A Boy Scouts of America national board member, James Turley, who is also global chairman and CEO of the accounting firm Ernst & Young, recently said he “will work from within to seek a change” to overturn the BSA policy that bans gay Scouts and leaders.
But is Turley working on his own initiative, or has the White House prodded him with perks and favors?
Is it a coincidence that Turley came out swinging against the BSA’s century-old policy to ban gays from leadership and that he has such close affiliations with the pro-gay Obama administration?
Is it a coincidence that Turley and his wife, Lynne, were just guests at a state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House on March 14?
Is it a coincidence that Turley was nominated to President Obama’s Export Council in 2010?
Is it a coincidence Turley was granted a seat on an investment advisory panel that met with none other than Vladimir Putin in Moscow in October?
Is it a coincidence that Turley has been a global cheerleader for Obama’s economic strategies and an economic ambassador of sorts to other mogul business leaders, as is clearly seen in his Bloomberg interview from the 2011 economic summit in Davos, Switzerland?
Is it a coincidence that Michael Mundaca, who was the assistant secretary of the treasury for tax policy from 2009 to 2011 and advised Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on all matters relating to taxation, recently joined the team of Ernst & Young?Is it a coincidence that, as the White House website explained, “Ernst & Young LLP will honor (the Obama administration’s Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s) youth entrepreneurs at regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award galas across the country, bringing important attention to the next generation of young entrepreneurs”?
Is it a coincidence that a couple of months ago, Obama reversed his position on marriage, extending the union to gay couples, and that Turley just came out of the closet in his position against the BSA’s position?
Is it a coincidence that in the same few weeks when Turley turned on the BSA with his pro-gay stance, Obama turned on the U.S. military and sent down a decree that the service branches must celebrate “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month”?
Is it a coincidence that Turley is in tight cahoots with the White House and that he is the only BSA national board member in 100 years to oppose its pro-traditional family stance?
Is it a coincidence that Turley just announced his resignation as CEO of Ernst & Young (effective June 2013) and that he now is offering the White House a parting pro-gay BSA gift in gratitude for all its presidential favors to him and Ernst & Young over the past few years?
These Turley-Obama cords, connections and correlations are only the tip of the iceberg.
Is it a coincidence, too, that on March 3, 2009, Obama became the honorary president of the BSA — a position proudly and publicly held and highlighted by all presidents since President William Howard Taft in 1910 — but that Obama’s induction was held behind closed doors in the Oval Office with seven or so Boy Scouts present and absolutely nothing noted in the White House daily briefing or any other official communication?
Is it a coincidence that Obama was unable to attend the 100th anniversary gala of the Boy Scouts of America in his own backyard (Washington, D.C.) Feb. 9, 2010, because he had to hold his first national news conference?
Is it a coincidence that as the honorary BSA president and a “constitutional lawyer,” Obama hasn’t had one minute in his schedule over the past years to defend or say anything about the series of lawsuits that have been levied against the BSA because of its First Amendment rights to stand against atheists, agnostics and homosexuals?
It is a coincidence that Obama will stand up repeatedly for the children of illegal immigrants (and grant them amnesty and taxpayer money) but that he will not once stand up for children in the BSA and the organization’s rights and freedoms to hold their own core values and beliefs?
For years, I’ve signed and sent out hundreds of Eagle Scout recognition letters. And I personally have known a host of Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts and BSA leaders. These individuals epitomize the best of America. Indeed, the BSA is as integral a part of American life and culture as hot dogs, baseball and Grandma’s apple pie.
Even President John F. Kennedy proudly proclaimed at the 50th anniversary celebration of the BSA: “For more than 50 years, Scouting has played an important part in the lives of the Boy Scouts of this nation. It has helped to mold character, to form friendships, to provide a worthwhile outlet for the natural energies of growing boys and to train these boys to become good citizens of the future. In a very real sense, the principles learned and practiced as Boy Scouts add to the strength of America and her ideals.”
Hasn’t America reached a new low in its history when its president (and the honorary president of the BSA!) distances himself and his administration from the Boy Scouts of America yet invites groups such as the Secular Student Alliance to participate in its faith and college missions?
I’ll ask once more: Is it a coincidence that BSA national board member James Turley came out swinging against the BSA’s century-old policy to ban gays from leadership and that he has such close affiliations with the pro-gay Obama administration?
How does the adage go?
If two people think so much alike, you can bet that one person isn’t thinking. Or maybe a more fitting adage here might be this: You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.
Building up the next generation is not only why I fully support the Boy Scouts of America but also why I started my own nonprofit organization, KickStartKids. My wife, Gena, and I consider it one of the greatest missions of our lives. You can learn more about the Boy Scouts of America by going to http://www.scouting.org and more about KickStartKids by going to http://www.KickStartKids.org.
Archive for June, 2012
A Boy Scouts of America national board member, James Turley, who is also global chairman and CEO of the accounting firm Ernst & Young, recently said he “will work from within to seek a change” to overturn the BSA policy that bans gay Scouts and leaders.
SPAIN – Gay marriage has been legal in Spain for nearly seven years — but only this month was it accepted in its official dictionary.
The Royal Spanish Academy, the official institution that regulates the Spanish language, added another definition for marriage to its online dictionary this month, defining it as “under some laws, the union of two people of the same sex.”
The added definition joined a slew of newly recognized Spanish words that reflect the changing world in Spain and beyond. Nearly 1,700 changes have been made to the dictionary in its fifth revision since 2001, undertaken in consultation with 22 language academies in Spain and abroad.
“Blogueros” are now officially recognized typing away on their blogs. The “Popemobile” is now known en español as the “papamovil.” And the mingling of English and Spanish? That’s “espanglish.”
Spaniards can get “friki” on the dance floor, “chatear” online, play “sudoku,” or “okupar” their cities in protest. They might identify themselves as “cienciologos” — what Californians know as Scientologists.
Perhaps most tellingly in this uneasy year for the euro, the academy has now christened “euroescepticismo” — a mouthful defined as “distrust for the political projects of the European Union.”
Don’t take it personally, Europhiles. The Academy “doesn’t promote words,” its secretary, Dario Villanueva, told El Pais when the changes were announced. “It records what people use.”
from The Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK – Amar’e Stoudemire’s use of a gay slur in Tweet over the weekend cost the Knicks’ superstar $50,000.
The NBA announced the fine Tuesday, citing Stoudemire for using “using offensive and derogatory language,’’ according to Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
Stoudemire released a statement Tuesday:
“I am a huge supporter of civil rights for all people,” Stoudemire said in a statement. “I am disappointed in myself for my statement to a fan. I should have known better and there is no excuse.”
Stoudemire became the latest NBA player to run afoul of the league’s zero-tolerance policy for players who use anti-gay derogatory words. In response to Knick fan Brian Ferrelli’s Tweet on Saturday that said he needed to come back “a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season,’’ Stoudemire Tweeted, “Fuck you! I don’t have to do anything fag.’’
Stoudemire apologized after his comment went viral, but that doesn’t make any difference with the NBA. What made his remark all the more outlandish is that he made it during Gay Pride weekend.
The tweet brought embarrassment to the league and the Knicks less than two months after Stoudemire severely lacerated his left hand as he punched a glass fire extinguisher door after the Knicks lost Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Heat in Miami. The self-inflicted wound forced him to miss the next game as the Knicks lost in five to the eventual-champion Heat.
Stoudemire’s penalty matched the NBA’s punishment when the Bulls’ Joakim Noah yelled the same gay slur that Stoudemire used at a fan in Miami during a playoff game last season. Noah was also cited for using “a derogatory and offensive term.’’
But Stoudemire and Noah’s penalty was half of what the league hit Kobe Bryant with a month earlier. In addition to being fined $100,000, the Lakers’ superstar also received a strong public rebuke from David Stern for using the same derogatory word Noah used, against a league referee, Bennie Adams.
Although Bryant said his comment was a result of venting his anger at Adams and should not have been taken literally, the league still dropped the hammer since one of it’s referee was the target.
The NBA has been aggressively trying to stop the use of anti-gay language and trash talking among its players. To draw attention to its mission, the league has been airing public service ad campaigns for the past several seasons with the message, “think before you speak.’’
from The New York Daily News
Getting an AIDS test at the drugstore could become as common as a flu shot or blood pressure check, if a new pilot program takes off.
The $1.2 million program will offer the free rapid HIV tests at pharmacies and in-store clinics in 24 cities and rural communities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.
“We believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and reduce the stigma associated with HIV,” Dr. Kevin Fenton, who oversees the agency’s HIV prevention programs, said in a statement.
The tests are already available at seven places, including Washington, D.C., Oakland, Calif., and an Indian health service clinic in Montana. The CDC will soon pick 17 more locations.
The HIV test is a swab inside the mouth; it takes about 20 minutes for a preliminary result. The test maker says it’s correct 99 percent of the time. If the test is positive for the AIDS virus, pharmacy employees will refer customers to a local health department or other health care providers for a lab blood test to confirm the results, counseling and treatment. The workers are expected to deliver the news face-to-face and give customers privacy, the CDC said.
An estimated 1.1 million Americans are infected with HIV, but as many as 20 percent of them don’t know they carry the virus, according to the CDC. It can take a decade or more for an infection to cause symptoms and illness.
Since 2006, the CDC has recommended that all Americans ages 13 to 64 get tested at least once, not just those considered at highest risk: gay men and intravenous drug users. But fewer than half of adults younger than 65 have been tested, according to the agency’s most recent statistics.
It’s important to know about infection not only for treating the condition but also to take steps to prevent spreading it to others. An HIV diagnosis used to be a death sentence, but medications now allow those infected to live longer and healthier lives.
On special occasions, health organizations have sent workers to some drugstores to offer HIV testing. This week, Walgreens – the nation’s largest chain of pharmacies – is teaming with health departments and AIDS groups to offer free tests in 20 cities.
But in that program, health professionals conduct the tests and deliver the news. The CDC program aims to train pharmacy staff to test and deliver the results themselves.
“I’m excited. It’s such a new and novel thing for us,” said Sarah Freedman, who manages a Walgreens in Washington, D.C., that is participating in the pilot program.
At her pharmacy, prominent signs advertise the test, which is then done in a private room. The pharmacy has also taken steps to let a customer discreetly request the test, putting out stacks of special test request cards – they look like business cards – at George Washington University and nearby businesses. Anyone seeking a test can simply hand the card to the clerk, she said.
Only three or four customers have gone through with a test in the first few weeks.
“We get a lot of questions,” she said. “Usually they get the information and they go and sit on it and think about it.”
The drugstores are expected to keep the test confidential. Pharmacy workers are to refer customers with positive tests to counseling and other services.
When the project ends next summer, CDC officials will analyze what worked well and what didn’t, said Paul Weidle, the epidemiologist who is heading up the project.
The program carries both promise and potential pitfalls, said Julie Davids, a longtime advocate who now works for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
More testing is a plus, she said. And even if they don’t get a free test, signs in the drugstores may prompt people to get tested at a doctor’s office or clinic where they feel more comfortable, said Davids.
But Davids said pharmacies more used to handling cholesterol screenings might have difficulty responding to patients who learn in a drugstore they’re HIV-positive.
“A person may freeze up and fall apart later,” or get emotional on the spot and even talk about suicide, she said.
In addition to Freedman’s store, a second Walgreens in Washington is offering the test, as well as branches in Chicago and Lithonia, Ga. The other sites are East Pines Pharmacy in Riverdale, Md., Mike’s Pharmacy in Oakland, Calif. and a federal Indian Health Service location in Billings, Mont.
Each location will get enough tests to check 200 to 300 people. Made by OraSure Technologies Inc., the $17.50 test is the only government-approved rapid HIV test that uses saliva. Other rapid tests on the market analyze a finger-prick blood sample. The tests are used routinely in doctor’s offices, hospitals and clinics.
The OraSure swab test’s stick-like testing device is used to wipe the inside of the mouth, then it is put in a solution, said company spokesman Ron Ticho. If two lines appear, that indicates a positive test.
The company is seeking government approval to sell it over-the-counter for home testing. A decision is expected later this year.
The test is sold in about 40 countries, including Mexico, Italy, South Korea and South Africa. Ticho said he is not aware of another country where pharmacies routinely offer the testing.
from The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA — Msgr. William J. Lynn, a former cardinal’s aide, was found guilty Friday of endangering children, becoming the first senior official of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision.
The 12-member jury acquitted Monsignor Lynn, of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, of conspiracy and a second count of endangerment after a trial that prosecutors and victims rights groups called a turning point in the abuse scandals that have shaken the Catholic Church.
The single guilty verdict was widely seen as a victory for the district attorney’s office, which has been investigating the archdiocese aggressively since 2002, and it was hailed by victim advocates who have argued for years that senior church officials should be held accountable for concealing evidence and transferring predatory priests to unwary parishes.
Monsignor Lynn, 61, sat impassively as the jury foreman announced the verdicts, but relatives behind him were in tears. Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of the Common Pleas Court revoked his bail, and the monsignor stood up, removed his clerical jacket and was led by sheriff’s deputies to a holding cell area. His conviction, on the 13th day of deliberations, could result in a prison term of three-and-a-half to seven years; sentencing is set for Aug. 13.
The trial sent a sobering message to church officials and others overseeing children around the country. “I think that bishops and chancery officials understand that they will no longer get a pass on these types of crimes,” said Nicholas P. Cafardi, a professor of law at Duquesne University, a canon lawyer and frequent church adviser. “Priests who sexually abuse youngsters and the chancery officials who enabled it can expect criminal prosecution.”
The three-month trial cast a harsh light on the top leadership of the archdiocese, especially Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, whom Monsignor Lynn advised. Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1988 to 2003, he died in January, but his name was invoked frequently during the testimony. Monsignor Lynn’s own lawyer told the jury that “in this trial, you have seen the dark side of the church.”
The revelations of sexual abuse and seeming official indifference have tormented an archdiocese that was long known for imperious leaders and an insular camaraderie among its priests. It has also been costly: the financially ailing archdiocese said recently that legal fees and internal investigations spurred by the abuse cases had cost $11.6 million since early 2011.
Cardinal Bevilacqua and his aides, the prosecutors argued, sought to avoid scandal and costly lawsuits at almost any price, putting the reputation of the archdiocese ahead of protecting vulnerable children.
The archdiocese issued a conciliatory statement on Friday, saying that “the lessons of the last year have made our church a more vigilant guardian of our people’s safety,” and offering a “heartfelt apology to all victims of clerical abuse.”
Monsignor Lynn served as secretary for clergy for the 1.5 million-member archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, recommending priest assignments and investigating abuse complaints. Prosecutors presented a flood of evidence that Monsignor Lynn had not acted strongly to keep suspected molesters away from children, let alone to report them to law enforcement.
But the length of the jurors’ deliberations and the mixed verdict showed the difficulty of placing criminal blame on one church official. The jurors also wrestled with the definition of conspiracy, and with the question of criminal intent on the part of Monsignor Lynn, who presented himself as an affable man who tried his best. Nevertheless, the Philadelphia district attorney, R. Seth Williams, said Friday that the verdict had sent a lesson to the nation. “This monumental case will change the way business is done in many institutions,” he said.
Monsignor Lynn’s lawyers are expected to appeal.
Victims advocates said that they hoped the conviction would embolden prosecutors in other states to investigate senior church officials, and predicted that it would lead to more victim lawsuits.
“The guilty verdict sends a strong and clear message that shielding and enabling predator priests is a heinous crime that threatens families, communities and children, and must be punished as such,” said Barbara Dorris, of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
But such proceedings may often be limited, legal experts said, by statutes of limitations.
he prosecutors in this case faced just such a hurdle. A second priest, the Rev. James J. Brennan, 49, was tried with Monsignor Lynn, charged with attempted rape and endangerment of a youth, but the defense challenged the accuser’s credibility.
To convict, the jury had to find that Father Brennan had not only abused that boy but continued to put children at risk over subsequent years of ministry. The prosecutors were unable to find later victims. The jury said it was deadlocked on the two counts against Father Brennan, and Judge Sarmina declared a mistrial on those charges.
Monsignor Lynn’s defense hinged on his claim that he had tried to curb abuses, but that only the cardinal had the authority to remove priests. One crucial piece of evidence was a list drawn up in 1994 by Monsignor Lynn of some three dozen active priests who had been credibly accused of sex abuses. Before the trial began, a lawyer for the archdiocese turned over to the court a frayed folder including a copy of the list, saying it had been found in a locked safe.
Prosecutors called it a smoking gun. One of those named in 1994 as “guilty of sexual misconduct with minors” was the former Rev. Edward V. Avery, whose continued tenure in ministry was at the heart of Monsignor Lynn’s trial. Mr. Avery, now 69, spent six months in a church psychiatric center in 1993 after an abuse episode, and doctors said he should be kept away from children. But Monsignor Lynn allowed him to live in a parish rectory.
In 1999, Mr. Avery undressed with a 10-year-old altar boy, told him that God loved him and had him engage in oral sex. Mr. Avery pleaded guilty to the assault just before the trial began and was sentenced to prison.
In 2002, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a national “zero-tolerance” policy, pledging to remove any priest facing credible accusations. But serious lapses have occurred, including in Philadelphia, where a grand jury in 2011 asserted that as many as 37 priests with past accusations remained active in ministry.
Last summer Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, then the head of the Denver Archdiocese, took over in Philadelphia, and in May he announced the removal of five priests named in the grand jury report. Three others were cleared and investigations continue into other cases.
The bishop of the diocese in Kansas City, Mo., Robert W. Finn, is awaiting trial on misdemeanor charges of violating the state’s mandatory reporting requirement by allegedly waiting six months to tell the police that a priest had taken lewd photographs of girls.
from The New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO – Police have arrested veteran gay rights advocate Larry Brinkin in connection with felony possession of child pornography.
Brinkin, 66, who worked for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission before his retirement in 2010, was taken into custody Friday night. He spent the night in jail before he was released on bail, according to a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department.
The district attorney’s office will decide Tuesday whether to file charges. “We’re still reviewing the case,” district attorney’s spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman said Monday.
Police say that Brinkin had pornographic images, some that appear to show children as young as 1 and 2 or 3 years old being sodomized and performing oral sex on adult men, in e-mail attachments linked to his account, according to a search warrant served by San Francisco police.
Representatives of America Online contacted authorities after coming across e-mail attachments from one of its subscriber’s accounts containing what they believed to be child pornography.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which was assigned to the case, traced the IP address associated with the account, Zack3737@aol.com, to Brinkin, a San Francisco resident, according to court records. Los Angeles police forwarded the case to San Francisco police.
San Francisco investigators say the account was registered to Brinkin, and that he paid for the e-mail service with his credit card.
Police provided two examples of e-mail messages from last year in which Zack3737 provides disturbing descriptions of the exploitive sexual acts.
The e-mail account also is linked to Yahoo discussion groups on sexual exploitation of young boys and girls, according to the search warrant.
Executing a search warrant Friday, police seized two laptops, a desk top computer, videos, a floppy disk and thumb drives from Brinkin’s Waller Street home.
During his 22-year tenure at the Human Rights Commission, Brinkin was best known for championing equal rights for gays and lesbians. He helped craft San Francisco’s groundbreaking Equal Benefits Ordinance, which became a national model for workplace equality.
Upon Brinkin’s retirement, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution declaring the week of Feb. 1, 2010, “Larry Brinkin Week” in San Francisco, saying his “dedication to advance the civil rights of all people has never stopped.”
Former Supervisor Bevan Dufty who authored the board resolution, said Monday that he was shocked to learn of Brinkin’s arrest. “I have admired and respected his work for the LGBT community,” Dufty said. “I respect and am confident that there will be due process.”
Brinkin did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
from The San Francisco Chronicle
Archbishop Desmond Tutu would like to have a word with Jacksonville, Florida about gays and lesbians.
The Jacksonville City Council is considering an ordinance that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, and some of the debate has been tough.
The Florida Baptist Witness reported that a May 22 City Council meeting went past midnight so that roughly 100 attendees could speak for and against the bill, known as Bill 2012-296. Southern Baptist pastors and evangelical leaders argued against the measure on “moral grounds” — “alleging the new ordinance could violate religious liberty, create new protected classes of individuals, and expose the city to unnecessary litigation.”
The Rev. R.L. Gundy, vice president of Jacksonville’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, told the City Council that he was strongly opposed as well.
“I told them that this was wrong on the first day they were considering it,” Gundy told the Florida Times-Union. “I told them they have no idea how much harm this would do and they don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.”
So it might have been a surprise when the City Council received an emailed letter of support from Tutu — the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, a Nobel Peace prize winner, and a key part of apartheid’s end in South Africa.
“Having had the opportunity to live in Jacksonville for several months, I came to love your fine city,” Tutu wrote in the letter, which was posted to Facebook by the Jacksonville Committee for Equality. Tutu was a scholar-in-residence at the University of North Florida for one semester in 2003.
Tutu said he recently heard about the city’s struggle over adding “sexual orientation” to its human rights ordinances.
“Knowing your city, I was shocked that these words were not already in this legislation. But knowing that they are not, I would urge you to act expeditiously in making sure that your city is open to all,” he wrote.
The South African civil rights leader, who was the first black Anglican Archbishop of both Johannesburg and Cape Town, has previously injected his opinion into American politics. During the presidential race in 2004, for example, he urged voters “to consider your vote not in terms of whether the individual is a Democrat or a Republican but whether he can lead your nation with wisdom and return your country to be a beacon of freedom and peace for the world.”
At the time, he also criticized the Iraq war and offered sympathies for Florida hurricane victims.
In contrast to Tutu’s support, some of the ordinance’s opposition comes from black pastors who are cautious about identifying the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s struggles as civil-rights issues.
“To say it’s the same as black folk, well, to me, it’s not the same,” pastor Gary L. Williams of First Baptist Church of Mandarin told the Florida Times-Union. “It’s being made to sound the same, but it isn’t. I was born black. This skin isn’t coming off. I had no choice.”
Tutu’s letter of support comes from a different perspective.
“After dismantling apartheid, when we sat down to write our Constitution, we quite deliberately ensured that gays, lesbians and bisexuals were included in South Africa’s Constitution,” Tutu wrote. “Having ourselves suffered terribly, we did not want to inflict discrimination on any group that lived within our borders and we explicitly stated this for the world to know that we had learned the lessons taught by our unforgettable and regrettable history.”
He added, in closing, “I look forward to hearing positively from your good self.”
The Florida Times-Union reports that the bill may not see a vote until late July.
from The Los Angeles Times
NORFOLK, VIRGINIA – A Navy hazing case that led to the firing of the top enlisted officer aboard a nuclear submarine was sparked by gay jokes about a sailor who said another man tried to rape him while in a foreign port, according to an investigative report obtained by The Associated Press.
The report sheds light on a hazing case that led to the reassignment of Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Charles Berry, who had been serving as “chief of the boat” on the Kings Bay, Ga.-based USS Florida.
The Navy announced March 30 that Capt. Stephen Gillespie had relieved Berry as chief, due to dereliction of duty. Aboard a submarine, the chief of the boat advises the commanding officer of issues involving enlisted sailors.
The Navy’s announcement said the case involved allegations of hazing aboard Florida, but gave no details. It said Berry was not involved in the hazing, but had knowledge of it and failed to inform his chain of command.
Lt. Brian Wierzbicki, spokesman for Kings Bay’s submarine force, said Saturday he did not immediately have a contact number for Berry. The AP left a voice mail message at a phone listed for a Charles Berry in St. Marys, Ga.
An investigative report obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act says the hazing was directed at a sailor who had reported that another man pulled a knife and tried to rape him while in the port at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
All names in the documents provided to The Associated Press were redacted.
The report says the sailor was generally well-liked on the ship and endured the torment for months because he thought it would eventually stop. Among other things, he was called a derogatory term for a gay person and referred to as “Brokeback,” a reference to the gay-themed movie “Brokeback Mountain.” In addition, someone posted a drawing of a stick figure being sexually assaulted.
Before a group training session on the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the sailor was subjected to comments about coming out of the closet and asked when other sailors could meet his boyfriend and whether his boyfriend was Filipino, the nationality of the person he said tried to rape him.
The report says the sailors who made the derogatory comments didn’t realize their shipmate had a knife pulled on him or the psychological toll the comments were taking on him. After eight months of harassment in 2011, the sailor eventually wrote a note saying he had suicidal thoughts and that he could snap and hurt himself or someone else.
The report says there was a culture of hazing and sexual harassment aboard the submarine and there was inadequate knowledge about the Navy’s policies against it to stop the behavior before the sailor reached that point.
More counseling and training was ordered at all levels to avoid similar problems in the future.
“The Navy’s standards for personal behavior are very high and it demands that sailors are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. When individuals fall short of this standard of professionalism and personal behavior, the Navy will take swift and decisive action to stop undesirable behavior, protect victims and hold accountable those who do not meet its standards,” the Navy said in the March 30 statement.
Berry was temporarily assigned to another post in Kings Bay. Several other junior sailors who participated in the harassment also faced disciplinary action, including loss of rank and pay.
Military suicides in response to hazing have recently gotten the attention of Congress. The nephew of Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., killed himself after enduring hazing by his fellow Marines in Afghanistan. A congressional hearing on military hazing was held earlier this year, and Chu is pushing a proposal to better track and define hazing in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“We’re talking about acts that can result in death, but if not death, then clearly trauma. These are folks that can have post-traumatic stress syndrome because of the acts of others,” Chu said. “These are peers administering justice to peers. What happened to the hierarchy that is supposed to be occurring in the military?”
The hazing episode is among a series of embarrassing incidents for the Navy’s submarine force that were addressed in a blog post this week by Vice Adm. John Richardson focusing on the importance of character.
“A violation by one seems to be a violation against all,” wrote Richardson, the Norfolk-based commander of the Navy’s submarine force.
The Navy recently started a training course to discuss real-life examples of bad personal decisions that other officers have made in the past.
The Navy also issued new guidelines earlier this month to ensure that future leaders are all held to the same leadership standards, regardless of their command, during job screening.
from The Associated Press
CANADA – Luka Rocco Magnotta, accused of killing and dismembering Chinese student Jun Lin, has asked a Quebec court for a trial by judge and jury, but didn’t request a psychiatric assessment, as some expected he would.
Magnotta appeared in person at the Montreal courthouse on Thursday, with only seven journalists allowed inside the room for his brief hearing.
The accused has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and four other charges in Lin’s grisly killing. The 33-year-old permanent Canadian resident died May 24 or 25.
Magnotta is accused of mailing Lin’s body parts to different places including the Ottawa offices of the Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada and two Vancouver schools. He is also accused of posting a video of the events on the internet.
Luc Leclair, a prominent Toronto lawyer, has joined Magnotta’s defence team, and requested his client be transferred from detention to attend the Thursday hearing.
Wearing a short-sleeved plaid shirt and blue jeans, Magnotta, 29, stood inside the glass-panelled prisoner’s box flanked by two guards as his lawyers spoke to the judge.
His lawyers requested a trial by judge and jury, while the prosecution asked for a publication ban on details of Magnotta’s prescription medication.
Leclair told the judge he’s concerned about Magnotta physical and mental well-being, and that his client needs access to his medication.
The charges he faces also include defiling Lin’s corpse, harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and members of Parliament, and publishing and mailing obscene material.
The defence didn’t ask for a psychological assessment, which would have evaluated whether Magnotta is apt to be tried.
Magnotta’s original defence lawyer, Pierre Panaccio, said earlier this week he’d consider the option of a psychiatric evaluation request.
Magnotta ‘trusts’ Canadian legal system
After the court appearance, Leclair spoke to reporters outside the Montreal courthouse.
He thanked Berlin authorities for taking “exemplary care” of his client, and explained Magnotta waived his rights to contest extradition “because he wanted to come back to Montreal.”
“He trusts the Canadian judicial system,” Leclair said.
Magnotta’s 10-day preliminary hearing, scheduled for March 2013, will be preceded by a pre-trial hearing in January.
A representative for the Crown prosecution office said a March 2013 preliminary hearing is relatively soon, given courthouse constraints and judge availability.
The Crown and defence previously agreed to set a date for his preliminary hearing, in order to avoid another court event.
Victim’s family travelled to Montreal
Magnotta was extradited from Germany to Montreal aboard a Canadian Forces aircraft on June 18, surrounded by heavy security detail that included local police investigators, RCMP officers and Canadian Border Services authorities.
His extradition came two weeks after his June 4 arrest in Berlin at a cybercafé, where an employee recognized him from Interpol-issued photos.
The international police agency orchestrated a global manhunt for Magnotta after Montreal police issued a warrant for his arrest.
Chinese national Jun Lin was a student at Concordia University.Chinese national Jun Lin was a student at Concordia University. (CBC)
Magnotta is currently being held at a detention centre in Rivières-des-Prairies, a borough on the eastern edge of the island of Montreal.
Jun Lin’s torso was found in a suitcase outside an apartment in Montreal on May 29, the same day his hand and foot were mailed to the Ottawa offices of the federal Conservative and Liberal parties.
His other hand and foot were discovered by staff opening packages at two schools in Vancouver several days later.
Lin’s family has travelled to Montreal from China to retrieve his remains. Lin’s head has yet to be found nearly a month after his death.
The victim’s family have kept a low profile since their arrival in Canada, and have expressed to police their great hope of retrieving Lin’s missing head.
In an open letter published earlier this month, they called their adult son the family’s “pride and joy.”
An increasing number of U.S. hospitals have adopted policies that explicitly ban discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual patients, according to a report to be released Tuesday.
An annual survey by the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, found that over 95 percent of more than 400 hospitals and clinics included sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies and nearly 80 percent included gender identity in those policies. Additionally, more than 65 percent of inpatient hospitals had explicit policies granting equal visitation rights to same-sex couples and same-sex parents.
The results of the voluntary survey, taken last year, reflect the increased prominence of nondiscriminatory care, the advocacy group said. In 2010, President Obama mandated that nearly all hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians, and new rules were subsequently issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Last year, the Joint Commission, the largest accrediting organization for U.S. hospitals, also issued new standards specifically prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“I commend the LGBT and healthcare communities for the progress made and I am proud to be part of an administration that has a historic record of accomplishment for the LGBT community,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “We will continue to take action to ensure that LGBT Americans get equal treatment in healthcare settings and that all patients are treated with the dignity they deserve.”
The report is scheduled to be presented at Howard University Hospital in Washington.
The advocacy group said there was a 40 percent increase in the number of health-care facilities participating in the voluntary survey, from 87 respondents in 2010 to 122 respondents, representing 407 hospitals and clinics, in 2011. Although that represents a fraction of the more than 4,000 hospitals in the United States, the issue is gaining prominence, the group said.
“Just a few short years ago, the healthcare industry wasn’t having conversations about LGBT healthcare equality,” Chad Griffin, president of the organization, said in a statement.
Among the facilities participating for the first time were a Veterans Administration hospital in Madison, Wis., and the Bon Secours Health System, which operates 14 hospitals in Maryland, Virginia and three other states.
Locally, Washington Adventist and Shady Grove Adventist hospitals also took part for the first time. This year, Washington Adventist apologized after a Takoma Park woman filed complaints with federal health authorities and the main hospital accreditation commission after staff at the hospital denied her permission to visit her same-sex partner, who was taken there after suffering a seizure.
The two Maryland hospitals and Howard University Hospital were among 234 facilities that received perfect ratings for protecting patients and employees from discrimination, ensuring equal visitation access for same-sex couples and same-sex parents, and providing specific staff training for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender care.
The report revealed other gaps. For example, 34 percent of facilities that ask about marital status at admitting or registration do not offer a “partner” or “significant other” option. The facilities that took part in the survey are located in 32 states and the District. In 18 states, mostly in the Midwest, no health-care facilities participated.
Not all hospitals within a network chose to participate. In the Washington region, MedStar Georgetown Hospital earned a perfect rating, but MedStar Washington Hospital Center did not participate. Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore also earned a perfect score, as did Sibley Memorial Hospital, part of the Hopkins health system. But Suburban Hospital, in Bethesda, which is also part of that system, did not participate.
from The Washington Post
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Mary Cheney, the openly gay daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has married her longtime partner, Heather Poe.
The couple, who live together in Virginia and have two children, were married Friday morning in Washington, according to the Daily Caller, a news site co-founded by Neil Patel, a former advisor to the former vice president.
“Mary and Heather have been in a committed relationship for many years, and we are delighted that they were able to take advantage of the opportunity to have that relationship recognized,” the Cheney family said in a statement. “Mary and Heather and their children are very important and much loved members of our family and we wish them every happiness.”
The Cheneys are perhaps the most prominent Republican family to embrace same-sex marriage.
Dick Cheney has said he has long believed that the question of legalizing same-sex marriage should be left to states, but he also supported an effort by the George W. Bush administration for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.
“He sets the policy for this administration, and I support the president,” Cheney said during a 2004 vice presidential debate.
Since leaving office, Cheney has said he now opposes a federal ban.
“I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish,” he said in 2009. “Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support.”
from The Los Angeles Times
Dick Cheney Doesn’t Have A Problem With Gay Marriage
PENNSYLVANIA – Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted Friday of sexually abusing young boys, completing the downfall of a onetime local hero in a scandal that shook a proud Pennsylvania community, a prominent American university and the world of major college football.
A jury in Centre County Court convicted Sandusky, 68, of sexually assaulting 10 boys, all of them children from disadvantaged homes whom Sandusky, using his access to the university’s vaunted football program, had befriended and then repeatedly violated. The jury, seven women and five men, more than half with ties to Penn State, returned a verdict on the second day of deliberation.
Sandusky stood stoically as the jury foreman read off the verdicts on the 48 counts against him. The foreman said guilty 45 times. Many of the charges, which include rape and sodomy, carry significant prison terms, and it seems likely that Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Sandusky was taken into custody after the verdicts were read.
The case against Sandusky, even before his trial, had exacted an enormous toll. Joe Paterno, the university’s famed head coach who had been alerted to at least one of Sandusky’s attacks on a boy, was fired, went into a kind of exile and was dead of cancer within months. The university’s longtime president, Graham B. Spanier, was dismissed as well, and Penn State officials, alumni and students were forced to confront the possibility that the interests of big-time college sports had trumped concern for the welfare of vulnerable children.
Sandusky, who had been Paterno’s longtime defensive coordinator, had also founded a charity, the Second Mile, to work with troubled youths. In a trial that lasted two weeks, prosecutors asserted that Sandusky had used the charity as his private hunting ground, scouting for potential victims. He gave them gifts and money, invited them to his home, took them to Penn State football games, showered with them at the university’s football building and slept with them in hotel rooms on the road.
Eight men testified during the trial, offering graphic accounts of repeated assaults by Sandusky — on the Penn State campus, in hotel rooms and in the basement of Sandusky’s home. It was painful testimony, the men telling their horrifying stories in public for the first time. Some wept. Others said, with anger and relief both, that they wanted to move on at last.
In one of the case’s final startling chapters, this coming after the case had gone to the jury on Thursday, another man came forward to assert that Sandusky had molested him: it was one of Sandusky’s adopted children, Matt, who said he had offered to testify at the trial.
Sandusky’s lawyer, Joseph Amendola, said outside the courthouse that he and Sandusky’s wife “accepted the verdict,” but complained that he had been rushed in preparing a defense. “There are a lot of people sitting in jail who are innocent,” he said, prompting hooting and booing from the crowd that had gathered after the verdict.
The verdict against Sandusky will not bring an end to Penn State’s problems or reckonings. Lawsuits loom. At least two formal investigations, including one by a former director of the F.B.I. at the behest of the university’s board of trustees, are still under way. And two senior university officials — the athletic director and the administrator in charge of the campus police — face criminal charges that they failed to act when informed that Sandusky had assaulted a 10-year-old boy in a university shower in 2001 and then lied about that knowledge before a grand jury.
The university, in a statement issued after the verdict, said: “The legal process has spoken, and we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky, but we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path to healing.”
Linda Kelly, the Pennsylvania attorney general, said, “I think the case has been very significant with the problems associated with child sex abuse cases, and it’s raised a lot of awareness.”
Sandusky’s arrest, early on a Saturday last November, registered with seismic force in this insular corner of Pennsylvania known as Happy Valley. He was regarded as a local pillar, a former Penn State standout who had played for Paterno and then spent 30 years on the sideline with him building the Nittany Lions defense into “Linebacker U” and the football team into a national power.
People expressed shock that a man they knew as a committed and selfless coach, a prominent fund-raiser for charity and a gregarious father figure to scores of aspiring football players and ordinary children alike could be capable of such crimes. Many, at least initially, refused to believe it.
But things got worse for Penn State, as charges and revelations were laid out by the state attorney general’s office: Sandusky had been investigated by the campus police for possible sexual crimes against children as far back as 1998; in 2001, a graduate assistant in the football program, who was a former Penn State quarterback, had told Paterno and then other university officials that he had seen Sandusky sexually attacking a 10-year-old boy in the football building showers.
No one — not Paterno, not the graduate assistant, not the other university officials — ever reported the attack to the police. Sandusky, who had retired two years before but retained an office and privileges on campus, was merely told not to take boys onto campus any longer.
The university erupted with upset. Paterno’s reputation was badly tainted. The outsize importance of college sports was debated anew, but this time with a wrenching kind of soul-searching.
Sandusky’s own behavior in that first week only deepened the sense of bewilderment. He gave a strange, almost incriminating interview to Bob Costas of NBC. He seemed not to grasp the severity of the accusations. Amendola defiantly said his client was innocent, and began what would become a prolonged assault on the credibility of Sandusky’s accusers.
Soon, though, more accusers came forward. Sandusky’s house, where he lived for decades, raised a family and apparently carried out many of his attacks, was vandalized.
And Sandusky became a subject of national scorn and curiosity.
At one point in his interview with NBC, Sandusky was asked if he was sexually attracted to boys.
“Sexually attracted, you know, I, I enjoy young people,” Sandusky answered. “I, I love to be around them. No, I’m not sexually attracted to young boys.”
Joseph E. McGettigan III, the lead prosecutor, cited that reply in his closing argument on Thursday as evidence that Sandusky was a guilty man.
“I would think that the automatic response, if someone asks you if you’re a criminal, a pedophile, a child molester or anything along those lines would be: ‘You’re crazy. No. Are you nuts?’ ” McGettigan said.
In the end, Sandusky chose not to take the stand. Amendola said he made that decision after learning from prosectors that they would have called his son Matt to testify as a rebuttal witness if Sandusky testified. That, Amendola said Friday night, would have devastated Sandusky.
The repair work for Penn State, the university made clear Friday night, is far from complete.
The university said it planned to invite Sandusky’s victims to work with its officials to settle legal claims, stating, “The purpose of the program is simple — the university wants to provide a forum where the university can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims’ concerns and compensate them for claims relating to the university.”
from The New York Times
Jerry Sandusky Charity To Dissolve
Joe Paterno’s Death Draws Mixed Reactions
Sandusky Lawyer Advertises Gay Sex Line
Tyler Perry Pens Open Letter To 11-Year-Old Sandusky Victim
“I Shouldn’t Have Showered With Those Kids”
Many of the U.S.’s most gay-friendly neighborhoods are in some of the country’s most expensive real estate markets. But there are also plenty of more affordable options for same-sex couples, according to real estate website Trulia.
Trulia identified zip codes with the heaviest concentrations of gay men and women by examining Census Bureau statistics. It then determined a neighborhood’s affordability by looking at the median price per square foot of homes listed in that particular zip code over the past year.
Even though the neighborhoods with the densest population of same-sex couples were among the nation’s most expensive, including San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood for male couples and Provincetown/Cape Cod, Mass. for same-sex female couples, Trulia found gay communities in affordable areas as well.
In the Castro district, for example, more than 14% of the households are made up of same-sex male couples — the highest rate in the nation, according to Census data. It’s also the city’s highest-priced gay neighborhood at $671 a square foot. But eight miles south is Brisbane, another gay-friendly enclave that costs half that amount at $311 a square foot.
In New York, Chelsea is the top choice for many gay men. There, the median home price has hit nearly $1,200 per square foot, according to Trulia. That means a modest-sized two-bedroom condo can cost a gay couple more than $1.2 million, an amount that is out of the reach for many home buyers.
A short train ride away, however, is downtown Jersey City, N.J., where many same-sex couples live, according to Trulia. The median price per square foot there is $452, almost one-third of the prices in Manhattan.
For lesbian couples in the New York metro area, the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope, where the average home costs $664 per square foot, is the neighborhood of choice. While significantly cheaper than the Manhattan neighborhoods where many same-sex male couples reside, the prices are still steep. But Nyack, a bucolic Hudson River town about 25 miles north of Midtown Manhattan that is home to a fair number of same-sex couples, is much more affordable at $266 a square foot.
Trulia noted that the Census data it used to identify neighborhoods with large concentrations of same-sex couples required some “corrections and adjustments” since Census doesn’t ask respondents about sexual orientation. In total, the Census reported around 646,000 same-sex households in the U.S. in 2010, just 0.6% of the country’s 117 million households, Trulia said.
Below is a list of the neighborhoods with the highest percentage of gay residents and the median price per square foot to buy a home there. In addition, Trulia provided the most affordable, gay-friendly alternatives for both same-sex male couples and female couples.
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex male couples: Castro, San Francisco ($671 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Brisbane, Calif. ($311 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex female couples: Castro, San Francisco ($671 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Redwood Heights, Oakland ($230 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex male couples: Chelsea, New York ($1,199 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Jersey City, N.J. ($452 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex female couples: Park Slope, Brooklyn ($664 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Nyack, New York ($266 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex male couples: West Hollywood, Los Angeles ($481 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Signal Hill, Long Beach ($200 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex female couples: West Hollywood, Los Angeles ($481 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Eastside, Long Beach ($207 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex male couples: Logan Circle, Washington D.C. ($525 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Columbia Heights, Washington D.C. ($333 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex female couples: Alexandria, Va, ($405 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Hyattsville, Md. ($101 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood for same-sex male couples: South End, Boston ($608 per square foot). Most affordable alternative: Dorchester, Mass. ($209 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex female couples: Jamaica Plain, Boston ($304 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Roslindale, Mass. ($227 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex male couples: Wilton Manors, Fla. ($206 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Oakland Park, Fla. ($115 per square foot).
Most popular neighborhood among same-sex female couples: Wilton Manors, Fla. ($206 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Lake Worth, Fla. ($66 per square foot).
Most popular among same-sex male and female couples: Edgewater, Chicago ($131 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Rogers Park, Chicago ($95 per square foot).
Most popular among same-sex male couples: Oak Lawn, Dallas ($160 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Northwest Dallas ($92 per square foot).
Most popular among same-sex female couples: Lake Highlands, Dallas ($128 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Also Lake Highlands.
Most popular among same-sex male couples: Morningside/Lenox Park/Piedmont Heights, Atlanta ($129 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Grant Park, Atlanta ($104 per square foot).
Most popular among same-sex female couples: Avondale Estates, Ga. ($96 per square foot). Affordable alternative: Also Avondale Estates, Ga.
Most popular among same-sex male couples: Washington Square West, Philadelphia ($341 per square foot ). Affordable alternative: Center City, Philadelphia ($160 per square foot).
Most popular among same-sex female couples: Mount Airy, Philadelphia ($120 per square foot). Most affordable alternative: Also Mount Airy, Philadelphia.
WINCHESTER, TENNESSEE – A man says his life was threatened and he was beat up this weekend just because he’s gay.
Shawn Farris was at his 20th high school reunion in Franklin County right outside of Winchester, TN, when it happened.
Farris says the attack was unprovoked and his attacker made it very clear he was assaulting him just because he’s gay.
But, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says they have no plans to investigate this as a hate crime. Spokesman Sgt. Chris Guess says the incident appears to be nothing more than a fight.
Farris sees it differently, and that’s why he will be pressing charges against the man he says beat him up Monday morning.
Farris, who is a flight attendant, was already an advocate for gay teens.
He started the group the “Flight Attendant Project” in hopes he could prevent gay teens who are bullied from committing suicide.
He says what happened to him Sunday morning will only make him fight even harder for his cause.
Farris hopes his attack will be treated as a hate crime. But, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says it’s only a simple assault.
from WSMV TV