News Story of the Day

Abuse survivor confronts gymnastics doctor: ‘I have been coming for you for a long time’

By Kyle Swenson, January 17, 2017, Washington Post

Two school pictures floated side-by-side on a projection screen in the Michigan courtroom. Both images caught the same small girl  — in one, all gawky smile and bangs; the next, braces and long hair — a few years apart. Until this week, the child in the snapshots had been officially identified only as “Victim Z.A.” or “a family friend.”

But on Tuesday, Kyle Stephens, now a young woman, stepped out from the curtain of anonymity to directly address disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar before a judge in Lansing.


Church credibility in focus as Pope heads for Latin America

By Philip Pullella, January 16, 2018, Reuters

Pope's visit to Peru and Chile casts harsh light on handling of sexual abuse cases

By Dan Collyns in Lima and Piotr Kozak in Santiago, January 12, 2018, The Guardian

Criticism that Pope Francis is failing to tackle allegations of abuse, in the wake of scandals in both countries, is likely to overshadow his week-long visit

Pope Francis leaves Rome this weekend for a tour of Chile and Peru amid renewed accusations that he is failing to tackle allegations of clerical sexual abuse after scandals in both countries.

The visit comes as the pope seeks to shore up the Catholic church faith against the loss of followers in two of South America’s most conservative nations.

During the week-long visit, the pope will also travel to the Amazon city of Puerto Maldonado in Peru, where he will meet indigenous leaders and is expected to expand on the environmental message of his 2015 encyclical on climate change.

New London Man Alleging Priest Abuse Receives $900K Settlement

By Andrew Denney, January 12, 2018,

The Diocese of Norwich, a Catholic church in Groton and a Vermont-based order of priests have agreed to pay a $900,000 settlement to a New London man who says a priest molested him when he was an altar boy at the church in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Will the Pope Address Sexual Abuse in the Chilean Church?

AP Exclusive: Pope letter details concern over Chile bishop

 January 11, 2018, The Washington Post

SANTIAGO, Chile — The Vatican was so concerned about the fallout from Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest that it planned to ask three Chilean bishops accused of knowing about his decades-long crimes to resign and take a year’s sabbatical — a revelation that comes just days before Pope Francis makes his first visit to Chile as pope.

A confidential 2015 letter from Francis, obtained by The Associated Press, details the behind-the-scenes maneuvering by the Vatican and Chile’s bishops to deal with the prelates connected to the disgraced Rev. Fernando Karadima. And it reveals the bishops’ concern about Francis naming a Karadima protege, Bishop Juan Barros, to the helm of the diocese of Osorno — an appointment that roiled the diocese, with hundreds of priests and lay Catholics staging protests against him.

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.

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.

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.

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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