Abuse may cause DNA changes that increase suicide risk — Physical and emotional abuse in childhood may cause changes to DNA that increase the risk of death by suicide, say Canadian researchers, whose findings may one day lead to tests to determine suicide risk, as well as treatments to lower the likelihood of taking one’s life. Every year, one million people end their lives by suicide, leaving friends and family not only mourning the loss of a loved one, but struggling to understand why the tragedy occurred. A discovery by researchers in Montreal suggests that some suicide victims may have taken their lives because past abuse led to changes in their very DNA. Researchers at the McGill Group for Suicide Studies have studied the brains of 60 people, many of whom were male suicide victims.
Bishop Warns of Priest Sex Abuse Cases in Asia — A culture of silence across Asia may be keeping many victims of clergy sex abuse there from coming forward, a top Asian church official told a Vatican-backed conference on Thursday. Monsignor Luis Antonio Tagle, the archbishop of Manila, said Asian deference to church authorities in places like the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Philippines may also have contributed to keeping a lid on reports. He said more and more victims have spoken out in the past five years in the Philippines, but incidents of priests keeping mistresses still far outpace reports of priests preying on children.
Gay couple’s son removed on abuse fears — A gay Queensland couple accused of being part of an international pedophile ring have had their six-year-old son taken by child protection workers. The boy was removed in Los Angeles the day after their home in Cairns was searched by Queensland police in October, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The FBI is also investigating allegations one of the men has sexually abused the boy, and that both exploited him through child pornography. The men claim they are innocent of any child abuse and say they have been targeted because three of their friends turned out to be child pornographers — something of which they were unaware.
GUEST OP: The Joe Paterno story, Rape as an assault on American masculinity — The day the vice chairman of the trustees fired Joe Paterno over the phone, students at Penn State rioted. They knocked down street signs, turned over trash cans, scuffled with the police, and even flipped a news van. They shouted “One More Game!” as well as other (far less polite) chants aimed at the trustees. In short, they wanted Joe Pa back. The firing of Joe Paterno and his subsequent death on Jan. 22 marked an emotional denouement of the scandal that has enshrouded Penn State since early November.
Helping male sexual abuse victims — Ask Joanna Brant what resources are available in the area to young males who have been sexually abused and her frustration is clear. “Could you ask a tougher question?” said Brant, executive director of the Sexual Assault Centre of Brant. “We’re only just figuring out how to offer adult services for men.” In fact, she said counselling services for any victims under 16 aren’t easy to come by, but she did recommend a group in Hamilton, Ont., called Hope for Men, local male victims have been referred to with great success. “There really is an absence of specialized help for males in Brant,” she said. At Paris District High School, there is a referral service set up for females over 16 who can reach out to staff if they have been sexually assaulted, as well as the option to attend weekly victim support meetings.
More photos found in Calif. teacher abuse case — The scandal embroiling an elementary school where two teachers were arrested last week on lewdness charges widened Wednesday with revelations of 200 more inappropriate photos of children and that one teacher sent warmly written birthday cards and presents to students who participated in his “games.” The case of a third-grade teacher accused of feeding children his own semen in bizarre “tasting games” in his classroom over a five-year period has garnered international headlines.
Out of the shadows: Male rape victims stepping forward — The alleged sexual assault of boys by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has shocked the nation. But sexual assault of male victims is not just a national scandal. It’s happening here in San Antonio – and reports are increasing. Laurie Charles, a forensic nurse with Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, says, “We see about 600 kids, and about 14 percent are boys. And this year it is actually 17.5 percent. So it has increased significantly.” It took two decades for Curtis St. John to come forward. He was abused by a teacher in August on 1979. That teacher was later accused of killing another child.
Prosecutors win ruling to tell priests’ jury how archdiocese handled abuse allegations — Prosecutors in the endangerment and child sex-abuse trial of three current and former priests scored a major legal victory on Monday, when a judge ruled that they could tell jurors how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia handled years of abuse allegations against nearly two dozen other priests. Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said jurors could hear the evidence because it could show that Msgr. William J. Lynn, a former high-ranking archdiocesan official, recommended parish posts for two priests in the 1990s despite knowing or suspecting they might molest boys.
Psychiatrist: Altar Boy Saw Relationship With Sexually Abusive Priest As ‘Positive’ — A psychiatric expert for the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford on Tuesday disputed a diagnosis that a teenage victim of sexual abuse by a priest will suffer long-term mental health problems and even asserted that the boy’s relationship with the priest was generally “positive.” “Were it not for this unfortunate perversity, it possibly would have been a tremendously positive aspect of his life,” Dr. J. Alexander Bodkin, a psychiatrist affiliated with Harvard University, testified Tuesday at Superior Court. Bodkin, who runs the clinical pharmacology program at McLean Hospital outside Boston, was the principal defense witness for the archdiocese in the trial of a lawsuit by a now-adult altar boy who was repeatedly abused by Farther Ivan Ferguson from 1981 to 1983.
‘Sell home’ order for Scout leader who abused boys — A 78-year-old former Scout leader has been told by a sheriff to sell his home so he can pay compensation to the children he abused 40 years ago. David McDonald was also warned he would have to pay up quickly to stop him avoiding justice by dying before his victims were compensated. Sheriff Lindsay Foulis gave McDonald less than a month to collate his full worth and report back to the court. The pensioner earlier admitted abusing members of his troop in Coupar Angus. Sheriff Foulis told him he was not ruling out jailing him for the “gross breach of trust”, but was investigating the only other option for sentencing him.
Sexual predator who lured boys onto his boat in Bristol is jailed — A “LIFELONG sexual predator” who lured young boys onto his boat in Bristol and raped them has been jailed for 15 years. David Woodruff showered the boys with gifts and sweets, then subjected them to a catalogue of sexual abuse, Bristol Crown Court heard. Although he hoped the truth would never out, one of the victims spoke up and the 67-year-old was convicted by a jury in December last year. Woodruff, of Elm Tree Road, Locking, near Weston-super-Mare, was convicted of rape, two indecent assaults and indecency on one boy, aged 11, and rape, three indecent assaults and indecency with another boy between the ages of seven and nine.
Spreading awareness of male sexual abuse — Almost four years ago, Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Shelley Tarnowski held a training session for her fellow officers to fill a gap in their knowledge of how to work with victims of abuse – only this time the training focused on men. In her role as coordinator of the OPP’s Abuse Issues section, Tarnowski organized the session as a tool to help officers deal with male victims of sexual abuse because there was an obvious lack of resources available to boys and men who had been victimized. “I was overwhelmed by the response,” she said.
State looking for past foster children of man charged with sexual abuse — Authorities are still looking for past foster children of a man accused of sexually abusing two boys. Mark Obrien was charged Jan. 31 with crimes against two of his former foster children. According to court documents, Obrien had been a foster parent to more than 50 children — all boys — in the past 10 years. Assistant Prosecutor Ami Miller said police have been trying to contact Obrien’s former foster kids, but haven’t been able to find all of them. Obrien, of Republic, appeared in court Monday after posting $100,000 bond over the weekend.
Trainer sentenced in sexual abuse case — A personal fitness trainer convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy she worked with during 2008 and 2009 was sentenced to a minimum of one and maximum of 15 years in prison Tuesday during a hearing in 5th District Court. Suni Faith Andersen, 36, of St. George pleaded guilty in November to two counts of forcible sexual abuse as part of a plea agreement in which prosecutors agreed to dismiss three additional counts of forcible sexual abuse and five counts of forcible sodomy.
Woman charged with torturing stepgrandson — An Oceola Township paramedic is jailed on charges she tortured her 3-year-old stepgrandson, who was battered from his head to the heels of his feet, the county sheriff said. Sara Rae Walters, 34, who is a paramedic with Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, is jailed on a $200,000 bond after arraignment Friday on charges of torture and first-degree child abuse for the injuries to her stepgrandson, Aiden Walters, of whom she had primary care. She returns to District Court on Feb. 13 for an exam conference before Judge Carol Sue Reader.