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.”]                                                                                                          

N.Y. Diocese Loses Sex Abuse Lawsuit

Published: May 19, 2007

Filed at 7:31 a.m. ET

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — Several civil lawsuits have arisen from allegations of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic church, but few have gone to trial. Most were settled out of court.

In what victims’ lawyers called a powerful message to the church, a jury on Friday found the nation’s sixth-largest Catholic diocese and a church parish negligent in a case involving a youth minister who repeatedly raped and sodomized teenagers in his care over several years. The jury awarded the two victims a combined $11.4 million in damages.

”Over 99 percent of the cases that have been brought since 2002 have settled in the quiet of lawyers’ offices, and none of these cases have seen the light of day,” said Paul Mones, an attorney for the victims. ”This case has really shown exactly how these pedophiles operate, exactly how the church, unfortunately, has responded.”

The jury found that the Diocese of Rockville Centre, one of its churches and a pastor were negligent in the hiring and retention of the youth minister who carried out the abuse. The jury cleared the defendants of being negligent in the supervision of the minister.

One of the victims’ lawyers, Michael Dowd, said the decision — announced in a hushed Long Island courtroom — showed that ”the church can no longer be reckless in the safety of children.”

A spokesman for the diocese, Sean Dolan, declined to discuss the verdict immediately. He said church officials hadn’t decided whether to appeal.

The trial included graphic testimony from a female victim who told the jury that former youth minister Matthew Maiello seduced her and eventually had sex with her in a variety of locations on church property — including church pews and the elementary school principal’s office — as well as at their homes.

The Associated Press generally does not name victims of sexual abuse.

Maiello, who now lives in Connecticut, pleaded guilty to third-degree rape and sodomy in 2003, admitting he abused four children. He served more than two years in prison.

Since Maiello did not contest any of the allegations against him, the focus of the monthlong civil trial became St. Raphael’s Church in East Meadow, its pastor, the Rev. Thomas Haggerty, and the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The jury awarded the female victim about $5.5 million in damages and a second, male victim about $5.9 million.

The two, now 23, said Maiello repeatedly molested them from 1999 to 2002, starting when they were 15. They said church officials failed to act when confronted by reports that the youth minister was acting inappropriately.

After the trial, the woman hailed the verdict as a vindication for her and other abuse victims.

”The reason for seeking justice in a civil trial was to ensure that the truth finally came out and that this might prevent the abuse from happening to children everywhere,” she said.

Brian Davey, an attorney representing the pastor, the parish and the diocese, insisted that Maiello alone was responsible for the sexual abuse.

But Dowd questioned why Haggerty did not pursue more information after receiving a negative job recommendation for Maiello from a youth minister at a church at which Maiello had previously worked. Dowd also said Haggerty failed to check on Maiello’s educational background and other qualifications for the $20,000-a-year youth ministry position.

Prosecutors said they were prevented from pursuing criminal charges because statutes of limitations had expired long ago.

The U.S. Conference of Bishops estimates abuse-related costs from lawsuits have exceeded $1.5 billion. On Long Island, a grand jury found nearly two dozen cases of abuse going back decades in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, with 1.3 million Catholics in 134 parishes.

Information source: nytimes.com

Texas mom accused of selling teen daughter to man

Houston & Texas News
May 10, 2007, 2:15PM
Associated Press



valdez.jpg
WICHITA FALLS — A mother suspected of selling her 15-year-old daughter to a man accused of child sex crimes has been indicted for the alleged $3,000 sale.

Tina Valdez, 37, reported her daughter missing to authorities in August, claiming the teen was a runaway, Archer County Sheriff Ed Daniels said today. Valdez had a note she told police her daughter had written that said the teen was going to look for her father, Daniels said.

Late last month and after federal authorities had spoken to the teen, who was in Mexico, Valdez told investigators that she had sold her daughter while they interviewed her about filing a false report about her daughter being a runaway, he said.

“She just needed money, clothes and food,” Daniels said.

The sheriff said that after purchasing the Windthorst teen, the man and the girl went to Mexico.

Once located in Mexico by federal authorities, the girl went to the U.S Consulate in Mexico and is now back in the U.S. in foster care, officials said.

Valdez and the man who allegedly bought her daughter, 35-year-old Jason Carlile, were indicted Monday on charges of purchase or sale of a child, a third-degree felony, said Jack McGaughey, the district attorney for Clay, Archer and Montague counties.

Valdez remained in the Jack County Jail on Thursday on $150,000 bond. It was not clear whether she had an attorney.

Carlile, who surrendered to Mexican authorities before being brought back to Texas, remained in the Harris County Jail today on $150,000 bond.

Carlile, who faced charges of indecency with a child and possession of child pornography in Wichita County at the time he allegedly took the teen to Mexico, didn’t have an attorney yet, a jail official in Houston said.

Information source: Houston Chronicle

Arrest Made in Internet Child Abuse Case(one of the world’s most notorious child molesters)

There is so much bad news out there I’m thinking of starting a page devoted to human interests stories and I’d like for anyone who would like to share a story I’d love to have you contribute. 

Your comments would be appreciated as I think it would be neat to complile stories from all over.  In the meantime, it is articles like this that is good to know that these people are being caught. 

By LARA JAKES JORDAN
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

freeman.jpgWASHINGTON — A man accused of raping his own daughter and posting video of the attack on the Internet was being held in Hong Kong Wednesday in what authorities called the arrest of one of the world’s most notorious child molesters.

Kenneth John Freeman, a 44-year-old former sheriff’s deputy from Washington state, was apprehended by Chinese police Tuesday night using arrest information from U.S. authorities. It’s not clear what Freeman was doing in Hong Kong, but “obviously, he was trying to escape,” said U.S. Marshals Service spokeswoman Nikki Credic.

The Web video of the attack became one of the most widely downloaded child pornography videos in recent years, officials said. Freeman’s daughter is now a teenager who advocates against child sexual abuse, and has appeared on TV to tell her story.

Freeman was one of the fugitives most wanted by both the Marshals and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Web video was featured on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” which in turn triggered calls to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that helped identify the girl.

“Freeman will be returned for trial here, where penalties for child exploitation are among the toughest in the world,” said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, who oversees ICE.

U.S. Marshals director John F. Clark called it a “complex, international case.”

Authorities said Freeman, facing local and federal charges, fled the U.S. last year. Investigators tracked him down in Suzhou, a city in China, where he is believed to have been working at the local office of a U.S.-based company. The U.S. does not have an extradition agreement with the Chinese government to return fugitives to their native nations.

However, such a treaty does exist between the U.S. and Hong Kong. In the last several weeks, investigators discovered Freeman was planning to travel to Hong Kong, where he was arrested on his arrival at the airport, officials said. Trying to flee, he injured four Chinese police officers while resisting arrest, officials said.

Credic said it was not clear when Freeman would be returned to the U.S.

His arrest follows more than a year of investigation by the Marshals, ICE, the State Department and the Benton County Sheriff’s office in Washington state.

On the Net:

U.S. Marshals Service: http://www.usmarshals.gov/news/chron/2007/050207.htm

Immigration and Customs Enforcement: http://www.ice.gov/

America’s Most Wanted: http://www.amw.com/captures/brief.cfm?id=41919

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: http://www.missingkids.com/

911 Call Played in NYC Sex Assault Trial (assailant disguised in Fire Dept uniform)

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 2, 2007
Filed at 4:56 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) — Through sobs, the victim of a Halloween 2005 sexual assault told a 911 operator how her assailant had used a disguise to get into her apartment and begin a 13-hour attack.

”He banged on the door in a Fire Department uniform,” the victim said, according to a tape of the call played in court Tuesday. ”He said there was a fire outside, but I think he just made that up. I think it was smoke bomb or something.”

Emergency operator Marian Grillo testified about the woman’s call on the morning of Nov. 1, 2005, made after her attacker had left and when she finally escaped her bonds. The victim, weeping and screaming, detailed her night of terror.

”He wanted to kill me!” the victim shouted near the start of her call. Grillo said she urged the woman to calm down, but the caller remained upset — even when police officers arrived at her Manhattan apartment, where the assault took place.

The victim was so rattled by her encounter with the phony firefighter that she refused to let the officers inside until they showed badges and official IDs, testified Jeannia Robinette, the woman’s best friend.

The tape and testimony came during the second day of the trial of freelance journalist Peter Braunstein, who is charged with kidnapping, burglary, sex abuse and robbery. The victim testified on Monday that Braunstein was wearing fireman’s gear, right down to a plastic shield on his face, when he drugged and abused her, starting on the night of Oct. 31, 2005.

The 911 call came two hours after the attacker left her tied to her bed, naked but for a pair of thong underpants and high-heeled sandals he had put on her. The Associated Press is not identifying the woman because she reported being the victim of a sex crime.

On the 911 call, the operator asked whether the man had any weapons.

The victim said he had a knife, a gun and a videocamera, and told Grillo, ”He was taping me while I was naked.”

The woman had been a co-worker of Braunstein’s at Fairchild Publications, publisher of Women’s Wear Daily and W magazine. She testified that he was someone she would see in the hallways occasionally, but they didn’t know one another.

Braunstein has pleaded not guilty, but his lawyers concede that he committed most of the crimes charged. They say he is mentally ill and is unable to form the intent that would make him criminally responsible for the attack.

”This trial is about why it happened,” defense attorney Celia Gordon told the jury in opening remarks.

But Assistant District Attorney Maxine Rosenthal told the jury that Braunstein, who had been fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend, planned the attack ”out of anger and a need for revenge.”

Rosenthal said he ordered the firefighter’s gear, the BB gun, the knife, a replica Detroit police badge, handcuffs and materials for making smoke bombs from Internet sites weeks before he talked his way into the woman’s apartment.

When he was captured on the University of Memphis campus six weeks after the attack, Braunstein stabbed himself in the neck with a dagger. He was subdued by police with pepper spray and arrested Dec. 16, 2005.

Information source: The New York Times

Report Finds 2,000 of State’s Children Are Sexually Exploited, Many in New York City

I came across this article and although I’m not ignorant of the fact that prostitution exists I was astounded when I read this.  Even after watching Dateline’s “To catch a predator” and knowing that there are men out there seeking to have sex with young girls as if that isn’t sick enough but to read this and how they are out there preying on young victims for sexual exploitation.  How important it is to get the “Safe Harbor Act” passed.   

By CASSI FELDMAN
Published: April 24, 2007 

At first it seemed like an innocent flirtation. Shaneiqua was 12 years old and walking around Brownsville, Brooklyn, when a man pulled up alongside her in a car and called to her from his window.

“He was just, like, ‘You’re cute. I really see myself being with you.’ Stuff like that,” she said.

Shaneiqua had just run away from home and had nowhere to go, so she got into his car. It was a decision that changed her life.

Eventually, she would learn that the man, known as Handsome, was a pimp. In exchange for room and board, she said, he asked her to dance at a strip club and give him her earnings. When that wasn’t enough money, she said, he told her to start taking men into the “VIP room,” trading sex for cash.

Shaneiqua reluctantly agreed. In her mind, she said, it was just part of being in a relationship. “The only thing that really mattered to me was whether he was still going to love me after I slept with other men,” she said. “As long as he said yes, I didn’t really have any problem with it.”

A report released Friday by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services estimates that New York City is home to more than 2,000 sexually exploited children under 18.

The report was based on interviews, focus groups and surveys sent to 159 law enforcement and social service agencies statewide. Westat, a research firm, asked each agency to report its contacts with children identified as “commercially sexually exploited” during a two-month period last year. Then it weighted the data to get an annual estimate. The study excluded victims of child abuse that did not involve a commercial purpose.

The findings suggest that a vast majority of the state’s sexually exploited children are in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx: an estimated 2,253 in the city versus 399 spread over seven upstate counties.

The report found other differences as well. In New York City, sexually exploited youth tended to be female and black, having sex with strangers in hotel rooms or outside. Upstate, the youth were younger, more likely to be white, and were often exploited at home by adult friends or acquaintances.

At least 85 percent of these youths statewide have had some contact with the child welfare system, mostly through abuse or neglect proceedings. In New York City, 75 percent had been in foster care at some point.

The report was mandated by the State Legislature last year as a way to determine how many children are being sexually exploited and whether they are getting the services they need.

The results could bolster a bill before the Legislature. Sponsored by Assemblyman William Scarborough, a Queens Democrat, the Safe Harbor Act would change the way young people arrested for prostitution are treated under the law. Rather than being charged as juvenile delinquents in Family Court and subject to detention, they would be considered victims of sexual exploitation and provided with counseling, emergency shelter and other services.

“By changing the law, we can begin to change the perception of these children and the perception of their situation,” Mr. Scarborough said. The legislation has widespread support in the Assembly and Senate, where it was sponsored by Dale M. Volker, a Republican from western New York. A companion bill introduced by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a Democrat from the Bronx, would stiffen penalties against pimps and others involved in human trafficking.

At a news conference Friday, supporters of the measures hailed the study as an important step toward quantifying the problem, but they also expressed concerns about how it was conducted.

“It’s not a full picture,” said Mishi Faruqee, director of the Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New York and a member of an advisory group that contributed ideas for the study. She said that several agencies failed to turn in their surveys and that the report missed the young people who had yet to be arrested or to seek help. “Many sexually exploited youth aren’t coming into contact with any of these agencies, and those youth weren’t counted,” she said.

Mr. Scarborough credits advocates like Ms. Faruqee and Rachel Lloyd, executive director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, or GEMS, with bringing the issue to his attention. Lloyd, a former prostitute herself, started the group in 1999 to help young women who have experienced sexual exploitation and violence.

Shaneiqua, now 19, was one of her clients. When Shaneiqua left her pimp, she went to Family Court and was ordered to attend a treatment program at GEMS, where she now works as a program associate.

GEMS serves about 200 girls a year and provides transitional beds to nine at a time. If the Safe Harbor Act passes, Ms. Lloyd said, she will be able to reach far more.

“We’re no longer talking about teen prostitutes, bad girls,” Ms. Lloyd said last month in Albany at a meeting with legislators. “We’re talking about kids who are being bought and sold by adults.”