Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not Even Discussed In Private Rooms: Childhood Sexual Abuse and Abuse Survivors

There is a health crisis in this country (as well as worldwide) that adversely affects one-fifth of the US population. Consequences of this crisis manifest in a wide variety of serious disease conditions. Physically it can exhibit as cancer and/or as any number of equally severe mental illnesses. Socially the disease is, in a word, criminality. Costs are estimated at over $100 billion per year, or similar to the annual expense of the war in Afghanistan. Investment in its prevention is estimated at a nickel on every $100 in research, compared to $2 for cancer. (See Note 1)

Despite considerable attention drawn to this issue this past year — the Surgeon General termed it an “epidemic” well over a decade ago — the crisis was not discussed during the presidential campaign. It remains largely ignored by the Congress (though just prior to adjourning sine die an innocuous bill to evaluate child welfare systems was passed), was unaddressed by the Affordable Care Act, and has been ignored as well to date by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. “The leading journal of health policy thought and research,” Health Affairs, has never published on the topic.

The health crisis is child sexual abuse, which adversely affects the health status of 50 million survivors.

Beyond the Catholic Church’s continuing inability to address, or indifference to, abuse by thousands of priests over the past fifty years, this year we learned about the cover-up at Penn State. Added to the reality of Jerry Sandusky’s conviction on 45 counts of abuse between 1994 and 2009 is the worry that he may have been abusing boys since the 1970s. We learned of the multi-decade cover-up of abuse at the New York City’s private Horace Mann School. We also learned the Boy Scouts of America secretly held “perversion files” for nearly a century that record sexual abuse accusations against thousands of scout leaders. In October it was revealed a long-time BBC program host, Jerry Savile (now deceased), had engaged in widespread pedophilia involving an estimated 500 children over six decades including children in 14 hospitals and a children’s hospice.

What Can Be Done?

Improving reporting and data collection. Despite all this and more, the issue is not discussed in Washington. Unlike Australia’s recent decision to create a royal commission to examine childhood sexual abuse, there is no national dialogue in the United States. One way to start a dialogue would be to realize there is no accurate reporting and data collection concerning child abuse. Child Protective Services investigate a substantial number of maltreated children, but far from all, because of interagency disputes over definitions and jurisdiction. Reporting responsibility, and to whom, is also confused if and when professionals in community institutions — for example day care centers and schools — are involved.

Added to this are inadequacies in data collection. The Uniform Crime Reports does not provide sufficient details beyond arrests; the National Crime Victimization Survey does not measure crime against children younger than age 12. As for the National Incident Based Reporting System, not all law enforcement agencies and/or states participate.

 Beyond all this, keep in mind an estimated 90 percent of sexual abuses are never reported.

Strengthening research. Equally underwhelming is research to treat adult survivors of childhood abuse. Anyone familiar with the 1990s ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study is well aware of the long-term health impact of trauma over a person’s lifespan. Because of the prevalence of abuse, there have been calls over the years for the creation of a dedicated NIH Institute named, for example, the Institute of Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence. Notwithstanding, there is little systematic research in the dissociative disorders. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) or Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS) are some of the most severe mental disorders survivors suffer. These diagnoses are associated with high levels of impairment, high rates of treatment utilization and costs, and can affect as many as 20 percent of psychiatric hospital patients. (See Note 2) That these patients are understudied is explained in part by exclusion criteria used in PTSD treatment studies.

Studies are also lacking or undermined because the diagnosis and treatment of DID have been under attack over the past twenty years by the highly controversial False Memory Syndrome Foundation. FMSF has been successful despite the fact there is no peer-reviewed clinical literature concerning “false memory syndrome” and that the “syndrome” is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM-IV. Multiple Personality Disorder was recognized in the DMS-III in 1980 and renamed DID in the 1994 DMS-IV.

Bolstering legal protections for survivors. Thirdly, due in part to the fact psychiatric disability is the most stigmatizing of all disabilities (one poll by the National Organization on Disability showed only 19 percent of Americans are comfortable with people with mental illness), many adult survivors find it difficult if not possible to secure health benefits if and when their mental health disorder becomes known to their employer. Studies show workers with mental health conditions are half as likely to receive accommodations as those with other disabilities, even though accommodations for psychiatric disorders cost very little or nothing in contrast to technological or architectural changes required for other disabilities.

The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act required employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. Subsequent to the law’s passage, the intent of the legislation became narrowed or undermined through several court decisions. The Congress in 2008 again stepped in and enacted the ADA Amendments Act that reinstated or reaffirmed the broad scope of disability protections available under the ADA. Even with the renewed mandate, employees with a mental health diagnosis have a very difficult time being afforded reasonable accommodation, or worse, as numerous EEOC case filings show, lose their job (and of course their health benefits) when their diagnosis becomes known to their employer.

Where there is a dialogue or an effort to address the crisis is in the realm of window laws for survivors. In most states, abuse victims have a limited period of time, a statute of limitations, to file a civil claim against their predator. For example, in New York a victim would have five years after turning 18 to file for a first degree offense. Other states have recently liberalized these civil laws. For example, in Pennsylvania the age limit for filing child sex abuse cases is 30 for civil cases. Other states, California then Delaware and recently Hawaii, have also created windows of time for victims who had timed out from filing civil claims.

Some states like New Jersey are considering completely eliminating the time period. In New York, despite a fairly well-publicized effort to extend the statute of limitations, the proposal failed this past year. New York’s failure and the failures in other states have been due largely to efforts by the Catholic Church, as well as ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders. Though the church did support extending the statute to age 28 in New York, bishops claimed generally the legislation “targeted” the church and would undermine its ability to provide social services. Window legislation has also been proposed but defeated in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, and Washington, DC. (See Note 3)

Child abuse and its effects on survivors remains our largest public health crisis.

 Some say it may be the country’s last great civil rights issue. The ACE study mentioned above (and still ongoing) found survivors of childhood abuse suffer a long list of illnesses and disabilities. They include excessive rates of alcoholism, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression and other psychiatric disorders, heart and liver disease, illicit drug use, obesity, poor school/work performance, poverty, risky sex and suicide. However, possibly worst of all is the inter-generational transmission of childhood abuse. That there is no national dialogue about any of this is unconscionable. We ignore the crisis at our collective peril.


Note 1. Regarding the prevalence of sexual abuse see the CDC page. For costs see, for example, the work done by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. See “Mental Health, A Report of the Surgeon General.” (1999) For investment in research see for example F. W. Putnam, in The Cost of Child Maltreatment: Who Pays? K. Franey, et al., eds. (Family Violence and Sexual Assault Institute, San Diego) pgs. 185-198.

Note 2. B. L. Brand, et al. “A Naturalistic Study of Dissociative Identity Disorder and Dissociative Disorder Not Specified Patients Treated by Community Clinicians,” Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Policy and Practice,” (2012): 153-171.

Note 3. “The Children Deserve Justice“, editorial, The New York Times, June 16, 2012 and Laurie Goodstein and Erik Eckholm, “Church Battles Efforts to Ease Sex Abuse Suits,” The New York Times, June 14, 2012.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Silence common in child sex abuse cases

* Advocate pitches 'Erin's Law' on sex-abuse education.

* Erin Merryn says it's important for kids to know that it's OK to expose the abuse.

* Victim of childhood sexual abuse says other victims need to know it's OK to speak out.

* She wants schools to teach kids about sex abuse as they do drug abuse, tornado drills.

* Five states have passed versions of Erin's Law.

JACKSON, Miss. — A woman who was sexually abused as a child is on a 50-state mission to urge lawmakers to make education about child sex abuse part of schools' curriculum.

For 2½ years beginning at age 6, a neighbor raped Erin Merryn, now 27, of Schaumburg, Ill. A teenage cousin started molesting her when she was 11. Now, she's the force behind "Erin's Law" legislation, which her home state enacted earlier this month.

"I never had to run out of a burning building and I knew how to say no to drugs when I was approached in high school, but when two men were molesting and raping me I didn't know what to do so I stayed silent," Merryn said last week. "I don't want another child to face years of rape and abuse like I did. I want them to be able to have a voice and know to tell and not keep it a secret."

Her abusers threatened her if she told the secret — said that they would come get her, said that she would be destroying her family. She now says it is her life's mission to spread the word that it's important to tell and have legislation enacted in all 50 states.

Merryn is lobbying Mississippi lawmakers Monday and Tuesday.

Five states have passed Erin's Law — Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan and Missouri. And such legislation is pending in other states, including Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania, according to Merryn's website.

Mississippi Rep. Tom Miles, a Democrat from Forest, Miss., who has filed an Erin's Law bill in the state House said sexual abuse figures are staggering — 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys. Republican Sen. Nancy Collins of Tupelo, Miss., has filed companion legislation in the state Senate.

"This happens all the time and is often pushed under the rug," Miles said. "We believe bringing this law to Mississippi will not only educate the children what to do if this were to happen to them but let them know it is OK to speak out about it."


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nearly two dozen ultra-Orthodox Jews were arrested and charged after police uncovered a pedophile ring that targeted ultra-Orthodox Jewish children in Jerusalem

Court convicts leader of Jerusalem ultra-Orthodox Jewish pedophile ring

Nearly two dozen ultra-Orthodox Jews were arrested and charged after police uncovered a pedophile ring that targeted ultra-Orthodox Jewish children in Jerusalem.

Now, the Jerusalem District Court convicted the first man to stand trial among several defendants accused of sexually abusing children in the Nahlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem, a case police initially called the largest case of pedophilia in the state's history.

The court sentenced **, who was the first of the 18 men who were arrested in the case that came to light two years ago. Two other men are now on trial and 15 others were released in the case that sent shock waves through the neighborhood where many ultra-Orthodox Jews live.

The judges found the man guilty, but canceled his confession to police after they determined that it had been obtained through unfair psychological pressure. The man was acquitted of one of the counts in the indictment.

The three judges of the District Court determined that the man, whom they described as having an irregular personality with childhood issues, invited neighborhood children to his house and played with them that involved inappropriate touching and indecent acts. He also sodomized children with an object. He was also convicted of threatening children, telling them he was going to burn down their house if they told anyone about his actions.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Another Rotten Anti-Semite Judge!

Sentence in sex abuse of children case: *** Prison Forever!!! ***

Michael Louis McIntosh stood next to his attorney with his head down as Judge Howard Maltz told him Friday morning that he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

“The testimony that came out during trial revealed that your conduct was nothing short of despicable,” Maltz told him. “By your actions, you’ve sentenced the victims in this case to a life sentence of emotional turmoil that can’t be undone.

“Your conduct has demonstrated that you do not deserve to walk this earth as a free man. With my sentence today, I’m going to assure that that’s the case.”

In all, McIntosh, 32, of St. Augustine, received seven life sentences, three of which were to be served consecutively. He was found guilty Thursday of eight felony counts of sexual misconduct with children.

After the judge pronounced the sentences, McIntosh’s parents, siblings and other family members erupted into tears. The victims and their families also were crying, with one of the victims shaking as a relative consoled him.

The prosecution and the defense each brought forth witnesses to speak before the sentencing.

The two victims, who had testified Wednesday that McIntosh performed sexual acts on them when they were as young as 6 years old, spoke to the judge again Friday, each pausing several times throughout their statements, their voices warbling with emotion.

One victim told the judge that McIntosh had made death threats to warn against telling of the abuse. That victim said the conviction was a relief, adding that, “Now I can rest in peace. I feel free now.”

The St. Augustine Record does not publish the names of victims of sex crimes.

One victim’s grandmother also told the judge that she was disheartened that her grandchild’s religious faith had been shaken by the actions of the defendant, whom she said “will have to answer to God for what he did.”

When it came time for the defense witnesses to speak, Maltz listened as McIntosh’s closest family members — his father, brother, two sisters and a nephew — spoke lovingly of him, saying that the Michael McIntosh they knew was incapable of those crimes.

McIntosh’s father, Donald McIntosh, told the judge that his son, as well as his family, had been “truly hurt by the outcome of this trial.”

“We know in our hearts that our son is not the man portrayed in our judicial system,” Donald McIntosh said. “We can hug our son, and feel no shame.”

Michael McIntosh fought back tears for most of the proceeding, eventually breaking down during testimony by his elder brother, James McIntosh, who was also crying and concluded by saying, “I am still proud of my baby brother and always will be.”

When defense attorney Jason Porter called McIntosh to speak to the judge, McIntosh shuffled slowly, head down, as he made his way to the podium. The sobbing that had been near constant throughout the proceeding — from both the defendant’s and the victims’ sides of the courtroom — stopped as all waited to hear what he would say.

But McIntosh, who had been struggling to contain tears through much of the testimony, was too distraught to speak, so he had his attorney read his statement. McIntosh recalled growing up in a close, loving family, “where help was just down the hallway,” and thanked them for standing behind him.

“(My family) taught me that no one was disposable, that happens to one member of the family affects the rest,” he wrote. “I can’t possibly list all the ways you all have supported me, but my gratitude is infinite. All your letters and cards, phone calls and visits, just to name a few, it helped to make these times more bearable.”

Of eight guilty verdicts, he was given seven life sentences, three of which will be served consecutively. He was also sentenced to 15 years on one of the convictions. McIntosh has 30 days to appeal the judgments and sentences.


The Curse & Case Of The Costumed Frauds! On Saturday The Clergy Shtupped Little Kids - On Sunday The Cover-Ups Began

Catholicism’s Curse - Judaism, And The Whole Shmear Of Them:

...They’re inventions of the mortals who took charge of the faith.... “It can’t admit to error, the church hierarchy,” Wills told me on the phone on Thursday. “Any challenge to their prerogative is, in their eyes, a challenge to God. You can’t be any more arrogant than that.”

“I HAVE nothing against priests,” writes Garry Wills in his provocative new book, “Why Priests? A Failed Tradition,” and I’d like at the outset to say the same. During a career that has included no small number of formal interviews and informal conversations with them, I’ve met many I admire, men of genuine compassion and remarkable altruism, more dedicated to humanity than to any dogma or selective tradition.
But while I have nothing against priests, I have quite a lot against an institution that has done a disservice to them and to the parishioners in whose interests they should toil. I refer to the Roman Catholic Church, specifically to its modern incarnation and current leaders, who have tucked priests into a cosseted caste above the flock, wrapped them in mysticism and prioritized their protection and reputations over the needs and sometimes even the anguish of the people in the pews. I have a problem, in other words, with the church’s arrogance, a thread that runs through Wills’s book, to be published next month; through fresh revelations of how assiduously a cardinal in Los Angeles worked to cover up child sexual abuse; and through the church’s attempts to silence dissenters, including an outspoken clergyman in Ireland who was recently back in the news.

LET’S start with Los Angeles. Last week, as a result of lawsuits filed against the archdiocese of Los Angeles by hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by priests, internal church personnel files were made public. They showed that Cardinal Roger M. Mahony’s impulse, when confronted with priests who had molested children, was to hush it up and keep law enforcement officials at bay. While responses like this by Roman Catholic bishops and cardinals have been extensively chronicled and are no longer shocking, they remain infuriating. At one point Cardinal Mahony instructed a priest whom he’d dispatched to New Mexico for counseling not to return to California, lest he risk being criminally prosecuted. That sort of shielding of priests from accountability allowed them, in many cases across the United States, to continue their abusive behavior and claim more young victims.

Cardinal Mahony, who led the Los Angeles archdiocese from 1985 to 2011, released a statement last week in which he said that until 2006, when he began to meet with dozens of victims, he didn’t grasp “the full and lasting impact these horrible acts would have” on the children subjected to them. I find that assertion incredible and appalling. It takes no particular sophistication about matters of mental health to intuit that a child molested by an adult — in these cases, by an adult who is supposed to be a moral exemplar and tutor, even a conduit to the divine — would be grievously damaged. The failure to recognize that and to make sure that abusive priests’ access to children was eliminated, even if that meant trials and jail sentences, suggests a greater concern for the stature of clergymen than for the souls of children.

Church officials and defenders note that Cardinal Mahony’s gravest misdeeds occurred in the 1980s, before church leaders were properly educated about recidivism among pedophiles and before the dimensions of the child sexual abuse crisis in the church became clear. They point out that the church’s response improved over time. That’s true, but what hasn’t changed is the church’s hubris. This hubris abetted the crisis: the particular sway that abusers held over their victims and the special trust they received from those children’s parents were tied into the church’s presentation of priests as paragons.

And this hubris also survives the crisis, manifest in the way that the Vatican, a gilded enclave so far removed and so frequently out of step with the rest of the world, clamps down on Catholics who challenge its rituals and rules. Much of what these dissenters raise questions about — the all-male priesthood, for example, or the commitment to celibacy that priests are required to make — aren’t indisputable edicts from God. They’re inventions of the mortals who took charge of the faith....


C.D. Zwiebel Should  Be Prosecuted For Stupidity:

.....Other close observers of the Satmar community worry about the outcome of the Weberman trial. Dovid Zwiebel, vice president of Agudath Israel America, a group that works closely with Brooklyn's Satmar population, said the case should have been handled more "delicately."

"Many people felt it wasn't as if Mr. Weberman was on trial, it was as if the community was on trial," he said. Mr. Zwiebel, who said he applauded the crackdown on abuse, worried that a 103-year sentence might suggest "the system is rigged against Hasidic Jews.""The reaction I've heard from many is maybe we shouldn't be cooperating with law-enforcement authorities," he added.....



Friday, January 25, 2013

The Price of a Stolen Childhood

For 30 years, the victims’-rights movement has fought for a larger role for victims in criminal prosecutions. Victims have gained the right to make statements in court about the impact a crime has had on them, which judges can take into account in determining punishment....

"Alan Hesketh, a former vice-president of Pfizer,  was charged with trading nearly 2,000 child-pornography photos online."

"Study after study links child sexual abuse to psychological trauma, addiction and violent relationships in adulthood. There is almost no research, however, that deals with the specifics of Amy and Nicole’s experiences: What additional harm comes from knowing that pictures of your childhood exploitation are circulating widely?

The Supreme Court actually addressed this question in its 1982 decision upholding child-pornography bans. “ ‘Pornography poses an even greater threat to the child victim than does sexual abuse or prostitution,’ ” Justice Byron White wrote, quoting from a book about abused children. “ ‘Because the child’s actions are reduced to a recording, the pornography may haunt him in future years, long after the original misdeed took place.’ ”

When Nicole was a child, her father took pornographic pictures of her that still circulate on the Internet.

The detective spread out the photographs on the kitchen table, in front of Nicole, on a December morning in 2006. She was 17, but in the pictures, she saw the face of her 10-year-old self, a half-grown girl wearing make-up. The bodies in the images were broken up by pixelation, but Nicole could see the outline of her father, forcing himself on her. Her mother, sitting next to her, burst into sobs.

The detective spoke gently, but he had brutal news: the pictures had been downloaded onto thousands of computers via file-sharing services around the world. They were among the most widely circulated child pornography on the Internet. Also online were video clips, similarly notorious, in which Nicole spoke words her father had scripted for her, sometimes at the behest of other men. For years, investigators in the United States, Canada and Europe had been trying to identify the girl in the images.

Nicole’s parents split up when she was a toddler, and she grew up living with her mother and stepfather and visiting her father, a former policeman, every other weekend at his apartment in a suburban town in the Pacific Northwest. He started showing her child pornography when she was about 9, telling her that it was normal for fathers and daughters to “play games” like in the pictures. Soon after, he started forcing her to perform oral sex and raping her, dressing her in tight clothes and sometimes binding her with ropes. When she turned 12, she told him to stop, but he used threats and intimidation to continue the abuse for about a year. He said that if she told anyone what he’d done, everyone would hate her for letting him. He said that her mother would no longer love her.

Nicole (who asked me to use her middle name to protect her privacy) knew her father had a tripod set up in his bedroom. She asked if he’d ever shown the pictures to anyone. He said no, and she believed him. “It was all so hidden,” she told me. “And he knew how to lie. He taught me to do it. He said: ‘You look them straight in the eye. You make your shoulders square. You breathe normally.’ ”

When she was 16, Nicole told her mother, in a burst of tears, what had been going on at her father’s house. Her father was arrested for child rape. The police asked Nicole whether he took pictures. She said yes, but that she didn’t think he showed them to anyone. A few months later, while her father was out on bail, Nicole was using a computer he gave her to work on a presentation for Spanish class when she came across a file with a vulgar name that she couldn’t open. She showed it to her mother and stepfather, and they brought the computer to the police.

A search detected five deleted video files of child pornography, two of them showing Nicole and her father. In the spring of 2006, he was charged with a new crime — producing the videos — and he fled the country. At this point, the police didn’t realize that Nicole’s father had also distributed the images.

Months later, the police said they had no leads on her father, so Nicole went on television to ask the public for any tips that might help them find him. A police officer in Toronto involved in tracking child pornography around the world saw the broadcast and recognized Nicole as an older version of the girl in the notorious videos. The Toronto officer set off an alert that reached the police in Nicole’s hometown, informing them that she was the victim in a major pornography-distribution case.

The alert brought the local detective to Nicole’s house on that December day, to confirm that she was in fact the girl in the pictures that circulated around the globe. “It was the worst moment of my life,” Nicole said of seeing the pictures of herself. “In a way, I didn’t remember it being that bad with my father — and then I saw that it was. Knowing that other people, all over, had seen me like that, I just froze. I could hear my mother crying, but I couldn’t cry.”

Nicole’s appearance on TV produced a tip that eventually led the police to arrest her father in Hong Kong. But by going public, she had inadvertently exposed her identity to thousands of men who for years had collected her images. On one Web site with an American flag design, on a thread that continued for four years, commenters described in detail the acts of rape and bondage Nicole had experienced. One called the videos “legendary.” Another called her “an eager participant” because her father instructed her to smile and talk in the videos. “The fact remains that she is the most searched for, sought after and downloaded ever,” a third commenter wrote. “There are hours of video out there. It’s just too bad there are not more willing like her.”

For Nicole, knowing that so many men have witnessed and taken pleasure from her abuse has been excruciating. “You have an image of yourself as a person, but here is this other image,” she told me. “You know it’s not true, but all those other people will believe that it’s you — that this is who you really are.”

Until the 1970s, magazines with titles like Lolita were rife with sexual images of minors and routinely sold alongside adult pornography at red-light bookstores. In 1978, Congress made child pornography illegal, and four years later, the Supreme Court upheld a state law banning its sale. The court’s decision changed the market along with the law. “The commercial distributors started to go out of business,” said Kenneth Lanning, a retired F.B.I. agent who consulted on child pornography cases for decades. For a time, distribution and production plummeted. But then came the Internet. By the mid- to late 1990s, Lanning said, “there was a way for people seeking it to find each other and send images.”

A decade later, the Justice Department interviewed veteran experts like Lanning for a 2010 report, and concluded that “the market — in terms of numbers of offenders, images and victims” — was growing to a degree described as “overwhelming” and “exponential.” In the early-Web year of 1994, only 61 defendants were sentenced in federal court for child-pornography offenses; in 2011, 1,880 were, a 30-fold increase. The federal definition of child pornography extends to young people up to age 18, but the 2010 report noted that it had become more common for images to involve young children, as well as violence and sadism.

Precise numbers of child-pornography viewers are hard to come by. Unicef estimates that there are at least hundreds of thousands of Web sites with child pornography worldwide. Child-pornography consumers are even more likely to swap with one another via hidden networks. Using a tool developed at the University of Massachusetts,  in 2009, police have logged close to 22 million public I.P.addresses offering child-pornography pictures or videos via peer-to-peer file sharing, which allows users to download content from one computer to another; almost 10 million of the I.P. addresses were located in the United States. Many of the users shared only a single illegal image, perhaps downloaded inadvertently, but others offered collections of hundreds or thousands of pictures....


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Isolated Victims, From Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Notre Dame

What goes through the mind of someone who tries to bully a woman who says she has been sexually assaulted into staying quiet? What about adults who turn on a child who says that he or she has been hurt? Have they really persuaded themselves that the attacker is innocent, sometimes even as they try to shut down the most preliminary investigation? Do they believe fully that something happened, and would even concede that it was bad—just not worth punishing or embarrassing or even inconveniencing the perpetrator? Is the problem that doing so would disrupt the order of their own world, their office or family gatherings, their place of worship or locker rooms? Even then, why do they get angry at the victim, rather than at the perpetrator?

That is the great remaining question in a case in Brooklyn that concluded on Tuesday. Nechemya Weberman, who had been found guilty of fifty-nine counts of child sexual abuse, was sentenced to a hundred and three years in prison. The victim and her family, like Weberman, are members of the Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg—which came together to lash out at her, not to protect her. The girl, who is now eighteen, testified in open court, even as Weberman’s supporters took photographs of her on the stand (for which they are now facing contempt charges). She described how she was abused for three years, starting when she was twelve, in what were supposed to be therapy sessions required by her school. With the door closed, Weberman forced her to perform oral sex on him and act out pornography. When she went to a different school and talked to its therapist, the story came out. Although Weberman’s trial is over, four other men have been charged with witness-tampering after they were, according to prosecutors, recorded alternately threatening and trying to bribe the young man to whom she is now married. Among other things, they allegedly said that they’d arrange for the café he managed to lose its kosher certification, and pushed the couple to leave the country. (They have pleaded not guilty.)

But the shakedown visits were only part of it. Almost more confounding than what some of Weberman’s associates are charged with doing in a private room is what the girl’s neighbors had no hesitation about doing in public. Her family was openly scorned. Thousands of people showed up at a local wedding hall to raise money for Weberman. According to the Times, “To promote the fund-raiser, his supporters hung posters on lampposts and brick walls around the neighborhood, accusing the young woman, in Yiddish, of libel.”

The real accusation seems to have been that she pursued charges rather than, say, talk to a rabbi. The Weberman trial came at a juncture when the failure of the Brooklyn D.A.’s office to prosecute child-sexual-abuse cases in the Orthodox community had become conspicuous. This was made clear by a two-part series last spring, in the Times, which drew on years of reporting by Jewish community papers and efforts by victims to be heard. The belief of rabbinical authorities that they, and not the civil system, should handle (or, too often, cover up) such cases was central, but the enforcement mechanism was the pressure of neighbors and colleagues, which could be frank in its cruelty.

In the Weberman case, prosecutors reportedly know of more alleged victims who were too afraid to come forward. The D.A.’s office had, for years, treated the fear of victims as an out, rather than as an impetus for their own action. In that sense, the witness-tampering case now pending might be as significant as that of Weberman himself.

This isn’t just about the Hasidic community, or even just closed religious communities more generally. Along with the news about the Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o—that his supposed girlfriend, a car-crash and leukemia victim, was a hoax—were reminders of the actual death of a real young woman, Elizabeth Seeberg. She said that a Notre Dame player had assaulted her; she was answered with texts telling her, “Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea,” and foot-dragging from the campus police. They only interviewed the player after she had killed herself. Victims remember what happens to victims—one reason that isolation can be an enemy of justice. Melinda Henneberger, who has reported extensively on the Notre Dame case, described an incident a few months after Seeberg’s death, in which a freshman told her R.A., who then drove her to the hospital, that she had been raped by a football player:

I also spoke to the R.A.’s parents, who met the young woman that same night, when their daughter brought her to their home after leaving the hospital. They said they saw—and reported to athletic officials—a hailstorm of texts from other players, warning the young woman not to report what had happened: “They were trying to silence this girl,” the R.A.’s father told me. And did; no criminal complaint was ever filed.

The freshman told the R.A. that she’d thought of what had happened to Seeberg. It is worth considering that “hailstorm of texts from other players” alongside the team’s participation regarding Manti Te’o. As Gail Collins of the Times noted, the original narrative of Te’o’s relationship glorified the image of “a girlfriend so lacking in neediness that you don’t even have to visit her in the hospital while she’s in a coma followed by leukemia”—or miss a practice to attend her funeral. Concurrent with that is the way even friends can turn on a woman who needs—and deserves—help. But there is something far more profound at stake than the choice between a person you’ve decided makes your life more complicated and one who, you think, makes it easier or just leaves it unchanged. The attraction of smooth surfaces—complicity disguised as politeness—can be the most corrupting thing of all, leaving one in dark and distorted place.

Why is the victim treated as the troublemaker? There is moral laziness, and a deferral to privilege, to tradition, or to one’s own interests, that disguises itself as loyalty, from Williamsburg to South Bend. And there is the illusion that being community-minded means protecting the strongest, rather than the most vulnerable members of a community.

Read More:

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Hassidic Jewish community, this is not restricted to any one religion or one’s creed, one’s race, one’s gender, one’s location.

Bill would end time limit on child sex charges

HARRISBURG — A group of state lawmakers announced plans Wednesday to reintroduce a bill that would remove the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse.

Another bill would open a two-year window after a statute of limitations has expired for victims of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits, said Reps. Mike McGeehan, D-173, and Louise Bishop, D-192.

The lawmakers have been frustrated that the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky and the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandals were not enough to move legislation out of committee last year.

“It is time to put victims first,” said Bishop, who said she was 12 when her stepfather began to sexually abuse her.

“I didn’t know how to handle it,” she said. “I knew if I told my mother it would hurt her. I knew if I told my sisters and brothers I (would be) talking about their father and they wouldn’t like it and I would be even more isolated than I was. And if I told my grandfather, he would take his legal shotgun and would have blown his head off.”

Because other victims of child sexual abuse experience those same fears, the Philadelphia lawmaker said state legislators must finally do something to stop child predators.

House Bill 237 would abolish the statute of limitations on criminal charges and civil lawsuits in cases of child sexual abuse, while House Bill 238 would suspend any expired statute of limitations for two years in child sex abuse cases.

McGeehan and Bishop introduced both measures in the last legislative session and even employed rarely used discharge petitions last summer to get the bills out of the House Judiciary Committee. But the legislation died when the session ended in December.

Marci Hamilton, an attorney known for her expertise in church and state law and the author of a book on how the country can better protect children from predators, said the legislation is “the only way to get to the truth.” She said California and Delaware have had success with similar new laws in their prosecutions of Roman Catholic priests.

“The only way the truth will come out is if this Legislature has the guts to look at the Catholic conference and say, ‘We want the truth and we’re not playing your game of secrecy anymore’,” Hamilton said.

Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-31, also challenged state lawmakers to consider the bills.

“Shame on us that we can’t even get these bills to a hearing, let alone a vote,” the Bucks County lawmaker said. “Let us have a public discussion. What are they afraid of?”

More than 3,000 civil lawsuits have been filed in the United States in which victims of child sexual abuse have said their perpetrator was a Roman Catholic priest, according to a website that documents the church’s abuse cases, bishopaccountability.org.

Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in Greene County state prison after being convicted on charges he had sex with 10 boys over a 15-year period.

At the press conference Wednesday, former Philadelphia district attorney Lynne Abraham called the priest child sexual abuse scandal “almost an epidemic,” but said it’s important for people to remember that all people can become victims of the crime.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses, Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Hassidic Jewish community, this is not restricted to any one religion or one’s creed, one’s race, one’s gender, one’s location. This is a national problem, which … has to be, finally, grappled with by the Legislature,” Abraham said.

Mark Shade: mshade@calkins-media.com or 267-326-3129

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You Hurt A Child - You Rot In Jail Until You Die - Count On It!

Hero teen faced down evil for the rest of us

Some things are worse even than dying.

The shy, pretty victim, now all of 18, summoned enough courage into her 100-pound body to stand up and face her tormentor yesterday in Brooklyn Supreme Court. For unrepentant monster Nechemya Weberman stole this young lady’s youth, her purity, her very identity.

And he wouldn’t dare look her in the face.

Weberman, the sadistic Satmar freak, savagely sexually abused the young girl for three years, burning her flesh with lighters and telling her she was human garbage. Yesterday, he slumped his gigantic girth into a courtroom chair, looking slightly annoyed, as a Brooklyn judge sentenced him to 103 years in prison.

He’ll likely die there, in the close company of his fellow scum of the earth.

It’s not enough.

His victim’s torment will never end.

She walked into the courtroom, petite and blonde, and spoke in a small voice. But her message rang out into the cheap seats, loud and clear.

She said, heartbreakingly, that the abuse she suffered at the hands of the ghoulish Weberman, 54, which began at age 12, was worse than cold-blooded murder.

For murder victims, the torment, mercifully, ends.

“Personally, I feel that the outcome of abuse is, in a way, far worse than murder,’’ she said, dissolving into tears.

“With murder, the person is dead and it is final. By abuse, the victim experiences death over and over. Again and again.’’

He stared at the table, at his hands, straight ahead. He wouldn’t look at her.

This young lady survived her near-destruction. “I would cover up the burn marks inflicted on my body he used to serve his sadistic pleasures,’’ she recounted.

In fact, she thrived — getting married and attending college classes, her husband said after court.

She had to make it. If only to make sure that this never happens again to another child.

As she spoke, the painfully young woman sounded wiser than her years, as she dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. She pressed on.

She pointed an accusing finger at her own Satmar community, whose leaders she told me last month resembled the “Jewish Taliban.’’

Her neighbors betrayed her, shunned her, threatened her. And now that she has left a home she loved, the harassment persists.

In a way, the abuse of strangers was even more brutal than that inflicted by the sick and twisted Weberman.

Because the Satmars knew she was a victim of torture by Weberman, who was sent to counsel the girl by her school after she questioned her religion.

And her people — my people — didn’t care about her.

To some in the Satmar realm, keeping Weberman happy, burying his dirty laundry, maiming a child, was easier than finding justice.

This young lady never set out to be a hero. Only to survive. But now, she has to keep going to help other abused children stand up to reprehensible perverts like Weberman.

“I really hope (and pray) that this case sets a precedent and will tell other victims: You have a voice, even if you think no one will believe you and even when you’re scared of being chased and crushed by your community.’’

To the very end, Weberman was defiant.

He declined to speak in his own defense. He didn’t apologize. He refused to as much as glance at his accuser. And his lawyer, George Farkas, continued spinning the fiction that Weberman was the victim of a made-up story.

As Weberman was taken away in handcuffs, one thing became clear. He won’t be out there, getting his hands on young ladies.

For that, we have to thank one young victim who dared cry out in pain.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

103-Year Sentence in Sex Abuse Case That Shook Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn

BREAKING NEWS - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:20 PM EST

103-Year Sentence in Sex Abuse Case That Shook Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn

An unlicensed therapist who was a prominent member of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn was sentenced on Tuesday to 103 years in prison for repeatedly sexually abusing a young woman, beginning the attacks when she was 12.

Nechemya Weberman, 54, a member of the Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg, did not react as the judge sentenced him. The victim, now 18, who delivered an impassioned statement asking for maximum sentence to be imposed, dabbed away tears.

“The message should go out to all victims of sexual abuse that your cries will be heard and justice will be done,” said State Supreme Court Justice John G. Ingram before imposing the sentence, close to the longest permissible to him by law. He praised the young victim’s “courage and bravery in coming forward.”


Why All Clergy Must Never Be Trusted Ever On Child Sex Abuse - Perhaps Never At All!

"True evil lies not in the depraved act of the one, but in the silence of the many." MLK Jr.

Files Show How LA Church Leaders Controlled Damage

"We've stepped back 20 years and are being driven by the need to cover-up and to keep the presbyteriate & public happily ignorant rather than the need to protect children," Loomis wrote.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark, according to church personnel files.

The confidential records filed in a lawsuit against the archdiocese disclose how the church handled abuse allegations for decades and also reveal dissent from a top Mahony aide who criticized his superiors for covering up allegations of abuse rather than protecting children.

Notes inked by Mahony demonstrate he was disturbed about abuse and sent problem priests for treatment, but there also were lengthy delays or oversights in some cases. Mahony received psychological reports on some priests that mentioned the possibility of many other victims, for example, but there is no indication that he or other church leaders investigated further.

"This is all intolerable and unacceptable to me," Mahony wrote in 1991 on a file of the Rev. Lynn Caffoe, a priest suspected of locking boys in his room, videotaping their crotches and running up a $100 phone sex bill while with a boy. Caffoe was sent for therapy and removed from ministry, but Mahony didn't move to defrock him until 2004, a decade after the archdiocese lost track of him.

"He is a fugitive from justice," Mahony wrote to the Vatican's Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI. "A check of the Social Security index discloses no report of his demise, so presumably he is alive somewhere."

Caffoe died in 2009, six years after a newspaper reporter found him working at a homeless mission two blocks from a Salinas elementary school.

Mahony was out of town but issued a statement Monday apologizing for his mistakes and saying he had been "naive" about the lasting impacts of abuse. He has since met with 90 abuse victims privately and keeps an index card with each victim's name in his private chapel, where he prays for them daily, he said. The card also includes the name of the molesting priest "lest I forget that real priests created this appalling harm."

"It remains my daily and fervent prayer that God's grace will flood the heart and soul of each victim, and that their life journey continues forward with ever greater healing," Mahony wrote. "I am sorry."

The church's sex abuse policy was evolving and Mahony inherited some of the worst cases from his predecessor when he took over in 1985, J. Michael Hennigan, an archdiocese attorney, said in a separate series of emails. Priests were sent out of state for psychological treatment because they revealed more when their therapists were not required to report child abuse to law enforcement, as they were in California, he said.

At the time, clergy were not mandated sex abuse reporters and the church let the victims' families decide whether to contact police, he added.

In at least one case, a priest victimized the children of illegal immigrants and threatened to have them deported if they told, the files show.

The files are attached to a motion seeking punitive damages in a case involving a Mexican priest sent to Los Angeles in 1987 after he was brutally beaten in his parish south of Mexico City.

When parents complained the Rev. Nicholas Aguilar Rivera molested in LA, church officials told the priest but waited two days to call police — allowing him to flee to Mexico, court papers allege. At least 26 children told police they were abused during his 10 months in Los Angeles. The now-defrocked priest is believed to be in Mexico and remains a fugitive.

The personnel files of 13 other clerics were attached to the motion to show a cover-up pattern, said attorney Anthony De Marco, who represents the 35-year-old plaintiff. In one instance, a memo to Mahony discusses sending a cleric to a therapist who also is an attorney so any incriminating evidence is protected from authorities by lawyer-client privilege. In another instance, archdiocese officials paid a secret salary to a priest exiled to the Philippines after he and six other clerics were accused of having sex with a teen and impregnating her.



The archdiocese's failure to purge pedophile clergy and reluctance to cooperate with law enforcement had been known previously. But the memos written in 1986 and 1987 by Mahony and Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, then the archdiocese's chief advisor on sex abuse cases, offer the strongest evidence yet of a concerted effort by officials in the nation's largest Catholic diocese to shield abusers from police. The newly released records, which the archdiocese fought for years to keep secret, reveal in church leaders' own words a desire to keep authorities from discovering that children were being abused.

In the confidential letters, filed this month as evidence in a civil court case, Curry proposed strategies to prevent police from investigating three priests who had admitted to church officials that they abused young boys. Curry suggested to Mahony that they prevent them from seeing therapists who might alert authorities and that they give the priests out-of-state assignments to avoid criminal investigators.

READ MORE:http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/01/cardinal-mahony-priest-abuse-details.html

Monday, January 21, 2013

“Abuse is something that is lifelong. The abuser creates a tragedy as soon as it happens. The whole family is abused".

Iceberg, Goldberg - What's the difference?

More McCort students may come forward, advocate says

JOHNSTOWN — As many as 15 former Bishop McCort students are alleging they were sexually abused more than a decade ago by a former instructor and sports trainer – and it may only be “the tip of the iceberg,” a victims’ advocate says.

Robert M. Hoatson, co-founder and president of a nonprofit charity that has been advocating for the alleged sexual abuse victims of Brother Stephen P. Baker in Ohio and Johnstown, held a press conference Saturday across from Bishop McCort Catholic High School on Osborne Street in the city’s 8th Ward.

“I think there are probably around 15 (victims) at Bishop McCort, and there could be as many as a dozen more who have not come forward,” Hoatson said. “We suspect it’s the tip of the iceberg. The attorneys are getting calls from the west, south and middle part of the country.”

Hoatson said victims from Bishop McCort became known after they called the two attorneys involved with the case, Michael Parrish in Johnstown and Mitchell Garabedian in Boston.

Parrish said he has spoken to men who claim they were victimized by Baker at McCort as recently as 2002. The former students say Baker abused them when he was supposed to be treating them for sports-related injuries.

Baker was employed at Bishop McCort from 1992 into the early 2000s.

Hoatson said he doesn’t see sexual abuse cases until the victims are in their 30s or 40s because they can’t come forward due to the shame and embarrassment.

“Catholics are taught deference to clergy,” Hoatson said. “Abuse is something that is lifelong. The abuser creates a tragedy as soon as it happens. The whole family is abused. When the victim’s children reach the same age they were when they were abused, they’re hyper-vigilant.”

Hoatson, who heads Road to Recovery Inc. based in Livingston, N.J., said he suffered similar sexual abuse when he was a teen. He founded the organization as therapy for himself.

“My therapist told me the best thing I could do is help other sexual abuse victims,” Hoatson said. “My salvation has been getting involved. I get so excited and energized because it takes amazing courage for them to talk about it in front of thousands through the media.”

Michael Munno of Lorain, Ohio, accompanied Hoatson on his trip to Johnstown.

For Munno, the trip is therapeutic. He is one of the 11 men from the Diocese of Youngstown who came forward to report alleged sexual abuse by Baker. The accused friar now resides at the Motherhouse of St. Bernardine Monastery of the Franciscan Friars Third Order Regular outside Hollidaysburg.

Munno, now 40, attended John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio, from 1986 to 1990, when Baker was an athletic trainer, coach and teacher there.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this without a support group,” Munno said.

Road to Recovery Inc. counsels sexual abuse victims and helps them through media sessions and press conferences.

“The attorneys do the legal stuff, but there’s so much more to recovery,” Hoatson said. “We help them pay for therapy, medications, food and shelter. The mantra I hear from sexual abuse victims is ‘I thought I was the only one.’”

Hoatson held another conference near JFK High School on Wednesday with two of the original 11 victims present.

At the conference, the settlement between the Diocese of Youngstown, the Franciscan Friars and JFK High School was revealed for the first time.

“It was made in October 2012,” Hoatson said. “There was no release of the amount the victims got, but it was in the high five figures.”

Hoatson said one of the Ohio victims is contemplating filing criminal charges because he was younger than the other victims at the time.

Road to Recovery requests that all alleged sexual abuse victims of Baker come forward confidentially to begin healing and receive support.

The organization will call on the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown to reveal what it knows and when it knew about Baker and accusations of sexual abuse against him from students and alumni of Bishop McCort.

Information: 862-268-2800.

Ruth Rice

rrice@tribdem.com - The Tribune-Democrat

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The priest who abused her told me that I was now ‘closer to God’

 German Precision & Planning!

German Priests Carried Out Sexual Abuse for Years

BERLIN — A report about child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, based on victim accounts and released by the church this week, showed that priests carefully planned their assaults and frequently abused the same children repeatedly for years.

The report, compiled from information collected from victims and other witnesses who called a hot line run by the church from 2010 until the end of last year, includes the ages of the victims, the locations of the assaults and the repercussions they have suffered since. The accounts were provided in 8,500 calls to the hot line; they are not representative of abuse cases over all and cannot be individually verified. The church said the report contained information from 1,824 people, of whom 1,165 described themselves as victims.

Germany’s bishops have vowed a thorough and impartial investigation into the abuse. Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, who is looking into abuse cases for the German Bishops’ Conference, told reporters after the report was released on Thursday that it served as an example of that intention.

“I found particularly devastating the perpetrators’ lies to their under-aged victims that their actions were an expression of a loving bond with God,” he said Thursday. Claudia Adams, who said she was assaulted as a child in a preschool run by the church in a village near Trier, works through her trauma by blogging about the abuse scandal. The priest who abused her “told me that I was now ‘closer to God,’ ” she said in a telephone interview on Friday from her home near Trier.

The church’s credibility regarding its commitment to an impartial investigation suffered a fresh blow last week when the bishops canceled an independent study into the abuse scandal amid allegations by the independent investigator, Christian Pfeiffer, that the church was censoring information.

The church insists that it remains committed to carrying out the independent study once a new investigator can be found. Even if the church should produce a report, observers note that it will be a challenge to undo the damage caused by Mr. Pfeiffer’s allegations. “It’s not even about the damage to their image so much as it is to their trustworthiness,” said Andreas Holzem, a professor of church history at Tübingen University.

Many of the victims said their call to the hot line was the first time they had told anyone about assaults that took place decades ago, most between 1950 and 1980, the report said. Many callers broke down in the middle of their stories and, overcome by emotion, simply hung up the phone, it said.

Those who told their stories painted a picture of priests who preyed on emotionally vulnerable children, building up their trust and then assaulting them, repeatedly, over a period of several years.

The reported assaults were clustered largely in the country’s heavily Roman Catholic regions along the Rhine River to the west and throughout the south, including Pope Benedict XVI’s home state, Bavaria.

Germans were further outraged by reports this week that two Roman Catholic hospitals in Cologne had refused to carry out a gynecological examination on a 25-year-old suspected rape victim. An emergency doctor who had helped the woman told the newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger that the hospitals cited ethical objections to advise women on unwanted pregnancies and on steps that can be taken to prevent them, like the morning-after pill. The Archdiocese of Cologne denied that the church refuses to treat rape victims. The hospitals blamed a “misunderstanding” and said the matter was under investigation.


Friday, January 18, 2013

....So Help Him God

Pennsylvania: Ex-Priest Recants Guilt in Abuse Case

An imprisoned former priest at the center of a landmark abuse case testified Thursday that he had pleaded guilty to a sexual assault he did not commit. The former priest, Edward Avery, 70, admitted to an earlier abuse complaint, but said he had never had any contact with the accuser in a continuing criminal trial and had taken a plea deal because he had not wanted to risk a longer sentence if convicted.

Asked if he raped the accuser, now 24, Mr. Avery said: “I did not. So help me God.” The same man claims he was raped by Mr. Avery, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and a former teacher, Bernard Shero, starting when he was a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999. Father Engelhardt and Mr. Shero are fighting the charges. Mr. Avery’s testimony could bolster their defense if jurors believe him over the accuser, a longtime heroin addict who testified Wednesday.

 But in questioning by prosecutors, Mr. Avery conceded that an admission of guilt would hurt him in the accuser’s civil lawsuit. A jury last year convicted Msgr. William Lynn, 62, of child endangerment for placing Mr. Avery in a parish despite the sexual abuse complaint. Mr. Avery pleaded guilty on the eve of Monsignor Lynn’s trial and accepted a 2 1/2-to-5-year sentence.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

"I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles.”

Yeah Lance, I don't, I can spot a lying fraud years before others can!

What to Ask After Years of Denials

Standing atop the podium at the 2005 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong addressed the crowd after he won a record seventh Tour, looking into the sea of cycling fans gathered along the Champs-Élysées in Paris and publicly challenging those who had suspected he had doped to win.

“I’ll say to the people who don’t believe in cycling, the cynics and the skeptics, I’m sorry for you,” he said. “I’m sorry that you can’t dream big. I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles.”

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey set to be broadcast on her network, OWN, on Thursday and Friday night, Armstrong will finally reveal that those skeptics were right: he did use performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions to win. And he used those drugs and methods repeatedly.

Winfrey interviewed him on Monday at a hotel in Austin, Tex., and Armstrong “teared up and cried” during the inquiry, a person with direct knowledge of it said Wednesday. The person, who called the stories Armstrong told Winfrey “a classic Shakespearean tale,” insisted on anonymity because that person is not authorized to discuss the contents of the interview.

It is unclear what made Armstrong lose his composure when he spoke with Winfrey, who is known for her teary-eyed guests, because her network has not released any excerpts from Armstrong’s comments.

Here are the questions Winfrey needed to ask if she wanted to “go deep” with her inquiry, as Armstrong suggested she should.

‘ARMY OF ENABLERS’ The United States Anti-Doping Agency said you had “an army of enablers” helping you dope. Who were the accomplices who were essential in your getting away with it?

When you briefly retired from cycling after winning the 2005 Tour, you said you did so to spend time with your children and be a better father. Do your five children, ages 2 to 13, know about your doping past? If so, when and how did you tell them?

As a teenager, you began training with the then United States national team coach Chris Carmichael, the man you said became your longtime personal coach. (The infamous Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, who is serving a lifetime ban from Olympic sports for doping athletes, is thought to be the real brains behind your success.)

Carmichael, who founded a successful training business on the fact that he was your coach, was accused of doping national team riders in the 1990s at the same time he began working with you. (Carmichael eventually settled the case out of court.)

Did Carmichael have anything to do with your doping, or have any knowledge of your doping? If not, when did you first begin using performance-enhancing drugs and who provided those drugs to you?

DISPUTED ADMISSION Frankie Andreu, one of your former teammates and closest friends, said he and his wife, Betsy, heard a doping confession from you in October 1996 when visiting you in a hospital while you fought cancer. They said they were in the room with several of your friends when they overheard two doctors ask if you had ever used performance-enhancing drugs. They said you had answered yes: EPO, testosterone, human growth hormone and cortisone.

Stephanie McIlvain, your personal representative at Oakley who is married to a man high up in that company, told the three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond in a 2004 phone call that she heard that doping admission. “I’m not going to lie,” she said in the conversation that LeMond secretly recorded. “You know, I was in that room. I heard it.”

When you denied, again and again, that the admission never occurred, were you lying? If so, how did you keep most of the people in the hospital room that day quiet about your doping? Did former sponsors, like Nike and Oakley, know about your doping? Did they ever ask you about any of the doping allegations? If not, why do you think they never asked when the evidence against you was mounting?

READ MORE:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/sports/cycling/hard-questions-for-lance-armstrong.html?hpw&_r=0

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

For more than 30 years, Van Handel had been the monster who haunted his dreams

All the Monsters Must Lose Their Power!  --- UOJ

"There is something about me that is happier when accompanied by a small boy.... Perhaps besides the sexual element, the child in me wants a playmate".

— Father Robert Van Handel

Damian Eckert turned on the computer in his in-laws' home office, a tiny, dim, book-strewn space. He left the door open so he could hear his 5-year-old daughter playing in the next room.

He pulled up a website and scanned it for Father Robert Van Handel, the priest who led the community boys choir he and his younger brother sang in when they were growing up in Santa Barbara. There he was — receding hairline, bulbous nose, gap-toothed smile.

Eckert opened a document: 27 pages that Van Handel wrote for a therapist years ago, his so-called sexual autobiography. It made Eckert's palms sweat and his back knot.

His in-laws poked their heads into the room: Are you OK? Yes, he reassured them.

He continued to read.

For years, Eckert had been part of an effort to pry confidential files from clergy members at the now-closed St. Anthony's Seminary in Santa Barbara who'd been accused of molesting children. The battle over releasing thousands of once-secret pages went all the way to the California Supreme Court.

The day the files were made public last May, Eckert, 44, left the news conference and went to his in-laws' house. It was the nearest place to read the words of the priest he says abused him.

I asked my best friend once if he saw anything "special" in pictures of [naked] children. He said, 'No, not at all.' I began to realize that I was different.

The product of an alcoholic, volatile father who served in the military and a scared mother, Van Handel was the third of five children, Eckert read. The priest went to high school in the 1960s at St. Anthony's, a campus of sandstone facades and grand towers near Old Mission Santa Barbara run by the Franciscan religious order.

Years later, while attending graduate school in Berkeley, he started a boys choir at a local parish, despite his self-professed lack of musical skills. There, Van Handel wrote, he met one of his first victims.

He was 7 or 8. Light hair. Blue eyes. His parents were divorcing and grateful for the priest's interest in their son.

Always this was done under the cover of some "legitimate" touching. [The boy] never seemed to mind, and I wasn't about to stop on my own.

Around this time, Van Handel wrote, he implied to a Franciscan counselor that he was sexually attracted to boys. The counselor quickly changed the subject.

In 1975, at age 28, Van Handel returned to St. Anthony's as a teacher and founded the Santa Barbara Boys Choir.

The Eckert boys joined when Damian was about 10 and his brother, Bob, about 8. Choir members, dressed in the blazer-and-shorts style of English schoolboys, mainly sang Catholic hymns. Damian was a soprano, Bob an alto.

They felt at ease around Van Handel, a soft-spoken friar who eschewed his brown robe for striped shirts. He tsk-tsked boys who flubbed notes, but he also allowed them to play the seminary organ and swim at the school pool.

When Damian was about 11, he recalled, his parents told him they were splitting up. The next day at choir practice, he tried to sing. Instead, tears. He ran into the hallway. Van Handel followed. Everything will be OK, the priest promised.

As the weeks went by, he chatted with the boy in his office, strolled with him around the mission. Eventually, Damian said, Van Handel persuaded him to try on "special shorts" — extra-large, the priest wrote, so he could see up them. Other boys had worn them too.

[One boy] said he did not want to. I insisted. He started to cry and that snapped something in my head. For the first time I was seeing signs that he really did not like this.

Ashamed and confused, Damian told no one. But the priest unsettled Damian's father, Tom. One day, Van Handel tried to persuade Tom and the boys' mother to send Damian and Bob on a choir trip to England. Only years later could Tom put into words the way Van Handel eyed his sons: "like a man looking at a woman he wanted to have sex with."

Their mother signed off on the trip. After all, she reasoned, was there a more trustworthy chaperon than a priest?

By the time Damian was in his early 20s, he'd stopped praying daily and was prone to binge drinking and flashes of rage. One day, in response to some rumors, his father took him aside and asked if Van Handel had molested him.

No, Damian said.

You're lying, Tom thought. But he didn't press the issue. Bob denied being sexually abused, as well.

At a loss for what to do, Tom marched over to the seminary, he recalled in a deposition. He confronted Van Handel on the steps outside.

"I want to kill you," Tom said. "How could you wear the cloth and molest my boys?"

The priest didn't flinch. "You need to get divine intervention," he said. Then he walked away....


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Aaron Swartz - Rest In Peace

A physical education teacher at the Day School at Baltimore Hebrew has been suspended following charges of child abuse

Foye C. Minton, 33, has been charged with child abuse following an investigation by the Baltimore County Police Department’s Crimes against Children Unit, according to Elise Armacost, director of media and communications for the Baltimore County Public Safety unit. The female victim, now an adult, contacted police in the fall of 2012. She told investigators that the alleged abuse started when she was a minor at the Shoshana S. Cardin School and Minton was its dean of students and director of athletics. He worked at the Boys’ Latin School of Maryland.

David Prashker, current head of the Cardin School, told the JT that he was informed of the charges at the end of last week and that the criminal process is moving forward.

“There is a police investigation, and we will cooperate fully,” he said. “This needs to go through the courts and the police and allow the justice system to do what it is in place to do. … I don’t want to make any other comments in the interim.”

Baltimore Hebrew sent a letter to parents last week informing them of the situation and that the school is “not aware of any incidents or complaints in connection to this teacher while teaching at the Day School.”

The letter, signed by Head of School Gerri Chizeck and President Dr. Louis Shpritz, said the school is committed to “ensuring the safety and integrity of our community.”

In a phone interview, Chizeck told the JT that the school is cooperating with the investigation and that Baltimore Hebrew is “naturally not making statements at this time. … We have little information; we are not privy to that.”

In the letter, Chizeck and Shpritz requested all parents’ conversations about the matter be kept to a minimum and also asked that parents refer any and all inquiries to Chizeck.

The abuse continued for about four years. The victim told police that Minton repeatedly attempted to contact her after she ended the relationship.

On Minton’s Twitter account, there are many sexual references, including one written as recently as Jan. 4, 2013 at midnight: “I love to text girls at 11:12 to make their wish come true!!.” On Dec. 31 at 2:22 p.m. he tweeted, “Motto for 2013: ‘I’ve got passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it.’”

Minton is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $250,000 bond. Police believe there may be other victims. Anyone with additional information should call police at 410-307-2020 to contact a detective. The Shofar Coalition, an agency in the Jewish community, is familiar with this case and has resources for victims, survivors and their friends and family members. Anyone concerned about this case or other sexual abuse situations can call 410-843-7564 or 410-843-7582


Monday, January 14, 2013

Miss America will tackle child sex abuse issue - She Has More Brains & Compassion Than The Entire Agudath Israel!

LAS VEGAS -- A woman who grew up in Alabama and moved to New York City is the new Miss America, winning the title after tap dancing to a James Brown tune, deftly dealing with a question about guns, and raising the issue of child sexual abuse in her contestant platform.

In addition to dancing to "Get Up Off of That Thing," 23-year-old Mallory Hagan strutted down the runway during the Las Vegas pageant Saturday night in an asymmetrical white gown and donned a revealing black string bikini.

She won a $50,000 college scholarship and a year as an instant celebrity and role model to many girls as she defeated Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, who took second, and Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton, who finished third.

She told The Associated Press in an interview after her win that it was her mother who encouraged her to tackle the issue of child sex abuse in her platform - the issue she will promote during her reign.

She said that sexual abuse had "rippled through" her family, touching her mother, aunt, grandmother and cousins. Her mother had trouble at first convincing others of the trauma she had faced.

"That kind of sent her into a whirlwind of anxiety and depression. So as a teen I lost my mom kind of for a couple years," she said. "She was dealing with her own issues, and that's something that now as an adult I understand, but then I certainly did not."

During an interview backstage, Hagan's mother Mandy Moore wiped tears away as she spoke.

"It's very overwhelming," she said. "It's all hitting me so fast."

Hagan said she will work to make child abuse education mandatory in all 50 states.

"It's something I can hopefully change for the next generation," she said.

The pageant, which started as little more than an Atlantic City bathing suit revue, broke viewership records in its heyday and bills itself as one of the world's largest scholarships programs for women.

But like other pageants, the show has struggled to stay relevant as national attitudes regarding women's rights have changed.

Hagan's boyfriend Charmel Maynard said he thinks that pageants are dismissed by some, but he hopes Hagan's willingness to take on the sexual abuse issue will lend legitimacy to her new role.

"I don't think it's taken seriously, but I think she's going to be a great ambassador and it could change," he said..


"The legacy of cancer followed the industry as it spread to America. What was obvious was that these synthetic hydrocarbons were leaving a trail of tumors wherever they were manufactured"

A Cancer Cycle, From Here to China

MORE than one million people in the Chinese city of Handan awoke last week to the alarming news that an essential source of their drinking water, the Zhouzhang River, had been dangerously contaminated by a 39-ton chemical spill in the nearby city of Changzhi. What made the news even more shocking was that the leak, from a factory pipe, had started at least five days earlier but had been kept secret by government officials, who allowed millions of their neighbors to keep drinking.

The people of Handan reacted to these disclosures the same way almost anyone else would. First, they panicked, mobbing stores for bottled water. Then, they were furious, demanding to know why no one had told them they were drinking water laced with a probable carcinogen. If history is any guide, they will never get a satisfactory answer.

For me, reading about Handan prompted a sick feeling of déjà vu. For the last five years I have been writing a history of the chemical industry’s egregious 60-year involvement in the New Jersey shore town of Toms River, (yes, like it or not, New Jersey is part of the U.S.A) which gained unwanted notoriety in the late 1990s thanks to a remarkably well-documented cluster of childhood cancer cases and a long history of often hidden industrial pollution.

When news of the cancer cluster leaked in 1996, there was the predictable townwide panic, including a run on bottled water supplies. After a wrenching five-year investigation, state and federal health officials concluded that the sick children were more likely to have lived in parts of town where exposure to industrial chemicals — via drinking water and polluted air — were highest.

It was, by definition, an association, not a causal relationship, and it was statistically significant only for girls with leukemia. But in the murky world of neighborhood cancer cluster studies, that’s as close to a definitive finding as you’re ever likely to see. That same year, 2001, the families of 69 children with cancer won a multimillion-dollar legal settlement against two chemical companies and the water utility.

As in Toms River, so many things about last week’s debacle in Handan were infuriating, starting with the chemical involved: aniline. That was the compound that launched the synthetic chemical industry in 1856, when a precocious 18-year-old named William Henry Perkin, experimenting in his parents’ London attic, inadvertently discovered that aniline, dissolved in sulfuric acid and mixed with potassium dichromate, made a superb purple dye.

Soon London, Basel, Switzerland, and the Ruhr Valley in Germany were littered with aniline factories, many of which would morph into familiar corporate giants like CIBA, Geigy, Agfa and the German behemoth BASF, the industry leader. In Basel and London, it was said, you could tell which dyes were being made by the color of the nearby canals and rivers, where the factories dumped their waste. Factory bosses would send workers on clandestine midnight runs to the Middle Bridge in Basel to dump barrels of waste into the fast-moving Rhine.

Basel is a border city and the Rhine flows north, so the waste was Germany’s problem — just as last week’s spill was Handan’s problem, not Changzhi’s.

In 1895, a Frankfurt surgeon named Ludwig Wilhelm Carl Rehn began noticing unusual numbers of bladder cancers — he called them “aniline tumors” — among workers in dye plants. Whether aniline was the specific cause was hard to determine, since by then, chemical manufacturers had expanded well beyond aniline and were using dozens of compounds derived from coal and oil to make dyes and many other products. What was obvious was that these synthetic hydrocarbons were leaving a trail of tumors wherever they were manufactured.

The legacy of cancer followed the industry as it spread to America. In the 1950s, at Cincinnati Chemical Works, almost half of the long-term workers who handled a dye compound called benzidine got bladder cancer. Soon after, the Cincinnati factories closed and their Swiss owners transferred manufacturing to a huge new facility in a small town where there would be less scrutiny: Toms River.

Today, there is little left of the vast complex the Swiss operated in Toms River for more than 40 years. Manufacturing ended there in 1996, just as the cluster controversy was heating up. Now, after so many years of painful publicity about cancer and pollution, many residents of Toms River are happy to have moved on, and who can blame them. They are much more likely to be worried about the damage Hurricane Sandy recently inflicted on hundreds of local homes than about any lingering effects from decades-old water and air pollution.

The reality of 21st-century globalism, however, is that none of us can pretend that by pushing the chemical industry out of our communities we have stopped enabling its dangerous practices. The industry jobs that started in Basel, and then migrated to Cincinnati and Toms River, are now in Shanxi Province and other coal-rich areas of China. BASF alone now owns or invests in 45 Chinese ventures. Meanwhile, hundreds of smaller companies like the Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group, whose Changzhi factory was the source of last week’s leak, are busy turning coal into aniline and a host of other chemical products.

Business is booming. If you don’t believe me, head over to the Ocean County Mall in Toms River, where you can get a pair of jeans dyed just the right shade of faded blue, thanks to aniline-based indigo dye. They’re made in China, and they’re cheap — if you don’t count the long-term cost.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Going Quietly" Is Never An Option! Leaders Must Understand What Evil Humans Are Capable Of!

....If they don't, they don't belong in leadership positions!

Police: TV host Jimmy Savile exploited fame to abuse children on vast scale

 * Savile used his celebrity to "hide in plain sight" and targeted the vulnerable, police say

* He is accused of offenses across 40 years while working as a BBC presenter

* Police say 73% of his victims were children; 214 crimes are recorded, including rapes

Prosecutors say police could have done more to investigate Savile in his lifetime

London (CNN) -- Britain's late TV presenter and radio host Jimmy Savile sexually abused hundreds of people and carried out more than 30 rapes, police said Friday, as they unveiled a report exposing "vast, predatory and opportunistic" abuses across six decades.

Nearly three-quarters of his victims were children, the report said, with the youngest only 8 years old. Most but not all were female.

Since the inquiry was launched three months ago, about 600 people have come forward to provide information, 450 relating to Savile, London's Metropolitan Police said.

From this, 214 crimes have been recorded, including 34 of rape or penetration, across the country.

Savile used his celebrity to "hide in plain sight" as he opportunistically preyed on the children and young people with whom he came into contact as he presented BBC children's show "Jim'll Fix It" and music show "Top of the Pops," the report said.

Dozens of offenses on BBC premises have been reported across a 40-year span between 1965 and 2006 -- the last at the final recording of "Top of the Pops."

Who was Jimmy Savile?

Fifty allegations against Savile relate to hospital premises, including hospices, the report said. Another 14 relate to schools, including a reform school he visited regularly between 1970 and 1978.

The scale of his abuse is believed to be unprecedented in the UK, it said.

The report by London's Metropolitan Police and a child protection charity, the NSPCC, titled "Giving Victims a Voice," brings to a close a sordid chapter.

Police set up Operation Yewtree to investigate sexual abuse claims after a documentary by broadcaster ITV in October unleashed a flood of allegations against the star, who before that was seen as an eccentric but charismatic man who raised millions of pounds for charity.

The investigation had three strands: one involving complaints against Savile alone, another termed "Savile and others" and a third involving only others. The publication of the report ends the first strand of the inquiry.

However, investigations continue into allegations made against the other suspects, some linked to Savile and others not. A number of arrests have been made.

"It paints a stark picture emphasizing the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide," Commander Peter Spindler, of the Metropolitan Police, said of the report.

"Savile's offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. He cannot face justice today but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims, they have been listened to and taken seriously. We must use the learning from these shocking events to prevent other children and vulnerable adults being abused in the future. They will get a voice."

"The police report into Jimmy Savile contains shocking revelations," a statement said. "As we have made clear, the BBC is appalled that some of the offences were committed on its premises. We would like to restate our sincere apology to the victims of these crimes."

The BBC set up three inquiries of its own amid questions about how Savile's abuses went undetected for so long. One is looking at the culture and practices within the BBC and another at its handling of past sexual harassment claims.

The third, which reported on the broadcaster's decision to drop a program investigating allegations Savile in late 2011, slammed senior management as "completely incapable" of dealing with the crisis that erupted.

The BBC's botched handling of the affair forced the director general, George Entwistle, to resign.

The UK Department of Health, which is conducting its own investigation into the access Savile had to hospitals and other institutions, said the police report "highlights the shocking scale of offending by Jimmy Savile over five decades and shows the need to learn lessons from his crimes."

With the police review concluded, civil claims are likely to be brought as some victims seek compensation for the abuse they suffered at Savile's hands. About 73% of them were younger than 18 when they were targeted.

Four-fifths of the victims were girls and women, the report said. The majority of the victims were between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of the abuse, and the oldest was 47.

Of the 34 reported offenses of rape or penetration, 26 victims were female and eight were male, police said.

"There is no clear evidence of Savile operating within a paedophile ring although whether he was part of an informal network is part of the continuing investigation," the report added.

Most of the alleged offenses were committed around the city of Leeds, where Savile lived, and in London, where he worked.

The peak of offending reported to police was between 1966 and 1976, when Savile was between 40 and 50 years old.

Separately, a review by the Crown Prosecution Service was critical of the decision by two police forces not to file charges against Savile after investigating four separate allegations of sexual abuse.

In 2007 and 2008 Surrey Police investigated three complaints that he had engaged in sexual behavior with young girls. During the same period, Sussex Police investigated a complaint by a young woman.

Alison Levitt, chief legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said police were too cautious in their approach and should have asked more questions to push inquiries forward.

The alleged victims and their accounts were treated "with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required," she said.

"Having spoken to the victims I have been driven to conclude that had the police and prosecutors taken a different approach a prosecution might have been possible."

Peter Watt, director of child protection advice for the NSPCC, said the scale of Savile's abuse "simply beggared belief."

But, he added, one positive is that nearly 800 additional children have been protected from abuse because the publicity around the Savile case has encouraged people to call the charity's helpline.

For many, it's the first time they've spoken out about abuse, he said.

"We are optimistic that this signals a watershed moment for child protection in this country. We must seize the opportunity if we are to make a lasting change," he said.

The report's authors acknowledge that it is too late to act on the claims against Savile, but they say the investigation met "the need for hundreds of victims to have official recognition of the serious crimes they have suffered and to know they have been taken seriously."

Millions of Britons who grew up watching Savile on TV's "Top of the Pops" and "Jim'll Fix It" were shocked by the fall from grace of an entertainer who'd been awarded knighthoods by Queen Elizabeth II and the late Pope John Paul II for his charitable work.

Savile died in October 2011 at age 84, soon after being treated in a hospital for pneumonia. His death was followed by a series of glowing tributes, including BBC specials.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Informing parents about the grave risks associated with this procedure is critical to safeguarding infants' health"

Judge won't block New York City circumcision law

* Preliminary injunction request denied

* Rule angered some people in Orthodox Jewish community

* "Direct oral suction" linked to herpes risk (Adds paragraphs 3-14, case citation, byline)

NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - A Manhattan federal judge refused to block a New York City regulation requiring people who perform circumcisions and use their mouths to draw away blood from the wound on a baby's penis to first obtain written consent from the parents.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on Thursday refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the change to the city's health code, which some members of the city's Orthodox Jewish communities called an unwarranted government intrusion on religious freedom.

In September, the New York City Board of Health voted to require mohels, who perform circumcisions, to obtain advance consent that tells parents about the risk of a potentially fatal herpes infection linked to the ritual of metzitzah b'peh, or MBP, involving direct oral suction of the penis.

Enforcement of the regulation was put on hold until Buchwald could rule on the request by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada, the International Bris Association and some rabbis for a preliminary injunction.

In court papers filed in October, they said the regulation improperly singled out an exclusively religious ritual, and violated the free speech and free exercise protections within the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

But in a 93-page decision, Buchwald refused to halt enforcement of the regulation, and said the plaintiffs' claims were likely to be found without merit.

"There is ample medical evidence that direct oral suction places infants at a serious risk of herpes infection, as well as evidence that parents are sometimes unaware in advance of a circumcision that MBP will occur, and the regulation plainly addresses these legitimate societal concerns," Buchwald wrote.

"As enacted, the regulation does no more than ensure that parents can make an informed decision" whether to consent, she added.

Shay Dvoretzky, a partner at Jones Day representing the plaintiffs, was not immediately available for comment.

The city welcomed the decision. "Informing parents about the grave risks associated with this procedure is critical to safeguarding infants' health," Michelle Goldberg-Cahn, a senior lawyer for the city, said in a statement.

New York City said it plans to begin enforcing the consent requirement even if litigation continues.

City health officials on Thursday said at least 11 infant boys have in the last several years contracted a potentially fatal form of herpes following circumcision with direct oral suction, and that two of the boys died.

Opponents of the regulation have said the health department had not proven a higher incidence of neonatal herpes among boys who had received direct oral suction.

The case is Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada et al v. New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-07590. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)