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New documents about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ sex abuse begin to leak out

Dozens of confidential documents apparently leaked from Jehovah’s Witnesses archives appeared online Tuesday, providing a rare window into how the religion’s child abuse policies favor accused sexual predators at the expense of the victims.

FaithLeaks, a group pushing for more transparency in religious organizations, posted the documents in tandem with a story published by Gizmodo.

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Pressuring harassers to quit can end up protecting them

 January 5, The Washington Post

When I learned that Judge Alex Kozinski was retiring, after more than a dozen women accused him of inappropriate conduct and sexualized comments, part of me was relieved.

I clerked for Kozinski in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit 14 years ago and found his chambers to be a hostile, demeaning and persistently sexualized environment. I had anticipated an arduous apprenticeship with this brilliant jurist and writer. I did not expect how controlling he would be: wanting to approve the location of my apartment, complaining when his clerks wanted salad for lunch instead of whatever he was having.

On one occasion, he crumpled up a printout of an email draft and threw it at me. He regularly diminished women and their accomplishments; when discussing newly selected Supreme Court clerks, he surmised, using a vulgar term, that one was lesbian. On another day, he gestured for me to come over to the computer in his office and asked me to look at a photo — unrelated to any case we were working on — of a nude man. For the rest of my year-long clerkship, I closed the door to my office and communicated with the judge as little as possible.

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Trust in clergy in US declines to historic low, Gallup poll finds

By Jardine Malado, Christian Times, January 8, 2017

A recent Gallup poll has found that less than half of Americans believe that clergy members are honest and have high ethical standards.The poll, titled "Americans' Ratings of Honesty and Ethical Standards in Professions," has revealed that trust in the clergy has declined from a high of 67 percent in 1985 to its lowest rating of 42 percent in 2017.

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Former priest pleads guilty in child sex case

By DON LEHMAN, The Post Star, January 5, 2018

BALLSTON SPA — A defrocked former Catholic priest who lived at a “retreat” in Washington County pleaded guilty Friday to two felony charges for having sexual contact with an underage boy.

Michael R. Hands, 51, pleaded guilty to counts of third-degree criminal sexual act for sexual contact with a child younger than the age of 17 in the town of Charlton last July. He had also been accused of sharing pornography with the teen.

The charges were brought because the teen was too young to legally consent to sexual relations.

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Family of late Stone Mountain priest settles child molestation suit

By Joshua Sharpe, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 3, 2018
When a 47-year-old man decided to sue a former DeKalb County priest in 2017, he dreamed of facing his alleged abuser in court. But it turned out Father Stanley Idziak, who’d been accused of molesting multiple children in Dunwoody and Stone Mountain, had died months earlier, leaving the only legal recourse suing his estate.
On Tuesday, the plaintiff withdrew the complaint after receiving a settlement from the priest’s family, attorney John Burdges said.
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How do churches address sexual misconduct by clergy members?

By Elizabeth Eisenstadt-Evans, Lancaster Online

Recently a group of 140 evangelical women representing diverse theological and social perspectives released a statement asking churches to break their silence on violence against women.Yet when it comes to addressing sexual assault, it’s not only conservative Christian denominations that are in denial, say experts.

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Former Kirk moderator Dr Andrew McLellan hits out over "astonishing" delay in abuse response from Catholic Church

By Stephen Naysmith, Herald Scotland

THE Catholic Church has been accused of failing to establish contact with victims of historic child abuse as it pledged to do in response to an independent review.

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Manhattan DA Cy Vance joining fight to enact law allowing child sex abuse victims to seek justice

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London Catholic school abuse survivor speaks of 'constant violence'

By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, January 1, 2018

A man who was abused as a child at a Catholic school in London has spoken of a “culture of violence” at the institution, where a former headmaster was jailed just before Christmas for rape and other sexual offences.

“The threat and infliction of violence was constant. You couldn’t escape it – it was completely normalised,” said the survivor, who gave evidence in court against Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence.

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Pope Francis Visits Chile and Peru: Sex Abuse, Politics and Opus Dei

By Betty Clermont,

This is the pope’s sixth trip to the region with which he is most familiar. But this one is different. This is the first time he will face a populace aware of both his indifference, at best, to victims of sexual abuse and, at worse, his efforts to shield the perpetrators. In addition, there is a consistent pattern of issues, as well as an alliance of powerful elites from church and state, in both countries.

Pope Francis will face significant hostility when he visits Chile Jan. 15 – 18. Demonstrations have been planned to protest his response to clerical sex abuse.

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