Pope Francis was often quiet on Argentine sex abuse cases as archbishop By Nick Miroff, March 18, 2013
HURLINGHAM, Argentina — Father Julio Cesar Grassi was a celebrity in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. The young, dynamic, media-savvy priest networked with wealthy Argentines to fund an array of schools, orphanages and job training programs for poor and abandoned youths, winning praise from Argentine politicians and his superior, Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Grassi called his foundation Felices los Niños, “Happy Children.”
Today, Grassi is a convicted sex offender who remains free on a conditional release after being sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2009 for molesting a prepubescent boy in his care.
Yet in the years after Grassi’s conviction, Bergoglio — now Pope Francis — has declined to meet with the victim of the priest’s crimes or the victims of other predations by clergy under his leadership. He did not offer personal apologies or financial restitution, even in cases in which the crimes were denounced by other members of the church and the offending priests were sent to jail….
There is no evidence that Bergoglio played a role in covering up abuse cases. Several prominent rights groups in Argentina say the archbishop went out of his way in recent years to stand with secular organizations against crimes such as sex trafficking and child prostitution. They say that Bergoglio’s resolve strengthened as new cases of molestation emerged in the archdiocese and that he eventually instructed bishops to immediately report all abuse allegations to police.
In September, after an Argentine priest from a rural area was convicted of abusing dozens of boys between 1984 and 1992, the archbishop’s office released a statement saying the case had “reaffirmed our profound shame and the immense pain that result from the grave mistakes committed by someone who should be setting the moral example.”
But during most of the 14 years that Bergoglio served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, rights advocates say, he did not take decisive action to protect children or act swiftly when molestation charges surfaced; nor did he extend apologies to the victims of abusive priests after their misconduct came to light….
Nightline: When To Believe A Child’s Word
Nightline – November 14, 1996
TURNING POINT: When Children Accuse – Who To Believe
Byline: Ted Koppel and Erin Haynes
ABC-Nightline – November 14, 1996
WHEN CHILDREN ACCUSE: WHO TO BELIEVE Child sex abuse is a very serious problem.
In 1994 alone 140,000 new cases were investigated and found to be real. But are innocent people being sentenced for crimes they never committed because of the testimony of the young?
Doubt over the testimony of children in sexual abuse cases has made it harder to try accused child molesters, sometimes with deadly consequences, but authorities say children do tell the truth in most cases.
TED KOPPEL: [voice-over] This week, another tragedy.
1st RESPONDENT: I don’t understand this. They- they knew. Why did they let him come into this neighborhood? Or in any other neighborhood?
TED KOPPEL: [voice-over] A convicted child molester avoids prison because there is doubt over the testimony of a child…..
STEPHEN CECI, Psychologist, Cornell University: Not only do I believe children can be reliable in sexual abuse cases, I believe the vast majority of them are reliable in those cases.
ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] But Ceci says what is missing from many accounts of his work is that it is fairly difficult to convince children to make up even the most harmless stories.
STEPHEN CECI: Because in our studies we work at it very hard….
ERIN HAYES: In fact, in his studies, most of the children ultimately do not give in to interviewers’ suggestions, and while many of the interviews are about more serious subjects, medical exams, for example, they are not about sex abuse, and many in the child protection field are troubled that Ceci’s research is being applied to sex abuse cases….
STEPHEN CECI: Maybe 1 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent. I suspect it’s nowhere near the majority. My hunch is the majority of interviews done with kids by front-line workers, child protective service, law enforcement, therapists, pediatricians, are well-done….
ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] But his critics point out Underwager uses his own standards for determining what is repeated and leading. For instance, he has said that interviewers’ questions like this one, “Okay … I don’t want you to say anything you can’t remember for sure,” could be considered leading. And most of the tapes he reviews come to him from defense attorneys, for whom he consults. When he testifies for them, he says, he is paid $2,500 a day. Underwager admits he has no way to known if the children’s accounts of abuse in the cases he reviews are actually false. [interviewing] How do you know, in each of these cases, that the abuse did not happen?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: I don’t. That’s not my function. That’s the function of the justice system.
ROB PARRISH: If that’s the case, then there’s no reason for him to be expressing an opinion in the justice system, any more than any of the rest of us. I mean, you could call anybody in that circumstance to say, “I’ve viewed the tape and I think it’s a bad interview, so therefore I think this child’s probably not telling the truth.”
ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] At least 10 courts have disallowed Underwager’s testimony. One ruled he “…did not have bone fide qualifications…” as a researcher. Another said his work “…was not scientifically reliable…” Underwager does continue to testify, which concerns many of his critics, who say is expertise is colored by what they see as a sympathetic view toward pedophiles. In a Dutch publication [Paidika] three years ago, Underwager said, “Paedophiles need to become more positive and make the claim that paedophilia is an acceptable expression of God’s will for love and will among human beings.” Underwager says he has always believed sex between adults and children is harmful, but says to help treat pedophiles, they must first be encouraged to openly proclaim their sexuality….
MARK ELLIS, National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse: His methods and theories are not accepted by others in his field, and have been subject to a great deal of criticism by others in his field.
ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Prosecutors are also critical of Dr. Gardner, who not only testifies, but publishes and markets his own books on child sex abuse, books often quoted in court cases.
ATTORNEY: [law firm videotape] Now, I want to talk to you about the most common cause of false accusations.
ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] In this videotape produced by a law firm, an attorney cites from Dr. Gardner’s research Gardner’s conclusion that false allegations of child sex abuse are commonplace in custody disputes.
ATTORNEY: [law firm videotape] This phenomena [sic] has been examined in research and it’s now been given the name “parental alienation syndrome.”
ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] That disorder, however, cannot be found in the standard manual of psychiatric diagnoses. It is a term Dr. Gardner coined himself, based mainly on his own experience as a psychiatrist. But the largest study done on the subject to date found that false allegations of child sexual abuse rarely surface in custody disputes ["...less than 2% of cases involved an allegation of sexual abuse." Dr. Gardner declined a videotaped interview for this report, but he sells tapes of his own, as well, in which he describes his criteria to help determine whether a child's allegation of sexual abuse is true or false. Among his criteria?
Dr. RICHARD GARDNER: [videotape] If it sounds incredible, it’s probably not true. In extreme cases, children who are sexually abused become like little street-smart sluts. I believe that children who are false accusers are going to have a higher incidence of reading mystery stories.
ERIN HAYES: [voice-over] Dr. Gardner concedes no one has scientifically tested his criteria, not even he.
ROB PARRISH: Those tests are not based on scientific reality. They’re not verified, they’re not validated in any way.
Missing dogs, ritualistic killing confound Idaho officials
Reuters March 21, 2013 By Laura Zuckerman
SALMON, Idaho, March 21 (Reuters) – The mysterious disappearance of about 30 dogs in southern Idaho has baffled animal control officials and raised concerns among dog lovers after a German shepherd was found with its head crushed in a suspected ritual killing.
The missing canines range widely in size, breed and age.
“The dogs seem to vanish into thin air,” said Debbie Blackwood, director of the animal shelter in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Officials say some 30 dogs have gone missing in recent months in Twin Falls and nearby communities in an agricultural region in south-central Idaho known as the Magic Valley….
The dog, found in an area known as the Devil’s Corral in neighboring Jerome County, appeared to have suffered a “ritualistic execution” ….