Category Archives: Abuse of Power

Gatekeepers – Sexual Harassment in the Music Industry

Lady Gaga interviewed for NFL Network (2016), Author SMP Entertainment, Source Vimeo: SB50 Lady Gaga Interview https://vimeo.com/159307047 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Noel Fisher a/k/a Detail – a Grammy Award-winning music producer and songwriter who worked with the likes of Beyonce, Maroon 5, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj – was last month arrested on 15 charges of sexual assault and 5 additional charges of felony assault [1A].

The charges stem from incidents between 2010 and 2018.  Bail was set at $6.29 million.

In her song “Gatekeeper”, Jessie Reyez (co-author of the hits “One Kiss” and “Promises”) described in graphic terms being harassed by a producer she later identified as Fisher:

“Oh I’m the gatekeeper/Spread your legs/Open up/You could be famous/If you come up anywhere else, I’ll erase you.”

-Jessie Reyez, “Gatekeeper” [2A]

Reyez maintains Fisher disparaged her for not having sex to advance her career.  Singers Bebe Rexha and Tinashe had similar experiences with Fisher [2B].

In 2018, Janae Knox, a Fisher assistant, filed suit alleging he asked her to shower with him and demanded sexual favors [2C].  Isabella Mack, another Fisher assistant, filed suit alleging she was forcefully held against her will while Fisher masturbated [2D].  Fisher, also, demanded Mack pose for nude pictures and videos.

In 2019, model Kristina Buch was awarded $15 million in a suit alleging Fisher raped her [1B].

But allegations of sexual assault in the music industry are nothing new. Continue reading

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Turkish Inequality

Anti-femicide memorial in Chile, Author En.el.cielo.con.diamantes, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamelia/2055714461/ (CC BY-SA 2. 0 Generic)

Women in Turkey have rallied in large numbers due to concerns that country may withdraw from the Istanbul Convention [1].  The Convention deals with systemic violence against women, and the state’s role in preventing domestic abuse.

Citing the erosion of family values and traditional gender roles, a small but determined group has lobbied Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to withdraw the country.  What seems behind the effort is an anti-Western sentiment, and the desire to revoke gender-based protections.

Turkey has a long history of femicides, the killing of women and girls by men because of their gender [2A].  Even with the Istanbul Convention in place, 417 Turkish women died as the result of domestic violence last year.  Thus far this year, 205 have been killed.

The murder of 27 y.o. Pinar Gultekin by her former boyfriend ignited the Turkish women’s protests [2B].  Anti-femicide protests have, also, taken place in France, South Africa, Mexico, and Chile in recent years.

Meanwhile, Poland, Serbia, and Croatia are considering abandoning the Convention. Continue reading

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Gynecological Abuse

Feet Stirrups Image & Photo (Free Trial) | Bigstock

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A 73 y.o. gynecologist is alleged to have raped a total of 21 women, during the course of his employment at the University of Southern California [1].  George Tyndall is said to have sexually penetrated his victims while they were unconscious.  He has pleaded not guilty.

The women, who range from 17 y.o. to 31 y.o., were being seen at the campus health center.  That Tyndall would have taken advantage of women in this setting is despicable.  That he did so while these women were under anesthesia was particularly craven.

His actions obviously violated the Hippocratic Oath Tyndall had sworn to uphold.

Not the First

But Tyndall is not the first gynecologist to have abused his patients.  Columbia University gynecologist, Robert Hadden, is accused of having sexually assaulted over 75 patients – Evelyn Yang, the wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, among them [2][3]. Continue reading

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Another Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Cartoons: Wolves in priests clothing | Cartoons | standard.net

Courtesy of Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net/opinion/cartoons/cartoons-wolves-in-priests-clothing/article_5ab23648-a66a-5f8d-a162-bb6108eb6722.html

From his photo, Fr. Robert McWilliams, 40, would appear jovial and harmless.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Ohio priest has been indicted for child pornography, child exploitation, and juvenile sex trafficking [1].  McWilliams had been on administrative leave following a 2019 arrest for possession of child pornography.

McWilliams posed as a woman on social media to entice young boys into providing explicit photos/videos of themselves.  He then threatened to share the embarrassing material with their family and friends, if victims did not provide him additional material.

Some of McWilliams’ victims were known to him from his work as a parish priest.

Cleveland’s Bishop Nelson Perez has expressed the willingness of the Diocese to cooperate with law enforcement.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7; 15).

[1]  CNN, “Ohio priest indicted on charges of child pornography and juvenile sex trafficking, US attorney says” by Rob Frehse, 7/3/20, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/03/us/ohio-priest-child-pornography-sex-trafficking-indictment/index.html.

ProPublica has released a consolidated list of 6754 priests accused of sexual abuse.  For details, see  https://jezebel.com/propublica-releases-a-list-of-6-754-priests-accused-of-1841307746.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

 

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, sex trafficking, Sexual Abuse

Witness to Evil

Children at prayer, Author Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/99247795@N00/3750019119 (CC BY-SA 2. 0 Generic)

The Catholic Church sex scandal is well-known.  Tragically, it is not isolated.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Jehovah’s Witnesses – considered a cult by mainstream Christian denominations for their failure to recognize the full divinity of Christ – maintain what is believed to be the world’s largest database of undocumented child molesters [1][2][3].

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the non-profit which oversees the more than 8 million Witnesses, has repeatedly refused to comply with Court orders to release that database.

The Watchtower’s Office of Public Information indicates that its policies on child protection comply with the law.  Barring a confession, however, no member can be formally accused of committing a sin without two credible witnesses.  Of course, sexual abuse is not generally a public event.

When child molestation is uncovered, the Witnesses do not routinely notify police [4].

Substantial jury verdicts have been handed down against this religious organization.

The Amish and Mennonites

Investigation into sexual abuse among Amish and Mennonite communities has revealed abuse as “an open secret spanning generations” [5].  At least 52 cases have come to light in the past 20 years, across seven states.  But that number does not reflect the true scope of the problem.

Victims who report rape and incest may be sent to “mental health” facilities or threatened with excommunication. Continue reading

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“Commercial Surrogacy” by Kaeley Triller Harms

Abdomen of a pregnant woman, Author Canwest News Service, Source https://article.wn.com/view/2009/03/19/Vitamin_B12_deficiency_linked_to_birth_defects/, (PD)

The state of Washington legalized commercial surrogacy in 2018, despite opposition by children’s rights advocates [1].  A list of the states which allow surrogacy in one form or another can be found at https://www.creativefamilyconnections.com/us-surrogacy-law-map/.bi .

“Last year I sat in stunned silence at a WA State Senate hearing concerning the matter of commercial surrogacy.  The proposed bill contained 55 pages of legislative text full of demands and bloviations about alleged parental rights.  Its goal was to legalize commercial surrogacy without limit through the entire state.

I listened as concerned citizens pointed out the many dangerous loopholes in the bill and requested amendments that would safeguard both the women and children from potential abuse, but every request was categorically shot down as unnecessary.

There were no limits whatsoever to prevent abuse:

  • No required background checks for prospective parents (Convicted pedophiles could commission children.)
  • No limit to the number of children any given person could order. (One millionaire from Japan has fathered at least 13 children via surrogacy.  His expressed goal is to father at least 1000 over time)
  • No limit to the amount of compensation any given surrogate can receive (Hello, money-hungry human traffickers)
  • No requirements for surrogates to be WA State residents (Again, traffickers?)
  • No language preventing mentally disabled women from being exploited for commercial gain

In all 55 pages of text, there was but one single solitary reference to the needs of the child.  The rest was emotionally manipulative language revealing a deep seated sense of entitlement and a devil-may-care attitude toward the myriad ethical implications on the people most greatly affected by surrogacy- the women and children.”

Continue reading

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Hospital of Horrors

Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Author Roman Boed of Netherlands, Source Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Most of us view hospitals as places of hope and healing.  According to a federal lawsuit filed last week, Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital does not fit that bill [1A].

Damning Investigations

Investigations by both the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica confirm that children confined to Aurora were subjected to physical and/or sexual abuse there [1B].

Willful Ignorance

Child welfare officials at the Illinois Dept. of Children and Family Services (DCFS) allegedly ignored the issues at Aurora due to a shortage of other psychiatric facilities willing to accept DCFS referrals.

Despite an increased number of complaints to the state’s child abuse hotline regarding Aurora, DCFS did not stop referring patients to that hospital until pressure was applied by watchdog groups and state legislators.

For those reasons, DCFS is, also, named in the suit.

Continue reading

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Alleged Aboriginal Abuse

Indigenous Australian playing didgeridoo, Author Graham Crumb, Source gallery.imagicity.com/ (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

ABC in 2006 aired a show that alleged significant child sexual abuse among Australian Aboriginal communities [1].

In response, the Australian government commissioned an investigation into child sexual abuse in the Northern Territory. That, in turn, resulted in controversial legislation known as “the intervention”.  Many believe this did more harm than good.

The risk of Child Protection System involvement for Aboriginal children in Australia between 1986 and 2017 was some 7 times that of non-Aboriginal children [2].  Much of this was due to the extreme poverty in which Aboriginal communities lived.  Illness, drug addiction, and violence were related issues.

Racial bias on the part of government officials often led to harsh policies.

As a result:

  • Aboriginal children were more than twice as likely as non-Aboriginal children to experience high levels of distress.
  • Aboriginal children were less likely than non-Aboriginal children to receive formal education, and 18 times more likely to be admitted to youth detention.
  • Aboriginal children had a shorter life expectancy than non-Aboriginal children (boys 10.8 years less, girls 8.6 years less). Continue reading

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The Mormon Maddoff – Fraud and Financial Abuse

Mugshot of Bernie Madoff, Author US Dept. of Justice, Source http://money.cnn.om (PD as work product of federal govt.)

Shawn Merriman headed an investment firm, and served as a lay bishop of the Mormon Church.  Over a period of 15 years, he scammed $21 million from friends, family, and church members – gaining a dubious title as “The Mormon Madoff” [1][2].

Affinity Fraud

Using a Ponzi scheme, Merriman duped a total of 68 investors.  Exploiting his position as a bishop, Merriman gained the trust of fellow Mormons.  Church members who had invested, then encouraged others to invest.

Like Madoff, Merriman touted his investments as both “exclusive” and secure.   Rather than investing the money he was given, however, Merriman used it to support a lavish lifestyle.

Continue reading

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Philippine Children in Crisis

Philippine children, Author US Marines from Arlington, VA, Source flickr (PD as work product of federal govt.)

The Duterte Administration of the Philippines has resorted to mass arrests in its war on drugs, and is planning to broaden that hard line approach to include children [1][2].

New legislation would impose mandatory prison terms of up to 12 years on children as young as 9 y.o.  The children of the poor will be most heavily impacted, since they are more likely to join drug gangs in an effort to survive.

The US State Dept. website describes our nation’s relationship with the Philippines as “based on strong historical and cultural links and a shared commitment to democracy and human rights [3].”

According to the non-profit Human Rights Watch, however, conditions at government facilities for children are already inhumane.  This is particularly true at Bahay Pag-asa (“House of Hope”).  Locked in cages, children there suffer from skin infections suggesting inadequate diet and sanitation.

“I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me’ ” (Matt. 25: 36).

[1]  The Defender Magazine, Spring 2019, “Children in Crisis:  A Report from the Philippines”.

[2]  New York Times, “Philippine Law Would Make 9-Year-Olds Criminally Liable” by Jason Gutierrez, 1/22/19, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/world/asia/philippines-juvenile-justice-law.html.

[3]  US Department of State, “US Relations with the Philippines”, 7/17/18, https://www.state.gov/u-s-relations-with-the-philippines/.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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