Teen guilty of child porn for naked images – of himself – on his own phone

romeo & juliet
Romeo [likely 18 or younger] and Juliet [13] — in 14th Century Italy

A teenage boy in North Carolina has been prosecuted for having nude pictures of himself on his own mobile phone. The young man, who is now 17 but was 16 at the time the photos were discovered, had to strike a plea deal to avoid potentially going to jail and being registered as a sex offender.

Experts condemned the case as ludicrous. The boy was, however, punished by the courts, and had to agree to be subject to warrantless searches by law enforcement for a year, in addition to other penalties.

The young man was also named in the media and suffered a suspension as quarterback of his high school football team while the case was being resolved.

Cormega Copening, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was prosecuted as an adult under federal child pornography felony laws, for sexually exploiting a minor. The minor was himself

Copening was charged with four counts of making and possessing images of himself and one count of possessing a naked image of his 16-year-old girlfriend.

His girlfriend, Brianna Denson, took a plea deal after being prosecuted on similar charges for having naked, suggestive pictures of herself on her cellphone.

While the pictures were technically illegal, actual sex would not be – the age of consent for sexual intercourse in North Carolina is 16.

The pictures were discovered on Copening’s phone when authorities were investigating a wider problem of sexual images allegedly being shared at school without the permission of the subjects involved. Copening turned out not to be involved in that case.

He was prosecuted for having his own and his girlfriend’s image, despite them not having been shared further.

We’ve heard numerous references about political parties being stupid. The same is true for a seemingly endless list of politicians. It becomes more and more clear that states and nations also properly qualify as stupid.

States for not qualifying poorly written laws churned out by the butter-brains in Congress – like the federal child abuse image felony laws. Nations like the United States for not stepping in and sorting out the stupidity of crap laws like this in the first place.

RTFA for the tale of this whole disaster. A couple of kids who could have sex legally – just not take any pictures of themselves with their clothes off. The bureaucrats who believe the letter of the law is justifiably abused — rolled on into the inevitable plea deal which wraps around these teenagers for years including the registering as sex offenders and on and on.

Cripes! Will the United States ever get beyond obsolete religious morality?

Catholic diocese to pay $1.35M for priest’s child porn collection

A judge has approved a $1.35 million settlement in a civil lawsuit involving a Kansas City priest convicted of producing child pornography.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Kenneth Garrett III approved the settlement in the lawsuit filed in 2011 by a minor girl and her parents against the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan and Bishop Robert Finn. The approval was entered in the court record last week.

The diocese reached the agreement with the plaintiffs on Oct. 2, days before the case was to go to trial. The settlement was the diocese’s third in five months involving allegations of sexual abuse by a priest and brings to more than $4 million the amount it has paid in those cases…

The pornography scandal involving Ratigan emerged in December 2010 after a computer technician discovered hundreds of lewd photos of young girls on the priest’s laptop. A federal grand jury indicted Ratigan on 13 counts of production, attempted production and possession of child pornography involving five girls ranging in age from 2 to 9.

Ratigan pleaded guilty to five charges and was sentenced last month to 50 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty in October in Clay County Circuit Court to three counts of possessing child pornography and was sentenced to seven years on each charge.

The civil suit settled last month alleged that Ratigan engaged a 9-year-old girl in sexually explicit conduct and that Finn allowed Ratigan continued access to children after learning of the images found on the priest’s computer.

It feels like these charges have been in the wild for most of my life. In truth, nothing was done by the Roman Catholic Church or local police and judicial systems until lawsuits began to be filed, victims gathered together in a political struggle for recognition.

That says as much about our political establishment protecting an “important” group of their own peers – as it says about the corruption of the administration of this church.

Creep-of-the-week turns himself in for child porn after computer virus tells him to pay a fine

phony FBI virus
Click to enlarge

A 21-year-old man turned himself in to police and confessed to downloading child porn after he received an FBI warning message telling him he was the subject of an investigation that actually turned out to be a scam.

Jay Matthew Riley walked into Garfield District Station in Woodbridge, William County, with his computer and asked if there were any warrants on file for him.

He explained that a message popped up on his screen while he was watching child porn, ordering him to pay a fine or else he would be the subject of a criminal investigation.

But the message was actually a computer virus which has been infecting computers since early last year that the FBI actually warned about on their website.

When police searched Riley’s computer, they found inappropriate messages and photos of underage girls. One was a 13-year-old from Minnesota…

The virus is known as Reveton ransomware, which is designed to extort money from its victims after they click on a compromised website

The message says the user’s Internet address was identified by the FBI as having been associated with child pornography sites or other illegal online activity…

To unlock their machines, users are required to pay a fine using a prepaid money card service. Otherwise they will be subject to investigation.

Har!

Thanks, Honeyman

Nun complains to cardinal about priest’s porn – so she’s fired!


TOP: Edward Avery, James Brennan, Charles Engelhardt BOTTOM: William Lynn and Bernard Shero
charged in Philadelphia in connection with sex abuse against minors

A nun testified Monday in a landmark church sex-abuse trial that she was fired from a southeastern Pennsylvania parish for reporting concerns to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia about explicit mail that a priest had received.

Sister Joan Scary said she lost her job as director of education at St. Gabriel’s in the rural Montgomery County town of Stowe, near Pottstown, after she complained to then-Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua about the Rev. Edward DePaoli shortly after his arrival in 1995. She said she was concerned about mail DePaoli began to receive, including computer disks from Denmark and magazines containing “deplorable” content, none of which included DePaoli’s clerical title or indicated that his address was a rectory.

DePaoli, who was defrocked in 2005, is not a defendant in the trial but prosecutors are using the testimony about him and others to build a case against Monsignor William Lynn, who was the Archdiocese…secretary of clergy…entrusted with investigating complaints against priests.

Lynn is the first Roman Catholic official in the U.S. charged with endangering children for allegedly moving priests suspected of molestation from parish to parish without warning anyone of previous sex-abuse complaints. He is on trial with the Rev. James Brennan, who is charged with the attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Scary said Monday she was unaware when he came to St. Gabriel’s that DePaoli was convicted in federal court in 1986 of possessing child pornography and sentenced to probation. The conviction was not announced in the parish but Scary said she did think it odd that “he didn’t really have duties…”

She testified she was warned by the church’s pastor to keep any concerns about DePaoli to herself “or I could pack my bags and leave.”

That’s exactly what happened after she anonymously mailed one of DePaoli’s magazines to Bevilacqua, she testified, with a handwritten note asking whether the cardinal thought that it was appropriate material for a priest…

Ah, consistency in stonewalling the law, caring more for the reputation of the church than justice for victims of priests. Firing a loyal member of the church with a complaint – just an added dash of corruption.

Sister Scary testified to illustrate for the prosecution how the archdiocese handled problem priests.

Feds bust priest on child pornography charges


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

A Roman Catholic priest in Missouri has been indicted on federal child pornography charges.

The indictment…charges the Rev. Shawn Francis Ratigan still took sexually suggestive photographs months after church officials removed him from a parish position and ordered him to stay away from children, The Kansas City Star reported. At the time, Easter Sunday this year, officials had not yet reported Ratigan to police.

Ratigan also faces state charges.

“When a person who has been placed in a position of trust exploits and victimizes children, he victimizes the entire community,” U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said. “The indictment today sends a strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Ratigan was ordained in 2004. The indictment charges that a year later he took lewd photographs of a 6-year-old girl at St. Joseph Church in Easton, Mo.

Late last year, Ratigan was removed from parish work and transferred to the Vincentian Mission House in Independence, Mo. but his alleged activities were not reported to police until May. The official in the Kansas City diocese in charge of dealing with allegations of clerical abuse was removed in June largely because of his [non] handling of the case.

Time and again the Catholic Church figures they know better than the law of the land. In any case they think they need not answer to secular civil law.

Wrong! Again.

Ignorance is no defense – Hospital on trial for pedophile doctor

In the ugly case of George Reardon, child abuser/pornographer who was St. Francis Hospital’s head of endocrinology, the medical center has had multiple opportunities to take the high road.

Over decades, Reardon, who died in ’98, lured children into his office under the guise of a bogus growth study. Without the accompaniment of a chaperone, Reardon would have the children strip and he’d fondle, and sexually abuse them, and pose them for pornographic pictures.

Reardon’s bosses didn’t ask about the results of his “study,” even though no papers were ever published.

But there was child porn. In 2007, Reardon’s hidden pornographic library was found in his former West Hartford home. Immediately the hospital dug in its heels, and on Tuesday, attorneys for St. Francis were in Courtroom 3B in Waterbury Superior Court in the first civil case of 90-some lawsuits filed by former Reardon patients.

The hospital will try to prove its ignorance of Reardon’s decades-long abuse. This after months and months of delays and motions and scare tactics from an organization that is —- according to one of its recent ads — “committed to health and healing through excellence, compassionate care and reverence for the spirituality of each person…”

Judge Dan Shaban said presentation of evidence in this case would most likely last into mid-May. One victim told me she can’t understand St. Francis’ stance. “Their defiance in the face of so much evidence leaves me baffled,” she said.

On Tuesday, one attorney said childhood sexual abuse is like throwing a hand grenade into a child’s life. You may be able to put the pieces back, but you’re going to need help. After this case’s first day in court, we are reminded that Reardon’s victims once again won’t be able to count on help from his employer.

Reardon apparently was a world-class child pornographer. Photos were annotated as available for sale or trade. 50,000 to 60,000 slides and 130 reels of film were found in the walls of his home – when the folks who bought the home after Reardon’s death started a renovation.

The hospital picked up the tab for the cameras for his “study”.

‘Rogue’ internet firm 3FN shut down

An internet firm linked to many of the internet’s criminal gangs has been shut down.

The US Federal Trade Commission said Belize-based 3FN aided gangs that ran botnets, carried out phishing attacks and traded in images of child abuse.

The servers and net hardware of 3FN have been seized and are due to be sold off as the firm is dismantled.

The operators of 3FN must also pay back $1.08 million they are reputed to have made by hosting criminal sites…

It was involved in distributing spyware, viruses and trojans, had a hand in many phishing schemes and helped gangs sell illegal images. It also acted as a discussion forum for many spammers.

In particular, said the FTC, the net firm worked with fraudsters who run botnets and helped them steal data by seeding hijacked computers with keyloggers. It maintained a library of more than 4500 malicious programs that could pilfer data from hijacked PCs.

In June last year, the FTC used an injunction to cut 3FN off from other hosting providers and sever its connections to the net.

Now the FTC has gone a step further and won a court order that will see the company stop trading and its hardware confiscated. The FBI has been ordered to carry out the shut down and seizure operation.

Overdue.

Distributing child porn = sending a friend a photo of yourself?

image

A teenage girl who appeared topless in a “sexting” cell phone picture that was distributed among her middle-school classmates should face child-pornography charges so argues a Pennsylvania prosecutor before a U.S. appellate court.

In the first U.S. case to test the constitutional status of “sexting,” the American Civil Liberties Union countered that the incident does not come close to meeting the definition of child pornography which typically depicts graphic sexual acts with minors and is done for commercial gain.

The ACLU also said the Wyoming County prosecutor erred when he threatened 16 teenagers with the felony charges unless they agreed to a participate in a “re-education” course on why sexting was wrong…

Pictures showed two of the girls wearing white bras and another standing topless outside a shower with a towel wrapped around her waist, the ACLU said. The pictures did not show any sexual activity…

But the county argued that the pictures were pornographic because they were disseminated for the purposes of sexual stimulation and so would be of great interest to child molesters.

Appellate Judge Thomas Ambro said prosecutors are not entitled to try to “re-educate” minors. “I don’t know of anything that allows the district attorney’s office to play the role of teacher,” he said.

Courts and politicians that concern themselves with morality should wend their way into non-existence. Such courts have no place in a modern, educated nation.

Adjudicating harm and damages, crimes and misdemeanors, is tough enough. Presuming religious sway over behavior is a couple centuries out of place.

Alarm bells ring over ‘sexting’ arrests

One in five US teenagers admit to sexting. It may seem like harmless fun to a 15-year-old wanting to impress their new boyfriend or girlfriend. But the practice of sexting – sending nude or semi-nude images of oneself to others via mobile phones – is having unintended and, in some cases, tragic consequences.

The risk of having one’s private pictures distributed among schoolmates or uploaded on to social-networking websites is only one part of it. It could also lead to a criminal conviction as a sex offender for any teenager who forwards them on to someone else.

Sending or distributing explicit photos of a child under 18 is, in many countries, illegal. It is also illegal to send such photos to a minor – even if both parties consent to it.

A spate of cases in the United States has seen several “sexting” teenagers arrested on charges of child pornography – alarming parents, school officials, police and prosecutors. It has led people to ask whether threatening children with the same law that was drawn up to protect them – and potentially creating many more sex offenders – is the best way to tackle the phenomenon of “sexting”?

But Witold Walczak, legal director for ACLU in Pennsylvania who is fighting one such case on behalf of the pupils, said, “Child porn is about the abuse and exploitation of minors by adults. That’s not happening here,” he said.

Is it beyond comprehension to suggest we have standards for prosecutors and judges that involve common sense? These nutballs are getting ready to run for office as head of the Spanish Inquisition. Or the nearest equivalent in square America.

Laws written for the purpose of halting the exploitation of childrem haven’t a damned thing to do with sexting. Period. Stupidity maybe; but, not crime.