News Story of the Day

Clerical sex abuse scandal has led to few convictions

By Patsy McGarry, August 26, 2016, The Irish Times

One of the more remarkable features of the clerical child sexual abuse scandal has been the low conviction level of alleged perpetrators in the courts.

Last September the National Board for Safeguarding Children, the Catholic Church watchdog in Ireland, published a report looking at 325 allegations made against 141 members of six religious congregations.

Of those, the report found, only eight led to convictions.

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California nearing landmark change to sex-crime statute of limitations as New York lawmakers lag behind

BY LEONARD GREENE, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS,  August 22, 2016

California's state assembly is close to accomplishing something New York lawmakers could not do — change the way sexual assault is prosecuted.

Inspired by Bill Cosby, of all people, elected leaders in the Golden State passed a bill last week to end the time limit for prosecuting rape and felony sex crimes.

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Comment Sections Are Cesspools Of Rape Culture, Research Finds

In news articles about sexual assault, 1 in 4 comments blame the victim.

By Tyler Kingkade, August 18, 2016, Huffington Post

One-fourth of all online comments at the end of news articles about sexual assault and rape include victim-blaming statements, new research out of the University of Southern California shows.

The study examined 52 articles and found that only one did not contain comments offering support for the accused perpetrator, the study said. Victim-blaming statements appeared in 1,097 of the 4,239 comments ― or just over 25 percent of them. 

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Prep school denies it wants sex assault victim’s name made public

By Nestor Ramos GLOBE STAFF  AUGUST 16, 2016, Boston Globe

Victims advocates and legal observers expressed consternation on Monday about a New Hampshire prep school’s request to reveal the identity of a teenage sexual assault victim if her family’s lawsuit against the school reaches trial.

In raising the issue of the girl’s continued anonymity, St. Paul’s School is leaning on legal strategies that are common in high-profile civil cases involving sexual assault, lawyers said. But because St. Paul’s is an educational institution responsible for keeping children safe, the tactic left some scratching — or shaking — their heads.

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Portland Catholic Diocese settles with 6 sexual abuse victims for $1.2 million

BY ERIC RUSSELL AND MATT BYRNE STAFF WRITERS, August 15, 2016, Portland Press Herald

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has settled a lawsuit for $1.2 million with six sexual abuse victims of a former priest.

Additional details were released at a press conference late Monday morning at the office of Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of victims of pedophile priests.

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No righting the wrong when there's no justice for victims

Samantha Perry is editor of the Daily Telegraph, August 14, 2016, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

It begins tentatively. A polite hug by strangers thrown into a horrific, tumultuous situation by a roll of the dice of the fates.

In seconds it becomes real — arms holding each other tight. Emotions draining. Tears flowing. I mutter the only words I can find at the moment.

“I am so sorry.”

The words seem trite — small in comparison to the gravity of the verdict that has rocked the courtroom audience. But in the shock of the moment I am at a loss for eloquence.

What does one say to the victim of a child sexual predator who is victimized, once again, by the state’s judicial system?

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Bellows Falls Jehovah's Witnesses ask court to toss lawsuit

By Robert Audette, raudette@reformer.com, Aug. 11, 2016,  Brattleborro Reformer

BELLOWS FALLS — Attorneys for the Bellows Falls Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses are asking the United States District Court for the District of Vermont to dismiss a lawsuit alleging a congregation member committed sexual abuse 25 years ago.

The lawsuit, filed by Annessa Lewis, names congregation member Norton True and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York as co-defendants in the suit. The attorneys are asking that the congregation and Watchtower be dismissed from the suit. They do not represent True.

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State must investigate Harrisburg diocese

YDR Editorial Board, August 10, 2016, York Daily Record

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was on trial this week, defending herself against charges she says were trumped up by the old boys’ network in our state’s judicial system. So she might have been too distracted to read YDR’s story about priests accused of sexual abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, which includes York County.

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Unholy Secrets: The Legal Loophole That Allows Clergy To Hide Child Sexual Abuse

By Jack Jenkins, ThinkProgress.org, August 8, 2016

It was 2008, and Rebecca Mayeux was living a nightmare.

Just 14 years old at the time, she was being sexually harassed and abused by a member of her church, 64-year-old George Charlet Jr.  According to Mayeux, Charlet bombarded her with emails “laced with seductive nuances” over the course of a summer, slowly escalating his inappropriate advances before ultimately kissing and fondling her.

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Monsignor William Lynn Gets Date for New Trial After Release from Prison

Two days after he walked free from a northeastern Pennsylvania prison on bail, Monsignor William Lynn, accused of shielding pedophile priests, learned when he'll face a new trial.

Lynn served nearly three years in prison before a judge granted him bail earlier this week after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's decision to overturn his conviction, granting him a new trial. At a hearing Thursday morning, a Philadelphia judge set Lynn's new trial for May 2017.

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