15% of Women Report Being Raped at University of Texas

Seventy-two percent of those who said they were victims of assault at eight institutions in the university system said they didn’t tell anyone.

At the University of Texas at Austin, 15 percent of undergraduate female students said they had been raped, says a new survey of 28,000 students’ experiences with stalking, harassment and sexual violence at 13 institutions in the UT system, the Wall Street Journal reports. The study  was done by UT Austin’s Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. “Unfortunately, higher education has too often fallen short when it comes to addressing the epidemic of sexual assault and misconduct on campus. That includes the University of Texas,” said UT system chancellor William McRaven.

A 2015 survey of 150,000 students at 27 schools sponsored by the Association of American Universities found that 23.1 percent of undergraduate women reported experiencing some form of nonconsensual sexual contact. About 11 percent said they had been raped. At the eight academic institutions in the UT survey, 72 percent of those who said they were victims of assault also said they didn’t tell anyone.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Ex-Penn State President Guilty in Sex Abuse Case

Prosecutors said that despite knowing about a 1998 police investigation into a claim that assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showered with a boy, president Graham Spanier agreed not to report a similar claim from coach Mike McQueary that he saw Sandusky assault a young boy in a campus locker-room shower.

Graham Spanier, the former Pennsylvania State University president, was convicted Friday of endangering children by failing to act on signs that Jerry Sandusky was a serial sex predator, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. After nearly 12 hours of deliberation, a Dauphin County jury found Spanier guilty of a misdemeanor count of endangerment. He was acquitted of a second endangerment count, as well as a felony conspiracy charge. The verdict was a stunning blow to Spanier, 68, who had proclaimed his innocence, and to his supporters, who fiercely defended him and accused prosecutors of overreaching and unfairly staining the university. His lawyer promised an appeal.

The trial seemed an opportunity to settle an issue that for more than five years divided the Penn State community: whether university leaders deserved blame for not recognizing or stopping Sandusky’s assaults on children. Prosecutors said that despite knowing about a 1998 police investigation into a claim that Sandusky showered with a boy, Spanier agreed not to report a similar claim from assistant coach Mike McQueary: that he saw Sandusky assault a young boy in a campus locker-room shower after hours. That inaction, prosecutors argued, was one step that enabled Sandusky to sexually abuse at least four more children in the years to come. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who this year took over the office that spent nearly a decade investigating and prosecuting the Sandusky case, said the verdict showed no one is above the law.ing to report the abuse of children to authorities,” he said.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Campuses Lack Seasoned Sex Crimes Investigators

The fates of accusers and victims at Michigan public universities — both their academic careers and their lives moving forward — are in the hands of staff members how may be inexperienced in probing such allegations.

Hundreds of college students have been shaken and confused about how to report a sexual assault. When they do report it — and many of them don’t — the process for getting justice can be just as troubling as the crime itself, reports the Detroit Free Press. In Michigan, the responsibility for trying to figure out whether the allegations are true falls on fewer than 50 investigators spread out across the state’s 15 public universities. Many are lawyers with experience in employment law matters; others are higher education administrators or professors, but none is a seasoned sex crimes investigator.

Many cases have exposed a flaws and inconsistent system of campus justice for responding to claims of sexual assault, with campuses taking widely differing approaches. Victims and the accused are often left hanging. “These offices are not equipped for this significant of an investigation,” said attorney Deb Gordon, who has represented clients in sexual assault investigations at Michigan universities. “You have both sides (the accuser and the accused) who at the end of the day aren’t happy with how the investigation is run.” Their fates — both their academic careers and their lives moving forward — are in the hands of a staff member who is tasked with figuring out what exactly happened. That means three Michigan State football players accused of sexual assault and the alleged victim are waiting for an investigator to figure out whether the accusation is true.

from http://thecrimereport.org

White House Cities MD Rape in Immigration Debate

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer cites the of a high school student in Rockville, a suburb of Washington, D.C., allegedly by two undocumented immigrants, as a reason for local officials to re-examine their policies.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer landed Maryland in the middle of the nation’s emotionally charged debate over immigration policy, decrying the rape of a high school student in Rockville, a suburb of Washington, D.C., allegedly by two undocumented immigrants, the Washington Post reports. Spicer urged state and local officials to reexamine laws and procedures to reduce the likelihood of such an incident happening again. “I think [Rockville] should look at its policies, and I think that this is something authorities are going to have to look at,” Spicer said

Spicer called the rape of the 14-year-old girl in a boys bathroom last week “shocking, disturbing, horrific and whatever other words that someone can think of.” He characterized the victim as an immigrant who had come to this country legally. Officials said she had no immigrant status of any kind. The two suspects, Henry Sanchez-Milian, 18, and Jose Montano, 17, who was charged as an adult, are being held without bail. Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Jack Smith told reporters that both suspects had been in a special program for non-English speakers at the high school. Smith pushed back hard against questions about whether the rape case should affect local efforts to comply with federal law, which guarantees a free public education to any child living in the U.S., regardless of citizenship status.

 

from http://thecrimereport.org

Chicago Teen Sexually Assaulted on Facebook Live

Forty people watched, but no one reported it to police. Alderman Michael Scott,Jr., says social media are “becoming a place where young people act out movie scenes, if you will, people are getting shot and killed and beaten on Facebook Live.”

As a 15-year-old Chicago girl was sexually assaulted in a gang rape on Facebook Live, about 40 people watched the video — but none reported the attack to police, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Alderman Michael Scott Jr. said a suspect was in custody. He said police believe the girl knew her attackers and they are all minors. The department contacted Facebook to take down the video, which it did.

The girl, who was located yesterday morning, had disappeared Sunday and was reported to police as a missing person. The girl is a student at a selective enrollment magnet high school. “It is baffling to me,” Scott said of the Facebook Live posting. “Of course I didn’t grow up with social media. But it’s becoming a place where young people act out movie scenes, if you will, people are getting shot and killed and beaten on Facebook Live.”

from http://thecrimereport.org

Ex-Penn State Officials Plead Guilty in Sandusky Case

Two former Pennsylvania State University administrators pleaded guilty to child endangerment for not reporting Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children. Former university president Graham Spanier is due to go on trial next week.

After five years of maintaining their innocence, two former Pennsylvania State University administrators pleaded guilty to child endangerment for not reporting Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In return for the pleas, prosecutors dropped the more serious felony charges of conspiracy against ex-athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz. The pleas marked an unexpected turn in a lingering case that has divided the Penn State community for years. over who may have ignored or missed a chance to stop a serial sexual predator once deeply embedded in its football program.

It narrowed the spotlight to the lone remaining defendant, former university president Graham Spanier, the once highly regarded administrator who led Penn State for 16 years. Jury selection for his trial is slated for next Monday. All three men were accused of failing to inform police or child welfare investigators of a 2001 report by Mike McQueary, then a football program graduate assistant, that he saw Sandusky, the former assistant coach, sexually assault a boy in a locker-room shower. Curley, 62, and Schultz, 67, were charged at the same time as Sandusky in 2011. Prosecutors waited another year to bring charges against Spanier. Now 68, he has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

Editors Note: For an additional perspective on the Sandusky case, see the TCR Viewpoint column, “Why Jerry Sandusky May be Innocent.” 

 

from http://thecrimereport.org

Sale of Sex Thriving Despite Backpage’s Ad Elimination

“Until we see a more comprehensive solution, [street sex sale] is going to pop up elsewhere,” says Yasmin Vafa of Rights4Girls, a human-rights organization fighting gender-based violence.

In the midst of a Senate investigation, a federal grand jury inquiry in Arizona, two federal lawsuits and California criminal charges accusing Backpage.com’s operators of pimping children, the website bowed to pressure in January and replaced its sex ads with the word “Censored” in red. Now, some women are advertising their services through the site’s dating section, the New York Times reports. The demise of Backpage’s adult ads undermined the trade, while it also illustrated how difficult it is to stamp out selling children for sex. Eric Quan, a sergeant in the San Jose police human-trafficking unit, said there had been a conspicuous rise in street prostitution in San Jose. “When Backpage was running adult ads, we used to get tips, but that has dropped off,” he said. “It makes it a lot more complicated for us to figure out what’s going on.”

Advocates said that while the elimination of the listings was a step forward, by itself it was more an inconvenience than a crippling blow. “It was such a huge marketplace that any way to eliminate the widespread distribution of ads is progress,” said Yasmin Vafa of Rights4Girls, a human-rights organization fighting gender-based violence. “But until we see a more comprehensive solution, it is going to pop up elsewhere.” King County, Wa., found that 79 percent of the men charged with seeking to pay for sex with a minor from 2013 to 2015 were white, while 44 percent of those they were accused of propositioning were African American. “We educate our judges that although there is no single buyer profile, buyers are predominantly white, educated, married men,” said Victoria Sweet of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Backpage, where revenue increased to $135 million in 2014 from $5.3 million in 2008, derived more than 90 percent of its earnings from adult ads, says the California Department of Justice.

from http://thecrimereport.org

CO Revising Sex Offender Law Critics Say Goes Too Far

“There has been a historical mythology that there is this one thing called a sex offender, and a lot of hysteria has been around a certain imagined stranger-profile predator,” said Laurie Kepros of the state public defender.’s office.

Colorado’s sex offenders maintain that the state treats them as pariahs, closely monitoring where they live, what they look at, who they talk to and what they discuss. One claimed he was warned against keeping a crucifix because it displayed partial nudity. Another, convicted of groping a woman, said he had to write down his thoughts every time he saw a school bus. The idea was to protect children, but the resulting system that cut off offenders from their own families has been struck down in federal court. That leaves Colorado to create a new sex-offender treatment and management system that defense lawyers say is long overdue but prosecutors worry will put children at risk, the Denver Post reports.

Supporters of the changes point to lives disrupted by what they call an outdated and overreaching system. David Zayatz, 39, said authorities threatened to separate him from his family after he was arrested on a parole violation. An indecent-exposure charge when he was 15 years old — for “mooning some people,” Zayatz said, put him on Colorado’s radar as a sex offender. “I mooned someone when I was 15. How many kids do stupid stuff like that every day? And here I am turning 40 years old and still dealing with it,” he said. Critics argue that Colorado has for too long treated a broad cross section of parolees and probationers as posing the same risks to children when in reality they differ greatly. Those separated from their children include a 35-year-old man who sent sexually explicit e-mails to fellow college students and a man who as a 15-year-old had unlawful sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. “There has been a historical mythology that there is this one thing called a sex offender, and a lot of hysteria has been around a certain imagined stranger-profile predator,” said Laurie Kepros of the state public defender.’s office. “The real cases are sometimes very immature people doing things that are technically in violation of statute but aren’t even necessarily abnormal behaviors.”

 

 

from http://thecrimereport.org

Supreme Court Uses Dubious Data on Sex Offenders

Justices say that 80 percent of sex offenders commit repeat crimes, but there is no apparent evidence to support that figure.

In a case about registered sex offenders at the Supreme Court last week, lawyer Robert Montgomery told the Justices, “This court has recognized that they have a high rate of recidivism and are very likely to do this again.” Montgomery was defending a North Carolina law that bars sex offenders from using Facebook, Twitter and other social media services. The Supreme Court has said the risk that sex offenders will commit new crimes is “frightening and high.” That phrase in a 2003 case upholding Alaska’s sex offender registration law, has been exceptionally influential. It has appeared in more than 100 lower-court opinions, and it has helped justify laws that effectively banish registered sex offenders from many aspects of everyday life. There is little evidence for the Supreme Court’s assertion that convicted sex offenders commit new offenses at very high rates, the New York Times reports.

The story behind the notion starts with a throwaway line in a magazine. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in the 2003 case, Smith v. Doe, cited one of his own opinions that said, “The rate of recidivism of untreated offenders has been estimated to be as high as 80 percent.” He cited a 1988 U.S. Justice Department guide. Only one source in that long guide claimed an 80 percent rate, and the guide said that number might be exaggerated. The source was a 1986 article in Psychology Today. In it, people who ran a counseling program said, “Most untreated sex offenders released from prison go on to commit more offenses — indeed, as many as 80 percent do,” but it cited no evidence. “Unfortunately,” Melissa Hamilton wrote in The Boston College Law Review, “the Supreme Court’s scientifically dubious guidance on the actual risk of recidivism that sex offenders pose has been unquestionably repeated by almost all other lower courts that have upheld the public safety need for targeted sex offender restrictions.”

from http://thecrimereport.org

Chicago Aids Victims of Sex Trafficking, On The Rise in U.S.

Cook County, Il., Sheriff Tom Dart works with enforcement agencies from 15 states to crack down on sex buyers, pimps and traffickers. The most recent sting, over two weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 5, resulted in the arrest of over 700 sex buyers and almost 30 sex traffickers.

Marian Hatcher, a former prostitute and drug addict, is the architect of programs in Chicago’s Cook County Sheriff’s Office to help care for victims of sex trafficking at a time when the crime appears to be on the rise, reports the Wall Street Journal. There were 744 incidents of commercial sex acts in 2015 and 219 cases of individuals trafficked into involuntary servitude across the U.S. 2015, up from 300 and 141, respectively, in 2014, says the FBI. In Cook County, Sheriff Tom Dart is leading sting efforts along with law-enforcement agencies from 15 states to crack down on sex buyers, pimps and traffickers. The most recent sting, over two weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 5, resulted in the arrest of over 700 sex buyers and almost 30 sex traffickers.

Separately, 86 adult victims of sex trafficking and six children were rescued. Hatcher’s job is to be available to these victims 24 hours a day as she heads various rescue, treatment and trauma programs in a recovery home linked to the Cook County jail. Under the administration of President Trump, debate over police and immigration tactics have taken center stage and law-enforcement officials disagree over the path forward. This month, New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, called on immigrant victims of sex trafficking to come forward and trust police to help them, acknowledging Trump’s executive orders that expand powers of federal immigration officials to deport noncitizens.

from http://thecrimereport.org