News Story of the Day

Should Churches Handle Sexual Abuse Allegations Internally?


Many observers were troubled when Andy Savage, a pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, received a standing ovation from his congregation for his admission of a “sexual incident” with a 17-year-old high-school student when he was a youth leader at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Texas. They have reason to be troubled.

Though the congregation was probably unaware that the woman involved described the “incident” as an assault, at least one pastor at Woodlands and the leaders of Highpoint were aware. The alleged victim claimed that Larry Cotton, an associate pastor of Woodlands at the time, urged her to stay quiet about what happened. And only after the alleged victim made the case public did Highpoint’s pastor Chris Conlee admit that the information was not new to him or to the church leadership. Conlee went on to support Savage and his continued ministry at Highpoint Church.

Judge: Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Phoenix Diocese Can Move Forward

FEBRUARY 1, 2018, Phoenix New Times

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled that a lawsuit can move forward against the Phoenix Diocese for an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse within the clergy.

The victim's attorney, Robert E. Pastor of law firm Montoya, Lucero, and Pastor, said on Thursday that the ruling is a welcome step. His client will have the opportunity to seek justice for the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, Pastor said.

Are these 66 Catholic schools, parishes ignoring rules meant to stop sex abuse?

More than six dozen parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Newark may be out of compliance with a policy meant to protect children from sexual abuse, documents obtained by NJ Advance Media show.

Sixteen years ago, after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops passed the historic Dallas charter meant to address the allegations of sexual misconduct in the church, dioceses across the U.S. were required to implement background checks and training for all staffers and volunteers working with children.

Larry Nassar will be back in court to face 57 more victims in Michigan

By Eric Levenson, January 30, 2018, CNN

(CNN) The legal reckoning with Larry Nassar's years of sexual abuse isn't over.

Nassar, the longtime former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and faculty member at Michigan State University, will return to court Wednesday morning for sentencing in Eaton County, Michigan, where he has pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Former Delaware Catholic priest charged in 25-year-old child sex case

By Xerxes Wilson, January 31, 2018, DelawareOnline

In what appears to be a first, Delaware is prosecuting a former Catholic priest for "sexual intercourse" with a child more than 25 years ago.

Catholic Church group fights Colorado bill to reform system of reporting child abuse

By Robert Garrison, January 29, 2018, Denver 7 ABC

DENVER — Legislation that would reform a mandatory system of reporting child abuse in Colorado is not getting support from the Catholic Church. 

Senate Bill 18-058 would extend the statute of limitations in cases where a person is required by law to report child abuse but fails to do so. 

Currently, the statute of limitations for failing to report child abuse or neglect in Colorado is 18 months, which could result in dropped charges in the recent indictment against three Cherry Creek school leaders accused of hiding allegations made by a specific student in 2013.

Pope Francis' blind spot on sexual abuse

By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, January 25, 2018

The overwhelming consensus in the media is that Pope Francis has a blind spot when it comes to sexual abuse.

He may be on the side of refugees, migrants, the sick, the poor, the indigenous and other marginalized peoples, but he just doesn't get it when it comes to victims of abuse.

The evidence for this assertion is the pope's unwavering support for Juan Barros, whom he appointed bishop of Osorno, Chile, despite accusations from victims that he witnessed and covered up abuse by the Fr. Fernando Karadima, the charismatic priest who in 2011 was found guilty by the Vatican of abusing minors in his upscale Santiago parish.

Southern Baptist Convention Added to Sexual Abuse Suit Against Former Judge Paul Pressler

By Leonardo Blair , Christian Post, Jan 26, 2018 

The Southern Baptist Convention has been added as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging that former Texas state judge and lawmaker Paul Pressler sexually abused a former Bible study student he hired as a home office assistant for decades, starting when he was just 14 years old.

The 15-million member organization was added to the lawsuit on Jan. 12 after it was initially filed in a Texas court on Oct. 18, according to the Tennessean.


Larry Nassar’s enablers? A nation that doubts and dismisses women.

January 25, 2018, The Washington Post

America has a problem believing women and girls.

How else to explain the sickening spectacle of 156 women in a Michigan courtroom this past week facing down an abuser everyone — even their own parents — believed instead of them. The sentencing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was a breathtaking display of the doubt and dismissal that so often greet women and girls when they report being molested or raped or harassed.

With Larry Nassar Sentenced, Focus Is on What Michigan State Knew

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