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Vox Sentences: The Catholic sex abuse reckoning continues in Pennsylvania

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Catholic priests in Pennsylvania are accused of child sexual abuse dating back 80 years; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces the Jerusalem Consulate’s merge with the US Embassy in Israel.

Spotlight on Pennsylvania’s Catholic Church

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
  • The US Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, a pattern of behavior that allegedly dates back to the late 1940s. [AP / Maryclaire Dale and Eric Tucker]
  • So far, US authorities have subpoenaed at least three Catholic dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as part of the probe. It comes a few months after a scathing grand jury report on Pennsylvania priests. [CNN / Daniel Burke and Rosa Flores]
  • The report includes an appendix of 301 “predator priests” in six dioceses across the state, who have allegedly sexually abused more than 1,000 children since 1947. Most of the victims are said to be boys, many of whom were prepubescent at the time of the abuse. [Washington Post]
  • The accused dioceses serve more than half of the state’s 3.2 million Catholic followers. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro previously said no state charges could be filed because of statutes of limitation. [CBS Philly]
  • In the meantime, advocacy groups for abuse victims, like Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, have been ramping up calls for a federal investigation ever since the report was released in August. [Religion News / Jack Jenkins]
  • The issue of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests was brought to national light in 2002 following a series of publications by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, which led to the criminal prosecutions of five priests from the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. [Boston Globe]

A merger in the Middle East

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the US will merge its Jerusalem Consulate, which serves as an unofficial embassy to the Palestinians, with the new embassy in Israel, following his visit to the Middle East. [Reuters / Doina Chiacu]
  • According to Pompeo’s statement, the move will achieve diplomatic efficiency and is not intended to “signal a change of US policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.” [Guardian / Oliver Holmes]
  • Palestine immediately decried the move, saying it will wrap Palestinian affairs into the US-Israel relationship, diminish Palestinian authorities’ diplomatic status and negotiation abilities, and bring the entire West Bank under Israeli sovereignty. [Times of Israel / Alexander Fulbright]
  • The status of Jerusalem, home to many religions’ holy sites, is a hotly contested issue in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Palestinian officials have cut ties with the US after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year and moved the US Embassy there. [Al Jazeera]


  • A group of 450 Amazon employees have protested against the company for selling facial recognition software to the police. [Fox News / Christopher Carbone]
  • Banksy’s Girl With Balloon, which recently became the most expensive piece of performance art sold at an auction, was meant to be shredded completely, according to a video Banksy uploaded on YouTube. [Engadget / Rachel England]
  • Thanks to the internet, an English high school teacher reinvented the way she commented on her students’ papers, by leaving behind not written notes but stickers of different memes. [Twitter / Ainee F.]
  • Following a petition, NBA star and Academy Award winner Kobe Bryant has been removed from a film festival jury over a 2003 rape allegation. [Washington Post / Cindy Boren]


“You’re welcome, Naomi.” [After tennis champion Naomi Osaka revealed to Ellen DeGeneres that her celebrity crush is Michael B. Jordan, a Twitter thread found the Creed II star, who then proceeded to tweet Osaka a shirtless pic and invite her to the film’s premiere / Twitter]

Watch this: Why gamers use WASD to move

First-person shooters mean WASD. The history of the keyboard default involves a gaming legend and the start of a new era in games. [YouTube / Phil Edwards]

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