NY Child Victims Act: What new law means for sex abusers, victims

Legislators said the Child Victims Act will pass as the Catholic Church eases its long-held opposition to the bill.

Source: (Syracuse.com) NY Child Victims Act: What new law means for sex abusers, victims

DC attorney general proposes bill to make clergy mandatory reporters

The bill would extend to a range of positions and professions across church, state, and private insitutions, but provides explicit exemptions for the confessional, and priests would not be required to report abuse they learned about in that context.

Excerpts from story as reported in CNA (Catholic News Agency):

.- A law has been proposed in the District of Columbia which will broaden the classification of those required to report instances of child abuse or neglect. The bill would apply to clergy but make exceptions for the sacrament of confession.

“Teachers, health professionals, and clergy have a special responsibility to protect children, but far too often abuse goes unreported or is covered up,” said Attorney General Karl Racine in a statement to the media.

“To help stop child abuse in the District, this bill requires more adults to report it and trains them on how to spot it.”

Currently, everyone over the age of 18 in the District of Columbia is required to report suspected or known abuse of a child under the age of 16 to police. Mandatory reporters, however, are subject to enhanced requirements, and can receive thousands of dollars of fines and up to six months in prison for failing to report cases of abuse.

Read more at link below:

Source: DC attorney general proposes bill to make clergy mandatory reporters

New attorneys general to continue investigating clergy abuse

Newly inaugurated state attorneys general are promising to continue investigations of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church as thousands of victims are reaching out to state hotlines and online reporting systems

At least 14 attorneys general around the country have confirmed investigations or reviews of clergy abuse in the wake of a shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report in August detailing seven decades of child sexual abuse by more than 300 predator priests. Six of those offices — New York, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Florida and Delaware — are helmed by newly elected attorneys general, including three of the states reporting the largest numbers of victims contacting them.

Almost 3,000 calls, emails and online reports of clergy abuse have been made in the last five months. Nearly half of those calls were made to the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office after its investigation was released.

That number doesn’t account for reports made to seven states that declined to disclose numbers from their reporting systems to The Associated Press, including states with large Catholic populations like New Jersey and California with a dozen dioceses. The number could be much higher with those included. Several states are seeing lower responses; Delaware reported only five victim contacts as of the beginning of the year.

Read more . . .

Source: Philly.com [Philadelphia Enquirer] New attorneys general to continue investigating clergy abuse

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Proves Once Again the Church Will Never Reform Itself without the Law and Civil Society Behind It

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the Child Victims Act, for which we have been fighting for 15 years, will pass this year with his full support. With both houses controlled by Democrats, the leadership of Sen. Brad Hoylman, now Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, he is surely correct. The barrier to passage until now has been Republican lawmakers kneeling to the Catholic bishops and in particular New York City Archdiocese’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The latter is not going down, though he is decidedly going down on this issue, without a final whining tour about justice for child sex abuse victims.

Dolan’s latest volley was an op-ed in the New York Daily News that is filled with misstatements and ugly implications.  He tries two “Hail Mary” passes. First, he says that the governor’s bill will not treat public schools the same as private institutions. This is simply not true, but even if it were, there is no question the intent is to put private and public entities on the same footing and any additional language Dolan wants to further nail home this point can be easily added. The Democratic leadership in New York is 100% on board in wanting to protect children from sex abuse in every arena. Therefore, at least from Dolan’s rhetoric, he should be on board with the CVA. Not so fast.

Read more . . . 

Source: Verdict.Justia.com Cardinal Timothy Dolan Proves Once Again the Church Will Never Reform Itself without the Law and Civil Society Behind It

Utrecht University to investigate sex abuse claims against Jehovah’s Witnesses – DutchNews.nl

Utrecht University is launching an independent inquiry into sexual abuse by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, in the latest in a series of investigations focused on the church.
The university said it wanted to clarify how the church deals with incidents of abuse within its own community and whether this affects the likelihood of victims coming forward, the Telegraaf reported.
There are currently nine investigations ongoing into allegations of abuse in the community, the public prosecution service has said. Justice minister Sander Dekker has called for the Jehovah’s Witnesses to set up their own independent inquiry, but the church declined.
In a letter to parliament on Monday, Dekker said researchers at the university wanted to speak to victims and church leaders about allegations of abuse. The university hopes to conclude its inquiry in the autumn.
MPs from all parties have called for an independent inquiry into allegations against the church, which has around 30,000 followers across the Netherlands. A foundation set up by victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses has registered 276 potential cases.
Dekker said last year that the church should follow the example of the Catholic church in dealing with complaints of sexual abuse. In total, 3,712 people have reported being victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic church to a special hotline set up in 2010.

Cardinal on trial in France’s biggest church sex abuse trial

A Catholic cardinal and five other people went on trial Monday accused of covering up for a pedophile priest who abused Boy Scouts — France’s most important church sex abuse case to date.

The case poses a new challenge to the Vatican, amid growing demands in overwhelmingly Catholic France for a reckoning with decades of sexual abuse by the clergy.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, 68, appeared in a Lyon court Monday along with other senior church officials accused of failing to protect children from alleged abuse by the Rev. Bernard Preynat. The top Vatican official in charge of sex abuse cases, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, is among the accused — but won’t appear in court because the Vatican invoked his diplomatic immunity.  Read More . . .

Source: Cardinal on trial in France’s biggest church sex abuse trial

Gov. Cuomo: Child Victims Act to be included in executive budget

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that the Child Victims Act will be included in the 2019 Executive Budget.

Gov. Cuomo vows to enact the act within the first 100 days of the new legislative session.

The legislation would ensure anyone who abuses children will be held accountable criminally and civilly and that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a path to justice.

This legislation:

  • Increases the amount of time during which perpetrators of these crimes may be held criminally accountable;
  • Allows victims of these crimes to commence a civil lawsuit at any time before they reach 50 years of age;
  • Provides victims whose claims have been time-barred a new opportunity for their day in court by opening a one-year window for them to commence their action;
  • Eliminates the need to file a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor;
  • Requires judicial training with respect to crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors;
  • Authorizes the Office of Court Administration to promulgate rules and regulations for the timely adjudication of revived actions.

The Governor’s office says under current law, child sexual abuse offenses cannot be prosecuted after five years from their occurrence. Civil lawsuits for this conduct must also be brought within three years from the victim’s 18th birthday.

Deb Rosen from Bivona child advocacy has been waiting for this, saying, “there’s been significant pushback from large institutions who worry about an onslaught of lawsuits that could result in bankruptcy or other repercussions.”

One of those institutions has been the Catholic church, which has taken issue with the part of the bill that would allow victims who’ve passed the statute of limitations to have a one year window to reopen their case.

The Catholic Conference released a statement in 2016 on the bill saying: “this extraordinary provision would force institutions to defend alleged conduct decades ago about which they have no knowledge, and in which they had no role, potentially involving employees long retired, dead or infirm, based on information long lost, if it ever existed.”

Source: Gov. Cuomo: Child Victims Act to be included in executive budget

Childhood abuse increases risk of adult suicide, finds research

Boy

Largest study of its kind shows ‘devastating’ impact of sexual, physical and emotional abuse

People who experienced sexual, physical or emotional abuse as children are two to three times more likely to kill themselves as adults, new research has found.

Experts said the findings confirmed the “devastating effects” of child abuse on mental wellbeing, while one suicide charity said 70% of people who had either tried to take their own life or who had thought about it had been abused.

People who were sexually abused as a child were three times more likely than others to try to kill themselves, according to the new study in Psychological Medicine.

And people who were either physically or emotionally abused or neglected in childhood were two and a half times more likely to try to end their lives.

The findings come from research undertaken by academics at the University of Manchester and South Wales University, who analysed the results of 68 previous studies on the subject from around the world.

Dr Maria Panagioti, from Manchester University who led the research, said about “one adult in every three has experienced abuse as a child. This study conclusively gives us solid evidence that childhood abuse and neglect is associated with increased likelihood that they will be at risk of suicide as adults.”

The authors said the paper was the most comprehensive review of the evidence underlying the issue. The 68 studies were based on the experiences of 216,600 adults in countries including the US, Canada and Italy, while two of the studies were from the UK.

Read more . . . 

Source: The Guardian, U.S. Edition: Childhood abuse increases risk of adult suicide, finds research

California court upholds $4 million sex abuse judgment against Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower organization

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – A California appeals court has affirmed a more than $4 million judgment against the nation’s leading body of Jehovah’s Witnesses in favor of a woman who claims she was molested as a child in by a church elder.

Source: California court upholds $4 million sex abuse judgment against Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower organization

Vatican hid pedophilia of “Legionaires for Christ” founder for 63 years

Marcial Maciel

El prefecto de la Congregación para los Institutos de Vida Consagrada, el cardenal João Braz de Aviz, reconoce ahora que el Vaticano tenía desde 1943 documentos sobre la pederastia del fundador de los Legionarios de Cristo, Marcial Maciel. El religioso fue investigado entre 1956 y 1959. “Quien lo tapó era una mafia, ellos no eran Iglesia”, ha dicho al ser entrevistado por la revista católica Vida Nueva. João Braz estuvo en Madrid hace un mes para clausurar la asamblea general de la Confederación Española de Religiosos (Confer). “Tengo la impresión de que las denuncias de abusos crecerán, porque solo estamos en el inicio. Llevamos 70 años encubriendo, y esto ha sido un tremendo error”, sostiene.

. . . Read more (original)

Google translation below:

The prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, now recognizes that since 1943 the Vatican had documents on the pedophilia of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel. The religious was investigated between 1956 and 1959. “Who covered him was a mafia, they were not Church,” he said when interviewed by the Catholic magazine Vida Nueva. João Braz was in Madrid a month ago to close the general assembly of the Spanish Confederation of Religious (Confer). “I have the impression that allegations of abuse will grow, because we are only at the beginning. We’ve been hiding for 70 years, and this has been a huge mistake, “he says.

The Legionaries of Christ are reborn from their ashes, with a new structure, after 12 years of atonement and ten since the death of its founder, the priest Marcial Maciel, friend of several popes and the greatest sexual predator in the recent history of the Church . Presented for years by John Paul II as an apostle of youth and pampered by countless bishops and cardinals, many of them Spaniards, Benedict XVI told him in 2006, months after the death of the Polish pontiff, to retire to Mexico for the rest of his life , dedicated “to penance and prayer”. He died without apology two years later, when a commission of inquiry had already unequivocally revealed his criminal activities and a life of debauchery tolerated by the Vatican.

EL PAÍS published in 2006 that the Legionary founder had been investigated between October 1956 and February 1959 on behalf of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, then the great Roman inquisitor. Maciel had studied at the Pontifical University of Comillas, then based in Cantabria, where he was expelled with one of his classmates without the Jesuits taking additional measures. The Vatican inspection was supervised by the Basque Claretian and future Cardinal Arcadio Larraona. During that time, Maciel was suspended as superior general, and expelled from Rome. Larraona sent his inspectors to the Ontaneda seminary, among other centers. He did not solve anything and Maciel returned to the old ways, with more power. Neither did Ratzinger act in 1999, despite the evidence deposited on his desk as president of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy Office of the Inquisition of the past.

The denunciations of his countless victims, to which those of the women with whom the priest Maciel had had children later joined, increased until they became unbearable for the Vatican. Nobody took action. “A friend of the Pope is not processed,” argued those who had to intervene, first of all Cardinal Josep Ratzinger, today Pope emeritus. Maciel was also his friend, as well as confessor of the Polish Pope on many occasions. “They waited for God to get them out of the quagmire with the death of John Paul II or the accused,” said one of his victims and complainant, Alejandro Espinosa, who had the misfortune of being the favorite prey of the Legionary founder in the cold house. of the Ontaneda seminary (Cantabria).

. . . Read more (original)

Jehovah’s Witnesses defend their treatment of sexual assault cases (original in French)

Source: Les Témoins de Jéhovah défendent leur traitement des cas d’agressions sexuelles | Isabelle Ducas | Actualités judiciaires

As the entire article is in French, the article is translated below:

Jehovah’s Witnesses defend their treatment of sexual assault cases
Isabelle Ducas

Even though the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is very closed and tightly woven, it is also affected by the #moiaussi [#metoo] wave: its lawyers began yesterday to defend in court the practices of the religious group, accused of abandoning the victims of assault to protect the abusers to avoid tarnishing their reputation.

A class action suit filed by a former sexual assault advisor alleges that the movement is imposing on its congregations around the world internal rules that discourage the reporting of sexual assault and harm the protection of victims. “What is exposed is that a system has been set up under the tutelage of the Central College, a group of men who make decisions and issue doctrines that are redistributed around the world,” argued the lawyer who leads the class action, Ms. Sarah Woods, before Justice Chantal Corriveau in the Superior Court.

The religious organization’s policies "hinder denunciation to lay authorities of sexual abuse of minors and maintain a parallel disciplinary process in the form of judicial committees, “a process that is harmful to victims and negligently recidivism,” added the lawyer.

Lisa Blais, who launched the action on behalf of all Quebec victims, grew up in a family member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She claims to have been sexually assaulted by her brother from an early age. She denounced these assaults when she was 16 years old to her parents and “elders” of her religious community, but nothing would have been done to try to punish the alleged aggressor.

Since the organization’s policies on sexual assault would be developed in the United States, at the highest levels, the demand for collective action is directed at US entities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Pennsylvania and New York City and more Canadian instances.

DO NOT GO AGAINST JEHOVAH

The court has not yet determined whether the action sought could proceed. The arguments in this regard will be heard in mid-December. But even before reaching this stage, the lawyers of the religious group dispute the fact that US authorities can be prosecuted, saying that Quebec justice does not have jurisdiction over their decisions.

Victims do not agree, saying that all congregations follow the guidelines developed in the United States. “A witness’s non-compliance with the organization’s policies is seen as upsetting Jehovah, the god of witnesses,” said Woods. As a result, central college policies create fear among witnesses and force them to develop an attitude of submission. "

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been the subject of several prosecutions by ex-followers in the United States for their handling of sexual assault cases. In Canada, shortly after the Quebec class action petition, a similar initiative was launched in Ontario.

The religious group issued a statement following yesterday’s hearing. “We are confident that the facts will show that Jehovah’s Witnesses are working to follow the child protection reporting act,” a spokesperson said by email. “For decades we have cooperated with the authorities responsible for the protection of children. And of course, anyone who knows of an allegation of abuse should feel free to go to the authorities at all times.”

“A witness’s non-compliance with the organization’s policies is considered to be upsetting to Jehovah … Therefore, Central College policies create fear within the Witnesses and force them to develop an attitude of submission.” – Sarah Woods, the lawyer who is leading the collective action against the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses (orig. in German)

Original article appears in German; translated through Google Translate:

Victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witness religious community have turned to the Report Mainz editorial board. They report that they have been abused as children and that the community has tried to cover it up. Anyone who talks gets pressure and is excluded from the community, so the conclusion.
Around 40 reports of victims of sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany are in the newsroom, including a letter from a young woman reporting that her grandfather, an elder in the community, has lost to her cousins, to a total of ten people, Report Mainz is also the so-called Elder Book of Jehovah’s Witnesses, an internal book whose content is reserved in the religious community only the elders. After that, there must be two or three witnesses who confirm the act. Without such confirmation nothing could have been done, they say.
The article describes how the religious community covers up such cases, which methods are used. A spokesman for the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany denies this and rejects the allegations. Thousands of such cases are reported worldwide.

Content:
Part 1: Sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses
Part 2: Text of the article

Unfortunately reported clearly harmless (Kai Binder) 27.11.2018, 23:23
It’s good that this topic has been researched and sent. Likewise, a fair tenor was cultivated without recognizable prejudices. However, the ultimate problem is that perpetrators whether recognized by ZJ as such (ultimately exclusively by confessions, since it is almost impossible in reality, that there are two eyewitnesses) or just not recognized (no confession and no 2 or 3 eyewitnesses) protected are not sufficiently clear. The question is to which audience this report should apply. Line loyalty ZJ will have switched off the program already at the first set. The mention that former CJs have their say in the report is the catalyst for that. Who did you want to reach? People who
are not ZJ and do not want to convert anyway or ZJ who are in the community and know nothing about it? In the latter they have already failed with the first sentences.

Since you should better research before, how to proceed. Nice that they have mentioned the approximately 1000 perpetrators in Australia. But even there is no mention (or their lack of knowledge about the background), that these are probably documented cases in which a judicial committee (the aforementioned tribunal, which handle the matter internally) was formed. Such a committee is only used and makes a decision if there is a confession or the two eyewitnesses. Despite this documented knowledge, these cases were not reported (as far as the statement, child abuse is considered a criminal offense).

Unfortunately, this approach is typical of the world east; perpetrators are protected in that they keep their misconduct in the smallest circles and concealed to the outside. So nobody else in the congregation can actively protect themselves from such a perpetrator, because nobody knows about it. Not to mention help for the victims. It does not exist. What’s missing: Deuteronomy 22: 25 & 26! No two witnesses in cases of abuse!

Link: https://www.swr.de/report/im-namen-des-herrn-sexueller-missbrauch-bei-den-zeugen-jehovas/-/id=233454/did=22650586/nid=233454/1d4gkkr/index.html  [Im Namen des Herrn – Sexueller Missbrauch bei den Zeugen Jehovas]