Sex Offender Jeffrey Epstein Settles Defamation Suit, Silencing Women’s Testimony, Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S.

December 11, 2018 Comments Off on Sex Offender Jeffrey Epstein Settles Defamation Suit, Silencing Women’s Testimony, Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S.

Sex Offender Jeffrey Epstein Settles Defamation Suit, Silencing Women’s Testimony

December 4, 2018 Vanessa Romo

Jeffrey Epstein, a multimillionaire hedge fund manager accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls, reached a last-minute settlement on Tuesday in a case that had been expected to allow a handful of his alleged victims to tell their stories in court for the first time.

Epstein settled a suit filed by lawyer Bradley Edwards, who said Epstein had damaged his reputation. In court on Tuesday, Epstein apologized to Edwards for alleging that Edwards had made up false charges against him, WPTV reported.

In a separate lawsuit, Edwards represents a number of women who allege that Epstein abused them when they were minors, some as young as 13.

Jack Scarola, Edwards’ lawyer, announced that a financial settlement for unspecified damages had been reached just as jury selection was set to begin.

“This was a case that focused on [Edwards’] personal vindication,” Scarola told reporters outside the Palm Beach courthouse. “The case that focuses on the vindication of victims is the Crime Victims Rights Act case and you can be absolutely sure that we’re not abandoning that effort.”…

In 2005 Epstein was under investigation by the Palm Beach Police Department — and then in 2006 by the FBI — for “assembling a large, cult-like network of underage girls — with the help of young female recruiters — to coerce into having sex acts behind the walls of his opulent waterfront mansion as often as three times a day,” the Miami Herald reported last week in a sweeping investigative story about the accusations against the 65-year-old.

But in 2008, with the help of then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, Epstein struck a deal to plead guilty to two counts of solicitation of prostitution — one with a minor under the age of 18. Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in jail, though he was allowed to leave for work five days a week and was released five months early. He was also required to register as a sex offender.

Epstein’s high-profile legal representation included Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, who was accused by one of the alleged victims of having sex with another girl at Epstein’s home, an accusation that is denied by Dershowitz.

To avoid prosecution, Epstein’s legal team negotiated a deal with Acosta, who is now the U.S. secretary of labor. (The post oversees the country’s labor laws, including human trafficking.) In exchange for Epstein’s admission of guilt, Acosta’s office agreed to shut down the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Epstein, granting him and four unnamed accomplices immunity from all criminal charges, the Herald reported….

Over the years, several women have entered into undisclosed financial settlements with Epstein, but they have never had a day in court.

The decision to keep the women — who are now in their 20s and 30s — in the dark is at the center of a pending lawsuit filed by Edwards in federal court on behalf of some of Epstein’s alleged victims. They argue Acosta and Epstein violated their rights under the Crime Victims Rights Act.

That law entitles crime victims to “the right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.”…

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/04/673320224/sex-offender-jeffrey-epstein-settles-defamation-suit-silencing-womens-testimony

Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S. BY SARAH SMITH Dec. 9, 2018

Joy Evans Ryder was 15 years old when she says her church youth director pinned her to his office floor and raped her….

The youth director, Dave Hyles, was the son of the charismatic pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, considered at the time the flagship for thousands of loosely affiliated independent fundamental Baptist churches and universities.

At least three other teen girls would accuse Hyles of sexual misconduct, but he never faced charges or even sat for a police interview related to the accusations. When he got in trouble, Hyles was able to simply move on, from one church assignment to the next.

Hyles’ flight to safety has become a well-worn path for ministers in the independent fundamental Baptist movement.

For decades, women and children have faced rampant sexual abuse while worshiping at independent fundamental Baptist churches around the country. The network of churches and schools has often covered up the crimes and helped relocate the offenders, an eight-month Star-Telegram investigation has found.

More than 200 people — current or former church members, across generations — shared their stories of rape, assault, humiliation and fear in churches where male leadership cannot be questioned….

The Star-Telegram discovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and their affiliated institutions, spanning 40 states and Canada….

Other ex-members said they believed that if they disobeyed the pastor or left the church, God would kill them or their loved ones.

The authority of the men of God extends far beyond the church. Pastors often have a heavy hand in who church members can date. Pastors are asked by members for their advice on where to vacation or whether to take a new job. When one congregant wanted to buy a new house, he had the pastor drive by first and approve it.

Independent fundamental Baptist churches preach separation: Stay separate from the world, separate from non-believers and separate from Christians who do not believe as they do. That includes Southern Baptists, who are deemed by the strict sect as too liberal.

Members instinctively go to the pastor first with problems, including those of a criminal nature.

“Any issues, even legal issues, go to the pastor first, not the police. Especially about another member of the church,” said Josh Elliott, a former member of Vineyard’s Oklahoma City church. “The person should go to the pastor, and the pastor will talk to the offender. You don’t report to police because the pastor is the ultimate authority, not the government.”….

https://www.star-telegram.com/living/religion/article222576310.html

 

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