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An ex-Jehovah’s Witness says she was raped at 5 — and forced to hug her rapist to ‘keep the peace’

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It should come as no surprise that the Catholic Church is not the only insular religious institution that would allow child sex abuse to go unchecked for decades — or that when the stories come to light, the leadership seems to care more about protecting the abusers than helping the victims.

A story published by the Philadelphia Inquirer today describes how three years after a Center for Investigative Reporting expose revealed tales of widespread sex crimes in the organization, its leadership denied them.

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Stephen Lett, head of the small governing body that oversees the Witnesses, appeared on video in 2015 to undermine the accusers, urging his followers to reject “false stories” and painting the accusations as religious discrimination.

“As an example, think about the apostate-driven lies and dishonesties that Jehovah’s organization is permissive toward pedophiles,” Lett said, according to the Inquirer. “I mean, that is ridiculous, isn’t it? If anyone takes action against someone who would threaten our young ones, and takes action to protect our young ones, it is Jehovah’s organization.”

As the Inquirer report indicates, however, Lett was well aware of the mishandling of abuse—long before his public denial.

Twenty-nine-year-old Chessa Manion says that when she was just 5 when she was raped by a 14-year-old neighbor, whose family were also Jehovah’s witnesses. A doctor confirmed her parents’ fears and told them they had to go to the authorities.

Her mom said the powerful members of the congregation pressured her into not reporting the crime.

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“There were friends of both families that felt if we would just make peace with this and each other that we wouldn’t have to go to the authorities,” she said in a recent interview.

Marion tells the Inquirer that she was forced to hug her rapist. “I was made to hug him,” she said, “because the elders told our families that we needed to keep the peace.”

“My parents received a lot of opposition, even though I was only 5,” Chessa said. “I was marked as ‘dirty.’ ”

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In 2002, Manion’s father sent a letter to Lett describing their ordeal.

“Most of the people we have told over the years have shunned us,” he wrote. “Some even thought and said openly to others that we must have done something to deserve this.”

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2020 Election

Intel official who briefed lawmakers on latest Russian meddling targeted for ouster by Trump White House: CNN

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During a discussion on the war on the intelligence community being waged by the Donald Trump's White House, CNN host Victor Blackwell stated that sources speaking with the network stated that the intel official who briefed lawmakers for both parties on new efforts by Russia to meddle in U.S. elections could be on the way out.

Speaking with contributor Lynn Sweet, Blackwell asked about the so-called "purge" being conducted by the White House.

"It sends the signal once again that President Trump is not a respecter of the United States intelligence services with the bigger issue that a permanent director has not been in that office since last summer when Dan Coates was forced out," Sweet explained. "This is a key position, subject to Senate confirmation and Trump hasn't seen fit to have a permanent director for months now."

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2020 Election

Trump’s latest national security adviser is undercutting FBI Director Wray to quash report of new Russian meddling: report

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In a scorching column for the Daily Beast, historian David Rothkopf accused Donald Trump's latest national security director, Robert O'Brien, of undercutting the United States intelligence services and uses his comments about recent reports of new Russian election meddling to make the case that he is contradicting FBI Director Christopher Wray to please the president.

According to Rothkopf, "For just over a century, since America arrived as a major force on the global stage, we have feared that should our enemies defeat us, it would be on the battlefield or via a devastating nuclear onslaught. We never could have imagined that an enemy might take another approach altogether: infecting us with a presidential virus who this week gutted our national security leadership structures like a fish."

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Decoding the Christian paradox: Evangelical historian explains how right-wingers ignore Jesus to support a corrupt and greedy president

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To quote the bumper sticker: "What would Jesus do?"

Assuming that he existed and held the views imputed to him, Jesus Christ would not support Donald Trump.

Donald Trump's behavior, values, policies and their consequences are the opposite of what Jesus Christ represented. Trump has put migrants and refugees in cages and delighted in their suffering. He feels contempt for the poor, the sick, the vulnerable and the needy. He has lied at least 16,000 times. He is corrupt and wildly greedy.

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