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Presentation High: 20 students, alums now allege sex abuse involving 8 teachers, staff

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 11:10 AM PST

SAN JOSE (CA) The Mercury News February 7, 2018 By John Woolfolk 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. But even amid a global "#MeToo" reckoning of sexual abuse, the accusers say, Presentation High School officials are ignoring their demands, and the former students are urging alumnae to withhold financial support until school officials call for an independent investigation. "It sounds like they're hoping we'll go away," said Kathryn Leehane, who wrote Oct. 20 in the Washington Post about how she and a classmate complained decades ago about abuse by a former Presentation teacher to no avail. The teacher remained on the job and has since died. Since her article, 18 other students and graduates have come forward with similar stories involving eight Presentation teachers or other staff, according to "#PresentationToo," a group of alumnae, students, parents and others. "It's definitely gotten much bigger," Leehane said. "I had no idea the can of worms I was opening. But once I heard from so many young women, I couldn't turn my back. That's not what Presentation taught me. They taught me to fight for the unrepresented."

Editorial: Important to confront the dark secrets of child abuse

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 11:06 AM PST

AUSTRALIA Gulf News February 8, 2018 Australia's decision to issue a sincere apology to childhood victims of violation deserves praise Like in so many other nations, children in Australia have suffered at the hands of men in positions of moral, educational and administrative authority, subjected to systemic sexual, emotional and physical abuse by dark figures in the Roman Catholic church and its hierarchy. The pattern of abuse is similar, whether it be in schools in Australia, residential institutions for First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, in parishes across Ireland, or where depraved and criminal minds were able to carry out their dark deeds under the veneer of doing charitable or spiritual work. The issue of child abuse is something that impacts societies around the world. In India, for instance, a child is sexually abused every 15 minutes, according to the latest government figures. The systemic abuse that occurs to young and vulnerable children is a crisis that has yet to be fully addressed. Indeed, there are those still in the corridors of power who would prefer if those who suffered abuse at the hands of priests, simply went away. But the violations, scars and trauma inflicted by the abusers on the young remain and rarely ever go away. A recent royal commission in Australia into the abuse of children placed in the care of institutions in which the church had control contains a litany of abuses that, in its very own words, "has shaken Australia to its core".

Olympic Swimmer Says Former USA Swimming Coach Sexually Abused Her For Years

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 11:04 AM PST

UNITED STATES The Huffington Post February 8, 2018 By Alanna Vagianos Ariana Kukors says her longtime coach Sean Hutchison began "grooming" her when she was 13. Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors says former U.S. Olympic swimming coach Sean Hutchison began sexually abusing her when she was 16. Kukors, now 28, said in a statement late Wednesday night that Hutchison began "grooming" her when she was 13 years old after he became her coach at King Aquatic swimming club in Seattle. "I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough," Kukors said in a statement. "I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself. But in time, I've realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten." Kukors is the 2009 world champion in the 200-meter individual medley and placed fifth in the 200-meter individual medley in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Hutchison was an assistant USA Swimming Olympic coach in 2008, but resigned from the position in 2010 amid rumors that he was having a sexual relationship with one of his swimmers. He still coaches swimmers in Seattle and is still listed as the owner of King Aquatic. The former swimmer said she only recently realized Hutchison abused her. Delayed reporting is somewhat common for victims of child sexual abuse.

Sex harassment can make victims physically sick, studies reveal

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 11:03 AM PST

WASHINGTON (DC) The Washington Post February 8, 2018 By William Wan When Rebecca Thurston read the accounts of 150 women and girls sexually abused by a Michigan athletic doctor, one of the first things she worried about was their health — not the psychological effect of the abuse, but the long-term physical toll it could take on their bodies. An epidemiologist, Thurston has spent the past four years studying women who have suffered sexual abuse and harassment. Over time, she discovered, sexual harassment can work like a poison, stiffening women's blood vessels, worsening blood flow and harming the inner lining of their hearts. "People need to understand that trauma is not just something that happens in the mind," said Thurston, who published her cardiovascular findings this winter in the scientific journal Menopause. "It has real implications on the body." After being dismissed for decades, denied funding and greeted with skepticism, researchers studying sexual harassment say their field is undergoing a renaissance — injected with newfound energy and relevance amid the growing #MeToo movement. In particular, recent studies like Thurston's research on cardiovascular health have begun to quantify the vast toll of harassment, which detractors — often men — have tried to play down for decades. "The field suddenly feels alive and vibrant," said Louise Fitzgerald, who pioneered much of the earliest work in the field. In more than a dozen other studies over the past decade, researchers have documented other physical symptoms caused by sexual harassment, such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems and disrupted sleep. "People often think of harassment as a single event, but much more commonly, it's a process that happens over time. You keep going to work day after day while this stuff keeps happening," said Fitzgerald, who has studied harassment in utility workers, office settings and factories. "It's that prolonged exposure to stress that turns into a physiological reaction." In her most recent work, Thurston and a team of researchers at University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine measured the cardiovascular health of 272 women who also completed detailed surveys about trauma they had experienced in their lifetimes, including car crashes, natural disaster and the death of a child. Most women, roughly 60 percent, reported experiencing some form of trauma. The most common, reported by 22 percent of the women, was unwanted sexual contact. Roughly 20 percent had experienced sexual harassment, with some overlap between the two groups. Healthy blood vessels are able to expand and contract to transport the right amount of blood. But women who experienced trauma, Thurston found, had decreased flexibility in their blood vessels. The more trauma each woman experienced, the more impaired their blood vessels were. This held true even after her team accounted for other factors like diet, exercise, cholesterol, depression and anxiety. "We kept looking at other explanations. Is what we're seeing due to education, race, ethnicity? There was very clear link to trauma," Thurston said. Thurston and others have replicated the cardiovascular findings in three large surveys, including two national studies. She and others are now doing more research to try to pinpoint how and why trauma has this effect. She suspects sleep may play a pivotal role. In her team's studies, women who slept more than six hours a night seemed to create a buffer of sorts against the cardiovascular harm of trauma. "We need to help women cope with this trauma and protect their health because this is happening on such a wide scale," Thurston said. Sexual harassment often lasts for longer than six months in more than a quarter of cases, according to surveys of harassment in the military, which are required by law and therefore among the most comprehensive. During that period, researchers say, a woman's body reacts as if to high stress: Immune systems function more poorly. Inflammation increases. The body begins secreting higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which contributes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, impaired memory function and depression. The negative effects can linger for years. One of the most comprehensive studies tracked 1,654 employees at an unnamed Midwestern university over the course of six years. The 2005 study, published in the Journal of Business and Psychology, found that those who experienced sexual harassment were more prone to sickness, illness and accident, and not just around the time they experienced the harassment. When researchers surveyed the group again years later, the harassment continued to have an enduring effect on their rates of illness, injury and accident. The mental strain of harassment also often leads to depression, anxiety and other disorders. In recent years, studies have shown sexual harassment makes women more likely to drink as a way of coping. Harassed women are also more likely to develop eating disorders. Researchers have shown the harmful effects even trickle down to co-workers who witness or hear of the harassment, a phenomenon analogous to secondhand smoke. Among the most debilitating effects is post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2015 study found that 20 percent of female veterans of the Vietnam War suffered from PTSD — not because of the war itself but largely due to sexual harassment they suffered from their male counterparts. The study — commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs — shocked military researchers because a similar study of male Vietnam veterans had shown a PTSD incidence of just 17 percent — a rate already considered high. "The numbers for the women were mind-boggling. We couldn't understand why," said Kathryn Magruder, the epidemiologist who led both surveys for VA. Among female veterans, nearly 16 percent were still suffering from PTSD some 50 years after the war. Because most of the female veterans had served as nurses, researchers at first assumed the PTSD was caused by exposure to gruesome injuries or danger. But after surveying the experiences of more than 4,219 women, they found that sexual harassment and gender discrimination were the leading causes. "For the most part, these were not necessarily major traumas like rape. It was touching and fondling, snide remarks, constant comments, pressure to fraternize," said Magruder, who has since retired as a researcher for VA. "The awful thing is that we often think of the horrors of war as unavoidable," Magruder said. "But this PTSD came from something that's completely avoidable, and it was troops from our own side doing it." Harassment researchers have had to overcome a lot of obstacles. When Louise Fitzgerald began her first study on the topic in 1983, she knew of only one other researcher working on the issue. Many in America weren't even familiar with the term "sexual harassment." Now a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Fitzgerald said that when she focused her research on sex harassment among students, professors and employees earlier in her career at two other institutions, administrators tried to shut her work down. Men in her department, she said, spread rumors that she was making up data. And almost every company and workplace she approached refused to cooperate. "In the early days, people either didn't take it seriously or they took it as a threat," said Fitzgerald, who said she witnessed two female colleagues studying campus harassment and assault be pushed out of research positions. When the Clarence Thomas hearings captured national attention in 1991, it looked like a turning point for the field at large and for Fitzgerald, who was retained as a consultant by Anita Hill's legal team. "I remember thinking that the cultural moment had come and everything would change," she said. "But here we are, 20-some years later when people are suddenly rediscovering yet again that sexual harassment exists." To seize this cultural moment, Fitzgerald said, society needs to support more comprehensive research to understand its roots, its perpetrators, its victims and its effects. After three decades of work, she notes, researchers still have not answered one of the most basic questions: How prevalent is sexual harassment in America? In 2016, a federal task force on harassment concluded that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission should work with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau and private partners to create a national survey of sexual harassment. So far, however, nothing has happened. "If you want to fight harassment, you need to know if it's increasing or decreasing. We don't even have the basic measurement to use as a benchmark," Fitzgerald said. "It's like trying to treat a fever when you don't have the thermometer."

Australia to apologise to institutional child sex abuse victims

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:57 AM PST

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA) AFP February 8, 2018 Australia will apologise to survivors of institutional child sex abuse by the end of the year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Thursday (Feb 8) after a five-year inquiry detailed harrowing stories from victims. A royal commission established in 2012 to investigate abuse was contacted by more than 15,000 survivors with claims - some decades-old - involving churches, orphanages, sporting clubs, youth groups and schools. Turnbull told parliament he would consult with survivors before making the apology on behalf of the nation "before the end of the year". "As a nation, we must mark this occasion in a form that reflects the wishes of survivors and affords them the dignity to which they were entitled as children, but which was denied to them by the very people who were tasked with their care," he said. "Reading some of the witness statements, it's clear that being heard and being believed means so much to the survivors ... Three words: 'I believe you,' coming after years, often decades, of authorities' denial of responsibility." The royal commission released its final report in December and said more than 4,000 institutions were accused of abuse, with many of them Catholic-managed facilities.

Australian Prime Minister To Issue National Apology For Child Sexual Abuse

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:48 AM PST

AUSTRALIA NPR February 8, 2018 By James Doubek Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he will offer a national apology to victims of institutional child sexual abuse before the end of the year. It comes after a five-year investigation by a government commission found that 7 percent of Catholic priests allegedly sexually abused children between 1950 and 2010. "We owe it to the survivors not to waste this moment and we must continue to be guided by their wishes," Turnbull told Australia's House of Representatives Thursday. He said a "survivor-focused reference group" would help to write the apology. The Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which issued its final report in December, heard from more than 8,000 people about abuse in more than 4,000 institutions. The report said people "in religious ministry and teachers were the perpetrators we heard about most commonly," though abuse was reported at childcare centers, youth detention facilities, health service centers, in home care, youth clubs, at jobs, sports events and the armed forces. "Now that those stories have been told, now that they are on the record, we must do everything within our power to honor those stories and to act," Turnbull said. "I am committed and my government is committed to doing everything possible to make sure that this national tragedy is never repeated." The commission's report made 409 recommendations, including a lifting of celibacy requirements for Catholic clergy and a requirement to report abuse mentioned in confessions.

'He punched me in the face': The shocking allegations of abuse against the top White House staffer who just resigned

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:46 AM PST

WASHINGTON (DC) Business Insider February 7, 2018 By Eliza Relman - White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned Wednesday after his two ex-wives publicly alleged years of physical and emotional abuse. - Both women told the FBI about the alleged abuse in interviews conducted last year as part of Porter's application for a security clearance. - Porter called the allegations a "coordinated smear campaign" on Wednesday. White House staff secretary Rob Porter, an integral part of President Donald Trump's inner circle, resigned Wednesday after both of his ex-wives came forward to allege years of physical and mental abuse. Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby alleged that Porter physically and mentally abused them during their marriages. Holderness, married to Porter from 2003 to 2008, provided photos of a black eye she claimed she suffered from Porter. Willoughby, married to Porter from 2009 to 2013, provided a copy of a 2010 restraining order she filed against Porter. The Daily Mail reported last week that Porter is romantically involved with White House communications director Hope Hicks.

SC coaches, church volunteers, Scout leaders would be required to report child abuse

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:43 AM PST

COLUMBIA (SC) The State February 7, 2018 By John Monk A bill aimed at expanding child-safety protections against molesters and other abusers took a small but significant step forward Wednesday. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, would add coaches, camp counselors, Scout leaders, firefighters, school and college administrators, as well as "clerical or nonclerical religious counselors" to those who are required by law to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect. A "mandated reporter" is a person who the law requires to report suspected abuse to either law enforcement or the S.C. Department of Social Services. Already, nurses, doctors, members of the clergy, teachers, principals, mental health professionals, social workers and judges are required to report suspected abuse. Bannister, chair of the subcommittee that on Wednesday sent the bill to the full House Judiciary Committee, told his panel that he was proposing the change because there is a growing religious group in Greenville whose members "are holding themselves out as counselors" but who are not part of any organized church.

I-Team Followup: Church raided after alleged child sex abuse

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:42 AM PST

HUNLOCK CREEK (PA) WBRE/WYOU February 7, 2018 By Chelsea Titlow The search warrant was sealed until Wednesday. HUNLOCK CREEK, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- Back in December, there was a lot of police activity at a Luzerne County church. Eyewitness News confirmed there was a state police raid, but at the time, no one would say why troopers were there. But now, we have the court documents explaining what led up to the raid. Troopers are investigating allegations that the pastor of the church had sexual contact with a young man at the church. The search warrant served on the pastor had been sealed by court order until Wednesday. The warrant contains details, allegations only at this time, of child sex abuse at the church. In early December, state police could be scene removing boxes of documents and computers from inside Roaring Brook Baptist Church in Hunlock Creek. The search warrant used at the time of the raid indicates troopers are investigating allegations that Pastor Dan Brubaker had sexual contact with a young boy at the church. The young boy was taking part in a youth group class when, according to the warrant, Brubaker called him out of the class, took him to a basement room, and allegedly forced the boy to perform a sex act on him. According to the search warrant Brubaker told him, "God would want you to do this." The day of the raid, Brubaker told Eyewitness New he wasn't going to answer any questions.

Fatima Shrine Priest Removed in Harassment Case

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:39 AM PST

LEWISTON (NY) WGRZ February 7, 2018 By Ron Plants The Buffalo Catholic Diocese says a priest who is a member of the Barnabite Order at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston was removed from active ministry as part of a harassment investigation. Lewiston, NY — A priest who served at a shrine in Niagara County is now accused of sexual harassment. It's a difficult situation for a religious order at the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine. It was a quiet winter afternoon at the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston, but for the staff and members of the Barnabite Fathers, religious order has been a trying time as they found out that one of their fathers was accused of sexual harassment. A source confirmed to 2 On Your Side a report that a woman filed the complaint against Rev. John Paul Bahati. The 48-year old priest was featured in a spring 2015 article of the Barnabite Messenger newsletter as a new arrival at the shrine and he is said to be from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. He studied in Rome and became involved with a religious radio program and as a spiritual leader in his home country.

Retired Boise priest facing child sexual exploitation charges out on bond

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:38 AM PST

BOISE (ID) KTVB February 7, 2018 Father W. Thomas Faucher faces 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, as well as additional charges for possession of marijuana and ecstasy. BOISE - A retired Boise priest facing multiple felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child bonded out of the Ada County Jail Tuesday night, the Ada County Sheriff's Office has confirmed. Sheriff's office spokesman Patrick Orr said Father W. Thomas Faucher - a retired priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Boise - bonded out at around 6 p.m. His bond was set at $250,000.

Retired Boise priest accused of sex crimes out on bond

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:37 AM PST

BOISE (ID) Idaho Press-Tribune February 7, 2018 BOISE — A retired Boise priest accused of possessing child pornography and drugs is no longer in custody at the jail, according to the Ada County Jail. Former St. Mary's Catholic Church priest W. Thomas Faucher posted a bond of $250,000 around 6 p.m. Tuesday night, said Patrick Orr, Ada County Sheriff's Office spokesman. Faucher is charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children, two counts of distributing sexually exploitative material involving minors and two charges of possessing a controlled substance.

Timeline of institutional child sex abuse cases

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:35 AM PST

AUSTRALIA Gulf News February 8, 2018 In many parts of the world, institutional child abuse cases are an endemic problem January 24, 2018 Dr Lawrence G. Nassar, former doctor for American gymnastics team, sentenced to 40 to 175 years for multiple sex crimes. Nassar accused of molesting girls for years under the guise of giving them examinations or medical treatment. Some were as young as 6. Many of them were Olympic gymnasts. January 2017 Ireland's Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) studies allegations of child abuse in 22 homes and residential institutions between 1922 to 1995. November 23, 2017 Chinese police investigate claims of sexual molestation and needle marks on children at a Beijing kindergarten, a booming childcare industry. September 21, 2017 Pope Francis promised to respond with the "firmest measures possible" against priests who rape and molest children, and said bishops and religious superiors who cover up for them will be held accountable. February 27, 2017 Britain's inquiry into historical child sex abuse finally begin holding first public hearings. February 16, 2017

MPs face tougher sanctions for sexual harassment and bullying

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:33 AM PST

ENGLAND BBC News February 8, 2018 MPs found to have bullied or harassed their staff will have to write a letter of apology and undergo training, under new proposals. In more serious cases, they could be suspended or forced to face a public vote on their future. The plans were drawn up by a cross-party committee after widespread allegations of sexual harassment. At the moment, MPs don't have any formal disciplinary procedures. Discipline is handled by their parties and there are no independent channels for staff to raise complaints about their behaviour. Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, who chaired the committee, said: "This is a major step in bringing about the culture change that Parliament needs."

Australia child sex abuse: Victims to receive national apology

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 10:31 AM PST

AUSTRALIA BBC News February 8, 2018 Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he will deliver a national apology to victims of child sexual abuse. Mr Turnbull's pledge follows the conclusion of a four-year inquiry that found tens of thousands of children had been abused in Australian institutions. The crimes, over decades, took place in institutions including churches, schools and sports clubs. The apology would be given later this year, Mr Turnbull said. "As a nation, we must mark this occasion in a form that reflects the wishes of survivors and affords them the dignity to which they were entitled as children, but which was denied to them by the very people who were tasked with their care," he told parliament on Thursday. The royal commission inquiry, which concluded in December, made more than 400 recommendations, including calling on the Catholic Church to overhaul its celibacy rules. "It is not a case of a few 'rotten apples'. Society's major institutions have seriously failed," it said.