Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Los Angeles Archdiocese Faces yet Another Sexual Abuse Lawsuit


There has been yet another sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. This one was filed by a 27-year-old man, who alleges that the church failed to protect him from abuse perpetrated by former priest Michael Baker.

The unidentified man says he was abused by Baker for three years. The abuse began when he was a 12-year-old boy. At the time, he was an altar boy at the St. Columbkille Parrish in Los Angeles. The plaintiff here is the brother of a man, who the former priest admitted to molesting during a criminal case. That victim identified as Lewis C. has since settled a sexual abuse lawsuit with the Archdiocese for $2.2 million.

Michael Baker has pleaded guilty to criminal charges of child molestation. His case has proved to be a thorn in the side of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Known as Father Mike, Baker was a popular priest, but his sunny personality concealed an evil side. Prosecutors charged that the priest molested two boys between 1994 and 1998, while he served at churches in Los Angeles and Pico Rivera.

In 1986, Baker apparently confessed to Cardinal Roger Mahony. The Cardinal, instead of defrocking the priest, sent him to psychotherapy sessions. After he returned from therapy, Cardinal Mahony simply reassigned Baker to at least nine other parishes. The criticism against Cardinal Mahony has been swift and furious, and the Cardinal has been forced to apologize for his error in allowing Baker to stay on at the Ministry. Baker was removed from the priesthood in December 2000. But that has hardly dulled the criticism against Cardinal Mahony, who says that Baker's case ”troubles” him the most.

There has been a common pattern that has emerged in the clergy sexual abuse scandal. The perp priest, the benevolent Bishop/Cardinal/insert any other senior clergy member who chooses to look the other way, the psychotherapy and rehabilitation treatment programs, the reassignment to other, usually smaller churches, until the whole thing explodes in their faces and they face the police, a furious public, and a sexual abuse attorney.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Home Repair - Take advantage of the economy and don't get hurt!

The construction industry has been very affected by the slow economy, as home builders have essentially slowed new development to a crawl. However, home maintenance companies continue to be in demand as home owners, apartment dwellers, and commercial building occupants require repair and upgrade services.

Although many people like to take the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, each year hundreds of thousands are hut in home repair and construction related injuries. Some examples:
  • Ceiling fans injury over 19,000 people a year, mostly due to improper sized fans or poor mounting – according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
  • Back injuries account for a large portion of injuries.
  • Hand injuries are also very common.

People should let professionals handle dangerous repairs and now is and excellent time to use a construction company for repair services. A major benefit of doing so includes having a licensed contractor doing your repair. Contractors typically carry insurance and bonds, and can do jobs requiring more than $500 worth of work. Many construction companies offer Los Angeles Handyman Services, and can do a variety of work, saving your back and other body parts from injury. Outdoor projects can also be dangerous as wood decks, and patios can be home to insects, snakes and vermin. Especially in Southern California hills, wood deck repair can be tricky with burrowing animals and spiders. Rattlesnakes, black widows, and rats come to mind.

Most homes need some maintenance on regular basis, and just because property values aren't what they used to be, isn't a reason to let things get worse - and don't get hurt doing it yourself

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Debate over Traffic Cameras Continues to Rage

This November, the city of Anaheim, California will go to vote over a proposed ban on red light camera systems. It is one of several cities around the country that are moving to challenge traffic camera enforcement to enforce laws and reduce accidents. This is even as other communities across the country are moving to install red light and speeding camera systems in order to prevent accidents.

The biggest objection to these camera systems is that they have evolved into a revenue generation measure for local law enforcement officers. Many people believe that authorities are using the excuse of highway safety in order to pump up revenues. This complaint has become even more vocal during a recession, when hard-pressed law enforcement agencies around the country are looking at traffic camera systems as a means of generating revenue.

However, opposing red light camera systems and speeding camera systems that have been proven to reduce crashes just because they make a lot of money for local authorities, is a little like throwing the baby out with the bath water. There is no denying that the systems do generate huge revenue for local law enforcement authorities wherever they are installed. It's also true that in many communities, the fact that these systems can generate revenue has been one of the primary factors pushing law enforcement authorities to install them.

However, the fact is also that there are several studies showing that both red light camera systems and speeding cameras reduce some kinds of accidents. One study has found that communities that have red light camera systems installed, see an approximately 25% decrease in broadside accidents. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the installation of speeding cameras reduced accidents by approximately 9% to 15%.

The evidence that these systems seem to help reduce some kinds of crashes is too strong for any complaints about their revenue-generating powers. To a Los Angeles personal injury attorney, it seems like much of the argument against red light camera systems and speeding cameras seems to be driven by those who see no harm in violating traffic rules and breaking speeding limits, very often to the detriment of their own safety or the safety of others.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Government Report Says Herbal Supplements Contain Toxins

Persons who use dietary and nutritional supplements may be supplementing their diets with more than just healthy nutrition. These persons are at a high risk of ingesting toxic chemicals, including mercury and lead.

That frightening information comes from a report by the Government Accountability Office. The report was based on investigations into the ingredients contained in many of these herbal and nutritional supplements that are so popular these days. The investigators found traces of lead, mercury and other metals in the supplements. They also found excessive traces of chemical pesticides in these products. Of the 14 supplements that were tested by investigators, high pesticide levels were found in at least 16 of the products.

That is a serious problem when you consider the fact that millions of Americans use all kinds of nutritional supplements every day. It is estimated that approximately half the American adult population is on some kind of supplement program. Approximately 25% of the population consumes herbal supplements regularly. In fact, sales of herbal and nutritional supplements top $25 billion annually.

It’s not just the presence of toxins and pesticides in these products that have government investigators concerned. It is also the fact that many of these products are being sold on the basis of misleading claims. California dangerous drug lawyers have not exactly been unaware of the fact that these supplements promise the moon and stars, but deliver little. The investigation confirms this. According to the report, there are far too many nutritional supplements being peddled out there as cures for Alzheimer's disease, cancer and other diseases. There are products that claim to lower hypertension and control diabetes. There is even a herbal supplement that claims to be a natural substitute for medication to control a person's blood pressure.

We live in times when anything labeled “natural” is considered safer and more healthful. No one wants to paint the entire natural foods industry with the same brush, but the fact is that there are many companies out there taking advantage of gullible consumers, and peddling supposedly safe and “natural” herbal products and supplements that could actually be harmful for you.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Security Cameras - Catching Car Accidents

The LA Times has a quick video of an out-of-control car getting airborne. You can't see what exactly leads up to the accident, but the speed of car appears fast - fast enough to jump it in the air after hitting a ramp like structure.

Just as seen on TV in episodes of Law & Order, a security camera caught an interesting incident. One can imagine that security camera footage is often used in investigations during civil issues as well as criminal investigations. There are countless examples of video showing the a different course of events that was initially described by persons involved in the incident - often directing the blame in a opposite direction.

With cameras in parking lots, store fronts, and even home driveways a  information about an incident can be reviewed in pedestrian and auto accident injury cases. Attorneys and investigators can utilize video, often from multiple cameras to get a better idea of what happened, the weather conditions,  the lighting and to even establish who was involved and the possibility of eyewitness.