Attorney General Nessel to Catholic Church: Stop self-policing

Nessel asked the Diocese of Lansing and its counterparts to pause internal reviews as her office investigates clergy abuse. That may take up to two years

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has asked the Diocese of Lansing and its six counterparts across the state to stop self-policing.

And she told Michigan residents not to rely on the church to handle any allegations of sexual misconduct.

“If an investigator comes to your door and asks to speak with you, please ask to see their badge and not their rosary,” Nessel said during a Thursday morning press conference. “Victims may believe that they cannot or should not report abuse to us because the church is going to handle it. That’s simply not true.”

Anyone can report abuse to the attorney general’s office online or by calling an investigation hotline at 844-324-3374. Reports can be made anonymously.

More than 300 tips received

The office has received more than 300 tips of clergy abuse through that hotline, Nessel said.

Read more at link below . . .

Source: Lansing State Journal. Attorney General Nessel to Catholic Church: Stop self-policing

Ex-Jehovah’s Witness faces new child sexual abuse charges in Mont-Laurier, Que. | CBC News

A former Jehovah’s Witness from Mont-Laurier, Que., is facing new charges of sexually assaulting two girls in his congregation in the 1980s — 23 years after he was acquitted of the sexual assault and indecent assault of one of the alleged victims in the case.

Michel Courtemanche, 63, was acquitted of assaulting 1 of alleged victims in 1996.

A former Jehovah’s Witness from Mont-Laurier, Que., is facing new charges of sexually assaulting two girls in his congregation in the 1980s — 23 years after he was acquitted of the sexual assault and indecent assault of one of the alleged victims in the case.

Michel Courtemanche, 63, is charged with three counts of sexual assault, one count of sexual interference of a minor and one count of indecent assault. He is to appear in court in Mont-Laurier, 240 kilometres northwest of Montreal, on March 18 to enter a plea on those five charges.

It will be the second time Courtemanche will face judicial proceedings in connection with a complaint by the main alleged victim, Pénélope Herbert.

In 2017, Herbert told Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête she was just 11 years old when she began babysitting Courtemanche’s children while he was leading a Bible study group.

. . .

“Those nights, he would come to my room. I am talking about rape, night after night.”

Read more by clicking the link below . . . 

Source: CBC. Ex-Jehovah’s Witness faces new child sexual abuse charges in Mont-Laurier, Que. | CBC News

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

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]

Why I am a SCAARS Supporter (B.P.)

by B.P. in Illinois

My father was a man of great integrity who abhorred religious hypocrisy. In his youth, he boldly marched in front of churches in Brooklyn, NY, with a sign that read, “Religion is a Snare and a Racket.” He never backed down from speaking against the piousness of the clergy or the sins they committed in God’s name. As a matter of fact, it was his favorite subject!

Therefore, I was raised with the conviction that devotion to God and to truth was to be first in my life. Whenever I had any questions, Dad would always tell me to do the research. He was convinced that he had found “the truth” and it could stand up to any scrutiny. “Don’t take my word for it – look it up.” he’d say.

Sadly, my father died in 1988, before the Internet made it so easy to do research. If alive today, I think he’d be appalled to learn that child sex abuse had infiltrated powerful religious institutions. I can just imagine his anger to find out how religious leaders covered-up this crime, and that perpetrators were protected by using spin and legal posturing.

Like my father advised, “Do the research to find the truth,” that’s what I did when I began to question the structure of religion; claims of ecclesiastical privilege, along with what I saw as an immense misuse of power.

After discovering that many religions were founded not on candor with transparency, but largely on “malfeasance of office” and sanctimoniousness, I realized that a secret and dangerous culture developed over the centuries. This has culminated in some of the most scandalous cover-ups we’ve ever seen in our time.

Events of the past have proven that appealing to the clergy’s moral principles and humanity has not worked in changing their culture. Therefore, it is our belief that the best way to end sexual and spiritual abuse is by effective action to change secular laws. For instance, if Grand Juries were convened in the 50-states, (similar to the Australian Royal Commission), more crimes would be uncovered which would force institutions into supporting the weak and taking humane actions toward the injured. It is only then that healing of the innocents can begin.

As I became acquainted with the founders of the SCAARS group (Stop Child Abuse – Advocates for Reform and Safety), I realized that we were kindred spirits. Years before the #MeToo Movement began, these courageous people showed their devotion to justice in behalf of those less fortunate, by exhibiting a spirit of activism both in word and deed. Like my colleagues, I have never been sexually abused, but feel the need to speak out with them on behalf of those who have.

As a Victim’s Advocate and a Mandated Reporter, I’m committed to the cause of helping individuals crushed by religious institutions that abuse power. And I am honored to champion truth-telling and to help bring about cultural change with my friends at SCAARS. If my Dad was still alive, he surely would be proud of all of us who are determined defenders of truth and advocates for reform.

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.

Read more . . .

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.”

Read more . . .

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