Age of criminal responsibility should be raised, says leading barrister — Paul Mendelle QC, the chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said the current limit of ten is “awfully young” and runs the risk of a child being prosecuting for crimes they are too immature to understand. Mr Mendelle said the issue of children in adult courts also needs to be re-examined. His comments following concerns over the way children are dealt with in the criminal justice system in the wake of the conviction of two young boys for attempted rape last month.
Confined teenage boy only given bread, plain noodles since fall — A 15-year-old boy who was confined in the toilet room of his home in Tokyo for 11 days by his mother and her boyfriend in February and rescued later has told police they gave him only bread and plain noodles for his meals since last fall, investigative sources said Friday. The Metropolitan Police Department sent papers on 47-year-old Mayumi Nakashima, the mother, and 34-year-old Teruhisa Kawasaki, the boyfriend, to prosecutors the same day on suspicion of physical abuse and neglect. According to the police, the boy, who is about 165 centimeters tall, weighed only 40 kilograms or less when he was rescued Feb. 14.
Federal Panel Questions Sex Abuse At Juvenile Prison — Indiana Department of Correction officials told a federal panel they are working to correct a pattern of sexual victimization of young inmates at a state juvenile correctional facility. Department of Correction Commissioner Edwin Buss and his staff testified Thursday before a three-member Department of Justice review panel on prison rape, 6News’ Joanna Massee reported. It comes after a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 36 percent of inmates at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility reported being sexually abused, about three times higher than the national average.
Florida Christian school shut down over abuse allegations — In a scene reminiscent of Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, police found a runaway boy from an abusive boarding school being pursued for capture (and a beating) by a fellow student on the streets of Hiland Park, Florida. The result: 17 teenaged boys have been removed from Heritage Boys Academy. Clayton Maynard (who may or may not be HBA’s director, Buddy Maynard) and Asst. Director Robert Unger have been arrested and charged with various counts of child abuse. Maynard’s son, Russell, has yet to be apprehended, but his arrest is pending. Another man, not listed as a staff member on the Heritage Boys Academy website, 22-year-old Marcus Kurbatoff, was arrested for resisting an officer, apparently defending Maynard and Unger.
Former archbishop Cormac Murphy-O’Connor to head papal inquiry into sex abuse in Ireland — The retired archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, was today appointed by the pope to take the leading role in a top-level investigation of the Roman Catholic church in Ireland and its handling of the clerical sex abuse that has shaken it. Two official reports have pointed to decades of rape, coercion and sexual attack by predatory clerics whose activities, in the words of one of the reports, were “obsessively” concealed by the church hierarchy. A statement issued on behalf of Pope Benedict said the investigators’ job would be “to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims”.
Innocence Project claims man spent 11 years in prison for rape he didn’t commit — For almost 30 years, Michael Ray VonAllmen said he didn’t do it — he was not the man who abducted and then raped a 22-year-old woman in Iroquois Park on Oct. 10, 1981. Even after he was convicted, he lobbied for and passed two polygraph tests. And even after his release from prison — after serving 11 years — he unsuccessfully urged the Kentucky State Police to tell him if any physical evidence still existed in his case.
Pope again under firein abuse case — The future Pope Benedict XVI refused to defrock an American priest who admitted molesting numerous children and even served prison time, simply because the priest would not agree to the discipline. The case provides a clear example of how changes in church law under Pope John Paul II hamstrung bishops struggling with an abuse crisis that eventually exploded. Documents were obtained by The Associated Press from court filings in the case of the late Rev. Alvin Campbell of Illinois. They show Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — now the pope — followed church law at the time and turned down a bishop’s plea to remove the priest for no other reason than the abuser’s refusal to go along with it.
Spate of suicides sparks search for answers — Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people between 15 and 24 – more males than females – and accounts for almost 4,500 lives lost every year in this country. Scientists believe that more teenagers and young adults die of suicide in a year than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. And this is just the edge of the tragedy. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, nearly half a million teenagers make a suicide attempt every year. More girls try; more boys succeed.
U.S. Likely To Miss Deadline On Prison Rape Rules — Congress first addressed the issue seven years ago. The legislation brought together an unusual coalition of lawmakers — including Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Republican Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia. The sometimes warring factions agreed on one central notion: that authorities could, and should, do more to deter rape in U.S. jails and prisons. “Regardless of what crime someone may have committed, rape is not part of the penalty,” says Lovisa Stannow, who advocates for prisoners’ rights. “And when the government takes away someone’s freedom, it takes on an absolute responsibility to protect that person’s safety.”
Woodland Hills sex abuse claims ‘shocking,’ DCS official tells feds — Tennessee officials who were “flabbergasted” at the level of sexual abuse reported at Woodland Hills Youth Development Center told a federal panel Friday the steps they’ve taken to reduce staff misconduct. But Steven Hornsby, deputy commissioner of the Department of Children’s Services, also questioned the survey result that 1 in 4 youths at Woodland had reported sexual abuse by staffers. That result ranked the detention facility among the worst in the country.