Please contact your local PA House legislator and ask him/her to support Rep. Mark Rozzi's proposed amendments to Senate Bill 681 which the full PA House will be voting on very soon possibly in the next day or so.
A. How to find your legislator: Find Your Legislator
B. Bullet points we suggest you use in your communication with him/her:
FYI: Letter we sent to all legislators today. It has a bit more detail about the proposed legislation.
December 9, 2013
Dear Legislator:Read more...
BY JUDY L. THOMAS, The Kansas City Star
Kanakuk Kamps, a Branson-based Christian sports camp network that draws thousands of youths every summer — many from the Kansas City area — is facing two lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by a former director.
One lawsuit, filed in Taney County, alleges former director Peter D. Newman molested a teen from 2000 to 2005, beginning when the boy was 13. The second case, filed in federal court in Dallas, alleges Newman sexually abused a camper from 2001 through 2007, beginning when the boy was 10. Two similar lawsuits, both filed in 2011, were settled this year.
Newman is serving a lengthy prison sentence for sexually abusing numerous boys during the decade that he held a supervisory position at the camp.
The lawsuits allege camp officials knew about the man's troubling behavior, including swimming and riding four-wheelers in the nude with campers, but failed to remove him or keep him away from children.Read more...
Kevin Johnson USA Today
6:10 PM, Nov 30, 2013
HARRISBURG, PA. — The legacy of Jerry Sandusky's conviction last year on 45 counts of child sex abuse is reaching beyond the prison cell where the former Penn State University assistant football coach is likely to spend the rest of his life.
State authorities have arrested 106 suspected predators involved in the distribution of child pornography and sexual abuse so far this year, more than five times the number from 2012.
The numbers, Attorney General Kathleen Kane said, are a reflection of the state's investment in a new investigative unit created in the aftermath of a scandal that continues to reverberate across the state.
"It shouldn't take an embarrassment on the commonwealth to shame us into taking care of our kids," Kane said.Read more...
December 3, 2013
After decades of silence, George Harriger is speaking out for justice.
"I've left a predator on the streets," said Harriger.
The predator in question, he says is his own father, Roy Harriger who now faces sexual assault charges after several alleged victims, all family members have a come forward, including George himself.
Roy Harriger is the pastor at this Community Fellowship Church in the Town of Hartland and was arrested on November 27 but one day later was bailed out of jail.
This past Sunday, Roy Harriger was in attendance for worship at Community Fellowship Church.
More than just the felony sexual conduct, incest and sodomy charges Roy Harriger is facing, at least 10 other alleged victims have come forward in Michigan and Pennsylvania with abuse claims dating back to 1974.
The pastor is due back in court Wednesday.
By Kendra Eaglin, WKBW
December 1, 2013
The parking lot of the Community Fellowship Church in the Town of Hartland was packed Sunday.
One the worshipers attending service was the reverend of the church, 70 year old Roy Harriger Sr. That may not seem unusual except that Harriger is accused of sexually assaulting two children and is fresh out of the Orleans County Jail after being bailed out by members of the community Thursday.
The news spread fast in the small town and angered one resident who didn't want to be identified.
"I think that it is just absolutely outrageous that people around here who have children with children could possibly support this kind of monster," the man said.
Harriger was arrested Wednesday on felony sexual conduct, incest and sodomy charges stemming from incidents in 2000 and 2001.
His victims were reportedly his son and daughter who were between 7 and 9 years old. Harriger's legal troubles don't end here, at least 10 other victims have come forward in Michigan and Pennsylvania with abuse claims dating back to 1974.
Despite this news, members of the church heading in to service Sunday told us they support their pastor 100 percent.
Harriger will be back in front of a judge on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
BLUE BELL The Montgomery County child advocacy agency plans to use a $10,000 grant to train domestic violence medical advocates and emergency room personnel to spot signs of child sexual abuse.
On Thursday, Mission Kids, a nonprofit group that makes the process of investigating child sexual-abuse allegations easier for youngsters, will celebrate a $10,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, Mission Kids said in a statement.
Using a program called Darkness to Light, the nonprofit already trains some professionals who might interact with children to identify the emotional and behavioral signs of sexual abuse. The Verizon grant will allow Mission Kids to reach medical advocates from the Women's Center of Montgomery County, a domestic violence agency, who are assigned to work in emergency rooms, said Abbie R. Newman, executive director of Mission Kids, on Tuesday.
"The only way to stop child abuse and prevent it is to really teach adults about what child sex-abuse is, what to look for, its unfortunate prevalence in our society, and the long-term effects of child sexual abuse that is not treated," she said.
- Carolyn Davis
Grenville Cross says judges and courts cannot afford to ignore sentencing instructions
South China Morning Post
Tuesday, 03 December, 2013
"And where the offence is," said William Shakespeare, "let the great axe fall." Sentencing guidelines can prevent crime by providing deterrent penalties for offenders and promoting transparency. They also ensure overall consistency between different courts.
Sometimes the courts are required to mete out severe penalties for particular crimes. Although the legislature prescribes the maximum penalty for an offence, the appeal courts promulgate guideline and tariff judgments for some offences, such as burglary and corruption. Trial judges are expected to follow the guidelines, and they have generally worked well, both in Hong Kong and elsewhere.
In 2005, the Supreme People's Court issued its second Judicial Reform Plan, designed to improve judicial procedure and efficiency. It required each offender to be appropriately punished, and the utility of sentencing guidelines was acknowledged.Read more...
Bill Hudson, WCCO, CBS Minneapolis
December 2, 2013
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A Ramsey County Judge has ordered the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to reveal the names of 33 members of the clergy who allegedly abused children.
Monday's court order is a major victory for those challenging the Catholic Church to come clean on the scandal that has plagued the Archdiocese and haunted abuse survivors.
Judge John Van De North is giving the church until Dec. 17 to reveal the names and locations of the 33 accused priests. After Monday's hearing, lawyers for the Archdiocese say the names will likely be released later this week.
Lawyers and advocates for the abused have been seeking this disclosure for nearly 30 years. St. Paul attorney Jeffrey Anderson says it will protect children from further harm and allow those who've been abused to come forward.Read more...
The Vatican has refused to provide information requested by the United Nations on the alleged sexual abuse of children by priests, nuns or monks.
The Vatican said the cases were the responsibility of the judicial systems of countries where abuse took place.
The UK National Secular Society accused the Vatican of hiding behind legal technicalities.
On his appointment in March, Pope Francis said dealing with sex abuse was vital for the Church's credibility.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child put a wide-ranging questionnaire to the Holy See - the city state's diplomatic entity - last July, asking for detailed information about the particulars of all sexual abuse cases notified to the Vatican since 1995.Read more...
By Paul Thornton, LA Times
December 3, 2013
During the Roman Catholic Church's decades-long sex abuse crisis, then-Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Mahony went to great lengths to keep law enforcement uninvolved. Instead of handing priests accused of abuse over to police, he would send them to therapists he knew could keep a secret or to faraway rehab programs. Under his watch, the church discouraged abuse victims from talking to authorities.
That's according to The Times' two-part series Sunday and Monday on the 23,000 pages of documents ordered released by the courts that detail Mahony's efforts to keep accusations of abuse in the Los Angeles Archdiocese from erupting into a public scandal. The stories portray Mahony, who retired as archbishop in 2011, as a politically active prelate whose behind-the-scenes maneuvering to cover up the abuse stands in stark contrast to the image of social consciousness he projected in public.Read more...
NOTRE DAME MAGAZINE PUBLISHES ARTICLE BY FACSA PREZ, JOHN SALVESON
We are excited that Notre Dame Magazine has just published a great article "I Was Once a Victim Too" authored by our president, John Salveson. His story and his 30 + year journey is honest and compelling. We are grateful for Notre Dame Magazine, for continuing to provide a venue for all opinions and experiences related to this issue. Article is posted online HERE. Please read online if you would like to comment on the article. (Full text of article below.)
John Salveson '77, '78 M.A., Notre Dame Magazine, Summer 2013
Sitting in Courtroom 304 of the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center last summer, I couldn't take my eyes off of the defendant, Monsignor William Lynn. Lynn was secretary of clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 until 2004 and was on trial for two counts of child endangerment and one count of conspiracy.
The witness on the stand was Detective Joseph Walsh, a 35-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department who had spent the last decade of his career investigating one of the largest child sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. He held a pile of confidential church records. Many, written in the monsignor's own hand, revealed that Lynn had lied or misled others about the misconduct of a sexually abusive priest in his archdiocese - and ultimately had failed to protect children. As the detective read, the monsignor, red-faced, dropped his head and slowly shook it back and forth.
A few weeks later, on a sweltering summer day, I heard the news that Monsignor Lynn had been convicted of one count of child endangerment. It was the first time an American priest of the Roman Catholic Church had been convicted of a crime for covering up the sexual abuse perpetrated by a fellow priest. It was truly historic.Read more...
Mon Oct 28, 2013
(Reuters) - Penn State has settled the bulk of claims by child sex abuse victims of Jerry Sandusky in a major step to move beyond a scandal that cost millions and upended a once legendary football program, the university said on Monday.
The university has agreed to pay $59.7 million to 26 men in the wake of the Sandusky's conviction in June 2012 for abuse, Penn State said on its website. Claims from six other men who said the former assistant football coach abused them as children have been rejected or may result in possible settlements, the school said.
"We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State," University President Rodney Erickson said in a statement.
"We cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure it never happens again at Penn State," he added.Read more...
Mary Young, columnist, Reading Eagle
There should be no law limiting the length of time that adults who were victims of sexual abuse as children can file civil suits against their abusers or the institutions that employed them.
Spring Township attorney Jay Abramowitch is emphatic about that. Maybe even fanatical. He has handled numerous cases filed against priests and their dioceses.
If legislators won't change the law to eliminate the statute of limitations, which currently requires victims to file suits before they reach age 30, then a proposal championed by state Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Muhlenberg Township Democrat, is the next best thing, Abramowitch said.
The proposal, as outlined in last week's column, would raise the age to 50 and open a two-year window for victims to refile cases previously thrown out of court because the statute of limitations had expired.
Change is needed because most victims don't come forward until later in life, said Rozzi, who alleges he was abused by a priest when he was 13.
The proposal has been hung up in the House Judiciary Committee since it was introduced in January. Chairman Ron Marisco, a Dauphin County Republican, has said he won't allow a vote because the proposed legislation is unconstitutional. Abramowitch doesn't buy that.Read more...
Mary Young, cploumnist, Reading Eagle Press
State Rep. Mark Rozzi said he was talking to a group after a taxpayer rally in Harrisburg last month when someone asked him what else he was up to.
He told them about legislation he is co-sponsoring to raise the statute of limitations on the filing of civil suits in cases of child sexual abuse.
Afterward, one woman stayed behind and began crying.
Rozzi recalled her words: "Mark, I'm 75 years old. I was raped and abused by my uncle when I was 15. It was 60 years ago, and I have never forgotten one thing. I never told anybody."
"We cannot forget," said Rozzi, who alleges he was abused by a priest when he was 13. "It's in your mind every single day."
The legislation would allow adult victims of child sexual abuse to file civil suits against their abusers or the institutions that employed the abusers until the victims are age 50. The current age is 30. The legislation also would open a two-year window for victims to re-file cases thrown out of court because the statute of limitations had expired.Read more...
ABC 7 Chicago, IL
August 5, 2013 (WHEATON, Ill.) -- A former Wheaton College professor who has written books on children's spirituality pleaded guilty Monday to having child pornography on his home computer.
When he was arrested last year, Donald Ratcliff had on his computer at least 500 pornographic images of children -- some of whom appeared to be younger than 13 years old, DuPage County prosecutors said during his brief court hearing.
Ratcliff told police after his 2012 arrest that he sporadically had been seeing a counselor because of his interest in child pornography, prosecutors said.
The plea means the 61-year-old Ratcliff faces a possible seven-year prison term when he is sentenced later this year, though he also is eligible for probation, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
As part of his plea deal, prosecutors dropped nine other felony counts -- including six of aggravated child pornography that would have made Ratcliff eligible for a 49-year prison term.
Carol Stream police arrested Ratcliff in March 2012 after an investigation traced Internet files containing child pornography to computers in his home.
Police searching his house seized six computers and found the child pornography, Assistant State's Attorney Louisa Nuckolls said Monday.
Ratcliff admitted periodically downloading pornographic pictures and videos of children but told investigators he wasn't addicted to viewing the images, Nuckolls said.
"He felt he had a problem, not an addiction," Nuckolls said, quoting what Ratcliff told authorities.
He said little during his hearing, but quietly responded "guilty" when Judge John Kinsella asked him to enter a plea.
At the time of his arrest, Ratcliff taught Christian education at the suburban religious college famed for being the alma mater of evangelist Billy Graham.
He also had written 10 books on children's spirituality.
The college fired Ratcliff shortly after he was charged and his wife quickly divorced him.
Through his attorney, Ratcliff declined to comment on the guilty plea.
He remains free on bail until his Oct. 9 sentencing.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2013.)Read more...