The trial against Paul Shanley, a 73-year-old defrocked Catholic priest facing three counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child, begins tomorrow. These charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. Shanley remains one of the only priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston indicted in the abuse scandal uncovered in 2002. With many of the allegations centering around events which took place decades before, legal experts are predicting a difficult case for prosecutors, reports The Washington Post.
In addition, only one of the original four alleged victims will testify against Shanley, a third accuser having been formally dropped from the case last week. Jury selection has further complicated the suit as many potential jurors struggle with impartiality. "It's what we've all experienced over the last three years," a prospective juror told Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel. "I have this slant now where I just look at the archdiocese and I shake my head," reports The Boston Globe. Despite these difficulties, a jury of eight women and eight men was settled upon on Thursday.
Victims' advocates remain hopeful, viewing an acquittal as devastating. According to the The Washington Post, David Clohessy, national director of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests, stated, “If Shanley walks, it will cause already deeply wounded victims, who mustered the strength to come forward, to feel hopeless."
Media Resources: Associated Press 1/24/05; Boston Globe 1/19/05; Washington Post 1/18/05
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .