Daily Archives: August 22, 2011
Dailymail - More than $400m of compensation to American victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests was paid with loans and guarantees from Allied Irish Bank, it has ben revealed.
The funds, in the form of loans, guarantees and lines of credit, were given specifically to pay clerical abuse victims, and led to AIB being dubbed the ‘Vatican’s banking arm’ in U.S. legal circles.
The revelation that a comparatively small Irish bank based on another continent was used to pay off victims will raise questions about AIB’s links to the church.
One of the payments, of $250m to the Los Angeles diocese, emerged in a new book entitled ‘Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church’, by Jason Berry, which outlines extraordinary links between the bank and the church.
Ultimately, because of this bank and the loans that it made out, the abuse of young kids was able to continue and not be scrutinized by the general public. Instead of handle the problem, they chose to fund it.
Esther Miller was a teenager living in Los Angeles when she was repeatedly forced to commit sexual acts with a priest who went on to abuse other young girls.
That period in her life still haunts her as she enters her fifties.
The man who abused her – a young deacon still at seminary college – groomed her by getting close to her parents.
Over the course of two years, until she was 17, the priest forced himself on her. He was later appointed principal of a Catholic high school despite questions over his behaviour.
He told Esther to go to confession, but only to a particular priest. He called her evil. He later turned out to be a serial abuser of boys too.
She mentioned some details of the encounters to her mother, who slapped her and told her never to speak ill of the clergy.
The abuse had a profound effect on the next two decades of Esther’s life. She was married four times and had dozens of jobs.
Only after the revelations in the Boston diocese in 2002 did she set off on the long road to forcing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to reveal what it knew. Esther’s case was one of hundreds, which were finally settled in mid 2007 for $660m.
‘I was surprised at the dollar amount. I had no idea of the insurance and other ways of raising money.’
And she had no idea until this week that Allied Irish Bank had helpfully stepped in with guarantees of hundreds of millions.
The deal allowed the Archdiocese to avoid going to court and opening all its documents to scrutiny.
But an investigation by the MoS has established that in a few short months in 2007 AIB emerged as the lender behind abuse settlements for four separate dioceses, and the true figure was almost twice as high.
It also emerges that while AIB was used to pay the bulk of the Church’s abuse claims, the dioceses were able to hold on to most of their properties.
Dailymail – The three men accused of the brutal 1993 murder of three eight-year-old Cub Scouts in Arkansas celebrated their first night of freedom in 18 years like ‘five-year old kids at their first Christmas’, according to one of their lawyers.
The so-called ‘West Memphis Three’, who had previously confessed to the crime, were yesterday freed from death row as they were allowed to change their pleas.
For Damien Echols, who spent half his life on death row, it came almost out of the blue.
His nearly two-decades-long fight for exoneration in the gruesome murders of three Cub Scouts produced an unexpected deal. He and two others, known collectively as the West Memphis Three, pleaded guilty Friday to lesser charges in exchange for sentences of the 18 years they’d already served.
And just like that, Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were freed, if not cleared. That fight continues, but right now, Echols, who once came within three weeks of execution, is relearning to live outside prison.
‘I was up all morning and most of the night trying to figure out how to use those iPhone things,” he said Saturday in the lobby of a posh Memphis hotel, just across the river from West Memphis, where the Scouts’ bodies were found in 1993. ‘One minute I’m looking at something about Judge (David) Laser. The next minute, it’s on, like, some hardcore porn site.’
Steven Braga, the attorney for Damien Echols said that his client celebrated with one of his fellow defendants, James Baldwin, and supporters in Memphis.
‘It was as if you could see two little five-year-old kids at their first Christmas,’ he told the Early Show.
‘They were trying food they had never seen before, they were fascinated by a cell phone, more fascinated by an iPhone and then the idea you could take pictures with an iPhone totally blew them away, so they were taking a lot of pictures.’
Local station WREG reported that the third freed man, Jesse Misskelley, last night chose to celebrate his freedom with family.
Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were imprisoned in 1993 after the naked bodies of the three boys were found mutilated in a ditch.
Echols had been given the death penalty and the other men were serving life sentences.
The case of the men has drawn nationwide protest and attracted the attention of celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder, and Henry Rollins.
A district court judge yesterday ruled that the three men had served their time and also levied a ten-year suspended sentence on each of them.
As the men enjoyed their first steps of freedom, it was revealed that a new feature film based on the case is in pre-production and will begin shooting in the spring.
The film, which has been in progress since 2006, is currently undergoing re-writes and will be based on the 2004 book, ‘Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three’ by Mara Leveritt.
The controversy centred around the prosecution’s failure to articulate a strong motive for the murders of the Cub Scouts Steven Branch, Christopher Byers and James Michael Moore, which rocked the community of West Memphis.
Police called the murders ‘satanic’ in nature because the children’s naked bodies had been bound and mutilated.
Efforts to overturn the convictions gained steam five months ago, after new evidence found no DNA traces from the three men at the scene of the crime.
The evidence also indicated that another person may have been at the scene and that animals may have mutilated the three bodies.
The agreement, known as an Alford plea, does not result in a full exoneration – some of their convictions still stand, though the men did not admit guilt.
Misskelley initially confessed to the crimes, implicating the other two, after a 12-hour interrogation by police, but defense attorneys claims they took advantage of his low IQ.
The father of Steve Branch told Fox News on Thursday that he did not like what was happening and that if the men were freed, it would open up the door for other prisoners to follow suit.
Though he said he was not allowed speak because of the gagging order, he said he was prepared to go to jail for his dead son.
He said: ‘If two of those men walk out of that jail tomorrow then it will open up the door for everyone on death row – all the child murderers, rapists and killers – to get themselves out and say, “I did it but free me”.
‘I must speak out for my dead son and I hope that everyone with the power to do so will try to stop this from going ahead tomorrow.’
DNA tests conducted in 2008 failed to provide a link with the three to the crime scene, along with fresh tests conducted this summer.
Prison officials confirmed that the three men were turned over to Craighead County officials from the Arkansas Department of Corrections yesterday.
‘Craighead County officials picked them up around midday from ADC with all of their possessions,’ Shea Wilson, a prison spokesman, told Reuters.
This led to speculation on the internet among West Memphis Three advocates that a release for two, or all three, could be announced as part of a deal to include a new trial.
The judge issued a gag order for both sides in the case several months ago. So attorneys for the West Memphis Three and the Arkansas Attorney General would not comment yesterday.
The killings received international attention in 1993. Two HBO documentaries have been produced about the murders, and a third is planned for later this year.
Last summer, singer Patti Smith, actor Johnny Depp and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder appeared at a benefit for the West Memphis Three in Little Rock.
An evidentiary hearing ordered by the Arkansas Supreme Court last November had been scheduled for December 5.
HOW THE CASE THAT SHOCKED AMERICA UNFOLDED
The three eight-year-old boys Michael Moore, Stevie Branch, and Christopher Byers, were found in a ditch mutilated and tied up with their shoelaces in 1993 in West Memphis.
Teenagers Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin were all arrested for the killing.
The 1994 trial saw Misskelley and Baldwin sentenced to life in prison and Echols sentenced to death.
However, the trial was full of controversy with one witness recanting testimony and another suspect, nicknamed Mr Bojangles, discussed.
The name came from a sighting on the evening of the murder of a black man covered in blood and mud at a nearby restaurant called Bojangles.
The case was discussed and debated for years afterwards with the three constantly proclaiming their innocence.
Then in 2008 DNA testing was conducted on the crime scene, a technique not available in 1993, and this showed no link between the three and the crime.
There were already plenty of people from lawyers to celebrities who backed their innocence. Now their objections became even louder.
In 2010 the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that a judge should examine the DNA tests.
Dale Richardson, a pastor at Freedom Free Will Baptist Church in Ladson, South Carolina, has been charged with raping and kidnapping three women at gunpoint. He allegedly kidnapped one other female who was not sexually assaulted.
The incident started when Richardson stopped and picked up a 20-year-old female who needed a ride. After she attempted to get out of his vehicle, he pulled out the gun, “bound her hands, covered her head and took her to the grey-blue trailer home behind the church.”
Fortunately, after being dropped off in a deserted wooded location, the young female was able to identify her rapist thanks to the churches very own website. This case led him to be charged with two other similar cases that occurred last year.
The pastor has chosen to not speak too much on the charges or his involvement, but does plan on putting together a strong defense due to his lack of a criminal history. The church-goers and a few friendly faces from town are also planning on standing by his side. In no way do they believe this man can be capable of such heinous acts; Here’s what they had to say:
‘I don’t believe any of this. I have never had a problem with him.
‘He’s kind. He’s a member of this community. He mows the neighbours’ lawns. I am just blown away by all these accusations.’
Virginia Davis, who has been attending the church about a year, said: ‘He’s always been a real sweet person. He’s always taught God’s word.
‘He’s been honest with me since Day 1. I’d let him look me right in the face and tell me he did it, because I don’t believe he did it.’
Dale McDaniel, 52, has been arrested at least 34 times for multiple different offenses that irritates the shit out of his neighbors. He “allegedly shouts obscenities at people and pisses in his trash-strewn yard, drinks pretty much constantly, and has left an indelible impression upon his neighbors, many of whom say they fear him.”
Along with the odd behavior on his own property, he has been accused of physically attacking a few neighbors. A lady who lives near him has said that he grabbed her by the throat once. Another man said that McDaniel chased him down the street with a chainsaw. While both these incidences are rather terrifying, I’d say it’s the altercation he got into with his quadriplegic neighbor. According to the physically disabled man, McDaniel slapped him in the face with a fish.
At first I was hesitant to believe this until I read this:
When a reporter caught up to McDaniel, he was holding a beer, a cigarette, and—of course—a dead fish. Does this guy have his schtick down, or what? Gone was his beard—he changes his facial hair quite often, maybe to keep his mugshot portfolio unpredictable—but a mustache, as floppy as his dead fish/face-slapping instrument, hung over his upper lip. When told his neighbors fear him, McDaniel said, “that’s a good thing.” Then he kissed his fish.
The thing that worries me is that he has been arrested numerous times, assaulted or offended a large amount of neighbors, and yet he’s still able to return to this neighborhood and continues doing the same shit. Shouldn’t he have to serve some time in jail for strangling that woman? Florida’s justice system continues to confuse me.
Florida, I think you need to take some time and reevaluate what motherhood means to your citizens. This is not the first, second or even third mother that I have written about from Florida, who has either neglected, murdered, or abused their child. Now, Jessica Marie Beers, 29, has tried to SELL her son to pay for a prescription pill drug habit that she had developed.
Beers (very fitting last night) had met a couple at church and had told them that she would be willing to sell them her five-year-old son’s parental rights in exchange for $2,000. The couple, who were most likely not desperate for a child, called the authorities after being concerned for the safety of the child. Anyone willing to sell their own flesh and blood for as little as $2,000 isn’t deemed to trust-worthy in just about anyone’s mind.
When Beers met with Detectives at a location in Seminole, she was under the impression that she would be exchanging the boy for money. Instead, she was being taken and would have to give THEM money to get out of the jail that this predicament had gotten her into.
Fortunately, her son has been taken out of her care and will no longer be offered u for sale by his pathetic excuse for a mother. He’s also very lucky that she had the sense enough to try to get money out of the kid as opposed to kill him and save money that she would normally be spending on caring for the child. I guess mother’s in Florida have the same idea as far as getting read of children, but when it comes to executing these ideas, each mother is unique and pathetic in their own way.
Sarah Cheek, 34, has been arrested for leaving her five-year-old daughter outside in the rain, while she attempted to get a job. Unfortunately for her, witness’ claim they saw her drink at least two beers while the kid sat outside in a stroller. Why the child needed to be in a stroller at that age is another question no one has been able to get answered.
Cheek had also done the responsible thing and attempted to get a babysitter to watch her little girl, but the timing was a bit our of the ordinary. In fact, she waited until she was already at the bar, and asked other patrons. Luckily, they found this scenario as bizarre as I did and decided to call the police. Seeing as it was around 10pm, her story of looking for a job and leaving the child outside of the bar while doing so, seemed rather peculiar.
My most favorite part of this story (not that I love children being neglected) has to do with the state that this mother happens to reside in: Florida. There truly must be something going on in that state that makes mothers completely irresponsible, self-centered, and unaware that everyone can see through their ridiculous excuses. Cheek was heard telling her daughter she was going inside to get her a candy bar. The little girl is five, not stupid. And if candy is code for alcohol, you should have at least been honest and said you were treating yourself, you selfish bitch.
Good luck to any children living in Florida; You will definitely be needing it.
Michael Woolman of Lincoln, Nebraska, has filed a claim in Dallas Federal Court, because he had left the hospital with an unexpected gift. Apparently, he had gone into Baylor to get tonsil and sinus surgery, but soon realized he had gotten much more than he had paid for.
After getting help from a nurse to the restroom, a bloody armpit was discovered by Woolman. At the time, he admitted that he wasn’t too concerned, but then says he realized what was happening. The claim states that Bryan LGH is attempting to test a new way of tracking people, “By inserting a GPS Device in people, Illegally.”
I am rather confused as to how he was not too concerned about the bloody armpit after nasal surgery, and then how he miraculously came to the conclusion that a GPS device was inserted into his body illegally. Is there validity to this story? Is it possible that there is no device? Hopefully more answers will be provided, but in the meantime, this has been filed and will be looked into.
Sharalyn Cooper and her family had been looking for their miniature pinscher, Fadidle, for about eight months when they finally received a call that shocked the entire family. Seeing as the pup was only one-year-old when she went missing, and so much time had passed, it was unlikely that a reunion was in the future for this family.
Thanks to a Good Samaritan, the young pinscher was brought to an animal shelter in San Diego, CA where they were able to check out the microchip that had been placed under the dogs skin. Workers were shocked to see that Fadidle had traveled from Salt Lake City, Utah, over 750 miles.
Soon after making this realization, it was arranged to have Fadidle fly out to reunite with the family that she had been away from for almost a year. Everyone was relieved and gives most of the credit to that of the microchip.
At Salt Lake International, the Cooper family were overcome with joy at their reunion with Fadidle but wondered what could have happened in the eight long months they had been parted from her.
It is their belief that she was stolen.
Other family members joked that Fadidle had even managed to travel further afield than they ever had, with Mrs Cooper’s son Darien quipping: ‘She’s lucky. She got on a plane before even I did!’
Sarah Berman, 63, is being accused of marrying Stanley Lowell, 87, a month before he passed to ensure she would get his $400/month rent-controlled West Village apartment in New York. The buildings owner, Fourth FGP LLC, feel that Lowell was conned into marrying the woman shortly before his death, because she was interested in attaining the rent-controlled property all along.
According to other neighbors in the building, Berman is a bad tenant and Lowell was clearly out of it during his last few months. Although, considering that some of these flats could go for around $5,000, I can’t imagine the neighbors being too thrilled with her great deal either. Whether it’s jealousy or legitimate concern will be up to a court.
She wants people to think she’s crazy,’ one told the New York Post, adding that she charges out of the building pointing a big stick in front of her to keep people away.
‘She used to get into violent arguments with some of the guys in the building,’ another told the newspaper.
One neighbour claimed that three years ago when they complained of vermin and a foul odour coming from the flat, Berman refused to let in an exterminator.
Residents said the couple, who had been living together since the early 1990s, never acknowledged each other in public and had loud arguments.