Minority discrimination up 68 pct in Dutch schools

            By Abdullah Asiran</p>  <p> </p>  <p>THE HAGUE (AA) - Discrimination in schools against minorities has increased 68 percent in the Netherlands compared to the previous academic year, according to a new report.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>The Inspection Board of the Dutch Ministry of Education revealed on Wednesday that there had been a &quot;large increase&quot; in discrimination against ethnic minorities, according to complaints reported to school safety inspectors during the 2017-2018 academic year.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>The report said the number of discriminative cases rose to 42 during this period, while 25 cases had been registered in the previous academic term.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>It also revealed that sexual abuse in schools climbed from 106 to 134 cases compared to the previous period, adding that the sexual harassment cases fell from 247 to 203 during the same timeframe.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>Almost half of the complaints by students of sexual abuse were against teachers or school staff, the report revealed.</p>  <p>* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev

US state sues Catholic diocese for hiring pedophiles

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. state of West Virginia sued a local Catholic diocese Tuesday because it had knowingly employed pedophiles and did not inform the public.</p>  <p>West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston as well as its former bishop, Michael Bransfield.</p>  <p>&quot;The Diocese and its Bishops chose to cover up and conceal arguably criminal behavior of admitted child sex abusers,&quot; the lawsuit said.</p>  <p>One such hire was Father Patrick Condron, who was employed by the diocese at a seminary high school in Vienna, West Virginia in the 1980s. After admitting he had sexually abused a student, he was sent to substance abuse and psychotherapy facilities for counseling and later reassigned to a local elementary school.</p>  <p>The school failed to mention to parents that it had hired a pedophile.</p>  <p>The diocese was also accused of not thoroughly vetting applications and failing to do adequate background checks and the lawsuit revealed that they had hired people &quot;credibly accused of sexual abuse of children&quot;.</p>  <p>It offered multiple cases similar to Condron where the diocese continued to employ people even when it was found they were accused of sexual abuse, all the while failing to mention that they were employing people in schools who were accused of being pedophiles.</p>  <p>The lawsuit said the diocese &quot;has a long history of not providing a safe learning environment for students in its schools and children attending its recreational camps&quot; and that it violated the state's law by failing to safely deliver on the services provided as they were advertised.</p>  <p>The Catholic Church has been marred by sexual abuse allegations after a bombshell investigation by a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed that at least 1,000 children had been abused by the Church.</p>  <p>The investigation found that priests had not only been sexually abusing children but the Church had covered up incidents to protect priests and its image.</p>  <p>Last week, Australia’s top Catholic cardinal, George Pell, was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting two choirboys in 1996 and 1997 during his time as cardinal at a Melbourne cathedral.

Thousands of migrant youths report abuse in US custody

            By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - Thousands of migrant youths reported being abused while in U.S. custody, according to documents released by Rep. Ted Deutch's office Tuesday. </p>  <p>In all, the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse from unaccompanied minors from November 2014 through September 2018.</p>  <p>Over 1,300 of those cases were reported to the Justice Department for further investigation. </p>  <p>The documents came in response to a request by the House Judiciary Committee in January.</p>  <p>&quot;These HHS documents detail a staggering number of sexual assaults on unaccompanied children in their custody,&quot; Deutch, the committee chairman, said in a statement. </p>  <p>&quot;With the number of allegations each year roughly breaking down to one sexual assault per week for the last three years, clearly this Administration is not equipped to keep these children safe inside their facilities.&quot; </p>  <p>The revelation comes as President Donald Trump presses a hardline approach to immigration, including his &quot;zero tolerance&quot; push that resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents.</p>  <p>Thousands of children were separated before the administration was forced to revise its policy to allow parents to be detained alongside their children while they await legal proceedings.</p>  <p>One document released by Deutch's office includes reports of 178 allegations of sexual assault being made against adult staffers at detention centers. The allegations include groping, kissing, relationships with minors, and verbal sexual assault. </p>  <p>HHS said in a statement after the documents’ release that the care of minors &quot;is our top concern&quot;.</p>  <p>&quot;Each of our grantees running standard shelters is licensed by the respective state for child care services. In addition to other rigorous standards put in place by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, background checks of all facility employees are mandatory,&quot; spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement. 

US nuns urge structural change in Catholic Church

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - The largest body of Catholic nuns in the U.S. called for a change in the structure of the predominantly male-led Catholic Church on Thursday after Pope Francis publicly acknowledged that priests had been sexually abusing nuns.</p>  <p>The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) issued a public statement calling for the church to rectify the issue of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.</p>  <p>&quot;The revelations of the extent of abuse indicate clearly that the current structures must change if the church is to regain its moral credibility and have a viable future,&quot; it said.</p>  <p>The LCWR statement comes after Pope Francis said the church was facing a problem of clergy abusing nuns and that the issue was being looked into and worked on, according to reports.</p>  <p>His comments mark the first time a pope has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church.</p>  <p>The LCWR, which represents about 80 percent of the Catholic nuns in the U.S., said they are grateful that the pope was able to &quot;shed light on a reality that has been largely hidden from the public&quot;.</p>  <p>The organization offered two structural changes in its statement: create mechanisms where victims can report abuse in a safe environment, and reorganize leadership structures so not all power is afforded to the clergy.

UPDATE – Top lawyer at center of Israel sex scandal resigns


JERUSALEM (AA) – Efraim Nave, chairman of Israel’s Bar Association, was named as a main suspect on Thursday in a sex scandal that has rocked Israel’s judicial establishment prompting him to resign from his post.

Along with a female judge and the wife of another judge, Nave was arrested Wednesday evening before being released on bail.

He remains, however, confined to his home.

Nave, who has been interrogated by a police anti-corruption unit, has been charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly advancing the career of the female judge two years ago in exchange for sexual favors.

He is also suspected of having had sexual relations with the wife of another judge in exchange for helping the latter obtain a position at a district court.

The scandal has reverberated throughout Israel’s judicial establishment, including the Justice Ministry, Supreme Court and Attorney-General’s Office.

Members of Israel’s Judicial Selection Committee have reportedly been asked to provide testimony in the case, including Israel’s chief justice and justice minister.

Nave was elected chairman of Israel’s Bar Association in 2015.

The scandal has prompted members of Israel’s opposition to blame Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked for “ruining” and “politicizing” the judicial system.

“The Judicial Selection Committee has been operating under the intimidation and corruption of Justice Minister Shaked,” opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich said in a statement.

“The destructive partnerships created by Shaked are the basis for the horrific affair being exposed today,” she added.

Yachimovich called for quick legal action to resolve the crisis, asserting that there was “a cloud of doubt over all judges appointed during the Shaked era”.

US: Catholic Church exposes more child sex abuse

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. Catholic Church is plunging deeper into crisis as more evidence is uncovered of sex abuse involving clergy and minors.</p>  <p>The latest evidence of its magnitude was revealed Thursday in an exclusive report by the Associated Press, which said nearly 50 dioceses and religious orders have publicly disclosed the names of more than 1,000 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children since a Pennsylvania grand jury report was released last August and 55 more plan to do the same in the coming months.</p>  <p>The largest list of names came from the Jesuits West Province, a religious order that encompasses nine Western states, which identified 111 priests, the AP report said.</p>  <p>The New Orleans Archdiocese and the Diocese of Syracuse, New York named 61 and 57 respectively. Meanwhile, a diocese in Montana disclosed 47 names and the Los Angeles Archdiocese reported more than 50 from the past decade.</p>  <p>AP said they &quot;also found that nearly 20 local, state or federal investigations, either criminal or civil, have been launched since the release of the grand jury findings&quot;.</p>  <p> But the report, citing experts, said many of the lists are incomplete.</p>  <p>Terence McKiernan, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, an online platform that has tracked abuse for more than a decade, told AP that many dioceses have left off the names of known abusers his group has published in its online database.</p>  <p>The Pennsylvania grand jury investigation revealed that at least 1,000 children had been abused by the Catholic Church.</p>  <p>It said more than 300 &quot;predator priests&quot; throughout the state of Pennsylvania had been protected by the Catholic Church after sexually abusing children.</p>  <p>The report was released following an 18-month investigation into the abuse which scoured six church dioceses and found more than 1,000 child victims, both boys and girls. It said it believes the numbers are much higher due to records being lost.</p>  <p>The investigation found that priests had not only been sexually abusing children but the Catholic Church had covered up incidents to protect priests and the image of the Church.</p>  <p>&quot;The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid 'scandal',&quot; the report said.</p>  <p>The Church was not the only entity involved in keeping the incidents hidden. The report found that police learned about some cases of sexual abuse and declined to pursue them.</p>  <p>Most of the cases were from before the year 2000 and beyond the statute of limitations, but the report said two priests were charged.</p>  <p>The report detailed the accounts of dozens of individuals who had been abused and assaulted by priests and were told to not say anything about it.</p>  <p>&quot;We should emphasize that, while the list of priests is long, we don't think we got them all,&quot; the report said.

West African first ladies launch girls' rights campaign

                                By Alpha Kamara </p>  <p>FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AA) - First ladies from six West African nations -- Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Niger, Chad and Sierra Leone -- met on Friday to launch an initiative to curb sexual-related offenses against girls across the sub-Saharan region. </p>  <p>Launching the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, the nation’s President Julius Maada Bio said the initiative is a way of sending a clear message to abusers of children, especially those committing sexual offenses, that there is no safe haven for them.</p>  <p> “We are committed to enact laws that will prosecute and punish sex offenders against girls. We will also support the First Ladies’ initiative to remove barriers that restrict girls and women from enjoying their basic rights,” Bio added.</p>  <p>Fatima Maada Bio, Sierra Leone’s first lady, said they met to discuss ways to end early marriage, teenage pregnancy, maternal and child mortality, and above all sexual offenses against girls. </p>  <p>“I want to call on the police to use the laws to ensure rapists and child sex offenders are dealt with decisively to protect our girls from this menace,” Fatima Bio said, and was seconded by the other first ladies.</p>  <p>The issue of sexual offenses against girls came to the force when a recent report by Sierra Leone’s Rainbo Initiative suggested that sexual violence occurs significantly at higher levels among girls than in women.</p>    <p>The Hands Off Our Girls Campaign is being funded by the regional economic body ECOWAS and the UN Population Fund.

PKK terrorist confesses to women, child abuse by group

By Mehmet Tosun

ANKARA (AA) – A PKK terrorist, who surrendered to Turkish security forces, confessed that so-called ringleaders of the terrorist organization sexually abused minors and women who were tricked into coming to its camps.

According to the testimony of surrendered PKK terrorist codenamed "Amed", those who resisted or hampered sexual abuse were executed by the terrorists, or accused as traitors and tortured in dungeons in caves.

The terrorist said the PKK members would force the young people and children to have addiction to drugs so as to easily take them to conflict areas and prepare them for sexual abuse.

In 2015, Amed — as a new recruit to the terrorist organization — witnessed another newly recruited woman terrorist codenamed "Darsin" being sexually abused in the Daglica district of Hakkari province.

In 2016, Amed was sexually abused by another terrorist of Iran origin codenamed "Sahan" in northern Iraq’s Zap region, the terrorist confessed.

Despite making complaints on the issue, Amed was accused of "spying, telling lies and slander" and was placed in Kuker prison of the Zap terror camp.

Amed also said that the so-called ringleaders of the PKK in the Qandil region of northern Iraq were known for their "perverted" behaviors, adding: "Especially Murat Karayilan and Duran Kalkan were known for their deviant behavior towards children and women."

The terrorist added that children who were deceived, forced and kidnapped for joining the camps of the terrorists stayed in fear of execution, while some who found the opportunity managed to escape.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people.

French Bishops to form commission on child sex abuse

By Omer Aydin

PARIS (AA) – The Bishops' Conference of France announced Wednesday that an “independent” commission would be set up to investigate sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church.

Following a four-day meeting in the French city of Lourdes, French bishops released a statement saying the aim of the commission would be to “shed light on the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic church since 1950”.

In addition, the commission would seek to “understand the reasons which led to the way these affairs were handled” and make recommendations.

The members and leadership of the commission will be named in the coming days, with a report to be published within two years.

One of the commission’s objectives will be “collecting the stories of victims in order to better understand the reasons that led to these acts”, and the conference had indicated that financial compensation could be offered to the victims.

US priest removed for sex abuse accusation

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – An auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Church was removed from his New York office on Wednesday after being accused of sexually abusing a minor, according to church officials.

John Jenik, 74, was accused of having inappropriate relations with Michael Meenan, 52, almost 40 years ago. This relationship was reportedly from 1980 – 1986, during which Meenan said to have slept at Jenik's house around 70 times.

"Although Bishop Jenik continues to deny the allegation, loyal priest that he is, he has stepped aside from the public ministry, and, as we await Rome's review, may not function or present himself as a bishop or priest," Archbishop Timothy Dolan said in a statement.

The archdiocese in New York launched the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) in 2016 to help victims and survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members.

During the program, the allegation was brought forth and delivered to the Lay Review Board, a committee that monitors the protection of children in the Catholic Church.

"Although the alleged incidents occurred decades ago, the Lay Review Board has concluded that the evidence is sufficient to find the allegation credible and substantiated," Dolan added.

Jenik said he will abide by the archdiocese's policy and not exercise his ministerial duties and step aside from his position until the matter is settled.