December 24, 2006
The so-called Lost Boy wants the FLDS leader to approve a reunion
By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
SOUTH JORDAN - Johnny Jessop is still holding on to hope.
Thereare two days to go before Christmas, five until his 18th birthday. Thatis time enough for a change of heart. Time enough for a call fromElsie, his 62-year-old mother, whom he has not heard from in 18 months.
The one man he believes can make it happen: polygamous sect leader Warren S. Jeffs.
Johnny, a so-called Lost Boy ordered out of Hildale five years ago, has written Jeffs several letters pleading for help.
"I don't know what I did that was so bad as a 13-year-old to be forevercut off from my family," Johnny wrote in the first letter, sent a dayafter Thanksgiving. "I know that you alone have the ability to allowher to see me again. . . . All I want is to see her and be her son."
There has been no response from Jeffs, who is incarcerated at thePurgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane. He is to stand trial inApril on charges of being an accomplice to rape for conducting amarriage despite protests from the 14-year-old bride.
Johnny's situation is not unlike that of the 80-plus teens, mostlyboys, who gathered Friday night for a Christmas party sponsored by theDiversity Foundation. Most are cut off from parents and siblings in thetwin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., home of theFundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter DaySaints.
They were kicked out of or fled the community after engaging in badbehavior or deciding they wanted a different life; some activistsallege the boys are driven off to reduce competition for wives.
They have "no safety net of a family who will always be there for you,"said Shannon Price, the foundation's director. "In normal society, aparent is going to do what they can to help that child get through thatrebellious stage.
"In this community, they kick them out and say, 'You can't come back.'They don't allow them visitation or communication at all with theirnatural parents."
Jeffs has even given that counsel from the pulpit. In a sermondelivered July 16, 2000, in Colorado City, Jeffs told the faithful thatthe "great challenge among this people is the apostates are ourrelatives.
"If a mother has apostate children, her emotions won't let her givethem up and she invites them into the home, thus desecrating thatdedicated home. We want to see them and socialize with them, and everytime we do, we weaken our faith and our ability to stand with theprophet."
But Johnny hangs on to one unshakable belief.
Posted by Perry at 03:04 PM
Sexual abuse lawsuit filed
Dec 20, 2006
An Orange County attorney who has previously sued former Lodi PriestOliver O'Grady and the Stockton Diocese on sexual battery has filedanother lawsuit, this one by a woman who was once enrolled in Catholicschools in Lodi and Stockton.
The defendants' names have not been announced, pending authorizationby San Joaquin County Superior Court, according to Kathy Frederiksen,legal assistant for attorney John Manly, who filed the lawsuit on Dec.6.
However, the lawsuit gives a description of the defendants. Thedescription indicates the plaintiffs are O'Grady, St. Anne's CatholicChurch and School in Lodi, Church of the Presentation and School inStockton, the Stockton Diocese, the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly inIreland, Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
Mahony was bishop of the Stockton Diocese from 1980 to 1985, while O'Grady was a priest there.
O'Grady, 61, was a priest at Lodi's St. Anne's Catholic Church from1971 to 1978 and was a priest at four other churches in the StocktonDiocese until he was convicted of sexual abuse in 1993 in CalaverasCounty.
The plaintiff, identified only as Jane La Doe, is not beingdisclosed in order to protect her privacy, according to the lawsuit.She claims she was sexually abused between the ages of 7 and 9 whileshe was a student at the school at Church of the Presentation between1981 and 1984, according to the lawsuit.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.
Posted by Perry at 03:00 PM
Sexual abuse allegations lead to suspension of prominent Southern Baptist pastor
Sexual abuse allegations have led to the suspension of a longtimeminister at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where thelate Adrian Rogers was pastor.
The 30,000-member Southern Baptist congregation says Paul Williamshas been placed on paid leave pending an investigation of a "moralfailure" 17 years ago.
But some Bellevue members say the claims involve abuse of a childand that Senior Pastor Steve Gaines didn't act quickly enough when hefound out about them in June.
Gaines says he didn't take action then "because the event occurredmany years ago," because Williams "was receiving professionalcounseling," and because of concerns about confidentiality.
He said in a statement that he now realizes he should have told church leadership immediately.
Posted by Perry at 02:55 PM
Grand jury indicts Joliet priest in sex abuse case
The Daily Journal - Kankakee, IL
A 76-year-old Catholic Priest from Joliet was indicted by a WillCounty Grand Jury Thursday for the alleged sexual abuse of two teenbrothers in 1996 and 1999.
Fr. Louis Rogge, a priest of the Carmelite Order, turned himself in to police Thursday.
Rogge posted $4,000 bail on a $40,000 bond and was released.
According to Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, this is thefirst case of sexual abuse involving a Catholic priest to be charged inWill County since the issue of sexual abuse by priests became anational scandal in 2002.
Rogge was indicted on four counts of aggravated criminal sexualabuse as a result of his alleged fondling of the boys. All of thecounts are Class 2 felonies that carry a prison sentence of 3 to 7years upon conviction.
Rogge was a longtime family friend and a spiritual advisor to bothteenagers, Glasgow said in a statement released midday Thursday.
Both of the youths were 15-years-old at the time of the allegedabuse. The first incident is alleged to have occurred in the summer of1996, and the second is claimed by the victim's family to have happenedin the summer of 1999.
The indictments are the result of an investigation by the WillCounty State's Attorney's Office that began when family members of thevictims brought the allegations to the attention of the state'sattorney.
"Allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy must bethoroughly investigated, appropriately charged and prosecutedaggressively," Glasgow said, adding, "Priests and other clergy membershold positions of the highest level of respect and trust in ourcommunity. They must be held strictly accountable when that trust isviolated. We teach our children to hold priests in the highest regard,and that, combined with a child's inherently trusting nature, makestheir victimization truly a moral outrage."
Posted by Perry at 02:51 PM
December 22, 2006
Washington archdiocese settles with victims of clergy abuse
By DERRILL HOLLY, The Associated Press
Dec 16, 2006
WASHINGTON - The Archdiocese of Washington has agreed to pay $1.3million to more than a dozen men who claimed they were sexually abusedby priests between 1962 and 1982.
The agreement with 16 men was announced Friday by church officials.
"Our clients were in severe distress, emotionally, psychologically,financially and spiritually, and felt that a settlement was appropriateat this time," said Peter M. Gillon, an attorney for the men.
Gillon said the men began pursuing the civil claims three years ago,but no lawsuits were filed, in part because the statutes of limitationhad expired in the jurisdictions where the acts allegedly occurred.That's one likely reason for the agreement amount, which is much lowerthan other clergy-abuse settlements
The Archdiocese of Washington includes more than 560,000 RomanCatholics in 140 parishes in the District of Columbia and five southernMaryland counties.
Each of the men submitted medical histories and psychiatricevaluations before detailed discussions about monetary settlementsbegan last year. Eighteen of about 30 clients initially accepted thesettlement, but two dropped out because they have obtained new counseland are pursuing separate claims that do not involve the archdiocese.
The settlement, first reported in Saturday's editions of TheWashington Post, provides cash payments of $10,000 to $190,000 to eachof the men.
Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, characterized theawards as money to "pay for counseling for people who've been harmed byclergy abuse."
In 2004, the archdiocese paid a total of $200,000 to covercounseling costs for alleged victims of sexual abuse by clergy members.Gibbs said the settlement agreement requires the 16 men to pay for allfuture counseling and related expenses.
"Most of the people involved here have been receiving counselingfrom the archdiocese; They've accepted it in the past," she said.
The allegations raised by the men stemmed from events that occurredbetween 24 and 44 years ago, and two of the men receiving settlementmoney already have lost legal claims against the archdiocese. Thesettlements will be covered by insurance reserves and not from otherchurch assets, operating funds or collections, Gibbs said.
One of the victims, George Kresslein Jr., told The Post that he hadhoped for a larger sum. But an even bigger disappointment, he said, wasthat his alleged abuser, who was removed from ministry, has notacknowledged guilt.
"An admission means much more to me than the money," Kresslein, 50, told The Post.
The settlement involves allegations of abuse by eight priests, allof whom have been removed from ministry. Seven have been prosecuted,and one was acquitted.
David Clohessy, the national director of the St. Louis-basedSurvivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said WashingtonArchbishop Donald W. Wuerll is doing what leaders of many other RomanCatholic dioceses have done: Settle with victims before specifics abouttheir allegations are made public.
"We're certain that there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of victimswho are still suffering in shame and in self denial," Clohessy said.
Posted by Perry at 01:28 PM
Portland archdiocese files new bankruptcy plan reflecting $75M sex abuse settlement
Jurist - Legal News & Research
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
December 19, 2006
The US Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland has filed a newbankruptcy plan with the US Bankruptcy Court anticipating a payment of$75 million to settle outstanding sex abuse claims against some of itsclergy. Under the plan submitted Monday, $40.7 million will go to 143people, another $13.75 million will be allocated to cover claims byanother 26 individuals who may yet sue or settle, and $20 million willbe set aside as a contingency fund to cover any future claims.Insurance will cover over $50 million, with the remainder coming fromliquidation of certain diocesan holdings not including parish or schoolproperty. Reuters has more
The Portland archdiocese, which filed for Chapter 11 in 2004, wasthe first one to file for bankruptcy in the face of civil litigationover sex abuse claims. Since then, the dioceses of Tuscon, Spokane, andDavenport have also filed for Chapter 11 protection in the wake ofhundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the clergy. In June, afederal judge allowed a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Portlandarchdiocese to continue, rejecting the Vatican's bid to dismiss thesuit for lack of jurisdiction. The lawsuit, filed in 2002, alleged thatthe Vatican, the Archdiocese of Portland and the archbishop of Chicagoconspired to protect a priest by transferring him from city to city,even though the church knew he had a history of committing sexualabuse. Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles settled 45sexual abuse lawsuits for $60 million.
Posted by Perry at 01:22 PM
December 20, 2006
Former Jehovah's Witness elder guilty of sex assault
KITCHENER, ONTARIO (Dec 20, 2006)
A former Jehovah's Witness elder has been convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl who attended his congregation.
Justice Michael Epstein said Claude Martin's evidence at his trial was "completely unreasonable.''
He was skeptical of Martin's precise recall of an incident in 2000or 2001 when he went door-to-door with the girl to pass out Jehovah'sWitness literature.
The girl testified Martin put his hand on her buttock and extendedhis finger and put pressure on her vagina over her clothes during abrief moment while they stood alone on a landing of the home.
Martin, 77, had made many such visits with that girl and otherchildren in the church over the years, and would have no reason torecall details of that visit unless something happened to make that daystand out, the judge said.
"Claude Martin professed an incredible memory of this event,'' Epstein said.
He suggested Martin may have been "inventing'' his evidence. Martintestified that he might have inadvertently touched the girl whileshifting his briefcase from one hand to another as they were standingin the small space.
Recalling that and other details "defies and stretches credulity and common sense to the breaking point,'' Epstein said.
He described Martin's testimony as "sarcastic, aggressive, testy andargumentative. There was an overall air of smugness about him, Ifound.''
In contrast, the victim was an "excellent'' witness, he said.
"It's clear the incident she described was most upsetting to her.''
He also agreed with the Crown's argument that the girl had nohostility towards Martin, a pillar of the church she had once admired.The incident would never have come to light if the girl's father hadn'tfound a diary entry she made about the incident years later, Epsteinsaid.
The girl, who is now 16, wants to submit a victim-impact statement for the sentencing on Jan. 5.
The judge found Martin not guilty of sexually assaulting a second girl in 1988 or 1989 when she was about 11.
That girl testified Martin came up behind her while she was in hiskitchen baking him a pie, put his hands on her hips and pressed hiserect penis into her back.
Her father was in the living room at the time.
But Epstein accepted the testimony of Martin and his daughter, alongwith photographs, showing the kitchen counter space was too small andtoo crowded for pie baking. People normally used the table, the trialheard.
Epstein also agreed with defence lawyer James Marentette that thegirl hadn't turned around to see if it really was Martin behind her.
The mother of the other victim approached her in 2005 and she decided to come forward to support her.
Posted by Perry at 03:06 PM
Bill would prevent adults from placing pressure onanyone under the age of 18 to increase or decrease their religiousinvolvement.
Bill handcuffs Chabad's tefillin campaign
The Jerusalem Post
By SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL
Dec. 20, 2006 10:33
The familiar sight of Chabadniks inviting youths to put on tefillinmay suffer a serious setback if a bill proposed by Labor MK OphirPaz-Pines in the Knesset on Monday becomes law. The bill would preventadults from placing pressure on anyone under the age of 18 to increaseor decrease their religious involvement.
According to Paz-Pines, too much pressure is placed on youths toalter their religious traditions. Pressing youths to observe or discardreligious practices can 'cause the break-up of a family and causedamage to minors,' he said.
Menachem Brod, a spokesman for Chabad in Israel, said Paz-Pines'sbill was absurd, and was intended to undermine religious Jewish life.
'Are they telling me that if someone is lacking a 10th member fortheir minyan, and they go out on the street and find a 17-year-old boy,they can't invite that bar-mitzvaed boy in to complete the minyan? Thisis evil,' he said. 'Why do we insist on treating teenagers as thoughthey don't have the ability to make decisions?'
Ephraim Shore, a director of Jerusalem's Aish Hatorah Yeshiva,disagreed with Paz-Pines's reasoning, saying: 'There are so manyreasons for schisms in the family... We have a heritage that has lastedover 3,000 years and we believe in teaching it to people. This heritagehas not traditionally caused schism in the family.'
Shore rejected the assertion that some teenagers might be brainwashed into adopting religious practices.
'If you teach a Jew the beauty of Shabbat and he lights candles onFriday night, that is his choice, not some brainwashing,' he said.'It's a free country. We have a popular Web site that 2 million peoplevisit a month. Should we change it to an 'adult only' Web site just sothat teens won't be exposed to the dangerous material we post thereabout Jewish life and traditions?'
Shore said there were dozens of programs in the US to encourageJewish high school students to adopt Jewish traditions. He said most ofAish Hatorah's programs were geared for young adults over the age of18, while other organizations, such as Chabad, encouraged teenagers toget involved and participate in their programs.
Paz-Pines's bill is the latest effort by MKs to supposedly protectyouth. Earlier this month, MK Zevulun Orlev (NU-NRP) proposed a lawthat would make it illegal to sell lottery tickets to children underthe age of 18. Two months ago Likud MKs sought to limit advertisementsthat could be placed near high schools.
Posted by Perry at 02:58 PM
FLDS member gets prison for sex with minor
Another man from the sect makes plea that avoids jail but may tag him as a sex offender
By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
A man who belongs to a polygamous sect at the Utah-Arizona stateline will spend nine months in prison for engaging in sex with a minor,an Arizona judge decided Monday.
Another man from the same sectagreed to a plea bargain that will keep him out of jail but may stillland him on the state's sex offender registry.
Mohave County Superior Court Judge James Chavez sentenced David R.Bateman to nine months in prison on two counts of sexual conduct with aminor and conspiracy to engage in sexual conduct with a minor. Thejudge agreed to let Bateman serve the terms concurrently.
Bateman, who also must register as a sex offender, was taken into custody immediately.
Bateman, a construction worker and former school teacher, is a memberof the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Thepolygamous sect is primarily located in the twin towns of Hildale,Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.
Warren S. Jeffs, the sect's leader, is scheduled to stand trial in Utahin April on charges of being an accomplice to rape for a 2001 marriageinvolving a 14-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man.
Bateman was 44 when he was spiritually sealed to a 17-year-old girl in2001. The woman is still married to Bateman and asked the judge forleniency, according to Gary Engels, a Mohave County specialinvestigator.
Also on Monday at the Kingman,Ariz., court, Vergel Jessop entered ano-contest plea to child abuse, a lesser offense than the two felonysex-crime charges he faced. Mohave County Prosecutor Matt Smith agreedto the plea bargain because two of Jessop's wives have serious healthissues.
Jessop, 47, will receive three years' supervised probation with no jailtime. Judge Steven Conn also will decide in January whether to requireJessop to register as a sex offender.
Jessop works for the parks department in Colorado City. He entered intoa spiritual marriage with a 17-year-old girl in 2000.
"Each one of these is a little different," said Engels. "I hope thismakes the people up there think twice before they participate in thistype of action in the future."
A Mohave County grand jury indicted eight men from the FLDS communityon identical sex-crime charges in August 2005. So far, five cases havebeen resolved.
Kelly Fischer was convicted and sentenced to 45 days in jail in August.Donald Barlow was acquitted in September after the county prosecutorfailed to prove the crime took place in Arizona. The county dropped itscase against Terry D. Barlow in October after Barlow proved hismarriage took place in Canada.
Charges are still pending against Rodney Holm, Randy Barlow and Dale Barlow.
Posted by Perry at 02:48 PM
Brethren member guilty of indecently assaulting girl, 10
The Sydney Morning Herald
December 19, 2006
"IN OUR community we really treat each other as if we are really,really close friends," the 10-year-old girl explained to the policeofficer.
The girl was talking about her religious community, the Exclusive Brethren.
And she was explaining how she came to stay with a man who digitally raped and repeatedly indecently assaulted her sister.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was yesterday foundguilty in the District Court of four counts of indecent assault and acharge of sexual intercourse with a child under 10.
Judge Helen Murrell told the Downing Centre jury he was convictedlast year of sexual offences against the girl's sister. She refused tocontinue his bail, pending his sentencing in January.
The judge also refused an application for the entire proceedings of the trial to be suppressed.
"It is through the publication of such matters that the communityunderstands the extent and nature of child sexual abuse in thecommunity â€¦ and can serve to encourage other victims to come forward,"she said. The girl said she had trusted the man. "I thought he wasreally nice."
He had touched her under her dress while she was sitting in a car, despite his children being present, she told police.
Another time he had touched her while his wife was in the same room.He had put her hand on his penis, while hugging her sister on the bunkbed above her. "He got my hand. He does it in a sly way. And he getsyou and he does it, though he's really nice. I was taken by it," shesaid. "You are lovable," he had told her but had insisted they keepwhat had happened between them.
After the assaults, when she had returned home, she no longer likedgoing to church, even though that was where she met all her friends.
"It freaked me out, and I hated seeing him."
The man's lawyer, Paul Byrne, SC, argued that the offences were sobrazen they were unlikely, and the jury should not believe the girl.
Posted by Perry at 02:44 PM
Swiss conductor acquitted in sect killings
December 20, 2006
Swiss orchestra conductor Michel Tabachnik has been cleared ofcriminal involvement in the deaths of 16 members of a doomsday cult inFrance.
An appeals court in France on Wednesday upheld the verdict of alower court, which in 2001 acquitted Tabachnik over the deaths ofmembers of the Swiss-based Order of the Solar Temple.
Tabachnik, who admitted to belonging to the Solar Temple cult, wasaccused of encouraging cult members to "a transit towards the starSirius"- a reference to mass suicide.
He stood trial in 2001, but was cleared of charges of conspiring tobrainwash 74 followers of the group into accepting death by occultritual.
At the new trial in Grenoble he faced new charges relating to 16cult members, three of them children, whose charred remains werediscovered in the French Alps in December 1995. It came afterprosecutors appealed against his original acquittal.
The appeal came to court after numerous delays caused by theindictment in Paris of the main psychiatric expert responsible foroverseeing the Order of the Solar Temple case.
The Solar Temple cult gained worldwide notoriety between September1994 and March 1997 when the burnt bodies of 74 of its members werefound in Switzerland, Canada and then France.
Several had been shot in the head or asphyxiated, and many had beendrugged, in what were apparently ritual murders, although some werethought to have been willing participants in the supposed mass suicides.
The two founders of the sect, Luc Jouret and Jo Di Mambro, wereamong the dead. They had allegedly extorted followers of their moneyand convinced them that they must die by burning to attain bliss in theafterworld.
At his trial in 2001, Tabachnik denied accusations ofindoctrination. He also rejected charges that his writings â€“ inspiredby a mixture of the occult, and New Age and esoteric theories â€“ hadprepared the way for the cult members' deaths.
Swiss authorities investigating the deaths of 48 cult members whoperished in two apparent mass-suicides in cantons Valais and Fribourgin 1994 failed to establish any link between the cult and Tabachnik,but a French investigating magistrate decided there was enough evidenceto put the conductor on trial.
Tabachnik, who studied under conductor Pierre Boulez and composerIannis Xenakis, has led the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lorraine andorchestras in Canada and New York.
swissinfo with agencies
CHRONOLOGY OF THE SOLAR TEMPLE AFFAIR
1983 â€“ The Belgian Luc Jouret and Frenchman Joseph De Mambro found asecret order in Geneva combining several groups. In 1990 the sect isnamed the Order of the Solar Temple.
September 30, 1994 â€“ A 35-year-old Swiss man, his wife andthree-month-old child are murdered in Morin Heights in QuÃ©bec in anapartment belonging to Di Mambro. Four days later a Swiss couple arealso found dead in the same location.
October 5, 1994 - 23 bodies are discovered in a burnt-out farm inCheiry in canton Fribourg. The same day 25 bodies, including those ofJouret and Di Mambro, are found in Salvan in canton Valais.
December 23, 1995 - 16 bodies are discovered in a star formation in the Vercors region in France.
April 3, 1996 â€“ According to the three Swiss judges in charge of thecase in Switzerland, none of the people responsible for the massacressurvived.
March 22, 1997 â€“ Five bodies are discovered in a house belonging toa cult member in St Casimir in QuÃ©bec. In total, 74 cult members died(30 Swiss, 30 French and ten Canadians).
July 3 2000 â€“ Michel Tabachnik is ordered to appear before theGrenoble court for "criminal association", accused of being one of thecult leaders.
June 25, 2001 â€“ The Grenoble court acquits Tabachnik of "criminal association". The prosecutor's office lodges an appeal.
December 20, 2006 - Grenoble appeals court upholds Tabachnik's acquittal.
Posted by Perry at 02:41 PM
Tabachnik relaxÃ© en appel au procÃ¨s de l'Ordre du temple solaire
mercredi 20 dÃ©cembre 2006
La cour d'appel de Grenoble a relaxÃ© le chef d'orchestrefranco-suisse Michel Tabachnik, jugÃ© dans le dossier visant la mort de74 adeptes de la secte de l'Ordre du temple solaire (OTS) de 1994 Ã 1997.
Le parquet gÃ©nÃ©ral de Grenoble avait abandonnÃ© implicitementl'accusation le 31 octobre dans un rÃ©quisitoire de deux heures et demie.
L'avocat gÃ©nÃ©ral Jean-Pierre MÃ©lendez avait estimÃ© que le prÃ©venu,seule personne jamais poursuivie dans une affaire qui avait fait grandbruit, n'Ã©tait pas un membre important de la secte.
Me Francis Szpiner, avocat du chef d'orchestre qui dÃ©nonce un "dÃ©lit d'opinion", avait ensuite plaidÃ© sa relaxe.
Le 25 juin 2001, en premiÃ¨re instance, le tribunal correctionnel deGrenoble avait relaxÃ© Michel Tabachnik, contre l'avis du parquet quiavait demandÃ© cinq ans de prison ferme. Ce dernier avait fait appel.
Poursuivi pour "participation Ã une association de malfaiteurs envue de commettre des assassinats", le chef d'orchestre se voyaitreprocher d'avoir incitÃ© les adeptes de la secte Ã se suicider ou Ã accepter une mise Ã mort, par ses Ã©crits ou ses discours.
Les massacres de l'OTS ont eu lieu dans trois pays : cinq morts le30 septembre 1994 Ã Morin Heights, au Canada, 48 morts les 3 et 4octobre 1994 Ã Cheiry et Salvan, en Suisse, 16 morts le 16 dÃ©cembre1995 en France, dans le Vercors, Ã Saint-Pierre-de-ChÃ©rennes, et enfincinq morts le 22 mars 1997 Ã Saint-Casimir, au Canada.
Posted by Perry at 02:37 PM
Sociologue critique les mÃ©thodes pour lutter contre les dÃ©rives sectaires/Sociologist Questions Parliamentary Report on Cults
Par Julie LASTERADE
mercredi 20 dÃ©cembre 2006
RaphaÃ«l Liogier, sociologue, professeur Ã l'IEP d'Aix-en-Provence,directeur de l'Observatoire du religieux et auteur d' Une laÃ¯citÃ©Â«lÃ©gitimeÂ», la France et ses religions d'Etat. Selon lui, les mÃ©thodesutilisÃ©es pour lutter contre les dÃ©rives sectaires en France sontÂ«arbitrairesÂ» et inefficaces.
Les auteurs du rapport parlementaires s'inquiÃ¨tent du sort des enfantsdont les parents appartiennent Ã un mouvement considÃ©rÃ© comme secte.Qu'en pensez-vous ?
Il n'y a pas de secte qui soit a priori dangereuse en France. Toutesles Ã©tudes sociologiques ont prouvÃ© qu'il n'y a pas plus de dÃ©rivesdans ces groupes-lÃ que dans d'autres groupes qui ne sont pasreligieux. Et les parlementaires ou la mission interministÃ©rielle n'ontmenÃ© aucune enquÃªte sÃ©rieuse pour dÃ©montrer le contraire. S'ilsrecensent 40 000 enfants parmi les tÃ©moins de JÃ©hovah, ils en concluentque 40 000 enfants sont en danger. Or, s'il y avait un vrai problÃ¨me,on observerait des cas de maltraitance, de sous-Ã©ducation, etc. Onaurait des remontÃ©es via les assistantes sociales ou l'Educationnationale. Je ne dis pas que cela ne peut pas arriver, mais, quand ilsexistent, ce sont des cas particuliers qui n'ont rien Ã voir avec lefonctionnement gÃ©nÃ©ral de la secte.
Dans ce cas, pourquoi lancer une mission pour Ã©tudier l'influence des sectes sur les mineurs ?
Parce que les sectes reprÃ©sentent le bouc Ã©missaire idÃ©al. On lesimagine tentaculaires, incontrÃ´lables. AprÃ¨s avoir tentÃ© sans succÃ¨s deles coincer sur leurs finances, on tente maintenant de dire que leursenfants sont manipulÃ©s, car c'est un sujet ultrasensible d'un point devue Ã©motionnel.
Comment repÃ©rer les dÃ©rives ?
En cessant d'Ãªtre dans le vague, en rÃ©agissant de faÃ§on plusrationnelle. Il faut Ãªtre vigilant sur les associations qui pourraientvraiment dÃ©river, comme celles avec un projet fondÃ© sur le racisme oubien celles qui concentrent le pouvoir sur une seule personne et dontles adeptes sont dans un abandon total Ã leur chef. Pour les repÃ©rer,il faut des enquÃªtes scientifiques et sociologiques. Il faut apporterdes preuves avant de stigmatiser, et cesser de s'appuyer sur desdÃ©nonciations tous azimuts, sans enquÃªtes Ã charge et Ã dÃ©charge.Sinon, on plonge dans l'arbitraire, on aboutit Ã des mesuresdiscriminatoires, et on crÃ©e des problÃ¨mes de libertÃ© publique plusimportants que ceux qu'ils sont censÃ©s rÃ©soudre.
Posted by Perry at 02:28 PM
50 mesures pour protÃ©ger les mineurs/50 Recommendations to Protect Children
Pour un spÃ©cialiste de la commission parlementaire chargÃ©e des sectes, "60.000 Ã 80.000 enfants" seraient concernÃ©s.
Cette commission rend ce mardi son rapport sur l'influence desmouvements sectaires. L'Eglise de Scientologie et les tÃ©moins deJÃ©hovah, ont exprimÃ© leurs rÃ©serves sur ces travaux avant mÃªme qu'ilsne soient publiÃ©s.
- le 19/12/2006 -
Les enfants sont une proie de plus en plus facile pour les sectes etl'engagement des pouvoirs publics contre les consÃ©quences des dÃ©rivessectaires "s'avÃ¨re trÃ¨s inÃ©gal", selon un rapport publiÃ© mardi par unecommission parlementaire qui avancent 50 mesures pour protÃ©ger lesmineurs. La "commission d'enquÃªte relative Ã l'influence des mouvementsÃ caractÃ¨re sectaire et aux consÃ©quences de leurs pratiques sur lasantÃ© physique et mentale des mineurs" prÃ©sidÃ©e par Georges Fenech(UMP, RhÃ´ne), s'est intÃ©ressÃ©e Ã la fois aux enfants vivantactuellement dans les sectes et Ã ceux qui risquent d'Ãªtre touchÃ©s parce phÃ©nomÃ¨ne.
La commission s'est inquiÃ©tÃ©e du nombre d'enfants concernÃ©s. Un desspÃ©cialistes interrogÃ©s parle d'un "minimum de 60.000 Ã 80.000 enfantsÃ©levÃ©s dans un contexte sectaire". Elle a travaillÃ© Ã partir destÃ©moignages d'anciens adeptes, de fonctionnaires en charge del'enfance, de magistrats, d'un pÃ©dopsychiatre, etc et a mis en exergueles mÃ©faits de l'endoctinement et de l'enfermement psychologique. Elleinsiste particuliÃ¨rement sur les conditions de scolarisation et sur lesuivi mÃ©dical (profil psychologique, accÃ¨s ou non aux transfusionssanguines et Ã la vaccination).
Pas de listes
Les 50 mesures proposÃ©es concernent aussi bien l'Ã©ducation(redÃ©finition des critÃ¨res autorisant l'instruction Ã domicile,contrÃ´le des organismes d'Ã©ducation Ã distance), la santÃ© publique(contrÃ´le mÃ©dical scolaire systÃ©matique quel que soit le type descolarisation des enfants, unification des sanctions pour refus devaccination des enfants, prise en charge des sortants des sectes,dÃ©finition des "bonnes pratiques des psychothÃ©rapeutes), l'IntÃ©rieur(prendre davantage en considÃ©ration l'intÃ©rÃªt de l'enfant dans lestatut des associations cultuelles), la Justice (droits des grandsparents, sanction de l'enfermement), etc...
La commission n'a pas produit de liste des sectes mais elle en adÃ©fini les caractÃ©ristiques, dont la dÃ©stabilisation mentale, lecaractÃ¨re exorbitant des exigences financiÃ¨res, l'embrigadement desenfants, sans oublier l'"abus frauduleux de l'Ã©tat d'ignorance ou defaiblesse". Avant mÃªme d'Ãªtre citÃ©es, certaines associations sontmontÃ©es au crÃ©neau. Les TÃ©moins de JÃ©hovah estiment devoir se trouverhors du champ d'investigation de la commission. L'Eglise deScientologie, elle, rÃ©fute toute rÃ©fÃ©rence au mouvement sectaire. LaCoordination des associations de particuliers pour la libertÃ© deconscience (Caplc), conteste dÃ©jÃ les statistiques qu'auraientutilisÃ©es les parlementaires.
Posted by Perry at 02:23 PM
Les enfants proies de plus en plus faciles pour les sectes/Children Easy Prey For Cults
dÃ©c. 19, 2006
PARIS (Reuters) - Les enfants sont des proies de plus en plusfaciles pour les sectes et l'engagement des pouvoirs publics contre lesdÃ©rives sectaires est trÃ¨s inÃ©gal, affirme la commission d'enquÃªte del'AssemblÃ©e nationale sur l'influence des sectes sur les mineurs.
Aussi formule-t-elle 50 propositions destinÃ©es Ã "contrer les dangers du phÃ©nomÃ¨ne sectaire".
"Les conclusions qui se dÃ©gagent de nos travaux permettent dedresser un double constat", rÃ©sume la commission d'enquÃªte dans sonrapport prÃ©sentÃ© mardi sous le titre "L'enfance volÃ©e. Les mineursvictimes des sectes".
"D'une part, les enfants constituent une proie de plus en plusfacile pour les sectes. D'autre part, l'engagement des pouvoirs publicscontre l'influence des dÃ©rives sectaires sur les enfants s'avÃ¨re trÃ¨sinÃ©gal", affirme la commission d'enquÃªte qui remet mardi son rapport auprÃ©sident de l'AssemblÃ©e, Jean-Louis DebrÃ©.
La commission d'enquÃªte, crÃ©Ã©e le 28 juin dernier et prÃ©sidÃ©e parGeorges Fenech (UMP), le rapporteur Ã©tant Philippe Vuilque (PS), aprocÃ©dÃ© Ã l'audition de plus de 65 personnes.
Elle s'est Ã©galement rendue Ã Sus (PyrÃ©nÃ©es-Atlantiques) le 21novembre afin d'enquÃªter sur la communautÃ© biblique Tabitha's Placeavant d'auditionner le 5 dÃ©cembre deux de ses anciens adeptes.
Le rapport cite un haut fonctionnaire du ministÃ¨re de la SantÃ© etdes SolidaritÃ©s qui Ã©value "au minimum, de 60.000 Ã 80.000" le nombred'enfants Ã©levÃ©s dans un contexte sectaire dont "environ 45.000" chezles TÃ©moins de JÃ©hovah.
DÃ©nonÃ§ant "l'emprise mentale" sur les enfants exercÃ©e par lesmouvements sectaires, le rapporteur estime que "sans aller jusqu'Ã (l')extrÃ©mitÃ© de la tentation suicidaire, l'emprise mentale subie dansl'organisation Ã caractÃ¨re sectaire peut provoquer de graves troublesde la personnalitÃ© et du comportement".
POUVOIRS ACCRUS POUR LA MIVILUDES
Il ajoute que "les spÃ©cialistes de la protection de l'enfance,au-delÃ mÃªme du phÃ©nomÃ¨ne sectaire, soulignent que tous les systÃ¨mesclos sont susceptibles de favoriser la maltraitance et les abussexuels".
La commission, qui souligne le travail "remarquable" accompli par laMission interministÃ©rielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dÃ©rivessectaires (MIVILUDES) depuis sa crÃ©ation en novembre 2002, affirme,qu'en dÃ©pit "des avancÃ©es" lÃ©gislatives" et la mise en place d'unepolitique de lutte au niveau national et rÃ©gional, "force est deconstater que des failles perdurent".
"Celles-ci sont perceptibles dans plusieurs domaines: lasensibilisation des administrations aux problÃ¨mes sectaires, laprocÃ©dure de reconnaissance du statut d'association culturelle, lesmÃ©canismes du contrÃ´le Ã©ducatif et l'absence de contrÃ´le des activitÃ©sdes psychothÃ©rapeutes", est-il prÃ©cisÃ©.
"Les dispositifs juridiques et administratifs existants demandent Ã Ãªtre complÃ©tÃ©s pour assurer aux mineurs victimes d'une organisationsectaire une rÃ©elle protection", estime le rapporteur.
Ainsi la commission propose-t-elle de redÃ©finir le rÃ©gime del'instruction Ã domicile et celui de l'enseignement Ã distance et derenforcer celui des agrÃ©ments des organismes de soutien scolaire.
La commission, qui plaide en faveur d'une formation spÃ©cifique desauditeurs de justice et des avocats stagiaires au fait sectaire, veutrendre obligatoire un contrÃ´le mÃ©dical annuel par la mÃ©decine scolairepour les enfants de plus de six ans instruits dans leur famille ouscolarisÃ©s dans des Ã©tablissements hors contrat.
Elle propose Ã©galement de prÃ©ciser les conditions d'attribution dutitre de psychothÃ©rapeute, ou bien encore, en matiÃ¨re de justice,d'autoriser les grands-parents Ã saisir directement le juge des enfants"lorsque la santÃ©, la sÃ©curitÃ© ou la moralitÃ© d'un enfant sont endanger".
Elle demande aussi de sanctionner l'enfermement social des mineursou bien encore de redÃ©finir les conditions de l'engagement despoursuites pour prosÃ©lytisme Ã l'encontre des mouvements Ã caractÃ¨resectaire.
Enfin, elle plaide pour la crÃ©ation au sein du ministÃ¨re desAffaires Ã©trangÃ¨res d'un poste de correspondant chargÃ© de ce dossier etpropose de renforcer les pouvoirs et compÃ©tences de la MIVILUDES tantau niveau national, que local et international.
Posted by Perry at 02:16 PM
December 17, 2006
Teen's case fits lawmakers' intent for emancipation law
She has filed documents to show independence and says she wants to live away from her community
By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
St. George - Shannon Price, Director of the Diversity Foundation(left) helps 17 year old Jenifer Broadbent fill out paperwork asBroadbent prepares to apply for emancipation from her parents, who arepart of Warren Jeffs' FLDS church.
Jennifer Broadbent is just the kind of teenager for whom Utah'semancipation law was crafted: an independent teen opting for lifeoutside a closed, polygamous community.
But so far, only Broadbentand two other teens from plural families have petitioned for adulthood- something advocates attribute to fear and lack of information.
Broadbent said she left her home in Colorado City, Ariz., in 2005 insearch of a future that offered more than marriage and babies. At 17,she moved in with a cousin in St. George, got a fast-food job and sether sights on college.
In September, Broadbent convinced a juvenile judge she was emotionallyand financially independent enough to be considered an adult.
"I feel like I'm actually getting somewhere now," said Broadbent, who enrolled this fall in the Clearfield Job Corps.
Proponents pitched the law as a way to fast-forward adulthood for teenswho can't rely on or are estranged from their parents. As minors, theteens are unable to enroll in school, get medical care or sign rentalagreements and bank loans.
Teens who have left or been kicked out of polygamous communities - mostfrom the twin towns of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah - were held outas prime beneficiaries of the bill. The towns are the home base of theFundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
"These kids don't know why they need to be emancipated, that [the law]exists and what it can do for them," said Shannon Price of theDiversity Foundation, which works with the teens.
They are also reluctant to reach out for government help given their cultural upbringing, Price said.
Proving financial independence and possibly having to face off in courtagainst parents, who must be notified when a petition is filed, alsomay be hurdles.
"It was intimidating to me at first," Broadbent said, but others "need to know it is an easy process."
Price is working with the Utah Safety Net Committee to add a page tothe Web site justforyouth.utah.gov that would include information aboutthe law. The page should be available in January.
"The more people who go through the process, others will look at themand say it's not impossible and that they can do it as well," Broadbentsaid. "It has just opened up so many doors."
Posted by Perry at 05:02 PM
Missouri Church Leaders Accused of Child-Sex Abuse
by Doualy Xaykaothao
NPR - Morning Edition
December 14, 2006
Early next year, the first of several child-sexual abuse casesinvolving church leaders is expected to be heard in a courtroom insouthwest Missouri. The sex charges were filed this summer by women whogrew up in a religious community deep in the Ozarks. Most of theaccusers and the accused are related by blood or marriage.
The five women who have pressed charges are all now adults. Theyattended Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church in Washburn, Mo. Ifwhat they say is true -- and that's still to be proven -- they werelured into sexual conduct by some of their church leaders when theywere children, one as young as 8.
At a preliminary hearing in the Newton County, Mo., courthouse inOctober, 20-year-old Mackenzie Kyle Amey testified against her allegedmolester, 63-year-old pastor George Johnston, a man she used to callGrandpa. Her younger sister has also made claims against Johnston.Attorney Andy Wood represents Johnston. He says his client is innocent.
In neighboring McDonald County, Duane Cooper, an attorney forRaymond Lambert -- the other pastor accused of multiple counts ofstatutory sodomy and child molestation -- also questions the timing ofthe accusations. Cooper says Lambert is innocent, and Cooper isn'thappy about all the publicity the case has received locally.
"There's an assumption of guilt," Cooper says. "As soon as peoplesee it on TV, hear about it on the radio, read about it in thenewspapers, they assume because the great powers of the state havecharged a crime, that a person is actually guilty."
Cooper and other lawyers representing Raymond Lambert say they don'twant to try their client's cases in the media, but they agreed to letNPR ask pastor Lambert about the effects of the accusations on his life.
"It's been tough on everyone, but I believe we're going to make it,"Lambert said. "My vision of what our farm would be -- a school, a farm-- in a moment of a few days, and seemingly a few hours, it allchanged."
One accuser, who fears reprisals for speaking out, tells NPR sheleft the community in April. Since then, she no longer attends churchbecause she finds it hard to trust any religious figure. She doesn'twant to be identified by name. She alleges her sexual relationship withpastor Raymond Lambert started when she was 15.
Another woman who left is Charyn Epling. She says she wasn'tencouraged to read the Bible in this community because it was preachedto her that only men of God read it.
Charyn Epling is now reading the Bible. The first thing she learned,she says, is that "nowhere in the Bible does it state that you cantouch a child. Nowhere. You cannot sexually touch a child, and that'sbasically what this is all about."
Next week, a hearing is set for one of the accused church leaders inMcDonald County. Other cases are pending, and one trial is set forFebruary.
Posted by Perry at 04:59 PM
Child Sex-Abuse Cases Rock Ozarks Religious Group
by Doualy Xaykaothao
NPR - All Things Considered
December 14, 2006
In southwest Missouri, police are investigating allegations of childsexual abuse involving church leaders and church members. Prosecutorsin two counties say there are multiple victims and similar patterns ofabuse.
Some of the alleged sexual contact may have been committed as partof a ritual or ceremony, crimes that are rare in the United States. NPRhas reviewed extensive legal documents in these cases over severalmonths and also talked to most of the accusers, as well as some of theaccused.
The area of Missouri where the cases surfaced has been home toextremist and fringe groups in the past. Data show that a high numberof cases of child sexual abuse in the same area are reported annuallyto the Department of Social Services. What makes this story differentis that almost all the accusers -- five so far -- and the accused --five in total -- are related by blood or marriage.
Newton County's Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Bill Dobbs says complicated family ties are involved in the cases.
"We have, in McDonald County, Raymond Lambert, who is married to hisstepsister," Dobbs says. "We have George Johnston, who is an uncle toRaymond Lambert. It is alleged by some members of that community thatthe religious leaders may, in fact, be the biological parents ofseveral children who have been born into this group."
Our story focuses mostly on the pastors Raymond Lambert and hisuncle George Johnston. Both men are charged with multiple counts ofstatutory sodomy or child molestation. Pastor Lambert led his flock ona 100-acre farm. Pastor Johnston led his on a 10-acre farm. Theyministered in the family's Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church.
A Close-Knit, Isolated Community
Earlier this year in the spring, 10 people secretly moved out of the100-acre farm. Most of those left behind were shocked, since members ofthe religious community were unusually close.
A woman who left with this group agreed to be interviewed, but onlyon condition of anonymity. NPR agreed to this because she fears for herand her family's safety. She is also an alleged victim named in one ofthe child sexual-abuse cases. The woman, in her late 20s, says she fledbecause she realized her extended family was behaving like a religiouscult.
"They operate in a cult-like fashion," she tells NPR. "RaymondLambert sets all the rules for the people who live there. He tells youwhat to go to school for, he tells you who to marry. He basicallycontrols your life."
Posted by Perry at 04:51 PM