The politics of private prisons and child abuse

Minnesota’s largest prison for boys currently faces investigation over covering up allegations of sexual abuse. A staff member reported the allegations to her superiors, yet nothing was done to address them. The facility never reported the incidents to the state authorities, which violates state law. When the state began to investigate the allegations, it appears the people running the private prison Mesabi Academy used their political connections to quell the inquiry:

After Mesabi Academy objected to a certain investigator being on the case, St. Louis County removed him. When the county alerted two other counties it had “health and safety” concerns about the facility, Mesabi threatened to sue. And shortly after a St. Louis County official announced the contract was ending, a powerful politician intervened on Mesabi’s behalf and expressed concern about potential job losses at the Iron Range facility. The contract was renewed.

n Friday, county officials said they had closed their six-month investigation into Mattson’s allegations without determining any maltreatment had taken place. They said they had insufficient evidence.

But St. Louis County also confirmed Mesabi Academy didn’t report several allegations of sex abuse to authorities. State law required the academy to report such allegations to St. Louis County Child Protection or law enforcement within 24 hours of being told.

In all, the county said Friday it had closed its investigation into 20 allegations of maltreatment over the past 14 months, saying in each case that maltreatment could not be determined.

In at least three of those cases, it was clear that Mesabi Academy knew of allegations but did not report them to the county. It’s not clear how many others it kept secret.

There is a big enough problem with abuse in juvenile prisons to begin with it. Private prisons do not necessarily improve the situations because they have a completely different incentive to protect their reputation. Many of these prisons are run by corporations that operate several prisons. One black mark on one prison can affect their ability to create or continue to operate the others. Continue reading

Best plea deal ever

“They will have spent more time incarcerated for petty crimes for Valerie Lieteau will for sexually abusing teenagers.”

That comment by Attorney Bruce Skaug sums up the utterly ridiculous situation in a recent child rape case:

A former juvenile corrections nurse accused of sexually abusing boys incarcerated at the facility where she worked has accepted a plea deal that rids her of a child sex charge.

Prosecutors amended a charge of sexual battery on a minor to aggravated assault Friday, the same day 41-year-old Valerie Lieteau entered her guilty plea.

Because the defendant did not plead guilty to a sexual crime, she will not be required to register as a sex offender.

That is rather curious because in most instances plea deals require one to admit to an offense. Yet for some reason the deal this woman received also her to walk without any real punishment. One would think her crimes would be benign in order to receive such a pass. They are not: Continue reading

Rethinking juvenile justice

One of my pet peeves is the way we treat children who commit crimes. For some reason, we treat them more harshly than we do adults. We feel compelled sentence them to long sentences, long mandatory minimums, and sentences with no possibility of parole. We like to charge them as adults, the younger the better, and inexplicably place children in prison with adults.

More bizarre is that we allow this to occur despite knowing what could happen to these kids. It makes no sense for us to charge 8-year-olds as adults. It makes no sense for us to imprison a 14-year-old to life without the possibility of parole. It makes even less sense to lock them in solitary confinement or sentence them to death.

The latter the Supreme Court addressed several years ago. They banned juvenile executions in 2005. However, life without parole still remained in place. Now they have struck that down as well, and made the ban retroactive: 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

Men report horrific abuse committed at a Sydney boys’ home

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse listened to numerous accusations of abuse committed at a Sydney boy’s home. According to the accusations, scores of boys were physically and sexually abused by staff at Daruk Training School in Windsor. The facility held state wards and juvenile offenders, operating for about thirty years until 1991. Several men claim that staff preyed on dozens of boys, engaging brutal assaults, including forced circumcision (fair warning: the description is graphic): Continue reading

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2 women who tried to make toddler do lewd acts get 15 years in prison — A regional trial court judge here recently handed down a 15-year prison term each to two women after finding them guilty of attempted human trafficking, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) in Southern Mindanao said in a statement. IACAT said the two women, whose real identities were not disclosed to protect the identities of their victims, were also fined P1 million each by Acting Presiding Judge Ma. Susana Baua of the Regional Trial Court Branch 8.

Advert Against ‘Rape Culture’ Portrays Being a Woman as the ‘Greatest Danger of All’ — A Norwegian campaign to stop sexual violence against women has received criticism for being sexist against men. The video, titled “#DearDaddy” and produced by CARE Norway, seeks to tackle “rape culture” as it shows the future life of the titular father’s unborn daughter asking him ”for a favour about boys.”

Boy ‘given electric shocks to genitals’ — Egypt must immediately release a 14-year-old boy who says he was sexually abused in detention by police using a wooden stick and bring his alleged torturers to justice, Amnesty International said. Mazen Mohamed Abdallah’s family told the rights group the teenager was repeatedly tortured in custody, including also being given electric shocks to his genitals. Continue reading

Bulletin Board v272

As Taliban Prisoner, Bergdahl Said To Endure ‘Horrible’ Abuse — U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl endured some of the worst abuse any U.S. prisoner of war has seen for decades while being held for five years by the Taliban in Afghanistan, a defense official has testified. Bergdahl suffered torture, abuse, and neglect, including months of beatings, said Terrence Russell, an expert with the military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency.

Barbara Kay: Attention paid to male issues doesn’t diminish from feminism: it’s not a zero sum game — Cathy Young is a widely admired libertarian “equity feminist” American journalist, whose considerable critical skills often deployed in dismantling the “rape culture” narrative, continually ruffle ideologues’ feathers. Young was scheduled to speak at the University of Toronto tonight, Thursday, September 24th, on “The Politics of Gender and Victimhood,” an event planned by the University of Toronto Men’s Issues Awareness Society (UTMIAS) and sponsored by the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFÉ), on whose advisory board I sit.

Bluffs woman pleads not guilty to having sex with teen boy — A Council Bluffs woman has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual abuse involving a 15-year-old boy. Jessica Pritchard, 26, was arrested on July 23 in Alliance, Nebraska, and charged with four counts of third-degree sexual abuse involving a minor and four counts of dissemination and exhibition of obscene material to a minor. If convicted of third-degree sexual abuse with a minor, a Class C felony, Pritchard could face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Continue reading