May 31, 2023

CultNEWS101 Articles: 5/30/2023 (Scientology, LDS, Clergy Sexual Abuse)

Scientology, LDS, Clergy Sexual Abuse

Tampa Bay Times: Clearwater sets terms for land swap: Tell us your plans, Scientology.
"For more than a year, as former City Manager Jon Jennings negotiated a major downtown land swap with Scientology leader David Miscavige, City Council members were not privy to the details.

Now that they have learned more, all five of them said in interviews they are not impressed with what's been proposed. They also said they would not be willing to make any trade unless Miscavige discloses his plans for at least 176 downtown parcels purchased since 2017 by limited liability companies managed by Scientology parishioners.

Most of the properties have remained vacant or undeveloped, frustrating the city's efforts to revitalize downtown.

"I need to know more," said council member Lina Teixeira. "What is their plan for the rest of downtown? I've been waiting for a long time, so I want something concrete. Without that, I don't see this as a deal at all."

Mayor Brian Aungst Sr. said he was "very ambivalent" about a land swap. "If we make any kind of deal," he added, "we'd want some kind of guarantee that a lot of these properties that have been purchased are going to be activated."

Any deal involving properties each side might give up in a trade would require council approval, but Jennings led the negotiations with Miscavige until the council fired him on Jan. 5. His successor, City Manager Jennifer Poirrier, said she met with two church officials on Jan. 20 to learn what Miscavige and Jennings had discussed."

The Guardian: The Australian cult that fed children LSD: Guy Pearce on the 'disturbing' true story behind The Clearing
"As soon as he put down the script, Jeffrey Walker knew he wanted to work on the Disney+ series The Clearing. "It was one of those reads that you just couldn't stop thinking about," the show's co-director says. "It affected me emotionally and psychologically."

This might ring as hyperbole if it weren't for the disturbing real-life story behind the script. The new eight-part series, adapted from JP Pomare's novel In the Clearing, is based on the true story of the Family, the cult who operated in the shadows of regional Victoria from the 1960s to the 80s.

Among its various cruelties across two decades, the Family obtained 28 children, mostly through shonky adoptions or as "gifts" from unwed mothers, and housed them in a sprawling property at the secluded Lake Eildon. There they were subject to beatings and starvation, given daily doses of benzodiazepines to keep them docile and forced to begin taking psychedelic drugs, escalating to the point of days-long trips once they turned 14. To look like the "family" they were told they were, the children's hair was bleached blonde and they were dressed in matching outfits.

Those involved in The Clearing are keen to stress that viewers should not expect a to-the-letter retelling of the real-life case (for that, watch the 2019 documentary The Cult of the Family). But the series is still rich with details that echo the facts, like those matching platinum hairdos – a subtly chilling sight – as well as the filming locations, which included Lake Eildon."

CNA: Illinois AG report says nearly 2,000 were victims of clergy sex abuse over 70-year span
"A report published by the Illinois attorney general's office alleges that 451 Catholic clerics and religious brothers sexually abused 1,997 victims within the state's Catholic dioceses over a 70-year period.

The report, published May 23, unveils a comprehensive list of "substantiated child sex abuse" allegations, which the attorney general's office compiled with assistance from each of the six dioceses in Illinois. The report covers allegations from 1950 through 2019.

Investigators from the Attorney General's office reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents provided by the dioceses related to abuse allegations and policies and procedures on how they dealt with the allegations. They also conducted interviews with diocesan representatives and with numerous victims who made the allegations.

The report notes that each diocese cooperated fully with this investigation, and acknowledged reforms that have been made, but Attorney General Kwame Raoul had harsh words for the Church's leadership in the past."

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