July 25, 2008
Clergy sex abuse victims disappointed in bishop’s response
Top Catholic official is non-committal on helping alleged victim
Victim lives in Israel but may be able to testify via videoconference
Clergy sex abuse victims are ‘sad and disappointed’ that Steubenville’s top Catholic official won’t commit to help an alleged crime victim return to Ohio and testify before a grand jury. At the same time, however, prosecutors may be able to arrange for her to testify by videoconference.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are disclosing a July 16th letter from Bishop R Daniel Conlon to a Cincinnati lawyer who represents Beth Rocker. Rocker, who now lives in Israel, has filed a police report which says she was sexually abused as a child by a Steubenville area priest.
Guernsey County prosecutors want Rocker to attend a grand jury hearing about her allegations. Rocker’s attorney, Konrad Kircher, asked Conlon to help pay for her travel back to Ohio to testify.
SNAP is upset with Conlon’s response, in which he says he’ll take the request “under advisement.”
Rocker says she was sexually assaulted as a child by Fr. Gary Zalenski in the 1990s, while he was pastor at St Peter and Paul parish in Lore City.
“It’s sad that the bishop won’t give a straight answer and agree to help,” said Judy Jones, SNAP director of Southeastern Ohio. “If Rocker is telling the truth, Conlon can help police, prosecutors, and children by getting her back home so that a dangerous predator can be jailed. If Rocker is lying, Conlon can help an innocent priest clear his name.”
“The request is simple: will Conlon help or won’t he?” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s national director. “Conlon took three weeks just to answer ‘maybe.’”
Clohessy, Jones, and other SNAP leaders believe Rocker. Church officials found Rocker’s report credible enough that they suspended Zalenski from active ministry last November.
“Conlon is doing precisely what America’s bishops have almost always done with child sex cases - the bare minimum,” said Clohessy, SNAP National Director.
Conlon’s letter also claims that ‘the Diocese of Steubenville must maintain an objective stance with regard to any legal proceedings’.
Clohessy said he doesn’t buy Conlon’s argument.
“Helping law enforcement get information about alleged crimes isn’t taking sides. It’s our civic duty,” he said. “This is just a smokescreen by Conlon to excuse his ‘do nothing’ posture.”
“We are confident that Rocker is not the only victim of Zalenski,” said Jones. “We encourage others who saw, suspected, or suffered from Zalenski’s sex crimes to come forward, get help and call police.”
“When victims and witnesses speak up, there is a chance for healing, justice, and prevention” said Jones. “But when they stay silent, abuse continues.”
Prosecutors are now in touch with Rocker about the possibility of giving her testimony via videoconference.
July 21, 2008
July 18, 2008
The Dark Knight grossed the most ever for midnight shows, earning a massive $18.5 million from 3,040 theaters. The number did not include the 3:00 a.m. and 6 a.m. showings.
The Batman Begins follow-up broke the previous midnight record set by 20th Century Fox’s Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith which grossed $16.9 million from 3,663 theaters. “Sith” went on to make $50 million in its first day, which was a Thursday. The highest single day opening record is currently held by Sony’s Spider-Man 3, which made $59.8 million.
This morning, The Dark Knight expanded into a record 4,366 theaters.
July 16, 2008
Gabriel DeJesus Back At Work At Sacred Heart School For The Arts On Monday; N.Y. Archdiocese Investigating
By JEFF CAPELLINI & LEE KUSHNIR, CBS 2HD News GREENBURGH, N.Y. (CBS) ― A Westchester County Catholic school principal is in serious trouble after he was arrested for allegedly going on a naked sexual romp with two other men in the backyard of a vacant home in the Orchard Hill section of town on Sunday.
Gabriel De Jesus, 41, of Ossining told police he was the principal of Sacred Heart School for the Arts, a Catholic elementary school at 71 Sharpe Blvd. in Mount Vernon.
DeJesus was still running the elementary school Monday when he was reached for comment. He would only said he made a mistake.
Authorities said DeJesus, Francesco Autera, 31, of Thornwood and another man met online. The trio allegedly picked the backyard of a vacant Abbeyville Lane home to conduct their group sex. An alert neighbor called 911 after noticing something suspicious.
"Two men got out and met a third person on the side of my house and they went on that property and that's when I called 911," neighbor Rich Pacheco said.
Police found DeJesus and Autera naked and arrested both. They are charged with misdemeanor trespassing, public lewdness and disorderly conduct. The third man ran naked down the street before he could be apprehended, according to police.
The New York Archdiocese said it is looking into the matter and plans to speak with police. Officials add that DeJesus has been a well-regarded educator up until this point.
(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
The Archdiocese is investigating ? That should tell you all you need to know.
July 15, 2008
July 14, 2008
OKLAHOMA CITY -- An Oklahoma church canceled a controversial gun giveaway for teenagers at a weekend youth conference.
Windsor Hills Baptist had planned to give away a semiautomatic assault rifle until one of the event's organizers was unable to attend.
The church’s youth pastor, Bob Ross, said it’s a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event. The church expected hundreds of teenagers from as far away as Canada.
“We have 21 hours of preaching and teaching throughout the week,” Ross said.
A video on the church Web site shows the shooting competition from last year’s conference. A gun giveaway was part of the event last year. This year, organizers included it in their marketing.
“I don’t want people thinking ‘My goodness, we’re putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn’t respect it who are then going to go out and kill,'” said Ross. “That’s not at all what we’re trying to do.”
Ross said the conference isn’t all about guns, but rather about teens finding faith.
“You make a lot of new friends down here,” said Vikki Goncharenko, who attended the conference. “You get to meet new people. There's a bunch of things that are going on. It's just, you have a wonderful time.”
Friday evening, Ross said the gun giveaway had been canceled. Pastor emeritus Jim Vineyard, who ran the event, injured his foot and wouldn’t be able to attend. The gun giveaway was also removed from the church Web site.
Ross said the church would give the gun away next year instead. He said the church spent $800 buying the gun for the promotion.
July 11, 2008
July 10, 2008
July 09, 2008
Student Who Took Religious Icon Getting Death Threats
By Cheryl Getuiza FOX 35 NEWS
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35, Orlando) --
A UCF student claims he’s getting death threats for messing with something sacred.
Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn’t eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.Catholics worldwide became furious.
Webster’s friend, who didn’t want to show his face, said he took the Eucharist, to show him what it meant to Catholics.Webster gave the wafer back, but the Catholic League, a national watchdog organization for Catholic rights claims that is not enough.
“We don’t know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was,” said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese. “However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”We just expect the University to take this seriously,” she added “To send a message to not just Mr. Cook but the whole community that this kind of really complete sacrilege will not be tolerated.”
Webster just wants all of this to go away. Especially now that he feels his life is in danger.
University officials said, that as for right now, Webster Cook is not in trouble. If anyone or any group wants to file a formal complaint with the University through the student judicial system, they can.
If that happens, Webster will go through a hearing either in front of an administrative panel or a panel of his peers.
July 08, 2008
The AP story covering this CRIME claims that the very religious town is "split on the subject" of the teacher's firing. Then they go on to say that a whopping 25 people showed up to the last school board meeting where it was discussed. Amazing.
fireable offense. Burning religious symbols onto your students arms should easily get you some serious jail time. And while the national media attention to this story will most likely see that the teacher does remain off the job, I doubt he will do any jail time. But he most certainly should.
July 07, 2008
July 03, 2008
I'm always incredibly annoyed and impatient with the people standing in line in front of me buying endless streams of lottery tickets. Shouting what sound like random numbers at the clerk along with phrases like "boxed", "straight", and "power super ball special". I'm usually cursing them silently in my head for being so amazingly stupid as to think they might actually WIN something by wasting
their money on these silly lottery tickets.
Steubenville Store Sells Winning $24.6 Million Lottery Ticket
Someone bought a $1 lottery ticket at a Steubenville store and is now more than $24.5million richer. The ticket was for Wednesday night’s Ohio Classic Lotto drawing. No one has claimed the winning ticket yet.
The $24.6 million winning ticket was purchased at the Kwik King off of University Boulevard in Steubenville. There was only one winner.
“It was exciting news this morning. We didn’t know it happened until we got a call from the office,” said Kwik King Manager Shannon Ezelle.
Ezelle then read an e-mail from the Ohio Lottery Commission congratulating the store for selling the winning ticket.
“It’s cool somebody won locally. Maybe it’ll help the economy. Maybe they’ll buy everyone in town free gas,” said Steubenville resident Don Springer.
To win the Classic Lotto you have to pick all six matching numbers. Amber Bebe has sold many lottery tickets while working at Kwik King and she tells all customers the same thing. “I tell them every ticket is the winning ticket,” said Bebe.
July 01, 2008
Sam Harris, The End of Faith