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Former Bad Axe priest investigated locally for alleged sex abuse

Posted: 02 May 2018 04:42 PM PDT

MICHIGAN Huron Daily Tribune By Brenda Battel Tribune Staff Writer May 2, 2018 BAD AXE — A police report reveals local authorities investigated a former Huron County priest that the Saginaw Diocese recently announced was laicized following sexual abuse allegations. Jack E. Leipert, known as "Father Jack," was a pastor at Sacred Heart in Bad Axe, when he was investigated for allegedly molesting a 21-year-old man in 2000. No charges were ever filed by the Huron County Prosecutor's Office. The Bad Axe Police Department investigated the complaint, wherein it was alleged Leipert molested the victim on Nov. 7, 2000, according to a police report. Leipert reportedly approached the alleged victim at a gas station in Caseville about paying him to do some maintenance work.

Alleged abuser nearing return to Haywood

Posted: 02 May 2018 04:38 PM PDT

NORTH CAROLINA The Mountaineer May 2, 2018 Kyle Perrotti Howard White is one step closer to facing child sex abuse allegations in Haywood County. White, who is charged with several felonies related to the alleged 1985 sexual abuse of two children while he was rector of Waynesville's Grace Church in the Mountains, is scheduled to be released from Boston's South Bay Correctional Facility Thursday. As of now, the 76-year-old has served 12 months of an 18-month sentence for five counts of assault and battery — to which he pleaded guilty — relating to the sexual abuse of a boy while he was employed by St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island in 1973. Although White will be released from the custody of the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, District Attorney Ashley Welch said that along with a governor's warrant that has been signed and delivered to Massachusetts, he will be held in that state on a fugitive warrant until he can be transported to North Carolina.

Legislation Gives Childhood Sexual Abuse Victims Chance to Seek Justice

Posted: 02 May 2018 12:43 PM PDT

NEW YORK Hudson Valley News Network By Kathy Welsh May 2, 2018 CHESTER – Assemblyman James Skoufis announced he co-sponsored and helped pass the Child Victims Act, which allows more victims of childhood sexual abuse to face their abusers in civil or criminal court (A.5885-A). The measure extends the statutes of limitations for civil and criminal cases and provides a year-long window for past victims who previously missed their statute of limitations to bring their predators to court. "There's absolutely nothing more despicable than willfully harming a child," Skoufis said. "To make a tragic situation even worse, our justice system works all-too-often in favor of these sick individuals, rather than their innocent victims. Childhood victims are often too afraid or traumatized to come forward until they're adults, and by then the statute of limitations has run out. We must change the law so that more survivors can seek justice and move forward with their lives." Each year, over 63,000 children are sexually abused – and that's just the number of cases that are actually reported, said Skoufis. In reality, countless cases go unreported and many survivors live in silence, Skoufis noted. With such wide support among the public, Skoufis was disappointed the Child Victims Act died in the Senate last year and was not included as part of the state budget this year. 2018

Pope said to admit being 'part of the problem' of covering up child sexual abuse in Chile

Posted: 02 May 2018 12:39 PM PDT

ROME Los Angeles Times By TOM KINGTON MAY 02, 2018 During hours of emotional meetings at the Vatican, Pope Francis begged for forgiveness from Chileans who have alleged priestly sexual abuse — according to those in attendance — who described their meeting with the pope as a "defining moment" in his papacy and demanded he follow through by ousting Chilean bishops they accuse of cover-ups. "I have never seen someone so contrite. He was truly sorry, and I felt he was hurting," said Juan Carlos Cruz, one of three people invited to sit down with the pope over the weekend for individual meetings. "He said, 'I was part of the problem. I caused this,' " said Cruz, who called his three-hour meeting with Francis "very raw." The three men allege they endured sexual abuse as youths in Chile at the hands of prelate Fernando Karadima, who was sentenced by the Vatican in 2011 to a lifetime of penance, which means he's been forced to retire from public life and public ministry to a life of prayer for atonement. The Vatican did not, however, believe the men's claim that the abuse was witnessed and covered up by Chilean Bishop Juan Barros. Francis appointed Barros bishop of the town of Osorno in 2015, hugged him publicly during his visit to Chile in January and dismissed the men's accounts as "slander."

$20 Million Settlement Reached In Clergy Abuse Cases

Posted: 02 May 2018 12:34 PM PDT

MONTANA Montana Public Radio [with audio] By CORIN CATES-CARNEY APR 27, 2018 The Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls and Billings reached a $20 million settlement agreement Friday with more than 80 people who say they were sexually abused by clergy as children, according to attorneys in the case. The claims of sexual abuse date from the 1950s to the 1990s, according to attorney Dan Fasy who represented some victims. He says the settlement process has helped some of his clients recover from feeling like victims, but for others, this is just another step in their healing. "I think the resounding response I've heard from the clients I've been working with is," says Fasy, is "if this can prevent one child in the future from suffering the same fate of child sexual abuse, this will be a major victory."

Weinstein inappropriate with me: Blanchett

Posted: 02 May 2018 12:29 PM PDT

AUSTRALIA Deniliouin Pastoral Times by AAP NEWS MAY 03, 2018 Cate Blanchett has accused disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of behaving inappropriately towards her. The Australian is the latest Hollywood star to make allegations of sexual misconduct against the producer, following claims by others including Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie. Blanchett has appeared in a number of films produced by Weinstein, including The Talented Mr Ripley, Carol and The Aviator. In an interview with trade publication Variety, the Australian star was asked if Weinstein sexually harassed or behaved inappropriately towards her. "With me, yes," Blanchett replied. "I think he really primarily preyed, like most predators, on the vulnerable. I mean I got a bad feeling from him. He would often say to me, 'We're not friends'."

Survivors hope pope will act against 'epidemic' of abuse in the church

Posted: 02 May 2018 12:24 PM PDT

ROME Catholic News Service By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service 5.2.2018 ROME (CNS) -- Three Chilean abuse survivors who met with Pope Francis said his apology to them must be accompanied by concrete actions, not only against those who commit sexual abuse, but against those who cover it up. "I have never seen someone be so contrite about what he was telling me," Juan Carlos Cruz told journalists May 2. "I also felt that he was hurting, which for me was very solemn. I don't know what word to use because it's not often the pope really says sorry to you and apologizes to you. He said, 'I was part of the problem, I caused this and I'm sorry.'" Jose Andres Murillo, another of the Chilean survivors, said, "All of us had different experiences with the pope, and even if we saw the forgiveness the pope asked, we're waiting for actions." "We always said that we're not here to do public relations but for actions," Murillo said. "That's what I'm waiting for." Pope Francis had invited Cruz, Murillo and James Hamilton to stay at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where he lives, and to meet with him individually April 27-29. They met him again as a group April 30.

Update – End Doesn’t Justify Means

Posted: 02 May 2018 10:56 AM PDT

PENNSYLVANIA Catholics4Change MAY 2, 2018 by Susan Matthews A lawyer who privately came forward was not able to help a survivor, whose story you read about in the previous post. The survivor now wants his name made public. David Eyes was a child when he was abused by Father Robert L. Brennan. He spent too much of his adult life embroiled in a grand jury investigation. The grueling emotional process cut fresh wounds into his already scarred psyche. Suicide attempts and subsequent hospitalization made it clear that self preservation meant stepping away from it all. It was the right decision for him and his family. David is working, married and surviving. But now, his hard-won and tenuous stability is threatened. Lawyers prosecuting a civil case against the Philadelphia archdiocese on behalf of another victim asked him to testify. David explained why he couldn't – how it might cost him his life. They responded with a subpoena. Cornered and forced to ensure something horrific as child, David is once again cornered and being forced to do something terrifying as an adult. The subpoena compels him to appear in court on Monday, May 7 or he'll be held in contempt – which carries the possibility of arrest and fines. Yet, the price he'll pay for testifying is far worse. So he and his family have decided he won't comply with the subpoena.

Advocates Rally Urging NY Assembly To Pass End Child Trafficking Act

Posted: 02 May 2018 10:49 AM PDT

NEW YORK WAMC May 2, 2018 By ELIZABETH HILL With the legislative session in its final weeks, advocates and New York state lawmakers gathered at the capitol Tuesday to urge the state Assembly to pass the End Child Trafficking Act. The legislation is sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, of the lower Hudson Valley, who says the bill would eliminate the requirement to prove force, fraud or coercion in prosecutions for sex trafficking. She says the measure creates an affirmative defense for victims 19 and younger. Sanctuary for Families — a New York City-based nonprofit that advocates for victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking — led the event at the Legislative Office Building. Executive Director Judy Harris Kluger, a former judge, said the time for action is now. "Between 2010 and 2015 there has been an 800 percent increase in online sex trafficking of children. The time has come to be in line with federal law and 48 other states," says Kluger. Sanctuary for Families says state prosecutors cannot build successful cases against traffickers of children unless the victim is willing and able to testify. According to Reverend Que English, CEO and founder of Not on My Watch – a nonprofit working against sex trafficking – trauma suffered as a result of being trafficked and the terror of retaliation often prevent victims from testifying.

Meeting abuse survivors, Pope apologizes for being 'part of the problem'

Posted: 02 May 2018 10:46 AM PDT

VATICAN CITY Catholic News Agency By Elise Harris Vatican City, May 2, 2018 / 11:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After meeting with Pope Francis over the weekend, Chilean survivors of clerical sexual abuse said the pontiff was open, sympathetic and deeply impacted by the situation, at one point voicing sorrow for having been "part of the problem." Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of Chilean abuser Fr. Fernando Karadima who met with Pope Francis privately Saturday, said he spoke to the pontiff for at least three hours, and found him "sincere, attentive and deeply apologetic for the situation." "For me, the pope was contrite, he was truly sorry," Cruz said. "I felt also that he was hurting, which for me was very solemn...because it's not often that the pope says sorry to you...he said, 'I was part of the problem, I caused this and I am apologize.'" Cruz was joined by fellow abuse survivors James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo, each of whom suffered abuse at the hands Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, who in 2011 was found guilty by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of sexually abusing several minors during the 1980s and 1990s, and subsequently sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude. Chilean civil authorities investigated Karadima but ultimately dropped charges since his crimes were beyond the statute of limitations.

Pope Francis tells sex abuse survivors, ‘I was part of the problem’

Posted: 02 May 2018 10:44 AM PDT

ROME Crux Inés San Martín VATICAN CORRESPONDENT May 2, 2018 ROME - After facing heated criticism over his actions and words regarding clerical sexual abuse in Chile, this weekend Pope Francis tried to address the scandal head-on, meeting three abuse survivors from the Latin American nation ahead of a summit later this month with Chile's bishops. "Pope Francis formally asked us for forgiveness, in his own name and on behalf of the universal Church," the three said in a statement released on Wednesday in Rome after their meetings with the pope. This weekend, abuse survivors Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Andres Murillo were hosted by Francis at the Vatican's Santa Marta residence, the hotel built under St. Pope John Paul II where he's lived since the beginning of his pontificate. Overall, the survivors described their meetings positively, with Francis being "attentive, receptive and very empathetic during the intense and long hours of conversations." One of the survivors went so far as to say that he believed the pope hadn't lied, but had been badly informed when it came to the situation in Chile. The survivor said Francis had told him, "I was part of the problem, I caused this, and I apologize to you."

Key dates in the Chilean sex abuse scandal

Posted: 02 May 2018 10:40 AM PDT

VATICAN CITY Associated Press VATICAN CITY (AP) — The three main whistleblowers in Chile's long-running sex abuse scandal have wrapped up their meetings with Pope Francis, after the pope discredited them and staunchly defended a bishop they had accused of witnessing and ignoring their abuse. Their visit to the Vatican marked the culmination of an extraordinary papal about-face, after Francis ordered a thorough investigation into their claims and then, after receiving the report, admitted to "serious errors in judgment." Some key dates in the Barros affair: ___ Jan. 10, 2015 Pope names Bishop Juan Barros, then Chile's military chaplain, as bishop of Osorno, over the objections of some members of the Chilean bishops' conference. They were concerned about the fallout from the scandal over the Rev. Fernando Karadima, Chile's most notorious predator priest. ___ Jan. 31, 2015 Francis acknowledged the bishops' concerns in a letter, obtained by The Associated Press, which revealed a plan to have Barros and two other Karadima-trained bishops resign and take yearlong sabbaticals. In the letter, Francis said the plan fell apart because the nuncio revealed it. The pope subsequently told reporters that he himself had blocked the plan because there was no "evidence" Barros was guilty of any cover-up. ___ February 2015 Fifty Chilean lawmakers and priests, deacons and more than 1,000 laity in the Osorno diocese sign petitions protesting Barros' appointment and urging Francis revoke it. ___ Feb. 3, 2015 Juan Carlos Cruz writes a letter to the Vatican's ambassador in Santiago, Monsignor Ivo Scapolo, accusing Barros of watching the sex abuse he experienced and doing nothing to stop it. The letter would form the basis of a subsequent letter to the pope. It is unknown what Scapolo did with his letter.

'I was part of the problem,' pope quoted telling Chile abuse victims

Posted: 02 May 2018 10:36 AM PDT

ROME Reuters May 2, 2018 Philip Pullella ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis told Chilean victims of clerical sexual abuse "I was part of the problem" and apologized for dismissing accusations of a cover-up by Catholic bishops, one of the victims said on Wednesday. At an emotional news conference after four days of private meetings with the pope, three men who were victims of Chile's most notorious paedophile urged Francis to take action against several Chilean bishops. "For almost 10 years we have been treated as enemies because we fight against sexual abuse and cover-up in the Church," Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo, said in a joint statement read out to reporters. The three men, who were guests of the pope at his residence, said that during their long conversations, Francis had been attentive, receptive and very empathetic. "I have never, never seen someone be so contrite ... I felt that he was hurting, which for me was very solemn. It's not often that the pope says sorry to you and apologizes to you for something," Cruz said in response to a question.

Pope to Chile abuse victims: I was part of the problem

Posted: 02 May 2018 10:03 AM PDT

ROME Associated Press May 2, 2018 By NICOLE WINFIELD ROME (AP) — The three whistleblowers in Chile's sex abuse scandal urged Pope Francis on Wednesday to transform his apology for having discredited them into concrete action to end what they called the "epidemic" of sex abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church. Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo spoke to reporters Wednesday after spending five days with the pope at his Vatican hotel. Their press conference was broadcast live in Chile, a sign of the unprecedented nature of their hours of meetings with the pope. Cruz said that during his private encounter with Francis, the pope acknowledged: "I was part of the problem. I caused this, and I apologize to you." "I believe that he was sincere," Cruz said. Cruz said he believed that Francis was simply misinformed about the case of Bishop Juan Barros, whom the three men have long accused of having witnessed and ignored their abuse.

RABBI CONVICTED OF SEX OFFENSES TO LIGHT LAG BA’OMER BONFIRE, DRAWING IRE

Posted: 02 May 2018 09:15 AM PDT

ISRAEL The Jerusalem Post BY AVRAHAM GOLD MAY 2, 2018 Hassidic leader Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who was convicted for sexual assault, will light a central bonfire for Lag Ba'Omer on Wednesday night outside of Meron. The decision drew the ire of MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union), who sent a letter to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit requesting he intervene. Berland, the head of the Shuvu Banim community of the Breslov Hassidic sect, was convicted in a November 2016 plea bargain of two counts of indecent assault for sexual attacks on two women, as well as instructing one of his followers to assault the husband of one of the women he sexually assaulted. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail but was released under house arrest following an urgent operation in February. Nahmias-Verbin posted the letter on Twitter, adding in a post that haredi (ultra-Orthodox) members of Knesset have told her privately they oppose the decision to allow Berland to light a bonfire. "It is difficult to understand how it is possible that a convicted person, who holds the title of rabbi and holds responsibility towards the public, will take part in a significant and widely-attended event funded by the state," she wrote in the letter. "I call on you to intervene and act immediately against this, and prevent further severe harm to women who have been harmed, and to protect the public against an authorized offender." The Shuvu Banim bonfire will take place at midnight, according to haredi news site B'Hadrei Haredim.