of sexual harassment
US military personnel deploying to Afghanistan were taught that child sexual abuse is a “culturally accepted practice” in the country, a new Pentagon report has revealed.
Soldiers who reported the issue were told nothing could be done about it.
“In some cases, the interviewees explained that they, or someone whom they knew, were told that nothing could be done about child sexual abuse because of Afghanistan’s status as a sovereign nation, that it was not a priority for the command,” the report says.
“There’s nothing we can do about it,” one soldier interviewed for the report said his superior officers told him when he complained. Other comments included “it was out of our control,” and “this is Afghanistan.”
Titled ‘The Implementation of the DoD Leahy Law Regarding Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse by Members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,’ the 106-page report was issued in response to a complaint by Representative Duncan Hunter (R-California) about child sexual abuse, particularly against young boys, by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) personnel.
“We determined that the DoD [Department of Defense] did not conduct training for personnel on identifying, responding to, or reporting instances of child sexual abuse involving ANDSF personnel before 2015,” the Pentagon report said.
The military began to investigate pedophilia only after a 2015 New York Times article said US troops were told to ignore sex abuse of boys.
“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley reportedly told his father before being killed in 2012, according to the Times.
In 2011, two special forces members were punished for confronting a local commander who abducted an Afghan boy and forced him to become a sex slave. Captain Dan Quinn approached an Afghan police commander about the behavior. After the commander laughed in his face, Quinn “picked him up and threw him on the ground” in order “to make sure the message was understood that if he went back to the boy, that it was not going to be tolerated.”
Following the incident, the military relieved Quinn of his command and he later resigned. Sergeant First Class Charles Martland was also punished for the same incident. Rep. Hunter intervened on his behalf with the Pentagon, and the decision to expel Martland was overturned in April 2016.
The war in Afghanistan is now in its 16th year and has surpassed the Vietnam War as America’s longest-ever conflict. Civilian deaths hit record highs in July 2017, matching the levels seen in 2012. The US troop presence in Afghanistan peaked at 100,000 in 2011 under the Obama administration.
Prior to his 2016 presidential election, Trump was a harsh critic of the Afghan war, saying the US "should leave Afghanistan immediately” and calling the war "a complete waste.”
In August 2017, however, Trump announced US troops would remain in Afghanistan for an indefinite period of time.
“Conditions on the ground – not arbitrary timetables – will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out,” he said.
Former child actor Todd Bridges has again spoken out about sexual abuse he suffered as a kid in Hollywood.
In his 2010 book “Killing Willis: From Diff’rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted,” Bridges accused a man he called Ronald of sexually abusing him as a child.
“When it happened the second time, I thought it meant that I was gay,” Bridges wrote in the book. “I was very confused. I really believed I wasn’t normal and that made me feel even worse about myself than I had before.”
He wrote of how scared he was to break the cycle of abuse because “I had wanted him to like and care about me for so long, it was hard for me to feel like I was disappointing him. That’s how successfully he had gotten into my brain.”
But everything changed when the alleged abuser visited Bridges home one day “as carefree as ever,” and Bridges attacked him. He wrote that, as he was hitting Ronald, his mother attempted to get him to stop, until he told her what Ronald had done.
“My mom ran out of the room and came back with a butcher knife. I felt such a sense of relief when I saw that knife. She wasn’t mad at me. She was going to help me get free of Ronald. He would never be able to touch me again,” he wrote.
It got tough for Bridges on the set of “Diff’rent Strokes” when the series filmed its infamous “The Bicycle Man” two part episodes.
In those episodes, a pedophile character, Mr. Horton, a bicycle store owner played by “WKRP In Cincinnati” star Gordon Jump, grooms Willis’ brother, Arnold Jackson, and his friend Dudley, in an effort to molest them.
The Horton character plies Arnold and Dudley with alcohol and gifts and insists they keep their get-togethers a secret.
Mr. Horton proceeded to participate in photoshoots with them being half dressed kids, and shares pornography with them.
The two part special was extremely edgy for its time, and is still a tough series of episodes to watch for many, particularly for Bridges who participated in them. “I didn’t let on that the material in the script upset me,” Bridges wrote. “That was a very hard week for me, and I pushed my feelings down, hard.”
Bridges wrote about how other victims of pedophilia, like Corey Feldman, had a tough time understanding that the issue goes beyond them and their personal experiences. In recent weeks Feldman has been on a campaign to expose Hollywood’s sick pedophile secrets, which often result in abused victims using drugs to self medicate.
Bridges said in 2010 that he reached out to Feldman’s best friend, Corey Haim, another alleged sexual abuse victim, about the drug problem that ultimately claimed his life. “I had tried to get Corey to stop taking prescription drugs and take care of his life,” he told the “Today” show. “I tried to get him to understand that there was a different way out.”
“He wasn’t ready to stop,” he said of Haim, who died at age 38, the week before Bridges’ appearance on “Today.” “The thing about drug addiction is, sometimes people are ready to stop and sometimes they’re not. You have to have it in your mind that you’re ready to stop.”
Man gets prison time for 2001 sex assault of child in Olympic National Park
TACOMA, Wash. - A Port Angeles man was sentenced to eight years in federal prison this week after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a child back in 2001 in Olympic National Park.
The man, identified as Charles Jason Butcher, 46, admitted the assault in a recorded phone call with his victim in 2016. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton called the offense "extremely odious" at the sentencing hearing.
"For 15 years the defendant denied sexually abusing the two young victims in this case, compounding a horrific betrayal," said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.
She praised the courage of the victims in the case and the commitment of the National Park Service investigator who took what was considered a cold case and developed the evidence needed to convict Butcher.
According to records filed in the case, two young children, ages 7 and 4, were visiting a resort operated by Butcher and his family near Lake Crescent on Olympic National Park land.
After the visit, the children’s mother suspected they had been sexually abused, and medical exams showed signs of sexual molestation, according to court files.
Butcher was interviewed and denied any sexual abuse. In late 2015, the victim and the victim’s mother again contacted law enforcement, and a special agent was assigned the case as part of a cold case review.
Ultimately, one of the victims agreed to place a recorded phone call to Butcher in which he admitted the abuse, according to case files. Butcher later admitted to law enforcement officers he had molested one of the victims, court records show.
A Montgomery man is behind bars accused of sexual abuse of a child.
Rodney Lavan Thomas Jr., 21, was arrested Thursday, according to court records. He remained in the Montgomery County Jail Friday with bond set at $20,000.
Charging documents claim the incident happened between Oct. 27 and Oct. 29 at Thomas' home. Additional details weren't made available.
Thomas is charged with sex abuse of a child under the age of 12, which is a felony charge.
A Pleasant Grove man was arrested Thursday on reports of raping and sexually abusing a child.
In August, officers received reports that Frary had been sexually assaulting the child for several years starting when the victim was 11 and he was 17 and ending earlier this year, police reported.
On many occasions Frary had touched or kissed the victim without consent and later raped the victim multiple times, according to the police.
He had threatened to tell people about things the victim was doing, which the victim was concerned would get them into trouble, police reported.
A high school student has filed a federal lawsuit against the Indianapolis Public Schools counselor who engaged in sexual behavior with him. The suit also names the district's superintendent and school board.
It is a delay that may have violated state law.
Last year, Taylor was charged with nine felony counts of child seduction, one felony count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to court records.
Taylor is accused of engaging in sexual conduct with one student in multiple locations — including the school — between October and February. The encounters began when the student was 16 and continued while he was 17, according to the Marion County prosecutor's office.
Taylor also is accused of having a sexual encounter with another student, who was age 16.
At least 12 people knew about the allegations as early as Feb. 17, but no one reported them to the Indiana Department of Child Services until Feb. 23 — six days later, according to court records and interviews. Indiana law requires anyone who learns of suspected abuse or neglect to immediately report it to DCS or law enforcement.
Superintendent Lewis D. Ferebee, the Board of School Commissioners for the City of Indianapolis, IPS and the now former counselor are all named defendants in the 30-page complaint filed last week. The lawsuit alleges that school officials breached their "duty to take steps to eliminate conditions or practices that encouraged or allowed harassment, sexual abuse, or other misconduct by school counselors."
In the wake of the scandal, two school officials were fired and three resigned.
In January, Taylor was sentenced to six years house arrest.
The plaintiff's attorney, Eric Schmadeke, told IndyStar, "My hope for this case is twofold. First – it will give the victim some measure of recompense for the disruption and hurt he suffered as a result of the abuse."
"Second," Schmadeke said, "it is my hope that IPS will get its act together and realize that the cost of implementing safeguards and procedures for recognizing and adequately addressing child abuse is preferable to paying the price for not doing so after the fact.”
This is not the first time that Indiana school officials have delayed making reports on potential child abuse.
An attorney and school officials at Park Tudor, a private school in Indianapolis, were criticized after they waited one day to report allegations of child abuse against former basketball coach Kyle Cox. School officials allowed Cox to resign after he signed a confidentiality agreement that prohibited him from communicating with Park Tudor students and from discussing the reason for his resignation, according to federal court records.
Indiana law requires anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect to report it. People who fail to do so could be charged with a misdemeanor.
An adoption agency that sent a 5-year-old girl to live with a couple who subjected her to sexual and physical abuse in their foster home has been hit with an $11 million verdict by a Philadelphia jury.
“This verdict sends a clear message that crimes and abuse perpetuated upon our children will not be tolerated. Our client’s voice was finally heard,” said Nadeem Bezar of Kline & Specter, who along with Emily Marks represented S.S.
In her lawsuit, S.S. claimed that starting in 2000 and between the ages of 6 and 10 she was molested and repeatedly sexually assaulted by Walter Scott and beaten by Deborah Scott. Her court papers also noted that Walter Scott had been under investigation for child rape based on accusations from other children in the foster home, and in 2016, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child and rape of a child, among other charges.
The main allegation in S.S.’s lawsuit was that Bethanna failed to sufficiently investigate the Scotts’ criminal history, which also included welfare fraud convictions.
“Defendant Bethanna’s conduct is shocking, outrageous, and demonstrated deliberate indifference to S.S.’s safety and the safety of numerous other children who were eventually placed in the Scotts’ foster home over the next decade until the home eventually closed,” S.S.’s court papers said.
She also alleged that Bethanna refused to remove her from the Scotts’ home despite reports by caseworkers that she was being abused and was in danger.
In its pretrial memorandum, Bethanna denied any negligence.
“Plaintiff’s sexual abuse at the hands of Mr. Scott, unknown to Bethanna and not contemporaneously reported to any person or agency, was not learned until plaintiff herself disclosed the abuse in August 2015,” court papers said. “She testified that one occurrence took place during the time she was fostering with the Scotts, while the other two times occurred after she had been adopted and was no longer being followed by Bethanna. At no time did any case worker, supervisor, child advocate, medical or mental health provider document any suspicions that S.S. was being physically or sexually abused.”
William L. Banton of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a statement sent by a Bethanna spokesperson, the agency said, “Bethanna is disappointed by the verdict, but more saddened by the abuse inflicted on the real victim in this case. We applaud her courage in coming forward. Our prayers and hope are for her continued healing. While we cannot comment on all of the details of this case, as litigation remains ongoing, we wish our community to understand that our agency and staff had no knowledge whatsoever of these terrible incidents, which happened over a decade ago.”
FOLEY, Ala. (WKRG) — An undocumented immigrant is behind bars in Baldwin County accused of sexually abusing a child, according to Foley Police.
Chief Bullock said Acevedo-Rodriguez’s wife discovered inappropriate pictures of a female family member.
Acevedo-Rodriguez is in the Baldwin County Jail charged with sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 12 and manufacturing child pornography.
Cheyenne Police have captured a man who has been wanted for sexual assault of a minor for well over a year, according to a spokesman for the Cheyenne Police Department.
Because the information led to Nelson’s arrest, the caller received a $500 reward. People can always give police information about criminal suspects using the Silent Witness tip line at 638-TIPS or by going online. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.
A Williamson man is facing numerous charges after deputies say he had sexual contact with a child.
McCarthy was arrested on Nov. 16 and charged with course of conduct against a child, attempted sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child. He was remanded to the Wayne County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash /$3,000 bond bail.
MODENA – A Modena man was charged with sexually abusing a 4-year-old child following an investigation by Plattekill police and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation found that Jesse Fitzpatrick, 23, of Modena, had inappropriate sexual contact with the child on Wednesday. The sheriff’s office said Fitzpatrick and the child live in the same house but are not related.
Fitzpatrick was charged with first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and forcible touching, a misdemeanor.
He was arraigned in Town of Plattekill Justice Court and is free on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond, pending further court action.
The sheriff’s office said it is continuing to investigate the case along with the Ulster County Child Advocacy Center, and more charges are possible.
BY CHAD CALDER | CCALDER@THEADVOCATE.COM
A Jefferson Parish jury of nine women and three men convicted a Kenner man Thursday of sexually abusing three children.
Judge June Berry Darensburg, who presided over the trial in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna, set sentencing for Jan. 10.
According to court documents, the sexual abuse of the children — two girls and a boy — occurred between 2006 and 2016. The children were as young as 5 and 6.
Montero pleaded guilty in 2002 to carnal knowledge of a juvenile and drug possession, and he has two prior convictions for failing to register as a sex offender.
An Oklahoma teacher was arrested on Wednesday after authorities learned that she was allegedly having sex with a male teenage student, PEOPLE confirms.
Day, a 22-year-old science teacher at Yukon High School, is facing charges of second-degree rape, facilitating sexual contact with a minor and possession of child pornography.
“This is a classic case of a serious breach of public trust,” Canadian County Sheriff Chris West told reporters at a news conference this week, according to local news station KWTV. “School teachers are entrusted to protect and educate our children, not to engage in an unlawful sexual relationship with them.”
Day is married; her husband is a football coach at the same high school.
“I’m no longer surprised by the people who commit these crimes, because predators come from all walks of life,” West said.
She allegedly responded, “The doors unlocked as usual.”
When authorities entered the house, they found Day sitting on the floor of her living room wearing a T-shirt and workout shorts, according to the arrest report.
The report notes that the lights were turned off and candles were lit. When authorities confronted Day, she allegedly admitted to sending pictures of herself in “bra and panties.” She also allegedly confirmed that she had received pictures of the boy’s genitals.
Day was booked into the Canadian County Jail following her arrest and released on $85,000 bond. She has not entered a plea and court records do not reflect an attorney.
While the school district did not identify Day by name, officials said in a news release Thursday that they had been notified on Wednesday afternoon about a district employee who was accused of “engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a high school student.”
“This behavior was representative of a very poor decision by a person entrusted with teaching our students,” district officials said in the release. “The safety and well-being of our students is our number one priority.”
The district said the arrested employee — presumably Day — had not flagged any of the security protocols, including a background check, done during the hiring process. Officials said they were “fully cooperating” with law enforcement and referred further questions to the sheriff’s office.
Day’s employment status was not immediately clear on Friday night, though she was still listed as a teacher on the school’s website.
WASHINGTON — A Dundalk, Maryland, man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for federal charges of producing child pornography.
Russel Todd O’Bannon, 52, admitted in a plea deal to using a Facebook text messaging service to connect with 17 boys and girls and convince them to send him sexually explicit photos.
When communicating with the minors, he used a fictitious Facebook account under the alias of “Martin Anderson,” lied about his age, and sent victims nude photos of young men, which he claimed to be images of himself, according to prosecutors.
His victims were located inside and outside of the U.S. and, according to court documents, included children in foster care and group homes as well as rape survivors. Those who were victims of sexual abuse, O’Bannon admitted to asking them for details about the abuse and continuing to ask for pornographic photos from them.
According to the US Department of Justice, O’Bannon frequently told victims he wanted to meet them for sex and told them in graphic detail what he planned to do during those encounters. He also admitted to telling female victims that he wanted to have unprotected sex with them so he can impregnate them.
O’Bannon was apprehended as part of the department’s Project Safe Childhood, an operation that goes after people who exploit children and also helps the young victims.
In addition to the prison time, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett sentenced O’Bannon to a life time of supervised release. He must also register as a sex offender once he is released.
WILLISTON, N.D. - An Oklahoma man has been charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child in Williston.
He has been charged with a double-A felony count of continuous sexual abuse of a child. If found guilty, he could face life in prison.
Martinez is held on a $1 million bond. If he posts bond, he is not allowed to leave the state and cannot contact the victim. His next court appearance will be Dec 14.
A 59 year old Philadelphia, New York, man has admitted to having sexual contact with a young child.
He will be sentenced January 25.
Leeson was originally charged with first-degree criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child.
When he was arrested in May, he had been working as a custodian at Philadelphia Primary School.
According to police, the four year old victim was not a student at the school.
Investigators said the sexual abuse happened at a home in the town of Antwerp and the child knew Leeson as a friend of the family.
At the time of the arrest, state police said they didn't believe Leeson had sexual contact with any other children.