Sexting, Shame and Suicide, Another Teen Sexually Assaulted, From the Streets to the ‘World’s Best Mom’

October 30, 2013 Comments Off on Sexting, Shame and Suicide, Another Teen Sexually Assaulted, From the Streets to the ‘World’s Best Mom’

Sexting, Shame and Suicide
A shocking tale of sexual assault in the Digital Age
By Nina Burleigh
September 17, 2013

….In Nova Scotia, Rehtaeh Parsons, 17, was taken off life support and died this April, three days after her mother discovered her hanging in the bathroom of their Halifax home. According to her mother, the teen got drunk at a party in 2011 and was gang-raped by four boys, who snapped a picture of the scene and posted it online. Her mom said Rehtaeh was mercilessly bullied by classmates for the next two years, even after the family moved to a new town to get her away from the abuse. In early August, Canadian authorities charged two 18-year-old boys with disseminating child pornography.

Diane Rosenfeld, director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School, says such incidents are far more common than just those that wind up in court or involve suicide. Most, she says, don’t make the local news or even reach school administrators because the girls are too embarrassed to do anything. Rosenfeld and her students work with girls, sometimes filing civil suits and encouraging them to graduate. Many are too humiliated to stay in school.

Rape stats may be no higher than in years past, but the numbers are as shocking as ever. Every two minutes, a sexual assault happens in the U.S., and nearly 50 percent of the victims are under the age of 18, according to Katherine Hull, a spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network: “The demographic of high school- and college-age women is at highest risk for sexual assault.” More than half of the incidents go unreported, advocates say. The ability to record and communicate gang-sex assaults has added a new enhancement to an old and ugly crime against women. From Instagram to Snapchat to texting, young people with raging hormones and low impulse control are passing around what amounts to child pornography. And the bodies most frequently watched and passed around are female….

But recent Saratoga High graduate Jessica Hayes describes a school environment where disrespecting girls is neither rare nor effectively addressed. Hayes recalled two ugly incidents with football players that occurred during her own freshman year. A boy from the team unzipped her sweater in the middle of the quad, exposing her bra. When she kneed him, she was disciplined. Months later, a group of four or five boys surrounded her at a football game and tried to intimidate her into going under the bleachers with them. She punched one boy and ran, and then endured “20 to 30 harassing texts a day” for months. During her freshman year, she ate lunch in her mother’s car, rather than with the other students.

“If you feel disrespected, the office staff doesn’t do much to help you,” Hayes says. “If something does happen, the girls feel you have to deal with it on your own. It would have been so hard for Audrie to go back to school. Half the people have seen her naked, half the people think she’s a whore, and judge and bully her. Teachers know. They can’t not. They hear about it.”….

On April 11th, seven months after Audrie’s suicide, the Santa Clara County sheriff arrested the three boys on charges of misdemeanor sexual battery, felony possession of child pornography and felony sexual penetration. When they arrested the boys, police seized new phones and other electronic gadgetry their parents had bought to replace what authorities took in the fall. Police found new pictures of other nude teen girls on some of their phones, prompting them to add on new charges in July. Sources close to the case tell Rolling Stone that police discovered one of the boys was trying to make money selling the pictures.

Two of the boys have admitted that the felony charges against them are true, according to sources close to the case, and they are awaiting sentencing – which could range from community service or time in a juvenile-detention center. Their records will be sealed when they turn 18. The third boy may be upgraded to adult court, where the sentence is harsher and a sexual-assault charge would remain on his file for life. California prosecutors are limited by a statute requiring a sexual assault committed by a minor age 14 and over to be “forcible” in order to directly qualify for adult court. A sexual assault on an unconscious victim is not considered forcible….

Writer Laurie Halse Anderson published an influential book in 1999 called Speak, about a high school rape and its effects on a victim. Since then, she has spoken at high schools and middle schools around the U.S., and estimates she has talked to a million kids about rape. “What really strikes me is that, when it comes to recording sexual assaults and wanting to show it off, the young men committing them are not seeing them as crimes, they see them as pranks. And there’s no point in pulling a prank unless you share it.” Anderson said parents and educators need to talk to younger boys about informed consent. “When I speak to students, I tell boys that if a young woman isn’t of age, she isn’t capable of giving informed consent, and if she’s drunk or high, there’s no informed consent. And those cases, if you have sex, you can go to jail. And the jaws drop, because right away, they think of the sex they had at a party last weekend, where everybody was wasted.”….
http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/sexting-shame-and-suicide-20130917

Another Teen Sexually Assaulted

http://www.childlaw.us/another-teen-sexually-assaulted

From the Streets to the ‘World’s Best Mom’
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF October 12, 2013

NASHVILLE — WHEN men paid Shelia Faye Simpkins for sex, they presumably thought she was just a happy hooker engaging in a transaction among consenting adults.

It was actually more complicated than that, as it usually is. Simpkins says that her teenage mom, an alcoholic and drug addict, taught her at age 6 how to perform oral sex on men. “Like a lollipop,” she remembers her mom explaining.

Simpkins finally ran away from home at 14 and into the arms of a pimp.

“I thought he was my boyfriend,” Simpkins remembers. “I didn’t realize I was being pimped.”

When her pimp was shot dead, she was recruited by another, Kenny, who ran a “stable” of four women and assigned each of them a daily quota of $1,000. Anyone who didn’t earn that risked a beating.

There’s a common belief that pimps are business partners of prostitutes, but that’s a complete misunderstanding of the classic relationship. Typically, every dollar earned by the women goes to the pimp, who then doles out drugs, alcohol, clothing and food.

“He gets every penny,” Simpkins explains. “If you get caught with money, you get beat.”….

Sex trafficking is one of the most severe human rights violations in America today. In some cases, it amounts to a modern form of slavery….
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/opinion/sunday/kristof-from-the-streets-to-worlds-best-mom.html

Ariel Castro’s lawyer says suicide not ‘happy ending’ as victims remain silent, A Big Win for Child Crime Victims

September 6, 2013 Comments Off on Ariel Castro’s lawyer says suicide not ‘happy ending’ as victims remain silent, A Big Win for Child Crime Victims

Ariel Castro’s lawyer says suicide not ‘happy ending’ as victims remain silent By Lateef Mungin, CNN Thu September 5, 2013

(CNN) — The reactions to Ariel Castro’s death have ranged from tears to calling him a coward to demands for an investigation. But the three women who suffered in his control for about decade remained silent.

While there were strong opinions about Castro from many, a spokeswoman said Wednesday the three women would not make a statement.

Maria Castro-Montes, Castro’s cousin, said she cried when she heard the news and immediately thought of the victims. Would they be glad or angry about Castro’s death?

“I just hope these victims can move past this now. I know they wanted him to live out a life sentence, but really, was he suffering behind bars?” She said. “I mean, getting meals, sleeping in a nice, warm, soft bed. You know, those girls didn’t even have that luxury when they were being held captive in his home. They were being raped. They were being tortured. They were being beaten.”
http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/05/justice/ariel-castro-cleveland-kidnapper-death/index.html

A Big Win for Child Crime Victims
By James R. Marsh on September 2, 2013

In a groundbreaking decision, a Florida federal court recently handed crime victims a significant victory, ruling for the first time that victims are entitled to confer with an assistant United States attorney before the Government enters a pre-charging, non-prosecution agreement with a defendant. Jane Doe v. United States, 08-cv-80736-KAM (S.D. Fla.). The case involved billionaire hedge fund operator Jeffrey Epstein, who induced minors to prostitute themselves, and then was granted what appears to be a special, sweetheart deal by the Feds without any victim notification or input, much less approval….

A. Facts

Jane Doe (a pseudonym used to protect her identity) is a victim of Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire hedge fund operator, who induced her and other minors to prostitute themselves. The FBI investigated Epstein and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida accepted it for prosecution.

In the summer of 2007, the government sent standard victim notification letters to Jane Doe and other victims. Shortly thereafter, it entered into a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein, but “without first conferring with [his victims] and without alerting [them] to the existence of the agreement either before or promptly after the fact.” Id. *1.

It was a sweetheart deal smacking of special privilege for a wealthy and well-connected political donor.

Epstein agreed to plead guilty to two state court charges—solicitation of prostitution and solicitation of minors to engage in prostitution—and received an 18 month sentence (of which he served only 13). Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, a defendant convicted of promoting commercial sex with a minor under these circumstances would be sentenced to significantly more time, at least two and probably three or four times what Epstein received in Florida state court. The non-prosecution agreement also contained a special provision in which the federal prosecutor and Epstein expressed their “anticipat[ion]” that the “agreement will not be made part of any public record.” Id….
http://www.childlaw.us/2013/09/a-big-win-for-child-crime-vict.html

The Benefits of Positive Parenting, Children’s Memory May Be More Reliable Than Adults’ In Court Cases

February 21, 2013 Comments Off on The Benefits of Positive Parenting, Children’s Memory May Be More Reliable Than Adults’ In Court Cases

The Benefits of Positive Parenting
By DAVID BORNSTEIN  February 20, 2013

Is there a science to parenting?

For all the current discussion in the United States about gun violence and mental illness, there has been little attention paid to root causes. Any effort aiming to reduce gun violence — or child abuse, intimate partner violence, suicide or sexual abuse — must include a serious discussion about how society can improve the quality of parenting.

In 2010, children’s protective service agencies investigated 1.8 million referrals of child abuse and neglect pertaining to 3 million children. Although only 20 percent of these were substantiated, researchers report that physical abuse, including harsh physical discipline that is equivalent to abuse, is vastly underreported and may be 20 times more prevalent than is reflected in official statistics. (In other countries, including Spain, India and Egypt, harsh punishment is even more prevalent.) In Philadelphia, this behavior has recently been linked to the recession and the rate of mortgage foreclosures. When lenders put people out of their homes, one unforeseen consequence is that more kids end up with traumatic brain injuries.

It is now well accepted that children’s protective service agencies is not only less effective than other non-coercive methods, it is more harmful than has often been understood — and not just to children. A review of two decades worth of studies has shown that corporal punishment is associated with antisocial behavior and aggression in children, and later in life is linked to depression, unhappiness, anxiety, drug and alcohol use and psychological maladjustment. Beyond beating, parents can also hurt children by humiliating them, labeling them in harmful ways (“Why are you so stupid?”), or continually criticizing their behavior….
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/helping-the-parents-to-spare-the-children/

Children’s Memory May Be More Reliable Than Adults’ In Court Cases

Mar. 17, 2008 — The U.S. legal system has long assumed that all testimony is not equally credible, that some witnesses are more reliable than others. In tough cases with child witnesses, it assumes adult witnesses to be more reliable. But what if the legal system had it wrong?….

They say children depend more heavily on a part of the mind that records, “what actually happened,” while adults depend more on another part of the mind that records, “the meaning of what happened.” As a result, they say, adults are more susceptible to false memories, which can be extremely problematic in court cases…..

This research shows that meaning-based memories are largely responsible for false memories, especially in adult witnesses. Because the ability to extract meaning from experience develops slowly, children are less likely to produce these false memories than adults, and are more likely to give accurate testimony when properly questioned.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080313124445.htm

Powell Family Tragedy, murder, voyeurism and child p_rn allegations

February 11, 2012 Comments Off on Powell Family Tragedy, murder, voyeurism and child p_rn allegations

articles:
– Josh Powell Told Sons He Had ‘Surprise’ For Them, Social Worker
– Josh Powell Threatened His Mother With Knife, ’90s-Era Court Documents Allege
– Powell Family Tragedy: A Timeline of Events

Josh Powell Told Sons He Had ‘Surprise’ For Them, Social Worker By CHRIS CUOMO, HARRY PHILLIPS and COLLEEN CURRY
TACOMA, Wash. Feb. 9, 2012

Josh Powell told his sons he had a “big surprise” for them as they ran toward his home Sunday, just moments before he attacked them with a hatchet and then blew them up, social worker Elizabeth Griffin-Hall told ABC News today.

“He caught my eye, his shoulders were slumped. He had a sheepish look,” Griffin-Hall told “20/20” in an exclusive interview. “He just shrugged his shoulders and slammed the door.”

Griffin-Hall said she had been taking the boys, Charles, 7, and Braden, 5, on supervised visits to Powell’s house for three months.

Powell, who was the sole suspect in his wife Susan Cox’s disappearance in 2009, had lost custody of the children in September and lost an appeal to get his children back just four days before he decided to kill them.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/josh-powell-told-sons-surprise/story?id=15549745

Josh Powell Threatened His Mother With Knife, ’90s-Era Court Documents Allege
By ALICE GOMSTYN , CHRIS CUOMO , GERRY WAGSCHAL, BROOKE STANGELAND and JOE RHEE
Feb. 9, 2012

Josh Powell, the husband of a missing Utah woman who killed himself and his two young sons last week, was a disturbed adolescent who threatened and hit his mother, according to 1992 court documents obtained by ABC News.

The documents, filed during the divorce of Josh Powell’s parents in Washington state, Steven and Terrica Powell, include several statements by Terrica Powell describing her son’s disturbing behavior.

Terrica Powell wrote that her son once tried to commit suicide and also threatened her with a butcher knife. On other occasions, he and one of his brothers pushed and hit her, she wrote….

Josh Powell was the only named person-of-interest in Susan Powell’s disappearance, but he was never charged. He continually denied involvement in his wife’s disappearance and later moved himself and his sons to live with his father, Steven Powell — Terrica Powell’s ex-husband — in Washington state.

The couple’s two sons were placed in the custody of Susan Powell’s parents after Steven Powell was arrested on charges of voyeurism and child pornography in September 2011. Steven Powell has denied the charges.
A judge ruled earlier this month that Josh Powell could not have custody of his sons until he underwent a psycho-sexual evaluation.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/josh-powell-threatened-mother-knife-90s-era-court/story?id=15544558#.TzXqXVFH6c8

Powell Family Tragedy: A Timeline of Events

….In an interview with “Good Morning America” Steven Powell (father of Josh Powell) makes new claims that he had a flirtatious relationship with his daughter-in-law that was “a little beyond the pale.”

“Father-in-law – daughter-in-law flirting with each other, maybe some sexual touching or whatever,” Steven Powell said of the relationship that he developed with his son’s wife, adding that he started to fall in love with her, and stated, “there’s no question in my mind that the feelings were mutual.”….

Sept. 22, 2011: Steven Powell is charged with using a telephoto lens to take photos of two young girls in the bathroom of a neighboring house. The photos, which were found during the August search of his home, are among thousands he secretly took of women’s buttocks and breasts, according to charges filed against him. Powell was charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of child pornography and held on $200,000 bail.

Josh Powell is named a “subject” in the child porn investigation, according to assistant Attorney General for Washington John Long.

Susan Powell’s parents file to gain custody of the two boys in court the following day…..

Sept. 28, 2011: Josh and Susan Powell’s two boys are ordered by a Washington court to remain in the custody of her parents Chuck and Judy Cox, because they had been living in a dangerous home environment with sexually explicit material, and because of the possibility that Josh Powell participated in the voyeurism and child pornography charges against his father. He is, however, granted visitation rights with his boys.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/powell-family-tragedy-timeline-events/story?id=15520239#.TzXrTFFH6c-

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