ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

November 28, 2012

Time for Bishops to step back

AUSTRALIA
ABC – Lateline

[with video]

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 28/11/2012

Reporter: Philippa McDonald

The most senior woman in the Catholic Church in Australia has said it is time to let lay experts handle the Church’s response to the royal commission on sexual abuse.

Transcript
TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The senior ranks of the Catholic Church look set to take a back seat role at the royal commission into sexual abuse.

The Church’s most senior woman has told the ABC that the bishops will no longer lead the Church’s response to the royal commission because they’re too close to the problem.

Sister Annette Cunliffe says they will step aside to allow lay experts to speak for the Church.

Today Sister Annette joined senior clergy from around the country meeting behind closed doors in Sydney to formulate how the Church will confront the growing crisis.

Philippa McDonald reports.

PHILIPPA MCDONALD, REPORTER: This is the woman on the inside of the most exclusive club in Australia’s Catholic Church.

There are 42 bishops and archbishops at the table. How many women are there inside that meeting?

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Querrelante de Karadima explica demanda contra Iglesia Católica

CHILE
El Mostrador

Juan Carlos Cruz, director de la Fundación para la Confianza y uno de los querellantes del sacerdote Fernando Karadima, explicó los motivos por los cuales iniciaron acciones ante la Justicia Civil en contra del Arzobispado de Santiago.

“Esperamos que, con esto, se siente un precedente para que víctimas pasadas, presentes y futuras, tengan alguna forma de defenderse y de sentirse apoyados”, sostuvo en Radio ADN.

Agregando que “esto es un último recurso, debido a la frustración y desesperación de que la Iglesia no ha tenido ningún tipo de acompañamiento con las víctimas (…) es importante que los temas de abuso sexual no prescriban, y que la gente que los comete tampoco se puedan acoger a estos beneficios”, en relación a los recibidos por el cura “Tato”.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Top court overturns anti-Mafia priest’s child-abuse sentence

ITALY
Gazzetta del Sud

Palermo, November 28 – Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation on Wednesday overturned a six-year prison sentence given to famous Palermo anti-Mafia priest Paolo Turturro over allegations he sexually abused children in his parish. Turturro, a distant relative of the American actor John Turturro, had been convicted of abusing two children, aged six and 12 at the time, between 2000 and 2001. The court ruled that the charges were timed according to Italy’s statute of limitations. It also ordered that a six-month conviction for a lesser charge be sent back to the appeals stage of Italy’s three-level justice system. The priest has always denied the accusations against him.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Cult Murder Case Involving ‘Ex-Gay’ Leader Puts Spotlight on Radical Prayer Center

MISSOURI
Huffington Post

Wayne Besen

Today I feel a little bit like Dr. Sam Loomis, the psychiatrist in the classic horror movie Halloween who ran through the streets of Haddonfield telling anyone who would listen that Michael Myers had just escaped from the insane asylum. As he frantically warned the residents, they looked at him as if he were a paranoid crank. Similarly, I warned in May that something was seriously amiss at Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Grandview, Mo., an exurb of Kansas City. Part of my job is monitoring extremist organizations, which brought me to IHOP’s worship center at midnight, when I expected the cavernous hall to be practically empty. Instead, I found a far more disconcerting scene. Here is what I wrote on May 4:

There was a gigantic 24/7 prayer room filled mostly with teenagers, many of whom appeared to be of high school or college age. A band played hypnotic Christian music while the audience of 100 or so youth engaged in a diverse set of worship rituals. Some were seated, as if they were in a traditional church setting. Others danced and skipped, like they were in some sort of fundie rave. One youth twirled a purple fan, as if he were at a gay circuit party. About a quarter of the participants walked in a trance-like state through the aisles muttering to themselves — a practice that I had not seen before. Some of these youths walked non-stop for over an hour, with no signs of stopping to rest.

Beware Grandview and Kansas City. You have an aggressive, militant, angry, fundie cult growing under your nose. It’s time to wake up before you become the next Colorado Springs. Don’t be caught flat footed wondering, “How did this happen?” Consider this your first warning.

My warning wasn’t heeded, and residents of Grandview now appear mystified by the murder of a young woman who belonged to a religious sect with close ties to IHOP. The Kansas City Star reports that a charismatic youth leader, Tyler Deaton, had persuaded members of a church youth group he started at Southwestern University, in Georgetown, Tex., to move with him to Kansas City so that they could be close to IHOP. His group allegedly began drugging and sexually assaulting Deaton’s wife, Bethany, 27, for what they deemed spiritual reasons. Deaton, who identified as an “ex-gay” who’d been healed through Jesus Christ, also allegedly began having sex with male members of his cult. Afraid that Bethany was going to reveal the group’s crimes to her therapist, Deaton allegedly ordered one of his followers, Micah Moore, to murder her and make it appear to be a suicide. The plan seemed to be working until Moore cracked and confessed to authorities.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Man Says Prayer Group Leader Told Him to Kill Wife

MISSOURI
ABC News

[with video]

By BILL DRAPER Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. November 28, 2012 (AP)

Less than three months after he stood as a groomsman in the wedding of two friends he had known since college in Texas, Micah Moore walked into a suburban Kansas City police department and unloaded a dark secret: He had taken the woman’s life at the request of her new husband, a charismatic prayer group leader.

Police said Bethany Deaton’s death initially appeared to be a suicide. Officers found a note and empty bottle of over-the-counter pain medication along with her body in a minivan parked by a lake on Oct. 30.

It wasn’t until Moore confessed nearly two weeks later that police announced she had been killed. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on a first-degree murder charge Wednesday.

In the criminal complaint filed in support of the charge, police detailed a stunning series of allegations that Moore made as part of his confession.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

San Jose: New revelations and frustrations in pedophile case at Saint Frances Cabrini

SAN JOSE (CA)
Marin Independent Journal

Frances Cabrini
Julia Prodis Sulek
jsulek@mercurynews.commercurynews.com

SAN JOSE — As the Saint Frances Cabrini community tries to move forward from a recent uproar after a convicted pedophile was allowed to volunteer at a parish festival last month, new revelations and controversies continue to plague the Catholic church and school.

A lawsuit filed a week before the parish festival surfaced this week adding a second alleged victim from Saint Frances Cabrini of a former priest, the Rev. Don Flickinger. He lived at the church rectory there from 1995 to 2006 and was already the subject of another lawsuit filed last year accusing him of abusing a former student there.

The parish Men’s Club scheduled an “emergency meeting” Tuesday night to discuss “frustrations” about recent events and concerns about the resignation last week of the parish priest, who was criticized for his handling of the festival furor but still loved by many in the parish.

Also on Tuesday, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith made herself available at the school to answer questions from concerned parents. And on Wednesday evening, an open forum for parents organized by the Diocese and school will begin at 6:30 p.m. In a staff bulletin, Principal Jane Daigle told teachers and staff, “I do not expect any of you to attend unless you have a deep desire for more drama in your life. Please pray for us.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Task Force Recommends Major Changes to Pennsylvania Child Protection Laws

PENNSYLVANIA
CBS Philly

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A task force created by Governor Tom Corbett and state legislative leaders in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal (see related stories) is recommending sweeping changes to Pennsylvania’s child protection laws.

The Task Force on Child Protection calls for, essentially, a complete rewrite of Pennsylvania’s child services law.

For one thing, task force member Jason Kutalakis (far right in photo) notes that in the Penn State situation, suspected child sex abuse was reported up the chain of command at the school rather than to law enforcement authorities.

“This has been changed in these amendments to require the person, the individual who discovers the abuse, to report it immediately to ChildLine,” Kutalakis tells KYW Newsradio.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection’s ‘common sense’ draws praise from advocacy groups

PENNSYLVANIA
The Patriot-News

BY CHARLES THOMPSON AND JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News

A state-appointed task force that spent the past year studying child protection laws generally got rave reviews from advocacy groups for the far-reaching recommendations contained in its 400-plus-page report.

The Task Force on Child Protection issued its final report Tuesday based on testimony from experts at 11 public hearings.

“I am just absolutely thrilled with the work they did. They really did succeed with putting the protection of kids above the convenience of adults,” said Angela Liddle, executive director of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance. The agency trains employees who are required by law to report suspected child abuse.

Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, a Harrisburg-based children’s advocacy group, echoed the praise, saying it includes “common sense that can better protect kids.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Panel recommends overhaul of Pennsylvania child-abuse laws

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Inquirer

Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012

HARRISBURG – The special panel created in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal is calling for a complete overhaul in the way Pennsylvania addresses child abuse, from expanding the list of those who must report abuse to toughening laws that it said have failed to protect children.

A report issued Monday by the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection recommends redefining what constitutes child abuse, expanding the definition of “perpetrator,” and enacting harsher penalties for those who fail to report abuse.

“We did our very best to improve a system that is woefully failing,” said the commission chairman, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler. “This was not a knee-jerk reaction. It was the seizing of an opportunity to look at a system and say, ‘How do we make this better?’ ”

Heckler referenced the event that led to the creation of the 11-member task force in January: the arrest of Sandusky, a former assistant Pennsylvania State University football coach who is now serving a 30- to 60-year sentence for molesting 10 boys.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Submissions to abuse inquiry call for multiple commissioners

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

November 28, 2012

Judith Ireland
Breaking News Reporter

The federal government says there has been an overwhelming response to its call for feedback about the arrangements for the royal commission on child abuse.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Families Minister Jenny Macklin said on Wednesday that more than 720 individuals and organisations had been in contact about the terms of reference.

The government released a consultation paper on the term of references a week ago, calling for feedback by close of business on Monday this week, as it pushes to get the royal commission up and running by early next year.

There have been 165 formal written submissions and 555 comments by email.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

‘Strong messages’ sent by 720 responses to royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Fraser Coast Chronicle

APN Newsdesk
28th Nov 2012 2:29 PM

THE royal commission into child sex abuse needs as much time as necessary to “get it right”, the Federal Government has been told.

Feedback received by the government as it decides on the make-up and terms of reference for a royal commission indicate while time should not be factor, the investigation should also include progress reports at least every two years.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon revealed on Wednesday more than 720 individuals and organisations from across the country had provided input on the formation of the royal commission.

The government has also been urged to appoint more multiple commissioners with a broad range of expertise, and designing a hearing processes that makes victims of abuse feel comfortable through the process of preparing and giving evidence.

“These 720 organisations and individuals have taken the time to contact the government and have sent a strong message,” Ms Roxon said.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Child sex abuse probes hindered by restrictive data protection rules

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel

Wednesday November 28 2012

GARDAI and health officials are being hindered in sharing information about sex abuse because of restrictive data- protection legislation.

The head of the Catholic Church’s child-protection body said that fears about defamation meant that information was not being passed on.

Ian Elliot, head of the Church’s National Board for the Safeguarding of Children (NBSC), warned that hundreds of child-protection cases are being hampered.

Under current regulations, legal protection is only afforded to an individual who reports a suspected case of child abuse to the gardai in good faith.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Action urged on child protection

IRELAND
Irish Times

BARRY ROCHE, Southern Correspondent

The Government was last night urged to amend data protection legislation to make child protection frameworks in the Catholic Church and other organisations more effective.

The call came from Ian Elliott, chief executive of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, who said there was an urgent need for reform. Mr Elliott explained that data protection legislation prevents the sharing of information regarding child sexual abuse unless there is an imminent risk of harm to a child.

He instanced the case of a complainant going to the Garda about a named priest who then becomes the subject of a Garda investigation.

Gardaí are not entitled to share that information with the priest’s bishop, who is the person within the church responsible for the management of risk within his diocese.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Child sex abuse victims slam Education Queensland

AUSTRALIA
Sunshine Coast Daily

[with poll]

Chris Calcino
28th Nov 2012

CHILD sex abuse victims have slammed Education Queensland after learning two school principals who had prior knowledge of a Toowoomba tennis identity’s inappropriate behaviour with children failed to immediately contact police.

A 77-year-old man was charged over offences that happened between June 2004 and September 2009 but was found earlier this month to have been “unsound of mind” when the crimes occurred.

For members of international victim support group SNAP, who set up a vigil outside the Hume St office of The Department of Education today, the finding was of little comfort.

They called on the department to release the whereabouts of the two Toowoomba principals who confronted the man over suspicions of abuse, in 2004 and 2008 respectively, without notifying authorities at once.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Victim in sex abuse trial of prominent Orthodox leader…

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

Victim in sex abuse trial of prominent Orthodox leader Nechemya Weberman: ‘I wanted to die rather than live with myself’

By Oren Yaniv / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Speaking softly but confidently, a Brooklyn girl took the stand Tuesday and recounted three years of sexual abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of her Hasidic spirtual counselor.

“I wanted to die rather than live with myself,” the 17-year-old said as she described alleged and disturbing assaults —including oral sex — by Nechemya Weberman, 54. She said the attacks started when she was just 12. “I didn’t know how to fight. I was numb.”

Her tale began in the sixth grade while she attended a strict yeshiva. She asked questions about God’s existence and flouted modesty rules requiring her to wear long skirts and thick tights.

“I was sent to the principal’s office every day because my tights weren’t thick enough,” she said in a jam-packed courtroom at Brooklyn Supreme Court.

After being labeled a “heretic,” she was sent to Weberman for counseling at his home office. The sessions lasted up to four hours each, multiple times a week.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Rabbi ‘forced 12-year-old girl to perform oral sex…

NEW YORK
Daily Mail (United Kingdom)

Rabbi ‘forced 12-year-old girl to perform oral sex on him after parents sent her for counseling after she questioned sect’s teachings by reading Cosmopolitan’

A child rape case involving a prominent rabbi accused of assaulting a teenage girl is casting a light on the harsh rules of a Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

Nechemya Weberman is accused of fondling a young girl and forcing her to perform oral sex on him over the course of many years beginning when she was 12.

Prosecutors say the girl’s parents sent their rebellious daughter to him for counseling after she broke several rules of the strict Satmar Hasidic sect, including reading magazines like Cosmopolitan and People and wearing stockings that were too thin.

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‘Monster’ rabbi: Girl’s chilling testimony

NEW YORK
New York Post

By JOSH SAUL

A Brooklyn teen yesterday took the stand against a prominent Orthodox Jewish leader accused of sexually abusing her — and her gripping testimony provided a rare glimpse into a cloistered Hasidic community.

The now-17-year-old girl was just 12 when Rabbi Nechemya Weberman (pictured), 54, began abusing her after her parents sent her to him for counseling because she wasn’t following the strict rules of her ultra-religious Satmar sect, prosecutors say.

The pretty blond — whose testimony brought some female Orthodox observers in the courtroom to tears — told the Brooklyn Supreme Court jury about the school discipline problems that led her parents to bring her to Weberman.

“You had to wear tights that are very thick so there’s no way anybody can see your legs,” she said. “I was sent to the principal’s office every day because my tights weren’t thick enough.”

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Recurso busca indeminizaciones de Arzobispado de Santiago por Caso Karadima

CHILE
Radio Universidad del Chile

Mariano Rivera

La acción judicial, presentada por tres víctimas de abuso sexual por parte de Fernando Karadima, busca desbaratar la red de encubrimiento que, acusan, existe al interior de la Iglesia chilena en relación a este caso, además de constituirse como la fase previa para interponer una demanda indemnizatoria en contra de la institución.

Una medida prejudicial precautoria contra el Arzobispado de Santiago, presentaron el médico James Hamilton, el sociólogo José Andrés Murillo y el periodista Juan Carlos Cruz, en el marco del caso por abusos sexuales cometidos por Fernando Karadima en la Parroquia de El Bosque.

La medida que antecede a la demanda civil contra el clero, busca desbaratar la que, según Juan Carlos Cruz, “ha funcionado como una red de encubrimiento para dichos delitos durante mucho tiempo”.

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Karadima: piden que cardenal Errázuriz declare en causa civil

CHILE
La Tercera

por Natalia Ramos – 28/11/2012

La declaración del cardenal y arzobispo emérito de Santiago, Francisco Javier Errázuriz, es una de las diligencias solicitadas ayer por tres de los denunciantes del ex párroco de El Bosque Fernando Karadima, en el marco de una acción civil iniciada para obtener una reparación económica por parte de la jerarquía de la Iglesia capitalina.

El médico James Hamilton, el periodista Juan Carlos Cruz y el presidente de la Fundación para la Confianza, José Andres Murillo, explicaron que resolvieron emprender estas acciones por considerar que el Arzobispado de Santiago no investigó oportunamente las acusaciones de abusos que realizaron contra Karadima, en 2004.

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Catholic Church extends security after protesters vented over clerical sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

A SECURITY guard who patrolled St Patrick’s Cathedral during weekend masses kicked out people protesting against clerical sexual abuse.

The security presence comes as the Catholic Church continues to deal with the fallout from the announcement of a royal commission and a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child abuse.

Victims’ rights groups say the security tactic showed the church was putting the protection of property before the rights of the abused.

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Key Catholic flags overhaul of abuse response

AUSTRALIA
7 News

By Philippa McDonald, ABC
Updated November 28, 2012

A key figure in the Catholic Church has told the ABC it is set to make significant changes to the way it handles its response to the issue of sexual abuse.

Sister Annette Cunliffe, the president of Catholic Religious Australia, the body representing 180 orders, says the church hierarchy has been defensive and perhaps too close to the problem of abuse in the church.

The church is the subject of unprecedented scrutiny after the announcement of a royal commission into institutional abuse.

She described recent public statements by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, as disappointing and says a new way in dealing with abuse claims is needed to move forward.

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Chile: 3 Abuse Victims Sue Church

CHILE
The New York Times

By PASCALE BONNEFOY

Published: November 27, 2012

Three victims of sexual abuse by a prominent priest filed a lawsuit for damages against the Catholic Church on Tuesday for what they claim was its negligent handling of their accusations. In 2004, the men accused the Rev. Fernando Karadima of having abused them as teenagers in the 1980s and 1990s. The archbishop of Santiago opened an investigation but “did not adopt any measures to prevent the abuses from continuing or take disciplinary measures against the priest, who remained in the priesthood for another five years,” the lawsuit says.

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November 27, 2012

Task force urges sweeping changes to PA child protection laws

PENNSYLVANIA
PhillyBurbs

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

By Mark Shade Correspondent

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Legislature should enact extensive changes to the state’s child abuse laws, a panel of pediatricians, lawyers and lawmakers recommended Tuesday after a year-long study prompted by the arrest of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on molestation charges.

The Task Force on Child Protection, chaired by Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, issued dozens of proposals that would change everything from the definition of child abuse to who would be legally mandated to report suspected child abuse.

In a case that drew international attention, Sandusky was sentenced in October to between 30 and 60 years for sexually abusing underage boys on campus and elsewhere. Legendary football coach Joe Paterno lost his job, along with three other top PSU officials for their response to complaints about Sandusky.

The Legislature created the task force after Sandusky’s indictment 13 months ago, but Heckler insisted the group took a wider view of the issue.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Post-Sandusky, report calls for new child protection laws

PENNSYLVANIA
Pennsylvania Independent

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania lawmakers have a host of new suggestions to hear on how to improve child protection laws in a state still reeling from the Jerry Sandusky abuse scandal.

The state’s Task Force on Child Protection released a much-awaited report on Tuesday, recommending essentially a re-write of the Child Protective Services Law. That includes redefining what behavior constitutes child abuse, as well as expanding who is required to report suspected child abuse under the law.

Another recommendation is barring schools from entering into confidentiality agreements with educators accused of abuse.

While many lawmakers have publicized their desire to see changes to child protection laws, the question is how long that process is going to take.

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No escape from inquiry: state

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Milanda Rout
From:The Australian
November 28, 2012

INSTITUTIONS that have closed should not be immune to examination by the royal commission into child sexual abuse and the inquiry should be structured into different “themes” such as religious organisations, schools and children’s homes.

These are some of the recommendations of the NSW government in its submission to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon on the terms of reference for the commission, one of hundreds received.

Premier Barry O’Farrell has also signalled to Ms Roxon he would support a joint commission and be prepared to issue concurrent terms of reference in order to avoid later arguments about constitutional limits of the inquiry’s functions and powers.

The submission also says NSW has been assured by Ms Roxon the commonwealth will not seek state funding for the joint commission. It states NSW will not ask for contributions for the “significant cost implications” arising from agencies giving evidence and needing legal representation.

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Progressives submit to the sexual abuse Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
J-Wire

November 28, 2012

The Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ) strongly supports the establishment of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse and has commended the government for setting up a body that will review past crimes, provide an opportunity for victims to have their voices heard and make recommendations to ensure that institutions and individuals not be able to commit such acts and will be accountable for such crimes in the future.

In a statement released yesterday, Executive Director Steve Denenberg said:

“The UPJ recognises that child abuse, just like other crimes and abhorrent social behaviour, are not found exclusively in any particular social or religious group and that all parts of society should be subject to review, including the religious community.

The UPJ has been shocked and saddened by examples of abuse within Jewish institutions. Even more, we have been outraged by the unacceptable behaviour of people in positions of authority who chose to “turn a blind eye” rather than report the perpetrator to the appropriate authorities. This is completely contrary to the Jewish imperative of pikuah nefesh (protecting the soul), particularly of those in danger or at risk of harm.

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NSW govt promises abuse inquiry support

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

AAP
November 28, 2012

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has promised his government’s full co-operation with the royal commission into child sex abuse.

He says NSW won’t seek any commonwealth funding for any costs associated with the state’s involvement.

In a letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Mr O’Farrell says his government is “determined to do what we can to protect children from sexual abuse”.

All NSW government agencies will accordingly give full co-operation to the royal commission, he has written.

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Trial delayed for accused molester

MISSISSIPPI
Associated Baptist Press

By Bob Allen

A former Southern Baptist music minister charged with molesting five boys in the 1980s turned down a plea bargain Nov. 26 and now is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 28. That depends, however, on the outcome of a hearing Dec. 18 on a motion to dismiss the case on a legal technicality.

John LangworthyJohn Langworthy, associate pastor of music and ministries at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Miss., prior to his arrest in September 2011 on eight charges of gratification of lust, claims the case is too old to prosecute.

Today there is no statute of limitations on child molestation in Mississippi, but there was between 1980 and 1984, when Langworthy is accused of molesting five boys between ages 10-13 that he accessed through volunteering at two local churches when he was a student at Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College.

Amy Smith, Houston representative for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the fact that the legal system bends over backward to protect the rights of the accused makes it vital that churches respond appropriately to accusations or suspicion of child sexual abuse.

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ECAJ details its sex abuse policy

AUSTRALIA
J-Wire

November 28, 2012 by J-Wire Staff

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has met with religious leaders to discuss sexual abuse and how to deal with it.

ECAJ President, Dr Danny Lamm, and Executive Director, Peter Wertheim, met last Friday (November 23) with Yeshivah College Principal, Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler, Rabbi of Yeshivah Shule, Rabbi Zvi Telsner, General Manager Yeshivah Centre, Mrs. Nechama Bendet and executive members of the Yeshivah Centre Committee of Management, Chaim New and Michael Goldhirsch.

“We emphasised the ECAJ’s repeatedly-stated position that communal organisations are obliged to implement proper safeguards against sexual abuse of children under their care and to report allegations of sexual abuse to the relevant authorities immediately and co-operate with their investigations”, Dr Lamm said. “Yeshiva was in complete agreement. We received a comprehensive briefing about how Yeshivah is working closely with Victoria Police in relation to the two alleged cases of child sexual abuse from the 1980′s and 90′s that are currently before the courts.” said Dr Lamm.

“We were also given an exhaustive explanation of the policies and practices that have been developed by the College to avoid abuse and to ensure that allegations of abuse are dealt with promptly and reported to the relevant law enforcement and welfare authorities.”

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Task Force Report Fails to Address Statute of Limitations Reform

PENNSYLVANIA
Jeff Anderson & Associates

Jeffrey R. Anderson

Today, the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection, formed in the wake of the child sexual abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky at Penn State University, issued its long-awaited report and recommendations. The Pennsylvania General Assembly authorized the Task Force to examine and evaluate state laws and procedures concerning child protection and reporting child abuse. The Task Force recommended comprehensive changes in the mandatory reporter law, including an increased focus on training and education. The Task Force’s recommendations, however, do not go far enough. We need to change the culture in our institutions, both public and private, to focus on the protection of children over the protection of image and reputation. We must do so not only through education but also accountability.

The Task Force’s emphasis on education must not be discounted but it is only a half-measure. Education and training must be coupled with another major component of child protection, the repeal of the statute of limitations. The majority of sexual abuse crimes go unreported. This unique reality of the crime of sexual abuse must be recognized. Recognizing that victims of child sexual abuse do not come forward immediately, the statutes of limitations must be abolished. We must provide survivors with the means to seek accountability, both through criminal and civil processes. This step requires the elimination of the statute of limitations, so that survivors have a path to justice. If survivors are given the opportunity to hold predators and those that protect them accountable in both the court systems and the court of public opinion, we will see real change in institutional behavior.

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Petition to change street named after paedophile priest

AUSTRALIA
The Age

November 28, 2012

Goya Dmytryshchak

A mother and daughter are petitioning to change the name of an Altona Meadows street named after paedophile Catholic priest Victor Rubeo.

Rubeo, 78, died on December 16 last year, the day he was meant to front a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 30 child sex abuse charges, allegedly committed against twin boys at Laverton.

Point Cook woman Christine Dunsmore and her mother Jen Austin have lodged a petition with Hobsons Bay Council to change the name of Rubeo Avenue.

Rubeo was a priest in the parish of Laverton from 1969 to 1972. The parish takes in St Martin de Porres at Laverton.

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Church chief claims legislation is preventing information on abuse allegations being shared

IRELAND
RTE News

The Chief Executive of the Catholic Church’s child protection body has claimed restrictions in the Data Protection Act are preventing the sharing of allegations of abuse in hundreds of cases.

Ian Elliott has called for the legislation to be amended to allow people directly involved in child protection in the church and other non-statutory bodies to be able to freely discuss abuse allegations, without fear of being prosecuted or sued.

Mr Elliott is head of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, and he was in Cork tonight where he praised volunteers of the Diocese of Cork and Ross for their work on child protection.

But in his speech he raised a problem with the Data Protection Act, which he claimed is preventing information on abuse being shared with people working directly in this area.

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Caso Karadima: víctimas buscan millonarias indemnizaciones de la iglesia

CHILE
Nacion

Martes 27 de noviembre de 2012| por Nacion.cl

Tres de las víctimas del sacerdote Fernando Karadima presentaron una medida prejudicial precautoria en contra del Arzobispado de Santiago, para determinar la relación patrimonial del clérigo con la institución. La idea es perseguir el pago de millonarias indemnizaciones por los abusos sexuales cometidos en los años 80′ y 90′.

Se trata del médico James Hamilton, el sociólogo José Andrés Murillo y el periodista Juan Carlos Cruz, quienes ingresaron el libelo ante la justicia civil, con el patrocinio del abogado Juan Pablo Hermosilla.

En el escrito, los tres piden que se adjunten una serie de documentos y que comparezcan al menos 50 personas que conocieron el accionar de Karadima en la Parroquia de El Bosque, en la comuna de Providencia desde 1962.

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Teen Accusing Orthodox Jewish Leader Of Sex Abuse Testifies ‘I Wanted To Die’

NEW YORK
CBS New York

[with audio]

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teen alleging a prominent member of Brooklyn’s Satmar community sexually abused her over three years took the stand Tuesday to describe her alleged ordeal.

In a quiet, controlled voice, the now-married 17-year-old said she endured years of abuse at the hands of 54-year-old Nechemya Weberman.

The teen’s father had taken her to Weberman for counseling because he thought she had a boyfriend, which was prohibited in the community, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

However, the teen claimed the counseling turned into undressing, touching and other sexual contact.

The teen told a packed courtroom that from her first meeting with Weberman in an office next to his Clinton Hill apartment, the much-respected Orthodox Jewish leader sexually abused her.

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Teen Takes Stand in Abuse Trial Against Orthodox Leader

NEW YORK
The Wall Street Journal

By Pervaiz Shallwani

After months of anticipation, a 17-year-old girl took the stand in the sexual abuse trial of a respected counselor from an ultra-orthodox Jewish community that authorities say has historically avoided such prosecutions by keeping members quiet.

In a packed courtroom filled mostly with her supporters, the teen took the stand against Nechemya Weberman, an unlicensed religious counselor in the Satmar community, an ultra-orthodox sect of Judaism.

Weberman is accused of sexually abusing the girl dozens of times in his home and office over a three-year span beginning when she was 12 years old. The girl, who turns 18 next week, is not being identified because she is the victim of a sexual-abuse crime.

The teen testified she was taken to see Weberman after school leaders deemed her a problem after she questioned her religion.

“I had a lot of questions about religion. … How do you know God exists?” she said, adding that in response her teacher “yelled at me and sent me to the principal. It happened to me a lot of times.”

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Pennsylvania Catholic Conference Commends Work of the Task Force on Child Protection

PENNSYLVANIA
Sys-Con Media

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) today issued the following statement commending the Task Force on Child Protection for its efforts to strengthen mandatory reporting laws to protect victims of child abuse:

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference commends the Task Force on Child Protection for its thorough examination of the laws and procedures governing the mandated reporting of child abuse.

The Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania have for some time required training and extensive background checks for both employees and volunteers who have substantial contact with minors. The Church has trained hundreds of thousands of adults engaged in Church ministries about creating a safe environment for children. Mandated reporters are trained to recognize signs of abuse and to understand their responsibility to take action if abuse is suspected and students receive instruction in age appropriate child abuse awareness programs. Many of the stringent reporting and training requirements were implemented following the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which examined child abuse in the Church.

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New bishop of troubled Irish diocese says abuse victims to be priority

IRELAND
National Catholic Reporter

by Michael Kelly,Catholic News Service | Nov. 27, 2012

Dublin —
The newly appointed bishop of Cloyne vowed he would make healing the lives of victims of abuse in the diocese a priority.

The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Fr. William Crean, 60, to lead the diocese.

Cloyne has been without a bishop since Bishop John Magee, a former secretary to three popes, resigned in 2010. A year earlier, following sharp criticism of his handling of clerical sex abuse, Magee requested an apostolic administrator for the diocese. A government inquiry begun in 2009 later reported Magee covered up allegations of abuse against priests in his diocese.

Speaking at St. Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh, County Cork, the bishop-designate said he had mixed feelings about his appointment.

“I am apprehensive because I am deeply conscious of the trauma of these years past — so much suffering endured by young people at the hands of a few — sufferings compounded by the failure of those who didn’t believe them and those who didn’t hear their cry for help,” he said. “One thing I ask, however, is your patience to allow me time to grasp the full measure of this deep hurt.

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Assignment Record – Bishop Lawrence Donald Soens

SIOUX CITY (IA)
BishopAccountability.org – Assignment Record

Summary of Case: Soens was ordained a priest for the Davenport diocese in 1950. He worked in parishes and schools, including serving as principal of Regina High School in Iowa City and as a seminary teacher and rector. Soens held several chancery positions and was made a monsignor in 1981. He was appointed Bishop of Sioux City in June 1983 and was ordained and installed in August of that year. He retired in 1998.

In 2002 a man accused Soens of having sexually abused him when he was a Regina High student in the 1960s. The diocese kept this accusation and others against Soens quiet until 2005. At least 31 men have come forward since with accusations that Soens sexually abused them when they were boys. Most of the abuse is said to have occurred against Regina High students, beginning in 1958. Soens’ modus operandi is said to have been to persistently “purple”, or twist, pinch, fondle, and massage the nipples of male students, in private and in school hallways. He is also accused of fondling boys’ crotch areas over and beneath their clothes, and to have attempted oral sex on at least one boy. Soens denied sexually abusing the boys, but admitted to the “purpling” behavior. A diocesan review board in 2008 determined the accusations to be credible. In 2012 Soens retains the title Bishop Emeritus of Sioux City.

Ordained: May 6, 1950
Ordained and installed: Bishop of Sioux City Aug. 17, 1983
Retired: Nov. 28, 1998

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After Sandusky scandal, panel recommends wholesale rewrite of PA child protection law

PENNSYLVANIA
The Morning Call

By John L. Micek, Call Harrisburg Bureau

1:30 p.m. EST, November 27, 2012

HARRISBURG—
— A special task force charged with reviewing and recommending changes to Pennsylvania’s child protection law called Tuesday for expanding the definition of child abuse and the list of those required to report it.

The 11-member Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a catalog of recommended reforms that it hopes will serve as a starting point for an ongoing conversation on efforts to protect children.

Tom Corbett “This needs to be an ongoing dialogue,” the panel’s chairman, Bucks County District Attorney David W. Heckler, said. “This isn’t something that’s going to be accomplished in six months.”

The panel’s report calls for, among other things, a complete rewrite of Pennsylvania’s child protection law. It also recommends creating new offenses and stiffening the penalties for existing crimes, such as the possession of child pornography.

The panel was formed by the Legislature last year in the wake of the arrest of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. It held 11 public hearings throughout 2012, taking testimony from more than 60 people with hands-on experience in child protection issues.

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Former Prestonwood Minister’s Attorney Wants Sex Abuse Case Dropped

MISSISSIPPI
CBS DFW

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Attorneys for John Langworthy, a former school teacher and church music director accused of molesting young boys several years ago in Mississippi and Texas, have asked for charges to be dismissed.

Hinds County, Mississippi Judge Bill Gowan will hear the motion on Dec. 18. Langworthy’s trial is scheduled for Jan. 28.

Jeff Rimes, Langworthy’s attorney, tells The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss. that the statute of limitations that would allow Hinds County to file the charges expired on Dec. 31, 1986. Langworthy was arrested in 2011.

Rimes said the statute of limitations potentially affecting Langworthy expired nearly three years before an amendment in 1989 extended it “for a period of seven years.”

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Governor Corbett Applauds Work of Task Force on Child Protection

PENNSYLVANIA
International Business Times

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Governor Tom Corbett today released the following statement applauding the Task Force on Child Protection, a panel created by the General Assembly, for its review of state laws and procedures governing child protection and the reporting of child abuse.

“I want to thank the task force – especially the chairman, David Heckler – for leading such a comprehensive review of our child protective services laws and regulations,” Corbett said.

“The task force’s recommendations are an important step in putting the protection of Pennsylvania’s children first. My staff and I will work with the legislature, law enforcement agencies and advocates to review each recommendation in detail.

“It’s my hope that we can take the work of the task force to help create a culture that promotes greater awareness, more accountability and better coordination.

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Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection calls for complete rewrite of the state’s child protective services law

PENNSYLVANIA
The Patriot-News

By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News
on November 27, 2012

A task force charged with examining the state’s child protection law is recommending the state redefine what constitutes child abuse and expand the list of individuals who are required to report child abuse, among numerous other recommendations.

The 11-member Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection unanimously today adopted a report that also calls for a complete overhaul of the child protection law, and upgrading some crimes against children and creating several new offenses. The full report will be available later today at www.childprotection.state.pa.us.

The task force formed by the Legislature in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal spent the past year examining the laws and holding 11 public meetings to hear testimony from experts about possible weaknesses in them.

Sandusky is now serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence for sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

The panel’s chairman, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, said the recommendations is not a knee-jerk reaction to the Sandusky scandal or the one involving the Catholic Church sex scandal. But a well-reasoned and thorough review of the child protection laws.

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Penn State University Jerry Sandusky Sex Scandal Leads to “Sweeping” Changes in Child Abuse Laws

PENNSYLVANIA
Lawyer Herald

It’s been almost a month since former assistant football coach of Penn State University, Jerry Sandusky, was sent to a maximum-security prison for child sex abuse. Now in light of the case, a legislative panel is suggesting “sweeping” amendments to the state’s child abuse laws.

The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection told the Washington Post on Tuesday that it is recommending many “sweeping” changes to the laws. One of the notable changes the commission is recommending is a compete revision of Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law.

In addition to this, the commission hopes to re-write the definition of “perpetrator” and eliminate the requirement that the child suffer “severe pain” in order for a complaint to be classified as an abuse.

Sandusky was sentenced to between 30 years in prison in the child sex-abuse case. He was recently transferred from the Centre County jail to the State Correctional Institute at Camp Hill and is currently serving his sentence in a maximum-security prison.

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Sweeping Changes Suggested For Pa. Child-Abuse Law

PENNSYLVANIA
KOLO

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A commission set up by the Pennsylvania Legislature after Jerry Sandusky’s molestation arrest last year says “sweeping” changes to state law are needed.

The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection announced Tuesday its recommendations, which include rewriting state law.

It says the state should change how child abuse cases are handled, revamp how child abuse crimes are investigated, and improve training for those responsible for child welfare.

The group says the state should eliminate a requirement that children have to experience severe pain in order to be classified as abuse under the law.

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PA – Abuse panel recommendations made public, SNAP responds

PENNSYLVANIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Barbara Dorris on November 27, 2012

We’re disappointed that this panel puts so much emphasis on mandatory reporting laws when there are better ways to stop child sex crimes.

There are two main problems with mandatory reporting laws; they’re rarely used and the penalties for breaking them are rarely stiff. For decades, thousands of adults have ignored or hidden child sex crimes, knowing there’s virtually no chance they’ll be punished.

So even if these two problems are fixed, it will take years and years of vigorous and repeated prosecution by police and prosecutors – and tough penalties by judges and juries – until mandatory reporting reforms will even begin to make a difference and deter wrongdoing.

In contrast, statute of limitations reform –especially a civil window – will immediately make kids safer by exposing hundreds of child sex offenders. It will also better discourage employers from ignoring or enabling child sex crimes in the future.

Stronger penalties for those who refuse to report are good. So are better definitions of child abuse and more advocacy and rape crisis centers.

But these reforms, if enacted, nibble at the edges of child sex crimes and cover ups. Statute of limitations reform is much more effective and immediate. (See statement below) . …

A crucial oversight by PA child sex task force?

Statement by David Clohessy, SNAP Director (314-566-9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection will issue a report today. But we fear it won’t address a key issue: safeguarding kids by reforming Pennsylvania’s predator-friendly civil statute of limitations. And if this oversight does happen, it will be an opportunity sorely missed.

The task force members are no doubt well-intentioned. We are grateful for their work and look forward to their recommendations.

But the group is headed by a prosecutor, who deals with criminal cases, not civil cases. And it arose out of a criminal controversy – the crimes of Jerry Sandusky and his Penn State supervisors.

So we suspect the panel didn’t carefully look at ways that civil laws can better protect kids. Based on our 24 years of experience, we in SNAP believe that the single most effective way that secular authorities can do more right now to prevent child sex crimes and cover ups is to reform archaic, arbitrary, predator-friendly statutes of limitations – both criminal AND civil.

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Sweeping Changes Suggested for Pa. Child Abuse Law

PENNSYLVANIA
ABC News

By MARK SCOLFORO Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. November 27, 2012 (AP)

Pennsylvania should enact sweeping changes to state child abuse laws, a legislative commission concluded Tuesday after a year of study prompted by Jerry Sandusky’s arrest on child molestation charges.

The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection’s recommendations include rewriting state law, redefining what constitutes child abuse and expanding the list of people who are required to report suspected abuse.

“We propose a transformation in the way information concerning child abuse is handled and maintained, the way in which crimes against children are investigated in parts of the state, and the way in which those with a responsibility for the well-being of children are trained,” said David Heckler, the Bucks County district attorney who chaired the panel.

The recommendations are nonbinding and will probably require a set of as-yet-unwritten bills for the Legislature to consider when it convenes for a new two-year session in January.

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Denunciantes de Fernando Karadima …

CHILE
La Tercera

Denunciantes de Fernando Karadima presentaron acción civil contra el Arzobispado

por Angélica Baeza Palavecino – 27/11/2012

Los denunciantes del ex párroco de El Bosque Fernando Karadima, James Hamilton, José Andres Murillo y Juan Carlos Cruz, presentaron esta mañana una acción civil contra el Arzobispado.

Karadima fue considerado culpable de abusos sexuales reiterados, tanto como por la justicia civil y el Vaticano, que lo remitió a una vida de operación, alejado completamente de su tarea sacerdotal.

Juan Carlos Cruz, en conversación con La Tercera, sostuvo que “nosotros no hemos pensado en la compensación económica, lo que nosotros queremos es que víctimas del pasado, presente y futuro puedan defenderse”.

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Caso Karadima…

CHILE
Terra

Caso Karadima: querellantes emprenden acciones civiles contra el Arzobispado de Santiago

Tres de los querellantes en contra del sacerdote Fernando Karadima presentaron una medida prejudicial precautoria en contra del Arzobispado de Santiago para determinar la relación patrimonial del clérigo con la institución, para luego perseguir el pago de millonarias indemnizaciones por los abusos sexuales cometidos en los años 80′ y 90′.

Se trata del médico James Hamilton, el sociólogo José Andrés Murillo y el periodista Juan Carlos Cruz, quienes representados por el abogado Juan Pablo Hermosilla ingresaron el libelo ante la justicia civil.

En el escrito los querellantes piden que se adjunten una serie de documentos y que comparezcan al menos 50 personas que conocieron el accionar de Karadima en la Parroquia de El Bosque, en la comuna de Providencia desde 1962.

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Updated Statement by Tommy Hill Sovereign Grace Ministries Director of Administration

UNITED STATES
Sovereign Grace Ministries

Nov. 14, 2012
Re: Civil Lawsuit Filed Against Sovereign Grace Ministries in Maryland’s Montgomery County Circuit Court

Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) leadership has obtained a copy of the civil lawsuit filed Oct. 17 against SGM and several pastors from its associational churches. This complaint makes broad allegations that SGM pastors were negligent, resulting in errors and omissions in pastoral counseling and spiritual care, which was voluntarily sought and provided years ago to some families of child abuse victims.

The suit does not allege child abuse by any current or former pastor of SGM or any church associated with SGM. The suit does not allege child abuse by any employee or staff of SGM or any church associated with SGM. The suit does not allege any child abuse occurred on any SGM property or any church associated with SGM.

SGM leaders provided biblical and spiritual direction to those who requested this guidance. This care was sought confidentially, as is a right under the First Amendment. We are saddened that lawyers are now, in essence, seeking to violate those rights by asking judges and juries, years after such pastoral assistance was sought, to dictate what sort of biblical counsel they think should have been provided. SGM believes that allowing courts to second guess pastoral guidance would represent a blow to the First Amendment, that would hinder, not help, families seeking spiritual direction among other resources in dealing with the trauma related to any sin including child sexual abuse.

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Sovereign Grace Ministries statement sees First Amendment threat in lawsuit over sexual abuse

LOUISVILLE (KY)
The Courier-Journal

Posted on November 27, 2012 by Peter Smith

Initial worship service at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville this fall. (Pete Rodman photo / Special to The Courier-Journal)

Sovereign Grace Ministries — a church network that moved its headquarters to Louisville earlier this year — says in a recent statement that First Amendment religious-liberty protections would be threatened if a lawsuit succeeds in “allowing courts to second guess pastoral guidance.”

The church’s statement comes in response to a lawsuit filed Oct. 17 in Maryland — where the denomination was based for its first three decades until this year — on behalf of three plaintiffs the suit describes as victims of sexual abuse by members of Sovereign Grace churches in Virginia and Maryland.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of other victims, citing “a culture in which sexual predators were protected from accountability and victims were silenced.” It alleges elders at Gaithersburg, Md., and Fairfax, Va., churches intervened in cases in which members sexually abused minors. It alleges the pastors sought to minimize criminal penalties against the abusers and pressured victims to forgive their perpetrators.

The Sovereign Grace statement, issued by Director of Administration Tommy Hill, notes that no pastors are accused of abuse in the lawsuits and that the abuse did not take place on church property. At issue is how the church elders responded.

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Jail time for ‘abused’ serial church burglar

AUSTRALIA
WA Today

November 28, 2012

Steve Butcher

A MAN allegedly sexually abused by a priest as a child who exacted revenge by unleashing his ”deeply entrenched hatred” for the Catholic order by burgling dozens of its churches in suburban Melbourne has been jailed for a maximum of four years.

A judge had heard the man’s ”rancour and rage” against the Catholic Church surfaced 20 years ago in South Australia when he was first convicted of ”sacrilege” offences.

His barrister told the County Court earlier this month that after his client’s removal a year ago as a worker with the St Vincent de Paul Society, the ”rage and anger that has so dominated his life took over and he became unstable”.

Barrister Mark Regan said the man, now 44, had a ”deeply entrenched belief system of the wrong perpetrated against him” by the priest and the Catholic Church, which he resented.

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Asian bishops’ meeting’s media lockout hides vision

ASIA
National Catholic Reporter

by Thomas C. Fox | Nov. 27, 2012

Commentary

The Asian bishops will make history in December as they meet for the first time in communist-controlled Vietnam. Some 100 prelates are expected to gather for a week of planning 50 miles east of Ho Chi Minh City, an event unimaginable even a few years back.

The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, as part of its gathering, will celebrate 40 years of innovative pastoral ministries among the local churches of Asia.

Unfortunately, for Asian Catholics and the wider universal church, this potentially rich meeting will go unreported. The FABC leadership has decided to lock out the media.

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Bishop defends church amid abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A local bishop has defended the Catholic Church in relation to child sexual abuse, saying individuals should not be mistaken for a whole organisation.

Bishop Greg O’Kelly from the Port Pirie diocese says he welcomes the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

However, in a letter to parishioners, he says it was not the Catholic Church that committed or shielded any crimes but individuals within the church.

He says claims that people were told not to report crimes are untrue and that members of the church encourage anyone to tell the police if they have been abused.

Submissions on the royal commission’s terms of reference closed yesterday and are likely to be announced by Christmas.

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Anglican bishop backs child abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Bendigo Advertiser

By BLAIR THOMSON
Nov. 28, 2012

SEVEN cases of “inappropriate behaviour” in the Bendigo Diocese have been reported to the local Anglican bishop in the past nine years.

Bishop Andrew Curnow said the incidents were reported to him, then handed to the Director of Professional Standards, separate to the church, who considered whether to take further action. Bishop Curnow said he believed one incident had then been reported to police.

It’s understood all of the complaints related to sexual incidents, but Bishop Curnow said only one incident was related to an illegal matter involving a child. Bishop Curnow, who took up the position in 2003, said he supported the Royal Commission into child abuse recently announced by the federal government.

“We believe it’s the best way forward, not only trying to get very clear national standards, and not just with churches, but all organisations dealing with children and people who could be at risk,” he said. “People who felt they couldn’t come speak to the church directly, this may be a catalyst for more people to come forward.”

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“Gratification of lust?”

MISSISSIPPI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy

A Baptist minister, John Langworthy, faces charges in Mississippi of “gratification of lust.” He is accused of molesting at least five kids.

But check this out: “Langworthy openly discussed the sex offenses with the congregation of his Clinton church, but now wants to fight the case.”

He essentially admits the crimes, but fights being held responsible for them.

We’re grateful Langworthy is being pursued. But we also hope that at some point, Mississippi lawmakers will reform the state’s predator-friendly statute of limitations. And they should consider how they depict child sexual abuse.

It may seem like a small point – whether a predator is charged with “gratification of lust” or “child sex crimes” or whatever. But how we think and talk about these heinous crimes matters.

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Sex abuse inquiry to come to Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By TOM MCILROY
Nov. 28, 2012

VICTORIA’S state inquiry into the handling of child sexual abuse by members of religious organisations will hold its first regional hearing in Ballarat next week.

The Courier can reveal the Victorian Parliament’s Family and Community Development Committee will hear evidence from family members affected by sexual abuse at the Ballarat Mechanics’ Institute on December 7.

More than 20 survivors of clergy sexual abuse who formed a group submission to the inquiry are expected to give evidence at a second Ballarat hearing in February.

Mother Helen Watson will tell the hearing that the Catholic Church moved a priest who abused her son Peter to the United States, where he offended again.

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AUS – Victims blast Toowoomba principals

AUSTRALIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a footpath news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will

– demand information on two principals who knew of abuse allegations against a Toowoomba tennis coach and did nothing, and

– urge the principals to personally reach out to victims of the coach and beg others who may have seen or suspected his crimes to come forward to police

WHEN
Wednesday November 28 at 2:15 p.m.

WHERE
On the footpath in front of Toowoomba District Office of Department of Education Training and Employment, 178 Hume Street, Toowomba

WHO
One or two members of an international support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest) including an American woman who is the organisations president and founder.

WHY
Parents of children abused over the course of five years by a tennis coach in Toowoomba have recently found out that two different principals were aware of the coach’s impropriety, but did not warn parents or students. Now, leaders of an international support group for victims of abuse are demanding answers.

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Abuse leaves indelible scar on father

AUSTRALIA
Financial Review

Jill Margo

In moments of intimacy with his wife, Anthony Foster often feels he can’t continue. While nothing is wrong with him physically, his mind is taken over by thoughts that fracture the possibility of pleasure.

The thoughts are of his two daughters and the violation they suffered from the age of five when the local priest began to rape them with terrifying regularity.

This violation and their terror – which Foster only learned about many years later – haunts him.

The story of the abuse of the Foster girls at the Sacred Heart Primary School in Oakleigh, Melbourne, is widely known.

Their mother, Chrissie, wrote the book Hell on the way to Heaven about the ordeal and both parents have often been in the media.

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US victims of priest sent ‘for treatment’ to appear

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Dan Box
From:The Australian
November 28, 2012

AMERICAN child sex abuse victims of an Australian Catholic priest sent to the US are preparing to give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal of abuse in the church.

Father David Paul Ryan is understood to have visited the US a number of times, and his victims there have discussed a possible criminal prosecution with local authorities.

A serving Victorian police detective has also said that Father Ryan’s former bishop, Ronald Mulkearns, allegedly allowed him to move between parishes in the Ballarat diocese, after being told the priest had abused a child.

Father Ryan went on to abuse other children, one of whom, Peter Watson, later committed suicide and was buried in an unmarked grave for six years before his body was identified.

Victoria Police Detective Senior Constable Colin Ryan said yesterday a police investigation had uncovered evidence that Bishop Mulkearns moved the priest between parishes in Ballarat after being warned he might be abusing children.

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Minn. appeals court reverses priest’s conviction

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday ordered a new trial for a priest accused of having sexual contact with a female parishioner he counseled.

Christopher Wenthe was working at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in St. Paul in 2003 when the woman sought spiritual counseling. A jury found him guilty last year of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. A judge sentenced him to a year in jail, but he was released after serving eight months.

The appeals court ruled that Wenthe’s conviction was unconstitutional because prosecutors obtained it “based on evidence that was excessively entangled in matters of religion.” The court said that evidence “pervaded the entire trial” and improperly shaped the verdict by giving the jury religious instead of secular standards for judging the priest’s conduct.

“It invited the jury to determine appellant’s guilt on the basis of his violation of Roman Catholic doctrine, his breaking of the priestly vows of celibacy, and his abuse of the spiritual authority bestowed on Roman Catholic priests; additionally, the evidence invited concern about the response of church authorities to the victim’s complaint. … The prosecutor repeatedly injected Roman Catholic doctrine and practice as a backdrop for underscoring appellant’s culpability,” the ruling said.

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VA chaplain suspended for alleged inappropriate talks with minors

BEDFORD (MA)
Boston Globe

By Jeremy C. Fox
| Globe Correspondent
November 27, 2012

A chaplain for Veterans Administration Medical Center in Bedford was suspended because of allegations about long-ago inappropriate conversations with minors, the Archdiocese for the Military Services said Monday.

The allegations of “boundary violations with minors” against the Rev. Luke Odor emerged recently but date to the early to mid-1990s, the Archdiocese for the Military Services said in a statement. The alleged conversations occurred when Odor worked in the Archdiocese of St. Paul Minneapolis and the Diocese of Fargo, N.D., and appear to have been resolved by all parties.

On Nov. 23, the Archdiocese of Boston said that Odor was under investigation for “personal conduct matters.”

The Archdiocese for the Military Services suspended Odor and began its investigation “out of an abundance of caution,” its statement said.

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Langworthy Rejects Sex Crimes Plea Deal

MISSISSIPPI
WJTV

By: Ross Adams | WJTV

Published: November 26, 2012

Another delay in an ongoing case involving a former music minister accused of sexually abusing boys.

Prosecutors offered John Langworthy a plea deal but that’s no longer on the table.

But Langworthy did not accept it.

Now prosecutors say they are ready to go trial.

Today during a court hearing the judge set a January trial date for Langworthy.

But that may not happen.

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Judge to hear motion to dismiss sex abuse charges

MISSISSIPPI
Beaumont Enterprise

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi judge will hear a motion Dec. 18 to dismiss the case against John Langworthy, a former school teacher and church music director accused of molesting young boys several years ago in Mississippi and Texas.

Langworthy’s attorney tells The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/U9elpf) the motion contends the statute of limitations that would allow Hinds County to file the charges expired on Dec. 31, 1986. Langworthy was arrested in 2011.

If the judge denies the motion to dismiss, the trial will start Jan. 28.

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Sexual Abuse Trial of Brooklyn Man Begins

NEW YORK
The New York Times

By SHARON OTTERMAN

Published: November 26, 2012

The abuse began when the girl was 12 years old, prosecutors in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn said on Monday. She was sent to a prominent man in her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community for counseling, and prosecutors said the man sexually molested her over the next three years.

But lawyers defending the man, Nechemya Weberman, 54, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, told a far different story during the opening arguments of his trial. The girl, a defense lawyer told the jury, had hatched the sordid tale of abuse as an act of revenge against Mr. Weberman and against a religious community she found stifling and rulebound.

As proceedings began during the trial of Mr. Weberman, who is accused of 88 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, it became clear that the community itself, as well as Mr. Weberman, would undergo scrutiny during what is expected to be an emotional week of sexually explicit and culturally intricate testimony.

Both the prosecution and the defense informed the jury that the Satmar Hasidic community, to which Mr. Weberman and the girl belonged, was so rigid that questions from a young girl about something as simple as the proper length of a skirt could lead to mandatory counseling, and even expulsion from school. The accuser in this case, both sides said, was just that kind of girl: a free spirit whose questioning and challenges to authority landed her in trouble.

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Former Clinton music minister’s trial delayed

MISSISSIPPI
WLBT

By Marsha Thompson

A former Clinton teacher and music minister, charged with sex crimes, may face a trial by jury in January. John Langworthy is accused of fondling boys aged 8-12 years old back in the 1980’s. These are the latest developments after plea bargain negotiations broke down.

Assistant District Attorney Jamie McBride told the Judge prosecutors engaged in prolonged negotiations with the defense attorney. McBride said they found out last week the plea bargain offer was not resolved.

He also said the state has withdrawn all offers, and will not make any more.

Langworthy decided to instead challenge the statute of limitations on the case. His attorney, Jeff Rimes, will argue that motion in court December 18th.

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Advocate warns on church’s silence strategy

AUSTRALIA
The Age

November 27, 2012

Barney Zwartz

BARBARA Blaine launched her advocacy group for clergy sex abuse victims from the walk-in closet in her Chicago bedroom in 1988, with a membership of one. Today she is president of the world’s biggest victims’ advocacy group, with 12,000 members in 56 countries.

One of the hardest parts of that journey was losing her naivety about the professedly good intentions of the Catholic hierarchy towards victims, which she believes disguised a hostile strategy to silence them.

But the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has brought profound benefits, too. ”One part of healing is tied to preventing future abuse. I’ll never know what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been raped as a child – I feel helpless. But if we can prevent another 12-year-old being raped we feel we have a mission.”

Ms Blaine came to Melbourne at SNAP’s expense to give evidence to the state inquiry into how the churches handled child sex abuse. Her most heartfelt advice was not to take church officials at their word.

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No govt response to abuse bid: inquiry

AUSTRALIA
9 News

The federal government donated more than $1 million to the Catholic Church towards the canonisation of Mary MacKillop but refused to acknowledge a request to contribute any money to sexual abuse victims, an inquiry has heard.

Abuse survivor Mark Fabbro approached then foreign minister Kevin Rudd at the canonisation celebrations in Rome in 2010 after hearing of the $1.25 million contribution made by the Labor government.

Mr Fabbro told the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations on Monday that he wrote a letter to Mr Rudd while in Rome, asking him how the government would help financially struggling abuse survivor groups.

“No response was ever received to that request,” he told the inquiry.

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CathBlog – The Church in a time of crisis

AUSTRALIA
CathNews

BY GARRY EVERETT

If we accept that wonderful depiction of the word crisis as meaning conflict and opportunity, as well as breakdown and breakthrough, Catholics should welcome the Royal Commission. Fifty years ago the universal Church welcomed the “aggiornamento” that became the crisis we know as Vatican II.

If we have learned our lessons from how the Church did and did not manage that crisis, we should apply those learnings to the current situation of being Church in Australia today.

The most important learning from Vatican II for us to grasp is the realisation that the process of engaging in, and of managing, a crisis, follows a pattern. This pattern or model, is something we must attend to, if we are to offer any hope of a better future .

Fr Gerald Arbuckle, a well respected Australian cultural anthropologist, uses a 6-stage model to describe what happened in Vatican II. For brevity’s sake, I provide the merest outline below, from his book Refounding the Church:

Stage 1 – Understanding the present situation

Stage 2 – Initial un-ease and stress. Symbols shattered

Stage 3 – Church reactions, but attitudes remain unchanged.

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‘Child Victims Act’ talk …

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

November 26, 2012 6:28 PM

‘Child Victims Act’ talk will be held before screening of Alex Gibney documentary on Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal

BY Michael O’Keeffe

An attorney who represents a man who says he was abused by Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky will urge New York state lawmakers to reform the statute of limitations on sex-abuse laws in an unusual setting this week: a movie theater

Marci Hamilton, a Cardozo School of law professor, will join Assemblywoman Margaret Markey at Manhattan’s Film Forum on Wednesday afternoon to push for passage of Markey’s “Child Victims Act.”

Hamilton and Markey will talk about the bill before a showing of director Alex Gibney’s critically acclaimed new documentary about the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal, “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.”

Markey’s bill would extend the civil and criminal limitations for sexual abuse and give previous victims a window to bring civil suits against sexual offenders.

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Montreal school for the deaf’s ex-students allege horrific abuses

CANADA
CBC News

[with video]

Former students at a church-run institute for the deaf in Montreal have come forward with graphic tales of sexual abuse they allege they suffered during more than four decades.

Quebec’s Superior Court authorized a class-action lawsuit last March against members of the Clerics of St-Viateur who worked at the school, formerly known as the Montreal Institute for the Deaf.

The former boarding school was run by the Clerics of Saint-Viateur, a religious congregation founded in 1831.

According to students who attended the all-boys institute between 1940 and 1982, violent sexual assaults were commonplace.

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Revelations in abuse case spark calls for reform

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Baltimore Sun

By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun

10:30 p.m. EST, November 26, 2012

State legislators and sexual-abuse victim advocates called Monday for reforms in the way such cases are handled in Maryland, including stricter reporting requirements when incidents are discovered.

State Sen. Delores G. Kelley, a Baltimore Democrat, said she would continue to push to strengthen Maryland’s reporting requirements. She also said victims of sexual abuse should have more time to file civil suits — “so people can get out of college, get their lives together, have some kind of economy and have the understanding of the crime.”

Anyone who doesn’t report a child-abuse allegation needs “to be held accountable because if child predators know they’re in a secret system and they are safe there, nothing changes,” said Judy Jones, an associate director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The proposed reforms come in wake of a Baltimore Sun investigation related to John Merzbacher, a one-time teacher at Catholic Community Middle School in Locust Point. Court documents analyzed in The Sun investigation indicate that the school’s principal and other Catholic officials were aware of the lay teacher’s sexual abuse of students in the 1970s but did not report it until Merzbacher was criminally investigated in the 1990s.

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Bishop defends church amid abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A local bishop has defended the Catholic Church in relation to child sexual abuse, saying individuals should not be mistaken for a whole organisation.

Bishop Greg O’Kelly from the Port Pirie diocese says he welcomes the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

However, in a letter to parishioners, he says it was not the Catholic Church that committed or shielded any crimes but individuals within the church.

He says claims that people were told not to report crimes are untrue and that members of the church encourage anyone to tell the police if they have been abused.

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Catholic Church hires security after protesters vented over clerical sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Courier Mail

Stephen Drill
From:Herald Sun
November 27, 2012

A SECURITY guard who patrolled St Patrick’s Cathedral during weekend masses kicked out people protesting against clerical sexual abuse.

The security presence comes as the Catholic Church continues to deal with the fallout from the announcement of a royal commission and a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child abuse.

Victims’ rights groups say the security tactic showed the church was putting the protection of property before the rights of the abused.

But the Archdiocese of Melbourne, which oversees St Patrick’s, said the security guard was employed to make sure masses were not disrupted.

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November 26, 2012

SNAP Asks Victims to Speak Out

MISSOURI
ABC 17

A watch group is urging victims of molestation by priests to come forward and contact police in Columbia.

Gerald Howard is convicted of sex crimes and currently under investigation in Boone County. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also called SNAP, said Monday there could be multiple victims in Boone County.

Howard worked at the now closed Charter Hospital in Columbia after he was a priest in Boonville where he faces child molestation charges. If Howard molested children in Columbia, advocates say it would have been recent enough for a statute of limitations not to apply. This could keep Howard behind bars for good, so SNAP is asking victims to come forward and appealing to the church for help.

“We suspect very strongly that there are others out there who are still struggling in isolation and shame and self blame,” said David Clohessy the Director of SNAP.

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Trial continued for ex-minister facing sex charges

MISSISSIPPI
WAPT

A Hinds County Circuit Court judge granted a request Monday to delay the trial of a former Clinton High School choir director and music minister accused of sex crimes.

John Langworthy was the music minister at Morrison Heights Baptist Church before his arrest in September 2011. He is facing an eight-count indictment charging him with sexually molesting five boys ages 10-13 at various locations between 1980-1984, authorities said.

Clinton police charged Langworthy with two counts of gratification of lust and Jackson police filed six charges, authorities said.

Langworthy’s trial was set to begin Monday in Hinds County Circuit Court, but was continued after “prolonged negotiations” fell through, said Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Jamie McBride.

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Final Results of Survey on Clergy Abuse

UNITED STATES
The Garden of Roses: Stories of Abuse and Healing

Virginia Jones

In 2007, inspired by several survivors of Catholic clergy abuse I constructed a survey of survivor wants of needs related to healing. I received some positive support from survivors and advocates and an instructor of Social Work from PSU. I approached SNAP, therapists, the instructor of Social Work,, the media, and several clergy abuse lawyers but received little help in distributing and publicizing the survey. I had previously approached three Victim Assistants who worked for the Catholic Church and was essentially told to let professionals handle this. I attempted to work with the local Voice of the Fruitful and was told that I was too angry and hurt and drove people away.

I was hurt and angry. I was baptized Catholic along with my young children in 2001. After baptizing me, he proceeded to groom me and my 5 year old son although I have to stress that nothing bad ever happened. My son sat on the priests lap for almost 2 hours one time, but I and my daughter were present the whole time. I was aware that this was unusually familiar, but my son, who I had been told was on the autism spectrum, had severe separation anxiety and would only interact with about 6 adults other than me. I was happy to see that he was bonding with another adult. Church leadership knew about accusations of abuse against this priest for 20 years when this happened, but had never bothered to tell parishioners. If I had known about these accusations, I would not have entered that priests office with my children, but then, he probably wouldn’t have remained a priest if the accusations against him had been made public.

So even though no one in my family has been abused by a priest, we ended up in the middle of the clergy abuse scandal. When the priest was removed, forums were held. People were angry and hurt and divided between people who could not believe the severity of abuse the priest had perpetrated and those who could not understand people who would support a pedophile. I struggled, knowing that my private story cast doubt on the priest’s innocence. I remained silent even when a Youth Minister came forward with a story that cast even more doubt on the priest’s innocence. She was harassed so badly by other parishioners she left the Catholic Church. Who knows what would have happened if I had spoken out in the forum, but I needed time and space and support to come forward and ended up having to struggle mostly by myself to come to terms with what had happened. I formed a prayer group to support the priest, but I also researched the clergy abuse scandal on the internet. Eventually I read enough to firmly believe the survivors. I handed out newspaper articles about the clergy abuse scandal in my parish and was thrown out.

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Sex abuse trial starts for B’klyn rabbi accused of molesting 12-year-old girl

NEW YORK
New York Post

From By JOSH SAUL
Last Updated: 7:38 PM, November 26, 2012

The trial of a prominent Brooklyn rabbi accused of sexually abusing a young girl began in Brooklyn Supreme Court today with a focus on the strict rules of ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

Williamsburg rabbi Nechemya Weberman is charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl over three years after her parents sent her to him for counseling.

“It doesn’t sound like modern Brooklyn, it sounds like the Salem witch trials,” said assistant district attorney Kevin O’Donnell, describing how the alleged victim’s parents sent her to Weberman after she was chastised and shunned from the Satmar Hasidic community because she questioned authority and acted immodestly.

O’Donnell alleged that Weberman fondled the young girl in his office and forced her to perform oral sex on him, “Over and over again.”

Defense attorney George Farkas called the jury’s attention to the seeming strangeness to outsiders of Hasidic Judaism, warning jurors not to judge Weberman on his adherence to religious dictum.

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Sex abuse trial of prominent Orthodox leader Nechemya Weberman begins as insular Satmar Hasidic sect becomes Exhibit 1

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

By Oren Yaniv / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Monday, November 26, 2012

The explosive sex abuse trial of prominent Orthodox leader Nechemya Weberman began Monday, and the insular Satmar Hasidic sect both he and the teen accuser belonged to became Exhibit 1.

“It’s pretty much an entirely different world that’s just a couple of minutes away from this courthouse,” said Assistant District Attorney Kevin O’Donnell of the Williamsburg-based community.

Weberman, 53, is charged with touching the alleged victim’s genitals and forcing her to perform oral sex on him starting in 2007 when she was 12. He counseled her after the teenager was deemed heretic because she questioned religious teachings and “did not follow the modesty rules,” such as the required thickness of hosiery, prosecutors said.

“A woman questioning authority is not allowed,” said O’Donnell.

The defense agreed the teen was “a free spirit” who wrote poetry and read forbidden magazines like Cosmopolitan and People.

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Church accuses insurers in child sex investigation

AUSTRALIA
Insurance Business

By Trevor Treharne | 27/11/2012

The Anglican Church has made the astonishing accusation that the royal commission into child sex abuse should be focusing on the actions of the insurers for inhibiting the Church from “acting as it would wish”.

The Church claims some insurers refuse to allow religious organisations to settle financial compensation and instead insist on fighting victims in court.

The controversial submission, one of more than 300 contributions received by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, argues that often the Diocese is “inhibited from acting as it would wish” by insurance companies that want to “litigate rather than settle”.

In his statement to the government, the general manager of the Diocese of Brisbane, Peter Read, urges the commission to examine the “constraints insurers impose on institutional responses” to child sexual abuse.

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Convicted Brother taken back by Patrician Order

AUSTRALIA
ABC – Lateline

[with video]

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 26/11/2012

Reporter: Emma Alberici

A Patrician brother convicted of molestation and buggery charges was taken back into the order under a new name after serving his jail time

Transcript
EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: The Federal Government’s recently announced royal commission is being asked to specifically examine institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse.

Tonight, Lateline looks at how one order of Catholic brothers has dealt with alleged child sex abuse cases.

Brother Thomas Grealy, who was jailed on molestation and buggery charges in 1997, has been welcomed back to the order. Not only has he been reinstated as a Patrician Brother, a recent newsletter produced by the order refers to him as a Patrician “treasure”.

Lateline has learned that police soon expect to arrest another two men who had been at the Patrician Brothers school at Blacktown over sexual abuse allegations.

The Entrance, a popular beachside town an hour and a half north of Sydney, is one of several places across New South Wales that the Patrician Brothers’ Catholic order call home.

It’s where Thomas Grealy has been living, a convicted paedophile who spent four years in jail for the rape and indecent assault of two boys at the Patrician Brothers’ Primary School at Granville in Western Sydney.

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Archdiocese Of Hartford Sues Insurer Over Payments In Sex-Abuse Cases

CONNECTICUT
The Hartford Courant

By DAVE ALTIMARI, daltimar@courant.com
The Hartford Courant

6:07 p.m. EST, November 26, 2012

The Archdiocese of Hartford is suing one of its longtime insurers, claiming the company owes it more than $1 million to offset payments the church has made to plaintiffs in priest sex-abuses cases.

In a federal lawsuit, the archdiocese is claiming that over the past two years Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. Inc. of Chicago failed or refused to make payments to cover four lawsuits settled by the church.

Two of the lawsuits involved abuse allegations against Ivan Ferguson, a Hartford-area priest who died in 2002. The others involved settlements in cases involving charges against former priests Stephen Crowley and Robert Ladamus.

Stewart emphasized that the diocese made the initial settlement payments and that the lawsuit is an attempt to reclaim some of that money.

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SNAP seeks help in finding victims of priest

MISSOURI
Connect MidMissouri

Mark Slavit

Members of a group supporting the sexually abused victims of priests want people to call police, not church officials.

Members of a group called “SNAP”, or the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests have started a new letter campaign in search of more victims.

Earlier this month, Boone County prosecutors disclosed that they are investigating a catholic priest and former local counselor who molested children, but may soon walk out of jail.

His name is Father Jerry Howard. For more than two years, Howard has been in the Cooper County Jail facing charges of molesting three boys at Boonville’s Saints Peter and Paul Church. Within weeks, a judge will decide whether the statute of limitations on Howard’s alleged crimes has expired. If so he will be released. The victims said the abuse happened between 1984 and 1987. SNAP members held signs outside the Columbia Police Department on Monday afternoon looking for more recent victims that would not fall under the statute of limitations.

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Convicted St. Paul priest should get new trial, Appeals Court rules

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JOY POWELL and ROSE FRENCH , Star Tribune
Updated: November 26, 2012

The state Court of Appeals found that a priest was improperly convicted on the basis of church doctrine, and not for a crime, in violation of Constitutional rights.

A Catholic priest who served eight months for having a sexual relationship with a woman, allegedly while he was meeting with her for spiritual counseling, will get a new trial because his Constitutional rights were violated, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled on Monday.

Christopher Thomas Wenthe, 46, was convicted last year of one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct during a religous-advice meeting. He maintained that it was a consensual relationship and that no crime was committed.

On Monday, the appellate court agreed, in part, and ordered a new trial for Wenthe in Ramsey County District Court.

In a two-part decision, the appellate judges upheld a Ramsey County judge’s decision that the state statute is based on secular standards — which do not involve religion matters — and therefore doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause, which holds that states can’t make laws establishing or preferring a religion, on its face.

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Child sexual abuse inquiry hears from victim support groups

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[with video]

A Victorian parliamentary inquiry has been urged to question Catholic Church employees about the whereabouts of documents that might show sexual abuse being covered up.

The American-based founder of an international victims support group appeared before the inquiry on Monday.

Barbara Blaine of the ‘Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests’, told the inquiry the church uses many of the same tactics to conceal abuse in Australia as it does worldwide.

She says the inquiry will need to do more than request documents from the church to prove senior officials chose to ignore to paedophilia.

“Bring in the employees and former employees and ask them to swear under oath what documents exist,” she told the inquiry.

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Court: Too much religion in prosecution of priest

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

November 26, 2012 by Bob Collins

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has apparently narrowed the ability of prosecutors to try clergy charged with having sexual relationships with people who seek religious or spiritual advice.

The court ordered a new trial for Christopher Wenthe, a priest who was convicted last year of having sex with a 21-year old woman. A jury convicted him of sexual assault under Minnesota’s third degree sexual conduct statute, which contains this clause in the definitions:

the sexual penetration occurred during a period of time in which the complainant was meeting on an ongoing basis with the actor to seek or receive religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort in private. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;

But the prosecutor in the case, in attempting to show Wenthe held power over the woman, introduced the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine on the religious authority of priests, chastity, and the church’s “moral prohibition on engaging in sexual reltionships.” The prosecutor also provided testimony from a church staff member about the archdiocese’s “emphasis on maintaining boundaries with parishioners.”

That’s too much religion, the Court of Appeals said, noting it “presents a serious risk of excessive government entanglement” in religion. It said the prosecutor provided the jury with “religious standards for judging (Wenthe’s) conduct. “It invited the jury to determine appellant’s guilt on the basis of his violation of Roman Catholic doctrine, his breaking of the priestly vows of celibacy, and his abuse of the spiritual authority bestowed on Roman Catholic priests.”

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Majority Of Sexual Abuse Crimes Against Children Go Unreported (VIDEO)

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Crimes against children happen everywhere in the world and seem to thrive through a conspiracy of silence and intimidation. Peter Isely, a survivor of child sexual abuse and a founding member of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) joined HuffPost Live host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin to discuss why he chose to break the pattern of silence.

“Childhood sexual abuse is one of the most underreported crimes in the U.S.,” Isely said. “The reporting rate is about six or seven or eight percent at best. Offenders know they have a 1 in 20 chance of getting away with it.”

Isely, who was abused by a Roman Catholic priest, believes that institutions need outside intervention because they cannot police themselves.

“Things only change from the outside,” he told HuffPost Live. “Institutions cannot reform themselves. They cannot change themselves. They have to be pressured from the outside.”

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Child sex abuse inquiry told of Jesuit cover-up

AUSTRALIA
ABC – PM

SALLY SARA: Victoria’s parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious organisations has been told the Jesuit order of priests is not immune from allegations of child sexual abuse and that it too has been involved in a cover up.

The inquiry today took evidence from members of the group SNAP Australia, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The international group is currently involved in a case in the International Criminal Court which alleges the Pope and three senior Vatican officials are guilty of crimes against humanity through the direct cover up of abuse.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: Chicago-based Barbara Blaine is the founder and president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. She’s worked with victims of child sexual abuse for over two decades.

Speaking at Victoria’s inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious organisations, she spoke about SNAP’s complaint to the International Criminal Court, which alleges the Pope and three other senior Vatican officials have been engaged in a cover up.

BARBARA BLAINE: The Pope is held in such high regard, and yet here I am alleging that he’s involved in committing crimes against humanity.

Just three ways that they do this are by priest shifting, by transferring predator priests from one place to another, by their refusal to cooperate with the civil authorities, and this is, I’m assuming, experienced here in Australia.

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St. Paul: Former priest convicted of sex with parishioner gets new trial

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.comtwincities.com
Posted: 11/26/2012

A former St. Paul priest convicted of having sex with a 21-year-old penitent has won a new trial.

Christopher Wenthe, formerly of Nativity of Our Lord parish in St. Paul, was convicted in November 2011 of criminal sexual conduct in a case that involved a female parishioner. He was sentenced to a year in the Ramsey County workhouse and was released early for good behavior.

He appealed the conviction.

On Monday, Nov. 26, the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the conviction and sent the case back to Ramsey County District Court for a new trial.

Wenthe, now 48, got sexually involved with the young woman after she sought his advice and guidance in her struggles with an eating disorder and past sexual abuse. She said that he took advantage of her vulnerability and that she trusted him because he was a priest.

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Dysfunctional Church stares into the abuse abyss

AUSTRALIA
Eureka Street

Michael Kelly November 26, 2012

Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities begins: ‘It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.’ If we take St Paul seriously, the worst of times can be the best of times for Christians. In his biblical account of faith, he sees adversity, trial, rejection and hardship as the nodal points for growth. ‘We have no other boast but the Cross.’

This time in the Church in Australia is tragic. The intervention by Cardinal Pell in mid-November highlighted an all too familiar pattern of defensiveness that generated plenty of heat, lots of ‘I told you so’ observations from his critics and no advance in understanding that this is a time of unmatched shame for the Church.

Fortunately, other voices among the bishops — and not just retired ones — have weighed in with appropriate contrition and compassion.

While countless Catholics, me among them, feel nothing but shame and sorrow at both the abuse of victims and its insensitive and selfish handling by authorities in dioceses and religious congregations, it is far from clear how best an ordinary Catholic could and should respond to this spectacle of culpability.

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‘We just want to help each other’

AUSTRALIA
Maitland Mercury

By Emma Swain
Nov. 27, 2012

When the survivors of the Hunter region’s widespread clergy abuse gather in Civic Park, Newcastle, tonight it won’t be in loud criticism of the church.

But with plans for a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse now under way, the vigil will instead be a quiet protest against the silence of powerful institutions.

“This will be our third Silence Against Silence vigil and it will be our biggest because of everything that has come out,” event organiser and fellow survivor Bob O’Toole, of Maitland, said. “We’ve had numerous messages and emails from people saying they will be there so we are expecting a very big turn out.”

As part of the one-hour vigil, people will also have the opportunity to leave a message in a journal.

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Pedophile ‘treasure’ tag dreadful: Brother

AUSTRALIA
7 News

AAP
November 27, 2012

The description of a convicted pedophile by his religious order’s newsletter as a “treasure” is shattering, the head of the Patrician Brothers says.

Brother Philip Mulhall said Brother Thomas Grealy, who was convicted and jailed for the rape of boys in western Sydney in 1997, said featuring a photo of Br Grealy in the order’s newsletter was a dreadful mistake.

Br Mulhall said the contributor should have picked up the inclusion and he himself should have.

“I’m shattered by that,” he told ABC television.

Asked why Br Grealy was allowed back into the order after his release from jail, Br Mulhall said the policy at the time was to take responsibility for the members of the order.

“He’s our member, he’s our problem and we have a responsibility to see that he’s not a problem for other people.

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Man who smashed Mendham monument …

NEW JERSEY
The Record

Man who smashed Mendham monument to victims of sex abuse by priests likely going with insanity defense

Written by
Peggy Wright
@peggywrightDR

A man with a history of mental illness, who is accused of using a sledgehammer to destroy a monument in Mendham dedicated to victims of sex abuse by priests, will possibly pursue an insanity defense, his lawyer said Monday.

Borough resident Gordon Ellis, 38, appeared in Superior Court, Morristown, for a brief status conference on charges filed against him in connection with the destruction Nov. 18, 2011, of a 400-pound millstone memorial outside St. Joseph Church.

The memorial, originally erected in 2004, has since been rebuilt and rededicated. The now-defrocked James Hanley had been a priest at St. Joseph, and he had admitted sexually abusing more than a dozen children during his tenure as a priest.

Ellis, who has received further psychiatric treatment since his arrest, is slated for examination by Dr. David Greenfield, a psychiatrist, according to defense lawyer Neill Hamilton. The lawyer later said he expects to pursue a mental disease defense or a finding that Ellis is not guilty by reason of insanity.

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Youth sex crimes trial delayed …

MISSISSIPPI
Carion-Ledger

Youth sex crimes trial delayed for former Clinton High educator John Langworthy

Attorneys say the trial for John Langworthy, a former Clinton High School teacher and church music director accused of molesting young boys several years ago in Mississippi and Texas, looks like it will be continued.

Officials in the District Attorney’s office as well as Langworthy’s attorney Jeff Rimes said that his trial, set to begin today in Hinds County Circuit Court. It was set to start at 9 a.m. and then was listed on the docket at 1 p.m.

Both Rimes and the DA’s office confirmed that the 1 p.m. listing is neither a trial nor a motion hearing. Rimes said he expects that the trial will be continued.

Langworthy was arrested in September 2011. He was indicted on eight counts of sexually molesting five boys ages 10-13 between 1980 and 1984, authorities said. Two of those counts are in Clinton, and six are in Jackson.

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MO – Victims write 9 local pastors

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will announce that they are writing
–nine Catholic pastors in three mid-Missouri counties about a now-jailed predator priest, urging the clerics to help them find others who he molested, and
–Jefferson City’s Catholic bishop asking him to divulge whether any other current or former church employees have legally changed their names after having been accused or proven guilty of crimes.
They will also urge law enforcement officials in Boone, Cooper and Callaway counties to do “everything possible” to seek out other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers.

WHEN
TODAY, Monday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Columbia Police Department headquarters, 600 East Walnut, Columbia, MO (573-874-7652)

WHO:
Two-three child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Columbia man and a St. Louis man (who is the organization’s long time director)

WHY
Earlier this month, Boone County prosecutors disclosed that they are investigating a Catholic priest and former local counselor who molested kids but may soon walk out of jail.

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Weberman Rape Trial Begins

NEW YORK
Failed Mesiah

The trial of accused Williamsburg rapist Nechemya Weberman has begun. And there is some interesting news.

As the trial of accused Williamsburg rapist Nechemya Weberman began this morning, there was a bit of good news.

Weberman allegedly raped and sexually abused a young hasidic girl who was sent to him for counseling. The rapes and abuse allegedly began when she was 12-years-old and ended when she was 15.

Weberman’s supporters have been very vocal in support of Weberman, filling a wedding hall with more than 1000 supporters for a fundraiser for him and demonizing the alleged victim (who is now 18-years-old).

Four Weberman supporters were later arrested and charged with witness intimidation, obstruction of justice and extortion after trying to bribe the girl’s fiancee in an attempt to get the girl to flee the country and not testify against Weberman.

And in the courtroom today, George Farkas, an attorney for Weberman, told the court that the alleged victim “”wants to bring down this community which she hates” as he launched into a statement meant to demonize her.

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Court of Appeals reverses priest’s conviction

MINNESOTA
San Francisco Chronicle

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a priest accused of having sexual conduct with a female parishioner he was counseling.

Christopher Wenthe (WHEN’-thee) was working at Nativity Catholic Church in St. Paul 2003 when the woman sought spiritual counseling. A jury found him guilty last year of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

But the appeals court says Wenthe’s conviction was unconstitutional because prosecutors obtained it “based on evidence that was excessively entangled in matters of religion.” It says that evidence improperly shaped the verdict by giving the jury religious instead of secular standards for judging the priest’s conduct.

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Focus on abuse-case insurers: church

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Milanda Rout and Jared Owens
From:The Australian
November 27, 2012

THE Anglican Church in Brisbane has called for the royal commission into child sex abuse to put insurance companies under the microscope, saying some refuse to allow religious organisations to settle financial compensation and instead insist on fighting victims in court.

The submission, one of more than 300 contributions received by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon last night after a week-long consultation on the structure of the national inquiry, argues that often the diocese is “inhibited from acting as it would wish” by insurance companies that want to “litigate rather than settle”.

The Brisbane Diocese, headed by Anglican Primate Phillip Aspinall, also says the commission should review mandatory reporting processes to deal with occasions when adult survivors report child abuse to churches but say they do not want to go to the police.

The deadline for responses to the government’s consultation paper on the commission’s terms of reference ended last night at 5pm, with state governments, victims’ advocacy groups and churches among many making submissions.

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Variety of experts sought for child abuse commission

AUSTRALIA
Canberra Times

November 27, 2012

The overwhelming response to the royal commission on child sex abuse has highlighted the need for multiple commissioners, some with expertise in child protection, the Attorney-General Nicola Roxon says.

After submissions closed on Monday, the federal government has less than four weeks to set the terms of reference for the royal commission on how child sex abuse allegations have been handled by religious, community and state institutions.

The tight deadline reflects Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s wish for the inquiry, which is likely to take years and involve thousands of individuals, to be established by the end of this year so it can begin work in early 2013.

Ms Roxon told Parliament on Monday the ”overwhelming” response had ”enthusiastically come from all corners of the country”.

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Shattuck-St. Mary’s sex scandal: Third former teacher accused of abusing student

MINNESOTA
City Pages

By Aaron Rupar
Wed., Nov. 21 2012

Last month, two former teachers at Shattuck-St. Mary’s boarding school in Faribault were accused of sexually assaulting students — Lynn Phillip Seibel and the late Len Jones.

Those revelations apparently prompted former Shattuck student “JJ” to come forward on October 9 with accusations that art and photography teacher Joseph Machlitt sexually abused him in the summer of 1980. JJ was 14 years old at the time. …

The charging document goes on to say that “JJ did not tell anyone about the abuse until he was 29… He [has] told several therapists.”

During a subsequent interview with investigators, Machlitt confirmed he had a sexual relationship with JJ that summer. He left Faribault to take a job in New Hampshire before the next school year began.

As the Faribault Daily News reports, all of the recent sexual abuse allegations involve incidents that “happened on S-SM grounds — either in a closed classroom setting or in the dormitories.”

Last month, we spoke with attorney Gregg Myers of Jeff Anderson & Associates, a law firm known for litigating sexual abuse cases. Myers said the abuse allegations at Shattuck are “discouragingly similar to cases like Penn State.”

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