February 24, 2020
PARIS (AP) — A respected Catholic figure who worked to improve conditions for the developmentally disabled for more than half a century sexually abused at least six women during most of that period, according to a report released Saturday by the France-based charity he founded.
The report produced for L’Arche International said the women’s descriptions provided enough evidence to show that Jean Vanier engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” from 1970 to 2005, usually with a “psychological hold” over the alleged victims.
Although he was a layman and not a priest, many Catholics hailed Vanier, who was Canadian, as a living saint for his work with the disabled. He died last year at age 90.
“The alleged victims felt deprived of their free will and so the sexual activity was coerced or took place under coercive conditions,” the report,commissioned by L’Arche last year and prepared by the U.K.-based GCPS Consulting group, said. It did not rule out potential other victims.
None of the women was disabled, a significant point given the Catholic hierarchy has long sought to portray any sexual relationship between religious leaders and other adults as consensual unless there was clear evidence of disability.
The #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements, however, have forced a recognition that power imbalances such as those in spiritual relationships can breed abuse.
During the charity-commissioned inquiry, six adult women without links to each other said Vanier engaged in sexual relations with them as they were seeking spiritual direction.
The women reported similar facts, and Vanier’s sexual misconduct was often associated with alleged “spiritual and mystical justifications,” the report states.
A statement released by L’Arche France Saturday stressed that some women still have “deep wounds.”
The report noted similarities with the pattern of abuse of the Rev. Thomas Philippe, a Catholic priest Vanier called his “spiritual father.” Philippe, who died in 1993, has
June 15, 2019
(CNN)Authorities in Tennessee are reviewing all pending cases involving a Knox County Sheriff’s Office detective after he gave a sermon at his church that called for the government to execute members of the LGBTQ community.
We think this guy is a short hop from sucking dicks in public toilets.
“They are worthy of death,” Grayson Fritts said in a June 2 sermon at All Scripture Baptist Church, a small church in Knoxville that he leads.
The church posted the sermon online and then removed it, according to The Washington Post. The video was picked up by the Tennessee Holler, an independent liberal news outlet, and edited into a six-minute clip.
“God has instilled the power of civil government to send the police in 2019 out to the LGBT freaks and arrest them and have a trial for them, and if they are convicted, then they are to be put to death,” he said in the clip.
Fritts said it would be easy to find people to arrest at events such as gay pride parades.
“We have a bunch of them we’re going to get convicted because they have all their pride junk on, and they’re professing what they are, that they’re a filthy animal,” he said.
CNN has not been able to reach Fritts for comment. Speaking to journalists before giving a sermon last Wednesday, Fritts said his anti-LGBTQ beliefs have not interfered with his work as a law enforcement officer.
“It’s totally separate, because if I’m employed by the sheriff’s office, then if they came into the sheriff’s office, obviously they’re allowed there,” he said, according to WATE. “You understand what I’m saying? This. I am over this. I am the head of this church. I say who comes and goes. Those people are not permitted to join, those people are not permitted to attend.”
August 23, 2017
William Aitcheson, a priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, announced his leave of absence in an editorial for the Arlington Catholic Herald.
“When I think back on burning crosses, a threatening letter, and so on, I feel as though I am speaking of somebody else,” he wrote. “It’s hard to believe that was me.”
The 62-year-old said he had joined the Klan as an “impressionable young man” who was “in no way practising my faith”.
According to the Washington Post, Mr Aitcheson was a leader of the Robert E Lee Lodge of the Maryland Knights of the KKK in the 1970s.
The group, which boasted about a dozen members, was allegedly planning to bomb the homes of black people and the offices of the NAACP in Prince George’s, Maryland.
Police officers who searched Mr Aitcheson’s home at the time found nine pounds of black powder, weapons and bomb parts.
“While 40 years have passed, I must say this: I’m sorry,” Mr Aitcheson wrote. “To anyone who has been subjected to racism or bigotry, I am sorry. I have no excuse, but I hope you will forgive me.”
No, we will not forgive you. You have been and probably still are a vile, racist pig. Pricks like you rarely change.
Mr Aitcheson credited his change of heart to “a lot of soul searching” and a return to Catholicism. He was ordained in 1988 and served at churches in Nevada, Maryland, and Virginia, according to church officials. He most recently worked as an assistant to the pastor at St Leo the Great in Fairfax City.
“We must condemn, at every opportunity, the hatred and vile beliefs of the KKK and other white supremacist organisations,” he wrote on Monday. “What they believe directly contradicts what we believe as Americans and what we, as Catholics, hold dear.”
The priest’s admission comes on the heels of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where members of the KKK and other hate groups rallied to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. Three people were killed and dozens were injured in connection with the event.
Mr Aitcheson said the rally reminded him of his time in the KKK – a time he would have preferred to forget. But he warned readers against erasing past mistakes from their memories.
“[W]hile I firmly believe God forgave me — as he forgives anyone who repents and asks for forgiveness — forgetting what I did would be a mistake,” he wrote. “Those ‘mistakes’ have emboldened me in my journey to follow the God who yearns to give us his grace and redemption.”
You made a ‘mistake’? Wearing mismatched socks is a mistake. Joining the KKK and planning to blow up people and buildings is something entirely different. It’s terrorism.