News Story of the Day
BY KELSIE LEROSE, December 28, 2017, The Journal
MARTINSBURG–A Berkeley County jury will hear the accusations and evidence against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church, and local church officials in early January for allegedly covering up allegations that the son of local church officials sexually abused 12 children over the course of more than five years.
The case against the church was initially investigated after Christopher Michael Jensen, of Martinsburg, was found guilty and sentenced on July 29, 2013 to 35 to 75 years in prison for sexually abusing two minors–4 and 3 years of age at the time of the abuse.
Associated Press, Dec 23, 2017, Crux
PORTLAND, Oregon - When stories of sexual misconduct by powerful men began to fill the news this fall, Manny Vega immediately flashed back to his childhood.
He saw strong similarities between the recent allegations against producers and politicians and his own abuse as a child by his parish priest.
“The parallels are in the power dynamics,” said Vega, a former police officer and decorated Marine who lives in Oxnard, California. “Whether you’re the leader of a church or the leader of a film studio, you’re going to be someone people look up to and someone people go to for guidance. It puts the victim at a horrible disadvantage.”
PATRICE TADDONIO, PBS Frontline, December 21, 2017
Cardinal Bernard Law, a key figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal that continues to haunt the Roman Catholic Church, died this week at the age of 86.
Law was the archbishop of Boston when starting in 2002, a Boston Globe investigation found that for years, he had transferred priests who sexually abused children within his archdiocese. After the stories broke, Law’s name became synonymous with the abuse scandal. He apologized and resigned from his post after the Globe’s revelations, but he continued to hold his title as cardinal up until his death on Tuesday.
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?”
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.