Cardinal Apologizes for Allowing Alleged Child Abuser to Continue as Priest
Cardinal Bernard F. Law apologized last week for knowingly allowing a parish priest accused of molesting children to continue his duties. Law and other Church officials in Boston knew that former priest John J. Geoghan has been accused of child abuse in at least three parishes, but instead of revoking his duties, Law merely reassigned Geoghan to new parishes. This decision helped Geoghan allegedly victimize more than 130 children since the 1980s according to the Boston Globe. Of his decision, Law claimed, “I didn’t have the knowledge, the experience with this issue, the wisdom of time that I have now.” Nearly 90 lawsuits have been brought against Law and the archdiocese of Boston for negligence. The archdiocese has already paid more than $10 million in settlements to Geoghan’s alleged victims.
Geoghan, who was withdrawn from the priesthood in 1998, now faces two criminal trials. The first involves charges that Geoghan molested a 10-year old boy in 1991. Jury selection for the trial began yesterday.
The Cardinal’s apology and the Geoghan trial come on the heels of a Vatican decision to hold secret ecclesiastical trials for priests accused of pedophilia. In its directive, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith was silent on whether Church officials should report the accusations to civil authorities. Cardinal Law, only after the Geoghan scandal and the civil lawsuits brought against the archdiocese, has ordered all Church officials in the Boston archdiocese to immediately inform civil authorities of any reports of child sexual abuse.
Media Resources: Washington Post, 1/12/02; Boston Globe, 1/15/02
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .