Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Child Sexual Abuse: It's Not Just a Catholic Issue

As Catholic cardinals from around the world gather to elect a new pope, they face the growing ire of an international community that has lost confidence in the moral integrity of the Church. New details are emerging every day about Catholic priests who have committed acts of child sexual abuse and a Church hierarchy that has for decades worked to protect them.

Amid all the names, the one that has attracted the most anger in the U.S. is Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles. Last month, a court ordered the release of files relating to more than 120 priests accused of child sex abuse which showed that Mahony, along with other officials, had protected the clerics. He was publicly reprimanded by his successor and stripped of his public and administrative duties.

The Catholic Church is in crisis, no doubt. The next pope will be bogged down for years in ongoing worldwide investigations, civil litigation and criminal prosecutions of Church officials. He faces the even tougher job of regaining the diminishing trust of many Catholics who have left the Church out of frustration and disgust.

While the media has chosen to focus on the wrongdoings of the Catholic Church, the problem of child sexual abuse -- and its cover up -- is by no means unique to this one religion. Over the past year, we have seen evidence of several other organizations where moral integrity is a given (including the Boy Scouts of America, Penn State University and an Orthodox Jewish community in London) fall prey to widespread child sexual abuse. Like the Catholic Church, these institutions chose to protect themselves and their own image rather than the lives of innocent victims.

In 2012, internal documents from the Boy Scouts of America revealed more than 125 cases in which men suspected of molestation allegedly continued to abuse Boy Scouts, despite a blacklist meant to protect boys from sexual predators. Similar to the Catholic Church's lists of pedophile priests, the Boy Scouts of America kept a list of "perversion files," which listed the names of Scout leaders suspected of abuse. In at least 50 cases, the Scouts expelled suspected abusers, only to discover they had re-entered the organization and were accused of molesting again.

In 2011, a conspiracy of silence that protected longtime Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was broken when Sandusky was accused of sexually assaulting at least eight underage boys. An investigation commissioned by the school board, and conducted by former FBI head Louis Freeh, found that university president Graham Spanier, head football coach Joe Paterno and athletic director Tim Curley had known about allegations of child abuse on Sandusky's part as early as 1998, and were complicit in failing to disclose them.

Just last month, British TV aired a documentary titled "Britain's Hidden Child Abuse," which showed a video of a senior rabbi in an Orthodox Jewish community north of London warning an alleged victim of child sex abuse not to go to the police. Rabbi Ephraim Padwa was secretly filmed telling the victim that going the police is an act of mesira -- a Jewish law forbidding reporting a Jew to a non-Jewish authority. The documentary uncovers 19 different alleged cases of child sex abuse across England- not one reported to the police.

A common theme in all of these cases is that the institutions involved chose to deal with the sexual abuse "in house" rather than going to law enforcement. The result? Lies, cover ups and an ongoing trail of abuse that continued far longer than it ever should have.

To regain trust and moral authority, these organizations need to handle child sexual abuse with transparency and honesty, instead of secrecy and deception. Secrecy is toxic, and in it, child abuse flourishes. They need to follow the mandatory child abuse reporting law, which requires adults working with children -- in the role of teacher, coach, clergy and more -- to report allegations of sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement. This includes abuse that is suspected, not confirmed.

Penn State instituted such a law in October, which holds universities and individuals financially and criminally liable for failure to report suspected abuse. Under the law, colleges and universities that "knowingly and willfully" fail to report known or suspected child abuse or prevent another person from doing so will be slapped with a $1 million fine for each failure.

Whoever the Catholic Church elects as its new pope, his first order of business should be to tackle the child sexual abuse problem head-on. First and foremost, he needs to revise Church law and Vatican protocols so that secrecy no longer surrounds child sex abuse. Secondly, he needs to follow the law of the land and require church officials to report clergy accused of sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement. And third, he needs to retain independent and outside professionals -- non-clerics -- who do not have a requirement of obedience to the pope and bishops, to conduct investigations into child sex crimes by clergy.

Then and only then will the Church and its leader regain the trust of its people and be able to move in a positive direction.

Samantha Parent Walravens is the author of 'TORN: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood,' chosen by the New York Times as the first pick for the Motherlode Book Club. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a crisis counselor at a rape crisis center where she did outreach and education on child sexual abuse.


Wanted --- More Horrified Judges!

'Horrified' judge sentences 'depraved' Kaysville child sex abuser to prison

FARMINGTON — A judge on Monday blasted a woman who admitted to sexually abusing two children, calling her “a danger to society”

“I was so horrified by what one person would do to a child,” Judge Michael G. Allphin said at the sentencing hearing of Stanna Page Marlene Sulimowicz, 29.

Allphin sentenced Sulimowicz to serve up to 15 years in Utah State Prison.

Sulimowicz entered the guilty plea to one count of second-degree felony sexual abuse of a child in November. She was originally charged in May 2012 with two counts of object rape of a child and one count of sodomy upon a child.

What you did to those children sickened me,” Allphin said. “Tears came to my eyes when I read the report. How could anyone do this to any child, I don’t understand.”

Allphin said Sulimowicz’s actions were “depraved.”

According to the arrest warrant, Sulimowicz was living in a Kaysville home with “multiple children” and “engaged in sexual contact with the children.”

Prosecutors said two children, both younger than 8 years old, were victimized.

The children told investigators that Sulimowicz used vibrators or sex toys on them, according to the arrest warrant.

The abuse happened from September 2011 to October 2011.


“Among bishops and cardinals, certainly the old guys who have been involved for so long, sure they’re going to have blood on their hands,” said Thomas G. Plante, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University, who has served on the American bishops’ national abuse advisory board and has written three books on sexual abuse...... “There’s so many of them,” said Justice Anne Burke, a judge in Illinois who served on the American bishops’ first advisory board 10 years ago. “They all have participated in one way or another in having actual information about criminal conduct, and not doing anything about it.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ratzinger - One Of The Great Despicable Criminals Of This Century - Pope Emeritus!

Benedict XVI to Keep His Name and Become Pope Emeritus

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI will keep the name Benedict XVI and become the Roman pontiff emeritus or pope emeritus, the Vatican announced on Tuesday, putting an end to days of speculation on how the pope will be addressed once he ceases to be the leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics on Thursday.

Benedict, the first pope to resign voluntarily in six centuries, will dress in a simple white cassock, forgoing the mozzetta, the elbow-length cape worn by some Catholic clergymen, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters at a news briefing.

And he will no longer wear the red shoes typically worn by popes, symbolizing the blood of the martyrs, Father Lombardi said, opting instead for a more quotidian brown. “Mexicans will be happy to know that the pope very much appreciated the shoes” he received as a gift last year in León, Mexico, he added. “He finds them very comfortable.” It was after the grueling trip in March 2012 that the pope began to seriously consider resigning, the Vatican said after the pope announced his resignation on Feb. 11.

Father Lombardi said the pope had decided on his couture in consultation with other Vatican officials. Benedict will also stop using the so-called fisherman’s ring to seal documents. It will be destroyed by the cardinal camerlengo, the acting head of state of Vatican City during the “sede vacante,” the canon law term used when the papacy is vacant.

As his staff finishes packing up his personal belongings, the pope will hold his scheduled weekly audience Wednesday — to which 50,000 tickets have already been requested — and then meet with several dignitaries, including the presidents of Slovakia and of the German region of Bavaria, who have traveled to Rome to pay their respects. The pope grew up in Bavaria.

Thursday will be a day of goodbyes, to the cardinals already present in Rome, and later to some members of the Curia. In the afternoon, he will depart for Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of popes, where he will remain until restorations are complete on the convent inside the Vatican where he will live out his days.

Father Lombardi said the College of Cardinals would probably begin meeting next Monday to discuss various issues, like the problems facing the church and the qualities required of its next leader, and determine the date of the start of the conclave to choose Benedict’s successor.


Another "relatively unflappable" Criminal in Clergy Garb!

Mahony answers questions under oath about clergy sex abuse cases

The former leader of the Los Angeles Archdiocese was reported to be 'calm and seemingly collected' throughout the 3 1/2 hour session stemming from a lawsuit involving a fugitive priest.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, shown in 2010, has been deposed many times, but Saturday’s session was the first time he had been asked about recently released internal church records that show he shielded abusers from law enforcement. (Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times)

A "relatively unflappable" Cardinal Roger Mahony answered questions under oath for more than 3 1/2 hours Saturday about his handling of clergy sex abuse cases, according to the lawyer who questioned the former archbishop.

"He remained calm and seemingly collected at all times," said attorney Anthony De Marco, who represents a man suing the Los Angeles Archdiocese over abuse he alleges he suffered at the hands of a priest who visited his parish in 1987.

Mahony has been deposed many times in the past, but Saturday's session was the first time he had been asked about recently released internal church records that show he shielded abusers from law enforcement.

De Marco declined to detail the questions he asked or the answers the cardinal provided, citing a judge's protective order.

The deposition occurred just before Mahony was to board a plane for Italy to vote in the conclave that will elect the next pope. In a Twitter post Friday, Mahony wrote that it was "just a few short hours before my departure for Rome."

Church officials did not return requests for comment.

The case, set for trial in April, concerns a Mexican priest, Nicholas Aguilar Rivera. Authorities believe he molested at least 26 children during a nine-month stay in Los Angeles.

Recently released church files show Aguilar Rivera fled to Mexico after a top Mahony aide, Thomas Curry, warned him that parents were likely to go the police and that he was in "a good deal of danger." Aguilar Rivera remains a fugitive in Mexico.

The archdiocese had agreed that Mahony could be questioned for four hours about the Aguilar Rivera case and 25 other priests accused in the same period. De Marco said he did not get to ask everything he wanted and would seek additional time after the cardinal returned from the Vatican.

Past depositions of Mahony have eventually become public, and De Marco said he would follow court procedures to seek the release of a transcript of Saturday's deposition.

Meanwhile, a Catholic organization Saturday delivered a petition with thousands of signatures asking that Mahony recuse himself from the conclave in Rome.

The group, Catholics United, collected nearly 10,000 signatures making "a simple request" that the former archbishop of Los Angeles not participate in the process because of the priest abuse scandals that happened under his watch, said Chris Pumpelly, communications director for Catholics United.

The petition was delivered Saturday to St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood, where the cardinal resides. It was accepted by a church staff member.

After delivering the petition, organizers attended Mass at the parish to pray for healing and for the future of the church.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oh Brother!

Dozens more in US claim abuse by clergy

ABOUT 50 more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused at Catholic schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio by a Franciscan brother who killed himself in January.

Brother Stephen Baker, 62, killed himself at a Pennsylvania monastery on January 26, a little over a week after the disclosure of financial settlements in alleged abuse cases in Warren, Ohio. A coroner told the Altoona Mirror newspaper that Baker left a short note apologising for his actions.

The new accusers have alleged in recent weeks that they were abused between 1982 and 2007, lawyer Mitchell Garabedian said on Sunday. Some said Baker abused them even after he left teaching in 2000 when he would attend school events in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Garabedian said.

The latest allegations come from people in 12 states who went to school in Warren or were either middle school or high school students in Johnstown, where Baker taught and coached, Garabedian said.

The Boston lawyer said he's also heard from four people who say they were abused while Baker was at a high school in Orchard Lake, Michigan.

Baker was named in legal settlements in January involving 11 men who alleged he had sexually abused them at a Catholic high school in northeast Ohio three decades ago. The undisclosed financial settlements involved his contact with students at John F Kennedy High School in Warren from 1986 to 1990.

Baker taught and coached at John F Kennedy High School in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was at Bishop McCort in Johnstown from 1992 to 2000. He taught in Michigan in the mid-1980s.

Catholic Bishop George Murry of Youngstown said this month that he sent letters asking for information from about 1,200 adults who attended Kennedy High School while Baker taught and coached there.

The Youngstown diocese has said it was unaware of the allegations until nearly 20 years after the alleged abuse.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467



Please save this date!

This is a crucial hearing on a measure to help protect kids and expose predators by reforming NY's archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations. Thanks to Assemblywoman Marge Markey for championing this important proposal and letting us know about this hearing!




SUBJECT: The Statute of Limitations Applicable to Sexual Abuse against Minors

PURPOSE: To examine whether the statute of limitations for sexual abuse against a minor as contained in existing law warrants amendment, to allow additional time for prosecution of criminal and/or civil actions against those liable for the commission of such acts.

New York, New York

Friday, March 8, 2013

10:00 A.M.

Assembly Hearing Room

250 Broadway, 19th Floor, Room 1923

Oral testimony will be accepted by invitation only and limited to ten (10) minutes' duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to the Committee staff as early as possible.

Twenty (20) copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committees' hearing.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

Joseph R. Lentol
Member of Assembly
Committee on Codes

Statute of Limitation dropped on child sex crimes!

 Child sexual abuse is horrific, yet a common crime. Many times it takes years for the victim to come forward and it can be too late because of statute of limitation law, but that's changing. This week, state lawmakers voted unanimously to end the statute of limitations of certain sex crimes involving minors.

The Smith brothers, Marc and Matt would have missed their chance at justice, to put the man who sexually molested them behind bars. It happened in the 80's, the predator was their youth baseball coach. But because the coach, Richard Roberts took kids across state lines, he could be tried in federal court. Now the brothers want to help others.

It's a painful secret two brothers never spoke about until last year. Matt says, "Marc called and asked if it had happened to me, I confirmed it and then I said I'd come forward as well."

That conversation got started because Marc saw the coach he had as a child on the same baseball field as his son. A man who sexually molested him and other kids.

Fast forward and in 2012, Walter Richard Roberts, 62, pleaded guilty to molesting boys over 10-years. It played out in federal court; otherwise, the Smith's would have missed their chance at justice, because the law states a child victim's age limitation is 28 to come forward.

But with the brothers help, the age limitation has been amended.

Matt says, "I think it's huge. There is something to be said obviously for bringing the abuser to justice, but in a bigger sense the thing that scared me, a motivating factor for me to come forward was to protect other kids out there."

Marc says it should never be too late and victims should not be ashamed. "It's not just about putting someone in jail, it's not just about getting someone away from kids so they can't do it to more kids. A lot of it is about yourself too." Marc continues, "When victims see it on TV and they read about it and they see people constantly talking about sexual abuse, and coming forward, the kids are going to feel comfortable talking about it."

Opponents of changing the age limitation say victims might get more justice, but fear it could also lead to more fraudulent claims.

SB92 has been signed into law by Governor Beebe. To read it, click below.



Do You Know Your Child's School Bus Driver?

Ex-bus driver gets 160 years in child abuse

Former special needs school bus driver John Allen Wright will serve 160 years in federal prison for raping three "voiceless and vulnerable" autistic young boys onboard his bus while videotaping his exploits, the state's top federal prosecutor said Friday in asking for the maximum sentence.

"Rather than be their custodian, he was their predator. He was their pornographer and their tormentor," U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire John P. Kacavas said.

Wright, 47, formerly of Milton, parked his bus on the side of roads and in parking lots, then raped the boys - ages 4, 4½ and 8 - while wearing sunglasses equipped with a battery-operated digital camera, Kacavas said in U.S. District Court.

While the victims - who also are developmentally disabled - are seen on his videotapes "screaming, crying out and trying to resist" Wright's assaults, their disabilities made the unable to communicate with their parents or teachers, Kacavas said.

"These children were prisoners of their disabilities and the defendant knew it," the prosecutor added of Wright, who he said drove a special needs school bus from 2008 until his arrest in 2011.

"I classify it as torture," Kacavas said after the one-hour sentencing hearing.

Two boys were assaulted in New Hampshire between Nov. 1, 2010, and April 30, 2011. One was assaulted in New Hampshire and Maine between July 1 and July 31, 2011.

None of the victims or their families were in court, Kacavas said.

Defense attorney Harry N. Starbranch immediately appealed the sentence to the First Circuit Court in Boston.

Starbranch pressed Judge Steven J. McAuliffe to impose a 25-year sentence with mental health treatment to be followed by full supervision upon release.

Wright suffers from an unspecified psychotic disorder and schizophrenia, he said.

"He had a horrific childhood. (There was) both physical and sexual abuse in his household," Starbranch said.

Wright, he added, was unable to hold down a job, was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army and has no criminal record.

While McAuliffe agreed Wright likely suffers from major mental illnesses, he imposed the maximum 160-year penalty and ordered him to undergo sexual offender treatment.

"These crimes are terribly destructive," McAuliffe said.

"The primary issue for me is the need to protect the public, and the need to protect the public warrants a life sentence," the judge explained.

Wright's wife, Charlotte, wept quietly in her front row seat behind her husband. Wright cast a slight smile at his wife and blew her a kiss as U.S. marshals led him from the courtroom in handcuffs.

Wright's school bus exploits were discovered by members of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in 2011 when they found him downloading and trading child pornography, Kacavas said.

Upon executing a search warrant at his Milton home, authorities found thousands of child sexual assault images. A subsequent federal search warrant revealed evidence linking Wright to the production of the videos. Wright was has been in custody since his indictment in October 2011.

Cases pending against Wright by the states of New Hampshire and Maine likely won't be prosecuted given the lengthy prison sentence he received, Kacavas said.

Rochester, New London, Dover and Kittery, Maine, police departments, the FBI, and Strafford County Attorney's office also investigated the case.

Wright was prosecuted under Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Disgraced And Exiled Rabbi Is Back In Business!

Leib Tropper is teaching and lecturing in Staten Island

By Allison Hoffman

February 21, 2013 3:17 PM

The last time we heard from Rabbi Leib Tropper, the ultra-Orthodox rabbi and conversion specialist, he was caught up in both a sex scandal and a multi-million-dollar court battle between the billionaire Thomas Kaplan, chair of the 92nd Street Y board, and his nephew, Guma Aguiar, the former owner of the controversial Beitar Jerusalem soccer team who disappeared off his yacht last year in Florida. Tropper, accused of trading Jewish conversion papers for sexual favors, was forced to leave the Rockland County enclave of Monsey in disgrace.

But that was 2010. Now, Tropper is back, apparently lecturing and teaching at a Staten Island yeshiva headed by Reuven Feinstein, who declined to condemn Tropper at the height of the controversy and who, perhaps not coincidentally, was the beneficiary of a $3 million donation from Tropper’s sponsors Kaplan and Aguiar. (Tropper’s father, Yehuda Tropper, also taught at the school for three decades.)

He’s also been busy building a robust online presence: Tropper now has a Twitter account, a Tumblr, a Flickr feed, a Vimeo page, a Google+ page, and both his own .org and .net domains. He also has a blog, where he advertises his latest appearances and writes about his travels, including a trip to Paris, where he visited an exhibit on Algerian Jews as well as the “must-see” galleries at the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay and the Grand Palais.

In January, Tropper also blogged about a lecture he gave on the pursuit of happiness. “Happiness is not the ecstacy [sic] expected by the feel Good culture in America,” he wrote. “It is a more Benign feeling of inner gratification by doing the Right thing.” Indeed.


Peter Turkson Has My Vote For Pope - I Need New Material!

Pope Contender Cardinal Peter Turkson Says No Priest Sex Abuse In Africa Because Of Anti-Gay Laws

The Cardinal heralded as the man who could be the first black Pope has said sex abuse could not happen in Africa, on the same scale as Europe, because of tough anti-homosexuality laws.

Ghana's Cardinal Peter Turkson caused outrage among former victims of sexual abuse by priests for linking progressive attitudes to homosexuality and child abuse.

Survivors of abuse by priests say they "fear for the safety of kids in Turkson's diocese if he denies there are predatory priests there".

Ghanean Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson (C) gives the sign of peace to another cardinal during a mass led by Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Turkson is currently the second favourite to be the next pontiff, and had been championed by progressives who have urged the Vatican to elect the first African pope.

Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan is currently favourite to succeed Benedict XVI.

In an interview with CNN, when asked about whether it was possible the Catholic sex abuse scandal could happen in Africa, the cardinal said it would not happen, "to the same extent or proportion as we have seen in Europe"

He continued: "African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency.

“Because in several communities, in several cultures in Africa homosexuality or for that matter any affair between two sexes of the same kind, are not countenanced in our society.

"So that cultural taboo, that tradition has been there. It has served to keep it out.”

He also defended the ban on any women ministry in the Church, saying: "If one does not have access to ordination, it is not discrimination. It is just how the church has understood this order of ministry to be.”

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said in a statement: “To say that Cardinal Peter Turkson’s claims about clergy abuse in Africa are uninformed would be far too kind. We hope this awful comment disqualifies him from consideration as the next pope.

"We hear less about clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Africa for the same reasons we do throughout the developing world: there tends to be lesser funding for law enforcement, less vigorous civil justice systems, less independent journalism, and an even greater power and wealth difference between church officials and their congregants."

The group continued: " Not only is the link between homosexuality and child abuse a fallacy, but it is a weak shield to hide behind.

"It's hard to address a crisis you don't think exists. So we fear for the safety of kids in Turkson's diocese if he denies there are predatory priests there.

"It’s far more likely that Turkson’s brother bishops in Africa have been involved in covering up clergy sex abuse crimes just like their colleagues across the globe. To pretend that Turkson’s home is devoid of the problem is erroneous, and offensive to still-suffering victims in Africa.”

Homosexuality is a crime in 37 countries in Africa. Most high profile is Uganda, where members of parliament are still fighting to introduce the death penalty for gay people.

Cardinal Turkson said he believed it was certainly possible for a non-European pope to be chosen: "It is certainly possible to have a Cardinal come from the Southern part of the globe.

"There are churchmen from there certainly capable of exercising leadership.

Asked by CNN's Christaine Amanpour about how the church could stay relevant in the modern world if it remained anti-homosexual and rejected women priests, he said: "We need to be true and faithful to the faith, and we need to be relevant to the society to which we preach our faith.

"We may not sacrifice one for the other. We seek to be relevant to society and meet the needs of humankind, we also need to be mindful of what it is that a church believes.

"Do you know where I am going? Otherwise we cease to be a church."

It is not the first time the Cardinal has voiced controversial views about homosexuality. Last year, the National Catholic Register reported the Cardinal saying it is important people understand the ‘reasons’ why some African governments have created legislation against homosexuality.

Turkson argues the ‘intensity of the reaction is probably commensurate with tradition’, saying the African culture needs to be respected.

‘When you’re talking about what’s called “an alternative lifestyle”, are those human rights?’ he said.

‘There’s a subtle distinction between morality and human rights, and that’s what needs to be clarified.’

The other Pope potential from Africa, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze likened homosexuality with pornography, infanticide and adultery in a 2003 speech at Georgetown University.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Christopher Hitchens On The Pope

Nail The Bastard!

Pope received news of his warrant of arrest before resignation

On February 4, a week before Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, Vatican allegedly received a note from an undisclosed European government that stated that there are plans to issue a warrant for the Pope's arrest.
With his resignation announced, the former pope will have a meeting with the Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano on February 23 to beg for immunity against prosecution for allegations of child rape.

Benedict XVI was the first Pope to resign in 600 years, which shocked almost everyone. And he did so after panicking about an impending arrest in the midst of a hastily arranged meeting begging for protection from the Italian government.

But for him this will not be easy as the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State calls upon the Italian President to deny help to Ratzinger. If the Italian President does cave there may be another venue to make sure he doesn't get away.

In addition to these alleged attempts by this European government to prosecute, a New York based organization, The Centre for Constitutional Rights, has accussed the Pope and his Cardinals of possible crimes against humanity for sheltering pedophile priests. The non-profit legal group has requested an ICC inquiry on behalf of the Survivor’s Network, citing the church’s “long-standing and pervasive system of sexual violence.”

The Catholic Church truly knows no bounds when it comes to protecting their priests, no matter how heinous the crimes. They are the biggest example of religion getting people passes. All we can do is hope that these attempts of legal action will become succesful.


"Typically, a victim waits until after the statute of limitations is up before they are ready to admit that he or she has been abused."

Proposal would lift statute of limitations on child sexual abuse

A proposal in the House would lift the statutes of limitations on civil and criminal actions in cases of child abuse and child sexual abuse.

Missouri law has a 10-year statute of limitations on actions for damage or personal injury caused by child sexual abuse and allows prosecution of sex crimes against people up to age 18 only up to 30 years after that person turns 18.

Representative Brandon Ellington’s (D-Kansas City) proposal, HB 247, would change that.

“By removing the statute of limitations we’re not guaranteeing conviction. The only thing that we’re doing is allowing people to go back and prosecute or face their abuser.”

Ellington says typically, a victim waits until after the statute of limitations is up before they are ready to admit that he or she has been abused.

Human Rights worker Alvin Sykes says this was the case for him. He says he was sexually abused when he was 11 but didn’t tell anyone for 16 years.

“I didn’t know what to do. I knew I couldn’t go back and tell mama because she told me to stay away from these people in the first place … I didn’t think about the police because I thought they were too far away.”

Missouri Kids First Child Deputy Director Emily Van Schenkhof tells a House Committee, child sex abuse crimes are the least likely to be reported, and most likely to be reported long after they occur, of all the crimes in Missouri’s criminal code.

“We estimate that probably only around 25% of child sex crimes, if that, are ever reported to the authorities. In my time in doing this work I have spoken to probably more than 100 victims of child sexual abuse and when most of them end their story, they end by saying “I have never told anyone.”

Van Schenkhof says a common concern about lifting the statute is that there could be an influx of accusations. She reminds lawmakers that due process provisions will still be in place to protect the accused.

She says the situations most likely to be affected would be the most egregious ones, “Where there was a serial predator and multiple victims. Those would probably be the only type of cases where the changes to the statute of limitations, particularly on the criminal side, would come into play.”

The legislation would also specify that prosecutions for child abuse can begin at any time.

No vote has been taken yet on the proposal.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Clerical training fostered a predisposition to perpetrate child sexual abuse, study shows

The emotional and sexual development issues which likely predisposed some men who entered the seminary in Ireland to perpetrate child sexual abuse were exacerbated by the clerical training and culture they experienced, according to study findings published in the International Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect.

The research highlights that the prohibition of friendship, and the promotion of sexuality as sinful served to compound and amplify psychological conflicts that had developed during the offender’s early life.

“What our research shows is a culture within the training of Irish Catholic priests that militated against the integration of emotional and sexual development and hindered psychological maturation, resulting in some men with very serious intimacy and relationship difficulties,” says the first author of the report, Dr Paul D’Alton, UCD School of Psychology, University College Dublin, and St Vincent's University Hospital.

The study involved nine clergy who had perpetrated child sexual abuse and were attending professional psychotherapy. The interview schedules with the offenders were taken from a thematic analysis of a random selection of ‘life stories’ (autobiographical accounts of participants’ life histories completed as part of group therapy).

All of the participants displayed significant difficulties forming friendships and close relationships, a condition common among perpetrators of child sexual abuse.

“What appears among our study participants, and therefore is likely for other clerical offenders, is the experience of a culture and system that failed to re-balance or correct any early problems they may have had but rather acted to compound them through the strict imposition of certain beliefs and ideology,” adds Dr D’Alton.

The findings published in The International Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect point to a prevailing ideology that compounded psychosexual and psychosocial vulnerabilities during the participants’ clerical training, and thus fostered any predisposition to perpetrate sexual abuse.

According to Dr D’Alton, the findings support other studies suggesting several unique factors associated with sexual abuse within the clerical environment. Thus a multifactoral model of the development child sex offenders in indicated.

The study shows a failure of the culture and practices within clerical training to re-balance or resolve any psychological conflicts that had already developed during the offender’s early life.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Rabbi A was deeply manipulative.....

When my sister and I were growing up in the Haredi community, we were abused by a rabbi. Between the ages of six and 11, this man — a member of our close family — physically abused me, and sexually abused my younger sister.

 * C4's Jewish abuse documentary didn't tell the whole story

* Orthodox Jewish community, Joe Byrne feels cheated by a recent C4 documentary.

When Dispatches: Britain’s Hidden Child Abuse aired at the end of last month on Channel 4, I watched it with interest. The programme had been widely advertised. Its central revelation was to be that British orthodox rabbis were forbidding their followers to report child abuse to the police. As a member of the orthodox community who suffered abuse as a child, I knew how important this was.

The documentary began, and it soon became apparent that Jackie Long, the presenter, hadn’t learnt how to pronounce correctly the word Haredi (meaning the Ultra Orthodox Jewish community). She made it sound like “Harrods”, when it should be pronounced “Cha-rei-dee”, with a strong stress on the middle syllable. Would it have been so difficult, I thought, to ask one of the Jews in the programme for a few pronunciation tips?

A few minutes later, she called one of her principle interviewees “Ephrom” when his name was actually “Eph-ruy-im”. She later showed an important document, written in Hebrew, to the camera. She was holding it upside down.

These errors seemed minor at first, but they indicated a more serious problem. The Dispatches team had clearly been slapdash in their research, and did not seem concerned with creating an accurate portrayal. Sadly, this impression was confirmed in the substance of the documentary.

When my sister and I were growing up in the Haredi community, we were abused by a rabbi. Between the ages of six and 11, this man — a member of our close family — physically abused me, and sexually abused my younger sister. The matter eventually came into the open, and it caused a split in the community. Many people made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that the authorities should not be involved. But there was another group that supported our right to report our abuser to the police. We did so, and the man went to prison for a number of years.

The abuser in question – let’s call him Rabbi A – was no drunken reprobate. His violence towards me was clinical and systematic, carried out in response to minor infringements such as failing to keep my room tidy enough. He would keep a detailed tally of my “crimes”, and look for an opportunity when he had me alone. Then he would secrete me away behind some bushes, in an upstairs room at the synagogue, or behind the garden shed, and administer the beatings with a leather belt or a length of garden hose. This happened to me weekly, sometimes daily.

Actually, I count myself lucky. Compared to the abuse which many children suffer, my own was not that bad. Certainly it was eclipsed by the treatment my sister received. I did not ever see him sexually abusing her, but looking back I can recognise the signs.

Rabbi A was deeply manipulative, and managed to ensure that neither my sister nor myself told my mother what was happening. So it all first came out at school. I went to a Haredi school and the headmaster – another rabbi – had a special concern for me. Noticing that something wasn’t right, he called me into his office one day and asked me about things at home. Without thinking, I began to let the whole story come tumbling out.

He told my mother immediately. She came into school that same day, and we had a meeting in the headmaster’s office. He told me that he had spoken harshly to Rabbi A on the phone, and had given him one last chance. I can still remember his words: “If he does it again, I’ll throw the book at him.”

I suppose he should have informed the police immediately. But he didn’t yet know about the sexual abuse, and things are always much clearer with the benefit of hindsight. As soon as Rabbi A had me alone, he hit me across the face and told me never to tell on him again. I didn’t reply; but deep down I knew his time had come. The following day I told my headmaster what had happened. True to his word, that was the last time I saw Rabbi A.

I have since pieced together what happened next. My mother and headmaster called the police, and they marched in to the synagogue to arrest Rabbi A. In a darkly comic moment, they seized the wrong rabbi and dragged him out in the middle of prayers. But eventually they got their man. The case went to court 18 months later, and I was cross-examined by an aggressive QC for two days. I was 11 years old, and broke down only once.

This period of our lives was the most stressful our family had ever experienced. While the court case was going on, my mother was targeted by a group of ultra-orthodox hardliners who despised us for having talked to the police. Somehow, she protected my sister and I from it at the time, and told me the details only recently. It was a campaign of intimidation. Her car was vandalised. Rubbish, including soiled nappies, was pushed through our letterbox. She was spat at in the street, and cursed for generations. Many kosher shops refused her service. She received threatening letters; even our solicitor – a Haredi man – was sent a note saying that if he continued to represent us, his house would be burned down and his children killed.

And most humiliating of all, letters appeared under the windscreen wipers of all the cars in the synagogue car park, stating my mother was mad and we were under her influence. The same letters were sent to our teachers, and to my mother’s employer. Reading this, you are probably wondering why I criticise the Channel 4 programme. The reason is simple. The intimidation was carried out only by a hardcore element of the Haredi community. Many others stood up to them, including my headmaster and our solicitor, both high-ranking rabbis and ordinary people. These people gave us emotional, practical and even financial support, and refused to be intimidated.

A group of senior rabbis even held meetings with those who attacked us, and argued with them, citing Talmudic sources, to suggest that going to the police was the right thing to do. I will always be grateful to these people for their courage and compassion. It was wrong of Dispatches to ignore them, and irresponsible to allow the hardline sects to characterise the entire Haredi community.

The orthodox Jewish community is not a monolithic entity. There are countless sects and sub-sects, and each has a slightly different set of values. Nobody can know the numbers for certain. Perhaps there are more hardliners than moderates; personally, I suspect it is vice versa.

Either way, I can assure you from my own experience that a great many within the orthodox community are appalled by the notion of keeping abuse under wraps. These are good people, and I believe Dispatches should have given them a voice.

Joe Byrne is a pseudonym

"Haredi"  - Ultra-Orthodox Jew - One who trembles before God!" A new and frightening expression that surfaced in the 1980s.


Chief GadolJew - "No Child Rape In Our Tribe!"

by Avi ShtikDrek

Federal officials will hold a town hall meeting on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in North Dakota this month to discuss the reservation’s child sexual abuse problem, which last year led the federal government to take over the tribe’s social services program.

Residents have complained that the Bureau of Indian Affairs and federal prosecutors have done too little to stop child abuse, which officials acknowledge is commonplace on Spirit Lake and has reached epidemic levels, whistle-blowers say. North Dakota’s senators and a representative are expected to attend the meeting.

The federal government took over the tribe’s social services in October, and in one month federal officials said they had investigated more than 100 cases of reported child abuse. More recent figures are not available, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In May 2011, a 9-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother were killed on the reservation after being raped and sodomized.

In recent months, residents have protested outside tribal headquarters about the lack of prosecutions of those accused of child abuse, and what they say is a continuing failure to protect Spirit Lake’s children. The reservation’s registered child sex offender list includes the man who plays Santa Claus at tribal events, as well as a brother of Roger Yankton Sr., the tribal chairman.

Mark Little Junk, 34, the official hired by the tribe to oversee its social services, was arrested in December on several charges, including domestic violence, after he punched a woman in the face, the authorities said. He was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after throwing a child out of a bedroom where the assault was taking place, according to court documents.

The town hall meeting, announced by Senators John Hoeven, a Republican, and Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, and Representative Kevin Cramer, a Republican, will include an update from the Bureau of Indian Affairs on federal efforts, according to a news release. A date for the meeting has not yet been set.

“We have pressed them not only to use every legal and administrative measure in their jurisdiction to ensure the safety of children on the Spirit Lake Reservation, but also to be transparent and forthcoming with tribal members about what they’re doing,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs said that among the changes it has made since taking over tribal social services was imposing a rule that required all adults who live with foster children to have their fingerprints taken.

While fingerprinting in such circumstances is already mandated by federal law, it was not being done regularly at Spirit Lake, officials said. Reservation residents say they believe significant numbers of foster children on the reservation have been sexually abused.


What Do You Call A Retired Pope? A Putz! And Is He Still Infallible? Never Was!

Although in the popular imagination, everything a pope says and writes is often perceived as infallible, in fact, papal pronouncements are only considered infallible when a pope speaks “ex cathedra,” in his capacity as leader of the universal church, on questions of faith and morals.

 CLICK TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/world/europe/what-do-you-call-a-retired-pope-and-is-he-still-infallible.html?pagewanted=all

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Never Seek A Rabbi's Advice On Child Sex-Abuse - Never!

Calgary Jews disavow sex offender, rabbi’s letter.

In the wake of a sexual abuse scandal that has rocked Calgary, leaders of the Canadian city’s Jewish community have moved quickly to distance themselves from a local rabbi’s expression of support for a convicted Jewish psychiatrist with a notorious past.

At issue is a letter from Rabbi Yisroel Miller, the leader of House of Jacob Mikveh Israel, an Orthodox synagogue, which was read aloud during the sentencing hearing for Dr. Aubrey Levin. Levin, who had occupied a prominent position in the University of Calgary‘s psychiatry department, was convicted Jan. 31 of sexually assaulting male patients who had been referred to him for assessment and treatment by the province of Alberta’s criminal justice system.

At the hearing, Levin’s attorney characterized the assaults as “minor” and read aloud a letter submitted by Miller, the psychiatrist’s rabbi at House of Jacob Mikveh Israel. Miller wrote that Levin’s “humble manner and complete lack of arrogance endeared him to everyone,” and pleaded for leniency.

“The bad does not erase all the good,” Miller argued. “I know all the goodness within him still remains. A prison term would be a death sentence for him.”

Justice Donna Shelley was unmoved, sentencing Levin to five years in prison for “horrible violations of the trust that these the patients put in you as their psychiatrist.”

‘Rabbi Miller expected his clergy letter . . . to be read privately by the judge, not read aloud in court’

“As a psychiatrist, you knew their vulnerabilities . . . They were entitled to feel safe and supported during their appointments with you. Instead, you exploited them in a predatory and repetitious manner.”

The offender’s wife, Erica Levin, was not in court. She was under house arrest, having been charged with attempted jury tampering.

Her husband was released on bail Wednesday, pending the outcome of an appeal.

Levin’s membership in Calgary’s approximately 7,500-person Jewish community was not publicly acknowledged until the rabbi’s letter was read, according to Bev Sheckter, executive director of Jewish Family Service Calgary.

“I would have been happy had no one ever known he was Jewish,” she told The Times of Israel.

Calgary’s Jewish community was further shaken by the revelation of Levin’s highly controversial past in his native South Africa, where he lived before immigrating to Canada in 1995.

In South Africa, Levin had served as the chief psychiatrist in the apartheid-era military, receiving the nickname “Dr. Shock” for his use of electroconvulsive aversion therapy to “cure” gay soldiers. The psychiatrist, now 74, also reportedly held conscientious objectors against their will at a military hospital and subjected them to powerful drug treatments.

“It was a total shock,” said Nelson Halpern, co-president of House of Jacob Mikveh Israel. “Levin arrived in Calgary and joined our shul. We welcomed him as a new member and as a professional with a lovely family. We had no reason to suspect anything like this about him.”

Levin had reportedly suppressed discussion of his past once he entered Canada, allegedly threatening lawsuits against news outlets that discovered his story.

His past also included accusations before South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission that Levin was guilty of “gross human rights abuses,” including the chemical castration of gay men.

‘I would have been happy had no one ever known he was Jewish’

Levin was a member of the first Jewish family to join the South African National Party, which implemented and enforced apartheid for nearly five decades. He had a history of anti-gay statements and actions.

Halpern, the co-president of Calgary’s Orthodox synagogue, is one of several prominent community members to issue public statements emphasizing that Miller’s letter speaks only for the rabbi, and not for the community as a whole.

“Rabbi Miller expected his clergy letter of support for the offender to be read privately by the judge, not read aloud in court,” Halpern explained to The Times of Israel. “He has every right to be supportive of and show compassion for his congregant. However, he should have chosen other words.”

Halpern and Adam Singer, the president of the Calgary Jewish Federation, wrote letters printed in the Calgary Sun and Calgary Herald, respectively. In Singer’s, published Feb. 5, he wrote, “Miller was not speaking on behalf of the Jewish community of Calgary. Calgary Jewish Federation, the representative body of Calgary’s Jewish community, condemns sexual abuse, domestic violence and violations of human dignity. The victims of such crimes deserve to see justice done, and those found guilty in a court of law must face the consequences of their actions.”

“Federation speaks for the community, not Rabbi Miller,” said Sheckter, whose agency runs a program dealing with domestic violence and sexual abuse in the community. “The community would not have been upset if the rabbi had limited his comments to the rabbi-congregant relationship. What has upset us is that it included reference to the community as a whole. None of us would support a sexual predator who has been found guilty by law.”

“At Jewish Family Service, we try to protect the vulnerable, so to have this said about our community is very disconcerting,” Sheckter said.

Levin’s wife was under house arrest, charged with attempted jury tampering.

Miller comes from a well-known and respected Boston rabbinic family and is the author of several books on Jewish thought. In Pittsburgh, he led the Modern Orthodox Congregation Poale Zedeck and held a number of leadership roles in the greater Jewish community, including as an officer of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Halpern said he was not sure whether Miller, who arrived at House of Jacob Mikveh Israel in July 2009, was aware of the local community’s heightened sensitivity around the issue of sexual abuse following a pedophilia case there in the 1990s, when a youth adviser and kashrut supervisor named David Webber served six years in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography.

Despite the community‘s negative reaction, Miller has not issued a statement since the controversy began. He didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Times of Israel.

Halpern said that the board of House of Jacob Mikveh Israel is enacting new policies to prevent a repeat of the controversy.

Sheckter has reached out to the rabbi, whom she called “a very knowledgeable man who has been open in the past to conversations with JFSC about family violence.”

“It’s really an educational piece. I don’t want to blame him,” she said. “Maybe he doesn’t understand the ramifications that sexual abuse can have on people. I want to work together so that his won’t happen again.”

“He is a powerful man. People listen to him,” Sheckter said of Miller. “If people feel a rabbi is not sensitive to these things, then victims will not come forward to ask him for help.”


Friday, February 15, 2013

Child sex abuse cover-up alleged in Pope Benedict's resignation

If you suspected there was more to the story behind the historic resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, there may be emerging evidence to support that suspicion.

The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS) reported on Thursday that Pope Benedict became the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years in order to avoid criminal prosecution for concealing knowledge of “documented crimes of child torture, trafficking and genocide,” connected to the Roman Catholic Church.

The ITCCS report cites a letter from Rev. Kevin Annett to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, written a week before the pope officially resigned.

The letter states, in part:

“On behalf of our Tribunal and people of conscience everywhere, and of the millions of victims of church abuse, I am making an appeal to you regarding your upcoming meeting with Joseph Ratzinger, who will retire soon as Pope Benedict, the Pontiff of the Church of Rome.

Our understanding is that, in the wake of pressure to have him resign his office because of his proven complicity in concealing child trafficking in his church and other crimes against humanity, Joseph Ratzinger is seeking the assistance of the Italian government in securing protection and immunity from legal prosecution.”

According to the letter, Benedict’s resignation is said to be part of an arrangement with the Italian government to avoid the arrest of a sitting pope.

The Roman Catholic Church has a shadowy history of sexual abuse between members of the clergy and children. Church officials have not always been forthright in admitting to sex crimes within the church, but there is evidence to suggest that the problem is widespread and well known among high-ranking church members.

The Los Angeles Times reports, “Documents from the late 1980s show that Archbishop Roger M. Mahony and another archdiocese official discussed strategies to keep police from discovering that children were being sexually abused by priests.”

In 2012, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard launched an investigation into child sexual abuse allegations involving Catholic clergy and children, in both public and private settings.

If Benedict is indeed resigning to avoid criminal prosecution for knowledge of sex abuse and other wrongdoing with children in the church, and he was part of a cover-up for the crimes, it would send shockwaves throughout the Christian world.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

"You really need some ­enlightened leaders to say not only are we going to address the past, but also put in place comprehensive reforms so that this never happens again”

“We aren’t surprised when there are drunks at a bar,” she said. “Why are we surprised to find pedophiles near children?”

Reports of sexual abuse at prep schools reflect growing awareness

 Last summer, a graduate of the Landmark School in Beverly demanded that the school inves­tigate past abuse allegations, asking a counselor at the school “Do you want to be ­Paterno?”

In January, the Brooks School in North Andover disclosed that the former headmaster had an improper relationship with a student.

Two weeks ago, Deerfield Academy in Western Massachusetts announced that a former faculty member had admitted to sexual contact with a student in the 1980s and urged any other victims to come forward.

The series of startling revelations, which has embroiled the schools in controversy and put them under unfamiliar scrutiny, exposes the hidden neglect of past decades and the cost of placing reputation and prestige over the well-being of children, abuse specialists say.

But the recent reports also reflect a growing awareness of child sexual abuse, particularly in the aftermath of the high-profile scandal at Penn State University, and the fading stigma surrounding sexual crimes.

“More allegations are coming to light in every setting, and survivors are drawing inspiration and courage from them,” said Jetta Bernier, executive ­director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children, a leading children’s advocacy group. ­“Society is beginning to understand these cases are happening with far-too-frequent regularity.”

Schools are also handling alle­gations with greater urgency and openness, say those who work with abuse victims. The Brooks School, for instance, disclosed the improper relationship in an e-mail to alumni and parents, describing former headmaster Lawrence Becker’s conduct as “objectionable, manip­ulative, and an abuse of his ­position.”

Brooks officials also acknowledged that the head of the board of trustees at the time, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, did not ­involve authorities when the ­relationship came to light.

At Deerfield, the most recent case, the school disclosed the sexual contact on its website.

Both schools urged any abuse victims to contact them.

“We will make every effort to ensure the confidentiality of any information, and we are offer­ing professional counseling if needed,” officials at ­Deerfield Academy wrote.

Brooks and Deerfield officials declined to comment for this report.

Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan said detectives in his office would help any former Deerfield students wishing to report in­appropriate contact.

That approach, while probably motivated by fears of legal liability and public criticism, has encouraged victims to break their silence, often after decades, specialists say. As more victims come forward, more are spurred to do the same.

“Many come to feel that they have a responsibility to speak out,” said Suzin Bartley, executive director of the Children’s Trust Fund, a statewide group that works to prevent child abuse. “Because if you don’t speak out, this individual may very well continue to abuse ­other children.”

Many victims do not come to terms with their abuse until years later, Bartley said.

In addition to the high-profile allegations at three prep schools in Massachusetts, abuse claims have emerged at two well-known independent schools in New York. Last year, allegations came to light at ­Horace Mann School. In ­December, a venerable private school in Brooklyn, Poly Prep Country Day School, settled a lawsuit contending that the school had for years ignored ­reports of abuse at the hands of a winning football coach.

Bartley, whose organization has just released a new manual for required reporters of sex abuse in Massachusetts, said the succession of abuse reports at prep schools should not be surprising.

“We aren’t surprised when there are drunks at a bar,” she said. “Why are we surprised to find pedophiles near children?”

Bartley calls for training those who work with children to recognize signs of abuse and establishing strict codes of conduct that discourage adults from being alone with children.

“It’s about limiting their ­access, period,” she said.

Myra McGovern, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Independent Schools, said that outrage over the Penn State child abuse scandal has raised awareness to an unprecedented degree. She believes that has led more victims to ­recall past abuse.

“Even a few years ago, it wouldn’t be discussed so openly,” McGovern said. “Whenever there are big stories of abuse alle­gations, it makes survivors think about their own history.”

Since Penn State, private schools have adopted a range of new training and policies aimed at preventing abuse, she said.

McGovern cited Brooks and Deerfield as examples of how schools have become more forthcoming, pointing out that both schools contacted alumni and conducted investigations after learning of the reports.

“It’s a very different time,” she said. “Schools are taking a much more proactive approach. That willingness to reach out is much more prevalent today.”

David Finkelhor, a leading specialist on child sexual abuse who directs the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, said child sexual abuse cases have declined by more than 60 percent over the past two ­decades.

The decline reflects growing public awareness, more vigorous prosecution of offenders, and improved treatment of abuse victims, he said.

At the same time, past incidents at prep schools might be surfacing because of publicity around these types of cases, he said.

“Victims may feel like they are less likely to be attacked and doubted,” he said.

Bernier said that while schools that reach out to past victims deserve credit, few are doing all they can to prevent ­future abuse.

“You really need some ­enlightened leaders to say not only are we going to address the past, but also put in place comprehensive reforms so that this never happens again,” she said. “They are missing the opportunity.”

Peter Schworm can be reached at schworm@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bill: A crime to not report child abuse - "This is to prevent people in supervisory roles to handle abuse claims privately rather than reporting to police"

Officials including athletic directors and school principals could face criminal penalties if they fail to report suspected child abuse.

That's the focus of a bill that will get a public hearing Wednesday afternoon before the General Assembly's Judiciary Committee.

State Rep. Gerald M. Fox III, co-chairman of the committee, said Tuesday that the bill is aimed at stopping the chain of administrative silence that led to the Penn State University sex scandal of 2011.

"This is to prevent people in supervisory roles to handle abuse claims privately rather than reporting to police," said Fox, D-Stamford, who introduced similar legislation last year. It's based on the sex-abuse case against Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who was found guilty last June of 45 charges of sex abuse.

Currently an athletic director or person in similar supervisory role can be fined no more than $2,500 for failing to report the abuse of children 16 and under.

Under the proposed bill, such neglect could result in a Class A misdemeanor, with penalties of a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Fox said that the penalty could be negotiated and possibly toughened before it reaches full votes in the House and Senate. He's looking forward to testimony in the public hearing to discuss the issues.

He said the point of the legislation is, hypothetically, not to punish a young public school teacher who misses signs of abuse, but rather the administrators who might try to dismiss cases or cover up cases that should be investigated by law enforcement.

"This would target people trying to protect their organizations or themselves, rather than staff," Fox said in a phone interview Tuesday.

The bill would amend current law on so-called mandated reporters, who under state law are required to observe children for signs of either physical or sexual abuse and report it.

The state Department of Children and Families is expected to testify in favor of the bill in the hearing, which starts at 2:30 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building.

Michael P. Lawlor, a former lawmaker who is under secretary for criminal justice policy in the state Office of Policy and Management, said Tuesday that the list of mandated reporters has expanded over the years, from teachers, doctors, and clergy, to coaches and those in authority at youth-oriented activities.

"There are people in the course of their professions who come across information on children who are being abused either physically or sexually," Lawlor said.

"They have been trained and should be under the obligation," he said. "People who run powerful institutions have a conflict of interest sometimes even though they have clear evidence of children being abused. That has to be stopped."

kdixon@ctpost.com; 860-549-4670; twitter.com/KenDixonCT; facebook.com/kendixonct.hearst; blog.ctnews.com/dixon

Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Bill-A-crime-to-not-report-child-abuse-4272739.php#ixzz2KkrhPP6m

Monday, February 11, 2013

UK Jews React To Child Sex-Abuse Documentary!

Channel 4 documentary looking at how claims of child sexual abuse are dealt with in Britain's Orthodox Jewish community sparks off debate in kingdom

A documentary looking at how claims of child sexual abuse are dealt with in Britain's Orthodox Jewish community was recently featured on British television. It sparked off debate in the United Kingdom,but how has London and its Jewish community reacted to the documentary?

The documentary, "Britain's Hidden Child Abuse," featured on Channel 4 on January 30, secretly filmed Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, leader of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations.

"It's an investigation of the way the haredi community deals with allegations of child sexual abuse," says executive producer Tony Stark.

"What we've found is instead of rabbis advising people who come to them if they feel they've been sexually abused, to go to the police, they've been trying to deal with the issue themselves. They've been discouraging people from going to the police, and in some cases even forbidding them."

However, the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has refuted all claims that they refuse to take allegations of child abuse seriously, stating they have a duty and responsibility to protect children.

Rabbi Barry Marcus of the Central Synagogue of London spoke to JN1 about his reaction to the documentary.

"The guidelines are pretty clear now as to how we need to protect, especially children, and the more vulnerable in our community. There was an incident with a teacher within the United Synagogue some years ago, and I think that spurred the United Synagogue to be proactive, rather than reactive, which seems to be what's going on now within the haredi community. That doesn't make them any more guilty."

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has published the number of a telephone line to report instances of child abuse to Rabbis who have been specially trained.

Indeed the Union recognizes that there "are certain times when it is correct and necessary to call the social services and police."


Saint Hilarious - One More Lie Before He Dies!

Last Pope to Resign Did So in Midst of Vatican Leadership Crisis

 READ: http://www.snapnetwork.org/pope_resigns_snap_responds

Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement on Monday that he was stepping down because he was too elderly and infirm for the job was the first papal resignation in 598 years. It put Benedict among the small handful, out of the 265 recognized popes in history, who have stepped down as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The circumstances behind the other departures generally had nothing to do with age or health, according to Vatican history experts and references.

The last pope to resign, Gregory XII, did so in 1415, 10 years into his tenure, in the midst of a leadership crisis in the church known as the Great Western Schism. Three rival popes had been selected by separate factions of the church, and a group of bishops called the Council of Constance were trying to heal the schism. In an interview with Vatican Radio, Donald S. Prudlo, a papal historian at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala., said that Gregory XII offered to resign so that the council could choose a new pope that all factions would recognize. It took two years after Gregory XII’s departure to elect his successor, Martin V.

Other popes known to have resigned:

Pope Celestine V: A recluse who only reluctantly accepted his election in 1294, Celestine V resigned and fled the Vatican after just three months to wander in the mountains. According to a history timeline on Christianity.com, the bishop who became his successor, Boniface VIII, was intent on ensuring that Celestine V did not become an example for future popes, and ordered Celestine V seized and imprisoned as he was about to sail to Greece. He died in custody in 1296 at the age of 81, and was declared a saint in 1313.

Benedict IX: One of the youngest popes, he was elected at the age of 23 in 1035, and became notorious for licentious behavior and for selling the papacy to his godfather, Gregory VI, and then twice reclaiming the position; he finally resigned for good in 1045, at the age of 33.

Gregory VI: Considered a man of great reputation, Gregory VI had thought Benedict IX unworthy of the papacy, and essentially bribed him to resign. He was recognized as pope in Benedict’s stead, but when Benedict’s attempt at marriage failed and he wanted to return to the papacy, a power struggle ensued. A council of bishops called upon Gregory VI to resign after less than two years in office because he had obtained the papacy through bribery.

By contrast, the resignation of Benedict XVI after an eight-year tenure will essentially be a retirement at the age of 85, after the pope showed increasingly public signs of fatigue in recent months. His last day as pope will be Feb. 28, coincidentally the feast day of a revered fifth-century pope, Saint Hilarius.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

“Did someone touch you at day care?”

Testimony from children can make or break sexual abuse case

If David Glenn Smith, the Des Moines man accused of sexually abusing children at his wife’s in-home day care over the span of four years, is tried in court, the nature of the case will pose unusual challenges for prosecutors.

There is no physical evidence in the case, police say. Prosecutors are relying solely on the testimony of the alleged victims and witnesses, who are all younger than age 10.

As investigators experienced in a recent Polk County case that was retried after an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court, putting a child on the witness stand has inherent risks.

In an interview, Polk County Attorney John Sarcone said he could speak only in general about child abuse cases, and not specifically about Smith’s case.

“They’re not the easiest cases in the world, but they’re ones that need to be brought,” he said.

Some child abuse cases are resolved before a trial, but if that doesn’t happen, the alleged victim usually must testify. Preparing children to recount the abuse they endured and to face their alleged abusers in court is especially difficult, Sarcone said.

“You wouldn’t believe the damage that is done to some of them, and it takes a long time to recover from those things,” he said.

In certain circumstances, when appearing in the courtroom would inhibit a child’s ability to testify, children are allowed to provide their testimony by video. Even then, some children clam up, Sarcone said.

He cited the 2009 trial of Matthew Elliott, who was accused of killing a 7-month-old girl in 2007 in the West Des Moines home where he was staying. Prosecutors called on the 7-year-old uncle of the victim to testify.

The boy had originally told investigators he saw Elliott carrying the baby’s lifeless body, but in his videotaped interview before the court he balked, saying he did not remember what he told police.

Elliott was convicted anyway, but the Iowa Supreme Court in 2011 awarded him a new trial, out of concern that detectives’ testimony about what the 7-year-old originally reported amounted to hearsay without the boy’s testimony.

Elliott was convicted again and sentenced to 60 years in prison.

In the case against Smith, investigators interviewed more than 10 children who attended the day care. Some said they were touched by Smith. Others said they saw Smith touch other children.

According to Polk County court documents, Smith allegedly placed a 9-year-old girl on his lap, put his hands under her clothes and touched her inappropriately.

Smith is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, a felony with a potential 25-year prison sentence.

While Smith allegedly touched several other children, prosecutors decided to file one charge based on the abuse allegation they felt made the strongest case, said Des Moines Police Detective Terry Mitchell.

Some of the children interviewed were as young as 4, and prosecutors felt the 9-year-old could most accurately recount the alleged abuse, he said.

Additional charges are possible, Mitchell said.

Cases often lack physical evidence

A lack of physical evidence is common in child abuse cases, said Dr. Ken McCann, a child abuse medical examiner at the Regional Child Protection Center at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines.

The child protection center is a neutral agency that conducts interviews and medical exams of children involved in physical and sexual abuse cases. There are five such centers around the state.

McCann said he conducts about 1,000 medical exams on children each year. About 95 percent of those children show no physical signs of abuse.

That doesn’t mean there was no abuse. Much of the evidence can heal within a week or 10 days, and abuse frequently is reported much later, he said.

Additionally, many types of abuse — like what Smith is accused of — leave no physical evidence, McCann said.

Mitchell said he is confident in the case against Smith.

The children’s stories corroborate one another, and it’s clear that Smith had the opportunity to commit the abuse, the detective said.

Children who attended the day care at different periods and have never met reported similar types of abuse, which Mitchell said showed the multiple abuse allegations were not a result of children repeating what they heard from others at the day care.

Smith worked nights at the Polk County Juvenile Detention Center, where, county officials say, he had no direct contact with children.

Smith helped his wife, Lisa Rae Smith, run the day care in the afternoon. He watched the school-age children in one part of the two-story east-side home, while she watched the younger ones elsewhere.

There’s no evidence that Lisa Smith knew of the abuse. Some of the children told interviewers that Smith would stop the alleged abuse when he heard her coming, Mitchell said.

Interviewers must use careful tactics

Keith Rigg, a Des Moines defense attorney not associated with Smith’s case, said prosecutors face a risk with relying solely on the testimony of children.

There have been numerous notable cases in which investigators and parents have used leading questions to bring a child to believe he or she was abused by a teacher or baby sitter, when in fact they were not, he said.

“The main pitfall that you have — and historically where these cases have gone very, very wrong — is that you can feed information to a kid, and they will take that information as their own,” he said.

One infamous case started in California in 1983, when a McMartin Preschool teacher was accused of sexually abusing a 2-year-old boy.

Police notified parents, and in time children were urged in interviews to divulge secrets about their school. They responded with allegations of rape, being photographed, secret passageways under the school, satanic rituals and even the sacrifice of a human baby.

After six years of criminal trials, all charges were dropped.

Interview practices have evolved in the decades since.

Locally, most interviews of child abuse victims are conducted by the Regional Child Protection Center.

Interviewing a child abuse victim is a meticulous, research-based process, said Tammera Bibbins, a forensic interviewer at the clinic.

She starts by showing the child the camera in the room and flips on the lights behind a one-way mirror so the child can see where investigators will watch.

Then they talk for a while to make sure the child can tell a coherent story.

The interviewer never uses the suspect’s name before the child does, or asks leading questions such as, “Did someone touch you at day care?” Bibbins said.

She tells the child to be honest, and that it’s OK to say “I don’t know.” Children must not feel they have to say what the adult wants to hear, she said.

“In the real world, the adult is the one with all the answers,” she said. “Sometimes kids go along with what they think adults want to hear. We try to turn that around and make them the ones with all the answers.”


I Knew It - The Jews Own India!

India faulted for failing to curb child sex abuse

NEW DELHI—India's government has failed to curb rampant sexual abuse of children, especially in schools and state-run child care facilities, a rights group said Thursday.

The report from Human Rights Watch comes in the wake of the fatal gang-rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in December, an attack that shook the conscience of the nation and forced people to recognize the problem of sexual violence.

The report said child sexual abuse is disturbingly common and government responses fall short in protecting children and treating victims. It also said the inspections of state-run child facilities were inadequate, with many not even registered with the government as required by the law.

"Shockingly, the very institutions that should protect vulnerable children can place them at risk of horrific child sexual abuse," said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

The group called for strict implementation of laws on sexual violence and better monitoring of child-care facilities. It also demanded more sensitive treatment by police, including an end to internal medical exams that it says are traumatic and pointless.

There are no clear statistics on the number of child abuse cases in India, primarily because of the low reporting of such crimes. As a result, Human Rights Watch based its reports on hundreds of detailed case studies with victims and their relatives, child protection officials, independent experts, police, doctors and social workers.

India's 430 million children form a third of its 1.2 billion people and around one-fifth of the global child population.

Things are particularly bad in state-run or state-funded child care homes, activists said.

"The vulnerability of children to sexual abuse is very high, and it becomes worse because there is nobody monitoring these children's homes," said Anuja Gupta of the Recovering and Healing from Incest Foundation in New Delhi.

Abuse often is committed by the caregivers, she said.

"When the caretaker himself is the abuser, the situation is especially traumatic because then the child has nowhere to go," Gupta said.

Simply reporting sexual violence is a challenge, rights activists said!!! (Sounds like Mesira - Sanjay Kaminetzky)

In many cases, police or court officials refuse to accept that rape or incest has taken place, said Shantha Sinha, the head of India's National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

"People have to be made aware of their rights, the procedures to be followed in registering a case in a police station, and insist that they get justice," Sinha said Thursday at a press briefing.

In India, child abuse is often aggravated by poorly trained police officers who refuse to register complaints or who encourage victims to seek settlements with their attackers. Convictions are rare and cases can languish in the country's sluggish court system for years, if not decades. Police officials insist their forces are getting more training to deal with sexual violence.

The outcry over the Delhi bus rape forced the government to rush through new laws to protect women. A government panel appointed after the attack to examine the country's treatment of women also shone a light on the high incidence of child sexual abuse and the failure of the government to ensure the implementation of child protection laws.

While the government passed a comprehensive law to protect children from sexual offenses in 2012, efforts to implement it were poor or nonexistent, activists say.

Government officials admit that a major handicap in putting the law into practice was the lack of resources to fund monitoring.

"Some states have lagged in providing the required infrastructure to ensure implementation of the law," said Vivek Joshi, a top official in India's ministry of women and child development.


Thursday, February 07, 2013

Coming To The Comedy Club At 42 Broadway - " The Red & Black Yarmulke Files"


Detectives will review recently released clergy abuse files from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to see if there’s evidence of criminal activity by church authorities, including failure to report child abuse to law enforcement, police officials said Tuesday.

Investigators will focus on the cases of about a dozen previously investigated priests and are auditing those past probes to make sure nothing was missed, said Cmdr. Andrew Smith. The department will also look at the files for all 122 priests that were made public Thursday by court order after the archdiocese fought for five years to keep them sealed, he said.

Thousands of pages of secret confidential files kept by the archdiocese on priests accused of molesting children show recently retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top archdiocese officials shielded priests to protect the church, thwarted police investigations and repeatedly did not report child sex abuse to the authorities.

The files of another 14 priests were published by the Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press last month and revealed a similar cover-up.

“Now what’s being alleged is a failure to report, those kinds of things, so there’s a new emphasis — it’s not just the person that’s accused of the behavior, but if it’s also if it was not properly reported,” said Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, who heads the detective bureau.

“We’re taking a fresh look on cases we’ve already handled to make sure we don’t have reporting issues that got past,” he said.

Michael Hennigan, an archdiocese attorney, declined to comment Tuesday.

Mahony, who retired in 2011 as head of the nation’s largest diocese, was publicly rebuked Friday by his successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez.

The same day, Bishop Thomas Curry, a top Mahony aide who made critical decisions on abusive priests, requested to resign from his post as an auxiliary bishop in charge of the archdiocese’s Santa Barbara region. Curry was vicar for clergy in the mid-1980s, a position created to handle priestly discipline and other personnel issues.

Both Mahony and Curry have publicly apologized for their handling of pedophile priests.

The archdiocese is considering launching a $200 million fundraising campaign in the midst of the fallout from the clergy files, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. A recent financial report indicates the archdiocese has a deficit of nearly $80 million.


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

What's The Difference Between This Muslim And Many Ultra-Orthodox Jews? - NOT MUCH!

* Muslim abuser who 'didn't know' that sex with a girl of 13 was illegal is spared jail..

* Adil Rashid admitted travelling to Nottingham and having sex with the girl

* He met the 13-year-old on Facebook and they communicated by texts and phone for two months before they met

* He was educated in a madrassa and 'had little experience of women'

* Said he had been taught 'women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground'

* Added he was reluctant to have sex but that he was 'tempted by [the girl]'

* A muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless.

 * Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law.

 * Yesterday Judge Michael Stokes handed Rashid a suspended sentence, saying: ‘Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.’

Earlier Nottingham Crown Court heard that such crimes usually result in a four to seven-year prison sentence.

But the judge said that because Rashid was ‘passive’ and ‘lacking assertiveness’, sending him to jail might cause him ‘more damage than good’.

Rashid, from Birmingham, admitted he had sex with the girl, saying he had been ‘tempted by her’ after they met online.

They initially exchanged messages on Facebook before sending texts and chatting on the phone over a two-month period.

They then met up in Nottingham, where Rashid had booked a room at a Premier Inn.

The girl told police they stayed at the hotel for two hours and had sex after Rashid went to the bathroom and emerged wearing a condom.

More...Mother of dying 15-month-old girl carried into hospital by 'sadistic' paedophile who had fatally abused her sees him jailed for 25 years

Paedophile, 25, had sex with girl, 12, as he hid in her bedroom for TWO DAYS while her unknowing parents sat downstairs

Rashid then returned home and went straight to a mosque to pray.

 He was arrested the following week after the girl confessed what had happened to a school friend, who informed one of her teachers.

He told police he knew the girl was 13 but said he was initially reluctant to have sex before relenting after being seduced.

Encounter: Rashid and the girl had met randomly on Facebook and had also communicated by phone and text messages for two months before they met

Earlier the court heard how Rashid had ‘little experience of women’ due to his education at an Islamic school in the UK, which cannot be named for legal reasons.

After his arrest, he told a psychologist that he did not know having sex with a 13-year-old was against the law. The court heard he found it was illegal only when he was informed by a family member.

In other interviews with psychologists, Rashid claimed he had been taught in his school that ‘women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground’.

When Judge Stokes said Rashid ‘must have known it was illegal, unless he was going round with his eyes shut’, defence lawyer Laban Leake said reports suggested Rashid had a ‘degree of sexual naivety’.

‘The school he attended, it is not going too far to say, can be described as a closed community and on this occasion this was perpetuated by his home life.

Rashid had pre-booked a family room at the Premier Hotel in Goldsmith Street, Nottingham where he took his victim

Sentenced: Rashid admitted at Nottingham Crown Court (pictured) that he had sex with a 13-year-old after she 'tempted' him

‘It is not too far to say that he may not have known that having sex with a 13-year-old girl was illegal.’ Judge Stokes sentenced Rashid to nine months youth custody, suspended for two years, along with a two-year probation supervision order.

Describing Rashid, the judge said: ‘He’s had an unusual education, certainly in terms of the sexual education provided. Comparing women to lollipops is a very curious way of teaching young men about sex.’

But he said that Rashid knew what he was doing was wrong.

‘It was made clear to you at the school you attended that having sexual relations with a woman before marriage was contrary to the precepts of Islam,’ he said.

Addressing Rashid, the judge said: ‘I accept this was a case where the girl was quite willing to have sexual activity with you. But the law is there to protect young girls, even though they are perfectly happy to engage in sexual activity.’

Read more:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2268395/Adil-Rashid-Paedophile-claimed-Muslim-upbringing-meant-didnt-know-illegal-sex-girl-13.html#axzz2K9fAsqiS