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Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • As UN Torture Committee Probes Vatican, Sex-Abuse Survivors Urge Church to End Decades-Long Cover-up

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    The U.N. Committee on Torture sharply questioned the Vatican this week over its handling of sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church. The hearing came just four months after the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child accused the Vatican of systematically turning a blind eye to decades of abuse and attempting to cover up sex crimes. During this week’s hearing, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi revealed the church had dismissed more than 800 priests for sexual abuse of children in the past decade. A number of survivors of sexual abuse attended this week’s hearing, including our guest, Barbara Blaine, president and founder of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We are also joined by Katherine Gallagher, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and counsel for SNAP in their international advocacy work.

  • Protestant Church Faces New Sex-Abuse Scandal as Victims Defy Threats, Censorship to Speak Out

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    Is the Protestant world is teetering on the edge of a sex-abuse scandal similar to the one that rocked the Catholic Church? We are joined by reporter Kathryn Joyce, whose cover story in The American Prospect profiles Boz Tchividjian, a law professor at Liberty University — a school founded by Reverend Jerry Falwell — and former prosecutor who worked on many sexual abuse cases. Tchividjian used his experience to found GRACE — Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. GRACE made headlines in February when the famous evangelical school, Bob Jones University, hired it to interview faculty and students about their experiences with sexual assault, then fired it before the it had a chance to report the results — only to hire it back after a public outcry. Tchividjian is the grandson of the famous evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham.

  • After Abuse Under State Supervision, Transgender Connecticut Teen Held in Solitary Without Charge

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    We look at the case of "Jane Doe," a 16-year-old transgender girl of color in Connecticut imprisoned in solitary confinement without any criminal charges. One month ago today, a Superior Court judge ordered her sent to prison after the Connecticut Department of Children and Families requested the transfer, claiming they could not safely care for her. The move is allowed under a rarely used Connecticut statute. To justify sending Jane Doe to prison, DCF cited her alleged history of violent behavior. But in an affidavit to the court, Jane Doe wrote: "I feel that DCF has failed to protect me from harm and I am now thrown into prison because they have refused to help me." She goes on to detail how she was repeatedly sexually and physically abused between the ages of eight and 15, at the hands of both relatives and DCF staff, all while she was under DCF’s supervision. Describing her confinement at an adult women’s prison in Niantic, Connecticut, Doe wrote in an op-ed for The Hartford Courant: "I’m in my room 22 hours a day with a guard staring at me — even when I shower and go to the bathroom. It’s humiliating. Women constantly scream and cry and it was hard to sleep. They moved me down a different hallway where it’s not as crazy. I tell myself that this is just a nightmare, but it doesn’t end." We are joined by Jane Doe’s lawyer, Aaron Romano, and Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project.

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