Archive for June, 2017
Pope Francis greets Cardinal George Pell at the Vatican
Last December, Pope Francis wrote a letter to bishops around the world, lamenting the pain his church has caused sexually abused children.
“It is a sin that shames us,” the Pope said. “The sin of what happened, the sin of failing to help, the sin of covering up and denial, the sin of the abuse of power.” He pledged to take “all necessary measures” to assure that “these atrocities” never again occur in the church, where there would be “zero tolerance” of anyone who hurts children.
That’s the kind of straight talk Catholics expected when the College of Cardinals elected Francis in 2013. He was an outsider, had never worked in Rome and earned a reputation as incorruptible while serving as an archbishop in Argentina.
But as the sexual abuse crisis continues to swirl around his church, Francis’ promises have run into a brick wall of Vatican opposition. His plan for a tribunal to try bishops accused of covering up abuse was scotched. The two abuse survivors appointed to his commission to protect children have quit or been placed on a leave of absence after battling church officials. And now his commitment to take action faces its biggest test, after one of his top advisers, Cardinal George Pell, was charged with sexual assault in his native Australia on Wednesday.
The accusations against Pell set two of Francis’ chief aims at odds. While he has pledged to punish officials complicit in sexual abuse, he is also loath to believe “gossip,” as he calls it, and quick to offer mercy to sinners, especially those with whom he has close ties.
“He has a blind spot when it comes to people close to him,” said John Thavis, author of “The Vatican Diaries” and former Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service. “I think he has a wide tolerance for people who are advising him, and sometimes that gets him into trouble.”
Lloyd Haughton, child rapist
June 29, 2017
SANFORD, Fla. – A rabbi accused of molesting and impregnating a 15-year-old girl has been arrested, the Sanford Police Department said.
Investigators arrested Lloyd Haughton, 41, on charges of sexual assault on a minor living in the custody of Haughton.
The Sanford Police Department said it was notified on March 31 by the 15-year-old girl that Haughton had been molesting her for the past two years.
The victim told police Haughton had inappropriately touched her breast and genital area, police said. Haughton was questioned by investigators and denied all allegations.
Police said investigators were notified April 25 by the girl’s mother that the girl was pregnant, and Haughton was the father.
Investigators were notified on Wednesday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that test results concluded that Haughton was the biological father of the fetus, police said.
Haughton was arrested Wednesday. Police said he was charged with sexual battery by a custodian/victim under 18 years of age.
Haughton was a local rabbi and affiliated with the Synagogue Beth Israel at 301 S. Maple Ave. for about seven years, police said.
“Immediately upon hearing the news, Lloyd Haughton was released of his duties and is no longer affiliated with Synagogue Beth Israel. This is very sad, and time is needed for us to heal from the entire matter. I’m sure you’ll understand,” Synagogue Beth Israel said in a statement.
Because of Haughton’s position, he spent a lot of time with youth in the community, Sanford police public information Officer Bianca Gillett said. Police are asking anyone that has any information about possible incidents that could be similar in nature to contact the Sanford police.
“At a minimum, have some conversations with your children, and make sure there isn’t a need to contact us for anything,” Gillett said.
Sanford police Chief Cecil Smith also issued a statement about the arrest.
“It is always disheartening when people in positions of authority violate and abuse the trust that is bestowed upon them,” Smith said. “I hope the congregation and community can come together to heal and repair the trust that has been shattered.”
Haughton denied all of the allegations, police said.
During a first appearance Thursday, a judge denied bail for Haughton.
Australia’s Most Senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, Charged With Multiple Sex Offences, Including Child Rape And Buggery
Not surprisingly Pell was instrumental in obstructing investigations into sex abuse charges against many priests in Australia.
June 29, 2017
Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton confirmed in a brief press conference that Cardinal Pell had been issued with multiple charges relating to historic sexual abuse allegations.
The charges were served on Cardinal Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne on Thursday, Mr Patton said.
Mr Patton said there had been a lot of speculation about the process that has been involved in the investigation of Cardinal Pell.
“The process and procedures that are being followed in the charging of Cardinal Pell have been the same that have been applied in a whole range of historical sex offences, whenever we investigate them,” he said.
“Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else in this investigation.”
Police did not take any questions during the press conference and did not detail what the allegations were.
Mr Patton said it was important that due process was followed.
“Preserving the integrity of that process is essential to us all and so for Victoria Police, it is important that it is allowed to go through unhindered and allowed to see natural justice is afforded to all the parties involved, including Cardinal Pell and the complainants in this matter,” he said.
All was quiet at Cardinal Pell’s Roman residence as the news broke.
He lives in a block of apartments on a square just outside the Vatican walls, metres from St Peter’s Square, and a minute’s walk from the doors to the Basilica.
Security is tight in this part of Rome – an army jeep with two alert, armed soldiers sits on the corner of the square, another on the other side of the wall – and the police presence in this part of the city is constant.
But there are no lights on in the building and the city was quiet in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Thursday is a public holiday in Rome – the fiesta of St Peter and St Paul. It’s a day when many natives traditionally head to the beach.
But despite the apparent peace in Rome, the announcement is set to send shockwaves through the Catholic Church in Australia and around the world.
Cardinal Pell is the third most senior Catholic at the Vatican, where he is responsible for the church’s finances.
The charges are likely to force Cardinal Pell to step aside from his Vatican post while he fights the charges.
He has retained leading Victorian criminal barrister, Robert Richter QC, and it is likely some of the argument that Mr Richter will make in court will concern the question of whether Cardinal Pell can receive a fair trial given the large amount of pre-trial publicity.
The precise details of the charges are not known.
However, a legal source told Fairfax Media that the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions, John Champion, has been assessing whether Cardinal Pell should face charges of rape, buggery or indecent assault.
As Australia has no extradition treaty with the Vatican, Cardinal Pell may avoid prosecution should he choose not to return to Victoria, but he is expected to come back to fight the charges.
Three detectives from Victoria Police’s Sano Taskforce travelled to Rome to interview Cardinal Pell about the allegations last year.
He has repeatedly and emphatically denied all allegations, but said he would continue to co-operate with the police investigation.
Cardinal Pell was a priest in Ballarat before becoming Archbishop of Melbourne and then being appointed as a Cardinal.
The Catholic archdiocese in Melbourne has been contacted for comment.
Erik Hughes, child molester
June 26, 2017
MAPLETON, Utah — Officers with the Mapleton Police Department arrested a man Wednesday on reports of sexually abusing two underage boys.
Erik Hughes, a former bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was taken into custody after a now 18-year-old man came forward and reported past sexual abuse.
The abuse was alleged to have taken place around three years ago while Hughes was the young man’s bishop.
According to the man, Hughes seemed very friendly at first and provided him with what he thought was melatonin to help him sleep.
However, the victim said the pills left him feeling disoriented and Hughes told him he must have given him the wrong medication.
On another occasion, Hughes reportedly gave the victim a bitter-tasting smoothie.
After drinking it he said he felt woozy and disoriented, the same way he did after taking the pills.
The victim reported Hughes helped him to bed, where he remembers Hughes touching him inappropriately.
The victim described waking up and discovering his underwear had been removed and Hughes was again inappropriately touching him.
A second victim has also come forward with an account from five years ago when he was around 17 years old.
The second victim stated Hughes touched him inappropriately between 30 and 50 times.
Hughes would allegedly demand nude photos of him and would send him nude photos in exchange.
Whether or not photos were exchanged is still unknown.
Hughes also drugged the second man and sexually abused him in a hotel room, police reports state.
According to the second man, Hughes contacted him within the last month and told him he was being “falsely accused” of a crime by the first victim.
Hughes allegedly asked the second victim several questions related to the sexual abuse and asked how he would respond if police asked those same questions.
The LDS church has been in contact with the Utah County Attorney’s office.
June 22, 2017
COIMBATORE: A Roman Catholic priest has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing and murdering a college student in Kerala’s Palakkad district.
Four other clergymen, including a bishop — who had conducted an internal inquiry and found the priest guilty but failed to inform the police — were arrested for allegedly covering up the case.
Back in July 2013, the 18 year-old woman was found dead at the home of Fr Arockiyaraj, whom she knew well since he attended his spiritual discourses.
The family — residents of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore, an hour’s journey from the state border — alleged that he had taken her home in their absence.
4 other clergymen, including a bishop — who had conducted internal inquiry and found the priest guilty.
Still, the police said it was a case of suicide. But 18 months later, in 2014, the woman’s mother found a suicide note among her possessions at home.
The police, which has now filed a murder case, say the 37-year-old priest had sexually abused the girl for more than two years before murdering her.
The death of the girl and the subsequent arrests came as a huge embarrassment for the church. Not long ago, another Catholic priest from Tamil Nadu was convicted for child sexual abuse in the US.
The church authorities at the Coimbatore Diocese refused to speak on record.
June 19, 2017
Jesse Lee Peterson, what the fuck?!?!?
A right-wing radio host dismissed the prayers Democrats offered after last week’s shooting during a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
“Why would you want to pray with the children of Satan?” Jesse Lee Peterson said in comments posted online by Right Wing Watch. “They serve a different God than you. That’s reality.”
Last week’s attack left six people injured, including two lawmakers. One of those wounded, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), remains hospitalized after multiple surgeries and was upgraded from “critical” to “serious” condition over the weekend.
The gunman died.
The violence led to numerous displays of unity among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including shared prayers. But Peterson said Republicans shouldn’t join them.
“What are the Democrats praying for? The Democrats are not of God,” Peterson said. “All of a sudden when Scalise gets shot, when they hear about the shooting, all the children of Satan are going to come together and pray? Please!”
In the past, Peterson, who is black, has said he would like to “take all black people back to the South and put them on the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working.” He also said that giving women the right to vote was “one of the greatest mistakes America made.” His self-titled radio show has featured interviews with other divisive right-wing figures, including Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke and Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Over the years, Patterson has also been a guest on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News as well as Hannity’s radio program, where he once claimed that there was no such thing as racism. Hannity, it should be noted, disputed that.
Mohammad Masroor, child rapist and ‘family guy’
June 17, 2017
Toronto police have released the identity of a Toronto-based imam arrested in connection with an ongoing sex assault investigation that may have involved victims from outside the country.
Police said the suspect has worked and taught at the Baitul Mukarram Isalmic Society on Danforth Avenue in Toronto since 2008. The imam also worked in Florida, Michigan and Bangladesh among other locations.
Masroor faces 13 charges in relation to alleged offences committed between Nov. 1 2008 and July 28, 2011.
“We believe there are other victims as Mohammad Masroor has lived and worked worldwide,” Const. Karen Armstrong said Wednesday morning.
Armstrong said that Masroor “is a person who is seen as a leader in the community and in a position of trust.”
Police said the investigation currently involves five victims, but anyone else with information is asked to contact investigators. According to the allegations, Masroor conducted classes out of his homes in Florida, Michigan and Bangladesh.
He has also travelled through France, Germany, Singapore and Hungary, among other countries, CTV Toronto’s Tamara Cherry reported.
On Wednesday, community members celebrating Ramadan and heading into the Danforth mosque were shocked to hear of the charges.
“I’m really surprised to hear this thing,” said Abdul Chowdhury. “We’re not expecting to hear this complaint about him.”
Parent Shabin Coudhury said that his son was a student of Masroor and received lessons about the Qur’an three times per week.
Masroor also lead prayer services, shared messages of goodwill and peace and just last week, he was in Calgary on a spiritual journey and attending seminars on how to become a better Muslim.
We’ve got some advice on how he could at least be a better human being – STOP RAPING CHILDREN!
Mohammed Bellal Hossain, another local community member, said that Masroor is a well-respected imam with a reputation as a good teacher.
“Easy to approach, friendly, jokes around with everyone. He has kids of his own, he has like three kids, so he’s a family guy,” said Hossain.
Franklin L. Fountain, the art of the steal
June 15, 2017
The longtime pastor of an inner-city Connecticut church was busted for allegedly selling the $1.5 million house of worship to himself — for $1.
Bishop Franklin L. Fountain, head of the Fountain of Youth Cathedral in Bridgeport, was charged with first-degree larceny and second-degree forgery after he altered a deed and then sold the property to himself without the board of directors’ OK, the Connecticut Post reported.
Cops said they got a complaint from the board, Fountain’s younger brother James Fountain and his uncle Donald Fountain about the theft and charged Bishop Fountain after an investigation.
Franklin Fountain, 55, a leading member of one of the city’s most prominent African-American families, rejected the charge.
“Isn’t this all ridiculous,” he told the paper after he left Superior Court after being released without bail.
“I am the pastor and I deserve respect (really?) and I expect that this will all be worked out.”
He could face more than 20 years behind bars if convicted.
His lawyer, Erroll Skyers, declined immediate comment.
Franklin Fountain took over as pastor of the church after his father, Franklin D. Fountain, died in 2005.
He may not be smart but the man has balls.
June 13, 2017
Dramatic scenes played out at the Port Elizabeth Airport yesterday when a popular Durban televangelist at the centre of sex-abuse claims was handcuffed in the restroom and arrested for human trafficking minutes after his flight landed.
Shortly before that, an argument broke out between his newly appointed legal team and four Hawks officials, who were ordering around eight heavily armed Tactical Response Team (TRT) officers.
Omotoso is accused of abusing over 30 young girls in South Africa.
Hawks spokesman Lieutenant- Colonel Robert Netshiunda said the pastor, Timothy Omotoso, 58, had been charged with human trafficking and would appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court today. “There is a possibility of us adding more charges,” he said.
He said Omotoso had allegedly trafficked women and girls from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga Rocks, Kwa- Zulu-Natal, where they were sexually exploited.
The Nigerian televangelist is a senior pastor of Jesus Dominion International, whose headquar ters are in Durban, with a Port Elizabeth branch in Govan Mbeki Avenue.
Social media has been abuzz with the claims against the widely celebrated pastor after a television feature on Monday, in which the allegations were made by a number of women who have had contact with him during his ministerial work.
Omotoso, who arrived on a 3pm flight from Durban, is being represented by Port Elizabeth attorney Alwyn Griebenow and Advocate Terry Price SC.
An enraged Price was heard yelling at the Hawks officials just outside the arrivals terminal gate at the airport: “You will not arrest him here without a warrant.”
But a Hawks official, who refused to give his name, said they were merely following instructions. Griebenow said: “We had an agreement [with the Hawks] to bring the pastor to [our] office.”
Within minutes of the first passengers disembarking, police rushed on to the tarmac. But Omotoso was seen walking into the toilets minutes earlier, accompanied by a woman.
When the TRT officers ran through the arrivals gate, Price said: “Film this, film this. I want all this covered. “We had an agreement to meet the captain.
According to his lawyer, Prophet Omotoso is thinking of killing himself,
If he does kill himself, which we encourage him to do, his church will have to apply as a ‘non-prophet’ organization.
June 13, 2017
AUSTIN – An East Austin pastor has been arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Ruben Garcia, 59, is an associate pastor at the Betania Baptist Church located on Tillery Street.
An arrest warrant was issued for him after he was investigated by the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office in Corpus Christi in late 2015. According to a document, Garcia sexually assaulted a child on Christmas Day of 2015.
Merry Christmas, little girl. Look was Santa Claus has for you.
An additional warrant was issued for Garcia based on an investigation undertaken in early 2016. That warrant charges him with two counts of sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child by sexual contact for offenses that allegedly happened on Feb. 15, 2016.
He was arrested at a residence in Buda.
He is currently in jail with a bond set at $300,000.
June 13, 2017
MENLO PARK (CBS SF) — The pastor of a Menlo Park church was arrested Thursday on suspicion sexual assault against minors and adults, according to police.
Victor Elizandro Tax-Gomez, a 47-year-old resident of East Palo Alto, was taken in to the police department for an interview after several victims reported him for committing inappropriate sexual acts, according to police.
After the interview, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual penetration with a foreign object of a juvenile, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an adult, lewd acts with a child under 14, lewd acts with a child under 15 and meeting with a minor with the intent to commit a lewd act.
Tax-Gomez is a pastor at a church in the 1300 block of Chilco Street where his congregation rents space from another house of worship.
First of all, religion is like a penis. It’s fine that you have one, it’s fine that you’re proud of it – but don’t start showing it off in public.
Second of all, religion is
Imagine I said that my invisible friend tells me to cut off a piece of my newborn child because it says so in the Silmarillion. That child would be taken away by Child Protective Services.
Imagine I pointed to Jabba the Hutt’s slave girls and said THIS is proof that a man has a right to own his wife as if she was property.
Religion is pure and simple collective insanity. Religious wars are akin to a toddler tantrum over WHOSE invisible friend is the BEST (only) invisible friend.
Freedom of religion should extend to within your own four walls, not a step beyond them. In the public space it should be freedom FROM religion.