Today is R. Kelly's birthday. Today, news is breaking that the singer is under investigation in Georgia.
R. Kelly has been accused of abuse, predatory behavior, and pedophilia for decades. A new investigation has launched into charges he committed crimes against girls in Fulton County. Dream Hampton, executive producer of 'Surviving R. Kelly,' said it best. Read the rest
A German 48-year old citizen and her 39-year old partner have been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of repeatedly raping her son. If that’s not enough, the filth also sold the boy to pedophiles she found on the Dark Net, who further abused the child and filmed it, over a two-year period. It goes without saying that Germany, and most anyone else that’s heard about it, has been horrified by the case.
From The Guardian:
In Tuesday’s verdict, the couple was ordered to pay €42,500 (£38,000) in compensation to the boy and another victim, a young girl.
Local authorities have been accused of failing to protect the boy, who now lives with a foster family. The mother’s partner was supposed to be banned from having contact with children. Officials removed the boy from the family in March last year, but a local court sent him back weeks later.
According to The Telegraph, six others were jailed for their involvement in the sexual abuse of the boy. Because of the way that Germany handles criminal cases that involve rape, none of the parties responsible can be named by the media.
I can’t even begin to imagine the life-long harm that’s been done to those kids in the name of self-fulfillment and greed, nor can I understand the how a system designed to protect society’s most vulnerable failed them them so completely.
"Larry, you do now realize that we, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time are now a force, and you are nothing." Read the rest
The Reckoning [vox.com] examines 105 of the powerful people (all but two of them men) who have been accused of sexual misconduct in 2017. Abusers in media and journalism are relatively widely-exposed, whereas those in other fields seem relatively few in number, at least as Vox counts it. In particular, badly-behaved politicians get headlines, but the list is surprisingly short.
Read the rest
More and more people have come forward publicly in recent months with stories like these, of high-ranking men who abuse their power to sexually harass and intimidate others. This kind of abuse is far from new, but in 2017, more and more of these men actually started facing consequences.
Pundits suggest the "Weinstein moment" — a broader, deeper awareness of abusive conduct, sexual harassment and criminal sexuality — is already fading without significant change. Few of the offenders face consequences worse than losing a gig, and yesterday we learned The New York Times isn't even up to that, letting its celebrity groper keep his job and trotting out Executive Editor Dean Baquet to dismiss his admitted behavior as merely "offensive." Sarah Jeong looks at another example: the hacker community, which did a surprisingly good job of outing its "missing stairs" but has trouble banishing them for good.
Read the rest
In information security, as in many other industries where the accused is a prominent figure, accusations can turn into a competition of social capital, and the accused almost always wins out over their accusers. But in this community, giving an accused rapist a pass has often been framed as a moral imperative with four words: “He does good work.” The assumption is that talent is scarce and sexual misconduct must be tolerated for the good of society. Little to no consideration is given to what we lose from disbelieving victims — their technical and social contributions, any future contributions by people who quite reasonably decide to avoid a toxic culture, and even beyond that, the quiet erosion of trust among bystanders. Complicity leaves a stain on us all.
So much for the Weinstein Moment: Woody Allen is still too powerful and too well-connected for people in Hollywood to speak ill of. Victim Dylan Farrow (whose sibling's reportage brought Harvey Weinstein down and seemed to open a floodgate) wonders why:
A prosecutor took the unusual step of announcing that he had probable cause to charge Allen but declined in order to spare me, a “child victim,” from an exhausting trial.
It is a testament to Allen’s public relations team and his lawyers that few know these simple facts. It also speaks to the forces that have historically protected men like Allen: the money and power deployed to make the simple complicated, to massage the story.
In this deliberately created fog, A-list actors agree to appear in Allen’s films and journalists tend to avoid the subject.
Farrow names names, too: Kate Winslet, Blake Lively and Greta Gerwig each denounced Weinstein but hedge their bets for good old Woody: "Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person," Winslet said. "Woody Allen is an incredible director."
Read the rest
It isn’t just power that allows men accused of sexual abuse to keep their careers and their secrets. It is also our collective choice to see simple situations as complicated and obvious conclusions as a matter of “who can say”? The system worked for Harvey Weinstein for decades. It works for Woody Allen still.
“He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating,” says one victim. Five women who spoke to the New York Times say comedian and filmmaker Louis CK's behavior with them crossed a line to sexual misconduct. Read the rest
Ultra right-wing Christian GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore is accused of having sexually abused four underage girls, the youngest of whom was 14 at the time. . Read the rest
Eight current or former "House of Cards" employees claim they were sexually harassed and/or physically sexually assaulted by Kevin Spacey. Read the rest
A lawsuit is underway in Worth County, Georgia, where Sheriff Jeff Hobby is defending a mass-frisking of 900 high school students, performed in public without warrant or even the pretense of probable cause, during which cops reportedly manipulated student's breasts, inserted fingers inside bras, exposed bare breasts and reached into underwear and cupped and groped kids' genitals. This ostentatious display of power, by cops armed with guns and dogs, was supposedly a drug search. No drugs were found. Not a scrap.
[Interim Worth County Superintendent Lawrence] Walters said in March Sheriff Jeff Hobby told him his department was going to do a drug search at the school after spring break.
"We did not give permission but they didn't as for permission, he just said, the sheriff, that he was going to do it after spring break," said Walters. "Under no circumstances did we approve touching any students," explained Walters. ...
In the student handbook it says school officials may search a student if there is reasonable suspicion the student has an illegal item. Hobby says he was able to search every student, simply because he had an administrator with him.
The intimidatory purpose of this unconstitutional search is made disgustingly clear by the sexualized quality of the touching, as reported by the victims and their parents. From the lawsuit:
Read the rest
The purported justification for the mass search was to discover drugs. To that end, Sheriff Hobby had a list of thirteen students on a “target list” that he suspected of possessing drugs.
Two sisters who were trying to escape violence and poverty in Guatemala for a better life “became so desperately lost trekking across the Texas desert that when they saw a U.S. Customs and Border Protection truck, they waved for help,” reports the Los Angeles Times. An officer in that truck later confined them by force, and sexually assaulted them, one by one. Read the rest
Updated with response from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, below.
Susan Fowler Rigetti, a former engineer at Uber, describes in a blog post her experience in a workplace where sexual harassment takes place with impunity, and people who are abused at work are further abused by the organization for which they work. Read the rest