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What We Must Do to End Child Sexual Abuse in Organizations

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:08 PM PST

NEW YORK (NY) Psychology Today February 8, 2018 By Elizabeth Letourneau, Ph.D. Why must we wait for hundreds of victims to come forward before we act? Last week after days of emotional testimony by victims, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Dr. Larry Nassar, the doctor who assaulted at least 150 girls while working as a doctor for USA Gymnastics, to 40 to 175 years in prison. On February 5, a Michigan judge sentenced Nassar to an additional 40 to 125 year sentence, which brought the criminal proceedings against Nassar to a close. Nassar's previous sentence is a 60 year federal term for child pornograghy crimes. What makes this case and other similar cases deeply upsetting is how many victims Nassar harmed while acting in the role of a trusted adult and caretaker. Many victims tried to come forward over the years, but their allegations were not believed. In the United States, 25 percent of girls and 8 percent of boys are sexually abused before they turn 18. It's incredible then that with a staggering number of victims, it often takes a critical mass—and time—before we're willing to acknowledge that people we admire or trust are capable of sexually abusing children. People who abuse children often appear to be regular, normal folks, and we often don't recognize that child sexual abuse is occurring because it is committed by people we know. What can we do to make sure there are fewer victims and abusers? We desperately need to change the way we think about and react to child sexual abuse in our country. The days of waiting until abuse is detected is untenable.

Diocese again pushes back deadline to file clergy sexual abuse claims

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:04 PM PST

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY) LI Herald February 8, 2018 By Ben Strack Phase Two of Reconciliation and Compensation Program begins The second phase of the Diocese of Rockville Centre's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program has begun, and will allow more survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members to seek financial compensation. Victims who had previously notified the diocese that they had suffered abuse by a member of the clergy were invited to participate in Phase One of the program. Phase Two was set up to allow those who had never reported abuse to apply. To receive monetary compensation, victims must agree that they will not pursue legal action against the church in the future. "…While no amount of monetary compensation could ever erase or undo the unimaginable harm suffered by victims of child abuse," states a letter by Mary McMahon, director of the diocese's Office for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was sent to survivors last year, "it is the sincere hope of the [Diocese of Rockville Centre] that those who have been alienated and distanced from the Church as a result of any abuse committed by [diocese] clergy will be empowered to begin the journey toward reconciliation with us." Any person wishing to file a new claim alleging sexual abuse not previously reported to the diocese should visit www.rockvillecentredioceseircp.com to register and receive the claim form and other documents needed to file a Phase Two Claim. The information will be turned over to the appropriate District Attorney's office and be investigated fully.

How to give bread, not stones

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:01 PM PST

LONDON (ENGLAND) Church Times February 9, 2018 By Andrew Graystone Andrew Graystone asked abuse victims how the Church could better help them OVER the past two years, I have come to know a great many abuse victims as friends. Some remain faithful members of their Church. Others, understandably, never want to enter a church or meet a priest again. Some do not wish to revisit their abusive experiences. Others cannot get through an hour of the day or night without reliving their personal horror. I have wanted the leaders of the Church to take on board some of the insights I have been given into the experience of victims. So I asked a number of people who have been abused within a church context to answer my questions about the ways in which the Church had responded to them. Their verbatim replies are contained in a booklet, Stones Not Bread, which will be presented to all members of the General Synod as they meet this week. Below is an extract from the booklet. They come from nine different individuals who were abused. Most of them do not know each other, and they answered individually. All of them have been physically or sexually abused in situations where the Church has accepted some responsibility. They represent at least eight otherwise unrelated instances of church abuse. All of them are "recent", in that they have been dealing with the Church's safeguarding procedures in the past few months and years, even if in some cases the abuse is non-recent.

‘Spiritual abuse’ term ‘unworkable’ and ‘damaging’ to interfaith relations, say Evangelical Allia

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 11:59 AM PST

LONDON (ENGLAND) Church Times February 9, 2018 By Hattie Williams THE term "spiritual abuse" should not be written into safeguarding policies or law because it is "unworkable" and "potentially discriminatory" towards religious communities, the Evangelical Alliance (EA) has said. In a report, Reviewing the Discourse of "Spiritual Abuse": logical problems and unintended consequences, published on Monday, the theology advisory group of the EA said that recent attempts to categorise "emotional and psychological abuse in religious contexts" as "spiritual" were also damaging to interfaith relations. In the foreword, the chairman of the group, the Revd Dr David Hilborn, and the general director of Evangelical Alliance UK, Steve Clifford, wrote: "[Spiritual abuse] is a seriously problematic term partly because of its own inherent ambiguity, and also because attempts by some to embed it within statutory safeguarding discourse and secular law would be unworkable in practice, potentially discriminatory towards religious communities, and damaging to interfaith relations." While the report "in no way downplays" the harm that spiritual abuse caused, they said, more "precise, well-founded, workable definitions of abuse" were needed to help survivors. The report comes after the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) conducted a survey last month of more than 1500 Christians, two-thirds of whom said that they had been victims of spiritual abuse (News, 12 January). The study acknowledges that definitions of spiritual abuse are not clear cut, and suggests that this lack of clarity may be a significant barrier to responding appropriately to its victims within the Church. The EA report states that its members had met the CCPAS to discuss spiritual abuse, but concluded that the term was "not a legally recognised category of abuse", and that they had become "increasingly uneasy" about its application.

Man testifies in suit alleging Mormons overlooked sex abuse

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 11:56 AM PST

MARTINSBURG (WV) The Associated Press February 8, 2018 A man accused in a West Virginia lawsuit along with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of covering up years of child sexual abuse testified he was unaware of the allegations that led to his son's conviction until he was charged. The Journal reports Chris Jensen testified Tuesday in Berkeley County Circuit Court in the trial of a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs on behalf of nine families. Plaintiffs contend the Mormon church and others knew about 26-year-old member Christopher Michael Jensen's sexual abuse convictions and allegations but "did nothing to warn and protect" their children.

Letter: 'I am a mom who was in room while Larry Nassar treated my daughter'

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 11:54 AM PST

UNITED STATES USA Today Network February 9, 2018 By Kristen Chatman I am a mom who was in the exam room while Dr. Larry Nassar treated my daughter. She had extreme back pain — to the point that it was difficult to walk. So of course, we called Larry. There was no other option in our minds. He was world-renowned. THE gymnastics doctor. Simply the best. No question. You see, we had been his patients at that point for nearly three years. So, we trusted him implicitly. Frankly, I had been a bit skeptical of those in the medical profession — for a lot of reasons. We had seen numerous doctors on numerous occasions with the same outcome. No help. From inaccurate diagnoses to no diagnosis at all, our experiences jaded me. I was untrusting. Even cynical. Until I met Larry. On our very first visit, he gave us an accurate diagnosis and charted a course of action as well. And it worked. And then, when another issue arose, we called Larry again. True to form, he helped solve the problem and put my daughter on the road to healing. This happened off and on for years. No problems. No questions.

Mormon bishops told ex-wives of former Hatch, White House staffer to consider his ‘career ambitions’ when they reported his physical abuse, they say

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 11:52 AM PST

SALT LAKE CITY (UT) The Salt Lake Tribune February 8, 2018 By Thomas Burr The LDS Church declared Thursday that it has "zero tolerance" for abuse of any kind but couldn't speak directly to allegations by the ex-wives of a former White House official who reported they received no help from their Mormon clergy when they were being abused. Jennifer Willoughby and Colbie Holderness — former wives of Rob Porter, who resigned as White House staff secretary this week — said their LDS bishops either didn't believe them or didn't step in to help when they alleged Porter had physically abused them. Porter has denied the charges.

Sexual Harassment in the Children’s Book Industry

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 11:23 AM PST

UNITED STATES Medium February 7, 2018 By Anne Ursu Sometimes, it's in the form of inappropriate comments. An author wrote, "An editor who was considering my work commented very thoroughly on my body type as a possible personal advantage of working with me." For her now, "it makes submissions feel like a minefield." For an author/illustrator, it was at a book party with a famous illustrator; "I introduce myself to him," she writes, "and he makes a crack about my breasts." After enough incidents like these she's "completely stopped socializing in this business because each time it becomes another abuse story." Sometimes the comments are more pointed, like for the publicist who says her supervisor told her he had a crush on her and if he wasn't married and twice her age he would ask her out. Or a writer's conference attendee who says that a faculty member asked her if she was "kinky" at the opening mixer. Or the aspiring illustrator who won a mentorship contest, and at the end of her meeting with the mentor she said she had to go get a drink of water because she was hot. According to her, "he said 'Yes, you are.' And squeezed my arm. And raised his eyebrows in a suggestive way." These are the sort of events we're told to brush off — they're jokes, they're flattering, no big deal. But when you believe you are a professional and someone informs you they see you as a sex object, it can shatter your sense of self and your sense of safety. Sometimes, it's inappropriate touching and groping: as in "a senior editor of a division I don't work in being a tad too handsy;" or the author who says another author groped her while taking pictures at a conference; or an agent who says she was sitting in the backseat with a bestselling author during a conference, and as he pretended to be searching for his seatbelt, he fondled her. Sometimes, it's stories of women being invited to a networking opportunity only to get propositioned; or of male conference faculty and staff acting like all female paying attendees are potential and willing conquests; or of powerful men trying to ruin the reputations of women who won't sleep with them. And sometimes, the stories reveal serial predators unchecked by an industry that does not want to acknowledge such things could be possible of its men.

Priest who served in Modesto, throughout area, accused of sexual misconduct with minor

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 09:19 AM PST

MODESTO (CA) The Modesto Bee February 8, 2018 By John Holland A priest who served in Modesto and throughout Stanislaus County has been accused of sexual misconduct with a child. Father Eduardo De Jesus Perez Torrez is the focus of a review by Diocesan Review Board, the Diocese of Stockton wrote in a statement on Thursday afternoon. The alleged incident apparently took place in 1999. "In accord with the diocesan policy, the Modesto Police Department was notified," the statement said. "The Diocese will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement."

How do you rate Pope Francis’ handling of sex abuse in the church?

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 09:16 AM PST

UNITED STATES America: The Jesuit Review February 8, 2018 In response to the question above, asked on social media and in our email newsletter, America readers gave mostly lukewarm responses. Thirty-one percent of readers rated Pope Francis' handling of sex abuse in the church as "somewhat positive," while 30 percent of readers told us it was "somewhat negative." On the whole, respondents who answered either "very positive" (14 percent) or "somewhat positive" (31 percent) highlighted how Pope Francis is listening to victims of abuse. "Pope Francis has been a very heartfelt contributor to those families who are still suffering from the effects of sex abuse at the hands of clergy," wrote Rylee Hartwell of Joplin, Mo. Most of those in the "somewhat positive" camp expressed a desire for Pope Francis to do more to prevent and address sex abuse in the church. Chris Carroll of Philadelphia alluded to Pope Francis' defense of Bishop Juan Barros, who has been accused of being present during instances of sex abuse by the notorious Chilean predator, the Rev. Fernando Karadima. "The pope has not gone as far as I would like," said Mr. Carroll. "The church is still protecting some clergy."

Seeking a Confession Part 5: Jim Graham goes public

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 09:14 AM PST

BUFFALO (NY) WGRZ February 8, 2018 By Steve Brown and Dave Harrington 2 On Your Side's Steve Brown has been sharing his "Seeking a Confession" series all week about how a man, born in Buffalo in 1945, wants the Catholic Church to admit a priest is his biological father. You can watch the entire series here. PART 5 GOING PUBLIC Jim Graham had a story and he wanted the world to know it. Among the artifacts and documents Jim Graham has dug up, one item is most prized. It is a large, heavy crucifix. It belonged to Father Thomas P. Sullivan. Graham claimed it at the Oblate Mission national headquarters in Washington. He told a priest there that he was a relative. "It's a piece of him. I knew this was bouncing off his chest for 59 years. It makes me feel close to him" says Graham. But the accumulated treasures from almost a quarter-century of searching left him short of his goal: to get the Catholic Church to admit Father Sullivan was his parent. Then, Graham saw the movie "Spotlight", which told the story of the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize winning investigation into widespread sexual abuse committed by priests. It gave Graham an idea.

Senators to investigate USA Gymnastics and Olympic committee after Larry Nasser sex abuse conviction

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 09:10 AM PST

UNITED STATES The Independent February 7, 2018 By Mythili Sampathkumar The US Olympic Committee may have known about his crimes as far back as 2015 A bipartisan group of Senators has called for an investigation into the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics after former team doctor Larry Nasser was convicted of several counts of sex abuse. A special committee is set to be established to carry out the investigation after allegations from young and aspiring athletes that the groups knew about the abuse but ignored it. Senator Joni Ernst said the time has come to "put an end to this type of outrageous abuse" and "stand up for athletes."

Raisman says former coach Geddert may have known of Nassar's abuse: CNN

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 09:07 AM PST

UNITED STATES Reuters February 8, 2018 (Reuters) - Three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman told CNN that her former coach, John Geddert, might have known about sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar as early as 2011. "We would talk about it amongst ourselves," she said in an interview that aired on Thursday. "And one of my teammates described in graphic detail what Nassar had done to her the night before. And John Geddert was in the car with us and he just didn't say anything." Raisman, who previously said Nassar abused her, told CNN that conversation occurred in 2011, five years before Nassar was exposed. Neither Geddert nor his attorney, Cameron Getto, could immediately be reached to comment. Geddert, who worked with Nassar at his Lansing, Michigan-area gymnastics center Twistars, was suspended in January by USA Gymnastics (USAG), the sport's governing body, and subsequently retired. The Eaton County Sheriff's Office in Michigan on Tuesday said it was investigating complaints against Geddert, but did not provide further details.

Man accuses California #MeToo leader of sexual misconduct

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 09:01 AM PST

SACRAMENTO (CA) The Associated Press February 8, 2018 By Kathleen Ronayne California Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, the head of the Legislative Women's Caucus and a leading figure in the state's anti-sexual harassment movement, is accused of groping a male staffer from another lawmaker's office. Daniel Fierro told The Associated Press on Thursday that Garcia stroked his back, squeezed his buttocks and attempted to touch his crotch in a dugout after a legislative softball game in 2014. Fierro didn't report it at the time but in January told his former boss, Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon, who reported it to Assembly leaders. The Assembly is now investigating Garcia. Politico first reported Fierro's accusation.

Cardinal reiterates commitment to healing at Mass of Prayer and Penance

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 08:58 AM PST

LOWELL (MA) The Boston Pilot February 9, 2018 By Mark Labbe During a Mass of Prayer and Penance at St. Michael Church in Lowell, Feb. 4, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley reiterated the Church's commitment to work for healing and reconciliation for all those affected by clergy sexual abuse. "I am here today aware that many parishioners in this community were seriously affected. I wish once again to ask pardon and assure you of our commitment to work for healing and reconciliation," said the cardinal in his homily. In the Church, the "work of healing and child protection is an ongoing task, a sacred one," he said. The Mass was held in response to a call last year from Pope Francis for all episcopal conferences across the world to have a Day of Prayer and Penance in recognition of harm done by clergy sexual abuse within the Church. At the request of Cardinal O'Malley, all Masses held in the Archdiocese of Boston for Sunday, Feb. 4 were offered for Prayer and Penance. In his homily, the cardinal requested prayers "for forgiveness of the Church, and healing for those who were harmed, "as well as for "those who have died from suicide and substance abuse because of what happened to them."