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Baptist pastor failed to report child abuse at Mesquite church where men face rape charges, police say

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 12:17 PM PDT

MESQUITE (TX) Dallas News April 3, 2018 By Tom Steele Updated at 12:40 p.m.: Revised to reflect Robert Ross' bail. The pastor of a conservative Mesquite Baptist church where a father and son have been charged with sexually assaulting girls has been arrested on a charge of failing to report child abuse. Robert Arnold Ross, 70, was booked into the Mesquite jail Tuesday morning on one count of knowingly failing to make a required child abuse report. His bail was set at $2,500. In recent weeks, 33-year-old Steven Aaron Winn and 65-year-old Larry Allen Winn were arrested on charges of sexually assaulting children. The younger Winn, a volunteer assistant youth pastor at the church on South Belt Line Road, was taken into custody Feb. 22. Mesquite police had learned several days earlier about allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a female student at the church's Christian academy for more than a year, starting when the girl was 15.

Fundamentalist Baptist pastor arrested on charges he failed to report child abuse

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 12:14 PM PDT

MESQUITE (TX) Star-Telegram April 3, 2018 By Sarah Smith The pastor of a fundamentalist Baptist church with two members already facing sex abuse charges was arrested Tuesday on charges that he failed to make a required child abuse report. Robert A. Ross, the pastor of Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite, is in the Mesquite jail. Bond has been set at $2,500. The police have not yet responded to a request for comment. Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite has had four members accused of sexual abuse in its 50-year history. Members and ex-members say a strict culture that reveres church authorities as nearly unquestionable has led to an environment conducive to ongoing abuse. A tipster reported the most recent allegations to Mesquite police in late February. They involved a father-son pair described as belonging to a family deeply involved in the church.

Here’s how you can help the Center for Victims end violence against women and girls

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 12:11 PM PDT

PITTSBURGH (PA) NEXT Wave April 2, 2018 By Emily Stimmel Awareness is great. But Pittsburgh's men are being challenged to step up in a new way in the fight against domestic violence and sexual assault through a new TV campaign by the Center for Victims. With awareness of sexual violence and "toxic masculinity" on the rise thanks to social media campaigns like the #MeToo movement, the agency is kicking off Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a new public service announcement, which will air throughout April on local TV stations. We know that one in three women worldwide has been abused or coerced into sex. And yet domestic violence, sexual assault and rape have been deemed "women's issues" and relegated to the background for generations. Since launching its MEN Challenge in 2014, the Center for Victims has worked to spread the message that everyone has a responsibility to end violence against women and girls. Over the past four years, the initiative — featuring high-profile figures like Dwayne Woodruff and Art Rooney, II in its first commercial — has grown to include more than 300 men who have committed to doing their part.

Saginaw Diocese says Nouvel teacher departure not related to sex abuse probe

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 12:09 PM PDT

SAGINAW TWP (MI) MLive April 3, 2018 By Michael Kransz A Saginaw Diocese teacher is no longer employed at his high school and officials are assuring parents it's not related to the ongoing investigation into sexual abuse by priests. School officials announced this week that Dave Valasek, a baseball coach and band teacher at Nouvel Catholic Central High School, is no longer employed due to a "personnel matter," according to a letter sent out to parents Wednesday, March 28. "Please be assured that this matter does not involve Mr. Valasek's relationships with students and is wholly unrelated to the recent issues involving the Saginaw Diocese," the letter from Mark Frost, the high school's principal, read. The letter did not say whether Valasek was fired or resigned.

Baton Rouge leaders encourage survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence to speak up

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 12:07 PM PDT

BATON ROUGE (LA) The Advocate April 3, 2018 By Andrea Gallo After domestic violence deaths plagued Baton Rouge last year and as sexual assault survivors come forward en masse as part of a national #MeToo movement, Baton Rouge leaders are inviting survivors to openly tell their stories later this month. April is sexual assault awareness month. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response organization and members of a local women's advancement commission announced Tuesday that they are ramping up a "start by believing" campaign. They expect to host five listening sessions later this month and next month with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence who openly tell their stories in a public forum. Racheal Hebert, president and CEO of STAR, said each survivor's story should help to pinpoint and fix flaws in the health care, law enforcement and educational fields. "Our message to survivors is clear: what happened to you is not your fault and we believe you," Hebert said Tuesday.

Church scandal latest: Appalling catalogue of sex cases

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:42 AM PDT

ENGLAND Express April 3, 2018 By John Twomey The case of the grandfather is the latest in a series of scandals involving historic sex abuse and the clergy. These include: - Peter Ball, former Bishop of Gloucester, who abused vulnerable young men after they came to him for spiritual guidance. Ball, 85, was jailed for 32 months at the Old Bailey in 2015 for a series of sex crimes while he was Bishop of Lewes from 1977 to 1991. He was under suspicion for years but was allowed give up his ministry and retire after accepting a police caution for gross indecency in 1993. A damning inquiry into the Church of England's handling of the case revealed a series of shocking failures.

UPDATE: Priest on administrative leave following allegation of sexual misconduct

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:39 AM PDT

MARQUETTE (MI) WLUC April 2, 2018 Father Frank M. Lenz, a senior (retired) priest of the Diocese of Marquette, has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately. This action was taken as the result of a recently-made credible allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor dating back to the 1970s. Father Lenz has denied the allegation. In accord with diocesan policy, the allegation has been reported to the Marquette County Prosecutor. The diocese has extended an offer of pastoral care to the person bringing the allegation. Father Lenz has been removed from all public priestly ministry and prohibited from presenting himself as a priest in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. It should be noted that this is not a final determination of guilt. Administrative leave is a precautionary measure while a credible allegation is being investigated. Bishop Doerfler said, "On behalf of the Catholic Church, I offer a sincere apology to all victims of clergy abuse. There is no excuse for what happened to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I am willing to journey with you to find Christ's peace and healing." Anyone who may have suffered sexual misconduct by clergy, a church worker or volunteer is encouraged by Bishop Doerfler to come forward to receive pastoral care leading toward healing.

Upper Peninsula Priest Accused of Sexual Acts With Minor Placed on Administrative Leave

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:34 AM PDT

MARQUETTE (MI) 9 & 10 News April 2, 2018 By Alice Shea An Upper Peninsula priest is under investigation amid allegations of sexual misconduct nearly 50 years ago. Father Frank Lenz, a retired priest with the Diocese of Marquette, has been placed on administrative leave after a report was filed with the diocese accusing Lenz of sexual misconduct with a minor dating back to the 1970s.

Opinion: The movement for women's equality in the church cannot be stopped

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:27 AM PDT

KANSAS CITY (MO) National Catholic Reporter April 3, 2018 By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Kate McElwee, and Mary E. Hunt As Catholic feminists and leaders of organizations committed to justice for women within our church as well as throughout society, we have followed Voices of Faith's efforts to crack open the Vatican walls by sponsoring an annual forum about women inside one of the last remaining bastions of male domination in the western world. Since 2014, Voices of Faith has marked International Women's Day (March 8) with an event that examines how the intersection of Catholic doctrine and practice impacts women globally. This year, the Vatican denied the women the use of a hall inside its walls due to Voices of Faith's selection of speakers, including former Irish President Mary McAleese and Ugandan lesbian activist Ssenfuka Joanita Warry. Voices of Faith held its forum a short distance away at the Jesuit Aula. We applaud the decision to stick with speakers who would address issues in a way that challenged Vatican authority, instead of replacing them with more "acceptable" individuals in order to be inside the walls. It is a sign of growth and integrity for Voices of Faith and a signal that our movements will not be dismissed or stopped. Within the Aula, it was clear that both the location and the discourse shifted from previous programs. The opening video, which challenged the Vatican to catch up with the global empowerment of women, began the bold and direct challenges to the institutional church that characterized this fifth annual meeting. The room was remarkably quiet as Mary McAleese delivered her keynote address. She is a brilliant and passionate critic with the political experience, canon law credentials, Irish wit, experience as the mother of a gay child and fire in the belly to tell it like it is in a memorable speech for the ages. Her own bishop, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, called it "brutally stark" and said that he must "accept the challenge with the humility of one who recognises her alienation."

Vatican verdict against Guam archbishop likely not for sexual abuse, say canon lawyers

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:25 AM PDT

ROME National Catholic Reporter April 3, 2018 By Joshua J. McElwee A Vatican tribunal's guilty verdict last month against a Guam archbishop, hailed by some as the first instance of the Catholic Church successfully prosecuting a bishop accused of abusing minors, appears likely not to have been made in direct relation to allegations of sexual abuse by the prelate. A number of prominent canon lawyers say the punishment announced for Agana Archbishop Anthony Apuron — removal from office and a prohibition from living on the U.S. island territory — simply seems too lax to indicate the bishop was found guilty of abuse. The canonists, speaking in interviews since the March 16 announcement of the verdict from a five-judge apostolic tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the expected punishment for sexual abuse of a minor would usually be laicization, known formally as dismissal from the clerical state. "It must be that he wasn't found directly guilty of sexual abuse," said Oblate Fr. Francis Morrisey, a former president of the Canadian Canon Law Society who has advised numerous Vatican offices and local bishops' conferences. "Otherwise, I think he would have been dismissed from the clerical state." Msgr. Frederick Easton, a former president of the U.S. Canon Law Society, said the punishment for Apuron did not appear proportional to a finding of guilt in regards to sexual abuse. "One would have thought ... if the bishop were found guilty of sexual abuse of minors, that could easily be a reason for dismissal from the clerical state for him," said Easton, who also served for 31 years as the judicial vicar for the Indianapolis archdiocese.

Former pastor arrested in NH on sexual assault charges from Mass.

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:19 AM PDT

SEABROOK (NH) WMUR April 2, 2018 By Jennifer Crompton Police say charges involve incidents from 2004 A Seabrook man is being held without bail after he was accused of raping a child while he was serving as a pastor in the Methodist Church. Russell Davis, 65, faces several charges in Massachusetts. Seabrook police said they arrested Davis Thursday on a fugitive from justice warrant. The Essex County District Attorney's Office said he is being held without bail because he is still employed in the ministry and has access to children. Davis pleaded not guilty in Newburyport District Court to charges out of Rowley, Massachusetts, of rape of a child with force and indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, and a charge of rape from Newbury, Massachusetts. Prosecutors said the allegations involve the same victim and incidents that occurred in April 2004. According to the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, Davis was a licensed Methodist minister from 1999 to 2015. His first assignment was in Warren, New Hampshire. Davis moved among several churches in Maine and Massachusetts after that until his license was discontinued in 2015. A spokesperson for the church would not say why his license was discontinued but said it was not related to sexual misconduct.

Barron: Unveiling Allegations of Provo MTC President’s Misconduct

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:16 AM PDT

SALT LAKE CITY (UT) The Daily Utah Chronicle April 2, 2018 By Morgan Barron Last fall, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints unveiled 16 standardized interview questions for young adults interested in serving as missionaries for their church. These questions, designed to determine if candidates are prepared physically, mentally, socially and spiritually to represent the LDS church, range from the applicant's belief in Jesus Christ to their financial situation. As bishops, local lay leaders who conduct these interviews, previously only received general guidelines about what to ask potential missionaries, these questions garnered some media attention. Question eight, "Have you ever sexually abused a child in any way, regardless of whether or not you were charged, you were convicted, or the record was expunged?" appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune where LDS columnist Robert Kirby wrote, "This is an excellent question to put to a prospective representative of Jesus Christ … However, an excellent follow-up question here would be, "Have you ever been sexually abused… in any way, regardless of whether or not the perpetrator was a church leader?" With the disturbing revelation of sexual abuse within the LDS Church earlier this month, the most important question members need to be asking is how predators who utilize their positions of power within the church to prey on victims are held accountable in our community. In 2002, The Boston Globe broke the story of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, focusing in on former priest John J. Geoghan and how cardinals, aware of the sexual misconduct, habitually reassigned Geoghan to protect him and the church from scandal. In their zeal to preserve the reputation of the church and Geoghan, the archdioceses failed to protect Geoghan's victims, boys as young as four years old. Richard Sipe, a former priest and psychotherapist who was quoted in the article, has long believed the Catholic Church has been too slow when dealing with priests who molest children. According to him, "the church defied its own most basic values of protecting the young and fostering celibacy."

Man claims he was raped by NUN and fathered her baby during horrific sexual abuse at Catholic home

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:13 AM PDT

ENGLAND Mirror April 3, 2018 By Jamie Bullen Edward Hayes told how he was abused for almost three years at the former John Reynolds Home, which culminated in a nun who allegedly raped him falling pregnant A man claims he was raped by a nun when he was 12 and later went on to father her baby after he became a victim of horrific sexual abuse at a Catholic home. Edward Hayes told how he was abused for almost three years at the former John Reynolds Home in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, in the 1950s. The home was run by The Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph - a Catholic congregation of nuns - which has apologised for Edward's treatment. Edward, now 76, waived his right to anonymity to lift the lid on the horrific sexual abuse he suffered to encourage fellow survivors to speak out.

Mormon leader's remark on sexual misconduct draws criticism

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:10 AM PDT

SALT LAKE CITY (UT) The Associated Press April 2, 2018 By Brady McCombs The Mormon church faced more criticism Monday about its approach to sexual abuse after a top leader praised the #MeToo movement but referred to sexual misconduct as "non-consensual immorality," a remark that some say could be interpreted as victim blaming. Quentin L. Cook, a member of a top church governing body, made the comment this weekend in the only mention of the topic during a two-day Mormon conference despite the church facing heavy scrutiny over accusations that a former prominent missionary leader sexually assaulted two women in the 1980s. Cook was giving a speech about righteousness Sunday, days after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced updated guidelines for reporting sexual abuse. "It is commendable that non-consensual immorality has been exposed and denounced," said Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. "Such non-consensual immorality is against the laws of God and of society. "However, those who understand God's plan must also oppose consensual immorality, which is also a sin," he said of the faith that teaches that sex outside marriage is a sin.

Church responds to former Nashville pastor accused of child sex abuse at church

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 09:08 AM PDT

NASHVILLE (TN) FOX17 April 2, 2018 By Samantha Singer A former church member spoke out about the former Nashville pastor accused of molesting several children at Nolensville Road Baptist Church over the course of 20 years. Former pastor Denny Patterson, 45, is a husband and father of four. Patterson is facing eight counts of aggravated sexual battery and will face a criminal court judge on Wednesday. Metro Nashville Police said they expect more charges and victims as they continue to investigate. Nolensville Road Baptist Church, 20 minute drive south of downtown Nashville, is now in the spotlight for alleged child sex abuse. Police said children reported that Denny Patterson had them engage in strange activities including sitting on his face and stomach, sometimes in their underwear. The disturbing accusations are upsetting to 19-year-old Kade Coleman, who said he spent some time at the church years ago. "That's like the sin of all sins," Coleman said. Coleman said he was active in the church youth group during Patterson's tenure. "I was about 12 or 13, and two of my friends from school brought me there actually," Coleman said. "We went to the youth group."