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Clergy Pedophile Abuse in USA

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  • ro_magellan
    (...) some bishops consistently reassigned pedophile priests to new parishes, where the priests continued to prey on children. Then, bishops covered for the
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 12, 2004
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      (...) some bishops consistently reassigned pedophile priests to new
      parishes, where the priests continued to prey on children. Then,
      bishops covered for the priests while doing their best to ignore or
      silence victims and their families.



      http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?
      tmpl=story&cid=514&e=7&u=/ap/20040612/ap_on_re_us/catholic_bishops_2

      On the Net:

      U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: http://www.usccb.org/



      Top Stories - AP


      Bishops to Discuss Clergy Sex Abuse

      By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer


      In a private retreat this week, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops will
      discuss some internal church rifts that have become uncomfortably
      public — over the clergy sex abuse crisis and, separately, Holy
      Communion and politics.


      Bishops disagree on whether Catholic lawmakers at odds with church
      teaching should receive the sacrament. They've sparked a national
      debate on the issue as a Catholic who supports abortion rights — John
      Kerry (news - web sites) — is poised to become the Democratic nominee
      for president.


      The bishops also will decide whether to override the objections of
      some U.S. church leaders and authorize a second round of audits of
      American dioceses — reviews that are aimed at determining whether the
      dioceses are doing enough to combat the molestation scandal.


      Bishops hope to emerge from the weeklong meeting, which starts Monday
      in Englewood, Colo., with a more unified message on both fronts,
      church observers say.


      "When everybody looks at the Catholic Church, they equate it with the
      hierarchy, and they think the hierarchy speaks with one voice or one
      mind," said David Gibson, a former Vatican newsman and author of "The
      Coming Catholic Church." "What these various controversies has shown
      is the reality that they're not united, that they have enormous
      differences of opinion within their own ranks."


      Each bishop decides policy on interacting with politicians for his
      own diocese, and even officials in the Vatican have noted the
      American discord.


      Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has said he would not give the
      sacrament to Kerry. Other bishops have said Kerry should not attempt
      to take Communion, but would not be denied if he did. Bishop Michael
      Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colo., even those who vote for Catholic
      politicians who support policy contrary to church teaching should
      refrain from taking Communion.


      Yet several prelates have said Communion should not be used as a
      sanction.


      A task force, led by Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, is
      looking into the situation and will give an interim report at this
      week's meeting, but may not release its final guidelines for church
      leaders until after the November election.


      Meanwhile, more divisions have come to light over the abuse audits,
      which were part of the bishops' toughened policy on sex abuse
      approved two years ago.


      Bishops in Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and
      elsewhere sent confidential letters to the U.S. Conference of
      Catholic Bishops asking for the diocesan reviews to be delayed.


      When their objections were made public last month, victim advocates
      and leaders of the National Review Board, the lay watchdog panel the
      bishops created, accused church leaders of abandoning a central
      reform.


      An agreement on future audits and on authorizing a psychological and
      sexual study of the Catholic priesthood was reached following the
      uproar, but details won't be released until bishops give their final
      OK this week.


      Resentment toward the board lingers, despite the accord.


      Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup, N.M., said the Denver meeting would
      likely lead to a "reformulation" of the panel.


      Illinois Justice Anne Burke, who leads the board, said none of the
      bishops have spoken with her about changes beyond appointing
      replacements for her and three other members of the 12-person group
      who are leaving.


      "In a way, the recent controversies and tensions were predictable,"
      said Russell Shaw, a Catholic writer and former spokesman for the
      U.S. bishops. "The Review Board represents the introduction into the
      polity and governance of the Catholic Church a principle we're really
      not familiar with: institutional accountability."


      The Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the Jesuit magazine America, said he
      was saddened by the public fight, because it had obscured much of the
      progress bishops have made since the abuse crisis began in early
      2002.

      In February, the bishops released extensive reports on the scope of
      the scandal since 1950 and its origins, and conducted a first round
      of diocesan audits, which found widespread compliance with the abuse
      prevention plan.

      "Nobody likes to be audited, but when you're all done and
      everything's fine, it helps people have confidence in what you're
      doing," Reese said. "They got so much good press out of the first
      audit, bring it on again. That ought to be their response."

      This week's meeting is a special spiritual assembly that bishops hold
      every five years behind closed doors, with some time set aside for
      business. Even though there are no public sessions, protests are
      planned by groups representing abuse victims, lay reformers, anti-
      abortion activists — who want bishops to take a harder line against
      pro-abortion rights politicians — and advocates for optional celibacy
      for clergy.

      Some groups have criticized the bishops for not opening at least part
      of the business sessions.

      "I would be willing to grant them talking up to a certain point in
      executive session. Maybe they need the privacy, but all of it? No,"
      Shaw said. "The matters are just too important and too public to be
      handled in that manner."




      http://www.jsonline.com/news/editorials/jun04/233847.asp


      From the June 3, 2004, editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

      Editorial: Vatican sends wrong signal

      From the Journal Sentinel

      Posted: June 2, 2004


      Groups that represent sufferers of clergy sexual abuse worry
      constantly that Catholic Church officials do not take seriously
      enough the needs and concerns of victims. If experience is any
      indication, these groups have good reason to worry. After all, some
      bishops consistently reassigned pedophile priests to new parishes,
      where the priests continued to prey on children. Then, bishops
      covered for the priests while doing their best to ignore or silence
      victims and their families.

      The church, to its credit, has taken serious steps to change its
      ways, curb the scandal and get help to victims. But last week's
      announcement by the Vatican that former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law
      has been appointed to a largely ceremonial but highly visible and
      prestigious position in Rome is not one of those steps - and the move
      can't help but heighten the concerns of victims.

      Law's former archdiocese in Boston became the center of the church's
      most recent incarnation of the pedophile scandal. Law resigned as
      head of the Boston archdiocese in 2002 amid a furor over the
      discovery that for decades, he and other bishops had shifted
      pedophile priests from one parish to another.

      Last fall, the archdiocese reached an $85 million agreement to settle
      lawsuits filed by more than 500 victims of clergy sexual abuse. Last
      week, two days before the Vatican announced Law's appointment, Boston
      church officials disclosed that the number of parishes in the
      archdiocese would be reduced by 65.

      Declining collections, a shortage of priests and fallout from the
      scandal are being cited as the primary reasons for scaling back the
      number of parishes. Hardly a legacy in which Law, or the church in
      general, can take much pride.

      Yet for Law, the consequence for leaving such a legacy is an
      appointment as archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome. As a
      warning to other bishops involved in the sexual abuse scandal, the
      Vatican's decision may not be very effective. And as a message to
      victims, it can't be very comforting.

      A priest in the Boston archdiocese was more blunt, calling the
      appointment "an utter disgrace." As one of those who will be working
      to help clean up the mess Law left behind, the priest should know.




      http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20040506.html


      FIND LAW's LEGAL COMMENTARY


      Why Ensuring Accountability for Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children Has
      Proved So Difficult,
      Even Though It Remains So Crucial

      By MARCI HAMILTON

      hamilton02 @...


      Thursday, May. 06, 2004

      When the Boston Globe finally spotlighted the issue of sexual abuse
      of children by clergy, everyone agreed something had to be done. But
      sadly, the solutions have so far have been neither far-reaching nor
      effective.

      What happened? The story dropped from the headlines. And the
      solutions often got lost in the machinations of the legislatures and
      the powers that be. It takes incredible doggedness to keep political
      institutions focused on an issue, especially when the media's
      attentions have shifted elsewhere.

      The record to date for legislatures and prosecutors dealing with
      clergy abuse is mixed, at best. As the following examples make clear,
      bringing the Catholic Church to account for the thousands of children
      who were raped and sexually molested is still going to take enormous
      fortitude on the part of activists and far-sighted public leaders.
      Despite the time that has passed since the Globe's revelations
      sparked public outrage, much remains to be done.

      It has become evident, also, that addressing the Catholic Church's
      problem alone -- difficult as that will be -- will still not be
      enough. Six thousand victims of Jehovah's Witnesses clergy recently
      made themselves known. Meanwhile, the Lutheran Church just settled a
      multi-million-dollar clergy abuse lawsuit.

      This is a public health, criminal, and civil law crisis of staggering
      proportions that few, if any, have fully comprehended. The actions
      taken now will reverberate throughout the United States in years to
      come. That makes it all the more important that these actions be
      appropriate, prompt, and effective.

      But so far, they have fallen woefully short of the mark -- as I will
      explain in discussing a Wisconsin law passed last week, the
      disappointing lack of enforcement of the New Hampshire settlement
      agreement, and an Illinois case of alleged abuse by a priest who
      appears to a recidivist -- a case in which the Church refuses to
      comply with court ordered discovery.


      Wisconsin's Statute of Limitations Debate: A Huge Disappointment

      Statutes of limitations on childhood sexual abuse are far too short.
      In far too many states, the statute of limitations typically ran
      before the victims were even psychologically capable of filing
      charges or suing for damages. And this legal reality doubtless
      enabled accusers to continue with their predations.

      Getting rid of the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse
      should be a top priority. Maine and Alaska wisely have no statute of
      limitations for such abuse. Other states should follow suit and
      abolish -- or at least dramatically lengthen -- theirs. There is no
      excuse for a statute that begins to run before the victim is a well
      into adulthood with the maturity to be able to withstand the gauntlet
      of prosecution and litigation.

      Statutes of limitations are not mandated by the Constitution, nor are
      they set in stone. They are merely procedural, technical rules.

      Granted, the state cannot make its criminal statute of limitations
      retroactive, as the Supreme Court held in Stogner v. California. But
      that particular rule--grounded in the Ex Post Facto Clause -- does
      not apply to civil statutes of limitation.

      As the Court has held in Landgraf v. USI Film Products and Chase
      Securities Corp. v. Donaldson, legislatures have broad latitude to
      choose whatever statute of limitations serves the interest of
      fairness -- including having no statute of limitations at all. In the
      latter case, the Court explained:

      "Statutes of limitations find their justification in necessity and
      convenience rather than logic. They represent expedients, rather than
      principles . . . . They are by definition arbitrary . . . [and] have
      come into law not through the judicial process but through
      legislation. They represent a public policy about the privilege to
      litigate . . . [and are] good only by legislative grace, [subject] to
      a relatively large degree of legislative control."

      Statutes of limitations have a worthy goal: to increase the
      likelihood that the evidence in court will be reasonably reliable.
      But there are other ways to serve that goal -- such as the rules of
      evidence, which will be applied at any child sexual abuse trial, as
      they will at any other trial. We can count on judges to keep
      unreliable evidence out of court; we need not presume, through a
      statute of limitations, that evidence, like milk, must have a sell-by
      date.

      And they have one goal that makes little sense in the context of
      child sexual abuse: To permit potential defendants to "rest easy," at
      some point, in the knowledge that they will not be prosecuted.

      This goal makes sense when a crime is very minor (people should not
      lose sleep over their past littering forever) or when it might not
      have been a crime at all (people should not have to worry forever
      about that dicey tax deduction). But it makes no sense for the sexual
      abuse of children.

      Indeed, when pedophiles "rest easy," we should all be afraid.
      Pedophiles rarely have only one victim; giving them a "bye" for past
      abuse, simply because the abuse occurred a certain number of years
      ago, only puts other victims in danger. Consider the Catholic
      Church's now well-publicized practice of providing pedophile priests
      one set of children after another to terrorize and harm.

      So states have all abolished their statutes of limitations for child
      sexual abuse, right? Wrong.

      Consider Wisconsin's example. In fall 2003, I testified before the
      Wisconsin state legislature. There, a bill was pending that would
      have extended the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for all
      future victims of abuse. But victims of past abuse (who filled the
      room and testified for hours) also implored the legislature to extend
      the civil statute of limitations retroactively.

      As I explained (on behalf of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by
      Priests), such a statute would have been entirely constitutional. The
      Supreme Court has been clear: Criminal statutes of limitations cannot
      be retroactively extended; the Constitution's Ex Post Facto Clause
      prevents it. But it's plain that that clause does not apply to civil
      statutes of limitations. Moreover, Wisconsin, like other courts, had
      evolved from an earlier rule prohibiting retroactive civil statutes
      of limitations into a rule that permitted the legislature broad
      latitude where the circumstances warranted. The victims implored the
      members to add to the bill a provision that would have extended the
      civil statute of limitations retroactively.

      Despite the clear precedent, some members pressed the incorrect
      argument that there was a constitutional problem with a retroactive
      change to the civil statute of limitations. And sadly, last week,
      Wisconsin's Governor Jim Doyle signed a version of the law that
      addresses only future, not past victims. The new law is without
      question a step in the right direction, but it is woefully deficient.

      The current law extends the statute of limitations for childhood
      sexual abuse into the future, and the clergy will now be required to
      report known child abuse. Past victims, however, were provided no
      means of bringing the Church to accountability for the decades of
      harm it knew about and fostered.

      Green Bay Bishop David Zubik could not have been more exuberant in
      his praise for the bill, which he said would "bring[] justice to
      those harmed." From a shortsighted perspective, he has reason to be
      happy, but the reason has nothing to do with justice. The bill
      protects the Church's coffers from the many victims it permitted to
      be abused -- and in effect, protects the Church from the heinous
      mistakes it made during the long era of secrecy. At the same time, it
      gives the Church a remarkable public relations moment.

      The appearance of progress in Wisconsin masks the reality of
      retrenchment.

      The New Hampshire Agreement's Bright Start and Murky Present

      Like the Wisconsin legislature's focus on clergy sexual abuse, New
      Hampshire's agreement with the Bishop of Manchester seemed very
      hopeful.

      In New Hampshire, everything seemed to go as it should: The
      prosecutors were aggressive, and the Church did not offer flimsy
      First Amendment excuses to try to avoid complying with the
      investigation; instead, it opened its files for the authorities.
      Finally, the Church entered into a settlement -- the only one of its
      kind -- in which the Diocese admitted criminal liability.

      The New Hampshire experience, then, seemed like the first gasp of
      oxygen after swimming too far underwater. But such optimism turned
      out to be premature.

      One of the many conditions of the settlement was that the Church
      would keep its files available to prosecutors, and that the Attorney
      General's Office would conduct an annual audit to ensure compliance
      with the terms of the agreement.

      Guess what? The agreement was signed December 10, 2002, and no audit
      of any kind has been done.

      The reason is money. The agreement did not specify whether the AG's
      Office or the Church would pay for the audit, and both are claiming
      tight budgets. As a result, victims and their families feel betrayed
      by both. It appears it may take a lawsuit by victims to push the
      Church into doing what it agreed to do almost two years ago.

      The early appearance of accountability on both sides is
      disintegrating quickly into the reality of the previous status quo:
      No one is actively watching to make sure children are not being
      harmed.

      An Illinois Example: Bishop Wilton Gregory Is Held In Contempt of
      Court

      A third example of bad behavior by the Church with respect to
      addressing clergy sexual abuse, is not just deeply disappointing, but
      disgusting.

      A priest named Raymond Kownacki in Illinois was alleged to have
      persuaded a family to let a teenage girl go with him to a new diocese
      in order to attend a better school. But there, according to the
      family, he repeatedly raped and beat her. When she became pregnant,
      the family alleges, he performed a chemical and manual abortion. But
      her case was dismissed on statute of limitations grounds.

      Now two other victims have come forward. In one case, the plaintiff
      requested Kownacki's mental health records. The court ordered the
      Church to produce them, but it refused. The result was that the Court
      held the Diocese in contempt.

      Sadly, this particular diocese is headed by the President of the
      United States Conference of Catholic Bishops -- Bishop Wilton
      Gregory, of Belleville, Illinois. He has repeatedly apologized to
      victims on behalf of the Conference, while cameras rolled. But now
      those apologies ring hollow, when his own diocese refuses to comply
      with a court order crucial to a victim's case. This is the leader who
      was supposed to lead the United States bishops to a new and better
      policy, and now we have proof of his actual intentions: just more of
      the same.

      These three examples are just anecdotes in the war on childhood
      sexual abuse in the United States. They prove that this war is far
      from over.
    • ro_magellan
      http://www.abi.org.br/primeirapagina.asp?id=676 Primeira página Visão da mídia sobre a mulher será tema de seminário no Rio 11/6/2004 Qual o tratamento da
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 14, 2004
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        http://www.abi.org.br/primeirapagina.asp?id=676


        Primeira página


        Visão da mídia sobre a mulher será tema de seminário no Rio

        11/6/2004

        Qual o tratamento da mídia dispensado às mulheres quando elas são a
        notícia? E como elas são enfocadas quando responsáveis pela produção
        de notícias? Estas serão algumas das questões que o seminário "A
        Mulher e a Mídia" pretende discutir nos próximos dias 26 e 27 de
        junho, no Hotel Novo Mundo, no Rio de Janeiro.

        Confirmaram presença nas mesas de debate, entre outras, a diretora de
        Jornalismo da Associação Brasileira de Imprensa (ABI), Joseti
        Marques; a colunista do jornal O Globo, Miriam Leitão; Laura
        Greenhalgh, do Estado de S. Paulo; Fátima Bernardes (TV Globo);
        Mariza Tavares, da CBN; Monica Waldvogel e Angélica Basthi (Sindicato
        dos Jornalistas do Rio).

        O evento faz parte das comemorações do Ano da Mulher no Brasil e será
        promovido pela Secretaria Especial de Políticas para Mulheres em
        parceria com o Sindicato dos Jornalistas Profissionais do Município
        do Rio de Janeiro (SJPMRJ) e com a Federação Nacional dos Jornalistas
        (Fenaj).

        Também farão parte da pauta de temas do seminário a qualidade da
        informação, a relação da mídia com a sociedade civil organizada e
        através de uma abordagem que garanta a pluralidade de gênero.

        Os debates terão ainda como objetivo propor a construção de uma
        agenda que inclua novos recortes e enfoques em relação à mulher. Para
        isso, será lembrado que as jornalistas, enquanto avançam na conquista
        do mercado de trabalho, aumentam a sua responsabilidade e a
        importância na definição dos conteúdos oferecidos pelos meios de
        comunicação.

        E elas não estão em número pequeno na profissão. Apenas na América
        Latina, a estimativa é de que sejam 60 mil jornalistas mulheres. No
        mundo inteiro, este número sobe para cerca de 300 mil.

        São esperadas para o evento jornalistas de diversos meios de
        comunicação do país. Por isso, a Secretaria Especial de Políticas
        para as Mulheres vai oferecer hospedagem e alimentação às
        participantes de fora do Rio. A despesa de viagem deverá ser paga
        pelas interessadas, mas já foram iniciadas negociações com a empresa
        aérea Gol para que esta conceda um desconto especial no preço das
        passagens.

        A inscrição é gratuita e pode ser feita também pela internet no site
        do SJPMRJ (www.jornalistas.org.br). Por telefone, também no
        Sindicato, podem ser contactados Eliete ou Solange (21 - 2544-2100),
        Iara Cruz (21 - 9871-9370 / 9965-9825) e Miro Lopes (21 - 9264-4772).



        A programação


        Sábado, 26 de junho de 2004

        9h às 10 h — Abertura solene
        - Secretaria Especial de Políticas para Mulheres – Ministra Nilcéa
        Freire
        - Secretaria de Comunicação de Governo e Gestão Estratégica da
        Presidência da República – Ministro Luiz Gushiken
        - Representante da Associação Brasileira de Imprensa (ABI),
        jornalista Maurício Azêdo
        - Representante da Federação Nacional de Jornalistas Profissionais
        (Fenaj)

        10 às 11 h — Painel I
        - A Mulher e o Fato - a mulher como produtora de notícia. A percepção
        e o reconhecimento de seu papel como definidora de conteúdos da
        informação - Debatedoras: Miriam Leitão (O Globo/Multimidia), Laura
        Greenhalgh (O Estado de São Paulo), Marisa Tavares (Sistema Globo de
        Rádio) - Moderadora: Mônica Waldvogel.*


        11 às 12 h — Debate

        12 às 14 h — Intervalo para o almoço

        14 às 15 h — Painel II
        - A Mulher é o Fato - a representação que a mídia e a publicidade
        imprimem à imagem da mulher. A urgência em romper preconceitos e
        estereótipos. Debatedoras: Fátima Jordão, socióloga (Instituto Pagu),
        Fátima Bernardes (TV Globo) - Moderadora: Angélica Basthi (Sindicato
        dos Jornalistas - Rio).*


        15 às 16 h — Debate

        16 às 16h15 — Intervalo para café

        16h15 às 18h — Oficina I
        - Definição de um plano de ação a partir dos temas abordados
        - Formação de grupo de trabalho para redação do documento final


        Domingo, 27 de junho de 2004

        10 às 11 h — Painel III
        - Re-Formando a opinião – a qualidade da informação e a construção de
        uma abordagem com pluralidade de gênero. A mídia e a sociedade civil
        organizada. Debatedoras: Laura Capiglione (Folha de São
        Paulo/Cotidiano); Cristina Carvalho Pinto, publicitária (Agência Full
        Jazz) - Moderadora: Beth Costa – (FENAJ).*

        11 às 12 h — Debate

        12 às 14 h — Intervalo para o almoço

        14 às 15 h — Painel IV
        - Agenda Mulher - propostas para avançar na construção de uma agenda
        que inclua novos recortes e enfoques. Debatedora: Jacira Melo
        (Instituto Pagu) - Moderadora: Joseti Marques (ABI).*

        15 às 16 h — Debate

        16 às 16h15 — Intervalo para café

        16h15 às 17 h — Oficina II
        - Definição de um plano de ação a partir dos temas abordados
        - Conclusão do plano de ação
        - Redação final do documento oficial do Encontro

        * A coordenação do evento ainda aguarda a confirmação de outros(as)
        convidados(as) para compor as mesas.
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