Youth Worker Arrested in Oregon
A youth worker who volunteered at two Vancouver, OR, churches was arrested Sunday on suspicion of child sex abuse, and police are asking to speak with anyone who might have information about him.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office was alerted on Saturday to the alleged sex abuse. A family member of Christopher Joseph Gonzales, 44, of Vancouver said Gonzales had abused children at her home on several occasions since 2008, according to the sheriff's office. The alleged victims include three girls as young as 5 years old, the sheriff's office said.
Detectives with the agency's Child Abuse division learned that Gonzales had volunteered since 2010 at the Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver and since early this year at the Freedom Community Church, which holds Sunday services at Salmon Creek Elementary School, according to its website.
On Sunday, Gonzales was booked into the Washington County Jail on suspicion of nine counts of first-degree sexual abuse. His bail was set at $750,000.
Anyone who might have more information about Gonzales is asked to call the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 503-846-2500.
Doctor Now Believes Ashram Children were Sexually Abused
Director of Satyananda Yoga Academy Pty Ltd Atmamuktananda Saraswati told the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse that Akhandananda continued to run the ashram even after being charged over sexual abuse allegations in 1987.
Dr Henry Sztulman, a qualified general practitioner and ashram resident from 1979 to 1990, told the commission he was initially distrustful of the children's allegations.
He continued to visit the ashram's leader, Swami Akhandananda Saraswati, after he was jailed in 1989 over sexual offences committed against ashram children. The conviction was overturned in 1991.
He told the commission he now believes former child residents were sexually abused by their spiritual leader but denied a claim that he treated one child with morphine for minor ailments.
Dr Sztulman told the commission he did not witness any of the vicious beatings described in evidence and could not recall the children being deprived of food.
"They were fun loving kids who played around," he said.
Sentencing of ex-BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Denning adjourned
The sentencing of an ex-Radio 1 DJ for a series of sex attacks on 24 young boys has been adjourned after the prosecutor failed to attend court because of ill health.
Denning, 73, of Basildon in Essex, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of indecent assault on a male, a charge of gross indecency and another of indecency with a child, when he appeared at London's Southwark Crown Court last month.
The families of some of his victims had attended London's Southwark Crown Court but Judge Alistair McCreath said he "feared a risk of injustice if I do proceed today" with an inexperienced prosecutor.
Ex-Corrections Officer to be transferred from Chicago to Oklahoma
A local author and former state corrections officer is set to be transferred from Chicago to Tahlequah this week to face charges of child sexual abuse.
Dale W. Jackson, 31, is expected to be held at the Cherokee County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond. He is formally charged with sexual abuse of a child under 12 years of age.
Jackson was taken into custody by federal authorities last week when he arrived in Chicago after a business trip to Japan.
Former Fessenden School students allege sex abuse
Several former students at the Fessenden School, a prestigious private school in Newton, are alleging they were sexually abused by four teachers during the late 1960s and 1970s, in a significant expansion of claims that came to light in 2011.
“It’s inconceivable the administration of this school could not have known” about the abuse, said Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of victims in the clergy sex abuse scandal. “It’s time for them to come forward and be accountable.”
Fessenden officials notified graduates in a 2011 letter that the school had received two claims of abuse, one involving former assistant headmaster Arthur Clarridge, and a second involving a friend of Clarridge’s. Clarridge resigned in 1977 after he was charged in connection with a child sex ring.
One source says he cut a deal with the prosecutor to testify against the others in exchange for dropping rape and abuse charges. There's a good chance he didn't spend any time in jail.
In 2010, the school reached a settlement with one student in “the low six figures,” Garabedian said.
After receiving the allegations, school officials combed internal records and found that two other graduates had also filed complaints, one of which involved Clarridge, about alleged abuse that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The school leadership has come to the realization that this intolerable behavior in past decades may have been broader in scope than we once had reason to believe,” Fessenden officials wrote in 2011.
‘Today, we continue to extend our sincere apologies to those whose lives were affected by the actions of a few.’
Garabedian said the lawsuit he is preparing centers on alleged abuse that occurred between 1968 and 1976 and involved male students ages 10 to 14. Another boy who was not a student was allegedly abused by Clarridge at the school, Garabedian said.
Clarridge could not be reached for comment Monday. In 2011, he denied the allegations, telling the Globe he had no inappropriate contact with students.
Fessenden, which describes itself as the oldest all-boys, junior boarding school in the country, has about 500 students in pre-K to ninth-grade. Annual tuition ranges from $27,000 in first grade to $38,000 in ninth. Some of its alumni include: John Kerry, Howard Hughes, Ted Kennedy, and Christopher Lloyd.
A number of private schools have faced abuse allegations in recent years, often dating back decades. The Landmark School in Beverly last year disclosed that several graduates had lodged sexual molestation complaints, and the Brooks School in North Andover disclosed that a former headmaster had an improper relationship with a student.
Specialists say the spotlight on sexual abuse in the aftermath of the scandal at Penn State University has helped more victims come forward.
John Sweeney, who grew up in Newton, said he was 11 when Clarridge assaulted him in 1969, his first year at Fessenden. Sweeney, 56, said Monday that while he cannot file suit because the statute of limitations on the alleged crimes had expired, he hopes the lawsuits force the school to take account of what happened.
He said Clarridge, who was his dorm master, took interest in him early on, inviting him to ride in his car and watch hockey games in his room.
Sweeney said that Clarridge came to his dorm room one night when his roommate was not there. Sweeney was sick, and Clarridge gave him a nasal inhaler and told him to “breathe in deep.”
Sweeney said he believes he was drugged, and when he woke up Clarridge was assaulting him. Sweeney screamed and Clarridge fell off the bed before rushing away.
Sweeney, who lives on Cape Cod, said he told his mother the next day, but she didn’t believe him. He said he then told the headmaster, who told him he had a “vivid imagination.”
Sweeney said the assault has stayed with him all his life. He has battled drugs, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and has been haunted by nightmares. Now, he wants Fessenden to take responsibility for what happened back then.
“I want Fessenden to admit what they did,” he said. “It’s affected me my whole life. Not just me, all of us victims.”