sexual abuse

About 250 Catholic bishops will be attending a meeting on key topics important to the Church in St. Louis this week.
Courtesy USCCB's Facebook page

As Catholic bishops from across the country gather in St. Louis this week for their annual Spring General Assembly meeting, many local Catholics are hoping church leaders discuss an array of issues.

(via Flickr / Daniel P Davis)

Magdalene is a residential program which provides services to women who are involved in prostitution, trafficking and addiction.

The program was founded in 1997 by Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

(Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

As many as 19,000 service members are sexually assaulted each year. A small fraction of those cases -- around 2,500 a year --  are actually reported, and a much smaller fraction are prosecuted.

The Senate Armed Services held a hearing on sexual assaults in the military, following a high profile case in which Lt. Col. James Wilkerson was convicted by a military jury of "abusive sexual contact." After the trial and conviction, a Lieutenant General dismissed the charges, without having to provide an explanation.

(Creative Commons, via Flickr)

Confidential files kept for years by Boy Scouts of America detailing allegations of sexual abuse against boys include 46 cases from Missouri.

A majority of the Missouri cases included in files released Thursday come from troops in St. Louis and Kansas City or their suburbs but cases also were reported in such places as Neosho, Fort Leonard Wood and Chillicothe.

The Boy Scouts released about 14,500 pages of what are being called "perversion files" on cases across the country dating from 1959 to 1985.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Nixon announces emergency assistance for farmers

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was in Springfield Tuesday to announce emergency assistance to farmers who need access to water. At the Springfield Livestock Market, Nixon outlined a plan to make more state dollars available faster to farmers. An existing cost-share program is expanding. The state will pay 90 percent of the cost of deepening or drilling wells; previously, the state had covered 75 percent of the cost.

(via Flickr/bloomsberries)

A former eastern Missouri detective has pleaded guilty to federal charges for sexually abusing five women who were participants of a drug court program under his supervision.

Scott Edwards of Troy, a former detective for the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, pleaded guilty to three felony and two misdemeanor counts on Tuesday. He could get up to life in prison at sentencing on Oct. 18.

(via Wikimedia Commons/AlexiusHoratius)

An attorney whose client got a $6.3 million payout in a case against a southwestern Illinois diocese says that diocese has settled three more lawsuits involving sexual abuse of minors by priests.

Mike Weilmuenster says two of the cases settled last week by the Diocese of Belleville involve allegations against the Rev. Raymond Kownacki.

Joseph Leahy

The director of a sexual abuse support group is denying that he helped violate a gag order in a lawsuit against a Catholic priest in Kansas City.

(via Wikimedia Commons/AlexiusHoratius)

In an update to a story we've been following and told you more about earlier this morning:

A nine-year legal fight by a man sexually abused by a priest in the 1970s is over, now that a southern Illinois diocese and its insurer have handed over $6.3 million to resolve a jury award in the man's favor.

(via Wikimedia Commons/AlexiusHoratius)

An attorney for a man sexually abused by a southwestern Illinois priest says his client soon will receive $6.3 million related to a lawsuit the man won against the Diocese of Belleville.

Mike Weilmuenster tells the Belleville News-Democrat that a court hearing Wednesday in St. Clair County could involve the payout to James Wisniewski of Champaign.

(via Flickr/Matthew Black)

In a ruling that advocates for victims of abusive priests are calling "terrible," a Missouri appeals court today upheld a 2010 trial court ruling that the Archdiocese of St. Louis cannot be held responsible for a priest who sexually abused a young parishioner because the abuse happened off of church property.

An attorney for the victim, Ken Chackes, says Missouri is one of a few states that requires such a high bar to hold church officials responsible.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A federal jury has awarded a woman $95 million in a sexual harassment lawsuit against an Illinois rent-to-own business in suburban St. Louis.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on its website Thursday that the award against Aaron's Inc. includes $15 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages.

(via Flickr/comedy_nose)

Among the more than 150 bills sent to Governor Jay Nixon this year is one designed to keep teachers who engage in sexual misconduct with students from jumping to another school district.

The sponsor, GOP Senator Jane Cunningham of Chesterfield, says the practice is called “passing the trash:”

“Teachers and educators and principals and superintendents are moving from one district to another because districts are signing confidentiality agreements with them, and oftentimes even giving them a severance package to keep everybody quiet,” Cunningham said.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
  • The Missouri Senate has approved legislation requiring people convicted of sexual assault to complete a state treatment program before they qualify for probation or parole. The treatment program aims to prevent future sexual assaults. Currently, convicts can complete the program after they are granted early release. The bill would also forbid people convicted of sex crimes against children from living within 1,000 feet of any residence, business or church that claims to be a child care facility. Currently, the 1,000-foot rule only applies to some child care centers that meet a specific definition. The bill now goes to the House.

  • St. Louis police say a woman was fatally shot after being hit by a stray bullet while she was driving in North St. Louis.  The 39-year-old victim died at the scene of the shooting shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday. Police have not released her identity. The woman, reportedly, was talking on a cell phone with her fiance when several shots were fired. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that investigators suspect she was shot in the head by crossfire. Her sport utility vehicle then swerved into oncoming lanes and hit at least one parked car. There was no immediate word on any arrests.

  • An eastern Missouri sheriff's office wants to hear from anyone who might have received unsolicited and sexually explicit text messages on a cell phone. The Park Hills Daily Journal reports that one person has been identified and taken into custody after several people complained to the St. Francois County sheriff about getting the photographs. The images are described as extremely graphic photos of a sexually explicit nature. The sheriff's department says the suspect sent photographs to random cell phone numbers from last October until Wednesday of this week, sometimes following up with text messages. The sheriff says it doesn't appear that children were targeted but that some youngsters likely received the messages because of the large number sent out.

The commanding general of Fort Leonard Wood says the Army is aggressively investigating sexual assault complaints.

Major General David Quantock met with reporters on Wednesday, one day after 17 current and former soldiers filed a federal class-action lawsuit accusing the Pentagon of failing to take their complaints of sexual abuse by other soldiers seriously.

A southern Illinois appeals court has refused to overturn a $5 million jury award against the Diocese of Belleville to a former altar boy who claimed he was sexually abused by a priest.