UPI -- Welsh government minister Carl Sargeant was found dead on Tuesday following an apparent suicide, days after several women accused him of improper conduct.
Sargeant, 49, was Wales' cabinet secretary for communities and children until last week, when the Labour Party suspended him over accusations of misconduct.
Sargeant said he was told "allegations had been made about my personal conduct, which was shocking and distressing to me. The details of the allegations have yet to be disclosed to me."
He added that he sought an independent investigation to clear his name.
Details of Sargeant's alleged improper personal conduct were not revealed.
Jones said Monday he was "aware of a number of incidents at the beginning of last week" and asked his office to speak to women involved.
"As a result of those conversations I felt I had no choice but to refer the matter to the party," he said.
UPI -- Italian officials are investigating how 26 teenage girls died aboard a vessel carrying African migrants across the Mediterranean Sea.
The girls were all between 14 and 18 years old and believed to have come from Niger and Nigeria, CNN reported. Coroners were investigating whether the girls were sexually abused or tortured before they died. Lorena Ciccotti, Salerno's head of police, said autopsies were expected to be conducted on Tuesday.
A Spanish warship patrolling the Mediterranean and conducting rescue missions over the weekend found the dead bodies in a rubber dinghy. The small vessel also contained several surviving migrants.
Hopefully, those surviving migrants will be held in a secure location until they explain the dead girls.
According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Spanish military authorities rescued nearly 400 migrants over the weekend, almost all of them from sub-Saharan countries like Ghana, Senegal and Sudan, as well as Nigeria. Of the nearly 400 migrants, there were 52 children and 90 women, including eight pregnant women.
This year, more than 2,839 migrants have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe, the International Organization for Migration reported. Nearly 151,000 survived the trip this year.
Those numbers are less than in 2016, which saw 4,150 deaths along the same sea route by November last year, while more than 335,000 survived the trip and made it to Europe.
Despite the reduced death toll, the route to Italy many migrants take is still considered the deadliest.
"While overall numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean by the eastern route were reduced significantly in 2016 by the EU-Turkey deal, death rates have increased to 2.1 per 100 in 2017, relative to 1.2 in 2016," the IOM said in a report published in September.
Plettenberg computer engineer William Beale has been convicted on 18 644 counts of possession of child pornography and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.
Appearing before the Thembalethu Regional Court in George, Beale pleaded guilty to the possession of thousands of images of child pornography.
In its heads of arguments, the State said the child sexual abuse material viewed by the court was evidence of the serious abuse that children all over the world suffered.
The defence team had conceded that there was no doubt the crime their client had been found guilty of was serious. However, they had told the court that Beale was “not a burden on society”.
But according to the State, it was clear Beale was not interested in therapeutic intervention as he did not deem it necessary and did not want to admit to being a paedophile.
Images viewed by the court superseded those of even the most evil imagination, argued State prosecutor Gerda Marx. Among them were depictions of babies, toddlers and teenagers of both genders being raped and abused.
She said that in some of the images the fear in the eyes of the victims spoke for itself.
She said Beale would not have disclosed his “heinous criminal activities if he was not arrested”.
“Thousands of children had to suffer rape, torture, abuse in order for the accused to satisfy his paraphilic interests,” Marx had told the court.
“The child abuse depicted in the images includes sexual exploitation, sexual violation and sexual penetration of children that constitutes a violation of their right to privacy, dignity and bodily integrity,” Marx had said.
Yesterday Marx welcomed the sentencing, saying Beale created and contributed to a market where rape, abuse and even murder of children were the order of the day.
“Without a market, these children will not be subjected to the abuse and suffering they had to endure in order for Beale to satisfy his urges,” said Marx.
“This is a good sentence and a way forward for South Africa, in our ongoing fight against the sexual and violent abuse of children and to anyone who benefits from the abuse of children.”
Possession of child pornography images is extremely serious in that it creates the market for the abuse of children, she added.
“Possession of child pornography is not a victimless offence. The abuse of a child is relived with every single image being viewed, distributed or possessed. We need to stand firm against any form of abuse against children,” she said.
A SEVENTH man has been convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl who was pimped by her own father in Perth’s so-called “Evil 8” case.
The father used online classifieds to arrange for at least six men to abuse her, mainly at their home in the city’s north.
He confessed to police about two months after the crimes in March 2015, but only entered a plea in November last year.
The case was adjourned many times after he failed to show up in court and changed lawyers, and he twice breached his bail conditions, fleeing to NSW on the second occasion.
Impicciatore finally had a brief judge-alone trial last week. On Tuesday, District Court of WA Judge Mark Herron found him guilty of four counts of sexually penetrating a child.
Defence counsel John Hawkins had claimed his client admitted raping the girl because he was stressed, anxious, cold and tired after a long police interview. But Judge Herron said he was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt the confessions were truthful and reliable.
The judge said Impicciatore was initially reluctant to answer their questions because he was in the process of realising what he had done and facing up to it. “It took him time to reconcile with himself what he had done before he was prepared to make full admissions,” Judge Herron said.
During the father’s online contact with Impicciatore, he asked for help with a South African man who had threatened to report the sexual abuse to police if a detailed wishlist of fantasies with the girl were not met.
Pastor - worst of the Evil 8
The girl capitulated to Volmer’s demands, including wearing a blindfold. The court also heard the father — who told police “it was fun while it lasted” — encouraged Impicciatore to stay overnight and “do it again” but he left.
A key piece of evidence was an interview the girl gave to police in April 2015, where she talked about having sex with a “chubby man” with a “round face”.
The girl identified Impicciatore as the “chubby” man who had seen her chihuahua and said he had one too. It was this evidence that was key in identifying Impicciatore.
Impicciatore will face a sentencing hearing on March 26.
Eight men were initially implicated in the notorious case, but one of them was later found to have had no involvement.
Three Sudbury men have been arrested and charged with sex crimes related to the internet.
Greater Sudbury Police announced the charges Tuesday in a release, saying the cases are unrelated, but are part of the Ontario Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, which is funded by the provincial government.
“The following incidents are not related and different persons were arrested in each incident,” police said. “Publication bans have been issued by a Justice of the Peace, therefore no additional details can be provided while these matters are before the court.”
In one case, officers received information in August that a man was “communicating with a 14-year old girl from Greater Sudbury via a social media platform in order to facilitate an offence, in this case an indecent act.
“After executing a number of search warrants, the Greater Sudbury Police Service Cyber Crime Unit identified a 30-year-old man from Greater Sudbury as being the person responsible.”
He was arrested and charged Monday with luring a child and an indecent act. He appeared in bail court Tuesday. Police did not release his name.
In the second case, cyber crime officers “identified a Greater Sudbury resident downloading child pornography using a file sharing site between August and September of 2017.”
They executed a search warrant on Oct. 31 and found child porn on computers they seized from a home.
On Nov. 1, a 35-year-old man from Greater Sudbury was arrested and charged with four counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of accessing child pornography.
He has appeared in bail court to answer to the charges. Police did not release his name.
In the third case, officers “identified a Greater Sudbury resident downloading Child Pornography using a file sharing site between March and October of 2017.”
A search warrant was executed on Oct. 17 “and evidence of child pornography was found on computers seized from the home.”
On Monday, a 39-year-old man from Greater Sudbury was arrested and charged with three counts of access child pornography.
He was in bail court Monday to answer to the charges. Police did not release his name.
In addition to announcing the charges, police released information about the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the website, www.protectkidsonline.ca.
“ProtectKidsOnline.ca is here to help parents/guardians stay on top of the digital world their children are engaging in,” police said. “Here you’ll find information about the ever-changing online interests of young people, the potential risks they face and proactive strategies to help keep your child/adolescent safe while online.”
A court heard today that 35-year-old Jonathan O’Keefe had forgotten about the images, which he had also transferred onto DVDs, and left them behind in a metal cash box when he moved out of the home he had shared with his former partner.
He left in 2014 but it was only in April this year that the mother of his daughter found the box and opened it. Derek Jones, prosecuting, said: “Inside were six DVDs and three floppy discs and when she checked them she found they contained indecent images and called the police.”
Officers collected the items from her St Helens home. The floppy discs had been created in 2003, 2005 and 2006 and contained still images. The DVDs contained videos, some made in 2005 and 2006, and the dates of the others are unknown.
Altogether the items contained a total of 59 videos, mainly in the most serious category, and 24 photographs.
Mr Jones told Liverpool Crown Court that the images showed girls as young as four being abused and a 33 minute video involved a seven-year-old girl.
When interviewed O’Keefe admitted searching for indecent images and using search terms including “child” and “porn”.
O’Keefe, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to three offences of making indecent images and one of possessing them.
Ben Jones, defending, said that O’Keefe had used the family computer to look for pornographic images of both adults and children, and put them on to discs in case other people accessed them on the computer.
He said: “He had forgotten the box, and had lost the key, which is why he did not go back for it. He had had an immature curiosity about material of this nature. He is now significantly more mature.”
Mr Jones said that it was a long time ago and O’Keefe does not present a risk to children. He has not seen his daughter since his arrest but hopes to have supervised access in the future.
Judge Norman Wright said that the ages of the children, possibly as young as two, was a highly aggravating factor.
He said the offences were serious not just because of the abhorrent nature of the images but because the children were doubly abused, firstly when filmed and then when the images were watched by people for their sexual gratification.
He said: “This was not idle curiosity, it was sustained over a period of time, three years at least for you to create these floppy discs. It is unknown how often you viewed this material having created it.”
He told O’Keefe that he accepted that there was potentially an eight year gap between him downloading child porn images and leaving the material behind at his former home.
He added: “Whatever the explanation for wanting to view this sort of material that you went through it came to an end a long time ago and it is unlikely you will commit this sort of offence again in the future. As to precisely why you felt the need to download this sort of material only you will know.”
He sentenced him to eight months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered him to attend 60 days rehabilitation activities. O’Keefe was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.
BARRISTERS representing three men on trial for sexually assaulting a young girl more than 20 years ago have claimed it is a case of mistaken identity or the alleged victim is lying about the abuse.
Sajid Ali (38), of James Street, is charged with seven counts, Zaheer Iqbal (40), St John's Avenue, five and Riaz Makhmood (39), of Falding Street, three.
Cross-examining the woman today (Tuesday), Glenn Parsons for Ali, said: “Like many people in Rotherham, you would have known about the issues in relation to Asian men and young girls, you would have seen about that in the media, yes?”
The complainant, now aged 35, answered: “Yes”.
Mr Parsons said: “By 2014 these allegations had been in the Rotherham community for a number of years. “There was a large amount of media coverage over those years."
She answered: “I told my sister-in-law before it was all out in the media. Watching and seeing it on TV did make me want to come forward.”
Mr Parsons asked: “You were aware of allegations concerning Asian men and young girls in Rotherham before 2014?”
She answered: “Yeah, I suppose.”
He asked: “You had not seen any media coverage of that at all?
She answered: “Not that I recall.”
The barrister asked if she had seen the Panorama documentary about child sexual exploitation in Rotherham which he said had been aired on September 1, 2014 — four days before she reported her abuse to police.
The witness said she had seen the documentary but could not remember when.
The court heard the girl had initially thought Ali, who she knew as Sos, was her boyfriend.
Mr Parsons said around the time of the allegations Ali would have been around 15 and 16 and she had mistakenly identified him or “made it up”.
She repilied: “He was old enough to know better.”
The woman said she believed all the men had been aged around 19-20 at the time of the alleged abuse.
When Mr Parsons asked if the name Sos had been suggested to her before her police interview, she replied: “No, somebody didn't suggest it, it’s not something I would forget.”
Mr Parsons said the girl might have “drunk cider” in Masbrough and “might have been aware of something going on” but she had not been part of it and her abuse "never happened”.
The alleged victim replied: “It did happen, why would I say something like that. It’s ripped me apart even saying it. What have I got to gain from it, why would I say it?”
He replied: “One of the things that was said on a number of occasions by you was you felt the need for attention.”
The woman, who began crying, added: “It’s something I have had to live with all them years, for you to stand there and think I have made it up.”
Mr Parsons said she had never performed oral sex on Ali, to which she replied: “You’re going to say that. I know different.”
The woman said she had known Iqbal by the name of Booty and that he was small and smelt of smoke.
Andrew Dallas, for Iqbal, said: “You have given his name and picked somebody you said was Booty quite some time later when they (the police) eventually got round to doing an ID procedure with you.
“Apart from that, you can't remember anything else about him, for example where he lived or how old he was at the time?”
She answered: “He was about 19 or 20.”
Mr Dallas added: “I’m going to suggest Booty was a non-smoker and he was someone on the fringes with people that used to hang around and not one of those who was a pal of Sos. “He would pass by and stand and talk and you never had direct dealings at all. You were confused, the distinctive name of Booty and the distinctive situation is someone else.”
She answered: “I am not confused at all.”
Zaiban Alam, for Makhmood, said the first time the woman had mentioned her client by name was in her police interview in 2016.
Ms Alam said: “In that interview you told police his name was Raz or Razza.
“That was when you gave police the fifth account of these incidents — why could you not give his name to the police previously?”
She answered: “His face sticks in my mind even if his name doesn’t.”
The trial continues.