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Archive for February, 2010

I know I’ve been posting alot of news stories as of late.  I’m sorry about that.  But here is another gem that you may have missed, and is a good Year of the Priest story.  It’s a tale of a false accusation, leading to a conviction for rape, four years of prison for an innocent man, and finally, the truth emerges when the accuser admits that she made the whole thing up to stop her friends from beating her.  After reading the story, it sounds to me like this woman was in some sort of woman’s gang because they were slapping her around.  Years later she does the right thing, with the help of a good confessor and the prodding of DNA evidence.  The truth will set you free, and though this woman will be spending time in prison, I can’t help thinking that she feels somewhat liberated after carrying the knowledge of her guilt.  I’m praying that this goes a long way toward the salvation of this woman.

Again, keep all of those involved in your prayers, especially the unnamed priest who is the real hero of the story.  (note to self: I really need to finish my post on Reconciliation.)

From the New York Post:

A young mother who falsely cried rape, sending an innocent man to prison for nearly four years, will experience firsthand what he suffered — she’ll spend one to three years behind bars for perjury.

“I wish her the best of luck,” said William McCaffrey last night of Biurny Peguero Gonzalez.

“Jail isn’t easy.”

McCaffrey, 33, of The Bronx, was locked up after Gonzalez accused him of raping her at knifepoint on a Bronx street back in 2005.

It was a lie she repeated to doctors, cops, prosecutors, a grand jury and the jury that convicted McCaffrey.

***

Gonzalez was taken away after making a tearful apology to McCaffrey, who was not in court.

She also begged for mercy on behalf of her two sons, ages 3 months and 7 years.

“To Mr. McCaffrey, I am aware that nothing I do or say to him can bring back the years he spent in jail,” she said. “I want him to know I will carry this guilt for the rest of my life.”

Gonzalez, 27, had recanted her story last year after new DNA evidence proved she’d been lying and a priest to whom she’d confessed urged her to come clean.

God, bless your servant in the Bronx.

full story here.

UPDATE

I found another article on this story from WPIX which names the priest, the parish and specifically mentions that the accuser had returned to her faith.  The reporter, Stephanie Barash does a good job of covering this.

A woman – who accused a man of sexually attacking her more than four years ago – has confessed to her priest, that the attack never happened, police said.

Biurny Peguero Gonzalez, 26, who recently tied the knot and has a baby on the way, said she found renewed faith in the Catholic Church and couldn’t go on living with the burden of the lie.

She admitted to her priest, Rev. Zelijko Guverovic of St. Anthony’s in Union City, that she had not been raped by William McCafferey, despite what she told her friends, law enforcement officials, and even a jury.

McCafferey, who was later convicted of the crime, is currently in prison and has already completed 4 years of a 20-year sentence.Guberovic urged Gonzalez to speak with her lawyer, Paul Callen, who then brought her to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where she reportedly recanted her testimony.

During the trial, Gonzalez told jurors she had met McCaffrey after a night of heavy drinking in September 2005. She said she had been in a car parked in front of an upper Manhattan eatery on Dyckman Street when he picked her up to go to a party. Some of her friends remained inside the restaurant when she left.

Realizing they were both too intoxicated to get behind the wheel, Gonzalez said they parked in a garage and got a ride with his friends to the party. When they realized the party was over, McCaffrey took her back to the garage. When he left, she told her friends – who were still inside the restaurant – that she had been raped.

Gonzalez said she went to Christ Hospital in Jersey City the following morning and showed nurses bite marks on her shoulder and arm, apparently from McCaffrey. The nurses, however, found no physical evidence that showed that she had been raped.

Gonzalez said she concocted the outrageous story because her friend became infuriated with her after she abandoned them without a ride from the restaurant – and said they even began physically abusing her.

According to the New York Post, the District Attorney’s office is now considering charging Gonzalez with perjury.

An attorney for McCafferey asked a judge Wednesday to vacate his conviction and to release his client.

Pray for Mr. McCaffery as he rebuilds his life, Mrs. Gonzalez who is taking the fearful road of following the Lord despite personal suffering, and the faithful servant Fr. Zelijko Guberovic.  This story highlights the importance of Reconciliation, and how God acts through his priest to enact His will. 

It’s Lent.  Go to confession.  Go tomorrow.  (for more reasons to go Confession)

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From the London Times:

The son of one of Hamas’s founding members was a spy in the service of Israel for more than a decade, helping prevent dozens of Islamist suicide bombers from finding their targets, it emerged today.

Codenamed the Green Prince by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, supplied key intelligence on an almost daily basis from 1996 onwards and tracked down suicide bombers and their handlers from his father’s organization, the daily Haaretz said.

Information he supplied led to the arrests of some of the most wanted men by Israeli forces, including Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader often tipped as a potential president who was convicted of masterminding terrorist attacks, and one of Hamas’ top bomb-makers Abdullah Barghouti, who is no relation of the jailed Fatah chief.

Mr Yousef, a 32-year-old convert to Christianity who now lives in California, has revealed the intrigues of his years as a spy in a new book called Son of Hamas, much to the concern of Shin Bet, whose operations will be revealed in detail. While the revelations may give a boost to Israel’s intelligence service, whose external counterpart Mossad is still grappling with the diplomatic fall-out of last month’s Hamas assassination in Dubai, there will be concern that the account may give too many insights into the murky world of espionage.

However, Mr Yousef’s work will be far more damaging to Hamas, whose brutality he denounced.  read more here

I find this story to be fascinating, and would be interested in reading the book.  My interest is really piqued by the mention of the son’s conversion to Christianity.   My questions would be: when did this happen?  how did the conversion affect his spying activities?  which came first, conversion to Christianity or disillusionment with Hamas?  how did the son of a top Hamas official become a Christian?  is he Catholic?

Pray for this young man; with all the risks he’s taken, the biggest one might be the publishing of this book.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7039011.ece

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This is disturbing.  More ways to keep the shame secret and hidden.  More damage to women who are being lied to.  And of course, more dead children.

Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon plans to offer medication-induced abortions at its clinics in Ashland and Eugene beginning sometime in March.

Cynthia Pappas, Planned Parenthood’s executive director, said the organization’s board of directors decided to offer the service to provide women with an option for terminating a pregnancy in the comfort and privacy of home. Medication-induced abortions use drugs to expel a fetus. The federal Food and Drug Administration approved their use in 2000.

An exact date for offering the service has not been determined, Pappas said.

She noted that local doctors who perform surgical abortions are nearing retirement age, and Planned Parenthood wanted to make sure women would have adequate access to the full range of reproductive health care, including terminating a pregnancy.

She said state records indicate 528 women in Jackson County chose to terminate a pregnancy in 2007, the most recent year for which data is available. She said Planned Parenthood does not keep follow-up data on clients who are referred to physicians for possible abortions, so it’s impossible to say how many procedures were initiated through Planned Parenthood or other sources.

Ashland clinic will offer medication-induced abortions | MailTribune.com

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The statistics are that there is as much or more abuse amongst Protestant ministers as among Roman Catholic priests.  However, those stories don’t make national news, as most of the priest incidents do.  I (continue to) wonder why. 

Regardless of how they are reported, these are sad stories, like this one in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

BATAVIA TWP. – A former youth minister at a Clermont County church was found shot to death Monday, hours after he pleaded guilty to sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct involving a 15-year-old girl.

Christopher E. Evans, 39, was free on his own recognizance but due back in court Tuesday morning for a new bond hearing because prosecutors had obtained letters he wrote to the victim despite a judge’s order that he have no contact with her.

A sheriff’s deputy patrolling the Slade Road entrance to Harsha Lake at East Fork State Park at 11:15 p.m. Monday discovered a man who apparently killed himself in a truck with a shotgun blast to the face. The truck was registered to Evans, said Lt. Randy McElfresh of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The county coroner’s office confirmed the identity Tuesday after the man’s fingerprints were compared with those on file for Evans, McElfresh said.

The ranger station parking lot in Batavia Township where the body was found is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said John Gillespie, law enforcement manager for East Fork State Park. The area doesn’t usually close at night.

Evans faced up to 50 years in prison at a sentencing scheduled for April before Judge Victor M. Haddad of Common Pleas Court in Batavia. He also faced a fine of up to $100,000.

Evans said little during the Monday hearing at which he pleaded guilty to five counts of each charge. At one point, he bowed his head and wiped tears from his eyes with a handkerchief.

A full-time minister at Saltair Church of Christ on Ohio 222 in Tate Township for more than two years, Evans expressed suicidal thoughts to others after his arrest and had access to weapons, according to court records.

“He is a broken man,” Brother Bob Wickline, senior minister of the church, told The Enquirer after Evans was arrested in December. “He is very, very remorseful.”

Evans faced up to 100 years in prison after being indicted Dec. 16 on 10 counts of each charge. He entered the guilty plea after the prosecution agreed to drop half the charges, which spared the girl from having to testify at a trial.

The judge told Evans on Monday that he would read letters written to the girl by Evans.

“If those letters are real and they say some things that are disturbing to the court, (the prosecutor) may ask me to set a hearing on your bond,” the judge said.
“Here’s what you need to know: You’re going to sink or swim based on what you’ve done and on what you do,” the judge said. “I’m capable of putting you on (probation), and I’m capable of giving you 50 years.”

Evans had been acting as a parent to the girl, the prosecutor told the judge.
She had lived with Evans, his wife and their children on Pitzer Road in Tate Township, Wickline told The Enquirer.

Evans began a sexual relationship with the girl in July. It continued until authorities were notified Dec. 7, Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg said.

The nondenominational church was founded in 1948. Its Web site calls it “a down-home country church where folks are still the salt of the Earth.”

The girl was a member of the congregation’s youth group, but there was no indication any abuse took place at the church or during church activities, the sheriff has said.

Evans was youth minister to the congregation of about 400 people from November 2007 until December of last year. He recently moved to the Macon area of Brown County.

Ex-minister facing prison found dead

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Having seen firsthand how malicious, nasty and expensive a child custody battle can be, as well as how incredibly abusively the court system is extending its authority, stories like this one in the Chicago Tribune give me pause.

Pray for this child.

Divorcing couple war over child’s religion

Dad defies court order by taking 3-year-old daughter to Catholic church

By Cynthia Dizikes and Kristen Mack, Tribune reporters

9:20 PM CST, February 16, 2010

Rebecca Reyes opened an e-mail from her estranged husband in November to learn to her shock that he had their 3-year-old daughter baptized in the Catholic Church even though she said the couple, in happier times, had agreed to raise her in the Jewish faith.

What happened over the next few months brought the couple’s private battles into the open and raises questions about how far the court system can — or should — go in dictating what faith separated parents teach their children.

After the unannounced baptism, a Cook County Circuit Court judge took the unusual step of temporarily barring Reyes’ husband, Joseph, from exposing their child to any religion other than Judaism. But Joseph Reyes then allegedly defied the order by taking his daughter to Mass at Holy Name Cathedral — with a television news crew in tow.

The wife’s lawyers blasted Joseph Reyes’ defiance and demanded he be held in criminal contempt, a charge that carries a maximum punishment of six months in jail if convicted.

A new judge brought into the case Tuesday at the father’s request said she will set a date later for a trial on the contempt allegations.

The couple married in October 2004 but split about four years later. The divorce has raged on since 2008. Rebecca Reyes complained of “extreme and repeated mental cruelty” by her husband, court records show, while he alleged that she was “emotionally abusive” and had an affair.

A psychologist who concluded that Joseph Reyes suffered from a personality disorder recommended he be monitored while visiting his daughter, but after another psychologist weighed in, the court allowed the father to care for her without supervision every other weekend and one weeknight.

Rebecca Reyes was granted full custody last month, but the divorce battle continues.

In a sworn statement in the divorce, Rebecca Reyes said her husband, raised a Catholic, had converted to Judaism after their marriage and had agreed to raise their daughter in the Jewish faith. He denies he agreed to raise her only in the Jewish faith.

Her lawyers argue that the daughter, who attends a Jewish preschool, would “suffer confusion to her emotional detriment” as a result of what they called Joseph Reyes’ “malicious” actions.

“I am upset that Joseph would take such an action so counter to (my daughter’s) Jewish religious education and upbringing without any prior discussion, consultation or notification to me,” she said in the affidavit.

Jeffery Leving, a divorce lawyer who specializes in fathers’ rights, said he would recommend that Joseph Reyes convert back to Catholicism if he wanted to expose his daughter to his faith without further incurring the judge’s wrath. He also questioned whether excluding his estranged wife from religious decisions and inviting the news media to watch him defy a judge’s order was truly “in the best interest of the child or is this a PR circus?”

“This is parental war,” Leving said. “The parents are using the child as a tool of revenge.”

Joseph Reyes, a second-year student at John Marshall Law School, said that despite the judge’s order, he decided to take his daughter to a Catholic church one Sunday after she had asked to go.

Joseph Reyes’ lawyer, Joel Brodsky, who has gained attention in recent months defending Drew Peterson in a sensational murder case, said every parent has a right to take their child to their place of worship “as long as it is not a harm to the child.”

“I cannot see how taking a child to a baptism or church could ever be a harm to a child,” he said.

While many divorce proceedings involving interfaith couples devolve into bitter feuds over religion, Emily Buss, a law professor at the University of Chicago, called the order to temporarily limit the child to Judaism “striking.”

“The idea is we change religious views — that is what religious freedom includes,” Buss said. “Even if (one) parent has more authority in the form of more custody, the other parent can (usually) … still expose the child to his or her religion even if it was not the religious practices within the family when it was intact.”

Carlton Marcyan, a senior partner with the divorce specialty firm Schiller, DuCanto & Fleck, said courts don’t normally “like to get immersed in religious issues.”

“You have a very young child here. A 3-year-old is not going to know whether she’s at a Catholic church or a synagogue,” Marcyan said.

On Tuesday, Brodsky succeeded in transferring the contempt matter to Judge Elizabeth Loredo-Rivera. Brodsky said he didn’t want Judge Edward Jordan, who had temporarily barred the couple’s daughter from attending Catholic services, ruling further on the case.

Tribune reporter Jeff Coen also contributed to this report.

cdizikes@tribune.com

kmack@tribune.com

Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune

// http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-interfaith-divorce-20100216,0,2673258.story?obref=obnetwork

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Bishop Jackels of Wichita spoke recently at a Theology on Tap which drew 200 young adults.  (wow!)  Apparently taking to heart the words of St. Jerome (“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”), the Bishop not only urged the group to make Bible reading a daily habit, he gave everyone a copy of the New Testament!

This is absolutely fantastic to read about.  Cheers to the Bishop for his faithful guidance and living testimony.  It’s so good to see what good shepherds the Lord has sent us.  And good to read that two hundred young adults came out for Theology on Tap.

I’ll drink to that.  =)

read the article here:  http://cdowk.org/advanceonline/2010/02/18/bishop-jackels-urges-young-adults-to-develop-a-living-relationship-with-jesus/

h/t Catholic News Agency

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It is Lent, which means a time of reflection, and it means that Spring is almost here! Christ is coming!  and…Christ is already here.  Where?  at the  Mass. 

Here is a beautiful meditation on the Sacrifice of the Mass with Fr. Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B.

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