The Boston Archdiocese announced yesterday that it will pay 86 people who have filed claims of sexual abuse at the hands of the defrocked Boston priest, John J. Geoghan, up to $30 million. As part of the settlement, the archdiocese also agreed not to make the accusers sign confidentiality agreements, a practice that had been standard in previous sexual abuse scandals handled by the Catholic Church, and which helped perpetuate the pedophilia problem within its ranks for years. The Boston Archdiocese, including Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, was expected to be named as a defendant had the suits proceeded to trial. Cardinal Bernard Law, who knew of numerous allegations of sexually abuse by priests, including John Geoghan, publicly apologized for allowing suspected pedophiles to remain in their posts as priests. Law has now authorized the release of the names of more than 80 priests suspected of pedophilia to prosecutors. The Boston Archdiocese still faces dozens of potential lawsuits as numerous individuals continue to come forward claiming sexual abuse at the hands of priests.
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. . . .