Monthly Archives: April 2008

Pope Benedict Meets with 5 Sex Abuse Survivors

The Pope has conceded and met with 5 victims of Catholic priest sex abuse. Attorney Robert Bennett, a member of the National Review Board admitted on Chris Matthews’ Hardball that the bishops had screwed up and didn’t handle the crisis. According to him, they handled the priest abuse crisis as if they were risk managers for an insurance company rather than as pastors of souls! This is a step in the right direction. We need to hold their feet to the fire and force them to move from words to actions. This may be an opportunity for real healing. However, the old axiom still applies, “Verify, verify, verify!”

Pope Benedict and Sex Abuse

Safely esconced on his Alitalia jet bound for the United States, Pope Benedict XVI told reporters of his shame concerning the priest abuse. In discussing the abuse, the pontiff feigned disbelief over how such a tragedy could have occurred in his church.
Of course, Benedict, in making his brief remarks, hoped to placate the thousands of abuse victims and their advocates. He’d throw them a token apology or explanation and be done with the whole business. But, when lives have been destroyed action is required not mere words. Yet this pope, like his predecessor, is unwilling to act. Benedict appears to be above it all as if he’s flying over a Hurricane Katrina surveying the damage. In reality, Benedict was Pope John Paul’s chief lieutenant and had inside knowlege of what was transpiring with Boston and Cardinal Law. He knew about Cardinal Mahony and his shenanigans. It’ll be hard for him to stay “above it all” with his kind of knowlege.

Raytheon Toxic Waste Plume Contamination In St Petersburg Florida Ground Water Pollution Class Action Lawsuit

The three chemicals found to be in a plume running underground in the Azalea neighborhood of St. Petersburg are toxic and may pose serious health risks to those exposed to the toxins.
Vinyl chloride, 1,4-dioxane, and TCE (Trichloroethylene) are all considered hazardous to human health. Under certain circumstances, exposure to such chemicals can be fatal.

Raytheon’s St. Petersburg plant, located at 1501 72nd St. North, inherited the toxic chemical problem from the plant’s former owner E Systems. E Systems has said that it notified local residents of the problem in 1999 but according to a report released this week, the hazard has spread into the Azalea neighborhood, a half mile from the Raytheon plant.
Both Raytheon and the DEP have said that there is no cause for alarm since the groundwater is not used for drinking. The residents in the Azalea neighborhood obtain their drinking water from the city of St. Petersburg.
Yet, many Azalea residents have their own private irrigation wells which may be a source of exposure according to University of South Florida professor Jeffrey Cunningham who specializes in soil and ground water contamination cleanup. Cunningham told WFLA that,
“People who have their own irrigation well who are pulling up water to water their lawns – that’s when there becomes a health risk because there’s a route by which people might become exposed by those hazardous chemicals in the groundwater.”
One of the wells tested in the neighborhood showed samples of dioxane at 30 times the level that is considered safe. According to Professor Cunningham, the fact that Raytheon’s wells yielded high levels of the three toxins shows there may be a health hazard.
“If that plume is there, it certainly appears to me there’s a significant hazard,” Cunningham stated.

Class Action Lawsuit Information Website
Raytheon Toxic Waste Plume Class Action Water Pollution And Contamination Lawsuit St Petersburg Florida Toxic Waste Lawyer Chemical Attorney Irrigation Well

Priest Sex Abuse Lawyer , Vows of Silence Jason Berry’s

Jason Berry, the renowned Catholic journalist who wrote a groundbreaking investigative report on a priest abuser in New Orleans in 1985, hoped that his findings would lead to reform in the Catholic Church. He has made his book Vows of Silence into a movie. The DVD is now available. It chronicles the history of one of Pope John Paul II’s favorite priest, Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order for clergy, and Regnum Christi, a religious movement for both clergy and laypeople. Maciel was a prolific fundraiser who had for years been accused of sexual abuse. The film documents the church’s coverup as well as the priest’s predatory trail of seeking out and abusing young men aspiring to the priesthood. While John Paul refused to investigate the allegations, then Cardinal Ratzinger took up the investigation. Unfortunately, he didn’t follow through, citing Maciel’s age.
Berry interviewed former members of the order and used the Maciel saga as a metaphor for the larger sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Berry rightly points out that the real culprit in the priest sex abuse crisis are the bishops who are not held accountable for their refusal to act against priests who abuse children.
You can purchase the documentary by visiting this website:

Heparin Deaths Climb to 62 in U.S.

The FDA is now estimating that heparin deaths in the United States has climbed to 62. The majority of these deaths have been reported in the last 3-4 months. The drug agency defined suspicious deaths as those involving one or more allergic reactions or a drop in blood pressure. Since Baxter International recalled its heparin in late February, there have been no reported deaths.
The contaminant linked to the deaths, oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, mimics heparin and is cheaper to produce. This has led some to speculate that the contaminant was intentionally added to the heparin to cut manufacturing costs. However, the FDA nor the Chinese government have made any definitive ruling. Interestingly, other than counterfeiters and the possibility of an accident, no other explanations for the contaminant have been offered.
Heparin Side Effects Lawyer

In Wake of Pope’s Visit, Sex Abuse Lawsuits and Settlements Continue

Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in the United States next week to visit the Catholic faithful. He’s already announced that he won’t speak about the priest sex abuse crisis. Yet, the facts of the sex abuse scandal can not be ignored. Just this week, an Indiana appeals court has allowed a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to proceed in spite of the fact that the sex abuse occurred more than 20 years ago. The judge ruled in favor of the abuse victim in a 2 page decision.
In a case I’ve filed on behalf of a victim in Orlando, the judge has ruled that the Diocese of Gary must turn over the internal church files concerning Fr. Richard Emerson, the priest abuser in question. The documents include letters from then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) to the Bishop of Gary about this perp priest. Ratzinger was in charge of the laicization of abusive priests prior to becoming pope.
In other abuse news, sexual abuse lawsuits have been settled in the last week against the Archdiocese of Denver. In the past month, I settled a case against the Diocese of St. Augustine in which my client was abused more than 50 years ago. We filed suit and were prepared to take the Diocese to trial if necessary.
So, Benedict is coming to the United States. If he wants to pretend the abuse crisis is over, we can’t change his thinking. But, the reality speaks volumes. Victims are coming forward. They are taking their lives back by speaking out and seeking justice. They’re becoming survivors rather than victims. It’s a shame Benedict can’t celebrate that good news.

St. Petersburg Neighborhood Raise Concerns about Ground Water Contamination

After a News Channel 8 and Tampa Tribune report revealed groundwater contamination in the Azalea neighborhood of St. Petersburg. Over 100 neighborhood residents gathered to discuss their concerns about the contamination linked to the large defense plant Raytheon. The residents wanted to know whether the groundwater contamination would affect their health or their property values.
The news investigation found a groundwater plume containing vinyl chloride, TCE and dioxane. According to the St. Petersburg Times, neither Raytheon or the Florida Department of Environmental Protection notified Azalea homeowners about the potential problem. Raytheon has been under a consent order since 1995 to investigation the extent of the problem.

Genzyme Recalls Transplant Drug

Genzyme Corporation has voluntarily recalled three lots of Thymoglobulin, a drug used in renal transplants. No other information about safety issues or potential adverse effects was available at the time the company released the recall news. The FDA has instructed Thymoglobulin customers to discontinue use of the affected lots and return them to Genzyme. The following information about the affected vials was posted on the FDA website:
Anti-thymocyte Globulin (Rabbit) 25 mg/vial
NDC # 58468-0080-1
Lot Numbers: C7014C01 (Expires May 31, 2010)
C7008C01 (Expires March 31, 2010)
TH175-05 (Expires October 4, 2009)
The transplant drug has been recalled because the drug was found to have a different appearance when it was reconstituted into solution form.

Heparin Death Count Triples

The FDA has tripled the deaths attributed to contaminated heparin since January 2007. The agency was quick to point out that these are not new deaths but the increase is attributable to expanded anlayis of the heparin recall data as well as new reports linking deaths to the bad heparin.
Heparin, manufactured from pig intestines, is widely used as a blood thinning drug and has been the subject of recalls in the United States as well as Europe.
Yesterday, the FDA issued a letter to medical device manufacturers to check the sources of heparin used in their products such as heart stents. Some vascular stents and grafts, as well as devices used in pulmonary bypass and in-vitro diagnostic procedures, are coated with heparin.
Baxter International, a German company and one of the largest suppliers of heparin issued the recall after reports of sickness and death were linked to the blood thinning drug. Thus far, 19 of the 103 deaths may be linked to Baxter’s heparin supply. The source of the contamination appears to be located in China. The FDA has not determined if the contaminant was accidentally or intentionally introduced into the contaminated heparin.

FDA Sends Avandia Warning Letter

Calling company violations “serious”, the FDA issued a sharply worded warning letter to the manufacturer of the diabetes drug Avandia for failing to file reports concerning clinical trials of the drug. The FDA ordered Glaxo Smith Kline to take immediate action to prevent future transactions.
The clinical trial reports are used by the FDA to quickly spot potential safety issues with drugs during their clinical stage. Avandia has been under intensified scrutiny since last year when the drug was associated with higher risk of heart attacks than oral diabetes medicines or placebos. Last November, the FDA ordered the black box warning to be placed on the diabetes drug.