sexual abuse

The Wyoming Catholic Register

In the June issue of the Wyoming Catholic Register, the Diocese of Cheyenne announced the names of 11 clergy members it says were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Tennessee Watson

This is the second in a two-part series on this issue. To hear WPR Reporter Melodie Edward's story, click here.

Last year, Wyoming enacted legislation authorizing school districts to teach child sexual abuse prevention. Schools have a unique power to stop sexual abuse because kids spend so much time there. But the bill is not a mandate. It merely says school districts may do prevention work.


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. While the issue has received more and more attention, sexual assault is a crime that's still chronically under-reported across the nation. Concern about how the criminal justice system will respond is one of the top reasons victims say they don't report.

Public Domain Pictures

Efforts to hold sexually abusive clergy accountable are increasing after decades of inaction. This week Pope Francis convened Catholic leaders from around the world at the Vatican to discuss the matter. Closer to home, Colorado's Attorney General announced a statewide investigation into clergy abuse there. Meanwhile, in Wyoming, a police investigation into former Catholic Bishop Joseph Hart has been underway for eight months.

Tennessee Watson


Sixteen years ago, the Cheyenne Police Department received a report that a former Catholic Bishop had sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1970s. The lead detective told the prosecutor there was no evidence and the case was closed. Earlier this year that case was reopened and multiple victims have since come forward. This second chance at justice reflects how law enforcement attitudes toward sexual abuse are starting to change.

Flickr Creative Commons/Jimmy Emerson

Earlier this month, the Jesuit order of the Catholic Church released a list of priests who have credible accusations of sexual abuse against them. Two of the priests—Paul Pilgram and Anthony Short—served at Saint Stephens Mission on the Wind River Reservation in the 1970s and 80s. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Jimmy Emerson

A list of Jesuit priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse against them include two clergymen that served at St. Stephens Mission, a school and church on the Wind River Reservation. 

JASMINE BELL

Hoop Dancer Jasmine Bell of the Crow Creek Dakota Sioux tribe in South Dakota has danced for Mohamad Ali and for all the presidential first ladies. Even the actor Kevin Costner. 

Jasmine Bell

Two-time world champion hoop dancer Jasmine Bell spoke and performed at a conference on domestic violence and sexual assault in Riverton last week. Bell is Crow Creek Dakota Sioux and one of the first girls to learn the traditionally male Native American dance when she was five years old. 

Melodie Edwards

This week Wyoming Public Media engaged in a bit of an experiment. Reporters Tennessee Watson and Melodie Edwards set up a pop-up newsroom at the third annual Wyoming Conference for Violence Prevention and Response hosted in Riverton. They joined Caroline Ballard for a conversation about the newsroom and its goals.

Safe Project

The Albany County-based SAFE Project is heading up a new effort to engage men in the movement to end violence against women.

A class action lawsuit is alleging the U.S. Olympic Committee headquartered in Colorado Springs tolerated sexual abuse, exploitation and forced labor. 

The U.S. Olympic Committee is not specifically named as a defendant in the suit, but that could change as the suit moves forward. 

As stories continue to surface from survivors of sexual violence so do questions about how to reduce the rate at which assault happens. The Equality State Policy Center is hoping to help empower Wyomingites to seek solutions by offering a one day workshop called SHAPE #metoo.

This week The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets in Salt Lake City for its bi-annual conference. Meanwhile a report in the Salt Lake Tribune says a new lawsuit claims the Church turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children in one of its programs.

 

The head of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City has released a public report that details sexual abuse allegations involving Utah priests and nearly three dozen victims since


A Pennsylvania Grand Jury report found that leaders in the Roman Catholic Church there persuaded victims not to report sexual abuse and convinced law enforcement not to investigate it either. News of the cover up, which protected over 300 abusive clergy, has sparked a call for increased accountability nationwide. Catholics in Wyoming are also reckoning with allegations of clergy abuse.

Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

The spotlight is on Pennsylvania where a grand jury reported roughly 300 priests abused more than 1,000 identifiable victims over a period of 70 years. Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sexual abuse is a national epidemic that transcends cultures and religions, impacting 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys across the United States.

University of Wyoming NO MORE

The #metoo movement might have given the impression that disclosures of sexual violence are more out in the open. But Matt Gray, a clinical psychology professor, says in actuality very few survivors officially report what they’ve experienced, and that’s true at the University of Wyoming as well. Tennessee Watson spoke with Professor Gray, who recently completed a campus climate survey looking at the prevalence of sexual misconduct on campus.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A bill that would allow educators and students to be trained about child sexual abuse squeaked through the Wyoming Legislature Saturday.

WCADVSA

A bill strengthening how stalking offenders are prosecuted and sentenced is moving through the Wyoming legislature.

 

But Tara Muir, Public Policy Director with the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said the bill has met debate every step of the way. She said lawmakers have been caught up on whether a prosecutor has to prove a victim suffered a substantial amount of fear. Muir added most states are moving towards an objective test that focuses on the behavior of the perpetrator.

 

Wyoming Humanities

The artwork of 31 of the Middle East's premier contemporary women artists is coming to Jackson. “I AM” is an international traveling exhibit focusing on the contributions that Middle Eastern women make to local and global culture, and movements for peace and harmony.  

It’s already made stops in Jordan, London and Washington DC, and will open at the Center for the Arts in Jackson on Friday evening.

 

Graphic by Tennessee Watson

Students are required to do fire drills and tornado drills, yet Wyoming does not require public schools to do sexual assault prevention. Young people are more likely to be impacted by sexual violence than they are by any of those dangers. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.

 

Maggie Mullen

For many women, getting their hair cut means going to the same stylist every six weeks for years, or even decades. In an effort to take advantage of those enduring ties, the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is training beauticians to recognize the signs of abuse and how to help. Getting the program off the ground, however, has been slow going.

Former Wyo. bishop faces another sex abuse suit

Nov 4, 2011

Another lawsuit alleging sexual abuse has been filed against the former Roman Catholic bishop of Wyoming.

A Missouri man says Joseph Hart abused him when he was a child at St. Regis Church in Kansas City between 1975 and 76. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in Jackson County, Missouri.

Five other people have previously accused Hart of sexual abuse. Their lawsuits were settled in 2008 as part of a $10 million deal involving allegations against a total of 12 clergy members.