USA News Snapshots

From The Survivor Activist, the newsletter of Survivor Connections, Inc.

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SANTA ROSA. (04/1997). Rabbi sentenced to three-year term. Sidney Goldenberg, age 58, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Mark Tansil for sexually fondling a 12-year-old girl in his religion class. Reports had surfaced of similar offenses from 27 years before.
SANTA ROSA. (07/1997). Episcopal Church pastor sexually assaulted boys for 30 years. Francis Papworth was released from California state prison six years ago, after serving a four-year term, but a July 1997 lawsuit claims that Episcopal Church officials earlier knew of Papworth’s tendencies and had still allowed him access to boys. Papworth, now of Prescott, Arizona, admitted to prosecutors at his previous sentencing in California that he victimized children for 30 years.
LOS ANGELES. (09/1997). Rabbi gets community service and counseling. Rabbi Israel Grunwald, accused of fondling a 15-year-old on a 1995 plane flight from Australia, has had the charge against him dropped after agreeing to perform 500 hours of community service and to seek counseling.
DENVER. (09/1997). Repeat felon executed for rape/murder. Convicted and released in past years, Gary Davis, age 53, was a three time loser. His fourth offense was the rape and murder of a 33-year-old mother of two, Virginia May, whom he abducted in front of her children in July 1986. Davis was scheduled for execution by lethal injection in October 1997.
NEW HAVEN. (08/1997). Jury awards survivor $750,000 from Catholic Bridgeport diocese. Frank Martinelli was sexually victimized by Father Laurence Brett, starting when he was age 15 in the 1960s, in Stamford, CT. The damages cited are compensatory, and punitive damages are also expected to be awarded.
MIAMI. (07/1997). Woman aids FBI in America OnLine sting. Posing as a 13-year-old boy, an unidentified woman arranged to meet a New York man for sex in Miami. When Robert M. Nebens, age 37, - a teacher and self-proclaimed psychologist from Pound Ridge, NY - showed up toting 53 computer disks full of child pornography, he was arrested.
CHICAGO. (11/1997). Alleged false memory victim wins suit. Patricia Burgus of Lombard, Illinois, was treated for depression at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and diagnosed by them with multiple personality disorder. Since then she has won a lawsuit that alleged she had been frequently hypnotized and drugged to force her to believe she had been a priestess of a satanic cult that abused children. News reports do not address whether or not the credibility of her testimony was challenged in court based on susceptibility to suggestion.
MEDFORD. (04/1997). Assistant middle school principal charged. Richard DiGiacomo, an assistant principal for 33 years in Medford, was indicted by the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office on 21 counts of sexual abuse of six girls, aged nine to fifteen. Arraignment for set for Cambridge.
PLAINVILLE. (10/1997). Child porn viewer via Internet is sentenced. Robert B. Lightfoot, Jr., age 37, of Plainville has been sentenced to fifteen months in prison for possession of child pornography he had obtained through connections made via online services. Pre-pubescent children were depicted in sexually explicit acts in the images. Lightfoot used America OnLine and Prodigy to meet other pedophiles with whom he traded child-porn both online and directly.
POTOSI. (10/1997). Paroled rapist executed for contract murder. In August of 1982, Alan J. Bannister committed a paid-contract murder in Joplin, Missouri. At the time of the shooting murder, he was out on parole for a rape conviction. Despite an appeal to the governor by actor Ed Asner, Bannister, age 39, was executed on October 22, 1997, for the murder of Darrell Ruestman. Bannister reportedly had received $4,000 for the murder.
New Hampshire
NASHUA. (11/1997). Catholic high school teacher is convicted sex offender. Bishop Guertin High School hired a Roman Catholic brother as a teacher in 1990, despite the man being a convicted sex offender. Brother Shawn McEnany, age 35, had been convicted in Maine. McEnany was described by the school’s headmaster as a “respected and popular” teacher.
New York
NEW YORK. (10/1997). Rules set for pedophiles on Halloween. A special force of New York City police were on patrol this Halloween evening to see that convicted and paroled child molesters were obeying city rules governing their conduct for the holiday. The NYPD officers were checking for any decorations displayed that could attract children to the abusers homes, and to make sure the ex-convicts were observing a 6 P.M. curfew established for them for that night.
Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE. (10/1997). Father Michael V. LaMountain charged for sexual assaults on five altar boys. In Superior Court, before Judge Mark A. Pfeiffer, the now-suspended priest pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually abusing five boys between 1979 and 1992. Prosecutors say that some of the assaults took place at the priest’s summer cottage in Burrillville, RI, and others at the church rectories where the priest served. Two survivors of the Catholic priest, Dan Turrene and James Egan, have gone public, urging other survivors of sexual abuse to come forward.
WARWICK. (04/1997). Scoutmaster charged with sexual assaults on three boys. George Wall of West Warwick was an assistant scoutmaster and scoutmaster in East Greenwich, then full Scoutmaster of Troop 11 at the Arthur Trudeau Center in Warwick. The Trudeau Center works with the mentally retarded. Wall has been suspended by the Narragansett Boy Scouts Council. Charges were filed in Superior Court in March.
DYERSBURG (04/1997). Convicted judge may yet face prison. David Lanier, former Tennessee judge, had been convicted of sexual attacks on five women in his courthouse between 1989 and 1991. His sentence was 25 years. Now a unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court has overturned the federal appeals court decision to strike down Judge Lanier’s conviction. The appeals court must now review its erroneous ruling.
DALLAS. (7-10/1997). Diocese loses $119 million suit; Father Rudolph Kos arrested. Most recently, in late October 1997, Father Rudolph Kos was arrested in San Diego, California, for eight counts of sexual assaults on four children in Irving, Texas. Judge Janice Warder has kept the bail for the priest at $400,000 despite the defense’s request to lower it. Several months earlier the Dallas Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas had lost a lawsuit by 11 of Kos’s victims who successfully claimed that the diocese had known of the pedophile priest’s activities but had failed to protect them from him.Those sexual assaults by Kos took place between 1977 and 1992. One of the victims committed suicide. The jury found the diocese grossly negligent - finding that other priests who had warned high Church officials about Kos had been ignored - and awarded the plaintiffs a record $119 million in damages. Testifying for the plaintiffs was a priest, Father Robert Williams, who reported Kos’s crimes to the diocese in 1991.
In stark contrast, a former high-ranking official of the diocese, Monsignor Robert Rehkemper, told news media that, although Kos’s crimes were horrible, some of the blame for the sexual assaults had to be attached to the young boys themselves because they were older than the “age of reason” at the time. The children were as young as nine when the assaults took place. The “age of reason” in the Roman Catholic Church is age seven. Monsignor Rehkemper also blamed the victims’ parents for placing their trust in Father Kos, saying, “It doesn’t appear they were very concerned about their kids.”
DALLAS. (08/1997). Church documents in Holley case show knowledge & coverup. The Dallas Morning News recently gained access to documents sealed by the court after lawsuits against Father David Holley and Catholic dioceses where he had served. Personnel records show that the Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, Bernard J. Flanagan, wrote in a 1968 therapy referral that “This man has been (accused of) molesting teen-age boys on at least two occasions . . . most recently in a hospital from which he has been barred . . . and with carrying around and showing to these boys pornographic magazines and books.” Texas Bishop Stephen Leven sent Holley for psychiatric hospitalization in 1977, terming the deviant priest a “calculated risk.” Then, in 1982, Leven’s successor, Texas Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, accepted Holley as a priest for the Diocese of San Angelo, writing that although he knew of Father Holley’s “difficulties,” nevertheless, “With our shortage of priests, I am willing to risk incardinating him,” (making him a diocesan priest there). For 30 years Holley was assigned to parishes in Massachusetts, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. In 1993, Holley was sentenced to 275 years in prison for sexual assaults he had committed as a priest in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Reverend Holley, age 70, is now serving time at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Grants, New Mexico.
SINTON. (07/1997). Father Jesus Garcia has criminal case dropped; five civil suits remain. Catholic priest Jesus Garcia is still in legal trouble over sexual assaults occurring in Corpus Christi area at a church rectory. The state of Texas had to drop one criminal case by an altar boy against the priest because under 1992 Texas state law a victim who is fourteen years old or older is required to report the offense within six months of its occurrence if the victim’s testimony can not be corroborated by impartial witnesses. In 1993 the law was changed to apply to victims 18 or older.
Washington, DC
WASHINGTON. (11/1997). Most states fail to join national offender registry. Only 14 of the 50 states are participating in the national sex offender registry, according to White House officials. Although the states are keeping local registries as mandated by federal law, only a handful have joined in the national effort. The 14 states that so far have voluntarily taken part include Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. Without a national computerized database effort, predators cannot readily be followed from state to state. President Clinton has written to 36 state governors asking them to comply.
Washington state
TACOMA. (04&07/1997). Six men file lawsuits against Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet. All allege they were sexually abused by Smith between the 1970s and 1992. Five were employees at Smith’s Chaplain’s Pantry Restaurant in Tacoma, while the sixth states he was picked up as a hitchhiker and then abused. Smith, a Methodist minister, has denied the allegations contained in the Tacoma-based suits.
SEATTLE. (05/1997). Mother catches son’s molester using online service. After learning that her son’s sexual abuser was using America OnLine to meet young boys, a mother from Federal Way, Washington, began frequenting the same chat room to trick him into a meeting. Cooperating with Mercer Island police, she arranged for Otis “Jerry” Fellows to come to a parking lot, where he was arrested after propositioning a young female officer who was posing as a boy. The molestation of the woman’s 13-year-old son took place in 1993. Fellows, age 46, has pleaded guilty to the 1993 crime. He has a prior record from 1987 for possession of child pornography.
LA CROSSE. (9/1992 & 10/1997). Convicted priest released from priesthood at his request. Ex-priest Bruce Ball had been convicted of the 1991 “sexual exploitation” of a twelve-year-old child during counseling sessions and served a five-year sentence at the Oshkosh Correctional Facility. Now out of prison, he is on parole through December 12, 1997. At his own request, the diocesan priest, formerly assigned to St. Mary Help of Christians parish in Colby, Wisconsin, was released from the priesthood - in a process known as laicization - effective August 11, 1997. At the time of the 1992 police investigation of Ball, news reports say that Wood County Sheriff Department records showed that LaCrosse Diocese bishop, John Paul, received reports from police as far back as at least 1984 that Father Ball had made sexual comments to children and invited children to sleep with him. Father Ball was removed from his parish assignment when criminal charges were officially filed in 1992. *Another LaCrosse, Wisconsin priest facing a civil suit in 1992 seeking damages for sexual assault against a child was Father James E. Ennis. *Father Thomas Dempsey, formerly of the LaCrosse diocese pleaded guilty in April 1997 to criminal charges of molesting boys in the 1960s.