesley Weeks, III and Juanita Bynum
  25. ^ BBC blog, accessed 11 April 2008
  26. ^ Talk To Action blog, accessed 11 April 2008
  27. ^ HYPOCRISY IS THE GREATEST LUXURY, BEFOREiFORGET blog 9th April 2008
  28. ^ “Bash Bishop is a Jerry Sinner”, The Sun, 9th April 2008
  29. ^ “Bishop who preached family values finally admits: I am an adulterer”, The Daily Mail, 10th April 2008
  30. ^ Eiserer, Tanya, and Sam Hodges, Minister at Prestonwood Baptist charged in Internet sex sting, Dallas Morning News, retrieved 2008-05-17
  31. ^ Police say Texas minister caught in Internet sex sting, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 16, 2008, retrieved 2008-05-17
  32. ^ CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/05/16/minister.sex.sting.ap/index.html?eref=rss_latest[dead link]
  33. ^ References for this section can be found in the main article on Todd Bentley
  34. ^ FBI agents raid Arkansas ministry in child porn probe. (September 20, 2008). KCAL News (Los Angeles, California). Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  35. ^ Evangelist’s compound raided in child porn case
  36. ^ Gambrell, J. (September 20, 2008). [2] Freedom Communications, Inc. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  37. ^ United Press International (UPI) http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/07/24/Tony-Alamo-convicted-of-sex-charges/UPI-37741248464065/
  38. ^ http://www.ktbs.com/news/alamo-gets-maximum-175-year-sentence
  39. ^ [3]Miami New Times, “Christian right leader George Rekers takes vacation with “rent boy””, May 4, 2010 issue
  40. ^ “MISLEADING INTERNET REPORTS ABOUT PROFESSOR GEORGE REKERS”. WordPress.com. May 5, 2010. http://professorgeorge.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/misleading-internet-reports-about-professor-george-rekers/. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  41. ^ “Grassley seeks information from six media-based ministries”. 2007-11-06. http://grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=12011. Retrieved 2010-08-19.  (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5s5pjHGFo)
  42. ^ Sen. Grassley probes televangelists’ finances

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_evangelist_scandals

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Priests with AIDS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Debate erupted nationwide after The Kansas City Star reported that Roman Catholic priests in the US are dying from AIDS-related illnesses at a rate 4 times higher than the general population and the cause is often concealed on their death certificates.

In a three-part series, the newspaper said death certificates and interviews with experts indicated several hundred priests have died of AIDS-related illnesses since the mid-1980s and hundreds more are living with HIV, the virus that causes the disease.

”I think this speaks to a failure on the part of the church,” said Aux. Bp. Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit. ”Gay priests and heterosexual priests didn’t know how to handle their sexuality, their sexual drive. And so they would handle it in ways that were not healthy.”

The Star received 801 responses to questionnaires that were sent last fall to 3,000 of the 46,000 priests in the US. The margin of error of the survey was 3.5 percentage points. 6 out of every 10 priests responding said they knew of at least one priest who had died of an AIDS-related illness, and one-third knew a priest living with AIDS. Three-fourths said the church needed to provide more education to seminarians on sexual issues.

Asked about their sexual orientation, 75 percent said they were heterosexual, 15 percent said they were homosexual, and 5 percent said they were bisexual.Two-thirds lauded the church for being caring and compassionate to priests with AIDS. Often, the church covers medical costs, gives them a place to live and cares for them until they die.

Most priests, however, said the church failed to offer an early and effective sexual education that might have prevented infection in the first place. Two-thirds said sexuality either was not addressed at all or was not discussed adequately in the seminary. Three of four said the church needed to offer more education about sexual issues.

Fr. John Keenan, who runs Trinity House, an outpatient clinic in Chicago for priests, said he believes most priests with AIDS contracted the disease through same-sex relations. He said he treated one priest who had infected 8 other priests. As long ago as the early 1980s, he discovered that priests were contracting AIDS at an alarming rate. Other experts agree that the incidence of AIDS among priests stems primarily from sexual contact.

The Star said precise numbers of priests who have died of AIDS or become infected with HIV is unknown, partly because many suffer in solitude. When priests tell their superiors, the cases generally are handled quietly.

The newspaper cited the case of Bp. Emerson Moore, who left the Archdiocese of New York in 1995 and went to Minnesota, where he died in a hospice of an AIDS-related illness. His death certificate attributed the death to ”unknown natural causes” and listed his occupation as ”laborer” in the manufacturing industry.

After an AIDS activist filed a complaint, officials changed the cause of death to ”HIV-related illness,” the Star said, but the occupation was not corrected.

In Missouri and Kansas alone, at least 16 priests and two religious-order brothers have died of AIDS since early 1987— 7 times that of the general population. Many priests and medical experts now agree that at least 300 priests have died. That translates into an annualized AIDS-related death rate of about 4 per 10,000 — 4 times that of the general population’s rate of roughly 1 per 10,000 and about double the death rate of the adult male population.

Other statistics and experts suggest that those estimates are too conservative. A.W. Richard Sipe, a former priest who has spent more than 30 years studying sexuality issues in the church, thinks that about 750 priests nationwide have died of such illnesses. That would translate into an AIDS-related death rate 8 times that of the general population.

The deaths are of such concern to the church that most dioceses and religious orders now require applicants for the priesthood to take an HIV-antibody test before their ordination. There is no question the disease is taking its toll on an already-diminished pool of seminarians. For example, now-closed St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo., had 26 novices in 1967. Of the 7 who were ordained; 20 years later, 3 of them had died of AIDS.

Some priests and behavioral experts believe the church has scared priests into silence by treating homosexual acts as an abomination and the breaking of celibacy vows as shameful, the Star said.

Cardinals in the US and high-ranking church officials in the Vatican declined requests to discuss the newspaper’s findings. But criticism of the survey methodology and its assumptions was not slow in coming forward.

Fr. Jon Fuller, a Jesuit physician, said that it wasn’t fair to presume, nor was it “really relevant” how the disease was contracted. More important, Fuller said, is the question of when a person contracted AIDS. Because the virus has a long incubation period, a priest may have become infected before taking his vows.

Or contracted it while serving as missionaries in countries that have poor medical practices, like Fr. Luis Olivares, 59, pastor and an activist who ministered to poor immigrants in Los Angeles, who died of AIDS in March 1993. Doctors thought Olivares contracted HIV from contaminated needles while being treated for an injury during a visit to Central America.

Rebecca Summers, a Kansas City diocesan spokeswoman, said though priests take a vow of celibacy, the church is aware that not all priests are celibate. She said while the Star‘s findings were a “disappointment,” they were not necessarily a surprise. because the disease is so pervasive in society in general.

Other organizations, like religious broadcaster EWTN, criticized the size of the response, and how representative the sampling was.

Some priests seek support among other priests who have AIDS. The National Catholic AIDS Network (707-874-3031) can put priests in touch with others in their area.
Kansas City Star, 1/31/2000, 1/30, 1/29; Reuters, 1/31; AP, 1/30

http://www.weirdload.com/aids.html

Catholic Pedophile Priests: The Effect on US Society

The many flaws and omissions in the official report
still cannot hide that this is a crisis of historical proportions.


The National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People established by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has not had an easy time of determining the extent of the sexual abuse of minors within the American Roman Catholic Church. Not surprisingly, there has been considerable internal opposition. This resistance was so bad that long before its work was finished, its chairman, Frank Keating, was forced to resign after he compared the Church’s actions to the Cosa Nostra, which rather proved his point.

Unfortunately, however, these initial numbers are likely to be the only official accounting ever done by the Roman Catholic Church. As soon as the report was published, the UCCB acted swiftly to cut the National Review Board’s feet out from under it. For this was to be the preliminary report; the audits were to be completed and a larger report issued. Furthermore, the Board had planned further follow-up reports to follow the implementation of their proposals.

That will not happen now. And so the Church has squandered its last, best chance of ever coming clean.

Certainly the fact that the report was reluctantly commissioned by the bishops who have been responsible for the crisis does not reflect well on its credibility. Nor does the fact that they only reason they ever did so was due to the constant and unrelenting pressure since the early 1990s by victims and advocacy groups, and later, the news media — not to mention the drain on their treasuries from huge settlements and dwindling contributions.

Many dioceses with much to hide did not want to co-operate. Religious orders, the report acknowleges, were even worse. The results are still missing from some groups, and the rest are spinning their denials and minimalizations as fast at their highly paid PR firms can turn. And as it’s all self-reported, there is no guarantee of any kind of completeness nor accuracy.

The focus was criticized as too narrow, being concerned solely with child sexual abuse. Other situations where clerics have sexually acted out with adult women and men, nuns and seminarians, have not been looked at; nor the effect on any offspring they may have sired in the process. For that matter, the personal cost to victims and their families remains uncounted. How many lives destroyed through alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex or violence have there been? How much abuse has been repeated by its victims? How many suicides and ruined families? How can the total cost ever be calculated?

There has been much complaining by victims, also, that only a handful were asked to testify, that there was too little time and too many restrictions. Many, too, point out that not all victims have yet come forward by any means. Indeed, even if there are no new cases, just the repressed memories alone of the still-unrecognized victims will guarantee that these numbers will only increase over the next twenty years.

And nothing has been said about multiple abusers and rings who swapped victims around like trading cards…

Nonetheless, A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States has generated a fog of figures, which cannot obscure the extent of this massive failure of institutional religion. It is indeed a crisis. Though this is a step forward, it is not the solution by any means, but a half-hearted admission that there is a problem.

Here are a few of the highlights.

  • US clerics (priests, deacons, bishops, etc.) accused of abuse from 1950-2002: 4,392.
    About 4% of the 109,694 serving during those 52 years.
  • Individuals making accusations: 10,667.
  • Victims’ ages: 5.8% under 7; 16% ages 8-10; 50.9% ages 11-14; 27.3% ages 15-17.
  • Victims’ gender: 81% male, 19% female
  • Duration of abuse: Among victims, 38.4% said all incidents occurred within one year; 21.8% said one to two years; 28%, two to four years; 11.8% longer.
  • Victims per priest: 55.7% with one alleged victim; 26.9% with two or three; 13.9% with four to nine; 3.5% with 10 or more (these 149 priests caused 27% of allegations).
  • Abuse locations: 40.9% at priest’s residence; 16.3% in church; 42.8% elsewhere.
  • Known cost to dioceses and religious orders: $572,507,094 (does not include the $85 million Boston settlement and other expenses after research was concluded). (Hartford Courant, 2/27/04)

It should be noted that 30% of all accusations included in these figures were not investigated as they were deemed unsubstantiated (10%) or because the accused priest was dead or inactive (20%). They do not include allegations that were “unfounded” or later recanted.

In any case, all these figures are widely suspected to be grossly underestimated. For example, the late Fr. Tom Economus, former President of the Linkup, a national survivors’ advocacy group, said back in the mid-90s that he knew of “1,400 insurance claims on the books and that the Church has paid out over $1 billion in liability with an estimated $500 million pending.” (Emphasis added.)

He also said that over 800 priests had been removed from ministry and that there might be as many as 5,000 with allegations against them, which is not that far off. He often claimed that by far the most calls he received from all victims of any kind of clergy abuse were those from males who suffered abuse in their youth in the Catholic Church. Certainly the numbers, which show that the highest number of victims were 12 year old boys and that 80% of the abuse was homosexual in nature, validate that anecodotal evidence, too. In fact, while the numbers of young children and girls did not vary much, the report shows an astounding six-fold increase in the abuse of boys aged 11-17 between the 1950s and 70s. And the figures for males stayed high through the 1980s.

Could it be that once the exits were opened by Vatican II, the good priests who could departed to marry, and the maladjusted ones who remained were left to their own devices?

In any case, Fr. Tom Doyle, a canon lawyer with more experience than any in these cases, has raised many questions over the validity and methodology of the study. He has said that he thought many cases were still hidden, pointing out the low numbers for the 1950s.

‘”It’s not over with,” Doyle said. “The heart of the matter is: Why was there this massive betrayal? Why did they move [abusers] around for years, when they knew what they were doing? Why have they continued to re-victimize the victims by stonewalling, and why they have never turned in any of these known pedophiles?”‘(Hartford Courant, 2/26/04)


Additional Information from other sources

  • Four in 10 US Catholic nuns report having experienced sexual abuse, (a rate equivalent to that reported by American women in general), a study by Catholic researchers supported by major religious orders, has found. The study found that sisters have known sexual abuse less in childhood, dispelling what the authors call an “anti-Catholic” canard that girls fled to convents to escape sexual advances. During religious life, close to 30% of the nation’s 85,000 nuns experienced “sexual trauma,” ranging from rape to exploitation to harassment. A total of 40% reported a least one experience of that kind. NCR, 1/15/99 See The Nuns’ Stories for details.
  • The Wisconsin Psychological Association’s survey found offenders distributed among the following professions: Psychiatrists 34%, Psychologists 19%, Social Workers 13%, Clergy 11%, Physicians 6%, Marriage Counselors 4%, and Others 14%.
  • The Center for Domestic Violence found that 12.6% of clergy said they had sex with church members. 47% of clergy women were harassed by clergy colleagues.
  • The Presbyterian Church stated that 10-23% of clergy have “inappropriate sexual behavior or contact” with clergy and employees.
  • The United Methodist research (1990) showed 38.6% of Ministers had sexual contact with church members and that 77% of church workers experienced some type of sexual harassment.
  • The United Church of Christ found that 48% of the women in the work place have been sexually harassed by male clergy.
  • The Southern Baptists claim 14.1% of their clergy have sexually abused members.

http://www.weirdload.com/stats.html