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Sexual Abuse

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U.S. prosecutors have indicted a former Chicago police officer on a federal civil rights charge for allegedly kidnapping and sexually abusing someone while on duty. Sixty-four-year-old James Sajdak is charged with one count of deprivation of rights under “color of law,” meaning government authority. The indictment was unsealed Wednesday in Chicago federal court. Sajdak pleaded not guilty during his arraignment. He faces up to life in federal prison. WBBM-TV reports that a transgender woman sued Sajdak and the city in 2019.

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A French Senate delegation says sexual and physical abuse in France’s porn industry is “systemic” and lawmakers should better regulate the production of violent videos. The report released on Wednesday was the first prepared for the French parliament to focus on the porn industry. The authors wrote that the violent acts depicted in pornographic films "are not simulated but very real for the women who are being filmed.” They recommended fines and age-verification mechanisms to address the “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children. Dozens of alleged victims have come forward in two separate police investigations linked to a major video platform and France’s leading amateur porn site.

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Clergy in 33 states are exempt from laws requiring professionals such as teachers, physicians and psychotherapists to report information about alleged child abuse to police or child welfare officials. That loophole has resulted in an unknown number of predators being allowed to continue abusing children for years despite having confessed the behavior to religious officials. An Associated Press review finds that over the past two decades, more than 130 bills have been proposed in state legislatures to create or amend child sex abuse reporting laws. After intense opposition from religious groups, the clergy privilege remained unchanged. Often, legislative efforts to close the loophole run up against lawmakers who are also church members.

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A Tennessee cheerleading gym faces sexual abuse allegations in a case that escalates the accusations against some of the sport's top institutions. A federal lawsuit brought Monday by two anonymous plaintiffs alleges that an adult coach at Premier Athletics sexually assaulted teenage boys. Lawyers brought a similar complaint this month against coaches at Rockstar Cheer in South Carolina. Attorneys say that in both cases, Varsity Spirit and the U.S. All Star Federation failed to provide a safe environment. Athletics Knoxville West says it is “inaccurately implicated” in the newest lawsuit.

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There's a little-known practice in the U.S. known as “gooning.” Brawny men show up under the cover of darkness and force a teenager into a vehicle, taking them against their will to a boarding school, foster home or treatment center. The process is typically initiated by parents at their wit’s ends over a child they perceive as troubled. For the kids, it’s the traumatic first leg of a journey to placements that can be hundreds of miles from home. Teens who resist might be handcuffed or blindfolded. One secure transport operator was indicted last month, but criminal charges are rare because the industry is virtually unregulated.

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A former Alaska attorney general has pleaded not guilty to charges he sexually abused a minor three decades ago when he was the alleged victim’s high school coach. Fifty-eight-year-old Clyde “Ed” Sniffen entered his plea Monday through his attorney. The allegations date back to when Sniffen was 27 and was a lawyer in private practice but served as the coach of the then 17-year-old girl’s mock trial competition team at an Anchorage high school. She has said the sexual relationship began during a trip to New Orleans for a national competition and continued for about two years back in Anchorage.

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The head of France’s Greens party stepped down from his post Monday after his former partner reportedly accused him of psychological abuse. Julien Bayou's resignation came amid mounting pressure within his party and broader efforts to hold French politicians accountable for misconduct toward women. Bayou said in a statement that he was resigning from his post as national secretary of the Europe Ecology-The Greens party but wouldn't quit his parliament seat. Bayou said he was put in an “untenable” and Kafka-like situation aggravated by pressure on social media. He said he wasn’t told directly what he’s accused of. No criminal complaint has been filed.

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The Michigan Supreme Court won’t reinstate the conviction of a former Michigan State University gymnastics coach who was accused of lying to investigators about campus sports doctor Larry Nassar. The state's highest court declined to take an appeal from the attorney general's office. Prosecutors had widened their investigation beyond Nassar, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing athletes, mostly female gymnasts. But prosecutors now have lost two high-profile cases. Kathie Klages was sentenced to 90 days in jail for lying to police about what she knew about Nassar back in 1997. But the Michigan Court of Appeals in December threw out her conviction and said her statements in a 2018 interview with were not crucial.

A jury has found a Medford, Oregon, man guilty of multiple sex crimes following a trial in which the victim was lodged in jail for nine days to ensure she’d testify in court. The Mail Tribune reports a jury last week found 30-year-old Christian Alexander Sanchez guilty of more than a dozen felony crimes over seven months in 2020 including rape, sodomy, kidnapping, coercion, assault and weapon use. The crimes involved one female victim, now 20, who was reportedly held against her will. Judge Lorenzo Mejia and prosecutors said holding the victim in jail was unusual but necessary to ensure that she'd testify in court. Sanchez will be sentenced in October.

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A former Alaska attorney general has been indicted by a state grand jury on three felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Officials say the allegations against Clyde “Ed” Sniffen involve an Anchorage West High School student while he was in a position of authority in 1991. Sniffen will be arraigned Monday. Special prosecutor Gregg Olson in May filed the charges against Sniffen, and the grand jury returned its indictment of the three felonies against him earlier this week. A message sent to Jeffrey Robinson, who is listed in online court records as Sniffen’s attorney, was not immediately returned. His office said he was out of town.

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The Southern Baptists’ Executive Committee has voted effectively to cut ties with two congregations. One is an LGBTQ-friendly church, College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, that had itself quit the denomination decades ago. The other is Amazing Grace Community Church of Franklinville, New Jersey. The Executive Committee cited its “lack of cooperation ... to resolve concerns regarding alleged discriminatory behavior.” The votes came at the end of a two-day meeting even as the convention responds to a consultant's report of sexual abuse in its churches and mistreatment of survivors by denominational leaders. The convention acknowledges it is now under a Department of Justice investigation.

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A former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective accused of preying on poor Black females for decades will be released from custody pending his trial. U.S Magistrate Judge Rachel Schwartz said Monday that Roger Golubski has such serious medical problems that he is not as much of a risk as he was when most of the alleged crimes were committed. Golubski was charged last week with sexually abusing a Black woman and a teenager more than two decades ago. Civil rights advocates have said he abused Black females in Kansas City, Kansas, for decades. Prosecutors on Friday filed a motion including complaints from seven other women about Golubski. He has pleaded not guilty.

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The leader of a multinational, Mexico-based Christian church is imprisoned in California after pleading guilty to sexually abusing minors. Yet legions of followers in his home city of Guadalajara remain fervently loyal to him. They view his imprisonment as a challenge that will strengthen their church, La Luz del Mundo — Spanish for The Light of the World. The phenomenon was evident recently at the church’s main temple, as thousands gathered to pray for their absent leader during their Holy Supper. To gasps of surprise, Naasón Joaquín García addressed the congregation by telephone from his Los Angeles prison, where he is serving a 16-year sentence.

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A lawsuit alleging the rampant sexual abuse of underage athletes at a competitive cheerleading gym in South Carolina has been amended to name six more coaches as defendants and three more accusers. The accusers — now seven female and two male — say in the federal lawsuit amended Thursday that they were sexually abused by coaches at Rockstar Cheerleading and Dance in Greenville, which is in the northwestern corner of the state. The accusers’ lawyers allege that sexual abuse at the gym could date back two decades. According to the lawsuit, the abuse ranged from rape and forced oral sex to molestation and pressuring children as young as 13 to send nude photos of themselves to coaches.

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A former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective who has long been accused of sexually preying on Black women has been indicted on federal charges accusing him of using his position to sexually abuse two women. Sixty-nine-year-old Roger Golubski was arrested Thursday morning at his home in Edwardsville, Kansas, on six counts of civil rights violations. He is accused of sexually assaulting two women between 1998 and 2002. The indictment doesn't state the women's race. Lamont McIntyre, who spent 23 years in prison for a double murder he didn't commit, sued Golubski and other officers this year. He and his mother alleged that Golubski framed McIntyre after his mother refused Golubski's sexual demands. The lawsuit was settled for $12.5 million.

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Federal prosecutors this week scored multiple convictions against R. Kelly at the singer’s trial in Chicago. But they lost on the headline charge, that Kelly obstructed justice by rigging his 2008 state child pornography trial, at which jurors acquitted him. Kelly's longtime business manager Derrel McDavid was also acquitted on that count. At least one legal expert said obstruction of justice charges aren’t generally hard to prove. But former federal prosecutor Phil Turners says that in this case, the facts just weren't there. U.S. Attorney John Lausch expressed disappointment in not winning convictions across the board. But he said Kelly is still looking at a prison sentence of 10 to 90 years. Sentencing is set for Feb. 23.

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A federal jury in Chicago convicted R. Kelly on Wednesday of producing child pornography and enticing girls for sex after a monthlong trial in his hometown. It's another legal blow to a singer who was once one of the world’s biggest R&B stars. Prosecutors won convictions on six of the 13 counts against him, with many of the convictions carrying long mandatory sentences. But the government lost the marquee count —  that Kelly and his then-business manager successfully rigged his state child pornography trial in 2008. Both of Kelly's co-defendants, including longtime business manager Derrel McDavid, were acquitted of all charges.

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Six women who accused a neurologist of sexaully assaulting them while under his care have returned to court to speak out against him — this time after his death.  Authorities say Dr. Ricardo Cruciani killed himself behind bars in August, shortly after his conviction and before victims could give impact statements for a sentencing likely to result in a lengthy prison term. A judge invited the accusers Wednesday to testify at a New York City hearing where they called Cruciani a predator and a coward. Cruciani was convicted in July of multiple counts including predatory sexual assault and rape. He had denied abusing patients while working for several leading pain-management providers during his career.

A West Texas man has been sentenced to life plus 300 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child and 10 counts of producing child pornography, including filming himself sexually assaulting children. Prosecutors say Johnny George Gonzalez admitted to filming himself sexually abusing at least six children, ages 4 to 10, beginning in 2014. He then shared the material on the internet. The 35-year-old El Paso, Texas, man also admitted to secretly making suggestive videos of children at stores across El Paso. Canadian authorities detected his activities last summer and alerted the FBI.

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R&B superstar R. Kelly’s musical accomplishments have long been shadowed by allegations that he sexually abused women and children. Now the singer has been found guilty in his hometown of Chicago on child pornography charges, but acquitted of a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge accusing him fixing his state child pornography trial in 2008. The verdict comes after he was sentenced in New York in June to three decades behind bars on sex trafficking charges. While Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has vehemently denied the allegations, his accusers testified that he subjected them to his perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.

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A federal appeals court is reviving unsettled lawsuits against Ohio State University over decades-old sexual abuse by the late team doctor Richard Strauss. A judge had dismissed most of the unsettled cases last year. The judge acknowledged it’s clear hundreds of young men were abused, but said the legal time limit for the claims had long passed. The plaintiffs argued the clock didn’t start until the allegations came to light in 2018. A three-judge panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judge’s decision Wednesday and sent the case back to district court for further proceedings.

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