Friday, June 29, 2012

Pick The Tendler!

Annie Gowen at the Washington Post has written a lucid and troubling article about a lawsuit filed in Arlington this week against Human Life International. The lawsuit alleges that Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, a Catholic priest and former president of HLI, sexually abused a woman who had turned to him for counseling—and that he did so under the guise of performing an exorcism. (According to diocesan officials, Euteneuer was not authorized to perform exorcisms.) The lawsuit does not name Euteneuer as a defendant, but instead seeks damages from HLI which, according to the woman’s attorneys, knew about and permitted the exorcism. Euteneuer stepped down from his position as president of HLI in 2010....

A point of comparison might be the now-infamous Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia physician who allegedly performed abortions under fraudulent and negligently unsafe conditions, prescribed painkillers illegally, restrained patients against their will, and is now charged with 8 counts of murder based on accusations that he killed babies delivered alive. Not that it’s worthwhile to compare the men’s actions—for how does one tally up and weigh reports which, if true, reveal such deep cruelty?—but rather the reactions. When is an ethical position undermined by abominable behavior of those who espouse it?


Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Earthly Power of a Philadelphia Jury

After months of testimony and deliberations the Philadelphia jurors who found Msgr. William Lynn guilty of child endangerment did more than any Vatican official has ever done to address the problem of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. This was made possible by the simple fact that the men and women of the jury confronted him as a peer, in a system that confers equal rights and responsibilities upon all.

Those who wonder why the Church has been unable to halt the rolling catastrophe of sexual abuse claims need only consider the difference between the American system of law and Catholic justice. Within the Church, ordained men are regarded a special creatures with extra-human powers. They alone conduct the sacraments, such as communion and reconciliation (confession) and they alone can ascend through the clerical ranks to become bishops, cardinals and popes. Their superior status culminates in the pope's claim of infallibility, which places certain of his statements on a par with the voice of God.

Inside the institutional Church, ordination opens the doors to a brotherhood of men who have officially forsworn sex, marriage and children, and embrace the Church as their main source of emotional, spiritual and even financial support. This sacrifice makes many feel entitled to special treatment, and while they may not always get it from laypeople they generally receive it from each other. To put it crudely: priests give priests a lot of breaks. This is why complaints about sexual abuse were so often covered-up and resolved by sending "father" to another post. None of the men in charge wanted to discipline a brother.

Beyond this brotherly privilege, the clerical culture is also a setting for a kind of mutual blackmail that has made the idea that the Church could police itself almost ridiculous on its face.

 As many insiders report, the number of priests who actually keep to their vows of celibacy is very small. The rest break their vows -- by having all different kinds of sex -- and typically confess and seek absolution from another member of the clergy. Under these conditions, everyone knows what everyone else is doing, and crimes are ignored or hidden by superiors who don't want to be exposed themselves.

Self preservation can impose a powerful influence on a bishop who has broken his own vows and must deal with complaints against a brother priest. Bishops are also affected by their duty to protect the Church from harm. Many actually swear a formal oath that requires them to keep secret anything that might dishonor the institution. They also pledge their loyalty, not to the people they are supposed to serve or to God, but to the pope. If all this reminds you of the loyalty pledges taken by army recruits, it may be because the Church is not just a religion but a state. The pope is the monarch who governs this state, and he is guided by a system of rules -- called canon law -- that is ill equipped to punish abusing priests. Indeed, the most severe punishment the Church can impose on an abusing cleric is to take away his priestly status, and this is rarely done.

In Monsignor Lynn's case, prosecutors presented evidence that he helped to move priests who had abused minors from parish to parish without informing the public of the danger these men posed to young people. His defense lawyer called Lynn "a yes man at the bottom of the totem pole ... holding the bag for the collective sins of an organization that allowed dozens of pedophiles to harm hundreds of children." Considering the evidence that Lynn's superiors set the policy he followed, this argument was probably factually correct. But it did not absolve him.

The jury's historic verdict marks the first time a higher Church official has been convicted a child endangerment for following procedures that were employed by dioceses across the country as they protected thousands of priest abusers. In exercising their early powers, 12 men and women have put ordained men on notice. They must now known that they are burdened by a duty, higher than any loyalty they feel for brother priests and more powerful than any pledge they make to the pope.

They bear a basic human obligation to protect and not endanger children. And if they fail, at least in America, they may be held accountable by laypeople who, while sitting in a jury box, are most definitely their peers.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Do Pedophile Clergy And Their Enablers Get What They Deserve?

Will the punishment ever fit the crime?

PHILADELPHIA -- Msgr. William J. Lynn, a former cardinal's aide, was found guilty Friday of endangering children, becoming the first senior official of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision.

In other parts of the American religious landscape:

 - A former Crawford County youth pastor was sentenced to 25 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to seven counts of first-degree sexual assault in Crawford County Circuit Court.

- NEW YORK -- Four men have been indicted for trying to bribe and threaten a victim into dropping a case against a rabbi accused of sexually molesting her in a close-knit Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.

- "Southern Baptists should heed this lesson from the Penn State scandal. Effective accountability systems require the involvement of outsiders for the sake of objectivity."

Sexual child abuse among the religious is now considered a pandemic: no longer can the term "pedophile priests" be used to quite the degree it has been. Studies have shown that the percentage of child molesters is just as high in Protestant denominations and Jewish Synagogues/Yeshivas.

 In the last five years, there have been more than 3000 reported cases of child abuse. Insurers to Protestant churches report at least 3-400 cases per year . And as far as pedophilia is concerned, a vow of celibacy has little to do with it. We have come to an age of finger-pointing and counter finger-pointing, with few answers as to the cause, and even fewer answers as to how it should be dealt with.

And the cover-ups ruined lives and muddled affairs for over four decades, with whistle blowers being portrayed as psychologically disturbed malcontents. Victims described years of continued abuse, horrific pressure to "forgive" their abusers and guilt. But as the abuse cases, the arrests, the trials, the settlements pile up, one question is still unanswered: is justice being served? The above-mentioned Monsignor Lynn will get a maximum of six years in prison for enabling pedophile priests under orders from an even higher-ranking prelate (now deceased). What will the four Hasidim get for threatening a victim?

Recently, prosperity preacher Creflo Dollar received a hand-slap and a paltry $5000 bail for allegedly choking his own daughter. "Bishop" Eddie Long's congregation forgave four lawsuits of sexual coercion, and two real estate/ponzi schemes.

The "REV/(RABBI)  Syndrome" and "Abuse of Forgiveness"

Amidst all the scandals and arrests, there lies the faint feeling that the the perpetrators and their enablers are treated with a lighter form of justice than others. Yes, there are the occasional strong penalties, but non-clerical pedophiles as a whole receive harsher sentences: the automatic respect given a member of the clergy extends to the clergy's personal life. What can be called the "REV Syndrome" (blind respect for any member of the clergy simply because they are clergy) takes affect immediately and the community at large tend to take a more lenient attitude. The "He's just human" meme seldom means that the offending cleric be chastised in the same manner as lay ("secular") person or non-congregant.

Another mitigating factor in leniency is what noted author Janet Heimlich* calls " The Abuse of Forgiveness " in which she describes the act of forcing child abuse victims to forgive their abuses. This abuse, however, also radiates out into the religious community. For example, Jimmy Swaggart's congregation seemed to forgive him, and while his direct congregation has decreased in number, he continues to broadcast to over 104 countries.

Coming To Terms With Justice

Monsignor Lynn's own lawyer told the jury that "in this trial, you have seen the dark side of the church."

But the "dark side" caused by blind respect, abuse of forgiveness and the righteous arrogance leading even whole denominations to refuse investigation, needs to be addressed along with pedophilia and enabling child abuse.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Men In Black

רדוף (2012) טריילר - A new self-exposing documentary on sexual abuse in a Hassidic Yeshiva



William Lynch dreamed for years about confronting the Jesuit priest he says molested him and his little brother more than 30 years ago during a camping trip. Now, Lynch prepares to go to trial on felony assault and elder abuse charges for attacking Lindner in the lobby of his retirement home.

LOS ANGELES — Opening statements were scheduled to begin Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of beating an aging Jesuit priest who he says molested him and his younger brother more than 35 years ago.

William Lynch has said the priest abused him and his brother during a camping trip in Northern California's Santa Cruz Mountains. Now 44, Lynch will get his longtime wish to face the Rev. Jerold Lindner in court for the first time.

Lynch faces felony charges of assault and elder abuse after prosecutors say he beat Lindner in 2010 in front of startled witnesses at a retirement home for priests.

In the months since his arrest, Lynch has refused to discuss a plea deal and has grown intent on using his own legal trouble to try Lindner in the court of public opinion in a potentially explosive proceeding likely to include testimony from Lynch, the priest and several more of his alleged victims.

The trial will take place in Santa Clara County Superior Court, where several other victims are expected to attend. Lynch faces up to four years in prison if convicted on all charges.

The judge overseeing the case recently ruled that Lynch's lawyer can ask the priest about Lynch's allegations during cross-examination. If Lindner denies the accusations, attorney Pat Harris can call up to three other witnesses who claim they were also molested by Lindner as children, including Lynch's younger brother.

The Lynches, who were 7 and 4 at the time, were raped in the woods and forced to have oral sex with each other while Lindner watched, according to a civil lawsuit. Lindner has been accused of abuse by nearly a dozen people, including his own sister and nieces and nephews, but was never criminally charged because the allegations were too old.

Lindner hung up Monday when The Associated Press called him for comment. He has previously denied abusing the Lynch boys and said in a deposition from the late 1990s that he didn't recall the siblings. The brothers settled with the Jesuits of the California Province for $625,000 in 1998.

'I'm prepared to take responsibility'

Getting Lindner into court — even as a victim — has helped Lynch find the peace of mind he's been searching for his whole life, he said.

"I don't want to go to jail but I've come to realize that this whole thing is really bigger than me and the way that I've chosen to handle this is to make a statement," Lynch told the AP. "I'm prepared to take responsibility for anything I've been involved in. I'm willing to do it. I think it's a small sacrifice to get Father Jerry into court."

Even if the molestation allegations are true, the judge's order only allows the defense to ask general questions about sexual abuse for the purpose of challenging Lindner's credibility as a witness. Other defense witnesses who allege abuse by the priest can't be questioned about specific details that could inflame the jury.

"What the jury needs to be deciding is did an assault take place? There might be sympathetic reasons for an assault, but yes, it's an assault," Gemetti said. "The victim is not squeaky clean but that doesn't change the fact that you can't take the law into your own hands."

It's unlikely testimony about Lynch's abuse allegations could tip the case in his favor — but not impossible, said Jody Armour, a professor at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law who specializes in criminal law and social justice issues.

Jurors will have to be reminded not to be swayed by their prejudices or by any sympathy they may feel for Lynch.

"These are some of the toughest cases in criminal law," Armour said. "Even though that jury will be told, 'Don't think about this, this is not evidence, it just goes to credibility,' how are people going to keep those two things separate in their mind?"

There have been several other instances of violence, sometimes fatal, against priests accused of abuse since the Roman Catholic clergy abuse scandal unfolded in 2002.

In Baltimore, a man who claimed he was sodomized and fondled by a priest a decade earlier shot the clergyman three times in 2002 after the priest told him to go away when he demanded an apology. The defendant was acquitted of attempted murder but served 18 months of home detention on a gun conviction.

The following year, priest John Geoghan was strangled in his cell by a fellow inmate who claimed he was chosen by God to kill pedophiles. Geoghan was serving a 9- to 10-year sentence for groping a boy and was at the center of the Boston clergy abuse scandal. He had been accused of molesting as many as 150 boys.

Police said they connected Lynch to the May 2010 attack using phone records. A half hour before the beating, a man identifying himself as "Eric" called the retirement home and said someone would arrive shortly to inform Lindner of a family member's death.

When Lindner showed up in the lobby, Lynch asked the 65-year-old priest if he recognized him. After the priest said he did not, Lynch began punching him, according to a police account. On a 911 tape, the assailant can be heard yelling, "Turn yourself in or I'll (expletive) come back and kill you," as a receptionist speaks to a dispatcher.

Lindner was able to drive himself to the hospital and has since recovered.

Lindner was removed from ministry and placed at the Los Gatos retirement home in 2001. He was named in two additional lawsuits for abuse between 1973 and 1985, according to the Archdiocese of  LosAngeles.

Those cases were included in the record $660 million settlement between the church and more than 550 plaintiffs in 2007.

Even if he is convicted, Lynch hopes that facing the priest in court will help him deal with the demons that he said have held him hostage for years. He has battled depression and alcoholism, attempted suicide and his marriage failed. "He still comes into my dreams now. He just took ownership of me in a way that's hard to get rid of and I have to learn how to live with him," Lynch said of the priest.

"My expectations are realistic, but I'm also coming into this for the first time sort of in control of my life."


Monday, June 25, 2012

Talk To Your Kids NOW! Always Call The Police!


 RADIO PLEAS FROM ADVOCATES TO CALL THE POLICE - CLICK: http://www.sfjny.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=67

Sandusky trial nightmares -- how to keep your kids safe from the abuse I experienced

by Michael Reagan

The trial of Jerry Sandusky evokes nightmares for millions of people—including me. The details of Sandusky's manipulation, intimidation, and vile acts are sickening and familiar. My own "Jerry Sandusky" was a day camp counselor who abused and terrorized me when I was in the third grade.

My parents were divorced, and I lived with my mom, actress Jane Wyman. After school, I attended a day camp program run by a man named Don Havlik. Like most molesters, Don had a natural rapport with kids and parents. He used his charm to steal what he wanted—the innocence of children.

Years later, I learned that he had raped many other children, and was even arrested and imprisoned for molestation. Once released, he moved to another state and opened another day camp for kids!

I tell the story in my book 'Twice Adopted' (B&H, 2004), so I won't go into detail here. But I want you to know there are people around you, closer than you realize, reliving nightmares as they listen to the Sandusky trial. If something this horrible can happen to the son of Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman, it can happen to anybody.

If you're a victim, I know the hell you're going through. For years, I blamed myself—(Don taught me to accept the blame for his crimes). It's not your fault. You can be healed—and the healing begins when you tell someone. It doesn't matter if you were abused 20 minutes ago or 20 years ago, stop that molester now. Don't let him hurt other kids.

My mother first learned about the molestation when I told her 35 years later. She blamed herself, but I told her not to. She had tried to put me in a safe place. Don Havlik seemed like a caring man—and Mom didn't know the warning signs. But you don't have to be in the dark, because I'm going to tell you, step-by-step, how to protect your child:

1. Be aware. Know who your kids are with at all times. Don't take anyone on trust. Most victims are molested by someone known to the child's parents. Abusers build trust and learn a child's vulnerabilities before initiating sexual contact. The abuser often calls the molestation a "game."

2. Be watchful. Look out for adults or teens who are overly attentive to your child. Make sure you know all you can about anyone who spends time with your children, including babysitters, neighbors, relatives, youth leaders, teachers, and coaches.

3. Talk to your children. Make sure they recognize inappropriate touching. Discuss these matters calmly but frankly, and repeat the discussion several times a year. Teach your kids not only to beware of strangers, but to run from relatives or neighbors who try to touch them the wrong way. (The molester often turns out to be "kindly old Uncle Charlie.")

4. No secrets! Teach your kids to never keep secrets from parents (molesters invariably swear kids to secrecy). Teach kids to say "No!" and to run and tell.

5. Play "What if—?" with your kids. Help them practice what you've taught them. Ask, "What if a grownup offers you money or presents if do something wrong?" Or, "What if a stranger says, 'Will you help me find my puppy?'" Make sure kids have an escape route for every scenario.

6. Have a family code word ready. Make sure kids know the code word. If a stranger says, "Your parents are hurt—get in my car, I'll take you to them," your kids should demand the code word. If the stranger doesn't know the code, kids should run to a safe place and call 911.

7. If you think your child was sexually abused, don't panic. Make sure your child feels loved and protected. Say, "You were right to tell me. I'm going to make sure this person won't hurt you again." Let the child talk about feelings in his or her own way, but don't interrogate. Remember that kids often lack vocabulary to express what happened.

8. Say, "I believe you." It takes courage for a child to speak up, because kids fear being disbelieved. Your child will more likely tell the truth if there is strong support from you.

9. Keep the offender away from the child. Help the child to feel everything will be okay.

10. Call the authorities. Law enforcement agencies have investigators trained to handle these situations. Don't call Child Protective Services—investigating crimes is not a CPS function. If the molester is a pastor or youth worker, don't call the church; if a teacher or coach, don't call school officials. Always call the police.

After you call the police, call the ChildHelp Hotline at 1-800-4ACHILD (1-800-422-4453). The ChildHelp counselor will listen, answer your questions, and direct you to support services. Even if your child has been abused, you can begin the healing process if you act now.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is a political consultant, founder and chairman of The Reagan Group, and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. He is the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). Visit his website at www.reagan.com


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Scum of the Earth!

PHILADELPHIA — A jury convicted Msgr. William J. Lynn of child endangerment Friday, finding that as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia secretary for clergy, he ignored credible warning signs about a priest who later sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy. The verdict, after a three-month trial, marked the first time since the clergy sex-abuse scandal erupted a decade ago that a Catholic Church supervisor has been found criminally liable for child-sex crimes by a priest. Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina immediately revoked Lynn’s bail, and deputy sheriffs escorted the white-haired monsignor to a holding cell. Lynn faces up to seven years in prison, and prosecutors vowed to seek a term near the maximum.

Friday, June 22, 2012

(AIG) Agudath Israel Gangsters - (AIG) American International Group - Wal*Mart


Black Friday - November 28, 2008

(AP) NEW YORK – Police were reviewing video from surveillance cameras in an attempt to identify who trampled to death a Wal*Mart worker after a crowd of post-Thanksgiving shoppers burst through the doors at a suburban store and knocked him down.
AIG spent US$440,000 on spa, resort after bailout, lawmakers say

Bloomberg News - Tuesday, October 07, 2008

American International Group Inc. spent US$440,000 on a conference at a California resort less than a week after an US$85-billion government takeover, lawmakers said.

The bill from the St. Regis resort in Monarch Beach included US$23,380 for spa services, according to Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Waxman led questioning Tuesday of former AIG chief executives Martin Sullivan and Robert Willumstad as Congress probes events that led to federal intervention.

"Average Americans are suffering economically," Mr. Waxman, a California Democrat, said in his opening statement. "Yet less than one week after the taxpayers rescued AIG, company executives could be found wining and dining at one of the most exclusive resorts in the nation."

The St. Regis, located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, is "devoted to the pursuit of service and elegance," according to its Web site. A "health and wellness" package costs US$600 a night, with a two-night minimum.

The St. Regis expense "seems very inappropriate," Mr. Willumstad told the committee. "I was totally unaware that there was any plan for any conference. Had I been aware of it I would have prevented it from happening."

AIG, once the world's largest insurer, disputed Mr. Waxman's characterization of the conference. Spokesman Nicholas Ashooh said the event had been scheduled a year earlier by AIG's American General life insurance subsidiary as a way to reward independent agents who sell the company's products.
Changing Of The Guard at Agudath Israel Keynote Session
November 24, 2008 - Sheraton Hotel - Stamford, Connecticut

A historic transition is planned for this coming Motzoei Shabbos, at Agudath Israel of America’s 86th national convention. The mantle of the organization’s lay leadership will then pass from one rightly celebrated and accomplished askan to another. It will be passing as well from dear friend to dear friend and from one confidant of Gedolei Yisroel to another.

Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, Agudath Israel’s executive vice president for the past decade – and faithful Agudah worker and executive for many decades prior – will be retiring from that post in January, and Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel will be assuming it.

Shreaton Hotel - Stamford Connecticut
After "trampling to death" the values of Torah Judaism - for the values of a new flat-screen TV at Wal*Mart (because they could) --- After bankrupting the morals of the Torah, everything that is right, and the way the world sees the Jews, The AIG from 42 Broadway - New York --- GO PARTY!...while masses of Orthodox Jews are left without honest leadership, hope, jobs or food.

The House That Sherer Built - never fails to hit a home-run, "behind" home-plate!

For decades --- this pitiful corrupt group of rabbi-gedolim wannabees - have plundered and trashed every Torah and moral value that defines the Jewish nation. Rachmonim, baishonim, people of the Book, highly ethical, people with an innate sense of caring, family oriented --- a God fearing, children loving, and moral people.

They "criminally" prevented and obstructed any and every piece of legislation that came to the floor of the New York State Assembly, to protect all children in religious schools. They cavorted with the Catholic scum-of-the earth hierarchy to protect child-rapists --- because it was not in their interests to provide transparency to the goings-on in any religious school; whether it be child-rape or massive financial fraud.

The cover-up of child-rape in our community is not new. From what I believe - the cover-up began some 45 years ago in Camp Agudah - under an ignorant bunch, rabbis Teitelbaum and Borchardt. These Agudists never stopped for a fresh breath of ethical air since!

If this were not enough --- Just a few months ago, they sent to Postville, Iowa - nicknamed the Rubashkin/OU junket, the executive vice president of Agudath Israel, Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, (along with 24 other criminal whiskered imbeciles) --- the protege of Sherer --- to negate and dispel any of the "rumors" of criminal activity and kashruth violations by Agriprocessors. Of course, this was sanctioned by the rabbis at the top (of the garbage heap)... the Moetzes Gedolei Torah!


So party on guys --- as the victims of kollel fever grows ever larger and creates more hungry children - as more Jews are left impoverished and homeless, and the number of rabbi-child-rapists - continue to crawl out from under Mattisyahu Salomon's rug --- PARTY ON! PARTY ON!

You criminals managed to survive thus far - only because your pathetic lies traveled throughout the Jewish communities by the speed of horse and buggy and camel caravan, 5 -10 miles per hour; the true Torah message of integrity and morality can now be transmitted by the speed of light --- 186,000 miles per second!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Four Arrested for Offering Teen Girl $500,000 to Drop Molestation Charge!

BROOKLYN — Four men were arrested Thursday morning for allegedly offering a $500,000 bribe to a sexually abused teenager to get her to drop charges against a popular Orthodox community counselor who is presently on trial in Brooklyn.

The four suspects — three of whom are brothers, sons of the Mishkoltz Rebbe — allegedly offered the hush money to the boyfriend of the victim, who accused Nechemya Weberman, 53, an unlicensed therapist, of molesting her.

She claimed Weberman had been abusing her for three years, starting when she was 12 and began receiving counseling from him. She is now 17.

Weberman’s arrest created a firestorm of controvery within the Orthodox community as factions took sides, with one group holding fundraisers for the accused — they raised more than $500,000 for his defense — while others vociferously protested the perceived attempt to protect a possible child abuser rather than his victim.

One of four men arrested for attempting to bribe a woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a community counselor in Brooklyn.

The two groups nearly came to blows during protests following a recent appearance by Weberman in a packed courtroom. His supporters insist he is incapable of a crime and accused the girl of lying. Her supporters stood firmly behind her and said she was being victimized twice.

According to sources, the four suspects reached out to the victim's 22-year-old boyfriend.

“They contacted the boyfriend because they thought they could get to her through him,” a source said.

The men, speaking in Yiddish to the boyfriend, offered to pay $500,000 and insisted that he, his girlfriend, Weberman and the community as a whole would be better off if she took the bribe and the case went away, sources said. They suggested she could even move to Israel and start a new life.

The defendants also allegedly threatened to ruin the boyfriend's business. He owns a Kosher restaurant, and they warned him they would rip down the sign on his store if his girlfriend did not go along with their plan. One afternoon, in fact, they allegedly tore down the sign to show they meant business.

The four suspects were rousted out of their homes around early Thursday morning, handcuffed and taken to the Brooklyn DA’s office on Jay Street shortly after 5 a.m.

They are scheduled to be arraigned later this afternoon, sources said.

Since 2009, DA Charles Hynes' office has arrested more than 100 sex offenders within the ultra-Orthodox community after launching an outreach program called “Voice of Justice,” or Kol Tzedeck in Hebrew, to get victims to come directly to his office with complaints.

The arrests again focus attention on suspected widespread intimidation of victims of pedophilia and sex assaults within the ultra-Orthodox community, which has a historical cultural ban on cooperating with authorities and insists victims bring their complaints only to local rabbis.

In the past, victims who went to police were subjected to harsh harassment, ostracized, kicked out of synagogues, thrown out of schools and even tossed out of their homes.

The DA recently created the joint task force with the NYPD's Special Victims Squad after Hynes was criticized for not doing more to crack down on victim intimidation within the community.

In a recent interview with “On The Inside,” Hynes said he hoped any future arrests for coercion or bribery would send a powerful message that might break the community’s traditional code of silence, known as “Messira,” a Hebrew epithet for "informant."

DNAinfo.com New York

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Domestic and Sex Offense Expert, on Nechemya Weberman and Ultra-Orthodox Jews' Reactions to Sex Abuse Allegations

Nechemia Weberman At His Fundraising Party
If you have been following the story of Nechemya Weberman, an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man accused of being a child molester, you might have thought that it sounds all too familiar.

Weberman, 53, had been working as an unlicensed therapist in the uber-insular community. One of his patients, a young girl who attended "sessions intended to promote her religious practice," accused him of sexually assaulting her beginning when she was 12, according to the New York Times. The community has rallied behind him, it seems, with thousands attending a fundraiser for his legal defense Wednesday evening and a mere hundred people protesting in defense of the victim, who has been lambasted as a "liar."

Rewind to May 2011. The Voice detailed a similar saga taking place in El Barrio: Juan Caceres, a prominent leader of the Mexican community, had been convicted of repeatedly raping his own daughter. Instead of rallying behind her, they publicly villified her.

The Voice wanted to get a better understanding of why this shaming takes place. So we reached out to Grace Perez. She has worked as a sex abuse and domestic violence victims advocate in the New York metropolitan area for some 30 years and organizes the annual Brides March. What did she say?

Village Voice: The Hasidic community's reaction seems a lot like other tight-knit communities' reactions to sex abuse allegations. What's the deal?

Grace Perez: Society does not want to accept that this is a reality. That this does happen. Because it's so difficult. We have been indoctrinated to think, to believe, that our leaders, our clergy -- especially members of the cloth especially -- are people who wouldn't do something like this, that a father wouldn't do that to his daughter. It's very difficult to comprehend, to allow ourselves to accept as a fact that this does happen. We've come a long way as a society, but we're still there -- in denial.

VV: Can communities circumvent this pattern?

Perez: There has to be continued education at many many levels from the media, to the community, to schools, to everywhere, to everyone. Not just about victimization, but also about the fact that this does happen. And just because this is a member of a community's church and again, a leader, this does not make this individual immune from these behaviors.

VV: Aside from education, what has to happen in communities for victim-blaming to stop?

Perez: People who are in leadership positions, in this case people such as rabbis, need to take a stand and publicly denounce the behavior. When you start hearing from folks in positions where the community will listen and respect what they're saying, when it's uniform, that's truly when education is happening and is most effective. Someone from this community has to come out publicly. It doesn't have to even be to the media, it could be within the congregation to say 'This is unacceptable, we have a system, we have to let the system go through this process but this is unacceptable clearly and publicly.' And if there is someone who is thinking that but has not publicly said it to his community, then they are condoning this shaming behavior.

VV: In your experience, what does it actually take for someone to step forward?

Perez: People don't take action until it hits home in some form, until it affects someone that they know. People don't want to deal with this. It's too horrible of a thing. They don't want to imagine a father doing this to their daughters, their sons. Rabbis, priests, people who you've been raised to blindly trust and respect -- people whose words are right next to the creators' -- they don't want to deal with the difficulty. It's easy to speak about the total stranger, but it's not easy to talk about it when it has to do with your significant other, with a member of your church, with your father or your mother.

VV: Are there any challenges this young woman will face specific to the Ultra-Orthodox community?

Perez: Yes. Dating and courtship traditions. That's a very big deal in the Hasidic community. She's not going to be a part of that.That's going to be devastating to her because she has been groomed all of her life to prepare for that, and no family, let alone a young man, is going to be interested in her.

VV: Explain.

Perez: It's everything. They'll think that she's tainted. And the controversy, just affiliating yourself with her: They're always going to shun her and her family. They will say: "What did she do for him to have done that? If she said that he did this to her, what will she say in the future about her spouse, about her family's spouse?' and so on and so on. Because, again, and especially in the Hasidic community, they are still a community living within a community that's isolated -- especially the women.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Children in Peril in New York! Jews of all backgrounds will be protesting outside of D.A. Hynes' office, at 350 Jay St. Brooklyn, NY 11201, on June 20th at 4pm!

It is now common knowledge in New York that there is a history of covering up child sex abuse, aiding pedophiles, and avoiding the criminal justice system in a number of private organizations, ranging from the Catholic Church, to the Orthodox Jewish community, to Syracuse University. No District Attorney should be permitted to ignore what is so obviously in his or her own backyard.

Another Infant Dies Due to a Risky Circumcision Practice, and More Needs to Be Done Regarding Child Sex Abuse:

Recently, the New York Daily News reported that another infant had died from herpes, likely contracted from a mohel who had performed oral suction following Orthodox Jewish ritual circumcision. Oral suction is the practice of “sealing” the circumcision by placing the penis in the mouth of the rabbi, who then suctions the blood from the wound, in a centuries-old tradition.

Oral suction is a controversial practice in the Jewish community, and has fallen out of favor with many in that community. In ancient times, the practice was thought to contribute to hygiene, but as it was learned that the practice could spread disease, it was mostly abandoned. Moreover, those Jewish people who do still practice oral suction typically employ a glass tube in the process, to avoid direct contact and disease transmission.

This is not the first death of its kind, but it should be the last. The City of New York has criticized the practice in the past, following other infant deaths that have resulted. (See the New York Times stories here and here.) But neither the city nor the state has yet instituted procedures to ensure that this never happens again.

Now, the Brooklyn District Attorney, Charles Hynes, has rightly opened an investigation into the infant’s death. It is up to him to apply the laws of the State of New York to these facts.

Unfortunately, however, Hynes has thus far been ineffective in deterring or halting child sex abuse in the Chasidim community—hardly a good sign when it comes to his likely future effectiveness in investigating and prosecuting the ritual circumcision death. Thus, there are those who are concerned that this death will go unpunished. It should not.

The Fact That the Dangerous Practice of Oral Suction Is Traditional, Provides No Legal Defense

Importantly, religious belief is no defense when one follows a ritual that is known to cause infants’ death. The practice of exposing an infant’s fresh surgical wound to the risk of herpes (or any other potentially lethal disease that is capable of being spread through contact with saliva) should be outlawed, if it is not adequately covered by the State of New York’s criminal and tort law. At a bare minimum, the New York state legislature must institute its own independent investigation into the practice, the related risks, and possible solutions—including the solution of outlawing the practice of oral suction if it cannot be performed safely.

There is also a role here for the Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman. The mohels who persist in this practice need to be subjected to the full extent of the criminal law. And this is the time to bring the law to bear, before more infants die an easily preventable death. Infants are not expendable resources that religious groups have a right to sacrifice to ancient or contemporary practices. They are persons who have a right to life.

As a Letter to the Editor in the Jewish Week noted, more than one adult is responsible for the death of the infant who recently passed away. The parents, too, may be culpable, if they knew the risks. The mohels only get their power through the willingness of parents to hand off their infant sons to the mohels’ care during the circumcision. This couple is in mourning, no doubt, but if they were aware of the risks and went forward anyway, they are also the authors of their own tragedy.

The city, the state, the religious organization, the mohel, and possibly the child’s parents as well, are responsible for this latest death. Right now, it is the District Attorney who has the power to wring some justice out of this latest outrage, by prosecuting the death on the infant’s behalf. However, he will do no good if he operates under the cloak of secrecy on this issue.

There are those who fear that if the mohel and parents are criminally prosecuted in this case, then the practice of oral suction will go underground, and no one outside the religious organization will know what is happening. However, if law enforcement is doing its job, that is an empty threat. The Mafia was underground, too, but that did not tie the hands of law enforcement. Let them go underground if they choose, knowing full well that what they are doing is criminal. Good luck to them, if the authorities do their jobs properly.

Meanwhile, the Upstate New York DAs Enter Into a Deal With the Albany Diocese Regarding the Reporting of Clergy Child Sex Abuse

Also in New York State, another serious threat to children—clergy child sex abuse—is under debate. And once again the DAs can and should be forging the path to child safety.

Recently, it was announced that a number of District Attorneys had entered into an agreement with the Albany Diocese to improve the reporting of child sex abuse to the authorities. (The D.A.s were P. David Soares, Albany; Paul Czajka, Columbia; Richard D. Northrup Jr., Delaware; Louisa K. Sirea, Fulton; Terry J. Wilhelm, Greene; John H. Crandall, Herkimer; James E. Conboy, Montgomery; John M. Muehl, Otsego; Richard J. McNally, Rensselaer; James A. Murphy, Saratoga; Robert M. Carney, Schenectady; James Sacket, Schoharie; Kathleen B. Hogan, Warren; and Kevin C. Kortright, Washington.)

Apparently, the Diocese had been following the long-established practice of determining for itself what allegations were “credible” before making a report to the authorities. As usual, the Albany Diocese was—like all religious organizations—ill-equipped to make such determinations . Thus, its approach resulted in underreporting, from the perspective of the prosecutors. Kudos to the DAs for taking a proactive approach in examining the Diocese’s reporting practices.

Philadelphia’s Model Should Be Instructive for New York

However, while the DAs’ actions represent progress, they are obviously not enough to ensure that New York’s children are safe. Fortunately, there is a model for deterring and reducing abuse within the Catholic Church: Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, it was the District Attorney, Lynne Abraham, who began to build the road to justice via a Grand Jury investigation of the cover-up of abuse in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The investigation then resulted in the 2005 Grand Jury Report.

Laudably, Abraham convened the grand jury even knowing that charges might or might not arise out of its proceedings. She was motivated to get to the bottom of the situation, which involved widespread child sex abuse within one private Philadelphia organization. Abraham’s example ought to be followed. How can any DA fail to follow the trail of such abuse and still claim to be serving the purposes for which he or she was elected?

The 2005 Report did not result in criminal charges, because the statutes of limitations had passed, and other laws in the state were not adequate. But the next District Attorney, Seth Williams, convened another grand jury and issued his own Report last spring.

This time, there were crimes to charge, for there was conduct that fell within the statutes of limitations. In addition, that investigation led to the first criminal trial against a higher-up, Monsignor William Lynn, for his role in the cover-up of abuse. That trial, which is taking place this month, would not have been possible without the groundwork set forth in the 2005 Report.

New York Urgently Needs to Address Its Child Sex Abuse Situation

It is now common knowledge in New York that there is a history of covering up child sex abuse, aiding pedophiles, and avoiding the criminal justice system in a number of private organizations, ranging from the Catholic Church, to the Orthodox Jewish community, to Syracuse University. No District Attorney should be permitted to ignore what is so obviously in his or her own backyard.

That point was brought home forcefully in Pennsylvania with the grand jury investigation and report that turned a spotlight on the multiple victims of Jerry Sandusky and Penn State’s actions to cover up his crimes. Federal prosecutors are now involved, and apparently are investigating whether there were payoffs to victims, through Penn State and/or Second Mile.

So where is the District Attorney’s investigation into the abuse in the New York Archdiocese headed up by Cardinal Timothy Dolan? The letter of agreement with the Albany Diocese is simply not enough. Those DAs need to step up, too.

There is no current investigation by the Syracuse DA, because the statute of limitations has expired, which is a mistake in my view.

A number in the prosecutors’ community also have now stated publicly that they back the Child Victims Act, which I discussed in this previous column. The Act will go far to protect New York’s children by increasing the statutes of limitations on child sex abuse, and creating a civil-suit window for all those survivors whose claims have expired. The DAs supporting the Act include: National District Attorneys Association; District Attorneys Association of the State of New York; Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares; Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman; Greene County District Attorney Terry J. Wilhelm; Oswego County District Attorney Donald H. Dodd; Otsego County District Attorney John M. Muehl; Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown; Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe; Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph G. Fazzary; Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota; Ulster County District Attorney D. Holley Carnright; Denis Dillon, former Nassau County District Attorney; Michael C. Green, former Monroe County District Attorney; Robert M. Morgenthau , former New York County District Attorney; Mathew J. Murphy, former Niagara County District Attorney; and Michael A. Acuri, former Oneida County District Attorney.

DAs are elected officials, so the grassroots movement to obtain statute of limitation reform also is important.

Prosecutors can protect children effectively if they pursue the initial, deep investigation into the problem—and then follow through, as Philadelphia has. They are the front lines of child protection, and they—along with every DA everywhere—should be the heroes that our children need and deserve.

Marci A. Hamilton is a professor of law at Cardozo School of Law, and the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children, which was just published in paperback with a new Preface. Her email address is Hamilton02@aol.com.


Jews of all backgrounds will be protesting outside of Hynes' office, at 350 Jay St. Brooklyn, NY 11201, on June 20th at 4pm, to DEMAND that the DA immediately and publicly object to the Rabbinical policy that abuse allegations are vetted by a Rabbi before being brought to the police, and that he apply the same standards of transparency and justice to Jewish abuse cases as are afforded to any other case in his district.

The District Attorney of Brooklyn, NY is the highest local government authority tasked with ensuring justice. Yet evidence is mounting regarding his alleged long history of cooperating with Rabbinical authorities to enable the cover up of child abuse in the Ultra Orthodox community.

As a result, molesters have remained free to victimize children at will. The protest is being organized by Zaakah (Zaakah.com), a grassroots organization that arose from the protest, "The Internet Is NOT The Problem", an event that drew over 300 protesters and was covered by the New York Times, NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the BBC and others.

Zaakah believes that press and communal attention is required to make changes within the ultra-Orthodox community with regard to child abuse. To that end they stage lawful and peaceful protests, as well as support victims when their cases come to court.

They seek tangible reform in the following areas: Rabbinical authorities unequivocally assert that ALL abuse allegations are brought directly to appropriate authorities; children and families are educated on abuse prevention and how to properly handle abuse incidents; all school, camp, and mikva employees and volunteers are fingerprinted and subjected to background checks.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Moral Dystopia!

EVERYONE is good, until we’re tested.  (Well, NOT really!)

Eight tortured young men offered searing testimony in Bellefonte, Pa., about being abused as children by Jerry Sandusky in the showers at Penn State, in the basement of his home and at hotels.

But the most haunting image in the case is that of a little boy who was never found, who was never even sought by Penn State officials.

In February 2001, McQueary was home one night watching the movie “Rudy,” about a runty football player who achieves his dream of playing at Notre Dame by the sheer force of his gutsy character. McQueary, a graduate assistant coach and former Penn State quarterback, was so inspired that he got up and went over to the locker room to get some tapes of prospective recruits.

There he ran smack into his own character test. The strapping 6-foot-4 redhead told the court he saw his revered boss and former coach reflected in the mirror: Sandusky, Joe Paterno’s right hand, was grinding against a little boy in the shower in an “extremely sexual” position, their wet bodies making “skin-on-skin slapping sounds.” He met their eyes, Sandusky’s blank, the boy’s startled.

“I’ve never been involved in anything remotely close to this,” the 37-year-old McQueary said. “You’re not sure what the heck to do, frankly.”

He was slugging back water from a paper cup, with the bristly air of a man who knows that many people wonder why he didn’t simply stop the rape and call the police instead of leaving to talk it over with his father and a family friend.

He said he felt too “shocked, flustered, frantic” to do anything, adding defensively: “It’s been well publicized that I didn’t stop it. I physically did not remove the young boy from the shower or punch Jerry out.”

He told Paterno the next morning and went along with the mild reining in of Sandusky, who continued his deviant ways.

Put on administrative leave, McQueary has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the school. (He was promoted to receivers coach and recruiting coordinator three years after the incident.) “Frankly,” he said, “I don’t think I did anything wrong to lose that job.”

It’s jarring because McQueary looks like central casting for the square-jawed hero who stumbles upon a crime in progress, rescues the child thrilled to hear the footsteps of a savior, and puts an end to the serial preying on disadvantaged kids by a man disguised as the patron saint of disadvantaged kids.

How could so many fine citizens of this college town ignore the obvious and protect a predator instead of protecting children going through the ultimate trauma: getting raped by a local celebrity offering to be their dream father figure? A Penn State police officer warned Sandusky in 1998 to stop showering with boys; Saint Jerry ignored him.

That accuser testified that at the Alamo Bowl, Dottie Sandusky, a good German, came into the hotel room while her husband was in the shower threatening to send the boy home if he would not perform oral sex. Jerry came out and she asked him, “What are you doing in there?” But she soon disappeared.

“She was kind of cold,” the young man recalled. “She wasn’t mean or hateful, nothing like that, just, they’re Jerry’s kids, like that.”

Another accuser, now 18, testified that he screamed when Sandusky raped him in the basement; though Dottie was upstairs, there was no response.

NBC’s Michael Isikoff reported on a secret file discovered in Penn State’s internal investigation, led by Louis Freeh, the former F.B.I. chief. Graham Spanier, a former university president, and Gary Schultz, a former vice president, debated whether they had a legal obligation to report the 2001 shower incident, and in one e-mail, agreed it would be “humane” to Sandusky not to inform social service agencies.

That revoltingly echoes the testimony in the trial of Msgr. William Lynn in Philadelphia, where the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua ordered the shredding of a list of 35 priests believed to be child molesters. Lynn testified that he followed Bevilacqua’s orders not to tell victims if others had accused the same priest of abuse, or to inform parishes of the true reason that perverted priests were removed and recirculated.

When a seminarian told Lynn in 1992 that he was raped all through high school by the monstrous Rev. Stanley Gana, Lynn conceded he let it fall “through the cracks.” He also admitted he “forgot” to tell the police investigating a preying priest that the diocese knew of at least eight more cases.

Yet Lynn claimed he did his “best” for victims.

Inundated by instantaneous information and gossip, do we simply know more about the seamy side? Do greater opportunities and higher stakes cause more instances of unethical behavior? Have our materialism, narcissism and cynicism about the institutions knitting society — schools, sports, religion, politics, banking — dulled our sense of right and wrong?

“Most Americans continue to think of their lives in moral terms; they want to live good lives,” said James Davison Hunter, a professor of religion, culture and social theory at the University of Virginia and the author of “The Death of Character.” “But they are more uncertain about what the nature of the good is. We know more, and as a consequence, we no longer trust the authority of traditional institutions who used to be carriers of moral ideals.

“We used to experience morality as imperatives. The consequences of not doing the right thing were not only social, but deeply emotional and psychological. We couldn’t bear to live with ourselves. Now we experience morality more as a choice that we can always change as circumstances call for it. We tend to personalize our ideals. And what you end up with is a nation of ethical free agents.

“We’ve moved from a culture of character to a culture of personality. The etymology of the word character is that it’s deeply etched, not changeable in all sorts of circumstances. We don’t want to think of ourselves as transgressive or bad, but we tend to personalize our understanding of the good.”

And as if we needed more evidence that perversity lurks everywhere, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been ordered to pay more than $20 million to a woman who was abused for two years, starting at age 9, by a congregation member in California. She had filed a lawsuit accusing the church of instructing elders to keep sex-abuse accusations quiet.

“There are so many ways to rationalize doing the easy thing. And it’s really easy for us to overlook how our inaction to step up and do even the simplest thing leads to profoundly destructive consequences in our society.”

I asked Cory Booker, the Newark mayor, why he ignored his security team and made a snap decision to run into a burning house to save his neighbor. He said his parents taught him to feel indebted to all the people who had sacrificed for his family.

 And he recoiled in law school at the idea that there was not always a legal obligation to help the vulnerable.

“We have to fight the dangerous streams in culture, the consumerism and narcissism and me-ism that erode the borders of our moral culture,” he said. “We can’t put shallow celebrity before core decency. We have to have a deeper faith in the human spirit.

As they say, he who has the heart to help has the right to complain.”


Sunday, June 17, 2012

'Why didn't the adults do more?'

PHILADELPHIA (AP) When the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State erupted last year, public anger was directed not only toward Jerry Sandusky, but toward the people around him who didn't report their suspicions to police.

In the months that followed, that anger led many states to re-examine and expand their so-called mandatory reporting laws that require people to report suspected abuse or face civil and criminal penalties. Some state laws apply to professionals like doctors and teachers, while others apply universally to all adults.

Child advocates and academics are divided, however, about whether increasing the number of mandatory reporters will make the public more vigilant, or simply overload an already stretched-thin child welfare system and siphon limited resources from children who need help most.

Forty-eight states require at least some professionals to immediately report knowledge or suspicion of child sexual abuse to some authority, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The list of professionals varies by state and can include teachers, school nurses, doctors, social workers, police, day care workers, coaches and camp counselors.

Of those states, 18 have laws that require mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse by all adults.

Many states have no specific sanctions for those who fail to comply with such laws, while others have penalties but they are not enforced unless a case is particularly heinous or deadly, said Teresa Huizar of the National Children's Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group.

''On the surface, (universal mandatory reporting) sounds like an outstanding idea,'' she said, ''but if you make something everybody's responsibility, it can end up becoming no one's responsibility.''

About 105 bills on the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect have been introduced in 2012 legislative sessions in 30 states and the District of Columbia, many of them directly in response to the Sandusky case. Legislation has since been enacted in 10 of those states, according to the latest NCSL tally updated Monday.

Oregon, West Virginia, Virginia and South Dakota are among states that expanded their list of professions that are mandatory reporters, while Indiana and Iowa are requiring schools to develop new policies and reporting procedures for responding to suspected child abuse.

Indiana, also in response to the Penn State scandal, passed legislation that requires the state to work with child sexual abuse experts to develop education materials, response policies and reporting procedures on child sexual abuse. A new Iowa law requires schools to implement policy for employees in contact with children to report suspected physical or sexual abuse.

Also as a direct result of the Sandusky case, Florida has passed what is now the toughest mandatory reporting legislation in the country: Failure to report suspected child abuse is a felony, and universities would be fined $1 million and stripped of state funding for two years if officials don't report child abuse. The law applies to everyone - from university coaching staff to elementary school teachers to students.

''Florida now has the toughest laws in the country for protecting children,'' said Lauren Book, who created a nonprofit foundation for child abuse victims and pushed for tougher sex offender laws with her father, lobbyist Ron Book.

She said the legislation compels individuals and institutions to speak up, the aim of which is to prevent what allegedly happened at Penn State from occurring in Florida.

''Mandatory reporting is a good thing but it's only a Band-Aid for a bigger issue,'' said Jim Hmurovich, president of Chicago-based child advocacy organization Prevent Child Abuse America. ''The right solution is we should ensure as adults that the abuse and neglect ever happens in the first place.''

Dozens of universities are implementing their own reporting requirements. Penn State itself has instituted a new policy requiring all employees to report suspected child abuse to state authorities, while the University of Arkansas requires university employees who suspect child abuse to first call the state's Child Abuse Hotline and campus police.

Hmurovich and Huizar said they support the idea of mandatory reporting laws, even if imperfect.

''When we don't prevent abuse and neglect from happening we spend $80 billion a year trying to remediate it with treatment,'' Hmurovich said.

New Jersey's child abuse hotline received as many as 750 calls a day in November after a grand jury indicted Sandusky, compared with 400 in the months before the scandal broke. In Pennsylvania, where about 2,300 reports of suspected child abuse are reported every week, there were more than 4,800 reports of suspected child abuse made statewide for weeks after Sandusky's indictment.

Massachusetts-based child advocacy group Stop It Now saw a 130 percent spike in calls during the first two weeks after the sexual abuse allegations at Penn State, services coordinator Jenny Coleman said.

Huizar said standardizing the current patchwork of requirements, agencies and procedures would make reporting abuse less intimidating and difficult - but perhaps more importantly, a national awareness campaign would be an invaluable step to reducing the societal stigma that makes victims and witnesses remain silent.

''In the same way we've taught people about the dangers of smoking, about using seat belts, about drinking and driving, when there's that kind of a commitment, you really see the dial move in the right direction,'' she said. ''Without that level of investment, you're not going to see that kind of result.''

Despite the uncertainty about whether legislation brings about better outcomes, Huizar said the Sandusky case has shown that there have been encouraging changes when it comes to the way Americans view child abuse.

''The instantaneous and universal outrage ... really is different than what you would have had a decade ago,'' Huizar said. ''People were instantly saying, 'Why didn't the adults do more?' That assumption is an enormously positive change in our societal understanding of who has responsibility for reporting abuse. So we're learning.''

Online: State list of mandatory reporting bills: http://bit.ly/xmDo6r


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Texas Rancher Says He Killed a Man Who Was Trying to Sexually Assault His Daughter

A father who killed a man he claims sexually assaulted his 4-year-old daughter will now face the justice system. The Texas rancher told officials he heard his daughter screaming. He found her by a barn and said he saw a farm worker trying to sexually assault her.

Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon described the dad’s account of events, saying, “During the course of him trying to rescue his daughter, he struck the individual several times and the individual ended up dying.”

The sheriff said there is no evidence that has led investigators to doubt the rancher’s story, but it’s up to a grand jury to decide if he will be charged with a crime.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Humiliation, Shame and Fear....

On this first day of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial, the prosecutor, Joseph McGettigan, put the following words up on a screen: humiliation, shame and fear. Those are the reasons it almost always takes a long time for abused children to come forward, if they ever do, perhaps especially boys raped by older men.

As Richard B. Gartner said on our Op-Ed page on June 7: “Even in 2012, we are socialized to think that ‘real men’ should be resilient, and certainly not victims. For a man to acknowledge sexual victimhood, even to himself, is to say he is not really male.”

Mr. Sandusky’s trial will focus on alleged abuse that took place between 1994 and 2009. Lawyers have heard from at least one alleged Sandusky victim who can’t sue because he missed the statute of limitations cut off by nine months.

Pennsylvania actually has a relatively lenient age limit for filing child sex abuse charges—30 for civil cases and 50 for criminal cases. In New York, a victim only has five years after his or her 18th birthday to lodge a complaint. Turn 23, and the justice system shrugs.

The Times Magazine recently published a story on child sex abuse at the Horace Mann School in New York City. Most of the accused teachers are dead. But since the incidents took place in the 1970s and 1980s they would not be subject to criminal prosecution or civil suit anyway.

Statutes of limitation exist for sound reasons – after the passage of many years evidence can be hard to come by and memory isn’t always reliable. But we can’t treat child abuse exactly like other crimes. We can’t expect an 11-year-old boy to report what was done to him quickly, or even before he turns 23, especially if he has to reckon with a powerful institution—like Penn State, or the Roman Catholic Church—with an interest in covering up possible crimes.

A few states are revisiting deadlines for child sex abuse cases. We noted on the editorial page that Hawaii recently extended its statute of limitations on civil lawsuits. So did Delaware and California.

Reformers have introduced extension legislation in New York as well, but New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan is doing his utmost to ensure that it never becomes law. He said the measure unfairly targets the Catholic Church and would be “devastating for the life of the Church.” It seems the cardinal wants to protect the “life of the Church” while denying justice for children who were abused while under its protection.



Hold faith leaders accountable for abuses

During a 40-hour training program to qualify as a volunteer hot-line crisis advocate for sexual assault victims, I was told "rape was an unfinished murder." That statement resonated with me as I read the article "Philadelphia trial revives Catholic Church sex-abuse crisis." The article, about the trial of a priest charged with child endangerment, reported that since 1950, there have been "more than 16,000 (reported) victims" of child sexual abuse perpetrated by a faith leader. In this particular case, Roman Catholic faith leaders.

Sadly, statistics reveal that this kind of abuse of power is not limited to Roman Catholic leaders. Peruse the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests website or The Hope of Survivors website to see how pervasive clergy sexual abuse is. Furthermore, victims are often adult women, but news reports typically focus on child victims.

What would our political leaders do if more than 16,000 children had died from some other negligent behavior perpetrated by an adult? I am sure they would create laws to better protect children from an unnecessary death. Predatory faith leaders prey on the vulnerable: young and adult. The perpetrators need to be held accountable.

Thank you for keeping this issue in the forefront of news coverage; we cannot eradicate this social problem if it remains hidden.

Suzanne Cyr; Rye, N.H.

Hypocrisy of Catholic Church

I was fascinated by two pieces Friday featuring the Catholic Church, one article about the trial in Philadelphia of a priest charged with child endangerment, and the editorial on the contraception mandate ("Editorial: In contraception battle, both sides overreach").

The trial brought up the Catholic clergy's abuse of children and the church's misogynistic stand on birth control. A bunch of elderly, celibate men tell women not to use contraceptives, but they try to protect pedophile priests! I left the Catholic Church 50 years ago because of the hypocrisy. I have lost all respect for the Catholic clergy.

Further, neither birth control nor pedophilia is a religious issue! They don't deserve First Amendment protection. Contraception is a public health issue, and we should provide free birth control to all women who want it. Pedophile priests are criminals and should be defrocked and turned over to civil authorities. With all the hunger, poverty, war and overpopulation, the church should be concentrating on larger moral issues.

Bernice Durbin; Crossville, Tenn.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Orthodox NYC counselor on trial in sex abuse case

Posted at: 06/11/2012 3:06 AM

(AP) NEW YORK - The abuse went on for nearly three years before the schoolgirl told anyone that her spiritual adviser was molesting her while he was supposed to be mentoring her about her religion, authorities said.

But in Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, 53-year-old Nechemya Weberman has been embraced and defended as wrongly accused. The girl has been called a slut and a troublemaker, her family threatened and spat at on the street.

The rallying around Weberman, who goes on trial this month, and ostracizing of his accuser and her family reflects long-held beliefs in this insular community that problems should be dealt with from within and that elders have far more authority than the young. It also brought to light allegations that the district attorney was too cozy with powerful rabbis, a charge he vehemently denies.

"There are other people that claim misconduct and they can’t come out because they’re going to be re-victimized and ostracized by the community," said Judy Genut, a friend of the accuser’s family who counsels troubled girls.

Brooklyn is home to about 250,000 ultra-orthodox Jews, the largest community outside of Israel. Step onto a Williamsburg street and tall guys in skinny jeans and tattoos are mingling with a flush of men in dark coats and hats carrying prayer books and speaking Yiddish. The Hasidic Jews appear to outsiders as though they come from another time; embracing centuries-old traditions, they wear black clothes, tall hats, long beards and earlocks. Women wear long skirts and cover their heads after they marry.

They have their own ambulances and schools, called yeshivas, their own civilian police and rabbinical courts. Members are encouraged to first speak to a rabbi before going to secular authorities _ and as a result, cases rarely make it to outside law enforcement.

The topic has been studied and reported in the Jewish media for years and has recently made headlines in New York papers.

"They think that anyone who turns over anyone to the outside authorities is committing a transgression to the community at large," said Samuel Heilman, a professor of Jewish studies at Queens College.

The girl, now 17, was sent to Weberman at age 12 because she’d been asking theological questions and he had a reputation for helping people back on the spiritual path. He often counseled people, though he had no formal training. But during sessions, authorities say, he forced the girl to perform sex acts.

The girl started dressing immodestly, was deemed a troublemaker and removed from her school _ one Weberman was affiliated with _ and sent to another, family friends said. The allegations surfaced in 2011 when she told a guidance counselor there she’d been molested.

The Associated Press typically doesn’t identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault.

Weberman has pleaded not guilty, and articles in Hasidic newspapers have proclaimed his innocence and begged the community for support. More than 1,000 men showed up for a fundraiser aiming to raise $500,000 for his legal fees and, if he’s convicted and jailed, money for his family.

It’s very hard for the town to believe the things that he’s being accused of because he has a reputation of doing good and being good," Genut said.

George Farkas, Weberman’s lawyer, said his client isn’t guilty but is damned regardless because the allegations will taint his reputation.

The family has said they would’ve preferred to handle the allegations within the community. But when accusations are managed from the inside, victims are rarely believed and abusers aren’t punished _ in part because the word of an elder is respected over the word of a child, victims and advocates say.

Joel Engelman said he tried to work with yeshiva officials, finally confronting them at age 22 about a rabbi who abused him as a child. Engelman was given a lie detector test and encouraged to keep quiet about the allegations, and the rabbi was temporarily removed _ long enough for Engelman to turn 23, making him too old under state law to file a complaint.

"It’s that they don’t want to believe that the rabbis that they’ve been raised to respect could be so cruel and could be so criminal," said Engelman, now 26.

His mother, Pearl, herself an activist, said the community is overwhelmingly good and believes people must be educated about the crime to start standing up for the victims.

"I’m not an anarchist, I’m not a rebel," said the 64-year-old mother of seven. "I love this community, and I want to change it for the better and make it safer for children."

Outside law enforcement has also had a difficult time. Before 2009, only a handful of sex abuse cases were reported within the ultra-orthodox community. Then, District Attorney Charles Hynes created a program called Kol Tzedek (Voice of Justice) aimed at helping more victims come forward about abuse, an underreported crime everywhere.

Part of the deal, along with a designated hotline and counseling, is that prosecutors don’t actively publicize the names of accused abusers. The cases are still tried in open court, where the names are public.

Before Kol Tzedek, Hynes said, he struggled to mount a successful prosecution. "As soon as we would give the name of a defendant ... (rabbis and others) would engage this community in a relentless search for the victims," he said. "And they’re very, very good at identifying the victims. And then the victims would be intimidated and threatened, and the case would fall apart."

Since then, 100 of the total 5,389 cases in the borough have come from the ultra-orthodox community, the district attorney’s office said. Hynes also started a taskforce to combat intimidation attempts _ and has said rabbis have a duty to come forward if they have been told of abuse.

But victims’ rights advocates say Hynes has purposefully ignored some cases and hasn’t pushed as strongly for full prosecutions of others _ bowing to powerful rabbis in exchange for political support, a charge he strongly denies.

"He doesn’t take care of victims," said Nuchem Rosenberg, a rabbi who says he was ostracized for speaking out about abuse. "He takes care of those in power, so they can all keep power."

Genut said the accuser is ready to testify. Her family, though, is looking for a higher judgment than criminal court."They believe that God’s going to take revenge on him," she said. "They’re suffering a lot and they say one nice day God’s going to show us that he did stick up for us."


"The Good Guys Are Criminals & Sex Offenders"


Sunday, June 10, 2012

(ALL) Adults who fail to report it could face up to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine if convicted.

"So we decided to amend the law and create this new provision that said, 'Listen, if you see a kid being sexually abused, you have an absolute, ironclad responsibility to report that to the legal authorities immediately,'" he said.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A sexual abuse scandal that rocked Penn State University has resulted in new laws in Louisiana to penalize those who fail to report allegations of child sex abuse and protect those who do.

Three of the bills have been signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The Republican governor said he intends to sign the fourth.

One measure protects whistleblowers who report child sex abuse from employer retaliation, while two others penalize those who fail to report to law enforcement. A fourth adds certain classes of athletics coaches to the list of individuals required to notify authorities if they suspect child sex abuse.

Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, sponsor of two of the bills, said they would close an unintended loophole in Louisiana law that that didn't make it mandatory for all people to report child abuse if they see it.

"The concern I had was, after the Penn State scandal, there was a lot of allegations regarding individuals who may have had knowledge of the sexual abuse but never disclosed it," Morrell said.

Morrell said many of the employees who might have seen sexual abuse were afraid to report it for fear of losing their jobs, and one of his bills protects whistleblowers from being fired, suspended or demoted when they report allegations.

Last November, the sex abuse scandal involving football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky exploded at Penn State after he was initially charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period.

Among the allegations was a 2002 incident in which then-graduate student Mike McQueary claims he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a naked boy in a locker room shower. McQueary said he reported the incident to Sandusky's former boss, head football coach Joe Paterno, who then told the university's athletic director.

Pennsylvania's attorney general said despite state law, it was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agencies. Sandusky now faces 52 criminal counts. He has denied the allegations.

Under previous Louisiana law, child care providers, members of the clergy, mental health workers, elementary and secondary school teachers and others listed in the state children's code were required to report any abuse or neglect they encounter. But Morrell said if you're an average citizen and discover child abuse, the law did not force you to report it.

"So we decided to amend the law and create this new provision that said, 'Listen, if you see a kid being sexually abused, you have an absolute, ironclad responsibility to report that to the legal authorities immediately,'" he said.

Adults who fail to report it could face up to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine if convicted.

Judy Benitez, executive director of the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault, said she understands why lawmakers would want to respond to the Penn State scandal, but the issue is really about morals. Often, she said, when people witness child sex abuse, they perpetrator will be a family member, boss or partner.

"People fail to realize how overwhelming such a realization can be, besides the fact it's shocking to walk in on something like that. I think really what a lot of what's going on to change has already happened in terms of people discussing it," she said.

Her organization cites statistics from a 2000 national report by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention that says juveniles make up 71 percent of all sex crime victims. Benitez also says it's very hard to aggregate statistics on sexual assault because many victims don't report it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study in 2006 on childhood maltreatment and found that adverse childhood experiences were common; 20 percent of participants reported that they had been sexually abused as a child.

Additionally, the Obama administration updated the FBI's decades-old definition of rape in January to include men and children. Benitez says broadening the FBI's previously narrow definition will change the numbers dramatically.

Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, who sponsored the measure mandating that coaches report any signs of sexual abuse, said he found the facts surrounding the Pennsylvania case so offensive that he had to come up with a way to strengthen laws that protect children.

"That's where this piece of legislation really came from, it was a reaction to that and the desire to make sure that our laws were strong enough to protect our young people," he said. "I'm glad to see that coaches across the state are going to now understand that when they witness abuse, they need to report it."

Online: House Bills 166 and 577 and Senate Bills 4 and 158 can be found at http://www.legis.la.gov/