News Story of the Day
By Johnathan S. Tobin, Jewish Link
In the past two months, the avalanche of stories about sexual abuse and harassment has touched virtually every sector of American society. The revelations about deeply troubling behavior on the part of politicians, journalists and figures in the entertainment world have transfixed the country. As more victims come forward to tell their stories, the consequences have gone beyond the disgrace of some prominent individuals, the end of careers and, in Alabama, a surprising election result. What began with a shocking story about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has led to what may well be a crucial turning point in the way sexual misconduct is viewed.
Death of disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law reveals a truth we’d rather ignore about the Catholic Church
By Melinda Henneberger, The Kansas City Star
Twelve years ago, after the death of Pope John Paul II, I watched a man who will go down in history as a fierce protector of child rapists process into St. Peter’s to celebrate one of the nine masses that traditionally follow the death of a pontiff.
By Alfred P. Doblin, NorthJersey opinion, December 22, 2017, USA Today Network
Law became the face of this institutional evil, and his legacy will remain solely that, for generations to come.
There was a time when “men of the cloth” were revered. To have a priest in the family was a sign of pride for many a Catholic parent. Priests were good men, focused on helping others.
Then there was the time of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law. And nothing would be the same again.
By NCR Editorial Staff, December 19, 2017, National Catholic Reporter
In December 2013, Pope Francis sparked hope that the Catholic Church was (finally!) taking the scandal of clergy sexual abuse seriously. He created a group to advise him and future popes on how the church worldwide could protect children, appointing experts on the issue and even survivors of abuse to a new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
By Rachel Zoll and Nicole Winfield, December 20, 2017, ABC News
Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former archbishop of Boston whose failure to stop child molesters in the priesthood triggered the worst crisis in American Catholicism, died Wednesday in Rome at age 86.
By Gustavo Arellano, December 18, 2017, Jezebel
For the past 16 years, Dr. Thomas Hodgman has taught at Adrian College’s Music Department, where he currently serves as the choir director. He enjoys a tenured position at the school even though, in 2005, the Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California paid a $1.6 million settlement to Joelle Casteix, after she filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Hodgman repeatedly sexually assaulted her and gave her an STD in the late 1980s.
BY ERIC RUSSELL, December 17, 2017,
At Cheverus, they were taught moral responsibility, but victims of alleged abuse by a former teacher say they're still waiting for the school and the Jesuit community to practice what they preach.
When Michael Sweatt looked at his son’s schedule and saw the familiar name of a teacher, he went to the school and demanded his son be removed from that class.
Cheverus officials balked at first, he said, until Sweatt revealed that the teacher, Charles Malia, abused him back in the mid-1970s.
Sweatt said the response from the school’s then-president, John Mullen, was, “Why would you enroll your son here?”
December 14, 2017, The Guardian
The Australian royal commission into the institutional responses to child sexual abuse has handed down its final report. Here are the key points
The royal commission’s final report (pdf) has made 189 new recommendations, including:
- The federal government should establish a National Office for Child Safety, sitting within the department of prime minister and cabinet. Its first job should be to develop a national framework to prevent child sexual abuse.
- The federal government should create a portfolio overseeing policy towards children
By Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 15, 2017
It started when she was in first grade, when she still had her baby teeth.
Robert Marsicek, a priest she trusted, repeatedly molested her at a Catholic school in Wauwatosa.
"My little self thought it was OK and I thought that this was normal," she said.
By Scott Neuman, December 15, 2017, NPR
In a far-reaching report on child sex abuse in Australia, a government commission is recommending that the country's Catholic Church lift its celibacy requirement for diocesan clergy and be required to report evidence of abuse revealed in confession.
Those are among the 400 recommendations contained in the 17-volume final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which is wrapping up a five-year investigation – the longest in Australia's history.
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.