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Delayed Justice: 3 States In US Remove All Time Limits On Child S3x Abuse Lawsuits

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Ann Allen loved going to church and the after-school social group led by a dynamic priest back in the 1960s.

The giggling fun with friends always ended with a game of hide and seek. Each week, the Rev. Lawrence Sabatino chose one girl to hide with him. Allen said when it was her turn, she was sxually assaulted, at age 7, in the recesses of St. Peter’s Catholic Church.

“I don’t remember how I got out of that cellar and I don’t think I ever will. But I remember it like it’s yesterday. I remember the smells. The sounds. I remember what he said, and what he did,” she said.

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Allen, 64, is one of more than two dozen people who have sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine, over the past year, seeking delayed justice since lawmakers allowed lawsuits for abuse that happened long ago and can’t be pursued in criminal courts either because of time limits or evidence diminishing over time.

More survivors are pursuing cases as states increasingly consider repealing time limits for child sex crime lawsuits. Vermont was the first state to remove the limits in 2019, followed by Maine in 2021 and Maryland this year.

Michigan, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are poised to take action before their legislative sessions end.

“The momentum is irreversible,” said Marci Hamilton, CEO of CHILD USA, a think tank aiming to prevent child abuse and neglect.

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In April, Maryland lifted time limits on child sexual abuse lawsuits against institutions less than a week after the attorney general detailed decades of abuse of more than 600 children by over 150 priests associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Other states, meanwhile, have briefly removed the statute of limitations on lawsuits for childhood abuse. More than 10,000 lawsuits were filed when New York set aside time limits for two years.

Across the country, those lawsuits have targeted churches, summer camps, scout groups and other institutions accused of enabling pedophiles or turning a blind eye to wrongdoing.

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More states eliminating the limits would help achieve justice and prevention, according to advocates who say survivors tend to keep the trauma to themselves, backed by new research suggesting survivors typically come forward in their 50s.

“More and more people come forward as they realize that they’re not alone,” said Michael Bigos, one of Allen’s attorneys, whose law firm has brought 25 lawsuits since last June and is evaluating more than 100 additional potential cases, including about 65 targeting the Portland diocese.

In his law offices, Allen looked at a photo of herself at her first communion at St. Peter’s, which serves what was once Portland’s Little Italy neighborhood and hosts a popular street party each summer.

The photo was taken after the assault. Her joy and exuberance are gone. “When I look at it, I see a pretty damaged child,” she said.

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Sabatino quickly became part of the fabric of St. Peter’s when he arrived in 1958 after leaving another church where parents reported to police that he had sexually abused their 6-year-old daughter. The priest was warned by the Diocese of Portland not to engage with children or play games, but was soon doing both.

Parishioners, including Ann Allen’s family, invited him into their homes. He visited her family’s beach house.

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Allen thought she was lucky when she was selected to hide with him. But the abuse became a dark secret she carried for decades.

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She never considered telling her parents. Allen said she didn’t think anyone would believe her.

“School principal in California, Allen was protective of children, especially those who reported abuse. She would try to help them and say right things — things she wished had been done for her. Then, she went home to “curl up in a ball,” she said.

But her secret came bubbling back when she returned to Maine and had to confront her past, she said.

Robert Dupuis tells a similar story.

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He was 12 years old in 1961 when he was abused by the Rev. John Curran in Old Town, a riverside city in Maine. Decades later, he sought help from Alcoholic’s Anonymous when his marriage was in jeopardy. He acknowledged the abuse in group therapy, at around age 55, and the revelation changed his life.

“It healed me and it freed me from holding back,” the 74-year-old said.

His marriage and friendships have improved, he said. Now, he encourages others who have been abused to come forward.

Most of Maine’s newly filed civil lawsuits target the Diocese of Portland, accusing leaders of ignoring accusations against priests like Sabatino and Curran, or simply moving them to new parishes, allowing the abuse to continue.

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Diocese officials concluded that allegations against Sabatino and Curran were credible. Both have long since died.

Maine removed its time limits in 2000 to sue over childhood sexual abuse, but not retroactively, leaving survivors without recourse for older cases. Changes in 2021 allowed previously expired civil claims. The Legislature also is considering easing the statute of limitations on criminal charges for sexual assaults of children.

The Portland diocese contends survivors had ample time to sue and it’s unconstitutional to open the door to new litigation, which could lead to requests for damages of “tens of millions of dollars.”

A judge rejected the arguments. The diocese has appealed to the state supreme court. An attorney and a spokesperson for the diocese both declined comment.

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For Patricia Butkowski, it was 1958 when her family alerted police that she said Sabatino assaulted her at a parish in Lewiston. After the diocese transferred him to Portland, Allen and others became victims.

I’m now at 70 feeling emotions and allowing myself to feel emotions that I never knew I had. Anger is at the top of it. I’m like a volcano spewing and there’s just so many emotions, and anger at the church,” she said.

Butkowski, who now lives in Oklahoma City, wants the church to apologize and acknowledge the wrongs done to her and others so she can “hopefully regain some sort of faith before I die,” she said.

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“What was done to me by the priest damaged my soul,” she said. “I don’t have a soul anymore. It’s broken.”

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17-year-old Nigerian Offered Full Scholarships To Study Software Engineering

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A 17-year-old student, Emmanuela Ilok, has reportedly been awarded full scholarships to study Software Engineering by some of the world’s prestigious universities, including Stanford, MIT, Yale, UPenn, Princeton, and Columbia.

Education activist and CEO of Educare, Alex Onyia, shared Ilok’s accomplishments in a post on his X page on Sunday.

This is Emmanuela Ilok, the brilliant 17-year-old who received full scholarships to study Software Engineering at Stanford, MIT, Yale, UPenn, Princeton, and Columbia University,” Onyia wrote.

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According to him, Ilok’s academic prowess has already garnered national recognition, as she was awarded the country’s best in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education in Nigeria by the British Council.

Onyia also noted that Ilok developed software that uses Machine Learning to detect breast cancer in women, with an impressive 91% detection accuracy.

He wrote, “She built a software that uses Machine Learning to detect breast cancer in women and so far it has 91% detection accuracy.”

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Onyia, who hosted a virtual meeting for Ilok to speak with Nigerian students and guide them on how to prepare for and access such opportunities on Sunday, was left awestruck by her potential.

I spent over an hour listening to her today, and I can tell you that we have a superstar in her,” he said.

Onyia further emphasised the need to identify and nurture such exceptional talents, stating, “We have many hidden Emmanuelas in Nigeria, and we need to discover and support them. It’s time for Nigeria to shine.”

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Earlier, a young mathematics prodigy, Ugwoezuonu Ogechi Zara, was reportedly awarded an N21 million scholarship after scoring a perfect score of 100% in the primary category of the National Mathematics Competition organised by the Mathematics Association of Nigeria.

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Why I Relocated To US With My Family — Pastor Sam Adeyemi

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Founder and Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Sam Adeyemi, has revealed the reasons behind his relocation to the United States.

He said this during a virtual interview with Seun Okinbaloye on his programme ‘Mic On’ podcast, where the duo discussed Leadership Beyond Governance Politics and the Role of the Younger Generation in Nigeria.

The video, lasting one hour, thirty minutes, and forty-seven seconds, was streamed on the Mic On YouTube channel on Sunday.

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Earlier this year, Adeyemi explained why the older generations of Nigerians must put their act together and make Nigeria work.

He said it was important for the older generations, including the political and religious leaders, to retrace their steps and get the country working because the younger generation would soon begin asking questions.

Adeyemi revealed that COVID-19, EndSARS protests, and, notably, troubling dreams about Nigeria, prompted the relocation.

He said, “When COVID-19 started, all our children were in the US, so everyone stayed with their families. We stayed with our children. The week services resumed was when EndSARS started, so we were preparing to return to Nigeria.

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“When the EndSARS protests ended in violence, we stayed back a bit. When we were ready to return to Nigeria, a different experience altogether happened.

“My wife had a dream in which she travelled to Nigeria and returned to the US, which was a bad dream. I told her I wouldn’t say I liked this dream.

“Three days later, I had a dream. We both travelled to Nigeria in my dream, and I was in a big fight. I was being attacked violently, and I had to ask the Holy Spirit in my heart what to do.

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“He said I should call the name of Jesus Christ. I shouted ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’ in the dream and didn’t realise I shouted out loud in real life.”

The gospel preacher and motivational speaker, who hails from Kogi State but was born in Niger State added that whenever they plan to return to the country, a bad dream brings a setback.

“My wife woke me up at 2:00 a.m. by hitting me and asking what was going on. We decided to take it seriously, especially considering a dream we had three days earlier.

“We prayed fervently, sensing danger. Three hours later, I fell back asleep and had another dream. We were in Nigeria this time, and I was in a fight,” he added.

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The president of Success Power International, an NGO that specialises in organising leadership, financial, and motivational seminars, revealed that whenever they (he and his wife) set dates and booked flights to return to Nigeria, he would have a bad dream about something terrible happening to him there (Nigeria).

He further stated that he had never experienced two dreams about the same event in one night.

“A few days later, we called family members in Nigeria, and one person said, ‘I’m feeling very uncomfortable about you travelling to Nigeria.’ We called another family member who said, ‘I feel uncomfortable about you coming. What is going on?’ We just turned and looked at each other, pondering the situation. Then I said, ‘You know what? I’ve been a Christian for 40 years.’

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“At this point, if God is speaking to me, I should have an idea that it is God speaking. Something is going on. I don’t know what it is, but I want to pray more.

“And at that point, we called a meeting of all the leaders in Daystar Christian Centre—the top 120 leaders on Zoom.”

The President of Success Power International noted that he informed the elders of Daystar about the situation, and they agreed to keep the church running.

“They said you’ve never deceived us before. If God asks you to stay, stay as long as He directs. We’ll continue this journey,” he asserted.

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The host of the radio and television ‘Success Power’ programme heard and seen in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East said he and his wife stayed in the US after the church leaders’ Zoom meeting.

Six months later, we were still in the US for one year, tearing me apart. I discovered that, until COVID-19, I’d been out of Nigeria for eight weeks. To now be away when you had the church with 40,000 members,” he noted.

He added that the experience in the US highlighted Daystar’s strengths, including investments in training and established systems.

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“I’m passionate about building systems so the church does not collapse. It is fantastic, and we call it an organisational miracle. It was almost three years before we had the Holy Spirit’s clearance to return to Nigeria.

“But what eventually the Holy Spirit would tell me was that he wanted me to shift my focus from just being the pastor of a local church to that global walk that I had known that I would do.

“So right now, the focus shift is to do that global walk while we keep Daystar running, leveraging technology.”

The PUNCH reports that Daystar Christian Centre is based in Lagos State, was inaugurated on November 18, 1995, and now has branches across various states in the country.

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Top 10 Most Expensive Football Trophies In The World

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Football, the world’s most popular sport, is not just about the beautiful game on the pitch but also the expensive trophies that teams compete for.

These trophies represent glory, history, and triumph. Beyond their symbolic value, some of these trophies are extraordinarily valuable due to the materials used and the craftsmanship involved.

Here’s a look at the top 10 most expensive football trophies in the world:

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1. FIFA World Cup Trophy

The FIFA World Cup Trophy is arguably the most prestigious award in football. It stands at 36.8 cm tall and weighs 6.1 kg, made of 18-carat gold. The base features two layers of malachite, a semi-precious stone.

Created by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga in 1974, its current estimated value is around $20 million. This is not just due to the gold content but also because of its historical and symbolic significance.

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2. Copa Libertadores Trophy

The Copa Libertadores Trophy is the premier club trophy in South America, introduced in 1960 and contested by 18 clubs. Made of sterling silver with silver-coated bronze, it is valued at $8.5 million.

3. UEFA Europa League Trophy

The UEFA Europa League Trophy is awarded to the winner of Europe’s second-tier club competition. It features a silver and yellow base and costs $4.5 million.

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4. FA Cup Trophy

The FA Cup Trophy is awarded in the oldest football competition in England. Arsenal was the first team to claim it and has won the most FA Cup titles. Made of sterling silver, the trophy is valued at $1,180,000.

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5. Ballon d’Or Trophy

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The Ballon d’Or is one of the most prestigious individual awards in football, first crafted by a French jeweler in 1956. It honors the player who has excelled for both club and country. The award weighs 12 kg and is made of brass and gold. Lionel Messi has won it the most, with eight titles, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo with five.

6. Africa Cup of Nations

The African Cup of Nations Trophy holds significant importance for the footballing nations of the African subcontinent. As one of the most prestigious awards in African football, it has a rich history spanning decades. Egypt has been the most successful nation in the tournament’s history. The current holder of the trophy, valued at $150,000, is Ivory Coast who claimed the title in 2024.

7. Serie A Trophy

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The Serie A Trophy, also known as the Scudetto, is awarded to Italy’s top football club each season. Crafted by renowned artisan Ettore Calvelli in 1960, the trophy features a blue sodalite base and gold rings. It weighs 8 kg and stands 58 cm tall, with a total value of $66,000. Juventus FC has won this trophy 36 times, with Inter Milan being the current holders.

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The Bundesliga Meisterschale, created in 1964 by renowned art professor Elisabeth Treskow, is awarded to the top team in Germany’s Bundesliga. FC Köln was the first team to lift this shield in 1964. Weighing 11 kg, the shield features a 71.98-carat tourmaline, silver, and gold, and is valued at $57,102.

9. UEFA Champions League Trophy

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The UEFA Champions League Trophy is the most prestigious award in club football. Thirty-two teams compete for this trophy, typically the top four teams from various European leagues. The trophy symbolizes immense respect and leadership in the football world. Made entirely of silver, it costs $15,000.

10. English Premier League Trophy

The English Premier League, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious football leagues, has been a dominant force in Europe and the UK for decades. Many legendary footballers have graced the English fields in pursuit of this coveted trophy, etching their teams’ names into the league’s storied history. The trophy itself is crafted from silver, gilded silver, an African gemstone, and malachite, with a total cost of $10,000. The current holder of the trophy is Manchester City, who have lifted four times in a row.

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