Federal Grand Jury Probes LA Archdiocese about Sex Abuse
US Attorney Thomas P O'Brien has launched a federal investigation into the way the Los Angeles archdiocese, led by Cardinal Roger M Mahony, dealt with priests accused of sexual abuse. A federal grand jury will determine if some church leaders, including Mahony, violated federal law by inadequately responding to abusive priests and simply reassigning them to different parishes or schools, according to NPR.
For years, Mahony, the Catholic Church's highest ranking official in Southern California, has faced allegations from the media and victims that he covered up priests' misconduct. According to the Los Angeles Times, the archdiocese paid $660 million in 2007 to settle civil lawsuits with 508 people who claimed they had been abused by priests or church employees. Records on 22 priests have reportedly been subpoenaed by the grand jury.
John C. Manly, a lawyer who has brought several cases against Cardinal Mahony, told the New York Times that "my experience is, if they get this to trial and any jury sees the documents and finds out what he did, he’s finished. The documents tell the tale."
Media Resources: National Public Radio 1/30/09; Los Angeles Times 1/29/09; New York Times 1/29/09
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .