Northern Marianas Islands
FOLLOWING the denial of the prosecution’s reconsideration motion to extend the discovery deadline in the case of a retired Army reservist who was charged with sexual abuse of a minor, Assistant Attorney General Betsy Weintraub on Aug. 10 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice.
Weintraub said the laboratory has not finished processing the forensic evidence in the case, and the defendant is challenging the testimonial competency of the alleged victim.
Should the court find the child not competent to testify (because of her age), the government would be unable to prove its case, the prosecutor said.
Weintraub said “without this key forensic evidence, which the commonwealth did everything in its power to expedite, the government would be unable to fairly represent the interests of the victim and the community by presenting the whole truth to the jury.”
Accordingly, she said, it is in the best interest of justice for the government to dismiss the case at this time.
The defendant, Michael Barry Murphy, 54, was charged with sexually abusing a four-year-old minor.
Murphy was also charged with sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree in another case in Feb. 2016. The prosecution said the incidents happened from 1994 to 2004 when the second alleged victim was a minor. The victim is now 26 years old.
Murphy, through his defense counsel Janet King, opposed the government’s motion to dismiss with prejudice and asked the court to deny it.
King also asked the court to dismiss with prejudice the case against her client under Rule 48 (b) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
She said the court “must determine whether the government, after prosecuting Murphy for one year now, and moving for an extension of discovery to allow evidence it inexcusably delayed obtaining and having that motion denied by the court, may now move for dismissal of the amended information against Murphy in order to start the discovery process all over again.”
King said “the lack of good faith on the commonwealth’s part is glaring.”
After the commonwealth’s motion for reconsideration was denied, its reason for dismissal without prejudice became clear in an e-mail communication sent after the hearing, King said.
She quoted Weintraub as stating: “We are considering filing a voluntary dismissal without prejudice and then re-charging the case. If your client (Murphy) agrees to the dismissal and stay-away order, we won’t make him post bail when we re-charge.”
King said recharging Murphy and starting all over again will greatly prejudice him who has already spent significant time and money in the litigation.
“The commonwealth failed to prosecute diligently and moved to dismiss in bad faith, causing the defendant to suffer prejudice by beginning the process all over again.
“Allowing the commonwealth to dismiss would be like agreeing for it to hit the reset button as though the defendant’s life and the criminal case were a video game.”
King attached the signed declaration of Dr. Phillip Danielson, the defense DNA expert, to her motion.
He stated that no sperm/spermatozoa (different terms for sperm cells) were detected in this case at all.
“Microscopic analysis (the most reliable method of detecting sperm cells) of the concentrated material were searched twice for the presence of sperm cells on both the jeans and the undergarments. No sperm cells were detected in either of the microscopic analyses,” Danielson added.
He said sperm cells were not detected on any of the items of evidence examined in this case.
According to his declaration, Danielson is a tenured full professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Denver where he taught courses in molecular biology and forensic science with an emphasis on serology and DNA analysis.
The recent incident of a 4-year-old’s alleged sexual abuse at a Malad school has spurred parents in the city to demand better safety measures at schools and stringent punishment for perpetrators. Last week, a police complaint was registered against a peon of the Malad school for allegedly sexually assaulting the minor in the washroom between August 3 and 5.
“Schools need to be more vigilant and must punishment culprits so that such incidents aren’t repeated and students don’t suffer,” said Anubha Sahai, member of the India Wide Parents Association.
Many schools in India are privately run businesses.
The group has planned to hold similar marches and signature campaigns across city to reach out to maximum parents. A similar march was held by another group of parents in Pune.
Another demand the protesting parents made was that the government should frame stringent safety norms for schools. “Assessment of mental well-being of the employees at a school must be made mandatory,” said Sahai.
Educators and school management said agencies should be hired by schools to do a background check on their students.
“Today, there are many agencies who can help schools. Additionally, schools can directly approach their nearest police station for the same. Schools must also teach their children about good touch and bad touch so that children know that they must alert the elders,” said Swati Popat Vats, president, Early Childhood Association, consisting of 200 preschools and experts that has come up with some steps that schools can follow to ensure safety of students.
One of the suggestions include on how the management should act if any parent or student approaches them with a complaint about sexual abuse.
A children’s charity is calling for “robust action” to cut off the supply of child sexual abuse images as the situation has become a “social emergency”.
Over the last two decades, digital technology has fuelled an “explosion” in the production and consumption of online abuse images, according to the NSPCC.
The NSPCC has spoken out after the Echo reported how former soldier Bryan Young was spared jail after admitting possession of almost 2,000 indecent images of children.
The 79-year-old great-grandad of five, from Marnhull, north Dorset, appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court.
The day before, IT expert Barry Harkcom was sentenced to two years and one month in jail after downloading up to 20 million films and pictures of child abuse.
Harkcom, from Parkstone, collected the images over 16 years and used technology designed to hide the images in his laptop.
An NSPCC spokesperson said the men’s actions had “only fuelled this disgusting industry which destroys children’s lives”.
Sharon Copsey, head of service for the South West, says while progress has been made in tackling the production and consumption of abuse images, more needs to be done by internet providers, governments, and law enforcement agencies to “cut this material off at the source”.
“We recognise that progress has been made. For example, the work of the National Crime Agency and the police has safeguarded record numbers of victims and arrested hundreds of suspects in the UK. And industry is working with partners such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to identify and remove child sexual abuse images. But these efforts alone will not solve the problem.”
She added: “We are calling for a robust action plan to cut off the supply of child sexual abuse images in circulation, and deter adults from seeking out child abuse online. We should be long past the point when there are dark corners of the internet where these terrible crimes against children are hosted for the pleasure of paedophiles.”
She said children must be educated about how to keep themselves safe online and offline and how to get help as soon as grooming or abuse happens.
“And every child who is the victim of exploitation and abuse should get the support they need to rebuild their lives,” she added.
AN Evesham man is behind bars after pleading guilty to six child sexual abuse charges, including the assault of a child under 13-years-old.
Pennington admitted the assault, attempting to arrange a meeting with the intention of sexually assaulting a child, possessing indecent images of children, and distributing an indecent image of a child.
He has also been placed on the sex offender register for the rest of his life, and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order until further notice.
Pennington was arrested by officers from the Operation Safenet team - specialist officers who investigate those involved in online child sexual exploitation within West Mercia.
And God bless you, everyone.
Detective Inspector Gavin Kinrade said: "I hope that this result gives a clear warning to other offenders that we are absolutely committed to protecting children from sexual abuse and online child sexual exploitation."
"Tackling child sexual exploitation remains a priority for West Mercia Police and we remain steadfast in our commitment to preventing children being abused and exploited, to bring to justice to all those who commit such horrific crimes and to ensure that the public are confident that they can come forward and talk to us about their concerns for a child's safety.
"We understand that cases such as this can cause people within the community concern, particularly parents. We would like to offer reassurance that we are committed to doing everything within our power to protect children and vulnerable people."
Anyone with concerns that a child might be a victim of sexual exploitation or abuse is asked to report this to police by calling 101.
"Specialist officers, working together in partnership with support agencies across our region, are here to listen, to investigate and to bring perpetrators of these horrific crimes before the courts," DI Kinrade added.
News Corp Australia Network
FOREIGNERS and locals are setting up orphanages in Bali under the guise of helping local children but allowing a more sinister activity to occur in the form of paedophilia and sexual abuse by staff members.
Former Victorian police officer Glen Hulley, who runs Project Karma, a body aimed at saving children in South East Asia from sexual predators, says orphanages, some of which are illegitimate, are becoming a problem and a crackdown is needed.
Mr Hulley is currently in Bali setting up a pilot project to combat child sexual abuse on the holiday island. The teams include investigators who track down paedophiles and evidence and then hand it to police to make arrests.
Mr Hulley told News Corporation that his organisation is currently running five investigations of child sexual abuse in Bali, at least one of which involves Australians. He expects raids and arrests within the next few months.
This includes two investigations where staff at orphanages are believed to be sexually abusing children in their care.
Glen Hulley’s organisation is currently running five investigations of child sexual abuse in Bali, at least one of which involves Australians.Source:News Corp Australia
Regarding the five investigations, Mr Hulley said he could “only disclose at this stage that they involve both foreigners and locals, mainly in remote regions of Bali”.
Project Karma was instrumental last year in having 70-year-old Australian man, Robert Ellis, arrested and prosecuted for sexually abusing 11 girls aged under 18 years. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail for his crimes, saying he had paid the girls well for what he did to them.
Poorer villages, in remote areas of Bali, which are far away from the tourist strip, are particularly prone to child sexual abuse, especially as the money offered to children by paedophiles is a small fortune and is often condoned by their parents.
It is this which Mr Hulley’s group wants to target, educating local village leaders and village security, about the dangers of abuse and how to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.
Under a pilot project to combat child sexual abuse, which Project Karma is setting up in Bali at present, it is hoped to reach 120,000 people in the next six months.
Mr Hulley has begun a series of community awareness seminars this week in Bali, talking to local security, village leaders, civil police, business owners and university students. The plan is then to train community investigators, with the help of police, and to set up community awareness groups to deliver seminars in villages and schools.
The investigators would gather evidence and work closely with local police to arrest offenders, Mr Hulley said.
Ni Luh Gede Yastini is the legal and policy division head of the Bali Child Protection Commission. She says there should be better supervision of foreigners living in Bali by local police. And she called on the local community to play a more active role.
“The community should be more active and watchful. Whenever foreigners often go out with children, they should be monitored. People should be more vigilant,” Ms Yastini said.
“Paedophiles are different to other common sexual abuse cases. They groom and approach the family of the victim for a long time before doing their acts. Before they get the children they will approach the parents, give them gifts, appear kind so they can take the children”
Ms Yastini said part of the problem was due to the fact that many people do not fully understand the term paedophile and often think that touching the children is okay.
She said there was also a big problem in Bali where many children become pregnant to their grandfather, especially in remote villages, where the child is too afraid to speak up.
Bangkok: A Cambodian orphanage director who crusaded for years against child sex abuse has been sentenced to three years jail for committing indecent acts on children in his care.
The conviction of 46 year-old Hang Vibol, the director of Our Home Orphanage in Phnom Penh, follows a warning by Tara Winkler, a former NSW Young Australian of the Year, that children are vulnerable to sex predators in Cambodia's 600 orphanages and residential care institutions.
Australians are believed to be the biggest donors of the institutions despite studies showing that most of the 47,900 children living in them have at least one parent and all would be better off living in the communities from which they come.
A Phnom Penh court's sentencing of Vibol to three years for abusing 11 children under 15 years old has been criticised as too lenient by the organisation where he worked investigating foreign and Cambodian paedophiles.
That's a little over 3 months per child! I wonder how many times he abused those 11 children. If it were 3 times each, then that's about a month for each act of child sex abuse. Lenient is not a strong enough term.
Seila Samleang, the director of Action Pour Les Enfants , said the organisation was happy with the conviction but dismayed at the "lenient" sentence.
"It is shocking that such a case happened…because he worked actively to protect children's rights for many years," he said.
For years Vibol urged courts to impose long jail sentences on convicted child sex abusers in Cambodia, a country where sex tourism is rife.
In 2004 he described the jailing of a New Zealand teacher for 10 years as "the correct sentence that brings justice to the victims". But the same year he said many paedophiles escape conviction.
"In Cambodia, the situation is that if people give money to police or the courts, they get off," he said. "In Cambodia if you have money you can do anything."
A three-year sentence appears lenient compared with other recent cases and given Vibol was in a position of authority to care for children.
Last year an Australian travel agent Trevor Lake was sentenced to eight years in jail for having sex with underage prostitutes and producing child pornography.
Sydney teacher George Moussallie was sentenced to five years in jail for the sexual abuse of six boys.
Vibol left APLE in 2004 to run Our Home Orphanage where the abuses took place. The orphanage was closed following his arrest last year and 60 children moved to other care centres.
APLE investigators helped police probe the activities of Vibol who denied the allegations and claimed they were made against him maliciously.
Ms Winkler, who established the Cambodian Children's Trust in 2007 after rescuing 14 children from abuse at a corrupt Cambodian orphanage, told Fairfax Media that it was "highly unethical to expose vulnerable children to serious risks in order to engage donors and raise funds".
Many orphanages and residential care centres in Cambodia allow visitors to physically interact with children in intimate ways, such as playing and hugging.
"Even though the majority of people who want to visit centres are good people who only want to help, if they are allowed in to provide love and affection, then the same access is provided to potential predators and sex tourists," she said.
International research shows orphanages and residential care institutions take a toll on children's emotional and personal development because they are separated from their families.
This leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse and seemingly endless broken relationships.
Child rights activist and Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who has liberated over 87,000 children from trafficking and slavery, talks to Lakshi Bhatia ahead of the launch of his campaign, Surakshit Bachpan, Surakshit Bharat (Safe Childhood, Safe Childhood) as a first in engaging with global faith leaders to fight child sexual abuse. Excerpts:
The Nobel Prize was not a full stop in my life. I felt a deep sense of moral responsibility and obligation since this was the first time in 100 years that a prize was conferred to this cause. I spearheaded a campaign to include child slavery, violence against children, forced labour, trafficking in the global development agenda that now calls for their abolition. In India, the focus was on amendment of the Child Labour Act and the ratification of two pending International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions. Success came late.
Campaigns you are working on?
The hidden sin of child sexual abuse is growing at an alarming rate. Last year, 15,000 cases were reported under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act), which means that every hour, two children are sexually abused in India.
Religious leaders and faith communities are the most networked, claiming allegiance of billions of believers. With the launch of Surakshit Bachpan, Surakshit Bharat, we aim to engage faith leaders to fight child sexual abuse. Besides this, the 100 million for 100 million campaign aims to mobilise victims of multiple violence and those who wish to be change makers.
India has seen a rise of nearly 25 per cent from the previous year in human trafficking—19,223 women and children in 2016 as against 15,448 in 2015.
The middle-class looks for a cheap docile workforce, normally a child from flood- or drought-hit or poverty-stricken areas such as Assam, Bihar and Odisha for domestic work, child marriage and prostitution. This shows the close nexus between traffickers and government agencies. The Railways benefit hugely from this lucrative trade. Simple camera surveillance can help in tracking such cases.