Missouri Woman Indicted in MySpace Cyber-Bullying Case That Ended in Teen’s Suicide

Thursday, May 15, 2008  

Such a sad and senseless tragedy my heart goes out to Megan’s family and friends.

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted a Missouri woman Thursday for her alleged role in a MySpace hoax on a teen neighbor who committed suicide after being spurned by the “boy” in the fake profile.

Lori Drew, of Dardenne Prairie near St. Louis, was charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress on the girl.

Drew allegedly helped create a false-identity MySpace account to contact Megan Meier, who thought she was chatting with a 16-year-old boy named “Josh Evans.”

Megan, 13, hanged herself at home in October 2006 after receiving cruel messages, including one stating the world would be better off without her.

Drew’s attorney, Jim Briscoe, did not return FOXNews.com’s requests for comment about the indictment.

Click here to read the indictment.

Drew has denied creating the account and sending messages to Megan.

U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien said the federal statute on accessing protected computers has been used before to address Internet hacking, but this was the first time it has been used in a social-networking situation.  [For full Article]

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Update: Alleged Child Rapist’s Case Under Appeal for Dismissal – Stating “Improper Decision to Dismiss” as State felt accused understood English therefore did not need an interpreter

1:45PM 7/23/07

The following information was given today at a news conference on Fox News.

Fox News aired the news conference when State’s Attorney John McCarthy reported his office was appealing the court’s decision of dismissing this case on the grounds that it was an “improper decision” to dismiss the case due to lack of finding an interpreter and in doing so delayed the accused’s right to a speedy trial. 

The reason for this is the fact the accused does speak English.  He sought assylum here in the states where he attended and graduated from high school and continued on to community college for 2 years.  It is the law you can not graduate from high school without being able to speak English.  Since the accused could speak English the court was wrong in delaying the trial for 3 years while trying to find an interpreter.   Even after one had stepped forward just recently the judge still dismissed the case. 

The terrible part is if this case is not allowed to be brought back to trial this could set a precedent for many immigrants whose native language is NOT English.

Alleged Child Rapist Goes Free Because Court Can’t Find Interpreter

Md. Judge Dismisses Sex-Abuse Charges

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 22, 2007

This is without a doubt one of the worst, if not THE worst case, that shows the quality or “lack of” in our judicial system to allow something as horrible as this to occur.  Not only did it allow this to occur but in my mind this may very well have set a precedent for anyone where English is not their native language. 

Washington Post – Full story 

A 7-year-old girl said she had been raped and repeatedly molested over the course of a year. Police in Montgomery County, acting on information from a relative, soon arrested a Liberian immigrant living in Gaithersburg. They marshaled witnesses and DNA evidence to prepare for trial.

What was missing — for much of the nearly three years that followed — was an interpreter fluent in the suspect’s native language. A judge recently dropped the charges, not because she found that Mahamu Kanneh had been wrongly accused but because repeated delays in the case had, in her view, violated his right to a speedy trial.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in a long time,” Katherine D. Savage said from the bench Tuesday, noting that she was mindful of “the gravity of this case and the community’s concern about offenses of this type.”

Loretta E. Knight, the Circuit Court clerk responsible for finding interpreters, said her office searched exhaustively for a speaker of Vai, a tribal language spoken in West Africa.

[Kanneh was granted asylum in the United States, according to State’s Attorney John McCarthy. A conviction could have led to deportation proceedings.]

[Kanneh was arrested in August 2004 after witnesses told police that he raped and repeatedly sexually molested the girl, a relative.

In a charging document, Detective Omar Hasan wrote that the girl “attempted to physically stop the behavior from the defendant, but was unsuccessful.” Hasan wrote that Kanneh threatened the young girl “with not being able to leave the apartment unless she engaged in sexual behavior with the defendant.”]                                                                                                          

Artist eats dog to protest alleged animal cruelty

CNN.com
POSTED: 8:29 p.m. EDT,
May 30, 2007

In my book I can think of better ways of protesting without going to this extreme to get a point across.  To me this is just as cruel, if not worse.

storymcgowandogap.jpg

LONDON, England (AP) — A British performance artist has eaten part of a corgi — the breed of dog Queen Elizabeth II favors as pets — to protest the alleged mistreatment of animals by the royal family.

Mark McGowan dined on corgi meatballs Tuesday at a table set up on a London street in hopes of drawing attention to media reports that Prince Philip, the queen’s husband, had beaten a fox to death during a hunt. The event was broadcast over a live radio program.

Yoko Ono, featured on the same radio program, also tasted a bit of the dog, McGowan said. Ono’s spokesman did not immediately return calls or e-mails seeking comment.

“We love our animals in Britain,” McGowan told AP Television News. “Why is it then that we then allow people — especially people who are supposed to be ambassadors for this country — to treat animals with such disrespect?”

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, and Britain’s top animal-protection charity said there was no evidence to support the claim that Prince Philip abused the fox.

To make the corgi more palatable, it was minced with apple, onion and seasoning, turned into meatballs and served with salad.

McGowan said the corgi he consumed had died recently at a breeding farm and had not been killed for the purposes of the protest. He did not say what the dog had died from.

“I ate three lumps of it. But I spat two of them out, so I really ate one and a half of them,” McGowan said.

The stunt was aired during the Bob and Roberta Smith radio program, broadcast at a London-based arts station.

The queen has a particular fondness for corgis, and they have the run of Buckingham Palace — even during formal state events.

Dad dumps preschooler in box for unwanted newborns

POSTED: 7:50 a.m. EDT, May 16, 2007

TOKYO, Japan (AP) — A Japanese drop box for unwanted babies triggered a wave of nationwide soul searching Wednesday, a day after it was discovered a preschooler — and not an infant — had been dumped there by his father on its first day of operation.

Nationally circulated newspapers warned that the anonymous drop-off, known as “Stork’s Cradle,” is open for abuse and could traumatize youngsters. They also condemned the father, saying his action could spur copycats.

The drop-off was opened last Thursday by the Catholic-run Jikei Hospital in the southern city of Kumamoto to discourage abortions and the abandonment of children in unsafe public places. The same day, a boy believed to be 3 was found inside.

The boy, who was in good health, reportedly said he was dropped off by his father, who was seen holding the youngster’s hand as they approached the hospital. They apparently rode Japan’s bullet train to Kumamoto, but it was unclear where they lived.

“I came with Daddy,” the boy was quoted as saying by the Mainichi newspaper.

The find triggered a wave of outrage among political leaders on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying “Anonymously throwing out a child is unacceptable.” He urged parents to consult social workers for help if raising children gets too tough.

Local media reported that the boy was able to identify himself by name. But it was unclear whether the father had been identified.

The hospital has refused to comment on the case, citing privacy concerns, but said there were age limits on its drop-off service.

Police have decided no crime was committed in the current case because the child was left in a situation in which it was not exposed to immediate harm, Kyodo News reported Wednesday.

“We must rethink the meaning of the baby drop-off,” the conservative Sankei newspaper said in an editorial. “Unlike a baby, a toddler may suffer from trauma.”

“This little boy must be experiencing great loneliness. We urge his mother or father to come forward,” the newspaper said, calling his abandonment “unforgivable.”

The Yomiuri newspaper said it was too early to judge the baby-drop, but said that it must be used for its original purpose of receiving newborns, not young children. Parents should also be encouraged to seek outside help before dumping their offspring.

The Mainichi said the misuse of the box could inspire copycats.

A small hatch on the side of the hospital has been set up to allow people to drop off babies into an incubator 24 hours a day.

The drop box was created after a series of high-profile cases in which newborn babies were left behind in parks and supermarkets, triggering a public outcry and government warnings against abandoning babies.

Information source: cnn.com

Woman Gets Prison for Caging Grandson

The Associated Press
Saturday, May 12, 2007; 3:30 AM
How in the hell can they consider child abuse misdemeanor. I don’t understand it I think they need to take a hard look at their crimes = punishments every where as this should not even have the word “misdemeanor” in the sentencing at all. It just makes me sick.
BRIGHTON, Colo. — A 62-year-old woman was sentenced to three years in prison for locking her grandson inside a dog kennel every night for three years while she went to work as a jail counselor.

Under a plea bargain, June Candelario was also sentenced Friday to one year of probation.

“I cannot imagine any society that would say it is just and fair to inflict this harm on a child that cannot protect himself,” Adams County District Court Judge Harlan Bockman said.

Candelario, a former state trooper, put the boy in a 4 foot by 3 foot kennel each day at 4 p.m. and let him out hours later when she returned from work, authorities said.

She pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit child abuse that resulted in bodily harm and a misdemeanor count of child abuse.

The boy was 10 when the abuse began and 13 when Candelario was arrested last May.

“I felt like I was in a prison in my home,” said a letter from the boy, which was read in court. “When I was in the cage, I felt scared and lonely and that I was not loved by my grandma.”

The boy’s foster mother said the boy refused to attend sentencing because he remains afraid of Candelario.

Information source: washingtonpost.com

Police: Man neglected sons, kept wife drugged

S.C. house was trashed except for tidy room used for gambling


Updated: 12:39 p.m. ET May 12, 2007

CHESTER, S.C. – For nearly four years, a South Carolina man held his wife and two sons captive in a house infested with maggots and human waste, authorities said.

The boys slept on a bare mattress as their mother was kept in a drug-induced stupor in a house that was decrepit except for a tidy one-room illegal gambling parlor run by Danny William Dove, police said.

Police found maggots infesting the refrigerator. Human waste and used toilet paper littered the bathroom floor and the house smelled like a dead animal, according to police photographs and authorities who visited the home after Dove was arrested this week.

The living room was covered in trash and upturned furniture, the kitchen’s cabinets were falling apart and dirty clothing was piled in waist-high heaps.

“There was chaos everywhere,” Chester County Sheriff’s Detective Scott Thompson said Thursday. “I don’t think we’ll ever really determine how it happened — how you get to live like that. I think he got so wrapped up in drugs and wanting to control everything, nothing else mattered.”

Boys monitored via video
The young boys, ages 4 and 8, didn’t go to school. Police say they rarely were allowed out of the house and that a video camera monitored their room and the doors to the home. The boys’ own grandmother says they’re hard to understand unless they’re cursing.

Dove, 45, plied his wife, Tamara, with prescription painkillers, cocaine and crack, and forbade her to go outside, police said. Thompson said he didn’t expect the 37-year-old mother would be lucid enough to be interviewed for weeks.

“People don’t understand why she just doesn’t leave,” Thompson said. “But with a little intimidation and a lot of drug use, this is what they grew to know as normal life.”

Dove was charged with two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of criminal conspiracy, operating a gambling establishment and two counts of child neglect. He remained in jail Thursday without bond. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.

But Dove’s mother said her son held no one hostage and that his wife was the root of the couple’s drug addiction.

“She’s driven my son crazy,” Helaine Young said in an interview at her home.

Once owned convenience stores
Young said she threw up when she visited the home with police, her first visit since Christmas 2005, when she said she left after being threatened by her daughter-in-law.

Young said her son was once a wealthy owner of several convenience stores, paying for anything his wife requested including baby sitters and house cleaners. Her son installed the cameras for the family’s security when he renovated the home in a rural town near the North Carolina line, she said. The pair met about 13 years ago, Young said.

Young, who has taken care of the couple’s 12-year-old son since he was an infant, said she’s asked the Department of Social Services repeatedly over the last six years to investigate.

Messages left with Department of Social Services were not immediately returned Friday.

Dove’s oldest child, 20-year-old Brittney Dove, said she and a friend used to take care of the boys when she stayed in the home. But she last saw them about three years ago, she said.

“She would not get out of the bed,” Brittney said of the boys’ mother. “It disgusts me that he’s in jail. I’m not condoning what he did. There’s no excuse for the child neglect. But she should be there, too. He honestly loved her. He was nothing but good to her.” (*now there is a totally insane statement*)

‘Cuss words’ from boys
Thompson said the boys were socially inept.

“The oldest one can communicate, but it’s on a 3- to 4-year-old, broken-English level,” he said. “The 4-year-old jibber jabbers. It’s rambling stuff.”

Young said the two knew how to curse because that’s what they heard at home.

“The cuss words were the plainest words you can hear from them,” she said, recalling phone conversations with the boys.

The boys are living safely with a relative, Thompson said.

“Maybe now we’ve given these kids the chance of a normal life,” Thompson said.

Information source: MSNBC.com