Why do state laws put an expiration date on sex crimes?

UNITED STATES
PBS News Hour

November 28, 2017

By Laura Santhanam

On April 27, 2016, former U.S. house speaker Dennis Hastert was convicted of breaking banking law, but crimes to which he confessed in court — sexually abusing multiple high school boys in Illinois while he served as their wrestling coach nearly four decades ago — would never be prosecuted. Their statutes of limitations had expired.

A year later, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan declared the state had removed the criminal statute of limitation for sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated sexual abuse against children. She credited Illinois’ passage of that legislation with the “powerful and courageous testimony of survivors,” many of them speaking publicly for the first time after years of silence, anger and shame.

“Tragically, there are millions of people whose childhoods are tarnished by sexual assault and sexual abuse,” Madigan said in an email to the NewsHour. “For decades they struggle to come to terms with the terrible impacts these crimes have on their lives – including the troubling fact that very few of the perpetrators are held accountable.”

In recent weeks, high-profile and long-buried stories of sexual assault and harassment have cropped up across the country. Since Oct. 5, when the New York Times published its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Hollywood film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein, dozens of women and men have come forward with their own stories about sexual misconduct by other powerful men, from Roy Moore, Alabama’s Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, to Charlie Rose, a long-time broadcast news host for PBS and CBS News.

But after they share their stories, what legal standing do victims of sexual harassment and assault have to pursue those accusations in court? That depends in large part on the statutes of limitations that apply in their state.

Nationwide, one out of three women said they have been sexually harassed or abused at work, according to a recent poll from the PBS NewsHour, NPR and Marist Poll. But according to 2016 federal data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which monitors reports of unwelcome sexual advances at the workplace, 6,914 incidents of sexual harassment were filed that year. Many more cases go unreported.

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Nuovo terremoto in Vaticano, si dimette vice direttore generale

ITALY
Rai News

November 30, 2017

[Google Translate: The umpteenth earthquake that makes the Vatican tremble with its epicenter of the IOR, has erupted following investigations by the Vatican Gendarmerie. What emerged forced Giulio Mattietti, added by the General Manager, to resign from his position. He was appointed in November 2015 together with the general manager. But exactly two years after his entry, a dismissal with expulsion (some gendarmes would have accompanied him across the border) puts an end to Mattietti’s experience.]

Le dimissioni sarebbero scattate in seguito a un’indagine della gendarmeria vaticana

L’ennesimo terremoto che fa tremare il Vaticano con epicentro lo Ior, è scoppiato a seguito di indagini della Gendarmeria vaticana. Quanto emerso ha costretto Giulio Mattietti, aggiunto del Direttore Generale, a dimettersi dal suo incarico. Era stato nominato nel novembre 2015 insieme al direttore generale. Ma esattamente a due anni dal suo ingresso, un licenziamento con espulsione (alcuni gendarmi lo avrebbero accompagnato oltre confine) pone fine all’esperienza di Mattietti. Della decisione non si conoscono i motivi ma ci sarebbe stato anche un altro analogo provvedimento a carico di un dipendente dell’istituto. Intanto continuano a circolare voci su Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, il presidente che dovrebbe lasciare come effetto domino per il forzato allontanamento del prefetto della Segreteria per l’economia, George Pell. Secondo la rivista Formiche se la passano male tutti gli uomini vicini al cardinale australiano e al revisore generale Libero Milone, allontanato anche lui in modo plateale e drammatico dalla Gendarmeria. Milone era un’altra creatura del cardinale australiano George Pell i cui enormi poteri, Francesco aveva via via ridimensionato fino all’aspettativa che gli ha concesso Papa Francesco perché potesse tornare in Australia a difendersi da infamanti accuse di pedofilia.

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L’inchiesta sul preseminario in Vaticano, lezioni sospese per l’ex vicario giudiziale della Diocesi di Como

ITALY
Espansione TV News

November 29, 2017

By Anna Campaniello

[Google Translate: The former judicial vicar of the Diocese of Como, Fr Andrea Stabellini, involved precisely for this role in the service of the transmission of Italy1 The Hyenas on alleged abuses to presbyter Saint Pius X, in the Vatican, temporarily suspended teaching in the seminary in Como but also in Rome and Lugano. For the Diocese it is a personal decision of the priest, who would have asked for a break just in light of the tensions and difficulties related to the affair.]

L’ex vicario giudiziale della Diocesi di Como, don Andrea Stabellini, coinvolto proprio per questo suo ruolo nel servizio della trasmissione di Italia1 Le Iene sui presunti abusi al preseminario San Pio X, in Vaticano, ha temporaneamente sospeso l’insegnamento in seminario a Como ma anche a Roma e a Lugano. Per la Diocesi si tratta di una decisione personale del sacerdote, che avrebbe chiesto una pausa proprio alla luce delle tensioni e delle difficoltà legate alla vicenda.

Don Andrea ha di fatto puntato il dito contro l’ex vescovo di Como monsignor Diego Coletti, dicendo che il presule gli aveva chiesto di non dar luogo a procedere con gli accertamenti sui presunti abusi, sui quali invece il vicario giudiziale avrebbe voluto fare altri approfondimenti.
Dopo i recenti servizi delle Iene, il Vaticano ha comunicato di aver riaperto il caso e disposto nuovi accertamenti.

L’ex vicario, che insegna diritto canonico in seminario ma anche all’università a Lugano e a Roma, al momento ha sospeso tutte le lezioni, a tempo indeterminato. La Diocesi di Como precisa tramite l’ufficio stampa che si tratta appunto di una scelta personale del sacerdote e non di una decisione imposta da altri. Nel servizio delle Iene, è stata messa in onda anche una serie di dichiarazioni che don Andrea ha rilasciato quando gli era stato assicurato che le telecamere erano spente e proprio in questa parte del colloquio ci sono le dichiarazioni che puntano il dito contro l’ex vescovo Diego Coletti.

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VENARIA – Don Ilario Rolle condannato anche in appello per pedofilia

ITALY
Quotidiano Venaria

November 29, 2017

[Google Translate: The Court of Appeal has reduced the sentence from 3 years and 8 months to 2 years for the former parish priest of Santa Gianna Beretta Molla di Venaria.]

La Corte d’Appello ha ridotto la pena da 3 anni e 8 mesi a 2 anni per l’ex parroco della Santa Gianna Beretta Molla di Venaria.

Nuova condanna per pedofilia, questa volta in appello, per don Ilario Rolle, ex parroco della Santa Gianna Beretta Molla di Venaria.

L’ex prete che da sempre combatte la pedofilia – dando vita anche al famoso filtro per internet davide.it – ha ricevuto una condanna a due anni per una storia del 2007, quando don Rolle venne accusato da un ragazzino di 12 anni di averlo baciato ripetutamente, sulla guancia e sulla nuca, durante un campo estivo in montagna.

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Celebrated missionary in Quebec abused Innu girls, inquiry hears

QUEBEC (CANADA)
The Toronto Star

November 29, 2017

By Allan Woods

Father Alexis Joveneau was celebrated for his work over four decades among the Innu of northern Quebec, but a string of women now say he groped and abused them as girls.MONTREAL—For most of his adult life and for decades after his death Father Alexis Joveneau was regarded as a religious superstar in Quebec.

But the national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women has heard from several witnesses who said they were sexually abused over several years by the priest.

In the predominately Innu community of La Romaine, Que., Joveneau was celebrated, respected, and considered by many to be “Jesus in person,” as one witness recounted. He left a much different impression on his victims.

“He mistreated us. He abused us,” said Noelle Mark, 57, who described being touched inappropriately by Joveneau between the ages of about nine and 15.

She was one of two women Wednesday who described going to church for confession and being forced to sit on the priest’s knee and endure his inappropriate touches, rather than kneeling.

“He would stick his tongue in my ear. I remember that for a long time,” Mark said. “I hated that smell—his breath. I smell it now.”

The Belgian-born priest was ordained in 1951 and requested he be sent to Canada with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, an international religious order. He arrived in Quebec’s rugged north coast of the St. Lawrence River and spent nearly four decades living and working among the Innu people until his sudden death in 1992.

It was noted upon his death that Joveneau was fluent in Innu-aimun, the Innu language, and dedicated much of his time to safeguarding the language and translating educational and religious books for Innu readers.

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Diane W. Mufson: Will revelations stop sexual abuse by powerful men?

WILLIAMSON (WV)
Williamson Daily News

November 30, 2017

By Diane W. Mufson

Following the revelation of many instances of sexual abuse and harassment from males in powerful positions, Americans seem surprised and ask, “How could this happen and why didn’t people know about it?” The answer is simple. This is as old as time and many people knew about it.

Powerful people, often synonymous with men with wealth and high political, religious or business status, have clout and control. Most were and still are immune from negative repercussions regarding their actions. Often the recipients of the abuse were punished or blamed. So today’s question is this: With all the well-known sexual abusers and harassers being publicly identified, will this age-old practice stop?

In the past year or two, some of the biggest names in media, theater, politics and high places have been identified as sexual abusers or sexual harassers. Until recently, most weren’t a bit worried as that’s been the status quo for eons.

So, why now? Some suggest that last winter’s Women’s March in Washington led women to feel that they actually had a voice; others point to the rise of women in business and elected offices. Many women claim that electing a president who was recorded saying that when you are powerful you can do almost anything you want, including grabbing women sexually, put women on notice that it was their job to take control of their lives. Social media and large numbers of victims speaking out have had a major impact.

Women also can be sexual abusers. The most publicized cases usually involve young female teachers and adolescent male students. This is obviously wrong, but the frequency of these situations pales in comparison to powerful males taking advantage of females. Same-sex sexual abuse, as exemplified by Kevin Spacey, and same-sex child sexual abuse, exemplified by Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky and some clergy as well, are also nothing new.

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Andrew Soper trial: Jury deliberating case of abbot accused of abusing boys at Ealing school

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Get West London

November 30, 2017

By Aine Fox and Emily Pennink

The jury is out after a two-month trial into alleged sexual abuse at St Benedict’s School, Ealing

A former abbot at Ealing Abbey accused of abusing boys while working at a school in Ealing is awaiting the verdict in his trial at the Old Bailey.

Andrew Soper was headmaster and senior priest at St Benedict’s School, a fee-paying independent school in Ealing, and he stands accused of abusing 10 boys there during the 1970s and 80s.

Now aged 74, Mr Soper denies 19 offences of indecent assault and buggery against the boys, who claim they were subjected to sexual touching and beatings with a cane.

Prosecutors said the school had a history of “both violence and sexual abuse” by the adults in charge, describing it as “sadly prevalent”.

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Lawsuit: priest paid boys $1 for swimming naked

GUAM
The Guam Daily Post

November 30, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

A former Guam resident who now lives in North Carolina has filed a lawsuit alleging he and other Boy Scouts were paid to swim naked and be sexually abused by a priest in the mid-1970s.

B.G., 58, who used his initials to protect his identity, filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Guam against the Archdiocese of Agana, the Boy Scouts of America and retired priest, Louis Brouillard.

The complaint states that B.G. joined the Agana Boy Scouts troop when he was 14 and participated in various Boy Scout activities when Brouillard served as a scoutmaster and was also a priest for the Agana Archdiocese.

Brouillard allegedly swam completely naked and routinely instructed B.G. and the other boys to remove their clothes as the priest would grope and touch their private parts while they were swimming, the lawsuit states.

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Retired priest removed from clerical state

ST. PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
The Catholic Spirit

November 29, 2017

By Maria Wiering

Richard Jeub, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis since 1966, has been dispensed from the clerical state, according to a Nov. 29 statement from the archdiocese.

Jeub, 77, retired in 2002, but he has been prohibited from ministry since that year, following a credible accusation of sexual abuse of a minor.

Jeub served as an associate priest at St. Joseph, Hopkins, 1966-1967; Our Lady of Grace, Edina, 1967-1970; St. Mark, St. Paul, 1970-1976: Christ the King, Minneapolis, 1976-1978; Sacred Heart, Robbinsdale, 1996-1997; Sacred Heart/St. Lawrence, Faribault, 1997-2000; and St. Rose of Lima, Roseville, 2000-2002.

He ministered as a hospital chaplain at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park and Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina from 1978 to 1982.

Jeub’s longest assignment was from 1981 to 1990 as pastor of St. Kevin in south Minneapolis, which merged with nearby Church of the Resurrection in 1991 to form Our Lady of Peace. His assignment history has been posted since 2014 at the archdiocese’s website in a list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Commonly referred to as “laicization,” dispensation from the clerical state is an action of the pope. Men who have been dismissed from the clerical state may not present themselves as priests.

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Abuse inquiry: Orphanage boy ‘molested in toilet cubicle’

SCOTLAND
BBC News

November 30, 2017

A former resident of a Catholic orphanage has told how he was dragged into a toilet cubicle and sexually abused.

The boy was under the age of 10 when the male staff member subjected him to the ordeal.

The man, now in his 60s, has told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry that life at Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark was “like a concentration camp”.

The witness lived at Smyllum Park in the 1950s.

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Australian archbishop charged with abuse cover-up diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

AUSTRALIA
Crux

November 30, 2017

An Australian archbishop facing charges over allegedly covering up a case of clerical sexual abuse has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The trial of Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide was due to begin on Tuesday in Newcastle. He is charged with concealing information about an abuse case from the 1970s.

The court accepted a defense motion to adjourn the case, until a neuropsychologist could assess the archbishop.

Information given to the judge said the “memory part of the brain” was not working properly, and Wilson had suffered a “loss of brain matter.”

In addition, the archbishop suffers from type-2 diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease.

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CATHOLIC CHURCH PRIESTS RAPED CHILDREN IN PHILADELPHIA, BUT THE WRONG PEOPLE WENT TO JAIL

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Newsweek

November 30, 2017

By Ralph Cipriano

It took a near-death experience to convince retired Philadelphia police detective Joe Walsh that he couldn’t keep quiet anymore about what he knew.

It was June 11, 2015, just another sunny day down at the Jersey Shore, when Walsh suddenly felt severe pain in his jaw. An old Army buddy noticed the color had drained from Walsh’s face, told him “Sit down!” and called 911.

In the ambulance, a paramedic asked Walsh if he liked the T-shirt he was wearing. “Not particularly,” Walsh replied. “That’s good,” the paramedic said, before he cut it off with scissors. “He hooked me up [to a monitor], and that’s all I remember,” Walsh says. “Everything went white.”When he came to minutes later, Walsh heard an emergency medical technician say, “Come on, Joe, keep breathing.” Then he heard the paramedic say that when he woke up, he was going to think he’d been kicked in the chest by a horse.

During that ambulance ride, Walsh’s heart stopped beating for two and a half minutes; it took two jolts from a defibrillator to get it going again.The ambulance raced to the Cape May Court House Armory, so Walsh could be flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital for emergency surgery. Doctors there implanted two stents in the left coronary artery and gave Walsh morphine for the pain in his chest.As he recovered from his heart attack, he endured two painful back operations. And while he dealt with all his physical pain, Walsh realized something else was bothering him: his conscience.

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Breaking the Silence on Sexual Abuse in Omaha

OMAHA (NE)
KETV

November 29, 2017

By Waverle Monroe

A 24/7 crisis hotline that has seen more people come forward to share their stories.

Omaha, Neb. —
A day that never ends,

“Catholic Charities Domestic Violence Services, how may I help you?”

A 24/7 crisis hotline that has seen more people come forward to share their stories.

“I saw that for our 24/7 hotline, we’ve seen a 40 percent increase from last year to this year,” said Catholic Charities Domestic Violence Services Supervisor, Rachel Gifford, “and then in our shelter, we’ve got a 15 percent increase.”

Gifford said those statistics are rising month-to-month.

Seeing the effects of the rise is Nebraska Sexual Assault and Abuse Prevention President, and sexual abuse survivor herself, Ren Drincic.

“It’s really interesting because ever since #MeToo, the hashtag campaign started, that’s really when the influx began,” Drincic said.

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North Carolina man files $10M clergy sex abuse suit

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

November 30, 2017

By Haidee V Eugenio

A former Guam resident now living in North Carolina said he quit the Boy Scouts of America in the 1970s after he could no longer handle the pain, humiliation and embarrassment that Father Louis Brouillard inflicted on him, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as B.G., to protect his privacy, said in his lawsuit that Brouillard sexually abused and molested him during the time he served as a Boy Scout, around 1973 or 1974. He was about 14 or 15 years old then.

Now 58, B.G. said he joined the Agana Boy Scout or the Agana Troop. Brouillard was a scout master for the Boy Scouts.

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Matt Lauer scandal: There may be as many as 8 victims, Lauer breaks his silence

NEW YORK (NY)
USA Today

November 30, 2017

By Erin Jensen

One day after Matt Lauer was fired for inappropriate sexual behavior at work, additional details are emerging about the the former NBC host’s conduct.

Lauer, 59, who co-anchored Today for more than 20 years, has also broken his silence and released a statement Wednesday.

NBC News’ Stephanie Gosk says there are as many as eight victims

Gosk appeared on Megyn Kelly Today Thursday fielding questions from the host about her Lauer investigation. Gosk said that are as many as eight accusers, though tallying is difficult as the accounts have been anonymous.

Several accusers told Variety “they complained to executives at the network about Lauer’s behavior, which fell on deaf ears.” NBC has denied this telling NBC News “current NBC News management was never made aware.”

After Kelly brought up the report of sexual assault from The New York Times, Gosk said the New York City Police Department and police departments in Long Island have been contacted and she is unaware of any open criminal investigations for Lauer.

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Priest who asked students about porn reassigned, will lead Mass on Sunday

OMAHA (NE)
Omaha World-Herald

November 24, 2017

By Michael Kelly

The young Catholic priest who was moved out of a parish for his questions of seventh- and eighth-graders during confession has been reassigned under the guidance of a veteran pastor.

The Rev. Nicholas Mishek will lead the 9 a.m. Mass Sunday at St. Frances Cabrini Church south of downtown. Out of the public eye, he has lived at the rectory there for at least a month, said the Rev. Damian Zuerlein, pastor.

“He is young and inexperienced,” Zuerlein said, “and is trying to learn from this and move forward.”

According to letters to be read at weekend Masses at St. Frances Cabrini and at St. Robert Bellarmine, Mishek’s former parish, the Omaha Archdiocese after outside psychological evaluations found him suitable to return to the ministry.

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Filmava i bambini mentre li violentava: prete a processo in provincia di Foggia

ITALY
Fanpage.it Cronaca Italiana

November 29, 2017

By Davide Falcioni

[Google Translate: Three children, two of 15 and one in 16, reported yesterday in the classrooms before the judges the sexual abuse suffered until some years ago by former priest Giovanni Trotta, 56, who at the time was a trainee of those young people in a youth football team in the province of Foggia.]

Don Giovanni Trotta, 56 anni, è imputato per violenza sessuale aggravata, produzione e diffusione di materiale pedopornografico e adescamento di minori.

Tre ragazzini, due di 15 anni e uno di 16, hanno raccontato ieri in aula, di fronte ai giudici, gli abusi sessuali subiti fino a qualche anno fa dall’ex sacerdote Giovanni Trotta, 56enne che all’epoca dei fatti era allenatore di quei giovani in una squadra di calcio giovanile della provincia di Foggia.

Nel processo che si sta svolgendo dinanzi al Tribunale di Foggia, il prete è imputato per violenza sessuale aggravata, produzione e diffusione di materiale pedopornografico e adescamento di minori. I tre minorenni sono stati chiamati a testimoniare sugli abusi subiti. Replicando alle domande dei pubblici ministeri baresi, competenti su Foggia per il reato di pedopornografia, che hanno coordinato le indagini, Simona Filoni e Domenico Minardi, i tre hanno confermato ogni particolare, dalle foto nudi scattate a casa del sacerdote agli atti sessuali a quali erano sottoposti, mimando gesti e raccontando episodi. Hanno chiesto che i loro genitori potessero restare fuori dall’aula e, per ore, tra lacrime e imbarazzo, hanno ricordato quei momenti.

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Teacher who confessed to abusing boys in US found working in Essex school

ESSEX (UK)
The Guardian

November 23, 2017

By Robert Booth

Stephen Jackson, 72, was fired from Tendring technology college in September after police were alerted to catalogue of historical allegations in California

A teacher who has faced multiple allegations of child sexual abuse in the US and confessed to molesting schoolboys has been uncovered working in a secondary school in Essex, the Guardian can reveal.

Stephen Jackson, 72, taught English to 11- to 13-year-olds at Tendring technology college this term despite previously confessing to police in California that he engaged in sexual acts with children.

It has also emerged that he previously worked for two years at a school in south London without being discovered.

Jackson joined the staff of the 2,000-pupil Tendring college, in Frinton-on-Sea, in June this year. However, he was fired after a fortnight of lessons this term after Essex police raised concerns, having received “intelligence concerning a teacher working in the Tendring area”.

He is believed to have left the country, possibly travelling to Venezuela.

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The Health 202: Science puts sexual aggressors squarely on the hook for their misdeeds

UNITED STATES
The Washington Post

November 28, 2017

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

The science is in: Men who engage in sexual misconduct really can help themselves.

Despite the excuses you might hear from leaders in the political, entertainment and media worlds who are accused of sexually harassing women (and some men) — a list that seems to grow daily — advances in brain imaging have recently revealed that these kinds of behaviors are simply not addictive in the same way drugs or alcohol might be.

Here’s how researchers identify when a behavior is addictive: When that behavior starts lighting up the part of the brain connected to need instead of pleasure. That’s what occurs in the brains of people struggling with substance abuse. But the same thing doesn’t occur in people who say they have sexual urges they can’t control, researchers said.

“Now that we start to look at the brains of people and see what is going on, [sex addiction] doesn’t fit the criteria of a mental disorder,” Joye Swan, psychology chair at Woodbury University, told me.

Psychologists have become so convinced of this that most of the leading scientific bodies have recently released papers or statements saying that what is called “sex addiction” isn’t actually an addiction. Last year, the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists said there’s insufficient evidence to support classifying sex addiction as a mental health disorder. In 2012, the American Psychiatric Association removed “sex addiction” from DSM-5, the handbook of mental health disorders.

The science is something to keep in mind in the #MeToo era, as more and more women have the courage to speak up about their experiences with rampant harassment and misconduct — and the cultural stigma begins shifting from the victims to the alleged instigators.

There’s an increasingly crowded stage of powerful men facing such charges — most recently Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who yesterday took to the mics to claim he doesn’t recall instances where four women say he touched them inappropriately — but also Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) (the latest charge is here), comedian Louis C.K., media figures Mark Halperin and Charlie Rose, actor Kevin Spacey and many others. President Trump has also been accused of sexual misconduct by 13 women.

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Star Wars helped fight director Nicholas Harrison survive the Dark Side of child abuse

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Georgia Straight

November 29th, 2017

By Janet Smith

When Nicholas Harrison was nine years old, he saw Star Wars—a movie that didn’t just change his life but, as he puts it, saved it. He’d been invited to his first birthday party, to watch Smokey and the Bandit with some other boys, and started wandering between the theatres of the multiplex. Something caught his attention on one of the big screens: two robots were walking across a sand dune, and one said, “We were made to suffer. It seems to be our lot in life.”

The words struck a nerve in the boy, who had endured more suffering than any child should ever have to face—almost five straight years of unspeakable physical and sexual abuse by the teachers, nuns, and priests at his Catholic elementary school.

Later, another line hit him just as hard: the elderly Obi Wan Kenobi telling the evil Darth Vader “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

“Seeing this old man go up against Darth Vader: it was amazing to me, having this courage,” Harrison recalls, sitting with the Straight in a West Broadway coffee shop. “So I had to go back and watch it all the way through with my dad. It gave me hope that this small group of misfits could win against an organization like the Empire. The Empire has order and discipline—it even has black robes…”

The preteen Harrison figured that if he could just use the Force, he would be able to protect himself. “I wanted to know more about what that Jedi was; I kept going back to ‘What was this Jedi?’”

Harrison would follow that dream into adulthood, becoming as close to a modern-day Jedi as might be possible on 21st-century Earth. In his youth, he began studying martial arts. He would go on to pursue kendo, the Japanese martial art that inspired Star Wars’ light-sabre battles, even fighting professionally on the British kendo team. He would become a fight director, working for companies like Vancouver Opera and Bard on the Beach, as well as an actor and a stuntman. “A lot of people say ‘How did you become a fight director?’ ” he says. “And I’m always like, ‘Do you want the short or the long version?’ ”

It’s a story of survival and hope that he turned into his doctoral thesis at UBC. And now, at the encouragement of some of his theatre colleagues, finally into a one-man show—How Star Wars Saved My Life.

A father of two, and a teacher with his PhD, Harrison has put his world strongly back together, but when he talks about the secrets he carried with him in childhood, the raw emotion is, understandably, still near the surface.

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For evangelicals, sin is redeemable — but can that allow sex offenders to dodge their actions?

UNITED STATES
VOX

November 29, 2017

By Tara Isabella Burton

Many of Roy Moore’s evangelical supporters see alleged “sins of the past” as no longer relevant.

Onetime Alabama Senate frontrunner (and longtime Christian theocrat) Roy Moore has managed to hold onto his evangelical base, despite being embroiled in allegations of sexual misconduct with at least eight teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Several major evangelical figures, including Jerry Falwell Jr., and Franklin Graham, both of whom serve on Donald Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisory council, have spoken in support of Moore, and, according to the latest Fox News poll, 65 percent of white evangelicals in Alabama still plan to vote for him.

Why?

Evangelical support for Moore is based on a variety of factors. There are those who think that the allegations against Moore are the result of a political smear campaign, or — worse — that diabolical “forces of evil” are attempting to push God out of government, in this case by muddling a staunch Christian politician’s chances of winning a Senate seat. There are those who think that “courting” a teenage girl just isn’t that big a deal. There are those who believe the good Moore can do in office — like working to ban abortion — outweigh the bad in his personal life.

But, perhaps most importantly, an alarmingly common evangelical approach to sexual misconduct — and misconduct more generally — is deeply rooted in theological concepts of sin, redemption, and forgiveness that make it easy to dissociate a wrongdoing individual from his past misdeeds on the grounds that he has already been “forgiven.”

When it comes to the allegations against Moore, this narrative has been pervasive among evangelical supporters. In line with the aforementioned Fox News poll, Dottie Finch, a Moore supporter interviewed by CNN shortly after the allegations came out, took this view: “And if it has happened, I believe the good Lord has forgiven him and he has the right to continue to prove himself.” An Alabama retiree and Moore supporter quoted by the Huffington Post took a similar tack: “And if he had done it, it doesn’t matter in God’s eyes because he’d have been forgiven.” Kenneth Frost, a Baptist deacon, agreed, telling the Los Angeles Times, “I have to forgive him, just like God forgave me.”

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Caldey Island abuse inquiry call by Darren Millar AM

CALDEY ISLAND (WALES)
BBC News

November 29, 2017

There has been a new call for an independent inquiry into historical abuse on Caldey Island to be launched.

Eleven women claimed they were abused by Father Thaddeus Kotik when they were children. He died in 1992.

Welsh Conservatives children’s spokesman, Darren Millar, said the Welsh Government should instigate an investigation.

But he was told during Wednesday’s plenary in the Senedd that a police investigation was under way.

A support group has also called for an inquiry.

It comes after allegations of abuse against Kotik were made to the Pembrokeshire island’s abbey in 1990, but were not passed on to police.

Officers were told about the abuse in 2014 and 2016, but could not prosecute as the monk had died.

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Pupils ‘not protected from abuse’ at Ampleforth

ENGLAND
ITV News

November 29, 2017

Several former pupils at a prestigious Catholic boarding school in North Yorkshire have told an inquiry that they were not protected from sexual abuse at the hands of priests and teachers.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has heard there were 40 alleged perpetrators of abuse at Ampleforth College near Thirsk between 1953 and 2016.

A former pupil sexually abused by music teacher Dara De Cogan between 2007 and 2010 told the hearing in London that child protection at the school was “very poor.”

The victim said he was physically inappropriate with her in front of other staff and it was widely known they spent a great deal of time alone together during many evenings, but nothing was done.

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Catholic nuns ‘sexually abused boy and beat friend, 6, to death for playing with match’

ENGLAND
Mirror

November 28, 2017

By Hilary Duncanson and Lucinda Cameron

A six-year-old boy died 10 days after he was beaten by a nun at an orphanage, a child abuse inquiry has heard.

A witness, who cannot be named, told the inquiry his friend was kicked on the body and head by the Catholic sister.

He was giving evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry which began a new phase of hearings in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

It is hearing evidence about institutions run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which has issued an apology to anyone abused in their care.

The man said he was sexually abused by a nun and another member of staff and beaten for bedwetting and not eating his food at Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark, Lanarkshire.

The witness entered the orphanage in 1959 when he was aged around two.

A witness has told an inquiry how he was abused at Smyllum Park orphanage in Lankarkshire, Scotland, in the 1960s

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Child abuse inquiry: Boy ‘abused’ by head of Catholic school

ENGLAND
BBC News

November 29, 2017

A head teacher of a Catholic boarding school invited a young pupil into his study and then
sexually abused him, the inquiry into child abuse has heard.

The hearing heard the boy was told to pretend to go to bed in his dorm at Ampleforth College, in North Yorkshire, and then to get up and go to his study.

Two other ex-pupils also talked about being abused and beaten at the school.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is currently examining abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church is one of 13 public organisations being scrutinised by the public inquiry, which is being headed by Prof Alexis Jay.

The third day of hearings into allegations involving the Church examined abuse at Ampleforth College, a private school run by Benedictine monks.

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Therapy for sexual misconduct? There’s no evidence to back it up

UNITED STATES
New York Times

November 28, 2017

By Benedict Carey

The recent surge in accusations of sexual harassment and assault has prompted some admitted offenders to seek professional help for the emotional or personality distortions that underlie their behavior.

“My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons,” the producer Harvey Weinstein said in a statement in October. The actor Kevin Spacey announced that he would be “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment.”

Whatever mix of damage control and contrition they represent, pledges like these suggest that there are standard treatments for perpetrators of sexual offenses. In fact, no such standard treatments exist, experts say. Even the notion of “sexual addiction” as a stand-alone diagnosis is in dispute.

“There are no evidence-based programs I know of for the sort of men who have been in the news recently,” said Vaile Wright, director of research and special projects at the American Psychological Association.

That doesn’t mean that these men cannot change their ways with professional help.

The evidence that talk therapy and medication can curb sexual misconduct is modest at best, and virtually all of it comes from treating severe disorders, like pedophilia and exhibitionism, experts said — powerful urges that cannot be turned off.

Still, there is reason to think that these therapeutic approaches can be adapted to treatment of the men accused of offenses ranging from unwanted attention to rape.

“You’re really looking at two categories of people,” said Rory Reid, an assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA, who has a clinical practice focusing on sexual problems.

“One is what I call sexually compulsive behavior. The other is reserved for people committing nonconsensual acts — sex offenders.”

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#ChurchToo: Online movement highlighting sexual abuse in religious communities

FARGO (ND)
Valley News Live

November 28, 2017

By Melanie Palmer

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – The #MeToo campaign is now spreading to your church. A new social media hashtag is aiming to bring attention to sexual assault in religious communities. It’s called #ChurchToo.

People are speaking out about their experiences, but an area church is working to prevent these incidents before they even happen.

Twitter is at it again. Except this time, users are hoping to raise awareness on what they call, a hidden crime. It’s sexual assault at church, and the numbers show that people between the ages of 12 and 34 are at the highest risk of being raped or sexually assaulted.

“85% of the people who do abuse are actually known by the victim. We tend to think, it won’t happen here because we know everybody but that’s not the case,” says Bethel Church Senior Associate Pastor, Gary Siefers.

We tried contacting a rash of churches in the F-M area. Many of them didn’t want to talk, they say it’s a tricky subject. But at Bethel Church in Fargo, staff members work hard to ensure no incidents like these happen.

“We do background checks on volunteers and check references through an application process. For the staff, we have training on how to recognize abuse and not put themselves in a situation where that might happen,” says Siefers.

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Ex-priest who was fired from Cheverus, went to prison faces new sex charges in Maine

PORTLAND (ME)
Press Herald

November 28, 2017

By Dennis Hoey

An indictment unsealed Tuesday alleges that James Talbot engaged in a sexual act with a minor in Freeport nearly 20 years ago.

A former Jesuit priest who taught and coached at Cheverus High School for nearly two decades before being fired in 1998 is scheduled to be arraigned in Portland on charges he sexually assaulted a minor in Freeport nearly 20 years ago.

A grand jury indictment dated Nov. 9 and obtained by the Press Herald on Tuesday identifies the priest as 80-year-old James Francis Talbot of Dittmer, Missouri.

The indictment charges Talbot with gross sexual assault, a Class A offense, and with unlawful sexual contact, a Class C offense.

The indictment alleges that Talbot engaged in a sexual act with a minor and subjected the minor, who was 8 or 9 years old at the time, to sexual contact on or between May 1, 1997, and June 14, 1998.

The indictment said the alleged crimes took place in Freeport, but offered no information about a specific location, Talbot’s relationship to the minor, or why Talbot was in Freeport. It also was not clear why the charges are being brought now or whether this is the first time Talbot has been charged in Maine.

According to Maine statute of limitations, a prosecution for incest, unlawful sexual contact, sexual abuse of a minor, rape or gross sexual assault may be commenced at any time if the victim was not 16 at the time of the alleged crime.

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RITUALIZED ABUSE CASE RESUMING

SANDPOINT (ID)
Priest River Times

November 29, 2017

By Keith Kinnaird

SANDPOINT — Criminal proceedings are resuming against a Bonner County man accused of ritualized and sexual abuse.

A preliminary hearing in the case against Dana Andrew Furtney is set for Dec. 6, court records show.

Furtney is charged with lewd and lascivious conduct, sexual battery of child involving lewd conduct and ritualized abuse.

The case against Furtney was put on hold earlier this fall when questions were raised about his capacity to understand the proceedings and assist in his own defense.

Chief Deputy Public Defender Susie Jensen moved for the mental health evaluation because Furtney’s strongly held spiritual beliefs, his belief that he has a personal relationship with God and that his actions were guided by God’s will, court records indicate.

Furtney, however, has now been deemed fit to proceed in the criminal case, court records show. He remains held at the Bonner County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Furtney, 48, is accused of sexually battering a girl in 2013 and 2014, when she was 16 years old. He’s also accused of engaging in lewd conduct with a 14-year-old girl during the same time frame and engaging in ritualized abuse by forcing a boy to consume feces and urine when he was between the ages of 11-12 years old.

The allegations against Furtney, also known as Andrew Furtney, emerged last month, after some of the alleged victims had relocated to Ohio, according to court documents.

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Called in house for oblation, priest rapes woman

PATIALA (INDIA)
The Times of India

November 29, 2017

By Bharat Khanna

PATIALA: Police here have booked a priest for raping a 38 year old woman in her house while performing the oblation. The victim woman in her statement to the police had alleged that priest was called in house by her husband to offer the prayers and bring out a solution for the problems being faced by the family including the financial crisis and repeated fever to the victim.

She told the police that accused priest Vinay Sharma of Deep Nagar in city assured her husband of solution to their problems with his religious and occult practices. The priest send victim’s husband outside home to bring some commodities required for the oblation while he send the children on roof of the house. Now finding her alone in the house the accused Vinay Sharma allegedly raped her and threatened her to kill her children if she revealed anything to anybody.

Police claimed that victim claimed that she was raped next day again by the priest who reached their house to collect his Rs 65000 fees for oblation and other practices.

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Former Salesian College, Rupertswood, principal Frank Klep to stand trial

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
Herald Sun

November 29, 2017

By Shannon Deery

A FORMER school principal of one of Victoria’s most infamous Catholic colleges will fight charges of molesting students.

Former priest Frank Klep, 74, is charged with sexually assaulting three students of Salesian College, Rupertswood, at Sunbury during the 1970s and 1980s.

He was this week committed to stand trial but is fighting all charges.

Mr Klep’s lawyer Antony Trood told the County Court on Wednesday Mr Klep denied some of the charges and could rely on an alibi in relation to others.

“Immigration records are being sought to see if Mr Klep was indeed in the country at the relevant time,” he said.

It is alleged all the assaults took place at the college while Mr Klep was a priest and teacher.

Students of the school say a sickening club of paedophiles roamed its grand halls and manned its dormitories for more than four decades between the 1950s and 1990s.

In 2004, the Australian chapter of the Salesians, the world’s second largest Catholic order, was engulfed in scandal after it was alleged local superiors knowingly moved priests accused of sexual assaults across international and state borders to evade authorities.

The order denied that they moved Mr Klep to Samoa after investigations into sex assault allegations first surfaced.

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SNAP issues apology to priest and St. Louis Archdiocese

ST. LOUIS (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

November 28, 2017

By Brian Roewe

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests issued an apology Monday to a St. Louis priest and the St. Louis Archdiocese “for any false or inaccurate statements” made in relation to sexual abuse allegations brought against the priest that courts have found false.

The apology was part of a settlement reached in October between SNAP and Fr. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, who in 2015 brought a civil rights suit against the abuse victims advocacy group and the parents of a boy who accused him of sexual abuse.

That allegation, made in 2014, was the second against Jiang, following one made by a teenage girl in 2012 accusing him of improper contact. Each accusation led to criminal charges and civil suits against the priest. In both instances, the criminal charges were dropped and the civil suits ruled in Jiang’s favor.

In the apology, released by the St. Louis Archdiocese, SNAP said that false claims of clergy sexual abuse do occur, and that neither of its leaders named in the suit, former executive director David Clohessy and current executive director Barbara Dorris, had personal knowledge of complaints against Jiang.

“SNAP acknowledges that false claims of clergy sexual abuse injure those clerics falsely accused and the Roman Catholic Church. SNAP apologizes for any false or inaccurate statements related to the complaints against Fr. Joseph Jiang that it or its representatives made which in any way disparaged Fr. Joseph Jiang, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, Monsignor Joseph D. Pins and the Archdiocese of St. Louis,” the statement read.

Dorris told NCR that SNAP still maintains it did not make false statements about Jiang.

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Ex-priest fired from Maine school accused of assaulting minor

BANGOR (ME)
Bangor Daily News

November 29, 2017

By Callie Ferguson

A former Catholic priest who was fired from Cheverus High School in Portland in 1998 and served time for molesting boys in Massachusetts was indicted this month for sexually assaulting a minor in Freeport 20 years ago.

James F. Talbot, 80, has been charged with one count of gross sexual sexual assault with a minor under the age of 14, and one count of unlawful sexual contact with a minor under the age of 14.

The allegations against Talbot have been known to the Portland community for some time, after the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team brought the alleged molestation to light in an the early 2000s investigation of sex abuse inside the Catholic Church.

Talbot already has served time for assaulting teenage boys while he was their wrestling coach at Boston College High School, according to the Patriot Ledger. He was released in 2011 after serving six years of a five- to seven-year sentence, according to the paper.

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Beauty and the Priest: Former priest going on trial for 1960 cold case

EDINBURG (TX)
CW39

November 28, 2017

By Tammy Feldstein

EDINBURG, Texas – After 57 years, the murder of a south Texas beauty queen may finally be solved.

The accused? The priest who heard her last confession.

Jury selection will begin for the trial of former Priest John Feit, 85.

Fifty Seven years ago Feit was a visiting member of the clergy at Sacred Heart Church in Mc Allen, where 25-year-old Irene Garza was last seen alive.

The young school teacher was well-known in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and lived down the street from Sacred Heart with her parents where she went to confession every Saturday.

On Easter weekend in 1960, Garza went to church and never came home. More than 500 members of the community helped police search for Garza. First, they found her shoe, then her purse and days later they found her body floating in a canal. Garza’s autopsy revealed had been raped and beaten.

Police also found a clue; a small slide projector near her body that belonged to Feit.

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Ex-priest accused of murdering beauty queen after she went to confession almost 60 years ago finally headed to trial

HOUSTON (TX)
New York Daily News

November 27, 2017

By Minyvonne Burke

A former Catholic priest who has long been considered a suspect in the 1960 murder of a Texas beauty queen will stand trial.

John Bernard Feit, 84, was indicted on murder charges in February 2016 in the death of 25-year-old Irene Garza.

Garza, a schoolteacher and Miss All South Texas Sweetheart 1958, vanished in April 1960 after visiting Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen for confession during Holy Week.

Her body was found in a canal five days after she disappeared. An autopsy revealed that she had been raped while unconscious and then beaten and suffocated, according to CBS.

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Livermore Priest Under Investigation for Alleged Inappropriate Behavior

LIVERMORE (CA)
NBC Bay Area

November 27, 2017

Father Van Dinh, a pastor of St. Michael Parish in Livermore, has been placed on administrative leave until the police investigation is completed

A Livermore priest is under investigation after being accused of inappropriate behavior, authorities said Monday.

Father Van Dinh, a pastor of St. Michael Parish in Livermore, has been placed on administrative leave until the police investigation is completed, according to the Diocese of Oakland.

In a statement provided Monday, the Diocese of Oakland said it considers all allegations of clergy misconduct serious. The allegation against Dinh does not involve a minor, but did fall within the protocol for clergy conduct, according to the Diocese of Oakland.

No other information was immediately available.

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NBC fires Matt Lauer for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’

UNITED STATES
Yahoo News

November 29, 2017

By Dylan Stableford

Matt Lauer, a veteran journalist and co-host of the “Today” show, was terminated by NBC on Wednesday for what the network called “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”

Savannah Guthrie, Lauer’s “Today” show co-host, made the announcement to viewers on the air at the top of Wednesday’s show.

“This is a sad morning here at ‘Today’ and at NBC News,” Guthrie said before reading a memo that had been sent by NBC chairman Andy Lack to staffers before the show went on the air.

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Priests must violate Seal of Confessional, inquiry told

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

November 28, 2017

An Inquiry into child sex abuse heard that priests should be forced to reveal Confessions in such cases

British priests should be compelled to break the Seal of the Confessional in cases of child abuse, lawyers have told a national inquiry.

Solicitor David Enright, representing former pupils at a Comboni missionary school, said it was a problem that “matters revealed in Confession, including child abuse, cannot be used in governance”.

“One can’t think of a more serious obstacle embedded in the law of the Catholic Church to achieving child protection.”

He added: “The Catholic Church is so opaque, so disparate, so full of separate bodies who are not subject to any authority that it is difficult to see how reform can be made to provide good governance and introduce acceptable standards of child protection.”

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MISSOURI PRIEST RECEIVES APOLOGY OVER FALSE CLAIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE

ST. LOUIS (MO)
ChurchMilitant.com

November 28, 2017

By Alexander Slavsky

Apology ends five-year battle for priest

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – After a years-long battle, a priest of the archdiocese of St. Louis is receiving an apology from a group that falsely accused him of sex abuse.

On Monday, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), an advocacy group for victims of clerical abuse, apologized to the archdiocese of St. Louis and the Fr. Joseph Jiang:

The SNAP defendants never want to see anyone falsely accused of a crime. Admittedly, false reports of clergy sexual abuse do occur. The SNAP defendants have no personal knowledge as to the complaints against Fr. Joseph Jiang and acknowledge that all matters and claims against Fr. Jiang have either been dismissed or adjudicated in favor of Fr. Jiang. SNAP acknowledges that false claims of clergy sexual abuse injure those clerics falsely accused and the Roman Catholic Church. SNAP apologizes for any false or inaccurate statements related to the complaints against Fr. Joseph Jiang that it or its representatiives made which in any way disparaged Fr. Joseph Jiang, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, Monsignor Joseph D. Pins and the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Father Jiang settled a federal lawsuit against SNAP and the parents of an accuser in St. Louis last month. Court filings in the U.S. District Court in St. Louis reveal that both parties had “reached an agreement in principle.” The judge therefore dismissed the priest’s lawsuit claiming he was falsely accused and arrested after a mishandled police investigation.

SNAP confirmed Monday that the apology was included in a settlement in Jiang’s lawsuit, whose case was dismissed on November 21.

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For Mormon women, saying #MeToo presents a particular challenge

DRAPER (UTAH)
The Guardian

November 29, 2017

by Andrea Smardon

Sexual abuse survivors say notions of modesty and patriarchal authority make speaking out difficult: ‘There’s a lot of pressure to forgive and to not rock the boat’

When Carol was eight years old, she was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon church. But she refused to stand up in front of the congregation and bear her testimony – to make a declaration about how she knew that God, the Heavenly Father, loved her.

Her father punished her by raping her.

Carol only remembered this years later, in her 20s, while working with a therapist who specialized in childhood trauma. She gradually came to realize that she had been abused since she was a very young child. Her father justified sexual abuse by using an example from the Bible.

“He told me that Mary was impregnated by God the Father. That’s why Mary had to have sex with God,” Carol said.

Now, at age 56, Carol (not her real name) has watched her Facebook feed fill up with messages of women saying #metoo. She thought these very small words held huge stories. As she read others’ experiences, she decided to write her own post.

“It’s almost impossible to describe how heinous this crime is, especially when perpetrated against a child. There’s a reason we call these crimes ‘unspeakable’ … I have no sweeping answer about how to stop the violence. But I have this voice. And I was born to tell the truth,” her post read.

Telling the truth about sexual abuse is hard for anyone, but it has particular challenges in the conservative, Mormon community of Utah where Carol was raised for most of her life and where she now lives. Carol, who identifies as a Mormon feminist, sees a parallel with powerful men in Hollywood and those in the Mormon church.

“It’s men in power taking advantage of their positions of authority,” she said. “In the LDS church or any patriarchal religious community, it’s even more condensed and insulated, and there’s a lot of pressure to forgive and to not rock the boat.”

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Child abuse inquiry: Pair ‘abused and beaten’ at Catholic school

ENGLAND
BBC News

November 29, 2017

Two ex-pupils at a Catholic boarding school have told the inquiry into child abuse they were sexually abused by a priest and beaten in the school chapel.

They said they were sexually abused at Ampleforth College, in North Yorkshire, by a monk and Father Piers Grant-Ferris – who was jailed for abuse in 2006.

The unnamed monk treated boys at the school “disgracefully”, one man said.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is currently examining abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church is one of 13 public organisations being scrutinised by the public inquiry, which is being headed by Prof Alexis Jay.

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Police go public on Cornerstone pastor case

BERMUDA
The Royal Gazette

November 29, 2017

By Sarah Lagan

A leading police officer has been assigned to deal with complaints of inappropriate sexual conduct by a former pastor amid concerns witnesses are reluctant to come forward.

Yesterday, police said they were aware of allegations circulating on social media about a former clergy member at Cornerstone Bible Fellowship.

However, they said no formal complaints had been received, meaning it is not possible for them to launch an investigation.

Detective Inspector Mark Clarke, of the Vulnerable Persons Unit, has now been made the single point of contact for the matter, to give assurance to potential victims and witnesses.

Police reminded members of the public of their duty to report such information.

A spokesman said: “The Bermuda Police Service is aware of allegations circulating on social media about past inappropriate sexual conduct of a former Cornerstone Bible Fellowship clergy member.

“To date, no criminal complaints have been made to the BPS.

“We would like to remind the public that formal complaints are required by law in order for the police to investigate such allegations. Online statements and social media posts do not qualify as formal complaints.

“We appreciate that this is a sensitive subject and that witnesses and victims are sometimes reluctant to come forward.

“Accordingly, we have established a single point of contact so that complainants can be assured that they will be treated with dignity and that their investigation will be conducted in strict confidence.”

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Trial date set for Feb. 5 for priest in child pornography case

LAFAYETTE (LA)
The Advertiser

November 27, 2017

By Ken Stickney

The Rev. F. David Broussard, charged 16 months ago with 500 counts of possession of child pornography, may yet get his day in court.

But it didn’t happen Monday in 16th Judicial District Court in St. Martin Parish, where he was scheduled to appear before Judge Vincent J. Borne. And it won’t happen until at least Feb. 5, which is when attorneys have agreed to try the felony case.

Broussard’s name was called in court simply as “Felix Broussard,” but he did not appear before the judge after court officials scoured the courtroom to see if the defendant was present to stand. Court officials initially were uncertain why Broussard was absent.

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Sexual abuse and vanishing babies in Pakuashipi

QUEBEC (CANADA)
APTN News

November 29, 2017

By Tom Fennario

Agnes Poker is a mother many times over and at Tuesday’s hearings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) she testified about the children she has lost.

“I had eight children in all, four in the tent, four in the hospital,” she told the commissioners. “If all of my children had been born in the tent, everything would have gone well for me, because then I would have seen them die with my own eyes.”

Poker was referring to how in the early 70s children in her Innu community of Pakuashipi would be airlifted from to Blanc Sablon, Que., near the northeastern border with Labrador.

Twice they did not survive

“I speak often to my lost children,” she said. “I would like to know where my two children are laid to rest. Every time I go to Blanc Sablon I go to the cemetery to try to find my children.”

But Poker said she doesn’t even know where her children are buried.

She testified that the hospital also refused to let her arrange or attend any funeral.

“This summer we went to an archaeological dig [in Blanc Sablon], and we said ‘if you find any children bones let us know’,” said Poker.

Christine Lalo, also from Pakuashipi, had a similar experience with the health services in Blanc Sablon.

“When they died we were never given an autopsy report, only many years later we went back and only then did we find out what happened,” Lalo testified.

Tuesday afternoon’s testimony also touched on other difficult subjects that plagued the Innu territory 1,200 km northeast of Montreal.

Topics included a forced relocation of the community and a priest who was a sexual predator.

“We were at the church and I went to confession and I had to kneel before him on the ground and often the priest would invite us to sit on his lap and often he would say ‘I’m your father’ and I would try to give my confession, but when you’re young you don’t have much to say,” said Mary Mark, who chose to be sworn in by an eagle feather as opposed to a bible.

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Indigenous women allege priest abused them, and likely others

QUEBEC (CANADA)
CBC News

November 29, 2017

By Julia Page

Women made accusations during testimony at Quebec MMIWG hearings

Two women from Innu communities on Quebec’s Lower North Shore say they were abused by a missionary more than 40 years ago, and that there are likely more victims.

The revelations came out during testimony at the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) on Tuesday.

The hearings began in Whitehorse in May, and proceedings have taken place in British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan so far. Hearings are scheduled for Thunder Bay, Ont., and Ranklin Inlet, Nunavut, next month, and Yellowknife in the new year.

Alexis Joveneau was a Belgian missionary working in Innu communities. He died in 1992 in the town of La Romaine, also known as Unman Shipu.

Mary Mark was living in Pakua Shipu, one of the last communities on the Saint Lawrence coast before the Labrador border, when she says she was first abused by Joveneau.

She said Joveneau asked her to sit on his lap and started touching her chest when she was at confessional.

“I am sure I wasn’t the only one to live that kind of things; there were others,” Mark said.

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Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson misses trial opening after having pacemaker installed, court hears

NEWCASTLE (AUSTRALIA)
The Advertiser

November 28, 2017

By Andrew Hough,

SOUTH Australia’s Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson has been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, on the eve of his landmark trial for allegedly concealing child sex abuse.

The Archbishop of Adelaide, 67, was due to begin the trial on Tuesday at Newcastle Local Court, charged with covering up sex abuse within the Catholic Church but he did not appear because of health problems, the court heard.

On Tuesday morning, the court heard he had a pacemaker installed last week amid concerns about his ailing health and that there are worries about his “cognitive capacities”.

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Don’t Dismiss Abuse: People Matter More than Institutions and We Must Protect the Vulnerable and not the Abusers

UNITED STATES
Christianity Today

November 28, 2017

By Ed Stetzer

No more prioritizing institutional protection over individual needs

Unless we’ve been hiding in a box, most of us have started noticing a trend in our twitter feeds and daily news headlines: sexual harassment and assault have been running rampant. And it is far beyond Hollywood and Harvey Weinstein, though he seemed to open the floodgates.
It’s also happening in our nation’s halls of power.

The latest, Congressman John Conyers, is a member of the Democratic Party who chose to step down from his seat on the House Judiciary Committee after being accused of sexually harassing a female member of his staff several years ago.

It’s evident that partisan politics simply don’t matter here. When it comes to the mistreatment of women, men on both sides of the aisle are to blame. Women are trying to speak out against these abuses, but certain politicians seem eager to make this about party allegiance instead of victim protection.

This Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi discounted the accusers in a widely-panned interview—an interview from which she quickly backtracked. But in the moment, instead of speaking out against sexual harassment, she decided to remark on the importance of due process and to pay compliments to Congressman Conyers, a member of her party, for all he’s done over the years to “protect women.”

Yes, it’s true. Unfortunately.

And if this sounds familiar, that’s because it is.

Many remember that after Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore was recently accused of child sexual assault, some (even most) Republicans were quick to condemn his alleged behavior. For that I am thankful.

President Trump recently came to his defense, repeatedly arguing to reporters that Moore was denying all the accusations. He also made a conscious effort to point out that the Senate does not need another “liberal person” like Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones, in office. And it appears that many voters may be swayed by this argument that the most important issue in play is holding onto majority control.

But that’s missing the point of this moment. It’s not about who is in the Senate. It’s about serious allegations that are credible.

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Anglican pastors’ wives in Australia open up about spousal abuse

AUSTRALIA
Christian Daily

November 28, 2017

By Lorraine Caballero

Anglican pastors’ wives are breaking their silence on spousal abuse and have started to open up about their bad experiences with their clergy husbands with the help of a private online support group in New South Wales.

Some of the women who experienced spousal abuse at the hands of their priest husbands were part of the Moore Theological College in Sydney. When they opened up about their problem, they said several members of the clergy gave them support while others turned a blind eye on their plight, Patheos noted in a blog entry.

In addition, the blog pointed to the Anglican Church’s extreme interpretation of Ephesians 5:22-24, a passage which instructs wives to submit to their husbands as their leader. However, the part that came after – which tells husbands to love their wives – was often left out.

Just last week, ABC reported that the hashtag #ChurchToo proliferated on social media after poet Emily Joy and religious trauma researcher Hannah Paasch started it to give abused women an avenue where they could share their experiences. The trend was sparked by the series of revelations of sexual abuse in Hollywood and in Washington.

Using the said hashtag, one woman shared on Twitter that her mother was one of the women who experienced spousal abuse and yet their pastor only gave them a green prayer cloth to be inserted in their husbands’ pillows as a way to solve domestic violence. Another victim said she left a fundamental church after she was advised to stay in her abusive marriage.

Paasch told ABC News that she hoped the #ChurchToo trend they started would cause a “cultural and theological upheaval.” She said abuse within the church continues to happen because of racist and misogynistic teaching, and because the people who were supposed to protect the victims have ignored the women’s stories.

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LOWELL GRISHAM: Abuse destroys trust

UNITED STATES
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

November 28, 2017

By Lowell Grisham

Systems often struggle to recognize misdeeds of the powerful

Our human relationships function within complex webs of power and dependency grounded in trust.

When I am sick, I go to my doctor. I trust him. I trust the power of his training and expertise. I also trust that he intends to serve my best interest to guard my health. In that regard, I am dependent upon him.

When my doctor has a spiritual anxiety or perplexity, he reaches out to me. I am his priest. He trusts me and my training and the symbolic power of ordination that I carry. He trusts that I intentionally serve his best interests to guard his spiritual well-being. In that sense, he is dependent upon me.

All of us entrust other people with power. We have a right to expect them to exercise that power for good. We are dependent upon them to do so. We willingly make ourselves vulnerable to their power.

Think of all the people whom we trust and the critical roles they fill in our lives: professionals like doctors, clergy and lawyers; caretakers and advisers; police officers, firefighters and military personnel; teachers, therapists, coaches, judges and elected officials. The list is long. Every part of society is interconnected by relationships of trust between those with particular power and authority and those who depend upon the faithful exercise of their trust.

When people who are in positions of power and trust abuse their positions and victimize the vulnerable, they damage the whole fabric of society. They destroy trust. Without trust and trustworthiness, community unravels.

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Listen Up: There Is a Solution to the Sex Abuse and Harassment Epidemic Unfolding Before Your Eyes—And You Will Be Surprised at Who Must Step Up to Succeed

UNITED STATES
Verdict Justia

November 22, 2017

By Marci A. Hamilton

The list keeps growing of powerful men accused of sexual abuse, assault, or harassment. In historical order, just to name the headliners, Bill Clinton, Fr. Paul Shanley, Jerry Sandusky, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Al Franken, John Conyers, and Charlie Rose have all faced accusations of this nature. Thank God. This is the moment that will change history, because the “kings” of our culture are being brought to the public square and revealed for what they are–craven abusers of power.

There has been intense media coverage but surprisingly little if any attention paid to the experts on sex abuse, assault and harassment, who could inject facts into the discourse. There is actually a science of child sex abuse and sex assault. Instead, there has been a lot of hand-wringing by those who do not labor in this vineyard, and over-politicization of the issues to the point that you can’t see what you need to see. When a cable news show staffs its “panel of experts” to discuss these cases solely with political reporters and pundits, they are missing the mark. Let’s start by putting some facts about sexual misconduct on the table.

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Prete comasco accusato di abusi sessuali, la Curia: “Fare luce con determinazione”

ITALY
QuiBrianza News

November 24, 2017

[Google Translate: COMO – There continues to be a debate in the city of the comasco priest, destined for a community of the area, accused of sexual abuse in the Vatican in the pre-seminary of St. Pius X for the damage of the Pope’s clerics.]

COMO – Si continua a discutere in città del sacerdote comasco, destinato a una comunità del territorio, accusato di abusi sessuali in Vaticano nel pre-seminario San Pio X ai danni dei chierichetti del Papa.

Una vicenda che, dopo alcuni anni di silenzio, era stata risollevata da “Le Iene”, che avevano intervistato anche Monsignor Oscar Cantoni, Vescovo di Como, al quale era spettato il compito di ordinare sacerdote il ragazzo.

Il clamore mediatico aveva portato il Vaticano a prendere posizione con una nota, così come lo stesso Monsignor Cantoni aveva pubblicato una lettera aperta ai fedeli per parlare della vicenda.

Ora è ancora la stessa Curia a tornare sull’argomento con una nuova presa di posizione finita sul sito ufficiale della diocesi. Uno scritto in cui si spiega che “i presunti fatti, denunciati a mezzo lettera nel 2013, in seguito agli accertamenti conclusi nel 2014 da parte di tutte le competenti sedi ecclesiastiche, erano stati ritenuti infondati e tutte le valutazioni sulla personalità del seminarista erano risultate positive. Tra la documentazione prodotta non risultava alcun parere negativo da parte delle persone a conoscenza della vicenda”.

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More Than 180 Women Have Reported Sexual Assaults at Massage Envy

UNITED STATES
BuzzFeed

November 26, 2017

By Katie J.M. Baker

Across the US, people go to Massage Envy spas in search of a soothing, affordable escape. More than 180 people say what they got instead was sexual assault. But the billion-dollar company says that’s not its problem to solve. A BuzzFeed News investigation.

On May 2, 2015, Susan Ingram lay facedown in the dark at her local Massage Envy in West Chester, Pennsylvania, one of the franchise’s nearly 1,200 spas nationwide. It was her seventh session with James Deiter, a massage therapist whom the spa had enthusiastically recommended. By now, Ingram trusted Deiter, and she closed her eyes and relaxed as he worked her muscles. Then, without warning, Deiter ground his erect penis against Ingram’s body. He groped her breasts. He put his fingers in and out of her vagina.

Ingram lay there, frozen in fear and disbelief, until the session was over. After driving home sobbing, she called the spa to report the sexual assault. She was shocked when the manager refused to interrupt the session Deiter was having with a female client, Ingram said, or to connect Ingram with the spa’s owner.

“I said to her, ‘Nicole, he stuck his fingers in my vagina less than an hour ago,’” she later recounted in court. She begged the manager to get Deiter’s client out of the massage room immediately. “She said she could not do that, and she invited me in to talk about my services,” Ingram added.

Frustrated, Ingram called the police, who interviewed Deiter that afternoon. He quickly admitted to assaulting not just Ingram but other Massage Envy clients as well. “I need help,” he confessed. The next year, Deiter pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a total of nine women while working at Massage Envy from fall 2014 to spring 2015.

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SNAP apologizes to accused priest as part of settlement

ST. LOUIS (MO)
The Associated Press

November 27, 2017

ST. LOUIS – A support group for victims of clergy abuse has apologized to a Roman Catholic priest who sued after child molestation charges against him were dropped and jurors in a separate lawsuit concerning the allegations sided with the China-born priest.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis on Monday disclosed the apology from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

“SNAP acknowledges that false claims of clergy sexual abuse injure those clerics falsely accused and the Roman Catholic Church,” the group said. The group added that it apologized for “any false or inaccurate statements” related to the accusations against the Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang that “in any way disparaged” him, the archbishop and other archdiocese officials.

SNAP publicized accusations against Jiang after he was criminally charged in 2013 on accusations that he molested a 16-year-old eastern Missouri girl under a blanket. In an unrelated case two years later, he was charged in St. Louis on allegations that he abused a 13-year-old boy in a bathroom at the Cathedral Basilica elementary school. Charges in both cases were dropped without explanation.

The female accuser sued Jiang, but jurors sided with the priest in April. Jiang then sued the mother of the male accuser, along with SNAP and St. Louis police. SNAP was accused of defamation, while police were accused of botching the investigation.

SNAP confirmed Monday that the apology was included in a settlement in Jiang’s lawsuit. Court records show the case was dismissed on Nov. 21, but no details about the settlement, including possible money damages, were included in the records.

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Why priests can’t break the seal of confession, despite UK lawyers’ recommendation

LONDON (ENGLAND)
CNA/EWTN News

November 27, 2017

By Mary Rezac

Lawyers in the United Kingdom have recommended that mandatory reporting laws apply to priests in the confessional, in order to curb incidents of child sexual abuse.

The recommendation came during an investigation of Benedictine abbeys and their associated schools, after numerous victims came forward alleging clergy at the schools had committed acts of child sexual abuse.

Richard Scorer, a representative with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said during a hearing that mandatory reporting laws should apply even to information bound by the seal of confession.

“A mandatory reporting law would have changed their behaviour,” Scorer said, according to The Guardian. “At Downside Abbey, abuse was discovered but not reported, and abusers were left to free to abuse again and great harm was done to victims.”

“The Catholic Church purports to be a moral beacon for others around it yet these clerical sex abuse cases profoundly undermine it … Why has the temptation to cover up abuse been particularly acute in organisations forming part of the Roman Catholic church?”

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Philip Wilson: Adelaide Archbishop accused of covering up child sexual abuse has trial delayed

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

November 28, 2017

By Giselle Wakatama and Kerrin Thomas

Australia’s most senior Catholic Archbishop accused of covering up child sexual abuse has had his trial delayed because of medical issues.

Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, was due to front Newcastle Local Court today, but had a pacemaker fitted six days ago and remains in South Australia.

He was arrested two and a half years ago, and has tried, and failed, three times to permanently stay proceedings.

However, Archbishop Wilson’s barrister Stephen Odgers today said his client was keen to have his day in court.

“I’m confident that the advice I’ve received is that one week is OK and he will be able to fly up here on Wednesday afternoon,” Mr Odgers told the court.

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Indian church guidelines tackle workplace sexual abuse

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
National Catholic Reporter

November 28, 2017

By Jose Kavi

NEW DELHI — Catholic dioceses and religious congregations in India are in the process of implementing a set of guidelines that the bishops’ conference required when it released its sexual harassment policy for the workplace two months ago.

A 60-day checkpoint for setting up diocesan and congregation committees as the first stop for sexual harassment complaints passed on Nov. 14 without much progress, but response has also been slow to similar directives in a 2013 national law.

The “CBCI Guidelines to Deal with Sexual Harassment at Workplace” were released Sept. 14 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India amid demands from church groups for a policy to rein in increasing sexual abuse cases involving priests.

Though the 28-page document, which took two years to prepare, steers clear of mentioning priests, those demanding action against clergy abuse still find it a welcome step by the Indian church.

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, a laywoman theologian and a founder and member of the Indian Christian Women’s Movement, said publication of the much-awaited guidelines is a “cause of celebration” as the document fills “a critical lacuna in the church.”

Gajiwala was among more than 100 theologians, women religious, priests and feminists who wrote to the bishops on March 22, a month after a Catholic priest was arrested for allegedly raping and impregnating a minor girl, his parishioner, in Kerala, southern India.

The new document sends “a strong message that the bishops mean business when it comes to zero tolerance of violence against women that they advocate in their Gender Policy,” Gajiwala told NCR. She was referring to the “Gender Policy of the Catholic Church,” which the Indian bishops’ conference published in 2010.

Yet the sensitivity of the topic was evident in that bishops responsible for the policy deferred comment to a female secretary of the conference’s Council for Women.

What the bishops have done in the new guidelines is to draw heavily from a 2013 national law on the same matter but also extend it to men and transgender people as possible victims of abuse.

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‘He was a monster’: Alleged victim of priest Camille Leger explains why he’s suing church

NEW BRUNSWICK (CANADA)
CBC News

November 28, 2017

By Gabrielle Fahmy

At least 32 civil suits before courts against Leger, and lawyer thinks they’re ‘tip of the iceberg’

An alleged victim of priest Camille Leger says he chose to sue the Moncton archdiocese because the amount he was offered in the church-sponsored conciliation process couldn’t compensate for the abuse that began when he was six.

Jean-Paul Melanson is one of at least 32 men who have filed civil lawsuits targeting Leger, since the church hired retired judge Michel Bastarache to lead an extensive and confidential conciliation process from 2012 to 2014.

“He was a monster for me now,” said Melanson. “If you look at that, he was not a person. He was not normal at all.”

Many of Leger’s victims received compensation through that process, although the exact number is being kept confidential.

Some estimate the Cap Pelé priest could have abused hundreds of boys between 1957 and 1980, the years he served at the Sainte-Thérèse-d’Avila parish.

Now 51, Melanson took part in many church activities in the 1970s. He was an altar boy and a boy scout, both supervised by Leger. He said the children were aware of Leger’s behaviour.

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Opinion: #MeToo in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox World

ISRAEL
Haaretz

November 24, 2017

By Esti Shoshan

Sharing these stories of rape and sexual molestation in Haredi circles is to help all the other victims, so that they know they are not alone or to blame

“The guy who attacked me sexually a number of times when I was 11 years old is a married ultra-Orthodox man. I was dressed with extreme modesty. After my bat mitzvah I visited them on Shabbat, and he asked his wife to go to bed and leave me with him. She shouted, ‘She’s a bat mitzvah! You can’t touch her anymore!’

“And why is it impossible to tell and to complain? Ninth-grade girls in a Bais Yaakov school can answer that. The homeroom teacher told them about a student who was attacked in the street and stayed home for a few days to recover. She went to visit her and told her, ‘It’s your fault!’ The student defended herself, after all she observes all the rules and wears very thick stockings. The teacher answered her, ‘Yes, but there’s something about you!’”

That’s what Racheli Bass, a married ultra-Orthodox woman and mother of three who provides emotional therapy and assistance to victims of sexual assault, writes me.

Not everyone is as courageous as Racheli, who agreed to reveal her horrible story. Women I turned to, who I knew had been attacked, said that it’s better to keep quiet, that they aren’t emotionally prepared for exposure. But here are a few real stories and statements – in some the identifying details have been changed at the request of the victims to preserve their safety and privacy – in response to an op-ed by Israel Cohen (“Learn from the ultra-Orthodox how to stop sexual harassment,” Haaretz.com, November 14) that denies the injustices, sexual attacks and harassment in Haredi society, and extols the policy of separation to prevent such behavior.

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Opinion: No, Gender Segregation Doesn’t Prevent Sexual Abuse

ISRAEL
Haaretz

November 16, 2017

By Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar

The numbers show that there’s no link between how women and men dress and any harm done to them. Such abuse occurs at every level of society, among Jews, Muslims and Christians

In his piece responding to Rafi Walden’s op-ed in which Walden opposes gender segregation, Israel Cohen suggests that secular Israelis have a lot to learn about respect for women from the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, community.

“At a time when more and more incidents of sexual harassment in various forms are coming to light, along with damning testimonies about men exploiting their positions of authority against women, the Haredi approach that insists on gender separation appears to make all the more sense,” Cohen writes. “The most efficient way to avoid a repeat of such grave occurrences is simply to prevent unnecessary mingling of the sexes.”

What a perfect solution! We’ll entirely divide society – women here, men there. We’ll dress everyone modestly and solve all our problems. After all, everyone knows that in ultra-Orthodox society, as in other religious communities, separation and modesty totally prevent sexual harassment and abuse.

Cohen adds: “The Haredi approach has proved itself. There are fewer cases of harassment and thus fewer complaints arising from the mingling of the sexes, which is avoided from the start.”

Is he relying on reported data? Has he spoken to young children, adolescents or men and women who’ve suffered sexual abuse or harassment inside or outside the Haredi community? Has he read the shocking testimony posted on the Lo Tishtok Facebook page, which provides a forum on sexual abuse in the Haredi community?

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Forty’ abusers at Catholic school

ENGLAND
The Times

November 28 2017

By Andrew Norfolk

Forty monks and teachers have been accused of sexually abusing boys at a leading Roman Catholic school that allegedly became a “honeypot” for offenders, it was revealed yesterday.

Reports of child sex offences at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire were disclosed yesterday at a public hearing of an inquiry into the handling of abuse allegations by the Catholic church.

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Children at top Catholic schools ‘still at risk of abuse’ despite years of work to remove predators and improve safeguarding

ENGLAND
The Daily Mail

November 27, 2017

By Josh White

– An inquiry is examining prevalence of paedophilia among Benedictine monks
– Focusing on schools: Ampleforth in North Yorkshire and Downside in Somerset
– Rape to voyeuristic beatings was inflicted on school pupils, hearing was told

Pupils at Roman Catholic schools could still be at risk of sexual abuse despite years of efforts to remove predators and improve child safeguarding, an inquiry heard yesterday.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has begun examining the prevalence of paedophilia among Benedictine monks and failures to protect young people.

It is focusing on offenders who targeted children at two famous Catholic public schools, Ampleforth in North Yorkshire and Downside in Somerset, over many decades.

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Clergy sex abuse case ending in settlement

FLAGSTAFF (AZ)
Gallup Independent

November 20, 2017

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The clergy sex abuse lawsuit against the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and St. Michael Indian School is being settled, according to the attorney for the woman who filed the suit.

“The agreement has been finalized and the parties are waiting for the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and St. Michaels Indian School to fulfill their promises under the agreement,” Phoenix attorney Robert E. Pastor said in an email Wednesday.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Coconino County Superior Court in 2015, centered on the childhood sexual molestation of the plaintiff, who filed the lawsuit as Jane L.S. Doe to protect her anonymity. The plaintiff, a member of the Navajo Nation, said she was abused by Brother Mark Schornack, OFM, when she was a student at St. Michael Indian School and Schornack, a Franciscan friar, was her bus driver.

Doe, along with another Navajo woman, had also filed abuse claims naming Schornack as a perpetrator in the Diocese of Gallup’s bankruptcy case. Those claims were approved by officials with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In April 2017, the Gallup Diocese announced Schornack’s name had been added to the diocese’s list of credibly accused child sex abusers.

The Doe lawsuit began to move forward once the Diocese of Gallup’s bankruptcy case was officially closed earlier this year. Attorneys in the case met with a mediator Oct. 10, and they were scheduled to report their progress to Judge Dan Slayton in an upcoming hearing Dec. 11.

However, Peter C. Kelly II, the Phoenix attorney who represents the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and St. Michael Indian School, filed a notice of settlement Oct. 27.

When contacted last week, Kelly and officials with the Sisters’ religious order declined to answer questions about the monetary settlement.

Pastor, however, said the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament had insisted the settlement provisions be kept confidential.

“Unfortunately, as a condition of this settlement,” he said, “St. Michaels Indian School and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament required confidentiality.”

Pastor was asked if his client was satisfied with the settlement agreement.

“I do not believe victims of sexual abuse experience satisfaction when sexual abuse lawsuits are settled,” he said. “Nothing can ever be said or done to repair the scars caused by clergy sexual abuse. By resolving cases like this one, however, we hope it offers survivors of clergy sexual abuse some sense of closure and some sense of validation that the perpetrator is a confirmed sex offender who was allowed to prey upon innocent children.”

The Jane L.S. Doe case is believed to be the last clergy sex abuse lawsuit publicly filed against either the Diocese of Gallup or a Catholic entity operating within the Gallup Diocese.

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Group therapy sessions for priests affected by church abuse scandals

IRELAND
The Times

November 27, 2017

By Nick Bramhill

Priests suffering from anxiety and stress caused by a string of abuse scandals in the Catholic Church will take part in a healing circle tomorrow.

At least ten priests from the Munster region will attend an initial group therapy session in Ovens, Co Cork. The Association of Catholic Priests, which organised the workshop, said that the event could be the first of many across the country if there was strong demand from members of the clergy.

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Catholic church school pupils could still be at risk of abuse, inquiry told

ENGLAND
The Mail

November 27, 2017

Children at Roman Catholic church schools could still be “at risk” of sexual abuse despite years of efforts to root out predators, an inquiry has heard.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is examining the prevalence of paedophilia in the English Benedictine Congregation and failures in protecting young people.

This will focus on offenders that targeted children at two Roman Catholic schools, Ampleforth in North Yorkshire and Downside in Somerset, over the course of many decades.

But although numerous inquiries have exposed the problem of child abuse within church institutions and a string of offenders convicted, lingering safety concerns could remain, it was heard.

Counsel to the inquiry Riel Karmy-Jones told a hearing at IICSA’s headquarters in south London: “It may be that during the course of evidence and the submissions to come (that) there is some acceptance of failings, but reliance will be placed on changes that have been made over the years.

“But, as you will hear, concerns remain and you are likely to hear evidence that suggests safeguarding problems are still ongoing, in some instances, and with the inevitable result that children may remain at risk.”

The Roman Catholic Church is one of 13 arms of public life being scrutinised for child safety failings by IICSA.

Turning a blind eye to paedophilia should be made a criminal offence so Church institutions are discouraged from hushing up scandals, a victims’ lawyer said.

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End secrecy of confessionals ‘to protect Catholic children’

ENGLAND
The Guardian

November 27, 2017

By Owen Bowcott

Child sexual abuse inquiry is told that not reporting suspected incidents should be a crime

Mandatory reporting of sexual misconduct and abolishing the secrecy of the priest’s confessional box are needed to protect children at Catholic schools, the national inquiry into child sexual abuse has been told.

At the opening of a three-week hearing into Benedictine schools, lawyers representing scores of victims have called for fundamental changes to the way the church handles complaints and deals with suspected offenders.

Richard Scorer, of the law firm Slater and Gordon, who represents 27 core participants at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said the failure to make reporting suspected abuse a crime had allowed clerics to evade responsibility.

“A mandatory reporting law would have changed their behaviour,” Scorer told the hearing. “At Downside Abbey, abuse was discovered but not reported and abusers were left to free to abuse again and great harm was done to victims.

“The Catholic church purports to be a moral beacon for others around it yet these clerical sex abuse cases profoundly undermine it … Why has the temptation to cover up abuse been particularly acute in organisations forming part of the Roman Catholic church?”

David Enright, a solicitor at Howe and Co who represents more than a dozen former schoolboys from a Catholic Comboni missionary school – run by an order founded in Italy in the 1860s – said there were more than a million children attending Catholic-run educational institutions in the UK.

One former abuser at the Comboni school had not been punished but moved elsewhere after complaints and eventually became a Scouts commissioner in Uganda, Enright revealed. Removing the privileges of priestly confession would help change attitudes, he suggested.

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2 Years On, Hebda Speaks About Work Done, Work Left to Do in Archdiocese

SAINT PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS
KSTP-TV

November 26, 2017

By Bill Lunn

On a recent Sunday morning in Lakeville, parishioners at All Saints Catholic Church celebrated the church’s 140th anniversary with a special guest: Archbishop Bernard Hebda. At the event, Hebda charmed the congregation with his self-effacing humor.

“It was pretty obvious I was going to have to adjust the microphone after the deacon,” Hebda said, making fun of his shorter, rounder frame.

Hebda visits a new Church nearly every Sunday as part of his mission to reform the archdiocese. The Harvard-educated Hebda was chosen by the Vatican and installed as archbishop in 2016. He was tasked with healing wounds caused by the priest sex abuse scandal that forced the archdiocese into bankruptcy.

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Trial begins for Catholic archbishop accused of protecting pedophile priest

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

November 28, 2017

By Sam Buckingham-Jones

The most senior Catholic cleric in the world to be charged with concealing the child-sex-abuse offences of another priest will face a two-week hearing starting today.

In what is seen as a test case for the potential prosecution of others accused of not disclosing such crimes, the Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Edward Wilson, faces up to two years in jail if convicted of “concealing a serious indictable offence”.

It is alleged the 67-year-old had information he knew or believed about Hunter Valley priest James Fletcher that he failed to pass on to investigating police between April 22, 2004, when Fletcher was charged with child sex offences, and July 7, 2006, when Fletcher died in jail. Prosecutors say Archbishop Wilson, a former president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, knew Fletcher had abused a 10-year-old boy in 1971 but failed to notify police. He has denied the allegation.

Since he was charged in March 2015, Archbishop Wilson has made three attempts to have the charge against him dismissed or permanently stayed. In February last year, a magistrate refused to quash the allegations. Then in the NSW Supreme Court, Archbishop Wilson’s lawyers argued the evidence gathered by police was capable of establishing only that he had received the allegations — there was no evidence the Archbishop believed them, meaning he did not have the legal responsibility to report them to police.

Judge Monika Schmidt rejected that argument, saying she was “satisfied that the inferences capable of being drawn from all of that evidence, if accepted, include that the archbishop held the alleged belief.”

NSW Court of Appeal judges John Basten, Tony Meagher, and Chief Justice Tom Bathurst dismissed Archbishop Wilson’s attempt to challenge Justice Schmidt’s decision in June.

“I agree with the primary judge’s conclusion that the predicate offence which it is alleged Father Fletcher had committed was at all relevant times between 2004 and 2006 a ‘serious indictable offence’ for the purposes of the Crimes Act,” Justice Meagher wrote.

Archbishop Wilson initially stood aside in March 2015 but resumed his role early last year as the legal battle continued. He will be represented by barrister Stephen Odgers SC and Adelaide firm Iles Selley, while the prosecution will be managed by the NSW Department of Public Prosecutions.

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Ruling delayed on custody conditions for ex-priest Daniel McCormack

CHICAGO
Chicago Sun Times

November 25, 2017

By Andy Grimm

A former Chicago priest convicted of molesting children will have to wait a little longer to see if he will be locked down indefinitely at a state facility for sex offenders.

The fate of Daniel McCormack was to be decided Monday. But Friday evening, the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said a decision has been delayed, though Monday’s hearing will go on. At that hearing, a new date for ruling on McCormack’s fate will be set.

McCormack already has served out a five-year sentence for molesting five boys at his West Side parish more than a decade ago, and has been held at a state facility for sex offenders in Rushville while awaiting a ruling on whether he could be released. Judge Dennis Porter ruled in September that McCormack was a “sexually violent person” who was likely to molest children again if released, and is set to decide whether McCormack will stay at Rushville.

A three-day bench trial in September featured testimony from psychologists who split on whether McCormack was a threat to harm children again. Making his ruling then, Porter did not seem inclined to let McCormack out of Rushville.

“I have to say, Mr. McCormack, that every one of those dynamic risk factors pushes you up the scale” as a likely offender, Porter said in September. “I have no reasonable doubt that you will engage in future acts of sexual violence.”

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Allegations of sexual abuse at Granby school subject of class-action lawsuit

GRANBY (CANADA)
CTV Montreal

November 26, 2017

By Lindsay Richardson

A judge has authorized a class action lawsuit against the College Mont Sacre Coeur in Granby.

The suit alleges the sexual abuse and mistreatment of more than 70 students at the school, by priests, over a span of 70 years.

When the law firm initially filed the request for class action, more alleged victims stepped forward.

The number of suspects has grown from one priest to 11, and the firm is hoping that more victims will step forward in the coming weeks.

Lawyer Robert Kugler alleges the instances of abuse can be traced back to the school’s founding in 1932, and may have continued until 2008, when the Brothers of the Sacred Heart ceased managing it.

Constructed in the midst of the Great Depression, College Mont Sacre Coeur’s website boasts its intent, at the time, to be a “beacon of hope” for young boys and men looking to attend school and eventually join the clergy.

One of the victims, a man in his 50’s, endured sexual abuse on more than 300 occasions by a man working as a dormitory supervisor.

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No admission: Inside story on Salvation Army sex abuse settlement

AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Morning Herald

November 26, 2017

By Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie

When Merrin Wake first met a legally-trained senior Salvation Army leader and the church’s lawyer to report her alleged childhood sexual abuse by five men within the church, she went away feeling like she had not been believed.

Months later, after several more meetings in the Collins Street office of the Salvation Army’s law firm, Ms Wake settled her case with a substantial out-of-court payment.

But the deed of release prepared by the Salvation Army’s law firm made it clear the church was making no admissions by settling.

For Ms Wake, there would be no official acknowledgement of whether the Salvation Army accepted her allegations that from the age of three until her early teens she encountered abuse ranging from inappropriate touching to rape.

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‘We have a serious problem’: Baptist Church apologises to domestic violence victims

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

November 27, 2017

By Hayley Gleeson

The national body of the Baptist Church in Australia has formally apologised to victims of domestic violence who it says have been let down by churches’ “ignorance” and “failure” to care for abused congregants.

As women begin to publicly tell their stories of domestic abuse for the first time, Baptist leaders have called for recognition “that we have a serious problem with domestic and sexual violence in churches”, and momentum is growing for significant cultural change across Australian denominations.

On Monday, Common Grace, a group of 35,000 Australian Christians from different denominations, published an educational resource, called Safer, calling on the church to “collectively and loudly cry ‘no more'”.

In it they write: “In recent years, the Australian media has shone a spotlight on violence within the home. Communities have rallied to the cause.

“But many church members have not yet been able to wrestle with the idea that they are likely to have victims — and abusers — sitting next to them in Sunday services.”

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North Yorkshire Police gives evidence to church child sex abuse inquiry

ENGLAND
The Yorkshire Post

November 27, 2017

By Ben Barnett

North Yorkshire Police is due to give evidence to an independent inquiry into allegations of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, which starts today.

The inquiry’s first public hearings are being held in London and will continue until December 15.

The inquiry seeks to assess how institutions and organisations in England and Wales have taken seriously their responsibility to protect children and the first case study will examine the English Benedictine Congregation which has been the subject of numerous allegations of child sexual abuse, including at schools run by the Congregation.

The hearings will examine the relationship between orders such as the Benedictines and the Catholic Church in England and Wales and consider how that relationship impacts on child protection.

It will also evaluate whether any failings identified within the English Benedictine Congregation, and within any other case studies identified as part of the investigation, are representative of wider failings within the Catholic Church.

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The American Dream’s outcry against sexual violence

KENYA
Daily Nation

November 26, 2017

By Muthoni Thang’wa

In Summary
– Sex scandals, which involve inappropriate behaviour and sometimes sexual acts, are jumping out of every nook, crook and cranny in the glamorous world of entertainment and politics.
– Looking at the Kenyan situation, cases are reported across the board: Members of Parliament, priests, pastors, fathers, uncles, and jobless youth.
– In India, it was the case of Jyoti Singh, a medical student who died 13 days after a grievous attack in a bus.

Kenya recently celebrated the unprecedented entry of women governors onto the political scene.

Whereas this should have served as an indication that the world, and gender-assigned roles have changed dramatically, women still face numerous human rights challenges globally, as reported in the media.

There is a campaign going on, mainly in the United States, called #metoo. It involves women in various walks of life admitting that they have been raped or sexually harassed in the past.

In some ways, the reports paint a desperate situation in the way women are treated with regard to sexuality. Human rights advocates would have had the world believe that minorities and marginalised women in society are the most vulnerable in regard to sexual abuses.

The current campaign however, debunks this myth. Sex scandals, which involve inappropriate behaviour and sometimes sexual acts, are jumping out of every nook, crook and cranny in the glamorous world of entertainment and politics.

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Catholic officials threaten legal action against former altar boys over sexual misconduct allegations

ITALY
The Christian Times

November 27, 2017

By Jardine Malado

Catholic officials in Italy are threatening to file criminal defamation charges against former altar boys after they accused an older seminarian of sexually assaulting them while living in the Vatican.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that the accusations involve a former seminarian who is now serving as a priest in the diocese of Como and a member of the Don Folci association, which runs the St. Pius X preseminary in a palazzo just steps away from where Pope Francis lives.

An ex-student, identified only as “Marco,” claimed that the seminarian would come into his room at night demanding oral sex, beginning when was only 13 years old and continuing until he reached the age of 18.

In an interview with reporter Gaetano Pecoraro, Marco said that the seminarian was a year older than him and held a position of authority over other students.

Marco’s roommate, Kamil Jarzembowski, claimed to have witnessed dozens of such incidents and had complained about them to seminary officials, before bringing it to the attention of cardinals, and ultimately Pope Francis in 2014.

Church officials said that the claims have been proven to be false following internal church investigations, although the boys in question were initially not interviewed.

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Trial Starting for Ex-Priest, 84, for Woman’s 1960 Killing

EDINBURG (TX)
Associated Press via US News and World Report

November 26, 2017

An 84-year-old former Catholic priest goes on trial this week for the slaying of a South Texas teacher and ex-beauty queen 57 years ago.

An 84-year-old former Catholic priest goes on trial this week for the slaying of a South Texas teacher and ex-beauty queen 57 years ago.

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in Hidalgo County in the case of John Feit, who’s accused of the April 1960 beating and suffocation of 25-year-old Irene Garza. She was found dead in a canal five days after going to a McAllen church for confession.

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All eyes on county as decades-old case finally set for trial: National media coverage underscores interest in ‘60s murder case

McALLEN (TX)
The Monitor

November 25, 2017

By Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

Edinburg – The nearly 60-year saga in the death of a schoolteacher and beauty queen is expected to reach its conclusion by the end of the year as the former priest accused with her murder finally faces a jury.

This time around the hyper-local media coverage and focus will be accompanied by a national media presence, with outlets like CBS’ “48 Hours,” and CNN, expected to cover the trial gavel-to-gavel as jury selection begins tomorrow.

From the time the Hidalgo County District Attorney, who ran a campaign two years earlier in part on “getting justice” for the slain woman’s family, announced in February 2016 that a grand jury had declared there was enough evidence to charge former priest John Bernard Feit with the 1960 murder of Irene Garza, the media coverage of the decades-old case went into overdrive.

Such is expected as the beginning of Feit’s long-awaited trial is set to begin this week with jury selection and the beginning of opening arguments set for the end of the week.

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In Australia, Anglican Pastors’ Wives Are Speaking Out Against Spousal Abuse

ENGELWOOD (CO)
Patheos

November 25, 2017

By Sarabeth Caplin

Leaving an abusive spouse is never easy, but it’s especially difficult when your abuser is an Anglican priest and divorce (for any reason) is condemned by your congregation.

Anglican women in Australia are starting to speak up about the abuse they’ve endured at the hands of their priest husbands, the lack of support they have faced in their communities, and their struggles to rebuild their lives. One “safe space” to share their stories is in an online support group:

Jane is part of a private online support group of Anglican clergy wives in New South Wales who were abused by their husbands.

What stunned them when they first met for dinner were two things. First, how many of them there were, and how common and continuing this problem seemed to be.

Several had been part of Moore Theological College in Sydney — the training seminary of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney — when their husbands studied to be priests. All had mixed experiences with the church after disclosing their abuse: some clergy had supported them and pleaded their cases, while others ignored them.

All had disappointing or bruising experiences with a senior church leader when they asked for help.

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When Sexual Assault Victims Are Charged with Lying

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

November 24, 2017

By Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller

The women accusing the Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct have faced doubt and derision. Other women, who have alleged sexual assault or harassment by powerful men in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and elsewhere, have become targets for online abuse or had their careers threatened. Harvey Weinstein went so far as to hire ex-Mossad operatives to investigate the personal history of the actress Rose McGowan, to discourage her from publicly accusing him of rape.

There are many reasons for women to think twice about reporting sexual assault. But one potential consequence looms especially large: They may also be prosecuted.

This month, a retired police lieutenant in Memphis, Tenn., Cody Wilkerson, testified, as part of a lawsuit against the city, not only that police detectives sometimes neglected to investigate cases of sexual assault but also that he overheard the head of investigative services in the city’s police department say, on his first day in charge: “The first thing we need to do is start locking up more victims for false reporting.” It’s an alarming choice of priorities — and one that can backfire.

In 2015 we wrote an article for ProPublica and the Marshall Project about Marie, an 18-year-old who reported being raped in Lynnwood, Wash., by a man who broke into her apartment. (Marie is her middle name.) Police detectives treated small inconsistencies in her account — common among trauma victims — as major discrepancies. Instead of interviewing her as a victim, they interrogated her as a suspect. Under pressure, Marie eventually recanted — and was charged with false reporting, punishable by up to a year in jail. The court ordered her to pay $500 in court costs, get mental health counseling for her lying and go on supervised probation for one year. More than two years later, the police in Colorado arrested a serial rapist — and discovered a photograph proving he had raped Marie.

What happened to Marie seemed unthinkable. She was victimized twice — first raped, then prosecuted. But cases like hers can be found around the country. In 1997, a legally blind woman reported being raped at knife point in Madison, Wis. That same year, a pregnant 16-year-old reported being raped in New York City. In 2004, a 19-year-old reported being sexually assaulted at gunpoint in Cranberry Township, Pa.

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Former Archbishop of Canterbury could face police probe into whether he broke the law by covering up for a paedophile bishop

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

November 25, 2017

By Jonathan Petre

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, could face a police investigation into whether he broke the law by covering up for a paedophile bishop.

Officers are understood to be considering a formal inquiry to determine whether the former leader of the Church of England and other senior church officials should face criminal charges over their failure to pass on sex abuse complaints made against ex-bishop Peter Ball.

Such an investigation would be highly controversial and may involve 82-year-old Lord Carey being interviewed under caution.

Sources say police are collecting evidence and scrutinising a scathing Church of England report commissioned by the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

It concludes that senior church figures ‘colluded’ to protect Ball and says the decision by Lambeth Palace not to pass the complaints to police ‘must give rise to a perception of deliberate concealment’.

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Court denies appeal of former high school priest in prison for sex abuse

ANN ARBOR (MI)
MLive

November 25, 2017

By Danielle Salisbury

Jackson MI – A former Lumen Christ High School priest and convicted child predator contends charges brought against him in 2015 were barred by the statute of limitations and should have been dismissed.

The Court of Appeals in November rejected this and other arguments, assuring James Rapp, barring a successful higher court appeal, will continue serving 20 to 40 years in prison for first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Rapp, now 77, was accused of molesting boys from Aug. 1, 1981 to Feb. 28, 1986 while he worked at the high school, serving as a teacher, maintenance supervisor and wrestling coach. He was not charged with any related offenses until decades later, in May 2015, which far exceeded the applicable six-year statute of limitations.

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Jury Process Begins in Ex-Priest’s Cold-Case Murder Trial

PASADENA (CA)
Courthouse News Service

November 15, 2017

By Erik De La Garza

[Note: See also 57 Years After Young Teacher’s Murder, Former Priest Faces Trial, by Erik De La Garza]

Edinburg TX – Hundreds of potential jurors streamed through a South Texas courthouse auditorium Tuesday for the trial of a former Catholic priest charged with the 1960 murder of a local beauty queen, his former parishioner.

It’s been a long, slow road to trial for 84-year-old John Feit, whose cold-case murder trial has been delayed at least twice this year.

Feit emerged as the prime suspect in the Easter weekend rape and murder of McAllen schoolteacher Irene Garza in 1960, but was not charged until 56 years later, when a new district attorney launched a fresh investigation.

Feit’s attorneys on Monday asked Hidalgo County Judge Luis Singleterry to exclude Garza’s autopsy from trial because the two medical examiners who conducted it are not among the two dozen witnesses state prosecutors will call to testify.

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Vatican investigating abuse at pre-seminary

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

November 20, 2017

By Cindy Wooden

The Vatican announced it had launched a new investigation into reports about sexual abuse in a pre-seminary for young adolescents run by the Diocese of Como, Italy, but located inside the Vatican.

Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, issued a statement Nov. 18 saying that beginning in 2013 when “some reports, anonymous and not,” were made, staff of the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary and the bishop of Como both conducted investigations.

“Adequate confirmation was not found” regarding the allegations, which involved students and not staff. Some of the students already had left the pre-seminary when the first investigations were carried out, the statement said.

However, “in consideration of new elements that recently emerged, a new investigation is underway to shed full light on what really happened,” the statement said.

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Priest accused of sex abuse in UK also served in Cork

CORK (IRELAND)
The Examiner

November 25, 2017

By Noel Baker

A deceased priest who served for many years in Cork has been named as an alleged child sex abuser in the UK.

It is alleged that Fr Thomas Heley abused young boys in the Catholic parish of Ss Alban and Stephen in Hertfordshire in the late 1970s. The Irish Examiner has since been made aware of allegations of abuse against Fr Heley while he was in Cork, made not long before he moved to the UK.

A member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Fr Heley worked in Cork through the 50s and into the 70s. Last weekend the parish in St Albans published a notice on its website which stated: “we have received historic allegations, dating back several decades, that one of our priests based here in St Alban sexually abused some young people”. The notice did not name the priest but said the person against whom the allegations had been made had died several years ago and both the Hertfordshire Police and the Archdiocese had been informed of the allegations.

On Thursday the Herts Advertiser newspaper named Fr Thomas Heley as the alleged abuser, quoting one unnamed victim: “I feel I have not been able to lead the life that I could have had, which deeply saddens me and my family”. The mother of another victim was also quoted.

A Hertfordshire Police spokesperson confirmed it had received a third party report of alleged abuse. However, it said that since the suspect was deceased “there are no lawful lines of enquiry that we can pursue”.

In response to detailed questions from this paper, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart confirmed that it had received allegations relating to Fr Heley’s time in the UK but did not respond to questions as to whether any allegations had ever been lodged with respect to his time serving in Cork.

The Irish Examiner has since been made aware of at least one case involving two boys and in which it is claimed the MSC was contacted about the allegations at the time by a parent.

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New stance needed on sex abuse within IRA

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times

November 25 2017

By Liam Fay

Sinn Féin defended the covering up of rape claims; its new leaders must prove they are not guilty of double standards

Contrary to what many evidently believe, there is no guarantee that the international scandal about sexual abuse and harassment will result in lasting social change. The outing of abusers is a big leap forward — but advances are often followed by reversals.

In the worst scenario, the predicted shift in attitudes will turn out to be nothing more than a blip. If you want an illustration of the speed and ease with which this can happen, look no further than Sinn Féin, a party that closed ranks when confronted with uncomfortable truths about its recent past.

Only three years ago, Sinn Féin was at the centre of a storm over allegations of a systematic cover-up of sex crimes within what’s known as the republican family. Courageous survivors came forward with sickening accounts of child rape and molestation.

Many of the most heinous acts were perpetrated by IRA members, powerful and feared individuals who behaved as though a licence for sexual rampage was a perk of the job. The public was also presented with a woefully inadequate response by a republican leadership more committed to avoiding bad publicity than protecting children.

Today, many of Sinn Féin’s top brass behave as though the revelations of a few years ago never took place. The party’s representatives are particularly aggressive in their apparent determination to shoot down any public mention of the concerted suppression of sex crime allegations by republican leaders. Whenever a political opponent dares to raise the subject, Sinn Féin’s reaction ranges from merely belligerent to the downright hysterical.

Sexual abuse seems to have been rife within the republican movement for decades. Sexual abuse is, of course, a corrupting feature of life in all sectors of society but the trauma inflicted on victims was greatly exacerbated by the peculiar circumstances of the Troubles. Engagement of any kind with the RUC was forcefully discouraged within nationalist areas so sex crimes were seldom reported.

In keeping with the grotesque pretence that the IRA served as “protectors” of the Catholic community, the organisation’s commanders conducted their own investigations into abuse allegations. These “investigations” were actually exercises in concealment. Offenders were moved around or told to lie low. Survivors were intimidated into silence. Gerry Adams, who became Sinn Féin president in 1983, was familiar with the way things were. His late father, Gerry Adams Sr, subjected family members to emotional, physical and sexual abuse over many years.

The elder Adams had been a revered figure in republican circles since the 1940s. He died in 2003 and was buried with the IRA’s version of full military honours, including a coffin draped in the tricolour. Gerry Adams did not speak publicly about the abuse until 2009, when the media revealed that his brother was facing allegations. Liam Adams is serving a 16-year sentence for sexually assaulting his daughter Aine who waived her right to anonymity. The abuse was carried out between 1977 and 1983 when Aine was aged between four and nine.

We learnt a great deal more about the attitude of senior Sinn Féiners to sexual abuse in 2014 when Máiría Cahill went public on the BBC’s Spotlight programme. Ms Cahill, a member of a well-known republican family, told how she had been repeatedly raped during her teens by an IRA man. She also revealed details of the IRA’s investigation and the kangaroo court she was forced to attend, along with the rapist.

Ms Cahill was extremely critical of Gerry Adams’s handling of her allegations. She recalled meetings with the Sinn Féin president at which, she said, he gave her assurances that he subsequently failed to honour.

Mr Adams denied any suggestion that he conspired in a cover-up. Prominent Sinn Féin members, from north and south, queued up to express support for his position. “I believe Gerry,” they chanted, in disconcerting harmony.

The closing weeks of 2014 were a torrid time for the party, as pressure mounted over what its leaders knew. Mr Adams was accused of failing to provide to the authorities information about abusers. In response, he supplied a list naming 27 alleged sex offenders to the gardaí. By way of explaining how the list had come into his possession, he said it had been posted through the letterbox of his Belfast home by an anonymous caller.

Last weekend, at the Sinn Féin ard fheis, Mr Adams announced that he would not be contesting the next general election and would step down as party president early next year.

He did so with a jubilant speech which presented a typically sanitised account of the IRA’s role in the Northern Ireland conflict. The abuse scandals weren’t mentioned. Somewhat more surprising was the absence of any reference to these episodes in the ensuing TV and radio analysis of Mr Adams’s life and career. Already, it seems, the IRA and its abuse scandals have been reduced to a footnote.

Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin’s deputy leader, is almost certain to become his successor. She has none of the baggage associated with armed republicanism and, for many, represents a clean break with the dark past embodied by Mr Adams. But, in order to fully vindicate this billing, she will have to distance herself from the toxic attitudes to sexual abuse that were also a trademark of former times.

Ms McDonald has made it clear that she does not condone the IRA’s involvement in kangaroo courts — but, at the height of the controversy over Ms Cahill’s allegations, she sought to justify the republican leadership’s behaviour on the grounds that it was operating in a divided society, without access to what she called “non-political policing”. Ms McDonald’s willingness to make such allowances stands in stark contrast to her trenchant and remorseless denunciations of others who have sought to play down or cover up sex crimes.

All of this leaves her vulnerable to accusations of double standards, especially in the current climate. It also demonstrates the extent to which, even with a new leader, Sinn Féin’s dark past will continue to cast a long shadow.

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Ottawa-based priest suspended after being named in sex-abuse lawsuit

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
Canadian Press, carried in the Toronto Star

November 23, 2017

By Sidhartha Banerjee

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of students who were allegedly abused while attending a Catholic boarding school in Quebec.

An Ottawa-based priest has been suspended after being named in a $2-million sex-abuse lawsuit filed on behalf of students who attended a Catholic boarding school in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

The motion seeking permission for the class action to proceed was filed on behalf of those who were allegedly abused while attending Collège Servite, a school in Ayer’s Cliff that was previously run by members of the Servite Order.

The application still requires the authorization of a judge in Sherbrooke, Que.

The lead plaintiff in the case, an unnamed 57-year-old man identified in court documents as X, accuses Father Jacques Desgrandchamps of abusing him between 1973 and 1975.

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Priest jailed for sexual abuse campaign on boy will be allowed to appeal conviction

LIVERPOOL (ENGLAND)
Liverpool Echo

November 22, 2017

A priest who was jailed for 17 years after he was convicted of a campaign of sexual abuse of a teenage boy today won the first stage of his fight to clear his name.

Michael Higginbottom, 74, allegedly subjected the boy to repeated sex assaults while he was working as a teacher at a seminary in Lancashire in the 1970s.

The Catholic clergyman was accused of abusing the youngster in his living quarters at St Joseph’s College, in Upholland, near Skelmersdale.

He was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of eight serious sex crimes in April and jailed for 17 years.

But Higginbottom, of West Farm Road, Walker, Newcastle, continues to claim innocence and was today granted the right to an appeal by the UK’s top judge.

A Court of Appeal panel, led by lord chief justice, Lord Burnett, said Higginbottom has an “arguable” case that his convictions should be quashed.

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Caldey Island monk abuse scandal grows as more alleged victims come forward

CARDIFF (WALES)
Wales Online

November 23, 2017

Police are investigating further reports of sexual abuse by a monk and another man on Caldey Island more than 30 years ago.

There have been several reports about offences committed by Father Thaddeus Kotik on the island off the Pembrokeshire coast between 1977 and 1987.

Court documents seen by The Guardian say Kotik committed offences against the six girls between 1972 and1987.

The women have now launched civil proceedings against the Cistercian order, claiming personal injuries.

Dyfed Powys Police say they have now received two further reports of non-recent sexual abuse.

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Caldey abbot apologises over failure to report abuse allegations

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

November 23, 2017

The abbot of Caldey has said he is “truly sorry” that allegations of child sexual abuse made against a monk were not passed on to police.

Daniel van Santvoort acknowledged that allegations made against Fr Thaddeus Kotik should have been reported to authorities, and apologised for any harm caused to alleged victims.

The monk, who died in 1992, allegedly abused at least nine children during the 1970s and 80s. He was a member of the Trappist community that is situated on the island of Caldey, off the coast of southern Wales.

Abbot van Santvoort said in a statement on the island’s Facebook page that the community felt “great sadness and regret”.

“Any allegations of child abuse should be reported to the appropriate authorities and investigated,” he said. “This clearly did not happen and we apologise.”

“The claimed abuses took place between 1971 and 1987. At this time, the present Caldey Abbey community was not on the island, a fact which exacerbated the difficulties of the claims,” he added.

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Blackfriars Priory School to redesign ‘suggestive’ statue of saint and child after online ridicule

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
ABC News

November 22, 2017

By Daniel Keane

An Adelaide Catholic school has covered up a statue of a religious icon after it created a stir on social media because of its apparently unintended suggestiveness.

The statue was recently installed at Blackfriars Priory School in Prospect and depicts a 16th century saint handing a bread loaf to a child’s outstretched hand.

But, as numerous online commentators have pointed out, the effect is somewhat different.

In the past 12 years, at least two former Blackfriars teachers — Stephen John Stockdale-Hall and Ronald William Hopkins — have been jailed for sexually abusing students at the school.

On Wednesday the school said the design of its new statue looked fine on paper but acknowledged it could be interpreted in a more sinister way.

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Rock, papers, sniggers: Unfortunate saint statue makes headlines around the world

ADELAIDE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA)
The Advertiser

November 23, 2017

By Erin Jones

[Note: See also the Facebook post by Simon Cobiac, the school’s principal.]

It was made in Vietnam, pays homage to a Peruvian saint, and caused a storm in Adelaide.

Now the unfortunately “suggestive” statue of St Martin de Porres at Blackfriars Priory School is making headlines across the globe.

BBC News, The New York Post, Washington Post and The Guardian are among the international outlets to have picked up the story in The Advertiser this week.

Buzzfeed ran the headline: “This School Had To Get Rid Of A Statue Of A Saint Because … Just Take A Look”.

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Blackfriars Priory School principal explains how awkward covered statue was bungled

ADELAIDE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA)
The Advertiser

November 22, 2017

By Erin Jones

An Adelaide Catholic school has been forced to cover and cordon off a new religious statue after raising eyebrows because of its unfortunate design.

The statue of St Martin de Porres — not St Dominic as originally believed — was unveiled by Blackfriars Priory School, at Prospect, late last week.

The sculpture showed St Martin de Porres handing a young boy a loaf of bread, which appears to have emerged from his cloak.

But the sculpture’s unintentionally provocative design has had unforeseen consequences and created a flurry of activity on social media, prompting the school to take swift action.

The Advertiser understands the school was forced to cover the statue with a black cloth after students took photos of it on Friday and by this week, it had been cordoned off.

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#ChurchToo: abuse survivors speak out about harassment in their religious communities

WASHINGTON (DC)
Vox

November 22, 2017

By Tara Isabella Burton

The latest trending Twitter hashtag encourages Christians to come forward.

A woman who revealed her rape during a youth group prayer section, only to be asked if she’d repented.

Another who fled an abusive marriage, only to be told by her pastor to return home and “submit” to her husband’s will.

Another who, as a child, was told to “cover up” after a male classmate had been caught masturbating while looking at her.

Another who felt compelled to get an abortion lest her church community find out she’d been — in their eyes — impure.

These are just a few of the stories being told right now on Twitter using the hashtag #ChurchToo: a religious response to #MeToo: an outline outpouring of stories about sexual assault. Started by Twitter users Emily Joy, a spoken word poet and yoga teacher, and writer Hannah Paasch, the hashtag is designed as space for people who have suffered from the structural sexism they see as embedded in many church cultures to speak about their experiences.

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Islamic schools in Pakistan plagued by cases of sex abuse

KEHRORE PAKKA (PAKISTAN)
Associated Press via Washington Post

November 21, 2017

By Kathy Gannon

[Note: This article contains additional text, not included in the CBS version of the article, which Abuse Tracker posted on November 21, 2017.]

There are more than 22,000 registered madrassas or Islamic schools in Pakistan. The students they teach are often among the country’s poorest, who receive food and an education for free.

Many more madrassas — small two- or three-room seminaries in villages throughout Pakistan — are unregistered, opened by a graduate of another madrassa, often without any education other than a proficiency in the Quran. They operate without scrutiny, ignored by the authorities, say residents living nearby. Parveen’s son, for example, went to an unregistered madrassa.

Madrassas are funded by wealthy business people, religious political parties and even donors from other countries, such as Saudi Arabia. The teachings of the madrassas are guided by schools of Islamic thought, such as Shiite and Sunni.

However, unlike the Catholic Church, which has a clear hierarchy topped by the Vatican, there is no central religious authority that governs madrassas. There is also no central body that investigates or responds to allegations in religious schools.

“Basic responsibility, when something happens, is with the head of the madrassa,” says Mufti Mohammed Naeem, the head of the sprawling Jamia Binoria madrassa in the city of Karachi.

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Priest resigns after ‘historic complaint’ probe Monsignor Aidan Hamill Published

PORTADOWN (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Lurgan Mail

November 23, 2017

A top Lurgan priest has resigned from senior roles in the Diocese of Dromore after a probe into an ‘historic complaint’.

Bishop of Dromore, Most Reverend John McAreavey, revealed that Monsignor Aidan Hamill has resigned as Parish Priest of St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church.

Bishop McAreavey revealed the news in a statement read out at Masses in the parish last Sunday.

Monsignor Hamill had acted up in his capacity as Vicar General of the Diocese of Dromore as the administrator when Bishop McAreavey took a temporary break from his duties in 2012.

However this week Bishop McAreavey said: “An historical complaint was made against Monsignor Hamill, a priest of this diocese, in 2014. The Diocese of Dromore followed the National Child Safeguarding policies and procedures and the statutory authorities were informed.

“Monsignor Hamill voluntarily stepped down from active ministry pending the outcome of the investigation of the complaint. He cooperated fully with the investigations.

“The Church investigations have now concluded.

“Arising from the findings of those investigations, Monsignor Hamill has resigned as the Parish Priest of St Peter’s and St Paul’s, Lurgan and as Vicar General in the Diocese of Dromore.

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Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor apologizes, pleads guilty to criminal sexual conduct

ATLANTA (GA)
CNN

November 22, 2017

By Nicole Chavez and Eric Levenson

Larry Nassar, the former acclaimed USA Gymnastics team doctor, pleaded guilty Wednesday to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and admitted in a Michigan court to using his position to sexually abuse underage girls.

Three of the charges applied to victims under 13, and three applied to victims 13 to 15 years old. Other charges were dismissed or reduced as part of a plea agreement. All 125 victims who reported assaults to Michigan State Police will be allowed to give victim impact statements at Nassar’s sentencing in January, according to the plea deal.

* * *

“Make no mistake: This is an American tragedy,” said attorney John Manley.

He particularly slammed Michigan State University and its administration, which was told repeatedly about Nassar’s abuse and protected him, Manley said. He likened their approach to that of the Catholic Church during the abuse scandals, and he called for them to release an internal report investigating the allegations against Nassar.

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Presentation High grads allege school covered up sexual abuse

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Mercury News

November 22 and November 23, 2017

By Tatiana Sanchez

Two former Presentation High School students on Wednesday alleged the prestigious Catholic girls school covered up sexual abuse reports against a longtime teacher for more than three decades and said many other students were victims of abuse over the course of several years.

Kathryn Leehane, who wrote about the experience in an Oct. 20 Washington Post article, and Cheryl Hodgin Marshall, whose Presentation classmate was allegedly abused by the same teacher, said at a law office that school officials ignored multiple reports about the now-deceased teacher sexually abusing students since the 1980s in order to protect the school’s image.

“The school had numerous opportunities to deal with him,” said Leehane, who claimed the teacher groped her and showed her pictures of a naked woman.

Leehane said school administrators didn’t respond to her initial letter in 1993 reporting the abuse and that the school’s response to a second letter she sent made her feel as though she was being intimidated to retract her report.

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Archbishop’s new appointment draws concerns

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

November 24, 2017

By Haidee V. Eugenio

One of Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes’ latest appointments is drawing concern from a group of Catholics, which claims Msgr. David C. Quitugua’s alleged abuse of power as vicar general and judicial vicar under Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron makes him unworthy of holding any post in the chancery.

“(Quitugua) should be retired and removed from being a member of the clergy,” Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan said.

Byrnes appointed Quitugua to serve as associate judge for the Archdiocese of Agana effective Nov. 17.

An associate judge assists the church’s judicial vicar in deciding cases within the archdiocese. Quitugua was a judicial vicar for the archdiocese’s tribunal during Apuron’s time.

* * *

“Quitugua and Adrian Cristobal, the vicar general and chancellor, respectively, under Apuron, were key henchmen in trying to have the Neocatechumenal Way take over our Archdiocese for their own personal gain,” Sablan said. “They had no regard for their fellow clergy members who were not following the NCW.”

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Opinion: Putting truth into Truth and Reconciliation

KITCHENER (ONTARIO, CANADA)
The Record

November 23, 2017

By Peter Shawn Taylor

[Note: See the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report section on the death of Chanie Wenjack. See also The Lonely Death of Chanie Wenjack, by Ian Adams, Maclean’s, February 1, 1967.]

Fifty-one years ago, he was a young boy who came to a tragic end.

Today he’s a symbol for all that was wrong with this country’s treatment of Indigenous people.

So why is the story of Chanie Wenjack so full of imaginative fabrication?

At age nine, Chanie, from Ogoki Post in northern Ontario, was sent to live at the former Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora in 1963. He was often homesick and on Oct. 19, 1966, he ran away with two other boys. They stayed at the cabin of the other boys’ uncle before Chanie set out alone to walk home, unaware it was 600 kilometres away. His frozen body was found beside railway tracks. He was 12 years old.

These are the known facts, as explained at an inquest, in a 1967 Maclean’s article that launched a national conversation on the morality of residential schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report from 2015.

Taken on their own, these sources provide all the evidence necessary to argue against Canada’s residential school policy. Regardless of the intentions of governments and churches in removing native children from their homes — and the policy was intended to improve their lives — the results were often discreditable, ignoble and fatal.

Since 2016, however, new and salacious details have been added to the short life of Chanie Wenjack.

“Secret Path” is a picture book and music album authored by the late Gord Downie, frontman of the Tragically Hip. “Wenjack” is a novella by Joseph Boyden. There’s also a short Heritage Minute video by Historica Canada.

All three make the unsubstantiated claim that Chanie was sexually abused at Cecilia Jeffrey school. “Secret Path” and the Heritage Minute further appear to imply it was Roman Catholic priests who did the abusing.

Sexual abuse certainly did occur at residential schools in Canada, sometimes in Catholic-run schools.

But Cecilia Jeffrey was a Presbyterian residential school. It was run by a Cree/Saulteaux principal. And despite its name, it wasn’t even a school. Chanie and the rest of the Indigenous children attended public school in Kenora with other children from town. Cecilia Jeffrey was merely a dormitory.

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Cardinal George Pell’s legal team requests documents from ABC journalist Louise Milligan, book publisher

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
ABC News

November 23, 2017

By Karen Percy

Lawyers defending Cardinal George Pell on historical sexual offences have requested documents from ABC journalist Louise Milligan and Melbourne University Press relating to a book about the senior Catholic published last year.

The book written by Milligan called Cardinal: the Rise and Fall of George Pell was voluntarily removed from Victorian bookstores after Cardinal Pell was charged in July.

The request for documents was made during a hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today.

The 76-year-old is facing multiple charges of historical sexual offences involving multiple victims after an investigation by Victoria Police’s SANO Taskforce.

Cardinal Pell has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

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First the Catholics, now the Anglicans have a sex abuse scandal

BRISBANE (AUSTRALIA)
60 Starts at 60

November 23, 2017

[Note: This article links to two ABC articles: ‘Submit to your husbands’: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God and Anglican Church offers formal apology to victims of domestic violence.]

We’re still reeling from the revelations about rampant child abuse within the Catholic Church. Now the Anglican Church looks like it has a sex scandal of its own, as the ABC has revealed in an in-depth story about the abuse women are suffering at the hands of their priest husbands.

The women shared their stories of sexual and physical abuse with the ABC, with some claiming that the church had known for decades that some of its ministers were spouse abusers, but had done very little about it.

One victim told the ABC that she was married to an Anglican priest who would demand sex and if she objected, would wait until she fell asleep before raping her – an abusive pattern that went on for years, she said.

“I actually went to him one night and said, ‘I need a break from our sexual relationship, I need to work through my issues and we need to work on our marriage’. He said, ‘I’m here for you, you have my support’,” the unnamed woman told the ABC. “And then he proceeded to rape me.”

The victims told the broadcaster that their husbands cited passages in the Bible about submission to justify their behaviour. The verse often cited was Ephesians 5:22-24, which says: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands”.

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