Archive for April, 2019

Pope during Easter vigil: Reject the ‘glitter of wealth’

April 22, 2019

Could anything be more ironic? The pope, the master of bling, telling people to reject glitter. We here at fuckthepope.com are laughing our collective asses off.

Image result for vatican gold

“Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but leaves behind only solitude and death,” the pope said.

London pastor arrested for sexual assault of 12 congregants

April 21, 2019

Just hours before Good Friday is celebrated in churches across the country, a prominent East London pastor has been arrested for 12 counts of sexual assault.

The pastor, who cannot be named until his first appearance in court, was arrested at his East London home on Thursday afternoon.

Police spokeswoman Captain Hazel Mqala confirmed the arrest. Mqala said a number of female congregants from the 40-year-old pastor’s church had opened cases against him.

“He will remain in police custody in Fleet Street until his appearance at the East London magistrate’s court on Tuesday,” said Mqala.

This is a developing story.

We will post the pastor’s name and photo when they are available.

Minister at secretive North Carolina church is sentenced to 34 months prison for running unemployment fraud scheme dubbed ‘God’s plan’

April 21, 2019

Word of Faith Fellowship minister Kent Covington has been sentenced to 34 months prison for implementing an unemployment fraud scheme at two of his businesses. He is pictured arriving at court Thursday
  • Word of Faith Fellowship minister Kent Covington has been sentenced to 34 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme 
  • Covington pretended to lay off workers at his businesses and had them collect unemployment benefits to replace paying actual salaries
  • Prosecutors say many of Covington’s employees were Word of Faith Fellowship members and he used his position in the church to force them to comply
  • The scheme resulted in more than $250,000 in fraudulent claims being made between November 2008 and March 2013 

A minister at the secretive Word of Faith Fellowship in North Carolina has been sentenced to 34 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme that was dubbed ‘God’s plan’. 

In 2008, Kent Covington laid off workers at his struggling manufacturing business so that they could collect unemployment benefits. 

However, the employees continued to work at the company and their unemployment checks replaced their actual salaries. 

At Covington’s sentencing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger said that the minister had shown a ‘cynical disregard to the law’ and that his actions ‘undermined the entire unemployment security structure of the state’.

Around 150 of his friends, family and members of his church attended his sentencing, according to WLOS. 

Prosecutors say Covington and his employee, Dianne McKinny, later put the scheme into place at another of his companies – a stone fabrication business by the name of  Integrity Marble & Granite. 

It resulted in more than $250,000 in fraudulent claims made between November 2008 and March 2013, according to the original indictment in the case.

Word of Faith Fellowship leader, Jane Whaley, was named in a court document as someone who ‘promoted’ the scheme.

Calif. Priest Arrested for Thirty Counts of Child Sex Abuse

April 20, 2019

A San Francisco Bay Area priest has been arrested on 30 counts of child sexual abuse, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office announced Sunday.

Fremont priest Rev. Hector David Mendoza-Vela was arrested last week, according to the sheriff’s office and the Diocese of Oakland. He was later booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where he remains in custody.

The alleged abuse involving one child took place over an 18-month period beginning in 2016, according to the sheriff’s office. Mendoza-Vela was working at St. John’s Catholic Church in San Lorenzo at the time before being transferred to Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Fremont.

“While we do not have all the details, the alleged behavior is in clear violation of the Diocese’s code of conduct and the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” Bishop Michael Barber wrote in a letter to parishioners of the Corpus Christi Parish.

Church Membership Has Dropped Sharply Over The Past 2 Decades: Gallup

April 19, 2019

Good.

Americans are increasingly unlikely to become formal members of churches and other religious congregations, a new Gallup report has found.

The number of U.S. adults who officially belong to a church or other religious institution has plummeted from 70% in 1999 to 50% in 2018, according to the study published on Thursday.

The decline in church membership dovetails with a concurrent decline in weekly church attendance. There has also been a well-documented rise in religious “nones” ― people who describe themselves as atheistic, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” The percentage of American adults who say they have no religious preference doubled from 8% in 2000 to about 19% in 2018, according to Gallup.

Even among Americans who say they are part of an organized faith tradition, however, Gallup found that church membership has declined. At the turn of the century, 90% of all U.S. adults were affiliated with a religious group and 73% of those religious people belonged to a church or other faith institution. Currently, about 77 percent of all American adults identify with a religion and only 64 percent of those adults are members of a church or other faith institution. That means roughly 1 out of 4 adults today call themselves religious without being members of a church, synagogue or mosque.

The data suggests to Gallup that Americans’ relationship with organized religion is changing.

“They may not see a need to, or have a desire to, belong to a church and participate in a community of people with similar religious beliefs,” Gallup wrote in its report.

A Gallup chart shows a decline in church membership over the past two decades.

In addition, there’s a significant generational gap in church membership that may continue to persist even as those younger generations grow older. Some 68% of Americans born in 1945 or earlier said they were members of a religious institution, compared to just 42% of millennials. In contrast, 20 years ago, when members of Generation X were around the same age as millennials are today, 62% of them belonged to a religious institution.

Americans’ membership in many types of voluntary organizations has been declining for some time. But R. Marie Griffith, a religion scholar at Washington University in St. Louis who studies American Christianity, said the steep decline in church membership is notable and suggests a “growing disaffection with organized religion, in particular.”

“I think a lot of people do identify loosely with the faith tradition of their youth or their choosing, without feeling as if regular participation in congregational life is necessary,” Griffith told HuffPost in an email. “They might feel ‘culturally Protestant,’ for instance, or tied to the ethical teachings and cultural traditions of a particular religion without wanting to attend services.”

Los Angeles Archdiocese Agrees To Record $8 Million Settlement Over Teen’s Abuse

April 17, 2019

Juan Ivan Barajas of San Gabriel, California, earlier pleaded guilty to felony statutory sexual seduction and was senten

Juan Ivan Barajas,, child rapist

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to an $8 million settlement with a teenager who was sexually abused by a teacher at an all-girls Catholic school in 2016.

The settlement is the largest amount the Los Angeles Archdiocese has ever agreed to pay a single victim of sexual abuse, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday, and possibly the largest per-survivor award ever paid by a U.S. Catholic diocese.

The perpetrator, Juan Ivan Barajas, was an athletic director and health teacher at San Gabriel Mission High School, according to the LA Times. The victim’s lawyers said that Barajas began targeting the girl in April 2016, when she was a 15-year-old freshman. When Barajas’ wife discovered evidence of abuse on his cellphone in July 2016, he kidnapped the teen and took her to Las Vegas.

After five days on the run, Barajas was arrested by police. He later pleaded guilty to felony statutory sexual seduction and was sentenced to six years in prison.

The victim’s lawyers contend that even before Barajas began targeting their client, the high school and the archdiocese had received numerous complaints about his inappropriate behavior with minor female students. Some of those complaints from coaches and parents stretched back to the 2014-2015 school year, the lawyers said.

On Tuesday, the archdiocese said it recognized the “serious harm” done to the teenager and hoped the settlement would allow her to “heal and more forward with her education and lifetime goals.”

“The Archdiocese apologizes for the impact that this caused in her life,” the organization said in a statement sent to HuffPost.

Preschool At D.C. Synagogue Accused Of Enabling ‘Systemic’ Child Sexual Abuse

April 17, 2019

A preschool at a prominent Jewish synagogue in Washington, D.C., enabled sexual abuse against numerous children for years, a new lawsuit filed Monday alleges.

The families of eight children previously enrolled at Washington Hebrew Congregation’s Edlavitch Tyser Early Childhood Center say the preschool and its leader, Deborah “DJ” Schneider Jensen, failed to protect students from a child sexual predator over a two-year period, according to the complaint.

The families allege Jordan Silverman, a teacher at the preschool, subjected numerous children, including their own, to “regular and systemic” sexual abuse beginning in March 2016. The lawsuit alleges the children were between ages 2 and 4 at the time of the abuse.

The 74-count complaint alleges the abuse, perpetrated against both male and female children, included the most “grievous, demeaning and damaging forms of sexual abuse.”

“Mr. Silverman categorically denies engaging in any inappropriate or illegal contact with children at Washington Hebrew Congregation,” his attorney, Shawn Sukumar, told HuffPost. He declined to comment further. Silverman has not been charged with a crime.

Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia confirmed to CNN that an investigation into alleged sexual abuse of children at the school is currently ongoing.

Jensen, head of schools for Washington Hebrew Congregation, hired Silverman to teach at the preschool despite having no professional background in teaching or child care, the complaint alleges. Previously, he worked for 20 years as a photographer in Vermont, before moving to Bethesda, Maryland, according to the lawsuit.

Silverman was often alone with the preschoolers, the lawsuit alleges, even though child development centers in Washington are required to enforce a “two-deep policy,” which requires two adults to be present at all times if one or more children are present.

The policy is “the number one deterrent of children being abused in an institutional setting,” Michael Dolce, the attorney representing the families, told HuffPost. “It’s a very effective way to guard against the unknown abuser.”

But Silverman was “allowed and encouraged” by school administrators to be alone with individual or small groups of children on an almost daily basis, according to the lawsuit.

Dolce would not describe specific aspects of the alleged abuse, citing the ongoing police investigation.

Ex-Pope Benedict blames hippies for clerical sex abuse

April 12, 2019

Former Pope Benedict XVI (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Rellandini)

Really?!? Hippies are to blame? And the abuses prior to the 60s?

Ex-Pope Benedict XVI says the sexual revolution of the 1960s is to answer for child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. The former pope wrote in an essay that “absence of God” was behind acts of pedophilia.

Former Pope Benedict XVI has blamed the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal on the 1960s sexual revolution, growing secularization and weak church laws that protected priests in an essay published Thursday.

“Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom … Part of the physiognomy of the Revolution of ’68 was that pedophilia was then also diagnosed as allowed and appropriate,” he wrote in the 6,000-word essay for Klerusblatt, a German monthly magazine for clergy.

“Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God,” he wrote, noting failed attempts to include a reference to God in European Union treaties as a negative example of Western secularization

Benedict, born in Germany as Joseph Ratzinger, cited the appearance of sex in films in the ’60s in his native Bavaria and the formation of “homosexual cliques” in seminaries “which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate.” He also attributed it to failures in moral theology in that era.

Abuse scandals in Ireland, Chile, Australia, France, the United States, Poland, Germany and elsewhere have seen the Church pay out billions of dollars in damages to victims and close parishes, with many cases dating back decades before the 1960s.

The Vatican has been embroiled in the scandals. Most recently with the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, who was sentenced to six years in jail for abusing two boys in his native Australia.

Benedict, who in 2013 became the first pope in six centuries to resign, also faulted church laws that protected accused priests.

He wrote that during the 1980s and 1990s “the right to a defense (for priests) was so broad as to make a conviction nearly impossible.”

As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict led reforms of those laws in 2001 to make it easier to remove priests who abused children.

He took a hard line against clerical sex abuse as the Vatican’s conservative doctrine chief, and later as pope, defrocking hundreds of priests accused of raping and molesting children.

Benedict wrote in the introduction to the essay that Francis and the Vatican secretary of state had given him permission to publish. The Vatican also confirmed it was written by Benedict.

Writing in the Catholic Herald, associate professor of theology at The Catholic University of America Chat Pecknold praised the essay as a necessary word from “the voice of a father” that accurately identified an absence of God as the reason for the crisis.

But other church analysts said the essay was both flawed in content and exacerbated existing divisions in the church that have emerged between supporters of Francis and Catholics nostalgic for Benedict’s doctrine-minded papacy.

“It is catastrophically irresponsible, because it creates a counter-narrative to how Francis is trying to move ahead based on the 2019 summit,” Church historian Christopher Bellitto told The Associated Press in an email. “The essay essentially ignores what we learned there.”

Villanova University theologian Massimo Faggioli said the essay was thin in its analysis, which effectively attributed the scandal to the sexual revolution. He said it excluded key cases, such as the Legion of Christ founder’s pedophilia, which began long before then and involved abuse in one of the most rigorously orthodox, conservative religious orders.

“Everything we know in the global history of the Catholic abuse crisis makes Benedict XVI’s take published yesterday very thin or worse: a caricature of what happened during in the Catholic Church during the post-Vatican II period with all its ingenuities and some tragic mistakes,” he tweeted.

“This is an embarrassing letter. The idea that ecclesial abuse of children was a result of the 1960s, a supposed collapse of moral theology, and ‘conciliarity’ is an embarrassingly wrong explanation for the systemic abuse of children and its coverup,” Brian Flanagan, a theologian at Marymount University in Virginia, tweeted.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis has issued wide-ranging new sex abuse legislation that covers all Vatican personnel as well as those who work for the Vatican diplomatic corps. It aims to be a model for the church globally.

A special government inquiry on child sex abuse in Germany has demanded more dialogue on the subject after presenting its findings in Berlin. More than 80 percent of victims who spoke to the inquiry were women.

Pope Francis issues sweeping sex abuse legislation 29.03.2019
At the Vatican, Pope Francis has issued wide-ranging new sex abuse legislation that covers all Vatican personnel as well as those who work for the Vatican diplomatic corps. It aims to be a model for the church globally.

Fuck Ratzinger and fuck the current pope.

Women Sexually Abused By Catholic Nuns Speak Up: She Told Me It Was ‘God’s Love’

April 12, 2019

Sister Eileen Shaw (pictured above) was 21 years older than Trish Cahill when they first met in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

The woman introduced herself as Sister Eileen Shaw, telling Cahill that she was out on a walk from her nearby convent.

“She’s nice to me, which was confusing,” Cahill recalled.

The two struck up a conversation, Cahill said, which led to an invitation for the teen to play guitar at an upcoming Mass. That invitation led to more special treatment, private phone calls and private trips.

In fact, this strange encounter on the lawn was just the beginning of a long period of grooming and emotional manipulation, Cahill said. She didn’t realize until much later that the 12 years of history she had with Shaw was not a relationship ― but sexual abuse.

“She stole from my body, my mind and my soul,” Cahill, now 66, told HuffPost. “The woman was a thief who did not keep her vows.”

For over a year, the Roman Catholic Church has faced a reckoning over the crime of clerical sexual abuse. Catholics are once again demanding answers about bishops’ mishandling of abuse allegations, after high-profile scandals in the U.S., Australia and Chile toppled prominent figures. In response to this renewed call for transparency, Pope Francis acknowledged for the first time ever this February that nuns have been victims of sexual abuse by priests and bishops. Nuns from across the world have come forward to share their stories and demand change.

But stories like Cahill’s, about nuns being the perpetrators of sexual violence, have largely been lost in this new wave of accountability. Although abuse allegations against “women religious,” meaning nuns and Catholic sisters, are rarer than allegations against priests or monks, Cahill and other survivors of nun abuse are convinced that there are more stories out there. But because of gender stereotypes about female perpetrators of abuse, it is much harder to see the broader picture.

As survivors push more states to extend their statutes of limitations for child sex abuse cases, experts believe more of these stories will start coming to light.

“Why are they not coming out?” Cahill mused about fellow survivors of abuse by nuns. “They don’t have any other survivors to see what’s happened. They’re the only one.”

“The boys thought they were the only ones for a hundred years,” Cahill added. But now, she said, “the girls think they’re the only ones.”

N.J. Priest Pleads Guilty to Child Sexual Assault After Victim Calls Clergy Abuse Hotline

April 11, 2019

Middlesex County Prosecutor photo of Rev. Thomas Ganley.  The state attorney general's office said the 63-year-old priest was arrested Jan. 16, 2019  on aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault charges. Ganley pleaded guilty on April 9, 2019 to a child sexual assault after a victim called the state's clergy abuse hotline.

(TRENTON, N.J.) — A New Jersey priest has pleaded guilty to a child sexual assault dating back almost three decades.

The charge against the Rev. Thomas Ganley was the first sexual assault case brought by the state’s clergy abuse task force, which was established last September. Ganley was charged in January, just two days after the victim had called the state’s clergy abuse hotline.

The 63-year-old Ganley most recently was a parochial vicar at St. Philip and St. James Catholic Church in Phillipsburg.

Prosecutors say Ganley was a priest at Saint Cecelia Church in Woodbridge when the alleged assaults took place between 1990 and 1994. They say the victim was between the ages of 14 and 17.

Bishop in India Charged With Raping Nun Over a 2-Year Period

April 10, 2019

NEW DELHI — The Indian authorities on Tuesday charged a bishop with repeatedly raping a nun in the southern state of Kerala, the first case of its kind in the country and a development that comes just weeks after Pope Francis acknowledged a continuing problem with sexual abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church.

Vijay Sakhare, the inspector general of police who oversaw a monthslong investigation, said Bishop Franco Mulakkal had been charged with raping a nun nine times over a two-year period starting in 2014. The bishop, who faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, has denied the accusations.

The filing of charges on Tuesday “enters the annals of history as a rarest of rare incident, when a bishop is going to face trial in a court based on the complaint of a nun who is a subordinate to him,” read a statement from Save Our Sisters, a group of members of India’s Roman Catholic Church.

The charge sheet includes statements from 83 witnesses, including a cardinal, three bishops, 11 priests and 25 nuns, the group said in its statement.

Nuns have tried for years to call attention to sexual exploitation in the Catholic Church. They have recently stepped forward to accuse clerics of abuse in India and Italy, as well as in African and Latin American countries.

But they have also struggled to move the conversation forward among church leaders. In November, the International Union of Superiors General, the organization representing the world’s Catholic women’s religious orders, said a “culture of silence and secrecy” was partly to blame.

Idaho church volunteer among four men arrested in Twin Falls sexual predator sting

April 10, 2019

Image result for Solomon Peppley

TWIN FALLS — Four men were arrested over the weekend in a joint investigation between Twin Falls police and Homeland Security to catch sexual predators online.

Jeffrey Scott Davis of Rupert, Robert Allen Barney of Meridian, Aaron Evans of Twin Falls, and Solomon Peppley of Nampa were taken into custody on Saturday and arraigned on Monday after police said they attempted to meet with officers posing as underage teen girls.

Davis, 55, was charged with enticing a child through the internet after a Homeland Security investigator responded to a Craigslist ad Davis posted, according to the affidavit. Through text messages, an investigator posed as a 14-year-old girl.

Officers gave Davis an address to meet at after Davis asked the girl if he could perform a sex act on her and her friend, police said. When Davis arrived at the address, he was taken into custody.

Davis has been jailed on a $150,000 bond.

Evans, 26, was charged with enticing a child through the internet and possession of a controlled substance. Police said Evans responded to a fake profile on the social media website “Skout” and arranged to meet up with an investigator posing as a 14-year-old girl.

He also asked the girl if she smoked marijuana and told her he had some in his possession, according to court documents.

When Evans was taken into custody at the address given to him by the officer, he admitted to police that the conversations were sexual but said he only wanted to “make out” with the girl. Police found 3.9 grams of marijuana in Evans’s possession, according to an affidavit.

Evans was jailed on a $200,000 bond.

Barney, 39, was charged with enticing a child through the internet and driving under the influence after responding to an ad from a Homeland Security investigator on the website “Whisper,” according to court documents. Police said Barney had conversations about performing a sex act with an officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

Barney was jailed on a $175,000 bond.

Peppley, who court documents said is a 23-year-old children’s pastor for a church in Nampa, was charged with enticing a child through the internet and sexual exploitation of a child after he responded to a Craigslist ad posted by investigators, according to an affidavit.

Peppley has volunteered in the midweek children’s program at Crossroads Community Church in Nampa, but was not a pastor there.

The Crossroads Community Church’s Facebook page posted a statement, saying the man was never alone with children and was not a staff member.

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