* Federal Judge Maryanne Trump Barry on July 10 sentenced former Episcopal Church treasurer Ellen F. Cooke to five years in prison. In January, Cooke pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1.5 million from the denomination and to evading income tax on more than $310,000 that she had stolen. Cooke had blamed the theft on job stress (CT, June 19, 1995, p. 46), a defense Barry called "spurious."
* The general assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) voted in June to suspend ties with the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) because of the CRC's 1995 vote to allow regional classes to ordain women. The OPC urged the CRC to "repent" and said "the ordination and/or installation of women to the office of elder, minister, or evangelist is contrary to the Scriptures."
* The Walt Disney Company, under siege by conservative Christians for extending health benefits to homosexual partners and for distributing graphic film content (CT, July 15, 1996, p. 66), has named Georgetown University president Leo O'Donovan to its board. "As a Jesuit priest, a theologian, an educator, and university president, I hope I can contribute to Disney's ongoing interest in providing family-oriented entertainment and recreation," said O'Donovan, 62.
* The Chicago-based Cult Awareness Network (CAN) has plans to liquidate its assets under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Since its founding in 1974, can has been the target of numerous lawsuits from aberrant religious groups such as the Unification Church and Church of Scientology over its deprogramming methods. It has been in financial straits since a September 1995 court ruling involving a man kidnapped by deprogrammers who sought to break his ties with a United Pentecostal Church congregation (CT, ...1
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