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Matthews & Associates Law Firm has been chosen as one of the Best Law Firms in America by U.S. News & World Report. The distinction is awarded as a result of feedback from clients, professional references, and lawyers across the country. Matthews & Associates is honored in 2019 as a Tier 1 firm representing plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits.
For eligibility, a law firm must have at least one attorney who is recognized in the current edition of Best Lawyers in a “Best Law Firms” ranked practice area / metro area. Attorney David P. Matthews, the founder of Matthews & Associates Law Firm, has been listed in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers in America since 2016, for his personal injury work representing plaintiffs.
The U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms explains its methodology: “Clients and/or Professional References are emailed a survey addressing a firm’s expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, civility, and whether they would refer another client to the firm. Data is also collected from Best Lawyers ballots, which can only be completed by attorneys who are currently recognized by Best Lawyers.”
Tier 1 Ranking
Matthews & Associates has the highest ranking available, a “Tier 1.” The “Best Law Firms” web site explains that because selected firms were often separated by small or insignificant differences in overall score, they use a tier system rather than ranking law firms sequentially.
David P. Matthews among Best Lawyers in America
Firm founder David Matthews worked as a partner for 18 years in one of the oldest plaintiff’s law firms in Texas until 2007, when he opened his own law firm at 2905 Sackett in the Upper Kirby section of Houston, Texas. The firm now employs 13 lawyers and some 60 full-time staff, including researchers, paralegals, nurses, and investigators.
Matthews & Associates represents people who have been injured by corporate malfeasance, greed, negligence, or incompetence. The firm has successfully delivered financial compensation to thousands of clients in medical device and pharmaceutical drug litigation, as well as many other types of personal injury cases.
Drug Cases, Medical Devices, and More
The firm has represented thousands of injured people in medical device litigation such as transvaginal or pelvic mesh, as well as those with pharmaceutical drug cases involving Pradaxa, Reglan, Vioxx, Rezulin, and many other popular prescription drugs.
In addition, the firm has also handled cases for people injured in explosions, car and truck accidents, and many other types of litigation.
The firm also prosecutes petrochemical and gas explosion accidents, construction cases, birth injury, premises liability, product liability, electrocutions, and several other types of personal-injury-related cases.
(February 21, 2019) Pope Francis and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston clash in how to handle the Catholic church’s sex abuse crisis. While the pope has promised the world that he will move quickly to stop sex abuse by clergy and remove wayward priests, the pontiff’s actions have led Cardinal O’Malley and others to ponder whether the church’s leader will follow through on those promises.
Though Cardinal O’Malley stops well short of criticizing his “superior,” he is clearly disappointed that Pope Francis’ latest actions’ fail to fulfill his promises to timely identify and remove predatory priests and prevent further sex abuse crimes. Cardinal O’Malley is one of the few heroes in the tragic story of runaway sex abuse and unconscionable coverups that plague the Catholic church. He has already toiled for years trying to help heal several dioceses which nearly imploded as a result of his predecessor’s shortcomings.
The Healer – A Hero of our Time
Cardinal O’Malley made his name as a healer when several abuse scandals struck the Catholic church in the 1990s. As bishop of Fall River, Mass., and then of Palm Beach, Fla., he dealt with abuse cases that implicated his predecessors. He reached settlements and won the trust of many victims, which was no small feat given their history. Cardinal O’Malley fought back tears when he spoke in public of the harms done to children.
In 2003, church leaders made him archbishop of Boston to tackle the biggest sex abuse crisis they’d ever seen. That scandal included an egregious coverup of clerical sex abuse that was made legend in the film “The Spotlight,” which focused on the Boston Globe reporters who broke the story. Besides coming clean on the church’s crimes against children, Cardinal O’Malley sold the palatial official residence where he was stationed and used that money to pay sex abuse victims. He moved into a small apartment rectory.
Further Christlike, he was active in the Catholic church’s poverty relief work around the Western hemisphere, which is how he met Cardinal Mario Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis.
Their relationship was mutually beneficial and respectful for decades, but the way the pope’s latest actions have clashed with his previous promises has changed things for Cardinal O’Malley.
The cardinal first persuaded the pope to let him lead an advisory panel to study the problem and work on a solution. In 2015, the panel recommended a special tribunal to try bishops who ignore or cover up abuse. The panel eventually proposed that sex abuse allegations should involve outside investigators, not just priests, and that Vatican files on abuse should be shared with victims and civil authorities. The pope at first agreed with the panel, but the next year he changed his mind. Victims’ representatives then resigned from the panel for what they said was Vatican inaction.
So the panel shifted focus to organizing academic conferences, but the pope then reshuffled the panel’s membership. “Mistakes were made in appointments,” he said. His use of the passive voice did not bode well for the veracity of his statement. The passive voice is a rhetorical device often used to deflect the culpability of the speaker, or to hide something more than tangentially relevant to the subject at hand. The pope also said that the commission had not been honest with him.
One of the victims’ advocates who had quit the panel said Cardinal O’Malley told her: “I can’t understand why he would have said that.”
Still, Cardinal O’Malley did not criticize the pope, at least not directly. But then on a trip to Chile in January 2018, the pope defended a local bishop accused of covering up sex abuse, claiming that the allegations against him were “calumny” without proof.
Cardinal O’Malley then issued a public statement critical of the pope: “It is understandable that Pope Francis’ statements yesterday. . . were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse. Words that convey the message, ‘If you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed,’ abandon those who have suffered.”
The pope has also remained close to Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Washington, who is currently awaiting the results of a church trial on multiple counts of sex abuse and other misconduct. A former Vatican diplomat accused the pope of ignoring earlier reports of sexual misconduct with adults by McCarrick, who has said he is innocent of one of the charges against him. The pope has said he would not authorize a full-fledged investigation into the McCarrick scandal.
The pope stunned Cardinal O’Malley and other U.S. priests during their visit to the Vatican last summer when he suggested that they cancel their annual national assembly planned for November 2018 where they planned to discuss anti-abuse proposals. The Americans politely declined to cancel their assembly.
And then the pope announced a February 2019 summit on sex abuse that excluded the most competent and compassionate victims’ advocate in the country: Cardinal O’Malley.
“We have to deflate expectations,” the pope told reporters.
Exposure to the Monsanto chemical glyphosate increases one’s cancer risk by 41%, according to a new analysis. Classified as an herbicide (which is a type of pesticide), glyphosate is the only named active ingredient in Roundup, the world’s most popular killer.
Roundup non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Linked
To arrive at the 41% increased risk, University of Washington researchers evaluated glyphosate exposure studies already completed, along with some other studies concerning other weed killers. The UW researchers concluded that Monsanto’s Roundup significantly increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a cancer of the immune system.
The study’s authors published their findings in the journal Mutation Research. They wrote: “All of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to GBHs (glyphosate-based herbicides) are associated with an increased risk of NHL.”
The U.S. EPA had, in its initial assessment, also determined that Roundup was potentially a human carcinogen, but then Monsanto went to work on some of the agency’s employees until the EPA was finally bent to do the chemical giant’s bidding. Roundup’s link to cancer was first discovered more than three decades ago by one of the industry-captured agencies which Monsanto now uses as cover.
Monsanto EPA History
The actual carcinogenic risks of glyphosate can be difficult to decipher given Monsanto’s long-standing financial relationships with career politicians from both sides of the twisted aisle, as well as with individuals working in appointed positions in the U.S. government, most pointedly in the EPA.
EPA declares Glyphosate Potentially Carcinogenic
The U.S. EPA – the so-called Environmental Protection Agency – first classified glyphosate as a Class C carcinogen in 1985. But the agency later inexplicably reversed course and gave Monsanto license to sell it.
Glypohosate’s carcinogenic potential was first considered by an EPA panel on February 11, 1985. In a consensus review dated March 4, 1985, the Toxicology Branch Ad Hoc Committee classified glyphosate as a Class C Carcinogen. A Class C Carcinogen has ”Suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential” according to the EPA.
Monsanto then tried to persuade the EPA that glyphosate was not carcinogenic. Monsanto got help from Dr. George Levinskas. As the company’s Director of Environmental Assessment and Toxicology, Levinskas was a lead player in the cover up of the carcinogenic potential of the now banned PCBs in the 1970s – which continue to damage people and animals to this day.
Monsanto Massages the Message
According to Sustainable Pulse, in April 1985 Dr. Levinskas wrote an internal company letter stating: “Senior management at the EPA is reviewing a proposal to classify glyphosate as a class C “possible human carcinogen” because of kidney adenomas in male mice. Dr. Marvin Kuschner will review kidney sections and present his evaluation of them to the EPA in an effort to persuade the agency that the observed tumors are not related to glyphosate.”
EPA Changes Glyphosate Carcinogen Classification
It was a hard sell for Monsanto, but not that hard. The company was, after all, dealing with a government agency which also counts the toxic poisoning of Americans’ drinking water as one of the 20th century’s greatest accomplishments (See Mullenix 2014). In 1991, the EPA simply changed classification of glyphosate from Class C “Suggestive of Carconogenic Potential” to Class E to suggest “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans.”
Two EPA scientists refused to sign for the classification change, which, fortuitously for Monsanto, occurred just as the company was developing its first Roundup-Ready (glyphosate-resistant) GM crops (Eureka!). GMO seeds depend on the copious use of glyphosate, which, besides helping to raise the world’s cancer statistics, has also engendered the growth of superweeds which have developed immunity to the glyphosate poison. Birds, bees, humans and other animals, unfortunately, have not been so lucky. One would have to be living on the moon now to not know how Monsanto pesticides like Roundup and Bayer’s neonicotinoids have helped kill off more than half the world’s pollinator bees.
Another industry-captured regulator, the European Food Safety Authority, also maintains that glyphosate is safe. And Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, has called glyphosate a “safe and efficient weed control tool.”
World Health Organization: Glyphosate a Probable Carcinogen
In 2015, however, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The chemical has since triggered thousands of lawsuits brought by people who believe their exposure to Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The authors of the UW report analyzed all published studies on the impact of glyphosate on humans.
Co-author and doctoral student Rachel Shaffer said in a statement: “This research provides the most up-to-date analysis of glyphosate and its link with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, incorporating a 2018 study of more than 54,000 people who work as licensed pesticide applicators.” The scientists also assessed studies on animals.
Focusing on data relating to people with the “highest exposure” to the herbicide, the researchers concluded that a “compelling link” exists between glyphosate exposure and a greater risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Senior author Lianne Sheppard, professor in biostatistics and environmental and occupational health sciences, said she was “convinced” of the carcinogenic properties of the chemical.
Bayer Responds to Defend Monsanto
Bayer called the new analysis a “statistical manipulation” with “serious methodological flaws.” The company added for good measure that the study “provides no scientifically valid evidence that contradicts the conclusions of the extensive body of science demonstrating that glyphosate-based herbicides are not carcinogenic.”
The UW study authors do note some limitations of their analysis, such as that “limited published data” was available to them. They also wrote that the studies they evaluated varied in the population groups they targeted. They noted that the glyphosate exposure levels of the participants differed between reports.
A biosciences professor at the University of Central Lancashire, Francis Martin, told CNN that since glyphosate is used as a general purpose herbicide there will be exposure in the general population. He further noted that the report was limited by the small number of existing studies, though he also stressed the authors were “honestly self-reflective on the limitations of the analyses.”
Mr. Martin said the report shows a need for new, well-designed robust studies, because the ones available are indeed small.
Monsanto endless trumpets that hundreds of studies have found roundup and glyphosate safe, but virtually all of those hundreds of studies were done by Monsanto or at the behest of Monsanto, and none of them were done on a long-term basis; so for Monsanto’s purposes in using them to defend Roundup, they are virtually worthless.
(Feb. 16, 2018) Monsanto used the news agency Reuters to fake news in 2017. The chemical giant (bought last year by Bayer for some $62.5 Billion) used a Reuters reporter to create a demonstrably false news story that attacked a scientist and an organization that found Monsanto’s Roundup was probably carcinogenic. Lawyers suing Monsanto for a man who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma brought the evidence to the attention of the presiding judge last month in an attempt to get it entered into evidence for the jury to see.
Monsanto objects to Evidence
Monsanto, meanwhile, has objected to the jury’s hearing any mention of show Monsanto fed fake news to a Reuters reporter. Judge Vincent Chaabria is still deciding how much, if any, of this new evidence the jury will hear in the second Roundup cancer trial scheduled to start this month.
The judge has apparently agreed, for the most part, to Monsanto’s demands to “bifurcate” the trial into two parts, a move which undoubtedly serves Monsanto’s interests to the detriment of the plaintiff. The new arrangement will keep jurors from hearing any evidence of Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes machinations to protect its poison products from the hard glare of independent studies and public scrutiny.
This second trial over a Roundup cancer link – and the first in a federal court – is set to be heard very differently than the first, which last summer found that Monsanto had failed to warn a California groundskeeper of a Roundup-cancer link. The jury in that trial decided unanimously that Monsanto was guilty of offenses that resulted in punitive damages. In this second trial, the jury will first hear only scientific and legal arguments concerning direct causation. Then, if and only if the jury determines that Roundup caused the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, will they then be allowed to hear how Monsanto worked (and works) behind the scenes to propagandize public perception and manipulate scientific opinion.
Monsanto Propaganda Poisons Discourse
It is well known now that Monsanto pays for its own vested interest studies (none of which has ever gone more than 12 months) which are then used to “convince” friendly regulators like the U.S. EPA that Monsanto products are safe. Many Monsanto employees, like Michael Taylor, move from the Monsanto payroll into US government regulation jobs with FDA or EPA, and then back to Monsanto’s payroll. It is now also well known how Monsanto works to manipulate and control public perception by ghost writing articles like those signed by the disgraced Stanford academic Henry Miller. Mr. Miller, for one, published his pro-GMO Monsanto propaganda in Forbes magazine before Forbes’ editors realized that, like Reuters last month, they, too, had been used by Monsanto to mislead the public.
Monsanto, Reuters Team for Fake News
In the latest bombshell, a Reuters reporter named Kate Kelland was used as a willing dupe by Monsanto to publish propaganda attacking the credibility of the International Agency for Cancer Research, whose 2015 proclamation that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic did as much as anything to unleash what now amounts to nearly 10,000 lawsuits by people who say their lymphoma was caused by their exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup and glyphosate.
The clear motive of the fake news effort was to defend Monsanto against the very serious allegation that Roundup “herbicide” probably causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For anyone paying attention, the result should be a fatal blow to the credibility of not only Monsanto and Reuters (when one sees below how easily the “news’ agency allowed itself to be used for a nefarious purpose), but also to what all of us have been taught we should swallow daily as “The News.”
A History of Attacking Critics
Monsanto has taken several lines of attack against any person or organization which has found credible evidence that Roundup causes cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Whenever Monsanto has perceived a threat to its business model – based on poison chemical farming and genetically modified organisms – it has moved quickly, and viciously, to neutralize or attack that threat.
Even before the IARC declared Monsanto’s glyphosate a probable carcinogen in 2015, the chemical giant was already maneuvering to unleash attacks on the agency.
Monsanto’s Latest Puppet Journalist
New documents filed in federal court last month threaten to expose Reuters news reporter Kate Kelland for acting as Monsanto’s latest puppet. She signed her name to a completely false narrative about cancer scientist Aaron Blair and the IARC that classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
Court Documents? What Court Documents?
In 2017, Reuters put Ms. Kelland’s by-line on a controversial story that she attributed to “court documents.” But those so-called “documents” now appear to have been given her by a Monsanto executive. That person fed Ms. Kelland several key points Monsanto wanted made. It was fake news because those “documents” which Ms. Kelland cited were not filed in court. They were also not publicly available at the time she wrote her story. So she apparently lied about them being “court documents.” That lie – if it is the lie it now appears to be – allowed her to avoid disclosing Monsanto’s role in pushing the story.
Putting Words in a Scientist’s Mouth
U.S. Right to Know reported that Ms. Kelland’s Monsanto-sourced story portrayed cancer scientist Aaron Blair as hiding “important information” that found no links between glyphosate and cancer from IARC. Ms. Kelland wrote that Mr. Blair “said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis.” But a review of the full deposition shows that Mr. Blair said no such thing.
The Missing Link
Ms. Kelland provided no link to the documents she cited. That conveniently made it impossible for readers to see for themselves how far she and Reuters had veered from veracity. It was Monsanto propaganda pure and simple.
Monsanto Propaganda Assails World
To further promote the fake news, Monsanto used Google advertisements, its chemical industry allies, and chemical-industry-friendly “news” outlets. Pliant media outlets around the world picked up the “hot new story” and trumpeted it everywhere. (It reminded one of another fake news coup, of Dick Cheney echoing that the New York Times’ Judith Miller had – falsely, it turned out – reported evidence of Iraq WMD. Mr. Cheney then used that fake news – so shamelessly promoted by the country’s paper of record – to rally the country to attack Iraq and begin the country’s longest-ever-running war, with no end yet in sight.)
New information revealed in court filings shows just how heavily Monsanto promoted the false narrative to Reuters and Ms. Kelland. In a January 15 court filing, plaintiff’s attorneys cited internal Monsanto correspondence dated April 27, 2017. They say it shows how Monsanto executive Sam Murphey sent the false narrative to Ms. Kelland with a slide deck of talking points as well as out-of-context portions of the Blair deposition which was not filed in court. The attorneys said the correspondence shows Monsanto’s man asking her to publish a piece accusing Dr. Blair of deceiving IARC.
Monsanto and Bayer lawyers are trying to keep the correspondence with Ms. Kelland sealed from public view. Some of the emails between the Reuters reporter and Monsanto still have not been released.
Monsanto Works to Discredit IARC
Plaintiff’s attorneys also write in their letter brief that Monsanto’s internal documents show Ms. Kelland was seen as a a key media contact in their efforts to discredit IARC.
USRTK fairly points out that companies routinely give media outlets story suggestions that benefit the companies from the companies, but reporters need to present facts, not corporate propaganda attacking reputable scientists.
This Reuters story was especially important because Monsanto used it to attack IARC on multiple fronts. Part of that attack included an effort by Monsanto to get Congress to strip funding from IARC.
Reuters and Ms. Kelland failed the public by not revealing that Monsanto was the story’s source. USRTK says, “Reuters owes the world – and IARC – an apology.”
But an apology hardly cuts it. This episode shows that Reuters, like the New York Times in the Iraq WMD propaganda blitz, is a captured news agency that cannot be trusted. Hopefully this episode will teach us all to be very careful to assess veracity each time we open a newspaper or a web site or listen to anyone read us what their corporate masters call “the news.”
(Feb. 15. 2019) Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio today released the names of more than 100 priests in his parish who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a child. His actions follow those of several bishops across the country who have chosen in the last few months to lift the veil of secrecy in the Catholic Church’s ongoing epidemic of abuse.
The Brooklyn disclosure is one of the largest to come from an individual diocese. The Brooklyn diocese is also among the largest in the nation; it includes Brooklyn and Queens, where more than 1.5 million people identify as Catholic.
The most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio announced in a 2/15/2019 statement:
“We know this list will generate many emotions for victims who have suffered terribly. For their suffering, I am truly sorry. (Many victims) have told me that more than anything, they want an acknowledgment of what was done to them. This list gives that recognition and I hope it will add another layer of healing for them on their journey toward wholeness.”
Earlier this week, bishops of the five Catholic dioceses in New Jersey released the names of nearly 200 priests who have been credibly accused. Last month, the Jesuit province of the northeastern United States identified 50 accused priests. Many had served in the order’s schools in New York City.
Bishop DiMarzio had promised last year that his diocese would release the names of priests who were credibly accused, though his accompanying letter also states that not all of the accusations against the accused have been proven.
Many Accused are Deceased
The diocese said that more than 40 of the named clergy members died or resigned before the accusations were found credible. Most of the priests named – nearly two-thirds – have since died, leaving their reckoning to a higher power. Two of the total of 108 listed clergy were deacons.
The Brooklyn diocese included a graph which showed that cases of suspected abuse peaked in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the allegations were reported after 2002, showing once again that many of the abused do not come to terms with their abuse and report it until decades after the fact. New York state has taken steps to help those long-grieving victims.
New York Law Changes to Help Victims
Last month, New York legislatures changed state law to allow victims of clergy abuse a longer grace period in which to file potential civil claims against their abusers. Many of those victims who, for years had believed the statute of limitations on their potential claims had passed, may now have another chance to seek justice in civil court.
(Feb. 5, 2019)As if the Catholic Church and its Pope were not busy enough apologizing for the sexual abuse of minors by predatory priests, it now has a terrible new problem on its busy hands: the sexual exploitation of nuns stuns faithful Catholics all over again. A Reuters story broke today regarding the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops. Some of those trusted men had used the women as sex slaves.
Empowered by the worldwide #MeToo movement which began with the outing of Hollywood-power players like Hurricane Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, several nuns have stepped forward to relate their tales of woe at the hands of men who took advantage of their positions in the Catholic church hierarchy to abuse the women who had been taught to respect them.
Pope Francis told Reuters yesterday that he was committed to stopping the abuse of nuns by said priests and bishops. The pope made his comments on a plane returning from Abu Dhabi after a reporter questioned him over a Vatican monthly magazine story published last week about nuns being abused in the Catholic Church.
Union Urges Nuns to Come Forward
More and more nuns are now coming forward to describe sexual abuse by priests and bishops. The International Union of Superiors General, which represents more than 500,000 Catholic nuns, last year urged their members to report abuse.
Pope Francis told Reuters: “It is true … There have been priests and even bishops who have done this. I think it is still going on because something does not stop just because you have become aware of it.”
The pope acknowledged the church has been working on the sexual abuse of nuns problem “for a long time” and had suspended several priests because of it. He added that the Vatican was in the process of shutting down a (still unnamed) female religious order because of sexual abuse and corruption.
“I can’t say, ‘This does not happen in my house.’ It is true. Do we have to do more? Yes. Are we willing? Yes,” he said.
Nuns in Sexual Slavery
Former Pope Benedict dissolved a religious order of women shortly after his election as pontiff in 2005, Pope Francis told Reuters: “[B]ecause slavery had become part of it [the religious order], even sexual slavery on the part of priests and the founder.” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said that sad situation had occurred in France.
Church Politics Delays Justice
As with the recent cases of sexual abuse by priests recently uncovered in Pennsylvania, New York (where victims recently received a legal reprieve), and elsewhere, internal church politics allowed some abusive priests to continue their duplicitous deceptions against nuns in the church.
Before becoming the pope, Benedict was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department that investigates sexual abuse. The pope at that time was John Paul. Then-cardinal Ratzinger wanted to investigate the religious order where women were being abused, but he was blocked, Francis said, by someone or some people he would not identify. Francis told Reuters that after Ratzinger became the pope, he reopened the investigation and then dissolved the order.
Pope Summons Bishops for Sex Abuse Summit
Pope Francis has summoned key bishops from around the world to a February summit at the Vatican over the Catholic church’s problem of clergy members committing sexual abuse. The pope is seeking a unified response to this ages-old, worldwide problem.
Reporters asked the pope if he would also propose a similar action to confront abuse of nuns in the Church. “I want to move forward,” Pope Francis replied. “We are working on it.”
(Jan. 31, 2019) The priest sex abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic Church for decades continues. Despite numerous apologies from the Pope on down, and pledges to do better, the Catholic Church has consistently shown an inability to police itself. We see in one child sex abuse story after another how church officials not only fail to prosecute or even dismiss abusers, but hide and coddle them instead. Instead of being dismissed – at the least, or sent to jail, as they should be – many abusers are sent by their “superiors” to other parishes where they are set free to assault the children of other unwitting parishioners.
How can such devious actions by the church not result in clergy abuse lawsuits? What other recourse is available to the trusting victims of predatory priests and their underhanded enablers?
Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report
The shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report released this past summer (with its 1,000 victims, 300 credibly accused priests) has made more churchgoers than ever more conscious of their church’s failures to protect the children in their charge. The sheer numbers related in that report have sent many people into a crisis of faith – if not in their spirituality, at least in the church itself. Many have, as a result, ceased to attend their church. The sheer numbers for many are simply too large to dismiss. The clergy sex abuse numbers not only don’t lie; they are decidedly shy of the reality. Every expert on the subject recognizes that the stigma of sharing child sex abuse stories leads most people to suffer quietly alone.
Law Changes Help Victims
But all that may be changing. As the public discussion of the unspeakable broadens, more and more people are coming to terms with their prior abuse, including lawmakers who this week helped change law in New York to give the abused longer periods of time in which to file a claim. The result is helping to remove some of the stigma attached to a person’s sharing his or her own story of sex abuse.
Priest Sex Abuse by the Numbers
Money paid out by the Catholic Church to sex abuse victims: $3 Billion
Number of priests credibly accused of abuse: 6,800
Survivors of Priest Sex Abuse: At least 19,000
The Catholic Church Compensates Victims
The Catholic Church has faced priest sex abuse allegations for decades worldwide. An analysis by BishopAccountability.org, finds that the church has paid out more than $3 billion to victims.
The same organization has found that more than 6,800 U.S. Catholic priests have been credibly accused of sexual abuse in the U.S., and at least 19,000 people still alive have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a U.S. Catholic priest.
Most recently, in Houston, Texas this week, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and other Texas dioceses are expected to release lists of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children today.
KHOU in Houston presents a look back at the long-running crisis:
The Servants of the Paraclete opens in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, as a treatment center for priests accused of molesting children.
Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, a priest in the Diocese of Lafayette, La., is indicted on 34 counts of sex crimes against children. According to 60 Minutes, he is the first priest in the U.S. to face a criminal trial for child sex abuse. He pleads guilty in 1986 and is sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Rev. Thomas Doyle and Gauthe’s attorney, Ray Mouton, release a report, “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner.” It warns bishops about predatory priests and outlines how sex abuse allegations should be handled. Doyle says church leaders dismissed the report.
A Dallas jury awards a landmark $119 million judgment against the Catholic Church to 11 clergy sex abuse survivors. The victims’ attorney says, “I hope this wakes up the Pope.”
The Diocese of Tucson is the first religious order to release a list of accused priests.
The Boston Globeruns a groundbreaking story of how the church allowed a known molester priest to transfer in and out of parishes rather than remove him. (See the movie “Spotlight.”)
After meeting in Dallas, Texas, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops establishes the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” commonly known as the Dallas Charter. It calls for zero tolerance for priests who sexually abuse children. It fails to address Catholic bishops who cover up cases or allow abusive priests to continue.
The Diocese of Fort Worth becomes Texas’s first to release a list of credibly accused priests.
In his book, “Sex, Priests and Secret Codes,” Rev. Tom Doyle traces the history of clergy sexual abuse of children to A.D. 98, the same century the church was founded.
New Hampshire names 27 priests accused of abuse following the attorney general’s five-year audit of the Diocese of Manchester.
The Associated Press reports the Catholic Church fails to monitor former priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children.
Pope Francis meets with clergy sex abuse survivors and promises “zero tolerance” for priests who abuse children.
The movie “Spotlight” is released. The award-winning film follows The Boston Globe’s investigative Spotlight team as it shows how the Catholic Church hides priest sex abuse scandals.
In a two-year inquiry into clergy sex abuse, a Pennsylvania grand jury releases a report which concludes that 300 Catholic priests sexually abused 1,000 child victims over seven decades.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, overseer of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, calls for more church accountability and transparency.
DiNardo announces all Texas dioceses will release a list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors by the end of January 2019.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office searches the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Chancery and secret archives for documents containing information on sexual abuse by Rev. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez. He is charged with four counts of indecency with a child.
During its search, the DA’s office said it found other documents relating to sex abuse. Those documents, the DA’s office said, were turned over to the Texas Rangers for investigation.
Pope Francis calls for all priests who have raped and molested children to turn themselves in. He promisesthe church will never again cover up clergy sex abuse.
The Illinois Attorney General releases preliminary findings in an investigation that reveals the state’s six dioceses failed to disclose sex abuse allegations against 500 additional priests and clergy members.
U.S. Catholic bishops gather in Illinois for a weeklong retreat of prayer and reflection related to the clergy sex abuse crisis.
KHOU 11 Investigates releases “Unforgivable,” a 30-minute documentary detailing the clergy sex abuse crisis and its impacts on survivors, their families and the work by an attorney and a priest to make a difference.
Jan. 31, 2019
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and other Texas dioceses are expected to release lists today of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
The world’s Catholic bishops are scheduled to gather in the Vatican with the pope to discuss preventing priest sex abuse.
And so the problem and the discussion continues. Clearly, some progress has been made for victims, but there is a long way to go, as so many continue to suffer in silence.
(January 28, 2019) Victims of child sex abuse received a legal reprieve from New York lawmakers this week. On Monday the state government in Albany voted to allow people a longer grace period in which to file their claims of being sexually abused as children. The Child Victims Act gives victims of child sex abuse until age 55 to bring a civil lawsuit, up from the current age of 23. The bill also offers other legal changes that help extend the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse.*
The new law comes after more than 15 years of political in-fighting, with most of the opposition coming from Republican senators. Gov. Cuomo vowed to sign the bill, saying, “It’s taken us a number of years to get here, but we got here.”
The bill was driven, in part, by four state representatives who recently revealed their own childhood experiences of having been sexually abused by trusted elders. The New York Daily News reported that during the debate on the House floor, “[F]our female lawmakers – new Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), and Assembly members Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan), Catalina Cruz (D-Queens), and Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Brooklyn) – recounted their own experiences of being sexually abused as kids.”
The Least We can do
Ms. Biaggi said she had remained silent for 25 years, which no doubt helped her to understand why it would take a person that long or longer to come to terms with abuse and share it with the world. She said her abuse was, “something that I thought I would take to my grave.”
She also questioned: “Why on earth would anybody be opposed to this bill unless they have something to hide. This is truly the least that we can do.”
Ms. Niou shook and cried as she recounted her abuse at age 13 by a teacher.
“I hope that people realize that this is not an attack on any institution, not attack on anybody else,” Ms. Nious said. “This is to protect victims. It’s to protect the children and it’s to help people feel a little whole again.”
Ms. Cruz said she was abused by a family member. She thanked bill sponsors past and present for “never giving up in getting us justice.”
Ms. Bichotte recounted a story about being abused at age 10 by a pastor. She said, “This bill is a must because it speaks to all the victims who were sexually abused as a child. “The passing of this bill means a victory to them, a victory for me.”
The Child Victims Act Politics
Senate Republicans and some Assembly Democrats had previously blocked the bill. It passed the Assembly for the third straight year this year, but with Democrats now in charge of the Senate, it cleared the upper house this time around.
The bill’s original sponsor was former Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, a Queens Democrat. Ms. Markey took grief for years from the Church and even from some fellow Assembly Democrats for her aggressive advocacy of the legislation. The Catholic Church opposed it for years, as did Orthodox Jewish groups, the Boy Scouts of America, and insurance companies.
Democrats push Child Victims Act Through
Democrats decidedly pushed The Child Victims Act through. After winning Senate control in the November elections, they prioritized passing it.
New Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said at a rally with victims and victims’ advocates before the vote: “We say to the victims that we hear you, we are responding in the most responsible way, and we are really, really sorry it took so long. We really are.”
New York Daily News Crusade
Governor Cuomo and advocates praised the New York Daily News for making the bill a crusade the past three years.
“The twelve-year battle for the Child Victims Act has been arduous and sometimes provoked despair and disillusionment in the hearts of survivors and advocates,” said Stephen Jimenez, who was sexually abused at his Catholic school in Brooklyn. “But, at the end of the day, the glaring light of truth and justice has triumphed.”
Mr. Jimenez, a Catholic and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, said the bill’s passage “means an end to shame, silence and invisibility in the face of institutional cover-up.”
What The Child Victims Act Means
*Sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), The Child Victims Act gives victims of child sex abuse until their 55th birthday to bring a civil lawsuit, up from the current age of 23. The new bill also gives survivors until their 28th birthday to seek criminal felony charges and their 25th birthday to seek a misdemeanor case.
The bill also creates a one-year window to revive old cases time-barred under current law. It will also treat public and private institutions the same when it comes to child sex abuse. Under current law, someone abused in a public institution like a school can only sue if they file a notice of claim within 90 days of the attack.
130-3 Vote for New Bill
The bill flew through the Senate with minimal debate and passed by a unanimous vote. It passed the Assembly 130-3.
The state Catholic Conference dropped its years-long long opposition to the bill for reasons given by its spokesman Dennis Poust: “We did not oppose the final version of the Child Victims Act precisely because it treats all survivors equally, including those abused in public schools. We hope this legislation gives all survivors the opportunity to be heard and compensated, wherever they were abused.”
Statute of Limitations Fights Continue
The Daily News reported that, “Some survivors, including Gary Greenberg, who created a political action committee to help flip the Senate so the Child Victims Act could pass, praised the new law even while saying they will push for future changes, including completely eliminating the criminal and civil statute of limitations on all child sex abuse cases.”
That fight will be ongoing in New York state, as it is ongoing in Pennsylvania and other states. It was a grand jury report from Pennsylvania last summer which first focused the nation’s attention on the undeniable problem of an ongoing epidemic of child sex abuse by Catholic priests and other trusted clergy.
(Jan. 21, 2019) Just as the CIA has been outed as running propaganda and disinformation campaigns against not only foreign powers but also against United States citizens (see Operation Mockingbird, which clearly continues today), Monsanto and other ag chemical industry giants have been shown to be running propaganda and disinformation campaigns about pesticides and GMOs. The long-term goal (largely accomplished, given the abysmal health of most Americans) has been to not only confuse people about the actual dangers of pesticide-laced food, but to also belittle and “neutralize” concerned citizens and scientists interested in the benefits of organic food and clean water untainted with genetically modified perversions and pesticides.
Disgraced former US President Richard Nixon said it’s not the crime that gets you in trouble; it’s the coverup. Monsanto executives must not have been paying attention. Because while the company has paid millions of dollars for research studies purporting to prove the safety of products like Roundup, that money trail alone does not prove Roundup causes cancer of the type which a California jury awarded a California man $289 million in a verdict last summer. What does appear to have influenced the jury, however, is the extraordinary lengths which it was shown during the trial that Monsanto has gone to in order to “disappear,” stifle, or coverup any and all evidence which might prove that Roundup causes cancer. (See The Monsanto Papers.)
Rat Study Threatens Monsanto
When a famous French scientist named Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini performed a rat study which showed the rats developed hideous tumors following a diet of GMO maize (corn), his peer reviewed paper on the subject was published in a reputable science journal. The study threatened the whole Monsanto GMO paradigm, and strongly suggested that further safety tests were warranted. So Monsanto worked behind the scenes to have the offending publication hire a new editor, an editor who then pulled the damaging study. Monsanto’s heavy-handed bullying in the case, however, caused an uproar in the scientific community, and led to the paper’s being re-reviewed by peers, and then re-published, in another journal which Monsanto hadn’t yet gripped in its long tentacles.
Monsanto EPA Ties Outed
When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering a re-review of glyphosate safety, Monsanto was concerned. So it worked behind the scenes with an actual EPA scientist, Jess Rowland, to quash the review. Mr. Rowland’s fealty to Monsanto and the cozy relationship between regulator and regulated was revealed by emails between the two. It was not the the kind of thing to give citizens confidence in their regulators, and it was not the kind of thing to give Monsanto credibility when its lawyers in the first Roundup cancer trial last summer claimed hundreds of studies proved glyphosate was safe.
Covert Industry Funding to Fake Objectivity
Covert industry funding of ostensibly “independent” scientists is a favorite Monsanto and Ag Industry ploy to give the appearance of objectivity. The problem for Monsanto and the industry is that time and again financial conflicts of interest have shown the world the lie.
Writing for U.S. Right to Know, Stacy Malkin has repeatedly shown how this ruse works. One group Monsanto has attempted to use to show the purported safety of Roundup is called “The Academics Review.” This “Review” turns out to be nothing more than the innocuous sounding title of an industry-sponsored group pretending not to be an industry-sponsored group.
“Two Independent Professors” & The Usual Suspects
The Academics Review website claims “two independent professors,” started it: Bruce Chassy, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and David Tribe, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Ms. Malkin noted that in May 2018, the website claimed, “Academics Review only accepts unrestricted donations from non-corporate sources to support our work.”
Meanwhile, tax records show a trade association to be the primary funder of Academics Review. The Council for Biotechnology Information was funded by the largest agrichemical companies: BASF, Bayer, DowDuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta.
Ms Malkan writes: “According to CBI tax records, the industry-funded group gave Academics Review a total of $650,000 in 2014 and 2015-2016. Tax records for AcademicsReview.org report expenses of $791,064 from 2013-2016 (see 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). The money was spent on organizing conferences and promoting GMOs and pesticides, according to the tax records.”
Monsanto ghostwrites for Stanford Academic
Other ostensibly “objective” researchers include disgraced Stanford academic Henry I. Miller, whose propaganda attacking organic food was published by Fortune magazine, then pulled by Forbes from publication after public uproar proved Mr. Miller had simply signed his name to propaganda penned by Monsanto executives.
Reuters joins Monsanto Propaganda Effort
It was just revealed last week that Reuters news reporter Kate Kelland had apparently picked up Monsanto’s Operation Mockingbird mantel. On January 16, 2019, documents filed in federal court threaten to expose Ms. Kelland for acting as a Monsanto’s mouthpiece. She stands accused of driving a false narrative about cancer scientist Aaron Blair and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen in 2015. The importance of that IARC declaration cannot be overstated, which is why it has been so important for Monsanto to try to neutralize the agency ever since and destroy its credibility. That IARC some 9,300 cases.
Ms. Kelland wrote a controversial story in 2017 which she attributed to “court documents,” which now appear to have been fed to her by a Monsanto executive. That Monsanto “newsmaker” also surreptitiously provided several key points Monsanto wanted Reuters to print. The documents Ms. Kelland cited were not filed in court, and were not publicly available at the time she wrote her IARC hit piece. But presenting her story as “based on court documents” allowed her to avoid disclosing Monsanto’s crucial role in the story.
The Reuter’s story portrayed cancer scientist Aaron Blair as hiding “important information” that found no links between glyphosate and cancer from IARC. Ms. Kelland claimed that Blair, “said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis.” However, a review of the full deposition shows that Mr. Blair did not say that.
Ms. Kelland provided no link to the documents she cited, which made it impossible for readers to see for themselves how far she veered from accuracy.
Operation Mockingbird in Full Swing
The CIA with Cord Myer in control of Operation Mockingbird couldn’t have done it any better. Ms. Kelland’s hit piece featuring Monsanto in the victim role was picked up by Monsanto-friendly media outlets around the world. It was promoted by Monsanto and its chemical industry allies. Google advertisements were even purchased that promoted the story.
And now, reports Carey Gilliam for US Right to Know, new information revealed in court filings indicates just how heavy Monsanto’s hand was in pushing the false narrative.
Monsanto’s Fears change Trial Rules
So concerned is Monsanto with the evidence of its endless coverup and ongoing covert operations to influence public opinion and government regulators that it motioned this month to keep jurors from hearing ANY evidence of its coverups and its behind-the-scenes dealings unless and until the jury has first determined the question of causation. The jury must first determine that Roundup caused the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma without hearing any evidence of Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes efforts to confuse the issues and neutralize evidence from those who have found Monsanto pesticides and GMOs lead to cancerous outcomes.
The problem – or at least the principal challenge – with this new two-part trial approach for the plaintiff’s side is that Monsanto has spent so much money to produce so many studies which attempt to prove the safety of glyphosate, that a jury could become lost, even overwhelmed, with the sheer volume of the paperwork produced by the Monsanto machine. And will the plaintiff’s side be able to continue uncovering the latest Monsanto propaganda ploys, as they just uncovered the ruse orchestrated by Reuter’s “journalist” Kate Kelland?
(Dec. 27, 2018) The Chicago Tribune reported last week that the Illinois Catholic Church withheld the names of at least 500 priests accused of sexual abuse of minors. The Illinois attorney general accused the church of failing victims by neglecting to investigate their allegations.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan concluded in a preliminary report that Illinois’ Catholic dioceses are incapable of investigating themselves. She said that church officials, “will not resolve the clergy sexual abuse crisis on their own.”
Ms. Madigan reported that 690 priests were accused of abuse, but the dioceses made only 185 names public of those who have been found credibly accused of abuse.
“The number of allegations above what was already public is shocking,” Ms. Madigan said.
The report is Illinois’ state prosecutors’ latest attempt to hold the Catholic Church accountable by examining the church’s own records. At least 16 state attorneys general have initiated various investigations since August 2018, which have included examination of the church’s own records.
The movement to uncover the truth about clergy sexual abuse of minors began in Illinois and other states across the country following a shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report which came out in the summer of 2018. That was when the Pennsylvania grand jury accused more than 300 priests of sexual abuse over a 50-year span. And just as shocking, if not moreso, they also accused Catholic bishops of covering up the scandal, which some clergy abuse lawyers, as well as priests, have suggested goes all the way to the Vatican, and stems from a culture of corruption, even a “lavender mafia,” a secret gay culture within the church that at least one priest says runs the church.
Church covered for Abusers
Unlike Pennsylvania’s 1,356 pages of a grand jury report, Illinois’ nine-page report does not name accused priests or call out particular bishops for negligence. It does, however, question the enormous gap between the number of accusations made by victims who dared to contact the church, and the number of accusations the church deemed credible.
Ms. Madigan’s office report noted that three-fourths of the allegations against clergy were either not investigated or were investigated but not substantiated by the dioceses papers turned over to the attorney general’s office.
A pattern emerged from the files: the dioceses often failed to find a claim credible if only one victim reported. The dioceses also failed to investigate at all if the accused priest had died or been reassigned, or if he belonged to a religious order – such as the Franciscans, Marists, or Jesuits. The report said the dioceses often discredited survivors’ claims by “focusing on the survivors’ personal lives,” which is a pattern that was also found in the Boston clergy abuse scandal that was uncovered by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight and made into a 2016 movie.
The Illinois report said that representatives of all six dioceses cooperated with the investigation by meeting with the attorney general and her staff. The six voluntarily produced thousands of documents and gave access to hundreds of clergy files related to abuse allegations.
Once the attorney general’s office began investigating, the Illinois dioceses disclosed the names of 45 more clergymen deemed by the church to be credibly accused of sexual abuse. Most were cases about which the dioceses had known for years.
“I want to express again the profound regret of the whole church for our failures to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago’s. “It is the courage of victim-survivors that has shed purifying light on this dark chapter in church history.”
Roman Catholics have long dominated some Chicago neighborhoods and held a place in the political fabric of the city. Thirty-three percent of Chicago-area residents are Catholic, ranking it among the top five most Catholic of American cities.
A spokeswoman in the Chicago area’s branch of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), Kate Bochte, said the idea that nearly three-quarters of the allegations were not deemed credible was a “huge indicator that the church is incapable” of investigating itself.
“[T]hink about all those people who came in – 75 percent of the people – what happened to them?” asked Ms. Bochte. “They were basically turned away after they explained the most difficult thing that had ever happened to them.”
300 More Victims?
Ms. Madigan said that survivors of abuse were owed a sense that their concerns were being pursued. Since her office announced a hotline for survivors to report such abuse several months ago, 300 people have called.
The attorney general, who will leave office in a couple of weeks, also said she wanted to release her findings before the American bishops gather at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago in early January 2019. About 300 bishops are expected at a weeklong spiritual retreat ordered by Pope Francis to pray and reflect on the church’s role in the sexual abuse of children.