Entries in Apology (7)


Cardinal Keith O'Brien Apologizes for Sexual Misconduct

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A top cardinal who resigned last week amid sexual abuse allegations issued an apology Sunday and said there have been times his sexual conduct "has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal."

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, 74, the former Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, resigned last week following published reports that he made unwanted sexual advances toward four priests in Scotland in the 1980s.

O'Brien has been accused of committing "inappropriate acts" in his relations with three priests and one former priest from the diocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, British newspaper The Observer reported last Sunday.

The cardinal initially denied the claims, but said last week he would not participate in the conclave to choose the pope's successor because the allegations were a distraction. His immediate resignation was accepted Monday by Pope Benedict XVI.

O'Brien reversed course Sunday, issuing a statement asking for forgiveness.

"In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public. Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them," O'Brien said.

"However, I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal," he said. "To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness.”

The apology offered no details of the alleged incidents.

O'Brien had been due to retire later this month when he turned 75. He will retain the title of cardinal.

As a cardinal under 80 years of age, O'Brien is eligible to attend the conclave to choose the next pope, however he has said he will not join the cardinal electors in Rome.

"I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland," O'Brien said Sunday.

With his absence, the number of cardinal electors drops to 115. The College of Cardinals is expected to meet Monday to set a date for the conclave, when they will sequester themselves in the Sistine Chapel to vote for the next pope.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


City Apologizes to Family of Bullied Teen Who Committed Suicide

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- Facing mounting public scrutiny for their handling of a bullying case that drove a 13-year-old boy to commit suicide, the Japanese city of Otsu signaled they would settle a lawsuit filed by the victim’s parents on Tuesday, acknowledging for the first time a direct link between the harassment and the teenager’s death.

Defense lawyer Yuichi Shiraki offered an emotional apology on behalf of the city outside a packed courthouse.

“The school’s insufficient actions and probe by the board of education…led family members and the victim to the depths of despair, leaving no choice but death,” Shiraki said, his head deeply bowed. “On behalf of the city of Otsu, I deeply apologize.”

The acknowledgement came less than a week after police launched an investigation into the boy’s suicide last fall, amid growing suspicions the school and board of education tried to cover up the incident.

The middle school student jumped from his 14th floor apartment last October after enduring excessive bullying at the hands of his classmates.  In an anonymous survey conducted by Otsu’s board of education, students reported the victim was pressured into shoplifting, and had his legs and arms tied while bullies duck-taped his mouth.  

Some reportedly watched as their classmates forced the teen to eat dead bees, “pantsed” him and forced him to “practice” committing suicide.  Other students reported seeing teachers join in on the harassment, laughing at the victim as he was choked.

In one of his last acts, the victim texted his tormentors and left voice mails saying, “I’m going to die.”  They texted him back to say, “You should die.”

Those revelations sparked national outrage with angry parents accusing teachers of looking the other way.

The number of bullying cases have declined in recent years, according to data from the Education Ministry, but critics argue those figures just provide a snapshot of the scope of the problem, since many victims are too afraid to come forward.

On Monday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda denounced bullying as an “embarrassing and dirty” act during a live interview with Fuji-TV.  He then addressed the victims directly.

“There are people who care about you.  I promise you there are people who want to protect you,” he said.  “Please believe that and report the abuse to your father, mother, teachers, friends, anybody.”

In court, the three students accused of harassing the victim denied doing anything harmful, saying “We were just playing around,” according to Japanese media reports.

The Board of Education has maintained they could not prove a direct link between bullying and the student’s suicide, though chair Kenji Sawamura denied saying the abuse was not a factor.

The city has launched a new investigation into the case, while police plan to interview hundreds of students and parents before deciding whether to proceed with their own criminal case.

The teen’s parents, who are seeking more than $950,000 in damages, acknowledged the city’s apology but called for the truth to come out so other victims could be saved.

“Watching the press conference by the city and board of education, I cannot help but think my son was betrayed by them,” the father wrote in a statement read by his lawyer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pakistani Panel Demands New Restrictions, Apology from US

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- Still furious over the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers during a NATO air strike last November, a parliamentary panel in Islamabad has recommended that coalition forces should no longer be allowed to use Pakistan to transport weapons into Afghanistan.

Since the incident five months ago just over the border from Afghanistan, Pakistan has closed off the supply routes, making it more difficult for U.S. and NATO troops to get essential arms.  The new edict would permit only food and medicine to be brought into Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security also called on the White House to deliver an unconditional apology to the Pakistani government for the deaths of it troops.

The other recommendations include that the "U.S. should also give assurance that such attacks do not take place in the future" and that no foreign governments will be allowed to conduct covert or overt operations or establish bases in Pakistan.

Washington and the Pentagon plan to review the recommendations.  President Obama has sent his regrets, but issued no formal apology for the "friendly fire" incident last Nov. 26 that the military said was due to mistakes by both sides.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pakistan Demands End to Drone Attacks and an Apology from US

Photos [dot] com/George Doyle/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- The Pakistani parliament made two major demands of the U.S. on Tuesday that the Obama administration will likely ignore.

First, lawmakers want an end to unmanned drone attacks in their country that the CIA and Pentagon have undertaken to kill high profile members of the Taliban and al Qaeda hiding out in the northwestern region of Pakistan.

Parliament also called on the White House to issue an unconditional apology for the NATO attack that killed 24 soldiers last November.  This incident has further strained relations between Washington and Islamabad.

At the State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland seemed to gloss over these latest developments with the Pakistani parliament, instead saying, "We have always considered that our relationship should be grounded on the basis of mutual respect and common interest."

President Obama has already expressed his condolences about the deaths of Pakistani soldiers but stopped short of a formal apology.  A Pentagon report of the incident found over-reaction from both sides when a joint U.S. and Afghan patrol came under fire by Pakistani troops.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


White House Defends Apology to Afghanistan; Criticism from Gingrich, Palin

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Thursday defended President Obama’s decision to apologize for the recent incident of Koran burning at a U.S. airbase in Afghanistan, saying it was “wholly appropriate” given the “understandable sensitivities” to the issue.

“The error was inadvertent,” Obama wrote in a letter to his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, according to Karzai’s office. “I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, however, said it was “an outrage” for the president to issue an apology on the same day two U.S. troops were killed by Afghan soldiers.

“It is Hamid Karzai who owes the American people an apology, not the other way around,” Gingrich said in a written statement. “This destructive double standard whereby the United States and its democratic allies refuse to hold accountable leaders who tolerate systematic violence and oppression in their borders must come to an end.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the apology.

“[The president's] primary concern as commander-in-chief is the safety of American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there. And it was absolutely the right thing to do,” Carney told reporters.

The improper disposal of the sacred text of Islam have sparked anti-U.S. riots in Afghanistan.

“The actions here, while inadvertent, do not reflect the great respect that our military personnel have for the religious traditions of the Afghan people,” Carney said.

Gingrich was not the only prominent Republican to slam the president’s decision. “Obama apologizes for inadvertent Koran burning; now the U.S. trained & protected Afghan Army can apologize for killing our soldiers yesterday,” 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin tweeted Thursday afternoon.

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney has not spoken directly about the apology to Karzai, but vowing no apology is a key line of his stump speech.

“Let me make this very clear. As president of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America,” the former Massachusetts governor said in October.

The White House says the president’s apology was conveyed before the U.S. troops were killed Thursday.

Furthermore, the administration notes that the apology, which was included in a lengthy three-page letter from Obama to Karzai on a range of issues, is not unprecedented. In 2008, President Bush apologized to Iraq’s prime minister for an American sniper’s shooting of a Koran.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egypt's Military Council Apologizes to Women Following Violence

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TEL AVIV, Israel) -- A few days after video of a woman being stripped and beaten by the government military in Egypt hit the Internet, women took to the streets in protest, and now, the ruling military council has issued an apology.

On Tuesday, thousands of Egyptian women turned out in Cairo -- in what could possibly be the largest women's protest ever in the country -- to rally against the military's treatment of women during recent violence.  The demonstration came on the heels of several days of intense and bloody clashes.

One image of the violent crackdown has highlighted the brutality and has drawn global condemnation -- that of a veiled Muslim woman stripped bare as a soldier stomped on her chest.

In a rare move, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a statement Wednesday, saying: "The Supreme Council express its great regret to the great women of Egypt for the violations that took place during the recent events, in the demonstrations that took place at the parliament and the ministers' council, and reassure its respect and appreciation for Egyptian women and their right in protesting and their active positive participation in the political life."

The ruling military council added that, "all legal measures have been taken to hold accountable all those responsible for these violations."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Roman Polanski Acknowledges Sex Crime in New Documentary

The Image Gate/Getty Images(ZURICH) -- Roman Polanski makes his first public acknowledgement about Samantha Geimer, the 13-year-old model he sexually assaulted in Los Angeles, in a documentary on his life that premiered Tuesday at the Zurich Film Festival.

“She is a double victim: my victim, and a victim of the press,” Polanski says of Geimer in Laurent Bouzereau’s Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir.

Polanski took to the stage at the Zurich Film Festival Tuesday to accept a lifetime achievement award two years after he was originally intended to receive it: he was arrested and incarcerated in a Zurich prison at the request of U.S. authorities when he arrived to receive the honor in 2009.

“Better late than never,” the 78-year-old filmmaker said after a booming applause from the audience.

The director was held for two months in 2009 following his arrest at Zurich’s airport, then placed under house arrest at his home in Gstaad while the fight over his extradition to the U.S. was waged in courts.  It was in this time that Bouzereau shot the interviews with Polanski for his documentary memoir.

The film reportedly shows Polanski’s side of the story regarding the 1978 legal case against him, which alleged that the then 43-year-old filmmaker sexually assaulted 13-year-old Geimer during a photo shoot for French Vogue.

In 1978, Polanski and his lawyers accepted a plea deal that would have the director put on probation, but Judge Laurence J. Rittenband reportedly suggested to Polanski’s attorney that the sentence may be heavier.  Polanski fled to France, where he was protected from extradition, mere hours before sentencing.

In July 2010, Switzerland rejected the U.S. extradition request.  Six charges against Polanski remain pending in the U.S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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