Archive for July, 2019

Catholic priest, 76, who repeatedly raped two schoolboys leaving one of them praying for death is jailed for 18 years

July 31, 2019

A second victim came forward after seeing the news of Higgingbottom's first trial in 2017 on TV. The priest is pictured during the earlier trial at Liverpool Crown Court
  • Michael Higginbottom was a Catholic priest at St Joseph’s College in Lancashire 
  • The 76-year-old targeted two teenage boys who boarded at the Catholic school
  • Second man came forward after seeing news report of Higginbottom’s first trial
  • Priest, who lived in Newcastle, has been jailed for 18 years, half to be on licence

A priest who sexually abused schoolboys at a Catholic seminary in the 1970s and 1980s in a ‘quite appalling way’ has been jailed for 18 years.

Father Michael Higginbottom, 76, targeted two children separately while they boarded at St Joseph’s College, a school for students aged 12 to 18 in Upholland, Lancashire.

During a two-week trial at Burnley Crown Court, jurors heard that he ‘regularly, systematically and horrifically’ abused the boys.

Prosecutor David Temkin said: ‘They were both threatened with violence and both were struck with a strap or a belt.’

After being convicted of five counts of serious sexual assault and seven of indecent assault, Higginbottom was jailed for 18 years, half in prison and half on licence.

Judge Andrew Woolman, sentencing Higginbottom on Tuesday, told him: ‘You were in the highest position of trust in relation to these boys, who you abused in a quite appalling way.

‘I have no doubt that you specifically targeted these boys.

‘These acts were accompanied, time after time, by threats or actual violence under the guise of a normal school punishment.’

Higginbottom was originally found guilty at Liverpool Crown Court in April 2017 of offences relating to the first complainant, but these convictions were quashed in November last year by the Court of Appeal.

It was ruled then that a retrial would be necessary as jurors had not been given full details of the complainant’s conviction for fraud by false representation, which were not available at the time of the original trial.

During the first trial the victim – who deliberately stole a watch to get himself expelled so the abuse would end – said the ‘evil’ priest ruined his life.

In an emotional statement, he told the court: ‘I was subject to physical, sexual and mental abuse at his hands.

Principal sacked, Imam arrested for sexual abuse

July 29, 2019

Image result for idris ahmed Dhaka.

Idris Ahmed, 42, raped both boys and girls by intimidating them with tales of supernatural forces

The principal of Mirzapur Girls’ College, Harunor Rashid, has been permanently terminated from his job on charges of sexually abusing two young schoolgirls while a team of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested an imam of Dakhsin Khan Mosque for allegedly raping several women and boys.

In Tangail, Md Zakir Hossain, the chairman of the governing body of the college, and Pronob Kumar Shaha, the acting principal, confirmed the termination of the principal yesterday. Sources said Rashid had sexually abused two girls of Classes VI and VII on December 20, 2018. The two girls, along with others, were playing on the college field. The principal summoned all these girls to a room. He served the girls biscuits. After they ate the biscuits he allowed every girl to leave the room except the two victims. He closed the door and sexually abused the two girls. The girls cried for help. The mother of one of the girls came to help them, but found the gate closed, and a clerk, Ershad, was found on duty. Ershad opened the gate and the principal went out of the gate wearing only a lungi. The mother rescued the girls with the help of locals. Police arrested the principal but released him after a few moments.

The two guardians lodged a complaint with Mirzapur upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Abdul Malek. It attracted the attention of Tangail deputy commissioner (DC) Md. Shahidul Islam. A three-member probe body was formed to investigate the matter. Principal Harunor Rashid was temporarily suspended and a decision to serve a show-cause notice was adopted.

It finally discharged the principal on grounds of moral turpitude. Locals alleged that Harunor Rashid has a bad moral character. He has allegedly been earlier involved in several incidents of sexual abuse as well.

In Dhaka, the arrestee was identified as Idris Ahmed, 42, and also had been teaching at a local madrasha for 18 years. Sources of RAB-1 said, Idris Ahmed, 42, raped both boys and girls by intimidating them with tales of supernatural forces like genies.

He has been accused raping 4 to 5 women and 10-12 teenage boys, the sources added. RAB-1 commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Sarwar Bin Kashem said, he used to record intimate moments with his victims on phone video and used them to secure their silence. “A case has been lodged against Idris in Dakshin Khan Police Station,” sarwar added.

Evangelical Megachurch Is Sued for More Than $1 Million in Child Sexual Abuse Case

July 29, 2019

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Matthew Tonne, the former children’s minister did a lot more than minister to them.

A woman who said she was sexually abused as a child by a pastor at one of the country’s most prominent evangelical megachurches sued the church on Friday, alleging gross negligence and seeking more than $1 million in damages.

The case against the Village Church — which is based in Flower Mound, Tex., outside Dallas, and is led by Matt Chandler — is perhaps the most high-profile current lawsuit alleging child sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention. It comes as the largest Protestant denomination in the United States has vowed to address widespread sexual abuse in its congregations.

The suit alleges that the church was “willfully negligent” in its failure to protect a child in its care from being sexually assaulted. It also says the church is liable for the actions of the pastor, who was removed from the staff last year. The woman is seeking damages after she says the abuse caused emotional distress, including an ongoing struggle with depression.

“No one has ever apologized to her, ‘Hey we are so sorry we failed to protect you.’ That is what has stuck with me this entire time,” said Christi Bragg, the young woman’s mother.

Matthew Tonne, the former children’s minister, was indicted by a grand jury in November and arrested in January on charges of sexually molesting Ms. Bragg’s daughter in 2012, when she was 11. Mr. Tonne, whose lawyer has said his client had been falsely accused, faces a forthcoming criminal trial.

The family said the Village has failed to provide them with sufficient answers and support since they told church leaders about the abuse in February 2018.

The Village has “not yet to date demonstrated a good faith desire to resolve this,” said Boz Tchividjian, a lawyer representing the young woman, who is now 18. “We have provided ample opportunity and ample time for that. We have hit a brick wall, and at that point in time we had to make the difficult but necessary decision to press forward to filing the lawsuit.”

Mr. Chandler and a lawyer for the Village, Dustin Gaines, did not respond to requests for comment after the suit was filed.

Florida pastor arrested on charges of rape of a girl under the age of 12

July 27, 2019

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) – Detectives in Sarasota have arrested a pastor on charges of sexual battery of a girl under the age of 12.

Detectives say on Thursday, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office received a report from the little girl’s mother that Bicente Velasquez Morales, 43, a pastor at the House of Restoration Ministry on Pershing Avenue, had sexually battered her daughter. The mother made the report after detectives say her daughter told her about the abuse.

On Friday, Child Protective Services interviewed the victim, who told interviewers Morales had inappropriately touched her three separate times.

Detectives arrested Morales Friday night on a felony charge of sexual battery of a victim under the age of 12. He will be booked into the Sarasota County Jail.

Catholic Church Not About To Be Out-Molested By Goddamn Boy Scouts

July 26, 2019

Illustration for article titled Catholic Church Not About To Be Out-Molested By Goddamn Boy Scouts

VATICAN CITY—Telling the youth organization that if they come for the king they best not miss, the Catholic Church announced Thursday that it was not about to be out-molested by the goddamn Boy Scouts.

“If some pissant organization like the Scouts thinks they can beat us at the molestation game, then they have another fucking thing coming,” said Pope Francis, directing his message to the Scouts’ leaders as he stressed that a couple thousand piddling cases was a drop in the bucket compared to the generations of sexual abuse that had made the Catholic Church number-one in molestation for centuries on end.

“We’re talking hundreds of thousands of parishioners, children, and nuns abused by the people they trust most. Plus, we’re not doing it while hiding out in the woods like a bunch of cowards. We’re just at the back of the church, putting up huge numbers on the board day after day. So don’t come at us with this weak-ass shit, Boy Scouts.

We’re the OG diddlers around here.” At press time, the Catholic Church had offered to send a few dozen priests to the Boy Scouts of America to show them how it’s done. 


Our thanks to theonion.com for this article.

California priest is busted for stealing more than $97,000 in parish donations after he got into a car crash and cops discovered security bags stuffed with money in his vehicle

July 24, 2019

California priest Father Oscar Diaz stole over $97,000 in parish donations during his 25-year career serving seven churches in the state. He was busted when he got into a car crash in June and cops made the shocking discovery of the money in his car
  • California priest Father Oscar Diaz got into a car crash on June 19 and was found with nearly $20,000 of parish donations stuffed in six security bags
  • Responding officers were shocked to find the stash of money
  • When asked about the sum, Diaz claimed that it was his salary 
  • A further investigation revealed he had a whopping stash of $77,000 in cash that he had allegedly took from the various parishes where he served
  • Diaz served as a priest for the last 25 years and had connections to at least seven churches in California
  • In a press release the diocese said that the amount Diaz stole was in excess of $95,000 and the diocese will repay the amount in full   
  • No criminal charges have been filed and Father Diaz has been suspended from priestly ministry

A California priest’s not-so-saintly secret of stealing thousands of dollars from his parishes was exposed when he got into a car crash and police officers found him with six security bags stuffed with nearly $20,000 in parish donations.

Father Oscar Diaz of Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa got into a car accident on June 19 in which he suffered a hip injury. As cops came to his aid they discovered a dizzying $18,305 in stolen parish collections in his car.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

A further investigation revealed he had a whopping stash of $77,000 in cash that he had allegedly taken from the various parishes where he served, according to CBS.

When asked about the sum, Diaz claimed that it was his salary.

Diaz served as a priest for the last 25 years and had connections to at least seven churches in California including Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Clearlake; Queen of the Rosary Mission, Lucerne; Saint Mary Immaculate Parish, Lakeport; Saint Peter Mission, Kelseyville; Saint Mary of the Angels Parish, Ukiah; Saint Elizabeth Seton Mission; and Philo and Saint Francis Mission, Hopland.

In a press release the diocese said that the amount Diaz stole was in excess of $95,000.

However it’s not clear if he’ll face any criminal charges.

‘This money was associated with Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa where Father Oscar was pastor,’ Bishop Robert F. Vasa said in a diocese news release. ‘After an initial investigation and several interviews, the police determined that the protocols surrounding collection accounting would make it difficult to arrive at sufficient proof of theft to pursue criminal prosecution,’ he added.

‘There is also evidence that money was stolen in a variety of ways from each of the Parishes where he had served as pastor.

Congolese Pastor Arrested Over Sexual Abuse

July 18, 2019

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Luanda — Angolan police authorities arrested a Congolese pastor of the Church of Espirito Santo (IESA) on Wednesday in Luanda, accused of sexual abuse and having impregnated a teenage girl, according to a source at the National Police.

Speaking to ANGOP, the PN source stated that the pastor, 39, belonged to an IESA congregation, located in the Salinas neighborhood, in the municipality of Belas, in Luanda.

The man confessed to the crime to the police authorities, after being detained.

According to the source, the incident occurred in December 2018 when the teenager’s mother, a church believer, took the girl to the congregation for malaria treatment.

According to the source, the pastor asked the mother of the 16-year-old girl to put her in the church, but later the man took the teenager to his home, where he sexually assaulted her several times.

Seven months later, she added, the adolescent showed symptoms of gestation, which led the mother to make clinical tests in one of the hospitals in the capital.

After the medical examinations, it was confirmed that the teenager was pregnant.

Former El Paso Catholic priest convicted of six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child sentenced to 18 years

July 17, 2019

A former El Paso Catholic priest, who was convicted Monday of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl more than two decades ago, sat in a courtroom Tuesday listening to the impact the abuse had on three of his victims.

A jury found Miguel Luna. 69, guilty of six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child; three counts of indecency with a child, sexual contact; and three counts of sexual assault of a child.

Luna was sentenced to 18 years in prison and 10 years probation on Tuesday. 

Luna was accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, who was an altar server, at an El Paso church from 1991 to 1998, according to court documents.

Three of Luna’s victims testified during the sentencing portion of the trial, which began Tuesday. The El Paso Times does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

Luna sat feet from the victims as they testified. He stared down at the desk in front of him and never made eye contact with the victims.

One victim said she was shocked when she found out that Luna remained a priest until 2013.

“I couldn’t believe he was up there pretending to be something he is not — preaching the word of the Lord,” the victim said. “He is a monster.”

She added that she suffers depression and pleads for forgiveness after having to abort a baby fathered by Luna.

“I am scared,” she testified. “I ask for forgiveness. It wasn’t the baby’s fault. I really don’t” forgive myself.

A sixth Michigan Catholic priest has been charged with criminal sexual conduct

July 16, 2019

Image result for Joseph (Jack) Baker

Attorney General Dana Nessel charged a sixth priest with criminal sexual conduct on Monday, after he was arrested by special agents from the AG’s office.

Father Joseph (Jack) Baker was arrested in Wayne County and charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct — sexual penetration with a person under 13.

The Archdiocese of Detroit provided a tip to the AG’s clergy abuse team immediately after receiving the original report on Baker. His arrest is part of Nessel’s developing investigation into abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Nessel said in a press release. “Our clergy abuse investigative team is working day and night to review the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and files seized from all seven of Michigan’s dioceses last fall. At the same time, we continue to receive calls daily from victims who know we will listen to them, believe in them, and investigate their allegations. They deserve nothing less than our very best.”

Baker has worked as a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford since 2008; he’s also been a pastor at St. Mary Parish in Wayne, an associate pastor at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills, and an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn.

Atheism and Islam on the rise in the UK as Christianity suffers ‘dramatic decline’

July 15, 2019

Christian belief has halved in Britain in 35 years with just one in three people now identifying as Christian - while atheism and Islam continue to rise.   - Enigma / Alamy, /Enigma / Alamy, 

Christian belief has halved in Britain in 35 years with just one in three people now identifying as Christian – while atheism and Islam continue to rise.

Figures published by the British Social Attitudes Survey reveal the widest ever margin between staunch atheists and believers who are certain that God exists.

Of almost 4,000 people polled by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), 38 per cent described themselves as Christian – a fall from 50 per cent in 2008 and 66 per cent in 1983.

Those identifying as Muslim increased from 1 per cent in 1983 to 3 per cent in 2008, and 6 per cent in 2018.

No doubt due to the increasing influx of immigrants from the Middle East.

The survey shows that the biggest change is in the number of people who define themselves as “confident atheists”, which rose from 10 per cent in 1998 to 18 per cent in 2008 and its record high of 26 per cent in 2018.

In contrast, researchers found that an overall 55 per cent of the population express some sort of belief in some kind of God.

Nancy Kelley, deputy chief executive at NatCen, said that the steady decline in religion and belief among the British public is “one of the most important trends in post-war history”.

“As our society has become more secular, the role of religious institutions and religious identities in determining our moral and social norms has weakened. Other world views, such as scientific rationalism and liberal individual-ism, now play a more significant part in British society.”

The report’s authors said the survey suggests Britain is becoming more secular “not because adults are losing their religion” but because older people with an attachment to Christian denominations are “gradually being replaced in the population by unaffiliated younger people”.

They added that religious decline in Britain is “generational” as people tend to be less religious than their parents.

Dave Male, the Church of England’s director of evangelism and discipleship, said: “For many people ticking a box marked ‘Church of England’ or ‘Anglican’ is now an active choice and no longer an automatic response. In spite of this, the Church of England remains at the heart of communities.”

Andrew Copson, the chief executive of the non-religion charity Humanists UK, said: “With these trends set to continue, policymakers in every field, from education to constitutional law, to health and social care, need to wake up to such dramatic social changes.”

Pastor arrested for rape of 13 year old girl in Johnston County

July 11, 2019

Stephen Morris

A pastor at a Johnston County church is accused of sex crimes against a 13-year-old girl, officials say.

The Rev. Stephen Arthur Morris, 61, is charged with five counts each of statutory rape/sex offense and indecent liberties with a child, according to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested Friday.

He is accused of committing crimes against the teenager from 2013 to 2014, according to Capt. Jeff Caldwell, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Morris led Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church in Four Oaks and is now “off the job,” reports ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.

The News & Observer reached out to Morris’ church on Tuesday morning, and calls went unanswered.

Morris’ bail was set at $2.5 million, Caldwell said. He is scheduled to appear in court July 25.

Pope Francis claims US televangelist performed miracle, paving way for sainthood

July 10, 2019

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (AP)

Pope Francis has declared that a late US television preacher once performed a miracle, moving him one step closer to sainthood.

Another lame attempt to try to keep the illusion going.

The Vatican announced on Saturday the formal approval of the miracle, thought to relate to claims about a baby’s extraordinary recovery in an Illinois hospital.

The Diocese of Peoria believes that Archbishop Fulton J Sheen – who died in 1979 – interceded in 2010 on behalf of a baby who began breathing 61 minutes after showing no signs of life at birth.

One miracle allows a candidate for sainthood to be beatified in the Catholic faith, but a second miracle must be approved in order for sainthood to be conferred.

No date has been given for his beatification ceremony, but the Peoria Diocese said it was beginning preparations for the celebration in the central Illinois city.

Archbishop Sheen’s on-air evangelism made him a well-known figure in the US over several decades, having started on NBC radio in 1930 with a weekly programme called The Catholic Hour.

He expanded to television in 1950 with NBC’s Life is Worth Living, regularly amassing more than 30 million viewers.

The pope’s decision comes just weeks after a New York court ruling allowing the American archbishop’s niece to bury him in Peoria, where he was ordained, ending years of litigation and allowing the process for sainthood to resume.

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