Category: sexual abuse

Police say Utah man charged in sex abuse case told teen he would ‘hunt her down’ if she didn’t comply

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — A man is charged with sexual extortion and 17 related counts after police say he told a teenage girl he would “hunt her down” if she didn’t have sex with him.

Charging documents filed Tuesday against 40-year-old Patrick Neal Mecham of Kearns allege the man was giving a teen girl methamphetamine staring at the age of 13.

The documents further state the man sexually abused the teen, who told police she felt pressured to submit to sex with the man because she had seen him physically assault his wife because he thought his wife had been with other men.

Police became aware of the alleged abuse after a tip from one of the victim’s relatives.

The document states in one case “Mecham texted her while she was at home and said that if she didn’t [have sex with him], he would hunt her down.”

Text messages between the two showed several discussions about sexual activity and the sale of marijuana. The teen told police she and the man smoked methamphetamine together each time the sexual abuse occurred.

Mecham faces one count of aggravated sexual extortion as a first-degree felony, two felony counts of distribution of a controlled substance, and six counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor as third-degree felonies.

He is also charged with five counts of child endangerment as third-degree felonies and five counts of enticing a minor as class A misdemeanors.

Altoona Man Accused of Sexually Abusing Young Relatives

ALTOONA, Iowa – An Altoona man is in the Polk County Jail facing sexual abuse charges for allegedly abusing two young relatives.

Forty-four-year-old Jason Adkins was arrested Thursday afternoon. He is charged with one count of second-degree sexual abuse and three counts of third-degree sexual abuse.

According to criminal complaints in the case, Adkins is accused of fondling two female victims between January of 2015 and March of 2019. In one incident, one of the victims was sleeping in the front passenger seat of a vehicle while Adkins drove and woke up to him groping her breast.

Since the investigation began, investigators have learned there was abuse before 2015 that happened in Georgia.

The victims were between the ages of 10 and 14 when the alleged abuse took place.

Adkins made his jail court appearance Friday morning and a no-contact order was put in place prohibiting him from contacting the victims. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 20th.

Pope issues new rules mandating the reporting of sexual abuse to Church authorities

By Delia Gallagher, Hada Messia and Jack Guy, CNN

Pope Francis issued new global rules Thursday for reporting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, mandating for the first time that all dioceses set up systems for reporting abuse and cover-ups.

The new rules require all Catholic dioceses around the world to have a “public and accessible” system in place for reporting abuse by June 1, 2020.

The new norms cover internal Catholic Church procedure, not the issue of reporting abuse or cover-up to civil authorities, and represent a top-down imposition which must be followed by all dioceses.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Vatican’s top investigator of sex abuse, told CNN that the new rules add a layer of accountability for church leaders.

“First of all that leadership is not above the law,” Scicluna said, “and second that leadership needs to know, all of us in leadership we need to know, that if the people love the Church they’re going to denounce us when we do something wrong.”

Most dioceses in the US and Europe already have these systems, and the new norms will likely be more important in countries where there are not already well-established guidelines for reporting and handling sexual abuse.

Under the new rules, investigations into credible reports of sexual abuse must be completed within 90 days, and a no-retaliation clause protects the person reporting abuse from tit-for-tat claims or obligations for them to keep quiet.

Top Vatican official Cardinal Marc Ouellet told the Vatican’s in-house newspaper the mandatory reporting requirement was the most important element in the new rules.

Ouellet told Osservatore Romano that it’s significant that “besides the abuses on the minors and on the vulnerable adults that the harassment or violence of abuse of power also be reported.”

For decades the Catholic Church has been plagued by a series of sex abuse scandals in different countries around the world.

The new norms follow a global meeting on sex abuse at the Vatican in February and represent Pope Francis’ pledge to offer “concrete measures” to combat sexual abuse.

There has not previously been a uniform, universal system in the Catholic Church for reporting and investigating allegations of abuse.

The new rules were set out in an Apostolic letter, called a “Motu Proprio,” issued personally by Pope Francis, which calls for a three-year trial period for the initiative.

Although the norms represent an important clarification of procedures to be followed, they do not deal with the question of what happens to a priest or bishop who breaks these rules.

To date, no church official has been publicly sanctioned for cover-up, and a lack of accountability is something that survivors have been concerned about for years.

After Bishop Robert Finn, the formerly the head of a Kansas City diocese, was convicted of failing to report child abuse in 2012, advocates for abuse survivors were angered that the Vatican allowed him to quietly resign rather than publicly sanctioning him.

In the United States, a bishop and canon lawyer praised the Pope’s new move.

“I welcome the new motu proprio from Pope Francis with its clear procedures for the accountability of bishops and the protection of those who report abuse becoming the universal law of the Church,” tweeted Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky.

Kurt Martens, a professor of canon law of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, called the new rules an “immense and revolutionary gift to the entire Church.”

“The new law offers whistle blower protections for all victim reporters and requires that every diocese in the world have publicly accessible ways to report abuse,” Martens tweeted. “That is simply revolutionary.”