By Ivey DeJesus firstname.lastname@example.org
ROME — Pope Francis announced Saturday that he had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, an archbishop in Washington who was accused of sexually abusing a child more than four decades ago while he was a priest in New York.
The cardinal claims he has “absolutely no recollection” of the alleged abuse, but is “sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.”
McCarrick led the archdiocese of Washington from 2001 to 2006. In 2003, he gained notoriety for lobbying against reform of statute-of-limitation laws, opposing having priests report sexual abuse of children to the police and criticizing victims who delayed reporting because memories of their horrific trauma were repressed.
Seems the Cardinal, or is it ex-Cardinal, is suffering from repressed memory syndrome himself. Or is it just hypocrisy?
The Catholic Church has been dogged for decades by the worldwide scandal of pedophile priests, with accusations that its hierarchy did not take action or actively covered up the problem.
To make matters worse, New York State Senate has blocked all attempts to reform the Statute of Limitations even to this very month. The Senate bears the disgrace of the Cardinal, and if they had any integrity whatsoever, those who voted against reforming the Statute of Limitations should resign en masse.
A superior court judge sentenced an ex-pastor and founder of the largest U.S. Christian music festival to 18 years imprisonment for sexually abusing minors.
Harry Thomas, 75-year-old ex-pastor of Come Alive New Testament Church and co-founder of Creation Festival, pleaded guilty in February to charges of sexual abusing five young girls but attempted to withdraw his guilty plea. Superior Court judge Jeanne Covert denied Thomas’s attorney’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea and sentenced him Friday to 18 years in prison.
Thomas reportedly wept at the hearing, at which relatives of his victims called him a “ravenous wolf” and a “hypocrite. He apologized for his crimes and seemingly welcomed the sentence.
Thomas plead guilty to molesting four girls between 1999 and 2015, one of whom he sexually assaulted, and exposing himself to a fifth girl, according to Burlington County Times. The girls were ages 4 to 12 at the time of his crimes.
Stephen Eife, Burlington county assistant prosecutor, denounced Thomas as “a devil in disguise.”
“This person abused children at church … and at (religious music) festivals. … Every good (memory) we have has morphed into a nightmare,” the father of one of the victims said, according to BCT. “We believe only behind bars can children be protected from you.”
Another family member of one of the victims also lashed out at Thomas during the hearing. “You used the fact that these kids loved you, trusted you and eventually feared you to your advantage. You duped us all,” she said, according to BCT.
“You stole their innocence and their childhood. You are the lowest of the low. You deserve the life sentence you gave these girls,” she added.
In her eyes, Thomas was “the devil incarnate.”
Defense attorney Robin Lord requested that Thomas receive the minimum 15 year sentence for his crimes rather than the maximum 20, citing his age and health issues. Covert acknowledged that Thomas may well die in prison during his 18 year sentence, but said that such a sentence was appropriate given the charges.
PRINCETON — Most birthday dreams are for cake, toys and ice cream. But for one Mercer County child, the wish has been that the man who sexually abused her would go to jail.
In a packed courtroom last Wednesday, Cutlip entered his plea in Mercer County Circuit Court before Judge Mark Wills.
His child victim — 4 years old at the time of the crime — was not in the courtroom. Her parents were. The nightmare-to-be for the family started innocently enough when the child was playing on a recliner.
“I said, ‘Get your butt up here,’ “ the child’s mother recalled during an interview after the plea hearing. The child then disclosed to her mother that the perpetrator had told her that her “butt was pretty.”
Alarm bells went off, and later the mom asked her daughter about when the comment was made. The child told her mother it was “a secret.” “I said, ‘Mommy is your best friend who you can tell secrets to,’ “ the mother remembered.
Soon, the sweet-faced innocent was sharing the secrets of the hot tub.
Cutlip was indicted by a Mercer County grand jury on 16 counts including charges of sexual assault first degree; sexual abuse first degree; sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust to a child; and incest.
The case was initiated on Jan. 11, 2016, when the parents of the child brought their daughter to the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police after the alleged victim disclosed details of the abuse.
At last week’s hearing, when Wills asked prosecutors what evidence would be presented at trial, Mercer County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Malorie Morgan said the child said the suspect “touched her on her ‘front butt’ while they were in a pool (hot tub) together.”
The victim also said he “put his finger in her front butt and it hurt,” Morgan said.
Morgan testified the child said they took their clothes off in the hot tub, and “what they did in the pool was a secret.”
Cutlip’s plea deal to the three felony charges gives him a possibility of two to 10 years in prison. The parents of the victim are not happy with the deal, but they accepted it to shield their daughter from further trauma. A psychologist told the family it would be detrimental to the child if she testified at trial.
“She is doing remarkably well,” her father said. “But she is so terrified of him. She gets so worked up when he (the perpetrator) is mentioned, she cries and can’t breathe.”
During last week’s hearing, Cutlip’s defense attorney made frequent insinuations of his client’s innocence. However when quizzed about his plea by Judge Wills, Cutlip acknowledged a jury could put him behind bars.
“If I went to trial I could be found guilty,” Cutlip told the judge. “I have thought about this. I did not want to bring that little girl up here to be subjected to this,” the defendant added.
Cutlip’s proclaimed words of protection for the victim were seen as vinegar to many in the courtroom. “I was trying not to cry,” her father said. “I felt he had no right to talk about her like that,” her mother added.
Despite the hardships of the court proceedings, the victim’s parent’s said their daughter “is much stronger than we are.”
“Every birthday her wish is that he goes to jail,” her mom said. “At Christmas, she said she was going to ask Santa Claus to put him in jail because we couldn’t. But she said she is not mad at us because she knew we were trying.”
Before her daughter’s disclosure, her mother said she had no idea of the abuse. “He treated her so well,” she said, her voice trailing off as she wiped away tears. “Always listen to your kids.”
The parents said the road to justice has been long and hard, but emphasized that they won’t give up. “Don’t think that it can’t happen to you,” the mother said. “It can, and it doesn’t always have to be a stranger. For us, he was one who was supposed to help protect her.”
UTAH COUNTY (News4Utah) - Prosecutors file charges against a former elementary school janitor accused of sexually abusing a minor.
Two boys at Sierra Bonita Elementary School in Spanish Fork accused Adrian Villar, 59, of abusing them during the 2017 school year. He was arrested back in May.
Villar is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. If convicted, those counts carry a mandatory sentence of at least 15 years to life.
Villar also faces one count of lewdness involving a child.
A 26-year old Duncan man has been charged with child sexual abuse as indicated by court records filed on July 26.
The alleged abuse has been going on for two years, but the victim did not tell anyone for fear of thinking no one would believe them, according to the affidavit. The victim decided to speak out when they noticed a sibling receiving attention from the suspect and was afraid for their safety.
Officers learned during the investigation that Bernard was confronted by family members. He begged for forgiveness from one family member and also admitted to another family member of unlawfully touching the victim.
David Craig Bernard’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Sept. 5. Bond was set at $100,000, and he is ordered to have no contact with state’s witnesses, obey all laws at all levels and keep counsel retained. Bernard is currently out on bond.
A Casper man faces a minimum 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to three child sex crimes during a hearing in Natrona Couty District Court on Thursday.
Voltaire told District Court Judge Catherine Wilking that he inserted his finger into the same girl twice in June 2017, and took pictures of her.
In exchange for his plea, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri and public defender Rob Oldham agreed he would serve two concurrent -- or at the same time -- prison terms of 30 years to 50 years, and an eight-year sentence for possession of child pornography, also to be served at the same time as the other sentences.
The prosecutor and defense attorney also agreed 10 other counts of first-degree and third-degree sexual abuse of a minor would be dismissed at his sentencing.
Wilking said she is not bound by the plea agreement, and could dismiss it at sentencing. If that happens, the guilty plea will be withdrawn and the case would go to trial. If the case had gone to trial and he was convicted on all counts, he could have faced a sentence of up to 400 years.
According to court records, a Casper police detective began investigating on March 1 after Voltaire's then-girlfriend found inappropriate pictures of the victim on a computer belonging to Voltaire.
The victim's mother told the detective that she came across photos which showed Voltaire's hands on the victim. Several of the photos depicted sexual intrusion, while others allegedly showed sexual contact, according to court records.
Voltaire allegedly told investigators that he had joined an "online erotic community" and participated in a "game" created by other members. The "game" was to find incest pornography videos and create "erotica" videos for others to view, according to the affidavit.
Voltaire remains in custody on bond.
ELMORE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) -
A new, superseding indictment indicates the evidence against alleged child abuser, Germaine Moore is growing.
Moore was thrust into the spotlight when police identified him as the man shown in a viral video, reportedly sexually assaulting a young girl. We soon learned the video was produced in Detroit, but Moore lived in Millbrook, Alabama, bringing charges against the defendant in four different jurisdictions.
A recent document filed by the defense cited Moore is considering a global plea agreement that would combine the interests of all jurisdictions, allowing the government to settle all the cases with one plea.
WSFA 12 News confirmed the timing of the superseding indictment has no connection to the success of the ongoing plea negotiations among the various agencies.
Earlier in July, a filing indicated all agencies had signed off the plea deal with the exception of the District Attorney’s Office in Wayne County, Michigan.
“Because of the unique circumstances of this case, the proposed settlement involves the cooperation/coordination of multiple jurisdictions,” the motion stated. “It is the undersigned counsel’s belief that the coordination among those jurisdictions is ongoing, and that, upon its completion, Mr. Moore intends to enter a guilty plea.”
The D.A.’s Office in Wayne County told WSFA 12 News it is reviewing two new cases that were recently received against Moore, and would make a decision on the global plea agreement as expeditiously as possible.
The case in Alabama’s Middle District alone has significant evidence and discovery. The defense attorney cited, in a recent motion, more than 80,000 pages of discovery had been turned over by the government, along with hundreds of pictures and videos of possible child pornography and erotica.
Due to the ongoing negotiations surrounding the plea agreement, Moore’s trial in Alabama’s Middle District has been continued. Moore was initially indicted in Alabama’s Middle District in May.