Prince Andrew Urged To Cooperate With US Over Epstein

In this file photo taken on November 03, 2019, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves after speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

 

Prince Andrew was urged Thursday to speak to lawyers representing victims of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, after the royal announced he was quitting public life because of the scandal.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, has faced days of outrage since a television interview in which he defended his friendship with the disgraced US financier.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein, who was found dead in a New York prison in August while awaiting charges of trafficking minors.

As a growing number of organisations distanced themselves from the royal and his pet projects, he said he was cancelling public engagements because of the backlash.

He said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

US lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents five women allegedly assaulted by Epstein, told the BBC the royal should speak to everyone probing the allegations — including her.

“All of the staff who work for Prince Andrew should come and give information and evidence and the documents should be turned over — emails, texts, calendars, phone logs, travel logs — so we can get to the bottom of this,” she said.

She did not rule out approaching the prince directly to secure a sworn statement.

Later, lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents alleged victims and is Bloom’s mother, urged Andrew to speak to investigators “without delay.”

“The best way for him to begin to repair his damaged reputation would be to sit for an interview as soon as possible,” she told reporters in New York.

‘Much Worse To Come’?

Andrew’s announcement, which he said was approved by his mother and in which he belatedly expressed sympathy for Epstein’s victims, dominated British media for a fifth day.

Several newspapers said the former Royal Navy officer’s reputation was in tatters and speculated about whether he could ever return to formal royal duties.

Tabloid daily The Sun called the statement “a desperate attempt to fix the appalling failures of his TV interview over the Epstein scandal”.

“But if Andrew thinks this will draw a line under it all, he is delusional. His woes, we fear are just beginning,” it added in an editorial.

The Daily Mail said the claims, which have long cast a shadow over his duties, including as a special government trade representative, could do “serious damage” to the royal family.

“As it unravels, there may be much worse to come,” it added.

Andrew’s decision to step down was taken after “crisis talks” between the monarch herself and her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, several newspapers reported.

But as well as potentially having to be quizzed by US investigators, some cast doubt on some of Andrew’s claims.

They include that he had stayed at the residence of Britain’s consul-general to New York on one of the three occasions when he had allegedly had sex with his accuser.

Another is whether he actually met Epstein several years earlier than he claimed.

Torrid Year

The Epstein affair shows no sign of going away, as the BBC is expected to air more revelations from one of his victims in the coming days.

The scandal tops a torrid year for the royal family marked by strained relations with the media and an apparent lack of direction in terms of control of its public image.

In October, Andrew’s nephew Prince Harry was criticised for giving an interview in which he complained about media coverage of his wife, Meghan.

He then announced legal action against several tabloids for breach of privacy and phone-hacking, setting up a potentially explosive court confrontation.

The queen, now 93, described 1992 as her “annus horribilis” after heir to the throne Charles and Andrew separated from their respective wives, and her only daughter, Anne, got divorced.

Her favourite Windsor Castle residence was also partially destroyed by fire.

Commentators said the latest scandal could see a repeat, and that the withdrawal of a senior royal from public life had no precedent since king Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936.

Kavanaugh Intensifies Counter-Offensive Against Sex Accusations

 US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh speaks on the second day of his confirmation hearing in front of the US Senate in Washington DC. Kavanaugh .      AUL LOEB / AFP

 

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Monday launched an aggressive campaign against allegations of sexual misconduct, vowing on national television to clear his name while appearing to claim his virginity at the time of the accusations as a defense.

With pressure mounting to put Kavanaugh’s nomination on hold for the FBI to investigate his past — a day after a second woman came forward with allegations against him — Trump stood firmly behind his embattled nominee, accusing Democrats of working hard to “destroy a wonderful man.”

The claims, dating back to the conservative judge’s high school and college days, threaten to derail what was seen as an all-but-certain confirmation to the lifelong post on the top court.

Instead, he now faces an explosive Senate showdown against the first of his accusers, university professor Christine Blasey Ford, who is set to testify against him Thursday.

With his future and reputation on the line, Kavanaugh stepped up his defense, saying “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not ever. I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect.”

He also sought to present an image of himself as a strait-laced student devoted to his studies and sports and declared he was a virgin for much of his youth, apparently as a strategy of defense.

“I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter,” he told Fox News, appearing alongside his wife Ashley ahead of his own Senate testimony due after Ford’s.

“I’m not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process,” he added, repeatedly calling for a “fair process.”

Trump later tweeted to throw his full weight behind his candidate.

“The Democrats are working hard to destroy a wonderful man, and a man who has the potential to be one of our greatest Supreme Court Justices ever, with an array of False Accusations the likes of which have never been seen before!”

Second accuser

After a dramatic weeklong standoff, Kavanaugh’s accuser Ford finally committed Sunday to be questioned in a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is weighing Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Ford alleges that a drunken Kavanaugh and another boy shut her in a room and tried to tear her clothes off at a high school beer party in suburban Washington around 1982 when she was 15 and he 17.

Just hours later, The New Yorker dropped a new bombshell, reporting that a second woman was accusing the Washington appeals court judge of sexual misconduct, while they were students at Yale University around 1983-84.

Deborah Ramirez, 53, says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a party, thrusting his genitals in her face and causing her to touch them without her consent, according to the magazine.

The allegations stand to derail a nomination that Republicans see as crucial to gain conservative control of the high court for years.

They could also play decisively in the November midterm elections, where Republican control of both houses of Congress is under threat.

With emotions running high, dozens of protesters were removed from the US Capitol for unlawfully demonstrating against the judge’s confirmation.

A spokesperson for the Time’s Up movement later issued a statement calling for Kavanaugh to withdraw: “His confirmation would compromise the integrity of the court for generations to come,” he said.

Lack of witnesses

Kavanaugh’s approval was only two weeks ago considered a done deal, with all Republicans in the narrowly divided Senate appearing set to back him.

But the allegations have left some Republican senators — especially two women who have spoken out in the past about sexual abuse of women — under pressure to weigh the accusers’ stories.

The year-old #MeToo movement against sexual harassment also has politicians wary of angering women voters.

Yet Trump’s defiant stance could also stir his Republican base to head to the polls in November, frustrated at what many see as a cynical attempt to sink a qualified nominee.

Kavanaugh argues that no witnesses have yet come forward to corroborate either woman’s account. Both accusers have acknowledged memory lapses, which could weaken their claims.

Democrats say that is all the more reason to halt the nomination process and let the FBI, which carries out background investigations for candidates to high positions, investigate them.

“There is only one way to get to the bottom of these allegations against Judge Kavanaugh and prevent the nation from being thrown into further turmoil: an independent background check investigation by the FBI,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, the senior Democrat in the Senate.

 

AFP

Pope Accepts Resignations Of More Chilean Bishops

 

Pope Francis Friday accepted the resignations of two more bishops from Chile, which is investigating cases of sexual abuse by the clergy, the Vatican said.

Chilean prosecutors said last month they were looking into 119 cases related to the sexual abuse of minors since 1960, adding that 167 bishops, priests and lay members of the Catholic Church were being investigated.

AFP

Pope Accepts Resignation Of Two More Chilean Bishops After Sex Scandal

Pope Francis In 10 Quotes
FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis gestures during a news conference. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

 

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of two more Chilean bishops following a child sex abuse scandal that has gripped the Latin American nation.

The Vatican announced the resignation of the bishop of Rancagua, 78-year-old Alejandro Goic Karmelic and the bishop of Talca, Horacio del Carmen Valenzuela Abarca, 64.

Several senior members of Chile’s Catholic Church are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by paedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

The entire Chilean delegation of bishops tendered its resignation to the pope in May after a series of meetings at the Vatican.

Earlier this month, Francis accepted the resignation of three Chilean bishops, including the controversial Juan Barros who Karadima’s victims accuse of covering up wrongdoing.

The pontiff himself became mired in the scandal when, during a trip to Chile in January, he defended Barros. However the pope later apologised to Karadima’s victims accuse of covering up wrongdoing.

The pontiff himself became mired in the scandal when, during a trip to Chile in January, he defended Barros. However the pope later apologised to Karadima’s victims and said he had made “grave mistakes”.

AFP

Senate Sets Up Committee To Investigate OAU ‘Sex Scandal’

OAU ASUU Crisis Deepens As Breakaway Group Alleges Corruption
File photo of the entrance to the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) campus in Ile Ife, Osun State.

 

The Senate on Wednesday ordered for an investigation to be conducted into the case of alleged sexual harassment at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

A postgraduate student of the institution, Monica Osagie had accused a lecturer at the Accounting Department, Professor Richard Akindele of demanding sex from her, sex for marks.

The Senate during plenary on Wednesday passed a motion on the growing trend of sexual harassment in higher institutions of learning, with a spotlight on the case of Monica Osagie.

The motion moved by Senator Abiodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti-South) was entitled, ‘The Growing Trend of Sexual Harassment in the Higher Institutions of Learning: The Case of Monica Osagie.’

READ ALSO: Senate To Invite Prisons Boss Over Detention Of Underage Offenders

In its resolution, the Senate mandated its committee on tertiary institutions and judiciary, human rights and legal matters to carry out a full scale investigation on the case of Miss Monica Osagie and the OAU lecturer named in the ‘sex-for-grades’ scandal.

The resolution also observes that Miss Osagie’s experience justified the specificity and target of the sexual harassment in the tertiary institutions bill passed by the Senate in 2016 – and the need to ensure that such perversion is curbed in places of learning.

Senate President Bukola Saraki commended the bravery of Miss Osagie, noting that the Senate would work to ensure that any member of the institution that is culpable would be investigated and thoroughly discipline.

The Senate also asked the joint committee to “invite the OAU authorities to explain the steps they have taken and the outcome of their internal investigation on the matter as well as institutional reviews they have carried out, together with such further proposals aimed at nipping the problem in the bud.”

They also urged the House of Representatives to quickly move to pass the Senate’s bill on Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill, which had been transmitted to the House.

This, the Senate noted will provide a window of solace for victims of these kinds of atrocities across the country in higher institutions of learning.

 

U.S. Governor Resigns Amid Sex Scandal, Finance Probe

Missouri Governor, Eric Greitens has announced his resignation amid a sex scandal that engulfed his administration.

 

Missouri Governor, Eric Greitens — once a rising Republican political star — resigned Tuesday amid expanding investigations of a sex scandal and potential violations of campaign finance laws. 

It was a stunning fall from grace for the military veteran and Rhodes scholar once rumored to be considering an eventual run for the presidency.

The Midwestern US state’s legislature, controlled by the governor’s own party, was in the midst of a special session to consider whether Greitens should be impeached when the governor announced his resignation would be effective Friday evening.

“This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family,” said the defiant governor, who had repeatedly called the investigations against him a “witch hunt,” borrowing a favorite phrase of President Donald Trump.

“I have not broken any laws or committed any offense worthy of this treatment,” he added at a brief news conference, at one point clearly holding back tears.

Greitens’s troubles had mushroomed over revelations of a 2015 extra-marital affair and charges, which he vehemently disputed, that he attempted to blackmail his mistress into silence with a compromising semi-nude photo.

The state legislature’s investigation had expanded to probe potential campaign finance violations, as questions swirled about whether the governor’s campaign illegally coordinated with a non-profit organization to conceal the identity of political donors.

The governor’s decision came after a judge compelled Greitens to release information about A New Missouri and any communications or coordination between the group and his own campaign fund, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

A former Greitens campaign adviser also told a state House investigative committee that the campaign had considered soliciting donations from foreign nationals, according to the newspaper.

‘No end in sight’ 

The former US Navy SEAL and nonprofit founder, who swept into power in the 2016 election, had alienated many in the Midwestern state’s political establishment by casting himself as an outsider and criticizing lawmakers of both parties who disagreed with him.

The 44-year-old married governor was hobbled when an extramarital affair from two years ago became public in January, including allegations that he attempted to coerce his mistress into silence.

Greitens’s mistress, who has not been publicly identified, claimed that he took a photo of her partially nude, bound and blindfolded, without her permission, and threatened to release the photo if the affair became public.

An investigation by a bipartisan state legislative committee found the woman credible and released a report laying out her allegations in great detail.

While admitting to the extramarital affair, Greitens insisted his failings were personal and did not rise to the level of a criminal offense.

He claimed the allegations, and subsequent investigations were the result of entrenched forces wanting to cripple him politically. Greitens repeated that claim Tuesday.

“It’s clear for the forces that oppose us there’s no end in sight. I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love,” the governor said.

AFP

Catholic Church To Help Child Sex Victims In Australia

President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Mark Coleridge

 

The Catholic Church in Australia agreed Wednesday to join a national redress scheme for victims of institutional child sex abuse, declaring that “survivors deserve justice”.

It follows a five-year royal commission detailing thousands of harrowing abuse cases involving Australian churches, orphanages, sporting clubs, youth groups and schools over decades.

That inquiry heard from more than 2,500 survivors of abuse in facilities managed by the Catholic Church and recommended a scheme to support victims with counselling, psychological care and financial payments.

All but one of Australia’s state governments have signed up to the program, which will offer victims up to Aus$150,000 ($113,000) in compensation.

In a major step forward, the Church has become the first non-government institution to join the scheme.

“We support the royal commission’s recommendation for a national redress scheme… and we are keen to participate in it,” Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Mark Coleridge said in a statement.

“Survivors deserve justice and healing and many have bravely come forward to tell their stories.”

In its findings, the royal commission found that Australian institutions “seriously failed” children in their care with tens of thousands sexually assaulted.

It heard horrific testimony during confronting and often emotionally exhausting hearings, with more than 15,000 survivors detailing their claims.

More than 4,000 institutions were accused of abuse.

During the hearings, the commission heard that seven percent of Catholic priests in Australia were accused of abuse between 1950 and 2010, but the allegations were never investigated, with children ignored and even punished when they came forward.

Earlier this month, Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson became one of the highest-ranking church officials in the world to be found guilty of covering up child sex abuse.

Legislation to establish the compensation scheme passed through parliament on Tuesday and is due to come into effect from July 1.

Describing the Catholic Church decision as a “significant development”, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the redress scheme would “continue the process of healing” for survivors.

AFP

Pope Receives Chilean Bishops Over Sex Abuse Scandal

Pope Francis                                                                                                               VINCENZO PINTO / AFP

 

Pope Francis began receiving Chilean bishops at the Vatican on Tuesday in a bid to address a child abuse scandal within the Church in Chile that has come to haunt his papacy.

The 34 bishops, three of whom are already retired, are to hold private and group meetings with the Argentine pontiff between Tuesday and Thursday.

“Firstly, we want to share our pain and shame,” said Bishop Fernando Ramos, a spokesman for the Chilean delegation.

“Pain because there are victims of sex abuse, and shame because these abuses occurred within the Church,” he told reporters.

The visit comes two weeks after Francis held private meetings with three victims of Chilean paedophile priest Fernando Karadima, and promised to adopt “adequate and lasting” measures to stop child sex abuse within the Catholic church.

Karadima was forced into retirement in 2011 after eventually being found by the Holy See to have been a serial abuser of minors during the 1980s and 1990s.

Controversial cardinal Javier Errazuriz, a key advisor to Francis, was also summoned as part of the Chilean delegation at the pontiff’s request.

Errazuriz is accused by Karadima’s victims of ignoring and helping to cover up the abuses committed by Karadima.

Major shakeup? 

In a statement, the Vatican said Francis believed it was “necessary to examine in depth the causes and consequences, as well as the mechanisms that have led, in certain cases, to concealment and serious omissions towards the victims.”

Speaking to reporters, Bishop Ignacio Gonzalez said: “The main focus is the victims, we can always make amends and move towards reconciliation with them.”

The unprecedented summoning of the Chilean delegation is also a chance for Francis to repair some of the damage done during his visit to Chile in January, when his defence of controversial Chilean bishop Juan Barros caused a public outcry.

The pontiff strongly defended Barros, who was also accused of covering up Karadima’s abuses, saying that he was convinced of his innocence and demanding “proof” before he would speak out against him.

He later apologised to the victims, admitting he had made “grave mistakes” after reading a 2,300-page report on the abuse in Chile.

Experts and sources within Chilean church suggested the pope could remove Barros from his duties and set in motion a major shake-up of the church hierarchy within the Latin American nation.

AFP

Oxfam Apologises To Haiti Government Over Sex Scandal

Oxfam Apologises To Haiti Over Sex Scandal
Minister of Planning and External Cooperation, Aviol Fleurant (L), speaks during a meeting with Oxfam Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Simon Ticehurst (C), and Oxfam Intermon Executive Affiliate Unit head, Margalida Massot(2-R), in Port-au-Prince, on February 19, 2018.   HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP

 

Oxfam formally apologised to Haiti Monday over the prostitution scandal rocking the aid charity, expressing its “shame” and vowing to do better as it handed over a damning internal report into the allegations.

Made public earlier in the day, Oxfam’s 2011 report into the behaviour of aid workers sent to Haiti following a devastating earthquake revealed that a former top official admitted to paying for sex and that three staff physically threatened a witness.

“We came here to share the report with the minister and express our shame and apologies to the Haitian government and to the Haitian people,” said Simon Ticehurst, Oxfam’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We’ve taken lots of measures to improve internal safeguarding measures,” he said following a more than two-hour meeting with Haiti’s minister of planning and external cooperation, Aviol Fleurant, who had summoned the charity to explain itself.

Oxfam’s 2011 report, compiled in the year after aid workers were deployed to Haiti, revealed that seven staff were accused of using prostitutes at an Oxfam-funded residence.

Country director Roland Van Hauwermeiren admitted paying for sex and was offered a “phased and dignified exit” of resignation if he cooperated with the inquiry.

‘Physical’ threats

The report also said three Oxfam employees were involved in “physically threatening and intimidating” a witness who spoke to the investigators.

Four staff were fired for gross misconduct and three others, including Van Hauwermeiren, were allowed to quit.

Details of the Haiti scandal surfaced earlier this month and have engulfed Oxfam, drawing widespread condemnation and putting its funding at risk.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday described the matter as “horrific,” adding that “it was far below the standards that we expect for the charities and the NGOs that we’re working with.”

“We will not work with anybody who does not meet the high standards that we set and we believe are important,” May added during a visit to a London school.

The charity has been suspended from bidding for new government funding until it undertakes reforms.

Oxfam has denied trying to cover up the allegations but admitted it could have been more open at the time, saying it was publishing the report “in recognition of the breach of trust that has been caused.”

The Haitian government has expressed outrage and launched its own inquiry.

Haitian President Jovenel Moise tweeted last week that there was “nothing more unworthy or dishonest than a sexual predator who uses his position as part of the humanitarian response to a natural disaster to exploit needy people in their moment of great vulnerability.”

AFP

United States’ First Lady Shuns Cameras In Alleged Trump Affair

US President Donald Trump speaks with doctor Igor Nichiporenko (L) and First Lady Melania Trump while visiting first responders at Broward Health North hospital Pompano Beach, Florida, on February 16, 2018. US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited a Florida hospital to offer their respects to the victims of a mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at a nearby high school.
JIM WATSON / AFP

 

 

US First Lady Melania Trump on Friday chose not to leave the White House with her husband as planned to catch a flight to Florida after a second woman claimed she had an affair with the now president.

The 47-year-old Slovenian-born model skipped the helicopter ride from the White House to Joint Base Andrews, deciding instead to take the longer motorcade on her own to meet Donald for the flight to the Sunshine State for a long holiday weekend.

Reporters traveling with Trump were prevented from seeing the First Lady arrive on the plane, but she did exit the plane at West Palm Beach with Trump.

The pair walked down the stairs together, Melania in dark sunglasses, but she did not smile.

The flight came just hours after former Playboy model Karen McDougal claimed she and Trump had a sexual relationship in 2006, months after Melania Trump gave birth to the president’s youngest son Barron.

McDougal also described complex legal and financial agreements that were used in an alleged bid to cover it up.

The White House did not reply to a request for comment. But in a statement to The New Yorker, an unnamed spokesperson said the president had denied having a relationship with McDougal, calling the claims “fake news.”

And the first lady’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham tried to pour cold water on any speculation about the first couple’s relationship, saying: “”With her schedule, it was easier to meet him on the plane.”

Deal with a tabloid 

According to The New Yorker, the nine-month relationship between Trump and McDougal ended quietly, but years later — during the 2016 presidential campaign — she sold her story.

The New Yorker reported that on August 5, 2016, McDougal agreed to give the company which owns the National Inquirer tabloid exclusive rights over “any romantic, personal, or physical relationship she has ever had with any ‘then-married man.'”

The deal is alleged to have been worth $150,000, but the story never ran.

“I’m the one who took it, so it’s my fault, too. But I didn’t understand the full parameters of it,” McDougal told The New Yorker of the alleged payment.

The National Enquirer is owned by David Pecker, who has claimed to be a friend of Trump’s. The tabloid endorsed Trump’s bid for the presidency.

In a statement, the tabloid’s owner, AMI, said that the suggestion that it “engages in any practice that would allow it to hold influence over the President of the United States is laughable.”

The model’s story strongly echoes allegations of an affair between Trump and the porn star Stephanie Clifford — known as Stormy Daniels — during the same period.

In that case, the president’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 but refused to say why.

After that admission, Daniels’ agent has said she feels free to speak out.

“Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story,” manager Gina Rodriguez told US media.

‘Lawful’ payment to porn star 

Good governance groups believe that Cohen’s payment could constitute a campaign donation and breach election financial rules.

Cohen has refused to say why he paid Daniels the vast sum but he claims he was not reimbursed by the “Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign.”

“The payment to Ms Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone,” Cohen said.

Trump declined to comment on the issue. The White House has dodged questions about whether allegations of an affair are true, claiming the matter was dealt with during the campaign.

Last month, celebrity magazine In Touch published a 2011 interview with Daniels in which she details having “textbook generic” sex with Trump.

She recalled meeting Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006, shortly after Melania gave birth to Barron.

AFP