News Story of the Day

Time’s Person of the Year: ‘The Silence Breakers’ for speaking out against sexual harassment

Time magazine has named “The Silence Breakers” as its 2017 Person of the Year, recognizing the women (and some men) who came forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault and helped force a nationwide reckoning.

The magazine calls them “the voices that launched a movement.”

Among them Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, the actresses whose stunning accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein helped lead to his downfall; and activist Tarana Burke, creator of the #MeToo movement, along with the Hollywood star who amplified it on social media, Alyssa Milano.

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In Sex Abuse Cases, an Expiration Date Is Often Attached

DEC. 4, 2017, The New York Times

When John Humphrey was a student at the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, N.J., in the early 1970s, he was sexually abused by a teacher, he said. It began when he was 11 years old, and happened several times a week over two school years, until he left the school after the sixth grade.

Ray Dackerman said he was abused more than 100 times while he was a student at Pingry around the same time, beginning when he was 12 years old. The abuse took place in the teacher’s office and in Boy Scout tents, and even in the teacher’s home while his wife was in the house.

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COMMENTARY We must start believing victims of child abuse

Observer Reporter, December 3, 2017

“Who did you tell?”

“What did they do after you told them?”

These are questions I ask almost every child that I interview. The answers are important; they tell me not just who the child trusts, but also about that child’s history, including what their life as a survivor of childhood sex abuse has been like. I am a child abuse pediatrician, specializing in the care of children with concerns for neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. The majority of my work is in sexual abuse, and I am often called to court to explain not only physical exam findings, but the process of disclosure. Most commonly, I explain why children wait to tell.

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Ex-priest with long history as a sex offender pleads not guilty to new charges in Maine

BY ERIC RUSSELL, STAFF WRITER, December 1, 2017, Portland Press Herald

James Talbot, 80, will face as much as 25 years in prison if convicted of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy in a Freeport church nearly two decades ago.

A former Jesuit priest and longtime Cheverus High School teacher pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he sexually abused a 9-year-old boy at a Freeport church nearly 20 years ago.

James Francis Talbot, 80, appeared Friday in Unified Criminal Court in Portland. He has been held in the Cumberland County Jail since Wednesday, when he was extradited from Missouri.

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She Didn’t Fight Back: 5 (Misguided) Reasons People Doubt Sexual Misconduct Victims

NOV. 30, 2017, The New York Times

She took decades to come forward. She can’t remember exactly what happened. She sent friendly text messages to the same man she says assaulted her. She didn’t fight back.

There are all sorts of reasons women who report sexual misconduct, from unwanted advances by their bosses to groping or forced sex acts, are not believed, and with a steady drumbeat of new reports making headlines, the country is hearing a lot of them.

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Why do state laws put an expiration date on sex crimes?

Laura Santhanam, PBS News Hour, November 28, 2017

On April 27, 2016, former U.S. house speaker Dennis Hastert was convicted of breaking banking law, but crimes to which he confessed in court — sexually abusing multiple high school boys in Illinois while he served as their wrestling coach nearly four decades ago — would never be prosecuted. Their statutes of limitations had expired.

A year later, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan declared the state had removed the criminal statute of limitation for sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated sexual abuse against children. She credited Illinois’ passage of that legislation with the “powerful and courageous testimony of survivors,” many of them speaking publicly for the first time after years of silence, anger and shame.

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Ex-priest accused of murdering beauty queen after she went to confession almost 60 years ago finally headed to trial

BY MINYVONNE BURKE, November 29, 2017, New York Daily News

A former Catholic priest who has long been considered a suspect in the 1960 murder of a Texas beauty queen will stand trial.

John Bernard Feit, 84, was indicted on murder charges in February 2016 in the death of 25-year-old Irene Garza.

Garza, a schoolteacher and Miss All South Texas Sweetheart 1958, vanished in April 1960 after visiting Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen for confession during Holy Week.

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Philip Wilson: Adelaide Archbishop accused of covering up child sexual abuse has trial delayed

By Giselle Wakatama and Kerrin Thomas, November 28, 2017, ABC.net.au

Australia's most senior Catholic Archbishop accused of covering up child sexual abuse has had his trial delayed because of medical issues.

Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, was due to front Newcastle Local Court today, but had a pacemaker fitted six days ago and remains in South Australia.

He was arrested two and a half years ago, and has tried, and failed, three times to permanently stay proceedings.

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All eyes on county as decades-old case finally set for trial

By Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro, November 27, 2017, The Monitor

EDINBURG — The nearly 60-year saga in the death of a schoolteacher and beauty queen is expected to reach its conclusion by the end of the year as the former priest accused with her murder finally faces a jury.

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When Sexual Assault Victims Are Charged With Lying

The women accusing the Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct have faced doubt and derision. Other women, who have alleged sexual assault or harassment by powerful men in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and elsewhere, have become targets for online abuse or had their careers threatened. Harvey Weinstein went so far as to hire ex-Mossad operatives to investigate the personal history of the actress Rose McGowan, to discourage her from publicly accusing him of rape.

There are many reasons for women to think twice about reporting sexual assault. But one potential consequence looms especially large: They may also be prosecuted.

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