Catholic clergy abuse: Illinois probe uncovers 4 times the number of sex offenders Church admitted.
Debt ceiling drama: McCarthy says, “nowhere near a deal” .
Russian court extends US journalist’s detention.
Catholic clergy abuse: Illinois probe uncovers 4 times the number of sex offenders Church admitted
The Illinois Attorney General’s office conducted a 5-year-long probe into child sex abuse by Catholic clergy in the state between 1950 and 2019. Initially, the Church admitted to knowing of 103 abusers among their ranks in that time frame. The state uncovered over 4 times that number: they found that 451 clerics had abused around 2000 children over that 70-year period.
AG Kwame Raoul acknowledged that many of those abusers “will never see justice in a legal sense” as the statue of limitations on their offenses has elapsed.
“It is my hope that this report will shine light both on those who violated their positions of power and trust to abuse innocent children, and on the men in church leadership who covered up that abuse,” Raoul said. “These perpetrators may never be held accountable in a court of law, but by naming them here, the intention is to provide a public accountability and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence.”
Debt ceiling drama: McCarthy says, “nowhere near a deal”
Following further talks with Pres. Biden this week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told his fellow Republicans in a closed-door meeting, “I need you all to hang with me on the debt limit. We are nowhere near a deal yet.” However, when speaking to reporters, he said he believed they could still reach a deal by June 1. On that day, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the US will run out of money to pay down its debts and enter a catastrophic default.
Republicans’ demands to tie steep budgets to raising the debt ceiling have already raised interest rates on US debts, adding billions of dollars to the already $31 trillion debt. The standoff has also shaken consumer confidence since even a brief default will likely tip the US into a recession.
McCarthy has reportedly already rejected a proposal from Biden that would have raised the debt ceiling and cut domestic spending and the Pentagon budget. Although Republicans are insisting on budget cuts, they won’t accept any cuts to the huge defense budget.
Just for FY 2023, the Pentagon’s budget is nearly $880 billion. The next largest defense spender is China, which will spend about $292, while Russia’s defense budget is about $86.4 billion.
Russian court extends US journalist’s detention
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will remain in pre-trial detention for another 3 months, a Moscow court decided today. Gershkovich has been in custody since March and is facing espionage charges. Authorities arrested him while he was on a reporting trip to the Ural Mountains, claiming he “was collecting classified information about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military industrial complex”. Gershkovich is the first American journalist to be detained for spying since the Cold War.
Moscow’s Lefortovo prison where Gerskovich is being held is notorious for its harsh and brutal conditions. One attorney who defends espionage suspects says the prison is designed to physically and mentally break prisoners through total isolation. Gershkovich is reportedly in total isolation for 23 hours a day with lights on in his cell day and night. Lefortovo houses Russia’s most high-profile prisoners, often just until conviction when they later get sent to a remote prison colony.
The State Department has declared Gershkovich “wrongfully detained” and is working towards his release. It’s unclear whether Russia is seeking a prisoner exchange or who they might be interested in trading Gershkovich for. Some have speculated they hope to recover some of their own spies who are in custody in various Western countries.