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July 25, 2014
Police Probe Mysterious Porcelain Dolls Left In Front of Homes of Girls They Resemble
by SARAH FIGALORA
Police are investigating a strange case in a California community, where porcelain dolls are being left on the doorsteps of girls they hold an eerie resemblance to.
At least eight families have received the dolls in the Talega community of San Clemente, with all of the girls targeted around 10 years old.
Families began filing police reports about the dolls as early as June 16, but the mystery of their origin continues.
"It caught me by surprise," Lt. Jeff Hallock from the Orange County Sheriff's Department told ABC News. "It spun of control."
"We're trying to connect the families and the girls," he added. "We're trying to figure out if there is a correlation."
Though some of the girls do attend the same school, some families don't know each other, making it difficult for investigators to uncover who is leaving the dolls.
"The dolls were being left at these homes, but everybody thought they were the only one," said Hallock. "When the families started communicating and put it together, they became concerned."
Police are trying to figure out if the dolls were homemade or bought at a local retailer.
Though the situation may seem eerie, the police see no foul play.
"At this point we don't have a specific crime," Hallock said. "It's very suspicious activity and we're following up on it. We're trying to find answers as we speak."
1,504 immigrant children placed in New Jersey
by The Associated Press
NEWARK, N.J. - (AP) -- More than 1,500 unaccompanied children who entered the U.S. illegally have been placed with sponsors in New Jersey this year, federal officials announced Thursday.
New statistics released by the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families show 1,504 unaccompanied children were placed in the state from Jan. 1 through July 7. A total of 30,340 were placed nationwide.
The announcement did not indicate where in the state the children have been placed or what country they came from.
The U.S. is battling a surge in the number of children who have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone, fleeing violence in Central America, thinking they will be allowed to stay. Most have come from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
The number of immigrant children placed with sponsors in New jersey is among the highest in the nation but far below Texas, which had 4,280 placements this year, and less than California, Florida, Maryland, New York and Virginia.
During a town hall meeting this week, Republican Gov. Chris Christie said he had not received any notice from federal officials about children being placed in the state.
"At this point, we've had no federal notification that any of these children or adults have been sent to New Jersey. But we're going to continue to monitor that every day," he said Tuesday.
He also complained about how little control governors were being given over whether children would be sent to federal facilities or charitable organizations, which are not under state control.
The government places children with sponsors, such as parents, other relatives or family friends, who are charged with making sure they attend immigration proceedings. If a sponsor can't be found, children typically remain in federal care.
On Thursday evening, at a panel discussion with fellow Republican governors in Aspen, Colorado, Christie took issue with the fact that the federal government does not restrict sponsors based on their immigration statuses.
That means, he argued, people who may not have entered the country legally will be charged with ensuring others follow the rules.
"It is completely illogical, and it's why folks get so frustrated with government," Christie said.
"I think we all feel a great sense of sympathy for these children. But can we use some plain common sense?" he railed. "You don't need a Harvard degree to figure out that if you're going to try to ensure that someone goes to their immigration hearing that you might want to send them to someone who actually has complied with the immigration laws."
Christie had previously said he would consider housing children in New Jersey but did not want to do anything that would encourage more law breaking.
"We'll take every request that comes based on its merits and make those decisions," he said during a trip to Iowa.
Ten years of progress but the Church can never apologise enough for abuse
by Danny Sullivan
It is ten years since the Church began reporting annually on allegations of abuse received by the Catholic Church in England and Wales and on standards of safeguarding. This year's report was published this week and shows how far we have moved. The first year, 2004, was two years after Lord Nolan's report that laid out recommendations and a pathway for the Church to follow to become more robust and consistent in dealing with allegations implementing safeguarding protocols. The Cumberlege Review of 2007 reviewed the progress since the Nolan Report and made further recommendations to the bishops of England and Wales, which were accepted in their entirety. This included the setting up of an independent commission which would always be chaired by a layperson. Hence the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) , of which I am chairman.
Ten years on, we have a national structure - the NCSC's responsibility for strategy and auditing the quality of safeguarding in dioceses through its procedures and guidelines - and agreed procedures for all dioceses and religious congregations to observe. This includes having clear criteria for the appointment of diocesan safeguarding co-ordinators and chairmen or women of diocesan commissions.
While we have rightly learned from the secular world about best practice, it is important to recognise that there is a theological heart to safeguarding and that it is integral to ministry. St John XXIII likened the Church to family, friends and neighbours gathered around a village fountain in Italy; all were welcome and there was a care and concern for each individual.
This vision was shattered by the abuse scandal, affecting not only victims and survivors but others who had their idealised perception of the Church and the priesthood demolished by such criminal behaviour. The Church has apologised for getting things so wrong in the past but in one sense it can never apologise enough, given the damage to the lives of individual victims and survivors.
That is why we have been so determined in sustaining procedures that reflect best practice, including automatically referring any allegations to the authorities. Across the global Church, the Church in England and Wales is held up as a model of good practice in this area.
A significant development we mention in this year's report has been the majority of religious congregations aligning themselves with diocesan safeguarding commissions to ensure that people who make an allegation have a consistent experience. We will be setting up an advisory group to ensure the commission is engaging with survivors in the way most appropriate to their needs - it is wrong to assume every survivor wants counselling. A pilot project in the diocese of Hallam that could be rolled out nationally has been exploring how the Church can respond to the varied needs of victims and survivors when they come forward with an allegation.
In partnership with training providers EduCare, we are developing an e-learning programme on raising awareness about safeguarding that will be available to anyone in the Church in England and Wales. We are talking with the NSPCC about how we can improve our auditing process.
Our partnerships with other agencies will enable the Church to be less insular and open to the best practice elsewhere, and will enable us to share our experience and expertise. The risk of abuse is never going to go away. The protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults must remain at the heart of our ministry in the family life of the Church.
Danny Sullivan is Chairman of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission for England and Wales
What Happens After Men Get Raped in America
by Jack Fischl
It's highly likely that you know a man who has endured sexual violence. But you probably don't know it yet, and might never know.
One in 6 American men will encounter sexual abuse at some point in their lives. According to MaleSurvivor, a nonprofit that helps male survivors of sexual assault heal, after a man is raped, he doesn't tell anyone for, on average, 20 years. When he finally does, his courage is often met with derision, confusion, dismissal and even disbelief.
That makes it all the more important for people to understand how they can support of male survivors, if and when they decide to share their story.
When men share their stories of enduring sexual violence and rape, they are likely to hear remarks such as, "That can't happen to a man." These reactions, often rooted in ignorance rather than malice, contribute to doubt, shame, revictimization and depression. They often impede the survivor from seeking the much-needed professional help integral to the healing process.
In order to truly understand how to be supportive, one should search no further than the voices of men who've endured such painful, dehumanizing experiences.
Mic spoke with male survivors of sexual assault to solicit their recommendations for how friends and family members of victims can be supportive allies in the healing process. Their stories are multidimensional. They include assaults perpetrated by people from all walks of life, including men, women, strangers, family members, priests, friends and teachers. Some were assaulted as children, others as adults. They are sharing their stories in order to create a more compassionate and understanding climate for male survivors of sexual violence.
Believing without blaming.
It's crucial to recognize that many of the things commonly said to male sexual assault survivors are things that we should probably never say.
Charlie, 66, from Boston, said victim blaming, accidental or otherwise, commonly crops up for male survivors.
"Were you drunk? Were you on drugs? Were you flirting with her the night before?" are some of the irrelevant questions that may shift the accountability away from the perpetrator. Expressing disbelief may be an act of sympathy, but this common reaction makes disclosure particularly difficult for survivors. It can even belittle what they've experienced.
Jeff, 51, from Indiana, told Mic via email that some people have refused to believe what happened and respond with a blunt: "No you weren't." Jeff was told that the priest who sexually assaulted him "would never do that. He's a good man, and a priest too."
In some cases, the perpetrator is not someone who you would expect. It could even be someone you respect, which could make it difficult to listen to the survivor's account of what happened.
Don't question the victim's sexuality.
Some men get questions about their sexuality. Gregg, 50, from Michigan, said he's been asked about his sexual orientation, asked whether the perpetrator was a woman or a man and if his experience with sexual violence makes him attracted to both sexes. These questions are all irrelevant. A man's sexual orientation does not invite assault, nor does the assault alter his sexual orientation.
And for the men who were assaulted by women, some of them are told that they should be grateful. Jarrod, 47, from Oklahoma, said guys often respond, "Man, I wish that I had an older woman to teach me about sex when I was that age." But the "hot for teacher" trope, entrenched in pop culture through references as Van Halen's hit "Hot for Teacher," inaccurately regards the incident as "sex" when it indeed was rape, ignoring the emotional trauma that often results from an adult woman taking advantage of an adolescent male.
Throw out stereotypes.
Perhaps one of the most troubling reactions, especially within broader conversations about a culture that often falters on issues of sexual violence, is when some survivors are told that men can't be raped, or that sexual assault is a "woman's issue."
Chris Anderson, executive director for MaleSurvivor, told Mic via email that many responses to his story of survival have included statements like "Stop trying to make this about you," and "A real man would have defended himself." But these reactions only work to ensure that rape of men remains a silent epidemic, preventing many survivors from being comfortable enough to disclose what happened to them.
While many common reactions to male sexual assault survivors seem like appropriate responses to a devastating revelation, many of them are, instead, counterproductive.
Let him tell you his way.
Byron, 56, from Florida, said that just because he's comfortable telling that story does not mean he's comfortable answering a lot of questions about it.
"I'm comfortable telling people what I'm prepared to disclose, but not to relive the details of the experience," he said. When the person is ready to tell you, Byron said, the details will emerge.
Even prematurely affixing labels to men who share their stories isn't the best idea, according to some survivors.
Peter Pollard, director of communications and professional relations for 1in6, an organization supporting male sexual violence survivors, said via email that it's important to avoid labels, even if they seem validating.
"Many men may not be ready to identify as a 'victim,' a 'survivor,' or someone who has experienced trauma," Pollard said, adding that it's best to let the person define their experience and their story in the way that they feel most comfortable.
Emphasizing active listening and empathy.
Even though it's important to allow survivors to tell their experience in a way that works best for them, hearing it can put the listener in a potentially powerful position to help them on the path to recovery.
"Believing someone validates the pain they are carrying, and lets them know they are not alone," Anderson said, a sentiment echoed by other survivors who spoke with Mic.
Through active listening, survivors are positioned to feel the compassion and empathy that they desire and very much need from supportive friends and family members.
Ed, 38, from North Carolina, said one of the most positive responses he ever heard was simply, "I can't understand what you are going through, because I never have, but I will be there and support you as you go through." But, to be clear, another survivor added that even if you actually have experienced something similar, everybody's story is different and it's impossible to understand exactly what the survivor went through.
While actively listening and being compassionate is an exercise of empathy, it's helpful to provide survivors with the resources and information to seek professional help. No one should force a survivor to seek treatment, however, as everyone's pathway to recovery is unique and should be tailored to their individual needs.
So if a male survivor approaches you with their story, listen to him. Don't grill him, don't blame him and definitely don't berate him. Offer your support only if you are genuinely prepared to be an active part of what will be a difficult, uphill healing process.
Hopefully, with the care and understanding of people in their support system, he will come to recognize that what happened to him was not his fault, that he's not alone and that there is hope for recovery.
If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault and is male-identified, below are resources for referral.
International Human Trafficking Expert Brings Anti-Slavery Message to Baltimore
Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, Monumental City Bar Association, and University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law to Host Awareness and Networking Event
Baltimore, MD, July 24, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Human trafficking is a $32 billion criminal industry affecting 27 million people worldwide. The Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, in partnership with the Monumental City Bar Association, will host an awareness and networking event featuring veteran anti-trafficking expert, Matt Friedman, and his son, Brandon. Matt and Brandon's engaging presentation will outline four steps that people of all ages can take to join the modern-day abolitionist movement. The presentation will be followed by a panel of Task Force partners to localize the information.
Human trafficking is a global, multi-faceted human rights abuse that exists in virtually every country around the world, including the United States. Trafficking crimes committed in the Baltimore area include the recruitment, enslavement, and sale of children and adults for sexual purposes. Forced labor practices involving children as well as adults, also are found in Maryland, as they are in other migrant populations throughout the country.
Monday, August 4, 2014
6:00-8:00 p.m., with reception to follow
Ceremonial Courtroom, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD
Matthew Friedman, international human trafficking expert with 23 years of experience as a counter-trafficking activist, fundraiser, program designer, evaluator and manager; Friedman was Regional Project Manager for the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking from 2006-2012
Brandon Friedman, advocate for young people joining counter-trafficking efforts
Aaliyah Muhammad, Public Awareness Subcommittee Chair, Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force
Amanda K. Rodriguez, Esq., Human Trafficking Policy Advisor, Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention
Alicia McDowell, Executive Director, Araminta Freedom Initiative
Major Rebecca Hogg, Associate Area Commander, The Salvation Army of Central Maryland
Tina Bigdeli, Maryland Outreach & Prevention Education Program Manager, FAIR Girls
K. Brooke Welch, Staff Attorney, Immigration Legal Services, Esperanza Center Catholic Charities of Baltimore
Morgan Weibel, Supervising Immigration Attorney, Tahirih Justice Center
This event is general admission, no tickets required. Members of the media are asked to RSVP to Kaaryn Keller at 443-413-4871 or Kaaryn_Keller@uss.salvationarmy.org to ensure best access to the event and presenters.
The Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force was formed in 2007 as an umbrella organization of local, state and federal agencies and private organizations designed to work collaboratively to identify and restore victims of human trafficking while investigating and prosecuting offenders. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the task force serves to coordinate activities, develop policy, and implement strategic plans to combat human trafficking in the State of Maryland. The task force maintains five active sub-committees: Law Enforcement, Victim Services, Training, Public Outreach and Legislative.
The Monumental City Bar Association (www.monumentalcitybar.com) is Baltimore's oldest and largest specialty bar association. Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, the Monumental City Bar Association has a long legacy and rich history as an advocate for African-American attorneys and the interests of the African American community in Baltimore City.
Established in 1816, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law (www.law.umaryland.edu) is the third-oldest law school in the nation. Through excellence in teaching, the school seeks to prepare students for productive leadership and professional success in a wide range of careers, and to promote the highest standards of public, and professional service in both students and faculty.
Araminta Freedom Initiative (http://aramintafreedom.org) works to awaken, equip and mobilize the Church and community to end human trafficking in the Baltimore area.
Catholic Charities (www.catholiccharities-md.org) provides care and services to improve the lives of Marylanders in need, inspired by the Gospel mandates to love, serve and teach.
FAIR Girls (www.fairgirls.org) prevents the exploitation of girls worldwide with empowerment and education. Through prevention education, compassionate care, and survivor inclusive advocacy, FAIR Girls creates opportunities for girls to become confident, happy, healthy young women.
The Salvation Army of Central Maryland (www.SalvationArmyCM.org) serves residents of Baltimore City, as well as Baltimore, Howard, Carroll, and North Anne Arundel counties, through a broad array of social services that include providing emergency food, utilities, and rental assistance; emergency and transitional housing; mobile feeding programs; relief for disaster victims; holiday assistance; opportunities for underprivileged children; and three community centers (or "corps") that act as both places of worship and service to their respective communities.
The Tahirih Justice Center (www.tahirih.org) is a national, non-profit organization with an office in Baltimore, Maryland that protects courageous immigrant women and girls who refuse to be victims of violence. We elevate their voices in communities, courts, and Congress to create a world where women and girls enjoy equality and live in safety and with dignity.
Amanda K. Rodriguez, Esq.
Child abuse charges include snakes, lizards and alligators
by Laura McCallister and Betsy Webster
RICHMOND, MO (KCTV) - New child abuse charges are filed against a Ray County couple.
Not only are they accused of killing a 3-week-old baby, but also putting their other children in a very dangerous environment. The new charges involve abuse and neglect of three more children, including a set of charges related to snakes, lizards and alligators.
"We thought it was strange that they had swimming pools in the garage. Come to find out they was keeping alligators," neighbor Lisa Fields said.
Fields' mom used to let the kids come to her place, but she never saw what was inside the baby pools until the kids' parents were arrested.
"Who would keep alligators with their kids? That is kind of strange," Fields said.
More than strange, it could be criminal.
Dennis and Rebecca Matthews have been in jail in Richmond, MO, ever since they were charged with abuse leading to the death of their 3-week-old.
The three other kids, ages two to six, haven't been around them since their arrest in 2012.
They last lived on Southview Drive, but the baby's godparents say they never stayed anywhere for more than a few months before moving, with their reptiles and children, in tow.
Court records accuse the couple of endangerment for "exposing (the children) to boa constrictors, pythons, large lizards and alligators that were not safely caged."
Added to that are three felony counts involving the 3-week-old whose autopsy showed broken ribs from several occasions. They face even more charges for allegedly breaking the arm of their 1-year-old and hitting their 5-year-old on the back until the child bruised.
"It's sad for kids to have to live like that. I feel sorry for kids who have to go through that," Fields said.
The couple is in jail on a $500,000 bond a piece. The children are in protective custody.
Child Abuse, Statutory Rape, Modern Day Slavery or Prostitution?
by Monique Tinglin
New York City's former mayor, David Dinkins, shared many examples of good people who have been too complacent, sitting back while all types of atrocities around the world just happen. He inspired me while giving the keynote address at my high school graduation last month.
Knowing my frustrations around indifference were shared by a public figure was validating. As a Girl Scout, I was taught to be a game changer, not to accept what is, but to develop both the skills and the inclination to make the world a better place. I often wonder how upstanding members of society can sit idly by while others, seemingly invisible to us, are being held powerless and disenfranchised through injustices like sex trafficking every day. Even though we may be living in the most peaceful of times, considering the atrocities of world history, we should still be outraged and take a stand against Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC). From the streets of New York City, to the villages of Kenya, children, particularly young girls, need protection from sexual predators. The time for action is now.
While sex trafficking may seem like a distant occurrence, the fact remains these atrocities are happening everywhere, including on American soil. Men in flashy clothing entice vulnerable young girls by offering what seems to be a brighter tomorrow or solution to current problems in their life. However, their plans are far from beneficial to these young girls, and often results in them being forcefully placed in compromising situations for the financial benefit of their exploiter. This harsh reality, which predominately affects girls, often gets misinterpreted as underage prostitution. Over two thousand girls in New York City fall victim to CSEC each year. Out of those girls, 80 percent are girls of color (OCFS 2007 Prevalence Study). In addition, the average age of entry to CSEC is 13-years-old (OFCS 2007 Prevalence Study). These staggering statistics are not limited to New York City or even the United States. Sex trafficking is an expansive and global issue. Victims are transported from Southeast Asia, Central America, West Africa, and Eastern Europe into the United States, the United Kingdom, Northern Europe, and Australia. The FBI estimates that as many as 100,000 children are currently involved in sex trafficking in the United States (2013 Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress).
The consequences of sex trafficking are not games. Women are dying prematurely because of homicide, suicide, drug and alcohol related problems, and HIV infection. These outcomes stem from their traumatizing experiences at the hands of their captors. We need people to decide that this abusive behavior will no longer be tolerated and fight back on several fronts.
Grassroots initiatives, like the program I completed for my Girl Scout Gold Award project, can be a great support to the victims of sex trafficking. Just knowing that people care makes a huge difference in the lives and choices of victimized girls. As a society, we need to show that we care through our actions, both interpersonally and judicially.
We must advocate for changes in current provisions. More funding is needed for New York's Safe Harbor Act, which is legislation that protects girls who are sex trafficked from being charged as prostitutes. Instead of getting the support that they need, many girls are ostracized from society and treated as juvenile criminals. Putting more monetary support behind the Safe Harbor Act would bring this issue to the forefront, and lead us down the path of ending sex trafficking once and for all.
Let's put pressure on our governments to criminalize the buying of sex, not the selling of sex, and then strictly enforce such laws around the globe. The solution begins with us. Become an everyday humanitarian, and fight for a cause like this one that might be bigger than you. Want for others as much as you want for yourself. Like the Safe Harbor Act, laws do not always serve and protect those who are most at risk. If perpetrators and clients, rather than victims and prostitutes, are punished by strict enforcement, the demand for the sex trade will decrease and a clear signal will be sent that children all over the world are valued, respected, and protected under law.
Son of Penn State's Paterno claims paedophile solicited him at age 13
HARRISBURG, July 25 - The son of Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach and boss of convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky, said in a new book that he was propositioned by a paedophile - possibly a university professor who molested a series of boys - at age 13.
Jay Paterno said he never told his father about that day in the summer of 1981, which is described in "Paterno Legacy: Enduring Lessons from the Life and Death of My Father," published by Triumph Books, a sports publishing house in Chicago.
"I told no one in my family what had happened to me. I feared that I'd be judged," Jay Paterno wrote in the book.
Joe Paterno died at age 85 in January 2012, months before a report found he and other school leaders covered up Sandusky's sexual abuse of boys to protect the university's football programme, and as a result the attacks continued.
Sandusky, 70, who coached as Paterno's defensive coordinator, is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for sexually abusing 10 boys, some in the locker room showers.
Both Paternos lost their jobs in the scandal, and the younger Paterno, also an assistant football coach, this week filed a million-dollar lawsuit against Penn State for loss of reputation.
In the book obtained by Reuters yesterday, Jay Paterno said the pedophile approached him at a bus stop in the Park Forest Village section of State College. The encounter left him confused and upset, Paterno said, and he ran away.
Paterno, who Reuters was unable to immediately reach, never names the pedophile.
Police files obtained by Reuters said a Penn State geosciences professor, Antonio Lasaga, was arrested for molesting two younger boys at the Park Forest Village pool on August 27, 1981. The charges were later dropped.
Lasaga moved on to Yale University in 1984 and was arrested there in 1998 for child pornography and molesting a boy. He was convicted of both charges and is presently serving a federal prison term.
Paterno says his father was conservative, even clueless about sex, and speculates that might have influenced how he handled Sandusky. He tells a story about his father wondering aloud at a coaches meeting how two of his players could have had sex with a Penn State coed, who had filed a complaint, at the same time.
On a walk with his son in the last months of his life, the elder Paterno expressed puzzlement about Sandusky's rape of boys and said he never knew it was going on.
"Jay, he fooled me," the coach is quoted in the book as telling his son. - Reuters