News Story of the Day
By Royce Millar, Ben Schneiders, Chris Vedelago, February 12, 2018, The Sydney Morning Herald
The Catholic Church in Australia is worth tens of billions of dollars, making it one of the country’s biggest non-government property owners, and massively wealthier than it has claimed in evidence to major inquiries into child sexual abuse.
By Robert Mickens, Rome, February 9, 2018, La Croix International
The biggest error Catholic leaders have made regarding the church’s response to priests abusing children
has been the exclusion of women leading the policy-making process
The last couple of weeks have not been what anyone in his or her right mind would call the most brightly shining moment in the current pontificate.
First, the cardinal in charge of the Roman Curia’s office on the laity blocked Ireland’s former president, Mary MacAleese, from speaking at an International Woman’s Day event originally scheduled to take place inside the Vatican. In response, the organizers simply moved the venue to the nearby Jesuit headquarters.
By Justin A. Hinkley, Lansing State Journal, February 9, 2018
EAST LANSING - Michigan State University was expected on Friday to have turned over some 45,000 pages of documents to investigators at the Michigan Attorney General's Office, with more to come on "a rolling basis," according to a letter from the university's attorneys to investigators.
Meanwhile, lawmakers on Friday gave the university until Wednesday to hand over documents in their own investigation into how MSU officials responded to Larry Nassar scandal.
By The Associated Press, February 9, 2018, Salt Lake Tribune
Martinsburg, W.Va. • A man accused in a West Virginia lawsuit along with the Utah-based LDS Church of covering up years of child sexual abuse testified he was unaware of the allegations that led to his son’s conviction until he was charged.
The Journal reports Chris Jensen testified Tuesday in Berkeley County Circuit Court in the trial of a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs on behalf of nine families.
Plaintiffs contend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others knew about 26-year-old member Christopher Michael Jensen’s sexual abuse convictions and allegations but “did nothing to warn and protect” their children.
By John Woolfolk, February 7, 2018, Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News
The number of women claiming they were sexually abused as students at a prestigious San Jose Catholic girls high school has swelled to 20 while the number of accused staff has grown to eight. The mounting accusations surfaced as nearly 5,000 former students and their supporters have signed a petition demanding an independent investigation of how the administration handled reported abuse.
By Danae King, February 6, 2018, The Columbus Dispatch
A property dispute has brought to light sexual-assault allegations against a Columbus bishop who founded a group of Pentecostal churches around the world.
By Alex Costello, Patch Staff, Feb 5, 2018, Rockville Centre Patch
A report released on Monday by a group of attorneys seeks to compile all of the allegations of sexual abuse made against priests in the Diocese of Rockville Centre into one place so residents can more easily find out if priests in their parishes have had abuse allegations made against them, and if those allegations were credible.
The report, titled "Hidden Disgrace II," was compiled by the attorney group Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse. It is a group of attorneys made up of lawyers from the firms of Weitz & Luxenberg P.C; James, Vernon & Weeks, P.A.; and Noaker Law Firm LLC, to help victims of child sexual assault.
By NICOLE WINFIELD and EVA VERGARA, February 5, 2018, AP
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter’s author and members of Francis’ own sex- abuse commission have told The Associated Press.
The fact that Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has “zero tolerance” for sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of his five-year papacy.
By JEN ZAMZOW, FEBRUARY 2, 2018, Christianity Toda
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.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.