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.