National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

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"News of the Week"  

August 2019 - Week 4
Terri Lanahan
Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.



Cardinal George Pell's Sexual Abuse Conviction

by Livia Albeck-Ripka

MELBOURNE, Australia — An Australian court on Wednesday upheld the sexual abuse conviction of Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader ever found guilty in a criminal court in the church's child sex abuse crisis.

The cardinal, 78, who was once an adviser to Pope Francis, had been sentenced to six years in prison in March.

“He will continue to serve his sentence,” said Chief Justice Anne Ferguson of the Supreme Court of the state of Victoria in Melbourne, who presided over the appeals case with two other top judges.

Cardinal Pell was found guilty in December of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys after a Sunday Mass in 1996 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, and groping one of them again months later. A gag order meant the verdict was not unsealed until February, after a second trial involving Cardinal Pell was cancel

The case has garnered broad attention both for its secrecy and for the precedent it set. Abuse survivors had hailed the conviction as proof that judicial systems can hold even the most senior prelates accountable in the global child sexual abuse scandal that has stained the church's image.

Cardinal Pell, wearing a black suit with a clerical collar, hung his head when the ruling was announced in a packed courtroom, where victims of childhood sexual abuse were present.

In a news conference after the judgment was issued, Vivian Waller, a lawyer for one of the former choirboys, read a statement on his behalf in which he expressed relief and the hope that this decision signaled the end of the criminal process.

“The journey has taken me to places that in my darkest moments I feared I would not return from,” the statement read. “I just hope that it is all over now

A spokeswoman for Cardinal Pell said he was reviewing the ruling before deciding whether to challenge it in the High Court of Australia, the nation's top court. The Vatican, in a statement, said that “as the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court.”

<< click link below for full article >>


BACA, Canada

Bikers take to Parliament Hill to stand against child abuse


Dozens of members of Bikers Against Child Abuse held a rally on Parliament Hill Saturday to stand against child abuse, but also to spread the word that the group exists and is ready to spring into action wherever they may be needed.

The club started in 1995 in Utah, but has grown to be an international organization in 17 countries, with five chapters in Ontario, including Ottawa.

“When a child needs us, we show up,” said spokesman NightRyder. The group only uses their road names to help protect themselves, their families and the identities of the children they serve, whose names are often shielded by publication bans.

If it's three in the morning and a child is scared, they show up. If a child is being threatened by their abuser, the bikers take the call.

The bikers' most public display of support is during court cases when they ride their loud bikes, fly their colors and invade courthouses.

“And when it comes time for this child to tell the most horrific story you'll ever hear in court in front of a whole bunch of other people, we show up.”

When they first get the call that a child needs help, the group assigns two primary contacts to the case. They are patch-members who will show up to the child's house whenever he or she calls.

“Whenever they're feeling scared or they need us … (the two members) will jump on their bikes and roll out to that child's house.

“We're a constant contact for them. It's like a security blanket, really,” NightRyder said.

“If we were grandmas with cookies, it wouldn't work. Grandmothers are great for hugs and cookies are delicious and they're great for comfort, but with us it's that stigma of bikers — big, bad, mean — and that's who they need standing in front of them, in between them and their abuser.”

They're a line of defense.

Bikers Against Child Abuse gather on Parliament Hill, holding a chain that represents the vicious chain of child abuse.

Often when parents call the bikers looking for help or contact them through the chapter websites, their children are frightened and withdrawn.

“Their child's scared, the child's not talking, the child's not going out to play — they're just not living the life of a child, which is probably the saddest part of the whole situation,” NightRyder said.

<< click link below for full article >>


New Jersey

Wave of Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits Threatens Boy Scouts

by MIKE CATALINI, Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America is facing a threat from a growing wave of lawsuits over decades-old allegations of sexual abuse.

The Scouts have been sued in multiple states in recent months by purported abuse victims, including plaintiffs taking advantage of new state laws or court decisions that are now allowing suits previously barred because of the age of the allegations.

More litigation is on the way.

A lawyer representing 150 people who say they were abused as Boy Scouts is planning a suit in New Jersey when the state's new civil statute of limitations law takes effect Dec. 1. New Jersey was home to the Boy Scouts' headquarters for about 25 years until 1978.

Among the plaintiffs is Greg Hunt, 62, of St. Petersburg, Florida. He said he was abused during a camping trip in about 1969 in Pennsylvania, where his family lived at the time.

"It'd be nice to have the Boy Scouts account for their lack of ability to do the right thing," he said. "It would be nice for me to have the Scouts say we did wrong by you and by these other boys and by your parents."

The lawsuits raise the possibility that the Boy Scouts, one of the largest youth organizations in the U.S., might be staring at many millions of dollars in settlements or judgments that could lead it to declare bankruptcy, as several Roman Catholic dioceses have done amid litigation over abusive clergy.

The New Jersey suit will come on top of at least 24 that have been filed against the Scouts in New York since Aug. 14, when that state opened a one-year window in which victims of child sex abuse will be able to sue over encounters outside the usual statute of limitations.

Another lawsuit was filed against the Boy Scouts this month in Philadelphia by lawyers who say they have identified hundreds of victims, after a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled that the state's statute of limitations could be set aside if a victim could prove that abuse was concealed by fraud.

Hundreds of other lawsuits filed in Guam and other states have already strained the Boy Scouts finances and have led the organization to consider bankruptcy, among other options.

"The Boy Scouts are going to have to come to grips with the issues of their past," said Michael Pfau, Washington state-based attorney planning the New Jersey lawsuit.

In a statement responding to the pending New Jersey suit, the Boy Scouts said it apologizes to the victims and encourages them to report abuse to law enforcement.

"We believe victims, we support them, we pay for counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward," the organization said. It added that policies have also been changed to include mandatory criminal background checks. It also added a rule that at least two adult leaders must be present with children at all times during activities.

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Show Biz

Marlon Brando's Son Slams Allegations That His Father Confronted Michael Jackson Over Child Abuse Allegations

by Shakiel Mahjouri

Marlon Brando and Michael Jackson allegedly had a candid conversation about child abuse allegations levied against the King of Pop according to a new Luminary podcast.

The two icons once met for dinner, according to legal documents obtained by podcast host Brandon Ogborn. The conversation between Brando and Jackson is the focus of the season one finale of “Telephone Stories: The Trials of Michael Jackson”.

Ogborn says Brando and Jackson met to trade tips about acting and music. During the course of their chat, Brando brought up Jackson's child abuse allegations. “I was able to review it,” Ogborn told the Los Angeles Times. “It was quite something to view the document and hold

“It felt like it was a hot potato,” he continued. “It's a much longer document than what we report on. … It's quite meandering, pretty loosey-goosey — he [Brando] probably would be cancelled if he was around now.”

Brandon reportedly told prosecutors Jackson “lives in a completely different world” and “didn't hold real emotions.” Despite this, one topic of conversation supposedly had Jackson shedding tears. “He said he hated his father and started to cry,” Brando said in his testimony.

“So I pulled back. I started to tiptoe,” Brando continued. “I realized that he was in trouble with his life because he was living in a Never-Never Land, and he couldn't [swear], and for a 35-year-old man not to do that, being around people in show business, seemed very odd.

“And I said, ‘Well, who are your friends?' He said, ‘I don't know anybody my own age. I don't like anybody my own age.' I said, ‘Why not?' He said, ‘I don't know, I don't know.' He was crying hard enough that… I tried to assuage him,” Brando continued. “I tried to help him all I could.”

“With this mode of behaviour that's been going on. I think it's pretty reasonable to conclude that he may have had something to do with kids,” the “Godfather” actor argued. “My impression was that he didn't want to answer because he was frightened to answer me.”

Since the allegations, his Brando's son Miko, 58, is slamming the podcast for their claims.

“I was friends with Michael Jackson for over 27 years and my father adored him. I don't appreciate my father's words being twisted to imply that Michael hurt anyone,” he said in a letter obtained by the New York Post.


LDS Church

LDS Church Launches Child Abuse Prevention Program

by Corey Barnett

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made it mandatory for all adults working with children or teenagers in the church to complete a 30-minute online training course on preventing and responding to abuse. Last Friday church leaders announced every church adult working with children must complete the course by September 22.

LDS Church Launches Child Abuse Prevention Program

The training presentation says members of the church can play a crucial role in preventing abuse and protecting children. They should not tolerate abuse of any kind in their presence.

The audiovisual training course is available at The course contains an illustrated slideshow which includes scenarios that mandate responses from the audience.

Sister Joy D. Jones, General President of the Church's International Primary Program stated her organization receives Christ's teachings about children and the youth with utmost seriousness. The program consists of over one million children. Christ welcomed children into His kingdom and warned against bullying, hurting, or abusing them.

The press release said it had discussed with therapists, child protection groups, and other professionals before designing the program. It is motivated to train leaders on how they can prevent abuse and how to respond to cases of abuse.

The program explicitly states the responsibility of anybody aware of a child having been molested, emotionally harmed or physically abused must act proactively in the best interests of the child and to protect them. They should look upon any complaints they receive of inappropriate behavior by another adult working for the church with due seriousness and keep lines of communication open.

When abuse has taken place, the adult's primary responsibility will be to provide safety to the victim and prevent any chances of them suffering the abuse again. They should not dismiss the child's complaints or be hesitant to believe them. It should be their task to make the child feel secure and comfortable to confide in them in details about said abuse. Bishops and church presidents are instructed to report cases of abuse to the church's abuse helpline.



Kristina Keneally blasts Melbourne archbishop for claiming George Pell is innocent

Labor senator says she can't understand how Peter Comensoli? can continue defending paedophile

The Labor senator Kristina Keneally has blasted Melbourne's Catholic archbishop for his response to Cardinal George Pell losing his appeal against child sexual abuse convictions.

Keneally, herself a prominent Catholic, said she was gobsmacked that Archbishop Peter Comensoli? had maintained that Pell was innocent and had questioned whether his victim was mistaken. “It's distressing for so many reasons,” she told Sky News on Sunday.

Comensoli has also said he would sooner go to prison than comply with proposed Victorian laws making it mandatory for priests to report suspected child abuse to authorities.

“Here we have an archbishop just declaring he is going to break the law rather than report a child sexual abuse that is revealed to him in the confessional,” Keneally said.

“I can't understand how he can stand in front of the Australian people and make that statement, given all the evidence that has come out of the royal commission in relation to the Catholic church and child sexual abuse.”

Keneally also contrasted the response to his comments to a “near meltdown” among conservatives when the union leader Sally McManus said she would be willing to break unjust laws to protect workers.

“I don't understand in our wider community, and particularly within some of the commentariat, why there isn't the same level of condemnation for him that there was for people like Sally McManus when she made her statement.
“It's a double standard, if you ask me.”


United Kingdom

Rotherham child sex abuse paedos caged for 60 years after targeting schoolgirls

One of the six attackers even bragged about a sexual encounter with one young victim to the girl's mother


Five men who subjected seven young girls to four years of continued sexual abuse have been jailed for more than 60 years.

One attacker Abid Saddiq, 38, even bragged about a sexual encounter with one victim to the girl's mother.

Jurors heard during the seven-week trial he had seen his victim's mother in a local market and said: "I f~~d your daughter the other day".

The girls, who were all under 16 and "vulnerable and craving attention and love", were deliberately targeted for the sole purpose of becoming sexual objects for the men between 1998 and 2002 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Jurors heard evidence from the gang's victims about how the men committed rape, indecent assault and child abduction against them when they were at school .

Today victim impact statements read out to Sheffield Crown Court , South Yorkshire, told how many of the victims suffer from depression and anxiety as adults.

They also told how one victim did not feel safe in her own home and would not leave the house after dark.

Others described how they were scared to visit the town center and certain "hotspots" in the area where offences took place as they "brought back memories".

Six paedos jailed for targeting schoolgirls in Rotherham child sex abuse scandal

The court heard Saddiq, who was aged between 17 and 21 at the time of the offences, had suffered from learning difficulties and was "abnormally compliant".

But Judge Michael Slater described him as a "cunning, determined sexual predator" who knew "exactly" what he was doing.

Aftab Hussain, 40, Sharaz Hussain, 35, Abid Saddiq, 38, Masaued Malik, 35, and two other men aged 35 and 32 - who cannot be named for legal reasons - were found guilty of a total of 26 counts of sexual offences.

All the men lived in Rotherham and the surrounding areas and associated with each other at the time the abuse took place.

They would often act as a group and would share victims around amongst each other for their own sexual gratification.

<< click link below for full article >>


United Kingdom

Peaky Blinders season 5: Tommy and Polly confront nuns over horrific child abuse discovery in first look clip

Peaky Blinders have hell to pay with a group of nuns on tomorrow's episode – on the discovery that the orphanage they've funded with Grace's organization are abusing the girls they're looking after.

In a first look clip, Tommy (Cillian Murphy) and Polly (Helen McCrory) demand a meeting with the nuns, led by Mother Superior (Kate Dickie), confronting her over her vile treatment of the needy.

With a thick file of testimonies from children that reveal the extent of the abuse, Polly is seen standing strong as a tear rolls down her cheek and Tommy lists the accusations.

Treatment includes making a mixed-race child wash with different soap to the rest of the girls, which must hit particularly close to home for Polly, who knows her beloved Ada (Sophie Rundle) is secretly expecting a child with the black Ben Younger (Kingsley Ben-Adir).

‘There is God, and there are the Peaky Blinders,' Tommy adds, saying the kids had come to them for help. ‘We're much, much closer to home than God.'

Nonetheless, Mother Superior refuses to be repentant for her actions, causing Tommy to fully lash out at her in his calm and terrifying manner, adding he knew a black child had killed herself out of pure fear of her temper.

Smashing her glasses, the pair declared the nuns saw the world as broken, and they would not allow the behaviour to continue, removing all of the kids in their care and taking them in to their own institutions.

Protesting the decision, Mother Superior then gets one final shock when Polly pulls a dagger on her, warning her that she would come after her personally if the nun would ever lay another hand on a child.

‘You listen for my footsteps,' she warns, before walking away.

One thing you can say about the Peaky Blinders, they might be a vicious lot, but they are supremely protective of innocent children.

The first look clip of the new episode comes as Tommy prepares for a head-to-head with Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin) who wants him to help run the fascist party he's starting.

Calling Mosley ‘the devil himself', it's clear that the smarmy politician is getting under everyone's skin in his quest for power of Birmingham.

Torn about his next political move, it doesn't help that he's also got gangster business to take care of – starting with avenging the disgusting loss of one of the gypsys to the Billy Boys last week.



Ireland's hidden survivors

by Leanna Byrne

It is 20 years since the Republic of Ireland's first state apology to children abused in Catholic institutions.

It is 10 years since a government-sponsored report exposed the sheer scale of the abuse carried out by priests, nuns and lay staff.

As the number of surviving abuse victims shrinks and the Irish state closes its survivors' fund, many feel that they have been left without a plan to continue to support them.

Imagine two young brothers. One is visually impaired. His younger brother has brittle bone disease and is severely disabled. Both are forced to witness each other being sexually abused by two priests.

This is William Gorry's story.

His worst experience was when he was 10 years old. His brother, Thomas, was six.

Sitting in his living room, he shifts in the black leather couch and looks down at his scrunched hands.

He speaks slowly.

“For him to witness me being abused and for me to witness him, as my brother, being abused, especially with him being severely disabled, was horrific,” he said.

In 1974, his family fell into financial trouble. His mother left home.

There was nobody to look after the children, so they were sent to an industrial school.

In Ireland, these industrial schools were established to care for neglected, orphaned and abandoned children, according to laws at the time.

Mount Carmel school

For 14 years, William was housed at the Mount Carmel Industrial School in Moate, County Westmeath, run by the Sisters of Mercy Catholic order. Some nuns would hit him with sticks and wooden spoons, hard enough to draw blood, while certain members of the clergy or lay staff would molest him.

“There was a regime from Monday to Sunday,” he said.

“There were beatings. I was abused physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually.”

If you were called to see the head nun, said William, a shiver would go down your spine.

“You knew what was coming to you. You'd have a bloody nose and a sore face,” he said.

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Stop child abuse conference: Meaningful interactions between parents, kids needed

by Oonib Azam

KARACHI: Raheela, who hails from Ghotki, dreamed of becoming a doctor. But when she was 12 years old, she was about to be married to a man in his 60s, in exchange for his daughter marrying Raheela's father.

Raheela negotiated her case with the help of the CHW by making her family aware of the health consequences she might have to endure if she were to get married and become pregnant too early.

Her mother, who was also a child bride, helped Raheela escape the situation and sent her to Khairpur to live with the latter's sister and get an education. Today Raheela is a CHW and helps young girls in her neighbouring community realise their true potential.

Aahung Executive Director Sheena Hadi shared this story at the Stop Child Abuse Conference, which was organised by Catwalk Cares, the CSR Division of Catwalk Event Management & Productions, on Saturday.

Citing the NGO Girls Not Brides' estimates, Sheena said that 21 per cent of the girls are married off by the age of 18, which is the sixth highest rate in the world. She said the driving factors of such child marriages are honour codes and customary practices, gender discrimination, family honour, lack of education and lack of economic security. Sindh is the only Pakistani province to have passed a law to set 18 as the minimum age for marriage, she added.

Girls' education: Writer and former federal information minister Javed Jabbar said that millions of girls are forced to sit at home once they pass the fifth grade.

He said that in Pakistan's 70-year history, the country's primary enrolment, however, has been increasing. “Girls' education worldwide and in Pakistan has increased but, of course, that is not enough. There is so much to be done.”

He added that at the SOS Children's Villages Pakistan, an NGO, they do not use the word “orphans” for children without parents but “disadvantaged children”.

“We have two daughters who witnessed the murder of their mother at the hands of their own father. That kind of trauma is a very difficult burden for a child,” said the ex-minister.

“It's also a kind of an abuse, because this has left a stain on the minds of these two daughters. It will be there forever,” he said. Through education, trainings and counselling these stains can be addressed, he added.

<< click link below for full article >>



Hanoi's street boys and runaways are easy prey for exploitation


"Hi, how are you? Where are you from?"

A boy has stopped a middle-aged man on a busy walkway beside Hoan Kiem Lake, one of central Hanoi's busiest tourist attractions.

It's about 8:00pm and my fixer and I are sitting nearby, researching a story on Hanoi's runaway street boys. There are thousands of kids surviving on Hanoi's streets. Vulnerable and alone, many fall prey to exploitation, trafficking, criminal gangs or long-term abuse by foreign and local paedophiles.

Is this boy one of them?

We watch as the man, short, squat and slightly fox-like, replies. He's from France. It's his first time in Hanoi.

"Oh. Are you here with friends?"

The man says he's travelling alone. "What about you — are your parents with you? Where do you live?"

"Close to here."

"Oh, well my hotel is nearby too …"

"Oh, really?"

It feels like they are playing a game, sussing out if they both know what they are really talking about.

Eventually the boy asks the man if he would like to "find somewhere to sit down?"

They walk over to a park bench. A woman comes up with a little girl. She starts talking, pushing both children closer to the man, gesturing to the boy as though showing him off.

After a while, she notices us and sends the little girl over. She could only be three or four. She has clearly been given a script and beyond that she doesn't know what to say.

Meanwhile, my fixer walks towards the woman on the pretence of using a rubbish bin. As she passes, the man pays the woman and leaves with the boy.

Runaways are easy prey

It was just too easy. Looking back, the woman probably mistook our observation for interest in the little girl. Maybe she was feeling lucky — two quick transactions then she could sell the children again a few hours later. I didn't sleep for several nights after that.

Most of Hanoi's street children, the majority of whom are boys in their pre and early teens, are runaways.

<< click link below for full article >>



Cryptocurrencies Help Criminals of Child Sexual-Abuse Hide: UN Cybercrime Chief

Even today, cryptocurrencies are generally perceived as just high-risk investments for millennials and Silicon Valley insiders.

However, amid all the hype and speculation, what many are failing to notice is that most decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin were created to “do something,” with the belief that cryptos have the potential to change the world as we know it.

While there are plenty of powerful use cases that imply how beneficial digital currencies could be, many are of the opinion that blockchain's decentralized and anonymous nature makes it even more appropriate for illegal activities, including heinous crimes.

One such statement recently came up from the head of United Nation's Cybercrime and Anti-money-laundering branch, in an interview with Australia's ABC news. Neil Walsh, the UN officer, reportedly said that investigating child sexual abuse on the internet has become considerably harder since the advent of cryptocurrency.

Walsh warns that the true scale of online child sexual abuse is way greater than many of us realize. And cryptos have made it difficult to track and deal with these criminals that majorly include globally operated child sexual exploitation networks.

In the interview, Walsh also talks about some of the really high-risk crimes, wherein six months old and younger infants are in pay-per-view, live on online child sexual abuse streaming websites that are accepting payments via cryptocurrencies. He said, “We need to know how we try and challenge that threat and reduce the risks for kids and reduce the opportunities for criminals to get involved.”

Walsh goes on bashing cryptocurrencies stating that the blockchain technology adds a new layer of secrecy on terror financing, among other money laundering activities, that works in favor of cybercriminals.

To keep our society safe, Walsh also suggested a bunch of reformatory measures. One of them is to regulate exchanges, forcing their users to reveal their identities as mandatory. He believes that following strict KYC and Anti-Money-Laundering regulations might help to manage a large amount of risk. Cryptocurrency purists and cypherpunks, though, aren't likely to welcome Walsh's proposal of stringent regulatory policies.

In the end, Walsh admits that putting a global set of regulations in place for the usage of cryptocurrency demands lots of different brains. “It's going to take technologists, policymakers, philosophers, the whole nine yards.”



Incarcerated parents learn to stay in contact with children


PORTAGE – Marcus and Jasson Jr. can't wait to wrestle with their dad.

The brothers sat with their grandmother, Kim Howell, on July 3 inside the family's living room in Portage. It was a fairly normal evening, and just earlier that week, they had spoken to their father, Jasson Howell Sr.

Their dad is finishing the last year of a 10-year federal prison sentence, Kim Howell said.

Jasson Sr., now 37, was sentenced for distributing heroin between November 2006 and October 2009. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, he was the source of heroin that resulted in a 17-year-old girl's near-fatal overdose in November 2008.

Despite the serious crime, the family stays in contact a couple times every week using Corrlinks online video chats and during occasional face-to-face visits to Milan federal prison in eastern Michigan, the Portage Daily Register reported.

Sauk County Human Services Peer Support Specialist Ryan Ramnarace, a father himself who served 14 years in federal prison in Oxford, knows the struggle of being a dad from a distance. Ramnarace was charged in 2001 with conspiring to distribute and possession with intent to distribute powdered cocaine and marijuana.

But behind the charges and sentences, both father figures prioritized their children and sought positive change through self-improvement along the way in hopes of reuniting with their families upon release.

The Howell and Ramnarace families are among many that have found ways to preserve family connections and retain a sense of parenthood despite the distance and isolation that comes with incarceration.

About 7% of children in Wisconsin and 7% of children in the U.S. have had either one or both biological parents serving prison time, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which in 2016 published a report citing 2011-2012 data titled “Children of Incarcerated Parents, a Shared Sentence.”

An estimated 88,000 Wisconsin children have found themselves in this situation, according to the foundation's 2016 report.

The nation's highest rate of children with an incarcerated parent is in Kentucky, at 13%, according to the study. In Illinois, that estimate is about 6%. Wisconsin's neighbor Minnesota, 5%. Nearby Michigan, 10%. The lowest was in New Jersey, at 3%.

About 42% of male inmates and 48% of female inmates in Wisconsin's state-run prisons reported having a dependent child, according to a 2016 Wisconsin Department of Corrections report..

In the year 2016 alone, 21,665 men and 1,459 women were held at Wisconsin's state correctional institutions.

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In Mississippi Delta, Catholic abuse cases settled on cheap


GREENWOOD, Mississippi (AP) — A famed Catholic religious order settled sex abuse cases in recent months by secretly paying two black Mississippi men $15,000 each and requiring them to keep silent about their claims, The Associated Press has found.

The cash payments are far less than what other Catholic sex abuse survivors have typically received since the church's abuse scandal erupted in the United States in 2002.

An official with the Franciscan Friars order denies the two men's race or poverty had anything to do with the size of the settlements.

In one case, the Rev. James G. Gannon, leader of a group of Wisconsin-based Franciscan Friars, settled an abuse claim made by La Jarvis D. Love against another friar for $15,000, during a meeting at an IHOP restaurant where Gannon met with La Jarvis, his wife and their three small children.

"He said if I wanted more, I would have to get a lawyer and have my lawyer call his lawyer," La Jarvis Love, 36, told the Associated Press. "Well, we don't have lawyers. We felt like we had to take what we could."

La Jarvis's cousin, Joshua K. Love, 36, also settled his abuse claim for $15,000 — something he now regrets.

"They felt they could treat us that way because we're poor and we're black," Joshua Love said of the settlements he and La Jarvis received.

Across the United States, settlements have ranged much higher. In 2006, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, which includes Greenwood, settled lawsuits involving 19 victims— 17 of whom were white— for $5 million, with an average payment of more than $250,000 per victim.

In 2018, the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese agreed to pay an average of nearly $500,000 each to clergy abuse survivors.

Joshua Love and La Jarvis Love and a third alleged victim, Joshua's brother Raphael Love, say they were repeatedly abused by Brother Paul West during the 1990s, when they were elementary school students at St. Francis of Assisi School, in Greenwood, Mississippi.

On some occasions, Joshua Love said, West asked whether he preferred to be beaten or molested. "He gave me the option to whup me or play with my penis," he said.

Joshua Love said he was also abused by a second Franciscan at the school, the late Brother Donald Lucas.

Catholic officials have been promising to end the cover-up of sex abuse for nearly two decades. In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, pledging to respond to abuse allegations in an "open and transparent" manner. And earlier this year, Pope Francis issued a new church law requiring Catholic officials worldwide to report sexual abuse — and the cover-up of abuse — to their superiors.

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New lab trains welfare workers who probe child abuse claims


Experts say the Illinois welfare agency under fire for high-profile deaths of children has become a national standout when it comes to giving workers hands-on training. The state has two simulation labs where over 700 employees have trained and there are plans for a third.

The troubling scene inside the dingy Chicago apartment seems real: dangling exposed wires, open pill bottles near a sleeping baby and a kitchen strewn with dog feces and cockroaches.

But the mock apartment — with a lifelike infant doll, candles emitting foul smells and plastic insects — is part of a new simulation lab to train workers who investigate child abuse claims across Illinois.

"Sometimes textbooks, they sugarcoat things. Teachers sugarcoat things, but this is real life," said Beth Brown of Murphysboro, who recently trained at the so-called "dirty apartment." ''This is what you're going to experience."

Illinois' use of such experiential training focused on child welfare workers is being held up by experts as a national leader as the state plans to expand with a third simulation lab and its university experts write new research on the topic. But the accolades come as the agency faces serious systemic deficiencies, with some of its investigators under fire for high-profile deaths — including a 5-year-old suburban Chicago boy this year. The agency is under multiple court orders, including for high caseloads, leading the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and others to question the expansion.

"Training is a great thing, but all the training in the world isn't going to fix the foundational problems that DCFS is struggling with," said ACLU attorney Heidi Dalenberg, who was involved in the caseloads court order.

More than 700 front-line employees have undergone simulation training in Illinois with hundreds more expected to follow suit. Child investigators and experts call it invaluable preparation for a dangerous, high-burnout job at the heart of child protective work.

The use of simulation training isn't unusual for first-responders: Many medical schools have opened multimillion-dollar facilities. However, it's a newer concept in child welfare, said Victor Vieth, a longtime expert who has trained child protective workers nationwide. The first child welfare simulation labs emerged roughly 15 years ago at universities. Dozens have since added them, and it has spread to state agencies.

New Jersey has trained child welfare workers at a New Brunswick academy for about five years. Kansas started offering child protective employees simulation training in 2017. The University of South Carolina Upstate opened a training center in 2010 used by thousands of teachers, students and social service workers.

But Illinois is notable in targeting front-line workers through multiple centers and its university experts use the data for some of the first research on the topic. While some state-of-the-art facilities are pricey, Illinois has spent relatively little. The first lab opened in 2016 inside a home on the University of Illinois Springfield campus that was a gift. In Chicago, DCFS officials spent roughly $60,000 to convert existing office space into a lab that opened in April. A third is expected downstate within a year.

The state requires all new investigators, who follow hotline calls alleging abuse and neglect, undergo a week of simulation training. That was extended this year to veteran front-line workers, following an outside report on the agency's systemic issues and high-profile deaths.

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"Raped When I Was 7": Ex-Students Recount Horror At Bangladesh Madrasas

Ex-Students Recount Horror At Bangladesh Madrasas

Former Bangladeshi students are turning to social media to detail allegations of "rampant" sex abuse at the hands of teachers and older pupils in Islamic schools, breaking their silence on a taboo topic in the conservative country.

Child abuse in madrasas has long gone unreported in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation where hardline Islamist groups draw their support from the tens of thousands of schools across the nation of 169 million people.

But in the wake of a brutal murder of a teenage girl who was burnt to death in April after accusing her headteacher of sexual assault, such incidents have been subject to national scrutiny and debate for the first time.

In July alone, at least five madrasa teachers were arrested on rape charges against boys and girls under their care.

Several senior students were also held by police over the rape and beheading of an 11-year-old orphan, while a Dhaka cleric and seminary teacher was charged with sexually assaulting a dozen boys aged between 12 and 19.

The accusations reveal how students from poorer and rural backgrounds, whose parents send them to madrasas as they are more affordable than secular schools, are disproportionately affected by the abuse.

Rights activists said the assaults -- which range from violent rapes to forcible kissing -- are so pervasive that the cases reported in the media are just the tip of the iceberg.

"Devout Muslims send children to madrasas, but they don't speak up about these crimes as they feel it would harm these key religious institutions."

Hojaifa al Mamduh, who studied in three madrasas in the capital Dhaka, published a series of posts on Facebook in July detailing the abuses endured by students including himself.

The assaults were "so widespread in the madrasas, every student who has studied there knows about it", Al Mamduh, now a journalism student at a Dhaka University, told AFP.

"Many madrasa teachers I know consider sex with children a lesser crime than consensual extramarital sex with women. Since they live in the same dormitories, the perpetrators can easily hide their crimes and put pressure on their poor students to keep mum."

The 23-year-old's posts generated heated debate in the country, and he was personally threatened.

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Dept of Justice


L.A. County Man Arrested on Federal Complaint Charging Him with Transporting Teenager Across State Lines to Engage in Prostitution

by Nicola T. Hanna - United States Attorney, Central District of California

SANTA ANA, California
– A Los Angeles County man has been arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with transporting a teenage girl in interstate commerce so she could work as a prostitute in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.

Christian Alexander Augustus, 23, a.k.a. “Sir Ceeco,” was arrested in Stockton on Tuesday. He made his initial appearance in United States District Court in Sacramento on August 28, and was ordered detained pending trial. He remains in federal custody in Sacramento and will be transferred to this district at a later date to face the charges against him.

According to an affidavit filed Monday with the criminal complaint in this case, the victim was a 16-year-old runaway from Orange County who met Augustus in Los Angeles in December 2018 and he had been her trafficker until she fled from him in July 2019. Prior to the victim fleeing, Augustus allegedly took her to Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Las Vegas and Phoenix, where she worked for him as a prostitute and would give him all the money she made. Augustus forced the victim to work on the streets and advertised her services on the internet, the affidavit states

The victim said Augustus would beat her for not bringing him enough money and later for attempting to flee, according to the affidavit. The victim said when she tried to flee Augustus in Phoenix on July 1, he beat her so severely that she suffered two black eyes, a bruised rib, and swelling to face, the affidavit states. The victim fled Augustus on July 8 and said he later contacted her and threatened to kill her and her family, according to the affidavit.

If convicted of the charge, Augustus would face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter was investigated by the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF), which is comprised of local law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California. The Stockton Police Department and the Stockton HSI office provided substantial assistance to this case via their arrest of Augustus on Monday.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jake D. Nare of the Santa Ana Branch Office.

The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force core mission is to use a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach toward the goal of combating human trafficking in Orange County, making the recovery of juvenile victims its top priority.


from: Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer



Victim of Clergy Abuse in Pennsylvania Receives $2 Million Settlement

by Jacey Fortin

A man who was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania received $2 million in a settlement with the Erie diocese that the priest was a member of, the victim's lawyer said on Tuesday.

The priest, David L. Poulson, pleaded guilty in October to two felony charges for sexually assaulting one boy and trying to assault another. In January, he was sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.

According to the office of Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania's attorney general, Mr. Poulson assaulted one of his victims 20 times in church rectories between 2002 and 2010 and had the victim talk about the abuse in confession with him.

Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer for that victim, who received the settlement, said his client preferred not to be named.

The Diocese of Erie said in a statement on Tuesday that it “stands behind the settlement in the interests of justice and recognizes the harms suffered by this victim.”

This is the first settlement to follow a criminal case after a grand jury issued a searing report in August. It found that bishops and other church leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it.

The report, which covered six of the state's eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, was the broadest examination by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

But since it was issued, the attorney general's office has criminally charged only two of the Pennsylvania priests who were named as offenders — Mr. Poulson and John T. Sweeney, of the Diocese of Greensburg. Both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison.

Of the other priests listed, those who are still alive have been protected from criminal charges because the statute of limitations has expired.

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Buffalo, NY

Buffalo Diocese faces second federal lawsuit over former priest

by Jay Tokasz

A New Hampshire man who alleges a Buffalo priest sexually abused him when he was a youngster in Springville is suing the Diocese of Buffalo in federal court.

Arthur Porada Jr., 61, said in court papers filed this week that James A. Spielman molested him multiple times from 1971 to 1976 when Porada was a parishioner of St. Aloysius Church in Springville. Spielman was associate pastor of the parish at the time.

It's the second time in five years the diocese was sued in federal court over a child sex abuse claim against Spielman.

Porada's lawyer is Michele M. Betti, who sued the Buffalo Diocese in 2014 in federal court in Hawaii on behalf of David Husted of Texas. Husted, 53, also accused Spielman of repeated acts of sexual abuse from 1979 to 1982 when Husted was a student at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean.

Husted's lawsuit led to a $1.5 million settlement – the largest single settlement that has come to light so far in the Buffalo Diocese for a clergy sex abuse case.

Porada's case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. He is the first plaintiff in Western New York to use the federal court system under the state's Child Victims Act, which suspended the statute of limitations in previously time-barred child sex abuse civil cases. It has prompted more than 100 lawsuits to be filed in State Supreme Courts in Erie and Niagara counties since a one-year window for filing claims opened on Aug. 14.

Betti said she was able to file the case in federal court on diversity grounds, because Porada lives in New Hampshire and the defendants are in other states.

A federal lawsuit was likely to proceed more quickly than a case filed in the state court system, said Betti.

“We're not waiting to have these cases consolidated and have them take years to decide. There's less tactics defendants can play in federal court. You get your trial date right away,” she said. “And we want to expose the Diocese of Buffalo for their transferring of a serial perpetrator from school to school.”

Federal courts apply the laws of the states in which they operate, so the Child Victims Act's suspension of the statute of limitations extends to federal cases like Porada's, said Betti.

Betti took a similar approach with Husted's case in Hawaii, which offered a two-year window for victims to file lawsuits without being time-barred by the statute of limitations.

Also this week, the Buffalo Diocese was served with formal legal discovery requests for documents by two law firms working in partnership on lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act.

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Buffalo, NY

Longtime Ken-Ton teacher accused in four Child Victims Act lawsuits

by Dan Herbeck

Four lawsuits were filed Friday under the Child Victims Act, alleging that a retired Kenmore Tonawanda teacher repeatedly molested young boys, often in front of an entire room of classmates.

The lawsuits filed by four Buffalo-area men all name the Kenmore Tonawanda School District as the defendant, saying district officials either knew or should have known that social studies teacher Arthur F. Werner repeatedly molested boys at Herbert Hoover Elementary School in the early 1970s.

“Based on our investigation, we believe this was much more widespread than just my four clients,” said Amherst attorney Christopher J. O'Brien, who filed the lawsuits in State Supreme Court. “Our allegation is that this teacher regularly engaged in a pattern of calling young boys up to his desk in front of the class, where he would touch and grope them. Quite often, this happened in full view of the rest of the class, sometimes 20 or 30 more students.”

Werner, who is in his 80s and retired since 1993, could not be reached for comment Friday. A publicly listed telephone number for him is no longer in service. No one responded at his Town of Tonawanda home when a reporter knocked on the doors and rang doorbells.

A school district spokesman, Patrick Fanelli, said the district has been aware of one complaint against Werner for about a year and checked into it. The official also said the school district investigated to verify that Werner was no longer working with children, spoke with law enforcement and learned that the complaint was too dated to pursue a criminal complaint. Fanelli said the school district officially notified the state Education Department about the complaint against Werner.

None of the alleged victims is identified by name in the lawsuits.

One of the lawsuits charged that a client identified as OF DOE 3 was repeatedly molested and repeatedly watched other boys being molested by Werner when he was a fifth-grader at Hoover in the 1973-74 school year.

“He was regularly and repeatedly sexually assaulted, abused, groomed and/or groped by … fifth grade teacher Arthur Werner,” the lawsuit alleges. “Further, OF DOE 3 was forced to watch Arthur Werner regularly and repeatedly sexually assault other boys in this classroom. … As a result of the foregoing, OF DOE 3 sustained pain, suffering and emotional, mental and psychological injuries inflicted on him through no fault of his own.”

The lawsuits accuse the school district of “negligence, carelessness, lack of supervision and lack of appropriate policies.”

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Fear and Loathing a Catholic Priest

by P. A. Kane

The breach

I can't remember if my younger brother and I found it strange or if we resisted his request that we sleep in separate beds, in separate rooms. What I do remember, what is burned in my psychic apparatus for all eternity, is him coming into the darkened room where I was pretending to be asleep, sidling up next to me on the sofa bed, and breathing on me. Hot, excited breath that filled me with a paralyzing terror as he pulled down my sweatpants and scrutinized my 12-year-old body by the thin light of a flashlight before gently touching and stroking my genitals. 

In that bed, in those interminable minutes under the heat of his wheezing breath and that little flashlight, so alone and afraid, part of me died. Murdered by a priest who had infiltrated our family and played out his repressed sexual desires on innocent boys who thought he was their friend, who thought he treated them well because they were special, who thought he visited their house because his family was special. It was all a ruse.

The setup

We were playing in the street—a game called running bases that simulated a baseball rundown—and hardly noticed him as he walked by and up to the steps to our front door. After a moment he was let in, and my brother and I looked quizzically at each other. We called time on running bases to find out who had just entered our house. 

Inside, our dad was in his spot at the end of the couch. Sitting in the chair opposite him, dressed in shirt sleeves and slacks and being served a drink by my mom, was Father Silverio, the new, young parish priest who had baptized my baby sister several weeks earlier at Holy Family Church in South Buffalo.

My dad was beaming at this unexpected visit. I knew not to interrupt their conversation but listened attentively, picking off demographic information: where he was from, what other parishes he had ministered to, how long he had been a priest. 

We waited and listened, fidgeting and probably getting yelled at here and there. As he was leaving my brother and I stopped him on the porch and asked our burning question: What was he doing here? He looked us in the eye and said, “Visiting,” a totally unacceptable answer. He was the guy on the altar in those brightly colored robes commanding mass and speaking of life and death, heaven and hell. Why would he visit us? And where was the black uniform with the collar? 

As we walked with him to his car he explained that he was new to the area and was making friends with some of the families in the parish. He assured us this was completely normal and that he was only required to wear the collar to conduct official church business. I was skeptical. Though I was young, unsophisticated, and unaware of the effort to put a more human face on the church as a result of Vatican II, our whole world was comprised of Catholics, and I had never seen or heard of such a thing—of being friends with a priest. That would be like being friends with the mayor. It didn't happen to people who moved in our circles. 

My instincts would be proved right.  

We must have cut quite an intriguing picture to Silverio that spring Sunday morning in 1972 when our whole family stayed after mass to see our baby sister baptized—tired, emotionally detached parents and 10 mostly obedient kids, six of whom were handsome blond boys ranging in age from three to 14. We presented a perfect amalgamation of size, devoutness, social ambition, and parental exhaustion for a predator to manipulate. 

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