вторник, 10 июня 2008 г.

Portales man arrested in child sex case

A Portales man has been arrested for criminal sexual communication with a child after chatting online in an illicit manner with an officer posing as a 13-year-girl, according to a press release from the Curry County Sheriff's Office.

Brandon Bennik, 21, is being held on $5,000 bond, the release said. The charge is a fourth-degree felony. He was arrested Friday.

According to the release, Bennik used a Web camera to expose himself and perform sexual acts for what he believed was a 13-year-old girl and the images were captured by law enforcement.

Curry County sought the assistance of the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office in making the arrest. During the execution of a search warrant at Bennik's residence, law enforcement seized his computer, Web camera and also found narcotics and drug paraphernalia in his residence, the release said.

Charges related to the narcotics are pending, officials said.

Not guilty plea in child sex abuse case

He was there to help an autistic boy's family care for their son. Instead a Commack home attendant sexually abused the 5-year-old boy and his 7-year-old brother in their home, according to an indictment unsealed in Riverhead Tuesday.

Marc Pipitone, 31, pleaded not guilty before Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn on an 11-count indictment charging him with five counts of first-degree sexual abuse, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of second-degree aggravated harassment and one count of first-degree harassment.

Pipitone, a licensed special education teacher who has worked as a substitute, was held on bail of $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond. The judge also issued orders of protection for the victims. His attorney, Kevin Kearon of Rockville Centre, said Pipitone "is devastated by these allegations."

"He is a responsible, caring and conscientious teacher," said Kearon, adding that Pipitone has never faced allegations of impropriety.

Prosecutors said Pipitone, who received his teaching license from New York State in 2005, has in the past worked for the Deer Park and Smithtown school districts.

According to prosecutor Dana Brown, Pipitone, a special education teacher for the Developmental Disabilities Institute, was hired to teach and care for the disabled boy, whose autism is so severe he doesn't speak.

He began going to the boy's home in the summer of 2007, and only went on Saturdays.

Seven months later, in February, he was fired by the boy's mother, for "overstepping his boundaries" in how he taught the younger boy, Brown said.

In the following months, Brown said, Pipitone harassed and stalked the family, sending e-mail messages in which he threatened the boys and their mother.

He was arrested by police on harassment and sex abuse charges earlier this month, and given a desk appearance ticket to return to court in June. The next day, after police confronted him about the allegations of sexual abuse, Pipitone returned to speak with them and made statements incriminating himself, Brown said.

The 7-year-old boy has since told his family that Pipitone molested him, Brown said.

Kearon said Pipitone denies making any admissions of guilt, and would fight the case at trial.

He said literature shows that young children are "susceptible to the power of suggestion. I am very convinced that that is exactly what happened here."

Man charged with rape of 11-year-old girl

A 28-year-old Union County man was charged Monday with raping an 11-year-old girl, police said.

The man, Margarito Solis-Agustin, of Wingate, was charged with first-degree offenses of rape of a child, sex offense with a child and kidnapping, according to the arrest report filed by the Union County Sheriff's Office. He also was charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a child, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The victim was a relative of Solis-Agustin, Sheriff's Capt. Mike Easley said.

Solis-Agustin, of Mexican citizenship, had an outstanding warrant from 2004 on a statutory rape charge, according to the report. He had been living in Wingate under an alias, Easley said.

Solis-Agustin is being held in Union County jail on $300,000 secured bond. His first court date is scheduled for June 4.

Man guilty in child-sex case

A Tucson man whose graffiti-spraying spree led to child-molestation charges is now facing multiple life sentences.

A Pima County jury convicted Monte McCarty, 45, of 18 of the 19 crimes prosecutors charged him with in February 2007.

One charge, sexual conduct with a minor under 12, carries a potential life sentence, with parole possible after 35 years. When compounded by the other charges, his minimum sentence is 141 years.

According to court testimony, a Tucson woman called police on Feb. 4, 2007, after finding someone had spray-painted two obscene messages to her 8-year-old daughter on the family's house and garage door.

After going to the house, detectives realized the messages were similar to a series of obscene messages spray-painted on walls near South Kolb and East Golf Links roads between Dec. 11, 2006, and Jan. 28, 2007.

They were also similar to obscene writings on small pieces of paper found in a wash in the same area.

The homeowner told jurors that, when asked whether she had had any workmen inside her house in recent months, she remembered McCarty had done some drywall work for her in July 2006.

Detectives learned McCarty lived near Golf Links and Kolb and drove a white Jeep Cherokee matching the description of one seen near the woman's home the morning the messages were found, according to court documents.

During a search of McCarty's home, detectives found sexually explicit photos of McCarty with four prepubescent girls, court documents indicate.

When the girls were interviewed, each one said she'd been sexually abused by McCarty, according to court documents.

Two of the girls are related to McCarty. The other two are friends of those girls.

McCarty was tried on one count of sexual conduct with a minor, four child-molestation charges and seven charges of exploitation of a minor.

In addition, he was also tried on two counts of furnishing obscene items to a minor, three criminal-damage-related counts, one count of indecent exposure and one count of sexual abuse of a minor.

The jury did not convict McCarty in a molestation incident that prosecutors said occurred in a swimming pool.

But the jury found him guilty of other incidents of abuse involving the same girl.

McCarty's attorney, Eric Larsen, said he intends to file an appeal alleging the police search of McCarty's home was illegal.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Frank Dawley is scheduled to sentence McCarty May 27.

Wider sex abuse probe `risks predator stigma'

ANY move to extend the Mullighan Commission's child sex abuse investigations into other Aboriginal communities in South Australia is set to face opposition from indigenous leaders.

An indigenous community leader from the state's southwest coast said it would be wrong to do so and would effectively brand all Aboriginal communities as ``being sexual predators''.

Kokatha Mula elder Bronwyn Coleman Sleep expressed her opposition to further investigations on the eve of commissioner Ted Mullighan's report on child sex abuse on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands being tabled in the South Australian parliament.

The Rann Government is likely to release the report publicly today. Cases of abuse similar to those uncovered in the Northern Territory are expected to be revealed, and the commissioner has already called for a wider investigation.

Ms Coleman Sleep, from Ceduna, said the Government should carefully consider any such recommendation. ``If it incorporates all communities, then we're all tarred with the same brush,'' she said in Adelaide.

``It's not right throughout Australia in Aboriginal communities, so why target, why brand allAboriginal communities as being sexual predators of young children.''

APY leaders have said that corruption and misappropriation of government funding ``run by non-Anangu business or political interests'' underlie a culture ofbullying and intimidation thathas led to dysfunctional communities. In a submission, they said the path to greater safety for women and children on the lands was through stricter governance, accountability and transparency.

The APY executive board wants all entities on the lands -- communities, stores, arts centres -- to be incorporated under the APY Land Rights Act under which it operates, a move that would then impose strict governance and accounting provisions.

They have also called for: all employees of the entities to be subject to the APY Act's code of conduct and subject to the Public Offences provisions of the Crimes Act; police and working-with-children checks to be mandatory for all employees; and a registrar on the lands with the power to seize records and property.

Extension of child sex abuse probe `risks predator stigma'

ANY move to extend the Mullighan Commission's child sex abuse investigations into other Aboriginal communities in South Australia is set to face opposition from indigenous leaders.

An indigenous community leader from the state's southwest coast said it would be wrong to do so and would effectively brand all Aboriginal communities as ``being sexual predators''.

Kokatha Mula elder Bronwyn Coleman Sleep expressed her opposition to further investigations on the eve of commissioner Ted Mullighan's report on child sex abuse on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands being tabled in South Australian parliament.

The Rann Government is likely to release the report publicly today.

Cases of abuse similar to those uncovered by the Little Children are Sacred report in the Northern Territory are expected to be revealed, and the commissioner has already called for a wider investigation.

Ms Coleman Sleep, from Ceduna, said the Government should carefully consider any such recommendation.

``If it incorporates all communities, then we're all tarred with the same brush,'' she said in Adelaide yesterday. ``It's lumping us all into the same basket saying that we're all doing this. It's not right throughout Australia in Aboriginal communities, so why target, why brand all Aboriginal communities as being sexual predators of young children.''

APY leaders have said that corruption and misappropriation of government funding ``run by non-Anangu business or political interests'' underlie a culture of bullying and intimidation that has led to dysfunctional communities. In a submission, they said the path to greater safety for women and children on the lands was through stricter governance, accountability and transparency.

The APY executive board wants all entities on the lands -- communities, stores, arts centres -- to be incorporated under the APY Land Rights Act under which it operates, a move that would then impose strict governance and accounting provisions.

They have also called for: all employees of the entities to be subject to the APY Act's code of conduct and subject to the Public Offences provisions of the Crimes Act; police and working-with-children checks to be mandatory for all employees; and a registrar on the lands with the power to seize records and property.

These ``tools'' would provide a ``more accountable, transparent and safer community'', the submission said.

Child sex-disease infections fall after federal intervention

THE federal intervention in the Northern Territory has led to a decline in new notifications of sexually transmitted infections among children.

The Northern Territory Government's latest surveillance update on sexual health and blood-borne viruses revealed that 62 children aged under 14 were diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections in the Territory in the first six months of the intervention. Three of the children diagnosed with chlamydia between July and December last year were under the age of 10.

The figures also showed that total diagnoses of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis declined in the second half of last year, compared with the first half, following the intervention. The Territory's rates of sexual disease among both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population still soar above the rest of the nation.

Between January and June last year, five children under 10 were diagnosed with chlamydia, compared with three diagnoses of children under 10 between June and December.

Rates of gonorrhoea also declined, with 40 diagnoses of children aged between 10 and 14 between January and June, compared with 27 diagnoses in the latter half of last year.

However, the report revealed that total new notifications of chlamydia and syphilis were higher overall last year. In contrast, new notifications of gonorrhea last year had declined by 8.2per cent compared with the previous year.

The latest figures showed that of the 932 new chlamydia notifications in the Territory in the first six months of the intervention, 20 of the cases were diagnosed in children under 14. Seventeen of those cases were among children aged between 10 and 14.

Two children aged between 10 and 14 were diagnosed with syphilis in the same period, the report revealed. There were 27 new notifications of gonorrhea among children aged between 10 and 14, and 12 cases of the STI trichomoniasis. One case of trichomoniasis was diagnosed in a child under the age of10.

The Alice Springs district -- which takes in remote central Australian communities first targeted under the emergency intervention -- had overwhelmingly high notifications of STIs, particularly gonorrhea and syphilis, between July and December last year.

The latest figures follow earlier data, released in December last year.

Diagnoses of STIs in the Aboriginal population was massively higher than for other ethnic groups, the surveillance report said.

The rate of notification of gonorrhea among Aboriginal people in the Territory was 51.7 times the national rate.

Among the non-Aboriginal population, the rate of gonorrhea notification last year in the Territory was twice the national average. Among the cases of syphilis diagnosed last year, 90per cent of new diagnoses occurred in the Aboriginal population, whose rate of syphilis infection was 26.9 times the non-Aboriginal rate.

Chlamydia was the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the Territory.

Man gets 17 years in child sex case

May 20--A 57-year-old Tucson man who was accused of sexually abusing three young relatives was sentenced to 17 years in prison Monday.

Alberto Medina-Herrera was indicted on six counts of molestation of a child and four counts of sexual conduct with a minor last year after one of the relatives went to authorities.

Medina-Herrera pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation, but during his sentencing hearing Monday, Assistant Pima County Public Defender Kyle Ipson suggested that his client is innocent.

Ipson told Pima County Superior Court Judge Nanette Warner that a psychological/sexual evaluation shows his client doesn't fit the profile of a sexual offender.

Moreover, Medina-Herrera passed a polygraph examination, Ipson said.

The defense attorney suggested that those facts call for a mitigated sentence, as does his client's ill health and his pending deportation.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Bunkye Chi noted that Medina-Herrera pleaded guilty to the charge while under oath; she asked for a harsh sentence.

Warner told Ipson she could not conceive of a reason for the victims or their parents to lie as they had a good prior relationship with Medina-Herrera.

Once released from prison, Medina-Herrera must register as a sex offender.

Judge refuses to reduce bail in child sex case

A judge on Wednesday denied an attempt to reduce the $50,000 cash bail for the 44-year-old New York woman accused of attempting to have a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old boy in an Eau Claire hotel.

Tracy A. Taylor of Albany pleaded not guilty to felony counts of attempted second-degree sexual assault of a child, child enticement and using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. She returns to court June 12.

Taylor, who has been held in the Eau Claire County Jail since her arrest April 25, wanted her cash bail reduced to $5,000.

Defense attorney Gary King of Eau Claire said Taylor is a lifelong resident of New York, has no prior criminal record and has the means to get to Eau Claire for her court appearances.

Those are the same reasons Eau Claire County Assistant District Attorney Erin Hanson said she opposed a reduction in bail.

Taylor has no ties to Wisconsin, traveled 16 to 20 hours from Albany to meet with the boy, and there's a chance the case could be transferred to federal court because she crossed state lines to commit the alleged offenses, Hanson said.

"It gives her a lot of incentive not to return to Wisconsin," Hanson said of Taylor.

Judge Lisa Stark denied a reduction in bail because she said Taylor has no Wisconsin ties and faces a potential prison term if convicted.

If Taylor returned to New York and refused to come back to Eau Claire, she would have to be extradited at a significant expense to Eau Claire County, Stark said.

According to the criminal complaint:

An Eau Claire woman contacted police after she learned her 15-year-old son was chatting online and text messaging via cell phone with a woman for three months.

The mother said her son confided in his sister that he was having the online relationship with the woman.

The boy believed the woman was about 30 years old. The boy also told his sister that he and Taylor had plans to meet in Eau Claire on Friday, April 25, and spend the weekend together. The boy said Taylor would be bringing condoms.

Authorities then discovered Taylor had reserved a room from April 25-28 at the Days Inn West, 6319 Truax Lane.

Officers served a search warrant at Taylor's hotel room after she was observed checking in.

Inside the room, officers found numerous condoms, candles, baby oil and bottles of alcohol. Also located in Taylor's belongings was a letter from the boy clearly describing himself as 15 years old.

To hell and back for child sex slave

Misery knocks first at the door of the miserable. It stood in the doorway in the guise of Bill Turner, a ratty man in a greasy shirt and thongs. Turner's arrival invariably meant someone was going to get hurt, yet the door was always opened to him. Misery loves company.

Turner exerted considerable influence within a world of broken-down single mothers in Top End towns, who seemed prepared to ignore the obvious: that he wasn't interested in sleeping in their beds, but in the beds of their daughters.

Turner has left many victims. He took one of them, a remarkable young woman, to hell. Despite being betrayed by those closest to her, including her mother, she is now finding her way back. She knows it is still too early to say for sure, but her head is in the right place. She thinks she can make it.

William Gordon Turner, 52, was a rapist and pedophile for almost 35 years. He was sentenced last week in the Northern Territory Supreme Court for converting the girl, as an 11-year-old, into his plaything. He used her repeatedly over four years up until 2006.

Turner -- sentenced along with his companion in the attacks, Patricia Anne Rayment -- was seen as such a bad rehabilitation prospect that Chief Justice Brian Martin believed he would remain a malevolent sexual force into his late 70s. No parole date was set and Turner will probably never be released.

What the girl, now 17, is confronting most at this time is her belief that her mum knew what was happening. When authorities tried to intervene onthe girl's behalf, the mother lied for Turner, her boyfriend ofsorts.

Continued -- Page 6

From Page 1

``He was only pretending he was in a relationship with my mum,'' the girl tells The Australian. ``I think he was after me.''

Turner's deeds were high-level criminality. The way the mother turned away from her daughter was neglect at a level that, hopefully, defies the comprehension of ordinary people. The girl's story is about surviving a bruising journey made within the confines of her own home. It is a journey no child should have to take.

Asked whether she blamed her mother, the girl says: ``When victims have this sort of thing done, I think we expect something done about it. I think we feel all alone and no one's trying to help us -- and we hold it against the closest people to us.

``It's going to be a long process with mum. I'm trying to forgive her at the moment. After I lost my dad I kind of realised life's too short to hold grudges. I needed some kind of family around me, some kind of support. We are talking.''

Northern Territory police say the girl showed extraordinary courage. Justice Martin found her testimony ``patently honest''. And things were stacked against her. It wasn't just Turner; it was her mother, who declined to intervene on her behalf. And it was the fact that Turner was not alone in the dock last week. He was sentenced along with Rayment, 36.

Playing the role of a lesbian pedophile, presumably to please Turner, to whom she was strangely and desperately attached, Trish Rayment joined Turner in the assaults in 2005, when the girl was 14.

On one occasion, Turner was disgusted with Rayment's rape performance, complaining: ``For a person supposed to be a lesbian, you don't know much about lesbian stuff.''

Rayment was sentenced on five counts to a five-year non-parole term for doing damage the judge felt she did not fully appreciate. Even after her arrest, Rayment expressed envy for the victim. She said the child had a better figure than her and worried Turner found her more attractive.

As for Turner, he seemed to think his victim, at the age of 11, was ``very developed''. He said: ``She knew what she was doing.''

Rayment told authorities that Turner had proposed to her, in writing, after their arrest, and that she could not imagine life without him. Justice Martin called Rayment's need for Turner as a ``dependency''.

When the mother, who had knowledge of Turner's history, was suitably plied with drink, Turner's real adult girlfriend, Rayment, would show up.

Turner was the oldest of four children in a family that wandered the far north while dad, a fierce drinker, searched for work in between smashing the kids. Turner was laughed at for going to school in rags and appeared to be worse off than the neat mission-raised Aboriginal kids, as they were then. He would go to bed hungry.

Turner was seen as white trash. Unable to read or write, he left school at 14 and wandered the Territory as a pet meat shooter, railway labourer and a builder.

On July 1, 1973, at the age of 18, Turner committed his first known rape, in the company of probably the first person he learned to master, a younger brother.

The pair were drinking at the Mataranka Hotel, about 400km south of Darwin, when they saw two young women, 19 and 21, hitching out of town. The brothers offered them a lift and took them to bush off the Roper Road. Bill Turner forced the 21-year-old down. The 19-year-old pleaded with the brother to help her friend but he refused. The brothers punched both girls in the face raped them and dumped them on a bush road at night.

Bill Turner was sentenced to a two-year non-parole period on October 16, 1974, but was inadvertently released from the old Fannie Bay Gaol in Darwin in January 1975, during confusion following Cyclone Tracy. Twelve months later, in Mount Isa, Queensland, Turner was sentenced to 18 months in prison for raping a 13- or 14-year-old close relative. He then made his way back to Mataranka, where he worked in the pub.

In 1978, he was sentenced for assault after brawling with a patron. In June, two weeks after being released from a three-month jail term, Turner and two mates took a drunken part-Aboriginal girl to bush outside Darwin and raped her. Turner was released on parole in June 1984.

Turner began a relationship with a woman who had visited him in prison. They married but, by 1989, he was badly bashing her and was targeting an 11-year-old girl. Turner pleaded guilty to theviolent assaults and to five counts of having sexual intercourse with the girl but those counts were only a representative sample of his abuse.

Turner was found to be a danger to young girls and, in 1992, began an eight-year non-parole period in Darwin's Berrimah jail. Released and on parole, in 2002, Turner met a white alcoholic woman who had recently separated from her husband. She had a young part-Aboriginal daughter -- the one who would later cause Turner to spend his life in prison. Turner, when in a rage, called the girl ``the nigger''.

The five counts of sexual intercourse to which Turner pleaded guilty were once again a mild sample of his offending.

He raped the child incessantly -- first on his own, later with Rayment -- so many times the girl was unable to particularise many specific incidents.

The first assault occurred at the back of a caravan in Coconut Grove, an industrial estate in Darwin. Mum had passed out drunk. Turner woke the girl, aged 11, took her out the back to a caravan, asked her to remove her clothes. When she asked why, hesaid: ``Because I am going to f..k you.''

The details of her suffering do not warrant repetition. Suffice to say that on the periphery of the rapes were threats to the girl with a shotgun (which the mother witnessed) after he accused her of infidelity; pornographic films; and Turner's constant monitoring of the girl's period in case of pregnancy.

Then there was the introduction of Rayment as the lesbian factor/attacker.

Rayment and Turner went back a long way. She was 14 when she began a sexual relationship with Turner's son. After they fell out, she -- at the age of 16 -- began having sex with Turner, for a short time. In 1991, she had a son to another man and a year later had a daughter to Turner, just before he went to jail.

They stayed in touch during Turner's incarceration, though, in 1998, Rayment had a daughter to another man. The judge noted this girl would ``come to the attention of Family and Children's Services because of concerns over her relationship with Turner'' after his release from prison.

Rayment insisted that her youngest daughter had not been exposed to Turner.

Rayment wrote to the judge from remand, saying: ``These actions are out of character for me and will never again be repeated as this is my first offence.'' The judge wasn't impressed, pointing out how Rayment claimed the girl had begged to join in the sex with her and Turner or else she'd tell her mother. (Rayment later retreated from that claim.)

Interviewed after her arrest, and told of the girl's allegations, Rayment broke down, saying: ``I can't believe she could do this to us. She is only thinking of herself. What about us?''

The girl had been caught in a parental custody dispute. The girl's father knew Turner's history and intervened. In May 2003, the child was returned to her father's care, with the mother allowed only supervised access visits with the child. In June 2003, the child's father died and she was briefly placed into a foster care.

The mother then won her daughter back. Turner, says the girl, maintained a relationship with her mother as a front. His real girlfriend was Rayment, whom the girl first met in Mataranka, in 2003.

Police and FACS were alert to Turner, based on the father's concerns -- and possibly that of a family in Katherine. They had the girl dumped on their doorstep by Turner and found they were unable to coax her from her fetal position under a bed.

Asked about it, the girl says she does not recall the incident. But the family took note of her name, and the date, and their calls to police: it all matches.

Turner was receiving counselling for his sexual offending against children as part of his parole conditions the whole time he was raping the girl. Police and FACS became concerned Turner was in breach by being in proximity to the girl, but her mother continually deceived them by claiming Turner was not on the scene. She also persuaded the girl to lie and say she had no contact with Turner.

Police think the girl was overwhelmed by the sexual abuse and, having lost her father, continued to protect her mother, to avoid losing her as well.

Attempts to have Turner sent back to jail for breaches failed before the parole board.

It ended in March last year when police were called for a domestic disturbance at the Darwin residence of the girl's mother. Turner, who had a gun, had been threatening violence. During interviews the girl revealed she had been repeatedly raped by Turner.

``I think he's sick,'' the girl says. ``I think he likes to have control over people, of everything. Now that it's over I'm trying to move on. I'm happy he got the sentence he deserved. It's important I was believed. When we're victims and we have all these people say we should go to the police and tell them what's been happening, and we're too scared, when we are believed it becomes a real shock to us.''

Why are you saying ``us''? Have you been speaking to other victims? ``No. It's because when you read about those others who only get short sentences, you think, `Maybe he'll only get a short period'. It's a shock to be believed. There's a lot of victims out there. I'm talking for victims we don't know about.''

Call to tackle sex abuse by aid workers

LONDON An international watchdog must be set up to deal with child sex abuse by aid workers and peacekeepers, a charity has urged.

Save the Children demanded action after its research found that children as young as 6 were trading sex for food, money, soap and even mobile phones in warzones and disaster areas.

It said that all organisations had their share of abusers involved in "some of the most despicable abuse against some of the world's most vulnerable children". The scale of abuse was "significant" and victims were being let down by "endemic failures" in responding to the incidences that were reported, it concluded.

Better reporting mechanisms should be introduced, it said, as well as efforts made to strengthen child protection systems across the globe.

Jasmine Whitbread, Save the Children UK chief executive, said: "All humanitarian and peacekeeping agencies working in emergency situations, including Save the Children UK, must own up to the fact that they are vulnerable to this problem and tackle it head on."

Effort to curb personnel failing

Child sexual abuse remains a persistent problem among U.N. peacekeepers despite a four-year effort to halt the exploitation, U.N. officials acknowledged yesterday after yet another report of heartbreaking abuse was released.

The report by the venerable British aid group Save the Children UK detailed physical and verbal abuse, trafficking and prostitution by U.N. blue helmets, as well as by aid organizations.

Children barely into their teens told the authors about procuring young girls for groups of soldiers in Haiti; the orphan girl who strangers sold to a nongovernmental organization worker in Sudan for $1; and allowing men to touch them in exchange for mobile phones or tennis shoes.

The researchers said they found a majority of the assaults go unreported to local or U.N. authorities, either out of the victim's shame or feelings of hopelessness.

"This is a very serious issue, and I think that report is very valuable and [raises] good points the United Nations should continue to address," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

"Sexual exploitation of minors by any aid workers or peacekeepers is a very serious issue. I have always made it clear that my policy is zero tolerance."

The study focused on peacekeeping missions in Haiti, Congo, southern Sudan and Ivory Coast - missions that have already been found with a high incidence of irregular and abusive behavior among military contingents and civilians.

"Our research suggests that significant levels of abuse of boys and girls continue in emergencies, with much of it going unreported," the authors wrote. "The victims include orphans, children separated from their parents and families, and children in families dependent on humanitarian assistance."

Senior officials and diplomats throughout the U.N. system yesterday seemed to take the report seriously, with peacekeeping officials refuting nothing and acknowledging that they need to do better to weed out bad soldiers.

One problem is that no one can determine how widespread the exploitation is.

The United Nations reported 60 allegations against peacekeepers in 2005, and five in 2006. For the same period, U.N. agencies said they received seven, then just one allegation of child sexual exploitation.

The numbers are likely to be low, the authors say, because of the widespread reluctance to report attacks to the authorities, and the occasional refusal of U.N. personnel to investigate.

Among the specific instances mentioned in the survey include trading sex for food or money, child prostitution, sexual slavery, indecent touching or talking, production of child pornography and rape.

"This report does us a service," said Jane Holl Lute, assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping, who has been grappling with these allegations for six years.

Since the peacekeeping department commissioned a detailed report on child exploitation in 2004, officials have cautioned that more abuses would come to light as investigations gathered traction.

One of the largest obstacles is that the United Nations relies on troop-contributing countries to screen, try or punish their own soldiers. The peacekeeping department in New York has installed a conduct and discipline unit in each foreign mission and embarked on a nearly continuous course of sensitivity training for civilians and military posted to these operations in six-month deployments.

B.C. polygamist leader decries child sex abuse

Polygamists living in Bountiful, B.C., abhor sexual abuse of children as much as any other caring parent, says the leader of one of the most controversial communities in Canada.

Winston Blackmore, who openly admits to having numerous wives and dozens of children, said parents at Bountiful protect their children from abuse.

But he declined to discuss allegations that older men in his community marry teenaged girls - a violation of statutory rape laws - while other girls are sent to sister polygamous groups in the United States to marry older men there.

Bountiful is in southeastern B.C.'s Kootenay region near the town of Creston, about one kilometre from the U.S. border at Idaho.

"I don't know of any parents around here that are not concerned about their children and if they are abused or not," said Blackmore in an email to The Canadian Press. "We sure are about our children."

B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal appointed a special prosecutor, Terrence Robertson, to investigate laying charges in Bountiful.

Oppal said he will examine the likelihood of criminal convictions on charges ranging from polygamy to sexual assault.

For his part, Blackmore accuses the attorney general of religious persecution of the polygamous community.

He said parents in Bountiful want their children to grow up safe and happy.

Recently, more than 450 children apprehended by child-welfare authorities from a polygamous community in Texas, including at least one teenage girl from Bountiful, were ordered returned to their parents.

Oppal said B.C. authorities have been struggling with the Bountiful issue for more than two decades.

The communities at Bountiful and the one in Texas are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a breakaway group from the mainstream Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago and disavows any connection.

More than 800 people live in Bountiful where they are split into two different factions; one follows Blackmore and the others follow jailed American FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, in prison for being an accomplice to rape. Jeffs was convicted in Utah last year of forcing a 14-year-old into marrying an older man.

Oppal appointed the special prosecutor despite two earlier legal opinions saying that proceeding with criminal charges on polygamy would be difficult because anyone charged criminally under the prohibition of polygamy may decide to defend himself on grounds that his rights to religious freedom are protected.

Oppal said the right to religious freedom is not an absolute right to break the law.

вторник, 27 мая 2008 г.

simply a fun story

"If the reader can't see it, they cannot believe it."

Children's book author Kimberly P. Johnson, who came to Young Authors Day at Rutherford College Elementary on Friday to give students tips on writing, spoke these words.

Principal Becky Roach said the program especially helps the fourth graders, who have their writing test in March.

The fourth graders learned how to improve their writing and make it more vibrant and descriptive.

"If you want your stories to live, they have to breathe," Johnson told the kids.

That means cutting out the "no-no" words, such as good, big and nice.

She told them to use stronger verbs, such as "strolled" instead of "walked."

Fourth grader Morgan Cline said Johnson really helped her. Sometimes she used boring words and now she can watch out for them.

As for the writing test, Cline said she thinks she'll get a good score.

Johnson has written books for about 10 years. She has nine books, which includes children's books as well as motivational books for teachers.

She also travels to schools to work with students and teachers and help parents work with their children to write and brainstorm more.

A former newspaper and television reporter, Johnson said she got into writing books because she got tired of writing news.

"I've just always loved fun stories," she said.

One of her favorite authors as a child was Dr. Seuss.

"I loved the whimsical rhyming," Johnson said.

She chose to write children's books because she could make them as fun or as silly as she wanted.

All of her books have a message for kids to be kind and share, to work hard and to have a great attitude.

Students also wrote their own books to read to each other.

"If they can think it in their heads and feel it in their hearts, they can put it on the paper," Johnson said.