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Clergy Sexual Abuse: January 2012 Archives

Church Abuse Defense Leads To Clash With The Faithful

In its effort to defend itself from an accusation of sexual abuse by one of its priests, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hartford collided in court Friday with one of the unflinchingly obedient Catholic families that form its core. The retired parents of an altar boy took the witness stand and described the day they were shaken by their by-then grown son's disclosure that a priest, known to the family for years, abused him and his best friend while the boys attended a diocesan grammar school in Derby.

Catholic Church's visiting priests come under scrutiny

About five years ago, a visiting priest from Haiti was looking for a parish in the Diocese of Bridgeport to call home for a time. His travels brought him to St. Mary's Parish on Greenwich Avenue, whose pastor offered the priest, Jean Marie DeGraff, room and board while DeGraff was working in the diocese and advocating for his impoverished home country of Haiti. In return, DeGraff performed duties around the parish as needed, including assisting with Mass and speaking with parishioners, a role he filled between 2007 and 2008. DeGraff, who became a priest in the Society of St. Jacques in Haiti in 2004, traveled throughout the diocese, which encompasses Fairfield County, with the permission of Bishop William Lori, speaking at parishes about his home country. Diocese officials know DeGraff, 49, performed a variety of duties at St. Mary and moved around the diocese. But that's where officials' knowledge of his movements ends. The diocese says it has no record of where else in the diocese the priest served. The case of DeGraff, who now stands accused of sexual misconduct charges in Canada and was previously accused of abuse in Connecticut, has victims' advocates calling for greater transparency from the Catholic Church with respect to alleged incidents of abuse.

State Supreme Court to rule on time limits in molestation cases

During oral arguments at the California Supreme Court, several justices appear skeptical about allowing flexible deadlines for lawsuits against those who knew about abuse and didn't stop it.

Reporting from San Francisco -- The California Supreme Court appeared reluctant Thursday to give adult victims of child molestation the right to sue decades later those who knew of the abuse and failed to stop it.

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