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45 Child Abuse News Articles
from 2nd Quarter of 2018
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source


6-29-18 Parishioners are paying for clerical abuse
Those of us who felt utterly betrayed by revelations of sexual abuse in Australian churches now feel doubly so, said Elizabeth Farrelly. Religious institutions have been ordered by the government to pay compensation to the victims of abusive clerics, up to $112,000 per abused person, and they have opted to fund those settlements by selling off the “most sacred of assets, their churches.” Australia’s Catholic Church had the biggest child sex abuse scandal, involving thousands of victims over the decades and an outrageous cover-up—but there’s enough wealth stored up in the Vatican to compensate everyone without selling property. The Anglicans, Methodists, and other Protestant denominations, though, have hundreds to compensate, and they have chosen to deconsecrate local chapels and flog them to the highest bidder. I’d be all for it if they were getting rid of pompous cathedrals. But no, the properties marked for sale are pretty little 19th-century churches “strewn across the country, gentle reminders all of our forebears’ lean courage.” It amounts to “a broad-scale cultural destruction.” And for churchgoers, it is “a second betrayal.” The rotten clerics “destroy our trust, then, pursuing redemption, wreck our sacred spaces too.”

6-26-18 New Zealand man shot after 'flying to US to attack teenager'
A New Zealand man flew to the US state of Virginia and was shot after trying to break into the home of a teenage girl whom he met online, police say. Troy George Skinner, 25, was shot in the neck by the girl's mother after smashing his way through a glass door. Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew said the man was also armed with a knife, duct tape and pepper spray. He travelled over 8,500 miles (13,500km) after the girl stopped speaking to him online, police say. "This was not random, not spontaneous, this was something very planned," Sheriff Agnew said on Monday, describing Mr Skinner's two days of travel. "It's a new world," he added. Police say the man had taken three flights and a bus, and had from Auckland, New Zealand, to the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia. "He was not invited here, he was not expected here, he had been told in the past that the daughter no longer wished to communicate with him," Sheriff Agnew said, adding that the two had met through Discord, an app that allows video-gamers to speak to each other online.

6-23-18 How Trump drew back the curtain on America's immigration cruelty
President Trump has abruptly reversed course on his administration's vicious policy of separating migrant children from their parents. That decision came after a dizzying, circus-like week in which the president and his inept coterie of minions couldn't decide whether to admit that the policy existed, or if it did, whether it was worth defending on its own terms or instead nonsensically blaming it on the Democrats. Congress, as always, looks paralyzed by divisions inside the GOP. Hoping for relief from the bipartisan condemnation and media firestorm, the president ended that drama himself, at least for the moment, when he signed an executive order requiring children to be detained with their parents instead of independently. But President Trump may have ignited a blaze he can't put out so easily. The policy of separating parents from their children was not just endlessly cruel and morally bankrupt. It will also potentially cause catastrophic political damage to Trump and the GOP, and cause an irreversible shift in public opinion on America's immigration practices. Overwhelming majorities of Americans will eventually choose to have children, and no one is more viscerally affected by kids in emotional pain than people with babies of their own. As the father of a 9-day-old infant, I can tell you that those tapes of children wailing inconsolably inside detention centers just about broke me in a way that they wouldn't have just last month. That universal protective instinct is perhaps one reason why the president, in this instance, was not able to instantly hypnotize his entire following into supporting his policy. There was greater-than-normal pushback from other Republicans, including a damning Washington Post op-ed from former first lady Laura Bush, a letter signed by 13 GOP senators, and the spectacular tweetstorm from former top GOP campaign strategist Steve Schmidt renouncing his membership in the Republican Party, in which he skewered GOP elites for submitting to "internment camps for babies" and argued that "these complicit leaders will carry this shame through history." (Webmaster's comment: Just like the Nazi's will always carry their shame!)

6-23-18 US military plans migrant tent camps amid Trump crackdown
The US Navy is reportedly planning to build sprawling immigrant detention centres on military bases, amid a Trump crackdown at the US-Mexico border. A draft memo obtained by Time magazine outlines plans to build "austere" tent camps to house 25,000 migrants. The memo says the camps would be built on abandoned airfields in California, Alabama, and Arizona. Another camp near San Francisco is being designed for as many as 47,000 people, the memo says. A Pentagon spokesman said the military had not been asked by the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) to draw up the specific plans, but was engaging in "prudent planning... should the DHS ask for assistance in housing adult illegal immigrants". The US military said on Thursday it had been asked by the government to get ready to house up to 20,000 immigrant children. The Navy memo estimates the force would spend $233 million (£175m) to run a facility for 25,000 people for six-months. The memo gives a sense of the knock-on effect of a "zero tolerance" immigration policy being pursued by the Trump administration, in an effort to deter migrants from Central and South America from attempting to cross into the US. A decision by the administration to criminally prosecute every migrant crossing the US-Mexico border led to some 2,300 children being separated from their parents in May and June, and sparked a global wave of outrage. President Donald Trump eventually backed down in the face of overwhelming public pressure and signed an order to halt the family separations, but he insisted he remained committed to his "zero tolerance" policy. Migrant children taken from their parents are being held in facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Images from one facility in a converted Walmart sparked outrage earlier this week, when they showed children held in wire mesh cages, sleeping on mats with foil blankets. (Webmaster's comment: The tent camps and wire mesh cages for children are the beginning of the Nazi style prison camps in America! In 10-15 years they will be death camps!)

Children Held in Wire Mesh Cages Just Like Animals!

6-23-18 Undocumented migrant families embark on chaotic reunion process
At least 2,300 children have been taken from their families since 5 May after entering the country without documentation at the US-Mexico border. An uncertain reunion process now lies ahead of them. President Donald Trump says he has directed agencies to begin reuniting children and parents separated after entering the US illegally. On Friday, officials said around 500 migrant children have been reunited with their families. But advocates for separated families say they have had no updates from government agencies about how the thousands of remaining children will find their parents. When families are detained for crossing the border illegally, parents and children should be given the same file number by immigration officials. This identification tool, known as an A-file number, is meant to make it easier for parents to locate their children after they are released, deported or jailed. But it becomes more complicated when parents are separated from their children prior to receiving their A-file number. Parents and children can instead end up with different numbers, making it far more difficult to reunite them. (Webmaster's comment: Many physically torn from their mother's arms and now lost, some probably forever. Is this what the Staute of Liberty now stands for?)

6-23-18 Vatican ex-diplomat sentenced to five years on child pornography charges
A former Vatican diplomat has been sentenced to five years in prison for child pornography offences. A former Vatican diplomat has been sentenced to five years in prison for child pornography offences. Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella pleaded guilty at a Vatican court, which heard that indecent images of children and a video were found on his mobile phone. He said he had suffered a personal crisis while working at the Vatican embassy in Washington DC. The priest was recalled from the US last year after authorities notified the Vatican of their suspicions. The US had asked that Capella's diplomatic immunity be lifted so he could face charges there. Canadian police later issued an arrest warrant for Capella, an Italian. The former diplomat will serve his sentence in the Vatican's small prison, and pay a fine of €5,000 (£4,400; $5,800). A prosecution witness told the court that an examination of the priest's personal devices revealed more than 40 incriminating images, including an explicit video involving a small child. The case is the latest allegation involving child sexual abuse to hit the Catholic Church. All of Chile's 34 bishops offered to resign in May following a child sex scandal and a cover up. Pope Francis has since accepted three of their resignations. Also in May, Australia convicted the archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, of concealing historic child sexual abuse in the 1970s. He has stepped aside from his duties but not resigned as archbishop. In 2013, the Holy See recalled and defrocked its envoy to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, and ordered he be tried for child sex offences. Wesolowski was found dead in 2015 before he could stand trial. A man considered the Church's third-ranked official, Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell, is due to go on trial in Australia on charges of historical sexual offences, which he denies.

6-22-18 Chileans shun church
A child sex abuse scandal that has dogged the Chilean Catholic Church for years has turned many Chileans away from the faith. The share of Chileans who identify as Catholic has plummeted from 61 percent eight years ago to 45 percent in 2017; even fewer—36 percent—say they now trust the church. That shift in support is largely a result of outrage over the case of Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty by the Vatican in 2011 of abusing dozens of minors over three decades. Pope Francis last week accepted the resignation of three bishops, including Juan Barros of Osorno, who was accused of witnessing and covering up Karadima’s abuse; 31 other Chilean bishops have offered Francis their resignation.

6-22-18 Drone footage of 'tent city' build to house children
The "tent city" in Tornillo, Texas can house up to 400 children. The BBC captured the first drone footage of the huge camp. (Webmaster's comment: The interior of the tents looks much like the interior of the barracks in the Auschwitz prison camp.)

6-20-18 The health impact of separating migrant children from parents
Paediatric and child trauma experts are sounding the alarm that separating migrant children from their parents at the US border can cause serious physical and psychological damage. As more stories emerge about children being separated from their parents at the border between Mexico and the US, doctors and scientists are warning that there could be long-term, irreversible health impacts on children if they're not swiftly reunited. The head of the American Academy of Pediatrics went so far as to call the policy "child abuse" and against "everything we stand for as paediatricians". "This is completely ridiculous and I'm approaching that not as someone who's taking a position in the politics, but as a scientist," says Charles A Nelson III, a professor of paediatrics and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. "We just know the science does not support that this is good for kids." From mid-April to May this year, the US Department of Homeland Security says it has separated nearly 2,000 children from their parents, after the families crossed the border into the US. The adults are being jailed and prosecuted for illegal border crossing under a new "zero-tolerance" policy enacted by the Trump administration, while their children are moved into shelters overseen by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. May figures from the Department of Health and Human Services show children are being held an average of 57 days, but there have been reports of months-long separations and parents deported back across the border without knowing where their children are located. However, paediatric health care professionals say that just because the children are well-fed and physically safe doesn't address the risk of long-term negative impacts on their immune systems, the development of their brains and even the shape of their personalities. "The only times we do this is in a child welfare system when the child is in imminent harm," says Chandra Ghosh Ippen, associate director of the Child Trauma Research Program. "We're causing irreparable harm when it's not necessary."

6-19-18 US migrant children cry for separated parents on audio
An audio recording in which migrant children in the US can be heard crying for their parents has been released as US President Donald Trump remains defiant over his immigration policy. Some 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents in the past few months after their families tried to cross the US border illegally. Mr Trump said he would not allow the US to become a "migrant camp". The UN high commissioner for refugees says the policy is "unacceptable". The recording was released by investigative US media outlet ProPublica on Monday, and was said to have been made from inside a US customs and border protection facility. In it, several Central American children separated from their parents and thought to be aged between four and 10 can be heard sobbing and wailing, and calling for their mother or father. One border patrol agent can be heard saying: "We have an orchestra here. What's missing is a conductor." The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has told the BBC the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy towards illegal immigration is unacceptable. "It is absolutely wrong to separate children from their families in any circumstances and particularly when people are in distress as, for example, people that are fleeing from violence and persecution, as is the case for people in Central America," he said. "So, we are advising the government of the United States that this is not the right way to handle that particular phenomenon of people seeking asylum across the border." Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border between mid-April and the end of May. As a result, hundreds of children are being housed in detention centres, including warehouses and converted supermarkets. Images from some of the border camps show children being held in caged areas separated by chain-link fencing. Officials have also announced plans to erect tent cities that will hold hundreds more children in the Texas desert where temperatures regularly reach 40C (105F). (Webmaster's comment: On the audio prison camp guards can be heard teasing the children about their crying! MONSTERS!!!)

6-19-18 Sessions: Child migrant camps 'not like Nazi concentration camps'
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rejected claims US holding centres for child migrants separated from parents are like Nazi concentration camps. America's top law official told Fox News the "zero tolerance" policy was about enforcing border security. President Donald Trump is meeting Republican lawmakers later to discuss a bill that proposes to end the policy. US immigration officials say 2,342 children have been separated from 2,206 parents from 5 May to 9 June. The Department of Justice chief said: "Well, it's a real exaggeration, of course. "In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country." Mr Sessions said: "Fundamentally, we are enforcing the law. Hopefully people will get the message and not break across the border unlawfully." Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham said the detention centres were "essentially summer camps" for migrant children. (Webmaster's comment: What a joke! No SUMMER CAMP keeps children in steel and wire cages!)US First Lady Melania Trump and four of her predecessors are among critics of the policy. Laura Bush said the detention centres reminded her of internment camps where Japanese-Americans were held during the Second World War.

6-15-18 Enforcing headscarves at school
Staff at Swedish schools “must dare to put a foot down against patriarchal and oppressive behavior,” said Gulan Avci, even when it comes from students’ parents. The conservative newspaper Göteborgs-Posten had a reporter pose as the Muslim parent of an incoming kindergartner and phone up 40 schools to ask whether the staff would please make sure that her little girl wore her headscarf at all times, even if she wanted to take it off. A shocking two-thirds said they would, and several even offered to film the child to prove the stricture was being enforced. Preschool here is run nationally, and the curriculum is “very clear that the values guiding school activity must include individual freedom, integrity, and gender equality.” How can forcing girls into headscarves or veils comply with this requirement? The Islamic scarf or veil isn’t just another garment, but a “symbol of women’s submission to men.” And while some may say the parents’ freedom of religion is important, I submit that the child’s freedom of religion is equally so—and if a girl rejects the headscarf, that should be her choice. Sweden needs to have a national conversation about “where the limits of religious freedom lie.” We can’t “allow oppression in the name of tolerance.”

6-8-18 Hot cars deadly for kids
It would take just an hour for young children left in a car on a hot summer day to suffer from heatstroke, a new study found. In that time, the kids’ body temperature would soar to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which could lead to confusion, rapid breathing, vomiting, seizures, and organ damage. Researchers at Arizona State University came to this grim conclusion after monitoring the temperatures inside six different cars parked in both sunny and shady spots on three separate days. When outdoor temperatures hit at least 95 F, the temperature inside the cars parked in the sun reached an average of 116 F in just 60 minutes. Surface temperatures in the cars, from the seats to the steering wheel, exceeded 120 F, The Washington Post reports. “We’ve all gone back to our cars on hot days and have been barely able to touch the steering wheel,” says researcher Nancy Selover. “Imagine what that would be like to a child trapped in a car seat.” Even when parked in the shade, the cars reached internal temperatures of 100 F, which could be deadly for small children.

6-8-18 Fonda’s late-life awakening
Jane Fonda never imagined acting at 80, said Sophie Heawood in TheGuardian.com. She has a role in the ongoing Netflix series Grace and Frankie and continues to star in films after six decades in Hollywood. “I feel damn lucky,” Fonda says. “At 65, I never thought I’d have a career. I keep pinching myself.” She admits that face-lifts “bought me an extra 10 years” in acting, though she’s not proud of it. In fact, she suspects women who overdo plastic surgery have a self-loathing that originates in sexual abuse. When she sees the face “of a woman who has made herself into a mask, I always think to myself…I wonder, I wonder.” Fonda herself was sexually abused during a tumultuous childhood; her father, actor Henry Fonda, was largely absent, and her mother committed suicide in a psychiatric hospital. For much of her life, Fonda says, she lived to please men, and only at 62, after her divorce from Ted Turner, did she feel that “I could live inside my own skin.” It was a major awakening. “I feel very sad that so many girls are abused all over the world and that men don’t understand what it does to them,” she says. “It can alter a person.” Fonda is grateful, above all, to witness the justice of #MeToo. “I did not think I would live to see it.”

6-9-18 Vatican ex-diplomat on trial for 'child sex abuse images
A senior Vatican official who served as a diplomat to the US will face charges of possessing images that show child sex abuse, the Holy See said. Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella's trial will begin on 22 June in the Vatican. He was recalled in September 2017 after US authorities alerted the Vatican that one of its diplomats may have violated child pornography laws. Monsignor Capella's career took him to India and Hong Kong before his time in the US, which lasted less than a year. He was arrested in April. A state department official told the Washington Post that the US government had asked for Monsignor Capella's diplomatic immunity be waived so he could be prosecuted in the US, but the Vatican refused. After the monsignor was recalled from the US, police in Canada issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography online. The Vatican's statement on Saturday said the Holy See holds jurisdiction over the case even though the offences happened abroad, since Monsignor Capella was serving as a Vatican official. This is the latest allegation of sexual abuse among the clergy to hit the Catholic Church. All of Chile's 34 bishops offered to resign in May following a child sex scandal and a cover up. The same month, Australia convicted the archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson of concealing historic child sexual abuse in the 1970s. In 2013, the Holy See recalled and defrocked their envoy to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, and ordered he be tried for child sex offences. (Webmaster's comment: Don't forget that child sex abuse is rampant in Protestant religions too! It is also covered up and just doesn't get the news coverage.)

6-9-18 Tayyaba abuse case shines light on Pakistan's child maids
Pictures of 10-year-old Tayyaba's horrifically bruised face caused outrage in Pakistan when they were first uploaded to Twitter in late 2016. She had been working as a "child maid" in the home of a judge and his wife. Tayyaba is now living in a home run by the charity SOS Children's Village. She attends school and seems to be adjusting to her new life, but she still doesn't find it easy to talk about what happened. The couple employing her denied mistreating Tayyaba but, sitting alongside her carers, she told me she had been beaten by the wife simply for losing a broom. "They also burnt my hands," she added. The scars are still visible over a year on. I asked if her parents ever told her why she had to work instead of being able to go to school. "My family had to pay off a debt... that's what my mum told me." Tayyaba grew up in a small, poor village outside the city of Faisalabad, about four hours' drive south from Islamabad. Her father, a labourer called Azam, said he sent Tayyaba away after his finger was cut off in an accident. "I couldn't work and my wife needed an operation. We needed money, so I asked a friend and she suggested this family." Azam claims he was told Tayyaba would be paid just "to play" with the couple's young children. Children aren't legally allowed to work in most businesses in Pakistan, but in the vast majority of the country there's no law banning them from working inside homes. Child maids are often required to cook, clean and look after babies - and there are thought to be tens of thousands of them across the country. (Webmaster's comment: They are at best child slave labor and it should be outlawed!)


5-30-18 AI inspired by the film Spotlight could track down child abusers
Journalists at the Boston Globe painstakingly sifted patterns in public records to find priests who had sexually abused children. Now an AI might do the same. JOURNALISTS at The Boston Globe searched for patterns in public records to uncover priests in the Catholic church who had sexually abused children. Now, researchers think artificial intelligence could do the same job faster, more accurately and on a much wider scale. The Boston Globe investigation, depicted in the film Spotlight, involved looking for clues like priests suddenly going on sick leave or moving around a lot. Joelle Casteix at the Zero Abuse Project, a non-profit that aims to help institutions prevent child abuse, and her team have created an AI that looks for similar patterns in thousands of documents from large organisations. Casteix unveiled the project at the AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, last week. “I am a survivor of sexual abuse from a teacher, which was followed by a lot of cover-up,” says Casteix. “This is the first time there is a proactive way to stop the cycle.” The new initiative, called Project G, can study both digital documents or turn paper scans into machine-readable files for the AI to scour. Depending on the organisation, the documents can include those detailing where different people are based and their roles over time, and news clippings in which they are mentioned. As the system learns what a normal career trajectory looks like from decades’ worth of documents, outliers begin to stick out. Many people take unusual career paths, but people whose patterns seem to match those of an abuser rise to the top of the suspect list. Casteix and her colleagues would then investigate further. The tool also gives people an association score, highlighting those that may be involved in any cover-up. “You can pull the predator out, but if you don’t figure out the patterns of the cover-up, the pattern happens all over again,” says Casteix.

5-30-18 Catholic Church joins sex abuse compensation scheme
The Catholic Church has confirmed it will be part of a national redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse in Australia. The nation recently held a five-year inquiry into sexual abuse in the country's institutions. Among harrowing stories, it heard that 7% of Australia's Catholic priests abused children between 1950 and 2010. Governments and institutions have faced intense pressure to join a compensation programme for victims. The Church said it was "keen to participate" in the scheme, to be co-ordinated by the Australian government. "Survivors deserve justice and healing and many have bravely come forward to tell their stories," said Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. The Church is the first non-government organisation to join the scheme, which is scheduled to begin in July. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the decision as a "significant development". Mr Turnbull has previously said that survivors could receive payments of A$150,000 (£85,000; $110,000) each. However, the exact scope of the compensation will be determined by how many governments and institutions opt in. The royal commission inquiry, which concluded in December, heard more than 8,000 testimonies about abuse in churches, schools and sports clubs. Religious ministers and school teachers were the most commonly reported perpetrators, the report said. The greatest number were in Catholic institutions. "It is not a case of a few 'rotten apples'. Society's major institutions have seriously failed," it said in its final report. The inquiry made more than 400 recommendations, including calling on the Catholic Church to overhaul its celibacy rules. It also called on priests to face prosecution if they did not report sexual abuse disclosed to them during confession, a move the Church has strongly resisted.(Webmaster's comment: In America 21% of children are sexually abused by adults they know.)

5-25-18 Tiahleigh Palmer: The 12-year-old murdered by her foster father
Australian schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer was 12 years old when she came home from dance class and was murdered by her foster father. Hours earlier, Rick Thorburn had learned that that his teenage son, Trent, had sexually assaulted her. They feared she might be pregnant. So the Queensland man killed Tiahleigh and dumped her near-naked body on a river bank. On Friday, he was sentenced to life in prison. Justice David Boddice described the murder as "cold, calculating and callous". Thorburn's wife and two sons have already been jailed for their roles in a case which has horrified Australia. The killing also led to a review of Queensland's foster care system, and changed police alerts about vulnerable children.

5-25-18 Even in the shade, a car’s interior can get lethally hot
In less than 3 hours, a toddler’s body temperature rises to a potentially fatal 40° C. Don’t count on a shady parking spot to save a child left in the back seat on a hot day. A new analysis of temperatures inside parked cars reveals that a toddler in a sunbathed vehicle would reach lethal body temperatures faster than one left in the shade. But even in a shaded car, a child could die from overheating within a few hours, researchers report online May 23 in Temperature. Researchers tracked temps inside three cars — a sedan, economy car and minivan — that were parked in the sun, and another three parked in the shade. Each car started at the outdoor air temperature or 29.4° Celsius, whichever was cooler. On days hotter than 38° C (about 100° Fahrenheit), it took an hour for the average ambient temperature inside the shaded vehicles to reach 38.3° C. For cars in the sun, the inside temperature hit a scorching 46.7° C in an hour, with surfaces such as steering wheels, dashboards and seat covers getting even hotter. The researchers then simulated how the body temperature of a 2-year-old would increase under those conditions. On average, a toddler’s body would reach the potentially lethal temperature of 40° C (104° F) after about 1.4 hours in the sun and about 2.4 hours in the shade. It happened faster in some cars than others — a child left in a sunbaked sedan could die from overheating in just an hour. On average, 37 children in the United States die from heatstroke inside vehicles each year, and in more than half of those cases, the children had simply been forgotten.

5-24-18 Jury awards $1bn to woman raped as a teen
A US jury has awarded $1bn (£750m) in damages to a woman who was raped by an armed security guard when she was 14. Hope Cheston, who chose to be named, had her mother file the lawsuit on her behalf in 2015, and says the verdict is a symbolic win for survivors. Her lawyers say it is the largest jury verdict awarded in a sexual assault case in the US. The security firm is not worth $1bn and the judge may reduce the award so any final settlement figure is unclear. Ms Cheston, now 20, told the New York Times the verdict shows victims can get justice. "My verdict basically shows if you stick with it and do what you need to do to get your justice, there'll be a brighter end," Ms Cheston said. Her rapist, 28-year-old Brandon Lamar Zachary, has been serving a 20-year prison sentence for statutory rape since 2016, according to prison records. In 2012, Ms Cheston was at a friend's birthday party in Jonesboro, Georgia, with her boyfriend when the armed guard approached her, told her boyfriend not to move, and raped her on a picnic table. The civil lawsuit, filed by Ms Cheston's mother, Renetta Cheston-Thorton, accused Crime Prevention Agency, the security company that hired Zachary, of negligence in training and failing to safeguard a minor. The judge ruled against the company, and the jury decided upon the $1bn damages on Tuesday.

5-22-18 Australian archbishop Philip Wilson guilty of concealing child sex abuses
An Australian court has found a Catholic archbishop guilty of concealing child sexual abuse in the 1970s. Philip Wilson, now archbishop of Adelaide, becomes the most senior Catholic in the world to be charged and convicted of the offence. He was found to have covered up the abuse of altar boys by a paedophile priest colleague in New South Wales. During his trial he denied being told about the abuse by some of the victims. Wilson will be sentenced in June and faces a maximum two-year jail term. Last month, Wilson told the Newcastle Local Court he had no knowledge of priest James Fletcher's actions, which took place when he was an assistant priest in Maitland, 130km (80 miles) north of Sydney. Fletcher was later convicted of nine child sexual abuse charges in 2004, and died in jail in 2006. One of his victims, former altar boy Peter Creigh, told the court he had described the abuse to Wilson in detail in 1976, five years after it took place. Magistrate Robert Stone rejected Wilson's claims that he had no memory of the conversation, and said he had found Mr Creigh to be a reliable witness. The priest knew "what he was hearing was a credible allegation and the accused wanted to protect the Church and its reputation", Magistrate Stone said. Another victim, who cannot be named, told the court he disclosed the abuse in the confessional box when he was 11 years old. He said Wilson told him he was telling lies and to recite 10 Hail Mary prayers as punishment. (Webmaster's comment: Blame the woman, blame the child, it's the same old male response to male brutality. Wilson should have gotten 20 years, not 2!)

5-20-18 The fight to keep abusers from hurting their children
Domestic violence victims often have trouble keeping their children away from their abusers. After 15 years of estrangement following the birth of her son, Paulette found her ex, Steve, creeping back into her life. Steve used kind gestures: buying her flowers, cooking for her and her son, Luke, and fixing up her kitchen and patio. Eventually, Steve succeeded in getting Paulette to let her guard down and to fall in love with him. Months later, in August of 2015, Paulette and Steve were married. But Paulette quickly learned that Steve wasn't all romance — in fact, he was controlling, erratic, and violent. That October, Luke came to his mom's defense after Steve yelled at her and told his dad to get off the property, according to police records. Suddenly, Steve attacked Luke and choked him in their front yard. Paulette called the police immediately and filed a report. Steve was removed from their home that evening by police officers. From there, Paulette and Luke obtained an emergency protective order. (All names have been altered in this story in order to protect the privacy of the victims.) While going through the divorce in 2016, Paulette received an unexpected phone call from two women — both were in the midst of custody battles with Steve. Because of his violent history, the women didn't feel like Steve should have access to their children. Paulette knew that the courts didn't work together to corroborate past histories or provide legal information to survivors who have been abused by the same person. Instead, she coordinated with the women to ensure that all of their children were kept safe. "I grew my bond with the ladies so tight that I feel like if he takes them to court, he's taking me to court," Paulette says. "We all feel safer knowing that we're all together and that we know the same abuses, his background, and how he uses the system to victimize us." While Paulette never had to legally fight Steve for custodial rights of Luke, the other women Steve abused did — and stories like theirs are not rare. Abusers like Steve try to regain control by suing for custodial rights, a common occurrence which Jennifer Leeann Hardesty, a professor at University of Illinois and domestic violence expert, says can lead to "coercive control." Coercive control is not just physical violence; it includes harmful tactics like stalking and mental, emotional, financial, and legal abuse, which can have long-lasting effects on survivors and their children. Oftentimes, abusers will use their custodial rights to harass or control the non-offending parent by attacking their parental capabilities or by hurting or manipulating the child (i.e. by telling them that their mother is a bad person, or threatening to kill their mother or stepparents).

5-18-18 All Chile's 34 bishops offer resignation to Pope over sex abuse scandals
All of Chile's 34 Roman Catholic bishops have offered Pope Francis their resignations in the wake of a child sex scandal and cover-up. They asked forgiveness from victims and the Church for their "grave errors and omissions". It was not immediately clear whether the Pope had accepted the resignations. He had been criticised in Chile for his decision to ordain a bishop who is accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest. He said in January that he felt "pain and shame" over the scandal, which has rocked the Catholic Church in Chile. The bishops offered their resignation by letter after three days of crisis talks at the Vatican, during which the Pope handed them a 10-page document accusing Chile's Church hierarchy of negligence in sex abuse cases. The bishops wrote that their individual futures were in the Pope's hands, and if he did not accept their resignations, they would "continue doing our pastoral work". "In communion with (the Pope) we want to re-establish justice and contribute to repairing the damage caused," they wrote. Bishop Juan Barros, who Pope Francis appointed three years ago, is accused of using his position in the Catholic Church to try to block an investigation into the actions of his mentor, Catholic priest Fernando Karadima. Fr Karadima was an influential priest who was found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing young boys and was ordered to do penance. Bishop Barros has repeatedly offered his resignation to the Pope. It has been rejected several times as he was believed to be innocent of the accusations, but this time it is thought the resignation will be accepted. On Thursday three other bishops offered their resignations ahead of Friday's statement from all the bishops.

5-17-18 California parents 'waterboarded and shot' children
Ten children rescued from a California home had allegedly been waterboarded, shot at with crossbows and strangled by their parents, authorities say. In a court filing, prosecutors recommended that bail for the mother be raised to $495,000 (£365,000) because she remains a danger to her children. Police arrested Ina Rogers and Jonathan Allen in March after responding to reports of a missing child. The pair now face numerous charges of child abuse dating back several years. The motion, filed on Wednesday, says the children were "punched, strangled, bitten, shot with weapons such as crossbows and [pellet] guns, hit with weapons such as sticks and bats, subjected to 'waterboarding' and [had] scalding water poured on them". "Waterboarding" is a way of simulating drowning, by pouring liquid over a gagged person's mouth. Prosecutors also said the children had suffered broken limbs and "varying forms of scars". Officers say they found the outwardly smart two-storey house in Fairfield, north of San Francisco, filled with rotting food and faeces - and the children, aged from six months to 12 years, huddled together on the floor. The children spoke with speech impediments. After weeks of interviews, prosecutors now allege that the siblings were subjected to sadistic torture. The father is accused of abuse while the mother is alleged to have dissuaded the children from reporting injuries including broken arms. The couple - who deny the charges - say they home schooled their children although the Associated Press reports that their property was not registered as a school, as required by law.

5-17-18 Nigerian students 'tied to cross and whipped' for being late
Three people have been arrested in Nigeria for allegedly tying late students to crosses and flogging them with horsewhips on a Nigerian roadside. The three - including the headteacher - were taken into custody after a police officer stumbled across the incident in south-western Ogun State. Pictures show at least two young people - one boy and one girl - tied to a makeshift crucifix with green string. A police spokesman described the punishment as "a barbaric act". Local reports say they were being punished for being late. The officer - named only as Livinus - tried to intervene, asking the school's owner to free the teenagers. When the owner of the school in Ayetoro, 145km (90 miles) north-west of Lagos, refused, the officer decided to take action - only to be forced back. "When I tried to untie the pupils, the proprietor and his teachers beat me up," he told Nigerian newspaper Punch. "Before I returned from picking handcuffs from my car, they had grabbed a friend who was with me... and beaten him up with a horsewhip." The suspects were eventually arrested after back-up arrived.

5-16-18 Larry Nassar: Michigan State University to pay $500m to abuse victims
Michigan State University has agreed to pay $500m (£371m) to gymnasts who were abused by ex-team doctor Larry Nassar. The deal was announced by a California law firm representing 332 victims of Nassar, who assaulted women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. The deal does not include any non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements, according to a statement from lawyers and the university. It does not address allegations against other groups for which Nassar worked. It does not address claims against USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, or the owners of the Texas facility where gymnasts trained, according to a statement from the California law firm of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi in Los Angeles. According to the lawyers, $425m will be paid to the claimants, and another $75m would be set aside for any future allegations against Nassar, 54, and the university. The lawyers' statement does not address how the money will be allocated to each of Nassar's accusers. "This historic settlement came about through the bravery of more than 300 women and girls who had the courage to stand up and refuse to be silenced," attorney John Manly said in the statement on Wednesday. He added that it is their "hope" that "the legacy of this settlement" will serve to eradicate abuse in US sport. The university's board chairman Brian Breslin also issued a written statement saying: "We are truly sorry to all the survivors and their families for what they have been through, and we admire the courage it has taken to tell their stories." "We recognise the need for change on our campus and in our community around sexual assault awareness and prevention" he continued.

5-16-18 Vault 7 inquiry: CIA data leak suspect named by media
A former CIA software engineer is the prime suspect in the leaking of a stolen archive of spy agency's secrets last year, US media have revealed. However after searching his home, prosecutors charged Joshua Schulte, 29, with having 10,000 child abuse images. He denies the charges and remains suspected of leaking extensive CIA data to anti-secrecy website Wikileaks. US federal agencies launched a criminal investigation at the time and, according to US media, the software engineer's home in New York City was searched within a week. Agents suspected Mr Schulte of distributing "national defence information" and told a court they had retrieved "NSA and CIA paperwork", as well as electronic devices including a computer, tablet and phone, the New York Times reports. However six months later in August, instead of charging him for the Vault 7 leak, US prosecutors indicted him on unrelated child pornography charges.

5-14-18 Spanish father accused of 'evil spirits' rape
A father in Spain is accused of raping his 15-year-old daughter and two of her friends after claiming he had to rid them of evil spirits. The man, named as Javier G D, is to go on trial on Thursday, and prosecutors are arguing for a 45-year jail term. It is alleged that the repeated rapes took place at his home in Baix Llobregat, near Barcelona. Prosecutors say his wife colluded with the abuse and should get nine years' jail as an accomplice. The wife was allegedly in the house during the rapes and even asked the girls "how it had been". The man claimed to be in the "Order of Odin" which required him to rape the girls, otherwise their relatives would be cursed with misfortune, the indictment says. The trial will begin in Barcelona on Thursday and comes after a court acquitted five men of rape charges for an attack on a young woman during a bull-running festival in Pamplona. All five were jailed for nine years on the lesser charge of sexual abuse. The verdict triggered public anger and an outpouring of personal stories of male abuse on social media. Some women shared stories of molestation occurring during their teenage years. (Webmaster's comment: Many men will find any excuse for raping children. Lock them up forever!)

5-14-18 Ramadan fast: Should children give up food and water?
German doctors are urging Muslim parents not to have their children fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan, which this year starts on Tuesday evening. The Professional Association of Paediatricians would rather parents explain to their children how "fasting is unhealthy for them". "Make sure your children and adolescents drink enough. Also during the day," said a statement quoted by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Ramadan, which shifts according to the movement of the moon, is observed around the world by millions of Muslims. They abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset for 30 days. This year, the month coincides with longer days in early summer, which means people in Europe will be fasting for about 18 hours a day. With this year's Ramadan falling during the "most important weeks of the school year", they warn fasting, and particularly the absence of fluids, could have a negative effect on performance in school. "We always see very pale and unfocused children during Ramadan," doctors said in their statement. Some students came to see them straight from school, they said, after collapsing from "severe headaches or abdominal pain". Doctors are not the only ones concerned. German teacher associations have also repeatedly warned of the tiredness Muslim children suffer while fasting in Ramadan, local media report. (Webmaster's comment: Barbaric religious practice and obvious child abuse. Making your child ill for the sake of YOUR beliefs!)

5-10-18 Australian toddler's alleged rape was a 'foreseeable risk'
The alleged rape of a two-year-old girl in an Australian outback town was a "foreseeable" risk that authorities had failed to address, a report has found. The case in Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory (NT), drew national shock when it was reported in February. Police later charged a 24-year-old man with sexual assault. An official investigation, prompted by widespread outrage, has found evidence of "systemic failures" by police and child protection workers. Authorities had investigated child abuse and neglect allegations involving the girl's family on several occasions over 16 years, said the report by NT Children's Commissioner Colleen Gwynne. "This was not the only violence that [the girl] had been exposed to, and experienced, in her short life," Ms Gwynne wrote. The girl was allegedly raped on 15 February at her home in Tennant Creek, about 1,000km (600 miles) south of Darwin. She was then taken to a hospital in Alice Springs, before being flown to Adelaide for further treatment. The report said the toddler had suffered "significant and painful" injuries that required surgery. While in hospital, she was found to have a sexually transmitted disease. Her alleged attacker, who has not been identified, is still to face court proceedings. The NT government announced an investigation in February after media reports of the case prompted public anger. "It's unacceptable to see we have failed this child," acting territory leader Nicole Manison said at the time. In April, the toddler and a sibling were removed from their mother's care.

5-7-18 How a child rape became a religious flashpoint for India
India's top court has moved the trial in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl out of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The BBC's Yogita Limaye spoke to people in the community about the divisions that led to the court's decision. "I just want justice for my child," her mother says. "I want her attackers to go through the same pain that she went through. The way they have made us cry, I want them to cry." In India, a rape victim cannot be identified according to the law but everyone knows which religion the girl belonged to. Police allege that her religion is at the centre of the brutal crime. She was from the Muslim Bakarwal nomadic tribe who roam the hills and valleys of Jammu and Kashmir. In the summer they graze their sheep, goats and horses high up in the mountains. As winter sets in, they descend to warmer areas near the city of Jammu. This winter, in January, the girl was tortured, raped and killed. Police believe those accused held her captive for a week in a temple, where they repeatedly raped her before killing her. Police say Hindus from Rasana village, about 70km (43 miles) from Jammu, wanted to send a warning to her community to move off their land. In February, police arrested eight men, including a retired government official, four policemen and a juvenile in connection with the gang rape and murder of the girl. All of the accused are Hindus. The case made headlines in India after right-wing groups and lawyers protested over the arrest of the eight Hindu men. The religious identities of the victim and her alleged attackers have caused deep communal polarisation in the state, exposing the fault lines between Hindu-majority Jammu and the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. The Kashmir valley has a tumultuous relationship with India - there has been an armed revolt in the region against Indian rule since 1989. The family of the victim, meanwhile, have continued their annual journey into the mountains. In lush green meadows, they live in tents and cook on open fires. "The Hindus didn't even let us bury her where we wanted to," her father says.

5-7-18 Paedophile-hunting policeman wins payout 46 years on
Former Australian detective Denis Ryan was driven out of the police force in 1972 when he tried to bring a paedophile priest to justice. Now almost 50 years after he was ordered by superiors to drop the case - and deprived of a police pension - Mr Ryan will receive compensation. The 86-year-old man was recently awarded an undisclosed sum by the state government of Victoria. "When I heard the news, I nearly jumped out of my socks," he said. As a detective in the 1970s, Mr Ryan tried to charge Monsignor John Day with sexual offences in the regional city of Mildura. However, he was blocked by senior police officers and ordered to drop the case. Mr Ryan has blamed the decision on his superiors' "allegiance" to the Church. In 2015, he testified at a royal commission inquiry into child sexual abuse in Australia. At that inquiry, a former Victoria Police chief commissioner, Mick Miller, gave evidence in his favour. Mr Miller said there had been "misconduct by senior Victoria Police officers, including dereliction of duty, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and inciting other members of the police force to join the conspiracy against Denis Ryan in order to conceal the crimes committed by Day", according to a report by Fairfax Media. The inquiry later determined that Mr Ryan had been ordered to transfer from Mildura to another police station due to his investigations into the priest. Mr Ryan could not relocate due to family reasons, so he resigned - a decision that made him ineligible for the police pension. Day did not face police charges before his death in 1978.

5-1-18 Suspicious packages sent to US girls at school and home
The FBI and Alabama officials are investigating reports of more than 50 girls across the US who received unwanted parcels at school and home. The unsolicited packages included food and a letter signed by "Atur Bhuck", who asked the girls to write him back via email, officials say. The writer claims to be from New Mexico, but one of the email accounts' servers was traced to Houston. Officials warned of a "predator alert" in a Facebook statement on Sunday. The Covington County District Attorney's office said the letters were signed by "Atur Bhuck of Santa Fe, N.M.", who said he was a mentally disabled 14-year-old who had been bullied. Two girls in Phenix City, Alabama received packages at their school, according to the office. Phenix City Schools superintendent Randy Wilkes told the Ledger-Inquirer the students never received the packages and their principal "held the mailings for law enforcement". Each package "included the name of the girl and the address of the elementary school she attends" officials said in the Facebook post.


4-22-18 Letter from Africa: The teenager fighting school bus sex pests
In our series of letters from African journalists, Nigerian novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani admires a teenager's tenacity in tackling the harassment of pupils on the school commute. Allegations of physical or sexual abuse against teachers in Nigerian schools sometimes manage to grab a headline, but then fade without any follow-up story on how the case was resolved. In 2016, girls at a prestigious boarding school in Lagos abandoned their exams in protest at pervasive sexual harassment by a male teacher. Those of us who endured similar unchecked bad behaviour during our school days cheered them on. I know from personal experience of studying in Nigeria, how powerless students can sometimes feel when faced with abusers who act with impunity, knowing that the cultures of silence and respect for elders are on their side. So, I was impressed when I recently came across a Tanzanian teenager, who told me how she was creating an opportunity for students in her country to report harassment. Modesta Joseph was just 15 when she decided in 2014 to do something about the constant harassment that she and other students in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam faced on buses while travelling to or from school. As students pay significantly reduced fares, some bus drivers and conductors on the crowded buses, popularly known as "dala dala", have felt licensed to treat them in whatever manner they please. The reduced fares also led to reluctance by conductors to let students occupy spaces that could go to passengers who paid the full fare. Many students missed lessons after waiting hours at bus stops before finally fighting their way on board. "Sometimes, the bus conductors hit us. If you are on the bus, they can just touch you whenever they want. Touching girls in sexual ways," Ms Joseph said. "They can actually push you. One day, one of my friends, the conductor pushed her out when the vehicle started moving." Some students sustained injuries such as broken ankles while struggling to board buses.

4-21-18 India introduces death penalty for child rapists
India's Cabinet has approved the introduction of the death penalty for child rapists, amid uproar over a series of high-profile cases. The change to the country's penal code applies to those convicted of raping a child under the age of 12. There have been nationwide protests in recent weeks over the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl. The government has come under fire for not doing enough to prevent sexual-assault cases, many involving children. A number of serious crimes in India carry the death penalty, but raping a child was not among them until now. Nearly 19,000 cases were registered in India in 2016 - more than 50 each day. The executive order was cleared at a special cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It allows capital punishment for anyone convicted of raping children under the age of 12. Minimum prison sentences for rape against girls under the age of 16 and women have also been raised. According to Reuters, which has seen a copy of the order, there was no mention of boys or men. (Webmaster's comment: United States should also have the death penalty for child rape. That might slow down the United States with the highest rate of child rape in the world. Over 21% of all children 12 or younger.)

4-21-18 What do Indian parents tell their children about rape?
Outrage has grown in India after two incidents where children were tortured, raped and murdered. People across the country came out in protest, with some of them even taking their children to demonstrations. With so much news around child rape and murder and the exploitation of the powerless by the powerful, how do Indian parents try to explain these events to their young children? "When you're educating a child, it's not a one-time affair," Dr Samir Parikh, a Delhi-based child psychologist, told the BBC. "Incidents in the news should be used as teaching moments based on the child's age and cognitive abilities." Dr Parikh added that Indian parents have started having these conversations with their children more openly than before but it's still not as widespread as it should be. "Education surely makes a difference in terms of parents' comfort and belief in talking about these things," he said. The BBC's Nikita Mandhani gathered a range of voices from different parts of India to highlight varying opinions on what and how much parents choose to tell their children about rape and sexual abuse. My 11-year-old daughter is an avid reader and is interested in political and current affairs. Initially, I didn't want her to be exposed to a lot of news and conversations surrounding rape and sexual assault. But it's become inevitable. When she was five, I explained to her that she needs to be aware and alert about what is happening to her and around her. Then about two years ago, she read about "rape" in a book and asked me what it meant. I didn't go into any graphic details but explained that it meant somebody was abusing someone else or violating the privacy of their body in an unacceptable way. My daughter and her friends are appalled and shattered about what happened to the eight-year-old girl in Kashmir. Sometimes, she asks me if the world out there is like this or whether this is a one-off incident. (Webmaster's comment: It's the least in Europe, less than 1/4 the rate in the United States.) She gets scared, but she is also at that age in her life when she wants to push her boundaries for independence. So, it's tough to explain why I want someone to escort her wherever she goes or why I want her to dress more conservatively in northern India.

4-18-18 One in Four Americans Feel U.S. Children Are Not Respected
The student-led reaction to recent school shootings in the U.S. has sparked a national discussion about how best to protect America's children from violence. However, about one in four Americans feel that the country can make progress in the way children are treated in their everyday lives. Before the recent school shootings in Parkland, Florida, 73% of U.S. adults said children in the country are treated with respect and dignity, while 24% disagreed. The "yes" percentage places the U.S. in the bottom one-third of wealthy OECD economies on this measure. A slightly higher proportion of Americans -- 77% -- say most children in the U.S. have the opportunity to learn and grow every day, while 22% disagree. However, these results also place the U.S. among the lower-ranked OECD members.

  • 24% of Americans say children are not treated with dignity, respect
  • 22% of Americans say children do not have opportunity to learn and grow
  • U.S. ranks lower than many other wealthy economies in both areas

4-16-18 India child gang rape trial begins in fast-track court
Eight men accused of the rape, torture and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Indian-administered Kashmir have pleaded not guilty in a specially convened fast-track court. The body of the victim, who belonged to a Muslim nomadic tribe, was found in a forest on 17 January near Kathua city of Indian-administered Kashmir. Outrage over the case has been growing. The trial began amid reports of another child being raped and murdered in the western state of Gujarat. The victim in this case is yet to be identified, but a police report detailing the extent of the injuries inflicted on her has been making headlines in the country. The Kathua rape case made headlines last week when Hindu right-wing groups protested over the arrest of the eight men, whose community had been involved in a land dispute with the Muslim nomads. Outrage grew after two ministers from India's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attended a rally in support of the accused men. Details of the injuries inflicted on the minor victim have also horrified many Indians. (Webmaster's comment: Imagine another country in which rapists are openly supported, just like sometimes happens in the United States!)

4-12-18 Girl Scouts USA “promotes abortion and sexual promiscuity."
The founder of Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal group, is calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies, claiming Girl Scouts USA “promotes abortion and sexual promiscuity.” Liberty founder Mat Staver argues that Girl Scouts affiliates once attended a U.N. conference on women, and that the group once shared on its Facebook page an image of a girl participating in the “vulgar and profanity-laden” 2017 Women’s March.

4-12-18 Malala returns
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai returned to her hometown in Pakistan last week for the first time since 2012, when the Taliban shot the then-15-year-old schoolgirl in the head for advocating girls’ education. She and her family traveled with heavy security for the unannounced, four-day visit to the Swat Valley. “It is still like a dream for me,” said Yousafzai, now 20 and studying at Oxford University. “Am I among you?” Yousafzai has lived in the U.K. since she was attacked. Many Pakistanis admire her, but many others believe her to be part of a Western conspiracy to make the country look bad. One official in Swat said last year that the shooting was staged.

4-8-18 Japanese father arrested for allegedly caging son for over 20 years
Japanese police have arrested a 73-year-old man suspected of keeping his son in a wooden cage for over 20 years. Yoshitane Yamasaki said he locked up his son, now 42, because he suffered mental problems and was sometimes violent, according to officials quoted by public broadcaster NHK. The cage, 1m in height and less than 2m wide, was in a hut next to Mr Yamasaki's house in the city of Sanda. The son, who now suffers a bent back, is being looked after by authorities. Local media report he has been in the care of a social welfare facility in western Japan since January. A visit by a city official to Mr Yamasaki's home at the time alerted authorities to the 42-year-old man's confinement. Investigators believe Mr Yamasaki began confining his mentally ill son from the age of 16, when he began to "act up".

4-7-18 Vatican police arrest ex-diplomat over 'child pornography'
Police at the Vatican have arrested a priest who previously worked at the Holy See's US embassy on suspicion of possessing child pornography. Carlo Alberto Capella was taken into custody after an investigation. Monsignor Capella was recalled from the US in September 2017 after US authorities told the Vatican about a possible violation of child pornography laws by one of its diplomats. He was ordained in 1993 and joined the Vatican's diplomatic corps in 2004. The arrest could draw fresh attention to Pope Francis's efforts to snuff out child abuse in the Catholic Church. He has pledged zero tolerance but critics say he has not done enough to hold to account bishops who allegedly covered up abuse. Monsignor Capella's career took him to India and Hong Kong before his brief stint in the US, which lasted less than a year. After US authorities contacted the Vatican about the diplomat, he was moved home. The Vatican said it would investigate the case. A state department official told the Washington Post that the US government had asked for Monsignor Capella's diplomatic immunity be waived so he could be prosecuted in the US, but the request was refused. After Monsignor Capella was recalled from the US, police in Canada issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography online. Pope Benedict XVI had made Mr Capella a Monsignor in 2008, granting him the rank "Chaplain of his Holiness". (Webmaster's comment: The church always protects its own!)

4-5-18 Girls released
More than 100 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped in February by Boko Haram were reunited with their families this week after being released by the jihadist group. In total, 110 girls were snatched from their boarding school in the town of Dapchi. Five died while in captivity and one, Leah Sharibu, is still being held by the extremists; the 15-year-old Christian has refused to convert to Islam. Nigerian officials said the girls were released following “back-channel” negotiations, but insisted that no ransom had been paid. Boko Haram—whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language—freed the children with an ominous warning for parents: “Don’t ever put your daughters in school again.”

4-2-18 Arizona mother 'used stun gun to wake up son for church'
A US mother is accused of using a stun gun on her teenage son in order to get him out of bed for church. Sharron Dobbins, 40, allegedly used the device on the 17-year-old to make him get ready for Easter services at their home in Phoenix, Arizona. Ms Dobbins, who appeared in court on a child abuse charge, said she had activated the stun gun but did not actually use it on him. But police said there were two small bumps on the boy's leg. A judge released Ms Dobbins from custody on Monday without bail, though with some conditions. "Once you're released, you're not to initiate any contact with the arresting officer, you are not to possess any weapons, including a Taser," the judge said, reports KSAZ-TV. Police said they have confiscated the stun gun. (Webmaster's comment: That would even get me to go to church.)


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