Today in Child Abuse by Religious Leaders

It would be really nice if there was no use for this headline, but here we are. Men in power at religious institutions can still be gross, awful, perverted people — though that often seems to be inherent to "men in power."

  • In New York, Nechemya Weberman, "an esteemed religious counselor in New York City's ultra-orthodox Jewish community" was sentenced to 103 years in prison after being convicted in December of 59 counts of sex abuse. The charges stem from his sustained molestation of a girl who was ordered by her school to consult him after questioning her faith. Weberman, pictured above, molested the girl, who is now 18, starting when she was 12 until she was 15. The girl has not been named, but her family was reportedly "harassed and ostracized" throughout the trial, and several men were arrested after attempting to bribe the accuser and her husband to drop the case. (More on people deeming the institution to be more important than the accused in a minute.) Despite the justice department dropping the hammer on Weberman, many in the community still believe that he is innocent. One letter to the judge said that jailing the convicted child abuser would mean "a loss of great magnitude for our family, in particular, to mankind in general." Even after the sentencing, Weberman's attorney took the opportunity to shame the accuser and cast doubt on claims of sexual abuse by any woman, calling the accuser "a petulant, calculating liar." But I'm sure he's a delightful man
  • Let's switch coasts and religions, but remember that nothing can supersede the need for a religious institution to exist and prosper. CBS News reported tonight that the Catholic Church in Los Angeles conspired for decades to protect priests it knew were sexually abusing children. Documents released today show conversations between then-archbishop Cardinal Roger Mahoney and chief advisor on sex abuse (...) Monsignor Thomas Curry regarding church officials that were abusing kids. The two made sure to keep those they knew were molesting boys away from the church — just so that the church wouldn't be sued, mind you — but never alerted police.

[via AP, CBS News, image via AP]