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Nation and world briefs


N.Y. reporting window yields allegations against two bishops

ALBANY, N.Y. — Lawsuits filed Aug. 14 in New York, the first day the states’ Child Victims Act went into effect, accused retired Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany and Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston, S.C., of abuse. Both bishops denied the allegations. Bishop Hubbard wrote in a statement Aug. 16 he “never sexually abused anyone” and is taking a voluntary leave of absence from the Diocese of Albany to deal with the allegations. The Evangelist, Albany’s diocesan newspaper, reported that the lawsuit accuses Bishop Hubbard of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in the late 1990s. He stated, “Earlier this week, I was publicly accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a minor in the 1990s. With full and complete confidence, I can say this allegation is false. I have never sexually abused anyone in my life. I have trust in the canonical and civil legal processes and believe my name will be cleared in due course.” Attorneys for Bishop Guglielmone released a statement Aug. 14 saying that the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor levied against him are “provably false.” The lawsuit alleges that Bishop Guglielmone sexually abused a boy in 1978 or 1979, when Bishop Guglielmone was serving as a priest at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Amityville, New York, in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The bishop’s lawyers stated that the plaintiff admitted to a family member that he made the allegation up to try to get money from the Church. New York’s Child Victims Act opened a yearlong “window” in the statute of limitations, allowing suits to be filed by victims alleging abuse by priests, Church workers and employees of public schools, hospitals and other institutions no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred.

Wyoming police recommend abuse charges be brought

WASHINGTON — Last August, a police department in Wyoming put out a public call looking for information regarding alleged sex abuse relating to Catholic clergy. Though they didn’t name anyone in particular, it was no secret they were looking into allegations surrounding retired Bishop Joseph H. Hart, whom the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, had investigated and found “credible” allegations against. Now authorities in Cheyenne are recommending sex abuse charges be brought against an unnamed clergy member, believed to be the retired 87-year-old bishop, as well as against a second unnamed “person seeking membership” in the Catholic clergy for accusations of abuse that may have occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, said an Aug. 14 news release by the Cheyenne Police Department.


Myanmar fighting forces people to take shelter at churches, monasteries

MANDALAY, Myanmar — About 1,000 people fled their homes and took refuge at religious sites as renewed fighting erupted in Myanmar’s Shan state. Aid workers said more than 300 people were sheltering at a Catholic church in a village in Hsenwi township Aug. 19, while 700 people were at Mansu Shan Buddhist monastery in the town of Lashio, reported ucanews.com. Tensions remain high and fighting has spread to several townships in Shan state since Aug. 15, following coordinated attacks by police and Myanmar’s military forces in Mandalay Division. The clashes have left 14 people dead — nine military officers, three police officers and two civilians. The military was fighting with three northern alliance groups: the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Arakan Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

Pope applauds launch of abuse investigation center in Chile

VATICAN CITY — A specialized center at Chile’s premier Catholic university can help the Catholic Church protect minors and vulnerable persons from the scourge of clerical sexual abuse, which has plagued the Catholic Church in the country and around the world, Pope Francis said. In a video message played Aug. 15 during the inaugural ceremony of the Center for Investigation of Abuse and Early Prevention at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, the pope praised the center’s aim to “not only take charge of various problems, of prevention and of abuse, but also of investigation, of looking for policies to continue saving minors from every form of abuse, every form of manipulation that in some way destroys their heart. Through the use of all the auxiliary sciences you will utilize, you are focusing on the hearts of children, on the hearts of minors; to take care of the hearts of children,” he said.

— Catholic News Service

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