News Story of the Day
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.
FEBRUARY 1, 2018, Phoenix New Times
A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled that a lawsuit can move forward against the Phoenix Diocese for an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse within the clergy.
The victim's attorney, Robert E. Pastor of law firm Montoya, Lucero, and Pastor, said on Thursday that the ruling is a welcome step. His client will have the opportunity to seek justice for the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, Pastor said.
More than six dozen parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Newark may be out of compliance with a policy meant to protect children from sexual abuse, documents obtained by NJ Advance Media show.
Sixteen years ago, after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops passed the historic Dallas charter meant to address the allegations of sexual misconduct in the church, dioceses across the U.S. were required to implement background checks and training for all staffers and volunteers working with children.
By Eric Levenson, January 30, 2018, CNN
(CNN) The legal reckoning with Larry Nassar's years of sexual abuse isn't over.
By Xerxes Wilson, January 31, 2018, DelawareOnline
In what appears to be a first, Delaware is prosecuting a former Catholic priest for "sexual intercourse" with a child more than 25 years ago.
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.