Julia Holcomb

The Light of the World - the Steven Tyler and Julia Holcomb story

Julia Holcomb
By Julia Holcomb
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In November of 1973, shortly after my 16th birthday, I met Steven Tyler at a concert in Portland, Oregon. To understand what leads a 16-year-old girl to find herself backstage at an Aerosmith Rock Concert, and in a three- year live-in relationship with Steven Tyler, you need some essential background information. 

Family Trauma

My biological father abandoned my mother while we were toddlers.  He was a charming rogue of a gambler who came and went in our lives, leaving a wake of debt and infidelity.  My mother had been encouraged to get an abortion (illegally) by more than one family member when she found out she was expecting me, (the middle child).  Thankfully she gave birth to me and later to my younger brother, and was a loving mother. When Daddy’s gambling debts caused her small teaching salary to be garnished, she filed for a divorce.  Even after the first divorce she had been a good mother, taking us to church, reading us the Bible in the morning before school, singing to us at night, and praying with us for our wandering father.  She was gentle and supportive and I always knew I could go to her for help.  When mother remarried my first stepfather, (who was an alcoholic) things became difficult.

A devastating trauma struck our family in the summer of 1971 when I was 13 years old. My younger brother was killed in a car accident on our way home from a camping trip with our grandparents. He was 10 years old. My grandfather was also killed, my grandmother lost a leg, and my sister and I were injured.  The car accident and family trauma triggered a chain of events that led to my mother and first stepfather to divorce.

My stepfather was committed to a mental hospital briefly, and mother had an emotional breakdown. My sister and I went to live with my aunt and uncle for some months. 

When we returned home to my mother after the divorce, things were not the same. My mother seemed wounded and disillusioned with life.  Without the stability of the family, or the church, we all struggled to recover from my brother’s death. She was still working as a teacher but she was living with my second stepfather, though they were not married yet.  He is a man I have grown to love and respect over time, yet in the 1970’s, when he was living with my mother, he was a different person than he is today and we disliked each other. 

My sister and I were left on our own most of the time.  Previously, I had been raised going to church, but after the accident we just never went back. My sister and I became angry and rebellious. My sister left home when she was about 16, and backpacked around the country with her boyfriend. There I was at age 15, my sister gone, and feeling like I was in the way. There was a sense of being an obstacle to my mothers’ relationship with this new man.

My friendships changed from the kids we knew at church to the kids who hung out at the local Teen Center. Some of them took drugs and drank.

Meeting Steven Tyler

A few months before I met Steven, while I was still 15, I became friends with a girl who had access to backstage parties at concerts.  She was 24 years old, and although our acquaintance was brief, she was a pivotal change in the course of my life, and ours was one of the most dangerous friendships I ever formed. 

She quickly taught me to dress in revealing clothes to get noticed and use sex as a hook to try to catch a rock star. I still remember dressing to go to the Aerosmith concert, intending to get backstage with her. I had listened to the song Dream On and seen Steven’s photo on the album cover. I went to the concert hoping to meet Steven and after the concert we met for the first time. At that time, I thought he was the best thing in my life. My sad, vulnerable story, as well as my youth and personal attractiveness captured his interest.

My mother signed over guardianship of me to Steven after I had moved to Boston. I remember my surprise when Steven told me she had signed the papers and trying to take this in mentally. A sense of vulnerability came over me, knowing that I was his ward, but we were not married. He had not expressed his intentions of a long-term relationship with me. He had mentioned that he wanted guardianship papers so I could travel across state lines when he was on tour. I had told him my mother would not sign me over to him. I asked him how he had got her to do it. He said, “I told her I needed them for you to enroll in school.” I felt abandoned by my mother as well as my father and stepfather. Steven was really my only hope at that point.

I became lost in a rock and roll culture.  In Steven’s world it was sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but it seemed no less chaotic than the world I left behind.  I didn’t know it yet, but I would barely make it out alive. 

The Pregnancy

When we first lived together I took the birth control pill.  It is not true that my pregnancy with Steven was unplanned, as has been written.  After some months together, Steven spoke to me of his desire to have a child. He had grown up in the New Hampshire countryside and at times he behaved like a down-to-earth farm boy.  He wanted a family and he asked me if I was willing to have a child with him.  I was touched by his sincerity and said yes. I wanted children, and began to believe he must truly love me since he had made himself my guardian and was asking to have children with me. He threw my birth control pills off the balcony of the hotel where we were staying, into the street far below. 

Within a year I became pregnant.  I had never been pregnant before, contrary to what Steven has written.  At first Steven and I were both happy about the baby. I remember telling him, “I’m pregnant” and from his reaction I believed he was truly excited.  He asked me to marry him a few months later and I said, “yes.”  He took me to New Hampshire to tell his parents about the baby and the marriage. He asked his grandmother if he could give me her wedding ring.  His parents were conflicted about the idea of Steven and I marrying.  His mother was supportive of everything Steven wanted and I remember truly loving her.  She was such a kindhearted lady, with a wonderful sense of humor.  His father had grave reservations because of my youth and immaturity. 

His grandmother declined to give us the ring.  She loved Steven but expressed concerns that if we divorced, the ring would leave the family.  Things went quickly downhill from there for the two of us.  When we left that night, Steven and I had a heated argument: I felt he should buy me a ring at a jeweler and we should get married anyway.  He did not. 

Looking back, I do not fault him for a change of heart after his parents expressed concerns.  Marriage is a serious step that should not be jumped into, even when a baby is on the way.  Still, I was in a bad position.  I thought I loved him, I wanted to marry him, and he had asked me to marry him; now the wedding was off and I was very angry with him for not standing by me. It seemed like a cowardly change of heart after he had asked me to have a baby with him and purposefully set out to get me pregnant.  For the first time I realized that I should not have been foolish enough to conceive a child outside of marriage with a man who might not be interested in a life-long relationship.  His guardianship of me complicated things further. I was subordinate to him as in a parent relationship and felt I had little control over my life. I had trusted him and now was the moment of truth.

The Fire

It was the fall of 1975. We returned to our apartment in Boston, and within a few weeks he was touring with his band. I was alone and pregnant in the apartment with no money, no education, no prenatal care, no driver’s license and little food. 

Steven would call me every day to check in with me and I asked him for money to get groceries.  He promised to send Ray Tabano over the next day to take me shopping.  Ray was a childhood friend of Steven’s and had been a guitar player in the original band. I remember waiting by the window for Ray to arrive.  He came to the apartment and I let him in through the front door. 

The next thing I remember was waking up in a cloud of dense smoke fighting for air to breathe.  Ray was gone.  I fell to the floor from the couch in the front room.  The couch was not burning and I had no burns on my body, but thick black smoke was consuming the room.  The smoke was less dense on the floor, but still, I could barely see. 

I was frightened but calm enough to think about a series of commercials that Bill Cosby had done called, Learn Not To Burn. One message had been, if you’re in a smoke-filled room, get down on the floor because the air is clearer on the floor.  I knew I only had minutes to get out of that apartment. I crawled to the front door, which was next to the couch I had been laying on. The apartment had at least three locks on the front door.  There was a keyed lock on the handle, a dead bolt and a security bar that angled from the door down to the floor. Steven insisted on keeping these locked at all times because he usually kept drugs in the house and he had suffered a break-in at our previous apartment on Beacon Street. All of the locks were secured and I could not budge the security bar. I was choking and knew I needed to head for the back stairway that led down to the kitchen and an outside exit.

When I got to the stairs, smoke and heat and flames were pouring up the stairway.  The railings were scorching hot at the top.  I burned one of my hands grabbing the railing before I realized it was impossible to climb down those stairs through that fire. There was no way out.

Bill Cosby was there in my mind again.  He had said in one of those commercials, if you’re trapped in a fire, a good place to seek shelter is an empty fireplace.  I crawled to the fireplace in our bedroom and lay down inside it.  It was empty and clean and the flue was open.  Black smoke filled the air and was boiling up the chimney, but there was a small pocket of air on the floor where I was laying.  As I began to fall unconscious, I knew I was about to die.  I was frightened and I felt so alone.  I believed I deserved to go to hell because of my many sins and I did not feel prepared to die.

Above the fireplace hung a picture of the child Jesus called The Light of the World, by Charles Chambers.  The picture had hung in my Grandmothers’ classroom where she taught first grade.  I had been one of her students when I was 5 years old.  I used to look up at that picture every day in school when Grandma would open the class in prayer.  One year the schools decided to take down all pictures of Jesus and forbid prayer in the classroom, so my Grandmother took the picture home. It hung in her living room for years, and at her death I was given the picture as a memory of her. 

When I told my mother that I was pregnant, she sent the picture to me and I hung it over the fireplace in Steven’s apartment.  Now, I was lying beneath it, close to death. I thought of my grandmother, remembering one of the Bible verses she taught me and prayed:

“Into your hands I commend my spirit, thou hast redeemed me Oh Lord God of truth.”

I was thinking of Jesus’ final words on the cross as a means of pleading for mercy.  I did not expect to live and yet I felt great peace as I closed my eyes.

The Nightmare Deepens

I woke up in the hospital. There was an IV in my arm and a doctor was speaking to me slowly, like one speaks to a child.  He asked, “Do you know your name?”  “My name is Julia Holcomb,” I answered.  He asked more questions and he was relieved to see that in spite of severe smoke inhalation I had not suffered brain damage.  The baby I was carrying also survived the fire.

Steven was there in my hospital room.  He said he was happy to see me alive and appeared very shaken.  Steven told me they had been taking my blood oxygen count from an artery in my wrist.  The last time the nurse had taken it, she had shed tears because she thought I would not make it, and said sadly “She’s so young.”  Steven told me the doctor did not expect me to live, and thought that if I lived there would be brain damage from the lack of oxygen.  He gave me a teddy bear and I clung to it.  He told me I had received many cards and flowers from people wishing me well.  I was too weary to talk and I drifted off again.

In the hospital a doctor came into my room and said that my lungs were remarkably clear of smoke damage.  He said Steven had spoken to him about the possibility of my having an abortion, since I was so young and recovering from smoke inhalation.  I was surprised and I asked him if the baby was OK.  He smiled and reassured me that the heartbeat sounded good and the baby seemed fine.  I told him I would not have an abortion.  I wanted my baby. The doctor was kind and supportive of my decision. He did not pressure me in any way. He asked me if I had taken drugs while I was pregnant.  I said, “Yes, sometimes.” (I did on occasion use cocaine but not to the degree that Steven was abusing.) The doctor told me that drugs were bad for me, and bad for the baby. He said I must not take any more while I was pregnant. I was so ashamed because I knew he was right.  I said, “OK” and intended to stop.

The Abortion

The doctor left the room and Steven came in.  He told me that I needed to have an abortion because of the smoke damage to my lungs and the oxygen deprivation I had suffered.  I said “No,” I wanted the baby.  I was five-months pregnant.  I could not believe he was even asking me to have an abortion at this stage.  He spent over an hour pressing me to go ahead and have the abortion.  He said that I was too young to have a baby and it would have brain damage because I had been in the fire and taken drugs.  I became very quiet and repeated the answer “No” more than once.  I said I should not be asked to make that decision while still in the hospital. He said I had to have the abortion now.  He said I was too far along to wait because it would be illegal for me to get an abortion in another week.

He sat beside my hospital bed, but we did not look at each other. I said no again. Finally he gave up and said, “OK, you can go home to your mother’s and have the baby there.”  I was worn out and began to feel hopeless.  My mother and stepfather would not be happy to have me return home pregnant.  I believed they would also want me to have an abortion.  I began to feel like life was caving in on me.  I had no health insurance or money and did not believe Steven intended to help provide for our baby or me.  He had not been providing medical care for me up to that time.  I believed he was abandoning me as my father and my mother had.  I began to cry and agreed to have the abortion. Steven was relieved and happy.  He reassured me that he cared for me and that after the abortion everything would be fine.

I was moved to another part of the hospital and a different doctor performed the abortion. It was a horrible nightmare I will never forget.  I was traumatized by the experience.  My baby had one defender in life; me, and I caved in to pressure because of fear of rejection and the unknown future.  I wish I could go back and be given that chance again, to say no to the abortion one last time.  I wish with all my heart I could have watched that baby live his life and grow to be a man. 

The doctor did not explain what the procedure would be like. Steven watched when the doctor punctured my uterus with a large needle. Then I was taken to a room to wait for the contractions.  Steven sat beside me in the hospital until it was over.  When the nurse would leave the room he was snorting cocaine on the table beside my bed.  He even offered some to me once, but I just turned away, sick inside. Steven, high on cocaine, was emotionally detached, witnessing the procedure but cut off from the normal reaction and feelings of horror you would expect.  At the time I was shocked and hurt by his behavior.

But I know now that on an unconscious level, he must have been traumatized witnessing the death of his first-born son in such a horrific and direct way. Steven watched the baby come out and he told me later, when we were in New Hampshire, that it had been born alive and allowed to die.  (I was not allowed to see the baby when it was delivered.) Steven told me later that it had been a boy and that he now felt terrible guilt and a sense of dread over what he had done.  I did not know that such a thing could be legal.  I could not imagine a world where a tiny baby could be born alive and tossed aside as worthless without ever seeing his mother’s face.

Nothing was ever the same between us after that day, though I did not return home for over a year.  I became very quiet and withdrawn after the abortion.  I was grieving the loss of my baby and I could never look at Steven again without remembering what he had done to our son and me. I had just lived through a horrific fire that nearly claimed my life, but the abortion made me feel like part of me died with my baby.  I felt cheated and betrayed, and angry with myself for agreeing to something that I knew was wrong.  I felt deep anger and almost hatred for the doctor who performed the abortion. 

Everyone around me seemed to be moving on with life, but I was carrying a wound that would not go away.  Steven was already involved with other women at that time. The fact that he was my guardian complicated things for him because he was legally responsible for me.  I was young, had dropped out of high school, and did not understand my legal rights at the time.  I felt completely powerless.

I left Steven in February 1977 and returned to live with my mother and stepfather. Steven called a few times after I returned home and then I never heard from him again.

Rising Out of the Ashes

The road to recovery was a slow process. When I returned home to my mother I was a broken spirit. I could not sleep at night without nightmares of the abortion and the fire. The world seemed like a dark place.  My mother and stepfather now had a handsome little boy.  He was a joy and I could not help but be happy when I was with him. My love for my half brother opened my heart toward my stepfather and I began to see that he was trying to be a good husband and father. 

Mother had found that she missed the church and they were attending a United Methodist church in our area.  I began attending with them and I remember a turning point for me was a week-long church retreat in the summer at the Oregon coast.  There were young adults my own age, sing-alongs, campfires, Bible studies, prayer meetings, and I left there with a renewed sense of hope that God existed; He loved me in spite of my sins, and I could find forgiveness and a measure of real happiness within a family of my own if I began to rebuild my life.

Soon I was baptized. Mother helped me to get my GED, and I got my first job working as a receptionist.  I began to attend youth activities, and the church became a lifeline that pulled me out of the fog of grief, sorrow, and guilt after my years with Steven. I found forgiveness in Jesus. I forgave myself, I forgave my mother and stepfather, and I prayed for the grace to forgive Steven. 

I gained the confidence to move out and enroll in college. I rented a room of my own from an elderly widow who lived near the campus.  That is when I met Joseph, who is now my husband. 

My husband is my true hero. He has been a loving husband, a generous father, and hard-working provider for our family. My husband loves me and has forgiven me from his heart and has not let my past define his understanding of who I am as a person. If I had kept my baby I believe Joseph and I would still be married today, and our lives would be richer because of his presence in our family. God has been generous in giving us the joy of children and grandchildren who are a constant reminder of God’s presence in our life.  I am amazed at the way God has protected me over the years. 

Today I am a pro-life Roman Catholic, the mother of seven children, and this year my husband and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.  Joseph and I have six children of our own, and I give thanks for each of them, as they are truly a gift from God.  We are also legal guardians to a beautiful little girl whose young mother made the choice for life in a difficult pregnancy, and then entrusted her to our care.

Joseph and I joined the Catholic Church, as adults through the RCIA process in 1992.  The Catholic Church’s teaching on respect for life, as well as the sacrament of confession, has brought me an even deeper level of healing and peace.  We have been active in ministries within the church that support the family, marriage and respect for life. 

Setting the Record Straight

To set the record straight: I was never pregnant before I met Steven Tyler, nor did I ever have a previous abortion and Steven knows this to be true.  I do not believe I started the fire that burned his apartment, but I am thankful to God for the brave firemen who pulled me out of that burning building.  I never asked him for any money after I returned home.  I came to him with nothing and I left him with nothing, except regrets.  Although I presented myself to him in a highly sexualized way, we did not have sex in public places as he wrote in his new book.  His continued gross exaggeration of our relationship is puzzling to me. He has talked of me as a sex object without any human dignity.  I have made a point over these long years never to speak of him, yet he has repeatedly humiliated me in print with distortions of our time together. I do not understand why he has done this. It has been very painful.

Love Survives

In spite of everything, I do not hate Steven Tyler, nor am I personally bitter.  I pray for his sincere conversion of heart and hope he can find God’s grace. I know that I am also responsible for what happened that day. Someone may say that my abortion was justified because of my age, the drugs, and the fire. I do not believe anything can justify taking my baby’s life. The action is wrong. I pray that our nation will change its laws so that the lives of innocent unborn babies are protected. 

I pray that all those who have had abortions, or have participated in any way in an abortion procedure, may find in my story, not judgment or condemnation, but a renewed hope in God’s steadfast love, forgiveness and peace.

Our nation’s young girls, especially those like me, who have experienced trauma and abuse, and are vulnerable to exploitation should not be used as sexual playthings, scarred by abortions to free their male partners from financial responsibility, and then like their unborn children, tossed aside as an unwanted object. 

Marriage and the family are the building blocks of all virtuous societies.  I learned this lesson in a trial by fire that taught me to trust God’s plan no matter what occurs.  I pray that our nation may also find its way back to God by respecting the life of unborn children and strengthening the sanctity of marriage.

* * *
After I was out of the hospital and recovered from the fire, Steven Tyler brought me my picture of Jesus, The Light of the World, and gave it to me.  He said it was the only thing that had survived the fire.  It was covered with black soot, and the paper backing was singed, but I cleaned it and it is now hanging in the entry of my home.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  (John 8, 12)

Sincerely,
Julia Holcomb

Kevin Burke, LSW, is a Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard - a post abortion healing ministry of Priests For Life offering Weekend Retreats across the U.S. and around the world for post abortive mothers and fathers, siblings and grandparents suffering after abortion loss.  Kevin is author of Redeeming a Father’s Heart and can be reached at [email protected]

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Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, speaks at a March 3 press conference announcing a report showing that Catholic Relief Services ran a program promoting abortifacients and contraceptives in Kenya. Nathan Mitchell
Lisa Bourne

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Critics fire back with new evidence after CRS denies it ran sex ed program pushing abortifacients

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, shows a poster promoting contraception from a program Catholic Relief Services ran in Kenya. Nathan Mitchell
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Stephen Phelan of HLI discusses evidence

BALTIMORE, MD, March 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Critics of Catholic Relief Services say the international humanitarian agency apparently neglected to carefully read the latest claims that it promoted contraception and abortifacients for children in Kenya before issuing blanket denials.

The Population Research Institute and the Lepanto Institute continue to call for a full-scale reform of the U.S. bishops’ aid organization.

“CRS's response uses straw-man tactics, misdirection, and outright lies in order to cast doubt on the PRI and Lepanto Institute report,” Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, told LifeSiteNews.

The two groups also have 600 pages of CRS self-reported documents in their possession, obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and shared with LifeSiteNews, that they insist substantiate the claims they made in their report and irrefutably prove that the relief agency is being dishonest.

The report, issued March 3, says CRS took government grant money from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to implement an AIDS prevention program for Kenyan children with two components, Healthy Choices 1 (HC1) and Healthy Choices 2 (HC2), both of which promoted contraceptives and abortifacients in violation of Catholic teaching.

The report also says CRS cooperated in altering PEPFAR documents once its involvement in the program had become known and was brought to the agency’s attention.

In addition to the FOIA documents, evidence of CRS’s involvement in the contraception-promoting program was corroborated by CRS sub-partner website content, and by on-the-ground field interviews conducted by an independent investigator retained by PRI who had a medical background and who was fluent in local languages.

PRI, the Lepanto Institute, and Human Life International (HLI) attempted unsuccessfully to meet with CRS leadership, CRS Chairman and Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley, and other board members over several months before releasing the report.

After the apparent unwillingness of CRS and its governing body to discuss the concerns, the groups’ remaining recourse was the March 3 press conference called to share the results of the report.

“PRI has been trying for months to address these concerns through appropriate channels,” PRI President Stephen Mosher said. “We are now making our findings public in the hope that CRS will speedily enact credible reforms to ensure that such abuses never happen again.”

HLI Director of Mission Communications Stephen Phelan said at the press conference that his organization was part of releasing the report because of the unsuccessful efforts to meet, and while he expressed reluctance on the part of HLI toward taking part, they felt compelled to join with PRI and the Lepanto Institute because of their findings on CRS.

“We’ve read the reports, based on our own background in the area we find it to be very credible, and we’re very concerned that CRS’ current public explanation on the record cannot be true,” Phelan said. “I want to make that as clear as possible, what CRS has said about this cannot be true.”

“What makes it worse is that they’ve told the bishops this and now the bishops won’t talk to us about this,” he continued. “Again, forcing this out in the public.”

CRS issued its response to the allegations during the March 3 press conference, allowing PRI and the Lepanto Institute to respond at the event.

“After a careful review of the facts, the report's allegations unravel quickly,” the CRS statement said. “They are misleading, exaggerated, and untrue.”

Examples of what’s shown in the FOIA documents include CRS’s sub-partner, Africa Inland Church, indicating that it implemented eight modules (the full program) of Healthy Choices II through CRS-SAIDIA (Support and Assistance to Indigenous Implementing Agencies), and CRS’s sub-partner, Caritas Nyeri, indicating that it implemented Healthy Choices II, and that Healthy Choices II promoted “protected sexual intercourse,” “safe sex,” and “consistent condom use.”

The FOIA documents also show various results of the investigator’s findings, such as his being told by the CRS-Kenya secretary that CRS implemented HC2, that children he interviewed who had been through HC2 saying they had learned about contraception as a “healthy choice,” and CRS sub-partner MMAAK telling him they’d been advised by CRS “not to take Healthy Choices II to any Catholic school.” 

CRS stated in its response to the report it is false that it promoted condoms with its Healthy Choices 1 (HC1) program.

“CRS took the original Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Healthy Choices I program and changed it to remove all aspects that violated Church teaching,” it said. “We then implemented this revised version of the program. We could do this because of PEPFAR's conscience clause, which allows faith-based agencies like CRS to design publicly-funded AIDS programs that respect our religious convictions, including focusing on abstinence and fidelity. Our modified version was approved by the CDC and the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

PRI President Stephen Mosher and Hichborn both replied that their report didn’t allege that CRS HC1 continued to push condom use. Mosher pointed out, as the PRI/Lepanto Institute report states, that the removal of condom promotion occurred only after complaints from local Catholics, and also the investigation did confirm that the Healthy Choices (HC2) did not remove the endorsement of condoms, hormonal contraception, and abortifacients.

“If CRS had bothered to carefully review the facts contained in the report,” Hichborn said, “it would have seen very quickly seen that the PRI/Lepanto Institute report indicated that the Healthy Choices I program was modified in order to remove the promotion of condoms.”

Further, the CDC was not mentioned in the PRI/Lepanto Institute report, as the government grant documentation reported on was from PEPFAR. The two government agencies work in concert, but the report did not include the CDC.

CRS also stated in its response that it is false that it and the CDC changed documents to cover up CRS’s involvement in distributing contraception.

“The CDC made an error in a report, incorrectly listing CRS as involved in a program related to contraception,” the CRS statement said. “We asked the CDC to correct their mistake on the report, which they did. The PRI/Lepanto claim that asking the CDC to correct their error constitutes a cover-up is simply absurd.”

The original document was produced by PEPFAR, not the CDC, Mosher replied. The original PEPFAR document states that CRS implemented HC 2, the later version removes all indication that CRS implemented HC 2, and then CRS claimed in its response that they implemented HC2, but without any reference to contraception. 

“All three of these things cannot be true,” Mosher told LifeSiteNews. “They can’t have it both ways.”

“CRS claims that the alteration of the PEPFAR document does not constitute a cover-up,” said Hichborn. “However, the removal of all mention of Healthy Choices II is neither consistent with the evidence, nor is it consistent with CRS's very next paragraph, which admits to implementing Healthy Choices II.”

“Either CRS implemented HC II or it did not,” he said. “If it did, then the PEPFAR document was falsified as we originally indicated.”

CRS states in its response that its implementing partners used only two of the four sections of HC2, “those two which were appropriate and in accordance with Church and CRS doctrine, and did not use the other sections, as they were deemed inappropriate.”

Yet, Mosher responded, PRI’s on-the-ground investigation and self-reporting by CRS acquired through the FOIA request indicate that CRS did implement Healthy Choices II as written, including the promotion of contraception. 

“Furthermore,” Hichborn said, “the on-the-ground investigator obtained the facilitator’s manual for Healthy Choices II from CRS’s sub-partner KWOSP (Kenya Widows And Orphans Support Programme), and this manual contains all of the contraception-promoting elements.”

CRS said in its response the dispensary referenced in the PRI/Lepanto report was one of several local partners under SAIDIA, and that “no CRS project funds were ever used to purchase or distribute condoms or artificial contraception.” CRS stated the dispensary’s work with CRS was “limited to antiretroviral and tuberculosis treatment and clearly in line with Church teaching.”

“According to the CRS-certified nurse at AIC Kalamba (dispensary),” Hichborn responded, “condoms were a part of the package, CRS knew it, and kept quiet about it.”

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CRS claimed in its response the PMTCT (Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission) Project referenced in the report was not operated under CRS, but was rather a separate project operated by the local organization, funded by another donor.

“This is completely false,” Hichborn countered. “We have dozens of pages of information obtained through a FOIA request, with CRS letterhead, indicating the number of individuals they reached with PMTC.”

Mosher concurred: “This blanket denial is especially concerning.”

CRS’s final rebuttal to the report was in regard to the investigator and more in the form of a disturbing charge in the direction of PRI and the Lepanto Institute.

“We are concerned that the ‘investigator’ misrepresented himself during his ‘research’ in Kenya,” the CRS reply stated. “He presented himself as a student doing research for his thesis when he visited CRS’ office and shared his CV. Such misrepresentation does not appear to comply with international standards on research that normally requires full disclosure on the purpose of research to all interviewees.”

“It is our sincere hope that international research standards were upheld during his interviews with children,” CRS said. “As young children were not only quoted, but photographed in this report.”

“This is what is colloquially referred to as ‘shooting the messenger,’ when you don't like his message,” Mosher responded. “Our investigator abided by the highest standards of investigative journalism.”

“Not only is this irrelevant, but the threatening tone of this statement is disgusting,” said Hichborn. “Why not just address what the investigator found?”

Mosher pointed out that PRI has a long history of conducting field research and that the investigator did not misrepresent himself. Additionally, Hichborn is formally trained in open source analysis.

“We are concerned that CRS is seeking to discredit us rather than address our concerns for constructive reform,” Mosher stated.

PRI, the Lepanto Institute, and HLI continue to call for review of CRS programs, and assurances that the necessary modifications be made to ensure that CRS’s assistance to those in need globally would be certain of an authentic Catholic foundation. 

“We recommend that the USCCB establish a review committee of outside experts to review all CRS programs,” Mosher said, “including representatives from countries like Kenya which have been adversely affected, to enact needed reforms.”

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One of the leading gay ‘marriage’ activists in Ohio faked his own abduction: police

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By Ben Johnson

CINCINNATI, OH, March 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the leading activists for gay “marriage” in Ohio faked his own abduction this week, causing an uproar that threatened to drain away precious resources from real emergencies, police say.

Adam Hoover, 20, is co-president of Marriage Equality Ohio, an LGBT pressure group promoting the redefinition of marriage in Ohio.

Hoover left his job at Chipotle on Monday evening. Hours later, around 12:30 Tuesday morning, he posted messages on his Facebook page and Twitter feed claiming that he had been kidnapped, stuffed inside the trunk of his car, and his captors were threatening to murder his entire family.

“Please help me I’m in the trunk of my ford escort red 2000,” he said, sending his license plate number, as well. “They said they are going to kill my family please call 911.”

Hoover said he had not called 911, because he was afraid his kidnappers would hear him talking and kill him.

"Please, please call,” he implored. “I don't want to die."

His friends and followers did just that, sharing his pleas under the hashtag #FindAdamHoover.

Local emergency personnel were “inundated with phone calls from friends and family,” according to Green Township Police Lieutenant Jim Vetter.

Emergency operators said anyone in that situation should dial them directly.

“If he’s in the trunk no one will hear him,” dispatchers told callers. “If he has a phone he can dial 911. You need to post that. Any phone can call 911. You cannot disable 911.”

Soon, police found his abandoned car in a country area, with Hoover nearby.

Hoover told Lt. Vetter that an armed man was waiting in the back seat of his car after he got off work. Somehow, he said, he escaped to a farmhouse and asked the strangers there for help.

Under the circumstances, Hoover appeared remarkably composed, Vetter said.

Officers charged Hoover with making false alarms, a first degree misdemeanor.

WCPO reported that “such events are troubling, because the sheer volume of calls could possibly prevent dispatchers from answering other emergencies.”

Lt. Vetter would not say what made Hoover allegedly make a false report, but alluded to “stresses” plaguing the Miami University student. “It’s…personal stuff,” the officer said. “It wouldn’t be fair to go into too much detail, but he’s a young man and as many young kids do, he’s dealing with some issues.”

Following the allegation that he caused a false panic, his friends in the homosexual activist movement are distancing themselves but hope to welcome Hoover back into the ranks of leadership soon. "In light of the recent controversy surrounding him, he is indefinitely suspended from posting on the page," Nicholas Wymer, the group's co-founder, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “While it is our hope that we can work past this issue, we are waiting until the issue settles to make a permanent decision."

Hoover, who is now 20, had been part of the political wing of the LGBT movement since he was 17. In addition to promoting gay “marriage,” Hoover recently fought for the transgender cause, collecting $2,200 for a memorial for “Leelah” Alcorn, a transgender teenage boy from Ohio who committed suicide. As of January, no work had begun on the proposed memorial, according to media outlets.

If he is found guilty, Hoover will be far from alone. Numerous homosexuals have reported “hate crimes” – and often had their cases celebrated in social media – only to be revealed as frauds.

In 2012, onetime college basketball great and lesbian activist Charlie Rogers faked a hate crime, carving a cross into her own chest. A year later, she was sentenced to seven days in jail, as well as probation and community service.

In August 2012, a homosexual in Montana, Joseph Baken, said three men beat him and called him anti-gay slurs as he was celebrating his 22nd birthday. But video surfaced of him doing a backflip and smacking his face on the pavement.

In November 2013, New Jersey waitress Dayna Morales story that a couple refused to tip her because she's a lesbian went viral, generating thousands of dollars of contributions from sympathetic readers. The couple later came forward with their receipt, which recorded their generous tip. Morales also claimed she would send donations to wounded veterans, but veterans groups recorded no such donations. Her friends have described her as a compulsive liar.

In 2012, Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) threw a “solidarity rally” for 19-year-old Alexandra Pennell, a lesbian allegedly receiving hate notes. However, she planted the notes herself.

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That May, police in Colorado charged a lesbian couple with writing “Kill the Gay” on their own garage.

The most famous gay “hate crime,” the murder of Matthew Shepard by "homophobes," has also been exposed as little more than a robbery gone bad. The assailants were reportedly bisexual.

A significant number of hate crime hoaxes take place each year on both sexual and racial grounds.

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West Virginia passes 20-week ‘fetal pain’ abortion ban: overrides governor’s veto

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By Ben Johnson

CHARLESTON, WV, March 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – West Virginia has become the 11th state to pass legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks today, as the state Senate voted to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's veto.

On Friday, the West Virginia state Senate voted to enact the pro-life protections by a vote of 22-5.

The House of Delegates voted to overturn Tomblin's veto on Wednesday, 77-16. Seven members did not vote or were absent.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.B. 2568) is set to become law 90 days after today's vote.

Only 51 state Delegates and 18 state Senators were needed to override the veto.

The state Senators who voted against enacting the pro-life law were: Sens. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia; Doug Facemire, D-Braxton; Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha; Mike Romano, D-Harrison; and Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson.

“I believe there is no greater gift of love than the gift of life,” Gov. Tomblin said as he announced he would attempt to kill the fetal pain bill – wording nearly identical to his veto of a similar bill last March. Tomblin said he based his veto on a consideration of the bill's “constitutionality.”

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards denounced the measure, which would prevent anyone in the state from subjecting a child to abortion after he or she can feel pain, as “cruel and dangerous.”

Pro-abortion activists doubled-down on that sentiment after today's vote. "Governor Tomblin was right to veto this callous, cruel and unconstitutional attack on health care for women facing complicated and sometimes dangerous situations in their lives and pregnancies," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is based in New York state. "With this action today, the politicians behind this law have revealed how far they are willing to go to advance their ideological agenda at the expense of women's rights, lives and safety.”

“They should be ashamed,” Northup added.

But national pro-life leaders applauded the legislators.

“We commend the members of the legislature who supported this bill for their courage and compassion by adding their voices in favor of protecting pain-capable unborn children who are unable to speak for themselves,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee. “We condemn Governor Tomblin for his cowardice and indifference toward the innocent, unborn child who is capable of great suffering from the violence of abortion.”

They were also outraged by Tomblin's reference to revering life in his veto message. "Governor Tomblin cannot claim to be pro-life and then veto a bill that seeks to protect unborn children who can feel pain from abortions," said Karen Cross, National Right to Life political director."Unborn children who recoil from painful stimuli and who must routinely be given anesthesia when operated on will still be painfully killed in West Virginia because of the callousness demonstrated by Governor Tomblin."

While 10 other states have passed some form of fetal pain bill, the law is in effect in only eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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The Arkansas 20-week abortion ban was also enacted over the veto of a Democratic governor, Michael Beebe. Abortion advocates have attempted to halt the laws in the courts.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican, has promised to defend the law from the anticipated legal challenges it will face. House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, told the Associated Press, “I frankly hope we don't have to try that out in court, but we'll see.”

This marks the first time since 1987 that West Virginia legislators have overturned a governor's veto.

The votes paralleled the bill's original passage. The House of Delegates passed the bill by an 82-12 vote on February 11, and the state Senate approved the pro-life bill by a 29-5 margin on February 25. 

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