9-20-19 First sexual experience
About 6.5 percent of American women, or 3.3 million, say that their first sexual experience was rape, according to a new study. The average victim was 15 years old.
9-12-19 Aaron Persky: Brock Turner judge fired from coaching girls
A California judge who lost his job after giving a lenient sentence to a college sex attacker has now been fired from coaching tennis to schoolgirls. Aaron Persky was ousted as a judge by voters over his sentencing of Brock Turner, who assaulted an unconscious woman at Stanford University in 2015. Only one day after defending his hiring, officials said he had been fired from the high school in San Jose. His 2018 sacking was the first recall of a California judge since 1932. In a statement on Tuesday, Fremont Union High School District said that Mr Persky had applied to coach junior varsity girls' tennis over the summer, and was hired after completing a background check that included a fingerprint scan. "He was a qualified applicant for the position, having attended several tennis coaching clinics for youth and holds a high rating from the United States Tennis Association," the statement said. That day Change.org launched a petition calling for Mr Persky to lose his new job and accused school officials of "explicitly and ignorantly allowing rape culture to ensue". But on Wednesday, the district announced that his employment at Lynbrook High School in San Jose "has ended". "We believe this outcome is in the best interest of our students and school community," the district said in a statement. Mr Persky's handling of the case against Turner, a former star swimmer for the elite Stanford University, drew outrage after the sexual assault survivor's victim impact sentence was published online. Chanel Miller, who was known in court papers as Jane Doe and only revealed her identity for the first time this month, told Turner: "You don't know me, but you've been inside me." Turner was convicted of three crimes - sexually assaulting an intoxicated victim, sexually assaulting an unconscious victim and attempted rape. Prosecutors had asked for a six-year sentence, but Mr Persky followed the county probation department's recommendation - that the case "may be considered less serious due to [his] level of intoxication" - and ordered him to serve six months. Turner was released after three months due to good behaviour. He must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
9-11-19 Justice for Victoria: Toddler testifies in Myanmar 'nursery rape' case
A three-year-old girl who it is alleged was raped at her nursery in Myanmar has given evidence via video link at a trial in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw. The case of the toddler, who by law cannot be named, has caused outrage in the country. Campaigners have given her the name "Victoria". Police say the attack took place on 16 May. A school employee is under arrest charged with raping her. But DNA evidence has been inconclusive and nursery staff dispute it was him. Police say a medical examination carried out after Victoria's mother had noticed her injuries and taken her to hospital showed the girl had been sexually assaulted. A school driver called Aung Kyaw Myo, also known as Aung Gyi, was arrested in May in connection with the alleged rape. He was the released for lack of evidence before being rearrested and charged. Many believe he's been framed. They point to CCTV footage obtained by the BBC Burmese service which shows him going into the nursery on the day of the alleged attack and apparently waiting in the reception area. It's claimed the video shows he had insufficient time to go and find Victoria and then attack her. "It is impossible that he did it. We, all the teachers, were with the students all the time," Hnin Nu, one teacher questioned nine times by the police, told the BBC in July. Another teacher, Nilar Aye, said Victoria had never left her sight on 16 May. There have been widespread protests calling for justice for Victoria and for wider action to arrest an alarming rise in reported sexual assault, particularly towards children. Many Burmese are unhappy with the police handling of the case, and say the chief suspect has been made a scapegoat. Government figures suggest the number of all reported rapes in Myanmar has increased by 50% in the past two years. In 2018, there were said to be 1,528 attacks - in nearly two-thirds of the cases the victim was a child. Campaigners feel Victoria's story has exposed a deeply worrying trend in a country where domestic violence is still seen as a private matter.
9-11-19 Kenyan schoolgirl takes her own life after 'period shaming'
A schoolgirl in Kenya has taken her own life after allegedly being shamed in class for having her period and staining her uniform. The 14-year-old's mother said her daughter hanged herself after being humiliated by a teacher, Kenyan media reported. Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of about 200 parents protesting outside the school, reports said. Kenya passed a law in 2017 to provide free sanitary towels for schoolgirls. However, a parliamentary committee is currently investigating why the programme is yet to be rolled out across all schools. The girl's mother said a teacher had called her "dirty" for soiling her uniform and ordered her to leave the class in Kabiangek, west of the capital Nairobi, last Friday. "She had nothing to use as a pad. When the blood stained her clothes, she was told to leave the classroom and stand outside," the mother was quoted as saying in Kenyan media. She said her daughter came home and told her mother what had happened, but then when she went to fetch water she took her own life. Her parents reported the matter to the police but became frustrated by an apparent lack of action, the Daily Nation reported. Together with other parents they staged a protest outside the school on Tuesday. Police moved in and made five arrests when the demonstrators blocked a road and pulled down the school gate, reports said. The school has since been closed. Regional police chief Alex Shikondi said the circumstances of the girl's death were being investigated.In Kenya, as in other countries, many girls cannot afford sanitary products such as pads and tampons. A UN report in 2014 said that one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa missed school during their period. Some girls reportedly lose 20% of their education for this reason, making them more likely to drop out of school altogether, the report said.
9-10-19 Tracking down a UK paedophile on the run in Bulgaria
The BBC has tracked down a British paedophile who breached strict court orders by fleeing the country. The man embedded himself in a Roma community in central Bulgaria, out of the reach of British police. An investigation by the BBC's File on 4 has discovered that 581 convicted sex offenders are missing or have failed to report to UK police forces.
8-30-19 A party pays for gutting the justice system
Romanians blame the corrupt Social Democrats for the gruesome murder of a teenage girl, said Mirel Bran. Alexandra, 15, was hitchhiking near her home a month ago when she was picked up by Gheorghe Dinca, 65, who took her home, tied her up, and raped her. The next day, Alexandra, by then reported missing, managed to get Dinca’s phone and call the police three times, but they were in no hurry to rescue her. They parked near the house and awaited orders to go in for yet another day—during which time Dinca dismembered the child and dissolved her in acid, just as he had with previous victims. Prime Minister Viorica Dancila of the Social Democrats “tried to play the Iron Lady,” sacking local and national police chiefs, the interior minister, and the head of emergency calls. But it’s not enough for Romanians. They blame the Social Democrats for gutting judicial power after party leader Liviu Dragnea was jailed in 2015 for corruption. Since then, “key positions of the police and judicial institutions have been assigned to the brothers, sisters, cousins, and nephews” of Social Democratic leaders. Now “Alexandra’s cries echo in Romanians’ ears.” The people want justice—for the girl and for the country.
8-28-19 Greta Thunberg: Why are young climate activists facing so much hate?
From the first protest by a single student, the school climate strike movement has been a lightning rod for criticism. Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who inspired the now-global movement, has become a primary target. On Wednesday, the 16-year-old arrived in New York after completing her voyage across the Atlantic aboard an environmentally friendly yacht. She faced a barrage of attacks on the way. "Freak yachting accidents do happen in August," Arron Banks, a businessman and prominent Brexit campaigner, tweeted. While Mr Banks said the tweet was a joke, many were outraged. Ms Thunberg is not the only eco-activist under fire, though. Four young climate campaigners told the BBC of the abuse they have been subjected to. One was compared to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels while another said she had been racially abused. These environmentalists have asked difficult questions of politicians, and been ruthlessly derided for doing so. With hostility heightening, why are young climate activists facing so much hate? Since Ms Thunberg's first solo vigil outside Sweden's parliament in August 2018 media attention and criticism have gone hand-in-hand. At first, they were told to stay in school. These students were not on strike, one British Conservative MP tweeted, they were truants. Then there were claims that young climate activists were merely the puppets of adults. In February a far-right Dutch lawmaker said students were being influenced by teachers with a political agenda. When Ms Thunberg travelled to the UK in April, several right-wing media outlets wrote polemics against the teen. One of them, an editorial by the website Spiked, mocked the "apocalyptic dread in her eyes". There were sustained attacks by Germany's far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party ahead of the EU elections in May. Posts about Ms Thunberg and climate change spiked on the party's Facebook page, an investigation, led by Greenpeace Unearthed, found. Weeks later, before her address to the French parliament in July, some far-right and conservative MPs hurled insults at the teen, calling her the "Justin Bieber of ecology" and a "prophetess in shorts". Those who have resorted to personal attacks on the activist appear to be "retreating into various forms of denial", Nigel Thomas, professor of childhood and youth at the University of Lancashire, says. Given the seriousness of scientists' climate warnings, some "may feel threatened by a teenager who has clearly understood and faced up to the trouble we are all in". So far, she has shown restraint, staying mostly above the fray. Her tweeted response to Australian political blogger Andrew Bolt, who described her as "deeply disturbed", was an exception. Instead, Ms Thunberg tends to focus her ire on political leaders. Her brand of environmentalism, however, does not appeal to everyone. In particular, those who "don't like being told what to do" and feel children "don't have the right to say these things", Richard Black, the director of the environmental think tank the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, said. (Webmaster's comment: She has more courage and more truth in her little finger than all the ignorant people attacking her! Having no answer to her arguments these total imbeciles are exposed for what they really are! Those who would rule by bullying and force, not by logic and reason!)
8-28-19 Palestinian conflict: Diaries of childhood in Israeli military detention
Last month Israel's Supreme Court refused to hear a petition by a human rights group demanding that Palestinian children detained in Israeli jails be allowed to telephone their parents. The case cast a spotlight on children tried in military courts for crimes committed in the occupied West Bank. Israel is believed to be the only country that tries children that way. Critics have said the ill-treatment of detainees is widespread.
8-28-19 Mass child sacrifice discovery may be largest in Peru
Archaeologists in Peru have unearthed what is believed to be the largest single mass child sacrifice in history. The bodies of 227 victims, aged between five and 14, were found near the coastal town of Huanchaco, north of Peru's capital Lima. The children were believed to have been sacrificed over 500 years ago. The discovery comes barely a year after 200 child victims of human sacrifice were found at two other sites in the country. Archaeologists told AFP news agency that some of the bodies in this latest collection still had hair and skin when they were dug up. The children show signs of being killed during wet weather, and were buried facing the sea, meaning they were probably sacrificed to appease the Chimú's gods. It is unclear in which year the incident took place. The Chimú resided along Peru's northern coast and were one of the region's most powerful civilisations. They reached prominence between 1200 and 1400 before being conquered by the Incas, who were in turn conquered by the Spanish. They worshipped a moon god called Shi which, unlike the Incas, they believed was more powerful than the sun. Devotees regularly used sacrifice and other offerings during spiritual rituals. Excavation work is continuing at the mass burial site, and archaeologists say more bodies may still be discovered. "It's uncontrollable, this thing with the children," chief archaeologist Feren Castillo told AFP. "Wherever you dig, there's another one".
8-22-19 Khachaturyan sisters who killed father touch Russian hearts
In July 2018 three teenage sisters stabbed and battered their father to death in his sleep, in their Moscow flat. Investigators have confirmed the girls' father abused them physically and psychologically for years. Charged with murder, the sisters and what should happen to them have become one of the hottest topics of debate in Russia and more than 300,000 people have signed a petition calling for their release. On the evening of 27 July 2018 Mikhail Khachaturyan, 57, summoned Krestina, Angelina and Maria, who was a minor at the time, one by one to his room. He scolded them for not cleaning the flat properly and sprayed pepper gas in their faces. Soon afterwards, when he had fallen asleep, the girls attacked him with a knife, hammer and pepper spray, inflicting fatal wounds to his head, neck and chest. He was found to have more than 30 knife wounds. The young women then called the police and were arrested at the scene. The investigation soon uncovered an extensive history of violence in the family. Khachaturyan had regularly beaten his daughters over three years, torturing them, keeping them as prisoners and sexually abusing them. That evidence against their father is cited in their indictments. The case quickly became a cause celebre in Russia. Human rights activists argued that the sisters were not criminals but victims, as they had no means of getting help and protection from their abusive father. However, there are no laws protecting victims of domestic violence in Russia. Under legal changes introduced in 2017, a first-time offender who beats a family member, but not badly enough to put them in hospital, will face only a fine or up to two weeks in custody. Police in Russia usually treat domestic abuse as a "family issue", providing little or no help at all.
8-14-19 The children sent to a DR Congo 'holiday camp' never to come back
A court in Belgium is investigating an orphanage for alleged abduction and trafficking of children from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Children were brought to Belgium and adopted by families who had been told they were orphans. Years later, DNA tests have proved that in some cases they were not. Hundreds of miles north of DR Congo's capital, Kinshasa, is the village of Gemena. Most people make a living from agriculture or fishing; others are carpenters or shopkeepers. Abdula Libenge, a 34-year-old tailor, is the father of one of four families in the area who in May 2015 sent a child away to Kinshasa on what they thought was a holiday camp. Their children never came back. Without access to legal representation or assistance from local authorities, all they could do was wait. About two years after Mr Libenge's daughter disappeared, he received an unexpected visit that would finally shed light on what happened. Belgian journalists Kurt Wertelaers and Benoit de Freine had got wind of an inquiry beginning into adoption fraud in their country. The Belgian public prosecutor had strong indications that the biological parents of a number of Congolese children adopted in Belgium were still alive, and the pair had set out to find them. Their search led them from Brussels to Abdula Libenge's workshop in Gemena. He took them inside and produced a picture of his daughter. "Taken on the day she left for Kinshasa," he told them. "She was so happy. We'll never get the chance to go to Kinshasa. We can't afford the plane ticket. But she got the chance, and it made us proud." It was one of several photos of the group of three girls and one boy, then aged between two and four. One photo shows them with a young man from a youth organisation, their chaperone to the so-called holiday camp. (Webmaster's comment: Belgium's current mistreatment of Africans harks back to Belgium's genicide of 10-15 million Africans in the Congo.)
8-13-19 Danish PM apologises for historical abuse in children's homes
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has officially said sorry to hundreds of victims of historical abuse in state-run homes. From 1945 to 1976 children were sexually abused, beaten and drugged at the homes, an official inquiry found. The abuse took place across Denmark and campaigners have for years appealed to the state to accept it was at fault. "The apology means everything. All we wanted was peace of mind," said one of the victims, Arne Roel Jorgensen. The sixty-eight-year-old told the BBC how the lives of many of the children had been ruined by the abuse. Alcohol, drugs, multiple jobs and failed marriages had all taken their toll. The Social Democrat prime minister met dozens of victims of the scandal at her official residence at Marienborg on Tuesday. "I would like to look every one of you in the eyes and say sorry," she told them. "I can't take the blame but I can shoulder the responsibility." Many were in tears as she said that children had been taken from their parents and instead of getting support and warmth, they received humiliation and abuse. "The authorities did nothing. As a society, we cannot and must not close our eyes," she had said earlier. Details about the homes first hit the headlines in 2005, when a Danish TV documentary featured shocking allegations of abuse and mistreatment from victims of the state-run Godhavn Boys' Home, in north-eastern Denmark.The documentary also uncovered evidence that a psychiatrist had tested drugs on some of the children. Bjorn Elmquist, then an MP who had already been working on the abuse cases, said the drug LSD had been used to counter bed-wetting, leading to many of the children later becoming drug addicts. Soon after the programme, the National Association of the Godhavn's Boys was formed and an independent inquiry was conducted in 2010.
8-12-19 China, Not U.S., May Be the Land of Opportunity for Children
Aug. 12 marks International Youth Day, which this year focuses on efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all the world's youth. This analysis is one of two that looks at how people around the world view opportunities for children in their countries to learn and grow. The U.S. has deficits other than trade to worry about with China. Since the early days of the global economic crisis, China has led the U.S. by as much as 20 percentage points on Gallup's question of whether most children in their respective countries have the opportunity to learn and grow every day. In 2018, 92% of Chinese adults said most children in their country have these types of opportunities, while 74% of U.S. adults said the same. The two countries are the world's largest economies, but you wouldn't know that based on how people in each country answer this question. Among 20 of the world's biggest economic players, the U.S. has the largest GDP, but it ranks 14th on that short list in terms of the opportunities Americans perceive for children in the U.S. China's overall GDP is second-largest in the world, but it ranks third on the opportunities that its adults see for children in China. China's rising literacy rate -- which increased from 65.51% in 1982 to 96.36% in 2015 -- and its higher math and science scores than the U.S. on the OECD PISA (a global assessment of mathematics, reading and science skills) may lend support to why so many Chinese might see the situation so positively for their nation's children. It might also help explain why Chinese adults are highly satisfied with the quality of the educational system or the schools where they live. In 2018, 70% -- a new high -- said they were satisfied with the quality of their local educational system, compared with 64% of Americans.
8-9-19 Nightmare ranch
Jeffrey Epstein, the indicted financier accused of sexually trafficking girls as young as 14, fantasized about spreading his DNA by impregnating dozens of women, The New York Times reported last week. He spoke of inseminating 20 women at a time, friends recall, and having them live at his 33,000-square-foot ranch outside Santa Fe. One former confidant thinks Epstein used his extravagant dinner parties to screen accomplished women who might bear his children. Epstein’s multimillions endeared him to some of the world’s top scientists, with whom he shared fringe theories about improving humanity and extending life spans; Epstein reportedly wanted his head and penis to be cryogenically frozen upon his death. His July indictment reignited fury over his lenient prosecution in 2008 after being accused of molesting dozens of girls. Goaded by the flood of revelations, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week ordered a probe into Palm Beach’s handling of the case.
8-6-19 R. Kelly charged with prostitution involving a minor
R. Kelly is facing prostitution charges by prosecutors in Minnesota, who allege he solicited a teenager who asked him for an autograph in 2001. According to county attorney Mike Freeman, Kelly invited the 17-year-old to his hotel room and offered her $200 (£164) to undress and dance with him. After money was exchanged they had sexual contact but not intercourse, Freeman claimed. Kelly's lawyer Steve Greenberg said the charges were "beyond absurd". His colleague Doug Anton said it was not clear that R. Kelly had ever met his alleged victim and that the charges might be a case of "revisionist history". The R&B singer is now facing criminal proceedings in three US states. The 52-year-old is currently being held without bail awaiting trial on charges of sexual assault, child pornography and obstruction of justice in Chicago and New York. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been dogged by allegations of sexual abuse for years. He previously faced trial on child pornography charges in 2008, but was acquitted when his alleged victim and her parents refused to testify.
8-2-19 R. Kelly denied bail in sex crime case in New York
R&B star R. Kelly has pleaded not guilty in New York's Brooklyn courtroom on charges of recruiting and sexually exploiting women and underage girls. The singer, 52, was denied bail on the grounds that he was a flight risk. He will be kept in custody pending trial. The musician is already awaiting trial for more than 20 other alleged sexual crimes - all of which he denies. For two decades R. Kelly, real name Robert Kelly, has been accused of different sexual abuse allegations. He has consistently denied the claims. The musician was arrested last month, and two separate federal indictments were later filed against him in Chicago and Brooklyn. Prosecutors allege that the star and his associates recruited and transported underage girls over state lines for illegal sexual purposes, including the production of child pornography. They also accuse him of conspiracy to obstruct justice by destroying evidence and bribing or threatening witnesses. The current cases against him were triggered by the six-part documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, which was broadcast in the US at the start of 2019. R. Kelly has stood trial on sexual offences once, being acquitted of child pornography charges by a jury in 2008.
8-2-19 Children taken
The Trump administration separated 911 migrant children from their parents over the past year, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union told a federal judge this week, arguing that the actions violate a court order halting Trump’s “zero tolerance” separation policy. Although a judge said in June 2018 that children could still be separated at the U.S.-Mexico border if their parents posed a danger to them, the ACLU claims border officials are exploiting this “loophole” for “unjustified reasons.” In one example, a father was deemed “neglectful” and separated from his sick infant daughter because agents said he did not change the sleeping girl’s wet diaper. Another child was removed because a parent had a 20-year-old misdemeanor conviction. Roughly 20 percent of the new separations affected kids under 5, compared with about 4 percent last year.
7-24-19 Justice for Victoria: 'Nursery rape' of toddler leaves Myanmar reeling
We don't see her photo on our social media. We don't read her real name in the papers. But the whole country is talking about her and the sickening crime she's said to have suffered. The case of "Victoria" has stopped Myanmar in its tracks. On the morning of 16 May, a two-year-old girl went to her private nursery in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw. At some point before she returned home that evening, according to her family and the local police, she was raped. By law, her identity can't be revealed. But campaigners have given her the name "Victoria". Now three, she will have no idea that her ordeal has raised profound and disturbing questions about child welfare and sexual assault in the country in which she will grow up. The only suspect charged in the case is back in court on Wednesday, when Victoria's family are expected to address the judge. But from the start this case has been thin on evidence and clouded by contradiction. Police say a medical examination carried out after Victoria's mother had noticed her injuries and taken her to hospital showed the girl had been sexually assaulted. Victoria's father told BBC News Burmese that when he showed her CCTV footage from outside the nursery, she pointed out the man who assaulted her, unprompted. "Ko Ko did it at school," her father claims she said, using the common Burmese term for a young man. Officers say they were initially unable to talk to Victoria, because of the medication she had been given, although her dad says she was interviewed later on. And the police quickly got their man. Or so they told us. On 30 May a 29-year-old school driver called Aung Kyaw Myo, or Aung Gyi as he's more commonly known, was arrested. But he was released because of a lack of evidence. When some Facebook users found out about the alleged rape, they demanded justice. The case picked up attention.
7-24-19 Stopping child marriage with solar lanterns
It’s estimated that more than 100 million girls under the age of 18 will be married in the next decade. But in Ethiopia a scheme involving solar lamps is helping thousands of girls stay in school longer and avoid marriage until they are adults.
7-19-19 R. Kelly
Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly was arrested in Chicago last week on 18 federal charges involving child pornography and sex trafficking, adding to 21 counts brought by Illinois prosecutors earlier this year. Kelly, 52, maintained his innocence. Yet his former “enablers” reportedly gave federal prosecutors 20-plus videos of Kelly having sex with underage girls; one tape allegedly shows Kelly having sex with a girl who was 12 or 13 when they met. The indictment describes an “Enterprise” in which Kelly’s bodyguards, managers, and other handlers recruited at least five women and girls for Kelly. The victims were subjected to strict rules, including being forbidden to look at other men and required to call Kelly “Daddy
7-19-19 Epstein: How did he get away with it?
How did he evade consequences for so long? asked David Von Drehle in The Washington Post. As financier Jeffrey Epstein is finally facing new charges of sex trafficking that could put him behind bars for life, it’s clear that “a creeping rot in the American justice system” allowed this industrial-scale predator to run a sex ring of underage girls—and then bribe and flatter his way back into polite society. Back in 2007 Epstein, now 66, faced 45 years in jail after accusations in Florida that he’d recruited dozens of underage girls—most of them poor—to give him “massages” that turned into sexual abuse and rape. With his “enormous and unexplained wealth” (see Business), Epstein hired high-priced lawyers, including Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and former Bill Clinton special prosecutor Ken Starr. They helped him persuade then–U.S. attorney Alex Acosta to let him off the hook with a guilty plea that required Epstein to serve only 13 months in jail, with 12 hours a day in “work release” in his luxurious offices. Epstein reportedly bought the silence of dozens of his victims in return for “nondisclosure agreements.” That’s “rich man’s justice” for you. Acosta had to resign his job as President Trump’s labor secretary last week because of his role in this scandal, said Dahlia Lithwick in Slate.com, but he’s hardly the only culprit. Even after Epstein had “served” his absurdly light sentence in Florida, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office inexplicably petitioned a judge to lower his sex-offender classification. The NYPD even let Epstein skip the regular 90-day check-ins that are mandatory for sex offenders. Like Harvey Weinstein before him, Epstein has shown that lawyers, journalists, prosecutors, politicians of both parties, and even judges look through “money-colored glasses” at monsters who prey on women and girls.
7-20-19 Polish abuse scandal: Victims take on the Catholic Church
Marek Mielewczyk was a 13-year-old altar boy when a priest asked him to come to his presbytery. "This is where I was abused for the first time," he says. He is one of several victims, now adults, featured in a documentary about Polish priests who sexually abused children. Tomasz and Marek Sekielski's film, Don't Tell Anyone, was watched 20 million times in the first week of its digital release – and prompted an unprecedented challenge to Poland's Roman Catholic Church. More than 90% of Poles identity themselves as Catholics. For many, the Church and its rituals do not just provide spiritual comfort: they are part of a national identity. That might explain why Poles have been slow to question the behaviour of some of their own priests, despite sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church in Ireland, the USA and neighbouring Germany. Monika, 28, did not appear in the film. But she told the BBC about years of abuse during supposed exorcisms by priests around Poland when she was a teenager. Her parents saw the priests "as heroes, people who were fighting against the devil himself" - but she believes they were manipulated. The Catholic Church defended Polish culture, language and identity as the country was ruled by three occupying empires in the 19th Century. After World War Two, the Church – and Polish Pope John Paul II – gave strength to the democratic Solidarity movement, helping it overthrow communist rule. But the documentary has sullied that reputation. Shortly after the film's release, an opinion poll suggested 67% of Poles regarded the Church's response as inadequate and 87% said its authority had been diminished. Marek Mielewczyk was abused for five years. "I didn't know about things like masturbation and touching. I had no idea about homosexual relations. I didn't know that an adult could abuse a child," says Mr Mielewczyk.
7-19-19 Jeffrey Epstein denied bail in sex trafficking case
US financier Jeffrey Epstein must remain in jail while awaiting his child sex trafficking trial, a federal judge in New York has ruled. Judge Richard Berman rejected Epstein's request to be under house arrest, saying he posed a flight risk. His defence team had proposed a multimillion dollar bail package. The financier has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. He once counted Bill Clinton and Donald Trump among his friends. Epstein, 66, avoided similar charges in a controversial secret plea deal in 2008, and instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. Last week, US Labour Secretary Alex Acosta resigned amid growing criticism of his role in the plea deal. Mr Acosta was then the US attorney in Miami and oversaw the non-prosecution deal with Epstein, which allowed the financier to serve 13 months in jail - with much of that time spent on work release at his Palm Beach office. The deal has come under increasing scrutiny with the new charges against Epstein. Epstein was arrested on 6 July and later charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy. According to an indictment, the financier paid girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005. Prosecutors also accuse him of paying large amounts of money to two people who could be potential witnesses during the forthcoming trial. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. If convicted, he faces up to 45 years in prison.
7-13-19 Epstein accused of witness tampering in sex trafficking case
Prosecutors have accused jailed US financier Jeffrey Epstein of paying large amounts of money to two people who could be potential witnesses in his child sex trafficking case in an effort to influence them. Prosecutors said Epstein sent a total of $350,000 (£278,000) to two suspected co-conspirators late last year. The allegations were made in a court filing asking that Epstein be denied bail while he awaits trial. Epstein has pleaded not guilty. He is due in court on Monday for a hearing to consider his request for bail. His lawyers have not yet commented on the payout claims. In the filing, prosecutors said the 66-year-old made the payments late last year, just days after The Miami Herald began publishing articles about a plea deal Epstein reached to avoid federal sex trafficking charges in 2008. He paid one person named as a possible co-conspirator in the case $100,000 and the other suspected co-conspirator $250,000, the prosecutors allege. They did not name the two people who received the money. "Neither of these payments appears to be recurring or repeating during the approximately five years of bank records presently available to the government," they said. "This course of action, and in particular its timing, suggests the defendant was attempting to further influence co-conspirators who might provide information against him in light of the recently re-emerging allegations." Epstein was arrested on 6 July and has been charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy. According to an indictment, the wealthy financier paid girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005. (Webmaster's comment: Give him life imprisonment, no parole!)
7-10-19 The distressing normality of Jeffrey Epstein's depravity
These disgusting patterns of behavior are much the same as they've always been. What's changed is how we respond. If money manager Jeffrey Epstein is guilty of the crimes of which he's been accused — crimes that include sex trafficking of underage girls for use in the satisfaction of his lusts — then he is obviously a world-class scumbag. But just how much company does he have in that class? We know it's far more than many of us would like to believe, and probably far more than those with less … extravagant appetites ordinarily assume. Leaving legalities aside to focus merely on morals, it almost certainly encompasses the current resident of the White House as well as his Democratic predecessor from just 20 years ago. For all we know, it may also include several of the names on the passenger manifests from Epstein's private plane, which was widely known by its lascivious nickname, the Lolita Express. (Just how arrogant was Epstein? As arrogant as a well-known coke dealer who names his yacht "Blowin' in the Wind.") Add in Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Les Moonves, and dozens of other disgraced media men and it begins to seem like the ranks of world-class depravity are mighty crowded. And that's just the start. It's tempting to scan the tawdry headlines of the past two years — or past two decades — and conclude that we're living out some post-sexual-revolution nightmare in which the male libido has been unleashed from cultural and religious constraints, mixed with a heaping dose of privilege, entitlement, and misogyny, and produced a world ruled by uniquely rapacious predators. But what has changed and what has stayed the same? Pederasty was widespread in ancient Greece, often involving behavior so exploitative it makes Kevin Spacey's alleged actions with young men sound vaguely ascetic by comparison. In ancient Rome, prostitution was legal and widespread, and acting on sexual desire toward underage boys and girls considered perfectly normal. During the medieval and Renaissance periods, popes were occasionally accused of hosting orgies, while the aristocratic classes of Europe in the centuries leading up to the French Revolution were rumored to be bastions of sexual decadence and debauchery. (Webmaster's comment: In the united States one in four girl children and one in six boy children are raped before they turn 18, most between the ages of 4 and 12. That's 800,000 children being raped every year multiple times as often as "Daddy" wants. And we still virtually do nothing about it. The penality for child rape should be public total castration. That'll make the scum who would rape children think twice!)
7-9-19 Nepal court jails ex-UN official for child abuse
A former UN official has been jailed in Nepal for sexually abusing children. Peter John Dalglish, 62, from Canada, was detained near Kathmandu in 2018 and convicted last month. He was sentenced to nine years for abusing a 12-year-old boy and seven for molesting a 14-year-old boy. It is unclear if the terms run concurrently. Dalglish, a high-profile humanitarian worker since the 1980s, had denied the charges and his lawyer told Reuters he would appeal. "Due process has not been fulfilled during the investigation in the case. So we'll appeal," the lawyer, Rahul Chapagain, said. Dalglish was also ordered to pay compensation of 500,000 rupees ($4,600; £3,600) to each victim. Both boys were in his house when he was arrested. "The judge is yet to decide whether he should serve a total 16 years in jail or be released after nine years. In most cases of a similar nature, sentences get overlapped but it is upon the judge to decide," a district court official told AFP news agency. Dalglish was a well-respected humanitarian, involved in projects across the globe. In 2016, he was awarded the Order of Canada - the country's second-highest civilian honour - for his work with disadvantaged children. He co-founded Street Kids International in the 1980s, which later merged with Save the Children. More recently, Dalglish held senior positions in UN agencies, including head of UN-Habitat in Afghanistan in 2015. In Nepal, Dalglish was an adviser to the International Labour Organization in the early 2000s.
7-9-19 Gang rape in Mülheim ignites German child-crime debate
The gang rape of an 18-year-old woman in Germany has sparked a dispute about lowering the age of criminal responsibility. Two of the suspects in the western city of Mülheim are aged 12 and the other three are 14. Germany does not prosecute children under 14. All five have been suspended from school and so far one 14-year-old has appeared before an investigating judge. The victim, found in bushes late on Friday, was taken to hospital. A police spokesman said the assault involved "considerable violence" and went on for a long time. The head of the police force union, Rainer Wendt, said "for years we've been demanding that the age of criminal responsibility be lowered in Germany". However, Jens Gnisa, head of the German Association of Judges, argued that "the equation 'more punishment equals less criminality' does not work with youths". He said the educational rules established in German law were working well to tackle juvenile crime. The Mülheim rape case, in Germany's industrial Ruhr region, requires action by the Youth Welfare Office to address the suspects' behavioural issues, a senior Child Protection Agency official said. The minimum age of criminal responsibility varies across Europe, and several countries set it at 14 like Germany, including Italy, the Child Rights International Network (CRIN) reports. Nordic countries set the minimum age at 15. In May, Scotland raised the minimum age to 12, from eight. But the minimum age in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 10. A UK Parliament information sheet says setting the minimum at 10 "contravenes international juvenile justice standards". In 2007 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child declared a minimum of less than 12 years "not to be internationally acceptable".
7-8-19 Jeffrey Epstein: Financier charged with sex trafficking
Wealthy US financier and friend of the powerful, Jeffrey Epstein, has been formally charged in New York with running "a vast network" of underage girls for sex. The indictment alleges he enticed minors to visit his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005. According to the charges, the girls, some as young as 14, were given hundreds of dollars for sex acts. Epstein is expected to plead not guilty to the charges. He faces one count of sex trafficking and one of sex trafficking conspiracy. The 66-year-old hedge fund manager was arrested on Saturday at Teterboro Airport after arriving from France on his private jet. He is due to appear in court. Reports suggest he could remain in custody until a bail hearing on Thursday. The indictment alleges Epstein knew his victims were under 18. Often they would be invited to perform a massage on the naked Epstein before being subjected to sexual abuse, it says. The accused "also paid certain of his victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused", the document alleges. He conspired with others "including employees and associates" who helped schedule encounters at his Manhattan mansion and Palm Beach residence, it is alleged. Epstein, once a friend of Prince Andrew, former US President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump, was previously accused of abusing dozens of teenage girls between 1999 and 2007. But he reached a plea deal to avoid federal sex trafficking charges in the case. He instead pleaded guilty in 2008 to lesser Florida state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution. He spent 13 months in jail and registered as a sex offender, avoiding a possible life sentence. Earlier this year, a Florida judge ruled that federal prosecutors broke the law by not informing Epstein's victims of the plea deal at the time.
7-7-19 Jeffrey Epstein: US financier 'charged with sex trafficking'
US billionaire and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested on new sex trafficking charges connected to allegations from the early 2000s, reports say. Epstein was arrested in New York and will appear in court on Monday, law enforcement officials told US media. It comes amid renewed controversy over a plea deal he once reached to end a federal investigation against him. His lawyer has not yet commented on the latest charges. Law enforcement officers have not been authorised to discuss the case, but several have spoken to US media outlets on condition of anonymity. One told The Associated Press news agency that the latest charges stemmed from allegations that Epstein paid underage girls for massages and molested them at his New York and Florida homes. The same claims were made by sources quoted in other outlets, including The Daily Beast, which first reported Epstein's arrest. Epstein, 66, was previously accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls. The wealthy financier - who was once friendly with Prince Andrew, former US President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump - reached a plea deal to avoid federal sex trafficking charges in the case. Instead, he pleaded guilty in 2008 to lesser state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under age 18 for prostitution. This averted a possible life sentence, and instead saw him spend 13 months in jail and register as a sex offender. Earlier this year, a Florida judge ruled that federal prosecutors broke the law by not informing Epstein's victims of the plea deal at the time. Judge Kenneth Marra is currently deciding whether the non-prosecution agreement that protected Epstein from the more serious charges should still stand. Following the ruling, the White House said it was also "looking into" Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta's role in the plea deal, which he approved in his previous role as a US attorney. Epstein in December deprived his alleged victims of the chance to testify against him for the first time by reaching a last-minute agreement to settle a civil lawsuit.
7-7-19 China denies Muslim separation campaign in Xinjiang
China's ambassador to the UK has denied that Muslim children in western Xinjiang are being systematically separated from their parents. A BBC report found that hundreds of children from the Uighur minority ethnic group had had both parents detained, either in camps or in prison. At the same time, China has launched a large-scale campaign to build boarding schools for Uighur children. Critics say it is an effort to isolate children from their Muslim communities. However, Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming dismissed this. "There's no separation of children from their parents. Not at all," the ambassador told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. "If you have people who have lost their children, give me names and we'll try to locate them", he added. Evidence gathered by the BBC showed that in one Xinjiang township alone more than 400 children had lost both of their parents to some form of internment. Chinese authorities claim the Uighurs are being educated in "vocational training centres" designed to combat extremism. But evidence suggests that many are being detained for simply expressing their faith - praying or wearing a veil - or for having overseas connections to places like Turkey. More than a million people are thought to be held within the system. After parents are detained, formal assessments are then carried out to determine whether the children need "centralised care". One local official told the BBC that children whose parents had been detained in camps were sent to boarding schools. "We provide accommodation, food and clothes… and we've been told by the senior level that we must look after them well," she said. But Dr Adrian Zenz, who carried out the research commissioned by the BBC, said boarding schools "provide the ideal context for a sustained cultural re-engineering of minority societies."
7-6-19 Kevin Spacey 'questioned by Met Police in US'
Actor Kevin Spacey has been questioned in the US by the Metropolitan Police over sex assault allegations in the UK, according to Variety magazine. Variety said Scotland Yard detectives travelled to the US in May to interview the Oscar-winner under caution. He faces six allegations of sexual assault in the UK between 1996 and 2013. Police said he was voluntarily interviewed - he was not arrested. Spacey faces a number of sexual assault allegations, which he denies. While the Metropolitan Police did not name Spacey, a spokeswoman said: "In May 2019, a man was voluntarily interviewed under caution in America, by officers from the Met's Complex Case Team. "He was not arrested. Inquiries are ongoing." Spacey, 59, was artistic director at London's The Old Vic theatre between 2004 and 2015. The latest development emerged a day after a man who claimed Spacey groped him in the US in 2016 dropped his civil case. The unnamed man had been seeking unspecified damages over Spacey's alleged "explicit sexual behaviour" at a Nantucket bar. Spacey still faces a criminal charge in the US and pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery in January. Overall, Spacey has faced allegations of sexual assault from more than 30 men.
7-4-19 China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families
China is deliberately separating Muslim children from their families, faith and language in its far western region of Xinjiang, according to new research. At the same time as hundreds of thousands of adults are being detained in giant camps, a rapid, large-scale campaign to build boarding schools is under way. Based on publicly available documents, and backed up by dozens of interviews with family members overseas, the BBC has gathered some of the most comprehensive evidence to date about what is happening to children in the region. Records show that in one township alone more than 400 children have lost not just one but both parents to some form of internment, either in the camps or in prison. Formal assessments are carried out to determine whether the children are in need of "centralised care". Alongside the efforts to transform the identity of Xinjiang's adults, the evidence points to a parallel campaign to systematically remove children from their roots. China's tight surveillance and control in Xinjiang, where foreign journalists are followed 24 hours a day, make it impossible to gather testimony there. But it can be found in Turkey. In a large hall in Istanbul, dozens of people queue to tell their stories, many of them clutching photographs of children, all now missing back home in Xinjiang. "I don't know who is looking after them," one mother says, pointing to a picture of her three young daughters, "there is no contact at all." Another mother, holding a photo of three sons and a daughter, wipes away her tears. "I heard that they've been taken to an orphanage," she says. In 60 separate interviews, in wave after wave of anxious, grief-ridden testimony, parents and other relatives give details of the disappearance in Xinjiang of more than 100 children. (Webmaster's comment: While in America we've separated 1,000's of children from migrant families, never to be seen again!)