Aug 6, 2019

Institutional failings on display

A postcard from Theodore McCarrick to one of his victims. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

At the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America, headlines from Tuesday alone show the scope of challenges at organizations meant to safely shepherd children to adulthood.

Why it matters: The collective result of such failings is parents who won't trust others with their kids.

The headlines:

  • "Ex-cardinal’s letters to victims show signs of grooming" (AP)
  • "Boy Scouts failed to stop hundreds of previously unreported sexual predators, a lawsuit alleges" (WashPost)

On the Catholic Church, via the AP:

  • Disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sent postcards and letters from "Uncle Ted" to his victims as part of correspondence with their parents.
  • In an interview with AP, one victim said McCarrick’s status with the family created pressure on him to spend time with his abuser.
  • “If I didn’t go to see Theodore I was always going to be asked by my brothers and sisters or my dad, ‘Why didn’t you go see him?’”
  • Links to the letters, via AP

And on the Boy Scouts, via WashPost:

  • "The plaintiff in the case ... is alleging that he was assaulted 'hundreds' of times by a scout leader in Pennsylvania over the course of about four years in the 1970s."
  • The lawsuit alleges negligence by the "Boy Scouts, that the organization conspired to keep incidents of sexual assault a secret, and that the organization and other defendants engaged in 'reckless misconduct.'"
  • "For decades, the Boy Scouts organization has kept detailed files, known as the ineligible volunteer files, that documented pedophiles known to it."
  • "In the past decade, a large tranche of the documents became public through lawsuits and investigative reporting. But those records may be incomplete."

Go deeper:

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New York opens yearlong window for victims to file past abuse claims

An activist with sign denouncing the Catholic Church's alleged lack of response to the abuse of children by clergy. Photo: Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

More than 400 child sexual abuse lawsuits were filed in New York Wednesday, as the state started accepting cases previously barred by the statute of limitations, AP reports.

Why it matters: Institutions that have long cared for children, like the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, public school districts and hospitals, are girding for what could be a devastating financial blow. All such institutions were named in lawsuits filed Wednesday. A similar law, passed in California in 2002, resulted in Catholic dioceses there paying $1.2 billion in legal settlements.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 15, 2019

Cardinal George Pell's appeal against sexual abuse convictions fails

Cardinal George Pell arrives at Melbourne County Court on Feb. 27 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Cardinal George Pell, the former Vatican treasurer and most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of child sexual abuse, lost his appeal against the charges in a 2-1 ruling in Australia Wednesday.

The big picture: Pell was sentenced in March in Victoria's County Court in Melbourne to 6 years in prison for sexually abusing 2 choirboys in the late 1990s. His spokeswoman said in a statement Pell was considering appealing to the highest court, per AP.

What they're saying: The Vatican said in a statement it acknowledged the court’s decision. "[T]he Cardinal has always maintained his innocence," it said. It added it confirmed its commitment to pursue "members of the clergy who commit such abuse."

Go deeper: The stunning scale of the global Catholic sex abuse crisis

Keep ReadingArrowAug 21, 2019

Cleo Capital debuts scout fund for female investors

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Cleo Capital, led by entrepreneur Sarah Kunst, raised $3.5 million for a debut fund that will invest in female entrepreneurs who act as scouts.

Why it matters: "There's a lot of response about diversity — gender and race — and there's a lot of conferences and panels and dinners celebrating or highlighting women in tech, but there hasn't been a change in where the capital goes," Kunst tells Axios.

Go deeperArrowAug 19, 2019