Canadian Friar Accused of Sex Abuse Hides in California
A Dallas newspaper recently brought to light a case in which a Canadian priest accused of sexually abusing minors was moved by the Catholic Church to the United States. This case is the latest reported by the Dallas News, which is publishing the results of a special year-long investigation of priests accused of sexually abusing minors, and the Catholic Church’s implications in moving them abroad to avoid prosecution. In the fourth installment, the News revealed that Friar Gerald Chumik of Canada, a member of Catholicism’s second largest order, the Franciscan brotherhood, stands accused of forcing a boy at ages 12 and 15 to perform oral sex in the 1970s in New Foundland. Chumik was moved to California soon after Canadian police charged him and asked Church leaders to hand him over, and he has lived there for the past 14 years despite the fact that Church and state authorities had full knowledge of his whereabouts, according to the Dallas News.
The Dallas News reports that the Church was unwilling to order him back to Canada and face justice, and cites church officials as saying they have a “familial obligation” to Chumik. Though Church officials claim Canadian authorities were never interested in extradition, law enforcement officials had inquired about extradition at the time they filed charges in the late 1970s, and were told by local prosecutors that the US-Canada extradition treaty did not cover the crime of gross indecency. However, due to The Dallas News’ investigation, police are seeking a new legal opinion about whether Chumik can be forced back to Canada according to the revised 1991 treaty that specifically covers gross indecency.
An earlier story by the Dallas News investigated Reverend Frank Klep of Australia, who after facing five counts of indecent assault against a 15-year-old boy was moved by his order to Samoa in 1998. After the publication of their June 19 article revealing Klep’s disappearance and the larger issue of the Church’s practice of transferring accused priests country to country to avoid law enforcement, Samoan authorities deported him back to Australia, where he now faces 10 years in prison if convicted, reports The Guardian.
Media Resources: The Dallas News 7/12/04, 6/19/04, Feminist Newswire 6/21/04, The Guardian 7/9/04
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. . . .