Hawaii residents may be aware that the reputations of several prominent universities have been tarnished because they failed to take action to protect their students from known sexual predators. Several senior Penn State University administrators were forced to resign and ultimately faced criminal charges for impeding the investigation into the activities of Jerry Sandusky in 2011, and a similar scandal is now engulfing Ohio State University.
Revelations about the prevalence of sexual abuse in elite sports, especially those involving children, have shocked people in Hawaii and across the country. The sexual abuse scandals in gymnastics and other sports have led to calls for major changes in how these sports are managed and governed, especially as many vulnerable young people participate intensively in these activities. Congressional leaders issued an investigative report criticizing the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for their inadequate safeguards to protect athletes.
People in Hawaii and across the country are living with the aftereffects of sexual abuse that they suffered at the hands of priests. For many years, survivors have fought to gain recognition for their trauma and some measure of justice from the Catholic Church. In many cases, priests known to abuse children were simply transferred away from a particular area. Many survivors have called on church officials to release lists of names of clergy known as sexual abusers. In Rhode Island, the Diocese of Providence released a list of deacons, priests and clerics that it said had been the target of credible allegations of child sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse by priests is an issue that Hawaii residents and others have likely heard about recently. How to put a stop to such abuse is one of the key topics that will be discussed during the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention, or SBC. A variety of solutions will be considered, such as expelling churches that fail to report abuse or otherwise fail to take reports seriously. There may also be a committee formed that would be responsible for overseeing how claims are handled.
Pope Francis has taken it upon himself to issue new regulations for reporting and investigating allegations of sexual abuse by those within the Catholic Church in Hawaii and around the world. The edict came after a February conference on the subject that was attended by numerous bishops and cardinals throughout the world.
Much has been made of the sexual abuse scandal of Catholic priests. Stories of abuse going back decades have been published in the national news as well as in Hawaii. Over the past 50 years, there have been over 10,000 accusations of sexually predatory behavior involving several thousand priests.
Sexual abuse by church leaders has made headlines in Hawaii and in other states. Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention have vowed to make changes following investigative reports released by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News that revealed decades of sexual abuse by church leaders and volunteers. According to the reports, about 380 Southern Baptist preachers and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct since 1998. Many of these allegations have led to criminal convictions. Almost 100 of those who have been accused of sex crimes are currently incarcerated.
Hawaii residents may have heard about the story of the woman who gave birth while in a vegetative state in an Arizona nursing home. A 36-year-old man who worked as a nurse at the facility has been taken into custody. He was charged with sexual assault as well as vulnerable adult abuse. The man had worked at the Hacienda Health facility since 2011.
Hawaiians may have heard about the shocking allegations against the Catholic church in Pennsylvania that it covered up child sexual assaults that were committed by priests. Now, the Illinois Attorney General's Office reports that almost 700 Catholic priests in the state have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse over the past few decades. The number is far higher than what had been previously reported by the Catholic Church in its own investigation.
Hawaii residents monitoring the ongoing scandals about clergy sexually abusing people must continue to wait for the Roman Catholic Church to adopt reforms meant to hold abusers accountable. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had been on the verge of voting on new measures to address abusers and leaders who shielded them from consequences when the Vatican sent a last-minute order to hold off on making decisions.