Sex Abuse Scandals News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Sex Abuse Scandals News Articles in Media
The St. Louis archbishop embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal testified last month that he didn’t know in the 1980s whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children, according to a court deposition released [on June 9]. Archbishop Robert Carlson, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the time, was deposed as part of a lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota. In a video released by the St. Paul law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, the Catholic archbishop is asked whether he had known it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child. “I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Carlson responded. “I understand today it’s a crime.” When asked when he first realized it was a crime for an adult — including priests — to have sex with a child, Carlson, 69, shook his head. “I don’t remember,” he testified. Attorney Jeff Anderson, who is representing an alleged clergy abuse victim, also released documents ... indicating Carlson was aware in 1984 of the seriousness of child abuse allegations. He admitted in his deposition that he never personally went to police, even when a clergy member admitted to inappropriate behavior. In last month’s testimony, Carlson responded 193 times that he did not recall abuse-related conversations from the 1980s to mid-1990s. Anderson provided a report from a previous deposition in 1987 in which now-deceased Bishop Loras Watters said he advised Carlson to answer “I don’t remember” if questioned in court. Carlson responded last month that he had “no knowledge of the discussion.”
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The Vatican revealed [on May 6] that over the past decade, it has defrocked 848 priests who raped or molested children and sanctioned another 2,572 with lesser penalties, providing the first ever breakdown of how it handled the more than 3,400 cases of abuse reported to the Holy See since 2004. The Vatican's U.N. ambassador in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, released the figures during a second day of grilling by a U.N. committee monitoring implementation of the U.N. treaty against torture. Tomasi insisted that the Holy See was only obliged to abide by the torture treaty inside the tiny Vatican City State, which has a population of only a few hundred people. But significantly, he didn't dispute the committee's contention that sexual violence against children can be considered torture. Legal experts have said that classifying sexual abuse as torture could expose the Catholic Church to a new wave of lawsuits since torture cases in much of the world don't carry statutes of limitations. The Vatican in 2001 required bishops and religious superiors to forward all credible cases of abuse to Rome for review after determining that they were shuffling pedophile priests from diocese to diocese rather than subjecting them to church trials. Only in 2010 did the Vatican explicitly tell bishops and superiors to also report credible cases to police where local reporting laws require them to. The Vatican statistics ... showed that far from diminishing in recent years, the number of cases reported annually to the Vatican has remained a fairly constant 400 or so since 2010.
Note: For more on sexual abuse by Catholic priests, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Here is how a stunning PBS documentary describes itself: “In Secrets of the Vatican, FRONTLINE tells the epic, inside story of the collapse of the Benedict papacy and illuminates the extraordinary challenges facing Pope Francis as he tries to reform the powerful Vatican bureaucracy, root out corruption and chart a new course for the troubled Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion followers.” Take everything you have ever heard about the Catholic Church and the global clergy child sexual abuse scandals, the dodgy Vatican bank, add in drug abuse, and multiply it all by ten. A primary insight is that Pope Benedict really did not step down from the papacy so much as flee the job. No one could make up what this documentary reveals. For all of the horror on display, the reality is basic: arrogance, hubris and insularity will bring down any organization, even one ordained to do God’s work on earth. A human organization manifests all human frailties. Allow it to make its own rules and hide, and the worst happens. This is a tragedy that defies description. Abuse of people, power and a benefit of the doubt that goes with the job description. Pope Francis is [presented] as the institutional savior who comes from far enough outside the Roman Curia and the inner sanctum to instigate and sustain change. The only optimism in the documentary are references to a new beginning for a wounded church, and a religious crusade to save the church. Watch “Secrets of the Vatican.” You might know the story line. You have no clue about the depth of the shame.
Note: To watch this devastating documentary, click the link above or click here. For a more detailed description, click here. For more on institutional secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Finally, a strong important voice in the world, the United Nations, speaks out on behalf of the rights of children and condemns the Vatican and the bishops for crimes of violence, rape and sexual abuse against children by transferring pedophile priests from parish to parish, withholding documents for prosecution and perpetuating an institutional culture of secrecy and shame. What's truly shameful is that the Catholic Church was not itself that strong and important voice, protecting "the least of these." The media have said the church is suffering from a "code of secrecy." Kirsten Sandberg, the chairwoman of the United Nations, put it this way: "We think it is a horrible thing that is being kept silent both by the Holy See itself and in local parishes." It is easy to think that when we talk about the crisis of child rape and abuse that we are talking about the past -- and the Catholic Church would have us believe that this most tragic era in church history is over. It is not. It lives on today. Pedophiles are still in the priesthood. Coverups of their crimes are happening now, and bishops in many cases are continuing to refuse to turn information over to the criminal justice system. Cases are stalled and cannot go forward because the church has such power to stop them. Children are still being harmed and victims cannot heal. These criminal acts happened over and over to tens of thousands of children in the past, continue now and will continue until Pope Francis and the bishops act fiercely to insist that children and their safety come first, and that priests and protecting the image and power of the Catholic Church come a distant second.
Note: If you are ready to see how investigations into a massive child sex abuse ring have led to the highest levels of government, watch the suppressed Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence," available here. For more on the Catholic Church's failure to control sexual abuse of children by priests, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena [Montana] planned to file for bankruptcy protection [on January 31] as part of a proposed settlement of $15 million for hundreds of victims who say clergy members sexually abused them over decades while the church covered it up. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Montana would be responsible for approving and supervising the disbursement of $15 million to compensate the 362 victims identified in the two lawsuits. In addition, at least $2.5 million will be set aside for victims who come forward later, [Diocese spokesman Dan] Bartleson said. Molly Howard, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said she believes the bankruptcy process will resolve the case more quickly than years of litigation and trials with uncertain outcomes. The Helena diocese is the 11th in the nation to seek bankruptcy protection in the face of sex-abuse claims. In one of the lawsuits, the plaintiffs said they were repeatedly raped, fondled or forced to perform sexual acts while at school, on the playground, on camping trips or at the victims' homes. The second lawsuit, filed a week after the first in 2011 ... alleged that nuns at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius abused dozens of Native American children.
Note: If you are ready to see how investigations into a massive child sex abuse ring have led to the highest levels of government, watch the suppressed Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence," available here. For more articles on sexual abuse, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
After I wrote an article about misogyny found on Facebook, people began to send me links to content that they had tried and failed to have removed by the site. Among these was a seven-minute video depicting a gang-rape of a girl by the side of the road. I began looking more deeply into the subject. I came across "humor" pages with names like "Raping Your Girlfriend." There were easily accessed pictures and videos of girls and women frightened, humiliated, bruised, beaten, raped, [and] bathed in blood. In one instance, Facebook declined to remove an image of a woman, mouth covered in tape, in which the caption read, "Don't tap her and rap her. Tape her and rape her." The photo went viral. Facebook's response ... "the photo ... did not violate our community standards." I joined [others] to launch a global campaign to confront institutionalized sexism in media. We wrote an open letter to Facebook, co-signed by more than 100 organizations, asking the company ... to train people to recognize violence against women as hateful. We encouraged users of Facebook to send messages to its advertisers encouraging them to boycott the social media network. Over seven days, men and women around the world sent more than 60,000 tweets ... and 5,000 e-mails to targeted advertisers, 16 of whom withdrew their advertising. Facebook responded, noting that its "systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively" as they would like. We are in the midst of a shifting cultural tide in which gender based violence -- historically kept private -- is better understood as a pandemic problem. Facebook's action represents an open acknowledgment that violence against women is a serious issue [that] deserves serious attention.
Note: How sad that it took facebook advertisers withdrawing their support to make this change. And how awesome that the writer of this article, Soraya Chemaly, had to the courage to stand up and do something about it by initiating this sexism campaign against facebook, and to inspire others to join her. Working together, we can make a difference.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s highest-ranking Catholic leader, says he is resigning as archbishop in the wake of misconduct allegations and will be skipping the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. Experts said the decision not to attend the papal conclave is unprecedented; never before has a cardinal stayed away from a conclave because of personal scandal, according to Vatican historian Ambrogio Piazzoni, the vice prefect of the Vatican library. The Vatican confirmed that O’Brien had resigned as archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. He said in a statement that he is in “indifferent health” and that he had offered his resignation last November. A church statement says the pope accepted O’Brien’s resignation on Feb. 18. O’Brien ... is contesting allegations ... that three priests and a former priest have filed complaints to the Vatican alleging that the cardinal acted inappropriately with them. During a briefing with reporters at the Vatican last week, Piazzoni was asked about the campaign to keep Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony away from the voting because he covered up sexual abuse by priests. Piazzoni said while in the past some cardinals have been impeded either by illness or by interference from their governments, none has stayed away because of a stain on his own reputation.
Note: If people at the top of the church are resigning, we can only imagine the earthquakes happening at lower levels. The dominos are falling. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here. To learn how child sex-abuse rings lead to top levels of leadership around the world, watch the powerful Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence" at this link.
Three priests and a former priest in Scotland have reported the most senior Catholic clergyman in Britain, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, to the Vatican over allegations of inappropriate behaviour stretching back 30 years. O'Brien, who is due to retire next month, has been an outspoken opponent of gay rights, condemning homosexuality as immoral, opposing gay adoption, and most recently arguing that same-sex marriages would be "harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved". Last year he was named "bigot of the year" by the gay rights charity Stonewall. One of the complainants, it is understood, alleges that the cardinal developed an inappropriate relationship with him, resulting in a need for long-term psychological counselling. The revelation of the priests' complaints will be met with consternation in the Vatican. Allegations of sexual abuse by members of the church have dogged the papacy of Benedict XVI, who is to step down as pope at the end of this month. Following the announcement, rumours have swirled in Rome that Benedict's shock move may be connected to further scandals to come. Those involved believe the cardinal abused his position. "You have to understand," explains the ex-priest, "the relationship between a bishop and a priest. At your ordination, you take a vow to be obedient to him. "He's more than your boss, more than the CEO of your company. He has immense power over you. He controls every aspect of your life."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse, click here.
When Pope Benedict XVI resigns at the end of this month, he leaves behind a Church grappling with a global fallout from sex abuse and a personal legacy marred by allegations that he was instrumental in covering up that abuse. For 25 years, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Vatican office responsible for investigating claims of sex abuse, but he did not act until he received an explicit order from Pope John Paul II. In 1980, as Archbishop of Munich, Ratzinger approved plans for a priest to move to a different German parish and return to pastoral work only days after the priest began therapy for pedophilia. In 1981, Cardinal Ratzinger became head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the office once known as the Inquisition -- making him responsible for upholding church doctrine, and for investigating claims of sexual abuse against clergy. Thousands of letters detailing allegations of abuse were forwarded to Ratzinger's office. A lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the Survivors' Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a victims' rights group, charges that as head of the church body Ratzinger participated in a cover-up of abuse. The suit alleges that investigators of sex abuse cases in several countries found "intentional cover-ups and affirmative steps taken that serve to perpetuate the violence and exacerbate the harm." "Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, either knew and/or [in] some cases consciously disregarded information that showed subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes," the complaint says.
Note: This is one of the few media stories to reveal what may be the real reason for the Pope's resignation - his direct involvement in protecting priests who were known child sexual abusers. To learn how child sex-abuse rings lead to top levels of leadership around the world, watch the powerful Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence" at this link.
Fifteen years before the clergy sex abuse scandal came to light, Archbishop Roger M. Mahony and a top advisor plotted to conceal child molestation by priests from law enforcement, including keeping them out of California to avoid prosecution. Memos written in 1986 and 1987 by Mahony and Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, then the archdiocese's chief advisor on sex abuse cases, offer the strongest evidence yet of a concerted effort by officials in the nation's largest Catholic diocese to shield abusers from police. The newly released records, which the archdiocese fought for years to keep secret, reveal in church leaders' own words a desire to keep authorities from discovering that children were being molested. In the confidential letters, filed this month as evidence in a civil court case, Curry proposed strategies to prevent police from investigating three priests who had admitted to church officials that they abused young boys. Curry suggested to Mahony that they prevent them from seeing therapists who might alert authorities and that they give the priests out-of-state assignments to avoid criminal investigators. The memos are from personnel files for 14 priests submitted to a judge on behalf of a man who claims he was abused by one of the priests. The confidential files of at least 75 more accused abusers are slated to become public in coming weeks under the terms of a 2007 civil settlement with more than 500 victims.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.
Scotland Yard tonight launched a full investigation into allegations that Conservative politicians were members of a paedophile ring which abused children in care the 1980s. Operation Fernbridge will centre on the alleged historic sexual abuse of children at Elm Guest House in ... south-west London. Residents of a nearby care home run by Richmond Council claim they were sexually assaulted at the property by a network of prominent individuals, including Tory MPs, who used their connections to escape justice. The allegations are one of several lines of inquiry being considered by specialist detectives at the country’s biggest force as a result of information supplied to them by Labour MP Tom Watson. Mr Watson - who alleged widespread phone hacking at the News of the World before police began a new inquiry - urged Scotland Yard to re-open the evidence file on Peter Righton, a former child care consultant who was convicted of importing illegal homosexual pornography in 1992. Saying that the file contained “clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring”, Mr Watson said at Prime Minister’s Questions: “One of its members boasts of a link to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad. The leads were not followed up, but if the files still exist, I want to ensure that the Metropolitan Police secure the evidence, re-examine it, and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No 10.”
Note: The sad truth is beginning to surface. If you want to learn how top politicians have been involved in child sex rings for decades, watch the highly revealing Discovery Channel documentary at this link.
For decades, nobody said anything, at least not publicly, not officially. Everyone knew – that is, everyone in the television and pop music industries knew. The rumours swirled around [Jimmy Savile], that he sexually abused young girls. So for decades the abuse was an open secret, and Jimmy easily rebuffed the rumours when interviewers like Louis Theroux and the psychiatrist Anthony Clare dared to put them to him. So what is the truth about Sir James Savile? When he died almost a year ago, he was given a grand and glorious funeral befitting a folk hero. But now the truth is out. More victims are emerging every day, telling stories of the sexual abuse by Sir Jimmy of children as young as nine, on one occasion alongside the convicted paedophile pop star Gary Glitter. They reveal that, like every practised paedophile, he targeted the most vulnerable children, including those in care. Jimmy, for instance, reportedly visited the notorious Jersey children’s home, Haut de la Garenne, several times in the Sixties and Seventies, where seven people have since been prosecuted for child abuse. Knighted by both the Queen and the Pope, Sir Jimmy hid the private reality that he was also a prolific, predatory paedophile. All of his crimes – the multitude of attacks committed in his famous Rolls-Royce, in his caravan, in schools and children’s homes, in his dressing room and in a London taxi – remained an open secret. In spite of the fact that he flaunted his taste for underage children, police investigations failed, newspaper investigations were never published, a Newsnight film was dropped, and through it all Jimmy’s image remained intact.
Note: If you are ready to see how investigations into a massive child sex abuse ring have led to the highest levels of government, watch the suppressed Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence," available here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse, click here.
Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public. A Los Angeles Times review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 has found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign — and helped many cover their tracks. Volunteers and employees suspected of abuse were allowed to leave citing bogus reasons such as business demands, "chronic brain dysfunction" and duties at a Shakespeare festival. The details are contained in the organization's confidential "perversion files," a blacklist of alleged molesters, that the Scouts have used internally since 1919. Scouts' lawyers around the country have been fighting in court to keep the files from public view. As The Times reported in August, the blacklist often didn't work: Men expelled for alleged abuses slipped back into the program, only to be accused of molesting again. Now, a more extensive review has shown that Scouts sometimes abetted molesters by keeping allegations under wraps. In the majority of cases, the Scouts learned of alleged abuse after it had been reported to authorities. But in more than 500 instances, the Scouts learned about it from boys, parents, staff members or anonymous tips. In about 400 of those cases — 80% — there is no record of Scouting officials reporting the allegations to police. In more than 100 of the cases, officials actively sought to conceal the alleged abuse or allowed the suspects to hide it.
Note: For a list giving details of Boy Scout leaders who sexually abused scouts with impunity, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on institutional sexual abuse, click here.
Anthony V. Mangione, the former chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in South Florida, plans to plead guilty rather than go to trial next month on Internet child-pornography charges, according to a federal court filing. It is customary for federal defendants who plead guilty to receive lower sentences after they accept responsibility and forego trial. Still, each of the charges accusing Mangione of transporting and receiving images of minors “engaging in sexually explicit conduct” carries a minimum-mandatory sentence of five years. Mangione ... served as an agent with ICE for 27 years. During the past decade, ICE aggressively targeted child pornography, with Mangione frequently speaking out against “predators” who illegally share images through their computers. ICE also investigates migrant smuggling, illegal weapons exports, terrorism and drug trafficking. As the special agent in charge of ICE’s South Florida office between 2007 and 2011, Mangione often praised the agency’s efforts against child pornography in both the cyber and real worlds.
A Pennsylvania jury [has] convicted Msgr. William J. Lynn of child endangerment for covering up sexual abuse of children by priests. Lynn, 61, is the first Roman Catholic official in the U.S. to be tried and convicted on charges related to the church scandal in which priests across the country sexually abused children for years. In the landmark case, prosecutors said Lynn reassigned pedophile priests in Philadelphia while covering up allegations of sexual abuse. By assigning pedophile priests to unsuspecting parishes, in an attempt to protect the church’s reputation and stave off lawsuits, Lynn exposed more children to potential abuse, prosecutors said. Prosecutors produced a list that Lynn compiled in 1994 naming 37 priests in the archdiocese who had been identified as pedophiles or were suspected of sexually abusing children. The trial was noteworthy because Lynn was not accused of sexual misconduct, but of covering it up. More than a dozen witnesses testified that they were sexually abused by priests who had been allowed to serve in their parishes even after being suspected or accused of abuse. Prosecutors said Lynn lied to parents about pedophile priests in an attempt to protect the archdiocese, and that he and other church officials were lax in responding to credible reports of abuse. In some instances, prosecutors said, Lynn suggested to accused priests that their young alleged victims had enticed them into sexual contact.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.
An Irishman named Diarmuid Martin says the Catholic Church in Ireland has reached a breaking point, a crisis that he says results from the sexual abuse of children by priests and the cover-up by the Church. Martin has provided tens of thousands of pages of evidence against specific priests, and his words and actions carry extraordinary weight. That's because Diarmuid Martin is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. There's overwhelming evidence that the Church hierarchy was not only aware of the sexual abuse, but did little about it. The Dublin Archdiocese knew who the predator priests were, even wrote reports about them but then locked up the files. Investigators on a state panel, the Murphy Commission, asked for the files, but the Church refused until Diarmuid Martin became archbishop. The documents revealed that one priest admitted abusing over a hundred children. Another said he abused children twice a month for 25 years. Archbishop Martin believes thousands of children suffered similar fates. Martin: Abuse isn't [just] the actual sexual acts, which are horrendous, but sexual abuse of a child is ... a total abuse of power. It's actually saying to a child, "I control you." And that is saying to the child, "You're worthless."
The latest sex-abuse case to rock the Catholic Church is unfolding in the archdiocese of an influential Italian Cardinal who has been working with Pope Benedict XVI on reforms to respond to prior scandals of pedophile priests. Father Riccardo Seppia, a 51-year-old parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, was arrested [on] May 13, on pedophilia and drug charges. Investigators say that in tapped mobile-phone conversations, Seppia asked a Moroccan drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys. "I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger. Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues," he allegedly said. Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who is the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, had been working with Benedict to establish a tough new worldwide policy, released this week, on how bishops should handle accusations of priestly sex abuse. According to investigators, Seppia told a friend — a former seminarian and barman who is currently under investigation — that the town's malls were the best places to entice minors. In tapped phone conversations the two cursed and swore against God. The priest is charged with having attempted to kiss and touch an underage altar boy and of having exchanged cocaine for sexual intercourse with boys over 18.
Note: It's not just the church. To learn how child sex trafficking reaches to the highest levels of government, watch the revealing Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence" at this link.
A Roman Catholic bishop pleaded guilty in Ottawa on [May 4] to possession of child pornography for importation. Bishop Raymond Lahey, ... who once led the Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, was charged after customs agents examined his laptop computer as he returned to Canada from an overseas trip in 2009. They found 588 graphic images of children, 33 videos and the texts of stories featuring the enslavement of children. Customs officials estimated that some boys in the photographs were only 8 years old. A month before his arrest, Bishop Lahey negotiated a $15 million settlement with people who had been sexually abused by priests in his diocese as far back as 1950. Bishop Lahey, who resigned his post in Antigonish, has been out on bail, but on Wednesday he asked to be jailed immediately. He faces one to 10 years in prison.
Note: The bishop who negotiated a settlement for children sexually abused by priests is caught with videos featuring the sexual enslavement of children. How high in the church do you think this might go? If you are willing to explore deeper into this matter through a Discovery Channel documentary that shows sexual enslavement of children going to the highest levels of government, click here.
A newly revealed 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland's Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure that victims groups described as "the smoking gun" needed to show that the Vatican enforced a worldwide culture of cover-up. The letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican's rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland's first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits. Child-abuse activists in Ireland said the 1997 letter should demonstrate, once and for all, that the protection of pedophile priests from criminal investigation was not only sanctioned by Vatican leaders but ordered by them. "The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican's intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere," said Colm O'Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International. The Vatican does advise bishops worldwide to report crimes to police — in a legally nonbinding lay guide on its Web site. This recourse is omitted from the official legal advice provided by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and updated last summer. That powerful policymaking body continues to stress the secrecy of canon law.
Note: For many key reports from major media sources on institutional secrecy, click here.
If the now-viral video of Fort Worth City Council member Joel Burns' extraordinary address during an otherwise routine meeting ... does not move you to tears, you surely have a tough, leathery little peanut for a heart. Burns, who is gay, spoke directly to young victims of anti-gay bullying. He shared his own teenage experience of ugly, mindless victimization, and he made the promise to kids enduring similar torment: "It gets better." That's "It Gets Better" - with caps - since it's the name for an informal online video project of adults sharing their coming-out stories to teens who are struggling with their sexual orientation and especially vulnerable to harassment. Burns' statement ... could save somebody's life. It might already have [done so]. Burns first showed photos and told stories of a half-dozen teens whose recent suicides have been linked to ridicule they received for being - or being thought to be - gay. As cruel as these stories are, they are the most poignant evidence there is against the absurd notion that sexual orientation is a "lifestyle choice" instead of a biological reality. Burns deliberately sought the attention of scared, isolated kids who fear their misery is permanent. "I know that life can seem unbearable … but I want you to know that it gets better," he said. "You will get out of the household that doesn't accept you. You will get out of that high school, and you don't ever have to deal with those jerks again, if you don't want to."
Note: For the beautiful, touching 12-minute video where this courageous city council member talks about stopping school bullying which is killing innocent children, click here. And watch a touching seven-minute video about a very tough decision made by a caring couple about the gender of their child. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
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