Archive for February 21st, 2020

Benji Madden gushes about wife Cameron Diaz and baby girl Raddix: ‘I feel so lucky’ – USA TODAY

February 21st, 2020

Benji Madden is gushing about the leading ladies in his life. 

The “Good Charlotte” musician, 40, took to Instagram Friday to express how thankful he is for his wife Cameron Diaz and their baby girl, Raddix.

“My Wife and Daughter fill me up with so much gratitude,” he captioned a portrait of red roses. “Everyday, I feel so lucky. Just wanted to say it out loud!!! Much Love & Best Wishes.”

Madden and Diaz, 47, announced the birth of their daughter in January. 

“Happy New Year from the Maddens! We are so happy, blessed and grateful to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden,” Diaz wrote in her Instagram post. “She has instantly captured our hearts and completed our family.”

Surprise!Cameron Diaz and husband Benji Madden welcome baby girl Raddix

The proud parents added that they would “protect our little one’s privacy” by keeping pictures and details about their bundle of joy private, making Madden’s declaration of love even more sweet. 

Raddix is both Diaz and Madden’s first child. 


Tensions mount in St-Lambert before protesters end blockade peacefully – Montreal Gazette

February 21st, 2020

The atmosphere among protesters heated up at about 9 p.m. Friday with the arrival of new demonstrators, who chanted anti-police slogans.

In the end, most of the protesters in St-Lambert left quietly.

Activists at the blockade on the CN Rail tracks had begun to peacefully dismantle their camp Friday evening when tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of new demonstrators, who began chanting anti-police slogans.

More than 50 demonstrators gathered around 9 p.m. to support the protesters who had camped there since Wednesday.

“To all those who care about Aboriginal ancestral sovereignties, we must act now. Answer the call of the hereditary chiefs. Block by all means bridges, ports, roads and rails,” the protesters said in a press briefing at about 10 p.m., before leaving the blockade.

Faced with a large deployment of riot police, the protesters had started packing up at around 7:30 p.m. They carried equipment such as sleeping bags, pots, propane tanks and a wood stove to the perimeter erected by Longueuil police.

However, the situation became tense between the newcomers and police. Dozens of protesters started chanting slogans such as: “Everyone hates the police.”

Tempers flared when some demonstrators tried to cross the police perimeter. Dozens of officers were brought in to monitor the crowd.

The Canadian Press observed constant communication between activists and police during the evening.

The first sign of police mobilization to dislodge the protesters came in the afternoon, shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for the railway blockade to be dismantled.

[embedded content]

At a news conference in Ottawa, Trudeau asked that injunctions be respected, but did not specify when or how. He also could not say how he could assure there would be no violence, relying on the professionalism of the police forces who will have to decide if they intervene and when.

Premier François Legault also said Friday afternoon it was up to police to decide when and how they would enforce an injunction to clear the St-Lambert railway tracks of protesters.

While Legault said he understood some citizens in the area were frustrated with the delay, he added they should not seek confrontations.

Longueuil police allow protesters to leave with their personal belongings Friday evening after having blocked the CN Rail lines in St-Lambert.

Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette

“I expect the police to do their work,” he told reporters in Montreal. “The ball is in their court. It’s up to them to do their work. It’s up to them to decide when and how they do it.”

After meeting with protesters twice Friday afternoon, police negotiators pulled out of camp and tactical units moved in. First, they cleared reporters from the front lines and sealed off the street leading to the rail crossing. Then eight armoured officers blocked the north side of the tracks, tightening ranks around the blockade.

By dusk, the protesters were nearly surrounded and police negotiators moved in once more to try to bring an end to the standoff. But the protesters dug in around their fire, in their tent and in folding chairs only a few meters from police.

Darkness settled onto the icy tracks and with it the biting February air.

Then, around 7:30 p.m., they started to disperse.

Protesters march to show solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in Montreal on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.

Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette

Earlier Friday afternoon, hundreds of people took part in a protest in downtown Montreal organized by Idle No More Quebec, in support of the rail blockades.

In his demand to end the blockades, Legault said the protests are costing the Quebec economy $100 million a day.

He said Quebec’s inventory of propane, a key product for farmers in cold weather, is down to a “couple of days.”

“I can understand that citizens are a little bit angry, that people have lost their jobs in Quebec because of these blockades. But I ask citizens to be prudent and let the police do their work.”

He repeated he hoped for an orderly and peaceful settlement of the crisis.

“I think it’s important that people understand the law has to be respected, and I am confident the people will be able to convince people blocking the rail to stop doing that rapidly.

“People have the right to demonstrate, they have a right to say they do not agree with a project in British Columbia, but it cannot mean Quebec workers are penalized.”

Tensions in St-Lambert

During the day on Friday, a few residents shouted down protesters, but mostly police and media stood by and waited.

[embedded content]

One St-Lambert resident confronted protesters, in a tirade also directed at immigrants and Indigenous Peoples. Around noon, he tried to single-handedly dismantle the barricade. He was rebuffed by a handful of masked protesters who pleaded with him to calm down.

Police carted him off in an unmarked car, but the scene remained tense.

Business owner Denis Bisson demanded the protesters explain themselves. His employees depend on raw materials from Eastern Canada to be shipped via rail to his mill in the Laurentians. It would cost him four times more to have the materials brought in on a flatbed truck, he said.

“I am sympathetic — these protesters could be my own kids,” Bisson said. “But they’re hurting the wrong people. They’re hurting working families.”

One of the few unmasked protesters is Jean-Yves Lessard, who said he’s homeless and stands with his “brothers and sisters” in resisting the pipeline.

“Don’t look at us, look at Trudeau and those bandits in his cabinet,” he said. “He needs to sit down with the chiefs and fix this on the f—ing double.”

Though they’re flying the Iroquois Confederacy flag over the tracks, none of the protesters in St-Lambert have claimed to represent the Mohawks or any Indigenous nation.

[embedded content]

They say they are acting in solidarity with other blockades across Canada opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation near Houston, B.C.

One of those key protests is also in Quebec, at Kahnawake, where activists continue to block a Canadian Pacific rail line.

On Thursday, Kahnawake Grand Chief Joe Norton had harsh words for Legault’s call for police intervention.

“He has to be brought onto the carpet for his approach, in (advocating for the use of) armed force, demanding that there be a co-ordinated effort between police forces to set in motion an action that would be disastrous,” Norton said in an interview.

But Legault said Thursday the government feels having the police move in is legitimate because, unlike Kahnawake, the land in question is not considered Indigenous territory.

“Yes, there is a difference,” Legault said. “It is land that belongs to Quebec, it is not land that belongs to Indigenous Peoples.”

Asked to elaborate on the difference, Legault said: “In Kahnawake, technically it is the Peacekeepers who are responsible for applying the law, it is Indigenous lands,” Legault said. “Yes, there is a difference between the two.”

Sidhartha Banerjee and Stéphane Blais of Canadian Press contributed to this report.


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BTS Talk Identity Crisis, New Album ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ – Variety

February 21st, 2020

BTS, in an interview with Variety, open up about the confusion, creativity and inspiration behind their new album, ’Map of the Soul: 7.’


Study says smartphone addiction has physical impact on brain – WAOW

February 21st, 2020

AI Has Uncovered Susprising Potential New Antibiotics to Combat Drug Resistance – ScienceAlert

February 21st, 2020

Imagine you’re a fossil hunter. You spend months in the heat of Arizona digging up bones only to find that what you’ve uncovered is from a previously discovered dinosaur.

That’s how the search for antibiotics has panned out recently. The relatively few antibiotic hunters out there keep finding the same types of antibiotics.

With the rapid rise in drug resistance in many pathogens, new antibiotics are desperately needed. It may be only a matter of time before a wound or scratch becomes life-threatening.

Yet few new antibiotics have entered the market of late, and even these are just minor variants of old antibiotics.

While the prospects look bleak, the recent revolution in artificial intelligence (AI) offers new hope. In a study published on Feb. 20 in the journal Cell, scientists from MIT and Harvard used a type of AI called deep learning to discover new antibiotics.

The traditional way of discovering antibiotics – from soil or plant extracts – has not revealed new candidates, and there are many social and economic hurdles to solving this problem, as well.

Some scientists have recently tried to tackle it by searching the DNA of bacteria for new antibiotic-producing genes. Others are looking for antibiotics in exotic locations such as in our noses.

Drugs found through such unconventional methods face a rocky road to reach the market. The drugs that are effective in a petri dish may not work well inside the body.

They may not be absorbed well or may have side effects. Manufacturing these drugs in large quantities is also a significant challenge.

Deep learning

Enter deep learning. These algorithms power many of today’s facial recognition systems and self-driving cars. They mimic how neurons in our brains operate by learning patterns in data.

An individual artificial neuron – like a mini sensor – might detect simple patterns like lines or circles. By using thousands of these artificial neurons, deep learning AI can perform extremely complex tasks like recognizing cats in videos or detecting tumors in biopsy images.

Given its power and success, it might not be surprising to learn that researchers hunting for new drugs are embracing deep learning AI. Yet building an AI method for discovering new drugs is no trivial task. In large part, this is because in the field of AI there’s no free lunch.

The No Free Lunch theorem states that there is no universally superior algorithm. This means that if an algorithm performs spectacularly in one task, say facial recognition, then it will fail spectacularly in a different task, like drug discovery. Hence researchers can’t simply use off-the-shelf deep learning AI.

The Harvard-MIT team used a new type of deep learning AI called graph neural networks for drug discovery. Back in the AI stone age of 2010, AI models for drug discovery were built using text descriptions of chemicals. This is like describing a person’s face through words such as “dark eyes” and “long nose.”

These text descriptors are useful but obviously don’t paint the entire picture. The AI method used by the Harvard-MIT team describes chemicals as a network of atoms, which gives the algorithm a more complete picture of the chemical than text descriptions can provide.

Human knowledge and AI blank slates

Yet deep learning alone is not sufficient to discover new antibiotics. It needs to be coupled with deep biological knowledge of infections.

The Harvard-MIT team meticulously trained the AI algorithm with examples of drugs that are effective and those that aren’t. In addition, they used drugs that are known to be safe in humans to train the AI.

They then used the AI algorithm to identify potentially safe yet potent antibiotics from millions of chemicals.

Unlike people, AI has no preconceived notions, especially about what an antibiotic should look like. Using old-school AI, my lab recently discovered some surprising candidates for treating tuberculosis, including an anti-psychotic drug.

In the study by the Harvard-MIT team, they found a gold mine of new candidates. These candidate drugs do not look anything like existing antibiotics. One promising candidate is Halicin, a drug being explored for treating diabetes.

Halicin, surprisingly, was potent not only against E. coli, the bacteria the AI algorithm was trained on, but also on more deadly pathogens, including those that cause tuberculosis and colon inflammation.

Notably, Halicin was potent against drug resistant Acinetobacter baumanni. This bacterium tops the list of most deadly pathogens compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Unfortunately, Halicin’s broad potency suggests that it may also destroy harmless bacteria in our body. It may also have metabolic side effects, since it was originally designed as an anti-diabetic drug. Given the dire need for new antibiotics, these may be small sacrifices to pay to save lives.

Keeping ahead of evolution

Given the promise of Halicin, should we stop the search for new antibiotics?

Halicin might clear all hurdles and eventually reach the market. But it still needs to overcome an unrelenting foe that’s the main cause of the drug resistance crisis: evolution.

Humans have thrown numerous drugs at pathogens over the past century. Yet pathogens have always evolved resistance. So it likely wouldn’t be long until we encounter a Halicin-resistant infection.

Nevertheless, with the power of deep learning AI, we may now be better suited to quickly respond with a new antibiotic.

Many challenges lie ahead for potential antibiotics discovered using AI to reach the clinic. The conditions in which these drugs are tested are different from those inside the human body.

New AI tools are being built by my lab and others to simulate the body’s internal environment to assess antibiotic potency. AI models can also now predict drug toxicity and side effects.

These AI technologies together may soon give us a leg up in the never-ending battle against drug resistance.

[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to our newsletter.] The Conversation

Sriram Chandrasekaran, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan.

This article is republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Magic: The Gathering – Arena Earns Big For Hasbro | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

February 21st, 2020

Quebec rail blockade abandoned by protesters after riot police arrive to enforce injunction – National Post

February 21st, 2020

ST-LAMBERT, Que. — A blockade south of Montreal that halted rail traffic and frayed nerves since Wednesday was abandoned late Friday after riot police arrived to enforce a court injunction.

The roughly two dozen protesters, acting in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs contesting a British Columbia natural gas pipeline, had begun dismantling the encampment earlier in the evening following discussions with police.

They took downs tents and carried items such as sleeping bags, pots, propane tanks and a wood stove to the edge of a security perimeter established earlier in the day by Longueuil municipal police.

Then at around 10 p.m., a spokesman wearing a ski mask and sunglasses announced the rail blockade in St-Lambert, Que., was ending but said the fight was not over.

“Even though the colonial police is removing this barricade with violence and contempt, others will emerge,” he said.

He added that until the federal government listens to the hereditary chiefs, the RCMP leaves Wet’suwet’en territory and Coastal GasLink scraps the contentious pipeline, “the colonial Canadian state will be totally paralyzed.”

Emotions flared earlier in the day as the protesters dug in next to Canadian National Railway tracks despite being served with an injunction Thursday that ordered that the site be cleared. Quebec Premier Francois Legault called for the injunction to be enforced “rapidly.”

Police arrived in large numbers Friday afternoon near the encampment. There were several rounds of talks between police and the masked protesters, and as the impasse continued, some people chose to leave.

The blockade interrupted freight traffic as well as passenger service for suburban commuters and Via Rail travellers.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would carry natural gas to the B.C. coast, though others in the community support the pipeline.

Countrywide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to a Coastal GasLink work site.

Protesters decamp at a railway blockade in St Lambert, Que., on Feb. 21, 2020.

Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called the blockades around the country unacceptable and said they have to come down.

“Let us be clear: all Canadians are paying the price. Some people can’t get to work, others have lost their jobs,” Trudeau said. “Essential goods … cannot get where they need to go.”

Jean-Yves Lessard, who joined the St-Lambert protesters on Friday morning, said Trudeau’s government was to blame.

“If they had done what they needed to at the beginning, people wouldn’t be here,” he said.

“Sadly, it’s bad for the economy and business, but it’s not them you should be angry with. Tell Trudeau to go and sit down with the hereditary chiefs.”

Legault said he would leave it to police to enforce the injunction.

“We need these tracks for transporting cargo, to avoid job losses, to avoid losses for companies,” he said. “The law has to be respected, and obviously I hope it is done in an orderly fashion.”

The premier estimated losses to the provincial economy due to the rail blockades at up to $100 million a day.

Protesters take belongings from a rail blockade in Saint-Lambert, Que., Feb. 21, 2020.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Denis Bisson, who owns a company north of Montreal that sells slate flooring and countertops, stopped by the blockade Friday. He said he depends on the rail line to supply his business with raw materials from a quarry in Nova Scotia. Switching to flatbed trucks would quadruple the cost per load, he said.

“I’m afraid it’s going to last two or three weeks, and I’m beginning to be out of stock in my yard,” he said, holding a sign that read in French “hostage for one day or every day?!”

A protester told him they were standing up for Indigenous rights and the environment.

“But they are hitting people that have nothing to do with that,” Bisson said. “They’re making people pay for something that we’re not involved in.”

The injunction granted to CN Thursday by Superior Court Justice France Dulude authorized “any police services or peace officers” to assist the company in executing the order in St-Lambert.

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All-Manitoba, all-Ontario playoff games at the Scotties –

February 21st, 2020

MOOSE JAW, Sask. – The province of Manitoba has produced some of this country’s greatest curlers.

This year’s Scotties in Moose Jaw is once again highlighting it.

Jennifer Jones, who made her way into this year’s championship by winning the Wild Card game one week ago, is into the 1 vs 2 playoff game on Saturday against Team Manitoba, skipped by Kerri Einarson.

It’s a rematch of this year’s Manitoba provincial final – a game Einarson won.

It’s also a rematch of the 2018 Scotties final – Jones won that big prize.

Now the two familiar foes meet again with the winner advancing to Sunday’s championship game.

Einarson has been close to winning Canada’s crown jewel of curling before, and is ranked third in the world right now. They finished with a 9-2 record and other than the two losses, have been superb from start to finish.

Einarson did, however, give up a record-making seven-ender against New Brunswick – something the team isn’t concerned about at all.

“What seven?” Einarson said. “That’s how we look at it. We threw it in the bag. Threw it away. We’re rolling right along now.”

WATCH | Jones punches ticket to Scotties playoffs:

Jennifer Jones’ Wild Card rink beat Robyn Silvernagle’s team Saskatchewan 8-4 to book a spot in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts playoffs. 0:33

Jones has been there, done that. In fact, she’s chasing history in Moose Jaw.

If Jennifer Jones is able to capture this year’s Scotties, it’ll be her seventh. No other skip has done that. She also won the championship the last time it was in Moose Jaw five years ago.

“We’re in a really good spot right now,” Jones said. “All in all, we’re feeling really good but we’re playing some really tough teams.”

The two teams will battle Saturday night inside Mosaic Place.

Another playoff provincial rivalry

So while two Manitoba teams will battle for a spot in the Scotties final, earlier in the day Saturday two Ontario teams will play to stay alive.

The winner plays the loser of Jones versus Einarson while the loser is out of the competition.

Rachel Homan and her Ontario team play Northern Ontario. Skip Krista McCarville, from Thunder Bay, has once again found herself in the final four at a Scotties.

But never before, like Einarson, has she been able to win it all. McCarville lost the Scotties championship game four years ago to Chelsea Carey in Grand Prairie.

There was a time during this week it looked as though the team might miss the playoffs all together after a shocking loss to Nunavut. Since then, they haven’t lost.

The game following that loss to Nunavut, McCarville curled 100 per cent.

WATCH | McCarville throws perfect game against Walker:

Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville threw a perfect game in a 4-3 wi. over Alberta’s Laura Walker. 0:42

She plays her best with her back against the wall.

“I don’t know what it is. We just need that intensity. We need that focus,” McCarville said.

While McCarville enjoys the pressure, she says she’s taken a different approach to this year’s Scotties.

“I just wanted to have fun this year because when you’re uptight you don’t play well,” she said.

“I honestly feel better this year. Usually I’m so nervous at this point.”

She’s playing free and says her Northern Ontario team has been working toward this moment all season.

“We play for the Scotties. This is where we want to be,” McCarville. “This is what I play for.”

Redemption for Homan?

Consider the last two years for Homan.

There was the disappointment of the Olympics.

Then there was the disappointment of last year’s Scotties final, when she had two shots to win the championship, only to come up short.

This past summer, she gave birth to her first child, a baby boy.

It has been an emotional roller coaster for Homan and yet she continues to curl at an incredibly high level – now in another playoff battle at the Scotties.

WATCH | Homan wins championship round opener:

Rachel Homan’s Ontario rink defeated Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville 9-4 to open the championship round at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. 1:01

“A Scotties is a grind and a long week,” Homan said. “We’re going to try and outlast the rest of them.”

Homan has won the championship three times, her last title coming three years ago in St. Catharines.

She’d love nothing more than to get back to another title game.

“You have to stay in the moment. We’re all top teams and we’re all battling. We’re just staying in the moment,” she said.

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Police investigating after person found with gunshot wound dies in Scarborough – CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

February 21st, 2020

Bryann Aguilar,
Published Friday, February 21, 2020 8:48PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 21, 2020 10:32PM EST

Toronto police are investigating after a person who was found with a gunshot wound died in Scarborough Friday evening.

Emergency crews were called to the area of Sheppard Avenue East and Havenview Road, east of McCowan Road, just after 7 p.m.

Duty Inspector Norm Proctor told CP24 a passerby found an individual lying on the sidewalk in “obvious distress.”

When officers arrived, they located the victim with at least one gunshot wound.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The age and gender of the victim have not been released.

The homicide unit has taken over the investigation.

“We have not received any calls as of yet for gunshots or anything of that nature,” said Proctor, adding that he can’t confirm if officers have located any evidence of a shooting at the scene.

Proctor said they don’t have any suspect information at this time.

“It’s very early in the investigation,” he said.

Proctor said they are canvassing the neighbourhood for witnesses, and he is urging anyone who may have information to contact them.

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L’Arche founder Jean Vanier sexually abused at least six women, report finds – The Globe and Mail

February 21st, 2020

French founder of the Communaute de l’Arche (Arch community) Jean Vanier, 86, poses at home on September 23, 2014 in Trosly-Breuil.


Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, the world’s foremost network of communities for intellectually disabled people, has been found to have engaged in sexually abusive relationships with at least six women.

After nearly a year of investigation, L’Arche International is about to release the findings of an independent investigation – to which The Globe and Mail has had exclusive access in the English-speaking world – into the past of Mr. Vanier, who died last May at the age of 90.

The report establishes that Mr. Vanier had “manipulative sexual relationships,” many of them coercive, over the course of 35 years, between 1970 and 2005. Some were assistants, some were nuns. The report also establishes that he enabled and shared sexual partners and “mystical” sexual practices with Pere Thomas Philippe, a censured Dominican priest and serial sexual abuser who was Mr. Vanier’s “spiritual father” – and one of the inspirations for L’Arche. Mr. Vanier publicly denied any knowledge of the practices on more than one occasion.

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None of the women were intellectually disabled, the core members of L’Arche.

The revelations are a blow to Mr. Vanier’s vaunted reputation. He was the son of governor-general Georges Vanier who abandoned the Navy, the priesthood and academia to found a globe-spanning series of homes for the intellectually disabled.

Mr. Vanier was a perennial candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, a Companion of the Order of Canada, a winner of the Templeton Prize and the Joseph Kennedy Foundation Award with his good friend Mother Teresa. As many as 14 schools in Canada bear his name. He wrote best selling books, the most famous of which, Becoming Human, was the basis of a series of Massey lectures.

How the findings will damage L’Arche – which began as a revolutionary alternative to the institutionalization of the intellectually disabled in 1964, and has since become the crown jewel of community-based housing for them – remains to be seen. And how they will affect the intellectually disabled residents of L’Arche – among whom Mr. Vanier lived until the end of his life – is difficult to imagine.

The report, a summary of a fuller investigation that has not been released to protect the confidentiality of the women who testified, is the product of a series of escalating suspicions. They began with a 2014 inquiry into complaints of sexual abuse by as many as 14 women against Pere Thomas, Mr. Vanier’s self-admitted “spiritual father” who was in part responsible for Mr. Vanier becoming interested in the intellectually disabled.

But Mr. Vanier said he knew nothing. Another woman surfaced in 2016, claiming to have had a sexual relationship with Mr. Vanier at his instigation. He admitted the affair, but claimed it was consensual. He was never ordained as a priest, and so the suspicions abated.

But in March of 2019, as Mr. Vanier was dying of heart failure, another women testified that she too had had a sexual affair with him. She claimed Mr. Vanier had indulged in the same “mystical and spiritual” sexual practices that Pere Thomas had been accused of. Mr. Vanier said he could not remember.

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As a result, in April last year, Stefan Posner, the international leader of L’Arche, leapt ahead of what he feared might be an oncoming scandal by commissioning an independent inquiry into the matter by GCPS Consulting, a U.K.-based expert in the investigation and prevention of sexual abuse. By June, he had also commissioned a historian to delve into newly unsealed Vatican files, as well as into the now deceased Mr. Vanier’s correspondence, to study the links between Mr. Vanier and Pere Thomas.

The findings are damning. Mr. Vanier has been found, on the “balance of probabilities,” to have had at least six relationships with women at L’Arche, some of them abusive and all of them coercive and non-consensual. The relationships occurred over a stretch of 30 years, between 1970 and 2005, and involved women of a wide range of ages, all of whom worked within the L’Arche community.

The investigation also concluded that between 1952 and 1964, Pere Thomas and Jean Vanier shared sexual practices and even some female partners (though at different times), none of whom declared themselves as victims. Mr. Vanier founded L’Arche that same year, in 1964, when, repulsed by the institutions he had seen, he moved into a small house in Trosly-Breuil, outside of Paris, with two unspeaking middle aged men with intellectual disabilities. Out of that innocent move – and now, it seems, out of that darkness –L’Arche was born.

The women also describe very similar sexual experiences – some of which were distinctly unusual. The sexual activity often derived from a process of “spiritual accompaniment,” in which the women trusted Mr. Vanier to help them through an emotional crisis or a religious dilemma. To do that, Mr. Vanier employed the same “mystical” practices Pere Thomas had been censured for using as long ago as 1952 – techniques Mr. Vanier said in 2015 and 2016 that he knew nothing about, though he had in fact been familiar with them by then for nearly 50 years.

One nun, describing Mr. Vanier’s unwanted sexual advances, says that “when I expressed my astonishment saying that I was consecrated to Jesus, and how could I manifest my love to Jesus and to him, he replied: ‘But Jesus and myself, this is not two, but we are one … It is Jesus who loves you through me.’ ” Another victim remembered Mr. Vanier saying “This is not us, this is Mary and Jesus. You are chosen, you are special, this is secret.” He was referring to the Virgin Mary, not Mary Magdalene.

Still another woman, when Mr. Vanier’s “spiritual accompaniment” turned to sexual touching, told the leader she had a lover. Mr. Vanier’s reply that “it was important to distinguish (what happened between us) referring to the Song of Solomon.” The relations went on for “3 or 4 years.”

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According to the report, these practices “crossed boundaries which are expected and necessary when people are in a relationship of trust, for example being spiritually accompanied by either a priest of a person of authority.” The relationships were “characterized by significant abuses of power, whereby the alleged victims felt deprived of their free will and so the sexual activity was coerced or took place under coercive conditions.”

Mr. Vanier understood the women were vulnerable, but they felt it was impossible to speak of their affairs. “I was like frozen,” one of them told the investigators. “I realized that Jean Vanier was adored by hundreds of people, like a living Saint … I found it difficult to raise the issue.”

One of the women confronted him, and presented him with a letter in which she declared that what he had done was “unbearable.” His reply? “He told me, ‘I thought it was good.’ He didn’t tell me anything else.” All the women claimed these relationships had long-lasting negative impacts on their lives, and that they needed years of psychological support the overcome the consequences of the abuse.

Needless to say, the close-knit L’Arche community is in a state of shock over the findings. The report has been narrowly distributed to the head of each community, so that they can prepare clear, simple and non-verbal ways of spreading the news to the core members, as well as to major benefactors.

“I have to say that we have been in conversation with major donors,” Mr. Posner says. ”And we have had a very reassuring response.” He is also underlining a distinction L’Arche has made for years now – that L’Arche the institution is not the same as L’Arche’s founder.

That Mr. Vanier – a champion of openness and equality who invented the notion that the intellectually disabled have more to teach the able bodied than the able bodied can teach them – could coerce women into unwanted sexual relationships is shocking. But the fact that he lied for so long seems to have hit hardest.

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“Jean was a really seminal figure in my life,” Mike McDonald, L’Arche’s 30-year-old in-house filmmaker and communications co-ordinator, says. “The shock and the distance and the disillusionment that comes from realizing there was this side of his life that stood against everything I stood for, and everything L’Arche stands for.”

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