Washington (CNN) — A 21-year-old man who admitted posting online threats against the creators of the animated TV series “South Park” was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison.
Zachary Adam Chesser encouraged violent jihadists to attack “South Park” writers for an episode that depicted the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit, court documents said.
He posted online messages that included the writers’ home addresses and urged online readers to “pay them a visit,” the documents said.
“His actions caused people throughout the country to fear speaking out — even in jest — to avoid being labeled as enemies who deserved to be killed,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said. “The fact that a young man from Northern Virginia could support such violence and terror is a sobering reminder of the serious threat that homegrown jihadists pose to this country.”
Chesser pleaded guilty in October to providing material support to terrorists, communicating threats and soliciting others to threaten violence. The three charges carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
“I accept full responsibility for all of my actions, and I would like to take the opportunity to express remorse,” he said in court.
Chesser, who was born in the United States, converted to Islam in high school. U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady told Chesser he had made a big leap from being a high school athlete to a traitor.
Chesser also admitted that he tried to go to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group that the United States considers a terrorist organization.
Don’t forget, it’s atheists that are destroying the country and corrupting our youths….. *cough*
COLUMBIA, S.C. (CBS/AP) A Spartanburg County woman has been charged with felony animal cruelty, accused of hanging her nephew’s pit bull with an electrical cord and burning its body after the dog chewed on her Bible, authorities said Monday.
When questioned by police and animal control officers, Miriam Smith told them the female dog named “Diamond” was a “devil dog” and she feared it might harm neighborhood children, according to an incident report from the county’s Environmental Enforcement Department.
Smith, 65, was arrested Sunday and remains in the Spartanburg County jail. Bond had not been set.
She faces 180 days to five years in prison if convicted.
Authorities said the 1-year-old dog was kept outside on a chain and chewed the Bible that had been left on Smith’s porch. The dog’s remains were found under a pile of dried, cut grass. Part of the orange cord was still around the dog’s neck and a smell of kerosene still hung in the air, the animal control officer wrote in her report.
The dog was killed about two weeks ago when Smith’s nephew was forced to spend several days away from home because of winter weather in the area, authorities said.
Smith is the first person is Spartanburg County to face a felony charge under South Carolina’s tougher animal cruelty law, said Jaime Nelson, director of the county’s Environmental Enforcement Department.
Smith’s mental state will likely affect what kind of penalties she faces, Nelson added. He said he was stunned by how flat the woman’s emotions sounded as she recounted on tape what happened to the dog.
“She just acted like – what’s done has been done,” Nelson said.
On the day of his swearing-in, Alabama Republican Gov. Robert J. Bentley raised concern among the state’s non-Christians by declaring that people who had not accepted Jesus Christ were not his brothers and sisters.
Speaking to a large crowd Monday at Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church — where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached — Bentley said that “if you’re a Christian and you’re saved … it makes you and me brother and sister,” according to a report in the Birmingham News.
“Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters,” he added, according to the paper. “So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”
By Tuesday, the comments were reverberating beyond Alabama. David Silverman, president of Cranford, N.J.-based American Atheists, called the remarks “outrageous.”
“He is a governor, not a mullah,” Silverman said. “This is a diverse nation with a secular government. If he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t be governor.”
Bentley, 67, a retired dermatologist, had been sworn in earlier Monday, replacing two-term Republican Gov. Bob Riley. The new governor is a Sunday school teacher and deacon at Tuscaloosa’s First Baptist Church, which considers “passionately” evangelizing to be a “key core value,” according to its website.
During remarks on the steps of the state Capitol, Bentley declared himself “governor of all of Alabama — Democrat, Republican and independent, young and old, black and white, rich and poor.”
Those initial comments had been heartening to Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Society. But the later comments, he said, were “quite disturbing and contrary to what I read earlier.”
“He was saying that for us to be considered equal, we would have to become Christians in his brand of understanding,” Taufique said. “I’m hoping that he was just in a Baptist church and he wanted to please his congregation, forgetting his earlier comment to be governor of all Alabamians.”
Richard Friedman, executive director of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, said such comments “tend to disenfranchise those of a different religious view.”
“You know, it’s a recurring theme in Alabama,” said Friedman, who said the state, with a population of about 4.7 million, is home to an estimated 10,000 Jews. “One of the things we have to do is continue to sensitize our leaders to the fact that there are non-Christians in this state, and encourage them whenever possible to be sensitive to that.”
Bentley was raised in Columbiana, a small town in rural Shelby County, the son of a sawmill worker. He was first elected to the Alabama state House of Representatives on a platform of fiscal conservatism and family values.
His staff did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.
Gil McKee, senior pastor of Tuscaloosa’s First Baptist Church, said the new governor “was in no way meaning to be offensive to anyone.”
“He was coming strictly from the fact that Scripture talks about how those that know Jesus Christ as their savior are adopted into the family of God, and as we are adopted into God’s family, we are adopted into the family of Christ,” McKee said.
The Birmingham Jewish Federation announced Tuesday that it would assemble a delegation of Jews and Christians that would try to meet with the governor “as soon as possible to initiate a dialogue.”
Friedman, the longtime head of the federation, said the Jewish community was generally comfortable in the Southern state — but that such things happen from time to time, things he characterized as “only in Alabama” moments.
“These folks typically don’t mean any harm at all,” Friedman said. “It never occurs to them that they’re saying anything that would make others uncomfortable. They’re simply motivated by their passion for their own religious faith.”
Tenzen Deshek, a lama at the Losel Maitri Tibetan Buddhist Center in Birmingham, gave a good-natured chuckle Tuesday when asked whether he took offense at the comments. “You know,” Deshek said, “although he’s the governor, he can’t change people’s minds.”
Stockholm – Two days after five men were arrested over a foiled plot to massacre staff at a Danish newspaper, new details emerged Friday linking at least one of the suspects to Islamist extremists.
The five were arrested Wednesday for hatching what Danish officials called a plan to “kill as many people as possible” in an assault on the Jyllands-Posten daily, which sparked violent protests with its 2005 publication of a dozen cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
A Stockholm court said one of the five arrested in the Swedish capital was Sahbi Zalouti, a 37-year-old Swede of Tunisian origin.
Danish intelligence agency PET has identified one man based in Denmark as a 26-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker living in the Copenhagen suburb of Greve. He was freed Thursday but is still suspected of being connected to the plot.
The three men arrested in another suburb were all based in Sweden and had driven to the Danish capital overnight Tuesday.
They have been officially identified only as a 44-year-old Tunisian, a 29-year-old Swede born in Lebanon, and a 30-year-old Swede.
Both Danish and Swedish media have however provided the names and backgrounds of the men, identifying the Denmark-based Iraqi as Abdullah Muhammed Salman and the three residents of Sweden as Mounir Dhahri, Munir Awad and Omar Abdalla Aboelazm.
Most of the media focus has been on Awad, 29, who Sweden’s foreign ministry confirmed has been arrested twice before abroad suspected of terrorist links.
“Awad was arrested in Somalia by Ethiopian troops. That was in 2007. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2009,” foreign ministry spokesman Anders Joerle told AFP.
When he was arrested in Somalia, Awad was travelling with his then 17-year-old pregnant wife Safia Benaouda, who is the daughter of the head of Sweden’s Muslim Council Helena Benaouda, Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reported.
Awad told the paper in a previous interview the couple had been tortured and interrogated there and that Swedish intelligence agency Saepo had helped free them.
“We know Saepo brought us home and we are very grateful,” he said.
When he was arrested in Pakistan in August 2009, Awad was travelling with Benaouda and there two-year-old son, as well as with Mehdi Ghezali, a Swede who had spent two years in Guantanamo Bay, Joerle confirmed.
“The Swedish foreign ministry helped them. I wouldn’t say to free him, but what we did was insist that he either should be tried or set free,” Joerle explained.
Zalouti, arrested in Stockholm Wednesday, had also previously been arrested in Pakistan for entering the country illegally.
The Aftonbladet daily meanwhile reported that Awad was connected to two Swedes of Somali origin who were found guilty by a Swedish court earlier this month of “planning terrorist crimes” in Somalia.
Awad, the paper reported, had shared an apartment in Stockholm with the two men, Mohamoud Jama, 22, and Bille Ilias Mohamed, 26, who are members of the Islamist movement Al-Shebab, which has declared allegiance to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network and controls most of southern and central Somalia.
Jyllands-Posten and Swedish Expressen reported meanwhile that David Headley, who helped plan the 2008 Mumbai attacks and had reportedly been preparing several attacks in the Danish capital, had been in contact with a businessman in Stockholm not arrested Wednesday who may have been the mastermind behind the foiled operation.
An unhinged actor Thursday calmly described hacking his beloved mother to death with a sword because he believed a demon had taken hold of her soul.
“I didn’t kill her. I killed the demon inside her,” Michael Brea said in a chilling hourlong interview with the Daily News in the prison ward at Bellevue Hospital.
When told his mother, Yannick Brea, 55, had died in the grisly assault early Tuesday, Michael was unrepentant.
“So be it. It was the work of God,” he said.
Speaking with white-hot intensity and unflinching confidence, Brea described a shadowy descent into a world filled with Masonic symbolism and black magic beginning late Sunday when he snapped awake.
“I was sleeping in my bedroom. God came above my bed and reached his arm to me,” said Brea, wearing a light-blue prison jumpsuit and slippers. He told his tale while sitting unhandcuffed on a blue chair behind a wood table.
“I said, ‘God, is my time on earth over?’ I heard a voice say, ‘Yes Michael, today is your last day.’ I asked if I could say goodbye to my family.”
The 31-year-old Brea said he told no one about the dream, but the following afternoon, he said he received another sign while at the Prince Hall Masonic Temple in Harlem, which he’d joined a week earlier.
There, he said, a man approached and tried to put a curse on him.
“[He] kept trying to put something in my hand but wouldn’t show it to me. I kept opening my hand. It was a Freemason pin. I wouldn’t touch it,” Brea said.
Felt like Neo from ‘The Matrix’
He began feeling ill and left, and while riding the train back to Brooklyn, he said, strangers began speaking to him about his mother.
“I felt like Neo from ‘The Matrix.’ I began hearing voices and feeling powerful,” Brea said. “They were asking about the difference between mom and mother. It was a sign.”
When he returned to the family’s Prospect Heights apartment, the bit-part actor who once appeared on “Ugly Betty,” hugged his mother, a God-fearing Haitian immigrant with whom relatives say he had long been very close.
“I knew I would never see my mother again,” he said. “I gave her lots of love.”
He went to his room and lit candles, placed a dagger and a 3-foot ceremonial Freemason sword by his side.
Investigators said he had stolen the sword from the Masonic lodge, but Brea insisted his father had given it to him when he was a child.
“It’s a powerful sword,” he said.
Brea also arranged three saint cards around him – including one of Saint Jude holding a sword.
His mother then knocked on the door and asked him to go to the kitchen and pour water from a pot in which she was cooking three chickens.
Evangelical Christians in Brazil have banned the use of USB connections after claiming the technology is the mark of Satan-worshippers.
Evangelical Christians in Brazil have apparently banned the use of USB connections after claiming the technology is the mark of Satan-worshippers (Hat tip: Fernando Frias). Apparently the revelation came after the evangelists noticed that the USB symbol resembles a trident. Presumably they’re not great fans of Britain’s ballistic missiles either.
Here’s the story, though be aware that aside from being repeated on a bunch of Brazilian websites, I’ve yet to find much to back it up, so if this turns up on Snopes don’t blame me.
The evangelical cult “Paz do Senhor Amado” (“Peace Beloved of the Lord”) in the interior of Brazil forbids its followers to use any USB technology by contending that it uses a symbol that makes apology to the devil.
According to its founder, the “Apostle” Welder Saldanha says that this is just a symbol of Satan, is always present in all Christian homes.
“The symbol of that name (he even likes to pronounce) is a trident, which is used to torture souls go to hell. Use only a symbol of those shows that all users of this technology pífia are actually worshipers of Satan” – explains the” Apostle”.
Measures were taken so that all the USB connections of his followers were exchanged for common connections and even the Bluetooth (sic), which according to Saldanha Welder is permitted, for “Blue was the color of the eyes of our savior Jesus Christ”.
O culto evangélico “Paz do Senhor Amado” do interior de SP proibe seus fiéis a usar toda e qualquer tecnologia USB, por alegar que a mesma use um simbolo que faz apologia ao demônio.
De acordo com seu fundador, o “Apóstolo” Welder Saldanha diz que isso é apenas mais um simbolo de satanás, estando sempre presente em todos os lares cristãos.
“O simbolo daquilo (nome que ele sequer gosta de pronunciar) é um tridente, que é usado para torturar almas que vão para o inferno. Usar um simbolo daqueles apenas mostra que todos usuários dessa pífia tecnologia são de fato, adoradores de satã” – Explica o “Apóstolo”.
As medidas tomadas foram para que todas as conexões USB de seus seguidores fossem trocadas por conexões comuns e até mesmo pelo Bluetooth (sic), que de acordo com Welder Saldanha é permitida, pois “Azul era a cor dos olhos de nosso salvador Jesus Cristo”.
QALQILIYA, West Bank — A mysterious blogger who set off an uproar in the Arab world by claiming he was God and hurling insults at the Prophet Muhammad is now behind bars — caught in a sting that used Facebook to track him down.
The case of the unlikely apostate, a shy barber from this backwater West Bank town, is highlighting the limits of tolerance in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority — and illustrating a new trend by authorities in the Arab world to mine social media for evidence.
Residents of Qalqiliya say they had no idea that Walid Husayin — the 26-year-old son of a Muslim scholar — was leading a double life.
Known as a quiet man who prayed with his family each Friday and spent his evenings working in his father’s barbershop, Husayin was secretly posting anti-religion rants on the Internet during his free time.
Now, he faces a potential life prison sentence on heresy charges for “insulting the divine essence.” Many in this conservative Muslim town say he should be killed for renouncing Islam, and even family members say he should remain behind bars for life.
“He should be burned to death,” said Abdul-Latif Dahoud, a 35-year-old Qalqiliya resident. The execution should take place in public “to be an example to others,” he added.
Over several years, Husayin is suspected of posting arguments in favor of atheism on English and Arabic blogs, where he described the God of Islam as having the attributes of a “primitive Bedouin.” He called Islam a “blind faith that grows and takes over people’s minds where there is irrationality and ignorance.”
Claims about what God wants
If that wasn’t enough, he is also suspected of creating three Facebook groups in which he sarcastically declared himself God and ordered his followers, among other things, to smoke marijuana in verses that spoof the Muslim holy book, the Quran. At its peak, Husayin’s Arabic-language blog had more than 70,000 visitors, overwhelmingly from Arab countries.
His Facebook groups elicited hundreds of angry comments, detailed death threats and the formation of more than a dozen Facebook groups against him, including once called “Fight the blasphemer who said ‘I am God.'”
The outburst of anger reflects the feeling in the Muslim world that their faith is under mounting attack by the West. This sensitivity has periodically turned violent, such as the street protests that erupted in 2005 after cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad were published in Denmark or after Pope Benedict XVI suggested the Prophet Muhammad was evil the following year. The pope later retracted his comment.
Husayin is the first to be arrested in the West Bank for his religious views, said Tayseer Tamimi, the former chief Islamic judge in the area.
The Western-backed Palestinian Authority is among the more religiously liberal Arab governments in the region. It is dominated by secular elites and has frequently cracked down on hardline Muslims and activists connected to its conservative Islamic rival, Hamas.
Husayin’s high public profile and prickly style, however, left authorities no choice but to take action.
Husayin used a fake name on his English and Arabic-language blogs and Facebook pages. After his mother discovered articles on atheism on his computer, she canceled his Internet connection in hopes that he would change his mind.
Instead, he began going to an Internet cafe — a move that turned out to be a costly mistake. The owner, Ahmed Abu-Asal, said the blogger aroused suspicion by spending up to seven hours a day in a corner booth. After several months, a cafe worker supplied captured snapshots of his Facebook pages to Palestinian intelligence officials.
Officials monitored him for several weeks and then arrested him on Oct. 31 as he sat in the cafe, said Abu-Asal.
The case is the second high-profile arrest connected in the West Bank connected to Facebook activity. In late September, a reporter for a news station sympathetic to Hamas was arrested and detained for more than a month after he was tagged in a Facebook image that insulted the Palestinian president.Gaza’s Hamas rulers also stalk Facebook pages of suspected dissenters, said Palestinian rights activist Mustafa Ibrahim. He said Internet cafe owners are forced to monitor customers’ online activity, and alert intelligence officials if they see anything critical of the militant group or that violates Hamas’ stern interpretation of Islam.
Going fishing on Facebook
Both governments also create fake Facebook profiles to befriend and monitor known dissidents, activists said. In September, a young Gaza man was detained after publishing an article critical of Hamas on his Facebook feed.
Such “stalking” on Facebook and other social media sites has become increasingly common in the Arab world. In Lebanon, four people were arrested over the summer and accused of slandering President Michel Suleiman on Facebook. All have been released on bail.
In neighboring Syria, Facebook is blocked altogether. And in Egypt, a blogger was charged with atheism in 2007 after intelligence officials monitored his posts.
EDUCATION Minister Bronwyn Pike has ducked a potential backlash from the powerful Christian lobby by rejecting a proposal to allow humanism to be taught in primary schools during time allocated for religious education.
The Humanist Society of Victoria, which wants to teach an ethics-based curriculum, is planning a legal challenge, saying that the current system indirectly discriminates against non-religious children, causing ”hurt, humiliation and pain and suffering” to them when they opt out of religious education classes.
Children in two-thirds of Victorian state primary schools are taught Christian scripture by volunteers, even though the Education Act says state schools must be secular and ”not promote any particular religious practice, denomination or sect”.Advertisement: Story continues below
Parents must sign forms if they want their children to be excluded from ”special religious instruction” classes, 96 per cent of which teach Christianity, with the remaining 4 per cent covered by the Jewish, Buddhist and Baha’i faiths.
Children who do not attend these sessions are not allowed to be taught anything their classmates might miss out on during this time, so they are often put in another room where they read or play on computers.
The Education Act has a special exemption from its secular roots to allow religious education.
But Ms Pike skewered an attempt last year by the Humanist Society of Victoria to have its ”humanist applied ethics” curriculum approved for teaching during the religion period. The course, designed to be taught from prep to year 6, covered subjects such as the art of living, the environment, philosophy, science and world citizenship.
Ms Pike declared that humanism’s ”world-view philosophy [sic] cannot be defined as a religion”, and that the Humanist Society was ”not registered as a religious organisation” and therefore could not ”provide instruction in government schools”. There is, however, no official registration of religions in Australia.
The man responsible for accrediting non-Christian religious teachers, RMIT professor Desmond Cahill, head of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, said, ”We’d consider humanism as a religion since it has an ethical standpoint.”
Ms Pike refused to answer The Sunday Age’s questions about whether she had been targeted by the Christian lobby.
The Greens candidate in Ms Pike’s threatened seat of Melbourne, Brian Walters, told The Sunday Age governments should not use their power to ”privilege or promote any one religion or non-religion in our schools” and said children should not be segregated on the basis of faith.
The Humanist Society of Victoria has obtained legal advice that children who are excluded from scripture classes are being indirectly discriminated against.
Religious education arguably breaches equal opportunity law, the advice says, and causes ”hurt, humiliation and pain and suffering” to children who opt out as they are ”isolated from the rest of the class … with little to do”.
It suggests aggrieved parents take action in the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and possibly VCAT.
Humanist Society of Victoria president Stephen Stuart said the society was collecting testimony from parents in an attempt to mount a ”convincing class action with hundreds of names”.
Melbourne mother Dina Cragie, who is Jewish, lobbied for Judaism to be offered at her children’s Hawthorn East school, but they were plucked from maths classes to attend. ”I’m not happy with it; it’s a secular school, and the fact that so much time is spent on religious education is baffling to me – and to have to choose between maths and religion offends me,” Ms Cragie said.
”Ultimately you should teach all religions or none.”
A centuries-old religious ceremony of an indigenous people in southern Mexico has led to small evolutionary changes in a local species of fish, according to researchers from Texas A&M University.
Since before the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the New World, the Zoque people of southern Mexico would venture each year during the Easter season deep into the sulfuric cave Cueva del Azufre to implore their deities for a bountiful rain season. As part of the annual ritual, they release into the cave’s waters a distinctive, leaf-bound paste made of lime and the ground-up root of the barbasco plant, a natural fish toxin. Believing the cave’s fish to be gifts from their gods, they scoop up their poisoned prey to feed upon until their crops are ready to harvest.
However, a team of researchers led by Dr. Michael Tobler, an evolutionary ecologist at Oklahoma State University, and Dr. Gil Rosenthal, a biology professor at Texas A&M, has discovered that some of these fish have managed not only to develop a resistance to the plant’s powerful toxin, but also to pass on their tolerant genes to their offspring, enabling them to survive in the face of otherwise certain death for their non-evolved brethren.
Their findings recently were published in the online journal “Biology Letters.”
Tobler has been studying the small, cave-dwelling fish species known as the Atlantic molly or Poecilia mexicana and its uncanny ability to survive in the toxic sulfur environment of Cueva del Azufre since 2004. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich in 2008 and spent the next two years as a postdoctoral research associate at Texas A&M, studying under Rosenthal and Dr. Kirk Winemiller, a professor in wildlife and fisheries science, as part of a two-year, $79,000 Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.
After learning about the Zoque people’s sacred ritual and witnessing the event firsthand in 2007, Tobler and Rosenthal decided to investigate the effects of this peculiar ceremony on the mollies and their habitat. Ironically, it was the last ceremony ever held, as the Zoques ended the practice that year due to political pressure from the government, which sought to preserve the cave as a hotbed for tourism and potential revenue.
“We wanted to do a lab experiment where we exposed fish from different parts of the creek to barbasco,” Tobler says. “Some of these fish had been more exposed than others.”
In March 2010, the team collected molly specimens from two different areas of the cave annually exposed to the barbasco toxin as well as from two different areas upstream, further away from the Zoque’s ritual. With both groups of fish in a single tank, they then introduced the barbasco root to determine how both groups would react.
They found that the mollies annually exposed to the barbasco indeed were more resistant than the fish further upstream — to the extent that they were able to swim in the noxious water nearly 50 percent longer. Tobler and Rosenthal’s group concluded that human beings had, over time, not only affected molly population dynamics, but also inadvertently kick-started the evolutionary process of natural selection as well. Mollies able to tolerate the poisonous conditions survived and passed those traits to their offspring, resigning those that perished to their fate of serving as a ceremonial feast for the Zoque.
“The cool thing is that this ceremony has gone on a long time and that the fish responded to it evolutionarily,” Tobler says. “Lots of species couldn’t live with these changes. It highlights how nature is affected by human activity.”
Rosenthal contends that the idea of imposing evolutionary divergence on a species at an extremely localized spatial scale is not a new concept. In fact, he says, it’s been happening since the beginning of mankind and that the idea of the “noble savage” is passé.
“We tend to have this wonderful Pocahontas idea that before Europeans came in, everything was pristine and in harmony with nature and that all of the changes in our environment have been post-industrialization,” he explains. “No. People have been changing the environment forever.”
Moreover, Rosenthal says, once a species has become genetically adapted to human presence, it is not very easy to suddenly reverse.
Their ritual since banned, the Zoques still perform a mock ceremony each Easter season. Tobler, however, would like to see the Zoque’s original ceremony resume, but in a way that is sustainable to nature as well as other cave inhabitants. The key, he and Rosenthal believe, is to find a balance between human activity and their environment. In the case of the Zoques, it may mean a few limitations on barbasco usage for their ritual, such as releasing the toxin only 50-to-60 meters into the cave rather than 100 meters.
Pending further resolution, Tobler will continue his research with the mollies at Oklahoma State, where they are housed in a special tank built to safely imitate their sulfuric living conditions in Cueva del Azufre.
“We need to understand what the impact really is on these fish rather than eliminate the ceremony completely,” Tobler says. “We want to hopefully find a balance between the cultural practices of these people and the ecosystem.”
Priest forces a 7 year old boy to fellate his 5 year old brother. 35 years later, they get their revenge by savagely beating him.
The priest’s entire family knew he was a child molester. Not a single one turned him in. One of them is a police officer.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A man allegedly molested three decades ago by a priest was arrested Friday on charges that he lured the clergyman to the lobby of a Jesuit retirement home and beat him in front of shocked witnesses, authorities said.
William Lynch, 43, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon for the May 10 attack that sent the Rev. Jerold Lindner to the hospital with bruises and lacerations, said Sgt. Rick Sung, Santa Clara County sheriff’s spokesman.
Lynch harbored a fantasy for years of confronting the priest, who also allegedly molested his little brother.
Sung said Lynch attacked the 65-year-old priest after he failed to recognize him at the Jesuits’ Sacred Heart retirement home in Los Gatos. The attack occurred in a small room adjoining the lobby.
“They’re saying it was pretty close to beating him to death,” defense attorney Pat Harris told The Associated Press. “They’re essentially saying that he waited all these years and then took out his revenge. It’s sort of the ultimate revenge story.”
Lynch and his younger brother settled with the Jesuits of the California Province, a Roman Catholic religious order, for $625,000 in 1998 after alleging that Lindner abused them in 1975 during weekend camping trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The boys, who were 7 and 5 at the time, were raped in the woods and forced to have oral sex with each other while Lindner watched, Harris said. Lindner has been accused of abuse by nearly a dozen people, including his own sister and nieces and nephews.
Lynch was to be released on $25,000 bail, Harris said. The attorney negotiated his client’s surrender and said Lynch will plead not guilty at his arraignment sometime next month.
Police connected Lynch to the attack using phone records, Sung said. A half hour before the beating, a caller identifying himself as “Eric” called the rest home and said someone would arrive shortly to inform Lindner of a family member’s death.
“The Father shows up in the lobby, at which point he was asked by the suspect if he knew who he was. When the Father answered ‘No,’ that’s when the suspect started attacking,” Sung said. “He was punching him in the face and all over the body. After the Father goes down, then the suspect takes off.”
Lindner was able to drive himself to the hospital. He did not return a call left on his answering machine Friday.
He has previously denied abusing the Lynch boys and has not been criminally charged. The abuse falls outside the statute of limitations.
Lindner was removed from ministry and placed at the Los Gatos retirement home in 2001. He was named in two additional lawsuits for abuse between 1973 and 1985, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The cases were included in the record-breaking $660 million settlement struck between the church and more than 550 plaintiffs in 2007.
The Rev. John McGarry, the provincial, said Lindner had fully recovered and had resumed his work at the retirement home, where he helps care for 75 retired and invalid priests.
“As you can imagine it’s very emotionally distressing to go through something like this. He hasn’t spoken a lot about it,” McGarry said of Lindner. “He’s living a quiet life of prayer and service within our community.”
Lynch declined an interview Friday but in a 2002 Los Angeles Times article, he said he’d had nightmares for years, battled depression and alcoholism and had attempted suicide twice because of the priest’s abuse.
“Many times I thought of driving down to LA and confronting Father Jerry. I wanted to exorcise all of the rage and anger and bitterness he put into me,” Lynch told the newspaper. “You can’t put into words what this guy did to me. He stole my innocence and destroyed my life.”
The Associated Press does not identify victims of sex crimes as a matter of policy, but Lynch previously came forward to tell his story.
Although rare, it’s not unheard of for victims of sexual abuse to take revenge upon their abusers — and it can be normal for victims to fantasize about revenge without acting on it, said Steven Danish, a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University who’s counseled sexual abuse victims.
In Lynch’s case, reading about Lindner in media accounts throughout the years and realizing he had gone unpunished could have pushed Lynch to act, said Danish, who has not treated Lynch.
“Imagine holding something inside for 35 years and letting it fester,” Danish said. “He’s probably thinking, ‘You’re living your life and here I am a failure and all because of what you did to me on that day.'”
There have been several other instances of violence, sometimes fatal, against priests accused of abuse since the Roman Catholic clergy abuse scandal unfolded in 2002.
In Baltimore, a man who claimed he was sodomized and fondled by a priest a decade before shot the clergyman three times after the priest told him to go away when he demanded an apology.
The defendant was acquitted of attempted murder but served 18 months of home detention on a gun conviction.
The following year, priest John Geoghan was strangled to death in his cell by a fellow inmate who claimed he was chosen by God to kill pedophiles. Geoghan was serving a 9- to 10-year sentence for groping a boy and was at the center of the Boston clergy abuse scandal. He had been accused of molesting as many as 150 boys.
Lindner was ordained in 1976 and taught at various Catholic high schools during his career, including 16 years as chairman of the English department at Loyola High School, a prestigious Catholic prep school in Los Angeles.
There, he launched nearly two dozen after-school programs for students, including a chess club and renaissance club, and became master of a Boy Scout troop that included mostly lower-income Puerto Rican boys, his older brother, Larry Lindner, told The Associated Press.
Most of Lindner’s family severed contact with him years ago after discovering he had molested his nieces and nephews when they were as young as 3. They were unaware of the attack, said his sister, Kathy McEntire.
McEntire said her brother molested her starting when she was 5 — and she learned 15 years ago that he also abused her son for years. She last spoke to her brother in 2001.
“Jerry’s violent and I would not be surprised if he did get beat up. I could understand somebody getting that mad,” McEntire told the AP. “I’ve often said myself that I don’t trust myself around him. I would likely wind up in jail because I’d probably kick him somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine — and I’m his sister.”
During their last visit nine years ago, McEntire asked Lindner if any of the abuse allegations were true.
“I said, ‘Is it true? He said, ‘Well, some of it,'” McEntire said. “I called him a few choice words and that was the last time I ever saw him.”
Larry Lindler, a retired Los Angeles police officer, said he last saw his brother more than two decades ago after he walked in on him molesting his 8-year-old daughter during a visit. The two were playing a game called “blankie” in which Lindner asked the little girl to lie over his lap like a blanket and then wiggled around as if trying to get comfortable.
“The last contact I had with him personally was the day after I caught him with my daughter and I told him he best get in his vehicle and leave,” he recalled. “I said, ‘If I go out to the truck and get my off-duty weapon out of the glove box, you’re a dead man.”