Bulletin Board v291

Abused men suffering from lack of support services — More services are needed to support male victims of domestic abuse, a charity has warned. Abused Men in Scotland (AMIS) – the country’s only group working to support male victims of domestic abuse – said rising levels of this kind of abuse mean more support is needed. It comes as new figures on partner abuse contained in the Scottish Crime and Justice survey revealed that of the 576,000 adults in Scotland who experienced some kind of abuse since the age of 16, 178,000 these were men.

Celebrated Alaska storyteller charged with sex abuse of 14-year-old — A prominent Alaska storyteller and performer faces felony charges after police say he had sex with a 14-year-old boy he met on Craigslist. Jack J. Dalton, 43, appeared in court Wednesday in Anchorage. He is accused of visiting the teenager’s home for sex in March and later admitting in a text message that he knew the boy was underage. Police say Dalton told investigators he previously had sex with a different juvenile he met online five to six years earlier and has used software to anonymously view child pornography.

Cuomo Mum on Child Sex Abuse Bill as Deadline Nears — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has dodged repeated entreaties from advocates against child sexual abuse to support legislation that would enable many victims of this crime to seek justice from their abusers. In a May 9 statement, Cuomo sidestepped pointed questions from the advocates, and from the press, about his willingness to push the state Senate to pass the Child Victims Act before the current legislative session ends June 16. The bill would eliminate New York’s statute of limitations for sexual abuse, which is one of the shortest in the nation. Continue reading

A true game of silence

The NBC drama Game of Silence tells the story of four men set on revenge over the abuse they suffered in juvenile prison. The show is a remake of the Turkish drama Suskunlar, which appears to be based the book Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra, which had a movie of the same name. All four versions reveal the depth of cruelty that can occur in juvenile prisons. While the first two are fiction and there are some questions about the veracity of Carcaterra’s story, a recent case shows that this type of abuse does indeed happen.

Kevin Young went to Medomsley detention center in County Durham in 1977. There he endured abuse at the hands of a prison official:

The morning after he arrived at Medomsley, Young was lining up for breakfast when he was picked out of the queue by Neville Husband, the officer who ran the kitchen. Young later discovered that Husband had asked for his file – he wanted to know everything about him; most importantly, whether he had family who were likely to visit him. Young was one of a handful of new inmates sent to work in the kitchen with Husband.

“There are two things that are important to successfully sexually abuse somebody,” Young says. “By successful, I mean without being prosecuted. One, anonymity or silence – if you can’t carry out your act without people knowing, you’re not going to be at it very long. The second thing you need is a victim who’s ‘reliable’; a reliable victim is someone who’s already been abused to the point where, if they do speak out, who on Earth is going to believe them? And who on Earth is going to believe Kevin Young, the pauper’s son, who has been in and out of care, who’s a knife-wielding thug, a bully?” That is how a number of care home reports described Young, but he insists he was a quiet, over-obedient boy. “The truth is, nobody would have believed me.”

Abuse might be too mild a word for what Husband did to Young over the next two months. “I was raped repeatedly, tied up and ligatured [around the neck]. It was the worst of the worst.” That day after Young arrived, Husband took him to a storeroom above the kitchens that he had converted into a lounge. He locked the door, took out the key and stuffed the keyhole with tissues. “I thought I was going to be killed,” Young says. “I was told by Husband that you could easily be found hanged at Medomsley, and that that year, six boys had already hanged themselves.”

According to Young, Husband would take the boy to his house outside of prison and allow other men to rape him. One would think that people would notice an officer removing an inmate from the prison. As Young argues, the prison and police were not only aware of that, but aware of Husband’s violent tendencies yet still allowed him access to children: Continue reading

Bulletin Board v290

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

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

Bulletin Board v284

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