Tuesday, November 24, 2015

India's Marital Rape Crisis, The litany of child abuse by Catholic priests, Police failed to investigate abuse - Melbourne archdiocese

Rape within marriage remains legal in several countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, including Singapore, China, Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco. And even in countries where spousal rape is technically a crime, strong legislation and adequate punishment is often severely lacking. In several states in the U.S., including Ohio, Oklahoma and Connecticut, marital rape is “semi-legal,” according to a June report by The Daily Beast. Sexual violence within marriage is also an “infrequently prosecuted” crime in America.

The litany of child abuse by Catholic priests 
Priest after priest in the Melbourne archdiocese of the Catholic church was caught abusing children. And for decades bishop after bishop ignored these crimes. In Melbourne over the past 35 years, 454 people made claims or substantiated complaints about child sexual abuse by priests, religious employees or volunteers.

Detective told child abuse victim she must have been 'asking for it', inquiry hears  Royal commission hearings into Melbourne archdiocese hears police failed to investigate abuse, despite questions about conduct of priest involved

India's Marital Rape Crisis Reaches 'Tragic Proportions'

One-third of men in India, where spousal rape is legal, admit to having forced a sexual act on their wives.

Dominique Mosbergen  Senior Writer, The Huffington Post  11/24/2015

....By 2013, new legislation was passed that strengthened punishments for sex crimes. Violations such as stalking and voyeurism were added to the penal code, and police officers were made criminally accountable for failing to record sexual offenses. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government pledged “zero tolerance” for violence against women and vowed to strengthen the criminal justice system to crack down on these crimes.

But despite these promises, and though some laws pertaining to sexual assault by strangers have indeed been beefed up, the archaic law that permits a husband to rape his wife still exists.

“Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape,” states a 2013 amendment to the Indian Penal Code of 1860.

With such a law in place, registering a case of sexual assault against a husband in India can be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

This has resulted in a marital rape crisis of “tragic proportions” in the country, with men assaulting their wives with impunity and women enduring the abuse under a shroud of silence, according to activists including Mihira Sood, a Delhi-based attorney who specializes in women’s rights.

“Marital rape is an extremely widespread problem,” Sood told HuffPost. “[It’s] compounded by the fact that it is not recognized as an offense, either by the law as well as by much of society that is conditioned to see it as an inevitable part of marriage.”

Since marital rape is not a crime, exact statistics are hard to come by. The limited data that is available, however, provides a horrifying glimpse into the enormity of the problem.

Last year, the United Nations Population Fund and the International Center for Research on Women surveyed more than 9,200 men across seven Indian states. One-third of them admitted to having forced a sexual act on their wives, while 60 percent said they’d used some form of violence to assert dominance over their partners.

Another 2014 report, by researcher Aashish Gupta of the Rice Institute, found that women are 40 times more likely to be sexually assaulted by their husband than a stranger. Gupta concluded that fewer than 1 percent of sexual assaults within marriage are reported to police....

Rape within marriage remains legal in several countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, including Singapore, China, Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco. And even in countries where spousal rape is technically a crime, strong legislation and adequate punishment is often severely lacking.

In several states in the U.S., including Ohio, Oklahoma and Connecticut, marital rape is “semi-legal,” according to a June report by The Daily Beast. Sexual violence within marriage is also an “infrequently prosecuted” crime in America....

In 2013, a panel of lawmakers told parliament that the move “has the potential of destroying the institution of marriage.” Home Affairs Minister Haribhai Chaudhary said in April that “the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors,” including illiteracy, poverty, social custom, religion and the widespread perception that "marriages are sacrosanct." The Indian government, he said, would not be considering any amendment to its laws regarding marital rape despite a United Nations recommendation to do....

Dismantling a deeply entrenched system of patriarchy in the country is a major challenge women’s rights activists face in their fight against marital rape, said Priya Nanda, a director at the International Center for Research on Women.

“From the girl who has to stop doing homework to make tea for her father or is pulled out of school to marry, to the girl who is not given rightful access to her inheritance, or men in institutions of power, you see male privilege everywhere,” Nanda said over Skype from her New Delhi office. “At every level, we encounter the forces of patriarchy. It is deeply internalized, by men and women alike, and extremely difficult to challenge.”....

Women largely shared similar views on these matters, the report found. About 65 percent of female respondents agreed that “there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten,” while 9 out of 10 women surveyed said wives should “obey” their husbands....

This view that wives are duty-bound to have sex with their husbands is, in fact, codified in law.

The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 states that a married person can take his or her spouse to court to demand the “restitution of conjugal rights” if the partner refuses to have sex with them....

The litany of child abuse by Catholic priests that no longer shocks the world
Once the evidence revealed at the royal commission in Melbourne would have made headlines everywhere. Now it merely fits into a devastating pattern

David Marr Tuesday 24 November 2015

Priest after priest in the Melbourne archdiocese of the Catholic church was caught abusing children. And for decades bishop after bishop ignored these crimes.

The priests were caught abusing as soon as they left the seminary. They kept abusing despite “treatment” and despite being shifted from parish to parish. The church knew what was going on and for a very long time no one called the police.

But Melbourne fits the now familiar pattern of the Catholic world. Gail Furness SC, piling up the numbers in her dry opening address to the 35th case study of the royal commission, might have been talking of Chicago, Brussels or Caracas.

In Melbourne over the past 35 years, 454 people made claims or substantiated complaints about child sexual abuse by priests, religious employees or volunteers. Of those, 335 made claims against priests. Seven accused priests accounted for 54% of all claims.

What sets the city apart from cities in Europe and America is how little the church has had to pay. Furness puts the bill for damages plus legal and medical costs at not quite $18m....

Absent but everywhere was George Pell. Though other bishops living and dead will have their reputations raked over by the commission, the hearings over the next month will essentially assess the record of the man who now sits in Rome as the treasurer of the Catholic church.

The cardinal has broken with the church’s legal team and its gentle determination not to cross-examine victims. After turning all his career for help to the top end of town, Pell has engaged the Melbourne mega-advocate Allan Myers to test his accusers....

But now they are looking at the years in between: at his first, crucial post in Melbourne from the mid 1980s as an auxiliary bishop under archbishop Frank Little.

Early in that time Little sent Pell to deal with crazed Father Peter Searson who was terrifying children in the poor parish of Doveton with guns, knives, perpetual confession, hanging around their toilets and much other weird behaviour.

That he did nothing effective to deal with Searson in those years hangs over Pell’s reputation today. Parents, parishioners and teachers all wanted the priest gone. Complaints about the priest went back a decade. But beyond dressing Searson down once or twice, Pell appears to have done little....

Pell will also be answering to the commission for his dealings with paedophile priests Billy Baker of North Richmond, Kevin O’Donnell of Oakleigh, and Ronald Pickering, who fled Gardenvale for London where Pell sent him each month the stipend of a retired priest....

Detective told child abuse victim she must have been 'asking for it', inquiry hears

Royal commission hearings into Melbourne archdiocese hears police failed to investigate abuse, despite questions about conduct of priest involved

Melissa Davey   Tuesday 24 November 2015

A detective told a teenager who was repeatedly the victim of sexual abuse she must have been wearing a “neon sign” above her head “asking for it”, and that there was not enough evidence to investigate her case.

Julie Stewart, now 40, gave evidence before the royal commission into institutional responses into child sexual abuse on Wednesday that she was sexually abused by a family member between the age of five and eight.

She was then sexually abused by the parish priest at the Holy Family church in Doveton, Victoria, Peter Searson, from when she was in year three, the commission heard....

On Tuesday, the commission heard complaints had been made about Searson from his time as a parish priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Sunbury in 1977, to the decade when he was a parish priest at Holy Family parish in Doveton. In 1997 he was charged with unlawful assault of an altar boy, and was released on a good behaviour bond without conviction after pleading guilty....

Monday, November 23, 2015

Up to 85% of child abuse in England undetected study says, Paedophile ring used boys home

"An ''organised ring'' of paedophiles believed to include Anglican and Catholic clergy used a Sunday afternoon ''children's Christian program'' in the 1970s to sexually abuse boys at a church-run Wallsend boys home."

Up to 85% of child abuse in England remains undetected, study says

Ben Quinn  Monday 23 November 2015 

Urgent action is needed to identify and prevent child abuse according to a major new study that suggests only one in eight victims in England comes to the attention of authorities.

About 50,000 cases of sexual abuse were recorded by police and local authorities in the two years to March 2014 but the findings indicate that official figures vastly underestimate the true scale of child sexual abuse. The actual number of children abused in that period is thought to be as many as 450,000.

The report, by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC), found that about 85% of sexually abused young people are not receiving help and treatment.

The majority of victims remain unidentified because the services that should protect them, including police and social services, rely on children to speak out, says the report. Two-thirds of cases, both known and unknown to the authorities, are believed to be victims of abuse in the family.

Paedophile ring used boys home
September 23, 2013   Joanne McCarthy

An ''organised ring'' of paedophiles believed to include Anglican and Catholic clergy used a Sunday afternoon ''children's Christian program'' in the 1970s to sexually abuse boys at a church-run Wallsend boys home.

''These men just came, got the boys, used them, and put them back,'' said a Hunter woman whose husband has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse he was sexually assaulted by multiple offenders at Woodlands Boys Home.

The United Protestant Association has issued an unreserved apology for the ''tragedy'' of what occurred to child sex victims at Woodlands, where some of the smallest and youngest boys were targeted by the Sunday group.

''From what the victims have told us, these men changed from week to week, suggesting a larger, organised ring,'' UPA general manager Steve Walkerden and after-care support worker Graham Hercus said on Friday.

''We are aware of a group of men who did come to the home in the 1970s for a number of years on a Sunday afternoon, ostensibly to conduct a children's Christian program, but who routinely took smaller boys into downstairs rooms in the building and abused them.''

Anglican priest Peter Rushton - acknowledged by the church in 2010 as a sexual abuser of children - and ''volunteer carer'' and convicted child sex offender Robert Holland, are believed to have taken boys from the home, or to have had links with Woodlands.

A third ''volunteer carer'' at Woodlands was quietly convicted of child sex offences more than a decade ago....

''If the boys reported what happened, they were flogged. My husband can still hear it today, the screaming of the boys when they were taken downstairs and flogged for saying what had been done to them.''....

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jared Fogle, ex-Subway spokesman, gets 15 years in prison for child porn and sex crimes, Ritual killings

Jared Fogle, ex-Subway spokesman, gets 15 years in prison for child porn, sex crimes
By Sarah Larimer November 19

Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle was sentenced Thursday to more than 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges related to child pornography and sexual conduct involving minors.

Fogle faced two counts: traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and distribution and receipt of child pornography.

“How do you plead to the charges?” U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt asked Fogle on Thursday at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis, according to the Indianapolis Star.

“Guilty,” Fogle replied.

Pratt sentenced him to 15 years and eight months behind bars, according to the Associated Press.

The news service reported that prosecutors had recommended a 12½-year sentence.

“The level of perversion and lawlessness exhibited by Mr. Fogle is extreme,” the judge said, according to the Star....

Court documents released earlier this year detailed the allegations against Fogle. The documents claimed that he had used Web sites to solicit commercial sex and that he had traveled to engage in sexual acts with minors. Authorities also believe that Fogle received images and videos of nude children from the former executive director of his charity foundation.

That man, Russell Taylor, has agreed to plead guilty to child exploitation and child pornography charges.

Before his sentencing, Fogle delivered a statement in which he apologized for his actions, the Star reported....


describes violence

Liberia president says ritual killings on the rise
Source: Reuters - Thu, 19 Nov 2015 

MONROVIA, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Thursday vowed to crack down on those responsible for a rise in ritual killings in the West African country as it seeks to emerge from the shadow of an Ebola epidemic.

In some areas of central Africa, body parts are prized for their supernatural powers and are used in black magic ceremonies. Local media have reported at least 10 related murders in Liberia since the summer.

"We are witnessing the rise in what appears to be ritualistic killings and armed robbery in the country, thus threatening our security," Johnson Sirleaf said in a speech on Thursday.

"I am instructing the security forces to rigorously enforce the law to the letter and bring this ugly situation under immediate control," she added.

It is not yet clear why ritual killings are rising and Johnson Sirleaf offered no explanation. But some residents have speculated that presidential hopefuls seeking to replace Johnson Sirleaf when her final term expires 2017 are using black magic to boost their chances....  http://www.trust.org/item/20151119225408-8l0u8

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

17 Former Connecticut Boy Scouts Allege Sexual Abuse

17 Former Connecticut Boy Scouts Allege Sexual Abuse   

The plaintiffs' lawyer said that one child was molested more than 1,000 times by now-deceased scoutmaster Donald Dennis.   Dave Altimari  

Seventeen former Boy Scouts have filed a lawsuit charging that their scoutmaster in Ridgefield sexually abused them from 1963 to 1975.

The plaintiffs' lawyer said that it was the largest single lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts of America and that one child was molested more than 1,000 times. In addition to listing the 17 former Scouts, the lawsuit lists two girls allegedly sexually assaulted by the scoutmaster, Donald Dennis, who died two years ago.

The 850-page lawsuit alleges that the two girls were forced to watch Dennis sexually abuse some of the scouts in his home. Most of the victims were 11 to 14 years old, although some were as old as 17, according to attorney Brooke Goff, who is representing all 19 plaintiffs.

"We were only made aware of these allegations last month and had never before received any reports or accusations against this individual by youth members, parents or adult volunteer leaders,'' the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "This individual has not been registered in our programs for many years and is now deceased."....

Goff said that Dennis was an assistant scoutmaster from 1963 through 1968 and became scoutmaster until he moved out of Connecticut in 1975. Dennis was a local businessman in Ridgefield and also was an auxiliary state trooper during the same time period, Goff said....

The lawsuit claims that the national and local Boy Scout groups deliberately ignored signs that the organization was a haven for pedophiles.

In 2012, it was revealed during a lawsuit in Oregon that the national Boy Scout organization kept secret records of potential pedophiles who were called "ineligible volunteers." Dennis is not listed, but Goff said that is because he had not been sued.

The lawsuit alleges that the local Boy Scout organization allowed Dennis to be alone with groups of boys for hours at a time at Camp Mauwehu with no supervision, failed to put in safeguards to protect the children and failed to do background checks on Scout leaders.

The lawsuit also claims that many of the accusers had repressed memories of the attacks that resurfaced when the records of the pedophiles became public in 2012....

Last December, a Waterbury jury awarded an unidentified accuser $7 million in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Court records show that the jury found the national organization negligent and reckless in its failure to take steps to protect the plaintiff from repeated abuse at the hands of his scoutmaster. That verdict has been appealed by the national group.

The jury found that the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America and the Connecticut Yankee Council were not liable.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tom Petty rock icon haunted by father who beat the living s out of him

EXCLUSIVE: Tom Petty went from hillbilly to rock icon in a 'fiery' relationship with Stevie Nicks to a heroin addict haunted by father who 'beat the living s***' out of him

    Tom Petty, 65, escaped his dysfunctional home life by watching television and dreaming of going to Hollywood
    'I was used to living in hell,' reveals the rock legend in new book
    'He beat me so bad that I was covered in raised welts, from my head to my toes. I was f***ing five'
    There was a chemistry with Stevie Nicks who called 'intense, fiery'
    Petty opens up about his volatile first marriage, his relationship with Stevie Nicks and the woman who 'saved him' - wife of 14 years, Dana York
    The rock star, now 65, became addicted to heroin in his 50's and reveals a therapist told him 'people with your level of depression don't live'

By Caroline Howe For Dailymail.com
12 November 2015

'He was a man with kids he couldn't help. A man with tremendous wreckage in his personal life, a man divorcing his longtime wife, a woman who was struggling with delusional thoughts and a mind that was turning on her.

'He was still a man playing at the edge of death', writes the author. Zanes, and even his close friend, singer Stevie Nicks, didn't realize that Petty had slipped into heroin addiction.
Hometown hit: In 1966, Petty formed a band in Gainesville, Florida that was popular locally but received little notice from the mainstream audience

It took years for Petty, now 65, to get past feeling that his father, Earl, a salesman of 'really crappy plastic toys' or insurance was anything less than an 'a**hole' for the physical and mental abuse that colored his entire life.

When Tom nailed the fin of a '55 Cadillac with a slingshot, his father 'beat the living s**t of me' with a belt.

'He beat me so bad that I was covered in raised welts, from my head to my toes. Five years old. I was f***ing five.'

Realizing that he wasn't going to get an education in that household, he escaped into television.

'And I think it was television that saved my life, that raised and educated me.'

None of the families on television were like his. He and his younger brother, Bruce, were basically on their own. Nothing like Ozzie and Harriet's warm and fuzzy life existed in their world.

But he did see that everything great was coming from California – television city, Hollywood.

'Television city? Man, that's where I need to be,' he thought.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Military Deployment Tied to Greater Odds of Child Abuse, Neglect, Drexel, Bryant U. rescind honorary degrees for Bill Cosby

Military Deployment Tied to Greater Odds of Child Abuse, Neglect
Periods during and just after deployment are highest risk, study finds

By Tara Haelle
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 12, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Young children of U.S. Army soldiers may have a higher risk of abuse or neglect during and just after a parent is deployed abroad, a new study finds.

"The findings are not that surprising because a family experiences enormous stress when a soldier goes off on a deployment," said Dr. Bob Sege, a pediatrician specializing in child abuse and vice president of Health Resources in Action, in Boston.

"The men and women who go off to fight for us are doing very admirable work, and it's not a surprise that it's stressful for their families," Sege said.

Other kinds of stress, such as extreme poverty, partner abuse and postpartum depression, are already known to increase the risk of child abuse, said Sege, who wasn't involved in this research.

"This study confirms the family stress theory of what causes child maltreatment," Sege said. "That's important because I think many people feel that people who maltreat their children are morally deficient. But, those of us in the field know that often, they're just really stressed out beyond their capacity to deal with their situation."

It's important to note that the study's design only shows a link between deployment and child abuse, it cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Findings from the study were published online Nov. 12 in the American Journal of Public Health....

The study focused on children under age 2 because they are at the highest risk for abuse or neglect, the authors said.

The rates of maltreatment hovered around 0.5 percent among children of soldiers who had been deployed once or twice. However, the rates were higher during and just after deployment compared to the six months before deployment.

In families of soldiers deployed once, nearly four episodes of abuse or neglect occurred per 10,000 children per month during deployment. That compared to three episodes in the six months before deployment. And, in the six months after deployment, the rate was almost 4.5 episodes per 10,000 children, the study found.

In families of soldiers deployed twice, the highest rate of abuse and neglect occurred during the second deployment, at a rate of nearly five episodes per 10,000 children per month, the research revealed....

Drexel, Bryant U. rescind honorary degrees for Bill Cosby
PHILADELPHIA — Drexel and Bryant universities have joined a number of schools in rescinding honorary degrees awarded to Bill Cosby, citing accusations of sexual assault.

Drexel President John Fry says the misconduct that came to light in a deposition Cosby gave "stands in clear opposition" to the Philadelphia school's values.

He said in a letter Thursday to the Drexel community that universities are "critical arenas" in addressing sexual violence and Drexel takes that responsibility seriously.

Rhode Island-based Bryant said on its website Thursday that Cosby's "egregious conduct" is "inconsistent with the character, values and behavior" it expects of the holder of an honorary degree.

It said that by revoking Cosby's degree, it upholds the values, character and mission of the Smithfield school.

The comedian has never been charged with a crime and has denied allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted women.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Headteacher 'may have targeted more than 100 boys over 25 years,' Bill Cosby to be deposed by model Janice Dickinson's attorney

Headteacher who killed himself when confronted with child abuse claim 'may have targeted more than 100 boys over 25 years'

    Jon Styler killed himself in 2007 after arrest over historic sex abuse claims
    Solicitor for alleged victims now claims head may have abused '100 boys'
    He said: 'I believe we've only scratched the surface, there may be 100 plus'
    Alleged victim claims to have logged abuse allegation with Gwent Police two years prior to Styler's arrest but said it wasn't 'taken into account'

By Emma Glanfield for MailOnline
10 November 2015

A headteacher who killed himself when confronted with an allegation of child abuse may have targeted more than 100 young boys over a 25-year period, new claims suggest.

Jon Styler, a former headteacher at the Church in Wales primary school in Malpas near Newport, Wales, is alleged to have abused '100 plus victims' during his teaching career....

However, an investigation by the BBC show has now discovered that police investigating the allegations failed to take into account claims against Styler that were logged two years earlier.

A man, who cannot be named but who spoke to the programme, claims he went to Gwent Police in 2005 claiming he and his brother - a former police officer - were targeted by Styler in the headteacher's office.

But the man decided at the time not to pursue the matter as a formal complaint because of concerns about the impact a police probe might have on his brother's career and family.

Despite this, his brother - a police officer at the time - said this information should have been kept on file as a matter of course for intelligence....

Gwent Police has now launched an internal review as a result of the programme's investigation, which will look into why these allegations did not come to light at the time of Styler's arrest in 2007.

Newport City Council social services department should also have a log that Gwent Police contacted the authority in 2005 and 2007 but it told the BBC programme that no such record can be found....

Lyndon Millinship, a former deputy headteacher at the school in Malpas, has spoken publicly for the first time about the historic abuse allegations against Styler.

He said he raised concerns with Gwent County Council and governors at the school about Styler's behaviour in the late 1970s - but Styler was allowed to continue teaching.

Mr Millinship said he was disappointed that no one in authority spoke to the children back then....

Solicitor Mr Collingbourne also told the programme that the alleged victims did not complain at the time because they did not think their stories would be believed.

But today they are determined to get answers, he said....

Bill Cosby to be deposed by model Janice Dickinson's attorney

By Richard Winton   November 11, 2015

Bill Cosby is scheduled to be deposed by model Janice Dickinson's attorney in her defamation lawsuit against the comedian for denying he raped her.

Lisa Bloom, Dickinson's attorney, confirmed Wednesday that she will depose Cosby on Nov. 23. She also is slated to depose Cosby's former attorney Martin Singer on Nov. 19.

Earlier this month, Judge Debre Katz Weintraub ruled that Bloom could depose Cosby and Singer before Nov. 25.

But the judge limited the deposition to evidence showing the denial of the lawsuit's main allegation — that Cosby raped the model in Lake Tahoe in 1982 — was made maliciously. The limitation essentially prevents extensive questioning of Cosby about the 50 other women who have accused him of sexual assault or abuse....