France’s church sex abuse trial, Victim of sex trafficking who killed man granted clemency, Battle to Stop Family Separation, R. Kelly under criminal investigation

January 9, 2019 § Leave a comment

–  Cardinal on trial in France’s biggest church sex abuse trial

–  Woman sentenced to life as teen in killing wins clemency

–  The Battle to Stop Family Separation

–  R. Kelly under criminal investigation following Lifetime documentary series; possible victims urged to come forward

Cardinal on trial in France’s biggest church sex abuse trial
NICOLAS VAUX-MONTAGNY Associated Press 7 January 2019

LYON, France (AP) — A Catholic cardinal and five other people went on trial Monday accused of covering up for a pedophile priest who abused Boy Scouts — France’s most important church sex abuse case to date.

The case poses a new challenge to the Vatican, amid growing demands in overwhelmingly Catholic France for a reckoning with decades of sexual abuse by the clergy.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, 68, appeared in a Lyon court Monday along with other senior church officials accused of failing to protect children from alleged abuse by the Rev. Bernard Preynat. The top Vatican official in charge of sex abuse cases, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, is among the accused — but won’t appear in court because the Vatican invoked his diplomatic immunity.

Nine people who said the priest abused them in the 1970s and 1980s brought the case to court, and hope it marks a turning point in efforts to hold the French church hierarchy accountable for hushing up abuse. The victims say top clergy were aware of Preynat’s actions for years, but allowed him to be in contact with children until his 2015 retirement.

Despite nationwide attention on the case, it may fall apart for legal reasons. Prosecutors initially threw out it out for insufficient evidence. Barbarin’s lawyer says his client never obstructed justice because the statute of limitations had passed on the acts in question by the time Barbarin was informed….

https://in.news.yahoo.com/cardinal-trial-frances-biggest-church-sex-abuse-trial-082122434.html

Woman sentenced to life as teen in killing wins clemency

A woman who says she was a victim of sex trafficking when she killed a man in 2004 was granted clemency Monday by Tennessee’s governor and will be released from prison

By KIMBERLEE KRUESI

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A woman who says she was a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim when she killed a man in 2004 was granted clemency Monday by Tennessee’s governor and will be released from prison later this year.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted clemency to Cyntoia Brown, who had been serving a life sentence but who will be released on parole on Aug. 7 — 15 years from the date she was first arrested.

“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life,” Haslam said in his statement.

Brown, 30, will remain on parole supervision for 10 years on the condition she does not violate any state or federal laws, holds a job, and participates in regular counseling sessions….

Brown was convicted in 2006 of murdering Allen, a Nashville real estate agent. Police said she shot Allen in the back of the head at close range with a gun she brought to rob him after he picked her up at a Sonic Drive-in fast-food restaurant in Nashville to have sex with her.

Brown’s lawyers contended she was a sex trafficking victim who not only feared for her life but also lacked the mental capability to be culpable in the slaying because she was impaired by her mother’s alcohol use while she was in the womb.

According to court documents, Brown ran away from her adoptive family in Nashville in 2004 and began living with a man known as “Cut Throat” in a hotel, who then forced her to become a prostitute. Court documents say the man verbally, physically and sexually assaulted her.

One night, Allen picked up Brown at a Sonic Drive-In and she agreed to engage in sexual activity for $150. Once at his place, Brown eventually got into Allen’s bed. Brown told law enforcement officials she thought he was reaching for a gun, so she shot him with a handgun from her purse.

She took two of his guns and his money from his wallet before fleeing the scene….
https://apnews.com/199ec93abff34bf2a6c79b0ec385419b

The Battle to Stop Family Separation
By Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
December 26, 2018

This piece originally appeared at The New York Review of Books.

In March 2017, John Kelly, then Secretary of Homeland Security, said in an interview with CNN that the Trump administration was considering a national policy to separate parents from their children to deter immigrants from crossing the border into the United States. The proposal triggered a backlash because it was so unpalatable, and the administration didn’t move forward with it. But six months later, in December 2017, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that the administration was again considering the idea. At the same time, advocates who provide services to children in government custody told ACLU lawyers they were seeing children much younger than the teenagers they usually saw entering their facilities. As the stories began to multiply, the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project quickly realized that the administration wasn’t considering the separation of children from their parents—it was already doing it.

For at least six months before then Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the zero-tolerance policy of prosecuting every adult who crossed into the United States without permission, which would result in more than 2,000 children being taken from their parents, the Department of Homeland Security had quietly began taking hundreds of children away from their parents to deter would-be asylum seekers from coming to the United States.

We had no idea how many children had been taken from their parents, but we knew we needed to file a class action lawsuit to stop the practice.
https://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/immigrants-rights-and-detention/battle-stop-family-separation

R. Kelly under criminal investigation following Lifetime documentary series; possible victims urged to come forward
By Peter Sblendorio NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Jan 08, 2019

An explosive Lifetime documentary series covering distressing allegations against R. Kelly has reportedly prompted a criminal investigation in Georgia, while prosecutors in Chicago are urging any victims to come forward.

Investigators from the Fulton County District Attorney’s office in Atlanta have tried to touch base with some of the women featured in the six-part series, TMZ reported.

Kelly — who’s faced numerous accusations of sexual misconduct, which he’s denied — is accused of manipulating women and controlling their lives….

Kelly, 52, has been accused of inappropriate behavior with multiple underage girls in the past, which he has denied. He allegedly married the late singer Aaliyah in 1994, when she was 15.

Kelly was acquitted in a highly publicized child pornography case in 2008 after being accused of appearing in a sex tape with an underage girl years earlier.

Savage’s father Timothy, meanwhile, accused Kelly’s manager Don Russell of threatening him earlier this month, a police report released by Henry County, Ga. cops reveals. The report claims Russell told Savage it “would be best for him and his family” if the Lifetime series did not air, and that Russell threatened to release information damaging to his “reputation, business, and family” if it did.

An arrest warrant for another Kelly manager, James Mason, was issued last year after he allegedly threatened Timothy….

https://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/ny-ent-r-kelly-investigation-20190108-story.html

For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad, Polish archbishop appeals defrocking for sexual abuse: Vatican

August 26, 2014 Comments Off on For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad, Polish archbishop appeals defrocking for sexual abuse: Vatican

“the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic”

For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN AUG. 23, 2014

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — He was a familiar figure to the skinny shoeshine boys who work along the oceanfront promenade here. Wearing black track pants and a baseball cap pulled low over his balding head, they say, he would stroll along in the late afternoon and bring one of them down to the rocky shoreline or to a deserted monument for a local Catholic hero.

The boys say he gave them money to perform sexual acts. They called him “the Italian” because he spoke Spanish with an Italian accent.

It was only after he was spirited out of the country, the boys say, his picture splashed all over the local news media, that they learned his real identity: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic….

The case is the first time that a top Vatican ambassador, or nuncio — who serves as a personal envoy of the pope — has been accused of sexual abuse of minors. It has sent shock waves through the Vatican and two predominantly Catholic countries that have only begun to grapple with clergy sexual abuse: the Dominican Republic and Poland, where Mr. Wesolowski was ordained by the Polish prelate who later became Pope John Paul II….

Mr. Wesolowski has already faced the harshest penalty possible under the church’s canon law, short of excommunication: on June 27, he was defrocked by the Vatican, reducing him to the status of a layman. The Vatican, which as a city-state has its own judicial system, has also said it intends to try Mr. Wesolowski on criminal charges — the first time the Vatican has held a criminal trial for sexual abuse.

But far from settling the matter, the Vatican has stirred an outcry because it helped Mr. Wesolowski avoid criminal prosecution and a possible jail sentence in the Dominican Republic. Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic….

A Dominican bishop, Victor Masalles, visiting Rome in late June, said in a Twitter message that he was surprised to see Mr. Wesolowski “strolling the Via della Scrofa,” in the city’s picturesque ancient center. He added, “The silence of the Church has hurt the people of God.”….

Mr. Wesolowski, 66, was ordained at 23 in Krakow by Archbishop Karol Józef Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II. In 1999, he was appointed papal nuncio to Bolivia, and in 2002, he was reassigned to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan….

Neither the cardinal, nor other church officials, reported the allegations to the local authorities, Dominican officials say. Vatican guidelines say that criminal sexual abuse accusations should be reported in countries where reporting is required….

The case has reverberated in Poland, where prosecutors have sought to extradite Mr. Wesolowski, who holds both Vatican and Polish citizenship. Poland has indicted another Polish priest, the Rev. Wojciech Gil, who fled the Dominican Republic last year amid allegations that he abused altar boys in his rural parish. Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic say that Father Gil and Mr. Wesolowski spent time with young boys at the nuncio’s beach house….
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/world/americas/whisked-away-vatican-ambassador-accused-of-sexual-abuse-of-minors.html

Polish archbishop appeals defrocking for sexual abuse: Vatican
VATICAN CITY Mon Aug 25, 2014
(Reuters) – A Polish archbishop accused of child sex abuse in the Dominican Republic has appealed against a Roman Catholic tribunal’s decision to defrock him, the Vatican said on Monday.

Jozef Wesolowski, who had served as a Vatican nuncio or ambassador to the Caribbean nation, was sentenced in late June to be expelled from the priesthood, an extremely rare step against such a senior church official.

“Former nuncio Josef Wesolowski has recently appealed, within the prescribed limit of two months, against the most serious canonical sentence, that of a return to the lay state, which has been imposed upon him,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement….

If found guilty in a criminal trial, Wesolowski could risk extradition to the Dominican Republic, which has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case….
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/25/us-vatican-abuse-archbishop-idUSKBN0GP1QG20140825

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