2013 March

Mar 28, 2013: Former Palma teacher admits molesting student in 1980s

 A former Palma High School chaplain and teacher has admitted in sworn testimony that he sexually assaulted a Palma student. In a videotaped deposition, the Rev. Gerald Funcheon claimed he molested just one student at Palma and that the boy was his last. The redacted video does not include the names of any of the priest’s alleged victims. Five men have leveled claims that Funcheon molested them when they were students at the school during the Crosier priest’s tenure from 1984 to 1985. Funcheon testified that he did not believe his conduct was perverted or criminal at the time. Though h…

Mar 27, 2013: Kansas City sentencing date set for priest in child porn case

A judge announced Wednesday that he will sentence the Rev. Shawn Ratigan in September, more than a year after the Catholic priest pleaded guilty to producing child pornography. Ratigan pleaded guilty in August to using five girls to produce or attempt to produce child pornography over several years while serving as pastor to congregations in the Northland and St. Joseph. Prosecutors have said they plan to seek a “virtual life sentence” when Ratigan is sentenced Sept. 12. Charges against Ratigan rocked the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, eventually leading to lawsuits filed by families of…

Mar 26, 2013: Judge won’t delay lawsuit vs. Penn State, Second Mile

The lawsuit filed by Victim 6 from the Jerry Sandusky case will be allowed to proceed, a federal judge in Philadelphia said Monday. Judge Anita B. Brody denied Penn State’s and The Second Mile’s request to stay the lawsuit filed by the young man Sandusky forced to shower with him in a campus shower in 1998. The decision was the first stay Penn State has lost on a civil suit from an abuse claimant. In her court order, Brody said she ruled against the university and the charity because the young man “has already waited a long time for justice and would be burdened with further delay.” But Br…

Mar 23, 2013: Youth sports groups urged to join effort to prevent child sexual abuse

Hours before the NCAA men’s basketball tournament ’s first play-in game, three retired professional athletes walked through the doors of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for the country’s most important sporting event. One, a Hall of Fame ex-Baltimore Oriole, had an idyllic childhood. The other two men, who used to play in the NFL and the NHL, went through hell, unable to admit for years the sexual abuse they suffered as kids. Cal Ripken Jr., Joe Ehrmann and Sheldon Kennedy played different sports. Their careers were as different as their demeanors and speech. But their…

Mar 22, 2013: Ex-priest sentenced for abuse in Ireland

 A former Roman Catholic priest who worked in Sonoma County, Eureka and Sacramento in the 1980s before settling down in Alameda was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison for sexually assaulting two boys decades ago in his native Ireland. Patrick McCabe, 77, was living in an Alameda condominium when he surrendered in 2010 to U.S. authorities, who then sought his extradition to Ireland. One of his victims, James Moran, who is now 50 and chose to be identified publicly, wrote in a statement to Irish authorities that McCabe “changed the path of my life forever,” and that his life “had bee…

Mar 22, 2013: Map: Exploring the Priest Abuse Scandal in Los Angeles

As we revealed in an exclusive investigation, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for years responded to some of the sexual abuse allegations against priests by moving them around from one parish to another. We wanted to find out just how many churches the accused men had lived at or worked at. In other words, we wanted to know how extensive the scandal had really become in our own back yard. We created the following map to give people another way of engaging with the records released by the archdiocese in January 2013. Where possible, we got assignment information directly from those priest files…

Mar 22, 2013: Ex-Horace Mann Students in Talks on Sex-Abuse Case

Thirty-two former students of the Horace Mann School have said they were sexually abused by teachers and staff members, and they have been meeting with school officials in the past two weeks to negotiate compensation, according to a person knowledgeable about the talks.  Last June, an article in The New York Times Magazine recounted episodes of abuse at the school from the 1970s to the 1990s, citing the accounts of several men who had accused former teachers of having sex with them or trying to seduce them. Since then, more students have come forward to say they had been sexually abuse…

Mar 21, 2013: Committee approves bill to remove time limits for child sex abuse victims to sue

 ST. PAUL, Minn. — A bill that would allow victims of child sexual abuse more time to file civil lawsuits was approved by the Minnesota House Judiciary Committee this afternoon. Under current law, victims of child sexual abuse need to file civil cases before they turn 24. The House bill would remove all civil statutes of limitations for future victims. It would also create a three-year window in which past victims of child sexual abuse could seek civil damages. The Minnesota School Boards Association opposes the bill. The group’s lobbyist, Grace Kelliher, told lawmakers the bill would c…

Mar 21, 2013: Abused ex-pros want to prevent another Penn State

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For 47 years, longtime NFL defensive tackle Joe Ehrmann kept secret the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Just as he was coming to terms with what happened all those years ago, the plight of those like him became part of one of the biggest scandals in sports. “The Penn State issue re-traumatized me in a very profound way,” Ehrmann said Tuesday. “And it kind of blindsided me. I remember sending out a tweet one day that if you see any man dazed and confused, give them a hug because I think there was a re-traumatization around this country when that story broke.” “I admire,…

Mar 21, 2013: Former Damien students file lawsuit for alleged sex abuse

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A new civil lawsuit accuses a former Damien Memorial School chaplain of sexually assaulting two former students in the early 1980’s. Father Gerald Funcheon worked at the school from 1982 to 1984. He is accused of molesting the alleged victims, identified as John Roe No. 9 and John Roe No. 10, multiple times. The plaintiffs’ lawyers are also representing another former student, Kory Oakland, who filed a sex abuse lawsuit last year. The attorneys released excerpts of Funcheon’s testimony filmed under oath in September 2012 for that case. Attorney Jeff Anderson asked h…