8-5-20 Daisy Coleman: Assault survivor in Netflix film takes own life
Daisy Coleman, a sexual assault victim advocate and subject of the Netflix documentary Audrie & Daisy, has taken her own life, according to her mother. Ms Coleman, 23, was 14 when she alleged she was raped at a party in 2012 in Maryville, Missouri. Her case drew national attention as she spoke of being bullied after the incident, but the charge against the teenage boy she accused was dropped. She was reportedly found dead after her mother called police to check on her. "She was my best friend and amazing daughter," her mother, Melinda Coleman, wrote on Facebook. "I think she had to make it seem like I could live without her. I can't. "I wish I could have taken the pain from her! She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it's just not fair. My baby girl is gone." Ms Coleman alleged she was assaulted while intoxicated by a 17-year-old boy, Matthew Barnett, at a house party in January 2012, when she was 14. Her mother said she found her daughter the next morning, left outside on the porch, with wet hair and wearing just a T-shirt and sweatpants in sub-zero temperatures. Barnett was charged with felony sexual assault, but the case was eventually dropped. Ms Coleman's family argued this was due to the local political connections of the boy's family. Barnett pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of child endangerment, arguing his sexual intercourse with Daisy had been consensual. Ms Coleman's case sparked national discussions over teenage rape cases in the US justice system as well as victim blaming and bullying. Ms Coleman and her family eventually moved out of Maryville after threats and harassment in school. She was featured in the award-winning 2016 Netflix documentary Audrie & Daisy, which highlighted the bullying faced by teenage assault victims. The other girl in the film, Audrie Pott, took her own life in September 2012, days after she was sexually assaulted. (Webmaster's comment: We need to accept the word of children that they were raped! And put the bastards accused away for a long, long time!)
7-31-20 Ghislaine Maxwell-Jeffrey Epstein emails revealed in new court papers
Emails between UK socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and the late US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have been revealed in a trove of unsealed court documents. Epstein tells Ms Maxwell she has done "nothing wrong" in the 2015 exchange, which appears to contradict her earlier claims of not having contacted him. And in a deposition, accuser Virginia Giuffre says Ms Maxwell was as equally involved in sex trafficking as Epstein. Ms Maxwell faces a trial in the case in July 2021 and has pleaded not guilty. She remains in custody in New York, charged with trafficking minors for Epstein and perjury. She could face up to 35 years in prison if convicted. Epstein died in prison on 10 August 2019 as he awaited his trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was determined to be suicide. Dozens of papers were ordered to be unsealed late on Thursday by a court in New York. There is a near 350-page paper containing the testimony from 2016 of Virginia Giuffre, who has alleged that she was forced into sex with Epstein and his friends. The deposition comes from her now-settled civil defamation lawsuit against Ms Maxwell. There is also an email exchange between Ms Maxwell and Epstein from 2015, which shows how concerned she was about possible fallout from the case. Police reports and flight logs from Epstein's private jets have also been unsealed. Lawyers for Ms Maxwell fought to keep the papers secret. They have managed to get a temporary block on two additional documents - a deposition from 16 April related to Ms Maxwell's sex life and another deposition, this time from an unnamed Epstein accuser. They could still be released on Monday, though, pending further court challenges. An email sent by Epstein to Ms Maxwell on 21 January 2015 carries what appears to be a statement to be used by Ms Maxwell in defence of any accusations against her.
7-17-20 Doctor Room: The counsellor helping digital sex crime victims
"Thank you for putting a brake on the life of a devil that could not be stopped." That is how one suspected ringleader of a clandestine online sextortion ring in South Korea described his relief at being caught. Cho Ju-bin, known as "The Doc," operated chatrooms where he blackmailed dozens of young women, including at least 16 minors, into making sexually explicit videos of themselves. They often featured rape and violence. He then sold these videos online through Telegram, an encrypted messaging service. Fees ranged from $200 to $1,200. But this was not the first - his "Doctor Room" was itself a copy of existing "Nth Rooms". Customers paid to access the so-called "Nth Rooms", where extorted content was uploaded, often in real time. There are countless similar chatrooms, suggesting that there are tens of thousands of paying members. According to Korean newspaper Kookmin Ilbo, each of the rooms hosted videos from three to four girls who had been blackmailed by chatroom operators. The chatroom operators contacted the girls, promising modelling or escort jobs. They would then direct the women to a Telegram account to provide personal details, which were used to blackmail the victims. Cho is facing 14 charges including rape, blackmail, coercion, and illegal production and distribution of sexual content. His trial began on 11 June, three months after he was arrested. He has admitted that he produced sex videos and distributed them on Telegram, yet he is denying that he resorted to coercion, blackmailing and violence, according to his lawyer. But while the focus is on the alleged perpetrator, his victims have a lonely struggle ahead. In socially conservative Korea, the dozens of women and children who were exploited in the videos face a long and difficult journey to rebuild their lives. One woman helping them is Lee Hyorin. She told the BBC about her work fighting digital sex crime.
7-15-20 Kenyan 12-year old girl married to two men within a month
A 12-year-old girl has been rescued by authorities in Kenya after she was married off to two men in the span of one month. The girl's father, in Narok county west of the capital Nairobi, forced her to marry a 51-year-old man. She escaped and then got married to a 35-year-old before being rescued by a children's rights campaigner and government officials. In Kenya, marrying someone who is under 18 years of age is a crime. A children's rights campaigner said he was tipped off about the girl when he was in the process of rescuing another girl. "The father gave her off to the elderly man to be married. She had no option than to get married to the younger man," Joshua Kaputah from the Narok County Peace Association told the BBC. Mr Kaputah added that poverty and the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic have played a role in increasing cases of child marriages. "Some families are hungry and the prospect of receiving two or three cows as dowry is quite tempting," he said. Marrying off underage girls has been an issue of concern among the Maasai community who inhabit Narok County, the BBC's Peter Mwai says. He adds that Maasai girls tend to be viewed by men in-charge of households as wealth, and are married off to a man chosen by the father in exchange for cattle. The government has been cracking down on the tradition but it still thrives partly due to poor enforcement of existing laws. Kenya's Standard newspaper reports that after the first groom offered four cows as a dowry, the girl protested against getting married but was then beaten up by her male cousins. "I escaped and since I could not go back to my father's home for fear of being reprimanded, I eloped with a 35-year-old man, who was married," she is quoted as saying in the Standard.
7-8-20 Mary Kay Letourneau: Teacher who married boy she raped dies at 58
A former teacher from Washington state whose sexual encounters with a pupil led to a jail sentence and worldwide notoriety has died of cancer aged 58. Mary Kay Letourneau was convicted of second-degree child rape in 1997 after becoming pregnant by Vili Fualaau when he was 12 or 13 and she was 34. She gave birth to their second daughter in prison in 1998. After serving her prison term the couple married in 2005. They separated after 12 years of marriage. Ms Letourneau's lawyer David Gehrke told US media that she had died at home surrounded by her children and Mr Fualaau. Ms Letourneau was a married mother-of-four living in Seattle when she began to have sexual encounters with her sixth-grade student. She initially served just a few months in jail but after she was paroled she was caught having sex again with the young teenager. The former teacher was returned to prison to serve another seven years. Her two daughters with Mr Fualaau were initially raised by his family. She had reportedly been ill for six months before her death. She was brought up a Catholic and was the daughter of a conservative Republican congressman, John G. Schmitz. His political career was ended by scandal when it emerged he had fathered two children out of wedlock.
7-5-20 Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre on Maxwell arrest
A US woman who says she was brought to Britain aged 17 to have sex with Prince Andrew has said he "should be panicking" following the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's accusers, says she was trafficked to London by Epstein in 2001. She spoke to Australia's Channel Nine 60 Minutes programme following the arrest of Epstein's former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was arrested on charges of helping Epstein's sexual exploitation of girls and young women, and also perjury. Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell both deny allegations made against them.
7-3-20 Coronavirus-denying Father Sergiy expelled by Russian Church
A Russian Orthodox Church court has expelled a coronavirus-denying cleric from the priesthood after he seized control of a convent. Father Sergiy - who calls himself Nikolai Romanov, after Russia's last tsar - took over Sredneuralsk Convent, near Yekaterinburg in the Urals, on 16 June. He posted armed guards there. The Yekaterinburg Church court found he had broken monastic rules. Fr Sergiy has condemned the closure of churches in the coronavirus lockdown. He called the Covid-19 crisis "a pseudo-pandemic" and cursed those who ordered that church services be stopped on health grounds. There have been complaints of child abuse at the convent under Fr Sergiy's leadership, and the Church court called for a thorough investigation of the allegations by the Russian authorities. The Church is also carrying out its own investigation. BBC Russian has interviewed several witnesses who stayed at the convent between 2001 and 2020, and who described physical and psychological violence towards children as routine there. The former residents said children were slapped or beaten for minor misdemeanours. Punishment was meted out for example if a girl took off her headscarf while hauling a sack of potatoes early in the morning, or if a child ran through the woods into town to get some chocolate. Some of the nuns considered administering beatings to be as routine as tending the horses or working in the refectory, they alleged. Fr Sergiy has stated that church authorities "will have to storm the monastery" if they want him to leave. The controversial cleric was barred from preaching in April. He refused to attend the court sessions. Fr Sergiy helped found the Sredneuralsk Convent in the early 2000s, and hundreds of supporters have flocked there over the years to hear his sermons. Russian authorities shut churches to worshippers on 13 April amid the ongoing pandemic, and only reopened them last month.
7-2-20 Ghislaine Maxwell 'helped exploit girls as young as 14 years old'
Ghislaine Maxwell, British socialite and ex-girlfriend of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is facing charges in the US after being arrested by the FBI. Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, detailed the alleged role Maxwell played in the grooming and sexual exploitation of underage girls. Ms Maxwell has previously denied any involvement in or knowledge of Epstein's alleged sexual misconduct. Epstein died in prison on 10 August as he awaited, without the chance of bail, his trial on sex trafficking charges.
7-2-20 Jeffrey Epstein ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell arrested by FBI
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, an ex-girlfriend of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, is facing charges in the US after being arrested by the FBI. The six charges include enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and two counts of perjury. She was reportedly arrested in New Hampshire and is due in federal court later. She has denied any involvement in or knowledge of Epstein's alleged sexual misconduct. Epstein died in prison on 10 August as he awaited, without the chance of bail, his trial on sex trafficking charges. He was arrested last year in New York following allegations that he was running a network of underage girls - some as young as 14 - for sex. His death was determined to be suicide. Four of the charges relate to the years 1994-97 when Ms Maxwell was, according to the indictment, among Epstein's closest associates and also in an "intimate relationship" with him. The other two charges are allegations of perjury in 2016. The indictment says Ms Maxwell "assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein's abuse minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18". She is charged with conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts; enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts; conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; and transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. During the same period she groomed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Epstein, the indictment says. She attempted to befriend them by asking about their lives and families and then she and Epstein built the friendships by taking minor victims to the cinema or shopping. Having built a rapport, Ms Maxwell would "try to normalise sexual abuse for a minor victim by... discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein".