According to a report from CBC News, Scouts Canada has signed confidentiality agreements with more than a dozen child sex-abuse victims, thereby protecting criminals from media attention.
Not only are the victims paid to be silenced, many of the agreements include a clause which prevents them for revealing what they were paid to keep quiet -- or the fact that a settlement even exists. Some settlements were estimated at $200,000.
It's a sick irony that such abuses took place in an organization like the Scouts whose core message, says London, Ont. lawyer, Rob Talach, “and core objective in society is a morally positive one.”
CBC’s investigative unit revealed a total of 24 lawsuits filed against Scouts Canada since 1995, of which 13 plaintiffs reportedly signed confidentiality agreements.
Similar settlements occurred within the pedophile ring exposed in the Roman Catholic diocese in Cornwall, Ont.
What's the price of keeping quiet? In child sex abuse cases, victims are largely invalidated. According to a victim who spoke anonymously, Scouts Canada never admitted responsibility.
“Scouts Canada was interested in minimizing the financial cost to them and to making sure that nobody else ever found out about it.”
Another plaintiff claimed the confidentiality clause was "extremely frustrating” since the instinct was "to get on a hill and just shout it out.”
Indeed, keeping quiet further victimizes victims and most likely prevents full healing. The CBC likened the victims' silence to being "muzzled."
Mark Johnston broke his agreement to speak out about the settlements.
“How can you make sure people are aware that this kind of stuff can happen if you don’t talk about it?” asked Johnston. “If you remain totally silent, then it’s just going to happen again.”
The world needs more Mark Johnston's to show powerful 'corporations' like the Scouts and the Roman Catholic Church that you can't buy your way out of everything.
He's not the first musician to go from the stage into the kitchen, but old-time rocker Jon Bon Jovi swears that his desire to open a restaurant in his native New Jersey wasn't driven by culinary aspirations, but magnanimous ones.
“I'm not someone who's interested in food or good at preparing meals,” says Mr Jovi. “I'm more of a dishwasher. I love to wash dishes.” A comedian, too, apparently.
At Soul Kitchen, there are no prices on the menu. When you order the Garden State Gumbo or the BBQ grilled salmon, reports the Wall Street Journal, you simply pay what you want -- you pay what you can. A just dessert in these mean times.
While the reno'ed 1,100-square-foot former auto-body shop is sure to welcome its doors to celebrity traffic following its recent opening, let's hope it survives beyond the early hype.
"At a time when 1 in 5 households are living at or below the poverty level, and at a time when 1 out of 6 Americans are food insecure, this is a restaurant whose time has come," says Bon Jovi. "This is a place based on and built on community – by and for the community.”
If Bon Jovi is better behind the microphone than he is at the stove, he's in safe hands. His personal chef, Zeet Peabody, is standing in, while food has (for the time being) been donated by Whole Foods. Patrons can accrue meals via volunteered hours at the restaurant, or they can donate the cost of the meal to help sustain the JBJ Soul Foundation.
The idea of a charity restaurant is not a new one. Bon Jovi was reportedly inspired by successful pay-what-you can eateries in Denver and Salt Lake City.
Do you think this concept would fly north of the border? Celine, spare a Nickel...
Sesame Street is in the news again, after several of its YouTube videos were swapped with pornographic material.
A hacker known only as Mredxwx, whose account was likely hijacked, posted the message: "Who doesn't like porn, kids?"
Fortunately the videos were removed within 20 minutes of the problem being spotted.
Google, which owns YouTube, maintained that its "Community Guidelines prohibit graphic content. As always, we remove inappropriate material as soon as we are made aware of it."
Good thing, because with more than 140,000 subscribers, videos of the American children's show have been watched almost half a billion times.
It is not the first time YouTube videos intended for kids have hacked and replaced with pornographic material.
In May 2010 the site deleted hundreds of children's videos mixed with adult material, including the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana.
Sigh. Yet another site for parents to watchdog.