Click. Gay Congressman Kolbe Talked Trade, While Some Texas Delegates Prayed

Click. Settlement found in sex harassment suit against Jesuits.

Settlement found in sex harassment suit against Jesuits.


A former Berkeley seminarian settled his sexual harassment suit against the Jesuits on confidential terms, but he makes no secret of his pride in the case.

"Even though it resulted in losing every Jesuit friend I had and other unforeseen consequences, I'm very glad I did it," John Bollard said Tuesday. "The 9th Circuit decision, which will be on the books for the foreseeable future, is unprecedented and opens doors for other people who may be in the same situation."

Bollard was referring to a ruling last December by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that reinstated his damage suit against the Jesuit order in California and priests whom he accused of pressuring him for sex.

The court ruled that religious freedom did not protect a church that sexually harasses its clergy. The ruling said a religious organization could be held responsible for sexual harassment in the workplace, like any other employer - in contrast to previous federal court rulings that protected churches from discrimination suits by ministers and other religious employees.

After their request for a rehearing was denied, the Jesuits reached a mediated settlement with Bollard on July 18, just before the deadline for their decision on whether to appeal to the Supreme Court. The terms have not been disclosed.

The settlement was first reported in Catholic San Francisco, the archdiocese newspaper. Father Alfred Naucke, speaking for the Jesuits, told the newspaper he was glad to have the case resolved, as an alternative to "years of potential litigation."

Bollard, 35, who works with students at a college in Southern California, said he was also pleased the case was over.

"One of my goals was to have my story told and shed some light on the issue, and that Jesuits take seriously the matter of sexual harassment, this lack of authenticity and the hypocrisy," he said.

"Having been a Jesuit for eight years, I know the society, and I'm confident that they now are taking it much more seriously."

He said a number of Jesuits with similar histories had contacted him after his case hit the media, including a "60 Minutes" segment last year.

Bollard began his training in 1988 and studied at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco and the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley before leaving the order in 1996.

In his suit, he said his supervisor had invited him to gay bars and sent him a pornographic card, and another priest had given him a birthday card in 1991 showing a naked man and containing suggestive language. In all, he said, a dozen priests, including the head of the seminary, subjected him to unwelcome advances. He said his complaints had been brushed off.

The Jesuits denied responsibility for any harassment, but sought dismissal of the suit on the grounds that subjecting a religious organization to civil rights laws in the treatment of clergy would constitute government interference in religion.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston agreed and dismissed the case in 1998. But in its 3-0 ruling last December, the appeals court said a secular court could decide whether someone was sexually harassed without intruding into questions of religious doctrine.

Gay Congressman Kolbe Talked Trade, While Some Texas Delegates Prayed.

( © 8/2/00) - A day after he became the first openly homosexual member of Congress to address the Republican National Convention, Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) said he never noticed the silent protest staged by members of the Texas delegation. As Kolbe took to the stage Tuesday night to talk about his area of expertise - free trade - some members of the Texas delegation removed their cowboy hats and bowed their heads in prayer. One Texas delegate held up a sign reading, "There is a way out." In an interview Wednesday morning with CNN, Kolbe said he does not see himself as an outcast in the Republican Party and he said the very fact that he was invited to appear indicates the inclusive spirit of this convention. However, some delegates grumbled that Kolbe's invitation to speak seemed to run counter to the GOP Platform, which says that homosexuality should not be protected by anti-discrimination laws and that homosexuality is incompatible with military service. Kolbe did not stray from his topic of free trade Tuesday night.

By: Linda Harrison
© 01/08/200, The Register

Stephen King looks set to make at least $1 million from his latest online book experiment. The King today confirmed his fans' response to The Plant has been strong enough to warrant him writing the third instalment, despite sales threatening to wilt just after the July 24 launch. In the first week of the first chapter going online there were around 152,000 downloads - with a 76 per cent payment rate.

Around 93,000 readers paid up front, while a further 23,000 promised to pay later, according to King's site. King reckons that his costs so far have amounted to $124,000 to advertise the book, plus the cost of maintaining the servers through which the chapters are downloaded. The second instalment will be up on the site from August 21, and the third from September 25.

If all goes to plan, and a minimum of 75 per cent of punters pay to download, a total of 10 or 11 instalments should see the book through to next year. And if those who have downloaded part one continue to the bitter end, that would make a total of 1,673,452 downloads. After King's costs and allowing for a quarter of fans not paying, that's a cool $1 million for King at $1 a download - and nothing for the publishers. Hodder & Headline, King's publishers in the UK, claimed to be "delighted" with the Internet move that cut them out of the $1 million horror story. "It's a great way of introducing Stephen King to people who weren't aware of him," said Jamie Hodder-Williams, the company's marketing director.

Hodder-Williams said he was sure that other authors would follow King's lead, but didn't see it as the beginning of the end for publishers. "It's a lot easier to do something like this if you are Stephen King than if you are an unknown writer," he said, adding that Hodder & Headline had a four book deal with King over the next three years, and would publish his memoirs in October. But King seems happy with the what he's achieved so far. "If we've proved nothing else, we've proved that the guy who shops for entertainment on the Net can be as honest as the one in a retail bricks-and-mortar store," said King. And his fans seem more honest than most. According to the site, many have been pressing the author to let them pay extra "to help cover the costs of the dishonest people who will download The Plant and not pay". And King, who made $450,000 from his first e-book, and countless millions from paper fiction, has agreed to let them. ®