Monday, April 5, 2010

Vatican Cardinal Accused of Protecting Fugitive Priest

Priest Fled Minnesota to India as Police Prepared Rape Charges


April 5, 2010

A Catholic priest who fled Minnesota for India after being accused by two teenage girls of rape continues to serve as a priest in a Catholic school system five years after his case was brought to the attention of the Vatican, according to documents and testimony in a lawsuit against the Church.

Vatican officials warned church officials in India to monitor a Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Minnesota, but four years later, the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul continues to work in his home diocese.

The accused cleric, the Rev. Joseph Jeyapual, oversees the hiring of teachers for 40 Catholic schools in the diocese of Ootacamund, India, according to documents in the case.

Authorities in Roseau County, Minnesota have filed an arrest warrant against Jeyapaul and say he is considered a fugitive.

In a phone interview with ABC News Monday, Father Jeyapaul said "there are false allegations against me." He says he will not return to the U.S. to answer the charges, and says his Bishop in India has told reporters he will not force him to return.

A Vatican spokesperson told the Associated Press that it suggested the priest be defrocked, stripped of his priestly powers, but that his bishop in India refused. The Vatican spokesperson told the AP it was cooperating with U.S. efforts to extradite him to stand trial in Minnesota.

The case again raises question about the handling of the sex abuse scandal by Cardinal William J. Levada, the former archbishop of San Francisco, who is now in charge of investigating such matters for the Vatican.

Cardinal Levada was notified of the charges against the priest in three letters written by Bishop Victor Balke of Minnesota, beginning in Dec. 2005, according to documents filed in a lawsuit.

In the first letter, Bishop Balke warned that to ignore the case "would be a shameful act of betrayal towards the women and girls in India to whom Fr. Jeyapaul could at present pose a risk."

In a response six months later, on behalf of Cardinal Levada, a deputy made no mention of disciplinary action against the accused priest but said he would "be monitored so that he does not constitute a risk to minors and does not create a scandal among the faithful."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Nevada History" School-books Paid for by Mining Interest!

Elko School Officials Want Their Money Back

Posted: Apr 02, 2010 11:12 AM EDT Updated: Apr 02, 2010 11:12 AM EDT

ELKO, Nev. -- Elko school administrators want their money back for eighth-grade Nevada history textbooks that have been pulled from classrooms due to grammatical errors and complaints about how race and gender are presented.

School Superintendent Jeff Zander says the books called "Nevada History: Past, Present and Tomorrow were distributed in classrooms during the last year. Zander told school trustees the books should've been reviewed more closely before they were handed out. Now, they've been collected and are sitting in a warehouse.

Zander says publisher Tom Thayer wants to make a presentation to the school board. The district says mining company Barrick Gold of North America paid $50,000 toward the $52,000 cost of the books.

Information from: Elko Daily Free Press,

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ACLU Declines Financial Assistance from Humanitarian Secular Group in Gay Rights Case

Secular Coalition for America Responds to Rebuke of Humanists by ACLU Chapter
Calls for 'Safe Schools' Law for All Students and Acceptance of All Americans, Including LGBT and Nontheists

The Secular Coalition for America is disappointed in the rebuke of one of our member organizations, the American Humanist Association, as it offered its assistance to the Mississippi ACLU in the execution of a "second chance" prom on behalf of a gay student. This is the latest indication of how much work lay ahead for the secular community, and the SCA promises its supporters they will receive more e-mails, action alerts, and press releases on the issues they care about.

Sean Faircloth, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, said:

"When Constance McMillen said she would attend her high school prom with a female date, one fellow student said to her, 'Thanks for ruining my senior year.' There were also students who were supportive of Ms. McMillen. Sadly, the school board, rather doing the right thing and standing with Constance, chose to make their school a more hostile environment for gay students and cancel the prom rather than allow a gay student to attend.

"We were proud to see our valued member organization, the American Humanist Association, step up to join the Mississippi branch of the ACLU in offering its financial and logistical support for a second-chance prom that Ms. McMillen could attend with her date and with her schoolmates, free from harassment and discrimination. After the American Humanist Association took the ethical stand and offered $20,000 to pay for the prom, we were shocked that the Mississippi ACLU, of all organizations, refused the AHA's help, claiming that Mississippians would be 'trembling in fear' at the inclusion of a nontheist group. They have since apologized, explaining it was a mistake on the part of one staff member.

"The Secular Coalition for America has repeatedly lobbied the Obama administration for safe schools legislation that includes gay students as well as nonbelieving students. The behavior of this local school underscores the clear need for schools that are safe and welcoming environments for gay students and nonbelievers alike. More broadly, the notion that a civil liberties organization would themselves 'tremble' to associate with a positive, humanitarian group like the AHA, simply because they are nonbelievers, makes clear the necessity of the work of the Secular Coalition for America as it advocates for federal law that increases the visibility and respect of the nonreligious in American society.

"The Secular Coalition for America is proud and encouraged that its work has doubled as the Obama administration, unlike its predecessor, has been willing to consider the views of Secular Americans.That means the Secular Coalition for America has the happy task of advocating to two branches of government.

"We have lobbied assertively on the issue of safe school environments for students who consider themselves nontheist (or are the children of nontheist parents), who far too often face harassment, bullying, and discrimination for their lack of religious belief. But we also hope to achieve a school culture in which students of any or no faith, or any sexual orientation, can have an intellectually fulfilling and welcoming educational experience without theocratic restriction of their civil liberties.

"The Secular Coalition for America is glad that the Mississippi ACLU has apologized and is very proud of the clearly moral and compassionate actions of the American Humanist Association. This situation, however, demonstrates that far more work lay ahead of us to increase respect and influence of Secular Americans as well as the theocratic rejection of gay Americans.

"Every person signed up for our action alerts can expect more e-mails and communications from us, because the Secular Coalition for America has an even more clear obligation to speak out for justice without fear or trembling."

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