Tidbits of Encouraging News
March 18, 2020
In this era of political, environmental and public health difficulties, we can all use some positive news!
–On Tuesday night, progressive challenger Marie Newman won her primary against longtime Illinois incumbent Representative Dan Lipinski. Marie is the founder of an anti-bullying nonprofit and signed on to lead a coalition of 70 anti-bullying groups working nationwide.
–Prosecutors in Pittsburgh are appealing a judge’s decision to vacate the conviction of Fr. Hugh Lang, who is accused of having assaulted a boy in 2001.
Judge Anthony Mariani had ruled earlier that the priest had been denied a fair trial because the previous judge had let prosecutors submit evidence that Fr. Lang had searched the internet for ‘defense attorney’ before the 2018 release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on allegations of clerical sex abuse.
Just to be clear, Judge Mariani had sentenced Fr. Lang to 9-24 months in jail, but is delaying implementation. Now, there’ll be a second trial.
In a situation like this, neither a re-filing or re-trial are guaranteed. Sometimes, a DA or his/her staff decide the case is too complex, the victim is too fragile, the law is not sufficiently clear or their resources are too limited. So they don’t continue seeking justice.
We at Horowitz Law applaud the Allegheny County prosecutors’ office and wish them well in this effort.
–A former Nittany Lions football player is suing Penn State charging that he was a victim of hazing and harassment in 2018, some of it sexually suggestive, by his teammates.
Why is this good news? Because many assume that once a scandal-ridden institution settles some abuse cases and promises some reforms, everything magically gets better.
We believe this new lawsuit will help shatter that dangerous illusion, and will remind the public that once an irresponsible culture is allowed to fester in a school or church or program, reversing that takes a long time and a concerted effort.
We wish the alleged victim, Isaiah Humphries from Sachese, Texas, well in his case.
–A new survey shows Pope Francis’ approval rating has slipped again, to 52.2%, down from 56.6% in November 2019. (It was 64.4% in 2018.)
The poll found that Francis received his least favorable results when it comes to addressing the clergy sex abuse scandals, according to Crux.
Why is that good news? Because it shows that the image of a once-almost-universally-beloved figure will suffer if he refuses to effectively tackle a child sexual abuse and cover up crisis. (We hope leaders of other institutions are paying attention and realize that the old, passive patterns of doing a poor job of protecting kids now carry real penalties.)
(Even among U.S. Catholics, his job approval is 74.6%, down from 78.1% in November 2019.
–Finally, even a bevy of smart, aggressive and expensive lawyers can’t keep Harvey Weinstein out of jail (he’s just been moved from Rikers’ to Fishkill) and yet another civil lawsuit against him was filed today. Both developments help keep others safe and bring relief to his victims.