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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Amanda Casanova

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

A Taylor University professor, who has worked in Christian publishing for years, has stepped down from his teaching position after being accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with students 14 years ago.

Dennis E. Hensley is accused of hugging and kissing a student in 2004 after she told the professor that she had been recently raped. The university was notified of the incident but it did not force him to resign.

The student, Rachel Custer, was 23 at the time. She said she told him she had been raped and had reported the assault to police. Custer says Hensley held her hands while she cried, hugged her, kissed her tears and then kissed her on the mouth.

Custer said she pulled away and left the room before Hensley told her that the incident would be their “little secret.”

“It’s just hard to explain how much this messed with me,” she said. “After the situation I’d been through, I thought I was in a place that was completely safe.”

Hensley, however, says he has meant for his actions to be supportive and not sexual.

“I was trying to be gracious. I was trying to be comforting. I meant nothing in the way of any harm to her,” Hensley said in an interview with Inside Higher Ed. “Now this is coming out 14 years later, with this whole 'Me Too' kind of thing, and everyone is piling on the bandwagon.”

Because of his experience in the Vietnam War, he said he recognized Custer’s trauma and comforted her. He also told her to seek professional help. He admits that he hugged her but says the allegation of kissing is “fabrication.”

New accusations have also come to light from people who participated in writers’ conferences where Hensley attended. Some women have accused him of touching them or making inappropriate comments.

“I’ve always been outgoing, but in this era, that has been described going too far,” he said. “I regret that we’ve come to that, that we’ve gotten to that point. I don’t want to hold hands when we’re praying, or return a hug, so I think it’s an interpretation of what’s going on in the media.”

Publication Date: July 20, 2018

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay/Facebook

Four female inmates at a women’s jail in West Yorkshire say a transgender prisoner sexually assaulted them.

According to The Daily Mail, the first assault happened within days of the transgender prisoner, Karen White, arriving at the jail.

One woman says the transgender prisoner was visibly aroused during the attack. Another female inmate says the transgender prisoner talked inappropriately about oral sex, and a third inmate says the transgender prisoner attacked her. The fourth inmate says the transgender inmate kissed her on the neck.

The BBC says the offenses took place between September to November 2017.

The transgender prisoner has been sent to a Category B men’s jail. She will appear at Leeds Crown Court in August.

According to The Daily Mail, there were 125 transgender prisoners in England and Wales at the end of March 2017. The year prior, there were only 70.

Transgender women can legally change their gender with a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and have lived as a woman for two years.

Judges use this law to decide which gender facility that transgender prisoners will be sent to— male or female.

Officials from the Ministry of Justice told the BBC that in the “great majority” of cases, transgender inmates are allowed to “experience the system” in the gender they identify.

Officials also said “strict safeguards” were in place to prevent abuse.

Publication Date: July 20, 2018

Photo Courtesy: Facebook

In a study published by The Global Slavery Index, in 2018, North Korea stands to have the most modern-day slaves, a total estimate of 2.6 million in the country. Types of slavery included in the study are “human trafficking, forced marriage, and the exploitation of children, along with slavery,” The Blaze reports. Not included is organ trafficking and child soldier recruitment:

“Unfortunately, due to the limits of existing data, it was not possible for the Global Estimates of Modern Slavery to measure and include the scale of trafficking for organ removal or the recruitment child soldiers,” The Global Slavery Index concludes.

The Global Slavery Index defines modern slavery this way: “Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power. For example, their passport might be taken away if they are in a foreign country, they might experience or be threatened with violence, or their family might be threatened.”

In North Korea, modern-day slavery is so common that citizens believe it’s their duty. The Blaze reports, “One panellist for the Global Slavery Index, Dr Jang Jin-sung, used to be a member of the North Korean elite class, but that did not exempt him from forced labor. Dr. Jang said that many North Koreans don’t even realize that they were being enslaved. “I didn’t know it when I was in the country, but looking back it was,” Jang told The Telegraph. “As a child I had to do farm work in the summer. I didn’t think of it as forced labour but as a righteous duty to the state.”

The Blaze reports that children in North Korea who are forced into labor are threatened with expulsion from school or other punishment if they refuse to cooperate. They are also not paid for their work.

Including North Korea, the study found other countries to have a high number of modern-day slaves. Among these are Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mauritania, and South Sudan.

Publication Date: July 20. 2018

Photo Courtesy: Facebook