Preacher gets lighter sentence for rape because he’s a “man of god”

❝ A pastor facing life in prison for raping his 14-year-old daughter was shown mercy by a judge who was impressed by his alleged religious faith.

David Richards, 41, was sentenced to 12 years in jail on Thursday in Knox County Tennessee for raping his adoptive daughter – 60 years less than the maximum term sought by prosecutors. As he handed down the lenient sentence, Judge Steve Sword cited Richard’s work as a pastor and the Bible study he began in jail as mitigating factors…

Richards was found guilty of rape, incest, and sexual battery by an authority figure for abusing his daughter, Amber Richards, for two years beginning when she was 14…

Throw away the key!

A rape victim’s fight for justice in Nepal

Justice, Nepal
Click to enlargePhoto by Navesh Chitrakar

When Pooja Bohara heard that the two men who had dragged her into a toilet and raped her had been released from prison nine months ago, the Nepali teenager, seen above through a door of the Raksha Nepal rehabilitation centre, went into shock.

But despite being blamed and stigmatised by some in her community in western Nepal for reporting the rape and forced to seek refuge in the capital, the 17-year-old says she is not giving up her fight for justice.

“Society and some family members blame me. My uncle even suggested that I should be placed in a heap of straw and burnt to death, but my father was for justice,” said Bohara, sitting in the rehabilitation centre in Kathmandu.

“It is not our fault that we are raped. Victims should come out and tell their story to the courts and seek justice.”

The two men, who had been convicted and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment in March 2013, were acquitted by an appeals court last April due to a lack of evidence…

Growing awareness in Nepal of crimes against women has helped an increasing number of victims like Bohara to challenge a culture that often blames or shuns them into silence, say police and activists…

But despite improvements and greater awareness, most women still remain unaware of their rights and do not come forward to report crimes due to fears of stigmatisation, said Menuka Thapa, head of Raksha Nepal, the charity sheltering Bohara…

Mustering the courage to come forward and report violent crimes is just the first step in a long and often painful process to get justice. But Bohara is not waiting. The teenager has appealed to the Supreme Court, which is expected to hear her case later this month.

Another important chapter in Reuters’ “The Wider Image” series.

Suicide rate among veterans may be more than “official” 22 a day

Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That’s a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher.

The figure, released by the Department of Veterans Affairs in February, is based on the agency’s own data and numbers reported by 21 states from 1999 through 2011. Those states represent about 40% of the U.S. population. The other states, including the two largest (California and Texas) and the fifth-largest (Illinois), did not make data available.

Who wasn’t counted?

People like Levi Derby, who hanged himself in his grandfather’s garage in Illinois on April 5, 2007. He was haunted, says his mother, Judy Casper, by an Afghan child’s death. He had handed the girl a bottle of water, and when she came forward to take it, she stepped on a land mine…

Derby was not in the VA system, and Illinois did not send in data on veteran suicides to the VA…

Combat stress is just one reason why veterans attempt suicide. Military sexual assaults are another. Psychologist Craig Bryan says his research is finding that military victims of violent assault or rape are six times more likely to attempt suicide than military non-victims.

More than 69% of all veteran suicides were among those 50 and older. Mental-health professionals said one reason could be that these men give up on life after their children are out of the house or a longtime marriage falls apart. They are also likely to be Vietnam veterans, who returned from war to a hostile public and an unresponsive VA. Combat stress was chalked up to being crazy, and many Vietnam veterans lived with ghosts in their heads without seeking help…

Then, Ronald Reagan issued an executive order denying unemployment compensation to VietNam-era vets “who decided not re-enlist”.

There’s probably a tidal wave of suicides coming,” says Brian Kinsella, an Iraq war veteran who started Stop Soldier Suicide, a nonprofit group that works to raise awareness of suicide. Between October 2006 and June 2013, the Veterans Crisis Line received more than 890,000 calls. That number does not include chats and texts.

Though there is a tradition among conservatives to consider all war as patriotic, there is no matching correlation with the cost of war. This is especially true of the Neo-Cons with “con” standing for both conservative and confederate. They love sending folks off to war – without the least consideration for the cost of war.

At best, they count the cost of war in dollar$ and cent$ for hardware. At worst – more typical – they consider the cost in human lives as collateral damage when it comes to the “other side” and some kind of inherent weakness outside of combat casualties on “our side”. Sit down and have a couple of beers with Dick Cheney and you’ll see what I mean. Metaphorically or otherwise.

So, Bush and Cheney sent our military off to foreign lands with bigger and better hardware. Many came back with bigger and much worse cases of PTSD than the VietNam vets sent off by Johnson and Nixon. Neither group of stinking politicians included plans to pay for the cost of their wars. Neither group considered the damage done to our military men and women as part of that cost – anyway.

RTFA to add another jot of sadness to your day. Beaucoup examples of the overlooked and forgotten.

Thanks, Mike

GOP candidate says spousal rape shouldn’t be a crime

MakingDinner

After taking a drubbing in last year’s state elections, Virginia Republicans are debating whether their party has come to be defined by its extremists. But in a congressional district in Northern Virginia, one of the state’s main instigators of culture warfare, state Sen. Richard H. “Dick” Black, is running in the Republican primary to replace longtime GOP moderate Rep. Frank Wolf, who is retiring. And he’s guaranteed to ignite wedge-issue passion. Exhibit A: As a state legislator, Black opposed making spousal rape a crime, citing the impossibility of convicting a husband accused of raping his wife “when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth.”

Black has referred to emergency contraception, which does not cause abortions, as “baby pesticide.” Black also fought to block a statue of Abraham Lincoln at a former Confederate site in Richmond. He wasn’t sure, he explained at the time, that statues of Lincoln belonged in Virginia. He has argued that abortion is a worse evil than slavery…

Black entered politics in the late 1990s after retiring as a military prosecutor. He spoke frequently to media outlets about sexual assault in the military, and called military rape “as predictable as human nature.” “Think of yourself at 25,” Black told a newspaper in 1996. “Wouldn’t you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?”

One more illustration of what the term “conservative” has come to mean in today’s Republican Party. Brutality and bigotry in the War on Women accepted as an ideological standard.

Wall Street Journal says Egypt needs a Pinochet – heartwarming to hear financial flunkies endorse murder, rape and torture!


Nothing new about a Murdoch newspaper endorsing a criminal

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial entitled “After the Coup in Cairo”. Its final paragraph contained these words:

Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, who took over power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy.

Presumably, this means that those who speak for the Wall Street Journal – the editorial was unsigned – think Egypt should think itself lucky if its ruling generals now preside over a 17-year reign of terror. I also take it the WSJ means us to associate two governments removed by generals – the one led by Salvador Allende in Chile and the one led by Mohamed Morsi in Egypt. Islamist, socialist … elected, legitimate … who cares?

Presumably, the WSJ thinks the Egyptians now have 17 years in which to think themselves lucky when any who dissent are tortured with electricity, raped, thrown from planes or – if they’re really lucky – just shot. That’s what happened in Chile after 1973, causing the deaths of between 1,000 and 3,000 people. Around 30,000 were tortured.

Such quibbles notwithstanding, I’m presuming the WSJ envisages that the Egyptian general or generals will then be allowed to retire, unmolested. Possibly to Wentworth, where the golf’s good. But if any molestation does occur, perhaps by some uppity human rights lawyer, they will receive further assistance from the governing classes of Britain and America. He or they will then retire and, unlike his or their victims, die a free man – or men – in bed.

Yup. A newspaper run by the same sort of pigs who say that “Mussolini made the trains run on time” or “Hitler provided full employment”.

Politicians think banning bikini-clad mannequins will reduce incidents of sexual assault in India

The civic body in Mumbai has passed a proposal to ban the display of bikini-clad mannequins in lingerie shops…The proposal, intended to reduce incidents of assault on women, is under active consideration by the body’s chief executive, Sitaram Kunte.

The proposal was unanimously passed by the assembly, which has 227 members from various political parties.

There have been a number of high-profile sexual assaults against women in India in recent months…Dozens of rape cases have been reported in Mumbai since the beginning of the year.

Ritu Tawade, a member of the civic body, first put forward the idea a couple of months ago, after a series of rape cases in the country.

She told the BBC that the public display of scantily clothed mannequins in shop windows “indirectly or directly leads to rape”.

Mrs Tawade believes that they are titillating for men. “It’s a Western thing, our society doesn’t allow them,” she said…

Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu supports the idea. He told a local newspaper that he believed scantily clad mannequins invited the unwanted attention of men, in a city that has seen a surge of sex crimes.

I’m less certain that there has been anything other than an increase in the reporting of sex crimes. Blaming the victims is pretty standard behavior for any ignoranus lacking respect for women. That doesn’t change according to the city you live in; but, rather, the culture controlling social mores.

If rapes aren’t prosecuted, if sexual assault on the street or public transit is acceptable male behavior, the context of advertising or clothing only defines this year’s excuse. It will continue unless the legal system enforces a code of behavior that doesn’t build-in excuses for sexual assault.

Sexual assault – another crime our military doesn’t answer for

…Sexual violence in the military is so pervasive, even some of those who have been charged with rooting it out are themselves violent. The military just can’t seem to curb the epidemic on its own. It’s more important to pretend nothing has happened when a complaint is lodged; many are never relayed to military criminal authorities, while others are swept under the rug. It’s the victim’s fault — for upsetting camaraderie and esprit de corps. Get her (or him: the Pentagon estimates that 54 percent of victims are men) to be quiet or charge the complainer with conduct unbecoming an officer or insubordination…

It’s true, as the military is fond of saying, that the great majority of military officers are law-abiding. But when a fellow service member is accused, the law-abiding tend to side with the accused. Reporting a rape is never easy, but it’s much harder when the perpetrator is of higher rank than the victim (50 percent of the time) and when the perpetrator is in the victim’s chain of command (23 percent of the time). Join the military, where you may be more prone to sexual attack and you don’t even get the protections, however flawed, you would get at your local police precinct, because the brass close ranks.

There have been attempts to fix pieces of the problem, such as the indignity of a recruit having to salute the man who attacked her while her complaint is being investigated. In 2011 the Pentagon instituted an expedited transfer policy — but there’s no deadline on providing a move, and it doesn’t track how long a move takes. Victims’ groups say more than 60 percent of victims face continued contact and retaliation from their attackers…

Even the big boss, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, couldn’t fix one problem: the ability of commanding officers to overturn jury verdicts with no explanation whatsoever. After a general overturned a sexual-assault conviction of an airman at Aviano Air Base in Italy, Hagel pledged that no such thing would ever happen again. He found out he didn’t have such authority.

Violence and cover-up are part of the military’s culture. If the numbers are right, there are 26,000 estimated assaults but only a minuscule fraction are prosecuted. That means there are a lot of dangerous predators at large.

Gillibrand introduced legislation last week that would essentially remove commanders from the legal process. If passed, complaints would have to go to a parallel system of military prosecutors outside the command structure. No more commanders overturning guilty verdicts…

This bill, though laudable, doesn’t do anything to reduce the violence itself — just the terrible injustice that happens afterward.

Military justice is to justice as military music is to music. One of my favorite slogans from the days of resistance to the VietNam War. The worst bureaucracy in the network of brainless incompetence that is a significant portion of American government – gets to prosecute and judge itself.

I’m not certain if the tradition of Congress leaving governance of our military in the hands of untouchables reflects some guilt over our post-World War 2 policy of Imperial War. More likely, political hacks find it easier to believe their own propaganda about the best in our nation fighting on our behalf, blah, blah. Regardless, leaving corruption and crime to fester does nothing to raise the standards of our several military corps – and even less to protect the victims of crime from the predators our military services seem to attract.

The end of the draft signaled an end to democracy sort of choosing who got to be grunts. Colleges and universities still funneled in a percentage of those who came into military service to learn officer skills. The small number of those devoid of class loyalties, peers of my gangbanger years who were offered enlistment as an alternative to jail time – has become a larger number. Or so I believe. That doesn’t lessen my respect for those proud to serve and especially those who challenge how and where they serve.

OTOH, innocence in perpetuity is a pretty good deal for criminals.

10-year-old gets 5½-year sentence for rape and murder plot

A 10-year-old Washington state boy was sentenced on Wednesday to up to 5 1/2 years in a juvenile detention facility for his role in a foiled plot to rape and kill a girl at his school and harm other children.

The boy was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, juvenile firearm possession and witness tampering in connection with a plot in February at an elementary school in Colville, in the state’s northeast.

Prosecutors said he pleaded guilty last month to all charges.

Stevens County Superior Court Judge Allen Nielson sentenced the fifth-grader to a minimum of just over three years in juvenile detention and a maximum of nearly 5 1/2 years, Stevens County prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said…

The 10-year-old boy will serve his sentence at the Echo Glen children’s juvenile center in Snoqualmie, Wash., 45 miles east of Seattle. As of Thursday he had already spent nearly 100 days in a local juvenile detention facility, Rasmussen said.

The boy told investigators he and his friend had planned to kill a former fifth-grade girlfriend because she was “rude” and “always made fun” of him and friends, according to court documents…

The 10-year-old had taken a Remington Model 1911 pistol that originally belonged to his grandfather from his older brother’s room, according to court records.

The boys had also packed ammunition and a knife, but they were stopped on Feb. 7 shortly after they boarded a school bus, Rasmussen said.

A fourth-grade student spotted the knife and reported it to a teacher’s aide, Rasmussen said. The names of six other targeted classmates were on a list the boys had

Cripes! No doubt we can come up with any number of sources that influenced the young mind of this kid. How to commit such crimes; perhaps, including plans to escape punishment.

Who was supposed to be playing the role of educator and mentor to this child? Who had the responsibility for instilling a sense of right and wrong, good and evil?

What kind of culture teaches a child the best way to solve questions of love and sex – is with a gun?

Blood money ruled adequate penalty for Saudi who raped and killed his 5-year-old daughter

Lamia

A Saudi man who raped his five-year-old daughter and tortured her to death has been sentenced to pay “blood money” to the mother after having served a short jail term…

The man, said to be a religious scholar who is also a regular guest on Islamic television networks, confessed to having used cables and a cane to inflict the injuries, activists from the group Women to Drive said in a statement on Saturday.

Lamia was admitted to hospital on December 25, 2011, with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns, the activists said.

They said the father had doubted his daughter Lamia’s virginity and had her checked up by a medic.

She died last October.

Randa al-Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital where Lamia was admitted, said the girl’s back was broken and that she had been raped “everywhere”, according to the group.

…The judge has ruled the prosecution could only seek “blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lamia’s death suffices as punishment”…

The ruling is based on national laws that a father cannot be executed for murdering his children, nor can husbands be executed for murdering their wives, activists said.

In case you never had a clear understanding of how backwards and brutal a theocracy can be – here’s an example you should never forget.

Second arrest in NY copper cannibalism case

A lawyer claims that the arrest of a man accused of trying to pay a police officer to kidnap a Manhattan woman was done to prevent him from testifying about Internet sexual fantasies at the officer’s cannibalism-tinged trial.

Authorities say the man, Michael Vanhise, agreed to pay Officer Gilberto Valle $5,000 to kidnap the woman in New York and deliver her bound to Vanhise’s home in New Jersey, where she would be raped and killed.

Attorney Julia Gatto spoke Friday after Vanhise, 22, of Trenton, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where he was ordered held pending a bail hearing Monday on a conspiracy to commit kidnapping charge…

Gatto said Vanhise “would have exonerated our client” with testimony about his own participation in a world of Internet sexual fantasies where people could speak of unspeakable acts they would never commit. She said the arrest Friday appeared to be a tactical move by authorities to prevent testimony by Vanhise or others about Internet fantasies…

The lawyer said the government appeared to be pressuring potential defense witnesses not to take the witness stand by saying in court documents filed against Vanhise that there were other co-conspirators who had not been charged in the case…

Vanhise’s lawyer, Alice Fontier, said her client, an auto mechanic who seemed to wipe tears from his eyes during his court hearing, was “very upset,” especially because he wanted to be home after his wife gave birth to a daughter last month, one of several young children the couple has.

She said he had been in contact with the FBI since late October and there had “certainly been ongoing meetings.”

“He has not stopped cooperating,” she said, though she added: “Obviously, the relationship has changed since he was arrested.”

In court papers filed Monday, defense lawyers wrote that Valle was accused…of conspiring with others he met on a website devoted to the exploration of deviant sexual fantasies…discussed, among other things, their violent sexual fantasies of abducting, raping, murdering and cannibalizing women,” they wrote…though he never intended for any acts to be committed in the “real world.”

Um, OK. I have to wonder how well these looneys differentiated between the real world and their fantasy world. It’s not a long trip from spending your idle time planning horrendous crimes – and committing them.

Here’s a link to my post on Valle’s arrest.