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A prosecutor in closing arguments at the sex-trafficking trial of R. Kelly has asked jurors to make the R&B superstar “pay” for his alleged sex crimes. A lawyer for Kelly countered by asking them not to fall for the “lies” of his accusers. Jurors have heard from dozens of witnesses during the trial that started on Aug. 18. The 54-year-old “I Believe I Can Fly" singer has pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges accusing him of abusing women, girls and boys for more than two decades. The jury could begin deliberating as soon as Friday afternoon.

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Poland's Catholic Church authorities say that retired Bishop Edward Janiak has died at age 69. He had been punished by the Vatican for the alleged cover-up of sex abuse of minors by other priests. The Kalisz diocese where Janiak had served as bishop said he died Thursday. No cause or place of death was given. The Vatican said in March it was punishing Janiak for the alleged cover-up of sexual abuse by priests who were under his authority. He was ordered to move out of the diocese and banned from any public celebrations. He was also ordered to make a contribution to a fund helping victims of clerical abuse.

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Retired Roman Catholic Bishop John McCormack has died after a career in which he faced criticism for his role in Boston’s clergy sex abuse scandal and led New Hampshire’s diocese during its own reckoning. The Diocese of Manchester says the 86-year-old McCormack died Tuesday. McCormack was installed as New Hampshire's ninth bishop in 1998 and retired in 2011. When the sex abuse scandal erupted in 2002, critics called on him to resign. They cited his former position as a top aide to Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston. He later averted unprecedented criminal charges against the New Hampshire diocese by agreeing that it had harmed children by moving abusive priests from parish to parish.

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As the Boy Scouts of America moves through its complex bankruptcy case, it’s encountering criticism from major religious groups that help it run thousands of scout units. The churches fear an eventual settlement could leave many of them unprotected. The Boy Scouts sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020 to halt individual lawsuits and create a compensation fund for thousands of men who claim they were molested as youngsters by scout leaders. In July, the BSA proposed a deal that would bar further lawsuits against the national organization and its local councils. But the deal did not cover the more than 40,000 organizations, including churches, that have charters to sponsor scout units.

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A federal judge has dismissed some of the biggest unsettled lawsuits filed by men who say Ohio State University officials failed to stop decades-old sexual abuse by now-deceased team doctor Richard Strauss. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson agreed Wednesday with OSU’s argument that the legal window for such claims had passed. In one ruling, Watson said it’s indisputable Strauss abused hundreds of young men. He says that Ohio State officials turned a blind eye and the university failed the survivors — and that now the legal system also has failed them. OSU has apologized publicly. It announced nearly $47 million in settlements for 185 plaintiffs and says it has since settled with dozens more.

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The NHL has found no evidence that San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane bet on NHL games or tried to throw games after investigating allegations made by his estranged wife. Anna Kane alleged in an Instagram post this summer that Kane bet on NHL games and was “obviously throwing games to win money,” launching a probe by the league. The league is still investigating allegations of physical and sexual abuse made by Anna Kane. The Sharks say Kane will not take part in training camp until further notice while that investigation proceeds.

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A top Southern Baptist Convention committee agreed Tuesday to fund a third-party investigation into its handling of sexual abuse allegations. But the Executive Committee held off on waiving its attorney-client privilege for the probe. The Executive Committee allocated $1.6 million for Guidepost Solutions. It is the firm selected by a Southern Baptist task force to conduct the review. The Executive Committee also approved taking more time to negotiate legal questions related to the investigation. Executive Committee Chairman Rolland Slade called Tuesday's action a good step. It is the latest action taken in the denomination’s ongoing public reckoning with the scandal. 

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A Delaware judge has begun a key hearing that could determine whether the Boy Scouts of America might be able to emerge from bankruptcy later this year. The Boy Scouts sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020 seeking to halt an onslaught of lawsuits by men who said they were sexually abused as children.  The judge convened the hearing Tuesday to  consider whether a disclosure statement outlining the BSA's reorganization plan contains sufficient information for abuse claimants and other creditors.  The judge must approve the disclosure statement before the Boy Scouts can send out ballots for abuse claimants to vote on the plan.

The head of the German Bishops’ Conference has defended the pope's decision to allow the archbishop of Hamburg to stay on at this post, despite being faulted for his handling of sexual abuse allegations within the church. Limburg Bishop Georg Baetzing said on Monday that he understands how people feel about the decision, but that “Pope Francis has kept to his own law.” The papal nuncio's office in Berlin said last week that Pope Francis has rejected Archbishop Stephan Hesse's resignation, six months after the German cleric offered it. It said the Vatican found “personal procedural errors” on Hesse’s part but an investigation didn’t show that they were committed with the intention of covering up abuse cases.