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Pennsylvania Report Details Decades Of Sexual Abuse By Priests

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Pennsylvania Report Details Decades Of Sexual Abuse By Priests

Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania sexually abused thousands of children over a 70-year period and silenced victims through “the weaponization of faith” and a systematic cover-up campaign by their bishops, the state attorney general said on Tuesday.

An 884-page report made public by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro after a two-year investigation contained graphic examples of children being groomed and sexually abused by clergymen. It was largely based on documents from secret archives kept by the dioceses, including handwritten confessions by priests, he said.

“It was child sexual abuse, including rape, committed by grown men – priests – against children,” Shapiro told a press conference.

Representatives of the six Pennsylvania dioceses included in the report could not be reached for comment.

The attorney general said it was the most comprehensive report on Catholic clergy sex abuse in American history, nearly two decades after an expose of widespread abuse and cover-up in Boston that rocked the Roman Catholic church.

Several of the dioceses issued statements apologizing to victims and saying they were taking steps to ensure any criminal behavior was stopped. “The grand jury has challenged us as a Catholic diocese to put victims first and to continue to improve ways to protect children and youth,” Bishop Lawrence Persico of the Erie Diocese said in a statement.

As accusers wept behind him, Shapiro described alleged abuse by priests in six of the state’s eight dioceses, including a group of Pittsburgh clergymen accused of ordering an altar boy to strip naked and pose as Christ on the cross while they photographed him.

“The pattern was abuse, deny and cover up,” Shapiro said, adding that church officials sought to keep abuse allegations quiet long enough so they could no longer be prosecuted under Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls,” Shapiro said. “They hid it all for decades.”

The report cited 301 priests, some of whom have died. Only two of the priests are still subject to prosecution.

A few of the clergymen accused in the report succeeded in having their names redacted, and Shapiro said he would argue at a Sept. 26 court hearing for making all the names public.

He said the grand jury identified about a thousand victims, but believed there may be many more.

Shapiro said that one priest had molested five sisters in one family, he said. The diocese settled with the family after requiring a confidentiality agreement, he said.

The attorney general said that Catholic bishops covered up child sexual abuse by priests and reassigned them repeatedly to different parishes. “They allowed priests to remain active for as long as 40 years,” he said.

Describing the “weaponization of faith” to silence victims, Shapiro cited several examples including one priest who allegedly told children “how Mary had to lick Jesus clean after he was born” to groom them for oral sex.

“Children were taught that this abuse was not only normal but that it was holy,” Shapiro said.

Since the Boston abuse scandal erupted in the 1990s, accusations involving American clerics have sporadically surfaced.

Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington, resigned as a cardinal last month after accusations resurfaced that he abused a 16-year-old boy decades ago.

In recent months, Pope Francis accepted a number of resignations from Chilean bishops in a sex abuse scandal that has rocked that country.

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Nigerian News

Nigeria Remains Third Most Terrorized Country In The World

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Nigeria Remains Third Most Terrorized Country In The World

Nigeria still holds the unenviable position as the third most terrorized country in the world.

The 2018 global terrorism index, released on Wednesday, says  this is as a result of the spate of terrorism in Nigeria.  It also points to what it called the “increase in violence involving Fulani extremists”.  The report says this is happening as deaths committed by Boko Haram are falling..

Nigeria is ranked only below Iraq and Afghanistan, both in first and second positions.

This year alone, hundreds of Nigerians have been killed in attacks by suspected herdsmen as well as clashes between the herders and farmers/communities.

States worst hit in the attacks are Plateau, Benue, Zamfara, Taraba and others.

The report also noted that, compared to the peak of “terrorist deaths” in 2014, “the largest falls in the number of deaths occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

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World News

Migrants Breech U.S.-Mexico Border

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Migrants Breech U.S.-Mexico Border

Central American migrants stuck at the U.S.–Mexico border breached the border fence on Monday, even though they knew they could be detained by U.S. authorities. They hoped the illegal entry would allow them to apply for asylum.

Since mid-October, thousands of Central Americans, mostly from Honduras, have traveled north through Mexico in a caravan, some walking much of the long distance.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to stop the migrants, sending troops to reinforce the border and attempting a procedural change to require asylum-seekers to remain in mexico while their cases are heard. So far, the courts have denied those attempts.

Applying for asylum at a U.S. land border can take months, so if migrants enter illegally and present themselves to authorities,their cases could be heard more quickly.

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World News

Analyst Expects Unsuccessful Yemen Peace Meeting

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Analyst Expects Unsuccessful Yemen Peace Meeting

A political analyst says prospects for returning to a unified Yemen remain dim despite members from both warring parties meeting to discuss peace in Stockholm, Sweden.

Supported by the United Nations, representatives of the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels will meet for political consultations later this week, although no exact date has been announced for the start of the negotiations that would be the first peace talks since 2016.

Mokhtar Yafie, a political analyst in Aden says he does not expect much success from the Stockholm peace meeting.

Yafie added that the internal divisions within the Yemeni government and the Houthi would also complicate the negotiation.

Although some residents in Yemen hold little hopes for the peace talks, there are people having high expectations for them.

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