Day: February 14, 2020

Anne Kingston: Her beat was life

It seems apt that one of the last long-form features that Anne Kingston wrote was a piece calling for an empathy revolution. Against a backdrop of migrant detentions and a new austerity, the piece, published last summer, traced a desire that is bubbling up in disparate institutions from government to the health care industry, to forge a kinder path: “How do we foster compassion within systems designed to reward those who aren’t compassionate?” it asked.

Like every Anne Kingston piece, it was clear-eyed, unsentimental and startlingly original. And like many an Anne Kingston piece, it was infused with a humanity and an expansiveness of vision that I would guess comes in part from native talent, and in part from writing about a great many different subjects over the years.

Anne did, I suppose, have a beat of sorts. She—perhaps more than any other writer in this country—shaped national conversations about women’s stories and issues over more than two decades. In her roles as a columnist and a senior writer for Maclean’s, the National Post, Saturday Night and the Globe and Mail, and as the author of the best-selling book The Meaning of Wife, she brought into the mainstream an unapologetically feminist world view and an intellectual heft to discussions of women’s lives.

There are other writers who wrote passionately about women–the formidable Michele Landsberg comes to mind–but Anne did it over decades that spanned the transformation into the digital age, into viral, borderless media, into a new multiplatform, instantaneous, un-sleeping universe. She spoke to, and sometimes for, generations of women. She wrote with subtlety, humour, and a freshness of thought about marriage and motherhood (though she was not married or a mother herself); she tackled feminist economics and MeToo. She covered the Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi trials, and Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and Justin Trudeau’s feminist record. She wrote an incisive piece on the taboo of parental regret, for which she was nominated for a Michele Landsberg award.

READ MORE: Anne Kingston: A Quiet Fighter

But Anne also remained throughout her career an avowed generalist. She started her career in a happier age of magazine writing, and she remained a voracious polymath who wrote with equal passion, depth and intelligence about political leaders, budgets, health policy, business, divorce, murder, literature, cauliflower and shoes. Her curiosity was inexhaustible, and she defied pigeonholing—in subject or ideology or approach. “Everything connects,” her Twitter bio begins, and in Anne’s work, it did. Her beat was life; nothing else could contain her.

Anne died in Toronto—it still stings to write the words—on Feb. 12, 2020, of illness that was brief enough to be described as sudden. She leaves a hole in the country’s intellectual and political life, and a huge community of bereft readers. In the flurry of phone calls I shared with grieving colleagues, many of us asked the same baffling question: Who could possibly replace her?

Anne was, for me as for many women I know, the model for what a writer could be. She was a political writer par excellence, well-known (and, surely among some, feared) for her ambitious and unvarnished profiles—Michael Ignatieff, Elizabeth May—and her incisive analysis. She was a dogged and fearless investigative reporter and she was an accomplished business journalist who brought a canny understanding of profits and markets to every story she did.

She cared intensely about issues of social justice, but her pieces were nuanced and seldom merely confirmed what you already knew. She wrote wonderfully about food, and fashion, and design. There were “serious” reporters we both worked with at various publications who would find such subjects frivolous. No subject was frivolous for Anne. She edited the style section of the weekly Saturday Night; she saw those stories as a way to understand the way we live, our habits as consumers, citizens, humans. Anne was proof that a writer, and a woman writer in particular, could write about the biggest political issues of the day, and apply the same intelligence to writing about gardens, and be taken seriously for both.

READ: The powerful journalism of Anne Kingston

I met Anne when we were both at Saturday Night magazine, almost two decades ago. I was a young, newly arrived features editor when I was thrown into what would become one of the longest standing collaborations of my professional life; Anne was already a seasoned journalist, a veteran of Saturday Night, the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail, and the author of the award-winning book The Edible Man: Dave Nichols, President’s Choice, and the Making of Popular Taste. One of my first assignments was to edit her story on Disneyland’s “Cinderella complex.” I pinched myself; I couldn’t believe I was going to edit Anne Kingston. Some of my colleagues, I recall, looked on—with sympathy? Worry?—as I walked over to her desk. “You’re editing Anne?” one asked, eyes wide.

My rapport with Anne was almost instant, and we’ve worked together on thousands and thousands of words since. My admiration for her—the clarity and originality of her thought, the breadth and depth of her interests, her gimlet-sharp turns of phrase—only grew.

I came to know her, too, with an intense intimacy that any long-term editor of her work will surely know. She had a shyness and a vulnerability that might come as a surprise to those who saw only her journalistic prowess or her confidence. There are writers who are perfectly economical about writing: they interview just the right number of people, spend just the right number of hours on the story, and file ahead of schedule. Anne was not that writer. She worked harder on nearly every front than anyone reasonably should. We’d have dozens of conversations about an assignment. Her stories were often high-wire acts. Editor and writer both felt the risk–the wonderful sense of not knowing where a story was headed, of a new journey and an unknown destination; and the more concrete risk of missing the deadline and all getting fired! (We always made it, and the resulting stories were not just satisfying, but often mind-expanding.)

She had an exceptionally high standard, for herself and for everyone else. And an equivalently low threshold for anyone who in any moment didn’t meet it. Want to know what courage in a journalist looks like? It’s going to a wine bar with Anne Kingston and ordering a chocolate martini. (It was 2006, for god’s sake; but Anne was not impressed.) I’ve seen accomplished journalists cower perceptibly in her presence. She was an inveterate professional who gave it her all every minute, and thought you should too. But she was just as generous with her gratitude and her praise. I spent several nights after the Jian Ghomeshi news broke, in meetings with Anne and two talented young interns—Rachel Browne and Genna Buck, now at Global News and the National Post. Anne’s enthusiasm for every detail their reporting teased out was effusive. The quality of the work mattered deeply, above all.

Anne was in a sense a journalist for a digital age before the digital age existed. She chafed against the constraints of press deadlines, against the machinery of type setting and preflighting and printing. Why did it ever have to be over? Like many an editor who worked with her, I can recall evenings that stretched past midnight, the sentences on a piece still forming, or hovering with Anne over a copy editor’s computer, finessing the wording on a highly actionable story minutes before the entire magazine had to go to print.

Web publishing was a welcome intervention for Anne. It was quick, elastic, and, best of all, insatiable. And when Maclean’s went from a weekly to a five-minutely—like every other publication in our time—publishing constantly, few writers made the transition more easily than Anne. Her range was staggering, and she had a voracious metabolism for churning out stories, any subject, any format. She had no ego about any of it. And she applied the rigour and meticulousness of traditional magazine writing to every single piece. Michael Friscolanti, an accomplished investigative reporter, told me yesterday: “You know, she’d write so many f-ing stories in a week it just made me want to quit. I don’t know how she did it.”

No one did. Anne was unstoppable. In a single week, she might produce a brilliant, long-form investigative feature on Health Canada policy over drug side effects—the kind that’s held up in the House of Commons the next day—and also sneak in a delightful culture piece on the biggest cookbook ever published, and a jewel of a fiction review, and a quick news hit about a new MS therapy—an abiding interest ever since a close relative was diagnosed with the condition years ago.

When videos became the panacea for magazine publishing’s ills, Anne plunged in with gusto. Her interview with the writer Kathryn Borel, one of Ghomeshi’s accusers, was heart-stopping. When Maclean’s dipped its toes into podcasting, Anne became the co-host, with Brian Bethune, of a books podcast, The Bibliopod. She was instantly a broadcaster. She enunciated carefully, she projected, she leaned into the mic and quieted involuntary movements in a way most newbies don’t remember to do.

It explained something fundamental about Anne. There was a polish to everything she did. A party at her house would have fresh-cut flowers. If she was going to an event for an author, she’d have read the book. She was never less than fully prepared, never less than proficient.

In a newsroom full of reporters, she remained a writer always. She was erudite, urbane, witty. After gruelling production nights, when the rest of us self-medicated with Netflix in the hours before sleep came, Anne would start a novel by Ian McEwan. Art sustained her. Once, she flew to Denver for a weekend, to see an exhibit on forgotten women painters in Abstract Expressionism. She was so moved by the work she came back and wrote about it for the magazine. She had a hunger for ideas, for experience, for living.

In the last exchange I had with her, she wrote, “I would love to see or just talk to you about anything (and not illness). The very first thing you realize when you get a dire diagnosis is the need to have people you love and your community close—and  just stay engaged in the world.” It was a writer’s vision, to the end. I will miss it frightfully, and this country’s readers will be the poorer without her.


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By The Wall of Law February 14, 2020 Off

Financial infidelity: 1 in 5 Canadians keep money secrets from their partner

As couples prepare to celebrate their romance this Valentine’s Day, many of them may be hiding their infidelity from their partner.

Their financial infidelity, that is.

That’s according to a new survey by the website, which compares insurance and other financial products.

The online survey of approximately 1,600 Canadians found that one in five Canadians are committing “financial infidelity” by keeping secrets about their finances from their partner.

Sara Kesheh, the vice-president of money at, said financial infidelity includes hiding purchases, poor credit scores, bank accounts, loans, credit cards, investments, reward points, payday loans, and lines of credits from their significant other.

According to the “Cost of Love” survey, 31 per cent of respondents kept purchases from their significant other, 28 per cent hid their poor credit score, 21 per cent admitted to hiding cash, 14 per cent had a secret bank account, 10 per cent had a line of credit or long-term loan their partner didn’t know about, and 8 per cent had a credit card they keep confidential.

While making secret purchases was the most common financial infidelity, Kesheh said she thinks concealing a poor credit score is particularly disconcerting.

“That’s a big one because as you make decisions as a couple together around purchases, whether it’s a home or you’re buying a car, poor credit actually does impact those purchases,” she told during a telephone interview Wednesday.

As for who is committing financial infidelity, the survey found that those who are dating or engaged were more likely to keep a secret than those who are married or separated.

Of the 11 per cent of participants who are dating, 23 per cent said they had a financial secret. Among the 4 per cent who said they were engaged, 24 per cent admitted to keeping a money-related secret from their partner.

Meanwhile, of the 45 per cent of respondents who said they were married, only 14 per cent said they committed financial infidelity.

Kesheh said it makes sense that couples who are in the “early stages” of their relationship tend to keep secrets more than those who have been together for a long time. She also said this might explain why millennials were found to be more likely than older generations to commit financial infidelity.

The survey found that 29 per cent of 18- to 34-year-old respondents had a financial secret compared to only 18 per cent of 35 to 54 year olds, and 7 per cent of those aged 55 and older.

In terms of gender, the results said men were slightly more likely (19 per cent) than women (13 per cent) to keep secrets about their finances from their partner.

As for the value of these secrets, the study found, while 47 per cent of those who admitted to committing financial infidelity said theirs was worth $1,000 or more, married or separated couples reported keeping less expensive secrets.

Managing financial infidelity

While half of those who admitted to keeping financial secrets said they believed nothing would happen if their partner found out, Kesheh wonders why they’re keeping it hidden in the first place then?

Of the secret-keepers, 22 per cent said they would probably have a fight and then find a solution with their partner, two per cent said they would fight and break up, and 1 per cent said they would get a divorce.

To avoid such repercussions, Kesheh recommended couples engage in honesty and transparency when it comes to their finances.

“Collectively with their partners and as couples, they can actually manage their money better together as a team,” she said.

Most importantly, Kesheh said partners should discuss their finances so they can come up with a solution.

“Have that conversation,” she said. “As uncomfortable as it is, you will move forward from that.”

Secondly, couples should develop a budget together so they can track their spending and pinpoint areas where they can cut back.

“As you make these financial decisions collectively, you actually may be able to handle that debt or the poor credit better,” she said.

Kesheh also suggested they seek out financial resources, such as low-interest credit cards or a balance transfer credit card that offers 0 per cent balance transfers, to keep spending in check.

Lastly, Kesheh said couples should try to work together as a team to tackle whatever financial issue was being kept secret. For those who were kept in the dark, she said they should try to be patient, constructive, and supportive of their partner when the truth comes out.

“I would encourage all Canadians to talk about money, to talk about their financial woes,” she said. “I promise there is no greater feeling than getting rid of debt and being on top of your financials.”

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AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST

Barr swipes at Trump: Tweets make it ‘impossible’ to do job

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr publicly swiped at President Donald Trump on Thursday, declaring the president’s tweets about Justice Department prosecutors and open cases “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

Barr made the comment during an interview with ABC News just days after his Justice Department overruled its own prosecutors — who had recommended in a court filing that Trump’s longtime ally and confidant Roger Stone be sentenced to 7 to 9 years in prison — and took the extraordinary step of lowering the amount of prison time it would seek. The department didn’t offer an amended number.

Barr himself has been under fire for the reversal. Still, it was a highly unusual move for a member of the Cabinet to criticize the president — especially a Trump loyalist who shares the president’s views on expansive executive powers. Thursday’s comment served as a defence of his own integrity — an effort to salvage his own reputation and that of the Department of Justice by publicly rebuking the president he’s propped up from Day One of his tenure.

The remarks, made so quickly after the decision to back away from the sentencing, suggested Barr was aware the reversal had chipped away at the department’s historic reputation for independence from political sway. But he stopped short of acknowledging wrongdoing by anyone.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump “wasn’t bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions.” She added, “The President has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law.”


Trump says he might keep others from listening in on calls

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he might end the long-running practice of letting other administration officials listen in on presidential calls with foreign leaders. That’s after Trump’s impeachment was triggered by his July phone call with the president of Ukraine.

“I may end the practice entirely,” Trump told Geraldo Rivera in a radio interview that aired Thursday. Records experts said that was a bad idea, for multiple reasons.

Trump also offered new insights into his feelings about being impeached, saying it made him think about the “dark” days when Richard Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal before his own likely impeachment.

“Well, it’s a terrible thing and, you know, I think of Nixon more than anybody else and what that dark period was in our country and the whole thing with the tapes and the horror show,” Trump said. “It was dark and went on for a long time, and I watched it.”

He said he often passes portraits of past presidents that hang in the White House.


Virus death toll nears 1,400 in China, with 5,090 new cases

BEIJING (AP) — China on Friday reported another sharp rise in the number of people infected with a new virus, as the death toll neared 1,400.

The National Health Commission said 121 more people had died and there were 5,090 new confirmed cases.

The number of reported cases has been rising more quickly after the hardest-hit province changed its method of counting them Thursday. There are now 63,851 confirmed cases in mainland China, of which 1,380 have died.

Hubei province is now including cases based on a physician’s diagnosis and before they have been confirmed by lab tests. Of the 5,090 new cases, 3,095 fell into that category.

The acceleration in the number of cases does not necessarily represent a sudden surge in new infections of the virus that causes COVID-19 as much as a revised methodology.


China’s virus crackdown leaves millions working at home

BEIJING (AP) — In the middle of a phone call with a customer, an important visitor knocks on Michael Xiong’s door: his 3-year-old son.

Xiong, a salesman in Chibi, a city near the centre of a virus outbreak, is one of millions of people in China who are obeying government orders to work from home as part of the most sweeping anti-disease measures ever imposed.

After breakfast, Xiong leaves the 3-year-old and his 10-month-old brother with their grandparents. The salesman for IQAir, a Swiss maker of household air purifiers that are popular in China’s smog-choked cities, goes into a bedroom to talk to customers and try to find new ones by phone and email.

His son “comes to knock on the door when I am in a meeting, asking for hugs,” Xiong said. “I put myself on mute, open the door and tell him I will be with him later, and he is fine with that.”

Most access to Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where Xiong usually works, was cut off Jan. 23 and some other cities have imposed travel restrictions. Controls imposed on business to try to stem the spread of infection extend nationwide, affecting tens of thousands of companies and hundreds of millions of employees.


2020 Democrats step up attacks to blunt Bloomberg’s rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidates hoping to revive their flagging campaigns increasingly took aim at Mike Bloomberg on Thursday, blasting their billionaire rival for trying to buy his way into the White House and raising questions about his commitment to racial equality.

Struggling to recover from poor showings in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden took the lead in attacking Bloomberg. Biden, the former vice-president, said on ABC’s “The View” that “I don’t think you can buy an election,” while Warren took Bloomberg to task for his 2008 comments that ending redlining, a discriminatory housing practice helped trigger the economic meltdown.

Biden and billionaire Tom Steyer also joined forces in slamming Bernie Sanders after the Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist won New Hampshire and essentially tied for the lead in Iowa with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Biden said Sanders hadn’t done enough to explain how he’d pay for his “Medicare for All” proposal to replace private insurance with a government-run program. Steyer said that “refusal to tell us how he will pay for his plan adds unnecessary financial risk to achieving health care as a right for every person.”

Voters, Steyer said, “should have all the facts.”

The sniping reflects the remarkably fluid state of the Democratic race even after two states that typically winnow presidential fields have already voted. The White House hopefuls are trying to blunt Bloomberg, who gained attention by flooding the national airwaves with hundreds of millions of dollars in advertisements and is on the verge of being admitted into next week’s presidential debate. And the lagging candidates are trying to prove that they still have the mettle to stay in the race, even if their path is becoming increasingly difficult.


Limbaugh draws bipartisan criticism for Buttigieg remarks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh drew bipartisan criticism Thursday for saying the country won’t elect Pete Buttigieg president because he’s been “kissing his husband” on stage after debates.

Limbaugh’s comments came eight days after President Donald Trump awarded him the nation’s top civilian honour during the State of the Union address. Trump said Limbaugh inspires millions of people daily and thanked him for “decades of tireless devotion to our country.”

Limbaugh, a staunch Trump ally who recently announced he has advanced lung cancer, made the remarks on his nationally syndicated radio show. Buttigieg has finished in the top two in Democrats’ first two presidential contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“They’re saying, ‘OK, how’s this going to look?’” Limbaugh said Wednesday, imagining Democrats’ thinking. “Thirty-seven-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage, next to Mr. Man, Donald Trump.’”

Buttigieg didn’t directly address Limbaugh’s remarks. But at a town hall in Las Vegas Thursday night, he said, “I’m proud of my marriage I’m proud of my husband.”


Trump’s story about veteran’s comeback was not quite true

NEW YORK (AP) — Tony Rankins, a formerly homeless, drug-addicted Army veteran, got a standing ovation at the State of the Union after President Donald Trump described how he turned his life around thanks to a construction job at a company using the administration’s “Opportunity Zone” tax breaks targeting poor neighbourhoods.

But that’s not completely true.

Rankins, who indeed moved out of his car and into an apartment since landing a job refurbishing a Nashville hotel two years ago, doesn’t work at a site taking advantage of the breaks and never has done so. In fact, he started that job four months before the Treasury Department published its final list of neighbourhoods eligible for the breaks. And the hotel where he worked couldn’t benefit even now because it’s an area that didn’t make the cut.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rankins said he always considered the job that launched him on his new life two years ago to be in an Opportunity Zone and was honoured to be invited by the White House to the State of the Union, with a prime seat in the balcony next to Ivanka Trump.

“After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house and his family. He was homeless. But then Tony found a construction company that invests in Opportunity Zones,” the president said in his Feb. 4 speech. “He is now a top tradesman, drug-free, reunited with his family.”


Holding-cell stats raise questions about Trump asylum policy

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Many U.S. holding cells along the Mexican border were less than half-full, even empty, during an unprecedented surge of asylum-seeking families from Central America, newly unsealed court documents show, raising questions about the Trump administration’s claims that it had to make people wait in Mexico because it didn’t have the means to accommodate them.

Holding cells were no more than half-full at 18 of 24 border crossings on a majority of days between July 2018 and June 2019, according to the analysis of government data. Cells in the Texas cities of Laredo and Brownsville were no more than half-full on nearly nine out of 10 days during the 12-month period. Cells at some smaller crossings were often empty.

Legal advocates for migrants say the figures show that Trump administration officials were making up excuses to keep people from entering the U.S. to apply for asylum.

Customs and Border Protection, in its defence, has long maintained that the number of migrants it can take in at any one time is governed not just by the amount of holding-cell space but by available manpower. And during the surge, the staff was stretched especially thin dealing with priorities deemed more important, such as fighting drug trafficking and inspecting truck cargo.

Also, holding-cell figures do not tell the whole story, a senior official said in the unsealed documents. Some cells are less than full because some migrants must be isolated from others for safety reasons. For example, someone arrested for a crime would be held in a cell alone, as would a family with lice, or migrants with tattoos denoting gang membership.


Weinstein lawyer: Prosecutors have a ‘tale,’ not a case

NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer told jurors Thursday that prosecutors in the rape case against him were acting like moviemakers, conjuring up a world “where women had no free will.”

“In the alternative universe that prosecutors have created for you, Harvey Weinstein is a monster,” lawyer Donna Rotunno said in her closing argument. But, she said, he’s an innocent man relying on jurors not to be swayed by a “sinister tale.”

Rotunno argued that prosecutors had to come up with a damning story about the once-powerful movie producer because they don’t have the evidence to prove the charges.

“The irony is that they are the producers and they are writing the script,” Rotunno said, urging the jury to not buy into “the story they spun where women had no free will.”

“In their universe, women are not responsible for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make to further their own careers, the hotel room invitations, the plane tickets they accept, the jobs they ask for help to obtain,” or the messages they send, Rotunno said.


Chicagoans: City not just NBA host, it’s the Mecca of hoops

CHICAGO (AP) — The NBA is headquartered in New York. Anthony Davis, one of the game’s biggest names, plays in Los Angeles.

Both, unquestionably, are world-class cities.

But in Davis’ eyes, they both pale to his hometown. And this weekend, the Chicago native believes the eyes of the basketball world are where they belong — on his city.

“Chicago basketball,” the Lakers’ forward said. “There is nothing like Chicago basketball.”

Chicago is called the Second City, though no one from Chicago believes that the city is second to any other city on the planet — particularly those who represent the city in the NBA. L.A. has the glitz and glamour of the Lakers and now the Clippers, New York has the tradition of Madison Square Garden and possibly the best-known outdoor court in the world at Rucker Park, but Chicago guys scoff at the notion that the game means more anyplace else.

The Associated Press

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Lawsuit: Mexican megachurch leaders abused woman for years

LOS ANGELES — A Southern California woman says the father and son leaders of a Mexican megachurch sexually abused her for 18 years starting when she was 12, manipulating Bible passages to convince her the mistreatment actually was a gift from God, according a federal lawsuit.

Sochil Martin, 33, said she was “groomed” from the age of 9 to please the self-proclaimed apostles of La Luz del Mundo, the late Samuel Joaquín Flores and his son Naasón Joaquín García. She was taught erotic dances that ultimately led to sexual touching and caressing.

After she turned 20, the abuse escalated to rapes, beatings and public humiliation from García, Martin alleged, and continued until she escaped the church in 2016 with her husband.

“For the first 30 years of my life, I was taught to believe that my body, my mind and my soul belonged to La Luz del Mundo because it was the will of God,” she said at a news conference Thursday, her voice breaking. “I come forward today because this has to stop. Generations of young children raised in La Luz del Mundo have been forced to become the sexual servants of La Luz del Mundo’s apostles.”

Martin appeared with her attorneys and husband in Los Angeles, where the lawsuit was filed a day earlier. The Associated Press normally does not identify people who say there were sexually abused but Martin said she wanted her name publicized.

Garcia’s attorney did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.

García was arrested last year and is being held without bail on charges of child rape and human trafficking involving three girls and one woman between 2015 and 2018 in Los Angeles County. He has denied wrongdoing.

Martin, who is not one of the women in the criminal case, said she has co-operated with U.S. and Mexico authorities since October 2018, but her lawyers declined to provide details. The California attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting García, would not comment.

Garcia, 50, remains the spiritual leader La Luz del Mundo, Spanish for “The Light of the World.” The Guadalajara, Mexico-based evangelical Christian church was founded by his grandfather and claims 5 million followers worldwide.

Martin was born in Monterey Park and said she was a fourth-generation member of La Luz. From a young age she was told she was the church apostles’ “property.” Her aunt, who raised Martin starting when she was 3, provided sexual favours to Flores and helped groom her niece, telling her she could not deny the leaders’ sexual desires, according to the lawsuit.

Martin said she thought the sexual acts were “in furtherance of God’s will.” During court proceedings, prosecutors have said parents in the church would hand over their children for the apostles because they consider it to be a “blessing.”

In the lawsuit, Martin said she had attempted suicide and was not emotionally or psychologically healthy enough to pursue a lawsuit until late last year.

Martin’s lawsuit describes an extravagant lifestyle for García and his family, including exotic animals and a private museum of restored vintage cars, all fueled by church members’ contributions and free labour. The lawsuit estimates that Martin worked at least 30,000 hours of unpaid labour for the church, including at its broadcasting arm in Mexico and California.

In 2010, Flores grew worried about his son’s obsession with Martin, thinking it could risk the church’s stability. He tried to arrange a marriage for her and made García work in a different location, according to the lawsuit.

Soon after Flores’ death in 2014, his son resumed his sexual relationship with Martin, according to the lawsuit. She was additionally told to groom children for García, the lawsuit said, and was beaten when she refused to participate in a sex act with a 14-year-old boy.

Martin’s husband was unaware of his wife’s relationship with Garcia until 2016, when he found pornographic text messages between her and García and then helped her escape the church.

Afterward, the lawsuit states, La Luz del Mundo mounted a smear campaign against her family in Mexico and California and attempted to buy her silence, vandalized her home and followed her. The campaign continued even after Garcia’s arrest, her attorneys said.

Martin addressed other potential victims at the press conference, urging them to come forward.

“It is time to say ‘no more,’” she said. “It is not a blessing, it is not a gift from God, it is not right.”

Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press

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By The Wall of Law February 14, 2020 Off