Sunday, April 26, 2009

Groom jailed 7 years after pre-wedding attack - wife stands by him

7:00am Tuesday 21st April 2009
By Echo Reporter »

A DRUNKEN bridegroom-to-be who stalked a young mother through the streets of Bournemouth on his stag night before molesting her has been jailed for seven years.

Louis Palmer, 33, was captured on the town’s CCTV cameras walking behind the victim, who had become separated from her friends, through the shopping precinct in central Bournemouth.
Palmer of Delph Road, Brierley Hill, West Midlands, pounced on the woman, who cannot be named, when she reached a dimly lit area, grabbing her and pushing her over a wall before sexually assaulting her.

Palmer’s wife, who married him three weeks after the incident, burst into tears as the verdict was read out and other relatives looked stunned.

Earlier in the trial, prosecutor Susan Evans told the jury: “When she told him to stop, he punched her. The next thing she remembers is being on the floor and he was gone.”
Palmer was arrested after a detective who had viewed the video footage recognised him.

Palmer told officers he had been lost when he asked the woman for directions to the seafront and she suggested that he had “a last fling”.

Palmer said: “One minute we were fine and the next thing she was screaming and shouting. When women become hysterical it’s necessary to slap them sometimes.”

The victim told the court: “I was really worried about how drunk I was”, but added: “I knew I was being sexually assaulted.”

Palmer was found guilty of a sexual assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm over the incident, which happened in the early hours of July 5 last year.

Judge Roger Jarvis told Palmer:

“You obviously spotted her and stalked her in a predatory way. You violently assaulted her. This had a devastating effect on a woman who previously prided herself on her independence.”
Palmer was also put on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Speaking afterwards DS Phil Swanton of Bournemouth CID, paid tribute to the victim.
He added: “This was a despicable attack on a lone female. Mr Palmer stalked the victim for just under one mile before attacking her and is clearly a very dangerous sexual predator.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Leprechaun" gets 6 months in Buffalo club district rape

A surburban Buffalo man dressed as a leprechaun for a radio station was sentenced to 6 months in jail for the rape of an 18 year old woman on Buffalo's Chippewa Strip. State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski also sentenced Bill Comerford of West Seneca, NY, now 24, to sex offender registration and a $1370 fine.

Michalski said Comerford had brought "unspeakable horror and tragedy" to his victim and "brought shame and disgrace" onto his own politically-connected family.

Last Nov. 14, a jury found Comerford guilty of third-degree rape for the sex attack in a back room of Club W at 199 Delaware Ave. about 8 p.m. He has remained free on bail since the trial.
The drunken Comerford was dressed in a leprechaun outfit and was promoting events for a Buffalo radio company which fired him after his arrest.

Edward C. Cosgrove, Comerford's defense attorney, tride to get Judge Michalski to stay the sentence, which he refused to do. Comerford's sentence will begin Friday unless Cosgrove sucessfully convinces a higher court to stay his client's sentence.

London cab rapist sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

By Caroline Gammell (London Telegraph) Last Updated: 8:58AM BST 22 Apr 2009

The 51-year-old spent years targeting young professional women as they emerged from late night bars and clubs in the heart of London, offering them a lift before plying them with spiked champagne, having claimed he had won the lottery.

Once unconscious in the back of his taxi, the former stripper and porn actor would pounce, assaulting them as they lay passed out in the cab. Yesterday, he was given an indeterminate jail sentence and told he would have to serve a minimum of eight years before he could be considered for release.

As Worboys has already spent 15 months in jail, he could be freed in 2016, before the age of 60.
One of his victims – the first to give evidence at his trial – said she was horrified that Worboys could be released from prison so soon.

Joanna, not her real name, has not even told her own mother how she was drugged and assaulted in the back of his taxi in October 2006.

The 24-year-old said: "I think it is appalling, this sentence is far too lenient. He has been described as Britain's worst sex offender, eight years in jail will not break him or make him change his ways. Maybe he does regret what he did, but at the same time he did it for so many years and hurt so many lives. Eight years doesn't make up for all the pain he caused."

Rape campaigner Jill Saward, who was raped herself in 1986, said: "I welcome the indeterminate sentence but the minimum term of eight years is less than eight months per rape. This sentence is a disaster and is likely to inspire other victims to come forward."

When Worboys was convicted last month of a string of sexual offences – including rape – against 12 victims, it emerged that 85 women had come forward.

A further 45 women have spoken out since he was found guilty – 11 are deemed credible - and police believe he may have targeted as many as 200 victims over the years.

A series of police blunders led to at least 12 missed opportunities to catch him and an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation is underway into what went wrong.

The way in which rapes are investigated has changed since Worboys and now fall under the responsibility of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command at Scotland Yard.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Penry-Davey said the defendant had abused a position of trust as a London cab driver.

"You exploited that trust and, through the use of alcohol and drugs, you sexually abused young women who had trusted you to take them home safely late at night. You developed and perfected a web of deceit that was sufficient to ensnare young, intelligent and sensible women who had enjoyed a night out and whose only mistake was to get into your cab late at night."

Banning Worboys from ever driving a taxi again, Mr Justice Penry-Davey said the £3,680 he had stored in his cab to prove his lottery win would be shared between his 12 victims. In addition, the proceeds of the sale of his £5,000 taxi will be divided amongst them.

The judge insisted that the eight years was a minimum term only and Worboys would remain behind bars as long as a he was a danger to women.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Canadian woman stuck in Saudi Arabia with abusive husband seeks government help

MONTREAL — Nathalie Morin knows she made a terrible mistake moving to Saudi Arabia with her son in 2005 so they could live with the boy's father.

Four years later, the 24-year-old woman now has three children, and her mother, Johanne Durocher, says she is being held there against her will because her partner has refused to allow her to return to Canada with her children.

In a tearful telephone conversation recorded by her mother, Morin pleads for help in returning home to Canada.

"I know I put myself in this situation, but I want to come back to Canada as soon as possible with my children," a tearful Morin told Durocher during the taped conversation April 6.

Under Saudi law, the children's father has the final say over whether the children can leave.

Durocher, who played the tape for reporters Tuesday at a news conference in Montreal, said Montreal lawyer Julius Grey is planning to launch a lawsuit against the federal government unless Ottawa acts quickly to help her daughter. She claims Foreign Affairs officials and employees at the Canadian embassy in Riyadh haven't done enough to help Morin return home.

Morin told her mother she and the children have been mostly confined to their apartment, expect when her partner, Samir Said Ramthi Al-Bishi, lets them outside.

"I need your support," Morin sobs, before someone hangs up the phone line.

Morin met Al Bishi in Montreal in 2001 through a mutual friend when she was just 17. Their first son was born in Montreal in 2002, three months before Al Bishi was deported after authorities discovered he had been here illegally.

Morin visited Al Bishi twice in Saudi Arabia, before moving there in 2005 with the couple's young son, against Durocher's wishes.

Last fall, Morin's family asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene in her case, saying her daughter was being preventing from leaving the country with her children.

The Foreign Affairs Department has had extensive contact with Morin, including visits and regular contact to verify her well-being.

Just before Christmas, Deepak Obhrai, the parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, met with Morin and her husband to mediate in the couple's dispute.

The Foreign Affairs website contains a travel advisory on Saudi Arabia that emphasizes that "the father must approve the departure of any children" from the country.

Father sentenced to 109 years to life for raping, impregnating daughter

In a case with echos of the Josef Fritzl saga, a California man was sentenced to the equivalent of life without parole for sexually assaulting his daughter between the ages of 6 and 25. The victim said her father, a martial arts instructor, was able to control her using beatings and surveillance cameras. Lindolfo Thibes, now 48, was sentenced Friday for what prosecutors called the worst case of child abuse ever encountered by them.

According to the lead detective, Torrance Police Detective Rick Carr, "He's probably the sickest suspect I ever had. This poor woman endured just some unbelievable torture and horrendous acts."

Acting as his own attorney, Thibes, 48, said his case should have been dismissed long ago on procedural grounds. He said he has been hallucinating and "believes that shadows are out to get him." He called his trial a "kangaroo court" and said his conviction was the result of fraudulent evidence and perjured testimony.

But on Friday, Superior Court Judge Dennis J. Landin rejected Thibes' claim of mental illness, saying he believed it was a fabrication designed to delay sentencing.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Rouman Ebrahim reminded the judge of the woman's testimony during the trial, saying Thibes had been charged with only a fraction of the assaults she recounted and deserved the maximum sentence.

"The conduct in this case is so shockingly heinous," Ebrahim said. "It was done by someone that society expects to be a protector, not a predator."

The woman lives in the Antelope Valley with her girls and said she is allowed to remain in the U.S. thanks to a special visa for crime victims who cooperate with law enforcement. She said she dreams of writing a book or perhaps becoming a therapist to help similar victims.

She is struggling to find a job but said she is determined to provide for her children. "I want them to be loved," she said. "I'm living the childhood I didn't have through them. . . . I want to make sure they go to proms and have all the stuff I didn't have."

Alaskan wife rapist sentenced to 10 years

A Fairbanks, Alaska man was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 years probation for raping his wife at knifepoint in October 2007. Samuel Fevos Sr., 60 pled guilty to a single count of sexual assault. He faced 10 felony charges at arrest, including multiple sexual assault charges. In Alaska, sexual assault carries a maximum sentence of 99 years.

Authorities said Fevos, who has a history of mental illness and was off his medication at the time, called the woman in October 2007 and asked her to pick him up from the hospital. Upon reaching his home, he dragged her inside and assaulted her repeatedly while his roommate locked himself in another room, afraid of what Fevos would do to him if he called 911.

Fevos has made several attempts to contact his wife, who has filed for divorce, since he was incarcerated more than a year ago. [Prosecutor Jenel] Domke asked Superior Court Judge Robert Downes to order Fevos into an intensive probation program located in Anchorage that would require him to be in contact with a probation officer on a near daily basis.

Domke gave her opinion of the defendant. “The defendant is extremely violent. Any opportunity the defendant has to locate her, the state believes will put him in jeopardy once he’s released.”

Public Defender Michael Biderman said that Fevos should be paroled to Fairbanks instead of Alaska because his support system is in Fairbanks. "The chances of him re-offending are actually greater if he’s in Anchorage. He won’t have a place to live or friends to check up on him.”

British study - fear of outing perpetuates lesbian DV

By Mathew Hywel • April 17, 2009 - 16:25 Pinknews (UK)

A study carried out by the University of Derby suggests that the fear of being outed is one of the reasons why some gay women in abusive relationships don't seek help.

The study, which was presented to the British Sociological Association's annual conference in Cardiff today, shows that abusive relationships between gay women can include physical assaults, sexual coercion and emotional cruelty but victims are put off seeking help because of fear of being outed to friends, colleagues and family.

Forty women between the ages of 21 and 70 were chosen for the study, believed to the most detailed research into abusive lesbian relationships to date. All of those who took part had experienced abuse in some capacity.

Around 88 per cent of those questioned had suffered physical abuse such as punching, kicking and slapping. Forty five per cent reported had been bullied into performing unwanted sexual activities and ten per cent admitted to having been forced into having sex.

Thirteen per cent had been threatened with being outed by their partner to friends, family and colleagues or outed altogether by the abusive partner, while 18 per cent had felt suicidal or had attempted suicide during the abusive relationship.

Dr Rebecca Barnes, who led the study, said: "Only women who had been abused by a previous female partner were invited to participate in the study, with the aim being to examine these relationships in detail rather than trying to establish what proportion of lesbian relationships as a whole is abusive.

“The findings show that women in abusive same-sex relationships experience very similar challenges to women in abusive heterosexual relationships.

“However, being in a same-sex relationship poses additional barriers to seeking and receiving effective support.

“My findings also showed that abuse in lesbian relationships can involve wide-ranging forms of emotional, physical, financial and sexual abuse, as it can in heterosexual abusive relationships.

“One of the key differences with same-sex abuse is the secrecy which surrounds many same-sex relationships – a few of my participants had had relationships lasting years which their family or colleagues knew nothing about or which only a few close friends were aware of. This particularly applied to women who were in their first same-sex relationship.

“The fear of losing key relationships with family or friends, or of encountering homophobia at work should one’s sexuality be revealed, can deter some victims from speaking out about the abuse.”

If you or anyone you know is suffering from domestic violence, Broken Rainbow offers advice and support for LGBT people in abusive relationships. Their helpline is 03009 995 428. Lines are open Mondays 2 – 8pm, Wednesdays: 10 – 1pm and Thursdays 2 – 8pm.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Suburban Twin Cities man charged with gunning down estranged wife - sentenced to 32 years

(Original Post 7-31-08)

Michael Iheme, 50, was charged with 1st degree murder Friday, July 25 for the shooting death of his wife, 28 year old Anthonia Thursday, July 24. The shooting happened as she left her workplace, the Sholom Home West. 2 witnesses reported a man, apparently Iheme, standing near his wife’s car. According to the subsequent 911 call, Iheme said “"I have killed the woman that messed my life up.... a woman that had destroyed me."

Hennepin County court records show that she had an active harassment restraining order against Iheme. The supporting affidavit suggests a history of domestic abuse, including threats by Iheme to kill his wife. The complaint said police in Brooklyn Park, where the couple lived most recently, had a number of domestic assault calls.

One of Anthonia Iheme's co-workers saw her get into her car about 2:35 p.m. Thursday and then saw Iheme get out of his car and shoot at Anthonia's car, which lurched forward, clipped a van, jumped a curb and rolled down a hill into a fence. Iheme followed the car down the hill and fired more shots, the complaint said.

Iheme was a stay at home father who took care of the kids while the wife worked, and the couple lived in Brooklyn Center, MN. Iheme moved out a few weeks after Anthonia moved out and filed a restraining order against her husband. The neighbor, who is afraid of retaliation from the suspect’s friends, said that when she locked herself out, Iheme, coming out in his underwear, complained about the noise when the locksmith showed up. He glared at the neighbor when she asked him to put on some clothes

Iheme is currently being held on $1 million bond at the Hennepin County Jail.

(Update 4-16-09) Iheme was sentenced to 32 years, the maximum for 2nd degree murder after delivering a 40 minute statement in Hennepin County District Judge Mel Dickstein's courtroom April 9. Iheme killed his wife after finding out the baby she gave birth to was another man's. The defense said that Iheme killed his wife in a fit of passion, but Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Deborah Russell stated Iheme knew about the "affair," therefore making the murder 1st instead of 2nd degree. Iheme was convicted last month of 2nd degree murder.

Iheme said he knows God has forgiven him and quoted several Bible verses that warn against responding to evil with evil. "I saw everything she did to me as rubbish," he said. "This marriage was done with good intention. It ended unfortunately. I wish I had the Holy Spirit like I have now. I would have overcome."

However, Judge Dickstein cut off Iheme to say that he really didn't care about the life of his wife or kids, and that because "your conduct was horrific by any should lose your freedom for as long as the law permits."

Corporate headhunter convicted of sexually hunting women

(Original Post 3-3-08)

A corporate headhunter will be spending many years in prison for hunting women to rape. Joseph T. Joseph, 35, did so by passing himself off as a Viacom official looking for a personal assistant and offering women chances to meet stars like Jay Z and Beyonce. He has done so 30 times over the past decade, or once every 4 months. Twice these sexual cons escalated to rape.

[February 29] a judge convicted Joseph T. Joseph, 35, of forcibly confining and sexually assaulting two women in separate incidents – one threatened with a handgun – who believed they were meeting him for a job interview.

"I only muse that his behaviour was heading to something more serious," said Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt.

"This guy is a sexual predator. He's a liar and a con man."

The attack has totally altered the victims' lives. They've lost confidence in their own ability to judge character, Smith said.

Prosecutor Jerry Brienza declined comment.

The judge ruled that in two incidents in June and July of 2005, the young women agreed to meet Joseph at a coffee shop for a job interview.

He then pressured them to get into his SUV, where he locked the doors and forced them to perform oral sex before letting them go, she said.

With the second woman, he changed the meeting venue from the Rogers Centre area to east Toronto at the last minute because he was short of time, having agreed to join his wife and son in church, court heard.

A 17 year old girl who Joseph tried to lure into his car ran away when he offered to take her to get her hair and nails done. She said "No," and he grabbed her shoulders. She told the principal of her school, Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute, who called police. He was convicted of assault in that incident. Sentencing is set for May 22.

(Update 4-16-09) Joseph was sentenced to 5 years in prison for assaulting two women and a teenage girl by Ontario Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt today. Viacom actually had an inch-thick file about the Toronto impersonator, who ran his own headhunting firm, J Squared Staffing Solutions Inc.

While convicted of 3 rapes, it is alleged that Joseph coerced 30 women and girls into sex over the past decade. The judge cited Joseph's lack of remorse along with denunciation for the 5 year sentence.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Could the "Swedish" approach to controlling prostitution work?

Leslie Scrivener [Toronto Star] STAFF REPORTER

In the international exploitation and trafficking of women for sex, it's men, the customers, who have been overlooked, writes Victor Malarek, in his new book, The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men who Buy It. One of Canada's top investigative reporters, Malarek urges governments to go after the johns, whom he calls "the users and abusers."

Some claim that women choose to work as prostitutes, but you call it the ultimate act of humiliation and desperation.

A very small number do it by choice. Studies show that the vast majority, 89 per cent in one, desperately want out. They're hungry, need to feed children or give health care to aging parents, and the only alternative is to take their clothes off and service platoons of men.

They can't get any other work?

Not in many Third World countries or where sex tourists go. For women in Moscow, Kiev, other parts of Ukraine, there is absolutely no work for young women. They are in abject poverty ... There are so many escorts, from Third World countries, you have to ask, "How did they get here?" They don't have business acumen or language skills.

On the lower east side in Vancouver, the vast majority have serious mental-health issues, drug issues, or are native women tossed off reserves. They're controlled by pimps with a bag of white powder. The drug is their handcuffs.
You say men are the root of the problem, and in seeking a "moment of bliss," they deepen the misery of the women they pay for sex.

These men never ask how she is, how did she get here, is she being forced. They don't look into her eyes beyond the veneer of gaudy makeup, stiletto heels and cheap clothes. They just want to get their rocks off. When money changes hands, it's the ultimate conscience pacifier. They don't have to deal with guilt.

Most johns you encountered express entitlement, like the one who urged his fellow "mongers" to get out there and "enjoy what man was put here for." Do johns know what women really think of them?

They delude themselves into believing that every moan and groan is because of their magnetic masculinity. They want to believe it, and the women are trained to do this.

The story of Norm, a john who confesses his capacity to "ignore" the effects of his hobby, is revealing. His insight was rare?

When anyone on the world (online) sex sites raises the question about conscience, they are immediately asked, "Are you a feminist, a fem-Nazi, a fundamentalist? Who are you?" They don't want anyone to raise the question.

You have no patience with what you call the "happy-hooker lobby," which claims that these are pros who take pride in their jobs and exercise choice.

The happy-hooker crowd is shilling for the porn industry, the strip clubs, pimps and escort services. The big hot button is health. Women carry health cards to show they are disease-free. Why just women? Why should they be the ones playing Russian roulette every time a guy comes in? Guys are the vectors of disease.

On those sites they say, "I like to go `bareback.'" It's the men who go home and transfer it to their significant others. Then there's harm "reduction." They don't say "elimination." They can never guarantee a woman will not be beaten up by her next john.

Many people think it's safest for women to legalize prostitution. Why don't you?

In Amsterdam, the mayor is saying, "What a big fricking mistake." Women are still controlled en masse by pimps, beaten, trafficked, forced. They are on drugs. Organized crime is all over this. Unions never happened.

Escape clauses for women who wanted to get out – they didn't put in place the measures they were supposed to. When a country legalizes prostitution, it lives off the avails of prostitution through taxation and in effect becomes a pimp.
If johns are charged, as you recommend, how would women be protected?

I strongly believe the vast majority of women are victims and shouldn't be charged or picked up in vice raids

. You should pick up the men. They are demanding it, doing whatever they want. Sweden decriminalized the women and criminalized the men. They know it is a human-rights violation, that you'll never have equality and dignity and respect for women as long as this is allowed. Sweden is a beacon. The number of prostituted women has been reduced by half. Norway just introduced legalisation in January.
Would it work here?

I believe it would. We have a mishmash of laws that don't seem to make sense. Sweden is concerned with equality of women ... and an option for women to be retrained, to seek psychological help, all the safety valves. Here, there is certainly no protection for women.

Why do you say we can't "give up" and say prostitution has been part of life and likely always will be?

You hear clich├ęs that prostitution is the oldest profession. I counter that it's the oldest oppression.

I don't live in a dreamland. I know it will always exist, but we have to put breaks on what has become an absolute sexual calamity around the world. Look at the planeloads of men arriving in Thailand, or Costa Rica, bars filled with Canadian men, and think of millions of young women around the world servicing from three to four to 20 men a day. This seems to be more and more accepted. Traffickers, pimps and brothel owners can't find enough local women, so they hunt down petrified girls who have never wanted to do this.

Can you see any circumstance where you'd understand why a man would visit a prostitute – invalid wives, sexless marriages, and men with disabilities?

I tell them, "Go look for a relationship." There are a lot of men who are extremely lazy. They say they don't want the drama, they don't want to invest in relationships.

You've written about your own difficult youth. Did you ever have any such encounters?

No ... I was in a hotel talking to a prostitute, she said, "By the way, I normally charge $175, but because you're good-looking I'll charge you $100." My jaw dropped. I didn't know what to say ...
I walked away.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Accountability in adult relationships may stop some violence

There is not much accountability when it comes to relationships between over 18s. Parental, familial, or friend's involvement in a budding DV situation can increase accountability.

Parents, do you know what's at stake when a predator gets access to your grown daughter's (or in some cases son's) life? None other that your child's sanity or life. It's not just minors who have vulnerabilities to predators - anyone can be a victim if they are in the wrong place with the wrong feelings towards the wrong person at the wrong time.

You, as a parent, have a track record. It may include disappointments, failures, and promises broken, but the basic parent/grown child relationship is there. Protecting your child is still a moral imperative even though it is no longer a legal imperative.

Abusers also have a track record. They might not be as obvious as a criminal history which includes rape, domestic violence or assault, but more subtle violations.

If you are a parent, other relative, friend, or grown child, don't be afraid to intervene at the first sign of trouble. If someone is about to abuse your loved one, they have already lied to them about love. Love doesn't hurt, and hurt is not love. Adult status of the victim doesn't (and shouldn't matter) because predators target all age groups.

A predator who targets adults (whether a date rapist, domestic abuser, or other type) means to do the same type of damage to your grown child as a pedophile or hebephile does to minor kids. Yous should do the same types of protecting of your grown kids as you would if they were minors.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Boyfriend" sentenced to life without parole for killing mother of his unborn child

A Shawnee, KS man who slit his baby mama's throat was sentenced to life without parole Thursday, April 9. Brandon N. Reed, 23, pled guilty to capital murder in the November 27, 2008 death of Christina Osburn, 21 and pregnant with Reed's child. Osburn was found nude with her throat slit in her Shawnee, KS apartment. Reed fled towards the US/Mexico border, but was captured after US Border Patrol agents found his burned out car.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe read a statement from the victim’s family before the sentencing.

They said of Osburn: “Her friends called her the mother of her group because she was the first to help those who needed help. … She could have been a shining light in our community.”

The victim's parents were pleased with the LWOP sentence, though they said that their daughter's killer deserved death.

"Brandon Nicholas Reed viciously and without mercy beat our precious daughter to near unconsciousness, cut her throat from ear to ear and held the front door closed as she attempted to run for help....Don’t be deceived into thinking you can change an abuser.”

Reed was accused of abusing Osburn before, and was on probaion for setting his ex-wife's car on fire. The victim's parents said Reed pretended that he loved her and got her to pay for his child suport because he was unemployed. They gave a warning to other victims.

"If you are in an abusive relationship, call for help NOW. If you can’t do it for yourself, please, do it for Christina and her family.”

Suburban Pittsburgh woman pleads to voluntary manslaughter

A Swissvale, PA woman pled guilty to the stabbing death of her "boyfriend" Monday, April 6. Yvonne Fields, 36, killed Sharief Deanda, 33 after a domestic argument in Larimer. Fields will be sentenced July 1 by by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Durkin.

Presidential Proclamation Against Sexual Assault

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 8, 2009

Sexual assault scars the lives of millions in the United States. To increase awareness about this issue, prevent future crimes, and aid victims, this month we mark National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual assault is pervasive in the United States. Study after study has shown that this crime impacts people at all age levels and in every part of this Nation.

One recent study found that 18 percent of women in this country have been raped in their lifetime. In addition, rates of sexual assault remain startlingly high for students from high school to college. A 2005 survey of high school students found that 10.8 percent of girls and 4.2 percent of boys from grades nine to twelve were forced to have sexual intercourse at some time in their lives.

A study of college women found that 13.7 percent of undergraduate women had been victims of at least one completed sexual assault since entering college. Unlike victims of sexual assault in the larger community, students victimized by other students often face additional challenges in a "closed" campus environment. For example, a victim may continue to live in danger if the perpetrator resides in the same dormitory or attends the same classes. These statistics are all the more alarming given that, according to recent research, a majority of victims do not report their attacks to police.

Victims of all ages suffer from both the physical and emotional consequences of the attack. Sexual assault can lead to long-term health problems including chronic pain, stomach problems, and sexually transmitted diseases. It can also cause severe emotional harm that may be even more painful than the assault itself and resulting physical injuries. The effects of sexual assault go well beyond the direct victim: sexual assault also has a profound impact on a victim's family, friends, neighbors, and workplace.

Victims need an array of services to heal from the trauma of sexual assault, including crisis intervention, 24-hour sexual assault hotlines, medical and criminal justice accompaniment, advocacy, and counseling. Victim service providers are essential to this effort and work tirelessly to help victims cope with the trauma of sexual assault and transition from "victim" to "survivor."

Landmark legislation has helped fund these critical services. The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA, Public Law 98-473) established the Crime Victims Fund to fund services such as forensic sexual assault examinations and compensation claims for both adult and child victims. For example, since 1997, VOCA funding has supported the development of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs and multi-disciplinary Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART).

The Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (VAWA, Public Law 109-162) authorized the Sexual Assault Services Program, the first Federal funding dedicated exclusively to sexual assault services. The Program includes funding for culturally specific programs that serve victims who face unique cultural and linguistic barriers.

In addition to helping victims, offenders must be held accountable for their crimes. Sexual assault forensic examinations and trained examiners can ensure that victims are treated with requisite sensitivity and that critical evidence is collected to facilitate a successful prosecution. To this end, VAWA mandates that all States that accept Federal grants to combat violence against women ensure that sexual assault victims receive forensic examinations free of charge, even if the victim chooses not to report the crime to the police.

To make continued progress, my Administration supports efforts to help Americans better understand this issue. Working together, we can reduce the incidence of sexual assault and help all who have experienced this heinous crime.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2009, as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I urge all Americans to respond to sexual assault by creating policies at work and school, by engaging in discussions with family and friends, and by making the prevention of sexual assault a priority in their communities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Friday, April 10, 2009

British man convicted of stealing purse from baby's mama - while she was still in hospital

A Bristol man callously stole a purse belonging to his former partner as she lay exhausted in hospital just hours after giving birth to their baby.

Brian McIntosh went through Claire Norman's belongings as she lay sleeping.
The 29-year-old then used her cash cards to withdraw more than £500 to spend on drugs.
He later went to her home while she was still in hospital and stole a new card and PIN that had been sent to replace the stolen one. Then he used it to steal more cash.

Bristol magistrates heard that Miss Norman was in St Michael's Hospital in February after giving birth.

Mark Humphries, prosecuting, said: "She had a caesarian section and telephoned McIntosh to let him know she had given birth."

"She thought he may want to see the baby but he visited her as well, which she didn't want him to do, and spent three or four hours discussing things with her. Miss Norman was in bed and very drowsy and the defendant went through her belongings and took her purse which was in her tracksuit bottom trousers.

The purse contained her bank cards and her passport. He then left the hospital and used the card to make withdrawals. Later he then went to her house and retrieved the replacement bank card and PIN number that had been sent to her home to replace the one that had been stolen.
He then used that card to withdraw more money. In total the amount of money he debited from her account was £518.

He was later arrested and admitted stealing the cards and using them to withdraw money. He told officers that he was in a state and 'needed a hit'. He claimed that he had gone to her address to get some clothes but had seen the new card and number and taken it.
He admitted using the new card four times to make various withdrawals."

McIntosh, of Brigstocke Road, St Paul's, pleaded guilty to taking Miss Norman's purse and fraudulently using her cards to withdraw money from her account. He also asked for three other instances of using the card to be taken into consideration. Miss Norman is still trying to get compensation for the money that was taken. And magistrates were told McIntosh had no money to pay her back.

Ruth Perry, defending, said:

"My client was clean of drugs for many years. This was a short relapse after his other children had been taken into care. Both offences were opportunistic. They were not planned offences.
The money was spent on drugs. He says the drug relapse was short lived. He fell off the wagon because his life had got so stressful."

Miss Perry told the court that McIntosh had recently received a onerous community order for an assault on Miss Norman. Magistrates gave McIntosh a 12-month community order with supervision to run alongside his current court order. They said they would not order McIntosh to pay costs or compensation to Miss Norman because of his limited means.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Australian sentenced to life for murder of "partner"

Nicole Cox, police reporter
April 08, 2009 06:15pm

A PERTH man who left his former de facto wife to die after viciously bludgeoning her with a brick and mallet has been sentenced to life in jail. Alan David Atherden, 61, of Wembley Downs, today pleaded guilty to the murder of Sylvia Murray, 58, on March 31 last year.

In sentencing, WA Supreme Court Justice John McKechnie said Atherden had shown "callous disregard'' for Ms Murray by leaving her critically injured without appropriate medical help.
He ordered Atherden to serve a minimum of 16 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Dressed in a navy blue jacket and dark jeans, Atherden sat expressionless in the dock, with his head bowed during today's proceedings.

The court heard that Atherden had been the subject of a violence restraining order that prevented him from contacting Ms Murray or being within 100m of her City Beach home.
Concerned that she was being stalked by her ex, Ms Murray took out a violence restraining order on March 17 - just days before she died.

But despite this, Atherden went to Ms Murray's house at 6am on March 31 last year to ask her to retract the violence restraining order. An argument broke out and Atherden attacked his ex-partner, hitting her three times with a rubber mallet and bashing her with a brick.

He then left the Drabble Rd unit where Ms Murray was clinging to life, without calling police or paramedics, disposed of the mallet in a neighbour's bin and attempted self harm. It was not until later that morning that Ms Murray's friend Graham Barber visited the house and discovered her groaning and lying in her front yard.

Ms Murray had sustained multiple head wounds, her hair was saturated with blood and she was shivering. She was rushed to hospital, but died two weeks later. Today, the court heard that the ferocity of the attack had caused injuries consistent with a high speed motor vehicle crash.

Justice McKechnie said he accepted that Atherden did not intend to kill or hurt his former partner when he went to her City Beach house on March 31, but said he had shown blatant disregard for Ms Murray's welfare by not calling an ambulance to help.

``You must have known how hard you had hit her about the head...You did nothing whatsoever to help,'' Justice McKechnie said.

``All the while Ms Murray was lying unconscious in the garden while the rain pouring down.''
``You never even tried (to help).''

Ms Murray's friend Bernadette Walker said she was satisfied with the sentence.

``Sylvia was brutally murdered by a man who refused to leave her alone and could not take no for an answer,'' she said.

Mr Barber said the sentence ensured that Atherden would be an elderly man once he was eligible for parole.

``I think the judge did a very good job in summing up what was a very cowardly, cruel and callous attack on a defenceless woman who was being stalked for some time by this man,'' Mr Barber said.

``(Finding Ms Murray injured) is something that I'll never forget. The injuries were terrible...The extent of her injuries were just so bad that she just would not have recovered.''

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pittsburgh area woman charged with murder attempt on estranged husband

A Shadyside, PA woman, currently hospitalized in serious condition, was charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault today for shooting her estranged husband in his Pine Township, PA home Sunday. 46 year old Lynne Agnew allegedly shot 43 year old Dr. D. Kelly Agnew multiple times in the chest, then locked herself in his home. After a three hour standoff, police and the Allegheny County SWAT team persuaded her to surrender.

Daniel Agnew, 43, an orthopedic surgeon in the North Hills, was found on a neighbor's lawn and remained in critical condition yesterday at Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side. Morton said police had not spoken with him.

Lynne Agnew, whom neighbors described as a photographer, was in serious condition at Allegheny General with a bullet wound to the upper chest and shoulder area, which police said might have been self-inflicted. Morton said she will be charged once she is released.

The couple, parents of a 15 and 13 year old, divorced on Valentines Day 2008, and Lynne Agnew filed a protective order against Dr. Agnew that same day. The children were away at the time of the shooting and are now staying with relatives.

Police presence was heightened during the 3 hour standoff in Pine Township because of the ambush murders of 3 Pittsburgh police officers Saturday. The suspect, Richard Poplawski, 23, allegedly shot and killed police after they responded to a domestic call regarding a urinating dog. He faces 3 charges of 1st degree criminal homicide, 9 changes of attempted criminal homicide, and numerous other charges.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Teacher gropes 19 year old woman, released on bail

A 60 year old New Jersey teacher has been charged with 4th degree criminal sexual contact with fondling a 19 year old woman. North Warren Regional High School Spanish teacher Walter J. Brandt was arrested after apologizing to a 19 year old woman for fondling her breasts.

The alleged contact occurred [March 31] in Brandt's home, court records show. The 19-year-old victim went to authorities, who recorded a subsequent conversation between her and Brandt with her consent, according to court records.

Authorities arrested Brandt on [April 1]. Independence Township police asked that the Warren County Prosecutor's Office handle the investigation because he is a former township official. He served on the Independence Township Committee from Jan. 1, 1997, through 2005.

Brandt, employed with the school since Noverber 1998, was suspended with pay from his $56,025 / year job April 1, according to North Warren Regional Superintendent Brian Fogelson. Judge John Pursel of Superior Court in Belvidere heard his preliminary hearing, where he was released on bail under conditions including no contact with the victim or any minors.

AIDS infected man convicted of 1st degree murder in sexual assaults

In an unprecedented decision in Canada, an Hamilton, ON man was convicted of 1st degree murder April 4 for deliberately infecting women with HIV, the virus which eventually causes AIDS. Johnson Aziga, 52, was put on trial in October for 2 counts of 1st degree murder, 10 counts of aggravated sexual assault, and a single count of attempted aggravated assault.

The former Ontario government worker, father of three kids, and athlete met his victims in nightclubs, bars, and also through work. Besides the two deaths, five other victims currently have HIV, and another four were exposed to HIV, but tested negative.

In his instruction to jurors, Justice Thomas Lofchik said they need not find that Aziga planned and deliberately killed the two Toronto women for him to be found guilty of first-degree murder.
The deaths of S.B., 51, and H.C., 49, would automatically be first-degree murders if the jury found they were committed as the result of an aggravated sexual assault, Lofchik said.

The defence argued Aziga suffered from an organic brain disorder and a range of personal problems and did not have the state of mind to deliberately endanger the lives of his sexual partners.

Assistant Crown attorney Karen Shea told the judge she expects to have victim impact statements from many of the surviving complainants and their families.

SB's grown daughter did not wait to give her impact statement, talking to reporters after the verdict was announced. She talked about how her son lost a grandmother due to Aziga's actions.

“I thought that any person who would have common sense and who would have that evidence in front of them would find the same way that I felt — that he was guilty. How could you not connect that (sex) act with the sequence of events that led to her death...I don’t think that he should have any liberties... because he did not give any liberties to his victims by disclosing his HIV status. He denied them treatment and eventually for two of them, my mom included, they died.”

Aziga will be sentenced May 7. 1st degree murder carries a mandatory 25 to life sentence in Canada, where crimes with a maximum sentence over 2 years are always federal offenseLinks. Misdemeanors, called "summary offences," can be provincial or federal offences in Canadian criminal law.

Rosie Dimanno, Toronto Star columnist, has a piece, "HIV-positive man killed with hatred." An excerpt is below.

Dishonest and duplicitous, thinking only of his immediate sexual gratification, the 52-year-old knowingly and intentionally exposed his unsuspecting lovers to the HIV virus right up until the morning of his arrest on Aug. 30, 2003. He cut a wide swath with his penis.

NY appellate court upholds wife rapist's 50 year sentence

A New York court has upheld the 50 year sentenced given to Anthony Woods, a Buffalo man, previously convicted of raping women who who is now serving 50 years in prison for raping his wife of 2 weeks. The rape occurred in June 2006, and Woods was arrested after he tried to force the victim to withdraw money from her account. A bank teller heard the woman's screams.

The five-judge Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester agreed with appellate prosecutor Michael J. Hillery that the jury verdict was justified by the weight of the evidence. The court also ruled that the stiff sentence imposed by State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Haendiges in September 2007 was “not unduly harsh or severe.”

At the time, Haendiges denounced Woods, a Bennett Village Terrace resident, as “clearly a danger to society.” Woods, 44, is an inmate of Auburn Correctional Facility.

Prosecutors based their case against Woods on a 1994 New York Supreme Court decision which upheld the 1981 conviction of Mario Liberta of Buffalo, a wife rapist who served 7 1/2 years in prison for raping his victim in front of their son.

Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka, according to the appellate court, was correct in rejecting Woods' access to his estranged wife's medical records to impugn her credibility. The appellate court upheld admission of testimony claiming that the victim's rape claims were meaningless because "she's my wife."

Legal Aid of Buffalo, who handles the appeal, may still appeal to the NY Supreme Court in Albany.