Report: Growing mental health problems in military

Mental problems send more men in the U.S. military to the hospital than any other cause, according to a new Pentagon report.

And they are the second highest reason for hospitalization of women military personnel, behind conditions related to pregnancy.

The Defense Department’s Medical Surveillance report from November examines “a large, widespread, and growing mental health problem among U.S. military members.”

The 31-page report says mental disorders are a problem for the entire U.S. population, but that sharp increases for active duty military reflect the psychological toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Marine suspected of murdering toddler now in civilian hands

A New River Marine accused of killing a toddler last month in California has been transferred from base to the Onslow County Jail.

Joshua Kruzik, 21, is awaiting extradition on charges of murder and injury to a child resulting in death. He is accused of killing 18-month-old Audrey Allen, the daughter of Marines he was staying with while training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

“Pursuant to an arrest warrant issued in San Bernardino County, Calif., and in accordance with Marine Corps policy, we transferred custody of Cpl. Kruzik to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department,” New River spokeswoman 1st Lt. Kristin Dalton said. “There, he will be processed for extradition to California where he will face criminal charges brought by local authorities.”

While Kruzik is “in the hands of civilian authorities,” he has not been discharged from the Marine Corps, Dalton said, clearing up an erroneous report from California authorities that Kruzik had been dishonorably discharged.

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Ayala High sex abuse suit can proceed

CHINO – A judge has ruled that a sex abuse lawsuit brought against the Chino Valley Unified School District can proceed to trial.

The plaintiff, given the pseudonym “John Roe 79,” filed a law suit in August against the district for damages based on negligence, negligent hiring, sexual battery and sexual harassment as well as other issues.

Attorneys for the school district argued that the complaint should be tossed out because it was not presented within six months after the alleged abuse, as required by law.

The alleged incidents from 2000 to 2002 involved a former Ruben S. Ayala High School student and a former color guard instructor at the school.

The plaintiff is seeking $20 mil lion in damages.

Judge David A. Williams over ruled the timely claim-filing requirements this week in West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga.

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‘Firm sold Israel torture instruments’

A Danish-British security company has sold torture instruments to the Israeli prisons, holding Palestinians inmates, a Danish newspaper has written.

The firm, named G4s, sells the devices to the detention facilities in the occupied West Bank, which provide the necessary means for torture of the Palestinian prisoners, Berlingske Tidende reported on Nov. 23.
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Retired airman accused of soliciting minor

An outstanding warrant remains in effect for an Air Force officer accused of soliciting sex from a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl in an Internet chat room.

Maj. Reinaldo Canton was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of meeting a girl he met online at a mall in Layton, Utah. The “girl” was actually an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent working for an Internet sex crimes unit.

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Former airman convicted of killing 3-year-old

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A 22-year-old Great Falls man was convicted Monday of killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.

A Cascade County jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Jerimie Hicks guilty of deliberate homicide and solicitation to tamper with evidence in the death of Kaelyn Bray. Hicks, who was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base at the time of the girl’s death, will remain in custody without bail until he is sentenced in six weeks.

County Attorney John W. Parker said he would seek a life sentence without parole.

Prosecutors said the former airman severely beat Kaelyn on Feb. 26, leading to her death from brain injuries three days later. But Hicks, who was the only one with the girl when she was injured, said she suffered minor injuries when he shoved her into the wall out of frustration. He told police she fell down the stairs later after tripping on their puppy.

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Police: Priest solicited murder of boy accusing him of sex abuse

(CNN) — A Catholic priest, facing criminal charges and a lawsuit alleging that he sexually abused a teenage boy, is now charged with attempting to hire someone to kill the youth, authorities said Tuesday.

The Rev. John M. Fiala was in the Dallas County, Texas, jail on Tuesday, charged with one count of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the jail’s website. He also is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. His bail totals $700,000.

Fiala, 52, of Dallas, was out on bond on other sexual assault charges involving the youth, now 18, when he allegedly attempted to negotiate the boy’s murder, said Thomas B. Rhodes, the teen’s attorney.

He was arrested last week after he offered an undercover agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety $5,000 to kill the teen, according to department spokeswoman Lisa Block.

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Ignoring You is Not a Cognitive Defect

So a bunch of high school teachers are upset that their students are bored with them. Well, that’s not how they say it. Instead, the New York Times has the backs of boring, stupid teachers everywhere: “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.” If kids didn’t have iPhones, they would pay attention in school.

Really?

What’s the last book you’ve read. How often do you – a big, bad, enlightened adult – sit down without the television or radio on? How often do you seek the lengthy solitude of reflection and reading? Can you even sit in silence for an hour?

Adults rarely read, and that’s fine. Adults spend most of our time in a distraction from our impending death. Or is there another justification for TV?

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Canadian archbishop in pedophile case

Canadian police have charged the head of the Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America with two counts of sexual assault on young boys.

Archbishop Kenneth William Storheim, who has held many Church positions in Canadian communities, turned himself in to Winnipeg police on Wednesday after being charged. He has since been released on bail and is waiting to appear in court on January 10.

Authorities launched an investigation into the allegations after Storheim resigned from his post in October.

Canadian media report that the archbishop sexually assaulted the boys while he was the rector of a Winnipeg parish from 1984 to 1987.

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Calilfornia marijuana Legalization debate gets interesting

Two Norfolk teachers put on leave over material about police

Two Norview High School teachers were placed on paid administrative leave this week after a parent complained that they distributed classroom materials that gave advice on how to deal with police if stopped.

The materials – a one-page handout and a video distributed and aired in a 12th-grade government class – are sponsored by two organizations, one a nonprofit that supports legalization of marijuana and one that calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The last paragraph of the flier, titled “When Dealing with Police” states, “Remember You have legal rights, but many police will not respect your rights. Be careful – Be Street Smart.”

Schools spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather said division leaders are investigating the incident over concerns that the materials were unauthorized.

The parent, who asked not to be named out of fear that her daughter could be ostracized or get a lower class grade, told The Pilot that she contacted the division and police after her daughter described the leaflet and video.

“She came home recently and said, ‘You won’t believe what we are learning in Government. They are teaching us how to hide our drugs,’ ” the parent recounted.

Last week, an Oakwood Elementary School employee was placed on leave with pay in connection with the distribution of plastic fetus models to children, which division leaders also considered unauthorized material. Oakwood’s principal was also put on leave in connection with the incident, and an investigation is continuing.

Mather said it is uncommon to have to put staff on leave for using inappropriate materials. The division typically gets no more than two parent complaints a year about the suitability of textbooks or library materials, she said.

The leaflet handed out at Norview describes the rights citizens have if they are stopped or arrested by police or witness police activity. It is posted on the Web here.

A credit on the leaflet reads, “Assembled by the Crimethinc Police Unwelcoming Committee.” On its website, Crimethinc.com calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The video, “Busted: Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters,” is posted online here.  It opens with a portrayal of young adults stopped by a traffic officer who searches their car and arrests them for marijuana possession. Other scenes depict police questioning a young man at a bus stop and patrol officers who visit a home where loud partiers are smoking marijuana.

A commentator on the video states, “Whether or not you break the law, this video is designed to explain what the law is and how you can legally and properly assert your constitutional rights through even the most stressful police encounters.”

For each scene, the commentator explains how legal rights apply to police searches of vehicles, homes or individuals and how people can cite those rights during encounters with police.

The video was created by Flex Your Rights, a nonprofit that advocates educating the public about how constitutional protections apply during encounters with law enforcement. The production has gotten 2.3 million viewings on YouTube since November 2006.

The video’s end credits cite funding from the MPP Foundation, which is part of the Marijuana Policy Project. On the Web, the group advocates legal regulation for marijuana and noncoercive treatment for problem marijuana users.

Pilot writers Hattie Brown Garrow, Lauren Roth and Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer contributed to this report.

Steven G. Vegh, (757) 446-2417, steven.vegh@pilotonline.com

Desert Spring Middle School Security Guard Accused Of Raping Student

DESERT HOT SPRINGS — A security guard at Desert Springs Middle School is behind bars, today, and faces charges that forced sex on a child.

Marvin Cash was arrested at his home in Desert Hot Springs by police, and brought in for questioning, Tuesday. He will be transported to the Riverside County Jail, where is bail is set at $50,000.

Police tell News Channel 3 several students came forward, and reported incidents involving Cash. Details of the encounters were not released.

Cash was arrested for committing a lewd act on a child under 14-years-old, sexual battery, and annoying/molesting a child under 18.

Desert Hot Springs Police say they have contacted Palm Springs Unified School District to inform them, and they cooperated with the investigation.

Stay with News Channel 3 and KESQ.com for more.

California passes bill to counteract ‘disturbing’ Texas curriculum

Measure ensures Texas standards don’t ‘creep into our textbooks,’ senator tells Raw Story

The California Senate on Friday approved legislation that sends a clear message to Texas and textbook publishers: don’t mess with our kids’ minds.

“My bill begins the process of ensuring that California students will not end up being taught with Texas standards,” State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who authored and sponsored the legislation, said in an interview. Texas standards had better not “creep into our textbooks,” he said.

The S.B. 1451 measure – approved on a bipartisan vote of 25-5 – requires the California State Board of Education to examine and report any discrepancies between the new Texas standards and California’s standards. “At that point,” Yee told Raw Story, “we will make it very, very clear that we won’t accept textbooks that minimize the contributions of minorities and propagate the close connection between church and state.”

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Wainwright GI told to remove Facebook video

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska-based soldier is under investigation for a video on his Facebook page that taunts smiling Iraqi children by asking if they’re gay, if they engage in certain sex acts and if they would grow up to be terrorists.

The two young boys did not appear to understand the questions, which were in English, but smiled at the camera and at times flashed “thumbs up” gestures during the 30-second clip.

Spc. Robert A. Rodriguez, who is based at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, was ordered to remove the video from his site, Army spokesman Maj. Bill Coppernoll said Monday.

“The incident is currently under investigation, and the Army will take appropriate action based on the findings of the investigation,” he said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Rodriguez shot the video or just posted it, and discovering that will be part of the Army’s investigation, Coppernoll said.

The video is “disgraceful and clearly inconsistent” with standards expected of every soldier, he said.

Raleigh, N.C., television station WRAL first reported the video after another soldier stationed at Fort Wainwright shared it with friends in North Carolina, who took their concerns to the station.

WRAL aired part of the video and quoted from Rodriquez’s Facebook page before the site was made private.

Above the Facebook video posting — which was titled, “future gay terrorist!” — is written, “i got bored in iraq … so I kept myself entertained!”

The boys are shown on a dirt road, facing a camera.

A voice is heard asking the boys, “Are you going to grow up to be a terrorist?”

When the boys show two thumbs up, the voice on the video says, “Yeah. All right. Cool. Yeah, terrorist.”

There was no phone listing for Rodriguez in the Fairbanks area. Coppernoll said he did not know the soldier’s hometown, but the video of the Facebook page shown on WRAL indicated Rodriguez listed Miami.

“For anybody to be so cruel and disrespectful to children of any country but especially a country that we are occupying is really disgraceful and repugnant,” said Tim Stallard, a spokesman for Alaskans Together for Equality.

Captain pleads guilty to online enticement

An officer from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., pleaded guilty in federal court May 17 to a charge of online enticement after traveling to Tennessee to have sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Capt. Felix Tran, assigned to Air Mobility Command, will be sentenced Sept. 23 in Chattanooga, Tenn. He faces a minimum sentence of 10 years, said Bryan Hoss, Tran’s defense lawyer.

The 32-year-old officer met the girl five years ago while playing the online fantasy game Everquest II, according to court documents. The two developed a relationship via online chat, e-mail, MySpace, text messages and phone calls. The girl’s mother discovered the relationship after Tran mailed the teenager a sex toy, and an undercover employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation began working with the family in November.

The girl invited Tran to visit her in Chattanooga, where Tran was arrested shortly after he arrived Dec 18. According to an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent, Tran knew the victim’s age and worried he was being set up by police.

He was taken into custody following his guilty plea, and Hoss said his client will be discharged from the Air Force soon.

“He was keeping his unit aware of what was going on,” Hoss said. “They knew this day was coming.”

VicPD Officer Ordered to Stay Quiet

Local opposition to Arizona law sought

At Tuesday’s Beaumont Unified School District board meeting, trustee Mark Orozco called on his fellow board members to consider a resolution opposing Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law, which he pointed out gives police in that state the right to detain anyone who is suspected of being in this country illegally, or for failing to provide proper documentation of citizenship.

“Under the new law, Arizona police now are required to stop and question anyone they reasonably suspect of being undocumented,” said Orozco, who is a history teacher at Marshall School in Pomona. “I am deeply troubled, and as an educator, I am disturbed by the lessons this law teaches our children about democracy, inclusion and nondiscrimination.”

Orozco called Arizona’s law an attack on civil rights of Arizona’s Latino population, and likened the situation to the way Jews were treated in Germany prior to World War II, when they were required to carry documentation with them at all times.

“The right of undocumented immigrant children to a K-12 public education has long been protected,” Orozco said. “This legislation may be the start of a very slippery slope. What’s next? Will lawmakers require teachers, education-support professionals and school employees to act as immigration agents?”

Orozco said that he feared the impact that potentially oppressive measures could “impede on the mission of teaching and learning.”

“I understand that my peers and some members of the community will probably criticize me … but it needs to be said,” Orozco said during board comments at the end of the meeting. “I am speaking not just as a board member or public official, but also as a leader of our community and a concerned American citizen who cannot sit by and be silent.”

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Former Operation Phoenix manager sentenced in San Bernardino

A former community center manager in San Bernardino’s anti-crime program was sentenced this morning to 28 years in state prison in his child molestation case.

Michael Steven Miller, 50, was sentenced according to a plea bargain that he had initiated with prosecutors. As part of that agreement, he admitted in March to 10 felony counts of committing a lewd act with a child and one count of a forcible lewd act.

Dressed in green jail garb, Miller sat and listened as one of the victims addressed the court at his sentencing hearing in San Bernardino Superior Court.

“You are not a human being. You have no heart or soul. No regret, no remorse and no conscience for what you did for so many years,” the victim read from a statement to the court.

Prosecutors had accepted Miller’s offer after consulting with the victims and their families. The resolution to the case means the victims will be spared from having to testify in public at a criminal trial, according to Deputy District Attorney Lynn M. Poncin.

Miller had managed an Operation Phoenix community center located on North Sierra Way at what is now Master’s Plan Church of the Nazarene.

Miller was arrested in July 2008. Prosecutors initially charged him with 24 felony counts, which included one each of committing a forcible lewd act with a child and possessing child pornography. The remaining 22 counts were for committing lewd acts with a minor.

The criminal complaint filed that same month in 2008 in San Bernardino Superior Court alleged Miller had three victims, one of whom was connected to activities at the Phoenix center, said Poncin. The crimes occurred from June 1997 to November 1998 and from October 2007 to July 2008.

Read tomorrow’s edition of The Sun for more details.

Bill Cranfill, former Redlands police officer, charged with child molestation

A retired Redlands Police Department lieutenant jailed in a 2008 molestation probe posted $100,000 bail over the weekend and was given a July court date.

Billy Lee Cranfill, 55, of Redlands, had been held on suspicion of lewd acts with a minor under 14 years old. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department detectives arrested him Thursday at the University of Redlands, where he worked as interim public safety director.

A girl reported the alleged abuse, from April 2008, to a counselor on Wednesday. Detectives said Cranfill, who retired last December after 32 years with Redlands police, knew the girl, but released few other details.

Prosecutors have received the case to determine if charges will be filed. If so, Cranfill is scheduled to be arraigned July 19, records show.

Ex-cop in molestation case wins disability retirement

Head of U of R security charged in molestation case

2010 National Drug Control Strategy

President Obama’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy uses a multifaceted approach to combat drug abuse and drug use in America’s communities.

This Strategy “provides a collaborative and balanced approach that emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system, and international partnerships to disrupt drug trafficking organizations. Because nearly all Americans are impacted by the consequences of drug use, the Strategy is designed to be relevant at the local level. Whether you are a parent looking for information, a community member interested in treatment resources, a police officer or local elected official searching for new approaches to drug-related crimes, or someone who wants to know more about the Administration’s drug policy, the National Drug Control Strategy will serve as a useful resource.”

Kids Overimitate Adults, Regardless of Culture

Whether they’re preschoolers from Australian suburbs or Kalahari Bushmen, children copy adults to a fault, according to a new study. The findings suggest that over-imitation—in which a child copies everything an adult does, even irrelevant or silly actions—is a universal human trait that may contribute to our complex culture.

Researchers already knew that over-imitation was a human-specific quirk. In previous studies, dogs and chimps taught to open a box and retrieve a toy copied their teacher’s toy-seeking behavior only when it proved efficient. When the instructing adult added irrelevant actions, such as brushing a feather along the edge of the box before opening it, the animal trainees skipped them, doing only what was necessary to get to the hidden toy. But human children copied every detail, even the pointless brush of the feather.

“Animals focus on getting the job done,” explains Mark Nielsen, a psychologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. “Humans seem to almost forget about the outcome and copy everything we see.”

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223,190 Kids Legally Beaten in US Schools

For the first time in over 18 years, Congress has held hearings on the use of Corporal Punishment in U.S. Schools. In the coming weeks, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY) will introduce a bill to institute a federal ban of corporal punishment in all US Schools.

Every 20 seconds of the school day, a child is beaten by an educator. Every 4 minutes, an educator beats a child so severely that she seeks medical attention. According to conservative reporting to the U.S. Department of Education 223,190 students were the victims of institutionalized violence at least once in the 2006-2007 school year, of which over 20,000 sought medical attention.

Pre-school age through high school, students are being beaten with boards, belts, paddles, and whips… in public schools… in the United States… and while corporal punishment has been repeatedly shown to be ineffective and has deleterious effects on students, the practice continues and is legal in 20 states.

The iron age practice of “corporal punishment” is still legal in 20 states and there are no federal laws prohibiting it. The National Association of School Nurses defines corporal punishment as “the intentional infliction of physical pain as a method of changing behavior. It may include methods such as hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, pinching, shaking, use of various objects (paddles, belts, sticks, or others), or painful body postures.”

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Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirements in Federal Law

The Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have just released a new report which provides the results of a joint study of the federal legislative process for all studied non-violent criminal offenses introduced in the 109th Congress in 2005 and 2006.

Sponsored by Representatives Robert Cortez “Bobby” Scott and Louis Buller Gohmert, Jr., Chairman and Ranking Member of the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, the study reveals that “offenses with inadequate mens rea [guilty mind] requirements are ubiquitous at all stages of the legislative process: Over 57 percent of the offenses introduced, and 64 percent of those enacted into law, contained inadequate mens rea requirements, putting the innocent at risk of criminal punishment. Compounding the problem, this study also found consistently poor legislative drafting and broad delegation of Congress’s authority to make criminal law to unaccountable regulators.”

Former Beaumont school teacher/coach arrested

A man who once worked as a substitute teacher and coach with the Beaumont Unified School District was arrested last week on suspicion of committing lewd acts with a minor, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Ryan Moreno, 26, of Baker in the High Desert, was arrested April 26 after deputies and detectives from the Crimes Against Children Detail responded to Baker Valley High School on a report that two teachers were sexually involved with two female students, age 15, from the school. Beaumont Unified School District Superintendent Barry Kayrell said Moreno worked for the district last year as a substitute teacher and coach, mainly at the high school. Kayrell said Moreno has has been terminated from the district’s substitute list. According to personnel staff at Banning Unified School District, Moreno was never employed in the district.

Moreno was arrested for lewd acts with a minor, sex with a minor under the age of 18 years involving a suspect who is at least 10 years older than the victim. He is being held at the West Valley Detention Center on $250,000 bail.

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US school for disabled forces students to wear packs that deliver massive electric shocks

Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI)  has filed a report and urgent appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture alleging that the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center for the disabled, located in Massachusetts, violates the UN Convention against Torture.

The rights group submitted their report this week, titled “Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center,” after an in-depth investigation revealed use of restraint boards, isolation, food deprivation and electric shocks in efforts to control the behaviors of its disabled and emotionally troubled students.

Findings in the MDRI report include the center’s practice of subjecting children to electric shocks on the legs, arms, soles of feet and torso — in many cases for years — as well as some for more than a decade. Electronic shocks are administered by remote-controlled packs attached to a child’s back called a Graduated Electronic Decelerators (GEI).

The disabilities group notes that stun guns typically deliver three to four milliamps per shock. GEI packs, meanwhile, shock students with 45 milliamps — more than ten times the amperage of a typical stun gun.

A former employee of  the center told an investigator, “When you start working there, they show you this video which says the shock is ‘like a bee sting’ and that it does not really hurt the kids. One kid, you could smell the flesh burning, he had so many shocks. These kids are under constant fear, 24/7. They sleep with them on, eat with them on. It made me sick and I could not sleep. I prayed to God someone would help these kids.”

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Study Describes Difficulties of Latino Kids in U.S.

WASHINGTON – Latino children face obstacles in education and health that make their success as adults and their integration into society more difficult, the National Council of La Raza says in a study released Wednesday.

Latinos make up 22 percent of the country’s total population under age 18, a percentage that is predicted to grow in the coming years.

The examination of the basic statistics of that group reveals an “alarming” situation that must be corrected, says the report, which was put together by the NCLR’s Patricia Foxen and Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau.

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California’s Bay-Area Transit Police Stripped Of Tasers

Have we finally reached the point at which police over-use and abuse of tasers will start resulting in the danged devices being taken away? The Bay Area Rapid Transit police are losing their tasers after a police sergeant attempted to tase a 13-year-old boy on a bicycle whom he was pursuing by car. Oh, and there was last year’s fatal shooting of an unarmed, restrained man on a subway platform after a BART police officer confused his handgun with his taser. California’s KTVU reports:

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Soldier faces 17 years for running brothel

BALTIMORE — A soldier formerly stationed at Fort George G. Meade has been sentenced to 17½ years in federal prison for running a brothel out of his Millersville apartment.

Prosecutors say Craig Corey conspired with three other men from his hometown of Chillicothe, Ohio, to bring women to Maryland to work as prostitutes. He pleaded guilty to sex trafficking by force, sex trafficking of a minor and related offenses.

The men recruited at least 12 women from Ohio, New York, Virginia and other states to join the brothel and advertised their services on Craigslist. Prosecutors say one of the prostitutes was 16 years old.

The men also dealt drugs out of the apartment. Corey’s three co-defendants — Jacob Tyler, Robert Harris and Richard Johnson — pleaded guilty to similar charges.

US puts child soldier on trial

A new US law on military trials will be put to the test this week when a long-running case of the Canadian-born terrorist suspect Omar Ahmed Khadr, who was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 aged just 15, resumes in Guantanamo.

Khadr is accused of killing an American soldier during a gun battle, but his lawyers claim that he only confessed to the killing after being tortured.

Under a new US law, evidence obtained through cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment cannot be used in trials. Other legislation rules out the prosecution of child combatants under 18.

“Back in 2002, the US signed and ratified the optional protocol which is a protocol to the Convention on the Rights of a Child. In that protocol, we determined as a nation that we were not going to prosecute children – child soldiers,” Eric Montalvo, who specializes in military law, pointed out.

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Child sex `no breach of virtue’, some priests believe

Some priests didn’t see the molestation of boys as a breach of their celibacy vows, retired Catholic bishop Geoffrey James Robinson says.

The former auxiliary bishop of Sydney blames the absence of women from church life as a catalyst for the sexual abuse crisis enveloping the faith.

In an interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly, Bishop Robinson says boys suffered more than girls at the hands of pedophile priests partly because they were more available to them, with nuns tending to play a greater role in the religious education of young girls.

There was also a view among some offenders with whom he had worked that a priest’s celibacy vows weren’t broken if a boy was involved.

“We’ve met it often enough to see it as a factor,” he tells the magazine, out today. “That’s what the vow of celibacy refers to, being married. If it’s not an adult woman, then somehow they’re not breaking their vow.”

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Ex-teacher gets 3 years, 8 months for molesting students

In a brief letter to her molester — a former teacher at Pacific Rim Elementary School — a young girl managed to capture the gravity of a situation that shattered the innocence of three victims and would send a man they once trusted to prison.

“Dear Mr. Firth,” the girl wrote in a letter read by her mother in court. “I am appalled by and upset with you for what you did.”

She explained that Raymond Firth’s behavior, while working as a teacher for the Carlsbad Unified School District, had caused many children to suffer and for that he deserved to be sent to prison.

“You purposely made people think you were nice so you could do this to kids …,” the girl said in her letter. “I think I am a hero for coming forward and that you are a villain for doing something like that to me in the first place.”

Firth, 39, was sentenced Monday to three years and eight months in prison. He pleaded guilty March 19 to two counts of sexual battery and one count of false imprisonment, all felonies. The charges relate to three young victims in his third-grade classrooms during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years.

Firth will have to register as a sex offender for life. Had he been convicted of all the charges he faced originally, he could have been sentenced to up to 18 years in prison.

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Sarkozy proposes total ban on the burqa in France

F

At the April 21 meeting of the French cabinet, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that a bill banning the wearing of the burqa or niqab full-face veil in public would be put before the cabinet in May. The bill is a blatant attack on democratic rights, moving France towards extra-legal rule.

Prime Minister François Fillon stated that the government would fast-track this legislation, even though such a law could be ruled unconstitutional and contrary to the European Convention of Human Rights. “We are ready to take legal risks because we think that the stakes are worth it”, he said, adding. “We cannot encumber ourselves with prudence in relation to legislation that is unsuited to today’s society…. If we have to shift the jurisprudence of the [French] Constitutional Council and that of the European Court of Human Rights, we think that it is our public duty to do so”.

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Memo to America: Stop murdering my people

Almost every day, the NATO occupation of our country continues to kill innocent people. Each time, it seems, military officials try to claim that only insurgents are killed, or they completely deny and cover up their crimes. The work of a few courageous journalists is the only thing that brings some of these atrocities to light.

For instance, it was only after the reporting of Jerome Starkey of the Times of London that officials admitted to the brutal Feb. 12 murder of two pregnant women, a teenage girl, and several young men in a night raid at a home where a family was celebrating the birth of a child.


Night raids, air raid “mistakes,” firing on civilian buses and cars at checkpoints — the occupation finds many ways of killing the people of Afghanistan. The excuses and lies for these deaths are like salt in our wounds, and it is no wonder that protests against the U.S. military are growing. The Afghan people have had enough.


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First Europe, then the US – now abuse claims sweep Latin America

The pedophile priest scandal currently enveloping the Vatican has spread to one of the most Catholic areas of the world following a string of new abuse revelations throughout Latin America.

Reports of priests raping or abusing minors have now emerged in Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Mexico and Chile causing growing anger in a continent that is home to nearly half the world’s Catholics.

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Court case reveals diocese pattern of sending problem priests to desert

BARSTOW • As the sex abuse scandals that plague the Catholic Church continue to make headlines, a recent lawsuit has brought new information to light regarding the San Diego Diocese’s placement of priests with a history of sexual abuse in desert parishes, including St. Joseph Catholic Church in Barstow.

One man involved in the lawsuit, known only as John Roe 65, says that he was abused by a priest at St. Joseph in 1972 while attending school there. The lawsuit was settled out-of-court last week for an undisclosed amount. The school at St. Joseph closed in 2002.

Roe 65 was able to file the suit because he served in the United States Navy from 1977 until 2006, and statutes of limitation do not apply while a person is serving in the military.

The two priests named in the lawsuit who served at St. Joseph are Anthony Rodrigue and John Keith.

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Deportation’s Harmful Effect on Children

This brief from the International Human Rights Law Clinic University of California, Berkeley School of Law , In the Child’s Best Interest? The Consequences of Losing a Lawful Immigrant Parent to Deportation states “Congress is considering a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws more than a decade after the enactment of strict immigration measures. Lawmakers should take this opportunity to reaffirm the nation’s historic commitment to family unity by addressing the discrete provisions that currently undermine it. Current U.S. immigration laws mandate deportation of lawful permanent resident (LPR) parents of thousands of U.S. citizen children, without providing these parents an opportunity to challenge their forced separations. Through a multi-disciplinary analysis, this policy brief examines the experiences of U.S. citizen children impacted by the forced deportation of their LPR parents and proposes ways to reform U.S. law consistent with domestic and international standards aimed to improve the lives of children.”

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Child rape charge rocks TSA

A Transportation Security Administration worker who pats down members of the flying public was charged with multiple child sex crimes targeting an underage girl yesterday.

The bust outraged privacy and passenger advocates who say it justifies their fears about Logan International Airport’s full-body scanner.

“It’s a huge, huge issue,” said Kate Hinni of FlyersrRights.org. “The TSA needs a complete overhaul . . . If you have a pedophile looking at those naked pictures, they’ve got all your information, it’s a gross violation of their authority. . . . They should make sure none of them is corrupted in any deviant sexual manner.”

Sean Shanahan, 44, of Winthrop was held on $50,000 bail after he was charged with two counts of statutory rape, two counts of enticing a minor and one count of indecent assault and battery. He was arrested yesterday at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he had checked himself in after a suicide threat, prosecutors said.

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Paul Schrader: Transparency- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

The questions asked at most of my events and from people all over the county is, what are they hiding, and why is the sheriff and his command staff not open and available to the public.

As part of my fresh start approach to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, it will be my duty to see that the Department is above reproach in order to restore and retain the respect and trust of the public. My first objective is to make all areas of the Department transparent, especially the jails. There will be an open dialogue maintained with the community and community activists who have questions regarding the Department, including the jails.

In order to bring justice to those wronged and closure to those who have done right, I will have all internal investigations expedited. The community will know the truth, and Deputies will be treated fairly and in accordance with “The Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights”.

This is the right thing to do.  Check out my website at www.sheriffpaul.net and let’s work together for a TRANSPARENT Department.

Paul Schrader: Community Responsibility- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

My name is Paul Schrader, and I am running for the position of Sheriff-Coroner of San Bernardino County. My campaign is based on what we call the Fresh Start Initiative. My goal is to bring a Fresh Start to San Bernardino County that the citizens can be proud of, participate in, and see concrete, forward-looking solutions to the problems we face.

Community Responsibility- A Sheriff’s Department that accepts its responsibility to the community, and works with the community to improve
conditions for all.

The other day I was in Chino Hills. I was talking with a guy by the name of John. He said he would like to see the Department executives reaching out to the community, finding out what needs and concerns they have.  He said when he has tried to reach anyone of any rank, he is directed to a patrol deputy.  He is frustrated.

While in Victor Valley I talked to Helen. She had a few of her friends with her. She said she wanted a group to help bring the Department and community together. She said the Department said she could volunteer. She tried to call the Sheriff’s Office and was redirected to a patrol deputy. She does not want to be a volunteer, she would love to be part of a community group that could partner with the Department. She is frustrated.

I hear this throughout the county. Deputies are being utilized to answer questions that should go through Department executives. Our deputies are trying to provide law enforcement services and need tools to do the job even better.

I will have community groups in every area of the county. We will meet and work together, ensuring they are getting service needed in their area. I will be available to citizens. This is being done in Departments all over the State.

CNN poll confirms: Most Americans believe their government is a threat to their welfare

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

Karl Rove Chased Out of UCSB

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department buys gear from company targeted by sweatshop investigators

The Safariland website is a virtual big box retailer of tactical equipment, chemical weapons and forensics for police departments, military and private security contractors. The Premium Wallbanger System is used for SWAT team entry operations and can create a shooting port through a wall. It can use an explosive charge to breach metal doors and provides OVC spray coverage. The Protech brand makes a rifle threat plate that can withstand multiple rounds from an AK-47. The DeltaNu Reporter is a handheld illicit drug identification system. The Monadnock Autolock defender baton is expandable and comes with a guard for hand protection.

In the early days Safariland kept it simple. The Ontario-based multinational corporation birthed in a ’60s suburban Los Angeles garage was known for custom holsters. The manufacturer claims that 70 percent of peace officers in North America currently use Safariland duty gear. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department purchases duty gear from the manufacturer.

Decades of growth and a series of mergers and acquisitions has left Safariland the flagship of 19 companies under control of the British defense contractor BAE Systems. The free trade business model of the ’90s put Safariland in a factory in Mexico well before the consolidation with BAE systems took place. The North America Free Trade Agreement fueled the growth of maquiladoras. The border factories import materials into Mexico for assembly and then re-export them to the U.S. to enter the global marketplace.

The treaty made conditions ripe for economic and environmental exploitation. The effect of the duty-free and tax-free provisions of NAFTA that leave little or in most circumstances zero development in the communities the workers live.

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“Honored” Miramar Marine Beats Son of 4 Months to Death

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Days after he was first questioned by police, San Diego police arrested a Marine whose infant son died one day after he was brought to a hospital with injuries.

Police and military authorities said Lance Cpl. Michael D. Bixby, 22, was arrested shortly after noon Tuesday. He is expected to be arraigned this week in a San Diego court on a possible murder charge, police Lt. Ernie Herbert said in a news release.

Paramedics said they found Bixby trying to resuscitate his 4-month-old son, Andru Bixby, at the family’s home at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Feb. 17. The child was taken to Children’s Hospital; he died the next morning.

An autopsy by the county medical examiner found Andru Bixby died of blunt force trauma and classified the death as a homicide.

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Kentucky troopers caught on tape attending cockfight

MANCHESTER, Ky. — Two roosters tear at each other in a fenced ring in a recent match in Kentucky.

But even more shocking then the illegal fight in the ring may be who was in the crowd watching, says the Humane Society of the United States.

Camera footage from an undercover operation shows children and uniformed police officers attending the recent cockfight, the Humane Society says.

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FBI probes US school webcam ‘spy’ case

The FBI is investigating a Pennsylvania school district officials accused of secretly activating webcams inside students’ homes, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation will explore whether Lower Merion School District officials broke any federal wiretap or computer-intrusion laws, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Days after a student filed a suit over the practice, Lower Merion officials acknowledged on Friday that they remotely activated webcams 42 times in the past 14 months, but only to find missing student laptops. They insist they never did so to spy on students, as the student’s family claimed in the federal lawsuit.

Families were not informed of the possibility the webcams might be activated in their homes without their permission in the paperwork students sign when they get the computers, district spokesman Doug Young said.

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ACLU sues USAID for FOIA violations over abstinence-only programs

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for failing to provide documents regarding its overseas religiously-influenced abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. In July and September 2009, the ACLU sent USAID requests for the programs funded through HIV/AIDs grants, including requests for proposals, contracts with USAID, curricula used by grantees, communications between USAID and the White House, and communications between USAID and its grantees about religious instruction in the abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

A recent Inspector General’s report says the programs unconstitutionally promote religiously infused materials and messages.

For more information, click here.

12-year-old American arrested for doodling on desk

A 12-year-old girl from New York has been handcuffed and arrested by the police for doodling on the classroom desk, an incident that has shaken the US education system to its core.

Alexa Gonzales, a seventh grader at the Junior High School in Forest Hills, had written the words “I love my friends Abby and Faith. Lex was here 2/1/10 :)” on the classroom desk with a green marker when the school principal decided to have her arrested by the New York City Police Department.

Consequently, Alexa’s hands was cuffed behind her back while she was escorted from school to the police precinct across the street in front of her teachers and her classmates.

“They put the handcuffs on me, and I couldn’t believe it,” Alexa told CNN. “I didn’t want them to see me being handcuffed, thinking I’m a bad person.”

Alexa missed three days of school because of the psychological ordeal she faced. Her mother said she spent those days throwing up, and she found it difficult to catch up on homework when she eventually returned to school.

The case has cast a dark shadow over the use of so-called zero tolerance policies adopted in schools in the US.

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Army recruiter arrested in sex case

For the second time in less than a year, an Inland military recruiter has been arrested on suspicion of engaging in a sex act with an underage girl.

Christian Rigal Mercado, 25, of Moreno Valley, was jailed Wednesday after a security guard at the Inland Center Mall in San Bernardino reported that he saw him involved with the girl inside a parked car. Mercado later posted $50,000 bail.

The 17-year-old girl was a potential U.S. Army recruit, said San Bernardino Police Department Lt. Dan Keil.

Mercado, who was booked on suspicion of oral copulation with a minor, worked as a recruiter out of the Army’s office on Mt. Vernon Avenue in San Bernardino. He has been suspended from recruiting duties pending an investigation, army officials said.

“We’re a values-based organization, and basically, we have no tolerance for infractions of the law,” said Nya Paul, a spokeswoman for the Army’s Southern California Recruiting Battalion, which oversees the Inland region’s offices.

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Arpaio Tactics Causing Fear And Loathing In Maricopa County

Sheriff Joe Arpaio‘s crusade against Maricopa County officials has created a “year-long emotional roller-coaster” for some county employees, they tell the Arizona Republic.

Arpaio, whose controversial immigration enforcement tactics have made him a nationally known figure, is reportedly being probed by a federal grand jury. The investigation is considering whether the sheriff abused his power by going after political opponents and others who crossed him, including several county supervisors and judges.

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Arrested TSA worker asked girl to be his ’sex slave’

A Transportation Security Administration employee in Florida is behind bars this weekend after a 15-year-old girl claimed he groped her and asked if she would be his “sex slave,” according to published reports.

Charles Henry Bennett, a 57-year-old TSA worker at Orlando International Airport, is being held without bail after he reportedly confessed to a version of the described events, even acknowledging his shocking request. The girl was allegedly 13 at the time. According to a police report discussed in area media, Bennett allegedly grabbed the girl’s breasts from behind and solicited her.

“It’s unclear exactly where the alleged abuse took place and how Bennett and the girl met, because the arrest report detailing the abuse is heavily redacted,” local news site Florida Today noted.

The arrest was a product of an investigation initiated after the Florida Department of Children and Families was informed of the girl’s allegations, the publication added.

Multiple news agencies cited Bennett’s MySpace page, but none linked readers directly to it. On the page attributed to Bennett, text describes him as “a BDSM Master” with “many years experience in the lifestyle and as a trainer.”

BDSM is an acronym commonly used to refer to sexual fetishes that fall in the bondage, dominance, submission and masochism categories.

“I am very open minded n expect the same from friends. I enjoy meeting new ppl in the lifestyle and those that r curious,” the page adds, concluding that its owner is searching for “Submissive females”.

“Police said the girl was reluctant to provide specific details about the incident and appeared sullen,” NBC affiliate WESH 2 in Orlando reported. “They said she also expressed sorrow at the prospect of Bennett being arrested. While she did not report any other episodes of abuse, she did not deny other acts of sexual assault occurred, the police report said.”

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