Student gets $6 million abuse settlement from school following abuse

In rare instance of accountability, a former student abused by one of his teachers will receive a $6 million settlement from the school district:

Vince Finaldi, an attorney for the former high school student, said the egregious conduct of Redlands Unified School administrators in the case warranted what may be one of the largest single-victim sex abuse settlements by a public agency.

“The size of this settlement represents the gravity of the damage done to this young victim and his family and it also highlights the extreme malfeasance and neglect by school officials who turned a blind eye to the criminal conduct of a teacher and failed to protect a student,” Finaldi said.

Laura Whitehurst faced 41 felony counts of unlawful sex acts. She faced a potential 29-year prison sentence. She chose to plead guilty to six counts of lesser offences, resulting in a one-year jail sentence. She was released after six months and placed on probation. She was also required to register a sex offender, but otherwise faced no other penalty. She also shares custody of the child that resulted from her abuse of the student.

The former student’s attorneys argued that the school officials were culpable because they knew of the abuse but nothing to stop it. School district officials agreed to a settlement, although it appears for purely public relation reasons: Continue reading

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Boy ‘abused with a dog’ by Army recruits-inquiry — Senior recruits at an army apprentice school used a dog to abuse a boy who was training to join the Army Band, a national inquiry has heard. The abuse survivor, given the pseudonym CJU, told a royal commission hearing on Friday he had spent 38 years carrying the burden of his abuse. ‘Not only was I raped by my seniors and by staff at Balcombe (a Victoria-based school) who I thought I could trust, I was mentally abused with a dog, the lowest of the low, bestiality,’ he said.

Britain’s worst pedophiles convicted of historic abuse of young boy — Ex-Navy chief Douglas Slade, 74, and racing driver Christopher Skeaping, 71, were members of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). The pro-paedophile activist network openly campaigned for legal sex between adults and children in the 1970s and 80s, and wanted the age of consent to be axed or lowered. Twisted supporters of the group – which Jimmy Savile has been linked to – shared obscene material and advice with fellow deviants.

Ex-altar boy who spoke out about being sexually abused by priest found hanged in home — A Pennsylvania man who spoke out against clergy abuse after publicly identifying himself as a victim of a predator priest has killed himself, authorities said. Brian Gergely, 46, was found hanged in his home in Ebensburg on Friday, Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Gergely went public in 2003 while suing Monsignor Francis McCaa and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, saying he was abused as a 10-year-old altar boy. Continue reading

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Analysis: Court reverses 40 years of law on rape sentences — Even the Mississippi Supreme Court gets to change its mind. And it did so in April, ruling that judges can sentence people convicted of rape to life in prison, even if the jury didn’t recommend a life sentence. In that 5-3 ruling, the court overturned 40 years of its own decisions that had previously found only a jury could sentence a rape defendant to life in prison.

Frats Accused of Abusing ‘Male Privilege’ for Raising Awareness of Sexual Assault — In an op-ed for The Daily Northwestern, author Jessica Schwalb chastised the fraternities because their signs might “trigger” some students. The author claimed support for the campaign was “just a cruel reminder” for sexual assault survivors and that the efforts were “purely symbolic” of the problem. The signs, which included statements such as “[Sexual assault] is everyone’s problem,” “We stand against sexual violence,” and “We support survivors,” were intended as a show of solidarity for sexual assault awareness week.

Israel snubs UN concerns about prisoner abuse in Israeli jails — Michal Sarig-Kaduri, the deputy director of the human rights department at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, told United Nations’ Committee Against Torture on Wednesday that punitive measures such as solitary confinements and separation were “extremely restricted and used for short and limited periods of time, for a maximum of 14 days only.” Solitary confinement is the practice of isolating inmates in closed cells, depriving them of any human contact. Continue reading

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Absurdity reigns in campus sexual assault trials — There’s an old legal adage that good facts make good law, and bad facts make bad law. In the case of campus sexual assault, it may be that absurd facts will — eventually — make good law too. About five years ago, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a letter that would change the face of campus sexual misconduct proceedings at colleges across the country.

Boy alleging rape by father says also abused in foster care — A boy who was removed from the family home after allegedly being raped by his father and forced to have sex with his mother was further sexually abused while in foster care, a trial has heard. The now 12-year-old has so far spent five days giving evidence via video-link about alleged abuse by his parents in their Waterford home. He has alleged his father raped him, sexually abused him with a hot poker and forced him to have sex with his mother over the course of several years from when he was about six years old.

Catholic Church issues public apology for sex abuse of priests 20 years ago — Uruguay’s Roman Catholic Church said it is ashamed over the “abhorrent acts” committed by its priests who were accused of sexually abusing three persons who were in their teens 20 years ago even as it made a public apology for their acts. In a letter on its website, the church denounced the acts, lamenting that the crimes went unpunished because the statute of limitation has elapsed, the Associated Press reports. Continue reading

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Boys’ club ‘a sitting duck’ for child sexual abuse — A convicted child sex offender has described an Anglican boys’ society as a “sitting duck” for predators. Former Tasmanian archdeacon Louis Daniels, 68, on Thursday gave evidence to a royal commission investigating the Church of England Boys’ Society across the island state and also in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide. Daniels, who has been jailed for his abuse of 11 boys and has settled a civil claim with another, was asked about the culture within the church and whether its branches helped facilitate his offending.

Catholic Church in Mexico Protecting a Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing 100 Children — Mexico’s Catholic Church is being accused of protecting a priest who allegedly sexually abused about 100 children. During a press conference, a letter written by the mother of one victim was read aloud, according to EFE (via Fox News Latino). It was directed to Pope Francis, who is scheduled to visit Mexico in February. In the letter, the mother asked the pontiff for justice for the victims in order to assure that “this doesn’t happen again,” the news outlet added.

DOC Secretary Ed Wall resigns amid FBI investigation into state youth prison — Wisconsin Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall submitted his letter of resignation to Gov. Scott Walker on February 5 and will be replaced by former DOC Secretary Jon Litscher (’99-’03) later this month, the Governor’s office announced Friday. The change comes amid an investigation into abuse allegations at Lincoln Hills School, the state’s youth prison located north of Wausau, and comes on the same day 27 News confirmed the FBI is now leading the investigation into the facility.  Continue reading

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Attorney: St. George’s School trying ‘to silence victims’ in sex abuse case — Past and present St. George’s School administrators have attempted “to silence victims” to “prevent a scandal” over accusations of systemic sexual abuse dating to the 1970s and 1980s, says an attorney for three St. George’s alumni who are pressing the issue. Attorney Eric MacLeish spoke in advance of a news conference Tuesday at which he and three women who say they were sexually victimized in the 1970s by the school’s former athletic trainer Al Gibbs, are scheduled to release a rebuttal to a Dec. 23, 2015, report by St. George’s School.

Children’s home former head and ex-chaplain jailed for sex abuse of boys — A former head of a children’s home run by a Catholic order who has already served 21 years in prison for sexually abusing boys has been jailed for a further nine years. James Carragher was head from 1976 to 1990 of St William’s – an approved school for boys with behavioural problems in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, run by the Catholic De La Salle order. Carragher, 75, was jailed for seven years in 1993 and a further 14 years in 2004 for offences he committed at St William’s.

Colo. Man Who Spent 28 Years in Prison for Rape After Woman Claimed His Face Came to Her in a Dream Is Freed — In 1988 a Colorado man was convicted of raping a woman. The victim, according to the Associated Press, had been out drinking the night in August 1987 when she was attacked. When she reported the assault to police, she initially named a different man as her attacker (who would later say that he had sex with her that night). But the next day, while in the hospital, the woman claimed that a neighbor, Clarence Moses-EL, had attacked her and that his face came to her in a dream. Continue reading

Playing to fantasies: why we excuse female rapists

Every time a media outlet reports on a woman raping a boy, someone comments about how it is every boy’s fantasy. Usually it is not just someone. There are often hundreds of comments like that, many of them from women but mostly from men. They all say the same thing: where was this teacher when I was growing up?

The idea that every boy wants to have sex with his hot teacher is fairly common. One could argue that plenty of teen boys do fantasize about their female (and male) teachers. This is only natural. These are often the only adults outside of family members that the teens regularly see. One would expect teen boys (and girls) to develop crushes on some of them. John Salmon of The Libertarian Republic shared his own story:

When I was about 14, I realised I was attracted to older women. I don’t simply mean those who were a couple of years above me at school; I mean 10-15 years older than me. […] While other boys my age were actually hooking up with girls, I was fantasising about my science teacher. She was only in her early twenties at that point but, as a 14-year-old, early twenties may as well have been early forties. It was nothing out of the ordinary; I used to fantasise about being kept behind for some random indiscretion and then being seduced by this older woman.

I don’t remember every specific detail of each fantasy but I do remember one thing – we never had sex. My fantasies were not about me wanting to have sex with her; it never got to that point. My fantasies were more about being seduced and the feeling that what we were doing was taboo. I fantasised about her naked and the kind of soft porn touching that you’d find on Channel 5 in the late 90s.

The key word to note in the above paragraph is what this article is about – fantasy. I never acted on my fantasies and, as far as I was aware, the teacher in question barely even knew I existed. The important thing to remember is that these scenarios were all in my head. I never once thought they would come true. In fact, if there was even the slightest hint that one of them may come true, my general social awkwardness would have put that to bed fairly quickly (no pun intended).

It is also possible that Salmon’s teacher, if so inclined, might have exploited his social awkwardness to continue the abuse. Someone who has difficulty connecting with others will likely try to maintain whatever connections they manage to make. Anyone interested in controlling them can use that to their advantage. This is one of the reasons why so many victims of abuse fit a similar personality profile. It is easier to manipulate someone who is shy, isolated, or awkward because they crave attention. Continue reading