April 28, 2012 Comments Off on Exclusive: Senate probe finds little evidence of effective “torture”
Exclusive: Senate probe finds little evidence of effective “torture”
By Mark Hosenball Reuters 4/28/12
A nearly three-year-long investigation by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats is expected to find there is little evidence the harsh “enhanced interrogation techniques” the CIA used on high-value prisoners produced counter-terrorism breakthroughs.
People familiar with the inquiry said committee investigators, who have been poring over records from the administration of President George W. Bush, believe they do not substantiate claims by some Bush supporters that the harsh interrogations led to counter-terrorism coups.
The backers of such techniques, which include “water-boarding,” sleep deprivation and other practices critics call torture, maintain they have led to the disruption of major terror plots and the capture of al Qaeda leaders….
Other coercive techniques included sleep deprivation, making people crouch or stretch in stressful positions and slamming detainees against a flexible wall.
The CIA started backing away from such techniques in 2004. Obama banned them shortly after taking office….
April 27, 2012 Comments Off on Landmark Children’s Rights Case Now Before the Fifth Circuit
Landmark Children’s Rights Case Now Before the Fifth Circuit
By James R. Marsh on April 25, 2012
During the past two years, victims of child pornography (represented by the Marsh Law Firm and pioneering attorneys Paul G. Cassell and Carol L. Hepburn) have been seeking restitution in federal courts throughout the country.
Almost twenty years ago Congress, led by then-Senator Joe Biden, passed a law as part of the Violence Against Women Act which requires federal district courts to award mandatory restitution to child pornography victims for the “full amount of the victim’s losses.” 18 U.S.C. § 2259(B)(3). Among the losses covered by the statute are psychiatric care, lost income, and occupational therapy.
Recently this issue has come to a head in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in two cases, In re Amy Unknown, No. 09-41238, and United States v. Wright, No. 09-3125.
The Fifth Circuit has scheduled a rare rehearing en banc before 16 judges in these two cases on Thursday, May 3, 2012 in New Orleans.
Amy will argue that the Fifth Circuit should not read a general proximate cause requirement into the statute. At least four judges on the Court agree with her.
Both the Government and the defendants in these two consolidated cases believe that proximate cause is required and limits the availability and amount of restitution.
A decision in the case is expected by the end of the year.
For more information on this issue, visit http://www.childlaw.us/restitution/
April 22, 2012 Comments Off on Philadelphia Priest Trial Painful, Poignant For Catholics
Philadelphia Priest Trial Painful, Poignant For Catholics
By MARYCLAIRE DALE 04/21/12
PHILADELPHIA — Graphic testimony in a Philadelphia clergy-abuse trial this month has ripped open secret church files and reopened old wounds among Catholics as scarred men and women tell jurors that priests groped, molested or raped them as teens.
The testimony has proven both painful and poignant, especially that of a 48-year-old man who said he had been in love with his parish priest during a five-year sexual relationship that began in ninth grade – and jealous when the priest allegedly bedded down at his farmhouse with other teens.
The stories have been told before, in two Philadelphia grand jury reports and in lawsuits filed around the country.
But Monsignor William Lynn’s decision to go to trial on child-endangerment charges stemming from his 12 years as secretary for clergy has brought the grand jury reports to life – and seemingly put the archdiocese on trial. The judge is allowing testimony about more than 20 accused but uncharged priests, because Lynn knew of complaints lodged against them or took part in internal church investigations.
The accused priests were left in ministry, often transferred to unsuspecting parishes.
Nearly a dozen alleged victims have testified, while internal church memos and Lynn’s 2002 grand jury testimony have been read aloud. And jurors will soon hear from a former altar boy who says he was raped by two priests and his fifth-grade teacher….
Lynn is the first U.S. church official charged with helping the church cover up complaints of child sexual abuse. He faces up to 28 years in prison if convicted….
Lynn, 61, is on trial with the Rev. James Brennan, 48, who is charged with sexually assaulting a teen in 1996. Each has pleaded not guilty. Defrocked priest Edward Avery, 69, pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges days before trial, and is serving a 2-1/2 to 5-year prison term.
April 21, 2012 Comments Off on BishopAccountability.org Data on the Crisis The Human Toll
BishopAccountability.org Data on the Crisis The Human Toll
Thousands of Catholic clergy and religious have raped and sodomized tens of thousands of children—perhaps more than 100,000 children—since 1950. These crimes were committed in secret, and bishops nurtured that secrecy. Nearly 15,000 survivors have broken through the silence, and their accounts have created an in-depth picture of the crisis….
The U.S. bishops have reported receiving allegations of abuse by 6,115 priests in 1950-2011, or 5.6% of the 109,694 U.S. priests active since 1950….
Richard Sipe estimates that 9% of U.S. priests have offended, which extrapolates to 9,872 priests nationally….
Approximately two-thirds of sitting U.S. bishops were alleged in 2002 to have kept accused priests in ministry or moved accused priests to new assignments….
Fewer than 2 percent of sexual abuse allegations against the Catholic church appear to be false.