Boys — the silent victims of sex trafficking — The silence nearly killed Tom Jones. As a child, Jones was raped, abused and sold to men for sex. The brutality ended when he was 15. But, like many male victims, Jones didn’t seek help, didn’t tell anyone about the trauma he had suffered. Instead, he buried his pain and shame deep inside, carrying the burden alone and in silence for another 15 years. Silence did not equal acceptance.
Caldey Abbey: first male victim comes forward to describe sexual abuse — A man has come forward to describe how he was groomed and sexually abused as a child by a Benedictine monk on Caldey Island, intensifying calls for an inquiry into what happened at the abbey in south-west Wales. The victim, who has told police of the abuse he was subject to during summer holiday trips to Caldey Island, is the first man to allege he was sexually assaulted by Father Thaddeus Kotik.
South Carolina Church To Pay $300,000 And Apologize In Child Sex Abuse Case — A Baptist church in South Carolina settled a child sexual abuse lawsuit, agreeing to issue an apology, admit liability, and to pay $300,000 to the plaintiff. Bryan Barnes, spokesman for First Baptist Church of Columbia, S.C., said that church leadership issued the apology and explained the terms of the settlement before the congregation on Sunday, according to the Baptist Press. Continue reading →
The number is astounding. So much abuse, so many lives tormented. These numbers come from recently released information about Australia’s Catholic archdiocese. From the Guardian:
Seven per cent of Australia’s Catholic priests were accused of abusing children in the six decades since 1950, according to new data from the royal commission.
On Monday the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse released damning statistics on the scale of the crisis within the Catholic Church. The numbers confirm the extent of sexual predation already suggested by four years of royal commission hearings involving the church, which are now entering their final weeks.
Up to 15% of priests in some dioceses were alleged perpetrators between 1950 and 2015, with abusers most prevalent in the dioceses of Sale and Sandhurst in Victoria, Port Pirie in South Australia, and Lismore and Wollongong in New South Wales. The numbers were even worse in some national Catholic orders. By far the worst was the order of the St John of God Brothers, where a staggering 40% of religious brothers are believed to have abused children.
Forty percent. Try to fathom that two thirds of a dioceses clergyman are child rapists. For the number to be that high, one would imagine they were not hiding their activities. There would be far too many victims. The most logical conclusion is also the most disturbing and horrific: the Church knew about the abuse and intentionally did nothing. Continue reading →
It appears the Vatican still has a propensity for deploying terrible representatives to handle child abuse investigations. A envoy for the Vatican recently made a startling claim:
Father Dante Simón, one of the two envoys sent by the Vatican to probe the scandal, suggested that some accusations have been dismissed because they were invented by “spiteful” boys who had fallen in love with priests and were rejected. Despite the fact that more than 60 former students have come forward with allegations involving sexual abuse at the institute, Simón chose to highlight “dismissed” cases.
“A few (cases) have been dismissed,” the priest told the Mendoza Post. “Because there are people who are spiteful. For example, a girl or a boy falls in love with a priest, and he doesn’t respond back. The boy can be very spiteful like a woman can. So, they denounce him (the priest),” Simón told reporter Martín Tejerina.
Yes, of course. Little boys and girls fall in love with priests all the time. With so many potential lovers, what is a priest to do? He will have to deny some of the children. And children, being “spiteful” little creatures, are prone to lie about being sexually abused.
Advocates, survivors say stigmas keep male victims from reporting sexual assaults — Social stigmas and a lack of understanding fuels the underreporting of sexual assaults among male victims, police and victim advocates said at a campus forum Thursday. Zac Palmer told about a dozen people at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln he didn’t realize what his longtime partner did to him was sexual assault. He only later came to terms with it, and then last summer, he was sexually assaulted by someone else while at a party with friends, he said.
Chicago Archdiocese pays $3.15 million to settle abuse suits — The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $3.15 million to settle lawsuits brought by three men who allege they were sexually abused by a notorious former pastor of a West Side Catholic church more than a decade ago, the plaintiffs’ attorney said Wednesday. The accusers, all identified in court papers as John Doe, said former priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack sexually abused them more than once during their participation in an after-school program called S.A.F.E. at Our Lady of the Westside Catholic School.
2 Former Penn State Administrators Plead Guilty To Roles In Abuse Scandal — Two former high-level Penn State administrators pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges of child endangerment, for their roles in covering up child sex abuse by disgraced assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Former Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley each took a plea bargain that — if accepted by the judge — will carry a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. As part of the plea bargain, the felony charges they originally faced were reduced to misdemeanors.
Battered Men: The Hidden Hurt — Battered men desperately sought help for years in California, but their efforts consistently fell on deaf ears. It took four battered men and a 2008 lawsuit by the National Coalition for Men for the California Supreme Court to recognize that men are entitled to equal protection and advocacy support from domestic violence shelters. Domestic violence accounts for a surprising proportion of violent crime in the United States. Close to one in six murder victims is killed by an intimate partner. Nearly three-fourths of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner.
Dozens Say Christian Leader Made British Boys ‘Bleed for Jesus’ — Having disclosed his “sin” of masturbation, Mark Stibbe, age 17, was ordered to strip naked and lean over a wooden chair in the garden shed of a lavish Hampshire mansion on the southern coast of England. Then came the first blow from a cane, its impact so ferocious that it sent the boy into a state of paralysis that lasted through at least 30 more strokes that left him collapsed on the floor, blood oozing down his legs. Continue reading →
At Wisconsin Juvenile Prisons, Children Face a Nightmare of Solitary Confinement and Abuse — At the Lincoln Hills School for Boys (LHS), a juvenile correctional facility in far northern Wisconsin, two entire buildings called the Krueger Unit and the Roosevelt Unit exist solely for the purpose of holding children in solitary confinement for 22 to 23 hours a day. Each unit holds two-dozen isolation cells, which measure seven by ten feet and contain only a metal sink, a toilet, a mattress, and an odor of sweat and urine.
Falsely Accused of Rape, Brian Banks Recounts How He Was Railroaded Into Prison by His White Lawyer — Former football standout Brian Banks reveals how an innocence kiss in a known makeout spot ruined his life for years and how his lawyer helped orchestrate it by telling him an all-white jury would convict him because “he was a big Black teenager.” When Banks was 16 years old, he went to the spot with a young woman he found attractive. He’d known her since middle school and one day, they decided to go to the secluded location.
I have no problem with showing even the worst people mercy. I think that it demonstrates one’s character to show compassion and concern for those who would show you none. However, I do think there should be a limit to what that mercy entails. It is one thing to spare someone’s life or avoid any cruel punishment. It is another to let them off unpunished for their crimes. This is what Pope Francis did with several priests accused of sexually abusing children:
Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope’s own advisers question. […] Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry.
In some cases, the priests or their high-ranking friends appealed to Francis for clemency by citing the pope’s own words about mercy in their petitions, the church official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proceedings are confidential.
“With all this emphasis on mercy … he is creating the environment for such initiatives,” the church official said, adding that clemency petitions were rarely granted by Pope Benedict XVI, who launched a tough crackdown during his 2005-2013 papacy and defrocked some 800 priests who raped and molested children.
This makes no sense. Outside of sentencing these men to prison, the only penalty that would likely matter to them would be removal from the priesthood. This seems the least Francis considering that these men preyed on children for years.
What does a lifetime of penance and prayer mean? Are these priests to become monks tucked away in a remote church? How will any of this actually punish those who preyed on children? How will it keep them from abusing again? Continue reading →