Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cyberbullying: Ain't Just Kid Stuff!

The "new mail" sound pinged and I clicked. "I would love to watch you get punched senseless. ... You are a (expletive) failure, a typical New York failure. If I ever find any of your written nonsense on MSN or Yahoo, it will probably get ugly."

The "in-real-life" bullying I endured in middle school was so bad that I used to come home in tears, wishing that I wouldn't wake up the next morning. And yet, here I am, more than a decade and a half later, dealing with a far more virulent strain: cyberbullying.

E-mails, comments, Facebook, Twitter. If there's a way to reach people electronically, there's a way to make them cry.

My haters love to focus on my physical appearance. I have body parts I didn't even know could be called hideous - "sausage fingers" and "elephant knees," for example. But it doesn't stop there. One commenter wrote: "Julia, you are a despicable person. Ugly inside and out, with ZERO redeeming qualities. ... (D)espite your best efforts to scrub it all and land a husband ... which will NEVER happen, btw."

This represents just a fraction of the hate that has been thrown my way - as well as in the direction of my friends, family, boyfriends and employers. Why? As a columnist and as a social media user, haters feel I am fair game. They do it because they can. Because I "asked for it" by sharing anything at all.

We live in a world of more than 600 million Facebook accounts, 160 million blogs, 190 million Twitter accounts. Are we all "asking" to be cyberbullied?

The White House convened its Conference on Bullying Prevention on March 10 and launched StopBullying.gov.

"This isn't an issue that makes headlines every day, but it affects every single young person in our country," President Obama told the conference.

I would amend that statement: Cyberbullying affects all people, not just the young.

Bullying spans generations: 45-year-old bullies raise children who become 13-year-old bullies who grow up to be 28-year-old bullies. And here's my "controversial" proposition: Kids aren't the only ones who should be protected from them.

Until we agree that cyberbullying is an absolutely unacceptable way to treat other people, the cycle of harassment will continue.

The government's new website defines bullying as when someone uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. Online dynamics are such, however, that a handful of haters can become a mob and target anyone, regardless of age, economic status or "real-world" power.

"It goes beyond name-calling," said 37-year-old A.B., a veteran blogger who has experienced the devastating effects of motivated online bullies. The hate wormed its way insidiously into her life. She posted, "What would make you stop?" Her bullies' response: "Die."

"People are like, 'Oh, don't read it,' but how can you not stand up for yourself?"

Especially when no one else is.

One of my readers, Sara, described encountering nasty comments about herself online. "It KILLED me. I was devastated. I felt it physically; I could literally feel the blood drain from my body every time I found a new one."

Following someone around on the street while screaming insults at them would be considered at the least, crazy - and at the most, criminal harassment. So why is it accepted online?

"All of us have an obligation to think about how we're treating other people," Obama said at an MTV forum in late 2010. "What we may think is funny or cute may end up being powerfully hurtful."

We must go further. Internet companies have long brushed aside complaints about often-anonymous users who engage in personal attacks. "Not our problem," seems to be their prevailing sentiment. Individuals cower behind anonymity, and because it can be difficult, time-consuming and costly to discover true identities, they remain de-facto exempt from libel and defamation laws.

Our government should step up and enact protections for citizens of all ages. A cyber police force doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

We can't force people to like someone, but we can and should ensure that they don't hurt others.

Julia Allison is a columnist, TV personality, public speaker and former Wired cover girl. Visit SocialStudiesColumn.com

original article here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SPYING - for those being cheated on

By: Dr. Robert Huizenga

Should you spy on your cheating husband or wife? You believe you see signs of a cheating spouse. The need to know whether your spouse is cheating and EXACTLY what kind of cheating is taking place is often strong. There are a number of reasons why the drive to spy is powerful. Here are seven:

1. Trust is a big reason, not of your partner, but yourself. Probably for some time you have sensed something is different or questioned the change of behavior in your partner. Perhaps you confronted your cheating husband or cheating wife and it was met with denial. This created a huge dilemma for you because a part of you was screaming, Hey, this doesn’t fit! I don’t believe it! To deny this part of you, which KNOWS the truth, creates a tremendous internal turmoil. If the truth as you suspect it is confirmed, you can take a deep breath and at least know that you can trust yourself.

You are NOT CRAZY! Spying is a way to confirm your suspicions and trust more fully your gut feelings.

2. Spying on cheating husbands or cheating wives often helps the person feel connected to the partner who seems to be steadily moving away. It is a way of maintaining contact and having some sort of connection to this stranger who once was well known. Isnt it like the game of hide-and-seek we used to play as children? Sometimes there, sometimes gone. At least it is a game, and a game is at least some contact, some involvement. You miss the connection and try to find someway to maintain the ties.

3. Spying on a cheating spouse may be an honest attempt to bring resolution to the relationship. You want to know the truth. You sense something does not fit. You suspect there is a breach of something. You want to know what you are up against. You are not willing to stand pat and wait. You are a person of action. You want some sort of movement. You want to get on with the relationship. You want to get on with your life. You know that it is difficult maintaining your sanity when there might be this huge elephant that no one is talking about. You want to know the truth, face the truth, deal with the truth and be free.

4. Cheating husbands or cheating wives often, unfortunately, lead to the demise of marital relationships. If you strongly suspect this to be true for your situation you will want to protect yourself legally. If there is betrayal, lying and deception regarding a third party, other forms of deception may exist financially or in other areas of the relationship. Having evidence does have some impact in some court systems. Whether you need to protect yourself legally depends on the kind of affair facing you and the character of your spouse. If your spouse is someone who can't say no, doesn't want to say no or is acting outraged, please make sure to take protective steps.

5. You may want to protect yourself medically if you suspect you have a cheating husband or wife. You might be concerned about sexually transmitted diseases. Your health may be at stake. And, of course, you need to know. Shame, guilt or self-absorption may be so powerful in your partner that it gets in the way of responsibly informing you of the medical dangers when another partner is sexually brought into your relationship.

6. Seeing signs of a cheating spouse often mean secrets. Secrets are work! There is not much written about the impact of a secret in a relationship, but believe me, in over two decades of working with strained relationships day in and day out, keeping a secret has a powerful impact. It is the proverbial elephant sitting in the room that no one dare talk about. People take extraordinary measures to tip toe around it, but it IS there.

Emotionally, you cant miss it. Secrets are a drain. If the secret persists, its impact is felt in subtle but insidious ways. People become physically ill, sometimes seriously so. People become depressed. People start doing crazy things. Children start acting out, stop achieving, become listless or exhibit a host of other symptoms. Children, or the next generation, often carry the emotional load. You want to spy because you dont want to live with a secret. You want to discover the truth. You want to feel the freeing power of the exposed secret and the opportunity it offers for healing, resolution, a rich relationship and a productive life.

7. Some of us like drama. Soap opera scenarios and adrenaline based lives are a hallmark of our society. We get juiced or pumped up entering into emotional relational triangles that offer intrigue. Without adrenaline, life seems boring or mundane. Perhaps an unspoken reason for an affair may be to fan the fire? Or, you may spy on your cheating spouse to keep the sense of being alive a part of your life.

Internet Con Man Dupes Mothers into Abusing Their Kids


(MICHIGAN, USA) In real life, Steven Demink didn't have children, a college degree or a lasting career. Online, prosecutors say, he presented himself as Dalton St. Clair, an attractive single father and psychologist — a fantasy image authorities say the Michigan man used to persuade mothers across the country to commit unspeakable acts on their children.

Demink, 41, of Redford Township, preyed on single mothers for more than a year, prosecutors say, convincing them to sexually assault their children as a form of therapy. After pleading guilty Monday to six charges related to the sexual exploitation of children, Demink faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in June.

Demink's alter-ego was a single father of a 14-year-old girl, prosecutors said, and he posted pictures of male models as his headshots. In some cases, court documents say, Demink promised the women a date if they followed through with his directions.

Since authorities arrested him in October, seven children were rescued and at least three mothers have been arrested. Prosecutors say all of the children are now safe.

Authorities say Demink chatted with mothers from New Hampshire, Florida, Idaho and elsewhere, persuading them to engage in sexual acts with their children and send images via e-mail or through a live web stream. The children ranged in age from 3 to 15.

Demink told U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen that before his arrest, he worked as a car salesman for about six months and before that for about five years at a local bank. He said he completed a U.S. Customs and Border Protection training program in 2002 and worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service for about a year. He attended college for about two years but did not earn a degree, he said.

As part of his plea agreement with prosecutors, seven charges against Demink were dropped.

In one case, Demink started online chats with an Oregon woman about the sexual development of her 8-year-old autistic son, according to the plea agreement. He told her to engage in sexually explicit conduct with her son as a way to teach him about sex, prosecutors say, and she did so while Demink watched on a web camera.

"Demink intimated to these women that the result of the therapy would be healthier children," the document said.

Federal agents were tipped off to his operation by the Teton County Sheriff's Office in Idaho, said Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations. The mother of a woman who had been chatting with him called sheriff's officials in late 2009.

A Teton County Sheriff's Office report from December 2009 said the Idaho woman met "Daltonst28" on an online dating site called singleparentmeet.com. She told police she performed sex acts on her young son as directed by her online male friend.

The woman's mother, Eileen Schwab of Idaho, said she knows little of how Demink convinced her daughter to follow his orders. She said her daughter was "depressed and lonesome" after her divorce.

"I don't know how he wrangled her in," Schwab said. "She could have turned off the computer and gone the other way. He must have had a power over her."

Her daughter pleaded guilty last May to lewd conduct with a child under 16 and is currently in prison.

Another mother who was arrested was from New Hampshire and pleaded guilty in December to producing child pornography, which carries a possible sentenced of 15 to 30 years in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced in March. A message was left seeking comment from Larry Dash, a federal defender representing her.

A woman from Lee County, Fla., also has pleaded not guilty to five counts and was being held without bond in Florida. She faces a May trial in federal court in Fort Myers, federal defender Martin DerOvanesian said.

Prosecutors say Demink also is linked to four other mothers in Indiana, Georgia, Illinois and Oregon but has not been charged with crimes related to those communications. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy said those cases can be considered during sentencing.

We are not naming the women to protect the identity of the children.

Demink's attorney, Timothy Dinan, said his client "has expressed a lot of remorse" for what he did and has taken responsibility by pleading guilty. Dinan said Demink's parents, who declined to be interviewed, are praying for their son as well as the victims and their families.

"It's a shame he couldn't ask for help," Dinan said.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Written by the EOPC Team
(originally published December 02, 2005)

Here's the question - is it LEGAL to expose a cheater or abuser online? We remind you that this piece contains our personal OPINIONS only and was written for the purpose of consideration and discussion.
In short, it appears
the current answer is YES. But this could change in the near future.

Most of these type of sites have rules for exposing the people listed. The current interpretation seems to say if you have proof to back up what you say, and it is truthful, it is not libel or slander or defamation. But remember, laws can be changed with enough pressure.

One site that exposes cheating men recently had a group attempt to launch a lawsuit against them. Guess what happened? Other than whining & moaning about how the cheaters and their families were harmed? Not much. The cheaters' website was looking for advertisers and money to help support their "cause." (Their site & cause are now BOTH defunct) Besides, now there are so many other choices of sites available to expose people, both men and women! (Additionally, the men trying to launch a lawsuit all admitted to affairs, cheating and lying to others online... but were angry about their families being harmed. -- Sounds like Dorksy, gridney/ Yidwithlid, Beckstead, etc. Maybe they should have thought of that before they went online to prey on innocent, vulnerable women and then treat them and smear these victims when they were caught in the lies & game playing. In short, they had NO SUIT!)

This same site had a man named Todd Hollis attempt to sue them for defamation. It got to court and rather than "having his day," the suit was tossed out by the judge before it even got that far.
According to judge R. Stanton Wettick, the "Defendant’s Web site is accessible to anyone connected to the Internet anywhere in the world. Under plaintiff’s argument, defendant could be hauled into court in any state for any controversy. This result would be inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s understanding of the requirements of due process."

Exposure sites have very specific terms of use - honesty is a must and the legal onus is on the poster. Site owners and posters believe the men are angry they have been caught and exposed. (these cheaters & abusers always deny what they did, play the victim, say their family is being hurt or that the victim(s) 'knew what they were doing' or were psychos, scorned, etc. Always! It's a red flag that the person smearing them is attempting to defame his victim(s) so no one will listen to the REAL STORY)

Recently we were asked if most of these abusers and cheaters feel ashamed, sorry or sad about what they have done. Answer: "Not that we have seen!! In fact, it seems that they usually become indignant, angry and lash out at the person(s) that exposed the truth about them. They only "feel sorry" to try to rope the victim into saying nothing about them and to stop the tide of truth from exposing all the rest of their evil deeds."

Sad? Yes they are. Sad they got caught. And some of them do clean up their act for a few weeks, months or even years - but usually go RIGHT BACK to it and are sneakier about it next time.
If you consider that many of these people fall into a destructive sociopathic and narcissistic pattern you
will find that many of them will go to therapy or even make long, carefully-crafted confessions to their partners. They even keep tweaking their stories until they find one that works. Here's one beaut that one of our predators tells to this day, that is the exact opposite of really happened, is pure slander and leaves out a lot of pertinent facts to make them (the Cyberpath) appear the victim:

You were an old girlfriend of Yidwithlid from an upstate NY college. You used the internet to track him down after 30 years, which wasn’t too hard because he’s a published writer.

You had cyber-sex with him and then got him to agree to meet up with you. When he did meet up with you, to his horror, he saw that his ex-girlfriend from college had ballooned into a 275 lb fat pig with poor hygiene and he didn’t want to bang you.

He politely excused himself by saying he couldn’t do this to his wife. You then began stalking him and his family, driving by his house, sending letters to his wife, his parents, his in-laws, his rabbi, the police, anyone with whom you thought you could slander his good name. His poor wife was left with no choice but to report you to the police after you threatened to harm her children.

Sound familiar porkchop?

Or there's the old "she's a scorned crazy woman" that this guy uses. Or this Cyberpath who says the victim who exposed him is "mentally unbalanced." Or this guy who has sworn for the last few years it's "all lies" and he's "writing a book to tell the truth" and "suing everyone." Don't buy it!

Once they find themselves "CURED" (We use that term loosely because deep down they justify everything and see NOTHING wrong with their behaviors) they will, step by step, go right back to their predatory ways either online or off. Being an online cheater is an addiction and takes a lot of honesty and giving up personal time to break an addiction or not trade it for something equally addicting and destructive.

The worst part is these cheaters and abusers usually accuse their wounded targets of harassing both them and/or their partners/ families and even stalking them. This is nothing more than a preemptive strike.

It common for internet predators, abusers and cheaters to enlist their local police in harassing their victims by showing the police carefully selected instant messages and emails to support their claims and need to cut down the once "beloved' target."
This move sometimes makes their victims back down but usually the retributive attack can't be backed up.
  • Be careful, the law regarding internet communications is still new so ask yourself:
  • Are you exposing them to be mean or get revenge?
  • Or are you doing it to warn others and possibly stop the cyberpath from destroying themselves and their families?
  • Are you being vindictive or shedding real light on the situation?

When you point the finger at someone there are always three fingers pointing back at you. Your stories may help some potential victim see the patterns of behavior displayed by these people and avoid a lot of heartache. They may be cathartic as well. Telling is well known in psychiatric & medical communities as healing for victims.

As it stands, these communications are considered like any internet bulletin board posting as long as it doesn't contain telephone numbers or other information someone could use for identity theft.
The exposure site owners say it is a matter of opinion.

In many cases, the cheater's spouse, therapist or partner may even stand up for the cheater/ abuser. These people do "seem" so contrite. They tell them to NEVER speak to their victim(s) again. Is that right? Maybe not
. It doesn't offer an outlet for the cathartic anger and venting these exposure sites allow. It doesn't allow for healing on either side. It shows no empathy towards the victim.

Counselors for internet addiction say the cheaters should come clean with their partner AND all their victims. They also suggest trying to reframe the relationship into something more productive and honest for both people. Cutting off the victim is cruel and allows the abuser to then bend their stories without reproach, launch a smear campaign against their victims, run away from any responsibility and lie to everyone even more... including themselves. 12-Step addicts know that you must make direct amends.

Of course, some hide behind the step that says "unless to do so would cause more harm." In this case the cheater convinces themselves it would harm the victim even more. Baloney. The truth is not only a great leveler but also a great healer. In fact, new programs for restorative justice bring some prison inmates together with their victims which has been proven to be very healing for both of them.

So, think about it: if you internet predators, cheaters and abusers truly want to mend your ways then trying to erase what you did online by creating new identities and blocking victims isn't the solution, is it?

Now back to the lawsuit mentioned above. The owner of the site that was threatened with a lawsuit says:
"Most of them say that the [person] who posted [the profile] is crazy, that something is wrong with [the poster]; and that they're [the abuser/ cheater] saints."

Domestic Violence advocates say this is classic and typical abuser-speak. It's never the cheater or abuser, it's always the person who found them out! Sort of a no-good-deed-goes-unpunished moment. Unlike the public posting of the locations of known, convicted sex-offenders, this does seem to be more problematic in terms of fairness.

The another site sheds more light on the process:
"I don't want to ruin someone's life.... But, I can't control if you are player and a bunch of women post things about you. That is just a karma thing."

In one case, City of Kirkland v. Sheehan, Bill Sheehan, a man in Washington State says he put up a website in an effort to make the police more publicly accountable. He published information about local police officers from the City of Kirkland and other municipalities in Washington including their names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, spouses' names and more. The police officers claimed this required them to enhance their personal and job security measures as well as expend funds in response to the listings.
The case also alleges the site caused stress to both them and their families. This allegation is similar to the one made by the group attempting to shut down the cheating man site.

The ruling on the case held that the First Amendment protected the site:
"[I]n the absence of a credible specific threat of harm, the publication of lawfully obtained addresses and telephone numbers, while certainly unwelcome to those who had desired a greater degree of anonymity, is traditionally viewed as having the ability to promote political speech. Publication may arguably expose wrongdoers and/or facilitate peaceful picketing of homes or worksites and render other communication possible."

As for the cheating man site? A former U.S. attorney Scott Christie was quoted in the New Jersey Star Ledger,
"Yes, it's all legal. If I were the owners of this site, I wouldn't be concerned. They're providing an outlet for people to express their opinion. It's much like hosting a bulletin board for people with a common interest,. People are giving their opinion about other people — they're entitled to it under the First Amendment."

And this from Canada.com:
According to a privacy lawyer from Halifax, (snip)

"If the person's reputation is in Canada, and they are in Canada, and likely the person who posted the information is in Canada, there's more than enough connection for Canadian defamation law to apply," says David T.S. Fraser, chair of the privacy practice group at McInnes Cooper. But he hastens to add the statements aren't considered defamatory if they're true.

"If you're a slug," says Mr. Fraser, "it's only appropriate people know you're a slug."

And think about this: The people who post the pictures/profiles on any site are making an "allegation" — nothing more. Many of them aren't offering evidence that is irrefutable and verifiable other than their account. With sites that do, they make sure they have evidence. But what are the reasons for doing this? Is it a warning, catharsis, revenge or a credible threat? That's something the poster needs to ask themselves before they get into a very sticky legal situation.

In an article on FindLaw, writer Anita Ramasastry brought up some current cases involving exposure sites, digital information and their interesting findings. One case stated that the First Amendment does not protect all personally identifiable information in every context, even those published online. In a 6-5 decision (close), in Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, Inc., et al., v. American Coalition of Life Activists, et al. an en banc panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction against a web site that did publish personal information of abortion doctors.

This particular case involved a website called the "Nuremberg Files." It published the addresses, photographs, addresses and other personal information of physicians and others who either provided or supported abortion services. The website also had strike throughs on the names of those who had been murdered and grayed out the names of those who had been wounded. The majority in this close decision held that the "pattern" in which the posters appeared — coupled with the fact that other abortion providers had been killed — transformed the posters into something of a symbolic threat. As such, the information was not protected by the First Amendment.

One owner of a website about cheating, abusive men says this about their site:
The Terms of Agreement and Privacy Policy are currently being re-revised and there are some terms that a woman needs to agree to before she can add a man to the database. All this basically comes down to two issues - Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment and the issue of a private person's right to privacy.

However, in a sense, aren't search engines such as Google merely large databases of information which also include personally identifying information of millions of humans?! If Google can do it, why shouldn't smaller websites such as mine be able to do it without legal reprecussions?So, okay, we have people who are exposing the misdeeds of others in a cyberspace court of public opinion. Of course this pisses off the cheaters because they want a higher threshold standard of guilt/proof or because they disagree with the concept of outting anyone publicly for what they feel should be a private matter. However, here's our personal look at another beneficial perspective of the people making these claims.

If someone posted our pictures/profiles in a database and we learned of it but it wasn't true, then we probably wouldn't waste time even rebutting it. Why? Because if we're innocent, then the burden is not on us to prove such, at least not under American jurisprudence — legal or moral. And we don't use and abuse people online or off - so we are not afraid of scrutiny. Misinformation and slander is easily proved and then we'd ask the site administrator to remove it. Threats such as being "out to get you" or "you're done" or "I will not hesitate to kill you if I see you" - are illegal and should be reported immediately to the FBI nearest where the threatener lives. (CLICK HERE for U.S. Offices)

In short - its a catharsis the victims won't get anywhere else. What are the victims of these men and women to do with their anger, pain and hurt? Suck it up and allow the abuser to move on to another victim? Tell or not tell his spouse, partner or family? Stew in their feelings?

One exposure site owner says:
It is better than going out and slashing his tires. It makes the victims feel better and gives them a way to express their bitterness and hurt."

In light of precedents like these, it's extremely likely that any law that simply tried to ban cheating men/ women sites, information aggregators like Zabasearch or "digital dossiers," would be struck down as contrary to the First Amendment. But could a more narrowly written law constitutionally restrict such sites and dossiers and be on the books soon? Some feel yes, such a law would be desirable. Some feel no, that the internet should not be restricted in such a manner as long as it does not pose a threat, symbolic or otherwise, to the persons posted as long as the information is true and proveable.

Perhaps if you are a guilty party, rather than trying to cut down the person(s) exposing you it would be better to call a qualified internet addiction counselor to stop your abusing ways. You would be doing everyone, including yourself, a favor.

Then, see what you can do to get the posting removed without a counterattack. Just talking to the person(s) you suspect posted it and working on amends honestly seems better than a Judge Judy or Jerry Springer hate-fest.

Ramasastry says in her article "... legislators should consider regulating how densely information can be collected online - regulating, that is, how thick our digital dossiers really can be. Doubtless, any attempt to do this will raise First Amendment objections. But this is one issue where privacy and the First Amendment truly clash - and the First Amendment cannot win every time."

And to the victims of these cheaters, liars, internet predators and abusers, remember: NOTHING beats sunshine and fresh air to disinfect abuse!
Tell, but do not do it to endanger the person you are angry at or their families in the process. The laws are still being worked out. These sorts of internet exposures won't go away. Think of the National Enquirer and Globe articles that have caused ugly lawsuits.

Write your representatives and tell them your concerns or feelings about internet privacy.

And if you have been cheated on? Vent but exercise caution in posting anyone's personal information.

DISCLAIMER: We are not lawyers and this article is our personal opinion. It should not be construed as legal advice, in part or in whole, in way, shape or form.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Internet predator approaches 1,000 girls on Facebook

(U.K.) A homeless man who approached more than 1000 teenage girls for sex on social networking site Facebook was yesterday jailed for having intercourse with an underage girl.

Dylan Lewis, 21, who is originally from Bethesda, North Wales, admitted taking the fifteen year old to a B&B in Holyhead, Anglesey, where they had unprotected sex five times.

Mold Crown Court heard how he had met the teenager on the internet and that he had confessed to a probation officer that he had approached around 1,000 teenagers for sex.

Online targeting

The court heard that 15 of those he approached agreed to meet him at a B&B and stay overnight with him but that he had been too nervous to take matters further.

Prosecuting barrister Gordon Hennell told the court that the girl had changed from her school uniform into casual clothes, and that they then caught a bus to Holyhead where they found a B&B.

He said: 'He met her over the internet, he asked her to meet up with him. She was aware that he was 21 and he knew that she was 15 because her date of birth was on her Facebook profile.

'On Facebook he told her he loved her, that he wanted to make love to her, and she seemed to be under some peer pressure to lose her virginity,' Mr Hennell explained.

He added that on the night in question the Lewis had a swig of cider and offered some to the girl, but she declined.

'Sex was consensual but it was clear that he initiated it and that she went along with what he was suggesting,' he added.

Lewis admitted two charges of sexual activity with a child and was jailed for 27 months.

He was placed on the sex offender register for ten years and a ten year Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) was made under which he is banned from befriending any young people under 16. It also places constraints on his use of the Internet.

Judge Peter Heywood said that it seemed that Lewis had an interest in girls of that age and that he had targeted them in the past with a view to meeting them.

He added: 'You contacted her via Facebook, you and she met, she bunked off school and went to your home to change. You both then went off to look for somewhere to stay and ended up in a B&B in Holyhead. You then had sexual intercourse. That in my view is a serious offence that clearly passes the custody threshold. There was a significant difference in your ages.'

He said that Lewis' actions were 'disturbing' and 'a matter of significant concern' while adding that there were factors which could lead him to the view that Lewis was dangerous, a risk of committing further offences in relation to young girls.

But he told the court, the defendant did not meet the criteria for a sentence for public protection or an extended sentence. He said those options were not available to him.

However, the judge said he hoped that the SOPO would ensure that he did not commit such offences again and accepted that the girl had consented to what took place.

But he added that the legislation was there 'to protect young girls from themselves' stressing 'I accept that when intercourse took place between you, she was a willing partner. She was not coerced in to going with you. She did it of her own free will.'

The court heard that the girl had played truant from school and had been reported missing.

Paulinus Barnes, defending, said that while Lewis had previous convictions there was nothing of a sexual nature and argued that there was a disparity of age but it was not of a great magnitude and it had been an entirely consensual agreement.

Lewis did not accept that there had been any manipulation.

He said: 'They met on the Internet and both were keen to meet.'

The court also heard how Lewis had a sad and troubled background. There was no family in court to support him.

Lewis was not particularly mature but had led a rather solitary life, in and out of hostels, and was currently of no fixed abode, said Mr Barnes.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Online Dating & Online Prostitution Cause Rise in Rapes

Online Dating Pictures, Images and Photos

By Christopher D. Kirkpatrick

excerpts from the article:
(NORTH CAROLINA, USA) Reported rape is up 16 percent in Mecklenburg County this year, fueled by the popularity of Internet dating and online classifieds offering sexual services, Charlotte police and experts say.

“In the past, (rapists) would have to hunt and stalk,” said Sgt. Darrell Price, who's in charge of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's sexual assault unit. “Now, all you have to do is (get on the Internet), and she's waiting for you at a hotel room.”

Officials also say a higher percentage of victims each year are coming forward to report rape. Nationally, the number of rapes reported to police has increased by 30 percent since 1993, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Greater media coverage, including attention from Oprah Winfrey, is lessening the shame and social stigma of being a victim, says Brandy Redmile Stephens, victim services director for Charlotte's United Family Services. The nonprofit has been seeing more victims lately, but she couldn't say how many more.

“It's getting easier for them to understand that it's not something they should keep a secret,” she said. “They're more informed.”

In North Carolina, a new state law that passed this year allows victims to provide medical evidence anonymously and free before deciding if they want to call police. To be effective, medical evidence needs to be collected within 72 hours of an assault.

In the past, victims without medical insurance might have paid $800 or more for an ambulance, emergency room and for a doctor or nurse to collect the evidence, Stephens estimated. The state-run N.C. Rape Victims Assistance Program now reimburses a medical staff up to $1,000.

Medical professionals also used to require the victim to report the rape to police before they would collect evidence. So victims who had financial concerns or were too traumatized missed their chance to provide forensic evidence and regretted it later, Price said. Now, they can decide later if they want to file a police report and still preserve evidence, he said.

“It gives the victim much more power,” he said.

Outreach is helping
Rape is the only major crime category up this year, according to statistics.

Through July, there were 26 more rapes reported to police (185) than last year, when CMPD investigated 159 rapes during the same period. That goes against a two-year trend that saw fewer reported rapes in Mecklenburg.

Price said he believes the Internet is playing a role in the rising numbers. But he also explains the increase as a result of stepped-up outreach programs by the department during the past year and a half.

No Cyber-Case Registry
No central authority or group is counting how many sex crimes are Internet-related, said Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy lawyer and executive director of New York-based wiredsafety.org, an Internet safety group.

But she said it's clearly going up, and the dangers are real – even for women dating online through 'reputable' cyber-dating sites.

“The crimes are notoriously underreported,” said Aftab, who is regularly consulted by government and media outlets on the subject.

Her group advocates changing police forms and FBI crime reporting requirements to include a cyber category to better track it: “Right now, it just shows as a general sexual assault.”

Locally, experts say more date rapes and sexual assaults are growing out of Internet chat room introductions and from dates arranged through popular cyber-dating sites.

But Charlotte-Mecklenburg police also are reporting a surge in crimes against women who blatantly advertise adult sexual services on the Internet, Price said.

Some are prostitutes advertising through sites such as Craigslist, which offers free Internet classified ads. They try to hook up with clients in Charlotte hotel rooms, but end up getting robbed or raped, police reported. Others are arrested for prostitution in police stings.

Since September, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say 13 robberies and five sexual assaults have resulted from ads placed by women advertising sex services. And police also arrested at least 24 prostitutes and johns in a June sting operation.

Concerned about the increase, Price said he sent an e-mail to Craigslist last week asking the online posting company to warn women advertising personal services that Charlotte had become too dangerous for them.

Craigslist has drawn fire in recent months for its adult services ads. S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster threatened to file criminal charges earlier this year against Craigslist executives. Craigslist and its CEO Jim Buckmaster fired back with a lawsuit, which is pending. N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper has also focused attention on MySpace and Facebook over sexual predators...

Craigslist did not respond to the Observer's request for comment about the Charlotte incidents or Price's request for the company to post a warning.

Authorities say the company has helped with criminal investigations, including helping track down a suspect police say raped a Kannapolis woman at her husband's request in late May 2009.

Price said he doesn't know how Charlotte might compare to other big cities but said the number of victims in “such a short period of time” is a concern for the department.

It was a simple request. … It's just a matter of time before one of them gets murdered,” he said.
One in six women and one in 33 men will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime.

College-aged women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted.

Sexual Assault Numbers
  • In 2007, there were 248,300 sexual assault victims.
  • Every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
  • Approximately 73 percent of rape victims know their assailants.
  • Only 6 percent of rapists will ever spend a day in jail.
For more information visit www.rainn.org. The group also runs a national sexual assault hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

When meeting someone for the first time, remember to:
  • Insist on a public meeting place.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you're going.
  • Take your cell phone.
  • Consider having a friend accompany you.
  • Trust your instincts.
For more information about personal safety online, check out these resources: http://getsafeonline.org, http://wiredsafety.org

Saturday, March 05, 2011

What is Google Saying About You?

cyber bully pic Pictures, Images and Photos

Do you know what lurks online?

Internet Safety has become a priority concern for many parents. Whether you are worried about predators online, or your child’s social networking; don’t forget about your child’s (especially teens) virtual image.

Today more and more colleges and employers are using your name or your child’s name in a “Google Search Box.” They may use other search engines, but Google seems to be the trend and most frequently used.

Years ago I woke up to find myself in the middle of a Cyber-War that I literally thought was simply a nightmare and what I was seeing/reading online had to be a mistake.

It wasn’t! If you can imagine the most horrible things being said about you, including sexual innuendos, anti-semantic remarks, and worse, you will be living what I went through.

My never before told story is finally told in my upcoming book, Google Bomb, The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet (Health Communications, Inc. September 2009). People that have reviewed this book are simply stunned, shocked and amazed what can happen to you if you are not aware of your online presence or have a cyberstalker.

Google Bomb will not only go behind the scenes of my 2+ year court battle that vindicated me with a landmark $11.3M jury verdict for damages done to me online (Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy), it will also offer you practical guidance. Have you been slimed online?

What does this have to do with parenting? Your child will be applying to colleges someday, or filling out job applications. Are they aware of what Google is saying about them? For that matter, do you know what Google is saying about you?

Remember, it can take 20 years to build a solid reputation about you, and only 20 minutes for it to be destroyed with evil keystrokes. Whether you have a disgruntled client, a friend turned foe or a relative that didn’t like the reading of a will – you need to be prepared to protect your cyber profile.

From students to teachers, lawyers to landscapers, truck drivers to doctors, stay-at-home moms to career women, teens to grandparents – no one is immune to what lurks online.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Staying Safe Online -- Are You REALLY Anonymous?

It's tempting to feel that you're anonymous online, protected from potential cyberstalkers by cryptic user names and website privacy settings. But is that really true? How easy is it for a malicious person to track someone down, based solely on personal information they've made available?
Anonymous Pictures, Images and Photos

We launched an investigation to find out.

The process started by picking a random person on Flickr. She had an unusual user name that we're going to call French Puppy (although all personal details have been changed), so no obvious clues there, but her profile linked to a personal website, LeahTphotos.com. First name Leah, but what was the T?

Website registration details often include the name and address of the creator, so we searched for "LeahTphotos.com" at whois.net. No luck, though, as it was registered to the name of a web design company, presumably the folks who built the site.

People often use the same user name around the web, and so we next tried searching for "French Puppy" at Google. Some hits, but not the right person.

Maybe her website name was the key? We tried another Google search for "LeahTphotos.com" and Leah, and success - we found a reference on another site that included her full name, a real breakthrough.

Entering this at Facebook gave us several hits, but we recognised her photo as a match for others on Flickr. The account was private, but revealed that she was in the Brighton network, and provided a list of all her friends. Within 60 seconds we had her phone number from BT.com, while 192.com helped out with her address, details of the neighbours, and even a handy map revealing how to get to her house.

That was enough, and we then emailed our test subject to explain what we were doing and why. She's since removed the page that linked LeahTPhotos.com to her full name, and so is a little safer as a result.

But what's really worrying isn't just that we could uncover so much in less than five minutes work on the very first person we tried. It's that the next two individuals we investigated were even easier to track down. And that suggests your privacy could be compromised just as quickly, unless you follow very strict rules about what you say online.

Seven rules for staying safe online

1. Don't give away your real name unless it's absolutely necessary.

2. If you register a domain name for a website then consider getting privacy protection as well. This lets you register with your real details, but ensures they're not available to the public, and is an option now offered by many companies (1steuro.net say they include it for free).

3. Don't tell people where you live, or work. Don't hint at it, perhaps saying you've just visited a particular place because it's "just around the corner".

4. It really should be obvious to say don't post details like your phone number online, but astonishingly people do this quite frequently. Try a Google search like "my cell number is" site:myspace.com to see what we mean.

5. Don't post links between your various internet homes, for example telling people on favourite forum A that you also post on message board B. And don't register the same user name everywhere. This only makes it easier to stalkers to follow you around the web, put together clues from different places, and uncover useful information.