Child sexual abuse inquiry scope clarified

Priests who abused children in their own homes will be included in a Royal Commission into historical sexual abuse.

The move is being described as a change-in-scope by advocates but the Royal Commission says it is only a clarification of the existing scope.

After the Government bowed to pressure and added abuse in faith-based institutions to the Royal Commission, victims and survivors were concerned the scope was too narrow, because it only looked at abuse in bricks-and-mortar institutions.

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Source, Stuff.co [New Zealand]: Child sexual abuse inquiry scope clarified

Un-Orthodox Behavior

Catholicism isn’t the only religion with sexual abuse scandals. Three S.F. women are working to expose cases within the Orthodox Church.

“These are our files,” says Cappy Larson, opening a desk drawer in the attic of her Haight District home. “Don’t look closely.”

The drawer is stuffed with folders, neatly arranged. Inside, Larson says, are letters from the hundreds of people who have contacted her in the past 10 years claiming they were sexually abused by Orthodox priests. In 1999, Larson, her daughter Greta, and family friend Melanie Sakoda founded the Protection of the Theotokos (“Mother of God”), an organization devoted to exposing sexual abuse in the Orthodox Church. It is a personal matter for them: In 1991, two of Sakoda’s children and one of Cappy Larson’s were allegedly molested by a monk at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Both Sakoda and the Larsons sued Holy Trinity’s administrative body, the Orthodox Church in America; though the OCA denied any wrongdoing, it paid over $200,000 to settle the case with both families.

Since then, the three women have watchdogged Orthodox parishes and listened to the stories of victims — some of whom will write them for years without revealing their names. Fear of retribution runs deep in the Roman Catholic Church, as the reports on its current sexual abuse scandal bear out. In the older and more conservative Orthodox Church, the fear can run even deeper. “You feel like it’s just you against this big historical thing,” says Greta Larson. “That’s in the Catholic Church, too, but it’s more so in the Orthodox Church. There’s a liberal vein of the Catholic Church, but [the Orthodox Church] is not even close to having that.”

Orthodoxy is not immune to sexual abuse charges, however. The latest case came to light in April, when a defrocked priest named Pangratios Vrionis surrendered to authorities in Queens, N.Y., on charges that he molested a 14-year-old boy.

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Source: Un-Orthodox Behavior

Study finds widespread history of sexual abuse among formerly Orthodox – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Two Orthodox researchers see a link between abuse and the decision to abandon the strictly observant Jewish life.

(JTA) — While Jews are no more likely to be sexually abused than other Americans, individuals who have left the Orthodox community are more than four times as likely to have been molested as children than the general population, a new study has found.

The study, by two Orthodox Jewish researchers, surveyed more than 300 participants over a three-year period. Its authors — Dr. David Rosmarin of Harvard and Dr. David Pelcovitz of Yeshiva University — said their report was an attempt to address a lack of research on the prevalence of sexual abuse in the Jewish community.

While the rate of abuse was higher among formerly Orthodox individuals, Rosmarin and Pelcovitz also found that abuse was “associated with significantly lower levels of intrinsic religiosity and lower levels of religious observance” among victims who chose to remain part of the Orthodox community.

“This report supports the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen that indicates a close link between abuse in a religious context and the subsequent rejection of that community, its practices, values and often everything it stands for,” said Manny Waks, the founder of Tzedek, an Australian advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse. “This is proof for what he already knew. I’ve met many people who were religious, especially within the ultra-Orthodox community, who left because of sexual abuse.”

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Source: Study finds widespread history of sexual abuse among formerly Orthodox – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Illinois wipes out statute of limitations for child sex abuse

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that will remove the statutes of limitation for sexual abuse crimes. Rauner signed the measure Friday. Sponsor state Sen. Michael Hastings of Frankfort says the legislation puts in place “best practices for dealing with sexual assault cases statewide and puts a system in place that will encourage survivors to come forward and receive justice when they are ready.”

Source: Illinois wipes out statute of limitations for child sex abuse