Category Archives: crime news

SHAME On Barbara Walters! Scolds Corey Feldman for Calling Out Hollywood Abuse

Former child actor Corey Feldman has spent years calling out the practice of Hollywood A-listers sexually exploiting young actors who try to make their mark in show business.

video clip from a 2013 episode of The View where he shares these revelations about the abuse in the industry has resurfaced after allegations came to light that disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed and abused those working in the industry:

“There are people that were the people that did this to both me and Corey [Haim] that are still working. They’re still out there, and that are some of the richest most powerful people in this business. And they do not want me saying what I am saying right now,” Feldman tells The View panelists.

The former ’80s child star tried to explain to host Barbara Walters that he, along with his best friend Corey Haim, had been sexually abused by older, powerful men in Hollywood. Feldman added that he believed the abuse led Haim to drug addiction and ultimately his sudden death in 2010.

“Are you saying they are pedophiles and that they are still in this business?” Walters asks incredulously, to which Feldman replies, “Yes.”

“They don’t want me here right now. They want me dead,” he added.

After Feldman advised parents who want their kids to enter show business not to go into it blindly, Walters cuts him off, saying, “You’re damaging an entire industry!”

“I’m sorry,” Feldman replied.

Social media users immediately chimed in after Feldman tweeted the 2013 clip on Thursday, acknowledging a problem that Walters ignored.

Court Alert: Adult Sex With 16-Year-Olds Is Legal, But Sending Nude Photos Is Not

Child rape

INDIANAPOLIS — An adult can legally have sex with a 16 year old in Indiana, but sending a nude photo to a teen of the same age is illegal, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.

The Monday decision means Sameer G. Thakar of Fishers, Ind., will face trial on one felony count of disseminating matter harmful to a minor, a charge originally dismissed last year.

A trial court dismissed the charges in May 2016 on the basis that the state’s dissemination statute was vague because the age of consent to sexual activity in Indiana is 16. The dismissal was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals in February and transferred to the Indiana Supreme Court this May.

The high court Monday said the law is not ambiguous.

“The Dissemination Statute clearly protects minors under the age of 18 from the dissemination of matter harmful to them,” Justice Mark S. Massa wrote in the unanimous opinion. “Whether this inconsistent statutory treatment of minors aged 16 and 17 is advisable with respect to sexually-related activity is a matter for the legislature, and whether Thakar’s alleged conduct violated the Dissemination Statute is a matter for the jury.”

Authorities say Thakar sent a nude picture of himself to an Oregon girl who he knew was only 16. The two had been chatting online from Jan. 20 to Feb. 12, 2014.

The FBI notified the Fishers Police Department of the incident.

Thakar admitted to Fishers police that he had a problem chatting online and said he knew why investigators were asking about the girl from Oregon, according to court documents.

In his legal defense, Thakar cited Salter v. State, in which the defendant argued that it was “patently illogical” that a man could legally expose himself to a consenting 16-year-old in person but not via photograph.

The court in that case held that the statute was unconstitutionally vague because the activity wouldn’t be considered “patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable matter for or performance before minors,” which Massa said is a necessary element of the definition “harmful to minors” under state law.

But in the opinion issued Monday, all five Indiana justices agreed that the state’s dissemination statue was clear in its terms.

Massa wrote in his opinion that the dissemination statue and the consent statute can be followed at the same time.

“With respect to a 16-year-old, consensual sexual activity in person is permitted, the dissemination of a sexually-explicit photograph (consensually or otherwise) is not,” he wrote.

Messages left with Thakar’s attorneys Tuesday afternoon were not immediately returned.

USA Today Contributing: Justin Mack, The Indianapolis Star.

 

Judge Rules Law Banning Teacher-Student Sex Is Unconstitutional

School Safety SERAPH

An Alabama judge has ruled this week that a state law criminalizing teacher-student sex is unconstitutional — and dismissed charges against a teacher and aide accused of having relations with their students, according to local media.

Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson issued the ruling on Thursday — dismissing the charges against Carrie Witt, who taught at Decatur High School, and David Solomon, a former aide at Falkville High, AL.com reported.

The law, created in 2010, prohibits school employees from having sex with students under 19 — and violators could be charged with a Class B felony, carrying a punishment of up to 20 years behind bars, the site reported. The law requires those convicted to register as sex offenders — and consent is not a defense.

But defense attorneys have argued that the law violates teachers’ equal protection right under the 14th Amendment, because it treats teachers and other school employees differently than other citizens, the outlet reported. In Alabama, other adults who have consensual sex with 16-year-olds do not face criminal prosecution.

“The Court finds this statute unconstitutional as applied to these defendants,” Thompson wrote in his order, according to AL.com. “In finding so, this court does not endeavor to absolve any wrongdoing or to excuse the defendants. Moreover, the court does not encourage any similarly situated party to engage with impunity in what may very well be criminal behavior.”

Witt, 43, a history, psychology and social studies teacher who also coached girls’ golf and junior varsity cheer, was charged with two counts of a school employee having sex with a student in March of 2016, the outlet reported.

She is accused of having sex with a male student who was 17 when the relationship started and another male student who was 18, authorities said.

Solomon, 26, was fired later that month after his arrest on one count of a school employee having sex with a student.

He is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old female student whom he met on Facebook, police said.

Judges have been asked to dismiss the charges in other similar cases on unconstitutionality grounds, but have neglected to do so, AL.com reported.

“We’ve already been in touch with the [Attorney General’s] Office and they are going to handle the appeal, which is typical when a state statute is attacked on a constitutional basis,” Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson told the outlet.

New York Post

 

SHAME: California Parole Board Recommends Parole for Domestic Terrorist

Manson murders

No Freedom for Manson-Family Killer

Leslie Van Houten may have been a teenager, her mind “arguably muddled by drug use” and by “the hold that Charles Manson and his cult-like ‘family’ exerted over her” when she was sentenced to death (later commuted) for her role in the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.

But the editors of the Los Angeles Times say she should not be set free, as a parole board has recommended. (California Gov. Jerry Brown makes the final decision.) “It was a particularly gruesome and horrific murder, but it was also an act of terrorism,” they note: “Manson intended to wage a race war” and “destabilize society.”

And while retribution “should be balanced with mercy,” it “does have a role.”

The Juggalos Gang Is Marching On Washington And The ACLU Is Behind It.

Juggalos Gang

Protesters this year have marched on Washington, D.C. for many reasons.

Now, here come the Juggalos.

Followers of the hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse — aka Juggalos — are holding a march Saturday on the National Mall, alleging discrimination after the FBI labeled the group a gang in a 2011 report.

The band, consisting of the duo Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, said the gang accusation “has resulted in hundreds if not thousands of people subjected to various forms of discrimination, harassment, and profiling simply for identifying as a Juggalo.” In a video on the their website, the hip-hop artists claim their fans have lost jobs, custody of their children and been denied access to the military for their Juggalo affiliation.

Juggalos are known for displaying the band’s symbol, a man running with a hatchet, and the signature white-and-black face paint. The FBI placed Juggalos on the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment following reports of crimes committed by people who wear Juggalo tattoos and clothing. Federal officials state there are more than one million Juggalos in the United States.

The band and the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Juggalos in 2014, claiming they had been targeted by police. A federal judge tossed the lawsuit later that year, saying the FBI isn’t responsible for how the report is used by local law enforcement agenies. The group, on the march’s website, said their case was again dismissed, prompting the march.

The group calls the gang label untrue. Juggalos, the website said, are a family “united by a shared love of music and fellowship.”

The event begins at 2 p.m. Saturday in front of the Lincoln Memorial and ends with an Insane Clown Posse performance. The group has told its followers not to destroy property or come intoxicated.

, USA TODAY

Take This Seriously! The Equifax Data Breach – What To Do?

SERAPH.net

On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the three main credit reporting agencies, announced a massive data security breach that exposed vital personal identification data— including names, addresses, birthdates, and Social Security numbers on as many as 143 million consumers, roughly 55% of Americans age 18 and older.

This data breach was especially egregious because the company reportedly first learned of the breach on July 29 and waited roughly six weeks before making it public (hackers first gained access between mid-May and July). Moreover, consumers don’t choose to do business or share their data with Equifax; rather, Equifax — along with TransUnion and Experian, the other two major credit reporting agencies — unilaterally monitors the financial health of consumers and supplies that data to potential lenders without a consumer’s approval or consent.

Equifax has faced widespread criticism following its disclosure of the hack, both for the breach itself and for its response, particularly the website it established for consumers to check if they may have been affected. Both the FBI and Congress are investigating the breach. In the meantime, click the pdf below for the answers to five pertinent questions you might have.

The Equifax Data Breach - What To Do.pdfThe Equifax Data Breach – What To Do.pdf 

We are always here as a resource to help you think through the real world financial issues that can have an impact on you or your business.  Please do not hesitate to contact us at 609-689-9700 or solutions@mercadien.com for further assistance. 

Marguerite L. Mount, CPA, CGMA, PFS 
Managing Director & Chair, Individual Services Group

SCAM ALERT: 5 Famous Charities That Are NOT Providing The Help They Claimed To Hurricane Victims

Hurricane Charity Scam

People all over the country are donating to Harvey disaster relief efforts, but law enforcement officials and consumer watchdogs urge caution: Beware of phony charities.

CNN

Are YOU giving money to a charity scam in the wake of Hurricane Harvey or Irma?

Every time there’s a disaster, dishonest charities are there to profit off of human (and animal) misery. While many people know to look out for fly-by-night charities that pop up, you should also beware of charities that seem legitimate but that have a history of questionable spending of charitable donations.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 charities with shameful pasts. We suggest you give to someone else. The FBI has issued a number of guidelines for people to keep in mind when giving to charity following a natural disaster.

Given to one of these already? We’re including info on how to get your money back. (If a charity doesn’t comply, you can file a complaint with your state attorney general.)

  1. The Humane Society of the United States

Many want to help animals affected by disasters—but the Humane Society of the United States is not a good place to give a gift. According to documents provided to the New York Attorney General, following Hurricane Sandy HSUS raised millions of dollars and only spent one-third of what it raised on Sandy relief. The Louisiana Attorney General also opened an investigation of HSUS into how it spent donations raised after Hurricane Katrina after his office received complaints that money was being misused. Noted one Huffington Post contributor: “[B]ased on the HSUS’s performance during and after Katrina — if you care about starving creatures, you’re probably better off grinding your dollars into a nutritious paste and feeding them directly.”

According to public records, HSUS also has put more than $50 million into offshore accounts in the Caribbean. It doesn’t need a dime. Instead, look at giving to the Houston Humane Society or San Antonio Humane Society—both of which are unaffiliated with HSUS.

Get a refund: Call 202-452-1100

  1. Disabled Veterans National Foundation

In Harvey’s aftermath, DVNF promises donors that “you can provide disaster relief to affected veterans, their families and those in critical need with your gift today.” However, CNN has exposed DVNF’s wasteful spending. The news organization found DVNF raised $55.9 million over a several-year period but that almost none of that money was given to veterans; instead, much of it was spent on direct mail, candy, hand sanitizer, and other frivolous items. CharityWatch also gives DVNF an “F” grade in its Winter 2016-17 rating guide.

Get a refund: Call 202-737-0522

  1. World Emergency Relief (a.k.a. Children’s Food Fund)

World Emergency Relief raised $16 million in 2015, according to its tax return, and claims it is “responding to assist Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas with truckloads of emergency supplies.” However, CharityWatch gave World Emergency Relief an “F” grade in its Winter 2015-16 report, calculating that it spent as little as 32% of its budget on programs.

Get a refund: 888-484-4543

  1. Paws for Purple Hearts

Paws for Purple Hearts is a veterans-focused charity that “is doing its part to provide relief for pets displaced by Hurricane Harvey,” according to its website. However, CharityWatch, a no-nonsense charity evaluator gives Paws for Purple Hearts an “F” grade in its Winter 2016-17 rating guide. CharityWatch calculates that the nonprofit spends only 14% of its budget on programs and spends 62 cents to raise a dollar. A local animal charity in a disaster-affected area would be a better bet.

Get a refund: Call 844-700-PAWS

  1. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

PETA claims to rescue animals after disasters—but the group’s track record of “caring” for animals should give everyone pause. PETA’s animal shelter at its headquarters in Norfolk, Va., has a kill rate of about 85%, according to filings PETA has made with the state. PETA has killed over 35,000 animals since 1998—many within 24 hours of receiving them, according to an inspection report.

Get a refund: 757-622-7382

Tim Kaine Claims Not to Know ‘Enough About Antifa’ to Call Them a Terrorists – After His Antifa Son Is Arrested

Thursday, in a comment regarding whether or not Antifa should be labeled a terrorist organization, Sen. Kaine responded:

“I don’t like broad brushes and I don’t know enough about them to say that they’re terrorists, but people who do violent things – the law should take care of them.”

Of course this is Kaine’s response, given the fact that his son is in fact a member of Antifa.

TGP reported earlier this week about Kaine’s son, Linwood Kaine, and his arrest at the Minnesota State Capitol back in March after disrupting a pro-Trump rally. The mob that Kaine’s son was participating in were hurling punches and spraying Trump supporters with pepper spray.

 

 

Murder 220,000 People Including Children And Get A ‘Do Over’?

FARC

“The fact that a war criminal could become the president of Colombia makes no sense,” former Peace Commissioner Camilo Gomez said at a recent court hearing.

After more than five decades of battle in Colombia’s jungles, the nation’s largest rebel movement initiated the launch of its political party Sunday at a concrete convention center in the capital, vowing to upend the country’s traditional conservatism with the creation of an alternative leftist coalition.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia will transform into a political party under a new, still-to-be-announced name as part of a historic peace deal signed last year. The accords guarantee the ex-combatants 10 seats in Congress and the same funding the state provides to the nation’s 13 other political parties, in addition to a half-million dollars in funding to begin a think tank to develop their political ideology.

“We are taking an extraordinary step in the history of the common people’s struggle in Colombia,” said Rodrigo Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, to an audience of former guerrillas dressed in white T-shirts with the hashtag #NuveoPartido (#NewParty) on the back.

“This doesn’t mean we are renouncing in any way our fundamental principles or societal project,” he said.

The organization has signaled that it will adhere to its Marxist roots and focus on winning votes from peasants, workers and the urban middle class with a social justice platform, but it faces opposition from many who identify the guerrillas with kidnappings and terrorism.

A poll released in August found that fewer than 10 percent of Colombians said they had total confidence in the rebels as a political party and a large majority said they’d never vote a former guerrilla into Congress.

“They’re not going to be received very warmly in most of Colombia,” said Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America think tank. “Their human rights record hurt them. Their media image is terrible. Most Colombians quite simply aren’t socialists or communists.”

But, he added, “All is not lost. A message of wanting to redistribute wealth and undo economic injustice could probably do quite well in a lot of poor areas of Colombia.”

The group’s entrance into politics has been met with fierce resistance from leaders like former President Alvaro Uribe, one of the peace agreement’s staunchest critics. After passing a law earlier this year ratifying the group as a political party, the nation’s Supreme Court is now debating the legislation’s constitutionality. Critics say the former rebels shouldn’t be allowed to participate in politics before first going through a special peace tribunal.

Supporters like Ivan Cepeda of the leftist Alternative Democratic Pole contend that political incorporation of the group known as the FARC is the best means of ensuring a lasting peace.

“We have had to pay a very high cost in lives, in infrastructure … that today we are saving with the end of the conflict,” Cepeda said. “It’s more an investment in the democracy of Colombia.”

The FARC was formed in the early 1960s by guerrillas affiliated with Colombia’s Communist Party. Over the next 53 years the battle between the rebels, government forces and right-wing paramilitaries claimed at least 250,000 lives, left another 60,000 people missing and displaced millions, becoming the region’s longest-running conflict.

Four years of negotiations in Havana between rebel leaders and the government culminated with the signing of a peace accord in which guerillas agreed to turn over their arms, confess their crimes in a special peace tribunal that will spare most of any jail time, and turn over their war spoils as reparation to victims.

The agreement also addresses thorny issues like how to reduce Colombia’s booming coca production and provide economic alternatives to poor farmers. The U.S. once labeled the FARC one of the world’s largest drug trafficking organizations.

Colombian voters rejected the accord by a razor-thin majority in a post-signing referendum but a modified version with relatively minor changes was later approved by the legislature. A poll this summer by the Colombian firm Politmetrica found that optimism about the peace process has declined since last October’s referendum, from 67 percent of those surveyed to just about 53 percent.

The conference launched Sunday is expected to gather 1,000 former combatants from around the nation and define the FARC’s political platform. In a document leaked this spring — called the “April Theses” in a nod to Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin’s directive by the same name — the FARC leadership described its political party as rooted in “Marxism, Leninism, emancipatory Bolivarian thought and the people’s revolutionary ideology.”

The rebel leader known by the nom de guerre of Pastor Alape said the party’s would quickly seek a leftist coalition to advance implementation of the peace accords.

FARC leaders have toyed with keeping their same acronym and changing their name to the Alternative Revolutionary Force of Colombia, but the idea hasn’t received a warm reception.

“If the FARC intend to grow it’s a mistake,” journalist Angel Becassino told news magazine Semana. The acronym “signifies a past that generates a lot of confrontation.”

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press