Tucker Teacher Sentenced To 30 Years For Sex Crimes

Almarcus Dewayne Thomas, the Tucker math teacher convicted of multiple sex crimes, was sentenced this week to 30 years, 20 of which he will spend behind bars.

Thomas, 43, was arrested a year ago after the Internet Crimes Against  Children  (ICAC) Unit investigated him for alleged sexual activity with a 15-year-old female student at Tucker Middle School.

He pleaded guilty to multiple counts, including child  molestation, statutory rape, sexual battery and invasion of privacy.

“These alleged crimes involve a man who preyed on a minor while in a  position of authority and respect as an educator,” DeKalb County  District Attorney Robert James said in a statement. “This plea reflects  the acts of a monster who molested, abuse and took advantage of women  and children in DeKalb County. We hope this begins the healing process  for all individuals and families affected by these heinous crimes.

Credits: TUCKER PATCH

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Mom pleads guilty to allowing men to repeatedly molest her 6-year-old daughter

Story from Examiner.com

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Dalina Nicholas, 36, from Jacksonville Beach, Fla. pleaded guilty in court Wednesday to allowing her 6-year-old daughter to be repeatedly molested and sexually abused in exchange for drugs and money.

The charges against the Fla. mom amounted to four guilty counts of child neglect.

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There is no sentence strong enough for crimes such as this. Nothing will ever allow this child to enjoy the life she should have had. So the cycle continues.

Child Abuse, Past, Present and Future

By Kennesaw Taylor

In 1873, Etta Wheeler, a nurse was making rounds in a tenement, in New York City. She had heard stories about a girl who was being held hostage and abused by her foster family. After talking her way into the apartment, she caught her first glimpse of nine year old Mary Ellen.

The child was barefoot, half clothed and half starved. A cat of nine tails lay nearby, and her arms and legs showed the effects of its use. Her face bore the look of suppression and misery. Over the next two months, Mrs. Wheeler reported the child’s plight to police and charities trying to save her, nothing was done. As there were no laws to protect children, no laws were being broken.

She contacted Henry Bergh, the president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which had been started nine years earlier. Bergh convinced a judge to allow the society to intervene.

“I saw the child brought in wrapped in a horse blanket, at the sight of which men wept aloud.” Jacob Riis.

Mary Ellen’s body was one large bruise, and her face wore scares and slashes caused by her foster mother’s scissors. Using the only tools available, which were laws placed on the books, to protect animals, they saved Mary Ellen. This was the first case of removal, and New York City was the first to establish a child protective agency.

Mrs. Wheeler and the suffragettes then went on a campaign against child abuse. Their programs were rooted in prejudice as most were women of wealth and privilege. However misguided their efforts, something was being done.

Throughout history, children have been viewed as property or as possessions. In many cases, people had as many children as possible, to provide the free labor needed to run the farm or business. Up until the Civil War children were being used as slave labor throughout the world. While slaves had some rights and were considered valuable for their monetary worth, children held no such value. A war was fought in this country, to end slavery, as children worked in factories and died every day from starvation and worse.

If you became an orphan before the Civil War and for some time after, your chances of living to be old enough to escape the orphanage were slim. After the Civil War children were taken from families at an alarming rate. To be placed in foster care or an orphanage, at that time, was akin to being placed in prison. The entire affair was a good old boy system which further victimized those placed into it. Since most of those being taken were children from the poor, immigrant neighborhoods, no one cared.

Then child abuse advocacy faded again. Throughout World War I, the depression and World War II, it was ignored. The family needed to be a strong, sacred institution so children took one for the country.

Child abuse advocacy mirrors, social revolution, and as it had begun during the years following the abolishment of slavery, it resurfaced during the Civil Rights movement. In the early sixties, laws were passed requiring doctors and teachers to report suspected child abuse. It was during this time it was discovered X-rays could clearly distinguish between normal broken bones and those broken during abuse. For the first time, child abuse could be proven.

With the freedom of the Cultural Revolution, sexual abuse was discussed for the first time. Studies determined that all forms of abuse ran across our entire society, crossing all cultural, economic and sociological boundaries. Abuse was no longer believed to afflict only the poor, which was never true.

What followed was a veritable witch hunt. For years, allegations of abuse destroyed children and parents alike. While much was accomplished, many innocents were persecuted. Many lived in fear of a system, still rife with better than thou people. Children and adults, mostly from the lower classes feared and loathed it. We are still dealing with the backlash of that witch hunt today.

 

Last year there were three million reported cases of abuse in our country. Admittedly the studies, which produce these statistics, indicate there are two unreported to each reported case. That means nine million cases in America last year. Of those, only nine percent resulted in charges. Out of that nine percent, only nine percent resulted in a conviction. There are five children beaten to death in our country, each day at the hands of those they know, love and trust. Their average age is three years old. This number has recently been raised to ten per day.

The child protection service agencies have now become reactionary entities. So many laws were placed into effect, after the witch hunts, that in many cases, their hands are now tangled in red tape. By the time a child can be removed, many times that child is damaged beyond repair. They will go on to visit the horrors they endured upon another generation of innocent children.

The thousands of Social Workers and Foster Parents are not at fault. They are far outnumbered and poorly supported. These jobs are the hardest on the earth and those who do them are unsung heroes.

Foster Parents must give of their hearts freely, to children who have no idea what a heart is and place no value on the gift. The Foster Parents I’ve talked to, assure me one child who becomes a productive, loving person, is worth the hundreds of broken hearts and spent tears they endure.

Now for the question I am asked repeatedly. What can be done about child abuse?  Clearly our current system does not work. Greater minds than mine have worked on this problem for the last century. Yet the statistics grow. Frustrated, the majority of our population continues to turn a blind eye. They ignore the numbers which continue to grow despite the educated, enlightened nature of our country and the world.

When a thing hurts too much, it’s easy to look away.  I deal with this daily; advocates against child abuse are not popular and spend much of their time speaking to smiling, agreeing people who will never speak to them again. Many of us who were abused have inherent flaws, which prevent us from being Foster Parents or adopting. In many cases, the educated, have no experience and look down on those who do. They forsake the help of those who have a better understanding and a vested interest in stopping this epidemic. I say again, beware the self righteousness of the right. It’s easy to pass judgment on children when you have no clue what they are going through.

Now for the answer, if there is one. In some societies, children are trained to hate beginning at their earliest moments. I am in no way suggesting such a course of action. However, to put an end to such hate requires wiping the slate clean.

What I mean to say is, in order to decrease the massive amounts of abuse; the change needs to start with the young. First a few words of caution. Already the country believes that a child must simply cry wolf to condemn their parents. I am told often that we have lost control of our children, because we can no longer punish them. Furthermore, they are disrespectful and lazy. Again, excuses to stand by and allow what is happening, to continue. However, to some extent this is true and another indicator that our system is failing. If you don’t know the difference between discipline and beating a three year old to death, write me, I’ll explain it.

We cannot legislate this out of our society. We may jail as many as we like, but until all Americans understand, to our core, that children are not possessions or property there will be no change. Parenting classes given to adults will not make this go away. This change must start with our children. We need to develop a curriculum that can be taught, beginning in the first grade and continued throughout their education. One which makes it totally unacceptable to hurt a child under any circumstances.

The program D.A.R.E works on this principle, and it has made a difference. Now even smoking cigarettes has become deplorable in the eyes of many children. We need child abuse to become repulsive to all people, before they reach adulthood. Even if we take such measures, it may take up to three generations for this program, to make a difference. The monetary cost might be great, but our jails are full of the abused and our homes are full of the unhappy. Make no mistake we are paying heavily for what we do to our children. We must break the cycle, and it will require all of us to do it. Just because, abuse did not touch your household, does not mean that someone you love will not be abused, assaulted or otherwise victimized by someone who was abused. Now, for my question to you. Why does our society continue to become more violent? Nine million cases of abuse each year, HELLO.

We need to gather together people with the education and determination to make those in our government, who can make a difference, make one. Please feel free to contact me and point out how wrong I am, or to put petty differences aside and change the world for our children. kennesaw@kennesawtaylor.com

How Disasters and Trauma Can Affect Children’s Empathy

The researchers at OHSU analyzed 11 studies that evaluated the effectiveness  of child abuse and neglect prevention programs or interventions that took place  in clinics — such as meetings with a social worker, for example. They gave  parents questionnaires that assessed such risk factors as substance abuse,  depression, stress and attitudes  toward physical punishment — as well as noting whether parents were concerned  that their child may have been physically or sexually abused. Doctors discussed  the risk factors with parents and referred them to social workers if needed.  After three years, researchers found that parents who took part in risk  assessments and received social work referrals, if necessary, had decreased  incidences of abuse, fewer reports to Child Protective Services (CPS) and  better adherence to immunization schedules.

But the studies’ results were not persuasive enough to warrant new  recommendations for physicians, says Dr. Heidi Nelson, senior author of the  study analysis published in Annals of Internal Medicine and a research  professor in medical informatics, clinical epidemiology and medicine at OHSU. “This is not about identifying kids who are being abused,” says Nelson. “This is  about determining if a family in front of me is at risk for abuse in the  future.”

A major challenge with determining who is at risk for child abuse is how — and to whom — to pose questions. If the parents who bring a child to a check-up  are mistreating that child, says Grossman, it’s not likely they will volunteer  that information. “You are potentially asking the perpetrators if there is a  problem,” he says.

While evidence underpinning the effectiveness of screening questions is  scanty, home visits seem to have had more success. Last year, a study in the Journal of the American Medical  Association (JAMA) found that home visits can cut child maltreatment cases  by up to half. States determine eligibility for home visits in different  ways, but poor moms, single moms, homeless moms, teen moms and those with a  history of domestic violence typically top the list. Home visitors serve as a  sounding board and support system, educating moms about normal infant behavior,  cautioning them against shaking crying babies and offering suggestions for  stress relief and interacting with their babies. Parenting can be overwhelming  even for educated, well-to-do women, but those who are less fortunate stand to  benefit even more from having someone help them navigate the challenges of  child-rearing. In fact, when researchers evaluated the effect of home  visitations, they found that those babies whose families were visited by nurses  were less likely to die of all causes by age 9 than other children. Some studies  showed that children who benefited from home visits had less contact with CPS  and fewer trips to the hospital.

But other studies on home visits have shown mixed results, leading the task  force to stop short of issuing a blanket recommendation for primary-care clinics  across the U.S to adopt the program for families they perceive to be at risk. “It’s one thing to say that it’s a good idea, but it’s another to say that we  have definite proof,” says Nelson.

The task force last took up this issue in 2004; it will take another look at  any new studies that have emerged five years from now to see if things have  changed. In the meantime, for the next 30 days the public is welcome to submit comments on the task force’s preliminary  recommendations. “We are looking to see if we missed any key pieces of  evidence,” says Grossman.

Credits: http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/23/child-abuse-why-its-so-hard-to-determine-whos-at-risk/#ixzz2JUcdo28r

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Shane Trumble: Extensive Child Porn Collection and Kids’ Underwear Found in New Caney Trailer Home

This dude’s alleged actions are grosser than grossest. It also may be disturbing to some readers — you’ve been warned.

 

At approximately 6 p.m. Wednesday,  Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constables requested a search of the New Caney motor home occupied by Shane Anthony Trumble, his father and his grandmother, Cynthia Sue Trumble of New Caney. Shane Trumble, a registered sex offender and out-of-state fugitive from Cleveland, Ohio, was suspected of possessing a “disturbing amount” of kiddie porn following an investigation by the Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC).

After officers identified themselves and demanded that Shane Trumble, 23, step outside of the trailer home, Cynthia Trumble, 62, apparently went all New Caney by threatening to shoot the officers with the gun that she had aimed at them.

Grandmother and grandson eventually relented and allowed officials to search their trailer at the Wild Country RV Park on Farm to Market Road 1485. Officers found a gold mine of disgust that Shane Trumble had allegedly stashed away. (Get ready for the gross.)

According to the Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, uniformed police officers found approximately 20 gigabytes of child pornography on various iPads, computers and storage drives. Officials say that dozens of pairs of children’s underwear were deposited inside of a small trash can.

Shane Trumble has been charged with four counts of second-degree felony possession/promotion of child pornography. He’s also been charged as an out-of-state fugitive from justice because of an active felony warrant for possession of child porn in Ohio. (Before relocating to Texas, Trumble had been registered as a sex offender in North Carolina. However, he had failed to do so since arriving in New Caney last summer, which is another no-no.)

By the way, the burner that grandma threatened to shoot the officers with was a BB gun. Cynthia Trumble was charged with interference with public duties, a class B misdemeanor. After she was released on $1,000 bond, she and her son (Shane Trumble’s father) faced eviction from the RV park by the landlord.

As of the time this post was published, Trumble was being held without bond at the Montgomery County jail in Conroe and will be extradited to Ohio to face the music. (We have a message out to Montgomery County officials regarding his extradition.

CREDITS: HOUSTONPRESS

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Sandusky Back in Court, Says Trial Wasn’t Fair

Jerry Sandusky was sentenced months ago, but hearings in the Penn State abuse case aren’t over. Today, the court will hear lawyers debate the fairness of the trial, the AP reports. Calling for a new trial, Sandusky’s team holds that it wasn’t afforded enough preparation time. Defense lawyers must make “reasonable investigations,” the attorneys say. “Given the vast amount of material the prosecution turned over at the 11th hour, it is clear counsel could not come close to fulfilling this obligation.”

But prosecutors say Sandusky and his lawyer knew of a sexual assault report as far back as 2008. The former coach “identifies not a single act that counsel could have performed or a single piece of information that would have been learned with more time before trial that would have had any impact whatsoever on the jury’s consideration of the evidence,” which hinged on witnesses’ credibility, a prosecutor notes. The defense takes issue with several other aspects of the case, including a janitor’s hearsay testimony and the vagueness of some charges

CREDITS: NEWSER.COM

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Hasidic Man Denies Abuse of Young Girl He Counseled

“What were you looking to do in terms of her?” asked Michael Farkas, a defense attorney, as Mr. Weberman testified in his own defense.

“To save her life,” Mr. Weberman said.

He spoke on the concluding day of witness testimony in a closely watched trial in State Supreme Court; it is one of the first times a prominent member of the insular Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg has faced child sexual abuse charges before a secular court. Closing arguments are expected to begin Thursday.

The unusual decision by Mr. Weberman, 54, to take the stand in his own defense turned the trial into a credibility battle between Mr. Weberman and the accusing witness, an 18-year-old who claimed over four days of testimony last week that she had been forced to perform oral sex on him during counseling sessions, when she was between the ages of 12 and 15.

Dressed in the traditional long black coat and white shirt of the Satmar Hasidim, Mr. Weberman testified that he had first begun counseling his accuser in 2008, not in 2007, as she had claimed. He testified that he billed $150 an hour to see her, and also charged her family $1,500 for a trip upstate that he took alone with her. He denied that anything untoward had happened.

He based his testimony on work records, but under further questioning from prosecutors, Mr. Weberman admitted that he did not always record his meetings with clients. Mr. Weberman also admitted in court that he had used the finances of a nonprofit corporation he runs to help the poor, called the Congregation of Classon, to pay private school tuition bills for his children. Lingerie purchases were also billed to its accounts, prosecutors said.

“Maybe it did,” pay for lingerie, Mr. Weberman said of the foundation, “for certain individuals. I don’t know.”

At least three troubled teenage girls have lived in his office apartment in recent years, Mr. Weberman said, but he could not remember if there were more. One of the girls, Baila Gluck, now 23, took the stand Wednesday morning and said that Mr. Weberman had always acted appropriately and that she was grateful to him for his help.

Beyond the details of the accuser’s case, the testimony also shed light into the way the Satmar Hasidic community enforces its strict religious rules. Ms. Gluck testified that masked men from the religious modesty committee, based in Monroe, N.Y., had come into her bedroom at night when she was 15 or 16 years old to take away a cellphone that she was not permitted to have. The same committee, Mr. Weberman testified, regularly referred young boys and girls to him for counseling.

Mr. Weberman testified that as an unlicensed counselor, he was not obligated to report allegations of child abuse to secular authorities, nor was he legally bound to respect the privacy of the young people he was counseling. As a result, he shared information given to him by the teenagers with their parents and schools, he said.

At the center of Mr. Weberman’s defense is an example of that kind of information sharing. His lawyers have argued that his accuser invented her charges as an act of revenge, after she learned that when she was 15, Mr. Weberman had told her father about an 18-year-old boyfriend she had, leading to the boyfriend’s arrest.

Mr. Weberman testified on Wednesday that he had indeed told the father, but had falsely assured the girl that he knew nothing about what had happened.

“So she wouldn’t have known,” about his involvement said Kevin O’Donnell, an assistant district attorney.

“Right,” Mr. Weberman said.

CREDITS:  THE NEW YORK TIMES

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7 Common Forms of Childhood Bullying

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As the importance of preventing bullying and teaching kids to deal with torment from their peers is emphasized more and more in the media, it becomes apparent that today’s bullying bears little resemblance to the taunting and teasing that most parents were subjected to during their own childhood years. The modern bully wears many faces, and has an unprecedented level of access to the lives of those they hurt. Here are seven forms of bullying that today’s children are exposed to on a regular basis.

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Miramonte abuse scandal: Lawyers claim new evidence

Lawyers representing students and parents in a civil suit are leveling new accusations at the Los Angeles Unified School District over the Miramonte Elementary School abuse scandal.

Attorneys representing nearly 70 children and parents from Miramonte Elementary School say they have proof that the LAUSD ignored alleged lewd and lascivious acts by teacher Mark Berndt.

They say they have newly discovered documents supporting their allegations that there were clear signs of such behavior against children by Berndt.

“This is a pattern of years by the Los Angeles Unified School District to intentionally suppress and conceal evidence of suspected child abuse,” said attorney Brian Claypool.

Berndt is now in jail. He is pleading not guilty to criminal charges of lewd and lascivious behavior.

There is a separate civil action against the school district.  Parents are suing the school district for what allegedly happened.  The school district denies wrongdoing and has been trying to negotiate an out-of-court settlement in the civil action.

The school district documents include a state auditor report that the district mishandled allegations of misconduct.  The document says they failed to report at least 144 cases of teacher misconduct in a timely manner.

“The L.A. Unified School District was put on notice about the alarm bells and the triggers that were going off and yet they didn’t hear them and they didn’t see them,” said attorney Luis Carrillo.

The school district issued a statement on the Miramonte case:  “The school district has consistently sought to resolve the claims in the Miramonte matter in a way that respects the needs of the students.  Our primary goal in this process is supporting the health and well-being of the students.”

CREDITS: KABCTV LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA

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Sexual Abuse and Incest

What are Child Sexual Abuse and Incest?

Child sexual abuse is any sexual act performed with a child by an adult or older child, with or without force or the threat of force. Child sexual abuse is most commonly committed by someone known to the child, including family members. In this case, the act may be considered incest. Incest is overt and/or covert sexual contact or acts between people who are related genetically, by marriage, by living arrangements, or in whom a child perceives a trusting relationship, for example parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, step-parents, foster parents. Incest is one of the most common forms of child sexual abuse. It may start as seemingly innocent touching and progress to more serious acts. It can continue for years. Other individuals who may commit child sexual abuse include neighbors, family friends, baby sitters, religious leaders, youth group leaders, or others with a power advantage of any kind over the child. Child sexual abuse may also be committed by a stranger. The acts can include: touching or non-touching, verbal seduction or abuse, anal or vaginal intercourse, oral sex, sodomy, manual stimulation, direct threats, implied threats, or other forms of abuse.

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