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Education agency investigates Michigan State over Nassar

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 01:38 PM PST

WASHINGTON (DC) The Associated Press February 26, 2018 The Education Department said Monday that it has opened an investigation into how Michigan State University handled allegations of sexual assault against Dr. Larry Nassar, a longtime employee who has been sentenced to decades in prison for molesting young athletes and possessing child pornography. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said investigators will look at "systemic issues" with how the school has dealt with such complaints. In a statement, she called Nassar's actions "unimaginable." She added, "The bravery shown by the survivors has been remarkable." DeVos, who is from western Michigan, said she appreciates that the university's acting president, John Engler, has ordered the school to cooperate fully with the investigation. The Education Department was already reviewing separate complaints about the school's compliance with Title IX, the law that requires schools to prevent and respond to reports of sexual violence, and compliance with requirements about providing campus crime and security information. The Michigan Attorney General's office also is investigating Michigan State's handling of Nassar, who was a campus sports doctor.

Corless urges public to back DNA testing of Tuam babies’ remains

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 11:11 AM PST

TUAM (CO GALWAY, IRELAND) The Irish Times February 23, 2018 By Elaine Edwards Historian calls on members of the public to make submissions to Galway County Council Galway historian Catherine Corless, whose work resulted in the discovery of the remains of hundreds of babies and infants on the site of the former mother-and-baby home in Tuam, has urged members of the public to support full exhumation and DNA testing of the remains. Galway County Council recently opened the consultation on options for the site following the publication by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone of an expert technical report in December. In March 2017, the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation confirmed the discovery of juvenile human remains, in "significant quantities", in subsurface chambers on the site of historic sewage system at the former Bon Secours home. That commission was set up in February 2015 after Ms Corless published research that revealed death certificates for 796 children at the Tuam home with no indication of their burial places. In June last year, the minister appointed an expert technical group to outline to the Government what options were available for the site and for dealing with the remains. While the technical report outlined five options – from creating a memorial to continuing examinations on the site – the Government has not made a decision on how to proceed.

Gymnasts to join lawmakers Monday to unveil bills aimed at stopping sexual abuse

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 11:09 AM PST

DETROIT (MI) Detroit Free Press February 26, 2018 By Kathleen Gray Michigan state Sen. Margaret O'Brien has known Rachael Denhollander for years. When Denhollander was growing up in Kalamazoo, she worked on some of O'Brien's early political campaigns. And when, after becoming a lawyer and moving to Louisville, Ky., Denhollander decided to go public with her story of being sexually abused by former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar, she counted on that connection with O'Brien to turn the story into positive action. "After she first went public, she asked me if she could meet with legislators. She told us what she had discovered in research and found we were one of the worst states of the nation," O'Brien, a Portage Republican, said. "The charge was laid out that we had to do something."

HOLLYWOOD'S INDIE FILM INDUSTRY IS STILL WAITING FOR A DOSE OF #METOO

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:51 AM PST

UNITED STATES Quartzy February 26, 2018 By Jed Gottlieb Producer Miranda Bailey spent two decades becoming an independent film industry powerhouse. Her production company, Cold Iron Pictures, has steadily built an impressive catalog—recent successes include 2015 Sundance sensation Diary of a Teenage Girl and Mike Birbiglia's 2016 feature Don't Think Twice. Bailey has switched from producer to director with You Can Choose Your Family, which stars Jim Gaffigan and will debut at SXSW next month. Bailey began at the bottom with a crash course in industry culture. Her first acting job came in indie film where she needed to do a sex scene. But, her character also opened the film with some dialogue over a few scenes and appeared to be a plum first gig. On the day of the shoot, Bailey was given no costume, only a robe, and the set wasn't closed—something she had negotiated before the shoot. Quickly, Bailey, who had never been on a movie set until this day, felt the situation pulled out of her control. "The producer stormed in and said, 'You gotta take that underwear off,' and I said, 'No way,'" Bailey said. "The producer told me I'm holding everybody up. I felt tremendous pressure. Everyone was looking at me. I was naked and 22-years-old." Bailey acquiesced while the producer and director changed the scene on the spot, adding another character who walks in over and over again on the couple simulating sex. After the scene finished they told her she was wrapped. They had cut her screen time with dialogue saying they ran out of money to shoot it. Bailey offered to come back for free—"I would never have done the movie just to be in one sex scene," Bailey said. But, the scenes never materialized. This was in the early 2000s, during the explosion of online porn. Hollywood-centric websites specialized in stockpiling every naked actress from every movie. For years, as she tried to make a name for herself as a producer and director, the scene followed her around. While producing her first indie feature, the director told her she needed to fire one of the assistant editors, a woman. The call was the director's to make but, as the producer, Bailey needed to tell her she was being let go. At the news, the editor burst into tears and said, "Miranda, you need to know why he's firing me." The director had pulled Bailey's old sex scene off the internet and sneaked it onto a TV screen in the background of a scene in the new movie. Then the director and the crew sat around laughing at their secret joke. "It was completely humiliating and this assistant editor was the only one who stuck up for me and I still had to fire her," she said. "This one thing I did on my first movie haunted me for so long."

Jennifer Lawrence Is Reportedly Teaming Up With Catt Sadler for #MeToo, Time's Up Docuseries

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:46 AM PST

NEW YORK (NY) Glamour February 25, 2018 By Jennifer Lance Hollywood's fight for gender equality has just taken another big step forward. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jennifer Lawrence and former E! News host Catt Sadler—who left her storied post as anchor last year after learning that her male colleague was earning nearly twice her salary—are teaming up to create a no-holds-barred television docuseries that will take a provocative look at recent female-centric movements in Hollywood, specifically those concerning the gender wage gap, Time's Up, and #MeToo. The announcement—which, fittingly, comes on the heels of Lawrence's recent decision to take a year-long break from acting in order to pursue political activism—was made during the actress' speaking engagement on Friday night at The Wing, a women's-only workspace in New York. While speaking with The Wing co-founder Audrey Gelman, Lawrence accidentally let it slip that she and Sadler had been recently collaborating on a TV series—though, when asked to elaborate, the star declined to embellish, concluding slyly: "I wasn't supposed to announce that." Lawrence and Sadler reportedly became close back in December, after the actress publicly supported the veteran E! News host upon learning of her experience with wage disparity. When asked about her budding friendship with Lawrence during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in January, Sadler said: "Jennifer Lawrence has become a friend of mine—really, a hero of mine. Long before my own experiences, her voice has been an empowering one and one I've always admired. To have her in my corner is hard to put into words, to be honest." While Lawrence did not elaborate the development plans for the upcoming series during her evening at The Wing, The Hollywood Reporter later reported that the series in discussion is said to follow #MeToo, Time's Up and gender wage gap conversations in Hollywood; additionally, the pair have reportedly brought acclaimed documentary filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig—who explored America's gun violence epidemic in Under the Gun—into the directorial conversation.

Jennifer Lawrence gets candid about nude photo leak and Harvey Weinstein

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:43 AM PST

UNITED STATES Yahoo Entertainment February 25, 2018 By Nick Paschal Jennifer Lawrence sat down with Bill Whitaker for a very candid interview on 60 Minutes. The Oscar-winning actress opened up about her nude photo hack and Harvey Weinstein, who produced Silver Linings Playbook. When asked if Weinstein had ever been inappropriate with her, Lawrence said no but added, "What he did is criminal and deplorable. And when it came out and I heard about it, I wanted to kill him. The way that he destroyed so many women's lives. I want to see him in jail." Lawrence may have avoided being assaulted by Weinstein, but she was violated when her private nude photos were hacked and spread around the internet in 2014. The violation affected both her private and professional life, according to Lawrence. "I read this script that I'm dying to do, and the one thing that's getting in my way is nudity," she said. "I realized there's a difference between consent and not."

Weinstein Apologizes to Streep, Lawrence for Lawyers' Words

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:42 AM PST

LOS ANGELES (CA) The Associated Press February 22, 2018 By Sandy Cohen Harvey Weinstein is apologizing to Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence after his lawyers cited them in asking a court to dismiss a sexual misconduct lawsuit. Harvey Weinstein apologized to Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence after his lawyers cited them in asking a court to dismiss a sexual misconduct lawsuit. A spokeswoman for the disgraced movie mogul said Thursday that Weinstein has also directed his legal representatives not to use specific names of actors and former associates in the future. Lawyers for Weinstein argued in a filing, in which they quoted previous remarks made by Streep and Lawrence, that a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by six women should be rejected. Weinstein's attorneys cited Streep as having previously said that Weinstein wasn't inappropriate with her and cited Lawrence as having told Oprah Winfrey that Weinstein "had always been nice" to her. The actresses immediately snapped back, with Streep calling the citation of her remarks "pathetic and exploitive." Lawrence said Weinstein's attorneys took her previous remarks out of context and that she stands "behind all the women who have survived his terrible abuse."

Cardinal apologizes for any 'confusion or embarrassment' over tweet

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:15 AM PST

NEWARK (NJ) News 12 New Jersey February 25, 2018 The Newark archbishop is offering an apology for any "misunderstanding" after a tweet he posted last week sparked controversy. Cardinal Joseph Tobin posted a tweet last Wednesday that read, "Nighty-night, baby. I love you." The archdiocese says the tweet, which was later deleted, was meant for one of his eight younger sisters. But the message has raised some eyebrows. The cardinal has since posted a message on Twitter that says, "Sitting on a plane last Wednesday evening, I mistakenly tweeted a message meant as a private communication with one of my sisters. When I arrived in Newark two hours later, friends informed me of the error and I immediately removed it."

I’m a Campus Sexual Assault Activist. It’s Time to Reimagine How We Punish Sex Crimes.

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:11 AM PST

NEW YORK (NY) The New York Times ​February 22, 2018 By Sofie Karasek I've told my story many times — I was assaulted, I reported it to my university, and it swept it under the rug. When I was 19, I helped create the wave of activism around the issue of campus sexual assault that made headlines from 2013 to 2016. The student movement during those years primed the public for #MeToo today: Survivors of sexual assault mobilized to end the stigma attached to it by telling our stories publicly. And, as is happening now, progress didn't come without opposition. We've been here before, and there are valuable lessons from our fight for today's movement. One of the most promising has to do with justice. Over time, many student activists have become disillusioned with an emphasis on punitive justice — firings, expulsions and in some cases, prison sentences. We've seen firsthand how rarely it works for survivors. It's not designed to provide validation, acknowledgment or closure. It also does not guarantee that those who harmed will not act again. As the campus sexual assault movement, and now #MeToo, has made clear, sexual injustices, from harassment to rape and assault, are deeply ingrained in American society, involving people from all walks of life. We cannot jail, fire or expel our way out of this crisis. We need institutional responses to sexual harm that prioritize both justice and healing, not one at the expense of the other. When I was assaulted at 18, I knew clearly what I wanted: I wanted him to never violate anyone else again, ever. Four of us whom he'd assaulted told the university, through proper channels; he was eventually found responsible, but the punishment was negligible. Nor did it achieve my goal: He assaulted another person the weekend of his graduation. The whole process made me feel betrayed, angry and unvalued. It was worse than the assault itself. Later, when I got involved in campus sexual assault activism and did Q. and A. sessions around the country, people often asked me why I hadn't then gone further, seeking to have him expelled or reporting him to the police. I always felt uncomfortable when asked these questions — it was as though I had to prove that my story was really "that bad," as if I admitted I didn't want him to go to jail, it would minimize his wrongdoing. The reason I gave for not reporting him to the police was that I didn't want to go through a lengthy court process. While this was true, it was more than that: First, I wanted to get on with my life. But second, putting him in prison seemed almost laughably ill suited to what I needed. What I wanted was for him to change his behavior. He needed an intervention, not prison. He got neither. I had to fit my priorities into a box that was never designed to hold them, as do so many other survivors. Sexual injustices exist in many forms, from casual sexism and harassment to sexual assault and rape. But people harmed by them have, by and large, only two options: They can try to have the perpetrator formally punished, or they can do nothing. The process of reporting formally is important to many survivors and must be protected; we know, however, that a vast majority of people will not choose this path. And all survivors — regardless of whether a report is filed or a harm-doer is exposed — deserve justice, healing and trust. Recognition of the scale of sexual assault and harassment in the United States has, understandably, inspired a wave of outrage. Women who have watched known predators act without consequences for years are angry, as they should be. But it is this same factor — the scale of the problem — that ensures that cries for retribution on a mass scale are untenable. We're simultaneously dehumanizing the people who committed sexual assault for years by calling them monsters and learning that the people who commit these crimes are our friends, co-workers, family members and partners. Such dynamics become too much to grapple with; as a result, the conversation devolves into an argument about whether #MeToo has gone "too far" versus "not far enough"; my fear is that this is where it will stall until we lose patience and move on, when what we really need is a new approach. There are other models out there. Black survivors, who are often reticent to report sexual assaults to the same officers who criminalize their family and friends, and Native American survivors, who are often barred from pressing criminal charges​ ​​​a​​gainst non-Native perpetrators in tribal courts, have long argued for alternatives. Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, echoed this sentiment to me last week, declaring, "It's time to turn this ship around." Academics are already building upon this sense that we need more options. At the University of Arizona, Mary Koss, who did groundbreaking work on campus rape in the 1980s, piloted a program called Restore that uses a framework in which the harm-doer takes responsibility for what happened and a formal plan is developed for the person to make amends and change his behavior. This approach also involves community members along with family and friends. (In 2016, the Obama administration solicited a grant application from Dr. Koss and her team to expand this research nationally. The Trump administration, unfortunately, rescinded the solicitation in January 2017.) Alternative forms of justice are also taking hold in contexts beyond campuses. In 2016, Black Women's Blueprint, an organization that advocates for black women who are survivors of sexual violence, convened a Truth and Reconciliation Commission conceived by its members. The four-day commission gave 15 survivors the space to share their stories and be publicly affirmed by the community. It also created space for individuals, whether harm-doers or those who enabled them, to take responsibility. One minister apologized on behalf of the religious community for not believing or supporting survivors, which Farah Tanis, the director of BWB, called "tremendous," "shocking to get" and "so important for so many survivors in the room." She also noted that some men in attendance said that they had sexually harmed women and offered apologies, which took the burden off survivors to initiate reconciliation. How to expand these models on a large scale remains a big question. (There have already been calls to bring alternative-justice models to Hollywood​​.) There are plenty of challenges and factors to consider. For instance, because institutions seek to protect their bottom lines and insulate themselves from legal liability, it's not clear that they can ever be truly fair and unbiased; survivors need an option that is truly independent, and ideally publicly funded. We need solutions at the scale of the problem, which private or charitable funding alone cannot create. But if the momentum and passion behind #MeToo and the campus sexual assault movements demonstrate anything, it's that our systems for dealing with sexual injustices are broken. The question is whether we are using this moment to construct better ones. Sofie Karasek is a co-founder of End Rape on Campus​​ and the national organizer for the #InMyWords campaign.

Chileans lose faith as Vatican scrambles to contain sex abuse scandal

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:40 AM PST

SANTIAGO (CHILE) Reuters February 23, 2018 By Cassandra Garrison To understand why Chile, one of Latin America's most socially conservative nations, is losing faith in the Roman Catholic Church, visit Providencia, a middle-class area of Santiago coming to terms with a decades-old clergy sex abuse scandal. Providencia is home to El Bosque, the former parish of priest Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing teenage boys over many years, spurring a chain of events leading to this week's visit by a Vatican investigator. A Chilean judge in the same year determined the Vatican's canonical sentence was valid but Karadima was not prosecuted by the civil justice system because the statute of limitations had expired. So many Chileans were shocked in 2015 when Pope Francis appointed as a bishop a clergyman accused of covering up for Karadima, and defended that choice in a visit to Chile last month. Chile remains largely conservative on social issues. It only legalized divorce in 2004, making it one of the last countries in the world to do so. Chile's ban on abortion, one of the strictest in the world, was lifted in 2017 for special circumstances only. Same-sex marriage remains illegal. Yet El Bosque, like many other Chilean parishes, no longer has the large crowds attending Mass that it did in the 1970s and 1980s, when Karadima was a pillar of the Providencia community.

Mid-Michigan priest accused of sexual assault

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:35 AM PST

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (MI) WNEM February 26, 2018 A local priest is behind bars for claims of sexual assault crimes. Father Robert Deland, Jr. was first accused of sexual assault in August of 2017 at his home on Mallard Cove in Saginaw Township, according to Det. Brian Berg with the Tittabawassee Township Police Department. A police investigation began that November. "At no time were students or others in danger during this covert law-enforcement operation," Berg wrote in a press release. Five complaints have been filed against Deland since then, including claims of giving alcohol to a minor, sexual assault, illegally purchasing and possessing Ecstasy, and gross indecency.

Papal adviser on sex abuse wants Church to offer experience to the world

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:37 AM PST

ROME (ITALY) CRUX February 26, 2018 By Claire Giangravè A Vatican commission created by Pope Francis to advise him on the fight against sexual abuse now is looking to repair its relationship with victims and to "go forward" in order to lend its expertise and resources to the outside world, according to a recently appointed member. Last week, the Vatican announced that Francis had confirmed seven members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and appointed nine new members, some of whom are former victims of sexual abuse. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM), is an advisory body to the pope on the issue of safeguarding minors and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse. The first phase of the commission, before its recent renewal, had "many moments of reflection," according to Ernesto Caffo, a newly appointed member as well as founder and president of Telefono Azzurro, a non-profit organization in Italy aimed at protecting children.

Teen said Modesto pastor abused her. Church 'swept it under the rug'

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:31 AM PST

MODESTO (CA) The Modesto Bee February 24, 2018 By Garth Stapley The 27-year-old married youth pastor in Modesto consoled the troubled girl, whose father had just died. Eventually, he kissed her. Then he fondled her. She was 14. Over the next 2 1/2 years, Brad Tebbutt sexually abused Jennifer Graves in his office at First Baptist Church, a prominent Modesto congregation, and in his car. After school, before his wife returned from work, he would have sex with her in his home, she said. At the end of her junior year at Beyer High School, in 1988, Tebbutt and his wife moved away. A recent publication boasts of his 30-year career as a youth pastor, and he now works in a seniors ministry for the International House of Prayer of Kansas City.

Church officials shielded priest suspected of murder for decades

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:18 AM PST

EDINBURG (TX) CBS NEWS February 26, 2018 By Josh Gaynor Church officials shielded priest suspected of murder for decades A "48 Hours" investigation has uncovered new details in a former priest's 57-year journey from murder to justice. Father John Feit was shielded by church officials from prosecution in the 1960 murder of a former Texas beauty queen, and allowed to rise to a position of authority overseeing troubled priests, according to dozens of interviews and hundreds of pages of public records and documents obtained by "48 Hours." By "48 Hours" producer Josh Gaynor, with additional reporting by producer Lourdes Aguiar and field producer Alicia Tejada On a late Thursday afternoon on Feb. 9, 2016, 83-year-old former Catholic priest John Bernard Feit was escorted into a holding room at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in Phoenix. Joining him were two out-of-state investigators, Rolando Villarreal with the Texas Rangers and Frank Trevino with the McAllen, Texas, Police Department. After reading Feit his Miranda rights, Investigator Trevino presented him with an arrest warrant for a murder in Hidalgo County, Texas. "I've been questioned extensively about this dating back to 1960," Feit said, according to a transcript of the interview read in court. "So I'm disappointed but not surprised."

The Weinstein Company to file for bankruptcy

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:13 AM PST

NEW YORK (NY) Reuters February 26, 2018 By Rich McKay The board of directors of The Weinstein Company said late Sunday the New York film and TV studio planned to file for bankruptcy after talks to sell it collapsed, several media outlets reported. The firm had been seeking a deal to spare it from bankruptcy after more than 70 women accused film producer Harvey Weinstein, its ex-chairman and once one of Hollywood's most influential men, of sexual misconduct including rape. Weinstein denies having non-consensual sex with anyone. "The Weinstein Company has been engaged in an active sale process in the hopes of preserving assets and jobs," the board said in a statement reported by newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. "Today, those discussions concluded without a signed agreement." The board had "no choice but to pursue its only viable option to maximize the Company's remaining value: an orderly bankruptcy process." There was no immediate confirmation of the plan on the company's website or Twitter feed.